Imatges de pàgina
[ocr errors]

Cas. 'Tis but a little way, that I can bring you,
For I attend here : but I'll see you soon.
Bian. 'T'is very good; I must be circumftanc'd'.


[ocr errors]


The fame.
Enter. OTHELLO, and Iaco.
Ingo. Will you think so?
Oih. Think so, lago?

lago. What,
To kiss in private !

Oth. An unauthoriz'd kiss.

Iago. Or to be naked with her friend abed,
An hour, or more, not meaning any harm?

Oth. Naked abed, lago, and not mean harm?
It is hyprocrisy against the devila :
They that mean virtuously, and yet do so,


1 - I must be circumstanc'd.] i. e. your civility is now grown conditional, WARBURTON.

Particular circumstances and your own convenience have, I fee, more weight with you chan Bianca has. I must be postponed to these con. fiderations. MALONE. 2 Naked abed, lago, and not mean barm?

It is byprocrisy against ibe devil :) This observation seems strangely abrupt and unoccafioned. We must suppose that lago had, before they appear in this scene, been applying cases of falfe comfort to Othello; as that, though the parties had been even found in bed together, there might be no harm done ; it might be only for the trial of their virtue; as was reported of the Romith faint, Robert D'Ar. brisiel and his nuns: To this we must suppose Othello here replies ; and like a good protestant. For so the sentiment does but suit the chao racter of the speaker, Shakspeare little hecds how these sentiments are circumstanced. WARBURTON.

Hypocrisy against be devil, means, hypocrisy to cheat the devil. As common hypocrites cheat men, by seeming good, and yet living wickedly, these men would cheat the devil, by giving him Aattering


The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven 3.

lago. So they do nothing, 'tis a venial flip: But if I give my wife a handkerchief,

Oh. What then?

lago. Why, then 'tis hers, my lord ; and, being hers, She may, I think, bestow't on any man,

Oth. She is protectress of her honour too; May the give that?

lago. Her honour is an essence that's not seen ; They have it very oft, that have it not : But, for the handkerchief,

Oth. By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it :-
Thou said'st,-0, it comes o'er my memory,
As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
Boding to all*,-he had my handkerchief.

Iago. Ay, what of that i
Oib. That's not so good now.

lago. What, if I had said, I had seen him do you wrong? Or heard him say,— As knaves be such abroad, Who having, by their own importunate fuit, hopes, and at laft avoiding the crime which he thinks them ready to commit. JOHNSON.

3 T be devil obeir virtue tempts, and they tempi beaven.] As the devil makes a trial of their virtue by often throwing temptation in their way, so they presumptuously make a trial whether the divine goodness will enable them to refft a temptation which they have voluntarily created for themselves, or abandon them to the guvernment of their paflions. MALONE.

Shakspeare had probably in view a very popular book of his time, The Beebive of the Roman Cburcb, “ There was an old wife, called Julia, which would take the young men and maides, and lay them together in a bed. And for that they should not one byts another, nor kicke backewards with their heeles, she did lay a crucifix between them." FARMER.

4 Beding to all,-) Thus all the old copies. The moderns, less grammatically, Boding to ill. JOHNSON.

The raven was thought to be a constant attendant on a house in which there was infection. So, in Marlowe's Jew of Ma'ra, 1633 :

“ Thus, like the sad-presaging raven, that tolls
" The fiek man's pallport in her hollow beak,
" And in the shadow of the filent night
“ Does Diake contagion from her fable wing." MALONE.


PP 3

Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
But they must blab-

Oth.' Hath he said any thing?
Iago. He hath, my lord; but be you well assurid,
No more than he'll unswear.

Oth. What hath he said ?
lago. Faith, that he did, -I know not what he did,
Oih. What what?
lago. Lie-
Oth. With her?
lago. With her, on her ; what you will.

Oih. Lię with her! lie on her!-We say, lie on her, when they belie her: Lie with her ! that's fulsome, Handkerchief, --confessions, - handkerchief.–To con, fess, and be hang'd for his labour'.-First, to be hang’d, and then to confess :- I tremble at it. Nature would not


5 W bo baving, by obeir own importunate fuit,

Or voluntary detage of fome mistress,

Convinced or lupplied obem,-] Mr. Theobald for supplied would read suppled; but the emendation evidently hurts, instead of improv. ing, the sense ; for what is suppled, but convinced, i.e. subdued. Supplied relates to the words " voluntary dotage," as convinced does to * their own importunate suit." Having by obeir importunancy conquered the resistance of a misirejs, or, in compliance with ber own requefia and in consequence of ber unsolicited fondness, gratified her defires.

MALONI. Convinced, for cunquer’d, subdued. WARBURT So, in Macterb:

his two chamberlains
« Will I with wine and wallel so convince."
Again, in the same play :

their malady convinces
66 The great assay of art." STEEVENS.

