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Upon my soul, a lie; a wicked lie.
to speak :
AU. O heavens forefend !
Emil. Villany, villany, villany!
you home. Emil. Good gentlemen, let me have leave to
speak : "T is proper I obey him, but not now.Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home.
Oth, O! O! O!
Emil. Nay, lay thee down, and roar : For thou hast killed the sweetest innocent That e'er did lift up eye.
Oth. O, she was foul !-I scarce did know you, uncle. There lies your niece, Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly
stopped. I know this act shews horrible and grim. Gra. Poor Desdemona! I am glad thy father 's
dead : Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief Shore his old thread in twain : did he live now, This sight would make him do a desperate turn Yea, curse his better angel from his side, And fall to reprobation.
Oth. ”T is pitiful : but yet Iago knows
Emil. O heaven! O heavenly powers!
sir ? no:
Iago. Be wise, and get you home.
[Iago offers to stab his Wife. Gra. Fie! your sword upon a woman !
Emil. O thou dull Moor, that handkerchief thou
speak'st of I found by fortune, and did give my husband : For often, with a solemn earnestness (More than, indeed, belonged to such a trifle), He begged of me to steal it. Iago.
Villanous whore !
Iago. Filth, thou liest.
men.O murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool Do with so good a wife?
[Iago stabs Emilia, then runs out. Oth.
Are there no stones in heaven But what serve for the thunder?-Precious villain! Gra. The woman falls ! sure he has killed his
wife. Emil. Ay, ay.-0, lay me by my mistress'side. Gra. He's gone, but his wife's killed. Mon. 'Tis a notorious villain. Take
this weapon, Which I have here recovered from the Moor. Come, guard the door without : let him not pass But kill him rather. I 'll after that same villain, For 't is a damned slave.
[Exeunt Montano and Gratiano. Oth. I am not valiant neither, But every puny whipster gets my sword: But why should honour outlive honesty ? Let it all.
Emil. What did thy song bode, lady? Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan, And die in music:-“Willow, willow, willow." Moor, she was chaste: she loved thee, cruel Moor: So come my soul to bliss as I speak true : So speaking as I think, I die ;-I die. [Dies.
Oth. I have another weapon in this chamber: It is a sword of Spain; the ice-brook's temper:O, here it is.--Uncle, I must come forth. Gra. [within). If thou attempt it, it will cost
thee dear : Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer.
Oth. Look in upon me, then, and speak with me; Or, naked as I am, I will assault thee.
Gra. What is the matter?
Oth. Behold, I have a weapon: A better never did itself sustain Upon a soldier's thigh. I have seen the day That with this little arm, and this good sword, I have made my way through more impediments Than twenty times your stop:- but, О vain boast! Who can control his fate? 't is not so now.Be not afraid, though you do see me weaponed:
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo;
Oth. ( villain !
Lod. Now here's another discontented paper,
Oth, O the pernicious caitiff!-
Oth. O fool! fool! fool!
Cas. There is, besides, in Roderigo's letter, How he upbraids Iago that he made him Brave me upon the watch; whereon it came That I was cast: and even but now he spake, After long seeming dead-Iago hurt him, Iago set him on.
Lod. You must forsake this room, and go with
Olh. That's he that was Othello :-here I am. Lod. Where is that viper ? bring the villain
forth. Oth. I look down towards his feet;-but that's
a fable :If that thou beest a devil I cannot kill thee.
[Othello wounds Lago. Lod. Wrench his sword from him. Iago. I bleed, sir; but not killed. Oth. I am not sorry neither: I'd have thee
live; For in my sense, 't is happiness to die.
Lod. O thou Othello, that was once so good,
Olh. Why, anything :
Lod. This wretch hath part confessed his villany: Did you and he consent in Cassio's death?
Oth. I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. Will you, I pray you, demand that demi-devil Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?
Iago. Demand me nothing: what you know,
Your power and your command is taken off,
Oth. Soft you; a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they
know it: No more of that :—I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am: nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice: then must you
[Stabs himself. Lod. O bloody period !
