Imatges de pàgina

Des. Shall't be to-night at supper?

Des. To-morrow dinner, then?

No, not to-night.

I shall not dine at home

I meet the captains at the citadel.

Des. Why then, to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn;
Or Tuesday noon, or night; or Wednesday morn.
I pray thee, name the time; but let it not
Exceed three days. In faith, he's penitent;
And yet his trespass, in our common reason,
(Save that, they say, the wars must make examples
Out of their best,1) is not almost a fault

To incur a private check. When shall he come ?
Tell me, Othello. I wonder in my soul,

What you could ask me, that I should deny,


Or stand so mammering on. What, Michael Cassio,
That came a wooing with you,3 and so many a time,
When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,

Hath ta'en your part; to have so much to do
To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,—
Oth. "Pr'ythee, no more. Let him come when he will;
I will deny thee nothing.


Why, this is not a boon;
'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves,
Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm ;
Or sue to you to do peculiar profit

To your own person. Nay, when I have a suit,
Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed,
It shall be full of poize and difficulty,


And fearful to be granted.

I will deny thee nothing;

Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,

To leave me but a little to myself.

Des. Shall I deny you? no. Farewell, my lord. Oth. Farewell, my Desdemona; I will come to thee straight.

1 The severity of military discipline must not spare the best men of the army, when their punishment may afford a wholesome example.

2 So hesitating, in such doubtful suspense.

3 See Act i. Sc. 2.

4 i. e. of weight.

[ocr errors]

Des. Emilia, come.-Be it as your fancies teach you; Whate'er you be, I am obedient. [Exit with EMILIA. Oth. Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,

Chaos is come again.2

Iago. My noble lord,



What dost thou say, lago?

Iago. Did Michael Cassio, when you wooed my lady,
Know of your love?

Oth. He did, from first to last. Why dost thou ask?
Iago. But for a satisfaction of my thought;

No further harm.


Why of thy thought, Iago?

Iago. I did not think he had been acquainted with


Oth. O yes; and went between us very oft.
Iago. Indeed?

Oth. Indeed! ay, indeed.-Discern'st thou aught
in that?

[blocks in formation]

By Heaven, he echoes me,

As if there were some monster in his thought

Too hideous to be shown.-Thou dost mean something;
I heard thee say but now--Thou lik'dst not that,
When Cassio left my wife. What didst not like?
And, when I told thee, he was of my counsel

1 "The meaning of the word wretch is not generally understood. It is now in some parts of England a term of the fondest and softest tenderness. It expresses the utmost degree of amiableness, joined with an idea, which perhaps all tenderness includes, of feebleness, scftness, and want of protection." Sir W. Davenant, in his Cruel Brother, uses the word twice with the same meaning:-" Excellent wretch! with a timorous modesty she stifleth up her utterance."

2 Ere I cease to love thee, the world itself shall be reduced to its primitive chaos.

In my whole course of wooing, thou cry'dst, Indeed?
And didst contract and purse thy brow together,

As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain

Some horrible conceit.

Show me thy thought.


If thou dost love me,

My lord, you know I love you.
I think thou dost;

And-for I know thou art full of love and honesty,
And weigh'st thy words before thou giv'st them


Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more;
For such things, in a false, disloyal knave,

Are tricks of custom; but, in a man that's just,
They are close denotements,1 working from the heart,
That passion cannot rule.


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!2
Oth. Certain, men should be what they seem.
Iago. Why then, I think Cassio's 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.

Though I am bound to every act of duty,

Good my lord, pardon me;


I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.3
Utter my thoughts? Why, say, they are vile and


1 Thus the earliest quarto. The first folio reads "close dilations ;” which Johnson says was intended for "cold delations,” i. e. occult and secret accusations, working involuntarily from the heart. The second folio reads "cold dilations ;" which Warburton explains "cold keeping back a secret," which men of phlegmatic constitutions, whose arts are not swayed or governed by their passions, we find can do; while more sanguine tempers reveal themselves at once, and without reserve." Upton says dilations comes from the Latin dilationes, delayings, pauses.

2 I believe the meaning is, "would they might no longer seem or bear the shape of men."-Johnson.

3 "I am not bound to do that which even slaves are not bound to do.”

[ocr errors]

As where's that palace, whereinto foul things
Sometimes intrude not? Who has a breast so pure,
But some uncleanly apprehensions

Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit
With meditations lawful?

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


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,-I entreat you, then,
From one that so imperfectly conjects,1

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?

Oth. Iago. Good name, in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls.

Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something,


'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!


O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;

It is the green-eyed monster, which doth make 2

1 i. e. conjectures. Thus the quarto 1622. The folio reads:

[blocks in formation]

2 The old copy reads mock. The emendation is Hanmer's. The slight alteration of the text renders it more clear and poetical.

[ocr errors]

The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss,
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er,
Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves!
Oth. O, misery!

Iago. Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough: 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!


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,
Is-once to be resolved. Exchange me for a goat
When I shall turn the business of my soul

To such exsufflicate 2 and blown surmises,


Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous,
To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well;
Where virtue is, these are more virtuous;
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt;
For she had eyes, and chose me. No, lago;
I'll see, before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And, on the proof, there is no more but this,-
Away at once with love, or jealousy.

Iago. I am glad of this, for now I shall have reason To show the love and duty that I bear you

With franker spirit; therefore, as I am bound,

1 i. e. endless, unbounded. Warburton observes that this is finely expressed-winter producing no fruits.

2 No instance of this word has elsewhere occurred. "It seems to me (says Mr. Todd), that all the critics have overlooked the meaning of the passage. Exsufficates may be traced to the low Latin exsufflare, to spit down upon, an ancient form of exorcising; and, figuratively, to spit out in abhorrence or contempt. See Du Cange, in v. exsufflare. Exsufflicate may thus signify contemptible; and Othello may be supposed to mean, that he would not change the noble designs, that then employed his thoughts, for contemptible and despicable surmises."-Johnson's Dict. in v. exsuffolate.

3 i. e. such as you have mentioned in describing the torments of Jealousy.



« AnteriorContinua »