Upon a soldier's thigh: I have seen the day,
That, with this little arm, and this good sword,
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop:-But, О vain boast !
Who can control his fate? 'tis not so now.-
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. .
Do you go back dismay'd ? 'tis a lost fear;
Man but a rush against Othello's breast,
And he retires.- Where should Othello go?-
Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starr'd wench'!
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt,
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl ;
Even like thy chastity.-0, cursed slave?!—
Whip me, ye devils,
From the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire !
O Desdemona! Desdemona! dead? O! O! O'!

Enter Lodovico, Montano, Cassio', and Officers, with

Iago, prisoner. Lod. Where is this rash and most unfortunate man? Oth. That's he, that was Othello: here I am.

| Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starr'd wench !] This and the six previous lines are not in the quarto, 1622, but are in the folio and quarto, 1630 : the latter, however, omits “Now,” in this line.

? Even like thy chastity.—0, cursed slave !] So the two quartos : the folio repeats “cursed,” to the detriment of the metre.

3 0 Desdemona, Desdemona ! dead ? 0! 0! 0 !] Our reading is here that of both the quartos; the folio has the line thus, with an injurious, though by no means unprecedented abridgment of the name :

“O Desdemon ? dead ? Desdemon ! dead ! 0! 0 !" • Enter Lodovico, Montano, Cassio,] The stage-direction of the quartos, informs us that Cassio was "carried in a chair,” but as the words are not in the folio, we may infer that the practice of our old stage in this respect was not uniform. In modern times Cassio walks in lame, and supported, with the handkerchief about his leg.

Lod. Where is that viper ? bring the villain forth.
Oth. I look down towards his feet";—but that's a

If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.

[OTHELLO wounds Iago. Lod. Wrench his sword from him. Iago.

I bleed, sir; but not kill'd.
Oth. I am not sorry rieither: I'd have thee live;
For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die.

Lod. O thou Othello! that wert once so good,
Fall’n in the practice of a damned slave",
What shall be said to thee?

Why, any thing :
An honourable murderer, if you will;
For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.

Lod. This wretch hath part confess'd his villainy.
Did you and he consent in Cassio's dedth?

Oth. Ay.
Cas. Dear general, I never gave you cause.

Oth. I do believe it, and I ask you pardon'.

you, I pray, demand that demi-devil, Why he hath thus ensnar'd my soul and body?

Iago. Demand me nothing: what you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word.

Lod. What! not to pray?

Torments will ope your lips. Oth. Well, thou dost best.

Lod. Sir, you shall understand what hath befall’n, Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter, Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo ; And here another : the one of them imports


towards his feet ;) To see (observes Johnson) if, according to the common opinion, his feet were cloven.

6 — of a Damned slave,] The folio reads “of a cursed slave,” in opposition to the two other authorities.

7 – I ask you pardon.] The folio alone has “ I ask your pardon,” and in this part of the scene there are some other trifling variations not requiring especial notice, and not at all affecting the sense.

The death of Cassio to be undertook
By Roderigo.

Oth. O villain!

Most heathenish, and most gross!
Lod. Now, here's another discontented paper,
Found in his pocket too; and this, it seems,
Roderigo meant to have sent this damned villain;
But that, belike, Iago in the interim
Came in and satisfied him.

O, the pernicious caitiff!-
How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief,
That was my wife's?

I found it in my chamber;
And he himself confess'd, but even now,
That there he dropp'd it, for a special purpose,
Which wrought to his desire.

O fool! fool! fool !
Cas. There is, besides, in Roderigo's letter,
How he upbraids Iago, that he made him
Brave me upon the watch ; whereon it came
That I was cast : and even but now he spake,
After long seeming dead,—Iago hurt him,
Iago set him on.

Lod. You must forsake this room, and go with us : Your power and your command is taken off

And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave,
If there be any cunning cruelty,
That can torment him much, and hold him long,
It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest,
Till that the nature of your fault be known
To the Venetian state.-Come; bring him away'.

8 - in the INTERIM] “Interim” is the word in the folio and in the quarto, 1630 : it is nick in the quarto, 1622. In the next line the folio reads, “ O thou pernitious caitiff !”

» And he himself confess’d, but even now,] The folio and quarto, 1630, read “confess’d it but even now," and the quarto, 1622, “confess'd it even now.” The sense clearly requires the omission of it.

1 – Come ; bring him away.) The folio omits " him,” found in the other old copies.

Oth. Soft you; a word or two, before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know it; No more of that.-I pray you, in your letters, When

you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I amo; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speak Of one that lov’d, not wisely, but too well : Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought, Perplex'd in the extreme; of one, whose band, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away', Richer than all his tribe; of one, whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinal gum". Set you down this; And say, besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk Beat a Venetian, and traduc'd the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog, And smote him—thus.

[Stabs himself. Lod. O bloody period ! Gra.

All that's spoke is marr’d. Oth. I kiss'd thee, ere I kill'd thee no way but this,

[Falling upon DESDEMONA. Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.

Speak of me as I am ;] Thus the folio and quarto, 1630 : the earlier quarto, “Speak of them as they are."

3 Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away,] The folio has Iudean, and the quarto, 1622, Indian, and to these authorities the commentators referred; but they left unnoticed the quarto, 1630, which, like the earlier quarto, has Indian. The ald, Warburton, and Malone, are at variance whether the quarto, 1622, reads Judean or Indian, but there can be no doubt that Indian is there the word. The meaning is very clear, the allusion obscure ; and the probability is that Shakespeare referred to some known fable of the time, now lost. Theobald contended for a reference to the story of Herod and Mariamne. It was formerly thought that the balance of the old texts was equal, the folio being Iudean, and the quarto, 1622, Indian, and it is somewhat surprising that in a question of the kind, no resort was ever had to the other contemporary authority, differing in many places from the folio, 1623, and from the quarto, 1622, and printed from some separate manuscript. Had Iudean of the folio, 1623, been right, the word would hardly have been printed Indian, in the quarto, 1630, supposing the editor to have referred to the folio.

4 Their MEDICINAL gum.] Here again the quarto, 1630, comes to our aid, the folio reading medicinable, and the quarto, 1622, “medicinal :" the quarto, 163C, has “medicinal.”

[Dies. Cas. This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon, For he was great of heart. Lod.

O Spartan dog! More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea, Look on the tragic loading of this bed";

[To Iago. This is thy work: the object poisons sight; Let it be hid.—Gratiano, keep the house, And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor, For they succeed on you.—To you,


Remains the censure of this hellish villain ;
The time, the place, the torture :-0, enforce it!
Myself will straight aboard, and to the state
This heavy act with heavy heart relate.


5 Look on the tragic loading of this bed ;] Here the text of the folio is evidently preferable to that of the two quartos, which have lodging for loading :" below also we adopt from it “ succeed on you" instead of " succeed to you."

[Exeunt.] It appears from Mr. P. Cunningham's “ Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court,” (printed for the Shakespeare Society) p. 203, that a play, called " The Moor of Venis," no doubt, “Othello,” was acted at Whitehall on Nov. 1, 1604. The tragedy seems to have been always so popular as to remain what is termed “a stock piece ;” and it was performed again before King Charles and his Queen at Hampton Court on Dec. 8, 1636. Ibid. Introd. p. xxv.

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »