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attending Duke. There is no composition in these news, That gives them credit. 1 Sen.
Indeed, they are disproportion'd; My letters say, a hundred and seven gallies.
Duke. And mine, a hundred and forty. 2 Sen.
And mine, two hundred: But though they jump not on a just account, (As in these cases, where the aim reports, 9 'Tis oft with difference,) yet do they all confirm A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
Duke. Nay, it is possible enough to judgment;
In our author's time pagan was a very common expression of contempt. So, in King Henry IV, P. II:
“What pagan may that be?". See Vol. IX, p. 53, n. 2 Malone.
7 There is no composition - Composition, for consistency, concordancy. Warburton.
- these news,] Thus the quarto, 1622, and such was frequently the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. So, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1610:
“The news are more delightful to his soul, See also Vol. X., p. 211, n. 7. The folio reads—this news. Malone.
9 As in these cases, where the aim reports,] The folio has the aim reports. But, they aim reports, (the reading of the quarto] has a sense sufficiently easy and commodious. Where men report not by certain knowledge, but by aim and conjecture.
Fohnson. To aim is to conjecture. So, in The Tiro Gentlemen of Verona :
“But fearing lest my jealous aim miglit err. Again, in the manuscript known by the title of William and the Werwolf, in the library of King's College, Cambridge: “No man upon mold, might ayme the number.” P. 56. Steevens.
where the aim reports,] In these cases where conjecture or suspicion tells the tale. Aim is, again used as a substantive, in this sense, in Julius Cæsar: “What you would work me to, I have some aim."
Sailor. [within] What ho! what ho! what ho!
Enter an Officer, with a Sailor. of. A messenger from the gallies. Duke.
Now? the business? Sail. The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes; So was I bid report here to the state, By signior Angelo.1 Duke. How say you by this change? 1 Sen.
This cannot be, By no assay of reason;2 'tis a pageant, To keep us in false gaze: When we consider The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk; And let ourselves again but understand, That, as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes, So
may he with more facile question3 bear it, For that it stands not in such warlike brace,5 But altogether lacks the abilities That Rhodes is dress’d in:-if we make thought of this, We must not think, the Turk is so unskilful, To leave that latest which concerns him first; Neglecting an attempt of ease, and gain, To wake, and wage, a danger profitless.6
Duke. Nay, in all confidence, he's not for Rhodes.
1 By signior Angelo.] This hemistich is wanting in the first quarto. Steevens
2 By no assay of reason ;] Bring it to the test, examine it by reason as we examine metals by the assay, it will be found counterfeit by all trials. Johnson.
- with more facile question -] Question is for the act of seeking. With more easy oncle avour. Fohnson.
So may he with more facile question bear it,] That is, he may carry it with less dispute, with less opposition. I don't see how the word question can signify the act of seeking, though the word quest may. M. Mason.
4 For that it stands not &c.[ The seven following lines are added since the first edition. Pope.
warlike brace,] State of defence. To arm was called to brace on the armour. Johnson.
6 To wake, and wage, a danger profitless.] To wage here, as in many other places in Shakspeare, signifies to fight, to combat. Thus, in King Lear:
“ To wage against the enmity of the air.” It took its rise from the common expression, to wage war.
Off. Here is more news.
Enter a Messenger.
i Sen. Ay, so I thought:—How many, as you guess?
Mess. Of thirty sail: and now do they re-steine
Duke. 'Tis certain then for Cyprus.-
I Sen. He's now in Florence.
7 Ay, so &c.] This line is not in the first quarto. Stecvens.
-do they re-stem -) The quartos mean to read,-re-sterne, though in the first of them the word is misspelt. Steevens.
And prays you to believe him.] He entreats you not to doubt the truth of this intelligence. Johnson.