From this time forth I never will speak word.
Lod. What, not to pray?
fallen; Which, as I think, you know not:-here is a
Gra. All that is spoke is marred.
:-no way but this, [Falling upon DESDEMONA. Killing myself, to die upon a kiss. [Dies. Cas. This did I fear, but thought he had no
Lod. O Spartan dog,
Look on the tragic loading of this bed: [To Lago.
"One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
Act I., Scene 1. If the text in the second line is correct, lago probably means that Cassio is likely to ruin himself by a marriage with Bianca. On a subsequent occasion (act iv., scene 1), he acquaints Cassio himself that such a report is in circulation.
" The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders."-Act I., Scene 3. Legends of this description had long been popular: the allusion in the text is probably directed in a particular manner to a passage in Raleigh's narrative of his voyage to Guiana :-"Next unto the Arvi are two rivers, Atoica and Caova; and on that branch which is called Caora are a nation of people whose heads appear not above their shoulders : which, though it may be thought a mere fable, yet for mine own part I am resolved it is true, because every child in the province of Arromaia and Canuri affirm the same. They are called Ewaipanoma; they are reported to have their eyes in their shoulders and their mouths in the middle of their breasts, and that a long train of hair groweth backward between their shoulders."
" A Sen-port Town in Cyprus."-Act. II., Scene 1.
Nicosia (or Leikosia), the capital city of Cyprus, was situated nearly in the centre of the island, and thirty miles distant from the sea. The principal sea-port town was Famagusta, where there was formerly a strong fort and a commodious haven, the only one of any magnitude in the island; and there undoubtedly the scene should be placed.
Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes,
Act I., Scene 1. The word "in" is here used in the sense of "to." This is one of the many obsolete peculiarities of ancient phraseology. “ Extravagant" has its Latin signification of "wandering." As in "HAMLET:"-"The extravagant and erring spirit hies to his confine."
I fetch my life and being
As this that I have reached."-Act I., Scene 2. The term "men of royal siege" signifies men who have sat upon royal seats or thrones. “Siege" is used for “seat" by many other writers. "Demerits" has here the signification of “merits." As in “ CORIOLANUS:"
“ Opinion, that so sticks on Martius, may
of his demerits rob Cominius." Mereo and demereo had the same meaning in the Latin.
Mr. Fuseli has given the best explanation yet offered of the term " unbonneted:"_"I am his equal or superior in rank: and were it not so, such are my merits, that unbonneted, without the addition of patrician or senatorial dignity, they may speak to as proud a fortune," &c.
" Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman."-Act I., Scene 3. It was part of the policy of the Venetian state never to entrust the command of an army to a native. “By land (says Thomas), they are served of strangers, both for generals, for captains, and for all other men of war; because their law permitteth not any Venetian to be captain over an army by land: fearing, I think, Cæsar's example."
“ He'll watch the horologe a double sel,
If drink rock not his cradle."-Act II., Scene 3. That is, if he have no drink he'll keep awake while the clock strikes two rounds, or four-and-twenty hours. Chaucer and other old writers use the term horologe familiarly.
Sir, for your hurts, Myself will be your surgeon.-Lead him of."—Act II., Seene 3.
I am persuaded these words ("Lead him oft") were originally a marginal direction. In our old plays, all the stage directions were couched in imperative terms :-" Play music;" " Ring the bell;" " Lead him off.”
“ Send for the lady to the Sagillary."-- Act I., Scene 3.
“ Sagittary" was the name applied to a fictitious being, compounded of man and horse. As used in the text, it has been generally supposed to be the sign of an inn; but it now appears that it was the residence of the commanding officers of the republic. It is said that the figure of an archer, over the gate, still indicates the spot.
" When derils will the blackest sins pul on,
Act II., Seene . The term put on" is here and in various other places used in the sense of "urge on." The meaning is, when
devils mean to instigate men to commit the most atrocious crimes, they prompt or tempt at first with appearances of virtue.
for their prudence, will, with very slight appearances against them, be censured as not very likely to restrain them by their virtue.-JOHNSON.
“ I humbly thank you for 't.--I never knew
Act III., Scene 1. Cassio was undoubtedly a Florentine; and, as lago was a Venetian, what Cassio means to say, in the quoted passage, is, that he never knew one of his own countrymen more kind and honest.
" To seel her father's eyes up close as oak."-Act III., Scene 3.
" To seel" is an expression from falconry. To seel a hawk was to subject it to the barbarous operation of sewing up its eyelids.—"Close as oak” means, as close as the grain of the oak.
"(Save that they say the wars must make examples
Out of their best)."—Act III., Scene 3. That is, the severity of military discipline must not spare the best men of the army, when their punishment may afford a wholesome example.
“Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,
To prey at fortune." —Act III., Scene 3. “Jesses" are short straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she is held on the fist.
“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.'"-JOHNSON.
" Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul
But I do love thee !"-Act III., Scene 3. 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.-Johnsox.
" Who has a breast so pure
With meditations lawful."—Act III., Scene S. That is, who has so virtuous a breast that some uncharitable susmises will not sometimes enter into it; hold a session there as in a regular court, and “bench by the side" of authorised and lawful thoughts ?
“I'll have the work la'en out, And give it lago."-Act III., Scene 3. By having the “ work ta'en out," Emilia means that she will have it copied. This is her first thought; but the sudden coming in of lago, in a surly humour, makes her alter her resolution. The same phrase afterwards occurs between Cassio and Bianca, in the last scene of this Act.
It is impossible not to regret the execrable conduct which the poet (most likely from inadvertence) has assigned to Emilia in this matter of the handkerchief.-In Cinthio's novel, while Desdemona is caressing the child of the Iago of the play, the villain steals the handkerchief, which hung at her girdle, without the knowledge of his wife.
“OTH. But this denoted a fo: ejone conclusion. Iago. 'T is a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream."
Act III., Scene 3. The last of these lines is usually given to Othello, on the authority of the folio: the quarto ascribes it to Jago; and we coincide with Warburton in thinking the latter arrangement preferable. Othello believes that the dream leaves no ambiguity about the matter: in his judgment, it "denoted a foregone conclusion.” Iago, with affected reluctance, merely admits it "a shrewd doubt."
"O beware, my lord, of jealousy:
It is the green-eyed monster which doth make
The meat it feeds on."-Act III., Scene 3. The old copies have "mock." The correction was made by Sir T. Hanmer. I have not the smallest doubt that Shakspere wrote “make," and have, therefore, inserted it in the text. The words "make" and "mocke" (for such was the old spelling) are often confounded in these plays.MALOXE.
I have received Hanmer's emendation ; because, "to mock” does not signify " to loathe;" and because, when Iago bids Othello "beware of jealousy, the green-eyed monster," it is natural to tell why he should beware; and, for caution, he gives him two reasons :—that jealousy often creates its own cause, and that, when the causes are real, jealousy is misery. -Johnsox.
Various passages, both from Shakspere and other writers, are quoted in support of this reading. The chief is what Emilia says of jealousy, in the last scene of this Act:" 'Tis a monster begot upon itself, born on itself."
" She was in love; and he she loved proved mad,
And did forsake her.”—Act IV., Scene 3. “Mad" must here be understood in the sense of wild, unruly, fickle. As in “Love's Labour's Lost:"
“Do you hear, my mad wenches ?"
“She had a song of 'willow.'"-Act IV., Scene 3. The original of this ballad (in two parts) is preserved in Percy's collection.
"She did deceive her father, marrying you :
She loved them most."-Act III., Scene 3. This and the following argument of Othello 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 happiness. Those who profit by the cheat distrust the deceiver, and the act by which kindness was 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 succeeded 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 violent
“Marry, I would not do such a thing for a joint-ring."
Act IV., Scene 3. A joint-ring was anciently a common token between lovers. Their nature will be best understood by a passage from Dryden's “Don SEBASTIAN:"-
"A curious artist wrought them,