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OTH E L L 0.
In the Registers of the Stationers, under the date, October 6th, 1621, is the following memorandum :“Tho. Walkely] Entered for his, to wit, under the handes of Sir George Buck and of the
Wardens : The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice.” .
This entry was made by Walkley, preparatory to the publication of his quarto edition of the play which appeared some time in the next year, and was entitled :-“ The Tragedy of Othello, The Moore of Venice. As it hath beene diverse times acted at the Globe, and at the BlackFriers, by his Maiesties Servants. Written by William Shakespeare. London, Printed by N. O. for Thomas Walkley, and are to be sold at his shop at the Eagle and Child, in Brittans Bursse, 1622.” The next quarto copy appeared in 1630, seven years after the publication of the first folio: the title-page varies from that of the quarto of 1622 only in the imprint, which reads :—“ by A. M. for Richard Hawkins,” &c. Upon the supposition that a passage in Act III. Sc. 4,—
"— the hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts," — was a satirical allusion to the creation of the new order of Baronets by James I. in 1611, Malone at first assigned the composition of “Othello” to that year; he subsequently attributed it to 1604, because, as he remarks, “ we know it to have been acted in that year ;” but he has given no evidence in support of his assertion. Modern research, however, has supplied this evidence. In the “ Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court,” edited by Mr. P. Cunningham for the Shakespeare Society, there is an entry, beginning November 1st, 1604, and terminating October 31st, 1605, from which it appears that the King's Players performed the play of Tlie Moor of Venis at the Banqueting-house at Whitehall on the 1st of November (Hallamas Day), 1604. Mr. Collier, indeed, cites an extract from “ The Egerton Papers,” to show that “Othello” was acted for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth, at the residence of Lord Ellesmere (then Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal), at Harefield, on the 6th of August, 1602 ; but the suspicion long entertained that the Shakespearian documents in that collection are modern fabrications having now deepened almost into certainty, the extract in question is of no historical value. The earliest authentic record of the performance of “Othello," then, is that in the Accounts of the Revels. Six years later, we know from an interesting diary first pointed out by Sir Frederic Madden (see Note (4), p. 689, Vol. I.), that the play was acted at the Globe on the 30th of April, 1610. And upon the authority of Vertue's MS. we find that it retained its popularity in 1613, early in which year it was acted at the Court.
The story upon which this tragedy is founded is a novel in Cinthio's Hecatommithi, Parte Prima, Deca T'erza, Novella 7, bearing the following explanatory title :-“ Un capitano Moro piglia per mogliera una cittadina Venetiana : un suo alfieri l'accusa di adulterio al marito; cerca che l'alfieri uccida colui ch'egli credea l'adultero: il capitano uccide la moglie, è accusato dall alfieri, non confessa il Moro, ma essendovi chiari inditii è bandito; e lo scelerato alfieri, credendo nuocere ad altri, procaccia a se la morte miseramente.” There is a French translation of Cinthio's novels by Gabriel Chappuys, Paris, 1584; but no English one of a date as early as the age of Shakespeare has come down to us.
“ The time of this play may be ascertained from the following circumstances. Selymus the Second formed his design against Cyprus in 1569, and took it in 1571. This was the only attempt the Turks ever made upon that island after it came into the hands of the Venetians, (which was in the year 1473,) wherefore the time must fall in with some part of that interval. We learn from the play that there was a junction of the Turkish fleet at Rhodes, in order for the invasion of Cyprus, that it first came sailing towards Cyprus, then went to Rhodes, there met another squadron, and then resumed its way to Cyprus. These are real historical facts, which happened when Mustapha Selymus’s general attacked Cyprus in May, 1570, which therefore is the true period of this performance. See Knolles's History of the Turks, p. 838, 846, 867.”—REED.
Sailor, Messengers, Herald, Oficers, Gentlemen, Musicians, and Attendants.
SCENE,—The first Act in Venice; during the rest of the play, at a Sea-port in Cyprus.
Enter RODERIGO and Iago.
Rod. Tush !* never tell me; I take it much
unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of
this,Iago. 'S blood,+ but you 'll not hear me ;If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me. Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in
Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great
ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capp'd * to him :—and, by the faith of man, | I know my price, I am worth no worse a place :
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
(*) The quartos, Oft capt.
(*) First folio omits, Tush. (+) First folio omits, 'S blood.
* And, in conclusion, -] This hemistich is not found in the folio 1623.
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
| Wears out his time, much like his master's ass, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
For nought but provender; and, when he's old, A fellow almost damu'd in a fair wife ; 6
cashier'd : That never set a squadron in the field,
Whipeme such honest knaves. Others there are, Nor the division of a battle knows
Who, trimnm'd in forms and visages of duty, More than a spinster ; unless the bookish theoric, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves ; Wherein the tonguedo consuls can propose
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice, Do well thrive by them, and, when they have Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
lin'd their coats,
soul; And I, -of whom his eyes had seen the proof Do themselves homage: these fellows have some At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir, Christian* and heathen,--must be be-lee'd® and It is as sure as you are Roderigo, calm’d
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago: By debitor-and-creditor :f this counter-caster, In following him, I follow but myself; He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, And I, (Godt bless the mark !) his Moorship’s But seeming so, for my peculiar end : ancient !
For when my outward action doth demonstrate Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been bis The native act and figure of my heart bangman.
