Imágenes de páginas


For Michael Cassio,I dare be sworn, I think that he is honest.

Oth. I think so too.

Men should be what they seem; Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none !3

That dilations anciently signified delays, may be ascertained, by the following passage in the Golden Legend, Wynken de Worde's edit. fo. 186: “ And ye felony of this kyng suffred not to abyde only dilacyon of vengeance. For the nexte daye folowynge he made to come ihe keepers for to begyn to turment them” &c.

Again, ibid. p. 199: “ And Laurence demaunded dylacyon of thre dayes.” Again, in Candlemas Day, &c, p. 9:

I warne you without delacion,
“ That ye make serch thurgh out all my region.”

Steevens. The old copies give,-dilations, except that the earlier quarto has-denotements; which was the author's first expression, afterwards changed by him, not to dilations, but to delations; to occult and secret accusations, working involuntarily from the heart, which, though resolved to conceal the fault, cannot rule its passion of resentment. Johnson.

They are close denotements, &c.] i. e. indications, or recoveries, not openly revealed, but involuntarily working from the heart, which cannot rule and suppress its feelings.

The folio reads-They are close dilations ; but nothing is got by the change, for dilations was undoubtedly used in the sense of dilatements, or large and full expositions. See Minsheu's Dict. 1617 : “ To dilate or make large.”

Dilatement is used in the sense of dilation by Lodge, our poet's contemporary :

“ After all this fowl weather follows a calm dilatement of others too forward harmfulness.Rosalynde, or Euphues Golden Legacie, 4to. 1592. ,

Dr. Johnson very elegantly reads-They are close delations.

But the objection to this conjectural reading is, that there is strong ground for believing that the word was not used in Shakspeare's age. It is not found in any Dictionary of the time, that I have seen, nor has any passage been quoted in support of it. On the contrary, we find in Minsheu the verb, “ To delate," not signifying, to accuse, but thus interpreted : “ to speak at large of any thing, vid. to dilate :" so that if even delations were the word of the old copy, it would mean no more than dilations. To the reading of the quarto no reasonable objection can be made. Malone.

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

May not the meaning be: 'Would they might not seem honest.'



of men.

Oth. Certain, men should be what they seem.

Why then, I think that Cassiot is an honest man.

Oth. Nay, yet there's more in this : I pray thee, speak to me as to thy thinkings, As thou dost ruminate; and give thy worst of thoughts The worst of words. Iago.

Good my lord, pardon me; Though I am bound to every act of duty, I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.5 Utter my thoughts? Why, say, they are vile and false, As where 's that palace, whereinto foul things Sometimes intrude not ?6 who has a breast so pure, But some uncleanly apprehensions Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit . With meditations lawful??




that Cassio -] For the sake of measure, I have ven. tured to insert the pronoun-that. Steevens.

to that all slaves are free to.] I am not bound to do that, which even slaves are not bound to do. Malone. So, in Cymbeline :

0, Pisanio,
“ Every good servant does not all commands,
“ No bond but to do just ones.” Steevens.

where's that palace, whereinto foul thing's
Sometimes intrude not?] So, in The Rape of Lucrece:

no perfection is so absolute,
“ That some impurity doth not pollute.” Malone.

who has a breast so pure,
But some uncleanly apprehensions
Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit

With meditations lawful?] Leets, and law-days, are synonymous terms: “ Leet (says Jacob, in his Law Dictionary,) is otherwise called a law-day.” They are there explained to be courts, or meetings of the hundred, " to certify the king of the good manners,

and government, of the inhabitants,” and to enquire of all offences that are not capital. The poet's meaning will now be plain: 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.

Who has so virtuous a breast that some uncharitable surmíses and impure conceptions 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?--In our poet's 30th Sonnet we find the same imagery:



Oth. Thou dost conspire against thy friend, lago,
If thou but think’st him wrong'd, and mak’st his ear
A stranger to thy thoughts.

I do beseech you,

Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess,

“ When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

“I summon up remembrance of things past." “ A leet,” says Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, “

“is a court or law-day, holden commonly every half year.” To keep a leet was the verbum juris ; the title of one of the chapters in Kitchin's book on Courts, being, “ The manner of keeping a court-leet.” The leet, according to Lambard, was a court or jurisdiction above the wapentake or hundred, comprehending ihree or four hundreds. The jurisdiction of this court is now in most places merged in that of the County Court. Malone.

