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It is the caufe.-Yet I'll not fhed her blood,
Nor fear that whiter fkin of hers than fnow,
And fmooth as monumental alabafter.

[Takes off his fword. Yet fhe muft die, elfe fhe'll betray more men?. 'Put out the light, and then-Put out the light! If I quench thee, thou flaming minifter,

I can again thy former light reftore,

Should I repent me :--but once put out thy light,

9 Yet he must die, elfe he'll betray more men.] This is the fecond attempt of Othello to justify what he has undertaken. First he fays, It is the caufe, i. e. his own cause; now he is willing to fuppofe himself the preventer to fucceeding mischief to others. STEEVENS.

Put out the light, and then-Put out the light!] So it fhould be printed. The meaning is, I will put out the light, and then proceed to the execution of my purpofe. But the expreffion of putting out the light, bringing to mind the effects of the extinction of the light of life, he breaks fhort, and questions himself about the effects of this metaphorical extinction, introduced by a repetition of his first words, as much as to fay, But hold, let me first weigh the reflections which this expreffion fo naturally excites. WARBURTON.

This has been confidered as a very difficult line. Fielding makes Betterton and Booth difpute about it with the author himself in the other world. The punctuation recommended by Dr. Warburton, gives a fpirit to it which I fear was not intended. It feems to have been only a play upon words. To put the light out was a phrafe for to kill. In the Maid's tragedy, Melantius fays, 'Tis a juftice, and a noble one,

"To put the light out of such base offenders." FARMER. Put out the light. This phrafe is twice used in Sidney's Arca- \ dia for killing a lady, p. 460 and 470, edit. 1633

Again, in an unpublished play, called The Second Maiden's Tragedy, by George Chapman, licenfed by fir George Buc, October 31, 1611: (now in the library of the earl of Shelburne, who honour'd me with the ufe of it)



O foul of cunning!

"Came that arch fubtilty from thy lady's counfel,
"Or thine own fudden craft? confefs to me

"How oft thou hast been a bawd to their close actions,

"Or all thy light goes out."

put out thy light,} put out thine. STEEVENS.


Thus the folio. The quarto reads

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Thou cunning't pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat,
That can thy light relumine. When I have
pluck'd thyrofe,

I cannot give it vital growth again,

It needs muft wither:-I'll fmell it on the tree.
O balmy breath, that doft almost perfuade

Juftice herself to break her fword!-Once more..
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after:-Once more, and this the


So fweet was ne'er fo fatal. I must weep,

But they are cruel tears: This forrow's heavenly;
It ftrikes, where it doth love. She wakes-
Def. Who's there? Othello?

Oth. Ay, Defdemona.

Def. Will you come to bed, my lord?

Oth. Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona ?

2 Thou cunning's pattern of excelling nature,] So in Palmerin D'Oliva 1588, p. 1. 6611thofe that beheld her esteemed her for the chiefeft piece of workmanfhippe that ever nature framed." EDITOR.


- relumine.] The folio reads-relume. The first quarto➡ return: the second quarto-relumine. SrEEVENS.

4thy rofe,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads,

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-the rofe."

Again, the quarto reads,

"I'll fmell it on the tree." STEEVENS.

The folio,

"I'll fmell bee on the tree."


5-This forrow's heavenly ;] This tendernefs, with which I' lament the punishment which justice compels me to inflict, is a holy paffion.

I wish thefe two lines could be honestly ejected. It is the fate of Shakspeare to counteract his own pathos. JOHNSON.

Perhaps the poet would not have retained both these images had he published the play himfelf, though in the hurry of com} ofition he threw them both upon paper. The first feems adopted from the fabulous hiftory of the crocodile, the fecond from a paffage in the fcripture. STEEVENS,

Def. Ay, my lord.

Oth. If you bethink yourself of any crime, Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace, Solicit for it straight.

Def. Alas, my lord, what may you mean by that? Oth. Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by: I would not kill thy unprepared fpirit;

No,-Heaven forefend! I would not kill thy foul. Def. Talk you of killing?

Oth. Ay, I do.

