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Line 310. whose qualification shall come &c.] Whose resentment shall not be so qualified or tempered, as to be well tasted, as not to retain some bitterness. JOHNSON.
Line 352. entire.
―tainting-] Throwing a slur upon his dis JOHNSON.
Line 334. like a poisonous mineral,] This is philosophical. Mineral poisons kill by corrosion.
-Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,] To trash, is still a hunter's phrase, and signifies to fasten a weight. on the neck of a dog, when his speed is superior to that of his companions. STEEVENS.
Line 342. I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;] A phrase, from the art of wrestling. JOHNSON.
Line 349. Knavery's plain face is never seen,] An honest man acts upon a plan, and forecasts his designs; but a knave depends upon temporary and local opportunities, and never knows his own purpose, but at the time of execution. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE II.
-mere perdition—] Mere in this place signifies STEEVENS.
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 377. Our general cast us-] That is, appointed us to our stations. To cast the play, is, in the style of the theatres, to as sign to every actor his proper part. JOHNSON.
craftily qualified-] Slily mixed with water. JOHNSON.
424. The very elements-] As quarrelsome as the discordia semina rerum; as quick in opposition as fire and water.
Line 430. If consequence do but approve my dream,] Every scheme subsisting only in the imagination may be termed a dream. JOHNSON.
Line 432. —given me a rouse &c.] A rouse appears to be a quantity of liquor rather too large. STEEVENS.
Line 458. King Stephen &c.] These stanzas are taken from
an old song, which the reader will find preserved in the Relicks JOHNSON.
of Ancient Poetry.
-a worthy peer,] i. e. a worthy fellow. STEEv. —lown.] Sorry fellow, paltry wretch. JOHNS. ·501. He'll watch the Horologe a double set, &c.] If he have no drink, he'll keep awake while the clock strikes two rounds, or four-and-twenty hours. JOHNSON.
Line 512. -ingraft infirmity:] An infirmity rooted, settled in his constitution. JOHNSON. Line 521. into a twiggen bottle.] A twiggen bottle is a wickered bottle. STEEVENS.
Line 553. Silence that dreadful bell,] It was a common prac tice formerly, when any great affray happened in a town, to ring the alarum bell. MALONE.
· Line 553.
-it frights the isle
From her propriety.] From her regular and proper
Line 576. spend your rich opinion,] Throw away and squander a reputation so valuable as yours. JOHNSON. Line £84. self-charity-] Care of one's self.
-589. And passion, having my best judgment collied,] To colly anciently signified to besmut, to blacken as with coal. STEEV. Line 594. -he that is approv'd in this offence,] He that is convicted by proof, of having been engaged in this offence. JOHNS. Line 659. -cast in his mood,] Ejected in his anger.
JOHNSON. 666.and speak parrot ?] A phrase signifying to act foolishly and childishly. WARBURTON. Line 730. Probal-] A contraction of the word probable. STEEVENS.
743. When devils will their blackest sins put on, They do suggest―] When devils mean to instigate men to commit the most atrocious crimes. MALONE. Line 748. I'll pour this pestilence-] Pestilence, for poison. WARBURTON,
749. That she repeals him-] That is, recalls him.
Line 754. That shall enmesh them all.] A metaphor from taking birds in meshes.
Line 770. Though other things grow fair against the sun, Yet fruits, that blossom first, will first be ripe :] The blossoming, or fair appearance of things, to which Iago alludes, is, the removal of Cassio. As their plan had already blossomed, so there was good ground for expecting that it would soon be ripe. MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 6. Why, masters, have your instruments been at Naples, that they speak the nose thus?] The venereal disease first appeared at the siege of Naples. JOHNSON.
Line 91. That policy may either last so long,] He may either of himself think it politick to keep me out of office so long, or he may be satisfied with such slight reasons, or so many accidents may make him think my re-admission at that time improper, that I may be quite forgotten. JOHNSON.
