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Oth. It is too late.
[He fmothers her.
My lord, my lord! what ho! my lord, my lord! Oth. What noife is this ?-Not dead? not yet quite dead?
I, that am cruel, am yet merciful;
Amil. What ho! my lord, my lord!
Emil. O, good my lord, I would fpeak a word with you.
Oth. Yes; 'tis
milia:- by and by.-She's
'Tis like, the comes to fpeak of Caffio's death;
It is too late. After this fpeech of Othello, the elder quarto adds an invocation from Defdemona, confifting only of the facred name, thrice repeated. As this must be fuppofed to have been ut tered while fhe is yet ftruggling with death, I think an editor may be excufed from inferting fuch a circumftance of fupererogatory horror, especially as it is found in but one of the ancient copies. STEEVENS.
This alteration was probably made in confequence of the ftatute of the 3d of James I. c. 21. which lays a penalty for the profane ufe of the name of God, &c. in ftage-plays interludes, May-games, &c. TOLLET.
The ftatute was neceffary; for not only the ancient moralities, but the plays (hofe of Chapman in particular) abound with the moft wanton and fhocking repetitions of a name which never ought to be mentioned in fuch an irreverend manner on the stage. STEEVENS.
3 My wife! my wife! what wife?—I have no wife :] "Filium unicum adolefcentulum habeo: ah! quid dixi habere me? imo habui, Chreme." Ter Heautont, STEEVENS,
O infupportable! O heavy hour!
Amil. I do befeech you I may speak with you.
Oth. I had forgot thee: O, come in Æmilia: Soft,-by and by :-Let me the curtains draw.—-Where art thou? What's the matter with thee now? [Unlocks the door.
Emil. O, my good lord, yonder's foul murder
Oth. What? now?
Emil. But now, my lord.
Oth. It is the very error of the moon ;
She comes more near the earth than the was wont, And makes men mad.
Emil. Caffio, mylord, hath kill'd a youngVenetian, Call'd-Roderigo.
Oth. Roderigo kill'd!
And Caffio kill'd!
Emil. No, Caffio is not kill'd.
Oth. Not Caffio kill'd? Then murder's out of
And fweet revenge grows harfh.
Def. O, falfely, falfely murder'd!
40 falfely, falfely murder'd!] It cannot be fuppofed that a perfon who had been effectually frangled or fmother ed, could freak again; for if the power of breathing returned after the inftrument of fuffocation was removed, no act of violence had in reali y taken place by which the conclufion of life could be brought on. Tuch is the peculiar fate of Defdemona, that fhe is fuppofed to be fmothered, revives to acquaint us that he smothered herfif, and then dies without any oftenfible cause of death. I am of opinion
Emil. Alas! what cry is that?
Emil. Out, and alas! that was my lady's voice :Help! help, ho! help!-O lady, speak again! Sweet Defdemona! O, fweet miftrefs, fpeak! Df. A guiltless death I die. Emil. O, who hath done
Def. No body; I myfelf; farewel : Commend me to my kind lord; O, farewel. [Dies. Oth. Why, how fhould the be murder'd ?
that fome theatrical direction has been omitted; and that when Othello fays:
Not dead? not yet quite dead?
I would not have thee linger in thy pain :
He then tabs her, repeating the two laft words, as he repeats the blow. Thus Virgil:
fic, fic juvat ire fub umbras."
After the repetition of wounds, Defdemona might speak again, with propriety, and yet very foon expire; as fays Caffio or Roderigo :
even but now he spake,
After long feeming dead.
The first refolution of Othello was to poifon her, but from this meafure he is diffuaded by the policy of lago. He is next determined to use the poinard; but, his tendernefs awaking, he cannot bear to deform thofe beauties which he had fo often ap. proached with other fenfations and for different purposes. Therefore fays he :
I'll not fhed her blood,
Nor fear that whiter fkin of hers than fnow,
And this refolution we are to imagine he would have kept, but that he was averfe to employing thofe means again, which had already appeared to be uncertain in their effect.
If this apparent want of a play-houfe direction had occasioned any abfurdity in the original reprefentation of the play, probably it is glanced at by Ben Jonfon in the Alchemit, act v. "Did'ft hear cry, faid'ft thou? Yes, fir, like unto a man that had been frangled an hour, and could not fpeak." STEEVENS.
Emil. Alas, who knows?
Oth. You heard her fay herself, it was not I. Emil. She faid fo; I muft needs report the truth. Oth. She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell s 'Twas I that kill'd her.
Emil. O, the more angel fhe,
And you the blacker devil!
Oth. She turn'd to folly, and he was a whore. Emil. Thou doft bely her, and thou art a devil. Oth. She was 7 falfe as water.
Amil. Thou art rafh as fire, to say That fhe was falfe; O, fhe was heavenly true! Oth. Caffio did tup her; afk thy hufband elfe: O, I were damn'd beneath all depth in hell, But that I did proceed upon juft grounds To this extremity; Thy hufband knew it all. Emil. My husband?
Oth. Thy husband,
Emil. That fhe was falfe to wedlock?
Oth. Ay, with Caffio.
Nay, had the been truc, If heaven would make me fuch another world, Of one entire and perfect chryfolite,
I'd not have fold her for it.
Emil. My husband ?
Oth. Ay, 'twas he that told me first s
s She's, like a liar, gone to burning bell] Here is nothing faulty in this paffage, but it may be read,
She's, like a liar gone to burn in hell.
The vulgar denunciation of future vengeance is, I think, you'll burn in hell for this. WHALLEY
She turn'd to folly and she was a whore.] Folly fignifies here, as in the facred writings, depravity of mind. So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
"Her fad behaviour feeds his vulture folly."
7 —falfe as water.] As water that will fupport no weight, nor keep any impreffion. JOHNSON.
8 —that told me first;] The folio reads, "that told me on Ler first," STEEVENS,
An honeft man he is, and hates the flime
Emil. My husband ?
Oth. What needs this iteration, woman? I fay, thy husband.
Emil. O miftrefs, villainy hath made mocks with love!
My husband fay, that the was falfe?
Oth. He, woman;
I fay, thy hufband; Do'ft understand the word?
Emil. If he fay fo, may his pernicious foul
Emil. Do thy worst :
This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven,
Oth. Peace, you were beft.
Emil. Thou haft not half that power to do me
As I have to be hurt. O gull! O dolt!
9 iteration,-] The folio reads-iterance. STEEVENS.
villainy has made mocks with love!] Villainy has taken ad▴ vantage to play upon the weakness of a violent paffion. JOHNSON. 3 Thou hast not half that power to do me harm,
As I have to be hurt.-] Power for will: for will fignifying both ability and inclination, and power fignifying ability, he ufes power for inclination. But the Oxford Editor, not understanding his author's phrafeology any better when he had ended than when he had begun with him, alters, As I have to be hurt, to, As I have to bear hurt: which yet does not mend the matter, had the in the fenfe of ability. WARBURTON. poet here used power The Oxford Editor faw well the meaning of his author, but weakened his expreffion. She means to fay, I have in this caufe power to endure more than thou haft power to inflict. JOHNSON.