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Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings, s I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have; or, for I am declin'd Into the vale of years ;-—yet that's not much ;--She's gone; I am abus'd; and my
relief Must be to loath her. Oh curse of marriage ! That we can call these delicate creatures ours, And not their appetites ! I had rather be a toad, And live upon the vapour of a dungeon, Than keep a corner in the thing I love, For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones; Prerogativ'd are they less than the base: 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. Even then, this 9 forked plague is fated to us, When we do quicken. Desdemona comes:
7 Though that her jefes were my dear beart-strings,] Jeffes are hort straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she is held on the fift. HANMER.
In Heywood's comedy, called A Woman killed with Kindness, 1617, a number of these terms relative to hawking occur together.
“ Now she hath seiz'd the fowl, and 'gins to plume her;
STEEVENS. & I'd whifle her off, and let her down the wind
To prey at fortune. The falconers always let fly the hawk against the wind; if she flies with the wind behind her, the seldom returns. If therefore a hawk was for any reason to be dismissed, she was let down the wind, and from that time hifted for herself, and preyed at fortune. This was told me by the late Mr. Clark. JOHNSON.
9 —forked plague-) In allufion to a barbed or forked ar, row, which, once infixed, cannot be extracted. JOHNSON.
Or rather, the forked plague is the cuckold's horns. Percy.
Dr. Johnson may be right. I meet with the fame thought in Middleton's comedy of, A Mad World my Masters, 1608.
" While the broad arrow with the forked head,
Misses his brows but narrowly." STEEVEN S.
Enter Desdemona and Æmilia.
Des. How now, my dear Othello?
Oth. I am to blame.
Des. Why, that's with watching; 'twill away again:
. Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you. Def. I am very sorry that you are not well,
(Exeunt Desd. and Oth. Æmil. I am glad I have found this napkin; This was her first remembrance from the Moor : My wayward husband hath a hundred times Woo'd me to steal it ; but she so loves the token, (For he conjur'd her she should ever keep it) That she reserves it evermore about her, To kiss and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out, And give it Iago : What he'll do with it, heaven knows, not I; 2 Į nothing, but to please his fantasy.
Enter Iago. Ingo. How now! what do you here alone ? ÆÈmil. Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.
Iago. You have a thing for me? It is a common thing
Your napkin, &c.] Ray fays, that a pocket handkerchief is so called about Sheffield in Yorkshire. STEEVENS.
? I nothing, but to please bis fantasy.] Thus the folio, The quarto, 1622, reads, I nothing knotu but for fantasy. STEEVENS.
Æmil. Ha !
mil. Oh, is that all? What will you give me now For that same handkerchief?
Iago. What handkerchief?
Æmil. What handkerchief?
Æmil. No; but she let it drop by negligence ;
so earnest To have me filch it?
Iago. Why, what is that to you? (Snatching it.
Æmil. If it be not for some purpose of import, Give it me again : poor lady! The'll run mad When she shall lack it.
Tago. 3 Be not you known on't: I have use for it. Go, leave me.
(Exit Æmil. I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin, And let him find it. Trifles light as air Are, to the jealous, confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ. This may do lomething. The Moor already changes with my poison : Dangerous conceits are, in their nature, poisons, Which at the first are scarce found to distaste e; But, with a little act upon the blood, Burn like the mines of sulphur.-I did say so.
2 to the advantage, &c.] I being opportunely here, took it up. JOHNSON. 3 Be not you known on't:) Should it not rather be read,
known in't?! The folio reads,
Be not unknown on't. The sense is plain, but of the expression I cannot produce any example. JOHNSON.
Enter Othello. Look, where he comes ! Not poppy, 4 nor mandra .
Oth. Ha! False ? To me! to me!
Iago. How now, my lord ?
Oth. What sense had I of her stolen hours of luft? I saw it not, thought it not, it harm'd not me: I Nept the next night well, was free, and merry; I found not Camio's kisses on her lips :
4—or mandragora,] The mandragoras or mandrake has a soporific quality, and the ancients used it when they wanted an opiate of the most powerful kind. So Ant. and Cleop. Aệ s. Sc. 6.
-give me to drink mandragora,
My Antony is away.”.
“ I drank of poppy and cold mandrake juice,
“ And being asleep,” &c. STEVENS, 5 Shall ever medicine thee to that freet sleep, Which thou Hadst yesterday.) The old quarto reads,
Which thou owedst yesterday. And this is right, and of much greater force than the commor reading ; not to sleep, being finely called defrauding the day of a debt of nature. WARBURTON.
To owe is, in our author, oftener to profess, than to be indebied, and such was its meaning here; but as that sense was growing less usual, it was changed unneceffarily by the editors to hadi; to the same meaning, more intelligibly expressed.
“ The duke my father's murder'd by the vasfal
He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stolen,
lago. I am sorry to hear this.
Oib. I had been happy, if the general camp, Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body, So I had nothing known. Oh now, for ever Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content ! Farewell the plumed troops, and the big war, That makes ambition virtue! oh, farewell ! 6 Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
6 Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-ftirring drum, the EAR - PIERCING fife,] Dr. Warburton has offered fear-/perfing, for fear difperfing. But ear-piercing is an epithet so eminently adapted to the fife, and fo diftin&t from the fhrillness of the trumpet, that it certainly ought not to be changed. Dr. Warburton has been censured for this proposed emendation with more noise than honesty, for he did not himself put it in the text. JOHNSON.
The spirit-ftirring drum, th ear-piercing fije,) In mentioning the ffé joined with the drum, Shakefpeare, as usual, paints from the life ; those instruments accompanying each other being used in his age by the English foldiery. The fife, however, as a martial instrument, was afterwards entirely discontinued among our troops for many years, but at length revived in the war before the last. It is commonly supposed that our soldiers borrowed it from the Highlanders in the last rebellion : but I do not know that the fije is peculiar to the Scotch, or even ufed at all by them. It was first used within the memory of man among our troops by the British guards, by order of the duke of Cumberland, when they were encamped at Maestricht, in the year 1747, and thence foon adopted into other English regiments of infantry. They took it from the Allies with whom they ferved. This instrument, accompanying the drum, is of considerable antiquity in the European armies, particolarly the German. In a curious picture in the Ashmolean Mufeum at Oxford, painted 1525, representing the siege of Pavia by the French king, where the emperor was taken prisoner, we fee fifes and draws. In an old English treatife-written by William Garrard before 1587, and published by one captain Hichcock in 1591, intitled The Arte of Warré, there are several wood cuts of military evolutions, in which these inftruments are both introduced. In Rymer's Federa, in