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Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
play with the victim to their hunger, before they devour it. So, in our author's Tarquin and Lucrece:
“ Like foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
“ While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth —." Thus, a jealous husband, who discovers no certain cause why he may be divorced, continues to sport with the woman whom he suspects, and, on more certain evidence, determines to punish. There is no beast that can be literally said to make its own food, and therefore I am unwilling to receive the emendation of Sir Thomas Hanmer, especially as I flatter myself that a glimpse of meaning may be produced from the old reading.
One of the ancient senses of the verb-to mock, is to amuse, to play with. Thus, in A Discourse of Gentlemen lying in London that were better keep House at Home in their Country, 1593 :
“ A fine deuise to keepe poore Kate in health,
“ A pretty toy to mock an ape withal.” i. e, a pretty toy to divert an ape, for an ape to divert himself with. The same phrase occurs in Marston's Satires, the ninth of the third Book being intitled Here 's a toy to MOCKE an ape," &c. i. e. afford au ape materials for sport, furnish him with a plaything, though perhaps at his own expense, as the phrase may in this instance be ironically used.
In Antony and Cleopatra, the contested word-mock, occurs again:
tell him “He mocks the pauses that he makes." i. e. he plays wantonly with those intervals of time which he should improve to his own preservation.
Should such an explanation be admissible, the advice given by lago will amount to this ;-Beware, my lord, of yielding to a passion which as yet has no proofs to justify its excess. Think how the interval between suspicion and certainty must be filled. Though you doubt her fidelity, you cannot yet refuse her your bed, or drive her from your heart; but, like the capricious savage, must continue to. sport with one whom you wait for an opportunity to destroy. A similar idea occurs in All's Well that Ends Well:
so lust doth play " With what it loaths." Such is the only sense I am able to draw from the originai text. What I have said, may be liable to some objections, but I have nothing better to propose. That jealousy is a monster which often creates the suspicions on which it feeds, may be well admitted, according to Sir Thomas Hanmer's proposition ; but is it the monster? (i. e. the well-known and conspicuous animal) or whence has it green eyes? Yellow is the colour which Shakspeare usually appropriates to jealousy. It must be acknowledged, that he afterwards characterizes it as
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er,
what damned minutes tells he o'er," &c. is the best illustration of my attempt to explain the passage. To produce Sir Thomas Hanmer's meaning, a change in the text is necessary. I am counsel for the old reading. Steevens.
It is so difficult, if not impossible, to extract any sense from this passage as it stands, even by the most forced construction of it, and the slight amendment proposed by Hanmer, renders it so clear, elegant, and poetical, that I am surprized the editors should hesitate in adopting it, and still more surprized they should reject it. As for Steevens's objection, that the definite article is used, not the indefinite, he surely need not be told in the very last of these plays, that Shakspeare did not regard such minute inaccuracies, which may be found in every play he wrote.
When Steevens compares the jealous man, who continues to sport with the woman he saspects, and is determined to destroy, to the tiger who plays with the victim of his hunger, he forgets that the m at on which jealousy is supposed to feed, is not the woman who is the object of it, but the several circumstances of suspicion which jealousy itself creates, and which cause and nourish it. So Emilia, at the end of the third Act in answer to Desdeinona, who, speaking of Othello's jealousy, says:
“ Alas the day! I never gave him cause;". replies
“But jealous fools will not be answer'd so,
“ Begot upon itself, born on itself.” This passage is a strong confirmation of Hanmer's reading.
The same idea occurs in Massinger's Picture, where Matthias, - speaking of the groundless jealousy he entertained of Sophia's possible inconstancy, says:
but why should I nourish,
Jlolding no real ground on which to raise
“ Or can be false ?" Imagin'd food, is food created by imagination, the food that jealousy makes and feeds on. M. Mason.
In order to make way for one alteration, Mr. M. Mason is forced to foist in another; or else poor Shakspeare must be arraigned for a blunder of which he is totally guiltless. This gentleman's objections both to the text in its present state, and to Mr. Steevens's most happy illustration of it, originate entirely in his own misconception, and a jumble of figurative with literal expressions. To have been consistent with himself he should have charged Mr. Steevens with maintaining, that it was the property of a jealous husband, first to mock his wife, and afterwards to eat her,
Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves!
In Act V, the word mocks occurs in a sense somewhat similar to that in the passage before us : “ Emil. O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love !"
Henley. I think myself particularly indebted to Mr. Henley for the support he has given to my sentiments concerning this difficult passage ; and shall place more confidence in them since they have been found to deserve his approbation. Steevens.
I have not the smallest doubt that Shakspeare wrote make, and have therefore inserted it in my text. The words make and mocke (for such was the old spelling) are often confounded in these plays, and I have assigned the reason in a note on Measure for Measiere, Vol. IIJ.
Mr. Steevens in his paraphrase on this passage interprets the word mock by sport; but in what poet or prose-writer, from Chaucer and Mandeville to this day, does the verb to mock signify to sport with? In the passage from Antony and Cleopatra, I have proved, I think, incontestably, from the metre, and from our poet's usage of this verb in other places, (in which it is followed by a personal pronoun) that Shakspeare must have writ.
