Page images

Emil. O, is that all? What will you give me


For that same handkerchief?


Emil. What handkerchief?

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?


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, confirmations 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:

9 to the advantage, &c.] I being opportunely here, took up.


Be not of the matter.


known of't;] i. e. seem as if you knew nothing

Enter OTHello.

Look, where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandragora,2

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou ow'dst yesterday.3


Ha ha! false to me?

To me?

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

I swear, 'tis better to be much abus'd,
Than but to know't a little.

[ocr errors]


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 robb'd 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,

nor mandragora,] The mandragoras or mandrake has a soporifick quality, and the ancients used it when they wanted an opiate of the most powerful kind.

3 Which thou ow'dst yesterday] To owe is, in our author, oftener to possess, than to be indebted, and such is its meaning here.

4 Pioneers and all,] That is, the most abject and vilest of the camp. Pioneers were generally degraded soldiers, appointed to the office of pioneer, as a punishment for misbehaviour.

That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing 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.


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..

[ocr errors]

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.

I thank you for this profit; and, from hence,
I'll love no friend, since love breeds such offence.

abandon all remorse;] All tenderness of nature, all pity; in which sense the word was frequently used in Shakspeare's time.

Oth. Nay, stay:-Thou should'st be honest. Iago. I should be wise; for honesty's a fool, And loses that it works for.


By the world,

I think my wife be honest, and think she is not;
I think that thou art just, and think thou art not;
I'll have some proof: Her name, that was as fresh
As Dian's visage, is now begrim'd and black

As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives,
Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,

I'll not endure it.-Would, I were satisfied!

Iago. I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion: I do repent me, that I put it to you. You would be satisfied?

[ocr errors]


Would? nay, I will. Iago. And may: But, how? how satisfied, my lord?

Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on?
Behold her tupp'd?

Oth. Death and damnation! O! Iago. It were a tedious difficulty, I think, To bring them to that prospect: Damn them then, If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster, More than their own! What then? how then? What shall I say? Where's satisfaction? It is impossible, you should see this,


Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys,
As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
If imputation, and strong circumstances,-
Which lead directly to the door of truth,-
Will give you satisfaction, you may have it.

Oth. Give me a living reason' she's disloyal.

Were they as prime as goats,] Prime is prompt.

7 Give me a living reason-] Living, for speaking, manifest, actual proof.

Iago. I do not like the office:

But, sith I am enter'd in this cause so far,-
Prick'd to it by foolish honesty and love,-
I will go on, I lay with Cassio lately;
And, being troubled with a raging tooth,
I could not sleep.

There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs;
One of this kind is Cassio:

In sleep I heard him say,-Sweet Desdemona,
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves!

And then, sir, would he gripe, and wring my hand,
Cry,-O, sweet creature! and then kiss me hard,
As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots,
That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg

Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd; and then
Cry'd, Cursed fate! that gave thee to the Moor!
Oth, O monstrous! monstrous!



Nay, this was but his dream. Oth. But this denoted a foregone conclusion; 'Tis a shrew'd doubt, though it be but a dream. Tago, And this may help to thicken other proofs, That do demonstrate thinly.


I'll tear her all to pieces. Jago. Nay, but be wise: yet we see nothing done; She may be honest yet. Tell me but this, Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief, Spotted with strawberries, in your wife's hand?

Oth. I gave her such a one; 'twas my first gift, Iago. I know not that: but such a handkerchief, (I am sure it was your wife's,) did I to-day See Cassio wipe his beard with.


If it be that,

Iago. If it be that, or any that was her's,

a foregone conclusion;] A conclusion in Shakspeare's time meant an experiment or trial.

« PreviousContinue »