We've listed some well-known quotes from Christopher Marlowe's two-part, blood-soaked tragedy, Tamburlaine the Great.

A man in Persian armour, covered in black thick oil and blood.
Antony Sher as Tamburlaine from our 1993 production directed by Terry Hands.
Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC Browse and license our images

Tamburlaine the Great, Part I

We'll lead you to the stately tent of war,
Where you shall hear the Scythian Tamburlaine
Threatening the world with high astounding terms,
And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword.

Time passeth swift away;
Our life is frail, and we may die to-day.
(Mycetes, Act 1 Scene 1)

I mean to be a terror to the world
(Tamburlaine, Act 1 Scene 2)

Cowards and faint-hearted runaways
Look for orations when the foe is near:
Our swords shall play the orators for us.
(Techelles, Act 1 Scene 2)

I hold the Fates bound fast in iron chains,
And with my hand turn Fortune’s wheel about;
And sooner shall the sun fall from his sphere
Than Tamburlaine be slain or overcome.
(Tamburlaine, Act 1 Scene 2)

Accurs'd be he that first invented war!
(Mycetes, Act 2 Scene 4)

To be a king is half to be a god.
(Usumcasane, Act 2 Scene 5)

Nature, that frames us of four elements
Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.
(Tamburlaine, Act 2 Scene 7)

Ah, fair Zenocrate!—divine Zenocrate!
Fair is too foul an epithet for thee.
(Tamburlaine, Act 4 Scene 1)

Virtue is the fount whence honour springs.
(Tamburlaine, Act 4 Scene 4)

Tamburlaine the Great, Part II

Be all a scourge and terror to the world,
Or else you are not sons of Tamburlaine.
(Tamburlaine, Act 1 Scene 3)

But let me die, my love; yes, let me die:
With love and patience let your true love die:
Your grief and fury hurts my second life.
Yet let me kiss my lord before I die,
And let me die with kissing of my lord.
(Zenocrate, Act 2 Scene 4)

I know, sir, what it is to kill a man;
It works remorse of conscience in me.
I take no pleasure to be murderous,
Nor care for blood when wine will quench my thirst.
(Calyphas, Act 4 Scene 1)

Well, bark, ye dogs:  I'll bridle all your tongues.
(Tamburlaine, Act 4 Scene 1)

Come, let us march against the powers of heaven,
And set black streamers in the firmament,
To signify the slaughter of the gods.
(Tamburlaine, Act 5 Scene 3)

For Tamburlaine, the scourge of God, must die.
(Tamburlaine, Act 5 Scene 3)

Let earth and heaven his timeless death deplore,
For both their worths will equal him no more!
(Amyras, Act 5 Scene 3)