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But let this same be presently performd,
Even while men's minds are wild ; lest more mischance,
On plots, and errors, happen.

Fort. Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage ;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have prov'd most royally : and, for his passage,
The soldier's music, and the rites of war,
Speak loudly for him.-
Take up the bodies :--Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

[.A dead march. [Exeunt, bearing of the dead bodies ; after

which, a peal of ordnance is shot off.

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OTHELLO.] The story is taken from Cynthio's Novels.

POPE. I have not hitherto met with any translation of this novel (the seventh in the third decad) of so early a date as the age of Shakespeare ; but undoubtedly many of those little pamphlets have perished between his time and ours.

It is highly probable that our author met with the name of Othello in some tale that has escaped our researches ; as I likewise find it in Reynold's God's Revenge against Adultery, standing in one of his Arguments as follows : “She marries Othello, an old German soldier.” This History (the eighth) is professed to be an Italian one. Here also occurs the name of lago.

It is likewise found, as Ďr. Farmer observes, in “ The History of the famous Euordanus Prince of Denmark, with the strange Adventures of lago Prince of Saxonie ; bl. I. 4to. London, 1605."

It may indeed be urged that these names were adopted from the tragedy before us : but I trust that every reader who is conversant with the peculiar style and method in which the work of honest John Reynolds is composed, will acquit him of the slightest familiarity with the scenes of Shakespeare.

This play was first entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 6, 1621, by Thomas Walkely.

STEEVENS. I have seen a French translation of Cynthio, by Gabriel Chappuys, Par. 1584. This is not a faithful one ; and I suspect, through this medium, the work came into English.

FARMER. This tragedy I have ascribed (but on no very sure ground) to the year 1611. See Àn Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakespeare's Plays, Vol. II. Malone.

The beauties of this play impress themselves so strongly upon the attention of the reader, that they can draw no aid from critical illustration. The fiery openness of Othello, magnanimous, artless, and credulous, boundless in his confidence, ardent in his affection, inflexible in his resolution, and obdurate in his revenge ; the cool malig

nity of lago, silent in his resentment, subtle in his designs, and studious at once of his interest and his vengeance ; the soft simplicity of Desdemona, confident of merit, and conscious of innocence, her artless perseverance on her, suit, and her slowness to suspect that she can be suspected, are such proofs of Shakespeare's skill in human nature, as, I suppose, it is vain to seek in any modern writer. The gradual progress which lago makes in the Moor's conviction, and the circumstances which he employs to inflame bim, are so artfully natural, that, though it will perhaps not be said of him as he says of himself, that he is a man not easily jealous, yet we cannot but pity him, when at last we find him perplexed in the extreme.

There is always danger, lest wickedness, conjoined with abilities, should steal upon esteem, though it misses of approbation ; but the character of lago is so conducted, that he is, from the first scene to the last, hated and despised.

Even the inferior characters of this play would be very conspicuous in any other piece, not only for their justness, but their strength. Cassio is brave, benevolent, and hon. est, ruined only by his want of stubbornness to resist an insidious invitation. Roderigo's suspicious credulity, and impatient submission to the cheats which he sees practised upon him, and which by persuasion he suffers to be repeated, exhibit a strong picture of a weak mind, betrayed by unlawful desires to a false friend ; and the virtue of Emilia is such as we often find, worn loosely, but not cast off, easy to commit small crimes, but quickened and alarm, ed at atrocious villanies.

The scenes from the beginning to the end are busy, varied by happy interchanges, and regularly promoting the progression of the story i and the narrative in the end, though it tells but what is known already, yet is necessary to produce the death of Othello.

Had the scene opened in Cyprus, and the preceding incident been occasionally related, there had been little wanting to a drama of the most exact and scrupulous regularity.


I believe the sense of pregnant in this place is, quick, ready. JOHNSON {81 According

to the

doctrine of the four humours, desire and confidence were seated in the blood, and judginent in the pblegm, and the due mixture of the humours made a perfect character. JOHNSON

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Duke of Venice.
BRABANTIO, a senator.
Two other Senators.
GRATIANO, brother to Brabantio.
Lodovico, kinsman to Brabantio,
OTHELLO, the Moor:
Cassio, his lieutenant ;
lago, his ancient.
RODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman.
MONTANO, Othello's predecessor in the government of Cyprus
Clown, servant to Othello.

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DESDEMONA, daughter to Brabantio, and wife to Othello.
Emilia, wife to lago.
BIANCA, a courtezan, mistress to. Cassio.

Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors, Al

tendants, &c.

SCENE, for the first act, in Venice ; during the rest of

the play, at a seaport in Cyprus.

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