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Emil. Nor ever heard ; nor ever did suspect.
Emil. But then I saw no harm; and then I heard
Oth. What, did they never whisper?
Never, my lord.
Never. Oth. To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor no
That 's stranger
Oth. Bid her come híther;mg0.-[Exit Emil. She says enough;-yet she's a simple bawd,
indeed be explained to mean, “Go into the supper-room” (though I do not think that the meaning): but immediately afterwards Roderigo enters, and converses with Iago, which decisively as. certains the scene not to be in Othello's house : for Roderigo, who had given the first intelligence to Brabantio, of his daughter's flight, and had shortly afterwards drawn his sword on Othello and his partisans, certainly would not take the liberty of walking into his house at pleasure.
On the other hand, what Othello says early in the scene to Emilia
“Leave procreants alone, and shut the door;". and his subsequent address to her as he goes out, as decisively point out a room in Othello's castle as the place of the scene; and compel us to place the several interlocutors there, however inconsistent with Roderigo's entry, and lago's address to Desdemona.
The truth is, that our poet and his audience, in this instance, as in many others, were content, from want of scenery, to consider the very same spot, at one and at the same time, as the outside and inside of a house. Malone.
of their wives --] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622 roads.cof her sex. Malone.
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,
Re-enter Emilia, with DESDEMONA.
Pray, chuck, come hither,
Let me see your eyes; Look in my face. Des.
What horrible fancy 's this? Oth. Some of your function, mistress; [T. EMIL Leave procreants alone, and shut the door; Cough, or cry--hem, if any body come: Your mystery, your mystery;--nay, despatch.
Oth. Why, what art thou?
Your wife, my lord; your true
Come, swear it, damn thyself; Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves Should fear to seize thee: therefore be double-damn’d, Swear---thou art honest. Des.
Heaven doth truly know it. Oth. Heaven truly knows, that thou art false as hell. Des. To whom, my lord? with whom? How am I false? 0:h. O Desdemona!--away! away! away!
Des. Alas, the heavy day!--Why do you weep?
Had it pleas'd heaven
3 But not the words.] This line is added out of the first edition. Pope.
I should have found in some part of
soul A drop of patience: but (alas !) to make me A fixed figure, for the time of scorn4
time of scorn &c.] The reading of both the eldest quartos and the folio is
- for the time of scorn. Mr. Rowe reads-hand of scorn ; and succeeding editors have silently followed him.
I would (though in opposition to so many great authorities in favour of the change) continue to read with the old copy:
the time of scorn. We call the hour in which we are to die, the hour of death--the time when we are to be judged--the day of judgment--the instant when we suffer calamity--the moment of evil; and why may we not distinguish the time which brings contempt along with it, by the title of the time of scorn? Thus, in King Richard III:
“ Had you such leisure in the time of death ?”– Again, in king Henry VI, P. IH:
“ To help king Edward in his time of storm." Again, in Solimon and Perseda, 1599 :
“ So sings the mariner upon the shore,
" When he hath past the dangerous time of storms." Again, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1603 :
“I'll poison thee; with murder curbe thy paths,
“ And make thee know a time of infumy." Othello takes his idea from a clock. To make me (says he) a fixed figure (on the dial of the world) for the hour of scorn to point and make a full stop at !
By slow unmoving finger our poet could have meant onlyso slow that its motion was imperceptible. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra the Messenger, describing the gait of the demure Octavia, says
she creeps; “ Her motion and her station are as one :" i. e. she moved so slowly, that she appeared as if she stood still.
Steevens. In the clocks of the last age there was, I think, in the middle of the dial-plate a figure of time, which, I believe, was in our poet's thoughts, when he wrote the passage in the text. [See Vol. VIII, p. 30, n. 7.]
The finger of the dial was the technical phrase. So, in Albavine King of the Lombards, by D'Avenant, 1629 :
“ Even as the slow finger of the dial
“ To distant figures, -" D'Avenant was a great reader of Shakspeare, and probably had read his plays, according to the fashion of the time, in the folio, without troubling himself to look into the quarto copies.
Unmoving is the reading of the quarto, 1622. The folio reads --and nuving; and this certainly agrees with the image pre
To point his slow unmoving finger at
sented and its counterpart, better than unmoting, which can be applied to a clock, only by licence of poetry, (not appearing to inove) and as applied to scorn, has but little force: to say nothing of the superfluous epithet slow; for there needs no ghost to tell us, that that which is unmoving is slow. Slow implies some sort of motion, however little it may be, and therefore appears to me to favour the reading of the folio.
I have given the arguments on both sides, and, from respect to the opinions of others, have printed unmoving, though I am very doubtful whether it was the word intended by Shakspeare. The quarto, 1622, has-fingers; the folio-finger. Malone.
Perhaps we should read-slowly moving finger at. I should wish to reject the present reading, for even the word slow implies some degree of motion, though that motion may not be perceptible to the eye. The time of scorn is a strange expression, to which I cannot reconcile myself; I have no doubt but it is erroneous, and wish we had authority to read-hand of scorn, instead of time. M. Mason.
If a certain culprit, in one of his soliloquies (after the execu. tion of a late sentence in the corn market) had been heard to exclaim :
but, alas! to make me
“ O! O!" he would, at once, have been understood, by the TIME of scorrer to mean the Hour of his exposure in the pillory; and by its slow un. moving FINGER, the HOUR-INDEX of the dial that fronted him.
Mr. Malone, in a subsequent note, hath remarked that “his for its is common in our author;" and in-respect to the epithet un. moving, it may be observed, with Rosalind, not only that time tra. vels in divers places with divers persons, but, that for the same reason, it GALLOPS with the thief to the gallows, it apparently STANDS STILL with the perjured in the pillory. Whatever were. the precise instance of disgrace to which Othello alluded, the text in its present state, is perfectly intelligible; and, therefore, should be preserved from capricious alterations. Henley.
garner'd up my heart;] That is, treasured up; ner and the fountain are improperly conjoined. Johnson.
Where either I must live, or bear no life ;] So, in K. Lear:
" Whereby we do exist, or cease to be." Steevens.
Or keep it as a cistern, for foul toads?
Des. I hope, my noble lord esteems me honest.
Oth. O, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles, That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed, Who art so lovely fair, and smell’st so sweet, That the sense aches at thee.-'Would, thou had'st ne'er
been born! Des. Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed ?
Oth. Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, Made to write whore upon? What committed!
a cistern, for foul toads &c.] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ So half my Egypt were submerg'd, and made
Steevens. turn thy complexion there! &c.] At such an object do thou, patience, thyself change colour; at this do thou, even thou, rosy cherub as thou art, look as grim as hell. The old editions and the new have it:
“ I here look grim as hell.”
Here in the old copies was manifestiy an error of the press. See the line next but one above. Mr. Theobald made the correc. tion. Malone.
O thou weed,] Dr. Johnson has, on this occasion, been unjustly censured for having stifled difficulties where he could not remove them. I would therefore observe, that Othello's speech is printed word for word from the folio edition, though the quarto reads :
“ ( thou black weed !” Had this epithet, black, been admitted, there would still have remained an incomplete verse in the speech: no additional beauty would have been introduced ; but instead of it, a paltry antithesis between the words black and fair. Steevens. The quarto, 1622, reads:
60 thou black weed, why art so lovely fair?
Malone. ? Was this fair paper, &c.] Massinger has imitated this passage in The Emperor of the East:
can you think