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VOL. xix. B 

* TIMON OF ATHENS.] The story of the Misanthrope is told 
in almost every collection of the time, and particularly in two 
books, with which Shakspeare was intimately acquainted; the 
Palace of Pleasure, and the English Plutarch. Indeed from a 
passage in an old play, called Jack Drum's Entertainment, I 
conjecture that he had before made his appearance on the stage. 


The passage in Jack Drum's Entertainment, or Pasquil and 
Katherine, 1601, is this : 

" Come, I'll be as sociable as Timon of Athens." 

But the allusion is so slight, that it might as well have been 
borrowed from Plutarch or the novel. 

Mr. Strutt the engraver, to whom our antiquaries are under 
no inconsiderable obligations, has in his possession a MS. play on 
this subject. It appears to have been written, or transcribed, 
about the year 1600. There is a scene in it resembling Shak- 
speare's banquet given by Timon to his flatterers. Instead of 
tvarm ixater he sets before them stones painted like artichokes, 
and afterwards beats them out of the room. He then retires to 
the woods, attended by his faithful steward, who, (like Kent in 
King Lear) has disguised himself to continue his services to his 
master. Timon, in the last Act, is followed by his fickle mistress, 
&c. after he was reported to have discovered a hidden treasure by 
digging. The piece itself (though it appears to be the work of 
an academick) is a wretched one. The persons dramatis are as 
follows : 

" The actors names. 
44 Timon. 

" Laches, his faithful servant. 
" Eutrapelus, a dissolute young man. 
" Gelasimus, a cittie heyre. 
" Pseudocheus, a lying travailer. 
" Demeas, an orator. 

" Philargurus, a covetous churlish ould man. 
" Hermogenes, a {idler. 
" Abyssus, a usurer. 
" Lollio, a cuntrey clowne, Philargurus sonne. 

Stilpo, 1 Two lying philosophers. 

" bpeusippus, 3 J 

" Grunnio, a lean servant of Philargurus. 
" Obba, Tymon's butler. 
" Poedio, Gelasimus page. 
" Two Serjeants. 
" A sailor. 

" Callimela, Philargurus daughter. 
" Blatte, her prattling nurse. 


Shakspeare undoubtedly formed this play on the passage in 
Plutarch's Life of Antony relative to Timon, and not on the 
twenty-eighth novel of the first volume of Painter's Palace of 
Pleasure; because he is there merely described as " a man- 
hater, of a strange and beastly nature," without any cause as- 
signed ; whereas Plutarch furnished our author with the follow- 
ing hint to work upon : " Antonius forsook the citie, and com- 
panie of his friendes, saying, that he would lead Timon's life, 
because he had the like wrong offered him, that was offered unto 
Timon; andybr the unthankfulness of those he had done good 
unto, and whom he tooke to be hisfriendes, he mas angry with all 
men, and ivould trust no man." 

To the manuscript play mentioned by Mr. Steevens, our au- 
thor, I have no doubt, was also indebted for some other circum- 
stances. Here he found the faithful steward, the banquet-scene, 
and the story of Timon's being possessed of great sums of gold 
which he had dug up in the woods : a circumstance which he 
could not have had from Lucian, there being then no translation 
of the dialogue that relates to this subject. 

Spon says, there is a building near Athens, yet remaining, 
called Timon 's Tower. 

Timon of Athens was written, I imagine, in the year 1610. 
See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare s Plays, 

B 2 


Timon, a noble Athenian. 

Lucius, } 

Lucullus, > Lords, and Flatterers of Timon. 

Sempronius, j 

Ventidius, one of Timon' 's false Friends. 

Apemantus, a churlish Philosopher. 

Alcibiades, an Athenian General. 

Flavius, Steward to Timon. 

Flaminius, "J 

Lucilius, > Timon's Servants. 

Servilius, ) 



Servants to Timon's Creditors. 



Two Servants o/"Varro, and the Servant of Isidore; 

two qjfTimon's Creditors. 
Cupid and Maskers. Three Strangers. 
Poet, Painter, Jeweller, and Merchant. 
An old Athenian. A Page. A Fool. 

Mistresses to Alcibiades. 

Other Lords, Senators, Officers, Soldiers, Thieves, 
and Attendants. 

SCENE, Athens ; and the Woods adjoining. 

1 Phrynia,~\ (or, as this name should have been written by 
Shakspeare, Phryne, ) was an Athenian courtezan so exquisitely 
beautiful, that when her judges were proceeding to condemn her 
for numerous and enormous offences, a sight of her bosom 
(which, as we learn from Quintilian, had been artfully denuded 
by her advocate,) disarmed the court of its severity, and secured 
her life from the sentence of the law, STEEVEN*. 



Athens. A Hall in Timon's House. 

Enter Poet, Painter, Jeweller, Merchant, 2 and 
Others, at several Doors. 

POET. Good day, sir. 3 

PAIN. I am glad you are well. 

POET. I have not seen you long ; How goes the 
world ? 

PAIN. It wears, sir, as it grows. 

POET. Ay, that's well known : 

But what particular rarity ? 4 what strange, 

8 Jeweller, Merchant,'] In the old copy : Enter &c. 

Merchant and Mercer, fyc. STEEVENS. 

3 Poet. Good day, sz'r.J It would be less abrupt to begin the 
play thus : 

Poet. Good day. 

Pain. Good day, sir : / am glad you re ivell. FARMER. 

The present deficiency in the metre also pleads strongly in 
behalf of the supplemental words proposed by Dr. Farmer. 


4 But tvhat particular rarity? &c.] I cannot but think that 
this passage is at present in confusion. The poet asks a question, 
and stays not for an answer, nor has his question any apparent 
drift or consequence. I would range the passage thus : 


Which manifold record not matches ? See, 
Magick of bounty ! all these spirits thy power 
Hath conjur'd to attend. I know the merchant. 

PAIN. I know them both ; t' other's a jeweller. 

MER. O, 'tis a worthy lord ! 

JEW. Nay, that's most fix'd. 

MER. A most incomparable man ; breath'd, as it 

To an untirable and continuate goodness : 5 

Poet. Ay, that's well known. 
But what particular rarity ? what so strange, 
That manifold record not matches ? 
Pain. See! 

Poet. Magick of bounty ! &c. 

It may not be improperly observed here, that as there is only 
ene copy of this play, no help can be had from collation, and 
more liberty must be allowed to conjecture. JOHNSON. 

Johnson supposes that there is some error in this passage, be- 
cause the Poet asks a question, and stays not for an answer ; and 
therefore suggests a new arrangement of it. But there is nothing 
more common in real life than questions asked in that manner. 
And with respect to his proposed arrangement, I can by no means 
approve of it ; for as the Poet and the Painter are going to pay 
their court to Timon, it would be strange if the latter should 
point out to the former, as a particular rarity, which manifold 
record could not match, a merchant and a jeweller, who came 
there on the same errand. M. MASON. 

The Poet is led by what the Painter has said, to ask whether 
any thing very strange and unparalleled had lately happened, 
without any expectation that any such had happened ; and is 
prevented from waiting for an answer by observing so many con- 
jured by Timon's bounty to attend. " See, Magick of bounty !" 
&c. This surely is very natural. MALONE. 

5 breath'd, as it were, 

To an untirable and continuate goodness :] Breathed is 
inured by constant practice; so trained as not to be wearied. 
To breathe, a horse, is to exercise him for the course. JOHNSON. 
So, in Hamlet : 

" It is the breathing time of day with me." STEEVENS. 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 7 

He passes. 6 
JEW. I have a jewel here. 7 

MER. O, pray, let's see't : For the lord Timon, 


JEW. If he will touch the estimate: 8 But, for 

POET. When we for recompense 9 have prats' d the 


It stains the glory in that happy verse 
Which aptly sings the good. 

MER. 'Tis a good form. 

[Looking at the Jewel. 

JEW. And rich : here is a water, look you. 

PAIN. You are rapt, sir, in some work, some de- 
To the great lord. 

continuate ] This word is used by many ancient 

English writers. Thus, by Chapman, in his version of the 
fourth Book of the Odyssey : 

" Her handmaids join'd in a continuate yell." 
Again, in the tenth Book : 

" environ'd round 

" With one continuate rock : ." STEEVENS. 

6 He passes.] i. e. exceeds, goes beyond common bounds. So, 
in The Merry Wives of Windsor : 

" Why this passes, master Ford." STEEVENS. 

7 He passes. 

I have a jewel here.~\ The syllable wanting in this line, 
might be restored by reading 

He passes. Look, / have a jewel here. STEEVENS. 

s touch the estimate:'] Come up to the price. 


9 When we for recompense &c.] We must here suppose the 
Poet busy in reading in his own work ; and that these three lines 
are the introduction of the poem addressed to Timon, which he 
afterwards gives the Painter an account of. WARBURTON. 


POET. A thing slipp'd idly from me. 

Our poesy is as a gum, which oozes 1 
From whence 'tis nourished : The fire i'the flint 
Shows not, till it be struck ; our gentle flame 
Provokes itself, and, like the current, flies 
Each bound it chafes. 2 What have you there ? 

1 , which oozes ] The folio copy reads which uses. 

The modern editors have given it which issues. JOHNSON. 

Gum and issues were inserted by Mr. Pope ; oozes by Dr. 
Johnson. MALONE. 

The two oldest copies read 

Our poesie is as a gowne which uses. STEEVENS. 

* and, like a current, Jlies 

Each bound it chafes.] Thus the folio reads, and rightly. 
In later editions chases. WARBURTON. 

This speech of the Poet is very obscure. He seems to boast 
the copiousness and facility of his vein, by declaring that verses 
drop from a poet as gums from odoriferous trees, and that his 
flame kindles itself without the violence necessary to elicit 
sparkles from the flint. What follows next ? that it, like a cur- 
rent, Jlies each bound it chafes. This may mean, that it expands 
itself notwithstanding all obstructions ; but the images in the 
comparison are so ill sorted, and the effect so obscurely expressed, 
that I cannot but think something omitted that connected the last 
sentence with the former. It is well known that the players 
often shorten speeches to quicken the representation : and it 
may be suspected, that they sometimes performed their ampu- 
tations with more haste than judgment. JOHNSON. 

Perhaps the sense is, that having touched on one subject, it Jlies 
off in quest of 'another. The old copy seems to read 

Each bound it chases. 

The letters^/ andy are not always to be distinguished from each 
other, especially when the types have been much worn, as in 
the first folio. If chases be the true reading, it is best explained 
by the " se sequiturque fagitque " of the Roman poet. 
Somewhat similar occurs in The Tempest : 

" Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and dojly him 

" When he pursues." STEEVENS. 

The obscurity of this passage arises merely from the mistake 
of the editors, who have joined in one, what was intended by 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 9 

PAIN. A picture, sir. And when comes your 
book forth? 3 

POET. Upon the heels* of my presentment, 5 sir. 
Let's see your piece. 

PAIN. J Tis a good piece. 6 

Shakspeare as two distinct sentences. It should be pointed 
thus, and then the sense will be evident: 

our gentle Jlame 

Provokes itself, and like the current flies ; 

Each bound it chafes. 

Our gentle flame animates itself; it flies like a current; and 
every obstacle serves but to increase its force. M. MASON. 

In Julius Ccesar we have 

" The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores, ." 
Again, in The Legend of Pierce Gaveston, b}^ Michael Drayton, 

" Like as the ocean, chafing with his bounds, 
" With raging billowesjfo'es against the rocks, 
" And to the shore sends forth his hideous sounds," &c. 


This jumble of incongruous images, seems to have been de- 
signed, and put into the mouth of the Poetaster, that the reader 
might appreciate his talents : his language therefore should not 
be considered in the abstract. HENLEY. 

3 And when comes your book forth f] And was supplied 

by Sir T. Hanmer, to perfect the measure. STEEVENS. 

4 Upon the heels &c.] As soon as my book has been presented 
to lord Timon. JOHNSON. 

appear to have been all Timons. 

" I did determine not to have dedicated my play to any body, 
because forty shillings I care not for, and above, few or none 
will bestow on these matters." Preface to A Woman is a Wea- 
thercock, by N. Field, 1612. STEEVENS. 

It should, however, be remembered, that forty shillings at that 
time were equal to at least six, perhaps eight, pounds at this 
day. MALONE. 

' 'Tis a good piece. ~] As the metre is here defective, it is not 
improbable that our author originally wrote 
' Tis a good piece, indeed. 


POET. So 'tis: this comes off well and excellent. 7 
PAIN. Indifferent. 

POET. Admirable : How this grace 

Speaks his own standing! 8 what a mental power 

So, in The Winter's Tale: 

" Tis grace indeed" STEEVENS. 

7 this comes off well and excellent.'] The meaning is, 

the figure rises well from the canvas. C'est lien releve. 


What is meant by this term of applause I do not exactly 
know. It occurs again in The Widow, by Ben Jonson, Fletcher, 
and Middleton : 

" It comes o^very fair yet." 

Again, in A Trick to catch the Old One, 1608 : " Put a good 
tale in his ear, so that it comes off cleanly, and there's a horse 
and man for us. I warrant thee.' Again, in the first part of 
Marston's Antonio and Mellida : 

" Fla. Faith, the song will seem to come o^hardly. 

" Catz. Troth, not a whit, if you seem to come ojf 
quickly." STEEVENS. 

s How this grace 

Speaks his own standing!] This relates to the attitude of 
the figure, and means that it stands judiciously on its own cen- 
tre. And not only so, but that it has a graceful standing like- 
wise. Of which the poet in Hamlet, speaking of another picture, 
says : 

" A station, like the herald Mercury, 

" New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill." 

which lines Milton seems to have had in view, where he says of 
Raphael : 

" At once on th' eastern cliff" of Paradise 

" He lights, and to his proper shape returns. 

" Like Maia's son he stood." WARBURTON. 

This sentence seems to me obscure, and, however explained, 
not very forcible. This grace speaks his own standing, is only, 
The gracefulness of this figure show how it stands. I am inclined 
to think something corrupted. It would be more natural and 
clear thus : 

Hotv this standing 

Speaks his own graces ! 

How this posture displays its own gracefulness. But I will in- 
dulge conjecture further, and propose to read : 

sc.i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 11 

This eye shoots forth ! how big imagination 
Moves in this lip ! to the dumbness of the gesture 
One might interpret. 9 

PAIN. It is a pretty mocking of the life. 
Here is a touch ; Is't good? 

POET. I'll say of it, 

HOIK this grace 

Speaks understanding! what a mental power 
This eye shoots forth ! JOHNSON. 

The passage, to my apprehension at least, speaks its own mean- 
ing* which is, how the graceful attitude of this figure proclaims 
that it stands firm on its centre, or gives evidence in favour of 
its own fixure. Grace is introduced as bearing witness to pro- 
priety. A similar expression occurs in Cymbeline, Act II. sc. iv : 

" never saw I figures 

" So likely to report themselves" STEEVENS. 

I cannot reconcile myself to Johnson's or Warburton's expla- 
nations of this passage, which are such as the words cannot pos- 
sibly imply. I am rather inclined to suppose, that the figure 
alluded to was a representation of one of the Graces, and, as 
they are always supposed to be females, should read the passage 
thus : 

How this Grace (with a capital G) 

Speaks its own standing ! 

This slight alteration removes every difficulty, for Steevens's ex- 
planation of the latter words is clearly right ; and there is sureljr 
but little difference between its and his in the trace of th e 

This amendment is strongly supported by the pronoun thi s, 
prefixed to the word Grace, as it proves that what the Po et 
pointed out was some real object, not merely an abstract idea- 


to the dumbness of the gesture 

One might interpret.] The figure, though dumb, seems to 
have a capacity of speech. The allusion is to the puppet-sho tvs, 
or motions, as they were termed in our author's time. The per- 
son who spoke for the puppets was called an interpreter. S ee a 
note on Hamlet, Act III. sc. v. MA LONE. 

Rather one might venture to supply words to such intelligi- 
ble action. Such significant gesture ascertains the sentinaents 
that should accompany it. STEEVENS. 


It tutors nature : artificial strife 1 
Lives in these touches, livelier than life. 

Enter certain Senators, and pass over. 

PAIN. How this lord's followed ! 

POET. The senators of Athens : Happy men ! 2 

1 artificial strife ] Strife for action or motion. 

Strife is either the contest of art with nature : 

" Hie ille est Raphael, timuit, quo sospite vinci 
" Rerum magna parens, & moriente mori." 
or it is the contrast of forms or opposition of colours. JOHNSON. 

So, under the print of Noah Bridges, by Faithorne : 
" Faithorne, with nature at a noble strife, 
" Hath paid the author a great share of life." &c. 


And Ben Jonson, on the head of Shakspeare by Droeshout : 
" This figure which thou here seest put, 
" It was for gentle Shakspeare cut : 
" Wherein the graver had a strife 
" With nature, to out-doo the life" HENLEY. 

That artificial strife means, as Dr. Johnson has explained it, 
the contest of art with nature, and not the contrast of forms or 
opposition of colours, may appear from our author's Venus and 
Adonis, where the same thought is more clearly expressed : 
" Look, when a painter would surpass the life, 
" In limning out a well-proportion'd steed, 
" His art with nature's workmanship at strife, 
" As if the dead the living should exceed ; 
" So did this horse excell," &c. 

In Dray ton's Mortimeriadox, printed I believe in 1596, (after- 
wards entitled The Barons' Wars,] there are two lines nearly 
resembling these : 

" Done for the last with such exceeding life, 

" As art therein with nature were at strife." MALONE. 

9 Happy men!] Mr. Theobald reads happy man; and 

certainly the emendation is sufficiently plausible, though the old 
reading may well stand. MALONE. 

The text is right. The Poet envies or admires the felicity of 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 13 

PAIN. Look, more ! 

POET. You see this confluence, this great flood 

of visitors. 3 

I have, in this rough work, shap'd out a man, 
Whom this beneath world 4 doth embrace and hug 
With amplest entertainment : My free drift 
Halts not particularly, 5 but moves itself 
In a wide sea of wax : 6 no levell'd malice 7 

the senators in being Timon's friends, and familiarly admitted to 
his table, to partake of his good cheer, and experience the ef- 
fects of his bounty. RITSON. 

3 this confluence, this great flood of visitors."] 

Mane salutantum totis vomit cedibus undam. JOHNSON. 

4 this beneath world ] So, in Measure for Measure, 

we have " This under generation ;" and in King Richard II: 
" the lower world." STEEVENS. 

5 Halts not particularly, ~\ My design does not stop at any 
single character. JOHNSON. 

6 In a wide sea of wax:'] Anciently they wrote upon waxen 
tables with an iron style. HANMER. 

I once thought with Sir T. Hanmer, that this was only an 
allusion to the Roman practice of writing with a style ou waxen 
tablets; but it appears that the same custom prevailed in Eng- 
land about the year 1395, and might have been heard of by Shak- 
speare. It seems also to be pointed out by implication in many 
of our old collegiate establishments. See Warton's History of 
English Poetry, Vol. III. p. 151. STEEVENS. 

Mr. Astle observes in his very ingenious work On the Origin 
and Progress of Writing, quarto, 1784-, that " the practice of 
writing on table-books covered with wax was not entirely laid 
aside till the commencement ofthefburteenth century." AsShak- 
speare, I believe, was not a very profound English antiquary, it 
is surely improbable that he should have had any knowledge of 
a practice which had been disused for more than two centuries 
before he was born. The Roman practice li might have learned 
from Golding's translation of the ninth Book of Ovid's Metamor- 
phoses : 

" Her right hand holds the pen, her left doth hold the 
emptie waxe," &c. MALONE. 

7 no levell'd malice &c.] To level is to aim, to point 


Infects one comma in the course I hold ; 
But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on. 
Leaving no tract behind. 

PAIN. How shall I understand you ? 

POET. I'll unbolt 8 to you, 

You see how all conditions, how all minds, 
(As well of glib and slippery creatures, 9 as 
Of grave and austere quality,) tender down 
Their services to lord Timon : his large fortune, 
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging, 
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance 
All sorts of hearts ; l yea, from the glass-fac'd flat- 
terer 2 

To Apemantus, that few things loves better 
Than to abhor himself: even he drops down 
The knee before him, 3 and returns in peace 

the shot at a mark. Shakspeare's meaning is, my poem is not 
a satire written with any particular view, or levelled at any single 
person ; I fly like an eagle into the general expanse of life, and 
leave not, by any private mischief, the trace of my passage. 


8 Til unbolt ] I'll open, I'll explain. JOHNSON. 

9 glib and slippery creatures,'] Sir T. Hanmer, and Dr. 

Warburton after him, read natures. Slippery is smooth, un- 
resisting. JOHNSON. 

1 Subdues 

All sorts o/"hearts;] So, in Othello: 
" My heart's subdued 
" Even to the very quality of my lord." STEEVENS. 

2 glass-fac'd flatterer ] That shows in his look, as by 

reflection, the looks of his patron. JOHNSON. 

3 even he drops down &c.] Either Shakspeare meant to 

put a falsehood into the mouth of his Poet, or had not yet tho- 
roughly planned the character of Apemantus; for in the ensuing 
scenes, his behaviour is as cynical to Timon as to his followers. 


The Poet, seeing that Apemantus paid frequent visits to 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 15 

Most rich in Timon's nod. 
PAIX. I saw them speak together. 4 

POET. Sir, I have upon a high and pleasant hill, 
Feign' d Fortune to be thron'd : The base o'the 


Is rank'd with all deserts, 5 all kind of natures, 
That labour, on the bosom of this sphere 
To propagate their states: 6 amongst them all, 
Whose eyes are on this sovereign lady 7 fix'd, 
One do I personate of lord Timon's frame, 
Whom Fortune with her ivory hand wafts to her ; 
Whose present grace to present slaves and servants 
Translates his rivals. 

PAIN. J Tis conceiv'd to scope. 8 

This throne, this Fortune, and this hill, methinks, 
With one man beckon'd from the rest below, 
Bowing his head against the steepy mount 

Timon, naturally concluded that he was equally courteous with 
his other guests. RITSON. 

4 I saiv them speak together.] The word together, which only 
serves to interrupt the measure, is, I believe, an interpolation, 
being occasionally omitted by our author, as unnecessary to 
sense, on similar occasions. Thus, in Measure for Measure: 
" Bring me to hear them speak ;" i. e. to speak together, to 
converse. Again, in another of our author's plays : " When 
spoke you last ?" Nor is the same phraseology, at this hour, 
out of use. STEEVENS. 

s rank'd 'with all deserts,^ Cover' d tvith ranks of all 

kinds of men. JOHN SON. 

6 To propagate their states :~\ To advance or improve their 
various conditions of life. JOHNSON. 

Feign'd Fortune to be thron'd:- 

on this sovereign lady &>c.~\ So, in The Tempest: 

" bountiful fortune, 

" Now my dear lady" &c. MALONE. 

conceived to scope."} Properly imagined, appositely, to 

the purpose. JOHNSON. 


To climb his happiness, would be well express* d 
In our condition. 9 

POET. Nay, sir, but hear me on : 

All those which were his fellows but of late, 
(Some better than his value,) on the moment 
Follow his strides, his lobbies fill with tendance, 
Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear, 1 
Make sacred even his stirrop, and through him 
Drink the free air. 2 

9 In our condiPibn.] Condition for art. WARBURTON. 

1 Rain sacrificial whisperings in his car,] The sense is obvious, 
and means, in general, flattering him. The particular kind of 
flattery may be collected from the circumstance of its being 
offered up in whispers: which shows it was the calumniating 
those whom Timon hated or envied, or whose vices were opposite 
to his own. This offering up, to the person flattered, the mur- 
dered reputation of others, Shakspeare, with the utmost beauty 
of thought and expression, calls sacrificial whisperings, alluding 
to the victims offered up to idols. WARBURTON. 

Whisperings attended with such respect and veneration as ac- 
company sacrifices to the gods. Such, I suppose, is the mean- 
ing. MALONE. 

By sacrificial tahisperingSy I should simply understand whis- 
perings of officious servility, the incense of the worshipping pa- 
rasite to the patron as to a god. These whisperings might pro- 
bably immolate reputations for the most part, but I should not 
reduce the epithet in question to that notion here. Mr. Gray has 
excellently expressed in his Elegy these sacrificial offerings to 
the great from the poetick tribe : 

" To heap the shrine of luxury and pride 
" With incense kindled at the muse's flame." 


9 through him 

Drink the free air.'] That is, catch his breath in affected 
fondness. JOHNSON. 

A similar phrase occurs in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his 
Humour; " By this air, the most divine tobacco I ever drank!" 
To drink, in both these instances, signifies to inhale. 



PAIN. Ay, marry, what of these ? 

POET. When Fortune, in her shift and change 

of mood, 

Spurns down her late belov'd, all his dependants, 
Which labour* d after him to the mountain's top, 
Even on their knees and hands, let him slip down, 3 
Not one accompanying his declining foot. 

PAIN. J Tis common : 
A thousand moral paintings I can show, 4 
That shall demonstrate these quick blows of for- 
tune 5 

Dr. Johnson's explanation appears to me highly unnatural and 
unsatisfactory. " To drink the air," like the haustus cetherios 
of Virgil, is merely a poetical phrase for drain the air, or breathe. 
To " drink the free air," therefore, " through another," is to 
breathe freely at his will only ; so as to depend on him for the 
privilege of life : not even to breathe freely without his per- 
mission. WAKEFIELD. 

So, in our author's Venus and Adonis: 

" His nostrils drink the air." 
Again, in The Tempest: 

" I drink the air before me." MALONE. 

3 let him slip doivn,~\ The old copy reads: 

let him sit down. 

The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. STEEVENS. 

* A thousand moral paintings I can shoiv,~] Shakspeare seems 
to intend in this dialogue to express some competition between 
the two great arts of imitation. Whatever the poet declares 
himself to have shown, the painter thinks he could have shown 
better. JOHNSON. 

5 these quick blows of fortune ] [ Old copy -fortune's ] 

This was the phraseology of Shakspcare's time, as I have already 
observed in a note on King John, Vol. X. p. 372, n. 8. The 
modern editors read, more elegantly, of fortune. The altera- 
tion was first made in the second folio, from ignorance of Shak- 
speare's diction. MALONE. 

Though I cannot impute such a correction to the ignorance of 
he person who made it, I can easily suppose what is here styled 
he phraseology of Shakspeare, to be only the mistake of a vulgar 


More pregnantly than words. Yet you do well, 
To show lord Timon, that mean eyes 6 have seen 
The foot above the head. 

Trumpets sound. Enter TIMON, attended; the Ser- 
vant of VENTIDIUS talking with him. 

TIM. Imprisoned is he, say you ? 7 

VEN. SERV. Ay, my good lord : five talents is his 


His means most short, his creditors most strait : 
Your honourable letter he desires 
To those have shut him up ; which failing to him, 8 
Periods his comfort. 9 

TIM. Noble Ventidius ! Well ; 

transcriber or printer. Had our author been constant in his use 
of this mode of speech (which is not the case) the propriety of 
Mr. Malone's remark would have been readily admitted. 


mean eyes ] i. e. inferior spectators. So, in Wotton's 

Letter to Bacon, dated March the last, 1613: "Before their 
majesties, and almost as many other meaner eyes," &c. 


7 Imprisoned is he, say you ?"] Here we have another inter- 
polation destructive to the metre. Omitting is he, we ought 
to read : 

Imprisoned, say you. STEEVENS. 

8 ivhich failing to him,] Thus the second folio. The 

first omits to him, and consequently mutilates the verse. 


9 Periods his comfort. ~\ To period is, perhaps, a verb of Shak- 
speare's introduction into the English language. I find it, how- 
ever, used by Heywood, after him, in A Maidenhead well lost, 
1634 : 

" How easy could I period all my care." 
Again, in The Country Girl, by T. B. 161-7 : 

" To period our vain-grievings." STEKVEXS. 


I aii) net of that feather, to shake off 
My friend when he must need me. 1 I do know him 
A gentleman, that well deserves a help, : 
Which he shall have : I'll pay the debt, and free 

VEN. SERV. Your lordship ever binds him. 

TIM. Commend me to him : I will send his ran- 

some ; 

And, being enfranchised, bid him come to me : 
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, 
But to support him after. 2 Fare you well. 

VEX. SERV. All happiness to your honour! 3 

Enter an old Athenian. 

OLD ATH. Lord Timon, hear me speak. 
TIM. Freely, good father. 

OLD ATH. Thou hast a servant nam'd Lucilius. 
TIM. I have so : What of him ? 

1 must need me.~] i. e. when he is compelled to have need 

of my assistance ; or, as Mr. Malone has more happily explained 
the phrase, " cannot but want my assistance.*' STEEVENS. 

* 'Tis not enough &c.] This thought is better expressed by 
Dr. Madden in his Elegy on Archbishop Boulter: 

" More than they ask'd he gave ; and deem'd it mean 
" Only to help the poor to beg again." JOHNSON. 

It has been said that Dr. Johnson was paid ten guineas by 
Dr. Madden for correcting this poem. STEEVENS. 

3 your honour!"] The common address to a lord in our 

author's time, was your honour, which was indifferently used 
with your lordship. See any old letter, or dedication of that 
age ; and Vol. XIV. p. 390, where a Pursuivant, speaking to 
Lord Hastings, says, " I thank your honour. 1 ' STEEVENS. 

C 2 


OLD ATH. Most noble Timon, call the man be- 
fore thee. 

TIM. Attends he here, or no ? Lucilius ! 

Luc. Here, at your lordship's service. 

OLD ATH. This fellow here, lord Timon, this 

thy creature, 

By night frequents my house. I am a man 
That from my first have been inclin'd to thrift ; 
And my estate deserves an heir more rais'd, 
Than one which holds^a trencher. 

TIM. Well ; what further ? 

OLD ATH. One only daughter have I, no kin else, 
On whom I may confer what I have got : 
The maid is fair, o'the youngest for a bride, 
And I have bred her at my dearest cost, 
In qualities of the best. This man of thine 
Attempts her love : I pr'ythee, noble lord, 
Join with me to forbid him her resort ; 
Myself have spoke in vain. 

TIM. The man is honest. 

OLD ATH. Therefore he will be, Timon : 4 

4 Therefore he will be, Timon :~\ The thought is closely ex- 
pressed, and obscure : but this seems the meaning : " If the man 
be honest, my lord, for that reason he will be so in this ; and 
not endeavour at the injustice of gaining my daughter without 
my consent." WARBU-RTON. 

I rather think an emendation necessary, and read : 
Therefore well be him, Timon: 
His honesty rewards him in itself. 

That is, " If he is honest, benc sit illi, I wish him the proper 
happiness of an honest man, but his honesty gives him no claim 
to my daughter." The first transcriber probably wrote will be 


His honesty rewards him in itself, 
It must not bear my daughter. 5 

TIM. Does she love him ? 

OLD ATH. She is young, and apt : 
Our own precedent passions do instruct us 
What levity's in youth. 

TIM. [To LuciLius.J Love you the maid? 
Luc. Ay, my good lord, and she accepts of it. 

OLD ATH. If in her marriage my consent be 

I call the gods to witness, I will choose 

with him, which the next, not understanding, changed to, he 
will be. JOHNSON. 

I think Dr. Warburton's explanation is best, because it exacts 
no change. So, in King Henry VIII: 

" May he continue 

" Long in his highness' favour ; and do justice 
" For truth's sake and his conscience" 

Again, more appositely, in Cymbeline: 

" This hath been 

" Your faithful servant : I dare lay mine honour 

" He will remain so" STEEVENS. 

Therefore he will be, Timon :] Therefore he will continue to 
be so, and is sure of being sufficiently rewarded by the conscious- 
ness of virtue ; and he does not need the additional blessing of 
a beautiful and accomplished wife. 

It has been objected, I forget by whom, if the old Athenian 
means to say that Lucilius will still continue to be virtuous, what 
occasion has he to apply to Timon to interfere relative to this 
marriage ? But this is making Shakspeare write by the card. The 
words mean undoubtedly, that he will be honest in his general 
conduct through life ; in every other action except that now 
complained of. MALONE. 

5 bear my daughter, ,1 A similar expression occurs in 


" What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe, 
" If he can carry her thus!" STEEVENS, 


Mine heir from forth the beggars of the world, 
And dispossess her all. 

TIM. How shall she be endow'd, 

If she be mated with an equal husband ? 6 

OLD ATH. Three talents, on the present; in fu- 
ture, all. 

TIM. This gentleman of mine hath seiVd me 


To build his fortunej I will strain a little, 
For 'tis a bond in men. Give him thy daughter : 
What you bestow, in him I'll counterpoise, 
And make him weigh with her. 

OLD ATH. Most noble lord, 

Pawn me to this your honour, she is his. 

TIM. My hand to thee ; mine honour on my 

Luc. Humbly I thank your lordship : Never may 
That state or fortune fall into my keeping* 
Which is not ow'd to you ! 7 

\TLxeunt LUCILIUS and old Athenian. 

6 And dispossess her all. 

Tim. Hoiv shall she be endoivd, 

If she be mated luith an equal husband ?~\ The players, 
those avowed enemies to even a common ellipsis, have here again 
disordered the metre by interpolation. Will a single idea of our 
author's have been lost, if, omitting the useless and repeated 
words she be, we should regulate the passage thus : 

Ho"w shall she be 
Endo'vad, if mated ivith an equal husband f 


Never may 


That state or fortune Jail into my keeping, 

Which is not ow'd to you /] The meaning is, let me never 
henceforth consider any thing that I possess, but as owed or due 
to you ; held for your service, and at your disposal. JOHNSON. 

So Lady Macbeth says to Duncan : 

so. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 23 

POET. Vouchsafe my labour, and long live your 
lordship ! 

TIM. I thank you; you shall hear from me anon : 
Go not away. What have you there, my friend ? 

PAIN. A piece of painting, which I do beseech 
Your lordship to accept. 

TIM. Painting is welcome. 

The painting is almost the natural man ; 
For since dishonour trafficks with man's nature, 
He is but outside : These pencil' d figures are 
Even sucli as they give out. 8 I like your work j 
And you shall find, I like it : wait attendance 
Till you hear further from me. 

PAIN. The gods preserve you ! 

TIM. Well fare you, gentlemen : Give me your 

hand ; 

We must needs dine together. Sir, your jewel 
Hath suffer* d under praise. 

JEW. What, my lord ? dispraise ? 

TIM. A meer satiety of commendations. 
If I should pay you for't as 'tis extoll'd, 
It would unclew me quite. 9 

" Your servants ever 

" Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt, 
" To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, 
" Still to return your mv." MALONE. 

pencil'd figures are 

Even such as they give out.] Pictures have no hypocrisy ; 
they are what they profess to be. JOHNSON. 

9 unclew me quite."] To unclew is to unwind a ball of 

thread. To unclew a man, is to draw out the whole mass of his 
fortunes. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 


JEW. . My lord, 'tis rated 

As those, which sell, would give : But you well 


Things of like value, differing in the owners, 
Are prized by their masters : ' believe't, dear lord, 
You mend the jewel by wearing it. 2 

TIM. Well mock'd. 

MER. No, my good lord ; he speaks the common 

Which all men speak with him. 

TIM. Look, who comes here. Will you be chid ? 


JEW. We will bear, with your lordship. 

MER. He'll spare none, 

TIM. Good morrow to thee, gentle Apemantus ! 

APEM. Till I be gentle, stay for 4 thy good mor- 
row ; 

" Therefore as you unwind her love from him, 
" You must provide to bottom it on me." 
See Vol. IV. p. 259, n. 8. STEEVENS. 

1 Are prized by their master K:~] Are rated according to the 
esteem in which their possessor is held. JOHNSON. 

* by wearing it.^\ Old copy by the wearing it. 


3 Enter Apemantus.] See this character of a cynick finely 
drawn by Lucian, in his Auction of the Philosophers; and how 
well Shakspeare has copied it. WARBURTON. 

4 stay for ] Old copy stay t\\o\\for With Sir 

T. Hanmer I have omitted the useless thou, (which the compo- 
sitor's eye might have caught from the following line, ) because 
it disorders the metre. STEEVENS. 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 25 

When thou art Timon's dog, 5 and these knaves 

TIM. Why dost thou call them knaves? thou 
know'st them not. 

APEM. Are they not Athenians? 6 
TIM. Yes. 

APEM. Then I repent not. 
JEW. You know me, Apemantus. 

APEM. Thou knowest, I do ; I call'd thee by 
thy name. 

TIM. Thou art proud, Apemantus. 

APEM. Of nothing so much, as that I am not 
like Timon. 

5 When thou art Timon's dog,~] When thou hast gotten a 
better character, and instead of being Timon as thou art, shalt 
be changed to Timon's dog, and become more worthy kindness 
and salutation. JOHNSON. 

This is spoken SSIKTIKUJC, as Mr. Upton says, somewhere: 
striking his hand on his breast. 

" Wot you who named me first the kinge's dogge?" says 
Aristippus in Damon and Pythias. FARMER. 

Apemantus, I think, means to say, that Timon is not to re- 
ceive a gentle good morrow from him till that shall happen which 
never will happen; till Timon is transformed to tlje shape of his 
dog, and his knavish followers become honest men. Stay for 
thy good morrow, says he, till I be gentle, which will happen at 
the same time when thou art Timon's dog, &c. i. e. never. 


Mr. Malone has justly explained the drift of Apemantus. Such 
another reply occurs in Troilus and Cressida, where Ulysses, 
desirous to avoid a kiss from Cressida, says to her; give me one 
" When Helen is a maid again," &c. STEEVENS. 

6 Are they not Athenians?'] The very imperfect state in which 
the ancient copy of this play has reached us, leaves a doubt whe- 
ther several short speeches in the present scene were designed 
for verse or prose. I have therefore made no attempt at regu- 
lation. STEEVENS. 


TlM. Whither art going ? 

APEM. To knock out an honest Athenian's brains. 

TIM. That's a deed thou'lt die for. 

APEM. Right, if doing nothing be death by the 

TIM. How likest thou this picture, Apemantus? 

APEM. The best, for the innocence. 

TIM. Wrought he not well, that painted it ? 

APEM. He wrought better, that made thepainterj 
and yet he's but a filthy piece of work. 

PAIN. You are a dog. 7 

APEM. Thy mother's of my generation : What's 
she, if I be a dog ? 

TIM. Wilt dine with me, Apemantus ? 

APEM. No ; I eat not lords. 

TIM. An thou should' st, thou'dst anger ladies. 

APEM. O, they eat lords ; so they come by great 

TIM. That's a lascivious apprehension. 

APEM. So thou apprehend'st it : Take it for thy 

TIM. How dost thou like this jewel, Apemantus? 

APEM. Not so well as plain-dealing, 8 which will 
not cost a man a doit-. 

TIM. What dost thou think 'tis worth ? 

7 Pain. You are a dog.~] This speech, which is given to the 
Painter in the old editions, in the modern ones must have been 
transferred to the Poet by mistake : it evidently belongs to the 
former. RITSON. 

8 Not so tvell as plain-dealing,'] Alluding to the proverb: 
" Plain dealing is ajetvel, but they that use it die beggars." 


sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 27 

APEM. Not worth my thinking. How now, 

POET. How now, philosopher ? 

APEM. Thou liest. 

POET. Art not one ? 

APEM. Yes. 

POET. Then I lie not. 

APEM. Art not a poet ? 

POET. Yes. 

APEM. Then thou liest : look in thy last work, 
where thou hast feign'd him a worthy fellow. 

POET. That's not feign'd, he is so. 

APEM. Yes, he is worthy of thee, and to pay 
thee for thy labour : He, that loves to be flattered, 
is worthy o'the flatterer. Heavens, that I were a 

TIM. What would'st do then, Apemantus ? 

APEM. Even as Apemantus does now, hate a lord 
with my heart. 

TIM. What, thyself? 
APEM. Ay. 
TIM. Wherefore ? 

APEM. That I had no angry wit to be a lord.-' 
Art not thou a merchant ? 

9 That I had no angry uit to be a lord.~] This reading is ab- 
surd, and unintelligible. But, as I have restored the text : 

That I had so hungry a wit to be a lord, 

it is satirical enough of conscience, viz. I would hate myself, for 
having no more wit than to covet so insignificant a title. In the 
same sense, Shakspeare uses lean-fitted in his King Richard If: 
" And thou a lunatick, lean-witted fool." 


The meaning may be, I should hate myself for patiently en- 


MER. Ay, Apemantus. 

APEM. Traffick confound thee, if the gods will 

MER. If traffick do it, the gods do it. 

APEM. Traffick's thy god, and thy god confound 
thee ! 

during to be a lord. This is ill enough expressed. Perhaps 
some happy change may set it right. I have tried, and can do 
nothing, yet I cannot heartily concur with Dr. Warburton. 

Mr. Heath reads : 

That I had so wrong'd my ivit to be a lord. 
But the passage before us, is, in my opinion, irremediably cor- 
rupted. STEEVENS. 

Perhaps the compositor has transposed the words, and they 
should be read thus : 

Angry that I had no tuit, to be a lord. 

Angry to lie a lord, that I had no ivit. BLACKSTONE. 

Perhaps we should read : 

That I had an angry wish to be a lord; 

Meaning, that he would hate himself for having wished in his 
anger to become a lord. For it is in anger that he says : 
" Heavens, that I were a lord !" M. MASON. 

I believe Shakspeare was thinking of the common expression 
he has wit in his anger; and that the difficulty arises here, as 
in many other places, from the original editor's paying no atten- 
tion to abrupt sentences. Our author, I suppose, wrote : 
That I had no angry ivit. To be a lord! 
Art thou, c. 

Apemantus is asked, why after having wished to be a lord, he 
should hate himself. He replies, For this reason ; that I had 
no ivit [or discretion] in my anger, but was absurd enough to 
wish myself one of that set of men, whom I despise. He then 
exclaims with indignation To be a lord! Such is my conjec- 
ture, in which however I have not so much confidence as to de- 
part from the mode in which this passage has been hitherto ex- 
hibited. MALONE. 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 29 

Trumpets sound. Enter a Servant. 

TIM. What trumpet's that ? 

SERF. 'Tis Alcibiades, and 

Some twenty horse, all of companionship. 1 

TIM. Pray, entertain them ; give them guide to 

us. \_Exeunt some Attendants. 

You must needs dine with me : Go not you hence, 

Till I have thank'd you ; and, when dinner's done, 2 

Show me this piece. I am joyful of your sights. 

Enter ALCIBIADES, with his Company* 

Most welcome, sir ! {They salute. 

APEM. So, so ; there ! 

Aches contract and starve your supple joints ! 
That there should be small love 'mongst these 

sweet knaves, 

And all this court'sy ! The strain of man's bred out 
Into baboon and monkey. 3 

ALCIB. Sir, you have sav'd my longing, and I feed 
Most hungrily on your sight. 

TIM. Right welcome, sir : 

1 all of 'companionship. ,] This expression does not mean 

barely that they all belong to one company, but that they are all 
such as Alcibiades honours with his acquaintance, and sets on a 
level tvith himself. STEEVENS. 

* and, tvhen dinner's done,~\ And, which is wanting in 

the first folio, is supplied by the second. STEEVENS. 

The strain of man's bred out 

Into baboon and monkey.'] Man is exhausted and degenerated j 
his strain or lineage is worn down into a monkey. JOHNSON. 


Ere we depart, 4 we'll share a bounteous time 
In different pleasures. Pray you, let us in. 

\_Exeunt all but APEMANTUS. 

Enter Two Lords. 

1 LORD. What time a day is't, Apemantus ? 
APEM. Time to be honest. 

1 LORD. That time serves still. 

APEM. The most accursed thou, 5 that still omit'st 

2 LORD. Thou art going to lord Timon's feast. 

APEM,: Ay ; to see meat fill knaves, and wine 
heat fools. 

2 LORD. Fare thee well, fare thee well. 
APEM. Thou art a fool, to bid me farewell twice. 
2 LORD. Why, Apemantus ? 

APEM. Shouldst have kept one to thyself, for I 
mean to give thee none. 

4 Ere lue depart,] Who depart? Though Alcibiades was to 
leave Timon, Timon was not to depart. Common sense favours 
my emendation. THEOBALD. 

Mr. Theobald proposes do part. Common sense may favour 
it, but an acquaintance with the language of Shakspeare would 
not have been quite so propitious to his emendation. Depart 
and part have the same meaning. So, in King John : 

" Hath willingly departed with a part." 

i. e. hath willingly parted with a part of the thing in question. 
See Vol. X. p. 407, n. 5. STEEVENS. 

* The most accursed thou,"] Read : 

The more accursed thou, . RITSON. 

So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona : 

** The more degenerate and base art thou." 



1 LORD. Hang thyself. 

APEM. No, I will do nothing at thy bidding ; 
make thy requests to thy friend. 

2 LORD. Away, unpeaceable dog, or I'll spurn 
thee hence. 

APEM. I will fly, like a dog, the heels of the ass. 


1 LORD. He's opposite to humanity. Come, shall 

we in, 

And taste lord Timon's bounty ? he outgoes 
The very heart of kindness. 

2 LORD. He pours it out ; Plutus, the god of 


Is but his steward : no meed, 6 but he repays 
Sevenfold above itself; no gift to him, 
But breeds the giver a return exceeding 
All use of quittance. 7 

1 LORD. The noblest mind he carries, 
That ever governed, man. 

2 LORD. Long may he live in fortunes ! Shall we 


l LORD. I'll keep you company. [Exeunt* 

6 no meed,] Meed, which in general signifies reward or 

recompense, in this place seems to mean desert. So, in Hey- 
wood's Silver Age, 1613 : 

" And yet thy body meeds a better grave." 
i. e. deserves. Again, in a comedy called Look about you, 1600: 

" Thou shalt be rich in honour, full of speed ; 

" Thou shalt win foes by fear, and friends by meed" 
See Vol. XIV. p. 49, n. 6. STEEVENS. 

7 All use of quittance.^ i. e. all the customary returns made 
in discharge of obligations. WARBURTON. 



The same. A Room of State in Timon's House. 

Hautboys playing loud Mustek. A great Banquet 
served in; FLAVIUS and others attending; then 
SEMPRONIUS, and other Athenian Senators, with 
VENTIDIUS, and Attendants. Then comes, dropping 
after all, APEMANTUS, discontentedly* 

VEN. Most honoured Timon, J t hath pleased the 

gods remember 9 

My father's age, and call him to long peace. 
He is gone happy, and has left me rich : 
Then, as in grateful virtue I am bound 
To your free heart, I do return those talents, 
Doubled, with thanks, and service, from whose help 
I deriv'd liberty. 

TIM. O, by no means, 

Honest Ventidius : you mistake my love ; 
I gave it freely ever ; and there's none 

8 discontentedly, .] The ancient stage-direction adds like 

/himself. STEEVENS. 

9 Most honoured Timon, 't hath pleas'd the gods remember ] 
The old copy reads to remember. But I have omitted, for the 
sake of metre, and in conformity to our author's practice on 
other occasions, the adverb to. Thus, in Kino- Henry VIII. 
Act IV. sc. ii. Vol. XV. p. 166: 

" Patience, is that letter 

" I caus'd you write, yet sent away ?" 

Every one must be aware that the particle to was purposely 
left out, before the verb write. STEEVENS. 


Can truly say, he gives, if he receives : 

If our betters play at that game, we must not dare 

To imitate them ; Faults that are rich, are fair. 1 

1 If our letters play at that game, ive must not dare 

To imitate them; Faults that are rich, are fair. ~\ These 
two lines are absurdly given to Timon. They should be read 

Tim. If our letters play at that game, tve must not. 

Apem. Dare to imitate them. Faults that are rich are 


This is said satirically, and in character. It was a sober reflection 
in Timon ; who by our letters meant the gods, which require to 
be repaid for benefits received ; but it would be impiety in men 
to expect the same observance for the trifling good they do. 
Apemantus, agreeably to his character, perverts this sentiment; 
as if Timon had spoke of earthly grandeur and potentates, who 
expect largest returns for their favours ; and therefore, ironically 
replies as above. WARBURTON. 

I cannot see that these lines are more proper in any other 
mouth than Timon's, to whose character of generosity and con- 
descension they are very suitable. To suppose that by our letters 
are meant the gods, is very harsh, because to imitate the gods 
has been hitherto reckoned the highest pitch of human virtue. 
The whole is a trite and obvious thought, uttered by Timon with 
a kind of affected modesty. If I would make any alteration, it 
should be only to reform the numbers thus : 

Our letters play that game ; we must not dare 
T' imitate them: faults that are rich are fair. 


The faults of rich persons, and which contribute to the in- 
crease of riches, wear a plausible appearance, and as the world 
goes are thought fair ; but they are faults notwithstanding. 


Dr. Warburton with his usual love of innovation, transfers the 
last word of the first of these lines, and the whole of the second 
to Apemantus. Mr. Heath has justly observed that this cannot 
have been Shakspeare's intention, for thus Apemantus would be 
made to address Timon personally, who must therefore have seen 
and heard him ; whereas it appears from a subsequent speech 
that Timon had not yet taken notice of him, as he salutes him 
with some surprize 

" O, Apemantus ! you are welcome." 


FEN. A noble spirit. 

[They all stand ceremoniously looking on 

TIM. Nay, my lords, ceremony 

Was but devis'd at first, to set a gloss 
On faint deeds, hollow welcomes, 
Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown ; 
But where there is true friendship, there needs none. 
Pray, sit ; more welcome are ye to my fortunes, 
Than my fortunes to me. [ They sit. 

1 LORD. My lord, we always have confess'd it. 

APEM. Ho, ho, confess'd it ? hang'd it, have you 
not? 2 

TIM. O, Apemantus ! you are welcome. 

APEM. No, 

You shall not make me welcome : 
I come to have thee thrust me out of doors. 

TIM. Fye, thou art a churl ; you have got a 

humour there 

Does not become a man, 'tis much to blame : 
They say, my lords, that 3 ira furor brevis est, 

The term our betters, being used by the inferior classes of 
men when they speak of their superiors in the state, Shakspeare 
uses these words, with his usual laxity, to express persons of high 
rank and fortune. MALONE. 

. So, in King Lear, Act III. sc. vi. Edgar says, (referring to- 
the distracted king) : 

" When we our betters see bearing our woes, 

" We scarcely think our miseries our foes." STEEVENS. 

* confess? d it ? hang'd it, have you not ?~] There seems 

to be some allusion here to a common proverbial saying of Shak- 
speare's time : " Confess and be hang'd." See Othello, Act IV. 
sc. i. MALONE. 

3 They say, my lords, that ] That was inserted by Sir T. 
Hanmer, for the sake of metre. STEEVENS. 

sc. it. TIMON OF ATHENS. 35 

But yond' man's ever angry. 4 
Go, let him have a table by himself; 
For he does neither affect company, 
Nor is he fit for it, indeed. 

APEM. Let me stay at thine own peril, 5 Timon j 
I come to observe ; I give thee warning on't. 

TIM. I take no heed of thee ; thou art an Athe- 
nian ; therefore welcome : I myself would have no 
power: 6 pr'ythee, let my meat make thee silent. 

4 But yond' man's ever angry."] The old copy has very angry; 
which can hardly be right. The emendation now adopted was 
made by Mr. Rowe. MALONE. 

Perhaps we should read But yon man's very anger; i. e. 
anger itself, which always maintains its violence. STEEVENS. 

5 at thine own peril,] The old copy reads at thine 

apperil. I have not been able to find such a word in any Dic- 
tionary, nor is it reconcileable to etymology. I have therefore 
adopted an emendation made by Mr. Steevens. MALONE. 

Apperil, the reading of the old editions, may be right, though 
no other instance of it has been, or possibly can be produced. It 
is, however, in actual use in the metropolis, at this day. 


6 / myself would have no power:] If this be the true 

reading, the sense is, all Athenians are "welcome to share my 

fortune : I would myself have no exclusive right or power in this 
house. Perhaps we might read, / myself would have no poor. 
I would have every Athenian consider himself as joint possessor 
of my fortune. JOHNSON. 

I understand Timon's meaning to be : / myself would have no 
power to make thee silent, but I wish thou would'st let my meat 
make thee silent. Timon, like a polite landlord, disclaims all 
power over the meanest or most troublesome of his guests. 


These words refer to what follows, not to that which precedes. 
/ claim no extraordinary power in right of my being master of the 
house : I wish not by my commands to impose silence on any one: 
but though I myself do not enjoin you to silence, let my meat stop 
your mouth. MALONE. 

D 2 


*. I scorn thy meat ; 'twould choke me, for 

I should 

Ne'er flatter thee. 7 O you gods ! what a number 
Of men eat Timon, and he sees them not ! 
It grieves me, to see so many dip their meat 
In one man's blood ; 8 and all the madness is, 
He cheers them up too. 

I wonder, men dare trust themselves with men : 
Methinks, they should invite them without knives ; 9 
Good for their meat, and safer for their lives. 
There's much example for't ; the fellow, that 
Sits next him now, partsbread with him, and pledges 
The breath of him in undivided draught, 
Is the readiest man to kill him : it has been prov'd. 
If I 

Were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals ; 
Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous 

notes r 1 
Great men should drink with harness 2 on their 


7 / scorn ihy meat ; 'twould choke me, for / should 

Ne'er fatter thee."] The meaning is, I could not swallow 
thy meat, tor I could not pay for it with flattery ; and what was 
given me with an ill will would stick in my throat. JOHNSON. 

For has here perhaps the signification of because. So, in 
Othello : 

" - Haply, for I am black." MALONE. 

50 many dip their meat 

In one man's blood;"] The allusion is to a pack of hounds 
trained to pursuit by being gratified with the blood of an animal 
which they kill, and the wonder is that the animal on which 
they are feeding cheers them to the chase. JOHNSON. 

9 Methinks, they should invite them without knives ;"] It was 
the custom in our author's time for every guest to bring his own 
knife, which he occasionally whetted on a stone that hung be- 
hind the door. One of these whetstones may be seen in Parkin- 
son's Museum. They were strangers, at that period, to the use 

"windpipe's dangerous notes :] The notes of the wind- 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 37 

TIM. My lord, in heart ; 3 and let the health go 


2 LORD. Let it flow this way, my good lord. 
APEM. Flow this way ! 

A brave fellow ! he keeps his tides well. Timon, 
Those healths 4 will make thee, and thy state, look 

pipe seem to be only the indications which show where the 
windpipe is. JOHNSON. 

Shakspeare is very fond of making use of musical terms, when 
he is speaking of the human body, and windpipe and notes savour 
strongly of a quibble. STEEVENS. 

- ivith harness ] i.e. armour. See Vol. X. p. C 25, 

n. 6. STEEVENS. 

3 My lord, in heart;'] That is, my lord's health with sincerity, 
An emendation has been proposed thus : 

My love in heart ; 

but it is not necessary. JOHNSON. 

So, in Chaucer's Knightes Tale, 2685 : 

" And was all his in chere, as his in herte." 
Again, in Sir Amyas Poulet's letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, 
refusing to have any hand in the assassination of Mary Queen 

of Scots : " he [Sir Drue Drury] forbeareth to make any 

particular answer, but subscribeth in heart to my opinion." 
Again, in King Henry IV. Part I. Act IV. sc. i : 

" in heart desiring still 

" You may behold," &c. 
Again, in Loves Labour s Lost, Act V. sc. ii : 

" Dost thou not wish in heart, 

" The chain were longer, and the letter short?" 


Those healths ~] This speech, except the concluding cou- 
plet, is printed as prose in the old copy; nor could it be exhibited 
as verse but by transferring the word Timon, which follows 
look ill, to its present place. The transposition was made by 
Mr. Capell. The word might have been an interlineation, and 
so have been misplaced. Yet, after all, I suspect many of the 
speeches in this play, which the modern editors have exhibited 
in a loose kind of metre, were intended by the author as prose ; 
in which form they appear in the old copy. MALONE. 


Here's that, which is too weak to be a sinner, 
Honest water, which ne'er left man i'the mire : 
This, and my food, are equals ; there's no odds. 
Feasts are too proud to give thanks to the gods. 


Immortal gods, I crave no pelf; 
I pray for no man, but myself: 
Grant I may never prove so fond, 
To trust man on his oath or bond; 
Or a harlot, for her weeping; 
Or a dog, that seems a sleeping ; 
Or a keeper with my freedom; 
Or my friends, if I should need 'em. 
Amen. So fall to't: 
Rich men sinf and I eat root. 

\_Eats and drinks. 
Much good dich thy good heart, Apemantus ! 

TIM. Captain Alcibiades, your heart's in the field 

ALCIB. My heart is ever at your service, my lord. 

TIM. You had rather be at a breakfast of ene- 
mies, than a dinner of friends. 

ALCIB. So they were bleeding-new, my lord, 
there's no meat like them j I could wish my best 
friend at such a feast. 

APEM. 'Would all those flatterers were thine 
enemies then ; that then thou might'st kill 'em, and 
bid me to 'em. 

1 LORD. Might we but have that happiness, my 
lord, that you would once use our hearts, whereby 

* Rich men sin,] Dr. Farmer proposes to read sing. REED. 

sc. if. TIMON OF ATHENS. 39 

we might express some part of our zeals, we should 
think ourselves for ever perfect. 6 

TIM. O, no doubt, my good friends, but the gods 
themselves have provided that I shall have much 
help from you : How had you been my friends 
else ? why have you that charitable title from thou- 
sands, did you not chiefly belong to my heart ? 7 I 
have told more of you to myself, than you can with 
modesty speak in your own behalf; and thus far I 
confirm you. 8 O, you gods, think I, what need 
we have any friends, if we should never have need 
of them ? they were the most needless creatures 
living, should we ne'er have use for them : and 9 
would most resemble sweet instruments hung up in 
cases, that keep their sounds to themselves. Why, 

-for ever perfect."] That is, arrived at the perfection 

of happiness. JOHNSON. 

So, in Macbeth: 

" Then comes my fit again ; I had else been perfect; " 


7 Hoiv had you been my friends else ? 'why have you that cha- 
ritable title from thousands, did you not chiefly belong to my 
heart ?] Charitable signifies, dear, endearing. So, Milton : 

" Relations dear, and all the charities 

" Of father, son, and brother ." 

Alms, in English, are called charities, and from thence we may 
collect that our ancestors knew well in what the virtue of alms- 
giving consisted ; not in the act, but in the disposition. 


The meaning is probably this : Why are you distinguished 
from thousands by that title of endearment, was there not a par- 
ticular connection and intercourse of tenderness between you 
and me ? JOHNSON. 

8 1 confirm you.~] I fix your characters firmly in my 

own mind. JOHNSON. 

9 they were the moat needless creatures living, should tee 

ne'er have use for them: and ] This passage I have restored 
from the old copy. STEEVENS. 


I have often wished myself poorer, that I might 
come nearer to you. We are born to do benefits : 
and what better or properer can we call our own, 
than the riches of our friends ? O, what a precious 
comfort 'tis, to have so many, like brothers, com- 
manding one another's fortunes ! O joy, e'en made 
away ere it can be born ! l Mine eyes cannot hold 
out water, methinks: 2 to forget their faults, I 
drink to you. 

APEM. Thou weepest to make them drink, 3 Ti- 

2 LORD. Joy had the like conception in our eyes, 
And, at that instant, like a babe 4 sprung up. 

1 O joy, een made away ere it can be born!~\ Tears being the 
effect both of joy and grief, supplied our author with an oppor- 
tunity of conceit, which he seldom fails to indulge. Timon, 
weeping with a kind of tender pleasure, cries out, joy, e'en 
made away, destroyed, turned to tears, before it can be born, 
before it can be fully possessed. JOHNSON. 

So, in Romeo and Juliet: 

" These violent delights have violent ends, 
" And in their triumphs die." 
The old copy has -joys. It was corrected by Mr. Rowe. 


2 Mine eyes cannot hold out water, methinks .] In the original 
edition the words stand thus : Mine eyes cannot hold out water, 
methinks. To forget their faults, I drink to you. Perhaps the 
true reading is this: Mine eyes cannot hold out; they water. 
Methinks, to forget their faults, I will drink to you. Or it may 
be explained without any change. Mine eyes cannot hold out 
water, that is, cannot keep water from breaking in upon them. 


3 to make them drink,'] Sir T. Hanmer reads to make 

them drink tlice ; and is followed by Dr. Warburton, I think, 
without sufficient reason. The covert sense of Apemantus is, 
ivJiat ihoii lusest, they get. JOHNSON. 

4 like a bale J That is, a weeping babe.. JOHNSON. 

I question if Shakspeare meant the propriety of allusion to be 
carried quite so far. To look for babies in the eyes of another, 


APEM. Ho, ho ! I laugh to think that babe a 

3 LORD. I promise you, my lord, you mov'd me 

APEM. Much! 5 [Tucket sounded. 

TIM. What means that trump ? How now ? 

Enter a Servant. 

SERV. Please you, my lord, there are certain 
ladies most desirous of admittance. 

is no uncommon expression. Thus, among the anonymous pieces 
in Lord Surrey's Poems, 1557: 

" In eche of her two cristall eyes 

" Smileth a naked boye." 
Again, in Love's Mistress, by Heywood, 1636 : 

" Joy'd in his looks, look'd babies in his eyes." 
Again, in The Christian turn'd Turk, 1612: " She makes him 
sing songs to her, looks fortunes in his fists, and babies in his 

Again, in Churchyard's Tragicatt Discours of a dolorous Gen~ 
tleivoman, 1593: 

" Men will not lookefor babes in hollow eyen." 


Does not Lucullus dwell on Timon's metaphor by referring 
to circumstances preceding the birth, and means joy was con- 
ceived in their eyes, and sprung up there, like the motion of a 
babe in the womb ? TOLLET. 

The word conception, in the preceding line, shows, I think, 
that Mr. Toilet's interpretation of this passage is the true one. 
We have a similar imagery in Troilus and Cressida : 

" and, almost like the gods, 

" Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles." 


5 Much!'] Apcmantus means to say, That's extraordinary. 
Much was formerly an expression of admiration. See Vol. VIII. 
p. 150, n. 8. MALONE. 

Much ! is frequently used, as here, ironically, and with some, 
indication of contempt. STEEVENS. 


TIM. Ladies ? What are their wills ? 

SERV. There comes with them a forerunner, 
my lord, which bears that office, to signify their 

TlM. I pray, let them be admitted. 

Enter CUPID. 

CUP. Hail to thee, worthy Timon; and to all 
That of his bounties taste ! The five best senses 
Acknowledge thee their patron ; and come freely 
To gratulate thy plenteous bosom: The ear, 
Taste, touch, smell, all pleas'd from thy table rise; (i 
They only now come but to feast thine eyes. 

" The ear, &c.] In former copies 

There taste, touch, all pleas'd from thy table rise, 

They only now . 

1\\efive senses are talked of by Cupid, but three of them only 
are made out ; and those in a very heavy unintelligible manner. 
It is plain therefore we should read 

Th' ear, taste, touch, smell, pleas'd from thy table rise, 

These only notv &c. 

i. e. the five senses, Timon, acknowledge thee their patron ; 
four of them, viz. the hearing, taste, touch, and smell, are all 
feasted at thy board; and these ladies come with me to entertain 
your sight in a masque. Massinger, in his Duke of Millaine, 
copied the passage from Shakspeare; and apparently before it 
was thus corrupted ; where, speaking of a banquet, he says 

" All that may be had 

" To please the eye, the ear, taste, touch, or smell, 

" Are carefully provided." WARBURTON. 

Dr. Warburton and the subsequent editors omit the word 
all; but omission is the most dangerous mode of emendation. 
The corrupted word There, shows that The ear was intended 
to be contracted into one syllable; and table also was probably 
used as taking up only the time of a monosyllable. MALONE. 

Perhaps the present arrangement of the foregoing words, ren- 
ders monosyllabification needless. STEEVENS. 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 43 

TIM. They are welcome all; let them have 

kind admittance : 
Musick, make their welcome. 7 [Exit CUPID. 

1 LORD. You see, my lord, how ample you are 

Musick. Re-enter CUPID, with a masque o/Ladies 
as Amazons, 'with Lutes in their Hands, dancing, 
and playing. 

APEM. Hey day, what a sweep of vanity comes 

this way ! 

They dance ! 8 they are mad women. 
Like madness is the glory of this life, 
As this pomp shows to a little oil, and root. 9 

7 Musick, make their welcome.'] Perhaps, the poet wrote : 

Musick, make known their welcome. 
So, in Macbeth : 

" We will require her welcome, 

" Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends." 


8 They dance!'] I believe They dance to be a marginal note 
only; and perhaps we should read: 

These are mad women. TYRWHITT. 

They dance ! they are mad women.] Shakspeare seems to have 
borrowed this idea from the puritanical writers of his own time. 
Thus in Stubbes's Anatomic of Abuses, 8vo. 1583: "Dauncers 
thought to be mad men." " And as in all feasts and pastimes 
dauncing is the last, so it is the extream of all other vice : And 
again, there were (saith Ludovicus Vives) from far countries 
certain men brought into our parts of the world, who when 
they saw men daunce, ran away marvelously affraid, crying out 
and thinking them to have been mad," &c. 

Perhaps the thought originated from the following passage 
from Cicero pro Murena, 6: " Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, 
nisi forte insanit." STEEYEXS. 

9 Like madness is the glory of this life, 

As this pomp shows to a little oil, and root.~\ The glory of 
this life is very near to madness, as may be made appear from 


We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves ; 
And spend our flatteries, to drink those men, 
Upon whose age we void it up again, 
With poisonous spite, and envy. Who lives, that's 


Depraved, or depraves ? who dies, that bears 
Not one spurn to their graves of their friends' gift? 1 
I should fear, those, that dance before me now, 
Would one day stamp upon me : It has been done ; 
Men shut their doors against a setting sun. 

The Lords rise from Table, with much adoring of 
TIMON ; and, to show their loves, each singles out 
an Amazon, and all dance, Men with Women, a 
lofty Strain or two to the Hautboys, and cease. 

TIM. You have done our pleasures much grace, 

fair ladies, 2 

Set a fair fashion on our entertainment, 
Which was not half so beautiful and kind ; 
You have added worth unto't, and lively lustre, 3 

this pomp, exhibited in a place where a philosopher is feeding on 
oil and roots. When we see by example how few are the ne- 
^cessaries of life, we learn what madness there is in so much su- 
'perfluity. JOHNSON. 

The word like in this place does not express resemblance, but 
equality. Apemantus does not mean to say that the glory of 
this life was like madness, but it was just as much madness in the 
eye of reason, as the pomp appeared to be, when compared to 
the frugal repast of a philosopher. M. MASON. 

1 of their friends gift f~\ That is, given them by their 

friends. JOHNSON. 

2 fair ladies,'} I should wish to read, for the sake of 

metre fairest ladies. Fair, however, may be here used as a 
dissyllable. STEEVENS. 

3 lively lustre,^ For the epithet lively, we are indebted 

to the second folio: it is wanting in the first. STEEVENS. 

sc. n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 45 

And entertain'd me with mine own device j 4 
I am to thank you for it. 

1 LADY. My lord, 5 you take us even at the best. fi 

APEM. 'Faith, for the worst is filthy ; and would 
not hold taking, 7 I doubt me. 

TIM. Ladies, there is an idle banquet 

4 mine own device ;~] The mask appears to have been 

designed by Timon to surprize his guests. JOHNSON. 

* 1 Lady. My lord, &c.~] In the old copy this speech is given 
to the 1 Lord. I have ventured to change it to the 1 Lady, as 
Mr. Edwards and Mr. Heath, as well as Dr. Johnson, concur in 
the emendation. STEEVENS. 

The conjecture of Dr. Johnson, who observes, that L only 
was probably set down in the MS. is well founded ; for that ab- 
breviation is used in the old copy in this very scene, and in many 
other places. The next speech, however coarse the allusion 
couched under the word talcing may be, put the matter beyond 
a doubt. MALONE. 

6 even at the lest."} Perhaps we should read : 

ever at the best. 

So, Act III. sc. vi : 

" Ever at the best.'' TYRWHITT. 

Take us even at the best, I believe, means, you have seen the 
best we can do. They are supposed to be hired dancers, and 
therefore there is no impropriety in such a confession. Mr. Ma- 
lone's subsequent explanation, however, pleases me better than 
my own. STEEVENS. 

I believe the meaning is, " You have conceived the fairest of 
us," (to use the words ofLucullus in a subsequent scene,) you 
have estimated us too highly, perhaps above our deserts. So, in 
Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. VI. c. ix : 

" He would commend his guift, and make the Lest. 1 " 


7 would not hold taking,] i. e. bear handling, words 

which are employed to the same purpose in King Henry IV. 
Part II: 

" A rotten case abides no handling." STEEVEX*. 


Attends you: 8 Please you to dispose yourselves* 
ALL LAD. Most thankfully, my lord. 

[Exeunt CUPID, and Ladies* 

TIM. Flavins, 

FLAV. My lord. 

TIM. The little casket bring me hither. 

FLAV. Yes, my lord. More jewels yet ! 
There is no crossing him in his humour j 9 \_Aside* 
Else I should tell him, Well, i'faith, I should, 
Whenall's spent, he'd be cross'd then, an he could. 1 
'Tis pity, bounty had not eyes behind; 2 
That man might ne'er be wretched for his mind. 3 
[Exit, and returns 'with the Casket. 

* there is an idle banquet 

Attends you :] So, in Romeo and Juliet : 

" We have & foolish trifling supper towards." 

9 There is no crossing him in his humour }~\ Read: 

There is no crossing him in this his humour. RITSON. 

1 hed be cross'd then, an he could.~] The poet does not 

mean here, that he would be crossed in humour, but that he 
would have his hand crossed with money, if he could. He is 
playing on the word, and alluding to our old silver penny, used 
before King Edward the First's time, which had a cross on the 
reverse with a crease, that it might be more easily broke into 
halves and quarters, half-pence and farthings. From this penny, 
and other pieces, was our common expression derived, / have 
not a cross about me ; i. e. not a piece of money* THEOBALD. 

So, in As you like it : " yet I should bear no cross, if I 
did bear you ; for, I think you have no money in your purse." 


The poet certainly meant this equivoque, but one of the senses 
intended to be conveyed was, he will then too late wish that it 
were possible to undo what he had done : he will in vain la- 
ment that I did not [cross or] thwart him in his career of prodi- 
gality. MA LONE. 

2 had not eyes behind ; ~] To see the miseries that are 

following her. JOHNSON. 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 47 

1 LORD. Where be our men ? 

SERF. Here, my lord, in readiness. 

2 LORD. Our horses. 

TIM. O my friends, I have one word 

To say to you : Look you, my good lord, I must 
Entreat you, honour me so much, as to 
Advance this jewel; 4 
Accept, and 5 wear it, kind my lord. 

1 LORD. I am so far already in your gifts, 
ALL. So are we all. 

Enter a Servant, 

SERV. My lord, there are certain nobles of the 

Newly alighted, and come to visit you. 

TIM. They are fairly welcome. 

FLAV. I beseech your honour, 

Vouchsafe me a word; it does concern you near. 

TIM. Near? why then another time I'll hear 
thee : 

Persius has a similar idea, Sat. I : 

" cui viverejas est 

" Occipiti cseco." STEEVENS. 

3 for his mind.~\ For nobleness of soul. JOHNSON. 


Advance this jewel ;~] To prefer it ; to raise it to honour by 
rearing it. JOHNSON. 

5 Accept, and Sfc.~] Thus the second folio. The first unme- 
trically, Accept it . STEEVENS. 

So, the Jeweller says in the preceding scene : 

" Things of like value, differing in the owners, 

" Are prized by their masters : believe it, dear lord, 

" You mend the jewel by wearing it." M. MASON. 


I pr'ythee, let us be provided 6 
To show them entertainment. 

FLAV, I scarce know how. 


2 SERF. May it please your honour, the lord 


Out of his free love, hath presented to you 
Four milk-white horses, trapp'd in silver. 

TIM. I shall accept them fairly : let the presents 

Enter a third Servant. 

Be worthily entertain' d. How now, what news ? 

3 SERV. Please you, my lord, that honourable 
gentleman, lord Lucullus, entreats your company 
to-morrow to hunt with him ; and has sent your 
honour two brace of greyhounds. 

TIM. I'll hunt with him ; And let them be re- 

Not without fair reward. 

FLAV. [Aside."] What will this come to ? 

He commands us to provide, and give great gifts, 
And all out of an empty coffer. 7 

6 I pr'ythee, let us be provided ] As the measure is here 
imperfect, we may reasonably suppose our author to have 
written : 

/ pr'ythee, let us be provided straight . 
So, in Hamlet: 

" Make her grave straight'* 
i. e. immediately. STEEVENS. 

7 And all out of an empty coffer. ~\ Read: 

And all the while out of an empty coffer. RITSON. 

se.-ii: TIMON OF ATHENS. 49 

Nor will he know his purse ; or yield me this, 
To show him what a beggar his heart is, 
Being of no power to make his wishes good ; 
His promises fly so beyond his state, 
That what he speaks is all in debt, he owes 
For every word ; he is so kind, that he now 
Pays interest for't ; his land's put to their books. 
Well, 'would I were gently put out of office, 
Before I were forc'd out ! 
Happier is he that has no friend to feed, 
Than such as do even enemies exceed. 
I bleed inwardly for my lord. [Exit. 

TIM. You do yourselves 

Much wrong, you bate too much of your own me- 
rits : 
Here, my lord, a trifle of our love. 

2 LORD. With more than common thanks I will 

receive it. 

3 LORD. O, he is the very soul of bounty ! 

TIM. And now I remember me, 8 my lord, you 


Good words the other day of a bay courser 
I rode on : it is yours, because you lik'd it. 

2 LORD. I beseech you, 9 pardon me, my lord, 
in that. 

8 remember me,] I have added me, for the sake of the 

measure. So, in King Richard III: 

" I do remember me, Henry the sixth 
" Did prophecy ." STEEVENS. 

9 I beseech you,~\ Old copy, unmetrically 

O, / beseech you, . 

The player editors have been liberal of their tragick O's, to the 
frequent injury of our author's measure. For the same reason 
I have expelled this exclamation from the beginning of the next 
speech but one. STEEVENS. 


TIM. You may take my word, my lord ; I know, 

no man 

Can justly praise, but what he does affect : 
I weigh my friend's affection with mine own ; 
I'll tell you true. 1 I'll call on you. 

ALL LORDS. None so welcome. 

TIM. I take all and your several visitations 
So kind to heart, 'tis not enough to give ; 
Methinks, I could deal kingdoms 2 to my friends, 
And ne'er be weary. Alcibiades, 
Thou art a soldier, therefore seldom rich, 
It comes in charity to thee : for all thy living 
Is 'mongst the dead ; and all the lands thou hast 
Lie in a pitch'd field. 

ALOIS. Ay, defiled land, 3 my lord. 

1 I'll tell you true.'] Dr. Johnson reads, I tell you &c. in- 
which he has been heedlessly followed : for though the change 
does not affect the sense of the passage, it is quite unnecessary, 
as may be proved by numerous instances in our author's 
dialogue. Thus, in the first line of King Henry V : 

" My lord, I'll tell you, that self bill is urg'd ." 

Again, in King John : 

" /'// tell thce, Hubert, half my power, this night ." 


z 'tis not enough to give; 

Methinks, / could deal kingdoms ] Thus the passage stood 
in all the editions before Sir T. Hanmer's, who restored My 
thanks. JOHNSON. 

I have displaced the words inserted by Sir T. Hanmer. What 
I have already given, says Timon, is not sufficient on the oc- 
casion : Methinks I could deal kingdoms, i. e. could dispense 
them on every side with an ungrudging distribution, like that 
with which I could deal out cards. STEEVENS. 

3 Ay, defiled land, ] '/, is the old reading, which apparently 
depends on a very low quibble. Alcibiades is told, that his estate 
lies in a pitch'd field. Now pitch, as Falstaff says, doth defile. 
Alcibiades therefore replies, that his estate lies in defiled land. 

sc.ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 51 

1 LORD. We are so virtuously bound, 

TIM. And so 

Am I to you. 

2 LORD. So infinitely endear' d, 

TIM. All to you. 4 Lights, more lights. 

1 LORD. The best of happiness, 

Honour, and fortunes, keep with you, lord limon ! 

TIM. Ready for his friends. 5 

\_Exeunt ALCIBIADES, Lords, fyc. 

APEM. What a coil's here ! 

Serving of becks, 6 and jutting out of bums ! 
I doubt whether their legs 7 be worth the sums 

This, as it happened, was not understood, and all the editors 

/ defy land, . JOHNSON. 

I being always printed in the old copy for Ay, the editor of 
the second folio made the absurd alteration mentioned by Dr. 
Johnson. MALONE. 

4 All to you.] i. e. all good wishes, or all happiness to you. 
So, Macbeth: 

" All to all.'* STEEVENS. 

3 Ready for his friends.] I suppose, for the sake of enforcing 
the sense, as well as restoring the measure, we should read : 
Ready ever for his friends, STEEVENS. 

6 Serving of becks,] Beck means a salutation made with the 
head. So, Milton : 

" Nods and becks, and wreathed smiles." 
To serve a beck, is to offer a salutation. JOHNSON. 

To serve a beck, means, I believe, to pay a courtly obedience to 
a nod. Thus, in The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington, 

" And with a low beck 

" Prevent a sharp check." 
Again, in The Play of the Four P's, 1569: 

" Then I to every soul again, 

" Did give a beck them to retain." 
In Ram- Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611, I find the same word: 

" I had my winks, my becks, treads on the toe." 

E 2 


That are given for 'em. Friendship's full of dregs : 
Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs. 
Thus honest fools layout their wealth on court' sies. 

TIM. Now, Apemantus, if thou wert not sullen, 
I'd be good to thee. 

APEM. No, I'll nothing : for, 

If I should be brib'd too, there would be none' left 
To rail upon thee ; and then thou would'st sin the 


Thou giv'st so long, Timon, I fear me, thou 
Wilt give away thyself in paper shortly : 8 

Again, in Heywood's Rape ofLucrece, 1630: 

" wanton looks, 

" And privy becks, savouring incontinence.'* 
Again, in Lyly's Woman in the Moon, 1597 : 

" And he that with a beck controuls the heavens." 
It happens then that the word beck has no less than four distinct 
significations. In Drayton's Polyolbion, it is enumerated among 
the appellations of small streams of -water. In Shakspeare's 
Antomj and Cleopatra, it has its common reading a sign of 
invitation made by the hand. In Timon , it appears to denote a 
bow, and in Lyly's play, a nod of dignity or command; as well as 
in Marius and Sylla, 1594 : 

" Yea Sylla with a beck could break thy neck." 
Again, in the interlude of Jacob and Esau, 1568: 

" For what, O Lord, is so possible to man's judgment 

" Which thou canst notwith a beck perform incontinent?" 

See Surrey's Poems, p. 29 : 

" And with a becke full lowe he bowed at her feete." 


7 / doubt whether their legs #c.3 He plays upon the word 
leg, as it signifies a limb y and a bow or act of obeisance. 

See Vol. XL p. 302, n. 5. MALONE. 

* I fear me, thou 

Wilt give aivay thyself in paper shortly :] i. e. be ruined by 
his securities entered into. WARBURTON. 

Dr. Farmer would read in proper. So, in William Roy's 
Satire against Wolsey : 


What need these feasts, pomps, and vain glories ? 
TIM. Nay, 

An you begin to rail on society once, 
J am sworn, not to give regard to you. 
Farewell ; and come with better musick. [Exit. 

APEM. So ; 

Thou'lt not hear me now, thou shalt not then, 

I'll lock 9 
Thy heaven * from thee. O, that men's ears should 

To counsel deaf, but not to flattery ! \_E,xit. 

" their order 

" Is to have nothynge in proper, 

" But to use all thynges in commune" &c. STEEVENS. 

9 Thou It not hear me note, thou shalt not then, Til lock ] 
The measure will be restored by the omission of an unnecessary 
word me: 

Thou'lt not hear now, thou shalt not then, Pll lock . 

1 Thy heaven ] The pleasure of being flattered. JOHNSON. 

Apemantus never intended, at any event, to flatter Timon, 
nor did Timon expect any flattery from him. By his heaven he 
means good advice, the only thing by which he could be saved. 
The following lines confirm this explanation. M. MASON. 



The same. A Room in a Senator's House. 
Enter a Senator, with Papers in his Hand. 

SEN. And late, five thousand to Varro ; and to 


He owes nine thousand ; besides my former sum, 
Which makes it five and twenty. Still in motion 
Of raging waste ? It cannot hold ; it will not. 
If I want gold, steal but a beggar's dog, 
And give it Timon, why, the dog coins gold : 
If I would sell my horse, and buy twenty 2 more 
Better than he, why, give my horse to Timon, 
Ask nothing, give it him, it foals me, straight, 
And able horses : 3 No porter at his gate ; 

twenty ] Mr. Theobald has ten. Dr. Fanner pro- 

poses to read twain. REED. 

3 Ask nothing, give it him, it foals me, straight, 
And able horses:] Mr. Theobald reads: 
Ten able horses. STEEVENS. 

'* If I want gold ( says the Senator) let me steal a beggar's dog, 
and give it Timon, the dog coins me gold. If I would sell my 
horse, and had a mind to buy ten better instead of him; why, I 
need but give my horse to Timon, to gain this point ; and it 
presently fetches me an horse.'" But is that gaining the point 
proposed ? The first folio reads : 

And able horses: 

Which reading, joined to the reasoning of the passage, gave me 
the hint for this emendation. THEOBALD. 

The passage which Mr. Theobald would alter, means only 
this : " If I give my horse to Timon, it immediately foals, and 
not only produces more, but able horses." The same construction 

sc. /. TIMON OF ATHENS. 55 

But rather one that smiles, and still invites 4 
All that pass by. It cannot hold ; no reason 
Can found his state in safety. 5 Caphis, ho ! 
Caphis, I say ! 

occurs in Muck Ado about Nothing: " and men are only 
turned into tongue, and trim ones too." 

Something similar occurs also in Beaumont and Fletcher's 
Humorous Lieutenant : 

" some twenty, young and handsome, 

" As also able maids, for the court service." STEEVENS. 

