Page images
[blocks in formation]

And hear me speak.

Cas. Madam, not now; I am very ill at ease,

Unfit for mine own purposes.


Do your discretion.


Well, well,

Ha! I like not that.

Oth. What dost thou say?

Iago. Nothing, my lord: or if-I know not what.
Oth. Was not that Cassio, parted from my wife?

Iago. Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it,
That he would steal away so guilty-like,

Seeing you coming.

Oth. I do believe 'twas he.

Des. How now, my lord?

I have been talking with a suitor here,

A man that languishes in your displeasure.

Oth. Who is't you mean?

Des. Why, your lieutenant Cassio. Good my lord

If I have any grace, or power to move you,

His present reconciliation take;

For, if he be not one that truly loves you,
That errs in ignorance, and not in cunning,
I have no judgment in an honest face:

I pr'ythee, call him back.


Went he hence now?

Des. Ay, sooth; so humbled,

That he hath left part of his grief with me;

I suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

Oth. Not now, sweet Desdemona; some other time.
Des. But shall't be shortly?



The sooner, sweet, for you.

No, not to-night.

Des. Shall't be to-night at supper?

Des. To-morrow dinner then?

I meet the captains at the citadel.

I shall not dine at home;

Des. Why then, to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn ; Or Tuesday noon, or night; or Wednesday morn ;

I pray thee, name the time; but let it not

Exceed three days: in faith, he's penitent.

When shall he come ?

Tell me, Othello. I wonder in my soul,
What you could ask me, that I should deny,

What! Michael Cassio,

Or stand so mammering on.

That came a wooing with you; and many a time,
When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,

Hath ta'en your part; to have so much to do
To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much.-
Oth. I will deny thee nothing:

Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,

To leave me but a little to myself.

Des. Shall I deny you? no: Farewell, my lord.

Oth. Farewell, my Desdemona: I will come to thee straight. Des. Emilia, come :-Be it as your fancies teach you; Whate'er you be, I am obedient.

Iago. My noble lord,


[Exit, with EMILIA.

What dost thou say, Iago?

Iago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady,
Know of your love?

Oth. He did, from first to last: Why dost thou ask?
Iago. But for a satisfaction of my thought;

No further harm.

Oth. Why of thy thought, Iago?

Iago. I did not think, he had been acquainted with her.
Oth. O, yes; and went between us very oft.

Iago. Indeed?

Oth. Indeed! ay, indeed :-Discern'st thou aught in that? Is he not honest?

[blocks in formation]

By heaven, he echoes me,

As if there were some monster in his thought

Too hideous to be shown.-Thou dost mean something:
I heard thee say but now,-Thou lik'dst not that,
When Cassio left my wife; What did'st not like?
And, when I told thee, he was of my counsel

In my
whole course of wooing, thou cry'dst, Indeed?
And did'st contract and purse thy brow together,
As if thou then had'st shut up in thy brain
Some horrible conceit: If thou dost love me,
Show me thy thought.

I think thou dost;

lago. My lord, you know I love you.
And, for I know thou art full of love and honesty,
And weigh'st thy words before thou giv'st them breath,
Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more:
For such things in a false disloyal knave,

Are tricks of custom; but, in a man that's just,

They are close denotements, working from the heart,
That passion cannot rule.


For Michael Cassio,

I dare be sworn, I think that he is honest.

Oth. I think so too.


Men should be what they seem;

Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none !
Oth. Certain, men should be what they seem.

I think, that Cassio is an honest man.

Oth. Nay, yet there's more in this:

I pray thee, speak to me as to thy thinkings,

Why then,

As thou dost ruminate; and give thy worst of thoughts
The worst of words.


Good my lord, pardon me;

Though I am bound to every act of duty,

I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.

Utter my thoughts? Why, say, they are vile and false,

As where's that palace, whereunto foul things

Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure,

But some uncleanly apprehensions

Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit
With meditations lawful?

Oth. Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,
If thou but think'st him wrong'd, and mak'st his ear
A stranger to thy thoughts.

I do beseech you,

Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature's plague

To spy into abuses; and, oft my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not,-I entreat you then,
From one that so imperfectly conjects,

You'd take no notice; nor build yourself a trouble

Out of his scattering and unsure observance :-
It were not for your quiet, nor your good,

Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,

To let you know my thoughts.


What dost thou mean?

Iago. Good name, in man, and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls:

Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing:

"Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name,

Robs me of that, which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

Oth. By heaven, I'll know thy thought.

Lago. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand:

Nor shall not, while 'tis in my custody

Oth. Ha!

Iago. O, beware, my lord, of jealousy

It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.

Oth. O misery!

Iago. Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough; But riches, fineless, is as poor as winter,

To him that ever fears he shall be poor :

Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend

From jealousy!


Why! why is this?

Think'st thou, I'd make a life of jealousy,

To follow still the changes of the moon

With fresh suspicions? No: to be once in doubt,
Is-once to be resolv'd:

"Tis not to make me jealous,

To say-my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well:
Where virtue is, these are more virtuous :
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt;
For she had eyes, and chose me: No, Iago;
I'll see, before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And, on the proof, there is no more but this,-
Away at once with love, or jealousy.

Iago. I am glad of this; for now I shall have reason
To show the love and duty that I bear you
With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
Receive it from me :-I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio:
Wear your eye-thus, not jealous, nor secure:
I would not have your free and noble nature,
Out of self-bounty, be abus'd; look to't:
She did deceive her father, marrying you;
And, when she seem'd to shake, and fear your looks,
She lov'd them most.

Oth. Iago.

And so she did.

Why, go to, then;

She that so young, could give out such a seeming,

To seal her father's eyes up, close as oak,

He thought, 'twas witchcraft :-But I am much to blame; I humbly do beseech you of your pardon,

For too much loving you.


Iago. I see, this hath a little dash'd your spirits.

Oth. Not a jot, not a jot.


I am bound to thee for ever.

Trust me, I fear it has.

I hope, you will consider, what is spoke

Comes from my love :-But, I do see you are mov'd :—
I am to pray you, not to strain my speech

[blocks in formation]


Should you do so, my lord,

My speech should fall into such vile success

As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worthy friend :—
My lord, I see you are mov'd.


No, not much mov'd :

I do not think but Desdemona's honest.

Iago. Long live she so! and long live you to think so!
Oth. And yet, how nature erring from itself,-

Iago. Ay, there's the point :-As,-to be bold with you,-
Not to affect many proposed matches,

Of her own clime, complexion, and degree;
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends:
Foh one may smell, in such, a will most rank,
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural.—
But, pardon me; I do not in position,
Distinctly speak of her: though I may fear,
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
May fall to match you with her country forms,
And (happily) repent.

Farewell, farewell:
If more thou dost perceive, let me know_more;
Set on thy wife to observe: Leave me, lago.
Iago. My lord, I take my leave.

Oth. Why did I marry?—This honest creature, doubtless,

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

Iago. My lord, I would, I might entreat your honor

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 awhile,
You shall by that perceive him and his means:
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment
With any strong or vehement importunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the meantime,
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 honor.
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



« PreviousContinue »