« PreviousContinue »
One Michael Caffio ;-(" the Florentine's (3) " A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife; ”
(3) Forsooth, a great Arithmetician,
One Michael Caffio, a Florentine,
A Fellow almoft damn'd in a fair Wife.] Thus has this Passage ignorantly been corrupted, (as Mr. Warburton likewise faw with me ;) by false Pointing, and an Inadvertence to Matter of fact, thro' the whole Course of the Editions. By the Bye, this Play was not publish'd even fingly, that I can find, till fix Years after the Author's Death: and by that Interval became more liable to Errors.' I'll subjoin the Correction, and then the Reasons for it.
And, in Conclusion,
That never, &c. This Painting sets Circumstances right, as I shall immediately explain; and it gives a Variety, in lago reporting the Behaviour of Othello, to start into thefe Breaks ; now, to make Othello speak;
then, to interrupt what Othello says with his own private Reflexions ; then, again, to proceed with Othello's Speeches : For this not only marks the Inquietude of lago's Mind upon the Subject in hand ; but likew fhews the Actor in the Variation of Tone and Gesture, whilft he (in a Breath, as 'twere) personates alternately Othello and himself. Besides, to come to
the Necessity of the Change made ; lago, not Callio, was the Florentine ; in lago, not Casio, was the married Man ; Iago's Wife attends Desdemo
na to Cyprus ; Caffio has a Mistress there, a common Strumpet ; and lago tells him in the fourth Act,
She gives it out, that you shall marry her: Which would be very abfurd, if Caffio had been already married at Venice, Besides, our Poet follows the Authority of his Novel in giving the villanous Ensign a fair Wife. “ Havea fimilmente menata questo Malvagio so la sua Moglie in Cipri, la quale era bella & honefta Giovane.” And it is very good reason for rejecting lago, because he was a married Man, and might be thought too much govern'd by his Wife to be capable of
this Charge. And this was a natural Objection in an unmarried General, of as Othello was when he chose his Officers. Iago therefore was "the Fel
low almoft damn'd in a fair Wife: which is an Expresfion obfcare enough to deserve a short Explanation. The Poet means, lago had so beautiful & Wife, that she was his Heaven on Earth; that he idoliz'd her ; and forgot to think of Happiness in an After-state, as placing all his Views of
Bliss in the single Enjoyment of her. In this sense, Beauty, when it can 0 fo feduce and ingrois a Man's Thoughts, may be faid almost to damn him.
That never fet a squadron in the field,
Jeffica, speaking of Bassanios Happiness in a Wife, says something a
For having such a Blessing in his Lady,
In Reason he should never come to Heav!n. [Merch. of Venice Beaumont and Fletcher likewise, in their King and no King, make ? granes speak of such a Degree of Beauty sufficient to damn Souls.
-had She so tempting Fair,
66 Slip on
(4) Wherein the tongued Consuls.] So the generality of the Impreffion: read'; but the oldest Quarto has it, toged; (which gave the Hint for my Emendation ;) the Senators, that afsifted the Duke in Council, in their proper Gowns.-lago, a little lower, says to Brabantio,
Zounds, Sir, you're robb’d: for shamè, put on your Gown";
your Night-gown, but your Gown of Office, your Senatorial Gown; “ put on your Authority, and pursue the Thief who has stole you
Daughter." Besides, there is not that Contrast of Terms betwix tongued, as there is betwixt toged, and Soldiership: This Reading is peculiarly proper here ; and the fame Opposition is almost for ever made by the Roman Writers. For Instance ;
Cicero in Offic.
--- Sed quòd Pacis eft Insigne & Otii, Toga: contrà autem Arma,
-- paternifq; Lucii Pauli Virtutibus fimillimus, omnibus Belli a. Togæ dotibus, &c. Callius Ciceroni.
- Etenim tua Toga omnium Armis felicior. Ovid. Metamor. lib. xv.
Cæsar in urbe suâ Deus eft ; quem Marte Togâq;
Jàm nünc hæc à me, juvenum bellóq; togâq;
Juvenal. Sat. 10.
As masterly as he ; meer prattle, without practice,
Rod. By heav'n, I rather would have been his hangman.
Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of fervice ;
Rod. I would not follow him then.
But now let me proceed to explain, why I have ventured to substitute Counsellors in the Room of Consuls : and then, I hope, the Alteration will not appear arbitrary. The Venetian Nobility, 'tis well known, conftitute the great Council of the Senate, and are a Part of the Administration ; and summond to assist and counsel the Doge, who is Prince of the Senate; and, in that Regard, has only Precedency before the other Magistrates. So that, in this Respect," they may very properly be calld Counselfors
. Again, when the Officer comes from the Duke to Brabantio, in a subsequent Scene of this Act, he says,
The Duke's in Council, and your Noble felfą
I'm sure, is fent for
We lack'd your Counsel, and your Help to Night. Now Brabantio was a Senator, but no Conful. Besides, tho' the Government of Venice was Democratic at first, under Consuls and Tribunes ; that Form of Power has been totally abrogated, since Doges have been elected: And whatever Consuls of other States may be resident there, yet they have no more a Voice, or Place, in the publick Councils, or in what concerns Peace or War ;; than foreign Ambassadors can have in our Parliament.
(5) Muft be led and calmd) There is no Consonance of Metaphor in
these two Terms. I have chose to read with the first Folio, and several all other of the old Editions. Belee'd is a Sea-Term as well as calm'd; and a
Ship is said to be beleed, when the lies close under the Wind, on the LeeShore ; makes no Sail.
I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
But I will wear my heart upon my Neeve, For daws to peck at ; I'm not what I feem.
Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,
lago. Call up her father ;7 *
throw such changes of vexation on't, As it may lofe fome colour,
Iago. Do, with like timorous accent, and dire yell,
Rod. What, ho! Brabantio ! Signior Brabantia ! ho.
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags :
Brabantio appears above, at a window.
Rod. Signior, is all your family within ?
on your Gown;
wits? Rod. Most reverend signior, do you
Bra. The worse welcome ;
Rod. Sir, Sir, Sir
Bra. But thou must needs be sure,
Rod. Patience, good Sir.
Bra. What tell’lt thou me of robbing! this is Venice;
Rod. Most grave Brabantio,
Iago. Zounds ! Sir, you are one of those that will not serve God, if the Devil bid you. Because we come to do you service, you think we are ruffians ; : you'll have your