Page images

But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

Des. O heavy, ignorance!-thou praisest the worst best. But what praise could'st thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed? one, that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?

Iago. She that was ever fair, and never proud; Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud; Never lack'd gold, and yet went never gay; Fled from her wish, and yet said,—now I may; She that, being anger'd, her revenge being nigh, Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly; She that in wisdom never was so frail,

To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail; She that could think, and ne'er disclose her mind,


See suitors following, and not look behind;
She was a wight, if ever such wights were,
Des. To do what?

Iago. To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer. Des. O most lame and impotent conclusion!Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband.-How say you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal counsellor ?

Cas. He speaks home, madam; you may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar. Iago. [Aside.] He takes her by the palm: Ay, well said, whisper: with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.d d You say true; 't is so, indeed: if such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt to play the sir in. Very good! well kissed, and excellent courtesy !* 't is so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips? would, they were clyster-pipes for your sake![Trumpet.] The Moor, I know his trumpet.

Cas. "T is truly so.

Des. Let's meet him, and receive him. Cas. Lo, where he comes!

"To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail" is to exchange the more delicate fare for the coarser. In the household-book of Queen Elizabeth it is directed that "the master cooks shall have to fee all the salmon's tails." b Wights. The quarto, wight.

e Liberal-licentious.

d The quarto reads, I will cateh you in your own courtesies. Courtship is used for paying courtesies, as in Richard 11.

"Observ'd his courtship to the common people."

• Courtesy. Johnson has an extraordinary note upon this: Spoken when Cassio kisses his hand, and Desdemona courtsics." A courtesy, courtsy, curtsy, was anciently used for any courteous mode of demeanour, and not, as Jolun son receit es it, as exclusively a female action. But he was betrayed into this mistake by the reading of the quarto"Well kiss'd! an excellent couricay."

Enter OTHELLO, and Attendants. Oth. O my fair warrior!"


My dear Othello! Oth. It gives me wonder great as my conten To see you here before me. O my soul's joy' If after every tempest come such calms,

May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas,
Olympus-high; and duck again as low

As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
"T were now to be most happy; for, I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute,
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!


Amen to that, sweet powers!— I cannot speak enough of this content, It stops me here; it is too much of joy; And this, and this, the greatest discords be

[Kissing her.

That e'er our hearts shall make!
O, you are well tun'd now:
But I'll set down the pegs that make this music,
As honest as I am.
Come; let us to the castle.-
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are

How does my old acquaintance of this isle ?°
Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus,

I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,

I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
In mine own comforts.-I prithee, good Iago,
Go to the bay, and disembark my coffers:
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect.-Come, Desde-

[blocks in formation]

Iago. Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come thither." If thou be'st valiant, (as they say, base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them,) list me. The lieutenant to-night watches on the court of guard :-First, I must tell thee this-Desdemona is directly in love with him. Rod. With him! why 't is not possible.

Iago. Lay thy finger-thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor, but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies: To love him still for prating, let not thy discrcet heart think it." Her eye must be fed; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be, again to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favour; sympathy in years, manners, and beauties; all which the Moor is defective in: Now, for want of these required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted, (as it is a most pregnant and unforced position,) who stands so eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does ;a knave very voluble; no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection? why, none; why, none: A slipper and subtle knave;° a finder of occasions; that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never present itself: A devilish knave! besides, the nave is handsome, young; and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after: A pestilent complete knave; and the woman hath found him already. Rod. I cannot believe that in her; she is full of most bless'd condition.

Iago. Bless'd fig's end! the wine she drinks is made of grapes: if she had been bless'd, she would never have loved the Moor: Bless'd pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst not mark that?

Rod. Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

Iago. Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul

[blocks in formation]

thoughts. They met so near with their lips that their breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! When these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, the incorporate conclusion: Pish-But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night; for the command, I'll lay 't upon you: Cassio knows you not;-I'll not be far from you: Do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline, or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favourably minister. Rod. Well.

Iago. Sir, he's rash, and very sudden in choler; and, haply," may strike at you: Provoke him that he may : for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true taste again, but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires, by the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

Rod. I will do this, if you can bring it to any opportunity.b

Iago. I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel. I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.