1 Marcus Lucchese,] The old copies have Luccicos. Mr. Steevens made the correction. Malone.
- wish him -] i. e. recommend, desire him. Reed. 3wish him post-post-haste: despatch.) i. e. tell him we wish him to make all possible haste. Post-haste is before in this play used adjectively:
“ And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance." All messengers in the time of Shakspeare were enjoined “Haste haste; for thy life, post haste.”
The reading of the text is that of the quarto, 1622. The folio reads :
Write from us to him, post, post-haste, dispatch. Malone. 4 Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman.] It is part of the policy of the Venetian state never to entrust the command of an army to a native. “ To exclude, therefore, (says Contareno, as translated VOL. XVI.
I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior; [T. BRA. Wc lack'd your counsel and your help to-night.
Bra. So did I yours: Good your grace, pardon me;
Why, what's the matter?
Ay, to me; She is abus’d, stol'n from me, and corrupted
by Lewkenor, 4to. 1599,) out of our estate the danger or occasion of any such ambitious enterprises, our ancestors held it a better course to defend the dominions on the continent with foreign mercenary soldiers, than with their homebred citizens.” Again: “Their charges and yearly occasions of disbursement are like. wise very great; for alwaies they do entertain in honourable sort with great provision a captaine generall, who alwaies is a stranger borne." Malone.
It was usual for the Venetians to employ strangers and even Moors in their wars. See The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, Act V, sc. i. See also Howell's Letters, B. I, S. 1, Letter xxviii.
Reed. - general care —] The word care, which encumbers the verse, was probably added by the players. Shakspeare uses the general as a substantive, though, I think, not in this sense. Johnson.
The word general, when used by Shakspeare as a substantive, always implies the populace, not the publick: and if it were used here as an adjective, without the word care, it must refer to grief in the following line, a word which may properly denote a private sorrow, but not the alarm which a nation is supposed to feel on the approach of a formidable enemy. M. Mason. I suppose the author wrote:
Rais'd me from bed; nor doth the general care and not
Hath rais'd me from my bed; &c. The words in the Roman character I regard as playhouse interpolations, by which the inetre of this tragedy is too frequently deranged. Steevens. - general care -]
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks :?
Duke. Whoe'er he be, that, in this foul proceeding,
you of her, the bloody book of law
action. 1 Bra.
Humbly I thank your grace. Here is the man, this Moor; whom now, it seems,
7 By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks:) Rymer has ri. diculed this circumstance as unbecoming (both for its weakness and superstition) the gravity of the accuser, and the dignity of the tribunal: but his criticism only exposes his own ignorance. The circumstance was not only exactly in character', bit urged with the greatest address, as the thing chiefly to be insisted on. For, by the Venetian law, the giving love potions was very cri. minal, as Shakspeare, without question well understood. Thus the law, Dei maleficii et herbarie, cap. xvii, of the code, intitled, "Della promission del maleficio.” “ Statuimo etiam lio, che-se alcun bomo, o femina, harra fatto maleficii, iquali se dimandano vulgarmente amaturie, o veramente alcuni altri maleficii, che alcun homo o femina se bavesson in odio, sia frusta et bollado, et che bara consegliado patisca simile pena." And therefore in the preceding scene Brabantio calls them:
arts inhibited, and out of warrant.” Warburton. Though I believe Shakspeare knew no more of this Venetian law than I do, yet he was well acquainted with the edicts of that sapient prince, King James the First, against
practisers “ Of arts inhibited, and out of warrant." Steevens. See p. 220, n. 3. Malorie:
Being not &c.] This line is wanting in the first quarto. Steevens. 9 For nature so preposterously to err,
Şans witchcraft could not — ] The grammar requires we should read:
For nature so preposterously err, &c. without the article to; and then the sentence will be complete.
M. Mason, Were I certain that our author designed the sentence to be complete, and not to be cut sbort by the Duke's interruption, I should readily adopt the amendment proposed by Mr. M. Mason.
Steevens. 1 Stood in your action.] Were the man exposed to your charge or accusation. Johnson.