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But what ferve for the thunder?-Precious villain? Gra. The woman falls; fure, he has kill'd his wife.
Emil. Ay, ay; O, lay me by my mistress' fide!
Which I have here recover'd from the Moor:
when those would ferve his purpose? For he wanted a thunderbolt for Iago. Without question, Shakspeare wrote and pointed the line thus:
Are there no fiones in heaven?
For what then ferves the thunder?
¿. e. Are there no bolts in heaven for this villain? for what pur pofe then ferves the thunder, that inftrument of his vengeance? WARBURTON.
Are there no ftones in heaven,
But what ferve for the thunder ?—This emendation of Dr. Warburton's is furely unneceffary.
Othello does not want a thunderbolt for fago. He only asks, if there are no leffer degrees of chastisement more proportioned to the guilt of mortals, ready to drop down on fuch villains as Jago, though Omnipotence withholds its thunder, as too noble an inftrument for the punishment of crimes like his ?
The fame thought occurs in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1609:
Shakspeare, might however mean, does heaven reserve its thunder only to make a noife? has it no implements of mischief to punish as well as terrify?
-quum fulmina torques
Necquicquam horremus? cacique in nubibus ignes "Terrificant animos, et inania murmura mifcent?"
Mr. Steevens's laft explanation of this paffage appears to be juft. We cannot fuppofe that Othello in the paroxyfm of refentment, agitation and defpair, should think any crimes more heinous than that of lago-It is difficult indeed to conceive a crime that demanded a heavier punishment. MoNCK MASON.
Oth. I am not valiant neither,
But every puny whipfter gets my fword :-
Emil. What did thy song bode, lady?
Oth. I have another weapon in this chamber, It is a fword of Spain, the ice brook's-temper;→
And die in mufic, &c.] This, and the two former lines of the fpeech, are wanting in the first quarto. STEEVENS.
the ice-brook's temper; ] In the first edition it is lebrooke's temper. Thence corrupted to Ice-rook's.—Ehro's temper; the waters of that river of Spain are particularly famous for temper ing of steel. The fineft arms in the world are the Catalonian fufees. POPE.
I believe the old reading changed to ice-brook is right. Steel is hardened by being put red hot into very cold water. JOHNSON.
The particular naine of the ice-brook may be determined by the following paffages in Martial. It was undoubtedly the brook or rivulet called Salo (now Xalon), near Bilbilis in Celtiberia. In this the Spaniards plunged all their fwords and other weapons. while hot from the forge; and to the icy quality of the waters, they were indebted for their stubborn temper:
"Sævo Bilbilin optimam metallo
"Quibus remiffum corpus aftringes brevi,
Pugio, quem curvis fignat brevis orbita venís, Stridentem gelides hunc Salo tinxit aquis.' Again, in Jufin, 1. 44. Præcipua his quidem ferri materia fed aqua ipfa ferro violentior; quippe temperamento ejus ferrum acrius redditur; nec ullum apud eos telum probatur quod non aut in Bilbili fluvio aut Chalybe tingatur. Unde etiam Chalybes fluvii hujus finitimi appellati, ferroque cæteris præftare dicuntur."
3 B 3
O, here it is Uncle, I must come forth.
Gra. [within.] If thou attempt it, it will coft thee dear;
Thou haft no weapon, and perforce must suffer. Oth. Look in upon me then, and speak with me, Or, naked as I am, I will affault thee.
Gra. What is the matter?
Oth. Behold! I have a weapon : A better never did itfelf fuftain' Upon a foldier's thigh; I have seen the day, That, with this little arm, and this good fword, I have made my way through more impediments Than twenty times your ftop:-But, Ó vain boast! Who can controul his fate? 'tis not fo now.Be not afraid, though you do fee me weapon'd; Here is my journey's end, here is my butt, The very fea-mark of my utmost fail. Do you go back difmay'd? 'tis a loft fear;
dicuntur." These parts of Spain have been at all times famous for the temper of their arms. STEEVENS.
I incline to read :
It is a fword of Spain, 'tis ebroes temper.
If we fuppofe that the words ['tis ebroes] were huddled together either in tranfcribing or compofing, thus, ['tisebroes] the compofitor in running it over with his eye, might (to make it fenfe as he thought (add a couple of letters and divide the words thus (th'isebrokes) which is nearly as it ftands in the old quarto,
I doubt whether ice-brooks are usual in the climate of Spain.
▾ A better never did itself fuftain
Upon a foldier's thigh.] So, in The Two Noble Kinfmen, by Shakspeare and Fletcher, 1634:
On his thigh a fword
"Hung by a curious baldricke, when he frowns,
Man but a rush against Othello's breaft,
Pale as thy fmock! when we fhall meet at compt, This look of thine will hurl my foul from heaven, And fiends will fnatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl? Even like thy chastity.
O curfed, curfed flave !-Whip me, ye devils,
Enter Lodovico, Caffio brought in; Montano, with Iago prifoner; and Officers.
Lod. Where is this rafh and most unfortunate man ?
Oth. That's he, that was Othello; here I am. Lod. Where is that viper? bring the villain forth. Oth. I look down 3 towards his feet;-but that's a fable:
2-O ill-ftarr'd wench! This and the fix preceding lines, are omitted in the first quarto. Wench originally fignified only a young woman. Caffandra, in Whetitone's Promos, &c. 1578, fays of herself;
"Oh wretched wench, where may I first complayne?"
"And a wench told him, &c."
And again, by Gavin Douglas, in his version of the Æneid: -audetque viris concurrere virgo."
"This wenfche toutlye rencounter durft with men."
3 towards his feet;] To fee if, according to the common opinion, his feet be cloven. JOHNSON.
3 B 4
If that thou be'ft a devil, I cannot kill thee.
[Othello wounds Iago. Lod. Wrench his fword from him. Iago. I bleed, fir; but not kill'd. Oth. I am not forry neither; I'd have thee live; For, in my fenfe, 'tis happiness to die+.
Lod. O thou Othello that was once fo good, Fall'n in the practice of a cursed slave, What fhall be faid to thee?
Oth. Why, any thing:
An honourable murderer, if you will;
Caf. Dear general, I never gave you cause, Oth. I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil, Why he hath thus enínar'd my foul and body? lago. Demand me nothing: What you know, you know:
From this time forth I never will speak word,
Gra. Torments will ope your lips.
Oth. Well, thou doft beft.
Lod. Sir, you fhall understand what hath befall'n,
Which, as I think, you know not: Here is a let-
4 For, in my fenfe, 'tis happiness to die.] The fame thought has already occured in Antony and Cleopatra:
"Tis well thou'rt gone-
5 in the practice-] In the fnare, by the Stratagem.