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It is the green-ey'd moniter, which doth make
Who, 8 It is tbe green-ey'd monfter, wbich dath make
The meat it feeds on :] The old copies have mock. The correction was made by Sir Thomas Hanmer. MALONE.
-wbicb dorb mock
The meat it feeds on :) i. e. loaths that which nourilies and sustains it. This being a miserable state, lago bids him beware of it. The Oxford edicor reads:
wbicb dorb make Tbe meat it feeds on. Implying that its suspicions are unreal and groundless, which is the very contrary to what he would here make his General think, as appears from what follows:
That curkold lives in bliss, &c. In a word, the villain is for fixing him jealous : and therefore bids him beware of jealousy, not that it was an unreasonable, but a miserable ftate; and this plunges him into it, as we see by his reply, which is only, O misery! WARBURTON.
I have 'received Hanmer's emendation; because to mock does not fignify to loarb; and because, when Iago bids Othello beware of jealousy, obe green-ey'd monster, it is natural to tell why he should béo ware; and for caution he gives him two reasons, that jealousy often creates its own caule, and that, when the causes are real, jealouly is milery. JOHNSON.
In this place and some others, to mock seems the same with to mammock. FARMER.
If Shakspeare had written- green-ey'd monster, we might have supposed him to refer to come creature existing only in his particular imagination; but obe green ey'd monster seems to have reference to an object as familiar to his readers as to himself.
It is known that the ryger kind have green eyes, and always play with the victim to their hunger, before they devour it. So, in our author's Torquin and Lucrece:
“ Like foul night-waking car, he doth but dally,
" While in his hold-fast foot the weak moufe panteth ;-." 'Thus, a jealous husband, who discovers no certain cause why he may be divorced, continues to sport with the woman whom he suf. pećts, and, on more certain evidence, determines to punith. There is no beast that can be literally said to make its own food, and therefore I am unwilling to receive the emendation of Hanmer, especially as I Batter myself that a glimpse of meaning may be produced from the ancient reading. In Antony and Cleopatra the contested word occurs again :
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger ;
i. e. he plays wantonly with those intervals of time which he should improve to his own preservation.
Should such an explanation be admillible, the advice given by Iago will amount to this:-Beware, my lord, of yielding to a polfion wbicb as yet bas no proofs to jußify its excess. Think bow tbe interval between suspicion and certainty must be filled. Tbougb you doubt ber fidelity, you cannot yet refuse ber your bed, or drive ber from your beart; bue like tbe capricious savage, must continue to spore with one wbom you wait for an opportunity to destroy. A fimilar idea occurs in All's well obat ends well: "
so lust doth play * With what it loaths." Such is the only sense that I am able to draw from the original text. What I have said, may be liable to tome objections, but I have nothing better to propose. That jealousy is a monster which often creates the suspicions on which it feeds, may be well admitted according to Hanmer's propofition; but is it the monster? (i. e, a well known and conspicuous animal) or whence has it green eyes? Yellow is the colour which Shakspeare appropriates to jealousy. It must be acknowledged that he afterwards characterizes it as
" What damned minutes counts he o'er, &c." is the best illustration of my attempt to explain the passage. To produce Hanmer's meaning, a change in the text is neceflary. I am counsel for the old reading. STEEVENS.
I have not the smalleit doubt that Shakspeare wrote make, and have therefore inserted it in the text. The words make and mocke (for such was the old spelling) are often confounded in these plays, and I have assigned the reason in a note on Measure for Measure, Vol. II. p. 21, n. 5.
Mr. Steevens in his paraphrase on this passage interprets the word mock by sport; but in what poet or prose-writer, from Chaucer and Mandeville to this day, does the verb to mock signify to sport with? In the passage from Antbony and Cleopatra, I have proved, I think incontestably, from the metre, and from our poet's usage of this verb in other places, (in which itis followed by a personal pronoun,) that Shake speare must have written
“ Being so frustrate, tell him, he mocks us by
“ The pauses that he makes.". (See Vol. VII. p. 575, n. 8.) Besides ; is it truc as a general position, that jealousy (as jealouis) sports or plays witb the object of love (allowing this not very delicate interpretation of the words, the meat it feeds on, to be the true one) ? The position certainly is not true. It is Love, not Jealousy, that sports
Who dotes, yet doubts ; suspects, yet strongly loves !! Oib. O mifery!
with the object of its paflion; nor can those circumstances which create fufpicion, and which are ebe meat it feeds on, with any propriety be called the food of love, when the poet has cleariy pointed tben out as the food or cause of JEALOUSY ; giving it not only being, bat nutriment.
“ There is no beast," it is urged, " that can literally be laid to make its own food.” It is indeed acknowledged, that jealousy is s montter which often creates the sulpicions on which it feeds, but is it, we are asked, “ the monster ? (i.e. a well known and conspicuous asimal;) and whence has it green-eyes? Yellow is the colour wbich Shakfpeare appropriates to jealousy.'