Def. Then, heaven'

Have mercy on me!

Oth. Amen, with all my heart!

Def. If you fay fo, I hope you will not kill me. Oth. Hum!

Def. And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then, When your eyes roll fo: Why I should fear, I know


Since guiltinefs I know not; but yet, I feel, I fear.
Oth. Think on thy fins.

Def. They are loves I bear to you.
Oth. Ay, and for that thou dy't.

Def. That death's unnatural, that kills for loving.

Alas, why gnaw you fo your nether lip?

Some bloody paffion fhakes your very frame :
These are portents; but yet, I hope, I hope,

They do not point on me.

Oth. Peace, and be ftill!

Def. I will fo: What's the matter?

Oth. That handkerchief, which I fo lov'd, and gave thee,

Thou gav'ft to Caffio.

Def. No, by my life and foul;

Send for the man, and ask him.

7 I would not kill thy foul.] Sir W. D'Avenant has borrowed this thought in his dlbovine King of Lombardy, 1629:

"I am not fraught with devil's fpleen; I would

Not hurt thy foul." STEEVENS.

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Oth. Sweet foul, take heed,

Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy death-bed. Def. Ay, but not yet to die.

Oth. Yes, prefently:

Therefore confefs thee freely of thy fin;
For to deny each article with oath,

Cannot remove, nor choak, the ftrong conception
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.
Def. O, heaven have mercy on me!

Oh. I fay, amen.

Def. And have you mercy too!-I never did
Offend you in my life; never lov'd Caffio,
But with fuch general warranty of heaven.
As I might love: I never gave him token.

Oth. By heaven, I faw my handkerchief in his hand.

O perjur'd woman! thou doft ftone my heart,
And mak'ft me call, what I intend to do,-


A murder, which I thought a facrifice:

I faw the handkerchief.

Def. He found it then ;

I never gave it him :-Send for him hither,
And let him confefs a truth.

Oth. He hath confefs'd.

Def. What, my lord?

Oth. That he hath-us'd thee.

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A murder, which I thought a facrifice.] This line is difficult. Thou haft hardened my heart, and makest me kill thee with the rage of a murderer, when I thought to have facrificed thee to juftice with the calmnefs of a prieft ftriking a victim.

It must not be omitted, that one of the elder quartos reads, thou doft flone thy heart; which I fufpect to be genuine. The meaning then will be, thou forceft me to difmifs thee from the work in the fate of the murdered without preparation for death, when I intended that thy punishment fhould have been a facrifice atoning for thy crime.

I am glad that I have It is not to be endured.

ended my revifal of this dreadful fcene. JOHNSON.


Oth. Ay.

Def. He will not fay fo.

Oth. No, his mouth is flopp'd;

Honeft Iago hath ta'en order for't'.

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Def, O, my fear interprets then,-What, is he dead?

Oth. 9 Had all his hairs been lives, my great re


Had ftomach for them all.

Def. Alas! he is betray'd, and I undone.
Oth. Out, ftrumpet! Weep'it thou for him to my

Def. O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not.
Oth. Down, ftrumpet!

Def. Kill me to-morrow, let me live to-night.
Oth. Nay, if
you ftrive,-

Def. But half an hour.

Oth. Being done ',

There is no pause.


Def. But while I fay one prayer.


hath ta'en order for't ] i. e. has taken measures. So, in Holinfhed's Reign of King John: - he took fuch order for him, that he was defpoiled of all his goods and benefices," p. 174.


Again, in Dido Queen of Carthage, by Marlowe and Nashe, 1594:

“ I will take order for that presently." MALONE.

9 Had all his hairs been lives, ] This thought appears to have been very common, as it occurs frequently in dramatic performances prior to Shakspeare's Othello. So, in the Devil's Charter, by Barnaby Barnes, 1607:

"Know Cæfar, had I now as many lives

"As there are ftones, or hairs upon my head,

"I would," &c.

Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King: but if all

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"My hairs were lives, I would not be engaged

"In fuch a caufe." STEEVENS.

1 Being done,

There is no paufe.] The first quarto omits this fpeech.



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