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THE STATIONER TO THE READER.*
To set forth a book without an epistle were like to the old English proverb, A blue coat without a badge ; and the author being dead, I thought good to take that piece of work upon me. To commend it, I will not; for that which is good I hope every man will commend without entreaty; and I am the bolder because the author's name is sufficient to vent his work. Thus leaving every one to the liberty of judgment, I have ventured to print this play, and leave it to the general censure.
* Prefixed to the quarto 1622.
DUKE OF VENICE.
DESDEMONA, daughter to Brabantio and wife to Othello.
Sailor, Messenger, Herald, Officers, Gentlemen, Musicians, and Attendants.
SCENE— The first act in Venice; during the rest of the play, at a seaport in
OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.
Venice. A street.
Enter RODERIGO and Iago.
Iago. 'Sblood,(1) but you will not hear me :-
Rod. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife;
Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
Iago. Why, there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service, Preferment goes by letter and affection, And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself, Whether I in any just term am affin'd To love the Moor. Rod.
I would not follow him, then. Iago. O, sir, content you; I follow him to serve my turn upon him: We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time, much like his master's ass, For naught but provender; and, when he's old, cashier'd : Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are, Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves; And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lind their coats, Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul; And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir, It is as sure as you are Roderigo, Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago :