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I have found great love amongst them. O, my


I prattle out of fashion,23 and I dote

In mine own comforts. I pr'ythee, good Iago,

Go to the bay, and disembark my coffers.
Bring thou the master to the citadel:
He is a good one, and his worthiness

Does challenge much respect. -Come, Desdemona,
Once more well met at Cyprus.

[Exeunt all but IAGO and RODERIGO.

Iago. Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come thither. If thou be'st valiant,- as they say base men, being in love, have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them,―list me. The lieutenant to-night watches on the court of guard.24 -First, I must tell thee this, - Desdemona is directly in love with him.

Rod. With him! why, 'tis not possible.

Iago. Lay thy finger-thus,25 and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first lov'd the Moor, but for bragging, and telling her fantastical lies: and will she love him still for prating? 26 let not thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be fed; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be again to inflame it, and to give satiety a fresh appetite loveliness in favour; sympathy in years, manners, and beauties; all which the Moor is defective in. Now, for want of these requir'd conveniences, her

23 Out of method, without any settled order of discourse. 24 That is, the place where the guard musters.

25 On thy mouth to stop it, while thou art listening to a wiser


26 So both the quartos; the folio, " To love him still," &c.


delicate tenderness will find itself abus'd, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted, (as it is a most pregnant and unforc'd position,) who stands so eminently in the degree of this fortune, as Cassio does? a knave very voluble; no further conscionable, than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection? why, none; why, none: a slippery and subtle knave; a finderout of occasions; that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never present itself: A devilish knave! besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him, that folly and green minds look after; a pestilent complete knave; and the woman hath found him already.

Rod. I cannot believe that in her she is full of most blessed condition.27


Iago. Blessed fig's end! the wine she drinks is made of grapes: if she had been bless'd, she would never have lov'd the Moor: blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst not mark that?

Rod. Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy. Iago. Lechery, by his hand; an index 28 and obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so near with their lips, that their breaths embrac'd together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! when these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, the in

27 Qualities, disposition of mind.

28 It has already been observed that indexes were formerly prefixed to books. See Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 4, note 4.

corporate conclusion. Pish!- But, sir, be you rul’d by me: I have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night; for the command, I'll lay't upon you: Cassio knows you not : — I'll not be far from you: do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline ; 29 or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favourably minister.

Rod. Well.

Iago. Sir, he is rash, and very sudden in choler; and, haply, with his truncheon may strike at you: Provoke him, that he may; for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true taste again, but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires, by the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

Rod. I will do this, if you can bring it to any opportunity.

Iago. I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel: I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.

Rod. Adieu.


Iago. That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it; That she loves him, 'tis apt, and of great credit: The Moor-howbeit that I endure him notIs of a constant, loving, noble nature;


29 Throwing a slur upon his discipline.

30 The words, "with his truncheon," are not in the folio.



31 Qualification, in our old writers, signifies appeasement, pacification, asswagement of anger. "To appease and qualifie on is angry; tranquillum facere ex irato.".



And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, (though, peradventure,
I stand accountant for as great a sin,)

But partly led to diet my revenge,

For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap'd into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul,
Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife;
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure.
Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on, -
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb,3
For I fear Cassio with my nightcap too;
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me,
For making him egregiously an ass,



32 This is the reading of the folio, which, though it has a plain and easy sense, would not do for the commentators. The fact is, to trace means neither more nor less than to follow, the appropriate hunting term; the old French tracer, tracher, trasser, and the Italian tracciare having the same meaning. Bishop Hall, in the third satire of his fifth book, uses trace for to follow:

"Go on and thrive, my petty tyrant's pride,
Scorn thou to live, if others live beside;
And trace proud Castile, that aspires to be
In his old age a young fifth monarchy."

33 In the rank garb" is merely in the right-down, or straightforward fashion. In As You Like It we have "the right butterwoman's rank to market." And in King Lear, Cornwall says of Kent in disguise, that he "doth affect a saucy roughness, and constrains the garb quite from his nature." Gower says of Fluellen, in King Henry V., "You thought, because he could not speak English in the native garb, he could not therefore handle an English cudgel." The folio reads, "in the right garb."



And practising upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. "Tis here, but yet confus'd:
Knavery's plain face is never seen, till us❜d.34


SCENE II. A Street.

Enter a Herald, with a Proclamation; People fol lowing.


Her. It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that, upon certain tidings now arriv'd, importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet, every man put himself into triumph; some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addiction leads him; for, besides these beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptials: So much was his pleasure should be proclaimed. All offices are open; and there is full liberty of feasting, from this present hour of five, till the bell hath told eleven. Heaven bless the isle of Cyprus, and our noble general Othello!



SCENE III. A Hall in the Castle.

Enter OTHELLO, Desdemona, CASSIO, and Attendants.

Oth. Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight:

34 An honest man acts upon a plan, and forecasts his designs; but a knave depends upon temporary and local opportunities, and never knows his own purpose, but at the time of execution.— JOHNSON.

1 Mere is entire.

2 All rooms, or places in the castle, at which refreshments are prepared or served out.

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