In compliment extern, 't is not long after Iago. Why, there's no remedy ; 't is the curse But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve of service,
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am. Preferment goes by letter and affection,
Rod. What a full' fortune does the thicklips And not by old gradation, where each second
owe, Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge If he can carry 't thus ! yourself,
Call up her father, Whether I in any just term am affin'd s
Rouse him :—make after him, poison his delight, To love the Moor.
Proclaim him in the streets ; incense her kinsmen, I would not follow him, then. And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, Iago. 0, sir, content you ;
Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy, I follow him to serve my turn upon him :
Yet throw such chances of vexation on t, We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
As it may lose some colour. Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Rod. Here is hier father's house ; I'll call alood. Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,"
Iago. Do; with like timorous accent, and That, doting on his own obsequious' bondage,
dire yell (*) First folio, Christen'd. (1) First folio omits, God.
"-- we will follow
In the main battle." * - a Florentine,-- Are we quite assured Iago means by this expression merely that Cassio was a native of Florence? The d the tongued consnls-) So the folio and the quarto 1690, the system of book-keeping called Italian Book keeping came, as is well quarto of 1622 has, "toged." The former, as Boswell obsertes, known, originally from Florence; and he may not improbably use agrees better with the words “mere pratile,” ke; but “ toged** " Florentine," as he employs * arithmetician," " debitor-and may have sprung from the cominon adage, Celart arma tage, creditor," and "counter-caster," in a derogatory sense to denote and is equally appropriate. the mercantile origin and training which he chooses to attribute to @ must be be-lee'd_) The quarto 1622 has, "must be led," his rival.
&c.; this and the imperfect measure of the line in other copies b A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife,-) This line has per might lead us to suspect the author wrote, "inust be lee'd and plexed the commentators not a little. Tyrwhitt's conjecture that calm'd," &c. "wife" was a misprint of life, and that the allusion is to the f-debitor-and-creditor : The title of certain old treatises judgment denounced in the Gospel against those of whom all men upon commercial bookkeeping. So in "Cynbeline," Act V speak well, was in high favour at one time, but has long been dis Se. 4,-" You have no true debitor-and creditor but it.** regarded ; the impression now is that lago refers to a report, which
in any just term am affin'd ) By any moral obligation am he subsequently speaks of, that Cassio was on the point of marrying bound, &c. the courtezan Bianca. To this it is objected, and the objection h -- knave,-] “Knare" carries no opprobrious meaning here: seems unanswerable, that there is no reason for supposing Cassio
it is simply serritor. had ever seen Bianca until they met in Cyprus. We doubt, indeed, I - obsequious bondage,-) That is, obedient, submissiee thral the possibility of eliciting a satisfactory meaning from the line as dom. it stands, and, in despair of doing so, have sometimes thought the k Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of dulu.-1 Who, dressa poet must have written,
in shapes and masks of duty, &c. Mr. Collier proposes to read, "A fellow almost damn'd in a fair-wife;"
"-— in forms and usages of duty," That is to say, a fellow by habit of reckoning debased almost
which the expression "trimm'd" negatives at once. into a market-woman. In of old was commonly used for into; we
? What a full fortune.--) The folin has "fall" for "fxII." 3 even still employ it so, as in the expression to fall in love, Com
reading Mr. Knight prefers, although in “Cymbeline," Act . pare, too, "Troilus and Cressida," Act III. Sc. 3,-
Sc. 4, we find,"Why, he stalks up and down like a peacock,-a stride and a stand, ruminates, like an hostess that hath no arithmetic but her
"Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine;" brain to set down her reckoning."
in " Antony and Cleopatra," Act IV. Sc. 15,- full arta? C- of a battle-] Of an army. So in " Henry V." (Chorus)
Cæsar;" and in D'Avenant's "Law against Lovers, Act lli. Act IV.
Sc. 1,-"She has a full fortune." " Each bat'le sees the other's umber'd face:"
m – chances of vexation--] Crosses, or casualties, the quartet
read, "changes." And in “ Richard III.” Act V. Sc. 3,
As when (by night and negligence) the fire Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise !
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Rod. What, ho! Brabantio ! Signior Bra- | Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you : bantio, ho !
[thieves ! | Arise ! I say. Iago. Awake! what, ho! Brabantio ! thieves ! Bra. What, have you lost your wits ? Look to your house, your daughter, and your Rod. Most reverend signior, do you know my bags !
voice? Thieves ! thieves !
BRA. Not I; what are you?
The worser welcome BRABANTIO appears above, at a window.
I have charg'd thee not to haunt about my doors : Bra. What is the reason of this terrible In honest plainness tliou hast heard me say summons ?
My daughter is not for · thee; and now, in What is the matter there?
madness, Rod. Signior, is all your family within ? (Being full of supper and distempering draughts,) Lago. Are your doors lock'u?
Upon malicious bravery, * dost thou come Bra.
Why, wherefore ask you this? To start my quiet. Iago. Zounds,* sir, you're robb’d; for slame, Rop. Sir, sir, sir, — put on your gown;
But thou must needs be sure, Your heart is burst, you have lost half your My spirit t and my place have in them I power soul;
To make this bitter to thee. Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Patience, good sir. (*) First folio omits, Zounds.
(*) First folio, knaverie.
(t) First folio, spirits.
(1) First folio, their. As when (by night and neyligence) the fire Is spied, &c.]
as Warburton suggested, did the poet write,"Is spred," &c.!
That is, when the fire caused by night and negligence. But query