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Duke of VENICE.
DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello.
Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors,
SCENE, for the first Act, in Venice ; during the rest of
the Play, at a Seaport in Cyprus.
bate. Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones
of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Oft capp'd 1 to him ;-and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place: But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance”,
1 To cap is to salute by taking off the cap: it is still an academick phrase. The folio reads, Off-capp'd. . 2 Circumstance signifies circumlocution.
• And therefore without circumstance, to the point, Instruct me what I am ?' The Picture, by Massinger.
Horribly stuff?d with epithets of war;
3 Iago means to represent Cassio as a man merely conversant with civil matters, and who knew no more of a squadron than the number of men it contained. He afterwards calls him this counter-castor.'
4 The folio reads, dambd. This passage has given rise to much discussion. Mr. Tyrwhitt thought that we should read,
almost damn'd in a fair life;' alluding to the judgment denounced in the Gospel against those of whom all men speak well.' I should be contented to adopt his emendation, but with a different interpretation :- A fellow almost damn'd (i.e. lost from luxurious habits) in the serepe or equable tenour of his life. The passage as it stands at present has been said by Steevens to mean, according to Iago's licentious manner of expressing himself, no more than a man'very near being married.' This seems to have been the case in respect to Cassio Act iv. Sc. 1, Iago, speaking to him of Bianca, says, “Why, the cry goes that you shall marry her.' Cassio acknowledges that such a report had been raised, and adds~ This is the monkey's own giving out: she is persuaded I will marry her, out of her love and self flattery, not out of my promise. Iago then, having heard this report before, very naturally alludes to it in his present conversation with Roderigo.—Mr. Boswell suspects that there may be some corruption in the text..
5 i.e. theory. See All's Well that Ends Well, Act iv. Sc. 3, p. 305.
6. The rulers of the state, or civil governors. The word is used in the same sense in Tamburlaine :
· Both we will reign the consuls of the earth.' By toged is meant peaceable, in opposition to warlike qualifications, of which he had been speaking. The word may be formed
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,
service; Preferment goes by letter, and affection, Not by the old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself, Whether I in any just term am affin'd9 To love the Moor. Rod..
I would not follow him then. lago. O, sir, content you; I follow him to serve my turn upon him: We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly follow'd: You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
in allusion to the adage, · Cedant arma togæ.' The folio reads, • tongued consuls, which agrees better with the words which follow :—' mere prattle, without practice.'
7 It was anciently the practice to reckon up sums with counters. To this the poet alludes in Cymbeline, Act v.:-It sums up thousands in a trice: you have no true debitor and creditor, but it; of what's past, is, and to come, the discharge. Your neck, sir, is pen, book, and counters.'
8 i. e, by recommendation,
9. Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity to the Moor, as that I am bound to love him.' The first quarto has assign'd.
For 'nought but provender; and, when he's old,
cashier'd; Whip me such honest knaves 10: Others there are, Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves; And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lin'd
their coats, Do themselves homage: these fellows have some
Rod. What a full fortune 13 does the thick-lips owe,
Call up her father, Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,
10 Knave is here used for servant, but with a sly mixtare of contempt.
11 Outward show of civility.
12 This is the reading of the folio. The first quarto reads • doves.'
13 Full fortune is complete good fortune : to owe is to possess. So in Antony and Cleopatra :
- not the imperious show
of the full-fortun'd Cæsar.' And in Cymbeline :
Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine.'