Perhaps the letters of the word me were transposed at the 
press. Shakspeare might have written : 

it foals 'em straight 

And able horses. 

If there be no corruption in the text, the word twenty in the 
preceding line, is understood here after me. 

We have had this sentiment differently expressed in the pre- 
ceding Act: 

" no meed but he repays 
" Seven-fold above itself; no gift to him, 
" But breeds the giver a return exceeding 
" All use of quittance." MALONE. 

"* No porter at his gate; 

But rather one that smiles, and still invites ] I imagine 
that a line is lost here, in which the behaviour of a surly porter 
was described. JOHNSON. 

There is no occasion to suppose the loss of a line. Sternness 
was the characteristick of a porter. There appeared at Killing- 
worth castle, [1575] " a porter tall of parson, big of lim, and 
steam of countinauns." FARMER. 

So also, in A Knight's Conjuring &c. by Decker: " You 
mistake, if you imagine that Plutoes porter is like one of those 
big fellowes that stand like gyants at Lordes gates &c. yet hee's 
as surly as those key-turners are." STEEVENS. 

The word one, in the second line, does not refer to porter, 
but means a person. He has no stern forbidding porter at his 
gate, to keep people out, but a person who invites them in. 


no reason 

Can found his state in safety.'] [Old copy found."] The 
supposed meaning of this must be, No reason, by sounding, 
fathoming, or trying, his state, can find it safe. But as the 


Enter CAPHIS. 

CAPH. Here, sir ; What is your pleasure ? 

SEN. Get on your cloak, and haste you to lord 

Tim on ; 

Importune him for my monies ; be not ceas'd 6 
With slight denial ; nor then silenc'd, when 
Commend me to your master and the cap 
Plays in the right hand, thus : but tell him, sir- 
rah, 7 

My uses cry to me, I must serve my turn 
Out of mine own ; his days and times are past, 
And my reliances on his fracted dates 
Have smit my credit : I love, and honour him ; 
But must not break my back, to heal his finger : 
Immediate are my needs j and my relief 

words stand, they imply, that no reason can safely sound his 
state. I read thus : 

no reason 

Can found his state in safety. 

Reason cannot find his fortune to have any safe or solid foun- 

The types of the first printer of this play were so worn and 
defaced, that f and f are not always to be distinguished. 


The following passage in Macbeth affords countenance to Dr. 
Johnson's emendation : 

" Whole as the marble, founded as the rock ; ." 


6 be not ceas'd ] i. e. stopped. So, in Claudius Ti- 
berius Nero, 1607 : 

" Why should Tiberius' liberty be ceased;" 
Again, in The Valiant Welchman, 1615: 

" pity thy people's wrongs, 

" And cease the clamours both of old and young." 


7 sirrah,~] was added for the sake of the metre by the 

editor of the second folio. MALONE. 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 57 

Must not be toss'd and turn'd to me in words, 
But find supply immediate. Get you gone : 
Put on a most importunate aspect, 
A visage of demand ; for, I do fear, 
When every feather sticks in his own wing, 
Lord Timon will be left a naked gull, 8 
Which flashes 9 now a phoenix. Get you gone. 

CAPH. I go, sir. 

SEN. I go, sir ? l take the bonds along with you, 
And have the dates in compt. 2 

CAPH. I will, sir. 

SJEN". Go. 


8 -. a naked gull,] A gull is a bird as remarkable for the 

poverty of its feathers, as a phoenix is supposed to be for the 
richness of its plumage. STEEVENS. 

9 Whichjlashes &c.] Which, the pronoun relative, relating 
to things, is frequently used, as in this instance, by Shakspeare, 
instead of who, the pronoun relative, applied to persons. The 
use of the former instead of the latter is still preserved in the 
Lord's prayer. STEEVENS. 

1 Caph. I go, sir. 

Sen. I go, sir?^\ This last speech is not a captious repetition 
of what Caphis said, but a further injunction to him to go. /, 
in all the old dramatick writers, stands for ay, as it does in this 
place. M. MASON. 

I have left Mr. M. Mason's opinion before the reader, though 
I do not heartily concur in it. STEEVENS. 

s take the bonds along with you, 

And nave the dates in compt.] [Old copy And have the 
dates in. Come.] Certainly, ever since bonds were given, the 
date was put in when the bond was entered into : and these 
bonds Timon had already given, and the time limited for their 
payment was lapsed. The Senator's charge to his servant must 
be to the tenour as I have amended the text ; Take good notice 
of the dates, for the better computation of the interest due upon 
them. THEOBALD. 



The same. A Hall in Timon's House. 

Enter FLAVIUS, with many Bills in his Hand. 

FLAV. No care, no stop ! so senseless of expence, 
That he will neither know how to maintain it, 
Nor cease his flow of riot: Takes no account 
How things go from him ; nor resumes no care 
Of what is to continue ; Never mind 
Was to be so unwise, to be so kind. 3 
What shall be done ? He will not hear, till feel : 
I must be round with him, now he comes from 

Fye, fye, fye, fye ! 

Mr. Theobald's emendation may be supported by the follow- 
ing instance in Macbeth : 

" Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt." 


3 Never mind 

Was to be so unwise, to be so kind.~] Nothing can be worse, 
or more obscurely expressed : and all for the sake of a wretched 
rhyme. To make it sense and grammar, it should be supplied 

Never mind 

Was [made] to be so unwise, [in order] to be so kind. 
i. e. Nature, in order to make a profuse mind, never before en- 
dowed any man with so large a share of folly. WAIIBURTON. 

Of this mode of expression, conversation affords many exam- 
ples : " I was always to be blamed, whatever happened." " I 
am in the lottery, but I was always to draw blanks." 


.sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 59 

Enter CAPHIS, and the Servants of ISIDORE and 

CAPH. Good even, Varro: 4 What, 

You come for money ? 

FAR. SERV. Is't not your business too ? 

4 Good even, Varro .] It is observable, that this good evening 
as before dinner : for Timon tells Alcibiades, that they will go 
forth again, as soon as dinner's done, which may prove that by 
dinner our author meant not the ccena of ancient times, but the 
mid-day's repast. I do not suppose the passage corrupt : such 
inadvertencies neither author nor editor can escape. 

There is another remark to be made. Varro and Isidore sink 
a few lines afterwards into the servants of Varro and Isidore. 
Whether servants, in our author's time, took the names of their 
masters, I know not. Perhaps it is a slip of negligence. 


In the old copy it stands : " Enter Caphis, Isidore, and Varro" 


In like manner in the fourth scene of the next Act the servant 
of Lucius is called by his master's name ; but our author's inten- 
tion is sufficiently manifested by the stage-direction in the fourth 
scene of the third Act, where we find in the first folio, (p. 86, 
col. 2, ) " Enter Varro's man, meeting others." I have therefore 
always annexed Serv. to the name of the master. MA LONE. 

Good even, or, as it is sometimes less accurately written, 
Good den, was the usual salutation from noon, the moment that 
good morrow became improper. This appears plainly from the 
following passage in Romeo and Juliet, Act II. sc. iv : 

" Nurse. God ye good morrow, gentlemen. 

** Mercutio. God ye good den, fair gentlewoman. 

" Nur. Is it good den ? 

" Merc. 'Tis no less I tell you; for the hand of the 

dial is now upon the of noon" 

So, in Hamlet's greeting to Marcellus, Act I. sc. i. Sir T. 
Hanmer and Dr. Warburton, not being aware, I presume, of 
this wide sense of Good even, have altered it to Good morning ; 
without any necessity, as from the course of the incidents, pre- 
cedent and subsequent, the day may well be supposed to be 
turned of noon. TYRWHITT. 


CAPH. It is ; And yours too, Isidore ? 

ISID. SERF. It is so. 

CAPH. 'Would we were all discharged! 

FAR. SERV. I fear it. 

CAPH. Here comes the lord. 

Enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, and Lords, &;c. 

TIM. So soon as dinner's done, we'll forth again, 5 
My Alcibiades. With me ? Wliat's your will ? 

CAPH. My lord, here is a note of certain dues. 
TIM. Dues ? Whence are you ? 
CAPH. Of Athens here, my lord. 

TIM. Go to my steward. 

CAPH. Please it your lordship, he hath put me off 
To the succession of new days this month ; 
My master is awak'd by great occasion, 
To call upon his own ; and humbly prays you, 
That with your other noble parts you'll suit, 6 

* . tve 1 II forth again,'} i. e. to hunting, from which diver- 
sion, we find by Flavius's speech, he was just returned. It may 
be here observed, that in our author's time it was the custom to 
hunt aswellafter dinner as before. Thus, in Laneham's Account 
of the Entertainment at Kenehwrth Castle, we find, that Queen 
Elizabeth always, while there, hunted in the afternoon : " Mon- 
day was hot, and therefore her highness kept,in 'till jive aclok in the 
evening; what time it pleaz'd her to ryde forth into the chase, 
to hunt the hart of fors ; which found anon, and after sore 
chased," &c. Again: " Munday the 18th of this July, the 
weather being hot, her highness kept the castle for coolness 
'till about Jive a clok, her majesty in the chase hunted the hart 
(as before) of forz," &c. So, in Tancred and Gismund, 1592: 
" lie means this evening in the park to hunt." REED. 

6 That frith your other nolle parts you'll suit,"] i. e. that you 
will behave on this occasion in a manner consistent with your 
other noble qualities. STEEVENS. 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 61 

In giving him his right. 

TIM. Mine honest friend, 

I pr'ythee, but repair to me next morning. 

CAPH. Nay, good my lord, 

TIM. Contain thyself, good friend. 

JKdE.feKF.OneVarro's servant, my good lord, 

ISID. SERV. From Isidore ; 
He humbly prays your speedy payment, 7 

CAPH. If you did know, my lord, my master's 

VAR. SERF. 'Twas due on forfeiture, my lord, 

six weeks, 
And past, 

ISID. SERF. Your steward puts me off, my lord; 
And I am sent expressly to your lordship. 

TIM. Give me breath : 

I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on ; 

[Exeunt ALCIBIADES and Lords. 
I'll wait upon you instantly. Come hither, pray 
you. \_To FLAVIUS. 

How goes the world, that I am thus encounter' d 
With clamorous demands of date-broke bonds, 8 

17 He humbly prays your speedy payment,"] As our author 
does not appear to have meant that the servant of Isidore should 
be less civil than those of the other lords, it is natural to conceive 
that this line, at present imperfect, originally stood thus : 
He humbly prays your lordship's speedy payment. 


8 of date-broke bonds,"] The old copy has : 

of debt, broken bonds. 

Mr. Malone very judiciously reads date-broken. For the sake 
of measure, I have omitted the last letter of the second word. 
So, in Much Ado about Nothing: " I have broke [i. e. broke;*] 
with her father." STEEVENS. 

To the present emendation T should not have ventured to give 


And the detention of long-since-due debts, 
Against my honour ? 

FLAV. Please you, gentlemen, 

The time is unagreeable to this business : 
Your importunacy cease, till after dinner ; 
That I may make his lordship understand 
Wherefore you are not paid. 

TIM. Do so, my friends : 

See them well entertain'd. [Exit TIMON. 

FLAV. I pray, draw near. 

\_Exit FLAVIUS. 

Enter APEMANTUS and a Fool. 9 

CAPH. Stay, stay, here comes the fool with 
Apemantus; let's have some sport with 5 em. 

VAR. SERF. Hang him, he'll abuse us. 
ISID. SERV. A plague upon him, dog ! 
VAR. SERV. How dost, fool ? 
APEM. Dost dialogue with thy shadow ? 

a place in the text, but that some change is absolutely necessary, 
and this appears to be established beyond a doubt by a former 
line in the preceding scene: 

" And my reliances on his fracted dates." 
The transcriber's ear deceived him here as in many other places. 
Sir Thomas Hanmer and the subsequent editors evaded the dif- 
ficulty by omitting the corrupted word debt. MALONE. 

9 Enter Apemantus and a Fool.] I suspect some scene to 
be lost, in which the entrance of the Fool, and the page that fol- 
lows him, was prepared by some introductory dialogue, in 
which the audience was informed that they were the fool and 
page of Phrynia, Timandra, or some other courtezan, upon the 
knowledge of which depends the greater part of the ensuing jo- 
cularity. JOHNSON. 


VAR. SERV. I speak not to thee. 

APEM. No ; 'tis to thyself, Come away. 

[To the Fool. 

ISID. SERV. [To VAR. Serv.] There's the fool 
hangs on your back already. 

APEM. No, thou stand' st single, thou art not on 
him yet. 

CAPH. Where's the fool now ? 

APEM. He last asked the question. Poor rogues, 
and usurers' men ! bawds between gold and want! l 

ALL SERV. What are we, Apemantus? 
APEM. Asses. 
ALL SERV. Why ? 

APEM. That you ask me what you are, and do 
not know yourselves. Speak to 'em, fool. 

FOOL. How do you, gentlemen ? 

1 Poor rogues, and usurers 1 men ! batvds &c.] This is said so 
abruptly, that I am inclined to think it misplaced, and would re- 
gulate the passage thus : 

Caph. Where's the fool nfftu ? 

Apem. He last asked the question. 

All. What are tee, Apemantus ? 

Apem. Asses. 

All. Why? 

Apem. That you ask me ivhat you are, and do not know your* 
selves. Poor rogues, and usurers' men! batvds between gold and 
want ! Speak &c. 

Thus every word will have its proper place. It is likely that 
the passage transposed was forgot in the copy, and inserted in 
the margin, perhaps a little beside the proper place, which the 
transcriber wanting either skill or care to observe, wrote it 
where it now stands. JOHNSON. 

The transposition proposed by Dr. Johnson is unnecessary. 
Apemantus does not address these words to any of the others, 
but mutters them to himself; so that they do not enter into the 
dialogue, or compose apart of it. M. MASON. 


ALL SERV. Gramercies, good fool : How does 
your mistress ? 

FOOL. She's e'en setting on water to scald such 
chickens as you are. 2 'Would, we could see you 
at Corinth. 3 

APEM. Good! gramercy. 

Enter Page* 
FOOL. Look you, here comes my mistress' page.* 

8 Site's e'en setting on 'water to scald #c.] The old name for 
the disease got at Corinth was the brenning, and a sense of scald- 
ing is one of its first symptoms. JOHNSON. 

The same thought occurs in The Old Law, by Massinger : 

" look parboil'd, 

" As if they came from Cupid's scalding house." 
Handle Holme, in his Academy of Arms and Blazon, B. III. 
ch. ii. p. 441, has also the following passage : " He beareth 
Argent; a Doctor's tub (otherwise called a Cleansing Tub,) 
Sable, Hooped, Or. In this pockifyed, and such diseased persons, 
are for a certain time put into, not to boyl up to an heighth, 
but to parboil" &c. STEEVENS. 

It was anciently the practice, and in inns perhaps still continues, 
to scald off the feathers of poultry, instead of plucking them. 
Chaucer hath referred to it in his Romaunt of the Rose, 6820 : 
" Without scalding they hem^>w/fe." HENLEY. 

3 'Would, ive could see you at Corinth.] A cant name for a 
bawdy-house, I suppose, from the dissoluteness of that ancient 
Greek city ; of which Alexander ab Alexandro has these words : 
" Et CORINTHI supra mille prostitutas in templo Vcneris assidue 
degere, et inflammata Ubidine qucestui meretricio operam dare, 
et velut sacrorum ministras Dece famulari." Milton, in his 
Apology for Smectymnuus, says : " Or searching for me at the 
Bordellos, where, it may be, he has lost himself, and raps up, 
without pity, the sage and rheumatick old prelatess, with all 
her young Corinthian laity, to enquire for such a one." 


See Vol. XI. p. 270, n. 7, MALONE, 

4 my mistress' page.~] In the first passage this Fool speaks 

of his sister, in the second [as exhibited in the modern editions] 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 65 

PAGE. [To the Fool.] Why, how now, captain ? 
what do you in this wise company ? How dost 
thou, Apemantus? 

APEM. 'Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I 
might answer thee profitably. 

PAGE. Pr'ythee, Apemantus, read me the super- 
scription of these letters ; I know not which is 

APEM. Canst not read ? 
PAGE. No. 

APEM. There will little learning die then, that 
day thou art hanged. This is to lord Timon ; this 
to Alcibiades. Go ; thou wast born a bastard, and 
thou'lt die a bawd. 

PAGE. Thou wast whelped a dog ; and thou shalt 
famish, a dog's death. Answer not, I am gone. 

[Exit Page. 

of his mistress. In the old copy it is master in both places. It 
should rather, perhaps, be mistress in both, as it is in a following 
and a preceding passage : 

'* All. How does your mistress?" 

" Fool. My mistress is one, and I am her fool." 


I have not hesitated to print mistress in both places. Master 
was frequently printed in the old copy instead of mistress, and 
vice versa, from the ancient mode of writing an M only, which 
stood in the MSS. of Shakspeare's time either for the one or the 
other ; and the copyist or printer completed the word without 
attending to the context. This abbreviation is found in Coriola- 
nus, folio, 1623, p. 21 : 

" Where's Cotus ? My M. calls for him." 
Again, more appositely, in The Merchant of Venice, 1623: 
" What ho, M. [Master"] Lorenzo, and M. [Mistress] 


In Vol. IX. p. 54, n. 8 ; and Vol. XIII. p. 205, n. 2 ; are found 
corruptions similar to the present, in consequence of the printer's 
completing the abbreviated word of the MS. improperly. 



APEM. Even so thou out-run'st grace. Fool, I 
will go with you to lord Timon's. 

FOOL. Will you leave me there ? 

APEM. If Timon stay at home. You three serve 
three usurers ? 

ALL SERF. Ay ; 'would they served us ! 

APEM. So would I, as good a trick as ever 
hangman served thief. 

FOOL. Are you three usurers' men ? 
ALL SERF. Ay, fool. 

FOOL. I think, no usurer but has a fool to his 
servant : My mistress is one, and I am her fool. 
When men come to borrow of your masters, they 
approach sadly, and go away merry; but they enter 
my mistress' house 5 merrily, and go away sadly : 
The reason of this ? 

VAR. SERF. I could render one. 

APEM. Do it then, that we may account thee a 
whoremaster, and a knave ; which notwithstanding, 
thou shalt be no less esteemed. 

VAR. SERV. What is a whoremaster, fool ? 

FOOL. A fool in good clothes, and something 
like thee. 'Tis a spirit : sometime, it appears like 
a lord ; sometime, like a lawyer ; sometime, like a 
philosopher, with two stones more than his artifi- 
cial one : 6 He is very often like a knight j and, ge- 

4 my mistress' house ] Here again the old copy reads 

master's. I have corrected it for the reason already assigned. 
The context puts the matter beyond a doubt. Mr. Theobald, I 
find, had silently made the same emendation ; but in subsequent 
editions the corrupt reading of the old copy was again restored. 


6 his artificial one:"] Meaning the celebrated philoso- 
pher's stone, which was in those times much talked of. Sir Tho- 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 67 

nerally in all shapes, that man goes up and down in, 
from fourscore to thirteen, this spirit walks in. 

FAR. SERV. Thou art not altogether a fool. 

FOOL. Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much 
foolery as I have, so much wit thou lackest. 

APEM. That answer might have become Ape- 

ALL SERV. Aside, aside j here comes lord Timon. 

Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS. 

APEM. Come, with me, fool, come. 

FOOL. I do not always follow lover, elder brother, 
and woman ; sometime, the philosopher. 

[Exeunt APEMANTUS and Fool. 

FLAV. 'Pray you, walk near ; I'll speak with you 
anon. [Exeunt Serv. 

TIM. You make me marvel : Wherefore, ere this 


Had you not fully laid my state before me ; 
That I might so have rated my expence, 
As I had leave of means ? 

FLAV. You would not hear me, 

At many leisures I proposed. 

TIM. Go to : 

Perchance, some single vantages you took, 
When my indisposition put you back j 

mas Smith was one of those who lost considerable sums in seek- 
ing of it. JOHNSON. 

Sir Richard Steele was one of the last eminent men who en- 
tertained hopes of being successful in this pursuit. His labora- 
tory was at Poplar, a village near London, and is now converted 
into a garden house. STEEVENS. 

F 2 


And that unaptness made your minister, 7 
Thus to excuse yourself. 

FLAF. O my good lord ! 

At many times I brought in my accounts, 
Laid them before you ; you would throw them off* 
And say, you found them in mine honesty. 
When, for some trifling present, you have bid me 
Return so much, 8 1 have shook my head, and wept; 
Yea, 'gainst the authority of manners, pray'd you 
To hold your hand more close : I did endure 
Not seldom, nor no slight checks ; when I have 
Prompted you, in the ebb of your estate, 
And your great flow of debts. My dear-lov' d lord, 9 
Though you hear now, (too late!) yet now's a 
time, 1 

-made your minister,] So the original. The second 

folio and the later editions have all : 

made you minister. JOHNSON. 

The construction is : And made that unaptness your minister. 


* Return so much,] He does not mean so great a sum, but a 
certain sum, as it might happen to be. Our author frequently 
uses this kind of expression. See a note on the words " with 
so many talents," p. 84, n. 3. MALONE. 

9 My dear-/ouW lord,~] Thus the second folio. The first 

omits the epithet dear, and consequently vitiates the measure. 


1 Though you hear now, (too late!] yet no'afs a time,'} i. e. 
Though it be now too late to retrieve your former fortunes, yet 
it is not too late to prevent by the assistance of your friends, 
your future miseries. Had the Oxford editor understood the 
sense, he would not have altered the text to, 

Though you hear me now, yet note's too late a time. 


I think Sir Thomas Hanmer right, and have received his 
emendation. JOHNSON. 

The old reading is not properly explained by Dr. Warburton. 
" Though I tell you this (says Flavius) at too late a period, 
perhaps, for the information to be of any service to you, yet late 
as it is, it is necessary that you should be acquainted with it/* 

ac. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 69 

The greatest of your having lacks a half 
To pay your present debts. 

TIM. Let all my land be sold. 2 

FLAV. 'Tis all engag'd, some forfeited and gone; 
And what remains will hardly stop the mouth 
Of present dues : the future comes apace : 
What shall defend the interim ? and at length 
How goes our reckoning? 3 

It is evident, that the steward had very little hope of assistance 
from his master's friends. RITSON. 

Though you now at last listen to my remonstrances, yet now 
your affairs are in such a state that the whole of your remaining 
fortune will scarce pay half your debts. You are therefore wise 
too late. MALONE. 

* The greatest of your having lacks a half 
To pay your present debts. 

Tim. Let all my land be sold.] The 

redundancy of measure in this passage persuades me that it stood 
originally thus : 

Your greatest having lacks a half to pay 
Your present debts. 
Tim. Let all my land be sold. STEEVENS. 

3 and at length 

How goes our reckoning?] This Steward talks very wildly. 
The Lord indeed might have asked, what a Lord seldom knows : 

HOIJD goes our reckoning? 

But the Steward was too well satisfied in that matter. I would 
read therefore : 

Hold good our reckoning ? WARBURTON. 

It is common enough, and the commentator knows it is com- 
mon to propose, interrogatively, that of which neither the speaker 
nor the hearer has any doubt. The present reading may there- 
fore stand. JOHNSON. 

How will you be able to subsist in the time intervening be- 
tween the payment of the present demands (which your whole 
substance will hardly satisfy) and the claim of future dues, for 
which you have no fund whatsoever ; and finally on the settle- 
ment of all accounts in what a wretched plight will you be ? 



TIM. To Lacedaemon did my land extend. 

FLAV. O my good lord, the world is but a word; 4 
Were it all yours to give it in a breath, 
How quickly were it gone ? 

TIM. You tell me true. 

FLAV. If you suspect my husbandry, or false- 

Call me before the exactest auditors, 
And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me, 
When all our offices 5 have been oppressed 
With riotous feeders ; 6 when our vaults have wept 
With drunken spilth of wine ; when every room 
Hath blaz'd with lights, and bray'd with min- 
strelsy ; 
I have retir'd me to a wasteful cock, 7 

4 my good lord, the world is but a word ;] The meaning is, 
as the world itself may be comprised in a word, you might give 
it away in a breath. WARBURTON. 

3 our offices ] i. e. the apartments allotted to culinary 

purposes, the reception of domesticks, &c. Thus, in Macbeth : 

" Sent forth great largess to your offices." 

Would Duncan have sent largess to any but servants? See 
Vol. X. p. 94-, n. 8. It appears that what we now call offices, 
were anciently called houses of office. So, in Chaucer's Clerkes 
Tale,v. 8140, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition: 

" Houses of office stuffed with plentee 

" Ther mayst thou see of dcinteous vittaile." 


f> With riotous feeders ;] Feeders are servants, whose low de- 
baucheries are practised in the offices of a house. See a note on 
Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. sc. xi : " one who looks on 

feeders?* STEEVENS. 

7 a wasteful cock,~\ i. e. a cockloft, a garret. And a 

wasteful cock, signifies a garret lying in waste, neglected, put to 
no use. HANMER. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer's explanation is received by Dr. Warbur- 
ton, yet I think them both apparently mistaken. A wasteful 
cock is a cock or pipe with a turning stopple running to waste. 

?. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 71 

And set mine eyes at flow. 

TIM. Pr'ythee, no more. 

FLAV. Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this 


How many prodigal bits have slaves, and peasants, 
This night englutted! Who is not Timon's? 8 
What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is lord 

Timon's ? 

Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon ? 
Ah ! when the means are gone, that buy this praise, 
The breath is gone whereof this praise is made : 
Feast-won, fast-lost ; one cloud of winter showers, 
These flies are couch'd. 

TIM. Come, sermon me no further : 

No villainous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart ; 
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given. 9 

In this sense, both the terms have their usual meaning ; but I 
know not that cock is ever used for cockloft, or wasteful for lying 
in waste, or that lying in waste is at all a phrase. JOHNSON. 

Whatever be the meaning of the present passage, it is certain, 
that lying in waste is still a very common phrase. FARMER. 

A wasteful cock is what we now call a waste pipe; a pipe which 
is continually running, and thereby prevents the overflow of 
cisterns, and other reservoirs, by carrying off their superfluous 
water. This circumstance served to keep the idea of Timon's 
unceasing prodigality in the mind of the Steward, while its re- 
moteness from the scenes of luxury within the house, was favour- 
able to meditation. COLLINS. 

The reader will have a perfect notion of the method taken by 
Mr. Pope in his edition, when he is informed that, for wasteful 
cock, that editor reads lonely room. MALONE. 

8 Who is not Timon's ?"] 1 suppose we ought to read, for the 
sake of measure : 

Who is not lord Timon's? STEEVENS. 

9 No villainous bounty yet hathpass'd my heart ; 
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I <mrw.] Every reader must 

rejoice in this circumstance of comfort which presents itself to 


Why dost thou weep ? Canst thou the conscience 


To think I shall lack friends ? Secure thy heart ; 
If I would broach the vessels of my love, 
And try the argument 1 of hearts by borrowing, 
Men, and men's fortunes, could I frankly use, 
As I can bid thee speak. 2 

FLAV. Assurance bless your thoughts ! 

TIM. And, in some sort, these wants of mine are 

crown'd, 3 

That I account them blessings ; for by these 
Shall I try friends : You shall perceive, how you 
Mistake my fortunes ; I am wealthy in my friends. 

Timon, who, although beggar'd through want of prudence, con- 
soles himself with reflection that his ruin was not brought on by 
the pursuit of guilty pleasures. STEEVENS. 

1 And try the argument ] The licentiousness of our author 
forces us often upon far-fetched expositions. Arguments may 
mean contents, as the arguments of a book ; or evidences and 
proofs. JOHNSON. 

The matter contained in a poem or play was in our author's 
time commonly thus denominated. The contents of his Rape of 
Lucrece, which he certainly published himself, he calls The Ar- 
gument. Hence undoubtedly his use of the word. If I would, 
says Timon, by borrowing, try of what men's hearts are composed, 
what they have in them, &c. The old copy reads argument; 
not, as Dr. Johnson supposed arguments. MALONE. 

So, in Hamlet: " Have you heard the argument? Is there no 
offence in it ?" Many more instances to the same purpose might 
be subjoined. STEEVENS. 

* As I can lid thee speak."] Thus the old copy; but it being 
clear from the overloaded measure that these words are a play- 
house interpolation, I would not hesitate to omit them. They 
are understood, though not expressed. STEEVENS. 

3 croivn'd,~] i. e. dignified, adorned, made respectable. 

So, in King Henry VIII: 

" And yet no day without a deed to crown it." 


sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 73 

Within there, hoi 4 Flaminius! 5 Servilius! 

Enter FLAMINIUS, SERVILIUS, and other 

SEW. My lord, my lord, 

TIM. I will despatch you severally. You, to 

lord Lucius, 

To lord Lucullus you ; I hunted with his 
Honour to-day ; You, to Sempronius ; 
Commend me to their loves ; and, I am proud, say, 
That my occasions have found time to use them 
Toward a supply of money : let the request 
Be fifty talents. 

FLAM. As you have said, my lord. 

FLAV. Lord Lucius, and lord Lucullus? 6 humph L 


TIM. Go you, sir, \_To another Serv.J to the se- 
nators, 7 

(Of whom, even to the state's best health, I have 
Deserv'd this hearing,) bid 'em send o'the instant 
A thousand talents to me. 

FLAV. I have been bold, 

4 Within there, ho !] Ho, was supplied by Sir Thomas Han- 
mer. The frequency of Shakspeare's use of this interjection, 
needs no examples. STEEVENS. 

4 Flaminius!'] The old copy has Flavius. The cor- 
rection was made by Mr. Rowe. The error probably arose from 
Fla. only being set down in the MS. MALOXE. 

6 lord Lucullus ?~\ As the Steward is repeating the words 

of Timon, I have not scrupled to supply the title lord, which is 
wanting in the old copy, though necessary to the metre. 


7 Go you, sir, to the senators,"] To complete the line, we 
might read, as in the first scene of this play : 

the senators of Athens. STEEVENS, 


(For that I knew it the most general way, 8 ) 
To them to use your signet, and your name ; 
But they do shake their heads, and I am here 
No richer in return. 

TIM. Is't true ? can it be ? 

FLAV. They answer, in a joint and corporate 


That now they are at fall, 9 want treasure, cannot 
Do what they would ; are sorry you are honour- 

But yet they could have wish'd they know not 

but 1 

Something hath been amiss a noble nature 
May catch a wrench would all were well 'tis 


And so, intending 2 other serious matters, 
After distasteful looks, and these hard fractions, 3 

8 ''I knew it thz most general tuff?/,] General is not speedy, 

but compendious, the way to try many at a time. JOHNSON. 

9 at fall, ] i. e. at an ebb. STEEVENS. 

1 but ] was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer, to com- 
plete the verse. STEEVENS. 

2 intending ] is regarding, turning their notice to other 

things. JOHNSON. 

To intend and to attend had anciently the same meaning. So, 
in The Spanish Curate of Beaumont and Fletcher : 

" Good sir, intend this business." 
See Vol. IV. p. 469, n. 5. STEEVENS. 
So, in Wits, Fits, and Fancies, &c. 1595: 
" Tell this man that I am going to dinner to my lord maior, 
and that I cannot now intend his tittle-tattle." 
Again, in Pasquil's Night-Cap, a poem, 1623 : 
" For we have many secret ways to spend, 
" Which are not fit our husbands should intend." 


3 and these hard fractions,] Flavius, by fractions, means 

broken hints, interrupted sentences, abrupt remarks. 


8c.n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 73 

With certain half-caps, 4 and cold-moving nods, 5 
They froze me into silence. 

TIM. You gods, reward them ! 

I pr'ythee, man, look cheerly ; These old fellows 
Have their ingratitude in them hereditary : G 
Their blood is cak'd, 'tis cold, it seldom flows ; 
'Tis lack of kindly warmth, they are not kind ; 
And nature, as it grows again toward earth, 
Is fashion'd for the journey, dull, and heavy. 7 
Go to Ventidius, [To a Serv.] Pr'ythee, [To 

FLAVIUS,] be not sad, 

Thou art true, and honest ; ingeniously 8 1 speak, 
No blame belongs to thee : [To Serv.] Ventidius 

4 half-caps^] A half-cap is a cap slightly moved, not 

put off. JOHNSON. 

* cold-moving nods,~\ By cold-moving I do not under- 
stand with Mr. Theobald, chilling or cold-producing nods, but a 
slight motion of the head, without any warmth or cordiality. 

Cold-moving is the same as coldly-moving. So -perpetual 
sober gods, for perpetually sober ; lazy-pacing clouds ; loving- 
jealous flattering sweet, &c. Such distant and uncourteous 
salutations are properly termed cold-moving, as proceeding from 
a cold and unfriendly disposition. MALONE. 

6 Have their ingratitude in them hereditary:] Hereditary. 
for by natural constitution. But some distempers of natural con- 
stitution being called hereditary, he calls their ingratitude so. 


7 And nature, as it grows again toward earth, 

Is fashion* d for the journey, dull, and heavy. ,] The same 
thought occurs in The Wife for a Month, by Beaumont and 
Fletcher : 

" Beside, the fair soul's old too, it grows covetous, 
" Which shows all honour is departed from us, 
" And we are earth again." 

pariterque senescere meniem. Lucret. I. 


8 ingeniously ] Ingenious was anciently used instead 

of ingenuous. So, in The Taming of the Shrew: 

" A course of learning and ingenious studies." REED. 


Buried his father ; by whose death, he's stepp'd 

Into a great estate : when he was poor, 

Imprison'd, and in scarcity of friends, 

I clear' d him with five talents : Greet him from me ; 

Bid him suppose, some good necessity 

Touches his friend, 9 which craves to be remember' d 

With those five talents: that had, [To FLAV.] 

give it these fellows 

To whom 'tis instant due. Ne'er speak, or think, 
That Timon's fortunes 'mong his friends can sink. 

FLAV. I would, I could not think it; 1 That 

thought is bounty's foe ; 
Being free 2 itself, it thinks all others so. \_Exeunt. 

Bid him suppose, some good necessity 

Touches hisjriendy"] Good, as it may afford Ventidius an 
opportunity of exercising his bounty, and relieving his friend, in 
return for his former kindness : or, some honest necessity, not 
the consequence of a villainous and ignoble bounty. I rather 
think this latter is the meaning. MA LONE. 

So afterwards : 

** If his occasion were not virtuous, 

" I should not urge it half so faithfully." STEEVENS. 

1 / ivould, I could not think it; 8$c.~\ I concur in opinion 
with some former editors, that the words think it, should be 
omitted. Every reader will mentally insert them from the speech 
of Timon, though they are not expressed in that of Flavius. The 
laws of metre, in my judgment, should supersede the authority 
of the players, who appear in many instances to have taken a 
designed ellipsis for an error of omission, to the repeated injury 
of our author's versification. I would read : 

/ "would, I could not : That thought's bounty's foe . 


free ] is liberal, not parsimonious, JOHNSON. 



The same. A Room in Lucullus's House. 
FLAMINIUS waiting. Enter a Servant to Mm. 

SERF. I have told my lord of you, he is coming 
down to you. 

FLAM. I thank you, sir. 


SERF. Here's my lord. 

LUCUL. \_Aside.~\ One of lord Timon's men r a 
gift, I warrant. Why, this hits right; I dreamt 
of a silver bason and ewer 3 to-night. Flaminius, 

3 a silver bason and ewer ] These utensils of silver 

being much in request in Shakspeare's time, he has, as usual, 
not scrupled to place them in the house of an Athenian noble- 
man. So again, in The Taming of the Shrew: 

" my house within the city 

" Is richly furnished with plate and gold ; 
" Basons and ewers to lave her dainty hands." 
See Vol. IX. p. 133, n. 1. MALONE. 

Our author, I believe, has introduced basons and ewers where 
they would certainly have been found. The Romans appear to 
have had them ; and the forms of their utensils were generally 
copied from those of Greece. 

These utensils are not unfrequently mentioned by Homer. 
Thus, in Chapman's version of the twenty-fourth Iliad: 

" This said, the chamber-maid that held the ewre and 

basin by, 

" He bade powre water on his hands : ." 
Again, in the fifteenth Odyssey, by the same translator : 


honest Flaminius ; you are very respectively wel- 
come, sir. 4 Fill me some wine. \jExit Servant.] 
And how does that honourable complete, free- 
hearted gentleman of Athens, thy very bountiful 
good lord and master ? 

FLAM. His health is well, sir. 

LUCUL. I am right glad that his health is well, 
sir : And what hast thou there under thy cloak, 
pretty Flaminius ? 

FLAM. 'Faith, nothing but an empty box, sir ; 
which, in my lord's behalf, I come to entreat your 
honour to supply ; who, having great and instant 
occasion to use fifty talents, hath sent to your lord- 
ship to furnish him ; nothing doubting your pre- 
sent assistance therein. 

LUCUL. La, la, la, la, nothing doubting, says 
he ? alas, good lord ! a noble gentleman 'tis, if he 
would not keep so good a house. Many a time 
and often I have dined with him, and told him 
on't ; and come again to supper to him, of purpose 
to have him spend less : and yet he would embrace 
no counsel, take no warning by my coming. Every 
man has his fault, and honesty is his ; 5 I have told 
Jiim on't, but I could never get him from it. 

" The handmaid water brought, and gave to stream 
" From out a fair and golden euier to them, 
" From whose hands, to a silver cauldron, fled 
" The troubled wave." STEEVENS. 

4 very respectively welcome, sir.~\ i. e. respectfully. So, 

in King John : 

" 'Tis too respective" &c. 
See Vol. X. p. 359, n. 4. STEEVENS. 

* Every man has his fault, and honesty is his;~\ Honesty 
does not here mean probity, but liberality, M. MASON. 

sc. i. TJMON OF ATHENS. 79 

Re-enter Servant, with Wine. 

SERF. Please your lordship, here is the wine. 

iC7CC7L.riaminius,I have noted thee always wise, 
Kerens to thee. 

FLAM. Your lordship speaks your pleasure. 

LUCUL. I have observed thee always for a toward- 
ly prompt spirit, give thee thy due, and one that, 
knows what belongs to reason : and canst use the 
time well, if the time use thee well : good parts in- 
thee. Get you gone, sirrah. [To the Servant, wha 
goes out.~] Draw nearer, honest Flaminius. Thy 
lord's a bountiful gentleman : but thou art wise \ 
and thou knowest well enough, although thou 
comest to me, that this is no time to lend money , 
especially upon bare friendship, without security. 
Here's three solidares 6 for thee ; good boy, wink at 
me, and say, thou saw'st me not. Fare thee well. 

FLAM. Is't possible, the world should so much- 
differ ; 

And we alive, that liv'd ? 7 Fly, damned baseness* 
To him that worships thee. 

[Throwing the Money away. 

LUCUL. Ha ! Now I see, thou art a fool, and fit 
for thy master. [Exit LUCULLUS. 

FLAM. May these add to the number that may 

scald thee ! 
Let molten coin be thy damnation, 8 

c three solidares ] I believe this coin is from the mint 

of the poet. STEEVENS. 

7 And ive alive, that liv'd ?] i. e. And we who were alive then, 
alive now. As much as to say, in so short a time. 


s Let molten coin be thy damnation,"] Perhaps the poet alludes 


Thou disease of a friend, 9 and not himself! 
Has friendship such a faint and milky heart, 
It turns in less than two nights ? * O you gods, 
I feel my master's passion ! 2 This slave 
Unto his honour, 3 has my lord's meat in him : 
Why should it thrive, and turn to nutriment, 
When he is turn'd to poison ? 
O, may diseases only work upon't ! 

to the punishment inflicted on M. Aqtiilius by Mithridates. In The 
Shepherd's Calendar, however, Lazarus declares himself to have 
seen in hell " a great number of wide cauldrons and kettles, 
full of boyling lead and oyle, with other hot metals molten, in the 
which were plunged and dipped the covetous men and women, 
for to fulfill and replenish them of their insatiate covetise." 

Again, in an ancient bl. 1* ballad, entitled, The Dead Mans 

" And ladles full of melted gold 
" Were poured downe their throotes." 

Mr. M. Mason thinks that Flaminius more " probably alludes to 
the story of Marcus Crassus and the Parthians, who are said to 
have poured molten gold down his throat, as a reproach and 
punishment for his avarice." STEEVENS. 

9 Thou disease of ' ajriend,~\ So, in King Lear: 

" my daughter ; 

" Or rather, a disease" &c. STEEVENS. 

1 It turns in less than two nights ?~\ Alluding to the turning 
or acescence of milk. JOHNSON. 

2 passion !~\ i. e. suffering. So, in Macbeth: 

" You shall offend him, and extend his passion." 
i. e. prolong his suffering. STEEVENS. 

3 Unto his honour,] Thus the old copy. What Flaminius 
seems to mean is, This slave (to the honour of his character) 
has, &c. The modern editors read Unto this hour, which may 
be right. STEEVENS. 

I should have no doubt in preferring the modern reading, 
unto this hour, as it is by far the stronger expression, so probably 
the right one. M. MASON. 

Mr. Ritson is of the same opinion. STEEVENS. 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 81 

And, when he is sick to death, 4 let not that part of 

nature 5 

Which my lord paid for, be of any power 
To expel sickness, but prolong his hour ! 6 [Exit. 

4 to death,"] If these words, which derange the metre, 

were omitted, would the sentiment of Flaminius be impaired ? 


s of nature ] So the common copies. Sir Thomas 

Hanmer reads nurture. JOHNSON. 

Of nature is surely the most expressive reading. Flaminius 
considers that nutriment which Lucullus had for a length of time 
received at Timon's table, as constituting a great part of his 
animal system. STEEVENS. 

6 his hour!~\ i. e. the hour of sickness. His for its. 


His in almost every scene of these plays is used for its, but 
here, I think, " his hour" relates to Lucullus, and means his 

If my notion be well founded, we must understand that the 
Steward wishes that the life of Lucullus may be prolonged only 
for the purpose of his being miserable; that sickness may "play 
the torturer by small and small," and " have him nine whole 
years in killing." " Live loath'd and long!" says Timon in a 
subsequent scene ; and again : 

" Decline to your confounding contraries, 
" And yet confusion live .'" 

This indeed is nearly the meaning, if, with Mr. Steevens, we 
understand his hour to mean the hour of sickness : and it must 
be owned that a line in Hamlet adds support to his interpreta- 
tion : 

" This physick but prolongs thy sickly days." MALONE. 

Mr. Malone's interpretation may receive further suoport from 
a passage in Coriolanus, where Menenius says to the Roman 
Sentinel : " Be that you are, long; and your misery increase 
with your age." STEEVENS. 




The same. A puUick Place. 
Enter Lucius, with Three Strangers. 

Luc. Who, the lord Timon? he is my very good 
friend, and an honourable gentleman. 

1 STRAN. We know him for no less, 7 though 
we are but strangers to him. But I can tell you 
one thing, my lord, and which I hear from common 
rumours ; now lord Timon's happy hours are done 8 
and past, and his estate shrinks from him. 

Luc. Fye no, do not believe it j he cannot want 
for money. 

2 STRAN. But believe you this, my lord, that, 
not long ago, one of his men was with the lord 
Lucullus, to borrow so many talents ; 9 nay, urged 

7 We know him for no less,~] That is, "we know him by report 
to be no less than you represent him, though we are strangers to 
his person. JOHNSON. 

To /moto, in the present, and several other instances, is used 
by our author for to acknowledge. So, in Coriolanus, Act V. 
sc. v: 

*' You are to know 

" That prosperously I have attempted, and 
" With bloody passage led your wars ." c. 


8 are done ] i. e. consumed. See Vol. XIII. p. 129, 

n. 5. MALONE. 

9 to borrow so many talents;"] Such is the reading of the 

old copy. The modern editors read arbitrarily -Jifty talents. 
So many is not an uncommon colloquial expression for an inde- 
finite number. The Stranger might not know the exact sum. 


sc. ir. TIMON OF ATHENS. 83 

extremely for* t, and showed what necessity belong- 
ed to't, and yet was denied. 

Luc. How? 

2 STRAN. I tell you, denied, my lord. 

Luc. What a strange case was that? now, before 
the gods, I am ashamed on't. Denied that ho- 
nourable man ? there was very little honour showed 
in't. For my own part, I must needs confess, I 
have received some small kindnesses from him, as 
money, plate, jewels, and such like trifles, nothing 
comparing to his ; yet, had he mistook him, and 
sent to me, 1 I should ne'er have denied his oc- 
casion so many talents." 

So, Queen Elizabeth to one of her parliaments : " And for 
me, it shall be sufficient that a marble stone declare that a queen 
having reigned such a time, [i. e. the time that she should have 
reigned, whatever time that might happen to be,] lived and died 
a virgin." 

So, Holinshed : " The bishop commanded his servant to bring 
him the book bound in white vellum, lying in his study, in such 
a place." We should now write in a certain place. 

Again, in the Account-book, kept by Empson in the time of 
Henry the Seventh, and quoted by Bacon in his History of that 

*' Item, Received of such a one five marks, for a pardon to 
be procured, and if the pardon do not pass, the money to be re- 

" He sold so muck of his estate, when he came of age," 
(meaning a certain portion of his estate,) is yet the phraseology 
of Scotland. MALOXE. 

1 yet, had he mistook Mm, and sent to mc,~\ We should 

read: mislook'd him, i. e. overlooked, neglected to send to him. 


I rather read, yet had he not mistook him, and sent to me. 


Mr. Edwards proposes to read yet had he missed him. Lucius 
has just declared that he had had fewer presents from Tiraon, 
than Lucullus had received, who therefore ought to have been 
the first to assist him. Yet, says he, had Timon mistook him, or 

G 2 



SER. See, by good hap, yonder's my lord ; I have 
sweat to see his honour. My honoured lord, 

[To Lucius. 

Luc. Servilius ! you are kindly met, sir. Fare 
thee well : Commend me to thy honourable-vir- 
tuous lord, my very exquisite friend. 

SER. May it please your honour, my lord hath 

Luc. Ha ! what has he sent? I am. so much en- 
deared to that lord ; he's ever sending : How shall 
I thank him, thinkest thou ? And what has he sent 
now ? 

SER. He has only sent his present occasion now, 
my lord ; requesting your lordship to supply his in- 
stant use with so many talents. 3 

overlooked that circumstance, and sent to me, I should not have 
denied &c. STEEVENS. 

That is, " had he (Timon) mistaken himself and sent to me, 
I would ne'er" &c. He means to insinuate that it would have 
been a kind of mistake in Timon to apply to a person who had 
received such trifling favours from him, in preference to Lucul- 
lus, who had received much greater; but if Timon had made that 
mistake, he should not have denied him so many talents. 


Had lie mistook him, means, had he by mistake thought him 
under less obligations than me, and sent to me accordingly. 


I think with Mr. Steevens that Jiim relates to Timon, and that 
mistook him is a reflective participle. MA LONE. 

* denied his occasion so many talents.'] i. e. a certain 

number of talents, such a number us he might happen to want. 
This passage, as well as a former, (see n. 9, p. 82,) shows that 
the text below is not corrupt. M ALONE. 

,- ' ?"x-ith so many talent*,"} Such again is the reading with 

sc. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 85 

Luc. I know, his lordship is but merry with me ; 
He cannot want fifty-five hundred talents. 

SER. But in the mean time he wants less, my lord. 
If his occasion were not virtuous, 4 
I should not urge it half so faithfully. 5 

Luc. Dost thou speak seriously, Servilius ? 

SER. Upon my soul, 'tis true, sir. 

Luc. What a wicked beast was I, to disfurnish 
myself against such a good time, when I might have 
shown myself honourable ? how unluckily it hap- 
pened, that I should purchase the dav before for a 

which the old copy supplies us. Probably the exact number of 
talents wanted was not expressly set down by Shakspeare. If 
this was the case, the player who represented the character, spoke 
of the first number that was uppermost in his mind ; and the 
printer, who copied from the playhouse books, put down an in- 
definite for the definite sum, which remained unspecified. The 
modern editors read again in this instance, Jifty talents. Per- 
haps the Servant brought a note with him which he tendered to 
Lucullus. STEEVENS. 

There is, I am confident, no error. I have met with this kind 
of phraseology in many books of Shakspeare's age. In Julius 
CtEsar we have the phrase used here. Lucilius siiys to his ad- 
versary : 

" There is 50 much, that thou wilt kill me straight." 


4 If his occasion lucre not virtuous,] Virtuous for strong, for- 
cible, pressing. WARBURTON. 

The meaning may more naturally be If he did not want it for 
a good use. JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's explication is certainly right. We had before : 
" Some good necessity touches his friend." MALONE. 

6 half so faithfully.] Faithfully for fervently. Therefore, 

without more ado, the Oxford editor alters the text to fervently. 
But he might have seen, that Shakspeare M&e&faithfuMy for fer- 
vently, as in the former part of the sentence he had used virtuous 
for forcible. WARBURTON. 

Zeal or fervour usually attending fidelity. MALONE. 


little part, and undo a great deal of honour ? 6 
Servilius, now before the gods, I am not able to 
do't ; the more beast, I say : I was sending to use 
lord Timon myself, these gentlemen can witness; 
but I would not, for the wealth of Athens, I had 
done it now. Commend me bountifully to his 
good lordship ; and I hope, his honour will con- 
ceive the fairest of me, because I have no power to 

6 That I should purchase the day le fore for a little part, and 
undo a great deal ofhonour?~] Though there is a seeming plau- 
sible antithesis in the terms, I am very well assured they are cor- 
rupt at the bottom. For a little part of what ? Honour is the 
only substantive that follows in the sentence. How much is the 
antithesis improved by the sense which my emendation gives ? 
** That I should purchase for a little dirt, and undo a great deal 
of honour !" THEOBALD. 

This emendation is received, like all others, by Sir Thomas 
Hanmer, but neglected by Dr. Warburton. I think Theobald 
right in suspecting a corruption ; nor is his emendation inju- 
dicious, though perhaps we may better read, purchase the day 
before for a little park. JOHNSON. 

I am satisfied with the old reading, which is sufficiently in our 
author's manner. By purchasing what brought me but little 
honour, I have lost the more honourable opportunity of supply- 
ing the wants of my friend. Dr. Farmer, however, suspects a 
quibble between honour in its common acceptation, and honour 
(i. e. the lordship of a place,) in a legal sense. See Jacob's 
Dictionary. STEEVENS. 

I am neither satisfied with the amendments proposed, or with 
Steevens's explanation of the present reading ; and have little 
doubt but we should read " purchase for a little port" instead 
of part, and the meaning will then be " How unlucky was I to 
have purchased, but the day before, out of a little vanity, and 
by that means disabled myself from doing an honourable action." 
Port means show, or magnificence* M. MASON. 

I believe Dr. Johnson's reading is the true one. I once sus- 
pected the phrase " purchasejfor/*' but a more attentive exami- 
nation of our author's works and those of his contemporaries, 
has shown me the folly of suspecting corruptions in the text, 
merely because it exhibits a different phraseology from that used 
at this day. MAI.ONK. 

sc. u. TIMON OF ATHENS. 87 

be kind : And tell him this from me, I count it 
one of my greatest afflictions, say, that I cannot 
pleasure such an honourable gentleman. Good Ser- 
vilius, will you befriend me so far, as to use mine 
own words to him ? 

SER. Yes, sir, I shall. 

Luc. I will look you out a good turn, Servilius. 


True, as you said, Timon is shrunk, indeed ; 
And he, that's once denied, will hardly speed. 

\_Exit Lucius. 

1 STRAN. Do you observe this, Hostilius ? 7 

2 STRAN. Ay, too well. 
1 STRAN. Why this 

Is the world's soul; and just of the same piece 
Is every flatterer's spirit. 8 Who can call him 

' Do you observe this, Hostilius?'] I am willing to believe, for 
the sake of metre, that our author wrote: 
Observe you this, Hostilius ? 

Ay, too ivell. STEEVENS. 

s -flatterer's spirit.] This is Dr. Warburton's emendation. 

The other [modern] editions read: 

Why, this is the "world's soul ; 

And just of the same piece is every flatterer's sport. 
Mr. Upton has not unluckily transposed the two final words, 

Why, this is the taorld's sport ; 

Of the same piece is every flatterer's soul. 

The passage is not so obscure as to provoke so much enquiry. 
This, says he, is the soul or spirit of the world: every flatterer 
plays the same game, makes sport with the confidence of his 
friend. JOHNSON. 

Mr. M. Mason prefers the amendment of Dr. Warburton to 
the transposition of Mr. Upton. STEEVENS. 

The emendation, spirit, belongs not to Dr. Warburton, but 
to Mr. Theobald. The word was frequently pronounced as one 
syllable, and sometimes, I think, written sprite. Hence the 


His friend, that dips in the same dish? 9 for, in 
My knowing, Timon has been this lord's father, 
And kept his credit with his purse ; 
Supported his estate ; nay, Timon's money 
Has paid his men their wages : He ne'er drinks, 
But Timon's silver treads upon his- lip ; 
And yet, (O, see the monstrousness of man 
When he looks out in an ungrateful shape !) 
He does deny him, in respect of his, 1 
What charitable men afford to beggars. 

3 STRAN. Religion groans at it. 

1 STRAN. For mine own part, 

I never tasted Timon in my life, 
Nor came any of his bounties over me, 
To mark me for his friend ; yet, I protest, 
For his right noble mind, illustrious virtue, 
And honourable carriage, 
Had his necessity made use of me, 

corruption was easy ; whilst on the other hand it is highly impro- 
bable that two words so distant from each other as soul and sport 
[or spirit^ should change places. Mr. Upton did not take the 
trouble to look into the old copy; but finding soul and sport the 
final words of two lines in Mr. Pope's and the subsequent edi- 
tions, took it for granted they held the same situation in the 
original edition, which we see was not the case. I do not believe 
this speech was intended by the author for averse. MA LONE. 

9 that dips in the same dish f] This phrase is scriptural : 

" He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish." St. Matthew, 
xxvi. 23. STEEVENS. 

in respect of his,~\ i. e. considering Timon's claim for 

what he asks. WARBURTON. 

In respect of his fortune : what Lucius denies to Timon is in 
proportion to what Lucius possesses, less than the usual alms 
given by good men to beggars. JOHNSON. 

Does not his refer to the lip of Timon ? Though Lucius him- 
self drink from a silver cup which was Timon's gift to him, he 
refuses to Timon, in return, drink from any cup. HENLEY. 

ac.n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 89 

I would have put my wealth into donation, 
And the best half should have returned to him, 2 

3 I would have put my wealth into donation, 

And the best half should have return'd to him,"] Sir Thomas 
Hanmer reads : 

/ would have put my wealth into partition, 

And the best half should have attorn'd to him, . 

Dr. Warburton receives attorn' 'd. The only difficulty is in the 
word return'd, which, since he had receiv'd nothing from him, 
cannot be used but in a very low and licentious meaning. 


Had his necessity made use of me, I would have put my for- 
tune into a condition to be alienated, and the best half of what I 
had gained myself, or received from others, should have found 
its way to him. Either such licentious exposition must be al- 
lowed, or the passage remain in obscurity, as some readers may 
not choose to receive Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation. 

The following lines, however, in Hamlet, Act II. sc. ii. per- 
suade me that my explanation of put my wealth into donation 
is somewhat doubtful : 

" Put your dread pleasures more into command 

" Than to entreaty." 
Again, in Cymbeline, Act III. sc. iv : 

" And mad'st me put into contempt the suits 

*' Of princely fellows," &c. 

Perhaps the Stranger means to say, I would have treated my 
wealth as a present originally received from him, and on this 
occasion have returned him the half of that whole for which I 
supposed myself to be indebted to his bounty. Lady Macbeth 
has nearly the same sentiment : 

" in compt 

" To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, 

" Still to return your own" STEEVENS. 

The difficulty of this passage arises from the word returned. 
Warburton proposes to read attorn 9 d ; but that word always 
relates to persons, not to things. It is the tenant that attorns, 
not the lands. The meaning of the passage appears to be this : 
" Though I never tasted of Timon's bounty, yet I have such 
an esteem for his virtue, that had he applied to me, I should 
have considered my wealth as proceeding from his donation, 
and have returned half of it to him again." To put his wealth 
into donation, means, to put it down in account as a donation, 
to suppose it a donation. M. MASON. 


So much I love his heart : But, I perceive, 
Men must learn now with pity to dispense : 
For policy sits above conscience. \_Exeunt. 


The same. A Room in Sempronius's House. 
Enter SEMPRONIUS, and a Servant o/^Timon's. 

SEM. Must he needs trouble me in't ? Humph ! 

'Bove all others ? 

He might have tried lord Lucius, or Lucullus ; 
And now Ventidius is wealthy too, 

I have no doubt that the latter very happy interpretation 
given by Mr. Steevens is the true one. Though (says the 
speaker) I never tasted Timon's bounty in my life, I would 
have supposed my whole fortune to have been a gift from him, 
&c. So, in the common phrase, Put yourself [i. e. suppose 
yourself] in my place. The passages quoted by Mr. Steevens 
fully support the phrase into donation. 

" Returned to him" necessarily includes the idea of having 
come from him, and therefore cannot mean simply -found its 
tvay, the interpretation first given by Mr. Steevens. MALONE. 

I am dissatisfied with my former explanation ; which arose 
from my inattention to a sense in which our author very fre- 
quently uses the verb to return; i. e. to reply. Thus, in King 
Richard II: 

" Northumberland, say thus the king returns; ." 

Again, in Troilus and Cressida: 

" Returns to eluding fortune :" 
i. e. replies to it. Again, in King Henry V : 

" The Dauphin 

** Returns us- that his powers are not yet ready." 
The sense of the passage before us therefore will be : The 
best half of my wealth should' have been the reply I would have 
made to Timon : I would have answered his requisition with the 
best half of what I am worth. STEEVENS. 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 91 

Whom he redeem'd from prison : 3 All these three 4 
Owe their estates unto him. 

SERV. O my lord, 

They have all been touch'd, 5 and found base metal ; 

They have all denied him. 

SEM. How ! have they denied him ? 

Has Ventidius 6 and Lucullus denied him ? 
And does he send to me ? Three ? humph ! 
It shows but little love or judgment in him. 
Must I be his last refuge ? His friends, like phy- 

3 And notu Ventidius is "wealthy too. 

Whom he redeem'd from prison '.] This circumstance like- 
wise occurs in the anonymous unpublished comedy of Timon: 
" O yee ingrateful ! have I freed yee 
" From bonds in prison, to requite me thus, 
" To trample ore mee in my misery ?" MALONE. 

4 these three ] The word three was inserted by Sir T. 

Hanmer to complete the measure ; as was the exclamation O, 
for the same reason, in the following speech. STEEVENS. 

s They have all been touch'd,] That is, tried, alluding to the 
touchstone. JOHNSON. 

So, in King Richard III: 

" O Buckingham, now do I play the touch, 
" To try, if thou be current gold, indeed." 


6 Has Ventidius &c.] With this mutilated and therefore 
rugged speech no ear accustomed to harmony can be satisfied. 
Sir Thomas Hanmer thus reforms the first part of it : 

Have Lucius, and Ventidius, and Lucidlus, 

Denied him all ? and does he send to me? 
Yet we might better, I think, read with a later editor: 

Denied him, say you ? and does he send to me ? 

Three ? humph ! 
. It shows c. 

But I can only point out metrical dilapidations which I profess 
my inability to repair. STEEVEXS. 


Thrive, give him over ; 7 Must I take the cure upon 

me ? 

7 His friends, like physicians, 

Thrive, give him ovcr;~] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, try'd, 
plausibly enough. Instead of three proposed by Mr. Pope, I 
should read thrice. But perhaps the old reading is the true. 


Perhaps we should read shriv'd. They give him over shriv'd; 
that is, prepared for immediate death by shrift. TYRWHITT. 

Perhaps the following passage in Webster's Dutchcss of Malfy, 
is the best comment after all : 

" Physicians thus 

" With their hands full of money, use to give o'er 
" Their patients." 

The passage will then mean: " His friends, like physicians, 
thrive by his bounty and fees, and either relinquish, and forsake 
him, or give his case up as desperate." To give over in The 
Taming of the Shrew has no reference to the irremediable con- 
dition of a patient, but simply means to leave, to forsake, to quit: 
" And therefore let me be thus bold with you 
" To give you over at this first encounter, 
" Unless you will accompany me thither." STE EVENS. 

The editor of the second folio, the first and principal corruptcr 
of these plays, for Thrive, substituted Thriv'd, on which the 
conjectures of Sir Thomas Hanmer and Mr. Tyrwhitt were 

The passage quoted by Mr. Steevens from The DutcJiess of 
Malfy, is a strong confirmation of the old reading; for Webster 
appears both in that and in another piece of his ( The White 
Devil) to have frequently imitated Shakspeare. Thus, in The 
Dutchess of Malfy, we find: 

" Use me well, you were best ; 

" What I have done, I have done ; I'll confess nothing." 
Apparently from Othello : 

" Demand me nothing ; what you know, you know ; 

" From this time forth I never will speak word." 
Again, the Cardinal, speaking to his mistress Julia, who had 
importuned him to disclose the cause of his melancholy, says : 

" Satisfy thy longing; 

" The only way to make thee keep thy counsel, 

" Is, not to tell thee." 
So, in King Henry IF. Part I: 

so. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 93 

He has much disgrac'd me in't ; I am angry at him, 
That might have known my place : I see no sense 


But his occasions might have woo'd me first ; 
For, in my conscience, I was the first man 
That e'er receiv'd gift from him : 
And does he think so backwardly of me now, 
That I'll requite it last ? No : So it may prove 
An argument of laughter to the rest, 

" for secrecy 

" No lady closer ; for I well believe 

" Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know." 
Again, in The White Devil: 

" Terrify babes, my lord, with painted devils.'* 
So, in Macbeth: 

" 'tis the eye of childhood 

" That fears a painted devil." 
Again, in The White Devil: 

" the secret of my prince, 

" Which I will wear i'th' inside of my heart" 
Copied, I think, from these lines of Hamlet : 

" Give me the man 

" That is not passion's slave, and x l will tvear him 

" In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart." 
The White Devil was not printed till 1612. Hamlet had ap- 
peared in 1604. See also another imitation quoted in a note on 
Cymbeline, Act IV. sc. iii. ; and the last scene of the fourth Act 
of The Dutchess of Malfy, which seems to have been copied 
from our author's King John, Act IV. sc. ii. 

The Dutchess of Malfy had certainly appeared before 1619, 
for Burbage, who died in that year, acted in it ; I believe, be- 
fore 1616, for I imagine it is the play alluded to in Ben Jonson's 
Prologue to Every Man in his Humour, printed in that year : 

" To make a child new-swaddled to proceed 

" Man," &c. 

So that probably the lines above cited from Webster's play by 
Mr. Steevens, were copied from Timon before it was in print ; 
for it first appeared in the folio, 1623. Hence we may conclude, 
that thrive was not an error of the press, but our author's origin- 
al word, which Webster imitated, not from the printed book, 
but from the representation of the play, or the MS. copy. 
It is observable, that in this piece of Webster's, the duchess, 


And I amongst the lords be thought a fool. 8 
I had rather than the worth of thrice the sum, 
He had sent to me first, but for my mind's sake ; 
I had such a courage 9 to do him good. But now 


And with their faint reply this answer join ; 
Who bates mine honour, shall not know my coin. 


SERV. Excellent ! ' Your lordship's a goodly villain. 
The devil knew not what he did, when he made 
man politick; he crossed himself by't: and I can- 
not think, but, in the end, the villainies of man will 
set him clear. 2 How fairly this lord strives to ap- 

who, like Desdemona, is strangled, revives after long seeming 
dead, speaks a few words, and then dies. MALONE. 

8 And I amongst the lords be thought a fool.'] [Old copy and 
'mongst lords be thought a fool.~\ The personal pronoun was in- 
serted by the editor of the second folio. MALONE. 

I have changed the position of the personal pronoun, and 
added the for the sake of metre, which, in too many parts of 
this play, is incorrigible. STEEVENS. 

9 1 had such fi courage ] Such an ardour, such an eager 
desire. JOHNSON. 

1 Excellent ! &c.] I suppose the former part of this speech to 
have been originally written in verse, as well as the latter; 
though the players have printed it as prose (omitting several 
syllables necessary to the metre): it cannot now be restored 
without such additions as no editor is at liberty to insert in the 
text. STEEVENS. 

I suspect no omission whatsoever here. MALONE. 

* The devil knew not what he did, when he made man politick; 
he crossed himself bi/t : and I cannot think, but, in the end, the 
villainies of man ivifl set him clear.] I cannot but think, that 
the negative not has intruded into this passage, and the reader 
will think so too, when he reads Dr. Warburton's explanation 
of the next words. JOHNSON. 

will set him clear.'] Set him clear does not mean acquit 

him before heaven ; for then the devil must be supposed to know 
what he did ; but it signifies puzzle him, outdo him at his own 
Aveapons. WARBURTON. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 95 

pear foul ! takes virtuous copies to be wicked ; like 

How the devil, or any other being, should be set clear by be- 
ing puzzled and outdone, the commentator has not explained. 
When in a croud we would have an opening made, we say, 
Stand clear, that is, out of the way of danger. With some affi- 
nity to this use, though not without great harshness, to set clear, 
may be to set aside. But I believe the original corruption is the 
insertion of the negative, which was obtruded by some transcri- 
ber, who supposed crossed to mean thwarted, when it meant, 
exempted from evil. The use of crossing by way of protection 
or purification, was probably not worn out in Shakspeare's time. 
The sense of set clear is now easy ; he has no longer the guilt of 
tempting man. To cross himself may mean, in a very familiar 
sense, to clear his score, to get out of debt, to quit his reckoning. 
He knew not 'what he did, may mean, he knew not how much 
good he was doing himself. There is no need of emendation. 


Perhaps Dr. Warburton's explanation is the true one. Clear 
is an adverb, or so used ; and Dr. Johnson's Dictionary observes, 
that to set means, in Addison, to embarrass, to distress, to per- 
plex. If then the devil made men politick, he has thwarted his 
own interest, because the superior cunning of man will at last 
puzzle him, or be above the reach of his temptations. 


Johnson's explanation of this passage is nearly right ; but I 
don't see how the insertion of the negative injures the sense, or 
why that should be considered as a corruption. Servilius means 
to say, that the devil did not foresee the advantage that would 
arise to himself from thence, when he made men politick. He 
redeemed himself by it ; for men will, in the end, become so 
much more villainous than he is, that they will set him clear; he 
will appear innocent when compared to them. Johnson has 
rightly explained the words, " he crossed himself by it." So, 
in Cymbeline, Posthumus says of himself 

" It is I 

" That all the abhorred things o'the earth amend, 
" By being worse than they." M. MASON. 

The meaning, I think, is this: The devil did not know 
"what he was about, [how much his reputation for wickedness 
would be diminished] ivhen he made man crafty and interested ; 
he thwarted himself by it; [by thus raising up rivals to contend 
with him in iniquity, and at length to surpass him ;] and I can- 
not but think that at last the enormities of mankind will rise to- 


those that, under hot ardent zeal, would set whole 

realms on fire. 3 

Of such a nature is his politick love. 

This was my lord's best hope ; now all are fled, 

Save the gods only: 4 Now his friends are dead, 

such a height, 'as to make even Satan himself, in comparison, 
appear (what he would least of all wish to be) spotless and 

Clear is in many other places used by our author and the con- 
temporary writers, for innocent. So, in The Tempest: 

" nothing but heart's sorrow, 

" And a clear life ensuing.'* 
Again, in Macbeth: 

" This Duncan 

" Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 

" So clear in his great office, ." 
Again, in the play before us : 

" Roots, ye clear gods !" 
Again, in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 1657: 

" 1 know myself am clear 

" As is the new-born infant." MALONE. 

The devil's folly in making man politick, is to appear in this, 
that he will, at the long run, be too many for his old master, and 
get free of his bonds. The villainies of man are to set himself 
clear, not the devil, to whom he is supposed to be in thraldom. 


Concerning this difficult passage, I claim no other merit than 
that of having left before the reader the notes of all the com- 
mentators. I myself am in the state of Dr. Warburton's devil, 
puzzled, instead of being set clear by them. STEEVENS. 

3 takes virtuous copies to b p iviclced ; like those &c.] This 

is a reflection on the Puritans of that time. These people were 
then set upon the project of new-modelling the ecclesiastical 
and civil government according to scripture rules and exam- 
ples ; which makes him say, that under zeal for the word of God, 
they Mould set whole realms on fire. So, Sempronius pretended 
to that warm affection and generous jealousy of friendship, that 
is affronted, if any other be applied to before it. At best the 
similitude is an aukward one ; but it fitted the audience, though 
not the speaker. WARBURTON. 

4 Save the gods only .] Old copy Save only the gods. The 
transposition is Sir Thomas Hanmer's. STEEVEN?. 

sc. iv. TIMON OF ATHENS. 97 

Doors, that were ne'er acquainted with their wards 

Many a bounteous year, must be employ'd 

Now to guard sure their master. 

And this is all a liberal course allows ; 

Who cannot keep his wealth, must keep his house. 


The same. A Hall in Timon's House. 

Enter Two Servants of VARRO, and the Servant of 
Lucius, meeting TITUS, HORTENSIUS, and other 
Servants to TIMON'S Creditors, 'waiting his coming 

FAR. SERV. Well met ; good-morrow, Titus and 

TIT. The like to you, kind Varro. 

HOR. Lucius ? 

What, do we meet together ? 

Luc. SERV. Ay, and, I think, 

One business does command us all ; for mine 
Is money. 

TIT. So is theirs and ours. 

5 keep his house.'] i.e. keep within doors for fear of 

duns. JOHNSON. 

So, in Measure for Measure, Act III. sc. ii : " You will turn 
good husband now, Pompey ; you will keep the house." 





Luc. SERV. And sir 

Philotus too ! 

Pm. Good day at once. 

Luc. SERV. Welcome, good brother. 

What do you think the hour ? 

Pm. Labouring for nine. 

Luc. SERV. So much ? 

Pm. Is not my lord seen yet ? 

Luc. SERV. Not yet. 

PHI. I wonder on't; he was wont to shine at 

Luc. SERV. Ay, but the days are waxed shorter 

with him : 

You must consider, that a prodigal course 
Is like the sun's; 6 but not, like his, recoverable. 
I fear, 

'Tis deepest winter in lord Timon's purse ; 
That is, one may reach deep enough, and yet 
Find little. 7 

Pm. I am of your fear for that. 

6 . a prodigal course 

Is like the sun's;~\ That is, like him in blaze and splendor. 
Soles occidere ci redirc possunt. Catull. JOHNSON. 

Theobald, and the subsequent editors, elegantly enough, but 
without necessity, read a prodigal's course. We have the 
same phrase as that in the text in the last couplet of the preced- 
ing scene : 

" And this is all a liberal course allows." MALONE. 

7 reach deep enough, and yet 

Find little.'] Still, perhaps, alluding to the effects of winter, 
during which some animals are obliged to seek their scanty pro- 
vision through a depth of snow. STEEVENS. 

sc. iv. TIMON OF ATHENS. 99 

TIT. I'll show you how to observe a strange event. 
Your lord sends now for money. 

HOR. Most true, he does. 

TIT. And he wears jewels now of Timon' s gift, 
For which I wait for money. 

HOR. It is against my heart. 

Luc. SERV. Mark, how strange it shows, 

Timon in this should pay more than he owes : 
And e'en as if your lord should wear rich jewels, 
And send for money for 'em. 

HOR. I am weary of this charge, 8 the gods can 

witness : 

I know, my lord hath spent of Timon's wealth, 
And now ingratitude makes it worse than stealth. 

1 FAR. SERV. Yes, mine's three thousand crowns: 
What's yours ? 

Luc. SERV. Five thousand mine. 

1 VAR. SERV. 'Tis much deep : and it should seem 

by the sum, 

Your master's confidence was above mine ; 
Else, surely, his had equall'd. 9 

3 / am iveary of this charge,"] That is, of this commission? 
of this employment. JOHNSON. 

9 Else, surely, his had equalled.'] Should it not be, Else, 
surely, mine had equalled. JOHNSON. 

The meaning of the passage is evidently and simply this : Your 
master, it seems, had more confidence in lord Timon than mine, 
otherwise his (i.e. my master's) debt (i.e. the money due to 
him from Timon) would certainly have been as great as your 
master's (i. e. as the money which Timon owes to your master ;) 
that is, my master being as rich as yours, could and would have 
advanced Timon as large a sum as your master has advanced 
him, if he, (my master) had thought it prudent to do so. 


The meaning may be, " The confidential friendship subsisting 

H 2 



TIT. One of lord Timon's men. 

Luc. SERV. Flaminius ! sir, a word : 'Pray, is my 
lord ready to come forth ? 

between your master [Lucius] and Timon, was greater than that 
subsisting between my master [Varro] and Timon ; else surely 
the sum borrowed by Timon from your master had been equal 
to, and no greater than, the sum borrowed from mine ; and this 
equality would have been produced by the application made to 
my master being raised from three thousand crowns to Jive 

Two sums of unequal magnitude may be reduced to an 
equality, as well by addition to the lesser sum, as by subtraction 
from the greater. Thus, if A has applied to B for ten pounds, 
and to C for five, and C requests that he may lend A precisely 
the same sum as he shall be furnished with by B, this may be 
done, either by C's augmenting his loan, and lending ten pounds 
as well as B, or by B's diminishing his loan, and, like C, lending 
only five pounds. The words of Varro 's servant therefore may 
mean, Else surely the same sums had been borrowed by Timon 
from both our masters. 

I have preserved this interpretation, because I once thought it 
probable, and because it may strike others as just. But the true 
explication I believe is this (which I also formerly proposed). 
His may refer to mine. " It should seem that the confidential 
friendship subsisting between your master and Timon, was greater 
than that subsisting between Timon and my master ; else surely 
his sum, i. e. the sum borrowed from my master, [the last ante- 
cedent] had been as large as the sum borrowed from yours." 

The former interpretation (though I think it wrong,) I have 
stated thus precisely, and exactly in substance as it appeared 
several years ago, (though the expression is a little varied,) be- 
cause a REMARKER [Mr. Ritson] has endeavoured to represent 
it as unintelligible. 

This Remarker, however, it is observable, after saying, that 
he shall take no notice of such see-saiv conjectures, with great 
gravity proposes a comment evidently formed on the latter of 
them, as an original interpretation of his own, on which the 
reader may safely rely. MA LONE. 

It must be perfectly clear, that the Remarker could not be 

sc. iv. TIMON OF ATHENS. 101 

FLAM. No, indeed, he is not. 

TIT. We attend his lordship ; 'pray, signify so 

FLAM. I need not tell him that ; he knows, you 
are too diligent. [Exit FLAMINIUS. 

Enter FLAVIUS in a Cloak, miiffled. 

Luc. SERF. Ha! is not that his steward muffled 

He goes away in a cloud : call him, call him. 

TIT. Do you hear, sir ? 

1 VAR. SERV. By your leave, sir, 

FLAV. What do you ask of me, my friend ? 
TIT. We wait for certain money here, sir. 

FLAV. Ay, 

If money were as certain as your waiting, 
'Twere sure enough. Why then preferred you not 
Your sums and bills, when your false masters eat 
Of my lord's meat ? Then they could smile, and 


Upon his debts, and take down th' interest 
Into their gluttonous maws. You do yourselves but 


To stir me up ; let me pass quietly : 
Believe't, my lord and I have made an end ; 
I have no more to reckon, he to spend. 

Luc. SERV. Ay, but this answer will not serve. 

indebted to a note which, so far as it is intelligible, seems dia- 
metrically opposite to his idea. It is equally so, that the editor 
[Mr. Malone] has availed himself of the above Remark, to vary 
the expression of his conjecture, and give it a sense it would 
otherwise never have had. B.ITSON. 


FLAV. If 'twill not, 1 

'Tis not so base as you j for you serve knaves. 

1 FAR. SERF. How ! what does his cashier'd 
worship mutter ? 

2 VAR. SERV. No matter what ; he's poor, and 
that's revenge enough. Who can speak broader 
than he that has no house to put his head in ? such 
may rail against great buildings. 

Enter SERViLius. 2 

TIT. O, here's Servilius ; now we shall know 
Some answer. 

SER. If I might beseech you, gentlemen r 

To repair some other hour, I should much 
Derive from it : 3 for, take it on my soul, 
My lord leans wond'rously to discontent. 
His comfortable temper has forsook him ; 
He is much out of health, and keeps his chamber. 

Luc. SERV. Many do keep their chambers, are 

not sick : 

And, if it be so far beyond his health, 
Methinks, he should the sooner pay his debts, 

1 If'twill not,'] Old copy If 'twill not serve. I have ven- 
tured to omit the useless repetition of the verb serve, because 
it injures the metre. STEEVENS. 

2 Enter Servilius.] It may be observed that Shakspeare has un- 
skilfully filled his Greek story with Roman names. JOHNSON. 

3 - / should much 
Derive from it : &c.] Old copy : 

- / should 

Derive much from it : &c. 

For this slight transposition, by which the metre is restored, I 
am answerable. STEEVENS. 


And make a clear way to the gods. 

SEE. Good gods ! 

TIT. We cannot take this for an answer, 4 sir. 

FLAM. \_Within.~] Servilius, help ! my lord ! my 
lord ! 

Enter TIMON, in a rage; FLAMINIUS following. 

TIM. What, are my doors oppos'd against my 

passage ? 

Have I been ever free, and must my house 
Be my retentive enemy, my gaol ? 
The place, which I have feasted, does it now, 
Like all mankind, show me an iron heart ? 

Luc. SERF. Put in now, Titus. 

TIT. My lord, here is my bill. 

Luc. SERF. Here's mine. 

HOR. SERF. And mine, my lord. 5 

BOTH FAR. SERF. And ours, mv lord. 

* */ 

Pm. All our bills. 

4 for an anstver,~] The article an, which is deficient in 

the old copy, was supplied by Sir Thomas Hanmer. 


s ITor. Serv. And mine, mif lord.~\ In the old copy this speech 
is given to Varro. I have given it to the servant of Plortensius, 
(who would naturally prefer his claim among the rest,) because 
to the following speech in the old copy is prefixed, 2. Var. which 
from the words spoken [And ours, my lord.] meant, I conceive, 
the two servants of Varro. In the modern editions this latter 
speech is given to Caphis, who is not upon the stage. 


This whole scene perhaps was strictly metrical, when it came 
from Shakspeare ; but the present state-of it is such, that it can- 
not be restored but by greater violence than an editor may be 
allowed to employ. 1 have therefore given it without the least 
attempt at arrangement. STEEVENS. 


TIM. Knock me down with 'em : 6 cleave me to 
the girdle. 

Luc. SERV. Alas! my lord, 

TIM. Cut my heart in sums. 

TIT. Mine, fifty talents. 

TIM. Tell out my blood. 

Luc. SERV. Five thousand crowns, my lord. 

TIM. Five thousand drops pays that.' 
What yours ? and yours ? 

1 FAR. SERF. My lord, 

2 FAR. SERV. My lord, 

TIM. Tear me, take me, and the gods fall upon 
you ! [Exit. 

HOE. 'Faith, I perceive our masters may throw 
their caps at their money ; these debts may well be 
called desperate ones, for a madman owes 'em. 


Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS. 

TIM. They have e'en put my breath from me, the 

slaves : 
Creditors ! devils. 

FLAV. My dear lord,- 

r ' Knock me doivn "with 'em:~] Timon quibbles. They present 
their written bills; he catches at the word, and alludes to the 
bills or battle-axes, which the ancient soldiery carried, and were 
still used by the watch in Shakspeare's time. See the scene 
between Dogberry, &c. in Much Ado about Nothing, Vol. VI. 
p. 96, n. 1. Again, in Hey wood's If you kno'w not me you know 
Nobody, 1633, Second Part, Sir John Gresham says to his cre- 
ditors : " Friends, you cannot beat me down with your bills.'" 
Again, in Decker's Guls Hornbook, 1609: " they durst not 
strike down their customers with large bills." STEEVENS. 

sc. m TIMON OF ATHENS. 105 

TIM. What if it should be so ? 

FLAV. My lord, 

TIM. I'll have it so : My steward ! 
FLAV. Here, my lord. 

TIM. So fitly ? Go, bid all my friends again, 
Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius ; all ; 
I'll once more feast the rascals. 7 

FLAV. O my lord, 

You only speak from your distracted soul ; 
There is not so much left, to furnish out 
A moderate table. 

TIM. Be't not in thy care ; go, 

7 So fitly ? Go, bid all my friends again, 
Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius; all: 
I'll once more feast the rascals."] Thus the second folio; 
except that, by an apparent error of the press, we have^ add 
instead of and. 

The first folio reads : 

Lucius, Lucidlus, and Sempronius Vllorxa : all t 

* Pll once more feast tlie rascals. 

Regularity of metre alone would be sufficient to decide in favour 
of the present text, which, with the second folio, rejects the 
fortuitous and unmeaning aggregate of letters Vllorxa. This 
Ullorxa, however, seems to have been considered as one of the 
" inestimable stones, unvalued jewels," which " emblaze the 
forehead" of that august publication, the folio 1623 ; and has 
been set, with becoming care, in the text of Mr. Malone. For 
my own part, like the cock in the fable, I am content to leave 
this gem on the stercoraceous spot where it was discovered. 
Ullorxa (a name unacknowledged by Athens or Rome) must (if 
meant to have been introduced at all) have been a corruption as 
gross as others that occur in the same book, where we find Bil- 
lingsgate instead of Basing-stoke; Epton instead of Hyperion; 
and an ace instead of Ate. Types, indeed, shook out of a hat, 
or shot from a dice-box, would often assume forms as legitimate 
as the proper names transmitted to us by Messieurs Flemings, 
Condell, and C. who very probably did not accustom themselves 
to spell even their own appellations with accuracy, or always in 
the same manner. STEEYENS. 


I charge thee ; invite them all : let in the tide 
Of knaves once more ; my cook and I'll provide. 



The same. The Senate-House. 
The Senate sitting. Enter ALCIBIADES, attended. 

1 SEN. My lord, you have my voice to it ; the 


Bloody ; 'tis necessary he should die : 
Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy. 

