ACT II
Scene IV.
 

Enter MYCETES with his crown in his hand.

MYCETES
Accurs'd be he that first invented war!
They knew not, ah, they knew not, simple men,
How those were hit by pelting cannon-shot
Stand staggering like a quivering aspen-leaf
Fearing the force of Boreas' boisterous blasts!
In what a lamentable case were I,
If nature had not given me wisdom's lore!
For kings are clouts that every man shoots at,
Our crown the pin that thousands seek to cleave:
Therefore in policy I think it good
To hide it close; a goodly stratagem,
And far from any man that is a fool:
So shall not I be known; or if I be,
They cannot take away my crown from me.
Here will I hide it in this simple hole.

Enter TAMBURLAINE.

TAMBURLAINE
What, fearful coward, straggling from the camp,
When kings themselves are present in the field?

MYCETES
Thou liest.

TAMBURLAINE
Base villain, darest thou give me the lie?

MYCETES
Away! I am the king; go; touch me not.
Thou break'st the law of arms, unless thou kneel,
And cry me "mercy, noble king!"

TAMBURLAINE
Are you the witty king of Persia?

MYCETES
Ay, marry, am I: have you any suit to me?

TAMBURLAINE
I would entreat you to speak but three wise words.

MYCETES
So I can when I see my time.

TAMBURLAINE
Is this your crown?

MYCETES
Ay: didst thou ever see a fairer?

TAMBURLAINE
You will not sell it, will you?

MYCETES
Such another word, and I will have thee executed. Come,
give it me.

TAMBURLAINE
No; I took it prisoner.

MYCETES
You lie; I gave it you.

TAMBURLAINE
Then 'tis mine.

MYCETES
No; I mean I let you keep it.

TAMBURLAINE
Well, I mean you shall have it again.
Here, take it for a while: I lend it thee,
Till I may see thee hemm'd with armed men;
Then shalt thou see me pull it from thy head:
Thou art no match for mighty Tamburlaine.

[Exit.]

MYCETES
O gods, is this Tamburlaine the thief?
I marvel much he stole it not away.

[Trumpets within sound to the battle: he runs out.]