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Othello, a noble Moor, in the service of the States of Venice, has won the affections of Desdemona, the daughter of Brabantio. The lady leaves her father's house, clandestinely, and is married to the Moor: Iago, a seeming friend of Othello, but in reality his "direst foe,"-acquaints Brabantio of Desdemona's flight, and sets the enraged father in pursuit of his daughter and her husband: he then joins the Moor, to avoid suspicion of his double dealing.
SCENE II.-A Street in Venice.
Enter OTHELLO, LAGO, and Attendants.
Iago. Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience,
To do no contriv'd murder; I lack iniquity
Sometimes, to do me service: Nine or ten times
I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs.
Oth. 'Tis better as it is.
Nay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
Against your honor,
That, with the little godliness I have,
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray, sir,
Are you fast married? for, be sure of this,-
That the magnifico is much beloved;
And hath, in his effect, a voice potential,
As double as the duke's; he will divorce you;
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
The law (with all his might to enforce it on,)
Will give him cable.
Let him do his spite:
My services, which I have done the signiory,
Shall out-tongue his complaints. "Tis yet to know,
(Which, when I know that boasting is an honor,
I shall promulgate,) I fetch my life and being
From men of royal siege; and my demerits
May speak, unbonnetted, to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reach'd: For know, Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yonder ?
Enter CASSIO, at a distance, and certain Officers, with torches.
Iago. These are the raised father, and his friends:
You were best go in.
Oth. Not I: I must be found;
My parts, my title, and my perfect soul,
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?
Iago. By Janus, I think no.
Oth. The servants of the duke and my lieutenant.
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
What is the news?
The duke does greet you, general;
And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,
Even on the instant.
What is the matter, think
Cas. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine;
It is a business of some heat: the gallies
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
This very night, at one another's heels;
And many of the consuls, rais'd, and met,
Are at the duke's already: You have been hotly call'd for;
When, being not at your lodging to be found,
The senate hath sent about three several quests,
To search you out.
"Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house,
And go with you.
Ancient, what makes he here?
Iago. He's married.
Cas. To whom?
Iago. It is Brabantio :-general, be advis'd; He comes to bad intent.
Iago. Marry, to-Come, captain, will you go?
Cas. Here comes another troop to seek for you.
Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers of night, with torches and
Hola! stand there !
Rod. Signior, it is the Moor.
For I'll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound,
Whether a maid—so tender, fair, and happy;
So opposite to marriage, that she shunn'd'
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
Of such a thing as thou:
[They draw on both sides.
Iago. You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.
Oth. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.— Good signior, you shall more command with years, Than with your weapons.
Bra. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter? Thou hast enchanted her:
Thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms.
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee,
For an abuser of the world, a practiser
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant :-
Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,
Subdue him at his peril.
Hold your hands,
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
Were it my cue to fight, I would have known it
Without a prompter.-Where will you that I go
To answer this your charge?
To prison: till fit tim
Of law, and course of direct session,
Call thee to answer.
What if I do obey? How may the duke be therewith satisfied; Whose messengers are here about my side, Upon some present business of the state, To bring me to him.
"Tis true, most worthy signior The duke's in council; and your noble self, I am sure, is sent for.
How, the duke in council!
In this time of the night!-Bring him away:
Mine's not an idle cause: the duke himself,
Or any of my brothers of the state
Cannot but feel this wrong, as 'twere their own:
For if such actions may have passage free,
Bond-slaves, and pagans, shall our statesmen be.
SCENE III.-The Same. A Council Chamber.
The DUKE, and Senators, sitting at a table; Officers attending.
Duke. There is no composition in these news, That gives them credit. 1st Sen. Indeed, they are disproportion'd; My letters say, a hundred and seven gallies. Duke. And mine a hundred and forty. 2nd Sen. But though they jump not on a just account, (As in these cases, where the aim reports, "Tis oft with difference,) yet do they all confirm A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
Duke. Nay, it is possible enough to judgment.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. The Ottomites, reverend and gracious, Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes, Have there injointed them with an after fleet.
1st Sen. Ay, so I thought :-How many, as you guess?
Mess. Of thirty sail: and now do they re-stem
Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
Their purposes towards Cyprus.-Signior Montano,
Your trusty and most valiant servitor,
With his free duty recommends you thus,
And prays you to believe him.
Duke. "Tis certain then for Cyprus.—
1st Sen. Here comes Brabantio, and the valiant Moor.
Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Officers.
Duke. Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
Against the general enemy Ottoman.
I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior,
We lack'd your counsel and your help to-night.
Bra. So did I yours: Good your grace, pardon me;
Neither my place, nor aught I heard of business,
Hath rais'd me from my bed; nor doth the general care
Take hold on me; for my particular grief
Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature,
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows,
And it is still itself.
Why, what's the matter?
Bra. My daughter! O, my daughter!
She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks:
For nature so preposterously to err,
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not-
Duke. Whoe'er he be, that, in this foul proceeding
Hath thus beguil'd your daughter of herself,
And you of her, the bloody book of law
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter,
After your own sense; yea, though our proper son
Stood in your action.
Humbly I thank your grace.
Here is the man, this Moor; whom now, it seems,
Your special mandate, for the state affairs,
Hath hither brought.
Duke & Sen. We are very sorry for it.
Duke. What, in your own part, can you say to this?
Bra. Nothing, but this is so.
Oth. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approv'd good masters,—
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her;
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more.
Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless'd with the set phrase of peace;
For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have us'd
Their dearest action in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause,
In speaking for myself: Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver
Of my whole course of love: what drugs, what charms
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,
(For such proceeding I am charg'd withal,)
won his daughter with.
A maiden never bold;
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush'd at herself; And she,-in spite of nature,
Of years, of country, credit, every thing,-
To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on?
It is a judgment maim'd, and most imperfect,
That will confess-perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature.
I therefore vouch again,
That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood,
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect,
He wrought upon her.
Duke. To vouch this, is no proof; Othello, speak ;—
Did you by indirect and forc'd courses
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections;
Or came it by request, and such fair question
As soul to soul affordeth?
I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary,
And let her speak of me before her father:
If you do find me foul in her report,
The trust, the office, I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence
Even fall upon my life.
Fetch Desdemona hither.
Oth. Ancient, conduct them: you best know the place.[Exeunt IAGO, and Attendants.
And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
I do confess the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I'll present
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love,
And she in mine.
Duke. Say it, Othello.
Oth. Her father lov'd me; oft invited me ; Still questioned me the story of my life,