A monologue from the play by Christopher Marlowe

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Masterpieces of the English Drama. Ed. William Lyon Phelps. New York: American Book Company, 1912.
  • TAMBURLAINE: Villain, art thou the son of Tamburlaine,
    And fear'st to die, or with a curtle-axe
    To hew thy flesh, and make a gaping wound?
    Has thou beheld a peal of ordnance strike
    A ring of pikes, mingled with shot and horse,
    Whose shatter'd limbs, being toss'd as high as heaven,
    Hang in the air as thick as sunny motes,
    And canst thou, coward, stand in fear of death?
    Hath thou not seen my horsemen charge the foe,
    Shot through the arms, cut overthwart the hands,
    Dying their lances with their streaming blood,
    And yet at night carouse within my tent,
    Filling their empty veins with airy wine,
    That, being concocted, turns to crimson blood,
    And wilt thou shun the field for fear of wounds?
    View me, thy father, that hath conquer'd kings,
    And, with his host, march'd round about the earth,
    Quite void of scars and clear from any wound,
    That by the wars lost not a drop of blood,
    And see him lance his flesh to teach you all.

    [He cuts his arm.]

    A wound is nothing, be it ne'er so deep;
    Blood is the god of war's rich livery.
    Now look I like a soldier, and this wound
    As great a grace and majesty to me,
    As if a chair of gold enamelled,
    Enchas'd with diamonds, sapphires, rubies,
    And fairest pearl of wealthy India,
    Were mounted here under a canopy,
    And I sat down, cloth'd with a massy robe
    That late adorn'd the Afric potentate,
    Whom I brought bound unto Damascus' walls.
    Come, boys, and with your fingers search my wound,
    And in my blood wash all your hands at once,
    While I sit smiling to behold the sight.
    Now, my boys, what think ye of a wound?