ACT II
Scene II.
 

Enter MYCETES, MEANDER, with other LORDS; and SOLDIERS.

MYCETES
Come, my Meander, let us to this gear.
I tell you true, my heart is swoln with wrath
On this same thievish villain Tamburlaine,
And of that false Cosroe, my traitorous brother.
Would it not grieve a king to be so abus'd,
And have a thousand horsemen ta'en away?
And, which is worse, to have his diadem
Sought for by such scald knaves as love him not?
I think it would: well, then, by heavens I swear,
Aurora shall not peep out of her doors,
But I will have Cosroe by the head,
And kill proud Tamburlaine with point of sword.
Tell you the rest, Meander: I have said.

MEANDER
Then, having pass'd Armenian deserts now,
And pitch'd our tents under the Georgian hills,
Whose tops are cover'd with Tartarian thieves,
That lie in ambush, waiting for a prey,
What should we do but bid them battle straight,
And rid the world of those detested troops?
Lest, if we let them linger here a while,
They gather strength by power of fresh supplies.
This country swarms with vile outragious men
That live by rapine and by lawless spoil,
Fit soldiers for the wicked Tamburlaine;
And he that could with gifts and promises
Inveigle him that led a thousand horse,
And make him false his faith unto his king,
Will quickly win such as be like himself.
Therefore cheer up your minds; prepare to fight:
He that can take or slaughter Tamburlaine,
Shall rule the province of Albania;
Who brings that traitor's head, Theridamas,
Shall have a government in Media,
Beside the spoil of him and all his train:
But, if Cosroe (as our spials say,
And as we know) remains with Tamburlaine,
His highness' pleasure is that he should live,
And be reclaim'd with princely lenity.

Enter a SPY.

SPY
An hundred horsemen of my company,
Scouting abroad upon these champion plains,
Have view'd the army of the Scythians;
Which make report it far exceeds the king's.

MEANDER
Suppose they be in number infinite,
Yet being void of martial discipline,
All running headlong, greedy after spoils,
And more regarding gain than victory,
Like to the cruel brothers of the earth,
Sprung of the teeth of dragons venomous,
Their careless swords shall lance their fellows' throats,
And make us triumph in their overthrow.

MYCETES
Was there such brethren, sweet Meander, say,
That sprung of teeth of dragons venomous?

MEANDER
So poets say, my lord.

MYCETES
And 'tis a pretty toy to be a poet.
Well, well, Meander, thou art deeply read;
And having thee, I have a jewel sure.
Go on, my lord, and give your charge, I say;
Thy wit will make us conquerors to-day.

MEANDER
Then, noble soldiers, to entrap these thieves
That live confounded in disorder'd troops,
If wealth or riches may prevail with them,
We have our camels laden all with gold,
Which you that be but common soldiers
Shall fling in every corner of the field;
And, while the base-born Tartars take it up,
You, fighting more for honour than for gold,
Shall massacre those greedy-minded slaves;
And, when their scatter'd army is subdu'd,
And you march on their slaughter'd carcasses,
Share equally the gold that bought their lives,
And live like gentlemen in Persia.
Strike up the drum, and march courageously:
Fortune herself doth sit upon our crests.

MYCETES
He tells you true, my masters; so he does.--
Drums, why sound ye not when Meander speaks?

[Exeunt, drums sounding.]