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Oth. Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil; The gravity and stillness of your youth The world hath noted, and your name is great In mouths of wisest censure; What's the matter, That you unlace your reputation thus, And spend your rich opinion 16, for the name Of a night brawler? give me answer to it.
Mon. Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger; Your officer, Iago, can inform youWhile I spare speech, which something now offends
Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
Now, by heaven,
rebuke. Give me to know How this foul rout began, who set it on; And he that is approv'd '9 in this offence, Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth, Shall lose me.- What! in a town of war, Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear, To manage private and domestick quarrel,
16 Throw away and squander your valuable character. Opinion for reputation or character occurs in other places. See vol. v. p. 242, note 3.
17 Care of one's self.
18 Collied is blackened, as with smut or coal, and figuratively means here obscured, darkened. See vol. ii. p. 226, note 11.
19 Convicted by proof.
In night, and on the court of guard and safety 20! 'Tis monstrous 21.-Iago, who began it?
Mon. If partially affin’d , or leagu'd in office, Thou dost deliver more or less than truth, Thou art no soldier. Iago.
Touch me not so near: I had rather have this tongue cut from my
mouth, Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio; Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth Shall nothing wrong him.—Thus it is, general. Montano and myself being in speech, There comes a fellow, crying out for help; And Cassio following with determin'd sword 23, To execute upon him : Sir, this gentleman Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause; Myself the crying fellow did pursue, Lest, by his clamour (as it so fell out), The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot, Outran my purpose; and I return’d the rather For that I heard the clink and fall of swords, And Cassio high in oath; which, till to-night, I ne'er might say before: when I came back
20 The old copies read :
. In night, and on the court and guard of safety.' Malone made the necessary transposition, which he justifies by irrefragable proof; but Steevens obstinately opposed the emendation, and retained the old mumpsimus in the text out of a spirit of contradiction !
21 Monstrous is here used as a trisyllable, as it is again in Macbeth, Act iii. Sc. 6, p. 279. 22 Affined is' bound by proximity of relationship,' but here it
related by nearness of office.' In the first scene it is used in the first of these senses :
• If I, in any just term, am affin'd
To love the Moor.' 23 The old copy reads :
* And Cassio following him with determin'd sword.' The word him seems to have crept in from the compositor's eye glancing on the word in the next line.
(For this was brief) I found them close together,
I know, Iago, Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter, Making it light to Cassio :-Cassio, I love thee; But never more be officer of mine.
Enter DESDEMONA, attended.
What's the matter, dear?
[To MONTANO, who is led off Iago, look with care about the town; And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.Come, Desdemona ; 'tis the soldiers' life, To have their balmy slumbers wak’d with strife.
[Exeunt all but Iago and Cassio. Iago. What, are you hurt, lieutenant? Cas. Ay, past all surgery. Iago. Marry, heaven forbid ! Cas. Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I 24 Malone thinks that the words_Lead him off' were originally a marginal stage direction, as it was common to express them in imperative terms :-Play musick.-Ring the bell.Lead him off,' &c.
have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part, sir, of myself, and what remains is bestial.My reputation, Jago, my reputation.
Iago. As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound ; there is more offence in that, than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving: You have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man! there are ways to recover the general again : You are but now cast in his mood 25, a punishment more in policy than in malice; even so as one would beat his offenceless dog, to affright an imperious lion : sue to him again, and
Cas. I will rather sue to be despised, than to deceive so good a commander, with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot 26 ? and squabble? swagger? swear ? and discourse fustian with one's own shadow ?-0 thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee_devil! Iago. What was he that
followed with your sword? What had he done to you?
Cas. I know not.
Cas. I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore.-0, that men should put an enemy in their mouths, to steal away their brains ! that we should, with joy, revel, pleasure, and applause, transform ourselves nto beasts!
25 Thrown off, dismissed in his anger.
26 i. e. talk idly, utter all you know. From Drunk, &o, to shadow, inclusively, is wanting in the quarto 1622.
lago. Why, but you are now well enough: How came you
thus recovered ? Cas. It hath pleased the devil drunkenness, to give place to the devil, wrath : one unperfectness shows me another, to make me frankly despise myself.
Iago. Come, you are too severe a moraler : As the time, the place, and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen ; but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
Cas. I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me, I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O strange !-Every inordinate cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil.
Iago. Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used; exclaim no more against it. And, good lieutenant, I think, you think I
Cas. I have well approved it, sir,—I drunk!
Iago. You, or any man living, may be drunk at some time, man. I'll tell you what you shall do. Our general's wife is now the general ;-I may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement 27 of her parts and graces :-confess yourself freely to her; importune her; she'll help to put you in your place again ; she is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, that she holds it a vice in her goodness, not to do more than she is requested; This broken joint 28 between you
27 The old copies read — devotement, an error arising from a single letter being turned upside down. Theobald made the correction.
38 Thus the folio. The quarto 1622 reads--this brawl.