2 SEN. Most true ; the law shall bruise him. 8 
ALCIB. Honour, health, and compassion to the 

senate ! 

1 SEN. Now, captain ? 

ALCIB. I am an humble suitor to your virtues ; 
For pity is the virtue of the law, 
And none but tyrants use it cruelly. 
It pleases time, and fortune, to lie heavy 
Upon a friend of mine, who, in hot blood, 
Hath stepp'd into the law, which is past depth 
To those that, without heed, do plunge into it. 
He is a man, setting his fate aside, 9 

8 shall bruise him.] The old copy reads shall bruise 

'em. The same mistake has happened often in these plays. In 
a subsequent line in this scene we have in the old copy with 
him, instead of with 'em. For the correction, which is fully 
justified by the context, I am answerable. MALONE. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer also reads bruise him. STEEVENS. 

9 setting his fate aside,'] i. e. putting this action of his, 

which was pre-determined by fate, out of the question. 


sc. v. TIMON OF ATHENS. 107 

Of comely virtues : * 

Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice ; 

(An honour in him, which buys out his fault,) 

But, with a noble fury, and fair spirit, 

Seeing his. reputation touch'd to death, 

He did oppose his foe : 

And with such sober and unnoted passion 

He did behave his anger, ere 'twas spent, 2 

As if he had but prov'd an argument. 

1 He is a man, &c.] I have printed these lines after the ori- 
ginal copy, except that, for an honour, it is there, and honour. 
All the latter editions deviate unwarrantably from the original, 
and give the lines thus : 

He is a man, setting his fault aside, 

Of virtuous honour, which buys out his Jault ; 

Nor did he soil &c. JOHNSON. 

This licentious alteration of the text, with a thousand others 
of the same kind, was made by Mr. Pope. MALONE. 

* And with such sober and unnoted passion 

He did beha\e his anger, ere 'twas spent, &c.] Unnoted 
for common, bounded. Behave, for curb, manage. 

I would rather read : 

and unnoted passion 

He did behave, ere was his anger spent. 

Unnoted passion means, I believe, an uncommon command of 
his passion, such a one as has not hitherto been observed. Be- 
have his anger may, however, be right. In Sir W. D' Avenant's 
play of The Jmt Italian, 1630, behave is used in as singular i 
manner : 

" How well my stars behave their influence." 
Again : 

You an Italian, sir, and thus 

" Behave the knowledge of disgrace!" 
In both these instances, to behave is to manage. STEEVENS. 

" Unnoted passion," I believe, means a passion operating 
inwardly, but not accompanied with any external or boisterous 
appearances ; so regulated and subdued, that no spectator could 
note, or observe, its operation. 

The old copy reads He did behoove &c. which does not afford 
any very clear meaning. Behave, which Dr. Warburton inter- 


I SEW. You undergo too strict a paradox, 3 
Striving to make an ugly deed look fair : 
Your words have took such pains, as if they la- 


To bring manslaughter into form, set quarrelling 
Upon the head of valour ; which, indeed, 
Is valour misbegot, and came into the world 
When sects and factions were newly born : 
He's truly valiant, that can wisely suffer 
The worst that man can breathe; 4 and make his 


prets manage, was introduced by Mr. Howe. I doubt the text 
is not yet right. Our author so very frequently converts nouns 
into verbs, that I have sometimes thought he might have 
written " He did behalve his anger," i. e. suppress it. So, 
Milton : 

" yet put he not forth all his strength, 

" But check'd it mid-way." 

Behave, however, is used by Spenser, in his Fairy Queen, B. I. 
c. iii. in a sense that will suit sufficiently with the passage before us : 

" But who his limbs with labours, and his mind 

" Behaves with cares, cannot so easy miss." 
To behave certainly had formerly a very different signification 
from that in which it is now used. Cole, in his Dictionary, 
1679, renders it by tracto, which he interprets to govern, or 
manage. MALONE. 

On second consideration, the sense of this passage, (however 
perversely expressed on account of rhyme,) maybe this: " He 
managed his anger with such sober and unnoted passion [i. e. suf- 
fering, forbearance,] before it was spent, [i. e. before that dispo- 
sition to endure the insult he had received, was exhausted,] that 
it seemed as if he had been only engaged in supporting an argu- 
ment he had advanced in conversation." Passion may as well be 
used to signify suffering, as any violent commotion of the mind: 
and that our author was aware of this, may be inferred from his 
introduction of the Latin phrase " hysterica passio," in King 
Lear. See also Vol. XVI. p. 264-, n. 7. STEEVENS. 

3 You undergo too strict a paradox,^ You undertake a paradox 
too hard. JOHXSON. 

* that man can breathe ;] i. e. can utter. So afterwards : 

" You breathe in vain." 

ac. v. TIMON OF ATHENS. 109 

His outsides ; wear them like his raiment, care- 
lessly ; 

And ne'er prefer his injuries to his heart, 
To bring it into danger. 
If wrongs be evils, and enforce us kill, 
What folly 'tis, to hazard life for ill ? 

ALOIS. My lord, 

1 SEN. You cannot make gross sins look clear ; 
To revenge is no valour, but to bear. 

ALCIB. My lords, then, under favour, pardon me, 
If I speak like a captain. 
Why do fond men expose themselves to battle, 
And not endure all threatnings? 5 sleep upon it, 
And let the foes quietly cut their throats, 
Without repugnancy ? but if there be 
Such valour in the bearing, what make we 
Abroad ? G why then, women are more valiant, 
That stay at home, if bearing carry it ; 
And th 5 ass, more captain than the lion ; the felon, 7 

Again, in Hamlet: 

" Having ever seen, in the prenominate crimes, 
" The youth you breathe of, guilty." STEEVENS. 

5 threatnings ?~] Old copy threats. This slight, but 

judicious change, is Sir Thomas Hanmer's. In the next line but 
one, he also added, for the sake of metre, but . STEEVENS. 

e what make we 

Abroad?^ What do we, or what have ice to do in the fold. 

See Vol. V. p. 162, n. 5. MALONE. 

7 And th' ass, more captain than the lion; &c.] Here is an- 
other arbitrary regulation, [the omission of captain'] the ori- 
ginal reads thus : 

"what make we 

Abroad? why then, women are more valiant 

That stay at home, if bearing carry it: 

And the ass, more captain than the lion, 

The fellow, loaden with irons, wiser than the judge, 

If wisdom &c. 


Loaden with irons, wiser than the judge, 
If wisdom be in suffering. O my lords, 
As you are great, be pitifully good : 
Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood ? 
To kill, I grant, is sin's extremest gust; 8 

I think it may be better adjusted thus : 

what make ice 

Abroad? why then the "women are more valiant 

That stay at home; 

If bearing carry it, then is the ass 

More captain than the lion; and the felon 

Loaden with irons, wiser &c. JOHNSON. 

//"bearing carry it ,-] Dr. Johnson when he proposed to 

connect this hemistich with the following line instead of the pre- 
ceding words, seems to have forgot one of our author's favourite 
propensities. I have no doubt that the present arrangement is 

Mr. Pope, who rejected whatever he did not like, omitted the 
words more captain. They are supported by what Alcibiades 
has already said : 

" My lords, then, under favour, pardon me, 

" If I speak like a captain ." 

and by Shakspeare's 66th Sonnet, where the word captain is 
used with at least as much harshness as in the text: 

" And captive good attending captain ill." 
Again, in another of his Sonnets : 

" Like stones of worth they thinly placed are, 

" Or captain jewels in the carkanet." 

Dr. Johnson with great probability proposes to readjelon 
instead of fellow. MALONE. 

The word captain has been very injudiciously restored. That 
it cannot be the author's is evident from its spoiling what will 
otherwise be a metrical line. Nor is his using it elsewhere any 
proof that he meant to use it here. RITSON. 

I have not scrupled to insert Dr. Johnson's emendation, felon, 
for fellow in the text ; but do not perceive how the line can be- 
come strictly metrical by the omission of the word captain, 
unless, with Sir Thomas Hanmer, we transpose the conjunction 
and, and read : 

The ass more than the lion, and the felon, . 


8 sins extremest gust;] Gust, for aggravation. 


ac. v. TIMON OF ATHENS. ill 

But, in defence, by mercy, 'tis most just.' 
To be in anger, is impiety ; 
But who is man, that is not angry ? 
Weigh but the crime with this. 

2 SEN. You breathe in vain. 

ALCIS. In vain ? his service done 

At Lacedasmon, and Byzantium, 
Were a sufficient briber for his life. 

1 SEN. What's that ? 

ALCIS. Why, I say, 1 my lords, h'as done fair 


And slain in fight many of your enemies: 
How full of valour did he bear himself 
In the last conflict, and made plenteous wounds ? 

2 SEN. He has made too much plenty with 'em, 2 he 

Gust is here in its common sense ; the utmost degree of appe* 
tite for sin. JOHNSON. 

I believe gust means rashness. The allusion may be to a 
sudden gust qfivind. STEEVENS. 

So we say, it was clone in a sudden gust of passion. 


9 by mercy, 'tis most Just.'] By mercy is meant equity. 
But we must read : 

'tis made just. WARBURTON. 

Mercy is not put for equity. If such explanation be allowed, 
what can be difficult ? The meaning is, 1 call mercy herself to 
witness, that defensive violence is just. JOHNSON. 

The meaning, I think, is, Homicide in our own defence, by a 
merciful and lenient interpretation of the laws, is considered as 
justifiable. MALONE. 

Dr. Johnson's explanation is the more spirited ; but a passage 
in King John should seem to countenance that of Mr. Malone : 
" Some sins do bear their privilege on earth, 
" And so doth yours ." STEEVENS. 

1 Why, I say,'] The personal pronoun was inserted by the editor 
of the second folio. MALONE. 

with 'em,] The folio with Am. JOHNSOX. 


Is a sworn rioter : 3 h'as a sin that often 
Drowns him, and takes his valour prisoner : 
If there were no foes, that were enough alone 4 
To overcome him : in that beastly fury 
He has been known to commit outrages, 
And cherish factions : 'Tis inferred to us, 
His days are foul, and his drink dangerous. 

1 SEX. He dies. 

ALCIB. Hard fate ! he might have died in war. 
My lords, if not for any parts in him, 
(Though his right arm might purchase his own time, 
And be in debt to none,) yet, more to move you, 
Take my deserts to his, and join them both : 
And, for I know, your reverend ages love 
Security, I'll pawn 5 my victories, all 
My honour to you, upon his good returns. 
If by this crime he owes the law his life, 
Why, let the war receiv't in valiant gore ; 
For law is strict, and war is nothing more. 

1 SEN. We are for law, he dies j urge it no more, 

The correction was made by the editor of the second folio. 


3 Is a sworn rioter:] A sworn rioter is a man who practises 
riot, as if he had by an oath made it his duty. JOHNSON. 

The expression, a sworn rioter, seems to be similar to that of 
sworn brothers. See Vol. XII. p. 320, n. 2. MALONE. 

4 alone ] This word was judiciously supplied by Sir 

Thomas Hanmer, to complete the measure. Thus, in All's well 
that ends well: 

" Good alone 

" Is good ." STEEVENS* 

your reverend ages lone 

Security, I'll pawn #c.] He charges them obliquely with 
being usurers. JOHNSON. 

So afterwards : 

" banish usury 

" That makes the senate ugly." MALONI;. 

sc. r. TIMON OF ATHENS. us 

On height of our displeasure : Friend, or brother, 
He forfeits his own blood, that spills another. 

ALCIS. Must it be so? it must not be. My lords, 
I do beseech you, know me. 

2 SEN. How ? 

ALCIS. Call me to your remembrances. 6 

3 SEN. What ? 

ALOIS. I cannot think, but your age has forgot 


It could not else be, I should prove so base, 7 
To sue, and be denied such common grace : 
My wounds ache at you. 

1 SEN. Do you dare our anger ? 

'Tis in few words, but spacious in effect j 8 
We banish thee for ever. 

ALOIS. Banish me ? 

Banish your dotage ; banish usury, 
That makes the senate ugly. 

1 SEN. If, after two days' shine, Athens contain 

Attend our weightier judgment. And, not to 

swell our spirit, 9 
He shall be executed presently. [_Exeunt Senators. 

remembrances'] is here used as a word of five syllables. 

In the singular number it occurs as a quadrisyllable only. See 
Twelfth-Night, Act I. sc. i : 

" And lasting in her sad remembrance" STEEVENS. 

7 - / should prove so base,] Base for dishonoured. 


8 Do you dare our anger? 

'Tis in jeiu words, but spacious in effects'] This reading 
may pass, but perhaps the author wrote : 

-- our anger 

in words, but spacious in effect. JOHNSON. 
And t not to swell our spirit,'] I believe, means, not to put 


ALCIB. Now the gods keep you old enough ; 

that you may live 

Only in bone, that none may look on you ! 
I am worse than mad : I have kept back their foes, 
While they have told their money, and let out 
Their coin upon large interest ; I myself, 
Rich only in large hurts ; All those, for this ? 
Is this the balsam, that the usuring senate 
Pours into captains' wounds? ha! banishment? 1 
It comes not ill ; I hate not to be banish'd ; 
It is a cause worthy my spleen and fury, 
That I may strike at Athens. I'll cheer up 
My discontented troops, and lay for hearts. 
J Tis honour, with most lands to be at odds ; 2 
Soldiers should brook as little wrongs, as gods. 


ourselves into any tumour of rage, take our definitive resolution. 

So, in King Henry VIII. Act III. sc. i : 

" The hearts of princes kiss obedience, 

" So much they love it ; but, to stubborn spirits, 

" They sivell and grow as terrible as storms." 


1 ha! banishment ?3 Thus the second folio. Its ever- 
blundering predecessor omits the interjection, ha! and conse- 
quently spoils the metre. The same exclamation occurs in 
Romeo and Juliet; 

" Ha! banishment? be merciful, say death- 


and lay for hearts. 

9 Tis honour, laith most lands to be at odds;~\ But surely even 
in a soldier's sense of honour, there is very little in being at odds 
\vith all about him; which shows rather a quarrelsome disposition 
than a valiant one. Besides, this was not Alcibiades's case. He 
was only fallen out with the Athenians. A phrase in the fore- 
going line will direct us to the right reading. I will lay, says he, 
for hearts; which is a metaphor taken from card-play, and sig- 
nifies to game deep and boldly. It is plain then the figure was 
continued in ths following line, which should be read thus : 

'Tis honour ivith most hands to be at odds; 
i e. to fight upon odds, or at disadvantage ; as he must do against 

sc. n. - TIMON OF ATHENS. 115 

A magnificent Room in Timon's House. 

Mustek. Tables set out: Servants attending. Enter 
divers Lords, 3 at several Doors. 

1 LORD. The good time of day to you, sir. 

2 LORD. I also wish it to you. I think, this 
honourable lord did but try us this other day. 

the united strength of Athens ; and this, by soldiers, is account- 
ed honourable. Shakspeare uses the same metaphor on the same 
occasion, in Coriolanus: 

" He lurck'd all swords." WARBURTON. 

I think hands is very properly substituted for lands. In the 
foregoing line, for, lay for hearts, I would read, play for hearts. 


I do not conceive that to lay for hearts is a metaphor taken 
from card-play, or that lay should be changed into play. We 
should now say, to lay out for hearts, i. e. the affections of the 
people ; but lay is used singly, as it is here, by Jonson, in The 
Devil is an Ass, [Mr. Whalley's edition] Vol. IV. p. 33: 
" Lay for some pretty principality." TYRWHITT. 

A kindred expression occurs in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 

" He takes up Spanish hearts on trust, to pay them 
" When he shall finger Castile's crown." MALONE. 

' Tis honour, ivith most lands to be at odds;~\ I think, with 
Dr. Johnson, that lands cannot be right. To assert that it is 
honourable to fight with the greatest part of the ivorld, is very 
wild. I believe therefore our author meant that Alcibiades in 
his spleen against the Senate, from whom alone he has received 
any injury, should say : 

'Tis honour "with most lords to be at odds. MALONE. 

I adhere to the old reading. It is surely more honourable to 
wrangle for a score of kingdoms, (as Miranda expresses it,) than 
to enter into quarrels with lords, or any other private adver- 
saries. STEEVENS. 

I 2 


I LORD. Upon that were my thoughts tiring, 4 
when we encountered : I hope, it is not so low with 
him, as he made it seem in the trial of his several 

The objection to the old reading still in my apprehension re- 
mains." It is not difficult for him who is so inclined, to quarrel 
with a lord ; (or with any other person ;) but not so easy to be 
at odds with his land. Neither does the observation just made, 
prove that it is honourable to quarrel, or to be at odds, with most 
of the lands or kingdoms of the earth, which must, I conceive, 
be proved, before the old reading can be supported. MALONE. 

By 'most lands, perhaps our author means greatest lands. So, 
in King Henry VI. P. I. Act IV. sc. i : 

" But always resolute in most extremes." 

i. e. in greatest. Alcibiades, therefore, may be willing to regard 
a contest with a great and extensive territory, like that of 
Athens, as a circumstance honourable to himself. STEEVENS. 

3 Enter divers Lords, *] In the modern editions these are called 
Senators; but it is clear from what is said concerning the banish-: 
ment of Alcibiades, that this must be wrong. I have therefore 
substituted Lords. The old copy has " Enter divers friends." 


* Upon that tvere my thoughts tiring,] A hawk, I think, is 
said to tire, when she amuses herself with pecking a pheasant's 
wing, or any thing that puts her in mind of prey. To tire upon 
a thing, is therefore, to be idly employed upon it. JOHNSON. 

I believe Dr. Johnson is mistaken. Tiring means here, I 
ihink,Jixed, fastened, as the hawk fastens its beak eagerly on its 
prey. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis: 
" Like as an empty eagle, sharp by fast, 
" Tires with her beak on feathers, flesh, and bone, " 
Tiroucr, that is, tiring for hawks, as Cotgrave calls it, signi- 
fied any thing by which the falconer brought the bird back, and 
fixed him to his hand. A capon's wing was often used for this 

In King Henry VI. Part II. we have a kindred expression : 

" your thoughts 

" Beat on a crown." MALONE. 

Dr. Johnson's explanation, I believe, is right. Thus, in The 
Winter's Tale, Antigonus is said to be " woman-ftV'rf," i. e. 
pecked by a woman, as we now say, with a similar allusion, hen- 
pecked, STEEVENS. 

sc. vi. TIMON OF ATHENS. 117 

2 LORD. It should not be, by the persuasion of 
his new feasting. 

1 LORD. I should think so : He hath sent me an 
earnest inviting, which many my near occasions did 
urge me to put off; but he hath conjured me be- 
yond them, and I must needs appear. 

2 LORD. In like manner was I in debt to my 
importunate business, but he would not hear my 
excuse. I am sorry, when he sent to borrow of 
me, that my provision was out. 

1 LORD. I am sick of that grief too, as I under- 
stand how all things go. 

2 LORD. Every man here's so. What would he 
have borrowed of you ? 

1 LORD. A thousand pieces. 

2 LORD. A thousand pieces ! 
1 LORD. What of you? 

3 LORD. He sent to me, sir, Here he comes. 

Enter TIMON, and Attendants. 

TIM. With all my heart, gentlemen both : And 
how fare you ? 

1 LORD. Ever at the best, hearing well of your 

2 LORD. The swallow follows not summer more 
willing, than we your lordship. 

TIM. [Aside."] Nor more willingly leaves winter ; 
such summer-birds are men. Gentlemen, our din- 
ner will not recompense this long stay : feast your 
ears with the musick awhile ; if they will fare so 
harshly on the trumpet's sound : we shall to't pre- 


1 LORD. I hope, it remains not unkindly with 
your lordship, that I returned you an empty mes- 

TIM. O, sir, let it not trouble you. 

2 LORD. My noble lord, 

TIM. Ah, my good friend ! what cheer ? 

[The Banquet brought in* 

2 LORD. My most honourable lord, I am e'en 
sick of shame, that, when your lordship this other 
day sent to me, I was so unfortunate a beggar. 

TIM. Think not on't, sir. 

2 LORD. If you had sent but two hours before, 

TIM. Let it not cumber your better remem- 
brance. 5 Come, bring in all together. 

2 LORD. All covered dishes ! 

1 LORD. Royal cheer, I warrant you. 

3 LORD. Doubt not that, if money, and the 
season can yield it. 

1 LORD. How do you ? What's the news ? 
3 LORD. Alcibiades is banished : Hear you of it? 
1 <T 2 LORD. Alcibiades banished ! 
3 LORD. 'Tis so, be sure of it. 

1 LORD. How ? how ? 

2 LORD. I pray you, upon what ? 

TIM. My worthy friends, will you draw near? 

* your better remembrance."] i. e. your good memory: 

the comparative for the positive degree. See Vol. X. p. 14/7 

n. 7. STEEVENS. 

?c. vi. TIMON OF ATHENS. 119 

3 LORD. I'll tell you more anon. Here's a noble 
/feast toward. 6 

2 LORD. This is the old man still. 

3 LORD. Will't hold ? will't hold ? 

2 LORD. It does : but time will and so 

3 LORD. I do conceive. 

TIM. Each man to his stool, with that spur as he 
would to the lip of his mistress : your diet shall be 
in all places alike. 7 Make not a city feast of it, to 
let the meat cool ere we can agree upon the first 
place : Sit, sit. The gods require our thanks. 

You great benefactors, sprinkle our society with 
thanlfulness. For your own gifts, make yourselves 
praised: but reserve still to give, lest your deities be 
despised. Lend to each man enough, that one need 
not lend to another: for, were your godheads to bor- 
row of men, men would forsake the gods. Make 
the meat be beloved, more than the man that gives it. 
Let no assembly of twenty be without a score of vil- 
lains: If there sit twelve women at the table, let a 
dozen of them be as they are. The rest of your 
fees,* O gods, the senators of Athens, together 
with the common lag 9 of people, what is amiss in 

6 Here's a noble feast toward.] i. e. in a state of readiness. 
So, in Romeo and Juliet : 

*' We have a foolish trifling banquet towards." 


7 your diet shall be in all places alike.'] See a note on 

The Winter's Tale, Vol. IX. p. 236, n. 1. STEEVENS. 

3 The rest of your fees,] We should read -foes. 


We must surely read foes instead of fees. I find no sense in 
the present reading. M. MASON. 

p the common lag ] Old copy leg. Corrected by 

Mr. Rowe. MALONE. 


them, you gods make suitable for destruction. For 
these my present friends, as they are to me nothing , 
so in nothing bless them, and to nothing they are 

Uncover, dogs, and lap. 

\_The Dishes uncovered are full of warm Water. 

SOME SPEAK. What does his lordship mean ? 
SOME OTHER. I know not. 

TIM. May you a better feast never behold, 
You knot of mouth -friends ! smoke, and hike-warm 


Is your perfection. 1 This is Timon's last ; 
Who stuck and spangled you with flatteries, 
Washes it off, and sprinkles in your faces 

[Throwing Water in their Faces. 
Your reeking villainy. Live loath'd, and long, 2 
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites, 
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears, 
You fools of fortune, 3 trencher-friends, time's flies, 4 

The Jag-end, of a web of cloth is, in some places, called the 
lag-end. STEEVENS. 

1 Is your perfection.] 'Your perfection, is the highest of your 
excellence. JOHNSON. 

2 Live loath* d, and long,~\ This thought has occurred 

twice before': 

let not that part 

" Of nature my lord paid for, be of power 
" To expel sickness, but prolong his hour." 
Again : 

" Gods keep you old enough," &c. STEEVENS. 

3 fools of fortune,"] The same expression occurs in Romeo 

and Juliet : 

"Oil am fortune's fool." STEEVENS. 

4 time's Jlies,~\ Flies of a season. JOHNSON. 

sc. vi. TIMON OF ATHENS. 121 

Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute-jacks! 5 
Of man, and beast, the infinite malady 6 
Crust you quite o'er ! What, dost tHou go ? 
Soft, take thy physick first thou too, and thou ; 
\_Throws the Dishes at them, and drives them 


Stay, I will lend thee money, borrow none. 
What, all in motion ? Henceforth be no feast, 
Whereat a villain's not a welcome guest. 
Burn, house ; sink, Athens ! henceforth hated be 
Of Timon, man, and all humanity ! [Exit. 

Re-enter the Lords, 'with other Lords and Senators. 

1 LORD. How now, my lords ? 7 

2 LORD. Know you the quality of lord Timon's 
fury ? 

3 LORD. Pish ! did you see my cap ? 

4 LORD. I have lost my gown. 

3 LORD. He's but a mad lord, and nought but 

So, before : 

" one cloud of winter showers, 

" These Jlies are couch'd." STEEVENS. 

6 minute-jacks !~\ Sir Thomas Hanmer thinks it means 

Jack-a-lantern^ which shines and disappears in an instant. 
What it was I know not ; but it was something of quick mo- 
tion, mentioned in King Richard III. JOHNSON. 

A minute-jack is what was called formerly a Jack of the clock- 
house ; an image whose office was the same as one of those at 
St. Dunstan's church in Fleet Street. See note on King Rich- 
ard III. Vol. XIV. p. 44-1, n. 3. STEEVENS. 

6 the infinite malady ] Every kind of disease incident 

to man and beast. JOHNSON. 

7 HOIK noiv, my lords?'] This and the next speecli are spoken 
by the newly arrived Lords. MALONE. 


humour sways him. He gave me a jewel the other 
day, and now he has beat it out of my hat : Did 
you see my jewel ? 

4 LORD. Did you see my cap ? 

2 LORD. Here 'tis. 

4 LORD. Here lies my gown. 

1 LORD. Let's make no stay. 

2 LORD. Lord Timon's mad. 

3 LORD. I feel't upon my bones. 

4 LORD. One day he gives us diamonds, next 

day stones. 8 [Exeunt. 


Without the Walls of Athens. 
Enter TIMON. 

TIM. Let me look back upon thee, O thou wall, 
That girdlest in those wolves ! Dive in the earth, 
And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent; 
Obedience fail in children ! slaves, and fools, 
Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench, 

8 stoncs.~\ As Timon has thrown nothing at his worth- 
less guests, except warm water and empty dishes, I am induced, 
with Mr. Malone, to believe that the more ancient drama de- 
scribed in p. 3, had been read by our author, and that he sup- 
posed he had introduced from it the " painted stones" as part of 
his banquet ; though in reality he had omitted them. The pre- 
sent mention therefore of such missiles, appears to want pro- 
priety. STEEVENS. 

ac. /. TIMON OF ATHENS. 223 

And minister in their steads ! to general filths 9 
Convert o'the instant, green 1 virginity 1 
Do't in your parents' eyes ! bankrupts, hold fast ; 
Rather than render back, out with your knives, 
And cut your trusters' throats! bound servants, 

steal ! 

Large-handed robbers your grave masters are, 
And pill by law ! maid, to thy master's bed ; 
Thy mistress is o'the brothel ! * son of sixteen, 
Pluck the lin'd crutch from the old limping sire, 
With it beat out his brains ! piety, and fear, 
Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth, 
Domestick awe, night-rest, and neighbourhood, 
Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades, 
Degrees, observances, customs, and laws, 
Decline to your confounding contraries, 3 
Andyet confusion 4 live! Plagues, incident to men, 

8 general Jilths ] i. e. common sewers. STEEVENS. 

1 green ~] i. e. immature. So, in Antony and Cleo- 
patra : 

" When I was green in judgment ." STEEVENS. 

1 o'the brothel!] So the old copies. Sir Thomas Han- 

mer reads, i'the brothel. JOHNSON. 

One would suppose it to mean, that the mistress frequented the 
brothel ; and so Sir Thomas Hanmer understood it. RITSON. 

i in , o'tn', ana a'tfi', are written with very 

seem to have been set down at random in different places. 


" Of the brothel" is the true reading. So, in King Lear, 
Act II. sc. ii. the Steward says to Kent, " Art of the house ?" 


3 confounding contraries,"] \. e. contrarieties whose na- 
ture it is to "waste or destroy each other. So, in King Henry V : 

" as doth a galled rock 

" O'erhang and jutty his confounded base." STEEVENS. 

4 yet confusion ] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, let con- 


Your potent and infectious fevers heap 
On Athens, ripe for stroke ! thou cold sciatica, 
Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt 
As lamely as their manners ! lust and liberty 5 
Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth j 
That 'gainst the stream of virtue they may strive, 
And drown themselves in riot ! itches, blains, 
Sow all the Athenian bosoms ; and their crop 
Be general leprosy ! breath infect breath ; 
That their society, as their friendship, may 
Be merely poison ! Nothing I'll bear from thee, 
But nakedness, thou detestable town ! 
Take thou that too, with multiplying banns ! 5 
Timon will to the woods; where he shall find 
The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind. 
The gods confound (hear me, you good gods all,) 
The Athenians both within and out that wall ! 
And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow 
To the whole race of mankind, high, and low ! 

fusion ; but the meaning may be, though by such confusion all 
things seem to hasten to dissolution, yet let not dissolution come, 
but the miseries of confusion continue. JOHNSON. 

5 liberty ] Liberty is here used for libertinism. So, 

in The Comedy of Errors : 

" And many such like liberties of sin;** 
apparently meaning libertines. STEEVENS. 

6 multiplying banns /] i. e. accumulated curses. Mul- 
tiplying for multiplied : the active participle with a passive signi- 
fication. See Vol. IV. p. 237, n. 3. STEEVENS. 

ac. ii. TIMON OF ATHENS. 12,5 


Athens. A Room in Timon's House. 
Enter FLAVius, 7 with Two or Three Servants. 

1 SERF. Hear you, master steward, where's our 

master ? 
Are we undone ? cast off? nothing remaining ? 

FLAV. Alack, my fellows, what should I say to 


Let me be recorded 8 by the righteous gods, 
I am as poor as you. 

1 SERF. Such a house broke ! 
So noble a master fallen! All gone! and not 
One friend, to take his fortune by the arm, 
And go along with him ! 

2 SERF. As we do turn our backs 
From our companion, thrown into his grave ; 

So his familiars to his buried fortunes 9 

7 Enter Flavius,] Nothing contributes more to the exaltation 
of Timon's character than the zeal and fidelity of his servants. 
Nothing but real virtue can be honoured by domesticks ; nothing 
but impartial kindness can gain affection from dependants. 


8 Let me be recorded ] In compliance with ancient ellip- 
tical phraseology, the word me, which disorders the measure, 
might be omitted. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads: 

Let it be recorded c. STEEVENS. 

-' to his buried fortunes ~] So the old copies. Sir T; 

Hanmer reads from; but the old reading might stand. 


I should suppose that the words from, in the second line, and 


Slink all away ; leave their false vows with him, 

Like empty purses pick'd : and his poor self, 

A dedicated beggar to the air, 

With his disease of all-shunn'd poverty, 

Walks, like contempt, alone. More of our fellows. 


Enter other Servants. 

FLAV. All broken implements of a ruin'd house. 

3 SERF. Yet do our hearts wear Timon's livery, 
That see I by our faces ; we are fellows still, 
Serving alike in sorrow : Leak'd is our bark ; 
And .we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck, 
Hearing the surges threat : we must all part 
Into this sea of air. 

FLAV. Good fellows all, 

The latest of my wealth I'll share amongst you. 
Wherever we shall meet, for Timon's sake, 
Let's yet be fellows; let's shake our heads, and say, 
As 'twere a knell unto our master's fortunes, 
We have seen better days. Let each take some ; 

[Giving them Money. 

Nay, put out all your hands. Not one word more : 
Thus part we rich in sorrow, parting poor. x 


to in the third line, have been misplaced, and that the original 
reading was : 

As we do turn our backs 

To our companion thrown into his grave, 

So his familiars from his buried fortunes 

Slink all away ; . 

When we leave a person, we turn our backs to him, not from 
him. M. MASON. 

So his familiars to his buried fortunes &c.] So those who 
were familiar to his buried fortunes, who in the most ample man- 
ner participated of them, slink all away, &c. MALONE. 

sc. n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 127 

O, the fierce wretchedness 2 that glory brings "us! 
Who would not wish to be from wealth exempt, 
Since riches point to misery and contempt? 
Who'd be so mock'd with glory ? or to live 
But in a dream of friendship ? 
To have his pomp, and all what state compounds, 
But only painted, like his varnish'd friends ? 
Poor honest lord, brought low by his own heart ; 
Undone by goodness! Strange, unusual blood, 3 
When man's worst sin is, he does too much good! 

rich in sorrow, parting poor.] This conceit occurs 

again in King Lear : 

" Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor" 


z 0, the fierce wretchedness ] I believe Jierce is here used 
for hasty, precipitate. Perhaps it is employed in the same sense 
by Ben Jonson in his Poetaster : 

" And Lupus, for your Jierce credulity, 
" One fit him with a larger pair of ears." 
In King Henry VIII. our author has Jierce vanities. In all 
instances it may. mean glaring, conspicuous, violent. So, in Ben 
Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, the Puritan says : 

" Thy hobby-horse is an idol, & Jierce and rank idol.'* 
Again, in King John : 

" O vanity of sickness 1 Jierce extremes 
" In their continuance will not feel themselves." 
Again, in 'Love's Labour's Lost : 

" With all the Jierce endeavour of your wit." 


- Strange, unusual blood,] Of this passage, I suppose, 
every reader would wish for a correction : but the word, harsh 
as it is, stands fortified by the rhyme, to which, perhaps, it 
owes its introduction. I know not what to propose. Perhaps 

.Strange, unusual mood, 

may, by some, be thought better, and by others worse. 


In The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, attributed to Shakspeare, 
Hood seems to be used for inclination, propensity: 

" For 'tis our blood to love what we are forbidden." 
Strange, unusual blood, may therefore mean, strange unusual 


Who then dares to be half so kind again ? 

For bounty, that makes gods, does still mar men. 

My dearest lord, bless'd, to be most accurs'd, 

Rich, only to be wretched; thy great fortunes 

Are made thy chief afflictions. Alas, kind lord ! 

He's flung in rage from this ungrateful seat 

Of monstrous friends : nor has he with him to 

Supply his life, or that which can command it. 

I'll follow, and inquire him out : 

I'll serve his mind with my best will ; 

Whilst I have gold, I'll be his steward still. \_Exit. 


The Woods. 
Enter TIMON. 

TIM. O blessedbreeding sun, drawfromthe earth 
Rotten humidity ; below thy sister's orb 4 
Infect the air 1 Twinn'd brothers of one womb, 
Whose procreation, residence, and birth, 
Scarce is dividant, touch them with several for- 
tunes ; 
The greater scorns the lesser: Not nature, 

Again, in the 5th Book of Gower, De Confessione Amantis, 

" And thus of thilke unkinde blood 

" Slant the memorie unto this daie." 

Gower is speaking of the ingratitude of one Adrian, a lord of 

Throughout these plays blood is frequently used in the sense 
of natural propensity or disposition. See Vol. VI. p. 73, n. 5 ; 
and p. 270, n. 7. MALONE. 

4 . beloiv thy sister's orb ] That is, the moon's, this 

sublunary world. JOHNSON. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 129 

To whom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, 

But by contempt of nature. 5 

liaise me this beggar, and denude that lord ; 6 

* Not nature, 

To uhom all sores lay siege, can bear great fortune, 
But by contempt of nature.] The meaning I take to be this: 
Brother, when his fortune is enlarged, will scorn brother ; for 
this is the general depravity of human nature, which, besieged 
as it is by misery, admonished as it is of want and imperfection, 
when elevated by fortune, will despise beings of nature like its 
own. JOHNSON. 

Mr. M. Mason observes, that this passage " but by the addi- 
tion of a single letter may be rendered clearly intelligible ; by 
merely reading natures instead of nature." The meaning will 
then be " Not even beings reduced to the utmost extremity of 
wretchedness, can bear good fortune, without contemning their 
fellow-creatures." The word natures is afterwards used in a 
similar sense by Apemantus : 

" Call the creatures 

" Whose naked natures live in all the spite 

" Of wreakful heaven," &c. 

Perhaps, in the present instance, we ought to complete the mea- 
sure by reading : 

not those natures, . STEEVENS. 

But by is here used for without. MA LONE. 

6 Raise me this beggar, and denude that lord;] [Old copy 
deny't that lord.] Where is the sense and English of deny't 
that lord? Deny him what? What preceding noun is there to 
which the pronoun it is to be referred ? And it would be absurd 
to think the poet meant, deny to raise that lord. The antithesis 
must be, let fortune raise this beggar, and let her strip and 
despoil that lord of all his pomp and ornaments, &c. which sense 
is completed by this slight alteration : 

and denude that lord; . 

So, Lord Rea, in his relation of M. Hamilton's plot, written in 
1650: " All these Hamiltons had denuded themselves of their 
fortunes and estates." And Charles the First, in his message to 
the parliament, says : "Denude ourselves of all." Clar. Vol. III. 
p. 15, octavo edit. WARBURTON. 

So, as Theobald has observed, in our author's Venus and 
Adonis : 

" Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures." 



The senator shall bear contempt hereditary, 

The beggar native honour. 

It is the pasture lards the brother's sides, 7 

Perhaps the former reading, however irregular, is the true 
one. Raise me that beggar, and deny a proportionable degree 
of elevation to that lord. A lord is not so high a title in the 
state, but that a man originally poor might be raised to one 
above it. We might read devest that lord. De-vest is an English 
law phrase, which Shakspeare uses in King Lear : 

" Since now we will devest us both of rule," &c. 
The word which Dr. Warburton would introduce is not, however, 
uncommon. I find it in The Tragcdie ofCrcesus, 1604: 
" As one of all happiness denuded." STEEVENS. 

7 It is the pasture lards the brother's sides,"] This, as the edi- 
tors have ordered it, is an idle repetition at the best ; supposing 
it did, indeed, contain the same sentiment as the foregoing lines. 
But Shakspeare meant quite a different thing : and having, like 
a sensible writer, made a smart observation, he illustrates it by a 
similitude thus : 

It is the pasture lards the wether's sides, 

The ivant that makes him lean. 

And the similitude is extremely beautiful, as conveying this sa- 
tirical reflection; there is no more difference between man and 
man in the esteem of supei'ficial and corrupt judgments, than 
between a fat sheep and a lean one. WARBUKTON. 

This passage is very obscure, nor do I discover any clear 
sense, even though we should admit the emendation. Let us in- 
spect the text as it stands in the original edition : 

It is the pastour lards the brother's sides, 

The "want that makes him leave : 
Dr. Warburton found the passage already changed thus : 

It is the pasture lards the beggar's sides. 

The tvant that makes him lean. 

And upon this reading of no authority, raised another equally 

Alterations are never to be made without necessity. Let us 
see what sense the genuine reading will afford. Poverty, says the 
poet, bears contempt hereditary, and wealth native honour. To 
illustrate this position, having already mentioned the case of a 
poor and rich brother, he remarks, that this preference is given 
to wealth by those whom it least becomes ; it is the pastour that 
greases or flatters the rich brother, and will grease him on till 
wtxt make him leave. The poet then goes on to ask, Who 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 1.31 

The want that makes him lean. Who dares, who 

dares to say this man, this pastour is a flatterer; the crime is 
universal ; through all the world the learned pate, with allusion 
to the pastour, ducks to the golden fool. If it be objected, as it 
may justly be, that the mention of a pastour is unsuitable, we 
must remember the mention of grace and cherubims in this play, 
and many such anachronisms in many others. I would therefore 
read thus : 

It is the pastour lards the brother's sides, 

'Tis taant that makes him leave. 

The obscurity is still great. Perhaps a line is lost. I have at least 
given the original reading. JOHNSON. 

Perhaps Shakspeare wrote pasterer,for I meet with such a word 
in Greene's Farewell to Follie, 1617 : " Alexander, before he 
fell into the Persian delicacies, refused those cooks saidpasterers 
that Ada queen of Caria sent to him." There is likewise a 
proverb among Ray's Collection, which seems to afford much 
the same meaning as this passage in Shakspeare : " Every 
one basteth the fat hog, while the lean one burneth." Again, in 
Troilus and Cressida, Act II : 

" That were to enlard \nsjht-already pride." 


In this very difficult passage, which still remains obscure, some 
liberty may be indulged. Dr. Farmer proposes to read it thus : 

It is the pasterer lards the broader sides, 

The gaunt that makes him leave. 

And in support of this conjecture, he observes, that the Saxon d 
is frequently converted into th, as in murther, murder, burthen, 
burden, &c. REED. 

That the passage is corrupt as it stands in the old copy, no 
one, I suppose, can doubt; emendation therefore in this and a 
few other places, is not a matter of choice but necessity. I have 
already more than once observed, that many corruptions have 
crept into the old copy, by the transcriber's ear deceiving him. 
In Coriolanus we have higher for hire, and hope for holp ; in the 
present play reverends for reverend* 'st ; and in almost every play 
similar corruptions. In King Richard II. quarto, 1598, we find 
the very error that happened here : 

" and bedew 

" Her pastors 1 grass with faithful English blood." 
Again, in As you like it, folio, 1623, we find, " I have heard 
him read many lectors against it ;" instead of lectures. 

K 2 


In purity of manhood stand upright, 

Pasture, when the u is sounded thin, and pastor, are scarcely 

Thus, as I conceive, the true reading of the first disputed 
word of this contested passage is ascertained. In As you like it 
we have " good pasture makes fat sheep." Again, in the same 

" Anon, a careless herd, 

" Full of the pasture, jumps along by him," &c. 

The meaning then of the passage is, It is the land alone 
which each man possesses that makes him rich, and proud, and 
flattered ; and the want of it, that makes him poor, and an ob- 
ject of contempt. I suppose, with Dr. Johnson, that Shakspeare 
was still thinking of the rich and poor brother already described. 

I doubt much whether Dr. Johnson himself was satisfied with 
his far-fetched explication ofpastour, as applied to brother; [See 
his note.] and I think no one else can be satisfied with it. In 
order to give it some little support, he supposes " This man's 
a flatterer," in the following passage, to relate to the imaginary 
pastor in this; whereas those words indubitably relate to any 
one individual selected out of the aggregate mass of .mankind. 

Dr. Warburton reads ivether's sides ; which affords a com- 
modious sense, but is so far removed from the original reading 
as to be inadmissible. Shakspeare, I have no doubt, thought at 
first of those animals that are fatted by pasture, and passed from 
thence to the proprietor of the soil. 

I have sometimes thought that he might have written the 
breathers sides. He has thrice used the word elsewhere. " I 
will chide no breather in the world but myself," says Orlando in 
As you like it. Again, in one of his Sonnets: 

" When all the breathers of this world are dead." 
Again, in Antony and Cleopatra : 

" She shows a body, rather than a life; 
" A statue than a breather" 

If this was the author's word in the passage before us, it must 
mean every living animal. But I have little faith in such con- 

Concerning the third word there can be no difficulty. Leanc 
was the old spelling of lean, and the u in the MSS. of our 
author's time is not to be distinguished from an n. Add to this, 
that in the first folio u is constantly employed where v/e now 
use a v; and hence, by inversion, the two letters were often 
confounded (as they are at this day in almost every profif-sliect 
of every book that passes through the press). Of this I have 

so. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 133 

And say, This man's a flatterer?* if one be, 

given various instances in a note in Vol. V. p. 191, n. 3. See 
also Vol. IX. p. 412, n. 9. 

But it is not necessary to have recourse to these instances. 
This very word leave is again printed instead of leane, in King 
Henry IV. Part II. quarto, IfjOO: 

" The lives of all your loving complices 
" Leave on your health." 

On the other hand, in King Henry VIII. 1623, we have leane 
instead of leave: " You'll leane your noise anon, you rascals." 
But any argument on this point is superfluous, since the context 
clearly shows that Jean must have been the word intended by 

Such emendations as those now adopted, thus founded and 
supported, are not capricious conjectures, against which no one 
has set his face more than myself, but almost certainties. 

This note has run out into an inordinate length, for which I 
shall make no other apology than that finding it necessary to 
depart from the reading of the old copy, to obtain any sense, I 
thought it incumbent on me to support the readings I have 
chosen, in the best manner in my power. MALONE. 

As a brother (meaning, I suppose, n churchman) does not, 
literally speaking, fatten himself by feeding on land, it is proba- 
ble that pasture signifies eating in general, without reference to 
terra Jirma. So, in Love's Labour's Lost: 

" Food for his rage, Depasture for his den." 

Pasture, in the sense of nourishment collected from fields, 
will undoubtedly fatten the sides of a sheep or an ox, but who 
ever describes the owner of the fields us having derived from 
them his embonpoint ? 

The emendation lean is found in the second folio, which 
should not have been denied the praise to which it is entitled. 

Breather's sides can never be right, for who is likely to grow 
fat through the mere privilege of breathing? or who indeed can 
receive sustenance without it ? 

The reading in the text may be the true one ; but the condi- 
tion in which this play was transmitted to us, is such as will war- 
rant repeated doubts in almost every scene of it. STEEVENS. 

8 And srt?/, This man's a flatterer ?~\ This man does not refer 
to any particular person before mentioned, as Dr. Johnson 
thought, but to some supposed individual. Who, says Timon, 
can with propriety lay his hand on this or that individual, and 


So are they all ; for every grize of fortune 
Is smooth'd by that below : the learned pate 
Ducks to the golden fool : All is oblique ; 
There's nothing level in our cursed natures, 
But direct villainy. Therefore, be abhorr'd 
All feasts, societies, and throngs of men ! 
His semblable, yea, himself, Timon disdains : 
Destruction fang mankind !' Earth, yield me 

roots ! \_Dtgging. 

Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate 
With thy most operant poison ! What is here ? 
Gold ? yellow, glittering, precious gold ? No, gods, 
I am no idle votarist. 2 Roots, you clear heavens ! 3 
Thus much of this, will make black, white j foul, 

fair ; 
Wrong, right ; base, noble ; old, young ; coward, 


pronounce him a peculiar flatterer ? All mankind are equally 

flatterers. So, in As you like it: 

" Who can come in, and say, that I mean her, 

" When such a one as she, such is her neighbour ?." 


9 for every grize of fortune ] Grize for step or degree. 

See Vol. V. p. 34-5, n. 8. MALONE. 

1 fang mankind!] i. e. seize, gripe. This verb is used 

by Decker in his Match me at London, 1631 : 

" bite any catchpole that fangs for you." 


* no idle votarist.] No insincere or inconstant supplicant. 

Gold will not serve me instead of roots. JOHNSON. 

3 you clear heavens!] This may mean either ye cloudless 

sfcies, or ye deities exempt from guilt. Shakspeare mentions the 
clearest gods in King Lear; and in Acolastus, a comedy, 154-0, 
a stranger is thus addressed : " JGood stranger or alyen, clere 
gest," &c. Again, in The Rape of Lucrece: 

" Then Collatine again by Lucrece' side, 
" In his dear bed might have reposed still." 
i. e. his uncontaminated bed. STEEVENS. 

See p. 95. MALONE. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 13.5 

Ha, you gods ! why this ? What this, you gods ? 

Why this 

Will lug your priests and servants from your sides; 4 
Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads: 5 
This yellow slave 

Will knit and break religions ; bless the accurs'd; 
Make the hoar leprosy 6 ador'd ; place thieves, 
And give them title, knee, and approbation, 
With senators on the bench : this is it, 7 
That makes the wappen'd widow wed again ; 8 

* Why this 

Will lug your priests and servants from your sides;"] Aris- 
tophanes, in his Plutus, Act V. sc. ii. makes the priest of Jupiter 
desert his service to live with Plutus. WARBUUTON. 

5 Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads :~] i. e. 
men who have strength yet remaining to struggle with their dis- 
temper. This alludes to an old custom of drawing away the pil- 
low from under the heads of men in their last agonies, to make 
their departure the easier. But the Oxford editor, supposing 
stout to signify healthy, alters it to sick, and this he calls emend- 

6 the hoar leprosy ] So, in P. Holland's translation of 

Pliny's Natural History, Book XXVIII. ch. xii : " the foul 
white leprie called elephantiasis. 1 " STEEVENS. 

7 . this is it,~\ Some word is here wanting to the metre. 

We might either repeat the pronoun this; or avail ourselves of 
our author's common introductory adverb, emphatically used 
why, this it is. STEEVENS. 

8 That makes the wappen'd widow wed again ;~] Waped or 
wappen'd signifies both sorrowful and terrified, either for the 
loss of a good husband, or by the treatment of a bad. But gold, 
he says, can overcome both her affection and her fears. 


Of wappened I have found no example, nor know any mean- 
ing. To awhape is used by Spenser in his Hubberd's Tale, but 
I think not in either of the senses mentioned. I would read 
wained, for decayed by time. So, our author, in King 
Richard III: 

" A beauty -waining, and distressed widow." 



She, whom the spital-house, and ulcerous sores 

In the comedy of The Roaring Girl, by Middleton and 
Decker, 1611, I meet with a word very like this, which the 
reader will easily explain for himself, when he has seen the fol- 
lowing passage : 

" Moll. And there you shall wap with me. 

" Sir B, Nay, Moll, what's that wap ? 

" Moll, happening and niggling is all one, the rogut 

my man can tell you." 
Again, in Ben Jonson's Masque of Gypsies Metamorphosed: 

" Boarded at Tappington, 

" Bedded at IVappington." 

Again, in Martin Mark-all's Apologie to the Bel-man of Lon- 
don, 1610: " Niggling is company-keeping with a woman : this 
word is not used now, but capping, and thereof comes the name 
ivapping-morts for whores." Again, in one of the Paston Letters, 
Vol. IV. p. 417: " Deal courteously with the Queen, &c. and 
with Mrs. Anne Hawte for wappys" &c. 

Mr. Amner observes, that " the editor of these same Letters, 
to wit, Sir John Fenn, (as perhaps becometh a grave man and a 
magistrate,) professeth not to understand this passage." 

It must not, however, be concealed, that Chaucer, in The 
Complaint of Annelida, line 217, uses the word in the sense iu 
which Dr. Warburton explains it : 

" My sewertye in waped countenance." 

Wappened, according to the quotations 1 have already given, 
wo.uld mean -The widow whose curiosity and passions had been 
already gratified. So, in Hamlet: 

" The instances that second marriage move, 

" Are base respects of thrift, but none o ! -' love" 
And if the word defunct, in Othello, be explained according to 
its primitive meaning, the same sentiment may be discovered 
there. There may, however, be some corruption in the text. 
After all, I had rather read weeping widow. So, in the ancient 
bl. 1. ballad entitled, The little Barley Come: 

" 'Twill make a weeping widow laugh, 

" And soon incline to pleasure." STEEVENS. 

The instances produced by Mr. Steevens fully support the text 
in ray apprehension, nor do I suspect any corruption. Unwap- 
per'd is used by Fletcher in The Two Noble Kinsmen, for fresh, 
the opposite of stale ; and perhaps we should read there umvap- 

Mr. Steevens's interpretation however, is, I think, not quite 
exact, because it appears to me likely to mislead the reader with 
respect to the general import of the passage. Shakspeare means 

so. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 137 

Would cast the gorge at, 9 this embalms and spices 

not to account for the wappen'd widow's seeking a husband, 
(though " her curiosity has been gratified") but for her folding 
one. It is her gold, says he, that induces some one (more at- 
tentive to thrift than lore) to accept in marriage the hand of the 
experienced and o'er-worn widow. Wed is here used for uiedded. 
So, in The Comedy of Errors, Act I. sc. i : 
" In Syracusa was I born, and wed 
" Unto a woman, happy but for me." 

If wed is used as a verb, the words mean, that effects or pro- 
duces her second marriage. MALONE. 

I believe, unwapper'd means undebilitated by venery, i. e, not 
halting under crimes many and stale. STEEVENS. 

Mr. Tyrwhitt explains wap'd, in the line cited from Chaucer, 
by stupified; a sense which accords with the other instances 
adduced by Mr. Steevens, as well as with Shakspeare. The 
wappen'd widow, is one who is no longer alive to those pleasures, 
the desire of which was her first inducement to marry. HENLEY. 

I suspect that there is another error in this passage, which has 
escaped the notice of the editors, and that we should read 
" woo'd again," instead of " wed again." That a woman should 
wed again, however wapper'd, [or wappen'd] is nothing extra- 
ordinary. The extraordinary circumstance is, that she should 
be woo'd again, and become an object of desire. M. MASON. 

9 She, whom the spital-house, and ulcerous sores 

Would cast the gorge at,~\ Surely we ought to read: 
She, whose ulcerous sores the spital house 
Would cast the gorge at, . 

Or, should the first line be thought deficient in harmony 
She, at whose ulcerous sores the spital-house 

Would cast the gorge up, . 

So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen: 

" And all the way, most like a brutish beast, 
" He spewed up his gorge." 
The old reading is nonsense. 

I must add, that Dr. Farmer joins with me in suspecting this 
passage to be corrupt, and is satisfied with the emendation I 
have proposed. STEEVENS. 

In Antony and Cleopatra, we have honour and death, for ho- 
nourable death. " The spital-house and ulcerous sores," there- 
fore may be used for the contaminated spital-house ; the spital- 
house replete with ulcerous sores. If it be asked, how can the 
.spital-house, or how can ulcerous sores, cast the gorge at the fe- 


To the April day again. 1 Come, damned earth, 

male here described, let the following passages answer the 

question : 

'* Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon ivinks." 


Again, in Hamlet: 

" Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd, 
" Makes mouths at the invincible event." 

Again, ibidem: 

till our ground 

" Singeing his pate against the burning zone," c. 
Again, in Julius Ccesar: 

" Over thy mounds now do I prophecy, 

" Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips y ." 
Again, in The Merchant of Venice: 

" when the bag-pipe sings i'the nose, ." 

Again, in the play before us : 

*' when our vaults have wept 

" W T ith drunken spilth of wine ." 

In the preceding page, all sores are said to lay siege to nature ; 
which they can no more do, if the passage is to be understood 
literally, than they can cast the gorge at the sight of the person 
here described. In a word, the diction of the text is so very 
Shakspearian, that I cannot but wonder it should be suspected 
of corruption. 

The meaning is, Her whom the spital-house, however pol- 
luted, would not admit, but reject with abhorrence, this em- 
balms, &c. or, (in a looser paraphrase) Her, at the sight of 
whom all the patients in the spital-house, however contami- 
nated, would sicken and turn away with loathing and abhor- 
rence, disgusted by the view of still greater pollution, than any 
they had yet experience of, this embalms and spices, &c. 

To " cast the gorge of," was Shakspeare's phraseology. So, 
in Hamlet, Act V. sc. i : " How abhorr'd in my imagination it 
is ! my gorge rises at it." 

To the various examples which I have produced in support of 
the reading of the old copy, may be added these : 

" Our fortune on the sea is out of breath, 

" And sinks rriost lamentably." 

Antony and Cleopatra. 
Again, ibidem : 

" Mine eyes did sicken at the sight." 
Again, in Hamlet: 

" Even to the teeth and forehead of our fa ults." TIMON OF ATHENS. 139 

Thou common whore of mankind, that put'st odds 
Among the rout of nations, I will make thee 
Do thy right nature.* [March afar off.'] Ha ! a 

drum ? Thou'rt quick, 3 
But yet I'll bury thee : Thou'lt go, strong thief, 4 

Again, ibidem : 

" we will fetters put upon this fear, 

" Which now goes to free-footed" 
/\gain, in Troilus and Cressida: 

" His evasions have ears thus long." MALONE. 

1 To the April day again."] That is, to the tvedding day, 
called by the poet, satirically, April day, or fool's day. 


The April day does not relate to the ividou, but to the other 
diseased female, who is represented as the outcast of an hospital. 
She it is whom gold embalms and spices to the April day again : 
\. e. gold restores her to all the freshness and sweetness of youth. 
, Such is the power of gold, that it will 

" make black, white ; foul, fair ; 

" Wrong, right;" &c. 

A quotation or two may perhaps support this interpretation. So, 
in Sidney's Arcadia, p. 262, edit. 1633 : " Do you see how the 
spring time is full of flowers, decking itself with them, and not 
aspiring to the fruits of autumn ? What lesson is that unto you, 
but that in the April of your age you should be like April." 

Again, in Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, 1607: " He is 
a young man, and in the April of his age" Peacham's Com- 
phat Gentleman, chap. iii. calls youth " the April of man's 
life." Shakspeare's Sonnet entitled Love's Cruelty, has the 
same thought : 

" Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee 

" Calls back the lovely April of her prime." 
Daniel's 31st Sonnet has, " the April of my years." Master 
Fenton " smells April and May." TOLLET. 

* Do thy right nature.~\ Lie in the earth where nature laid 
thee. JOHNSON. 

3 ThoiCrt quick,'] Thou hast life and motion in thee. 


4 ' strong thief] Thus, Chaucer, in the Pardonere's Tale: 

" Men wolden say that we were theeves strong." 



When gouty keepers of thee cannot stand : 
Nay, stay thou out for earnest. 

[Keeping some Gold. 

Enter ALCIBIADES, 'with Drum and Fife, in 'warlike 
manner; PHRYNIA and TIMANDRA. 

ALCIB. What art thou there ? 


TIM. A beast, as thou art. The canker gnaw thy 

For showing me again the eyes of man ! 

ALCIB. What is thy name ? Is man so hateful to 

That art thyself a man ? 

TIM. I am misanthropos, 5 and hate mankind. 
For thy part, I do wish thou wert a dog, 
That I might love thee something. 

ALCIB. I know thee well ; 

But in thy fortunes am unlearn* d and strange. 

TIM. I know thee too j and more, than that I 

know thee, 

I not desire to know. Follow thy drum ; 
With man's blood paint the ground, gules, gules: 6 
Religious canons, civil laws are cruel j 

* I am misanthropos,] A marginal note in the old translation 
of Plutarch's Life of Antony, furnished our author with this epi- 
thet: " Antonius followeth the life and example of Timon 
Misanthropies, the Athenian." MALONE. 

gules, gides:~\ Might we not repair the defective metre 

of this line, by adopting a Shakspearian epithet, and reading 

gules, total gules ; 
as in the following passage in Hamlet: 

" Now is he total gules." STEEVENS. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 141 

Then what should war be ? This fell whore of thine 
Hath in her more destruction than thy sword, 
For all her cherubin look. 

PHRY. Thy lips rot off! 

TIM. I will not kiss thee; 7 then the rot returns 
To thine own lips again. 

ALCIB. How came the noble Timon to this 
change ? 

TIM. As the moon does, by wanting light to 

give : 

But then renew I could not, like the moon ; 
There were no suns to borrow of. 

ALCIB. Noble Timon, 

What friendship may I do thee ? 

TIM. None, but to 

Maintain my opinion. 

ALCIB. What is it, Timon ? 

TIM. Promise mefriendship,butperform none: If 
Thou wilt not promise, 3 the gods plague thee, for 
Thou art a man ! if thou dost perform, confound 

For thou'rt a man ! 

7 / will not kiss thee ;~\ This alludes to an opinion in former 
times, generally prevalent, that the venereal infection transmitted 
to another, left the infecter free. I will not, says Timon, take 
the rot from thy lips, by kissing thee. JOHNSON. 

Thus, The Humourous Lieutenant says : 

" He has some wench, or such a toy, to kiss over, 
" Before he go : 'would I had such another, 
" To draw this foolish pain down" 
See also the fourth Satire of Donne. STEEVENS. 

8 If 

Thou wilt not promise, &c.] That is, however thou may'st 
act, since thou art a man, hated man, I wish thee evil. 



ALCIB. I have heard in some sort of thy miseries. 
TIM. Thou saw'st them, when I had prosperity. 
ALCIB. I see them now; then was a blessed time. 9 

TIM. As thine is now, held with a brace of har- 

TIMAN. Is this the Athenian minion, whom the 

Voic'd so regardfully ? 

TIM. Art thou Timandra ? 

TIMAN. Yes. 

TIM. Be a whore still ! they love thee not, that 

use thee ; 

Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust. 
Make use of thy salt hours : season the slaves 
For tubs, and baths; 1 bring down rose-cheeked 

youth 2 
To the tub-fast, and the diet. 3 

9 then was a blessed time.'] I suspect, from Timon's 

answer, that Shakspeare wrote thine was a blessed time. 


I apprehend no corruption. Now, and then, were designedly 
opposed to each other. STEEVENS. 

1 Be a whore still ! they love thee not, that use thee; 
Give them diseases, leaving with thee their lust. 
Make use of thy salt hours: &c.] There is here a slight 
transposition. I would read : 

they love thee not that use thee, 

Leaving with thee their lust ; give them diseases, 
Make use of thy salt hours, season the slaves 
For tubs, and baths; . JOHNSON. 

bring down rose-cheeked youth ] This expressive 

epithet our author might have found in Marlowe's Hero and 

" Rosc-cheek'd Adonis kept a solemn feast." MALOXE. 

3 To the tub-fast, and the diet.'] [Old copy fub-fa<st.~\ One 
might make a very long and vain search, yet not be able to meet 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 143 

TIMAN. Hang thee, monster ! 

ALOIS. Pardon him, sweet Timandra; for his 

with this preposterous word fob-fast, which has notwithstanding 
passed current with all the editors. We should read tub-fast. 
The author is alluding to the lues venerea and its effects. At 
that time the cure of it was performed either by guaiacum, or 
mercurial unctions : and in both cases the patient was kept up 
very warm and close ; that in the first application the sweat 
might be promoted ; and lest, in the other, he should take cold, 
which was fatal. " The regimen for the course of guaiacum 
(says Dr. Friend, in his History of Physick, Vol. II. p. 380,) 
was at first strangely circumstantial ; and so rigorous, that the 
patient was put into a dungeon in order to make him sweat ; 
and in that manner, as Fallopius expresses it, the bones, and 
the very man himself was macerated." Wiseman says, in Eng- 
land they used a tub for this purpose, as abroad, a cave, or oven, 
or dungeon. And as for the unction, it was sometimes conti- 
nued for thirty-seven days, ( as he observes, p. 375, ) and during 
this time there was necessarily an extraordinary abstinence re- 
quired. Hence the term of the tub-fast. WARBURTON. 

So, in Jasper Maine's City Match, 1639: 
" You had better match a ruin'd bawd, 
" One ten times cur'd by sweating, and the tub." 
Again, in The Family of Love, 1608, a doctor says: " O 
for one of the hoops of my Cornelius' tub, I shall burst myself 
with laughing else." Again, in Monsieur D' 'Olive, 1606: " Our 
embassage is into France, there may be employment for thee : 
Hast thou a tub ?" 

The diet was likewise a customary term for the regimen pre- 
scribed in these cases. So, in Springes to catch Woodcocks, a 
collection of Epigrams, 1606: 

" Priscus gave out, &c. 

" Priscus had tane the diet all the while." 
Again, in another collection of ancient Epigrams called The 
Mastive, &c. 

" She took not diet nor the sweat in season." 
Thus, also in Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning 
Pestle : 

" whom I in diet keep 

" Send lower down into the cave, 
" And in a tub that's heated smoaking hot," &c. 
Again, in the same play : 


Are drown'd and lost in his calamities. 
I have but little gold of late, brave Timon, 
The want whereof doth daily make revolt 
In my penurious band : I have heard, and griev'd, 
How cursed Athens, mindless of thy worth, 
Forgetting thy great deeds, when neighbour states, 
But for thy sword and fortune, trod upon them, 4 
TIM. I pr'ythee, beat thy drum, and get thee 

ALCIB. I am thy friend, and pity thee, dear 

TIM. How dost thou pity him, whom thou dost 

trouble ? 
I had rather be alone. 

" caught us, and put us in a tub, 

11 Where we this two months sweat, &c. 

" This bread and water hath our diet been," &c. 


The preceding lines, and a passage in Measure for Measure, 
fully support the emendation : 

" Truly, sir, she [the bawd] hath eaten up all her beef, and 
she is herself in the tub." MALONE. 

In the Latin comedy of Cornelianum Dolium, which wask 
probably written by T. Randolph, there is a frontispiece repre- 
senting the sweating-tub, which from the name of the unfortu- 
nate patient, was afterwards called Cornelius's tub, as appears 
from the Dictionaries of Cotgrave and Howel. Some account 
of the sweating-tub with a cut of it may be seen in Ambrose 
Paraeus's Works, by Johnson, p. 48. Another very particular 
representation of it may be likewise found in the Recueil de Pro- 
verbes par Jacques Lagniet, with the following lines : 
" Pour un petit plaisir je soufre mille maux ; 
" Je fais coiitre un hyver deux este ci me semble : 
" Partout le corps je sue, et ma machoir tremble ; 
" Je ne croy jamuis voir la fin de mes travaux." 
For another print of this tub, see Holmes's Academy of Ar- 
mory. DOUCE. 

4 trod upon them,'] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads had 
trod upon them. Shakspeare was not thus minutely accurate. 


sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 145 

ALCIB. Why, fare thee well : 

Here's some gold for thee. 

TIM. Keep't, I cannot eat it. 

ALCIB. When I have laid proud Athens on a 

TIM. \Varr' st thou 'gainst Athens ? 
ALCIB. Ay, Timon, and have cause. 

TIM. The gods confound them all i'thy con- 
quest ; and 
Thee after, when thou hast conquer'd ! 

ALCIB. Why me, Timon ? 

TIM. That, 

By killing villains, thou wast born to conquer 
My country. 

Put up thy gold ; Go on, here's gold, go on ; 
Be as a planetary plague, when Jove 
Will o'er some high-vic'd city hang his poison 
In the sick air : 5 Let not thy sword skip one : 
Pity not honoured age for his white beard, 
He's an usurer : Strike me the counterfeit matron; 
It is her habit only that is honest, 
Herself's a bawd : Let not the virgin's cheek 

* Be as a planetary plague, ivhen Jove 
Will o'er some high-vic'd city hang his poison 
In the sick air:'] This is wonderfully sublime and pictu- 
resque. WARBURTON. 

We meet with the same image in King Richard II: 

or suppose 

" Devouring pestilence hangs in our air.*' MALONE. 

The same idea occurs in Chapman's version of the sixth 

" and therefore hangs, I fear, 

" A plague above him." STEEVENS. 


Make soft thy trenchant sword; 6 for those milk- 
That through the window-bars bore at men's eyes, 7 

thy trenchant siwrd;~] So, in Philemon Holland's 

translation of the ninth Book of Pliny's Natural History, 1601, 
p. 237 : " they all to cut and hacke them with their trenchant 
teeth ; ." See note on Macbeth, Vol. X. p. 289. 


7 That through the windffvo-bars bore at men's eyes,~] The 
virgin that shows her bosom through the lattice of her chamber. 


Dr. Johnson's explanation is almost confirmed by the following 
passage in Cymbelins; 

" or let her beauty 

" Look through a casement to allure false hearts, 
" And be false with them." 

Shakspeare at the same time might aim a stroke at this indecency 
in the wantons of his own time, which is also animadverted on 
by several contemporary dramatists. So, in the ancient interlude 
of The Repentance of Marie Magdalene, 1567: 
" Your garment must be worne alway, 

That your "white pappes may be scene if you may. 
If young gentlemen may see your white skin, 
It will allure them to love, and soon bring them in. 
Both damsels and wives use many such feates. 
I know them that will lay out their faire teates" 
All this is addressed to Mary Magdalen. 
To the same purpose, Jovius Pontanus : 
" Nam quid lacteolos sinus, et ipsas 
" Prae te fers sine linteo papillas ? 
" Hoc est dicere, posce, posce, trado, 
" Hoc est ad Venerem vocare amantes." STEEVENS. 

Our author has again the same kind of imagery in his Lover's 
Complaint : 

" spite of heaven's fell rage, 

" Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age." 

I do not believe any particular satire was here intended. Lady 
Suffolk, Lady Somerset, and many of the celebrated beauties of 
the time of James I. are thus represented in their pictures ; nor 
were they, I imagine, thought more reprehensible than the ladies 
of the present day, who from the same extravagant pursuit of 
what is called fashion, run into an opposite extreme. MALONF. 


Are not within the leaf of pity writ, 

Set them down 8 horrible traitors : Spare not the 

Whose dimpled smiles from fools exhaust their 

mercy; 9 

Think it a bastard, 1 whom the oracle 
Hath doubtfully pronounced thy throat 2 shall cut, 

I have not hitherto met with any ancient portrait of a modest 
English woman, in which the papilla exertce were exhibited as 
described on the present occasion by Shakspeare ; for he alludes 
not only to what he has called in his celebrated Song, " the hills 
of snow," but to the " pinks that grow" upon their summits. 
See Vol. VI. p. 337, n. 7. STEEVENS. 

I believe we should read nearly thus : 

nor those milk-paps, 

That through the widow's barb bore at men's eyes. 

Are not "within the leaf of pity "writ. 

The use of the doubled negative is so common in Shakspeare 
that it is unnecessary to support it by instances. The barbe, I 
believe, was a kind of veil. Cressida, in Chaucer, who appears 
as a ividow, is described as wearing a barbe. Troilus and Cressida, 
Book II. v. 110, in which place Caxton's edition (as I learn 
from the Glossary) reads 'wimple, which certainly signifies a 
veil, and was probably substituted as a synonymous word for 
barbe, the more antiquated reading of the manuscripts. Un- 
barbed is used by Shakspeare for uncovered, in Coriolanus, 
Act III. sc. v : 

" Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce ?" 
See also Leland's Collectanea, Vol. V. p. 317, new edit, where 
the ladies, mourning at the funeral of Queen Mary, are men- 
tioned as having their barbes above their chinnes. TYRWHITT. 

8 Set them down ] Old copy, in defiance of metre 
But set them down. STEEVENS. 

9 exhaust their mercy ;] For exhaust, Sir Thomas Han- 

mer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read extort; but exhaust 
here signifies literally to draw forth. JOHNSON. 

1 bastard,'} An allusion to the tale of CEdipus. 


* thy throat ] Old copy the throat. Corrected by 

Mr. Pope. MALONK. 

L 2 


And mince it sans remorse : Swear against objects ; 3 
Put armour on thine ears, and on thine eyes ; 
Whose proof nor yells of mothers, maids, nor 


Nor sight of priests in holy vestments bleeding, 
Shall pierce a jot. There's gold to pay thy soldiers: 
Make large confusion ; and, thy fury spent, 
Confounded be thyself! Speak not, be gone. 

ALOIS. Hast thou gold yet ? I'll take the gold 

thou giv'st me, 
Not all thy counsel. 

TIM. Dost thou, or dost thou not, heaven's 
curse upon thee ! 

PHR. <- TIMAN. Give us some gold, good Ti- 
mon : Hast thou more ? 

TIM. Enough to make a whore forswear her 


And to make whores, a bawd. 4 Hold up, you sluts, 
Your aprons mountant : You are not oathable, 
Although, I know, you'll swear, terribly swear, 
Into strong shudders, and to heavenly agues, 

3 Swear against objects;"] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads: 

'gainst all objects. 

So, in our author's 152d Sonnet: 

" Or made them sivear against the thing they see" 


Perhaps objects is here used provincial^ for aljects. 


Against objects is, against objects of charity and compassion. 
So, in Troilus and Cressida, Ulysses says : 

" For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes 
" To tender objects." M. MASON. 

4 And to make whores, a ba'wd.'] That is, enough to make a 
whore leave whoring, and a bawd leave making whores. 


sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 149 

The immortal gods that hear you, 5 * spare your 


I'll trust to your conditions : 6 Be whores still ; 
And he whose pious breath seeks to convert you, 
Be strong in whore, allure him, burn him up ; 
Let your close fire predominate his smoke, 
And be no turncoats: 7 Yet may your pains, six 

Be quite contrary : 8 And thatch your poor thin 

roofs 9 

* The immortal gods that hear you,"] The same thought is 
found in Antony and Cleopatra, Act I. sc. iii : 

" Though you with swearing shake the throned gods." 
Again, in The Winter's Tale: 

11 Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with 
oaths." STEEVENS. 

6 Pll trust to your conditions :] You need not swear to con- 
tinue whores, I will trust to your inclinations. JOHNSON. 

See Vol. XII. p. 521, n. 7. MALONE. 

Timon, I believe, does not mean their dispositions but their 
vocations, and accordingly conjures them to be whores still. 


7 And be no turncoats:'] By an old statute, those women 
who lived in a state of prostitution, were, among other articles 
concerning their dress, enjoined to wear their garments, with 
the wrong-side outward, on pain of forfeiting them. Perhaps 
there is in this passage a reference to it. HENLEY. 

I do not perceive how this explanation of turncoat, will ac- 
cord with Timon's train of reasoning; yet the antiquary may 
perhaps derive satisfaction from that which affords no assistance 
to the commentator. STEEVENS. 

8 Yet may your pains, six months, 

Be quite contrary :~\ This is obscure, partly from the am- 
biguity of the word pains, and partly from the generality of the 
expression. The meaning is this: he had said before, follow 
constantly your trade of debauchery : that is (says he) for six 
months in the ye;;r. Let the other six be employed in quite con- 
trary pains and labour, namely, in the severe discipline necessary 
for the repair of those disorders that your debaucheries occasion, 
in order to lit vou anew to the trade; and thus let the whole 


With burdens of the dead ; some thatwere hang'd, 
No matter : wear them, betray with them : whore 
still ; 

year be spent in these different occupations. On this account 
he goes on, and says, Make false hair, &c. WARBURTON. 

The explanation is ingenious, but I think it very remote, and 
would willingly bring the author and his readers to meet on ea- 
sier terms. We may read : 

Yet may your pains six months 

Be quite contraried : . 

Timon is wishing ill to mankind, but is afraid lest the whores 
should imagine that he wishes well to them ; to obviate which 
he lets them know, that he imprecates upon them influence 
enough to plague others, and disappointments enough to plague 
themselves. He wishes that they may do all possible mischief, 
and yet take pains six months of the year in vain. 

In this sense there is a connection of this line with the next. 
Finding your pains contraried, try new expedients, thatch your 
thin roofs, and paint. 

To contrary is an old verb. Latimer relates, that when he 
went to court, he was advised not to contrary the King. 


If Dr. Johnson's explanation be right, which I do not believe, 
the present words appear to me to admit it, as well as the read- 
ing he would introduce. Such unnecessary deviations from the 
text should ever be avoided. Dr. Warburton's is a very natural 
interpretation, which cannot often be said of the expositions of 
that commentator. The words that follow fully support it : 
" And thatch your poor thin roofs," c. i. e. after you have lost 
the greatest part of your hair by disease, and the medicines that 
for six months you have been obliged to take, then procure an 
artificial covering, &c. MALONE. 

I believe this means, Yet for half the year at least, may you 
suffer such punishment as is inflicted on harlots in houses of cor- 
rection. STEEVENS. 

These words should be inclosed in a parenthesis. Johnson 
wishes to connect them with the following sentences, but that 
cannot be, as they contain an imprecation, and the following 
lines contain an instruction. Timon is giving instructions to 
those women ; but, in the middle of his instructions, his misan- 
thropy breaks forth in an imprecation against them. I have no 
objection to the reading of contraried, instead of contrary, but 
it does not seem to be necessary. M. MASON. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 151 

Paint till a horse may mire upon your face : 
A pox of wrinkles ! 

PHR. Sf TIMAN. Well, more gold; What 

then ? 
Believ't, that we'll do any thing for gold. 

TIM. Consumptions sow 

In hollow bones of man ; strike their sharp shins, 
And mar men's spurring. 1 Crack the lawyer's voice, 

9 thatch your poor thin roofs &c.~] About the year 

1595, when the fashion became general in England of wearing 
a greater quantity of hair than was ever the produce of a single 
head, it was dangerous for any child to wander, as nothing was 
more common than for women to entice such as had fine locks 
into private places, and there to cut them off. I have this infor- 
mation from Stubbes's Anatomic of Abuses, which I have often 
quoted on the article of dress. To this fashion the writers of 
Shakspeare's age do not appear to have been reconciled. So, 
in A Mad World my Masters, 1608: " to wear perriwigs 
made of another's hair, is not this against kind ?" 
Again, in Drayton's Mooncalf: 

And with large sums they stick not to procure 
Hair from the dead, yea, and the most unclean; 
To help their pride they nothing will disdain." 


n Shakspeare's 68th Sonnet : 

Before the golden tressts of the dead, 
The right of sepulchres, were shorn away, 
To live a second life on second head, 
Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay." 
Again, in Churchyard's Tragicall Diacoiirsof a dolorous Gen- 
tlewoman, 1593 : 

" The pcrwickes fine must curie wher haire doth lack 
" The swelling grace that fils the empty sacke." 
Warner, in his Albion's England, 160'f, .Book IX. ch. xlvii. 
is likewise very severe on this fashion. Stowe informs us, that 
*' women's periwigs were first brought into England about the 
time of the massacre of Paris." STKEVENS. 

See also Vol. VII. p. 314, n. 6. 

The Jirst edition of Stubbes's Anatomy of Abuses quoted 
above, was in 1583. Drayton's Mooncalf did not, I Relieve, 
appear till 16^7. MALONE. 

1 men's spurring.] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads spar- 


That he may never more false title plead, 
Nor sound his quillets shrilly: 2 hoar the flamen,* 
That scolds against the quality of flesh, 
And not believes himself: down with the nose, 
Down with it flat ; take the bridge quite away 
Of him, that his particular to foresee,* 
Smells from the general weal : make curl'd-pate 
ruffians bald ; 

ring, properly enough, if there be any ancient example of the 
word. JOHNSON. 

Spurring is certainly right. The disease that enfeebled their 
shins would have this effect. STEEVENS. 

* Nor sound his quillets shrilly :~\ Quillets are subtilties. So, 
in Laiu Tricks, &c. 1608 : " a quillet well applied !" 


Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders quillet, res 
jfrivola recula. MALONE. 

3 hoar the jlariien,~] Mr. Upton would read hoarse, 

i. e. make hoarse ; for to be hoary claims reverence. " Add to 
this (says he) that hoarse is here most proper, as opposed to 
scolds. It may, however, mean, Give the flamen the hoary 
leprosy" So, in Webster's Dutchess o/Malfy, 1623 : 

" shew like leprosy, 

" The whiter the fouler." 
And before, in this play : 

" Make the hoar leprosy ador'd." STEEVENS. 

4 that his particular to foresee,] The metaphor is ap- 
parently incongruous, but the sense is good. To foresee his 
particular, is to provide for his private advantage, for which he 
leaves the right scent of publicfc good. In hunting, when hares 
have cross'd one another, it is common for some of the hounds 
to smell from the general ueal, and foresee their own particular. 
Shakspeare, who seems to have been a skilful sportsman, and 
has alluded often to falconry, perhaps, alludes here to hunting. 
[Dr. \Varburton would read fore/end, i. e. (as he interprets 
the word) provide for, secure.] 

To the commentator's emendation it may be objected, that 
he uses forefend in the wrong meaning. To fore fend is, I think, 
never to provide for, but to provide against. The verbs com- 
pounded with for or fore have commonly either an evil or nega- 
tive sense. JOHNSON. 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 153 

And let the unscarr'd braggarts of the war 
Derive some pain from you : Plague all ; 
That your activity may defeat and quell 
The source of all erection. There's more gold: 
Do you damn others, and let this damn you, 
And ditches grave you all! 5 

PHR.$TIMAN. More counsel with more money, 
bounteous Timon. 

TIM. More whore, more mischief first ; I have 
given you earnest. 

ALCIB. Strike up the drum towards Athens. 

Farewell, Timon ; 
If I thrive well, I'll visit thee again. 

TIM. If I hope well, I'll never see thee more. 

ALCIB. I never did thee harm. 

TIM. Yes, thou spok'st well of me. 6 

ALCIB. Call'st thou that harm r 

TlM. Men daily find it such. 7 Get thee away, 

* And ditches grave you all!'] To grave is to entomb. The 
word is now obsolete, though sometimes used by Shakspeare and 
his contemporary authors. So, in Lord Surrey's translation of 
the fourth Book of Virgil's JEneid : 

" Cinders (think'st thou) mind this? or graved ghostes?" 
Again, in Chapman's version of the fifteenth Iliad : 

" the throtes of dogs shall grave 

" His manlesse lims. 5 ' 

To ungrave was likewise to turn out of a grave. Thus, in Mar- 
ston's Sophonisba : 

" and me, now dead, 

" Deny a grave ; hurl us among the rocks 

" To stanch beasts hunger : therefore, thus ungrav'd, 

" I seek slow rest." 
See Vol. XL p. 96, n. 7. STEEVENS. 

6 Yes, thou spok'st well ofme.^ Shakspeare in this as in many 
other places, appears to allude to the sacred writings : " Woe 
unto him of whom all men speak well!" M ALONE. 

7 Jind it such.] For the insertion of the pronoun^ such, 


And take thy beagles with thee. 

ALCIB. We but offend him. 


'[Drum beats. Exeunt ALCIBIADES, PHRYNIA, 

TIM. That nature, being sick of man's unkind- 
Should yet be hungry ! Common mother, thou, 


Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast, 8 
Teems, and feeds all ; whose self-same mettle, 
Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff'd, 
Engenders the black toad, and adder blue, 
The gilded newt, and eyeless venom d worm, 9 
With all the abhorred births below crisp heaven 1 

I am answerable. It is too frequently used on similar occasions 
by our author, to need exemplification. STEEVENS. 

8 Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast, ~] This image 
is taken from the ancient statues of Diana Ephesia Multimam- 
mia, called Trava/oXoj $i><ri; TTCLVTU;-; prjnjp ; and is a very good 
comment on those extraordinary figures. See Monttaugon, 
VAntiquite expliquee, Lib. III. ch. xv. Hesiod, alluding to the 
same representations, calls the earth, TAI' ETPTXTKPNOS. 


Whose infinite breast means no more than whose boundless sur- 
Jace. Shakspeare probably knew nothing of the statue to 
which the commentator alludes. STEEVENS. 

9 eyeless venom' d worm,~\ The serpent, which we, from 

the smallness of his eyes, call the blind-worm, and the Latins, 
ccccilia. JOHNSON. 

So, in Macbeth : 

" Adder's fork, and blindworms sting." STEEVEXS. 

1 below crisp heaven ] We should read cript, i. e. 
vaulted, from the Latin crypta, a vault. WARBURTON. 

Mr. Upton declares for crisp, curled, bent, hollow. 