I do beseech youl,

Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess,] Not to men. tion that, in this reading, the sentence is abrupt and broken, it is likewise highly absurd. I beseech you give yourself no uneasiness from my unsure observance, though I am vicious in my guess. For his being an ill guesser was a reason why Othello should not be uneasy: in propriety, therefore, it should either have been, though I am not vicious, or because I am vicious. It appears then we should read:

I do beseech you,

Think, I perchance, am vicious in my guess, Which makes the sense pertinent and perfect. Warburton.

That abruptness in the speech which Dr. Warburton complains of, and would alter, may be easily accounted for. lago seems desirous by this ambiguous hint, Though to inflame the jealousy of Othello, which he knew would be more effectaally done in this manner, than by any expression that bore a determinate meaning. The jealous Othello would fill up the pause in the speech, which lago turns off' at last to another purpose, and find a more certain cause of discontent, and a greater degree of torture arising from the doubtful consideration how it might have concluded, than he could have experienced had the whole of what he enquired after been reported to him with every circumstance of aggravation.

We may suppose him imagining to himself, that Iago mentally continued the thought thus, Though I-know more than I choose to speak of

Vicious in my guess does not mean that he is an ill guesser, but that he is apt to put the worst construction on every thing he attempts to account for.

Out of respect for the subsequent opinions of Mr. Henley and Mr. Malone, I have altered my former regulation of this pas. sige; though I am not quite convinced that any change was needful. Steevens.

As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
To spy into abuses; and, oft, my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not-I entreat you then,
From one that so imperfectly conjects,
You 'd take no notice; nor build yourself a trouble
Out of his scattering and unsure observance :-
It were not for your quiet, nor your good,
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
To let you know my thoughts.

What dost thou mean? Iago. Good name, in man, and woman,



I believe nothing is here wanting, but to regulate the purctuation :

Iago. I do beseech you
Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
To spy into abuses; and, oft, my jealousy

Shapes faults that are not, - &c. Henley. The reader should be informed, that the mark of abruption which I have placed after the word you, was placed by Mr. Steevens after the word perchance : and his note, to which I do not subscribe, is founded on that regulation. I think the poet intended that Iago should break off at the end of the first hemistich, as well as in the middle of the fifth line. What he would have ad. ded, it is not necessary very nicely to examine.

The adversative particle, though, in the second line, does not indeed appear very proper ; but in an abrupt and studiously clouded sentence like the present, where more is meant to be conveyed than meets the ear, strict propriety may well be dispensed with. The word perchance, if strongly marked in speaking, would sufficiently show that the speaker did not suppose himself vicious in his guess.

By the latter words, lago, I apprehend, means only, “ though I perhaps am mistaken, led into an error by my natural disposition, which is apt to shape faults that have no existence.”

Malone. I entreat you then, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio reads:

and of, my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not) that your wisdom
From one that so imperfectly conceits,

Would take no notice. Malone.
To conject, i. e. to eonjecture, is a word used by other writers.
So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540 :

“ Now reason I, or conject with myself.” Again : “ I cannot forget thy saying, or thy conjecting words."



Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, no-

thing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he, that filches from me my good name, Robs me of that, which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.

Oth. By heaven, I 'll know thy thought.

Iago. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand; Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.

Oth. Ha!

Iago. O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on:2 That cuckold lives in bliss,

Good name, in man, and woman, rlear my lord,
Is the immediate je wel of their souls:

Who steals my purse, steals trash ; &c.] The sacred writings were here perhaps in our poet's thoughts: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour than silver and gold.Proverbs, ch. xxii, v. 1. Nalone.

which doth mock The meat it feeds on;] i. e. loaths that which nourishes and sustains it. This being a miserable state, Iago bids him beware of it. The Oxford editor reads :

which doth make The meat it feeds on. Implying that its suspicions are unreal and groundless, which is the very contrary to what he would here make his general think, as appears from what follows:

That cuckold lives in bliss, &c. In a word, the villain is for fixing him jealous: and therefore bids him beware of jealousy, not that it was an unreasonable, but a miserable state ; and this plunges him into it, as we see by liis reply, which is only:

“O misery!" Warburton. I have received Hanmer's emendation ; because to mock, does not signify to loath ; and because, when Iago bids Othello beware of jealousy, the green-ey'd 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. Johnson.

In this place, and some others, to mock seems the same with to mammock. Farmer.

If Shakspeare had written—a green-ey'd monster, we might have supposed him to refer to some creature existing only in his particular imagination; but the green-ey'd monster seems to have reference to an object as familiar to his readers as to himself.

It is known that the tiger kind have green eyes, and always

« AnteriorContinuar »