Imatges de pàgina

That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood,
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect,
He wrought upon her.

Duke. To vouch this, is no proof;
Without more certain and more overt test",
Than these thin habits?, and poor likelihoods
Of modern seeming, do prefer against him.

1. Sen. But, Othello, speak;
Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections ?
Or came it by request, and such fair question
As soul to soul affordeth ?

Oth. I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary 8,
And let her speak of me before her father :
If you do find me foul in her report,
The truít, the office, I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.

Duke. Fetch Desdemona hither.
Oth.Ancient, conduct them; you best know the place.-

[Exeunt Iago, and Attendants,

5 To voucb, &c.] The first folio unites this speech with the preceding one of Brabantia; and instead of certain reads wider.

STEEVENS. - overt teft,] Open proofs, external evidence. JOHNSON. 7 - thin babirs, Of modern seemings-) Weak thew of Night appearance.

Johnson. So modern is generally used by Shakspeare. See Vol. II. p. 396; n. 6. and Vol. IV. p. 409, n. 8. MALONE. The first quarto reads :

These are thin habits, and poore likelihoods

of modern seemings you prefer against him. STEEVENS, 8 — to the Sagittary,] So the folio here and in a former pallage. The quarto in both places reads—the Sagittar. MALONE.

The Sagittary means the fign of the fictitious creature so called, i, a an animal compounded of man and horse, and armed with a bow and quiver. STEEVENS. 9 The truft, &c.] This line is wanting in the first quarto.



And, till the come, as truly' as to heaven
I do confefs 2 the vices of my blood,
So juftly to your grave ears I'll present
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love,
And she in mine.

Duke. Say it, Othello.

Oth. Her father Lov'd me; oft invited me; ftill question’d me The story of my life, from year to year; The battles, fieges, fortunes, that I have pass’d. I ran it through, even from my boyish days, To the very moment that he bade me tell it. Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances, Of moving accidents, by flood, and field; Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach ; Of being taken by the infolent foe, And fold to flavery; of my redemption thence, And portance in my travel's history 3 :



- as truly-] The first quarto reads, as faithful. STEEVENS. 2 I do confefs, &c.] This line is omitted in the first quarto.

STEEVENS 3 And portance, &c.] I have restored,

And wirb it all my travel's bistory: from the old edition. It is in the rest,

And portance in my travel's history: Rymer, in his criticism on this play, has changed it to portents, instead of portance. Pope.

Mr. Pope has restored a line, to which there is little objection, but which has no force. I believe portance was the author's word in some revised copy. I read thus,

of being
sold to slavery, of my redemption obence,

portance in't; my travel's biftory.
My redemption from Navery, and behaviour in it. Johnson.

I doubt much whether this line, as it appears in the folio, came from the pen of Shakspeare. The reading of the quarto may be weak, but it is sense ; but what are we to understand by my demeanour, or my sufferings, (which ever is the meaning,) in my travel's biftory?

MALONI. Portance is a word already used in Coriolanus :

took from you
“ The apprehenfion of his present portance,
66 Which most gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion,' &c.


Wherein of antres vast 4, and desarts idles,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It was my hint to speak', such was the process;
Spenser, in the third Canto of the second Book of the Faery Ques,
likewise uses it:

“ But for in court gay portaunce he perceiv'd." STEEVENS, 4 Wherein of antres vafl, &c.] Discourses of this nature made the subject of the politest conversations, when voyages into, and discoveries of, the new world were all in vogue. So when the Baftard Faulconbridge, in King Fobr, describes the behaviour of opltart great. ness, he makes one of the essential circumstances of it to be this kind of table-talk. The fashion then running altogether in this way, it is no wonder a young lady of quality should be struck with the history of an adventurer. So that Rymer, who profesiedly ridicules this whole circumstance, and the noble author of the Charakteriftics, who more obliquely sneers at it, only expose their own ignorance. WAR BURTOX.

Whoever ridicules this account of the progress of love, thews his ignorance, not only of history, but of nature and manners. It is no wonder that, in any age, or in any nation, a lady, recluse, timorous, and delicate, should defire to hear of events and scenes which fue could never see, and thould admire the man who had endured dangers, and performed actions, which, however great, were yet magnified by her timidity. Johnson.

s-and dejarts idle,] Every mind is liable to absence and inadvertency, elle Pope (who reads--defarts wild,] could never have rejected a word so poetically beautiful. Idle is an epithet used to express the infertility of the chaotick state, in the Saxon uanslation of the Pentateuch. JOHNS So, in the Comedy of Errors :

« Usurping ivy, briar, or idle moss." Mr. Pope might have found the epithet wild in all the three laf folios. STEEVENS.