Perhaps Shakspeare means curVd, from the appearance of the 
clouds. In The Tempest, Ariel talks of riding 

so. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 155 

Whereon Hyperion's quickening fire doth shine ; 
Yield him, who all thy human sons doth hate, 2 
From forth thy plenteous bosom, one poor root ! 
Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb, 3 
Let it no more bring out ingrateful man ! 4 
Go great with tigers, dragons, wolves, and bears; 
Teem with new monsters, whom thy upward face 
Hath to the marbled mansion 5 all above 
Never presented ! O, a root, Dear thanks ! 
Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plough-torn leas; 6 

" On the curl'd clouds." 
Chaucer, in his House of Fame, says 

" Her here that was oundie and crips. 1 ' 
i. e. wavy and curled. 

Again, in The Philosopher's Satires, by Robert Anton : 
" Her face as beauteous as the crisped morn." 


"" who all thy human sons doth hate,~] Old copy the 

human sons do hate. The former word was corrected by Mr, 
Pope ; the latter by Mr. Rowe. MALONE. 

3 Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb,"] So, in K. Lear: 

" Dry up in her the organs of encrease." STEEVENS. 

4 Let it no more bring out ingrateful man!~\ It is plain that 
bring out is bring forth. JOHNSON. 

Neither Dr. Warburton nor Dr. Johnson seem to have been 
aware of the import of this passage. It was the great boast of 
the Athenians that they were aoro^ovec, sprung from the soil 
on which they lived; and it is in allusion to this, that the terms 
common mother, and bring out, are applied to the ground. 


Though Mr. Henley, as a scholar, could not be unacquainted 
with this Athenian boast, I fear that Shakspeare knew no more 
of it than of the many -breasted Diana of Ephesus, brought for- 
ward by Dr. Warburton in a preceding note. STEEVENS. 

5 the marbled mansion ] So, Milton, B. III. 1. 564? : 

" Through the pure marble air ." 

Virgil bestows the same epithet on the sea. STEEVENS. 
Again, in Othello: 

" Now by yon marble heaven, ." MALONE. 

6 Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plow-torn leas ;] The sense 


Whereof ingrateful man, with liquorish draughts, 
And morsels unctuous, greases his pure mind, 
That from it all consideration slips ! 


More man? Plague! plague! 

APEM. I was directed hither : Men report, 
Thou dost affect my manners, and dost use them. 

TIM. 'Tis then, because thou dost not keep 

a dog 
Whom I would imitate : Consumption catch thee ! 

APEM. This is in thee .a nature but affected j 
A poor unmanly melancholy, sprung 
From change of fortune. 7 Why this spade ? this 

place ? 

This slave-like habit ? and these looks of care ? 
Thy flatterers yet Wear silk, drink wine, lie soft j 
Hug their diseased perfumes, 8 and have forgot 
That ever Timon was. Shame not these woods, 

is this: nature! cease to produce men, enscar thy 'womb ; but if 
thouvviltcontinue to produce them, at least cease to pamper them ; 
dry up thy marrows, on which they fatten with unctuous morsels, 
thy vines, which give them liquorish draughts, and t\\y plow-torn 
leas. Here are effects corresponding with causes, liquorish 
draughts, with vines, and unctuous morsels with marroivs, and 
the old reading literally preserved. JOHNSON. 
7 This is in thee a nature but affected ; 
A poor unmanly melancholy sprung 

From change of fortune.] The old copy reads infected, and 
change of future.] Mr. Rowe made the emendation. 


* Hug their diseased perfumes,] i. e. their diseas'd perfumed 
mistresses. MALONE. 

So, in Othello : 

" 'Tis such another fitchew; marry, a perfumd one." 


sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 157 

By putting on the cunning of a carper. 9 
Be thou a flatterer now, and seek to thrive 
By that which has undone thee : hinge thy knee, 1 
And let his very breath, whom thou'lt observe, 
Blow off thy cap; praise his most vicious strain, 
And call it excellent : Thou wast told thus ; 
Thou gav'st thine ears, like tapsters, that bid wel- 
come, 2 

To knaves, and all approachers : 'Tis most just, 
That thou turn rascal; had'st thou wealth again, 
Rascals should have't. Do not assume my likeness. 
TIM. Were I like thee, I'd throw away myself. 

APEM. Thou hast cast away thyself, being like 

9 the cunning of a carper.] For the philosophy of a 

Cynick, of which sect Apemantus was ; and therefore he con- 
eludes : 

" Do not assume my likeness." WARBURTON. 

Cunning here seems to signify counterfeit appearance. 


The cunning of a carper, is the insidious art of a critick. 
Shame not these woods, says Apemantus, by coming here to find 
fault. Maurice Kyjjln in the preface to his translation of 
Terence's Andria, 1588, says: " Of the curious carper 1 look 
not to be favoured." Again, Ursula speaking of the sarcasms of 
Beatrice, observes 

" Why sure, such carping is not commendable." 
There is no apparent reason why Apemantus (according to Dr. 
Warburton's explanation) should ridicule his own sect. 


' hinge thy knee,'] Thus, in Hamlet : 

" To crook the pregnant hinges of the knee." 


z like tapsters, that bid 'welcome,'] So, in our author's 

Venus and Adonis : 

" Like shrill-tongu'd tapsters answering every call, 
" Soothing the humour of fantastick wits." 
The old copy has bad welcome. Corrected in the second 
folio. MALONE. 


A madman so long, now a fool : What, think'st 
That the bleak air, thy boisterous chamberlain, 
Will put thy shirt on warm ? Will these moss'd 

trees, 3 

That have outliv'd the eagle, 4 page thy heels, 
And skip when thou point'st out ? Will the cold 


Candied with ice, caudle thy morning taste, 
To cure thy o'er-night's surfeit? call the crea- 

Whose naked natures live in all the spite 
Of wreakful heaven ; whose bare unhoused trunks, 
To the conflicting elements expos'd, 
Answer mere nature, 5 bid them flatter thee ; 

3 moss'd trees,"] [Old copy moist trees,] Sir Thomas 

Hanmer reads very elegantly : 

. moss'd trees. JOHNSON. 

Shakspeare vises the same epithet in As you like it, Act IV: 
" Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age." 


So also Drayton, in his Mortimer iados, no date : 
" Even as a bustling tempest rousing blasts 
*' Upon a forest of old branching oakes, 
" And with his furie teyrs their mossy loaks." 
Moss'd is, I believe, the true reading. MALOXE. 

I have inserted this reading in the text, because there is less 
propriety in the epithet moist ; it being a known truth that 
trees become more and more dry, as they encrease in age. Thus, 
our author, in his Rape of Lucrece, observes, that it is one of the 
properties of time 

" To dry the old oak's sap ." STEEVENS. 

4 outliv'd the eagle,"] Aquilcc Senectus is a proverb. I 

learn from Turberville's Book of Falconry, 1575, that the great 
age of this bird has been ascertained from the circumstance of 
its always building its eyrie, or nest, in the same place. 


5 Ansiver mere nature,] So, in King Lear, Act II. sc. iii : 
" And with presented nakedness outface 
" The winds," &c. STEEVENS. 

ac. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 159 

O! thou shalt find 

TIM. A fool of thee : Depart. 

APEM. I love thee better now than e'er I did. 

TIM. I hate thee worse. 

APEM. Why? 

TIM. Thou flatter'st misery. 

APEM. I flatter not ; but say, thou art a caitiff. 

TIM. Why dost thou seek me out ? 

APEM. To vex thee. 6 

TIM. Always a villain's office, or a fool's. 
Dost please thyself in't ? 

APEM. Ay. 

TIM. What ! a knave too ? f 

APEM. If thou didst put this sour-cold habit on 
To castigate thy pride, 'twere well : but thou 
Dost it enforcedly; thou'dst courtier be again, 
Wert thou not beggar. Willing misery 
Outlives incertain pomp, is crown'd before: 8 

6 To vex ihee.~\ As the measure is here imperfect, we may 
suppose, with Sir Thomas Hanmer, our author to have written : 

Only to vex thee. STEEVENS. 

7 What ! a knave too ?~] Timon had just called Apemantus 
fool, in consequence of what he had known of him by former ac- 
quaintance; but when Apemantus tells him that he comes to 
vex him, Timon determines that to vex is either the office of a vil- 
lain or a fool; that to vex by design is villainy, to vex without de- 
sign is Jolly. He then properly asks Apemantus whether he 
takes delight in vexing, and when he answers, yes, Timon re- 
plies, What! a knave too? I before only knew thee to be a.Jbol, 
but now I find thee likewise a knave. JOHNSON. 

8 is crown 'd before ;] Arrives sooner at high tuishj that 

is, at the completion of its "wishes. JOHNSON. 

So, in a former scene of this play : 

" And in some sort these wants of mine are 
" That I account them blessings." 


The one is filling still, never complete ; 

The other, at high wish: Best state, contentless, 

Hath a distracted and most wretched being, 

Worse than the worst, content. 9 

Thou should' st desire to die, being miserable. 

TIM. Not by his breath, 1 that is more miserable. 
Thou art a slave, whom Fortune's tender arm 
With favour never clasp'd; 2 but bred a dog. 3 

Again, more appositely, in Cymbeline: 

" my supreme crown of grief." MALONE. 

9 Worse than the worst, content.'] Best states contentless have 
a wretched being, a being worse than that of the worst states 
that are content. JOHNSON. 

1 by his breath,^ It means, I believe, by his counsel, by 

his direction. JOHNSON. 

By his breath, I believe, is meant his sentence. To breathe is 
as licentiously used by Shakspeare in the following instance from 

" Having ever seen, in the prenominate crimes, 

" The youth you breathe of, guilty," &c. STEEVENS. 

By his breath means in our author's language, by his voice or 
speech, and so in fact by his sentence. Shakspeare frequently 
uses the word in this sense. It has been twice used in this play. 
See p. 108, n. 4. MALONE. 

8 Thou art a slave, whom Fortune's tender arm 

With favour never clasp'd ;~] In a Collection of Sonnets, 
entitled, Chloris, or the Complaint of the passionate despised 
Shepheard, by William Smith, 1596, a similar image is found: 
" Doth any live that ever had such hap, 

" That all her actions are of none effect? 
" Whom Fortune never dandled in her lap, 

" But as an abject still doth me reject." MALONE. 

3 but bred a dog.] Alluding to the word Cynick, of 

which sect Apemantus was. WARBURTON. 

For the etymology of Cynick, our author was not obliged to 
have recourse to the Greek language. The dictionaries of his 
time furnished him with it. See Cawdrey's Dictionary of hard 
English Words, octavo, 1604-: " CYNICAL, Doggish, froward." 
Again, in Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616: " CYNICAL, 
Doggish, or currish. There was in Greece an old sect of philo- 

sc.m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 161 

Hadst thou, like us, 4 from our first swath, 5 pro- 

sophers so called, because they did ever sharply barke at men's 
vices," &c. After all, however, I believe Shakspeare only 
meant, thou wert born in a low state, and used from thy infancy 
to hardships. MALONE. 

4 Hadst thou, like MS,] There is in this speech a sullen haugh- 
tiness, and malignant dignity, suitable at once to the lord and 
the man-hater. The impatience with which he bears to have his 
luxury reproached by one that never had luxury within his reach, 
is natural and graceful. 

There is in a letter, written by the Earl of Essex, just before 
his execution, to another nobleman, a passage somewhat resem- 
bling this, with which, I believe, every reader will be pleased, 
though it is so serious and solemn that it can scarcely be inserted 
without irreverence : 

" God grant your lordship may quickly feel the comfort I now 
enjoy in my unfeigned conversion, but that you may never feel 
the torments I have suffered for my long delaying it. I had none 
but deceivers to call upon me, to "whom I said, if my ambition 
could have entered into their narrow breasts, they would not have 
been so humble ; or if my delights had been once tasted by them, 
they "would not have, been so precise. But your lordship hath one 
to call upon you, that fcnoiveth "what it is you now enjoy ; and tvhat 
the greatest fruit and end is of all contentment that this "world 
can afford. Think, therefore, dear earl, that I have staked 
and buoyed all the ways of pleasure unto you, and left them 
as sea-marks for you to keep the channel of religious virtue. 
For shut your eyes never so long, they must be open at the last, 
and then you must say with me, there is no peace to the ungodly" 


A similar thought occurs in a MS. metrical translation of an 
ancient French romance, preserved in the Library of King's 
College, Cambridge. [See note on Antony and Cleopatra, 
Act IV. sc. x.] : 

" For heretofore of hardnesse hadest thou never; 
" But were brought forth in blisse, as svvich a burde ought, 
" Wyth alle maner gode metes, and to misse them now 
" It were a botles bale," &c. p. 26, b. STEEVENS. 

s Jlrst swath,] From infancy. Sivath is the dress of a 

new-born child. JOHNSON. 



The sweet degrees 6 that this brief world affords 
To such as may the passive drugs of it 7 
Freely command, 8 thou would'st have plung'd thy- 

In general riot ; melted down thy youth 
In different beds of lust; 9 and never learn'd 
The icy precepts of respect, 1 but followed 

So, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611 : 

" No more their cradles shall be made their tombs, 
" Nor their soft sivaths become their winding-sheets." 

Again, in Chapman's translation of Homer's Hymn to Apollo: 

" swaddled with sincere 

" And spotless stvatk-bands ; ." STEEVENS. 

G The sweet degrees ] Thus the folio. The modern editor* 
have, without authority, read Through &c. but this neglect of 
the preposition was common to many other writers of the age of 
Shakspeare. STEEVENS. 

7 To such as may the passive drugs of it ], Though all the 
modern editors agree in this reading, it appears to me corrupt. 
The epithet passive is seldom applied, except in a metaphorical 
sense, to inanimate objects ; and I cannot well conceive what 
Timon can mean by the passive drugs of the world, unless he 
means every thing that the world affords. 

But in the first folio the words are not "passive drugs," but 
" passive drugges." This leads us to the true reading drudges, 
which improves the sense, and is nearer to the old reading in the 
trace of the letters. 

Dr. Johnson says in his Dictionary, that a drug means a 
drudge, and cites this passage as an instance of it. But he is 
surely mistaken ; and I think it is better to consider the passage 
as erroneous, than to acknowledge, on such slight authority, 
that a drug signifies a drudge. M. MASON. 

8 command,^] Old: copy command'st. Corrected by 

Mr. Rowe. MALONE. 

9 melted down thy youth 

In different beds of lusts'] Thus, in the Achilleid of Statins, 
II. 394 : 

" tenero nee fluxa cubili 

" Membra, ." STEEVEXS. 

1 precepts of respect,"] Of obedience to laws. 


sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 16S 

The sugar'd game before thee. But myself, 2 

Who had the world as my confectionary ; 


Respect, I believe, means the qu'en dira't on? the regard of 
Athens, that strongest restraint on licentiousness : the icy pre- 
cepts, i. e. that cool hot blood ; what Mr. Burke in his admira- 
ble Reflections on the Revolution in France, has emphatically 
styled " one of the greatest controuling powers on earth, the 
sense of fame and estimation." STEEVENS. 

Timon cannot mean by the word respect, obedience to the 
laws, as Johnson supposes ; for a poor man is more likely to be 
impressed with a reverence for the laws, than one in a station of 
nobility and affluence. Respect may possibly mean, as Steevens 
supposes, a regard to the opinion of the world : but I think it 
has a more enlarged signification, and implies a consideration of 
consequences, whatever they may be. In this sense it is used 
by Hamlet : 

" There's the respect 

" That makes calamity of so long life." M. MASON. 

" The icy precepts of respect" mean the cold admonitions of 

cautious prudence, that deliberately weighs the consequences of 

every action. So, in Troilus and Cressida : 

" Reason and respect, 

" Makes livers pale, and lustihood deject." 

Again, in our poet's Rape of Lucrece: 

" Then, childish fear, avaunt! debating die! 
" Respect and reason wait on wrinkled age ! 
" Sad pause and deep regard become the sage." 

Hence in King Richard III. the King says: 

" I will converse with iron-witted fools, 

" And unrespective boys; none are for me, 

" That look into me with considerate eyes." MALONE. 

* But myself,~\ The connection here requires some at- 
tention. Bui is here used to denote opposition ; but what im- 
mediately precedes is not opposed to that which follows. The 
adversative particle refers to the two first lines : 

Thou art a slave, whom fortune's tender arm 

With favour never clasp'd; but bred a dog. 

But myself, 

Who had the ivorld as my confectionary ; &c. 
The intermediate lines are to be considered as a parenthesis of 
passion. JOHNSON. 

M 2 


The mouths, the tongues, the eyes, and hearts of 


At duty, more than I could frame employment j 3 
.That numberless upon me stuck, as leaves 
Do on the oak, have with one winter's brush 
Fell from their boughs, and left me open, bare 4 
For every storm that blows ; I, to bear this, 
That never knew but better, is some burden : 
Thy nature did commence in sufferance, time 
Hath made thee hard in't. Why should'st thou hate 

men ? 

They never flatter'd thee : What hast thou given ? 
If thou wilt curse, thy father, that poor rag, 5 

3 than I could frame employment;^ i.e. frame employ- 
ment for. Shakspeare frequently writes thus. See Vol. XV. 
p. 196, n. 4 ; and Vol. XVI. p. 145, n. 3. MALONE. 

4 with one winter s brush 

Fell from their boughs, and left me open, bare &c.] So, in 
Massinger's Maid of Honour : 
" O summer friendship, 

" Whose flatt'ring leaves that shadow'd us in our 
" Prosperity, with the least gust drop off 
" In the autumn of adversity." STEEVENS. 

Somewhat of the same imagery is found in our author's 73d 
Sonnet : 

" That time of year thou may'st in me behold, 
" When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang 
" Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, 
" Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang." 


5 that poor rag,] If we read poor rogue, it will cor- 
respond rather better to what follows. JOHNSON. 

In King Richard III. Margaret calls Gloster rag of honour ; 
in the same play, the overweening rags of France are mentioned ; 
and John Florio speaks of a " tara-rcg player." STEEVENS. 

We now use the word ragamuffin in the same sense. 

M. MA sox. 

The term is yet used. The lowest of the people are yet de- 
nominated Tag, ray, &c. So, in Julius Canar: " if the 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 165 

Must be thy subject ; who, in spite, put stuff 
To some she beggar, and compounded thee 
Poor rogue hereditary. Hence ! be gone ! 
If thou hadst not been born the worst of men, 
Thou hadst been a knave, and flatterer. 6 

APEM. Art thou proud yet ? 

TIM. Ay, that I am not thee. 

APEM. I, that I was 

No prodigal. 

TIM. I, that I am one now ; 

Were all the wealth 1 have, shut up in thee, 
I'd give thee leave to hang it. Get thee gone. 
That the whole life of Athens were in this ! 
Thus would I eat it. [Eating a Root. 

APEM. Here ; I will mend thy feast. 

[Offering him something. 

tag-rag people did not clap him and hiss him, I am no true 
man." MALONE. 

6 Thou hadst been a knave, and flatter er.~] Dryden has quoted 
two verses of Virgil to show how well he could have written 
satires. Shakspeare has here given a specimen of the same 
power by a line bitter beyond all bitterness, in which Timon 
tells Apemantus, that he had not virtue enough for the vices 
which he condemns. 

Dr. Warburton explains worst by Invest, which somewhat 
weakens the sense, and yet leaves it sufficiently vigorous. 

I have heard Mr. Burke commend the subtilty of discrimina- 
tion with which Shakspeare distinguishes the present character of 
Timon from that of Apemantus, whom to vulgar eyes he would 
now resemble. JOHNSON. 

Knave is here to be understood of a man who endeavours to 
recommend himself by a hypocritical appearance of attention, 
and superfluity of fawning officiousness ; such a one as is called 
in King Lear, a finical superserviceable rogue. If he had had 
virtue enough to attain the profitable vices, he would have been 
profitably vicious. STEEVENS. 


TIM. First mend my company, 7 take away thy- 
self. 8 

APEM. So I shall mend mine own, by the lack of 

TIM. 'Tis not well mended so, it is but botch'd ; 
If not, I would it were. 

APEM. What would'st thou have to Athens ? 

TIM. Thee thither in a whirlwind. If thou wilt, 
Tell them there I have gold ; look, so I have. 

APEM. Here is no use for gold. 

TIM. The best, and truest : 

For here it sleeps, and does no hired harm. 

APEM. Where ly'st o'nights, Timon ? 

TIM. Under that's above me. 9 

Where feed'st thou o'days, Apemantus ? 

APEM. Where my stomach finds meat ; or, ra- 
ther, where I eat it. 

TIM. 'Would poison were obedient, and knew 
my mind ! 

APEM. Where would'st thou send it ? 

TlM. To sauce thy dishes. 

APEM. The middle of humanity thou never 

7 First mend my company,'] The old copy reads mend thy 
company. The correction was made by Mr. llowe. MALONE. 

8 take away thyself.'] This thought seems to have been 

adopted from Plutarch's Life of Antony. It stands thus in Sir 
Thomas North's translation : " Apemantus said unto the other, 
O, here is a trimme banket, Timon. Timon aunswered, yea, said 
he, so thou wert not here." STEEVENS. 

3 Apem. Where lyst o nights, Timon ? 
Tirn. Under that's above me.'] So, in Coriolanus: 
" 3 Serv. Where dwell'st thou ? 
" Cor. Under the canopy.'* STEEVENS. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 167 

knewest, but the extremity of both ends : When 
thou wast in thy gilt, and thy perfume, they mocked 
thee for too much curiosity j ' in thy rags thou 
knowest none, but art despised for the contrary. 
There's a medlar for thee, eat it. 

TIM. On what I hate, I feed not. 

APEM. Dost hate a medlar ? 

TIM. Ay, though it look like thee. 2 

APEM. An thou hadst hated medlers sooner, thou 
should'st have loved thyself better now. What 
man didst thou ever know unthrift, that was be- 
loved after his means ? 

TIM. Who, without those means thou talkest of, 
didst thou ever know beloved ? 

APEM. Myself. 

1 for too much curiosity ;] i. e. for too much finical deli- 
cacy. The Oxford editor alters it to courtesy. WARBURTON. 

Dr. Warburton has explained the word justly. So, in Jervas 
Markham's English Arcadia, 1606 : " for all those eye- 
charming graces, of which with sucli curiosity she had boasted." 
Again, in Hobby's translation of Castiglione's Cortegiano, 1556: 
" A waiting gentlewoman should flee affection or curiosity." 
Curiosity is here inserted as a synonyme to affection, which 
means affectation. Curiosity likewise seems to have meant 
capriciousness. Thus, in Greene's Mamillia, 1593: " Pharicles 
hath shewn me some curtesy, and I have not altogether requited 
him with curiosity : he hath made some shew of love, and I have 
not wholly seemed to mislike." STJEEVENS. 

2 Ay, though it look like t/iee,~] Timon here supposes that an 
objection against hatred, which through the whole t-nor of the 
conversation appears an argument for it. One would have ex- 
pected him to have answered 

Yes, for it looks like thee. 

The old edition, which always gives the pronoun instead of the 
affirmative particle, has it 

I, though it look like thee. 
Perhaps we should read : 

I thought it look'd like thee. JOHNSON. 


TIM. I understand thee ; thou hadst some means 
to keep a dog. 

APEM. What things in the world canst thou 
nearest compare to thy flatterers ? 

TIM. Women nearest ; but men, men are the 
things themselves. W T hat would'st thou do with 
the world, Apemantus, if it lay in thy power ? 

APEM. Give it the beasts, to be rid of the men. 

TIM. Would'st thou have thyself fall in the con- 
fusion of men, and remain a beast with the beasts ? 

APEM. Ay, Tim on. 

TIM. A beastly ambition, which the gods grant 
thee to attain to ! If thou wort the lion, the fox 
would beguile thee : if thou wert the lamb, the fox 
would eat thee : if thou wert the fox, the lion 
would suspect thee, when, pei'ad venture, thou wert 
accused by the ass : if thou wert the ass, thy dul- 
ness would torment thee ; and still thou livedst but 
as a breakfast to the wolf: if thou wert the wolf, 
thy greediness would afflict thee, and oft thou 
shouldst hazard thy life for thy dinner : wert thou 
the unicorn, 3 pride and wrath would confound 
thee, and make thine own self the conquest of thy 
fury : wert thou a bear, thou would'st be killed by 
the horse; wert thou a horse, thou would'stbe seized 
by the leopard ; wert thou a leopard, thou wert 

s the unicorn, &c.] The account' given of the unicorn is 

this : that he and the lion being enemies by nature, as soon as 
the lion sees the unicorn he betakes himself to a tree : the uni- 
corn in his fury, and with all the swiftness of his course, running 
at him, sticks his horn fast in the tree, and then the lion falls 
upon him and kills him. Gesner Hist. Animal. HANMER. 

See a note on Julius Ccesar, Vol. XVI. p. 305, n. 2. 


sc.m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 169 

german to the lion, 4 and the spots of thy kindred 
were jurors on thy life : all thy safety were remo- 
tion ; 3 and thy defence, absence. What beast 
could' st thou be, that were not subject to a beast? 
and what a beast art thou already, that seest not 
thy loss in transformation ? 

APEM. If thou could' st please me with speaking 
to me, thou might* st have hit upon it here : The 
commonwealth of Athens is become a forest of 

TIM. How has the ass broke the wall, that thou 
art out of the city ? 

APEM. Yonder comes a poet, and a painter : 
The plague of company light upon thee ! I will 
fear to catch it, and give way : When I know not 
w r hat else to do, I'll see thee again. 

TIM. When there is nothing living but thee, 
thou shalt be welcome. I had rather be a beggar's 
dog, than Apemantus. 

APEM. Thou art the cap of all the fools alive. 6 

4 thou toert german to the lion,~\ This seems to be an 

allusion to Turkish policy: 

" Bears, like the Turk, no brother near the throne." 

See Vol. XII. p. 222, n. 3. STEEVENS. 

5 were remotion;] i. e. removal from place to place. 

So, in King Lear : 

" 'Tis the remotion of the duke and her." STEEVENS. 

Remotion means, I apprehend, not a fi-equent removal from 
place to place, but merely remoteness, the being placed at a dis- 
tance from the lion. See Vol. VI. p. 213, n. 7 ; and Vol. XL 
p. 371, n. 1. MALONE. 

Thou art the cap &c.] The top, the principal. The re- 
maining dialogue has more malignity than wit. JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's explication is, I think, right ; but I believe our 
author had also the fool's cap in his thoughts. MALONE. 



TIM. 'Would thou wert clean enough to spit 

APEM. A plague on thee, thou art too bad to 
curse. 7 

TIM. All villains, that do stand by thee, are 
pure. 8 

APEM. There is no leprosy but what thou speak'st. 

TIM. If I name thee. 
I'll beat thee, but I should infect my hands. 

APEM. I would, my tongue could rot them off! 

TIM. Away, thou issue of a mangy dog ! 
Choler does kill me, that thou art aiive ; 
I swoon to see thee. 

APEM. 'Would thou would' st burst ! 

TIM. Away, 

Thou tedious rogue ! I am sorry, I shall lose 
A stone by thee. [Throws a Stone at him. 

APEM. Beast ! 
TIM. Slave ! 

APEM. Toad ! 

TIM. Rogue, rogue, rogue ! 

[APEMANTUS retreats backward, as going. 

In All's 'well that ends 'well, " the cap of the time," appa- 
rently means the foremost in the fashion. STEEVENS. 

7 Apem. A plague on thee, thou art too bad to curse. ~\ Thus, 
the old copies, and, I think, rightly. Mr. Theobald, however, 
is of a contrary opinion ; for, according to the present regula- 
tion, says he, Apemantus is " made to curse Timon, and imme- 
diately to subjoin that he was too bad to curse." He would 
therefore give the former part of the line to Timon. STEEVENS. 

6 All villains, that do stand by thee, are pure.~] The same 
sentiment is repeated in King Lear: 

" Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd, 
" When others are more wicked." STEEVENS. 

?:///. TIMON OF ATHENS. 171 

I am sick of this false world ; and will love nought 
But even the mere necessities upon it. 
Then, Timon, presently prepare thy grave ; 
Lie where the light foam of the sea may beat 
Thy grave-stone daily : make thine epitaph, 
That death in me at others' lives may laugh. 
O thou sweet king-killer, and dear divorce 

[Looking on the Gold. 

'Twixt natural son and sire ! 9 thou bright denier 
Of Hymen's purest bed ! thou valiant Mars ! 
Thou ever young, fresh, lov'd, and delicate wooer, 
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow 
That lies on Dian's lap ! * thou visible god, 
That solder'st close impossibilities, 
And mak'st them kiss! that speak* st with every 


To every purpose ! O thou touch of hearts ! 2 
Think, thy slave man rebels ; and by thy virtue 
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts 
May have the world in empire ! 

APEM. 'Would 'twere so ; 

But not till I am dead ! I'll say, thou hast gold : 

9 'Twixt natural son and sire !"] 

" A;a rovrov QVK d8e\<pls 

" Aia rourov ou ro>ojj." Anac. JOHNSON. 

1 Whose Hush doth thaw the consecrated snotv 

That lies on Dian's lap /] The imagery is here exquisitely 
beautiful and sublime. WARBURTON. 

Dr. Warburton might have said Here is a very elegant turn 
given to a thought more coarsely expressed in King Lear: 

" yon simpering dame, 

" Whose face between her forks presages snow.'* 


* O thou touch of hearts !"] Touch, for touchstone. So, 

in King Richard III: 

" O, Buckingham, now do I play the touchy 

" To try if thou be'st current gold ." STEEVENS. 


Thou wilt be throng'd to shortly. 

TIM. Throng'd to ? 

APEM. Ay. 

TIM. Thy back, I pr'ythee. 
APEM. Live, and love thy misery ! 

TIM. Long live so, and so die ! I am quit. 


More things like men ? 3 Eat, Timon, and abhor 

Enter Thieves. 4 

1 THIEF. Where should he have this gold ? It is 
some poor fragment, some slender ort of his re- 
mainder : The mere want of gold, and the falling- 
from of his friends, drove him into this melan- 

2 THIEF. It is noised, he hath a mass of trea- 

3 THIEF. Let us make the assay upon him ; if he 

3 More things like men ?~\ This line, in the old edition, is 
given to Apemantus, but it apparently belongs to Timon. Sir 
Thomas Hanmer has transposed the foregoing dialogue accord- 
ing to his own mind, not unskilfully, but with unwarrantable 
licence. JOHNSON. 

I believe, as the name of Apemantus was prefixed to this line, 
instead of Timon, so the name of Timon was prefixed to the 
preceding line by a similar mistake. That line seems more pro- 
per in the mouth of Apemantus ; and the words / am quit., 
seem to mark his exit. MALONE. 

The words / am quit, in my opinion, belong to Timon, who 
means that he is quit or clear, has at last got rid of Apemantus ; 
is delivered from his company. This phrase is yet current 
among the vulgar. STEEVENS. 

4 Enter Thieves.] The old copy reads, Enter the Banditti. 


sc.m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 173 

care not for't, he will supply us easily ; If he co- 
vetously reserve it, how shall* s get it ? 

2 THIEF. True ; for he bears it not about him, 
'tis hid. 

1 THIEF. Is not this he ? 
THIEVES. Where? 

2 THIEF. J Tis his description. 

3 THIEF. He ; I know him. 
THIEVES. Save thee, Timon. 
TIM. Now, thieves ? 
THIEVES. Soldiers, not thieves. 
TIM. Both too ; and women's sons. 

THIEVES. We are not thieves, but men that 
much do want. 

TIM. Your greatest want is, you want much of 
meat. 5 

4 you want much o/'meat.] Thus both the player and 

poetical editor have given us this passage ; quite sand-blind, as 
honest Launcelot says, to our author's meaning. If these poor 
Thieves wanted meat, what greater want could they be cursed 
with, as they could not live on grass, and berries, and water r 
but I dare warrant the poet wrote : 

you much want of meet. 

i.e. Much of what you ought to be; much of the qualities be- 
fitting you as human creatures. THEOBALD. 

Such is Mr. Theobald's emendation, in which he is followed 
by Dr. Warburton. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads : 

you want much of men. 

They have been all busy without necessity. Observe the series 
of the conversation. The Thieves tell him, that they are men 
that much do want. Here is an ambiguity between much want, 
and want of much. Timon takes it on the wrong side, and tells 
them that their greatest want is, that, like other men, they want 
much of meat; then telling them where meat may be had, he 
asks, Want? why want? JOHNSON. 


Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath 

roots ; 6 

Within this mile break forth a hundred springs : 
The oaks bear mast, the briars scarlet hips ; 
The bounteous housewife, nature, on each bush 
Lays her full mess before you. Want ? why want ? 

1 THIEF. We cannot live on grass, on berries,, 

As beasts, and birds, and fishes. 

TIM. Nor on the beasts themselves, the birds, 

and fishes ; 

You must eat men. Yet thanks I must you con, 7 
That you are thieves profess' d ; that you work not 
In holier shapes : for there, is boundless theft 
In limited professions. 8 Rascal thieves, 

Perhaps we should read : 

Your greatest ivant is, you 'want much of me. 
rejecting the two last letters of the word. The sense will then 
be your greatest want is that you expect supplies of me from 
whom you can reasonably expect nothing. Your necessities are 
indeed desperate, when you apply for relief to one in my situa- 
tion. Dr. Farmer, however, with no small probability, would 
point the passage as follows : 

Your greatest tvant is, you tvant much. Of meat 
Why should you want? Behold, &c. STEEVENS. 

6 . the earth hath roots ; &c.] 

" Vile olus, & duns hasrentia mora rubetis, 
" Pugnantis stomachi composuere famem : 

" Flumine vicino stultus sitit." 

I do not suppose these to be imitations, but only to be similar 
thoughts on similar occasions. JOHNSON. 

7 Yet thanks / must you con,] To con thanks is a very 

common expression among our old dramatick writers. So, in 
The Story of King Darius, 1565, an interlude: 

" Yea and well said, I con you no thanke." 
Again, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil, by 
Nash, 1592 : " It is well done to practise my wit ; but I believe 
our lord will con thee little thanks for it." STEEVENS. 

6 In limited. professions.'] Limited, for legal. WARBURTON. 

so. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 175 

Here's gold : Go, suck the subtle blood of the 


Till the high fever seeth your blood to froth, 
And so 'scape hanging : trust not the physician j 
His antidotes are poison, and he slays 
More than you rob : take wealth and lives together; 
JDo villainy, do, since you profess to do't, 9 
Like workmen. I'll example you with thievery: 
The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction 
Robs the vast sea : the moon's an arrant thief, 
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun : 
The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves 
The moon into salt tears : l the earth's a thief, 

Regular, orderly, professions. So, in Macbeth: 

" For 'tis my limited service." 

i. e. my appointed service, prescribed by the necessary duty and 
rules of my office. MALONE. 

9 since you profess to do't,~] The old copy has protest. 

The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE. 

1 The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves 

The moon into salt tears :] The moon is supposed to be 
humid, and perhaps a source of humidity, but cannot be resolved 
by the surges- of the sea. Yet I think moon is the true reading. 
Here is a circulation of thievery described : The sun, moon, and 
sea, all rob, and are robbed. JOHNSON. 

He says simply, that the sun, the moon, and the sea f rob 
one another by turns, but the earth robs them all : the sea, i. e. 
liquid surge, by supplying the moon with moisture, robs her in 
turn of the soft tears of dew which the poets always fetch from 
this planet. Soft for salt is an easy change. In this sense 
Milton speaks of her moist continent. Paradise Lost, Book V. 
1. 422. And, in Hamlet, Horatio says : 

" the moist star 

" Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands." 


We are not to attend on such occasions merely to philosophical 
truth ; we are to consider what might have been the received or 
vulgar notions of the time. The populace, in the days of Shak- 
speare, might possibly have considered the waining of" the moon 


That feeds and breeds by a composture 2 stolen 

as a gradual dissolution of it, and have attributed to this melting 
of the moon, the increase of the sea at the time she disappears. 
They might, it is true, be told, that there is a similar increase 
in the tides when the moon becomes full ; but when popular 
notions are once established, the reasons urged against them are 
but little attended to. It may also be observed, that the moon, 
when viewed through a telescope, has a humid appearance, and 
seems to have drops of water suspended from the rim of it ; to 
which circumstance Shakspeare probably alludes in Macbeth, 
where Hecate says : 

" Upon the corner of the moon 

" There hangs a vaporous drop," &c. M. MASONS 

Shakspeare knew that the moon was the cause of the tides, 
[See The Tempest, Vol. IV. p. 169,] and in that respect the li- 
quid surge, that is, the waves of the sea, rising one upon an- 
other, in the progress of the tide, may be said to resolve the 
moon into salt tears; the moon, as the poet chooses to state the 
matter, losing some part of her humidity, and the accretion to 
the sea, in consequence of her tears, being the cause of the li- 
quid surge. Add to this the popular notion, yet prevailing, of 
the moon's influence on the weather ; which, together with what 
has been already stated, probably induced our author here and 
in other places to allude to the luatry quality of that planet. In 
Romeo and Juliet, he speaks of her " ivatry beams." 
Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream : 

" Quench'd in the chaste beams of the ivutry moon." 
Again, more appositely, in King Richard III: 

" That I, being governed by the ivatry moon, 

" May bring forth plenteous tears, to drown the world." 
Salt is so often applied by Shakspeare to tears, that there can 
be no doubt that the original reading is the true one : nor had 
the poet, as I conceive, deiv, at all in his thoughts. So, in All's 
laell that ends well: " your salt tears' head ." Again, in 
Troilus and Cressida : 

" Distasted with the salt of broken tears." 
Again, in King Richard III: 

" Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears" 
Again, more appositely, in King Henry VI. Part II: 

" to drain 

" Upon his face an ocean of salt tears." 

Mr. Toilet idly conjectures, (for conjecture is always idle where 
there is little difficulty,) that we should read The main, i. e. 
the main land or continent. So, in King Henry IV. Part II. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 177 

From general excrement: each thing's a thief; 

Act III. sc. i : " The continent melt itself into the sea." An 
observation made by this gentleman in Love's Labour's Lost, 
Vol. VII. p. 129, had he recollected it, might have prevented 
him from attempting to disturb the text here : " No alteration 
should be made in these lines that destroys the artificial structure 
of them." In the first line the sun is the thief; in the second 
he is himself plundered by that thief, the moon. The moon is 
subjected to the same fate, and, from being a plunderer , is her- 
self ro bbed of moisture (line 4th and 5th) by the sea. 


I cannot say for a certainty whether Allumazar or this play 
was first written, as Timon made its earliest appearance in the 
folio, 1623. Between Albumazar and The Alchymist there has 
been likewise a contest for the right of eldership. The original 
of Albumazar was an Italian comedy called Lo Astrologo, written 
by Battista Porta, the famous physiognomist of Naples, and 
printed at Venice in 1606. The translator is said to have been 
a Mr. Tomkis, of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Alchymist 
was brought on in 1610, which is four years before Albumazar 
was performed for the entertainment of King James ; and Ben 
Jonson in his title-page boldly claims the merit of having intro- 
duced a new subject and new characters on the stage : 

" petere inde coronam 

" Undeprius nulli velarint tempora musce" 
The play of Albumazar was not entered on the books of the Sta- 
tioners' Company till April 28, 1615. In Albumazar, however, 
such examples of thievery likewise occur : 

" The world's a theatre of theft : Great rivers 
" Rob smaller brooks ; and them the ocean. 
" And in this world of ours, this microcosm, 
" Guts from the stomach steal ; and what they spare 
" The meseraicks filch, and lay't i'the liver; 
" Where (lest it should be found) turn'd to red nectar, 
" 'Tis by a thousand thievish veins convey'd, 
" And hid in flesh, nerves, bones, muscles, and sinews, 
" In tendons, skin, and hair ; so that the property 
" Thus alter'd, the theft can never be discover'd. 
" Now all these pilferies, couch'd, and compos'd in order, 
" Frame thee and me: Man's a quick mass of thievery." 


Puttenham, in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589, quotes 
some one of a " reasonable good iacilitie in translation, who 


The laws, your curb and whip, 3 in their rough 


Have uncheck'd theft. Love not yourselves; away; 
Rob one another. There's more gold : Cut throats ; 
All that you meet are thieves : To Athens, go, 
Break open shops ; nothing can you steal, 4 
But thieves do lose it : Steal not less, 5 for this 
I give you ; and gold confound you howsoever ! 
Amen. [TIMON retires to his Cave. 

finding certaine of Anacreon's Odes very well translated by 
Ronsard the French poet comes our minion, and translates the 
same out of French into English :" and his strictures upon him 
evince the publication. Now this identical ode is to be met with 
in Ronsard ; and as his works are in few hands, I will take the 
liberty of transcribing it : 

" La terre les eaux va boivant ; 

" L'arbre la boit par sa racine, 

" La mer salee boit le vent, 

" Et le soleil boit la marine. 

" Le soleil est beu de la lune, 

" Tout boit soit en haut ou en has : 

* f Suivant ceste reigle commune, 

" Pourquoy done ne boirons-nous pas ?" 

Edit. fol. p. 507. 

The name of the wretched plagiarist stigmatizedby Puttenham, 
was John Southern, as appears from the only copy of his Poems 
that has hitherto been discovered. He is mentioned by Dray ton 
in one of his Odes. See also the European Magazine, for June 
1778. STEEVENS. 

1 by a composture ] i. e. composition, compost. 


3 The laixs, your curb and iuhip,~] So, in Measure for Mea- 
sure : 

" most biting laws, 

" The needful bits and curbs for headstrong steeds." 


* nothing can you steal,"] To complete the measure I 

would read : 

where nothing can you steal, . STEEVENS. 

5 Steal not less,~] Not, which was accidentally omitted 

in the old copy, was inserted by Mr. Rowe. MALONE. 

sc. m. TIMON OF ATHENS. 179 

3 THIEF. He has almost charmed me from my 
profession, by persuading me to it. 

1 THIEF. 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that he 
thus advises us ; not to have us thrive in our mys- 
tery. 6 

2 THIEF. I'll believe him as an enemy, and give 
over my trade. 

1 THIEF. Let us first see peace in Athens: There 
is no time so miserable, but a man may be true. 7 

\_Rxeunt Thieves. 



FLAV. O you gods ! 

Is yon despis'd and ruinous man my lord ? 
Full of decay and failing ? O monument 
And wonder of good deeds evilly bestow'd ! 
What an alteration of honour has 

' 'Tis in the malice of mankind, that he thus advises us; not 
to have us thrive in our mystery.'} The reason of his advice, says 
the Thief, is malice to mankind, not any kindness to us, or de- 
sire to have us thrive in our mystery. JOHNSON. 

' Let us first see peace in Athens: There is no time so miser- 
able, but a man may be true."] [Dr. Warburton divides this line 
between thetwo thieves.] This and the concluding little speech 
have in all the editions been placed to one speaker : But, it is 
evident, the latter words ought to be put in the mouth of the 
second Thief, who is repenting, arid leaving off his trade. 


The second Thief has just said, he'll give over his trade. It 
is time enough for that, says the first Thief: let us wait till 
Athens is at peace. There is no hour of a man's life so wretch- 
ed, but he always has it in his power to become a true, i. e. an 
honest man. I have explained this easy passage, because it has, 
I think, been misunderstood. 

Our author has made Mrs. Quickly utter nearly the same ex- 
hortation to the dying Falstaff : " Now I bid him not think of 
God; there was time enough for that yet." MALONE. 

N 2 


Desperate want made ! 8 

What viler thing upon the earth, than friends, 
Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends ! 
How rarely 9 does it meet with this time's guise, 
When man was wish'd to love his enemies : l 
Grant, I may ever love, and rather woo 
Those that would mischief me, than those that do! 2 
He has caught me in his eye : I will present 
My honest grief unto him ; and, as my lord, 
Still serve him with my life. My dearest master \ 

TIMON comes forward from his Cave. 

TIM. Away ! what art thou ? 

FLAV. Have you forgot me, sir? 

8 What an alteration of honour has 

Desperate 'want made!'] An alteration of honour, is an alter- 
ation 01 an honourable state to a state of disgrace. JOHNSON. 

9 How rarely does it meet ] Rarely for fitly; not for seldom, 


How curiously ; how happily. MALONE. 

1 When man ivas wish'd to love his enemies :] We should read 
ivill'd. He forgets his Pagan system here again. 


Wish'd is right. It means recommended, See Vol. VI. p. 79, 
n. 6 ; and Vol. IX. p. 45, n. 4. REED. 

2 Grant, I may ever love, and rather woo 

Those that would mischief me, than those that do !] It is 
plain, that in this whole speech friends and enemies are taken 
only for those who profess friendship and profess enmity; for 
the friend is supposed not to be more kind, but more dangerous 
than the enemy. The sense is, Let me rather ivoo or caress 
those that would mischief, that profess to mean me mischief, 
than those that really do me mischief, wider false professions of 
kindness. The Spaniards, I think, have this proverb : Defend 
me from my friends, and from my enemies I ivill defend myself. 
This proverb is a sufficient comment on the passage. JOHNSON. 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 181 

TIM. Why dost ask that? I have forgot all men ; 
Then, if thou grant'st thou'rt man, 3 I have forgot 

FLAV. An honest poor servant of yours. 

TIM. Then 

I know thee not : I ne'er had honest man 
About me, I ; all that 4 I kept were knaves, 5 
To serve in meat to villains. 

FLAV. The gods are witness, 

Ne'er did poor steward wear a truer grief 
For his undone lord, than mine eyes for you. 

TIM. What, dost thou weep ? Come nearer j 

then I love thee, 

Because thou art a woman, and disclaim'st 
Flinty mankind ; whose eyes do never give, 
But thorough lust, and laughter. Pity's sleeping : s 

3 thou'rt man'] Old copy thou' 'rt a man. STEEVENS. 

4 that ] I have supplied this pronoun, for the metre's 

sake. STEEVENS. 

* knaves,"] Knave is here in the compound sense of a 

servant and a rascal. JOHNSON, 

6 Pity's sleeping:"] I do not know that any correction 

is necessary, but I think we might read : 
eyes do never give, 

But thorough lust and laughter, pity sleeping:- 

Eyes never floiu (to give is to dissolve, as saline bodies in moist 
weather,) but by lust or laughter, undisturbed by emotions of 
pity. JOHNSON. 

Johnson certainly is right in reading Pity sleeping. The 
following line proves it : 

" Alcib. on thy low grave, on faults forgiven." 

Surely Theobald's punctuation is preferable to Malone's. 


Pity's sleeping:'] So, in Daniel's second Sonnet, 1594 : 

" Waken her sleeping pity with your crying." 



Strange times, that weep with laughing, not with 
weeping ! 

FLAV. I beg of you to know me, good my lord, 
To accept my grief, and, whilst this poor wealth 

To entertain me as your steward still. 

TIM. Had I a steward so true, so just, and now 
So comfortable ? It almost turns 
My dangerous nature wild. 7 Let me behold 

It almost turns 

My dangerous nature wild.] i. e. It almost turns my 
dangerous nature to a dangerous nature ; for, by dangerous na- 
ture is meant ivildness. Shakspeare wrote : 

It almost turns my dangerous nature mild. 

i. e. It almost reconciles me again to mankind. For fear of that, 
he puts in a caution immediately after, that he makes an excep- 
tion but for one man. To which the Oxford editor says, r- cte: 


This emendation is specious, but even this may be controvert- 
ed. To turn "wild is to distract. An appearance so unexpected, 
says Timon, almost turns my savageness to distraction. Ac- 
cordingly he examines with nicety lest his phrenzy should 
deceive him : 

" Let me behold 

" Thy face. Surely, this man was born of woman. " 
And to this suspected disorder of the mind he alludes : 

" Perpetual-sofor gods !" 

Ye powers whose intellects are out of the reach of perturbation. 


He who is so much disturbed as to have no command over his 
actions, and to be dangerous to all around him, is already dis- 
tracted, and therefore it would be idle to talk of turning such 
" a dangerous nature wild :" it is wild already. Besides ; the 
baseness and ingratitude of the world might very properly be 
mentioned as driving Timon into frenzy: (So, in Antony and 
Cleopatra : 

" The ingratitude of this Seleucus does 

" Even make me 'wild."} 

but surely the kindness and fidelity of his Steward was more 
likely to soften and compose him ; that is, to render his danger- 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 183 

Thy .face. Surely, this man was born of wo- 

Forgive my general and exceptless rashness, 
Perpetual-sober 8 gods ! I do proclaim 
One honest man, mistake me not, but one ; 
No more, I pray, and he is a steward. 
How fain would I have hated all mankind, 
And thou redeem'st thyself: But all, save thee, 
I fell with curses. 

Methinks, thou art more honest now, than wise ; 
For, by oppressing and betraying me, 
Thou might'st have sooner got another service : 
For many so arrive at second masters, 
Upon their first lord's neck. But tell me true, 
(For I must ever doubt, though ne'er so sure,) 
Is not thy kindness subtle, covetous, 
If not a usuring 9 kindness ; and as rich men deal 

Expecting in return twenty for one ? 

ous nature mild. I therefore strongly incline to Dr. Warburton's 
emendation. MALONE. 

* Perpetual-sober ] Old copy, unmetrically 
io\\ perpetual c. STEEVENS. 

' If not a usuring ] If not seems to have slipt in here, by 
an error of the press, from the preceding line. Both the sense 
and metre would be better without it. TYRWHITT. 

I do not see any need of change. Timon asks Has not thy 
kindness some covert design ? Is it not proposed with a view to 
gain some equivalent in return, or rather to gain a great deal 
more than thou offeresi? Is it not at least the offspring of 
avarice, if not of something worse, of usury? In this there 
appears to me no difficulty. MALONE. 

My opinion most perfectly coincides with that of Mr. Tyrwhitt. 
The sense of the line, with or without the contested words, is 
nearly the same ; yet, by the omission of them, the metre would 
become sufficiently regular. STEEA-EXS. 


FLAV. No, my most worthy master, in whose 


Doubt and suspect, alas, are plac'd too late : 
You should have fear'd false times, when you did 

feast : 

Suspect still comes where an estate is least. 
That which I show, heaven knows, is merely love, 
Duty and zeal to your unmatched mind, 
Care of your food and living : and, believe it, 
My most honour' d lord, 
For any benefit that points to me, 
Either in hope, or present, I'd exchange 
For this one wish, That you had power and wealth 
To requite me, by making rich yourself. 

TIM. Look thee, 'tis so ! Thou singly honest 


Here, take : the gods out of my misery 
Have sent thee treasure. Go, live rich, and happy : 
But thus conditional ; Thou shalt build from men ; l 
Hate all, curse all : show charity to none ; 
But let the famish'd flesh slide from the bone, 
Ere thou relieve the beggar : give to dogs 
What thou deny'st to men ; let prisons swallow 


Debts wither them : 2 Be men like blasted woods, 
And may diseases lick up their false bloods ! 
And so, farewell, and thrive. 
FLAV. O, let me stay, 

1 from men;~\ Away from human habitations. 


5 Debts 'wither them:"] Old copy : 

Debts wither them to nothing : 

I have omitted the redundant words, not only for the sake of 
metre, but because they are worthless. Our author has the same 
phrase in Antony and Cleopatra; 

" Age cannot wither her, ." STEEVENS. 


And comfort you, my master. 

TIM. Ifthouhat'st 

Curses, stay not ; fly, whilstthou'rt bless'd and free : 
Ne'er see thou man, and let me ne'er see thee. 

[ Exeunt severally. 


The same. Before Timon's Cave. 

Enter Poet and Painter; 3 TIMON behind, unseen. 

PAIN. As I took note of the place, it cannot be 
far where he abides. 

3 Enter Poet and Painter ;'] The Poet and the Painter were 
within view when Apemantus parted from Timon, and might 
then have seen Timon, since Apemantus, standing by him could 
see them : But the scenes of the Thieves and Steward have 
passed before their arrival, and yet passed, as the drama is now 
conducted, within their view. It might be suspected, that some 
scenes are transposed, for all these difficulties would be removed 
by introducing the Poet and Painter first, and the Thieves in this 
place. Yet I am afraid the scenes must keep their present order, 
for the Painter alludes to the Thieves when he says, he likewise 
enriched poor straggling soldiers ivith great quantity. This im- 
propriety is now heightened by placing the Thieves in one Act, 
and the Poet and Painter in another: but it must be remembered, 
that in the original edition this play is not divided into separate 
Acts, so that the present distribution is arbitrary, and may be 
changed if any convenience can be gained, or impropriety ob- 
viated by alteration. JOHNSON. 

In the immediately preceding scene, Flavius, Timon's steward, 
has a conference with his master, and receives gold from him. 
Between this and the present scene, a single minute cannot be 


POET. What's to be thought of him ? Does the 
rumour hold for true, that he is so full of gold I 

supposed to pass; and yet the Painter tells his companion : 'Tis 
said he gave his steward a mighty sum. Where was it said? 
Why in Athens, whence, it must therefore seem, they are but 
newly come. Here then should be fixed the commencement of 
the fifth Act, in order to allow time for Flavius to return to the 
city, and for rumour to publish his adventure with Timon. But 
how are we in this case to account for Apemantus's announcing 
the approach of the Poet and Painter in the last scene of the 
preceding Act, and before the Thieves appear? It is possible, 
that when this play was abridged for representation, all between 
this passage, and the entrance of the Poet and Painter, may 
have been omitted by the players, and these words put into the 
mouth of Apemantus to introduce them ; and that when it was 
published at large, the interpolation was unnoticed. Or, if we 
allow the Poet and Painter to see Apemantus, it may be con- 
jectured that they did not think his presence necessary at 
their interview with Timon, and had therefore returned back 
into the city. RITSON. 

I am afraid, many of the difficulties which the commentators 
on our author have employed their abilities to remove, arise from 
the negligence of Shakspeare himself, who appears to have been 
less attentive to the connection of his scenes, than a less hasty 
writer may be supposed to have been. On the present occasion 
I have changed the beginning of the Act. It is but justice to 
observe, that the same regulation has already been adopted by 
Mr. Capell. PLEED. 

I perceive no difficulty. It is easy to suppose that the Poet 
and Painter, after having been seen at a distance by Apemantus, 
have wandered about the woods separately in search ofTimon's 
habitation. The Painter might have heard of Timon's having 
given gold to Alcibiades, &c. before the Poet joined him; for it 
does not appear that they set out from Athens together; and his 
intelligence concerning the Thieves and the Steward might have 
been gained in his rambles : Or, having searched for Timon's 
habitation in vain, they might, after having been descried by 
Apemantus, have returned again to Athens, and the Painter 
alone have heard the particulars of Timon's bounty. But 
Shakspeare was not very attentive to these minute particulars ; 
and if he and the audience knew of the several persons who had 
partaken of Timon's wealth, he would not scruple to impart 

sc. I. TIMON OF ATHENS. is? 

PAIN. Certain : Alcibiades reports it ; Phrynia 
and Timandra had gold of him : he likewise en- 
riched poor straggling soldiers with great quantity: 
'Tis said, he gave unto his steward a mighty sum. 

POET. Then this breaking of his has been but a 
try for his friends. 

PAIN. Nothing else : you shall see him a palm 
in Athens again, and flourish 4 with the highest. 
Therefore, 'tis not amiss, we tender our loves to 
him, in this supposed distress of his : it will show 
honestly in us ; and is very likely to load our pur- 
poses with what they travel for, if it be a just and 
true report that goes of his having. 

POET. What have you now to present unto him ? 

PAIN. Nothing at this time but my visitation: 
only I will promise him an excellent piece. 

POET. I must serve him so too j tell him of an 
intent that's coming toward him. 

PAIN. Good as the best. Promising is the very 
air o'the time : it opens the eyes of expectation : 
performance is ever the duller for his act ; and, but 
in the plainer and simpler kind of people, the deed 
of saying is quite out of use. 5 To promise is most 

this knowledge to persons who perhaps had not yet an oppor- 
tunity of acquiring it. See Vol. XIV. p. 167, n. 5. 

The news of the Steward's having been enriched by Timon, 
though that event happened only in the end of the preceding 
scene, has, we here find, reached the Painter; and therefore 
here undoubtedly the fifth Act ought to begin, that a proper in- 
terval may be supposed to have elapsed between this and the last. 


1 a palm and flourish $?c.~\ This allusion is scriptural, 

and occurs in Psalm xcii. 11: " The righteous sha\ljlourish like 
a palm-tree." STEEVENS. 

5 the deed of saying is quite out of use."] The doing of 

that 'which we have said ive would do, the accomplishment and 


courtly and fashionable : performance is a kind of 
will, or testament, which argues a great sickness 
in his judgment that makes it. 

TIM. Excellent workman ! Thou canst not paint 
a man so bad as is thyself. 

POET. I am thinking, what I shall say I have 
provided for him : It must be a personating of him- 
self: 6 a satire against the softness of prosperity ; 
with a discovery of the infinite flatteries, that follow 
youth and opulency. 

TIM. Must thou needs stand for a villain in thine 
own work? Wilt thou whip thine own faults in 
other men ? Do so, I have gold for thee. 

POET. Nay, let's seek him : 
Then do we sin against our own estate, 
When we may profit meet, and come too late. 

PAIN. True ; 

When the day serves, 7 before black-corner'dnight, 8 
Find what thou want'st by free and offer'd light. 

performance of our promise, is, except among the lower classes of 
mankind, quite out of use. So, in King Lear: 

" In my true-heart 

" I find she names my very deed of love." 
Again, more appositely, in Hamlet : 

" As he, in his peculiar act and force, 

" May give his saying deed." 

Mr. Pope rejected the words of saying, and the four follow- 
ing editors adopted his licentious regulation. MALONE. 

I claim the merit of having restored the old reading. 


6 It must be a personating of himself :~\ Personating, for re- 
presenting simply. For the subject of this projected satire was 
Timon's case, not his person. WARBURTON. 

7 When the day serves, &c.] Theobald with some probability 
assigns these two lines to the Poet. MALONE. 

8 before black-corner'd night,] An anonymous corre- 

sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 189 

TIM. I'll meet you at the turn. What a god's 


That he is worshipped in a baser temple, 
Than where swine feed ! 
'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark, and plough'st the 


Settlest admired reverence in a slave : 
To thee be worship ! and thy saints for aye 
Be crown'd with plagues, that thee alone obey ! 
'Fit I do meet them. 9 [Advancing. 

POET. Hail, worthy Timon ! 

PAIN. Our late noble master. 

TIM. Have I once liv'd to see two honest men? 

POET. Sir, 

Having often of your open bounty tasted, 
Hearing you were retir'd, your friends fall'n off, 
Whose thankless natures O abhorred spirits ! 
Not all the whips of heaven are large enough 
What! to you! 
Whose star-like nobleness gave life and influence 

spondent sent me this observation : " As the shadow of the 
earth's body, which is round, must be necessarily conical over 
the hemisphere which is opposite to the sun, should we not read 
black-coned? See Paradise Lost, Book IV." 

To tin's observation I might add a sentence from Philemon 
Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History, B. II : " Nei- 
ther is the night any thing else but the shade of the earth. Now 
the figure of this shadow resembleth a pyramis pointed forward, 
or a top turned upside down." 

I believe, nevertheless, that Shakspeare, by this expression, 
meant only, Night which is as obscure as a dark corner. In 
Measure for Measure, Lucio calls the Duke, " a duke of dark 
corners." Mr. M. Mason proposes to read " black-crotcwV 
night;" another correspondent, " black-cover' d night." 


9 'Fit I do meet them.'] For the sake of harmony in this he- 
mistich, I have supplied the auxiliary verb. STEEVENS. 


To their whole being ! I'm rapt, and cannot cover 
The monstrous bulk of this ingratitude 
With any size of words. 

TIM. Let it go naked, men may see'tthe better: 
You, that are honest, by being what you are, 
Make them best seen, and known. 

PAIN. He, and myself, 

Have travelled in the great shower of your gifts, 
And sweetly felt it. 

TIM. Ay, you are honest men. 

PAIN. We are hither come to offer you our ser- 

TIM. Most honest men ! Why, how shall I re- 
quite you ? 
Can you eat roots, and drink cold water ? no. 

BOTH. What we can do, we'll do, to do you 

TIM. You are honest men : You have heard that 

I have gold ; 

I am sure, you have : speak truth : you are honest 

PAIN. So it is said, my noble lord : but therefore 
Came not my friend, nor I. 

TIM. Good honest men : Thou draw'st a coun- 
terfeit 1 

Best in all Athens : thou art, indeed, the best ; 
Thou counterfeit' st most lively. 

PAIN. So, so, my lord. 

1 a counterfeit ] It has been already observed, that a 

portrait was so called in our author's time : 

" What find I here? 

" Fair Portia's counterfeit !" Merchant of Venice. 


sc. i. TIMON OF ATHENS. 191 

TIM. Even so, sir, as I say: And, for thy 
fiction, [To the Poet. 

Why, thy verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth, 
That thou art even natural in thine art. 
But, for all this, my honest-natur'd friends, ' 
I must needs say, you have a little fault: 
Marry, 'tis not monstrous in you ; neither wish I, 
You take much pains to mend. 

BOTH. Beseech your honour, 

To make it known to us. 

TIM. You'll take it ill. 

BOTH. Most thankfully, my lord. 

TIM. Will you, indeed ? 

BOTH. Doubt it not, worthy lord. 

TIM. There's ne'er a one of ypu but trusts a 

That mightily deceives you. 

BOTH. Do we, my lord ? 

TIM. Ay, and you hear him cog, see him dis- 

Know his gross patchery, love him, feed him, 
Keep in your bosom : yet remain assur'd, 
That he's a made-up villain. 2 

PAIN. I know none such, my lord. 

POET. Nor I. 8 

a a made-up villain.'] That is, a villain that adopts qua- 
lities and characters not properly belonging to him ; a hypocrite. 


A made-tip villain, may mean a complete, a finished villain. 


3 Nor /.] As it may be supposed (perhaps I am repeating a 
remark already made on a similar occasion) that our author de- 
signed his Poet's address to be not less respectful than that of 


TIM. Look you, I love you well ; I'll give you 


Rid me these villains from your companies: 
Hang them, or stab them, drown themin a draught, 4 
Confound them by some course, and come to me, 
I'll give you gold enough. 

BOTH. Name them, my lord, let's know them. 

TIM. You that way, and you this, but two in 
company : 5 

his Painter, he might originally have finished this defective verse, 
by writing : 

Nor I, my lord. STEEVENS. 

4 in a draught,] That is, in thejakes. JOHNSON. 

So, in Holinshed, Vol. II. p. 735 : " he was then sitting on 
a draught." STEEVENS. 

5 but two in company:] This is an imperfect sentence, 

and is to be supplied thus, But two in company spoils all. 


This passage is obscure. I think the meaning is this: but two 
in company, that is, stand apart, let only two be together ; for even 
when each stands single there are two, he himself and a villain. 


This passage may receive some illustration from another in 
The Two Gentlemen of Verona : " My master is a kind of 
knave ; but that's all one, if he be but one knave." The sense is, 
each man is a double villain, i. e. a villain with more than a sin- 
gle share of guilt. See Dr. Farmer's note on the third Act of 
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, &c. Again, in Promos and Cas- 
sandra, 1578: " Go, and a knave with thee." Again, in The 
Storyc of King Darius, 1565, an interlude: 

" if you needs will go away, 

" Take two knaves with you by my faye." 

There is a thought not unlike this in The Scorriful Lady of 
Beaumont and Fletcher : " Take to your chamber when you 
please, there goes a black one with you, lady." STEEVENS. 

There are not two words more frequently mistaken for each 
other, in the printing of these plays, than but and not. I have 
no doubt but that mistake obtains in this passage, and that we 
should read it thus: 


Each man apart, all single and alone, 
Yet an arch-villain keeps him company. 
If, where thou art, two villains shall not be, 

[To the Painter. 
Come not near him. If thou would* st not reside 

[To the Poet. 

But where one villain is, then him abandon. 
Hence ! pack ! there's gold, ye came for gold, ye 

slaves : 
You have done work for me, there's payment:* 

Hence ! 

You are an alchymist, make gold of that : 
Out, rascal dogs ! 

[Exit, beating and driving them out* 

not two in company: 

Each man apart, . M. MASON. 

You that may, and you this, but tivo in company: 

Each man apart, all single, and alone, 

Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.^ The first of these 
lines has been rendered obscure by false pointing ; that is, by 
connecting the words, " but two in company," with the subse- 
quent line, instead of connecting them with the preceding he- 
mistich. The second and third line are put in apposition with the 
first line, and are merely an illustration of the assertion contained 
in it. Do you (says Timon) go that way, and you this, and yet 
still each of you will have two- in your company : each of you, 
though single and alone, will be accompanied by an arch-villain. 
Each man, being himself a villain, will take a villain along with 
him, and so each of you will have two in company. It is a 
mere quibble founded on the word company. See the former 
speech, in which Timon exhorts each of them to " hang or stab 
the villain in his company," i. e. himself. The passage quoted 
by Mr. Steevens from Promos and Cassandra, puts the meaning 
beyond a doubt. MALONE. 

1 You have done ivork c.] For the insertion of the word 
done, which, it is manifest, was omitted by the negligence of 
the compositor, I am answerable. Timon in this line addresses 





The same. 

Enter FLAVIUS, and Two Senators. 
FLAV. It is in vain that you would speak with 


I imon ; 

For he is set so only to himself, 
That nothing but himself, which looks like man, 
Is friendly with him. 

1 SEN. Bring us to his cave : 
It is our part, and promise to the Athenians, 
To speak with Timon. 

2 SEN. At all times alike 

Men are not still the same : 'Twas time, and griefs, 
That fram'd him thus : time, with his fairer hand, 
Offering the fortunes of his former days, 
The former man may make him : Bring us to him, 
And chance it as it may. 

FLAV. Here is his cave. 

Peace and content be here ! Lord Timon ! Timon ! 
Look out, and speak to friends : The Athenians, 
By two of their most reverend senate, greet thee : 
Speak to them, noble Timon. 

the Painter, whom he before called " excellent workman;" iu 
the next the Poet. MALONE. 

1 had rather read : 

Youve it)ork'd t for me, there is your payment : Hence ! 


sc. n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 195 

Enter TIMON. 

TIM. Thou sun, that comfort' st, burn ! 7 Speak, 

and be hang'd : 

For each true word, a blister ! and each false 
Be as a caut'rizing 8 to the root o'the tongue, 
Consuming it with speaking ! 

l SEN. Worthy Timon, 

TIM. Of none but such as you, and you of Ti- 

vSEN.The senators of Athens greet thee, Timon. 

TIM. I thank them ; and would send them back 

the plague, 
Could I but catch it for them. 

I SEN. O, forget 

What we are sorry for ourselves in thee. 
The senators, with one consent of love, 9 

7 Thou sun, that comfort' st, burn /] " Thine eyes," says 
King Lear to Regan, " do comfort, and not burn." 

A similar wish occurs in Antony and Cleopatra: 
" O, sun, 
" Burn the great sphere thou mov'st in !" STEEVENS. 

8 caut'rizing 3 The old copy reads cantherizing ; 

the poet might have written, cancering. STEEVENS. 

To cauterize was a word of our author's time ; being found 
in Bullokar's English Expositor, octavo, 1616, where it is ex- 
plained, " To burn to a sore." It is the word of the old copy, 
with the u changed to an n, which has happened- in almost every 
one of these plays. MALONE. 

9 'with one consent of love,~\ With one united voice ef 
affection. So, in Brady and Tate's translation of the 100th Psalm : 

" With one consent let all the earth." 

All our old writers spell the word improperly, consent, without 
regard to its etymology, concentus. See Vol. XII. p. 217, n. 5 ; 
and p. 333, n. 2. MALONE. 

This sense of the word consent, or concent, WAS originally 

o 2 


Entreat thee back to Athens ; who have thought 
On special dignities, which vacant lie 
For thy best use and wearing. 

2 SEA T . They confess, 

Toward thee, forgetfulness too general, gross : 
Which now the publick body, 1 whicli doth seldom 
Play the recanter, feeling in itself 
A lack of Timon's aid, hath sense withal 
Of its own fall, 2 restraining aid to Timon; 3 

pointed out and ascertained in a note on the first scene of The 
First Part of King Henry VI. See Vol. XIII. p. 6, n. 4. 


1 Which now the publick body,"] Thus the old copy, ungram- 
matically certainly ; but our author frequently thus begins a sen- 
tence, and concludes it without attending to what has gone be- 
fore : for which perhaps the carelessness and ardour of colloquial 
language may be an apology. See Vol. IV. p. 13, n. 6. So 
afterwards in the third scene of this Act: 

" Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd, 
*' Yet our old love made a particular force, 
" And made us speak like friends." 

See also the Poet's third speech in p. 190. Sir Thomas Han- 
mer and the subsequent editors read here more correctly And 
now the publick body, &c. but by what oversight could Which 
be printed instead of And? MALONE. 

The mistake might have been that of the transcriber, not the 
printer. STEEVENS. 

4 Of its own fall,] The Athenians had sense, that is, felt the 
danger of their own Jail, by the arms of Alcibiades. 


I once suspected that our author wrote Of its ovrnfail, i. e. 
failure. So, in Coriolanus: 

" That if you Jail in our request, the blame 

" May hang upon your hardness." 
But a subsequent passage fully supports the reading of the text: 

" In, and prepare : 

" Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the snare." 
Again, in sc. iv : 

" Before proud Athens he's set down by this, 

" Whoscya^ the mark of his ambition is." MALONE. 
3 i" restraining aid to Timon;~\ I think it should be refrain-- 

se.-n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 197 

And send forth us, to make their sorrowed render, 4 
Together with a recompense more fruitful 
Than their offence can weigh down by the dram ; 5 
Ay, even such heaps and sums of love and wealth, 
As shall to thee blot out what wrongs were theirs, 
And write in thee the figures of their love, 
Ever to read them thine. 

TIM. You witch me in it ; 

Surprize me to .the very brink of tears ; 
Lend me a fool's heart, and a woman's eyes, 
And I'll beweep these comforts, worthy senators. 

ing aid, that is, with-holding aid that should have been given to 
Timon. JOHNSON. 

Where is the difference ? To restrain, and to refrain, both 
mean to with-hold. M. MASON. 

4 sorrowed render,] Thus the old copy. Render is con- 
fession. So, in Cymbeline, Act IV. sc. iv: 

" may drive us to a render 

" Where we have liv'd." 
The modern editors read tender. STEEVENS. 

5 Than their offence can weigh down by the dram;~] This, 
which was in the former editions, can scarcely be right, and yet 
I know not whether my reading will be thought to rectify it. I 
take the meaning to be, We will give thee a recompense that our 
offences cannot outweigh, heaps of wealth down by the dram, or 
delivered according to the exactest measure. A little disorder 
may perhaps have happened in transcribing, which may be re- 
formed by reading : 

Ay, evil such heaps, 

And sums of love and wealth, down by the dram, 

As shall to thee . JOHNSON. 

The speaker means, a recompense that shall more than coun- 
terpoise their offences, though weighed with the most scrupulous 
exactness. M. MASON. 

A recompense so large, that the offence they have committed, 
though every dram of that offence should be put into the scale, 
cannot counterpoise it. The recompense will outweigh the 
offence, which, instead of weighing down the scale in which it is 
placed, will kick the beam. MALOXE. 


. Therefore, so please thee to return with 

us, x 

And of our Athens (thine, and ours,) to take 
The captainship, thou shalt be met with thanks, 
Allow* a with absolute power, 6 and thy good name 
Live with authority : so soon we shall drive back 
Of Alcibiades the approaches wild ; 
Who, like a boar too savage, doth root up 7 
His country's peace. 

2 SEN. And shakes his threatening sword 

Against the walls of Athens. 

1 SEN. Therefore, Timon, 

TIM. Well, sir, I will ; therefore, I will, sir ; 


If Alcibiades kill my countrymen, 
Let Alcibiades know this of Timon, 
That Timon cares not. But if he sack fair Athens, 
And take our goodly aged men by the beards, 
Giving our holy virgins to the stain 
Of contumelious, beastly, mad-brain'd war ; 
Then, let him know, and tell him, Timon speaks 


In pity of our aged, and our youth, 
I cannot choose but tell him, that I care not, 
And let him tak't at worst ; for their knives care 

While you have tjiroats to answer : for myself, 

b Allow'd "uoith absolute power, ] Allowed is licensed, privi- 
leged, uncontrolled. So of a buffoon, in Love's Labour's Lost, 
it is said, that he is allotvcd, that is, at liberty to say what he 
will, a privileged scoffer. JOHNSON. 

like a boar, too savage, doth root up ] This image 

might have been caught from Psdlm Ixxx. 13 ; " The "wild boar 
out of the wood doth root it up," &c. STEEVENS. 

sc. n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 199 

There's not a whittle in the unruly camp, 8 

But I do prize it at my love, before 

The reverend'st throat in Athens. So I leave you 

To the protection of the prosperous gods, 9 

As thieves to keepers. 

FLAV. Stay not, all's in vain. 

TIM. Why, I was writing of my epitaph, 
It will be seen to-morrow ; My long sickness 1 
Of health, and living, now begins to mend, 
And nothing brings me all things. Go, live still ; 
Be Alcibiades your plague, you his, 
And last so long enough ! 

I SEN. We speak in vain. 

TIM. But yet I love my country ; and am not 
One that rejoices in the common wreck, 

8 There's not a whittle in the unruly camp>~] A "whittle is still 
in the midland counties the common name for a pocket clasp 
knife, such as children use. Chaucer speaks of a " Sheffield 
thwittell" STEEVENS. 

9 of the prosperous gods,] I believe prosperous is used 

here with our poet's usual laxity, in an active, instead of a passive, 
sense : the gods ivho are the authors of the prosperity of mankind. 
So, in Othello: 

" To my unfolding lend a prosperous car." 
I leave you," says Timon, to the protection of the gods, the great 
distributors of prosperity, that they may so keep and guard you, 
as jailors do thieves ; i. e. for final punishment. MALONE. 

I do not see why the epithet ^prosperous, may not be employed 
here with its common signification, and mean the gods who are 
prosperous in all their undertakings. Our author, elsewhere, 
has blessed gods, clear gods, &c. nay, Euripides, in a chorus to 
his Medea,l\as not scrupled to style these men of Athens OEflN 

1 My Ions sickness ] The disease of life begins to pro- 
mise me a period. JOHNSON. 


As common bruit 2 doth put it. 

1 SEN. That's well spoke. 

TIM. Commend me to my loving countrymen, 

1 SEN. These words become your_lips as they 

pass through them. 

2 SEN. And enter in our ears, like great trium- 

In their applauding gates. 

TIM. Commend me to them; 

And tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs, 
Their fears of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, 
Their pangs of love, 3 with other incident throes 
That nature's fragile vessel doth sustain 
In life's uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do 

them: 4 
I'll teach them to prevent wild Alcibiades' wrath. 

2 SEN. I like this well, he will return again. 
TIM. I have a tree, 5 which grows here in my close, 

. bruit ] i. e. report, rumour. So, in King Henry VI* 

Part III: 

" The bruit whereof will bring you many friends." 


3 Their pangs of love, &c.] Compare this part of Timon's 
speech with part of the celebrated soliloquy in Hamlet. 


4 / will some kindness 8fc.~] i.e. I will do them some 

kindness, for such, elliptically considered, will be the sense of 
these words, independent of the supplemental do Ihem, which 
only serves to derange the metre, and is, I think, a certain in- 
terpolation. STEEVENS. 

5 / have a tree, &c.] Perhaps Shakspeare was indebted to 
Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prologue, for this thought. He might, 
however, have found it in Painter's Palace of Pleasure , Tom. I. 
Nov. 28, as well as in several other places. STEEVENS. 

Our author was indebted for this thought to Plutarch's Life of 
Antony: " It is reported of him also, that this Timon on a time, 

sc. n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 201 

That mine own use invites me to cut down, 
And shortly must I fell it ; Tell my friends, 
Tell Athens, in the sequence of degree, 6 
From high to low throughout, that whoso please 
To stop affliction, let him take his haste, 
Come hither, ere my tree hath felt the axe, 
And hang himself: I pray you, do my greeting. 

FLAV, Trouble him no further, thus you still shall 
find him. 

TIM. Come not to me again ; but say to Athens, 
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion 
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood ; 
Which once a day 7 with his embossed froth 8 

(the people being assembled in the market-place, about dispatch 
of some affaires,) got up into the pulpit for orations, where the 
orators commonly use to speake unto the people ; and silence 
being made, everie man listeneth to hear what he would say, be- 
cause it was a wonder to see him in that place, at length he began 
to speak in this manner : * My lordes of Athens, I have a little 
yard in my house where there groweth a figge tree, on the which 
many citizens have hanged themselves ; and because I meane to 
make some building upon the place, I thought good to let you 
all understand it, that before the figge tree be cut downe, if any 
of you be desperate, you may there in time go hang yourselves." 


in the sequence of degree,'} Methodically, from highest 

to lowest. JOHNSON. 

7 Which once a day ] Old copy Who. For the correction 
[txhom~\ I am answerable. Whom refers to Timon. All the 
modern editors (following the second folio ) read Which once&c. 


Which, in the second folio, (and I have followed it) is an ap- 
parent correction of Who. Surely, it is the everlasting mansion, 
or the beach on which it stands, that our author meant to cover 
with the foam, and not the corpse of Timon. Thus we often 
say that the grave in a churchyard, and not the body within, it, 
is trodden down by cattle, or overgrown with weeds. 


8 - embossed Jrotli ] When a deer was run hard, and 


The turbulent surge shall cover ; thither come, 
And let my grave-stone be your oracle. 
Lips, let sour words go by, and language end : 
What is amiss, plague and infection mend ! 
Graves only be men's works ; and death, their gain ! 
Sun, hide thy beams ! Timon hath done his reign. 

[Exit TIMON. 

1 SEN. His discontents are imremoveably 
Coupled to nature. 

2 SEN. Our hope in him is dead : let us return, 
And strain what other means is left unto us 

In our dear peril. 9 

2 SEN. It requires swift foot. \_Exeunt. 

foamed at the mouth, he was said to be embossed. See Vol. IX. 
p. 16, n. 9. The thought is from Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 
Tom. I. Nov. 28. STEEVENS. 

Embossed froth, is swollen froth; from bosse, Fr. a tumour. 
The term embossed, when applied to deer, is from embocar, Span. 
to cast out of the mouth. MALONE. 

9 In our dear peril."] So the folios and rightly. The Oxford 
editor alters dear to dread, not knowing that dear, in the lan- 
guage of that time, signified dread, and is so used by Shakspeare 
in numberless places. WARBURTON. 

Dear, in Shakspeare's language, is dire, dreadful. So, in 

" Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven." 


Dear may, in the present instance, signify immediate, or im- 
minent. It is an enforcing epithet with not always a distinct 
meaning. To enumerate each of the seemingly various senses 
in which if may be supposed to have been used by our author, 
would at once fatigue the reader and myself. 

In the following situations, however, it cannot signify either 
dire or dreadful: 

" Consort with me in loud and dear petition." 

Troilus and Cressida. 

sc. in. TIMON OF ATHENS. 203 


The Walls of Athens. 
Enter Two Senators, and a Messenger. 

y. Thou hast painfully discover'd ; are his 

As full as thy report ? 

MESS. I have spoke the least : 

Besides, his expedition promises 
Present approach. 

2 SEN. We stand much hazard, if they bring not 
Tim on. 

MESS. I met a courier, 1 one mine ancient 

friend ; 2 

Whom, though in general part we were oppos'd, 
Yet our old love made a particular force, 
And made us speak like friends: 3 this man was 


Some dear cause 

" Will in concealment wrap me up a while." King Lear. 


1 a courier,] The players read a currier. STEEVENS. 

* one mine ancient friend ;] Mr. Upton would read 

once mine ancient friend. STEEVENS. 

3 Whom, though in general part 'we were oppos'd, 
Yet our old love made a particular Jbrcc, 
And made us speak like friends :~] Our author, hurried away 
by strong conceptions, and little attentive to minute accuracy, 
takes great liberties in the construction of sentences. Here he 
means, Whom, though we were on opposite sides in the publick 
cause, yet the force of our old affection wrought so much upon, 


From Alcibiades to Timon's cave, 
With letters of entreaty, which imported 
His fellowship i'the cause against your city, 
In part for his sake mov'd. 

Enter Senators from TIMON. 

1 SEN. Here come our brothers. 

3 SEN. No talk of Timon, nothing of him ex- 

The enemies' drum is heard, and fearful scouring 
Doth choke the air with dust : In, and prepare ; 
Ours is the fall, I fear, our foes the snare. 


as to make him speak to me as a friend. See Vol. XVI. p. 188, 
n. 5. MALONE. 

I am fully convinced that this and many other passages of our 
author to which similar remarks are annexed, have been irre- 
trieveably corrupted by transcribers or printers, and could not 
have proceeded, in their present state, from the pen of Shak- 
speare ; for what we cannot understand in the closet, must have 
been wholly useless on the stage. The awkward repetition of 
the verb made, very strongly countenances my present obser- 
vation. STKEVENS. 

sc. n. TIMON OF ATHENS. 205 


The Woods. Timon's Cave, and a Tomb-stone 

Enter a Soldier, seeking TIMON. 

SOLD. By all description this should be the place. 
Who's here? speak, ho! No answer? What is 


Timon is dead, who hath outstretch'd his span : 
Some beast rear'd this ; there does not live a man. 4 

4 Some least rear'd this; there does not live a man.'] [Old 
copy read this.] Some beast read what ? The Soldier had yet 
only seen the rude pile of earth heaped up for Timon's grave, 
and not the inscription upon it. We should read : 

Some beast rear'd this; . 

The Soldier seeking, by order, for Timon, sees such an irregular 
mole, as he concludes must have been the workmanship of some 
beast inhabiting the woods ; and such a cavity as must either have 
been so over-arched, or happened by the casual falling in of the 
ground. WARBURTON. 

" The Soldier (says Theobald) had yet only seen the rude pile 
of earth heaped up for Timon's grave, and not the inscription 
upon it." In support of his emendation, which was suggested to 
him by Dr. Warburton, he quotes these lines from Fletcher's 
Cupid's Revenge: 

" Here is no food, nor beds ; nor any house 

" Built by a better architect than beasts." MALONE. 

