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OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE.
THE story upon which this beautiful and instructive tragedy is founded, was taken, according to Mr. Pope, from Cynthio's novels. It was probably written in the year 1611. Mustapha, Selymus's general, invaded Cyprus in May 1570, and conquered it in the following year. His fleet first sailed towards that island; but immediately changing its course for Rhodes, formed a junction with another squadron, and then returned to the attack of Cyprus thus the actual historical periods of the performance are satisfactorily determined. In addition to the admirable lesson set forth in this impressive tragedy, so well calculated to produce an excellent effect upon the human mind, by pourtraying that baneful passion, which, when once indulged, is the inevitable destroyer of conjugal happiness; it may justly be considered as one of the noblest efforts of dramatic genius, that has appeared in any age, or in any language." The fiery openness of Othello, (says Dr. Johnson) magnanimous, artless, and credulous; boundless in his confidence, ardent in his affection, inflexible in his resolution, and obdurate in his revenge---the soft simplicity of Desdemona, confident of merit, and conscious of innocence; her artless perseverance in her suit, and her slowness to suspect that she can be suspected---the cool malignity of lago, silent in his resentment, subtle in his designs, and studious at once of his interest and his vengeance---are such proofs of Shakspeare's skill in human nature, as I suppose it is in vain to seek in any modern writer; whilst even the inferior characters would be very conspicuous in any other piece, not only for their justness, but their strength." In proportion to the enormity of such a crime as adultery, should be the caution with which a suspicion of it is permitted to be entertained; and our great dramatic moralist was no doubt desirous of enforcing this maxim, when he made it, as he has done, the subject of no less than four of his most finished productions.
RODERIGO, a Venetian Gentleman.
vernment of Cyprus.
CLOWN, Servant to Othello.
DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio, and
EMILIA, Wife to lago.
BIANCA, a Courtezan, Mistress to Cassio.
MONTANO, Othello's predecessor in the Go- Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicans,
Sailors, Attendants, &c.
SCENE, for the first Act, in Venice; during the rest of the Play, at a Sea-port in Cyprus.
SCENE I-Venice.-A Street.
Enter RODERIGO and IAGO.
My mediators; for, certes, says he,
I have already chose my officer.
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
Rod. Tush, never tell me, I take it much un- A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife ; +
That thou, Iago,-who hast had my purse,
Jago. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me :-
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in
Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
That never set a squadron in the field,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose
By debitor and creditor; this counter-caster, || I know my price, I am worth no worse a place:He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
And, in conclusion, nonsuits
And I, (God bless the mark!) his Moorship's aucient.
Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his bangman.
Iago. But there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service;
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
Whether I in any just term am affin'd *
Rod. I would not follow him then.
lago. O Sir, content you;
I follow him to serve my turn upon him:
Whip me such honest knaves: Others there are,
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
And such a one do I profess myself.
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Iago. Call up her father,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
Rod. Here is her father's house: I'll call aloud.
Iago. Do; with like timorous accent, and dire yell,
As when, by night and negligence, the fire
Rod. What, ho! Brabantio! signior Brabantio, ho!
Iago. Awake! what, ho! Brabantio! thieves thieves thieves! [bags! Look to your house, your daughter, and your Thieves thieves!
BRABANTIO, above, at a Window.
Rod. Signior, is all your family within?
Bra. Why? wherefore ask you this?
Bra. What, have you lost your wits? Rod. Most reverend signior, do you know my voice ?
Bra. Not 1; What are you?
I have charg'd thee, not to haunt about my
Being full of supper and distempering draughts
Rod. Sir, Sir, Sir, Sir,——
Bra. But thou must needs be sure,
My spirit and my place have in them power
Rod. Patience, good Sir.
Bra. What tell'st thou me of robbing? this is Venice;
My house is not a grange.
Rod. Most grave Brabantio,
In simple and pure soul I come to you.
lago. 'Zounds, Sir, you are one of those that will not serve God, if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you ɛervice, you think we are ruffians: You'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you'll have your nephews ↑ neigh to you: you'll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.
Bra. What profane wretch art thou?
Iago. I am one, Sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
If't be your pleasure, and most wise consent,
I say again, hath made a gross revolt;
Bra. Strike on the tinder, ho!
Another of his fathom they have not,
I must show out a flag and sign of love,
Lead to the Sagittary the rais'd search;
A lone farm house.
Some one way, some another.-Do you know
Rod. I think, I can discover him, if you please To get good guard, and go along with me.
Bra. Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll call;
I may command at most :-Get weapons, ho!
SCENE II.-The same.-Another Street. Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants. lago. Though in the trade of war I have slain
Yet do I hold it very stuff o'the conscience, To do no contriv'd murder; I lack iniquity Sometimes, to me do service: Nine or ten times 1 bad thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs.
Oth. 'Tis better as it is.
Iago. Nay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
That, with the little godliness I have,
I did full bard forbear him. But, I pray, Sir,
Oth. Let him do his spite :
My services, which I have done the signiory, Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know,
[our, (Which, when I know that boasting is an honI shall promulgate,) I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege, + and my demerits May speak, unbonnetted, to as proud a fortune As this that I have reach'd: For kuow, Iago, But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
Cas. The duke does greet you, general;
Even on the instant.
Oth. What is the matter, think you?
Cas. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine; Have sent a dozen sequent⚫ messengers It is a business of some heat: The gallies This very night at one another's heels; And many of the consuls, rais'd, and met, Are at the duke's already: You have been hotly call'd for;
When, being not at your lodging to be found, The senate hath sent about three several quests, To search you out.
Oth. 'Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house.
Cas. Ancient, what makes me here?
If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever.
Cas. To who?
Iago. Marry, to-Come, captain, will you go? Oth. Have with you.
Cas. Here comes another troop to seek for you.
Oth. Holla! stand there !
[They draw on both sides. Iago. You, Roderigo! come, Sir, I am for you, Oth. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.[years,
Good signior, you shall more command with Than with your weapons.
Bra. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd
Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her:
That waken motion: I'll have it disputed on;
Oth. Hold your hands,
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter.-Where will you that I go To answer this your charge ?
Bra. To prison: till fit time
Of law, and course of direct session,
Oth. What if I do obey ?
How may the duke be therewith satisfied;