SECOND VIRGIN. Then here, before the Majesty of Heaven And holy patrons of Aegyptia, With knees and hearts submissive we entreat Grace to our words and pity to our looks, That this device may prove propitious, And through the eyes and ears of Tamburlaine Convey events of mercy to his heart; Grant that these signs of victory we yield May bind the temples of his conquering head, To hide the folded furrows of his brows, And shadow his displeased countenance With happy looks of ruth and lenity. Leave us, my lord, and loving countrymen: What simple virgins may persuade, we will.

GOVERNOR. Farewell, sweet virgins, on whose safe return Depends our city, liberty, and lives. [Exeunt all except the VIRGINS.]

Enter TAMBURLAINE, all in black and very melancholy, TECHELLES, THERIDAMAS, USUMCASANE, with others.

TAMBURLAINE. What, are the turtles fray'd out of their nests? Alas, poor fools, must you be first shall feel The sworn destruction of Damascus? They knew(250) my custom; could they not as well Have sent ye out when first my milk-white flags, Through which sweet Mercy threw her gentle beams, Reflexed(251) them on their(252) disdainful eyes, As(253) now when fury and incensed hate Flings slaughtering terror from my coal-black tents,(254) And tells for truth submission(255) comes too late?

FIRST VIRGIN. Most happy king and emperor of the earth, Image of honour and nobility, For whom the powers divine have made the world, And on whose throne the holy Graces sit; In whose sweet person is compris'd the sum Of Nature's skill and heavenly majesty; Pity our plights! O, pity poor Damascus! Pity old age, within whose silver hairs Honour and reverence evermore have reign'd! Pity the marriage-bed, where many a lord, In prime and glory of his loving joy, Embraceth now with tears of ruth and(256) blood The jealous body of his fearful wife, Whose cheeks and hearts, so punish'd with conceit,(257) To think thy puissant never-stayed arm Will part their bodies, and prevent their souls From heavens of comfort yet their age might bear, Now wax all pale and wither'd to the death, As well for grief our ruthless governor Hath(258) thus refus'd the mercy of thy hand, (Whose sceptre angels kiss and Furies dread,) As for their liberties, their loves, or lives! O, then, for these, and such as we ourselves, For us, for infants, and for all our bloods, That never nourish'd(259) thought against thy rule, Pity, O, pity, sacred emperor, The prostrate service of this wretched town; And take in sign thereof this gilded wreath, Whereto each man of rule hath given his hand, And wish'd,(260) as worthy subjects, happy means To be investers of thy royal brows Even with the true Egyptian diadem!

TAMBURLAINE. Virgins, in vain you labour to prevent That which mine honour swears shall be perform'd. Behold my sword; what see you at the point?

FIRST VIRGIN. Nothing but fear and fatal steel, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE. Your fearful minds are thick and misty, then, For there sits Death; there sits imperious(261) Death, Keeping his circuit by the slicing edge. But I am pleas'd you shall not see him there; He now is seated on my horsemen's spears, And on their points his fleshless body feeds.-- Techelles, straight go charge a few of them To charge these dames, and shew my servant Death, Sitting in scarlet on their armed spears.

VIRGINS. O, pity us!

TAMBURLAINE. Away with them, I say, and shew them Death! [The VIRGINS are taken out by TECHELLES and others.] I will not spare these proud Egyptians, Nor change my martial observations For all the wealth of Gihon's golden waves, Or for the love of Venus, would she leave The angry god of arms and lie with me. They have refus'd the offer of their lives, And know my customs are as peremptory As wrathful planets, death, or destiny. Re-enter TECHELLES. What, have your horsemen shown the virgins Death?

TECHELLES. They have, my lord, and on Damascus' walls Have hoisted up their slaughter'd carcasses.


Tamburlaine the Great, Part 1 Page 24

Christopher Marlowe

16th Century Literature

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Christopher Marlowe
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