« PreviousContinue »
Alas! what cry's that? OTH. That! what?
Emil. Oxt, and alas ! that was my lady's voice:Help! help, ho! help!-O 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 fmothered herself, and then dies without any oftenfible 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? “ I, that am cruel, am yet merciful;
“ I would not have thee linger in thy pain :He then stabs 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 foon expire; as fays Callio of Roderigo :
even but now he spake, “ After long seeming dead.” The firit 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 Alchemif, Act V: “ Didít hear a cry, said'it thou? Yes, fir, like unto a man that had been Arangled an hour, and could not speak." STEEVENS.
The Alchemist was first represented in the year 1610, and this passage is found in the original copy prin.ed 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, & She turn’d 10 folly, and me 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:“ — he hath wrought folly in Ifrael, to play the whore" &c: STEVENS.
9- false as water.] As water that will support no weight, nor keep any impression. Jounson.
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 so, may his pernicious soul
Отн. На !
Do thy worst:
Peace, you were beft.
" villainy hath play'd on its object under a pretence of kindness."
the surfeited grooms
As I have to be hurt.] She means to say, I have in this cazz'e power to endure more than thou haft power to infitt.
JOHNSON This sentiment is more expanded in King Henry VIII:
“I am able now, methinks,
(Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,)
“ 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. MALONB.
Enter Montano, Gratiano, and Iago.
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'ft 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
Emil. But did you ever tell him, she was false?
Emil. You told a lie; an odious, damned lie;
8- charm your tongue.] By this expression, Charm your tongue, the poet meant no more than to make Iago say," Apply fome 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 Spenser's Faery Queen, B. V. c. ix:
« That well could charm his tongue, and time his speech," Again, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608:
“ The surest way to charm a woman's tongue,