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Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
thief: He robs himself, that spends a bootless grief.
Bra., So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile; We lose it not, so long as we can smile. He bears the sentence well, that nothing bears But the free comfort which from thence he hears: But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow, That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow. These sentences, to sugar, or to gall, Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
30 i. e. ‘let me speak as yourself would speak, were you not too much heated with passion.'—Sir J. Reynolds.
31 Grise or greese is a step; from grés, French. The word occurs again in Timon of Athens :
for every grize of fortune
Is smooth'd by that below.' Ben Jonson, in his Sejanus, has degrees in the same sense:-
• Whom when we saw lie spread on the degrees.' 32 This is expressed in a common proverbial form in Love's Labour's Lost :
• Past cure is still past care.'
But words are words; I never yet did hear,
Duke. The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus :-Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you: And though we have there a substitute of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer voice on you; you must therefore be content to slubber 34 the gloss of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boisterous expedition.
Oth. The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
33 i. e. ' that the wounds of sorrow were ever cured by the words of consolation. Pierced is here used for penetrated. Spenser has employed the word in the same figurative sense, Faerie Queene, b. vi. c. 9 :
• Whose senseful words empierst his hart so neare
That he was rapt with double ravishment.' So in his fourth book, c. viii.:
• Her words
Which passing through the eares, would pierce the hart.' 34 To slubber here means to obscure. So in Jeronimo, 1605, first part:
• The evening too begins to slubber the day.' The latter part of this metaphor has already occurred in Macbeth:
golden opinions Which should be worn now in their newest gloss.' 35 A driven bed is a bed for which the feathers have been selected by driving with a fan, which separates the light from the heavy.
36 To agnize is to acknowledge, confess, or avow. Thus in a Summarie Report, &c. of the Speaker relative to Mary Queen of Scots, 4to. 1586:—' A repentant convert agnizing her Majesty's great mercie,' &c. It sometimes signified to know by some token, to admit, or allow.'
Most humbly therefore bending to your state,
If you please,
I'll not have it so.
Nor I; I would not there reside,
Desdemona? Des. That I did love the Moor to live with him, My downright violence and storm of fortunes 40 May trumpet to the world; my heart's subdued Even to the very quality 41 of my lord :
37 • I desire that proper disposition be made for my wife, that she may have a fit place appointed for her residence, and such allowance, accommodation, and attendance as befits her rank.' Exhibition for allowance has already occurred in King Lear, and in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
38 Thus in the quarto 1622. The folio, to avoid the repetition of the same epithet, reads :
Most gracious duke, To my unfolding lend a prosperous ear.' i. e. a propitious ear.
39 That is, ‘let your favour privilege me.'
40 By her downright violence and storm of fortunes’ Desde mona means, the bold and decisive measure she had taken, of following the dictates of passion, and giving herself to the Moor, regardless of her parent's displeasure, the forms of her country, and the future inconveniences she might be subject to, by tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes, in an extravagant and wheeling stranger, of here and every where.' This was truly taking her fortunes by storm.
41 Quality here, as in other passages of Sbakspeare, means
I saw Othello's visage in his mind;
Oth. Your voices, lords—’beseech you, let her
to the war,
Have a free way. Vouch with me, heaven; I therefore beg it not, To please the palate of my appetite; Nor to comply with heat (the young affects, In me defunct) and proper satisfaction 42, ; profession. “My heart is so entirely devoted to Othello, that I will even encounter the dangers of his military profession with him.' The quarto reads, “My heart's subdued even to the utmost pleasure of my lord.' 42 Steevens reads, at the suggestion of Sir T. Hanmer:
* Nor to comply with heat, the young affects,
In my distinct and proper satisfaction.'
Let me wear
I am a constant lover of you mind,' &c. Mr. Gifford observes that, • as this shows how Shakspeare's contemporaries understood the lines, it should, I think, with us be decisive of their meaning.'— The admirers of Shakspeare cannot but recollect with dismay the prodigious mass of conjectural criticism accumulated on this simple passage, as well as the melancholy presage with which it terminates; that after all
it will probably prove a lasting source of doubt and controversy. I confess I see little or rather no occasion for either: nor can I possibly conceive why, after the rational and unforced explanation of Johnson, the worthless reveries of Theobald, Tollet, &c. were admitted.—Affects occur incessantly in the sense of passions, affections : young affects are therefore per
But to be free and bounteous to her mind :
your serious and great business scant,
Duke. Be it as you shall privately determine Either for her stay, or going : the affair cries—haste, And speed must answer it; you must hence to-night.
Des. To-night, my lord?
This night. fectly synonymous with youthful heats. Othello, like Timon, was not an old man, though he had lost the fire of youth; the critics might therefore have dismissed their concern for the lady, which they have so delicately communicated for the edification of the rising generation. Mr. Gifford suggests that Shakspeare may have given affect in the singular to correspond with heat. Affect is also used for passion, in an Elegy on the Death of Sir Thomas Wyatt, by Lord Surrey :
* An eye whose judgement none affect could blinde,
Frendes to allure, and foes to reconcile.' Dr. Jobnson's explanation is :- I ask it not (says Othello) to please appetite, or satisfy loose desires, the passions of youth which I have now outlived, or for any particular gratification of myself, but merely that I may indulge the wishes of my wife.' Upton had previously changed my, the reading of the old copy, to me; but he has printed effects, not seeming to know that affects could be a noun.
43 i. e, cause.
44 Thus the folio ; except that, instead of active instruments, it has offic'd instrument. The quarto reads · And feather'd Cupid foils,' &c. Speculative instruments, in Shakspeare's language, are the eyes; and active instruments, the hands and feet. To seel is to close up. The meaning of the passage appears to be,. When the pleasures and idle toys of love make me unfit either for seeing the duties of my oflice, or for the ready performance of them.'
45 The quarto reads reputation.