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of years, of country, credit, every thing,
To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on?
It is a judgment maim'd, and most imperfect,
That will confess-perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature; and must be driven
To find out practices of cunning hell,
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again,
That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood,
Or with some dram conjur’d to this effect,
He wrought upon her.

To vouch this, is no proof;8
Without more certain and more overt test,
Than these thin habits, and poor

likelihoods Of modern seeming,' do prefer against him.

1 Sen. But, Othello, speak;
Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections?
Or came it by request, and such fair question
As soul to soul afiordeth?

I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary,2
And let her speak of me before her father:
If you do find me foui in her report,
The trust, the office, I do hold of you,3
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fill upon my life.

Fetch Desdemona hither.
Oth. Ancient, conduct them; you best know the

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
I-do confess5 the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I 'll present
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love,
And she in mine.

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
To slavery, of my redemption thence,

And portance in 't; my travel's history.
My redemption from slavery, and behaviour in it. Johnson.

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
“ The apprehension of his present portance,
“Which gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion,” &c.

Wherein of antres vast, and deserts idle, 8
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch

It was my hint to speak, such was the process;

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,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to hear,
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house affairs would draw her thence;
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse :: Which I observing,

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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
“Have hent the gates.”
But in the very next page Othello says:

Upon this hint I spake."
It is certain therefore that change is unnecessary. Steevens.

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
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: 3 I did consent;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke,
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:*

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
Exposcit, pendetque iterum narrantis ab ore.” Virg.

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
“ Converted to the enemies' tents
Again, in the eighth Book of the Odysser":

“For our ships know ih’expressed minds of men ;
“And will so most intentively retaine

“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,


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