To this I answer, that yellow is not the only colour which Shak. speare appropriates to jealousy, for we have in The Mercbant of Venice,
Thuddering fear, and green-ey'd jealousy." and I suppose, it will not be contended that he was tbere thinking of any of the tyger kind.
If our poet had written only_ It is the green-ey'd monster ; beware of it;" the other objection would hold good, and some par. ticular moniter, xat' ešoxni, must have been meant; but the words, “ jt is ebe green-ey'd monster, whicb doth, &c. in my apprehenson have precisely the same meaning, as if the poet had written, “it is that green-ey'd monster, which, &c." or, “ it is a green-ey'd monster." He is ebe man in the world whom I would least with to meet, is the common phraseology of the present day.
When Othello lays to lago in a former passage, “ By heaven, he cchoes me, as if there were some monster in his thought," does any one imagine that any animal whatever was meant ?
The pallage in a subsequent scene, to which Mr. Steevens has alluded, ítrongly supports the emendation which has been made :
- jealousy will not be answer'd lo;
“ Begoe upon itself, born on itself." It is, friely speaking, as falte that any monster can be degol, or bore, on itself, as it is, that any moniter (whatever may be the colour of its eyes, whether green or yellow) can make its own tood; but, poetically, both are equally true of that monster, JEALOUSY. Mr. Steevens seems
have been aware of this, and therefore has added the word literally: “No monster can be literally said to make its owa food."
It Thould always be remembered, that Shakspeare's allufions scarcely ever answer precisely on both fides; nor had he any care upon this fubject. Though he has introduced the word monster, when he talk'd of its making its own food, and being beger by itself, he was ftil
Jago. Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough'; But riches, fineless?, is as poor as winter 3, To him that ever fears he thall be poor :Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend From jealousy!
Oth. Why? why is this?
thinking of jealousy only, carelefs whether there was any animal in the world that would correlpond with his description.
That by the words, ibe meat it feeds on, is meant, not Defdemona her. self, as has been maintained, but pabulum zelotypiæ, may be likewise inferred from a preceding pafiage in which a kindred imagery is found :
“ That policy may either last so long,
“ O: feed upon such nice and watcrish diet,” &c. And this obvious interpretation is still more Itrongly confirmed by Daniel's Rojamond, 1592, a poem which Shakspeare had diligently read, and has more than once imitated in Romeo and Juliet:
“ O Jealousy,
“ Happy were lovers, if they never knew thee." In this and the few other places in which I have ventured to de. part from the ancient copies, I have thought it my duty to itate in the fullest and clearest manner the grounds on which the emendation stands: which in fome cases I have found not easily accomplished, without running into greater prolixity than would otherwise be justifiable.
MALONE. The same idea occurs in Maflinger's Pi&ture, where Mathias, speak. iog of the groundless jealousy which he entertained of Sophia's posible inconstancy, says,
“ I am strangely troubled ; yet why should I nouris
“ Or can be false hereafter ?" Imagind food is food created by imagination, the food that jealousy makes, and feeds on. Mason. 9 – strongly loves! ) Thus the quarto; the folio,-seundly loves.
STEEVENS "Poor, and content, is rich, and ricb enougb;] So in Dorajus and Fawnia, (the novel on which The Winter's Tale is formed,) 1592 : “ We are rich, in that we are poor with content.” MALONE. 2 But ricbes, finelejs,] Unbounded, endless, unnumbered treasures.
JOHNSON 3-as poor as winter,] Finely expresied: winter producing no fruits. WARBURTON.
Think'st thou, I'd make a life of jealousy,
The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt;
4 To such exfufficate and blown surmises,] Whether our poet had any authority for the word exfufflicate, which I think is used in the sense of swollen, and appears to have been formed from fuffiarus, I am unable to ascertain : but I have not thought it safe to subititute for it another word equally unauthorised. Suffolare in Italian fignifies to wbiftle. How then can Dr. Johnson's interpretation of exfuffolate be fupported ? The introducer of this word explains it, by “whispered, buzz'd in the ears." MALONE.
To fuch exsuffolate and blown surmises.] This old and far-fetched word was made yet more uncouth in all the editions before Hanmer's by being printed, exf-flicate. The allusion is to a bubble. Do not think, says the Moor, that I shall change the noble detigns that now employ my thoughts, to suspicions which, like bubbles blown into a wide extent, have only an empty thew without solidity; or that, in consequence of such empty fears, I will close with thy inference againft the virtue of my wife. JOHNSON.
5 Where virtue is, obese are more virtuous : ] An action in itself in. different, grows virtuous by its end and application. JOHNSON.
I know not why the modern editors, in oppofition to the firft quarto and folio, read most instead of more.
A pallage in All's well that ends well, is perhaps the best comment on the sentiment of Othello : “ I have those good hopes of her, education promiles: his disposition the inherits; which makes fair gifts fairer.” Gratior e pulcbro veniens et corpore virtus.
STEEVENS. Most was arbitrarily introduced by the ignorant editor of the second folio. MALONE.