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A Bedchamber: DESDemona in bed, asleep. A Light


Enter Othello.
Oth. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,--
Let me not name its to you, you

chaste stars !
It is the cause.-Yet I'll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.

[Takes off his Sword. Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men. Put out the light, and then-put out the light !h If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, I can again thy former light restore, Should I repent me :--but once put out thine, Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature, I know not where is that Promethean heat, That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd thy I cannot give it vital growth again,

[rose, It needs must wither :-I'll smell it on the tree.

[Kissing her. O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword !-One more, one more. Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee, And love thee after :-One more, and this the last :

sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep, But they are cruel tears : This sorrow's heavenly; It strikes, where it doth love. She wakes8 It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,

Let me not name it-] The abruptness of this soliloquy makes it obscure. The meaning, I think, is this:-I am here (says Othello in his mind) overwhelmed with horror. What is the reason of this perturbation ? Is it want of resolution to do justice? Is it the dread of shedding blood ? No; it is not the action that shocks me, but it is the cause, it is the cause, my soul; let me not name it to you, ye chaste stars! it is the cause. -Johnson.

h Put out the light, and then—put out the light !] I have adopted the punctuation recommended by Warburton; it makes the passage intelligible without any alteration of the text. If we print the line it stands in the more recent editions, Put out the light, and then put out the light, we ought to read, in the latter clause of the line, " and then put out thy light," as suggested by Malone. 1-This sorrow's heavenly;

It strikes, where it doth love.] Alluding to "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."-M. Mason. VOL. VIII.

2 h

Ay, my lord.

Ay, I do.

Des. Who's there? Othello?

Ay, Desdemona.
Des. Will you come to bed, my lord ?
Oth. Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona ?

Oth. If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.

Des. Alas, my lord, what may you mean by that?

Oth. Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by:
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;
No,-Heaven forefend.- I would not kill thy soul.

Des. Talk you of killing?

Then, heaven
Have mercy on me!

Amen, with all my heart! Des. If you say so, I hope you will not kill me. Oth. Humph!

Des. And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then, When your eyes roll so: Why I should fear, I know not, Since guiltiness I know not; but yet, I feel, I fear.

Oth. Think on thy sins.

They are loves I bear to you. Oth. Ay, and for that thou diest.

Des. That death's unnatural, that kills for loving.
Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
These are portents; but yet, I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me.

Peace, and be still!
Des. I will so: What's the matter?
Oth. That handkerchief, which I so lov'd, and gave

Thou gav'st to Cassio.

No, by my life and soul;
Send for the man, and ask him.

Sweet soul, take heed, Take heed of perjury; thou’rt on thy death-bed.

Des. Ay, but not yet to die.

Offend you

in my


Yes, presently:
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;
For to deny each article with oath,
Cannot remove, nor choke, the strong conception,
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.

Des. Then, Lord have mercy on me!

I say, amen.
Des. And have you mercy too !I never did

life; never lov'd Cassio, But with such general warranty of heaven As I might love: I never gave him token.

Oth. By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in his hand.
O perjur'd woman! thou dost stone my heart,
And mak'st me call, what I intend to do,
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice :
I saw the handkerchief.

He found it then;
I never gave it him : Send for him hither,
And let him confess a truth.

He hath confess'd.
Des. What, my lord ?
Oth. That he hath-us'd thee.

How? unlawfully?

Oth. Ay.

Des. He'll not say so.

No, his mouth is stopp'd ; Honest Iago hath ta'en order for't.

Des. My fear interprets then,-What, is he dead?

Oth. Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge
Had stomach for them all.

Des. Alas! he is betray'd, and I undone.
Oth. Out, strumpet! Weep'st thou for him to my

face? Des. O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not. Oth. Down, strumpet! k A murder, which I thought a sacrifice:] This line is difficult. Thou hast hardened my heart, and makest me kill thee with the rage of a murderer, when I thought to have sacrificed thee to justice with the calmness of a priest striking a victim.

I am glad that I have ended my revisal of this dreadful scene. It is not to be endured.Johnson: ta'en order-) i. e. Tuken measures.

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