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and her husband, entreat her to splinter; and, my fortunes against any lay 29 worth naming, this crack of
your love shall grow stronger than it was before. Cas. You advise me well.
Iago. I protest, in the sincerity of love, and honest kindness.
Cas. I think it freely; and, betimes in the morning, I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me: I am desperate of my fortunes, if they check me here.
Iago. You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I must to the watch.
Cas. Good night, honest Iago. [Exit Cassio. Iago. And what's he then, that says, I play the
villain? When this advice is free 30, I give, and honest, Probal to thinking, and (indeed) the course To win the Moor again ? For, 'tis most easy The inclining 31 Desdemona to subdue In any
honest suit: she's fram'd as fruitful 32 As the free elements. And then for her To win the Moor, -were't to renounce his baptism, All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,His soul is so enfetter'd to her love, That she may make, unmake, do what she list, Even as her appetite shall play the god With his weak function. How am I then a villain, To counsel Cassio to this parallel course Directly to his good ? Divinity of hell !
29 Bet or wager.
30 i. e. liberal. Such as honest openness or frank good will would give. There may be such a contraction of the word probable as that in the next line, but it has not yet been met with elsewhere. Churchyard has many abbreviations equally violent.
31 Inclining here signifies compliant.
32 Corresponding to benigna, apdovn. Liberal, bountiful as the elements, out of which all things were produced.
33 Parallel course for course level or even with his design.
When devils will their blackest sins put on,
Enter RODERIGO. Rod. I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and, I think, the issue will be- I shall have so much experience for my pains: and so, with no money at all, and a little more wit, return to Venice.
lago. How poor are they, that have not patience! What wound did ever heal, but by degrees ? Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft? And wit depends on dilatory time. Does't not go well ? Cassio hath beaten thee, And thou, by that small hurt, hath cashier'd Cassio; Though other things grow fair against the sun, Yet fruits, that blossom first, will first be ripe 37 :
34 When devils mean to instigate men to commit the most atro cious crimes, they prompt or tempt at first with heavenly shows, &c.
35 Pestilence for poison.
37 The blossoming or fair appearance of things, to which Iago alludes, is the removal of Cassio. As their plan had already blossomed, so there was good ground for expecting that the fruits of it would soon be ripe.
Content thyself awhile.—By the mass38, 'tis morning;
to be done,
SCENE I. Before the Castle.
Enter Cassio and some Musicians. Cas. Masters, play here, I will content your pains, Something that's brief; and bid-good morrow, general
[Musick. Enter Clown. Clo. Why, masters, have your instruments been at Naples, that they speak i'the nose thus??
36 The folio reads-In troth, an alteration made in the playhouse copy by the interference of the master of the revels.
39 Some modern editions read~ Myself the while will draw.' But the old copies are undoubtedly right. An imperfect sentence was intended. Iago is ruminating upon his plan. 40 i.e. just at the time. So in Hamlet:
• Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour.' | It was usual for friends to serenade a new married couple on the morning after the celebration of the marriage, or to greet them with a morning song to bid them good morrow. See Romeo and Juliet, Act iïi. Sc. 5. Ritson's note about the waits is nothing to the purpose.
2 So in The Merchant of Venice:- The bagpipe sings i'the you; and
1 Mus. How, sir, how !
Clo. Are these, I pray you, called wind instruments ?
1 Mus. Ay, marry, are they, sir.
Clo. Marry, sir, by many a wind instrument that I know. But, masters, here's money for the general so likes your musick, that he desires you of all loves 3, to make no more noise with it.
1 Mus. Well, sir, we will not.
Clo. If you have any musick that may not be heard, to't again : but, as they say, to hear musick, the general does not greatly care.
1 Mus. We have none such, sir.
Clo. Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll away: Go; vanish into air ; away.
[Exeunt Musicians. Cas. Dost thou hear, my honest friend?
Clo. No, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you.
Cas. Pr’ythee, keep up thy quillets *. There's a poor piece of gold for thee: if the gentlewoman that attends the general's wife be stirring, tell her, there's one Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech: Wilt thou do this?
Clo. She is stirring, sir; if she will stir hither, I shall seem to notify unto her.
[Exit. Enter IAGO. Cas. Do, good my friend.-In happy time, Iago. Iago. You have not been a-bed then?
Cas. Why, no; the day had broke nose. Rabelais somewhere speaks of ' a blow over the nose with a Naples cowl-staff. The allusion is obvious.
3 i. e. for love's sake. We have this adjuration again in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
See vol. ii. p. 368, note 22, and Hamlet, Act v. Sc. i.
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,
I'll send her to you presently;
your converse and business May be more free.
[Exit. Cas. I humbly thank you
for't. I never knew A Florentine more kind and honest 5.
Enter EMILIA. Emil. Good morrow, good lieutenant: I am sorry For your displeasure 6; but all will soon be well. The general, and his wife, are talking of it; And she speaks for you stoutly: The Moor replies, That he, you hurt, is of great fame in Cyprus, And great affinity; and that, in wholesome wisdom, He might not but refuse you: but, he protests, he
loves you ;
And needs no other suitor, but his likings,
Yet, I beseech you,
• In consequence of this line a doubt has been entertained concerning the country of lago. Cassio was undoubtedly a Florentine, as appears by the first scene of the play, where he is expressly called one. That Iago was a Venetian is proved by a speech in the third scene of this act, and by what he says
in the fifth act, after having stabbed Roderigo :
Iago. Alas, my dear friend and countryman Roderigo! • Gra, What, of Venice?
Iago. Yes.' All that Cassio means to say in the present passage is, I never experienced more honesty and kindness even in one of my own countrymen.
• i. e. the displeasure you have incurred from Othello. 7 This line is wanting in the folio.