Imagens das páginas

To point his slow unmoving finger at;3-
Yet could I bear that too; well, very well:
But there, where I have garner'd up my heart;
Where either I must live, or bear no life;
The fountain from the which my current runs,
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence,
Or keep it as a cistern, for foul toads

[ocr errors]

To knot and gender in!-turn thy complexion there,
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin ;
Ay, there, look grim as hell!

Des. I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.
Oth. O! ay; as summer flies are in the shambles,
That quicken even with blowing. O, thou weed!
Who art so lovely fair, and smell'st so sweet,
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst
ne'er been born!


3 So read all the old copies, save that the folio has "slow and moving." Much has been written upon the passage, and divers changes proposed, such as "hand of scorn," and slowly moving, most of them originating in a notion that the Poet had some sort of time-piece in his mind. Probably, not to say certainly, no such reference was intended. So that all the progeny of that notion may be set aside. "The time of scorn means, no doubt, as Knight says, "the age of scorn," that is, the whole period during which scorn may be said to live. The "fixed figure" is simply the speaker himself, and not any figure on a dial-plate. As to "slow unmoving," the sense of it can be better felt than expressed: we can see the sneer darting from the inexorable finger, ever slowly moving with the object, never moving from it; but we cannot speak it in any words but Shakespeare's, as they stand in the text. The best of all the proposed changes that we have seen, in fact the only one worth entertaining, is Mr. Hunter's, who would transpose for and of, thus: "A fixed figure of the time for Scorn to point," &c. We will add Mr. R. G. White's comment on the last line of the passage: "Some have chosen the reading of the folio, on the ground that if the finger of scorn be slow,' it must move, and therefore, unmoving' is an incongruous epithet! But surely the finger of scorn is unmoving,' because it does not move from its object, but points at him fixedly and relentlessly. Το say that a thing is slow,' and then to add that it moves, is certainly worthy only of an idiot."



Des. Alas! what ignorant sin have I committed? Oth. Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, Made to write whore upon? What committed? Committed!-0, thou public commoner!* I should make very forges of my cheeks, That would to cinders burn up modesty, Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed? Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks ; The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets," Is hush'd within the hollow mine of earth, And will not hear it: What committed?— Impudent strumpet!"



By Heaven, you do me wrong. Oth. Are not you a strumpet? Des.

No, as I am a Christian :

If to preserve this vessel for my lord,"
From any other foul unlawful touch,
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.
Oth. What! not a whore?

No, as I shall be sav'd.

Oth. Is't possible?

Des. O, Heaven forgive us!

I cry you mercy, then!
I took you for that cunning whore of Venice,
That married with Othello.-You, mistress,

Re-enter EMILIA.

That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,"

This and the next three lines are in the folio and the quarto of 1630, but not in that of 1622.


5 So in The Merchant of Venice: "Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind."

The words, "Impudent strumpet," are in both quartos, but not in the folio.


7 This expression is from Sacred Writ: "To possess his vessel in sanctification."

• That is, the office opposed to Saint Peter; alluding, evidently,

And keep the gate of hell; you, you, ay, you! We have done our course; there's money for your pains:

I pray you, turn the key, and keep our counsel.


Emil. Alas! what does this gentleman conceive? How do you, madam? how do you, my good lady?

Des. 'Faith, half asleep.

Emil. Good madam, what's the matter with my


Des. With whom?
Des. Who is thy lord?9

Des. I have none.
I cannot weep; nor answer I have none,
But what should go by water.10 Pr'ythee, to-night
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets, remember ;-
And call thy husband hither.

Emil. Here's a change, indeed! [Exit. Des. "Tis meet I should be us'd so, very meet. How have I been behav'd, that he might stick The small'st opinion on my least misuse?11

Why, with my lord, madam.

He that is yours, sweet lady.
Do not talk to me, Emilia;

[ocr errors]

Re-enter EMILIA, with IAGO.

Iago. What is your pleasure, madam? How is it with you?

to "the power of the keys," which was given to the Apostles generally, and especially to Saint Peter as representing them. So that the opposition is between Emilia as keeper of the gate of hell, and Saint Peter as keeper of the gate of heaven. The sense, therefore, requires that the special emphasis, if there be any, should be laid on opposite.


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

10 That is, be expressed by tears.

11 Thus the folio and the quarto of 1630; the other quarto, "on my greatest abuse."


Those that do teach young

Des. I cannot tell. babes,

Do it with gentle means and easy tasks:

He might have chid me so; for, in good faith,
I am a child to chiding.


What's the matter, lady?

Emil. Alas! Iago, my lord hath so bewhor'd her, Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her, As true hearts cannot bear.

Des. Am I that name, Iago? Iago. What name, fair lady? Des. Such as, she says, my lord did say I was. Emil. He call'd her whore: a beggar, in his drink, Could not have laid such terms upon his callat.12

Iago. Why did he so?

Des. I do not know; I am sure I am none such. Iago. Do not weep, do not weep. Alas, the day! Emil. Has she forsook so many noble matches, Her father, and her country, and her friends, To be call'd whore? would it not make one weep? Des. It is my wretched fortune. Iago. How comes this trick upon him?

Beshrew him for't!


Nay, Heaven doth know. Emil. I will be hang'd, if some eternal villain, Some busy and insinuating rogue,

Some cogging cozening slave, to get some office, Have not devis'd this slander: I'll be hang'd else.

Iago. Fie! there is no such man: it is impossible. Des. If any such there be, Heaven pardon him! Emil. A halter pardon him! and hell gnaw his


12 A callat is a trull, a drab. in the English language. See note 9.

The word is of great antiquity The Winter's Tale, Act ii. sc. 3,

Why should he call her whore? who keeps her


What place? what time? what form? what likelihood?

The Moor's abus'd by some most villainous knave,1
Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow. —
O, Heaven, that such companions Thou’dst unfold,
And put in every honest hand a whip,

To lash the rascal naked through the world,
Even from the east to the west!

Iago. Speak within door.1a Emil. O, fie upon them! some such squire he was, That turn'd your wit the seamy side without, And made you to suspect me with the Moor. Iago. You are a fool; go to. Des. O, good lago! 15 What shall I do to win my lord again? Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven, I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel: If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love, Either in discourse of thought, or actual deed; 16


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

13 The quarto of 1622 has, "some outrageous knave.” — Notorious knave is here used for some knave worthy to be noted, or branded with infamy. It has been already observed that companion was a term of contempt. See Julius Cæsar, Act iv. sc. 3,

note 6.

14 Do not clamour so as to be heard beyond the house.

15 The folio reads, "Alas, Iago!"— All of this speech, after "how I lost him," is wanting in the quarto of 1622. The other quarto and the folio have it complete.


18 Discourse of thought" probably means much the same as "discourse of reason;" that is, discursive range of thought. See Hamlet, Act i. sc. note 19. The phrase, “discoursing thoughts," is met with in Sir John Davies' Epigrams. Pope changed "discourse of thought" to "discourse, or thought," which certainly is more in accordance with the solemn and impressive particularity of the speaker's asseveration of innocence. The change has also been approved as referring to the three forms of sin, "by thought, word, and deed," specified in the old catechisms and the eucha

« AnteriorContinuar »