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Alas! what cry's that? OTH. That! what?
Emil. Odt, and alas ! that was my lady's voice:Help! help, ho! help!- lady, speak again!
ocation was removed, no act of violence had in reality taken place by which the conclusion of life could be brought on. But such is the peculiar fate of Desdemona, that she is supposed to be fmothered, revives to acquaint us that the mothered herself, and then dies without any oftensible cause of death. I am of opinion that some theatrical direction has been omitted; and that when Othello says:
Not dead? not yet quite dead?
“ So, fo.” He then ftabs her, repeating the two last words, as he repeats the blow. Thus, Virgil :
- fic, fic juvat ire sub umbras." After the repetition of wounds, Desdemona might speak again, with propriety, and yet very soon expire; as says Caffio of Roderigo :
even but now he spake, “ After long seeming dead.” The first resolution of Othello was to poison her, but from this measure he is dissuaded by the policy of 'lago. He is next determined to use the poniard ; but, his tenderness awaking, he cannot bear to deform those beauties which be had so often approached with other sensations, and for different purposes. Therefore, says he,
I'll not shed her blood,
" And smooth as monumental alabaster :" And this resolution we are to imagine he would have kept, but that he was averse to employing those means again, which had already appeared to be uncertain in their effect.
If this apparent want of a play-house direction had occasioned any absurdity in the original representation of the play, probably it is glanced at by Ben Jonson in The Alchemist, Act V: “ Didít hear a cry, said 'st thou? Yes, fir, like unto a man that had been ftrangled an hour, and could not speak.” STEEVENS.
The Alchemist was first represented in the year 1610, and this paffage is found in the original copy prind in that year.
Sweet Desdemona ! O, sweet mistress, speak!
Des. A guiltless death I die.
O, who hath done This deed ?
Des. Nobody; I myself; farewell: Commend me to my kind lord; O, farewell. [Dies.
Oth. Why, how should she be murder'd?
Alas, who knows? Oth. You heard her say herself, it was not I. Emil. She said so; I must needs report the truth.
Oth. She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell;' 'Twas I that kill'd her. EMIL.
O, the more angel she, And you the blacker devil!
Oth. She turn'd to folly, and she was a whore.'
Thou art rash as fire, to say That she was false; O, she was heavenly true!
7 She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell;] Here is nothing faulty in this passage, but it may be read,
She's, like a liar, gone to burn in hell. The vulgar denunciation of future vengeance is,- I think, you'll burn in hell for this. WHALLEY. So, in King Richard II: “ That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire, -"
STEEVENS. 8 She turnid 10 folly, and she was a whore.] Folly, signifies here, as in the sacred writings, depravity of mind. So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
“ Her fad behaviour feeds his vulture folly." MALONE. So, in Deuteronomy, xxii. 21:“ - the hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore" &c. STEEVENS.
9 — falle as water.] As water that will support no weight, nor keep any impresion. Johnson.
Orh. Cassio did tup her; ask thy husband else.
Emil. My husband ?
Ay, with Cassio,
Emil. My husband ?
Ay, 'twas he that told me first;3
this extremity ;] Perhaps our author wrote-to this extreme. The measure demands a shorter word than the former. Thus, in Romeo and Juliet :
“ 'Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
-- that told me firft;] The folio reads,--that told me on her firit. STEEVENS. iterance,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads-iteration.
STEEVENS. 5 Emil.] The first quarto omits this and the following speech.
STEEVENS. villainy bath made mocks with love!) Villainy has taken advantage to play upon the weakness of a violent patrion.
JOHNSON. I have sometimes thought that these words might mean, that Vol. XV.
My husband say, that she was false ?
Emil. If he say fo, may his pernicious soul
Do thy worst :
Peace, you were best.
** villainy hath play'd on its object under a pretence of kindness."
the surfeited grooms
As I have to be hurr.] She means to say, I have in this cause power to endure more than thou hast power to inflict.
-I am able now, methinks,
“ Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer."
“ More can I bear than you dare execute." Of this last line there is no trace in the old play on which Shakspeare formed the Second Part of King Henry VI. MALONE.
Enter Montano, GRATIANO, and Iaco.
Mon. What is the matter?-How now, general? -Emil. O, are you come, Iago ? you have done
well, That men must lay their murders on your neck.
GRA. What is the matter?
Emil. Disprove this villain, if thou be'st a man: He says, thou told'st him that his wife was false; I know, thou didst not, thou’rt not such a villain; Speak, for my heart is full.
LAGO. I told him what I thought; and told no
Than what he found himself was apt and true.
Emil. But did you ever tell him, she was false? Lago. I did.
Emil. You told a lie; an odious, damned lie; Upon my soul, a lie; a wicked lie:She false with Cassio!-Did you say, with Cassio ? Lago. With Callio, mistress; Go to, charm your
charm your tongue.] By this expression, Charm your tongue, the poet meant no more than to make Iago say,—“ Apply some power, strong as a charm would be, to your tongue; for nothing less can stop its volubility. So, in King Henry VI. Part III:
“ Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.” Again, Ben Jonson, in Cynthia's Revels :
charm your skipping tongue.” Again, in Spenfer's Fairy Queen, B. v. c. ix:
“ That well could charm his tongue, and time his speech," Again, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608:
The furest way to charm a woman's tongue, “ Is break her neck :-a politician did it.”