Notwithstanding this remark, I believe the old reading to be 
the right. The soldier had only seen the rude heap of earth. 
He had evidently seen something that told him Timon was dead; 
and what could tell that but his tomb ? The tomb he sees, and 
the inscription upon it, which not being able to read, and find- 
ing none to read it for him, he exclaims peevishly, some beast 
read this, for it must be read, and in this place it cannot be read 
by man. 


Dead, sure ; and this his grave. 

What's on this tomb I cannot read j the character 

There is something elaborately unskilful in the contrivance of 
sending a Soldier, who cannot read, to take the epitaph in wax, 
only that it may close the play by being read with more so- 
lemnity in the last scene. JOHNSON. 

It is evident, that the Soldier, when he first sees the heap of 
earth, does not know it to be a tomb. He concludes Timon 
must be dead, because he receives no answer. It is likewise 
evident, that when he utters the words some beast, &c. he has 
not seen the inscription. And Dr. Warburton's emendation is 
therefore, not only just and happy, but absolutely necessary. 
What can this heap of earth be? says the Soldier; Timon is cer- 
tainly dead: some beast must have erected this, for here does not 
live a man to do it. Yes, he is dead, sure enough, and this must 
be his grave. What is this writing upon it ? RITSON. 

I am now convinced that the emendation made by Mr. Theo- 
bald is right, and that it ought to be admitted into the text : 
Some beast reard this. Our poet certainly would not make the 
Soldier call on a beast to read the inscription, before he had in- 
formed the audience that he could not read it himself; which 
he does aftertxards. 

Besides ; from the time he asks, " What is this ?" [i. e. what 
is this cave, tomb, &c. not what is this inscription ?~\ to the 
words, " What's on this tomb," the observation evidently re- 
lates to Timon himself, and his grave ; whereas, by the erroneous 
reading of the old copy, *' Some beast read this," the Soldier 
is first made to call on a beast to read the inscription, without 
assigning any reason for so extraordinary a requisition ; then to 
talk of Timon's death and of his grave ; and, at last, to inform 
the audience that he cannot read the inscription. Let me add, 
that a beast being as unable to read as the Soldier, it would be 
absurd to call on one for assistance ; whilst on the other hand, 
if a den or cave, or any rude heap of earth resembling a tomb, 
be found where there does not live a man, it is manifest that it 
must have been formed by a beast. 

A passage in King Lear also adds support to the emendation : 

this hard house, 

" More hard than are the stones whereof 'tis rais'd." 


The foregoing observations are acute in the extreme, and I 
have not scrupled to adopt the reading they recommend. 


sc. v. TJMON OF ATHENS. 207 

I'll take with wax : 

Our captain hath in every figure skill ; 

An ag'd interpreter, though young in days : 

Before proud Athens he's set down by this, 

Whose fall the mark of his ambition is. 


Before the Walls of Athens* 
Trumpets sound. Enter ALCIBIADES, and Forces. 

ALOIS. Sound to this coward and lascivious town 
Our terrible approach. [_A Parley sounded. 

Enter Senators on the Walls. 

Till now you have gone on, and fill'd the time 
With all licentious measure, making your wills 
The scope of justice ; till now, myself, and such 
As slept within the shadow of your power, 
Have wandered with our travers'd arms, 5 and 


Our sufferance vainly : Now the time is flush, 6 
When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong, 
Cries, of itself, No more: 1 now breathless wrong 

* travers'd arms,] Arms across. JOHNSON. 

The same image occurs in The Tempest: 

" His arms in this sad knot." STEEVENS. 

6 the time is flush,] A bird is flush when his feathers are 

grown, and he can leave the nest. Flush is mature. JOHNSON. 

7 When crouching marrow, in the bearer strong, 

Cries, of itself, No more :] The marrow was supposed to 


Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease ; 
And pursy insolence shall break his wind, 
With fear, and horrid flight. 

1 SEN. Noble, and young, 
When thy first griefs were but a mere conceit, 
Ere thou hadst power, or we had cause of fear, 
We sent to thee ; to give thy rages balm, 

To wipe out our ingratitude with loves 
Above their quantity. 8 

2 SEN. So did we woo 
Transformed Timon to our city's love, 

By humble message, and by promis'd means ; 9 

be the original of strength. The image is from a camel kneeling 
to take up his load, who rises immediately when he finds he has 
as much laid on as he can bear. WARBURTON. 

Pliny says, that the camel will not carry more than his accus- 
tomed and usual load. Holland's translation, B. VIII. c. xviii. 


The image may as justly be said to be taken from a porter or 
coal-heaver, who when there is as much laid upon his shoulders 
as he can bear, will certainly cry, no more. MALONE. 

I wish the reader may not find himself affected in the same 
manner by our commentaries, and often concur in a similar ex- 
clamation. STEEVENS. 

8 Above their quantity.'} Their refers to rages. 


Their refers to griefs. " To give thy rages balm," must be 
considered as parenthetical. ' The modern editors have substi- 
tuted ingratitudes for ingratitude. MALONE. 

9 So did lue 'woo 

Transformed Timon to our city's love, 

By humble message^ and by promis'd means;] Promis'd 
means must import the recruiting of his sunk fortunes; but this 
is not all. The senate had wooed him with humble message, and 
promise of general reparation. This seems included in the slight 
change which I have made : 

and by promis'd mends. THEOBALD. 

Dr. Warburton agrees with Mr. Theobald, but the old reading 
may well stand. JOHNSON. 

ac. r TIMON OF ATHENS. 209 

We were not all unkind, nor all deserve 
The common stroke of war. 

1 SEN. These walls of ours 
Were not erected by their hands, from whom 
You have received your griefs : l nor are they such, 
That these great towers, trophies, and schools 

should fall 
For private faults in them. 2 

2 SEN. Nor are they living, 
Who were the motives that you first went out j 3 
Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess 
Hath broke their hearts. 4 March, noble lord, 

By promisd means, is by promising him a competent subsist- 
ence. So, in King Henry I V. P. II : " Your means are very 
slender, and your waste is great." MALONE. 

1 You have received your griefs :] The old copy has grief; 
but as the Senator in his preceding speech uses the plural, grief 
was probably here an error of the press. The correction was 
made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE. 

* For private faults in them.] That is, in the persons from 
whom you have received your griefs. MALONE. 

3 the motives that you first 'went out ;~] i. e. those who 

made the motion for your exile. This word is as perversely em- 
ployed in Troilus and Cressida: 

her wanton spirits look out 

" At every joint and motive of her body." STEEVENS. 

* Shame, that they wanted cunning, in excess 

Hath broke their hearts.^ Shame in excess (i. e. extremity 
of shame) that they wanted cunning (i. e. that they were not 
wise enough not to banish you) hath broke their hearts. 


I have no wish to disturb the manes of Theobald, yet think 
some emendation may be offered that will make the construction 
less harsh, and the sentence more serious. I read : 
Shame that they wanted, coming in excess, 
Hath broke their hearts. 

Shame which they had so long wanted, at last coming in its ut- 
most excess. JOHNSON. 



Into our city with thy banners spread : 

By decimation, and a tithed death, 

(If thy revenges hunger for that food, 

Which nature 1 oaths,) take thou the destin'd tenth; 

And by the hazard of the spotted die, 

Let die the spotted. 

1 SEN. All have not offended ; 
For those that were, it is not square, 5 to take, 
On those that are, revenges : 6 crimes, like lands, 
Are not inherited. Then, dear countryman, 
Bring in thy ranks, but leave without thy rage : 
Spare thy Athenian cradle, 7 and those kin, 
Which, in the bluster of thy wrath, must fall 
With those that have offended : like a shepherd, 
Approach the fold, and cull the infected forth, 
But kill not all together. 8 

2 SEN. What thou wilt, 
Thou rather shalt enforce it with thy smile, 
Than hew to't with thy sword. 

1 SEN. Set but thy foot 

Against our rampir'd gates, and they shall ope ; 
So thou wilt send thy gentle heart before, 
To say, thou'lt enter friendly. 

I think that Theobald has, on this occasion, the advantage of 
Johnson. When the old reading is clear and intelligible, we 
should not have recourse to correction. Cunning was not, in 
Shakspeare's time, confined to a bad sense, but was used to ex- 
press knowledge or understanding. M. MASON. 

4 not square,'} Not regular, not equitable. JOHNSON. 

6 revenges :] Old copy revenge. Corrected by Mr. 

Steevens. See the preceding speech. MALONE. 

? thy Athenian cradle,] Thus Ovid, Met. VIII. 99 : 

" Jovis incunabula Crete." STEEVENS. 

9 But kill not all together.] The old copy reads altogether. 
Mr. M. Mason suggested the correction I have made. 


sc. v. TIMON OF ATHENS. 211 

2 SEN. Throw thy glove, 

Or any token of thine honour else, 
That thou wilt use the wars as thy redress, 
And not as our confusion, all thy powers 
Shall make their harbour in our town, till we 
Have seal'd thy full desire. 

ALCIB. Then there's my glove ; 

Descend, and open your uncharged ports ;* 
Those enemies of Timon's, and mine own, 
Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof, 
Fall, and no more : and, to atone your fears 
With my more noble meaning, 1 not a man 
Shall pass his quarter, 2 or offend the stream 
Of regular justice in your city's bounds, 
But shall be remedied, 3 to your publick laws 
At heaviest answer. 

l} uncharged ports;"] That is, unguarded gates. 


So, in King Henry IF. Part II : 

" That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide." 


Uncharged means unattached, not unguarded. M. MASON. 

Mr. M. Mason is right. So, in Shakspeare's 70th Sonnet : 
" Thou hast pass'd by the ambush of young days, 
" Either not assail'd, or victor, being charged" 


to atone your fears 

With my more noble meaning,'] i. e. to reconcile them to it. 
So, in Cymbeline : " I was glad I did atone my countryman and 
vou." STEEVENS. 

not a man 

Shall pass his quarter,"] Not a soldier shall quit his station, 
or be let loose upon you ; and, if any commits violence, he shall 
answer it regularly to the law. JOHNSON. 

3 But shall he remedied,] The construction is, But he shall 
be remedied ; but Shakspeare means, that his offence shall be 
remedied, the word offence being included in offend in a former 
line. The editor of the second folio, for to, in the last line but 

P 2 


BOTH. J Tis most nobly spoken. 

ALOIS. Descend, and keep your words. 4 

The Senators descend, and open the Gates* 
Enter a Soldier. 

SOLD. My noble general, Timon is dead j 
Entomb' d upon the very hem o'the sea : 
And, on his grave-stone, this insculpture ; which 
With wax I brought away, whose soft impression 
Interprets for my poor ignorance. 5 

ALOIS. [Reads.] Here lies a wretched corse, of 

'wretched soul bereft : 

Seek not my name : A plague consume you wicked 
caitiffs left! 6 

ULf \J 

Here lie I Timon; who, alive, all living men did 

hate : 
Pass by, and curse thy Jill; but pass, and stay not 

here thy gait. 

one of this speech, substituted by, which all the subsequent edi- 
tors adopted. MAI.ONE. 

I profess my inability to extract any determinate sense from 
these words as they stand, and rather suppose the reading in the 
second folio to be the true one. To be remedied by, affords a 
glimpse of meaning : to be remedied to, is " the blanket of the 
dark." STEEVENS. 

4 Descend, and keep your 'words.'] Old copy Defend. Cor- 
rected by the editor of the second folio. MALONE. 

4 for my poor ignorance, .] Poor is here used as a dis- 
syllable, as door is in The Merchant of Venice. MALONE. 

6 caitiff's left!'} This epitaph is found in Sir T. North's 

translation of Plutarch, with the difference of one word only, 
viz. wretches instead of caitiff's. STEEVENS. 

This epitaph is formed out of two distinct epitaphs which 
Shakspeare found in Plutarch. The first couplet is said by Plu- 


These well express in thee thy latter spirits : 
Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human griefs, 
Scorn'dst our brain's flow, 7 and those our droplets 


From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit 
Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye 
On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. 8 Dead 

tarch to have been composed by Timon himself as his epitaph; 
the second to have been written by the poet Callimachus. 

Perhaps the slight variation mentioned by Mr. Steevens, arose 
from our author's having another epitaph before him, which is 
found in Kendal's Flowers of Epigrammes, 1577, and in Pain- 
ter's Palace of Pleasure, Vol. I. Nov. 28 : 


" My wretched caitiffe daies expired now and past, 
" My carren corps enterred here, is graspt in ground, 
" In weltring waves of swelling seas by sourges caste ; 
" My name if thou desire, the gods thee doe confound!" 


7 our brain's Jloiv,"] Sir Thomas Hanmer and Dr. War- 
burton read, brines flow. Our brain's jiow is our tears; but 
we may read, our brine's Jloiv, our salt tears. Either will serve. 


Our brain's jloiu is right. So, in Sir Giles Goosecap, 1606: 

" I shed not the tears of my brain." 
Again, in The Miracles of Moses, by Drayton : 

" But he from rocks that fountains can command, 
" Cannot yet stay the fountains of his brain.'' 


8 on faults forgiven."] Alcibiades's whole speech is in 

breaks, betwixt his reflections on Timon's death, and his 
addresses to the Athenian Senators : and as soon as he has com- 
mented on the place of Timon's grave, he bids the Senate set 
forward ; tells 'em, he has forgiven their faults ; and promises to 
use them with mercy. THEOBALD. 

I suspect that we ought to read : 

One fault's forgiven. Dead 

Is noble Timon: &c. 


Is noble Timon ; of whose memory 
Hereafter more. Bring me into your city, 
And I will use the olive with my sword : 
Make war breed peace ; make peace stint war ; 9 

make each 

Prescribe to other, as each other's leech. 1 
Let our drums strike. [Exeunt? 

One fault (viz. the ingratitude of the Athenians to Timon) is 
forgiven, i. e. exempted from punishment by the death of the 
injured person. TYRWHITT. 

The old reading and punctuation appear to me sufficiently in- 
telligible. Mr. Theobald asks, " why should Neptune weep over 
Timon's faults, or indeed what fault had he committed ?" The 
faults that Timon committed, were, 1. that boundless prodigality 
which his Steward so forcibly describes and laments ; and 2. his 
becoming a Misanthrope, and abjuring the society of all men for 
the crimes of a few. Theobald supposes that Alcibiades bids the 
Senate set forward, assuring them at the same time that he for- 
gives the wrongs they have done him. On: Faults forgiven. 
But how unlikely is it, that he should desert the subject imme- 
diately before him, and enter upon another quite different sub- 
ject, in these three words; and then return to Timon again? to say 
nothing of the strangeness of the phrase -faults forgiven, for 
" faults are forgiven." MALONE. 

9 stint tvarj~] i. e. stop it. So, in Spenser's Fairy 

Queen : 

" 'gan the cunning thief 

" Persuade us die, to stint all further strife." 


1 leech."] i. e. physician. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen; 

" Her words prevail'd, and then the learned leech 

'* His cunning hand 'gan to his wounds to lay ." 


9 The play of Timon is a domestick tragedy, and therefore 
strongly fastens on the attention of the reader. In the plan there 
is not much art, but the incidents are natural, and the characters 
various and exact. The catastrophe affords a very powerful 
warning against that ostentatious liberality, which scatters 
bounty, but confers no benefits, and buys flattery, but not 


In this tragedy, are many passages perplexed, obscure, and 
probably corrupt, which I have endeavoured to rectify, or ex- 
plain with due diligence ; but having only one copy, cannot pro- 
mise myself that my endeavours shall be much applauded. 


This play was altered by Shadwell, and brought upon the 
stage in 1678. In the modest title-page he calls it Timon of 
Athens, or the Man-hater, as it is acted at the Duke's Theatre, 
made into a Play. SXEEVENS. 


* OTHELLO.] The story is taken from Cynthia's Novels. 


I have not hitherto met with any translation of this novel (the 
seventh in the third decad) of so early a date as the age of Shak- 
speare ; but undoubtedly many of those little pamphlets have 
perished between his time and ours. 

It is highly probable that our author met with the name of 
Othello in some tale that has escaped our researches ; as I like- 
wise find it in Reynolds's God's Revenge against Adultery, stand- 
ing in one of his Arguments as follows : " She marries Othello, 
an old German soldier." This History (the eighth) is professed 
to be an Italian one. Here also occurs fbe name of lago. 

It is likewise found, as Dr. Farmer observes, in " The History 
of the famous Euordanus Prince of Denmark, with the strange 
Adventures of I AGO Prince of Saxonie; bl. 1.4-to. London, 1605." 

It may indeed be urged that these names were adopted from 
the tragedy before us : but I trust that every reader who is con- 
versant with .the peculiar style and method in which the work 
of honest John Reynolds is composed, will acquit him of the 
slightest familiarity with the scenes of Shakspeare. 

This play was first entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 6, 1621, 
by Thomas Walkely. STEEVENS. 

I have seen a French translation of Cynthio, by Gabriel 
Chappuys, Par. 1.584. This is not a faithful one ; and I suspect, 
through this medium the work came into English. FARMER. 

This tragedy I have ascribed (but on no very sure ground) to 
the year 1611. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order oj" Shak- 
speare s Plays, Vol. II. MALONE. 

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,) where- 
fore the time must fall in with some part of that interval. We 
learn from the play that there was a junction of the Turkish fleetf 
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 ge- 
neral, 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. 


Duke of Venice. 

Brabantio, a Senator. 

Two other Senators. 

Gratiano, Brother to Brabantio. 

Lodovico, Kinsman to Brabantio. 

Othello, the Moor: 

Cassio, his Lieutenant; 

lago, his Ancient: 

Roderigo, a Venetian Gentleman. 

Montano, Othello's Predecessor in the Government 

of Cyprus. 1 

Clown, Servant to Othello. 

Desdemona, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to 


Emilia, Wife to lago. 
Bianca, a Courtezan, Mistress to Cassio. 

Officers, Gentletnen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors, 
Attendants, fyc. 

SCENE, for the Jirst Act, in Venice ; during the 
rest of the Play, at a Sea-Port in Cyprus. 

1 Though the rank which Montano held in Cyprus cannot 
be exactly ascertained, yet from many circumstances, we are 
sure he had not the powers with which Othello was subsequently 

Perhaps we do not receive any one of the Personce Dramatis 
to Shakspeare's plays, as it was originally drawn up by himself. 
These appendages are wanting to all the quartos, and are very 
rarely given in the folio. At the end of this play, however, the 
following enumeration of persons occurs : 

" The names of the actors. Othello, the Moore. Brabantio, 
Father to Desdemona. Cassio, an Honourable Lieutenant. lago, 
a Villaine. Rodorigo, a gull'd Gentleman. Duke of Venice. 
Senators. Montano, Governour of Cyprus. Gentlemen of 
Cyprus. Lodovico, and Gratiano, two noble Venetians. 
Saylors Cloivnc. Desdemona, Wife to Othello. ^Emilia, Wife 
to lago. Bianca, a Curtezan." STEEVENS. 



Venice. A Street. 

ROD. Tush, never tell me, 2 I take it much un- 

That thou, lago, who hast had my purse, 
As if the strings were thine, should' st know of 

IAGO. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me : 3 
If ever I did dream of such a matter, 
Abhor me. 

ROD. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in 
thy hate. 

IAGO. Despise me, if I do not. Three great 

ones of the city, 
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, 

8 Tush, never tell me,~\ Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio 
omits the interjection Tush. STEEVENS. 

3 'Sblood, but you will not &c.] Thus the quarto: the folio 
suppresses this oath. STEEVENS. 


Oft capp'd to him ; 4 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, 

Evades them, with a bombast circumstance, 5 

Horribly stuff' d with epithets of war ; 

And, in conclusion, nonsuits 

My mediators ; for, certes, 6 says he, 

/ have already chose my officer. 

And what was he ? 

Forsooth, a great arithmetician, 7 

4 Oft cappd to him;"} Thus the quarto. The folio reads, 
O^capp'd to him. STEEVENS. 

In support of the folio, Antony and Cleopatra may be quoted: 

" I have ever held my cap off" to thy fortunes.'* 
This reading I once thought to be the true one. But a more 
intimate knowledge of the quarto copies has convinced me that 
they ought not without very strong reason to be departed from. 


- To cap is to salute by taking off the cap. It is still an aca- 
demick phrase. M. MASON. 

4 a bombast circumstance,] Circumstance signifies cir- 
cumlocution. So, in Greene's Tu Quoque: 

" You put us to a needless labour, sir, 
" To run and wind about for circumstance, 
" When the plain word, I thank you, would have serv'd." 
Again, in Massinger's Picture: 

" And therefore, without circumstance, to the point, 
" Instruct me what I am." 

Again, in Knolles's History of the Turks, p. 576 : " where- 
fore I will not use many words to persuade you to continue in 
your fidelity and loyalty ; neither long circumstance to encourage 
you to play the men." REED. 

6 certes,'] i. e. certainly, in truth. Obsolete. So, Spenser, 

in The Fairy Queen, Book IV. c. ix : 

" Certes, her losse ought me to sorrow most." 


7 Forsooth, a great arithmetician,] So, in Romeo and Juliet, 
Mercutio says : " one that fights by the book of arithmetick" 


lago, however, means to represent Cassio, not as a person 

sc. r. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 225 

One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, 8 

A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife ;' 

whose arithmetick was " one, two, and the third in your bosom," 
but as a man merely conversant with civil matters, and who 
knew no more of a squadron than the number of men it con- 
tained. So afterwards he calls him this counter-caster, 


a Florentine,] It appears from many passages of this 

play (rightly understood) that Cassio was a Florentine, andlago 
a Venetian. HANMER. 

9 Afellova almost damn'd in a fair ix>lfe;~]. Sir Thomas Han* 
mer supposed that the text must be corrupt, because it appears 
from a following part of the play that Cassio was an unmarried 
man. Mr. Steevens has clearly explained the words in a subse- 
quent note : I have therefore no doubt that the text is right ; 
and have not it necessary to insert Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, 
in which he proposed to read " a fellow almost damn'd in a fair 
life" Shakspeare, he conceived, might allude to the judgment 
denounced in the gospel against those of whom all men speak 
well. MALONE. 

Mr. Tyrwhitt's conjecture is ingenious, but cannot be right ; 
for the malicious lago would never have given Cassio the highest 
commendation that words can convey, at the very time that he 
wishes to depreciate him to Roderigo ; though afterwards, in 
speaking to himself, [Act V. sc. i.] he gives him his just 
character. M. MASON. 

That Cassio was married is not sufficiently implied in the 
words, a jelloiv almost damn'd in a fair wife, since they mean, 
according to lago's licentious manner of expressing himself, no 
more than a man very near being married. This seems to have 
been the case in respect of Cassio. Act IV. sc. i, lago speaking 
to him of Bianca, says, Why, the cry goes, that you shall 
marry her. Cassio acknowledges that such a report had been 
raised, and adds, This is the monkey's own giving out : she is 
persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love and self jlattery t 
not out of my promise. lago then, having heard this report be- 
fore, very naturally circulates it in his present conversation with 
Roderigo. If Shakspeare, however, designed Bianca for a cour- 
tezan of Cyprus, (where Cassio had not yet been, and had 
therefore never seen her, ) lago cannot be supposed to allude to 
the report concerning his marriage with her, and consequently 
this part of my argument must fall to the ground. 

Had Shakspeare, consistently with lago's character, meant to 


That never set a squadron in the field, 

make him say that Cassio was actually damri'd in being married 
to a handsome woman, he would have made him say it outright, 
and not have interposed the palliative almost. Whereas what he 
says at present amounts to no more than that (however near his 
marriage ) he is not yet completely damned, because he is not ab- 
solutely married. The succeeding parts of lago's conversation 
sufficiently evince, that the poet thought no mode of conception 
or expression too brutal for the character. STEEVENS. 

There is no ground whatsoever for supposing that Shakspeare 
designed Bianca for a courtezan of Cyprus. Cassio, who was a 
Florentine, and Othello's lieutenant, sailed from Venice in a ship 
belonging to Verona, at the same time with the Moor; and 
what difficulty is there in supposing that Bianca, who, Cassio 
himself informs us, " haunted him every where," took her pas- 
sage in the same vessel with him ; or followed him afterwards ? 
Othello, we may suppose, with some of the Venetian troops, 
sailed in another vessel ; and Desdemona and lago embarked in 
a third. 

lago, after he has been at Cyprus but one day, speaks of 
Bianca, (Act IV. sc. i.) as one whom he had long known: he 
must therefore (if the poet be there correct) have known her at 

" Now will I question Cassio of Bianca, 

" A husivife, that, by selling her desires, 

" Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature, 

" Thai dotes on Cassio; as 'tis the strumpet's plague, 

" To beguile many, and be beguil'd by one." 


Ingenious as Mr. Tyrwhitt's conjecture may appear, it but ill 
accords with the context. lago is enumerating the disqualifica- 
tions of Cassio for his new appointment ; but surely his being 
uell spoken of by all men could not be one of them. It is evi- 
dent from what follows that a report had prevailed at Venice of 
Cassio's being soon to be married " to the most fair Bianca.'* 
Now as she was in Shakspeare's language " a customer," it was 
with a view to such a connection that lago called the new Lieu- 
tenant a fellow almost damned. It may be gathered from various 
circumstances that an intercourse between Cassio and Bianca had 
existed before they left Venice ; for Bianca is not only well known 
to lago at Cyprus, but she upbraids Cassio (Act III. sc. iv.) with 
having been absent a week from her, when he had not been two 
days on the island. Hence, and from what Cassio himself re- 

Nor the division of a battle knows 

lates, (Act IV. sc. i.) I voas the other day talking on the SEA- 

bauble ; by this hand, she falls thus about my neck ; it may be 
presumed she had secretly followed him to Cyprus ; a conclu- 
sion not only necessary to explain the passage in question, but 
to preserve the consistency of the fable at large. The sea-bank 
on which Cassio was conversing with certain Venetians, was at 
Venice ; for he bad never till the day before been at Cyprus : he 
specifies those with whom he conversed as Venetians, because he 
was himself a Florentine ; and he mentions the behaviour of 
Bianca in their presence, as tending to corroborate the report 
she had spread that he was soon to marry her. HENLEY. 

I think, as I have already mentioned, that Bianca was a Ve- 
netian courtezan : but the sea-bank of which Cassio speaks, may 
have been the shore of Cyprus. In several other instances be- 
side this, our poet appears not to have recollected that the per- 
sons of his play had only been one day at Cyprus. I am aware, 
however, that this circumstance may be urged with equal force 
against the concluding part of my own preceding note ; and the 
term sea-bank certainly adds support to what Mr. Henley has 
suggested, being the very term used by Lewkcnor, in his account 
of the Lito mnggior of Venice. See p. 24-2, n. 8. MALONE. 

Thus far our commentaries on this obscure passage are ar- 
ranged as they stand in the very succinct edition of Mr. Malone. 
Yet I cannot prevail on myself, in further imitation of him, to 
suppress the note of my late friend Mr. Tyrwhitt, a note that 
seems to be treated with civilities that degrade its value, and 
with a neglect that few of its author's opinions have deserved. 
My inability to offer such a defence of his present one, as he 
himself could undoubtedly have supplied, is no reason why it 
should be prevented from exerting its own proper influence on 
the reader. STEEVENS. 

The poet has used the same mode of expression in The Mer- 
chant of Venice, Act I. sc. i : 

O my Antonio, I do know of those 
Who therefore only are reputed wise, 
For saying nothing; who, I'm very sure, 
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears, 
Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools." 
And there the allusion is evident to the gospel-judgment against 

VOL. xix. Q 

226 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

More than a spinster; unless the bookish theorick, 1 

those, who call their brothers fools. I am therefore inclined to 
believe, that the true reading here is : 

A fellffw almost damn'd in a fair life ; 

and that Shakspeare alludes to the judgment denounced in the 
gospel against those of whom all men speak well. 

The character of Cassio is certainly such, as would be very 
likely to draw upon him all the peril of this denunciation, 
literally understood. Well-bred, easy, sociable, good natured ; 
with abilities enough to make him agreeable and useful, but not 
sufficient to excite the envy of his equals, or to alarm the jea- 
lousy of his superiors. It may be observed too, that Shakspeare 
has thought it proper to make lago, in several other passages, 
bear his testimony to the amiable qualities of his rival. In 
Act V. sc. i. he speaks thus of him : 

" if Cassio do remain, 

" He hath a daily beauty in his life, 
" That makes me ugly." 

I will only add, that, however hard or far-fetched this allusion 
(whether Shakspeare's or only mine) may seem to be, Arch- 
bishop Sheldon had exactly the same conceit, when he made 
that singular compliment, as the writer calls it, [Biograph. Bri- 
tan. Art. TEMPLE,] to a nephew of Sir William Temple, that 
" he had the curse of the gospel, because all men spoke well of 
him." TYRWHITT. 

That Mr. Tyrwhitt has given us Shakspeare's genuine word 
and meaning I have not the least doubt. Bianca is evidently 
a courtezan of Cyprus, and Cassio, of course, not yet acquainted' 
with her. But even admitting that she might have followed him 
thither, and got comfortably settled in a " house," still, I think, 
the improbability of his having any intention to marry her is too 
gross for consideration. What ! the gallant Cassio, the friend 
and favourite of his general, to marry a " customer," a " fit- 
chew," a " huswife who by selling her desires buys herself 
bread and clothes !" lago, indeed, pretends that she had given 
out such a report, but it is merely with a view to make Cassio 
laugh the louder. There can be no reason for his practising 
any similar imposition upon Roderigo. RITSOX. 

1 theorick,'] Theorick, for theory. So, in The Proceed* 

ings against Garnet on the Powder- Plot: " as much deceived 
in the theoricke of trust, as the lay disciples were in the prac- 
ticke of conspiracie." STEEVENS. 

This was the common language of Shakspeare's time. Sec 
Vol. VIII. p. 354, n. 7. MALONE, 

sc. t. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 227 

Wherein the toged consuls 9 can propose 
As masterly as he : mere prattle, without practice, 3 
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election: 
And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof, 
At Rhodes, at Cyprus ; and on other grounds 
Christian and heathen, must be be-lee'd and 
calm'd 4 

s Wherein the toged consuls ] Consuls, for counsellors. 


Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, council. Mr. Theobald would 
have us read, counsellors. Venice was originally governed by 
consuls : and consuls seems to have been commonly used for 
counsellors, as afterwards in this play. In Albion's Triumph, a 
Masque, 1631, the Emperor Albanact is said to be " attended by 
fourteen consuls." Again : " the habits of the consuls were 
after the same manner." Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Matthew- 
Paris after him, call both dukes and earls, consuls. STEEVENS. 

The rulers of the state, or civil governours. The word is used 
by Marlowe, in the same sense, in Tamburlaine, a tragedy, 

" Both we will raigne as consuls of the earth." 


By toged perhaps is meant peaceable, in opposition to the war- 
like qualifications of which he had been speaking. He might 
have formed the word in allusion to the Latin adage, Cedant 
arma togce. STEEVENS. 

3 More than a spinster ; unless the bookish theorick, 
Wherein the toged consuls can propose 

As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,'] This 
play has many redundant lines, like the first and third of the 
foregoing. I cannot help regarding the words distinguished by 
the Roman character, as interpolations. In the opening scene 
of Kins; Henry V. Shakspeare thought it unnecessary to join 
an epithet to theorick ; and if the monosyllables as he, were 
omitted, would lago's meaning halt for want of them ? 


4 must be be-lee'd and calm'd ] The old quarto led. 

The first folio reads, be-lee'd: but that spoils the measure. I 
read, let, hindered. WARBURTON. 

Be-lee'd suits to calm'd, and the measure is not less perfect 
than in many other places. JOHNSON. 

Q 2 


By debitor 3 and creditor, this counter-caster; 6 

Be-lec'd and be-calm'd are terms of navigation. 

I have been informed that one vessel is said to be in the lee of 
another, when it is so placed that the wind is intercepted from 
it. lago's meaning therefore is, that Cassio had got the wind of 
him, and be-calm'd him from going on. 

To be-calrn (as I learn from Falconer's Marine Dictionary,') 
is likewise to obstruct the current of the wind in its passage to 
a ship, by any contiguous object. STEEVENS. 

The quarto, 1622, reads : 

must be led and calm'd . 

I suspect therefore that Shakspeare wrote must be lee'd and 
cahn'd. The fee-side of a ship is that on which the wind blows. 
To lee, or to be lee'd, may mean, to fall to leeward, or to lose 
the advantage of the wind. 

The reading of the text is that of the folio. I doubt whether 
there be any such sea-phrase as to be-lce; and suspect the word 
be was inadvertently repeated by the compositor of the folio. 

Mr. Steevens has explained the word be-calm'd, but where is 
it found in the text ? MALONE. 

Mr. Malone is unfortunate in his present explanation. The 
lee-side of a ship is directly contrary to that on which the wind 
blows, if I may believe a skilful navigator whom I have con- 
sulted on this occasion. 

Mr. Malone asks where the word bc-calmd is to be found in 
the text. To this question I must reply by another. Is it not 
evident, that the prefix be is to be continued from the former 
naval phrase to the latter ? Shakspeare would have written be- 
calm'd as well as be-lce'd, but that the close of his verse would 
not admit of a dissyllable. Should we say that a ship was lee'd, 
or calm'd, we should employ a phrase unacknowledged by sailors. 


* By debitor ] All the modern editors read By debtor; but 
debitor (the reading of the old copies) was the word used in 
Shakspeare's time. So, in Sir John Davies's Epigrams, 1598: 
" There stands the constable, there stands the whore, 
" There by the Serjeant stands the debitor.'" 
St:e also the passage quoted from Cymbclinc, n. 6. MALONE. 

this counter-caster ;] It was anciently the practice to 

reckon up sums with counter--;. To this Shakspeare alludes again 
in L'ymbeiinc, Act V: " it sums up thousands in a trice: you 
have no true debitor and creditor, but it; of what's past, is, 
and to come, the discharge. Your neck, sir, is pen, book, and 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 229 

He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, 
And I, (God bless the mark ! 7 ) his Moor-ship's 8 

ROD. By heaven, I rather would have been his 

IAGO. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of 

service ; 

Preferment goes by letter, 9 and affection, 
Not by the old gradation, 1 where each second 
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge your- 

counters;" &c. Again, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: " I wyl 
cast my counters, or with counters make all my reckenynges." 


So, in The Winter's Tale: " fifteen hundred shorn, 
What comes the wool to ? I cannot do't without counters." 


7 bless the mark !~] Kelly, in his comments on Scots 

proverbs, observes, that the Scots, when they compare person 
to person, use this exclamation. 

I find, however, this phrase in Churchyard's Tragical Dis- 
fourse of a dolorous Gentlewoman, &c. 1593: 

" Not beauty here I claime by this my talke, 

" For browne and blacke I was, God blesse the marke ! 

" Who calls me fair dooth scarce know cheese from 

chalke : 

" For I was form'd when winter nights was darke, 

" And nature's workes tooke light at little sparke ; 

" For kinde in scorne had made a moulde of jette, 

" That shone like cole, wherein my face was set." 

It is singular that both Churchyard and Shakspeare should 

have used this form of words with reference to a black person. 


8 his Moorship's ] The first quarto reads his wor- 
ship's. STEEVENS. 

9 by letter, ,] By recommendation from powerful friends. 


1 Not by the old gradation,"} Old gradation, is gradation 
established by ancient practice. JOHNSON. 

230 OTHELLO, ACT i, 

Whether I in any just term am affin'd 2 
To love the Moor. 

ROD. I would not follow him then. 

IAGO. O, sir, content you ; 
I follow him to serve my turn upon him : 
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters 
Cannot be truly foilow'd. You shall mark 
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, 
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, 
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass, 
For nought but provender ; and, when he's old, 

cashier'd ; 3 

Whip me such honest knaves : 4 Others there are, 
Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty, 
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves ; 
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, 
Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lin'd 

their coats, 
Do themselves homage : these fellows have some 

soul ; 

And such a one do I profess myself. 
For, sir, 5 

5 Whether I in any just term am affin'd ~] Affined is the 
reading of the third quarto and the first folio. The second quar- 
to and all the modern editions have assigned. The meaning is, 
Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity, or relation 
to the Moor, as that it is my duty to love him ? JOHNSON. 

The original quarto, 1622, has assigned, but it was manifestly 
an error of the press. MALONE. 

3 For nought but provender ; and, tvfien he's old, cashier'd ;"] 
Surely, this line was originally shorter. We might safely read 

For nought but provender; ivhen old, cashier'd. 


4 . honest knaves :] Knave is here for servant, but with a 

sly mixture of contempt. JOHNSON. 

5 For, sir,'] These words, which are found in all the ancient 
copies, are omitted by Mr. Pope, and most of our modern edi- 
tors. STEEVENS. 

sc. /. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 231 

It is as sure as you are Roderigo, 

Were I the Moor, I would not be lago : 

In following him, I follow but myself; 

Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, 

But seeming so, for my peculiar end : 

For when my outward action doth demonstrate 

The native act and figure of my heart 

In compliment extern, 6 'tis not long after 

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve 

For daws to peck at: 7 I am not what I am. 

ROD. What a full fortune does the thick-lips 
owe, 8 

6 In compliment extern,] In that which I do only for an out- 
ward show of civility. JOHNSON. 

So, in Sir W. D'Avenant's Albovine, 1629: 

" that in sight extern 

" A patriarch seems." STEEVENS. 

" For daws #c.] The first quarto reads, For doves . 


I have adhered to the original copy, because I suspect Shak- 
speare had in his thoughts a passage in Lyly's Euphues and his 
England, 1580: " As all coynes are not good that have the 
image of Caesar, nor all gold that is coyned with the kings 
stampe, so all is not truth that beareth the shew of godlinesse, 
nor all friends that beare a faire face. If thou pretend such 
love to Euphues, carry thy heart on the backe of thy hand, and 
thy to-ague in thy palme, that I may see what is in thy minde, 
and thou with thy finger claspe thy mouth. I can better take a 
blister of a nettle, than a pricke of a rose ; more willing that a 
raven should peck out mine eyes, than a turtle peck at them." 


I read with the folio. lago certainly means to say, he would 
expose his heart as a prey to the most worthless of birds, i. e. 
daws, which are treated with universal contempt. Our author 
would scarcely have degraded the amiable tribe of doves to such 
an office ; nor is the mention of them at all suitable to the harsh 
turn of lago's speech. STEEVENS. 

8 What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,] Full fortune 
is, I believe, a complete piece of good fortune, as in another 


If he can carry 5 ! thus ! 

IAGO. Call up her father, 

Rouse him : make after him, poison his delight, 
Proclaim him in the streets ; incense her kinsmen, 
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, 
Plague him with flies : though that his joy be joy, 
Yet throw such changes of vexation on't, 
As it may lose some colour. 

ROD. Here is her father's house ; I'll call aloud. 

IAGO. Do ; with like timorous accent, and dire 


As when, by night and negligence, the fire 
Is spied in populous cities. 9 

scene of this play a, full soldier is put for a complete soldier. 
So, in Cymbeline: 

" Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine." 
Again, in Chapman's version of the fourth Book of Homer's 
Odyssey , we have 

" Jove did not only \\isjulljhte adorn, 
" When he was wedded." 
To owe, is in ancient language, to own, to possess. 


So, in Antony and Cleopatra: 

" not the imperious show 

" Ofthefullfortun'd Caesar." 
Full is used by Chaucer in the same sense in his Troilus, B. L: 

" Suffice th this, my full friend Pandare, 

" That I have said ." 
See also Vol. XVII. p. 189, n. 3. MALONE. 

9 As when, by nig/it and negligence, the fire 

Is spied in populous cities."] The particle is used equivocally: 
the same liberty is taken by writers more correct : 

" The wonderful creature ! a woman of reason ! 

" Never grave out oj pride, never gay out oj season." 


By night and negligence means, during the time of night and 
negligence. M. MASON. 

The meaning, as Mr. Edwards has observed, is, " not that the 
fire was spied by negligence, but the fire, which came by night 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 253 

ROD. What ho ! Brabantio ! signior Brabantio, 

IAGO. Awake ! what, ho ! Brabantio ! thieves ! 

thieves ! thieves ! 

Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags ! 
Thieves ! thieves ! 

BRABANTIO, above, at a Window. 

BRA. What is the reason of this terrible sum- 
mons ? 
What is the matter there ? 

ROD. Signior, is all your family within ? 

IAGO. Are your doors lock'd? 1 

BRA. Why ? wherefore ask you this ? 

IAGO. 'Zounds, sir, you are robb'd j for shame, 

put on your gown ; 

Your heart is burst, 2 you have lost half your soul ; 
Even now, very now, an old black ram 
Is tupping your white ewe. 3 Arise, arise ; 

and negligence, was spied. And this double meaning to the 
same word is common to Shakspeare with all other writers, 
especially where the word is so familiar a one, as this is in 
question. Ovid seems even to have thought it a beauty instead 
of a defect." MALONE. 

1 Are your doors lock'd?~] The first quarto reads 

Are all doors lock'd? STEEVENS. 

2 is burst, 3 i. e. broken. Burst for broke is used in our 

author's King Henry IV. P. II: " and then he burst his 
head for crouding among the marshal's men." See Vol. XII. 
p. 152, n. 5. STEEVENS. 

See also Vol. IX. p. 13, n. 5 ; and p. 126, n. 6. MALONE. 

3 tupping your "white eive."] In the north of England a 

ram is called a tup. MALONE. 

I had made the same observation in the third Act of this play, 
scene iii. STEEVENS. 

234 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, 

Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you : 

Arise, I say. 

BRA. What, have you lost your wits ? 

ROD. Most reverend signior, do you know my 
voice ? 

BRA. Not I ; What are you ? 
ROD. My name is Roderigo. 

BRA. The worse welcome : 

I have charg'd thee, not to haunt about my doors : 
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say, 
My daughter is not for thee ; and now, in madness, 
Being full of supper, and distempering draughts, 4 
Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come 
To start my quiet. 

ROD. Sir, sir, sir, sir, 

BRA. But thou must needs be sure, 

My spirit, and my place, have in them power 
To make this bitter to thee. 

ROD. Patience, good sir. 

BRA. What tell'st thou me of robbing ? this is 

Venice ; 
My house is not a grange. 5 

your white ewe.] It appears from a passage in Decker's 

O per se O, 4to. 1612, that this was a term in the cant language 
used by vagabonds : " As the men haue nicke-names, so like- 
wise haue the women : for some of them are called the ivhite 
eme, the lambe," &c. STEEVENS. 

* distempering draughts,'] To be distempered with 

liquor, was, in Shakspeare's age, the phrase for intoxication. In 
Hamlet the King is said to be " marvellous distempered with 
wine." MALONE. 

See Vol. XII. p. 334, n. 6. STEEVENS. 

4 this is Venice; 

My house is not a grange.] That is, " you are in a populous 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 235 

ROD. Most grave Brabantio, 

In simple and pure soul I come to you. 

IAGO. 'Zounds, sir, you are one of those, that 
will not serve God, if the devil bid you. Because 
we come to do you service, you think we are ruf- 
fians : You'll have your daughter covered with a 
Barbary horse ; you'll have your nephews neigh to 
you : 6 you'll have coursers for cousins, and gennets 
for germans. 7 

city, not in a lone house, where a robbery might easily be com- 
mitted." Grange is strictly and properly the farm of a monastery, 
where the religious reposited their corn. Grangia, Lat. from 
Granum. But in Lincolnshire, and in other northern counties, 
they call every lone house, or farm which stands solitary, a 
grange. T. WARTON. 

So, in T. Hey wood's English Traveller, 1633 : 

" to absent himself from home, 

" And make his father's house but as a grange ?" &c. 
Again, in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1599: 

" soon was I train'd from court 

" To a solitary grange," &c. 

Again, in Measure for Measure: " at the moated grange re- 
sides this dejected Mariana." STEEVENS. 

your nephews neigh to you:~\ Nephew, in this instance, 

has the power of the Latin word nepos, and signifies a grandson, 
or any lineal descendant, however remote. So, A. of Wyntown, 
in his Cronykil, B. VIII. ch. iii. v. 119: 
" Hyr swne may be cald newu: 
" This is of that word the wertu." 
Thus, also, in Spenser: 

" And all the sons of these five brethren reign'd 
" By due success, and all their nephews late, 
" Even thrice eleven descents the crown obtain'd." 
Again, in Chapman's version of the Odyssey, B. XXIV. Laertes 
says of Telemachus his grandson: 

" to behold my son 

" And nephew close in such contention." 
Sir W. Dugdale very often employs the word in this sense ; 
and without it, it would not be very easy to show how Brabantio 
could have nephews by the marriage of his daughter. Ben Jon- 

236 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

BRA. What profane wretch art thou ? s 

I AGO. I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your 

daughter and the Moor are now making the beast 

with two backs. 9 

BRA. Thou art a villain. 

IAGO. You are a senator. 

son likewise uses it with the same meaning. The alliteration in 
this passage caused Shakspeare to have recourse to it. 


See Vol. XIV. p. 426, n. 1. MALONE. 

7 gennets^/or germans.'] A jennet is a Spanish horse. 

So, in Heywood's Rape qfLucrece, 1630: 

" there stays within my tent 

" A winged jennet." STEEVENS. 

6 What profane wretch art thou?~\ That is, what wretch of 
gross and licentious language? In that sense Shakspeare often 
uses the word profane. JOHNSON. 

It is so used by other writers of the same age : 

" How far off dwells the house-surgeon? 

" You are a profane fellow, i'faith." 

Again, in Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub: 

" By the sly justice, and his clerk profane" 
James Hovvell, in a dialogue prefixed to his edition of Cot- 
grave's Dictionary, in 1673, has the following sentence: 
" J'aimerois mieux estre trop ceremonieux, que trop prophane :" 
which he thus also anglicises " 1 had rather be too ceremonious, 
than too prophane ." STEEVENS. 

9 your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast 

with two ba^ks.] This is an ancient proverbial expression in the 
French language, whence Shakspeare probably borrowed it ; for 
in the Dictionaire dcs Proverbes Francoises, par G. D. B. Brus- 
selles, 1710, li'mo. I find the following article: " Faire la bete 
a deux dos, pour dire, faire 1'amour." PERCY. 

In the Dictionaire Comique, par le Roux, 1750, this phrase is 
more particularly explained under the article Bete: " Faire la 
bete a deux dos. Maniere de parler qui signifie etre couche avec 
une femme ; faire le deduit." " Et faisoient tous deux souvent 
ensemble la bete a deux dos joyeusement." Rabelais, Liv. I. 
There was a translation of Rabelais published in the time of 
Shakspeare. MALONE. 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 237 

BRA. This thou shalt answer ; I know thee, Ro- 

ROD. Sir, I will answer any thing. But I beseech 


[If't be your pleasure, 1 and most wise cons'ent, 
(As partly, I find, it is,) that your fair daughter, 
At this odd-even and dull watch o'the night, 2 
Transported with no worse nor better guard, 
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier, 
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor, 

1 [_If't be your pleasure, &c.] The lines printed in crotchets 
are not in the first edition, but in the folio of 1623. JOHNSON. 

2 At this odd-even and dull watch o'the night, ~\ The even of 
night is midnight, the time when night is divided into even parts. 


Odd is here ambiguously used, as it signifies strange, uncouth, 
or unwonted; and as it is opposed to even. 

But this expression, however explained, is very harsh. 


This ODD EVEN is simply the interval between twelve at night 
and one in the morning. HENLEY. 

By this singular expression, " this odd-even of the night," 
our poet appears to have meant, that it was just approaching to, 
or just past, that it was doubtful whether at that moment it stood 
at the point of midnight, or at some other less equal division of 
the twenty-four hours ; which a few minutes either before or 
after midnight would be. 

So, in Macbeth : 

" What is the night ? 

" Lady M. Almost at odds ivith morning, which is 'which" 

Shakspeare was probably thinking of his boyish school-play, 
odd or even, MALONE. 

Surely, " almost at odds with morning" signifies, almost en- 
tering into conflict with it. Thus, in Timon of Athens: 

" 'Tis honour, with most lands to be at odds, ." 
In King Henry VI. P. III. we find an idea similar to that in 
Macbeth : 

" like the morning s war, 

" When dying clouds contend with growing light." 



If this be known to you, and your allowance, 3 

We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs ; 

But, if you know not this, my manners tell me, 

We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe, 

That, from the sense of all civility, 4 

I thus would play and trifle with your reverence : 

Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,- 

I say again, hath made a gross revolt ; 

Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes, 

In an extravagant 5 and wheeling stranger, 6 

Of here and everywhere: Straight satisfyyourselfij 

If she be in her chamber, or your house, 

Let loose on me the justice of the state 

and your allowance,] i. e. done with your approbation t 

See Vol. XV. p. 321, n. 4 ; and Vol. XVII. p. 435, n. 6. 


4 That, from the sense of all civility,'] That is, in opposition 
to, or departing from, the sense of all civility. So, in Twelfth- 

" But this is from my commission ." 
Again, in The Mayor of Qiiinborough, by Middleton, 1661 : 

" But this is from my business." MALONE. 

6 In an extravagant ] Extravagant is here used in its Latin 
signification, for "wandering. Thus, in Hamlet: " The extra- 
vagant, and erring spirit, ." STEEVENS. 

6 Tying her duty, beauty, loit, and J or tunes, 

In an extravagant and "wheeling stranger, ~\ Thus the old 
copies, for which the modern editors, following Mr. Pope, have 
substituted To an extravagant &c. In King Lear, we find 
" And hold our lives in mercy ;" (not at mercy ;) in The Win- 
ter's Tale " he was torn to pieces with a bear," not " by a 
bear;" and in Hamlet: 

" To let this canker of our nature come 
" In further evil." 

So, in the next scene, we have " in your part," not 

" on your part." We might substitute modern for ancient 

phraseology in all these passages with as much propriety as in the 
present. We yet say, " she is vwapp'd up in him." 



For thus deluding you. 7 

BRA. Strike on the tinder, ho ! 

Give me a taper ; call up all my people : 
This accident is not unlike my dream, 
Belief of it oppresses me already : 
Light, I say ! light ! \_Exit^jrQm above. 

I AGO. Farewell ; for I must leave you : 

It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place, 
To be produc'd 8 (as, if I stay, I shall,) 
Against the Moor : For, I do know, the state, 
However this may gall him with some check, 9 
Cannot with safety cast him ;* for he's embark* d 
With such loud reason to the Cyprus* wars, 
(Which even now stand in act,) that, for their souls, 
Another of his fathom they have not, 
To lead their business : in which regard, 
Though I do hate him as I do hell pains, 
Yet, for necessity of present life, 
I must show out a flag and sign of love, 
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely 

find him, 

Lead to the Sagittary 2 the rais'd search ; 
And there will I be with him. So, farewell. 


7 For thus deluding you.] The first quarto reads, For this 

delusion. STEEVENS. 

* To be produc'd ] The folio reads, -producted. 


9 some check,] Some rebuke. JOHNSON. 

1 cast him;~\ That is, dismiss him; reject him. We 

still say, a cast coat, and a cast serving-man. JOHNSON. 

the Sagittary ] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622 r 

reads, the Sagiitctr . I have chosen the undipped reading. 


240 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Enter, below, BRABANTIO, and Servants with 

BRA. It is too true an evil : gone she is ; 
And what's to come of my despised time, 3 
Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo, 
Where didst thou see her ? O, unhappy girl ! 
With the Moor, say'st thou ? Who would be a 

father ?-. 
How didst thou know 'twas she ? O, thou de- 

ceiv'st me 
Past thought ! 4 What said she to you ? Get more 

tapers ; 
Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you? 

ROD. Truly, I think, they are. 

BRA. O heaven ! How got she out ! O treason 
of the blood ! 

3 And ivhat's to come of my despised time,~] Despised time, is 
time of no value; time in which 

There's nothing serious in mortality. 

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere dregs 

Are left this vault to brag of." Macbeth. JOHNSON. 


in Romeo and Juliet: 

expire the term 

Of a despised life clos'd in my breast." 
As the quotation in the preceding note belongs to our steady 
moralist, Dr. Johnson, it could not have been more uncharacter- 
istically vitiated, than by the compositor, in Mr. Mai one's edi- 
tion, where it appears thus : 

" There's nothing serious in morality" STEEVENS. 

4 0, thou deceiv'st me 

Past thought /] Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio, 1623, 
and the quartos, 1630 and 1655, read: 
O, she deceives me 

Past thought /- 

I have chosen the apostrophe to his absent daughter, as the 
most spirited of the two readings. STEEVENS 

sc.t. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 241 

Fathers, from hence trust notyour daughters' minds 
By what you see them act. Are there not charms, 5 
By which the property of youth and maidhood 
May be abus'd? 6 Have you not read, Roderigo, 
Of some such thing ? 

HOD. Yes, sir ; I have indeed. 

BRA. Call up my brother. O, that you had had 

her ! 

Some one way, some another. Do you know 
Where we may apprehend her and the Moor ? 

ROD. I think, I can discover him ; if you please 
To get good guard, and go along with me. 

BRA. Pray you, lead on. 7 At every house I'll call; 
I may command at most; Get weapons, ho! 
And raise some special officers of night. 8 
On, good Roderigo; I'll deserve your pains. 


5 Are there not charms,'] Thus the second folio. The 

first, and the quarto, ungrammatically read, Is there not &c. 
Mr. Malone follows the oldest copies, and observes that the 
words Is there not charms, &c. mean Is there not such a 
Iking as charms ? STEEVENS. 

6 I$y ixliich the 'property of youth and maidhood 

May be abus'd ?] By which the faculties of a young virgin 
may be infatuated, and made subject to illusions and false ima- 
gination : 

" wicked dreams abuse 

" The curtain'd sleep." Macbeth. JOHNSON. 

and maidhood ] The quartos read and manhood . 


7 Pray you, lead on.~| The first quarto reads, Pray lead me 

8 o/"night.] Thus the original quarto, 1622; for which 

the editor of the folio substituted officers of might ; a reading 
which all the modern editors have adopted. I have more than 
once had occasion to remark that the quarto readings were 
VOL. XIX. n 

242 OTHELLO, ACT i. 


The same. Another Street. 
Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants. 

IAGO. Though in the trade of war I have slain 

sometimes changed by the editor of the folio, from ignorance of 
our poet's phraseology or meaning. 

I have no doubt that Shakspeare, before he wrote this play, 
read The* Commonwealth and Government of Venice, translated 
from the Italian by Lewes Lewkenor, and printed in quarto, 
1599; a book prefixed to which we find a copy of verses by 
Spenser. This treatise furnished our poet with the knowledge 
of those officers of night, whom Brabantio here desires to be 
called to his assistance. 

" For the greater expedition thereof, of these kinds of judge- 
ments, the heades or chieftaines of the officers by night do ob- 
taine the authority of which the advocators are deprived. These 
officers of the night are six, and six likewise are those meane of- 
ficers, that have only power to correct base vagabonds and tri- 
fling offences. 

" Those that do execute this ofiice are called heades of the 
tribes of the city, because out of every tribe, (for the city is di- 
vided into six tribes,) there is elected an officer of the night, and 
a head of the tribe. The duty of eyther of these officers is, to 
keepe a watch every other night by turn, within their tribes ; 
and, now the one, and then the other, to make rounds about his 
quarter, till the dawning of the day, being always guarded and 
attended on with weaponed officers and Serjeants, and to see that 
there be not any disorder done in the darkness of the night, 
which alwaies emboldeneth men to naughtinesse ; and that there 
be not any houses broken up, nor theeves nor rogues lurking in 
corners with intent to do violence." Commonwealth of Venice, 
pp. 97, 99. MALONE. 

It has been observed by Mr. Malone, in Romeo and Juliet, 
(See Act V. sc. iii. Vol. XX.) that there is no watch in 
Italy. How does that assertion quadrate with the foregoing 
account of" officers of ike night?" STKKVF.XS. 

5C-. //. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 243 

Yet do I hold it very stuff o'the conscience, 9 
To do no contriv'd murder ; I lack iniquity 
Sometimes, to do me service : Nine or ten times 
I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the 

OTH. 'Tis better as it is. 

I AGO. Nay, but he prated, * 

And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms 
Against your honour, 
That, with the little godliness I have, 
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray, sir, 
Are you fast married ? for, be sure of this, 
That the magnifico 2 is much beloved ; 
And hath, in his effect, a voice potential 
As double as the duke's j 3 he will divorce you ; 

9 stuff o' the conscience,] This expression to common 

readers appears harsh. Stitff of the conscience is, substance or 
essence of the conscience. Stujfis a word of great force in the 
Teutonick languages. The elements are called in Dutch, 
Hoe/cl stoffen, or head stuffs. JOHNSON. 

Again, in King Henry Fill: 

" You're full of heavenly stuff" &c. 

Frisch's German Dictionary gives this explanation of the word 
staff: " materies ex qua aliquid fieri poterit." STEEVENS. 

Shakspeare in Macbeth uses this word in the same sense, and 
in a manner yet more harsh : 

" Cleanse the stuff- 'd bosom of that perilous stuff" 


; he prated,"] Of whom is this said ? Of Roderigo ? 


" the magnifico ] " The chief men of Venice are by 

a peculiar name called Magnifies, i. e. magnificoes." Minshea s 
Dictionary. See too Volpone. TOLLET. 

3 a voice potential 

As double as the duke's;~\ It appears from Thomas's History 
of Italy, 4to. 1560, to have been a popular opinion, though a 
false one, that the duke of Venice had a double voice: " Where- 
as," says he, " many have reported, the duke in ballotyng should 

R 2 


Or put upon you what restraint and grievance 
The law (with all his might, to enforce it on,) 

have two voices; it is nothirrge so; for in giving his voice he 
hath but one ballot, as all others have." Shakspeare, therefore, 
might have gone on this received opinion, which he might have 
found in some other book. Supposing, however, that he had 
learned from this very passage that the duke had not a double 
voice in the Council of Seven, yet as he has a vote in each of the 
various councils of the Venetian state, (a privilege which no 
other person enjoys,) our poet might have thought himself justi- 
fied in the epithet which he has here used; and this circumstance, 
which he might have found in a- book already quoted, Contareno's 
Commonwealth and Government of Venice, 4to. 1599, was, I be- 
lieve, here in his thoughts. 

" The duke himself also, if he will, may use the authority of 
an advocator or president, and make report to the councell of 
any offence, and of any amercement or punishment that is 
thereupon to be inflicted ; for so great is the prince's authoritie, 
that he may, in whatsoever court, ADJOINE himselfe to the magis- 
trate therein, being president, as his colleague and companion, and 
might so by this means be able to look into all things,'' p. 41. 
Again, ibidem, p. 42: " Besides this, this prince [i. e. the duke,~] 
hath in every councell equal authoritie with any of them, for one 
suffrage or lotte." Thus we see, though he had not a double 
voice in any one assembly, yet as he had a vote in all the various 
assemblies, his voice, thus added to the voice of each of the 
presidents of those assemblies, might with strict propriety be 
called double, and potential. Potential, Dr. Johnson thinks, 
means operative, having the effect, (by weight and influence,) 
without the external actual property. It is used, he conceives, 
" in the sense of science ; a caustick is called potential fire." I 
question whether Shakspeare meant more by the word than ope- 
rative, or poiverjul. MALONE. 

Double and single anciently signified strong and weak, when 
applied to liquors, and perhaps to other objects. In this sense 
the former epithet may be employed by Brabantio, and the latter 
by the Chief Justice speaking to Falstaff: " Is not your wit 
single?" When Macbeth also talks of his "single state of man," 
he may mean no more than his weak and debile state of mind. 

*' a voice potential 

" As double as the duke's," 
may therefore only signify, that Brabantio's voice, as a magni- 


Will give him cable. 

OTH. Let him do his spite : 

My services, which I have done the signiory, 
Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know, 
(Which, when I know that boasting is an honour, 
I shall promulgate, 4 ) I fetch my life and being 
From men of royal siege; 5 and my demerits 6 

fico, was as forcible as that of the duke. See Vol. X. p. 49, n. 
6; and Vol. XII. p. 37, n. 2. STEEVENS. 

The DOUBLE voice of Brabantio refers to the opinion, which 
(as being a magnified, he was no less entitled to, than the duke 
himself,) EITHER, of nullifying the marriage of his daughter, 
contracted without his consent ; OR, of subjecting Othello to fine 
and imprisonment, for having seduced an heiress. HENLEY. 

4 'Tis yet to know, 

( Which, taken I know that boasting is an honour, 
I shall promulgate,]'] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, 

" 'Tis yet to know 

" That boasting is an honour. 
" I shall promulgate, I fetch," &c. 

Some words certainly were omitted at the press ; and perhaps 
they have been supplied in the wrong place. Shakspeare might 
have written 

" 'Tis yet to know 

" That boasting is an honour; which when I know, 
" I shall promulgate, I fetch my life," &c. 
I am yet to learn that boasting is honourable, which yhen I 
have learned, I shall proclaim to the world that I fetch my life 
&c. MALONE. 

I am perfectly satisfied with the reading in the text, which 
appears not to have been suspected of disarrangement by any of 
our predecessors. STEEVENS. 

5 men of royal siege ;] Men who have sat upon royal 


The quarto has men of royal height. Siege is used for seat 
by other authors. So, in Stowe's Chronicle, p. 575 : " there 
v/as set up a throne or siege roi/all for the king." 

Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. vii : 

" A stately siege of soveraignc majestye." STEEVEXS. 


May speak, unbonneted, 7 to as proud a fortune 
As this that I have reach'd: For know, lago, 

So, in Grafton's Chronicle, p. 443 : " Incontinent after that 
he was placed in the royal siege" &c. MALONE. 

6 and my demerits ] Demerits has the same meaning 

in our author, and many others of that age, as merits : 
" Opinion, that so sticks on Martius, may 
" Of his demerits rob Cominius.'' Coriolanus. 
Again, in Dugdale's Warwickshire, p. 850, edit. 1730: " Henry 
Conway, esq. for his singular demerits received the dignity of 

Mereo and demereo had the same meaning in the Roman lan- 
guage. STEEVENS. 

7 May speak, unbonneted,] Thus all the copies read. It 
should be unbonneting, i. e. without putting off the bonnet. 


I do not see the propriety of Mr. Pope's emendation, though 
adopted by Dr. Warburton. Unbonneling may as well be, not 
putting on, as not putting off", the bonnet. Hanmer reads e'en 
bonneted. JOHNSOX. 

To speak unbonnetted, is to speak tvith the cap off, which is 
directly opposite to the poet's meaning. Othello means to say, 
that his birth and services set him upon such a rank, that he 
may speak to a senator of Venice with his hat on ; i. e. \sithout 
showing any marks of deference or inequality. I therefore am 
inclined to think Shakspeare wrote 

May speak, and, bonnetted, Sfc. THEOBALD. 

Bonneter (says Cotgrave) is to put off one's c&p. So, in Co- 
riolanus: " Those who are supple and courteous to the people, 
bonneted without any further deed to heave them at all into their 
estimation." Unbonneted may therefore signify, without taking 
the cap off". We might, I think, venture to read imbonneted. 
It is common with Shakspeare to make or use words compounded 
in the same manner. Such are impawn, impaint, impale, and im- 
mask. Of all the readings hitherto proposed, that of Mr. The- 
obald is, I think, the best. STEEVENS. 

The objection to Mr. Steevens's explanation of unbonneted, 
i. e. without taking the cap. off, is, that Shakspeare has himself 
used the word in King Lear, Act III. sc. i. with the very con- 
trary signification, namely, for one ivhose cap is fff: 

Unbounded he runs, 

" And Lias what ;vi!i take all." 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 247 

But that I love the gentle Desdemona, 
I would not my unhoused 8 free condition 
Put into circumscription and confine 
For the sea's worth. 9 But, look ! what lights come 
yonder ? 

He might, however, have employed the word here in a dif- 
ferent sense. MALONE. 

Unbounded, is uncovered, revealed, made known. In the 
second Act and third scene of this play we meet with an expres- 
sion similar to this : " you unlace your reputation ;" and an- 
other in As you. like it, Act IV. sc. i: " Now unmuzzle your 
wisdom." A. C. 

Mr. Fuseli (and who is better acquainted with the sense and 
spirit of our author?) explains this contested passage as follows: 

" / am his equal or superior in rank; and were it not so, such 
arc my demerits, that, unbonneted, without the addition of patri- 
cian or senatorial dignity, they may speak to as proud a fortune 

" At Venice, the bonnet, as well as the toge, is a badge of ari- 
stocratick honours to this day." STEEVENS. 

8 unhoused ~] Free from domestick cares. A thought 

natural to an adventurer. JOHNSON. 

Othello talking as a soldier, unhoused may signify the having 
no settled house or habitation. WHALLEY. 

9 For the seas worth.'] I would not many her, though she 
were as rich as the Adriatick, which the Doge annually marries. 


As the gold ring annually thrown by the Doge into the Adria- 
tick, cannot be said to have much enriched it, I believe the 
common and obvious meaning of this passage is the true one. 

The same words occur in Sir W. D' Avenant's Cruel Brother, 

" he would not lose that privilege 

" For the sea's worth" 
Perhaps the phrase is proverbial. 

Pliny the naturalist has a chapter on the riches of the sea, 
Again, in The Winter's Tale: 

" for all the sun sees, or 

" The close earth wombs, or the profound sea hides 
" In unknown fathoms," &c. 
Again, in King Henry V. Act I : 


Enter CASSIO, at a distance , and certain Officers 
with Torches. 

I AGO. These are the raised father, and his friends : 
You were best go in. 

OTH. Not I : I must be found ; 

My parts, my title, and my perfect soul, 
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they ? 

I AGO. By Janus, I think no. 

OTH. The servants of the duke, and my lieute- 

The goodness of the night upon you, friends ! ! 
What is the news ? 

CAS. The duke does greet you, general ; 

And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance, 2 
Even on the instant. 

OTH. What is the matter, think you ? 

CAS. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine ; 
It is a business of some heat : the gallies 
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers 3 

As rich with praise, 

" As is the ooze, and bottom of the sea, 

" With sunken wreck, and sumless treasuries." 


1 The goodness of the night upon you, friends !~] So, in Mea- 
sure for Measure : 

" The best and wholesomest spirits of the night 
*? Envellop you, good Provost !" STEEVEXS. 

~ your haste-post-haste appearance,"] The comma, hither- 
to placed after haste, should be a hyphen. Your haste-post" 
haste appearance is your immediate appearance. The words 
" Haste, post, haste," were in our author's time usually written 
on the cover of packets, or letters, sent express. RITSON. 

s sequent messengers-^-'] The first quarto reads -frequent 

messengers. STJEEVENS. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 249 

This very night at one another's heels ; 

And many of the consuls, 4 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 5 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, 
And go with you. \_Exlt. 

CAS. Ancient, what makes he here ? 

IAGO. 'Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land 
carack ; 6 

4 the consuls,'] See p. 227, n. 2. STEEVENS. 

5 The senate hath sent about ] The early quartos, and all 
the modern editors, have 

The senate sent above three several quests, 
The folio 

The senate hath sent about Sfc. 

That is, about the city. I have adopted the reading of the folio. 


Quests are, on this occasion, searches. So, in Heywood's 
Brazen Age, 1613: 

" Now, if in all his quests, he be witheld." 

An ancient MS. entitled " The Boke of Huntyng that is cleped 
Mayster of Game," has the following explanation of the word 
quest : " This word quest is a terme of herte hunters of beyonde 
the see ; and is thus moche to say as whan the hunter goth to 
fynde of the hert and to herborow him." STEEVENS. 

a land carack;] A carack is a ship of great bulk, and 

commonly of great value; perhaps what we now call a. galleon. 


So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Coxcomb : 

" they'll be freighted ; 

" They're made like caracks, all for strength and stowage." 


The first ships that came richly laden from the West Indies to 
Europe vrere those from the Cameras, part of the Spanish settle- 

250 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever. 
CAS. I do not understand. 
IAGO. He's married. 

CAS. To who? 7 

Rc-enler OTHELLO. 

IAGO. Marry, to Come, captain, will you go ? 
OTH. Have with you. 8 

ments ; and some years ago a Caracca ship generally proved a 
very rich prize. M. MASON. 

A carack, or carick, (for so it was more frequently written in 
Shakspeare's time,) is of higher origin, and was denominated 
from the Spanish word, caraca, which signifies a vessel of great 
bulk, constructed to carry a heavy burthen. The Spanish cara- 
ca, Minsheu thinks, may have been formed from the Italian carico, 
a lading, or freight. MALONE. 

7 To 'who ?~] It is somewhat singular that Cassio should ask this 
question. In the 3d scene of the 3d Act, lago says: 

" Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady, 
" Know of your love ? 

" Oth. Fromfo-st to last." 

He who was acquainted with the object courted by his friend, 
could have little reason for doubting to whom he would be mar- 
ried. STEEVENS. 

Cassio's seeming ignorance of Othello's courtship or marriage 
might only be affected; in order to keep his friend's secret, till it 
became publickly known. BLACKSTONE. 

Or he might fear that Othello had proved false to the gentle 
Desdemona, and married another. MALONE. 

How far this suspicious apprehension would have become the 
benevolent Cassio, the intimate friend of Othello, let the reader 
judge. STEEVENS. 

s Have iKith you.~\ This expression denotes readiness. So, 
in the ancient Interlude of Nature, bl. 1. no date : 

" And saw that Glotony wold nedys begone ; 

" Have ixith thee, Glotony, quoth he anon, 

" For I must go wyth thee." 
See Vol. XIV. p. 380, n. I. STEEVENS. 

sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 251 
CAS. Here comes another troop to seek for you. 

Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers of 
night, with Torches and Weapons. 

I AGO. It is Brabantio : general, be advis'd ; 9 
He comes to bad intent. 

OTH. Hola ! stand there ! 

ROD. Signior, it is the Moor. 

BRA. Down with him, thief ! 

\_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. 

Good signior, you shall more command with years, 
Than with your weapons. 

BRA. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd 

my daughter ? 

Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her : 
For I'll refer me to all things of sense, 
If she in chains of magick were not bound, 
Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy ; 
So opposite to marriage, that she shunn'd 
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation, J 

6 be advis'd;] That is, be cool ; be cautious ; be discreet. 


1 The "wealthy curled darlings of our nation^] Curled is ele- 
gantly and ostentatiously dressed. He had not the hair particu- 
larly in his thoughts. JOHNSON. 

On another occasion Shakspeare employs the same expression, 
and evidently alludes to the hair: 

" If she first meet the curled. Antony," &c. 
Sir W. D' Avenant uses the same expression in his Just Italian, 
1630: ' 

" The curl'd and silken nobles of the town." 

252 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Would ever have, to incur a general mock, 
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom 
Of such a thing as thou : to fear, not to delight. 2 
Judge me the world, 3 if 'tis not gross in sense, 
That thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms; 
Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs, or minerals, 

Again : 

" Such as the curled youth of Italy." 

I believe Shakspeare has the same meaning in the present in- 
stance. Thus, Turnus, in the IQth.jtEneid, speaking of -/Eneas: 

" foedare in pulvere crines 

" Vibratos calidojerro, ." STEEVENS. 

That Dr. Johnson was mistaken in his interpretation of tin's 
line, is ascertained by our poet's Rape ofLucrece, where the 
hair is not merely alluded to, but expressly mentioned, and the 
epithet curled is added as characteristick of a person of the 
highest rank : 

" Let him have time to tear his curled hair." 

Tarquin, a king's son, is the person spoken of. Edgar, when 
he was " proud in heart and mind," curled his hair. M ALONE. 

2 Of such a thing as thou : to fear, not to delight.'] To fear, 
in the present instance, may mean to terrify. So, in King 
Henry VI. P. Ill : 

" For Warwick was a bug that feard us all." 
The line spoken by Brabantio is redundant in its measure. It 
might originally have ran 

Of such as tliou ; to fear , not to delight. 

Mr. Rowe, however, seems to have selected the words I would 
omit, as proper to be put into the mouth of Horatio, who applies 
them to Lothario : 

" To be the prey of such a thing as thou art." 


to fear, not to delight.'] To one more likely to terrify 

ihan delight her. So, in the next scene (Brabantio is again the 
.speaker) : 

" To fall in love with what shefear'd to look on." 

Mr. Steevens supposes/ear to be a verb here, used in the sense 
of to terrify; a signification which it formerly had. But fear, 
I apprehend, is a substantive, and poetically used for the object 
of fear. MALONE. 

3 [Judge me the ivorld, &c.] The lines following in crotchets 
are not in the first edition, [1622.] POPE. 


That waken motion : 4 I'll have it disputed on ; 
'Tis probable, and palpable to thinking. 

4 Abusd her delicate youth with drugs, or mineral*, 

That waken motion:] [Old copy weaken."] Hanmcr 1'cads 
with probability : 

That waken motion : . JOHNSON. 

Motion in a subsequent scene of this play is used in the very 
sense in which Sir Thomas Hanmer would employ it : " But 
we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our 
unbitted lusts." STEEVENS. 

To weaken motion is, to impair the faculties. It was till very 
lately, and may with some be still an opinion, that philtres or 
love potions have the power of perverting, and of course 
weakening or impairing both the sight and judgment, and of 
procuring fondness or dotage toward any unworthy object who 
administers them. And by motion, Shakspeare means the 
senses which are depraved and weakened by these fascinating 
mixtures. HIT SON. 

The folio, where alone this passage is found, reads : 

That weaken motion : . 

I have adopted Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation, because I 
have a good reason to believe that the words weaken and waken 
were in Shakspeare's time pronounced alike, and hence the mis- 
take might easily have happened. Motion is elsewhere used !>\ 
our poet precisely in the sense required here. So, in Ci/wbclitic 

" for there's no motion 

" That tends to vice in man, but I affirm 

" It is the woman's part." 
Again, in Hamlet: 

" sense sure you have, 

" Else could you not have motion." 
Again, in Measure for Measure : 

" one who never feels 

" The wanton stings and motions of the sense." 
So also, in A mad World mi/ Masters, by Middleton, 1608; 

" And in myself sooth up adulterous motions, 

" And such an appetite as I know damns me." 
We have in the play before us waken d wrath, and I think in 
some other play of Shakspeare waken d love. So, in our 
poet's 117th Sonnet: 

" But shoot not at me in your wakened hate," 
Ben Jonson in his preface to Volpone has asimilar phraseology: 

254 OTHELLO, ACT /. 

I therefore apprehend and do attach thee,] 

" it being the office of the comick poet to stir-re up gentle 


Mr. Theobald reads That weaken notion, i. e. says he, her 
right conception and idea of things ; understanding, judgment. 

This reading, it must be acknowledged, derives some support 
from a passage in King Lear, Act II. sc.iv: " cither his notion 
weakens, or his discernings are lethargy'd." But the objection 
to it is, that no opiates or intoxicating potions or powders of any 
sort can distort or pervert the intellects, but by destroying them 
for a time ; nor was it ever at any time believed by the most cre- 
dulous, that love-powders, as they were called, could weaken the 
understanding, though it was formerly believed that they could 
fascinate the affections : or in other words, waken motion. 
Brabantio afterwards asserts : 

" That with some mixtures powerful o'er the Mood 

" He wrought upon her." 

(Our post, it should be remembered, in almost all his plays uses 
Mood for passion. See Vol. XVIII. p. 275, n. 7; and Vol. XV. 
p. 314, n. 5; and Vol. XIX. p. 127, n. 3.) And one of the Se- 
nators asks Othello, not, whether he had weaken* d Desdemonu's 
understanding, but whether he did 

" by indirect and forced courses 

" Subdue and poison this young maid's affections" 
The notion of the efficacy of love-powders was formerly so 
prevalent, that in the parliament summoned by King Richard 
the Third, on his usurping the throne, it was publickly urged as 
a charge against lady Grey, that she had bewitched King Edward 
the Fourth, " by strange potions and amorous charms. 1 ' See 
Fabian, p. 495; Speed, p. 913, edit. 1632; and Habington's 
History of King Edward the Fourth, p. 35. MALOKE. 

In the passages adduced by Mr. Steevens and Mr. Malone, to 
prove that motion signifies lustful desires, it may be remarked 
that the word derives this peculiar meaning, either from some 
epithet, or restrictive mode of expression, with which it stands 
connected. But, had it been used absolutely, in that sense, with 
what consistency could Brabantio attribute the emotions of lust 
in hisdaughter, to the irritation of those very philtres, which he, 
in the seK'-same breath, represents as abating it? 

The drugs or minerals, with which Othello is charged as hav- 
ing abused the delicate youth of Desdemona, were supposed to 
have accomplished his purpose,- by 

" Charming her blood with pleasing heaviness," 

so. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 2,55 

For an abuser of the world, 5 a practiser 
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant : 
Lay hold upon him ; if he do resist, 
Subdue him at his peril. 

OTH. Hold your hands, 

Both you of my inclining, and the rest : 
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, 
Call tliee to answer. 

OTH. What if I do obey ? 

How may the duke be therewith satisfied j 
Whose messengers are here about my side, 
Upon some present business of the state, 
To bring 6 me to him ? 

OFF. J Tis true, most worthy signior, 

The duke's in council ; and your noble self, 
I urn sure, is sent for. 

thereby weakening MOTION, that is, subduing her MAIDEN PU- 
DENCY, and lulling her WONTED COYNESS into a state of acqui- 

That this is the sense of the passage, is further evident from 
what follows ; for so bashful was she of disposition, 
that her MOTION 

and, th 

Blush'd at herself:" 
refore, adds Brabantio : 

I vouch again, 

That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood, 
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect, 
He wrought upon her." HENLEY. 

; For an abuser &c.] The first quarto reads Such an 
abuser &c. STEEVENS. 

" To bring ] The quartos read To bear. STEEVENS. 


BRA. How! the duke in council ! 

In this time of the night! Bring him away : 
Mine's not an idle cause: the duke himself, 
Or any of my brothers of the state, 
Cannot but feel this wrong, as 'twere their own : 
For if such actions may have passage free, 
Bond-slaves, and pagans, 7 shall our statesmen be. 


7 Bond-slaves, and pagans,] Mr. Theobald alters pagans to 
pageants, for this reason, " That pagans are as strict and moral 
all the world over, as the most regular Christians, in the preser- 
vation of private property." But what then ? The speaker had 
not this high opinion of pagan morality, as is plain from hence, 
that this important discovery, so much to the honour of pagan- 
ism, was first made by our editor. WARBUKTON. 

The meaning of these expressions of Brabantio seem to have 
been mistaken. I believe the morality of either Christians or 
pagans was not in our author's thoughts. He alludes to the 
common condition of all blacks, who come from their own 
country both slaves and pagans ; and uses the word in con- 
tempt of Othello and his complexion. If this Moor is now suf- 
fered to escape with impunity, it will be such an encouragement 
to his black countrymen, that we may expect to see all the first 
offices of our state filled up by the pagans and bond-slaves of 
Africa. STEEVENS. 

In our author's time pagan was a very common expression of 
contempt. So, in King Henry IV. P. II: 

" What pagan may that be ?" 
See Vol. XII. p. 69, n. 3. MA LONE. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 257 


The same. A Council-Chamber. 

The Duke, and Senators, sitting at a Table ; Offi- 
cers attending. 

DUKE. There is no composition 8 in these news, 9 
That gives them credit. 

1 SEN. Indeed, they are disproportion'd; 
My letters say, a hundred and seven gallies. 

DUKE. And mine, a hundred and forty. 

2 SEN. And mine, two hundred : 
But though they jump not on a just account, 
(As in these cases, where the aim reports, 1 

B There is no composition ] Composition, for consistency, 
concordancy , WARBUIITON. 

9 these neivs,~\ Thus the quarto, 1622, and such was 

frequently the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. So, in The 
Spanish Tragedy, 1610: 

" The news are more delightful to his soul, ." 

See also Vol. XIII. p. 301, n. 8. The folio reads this news. 


1 As in these cases, where the aim reports,'] The folio has 
the aim reports. But, they aim reports, [the reading of the 
quarto] has a sense sufficiently easy and commodious. Where 
men report not by certain knowledge, but by aim and conjecture. 


To aim is to conjecture. So, in The Two Gentlemen of 
Verona : 

11 But fearing lest my jealous aim might err." 
Again, in the manuscript known by the title of William and the 
Werwolf, in the library of King's College, Cambridge: " No 
man upon mold, might ay me the number." P. 56. 


ixkere the aim reports,'] In these cases where conjecture 


258 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

'Tis oft with difference,) yet do they all confirm 
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus. 

DUKE. Nay, it is possible enough to judgment; 
I do not so secure me in the error, 
But the main article I do approve 
In fearful sense. 

SAILOR. [Wifliin.~} What ho! what ho! what 

Enter an Officer, with a Sailor. 

OFF. A messenger from the gallies. 

DUKE. Now ? the business ? 

SAIL. The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes ; 
So was I bid report here to the state, 
By signior Angelo. 2 

DUKE. How say you by this change ? 

1 SEN. This cannot be, 

By no assay of reason ; 3 'tis a pageant, 
To keep us in false gaze : When we consider 
The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk ; 
And let ourselves again but understand, 
That, as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes, 
So may he with more facile question 4 bear it, 

or suspicion tells the tale. Aim is again used as a substantive, 
in this sense, in Julius Caesar; 

" What you would work me to, I have some aim." 


- By signior Angelo.~] This hemistich is wanting in the first 
quarto. STEEVENS. 

3 By no assay of reason ;~] Bring it to the test, examine it 
by reason as we examine metals by the assay, it will be found 
counterfeit by all trials. JOHNSON. 

4 with more facile question ] Question is for the act of 

seeking* With more easy endeavour. JOHNSON. 

A7. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 259 

For that it stands not 5 in such warlike brace, 6 

But altogether lacks the abilities 

That Rhodes is dress'd in: if we make thought 

of this, 

We must not think, the Turk is so unskilful, 
To leave that latest which concerns him first 5 
Neglecting an attempt of ease, and gain, 
To wake, and wage, a danger profitless. 7 

DUKE. Nay, in all confidence, he's not for 

OFF. Here is more news. 

Enter a Messenger. 