[blocks in formation]

That she loves him, 't is apt, and of great credit:
The Moor-howbeit that I endure him not,—
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature;
And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, (though, peradventure,
I stand accountant for as great a sin,)
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap'd into my seat: the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul,
Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife;
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure.

Which thing to

• We find in the quarto," Haply with his truncheon may strike at you."

b The quarto reads, "If I can bring it to any oppor tunity." But Roderigo is not one of those who relies upon himself; and the reading of the folio, "If you can bring it to any opportunity," is far more characteristic. lago replies to this expression of reliance upon him, "I warrant thee."

• Even'd. The quarto, even.


If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;
Abuse him to the Moor in the right Þ garb,—
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too;
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward

For making him egregiously an ass,
And practising upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. "Tis here, but yet confus'd;
Knavery's plain face is never seen till us d.

SCENE II-A Street.


Enter a Herald, with a proclamation; People following.

[ocr errors]

Her. It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived, importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet, every man put himself into triumph: some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addiction leads him; for, besides these beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptial: So much was his pleasure should be proclaimed. All offices are open; and there is full liberty of feasting, from this present hour of five till the bell have old eleven. Bless the isle of Cyprus, and our noble general, Othello! [Exeunt.

SCENE III.-A Hall in the Castle.

Oth. Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight:

Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to out-sport discretion.

Cas. Iago hath direction what to do;
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
Will I look to 't.

Oth. lago is most honest.

The reading of the quarto is,—

"If this poor trash of Venice, whom I crush
For this quick hunting."

Crush is evidently a corruption, and is properly rejected. But why do the commentators reject the trace of the folio, substituting trash? because they say trace is a corruption of trash. Now, on the contrary, the noun trash, and the verb trace, are used with perfect propriety. The trash is the thing traced, put in traces-confined-as an untrained worthless dog is held, and hence the present meaning of trash. There is a letter on this subject in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1763, which satisfactorily establishes the propriety of the word trace.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Cas. Welcome, Tago: We must to the watch. Jago. Not this hour, lieutenant; 't is not yet ten o' th' clock: Our general cast us thus early for the love of his Desdemona, whom let us not therefore blame: he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and she is sport for Jove. Cas. She's a most exquisite lady.

Iago. And, I'll warrant her, full of game. Cas. Indeed, she is a most fresh and delicate creature.

Iago. What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley to provocation.

Cus. An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.

Iago. And when she speaks is it not an alarum to love?

Cas. She is, indeed, perfection.

Iago. Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I have a stoop of wine: and here without are a brace of Cyprus gallants, that would fain have a measure to the health of black Othello.

Cas. Not to-night, good Iago; I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.

Tago. O, they are our friends; but one cup; I'll drink for you.

Cas. I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation it makes here: I am unfortu nate in the infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any more.

Iago. What, man! 't is a night of revels; the gallants desire it.

[blocks in formation]

Cas. I'll do 't; but it dislikes me.

[Exit CASSIO. Iago. If I can fasten but one cup upon him, With that which he hath drunk to-night already,

& With your earliest. The quarto and folio both read your earliest, yet in the editions previous to our Pictorial we find our earliest. It is scarcely worth while to trace where this corruption originated. 281

He'll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool,

Whom love has turn'd almost the wrong side out,"
To Desdemona hath to-night carous'd
Potations pottle deep; and he's to watch:
Three lads of Cyprus,-noble swelling spirits,
That hold their honours in a wary distance,
very elements of this warlike isle,-

Have I to-night fluster'd with flowing cups,
And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock
of drunkards,

Am I to put our Cassio in some action
That may offend the isle :-But here they come:
If consequence do but approve my dream,
My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

Re-enter CASSIO, with him MONTANO, and

Cas. 'Fore heaven, they have given me a rouse already.

Mon. Good faith, a little one; not past a pint,

as I am a soldier.

Iago. Some wine, hoa!

And let me the canakin clink, clink,

And let me the canakin clink:


A soldier's a man; O man's life's but a span;

Why then let a soldier drink.

So:ne wine, boys! [Wine brought in. Cas. 'Fore heaven, an excellent song. Iago. I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander, Drink, hoa!—are nothing to your English.

Cas. Is your Englishman so exquisite in his drinking?

Iago. Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle can be filled.

Cas. To the health of our general.

Mon. I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.

Iago. O sweet England!