I'll watch him tame,] It is said, that the ferocity of beasts, insuperable and irreclaimable by any other means, is subdued by keeping them from sleep. JOHNSON.
the wars must make examples
Out of their best,] The severity of military discipline must not spare the best men of their army, when their punishment may afford a wholesome example. JOHNSON. -so mammering on.] To hesitate, to stand in HANMER.
Line 159. suspense.
Line 184. Excellent wretch!-Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee! &c.] The meaning of the word wretch is not generally understood. It is now, in some parts of England, a term of the softest and fondest tenderness. It expresses the utmost degree of amiableness, joined with an idea which perhaps all tenderness includes, of feebleness, softness, and want of protection. JOHNSON. Line 236. Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none !]
I believe the meaning is, 'would they might no longer seem, or bear the shape of men. JOHNSON, Line 247. —to that all slaves are free to.] I am not bound to do that, which even slaves are not bound to do.
-who has a breast so pure,
But some uncleanly apprehensions
Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit
With meditations lawful?] i. e. Who has a breast so
little apt to form ill opinions of others, but that foul suspicion will sometimes mix with his fairest and most candid thoughts, and erect a court in his mind, to enquire of the offences apprehended. STEEVENS. Line 293. But riches, fineless,] Unbounded, endless, unnumbered treasures. JOHNSON. Line 293. as poor as winter,] Finely expressed: winter producing no fruits. WARBURTON.
Line 303. To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,] Exsuffli cate, i. e. a bubble. Do not think, says the Moor, that I shall change the noble designs that now employ my thoughts, to su spicions which, like bubbles blown into a wide extent, have only an empty show without solidity; or that, in consequence of such empty fears, I will close with thy inference against the virtue of my wife. JOHNSON.
Line 309. Where virtue is, these are more virtuous:] An action in itself indifferent, grows virtuous by its end and application. JOHNSON.
Line 324. Out of self-bounty be abus'd;] Self-bounty for inherent generosity. WARBURTON.
Line 332. And, when she seem'd-] This and the following argument of lago ought to be deeply impressed on every reader. Deceit and falsehood, whatever conveniences they may for a time promise or produce, are in the sum of life obstacles to hap piness. Those, who profit by the cheat, distrust the deceiver, and the act by which kindness is sought puts an end to confidence.
The same objection may be made with a lower degree of strength against the imprudent generosity of disproportionate marriages. When the first heat of passion is over, it is easily suc
Iceeded by suspicion, that the same violence of inclination, which caused one irregularity, may stimulate to another; and those who have shewn, that their passions are too powerful for their prudence, will, with very slight appearances against them, be censured, as not very likely to restrain them by their virtue. JOHNSON. Line 338. To seel her father's eyes up, close as oak,] To seel a hawk is to sew up his eye-lids. MALONE.
Line 369.a will most rank,] Will, is for wilfulness. It is so used by Ascham. A rank will, is self-will overgrown and exuberant. JOHNSON. Line 390. strain his entertainment-] Press hard his re-admission to his pay and office. Entertainment was the military term for admission of soldiers. Line 396. Fear not my government.] Do not distrust my abi lity to contain my passion.
Line 400. -If I do prove her haggard,] A haggard hawk is a wild hawk, a hawk unreclaimed, or irreclaimable.
Line 401. Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,] Jesses are short straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she is held on the fist. HANMER.
Line 402. I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind, To prey at fortune.] The falconers always let fly the hawk against the wind; if she flies with the wind behind her, she seldom returns. If therefore a hawk was for any reason to be dismissed, she was let down the wind, and from that time shifted for herself, and preyed at fortune. This was told me by the late Mr. Clark. JOHNSON.
-chamberers-] i. e. men of intrigue.
416. -forked plague-] In allusion to a barbed or forked arrow, which, once infixed, cannot be extracted. JOHNS. Or rather, the forked plague is the cuckold's horns. PERCY. Line 431. Your napkin &c.] In the north of England, and in Scotland, this term for a handkerchief is still used. The word has already often occurred. MALONE. -nor mandragora,] The mandragora or man