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Of. Here is more news.
Enter a Messenger. Mess. The Ottomites, reverend and gracious, Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes, Have there injointed them with an after fleet.
i Sen. Ay, so I thought :—How many, as you guess ?
Mess. Of thirty sail: and now do they re-stem Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance Their purposes toward Cyprus.-Signior Montano, Your trusty and most valiant servitor, With his free duty, recommends you thus, And prays you to believe him.9
Duke. 'Tis certain then for Cyprus. Marcus Lucchese,' is he not in town?
1 Sen. He's now in Florence. Duke. Write from us; wish him? post-post-haste :
despatch.3 i Sen. Here comes Brabantio, and the valiant Moor. Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, IAGO, RODERIGO, and
Oficers. Duke. Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you Against the general enemy Ottoman.*
7 Ay, so &c.] This line is not in the first quarto. Stecvens.
do they re-stem -) The quartos mean to read, -re-sterne, though in the first of them the word is misspelt. Steevens.
. And prays you to believe him.] He entreats you not to doubt the truth of this intelligence. Johnson.
1 Marcus Lucchese,] The old copies have Luccicos. Mr. Steevens made the correction. Malone.
- wish him - ) i. e. recommend, desire him. Reed.
- wish him post-post-haste: despatch.) i. e. tell him we wish him to make all possible haste. Post-haste is before in this play used adjectively:
“ And he requires your haste.post-haste appearance." All messengers in the time of Shakspeare were enjoined “Haste haste; for thy life, post haste.”
The reading of the text is that of the quarto, 1622. The folio reads :
Write from us to him, post, post-haste, dispatch. Malone. 4 Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman.) It is part of the policy of the Venetian state never tó entrust the command of an army to a native. “ To exclude, therefore, (says Contareno, as translated VOL. XVI.
I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior; [To Bra. Wc lack'd your counsel and your help to-night.
Bra. So did I yours: Good your grace, pardon me;
Why, what's the matter?
Ay, to me; She is abus'd, stol’n from me, and corrupted
by Lewkenor, 4to. 1599,) out of our estate the danger or occasion of any such ambitious enterprises, our ances held it a better course to defend the dominions on the continent with foreign mercenary soldiers, than with their homebred citizens.” Again: “Their charges and yearly occasions of disbursement are likewise very great; for alwaies they do entertain in honourable sort with great provision a captaine generall, who alwaies is a stranger borne." Malone.
It was usual for the Venetians to employ strangers and even Moors in their wars. See The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, Act V, sc. i. See also Howell's Letters, B. I, S. 1, Letter xxviii.
Reed. -general care --] The word care, which encumbers the verse, was probably added by the players. Shakspeare uses the general as a substantive, though, I think, not in this sense. Fohnson.
The word general, when used by Shakspeare as a substantive, always implies the populace, not the publick: and if it were used here as an adjective, without the word care, it must refer to grief in the following line, a word which may properly denote a private sorrow, but not the alarm which a nation is supposed to feel on the approach of a formidable enemy. M. Mason. I suppose the author wrote:
Rais'd me from bed; nor doth the general care and not
Hath rais'd me from my bed; &c. The words in the Roman character I regard as playbouse interpolations, by which the metre of this tragedy is too frequently deranged. Steevens. general care -]
- juvenumque prodis, « Publica cura." Hor. Steevens. 6 Take hol! -] The first quarto reads- Take any
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks :?
Duke. Whoe'er he be, that, in this foul proceeding,
you of her, the bloody book of law
action. 1 Bra.
