Page images
[ocr errors]

Iago. My lord, I take my leave.

[Going Oth. Why did I marry?--This honest creature, doubt

Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

Iago. My lord, I would, I might entreat your honour
To scan this thing no further; leave it to time:
And though it be fit that Cassio have his place,
(For, sure, he fills it up with great ability,)
Yet, if you please to hold him off a while,
You shall by that perceive him and his means :
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment
With any strong or vehement opportunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
Let me be thought too busy in my fears,
(As worthy cause I have, to fear-I am,)
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour.

Oth. Fear not my government.
Iago. I once more take my leave.

Oth. This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,
Of human dealings: If I do prove her haggard,
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind,
To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black;
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have : Or, for I am declin'd
Into the vale of years ;-yet that's not much ;-

I am abus'd; and my relief
Must be-to loath her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,

She's gone;


Than keep a corner in the thing I love,
For others’ uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones;
Prerogativ’d are they less than the base;
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death;
Even then this forked plague is fated to us,
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes:

[ocr errors]

Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA. If she be false, 0, then heaven mocks itself ! I'll not believe it.

Des. How now, my dear Othello?
Your dinner, and the generous islanders
By you invited, do attend your presence.

Oth. I am to blame.
Des. Why is your speech so faint ? are you not well?
Oth. I have a pain upon my forehead here.

Des. Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away again :
Let me but bind it hard, within this bour
It will be well.
Oth. Your napkin is too little ;

[He puts the handkerchief from him, and it drops.
Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you.
Des. I am very sorry


you are not well.

[Exeunt Oth. and Des.
Emil. I am glad I have found this napkin;
This was her first remembrance from the Moor:
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Woo'd me to steal it: but she so loves the token,
(For he conjur’d her, she would ever keep it,)
That she reserves it evermore about her,
To kiss, and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out,
And give it Iago :

What he'll do with it, heaven knows, not I;
I nothing, but to please his fantasy.

Enter Iago. Iago. How now! what do you here alone? Emil. Do not you chide ; I have a thing for you. Iago. A thing for me?—it is a common thing. Emil. Ha ! Iago. To have a foolish wife.

Emil. O, is that all? What will you give me now For that same handkerchief?

Iago. What handkerchief?

Emil. What handkerchief?
Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona;
That which so often you did bid me steal.

Iago. Hast stolen it from her?

Emil. No, faith ; she let it drop by negligence;
And, to the advantage, I, being here, took't up.
Look, here it is.

Iago. A good wench; give it me.
Emil. What will you do with it, that you have been

so earnest
To have me filch it?

Iago. Why, what's that to you? [Snatching it.

Emil. If it be not for some purpose of import, Give it me again : Poor lady! she'll run mad, When she shall lack it.

Iago. Be not you known of't; I have use for it. Go, leave me.

[Exit Emilia. I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin, And let him find it: Trifles, light as air, Are, to the jealous, confirmation strong

As proofs of holy writ. This may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison :-
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons,
Which, at the first, are scarce found to distaste;
But, with a little act upon the blood,
Burn like the mines of sulphur.-I did say so :-

Enter OTHELLO. Look, where he comes ! Not poppy, nor mandragora, Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou owdst yesterday.

Oth. Ha! ha! false to me? To me?

Iago. Why, how now, general? no more of that. Oth. Avaunt ! be gone! thou hast set me on the

rack : I swear, 'tis better to be much abusid, Than but to know't a little.

Iago. How now, my lord ?

Oth. What sense had I of her stolen hours of lust? I saw it not, thought it not, it harm’d not me: I slept the next night well, was free and merry; I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips : He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stolen, Let him not know it, and he's not robbed at all.

Iago. I am sorry to hear this.

Oth. I had been happy, if the general camp, Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body, So I had nothing known: O now, for ever, Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content ! Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,

That make arnbition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neigbing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner; and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war !
And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!

Iago. Is it possible ?-- My lord,

Oth. Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore; Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;

[Taking him by the throat. Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul, Thou hadst been better have been born a dog, Than answer my wak'd wrath.

Iago. Is it come to this?

Oth. Make me to see it; or (at the least) so prove it, That the probation bear no hinge, nor loop, To hang a doubt on: or, woe upon thy life!

Iago. My noble lord,

Oth. If thou dost slander her, and torture me,
Never pray more: abandon all remorse;
On horror's head horrors accumulate :
Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amaz'd,
For nothing canst thou to damnation add,
Greater than that.

Iago. O grace! O heaven defend me!
Are you a man? have you a soul, or sense! -
God be wi' you; take mine office.-O wretched fool,
That liv'st to make thine honesty a vice!
O monstrous world ! Take note, take note, O world,
To be direct and honest, is not safe.-

« PreviousContinue »