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Def. I cannot speak of this, come, now your promise.
Oth. I have a falt and forry Rheum offends me;
Dis. Here, my Lord.
0.h. That's a fault. That handkerchief (41) Did an Ægyptian to my mother give;
moft exquisite, plainly insinuating that some, then created, had handsg. indeed, but no bearts: that is, money to pay for the creation, but no virtue to purchase the honour. But the finest part of the Poet's address in this allufion, is, the compliment he paid by it to bis old mise tress, Elizabeth. For James's pretence for raifing this fum, by the new creation, was the reduction of Ulfter, and other provinces in Ireland; the memory of which he would perpetuate by this addition to the arms, which is the arms of Ulster. Now the methods used by Elizabe:b in the conquest of that kingdom were so different from this, (the dignities, the confer'd, being on those who had employ'd their Jieel, not their gold in that service) that nothing could more add to her glory than being compared to her fuccefor in this point of view.
Mr. Warburton. (47)
-That bandkerchief Did an Ægyptian to my morber give;} Because this episode of the bandkerchief has been attack'd by snarlers and buffoon-criticks, I am tempted to fubjoin an observation or two in juftification of our Author's conduct. The Poet seems to have been aware of the levity of such judges, as fhould account the giving away an handkerchief too Night a ground for jealousy. He therefore obviates this, upon the very moment of the handkerchief being lost, by making lago fay;
Trifles, light as air,
As proofs of holy writ. Besides this, let us see how finely the Poet has made his handkerchief of fignificancy and importance. Cinthio Giraldi, from whom he has borrowed the incident, only says, that it was the Moors gift, upon his wedding, to Desdemona ; that it was most curiously wrcught after the Moorish fashion, and very dear both to him and his wife ; il quel Panniceiló era lavorato alla Moresca fotrilisimamente, & era carissimo alla Donna & parimente al Mura. But our Author, who wrote in a fuperftitious age, (when philtres were in vogue for procuring love, and
She was a Charmer, and could almost read
Def, Is’t possible ?
Oth. 'Tis true; there's magick in the web of it ; A Sybil, that had numbred in the world The Sun to course two hundred compasses, In her prophetick fury few'd the Work: The worms were hallowed, that did breed the filk; And it was dy'd in Mummey, which the skilful Conserv'd of Maidens hearts. amulets for preserving it) makes his handkerchief deriv'd from an inchantress; magick and myslery are in its materials and workmanship; its qualities and attributes are folemnly laid down; and the gift reenmmended to be cherith'd by its owners on the most inducing terms imaginable, viz. the making the party amiable to her husband, and the keeping his affections steady. Such circumstances, if I know any thing of the matter, are the very foul and effence of poetry: fancy here exerts its great creating power, and adds a dignity, that furprizes, to its subject. After this, let us hear the coarse pleasantries of Mr. Rymer. “ So much ado, so much stress, so much passion, and repe. “tition, about an handkerchief! Why was not this call'd the Tra“gedy of the Handkerchief? What can be more abfurd, than (as « Quintilian expreffes it) in parvis litibus bas Tragoedias mevere « We have heard of Fortunatus's purse, and of the invisible cloak, long
ago worn thread-bare, and ftow'd up in the wardrobe of obsolete
romances : one might think, that were a fitter place for this hand. s kerchief, than that it, at this time of day, be worn on the fage, " to raise every where all this clutter and turmoil. Had it been “ Desdemona's garter, the fagacious Moor might have smelt a rat : “ but the handkerchief is fo remote a trifle, no booby, on this fire " Mauritania, could make any consequence from it.'? -Whether this be from the spirit of a true critic, or from the licence of a railer, I may be too much prejudiced to determine : fo leave it to every in different judgment.
Def. Indeed! is't true ?
Óch. Fetch me the handkerchief-my mind mifgives
Def. A inan, that, all his time,
Orb. The handkerchief-
[Exit Othello, Manent Desdemona and Æmilia. Æmil. Is not this man jealous ?
Def. I ne'er saw this before.
Æmil. "Tis not a year, or two, shews us a man:
Enter Jago and Caffio. lago. There is no other way, 'tis the most do't ; And lo, the happiness! go and importune her. (you ?
Def. How now, good. Casin, what's the news with: Cal. Madam, my former suit. I do befeech you,
That by your virtuous means I may again
Dif. Alås! thrice-gentle Casio,
Iago. Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
To Fortune's arms.) i. e. 10 be embraced by Fortune : 'which waga a greater happiness than Cafio yet dreamt of. I don't know whether we are to dispute here with Mr. Pope's eyes, or his understanding, for departing from all the old copies, which read as they should do ;
And jbut myself up in some o: ber' course,
To Fortune's alms. i. e. To chance, and casualay. So before, in this play ;
I'd whistle her.off, and let her down the wind
To prey at Fortune,
Let your study
At Fortune's alms,
And, like the Devil, from his very arm
Manent Desdemona, Æmilia, and Caffio.
Nay, we must think, Men are not Gods ;;
Æmil. Pray heav'n, it be
Def. Alas-the-day, I never gave him cause.
Æmil. But jealous fouls will not be answer'd fo;
Def. Heav'n keep that monster from Othello's mind!
Def. I will go feek him. Cafic, walk hereabout;
[Exeunt Desdem. and Æmil. at ane door
Callio, at the other.