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Oth. Pr’ythee, no more : let him come when he
I will deny thee nothing.
Des. Why, this is not a boon :
Otb. I will deny thee nothing :
Des. Shall I deny you? No. Farewell, my lord.
you: Whate'er you be, I am obedient. [Exit with Æmil. Oth. ? Excellent wretch ! —Perdition catch my
soul, But I do love thee! and 3 when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.
Iago. 2 Excellent wretch !-- Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee ! &c.). The meaning of the word wretch, is not generally understood. It is now, in some parts of England, a term of the softest and findest teu er ess. It expresies the utmost degree of amiableness, joined with an idea, which perhaps all tenderness includes, of feebleness, fofiness, and want of protection. Othello, considering D demona as excelling in beauty and virtue, soft and timorous by her fex, and by her situation absolutely in his power, calls her, Excellent wretch! It may be expreffed,
Dear, barmiefs, belpless Excellence. JOHNSON.
-when I love thee not, Chaos is cone again.) When my love is for a moment sur pended by fufpicion, I have nothing in my mind but difcord, tumult, perturbation, and confusion. JOHNSON. Vol. X.
Iago. My noble lord
Oth. Why of thy thought, Iago ?
lago. Honest, my lord?
As if there were some monster in his thought
-When I love thee not, Chaos is come again.] There is another meaning poffible. When I cease to love thee, the world is at an end; i. e. there remains nothing valuable or important. The first explanation is more elegant, the second perhaps more easy. STEEVENS.
Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me,
breath Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more : For such things, in a false disloyal knave, Are tricks of custom; but, in a man that's just, 4 They are close delations working from the heart, That passion cannot rule.
Iago. For Michael Casio
Oth. I think so too.
Iago. Men should be what they seem ; s Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none !
Oth. Certain, men should be what they seem.
Oth. Nay, yet there's more in this :
pray thee, speak to me as to thy thinkings, + They are cold dilations working from the heart,
That passion cannot rule.] i. e. these stops and breaks are cold dilations, or cold keeping back a secret, which men of phlegmatic constitutions, whose hearts are not swayed or governed by their passions, we find, can do: while more fanguine tempers reveal themselves at once, and without reserve. But the Oxford Editor for cold dilations, reads distillations. WARB.
I know not why the modern editors are satisfied with this reading, which no explanation can clear. They might easily have found, that it is introduced without authority. The old copies uniformly give, close dilations, except that the earlier quarto has clofe denotements; which was the author's first ex. pression, afterwards changed by him, not to cold dilations, for cold is read in no ancient copy; nor, I believe, to close dilations, but to close delations ; to occult and secret accusations, working involuntarily from the heart, which, though resolved to conceal the fault, cannot rule its passion of resentment. JOHNSON.
s Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem nonE!] There is no fense in this reading. I suppose Shakespeare wrote, 'would they might seem K NAVES.
WARRURTON. I believe the meaning is, would they might no longer seem, or bear the hape of men. JOHNSON. Ee 2
As thou doft ruminate ; and give thy worst of
thoughts The worst of words.
Iago. Good my lord, pardon me. Though I am bound to every act of duty, I am not bound to that all Naves are free to. Utter my thoughts !--Why, say, they are vile and
false As where's that palace whereinto foul things Sometimes intrude not? Who has a breast fo
pure, But some uncleanly apprehensions
Keep leets and law-days, and in session sit With meditations lawful ?
Oth. Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago, If thou but think'st him wrong'd, and mak'st his ear A stranger to thy thoughts.
Iago. I do beseech you, 7 Though I perchance, am vicious in my guess,
6 Keep leets and law-days,-) i. e. govern. A metaphor, wretchedly forced and quaint. WARBURTON.
Rather visit than govern, but visit with authoritative intrufion. JONSON.
7 THOUGH I, perchance, am vicious in my guess) Not to mention that, in this reading, the sentence is abrupt and broken, it is likewise highly absurd. I beseech you give yourself no uneasiness from my unsure observance, though I am vicious in my guess. For his being an ill guesser was a reason why Othello Ihould not be uneasy: in propriety, therefore, it should either have been, though I am not vicious, or because I am vicious. It appears then we Mould read:
I do befeech you,
THINK I, perchance, am vicious in my guess. Which makes the sense pertinent and perfect WARBURTON.
Thou Iperchance, am vicious in my guess,] That abruptness in the speech which Dr. Warburton complains of, and would alter, may be easily accounted for. Iago seems desirous by this ambiguous hint, Though I to inflame the jealousy of Othello, which he knew would be more effe&ually done in this manner, than by any expression that bore a determinate meaning. The jealous Othello would fill up the pause in the speech, wnich lago turns off at last to another purpose, and find a
(As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
lord, Is the immediate jewel of their fouls : Who steals my purse, steals trash ; 'tis something, no
thing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been save to thousands; But he, that filches from me my good name, Robs me of that, which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.
Oth. By heaven, I'll know thy thought
Iago. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand; Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.
Iago. Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
more certain cause of discontent, and a greater degree of torture arising from the doubtful consideration how it might have concluded, than he could have experienced had the whole of what he enquired after been reported to him with every circumftance of aggravation.
We may suppose hiin imagining to himself, that Iago mentally continued the thought thus, Though I - know more than I choose to speak of.
Vicious in my guess does not mean that he is an ul-gulir, but that he is apt to put the worst construction on every thing he attempts to account for. STEEVENS.
-imperfectly conceits,] In the old quarto it is,
improbably conceits, Which I think preferable. JOHNSON.
-which doth mock The meat it feeds on.-] i. e. loaths that which nourishes