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TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT.
PART THE FIRST.
ACT THE FIRST.
Enter MYCETES, COSROE, MEANDER, THERIDAMAS, ORTYGIUS, CENEUS, MENAPHON, with others.
MYC. Brother Cosroe, I find myself agriev'd,
For it requires a great and thund'ring speech:
Cos. Unhappy Persia, that in former age
To shed their influence in his fickle brain.—
Now Turks and Tartars shake their swords at thee, Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.
Myc. Brother, I see your meaning well enough, And thorough your planets I perceive you think I am not wise enough to be a king,
But I refer me to my noble men
That know my wit, and can be witnesses.
MEAND. Not for so small a fault, my sovereign lord.
Myc. I mean it not, but yet I know I might; Yet live; yea live, Mycetes wills it so. Meander, thou, my faithful counsellor, Declare the cause of my conceived grief, Which is, God knows, about that Tamburlaine, That, like a fox in midst of harvest time, Doth prey upon my flocks of passengers; And, as I hear, doth mean to pull my plumes: Therefore 'tis good and meet for to be wise. MEAND. Oft have I heard your Majesty complain Of Tamburlaine, that sturdy Scythian thief, That robs your merchants of Persepolis Trading by land unto the Western Isles, And in your confines with his lawless train Daily commits uncivil outrages, Hoping (misled by dreaming prophecies) To reign in Asia, and with barb'rous arms To make himself the monarch of the East; But ere he march in Asia, or display His vagrant ensign in the Persian fields,
Your Grace hath taken order by Theridamas,
Whom I may term a Damon for thy love :
Cos. It cannot choose because it comes from you. MYC. Then hear thy charge, valiant Theridamas, The chiefest captain of Mycetes' host,
The hope of Persia, and the very legs
THER. Before the moon renew her borrow'd light,
MYC. Go, stout Theridamas, thy words are swords,
And with thy looks thou conquerest all thy foes;
And from their knees e'en to their hoofs below
Myc. Theridamas, farewell! ten thousand times. [Exit Theridamas. Ah, Menaphon, why stay'st thou thus behind, When other men press forward for renown? Go, Menaphon, go into Scythia;
And foot by foot follow Theridamas.
Cos. Nay, pray you let him stay; a greater [task*] Fits Menaphon than warring with a thief:
Create him Prorex of all Africa,
That he may win the Babylonian hearts
Unless they have a wiser king than you.
MYC." Unless they have a wiser king than you." These are his words; Meander, set them down. Cos. And add this to them-that all Asia Laments to see the folly of their king.
Myc. Well, here I swear by this my royal seat,Cos. You may do well to kiss it then.
MYC. Emboss'd with silk as best beseems my state, To be reveng'd for these contemptuous words.
This word, or one of similar import, has been dropped at the press.
0, where is duty and allegiance now?
[All go out but Cosroe and Menaphon. MEN. How now, my Lord? What, mated* and amaz'd
To hear the king thus threaten like himself!
Cos. Ab, Menaphon, I pass not+ for his threats; The plot is laid by Persian noblemen
And captains of the Median garrisons
To crown me emperor
But this it is that doth excruciate
The very substance of my vexed soul—
To see our neighbours that were wont to quake
Have swarm'd in troops into the Eastern India,
To gain the title of a conqueror
By curing of this maimed empery.
mated-confounded; from the French mater.
* pass not-care not.