MESS. The Ottomites, reverend and gracious, 
Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes, 
Have there injointed them with an after fleet. 

1 SEN. Ay, so I thought : 8 How many, as you 
guess ? 

So may he with more facile question bear it,"] That is, he 
may carry it with less dispute, with less opposition. I don't see 
how the word question can signify the act of seeking, though the 
word guest may. M. MASON. 

s For that it stands not &c.] The seven following lines are 
added since the first edition. POPE. 

warlike brace,] State of defence. To arm was called 

to brace on the armour. JOHNSON. 

7 To wake, and wage, a danger profitless."] To wage here, 
as in many other places in Shakspeare, signifies to nght, to 

Thus, in King Lear: 

" To wage against the enmity of the air.'* 
It took its rise from the common expression, to wage war. 


9 Ay, so &c.] This line is not in the first quarto. STEEVENS. 

S 2 

260 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

MESS. Of thirty sail : and now do they re-stem 9 
Their backward course, bearing with frank ap- 

Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano, 
Your trusty and most valiant servitor, 
With his free duty recommends you thus, 
And prays you to believe him. 1 

DUKE. 'Tis certain then for Cyprus. 
Marcus Lucchese, 2 is he not in town ? 

1 SEN. He's now in Florence. 

DUKE. Write from us; wish him 3 post-post- 
haste : despatch.* 

l SEN. Here comes Brabantio, and the valiant 

9 do they re-stem ] The quartos mean to read, re- 

sterne, though in the first of them the word is misspelt. 


1 And prays you to believe him.'] He entreats you not to 
doubt the truth of this intelligence. JOHNSON. 

2 Marcus Lucchese, 3 The old copies have Luccicos. Mr. 
Steevens made the correction. MALONE. 

3 icish him ] i. e. recommend, desire him. See Vol. 

VI. p. 79, n. 6, and other places. REED. 

4 'wish him post-post-haste : despatch.] i. e. tell him we 

wish him to make all possible haste. Post-haste is before in this 
play used adjectively : 

" And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance." 
All messengers in the time of Shakspeare were enjoined, 
*' Haste haste ; for thy life, post haste." 

The reading of the text is that of the quarto, 1622. The 
folio reads : 

Write from us to him, post , post-haste, dispatch. 



and Officers. 

DUKE. Valiant Othello, we must straight em- 
ploy you 

Against the general enemy Ottoman. 5 
I did not see you ; welcome, gentle signior ; 


We lack'd your counsel and your help to night. 
BRA. So did I yours : Good your grace> pardon 


Neither my place, nor aught I heard of business, 
Hath rais'd me from my bed ; nor doth the gene- 
ral care 6 

* Valiant Othello, tvc must straight employ you 

Against the general enemy Ottoman.^ It is part of the policy 
of the Venetian state never to entrust the command of an army 
to a native. " To exclude, therefore, (says Contareno, as trans- 
lated by Lewkenor, 4-to. 1599,) out of our estate the danger or 
occasion of any such ambitious enterprises, our ancestors held it 
a better course to defend the dominions on the continent with 
foreign mercenary soldiers, than with their homebred citizens :" 
Again : " Their charges and yearly occasions of disbursement 
are likewise very great ; for alwaies they do entertain in ho- 
nourable sort with gueat provision a capiaine general?, who al- 
waies is a stranger borne." MALONE. 

It was usual for the Venetians to employ strangers and even 
Moors in their wars. See The White Devil, or Viitoria Co- 
rombona, Act V. sc. i. See also Ho well's Letters, B. I. S. 1. 
Letter xxviii. REED. 

general care ] The word care, which encumbers the 

verse, was probably added by the players. Shakspeare uses the 
general as a substantive, though, 1 think, not in this sense. 


The word general, when used by Shakspeare as a substantive, 
always implies the populace, not the publick : and if it were 
used here as an adjective, without the word care, it must refer 
to grief'm the following line, a word which may properly denote 


Take hold 7 on me ; for my particular grief 
Is of so flood-gate and o'er-bearing nature, 
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows, 
And it is still itself. 

DUKE. Why, what's the matter ? 

BRA. My daughter ! O, my daughter ! 
SEN. Dead ? 

BRA. Ay, to me ; 

She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and corrupted 
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks : 8 

a private sorrow, but not the alarm which a nation is supposed 
to feel on the approach of a formidable enemy. M. MASON. 

I suppose the author wrote : 

Rais'd me from bed; nor doth the general care . 

and not 

Hath raised me from my bed; &c. 

The words in the Roman character I regard as playhouse inter- 
polations, by which the metre of this tragedy is too frequently 
deranged. STEEVENS. 

general care ] 

" juvenumque prodis, 

" Publica cura." Hor. STEEVENS. 

7 Take hold ] The first quarto reads Take any hold. 


* By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks :~\ Rymer has 
ridiculed this circumstance as unbecoming (both for its weak- 
ness and superstition,) the gravity of the accuser, and the dignity 
of the tribunal : but his criticism only exposes his own ignorance. 
The circumstance was not only exactly in character, but urged 
with the greatest address, as the thing chiefly to be insisted on. 
For, by the Venetian law, the giving love potions was very cri- 
minal, as Shakspeare, without question, well understood. Thus 
the law, Dei malcjicii et herlmrie, cap. xvii. of the code, in- 
titled, " Delia promission del maleficio." " Statuimo etiamdio, alcun homo, o femina, harra fatto maleficii, iquali se di- 
mandano vulgannente amatorie, o veramente alcuni altri male- 
ficii, che alcun homo o femiaa se havesson in odio, sia frusta et 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 263 

For nature so preposterously to err, 

Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, 9 

Sans witchcraft could not 1 

DUKE. Whoe'er he be, that, in this foul pro- 
Hath thus beguil'd your daughter of herself, 

bollado, et che hara consegliado patisca simile pena." And 
therefore in the preceding scene Brabantio calls them : 

" arts inhibited, and out of warrant." 


Though I believe Shakspeare knew no more of this Venetian 
law than I do, yet he was well acquainted with the edicts of that 
sapient prince, King James the First, against 

" practisers 

" Of arts inhibited, and out of warrant." STEEVENS. 
See p. 253, n. 4. MALONE. 

9 Being not &c.] This line is wanting in the first quarto. 


1 For nature so preposterously to err, 

Sans witchcraft could not ] The grammar requires we 
should read : 

For nature so preposterously err, &c. 

without the article to; and then the sentence will be complete. 


Were I certain that our author designed the sentence to be 
complete, and not to be cut short by the Duke's interruption, I 
should readily adopt the amendment proposed by Mr. M. Mason. 


Omission is at all times the most dangerous mode of emenda- 
tion, and here assuredly is unnecessary. We have again and 
again had occasion to observe, that Shakspeare frequently begins 
to construct a sentence in one mode, and ends it in another. 
See Vol. XVIII. p. 94, n. 9. Here he uses could not, as if he 
had written, has not the power or capacity to, &c. It is not in 
nature so to err; she knows not how to do it. MALONE. 

Mr. Malone's opinion relative to omissions, is contradicted by 
an ancient canon of criticism, Praeferatur lectio brevior. I 
think it, in respect to Shakspeare, of all other modes of emen- 
dation the least reprehensible. See the Advertisement prefixed 
to this edition of our author, and Vol. IV. p. 71, n. 2. 


264 OTHELLO, ACT /. 

And you of her, the bloody book of law 
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter, 
After your own sense ; yea, though our proper son 
Stood in your action. 2 

BRA. Humbly I thank your grace. 

Here is the man, this Moor ; whom now, it seems, 
Your special mandate, for the state affairs, 
Hath hither brought. 

DUKE <r SEN. We are very sorry for it. 

DUKE. What, in your own part, can you say to 
this? [To OTHELLO. 

BRA. Nothing, but this is so. 

OTH. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, 
My very noble and approved good masters, 
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter, 
It is most true ; true, I have married her ; 
The very head and front of my offending 3 
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my 

And little bless'd with the set phrase of peace ; 4 

s Stood in your action.~\ Were the man exposed to your 
charge or accusation. JOHNSON. 

3 The veni head and front of mi/ offending "] The main, the 
77 IT j y jj o -i 

"whole, unextenuated. JOHNSON. 

" Frons causoe non satis honesta est," is a phrase used by 
Quintilian. STEEVENS. 

A similar expression is found in Marlowe's Tambtirlaine,159Q: 
" The man that in the forehead of his fortunes 
" Beares figures of renowne and miracle." 
Again, in Troilus and Cressida: 

" So rich advantage of a promis'd glory, 

" As smiles upon the forehead of this action." 


4 And little bless' 'd tvith the set phrase of 'peace ;] Soft is the 
reading of the folio. JOHNSON. 

This apology, if addressed to his mistress, had been well ex- 

56'. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 265 

For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith, 
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have us'd 
Their dearest action 5 in the tented field ; 
And little of this great world can I speak, 
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle ; 
And therefore little shall I grace my cause, 
In speaking for myself: Yet, by your gracious pa- 
I will a round unvarnish'd 6 tale deliver 

pressed. But what he wanted, in speaking before a Venetian 
senate, was not the soft blandishments of speech, but the art 
and method of masculine eloquence. The old quarto reads it, 
therefore, as I am persuaded Shakspeare wrote : 

the set phrase of peace. WARBURTON. 

Soft may have been used for still r.nd calm, as opposed to the 
clamours of war. So, in Coriolanus: 
Say to them, 


Thou art their soldier, and, being bred in broils, 
Hast not the soft way, which thou dost confess 
Were fit for thee to use." 

n Antony and Cleopatra : 

'Tis a worthy deed, 

And shall become you well, to entreat your captain 
To soft and gentle speech." MALONE. 

5 Their dearest action ] That is, dear, for which much is 
paid, whether money or labour ; dear action, is action performed 
at great expence, either of ease or safety. JOHNSON. 

Their dearest action is their most important action. See 
p. 202, n. 9. MALONE. 

Instead of their dearest action, we should say in modern lan- 
guage, their best exertion. STEEVENS. 

I should give these words a more natural signification, and sup- 
pose that they mean their favourite action, the action most dear 
to them. Othello says afterwards : 

" I do agnize 

" A natural and prompt alacrity 

" I find in hardness." M. MASON. 

' unvarnished ] The second quarto reads unrdvished. 


266 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Of my whole course of love ; what drugs, what 


What conjuration, and what mighty magick, 
(For such proceeding I am charg'd withal,) 
I won his daughter with. 7 

BRA. A maiden never bold ; 

Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion 
Blush'd at herself; 8 And she, in spite of nature, 
Of years, of country, credit, every thing, 
To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on ? 
It is a judgment maim'd, and most imperfect, 
That will confess perfection so could err 
Against all rules of nature ; and must be driven 
To find out practices of cunning hell, 
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again, 

7 1 'won Ms daughter tvith. ] [The first quarto and folio Itvon 
Ms daughter. ~\ i. e. I won his daughter with : and so all the mo- 
dern editors read, adopting an interpolation made by the editor 
of the second folio, who was wholly unacquainted with our poet's 
metre and phraseology. In Timon of Athens we have the same 
elliptical expression : 

" Who had the world as my confectionary, 
" The mouths, the tongues, the eyes, and hearts of men, 
" At duty, more than I could frame employment [_Jbr~]." 
See also Vol. XVIII. p. 647, n. 2, where several other in- 
stances of a similar phraseology are collected. MALONE. 

As my sentiments concerning the merits of the second folio 
are diametrically opposite to Mr. Malone's opinion of it, I have 
not displaced a grammatical to make room for an ungrammatical 

What Mr. Malone has styled " similar phraseology," I should 
not hesitate to call, in many instances, congeniality of omissions 
and blunders made by transcribers, players, or printers. 

The more I am become acquainted with the ancient copies, 
less confidence I am disposed to place in their authority, as often 
as they exhibit anomalous language, and defective metre. 


8 Blush'd at herself;} Mr. Pope reads at itself, but without 
necessity. Shakspeare, like other writers of his age, frequently 
uses the personal, instead of the neutral pronoun. STEEVENS. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 267 

That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood, 
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect, 
He wrought upon her. 

DUKE. To vouch this, is no proof; 9 

Without more certain and more overt test, 1 
Than these thin habits, and poor likelihoods 
Of modern seeming, 2 do prefer against him. 

1 SEN. But, Othello, speak ; 
Did you by indirect and forced courses 
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections ? 
Or came it by request, and such fair question 
As soul to soul affordeth ? 

OTH. I do beseech you, 

Send for the lady to the Sagittary, 3 
And let her speak of me before her father : 
If you do find me foul in her report, 

9 To vouch &c.] The first folio unites this speech with the 
preceding one of Bralantio; and instead of certain reads wider. 


1 overt test,"] Open proofs, external evidence. 


2 thin halits, 

Of modern seeming,'] Weak show of slight appearance. 


So modern is generally used by Shakspeare. See Vol. VIII. 
p. 276, n. 5 ; and Vol. X. p. 24*5, n. 5. MALONE. 

The first quarto reads : 

" These are thin habits, and poore likelyhoods 
" Of modern seemings you prefer against him." 


3 the Sagittary,] So the folio here and in a former pas- 
sage. The quarto in both places reads the Sagittar. 


The Sagittary means the sign of the fictitious creature so 
called, i. e. an animal compounded of man and horse, and armed 
with a bow and quiver. See Vol. XV. p. 46.1, n. 7. 



The trust, the office, I do hold of you, 4 
Not only take away, but let your sentence 
Even fall upon my life. 

DUKE. Fetch Desdemona hither. 

OTH. Ancient, conduct them; you best know 
the place. 

[Exeunt I AGO and Attendants. 
And, till she come, as truly 5 as to heaven 
I do confess 6 the vices of my blood, 
So justly to your grave ears I'll present 
How I did thrive in this fair lady's love, 
And she in mine. 

DUKE. Say it, Othello. 

OTH. Her father lov'd me ; oft invited me ; 
Still question'd me the story of my life, 
From year to year ; the battles, sieges, fortunes, 
That I have pass'd. 

I ran it through, even from my boyish days, 
To the very moment that he bade me tell it. 
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances, 
Of moving accidents, by flood, and field ; 
Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly 

breach ; 

Of being taken by the insolent foe, 
And sold to slavery ; of my redemption thence, 
And portance in my travel's history: 7 

4 The trust, &c.] This line is wanting in the first quarto. 


4 as truly ] The first quarto reads as faithful. 


* I do confess &c.] This line is omitted in the first quarto. 


7 And portance fyc."] I have restored 
And "with it all my travel's history, 
from the old edition. It is in the rest: 

And portance in my travels history. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 269 

Wherein of antres vast, 8 and desarts idle, 9 

Rymer, in his criticism on this play, has changed it to portents, 
instead of portance. POPE. 

Mr. Pope has restored a line to which there is a little objection, 
but which has no force. I believe portance was the author's 
word in some revised copy. I read thus : 

Of being sold 

To slavery, of my redemption thence, 
And portance in't ; my travel's history. 
My redemption from slavery, and behaviour in it. JOHNSON". 

J doubt much whether this line, as it appears in the folio, 
came from the pen of Shakspeare. The reading of the quarto 
may be iveafc, but it is sense ; but what are we to understand by 
my demeanour, or my sufferings, (which ever is the meaning,) 
in my travel's history ? MALONE. 

By my portance in my travel's history, perhaps our author 
meant my behaviour in my travels as described in my history of 

Portance is a word already used in Coriolanus: 

" took from you 

" The apprehension of his present portance, 
" Which gibingly, ungravely, he did fashion," &c. 
Spenser, in the third Canto of the second Book of the Fairy 
Queen, likewise uses it : 

" But for in court gay portaunce he perceiv'd." 


8 Wherein of antres vast, &c.] Discourses of this nature made 
the subject of the politest conversations, when voyages into, and 
discoveries of, the new world were all in vogue. So, when the 
Bastard Faulconbridge in King John, describes the behaviour of 
upstart greatness, he makes one of the essential circumstances 
of it to be this kind of table-talk. The fashion then running 
altogether in this way, it is no wonder a young lady of quality 
should be struck with the history of an adventurer. So that 
Rymer, who professedly ridicules this whole circumstance, and 
the noble author of the Characteristic's, who more obliquely 
sneers at it, only expose their own ignorance. WARBURTON. 

Whoever ridicules this account of the progress of love, shows 
his ignorance, not only of history, but of nature and manners. 
It is no wonder that, in any age, or in any nation, a lady, re- 
cluse, timorous, and delicate, should desire to hear of events and 
scenes which she could never see, and should admire the man 

270 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch 

It was my hint to speak, 1 such was the process ; 

who had endured dangers, and performed actions, which, how- 
ever great, were yet magnified by her timidity. JOHNSON. 

antres ] French, grottos. POPE. 

Caves and dens. JOHNSON. 

9 and desarts idle,] Every mind is liable to absence and 

inadvertency, else Pope [who reads desarts ivild,~\ could never 
have rejected a word so poetically beautiful. Idle is an epithet 
used to express the infertility of the chaotick state, in the Saxon 
translation of the Pentateuch. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Comedy of Errors: 

" Usurping ivy, briar, or idle moss." 

Mr. Pope might have found the epithet ixild in all the three 
last folios. STEEVENS. 

The epithet, idle, which the ignorant editor of the second 
folio did not understand, and therefore changed to wild, is con- 
firmed by another passage in this Act: " either to have it 
steril with idleness, or manured with industry." MALONE. 

Virgil employs ignavus in the same way : 

" Iratus sylvam devexit arator, 

" Et nemora evertit multos ignava per annos." 

Georg. II. v. 207. HOLT WHITE. 

1 It ivas my hint to speak,~\ This implies it as done by a trap 
laid for her : but the old quarto reads hent, i. e. use, custom. 
[Hint is the reading of the folio.] WARBURTON T . 

Hent is not use in Shakspeare, nor, I believe, in any other 
author. Hint, or cue, is commonly used for occasion of speech, 
which is explained by, such is the process, that is, the course of 
the tale required it. If hent be restored, it may be explained by 
handle. I had a handle, or opportunity, to speak of cannibals. 


Hent occurs at the conclusion of the 4th Act of 'Measure for 
Measure. It is derived from the Saxon Hentan, and means, to 
take hold of, to seize: 

" the gravest citizens 

" Have hent the gates." 
But in the very next page Othello says : 

" Upon this hint I spake." 

It is certain therefore that change is unnecessary. STEEVENS. 

x. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 271 

And of the Cannibals that each other eat, 

The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads 

Do grow beneath their shoulders. 2 These things to 


Would Desdemona seriously incline : 
But still the house affairs would draw her thence ; 
Which ever as she could with haste despatch, 
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear 
Devour up my discourse : 3 Which I observing, 

* men whose heads 

Do grow beneath their shoulders.] Of these men there is an 
account in the interpolated travels of Mandeville, a book of that 
time. JOHNSON. 

The Cannibals and Anthropophagi were known to an English 
audience before Shakspeare introduced them. In The History 
of Orlando Furioso, played for the entertainment of Queen Eliza- 
beth, they are mentioned in the very first scene ; and Raleigh 
speaks of people whose heads appear not above their shoulders. 

Again, in the tragedy of Locrine, 1595 : 

" Or where the bloody Anthropophagi, 

" With greedy jaws devour the wandring wights." 

The poet might likewise have read of them in Pliny's Natural 
History, translated by P. Holland, 1601, and in Stowe's Chro- 
nicle. STEEVENS. 

Histories (says Bernard Gilpin, in a Sermon before Ed- 
ward VI.) make mention of a " people called Anthropophagi, 
eaters of men." REED. 

Our poet has again in The Tempest mentioned " men whose 
heads stood in their breasts." He had in both places probably 
Hackluyt's Voyages, 1598, in view: " On that branch which 
is called Caora, are a nation of a people whose heades appears 
not above their shoulders : they are reported to have their eyes 
in their shoulders, and their mouthes in the middle of their 

Raleigh also has given an account of men whose heads do grow 
beneath their shoulders, in his Description of Guiana, published 
in 1596, a book that without doubt Shakspeare had read. 


3 and with a greedy ear 

Devour up my discourse:^ So, in Marlowe's Lust's Domi- 
nion, written before 1593: 

272 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Took once a pliant hour ; and found good means 
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart, 
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate, 
Whereof by parcels she had something heard, 
But not intentively : 4 I did consent ; 

" Hang both your greedy ears upon my lips ; 
" Let them devour my speech." 
Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. VI. c. ix : 

" Whylest thus he talkt, the knight 'with greedy eare 
" Hong still upon his melting mouth attent." 


Both these phrases occur in Tully. " Non semper implet aures 
meas, ita sunt avidtz & capaces." Or at. 104. " Nos hinc vora- 
mus literas ." Ad. Attic, iv. 14. Auribus avidis captare, may 
also be found in Ovid, De Ponto. STEEVENS. 

" Iliacosque iterum demens audire labores 
" Exposcit, pendetque iterum narrantis ab ore." Virg. 


4 But not intentively :] Thus the eldest quarto. The first folio 
reads instinctively ; the second, distinctively. 

The old word, however, may stand Intention and attention 
were once synonymous. So, in a play called The Isle of Gulls, 
1606 : " Grace ! at sitting down, they cannot intend it for hun- 
ger," i. e. attend to it. Desdemona, who was often called out 
of the room on the score of house-affairs, could not have heard 
Othello's tale intentively, i. e. with attention to all its parts. 
Again, in Chapman's version of the Iliad, B. VI : 

" Hector intends his brother's will ; but first" &c. 
Again, in the tenth Book : 

" all with intentive ear 

" Converted to the enemies' tents " 
Again, in the eighth Book of the Odyssey: 

" For our ships know th' expressed minds of men ; 
" And will so most intentively retaine 
" Their scopes appointed, that they never erre." 
Again, in a very scarce book entitled A courtlie Controversic 
of Cupids Cautels: Contemning Jiue Tragicall Histories, &c. 
Translated out of French &c. by H. W. [Henry Wotton] 4to. 
1578 : " These speeches collected ententively by a friend" &c. 


Shakspeare has already used the word in the same sense in his 
Merry Wives of Windsor: " she did course over my exteriors 
with such a greedy intention." See p. 74, n. 2. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 273 

Arid often did beguile her of her tears, 
When I did speak of some distressful stroke, 
That my youth suffer'd. My story being done, 
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs : 5 
She swore, In faith, 'twas strange, 6 'twas passing 

strange ; 

'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful : 
She wish'd, she had not heard it ; yet she wish'd 

Distinctively was the conjectural emendation of the editor of 
the second folio, who never examined a single quarto copy. 


s a ivorld of sighs :] It was kisses in the later editions : 

but this is evidently the true reading. The lady had been for- 
ward indeed to give him a "world of kisses upon a bare recital of 
his story ; nor does it agree with the following lines. POPE. 

Sighs is the reading of the quarto, 1622 ; kisses of the folio. 


c She swore, In faith, '/teas strange, &c.] Here (as on a 
former occasion respecting the prophecies that induced the ruin 
of Macbeth,) the reader must be indebted to Mr. Whitaker's 
zealous and powerful Vindication of Mary Queen of Scots, 8vo. 
Vol. II. p. 487, edit. 1790 : " Let not the modern reader be hurt 
here and in paragraph X, at a Lady, a Queen, and a Mary, 
smearing. To aver upon Jaith and honour, was then called 
swearing^ equally with a solemn appeal to GOD ; and considered 
as the same with it." This is plain from the passage immediately 
before us : "I swear, upon my faith and honour," she says 
expressly. She also says she does this " again ;" thus referring 
to the commencement of this letter, where she " appeals to her 
God as witness." And thus Shakspeare makes Othello to re- 
present Desdemona, as acting ; in a passage that I have often 
condemned, before I saw this easy explanation of it, as one 
among many proofs of Shakspeare's inability to exhibit the 
delicate graces of female conversation : 
She swore, Sfc. 

This remark, therefore, serves at once to justify Desdemona 
and Queen Mary, and to show what kind of swearing is used by 
both ; not a bold and masculine oath put into the mouth of Des- 
demona, such as Elizabeth frequently used, but a more earnest 
affirmation upon her faith and honour, which she considered as 
the same with a solemn appeal to God. STEEVENS. 

274 OTHELLO, ACT r. 

That heaven had made her such a man : she thank*d 

me ; 

And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her, 
I should but teach him how to tell my story, 
And that would woo her. Upon this hint, I spake : 
She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd ; 
And I lov'd her, that she did pity them. 
This only is the witchcraft I have us'dj 
Here comes the lady, let her witness it. 

Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants. 

DUKE. I think, this tale would win my daughter 


Good Brabantio, 

Take up this mangled matter at the best : 
Men do their broken weapons rather use, 
Than their bare hands. 

BRA. I pray you, hear her speak - y 

If she confess, that she was half the wooer, 
Destruction on my head, 7 if my bad blame 
Light on the man ! Come hither, gentle mistress ; 
Do you perceive in all this noble company, 
Where most you owe obedience ? 

DES. My noble father, 

I do perceive here a divided duty : 
To you, I am bound for life, and education ; 
My life, and education, both do learn me 
How to respect you ; you are the lord of duty, 8 
I am hitherto your daughter : But here's my hus-, 

7 Destruction &c.] The quartos read Destruction light on 

8 ; you are the lord of duty, ,] The first quarto reads you 
are lord of all my duty. STEEVENS. THE MODE OF VENICE. 275 

And so much duty as my mother show'd 
To you, preferring you before her father, 9 
So much I challenge that I may profess 
Due to the Moor, my lord. 

BRA. God be with you ! I have done : ^ 

Please it your grace, on to the state affairs ; 
I had rather to adopt a child, than get it. 
Gome hither, Moor : 

I here do give thee that with all my heart, 
Which, 1 but thou hast already, with all my heart 
I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel, 
I am glad at soul I have no other child ; 
For thy escape would teach me tyranny, 
To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord. 

DUKE. Let me speak like yourself; 2 and lay a 

Which, as a grise, 3 or step, may help these lovers 

9 And so much duty as my mother sho'vo'd 

To you, preferring you before her father, &c.~] Perhaps 
Shakspeare had here in his thoughts the answer of the youngest 
daughter of Ina, King of the West Saxons, to her father, which 
he seems to have copied in King Lear. See Vol. XVII. p. 302. 


1 Whicky &c.] This line is omitted in the first quarto. 


8 Let me speak like yourself ;~] The Duke seems to mean, 
when he says he will speak like Brabantio, that he will speak 
sententiously. JOHNSOX. 

Let me speaJc like yourself ;~\ i. e. let me speak as yourself 
would speak, were you not too much heated with passion. 


3 as a grise, J Grize from degrees. A grize is a step. 

So, in Timon: 

" for every grize of fortune 

" Is smoothed by that below." 
Ben Jonson, in his Sejanus, gives the original word: 

" Whom when he saw lie spread on the degrees.'* 
In the will of King Henry VI. where the dimensions of King's 

T 2 

276 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

Into your favour. 4 

When remedies are past, the griefs are ended, 5 

By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended. 

To mourn a mischief that is past and gone, 

Is the next way to draw new mischief on. 6 

What cannot be preserved when fortune takes, 

Patience her injury a mockery makes. 

The robb'd, that smiles, steals something from the 

He robs himself, that spends a bootless grief. 

BRA. So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile ; 
We lose it not, so long as we can smile. 
He bears the sentence well, that nothing bears 
But the free comfort which from thence he hears : 7 
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow, 
That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow. 
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall, 
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal : 
But words are words ; I never yet did hear, 
That the bruis'd heart was pierced through the 
ear. 8 

College chapel at Cambridge are set down, the word occurs, as 
spelt in some of the old editions of Shakspeare: " from the 
provost's stall, unto the greece called Gradus Chori, 90 feet." 


4 Into your favour."] This is wanting in the folio, but found 
in the quarto. JOHNSON. 

3 When remedies are past, the griefs are ended,"] This our 
poet has elsewhere expressed [In Love's Labour's Lost, Act V. 
sc. ii.] by a common proverbial sentence, Past cure is still past 
care. MALONE. 

a new mischief on.~\ The quartos read more mischief. 


7 But the free comfort ivliich from thence he hears :~\ But the 
moral precepts of consolation, which are liberally bestowed on 
occasion of the sentence. JOHNSON. 

* But "words are luords ; I never yet did hear 
That the bruis'd heart tvas pierced through the ear.~\ The 

ac. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 277 

I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of 

Duke had by sage sentences been exhorting Brabantio ta 
patience, and to forget the grief of his daughter's stolen 
marriage, to which Brabantio is made very pertinently to reply 
to this effect : " My lord, I apprehend very well the wisdom of 
your advice ; but though you would comfort me, words are but 
words; and the heart, already bruised, was never pierced, or 
mounded, through the ear." It is obvious that the text must be 
restored thus : 

That the bruis'd heart tuas pieced through the ear. 
i, e. that the wounds of sorrow were ever cured, or a man made 
heart-whole merely by the words of consolation. 


Shakspeare was continually changing his first expression for 
another, either stronger or more uncommon ; so that very often 
the reader who has not the same continuity or succession of ideas, 
is at a loss for its meaning. Many of Shakspeare's uncouth 
strained epithets may be explained, by going back to the obvious 
and simple expression, which is most likely to occur to the mind 
in that state. I can imagine the first mode of expression that 
occurred to the poet was this : 

" The troubled heart was never cured by words." 
To give it poetical force, he altered the phrase : 

" The wounded heart was never reached through the ear." 

Wounded heart he changed to broken, and that to bruised, as 
a more common expression. Reached he altered to touched, and 
the transition is then easy to pierced, i. e. thoroughly touched. 
\Vhen the sentiment is brought to this state, the commentator, 
without this unravelling clue, expounds piercing the heart in its 
common acceptation wounding the heart, which making in this 
place nonsense, is corrected to pieced the heart, which is very 
stiff, and, as Polonius says, is a vile phrase. SIR J. REYNOLDS. 

Pierced may be right. The consequence of a bruise is some- 
times matter collected, and this can no way be cured without 
piercing or letting it out. Thus, in Hamlet: 

It will but skin and film the ulcerous place, 
Whiles rank corruption mining all within, 
Infects unseen." 


This is th* imposthume of much wealth and peace, 
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without, 
Why the man dies." 


The Turk with a most mighty prepara- 
tion makes for Cyprus : Othello, the fortitude of 

Our author might have had in his memory the following 
quaint title of an old book : i. e. " A lytell treatyse called the 
dysputacyon, or the complaynte of the herte through p'erced with 
the lokynge of the eye. Imprynted at Londo in Fletestrete at y e 
sygne of the sonne by Wynkyn de Worde." 

Again, in A newe and a mery Interlude concernyng Pleasure 
and Payne in Love, made by Ihon. Heywood : Fol. Rastal, 

" Thorough myne erys dyrectly to myne harte 
" Percyth his wordys evyn lyke as many sperys." 


But words are words; I never yet did hear, 
That the bruis'd heart mas pierced through the ear. ~] These 
moral precepts, says Brabantio, may perhaps be founded in wis- 
dom, but they are of no avail. Words after all are but words ; 
and I never yet heard that consolatory speeches could reach and 
penetrate the afflicted heart, through the medium of the ear. 

Brabantio here expresses the same sentiment as the father of 
Hero in Much Ado about Nothing, when he derides the attempts 
of those comforters who in vain endeavour to 

" Charm ache with air, and agony with words." 
Our author has in various places shown a fondness for this 
antithesis between the heart and ear. Thus, in his Venus and 

" This dismal cry rings sadly in her ear, 
" Through which it enters, to surprise her heart" 
Again, in Much Ado about Nothing: " My cousin tells him 
in his ear, that he is in her heart." 
Again, in Cymbeline: 

" - 1 have such a heart as both mine ears 
" Must not in haste abuse." 
Again, in his Rape of Lucrece: 

*' His ear her prayers admits, but his heart granteth 
" No penetrable entrance to her plaining." 

A doubt has been entertained concerning the word pierced, 
which Dr. Warburton supposed to mean wounded, and therefore 
substituted pieced in its room. But pierced is merely a figura- 
tive expression, and means not wounded, but penetrated, in a 
metaphorical sense; thoroughly affected; as in the following 
passage in Shakspeare's 46th Sonnet : 

" My heart doth plead, that thou in him dost lie ; 
" A closet never piercd with crystal eyes." 

sc.m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 279 

tlie place is best known to you : And though we 
have there a substitute of most allowed sufficiency, 
yet opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects, throws 
n more safer Voice on you : you must therefore be 
content to slubber the gloss of your new fortunes 9 

So also, in Love's Labour's Lost: 

" Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief." 
Again, in his Rape of Lucrece: 

" With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear." 
In a word, a heart pierced through the ear, is a heart which (to 
use our poet's words elsewhere,) has granted a penetrable en- 
trance to the language of consolation. So, in The Mirrour for 
Magistrates, 1575: 

" My piteous plaint the hardest heart may pierce." 
Spenser has used the word exactly in the same figurative sense 
in which it is here employed ; Fairy Queen, B. VI. c. ix : 

" Whylest thus he talkt, the knight with greedy eare 

" Hong still upon his melting mouth atteht ; 

" Whose sensefull ivords empierst his hart so neare, 

" That he was rapt with double ravishment." 
And, in his fourth Book, c. viii. we have the vety words of the 


" Which, passing through the eares, would pierce the 


Some persons have supposed that pierced when applied meta- 
phorically to the heart, can only be used to express pain ; that 
the poet might have said, pierced with grief, or pierced with 
plaints, &c. but that to talk of piercing a heart with consolatory 
speeches, is a catachresis : but the passage above quoted from 
Spenser's sixth Book shows that there is no ground for the ob- 
jection. So also, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, we find 
" Nor thee nor them, thrice noble Tamburlaine, 
" Shall want my heart to be -with gladness pierc'd." 


9 - to slubber the gloss of your new fortunes ~\ To slub- 
ber, on this occasion, is to obscure. So, in the First Part of 
Jeronimo, &c. 1605: 

" The evening too begins to slubber day." 
The latter part of this metaphor has already occurred in Macbeth : 
" - -- -~- golden opinions - 
" Which should be worn now in their newest gloss." 


280 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

with this more stubborn and boisterous expedi- 

OTH. The tyrant custom, most grave senators, 
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war 
My thrice-driven bed of down : l I do agnize ~ 
A natural and prompt alacrity, 
I find in hardness ; and do undertake 
These present wars 3 against the Ottomites. 
Most humbly therefore bending to your state, 
I crave fit disposition for my wife ; 
Due reference of place, and exhibition j* 

thrice driven bed of down :~\ A driven bed, is a bed for 

which the feathers are selected, by driving with a fan, which 
separates the light from the heavy. JOHNSON. 

* I do agnize ] i. e. acknowledge, confess, avow. So, 

in A Summarie Report, &c. of the Speaker relative to Mary 
Queen of Scots, 4to. 1586: " a repentant convert, agnising 
her Maiesties great mercie" &c. Again, in the old play of 
Cambyses : 

" The tenor of your princely will, from you for to agnize." 
In this instance, however, it signifies to know ; as likewise in 
the following, from the same piece : 

" Why so ? I pray you let me agnize." STEEVENS. 

It is so defined [i. e. to acknowledge] in Bullokar's English 
Expositor, Svo. 1616. MALONE. 

3 These present ivars ] The quarto, 1622, and the folio, by 
an error of the press, have this present wars. For the emen- 
dation I am responsible. MALONE. 

4 I crave Jit disposition for my 'wife; 

Due reference of place, and exhibition ; &.c.~] I desire, that 
proper disposition be made for my wife, that she may have pre- 
cedency and revenue, accommodation and company, suitable to 
her rank. 

For reference of place, the old quartos have reverence, which 
Sir Thomas Hanmer has received. I should read : 
Due preference of place, . JOHNSON. 

Exhibition is allowance. The word is at present used only at 
the universities. 

So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 


With such accommodation, and besort, 
As levels with her breeding. 

DUKE. If you please, 

Be't at her father's. 

BRA. I'll not have it so. 

OTH. Nor I. 

DES. Nor I ; I would not there reside, 

To put my father in impatient thoughts, 
By being in his eye. Most gracious duke, 
To my unfolding lend a gracious ear ; 5 
And let me find a charter in your voice, 6 
To assist my simpleness. 7 

DUKE. What would you, Desdemona? 

DES. That I did love the Moor to live with him, 
My downright violence and storm of fortunes 8 

" What maintenance he from his friends receives, 
" Like exhibition thou shalt have from me." 
Again, in King Edward IV. by Heywood, 1626 : 
" Of all the exhibition yet bestow'd, 
" This woman's liberality likes me best." STEEVENS. 

See Vol. XVII. p. 336, n. 7. MA LONE. 

s -. Most gracious duke, 

To my unfolding lend a gracious ear;~\ Thus the quarto, 
1622. The folio, to avoid the repetition of the same epithet, 
reads your prosperous ear ; i.e. your propitious ear. STEEVENS. 

G . a charter in your voice,"} Let your favour privilege 


7 To assist my simpleness. ] The first quarto reads this as an 
unfinished sentence : 

And if my simpleness . STEEVENS. 

9 My downright -violence and storm of fortunes J Violence 
is not violence suffered, but violence acted. Breach of common 
rules and obligations. The old quarto has scorn of fortune, 
which is perhaps the true reading. JOHNSON. 

The same mistake of scorn for storm had also happened in the 
old copies of Troilus and Cressida ; 


May trumpet to the world ; my heart's subdued 9 
Even to the very quality of my lord: 1 

as when the sun doth light a scorn," 

instead of a storm. See Vol. XV. p. 235, ft. 8; and Vol. XVII. 
p. 445, n. 3. 

I am also inclined to read storm of fort unes, on account of 
the words that follow, viz. " May trumpet to the world." 

So, in King Henry IV. Part I : 

" the southern tuind 

" Doth play the trumpet to his purposes.** 

I concur with Dr. Johnson in his explanation of the passage 
before us. Mr. M. Mason is of the same opinion, and properly 
observes, that by the storm of fortune, " the injuries of fortune" 
are not meant, " but Desdemona's high-spirited braving of 
her.'* STEEVENS. 

So, in King Henry VIII ; 

" An old man broken with the storms of state." 

The expression in the text is found in Spenser's Fairy Queen, 
Book VI. c. ix: 

" Give leave awhile, good father, in this shore 
" To rest my barcke, which hath bene beaten late 
" With stormes of fortune and tempestuous fate." 
And Bacon, in his History of King Henry the Seventh, has used 
the same language : " The king in his account of peace and 
calms did much overcast Misfortunes, which proved for many 
years together full of broken seas, tides, and tempests" 

Mr. M. Mason objects, that Mr. Steevens has not explained 
these words. Is any explanation wanting ? or can he, who has 
read in Hamlet, that a judicious player " in the tempest and 
tvhirhvind of his passion should acquire and beget a tempe- 
rance ;" who has heard Falstaff wish for a tempest of provoca- 
tion ; and finds in Troilus and Crcssida " in the wind and tem- 
pest of her frown," be at a loss to understand the meaning of a 
storm of fortunes? By her downright violence and storm of 
fortunes, Desdemona without doubt means, the bold and decisive 
measure she had taken, of following the dictates of passion, and 
giving herself to the Moor ; regardless of her parent's displea- 
sure, the forms of her country, and the future inconvenience 
she might be subject to, by " tying her duty, beauty, wit, and 
fortunes, in an extravagant and wheeling stranger, of here and 
every where." 

On looking into Mr. Edwards's remarks, I find he explains 
these words nearly in the same manner. " Downright violence, 
(says he,) means, the unbridled impetuosity with which her pas- 

I saw Othello's visage in his mind; 3 

sion hurried her on to this unlawful marriage ; and storm of for- 
tunes may signify the hazard she thereby ran, of making ship- 
wreck of her worldly interest. Both very agreeable to what 
she says a little lower 

" to his honours, and his valiant parts 

" Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate." MALONE. 

All I can collect from Mr. Malone's explanation is, that Shak- 
speare has made use of the word tempest in three different pas- 
sages, none of which are applicable to that in question. 


9 my heart's subdued 

Even to c.] So, in one of the Letters falsely imputed to 
Mary Queen of Scots : " and my thoghtes are so willyngly 
subduit unto yours" &c. STEEVENS. 

1 Even to the very quality of my lord:~\ The first quarto 

Even to the utmost pleasure, $c. STEEVENS. 

Quality here means profession. " I am so much enamoured 
of Othello, that I am even willing to endure all the inconvenien- 
cies incident to a military life, and to attend him to the wars." 
" I cannot mervaile, (said Lord Essex to Mr. Ashton, a Puritan 
preacher who was sent to him in the Tower,) though my protes- 
tations are not believed of my enemies, when they so little pre- 
vailed with a man of your quality." 

That this is the meaning, appears not only from the reading of 
the quarto, " my heart's subdued, even to the utmost pleasure 
of my lord, i. e. so as to prompt me to go with him wherever he 
wishes I should go," but also from the whole tenour of Desde- 
mona's speech ; the purport of which is, that as she had married 
a soldier, so she was ready to accompany him to the wars, and to 
consecrate her soul and fortunes to his honours, and his valiant 
parts ; i. e. to attend him wherever his military character and his 
love of fame should call him. MALONE. 

That quality here signifies the Moorish complexion of Othello, 
and not his military profession, is obvious from what immediately 
follows : 

" I saw Othello's visage in his mind :" 
$nd also from what the Duke says to Brabantio: 
" If virtue no delighted beauty lack, 
" Your son-in-law is far more fair than black" 
Desdemdna, in this speech asserts, that the virtues of Othello 
Uad subdued her heart, in spite of his visage ; and that, to his 

284 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

And to his honours, and his valiant parts, 

Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate. 

So that, dear lords, if I be left behind, 

A moth of peace, and he go to the war, 

The rites, for which I love him, are bereft me, 

And I a heavy interim shall support 

By his dear absence : Let me go with him. 

TH. Your voices, lords : 3 -'beseech you, let 

her will 

Have a free way. 

Vouch with me, heaven; 4 I therefore beg it not, 
To please the palate of my appetite ; 
ISIor to comply with heat, the young affects, 
In my distinct and proper satisfaction j 5 

rank and accomplishments as a soldier, she had consecrated her 
soul and her fortunes. HENLEY. 

* I sato Othello's visage in his mind;~\ It must raise no won- 
der, that I loved a man of an appearance so little engaging ; I 
saw his face only in his mind ; the greatness of his character 
reconciled me to his form. JOHNSON. 

3 Your voices, lords :] The folio reads, Let her have your 
voice. STEEVENS. 

4 Vouch tvith me, heaven;"] Thus the second quarto and the 
folio. STEEVENS. 

These words are not in the original copy, 1622. MALONE. 

4 Nor to comply tvith heat, the young affects, 

In my distinct and proper satisfactions'] [Old copies 
defunct.'] As this has been hitherto printed and stopped, it seems 
to me a period of as stubborn nonsense as the editors have obtru- 
ded upon poor Shakspeare throughout his works. What a pre- 
posterous creature is this Othello made, to fall in love with and 
marry a fine young lady, when appetite and heat, and proper sa- 
tisfaction, are dead and defunct in him ! (For, defunct signifies 
nothing else, that I know of, either primitively or metaphorical- 
ly:) But if we may take Othello's own word in the affair, he was 
not reduced to this fatal state : 

" or, for I am declin'd 

" Into the vale of years ; yet that's not much" 
Again, Why should our poet say, (for so he says as the passage 

x. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 285 
But to be free and bounteous to her mind : 

has been pointed) that the young affect heat ? Youth, certainly, 
has it, and has no occasion or pretence of affecting it. And, 
again, after defunct, would he add so absurd a collateral epithet 
as proper ? But affects was not designed here as a verb, and de- 

Jiinct was not designed here at all. I have by reading distinct 
for defunct, rescued the poet's text from absurdity ; and this I 
take to be the tenor of what he would say : " I do not beg her 
company with me, merely to please myself; nor to indulge the 
heat and affects (i. e. affections) of a new-married man, in my 
own distinct and proper satisfaction ; but to comply with her in 
her request, and desire, of accompanying me." Affects for of 

fections, our author in several other passages uses. THEOBALD. 

Nor to comply with heat, the young affects 

In my defunct and proper satisfaction:^ \. e. with that heat 
and new affections which the indulgence of my appetite has 
raised and created. This is the meaning of defunct, which has 
made all the difficulty of the passage. WARBURTON. 

I do not think that Mr. Theobald's emendation clears the text 
from embarrassment, though it is with a little imaginary im- 
provement received by Sir Thomas Hanmer who reads thus : 

Nor to comply with heat affects the young 

In my distinct and proper satisfaction. 

Dr. Warburton's explanation is not more satisfactory : what 
made the difficulty will ^continue to make it. I read : 

/ beg it not, 

To please the palate of my appetite, 

Nor to comply with heat (the young affects 

In me defunct) and proper satisfaction; 

But to be free and bounteous to her mind. 

Affects stands here, not for love, but for passions, for that by 
which any thing is affected. / ask it not, says he, to please ap- 
petite, or satisfy loose desires, the passions of youth which I have 
now outlived, or for any particular gratification of myself, but 
merely that I may indulge the wishes of my wife. 

Mr. Upton had, before me, changed my to me; but he has 
printed young effects, not seeming to know that affects could be 
a noun. JOHNSON. 

Mr. Theobald has observed the impropriety of making Othello- 
confess, that all youthful passions were defunct in him ; and Sir 
Thomas Hanmer's reading [distinct~\ may, I think, be received 
with only a slight alteration. I would read: 


And heaven defend 6 your good souls, that you think 

/ beg it not, 

To please the palate of my appetite, 

Nor to comply with heat, and young affects, 

In my distinct and proper satisfaction ; 

But to be &c. 

Affects stands for affections, and is used in that sense by Ben 
Jonson, in The Case is Altered, 1609: 

" I shall not need to urge 

" The sacred purity of our affects. 1 * 
Again, in Loves Labours Lost : 

" For every man with his affects is born." 
Again, in The Wars of Cyrus, 1594: 

" The frail affects and errors of my youth." 
Again, in Middleton's Inner Temple Masque, 1619: 

" No doubt affects will be subdu'd by reason." 
There is, however, in The Bondman, by Massinger, a passage 
which seems to countenance and explain 

the young affects 

In me defunct fyc. 

" youthful heats, 

" That look no further than your outward form, 

" Are long since buried in me." 
Timoleon is the speaker. 
In King Henry V. also, we have the following passage : 

" The organs, though defunct and dead before, 

" Break up their drowsy grave, ." STEEVENS. 

I would venture to make the two last lines change places : 

I therefore beg it not, 

To please the palate of my appetite, 

Nor to comply 'with heat, the young affects; 

But to be free and bounteous to her mind, 

In my defunct and proper satisfaction. 

And would then recommend it to consideration, whether the 
word defunct (which would be the only remaining difficulty,) is 
not capable of a signification, drawn from the primitive sense of 
its Latin original, which would very well agree with the context. 


I would propose to read In my defend, or dcfencd, &c. i. e. 
I do not beg her company merely to please the palate of my ap- 
petite, nor to comply with the heat of lust which the young man 
affects, i. e. loves and is fond of, in a gratification which I have 
by marriage defencd, or inclosed and guarded, and made my own 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 287 

I will your serious and great business scant, 

property. Unproper beds, in this play, means, beds not peculiar 
or appropriate to the right owner, but common to their occu- 
piers. In The Merry Wives of Windsor the marriage vow was 
represented by Ford as the ward and defence of purity or conju- 
gal fidelity: " I could drive her then from the ward of her pu- 
rity, her reputation, and a thousand other her defences, which 
are now too strongly embattled against me." The word affect 
is more generally, among ancient authors, taken in the construc- 
tion which I have given to it, than as Mr. Theobald would in- 
terpret it. It is so in this very play: " Not to affect many pro- 
posed matches," means not to like, or be fond of many proposed 

I am persuaded that the word defunct must be at all events 
ejected. Othello talks here of his appetite, and it is very plain 
that Desdemona to her death was fond of him after wedlock, and, 
that he loved her. How then could his conjugal desires be dead 
or defunct ? or how could they be defunct or discharged and per- 
formed when the marriage was consummated ? TOLLET. 

Othello here supposes, that his petition for the attendance of 
his bride, might be ascribed to one of these two motives: 
either solicitude for the enjoyment of an unconsummated and 
honourable marriage ; or the mere gratification of a sensual and 
selfish passion. But, as neither was the true one, he abjures 
them both : 

" Vouch with me heaven, I therefore beg it NOT 

" To please the palate of my appetite; 

*' NOR to comply with heat ( 

" ) and proper satisfaction." 

The former, having nothing in it unbecoming, he simply dis- 
claims ; but the latter, ill according with his season of life (for 
Othello was now declined into the vale of years} he assigns a rea- 
son for renouncing 

the young affects, 

In me defunct. 

As if he had said, " I \\si\- e outlined that wayward impulse of pas* 
sion, by 'which younger men are stimulated: those 

** youthful heats, 

" That look no further than the OUTWARD FORM", 

" Are long since buried in me." 
The supreme object of my heart is 

to be free and bounteous to her MIND. 

By YOUNG affects, the poet clearly means those " YOUTHFUL 
fasts" Era^NEIiTEPIKA^ ETfdw^c, cupiditates rei novae, thence 


For she is with me : No, when light-wing'd toys 

JUVENILES, and therefore EFFRENES cupiditates,'} which St. 
Paul admonishes Timothy to flee from, and the Romans to 

For the emendation now offered, [disjunct"] I am responsible. 
Some emendation is absolutely necessary, and this appears to me 
the least objectionable of those which have been proposed. Dr. 
Johnson, in part following Mr. Upton, reads and regulates the 
passage thus : 

Not to comply with heat (the young affects 
In me defunct} and proper satisfaction. 

To this reading there are, I think, three strong objections. 
The first is, the suppression of the word being before defunct, 
which is absolutely necessary to the sense, and of which the 
omission is so harsh, that it affords an argument against the pro- 
bability of the proposed emendation. The second and the 
grand objection is, that it is highly improbable that Othello should 
declare on the day of his marriage that heat and the youthful af- 
fections were dead or defunct in him; that he had outlived the 
passions of youth. He himself ( as Mr. Theobald has observed, ) 
informs us afterwards, that he is " declined into the vale of 
years ;" but adds, at the same time, " yet that's not much." 
This surely is a decisive proof that the text is corrupt. My third 
objection to this regulation is, that by the introduction of a pa- 
renthesis, which is not found in the old copies, the words and 
proper satisfaction are so unnaturally disjoined from those with 
which they are connected in sense, as to form a most lame 
and impotent conclusion ; to say nothing of the aukwardness of 
using the word proper without any possessive pronoun prefixed 
to it. 

All these difficulties are done away, by retaining the original 
word my, and reading disjunct, instead of defunct; and the 
meaning will be, I ask it not for the sake of my separate and pri- 
vate enjoyment, by the gratification of appetite, but that I may 
indulge the wishes of my wife. 

The young affects, may either mean the affections or passions 
of youth, ( considering affects as a substantive, ) or these words 
may be connected with heat, which immediately precedes : " I 
ask it not, for the purpose of gratifying that appetite which pe- 
culiarly stimulates the young." So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, 
B. V. c. ix : 

" Layes ofsweete love, and youth's delightful heat" 

Mr. Tyrwhitt " recommends it to consideration, whether the 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 289 
Of featherM Cupid seel with wanton dulness 

word defunct, is not capable of a signification, drawn from the 
primitive sense of its Latin original, which would very well 
agree with the context." 

The mere English reader is to be informed, that defunctus in. 
Latin signifies performed, accomplished, as well as dead : but is 
it probable that Shakspeare was apprized of its bearing that sig- 
nification ? In Bullokar's English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, the 
work of a physician and a scholar, defunct is only defined by the 
word dead; nor has it, I am confident, any other meaning an- 
nexed to it in any dictionary or book of the time. Besides ; 
how, as Mr. Toilet has observed, could his conjugal duties be 
said to be discharged or performed, at a time when his marriage 
was not yet consummated ? On this last circumstance, how-, 
ever, I do not insist, as Shakspeare is very licentious in the use 
of participles, and might have employed the past for the pre- 
sent : but the former objection appears to me fatal. 

Proper is here and in other places used for peculiar. In this 
play we have improper beds ; not peculiar to the rightful owner, 
but common to him and others. 

In the present tragedy we have many more uncommon words 
than disjunct : as facile, agnize, acerb, sequestration, injointed, 
congregated, guttered, sequent, extincted, exsufflicate, indign t 
segregated, &c. lago in a subsequent scene says to Othello, 
" let us be conjunctive in our revenge ;" and our poet has con- 
junct in King Lear, and disjoin and disjunctive in two other 
plays. In King John we have adjunct used as an adjective : 

" Though that my death be adjunct to the act, ." 
and in Hamlet we find disjoint employed in like manner : 

" Or thinking 

" Our state to be disjoint, and out of frame." 


As it is highly probable this passage will prove a lasting source 
of doubt and controversy, the remarks of all the commentators 
are left before the publick. Sir Thomas Hanmer's distinct, how- 
ever, appearing to me as apposite a change as Mr. Malone's sy- 
nonymous disjunct, I have placed the former in our text, though 
perhaps the old reading ought not to have been disturbed, as in 
the opinion of more than one critick it has been satisfactorily 
explained by Dr. Johnson and Mr. Henley. STEEVENS. 

6 defend &c.] To defend, is to forbid. So, in Chaucer's 

Wife of Bathes Prologue, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. ver. 5641 : 

VOL. xix. y 


My speculative and active instruments, 7 
That my disports corrupt and taint my business, 
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm, 
And all indign and base adversities 
Make head against my estimation ! 8 

" Wher can ye seen in any maner age 
" That highe God defended mariage, 
" By expresse word ?" 
From defendre, Fr. STEEVENS. 

7 when ligkt-tving'd toys 

Offeather'd Cupid seel toith wanton dulness 
My speculative and active instruments, ] Thus the folio, ex 
cept that instead of active instruments, it has qffic'd instrument. 


For a particular explanation of the verb to seel, the reader 
is referred to Vol. X. p. 167, n. 1. 
The quarto reads : 

token light-winged toys 

And feather* d Cupid foils with wanton dulness 
My speculative and active instruments . 

All these words (in either copy) mean no more than this: 
When the pleasures and idle toys of love make me unfit either 
for seeing the duties of my office, or for the ready performance 
of them, Sfc. 

So, in Chapman's translation of the eighteenth Book of Ho- 
mer's Odyssey: 

" and were palsied 

" In his mind's instruments ." STEEVENS. 

Speculative instruments, in Shakspeare's language, are the 
eyes ; and active instruments, the hands and feet. So, in Co- 
riolanus : 

" where, the other instruments 

" Did see, hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel," &c. 
To seel is to close the eyelids of a hawk by running a thread 
through them. As it is here metaphorically used, it applies very 
properly to the speculative instruments ; but foils, the reading 
of the quarto, agrees better with active instruments. 

Wanton dulness is dulness arising from wanton indulgences. 


my estimation !] Thus the folio ; the quarto reputa* 

tion. STEEVENS. 

sc.m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 291 

DUKE. Be it as you shall privately determine, 
Either for her stay, or going: the affair cries 


And speed must answer it; you must hence to- 

DBS. To-night, my lord ? 

DUKE. This night. 

OTH. With all my heart. 

DUKE. At nine i'the morning here we'll meet 


Othello, leave some officer behind, 
And he shall our commission bring to you ; 
With such things else of quality and respect, 
As doth import you. 

OTH. Please your grace, my ancient ; 

A man he is of honesty, and trust : 
To his conveyance I assign my wife, 
With what else needful your good grace shall think 
To be sent after me. 

DUKE. Let it be so. 

Good night to every one. And, noble signior, 


If virtue no delighted beauty lack, 9 
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black. 

9 If virtue no delighted beauty lack,"] The meaning, I be- 
lieve, is, if virtue comprehends every thing in itself, then your 
virtuous son-in-law of course is beautiful : he has that beauty 
which delights every one. Delighted, for delighting; Shak- 
speare often uses the active and passive participles indiscrimi- 
nately. Of this practice I have already given many instances. 
The same sentiment seems to occur in Twelfth- Night.- 

" In nature is no blemish, but the mind; 

" None can be call'd deform'd, but the unkind: 

" Virtue is beauty ." STEEVENS. 

U 2 


. Adieu, brave Moor! use Desdemona well. 

BRA. Look to her, Moor j have a quick eye to 

see ; x 
She has deceiv'd her father, and may thee. 

\_Exeunt Duke, Senators, Officers, 8$c. 

OTH. My life upon her faith. Honest lago, 
My Desdemona must I leave to thee ; 
I pr'ythee, let thy wife attend on her ; 
And bring them after 2 in the best advantage. 5 
Come, Desdemona ; I have but an hour 
Of love, of worldly matters and direction, 
To spend with thee : we must obey the time. 


ROD. lago. 

IAGO. What say'st thou, noble heart ? 
ROD. What will I do, thinkest thou ? 
IAGO. Why, go to bed, and sleep. 
ROD. I will incontinently drown myself. 

IAGO. Well, if thou dost, I shall never love thee 
after it. Why, thou silly gentleman ! 

ROD. It is silliness to live, when to live is a tor- 
ment: and then have we a prescription to die, when 
death is our physician. 

IAGO. O villainous ! I have looked upon the 

Delighted is used by Shakspeare in the sense of delighting, or 
delightful. See Cymbeline, Act Vr 

" Whom best I love, I cross, to make my gift, 
" The more delay'd, delighted." TYRWHITT. 

1 - have a quick eye to see;~\ Thus the eldest quarto. The 
folio reads: 

- if thou hast eyes to see. STEEVENS. 

8 And bring them after ] Thus the folio. The quarto, 
1622, reads and bring her after. MALONE. 

3 - best advantage.'] Fairest opportunity. JOHNSON. 

sc.m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 29a 

world for four times seven years : 4 and since I could 
distinguish between a benefit and an injury, I never 
found a man that knew how to love himself. Ere 
I would say, I would drown myself for the love of 
a Guinea-hen, 5 I would change my humanity with 
a baboon. 

ROD. What should I do? I confess, it is my shame 
to be so fond ; but it is not in virtue to amend it. 

IAGO. Virtue ? a fig ! 'tis in ourselves, that we 
are thus, or thus. Our bodies are our gardens ; to 
the which, our wills are gardeners : so that if we 
will plant nettles, or sow lettuce ; set hyssop, and 

4 I have looked upon the world for four times seven years : J 
From this passage lago's age seems to be ascertained ; and it 
corresponds with the account in the novel on which Othello is 
founded, where he is described as a young, handsome man. The 
French translator of Shakspeare is, however, of opinion, that 
lago here only speaks of those years of his life in which he had 
looked on the world with an eye of observation. But it would 
be difficult to assign a reason why he should mention the precise 
term of twenty -eight years ; or to account for his knowing so 
accurately when his understanding arrived at maturity, and the 
operation of his sagacity, and his observations on mankind, 

That lago meant to say he was but twenty-eight years old, is 
clearly ascertained, by his marking particularly, though indefi- 
nitely, a period within that time, [" and since I could distin- 
guish," &c.] when he began to make observations on the cha- 
racters of men. 

Waller on a picture which was painted for him in his youth, 
by Cornelius Jansen, and which is now in the possession of his 
heir, has expressed the same thought ; " Anno aetatis 23 ; vitee 
vix primo." MALONE. 

* a Guinea-hen,'] A showy bird with fine feathers. 


A Guinea-hen was anciently the cant term for a prostitute. 
So, in Albertus Wallenstein, 1640: 

" Yonder's the cock o'the game, 

" About to tread yon Guinea-hen ; they're billing." 


294 OTHELLO, ACT r. 

weed up thyme ; supply it with one gender of herbs, 
or distract it with many ; either to have it steril 
with idleness, 6 or manured with industry ; why, the 
power and corrigible authority of this lies in our 
wills. If the balance 7 of our lives had not one 
scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the 
blood and baseness of our natures would conduct 
us to most preposterous conclusions : But we have- 
reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal 
stings, our unbitted lusts; 8 whereof I take this, 
that you call love, to be a sect, or scion. 9 

ROD. It cannot be. 

I AGO. It is merely a lust of the blood, and a per- 
mission of the will. Come, be a man: Drown thy- 
self? drown cats, and blind puppies. I have pro- 
fessed me thy friend, and I confess me knit to thy 

6 either to have it steril with idleness,'] Thus the anthers 

tick copies. The modern editors following the second folio, 
have omitted the word to. I have frequently had occasion to 
remark that Shakspeare often begins a sentence in one way, and 
ends it in a different kind of construction. Here he has made 
lago say, if we trill plant, &c. and he concludes, as if he had 
written if our will is either to have it, &c. See p. 263, n. 1. 


See Vol. IV. p. 13, n. 6, where the remark on which the 
foregoing note is founded was originally made. STEEVENS. 

7 If the balance S$c.~\ The folio reads If the brain. Pro- 
bably a mistake for beam. STEEVENS. 

8 reason, to cool our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts ;~] 

So, in A Knack to know an Honest Man, 1596: 

" Virtue never taught thee that ; 

" She sets a bit upon her bridled lusts" 
See also As you like it, Act II. sc. vi : 

" For thou thyself hast been a libertine ; 

" As sensual as the brutish sting itself." MALONE. 

a sect, or scion.~\ Thus the folio and quarto. A sect 

is what the more modern gardeners call a cutting. The modern 
editors read a set. STEEVENS. 


deserving with cables of perdurable toughness; 1 I 
could never better stead thee than now. Put money 
in thy purse ; follow these wars; defeat thy favour 
with an usurped beard; 2 I say, put money in thy 
purse. It cannot be, that Desdemona should long 
continue her love to the Moor, put money in thy 
purse ; nor he his to her : it was a violent com- 
mencement, and thou shalt see an answerable se- 
questration ; 3 put but moneyin thy purse. These 

1 I confess me knit to thy deserving tvith cables of per - 

dutcible toughness ;] So, in Antony and Cleopatra : 

" To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts 

" With an unslipping knot." 
Again, in our author's 26th Sonnet: 

" Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage 

" Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit." M ALONE. 

'* defeat thy favour with an usurped beard ;"] To defeat, 

is to undo, to change. JOHNSON. 

Defeat is from defairc, Fr. to undo. Of the use of this word 
I have already given several instances. STEEVENS. 

Favour here means that combination of features which gives 
the face its distinguishing character. Defeat, from defaire, in 
French, signifies to unmake, decompose, or give a different ap- 
pearance to, either by taking away something, or adding. Thus, 
in Don Quixote, Cardenio defeated his favour by cutting off his 
beard, and the Barber his, by putting one on. The beard which 
Mr. Ashton usurped when he escaped from the Tower, gave so 
different an appearance to his face, that he passed through his 
guards without the least suspicion. In The Winter's Tale, Au- 
tolycus had recourse to an expedient like Cardenio's, (as ap- 
pears from the pocketing up his pedlar's excrement, ) to prevent 
his being known in the garb of the prince. HEXLEY. 

To defeat, Minsheu, in his Dictionary, 1617, explains by the 
words " to abrogate, to undo." See also Florio's Italian Dic- 
tionary, 1598: " Disfacere. To undoe, to marre, to unmake, 
to defeat." MALONE. 

3 it ivas a violent commencement, and thou shalt see an 

answerable sequestration ;] There seems to be an opposition 
of terms here intended, which has been lost in transcription, 
\Ve may read, it was a violent conjunction, and ihou shalt sec 


Moors are changeable in their wills; fill thy purse 
with money: the food that to him now is as luscious 
as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as colo- 
quintida. 4 She must change for youth : when she 

tin answerable sequestration ; or, what seems to me preferable, 
it was a violent commencement, and thoii shalt see an answerable 
sequel. JOHNSON. 

. I believe the poet uses sequestration for sequel. He might 
conclude that it was immediately derived from sequor. Seques- 
tration, however," may mean no more than separation. So, in 
this play " a sequester from liberty." STEEVENS. 

Surely sequestration was used in the sense of separation only, 
or in modern language, parting. Their passion began with vio- 
lence, and it shall end as quickly, of which a separation will be 
the consequence. A total and voluntary sequestration necessarily 
includes the cessation or end of affection. We have the same 
thought in several other places. So, in Romeo and Juliet: 
" These violent delights, have violent ends, 
" And in their triumph die." 
Again, in The Rape ofLucrece: 

" Thy violent vanities can never last." 

I have here followed the first quarto. The folio reads it was 
a violent commencement in her, &c. The context shows that 
the original is the true reading. Othello's love for Desdemona 
has been just mentioned, as well as her's for the Moor. MALONE. 

4 as luscious as locusts, as bitter as coloquintida."] 

The old quarto reads as acerb as coloquintida. 

At Tonquin the insect locusts are considered as a great deli- 
cacy, not only by the poor but by the rich ; and are sold in the 
markets, as larks and quails are in Europe. It may be added, 
that the Levitical law permits four sorts of them to be eaten. 

An anonymous correspondent informs me, that the fruit of 
the locust-tree, (which, I believe, is here meant,) is a long black 
pod, that contains the seeds, among which there is a very sweet 
luscious juice of much the same consistency as fresh honeyi 
This (says he) I have often tasted. STEEVENS. 

That viscous substance which the pod of the locust contains, 
is, perhaps, of all others, the most luscious. From its likeness to 
honey, in consistency and flavour, the locust is called -the lioney- 
tree also. Its seeds, enclosed in a long pod, lie buried in the 
juice. HENLEY. 

Mr.Daines Barrington suggests to me, that Shakspeare perhaps 
had the third chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel in his thoughts, 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 297 

is sated with his body, she will find the error of her 
choice. She must have change, she must : there- 
fore put money in thy purse. If thou wilt needs 
damn thyself, do it a more delicate way than drown- 
ing. Make all the money thou canst : If sancti- 
mony and a frail vow, betwixt an erring barbarian 5 
and a supersubtle Venetian, be not too hard for my 
wits, and all the tribe of hell, thou shalt enjoy her ; 
therefore make money. A pox of drowning thy- 

in which we are told that John the Baptist lived in the wilderness 
on locusts and wild honey. MALONE. 

" Coloquyntida," says Bullein, in his Bulwark of Defence, 
1579, " is most bitter, white like a baule, full of seedes, leaves 
lyke to cucummers, hoat in the second, dry in the third degree.*' 
He then gives directions for the application of it, and concludes, 
" and thus I do end of coloquyntida, which is most bitter, and 
must be taken with discretion. The Arabians do call it chandell." 


5 betwixt an erring barbarian ] We should read errant; 

that is, a vagabond, one that has no house nor country. 

Sir T. Hanmer reads, arrant. Erring is as well as either. 

So, in Hamlet: 

" Th* extravagant and erring spirit hies 
" To his confine." STEEVENS. 

An erring Barbarian perhaps means a rover from Barbary. 
He had before said : " You'll have your daughter covered with 
a Barbary horse." MALONE. 

I rather conceive barbarian to be here used with its primitive 
sense of a foreigner, as it is also in Coriolanus: 

" I would they were barbarians, (as they are, 
'* Though in Rome litter'd. )" STEEVENS. 
The word erring is sufficiently explained by a passage in the 
first scene of the play, where Roderigo tells Brabantio that his 
daughter was 

" Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortune, 
" To an extravagant and wheeling stranger.'* 
.Erring is the same as erraticus in Latin. 
The word erring is used in the same sense in some of Orlando's 
verses in As you like it: 

" Tongues I'll hang on every tree, 

" That shall civil sayings show. 

" Some, kow brief the life of man 

" Runs his erring pilgrimage; ." M. MASON. 

298 OTHELLO, ACT i. 

self! it is clean out of the way : seek thou rather 
to be hanged in compassing thy joy, than to be 
drowned and go without her. 

ROD. Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend 
on the issue? 6 

IAGO. Thou art sure of me ; Go, make money : 
I have told thee often, and I re-tell thee again 
and again, I hate the Moor : My cause is hearted ; 7 
thine hath no less reason : Let us be conjunctive 8 
in our revenge against him : if thou canst cuckold 
him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, and me a sport. 
There are many events in the womb of time, which 
will be delivered. Traverse ; 9 go ; provide thy 
money. We will have more of this to-morrow. 

ROD. Where shall we meet i'the morning ? 

IAGO. At my lodging. 

ROD. I'll be with thee betimes. 

IAGO. Go to ; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo r 5 

6 . if I depend on the issue?"] These words are wanting 

in the first quai'to. STEEVENS. 

7 hearted;] This adjective occurs again in Act III: 

hearted throne." Dr. Johnson in his Dictionary has un- 
guardedly said, that it is only used in composition : as, for in- 
stance, hard-hearted. STEEVENS. 

8 conjunctive ] The first quarto reads, communicative. 


9 Traverse;"] This was an ancient military word of command. 
So, in King Henry IV. P. II. Bardolph says: " Hold, Wart, 
traverse; thus, thus, thus." STEEVENS. 

1 Do you hear, Roderigo?] In the folio, instead of this 

and the following speeches, we find only these words : 

lago. Go to ; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo ? 

Rod. I'll sell all my land. [Exit. 

lago. Thus do I ever, &c. 
The quarto, 1622, reads: 

lago. Go to ; farewell : do you hear, Roderigo ? 

Rod. What say you ? 

lago. No more of drowning, do you hear. 

Rod. I am chang'd. [Exit Rod, 

sc. ill. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 299 

j?oz>. What say you ? 

/4GO. No more of drowning, do you hear. 

ROD. I am changed. I'll sell all my land. 

I AGO. Go to ; farewell : put money enough In 
your purse. [Exit RODERIGO. 

Thus do I ever make my fool my purse : 
For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane, 
If I would time expend with such a snipe, 2 
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor ; 
And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets 
He has done my office : I know not if 't be true ; 
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, 
Will do, as if for surety. 3 He holds me well ; 4 
The better shall my purpose work on him. 
Cassio's a proper man : Let me see now ; 
To get his place, and to plume up my will ; 5 
A double knavery, How ? how ? Let me see : 
After some time, to abuse Othello's ear, 
That he is too familiar with his wife : 
He hath a person, and a smooth dispose, 
To be suspected ; fram'd to make women false. 

lago. Go to ; farewell : put money enough in your purse. 
Thus do I ever, &c. 
The reading of the text is formed out of the two copies. 


1 -a snipe,] Woodcock is the term generally used by 

Shakspeare to denote an insignificant fellow ; but lago is more 
sarcastick, and compares his dupe to a smaller and meaner bird 
of almost the same shape. STEEVENS. 

3 as if for surety.'] That is, "I will act as if I were 

certain of the fact." M. MASON. 

4 He holds me iKell;~\ i. e. esteems me. So, in St. Mat- 
t/tew, xxi. 26 : " all hold John as a prophet." 

Again, in Hamlet: 

" Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood." REED. 

5 to plume up &c.~\ The first quarto reads to make up 


300 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

The Moor is of a free and open nature, 6 
That thinks men honest, that but seems to be so ^ 
And will as tenderly be led by the nose, 
As asses are. 

I have't ; it is engender* d :- Hell and night 
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light. 



A Sea-port Town in Cyprus. 7 A Platform. 

Enter MONTANO and Two Gentlemen. 

MON. What from the cape can you discern at 

1 GENT. Nothing at all : it is a high-wrought 
flood ; 

6 The Moor is of a free and open nature,"} The first quarto 
reads ; 

The Moor, a free and open nature too, 
That thinks &c. STEEVENS. 

7 in Cyprus.] All the modern editors, following Mr. 

Rovve, have supposed the capital of Cyprus to be the place where 
the scene of Othello lies during four Acts : but this could not 
have been Shakspeare's intention ; NICOSIA, the capital city of 
Cyprus, being situated nearly in the center of the island, and 
thirty miles distant from the sea. The principal sea-port town of 
Cyprus was FAMAGUSTA ; where there was formerly a strong 
fort and commodious haven, the only one of any magnitude in 
the island ; and there undoubtedly the scene should be placed. 
" Neere unto the haven (says Knolles,) standeth an old CASTLE, 
with four towers after the ancient manner of building." To this 
castle, we find Othello presently repairs. 

ac. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 301 

I cannot, 'twixt the heaven 8 and the main, 
Descry a sail. 

MON. Methinks, the wind hath spoke aloud at 

land ; 

A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements : 
If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea, 9 

It is observable that Cinthio in the novel on which this play isL 
founded, which was first published in 1565, makes no mention 
of any attack being made on Cyprus by the Turks. From our 
poet's having mentioned the preparations against this island, 
which they first assaulted and took from the Venetians in 1570, we 
may suppose that he intended that year as the era of his tragedy ; 
but by mentioning Rhodes as also likely to be assaulted by the 
Turks, he has fallen into an historical inconsistency ; for they 
were then in quiet possession of that island, of which they be- 
came masters in December, 1522; and if, to evade this diffi- 
culty, we refer Othello to an era prior to that year, there will be 
an equal incongruity; for from 1473, when the Venetians first 
became possessed of Cyprus, to 1522, they had not been molested 
by any Turkish armament. MALONE. 

8 'twixt the heaven ] Thus the folio; but perhaps our 

nuthor wrote the heavens. The quarto, 1622, probably by a 
printer's error, has haven. STEEVENS. 

The reading of the folio affords a bolder image ; but the article 
prefixed strongly supports the original copy ; for applied to hea- 
ven, it is extremely aukward. Besides ; though in The Win- 
ter's Tale our poet has made a Clown talk of a ship boring the 
moon icith her mainmast, and say that " between the sea and the 
Jirmament you cannot thrust a bodkin's point," is it probable, 
that he should put the same hyperbolical language into the mouth 
of a gentleman, answering a serious question on an important 
occasion ? In a subsequent passage indeed he indulges himself 
without impropriety in the elevated diction of poetry. 

Of the haven of Famagusta, which was defended from the 
main by two great rocks, at the distance of forty paces from 
each other, Shakspeare might have found a particular account 
in Knolles's History of the Turks, ad ann. 1570, p. 863. 


9 If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea,^ So, in Troilus and 
Crcssida : 

" But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage 
" The gentle Thetis, ." MALONE. 


What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them, 1 
Can hold the mortise ? what shall we hear of this ? 

1 'when mountains melt on them, J Thus the folio. The 

quarto reads : 

" -when the huge mountain melts.'* 

This latter reading might be countenanced by the following 
passage in The Second Part of King Henry IV : 
" the continent 

" Weary of solid firmness, melt itself 

" Into the sea ." 

This phrase appears to have been adopted from the Book of 
Judges, ch. v. 5 : " The mountains melted from before the 
Lord," &c. STEEVENS. 

The quarto is surely the better reading ; it conveys a more 
natural image, more poetically expressed. Every man who has 
been on board a vessel in the Bay of Biscay, or in any very high 
sea, must know that the vast billows seem to melt away from the 
ship, not on it. M. MASON. 

I would not wilfully differ from Mr. M. Mason concerning the 
value of these readings ; yet surely the mortise of a ship is in 
greater peril when the watry mountain melts upon it, than when 
it melts from it. When the waves retreat from a vessel, it is 
safe. When they break over it, its structure is endangered. 
So, in Pericles Prince of Tyre : 

" a sea 

" That almost burst the deck." STEEVENS. 

The quarto, 1622, reads when the huge mountaine melts; 
the letter s, which perhaps belongs to mountain, having wander- 
ed at the press from its place. 

I apprehend, that in the quarto reading ( as well as in the folio, ) 
by mountains the poet meant not land-mountains, which Mr, 
Steevens seems by his quotation to have thought, but those huge 
surges, (resembling mountains in their magnitude,) which, 
" with high and monstrous main seem'd to cast water on the 
burning bear." 

So, in a subsequent scene : 

" And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas, 

" Olympus high, ." 

Again, in Troihi-s and Cressida: 

" and anon behold 

" The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cuts." 


sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 303 

2 GENT. A segregation of the Turkish fleet : 
For do but stand upon the foaming shore, 2 
The chiding billow seems to pelt the clouds ; 
The wind-shak'd surge, with high and monstrous 


Seems to cast water on the burning bear, 
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole : 2 
I never did like molestation view 
On th' enchafed flood. 

MON. If that the Turkish fleet 

Be not inshelter'd and embay'd, they are drown'd ; 
It is impossible they bear it out. 

Enter a third Gentleman. 

3 GENT. News, lords ! our wars are done ; 
The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks, 
That their designment halts: A noble ship of 


Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance 
On most part of their fleet. 

MON. How! is this true? 

My remark on Mr. M. Mason's preceding note will show that 
I had no such meaning as Mr. Malone has imputed to me. AU 
I aimed at was to parallel the idea in the quarto, of one moun- 
tain melting, instead of many. STEEVENS. 

* the foaming shore,~] The elder quarto reads banning 

shore, which offers the bolder image ; i. e. the shore that exe- 
crates the ravage of the waves. So, in King Henry VI. P. I : 
" Fell, banning hag, enchantress, hold thy tongue." 


3 And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:~] Alluding, to 
the star Arctophylax. JOHNSON. 

I wonder that none of the advocates for Shakspeare's learn- 
ing, has observed that Arctophylax literally signifies the guard 
of the bear. 

The elder quarto reads ever^ra/ pole. STEEVENS. 


3 GENT. The ship is here put in, 
A Veronese ; Michael Cassio, 4 
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor, Othello, 
Is come on shore : the Moor himself *s at sea, 
And is in full commission here for Cyprus. 

4 The ship is here put in, 

A Veronese; Michael Cassio, &c.~] [Old copies- Veronessa.J 
Mr. Heath is of opinion, that the poet intended to inform us, 
that Othello's lieutenant Cassio was of Verona, an inland city 
of the Venetian state ; and adds, that the editors have not been 
pleased to say what kind of ship is here denoted by a Veronessa. 
By a Veronessa, or Veronese, (for the Italian pronunciation must 
be retained, otherwise the measure will be defective,} a ship of 
Verona is denoted ; as we say to this day of ships in the river, 
such a one is a Dutchman, a Jamaica-man, &c. I subjoin Mr. 
Warton's note, as a confirmation of my own. STEEVENS. 

The true reading is Veronese, pronounced as a quadrisyllable: 

The ship is here put in, 

A Veronese. 

It was common to introduce Italian words, and in their 
proper pronunciation then familiar. So Spenser in The Fairy 
Queen, B. III. c. xiii. 10: 

" With sleeves dependant Albanesc wise" 
Mr. Heath observes, that " the editors have not been pleased 
to inform us what kind of ship is here denoted by the name of a 
Veronessa" But even supposing that Veronessa is the true read- 
ing, there is no sort of difficulty. He might just as well have 
inquired, what kind of a ship is a Hantburgher. This is exactly 
a parallel form. For it is not the species of the ship which is 
implied in this appellation. Our critick adds, " the poet had 
not a ship in his thoughts. He intended to inform us, that 
Othello's lieutenant, Cassio, was of Verona. We should cer- 
tainly read : 

The ship is here put in. 

A Veronese, Michael Cassio, (&c.) 

Is come on shore. 

This regulation of the lines is ingenious. But I agree with 
Sir T. Hanmer, and I think it appears from many parts of the 
play, that Cassio was a Florentine. In this speech, the third 
Gentleman, who brings the news of the wreck of the Turkish 
fleet, returns to his tale, and relates the circumstances more dis- 
tinctly. In his former speech he says, " A noble ship of Venice^ 
saw the distress of the Turks." And here he adds, " The very 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 305 

MON. I am glad on't ; 'tis a worthy governor. 

3 GENT. But this same Cassio, though he 

speak of comfort, 

Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly, 
And prays the Moor be safe ; for they were parted 
With foul and violent tempest. 

MON. 'Pray heaven he be ; 

For I have serv'd him, and the man commands 
Like a full soldier. 5 Let's to the sea-side, ho ! 
As well to see the vessel that's come in, 
As throw out our eyes for brave Othello ; 
Even till we make the main, 6 and the aerial blue, 

ship is just now put into our port, and she is a Veronese." That 
is, a ship fitted out or furnished by the people of Verona, a city 
of the Venetian state. T. WARTON. 

I believe we are all wrong. Verona is an inland city. Every 
inconsistency may, however, be avoided, if we read 27/eVero- 
nessa, i. e. the name of the ship is the Veronessa. Verona, 
however, might be obliged to furnish ships towards the general 
defence of Italy. STEEVENS. 

The emendation proposed by Mr. Steevens is acute ; but 
Shakspeare's acquaintance with the topography of Italy (as 
appears from The Tempest] was very imperfect. HENLEY. 

In Thomases History of Italy, already quoted, the people of 
Verona are called the Veronesi. 

This ship has been already described as a ship of Venice. It 
is now called " a Veronese ;" that is, a ship belonging to and 
furnished by the inland city of Verona, for the use of the Vene- 
tian state ; and newly arrived from Venice. " Besides many 
other towns, (says Contareno,) castles, and villages, they [the 
Venetians,] possess seven faire cities : as Trevigi, Padoua, Vi- 
cenza, Varona, Brescia, Bergamo, and Crema." Commonwealth 
of Venice, 1399. MALONE. 

- * Like a full soldier."] Like a complete soldier. So, before* 
p. 231 : 

" What a full fortune doth the thick lips owe." 


6 Even till rvf make the main, &c.~] This line and half is 
wanting in the eldest quarto. STEEVENS. 

306 OTHELLO, ACT ir. 

An indistinct regard. 

3 GENT. Come, let's do so ; 

For every minute is expectancy 
Of more arrivance. 

Enter CASSIO. 

CAS. Thanks to the valiant of this warlike isle, 7 
That so approve the Moor ; O, let the heavens 
Give him defence against the elements, 
For I have lost him on a dangerous sea ! 

M ON. Is he well shipp'd ? 

CAS. His bark is stoutly timber'd, and his pilot 
Of very expert and approv'd allowance ; 8 
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death, 
Stand in bold cure. 9 

warlike z'sfe,]Thus the folio. The first quarto reads 

worthy isle. STEEVENS. 

8 Of very expert and approved allowance;'] I read : 

Very expert, and of approv'd allowance. JOHNSON. 

Expert and approv'd allowance is put for allow' d and approv'd 
cxpertness. This mode of expression is not unfrequent in Shak- 
speare. STEEVENS. 

