Imatges de pàgina

Emil. Do thy worft :
This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven,
Than thou waft worthy her.

Orb. Peace, you were beft.

Emil. Thou haft not half the power to do me harm,
As I have to be hurt'. O gull! O dolt !
As ignorant as dirt! thou haft done a deed,
I care not for thy sword ; I'll make thee known,
Though I loft twenty lives :-Help! help, ho! help!
The Moor has kill'd my mistress ; Murder! murder!

Enter Montano, GRATIANO, and IAGO.
Mon. What is the matter?-How now, general?

Emil, O, are you come, Iago ? you have done well, That men must lay their murders on your neck.

Gra. What is the matter?

Emil. Disprove this villain, if thou be'ft a man:
He says, thou told'At him that his wife was false;
I know, thou did'It not, thou'rt not such a villain;
Speak, for my heart is full.

lago. I told him what I thought; and told no more Than what he found himself was apt and true.

Emil. But did you ever tell him, the was false?
lago. I did,

Emil. You told a lie; an odious, damned lie;
Upon my soul, a lie; a wicked lie :-
She false with Caflio!-Did you say, with Caffio?

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9 Tbou baft not balf the power to do me barm,

As I bave to be burt.) she means to say, 1 bave in obis cause
power to endure more than tbou bast power to infiis. JOHNSON,
This sentiment is more expanded in K. Henry VIII.

"~I am able now, methinks,
“ (Out of a fortitude of foul I feel,)
« To endure more miseries and greater far,

“ Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer." Again, in K. Henry VI. P. II.

“ More can I bear than you dare execute." Of this last line there is no trace in the old play on which Shakspeare formed the Second Part of K. Henry VI. MALONE.


Iago. With Casio, mistress; Go to, charm your tongue". Emil. I will not charm my tongue; I am bound to

My mistress here lies murder'd in her bed?,

All. O heavens forefend!
Emil. And your reports have set the murder on.
Oth. Nay, itare noi, masters; it is true, indeed.
Gra. 'Tis a Itrange truth.
Mon. O monstrous act !

Emil. Villainy, villainy, villainy_
I think upon't,- I think,

-I smell't ;- villainy!
I thought so then ;-I'll kill myself for grief.-
O villainy, villainy!

lago. What, are you mad? I charge you, get you home.

Emil. Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak; 'Tis proper I obey him, but not now:Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home. Otb. O! O! O!

[hanging over his wife. Emil. Nay, lay thee down, and roar; For thou hait kill'd the sweetelt innocent, That e'er did lift up eye. Otb. O, the was foul!

[rising. I scarce did know you, uncle: There lies your niece, Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopp’d:

1-cbarm your tongue.] By this expression, Charm your tongue, the poet means no more than to make lago say, Apply some power, strong as a cbarm would be, to your tongue; for nothing less can stop its volubility. So, in King Henry VI. P. II.

« Peace, wilful boy, or I will cbarm your tongue." So, Ben Jonson, in Cynrbia's Revels :

"cbarm your skipping tongue," Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, b. 5. c. 9.:

“ That well could cbarm bis iongue, and time his speech.” Again, in Tbe Yorkshire Tragedy, 1619 :

" The furest way to charm a woman's tongue,

“ Is to break her neck :-a politician did it." Pliny informs us, that favere linguis was the constant exclamation before any religious cbarm was applied. From this circumstance the phrase, to cbarm a tongue, might have originated. STEEVENS.

2 My mistress, &c.] This line, and the following fix speeches, are wanting in the firit quarto. STEEVENS.

I know,

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I know, this act Mews horrible and grim.

Gra. Poor Desdemona! I am glad thy father's dead;
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
Shore his old thread in twain : did he live now,
This fight would make him do a desperate turn;
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,
And fall to reprobation

Oth. 'Tis pitiful: but yet Iago knows,
That she with Catsio hath the act of shame
A thousand times committed * ; Caffio confess’d it:

3 Yea, curse his better angel from his fide,
And fall to reprobation.] So, in our authour's 144th Sonnet :

my female evil “ Tempteth my better angel from my side.MALONE. 4 A obousand times committed; ] This is another passage which seems to suppose a longer space comprised in the action of ihis play than the scenes include. JOHNSON.

That she with Casio barb tbe act of foame

Arbowjand times committed ; And again :

'Tis not a year or two fhews us a man.) I am not convinced from these passages only, that a longer space is comprised in the action of this play than the scenes include.