Being so frustrate, tell him, he mocks us by
“ The pauses that he makes.” See Antony and Cleopatra, Act V, sc. i, Vol. XIII. Besides ; is it true as a general position, that jealousy (as jealousy) sports or plays with the object of love (allowing this not very delicate interpretation of the words, the meat it feeds on, to be the true one)? The position certainly is not true. It is Love, not Jealousy, that sports with the object of its passion; nor can those circumstances which create suspicion, and which are the meat it feeds on, with any propriety be called the food of love, when the poet has clearly pointed them out as the food or cause of JEALOUSY; giving it not only being, but nutriment.
“ There is no beast,” it is urged, “ that can literally be said to make its own food.” It is indeed acknowledged, that jealousy is a monster which often creates the suspicions on which it feeds, but is it, we are asked, “ the monster? (i. e. a well-known and conspicuous animal ;) and whence has it green eyes? Yellow is the colour which Shakspeare appropriates to jealousy.".
To this I answer, that yellow is not the only colour which Shakspeare appropriates to jealousy, for we have in The Merchant of Venice:
shuddering fear, and green-ey'll jealousy." and I suppose, it will not be contended that he was there think. ing of any of the tiger kind.
If our poct had written only—“ It is the green-ey'd monster; beware of it;" the other objection would hold good, and some particular monster, xatio Xuv, must have been meant; but the words, “ It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth," &c. in my
Oth. O misery!
apprehension have precisely the same meaning, as if the poet had written, “ It is that green-ey'd monster, which,” &c. or, “ it is a green-ey'd monster.” He is the man in the world whom I would least wish to meet, is the common phraseology of the present day.
When Othello says to lago in a former passage, “By heaven, he echoes me, as if there were some monster in his thought," does any one imagine that any animal whatever was meant?
The passage in a subsequent scene, to which Mr. Steevens has alluded, strongly supports the emendation which has been made:
- jealousy will not be answer'd so;
“ Begot upon itself, born on itself.” It is, strictly speaking, as false that any monster can be begot, or born, on itself, as it is, that any monster (whatever may be the colour of its eyes, whether green or yellow) can make its own food; but, poetically, both are equally true of that monster, JEALOUSY. Mr. Steevens seems to have been aware of this, and therefore has added the word literally: “ No monster can be literally said to make its own food.”
It should always be remembered, that Shakspeare's allusions. scarcely ever answer precisely on both sides; nor had he ever any care upon this subject. Though he has introduced the word monster,—when he talked of its making its own food, and being begot by itself, he was still thinking of jealousy only, careless whether there was any animal in the world that would correspond with this description.
That the words, the meat it feeds on, is meant, not Desdemona herself, as has been maintained, but pabulum zelotypiæ, may be likewise inferred from a preceding passage in which a kindred imagery is found:
“ That policy may either last so long,
“ Or feed upon such nice and wateristh diet,” &c. And this obvious interpretation is still more strongly confirmed by Daniel's Rosamond, 1592, a poem which Shakspeare bad diligently read, and has more than once imitated in Romeo and Juliet :
“ O Jealousy
“ Happy were lovers, if they never knew thee." In this and the few other places in which I have ventured to depart from the ancient copies, I have thought it my duty to state in the fullest and clearest manner the grounds on which the emendation stands: which in some cases I have found not easily accomplished, without running into greater prolixity than would otherwise be justifiable. Mulone.
lago. Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough;4 But riches, fineless, is as poor as winter, To him that ever fears he shall be poor:Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend From jealousy! Oth.
Why? why is this? Think'st thou, I 'd make a life of jealousy, To follow still the changes of the moon With fresh suspicions? No: to be once in doubt, Isonce to be resolv'd: Exchange me for a goat, When I shall turn the business of my soul To such exsufficate and blown surmises, Matching thy inference.8 'Tis not to make me jealous,
strongly loves!] Thas the quarto; the folio-soundly loves. Steevens.
Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough;] So, in Dorastus and Fawnia, (the novel on which The Winter's Tale is formed) 1592: “ We are rich, in that we are poor with content.”
Malone. The same sentiment, which is sufficiently common, is ampli. fied by Dryden in his Indian Emperor :
“ We to ourselves will all our wishes grant;
“ For nothing coveting, we nothing want.” Steevens. 5 But riches, fineless,] Unbounded, endless, unnumbered treasures. Johnson.
-as poor as winter,] Finely expressed : winter producing no fruits. Warburton.
To such exsufficate and blown surmises,] [Sir Thomas Han. mer-exsuffolate.] This odd and far-fetched word was made yet more uncouth in all the editions before Sir Thomas Hanmer's, by being printed-exsufflicate. The allusion is to a bubble. Do not think, says the Moor, that I shall change the noble designs that now employ my thoughts, to suspicions 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.
Whether our poet had any authority for the word exsufflicate, which I think is used in the sense of swollen, and appears to have been formed from sufflatus, I am unable to ascertain : but I have not thought it safe to substitute for it her word equally un. authorised. Suffolare in Italian signifies to whistle. How then can Dr. Johnson's interpretation of exsuffolate be supported ? The introducer of this word explains it, by " whispered, buzz'd in the ears." Malone.
blown surmises, Matching thy inference.] That is-such as you have men