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Jago. Why, then 'tis hers, my lord; and, being hers,

She may, I think, beftow't on any man.

Oth. She is protectress of her honour too;, May the give that?

lago. Her honour is an effence that's not feen; They have it very oft that have it not :

But, for the handkerchief,

Oth. By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot

it :

Thou faid'ft,-O, it comes o'er my memory,
As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
Boding to all,-he had my handkerchief.
lago. Ay, what of that?

Oib. That's not fo good now.

Iage. What if I had faid, I had feen him do you wrong?

Or heard him fay,-As knaves be fuch abroad,
Who having, by their own importunate fuit,
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,

Convinced or fupplied them, cannot choose
But they muft blab.


9 Boding to all] Thus all the old copies. The moderns. lefs grammatically,

Boding to ill- JOHNSON.

The raven was thought to be a conftant attendant on a house, in which there was infection. So, in Marlowe's Jea of Malta, 1633

"Thus like the fad prefaging raven, that tolls
"The fick man's paffport in her hollow beak,
"And in the fhadow of the filent night
"Does flake contagion from her fable wing."


1 Convinc'd or supplied them,] I cannot understand the vulgar reading. I read, convinc'd or fuppled. My emendation makes the fenfe of the paffage eafy and intelligible: that there are fome fuch long-tongued knaves in the world, who, if they through the force of importunity extort a favour from their mistress, or if through her own fondnessthey make her pliant to their defires, can


Oth. Hath he faid any thing

Iago. He hath, my lord ; but, be you well affur'd, No more than he'll unfwear.

Oth. What hath he faid?

Iago. Why, that he did,-I know not what he did. Oth. What? what?

Jago. Lie

Oth. With her?

Jago. With her, on her; what you will.

Oth. Lie with her! lie on her!-We fay, lie on her, when they belie her: Lie with her! that's ful fome. Handkerchief, confeffions,-handkerchief.

To confefs, and be hang'd for his labour. First, to be hang'd, and then-to confefs :-I trem

not help boafting of their fuccefs. To convince, here, is not, as in the common acceptation, to make fenfible of the truth of any thing by reafons and arguments; but to overcome, get the better of, &c. THEOBALD.

Convinc'd] Convinc'd, for conquer'd, fubdued.

So, in Macbeth:

"his two chamberlains


"Will I, with wine and waffel so convince." Again, in the fame play :

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their malady convinces

"The great affay of art "

Dr. Farmer is of opinion that supplied has here the fame meaning as fupplicated. STEEVENS.

Theobald's emendation evidently hurts, inftead of improving, the fenfe; for what is, fuppled, but convinced, i. e. fubdued. But fupplied (the original reading) relates to the words" voluntary dotage," as convinced does to their own importunate fuit." Having by their importunacy conquered the resistance of a miftrefs, or in compliance with her own request, and in confequence of ber unfolicited fondness, gratified her defires. MALONE.


-to confefs and be bang'd-] This is a proverbial faying. It is ufed by Marlow, in his Jew of Malta, 1633 :

Blame us not, but the proverb-Confefs and be hang'd." It occurs again, in The Travels of the Three English Brothers, 1593: And in one of the old collections of fmall Poems there is epigram on it. All that remains of this fpeech, including the words to confefs, is wanting in the first quarto. STEEVENS.


ble at it.-Nature would not inveft herself in fuch 3 fhadowing paffion, without fome inftruction. It



3-fhadowing paffion-] The modern editions have left out paffion. JOHNSON.

4 -

without fome inftruction.-] The starts and broken reflections in this fpeech have fomething very terrible, and fhew the mind of the fpeaker to be in inexpreffible agonies. But the words we are upon, when fet right, have a tublime in them that can never be enough admired. The ridiculous blunder of writing inftruction for induction (for fo it should be read) has indeed funk into arrant nonfenfe. Othello is just going to fall into a fwoon; and as is common for people in that circumstance, feels an unufual mift and darknefs, accompanied with horror, coming upon him. This, with vaft fublimity of thought, is compared to the feafon of the fun's eclipfe, at which time the earth becomes fhadowed by the induction or bringing over of the moon between it and the fun. This being the allufion, the reasoning stands thus: "My nature could never be thus overshadowed, and fall"ing, as it were, into diffolution, for no caufe. There must be an induction of fomething: there must be a real cause. jealoufy cannot be merely imaginary. Ideas, words only, "could not fake me thus, and raise all this diforder. My jealousy therefore must be grounded on matter of fact." Shakspeare uses this word in the fame fenfe, in Richard III. "A dire induction am I witness to."