9 Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death, 

Stand in bold cure.'] I do not understand these lines. I 
know not how hope can be surfeited to death, that is, can be in- 
creased, till it be destroyed; nor what it is to stand in bold cure ; 
or why hope should be considered as a disease. In the copies 
there is no variation. Shall we read : 

Therefore my fears, not surfeited to death, 

Stand in bold cure ? 

This is better, but it is not well. Shall we strike a bolder 
stroke, and read thus : 

Therefore my hopes, not forfeited to death, 

Stand bold, not sure ? JOHNSON. 

Presumptuous hopes, which have no foundation in probability, 
may poetically be said to surfeit themselves to death, or forward 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 307 

A sail, a sail, a sail! 

Enter another Gentleman. 
CAS. What noise ? 

their own dissolution. To stand in bold cure, is to erect them- 
selves in confidence of being fulfilled. A parallel expression 
occurs in King Lear, Act III. sc. vi : 

" This rest might yet have balm'd his broken senses, 
" Which, if conveniency will not allow, 
" Stand in hard cure." 
Again : 

" his life, with thine, &c. 

" Stand in assured loss." 
In bold cure means, in confidence of being cured. 


Dr. Johnson says, " he knows not why hope should be consi- 
dered as a disease." But it is not hope which is here described 
as a disease; those misgiving apprehensions which diminish hope, 
are in fact the disease, and hope itself is the patient. 

A surfeit being a disease arising from an excessive overcharge 
of the stomach, the poet with his usual licence uses it for any 
species of excess. Therefore, says Cassio, my hopes, which, 
though faint and sickly with apprehension, are not totally de- 
stroyed by an excess of despondency, erect themselves with 
some degree of confidence that they will be relieved, by the 
safe arrival of Othello, from those ill-divining fears under which 
they now languish. 

The word surfeit having occurred to Shakspeare, led him to 
consider such a hope as Cassio entertained, not a sanguine, but 
a faint and languid hope, (" sicklied o'er with the pale cast of 
thought,") as a disease, and to talk of its cure. 

A passage in Twelfth-Night, where a similar phraseology is 
used, may serve to strengthen this interpretation : 
" Give me excess of it ; that, surfeiting, 
" The appetite may sicken, and so die." 
Again, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 

" O, I have fed upon this ixoe already, 

" And now CJLCCSS of it will make me surfeit, 99 


I believe that Solomon, upon this occasion, will be found the 
best interpreter : " Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." 

X 2 

308 OTHELLO, ACT 11. 

4 GENT. The town is empty ; on the brow o'the 

Stand ranks of people, and they cry a sail. 

CAS. My hopes do shape him for the governour. 

2 GENT. They do discharge their shot of cour- 
tesy : , [Guns heard. 
Our friends, at least. 

, CAS. I pray you, sir, go forth, 

Arid give us truth who 'tis that is arriv'd. 

2 GENT. I shall. [Exit. 

MON. But, good lieutenent, is your general 
wiv'd ? 

CAS. Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid 
That paragons description, and wild fame ; 
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens, 1 
And in the essential vesture of creation, 
Does bear all excellency. 2 How now ? who has 
put in ? 

1 One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,~] So, in our 
poet's 103d Sonnet : 

" a face 

" That over-goes my blunt invention quite, 
" Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace." MALONE. 
* And in the essential vesture of creation, 

Does bear all excellency. ~\ The author seems to use essential, 
for existent, real. She excels the praises of invention, says he, 
and in real qualities, with which creation has invested her, bears 
all excellency. JOHNSON. 

Does bear all excellency.'} Such is the reading of the quartos ; 
for which the folio has this : 

And in the essential vesture of creation 
Do's tyre the ingeniuer. 
Which I explain thus : 

Does tire the ingenious verse. 

This is the best reading, and that which the author substituted 
in his revisal. JOHNSON. 

The reading of the quarto is so flat and unpoetical, when 
compared with that sense which seems meant to have been given 

ye. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 309 

He-enter second Gentleman. 
2 GENT. 'Tis one lago, ancient to the general. 

in the folio, that I heartily wish some emendation could be hit 
on, which might entitle it to a place in the text. I believe the 
word tire was not introduced to signify to fatigue, but to 
attire, to dress. The verb to attire, is often so abbreviated. 
Thus, in Holland's Leaguer, 1633 : 

" Cupid's a boy, 

" And would you tire him like a senator: 1 " 
Again, in The Comedy of Errors, Act II. sc. ii : 

" To save the money he spends in tiring," &c. 

The essential vesture of creation tempts me to believe it was so 
used on the present occasion. I would read something like this : 
And in the essential vesture of creation 
Does tire the ingenuous virtue. 

i. e. invests her artless virtue in the fairest form of earthly sub- 

In The Merchant of Venice, Act V. Lorenzo calls the body 
" the muddy vesture of decay." 

It may, however, be observed, that the word ingener did not 
anciently signify one taho manages the engines or artillery of an 
army, but any ingenious person, any master of liberal science. 

As in the following instance from the ancient metrical romance 
of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 55 : 

He called forth Mabon his engynour 
And saide, I charge thee 
To throwe a magnelle to yon tour 
And breke it down on thre." 

So, in 

Ben Jonson's Sejanus, Act I. sc. i : 

No, Silius, we are no good ingeners, 
We want the fine arts," &c. 
Ingener, therefore, may be the true reading of this passage : 
and a similar thought occurs in The Tempest, Act IV. sc. i : 
" For thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise, 
" And make it halt behind her." 

In the argument of Sejanus, Ben Jonson likewise says that 
his hero " worketh with all his ingene," apparently from the 
Latin ingenium. STEEVENS. 

Perhaps the words intended in the folio, were 

Does tire the ingene ever. 
Ingene is used for ingenium by Puttenham, jn his Arte of 


CAS.- He has had most favourable and happy 
speed : 

Poesie, 1589: " such also as made most of their workes by 
translation out of the Latin and French tongue, and few or none 
of their owne engine." Engine is here without doubt a misprint 
for ingene. I believe, however, the reading of the quarto is the 
true one. If tire was used in the sense of weary, then ingener 
must have been used for the ingenious person who should attempt 
to enumerate the merits of Desdemona. To the instance pro- 
duced by Mr. Steevens from Sejanus, may be added another in 
Fleckno's Discourse of the English Stage, 1664 : " Of this cu- 
rious art the Italians (this latter age) are the greatest masters, 
the French good proficients, and we in England only schollars 
and learners, yet, having proceeded no further than to bare 
painting, and not arrived to the stupendous wonders of your great 
tngeniers.*' In one of Daniel's Sonnets, we meet with a similar 
imagery to that in the first of these lines : 

" Though time doth spoil her of the fairest vaile 
" That ever yet mortalitie did cover. 1 " MALONE. 

The reading of the folio, though incorrectly spelled, appears 
to have been 

Does tire the engineer ; 

which is preferable to either of the proposed amendments ; and 
the meaning of the passage would then be, " One whose real 
perfections were so excellent, that to blazon-thcm would exceed 
the abilities of the ablest masters." 

The sense attributed to the word tire y according to this read- 
ing, is perfectly agreeable to the language of poetry. Thus 
Dryden says : 

" For this an hundred voices I desire, 
" To tell thee what an hundred tongues would tire; 
" Yet never could be worthily exprest, 
" How deeply those are seated in my breast." 
And in the last Act of The Winter's Tale, the third Gentle- 
man says: " I never heard of such another encounter, which 
lames report to follow it, and undoes description to do it." The 
objection to the reading of inginer, is, that although we find 
the words ingine, inginer, and inginous in Jonson, they are not 
the language of Shakspeare ; and I believe indeed that Jonson is 
singular in the use of them. M. MASON. 

Whoever shall reject uncommon expressions in the writings of 
Shakspeare, because they differ either from the exact rules of 
orthography, or from the unsettled mode of spelling them by 

sc.i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 31 1. 

Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling 


The gutter'd rocks, and congregated sands, 
Traitors ensteep'd 3 to clog the guiltless keel, 
As having sense of beauty, do omit 

other writers, will be found to deprive him no less of his beauties, 
than that of the ornithologist would the peacock, who should cut 
out every eye of his train because it was either not circular, or 
else varied from some imaginary standard. Ingenieur is no doubt 
of the same import with ingener or ingeneer, though perhaps 
differently written by Shakspeare in reference to ingenious, and 
to distinguish it from ingeneer, which he has elsewhere used in a 
military sense. Mr. M. Mason's objection, that it is not the lan- 
guage of Shakspeare, is more than begging the question ; and to 
affirm that Jonson is singular in the use of ingine, ingincr, and 
inginous, is as little to the purpose. For we not only have those 
expressions in other writers, but others from the same root, as 
ingene, en gene, &c. in Holinshed, and Sir T. More; and Daniel 
uses ingeniate: 

" Th* adulterate beauty of a falsed cheek 

" Did Nature (for this good) ingeniate, 

" To shew in thee the glory of her best." HENLEY. 

3 Traitors ensteep'd ] Thus the folio and one of the quartos. 
The first copy reads enscerped, of which every reader may make 
what he pleases. Perhaps escerpedwas an old English word bor- 
rowed from the French escarpe, which Shakspeare not finding 
congruous to the image of clogging the keel, afterwards changed. 

I once thought that the poet had written Traitors enscarf'd, 
i. e. muffled in their robes, as in Julius Caesar. So, in Hamlet: 
" My sea-gown scarf d about me ;" and this agrees better with 
the idea of a traitor ; yet whatever is gained one way is lost ano- 
ther. Our poet too often adopts circumstances from every image 
that arose in his mind, and employing them without attention to 
the propriety of their union, his metaphorical expressions be- 
come inextricably confused. STEEVEJTS. 

Mr. Steevens's difficulty respecting ensteep'd, would, perhaps, 
have been removed, if he had but recollected the passage of the 
fourth Act, where Othello alludes to the fate of Tantalus : 

" Had it pleas'd heaven 

" To try me with affliction ; had he rain'd 

" All kind of sores, and shames on my bare head ; 

" Steep 1 d me in poverty to the very lips ." HEXLEY. 

312 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

Their mortal natures, 4 letting go safely by 
The divine Desdemona. 

MON. What is she ? 

CAS. She that I spake of, our great captain's 


Left in the conduct of the bold lago ; 
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts, 
A se'nnight's speed. Great Jove, 5 Othello guard, 
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath j 
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship, 
Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms, 6 
Give renewed fire to pur extincted spirits, 
And bring all Cyprus comfort! 7 O, behold. 

and Attendants. 

The riches of the ship is come on shore ! 
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees :- 
Hail to thee, lady ! and the grace of heaven, 
Before, behind thee, and on every hand, 
Enwheel thee round ! 

4 Their mortal natures,"] i. e. their deadly, destructive natures. 
So, in Macbeth : 

" That tend on mortal thoughts." 
See Dr. Johnson's note, Vol. X. 65, n. 5. REED. 

* Great Jove, #c.] For this absurdity I have not the 

smallest doubt that the Master of the Revels, and not our poet, 
is answerable. See The Historical Account of the English Stage, 

6 Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,] Thus the 
folio. The quarto with less animation : 

And swiftly come to Desdemona's arms. STEEVENS. 

7 And bring all Cyprus comfort /] This passage is only found 
in the quartos. STEEVENS. 


DES. I thank you, valiant Cassio. 

What tidings can you tell me of my lord ? 

CAS. He is not yet arriv'd ; nor know I aught 
But that he's well, and will be shortly here. 

DES. O, but I fear ; How lost you company ? 

CAS. The great contention of the sea and skies 
Parted our fellowship : But, hark ! a sail. 

{Cry within, A sail, a sail ! Then Guns heard. 

2 GENT. They give their greeting to the citadel j 
This likewise is a friend. 

CAS. See for the news. 8 

[Exit Gentleman. 

Good ancient, you are welcome j Welcome, mis- 
tress: [To EMILIA. 
Let it not gall your patience, good lago, 
That I extend my manners ; 'tis my breeding 
That gives me this bold show of courtesy. 

[Kissing her. 

I AGO. Sir, would she give you so much of her 


As of her tongue she oft bestows on me. 
You'd have enough. 

DES. Alas, she has no speech. 

I AGO. In faith, too much ; 9 
I find it still, when I have list to sleep : 
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant, 
She puts her tongue a little in her heart, 
And chides with thinking. 

8 See for the news.'] The first quarto reads So speaks this 
voice. STEEVENS. 

9 In Jaith, too much;~] Thus the folio. The first quarto thus: 

/ knoui too much ; 

J Jind it, I; for when, &c. STEEVENS. 


EMIL. You have little cause to say so. 

IAGO. Come on, come on ; you are pictures out 

of doors, 

Bells in your parlours, wild cats in your kitchens, 
Saints in your injuries, 1 devils being offended, 
Players in your housewifery, and housewives in 

your beds. 

DES. O, fye upon thee, slanderer ! 2 

IAGO. Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk ; 
You rise to play, and go to bed to work. 

EMIL. You shall not write my praise. 

IAGO. No, let me not. 

1 Saints in your injuries, &c.] When you have a mind to do 
injuries, you put on an air of sanctity. JOHNSON. 

In Puttenham's Art of Poesie, 1580, I meet with almost the 
same thoughts: " We limit the comely parts of a woman to 
consist in four points ; that is, to be, a shrew in the kitchen, a 
Saint in the church, an angel at board, and an ape in the bed ; 
as the chronicle reports by mistress Shore, paramour to King 
Edward the Fourth." 

Again, in a play of Middleton's, called Blurt Master Consta- 
ble; or, The Spaniard's Night-walk, 1602: " according to 
that wise saying of you, you be saints in the church, angels in 
the street, devils in the kitchen, and apes in your beds." 

Again, in The Miseries of inforc'd Marriage, 1607 : " Wo- 
men are in churches saints, abroad angels, at home devils." 

Puttenham, who mentions all other contemporary writers, has 
not once spoken of Shakspeare ; so that it is probable he had not 
produced any thing of so early a date. 

The truth is, that this book appears to have been written 
several years before its publication. See p. 115, 116, where the 
author refers to Sir Nicholas Bacon, who died in 1579, and re- 
counts a circumstance, from his own knowledge, that happened 
in 1553. STEEVENS. 

See also Meres's Wit's Treasury, p. 48. REE!). 

3 ify e upon thee,. slanderer /] This short speech is, in the 
quarto, unappropriated ; and may as well belong to Emilia as to 
Desdemona. STEEVENS. 

sc. x. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 315 

DES. What would'st thou write of me, if thou 
should'st praise me ? 

I AGO. O gentle lady, do not put me to't ; 
For I am nothing, if not critical. 3 

DES. Come on, assay: There's one gone ta 
the harbour ? 

I AGO. Ay, madam. 

DES. I am not merry ; but I do beguile 
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise. 
Come, how would* st thou praise me ? 

IAGO. I am about it ; but, indeed, my invention 
Comes from my pate, as birdlime does from frize,* 
It plucks out brains and all : But my muse labours, 
And thus she is deliver' d. 
If she be fair and wise, fairness, and wit, 
The one's for use, the other useth it. 

DES. Well prais'd ! How if she be black and 
witty ? 

IAGO. If she be black, and thereto have a wit, 
She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit. 5 

DES. Worse and worse. 

critical.'} That is, censorious. JOHNSON. 

So, in our author's 122d Sonnet : 

" my adder's sense 

" To criticlc and to flatterer stopped are." MALONE. 

my invention 

Comes from my pate, as birdlime does from frize,] A simi- 
lar thought occurs in The Puritan: " The excuse stuck upon 
my tongue, like ship-pilch upon a manner's goivn." STEEVENS. 

5 her blackness fit.] The first quarto reads hit. So, in 

King Lear: " I pray you, let us hit together." I believe hit, 
in the present instance also, to be the true reading, though it 
will not bear, as in Love's Labour's Lost, explanation. See 
Vol. VII. p. 82. STEIIVEXS. 

316 OTHELLO, ACT //.. 

EMIL* How, if fair and foolish ? 

IAGO. She never yet was foolish that was fair ; 6 
For even her folly help'd her to an heir. 

DES. These are old fond paradoxes, to make 
fools laugh i'the alehouse. What miserable praise 
hast thou for her that's foul and foolish ? 

IAGO. There's none so foul, and foolish there- 

But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do. 

DES. O heavy ignorance ! thou praisest the 
worst best. But what praise could'st thou bestow 
on a deserving woman indeed ? 7 one, that, in the 
authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch 
of very malice itself? 8 

6 She never yet uas foolish &c.] We may read : 

She ne'er ixas yet so foolish that tvas fair , 

But even her folly help'd her to an heir, 

Yet I believe the common reading to be right : the law makes 
the power of cohabitation a proof that a man is not a natural; 
therefore, since the foolishest woman, if pretty, may have a 
child, no pretty woman is ever foolish. JOHNSON. 

7 But what praise could'st thou bestow on a deserving "woman 
indeedf] The hint for this question, and the metrical reply of 
lago, is taken from a strange pamphlet, called Choice, Chance, 
and Change., or Conceits in their Colours, 1606; when after 
Tidero has described many ridiculous characters in verse, 
Arnofilo asks him, " But, I pray thee, didst thou write none in 
commendation of some worthy creature ?" Tidero then pro- 
ceeds, like lago, to repeat more verses. STEEVENS. 

8 - one, that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put 
on the vouch of very malice itself?] The sense is this, one that 
was so conscious of her own merit, and of the authority her 
character had with every one, that she durst venture to call upon 
malice itself to vouch for her. This was some commendation. 
And the character only of clearest virtue; which could force 
malice, even against its nature, to do justice. WARBURTON. 

To put on the vouch of malice, is to assume a character 
vouched by the testimony of malice itself. JOHNSON. 

sc. /. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 317 

I AGO. She that was ever fair, and never proud ; 
Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud ; 
Never lack'd gold, and yet went never gay ; 
Fled from her wish, and yet said, ?iow I may ; 
She that, being anger'd, her revenge being nigh, 
Bade her wrong stay, and her displeasure fly : 
She that in wisdom never was so frail, 
To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail j 9 
She that could think, and ne'er disclose her mind, 
See suitors following, and not look behind ; 1 
She was a wight, if ever such wight were, 

DES. To do what ? 

IAGO. To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer. 2 

DES. O most lame and impotent conclusion 1 

To put on is to provoke, to incite. So, in Macbeth: 

" the powers above 

" Put on their instruments." STEEVENS. 

-' To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail ;] i. e. to ex* 
change a delicacy for coarser tare. See Queen Elizabeth's 
Household Book for the 4>3d Year of her Reign: " Item, the 
Master Cookes have to fee all the salmon's tailes" &c. p. 296. 


Surely the poet had a further allusion, which it is not neces- 
sary to explain. The word frail in the preceding line shows 
that viands were not alone in his thoughts. MALONE. 

A frail judgment, means only a 'weak one. I suspect no 
equivoque. STEEVEXS. 

1 See Suitors Jblloixing, and not look behind ;~\ The first quarto 
omits this line. STEEVENS. 

4 To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer.'} After enumera- 
ting the perfections of a woman, lago adds, that if ever there 
was such a one as he had been describing, she was, at the best, 
of no other use, than to suckle children, and keep the accounts 
of a household. The expressions to suckle fools, and chronicle 
small beer, are only instances of the want of natural affection, 
and the predominance of a critical censoriousness in lago, 
which he allows himself to be possessed of, where he says, 0! 
I am nothing, if not critical. STEEVENS. 

31 a OTHELLO, ACT n. 

Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy 
husband. How say you, Cassio? is he not a most 
profane 3 and liberal counsellor ? 4 

CAS. He speaks home, madam ; you may relish 
him more in the soldier, than in the scholar. 

IAGO. [_Aside.~\ He takes her by the palm : Ay, 
well said, whisper : with as little a web as this, will 
I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon 
her, do ; I will gyve thee 5 in thine own courtship. 
You say true ; 'tis so, indeed : if such tricks as these 
strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been 
better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, 
which now again you are most apt to play the sir 
in. 6 Very good ; well kissed ! an excellent cour- 

3 profane ~] Gross of language, of expression broad 

and brutal. So, Brabantio, in the first Act, calls lago profane 
wretch. JOHNSON. 

Ben Jonson, in describing the characters in Every Man out 
of his Humour, styles Carlo Buffone, a publick, scurrilous, and 
profane jester. STEEVENS. 

4 . liberal counsellor f] Liberal for licentious. 


So, in The Fair Maid of Bristow, 1605, bl. 1 : 
" But Vallenger, most like a liberal villain, 
" Did give her scandalous, ignoble terms." STEEVENS. 

See Vol. XVIII. p. 316, n. 9. MALONE. 

Counsellor seems to mean, not so much a man that gives 
counsel, as one that discourses fearlessly and voiubty. A talker. 


Counsellor is here used in the common acceptation. Desde- 
mona refers to the answers she had received from lago, and par- 
ticularly her last. HENLEY. 

5 / will gyve thee ] i. e. catch, shackle. POPE. 

The first quarto reads I will catch you in your own courtsies; 
the second quarto I will catch you in your own courtship. 
The folio as it is in the text. STEEVENS. 

6 to play the sir in.'} That is, to show your good breed- 
ing and gallantry. HENLEY. 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 319 

tesy! 7 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to 
your lips ? would, they were clyster-pipes for your 
sake! [Trumpet.^ The Moor, I know his 

CAS. 'Tis truly so. 

DES. Let's meet him, and receive him. 

CAS. Lo, where he comes ! 

Enter OTHELLO, and Attendants. 
OTH. O my fair warrior! 8 

1 well kissed! an excellent courtesy!'] Spoken when 

Cassio kisses his hand, and Desdemona courtsies. JOHNSON, 

This reading was recovered from the quarto, 1622, by Dr. 
Johnson. The folio has and excellent courtesy. 

I do not believe that any part of these words relates to Des- 
demona. In the original copy, we have just seen, the poet 
wrote " ay, smile upon her, do ; I will catch you in your own 
courtesies.'" Here therefore he probably meant only to speak of 
Cassio, while kissing his hand. " Well kissed ! an excellent 
courtesy !" i. e. an excellent salute. Courtesy, in the sense of 
obeisance or salute, was in Shakspeare's time applied to men as 
well as women. See Vol. XI. p. 34-1, n. 1. MALONE. 

8 my fair warrior!] Again, in Act III. Desdemona says : 
" unhandsome warrior as I am." This phrase was introduced 
by our copiers of the French Sonnetteers. Ronsard frequently 
calls his mistresses guerrieres; and Southern, his imitator, is not 
less prodigal of the same appellation. Thus, in his fifth Sonnet: 

" And, my learner, my light shines in thy fayre eyes." 
Again, in his sixth Sonnet : 

" I am not, my cruell carrier, the Thebain," &c. 
Again, ibid: 

" I came not, my ivarrier, of the blood Lidain." 
Had I not met with the word thus fantastically applied, I 
should have concluded that Othello called his wife a warrior, 
because she had embarked with him on a warlike expedition, and 
not in consequence of Ovid's observation 

" Militat omnis amans, et habet sua castra Cupido." 



DES. My dear Othello ! 

OTH. It gives me wonder great as my content, 
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy ! 
If after every tempest come such calms, 9 
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death ! 
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas, 
Olympus-high ; and duck again as low 
As hell's from heaven ! l If it were now to die, 
'Twere now to be most happy ; 2 for, I fear, 
My soul hath her content so absolute, 
That not another comfort like to this 
Succeeds in unknown fate. 

DES. The heavens forbid, 

But that our loves and comforts should increase, 
Even as our days do grow I 3 

9 come such calms,] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, 

reads calmness. STEEVENS. 

1 And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas, 

Olympus-high; and duck again as loiv 

As hell's from heaven. 1 '] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, B.I: 
" The sea, making mountaines of itself, over which the tossed 
and tottering ship should climbe, to be straight carried downe 
againe to a pit of hellish darknesse." STEEVENS. 

* . If it "were now to die, 

'Tivere notv to be most happy ;~\ So, Cherea, in The Eunuch 
of Terence, Act III. sc. v : 

" . Proh Jupiter ! 

" Nunc tempus profecto est, cum perpeti me possum in- 


" Ne vita aliqua hoc gaudium contaminet aegritudine." 


a Even as our days do grow !] Here is one of those evident 
interpolations which abound in our author's dramas. Who does 
not perceive that the words Even as our days, refer to the 
verb increase in the foregoing line ? Omit therefore the pro- 
saick do grow,( which is perfectly useless) and the metre will 
be restored to its original regularity. 

sc.i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 321 

OTH. Amen to that, sweet powers ! 

I cannot speak enough of this content, 
It stops me here ; it is too much of joy: 
And this, and this, the greatest discords be, 

[Kissing her.** 
That e'er our hearts shall make ! 

I AGO. O, you are well tun'd now ! 

But I'll set down 5 the pegs that make this musick, 
As honest as I am. [Aside. 

OTH. Come, let's to the castle. 

News, friends ; 6 our wars are done, the Turks are 

Fenton has adopted this thought in his Mariamne: 
" And mutual passion with our years increase !" 


4 And this, and this, &c. Kissing her.~\ So, in Marlowe's 
Lust's Dominion : 

" I pri'thee, chide, if I have done amiss, 
" But let my punishment be this and this." [Kissing the 
Moor. MALONE. 

Marlowe's play was written before that of Shakspeare, who 
might possibly have acted in it. STEEVENS. 

5 I'll set down ] Thus the old copies, for which the 

modern editors, following Mr. Pope, have substituted let down. 
But who can prove that to set down was not the language of 
Shakspeare's time, when a viol was spoken of? To set formerly 
signified to tune, though it is no longer used in that sense. " It 
was then," says Anthony Wood in his Diary, " that I set and 
tuned in strings and fourths," &c. So, in Skialetheia, a Col- 
lection of Satires, &c. 1598: 

" to a nimbler key 

" Set thy wind instrument." MALONE. 

To " set down" has this meaning in no other part of our au- 
thor's works. However, virtus post nummos: we have secured 
the phrase, and the exemplification of it may follow when it 
will. STEEVENS. 

6 News, friends ;~] The modern editors read (after Mr. Rowe) 
A 7 otu friends. I would observe once for all, that (in numberless 



How do our old acquaintance of this isle ? 
Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus, 7 
I have found great love amongst them. O my 


I prattle out of fashion, 8 and I dote 
In mine own comforts. I pr'ythee, good lago, 
Go to the bay, and disembark my coffers : 
Bring thou the master 9 to the citadel ; 
He is a good one, and his worthiness 
Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona, 
Once more well met at Cyprus. 

\_~Rxeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and At- 

IAGO. Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. 
Come hither. If thou be'st valiant as (they say) 
base men, being in love, have then a nobility in 

instances in this play, as well as in others,) where my prede- 
cessors had silently and without reason made alterations, I have 
as silently restored the old readings. STEEVENS. 

7 well desir'd in Cyprus,"] i. e. much solicited by invita- 
tion. So, in The Letters of the Paston Family, Vol. I. p. 299 : 
" at the whych weddyng I was with myn hostes, and also de- 
syryd by y e jentylman hymselfe." STEEVENS. 

8 1 prattle out offashion,'] Out of method, without any settled 
order of discourse. JOHNSON. 

9 the master 3 Dr. Johnson supposed, that by the 

master was meant the pilot of a ship, and indeed had high au- 
thority for this supposition ; for our poet himself seems to have 
confounded them. See Act III. sc. ii. 1. 1. But the master is a 
distinct person, and has the principal command, and care of the 
navigation of the ship, under the captain, where there is a cap- 
tain ; and in chief, where there is none. The pilot is employed 
only in navigating the ship into or out of port. MALONE. 

" The master (says Smith in his Sea-Grammar, 1627,) and 
his mates, are to direct the course, command all the sailors, for 
Steering, trimming, and sailing the ship," &c. STBEVENS. 

sc. 2. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 323 

their natures 1 more than is native to them, list 
me. The lieutenant to-night watches on the court 
of guard: 2 First, I must tell thee this Desde- 
mona is directly in love with him. 

ROD. With him ! why, 'tis not possible. 

I AGO. Lay thy finger thus, 3 and let thy soul be 
instructed. Mark me with what violence she first 
loved the Moor, but for bragging, and telling her 
fantastical lies : And will she love him still for 
prating? 4 let not thy discreet heart think it. Her 
eye must be fed ; and what delight shall she have 
to look on the devil ? When the blood is made 
dull with the act of sport, there should be, again 
to inflame it, 5 and to give satiety a fresh appetite, 
loveliness in favour; sympathy in years, manners, 
and beauties ; all which the Moor is defective in i 
Now, for want of these required conveniences, her 
delicate tenderness will find itself abused, begin to 
heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor ; 

1 base men, being in love, have then a nobility in their 

natures ] So, in Hamlet: 

" Nature is fine in love." MALONE. 

Dryden has imparted lago's present sentiment to Dorax : 
" Why love does all that's noble here below." 


3 the court of 'guard :] i. e. the place where the guard 

musters. So, in The Family of Love, 1608: 

" Thus have I pass'd the round and court of guard?' 
Again, in The Beggar's Bush, by Beaumont and Fletcher : 
" Visit your courts of guard, view your munition." 


3 Lay thy finger thus,'] On thy mouth, to stop it while thou 
art listening to a wiser man. JOHNSON. 

4 And will she love him still for prating?'] The folio reads 
To love him still for prating ! STEEVENS. 

* again to inflame it,"] Thus the quarto 3 1622* The 

folio reads a game. STEEVENS. 

Y 2 


very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her 
to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted, (as 
it is a most pregnant and unforced position,) who 
stands so eminently in the degree of this fortune, 
as Cassio does ? a knave very voluble ; no further 
conscionable, than in putting on the mere form of 
civil and humane seeming, 6 for the better com- 
passing of his salt and most hidden loose affection ? 
why, none ; why, none : A slippery and subtle 
knave ; a finder out of occasions ; that has an eye 
can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true 
advantage never present itself: A devilish knave ! 
besides, the knave is handsome, young ; and hath 
all those requisites in him, that folly and green 
minds 7 look after : A pestilent complete knave ; 
and the woman hath found him already. 

ROD. I cannot believe that in her ; she is full 
of most blessed condition. 8 

IAGO. Blessed fig's end ! the wine she drinks is 
made of grapes : if she had been blessed, she would 
never have loved the Moor : Blessed pudding ! 
Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of 
his hand ? didst not mark that ? 

ROD. Yes, that I did ; but that was but courtesy. 

IAGO. Lechery, by this hand ; an index, and 
obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul 
thoughts. 9 They met so nearwiththeirlips,thattheir 

and humane seeming,'] Thus the folio. The quarto, 

1622, reads and hand-seeming, MALONE. 

7 green minds ] Minds unripe, minds not yet fully 

formed. JOHNSON. 

s condition.'] Qualities, disposition of mind. JOHNSON. 

See Vol. XII. p. 521, n. 7. MALONE. 

9 an index, and obscure prologue &c.] That indexes were 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 325 

breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts, 
Roderigo ! when these mutualities sp marshal the 
way, hard at hand comes the master and main 
exercise, the incorporate conclusion : Pish! But, 
sir, be you ruled by me : I have brought you from 
Venice. Watch you to-night ; for the command, 
I'll lay't upon you : Cassio knows you not ; I'll 
not be far from you : Do you find some occasion to 
anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or taint- 
ing 1 his discipline; or from what other course 2 
you please, which the time shall more favourably 

ROD. Well. 

I AGO. Sir, he is rash, and very sudden in choler; 3 
and, haply, with his truncheon may strike at you : 
Provoke him, that he may : for, even out of that, 

formerly prefixed to books, appears from a passage in Troilus 
and Cressida. See Vol. XVIII. p. 241, n. 3; and Vol. XV. 
p. 236, n. 3. MALONE. 

1 tainting ] Throwing a slur upon his discipline. 


So, in Troilus and Cressida: 

" In taint of our best man." 

Again, in Chapman's translation of the 22d Odyssey: 
" Ctesippus, over good Eumseus' shield 
" His shoulder's top did taint." 

To taint, in this instance, means to htftict a slight mound. 
Again, in the 3d Iliad, 4to. 1598, by the same translator: 

" Eight shafts I shot 

" Yet this wilde dogge, with all my aime, I have no 
power to taint" STEEVENS. 

1 other course ] The first quarto reads cause. 


3 sudden in choler ;] Sudden, is precipitately violent. 


So, Malcolm, describing Macbeth : 
" I grant him bloody ,- 

" Sudden, malicious." STEEVENS. 

326 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny ; whose 
qualification shall come into no true taste again, 4 
but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you have 
a shorter journey to your desires, by the means I 
shall then have to prefer them ; 5 and the impedi- 
ment most profitably removed, without the which 
there were no expectation of our prosperity. 

ROD. I will do this, if I can bring it to any op- 
portunity. 6 

IAGO. I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at 
the citadel : I must fetch his necessaries ashore. 

ROD. Adieu. [Exit. 

IAGO. That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it; 
That she loves him, 'tis apt, and of great credit : 
The Moor howbeit that I endure him not, 
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature ; 
And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdemona 
A most dear husband. Now I do love her too ; 
Not out of absolute lust, (though, peradventure, 
I stand accountant for as great a sin,) 
But partly led to diet my revenge, 

4 whose qualification shall come &c.] Whose resentment 

shall not be so qualified or tempered, as to be well tasted, as not 
to retain some bitterness. The phrase is harsh, at least to our 
ears. JOHNSON. 

Johnson's explanation is confirmed by what Cassio says in the 
next scene : " I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was 
craftily qualified" i. e. allayed by water. M. MASON. 

no true taste ] So the folio. The quarto, 1 622, reads 

- no true trust. MA LONE. 

* to prefer them;'] i. e. to advance them. So, in A Mid- 
summer-Night's Dream : " The short and the long is, our play 
is preferred.' 1 MALONE. 

See Vol. XVI. p. 421 , n. 9. STE EVENS. 

6 if I can bring it to any opportunity.'] Thus the quarto.. 

1622. The folio reads if you can bring it, &c. MALONE. 

sc. r. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 327 

For that I do suspect the lusty Moor 

Hath leap'd into my seat : the thought whereof 

Doth, like a poisonous mineral, 7 gnaw my inwards; 

And nothing can or shall content my soul, 

Till I am even with him, 8 wife for wife ; 

Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor 

At least into a jealousy so strong 

That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do, 

If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash 

For his quick hunting, stand the putting on, 9 

7 like a poisonous mineral,'] This is philosophical. Mi- 
neral poisons kill by corrosion. JOHNSON. 

* Till I am even ivith him,'] Thus the quarto, 1622; the first 
folio reads : 

Till I am even'd -with him. 
i. e. Till I am on a level with him by retaliation. 
So, in Hey wood's Iron Age, 1632, Second Part: 

" The stately walls he rear'd, levell'd, and even'd." 
Again, in Tancred and Gismund, 1592: 

" For now the walls are even'd with the plain." 
Again, in Stanyhurst's translation of the first Book of Virgil's 
JEneid, 1582: " numerum cum navibus cequat ." 

" with the ships the number is even'd." 


* Which thing to do, 

If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash 
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,~] The quarto, 
1622, has crush, the folio reads trace, an apparent corruption 
of trash ; for as to the idea of crushing a dog, to prevent him 
from quick hunting, it is too ridiculous to be defended. 

To trash, is still a hunter's phrase, and signifies ( See Vol. IV. 
p. 17, n. 5,) to fasten a weight on the neck of a dog, when his 
speed is superior to that of his companions. Thus, says Cara- 
tach, in The Bonduca of Beaumont and Fletcher, (the quotation 
was the late Mr. T. Warton's, though misunderstood by him as 
to its appropriate meaning) : 
-I fled too, 

" But not so fast ; your jewel had been lost then, 
" Young Hengo there: he trash' d me, Nennius, ,' 
e. he was the clog that restrained my activity. 


I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip; 1 
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb, 2 

This sense of the word trash has been so repeatedly confirm- 
ed to me by those whom I cannot suspect of wanting informa- 
tion relative to their most favourite pursuits, that I do not hesi- 
tate to throw off the load of unsatisfactory notes with which the 
passage before us has hitherto been oppressed. 

The same idea occurs also in the epistle dedicatory to Dry- 
den's Rival Ladies : " Imagination in a poet is a faculty so wild 
and lawless, that, like a high-ranging spaniel, it must have clogs 
tied to it, lest it outrun the judgement," 

Trash, in the first instance, (though Dr. Warburton would 
change it into brack,) may be used to signify a worthless 
hound, as the same term is afterwards employed to describe a 
worthless female : 

" Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash." 

It is scarce necessary to support the present jingle of the 
word trash, by examples, it is so much in our author's man- 
ner, although his worst. 

Stand the putting on, may mean does not start too soon 
after Desdemona, and so destroy my scheme by injudicious pre- 
cipitation. But I rather think, these words have reference to 
the enterprize of provoking Cassio, and will then imply if he 
has courage enough for the attempt to txitiich I have just incited, 
or put him on. For an example of the latter phrase, see p. 316, 
n. 8. STEEVENS. 

That Mr. Steevens has given the true explanation of to 
trash, is fixed by the succeeding authority from Harrington, 
where it unquestionably means to impede the progress: " pro- 
longation of magistracy, trashing the wheel of rotation, destroys 
the life or natural motion of a commonwealth." Works, p. 303, 
fol. 1747. HOLT WHITE. 

1 'I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;~\ A phrase from 
the art of wrestling. JOHNSON. 

8 in the rank garb,'] Thus the quarto, and, I think, 

rightly. Rank garb, I believe, means grossly, i. e. without 
mincing the matter. So, in Marston's Dutch Courtezan, 1604: 
" Whither, in the rank name of madness, whither?'* 

The term garb (employed perhaps in the sense here re- 
quired) occurs in the eighteenth Book of Homer's Odyssey, as 
translated by Chapman : 


For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too ; 
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me, 
For making him egregiously an ass, 
And practising upon his peace and quiet 
Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confus'd; 
Knavery's plain face is never seen, 3 till us'd. 


A Street. 

Enter a Herald, 'with a Proclamation; People fol- 

O ' 

HER. It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and va- 
liant general, that,upon certain tidings now arrived, 
importing the mere perdition 4 of the Turkish fleet, 

But li-jre you must take confidence to prate 

Before all these ; for fear can get no state 

In your wine-hard)' stomach. Or tis like 

To prove your native garb, your tongue will strike 

On this side of your mouth still." STEEVENS. 

The folio reads in the right garb. Rank, perhaps, means 
not only gross, but lascivious. So, in The Merchant of Venice: 

" the ewes, being rank, 

" In end of autumn," &c. MALONE. 

3 Knavery's plain Jace is never seen,'] An honest man acts 
upon a plan, and forecasts his designs; but a knave depends 
upon temporary and local opportunities, and never knows his 
own purpose, but at the time of execution. JOHNSON. 

mere perdition ] Mere in this place signifies entire. 

So, in Hamlet: 

" possess it merely." STEEVENS. 

330 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

every man put himself into triumph ; 5 someto dance, 
some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and 
revels his addiction 6 leads him ; for, besides these 
beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptials: 
So much was his pleasure should be proclaimed. 
All offices are open ; 7 and there is full liberty of 
feasting, 8 from this present hour of five, till the 
bell hath told eleven. Heaven bless the isle of 
Cyprus, and our noble general, Othello ! \_Exeunt. 


A Hall in the Castle. 


OTH. Good Michael, look you to the guard to- 
night : 

Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop. 
Not to out-sport discretion. 

CAS. lago hath direction what to do ; 

5 put himself into triumph;'} This whimsical phraseology 

occurs again in Pericles, Prince of' Tyre: 

" So puts himself into the shipman's toil." STEEVENS. 

6 his addiction ] The first quarto reads his mind. 


7 All offices are open;} i. e. all rooms, or places, in the castle, 
at which refreshments are prepared, or served out. So, in 
Macbeth ; 

" Sent forth great largess to your offices." 
See Vol. X. p. 94, n. 8. STEEVENS. 

8 of feasting,'} These words are not in the original quarto, 

1622. M ALONE. 

ae. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 331 

But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye 
Will I look to't. 

OTH. lago is most honest. 

Michael, good night : To-morrow, with our earliest, 
Let me have speech with you. Come, my dear love. 
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue ; 


That profit's yet to come 'twixt me and you. 
Good night. \_Exeunt OTH. DES. and Attend* 

Enter I AGO. 

CAS, Welcome, lago : We must to the watch. 

IAGO. Not this hour, lieutenant ; 'tis not yet ten 
o'clock : Our general cast us 9 thus early, for the 
love of his Desdemona ; whom let us not therefore 
blame ; he hath not yet made wanton the night with 
her : and she is sport for Jove. 

CAS. She's a most exquisite lady. 

IAGO. And, I'll warrant her, full of game. 

CAS. Indeed, she is a most fresh and delicate 


9 Our general cast us ] That is, appointed us to our sta- 
tions. To cast the play, is, in the style of the theatres, to assign 
to every actor his proper part. JOHNSON*. 

We have just now been assured by the Herald, that there was 
" full liberty of feasting &c. till eleven" 

Perhaps therefore cast us only means dismissed us, or got rid 
of our company. So, in one of the following scenes: " You are 
but now cast in his mood;" i. e. turned out of your office in his 
anger; and in the first scene it means to dismiss. 

So, in The WITCH, a MS. tragi-comedy, by Middleton : 
" She cast off" 
" My company betimes to-night, by tricks," &c. 



I AGO. What an eye she has 1 methinks it sounds 
a parley of provocation. 1 

CAS. An inviting eye ; and yet methinks right 

I AGO. And, when she speaks, is it not an alarm 2 
to love ? 3 

CAS. She is, indeed, perfection. 4 

I AGO. Well, happiness to their sheets ! Come, 
lieutenant, I have a stoop of wine ; and here with- 
out are a brace of Cyprus gallants, that would 
fain have a measure to the health of the black 

'CAS. Not to-night, good lago ; I have very poor 
and unhappy brains for drinking : I could well wish 
courtesy would invent some other custom of enter- 

I AGO. O, they are our friends ; but one cup : I'll 
drink for you. 

CAS. I have drunk but one cup to-night, and 

1 a parley of provocation.'] So the quarto, 1622. Folio 

to provocation. MALONE. 

4 an alarm ] The voice may sound an alarm more pro- 
perly than the eye can sound & parley. JOHNSON. 

The eye is often said to speak. Thus we frequently hear of 
the language of the eye. Surely that which can talk may, with- 
out any violent stretch of the figure be allowed to sound a parley. 
The folio reads parley to provocation. RITSON. 

So, in Troilus and Cressida: 

" There's language in her eye," &c. 
See Vol. XV. p. 406, n. 3. STEEVENS. 

3 is it not an alarm to love ?~] The quartos read 'tis an 

alarm to love. STEEVENS. 

4 She is, indeed, perfection.^ In this and the seven short 
speeches preceding, the decent character of Cassio is most power- 
fully contrasted with that of the licentious lago. STEEVENS. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 333 

that was craftily qualified 5 too, and, behold, what 
innovation it makes here : I am unfortunate in the 
infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any 

IAGO. What, man ! 'tis a night of revels ; the 
gallants desire it. 

CAS. Where are they ? 

IAGO. Here at the door ; I pray you, call them 

CAS. I'll do't ; but it dislikes me. 

\_Exit CASSIO. 

IAGO. If I can fasten but one cup upon him, 
With that which lie hath drunk to-night already, 
He'll be as full of quarrel and offence 
As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool, 


Whom love has turn'd almost the wrong side out- 

To Desdemona hath to-night carous'd 
Potations pottle deep ; and he's to watch : 
Three lads of Cyprus, 6 noble swelling spirits, 
That hold their honours in a wary distance, 
The very elements 7 of this warlike isle, 
Have I to-night fluster* d with flowing cups, 
And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of 


Am I to put our Cassio in some action 
That mav offend the isle : But here thev come : 

* craftily qualified ] Slily mixed with water. 


6 Three lads of Cyprus,"] The folio reads Three else of Cy- 
prus. STEEVENS. 

7 The very elements ] As quarrelsome as the discordia 
semina rerum; as quick in opposition as fire and water. 



If consequence do but approve my dream, 8 
My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream. 

Re-enter CASSIO, with him MONTANO, and Gen- 

CAS. Tore heaven, they have given me a rouse 
already. 9 

MON. Good faith, a little one ; not past a pint, 
as I am a soldier. 1 

IAGO. Some wine, ho ! 

And let me the canaldn? clink, clink; [Sings. 
And let me the canakin clink: 

A soldier's a man;- 

A life's but a span / 3 
Why then, let a soldier drink. 

6 If consequence do lut approve my dream,] Every scheme; 
subsisting only in the imagination may be termed a dream. 


9 given me a rouse $c.~] A rouse appears to be a quan- 
tity of liquor rather too large. 

So, in Hamletj and in The Christian turn'd Turk, 1612: 

" our friends may tell 

" We drank a rouse to them." 
See Vol. XVIII. p. 61, n. 1. STEEVENS. 

1 As I am a soldier.'] If Montano was Othello's predecessor 
in the government of Cyprus, (as we are told in the Persona; 
Dramatis,) he is not very characteristically employed in the 
present scene, where he is tippling with people already flustered, 
and encouraging a subaltern officer who commands a midnight 
guard, to drink to excess. STEEVENS. 

2 the canakin ~] So, in Barclay's Ship of Fools, fol. 229 : 

" some quafes y e canakin halfe full" &c. STEEVENS. 

3 A life's Lut a span;~\ Thus the quarto. The folio reads 
Oh man's life lut a span. STEEVENS. 

ac. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 335 

Some wine, boys ! [ Wine brought in. 

CAS. 'Fore heaven, an excellent song. 

IAGO. I learned it in England, where (indeed) 
they are most potent in potting : * your Dane, your 
German, 5 and your swag-bellied Hollander, 
Drink, ho ! are nothing to your English. 

CAS. Is your Englishman so expert in his drink- 
ing? 6 

IAGO. Why, he drinks you, with facility, your 
Dane dead drunk ; he sweats not to overthrow your 
Almain ; he gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the 
next pottle can be filled. 

CAS. To the health of our general. 

MON. I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you 
justice. 7 

IAGO. O sweet England ! 

4 in England, where (indeed) they are most potent in pot- 
ting:'] Les meilleurs buveurs en Angleterre, is an ancient French 
proverb. STEEVENS. 

5 most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, #c.J 

" Enquire at ordinaries : there must be sallets for the Italian, 
tooth-picks for the Spaniard, pots for the German!" Prologue 
to Lyly's Midas, 1592. MALONE. 

your Dane,] See Vol. XVIII. p. 66, n. 6. STEEVENS. 

6 50 expert in his drinking?] Thus the quarto, 1622. 

Folio so exquisite. This accomplishment in the English is like- 
wise mentioned by Beaumont and Fletcher in The Captain: 

" Lod. Are the Englishmen 
" Such stubborn drinkers ? 

" Piso. not a leak at sea 

" Can suck more liquor ; you shall have their children 
" Christen'd in mull'd sack, and at five years old 
" Able to knock a Dane down." STEEVENS. 

7 I'll do you justice.] i. e. drink as much as you do, 

See Vol. XII. p. 237, n. 5. STEEVENS. 


King Stephen 8 'was a worthy peer, 9 
His breeches cost him but a crown; 

He held them sixpence all too dear, 
With that he call'd the tailor lown. 1 

He was a wight of high renown, 
And thou art but of low degree : 

'Tis pride that pulls the country down, 
Then take thine auld cloak about thee. 

Some wine, ho ! 

CAS. Why, this is a more exquisite song than the 

IAGO. Will you hear it again ? 

CAS. No ; for I hold him to be unworthy of his 
place, that does those things. Well, Heaven's 
above all ; and there be souls that must be saved, 
and there be souls must not be saved. 

8 King Stephen &c.] These stanzas are taken from an old 
song, which the reader will find recovered and preserved in a 
curious work lately printed, entitled, Relicks of Ancient Poetry, 
consisting of old heroick ballads, songs, &c. 3 Vols. 12mo. 


So, in Greene's Quip for an upstart Courtier: "King Ste- 
phen wore a pair of cloth breeches of a noble a pair, and thought 
them passing costly." STEEVENS. 

9 a worthy peer,] i.e. a worthy fellow. In this sense 

peer, fere, pheere, are often used by the writers of our earliest 
romances. STEEVENS. 

A worthy peer is a worthy lord, a title frequently bestowed 
upon kings in our old romances. So, in Amadis de Gaule, 1619 : 
" Sir, although you be a king and a great lord." Spenser con- 
stantly uses the word peer in this sense. Pheere is in every re- 
spect a very different word. RITSON. 

1 loivn.'] Sorry fellow, paltry wretch. JOHNSON. 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 337 

IAGO. It's true, good lieutenant. 
CAS. For mine own part, no offence to the gene- 
ral, nor any man of quality, I hope to be saved. 

IAGO. And so do I too, lieutenant. 

CAS. Ay, but, by your leave, not before me ; the 
lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's 
have no more of this ; let's to our affairs. Forgive 
us our sins ! Gentlemen, let's look to our business. 
Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk ; this is my 
ancient ; this is my right hand, and this is my left 
hand : I am not drunk now ; I can stand well 
enough, and speak well enough. 

ALL. Excellent well. 

CAS. Why, very well, then : you must not think 
tli en that I am drunk. \JExit. 

MON. To the platform, masters ; come, let's set 
the watch. 

IAGO. You see this fellow, that is gone before ; 
He is a soldier, fit to stand by Caesar 
And give direction : and do but see his vice ; 
'Tis to his virtue a just equinox, 
The one as long as the other : 'tis pity of him. 
I fear, the trust Othello puts him in, 
On some odd time of his infirmity, 
Will shake this island. 

MON. But is he often thus ? 

IAGO. 'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep : 
He'll watch the horologe a double set, 2 

* He'll watch the horologe a double set, &c.] If he have no 
drink, he'll keep awake while the clock strikes two rounds, or 
four-and-twenty hours. 

Chaucer uses the word horologe in more places than one ; 
" Well sickerer was his crowing in his loge 
" Than is a clok or any abbey orloge." JOHNSON. 
x T OL. XIX. Z 

338 OTHELLO, ACT 11. 

If drink rock not his cradle. 

MON. It were well, 

The general were put in mind of it. 
Perhaps, he sees it not ; or his good nature 
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio, 
And looks not on his evils j Is not this true ? 


I AGO. How now, Roderigo? \_Aslde. 

I pray you, after the lieutenant ; go. 


MON. And 'tis great pity, that the noble Moor 
Should hazard such a place, as his own second, 
With one of an ingraft infirmity: 3 

So, Hey wood, in his Epigrams on Proverbs, 1562 : 
" The divell is in thorologe, the houres to trye, 
" Searche houres by the sunne, the devyl's dyal wyll 


" The devyl is in thorologe, nowe cheere in bowles, 
" Let the devyl keepe our clockes, while God keepe our 

Again, in The Devil's Charter, 1607 : 

" my gracious lord, 

" By Sisto's horologe 'tis struck eleven." STEEVENS. 

ingraft infirmity :] An infirmity rooted, settled in his 

constitution. JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's explanation seems to fall short of the poet's 
meaning. The qualities of a tree are so changed by being en- 
grafted, that its future fruits are not such as would have natu- 
rally sprung from the stock, but derive their qualities from the 
graft inserted into it. Conformably to this idea, is the assertion 
of Hamlet concerning the same vice in his countrymen : 
" They clepe us drunkards," &c. 

See Vol. XVIII. p. 66. HENLEY. 

Dr. Johnson's explanation is certainly just, though it has been 
controverted. So, in King Lear; " then must we look to 

so. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 339 

It were an honest action, to say 
So to the Moor. 

I AGO. Not I, for this fair island : 

I do love Cassio well ; and would do much 
To cure him of this evil. But hark! what noise? 

[Cry within, Help ! help ! 

Re-enter CASSIO, driving in RODERIGO. 

CAS. You rogue ! you rascal ! 

MON. What's the matter, lieutenant ? 

CAS. A knave ! teach me my duty ! 
I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle. 4 

ROD. Beat me ! 

CAS. Dost thou prate, rogue ? 

[Striking RODERIGO. 

MON. Nay, good lieutenant ; 

[Staying Mm. 
I pray you, sir, hold your hand. 

CAS. Let me go, sir, 

Or I'll knock you o'er the mazzard. 

MON. Come, come, you're drunk. 

CAS. Drunk ! [They jight. 

IAGO. Away, I say ! go out, and cry a mutiny. 
[Aside to ROD. who goes out. 
Nay, good lieutenant, alas, gentlemen, 
Help, ho ! Lieutenant, sir, Montano, sir ; 
Help, masters ! Here's a goodly watch, indeed ! 

[Bell rings. 

receive from his age not alone the imperfection of long ingrafted 
condition, but there-withal," &c. MALONE. 

4 into a tuiiggen bottle. ] A twiggen bottle is a wickered 

bottle; and so the quarto read*. STEEVENS. 

z 2 

340 OTHELLO, ACT u. 

Who's that that rings the bell ? Diablo, 5 ho ! 
The town will rise : God's will, lieutenant ! hold - 7 
You will be sham'd for ever. 

Enter OTHELLO, and Attendants. 

OTH. What is the matter here ? 

MON. I bleed still, I am hurt to the death ; he 

dies. 6 
OTH. Hold, for your lives. 

IAGO. Hold, hold, lieutenant, 7 sir, Montano, 

DiaUo,~] I meet with this exclamation in Marlowe's 

King Edward II. 1598: "Diablo? what passions call you 

It is, as Mr. M. Mason observes, a mere contraction ofDiavolo, 
the Italian word for the Devil. STEEVENS. 

c I bleed still, I am hurl to the death; he dies.] The first 
quarto reads 'Zounds, I bleed &c. STEEVENS. 

The editor of the folio, thinking it necessary to omit the first 
word in the line, absurdly supplied its place by adding at the end 
of the line, He dies. 

I had formerly inadvertently said, that the marginal direction,, 
He faints, was found in the quarto, 1622: but this was a mis- 
take. It was inserted in a quarto of no value or authority, 
printed in 1630. MALONE. 

1 am hurt to the death; he dies.] Montana thinks he 

is mortally wounded, yet by these words he seems determined to 
continue the duel, and to kill his antagonist Cassio. So, when 
Roderigo runs at Cassio in the fifth Act, he says, " Villain, 
thou diest." TOLLET. 

He dies, i. e. he shall die. He may be supposed to say this 
as he is offering to renew the fight. 

Thus likewise Othello himself, in his very next speech : 

" . he dies upon his motion." 

I do not therefore regard these words, when uttered by Montano, 
as an absurd addition in the first folio. STEEVENS. 

7 Hold, hold, lieutenant,] Thus the original quarto. The 
folio reads Hold ho, lieutenant. MALONE. 

c. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 341 

Have you forgot all sense of place and duty? 8 
Hold, hold ! the general speaks to you ; hold, for 
shame ! 

OTH. Why, how now, ho ! from whence ariseth 

this ? 

Are we turn'd Turks ; and to ourselves do that, 
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites ? 
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl : 
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage, 9 
Holds his soul light ; he dies upon his motion. 
Silence that dreadful bell, 1 it frights the isle 
From her propriety. 2 What is the matter, mas> 

ters ? 
Honest lago, that look'st dead with grieving, 

s all sense of place and duty ?~\ So Sir Thomas Hanmer. 

The rest : 

all place of sense and duty? JOHNSON. 

9 to carve for his own rage,~\ Thus the folio, 1623. The 

quarto, 1622, has forth; which I apprehend to be little better 
than nonsense. 

To " c&r\eforth" <Src. can only signify to cut or portion out 
his resentment ; whereas, the phrase I have placed in the^text, 
affords the obvious and appropriate meaning to supply food or 
gratification for his own anger. 

The same phrase occurs in Hamlet: 

" He may not, as unvalued persons do, 
" Carve for himself." STEEVENS. 

1 Silence that dreadful lell,~\ It was a common practice for- 
merly, when any great aft'ray happened in a town, to ring the 
alarum bell. When David Rizzio was murdered at Edinburgh, 
the Provost ordered the common bell to be rung, and five hun- 
dred persons were immediately assembled. See Saunderson's 
History of Queen Mary, p. 41. MALONE. 

At Paris the Tocsin is still rung as often as fires or disturbances 
break out. STEEVENS. 

* it frights the isle 

From her propriety.] From her regular and. proper state. 


342 OTHELLO, ACT u. 

Speak, who began this ? on thy love, I charge thee. 

I AGO. I do not know ; friends all but now, even 

In quarter, 3 and in terms like bride and groom 

3 In quarter,'} In their quarters ; at their lodging. JOHNSON. 

Rather at peace, quiet. They had been on that very spot ( the 
court or platform, it is presumed before the castle,) ever since 
Othello left them, which can scarcely be called being in their 
quarters, or at their lodging. RITSON. 

So, in The Dumb Knight, Act III. sc. i : 
" Did not you hold fair quarter and commerce with all the 
spies of Cypres ?" REED. 

It required one example, if no more, to evince that in quar- 
ter ever signified quiet, at peace. But a little attention would 
have shown, that the them, whom he speaks of Othello's having 
left, was only Cassio ; who, being joined by lago, where Othello 
(but not on the platform] had just left him, is dissuaded from 
setting the watch immediately ; entreated to partake of a stoop 
of wine, in company with a brace of Cyprus gallants, then 
waiting without ; and prevailed upon, though reluctantly, to in- 
vite them in. In this apartment the carousal happens, and wine 
is repeatedly called for, till at last Cassio, finding its too powerful 
effects, goes out to set the watch. At the proposal of Montano, 
himself and lago follow Cassio towards the platform, and the 
latter sets on Roderigo to insult him. The scuffle ensues ; an 
alarm is given, and Othello comes forth to inquire the cause. 
When, therefore, lago answers : 

" I do not know : friends all but now, even now 

" In quarter, " 

it is evident the quarter referred to, was that apartment of the 
castle assigned to the officers on guard, where Othello, after giving 
Cassio his orders, had, a little before, left him ; and where lago, 
with His companions, immediately found him. HENLEY. 

In quarter,] i.e. on our station. So, in Timon of Athens: 

" to atone your fears 

" With my more noble meaning, not a man 
" Shall pass his quarter." 

Their station or quarter in the present instance, was the guard- 
room in Othello's castle. In CijmbeUne we have " their quar- 
ter'd fires," i. e. their fires regularly disposed. 

In quarter Dr. Johnson supposed to mean, at their lodging*; 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 343 

Devestfng them for bed : and then, but now, 
(As if some planet had unwitted men,) 
Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast, 
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak 
Any beginning to this peevish odds ; 
And 'would in action glorious I had lost 
These legs, that brought me to a part of it ! 

OTH. How comes it, Michael, you are thus for- 
got ? 4 

CAS. I pray you, pardon me, I cannot speak. 

OTH. Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil ; 
The gravity and stillness of your youth 
The world hath noted, and your name is great 
In mouths of wisest censure ; What's the matter, 
That you unlace 5 your reputation thus, 
And spend your rich opinion, 6 for the name 
Of a night-brawler ? give me answer to it. 

MON. Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger j 

but that cannot be the meaning, for Montano and the Gentlemen 
who accompanied him, had continued, from the time of their 
entrance, in the apartment of Othello's castle, in which the 
carousal had been ; and Cassio had only gone forth for a short 
time to the platform, to set the watch. On his return from the 
platform into the apartment, in which he left Montano and lago, 
he meets Roderigo; and the scuffle, first between Cassio and 
Roderigo, and then between Montano and Cassio, ensues. 


you are thus forgot ?"] i. e. you have thus forgot your- 

self. STEEVENS. 

5 That you unlace ] Slacken, or loosen. Put in danger of 
dropping; or perhaps strip off its ornaments. JOHNSON. 

A similar phrase occurs in Twelfth-Night.' 

" I pr'ythee now, ungird thy strangeness." STEEVENS. 

6 spend your rich opinion,'] Throw away and squander 

a reputation so valuable at yours. JOHNSON. 

344 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

Your officer, lago, can inform you 

While I spare speech, which something now offends 

me ; 

Of all that I do know : nor know I aught 
By me that's said or done amiss this night ; 
Unless self-charity 7 be sometime a vice ; 
And to defend ourselves it be a sin, 
When violence assails us. 

OTH. Now, by heaven, 

My blood begins my safer guides to rule ; 
And passion, having my best judgment collied, 8 
Assays to lead the way : If I once stir, 
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you 
Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know 
How this foul rout began, who set it on ; 

7 self-charity ] Care of one's self. JOHNSON. 

8 And passion, having my best judgment collied,] Thus the 
folio reads, and I believe rightly. Othello means, that passion 
has discoloured his judgment. The word is used in A Midsum- 
mer-Night's Dream : 

11 like lightning in the collied night." 

To colly anciently signified to besmut, to blacken as with coal. 
So, in a comedy called The Family of Love, 1608: " carry 
thy link a't'other side the way, thou collovost me and my ruffe." 
The word (as I am assured) is still used in the midland counties. 
Mr. Toilet informs me that Wallis's History of Northumber- 
land, p. 46, says : " in our northern counties it \_\. e. a fine 
black clay or ochre] is commonly known by the name of collotv 
or killoiv, by which name it is known by Dr. Woodward," &c. 
The Doctor says it had its name from kollow, by which name, in 
the North, the smut or grime on the top of chimneys is so called. 
Colly, however, is from coal, as collier. Sir Thomas Hanmer 
reads choler'd. STEEVENS. 

Cole, in his Dictionary, 1679, renders " collotud by deni- 
gratus: to colly," denigro. 

The quarto, 1622, reads having my best judgement cool'd. 
A modern editor supposed that qucll'd was the vrord intended. 


sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 345 

And he that is approv'd in this offence, 9 
Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth, 
Shall lose me. What ! in a town of war, 
Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear, 
To manage private and domestick quarrel, 
In night, and on the court and guard of safety I 1 

9 he that is approv'd in this offence,"] He that is con- 
victed by proof, of having been engaged in this offence. 


1 In night, and on the court and guard of safety!"] Thus the 
old copies. Mr. Malone reads : 

In night, and on the court of guard and safety ! 


These words have undoubtedly been transposed by negligence 
at the press. For this emendation, of which I am confident every 
reader will approve, I am answerable. The court of guard was 
the common phrase of the time for the guard room. It has al- 
ready been used by lago in a former scene ; and what still more 
strongly confirms the emendation, lago is there speaking of 
Cassia, and describing him as about to be placed in the very 
station where he now appears : " The lieutenant to-night watches 
on the court of guard." 

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra : 

" If we be not reliev'd within this hour, 
" We must return to the court of guard" 

The same phrase occurs in Sir John Oldcastle, 1600, and in 
many other old plays. A similar mistake has happened in the 
present scene, where in the original copy we find : 

" Have you forgot all place of sense and duty?" 
instead of all sense of place and duty ? 

I may venture to assert with confidence that no editor of Shak- 
spcare has more sedulously adhered to the ancient copies than 
1 have done, or more steadily opposed any change grounded 
merely on obsolete or unusual phraseology. But the error in 
the present case is so apparent, and the phrase, the court of guard, 
so established by the uniform usage of the poets of Shakspeare's 
time, that not to have corrected the mistake of the compositor 
in the present instance, would in my apprehension have been 
unwarrantable. If the phraseology of the old copies had merely 
been unusual, I should not have ventured to make the slightest 
change : but the frequent occurrence of the phrase, the court of 


'Tis monstrous. 2 lago, who began it ? 

A/OJV. If partially affin'd, 3 or leagu'd in office, 4 
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth, 
Thou art no soldier. 

IAGO. Touch me not so near : 

guard, in all our old plays, and that being the tvord of art, leave 
us not room to entertain a doubt of its being the true reading. 

Mr. Steevens says, a phraseology as unusual occurs in A Mid- 
summer-Night's Dream ; but he forgets that it is supported by 
the usage of contemporary writers. When any such is produced 
in support of that before us, it ought certainly to be attended to. 

I may add, that the court of safety may in a metaphorical 
sense be understood ; but who ever talked of the guard [i. e. the 
safety'] of safety? MALONE. 

As a collocation of words, as seemingly perverse, occurs in 
A Midsummer-Night's Dream, and is justified there, in the fol- 
lowing instance : 

" I shall desire you of more acquaintance ;" 
I forbear to disturb the text under consideration. 

If Safety, like the Roman Salus, or Recovery in King Lear, 
be personified, where is the impropriety of saying under the 
guard of Safety? Thus, Plautus, in his Captiii : " Neque jam 
servare Salus, si vult, me potest." 

Mr. Malone also appears to forget that, on a preceding occa- 
sion, he too has left an unexemplified and very questionable 
phrase, in the text of this tragedy, hoping, we may suppose, (as 
I do,) that it will be hereafter countenanced by example. See 
p. 321, n. 5. STEEVENS. 

* 'Tis monstrous.] This word was used as a trisyllable, as if 
it were written monsterous. MALONE. 

It is again used as a trisyllable in Macbeth. See Vol. X. 
p. 196, n. 1. STEEVENS. 

3 If partially affin'd,] Affin'd is bound by proximity of rela- 
tionship ; but here it means related by nearness of office. In the 
first, scene it is used in the former of these senses : 

" If I, in any just term, am qffin'd 
" To love the Moor." STEEVENS. 

4 leagu'd in office,'] Old copies league. Corrected by 

Mr. Pope. MALONE. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 347 

I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth/ 
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio ; 
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth 
Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general. 
Montano and myself being in speech, 
There comes a fellow, crying out for help ; 
And Cassio following him 6 with determin'd sword, 
To execute upon him : Sir, this gentleman 
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause ; 
Myself the crying fellow did pursue, 
Lest, by his clamour, (as it so fell out,) 
The town might fall in fright : he, swift of foot, 
Outran my purpose ; and I return'd the rather 
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords, 
And Cassio high in oath ; which, till to-night, 
I ne'er might say before : When I came back, 
(For this was brief,) I found them close together, 
At blow, and thrust ; even as again they were, 
When you yourself did part them. 
More of this matter can I not report : 
But men are men ; the best sometimes forget : 
Though Cassio did some little wrong to him, 
As men in rage strike those that wish them best, 
Yet, surely, Cassio, I believe, receiv'd, 
From him that fled, some strange indignity, 
Which patience could not pass. 

OTH. I know, lago, 

Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter, 
Making it light to Cassio : Cassio, I love thee j 
But never more be officer of mine. 

cntfrom my month,"] Thus the folio. The quarto, 

162:2, reads this tongue out from my mouth. MALONE. 

6 And Cassio following him ] The word him in this line 
seems to have crept into it from the compositor's eye glancing- 
on that below. MALONE. 

348 OTHELLO, ACT //. 

Enter DESDEMONA, attended. 

Look, if my gentle love be not rais'd up ; 
I'll make thee an example. 

DES. What's the matter, dear? 

OTH. All's well now, sweeting ; 7 Come away to 


Sir, for your hurts, 
Myself will be your surgeon : Lead him off. 8 

[_To MONTANO, who is led off. 
lago, look \vith care about the town ; 
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted. 
Come, Desdemona ; 'tis the soldiers' life, 
To have their balmy slumbers wak'd with strife. 
\_Eoceunt all but IAGO and CASSIO. 

I AGO. What, are you hurt, lieutenant ? 
CAS. Ay, past all surgery. 
IAGO. Marry, heaven forbid ! 

CAS. Reputation, reputation, reputation ! O, I 
have lost my reputation ! I have lost the immortal 
part, sir, of myself, and what remains is bestial. 
My reputation, lago, my reputation. 

IAGO. As I am an honest man, I thought you had 
received sorne bodily wound ; there is more offence 

7 sweeting;"] This surfeiting vulgar term of fondness 

originates from the name of an apple distinguished only by its 
insipid sweetness. STEEVENS. 

8 Lead him off.~] I am persuaded, these words were originally 
a marginal direction. In our old plays all the stage-directions 
were couched in imperative terms : Play musick Ring the 
Bell. Lead him off. MALONE. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 349 

in that, than in reputation. 9 Reputation is an idle 
and most false imposition ; oft got without merit, 
and lost without deserving : You have lost no re- 
putation at all, unless you repute yourself such a 
loser. What, man ! there are ways to recover the 
general again : You are but now cast in his mood, 1 
a punishment more in policy than in malice ; even 
so as one \vould beat his offenceless dog, to affright 
an imperious lion: sue to him again, and he's yours. 

CAS. I will rather sue to be despised, than to 
deceive so good a commander, with so slight, 2 so 
drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk ? and 
speak parrot ? 3 and squabble ? swagger ? swear ? 
and discourse fustian with one's own shadow ? O 
thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name 
to be known by, let us call thee devil ! 

I AGO. What was he that you followed with your 
sword ? What had he done to you ? 

CAS. I know not. 

9 there is more offence #c.] Thus the quartos. The 

folio reads there is more sense, &c. STEEVENS. 

1 cast in his mood,~\ Ejected in his anger. JOHNSOX. 

so slight,] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, reads 
so light. MALONE. 

3 and speak parrot ?] A phrase signifying to act fool- 
ishly and childishly. <So Skelton : 

" These maidens, full mekely with many a divers flour, 
" Freshly they dress and make sweete my boure, 
" With spake parrot I pray you full courteously thei 
saye." WARBURTON. 

So, in Lyly's Woman in the Moon, 1597: 
" Thou pretty parrot, speak a while." 
These lines are wanting in the first quarto. STEBVENS. 

From Drunk, &c. to shadow, inclusively, is wanting in the 
quarto, 1622. By " speak parrot," surely the poet meant, 
" talk idly," and not, a 1 ? Dr. Warburton supposes, " act fool- 
ishly." MALONE. 

3.50 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

IAGO. Is it possible ? 

CAS. I remember a mass of things, but nothing 
distinctly ; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O, 
that men should put an enemy in their mouths, to 
steal away their brains ! that we should, with joy, 
revel, pleasure, and applause, transform ourselves 
into beasts ! 

IAGO. Why, but you are now well enough : How 
came you thus recovered ? 

CAS. It hath pleased the devil, drunkenness, to 
give place to the devil, wrath : one unperfectness 
shows me another, to make me frankly despise 

IAGO. Come, you are too severe a moraler : As 
the time, the place, and the condition of this coun- 
try stands, I could heartily wish this had not be- 
fallen ; but, since it is as it is, mend it for your 
own good. 

CAS. I will ask him for my place again ; he shall 
tell me, I am a drunkard ! Had I as many mouths 
as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. 
To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and 
presently a beast ! O strange ! Every inordinate 
cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil. 

IAGO. Come, come, good wine is a good fami- 
liar creature, if it be well used ; exclaim no more 
against it. And, good lieutenant, I think, you 
think I love you. 

CAS. I have well approved it, sir. I drunk ! 

IAGO. You, or any man living, may be drunk 
at some time, man. I'll tell you what you shall 
do. Our general's wife is now the general ; I may 
say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and 
given up h imself to the contemplation, mark, and 

5c\ ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 351 

denotement of her parts and graces : 4 confess 
yourself freely to her ; importune her ; she'll help 
to put you in your place again : she is of so free, 
so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, that she 
holds it a vice in her goodness, not to do more than 
she is requested : This broken joint, 5 between you 
and her husband, entreat her to splinter ; and, my 
fortunes against any lay 6 worth naming, this crack 
of your love shall grow stronger than it was before. 

CAS. You advise me well. 

IAGO. I protest, in the sincerity of love, and ho- 
nest kindness. 

CAS. I think it freely ; and, betimes in the 
morning, I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona 
to undertake for me : I am desperate of my for- 
tunes, if they check me here. 

IAGO. You are in the right. Good night, lieu- 
tenant ; I must to the watch. 

-for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the 

contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and graces : 
POld copies det'otement.] I remember, it is said of Antony, 
in the beginning of his tragedy, that he who used to fix his eyes 
altogether on the dreadful ranges of war : 

" now bends, now turns, 

" The office and devotion of their view 
' " Upon a tawny front." 

This is finely expressed ; but I cannot persuade myself that 
our poet would ever have said, any one devoted himself to the 
denotement of any thing. All the copies agree ; but the mistake 
certainly arose from a single letter being turned upside down at 
press. THEOBALD. 

The same mistake has happened in Hamlet, and in several 
other places. See Vol. V. p. 191, n. 3. MALONE. 

5 This broken joint,] Thus the folio. The original copy 

reads This braixl. MALONE. 

any lay ] i. e. any bet, any wager. RITSOV. 

So, in Cymbeline; " I will have it no lay." STEEVEN*.?. 

352 OTHELLO, ACT u. 

CAS. Good night, honest lago. \_Exit CASSIO. 

IAGO. And what's he then, that says, I play 

the villain ? 

When this advice is free, 7 I give, and honest, 
Probal 8 to thinking, and (indeed) the course 
To win the Moor again ? For 'tis most easy 
The inclining Desdemona 9 to subdue 
In any honest suit ; she's fram'd as fruitful 1 
As the free elements. 2 And then for her 
To win the Moor, were't to renounce his baptism, 
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin, 
His soul is so enfetter' d to her love, 
That she may make, unmake, do what she list, 
Even as her appetite shall play the god 
With his weak function. ' How am I then a villain, 
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course, 3 

7 this advice is free, ~\ This counsel has an appearance of 

honest openness, of frank good-will. JOHNSON. 

Rather gratis, not paid for, as his advice to Roderigo was. 


8 Probal ] Thus the old editions. There may be such a 
contraction of the word probable, but I have not met with it in 
any other book. Yet abbreviations as violent occur in our an- 
cient writers, and especially in the works of Churchyard. 


9 The inclining Desdemona ] Inclining here signifies com- 
pliant. MALONE. 

1 fruitful 3 Corresponding to benignus, apSovof. 


9 as fruitful 

As the free elements.'} Liberal, bountiful, as the elements, 
out of which all things are produced. JOHNSON. 

3 to this parallel course,~] Parallel, for even; because 

parallel lines run even and equidistant. WARBURTON. 

So, in our author's 70th Sonnet : 

" Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth, 
" And delves the parallel* in beauty's brow." 


ac. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 353 

Directly to his good ? Divinity of hell 1 

When devils will their blackest sins put on, 

They do suggest 4 at first with heavenly shows, 

As I do now : For while this honest fool 

Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes, 

And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, 

I'll pour this pestilence 5 into his ear, 

That she repeals him 6 for her body's lust j 

And, by how much she strives to do him good, 

She shall undo her credit with the Moor. 

So will I turn her virtue into pitch ; 

And out of her own goodness make the net, 

That shall enmesh them all. 7 Hownow, Roderigo? 


ROD. I do follow here in the chace, not like a 
hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. 
My money is almost spent ; I have been to-night 
exceedingly well cudgelled ; and, I think, the issue 
will be I shall have so much experience for my 

Parallel course; i. e. course level, and even with his design. 


4 When devils tvill their blackest sins put on, 

Thei/ do suggest ] When devils mean to instigate men to 
commit the most atrocious crimes. So, in Hamlet: 

" Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause." 
To put on has already occurred twice in the present play, in 
this sense. To suggest in old language is to tempt. 
See Vol. IV. p. 232, n. 5. MA LONE. 

5 I 1 II pour this pestilence ] Pestilence, for poison. 


6 That she repeals him ] That is, recalls him. JOHNSON. 

7 That shall enmesh them all.] A metaphor from taking birds 
in meshes. POPE. 

Why not from the taking fish, for which purpose nets are 
more frequently used? M. MASON, 

VOL. XIX. 2 .A 

354 OTHELLO, ACT n. 

pains : and so, with no money at all, and a little 
more wit, 8 return to Venice. 

IAQQ. How poor are they, that have not pa- 
tience ! 

What wound did ever heal, but by degrees ? 
Thou know'st, we work by wit, and not by witch- 
craft ; 

And wit depends on dilatory time. 
Boes't not go well ? Gassio hath beaten thee, 
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio i 
Though other things grow fair against the sun, 
Yet fruits, that blossom first, will first be ripe : 9 
Content thyself a while. By the mass, 'tis morn- 
ins: ; l 

* a little more IK it,] Thus the folio. The first quarto 

reads and with that wit. STEEVENS. 

9 Though other things grow fair against the sun, 

Yet fruits, that blossom first, will Jlrst be ripe:] Of many 
different things, all planned with the same art, and promoted 
with the same diligence, some must succeed sooner than others, 
by the order of nature. Every thing cannot be done at once ; 
we must proceed by the necessary gradation. We are not to 
despair of slow events any more than of tardy fruits, while the 
causes are in regular progress, and the fruits grow fair against 
the sun. Sir Thomas Hanmer has not, I think, rightly con- 
ceived the sentiment ; for he reads : 

Those fruits which blossom Jirst, are not first ripe. 
I have therefore drawn it out at length, for there are few to. 
whom that will be easy which was difficult to Sir T. Hanmer. 


The blossoming^ or fair appearance of things, to which lago 
alludes, is, the removal of Cassio. As their plan had already 
blossomed, so there was good ground for expecting that it would 
soon be ripe. lago does not, I think, mean to compare their 
scheme to tardy fruits, as Dr. Johnson seems to have supposed. 


1 By the mass, 'tis morning;] Here we have one of the 

numerous arbitrary alterations made by the Master of the Revels 
in the playhouse copies, from which a great part of the folio was 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 355 

Pleasure, and action, make the hours seem short. 
Retire thee ; go where thou art billeted : 
Away, I say ; thou shalt know more hereafter : 
Nay, get thee gone. [Exit ROD.] Two things are 

to be done, 

My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress ; 
I'll set her on ; 

Myself, the while, to draw 2 the Moor apart, 
And bring him jump when 3 he may Cassio find 
Soliciting his wife : Ay, that's the way ; 
Dull not device by coldness and delay. [Exit, 

printed. It reads In troth, 'tis morning. See The Historical 
Account of the English Stage, Vol. III. MA LONE. 

2 to draw ] Thus the old copies ; and this reading is 

consistent with the tenor of the present interrupted speech. lago 
is still debating with himself concerning the means to perplex 
Othello. STEEVENS. 

Myself, the while, to draw ] The old copies have awhile. 
Mr. Theobald made the correction. 

The modern editors read Myself, the while, will draw. But 
the old copies are undoubtedly right. An imperfect sentence 
was intended. lago is ruminating on his plan. MALONE. 

3 bring him jump when ] Unexpectedly: an expres- 
sion taken from the bound, or start, with which we are shocked, 
at the sudden and unlooked-for appearance of any offensive 
object. HENLEY. 

Jump ivhen y I believe, signifies no more than just at the time 
:ohen. So, in Hamlet: 

" Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour." 
See Vol. XVIII. p. 12, n. 7. STEEVENS. 

356 OTHELLO, ACT m. 


Before the Castle. 
Enter CASSIO, and some Musicians. 

CAS. Masters, play here, I will content your 


Something that's brief; and bid good-morrow, 
general. 4 \_Musick. 

Enter Clown. 

CLO. Why, masters, have your instruments been 
at Naples, that they speak i'the nose thus ? 5 

1 M us. How, sir, how ! 

CLO. Are these, I pray you, called wind instru- 
ments ? 

I Mus. Ay, marry, are they, sir. 

4 and bid good-morrow, general.'] It is the usual prac- 
tice of the waits, or nocturnal minstrels, in several towns in the 
North of England, after playing a tune or two, to cry, " Good- 
morrow, maister such a one, good-morrow, dame," adding the 
hour, and state of the weather. It should seem to have prevailed 
at Stratford-upon-Avon. They formerly used hautboys, which 
are the wind-instruments here meant. RITSON. 

3 Why, masters, have your instruments been at Naples, that 
they speak i'the nose thus ?] So, in The Merchant of Venice: 
" And others, when the bagpipe sings i'the nose, ." 

Rabelais somewhere speaks of " a blow over the nose with a 
Naples cowl-staff." STEEVENS. 

The venereal disease first appeared at the siege of Naples. 


sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 3tf 

CLO. O, thereby hangs a tail. 

1 Mus. Whereby hangs a tale, sir ? 

CLO. Marry, sir, by many a wind instrument that 
I know. But, masters, here's money for you : and 
the general so likes your musick, that he desires 
you, of all loves, 6 to make no more noise with it. 

1 Mus. Well, sir, we will not. 

CLO. If you have any musick that may not be 
heard, to't again : but, as they say, to hear musick, 
the general does not greatly care. 

1 Mus. We have none such, sir. 

CLO. Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll 
away: v Goj vanish into air ; 8 away. 

\_Exeunt Musicians. 

CAS. Dost thou hear, my honest friend ? 

CLO. No, I hear not your honest friend j I hear 

CAS. Pr'ythee, keep up thy quillets. 9 There's a 
poor piece of gold for thee : if the gentlewoman 
that attends the general's wife, be stirring, tell her, 
there's one Cassio entreats her a little favour of 
speech : Wilt thou do this ? 

CLO. She is stirring, sir ; if she will stir hither, I 
shall seem to notify unto her. [Exit. 

6 of all loves,"] The folio reads -for love's sake. The 

phrase in the text occurs also in The Merry JVives of Windsor. 
See Vol. V. p. 88, n. 3. STEEVENS. 

7 for I'll aicay:~\ Sir T. Hanmer reads and hie avray. 


8 vanish into air;] So, the folio and one of the quartos. 

The eldest quarto reads Vanish away. STEEVENS. 

% quillets.] See Vol. XVIII. p. S27, n. 7. MAI.OSE. 

358 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

Enter IAGO. 

CAS. Do, good my friend. In happy time, lago. 
IAGO. You have not been a-bed then ? 

CAS. Why, no ; the day had broke 
Before we parted. I have made bold, lago, 
To send in to your wife : My suit to her 
Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona 
Procure me some access* 

IAGO. I'll send her to you presently j 

And I'll devise a mean to draw the Moor 
Out of the way, that your converse and business 
May be more free. [Exit, 

CAS. I humbly thank you for't. I never knew 
A Florentine more kind and honest. 1 

Enter EMILIA. 
EMIL. Good morrow, good lieutenant : I am sorry 

1 1 never knew 

A Florentine more kind and honest.~] In consequence of this 
line, a doubt has been entertained concerning the country of 
lago. Cassio was undoubtedly a Florentine, as appears, by the 
first scene of the play, where he is expressly called one. That 
lago was a Venetian, is proved by a speech in the third scene of 
this Act, and by what he says in the fifth Act, after having 
stabbed Roderigo : 

" lago. Alas, my dear friend and countryman, Roderigo ! 
" Gra. What, of Venice ? 
" lago. Yes." 