- to confifs and be bang'd-] This is a proverbial saying. It is osed by Marlowe in his few of Malta, 1633 :

“ Blame us not, but the proverb - Confess, and be bang'd.” It occurs again, in Tbe Travels of ibe 3 English Brorbers, 1607 : And in one of the old collections of small poems there is an epigram on it. All that remains of this speech, including the words to confesso is wanting in the first quarto. STEEVENS.




invest herself in such shadowing passion', without some instructions. It is not words, that shake me thus ::

Pith! padowing pasion, ] The modern editions have left out paffion. JOHNSON

witbout some instruction.) The starts and broken reflections in this speech have something very terrible, and shew the mind of the speaker to be in inexpreflible agonies. But the words we are upon, when set sight, have a sublime in them that can never be enough admired. The ridiculous blunder of writing instruction for induction (for so it should be read) has indeed funk it into arrant nonsense. Othello is just going to fall into a swoon; and, as is common for people in that circumstance, feels an unusual mist and darkness, accompanied with horrour, coming upon him. This, with vast sublimity of thought, is compared to the season of the sun's eclipse, at which time the earth becomes thadowed by the induction or bringing over of the moon between it and the sun. This being the allusion, the reasoning stands thus: “ My nature could never be thus overshadowed, and “ falling, as it were, into diffolution, for no cause. There must be an « induction of something : there must be a real cause. My jealousy 6 cannot be merely imaginary. Ideas, words only, could not fake “ me thus, and raise all this disorder. My jealousy cherefore must be « grounded on matter of fact,” Shakspeare uses this word in the same sense, in Ricbard III,

" A dire industion am I witness to." Marston seems to have read it thus in some copy, and to allude to it in these words of his Fame :

“ Plots ha' you laid? induftions dangerous !” WARBURTON. This is a noble conjecture, and whether right or wrong does honour to its author. Yet I am in doubt whether there is any necessity of emendation. There has always prevailed in the world an opinion, that when any great calamity happens at a distance, notice is given of it to the sufferer by some dejection or purturbation of inind, of which he discovers no external cause. This is ascribed to that general communication of one part of the universe with another, which is called fympathy and antipathy; or to the secret monition, inftruction, and influence of a superiour Being, which superintends theoider of nature and of life. Ocbello says, Nature could not invest berself in such fpadowing pallion without instruction. It is not words ebat shake me ibus. This paßion, which spreads its clouds over me, is the effect of some agency more than the operation of words; it is one of those notices, which men have, of unseen calamities. Johnson.

However ingenious Dr. Warburton's note may be, it is certainly too forced and far-fetched. Othello alludes only to Caflio's dream, which had been invented and told him by lago. When many confused and very interesting ideas pour in upon the mind all at once, and with such rapidity that it has not time to shape or digeft them, if it does not re



Pith!--Noses, ears, and lipso:- Is it posible.-Confefs! landkerchief!- devil!

(falls in a trasce. lago. Work on, My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught; And many worthy and chaste dames, even thus, All guiltless meet reproach.-What, ho! my lord!

Enter Cassio.
My lord, I say! Othello!-How now, Caffio ?

Caf. What's the matter?

lago. My lord is fallen into an epilepsy; This is his second fit; he had one yeiterday.

Caf. Rub him about the temples.

lago. No, forbear:
The lethargy must have his quiet course :
If not, he foams at mouth; and, by and by,
Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he tirs :
Do you withdraw yourself a little while,
He will recover straight; when he is gone,
I would on great occasion speak with you. -

[Exit Cassio. lieve itself by tears, (which we know it often does, whether for joy or grief,) it produces ftupefaction and fainting.

Othello, in broken sentences and single words, all of which have a reference to the cause of his jealousy, thews that all the proofs are present at once to his mind, which so over.powers it, that he falls into a trance, the natural consequence. Sir J. REYNOLDS.

If Othello by the words shadowing pasion alludes to his own feelings, and not to Calio's dream, Dr. Warburton's interpretation, if we substitute inftruélion for induction, (which was introduced merely to usher in the image of an eclipse) is perhaps nearly correa. Induction, in Shakspeare's time, meant introduction, or prelude, (as in the instance quoted from K. Richard III.) and at no time fignified bringing over, as Dr. Warburton interprets it.

MALONE, 9 Noses, ears, and lips:) Othello is imaging to himself the fami. liarities which he supposes to have passed between Caflio and his wife. So, in the Winter's Tale:

“ Cheek to cheek,-meeting noses

“ Killing with inside lip," &c. If this be not the meaning, we must suppose he is meditating a cruel punishment for Desdemona and her suspected paramour :

Auribus, et truncas inhonesto vulnere rarese STEEVIN S.


« AnteriorContinua »