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That came a wooing with you?; and so many a
time, When I have spoke of you dispraisingly, Hath ta’en your part; to have so much to do To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,Orh. Pr’ythee, no more: let him come when he
will; I will deny thee nothing. DES.
Why, this is not a boon; 'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves, Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm; Or sue to you to do peculiar profit To your own person : Nay, when I have a suit, Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed, It shall be full of poize and difficulty,
willing reader,” prefixed to A courtlie Controversie of Cupids' Cautels, &c. 4to. 1578: “ My quill remained (as men say) in a mamorie, quivering in my quaking fingers, before I durst presume to publishe these my fantasies."
Again, in Arthur Hall's translation of the fourth Iliad (4to. 1581):
“ Hector himself
“ Doth mañer eke whats best to do, least,” &c. Steevens. Again, in Lyly's Euphues, 1580: “ — neither stand in a mamering, whether it be best to depart or not.” The quarto 1622 reads—muttering. Mammering is the reading of the folio.
MALONE. 7 What! Michael Cassio,
That came a wooing with you;] And yet in the first Act Cassio appears perfectly ignorant of the amour, and is indebted to lago for the information of Othello's marriage, and of the person to whom he is married. Steevens. See the notes on the passage alluded to, p. 244, n. 7.
MALONE. 8 — many a time,] Old copies, redundantly, and without the least improvement of the sense,
-so many a time. The compositor had accidentally repeated-s0, from the preceding line.
STEEVENS. – full of POIZE -] i. e. of weight. So, in The Dumb Knight, 1633 :
“They are of poize sufficient."
And fearful to be granted.
I will deny thee nothing:
Des. Shall I deny you ? no: Farewell, my lord. Orh. Farewell, my Desdemona: I will come to
thee straight. Des. Emilia, come :-Be it as your fancies teach
you ; Whate'er you be, I am obedient.
[Exit, with Emilia. Oth. Excellent wretch ! Perdition catch my soul, But I do love thee?! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again?.
“ But we are all prest down with other poize.” Steevens. 1 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 fondest tenderness. It expresses the utmost degree of amiableness, joined with an idea which perhaps all tenderness includes, of feebleness, softness, and want of protection. Othello, considering Desdemona as excelling in beauty and virtue, soft and timorous by her sex, and by her situation absolutely in his power, calls her, Excellent wretch ! It may be expressed :
“ Dear, harmless, helpless excellence.” Johnson. Sir W. D'Avenant uses the same expression in his Cruel Brother, 1630, and with the same meaning. It occurs twice : “ Excellent wretch! with a timorous modesty she stifleth up her utterance."
I am assured by Dr. Farmer, that wretch is provincial in Staffordshire for a young woman.
STEEVENS. when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.] When my love is for a moment suspended by suspicion, I have nothing in my mind but discord, tumult, perturbation, and confusion. Johnson.
when I love thee not, “ Chaos is come again.” There is another meaning possible : “ When I cease to love thee, the world is at an end ;” i. e. there remains nothing valuable or important. The first explanation may
Lago. My noble lord,
What dost thou say, Iago ? Lago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my
lady, Know of your love ? Orh. He did, from first to last: Why dost thou
Why of thy thought, Iago ? Lago. I did not think, he had been acquainted
with her. Orh. O, yes; and went between us very oft. Lago. Indeed ?
be more elegant, the second is perhaps more easy. Shakspeare has the same thought in his Venus and Adonis :
“ For he being dead, with him is beauty slain,
“ And, beauty dead, black Chaos comes again." STEEVENS. This passage does not strike me in the same light in which it appeared to Dr. Johnson; as Othello had not yet any experience of that perturbation and discord, by which he afterwards is so fatally agitated. He means, I think, to say,—"and ere I cease to love thee, the world itself shall be reduced to its primitive chaos.” Shakspeare probably preferred—“ chaos is come again,” to “ chaos shall come again," as more bold and expressive. Muretus, a poet of the 16th century, has exactly the same thought :
Tune meo elabi possis de pectore, Lacci,
Aut ego, dum vivam, non meminisse tui ?
Tetras in antiquum sit reditura Chaos. The meaning of Shakspeare appears very clearly from the following passage in The Winter's Tale, where the same thought is more fully expressed :
“It cannot fail, but by
Let nature crush the sides o'the earth together,
66 And mar the seeds within !" MALONE.
Cesset amor, pariter cessabunt fædera rerum;
Vol. II. 400, 1725, 4to. Holt White.
Orh. Indeed! ay, indeed:-Discern’st thou aught
in that 4 ? Is he not honest ? Lago.
Honest, my lord ? Отн. .
Honest ? aye, honest" Lago. My lord, for aught I know. Orh. What dost thou think? Iago.
Think, my lord ? Отн. .
Think, my lord! By heaven, he echoes me, As if there were some monster in his thought Too hideous to be shown'.—Thou dost mean some
thing : I heard thee say but now,-Thou lik’dst not that, When Cassio left my wife; What did'st not like? And, when I told thee-he was of
4 Iago. Indeed ?
Oth. Indeed! ay, indeed, &c.] I cannot help supposing that this passage is interpolated, and originally stood thus :
Iago. Indeed! 66 Oth.
Indeed :-Discern'st thou ought in that ?” See the next note. STEEVENS. 5 Ay, honest.] The old copies, violating the measure, read:
“ Honest ? ay, honest.” It appears
from many instances, that where words were to be repeated at all, our old blundering printers continued the repetition beyond propriety. Mr. Malone has elsewhere the same remark. STEEVENS.
In the first alteration Mr. Steevens is supported by the quarto 1622, not in the second. BosweLL.
By heaven, he echoes me,
As if there were some monster in his thought, &c.] Thus the eldest quarto. The second quarto reads :
Why dost thou echo me, “ As if there were some monster in thy thought,” &c. The folio reads :
Alas, thou echo'st me,
As if,” &c. STEEVENS. This is one of the numerous alterations made in the folio copy by the licenser. Malone.
In my whole course of wooing, thou cry'dst, Indeed?
Iago. My lord, you know I love you.
I think, thou dost; And,—for I know thou art full of love and honesty, And weigh’st thy words before thou giv'st them
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, They are close denotements, working from the
heart, That passion cannot rule?.
* Quarto, counsell. 9 They are close DENOTEMENTS, working from the heart,
That passion cannot rule.] Thus the earliest quarto. But let Dr. Warburton be heard in defence of “cold dilations,” the reading of the second folio.
I should willingly, however, have adopted an emendation proposed by Dr. Johnson, in the subsequent note, could I have discovered that the word-delation was ever used in its Roman sense of accusation, during the time of Shakspeare. Bacon frequently employs it, but always to signify carriage or conveyance.
STEEVENS. These stops and breaks are cold dilations, or cold keeping back a secret, which men of phlegmatick constitutions, whose hearts ' are not swayed or governed by their passions, we find, can do: while more sanguine tempers reveal themselves at once, and without reserve.
WARBURTON. That dilations anciently signified delays, may be ascertained, by the following passage in the Golden Legend, Wynken de Worde's edit. fo. 186 : “ And ye felony of this kyng suffred not to abyde only dilacyon of vengeance. For the nexte daye folowynge he made to come the kepers for to begyn to turment them,” &c.
Again, ibid. p. 199 : “And Laurence demaunded dylacyon of thre dayes.” Again, in Candlemas Day, &c. p. 9:
without delacion, “That ye make serch thurgh out all my region.” STEEVENS. VOL. IX.