illustration of main character Tamburlaine standing in armor with sword and shield

Tamburlaine the Great

by Christopher Marlowe

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"Ride In Triumph Through Persepolis"

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Last Updated on June 1, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 267

Context: Marlowe, with Thomas Kyd (1558–1594), author of The Spanish Tragedy, discovered the possibilities of dramatic blank verse and made it available for the English Romantic drama. They ended the authority of Seneca and pseudo-classicism. What has been considered Marlowe's first play deals in ten acts with Tamburlaine or Tamerlane, the fourteenth century "Scourge of God," whose empire eventually extended from the Wall of China to the Mediterranean and from Siberia to the Ganges. In the beginning of Part I, he has captured the Egyptian Zenocrate, on her way to marry the sultan, and has won over by his personality the Persian cavalry sent to capture him. He persuades Cosroe, brother of the Persian King Mycetes, to join with him in dethroning the monarch, now marching to attack him. Cosroe departs to occupy the Persian capital Persepolis, while his brother and the army are busy fighting Tamburlaine.

And till thou overtake me, Tamburlaine,
(Staying to order all the scattered troops,)
Farewell, lord regent and his happy friends!
I long to sit upon my brother's throne.
Your Majesty shall shortly have your wish,
And ride in triumph through Persepolis.
[Exeunt the Persians.]
"And ride in triumph through Persepolis!"
Is it not brave to be a king, Techelles?
Usumcasane and Theridamas,
Is it not passing brave to be a king,
"And ride in triumph through Persepolis"?
Oh, My Lord, 'tis sweet and full of pomp.
To be a king is half to be a god.
A god is not so glorious as a king.
I think the pleasures they enjoy in Heaven,
Cannot compare with kingly joy on earth; . . .

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