Imatges de pÓgina

Which I have here recover'd from the Moor: Come, guard the door without: let him not pass, But kill him rather; I'll after that same villain, For 'tis a damned slave.

I am not valiant neither,

But every puny whipster gets my sword:-
But why should honour outlive honesty?
Let it go all.

Emil. What did thy song bode, lady?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan,
And die in musick 33;- Willow, willow, willow.-
Moor, she was chaste; she lov'd thee, cruel Moor;
So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true;
So speaking as I think, I die,-I die.

[Dies. Oth. I have another weapon in this chamber, It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper 34; O, here it is:-Uncle, I must come forth.

Gra. [Within.] If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear;

Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer. Oth. Look in upon me then, and speak with me, Or, naked as I am, I will assault thee.

Re-enter GRATIANO.

Gra. What is the matter?


Behold! I have a weapon;

33 So in The Merchant of Venice :


he makes a swanlike end,

Fading in musick.'

34 The particular name of the ice-brook may be determined from several passages in Martial. (See lib. i. ep. 50, lib. iv. ep. 55.) It was undoubtedly the brook or rivulet called Salo (now Xalon) near Bilbilis in Celtiberia. In this the Spaniards plunged all their swords and other weapons while hot from the forge; and to the icy quality of the waters they were supposed to be indebted for their stubborn temper. See also Justin, i. 44. It should be remembered that Spain was famous for producing the best sword blades.



A better never did itself sustain

Upon a soldier's thigh: I have seen the day,
That, with this little arm, and this good sword,
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop 35:-But, O vain boast!
Who can control his fate? 'tis not so now.
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very seamark of my utmost sail.

Do you go back dismay'd? 'tis a lost fear;
Man but a rush against Othello's breast,
And he retires;-Where should Othello go ?-
Now, how dost thou look now? Oill-starr'd wench 36!
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt,
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl?
Even like thy chastity.-

O cursed, cursed slave!-Whip me, ye devils,
From the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire !—
O Desdemona! Desdemona! dead?
Dead? O! O! O!

a Chair, and Officers, with IAGO, prisoner.
Lod. Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?
Oth. That's he, that was Othello; here I am.
Lod. Where is that viper? bring the villain forth.

35 Thus in Coriolanus, Sc. 1:

Cracking ten thousand curbs

Of more strong link asunder, than can ever
Appear in your impediment.'

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36 This and the six preceding lines are omitted in the first quarto. Wench originally signified only a girl or young woman. It is so used in our old version of the Scriptures, and by many of our early writers.

Oth. I look down towards his feet 37-but that's

a fable;

If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.


I bleed, sir; but not kill'd.

Lod. Wrench his sword from him.


Oth. I am not sorry neither; I'd have thee live; For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die 38.

Lod. O thou Othello, that was once so good, Fall'n in the practice 39 of a cursed slave,

What shall be said to thee?


Why, any thing:
An honourable murderer, if you will;

For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.
Lod. This wretch hath part confess'd his villany:
Did you and he consent in Cassio's death?
Oth. Ay.

Cas. Dear general, I never gave you cause.
Oth. I do believe it, and I ask your pardon.
Will you, I pray you, demand that demi-devil,
Why he hath thus ensnar'd my soul and body?
Iago. Demand me nothing: What you know, you
know :

From this time forth I never will speak word.
Lod. What? not to pray?


Torments will ope your lips.

Oth. Well, thou dost best.

Lod. Sir, you shall understand what hath befall'n, Which, as I think, you know not: Here is a letter, Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo;

And here, another: the one of them imports

37 To see if, according to the common opinion, his feet be cloven.

38 The same thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra :'Tis well thou'rt gone,

If it be well to live.'

39 In the snare, by the stratagem.

The death of Cassio to be undertook

By Roderigo.

Oth. O villain!


Most heathenish, and most gross! Lod. Now here's another discontented paper, Found in his pocket too: and this, it seems, Roderigo meant to have sent this damned villain; But that, belike, Iago, in the interim 40,

Came in and satisfied him.


How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief
That was my wife's?


O the pernicious caitiff?

I found it in my chamber:

And he himself confess'd, but even now,
That there he dropp'd it, for a special purpose,
Which wrought to his desire.


O fool! fool! fool!

Cas. There is, besides, in Roderigo's letter,— How he upbraids Iago, that he made him Brave me upon the watch; whereon it came That I was cast; And even but now he spake, After long seeming dead,-Iago hurt him, Iago set him on.

Lod. You must forsake this room, and go with us;
Your power and your command is taken off,
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave,-
If there be any cunning cruelty,

That can torment him much, and hold him long,
It shall be his: You shall close prisoner rest,
Till that the nature of your fault be known
To the Venetian state:-Come, bring him away.

Oth. Soft you; a word or two, before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know it;
No more of that;—I pray you, in your-letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,

40 The first quarto reads-' in the nick.'

Speak of me as I am11; nothing extenuate,

Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one, that lov'd not wisely, but too well;
Of one, not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one, whose hand,
Like the base Júdean 42, threw a pearl away,

41 Thus the folio. The quarto reads- Speak of them as they are.'

42 The quarto 1622 reads-Indian. The folio has Judean. Warburton, Theobald, and Dr. Farmer think that the allusion is to Herod, who in a fit of blind jealousy threw away such a jewel in his wife Mariamne. Steevens admits the reading Judean, but thinks the allusion is not to the story of Herod, on account of the epithet base; and because the simile appears almost too apposite to be used on the occasion, and would be little more than bringing the fact into comparison with itself.' He thinks that the allusion is to the story of a Jew who not being able to find a purchaser for a very large pearl at an immoderate price, publicly threw it into the sea at Venice. Malone once objected to Judean on account of the wrong accent, but subsequently changed his opinion, and thought the word tribe strongly favoured that reading. To this Mr. Boswell replies, that the word tribe was never alone peculiarly applicable to the Jews, but meant a kindred, and is constantly used at this day in speaking of a peculiar race or set of Indians. That the early travellers are full of descriptions of 'the pearled treasures' of the Indians, who may be called base on account of their ignorance, and the facility with which they would part with them, a circumstance to which two succeeding poets have alluded:

So the unskilfull Indian those bright gems
Which might adde majestie to diadems,
Mong the wave scatters.'

Habington-To Castara weeping.

'Thus also in The Woman's Conquest, by Sir Robert Howard:

Behold my queen—

Who with no more concern I'll cast away

Than Indians do a pearl, that ne'er did know
Its value.'

Shakspeare himself connects India with pearls in Troilus and
Cressida :-

'Her bed is India, where she lies a pearl.'

It is here figuratively used for a fair woman.

I conclude with

Mr. Boswell, that the arguments are strong in favour of Indian, the reading of the earliest copy.

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