Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Iago. My friend is dead ; 'tis done, at your re

quest : But let her live. Oth. Damn her, lewd minx! 0, damn her, damn

her! 49 Come, go with me apart ; I will withdraw, To furnish ine with some swift means of death For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.

Iago. I am your own for ever. [Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]

Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and the Clown. Des. Do you know, sirrah, where lieutenant Cassio lies ? Clo. I dare not say, he lies any

where. Des. Why, man?

Clo. He is a soldier; and for me to say a soldier lies, is stabbing.

Des. Go to: Where lodges he ?

Clo. To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie.

Des. Can any thing be made of this?

Clo. I know not where he lodges; and for me to devise a lodging, and say, he lies here, or he lies there, were to lie in mine own throat.

Des. Can you inquire him out, and be edified by report?

Clo. I will catechize the world for him; that is, make questions, and by them answer.”

H.

49 The repetition of “ damn her” is found only in the folio. It helps to give the idea of passion “ wreaking upon expression,” yet wanting words.

1 This and the next speech are not in the first quarto.

2 That is, and by them, when answered, form my own answer to yon. The quaintness of the answer is in character.

Des. Seek him ; bid him come hither : tell him, I have mov'd my lord in his behalf, and hope all will be well.

Clo. To do this, is within the compass of man's wit; and therefore I will attempt the doing it.

[Exit. Des. Where should I lose that handkerchief,

Emilia ?
Emil. I know not, madam.3

Des. Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of cruzadoes : 4 and, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind, and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.
Emil.

Is he not jealous ?

[ocr errors]

3 Objection has been made to the conduct of Emilia in this scene, as inconsistent with the spirit she afterwards shows. We can discover no such inconsistency. Want of principle and strength of attachment are often thus seen uniled. Emilia loves her mistress deeply; but she has no moral repugnance to theft and falsehood, apprehends no fatal consequences from the Moor's passion, and has no soul to conceive the agony her mistress must suffer by the charge of infidelity; and it is but natural, that when the result comes she should be the more spirited for the very remembrance of her own guilty part in the process. It is the seeing of the end, that rouses such people, and rouses them all the more that themselves have served as means. Emilia,” says Mrs. Jameson, “is a perfect portrait from common life, a masterpiece in the Flemish siyle : and, though not necessary as a contrast, it cannot be but that the thorough vulgarity, the loose principles of this plebeian woman, united to a high spirit, energetic feeling, strong sense, and low cunning, serve to place in brighter relief the exquisite refinement, the moral grace, the unbleinished truth, and the soft submission of Desdemona."

4 Cruzadoes were not current, as it should seem, at Venice, though they certainly were in England, in the time of Shakespeare. It appears from Rider's Dictionary that there were three sorts of cruzadoes : one with a long cross, one with a short cross, and the great cruzado of Portugal. They were of go and differed in value from six shillings and eightpence to nine shillings.

H.

Des. Who, he ? I think the sun, where he was

born, Drew all such humours from him. Emil.

Look, where he comes. Des. I will not leave him now, till Cassio Be call'd him. — How is't with you, my lord ?

Enter OTHELLO. Oth. Well, my good lady. — [Aside.] 0, hard

ness to dissemble!. How do you, Desdemona ? Des.

Well, my good lord. Oth.' Give me your hand. This hand is moist,

my lady. Des. It yet has felt no age, nor known no sorrow.

Oth. This argues fruitfulness, and liberal heart. Hot, hot, and moist : this hand of yours requires A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer, Much castigation, exercise devout; For here's a young and sweating devil here, That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand; A frank one.

Des. You may, indeed, say so; For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart. Oth. A liberal hand : The hearts of old, gave

hands; But our new heraldry is — hands, not hearts.

5 Several have thought this “new heraldry" to be a satirical allusion to the bloody hand borne on the arms of the new order of baronets, created by James I. in 1611. Malone, with more probability, quotes, in illustration of the text, the following from the Essays of Sir William Cornwallis, 1601 : We of these later times, full of a nice curiositie, mislike all the performances of our forefathers ; we say they were honest plaine men, but they want the capering wits of this ripe age. They had wont to give their hands and hearts together, but we think it a finer grace to looke asquint, our hand looking one way and our heart another."

H.

[ocr errors]

Des. I cannot speak of this.

Come now, your promise. Oth. What promise, chuck ? Des. I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with

you. . Oth. I have a salt and sullen rheum offends me: Lend me thy handkerchief.

Des. Here, my lord.
Oth. That which I gave you.
Des. I have it not about me.
Oth. Not ?
Des. No, indeed, my

lord.
Oth. This is a fault. That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer, and could almost read
The thoughts of people : she told her, while she

kept it 'Twould make her amiable, and subdue my father Entirely to her love ; but, if she lost it, Or made a gift of it, my father's eye Should hold her loathed, and his spirits should hunt After new fancies. She, dying, gave it me; And bid me, when my fate would have me wive, To give it her.S I did so: and take heed on't ;

H.

6 Thus both quartos ; the folio, “sorry rheum.” It is not easy to choose between the two epithets.

7 A charmer is used for an enchanter in the Psalms. So in Perkins's Discourse on Witchcraft, 1610 : “ By witches we understand not only those which kill and torment, but all charmers, jugglers, all wizards, commonly called wise men and wise women.'

8 Of course her refers to the noun implied in wire. See All's Well that Ends Well, Act ii. sc. 3, note 13. - In the last scene of the play, Othello speaks of the handkerchief as “an antique token my father gave my mother.” This has been thought an oversight; Steevens regards it as a fresh proof of the Poet's art. The first account,” says he, “was purpos ostentatious, in order to alarm his wife the more.

When he again inentions it, the truth was sufficient.” We must add a remark from Mrs. Jameson : « This

Make it a darling like your precious eye ;
To lose't or give't away, were such perdition,
As nothing else could match.
Des.

Is't possible ?
Oth. 'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it.
A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
The sun to course two hundred compasses,
In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
The worms were hallow'd, that did breed the silk;
And it was dy'd in mummy,' which the skilful
Conserv'd of maidens' hearts.
Des.

Indeed! is't true ? Oth. Most veritable; therefore look to't well. Des. Then, would to Heaven that I had never

seen't!
Oth. Ha! wherefore ?
Des. Why do you speak so startingly and rash?
Oth. Is't lost ? is't gone ? speak, is it out o’the

way?
Des. Heaven bless us !
Oth. Say you?
Des. It is not lost; but what an if it were ?
Oth. Ha!
Des. I say it is not lost.
Oth.

Fetch't, let me seet.

handkerchief, in the original story of Cinthio, is merely one of those embroidered handkerchiefs which were as fashionable in Shakespeare's time as in our own ; but the minute description of it as • lavorato alla morisco sottilissimamente,' which in English means nothing more than that the pattern was what we now call arabesque, suggested to the poetical fancy of Shakespeare one of the most exquisite and characteristic passages in the whole play. Othello makes poor Desdemona believe that the handkerchief was a talisman.

H. 9 The balsamic liquor running from mummies was formerly celebrated for its anti-epileptic virtues. It was much coveted by painters, as a transparent brown colour that threw a warmth into the shadows of a picture.

« AnteriorContinuar »