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Too hideous to be fhewn.-Thou doft mean fome


I heard thee fay but now,-Thou lik❜dst not that,
When Caffio left my wife; What did'ft not like?
And, when I told thee-he was of my counsel
In my whole courfe of wooing, thou cry'dft, Indeed?
And didft contract and purfe thy brow together,
As if thou then hadft fhut up in thy brain
Some horrible conceit: If thou doft love me,
Shew me thy thought.

Iago. My lord, you know I love you.

Oth. I think, thou doft;

And, for I know thou art full of love and honefty, And weigh'ft thy words before thou giv'ft them breath,

Therefore these ftops of thine fright me the more: For fuch things, in a falfe difloyal knave,

Are tricks of custom; but, in a man that's juft, They are clofe delations, working from the heart; That

The folio reads:

As if, &c.

Alas thou echo'st me,


They are cold dilations working from the heart,

That pafion cannot rule.] i. e. thefe ftops and breaks are cold dilations, or cold keeping back a fecret, which men of phlegmatic conftitutions, whofe hearts are not fwayed or governed by their paffions, we find, can do: while more fanguine tempers reveal themselves at once, and without referve. But the Oxford 'editor for cold dilations, reads diftillations. WARBURTON,

I know not why the modern editors are fatisfied with this reading, which no explanation can clear. They might eatily have found, that it is introduced without authority. The old copies uniformly give, clofe dilations, except that the earlier quarto has clefe denotements; which was the author's first expreffion, afterwards changed by him, not to cold dilations, for cold is read in no ancient copy: nor, I believe, to clofe dilations, but to clofe delations; to occult and fecret accufations, working involuntarily from the heart, which, though refolved to conceal the fault, cannot rule its paffion of refentment. JOHNSON.

This reading is fo much more elegant than the former, that


That paffion cannot rule.

Iago. For Michael Caffio,

I dare be fworn, I think that he is honeft.
Oth. I think fo too.

Tago. Men fhould be what they seem;

*Or, thofe that be not, 'would they might feemi none !

Oth. Certain, men fhould be what they feem. Iago. Why then, I think Caffio's an honeft man. Oth. Nay, yet there's more in this :

I pray thee, fpeak to me as to thy thinkings, As thou doft ruminate; and give thy worst of thoughts

The worst of words.

Jago. Good my lord, pardon me; Though I am bound to every act of duty,

I am not bound to that all flaves are free to. Utter my thoughts? Why, fay, they are vile and falfe,

As where's that palace, whereinto foul things Sometimes intrude not? who has a breaft fo pure, But fome uncleanly apprehenfions

one cannot help wifhing it to be right. But delations founds to me too claffical to have been ufed by Shakspeare.

The old reading-clofe dilations (in the fenfe of fecret expofi tions of the mind) is authorized by a book of that age, which our author is known to have read:-" After all this foul weather follows a calm dilatement of others' too forward harmfulness.' Rafalynde or Euphues golden Legacie, by Thomas Lodge, 1592.

Cold delations, is the reading of the three latter folios.



2 Cr, those that be not, "would they might feem none !] There is no fenfe in this reading. I fuppofe Shakspeare wrote,

would they might feem knave: WARBURTON.

I believe the meaning is, 'would they might no longer feem, or bear the shape of men. JOHNSON.

Perhaps the meaning is, 'would they might not feem honeft!

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Keep lects, and law-days, and in feffion fit With meditations lawful?

Oth. Thou doft confpire against thy friend, Iago, If thou but think'ft him wrong'd and mak'ft his


A ftranger to thy thoughts.

Iago. I do befeech you,

4 Though I

perchance, am vicious in my



3 Keep leets and law-days,-] Leets, and law-days, are fynony mous terms. "Leet (tays Jacob, in his Lav Dictionary) is otherwife called a law-day." They are there explained to be courts, or meetings of the hundred, "to certify the king of the good manners, and government, of the inhabitants," and to enquire of all offences that are not capital. The poet's meaning will now be plain. Who has a breaft fo little apt to form ill opinions of others, but that foul fufpicions will fometimes mix with his fairest and most candid thoughts, and erect a court in bis mind, to enquire of the offences apprehended. STEVENS.

