Page images


ED. 1622, 4TO.


To set forth a booke without an Epistle, were like to the old English proverbe, "A blew coat without a badge ;" and the author being dead, I thought good to take that piece of worke upon me: To commend it, I will not; for that which is good, I hope every man will commend without intreaty: and I am the bolder, because the Author's name is sufficient to vent his worke. Thus leaving every one to the liberty of judgment, I have ventured to print this play, and leave it the generall censure. Yours,



Duke of Venice.
BRABANTIO, a Senator.
Two other Senators.

GRATIANO, Brother to Brabantio.
LODOVICO, Kinsman to Brabantio.
OTHELLO, the Moor:

CASSIO, his Lieutenant;
IAGO, his Ancient.

RODERIGO, a Venetian Gentleman.

MONTANO, Othello's Predecessor in the Government of Cyprus. Clown, Servant to Othello.


DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello.
EMILIA, Wife to lago.

BIANCA, a Courtesan, Mistress to Cassio.

Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors,
Attendants, &c.

SCENE, for the first Act, in Venice; during the rest of the Play, at a Seaport in Cyprus.



SCENE I. Venice. A Street.


Roderigo. TUSH, never tell me; I take it much unkindly,

That thou, Iago,-who hast had my purse,

As if the strings were thine,—shouldst know of this.
Iago. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me.-
If ever I did dream of such a matter,

Abhor me.

Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in thy hate.

Three great ones

Iago. Despise me, if I do not. of the city,

[ocr errors]


In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Oft capped to him ;-and, by the faith of man,
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place :
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them, with a bombast circumstance,2
Horribly stuffed with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion, nonsuits

My mediators; for, certes, says he,

1 To cap is to salute by taking off the cap; it is still an academic phrase. The folio reads, "Off-capped."

2 Circumstance signifies circumlocution.

I have already chose my officer.
And what was he?

Forsooth, a great arithmetician,1
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damned in a fair wife;2
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,3
Wherein the toged consuls can propose

As masterly as he. Mere prattle, without practice,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election.
And I—of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds,
Christian and heathen-must be be-lee'd and calmed
By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster ;
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I (God bless the mark!) his Moorship's ancient.
Rod. By Heaven, I rather would have been his


Iago. But there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service;

Preferment goes by letter, and affection,
Not by the old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,

1 Iago probably means to represent Cassio as a man who knew no more of a squadron than the number of men it contained. He afterwards calls him" this counter-caster."

2 The folio reads, dambd. This passage has given rise to much discussion. Mr. Tyrwhitt thought that we should read, “almost damned in a fair life;" alluding to the judgment denounced in the Gospel against those "of whom all men speak well." Mr. Singer would be contented to adopt his emendation, but with a different interpretation:-" A fellow almost damned (i. e. lost from luxurious habits) in the serene or equable tenor of his life." The passage, as it stands at present, has been said by Steevens to mean, according to Iago's licentious manner of expressing himself, no more than a man "very near being married." This seems to have been the case in respect to Cassio. Mr. Boswell suspects that there may be some corruption in the text.

3 i. e. theory. See All's Well that Ends Well, Act iv. Sc. 3.

4 The rulers of the state, or civil governors. By toged is meant peaceable, in opposition to warlike qualifications. The folio reads "tongued


5 It was anciently the practice to reckon up sums with counters. 6 i. e. by recommendation.


Whether I in any just term am affined 1

To love the Moor.


I would not follow him, then.

Iago. O sir, content you; I follow him to serve my turn upon him. We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time, much like his master's ass, For nought but provender; and, when he's old, cashiered;


Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are,
Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lined
their coats,

Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul; And such a one do I profess myself.

For, sir,

It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be lago.
In following him, I follow but myself:
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end :
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern,3 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at.
I am not what I am.

Rod. What a full fortune 5 does the thick-lips owe, If he can carry't thus!


Call up her father, Rouse him; make after him, poison his delight,

1 "Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity to the Moor, as that I am bound to love him?" The first quarto has assigned.

2 Knave is here used for servant, but with a mixture of contempt. 3 Outward show of civility.

4 This is the reading of the folio. The first quarto reads “doves.” 5 Full fortune is complete good fortune: to owe is to possess.



« PreviousContinue »