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I saw Othello's visage in his mind; 1
Oth. Your voices, lords :2-'beseech you, let her will
" I saw Othello's visage in his mind;] It must raise no wonder, that I loved a man of an appearance so little engaging; I saw his face only in his mind; the greatness of his character reconciled me to his form. Johnson. 2 Your voices, lords:] The folio reads,--Let her have your voice.
Steevens. 3 Vouch with me, heaven, ] Thus the second quarto and the folio.
Steevens. These words are not in the original copy, 1622. Malone. 4 Nor to comply with heat, the young affects,
In my distinct and proper satisfaction;] [Old copies-defunct.] As this has been hitherto printed and stopped, it seems to me a period of as stubborn nonsense as the editors have obtruded upon poor Shakspeare throughout his works. What a preposterous creature is this Othello made, to fall in love with and marry a fine young lady, when appetite and heat, and proper satisfaction, are dead and defunct in him! (For, defunct signifies nothing else, that I know of, either primitively or metaphorically:) But if we may take Otbello's own word in the affair, he was not reduced to this fatal state:
or, for I am declin'd “ Into the vale of years; yet that's not much.” Again, Why should our poet say, (for so he says as the passage has been pointed) that the young affect heat? Youth, certainly, has it, and has no occasion or pretence of affecting it. And, again, after defunct, would he add so absurd a collateral epithet as proper? But affects was not designed here as a verb, and defunct was not designed here at all. I have by reading distinct for defunct, rescued the poet's text from absurdity; and this I take to be the tenor of what he would say: “I do not beg her company with me, merely to please myself; nor to indulge the heat and affects (i.e. affections) of a new-married man, in my own distince and proper satisfaction; but to comply with her in her request, and
But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
desire, of accompanying me.” Affects for affections, our author in several other passages uses.
Theobald. Nor to comply with heat, the young affects
In my defunct and proper satisfaction: ] i. e. with that heat and new affections which the indulgence of my appetite has raised and created. This is the meaning of defunct, which has made all the difficulty of the passage. Warburton.
I do not think that Mr. Theobald's emendation clears the text from embarrassment, though it is with a little imaginary improvement received by Sir Thomas Hanmer, who reads thus:
Nor to comply with heat affects the young
In my distinct and proper satisfaction. Dr. Warburton's explanation is not more satisfactory: what made the difficulty will continue to make it. I read:
I beg it not,
But to be free and bounteous to her mind. Affects stands here, not for love, but for passions, for that by which any thing is affected. I ask it not, says he, to please appetite, or satisfy loose desires, the passions of youth which I have now outlived, or for any particular gratification of myself, but merely that I may indulge the qvishes of my wife.
Mr. Upton had, before me, changed my to me; but he bas printed young effects, not seeming to know that affects could be a noun.
Fohnson. Mr. Theobald has observed the impropriety of making Othello confess, that all youthful passions were defunct in him; and Sir Thomas Hanmer's reading (distinct) may, I think, be received with only a slight alteration. I would read:
I beg it not,
But to be Gʻc.
- I shall not need to urge
“ The sacred purity of our affects." Again, in Love's Labour 's Lost:
“For every man with his affects is born." Again, in The Wars of Cyrus, 1594:
“ The frail affects and errors of my youth.” Again, in Middleton's Inner Temple Masque, 1619:
“No doubt affects will be subdu'd by reason." There is, however, in The Bondman, by Massinger, a passage which seems to countenance and explain
the young affects
And heaven defends your good souls, that you think
In me defunct c.
- youthful heats,
“ Are long since buried in me.”
“ The organs, though defunct and dead before,
I therefore beg it not,
In my defunct and proper satisfaction.
Tyrwhitt. I would propose to read-In my defenct, or defenc'd, &c. i. e. I do not beg her company merely to please the palate of my appe. tite, nor to comply with the heat of lust which the young man affects, i. e. loves and is fond of, in a gratification which I have by marriage defenc’d, or inclosed and giiarded, and made my own property. Unproper beds, in this play, means, beds not peculiar or appropriate to the right owner, but common to other occupiers. In The Merry Wives of Windsor the marriage vow was represented by Ford as the ward and defence of purity or conjugal fidelity: “I could drive her then from the ward of her purity, her reputation, and a thousand other her defences, which are now too strongly enibattled against me.” The word affect is more generally, among ancient authors, taken in the construction which I hare given to it, than as Mr. Theobald would interpret it. It is so in this very play, “ Not to affect many proposed matches,” means not to like, or be fond of many proposed matches.
I am persuaded that the word clefunct must be at all events ejected. Othello talks here of his appetite, and it is very plain that Desdemona to her death was fond of him after wedlock, and that he loved her. How then could his conjugal desires be dead or defunct? or how could they be defunct or discharged and performed when the marriage was consummated? Tollet.
