« PreviousContinue »
( T H E L L 0.
SCENE-a Street in Venice.
Enter RODORIGO and IAGO.
OTHELLO, Though I would not be understood to assert that all the plays of Shakspeare are to be explained by a reference to appearances in the moon, yet, lest it should be thought that the coincidences pointed out between those appearances and the plays contained in the second volume, ought to be attributed to accident rather than design ; before other matters are entered upon towards the end of this volume, I shall offer an elucidation of two more of his plays, OtheHo, and the Merchant of Venice, by the same method as before; and the reader is requested to keep the two former volumes at his side, as the figures contained therein will be often referred to, and sometimes the notes.
(1) Rodorigo has the same original as Hudibras, with whose figure in the moon the reader must be now well acquainted. In the dramatis personæ of the folio edition Rodorigo is called a gulled gentleman, and if the shadows composing his person are viewed horizontally with his head on the right hand, they will be seen to resemble a gull, as drawn in fig. 76.
That thou Iago, who hast had my purse,
Iago. But you'll not hear me. (2)
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in
[thy hate. If I do not. Three great ones of this city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off capp'd to him; and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I'm worth no worse a place. But he, as loving his own pride and purpose, Evades them with a bombast circumstance, Horribly stuft with epithets of war, And, in conclusion, Non-suits my mediators. Certes, says he, I have already chose my officer, And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, (3)
(e) lago is the same as Hadibras's Squire, Ralpho: his countenance in the map of the moon is well worthy of having such a character as Iago's engrafted on it; his prototype is, in fact, often in this play, as well as in those of the second volume, assimilated to the devil.
(9) A great arithmetician. Cassio is the same as Laertes in Hamlet, drawn ante in fig. 57; and it may be seen in the map of the moon, (as frequently observed in former notes) that divers arithmetical figures, or what fancy may easily take to be such, are marked on his person there. .
One Michael Cassio;* (the Florentine's
(4) More than a spinster. This expression is referable to the streaks of light mentioned in the last note as marked on Cassio's person, which (among many other things) may be likened to a distaff with wool on it.
(5) Ancient, or ensign-bearer. lago, on inspecting the map, may be easily conceived to be executing such an office; the colours, in light, being considered as either furled round, or spread from, what constituted the blade of Hudibras's sword, as the flag-staff.
(6) His Moorship, Othello is the same as Hamlet's father in the play of that pame, drawn in fig. 60. His face, by its flat nose, and from its being composed princi
Rod. By Heaven, I would have rather been his
hangman. (7) Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis curse of serPreferment goes by letter and affection, (vice; And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first. Now, Sir, be judge yourIf I in any just term am assigned
[self To love the Moor.
Rod. I would not follow him then.
Iago. O Sir, content you;
pally of dark shadows, resembles that of a negro. He is drawn in
The streaks of light mentioned above in notes 3 and 4, may be easily fancied to resemble a rope round Cassio's neck.
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
cashiered: (8) Whipme such honest knaves-Others there are, Who trimm'd in form and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves; And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Well thrive by them; and when they've lin’d their coats,
[soul, Do themselves homage. These folks have some And such a one do I profess myself. It is as sure as you are Rodorigo, Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago: In following hin, I follow but myself, Heaven is my judge, not I, for love and duty, But seeming so, for my peculiar end: For when my outward action doth demonstrate
(8) Ass and whip. Whenever objects are mentioned, of which drawings have been already given or notes made in the former volumes, and when the objects themselves are plainly and obviously perceptible in the moon, it is hoped that the printing the lines or words that mention them in italics will serve as a sufficient reference for the reader's guidance.