The epithet, idle, which the ignorant editor of the second folio did not understand, and therefore changed to wild, is confirmed by another passage in this act « either to have it fteril with idlerejs, or manured with industry.” MALONE.

artres -] Caves and dens. JOHNSON. • It was my hint to speak,] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622 reads, It was my bent to speak. MALONE.

Hent occurs at the conclusion of the fourth A& of Measure for Meas sure. It is derived from the Saxon Hentan, and means, to take bold of 10 feize.

the gravest citizen
“ Have bent the gates.'
But in the very next page Orbello says:

Upon this bint I1pake.
It is certain therefore that change is unnecessary. STEEVENS.


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And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders ?. These things to hear,
Would Desdemona seriously incline :
But still the house affairs would draw her thence ;
Which ever as the could with halte dispatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse ® : Which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour; and found good means

1 -- men wbose beads

Do grow beneath ebeir poulders.] Of these men there is an account in the interpolated traveis or Mandeville, a book of that time.

JOHNSON. The Cannibals and Anebropophagi were known to an English audience before Shakspeare introduced them. In the History of Orlando Furioso, play'd for the entertuinment of Queen Elizabeth, they are mentioned in the very first scene; and Raleigh speaks of people whose heads appear not above their shoulders. Again, in the Tragedy of Locrine, 1595:

cí Or where the bloody Anthropopbagi

“ With greedy jaws devour the wand'ring wights." The poet might likewise have read of them in Pliny's Nat. Hift. translated by P. Holland, 1601, and in Stowe's Cbronicle.

STEEVENS. Our poet has again in The Tempest mentioned " men whose heads stood in their breasts.” He had in both places probably Hackluyt's Voyages, 1598, in view : "On that branch which is called Caora, are a nation of people abofe beades appeare not above their shoulders :they are reported to have their eyes in their shoulders, and their mouches in the middle of their breaits."

Raleigh also has given an account of men whose heads do grow be. neath their shoulders, in his Description of Guiana, published in 1596, a book that without doubt Shakspeare had read. Malune, 8 - and wilba greedy ear

Devour up my discourse :] So, in Marlowe's Luft's Dominion, written before 1593:

“ Hang both your greedy ears upon my lips;

« Let them devour my speecbo"
Again, in Spenser's Faery Queene, B. VI. c. ix.

“ Whyleft thus he talkt, the knight with greedy eare
“ Hong still upon his melting mouth attent." MALONI.
" Iliacosque iterum demens audire labores
“ Expofcit, pendetque iterum narrantis ab ore." Virg.



To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively”: I did consent;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke,
That my youth suffer'd. My story being cone,
She gave me for my pains a world of fighs':
She swore,- In faith, 'twas strange, 'twas paffing strange;
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish'd, she had not heard it; yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man: The thank'd me;
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint, I spake:
She lov'd me for the dangers I had past;
And I lov'd her, that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have us’d;
Here comes the lady, let her witness it.

Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants.
Duke. I think, this tale would win my daughter too.
Good Brabantio,

9 But not intentively :-) Thus the eldest quarto. The folio reads instinctively. Perhaps it should be, distintively.

The old word, however, may stand. Intention and attention were once synonymous. So, in a play called Tbe Isle of Gulls, 1633 : “ Grace ! at fitting down they cannot intend it for hunger," i. e. artend to it. Desdemona, who was often called out of the room on the score of house-affairs, could not have heard Orbello's tale intentively, i. e. with attention to all its parts. Again, in Chapman's Version of the Odyssey, B. VIII.

or For our fhips know th' expressed minds of men;
" And will so most intentively retaine

" Their scopes appointed, that they never erre." STEEVENS. Shakspeare has already used the word in the same sense in his Merry Wives of Windsor : - she did course over my exteriors with such a greedy intention." See also Vol. VIII. p. 48, n. 4.

Distinctively was the conjectural emendation of the editor of the se. cond 'folio, who never examined a single quarto copy. MALONE.

- a world of lighs :) It was kisses in the later editions : but this is evidently the true reading. The lady had been forward indeed to give him a world of kisses upon the bare recital of his story; nor does it agree with the following lines. Pope. Sigbs is the reading of the quarto, 1622 ; kises of the folio. MALONE.


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