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Perfons Reprefented.

DUKE of Venice.

Brabantio, a fenator.

Two other fenators.

Gratiano, brother to Brabantio.

Lodovico, kinfman to Brabantio and Gratiano.

Othello, the Moor.

Caffio, his lieutenant.

Iago, his ancient.

Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman.

Montano, the Moor's predeceffor in the government of


Clown, fervant to the Moor.


Defdemona, daughter to Brabantio, and wife to Othello.

Emilia, wife to Iago.

Bianca, miftrefs to Caffio.

Officers, gentlemen, meffengers, musicians, failors, and


SCENE, for the first act, in Venice; during the reft of the play, in Cyprus.

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A Street.

Enter Roderigo, and Iago.

Rod. Never tell me, I take it much unkindly, That thou, Iago,-who hast had my purse, As if the ftrings were thine,-fhouldst know of this. Iago. But you'll not hear me':

If ever I did dream of fuch a matter, abhor me. Rod. Thou toldt me, thou didst hold him in thy hate.

Iago. Defpife me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,

In perfonal fuit to make me his lieutenant,


Off capp'd to him; and, by the faith of man,

I know

Othello.] The story is taken from Cynthio's Novels. POPE. I have not hitherto met with any translation of this novel (the feventh in the third decad) of fo early a date as the age of Shakfpeare; but undoubtedly many of thofe little pamphlets have perished between his time and ours.

This play was first entered at Stationers' Hall O&. 6, 162!, by Thomas Walkely. STEVENS.

I have feen a French tranflation of Cynthio, by Gabriel Chappuys, Par. 1584. This is not a faithful one; and I fufpect, through this medium the work came into English. FARMER. 2 Never tell me,] The quartos read, Tub, never tell, &c.

3 But you'll not, &c.] you, &c. STEEVENS.


The first quarto reads, 'Sblood but

4 Oft capp'd to him ;-] Thus the quarto. The folio reads, Off-capp'd to him. STEEVENS.

Off-capp'd is, I believe, the true reading. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes." MAIONE.

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I know my price, I am worth no worfe a place :
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them, with a bombaft circumstance,
Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war;
And, in conclufion,

Non-fuits my mediators; for, certes, fays he,
I have already chofen my officer.
And what was he?

Forfooth a great arithmetician",

One Michael Caffio 7, a Florentine,

A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife;


It is ftill an aca

To cap is to falute by taking off the cap. demic phrafe. MONCK MASON. s—certes,] i. e. certainly, obfolete. See vol. i. p. 85. STEEVENS. Forfooth, a great arithmetician,] So, in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio fays: —one that fights by the book of_arithmetic." STEEVENS.


7-a Florentine ] It appears from many paffages of this play (rightly understood) that Caffio was a Florentine, and Iago a Venetian. HANMER.

8-in a fair wife ;] In the former editions this hath been printed, a fair wife; but furely it muft from the beginning have been a mistake, because it appears from a following part of the play, that Caffio was an unmarried man: on the other hand, his beauty is often hinted at, which it is natural enough for rough foldiers to treat with fcorn and ridicule. I read therefore: A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair phyz. HANMER. --a Florentine,

But it was Iago, A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife;] and not Caffio, who was the Florentine, as appears from act iii. fc. i. The paffage therefore should be read thus:

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A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife ;] These are the words of Othello (which lago in this relation repeats) and fignify, that a Florentine was an unfit perfon for command, as being always a flave to a fair wife; which was the cafe of lago. The Oxford Editor, fuppofing this was faid by lago of Catho, will have Caffin to be the Florentine; which, he fays, is plain from many paffages in the play, rightly underflood. But because Caffio was no married man (though I wonder it did not appear he was, from fome passages rightly underfood) he alters the line thus:

A fel

That never fet a fquadron in the field,
Nor the divifion of a battle knows

A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair phyz. A White-friers' phrafe. WARBURTON.


As Mr. Theobald's note on this paffage appears to have been written in concert with Dr. Warburton, it were ufelefs to infert them both. The former, however, concludes his obfervations thus:

"Iago, not Caffio, was the Florentine; lago, not Cassio, was the married man; Iago's wife attends Difdemona to Cyprus; Caffio has a miftrefs there, a common ftrumpet; and lago tells him in the fourth aft:

"She gives it out that you shall marry her,”

which would be abfurd, if Caffio had been already married at Venice. Befides, our poet follows the authority of his novel in giving the villanious enfign a fair wife." STEEVENS.

This is one of the paffages which must for the present be refigned to corruption and obfcurity. I have nothing that I can, with any approach to confidence, propofe. I cannot think it very plain from act iii. fc. i. that Caffio was or was not a Florentine. JOHNSON.

Othello ufes the name of Florentine as a term of reproach; and perhaps, the reafon is, because the Florentines were still in oppofition to the Venetians. See Philip de Comines, b. 5. c. 1.

A fellow almoft damn'd in a faire avife.] Thus faire is fpelt in the first folio; and fome might have no objection to read, A fellow almost damn'd in a false wife; as the jealous Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, act ii. fc. 2. fays, "See the bell of having a falfe woman;" but the original text may mean a fellow almost as unhappy as the damned with jealoufy of a fair wife. Iago afterwards, act ii. fc. 1. and act 3. fc. iii. in words equally emphatical thus owns the fufferings of his mind, while he profeffes revenge:

For that I do fufpect the lufty Moor

Hath leap'd into my feat. The thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards.-
But, oh, what damned minutes tells he o'er,

Who doats, yet doubts; fufpects, yet ftrongly loves.


The great difficulty is to understand in what fenfe any man can be faid to be almoft damn'd in a fair wife; or fair phyz, as fir T. Hanmer propofes to read. I cannot find any ground for fuppofing that either the one or the other has been reputed to he a damn ble fin in any religion. The poet has ufed the fame mode of expreffion in The Merchant of Venice, act i. fc. 1.:

"O my

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