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Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
Why? why is this?
And this obvious interpretation is still more strongly confirmed by Daniel's Rosamond, 1592, a poem which Shakspeare had diligently read, and has more than once imitated in Romeo and Juliet :
Feeding upon suspect that doth renew thee,
Happy were lovers, if they never knew thee.” In this and the few other places in which I have ventured to depart from the ancient copies, I have thought it my duty to state in the fullest and clearest manner the grounds on which the emendation stands : which in some cases I have found not easily accomplished, without running into greater prolixity than would otherwise be justifiable. MALONE.
STRONGLY loves !] Thus the folio; the quarto -soundly loves. STEEVENS.
9 Poor, and content, is Rich, and rich enough ;] So, in Dorastus and Fawnia, (the novel on which The Winter's Tale is formed,) 1592: “We are rich, in that we are poor with content.”
MALONE. The same sentiment, which is sufficiently common, is amplified by Dryden in his Indian Emperor :
We to ourselves will all our wishes grant; “ For nothing coveting, we nothing want.” STEEVENS. But riches, fineless,] Unbounded, endless, unnumbered treasures. JOHNSON.
as poor as WINTER,] Finely expressed: winter producing
WARBURTON. 3 To such EXSUFFLICATE and blown surmises,] [Sir Thomas Hanmer-exsuffolate.] This odd and far-fetched word was made more uncouth in all the editions before Sir Thomas Hanmer's, by being printed-exsufflicate. The allusion is to a bubble. Do not think, says the Moor, that I shall change the noble designs that now employ my thoughts, to suspicions which, like bubbles blown into a wide extent, have only an empty show without solidity; or that, in consequence of such empty fears, I will close with thy inference against the virtue of my wife. Johnson.
Matching thy inference *. 'Tis not to make me
jealous, To say—my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well ; Where virtue is, these are more virtuous : Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt;
Whether our poet had any authority for the word exsufflicate, which I think is used in the sense of swollen, and appears to have been formed from sufflatus, I am unable to ascertain : but I have not thought it safe to substitute for it another word equally unauthorised. Suffolare in Italian signifies to whistle. How then can Dr. Johnson's interpretation of exsuffolate be supported? The introducer of this word explains it, by “ whispered, buzz’d in the ears." Malone.
It seems to me that all the criticks have overlooked the meaning of the passage. Exsufflicate may be traced to the low Latin ersufflare, to spit down upon, an ancient form of exorcising; and figuratively, to spit out in abhorrence or contempt. See Du Cange in v. Exsufflare. Exsufflicate may thus signify contemptible : and Othello
may be supposed to mean, that he would not change the noble designs that then employed his thoughts for contemptible and despicable surmises. Johnson's Dictionary by Todd, v. Exsuffolate. Boswell.
blown surmises, Matching thy inference.] That is,-such as you have mentioned in describing the torments of jealousy: The part of lago's speech particularly alluded to, is that where he says :
But, 0, what damned minutes tells he o'er, “ Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves !”,
M. Mason. 5 Where virtue is, these are MORE virtuous:] An action in itself indifferent, grows virtuous by its end and application.
Johnson. I know not why the modern editors, in opposition to the first quarto and folio, read most, instead of more.
A passage in All's Well That Ends Well, is perhaps the best comment on the sentiment of Othello: “ I have those good hopes of her, education promises : his disposition she inherits : which makes fair gifts fairer.” Gratior e pulchro veniens et corpore virtus. STEEVENS.
Most was arbitrarily introduced by the ignorant editor of the second folio. MALONE.
For she had eyes, and chose me: No, lago;
conscience Is—not to leave undone, but keep unknown 8.
Orh. Dost thou say so?
Lago. She did deceive her father, marrying you; And, when she seem'do to shake, and fear your
looks, She lov'd them most.
Out of self-BOUNTY be abus'd ;] Self-bounty, for inherent generosity. WARBURTON.
- our country dispositionIn Venice - ] Here lago seems to be a Venetian. Johnson. There is nothing in any other part of the play, properly understood, to imply otherwise. Henley.
Various other passages, as well as the present, prove him to have been a Venetian, nor is there any ground for doubting the poet's intention on this head. See p. 343, n. 1. Malone.
8 Is—not to LEAVE undone, but KEEP unknown.] The folio perhaps more clearly reads :
• Is rot to leav't undone, but keep't unknown.” Steevens. The folio, by evident error of the press, reads-kept unknown.
Malone. 9 And, when she seem'd-] This and the following argument
And so she did.
Why, go to, then;
-But I am much to
I humbly do beseech you of your pardon,
I am bound to thee for ever.
Trust me *, I fear it has. I hope, you will consider, what is spoke
* Quarto, I' faith.
of Iago ought to be deeply impressed on every reader. Deceit and falsehood, whatever conveniences they may for a time promise or produce, are in the sum of life, obstacles to happiness. Those, who profit by the cheat, distrust the deceiver, and the act by which kindness is sought, puts an end to confidence.
The same objection may be made with a lower degree of strength against the imprudent generosity of disproportionate marriages. When the first heat of passion is over, it is easily succeeded by suspicion, that the same violence of inclination, which caused one irregularity, may stimulate to another; and those who have shown, that their passions are too powerful for their prus dence, will, with very slight appearances against them, be censured, as not very likely to restrain them by their virtue.
Johnson. ! To seel her father's eyes up, close as oak,] The oak is (I believe) the most close-grained wood of general use in England. Close as oak, means, close as the grain of oak.
To seel is an expression from falconry. So, in Ben Jonson's Catiline :
would have kept
“ The root of his opinion, which is rotten
Comes from my love ;-But, I do see you are
Oth. I will not.
Should you do so, my lord,
friend : My lord, I see you are mov'd. Отн. .
No, not much mov'd :I do not think but Desdemona's honest.
* Quarto, trusty. 2 To grosser issues,] Issues, for conclusions.
WARBURTON. 3 My speech should fall into such vile success —] Success, for succession, i. e. conclusion; not prosperous issue.
WARBURTON. I rather think there is a depravation, and would read :
· My speech will fall into such vile excess. If success be the right word, it seems to mean consequence or event, as successo is used in Italian Johnson.
I think success may, in this instance, bear its common interpretation. What Iago means seems to be this : “ Should you do so, my lord, my words would be attended by such an infamous degree of success, as my thoughts do not even aim at.” lago, who counterfeits the feelings of virtue, might have said fall into success, and vile success, because he would appear to Othello, to wish that the enquiry into Desdemona's guilt might prove fruitless and unsuccessful. See Hamlet, vol. vii. p. 274, n. 1.
STEVENS. The following passages will perhaps be considered as proofs of Dr. Johnson's explanation :
“ Then the poor desolate women, fearing least their case would sorte to some pitifull successe." Palace of Pleasure, bl. I. “ God forbyd all hys hope should turne to such successe."
Promos and Cassandra, 1578. HENDERSON. So, in Sidney's Arcadia, p. 39, edit. 1613 : “ Straight my heart misgave me some evil success !” It is thus used as late as by Barrow: “ Yea to a person so disposed, that success which seemeth most adverse justly may be reputed the best and most happy.” Boswell.