A monologue from the play by Christopher Marlowe
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Masterpieces of the English Drama. Ed. William Lyon Phelps. New York: American Book Company, 1912.
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.