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Of one entire and perfect chrysolite 19,
I'd not have sold her for it.

Emil. My husband?


Ay, 'twas he that told me first 2o ;


An honest man he is, and hates the slime

That sticks on filthy deeds.


My husband?

Oth. What needs this iterance 21, woman? I say, thy husband.

Emil. O mistress, villany hath made mocks with love 22!

My husband


that she was false?

Oth. He, woman. I say, thy husband: Dost understand the word? My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago.

Emil. If he say so, may his pernicious soul Rot half a grain a day! he lies to the heart; She was too fond of her most filthy bargain. Oth. Ha!


Do thy worst:

This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven,
Than thou wast worthy her.

Peace, you were best.
Emil. Thou hast not half the power to do me harm,
As I have to be hurt 23. O gull! O dolt!

19 Pliny informs us that Ptolemy Philadelphus had a statue of his wife Arsinoe, made of one topaz, four cubits in length.— Hist. Nat. b. xxxvii. c. 8. Dr. Clarke, in his Lectures on Mineralogy, says he used topaz and chrysolite as synonymous terms. Perhaps Shakspeare alludes to this story.-Plumptre.

20 The folio reads-that told me on her first.

21 The quarto reads-iteration. The two next speeches are omitted in that copy.

22 Villany hath taken advantage to play upon the weakness of a violent passion.


'More can I bear than you dare execute.'

This line, from the Second Part of King Henry VI. is one of those attributable to Shakspeare, and explains Emilia's sentiment. There is a similar idea in King Henry VIII. Act iii. Sc. 2, p. 258.

As ignorant as dirt! thou hast done a deed,-
I care not for thy sword; I'll make thee known,
Though I lost twenty lives:-Help! help, ho! help!
The Moor has kill'd my mistress: Murder! murder!

Mon. What is the matter?-How now, general?
Emil. O, are you come, Iago? you have done well,
That men must lay their murders on your neck.
Gra. What is the matter?

Emil. Disprove this villain, if thou beest a man: He says, thou told'st him that his wife was false: I know, thou didst not, thou'rt not such a villain; Speak, for my heart is full.

Iago. I told him what I thought; and told no


Than what he found himself was apt and true. Emil. But did you ever tell him, she was false? Iago. I did.

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Emil. You told a lie; an odious damned lie; Upon my soul, a lie; a wicked lie:She false with Cassio!—Did you say with Cassio? Iago. With Cassio, mistress; Go to, charm your tongue 24.

Emil. I will not charm my tongue; I am bound to speak;

My mistress here lies murder'd in her bed 25.

24 See vol. vi. p. 313, note 10. To charm is to conjure, to encbant, to lay or still as with a charm. So in King Henry V.:Charming the narrow seas


To give you gentle pass.'

Pliny informs us that favete linguis was the constant exclamation before any charm was applied. From this circumstance the phrase to charm a tongue, may have originated. So in The Tempest :

'Hush, be mute,

Or else our spell is marr'd.'

25 This line, and the six following speeches, are wanting in the first quarto.

All. O heavens forefend!

Emil. And your reports have set the murder on. Oth. Nay, stare not, masters; it is true, indeed. Gra. 'Tis a strange truth.

Mon. O monstrous act!

Emil. Villany, villany, villany!— I think upon't, I think, I smell't;-O villany! I thought so then ;-I'll kill myself for grief.O villany, villany!

Iago. What, are you mad? I charge you, get you home.

Emil.Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak; 'Tis proper I obey him, but not now :—

Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home.

Oth. O! O! O!

[Hanging over his wife. Nay, lay thee down, and roar;

For thou hast kill'd the sweetest innocent,

That e'er did lift up eye.



O, she was foul!— [Rising.

scarce did know you, uncle: There lies your niece, Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopp'd:

I know, this act shows horrible and grim.

Gra. Poor Desdemona! I am glad thy father's dead;

Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
Shore his old thread in twain: did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side 27,
And fall to reprobation 28.

26 That is, at the instant when she gave Desdemona's handkerchief to Iago: for even then Emilia appears to have suspected it was sought after for no honest purpose, and therefore asks her husband What will you do with it?' &c. See Act iii. Sc. 2. 27 So in Shakspeare's 144th Sonnet :—

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Tempteth my better angel from my side.'

26 The first and the second folio both read-reprobance.

Oth. "Tis pitiful: but yet Iago knows,

That she with Cassio hath the act of shame

A thousand times committed 29; Cassio confess'd it:
And she did gratify his amorous works

With that recognizance and pledge of love
Which I first gave her; I saw it in his hand;
It was a handkerchief, an antique token
My father gave my mother 30.

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Emil. O heaven! O heavenly powers!
Come, hold your peace.
Emil. Twill out, 'twill out;-I hold my peace,

sir? no;

29 Dr. Johnson thinks that this and other passages in the play seem to suppose a longer space comprised in the action of this play than the scene includes. Mr. Tollet has adduced several instances in support of this opinion, as that in Act iii. Sc. 3 :

'I slept the next night well, was free and merry,
I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips.'

'On Othello's wedding night, he and Cassio embarked from Venice, where Desdemona was left under the care of Iago. They all met at Cyprus; and since their arrival there, the scenes include only one night, the night of the celebration of their nuptials. What night was there to intervene between Cassio's kisses and Othello's sleeping the next night well? Iago has said, "I lay with Cassio lately," which he could not well have done, unless they had been longer at Cyprus than is represented in the play; nor could Cassio have kept away for the space of a whole week from Bianca.' Steevens obviates one objection, by supposing that what Othello mentions might have passed before he was married to Desdemona, when Cassio went between them, and that a thousand times is only an aggravated term for many times. The difficulties started by Mr. Tollet he is unable to explain.

30 Othello tells his wife, Act iii. Sc. 4:

That handkerchief

Did an Egyptian to my mother give.'

This passage, therefore, has been censured as an oversight 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 purposely ostentatious, in order to alarm his wife the more. When he mentions it a second time, the truth was sufficient for his purpose.-Steevens.

No, I will speak as liberal 31 as the air;
Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all,
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak.
Iago. Be wise, and get you home.

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Emil. O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou

speak'st of,

I found by fortune, and did give my husband;
For often, with a solemn earnestness

(More than, indeed, belong'd to such a trifle),
He begg'd of me to steal it.


Emil. She give it Cassio!

And I did give't my husband.

Villanous whore!

no, alas; I found it,

Iago. Filth, thou liest. Emil. By heaven, I do not; I do not, gentlemen: O murd'rous coxcomb! what should such a fool Do with so good a wife?


[IAGO stabs EMILIA, then runs out. Are there no stones in heaven, But what serve for the thunder 32 ?-Precious villain? Gra. The woman falls; sure, he has kill'd his wife. Emil. Ay, ay; O, lay me by my mistress' side! Gra. He's gone, but his wife's kill'd.

Mon. 'Tis a notorious villain. Take you this


31 The folio reads

'I'll be in speaking liberal as the north.'

The quarto 1622-liberal as the air.' The text is formed out of the two copies. Liberal here means free. So in Jeronimo, i. e. the first part of The Spanish Tragedy, 1605 :

'Now let your bloods be liberal as the sea.'

32 The meaning appears to be :-' Has not heaven one supernumerary bolt, to hurl directly at the head of this atrocious villain?'

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