Page images

Deserve these titles I endow you with,
By valour and by magnanimity.
Your birth shall be no blemish to your fame,
xFor virtue is the fount whence honour springs,
And they are worthy she investeth kings.

Tiier. And since your highness hath so well


If we deserve them not with higher meeds
Than erst our states and actions have retain'd
Take them away again and make us slaves.

Tamb. Well said, Theridamas; when holy fates
Shall stablish me in strong Egyptia,
We mean to travel to th' antarctick pole,
Conq'ring the people underneath our feet,
And be renown'd as never emperors were.
Zenocrate, I will not crown thee yet,
Until with greater honours I be grac'd. [Exeunt.


Enter the Governor of Damascus, with three or four Citizens, and four Virgins, with branches

of laurel in their hands.

Gov. Still doth this man, or rather god of war, Batter our walls and beat our turrets down; And to resist with longer stubbornness, Or hope of rescue from the Soldan's power.,

Were but to bring our wilful overthrow,

And make us desperate of our ilireat'ned lives.

We see his tents have now been altered

With terrors to the last and cruel'st hue.

His coal-black colours every where advanc'd,

Threaten our city with a gen'ral spoil;

And if we should with common rites of arms

Offer our safeties to his clemency,

I fear the custom, proper to his sword,

Which he observes as parcel of his fame,

Intending so to terrify the world,

By any innovation or remorse

Will never be dispens'd with 'till our deaths;

Therefore, for these our harmless virgins' sakes,

Whose honours and whose lives rely on him,

Let us have hope that their unspotted pray'rs,

Their blubber'd cheeks, and hearty, humble moans,

Will melt his fury into some remorse,

And use us like a loving conqueror.*

1 Virg. If humble suits or imprecations,
(Utter'd with tears of wretchedness and blood
Shed from the heads and hearts of all our sex
Some made your wives, and some your children)
Might have entreated your obdurate breasts
To entertain some care of our securities
While only danger beat upon our walls,
These more than dangerous warrants of our death

• And use us like a loving conqueror—i. e. and that he will use us like, &c.

Had never been erected as they be,

Nor you depend on such weak helps as we.

Gov. Well, lovely virgins, think our country's care, Our love of honour, loath to be inthrall'd To foreign pow'rs and rough imperious yokes, Would not with too much cowardice or fear (Before all hope of rescue were denied) Submit yourselves and us to servitude. Therefore in that your safeties and our own, Your honours, liberties, and lives were weigh'd In equal care and balance with our own, Endure as we the malice of our stars, The wrath of Tamburlaine and power of wars; Or be the means the overweighing heavens ,/•*• Have kept to qualify these hot extremes,

And bring us pardon in your cheerful looks.

2 Virg. Then here before the Majesty of Heaven
And holy patrons of Egyptia,
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 conq'ring 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.

Got. Farewel, sweet virgins, on whose safe return Depend our city, liberty, and lives. [Exeunt.


Enter Tamburlaine, Techelles, Theridamas, Usumcasane, with others: Tamburlaine all in black and very melancholy. To them enter the Virgins O/"damascus.

Tamb. What, are the turtles fray'd out of their


Alas, poor fools! must you be first shall feel
The sworn destruction of Damascus?
They knew 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 them on your disdainful eyes,
As now, when fury and incensed hate
Flings slaught'ring terror from my coal-black tents,
And tells for truth submission comes too late?

1 Vi Rg . Most happy king and emp'ror of the earth,
Image of honour and nobility,
For whom the pow'rs divine have made the world,
And on whose throne the holy graces sit;
In whose sweet person is compriz'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 rev'rence 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 blood

The jealous body of his fearful wife

Whose cheeks and hearts so punish'd with conceit,

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

Has thus refus'd the mercy of thy hand,

(Whose sceptre angels kiss and furies dread,)

As for their liberties, their loves, or lives!

Oh then for these, and such as we ourselves,

For us, for infants, and for all our bloods,

That never nourish'd thought against thy rule,

Pity, oh pity, sacred emperor,

The prostrate service of this wretched town,

And take in sign thereof this gilded wreath;

Whereto each man of rule hath giv'n his hand,

And wish'd, as worthy subjects, happy means

To be investers of thy royal brows

Even with the true Egyptian diadem! •

Tamb. 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?

1 Virg. Nothing but fear, and fatal steel, my lord.

Tamb. Your fearful minds are thick and misty then; For there sits Death; there sits imperious Death Keeping his circuit by the slicing edge.

« PreviousContinue »