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"She lov'a me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I lov'd her that she did pity them."

But when the meeting comes at Cyprus, after their separation and their danger, the depth of his affection bursts forth in irrepressible words :

"If it were now to die,

"T were now to be most happy, for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute,
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate."

Such are the materials upon which Iago has to work in Othello.

But had Desdemona been other.

wise than she was, his success would not have been so assured. Let us dwell for a moment upon the elementary character of this pure and gentle being.

Desdemona's father first describes her :--

"A maiden never bold;

Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion
Blush'd at herself."

Yet upon her very first appearance she does not shrink from avowing the strength of her affections:

"That I love the Moor, to live with him,

My downright violence and storm of fortunes

May trumpet to the world."

But she immediately adds the reason for this:

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The impressibility of Desdemona is her distinguishing characteristic.

With this key, the tale of

Othello's wooing is a most consistent one. The timid girl is brought into immediate contact with the earnest warrior. She hears of wonders most remote from her experience;-caves and deserts, rocks and hills, in themselves marvels to an inhabitant of the city of the sea,—

"Of most disastrous chances,

Of moving accidents by flood and field."

How exquisite is the domestic picture which follows:

"But still the house affairs would draw her thence:

Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse."

But this impressibility, this exceeding sympathy arising out of the tenderness of her nature, is under the control of the most perfect purity. Iago does full justice to this purity, whilst he sees that her kindness of heart may be abused:

"For 'tis most easy

The inclining Desdemona to subdue

In any honest suit; she's fram'd as fruitful

As the free elements."

Her confidence in the power which she possesses over Othello is the result of the perfect sympathy which she has bestowed and received. And her zeal in friendship, without a thought that she might be mistaken, has its root in the same confiding nature:

"I give thee warrant of thy place; assure thee,

If I do vow a friendship I'll perform it
To the last article."

The equivocation about the handkerchief is the result of the same impressibility. She is terrified out of her habitual candour. The song of "Willow," and the subsequent dialogue with Emilia, are evidences of the same subjection of the mind to external impressions. But her unassailable purity

is above all. "I do not think there is any such woman is one of those minute touches which we in vain seek for in any other writer but Shakspere.

Understanding, then, the native characters of Othello and Desdemona, we shall appreciate the marvellous skill with which Shakspere has conducted the machinations of Iago. If the novel of Cinthio had fallen into common hands to be dramatized, and the dramatist had chosen to depart from the motive of revenge against Desdemona which there actuates the villain, the plot would probably have taken this course:-The Desdemona would have been somewhat less pure than our Desdemona; the Cassio would have been somewhat more presumptuous than our Cassio, and have not felt for Desdemona the religious veneration which he feels; the Othello would have

been "easily jealous," and would have done something "in hate," but not "all in honour," as our Othello. It is a part of the admirable knowledge of human nature possessed by Shakspere, that Iago does not, even for a moment, entertain the thought of tampering with the virtue of Desdemona, either through Cassio, or Roderigo, or any other instrument. Coleridge has boldly and truly said that "Othello does not kill Desdemona in jealousy, but in a conviction forced upon him by the almost superhuman art of Iago-such a conviction as any man would and must have entertained who had believed Iago's honesty as Othello did. We, the audience, know that Iago is a villain from the beginning; but, in considering the essence of the Shaksperian Othello, we must perseveringly place ourselves in his situation, and under his circumstances."

But Othello was not only betrayed by his reliance on "Iago's honesty," but also by his confidence in Iago's wisdom :


"This fellow's of exceeding honesty,

And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,

Of human dealings."

"O thou art wise; 'tis certain."

When Othello thus bows his own lofty nature before the grovelling but most acute worldly intellect of Iago, his habitual view of "all qualities" had been clouded by the breath of the slanderer. His confidence in purity and innocence had been destroyed. The sensual judgment of "human dealings" had taken the place of the spiritual. The enthusiastic love and veneration of his wife had been painted to him as the result of gross passion :—

"Not to affect many proposed matches," &c.

His belief in the general prevalence of virtuous motives and actions had been degraded to a reliance on the libertine's creed that all are impure:

"there's millions now alive," &c.

