Page images

Iago. [To Bias.] What, look you pale ?—0, bear him out o'the air.

[Cassio and Rod. are borne off. Stay you, good gentlemen.'—Look you pale, mistress ? Do you perceive the gastness of her eye ?? Nay, if you stare, we shall hear more anon.Behold her well; I pray you, look upon her ; Do you see, gentlemen ? Nay, guiltiness will speak, Though tongues were out of use.

Enter Emilia. Emil. 'Las, what's the matter; what's the matter,

husband? lago. Cassio hath bere been set on in the dark, By Roderigo, and fellows that are 'scaped ; He's almost slain, and Roderigo dead.

Emil. Alas, good gentleman! alas, good Cassio!

lago. This is the fruit of whoring.-'Pr’ythee, Emilia, Go know of Cassio where he supped to-night. — What, do you shake at that? Bian. He supped at my house; but I therefore

shake not.
Iago. 0, did he so? I charge you, go with me.
Emil. Fie, fie upon thee, strumpet!

Bian. I am no strumpet; but of life as honest,
As you that thus abuse me.

As I ? foh! fie upon thee!

1 Thus the folio. The quarto reads, Stay you, good gentlecoman. It seems probable that Jago addresses Lodovico and Gratiano, who are going away to assist Cassio, and to see him properly taken care of. The subsequent appeal and address of lago to them appears to confirm this supposition. Malone follows the quarto.

2 The quarto, instead of gastness, reads jestures; and instead of stare, in the next line, has stirre.

3 In the second scene of the preceding act, Iago informs Roderigo that Cassio was to sup with Bianca ; that he would go to him there, and bring him away between twelve and one. Indeed, Cassio had himself told lago that he would sup with Bianca, and Iago had promised to meet him at her house. We must suppose, therefore, that this consummate villain thought it more secure to waylay him, as we find he does, without actually joining him at supper-time.

lago. Kind gentlemen, let's go see poor Cassio

dressed.Come, mistress, you must tell us another tale.Emilia, run you to the citadel, And tell my lord and lady what has happened.Will you go on, I pray?- This is the night, [Aside. That either makes me, or foredoes' me quite.


SCENE II. A Bedchamber : DESDEMONA in bed

asleep. A light burning.

Oth. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars ! 2
It is the cause.—Yet I'll not shed her blood,
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.

[Takes off his sword.
Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then-Put out the light !3
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me ;-but once put out thine,

1 To foredo is to undo, to ruin, to destroy.

2 Othello, full of horror at the cruel action which he is about to perpetrate, seems at this instant to be seeking his justification, from representing to himself the cause, i. e. the greatness of the provocation he had received. 3 The old copy gives this line thus:

“ Put out the light, and then put out the light.” The present regulation of the passage, by which so much beauty and spirit is added to it, was proposed by Mr. Upton, but it is to be found in Ayres's Life of Pope ; it may, therefore, have originated with Warburton, who thus explains it:-" The meaning is, I will put out the light, and then proceed to the execution of my purpose. But the expression of putting out the light bringing to mind the effects of the extinction of the light of life, he breaks short, and questions himself about the effects of this metaphorical extinction, introduced by a repetition of his first words, as much as to say,--But hold, let me first weigh the reflection which this expression naturally excites."

4 Thus the quarto. The folio reads, put out thy light. Steevens adopted the present reading for the sake of the measure, and to avoid the useless repetition of the word light.

Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat,
That can thy light relume. When I have plucked

thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again;
It needs must wither. I'll smell it on the tree.-

[Kissing her.
O balıny breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword !-One more, one more.—
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after.-One more, and this the last;
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love.—She wakes-

Des. Who's there? Othello?

Ay, Desdemona.
Des. Will you come to bed, my lord ?
Oth. Have you prayed to-night, Desdemona ?

Ay, my lord.
Oth. If you bethink yourself of any crime,
Unreconciled as yet to Heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.

Des. Alas, my lord, what may you mean by that?

Oth. Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by.
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;
No,-Heaven forfend !- I would not kill thy soul.
Des. Talk


of killing? Oth. Des.

Then, Heaven Have mercy on me! Oth.

Amen, with all my heart ! Des. If you say so, I hope you will not kill me. Oth. Humph!

Des. And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then, When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear, I know

not, Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.

[ocr errors]

Ay, I do.

1 Thus the folio. relumine.

The first quarto-returne ; the second quarto

Oth. Think on thy sins.

They are loves I bear to you.
Oth. Ay, and for that thou diest.
Des. That death's unnatural, that kills for lov-

Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame.
These are portents; but yet, I hope, I hope
They do not point on me.

Peace, and be still!
Des. I will so. What's the matter?
Oth. That handkerchief, which I so loved, and gave


Thou gav'st to Cassio.

No, by my life and soul ;
Send for the man, and ask him.

Sweet soul, take heed, Take heed of perjury; thou’rt on thy death-bed.

Des. Ay, but not yet to die.

Yes, presently
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;
For to deny each article with oath,
Cannot remove, nor choke the strong conception,
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.

Des. Then, Lord have mercy on me!

I say, amen.
Des. And have you mercy too! I never did
Offend you in my life ; never loved Cassio,
But with such general warranty of Heaven
As I might love. I never gave him token.

Oth. By Heaven, I saw my handkerchief in his hand. O perjured woman ! thou dost stone my heart, And mak'st me call, what I intend to do, A murder, which I thought a sacrifice : 1 I saw the handkerchief.

1 « This line is difficult. Thou hast hardened my heart, and makest me kill thee with the rage of a murderer, when I thought to have sacrificed thee to justice with the calmness of a priest striking a victim.' I am glad that I have ended this dreadful scene; it is not to be endured.'-Johnson.

VOL. VII. 64

Des. He found it, then;
I never gave it him.-Send for him hither,
And let him confess a truth.

He hath confessed.
Des. What, my lord ?
Oth. That he hath-used thee.

How ? unlawfully ?
Oth. Ay.
Des. He'll not say so.

No, his mouth is stopped ; Honest lago hath ta'en order fort.

Des. My fear interprets, then,—What, is he dead?

Oth. Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge Had stomach for them all.

Des. Alas! he is betrayed, and I undone.
Oth. Out, strumpet! weep’st thou for him to my

Des. O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not.
Oth. Down, strumpet !
Des. Kill me to-morrow; let me live to-night.
Oth. Nay, if you strive,

But half an hour.

Being done, There is no pause.” Des.

But while I say one prayer. Oth. It is too late.3

[He smothers her. Emil. [Within.] My lord, my lord! what, ho! my

lord ! my lord ! Oth. What noise is this?_Not dead ? not yet quite

dead? I, that am cruel, am yet merciful ; I would not have thee linger in thy pain.



So, so.

1 The quarto 1622 reads :

“ That he hathuds death." 2 The first quarto omits this speech.

3 After this speech of Othello, the elder quarto adds an invocation from Desdemona, consisting only of the sacred name thrice repeated.

4 It is supposed that some theatrical direction has been omitted, and

« PreviousContinue »