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Des. O, but I fear!-How lost you company? Cas. The great contention of the sea and skies Parted our fellowship.

[Cry within, "A sail, a sail!" Guns heard. But, hark! a sail.

2 Gent. They give their greeting to the citadel: This likewise is a friend.


See for the news. —

Good ancient, you are welcome. come, mistress.

[Exit a Gentleman. [TO EMIL.] Wel

Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners: 'tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.'


[Kissing her. Iago. Sir, would she give you so much of her lips As of her tongue she oft bestows on me, You'd have enough.


Alas! she has no speech.
Iago. In faith, too much;
I find it still, when I have list to sleep:
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
And chides with thinking.

Emil. You have little cause to say so.


13 Observe Othello's "honest," and Cassio's "bold" Iago; and Cassio's full guileless-hearted wishes for the safety and loveraptures of Othello and "the divine Desdemona." And note also the exquisite circumstance of Cassio's kissing Iago's wife, as if it ought to be impossible that the dullest auditor should not feel Cassio's religious love of Desdemona's purity. Iago's answers are the sneers which a proud bad intellect feels towards women, and expresses to a wife. Surely it ought to be considered a very exalted compliment to women, that all the sarcasms on them in Shakespeare are put in the mouths of villains. -COLERIDGE.


14 The quarto of 1622 has list; the folio, leave; doubtless a misprint.


Iago. Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,

Bells in your parlours, wild cats in your kitchens, Saints in your injuries,15 devils being offended, Players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.

Des. O, fie upon thee, slanderer!

Iago. Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk: You rise to play, and go to bed to work.

Emil. You shall not write my praise.


No, let me not. Des. What would'st thou write of me, if thou should'st praise me?

Iago. O, gentle lady! do not put me to't;

For I am nothing, if not critical.

Des. Come on, assay.


There's one gone to the

Iago. Ay, madam.

Des. I am not merry; but I do beguile The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.Come, how would'st thou praise me?

Iago. I am about it, but, indeed, my invention Comes from my pate, as birdlime does from frize, It plucks out brains and all; but my muse labours, And thus she is deliver'd:

If she be fair and wise, —fairness, and wit,

The one's for use, the other useth it.

Des. Well prais'd!


How, if she be black and

Iago. If she be black, and thereto have a wit, She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

Des. Worse and worse.

Emil. How, if fair and foolish?

15 That is, when you have a mind to do injuries, you put on an air of sanctity.

Iago. She never yet was foolish that was fair; For even her folly help'd her to an heir.

Des. These are old fond paradoxes, to make fools laugh i'the alehouse. What miserable praise hast

thou for her that's foul and foolish?

Iago. There's none so foul, and foolish thereunto, But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

Des. O, heavy ignorance!-thou praisest the worst best. But what praise could'st thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed? one that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?


Iago. She that was ever fair, and never proud;
Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud;
Never lack'd gold, and yet went never gay;
Fled from her wish, and yet said, "now I may;"
She that, being anger'd, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay, and her displeasure fly;
She, that in wisdom never was so frail,

To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
She that could think, and ne'er disclose her mind,
See suitors following, and not look behind;
She was a wight,—if ever such wight were,

Des. To do what?


Iago. To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer.18 Des. O most lame and impotent conclusion!

16 The sense is this-one that was so conscious of her own merit, and of the authority her character had with every one, that she durst call upon malice itself to vouch for her. This was some commendation. And the character only of clearest virtue; which could force malice, even against its nature, to do justice. - WARBURTON. To put on is to provoke, to incite.

17 That is, to exchange a delicacy for coarser fare. So in Queen Elizabeth's Household Book: "Item, the master cookes have to fee all the salmons' tailes," 296.

18 That is, to suckle children and keep the accounts of the house


Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. - How say you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal counsellor ?


Cas. He speaks home, madam: you may relish him more in the soldier, than in the scholar.

Iago. [Aside.] He takes her by the palm: Ay, well said, whisper: with as little a web as this, will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.20 You say true; 'tis so indeed: if such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kiss'd your three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt to play the sir in. Very good; well kiss'd! an excellent courtesy ! 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake! -[Trumpet heard.] The Moor! I know his trumpet.

Cas. "Tis truly so.

Des. Let's meet him, and receive him.
Cas. Lo, where he comes !

Enter OTHELLO, and Attendants.

Oth. O, my fair warrior! 21

My dear Othello!
Oth. It gives me wonder great as my content,

19 Liberal was very often used in the sense of loose-spoken or licentious.


20 To gyve is to fetter, to shackle. It may be as well to observe that courtship is the same as courtesy, that is, complimentary or courtly behaviour. To play the sir is to show good breeding and gallantry.

21 Perhaps Othello intends a playful allusion to the unwillingness Desdemona has expressed to "be left behind, a moth of peace, and he go to the war." Steevens, however, thinks it was a term of endearment derived from the old French poets; as Ronsard, in his sonnets, often calls the ladies guerrieres.


To see you here before me. O, my soul's joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas,
Olympus-high, and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
'Twere 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.

The heavens forbid,
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!

Oth. Amen to that, sweet powers! I cannot speak enough of this content, It stops me here; it is too much of joy: And this, and this, the greatest discords be,

[Kissing her.

That e'er our hearts shall make !
Iago. [Aside.]


But I'll set down the
As honest as I am."

O, you are well tun'd now! pegs that make this music,

Come, let us to the castle.

News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd.

How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus ;

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22 Coleridge, as we have seen in a former note, pronounces Iago "a being next to devil, and only not quite devil." It is worth noting that Milton's Satan relents at the prospect of ruining the happiness before him, and prefaces the deed with a gush of pity for the victims; whereas the same thought puts Iago in a transport of jubilant ferocity. Is our idea of Satan's wickedness enhanced by his thus indulging such feelings, and then acting in defiance of them, or as if he had them not? or is Iago more devilish than he ?


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