Othello here supposes, that his petition for the attendance of his bride, might be ascribed to one of these two motives :-ei. ther solicitude for the enjoyment of an unconsummated and honourable marriage;
:-or the mere gratification of a sensual and selfish passion. But, as neither was the true one, he abjures them both:
“ Vouch with me heaven, I therefore beg it not
I will your serious and great business scant,
“Nor to comply with heat (
-) and proper satisfaction.” The former, having nothing in it unbecoming, he simply dis. claims; but the latter, ill according with his season of life (for Othello was now declined into the vale years) he assigns a reason for renouncing
the young affects, In me defunct. As if he had said, “I have outlived that wayward impulse of passion, by which younger men are stimulated: those
- youthful heats,
“ Are long since buried in me.” The supreme object of my heart ism
to be free and bounteous to her MIND. By young affects, the poet clearly means those “ YOUTHFUL lusts” [Tas NETEPIKAE €7iduulces, cupiditates rei nove, thence JUVENILES, and therefore EFFREnes cupiditates,] which St. Paul admonishes Timothy to fly from, and the Romans to MORTIFY.
Henley. For the emendation now offered, [disjunct] I am responsible. Some emendation is absolutely necessary, and this appears to me the least objectionable of those which have been proposed. Dr. Johnson, in part following Mr. Upton, reads and regulates the passage
In me defunct) and proper satisfaction. To this reading there are, I think, three strong objections. The first is, the suppression of the word being before defunct, which is
olutely necessary to the sense, and of which the omis is so harsh, that it affords an argument against the probability of the proposeil emendation. The second and the grand objection is, that it is highly improbable that Othello should declare on the day of his marriage that heat and the youthful affections were dead or defunct in him; that he had outlived the passions of youth. He himself (as Mr. Theobald has observed) informs us afterwards, that he is “ declined into the vale of years;” but adds, at the same time, “ yet that 's not much.” This surely is a decisive proof that the text is corrupt. My third objection to this regulation is, that by the introduction of a parenthesis, which is not found in the old copies, the words and proper satisfaction are so unnaturally disjoined from those with which they are connected in sense, as to form a most lame and impotent conclusion; to say nothing of the aukwardness of using the word proper without any possessive pronoun prefixed to it.
All these difficulties are done away, by retaining the original word my, and reading disjunct, instead of defunct; and the mean. ing will be, I ask it not for the sake of my separate and private enjoyment, by the gratification of appetite, but that I may in. dulge the wishes of my wife.
For she is with me: No, when light-wing'd toys
The young affects, may either mean the affections or passions of youth, (considering affects as a substantive) or these words may be connected with heat, which immediately precedes: " I ask it not, for the purpose of gratifying that appetite which peculiarly stimulates the young.” So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B, V, c. ix:
“ Layes of sweete love, and youth's delightful heat.” Mr. Tyrwbitt “recommends it to consideration, whether the word defunct, is not capable of a signification, drawn from the primitive sense of its Latin original, which would very well agree with the context.”
The mere English reader is to be informed, that defunctus in Latin signifies performed, accomplished, as well as dead: but is it probable that Shakspeare was apprized of its bearing that signification? In Bullokar's English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, the work of a physician and a scholar, defunct is only defined by the word dead; nor has it, I am confident, any other meaning annexed to it in any dictionary or book of the time. Besides; how, as Mr. Toilet has observed, could his conjugal duties be said to be discharged or performed, at a time when his marriage was not yet consummated?-On this last circumstance, however, I do not insist, as Shakspeare is very licentious in the use of participles, and might have employed the past for the present: but the former objection appears to me fatal.
Proper is here and in other places used for peculiar. In this play we have unproper beds; not peculiar to the rightful owner, but common to him and others.
In the present tragedy we have many more uncommon words than disjunct: as facile, agnize, acerb, sequestration, injointed, con. gregated, guttered, sequent, extincted, exsufflicate, indign, segregated, &c.-Iago in a subsequent scene says to Othello, " let us be conjunctive in our revenge ;” and our poet has conjunct in King Lear, and disjoin and disjunctive in two other plays. In King John we have adjunct used as an adjective:
• Though that my death be adjunct to the act, and in Hamlet, we find disjoint, employed in like manner:
“ Or thinking
“Our state to be disjoint, and out of frame." Malone. As it is highly probable this passage will prove a lasting source of doubt and controversy, the remarks of all the commentators are left before the publick. Sir Thomas Hanmer's distinct, however, appearing to me as apposite a change as Mr. Malone's sy. nonymous disjunct, I have placed the former in our text, though, perhaps the old reading ought not to have been disturbed, as in ihe opinion of more than one critick it has been satisfactorily ex. plained by Dr. Johnson and Mr. Henley. Steevens.
defend &c.] To defend, is to forbid. So, in Chaucer's Wife of Bathes Prologue, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. ver. 5641:
“ Wher can ye seen in any maner age