What Othello mentions in the first instance, might have passed fill more often, before they were married, when Cailio went between them; for the, who could find means to clude the vigilance of her fa. ther in respect of Othello, might have done so in respect of Caffio, when there was time enough for the occurrence supposed to have happened. A jealous person will aggravate all he thinks, or speaks of; and might use a obousand for a much less number, only to give weight to his censure: nor would it have answered any purpose to bave made Othello a little nearer or further off from truth in his calculation. We might apply the poet's own words in Cymbeline :

“ - fpare your arithmetic;

« Once, and a million." The latter is a proverbial expression, and might have been introduced with propriety, had they been married only a day or two. Emilia's reply perhaps was dictated by her own private experience; and seems to mean ouly, “ that it is too soon to judge of a husband's difpofition; “ or that Desdemona must not be surprized at the discovery of Othello's “ jealousy, for it is not even a year or two that will display all the “ failings of a man."

Mr. Tollet, however, on this occasion has produced several inftances in support of Dr. Johnson's opinion; and as I am unable to explain them in favour of my own supposition, I shall lay them before the public,

« AG

And she did gratify his amorous works
With that recognizance and pledge of love
Which I first gave her; I faw it in his hand ;
It was a handkerchiefs, an antique token
My father gave my mother.

Emil, " Act III. sc. ii. Othello says:

“ What sense had I of her stolen hours of lust?
" I saw it not, thought it not, it harm'd not me:
I Nepe ibe next nigbe well, was free and merry :

" I found not Callio's killes on her lips." « On Othello's wedding-night he and Cassio embarked from Venice, where Desdemona was left under the care of lago. They all meet at Cyprus; and fince their arrival there, the scenes include only one night, the night of the celebration of their nuptials. Iago had not then infused any jealousy into Othello's mind, nor did he suspect any former intimacy between Caffio and Desdemona, but only thought it “ apt, and of great credit that the loved him." What night then was there to intervene between Caflio's kisses and Othello's sleeping the next night well? Iago has said, “ I lay with Casio lately,” which he could not not have done, unless they had been longer at Cyprus than is represented in the play; nor could Caffio have kept away, for the space of a whole week, from Bianca." STEEVENS. 5 It was a bandkerchief, &c.] Othello tells his wife, Ac III. sc. iv:

ibat bandkercbief

Did an Ægyprian to my morber give. And here he says:

It was a bandkercbief,

My farber gave my morber. This last panlage has been censured as an oversight in the poet ; but perhaps it exhibits only a fresh proof of his art. The first account of the handkerchief, as given by Othello, was purposely oftentatious, in order to alarm his wife the more. When he mentions it a second time, the truth was sufficient for his purpose.

This circumstance of the handkerchief is perhaps ridiculed by Ben Jonson, in his Poetafler : “ You shall see me do the Moor; master, lend me your searfi STEEVENS.

I queition whether Othello was written early enough to be ridiculed in the Poetafter. There were many other Moors on the stage. It is certain at least, that the passage,

“ - our new heraldry is bands, not bearls." could not be inferted before the middle of the year 1615. FARMER.

If the allusion in the Poetaster (which was printed in 1601) were to 0:bello, it would fix its date much earlier than I conceive it to have been written. But the allusion in the passage quoted, is not to Oebello, but to an old play called the Battle of Alcazar, 1594.-In the Poetafter, Pyrgus, who says, “ you shall see me do the Moor," proceeds in the

Emil. O heaven! O heavenly powers !
lago. Come, hold your peace.

Emil.'Twill out, 'twill out :-I hold my peace, fir i no;
No, I will speak as liberal as the air o;
Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all,
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak.

Iago. Be wise, and get you home.
Emil. I will not.

[Iago offers to fab bis wife.
Gra, Fie!
Your sword upon a woman?
Emil.Othou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou speak'st

I found by fortune, and did give my husband;
For often, with a solemn earneftness,
(More than, indeed, belong'd to such a trifle,)
He begg'd of me to steal it.

Iago. Villainous whore !

Emil. She give it Cassio! no, alas; I found it, And I did give it my husband.

lago. Filth, thou liest.

Emil. By heaven, I do not ; I do not, gentlemen:
O murd'rous coxcomb! what should such a fool
Do with so good a wife?

[Iago ftabs Emilia, then runs out, Oth. Are there no stones in heaven,

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same scene, and repeats an absurd speech of the Moor in the Bartle of Alcazar, beginning with this line :

" Where art thou, boy? where is Calipolis ?" which ascertains the allufion to be to that play. MALONE.

6 No I will speak as liberal as ibe air ;] The quarto, 1622, reads :

I'll be in speaking liberal as the air.
The folio :

No, I will speak as liberal as the norib.
The text is formed out of the two copies. MALONE.

Liberal, is free, under no controul. This quality of the Northwind is mentioned in Victoria Corombona, &c. 1612 :

« And let th' irregular North wind sweep her up." Again, in Jeronimo, i. e. the first part of the Spaniso Tragedy, 1605 : “ Now let your bloods be liberal as the lea." STELVENS.


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