Humbly I thank your grace. Here is the man, this Moor; whom now, it seems,
7 By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks:) Rymer has ri. diculed this circumstance as unbecoming (both for its weakness and superstition) the gravity of the accuser, and the dignity of the tribunal: but his criticism only exposes his own ignorance. The circumstance was not only exactly in character', bit urged with the greatest address, as the thing chiefly to be insisted on. For, by the Venetian law, the giving love potions was very cri. minal, as Shakspeare, without question well understood. Thus the law, Dei maleficii et herbarie, cap. xvii, of the code, intitled, "Della promission del maleficio.” “ Statuimo etiam lio, che-se alcun bomo, o femina, harra fatto maleficii, iquali se dimandano vulgarmente amaturie, o veramente alcuni altri maleficii, che alcun homo o femina se bavesson in odio, sia frusta et bollado, et che bara consegliado patisca simile pena." And therefore in the preceding scene Brabantio calls them:
arts inhibited, and out of warrant.” Warburton. Though I believe Shakspeare knew no more of this Venetian law than I do, yet he was well acquainted with the edicts of that sapient prince, King James the First, against
practisers “ Of arts inhibited, and out of warrant." Steevens. See p. 220, n. 3. Malorie:
Being not &c.] This line is wanting in the first quarto. Steevens. 9 For nature so preposterously to err,
Şans witchcraft could not — ] The grammar requires we should read:
For nature so preposterously err, &c. without the article to; and then the sentence will be complete.
M. Mason, Were I certain that our author designed the sentence to be complete, and not to be cut sbort by the Duke's interruption, I should readily adopt the amendment proposed by Mr. M. Mason.
Steevens. 1 Stood in your action.] Were the man exposed to your charge or accusation. Johnson.
Your special mandate, for the state affairs,
Duke E Sen. We are very sorry for it.
2 The very head and front of my offending -] The main, the whole, unextenuated. Johnson.
“ Prons causæ non satis honesta est,” is a phrase used by Quintilian. Steevens. A similar expression is found in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590:
“The man that in the forehead of his fortunes
“ Beares figures of renowne and miracle." Again, in Troilus and Cressida:
“So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,
“ As smiles upon the forehead of this action." Malone. 3 And little bless’d with the set phrase of peace;] Soft is the reading of the folio. Johnson.
This apology, if addressed to his mistress, had been well ex. pressed. But what he wanted, in speaking before a Venetian se. nate, was not the soft blandishments of speech, but the art and method of masculine eloquence. The old quarto reads it, there. fore, as I am persuaded Shakspeare wrote:
the set phrase of peace. Warburton. Soft may have been used for still and calm, as opposed to the clamours of war. So, in Coriolanus:
- Say to them,
“ Were fit for thee to use." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:
'Tis a worthy deed,
“ To soft and gentle speech." Malone. 4 Their dearest action - ] That is, dear, for which much is paid, whether money or labour; dear action, is action performed at great expence, either of ease or safety. Johnson.
And little of this great world can I speak,
A maiden never bold;
Their dearest action is their most important action. See Timon of Athens, Act V, sc. ii, Vol. XV. Malone.
Instead of their dearest action, we should say in modern language, their best exertion. Steevens.
I should give these words a more natural signification, and suppose that they mean-their favourite action, the action most dear to them. Othello says afterwards:
I do agnize " A natural and prompt alacrity “ I find in hardness.” M. Mason. unvarnish'd - ] The second quarto reads-unravished.
Steevens. 6 I won his daughter with.] [The first quarto and folio- I won his daughter.] i. e. I won his daughter with: and so all the modern editors read, adopting an interpolation made by the editor of the second folio, who was wholly unacquainted with our poet's metre and phraseology. In Timon of Athens we have the same elliptical expression:
• Who had the world as my confectionary,
Malone. As my sentiments concerning the merits of the second folio are diametrically opposite to Mr. Malone's opinion of it, I have not displaced a grammatical to make room for an ungrammatical expression.
What Mr. Malone has styled “ similar phraseology," I should not hesitate to call, in many instances, congeniality of omissions and blunders made by transcribers, players, or printers.
The more I am become acquainted with the ancient copies, the less confidence I am disposed to place in their authority, as often as they exhibit anomalous language, and defective metre. Steevens.
7 Blush'd at herself;] Mr. Pope reads--at itself, but without ne. cessity. Shakspeare, like other writers of his age, frequently uses the personal, instead of the neutral pronoun. Stectens.