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Emil. I will not charm my tongue; I am bound
ALL. O heavens forefend!
Villainy, villainy, villainy :-
home. Emil. Good gentlemen, let me have leave to
speak; 'Tis proper I obey him, but not now : Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home.
Orh. O! O! O! O! [Hanging over bis seife. EMIL.
Nay, lay thee down, and roar; For thou hast kill'd the sweetest innocent, That e'er did lift up eye. ΟΤΗ. .
O, she was foul !
[Rising I scarce did know you, uncle: There lies your
niece, Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly
Pliny informs us, that favete linguis was the constant exclamation before any religious charm was applied. From this circumitance the phrase, to charm a tongue, might have originated.
STEEVENS. 9 My mistress &c.] This line, and the following fix speeches, are wanting in the first quarto. Sreeven S.
I know, this act shows horrible and grim.
Orh. 'Tis pitiful: but yet Iago knows, That she with Cassio hath the act of shame A thousand times committed ; * Cassio confess'd it :
3 Yea, curse his better angel from his side,
my female evil
--reprobation. Both the first and second folio read reprobance. STEEVENS.
4 A thousand times committed;} This is another passage which seems to suppose a longer space comprised in the action of this play than the scenes include. JOHNSON.
That she with Cassio hath the act of shame
A thousand times committed; And again :
'Tis not a year or two bows us a man. I am not convinced from these passages only, that a longer space is comprised in the action of this play than the scenes include.
What Othello mentions in the firit instance, might have passed still more often, before they were married, when Cassio went between them; for she, who could find means to elude the vigilance of her father in respect of Othello, might have done so in respect of Callio, when there was time enough for the occurrence supposed to have happened. A jealous person will aggravate all he thinks, or speaks of; and might use a thousand for a much less number, only to give weight to his censure : nor would it have answered any purpose to have made Othello a little nearer or further off from, truth in his calculation. We might apply the poet's own words in Cymbeline :
“ - spare your arithmetick;
And she did gratify his amorous works
The latter is a proverbial expression, and might have been introduced with propriety, had they been married only a day or two. Emilia's reply perhaps was dictated by her own private experience; and seems to mean only, “ that it is too soon to judge of a husband's disposition; or that Desdemona must not be surprised at the difcovery of Othello's jealousy, for it is not even a year or two that will display all the failings of a man.”
Mr. Tollet, however, on this occasion has produced several instances in support of Dr. Johnson's opinion; and as I am unable to explain them in favour of my own supposition, I shall lay them before the publick. Act III. sc. iii. Othello says:
“ What sense had 1 of her stolen hours of luft?
« I found not Callio's kisses on her lips. ** On Othello's wedding night he and Cassio embark'd from Venice, where Desdemona was left under the care of lago. They all meet at Cyprus; and since their arrival there, the scenes include only one night, the night of the celebration of their nuptials. Iago had not then infused any jealousy into Othello's mind, nor did he suspect any former intimacy between Cassio and Desdemona, but only thought it apt and of great credit that she loved him.' What night then was there to intervene between Callio's kisses and Othello's lleeping the next night well? Iago has said, “I lay with Caffro lately,' which he could not have done, unless they had been longer at Cyprus than is represented in the play; nor could Callio have kept away, for the space of a whole week, from Bianca."
STEEVENS. In confirmation of Johnson's observation, that this and several other passages tend to prove that a larger space of time is comprized in the action of this play than the scenes include, we may ciie that in which Emilia says, “ That her husband had a hundred times woo'd her to steal Desdemona's handkerchief.” M. Mason.
s It was a handkerchief, &c.] Othello tells his wife, Act III. sc, iv:
" - that handkerchief
Emil. O heaven! O heavenly powers !
Come, hold your peace. EMIL. 'Twill out, 'twill out :-I hold my peace,
fir? no; No, I will speak as liberal as the air; 6
And here he says:
It was a handkerchief,
My father gave my mother. This last passage has been censured as an oversight in the poet ; but perhaps it exhibits only a fresh proof of his art. The first account of the handkerchief, as given by Othello, was purposely oftentatious, in order to alarm his wife the more. When he mentions it a second time, the truth was sufficient for his purpose.
This circumstance of the handkerchief is perhaps ridiculed by Ben Jonson, in his Poetaster : “ — you shall see me do the Moor; maiter, lend me your fearf.” Steevens.
I question whether Othello was written early enough to be sidiculed by The Poetaster. There were many other Moors on the stage.. It is certain at least, that the passage,
“ Our new heraldry is hands, not hearts." could not be inserted before the middle of the year 1611.
. FARMER. If the allusion in The Poetaster (which was printed in 1601) were to Othello, it would fix its date much earlier than I conceive it to have been written.-But the allusion in the passage quoted, is not to Olhello, but to an old play called The Battle of Alcazar, 1594.-In The Poetaster, Pyrgus, who says, “ you shall see me do the Moor,” proceeds in the same scene, and repeats an absurd speech of the Moor's in The Battle of Alcazar, beginning with this line:
• Where art thou, boy? where is Calipolis ?”
I'll be in speaking liberal as the north.
“ Which liberal shepherds give a grosser name." This quality of the North wind is also mentioned in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612:
" And let th' irregular North wind sweep her up.”
Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all,
Iago. Be wise, and get you home.
I will not.
[Iago offers to stab his wife. GRA.
Fye! Your sword upon a woman? Emil. O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief
thou speak’lt of, I found by fortune, and did give my husband ; For often, with a solemn carneftness, (More than, indeed, belong'd to such a trifle,) He begg’d of me to steal it. LAGO.
Villainous whore ! Emil. She give it Cassio! no, alas; I found it, And I did give't my husband. LAGO.
Filth, thou liest. Emil. By heaven, I do not; I do not, gentle
men : O murd'rous coxcomb! what should such a fool Do with so good a wife?
[Iago ftabs EMILIA, then runs out, Oth.
Are there no stones in heaven, But what serve for the thunder? ?—Precious villain!
Again, in Jeronimo, i. e. the first part of The Spanish Tragedy,
“ Now let your bloods be liberal as the sea.” Steeve NS. No, I will speak as liberal as the air ;] The quarto, 1622, reads,
I'll be in speaking liberal as the air.. The text is formed out of the two copies. MALONE. 9 Are there no ftones in heaven,
But what serve for the thunder?] Othello does not demand a thunderbolt for Jago. He only asks, if there are no lesser degrees of chastisement more proportioned to the guilt of mortals, ready to drop down on such villains as Iago, though Omnipotence withholds