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I care not for thy fword; I'll make thee known,
Enter Montano, Gratiano, Iago, and others.
Mon. What is the matter?-How now, general? Emi!. O, are you come, Iago? you have done well,
That men muft lay their murders on your neck.
Emil. Litprove this villain, if thou be'ft a man:
Iago. I told him what I thought: and told no more
Amil. You told a lie: an odious, damned lie;
4-charm your tongue. By this expreffion, Charm your tongue, the poet meant no more than to make jago fay, Apply fome power, ftrong as a charm would be, to your tongue; for nothing lefs can stop its volubility. So, Henry VI. Part III:
"Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.” So, Ben Jonfon, in Cynthia's Revels:
charm your skipping tongue." Again, in Spenfer's Faery Queen, b. v. c. 9:
"That well could charm his tongue, and time his fpeech." Again, in the For hire Tragedy, 1619:
"The furest way to charm a woman's tongue, "Is to break her neck a politician did it." Pliny informs us, that favete linguis was the conftant exclamation before any religious charm was applied. From this circumftance the phrafe to charm a tougue might have originated.
Emil. I will not charm my tongue; I am bound to speak ;
My mistress here lies murder'd in her bed.
Emil. And your reports have fet the murder on. Oth. Nay, ftare not, mafters; it is true, indeed. Gra. 'Tis a strange truth.
Mon O monftrous act!
Emil. Villainy, villainy, villainy!-
I think upon't,-I think,-I fmell't;-O villainy !
Iago. What, are you mad? I charge you, get you
Emil. Good gentlemen, let me have leave to fpeak; 'Tis proper I obey him, but not now :Perchance, lago, I will ne'er go home.
Oth. O! O! O! [Othello looking on his wife. Emil. Nay, lay thee down, and roar; For thou haft kill'd the fweeteft innocent,
That e'er did lift up eye.
Oth. O, fhe was foul !
I fcarce did know you, uncle: There lies your niece. Whose breath, indeed, thefe hands have newly ftopp'd:
I know, this act fhews horrible and grim.
Gra. Poor Defdemona! I am glad thy father's
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
Oth. 'Tis pitiful: but yet Iago knows, That the with Caffio hath the act of fhame
5-my mistress, &c.] This line, and the following fix fpeeches, are wanting in the first quarto. STEEVENS.
A thousand times committed; Caffio confefs'd it; And the did gratify his amorous works
4 A thousand times committed:] This is another paffage which feems to fuppofe a longer ipace comprised in the action of this play than the scenes include. JOHNSON.
That he with Caffio had the art of Shame
And again :
'Tis not a year or two fhews us a man.] I am not convinced from these paffages only, that a longer fpace is comprifed in the action of this play than the fcenes include.
What Othello mentions in the first instance, might have paffed ftill more often, before they were married, when Caffio went be tween them; for fhe, who could find means to elude the vigilance of her father in refpect of Othello, might have done fo in refpect of Caflio, when there was time enough for the occurrence fuppofed to have happened. A jealous perfon will aggravate all he thinks, or fpeaks of; and might use a thousand for a much lets number, only to give weight to his cenfure: nor would it have anfwered any purpofe to have made Othello a little nearer or further off from truth in his calculation. We might apply the poet's own words in Cymbeline:
66- fpare your arithmetic ;
The latter is a proverbial expreffion, and might have been introduced with propriety, had they been married only a day or two. Emilla's reply perhaps was dictated by her own private experience; and feems to mean only, "that it is too foon to judge
of a husband's difpofition; or that Defdemona muft not be fur"prifed at the difcovery of Othello's jealoufy, for it is not even a year or two that will display all the failings of a man.”
Mr. Tollet, however on this occafion has produced several inftances in fupport of Dr. Johnson's opinion; and as I am unable to explain them in favour of my own fuppofition, I shall lay them before the public.
A&t iii. fc. 3. Othello says:
What fenfe had I of her ftolen hours of luft?
I faw it not, thought it not, it harm'd not me:
On Othello's wedding night he and Caffio embark'd from Venice, where Desdemona was left under the care of lago. They all meet at Cyprus; and fince their arrival there, the fcenes include only one night, the night of the celebration of their nuptials. Iago 3 B
With that recognizance and pledge of love
had not then infused any jealousy into Othello's mind, nor did he fufpect any former intimacy between Caffio and Defdemona, but only thought itapt and of great credit that she loved him." What night then was there to intervene between Caffio's kiffes and Othello's fleeping the next night well? Iago has faid, "I lay with Caffio lately," which he could not have done, unless they had been longer at Cyprus than is reprefented in the play; nor could Cafio have kept away, for the fpace of a whole week, from Bianca. STEEVENS.
It was an handkerchief, &c.] Othello tells his wife, act iii, fc. 10:
Did an Egyptian to my mother give. And here he fays:
It was an handkerchief,
My father gave my mother.
This laft paffage has been cenfured as an overfight in the poet but perhaps it exhibits only a fresh proof of his art. The first account of the handkerchief, as given by Othello, was purpofely oftentatious, in order to alarm his wife the more. When he mentions it a fecond time, the truth was fufficient for his purpose.
This circumftance of the handkerchief is perhaps ridiculed by Ben Jonfon, in his Poctafter you shall see me do the Moor; mafter, lend me your fearf." STEEVENS.
I question, whether Othello was written early enough to be ridiculed by the Poetafter. There were many other Moors on the stage.
It is certain at leaft, that the paffage,
"Our new heraldry is hands, not hearts."
could not be inferted before the middle of the year 1611.
If the allufion in the Poetafter (which was printed in 1601). were to Othello, it would fix its date much earlier than I conceive it to have been written.-But the allufion in the paffage quoted, is not to Othello, but to an old play called the Battle of Alcazar, 1594.-In the Poctafter, Pyrgus, who fays, you" fhall fee me do the Moor," proceeds in the fame fcene, and repeats an abfurd fpeech of the Moor's in the Battle of Alcazar, beginning with this line:
"Where art thou, boy? where is Calipolis ?" which afcertains the allufion to be to that play. MALONE.
My father gave my mother.
Emil. O heaven! O heavenly powers!
Iago. Come, hold your peace.
Emil. Twill out, 'twill out:- I hold my peace, fir? no,
No, I will speak as liberal as the north;
[Lago offers to fab his wife.
Your fword upon a woman?
I found by fortune, and did give my husband;
Iago. Villainous whore !
Emil. She give it Caffio! no, alas; I found it, And I did give it my husband.
Iago. Filth, thou lieft.
Emil. By heaven, I do not; I do not, gentlemen: O murd'rous coxcomb! what fhould fuch a fool Do with fo good a wife?
[Lago ftabs his wife, then runs out. Oth. 7 Are there no ftones in heaven,
-as the north;] The old quarto reads,
Liberal, is free, under nocontroul. This quality of the Northwind is mentioned in Victoria Corombona, &c. 1612:
7 Are there no ftones in heaven
3 B 2
"And let th' irregular North wind fweep her up." Again, in Jeronimo, i. e. the first part of the Spanish Tragedy, 1605:
"Now let your bloods be liberal as the fea."
-] What occafion for other, when