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Duke of Venice.
Othello. Emilia, Wife to lago. Bianca, a Courtezan, Mistress to Cassio. Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors,
Attendants, &c. SCENE, for the first Act, in Venice; during the
rest of the Play, at a Sea-Port in Cyprus.
Though the rank which Montano held in Cyprus cannot be exactly ascertained, yet from many circumstances, we are sure he had not the powers with which Othello was subsequently invested.
Perhaps we do not receive any one of the Personæ Dramatis to Shakspeare's plays, as it was originally drawn up by himself. These appendages are wanting to all the quartos, and are very rarely given in the folio. At the end of this play, however, the following enumeration of persons occurs :
“ The names of the actors.--Othello, the Moore.-Brabantio, Father to Desdemona.—Cassio,an Honourable Lieutenant.—Iago, a Villaine.-Rodorigo, a gulld Gentleman.-Duke of Venice Senators.—Montano, Governour of Cyprus.—Gentlemen of Cyprus. -Lodovico, and Gratiano, two noble Venetians.-SaylorsClowne.-Desdemona, Wife to Othello. Æmilia, Wife to lagoBianca, a Curtezan." STEEVENS.
THE MOOR OF VENICE.
SCENE I. Venice. 'A Street, .
Enter RODERIGO, and Iago. Rod. Tush, never tell me, I take it much un
kindly, That thou, Iago,—who hast had my purse, As if the strings were thine,-should'st know of this.
Iago. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me :If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me. Rod. Thou told’st me, thou didst hold him in thy
hate. Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones
of the city,
Oft capp'd to him ;] To cap is to salute by taking off the cap. It is still an academick phrase. M. Mason.
2 a bombast circumstance,] Circumstance signifies circumlocution,
Horribly stuff?d with epithets of war;
-certes,] i. e. certainly, in truth. Obsolete. * A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife ;] This passage has been much contested. We adopt Mr. Steevens' explanation. That Cassio was married is not sufficiently implied in the words, a fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife, since they mean, according to Lago's licentious manner of expressing himself, no more than a man very near being married. This seems to have been the case in respect of Cassio.
theorick,] Theorick, for theory. 6 Wherein the toged consuls-] The rulers of the state, or civil governours. By toged perhaps is meant peaceable, in opposition to the warlike qualifications of which he had been speaking. He might have formed the word in allusion to the Latin adage, Cedant arma toga.
- must be be-lee'd and calm'd-] Terms of navigation.
this counter-caster;] It was anciently the practice to reckon up sums with counters.
bless the mark !] Kelly, in his comments on Scots proverbs, observes, that the Scots, when they compare person to person, use this exclamation.
Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his
hangman. Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of
service; Preferment goes by letter,' and affection, Not by the 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. 0, 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 nought but provender; and, when he's old,
by letter,j By recommendation from powerful friends. * Whether I in any just term am affin'd-] Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity, or relation to the Moor, as that it is my duty to love him?
honest knaves:) Knave is here for servant, but with a 'sly mixture of contempt. VOL. IX.
In following him, I follow but myself ;
Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,
Rod. Here is her father's house ; I'll call aloud, Iago. Do; with like timorous accent, and dire
yell, As when, by night and negligence, the fire Is spied in populous cities.
Rod. What ho! Brabantio! signior Brabantio, ho! Iago. Awake! what, ho! Brabantio! thieves !
thieves ! thieves ! Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves ! thieves !
BRABANTIO, above, at a Window. Bra. What is the reason of this terrible summons What is the matter there?
Rod. Signior, is all your family within ?
4 In compliment extern,] In that which I do only for an outward show of civility.
? What a full fortune does the thick-lips owę,) Full fortune is, a complete piece of good fortune. To owe is to possess.