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Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,
Iago. Be wise, and get you home.
Your sword upon a woman!
I will not.
[lago offers to stab Emilia. Fie!
Emil. O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou speak'st
I found by fortune and did give my husband;
Villanous whore !
Emil. She give it Cassio! no, alas, I found it,
Filth, thou liest!
was written at or about the time of
223. of] Ff, on Qq. 228. give] Ff, gave Qq. man," he says: "And what worde I do speake, be it in myrth or in borde, The foule evyl shalbe at the end of my worde." These extracts bear upon the mode of speech. But so much was the north held in dislike that it gave rise to several proverbs. "Out of the North all ill comes forth" is as old as Hakluyt, 1599, and much older in Latin. North came to mean bad, coarse, clownish, broad. Compare Beaumont and Fletcher's Mons. ·Thomas, i. 3: "Some northern toy, a little broad"; and in Nice Valour, i. I (Dyce's Beaumont and Fletcher, x. 301), " a northern fellow" is a "coarse" fellow. See also Middleton's Mich. Tem. i. 1 (1607). I imagine this is the sense of Emilia's simile. She does not, fortunately, have time to indulge much in "profane" language, but she felt equal to it, in quantities. This play
229. Filth] harlot. Compare Timon, IV. i. 6. Cotgrave has: "fille perdue: a desperate filth," etc. Mr. Craig supplied me with the following from North's
Emil. By heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen.
O murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool
Are there no stones in heaven
Gra. The woman falls; sure, he hath kill'd his wife.
Mon. 'Tis a notorious villain. Take you this weapon,
Come, guard the door without; let him not pass,
[Exeunt Montano and Gratiano.
I am not valiant neither,
But every puny whipster gets my sword.
232. wife] Ff, woman Qq. 233. Precious] Ff; pretious Q 1; pernitious Q 2, 3; [He exit.] Globe ("from behind" after Iago), Craig; The Moore runs at Iago, Iago kills his wife Qq, after woman? (wife?), line 232; Iago stabs Emilia, then runs out. Steevens (1793), Dyce (ed. 2); omitted Ff. 235. [Exit Iago, Qq]. 237. you this] Ff, your Qq. 238. here] Qq, omitted Ff. 241. [Exeunt Gratiano] Qq et seq., Globe, Craig; Exeunt all but Othello and Emilia. Cambridge; Exit. Ff.
Plutarch, Comp. between Aristides and Cato, ed. 1595, p. 391: 66 because his sonne could not abide his filth," and five lines lower, " a young harlatry filth."
232.] Can heaven not spare one bolt for this villain? Is it all needed for thunder? Shakespeare has "thunderstone" in Julius Cæsar, I. iii. 49, and in Cymbeline, IV. ii. 271. Nares quotes "Jove's fell thunder-stone" from Chapman's Homer's Iliad, bk. xv. (1598). 233. Precious] perfect, selected; as if priceless, exquisite. Stronger than irony.
237. notorious] See above, IV. ii. 141. Egregious, notable" (Schmidt).
238. recover'd] obtained, gained. A word used by the early navigators, as it is in Tempest, III. ii. 16, and Two Gentlemen of Verona, v. i. 12. Compare Best's Narrative of Frobisher's Second Voyage (Payne, ed. 1880, p. 75), 1577: we passed up into the country about two English miles, and recovered the top of a high hill."
242. whipster] a contemptible fellow. The term was used by Gabriel Harvey similarly, in Pierce's Supererogation (Grosart, ii. 63), 1593; and in The
But why should honour outlive honesty?
What did thy song bode, lady?
So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true;
[She dies. 250
It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper.—
244-246. What . . . willow.] omitted Q 1. omitted Qq, Ff, Craig; Willow
246. [Singing] Dyce et seq.; willow] in italics Qq, Ff (willough Ff), Steevens, etc. 249. I die, I die] Qq; alas, I die Ff; [She dies] Qq; omitted 251. It is] Qq, It was Ff; the ice-brook's] F 3, 4; the Isebrookes Qq; the Ebro's
Ff; Dies Steevens, Globe, etc.