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Marfton feems to have read it thus in fome copy, and to allude to it in these words of his Fame:

"Plots ha' you laid inductions dangerous!"


This is a noble conjecture, and, whether right or wrong. does honour to its author. Yet I am in doubt whether there is any neceffity of emendation. There has always prevailed in the world an opinion, that when any great calamity happens at a distance, notice is given of it to the fufferer by fome dejection or pertur bation of mind, of which he difcovers no external caufe. This is afcribed to that general communication of one part of the univerfe with another, which is called fympathy and antipathy; or to the fecret monition, inftruction, and influence of a fuperior Being which fuperintends the order of nature and of life. Othello fays, Nature could not inveft berfelf in fuch fhaddowing paffion without inftruction. It is not words that fake me thus. This paffion, which spreads its clouds over me, is the effect of fome agency more than the operation of words; it is one of thofe notices which men have of unfeen calamities. JOHNSON.

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is not words, that shake me thus :-Pifh! - Nofes, casr, and lips :-Is it poffible ?-Confefs!-Handkerchief!-O devil![Falls in a trance.

Iago. Work on,

My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are


And many worthy and chafte dames, even thus, All guiltless meet reproach,-What, ho! my lord! My lord, I fay! Othello !-How now, Caffio?

Enter Caffio.

Caf. What's the matter?

Iago. My lord is fallen into an epilepsy ; This is his fecond fit; he had one yesterday. Caf. Rub him about the temples.

Iago. No, forbear :

The lethargy muft have his quiet course :

Nature could not inveft berfelf in fuch fadoswing paffion without fome infruction.] However ingenious Dr. Warburton's note may be, it is certainly too forced and far-fetched. Othello alludes only to Caffio's dream, which had been invented and told him by Iago. When many confused and very interesting ideas pour: in upon the mind all at once, and with fuch rapidity that it has not time to fhape or digeft them, if it does not relieve itself by tears (which we know it often does, whether for joy or grief) it produces ftupefaction and fainting.

Othello, in broken fentences and fingle words, all of which have a reference to the caufe of his jealousy, fhews, that all the proofs are prefent at once to his mind, which fo over powers it, that he falls into a trance, the natural confequence.


5 Nofes, cars, and lips :] Othello is imagining to himself the familiarities which he fuppefes to have paffed between Caffio and his wife. So, in the Winter's Tale :

"Check to cheek,-mecting #ofes

Kiffing with infide lip, &c.-"

If this be not the meaning, we must fuppofe he is meditating a cruel punishment for Defdemona and her fufpected paramour :

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"Auribus, et truncas inhonefta vulnere nares.

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If not, he foams at mouth; and, by and by,
Breaks out to favage madness. Look, he ftirs:
Do you withdraw yourfelf a little while,
He will recover ftraight; when he is gone,
I would on great occafion fpeak with you.-

How is it, general? have you not hurt
Oth. Doft thou mock me?

lago. I mock you! no by heaven :

[Exit Caffio.

your head?

'Would, you would bear your fortunes like a man. Oth. A horned man's a monfter, and a beaft. Jago. There's many a beaft then in a populous city,

And many a civil monster.

Oth. Did he confefs it.

lago. Good fir, be a man;

Think, every bearded fellow, that's but yok'd, May draw with you: there's millions now alive, That nightly lie in thofe unproper beds,

9 A horned man-] In Much Ado about Nothing, I omitted to attempt the illustration of a paffage where Benedick fays-there is no staff more honourable than one tipt with horn." Perhaps he alludes to the staff which was anciently carried before a challenger. Thus, in Stowe's Chronicle, edit. 1615, p. 669: "his bafton (a ftaffe of an elle long, made taper-wife, tipt with horne) &c. was borne before him." STEEVENS.

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in thofe unproper beds,] Unproper, for common.

So, in The Arcadia, by Shirley, 1640:

"Ever woman fhall be common.


"Every woman common what fhall we do with all

the proper women in Arcadia?.

"They thall be common too."

Again, in Gower De Confeffione Amantis. B. 2. fol.

"And is his proper by the lawe"

Again, in the Maftive, &c. an ancient collection of epigrams and

fatires, no date :

"Rofe is a fayre, but not a proper woman,
"Can any creature proper be, that's common ?"





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