Page images
[ocr errors]

Enter OTHELLO and lago, at a distance. Emil.

Madam, here comes
My lord.

Cas. Madam, I'll take my leave.

Why, stay,
And hear me speak.

Cas. Madam, not now; I am very ill at ease;
Unfit for mine own purposes.

Well, well,
Do your discretion.

[Exit Cassio. Iago.

Ha! I like not that.
Oih. What dost thou say?
Iago. Nothing, my lord; or if-I know not what.
Oth. Was not that Cassio, parted from my wife?

Iago. Cassio, my lord ? No, sure, I cannot think it,
That he would steal away so guiltylike,
Seeing you coming

I do believe 'twas he.
Des. How now, my lord ?
I have been talking with a suitor here,
A man that languishes in your displeasure.

Oth. Who is't you mean?

Des. Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord,
If I have any grace, or power to move you,
His present reconciliation take;
For, if he be not one that truly loves you,
That errs in ignorance, and not in cunning,
I have no judgment in an honest face.
I pr’ythee call him back.

Went he hence now?
Des. Ay, sooth; so humbled,
That he hath left part of his grief with me;
I suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

Oth. Not now, sweet Desdemona; some other time.
Des. But shall't be shortly?

The sooner, sweet, for you.

1 i. e.“ take his present atonement,” or submission. The words were formerly synonymous.

2 Cunning here signifies knowledge, the ancient sense of the word.

Des. Shall’t be to-night at supper?

No, not to-night.
Des. To-morrow dinner, then ?

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,') 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, 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. Des.

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 4 and difficulty, And fearful to be granted. Oth.

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


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.”

lago. 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 Is he not honest? Iago.

Honest, my lord ?

Ay, honest.
Iago. My lord, for aught I know.
Oth. What dost thou think?

Think, my lord ?

Think, my lord!
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, softness, 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. If thou dost love me,
Show me thy thought.

My lord, you know I love you. Oth.

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

breathTherefore 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,' working from the heart, That passion cannot rule. Iago.

For Michael Cassio,I dare be sworn, I think that he is honest.

Oth. I think so too. Iago.

Men should be what they seem Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none!

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.

Good my lord, pardon me; Though I am bound to every act of duty, I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.3 Utter my thoughts? Why, say, they are vile and

false, –

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,
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?
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,

nothing. '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

heart were in your hand; Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.

Oth. Ha!

Iago. 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 :-

-and of my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not, that your wisdom,
From one that so imperfectly conceits,

Would take no notice." 2 The old copy reads mock. The emendation is Hanmer's. The slight alteration of the text renders it more clear and poetical.

« PreviousContinue »