Passionate Morrice (New Sh. Soc. p.
244-249.] Whatever view Shakespeare desires us to take of Emilia, and how we are to apportion the good and the bad in her seemingly incongruous disposition, he certainly intended us to forgive her everything in her dying scene. At line 88, above at the dreadful words 66 So, so -Johnson said: "I am glad that I have ended my revisal of this dreadful scene. It is not to be endured." So true are these words that they need no comment, save that the suffering of sympathy in the reader is practically exhausted by Desdemona's murder, and there is none left for the ensuing horrors. Were there a morsel left, Emilia earns it at last.
245. play the swan] Shakespeare re
fers to this myth several times.
251. sword of Spain] either a Toledo or a Bilbao, which were equally famous at this time. Lyly mentions "the Spanish rapier" as early as 1579 (Euphues, Arber, p. 152).
251. ice-brook's temper] steel tempered in icy-cold water. Steevens
Gra. [Within] If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear:
Oth. Look in upon me then, and speak with me,
Gra. What is the matter?
Behold, I have a weapon;
A better never did itself sustain
Upon a soldier's thigh: I have seen the day
That with this little arm and this good sword 260
I have made my way through more impediments
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
255. with] Ff, to Qq. 262. your] you Q I. omitted Q I. 266. And] Ff; The Q 2, 3.
thought a special "brook" was referred to here, and cites classical authorities. He does not, however, mention Pliny, who says (Holland, xxxiv. 14): "Water only which in some places is better, in other worse, hath ennobled many places for the excellent yron that commeth from them, as namely, Bilbilis in Spaine .. Comus also in Setting aside these two countries, I know not where there be anie bars or gads tempered of fine and pure steele."
263. Who can control his fate?] Desdemona's words "It is my wretched fortune" are recalled,
264-270. Be. wench!]
264. weapon'd] armed. Malone says this uncommon participle occurs in Sidney's Arcadia. But see quotations at "officers of night," 1. i. 183, from Contareno's Venice. And compare Hakluyt, ii. 291 (reprint), 1599: "Some of his gard had smal stanes, & most of them were weaponed with bowes and arrowes."
266. sea-mark] beacon, perch, etc. See Coriolanus, v. iii. 73. And Eastward Ho, iv. 1: "the farthest seeing sea-mark of the world." Captain Smith (Virginia, Arber, p. 922) has a pretty little ode to "The Sea-Marke," 1630, 267. lost] wasted, useless,
Man but a rush against Othello's breast,
And he retires. Where should Othello go?
now? O ill-starr'd
Even like thy chastity.
O cursed, cursed slave! Whip me, ye devils,
Oh! Oh! Oh!
Enter LODOVICO, MONTANO, CASSIO carried in a chair, and Officers with IAGO, prisoner.
Lod. Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?
Oth. That's he that was Othello: here I am.
271. compt] count Q 1.
270. Now, how] Now: how Ff; How Q 2, 3. 275. cursed, cursed] Ff, cursed Qq; ye] Ff, you Qq. 278. steep-down] hyphen omitted Qq. 279, 280. O Desdemona! Oh!] Q 1, 2, Collier (in one line), in two lines Globe, Cambridge; Oh Desdemon! dead Desdemon: dead. Oh, Oh! Ff (Desdemona F 2, 3) in one line; in two lines, the first as here, the second reading Dead! Oh! oh! oh! Steevens, Rann, etc. 280. Enter prisoner] Rowe and Capell (nearly), Malone, Steevens (1793) et seq.; Enter Lodouico, Montano, Iago, and officers, Cassio in a Chaire Qq ; Iago omitted Q 2, 3; Enter Lodovico, Cassio, Montano, and Iago, with Officers Ff.