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Icg. What, if I had said, I had seen him do you
Hath he said any thing?
What hath he said? lago. ’Faith, that he did, - I know not what he did.
Convinced or supplied them,] I cannot understand the vulgar reading. I read-convinc'd or suppled. My emendation makes the sense of the passage easy and intelligible: that there are some such long-tongued kraves in the world, who, if they through the force of importunity extort a favour from their mistress, or if through her own fondness they make her pliant to their desires, cannot help boasting of their success. To convince, here, is not, as in the common accepiation, to make sensible of the truth of any thing by reasons and arguments; but to overcome, get the better of, &c. Theobald. So, in Macbeth :
Liis two chamberlains “ Will I, with wine and wassel so convince." Again, in the same play:
their malady convinces “ The great assay of art.” Dr. Farmer is of opinion that supplied has here the same meaning as supplicated. . Steevens.
Theobald's emendation evidently hurts, instead of improving, the sense; for what is suppled, but convinced, i. e. subdued. Sup. plied relates to the words—“ voluntary dotage,” as convinced does to “their own importunate suit." Having by their importunacy conquered the resistance of a mistress, or, in compliance with her own request, and in consequence of her unsolicited fondness, gratified her desires. Malone.
Supplied is certainly the true reading, and with a sense that may be collected from the following passage in Measure for Measure :
“ And did supply thce at the garden-house." Or, rather, as may be inferred from the following sentence in Sir R. Cotton's l'iew of the Raigne of Henry III, 1627: “Denials from Princes must bee supplyed with gracious usage, that though they cure not the sore, yet they may abate the sence of it.” P. 12. Supplied is the old spelling of suppled, i. e. softened.
Oth. What? what?
will. Oth. Lie with her! lie on her!-We say, lie on her, when they belie her: Lie with her! that 's fulsome. Handkerchief-confessions, handkerchief.—To confess, and be hanged for his labour.–First, to be hanged, and then to confess:-I tremble at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion, without some instruction. It is not words, that shake me thus:
1 'Faith, that he did, - 1 know not what he did.] I believe that the line should be pointed thus:
'Faith, that he did I know not what; · he did. M. Mason.
To confess, and be hanged -] This is a proverbial saying. It is used by Marlowe, in his Jew of Malta, 1633:
“ Blame us not, but the proverb-Confess, and be hang'd." It occurs again, in The Travels of the Three English Brothers, 1607: And in one of the old collections of small poems there is an epigram on it. All that remains of this speech, including the words to confess, is wanting in the first quarto. Steevens.
shadowing passion,] The modern editions have left out passion. Johnson.
without some instruction.] The starts and broken reflections in this speech have something very terrible, and show the mind of the speaker to be in inexpressible agonies. But the words we are upon, when set right, have a sublime in them that can never be enough admired. The ridiculous blunder of writing instruction for induction (for so it should be read) has indeed sunk it into arrant nonsense. Othello is just going to fall into a swoon; and as is common for people in that circumstance, feels an unusual mist and darkness, accompanied with horror, coming upon him. This, with vast sublimity of thought, is compared to the season of the sun's eclipse, at which time the earth becomes shadowed by the induction or bringing over of the moon between it and the sun. This being the allusion, the reasoning stands thus : My nature could never be thus overshadowed, and falling, as it were, into dissolution, for no cause. There must be an induction of something: there must be a real cause. My jealousy cannot be merely imaginary. Ideas, words only, could not shake me thus, and raise all this disorder. My jealousy therefore must be grounded on matter of fact.” Shakspeare uses this word in the same sense in King Richard III:
“ A dire induction am I witness to." Marston seems to have read it thus in some copy, and to al. lude to it in these words of his Fame :
“ Plots ha' you laid ? inductions dangerous !" Wurburton. This is a noble conjecture, and whether right or wrong does
Pish!-Noses, ears, and lips:5—Is it possible?-Confess! -Handkerchief!--O devil !- [Falls in a Trance.
honour to its author. Yet I am in doubt whether there is any necessity of emendation. There has always prevailed in the world an opinion, that when any great calamity happens at a distance, notice is given of it to the sufferer by some dejection or perturbation of mind, of which he discovers no external cause. This is ascribed to that general communication of one part of the universe with another, which is called sympathy and antipatby; or to the secret monition, instruction, and influence of a Superior Being, which superintends the order of nature and of life. Othello says, Nature could not invest herself in such shadowing passion without instruction. It is not words that shake me thus. This passion, which spreads its clouds over me, is the effect of some agency more than the operation of words ; it is one of those notices, which men have, of unseen calamities. Johnson.