King Stephen was a worthy peer, 2
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call'd the tailor lown.

He was a wight of high renown,

And thou art but of low degree:
"Tis pride that pulls the country down,
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.c

[blocks in formation]

Cas. Why this is a more exquisite song thaz the other.

Iago. Will you hear it again?

Cas. No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that does those things.-Well,—Heaven's above all; and there be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.*

Iago. It's true, good lieutenant.

Cas. For mine own part,-no offence to the general, nor any man of quality,—I hope to be saved.

Iago. And so do I too, lieutenant.

Cas. Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's have no more of this: let's to our affairs. —Forgive us our sins!-Gentlemen, let's look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk this is my ancient;-this is my right hand, and this is my left:-I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and I speak well enough.


All. Excellent well.

Cas. Why, very well then you must not think then that I am drunk.

[Erit. Mon. To the platform, masters; come, let's set the watch.

Iago. You see this fellow that is gone before;—
He is a soldier fit to stand by Cæsar
And give direction: and do but see his vice:
"T is to his virtue a just equinox,

The one as long as the other: 't is pity of him.
I fear, the trust Othello puts him in,
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

I pray you, sir, hold your hand.


Or I'll knock you o'er the mazzard.


Let me go, sir, Come, come, you're drunk. Cas. Drunk! [They fight. Iago. Away, I say! go out, and cry-a mutiny. [Aside to ROD. who goes out. Nay, good lieutenant,-alas, gentlemen,Help, hoa!-Lieutenant,-sir Montano,Help, masters!-Here's a goodly watch, indeed! [Bell rings.

Who's that which rings the bell ?-Diablo, hoa! The town will rise: Fie, fie, lieutenant! hold; You'll be asham'd for ever.d

Enter OTHELLO and Attendants.

What is the matter here?
Mon. I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.-
He dies-

Oth. Hold, for your lives.

Iago. Hold, hoa! Lieutenant,-sir Montano, -gentlemen,

Have you forgot all sense of place and duty? Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, for shame!

a We here find in the quarto, help, help within! as a stage direction.

b Twiggen bottle. The quarto reads wicker bottle, which gives the explanation.

• Sir Montano. So both the old editions, not only here but in a subsequent line. In all modern texts it is given as Sir! Montano! Iago is pretending to separate the lieutenant and Montano, but he is not familiar with Montano, the ex-governor, and he gives him a title of courtesy.

d The quarto, "you will be sham'd for ever"—a very different meaning.

• He dies. These words are not found in the quarto, the line there being eked out with zounds! Malone supposed that they were absurdly inserted as a stage direction. He faints is found as a stage direction in the quarto of 1630. In the folio we have "he dies" as a part of the speech of Montano. It is evident that, although Montano fancies himself hurt to the death, he is still ready to attack Cassio, as his words express, he dies! If he were to faint when he says "I am hurt to the death," why should Iago say

[ocr errors]

Hold, hoa! Lieutenant,-sir Montano,-gentlemon,— HLVO you forgot."

[blocks in formation]

Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites ?

For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:

He that stirs next to carve for his own rage, Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion. Silence that dreadful bell, it frights the isle From her propriety.-What is the matter, masters ?

Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving, Speak, who began this? on thy love I charge thee.

Iago. I do not know;-friends all but now,

even now,

In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed: and then, but now,
(As if some planet had unwitted men,)
Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And, 'would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!
Oth. How comes it, Michael, you are thus

Cas. I pray you, pardon me, I cannot speak.
Oth. Worthy Montano, you were wont to be


The gravity and stillness of your youth
The world hath noted, and your name is great
In mouths of wisest censure. What's the matter
That you unlace your reputation thus,
And spend your rich opinion, for the name
Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

Mon. Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger;
Your officer, Iago, can inform you—
While I spare speech, which something now
offends me,-

Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
By me that's said or done amiss this night;
Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
And to defend ourselves it be a sin
When violence assails us.

Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgment collied,
Assays to lead the way: If I once stir,
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
Shall sink in my rebuke.

[ocr errors]

Give me to know

One at other's. All the variorum editions give this phrase properly; but in the smaller editions of the text it used to be one at another's. Typographical mistakes were formerly multiplied in every common edition.

b Collied-blackened-discoloured. cooled, evidently a mistake.

The quarto reado

« PreviousContinue »