Page images

That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

The heavens forbid,
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!

Amen to that, sweet powers ! I cannot speak enough of this content, It stops me here; it is too much of joy: And this, and this, the greatest discords be 28,

[Kissing her. That e'er our hearts shall make! Iago.

O, you are well tun'd now ! But I'll set down the pegs that make this musick, As honest as I am.

[Aside. Oth.

Come, let's to the castle.News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are

drown'd. How do our old acquaintance of this isle?Honey, you shall be well desir'd 29 in Cyprus, I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet, I prattle out of fashion 30, and I dote In mine own comforts.—I pr’ythee, good Iago, Go to the bay, and disembark


coffers : Bring thou the master 31 to the citadel; 28 Thus in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion :

'I pri'thee chide, if I have done amiss,

But let my punishment this and this. [Kissing the Moor.' Marlowe's play was written before that of Shakspeare, who might possibly have acted in it.

29 i. e, much solicited by invitation. So in The Letters of the Paston Family, vol. i. p. 299:- At the which weddyng I was with myn hostes, and also desyryd by ye jentylman hymselfe.'

30 Out of method, without any settled order of discourse.

31 The master is a distinct person from the pilot of a vessel, and has the principal care and command of the vessel under the captain, where there is a captain ; and in chief where there is

Dr. Johnson confounded the master with the pilot, and the poet himself seems to have done so. See the first line of Scene 2, Act iii.


He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect.—Come, Desdemona,
Once more well met at Cyprus.


Attendants. Iago. Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come hither. If thou be’st valiant as (they say) base men, being in love, have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them, -list me. The lieutenant to-night watches on the court of guard 32 :—First, I must tell thee this—Desdemona is directly in love with him.

Rod. With him! why, 'tis not possible.

Fago. Lay thy finger--thus 33, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor, but for bragging, and telling her fantastical lies : And will she love him still for prating ? let not thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be fed; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil ? When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be,-again to inflame it, and to give satiety a fresh appetite,loveliness in favour; sympathy in years, manners, and beauties; all which the Moor is defective in : Now, for want of these required conveniences,

her delicate tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted (as it is a most pregnant and unforced position), who stands so eminently in the degree of this fortune, as Cassio does ? a knave very voluble, no further conscionable, than in putting on the mere form of civil

32 That is the place where the guard musters. 33 On thy mouth to stop it, while thou art listening to a wiser

[blocks in formation]

and humane seeming, for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection ? why, none; why, none: A slippery and subtle knave; a finder out of occasions; that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never present itself : A devilish knave! besides, the knave is handsome, young; and hath all those requisites in him, that folly and green minds 34 look after: A pestilent complete knave; and the woman hath found him already.

Rod. I cannot believe that in her; she is full of most blessed condition 35.

Iago. Blessed fig's end! the wine she drinks is made of grapes : if she had been blessed, she would never have loved the Moor; Blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand ? didst not mark that ?

Rod. Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

Iago. Lechery, by his hand; an index 36, and obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so near with their lips, that their breaths embraced together. Villanous thoughts, Roderigo ! when these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, the incorporate conclusion : Pish But, sir, be


ruled by me: I have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night; for the command, I'll lay't upon you : Cassio knows you not;—I'll not be far from



some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting 37 his discipline ; or from what other course

34 Minds unripe, minds not yet fully formed. 35 Qualities, disposition of mind.

36 It has already been observed that indexes were formerly prefixed to books. See vol. vii. p. 348.

37 Throwing a slur upon his discipline. So in Troilus and Cressida, Act i. Sc. 3 :

• In taint of our best man.'


you please, which the time shall more favourably minister.

Rod. Well.

lago. Sir, he is rash, and very sudden 38 in choler; and, haply, with his truncheon may strike at you: Provoke him, that he may: for, even out of that, will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny; whose qualification 39 shall come into no true taste again, but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires, by the means I shall then have to prefer 40 them; and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

Rod. I will do this, if I can bring it to any opportunity.

Iago. I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel : I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell. Rod. Adieu.

[Exit. Iago. That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it; That she loves him, 'tis apt, and of great credit: The Moor-howbeit that I endure him not,Is of a constant, loving, noble nature; And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdemona A most dear husband. Now I do love her too; Not out of absolute lust (though, peradventure, I stand accountant for as great a sin), But partly led to diet my revenge, For that I do suspect the lusty Moor

38 Sudden is precipitately violent. So Malcolm, describing Macbeth :

I grant him bloody

Sudden, malicious.' 39 Johnson has erroneously explained this. Qualification, in our old writers, signifies appeasement, pacification, asswagement of anger. To appease and qualifie one that is angry; tranquillum facere ex irato.' - Baret,

40 To advance them.

Hath leap'd into my seat: the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul,
Till I am even 41 with him, wife for wife;
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,-
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace 12
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb 43,



41 Thus the quarto 1622. The folio-till I am even’d with him : i. e. till I am on a level with him by retaliation.

'If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace

For his quick hunting, bear the putting on,' &c. This is the reading of the folio, which, though it has a plain and easy sense, would not do for the commentators, and the quarto of 1622 reading crush, they altered it to trash, signifying to impede, to keep back (see vol. i. p. 15, note 9), a meaning the very converse of that required by the context; to say nothing of the wretched jingle of trash and trash ; which Steevens is pleased to consider · much in Shakspeare's manner'! The fact is, to trace means neither more nor less than to follow, the appropriate hunting term; the old French tracer, tracher, trasser, and the Italian tracciare having the same meaning. Steevens is sadly put to it to explain how keeping Roderigo back and putting him on can quadrate, and all is doubt and perplexity. Bishop Hall, in the third satire of his fifth book, uses trace for to follow :

• Go on and thrive, my petty tyrant's pride,
Scorn thou to live, if others live beside;
And trace proud Castile, that aspires to be

In his old age a young fifth monarchy.'
So Cavendish, in his Metrical Visions, p. 114:-

Fortune hath me forsake,
Whom she heretofore highly did advaunce,
And traced me forth in the pleasant dance

Of worldly honours and highe dignytie.' The phrase to have on the hip, which is also from the chase, is explained in vol. iii. p. 17, note 2. We should perhaps read :

If this poor brach [i.e. hound) of Venice,' &c. 43. In the rank garb,' which has puzzled Steevens and Malone, is merely ' in the right down, or straight forward fashion.' In As You Like It we have' the right butterwoman's rank to

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »