Ben: Jonson Page


Mortimer his Fall.

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591


M O R T I M E R
H I S
F  A  L  L.
A   T R A G E D Y.



Written by  B E N.  J O H N S O N.



Hor. in Art. Poetic.

Et docuit magnumque loqui, nitiq; cothurno.



The  P E R S O N S  Names.

M O R T I M E R,         Earl of March.
I S A B E L, Queen Mother.
A D A M  D'O R L T O N,            B. of Worc'ter.
C H O R U S, Of Ladies, Knights, and Squires.
E D W A R D  III. K. of England.
J O H H,JOHN  the K's. Brother, Earl of Cornwall.
H E N.  the K's. Cousin, Earl of Lancaster.
W.  M O U N T A C U T E, K's. Servant.
R O.  D'E L A N D, Const. of Nott. Castle.
N U N C I U S, Or a Herald.



Arguments-





592



A R G U M E N T S.

T
HE First Act comprehends Mortimer's Pride and Security, raised
  
to the Degree of an Earl, by the Queen's Favour, and Love; with the Counsels of
  
Adam d' Orlton, the Politick Bishop of Worc'ster, against Lancaster.


The Chorus of Ladies, celebrating the
  
Worthiness of the Queen, in rewarding Mortimer's Services, and the Bishop's.


The Second Act shews the King's Love and Respect to his Mother, that
  


will hear nothing against
Mortimer's Greatness, or believe any Report of her extraordinary Favours to him; but imputes all to his Cousin Lancaster's Envy, and commands thereafter an utter Silence of those Matters.


The Chorus of Courtiers, celebrating the King's Worthiness
  



of Nature, and Affection to his Mother, who will hear nothing that may trench upon her Honour, though deliver'd by his Kinsman, of such nearness; and thereby take occasion to extol the King's Piety, and their own Happiness under such a King.


The Third Act relates (by the occasion of a Vision the blind Earl of L. had)
  


to the King's Brother, Earl of
Cornwal, the Horrour of their Father's Death, and the cunning making away of their Uncle, the Earl of K. by Mortimer's hired Practice.


The Chorus of Country-Justices, and their Wives, telling
  


how they were deluded, and made believe the Old King liv'd, by the Shew of him in Corf-Castle; and how they saw him eat, and use his Knife, like the Old King, &c. with the Description of the feigned Lights, and Masques there, that deceiv'd 'em, all which came from the Court.


The Fourth Act expresseth, by Conference between the King and his Brother,
  


a Change, and intention to explore the Truth of those Reports, and a Charge of employing
W. Mountacute to get the Keys of the Castle of Nottingham into the King's Power, and draw the Constable, Sir Rob. d' Eland, to their Party.


Mortimer's Security, Scorn of the Nobility, too much Familiarity
  

with the Queen, related by the Chorus. The Report of the King's surprising him in his Mothers Bed-chamber: A general Gladness: His being sent to Execution.


The Fifth Act, The Earl of Lancaster's following the Cry,
  
and meeting the Report. The Celebration of the King's Justice.








M O R T I M E R





593


M O R T I M E R
H I S
F  A  L  L.


Act I.

M O R T I M E R.

T

His Rise is made yet! and we now stand rank'd,
 To view about us, all that were above us!
 Nought hinders now our prospect, all are even,
 We walk upon a Level. Mortimer
[A Prince, an
Is a great Lord of late, and a new thing!
Earl, and Cousin to the King.      

At what a divers price, do divers Men
Act the same things! Another might have had
Perhaps the Hurdle, or at least the Ax,
For what I have this Crownet, Robes, and Wax.
There is a Fate, that flies with towring Spirits
Home to the Mark, and never checks at Conscience.
Poor plodding Priests, and preaching Friars may make
Their hollow Pulpits, and the empty Iles
Of Churches ring with that round word: But we
That draw the subtile, and more piercing Air,
In that sublimed Region of Court,
Know all is good, we make so, and go on
Secur'd by the prosperity of our Crimes.
To day is Mortimer made Earl of March.
For what? For that, the very thinking it
Would make a Citizen start! some politick Tradesman
Curl with the Caution of a Constable!
But I, who am no Common-Council-Man,
Knew, Injuries of that dark Nature done
Were to be throughly done, and not be left
To fear of a Revenge. They are light Offences
Which admit that. The great ones get above it.
Man doth not nurse a deadlier piece of Folly
To his high Temper, and brave Soul, than that
Of fancying Goodness, and a Seal to live by
So differing from Man's Life. As if with Lyons,
Bears, Tygers, Woolves, and all those Beasts of Prey,
He would affect to be a Sheep! Can Man

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Neglect what is, so, to attain what should be,
As rather he will call on his own Ruin,
Than work t' assure his safety? I should think
When 'mongst a World of bad, none can be good,
(I mean so absolutely good, and perfect,
As our Religious Confessors would have us)
It is enough, we do decline the Rumour
Of doing monstrous things: And yet, if those
Were of Emolument, unto our Ends,
Even of those, the Wise Man will make Friends
For all the Brand, and safely do the ill.
As Usurers rob, or our Physicians kill.

I S A B E L.   M O R T I M E R.

My Lord! sweet Mortimer!   Mor. My Q. my Mistris!
My Soveraign! nay, my Goddess! and my Juno!
What Name, or Title, as a Mark of Power
Upon me, should I give you?   Isa. Isabel,
Your Isabel, and you my Mortimer:
Which are the Marks of Parity, not Power,
And these are Titles best become our Love.
   Mor. Can you fall under those?   Isa. Yes, and be happy.
Walk forth, my lov'd, and gentle Mortimer,
And let my longing Eyes enjoy their Feast,
And fill of thee, my fair-shap'd, God-like Man:
Thou art a Banquet unto all my Senses;
Thy Form doth feast mine Eye, thy Voice mine Ear,
Thy Breath my Smell, thy every Kiss my Taste,
And softness of thy Skin, my very Touch:
As if I felt it dactile through my Blood.
I ne'er was reconciled to these Robes,
This Garb of England, till I saw thee in them.
Thou mak'st, they seem not boisterous, nor rude,
Like my rough haughty Lords de Engle-terre,
With whom I have so many Years been troubled.
   Mor. But now redeem'd, and set at liberty,
Queen of your self, and them.
He dy'd, and left it unfinished.





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