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A better never did itself sustain
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 36! 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.-O cursed, 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? Dead ? O! O! O! Enter Lodovico, MONTANO, CASSIO, carried in
a Chair, and Officers, with Iago, prisoner. Lod. Where is this rash and most unfortunate man? Oth. That's he, that was Othello; here I am. Lod. Where is that viper? bring the villain forth. 35 Thus in Coriolanus, Sc. 1:
· Cracking ten thousand curbs
Appear in your impediment.' 36 This and the six preceding lines are omitted in the first quarto. Wench originally signified only a girl or young woman. It is so used in our old version of the Scriptures, and by many of our early writers.
Oth. I look down towards his feet 57—but that's
a fable; 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 neither; I'd have thee live; For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die 38.
Lod. 0 thou Othello, that was once so good,
Why, any thing :
you For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.
Lod. This wretch hath part confess'd his villany : Did you
and he consent in Cassio's death ? Oth. Ay. Cas. Dear general, I never gave you cause.
Oth. I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. Will you, I pray you, demand that demi-devil, Why he hath thus ensnar'd my soul and body? Iago. Demand me nothing: What you know, you
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
37 To see if, according to the common opinion, his feet be cloven. 38 The same thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra :
'Tis well thou’rt gone,
If it be well to live.' 39 In the snare, by the stratagem.
The death of Cassio to be undertook
Most heathenish, and most gross!
O the pernicious caitiff? How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief That was my wife's ? Cas.
I found it in
chamber: And he himself confess’d, but even now, That there he dropp'd it, for a special purpose, Which wrought to his desire. Oth.
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, 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 bis : You shall close prisoner rest, Till that the nature of your fault be known To the Venetian state:-Come, bring him away.
Oth. Soft you; a word or two, before you go.
letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
40 The first quarto reads-- in the nick.'
Speak of me as
am 41; 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 hand, Like the base Júdean 44, threw a pearl away,
41 Thus the folio. The quarto reads—Speak of them as they are.'
42 The quarto 1622 reads—Indian. The folio has Judean. Warburton, Theobald, and Dr. Farmer think that the allusion is to Herod, who in a fit of blind jealousy threw away such a jewel in his wife Mariamne. Steevens admits the reading Judean, but thinks the allusion is not to the story of Herod, on account of the epithet base; and because the simile appears almost too apposite to be used on the occasion, and would be little more than bringing the fact into comparison with itself.' He thinks that the allusion is to the story of a Jew who not being able to find a purchaser for a very large pearl at an immoderate price, publicly threw it into the sea at Venice. Malone once objected to Júdean on account of the wrong accent, but subsequently changed his opinion, and thought the word tribe strongly favoured that reading. To this Mr. Boswell replies, that the word tribe was never alone peculiarly applicable to the Jews, but meant a kindred, and is constantly used at this day in speaking of a peculiar race or set of Indians. That the early travellers are full of descriptions of the pearled treasures of the Indians, who may be called base on account of their ignorance, and the facility with which they would part with them, a circumstance to which two succeeding poets have alluded:
* So the unskilfull Indian those bright genus
Habington—To Castara weeping. 'Thus also in The Woman's Conquest, by Sir Robert Howard:-
Behold my queen-
· Her bed is India, where she lies a pearl.' It is here figuratively used for a fair woman. I conclude with Mr. Boswell, that the arguments are strong in favour of Indian, the reading of the earliest cop
Richer than all his tribe; of one, whose subdu'd eyes,
[Stabs himself. Lod. O bloody period ! Gra.
All, that's spoke, is marr'd. Oth. I kiss'd thee, ere I killd thee;—No way but this,
[Falling upon DESDEMONA. Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
Dies. Cas. This did I fear, but thought he had no
weapon; For he was great of heart. Lod.
O Spartan dog 4+, More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea! Look on the tragick loading of this bed;
[To Iago. This is thy work: the object poisons sight;Let it be hid. Gratiano, keep the house, And seize
the fortunes of the Moor, For they succeed to you.—To you,
governor, Remains the censure 45 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. [Exeunt.
43 It is said that it was immediate death for a Christian to strike a Turk in Aleppo.
44 The dogs of Spartan race were reckoned among those of the most fierce and savage kind.
45 i. e. judgment, the sentence.