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of years, of country, credit, every thing,
To vouch this, is no proof;8
likelihoods Of modern seeming,' do prefer against him.
1 Sen. But, Othello, speak;
I do beseech you,
Fetch Desdemona hither.
place.- [Exeunt lago and Attendants.
8 To vouch &c.] The first folio unites this speech with the preceding one of Brabantio; and instead of certain reads wider.
Steevens. overt test,] Open proofs, external evidence. Johnson.
thin habits, Of modern seeming,] Weak show of slight appearance.
Fohnson. the Sagittary,] So the folio here and in a former passage. The quarto in both places reads--the Sagittar. Malone.
The Sagittary means the sign of the fictitious creature so call. ed, i. e. an animal compounded of man and horse, and armed with a bow and quiver.
Steevens 3 The trust, &c.] This line is wanting in the first quarto.
And, till she come, as truly“ as to heaven
Duke. Say it, Othello.
Oth. Her father lov'd me; oft invited me; Still question'd me the story of my life, From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortunes, That I have pass'd. I ran it through, even from my boyish days, To the very moment that he bade me tell it. Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances, Of moving accidents, by flood, and field; Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach; Of being taken by the insolent foe, And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence, And portance in my travel's history: 6
as truly -] The first quarto reads-as faithful. Steevens. 5 I do confess, &c. ) This line is omitted in the first quarto.
Steevens. 6 And portance &c.] I have restored
And with it all my travel's history, from the old edition. It is in the rest :
And portance in my travel's history. Rymer, in his criticism on this play, has changed it to portents, instead of portance Pope
Mr. Pope has restored a line to which there is a little objection, but which has no force. I believe portance was the author's word in some revised copy I read thus:
Of being sold
And portance in 't; my travel's history.
I doubt much whether this line, as it appears in the folio, came from the pen of Shakspeare. The reading of the quarto may be wenk, but it is sense; but what are we to understand by my de. meanour, or my sufferings, (which ever is the meaning) in my travel's history? Mnione.
By-my portance in my travel's history, perhaps our author meant-my behaviour in my travels as described in my history of them. Portance is a word already used in Coriolanus:
- took from you
Wherein of antres vast, and deserts idle, 8
Spenser, in the third Canto of the second Book of the Fairy Queen, likewise uses it:
“But for in court gay portaunce he perceiv'd." Steevens. 7 Wherein of antres vast, &c.] Discourses of this nature made the subject of the politest conversations, when voyages into, and discoveries of, the new world were all in vogue. So, when the Bastard Faulconbridge in King John, describes the behaviour of upstart greatness, he makes one of the essential circumstances of it to be this kind of table-talk. The fashion then running altogether in this way, it is no wonder a young lady of quality should be struck with the history of an adventurer. So that Rymer, who professedly ridicules this whole circumstance, and the noble au. thor of the Characteristicks, who more obliquely sneers at it, only expose their own ignorance. Warburton.
Whoever ridicules this account of the progress of love, shows his ignorance, not only of history, but of nature and manners. It is no wonder that, in any age, or in any nation, a lady, recluse, timorous, and delicate, should desire to hear of events and scenes which she could never see, and should admire the man who had endured dangers, and performed actions, which, however great, were yet magnified by her timidity. Johnson.
- antres -] French, grottos. Pope. Caves and dens. Johnson.
and deserts idle,] Every mind is liable to absence and in. advertency, else Pope (who reads-deserts wild,] could never have rejected a word so poetically beautiful. Idle is an epithet used to express the infertility of the chaotick state, in the Saxon translation of the Pentateuch. Johnson. So, in The Comedy of Errors:
“Usurping ivy, briar, or idle moss." Mr. Pope might have found the epithet wild in all the three last folios. Steevens.
The epithet, idle, which the ignorant editor of the second folio did not understand, and therefore changed to wild, is confirmed by another passage in this Act: “. either to have it steril with idleness, or manured with industry." Malone.
9 It was my hint to speak,] This implies it as done by a trap laid for her: but the old quarto reads hent, i. e. use, custom. (Hint is the reading of the folio.] Warburton.
Hent is not used in Shakspeare, nor, I believe, in any other au. thor. Hint, or cue, is commonly used for occasion of speech, which is explained by, such is the process, that is, the course of the tale required it. If hent be restored, it may be explained by handle. I had a handle, or opportunity, to speak of cannibals. Johnsom
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
Hent occurs at the conclusion of the 4th Act of Measure for Measure. It is derived from the Saxon Hentan, and means, to take hold of, to seize :
the gravest citizens
Upon this hint I spake."
men whose heads Do grow beneath their shoulders,] Of these men there is an ac. count in the interpolated travels of Mandeville, a book of that time. Fohnson.
The Cannibals and Anthropophagi were known to an English au. dience before Shakspeare introduced them. In The History of Orlando Furioso, played for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth, they are mentioned in the very first scene ; and Raleigh speaks of people whose head, appear not above their shoulders. Again, in the tragedy of Locrine, 1595:
" Or where the bloody Anthropophagi,
“ With greedy jaws devour the wandring wights." The poet might likewise have read of them in Pliny's Natural History, translated by P. Holland, 1601, and in Stowe's Chronicle.
Steevens. Histories (says Bernard Gilpin, in a Sermon before Edward VI,) make mention of a “people called Anthropophagi, eaters of men.” Reed.
Our poet has again in The Tempest mentioned “men whose heads stood in their breasts.” He had in both places probably Hackluyt's Voyages, 1598, in view :-“On that branch which is called Caora, are a nation of people whose heades appeare not above their shoulders:-they are riported to have their eyes in their shoulders, and their mouthes in the middle of their breasts."
Raleigh also has given an account of men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders, in his Description of Guiana, published in 1596, a book that without doubt Shakspeare had read. Malone.
and with a greedy ear Devour up my discourse:] So, in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, written before 1593:
Took once a pliant hour; and found good means
“Hang both your greedy ears upon my lips;
“Let them devour my speech.” Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. VI, c. is:
“Whylest thus he talkt, the knight with greedy edre
“ Hong still upon bis melting mouth attent. Malone. Both these phrases occur in Tully. “Non semper implet aures meas, ita sunt avida et capaces.” Orat. 104. “Nos hinc voramus literas -.” Ad. Attic. iv, 14. Auribus avidis captare, may also be found in Ovid, De Ponto. Steevens.
“lliacosque iterum demens audire labores
M. Mason. 3 But not intentirely :) Thus the eldest quarto. The first folio reads--instinctively; the seconi), -distinctively.
The old word, however, may stand-- Intention and attention were once synonymous. So, in a play called The Isle of Gulls, 1606: “Grace! at sitting down, they cannot intend it for hunger.” i. e. attend to it. Desdemona, who was often called out of the room on the score of house-affairs, could not have heard Othello's tale intentively, i. e. with attention to all its parts. Again, in Chapman's version of the Iiad, B. VI:
“Hector intends his brother's will; but first" &c. Again, in the tenth Book:
all with intentive ear
“For our ships know ih’expressed minds of men ;
“Their scopes appointed, that they never erre.” Again, in a very scarce book entitled A courtlie Controversie of Cupids Cautels : Conteyning fiue Tragicall Histories, &c. Translated out of French &c. by H. W. (Henri Wotton) 410. 1578: “ These speeches collected ententively by a friend" &c. Steevens.
Shakspeare has already used the word in the same sense in his Merry Wives of Windsor : “ — she did course over my exteriors with such a greedy intention."
Distinctively was the conjectural emendation of the editor of the second folio, who never examined a single quarto copy,