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WALKLY'S PREFACE TO OTHELLO,
ED. 1622, 4to.
THE STATIONER TO THE READER.
To set forth a booke without an Epistle, were like to the old English proverbe, “ A blew coat without a badge ;” and the author being dead, I thought good to take that piece of worke upon me: To commend it, I will not; for that which is good, I hope every man will commend without intreaty: and I am the bolder, because the Author's name is sufficient to vent his worke. Thus leaving every one to the liberty of judgment, I have ventured to print this play, and leave it the generall censure. Yours,
Duke of Venice.
DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello.
Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors,
SCENE, for the first Act, in Venice ; during the rest of the
Play, at a Seaport in Cyprus.
OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.
SCENE I. Venice. A Street.
Enter RODERIGO and Iago. Roderigo. Tush, never tell me; I take it much un
kindly, That thou, lago, who hast had my purse, As if the strings were thine,-shouldst 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, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Oft capped to him ;—and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place : But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance, Horribly stuffed with epithets of war; And, in conclusion, nonsuits My mediators; for, certes, says he,
1 To cap is to salute by taking off the cap; it is still an academic phrase. The folio reads, “Off-capped."
2 Circumstance signifies circumlocution.
I have already chose my officer.
hangman. lago. 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,
1 Iago probably means to represent Cassio as a man who knew no more of a squadron than the number of men it contained. He afterwards calls him “ this counter-caster.”
2 The folio reads, dambd. This passage has given rise to much discussion. Mr. Tyrwhitt thought that we should read, “ almost damned in a fair life ;” alluding to the judgment denounced in the Gospel against those " of whom all men speak well.” Mr. Singer would be contented to adopt his emendation, but with a different interpretation :-“ A fellow almost damned (i. e. lost from luxurious habits) in the serene or equable tenor of his life.” The passage, as it stands at present, has been said by Steevens to mean, according to Iago's licentious manner of expressing himself
, no more than a man“ very near being married.” This seems to have been the case in respect to Cassio. Mr. Boswell suspects that there may be some corruption in the text.
3 i. e. theory. See All's Well that Ends Well, Act iv. Sc. 3.
4 The rulers of the state, or civil governors. By toged is meant peace, able, in opposition to warlike qualifications. The folio reads “ tongued consuls."
5. It was anciently the practice to reckon up sums with counters. 6 i. e. by recommendation.
Whether I in any just term am affined
I would not follow him, then.
cashiered; Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are, Who, trimmed 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 lined
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul ;
Rod. What a full fortune 5 does the thick-lips owe,
Call up her father, Rouse him; make after him, poison his delight,
1 « Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity to the Moor, as that I am bound to love him?" The first quarto has assigned.
2 Knave is here used for servant, but with a mixture of contempt.