When the innocent and the high-minded submit themselves to the tutelage of the man of the world, as he is called, the process of mental change is precisely that produced in the mind of Othello. The poetry of life is gone. On them, never more

"The freshness of the heart can fall like dew."

They abandon themselves to the betrayer, and they prostrate themselves before the energy of his "gain'd knowledge." They feel that in their own original powers of judgment they have no support against the dogmatism, and it may be the ridicule, of experience. This is the course with the young when they fall into the power of the tempter. But was not Othello in all essentials young? Was he not of an enthusiastic temperament, confiding, loving,-most sensitive to opinion, -jealous of his honour,-truly wise, had he trusted to his own pure impulses ?-But he was most weak, in adopting an evil opinion against his own faith, and conviction, and proof in his reliance upon the honesty and judgment of a man whom he really doubted and had never proved. Yet this is the course by which the highest and noblest intellects are too often subjected to the dominion of the subtle understanding and the unbridled will. It is an unequal contest between the principles that are struggling for the mastery in the individual man, when the attributes of the serpent and the dove are separated, and become conflicting. The wisdom which belonged to Othello's enthu siastic temperament was his confidence in the truth and purity of the being with whom his life was bound up, and his general reliance upon the better part of human nature, in his judgment of his friend. When the confidence was destroyed by the craft of his deadly enemy, his sustaining power was also destroyed;- the balance of his sensitive temperament was lost;-his enthusiasm became wild passion;-his new belief in the dominion of grossness over the apparently pure and good, shaped itself into gross outrage; his honour lent itself to schemes of cruelty and revenge. But even amidst the whirlwind of this passion, we every now and then hear something which sounds as the softest echo of love and gentleness. Perhaps in the whole compass of the Shaksperian pathos there is nothing deeper than "But yet the pity of it, Iago! O, Iago, the pity of it, Iago." It is the contemplated murder of Desdemona which thus tears his heart. But his "disordered power, engendered within itself to its own destruction," hurries on the catastrophe. We would ask, with Coleridge, " As the curtain drops, which do we pity the most?"

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'THE Life of Tymon of Athens' was first published in the folio collection of 1623; and immediately previous to that publication, it was entered in the books of the Stationers' Company, as one of the plays "not formerly entered to other men." The text, in this first edition, has no division into acts and scenes. We have reason to believe that, with a few exceptions, it is accurately printed from the copy which was in the possession of Heminge and Condell; and we have judged it important, for reasons which we shall feel it our duty to state in considerable detail, to follow that copy with very slight variations.

The text which, before our Pictorial edition, was ordinarily printed, that of Steevens, underwent, in an almost unequalled extent, what the editors called "regulation." Steevens was a great master in this art of "regulation"—a process by which what was originally printed as prose is sometimes transformed into verse, with the aid of transposition, omission, and substitution; and what, on the contrary, stood in the original as verse, is changed into prose, because the ingenuity of the editor has been unable to render it strictly metrical. There are various other modes of "regulation," which have been most extensively employed in the play before us; and the consequence was that some very important characteristics were utterly destroyed in the variorun: editions the record was obliterated. The task, however, which Steevens undertook, was in some cases too difficult a one to be carried through consistently; and he has been compelled, therefore, to leave several passages, that invited his ambition to "regulate," even as he found them. For example, in that part of the first scene where Apemantus appears, we have a dialogue, of which Steevens thus speaks:-"The very imperfect state in which the ancient copy of this play has reached us, leaves a doubt whether Beveral short speeches in the present scene were designed for verse or prose; I have, therefore, made no attempt at 'regulation."" Boswell upon this very sensibly asks, "Why should not the same doubt exist with regard to other scenes, in which Mr. Steevens has not acted with the same moderation?" It will be necessary that, in addition to the notices in our foot-notes, we should bere call the attention of the reader to a few specimens of the difference between the ancient and the modern text.

The original presents to us in particular scenes a very considerable number of short lines, occurring in the most rapid succession. We have no parallel example in Shakspere of the fre

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