Vature could not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction.] However ingenious Dr. Warburton's note may be, it is certainly too forced and far-fetched. Othello al. ludes only to Cassio's dream, which had been invented and told him by lago. When many confused and very interesting ideas pour in upon the mind all at once, and with such rapidity that it has not time to shape or digest them, if it does not relieve itself by tears (which we know it often does, whether for joy or grief) it produces stupefaction and fainting.
Othello, in broken sentences and single words, all of which have a reference to the cause of his jealousy, shows, that all the proofs are present at once to his mind, which so over-powers it, that he falls into a trance, the natural consequence.
Sir J. Reynolds. If Othello, by the words shadowing passion alludes to his own feelings, and not to Cassio's dream, Dr. Warburton's interpretation, if we substitute instruction for induction, (which was introduced merely to usher in the image of an eclipse) is perhaps nearly correct. Induction, in Shakspeare's time, meant introduction, or prelude, (as in the instance quoted from King Richard III) and at no time signified bringing over, as Dr. Warburton interprets it. Malone.
I believe, the text, as it stands, is perfectly right, and that Othello's allusion is to his present and uncommon sensations.
Stecvens. 5 Noses, ears, and lips :] Othello is imagining to himself the familiarities which he supposes to have passed between Cassio and his wife. So, in The Winter's Tale :
66 Cheek to cheek,--mceting noses
Kissing with inside lip,” &c. If this be not the meaning, we must suppose he is meditating a cruel punishment for Desdemona and her supposed paramour :
raptis 66 Auribus, et truncas inhonesto vulnere nares." Steevens.
Iago. Work on,
Cas. What is the matter?
Cas. Rub him about the temples.
withdraw yourself a little while,
Oth. Dost thou mock me?
I mock you! no, by heaven: 'Would, you would bear your fortunes like a man.
Oth. A horned man 's a monster, and a beast.
Iago. There 's many a beast then in a populous city, And many a civil monster.
Oth, Did he confess it?
Good sir, be a man;
in those unproper beds,] Unproper, for common.
Varburton So, in The Arcadia, by Shirley, 1640 :
“ Every woman shall be cominon.-
proper women in Arcadia?
“ And is his proper by the lawe.” Again, in The Mastive, &c. an ancient collection of Epigrams and Satires, no date :
“ Rose is a fayre, but not a proper woman;
To lip a wanton? in a secure couch,
Oth. O, thou art wise ; ’tis certain.
Stand you a while apart; Confine yourself but in a patient list. Whilst you were here, ere while mad with your grief, (A passion most unsuiting such a man) Cassio came hither: I shifted him away, And laid good ’scuse upon your ecstasy; Bade him anon return, and here speak with me;
? To lip a wanton -] This phrase occurs in Eastward Hoe, Act I:
lip her, lip her, knave.” Reed.
in a secure couch,] In a couch in which he is lulled into a false security and confidence in his wife's virtue. A Latin sense.
So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: “ Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty,” &c. See also Vol. XII, p. 147, n. 1. Malone.
And, knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.] Redundancy of metre, without improvement of sense, inclines me to consider the word she, in this line, as an intruder. Iago is merely stating an imaginary case as bis own. When I know what I am (says he) I know what the result of that conviction shall be. To whom, indeed, could the pronoun she, grammatically, refer?
Steevens. list.] List, or lists, is barriers, bounds. Keep your temper, says lago, within the bounds of patience. So, in Hamlet :
“ The ocean over-peering of his list,
“ The very list, the very utmost bound,
“ Of all our fortunes.” Again, in All's Well that Ends Well, Act II, sc. i:“- you have restrained yourself within the list of too cold an adieu."
Chapman, in his translation of the 16th Book of Homer's Odyssey, has thus expressed an idea similar to that in the text:
let thy heart “ Beat in fix'd confines of thy bosom still.” Steevens.
ere while mad with your grief,] Thus the first quarto The folio reads:
o'erwhelmed with your grief." Steevens.