« PreviousContinue »
Emil. You fhall not write my praise.
Def. What wouldst thou write of me, if thou fhou'dft praise me?
Iago. Oh gentle lady, do not put me to❜t, For I am nothing, if not critical.
Def. Come, one affay. There's one gone to the harbour?
Iago. Ah, Madam.
Def. I am not merry; but I do beguile The thing I am, by feeming otherwife. -Come, how wouldst thou praise me?
Iago: I am about it; but, indeed, invention Comes from my pate, as birdlime does from freeze, It plucks out brains and all. But my mufe labours,' And thus fhe is deliver❜d,
If fhe be fair and wife, fairness and wit,
Des. Well prais'd. How if the be black and witty ? Iago. If he be black, and thereto have a wit,
She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.
Def. Worfe and worse.
Emil. How, if fair and foolish?
5 She never yet was foolish, that was fair;
Def. These are old fond paradoxes, to make fools laugh i' th' alehouse. What miferable praise hast thou for her that's foul and foolish?
4 -critical.] That is, cen forious.
5 She never yet was foolish, &c.] We may read,
She ne'er was yet to foolish that
Yet I believe the common reading to be right: The law makes the power of cohabitation a proof that a man is not a natural; therefore, fince the foolisheft woman, if pretty, may have a child, no pretty woman is ever foolish.
Jago. There's none fo foul and foolish thereunto, But does foul pranks, which fair and wife ones do.
Def. O heavy ignorance! thou praifest the worst beft. But what praise couldft thou bestow on a deferving woman indeed? 6 one, that in the authority of her merit, did juftly put on the vouch of very malice itself?
Jago. She that was ever fair, and never proud,
Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud ¿
6 One, that in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?] Tho' all the printed copies agree in this reading, I cannot help fufpecting it. If the text fhould be genuine, I confefs, it is above my underftanding. In what fenfe can merit be faid to put on the vouch of malice? I fhould rather think, merit was so safe in itself, as to repel and put off all that malice and envy could advance and affirm to its prejudice. I have ventur'd to reform the text to this conftruction, by writing put down, a very flight change that makes it intelligible. THEOB.
One, that in the authority of ber merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?] The editor, Mr. Theobald, not un
derftanding the phrafe, To put on the vouch of malice, has alter'd it to put down, and wrote a deal of unintelligible ftuff to justify his blunder. To put on the vouch of any one, fignifies, to call upon any one to vouch for another. So that the fenfe of the place is this, One that was fo confcious of her own merit, and of the authority her character had with every one, that she durft venture to call upon malice itself to vouch for her. This was fome commendation. And the character only of the cleareft virtue; which could force malice, even against its nature, to do juftice. WARE.
To put on the vouch of malice, is to affume a character vouched by the teftimony of malice it felf.
She that could think, and neʼer disclose her mind,
Iago. To fuckle fools, and chronicle fmall beer.
Def. Oh most lame and impotent conclufion! Do not learn of him, Emilia, tho' he be thy hufband. How fay you, Caffio, is he not a most profane & and 9 liberal counsellor?
Caf. He fpeaks home, Madam; you may relish him more in the foldier, than in the scholar.
Iago. [Afide.] He takes her by the palm; ay, well faid. Whisper. Whisper. With as little a web as this, will I enfnare as great a fly as Caffio. Ay, fmile upon her, do. I will gyve thee in thine own courtship. You fay true, 'tis fo, indeed, If fuch tricks as these strip
To fuckle fools, and chronicle Small beer.] In this line there fecms to be more humour defigned, than I can easily discover or explain. Why fhould the fuckle fools? Perhaps, that thefe to whom nature had denied wit, might derive it from a lady to whom it was given in so much fuperfluity. She would be a wight to chronicle Small beer, in allufion, I fuppofe, to the Roman practice, of marking the jars with the name of the Conful. The appearance of fuch a woman would make an æra; but as the merit of the best woman is but small, that æra might be properly applied to the diftinction of the different ages of fmall beer.
8 profane] Grofs of language,
of expreffion broad and brutal, So Brabantio, in the first act, calls Iago, profane wretch.
9 liberal counfelior?] Liberal, for licentious. WARB. How Jay you, Caffio? Is he not a most profane and liberal counsellor?] But in what refpect was Iago a counfellor? He caps fentences, indeed; but they are not by way of advice, but des fcription: what he fays, is, Reflexions on character and conduct in life. For this reafon, I am very apt to think, our author wrote cenfurer. THEOB. Counsellor feems to mean, not fo much a man that gives counsel, as one that difcourfes fearlefly and volubly. A talker.
'I will gyve thee] i. e. catch, fhacklę.
you out of your lieutenancy, it had been better you had not kifs'd your three fingers fo oft, which now again you are moft apt to play the Sir in. Very good, well kifs'd, and excellent courtefy; 'tis fo, indeed. Yet again, your fingers to your lips? 'would, they were clifter pipes for your fake. [Trumpet. The Moor. I know his trumpet.
Caf. 'Tis truly fo.
Def. Let's meet him, and receive him,
Enter Othello and Attendants.
great as my content,
Oth. Oh my fair warrior!
Def. The heaven's forbid,
But that our loves and comforts should encrease,
well kid, and excellent cour teh This I think fhould be printed, well kiffed! an excellent
courtely! Spoken when Caffio kiffes his hand, and Defdemona Courtefies.
Oth. Amen to that, fweet Powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content,
And this, and this, the greatest difcords be [Kiffing her.
Iago. Oh, you are well-tun'd now;
But I'll let down the pegs that make this mufic,
Oth. Come, let's to the caftle.
Now, friends, our wars are done; the Turks are drown'd.
How do our old acquaintance of this ifle!
[Exeunt Othello and Defdemona.
Manent Iago and Rodorigo.
Iago. Do you meet me prefently at the harbour. Come 'thither, if thou be'ft valiant; as, they fay, bafe men, being in love, have then a nobility in their natures, more than is native to them. Lift me, the lieutenant to-night watches on the Court of Guard. First,
3 I prattle out of fashion,-] 4-the mafter-] The pilot Out of method, without any of the ship. fettled order of difcourfe.