« PreviousContinue »
Def. How? unlawfully?
Oib. No, his mouth is stopp'd;
Def. My fear interprets then,-What, is he dead?
Oih. Had all his hairs been lives?, my great revenge Had ftomach for them all.
Def. Alas! he is betray'd, and I undone.
Oth. Being done,
Del. But while I say one prayer.
[He fmothers ber.
Emil, barb ta'en order for's.] i. e. has taken measures. So, in Holinfed's Reign of King Jobn:-- he took such order for him, that he was despoiled of all his goods and benefices." p. 174. STEEVENS. Again, in Dido Queen of Caribage, by Marlowe and Nashe, 1594:
“ I will take order for ibat presently." MALONE. 7 Had all bis bairs been lives,–] This thought appears to have been very common, as it occurs frequently in dramatic performances prior to Shakspeare's Oibello. So, in Tbe Devil's Cbarter, by Barnaby Barnes, 1607:
" Know, Cæsar, had I now as many lives
“ I would," &c.
but if all
" In such a cause." STEEVENS. King and no King, as appears from Sir Henry Herbert's papers, was produced in 1611. See Vol. I. P. II. Hiftorical Account of tbe English Stage. MALONE. 8 Being done, There is no pause.] The first quarto omits this speech.
STEEVENS. 9 It is too late.] After this speech of Othello, the elder quarto adds an invocation from Desdemona, confifting only of the sacred name thrice repeated. As this must be supposed to have been uttered while VOL. IX,
Emil. [within.) My lord, my lord! what ho! my lord,
Emil. [within.) What ho! my lord, my lord !
Oth. Yes ;-'tis Emilia :- by and by.-She's dead.
Shall she come in? Were't good?
Emil. (withir. I do befeech you I may speak with you,
Oib. I had forgot thee: 0, come in, Emilia: Soft,-by and by:Let me the curtains draw.
she is yet struggling with death, I think an editor may be excused from inserting such a circumstance of rapererogatory horror, especially as it is found in but one of the ancient copies. STEEVENS.
This alteration was probably made in consequence of the ftatue of the 3d of James I. c. 21. which lays a penalty for the profane use of the name of God, &c. in ftage-plays, enterludes, May-games, &c.
TOLLET. The ftathte was necessary; for not only the ancient moralities, but the plays (those of Cbapman in particular) abound with the most wan. ton and shocking repetitions of a name which never ought to be mentioned in such an irreverend manner on the stage. STEEVENS. The alteration was undoubtedly made by the Master of the Revels,
MALONE, My wife! my wife! what wife?-1 bave no wife:] “ Filium unicum adolefcentulum habeo : ah? quid dixi habere me : imo habui, Chreme," Ter. Hiauront. STESVENS.
Where art thou? What's the matter with thee now?".
(unlocks the door.
Oth. It is the very error of the moon;
Emil. Caffio, my lord, has kill'd a young Venetian, Call'd-Roderigo.
Oth. Roderigo kill'd! And Caffio kill'd?
Emil. No, Cassio is not kill'd.
Oth. Not Caffio kill'd? Then murder's out of tune, And sweet revenge grows harsh. Def. O, falsely, falsely murder'd ?!
Emile 2 0 falsely, falsely murder'd!] It cannot be supposed that a person who had been effectually ftrangled or (morbered, could speak again ; for if the power of breathing returned after the instrument of fuffocation was removed, no act of violence had in reality taken place, by which the conclusion of life could be brought on. But such is the pe. culiar fate of Desdemona, that she is supposed to be smothered, revives to acquaint us that she smo bered berje's, and then dies without any ostensible cause of death. I am of opinion that some theatrical direction has been omitted ; and that when Othello says)
Not dead ? not yet quite dead?
So, fo. he then stabs her, repeating the two last words, as he repeats the blow. Thus Virgil :
- fic, fic juvat ire sub umbras. After a repetition of wounds, Desdemona might speak again, with propriety, and yet very soon expire; as says Callio of Roderigo :
even but now he spake,
After long seeming dead. The first resolution of Othello was to poison her, but from this measure he is diffuaded by the policy of lago. He is next determined to use the poniard; but, his tenderness awaking, he cannot bear to deform those beauties which he had so often approached with other senlations and for different purposes. Therefore, says he, Ss 2
Emil. Alas! what cry is that?
Def. A guiltless death I die.
Emil. O, who hath done
Def. Nobody; I myself; farewel:
Oth. Why, how should she be murder'd?
Oth. She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell; 'Twas I that kill'd her.
mil. O, the more angel she, And you the blacker devil!
Oih. She turn'd to folly, and she was a whore 3.
Emil. Thou art rafh as fire, to say
I'll not hed her blood,
And smooth as monumental alabaster:
If this apparent want of a play-house direction had occafioned any absurdity in the original representation of the play, probably it is glanced at by Ben Jonson in the Alcbemift, Ad V. : “ Did'ft hear a cry, said'lt thou ? Yes, fir, like unto a man that had been firangled an hour, and could not speak.” STEEVENS.
The Alcbemist was first represented in the year 1610, and this parfage is found in the original copy printed in that year. MALONE.
3 Sbe turn'd to folly, and he was a wbere.] Folly signifies here, as in the sacred writings, depravily of mind. So, in our authour's Rape of Lucrece:
“ Her fad behaviour feeds his vulture folly." MALONE, 4 - false as water.] As water, that will support no weight, nor keep any impression. JOHNSON,
Oth. Cassio did tup her; ask thy husband else.
Emil. My husband?
Emil. My husband?
Oth. Ay, 'twas he that told me firsts; An honest man he is, and hates the slime That sticks on filthy deeds.
Emil. My husband ?
Oth. What needs this iteration, woman? I say, thy husband,
Emil.10 mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love"! My husband say, that she was false ?
Oth. He, woman ;
Emil. If he say so, may his pernicious soul
- that told me firA;] The fulio reads,—that told me on ber first. STEEVENS.
0 iteration, ] The folio reads-iterance. S: E EVENS.
STEEVENS. - villainy hath made mocks with love ! ] Villainy has taken advantage to play upon the weakness of a violent passion. Johnson.
I have sometimes thought that these words might mean, that “ vile Jainy hath play'd on its object under a pretence of kindness." So, ia Macberb:
the surfeited grooms « Do mock their charge with snores." But in this I have very little confidence. MALONE,