4 Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess,] Not to mention that, in this reading, the fentence is abrupt and broken, it is likewife highly abfurd. I befeech you give yourfelf no uneafinefs from my unfure obfervance, though I am vicious in my guefs. For his being an ill gueffer was a reafon why Othello fhould not be uncafy: in propriety, therefore, it should either have been, though I am not vicious, or becaufe I am vicious. It appears then we fhould read :

I do beseech you,

Think, 1, perchance, am vicious in my guef.

Which makes the fenfe pertinent and perfect. WARBURTON. Though 1-perchance, am vicious in my gus,] That abrupt nefs in the fpeech which Dr. Warburton complains of, and would alter, may be easily accounted for. fago feems defirous by this ambiguous hint, Though I— to inflame the jealoufy of Othello, which he knew would be more effectually done in this manner, than by any expreffion that bore a determinate meaning. The jealous Othello would fill up the paufe in the fpeech, which Iago turns off at laft to another purpose, and find a more certain caus of difcontent, and a greater degree of torture arising from the doubtful confideration how it might have concluded, than he could have experienced had the whole of what he enquired after been reported to him with every circumftance of aggravation.

We may fuppofe him imagining to himfelf, that lago mentally continued

(As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
To ipy into abufes; and, oft, my jealoufy
Shapes faults that are not) that your wifdom yet",
From one that fo imperfectly conceits,

Would take no notice; nor build yourfelf a trouble
Out of his feattering and unfure obfervance :-
It were not for your quiet, nor your good,
Nor for my manhood, honefty, or wildom,
To let you know my thoughts.

Oth. What doft thou mean?

Iago. Good name, in man, and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their fouls;

Who fteals my purfe, fteals trafh; 'tis fomething, nothing;

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been flave to thoufands:

But he, that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

Oth. By heaven, I'll know thy thought.

Tago. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand Nor thall not, whilft 'tis in my cuftody.

Oth. Ha!

continued the thought thus, Though I know more than I choofe to speak of.

Vicious in my guess does not mean that he is an ill-gueffer, but that he is apt to put the worst conftruction on every thing he attempts to account for. STEEVENS.

5-that your wifdom yet,] Thus the folio. The quarto thus: I entreat you then

From one that fo imperfectly conjes,

You'd take no notice

To conject, i. e. to conjecture, is a verb ufed by other writers. So, in Acolafus, a comedy, 1540:


"Now reafon I, or con ect with myself."

"I cannot forget thy faying, or thy conjecting words."

Tt 2



Iago. O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monfter, which doth mock



7 — which doth mock

The meat it feeds on- i. e. loaths that which nourishes and fuftains it. This being a miferable flate, Iago bids him beThe Oxford Editor reads:

ware of it.

which doth make

The meat it feeds on.-

Implying that its fufpicions are unreal and groundless, which is the very contrary to what he would here make his general think, as appears from what follows:

That cuckold lives in bliss, &c.

In a word, the villain is for fixing him jealous: and therefore bids him beware of jealoufy, not that it was an unreasonable, but a miferable ftate; and this plunges him into it, as we fee by his reply, which is only

O mifery! WARBURTON.

I have received Hanmer's emendation; because to mock, does not fignify to loath; and becaufe, when lago bids Othello beware of jealoufy, the green-eyed monster, it is natural to tell why he should beware, and for caution he gives him two reafons, that jealoufy often creates its own caufe, and that, when the caufes are real, jealoufy is mifery. JOHNSON.

In this place, and fome others, to mock feems the fame with to mammock. FARMER.

If Shakspeare had written a green-ey'd monfter, we might have fuppofed him to refer to fome creature exifting only in his particular imagination; but the green-ey'd monfter feems to have reference to an object as familiar to his readers as to himself.

It is known that the tyger kind have green-eyes, and always play with the victim to their hunger, before they devour it. So, in our Author's Tarquin and Lucrece :

Like foul night-waking cat he doth but dally,

"While in his hold-faft foot the weak moufe panteth—* Thus, a jealous husband, who difcovers no certain caufe why he may by divorced, continues to fport with the woman whom h fufpects, and, on more certain evidence, determines to punish There is no beaft that can be literally faid to make its own food and therefore I am unwilling to receive the emendation of Han mer, efpecially as I flatter myfelf that a glimpfe of meaning may be produced from the ancient reading.

In Antony and Cleopatra the contested word occurs again :

tell him

"He mocks the pauses that he makes."

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