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Oth. A liberal hand. 6 The hearts, of old, gave
hands; But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts. Def. I cannot speak of this. Come now, your
promise. The hearts, of old, gave hands; But our new heraldry is bands, not hearts.] It is evident that the first line should be read thus,
The bands of old gave hearts :
For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart : Not so, says her husband: The hands of old indeed gave hearts; but the custom now is to give bands without hearts. The expreffion of new heraldry was a satirical allufion to the times. Soon after James the First came to the crown, he created the new dignity of baronets for money. Amongit their other prerogatives of honour, they had an addition to their paternal arm, of a HAND gules in an escutcheon argent. And we are not to doubt but that this was the new heraldry alluded to by our äuthor: by which he insinuates, that some then created had hands indeed, but not hearts; that is, money to pay for the creation, but no virtue to purchase the honour. But the fineft part of the poet's address in this allusion, is the compliment he pays to his old mistrefs Elizabeth. For James's pretence for raising money by this creation, was the reduction of Ulfer, and other parts of Ireland ; the memory of which he would perpetuate by that addition to their arms, it being the arms of Ulter. Now the method used by Elizabeth in the reduđion of that kingdom was so different from this, the dignities the conferred being on those who employed their feel
, and not their gold in this service, that nothing could add more to her glory, than the being compared to her fucceffor in this point of view : nor was it uncommon for the dramatic poets of that time to satirize the ignominy of James's reign. So Fletcher, in The Fair Maid of the Inn. One says, I will send thee ta Amboyna in the East Indies for pepper. The other replies, To Amboynu ? fo I might be pepper'd. Again, in the fame play, a sailor says, Despise not this pitch'd canvas, the time was we have known them lined with Spanish ducats. WARBURTON.
The historical observation is very judicious and acute, but of the emendation there is no need. She says, that her hand gave away her heart. He goes on with his fufpicion, and the hand which he had before called frank, he now terms liberal ; then proceeds to remark, that the band was formerly given by the heart; but now it neither gives it, nor is given by it.
Oth. What promise, chuck?
Oth. I have a 7 salt and sullen rheum offends me; Lend me thy handkerchief.
Def. Here, my lord.
Oth. That is a fault. That handkerchief
kept it, 'Twould make her amiable, and subdue my father Intirely to her love ; but, if she lost it, Or made a gift of it, my father's eye Should hold her loath’d, and his spirits should hunt. After new fancies : fhe, dying, gave it me; And bid me, when my fate would have me wive, To give it her. I did so; and take heed on't, Make it a darling, like your precious eye ; To lose't, or give't away, were such perdition, As nothing elie could match.
Des. Is it possible ?
Oth. 'Tis true ; there's magic in the web of it':
- salt and sorry rheun- ] The old quarto has,
salt and sullen rheumThat is, a rheum obftinately troublesome. I think this better.
The fun to course -] i.e. number'd the fan's courses : badly expressed. WARBURTON.
The expression is not very infrequent; we say, I count :d the clock to Arike four ; so lhe number'd the fun to course, to run true hundred compasses, two hundred annual circuits. Johnson.
The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk; 9 And it was dy'd in mummy, which the skilful Conserv'd of maidens' hearts.
Des. Indeed ! is it true?
Des. Why, so I can, Sir; but I will not now:
Def. A man, that, all his time,
Oth. The handkerchief
[Exit Othello. Emil. Is not this man jealous ?
And it was dy'd in mummy,— The balsamic liquor running from mummies was formerly celebrated for its anti-epileptic virtues. We are now wise enough to know, that the qualities ascribed to it are all imaginary; and yet I have been informed, that this fanciful medicine still holds a place in the thops where drugs are sold. STEEVENS. rah?] Is vehement, violent. JOHNSON.
Des. I ne'er saw this before.
Æmil. ? 'Tis not a year, or two, shews us a man :
Enter Iago and Cafrio. Iago. There is no other way. 'Tis she must do't; And lo, the happiness ! Go, and importune her.
Def. How now, good Callio? what's the news with
Caf. Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you, That by your virtuous means I may again Exist, and be a member of his love, Whom I, with all 3 the duty of my heart, Intirely honour. I would not be delay'd, If my offence be of such mortal kind, That neither service past, nor present forrows, Nor purpos'd merit in futurity
2 'Tis not a year, or two, shows us a man :] From this line it may be conjectured, that the author intended the action of this play to be considered as longer than is marked by any note of time. Since their arrival at Cyprus, to which they were hurried on their wedding-night, the fable seems to have been in one continual progress, nor can I see any vacuity into which a year or two, or even a month or two, could be put. On the night of Othello's arrival, a feast was proclaimed; at that feast Callio was degraded, and immediately applies to Desdemona to get him restored. Iago indeed advises Othello to hold him off a while, but there is no reason to think, that he has been held off long. A little longer interval would increase the probability of the story, though it might violate the rules of the drama. See A& 5. Sc. 2. JOHNSON.
-the office of my heart,] The elder quarto reads,
-the duty of my heart. The author used the more proper word, and then changed it, I suppose, for fashionable diction ; but, as fashion is a very weak prote&tress, the old word is now ready to resume its place.
Can ransom me into his love again ;
Des. Alas! thrice-gentle Caffio,
? Æmil. He went hence but now; And, certainly, in strange unquietness.
Lago. Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon, When it hath blown his ranks into the air, And, like the devil, from his very arm Puft his own brother; and can he be angry?
* But to know so, must be my benefit.]
“ Si nequeo placidas affari Cæfaris aures,
“ Saltem aliquis veniat, qui mihi dicat, abi.” JOHNSON. s And thoot myself up] This is the reading of one of the early quartos. The folio, and all the modern editions, have,
And shut myself up JOHNSON. The quarto 1630 (like the folio) reads,
And shut myself up I cannot help thinking this reading to be the true one. The idea seems taken from the confinement of a monastic life. The words, forc'd content, help to confirm the supposition. The meaning will therefore be, “ I will put on a constrain’d ap“ pearance of being contented, and sut myself up in a dif“ ferent course of life, no longer to depend on myself, but to “ wait for accidental charity.” STEEVENS.
-in favour,) In look, in countenance. Johnson.
within the blank of bis difpleasure,) Within the foot of his anger. JOHNSON,