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It is the caufe.-Yet I'll not fhed her blood,
[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 muft die, elfe she'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 caufe; now he is willing to fuppofe himself the preventer to fucceeding mischief to others. STEEVENS. So it fhould
Put out the light, and then-Put out the light!] be printed. The meaning is, I will put out the light, and then proceed to the execution of my purpose. 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 firft 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 fuch bafe offenders." FARMER. Put out the light. This phrafe is twice ufed 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Again, in an unpublished play, called The Second Maiden's Tragedy, by George Chapman, licenfed by fir George Buc, October 31st, 1611: (now in the library of the earl of Shelburne, who honour'd me with the use of it)
O foul of cunning!
"Came that arch fubtilty from thy lady's counsel,
"How oft thou hast been a bawd to their close actions,
"Or all thy light goes out." STEEVENS.
3 A 3
- put out thy light, put out thine. STEEVENS.
Thou cunning't pattern of excelling nature,
I cannot give it vital growth again,
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?
Thou cunning' pattern of excelling nature,] So in Palmerin D'Oliva 1588, p. 1. 66 • : ----- thofe that beheld her esteemed her for the chiefelt piece of workmanfhippe that ever nature framed." EDITOR.
3 - relumine.] The folio reads-relume. The first quartoreturn the fecond quarto―relumine. SrEEVENS. 4thy rofe, Thus the folio. The quarto reads, the refe."
Again, the quarto reads,
"I'll fmell it on the tree." STEEVENS. The folio,
"I'll smell 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 thefe images had he published the play himfelf, though in the hurry of compofition 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 yourfelf 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. Ay, I do.
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 fhould 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'ft.
Def. That death's unnatural, that kills for loving. Alas, why gnaw you to 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 still!
Def. I will fo: What's the matter?
Oih. 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
3 A 4
Oth. Sweet foul, take heed,
Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy death-bed.
Therefore confefs thee freely of thy fin;
Def. And have you mercy too!-I never did
Oth. By heaven, I faw my handkerchief in his hand.
O perjur'd woman! thou doft ftone my heart,
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,
Oth. He hath confefs'd.
Def. What, my lord?
Oth. That he hath-us'd thee:
A murder, which I thought a facrifice.] This line is difficult. Thou haft hardened my heart, and makejt me kill thee with the rage of a murderer, when I thought to have facrificed thee to juftice with the calmnefs of a priest striking 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 ftate 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 ended my revifal of this dreadful fcene. It is not to be endured. JOHNSON.
Def. He will not fay fo.
Def, O, my fear interprets then,-What, is he
Oth. Had all his hairs been lives, my great re
Had ftomach for them all.
Def. Alas! he is betray'd, and I undone.
Def. O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not.
Def. Kill me to-morrow, let me live to-night.
Def. But half an hour.
hath ta'en order for't] i. e. has taken measures. So, in
"I will take order for that presently." MALONE.
"Know Cæfar, had I now as inany lives
"As there are ftones, or hairs upon my head,
Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King:
"My hairs were lives, I would not be engaged
! Being done,
There is no paufe.] The first quarto omits this fpeech.