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“The Turkes the while did threat the Isle
Of Cyprus with a fraye,
And that without delaye.
Could touch the lady's hart;
Whom death should not depart.
To her great joye they found,
The Turkes were sunk and drownd.
That most of them were lost :
The crescent should be crost.
The lucklesse lotte befell,
Which I am now to tell.
For he so closelie wrought,
Until he found him nought. “Iago was the monster's name,
Who lovde the lady long;
Though with a gentle tongue.
Upon the happie Moore,
To make his vengeance sure.
And Cassio was his name,
Of strong and lustie frame:
A post of trust and weight,
Of the foule caitive's bate.
His wife had chaungde her minde, And did not like his sootie blacke,
As he full soone would finde: Bật much preferrd the ruddie dye
Of her owne countreyman ; And bade him keepe a warie eye
On her deportment than. “Tut, tut! then quoth the hastie Moore,
Deepe as the throat you lie.I wish I did, quoth he, for sure
Much liefer would I die,
Then see what I my selfe have seene.
What have you seene? he crideWhat onelie would become a queane,
Not my deare general's bride.
“ Ile heare no more, Othello said :
That I am blacke is true,
But that she alwayes knewe.--
Upon her actions now : Cassio's the man, I do not lye,
As you will soone allowe.
“ You thought she lovde you, that she came
With you to this hot Isle:
On him did closelie smile.
So wantonlie deceived :
It is to be believed.-
"O God! what proofe hast thou of this,
What proofe that she is foule ?Proofe you would have—tis not amiss,
Ile give it on my soule.
“ Cassio will talke you in his sleepe,
And speakes then of your wife :
An it would save his life.-
The doubting Moore replied :
Better they both had died.
“ Behold, my Lord, Iago said,
Know you this token true ?
Which well Othello knewe:
When they had wedded first, Wrought with embroiderie so brave.
With rage he well nie burst.
" Whence got you that? whence got you that ?
Tell me, or instant die ! She gave it Cassio; but thereat
Why roll your yellow eye ?
That he, I know, can bost ;
I recke not which has most.
“Now, this same well knowne handkerchiefe
That very morne he stole;
Rackde brave Othelloes soule.
Upon the lillie white.
But rushing from the sight,
Within her virgin bed,
He dyed to gory red :
Which ever she denyed,
To prove the traytor lyed.
A thing so meeke and faire, Torne with such salvage crueltie,
By her long lovelie haire.
His blacke hart with the viewe;
The Ladie had beene true.
And then the same he layde Where Cassio for a suertie came,
That he might be betrayde. Othello stood as one distraught
To heare what thus was showne; That Desdemona, even in thought,
To sinne had never knowne.
“ He fomde, he stampt, he ravde, he tore,
To thinke upon his deede,
But onelie made him bleede.
And suff'ring them he dide :
May such them still betide. “Upon his Desdemona's coarse
Othello cast him than,
A broken harted man.
What you this day have seene :
And what I once have beene.
With his deare Ladies bloud,
His soule in gory floud.
This storie true you oft times knew
By actors playde for meede;
If twas not truth in deede.
That actor without peere,
And kept it manie a yeare.
That such an actor had :
Finis. It will be observed that, although Shakespeare is to be traced throughout, some circumstances, almost of brutality, are introduced, for the sake of gratifying the taste of the lower orders, for whose amusement the ballad was intended, while, probably, the theatres remained closed by the authority of the state: it is evident that the writer spoke at random, when he asserted that Burbadge began his career with Othello, for it is well ascertained that he was an actor of high celebrity many years before Shakespeare's “Othello” was written, and we have no hint that there was any older play upon the same subject.
There are two 4to. editions of “Othello," one bearing date in 1622, the year before the first folio of “Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies" appeared, and the other printed in 1630. An exact copy of the title-page of the 4to. of 1622, will be found in the usual place, and that published in 1630 differs only in the imprint, which is “by A. M. for Richard Hawkins," &c. We have had frequent occasion in our notes to refer to this latest 4to, which has, indeed, been mentioned by the commentators, but nothing like sufficient attention has been paid to it. It was unquestionably printed from a manuscript different from that used for the 4to. of 1622, or for the folio of 1623; and it presents a number of various readings, some of which singularly
? A name or the initials of a name were originally placed at the conclusion of this production, of which we never heard of a printed copy: that name, or its initials, have been carefully erased, and are not now legible. The MS. containing the ballad is of a date somewhat posterior to the Civil Wars, and it is written in a small 4to. volume, which also includes a copy of the Ikon Basilike: the Ikon Basilike fills one side of each page, and various ballads, some of them by celebrated authors of Shakespeare's time, and earlier and later, are written on the other side of the page. A full account of this MS., with the names of the authors of its different portions, may be found in “ New Particulars regarding the Works of Shakespeare, in a letter addressed to the Rev. A. Dyce by J. Payne Collier," 8vo, 1836, p. 44. It is the same MS, that contains "The Enchanted Island," on the story of Shakespeare's “ Tempest,” (but with entirely different names,) which is printed in our Introduction to that drama.
illustrate the original text of " Othello.” It is not necessary to enter into this point here, because our foot-notes establish that the 4to. of 1630, instead of being “of no authority,” as Malone asserted, is of much value, with reference to the true reading of some important passages'.
Walkley, the publisher of the 4to. of 1622, thus entered that edition on the Stationers' Registers, shortly previous to its appearance :
“6 Oct. 1621.
Sir George Buck and of the Wardens : The Tragedie of
Othello, the Moore of Venice.” It is perhaps not too much to presume, that this impression, though dated 1622, had come out at the close of 1621; and that it preceded the folio of 1623 is obvious from the fact, that “Othello" was not included in their list by Blunt and Jaggard, the publishers of the folio of 1623, when they made their entry in the Stationers' Register, because they were aware that it had already been printed, and that it was the property of another bookseller. The 4to. of 1622 was introduced by the following address :
“ The Stationer to the Reader. “ To set forth a book without an epistle were like to the old English proverb, “A blue coat without a badge;' and the author being dead, I thought good to take that piece of work upon me. To commend it I will not, for that which is good, I hope, every man will commend without entreaty; and I am the bolder, because the author's name is sufficient to vent his work. Thus leaving every one to the liberty of judgment, I have ventured to print this play, and leave it to the general censure. Yours,
“ THOMAS WALKLEY." The publishers of the folio of 1623, most likely, purchased Walkley's interest in “Othello" at a date posterior to the entry of their undertaking at Stationers' Hall, and thus became entitled to include it in their noble volume.
3 As one proof, we may refer to the well-known passage in A. iii. sc. 3, where Othello likens his jealous fury to
" the Pontick sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne'er keeps retiring ebb, but keeps due on," &c. Here “ keeps retiring ebb,” as the text stands in the 4to, 1622, and in the folio, 1623, must be wrong, and Pope substituted “ Ne'er knows retiring ebb;" but the 4to, 1630, which Pope never saw, shows us what was the poet's word, viz. :
“ Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne'er feels retiring ebb."