TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT
A monologue from Act I, Scene II
by: Christopher Marlowe
|NOTE: The two parts of Tamburlaine were published anonymously in 1590. The play is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
- TAMBURLAINE: In thee, thou valiant man of Persia,
- I see the folly of thy emperor.
- Art thou but captain of a thousand horse,
- That, by characters graven in thy brows
- And by thy martial face and stout aspect,
- Deserv'st to have the leading of an host?
- Forsake thy king, and do but join with me,
- And we will triumph over all the world.
- I hold the Fates bound fast in iron chains,
- And with my hand turn Fortune's wheel about;
- And sooner shall the sun fall from his sphere
- Than Tamburlaine be slain or overcome.
- Draw forth thy sword, thou mighty man-at-arms,
- Intending but to race my charméd skin,
- And Jove himself will stretch his hand from heaven
- To ward the blow and shield me safe from harm.
- See how he rains down heaps of gold in showers,
- As if he meant to give me soldiers pay!
- And, as a sure and grounded argument
- That I shall be the monarch of the East,
- He sends this soldan's daughter, rich and brave,
- To be my queen and portly emperess.
- If thou wilt stay with me, renownéd man,
- And lead thy thousand horse with my conduct,
- Besides thy share of this Egyptian prize,
- Those thousand horse shall sweat with martial spoil
- Of conquered kingdoms and of cities sacked.
- Both we will walk upon the lofty clifts;
- And Christian merchants that with Russian stems
- Plow up huge furrows in the Caspian sea
- Shall vail to us as lords of all the lake.
- Both we will reign as consuls of the earth,
- And mighty kings shall be our senators.
- Jove sometime maskéd in a shepherd's weed;
- And by those steps that he hath scaled the heavens
- May we become immortal like the gods!
- Join with me now in this my mean estate
- (I call it mean because, being yet obscure,
- The nations far removed admire me not),
- And, when my name and honor shall be spread
- As far as Boreas claps his brazen wings,
- Or fair Boötes sends his cheerful light,
- Then shalt thou be competitor with me,
- And sit with Tamburlaine in all his majesty.