All that Cassio means to say in the passage before us is, I 
never experienced more honesty and kindness even in any one 
of my own countrymen, than in this man. 

Mr. Steevens has made the same observation in another place. 


It was made in edit. 1778. STEEVENS* 

sa i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 359 

For your displeasure ; 2 but all will soon be well. 
The general, and his wife, are talking of it; 
And she speaks for you stoutly: The Moor replies, 
That he, you hurt, is of great fame in Cyprus, 
And great affinity; and that, in wholesome wisdom, 
He might not but refuse you : but, he protests, he 

loves you ; 

And heeds no other suitor, but his likings, 
To take the saf 'st occasion by the front, 3 
To bring you in again. 

CAS. Yet, I beseech you,- 

If you think fit, or that it may be done, 
Give me advantage of some brief discourse 
With Desdeinona alone. 

EMIL. Pray you, come in ; 

I will bestow you where you shall have time 
To speak your bosom freely. 

CAS. I am much bound to you. 4 


2 For your displeasure ;] i. e. the displeasure you have in- 
curred from Othello. STEEVENS. 

3 To take the saf'st occasion by the front,'} This line is 
wanting in the folio. STEEVENS. 

* I am much bound to you.'] This speech is omitted in the first 
quarto. STEEVENS.- 

360 OTHELLO, ACT m, 


A Room in the Castle. 
Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Gentlemen, 

OTH. These letters give, lago, to the pilot - y 
And, by him, do my duties to the state : 5 
That done, I will be walking on the works, 
Repair there to me. 

IAGO. Well, my good lord, 111 do't. 

OTH. This fortification, gentlemen, shall we 
see't ? 

GENT. We'll wait upon your lordship. [Exeunt, 


Before the Castle. 

DES. Be thou assur'd, good Cassio, I will do 
All my abilities in thy behalf. 

EMIL. Good madam, do ; I know it grieves my 

As if the case were his. 6 

4 to the state:] Thus the quarto, 1622. Folio, to the 

senate. MALONE. 

6 As if the case were his.~] The folio reads As if the cause 
were his. STEEVENS. 

sc.m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 361 

DES. O, that's an honest fellow. Do not doubt, 

But I will have my lord and you again 

A f 11 * J & 

As friendly as you were. 

CAS. Bounteous madam, 

Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio, 
He's never any thing but your true servant. 

DES. O, sir, I thank you : 7 You do love my lord : 
You have known him long; and be you well assur'd, 
He shall in strangeness stand no further off 
Than in a politick distance. 

CAS. Ay, but, lady, 

That policy may either last so long, 8 
Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet, 
Or breed itself so out of circumstance, 
That, I being absent, and my place supplied, 
My general will forget my love and service. 

DES. Do not doubt that ; before Emilia here. 
I give thee warrant of thy place : assure thee, 
If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it 
To the last article : my lord shall never rest ; 
I'll watch him tame, 9 and talk him out of patience; 

7 O, sir, I thank you:'] Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio 
reads / knoiu't, I thank you. MALONE. 

8 That policy may either last so long,~\ He may either of him- 
self think it politick to keep me out of office so long, or he may 
be satisfied with such slight reasons, or so many accidents may 
make him think my re-admission at that time improper, that I 
may be quite forgotten. JOHNSON. 

9 I'll natch him tame,~] It is said, that the ferocity of beasts, 
insuperable and irreclaimable by any other means, is subdued by 
keeping them from sleep. JOHNSON. 

Hawks and other birds are tamed by keeping them from sleep, 
and it is to the management of these that Shakspeare alludes. 
So, in Cartwright's Lady Errant : 

" . we'll keep you, 

" As they do hawks, matching until you leave 

" Your wildness." 

362 OTHELLO, AC* tn* 

His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift; 

I'll intermingle every thing he does 

With Cassio's suit : Therefore be merry, Cassio; 

For thy solicitor shall rather die, 

Than give thy cause away. 

Enter OTHELLO and IAGO, at a distance. 

EMIL. Madam, here comes 

My lord. 

CAS. Madam, I'll take my leave, 

DE$. Why, stay^ 

And hear me speak. 

CAS. Madam, not now ; I am very ill at ease, 
tlnfit for mine own purposes. 

DES. Well, well, 1 

Do your discretion. [Exit CASSIO,, 

IAGO. Ha ! I like not that. 

OTH. What dost thou say ? 

IAGO. Nothing, my lord: or if I know not what. 

OTH. Was not that Cassio, parted from my wife ? 

IAGO. Cassio, my lord ? No, sure, I cannot think 


That he would steal away so guilty-like, 
Seeing you coming. 

Again, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606: " your only way to deal 
with women and parrots, is to keep them unking." 

Again, in Sir W. D'Avenant's Just Italian, 1630: 
" They've watch'd my hardy violence so tame." 

Again, in The Booke of Haukynge, Huntyng, &c. bl. 1. n<r 
date : " Wake her all nyght, and on the morrowe all daye, and 
then she will be previ enough to be reclaymed." STEEVENS. 

1 Well, well,] The adverb ivell, has been repeated for the 
sake of measure. STEEVENS. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 363 

OTH. I do believe 'twas he. 

DES. How now, my lord ? 
I have been talking with a suitor here, 
A man that languishes in your displeasure. 

OTH. Who is't, you mean ? 

DES. Why, your lieutenant Cassio. Good my 


If I have any grace, or power to move you, 
His present reconciliation take j 2 
For, if he be not one that truly loves you, 
That errs in ignorance, and not in cunning, ' ; 
I have no judgment in an honest face : 
I pr'ythee, call him back. 

OTH. Went he hence now r 

DES. Ay, sooth ; so humbled, 
That he hath left part of his grief with me ; 
I suffer with him. 4 Good love, call him back. 

OTH. Not now, sweet Desdemona ; some othe? 

DES. But shall't be shortly ? 

OTH. The sooner, sweet, for you. 

* His present reconciliation take ;] Cassio was to be reconciled 
to his general, not his general to him, therefore take cannot be 
right. We should read make. WARBURTON. 

To take his reconciliation, may be to accept the submission- 
which he makes in order to be reconciled. JOHNSON. 

3 and not in cunning,] Cunning, for design, or purpose, 

simply. WARBURTON. 

Perhaps rather for knowledge, the ancient sense of the word. 
So, in Measure for Measure: " In the boldness of my cunning 
I will lay myself in hazard.'* The opposition which seems to 
have been intended between cunning and ignorance, favours 
this interpretation. MALONE. 

4 I suffer ivith him.'] Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio reads- 
To suffer with him. MALONE. 


DBS. Shall't be to-night at supper ? 

OTH. No, not to-night. 

DES. To-morrow dinner then ? 

OTH. I shall not dine at home ; 

I meet the captains at the citadel. 

DES. Why then, to-morrow night ; or Tuesday 

morn ; 

Or Tuesday noon, or night; or Wednesday morn ; 
I pray thee, name the time ; but let it not 
Exceed three days : in faith, he's penitent ; 
And yet his trespass, in our common reason, 
(Save that, they say, the wars must make examples 
Out of their best, 5 ) is not almost a fault 
To incur a private check : When shall he come ? 
Tell me, Othello. I wonder in my soul, 
AVhat you could ask me, that I should deny, 
Or stand so mammering on. 6 What! Michael Cassio, 

3 the ivars must make examples 

Out of their best,] The severity of military discipline must 
not spare the best men of their army, when their punishment 
may afford a wholesome example. JOHNSON. 

The old copies read her best. Mr. Rowe made this neces- 
sary emendation. MALONE. 

G so mammering on.~\ To hesitate, to stand in suspense. 

The word often occurs in old English writings, and probably 
takes its original from the French M* Amour, which men were 
apt often to repeat when they were not prepared to give a direct 
answer. HANMER. 

I find the same word in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: " I stand 
in doubt, or in a mamorynge between hope and fear." 

Again, in Thomas Drant's translation of the third satire of 
the second Book of Horace, 1567 : 

'* Yea, when she daygnes to send for him, then mamer- 

yng he doth doute." 

Again, Henry Wotton's address " to the favorable and well 
willing reader," prefixed to A courtlie Controversie of Cupid's 
Cautels, &c. 4to. 1578 : " My quill remained (as men say) in a 

sc. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 36,5 

That came a wooing with you; 7 and many a time, 8 
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,' 

OTH. Pr'ythee, no more : let him come when 

he will ; 
I will deny thee nothing. 

DES. Why, this is not a boon ; 

J 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 9 and difficulty, 
And fearful to be granted. 

mamorie, quivering in my quaking fingers, before I durst pre- 
sume to publishe these my fantasies." 

Again, in Arthur Hall's translation of the fourth Iliad, (4-tov 

" Hector himself 

" Doth mamer eke what's best to do, least" &c. 


Again, in Lyly's Euphues, 1580: " neither stand in a 
mamer ing, whether it be best to depart or not." The quarto, 
J622, reads muttering. Mammering is the reading of the 
folio. M ALONE. 

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. STEEVEXS. 

See the notes on the passage alluded to, p. 250, n. 7. 


8 many a time, ,] Old copies, redundantly, and without 

the least improvement of the sense, so many a time. The com- 
positor had accidentally repeated 50, from the preceding line. 


-full of poize ] i. e. of weight. So, in The Dumb 

Knight, 1633:' 

" They are of poize sufficient 

366 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

OTH. I will deny thee nothing : 

Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this, 
To leave me but a little to myself. 

DES. Shall I deny you ? . no : Farewell, my lord. 

OTH. Farewell, my Desdemona : I will come to 
thee straight. 

DES. Emilia, come : >be it as your fancies teach 

Whate'er you be, I am obedient. 

\JExit) with EMILIA. 

OTH. Excellent wretch ! Perdition catch my soul, 
But I do love thee ! l and when I love thee not, 
Chaos is come again. 2 

Again : 

" But we are all prest down with other poize." 


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 Eng- 
land, 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 si- 
tuation 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 Bro- 
ther, 1630, and with the same meaning. It occurs twice : " Ex- 
cellent "wretch ! with a timorous modesty she stifleth up her ut- 

1 am assured by Dr. Farmer, that wretch is provincial in Staf- 
fordshire for a young woman. STEEVENS. 

2 when I love thee not, 

Chaos is come again.'] When my love is for a moment sus- 
pended 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 : 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 367 

IAGO. My noble lord, * 

OTH. What dost thou say, lago ? 

IAGO. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my 

Know of your love ? 

OTH. He did, from first to last : Why dost thou 

IAGO. But for a satisfaction of my thought ; 
No further harm. 

When I cease to love thee, the "world is at an end ; i. e. there re- 
mains nothing valuable or important. The first explanation 
may be more elegant, the second is perhaps more easy. Shak- 
speare 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." 


Tliis 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 io 
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. Mu- 
retus, 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 ? 
" Ante, vel istius mundi compage soluta, 

" 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 

" The violation of my faith, and then 

" Let nature crush the sides o'the earth together, 

" And mar the seeds within !" MALONE. 

There is the same thought in Buchanan : 

" Cesset amor, pariter cessabunt foedera rerum ; 
" In chaos antiquum cnncta elcmenta ruent" 

Vol. II. 400, 1725, -ko. HOLT WHITE. 

368 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

OTH. Why of thy thought, lago ? 

IAGO. I did not think, he had been acquainted 
with her. 

OTH. O, yes ; and went between us very oft. 
IAGO. Indeed? 

OTH. Indeed ! ay, indeed : Discern'st thou 

aught in that ? 4 
Is he not honest? 

IAGO. Honest, my lord ? 

OTH. Ay, honest. 5 

IAGO. My lord, for aught I know. 

OTH. What dost thou think ? 

IAGO. Think, my lord ? 

OTH. Think, my lord ! 

By heaven, he echoes me, 
As if there were some monster in his thought 
Too hideous to be shown. 6 Thou dost mean some- 
thing : 

* lago. Indeed? 

Oth. Indeed! ay, indeed: &c.] I cannot help supposing 
that this passage is interpolated, and originally stood thus : 
lago. Indeed! 

Oth. Indeed: Discern'st thou aught in that ? 

See the next note. STEEVENS. 

* 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 repe- 
tition beyond propriety. Mr. Malone has elsewhere the same 
remark. STEEVENS. 

'' 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. 

sc.m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 369 

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 my counsel 
In my whole course of wooing, thou cry'dst, In- 


And did'st contract and purse thy brow together, 
As if thou then had'st shut up in thy brain 
Some horrible conceit : If thou dost love me, 
Show me thy thought. 

IAGO. My lord, you know I love you. 

OTH. 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 


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. 7 

The folio reads : 

Alas, thou echost me, 

As if&c. . STEEVENS. 

This is one 'of the numerous alterations made in the folio copy 
by the licenser. MALONE. 

7 They are close denotements, "working from the heart, 

That passion cannot rule.~\ Thus the earliest quarto. But 
fet Dr. Warburton be heard in defence of " cold dilations," the 
reading of the second folio. 

I should willingly, however, have adopted an emendation pro- 
posed by Dr. Johnson, in the subsequent note, could I have dis- 
covered that the word delation was ever used in its Roman 
sense of accusation, during the time of Shakspeare. Bacon fre- 
quently employs it, but always to signify carriage or conveyance. 


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 : 
VOL. XIX. 2 B 

370 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

I AGO. For Michael Cassio, 

I dare be sworn, I think that he is honest. 
OTH. I think so too. 

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 y e 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 : 

" 1 warne you without delacion, 

" That ye make serch thurgh out all my region." 


The old copies give, dilations, except that the earlier quarto 
has denotements; which was the author's first expression, after- 
wards changed by him, not to dilations, but to delations; to 
occult and secret accusations, working involuntarily from the 
heart, which, though resolved to conceal the fault, cannot rule 
(ts passion of resentment. JOHNSON. 

They are close denotements, &c.] 5. e. indications, or reco- 
veries, not openly revealed, but involuntarily working from the 
heart, which cannot rule and suppress its feelings. 

The folio reads They are close dilations; but nothing is got 
by the change, for dilations was undoubtedly used in the sense of 
dilatcments, or large and full expositions. See Minsheu's Diet, 
1617 : " To dilate or make large." 

Dilatement is used in the sense of dilation by Lodge, our 
poet's contemporary : " After all this foul weather follows a calm 
dilatement of others too forward harmfulness." Rosalynde, or 
Euphues Golden Legacie, 4to. 1592. 

Dr. Johnson very elegantly reads They are close delations. 

But the objection to this conjectural reading is, that there is 
strong ground for believing that the word was not used in Shak- 
speare's age. It is not found in any Dictionary of the time, that 
I have seen, nor has any passage been quoted in support of it. 
On the contrary, we find in Minsheu the verb, " To delate" 
not signifying, to accuse, but thus interpreted : " to speak at large 
of any thing, vid. to dilate:" so that if even delations were the 
word of the old copy, it would mean no more than dilations. To- 
the reading of the quarto no reasonable objection can be made. 


sc.m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 371 

I AGO. Men should be what they seem ; 

Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none I 8 

OTH. Certain, men should be what they seem. 

IAGO. Why then, 

I think that Cassio 9 is an honest man. 

OTH. Nay, yet there's more in this : 
I pray thee, speak to me as to thy thinkings, 
The worst of words. 

IAGO. Good my lord, pardon me ; 

Though I am bound to every act of duty, 
I am not bound to that all slaves are free to. 1 
Utter my thoughts ? Why, say, they are vile and 


As where's that palace, whereinto foul things 
Sometimes intrude not ? 2 who has a breast so pure, 
But some uncleanly apprehensions 
Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit 

8 Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none !] I be- 
lieve the meaning is, 'would they might no longer seem, or bear 
the shape of men. JOHNSON. 

May not the meaning be : 'Would they might not seem honest! 


9 that Cassio ] For the sake of measure, I have ven- 
tured to insert the pronoun that. STEEVENS. 

1 to that all slaves are free to.] I am not bound to do 

that, which even slaves are not bound to do. MALONE. 

So, in Cymbeline: 

" O, Pisanio, 

" Every good servant does not all commands, 
" No bond but to do just ones." STEEVENS. 

there's that palace, whereinto foul things 

Sometimes intrude not?"] So, in The Rape ofLucrece: 

" no perfection is so absolute, 

" That some impurity doth not pollute." MALONE. 

2 B 2 

372 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

With meditations lawful ? 3 

OTH.Thou dost conspire against thyfriend, lago, 
If thou but think'st him wrong' d, and mak'st his ear 
A stranger to thy thoughts. 

IAGO. I do beseech you, 

Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess, 4 

3 toko has a breast so pure, 

But some uncleanly apprehensions 

Keep leets, and law-days, and in session sit 
With meditations lawful ?~\ Leets, and law-days, are syno- 
nymous terms: " Leet (says Jacob, in his Law Dictionary,) is 
otherwise called a law-day." They are there explained to be 
courts, or meetings of the hundred, " to certify the king of the 
good manners, and government, of the inhabitants," and to en- 
quire of all offences that are not capital. The poet's meaning 
will now be plain: Who has a breast so little apt to form ill 
opinions of others, but that foul suspicion will sometimes mix with 
his fairest and most candid thoughts, and erect a court in his mind, 
to enquire of the offences apprehended. STEEVENS. 

Who has so virtuous a breast that some uncharitable surmises 
and impure conceptions will not sometimes enter into it ; hold a 
session there as in a regular court, and " bench by the side" of 
authorised and lawful thoughts ? In our poet's 30th Sonnet we 
find the same imagery : 

" When to the sessions of sweet silent thought 
" I summon up remembrance of things past." 

*' A leet," says Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616, " is 
a court or law-day, holden commonly every half year." To keep 
a leet was the verbum juris; the title of one of the chapters in 
Kitchin's book on Courts, being, " The manner of keeping a 
court-leet." The leet, according to Lambard, was a court or 
jurisdiction above the wapentake or hundred, comprehending 
three or four hundreds. The jurisdiction of this court is now in 
most places merged in that of the County Court. MALONE. 

4 I do beseech you, 

Though 7, perchance, am vicious in my guess, ~] Not to men- 
tion that, in this reading, the sentence is abrupt and broken, it 
is likewise highly absurd. I beseech you give yourself no un- 
easiness from my unsure observance, though I am vicious in my 
guess. For his being an ill guesser was a reason why Othello 
should not be uneasy : in propriety, therefore, it should either 
have been, though I am not vicious, or because I am vicious. It 
appears then we should read : 

sc. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 373 

As, I confess, it is my nature's plague 
To spy into abuses ; and, oft> my jealousy 

/ do beseech you, 

Think, /, perchance, am vicious in my guess, . 

Which makes the sense pertinent and perfect. WARBURTON. 

That abruptness in the speech which Dr. Warburton complains 
of, and would alter, may be easily accounted for. lago seems 
desirous by this ambiguous hint, Though I to inflame the jea- 
lousy of Othello, which he knew would be more effectually done 
in this manner, than by any expression that bore a determinate 
meaning. The jealous Othello would fill up the pause in the 
speech, which lago turns off at last to another purpose, and find 
a more certain cause of discontent, and a greater degree of tor- 
ture arising from the doubtful consideration how it might have 
concluded, than he could have experienced had the whole of what 
lie enquired after been reported to him with every circumstance 
of aggravation. 

We may suppose him imagining to himself, that lago mentally 
continued the thought thus, Though I knoiv more than I choose 
to speak of. 

Vicious in my guess does not mean that he is an ill guesser, 
but that he is apt to put the worst construction on every thing 
he attempts to account for. 

Out of respect for the subsequent opinions of Mr. Henley and 
Mr. Malone, I have altered my former regulation of this passage ; 
though I am not quite convinced that any change was needful. 


I believe nothing is here wanting, but to regulate the punc- 
tuation : 

lago. I do beseech you 

Though I, perchance, am vicious in my guess, 
As, I confess, it is my nature's plague 
To spy into abuses; and, oft, my jealousy 
Shapes faults that are not, &c. HENLEY. 

The reader should be informed, that the mark of abruption 
which I have placed after the word you, was placed by Mr. 
Steevens after the word perchance : and his note, to which I do 
not subscribe, is founded on that regulation. I think the poet 
intended that lago should break off at the end of the first hemi- 
stich, as well as in the middle of the fifth line. What he would 
have added, it is not necessary very nicely to examine. 

The adversative particle, though, in the second line, does not 
indeed appear very proper ; but in an abrupt and studiously 

374 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

Shapes faults that are not, I entreat you then, 5 
From one that so imperfectly conjects, 
You'd take no notice ; nor build yourself a trouble 
Out of his scattering and unsure observance : 
It were not for your quiet, nor your good, 
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom, 
To let you know my thoughts. 

OTH. What dost thou mean ? 

IAGO. Good name, in man, and woman, dear my 


Is the immediate jewel of their souls : ( 

Who steals my purse, steals trash j 'tis something, 

nothing; 6 

clouded sentence like the present, where more is meant to be 
conveyed than meets the ear, strict propriety may well be dis- 
pensed with. The word perchance, if strongly marked in speak- 
ing, would sufficiently show that the speaker did not suppose 
himself vicious in his guess. 

By the latter words, lago, I apprehend, means only, " though 
I perhaps am mistaken, led into an errour by my natural dispo- 
sition, which is apt to shape faults that have no existence." 


5 / entreat you then, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1622. The 

folio reads : 

- and of, my jealousy 
Shapes faults that are not] that your wisdom 
From one that so imperfectly conceits, 
Would take no notice. MALONE. 

To conject, i. e. to conjecture, is a word used by other writers. 
So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: 

" Now reason I, or conject with myself." 
Again : 

" I cannot forget thy saying, or thy conjecting words." 


Good name, in man, and 'woman, dear my lord, 
Is the immediate jewel of their souls: 

Who steals my purse, steals trash ; &c.] The sacred writings 
were here perhaps in our poet's thoughts : " A good name is 
rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour than 
silver and gold ." Proverbs, ch. xxii. 1. MALONE. 

47. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 375 

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thou- 
sands ; 

But he, that filches from me my good name, 
Robs me of that, which not enriches him, 
And makes me poor indeed. 

OTH. By heaven, I'll know thy thought. 

IAGO. You cannot, if my heart were in your 

Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody. 

OTH. Ha ! 

IAGO. O, beware, my lord, of jealousy ; 
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock 
The meat it feeds on : 7 That cuckold lives in bliss, 

7 'which doth mock 

The meat it feeds on:~\ i. e. loaths that which nourishes and 
sustains it. This being a miserable state, lago bids him beware 
of it. The Oxford editor reads : 

ivhich doth make 

The meat it feeds on. 

Implying that its suspicions are unreal and groundless, which is 
the very contrary to what he would here make his general think, 
as appears from what follows : 

That cuckold lives in bliss, &c. 

In a word, the villain is for fixing him jealous : and therefore 
bids him beware of jealousy, not that it was an unreasonable, but 
a miserable state ; and this plunges him into it, as we see by his 
reply, which is only : 

" O misery !" WARBURTON. 

I have received Hamner's emendation ; because to mock, does 
not signify to loath; and because, when lago bids Othello be- 
ware of jealousy, the green-ey'd monster, it is natural to tell why 
he should beware, and for caution he gives him two reasons, 
that jealousy often creates its own cause, and that, when the 
causes are real, jealousy is misery. JOHNSON. 

In this place, and some others, to mock seems the same with 
to mammock. FARMER. 

If Shakspeare had written a green-ey'd monster, we might 
have supposed him to refer to some creature existing only in his 

376 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger ; 

particular imagination ; but the green-ey'd monster seems to have 
reference to an object as familiar to his readers as to himself. 

It is known that the tiger kind have green-eyes, and always 
play with the victim to their hunger, before they devour it. So, 
in our author's Tarquin and Lucrece: 

" Like foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally, 

<( While in his hold-fast foot the weak mouse panteth .' r 
Thus, a jealous husband, who discovers no certain cause why 
he may be divorced, continues to sport with the woman whom 
he suspects, and, on more certain evidence, determines to punish. 
There is no beast that can be literally said to make its own food, 
and therefore I am unwilling to receive the emendation of Sir 
Thomas Hanmer, especially as I flatter myself that a glimpse of 
meaning may be produced from the old reading. 

One of the ancient senses of the verb to mock, is to amuse, 
to play with. Thus, in A Discourse of Gentlemen lying in Lon- 
don that were better keep Home at Home in their Country, 1593 : 

" A fine deuise to keepe poore Kate in health, 

" A pretty toy to mock an ape withal." 

i. e. a pretty toy to divert an ape, for an ape to divert himself 
with. The same phrase occurs in Marston's Satires, the ninth 
of the third Book being intitled " Here's a toy to MOCKE an 
ape," &c. i. e. afford an ape materials for sport, furnish him with 
a plaything, though perhaps at his own expence, as the phrase 
may in this instance be ironically used. 

In Antony and Cleopatra, the contested word mock, occurs 
again : 

tell him 

" He mocks the pauses that he makes." 

i. e. he plays wantonly with those intervals of time which he 
should improve to his own preservation. 

Should such an explanation be admissible, the advice given 
by lago will amount to this ; Beware, my lord, of yielding to a 
passion which as yet has no proofs to justify its excess. Think 
how the interval between suspicion and certainty must be Jilled. 
Though you doubt her Jidelity, you cannot yet refuse her your 
bed, or drive her from your heart ; but, like the capricious savage, 
must continue to sport with one whom you wait for an opportunity 
to destroy. 

A similar idea occurs in All's well that ends well: 

" so lust doth play 

" With what it loaths." 
Such is the only sense I am able to draw from the original text. 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 377 
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er, 

What I have said, may be liable to some objections, but I have 
nothing better to propose. That jealousy is a monster which 
often creates the suspicions on which it feeds, may be well ad- 
mitted, according to Sir Thomas Hanmer's proposition ; but is 
it the monster? (i.e. the well-known and conspicuous animal) 
or whence has it green eyes ? Yellow is the colour which Shak- 
speare usually appropriates to jealousy. It must be acknow- 
ledged, that he afterwards characterizes it as 

" . a monster, 

" Begot upon itself, born on itself." 
but yet 

" What damned minutes tells he o'er," &c. 

is the best illustration of my attempt to explain the passage. To 
produce Sir Thomas Hanmer's meaning, a change in the text is- 
necessary. I am counsel for the old reading. STEEVENS. 

It is so difficult, if not impossible, to extract any sense from 
this passage as it stands, even by the most forced construction 
of it, and the slight amendment proposed by Hanmer, renders it 
so clear, elegant, and poetical, that I am surprized the editors 
hesitate in adopting it, and still more surprized they should re- 
ject it. As for Steevens's objection, that the definite article is 
used, not the indefinite, he surely need not be told in the very 
last of these plays, that Shakspeare did not regard such minute 
inaccuracies, which may be found in every play he wrote. 

When Steevens compares the jealous man, who continues to 
sport with the woman he suspects, and is determined to destroy, 
to the tiger who plays with the victim of his hunger, he forgets 
that the meat on which jealousy is supposed to feed, is not the 
woman who is the object of it, but the several circumstances of 
suspicion which jealousy itself creates, and which cause and 
nourish it. So Emilia, at the end of the third Act in answer to 
Desdemona, who, speaking of Othello's jealousy, says : 

" Alas the day ! I never gave him cause ;" 

" But jealous fools will not be answer'd so; 

" They are not jealous ever for the cause, 

" But jealous, for they are jealous ; 'tis a monster, 

" Begot upon itself, born on itself" 

This passage is a strong confirmation of Hanmer's reading. 
The same idea occurs in Massinger's Picture, where Matthias, 
speaking of the groundless jealousy he entertained of Sophia's 
possible inconstancy, says : 

378 OTHELLO, ACT in* 

"Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves! 8 

" but why should I nourish, 

" A fury here, and with imagined food, 
" Holding no real ground on which to raise 
" A building of suspicion she was ever, 
" Or can be false ?" 

Imagind food, is food created by imagination, the food that 
jealousy makes and feeds on. M. MASON. 

In order to make way for one alteration, Mr. M. Mason is 
forced to foist in another ; or else poor Shakspeare must be ar- 
raigned for a blunder of which he is totally guiltless. This gen- 
tleman's objections both to the text in its present state, and to 
Mr. Steevens's most happy illustration of it, originate entirely in 
his own misconception, and a jumble of figurative with literal 
expressions. To have been consistent with himself he should 
have charged Mr. Steevens with maintaining, that it was the 
property of a jealous husband, first to mock his WIFE, and after- 
wards to eat her. 

In Act V. the word mocks occurs in a sense somewhat similar 
to that in the passage before us : 

" Emil. O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love !" 


I think myself particularly indebted to Mr. Henley for the 
support he has given to my sentiments concerning this difficult 
passage ; and shall place more confidence in them since they 
have been found to deserve his approbation. STEEVENS. 

I have not the smallest doubt that Shakspeare wrote make, and 
have therefore inserted it in my text. The words make and 
mocke (for such was the old spelling) are often confounded in 
these plays, and I have assigned the reason in a note on Mea- 
sure for Measure, Vol. VI. p. 219, n. 2. 

Mr. Steevens in his paraphrase on this passage interprets the 
word mock by sport ; but in what poet or prose-writer, from 
Chaucer and Mandeville to this day, does the verb to mode sig- 
nify to sport with ? In the passage from Antony and Cleopatra, 
I have proved, I think, incontestably, from the metre, and from 
our poet's usage of this verb in other places, (in which it is 
followed by a personal pronoun,) that Shakspeare must have 

" Being so frustrate, tell him, he mocks us by 
" The pauses that he makes." 
See Vol. XVII. p. 257, n. 5. 

Besides; is it true as a general position, that jealousy (as jea- 
lousy) sports or plays faith the object of love (allowing this not 

x. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 379 
OTH. O misery ! 

very delicate interpretation of the words, the meat it feeds on, to 
be the true one) ? The position certainly is not true. It is Love, 
not Jealousy, that sports with the object of its passion ; nor can 
those circumstances which create suspicion, and which are the 
meat it feeds on, with any propriety be called the food of LOVE, 
when the poet has clearly pointed them out as the food or cause 
of JEALOUSY; giving it not only being, but nutriment. 

" There is no beast," it is urged, " that can literally be said 
to make its own food." It is indeed acknowledged, that jea- 
lousy is a monster which often creates the suspicions on which 
it feeds, but is it, we are asked, " the monster ? ( i. e. a well- 
known and conspicuous animal ; ) and whence has it green eyes ? 
bellow is the colour which Shaksptare appropriates to jealousy.'* 

To this I answer, that yellow is not the only colour which 
Shakspeare appropriates to jealousy, for we have in The Mer- 
chant of Venice: 

ff shuddering fear, and green-ey'd jealousy." 

and I suppose it will not be contended that he was there think- 
ing of any of the tiger kind. 

If our poet had written only " It is the green-ey'd monster ; 
beware of it ;" the other objection would hold good, and some 
particular monster, x;ar' s^o^v, must have been meant ; but the 
words, " It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth," &c. in my 
apprehension have precisely the same meaning, as if the poet 
had written, " It is that green-ey'd monster, which," &c. or, 
" it is a green-ey'd monster." He is the man in the world 
whom I would least wish to meet, is the common phraseology 
of the present day. 

When Othello says to lago in a former passage, " By heaven, 
he echoes me, as if there were some monster in his thought," 
does any one imagine that any animal whatever was meant ? 

The passage in a subsequent scene, to which Mr. Steevens 
has alluded, strongly supports the emendation which has been 

" jealousy will not be answer'd so ; 

" They are not ever jealous for the cause, 

" But jealous, for they are jealous ; 'tis a monster, 

" Begot upon itself, born on itself" 

It is, strictly speaking, as false that any monster can be begot, 
or born, on itself, as it is, that any monster (whatever may be 
the colour of its eyes, whether green or yellow,) can make its 
own food ; but, poetically, both are equally true of that mon- 
ster, JEALOUSY. Mr. Steevens seems to have been aware of 

380 OTHELLO, ACT lit. 

I AGO. Poor, and content, is rich, and rich enough j 9 
But riches, fineless, 1 is as poor as winter, 2 

this, and therefore has added the word literally: " No monster 
can be literally said to make its own food." 

It should always be remembered, that Shakspeare's allusions 
scarcely ever answer precisely on both sides ; nor had he ever 
any care upon this subject. Though he has introduced the word 
jnonster, when he talked of its making its oivn food, and being 
"begot by itself, he was still thinking of jealousy only, careless 
whether there was any animal in the world that would corre- 
spond with this description. 

That by the words, the meat it feeds on, is meant, not Desde- 
mona herself, as has been maintained, but pabulum zelolypice, 
may be likewise inferred from a preceding passage in which a 
kindred imagery is found : 

" That policy may either last so long, 
" Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet," &c. 
And this obvious interpretation is still more strongly con- 
firmed by Daniel's Rosamond, 1592, a poem which Shakspeare 
had diligently read, and has more than once imitated in Romeo 
and Juliet : 

" O Jealousy 

" 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. MA LONE. 

8 strongly loves !] Thus the quarto ; the folio 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 con- 
tent." MALONE. 

The same sentiment, which is sufficiently common, is ampli- 
fied by Dryden in his Indian Emperor: 

" We to ourselves will all our wishes grant ; 

" For nothing coveting, we nothing want." STEEVENS. 

1 But riches, Jtneless,~] Unbounded, ondless, unnumbered 
treasures. JOHNSON. 

*?.///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 381 

To him that ever fears he shall be poor : 
Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend 
From jealousy ! 

OTH. Why ? why is this ? 

Think'st thou, I'd make a life of jealousy, 
To follow still the changes of the moon 
With fresh suspicions ? No : to be once in doubt, 
Is once to be resolv'd : Exchange me for a goat, 
When I shall turn the business of my soul 
To such exsufflicate and blown surmises, 3 
Matching thy inference. 4 'Tis not to make me 


To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, 
Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well j 

* as poor as winter,] Finely expressed: winter pro- 
ducing no fruits. WARBURTON. 

3 To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,^ [ Sir Thomas Han- 
mer exsuffblate.'] This odd and far-fetched word was made yet 
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 so- 
lidity ; or that, in consequence of such empty fears, I will close 
with thy inference against the virtue of my wife. JOHNSON. 

Whether our poet had any authority for the word exsiiffUcate, 
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. Suffblare in Italian signifies to whistle. How 
then can Dr. Johnson's interpretation of exstiffblate be support- 
ed ? The introducer of this word explains it, by " whispered, 
buzz'd in the ears." MALONE. 

4 blown surmises. 

Matching thy inference.'} That is, such as you have men- 
tioned in describing the torments of jealousy. The part of lago's: 
speech particularly alluded to, is that where he says : 
" But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er, 
" Who dotes, yet doubts ; suspects, yet strongly loves !'* 


382 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

Where virtue is, these are more virtuous : 5 
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw 
The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt ; 
For she had eyes, and chose me : No, lago ; 
I'll see, before I doubt ; when I doubt, prove ; 
And, on the proof, there is no more but this, 
Away at once with love, or jealousy. 

I AGO. I am glad of this ; for now I shall have 


To show the love and duty that I bear you 
With franker spirit : therefore, as I am bound, 
Receive it from me : I speak not yet of proof. 
Look to your wife ; observe her well with Cassio ; 
Wear your eye thus, not jealous, nor secure : 
I would not have your free and noble nature, 
Out of self-bounty, be abus'd ; 6 look to't : 
I know our country disposition well ; 
In Venice 7 they do let heaven see the pranks 

* Where virtue is, these are more virtuous :~\ An action in 
itself indifferent, grows virtuous by its end and application. 


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 in- 
herits : which makes fair gifts fairer" Gratior e pulchro ve- 
niens et corpore "virtus. STEEVENS. 

Most is the reading of the second folio. RITSON. 

Out of self-bounty, be abus'd;~] Self-bounty for inherent ge- 
nerosity. WARBURTON. 

7 our country disposition 

In Venice ] Here lago seems to be a Venetian. 


There is nothing in any other part of the play, properly un- 
derstood, to imply otherwise. HENLEY. 

Various other passages, as well as the present, prove him to 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 383 

They dare not show their husbands; their best 

Is not to leave undone, but keep unknown. 8 

OTH. Dost thou say so ? 

I AGO. She did deceive her father, marrying you; 
And, when she seem'd 9 to shake, and fear your 

She lov'd them most. 

OTH. And so she did. 

I AGO. Why, go to, then ; 

She that, so young, could give out such a seeming, 
To seel her father's eyes up, close as oak, 1 

have been a Venetian, nor is there any ground for doubting the 
poet's intention on this head. See p. 358, n. 1. MALONE. 

8 Js not to leave undone, but keep unknown."] The folio 
perhaps more clearly reads : 

/* not to leav't undone, but keep't unknown. STEEVENS. 

The folio, by evident error of the press, reads kept un- 
known. MALONE. 

9 And, ivhen she seem'd ] This and the following argument 
of lago ought to be deeply impressed on every reader. Deceit 
and falsehood, whatever conveniences they may for a time pro- 
mise 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 shewn, that their passions are too powerful for 
their prudence, will, with very slight appearances against them, 
be censured, as not very likely to restrain them by their virtue. 


1 To seel her father's eyes up, close as oak,] The oak is (I be- 
lieve) 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 : 

384 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

He thought, 'twas witchcraft : But I am much 

to blame ; . 

I humbly do beseech you of your pardon, 
For too much loving you. 

OTH. I am bound to thee for ever. 

IAGO. I see, this hath a little dash'dyour spirits. 
OTH. Not a jot, not a jot. 

IAGO. Trust me, I fear it has. 

I hope, you will consider, what is spoke 
Comes from my love ; But, I do see you are 

mov'd : 

I am to pray you, not to strain my speech 
To grosser issues, 2 nor to larger reach, 
Than to suspicion. 

OTH. I will not. 

IAGO. Should you do so, my lord, 

My speech should fall into such vile success 3 

would have kept 

" Both eyes and beak seel'd up, for six sesterces." 


To seel a hawk is to sew up his eye-lids. See Vol. XVII. 
p. 281, n. 3. 

In The Winter's Tale, Paulina says : 

" The root of his opinion, which is rotten 

" As ever oak, or stone, was sound." MA LONE. 

2 To grosser issues,] Issues, for conclusions. WARBURTON. 

3 My speech should Jail into such vile success ] Success, 
tor succession, i. e. conclusion ; not prosperous issue. 


I rather think there is a depravation, and would read : 

My speech will Jail 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 inter- 
pretation. What lago means seems to be this : " Should you 
do so, my lord, my words would be attended by such an infa- 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 385 

As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worthy 

friend : 
My lord, I see you are mov'd. 

OTH. No, not much mov'd : 

I do not think but Desdemona's honest. 

IAGO. Long live she so ! and long live you to 
think so ! 

OTH. And yet, how nature erring from itself, 

IAGO. Ay, there's the point: As, to be bold 

with you, 

Not to affect many proposed matches, 
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree ; 
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends : 
Foh ! one may smell, in such, a will most rank, 4 
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural. 
But pardon me ; I do not, in position, 
Distinctly speak of her : though I may fear, 
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment, 
May fall to match you with her country forms, 
And (hapily) repent. 

OTH. Farewell, farewell : 

mous degree of success, as my thoughts do not even aim at." 
lago, who counterfeits the feelings of virtue, might have said 
Jail 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. XVIII. 
p. 115. STEEVENS. 

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. 1. 

" God forbyd all hys hope should turne to such successe." 

Promos and Cassandra, 1578. HENDERSOK. 

a will most rank,] Will, is for wilfulness. It is so 

\ised by Aschain. A rank will, is self-ivill overgrown and exu- 
berant. JOHNSON. 

'or. xix. 2 c 

386 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

If more thou dost perceive, let me know more; 
Set on thy wife to observe : Leave me, lago. 

IAGO. My lord, I take my leave. [Going. 

OTII. Why did I marry ? This honest creature, 

Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds. 

IAGO. My lord, I would, I might entreat your 


To scan this thing no further; leave it to time : 
And though it be fit that Cassio have his place, 
(For, sure, he fills it up with great ability,) 
Yet, if you please to hold him off a while, 
You shall by that perceive him and his means : 5 
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment 6 
With any strong or vehement opportunity ; 
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time, 
Let me be thought too busy in my fears, 
(As worthy cause I have, to fear I am,) 
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour. 

OTH. Fear not my government. 7 

IAGO. I once more take my leave. [Exit. 

OTH. This fellow's of exceeding honesty, 
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit, 8 

* You shall by that perceive him and his means:] You shall 
discover whether he thinks his best means, his most powerful in- 
terest, is by the solicitation of your lady. JOHNSON. 

6 strain his entertainment ] Press hard his re-admissiou 

to his pay and office. Entertainment was the military term for 
admission of soldiers. JOHNSON. 

So, in Coriolanus : " the centurions, and their charges, 
distinctly billeted, and already in the entertainment." 


7 Fear not my government."] Do not distrust my ability to con- 
Jain my passion. JOHNSON. 

8 = ivitk a learned spirit,] Learned^ for experienced- 


sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 387 

Of human dealings : If I do prove her haggard, 9 
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings, 1 
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind, 
To prey at fortune. 2 Haply, for I am black ; 

The construction is, He knows with a learned spirit all qua- 
lities of human dealings. JOHNSON. 

9 If I do prove her haggard,] A haggard hawk, is a 

noild hawk, a hawk unreclaimed, or irreclaimable. JOHNSON. 

A haggard is a particular species of hawk. It is difficult to 
be reclaimed, but not irreclaimable. 

From a passage in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 
1612, it appears that haggard was a term of reproach sometimes 
applied to a wanton : " Is this your perch, you haggard? fly to 
the stews." 

Turbervile says, that " haggart falcons are the most excellent 
birds of all other falcons." Latham gives to the haggart only 
the second place in the valued jile. In Holland's Leaguer, a 
comedy, by Shakerly Marmyon, 1633, is the following illustra- 
tive passage : 

" Before these courtiers lick their lips at her, 
" I'll trust a wanton haggard in the wind." 
Again : 

" For she is ticklish as any haggard, 
" And quickly lost." 

Again, in Two Wise Men, and all the rest Fools, 1619: 
" the admirable conquest the faulconer maketh in a hawk's 
nature; bringing the wild haggard, having all the earth and seas 
to scour over uncontroulably, to attend and obey," &c. Hag- 
gard, however, had a popular sense, and was used for wild by 
those who thought not on the language of falconers. STEEVENS. 
1 Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,'] Jesses 
are short straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by 
which she is held on the fist. HANMER. 

In Hey wood's comedy, called, A Woman killed with Kindness, 
1617, a number of these terms relative to hawking occur to- 
gether : 

" Now she hath seiz'd the fowl, and 'gins to plume her ; 
" Rebeck her not ; rather stand still and check her. 
" So: seize her gets, her jesses, and her bells." 


* I'd whistle her off", and let her down the wind, 
To prey at fortune.'] The falconers always let fly the hawk 

2 c 2 


And have not those soft parts of conversation 3 
That chamberers 4 have : Or, for I am declin'd 
Into the vale of years , yet that's not much ; 

against the wind ; if she flies with the wind behind her, she sel- 
dom returns. If therefore a hawk was for any reason to be dis- 
missed, she was let down the wind, and from that time shifted for 
herself, and preyed at fortune. This was told me by the late 
Mr. Chirk. JOHNSON. 

This passage may possibly receive illustration from a similar 
one in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 2, sect. i. mem. 3 : 
" As a long-winged hawke, when he is first whistled off the fat, 
mounts aloft, and for his pleasure fetcheth many a circuit in the 
ayre, still soaring higher and higher, till he comes to his full pitch, 
and in the end, when the game is sprung, comes down amaine, 
and stoupes upon a sudden." PERCY. 

Again, in The Spanish Gipsie, 1653, by Middleton and 
Rowley : 

" That young lannerd, 

" Whom you have such a mind to; if you can whistle 


" To come tojist, make trial, play the young falconer." 
A lannerd is a species of a hawk. 

Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Bonduca : 

" _ he that basely 

" Whistled his honour offto the wind," &c. STEEVENS. 
parts of conversation ] Parts seems here to be syno- 

nymous with arts, as in' Tis Pity she's a Whore, Act II. speak- 
ing of singing and musick : 

" They are parts I love." REED. 

4 chamberers ~] i. e. men of intrigue. So, in the 

Countess of Pembroke's Antonius, 1590: 

" Fal'n from a souldier to a chamberer" 
Again, in Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose, ver. 4935: 

" Only through youth the chamberere." 
Thus, in the French Poem: 

" Par la jeunesse la chambriere." STEEVENS. 

The sense of chamberers may be ascertained from Rom. xiii. 
13, where tj^r/ KOITAIS is rendered, in the common version, 


Chambering and wantonness are mentioned together in the 
acred writings. MALONE. 

?. ///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 339 

She's gone ; I am abus'd; and my relief 
Must be to loath her. O curse of marriage, 
That we can call these delicate creatures ours, 
And not their appetites ! I had rather be a toad, 
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon, 
Than keep a corner in the thing I love, 
For others* uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones ; 
Prerogativ'd are they less than the base ; 5 
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death j 6 
JEven then this forked plague 7 is fated to us, 

4 Prerogativ'd are they less than the base;~] In asserting that 
the base have more prerogative in this respect than the great, 
that is, that the base or poor are less likely to endure this forked 
plague, our poet has maintained a doctrine contrary to that laid 
down in As you like it : " Horns ? even so. Poor men alone ? 
No, no; the noblest deer has them as huge as the rascal" 
Here we find all mankind are placed on a level in this respect, 
and that it is " destiny unshunnable, like death." 

S'hakspeare would have been more consistent, if he had 

Prerogativ'd are they more than the base ? 
Othello would then have answered his own question: [No ;~\ 
6 Tis destiny, &c. MALONE. 

Allowance must be made to the present state of Othello's 
mind : passion is seldom correct in its effusions. STEEVENS. 

6 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death ;] To be consistent, 
Othello must mean, that it is destiny unshunnable by great ones, 
not by all mankind. MALONE. 

7 forked plague ] In allusion to a barbed or forked ar- 
row, which, once infixed, cannot be extracted. JOHNSON. 

Or rather, the forked plague is the cuckold's horns. PERCY, 

Dr. Johnson may be right. I meet with the same thought iu 
Middleton's comedy of A Mad World my Masters, 1608: 

" While the broad arrow, with the forked head, 

" Misses his brows but narrowly." 
Again, in King Lear: 

" though the fork invade 

" The region of my heart." STEEVENS. 

I have no doubt that Dr. Percy's interpretation is the true one. 
JLet our poet speak for himself. " Quoth she," says Pandarus, 

390 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

When we do quicken. Desdemona comes: 8 


If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself! 9 . 
I'll not believe it. 

DES. How now, my dear Othello f 

Your dinner, and the generous islanders l 

in Troilus and Cressida, " which of these hairs is Paris, my hus- 
band ? The forked one," quoth he ; " pluck it out, and give it 
him." Again, in The Winter's Tale : 

" o'er head and ears afork'd one." 

So, in Tarleton's News out of Purgatorie : *' but the old 
squire, knight of the forked order, ." 

One of Sir John Harrington's Epigrams, in which our poet's 
very expression is found, puts the matter beyond a doubt: 

* Actaeon guiltless unawares espying 

* Naked Diana bathing in her bowre, 

' Was plagu'd with homes ; his dogs did him devoure ; 

* Wherefore take heed, ye that are curious, prying, 

* With some such forked plague you be not smitten, 
" And in your foreheads see your faults be written." 


8 Desdemona comes :] Thus the quartos. The folio reads 

Look where she comes. STEEVENS. 

9 If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!'] i. e. renders its 
own labours fruitless, by forming so beautiful a creature as Des- 
demona, and suffering the elegance of her person to be dis- 
graced and sullied by the impurity of her mind. Such, Ithink, 
is the meaning. The construction, however, may be different. 
If she be false, O, then even heaven itself cheats us with " un- 
real mockeries," with false and specious appearances, intended 
only to deceive. MALONE. 

The first of the foregoing explanations, is, I believe, the true 
one. If she be false, heaven disgraces itself by creating woman 
after its otun image. To have made the resemblance perfect, she 
should have been good as well as beautiful. STEEVENS. 

1 the generous islanders ] Are the islanders of rank t 

distinction. So, in Measure for Measure : 
" The generous and gravest citizens 
" Have hent the gates." 

?.///. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 391 

By you invited, do attend your presence. 
OTH. I am to blame. 

DES. Why is your speech so faint ? are you not 
well ? 

OTH. I have a pain upon my forehead here. 

DES. Faith, that's with watching ; 'twill away 

again : 

Let me but bind it hard, within this hour 
It will be well. 

OTH. Your napkin is too little; 2 

\_He puts the Handkerchief from him, and it 

Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you. 

DES. I am very sorry that you are not well. 

\_Exeunt OTH. and DES. 

EMIL. I am glad I have found this napkin ; 
This was her first remembrance from the Moor : 
My wayward husband hath a hundred times 
Woo'd me to steal it : but she so loves the token, 
(For he conjur'd her, she would ever keep it,) 
That she reserves it evermore about her, 

Generous has here the power of generosus, Lat. This expla- 
nation, however, may be too particular. STEEVENS. 

a Your napkin #c.] Ray says, that a pocket handkerchief is 
so called about Sheffield in Yorkshire. So, in Greene's Never too 
Late, 1616: " I can wet one of my new lockeram napkins with 

Napery signifies linen in general. So, in Decker's. Honest 
Whore, 1635 : " prythee put me into wholesome napery" 
Again, in Chapman's May Day, 1611: " Besides your muni- 
tion of manchet, napery, plates," &c. Again, in Hide Park, by 
Shirley, 1637: " A gentleman that loves clean napery" Na- 
peria, Ital. STEEVENS. 

In the North of England, and in Scotland, this term for a 
handkerchief is still used. The word has already often occurred. 
See Vol. X. p. 121, n. 6 ; and Vol. XVI. p. 356, n. 8. MALONE. 

392 OTHELLO, ACTin. 

To kiss, and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out, 3 
And give it lago : 

What he'll do with it, heaven knows, not I; 
I nothing, but to please his fantasy. 4 

Enter I AGO. 

IAGO. How now ! what do you here alone ? 

EMIL. Do not you chide ; I have a thing for 

IAGO. A thing for me ? it is a common thing. 

EMIL. Ha! 

IAGO. To have a foolish wife. 

EMIL. O, is that all ? What will you give me 

3 I'll have the txorlc ta'en out,] That is, copied. Her 

first thoughts are, to have a copy made of it for her husband, 
and restore the original to Desdemona. But the sudden coming 
in of lago, in a surly humour, makes her alter her resolution, to 
please him. The same phrase afterwards occurs between Cas- 
sio and Bianca, in scene iv. BLACKSTONE. 

This scheme of getting the work of this valued handkerchief 
copied, and restoring the original to Desdemona, was, I suppose, 
introduced by the poet, to render Emilia less unamiable. 

It is remarkable, that when she perceives Othello's fury on the 
loss of this token, though she is represented as affectionate to 
her mistress, she never attempts to relieve her from her distress; 
which she might easily have done by demanding the handkerchief 
from her husband, or divulging the story, if he refused to restore 
it. But this would not have served the plot. 

Shakspeare fell into this incongruity by departing from Cin- 
thio's novel ; for there, while the artless Desdemona is caressing 
the child of Othello's ancient, (the lago of our play, ) the villain 
steals the handkerchief which hung at her girdle, without the 
knowledge of his wife. MALONE. 

J I nothing, but to please 1m fantasy. ~\ Thus the folio. The 
quarto, 1622, reads: 

/ nothing know but for his fantasy. STEEVENS, 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 395 

For that same handkerchief? 
I AGO. What handkerchief? 

EMIL. What handkerchief? 
Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona ; 
That which so often you did bid me steal. 

I AGO. Hast stolen it from her ? 

EMIL. No, faith ; she let it drop by negligence ; 
And, to the advantage, I, being here, took't up. 5 
Look, here it is. 

IAGO. A good wench ; give it me. 

EMIL. What will you do with it, that you have 

been so earnest 
To have me filch it ? 

IAGO. Why, what's that to you ? 

\_Snatching it. 

EMIL. If it be not for some purpose of import, 
Give it me again : Poor lady ! she'll run mad, 
When she shall lack it. 

IAGO. Be not you known oft j 6 I have use for it. 

4 to the advantage, &c.~] I being opportunely here, took 

it up. JOHNSON. 

So, Marlowe's King Edward II : 

" And there stay time's advantage with your son." 


6 Be not you known oft ;] i. e. seem as if you knew nothing 
of the matter. The folio reads Be not acknown ont ; meaning, 
perhaps, " do not acknowledge any thing of the matter." 

This word occurs also in the seventh Book of Golding's trans- 
lation of Ovid's Metamorphosis : 

" Howbeit I durst not be so bolde of hope acknoivne to 

Again, in Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, 1589, p. 212: 
" so would I not have a translatour be ashamed to be acknoiven 
of his translation." STEEVENS. 

, Again, in The Life of Ariosto, subjoined to Sir John Harring- 


Go, leave me. \JExit EMILIA. 

I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin, 

And let him find it : Trifles, light as air, 

Are, to the jealous, confirmations strong 

As proofs of holy writ. This may do something. 

The Moor already changes with my poison : 7 

Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons, 

Which, at the first, are scarce found to distaste ; 

But, with a little act upon the blood, 

Burn like the mines of sulphur. I did say so:* 

ton's translation of Orlando, p. 418, edit. 1607: " Some say, 
he was married to her privilie, but durst not be acknowne of it." 


Be not you known oft ;] Thus the quarto, except that it has 
on't , the vulgar corruption in speaking and writing, of of't or of 
it; as is proved by various passages in these plays as exhibited in 
the folio and quarto, where in one copy we find the corrupt and 
in the other the genuine words: and both having the same 

The participial adjective, found in the folio, is used by Thomas 
Kyd, in his Cornelia, a tragedy, 1594- : 

" Our friends' misfortune doth increase our own. 
" Cic. But ours of others will not be acknoun." 


7 The Moor already &c.~] Thus the folio. The line is not in 
the original copy, 1622. MALONE. 

8 / did say so.-] As this passage is supposed to be ob- 
scure, I shall attempt an explanation of it. 

lago first ruminates on the qualities of the passion which he 
is labouring to excite ; and then proceeds to comment on its 
effects. Jealousy (says he) 'with the smallest operation on the 
blood, Jlames out with all the violence of sulphur, &c. 

" 1 did say so ; 

" Look where he comes !" 

i. e. I knew that the least touch of such a passion would not per- 
mit the Moor to enjoy a moment of repose : I have just said that 
jealousy is a restless commotion of the mind; and look where 
Othello approaches, to confirm the propriety and justice of my 
observation. STEEVENS. 

As Mr. Steevens has by his interpretation elicited some mean- 
ing (though I still think an obscure one) out of this difficult 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 395 


Look, where he comes ! Not poppy, nor mandra- 

gora, 9 

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, 
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep 
Which thou ow'dst yesterday. 1 

OTH. Ha ! ha ! false to me ? 

To me ? 

I AGO. Why, how now, general ? no more of that. 

OTH. Avaunt ! be gone ! thou hast set me on the 

rack : 

I swear, 'tis better to be much abus'd, 
Than but to know't a little. 

I AGO. How now, my lord ? 

OTH. What sense had I of her stolen hours of 
lust? 2 

hemistich, I readily retract an amendment I had formerly pro- 
posed, being of opinion that such bold and licentious conjectures 
can never be warranted, unless where the sense is quite despe- 

9 nor mandr agora,] The mandragoras or mandrake has 

a soporifick quality, and the ancients used it when they wanted 
an opiate of the most powerful kind. 
So Antony and Cleopatra, Act I. sc. vi : 

" give me to drink mandragora, 

" That I may sleep out this great gap of time 
" My Antony is away." STEEVENS. 

See Vol. XVII. p. 51, n. 9. MALONE. 

1 Which thou ow'dst yesterday.^ To otxe is, in our author, 
oftener to possess, than to be indebted, and such is its meaning 
here. JOHNSON. 

See Vol. X. p. 386, n. 8. MALONE. 

* What sense had I c.] A similar passage to this and what 
follows it, is found in an unpublished tragi-comedy by Thomas 
Middleton, called The Witch .- 


I saw it not, thought it not, it harm'd not me : 
I slept the next night well, was free and merry ; 3 
I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips : 
He that is robb'd, not wanting what is stolen, 
Let him not know it, and he's not robb'd at all. 

*' I feele no ease ; the burthen's not yet off, 

" So long as the abuse sticks in my knowledge. 

" Oh, 'tis a paine of hell to know one's shame ! 

" Had it byn hid and don, it had been don happy, 

" For he that's ignorant lives long and merry." 
Again : 

" Had'st thou byn secret, then had I byn happy, 

" And had a hope (like man) of joies to come. 

" Now here I stand a stayne to my creation ; 

" And, which is heavier than all torments to me, 

" The understanding of this base adultery," &c. 
This is uttered by a jealous husband who supposes himself to 
have just destroyed his wife. 
Again, lago says : 

" Dangerous conceits, &c. 

" with a little act upon the blood, 

" Burn like the mines of sulphur." 
Thus Sebastian, in Middleton's play : 

" When a suspect doth catch once, it burnes maynely." 

A scene between Francisca and her brother Antonio, when 

she first excites his jealousy, has likewise several circumstances 

in common with the dialogue which passes between lago and 

Othello on the same subject. 

This piece also contains a passage very strongly resembling 
another in Hamlet, who says : " I am but mad north-north- 
west : when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a hand- 
saw." Thus, Almachildes : " There is some difference betwixt 
my joviall condition and the lunary state of madnes. I am not 
quight out of my witts : I know a bawd from an aqua-vitae shop, 
a strumpet from wild-fire, and a beadle from brimstone," 

For a further account of this MS. play, see in Vol. II. a note 
on Mr. Malone's Attempt to ascertain the Order in which the 
Pieces of Shakspeare "were 'written : Article, Macbeth. 


3 I slept the next night well, was free and merry ;~\ Thus the 
quartos. The folio reads 

" I slept the next night well ; fed well; was free and 
merry." STEEVENS. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 397 

I AGO. I am sorry to hear this. 

OTH. I had been happy, if the general camp, 
Pioneers and all, 4 had tasted her sweet body, 
So I had nothing known : O now, for ever, 
Farewell the tranquil mind ! farewell content ! 
Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars, 
That make ambition virtue ! O, farewell ! 
Farewell the neighing steed, 5 and the shrill trump, 

4 if the general camp, 

Pioneers and /7,] That is, the most abject and vilest of 
the camp. Pioneers were generally degraded soldiers, appointed 
to the office of pioneer, as a punishment for misbehaviour. 

" A soldier ought ever to retaine and keepe his arms in saftie ,, 
and forth comming, for he is more to be detested than a coward, 
that will lose or play away any part thereof, or refuse it for his 
ease, or to avoid paines ; wherefore such a one is to be dismissed 
with punishment, or to be made some abject pioner." The Art 
of War and England Trainings, &c. by Edward Davies, Gent. 

So, in The Lmvs and Ordinances of War, established by the 
Earl of Essex, printed in 1640: " If a trooper shall loose his 
horse or hackney, or a footman any part of his arms, by negli- 
gence or lewdnesse, by dice or cardes ; he or they shall remain 
in qualitie of pioners, or scavengers, till they be furnished with 
as good as were lost, at their own charge." GROSE. 

5 Fareivcll the plumed troop, and the big "wars, 

Farewell the neighing steed, &c.~\ In a very ancient drama 
entitled Common Conditions, printed about 1576, Sedmond, who 
has lost his sister in a wood, thus expresses his grief: 

" But farewell now, my coursers brave, attraped to the 

ground ! 
" Farewell ! adue all pleasures eke, with comely hauke 

and hounde ! 

" Fai'ewell, ye nobles all, farewell eche marsial knight, 
" Farewell, ye famous ladies all, in whom I did delight! 
" Adue, my native soile, adue, Arbaccus kyng, 
" Adue, eche wight, and marsial knight, adue, eche 

living thyng !" 

One is almost tempted to think that Shakspeare had read this 
f>kl play. MALONE. 

I. know not why we should suppose that Shakspeare borrowed 

398 OTHELLO, ACT ni. 

The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife, 6 

so common a repetition as these diversified farewells from any 
preceding drama. A string of adieus is perhaps the most tempt- 
ing of all repetitions, because it serves to introduce a train 
of imagery, as well as to solemnify a speech or composition. 
Wolsey, like Othello, indulges himself in many farewells ; and 

" Valete, aprica montium cacumina ! 

" Valetc, opaca vallium cubilia !" &c. 

are common to poets of different ages and countries. I have 
now before me an ancient MS. English Poem, in which sixteen 
succeeding verses begin with the word farewell, applied to a 
Variety of objects and circumstances : 

" Farewell prowesse in purpell pall" &c. STEEVENS. 

6 The spirit-stirring dnim, the ear-piercing Jife,"] In mention- 
ing the Jife joined with the drum, Shakspcare, as usual, paints 
from the life ; those instruments accompanying each other being 
used in his age by the English soldiery. The fife, however, as 
a martial instrument, was afterwards entirely discontinued among 
our troops for many years, but at length revived in the war be- 
fore the last. It is commonly supposed that our soldiers borrow- 
ed it from the Highlanders in the last rebellion : but I do not 
know that the jife is peculiar to the Scotch, or even used at all 
by them. It was first used within the memory of man among 
our troops by the British guards, by order of the Duke of Cum- 
berland, when they were encamped at Maestricht, in the year 
174-7, and thence soon adopted into other English regiments of 
infantry. They took it from the Allies with whom they served. 
This instrument, accompanying the drum, is of considerable 
antiquity in the European armies, particularly the German. In 
a curious picture in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, painted 
1525, representing the siege of Pavia by the French King 
where the Emperor was taken prisoner, we see fifes and drums. 
In an old English treatise written by William Garrard before 
1587, and published by one Captain Hichcock in 1591, intituled 
The Art of IVarre, there are several wood cuts of military evo- 
lutions, in which these instruments are both introduced. In 
Rymer's Fcedera, in a diary of King Henry's siege of Bulloigne, 
1544, mention is made of the drommes and vfficurs marching at 
the head of the King's army. Tom. XV. p. 53. 

The drum and Jife were also much used at ancient festivals, 
shows, and processions. Gerard Leigh, in his Accidence of Ar- 
morie, printed in 1576, describing a Christmas magnificently 
celebrated at the Inner Temple, says, " We entered the prince 
his hall, where anon we heard the noyse of drum and Jife." 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 399 

The royal banner ; and all quality, 

Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war! 7 

p. 119. At a stately masque on Shrove-Sunday, 1510, in which 
King Henry VIII. was an actor, Holinshed mentions the entry 
" of a drum an&jife apparelled in white damaske and grene 
bonnettes." Chron. III. 805, col. 2. There are many more in- 
stances in Holinshed and Stowe's Survey of London. 

From the old French vrordviffleur, above-cited, came the Eng- 
lish word ivhiffler, which anciently was used in its proper literal 
sense. Strype, speaking of a grand tilting before the court in 
Queen Mary's reign, 1554-, says, from an old journal, that King 
Philip and the challengers entered the lists, preceded by " their 
whifflers, their footmen, and their armourers." Eccles. Memor. 
III. p. 211. This explains the use of the word in Shakspeare, 
where it is also literally applied. King Henri/ V. Act IV. sc. ult : 

. behold the British beach 

Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys, 
Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep-mouth'd sea, 
Which, like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king, 
Seems to prepare his way." 
By degrees, the word uvhiffler hence acquired the metapho- 
rical meaning, which it at present obtains in common speech, and 
became an appellation of contempt. Whiffler, a light trivial 
character, a fellow hired to pipe at processions. T. WARTON. 

In the old dramatick piece, intitled, Wine, Beer, Ale, and 
Tobacco, 2d edit. 1630, Tobacco says to Beer; 

** . it will become your duty to obey me." 

To which Wine replies : 

" You our sovereign ! a mere vohiffler!" 
Again, in Ram- Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611: 

" he was known 

" But only for a swaggering whiffler." STEEVENS. 

~ Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious tear/] Sir W. 
D' Avenant does not appear to have been scrupulous of adopting 
almost Shakspeare's own words. So, in Albovine, 1629 : 
" Then glorious war, and all proud circumstance 
" That gives a soldier noise, for evermore farewell" 


Fletcher has parodied this passage of Othello, in his Prophetess, 
which was first represented in May, 1622 : 

" and to keep 

" My faith untainted, farewel pride, and pomp, 
" And circumstance of glorious majesty, 
" Farewel, for ever !" MALONE. 

400 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats 8 
The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit, 
Farewell ! Othello's occupation's gone ! 

I AGO. Is it possible ? My lord, 

OTH. Villain, be sure thou prove my love a 

whore ; 
Be sure of it ; give me the ocular proof; 

[Taking him by the Throat* 
Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul, 9 
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog, 1 
Than answer my wak'd wrath. 

IAGO. Is it come to this ? 

OTH. Make me to see it ; or (at the least) so 

prove it, 

That the probation bear no hinge, nor loop, 
To hang a doubt on : or, woe upon thy life ! 

IAGO. My noble lord, 

OTH. If thou dost slander her, and torture me, 
Never pray more : abandon all remorse ; 2 
On horror's head horrors accumulate : 

9 ivhose rude throats ] So, Milton, Paradise Lost, 

B. VI: 

" From those deep-throated engines," c. 
The quarto, 1622, reads whose wide throats. STEEVENS. 

9 mine eternal soul,~\ Perhaps the quarto, 1622, more 

forcibly reads 

man's eternal soul, . 

Shakspeare might have designed an opposition between man 
and dog. STEEVENS. 

1 Thou hadst been better have been born a dog,~\ Thus, in 
Chapman's translation of the sixth Iliad: 

" that had been better born 

" A dog, than such a horrid dame." STEEVENS. 

abandon all remorse;] All tenderness of nature, all 

pity ; in which sense, as Mr. Steevens has justly observed, the 
word was frequently used in Shakspeare's time. See p. 409, n. 1, 
The next line shows it is used in this sense here. MALONE. 

set m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 401 

Do deeds to make heaven weep, 3 all earth amaz'd, 
For nothing canst thou to damnation add, 
Greater than that. 

IAGO. O grace ! O heaven defend me ! 

Are you a. man ? have you a soul, or sense ? 
God be wi'you; take mine office. O wretched fool, 
That liv'st 4 to make thine honesty a vice ! 

monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world, 
To be direct and honest, is not safe. 

1 thank you for this profit ; and, from hence, 
I'll love no friend, since 5 love breeds such offence. 

OTH. Nay, stay : Thou should' st be honest. 

IAGO. I should be wise ; for honesty's a fool, 
And loses that it works for. 

OTH. By the world, 6 

I think my wife be honest, and think she is not j 
I think that thou art just, and think thou art not ; 
I'll have some proof: Her name, 7 that was as fresh 

3 Do deeds to make heaven ixeep,~] So, in Measure for Mea- 

11 Plays such fantastick tricks before high heaven 
" As make the angels iveep." STEEVENS. 

4 That liv'st] Thus the quarto. The folio that lov'st. 


5 since ] Thus the quarto. The folio, sith, an anti- 
quated word, with the same meaning. It occurs again in p. 404, 
1. 2. STEEVENS. 

* By the world, &c.] This speech is not in the first edition. 


7 Her name, &c.] The folio, where alone this speech is 

found My name. Mr. Pope and all the subsequent editors read 
Her name : but this, like a thousand other changes introduced 
by the same editor, was made without either authority or necessity. 
Shakspeare undoubtedly might have written Her name ; but 
the word which the old copy furnishes, affords also good sense. 
Othello's name or reputation, according to the usual unjust de*r- 
mination of the world, would be sullied by the infidelity of his 
VOL. XIX. 2 D 

402 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

As Dian's visage, is now begrim'd and black 
As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives, 
Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, 
I'll not endure it. 8 Would, I were satisfied ! 

IAGO. I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion : 
I do repent me, that I put it to you. 
You would be satisfied ? 

OTH. Would ? nay, I will. 

IAGO. And may : But, how ? how satisfied, my 


Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on ? 
Behold her tupp'd? 9 

wife. Besides, how could either transcriber or printer have 
substituted My for Her? MALONE. 

I have adopted Mr. Pope's emendation, which, in my judg- 
ment, is absolutely necessary. 

Othello would scarce have said " My name," and immedi- 
ately after " mine oiun face." The words " mine own," very 
plainly point out that an opposition was designed between the 
once unsullied reputation of Desdemona, and the blackness of his 
own countenance. The same thought occurs in Titus Andro- 
nicus : 

" . your swart Cimmerian 

" Doth make your honour of his body's hue." 

I may add Would a man have compared his own reputation 
to the face of a goddess ? 

The query with which Mr. Malone's note concludes, is easily 
answered. In three late proof sheets of this work, a couple of 
the most accurate compositors in general, had substituted^>a/ace, 
less, and catch, instead of tragedy, more, and ensnare. 


8 If there be cords, or knives, 

Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, 
I'll not endure it.~\ So, in Pericles: 

" If fires be hoi, knives sharp, or waters deep, 

" Untied I still my virgin knot will keep." MALONE. 

9 Behold her tupp'd ?] A ram in Staffordshire and some other 
counties is called a tup. So, in the first Act : 

" an old black ram 

" Is tupping your white ewe." STEEVENS. 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 403 

OTH. Death and damnation ! O ! 

IA&O. It were a tedious difficulty, I think, 
To bring them to that prospect : Damn them then, 
If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster, 
More than their own ! What then ? how then ? 
What shall I say ? Where's satisfaction ? 
It is impossible, you should see this, 
Were they as prime as goats, 1 as hot as monkeys, 
As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross 
As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say, 
If imputation, and strong circumstances, 
Which lead directly to the door of truth, 
Will give you satisfaction, you may have it. 

OTH. Give me a living reason 2 she's disloyal. 

The old copies have topp'd. Mr. Theobald made the cor- 
rection. MALONE. 

1 Were they as prime as goats,"] Prime is prompt, from the 
Celtick or British prim. HANMER. 

From prim, forward ; French. RITSON. 

So, in The Vow-breaker, or the fair e Maide of Clifton, 1636: 

" More prime than goats or monkies in their prides." 
Again, in Churchyard's Dreame, 1593 : 

" Colde fortune may torment me sore, 

" And so may shifts some time : 
" Not hatred troubles men much more 

" Than Venus in her prime. 1 ' STEEVENS. 

1 Give me a living reason ] Living, for speaking, manifest. 


Give me a living reason that she's disloyal.'] Thus the quarto, 
1622. The folio omits the word that, probably for the sake of 
the metre ; but our poet often uses such words as reason, as a 
monosyllable. MALONE. 

How such words as reason can be pronounced as monosyllables, 
I am yet to learn. STEEVENS. 

A living reason is a reason founded on fact and experience, 
not on surmise or conjecture : a reason that convinces the under- 
standing as perfectly as if the fact were exhibited to the life. 

2 J>2 

404 OTHELLO, ACT 'in.. 

IAGO. I do not like the office : 
But, sith I am enter* d in this cause so far, 
Prick* d to it by foolish honesty and love, 
I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately ; 
And, being troubled with a raging tooth, 
I could not sleep. 

There are a kind of men so loose of soul, 
That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs ; 
One of this kind is Cassio : 
In sleep I heard him say, Sweet Desdemona, 
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves ! 
And then, sir, would he gripe, and wring my hand) 
Cry, 0, sweet creature ! and then kiss me hard, 
As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots, 
That grew upon my lips : then laid his leg 
Over my thigh, and sigli'd, and kiss'd ; and then 
Cry'd, 3 Cursed fate! that gave thee to the Moor! 

OTH. O monstrous ! monstrous ! 

IAGO. Nay, this was but his dream. 

OTH. But this denoted a foregone conclusion; 4 
*Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream. 5 

What Othello here demands is actual proof, arisiug from some 
positive FACT. HENLEY. 

:! - and sigh' A, and kiss'd. ; and then 
Cry'd,'] Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio reads: 
" - then lay'd his leg o'er my thigh, 
" And sigh, and kiss, and then cry, cursed fate," &c. 
The omission of the personal pronoun before lay'd is much in 
our author's manner. See Vol. XVII. p. 420, n. 8. MALONE. 

4 - a foregone conclusion;] Conclusion, for fact. 


A conclusion in Shakspeare's time meant an experiment or trial. 
See Vol. XVII. p. 298, n. 5. MALONE. 

5 'Tis a shreivd doubt, &c.] The old quarto gives this line, 
with the two following, to lago ; and rightly. WARBURTON. 

In the folio this line is given to Othello. MALONE. 

rfc, ///. THE MOOR OF 'VENICE. 405 

I AGO. And this may help to thicken other proofs, 
That do demonstrate thinly. 

OTH. I'll tear her all to pieces. 

IAGO. Nay, but be wise : yet we see nothing 

done; 6 

She may be honest yet. Tell me but this, 
Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief, 
Spotted with strawberries, in your wife's hand ? 

OTH. I gave her such a one ; 'twas my first gift. 

IAGO. I know not that : but such a handkerchief, 
(I am sure it was your wife's,) did I to-day 
See Cassio wipe his beard with. 

OTH. If it be that, 

IAGO. If it be that, or any that was hers, 7 
It speaks against her with the other proofs. 

OTH. O, that the slave had forty thousand lives ; 
One is too poor, too weak for my revenge ! 
Now do I see 'tis true. 8 Look here, lago ; 

I think it more naturally spoken by Othello, who, by dwelling 
so long upon the proof, encouraged lago to inforce it. 


6 yet IKC see not/ting done ;] This is an oblique and secret 

rnock at Othello's saying, Give me the ocular proof. 


7 thattras liers,~\ The only authentick copies, the quarto, 

1622, and the folio, read or any, it was hers. For the emen- 
dation I am answerable. The mistake probably arose from yt 
only being written in the manuscript. The modern editors, fol- 
lowing an amendment made by the editor of the second folio, 
read if'tivas her's. MALONE. 

I prefer Mr. Malone's correction to that of the second folio, 
though the latter gives sense where it was certainly wanting. 


9 Noiv do I see 'tis true.] The old quarto reads : 

Now do I see 'tis time. 
And this is Shakspeare's, and has in it much more force and 

406 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

All my fond love thus I do blow to heaven : 9 

'Tis gone. 

Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell! 1 

solemnity, and preparation for what follows : as alluding to what 
he had said before : 

No, lago ! 

" I'll see before I doubt, when I doubt, prove ; 
" And, on the proof, there is no more but this, 
" Away at once with love or jealousy." 
This time was now come. WARBURTON. 

9 All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven:] So, in Mar- 
lowe's Lust's Dominion, 1657: 

" Are these your fears ? thus blow them into air." 


Marlowe's idea was perhaps caught from Horace : 
" Tradam protervis in mare Creticum 
" Portare ventis." STEEVENS. 

1 -from thy hollow cell !] Thus the quarto, 1622. The 

folio reads from the hollow hell. Hollow, Dr. Warburton con- 
siders as " a poor unmeaning epithet." MALONE. 

I do not perceive that the epithet hollow is at all unmeaning, 
when applied to hell, as it gives the idea of what Milton calls- 

" the void profound 

" Of unessential night," 
Or the inane prnfundum of Lucretius. 

The same phrase indeed occurs in Jasper Heywood's transla- 
tion of Seneca's Thycstes, 1560: 

" Where most prodigious ugly things the hollow hell 

doth hide." 

Again, in Goulart's Admirable Histories, 1607, p, 626 : 
" cast headlong into places under-ground that were wonder- 
ful hollow where he had seen the persons of the wicked, 

their punishments," &c. 

Again, in Arthur Hall's translation of the eighth Iliad: 

" Into the hollow dreadful hole which Tartare men do 
tel." STEEVENS. 

Again, in Paradise Lost, B. I. v. 314, the same epithet and 
subject occur : 

" He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep 
" Of hell resounded." HOLT WHITE. 

Milton was a great reader and copier of Shakspeare, and he 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 407 



Yield up, O love, thy crown, and hearted throne, 
To tyrannous hate! swell, bosom, with thy fraught, 
For 'tis of aspicks* tongues ! 

IAGO. Pray, be content. 

OTH. O, blood, lago, blood ! 

IAGO. Patience, I say ; your mind, perhaps, may 

OTH. Never, lago. 4 Like to the Pontick sea, 5 

undoubtedly read his plays in the folio, without thinking of ex- 
amining the more ancient quartos. In the first Book of Paradise 
Lost, we find : 

" the universal host up sent 

" A shout that tore hell's concave." MALONE. 

See Vol. XX. Romeo and Juliet, Act II. sc. ii. STEEVENS. 

2 hearted throne,'] Hearted throne, is the heart on which 

thou wast enthroned. JOHNSON. 

So, in Twelfth-Night: 

" It gives a very echo to the seat, 

" Where love is thron'd." 
See also Romeo and Juliet, Vol. XX. Act V. sc. i. 


3 swell, bosom, &c.~] i. e. swell, because the fraught is of 

poison. WARBURTON. 

4 Never, lago.] From the word, Like, to marble heaven, in- 
clusively, is not found in the quarto, 1622. MALONE. 

* Like to the Pontick sea, &c.] This simile is omitted in the 
first edition : I think it should be so, as an unnatural excursion 
in this place. POPE. 

Every reader will, I durst say, 'abide by Mr. Pope's censure 
on this passage. When Shakspeare grew acquainted with such 
particulars of knowledge, he made a display of them as soon, as 
opportunity offered, tie found this in the 2d Book and 97th 
Chapter of Pliny's Natural History, as translated by Philemon 
Holland, 1601 : " And the sea Pontus evermore floweth and 
runneth out into Propontis, but the sea never retireth backe 
againe within Pontus." 

Mr. Edwards, in his MS. notes, conceives this, simile to allude 

408 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

Whose icy current and compulsive course 

Ne'er feels retiring ebb, 6 but keeps due on 

To the Propontick, and the Hellespont ; 

]Sven so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace, 

Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love, 

Till that a capable and wide revenge 7 

Swallow them up. Now, by yond' marble heaven, 8 

In the due reverence of a sacred vow \_Kneels. 

I here engage my words. 

to Sir Philip Sidney's device, whose impress, Camden, in his 
Remains, says, was the Caspian sea, with this motto, Sine 
refiuxu. STEEVENS. 

6 Ne'er feels retiring ebb,~] The folio, where alone this passage 
is found, reads Ne'er keeps retiring ebb, &c. Many similar 
mistakes have happened in that copy, by the compositor's re- 
peating a word twice in the same line. So, in Hamlet: 

(t My news shall be the news [r. fruit] to that great feast." 
Again, ibidem: 

" The spirit, upon whose spirit depend and rest," &c. 
instead of upon whose weal. The correction was made by Mr. 
Pope. MALONE. 

7 a capable and wide revenge ] Capable perhaps signi- 
fies ample, capacious. So, in As yon like it : 

" The cicatrice and capable impressure." 
Again, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil, by 
Nashe, 1592: "Then belike, quoth I, you make this word, 
Daemon, a capable name, of Gods, of men, of devils." 

It may, however, mean judicious. In Hamlet the word is 
often used in the sense of intelligent. What Othello says in 
another place seems to favour this latter interpretation : 
" Good; good; \hejustice of it pleases me." 


Capable, means, I suppose, capacious, comprehensive. 


8 by yond' marble heaven,'] In Soliman and Perseda> 

J 599, I find the same expression : 

" Now by the marble face of the welkin," &c. 


So, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 1602: 

" And pleas'd the marble heavens." MALONE. 

sc. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 409 

I AGO. Do not rise yet. 


Witness, you ever-burning lights above ! 
You elements that clip us round about ! 
Witness, that here lago doth give up 
The execution 9 of his wit, hands, heart, 
To wrong' cl Othello's service ! let him command, 
And to obey shall be in me remorse, 
What bloody work soever. 1 

OTH. I greet thy love, 

9 The execution ] The first quarto reads excellency. 


By execution Shakspeare meant employment or exercise. So, 
in Love's Labour's Lost: 

" Full of comparisons and wounding flouts, 
" ^yhich you on all estates will execute." 

The quarto, 1622, reads hand. MALONE. 

Again, in Troilus and Cressida: 

" In fellest manner execute your arms." STEEVENS. 

1 let him command, 

And to obey shall be in me remorse, 

What bloody work soever.] lago devotes himself to wronged 
Othello, and says, Let him command whatever bloody business, 
and in me it shall be an act, not of cruelty, but of tenderness, 
to obey him; not of malice to others, but of tenderness for him. 
If this sense be thought too violent, I see nothing better than to 
follow Mr. Pope's reading, as it is improved by Mr. Theobald. 


The quarto, 1622, has not the words in me. They first ap- 
peared in the folio. Theobald reads Nor to obey, Sfc. 


Dr. Johnson's interpretation is undoubtedly the true one ; and 
I can only claim the merit of supporting his sense of the word 
remorse, i. e. pity, by the following instances. 

In Lord Surrey's translation of the fourth jEneid, Dido says 
to her sister : 

" Sister I crave thou have remorse of me." 

Again, in King Edward III. 1599, that Prince speaking to 
the citizens of Calais : 

410 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance boun- 

*' But for yourselves, look you for no remorse." 
Again, in Sir Clyomon Knight of the Golden Shield, 1599: 

" Who taketh no remorse of womankind." 
Again, in Sir John Oldcastle, 1600: 

" Here stand I, craving no remorse at all." 
I could add many more instances, but shall content myself to 
observe that the sentiment of lago bears no small resemblance 
to that of Arviragus in Cymbeline: 

** I'd let a parish of such Clotens blood, 

" And praise myself for charity." STEEVENS. 

Before I saw Dr. Johnson's edition of Shakspeare, my opinion 
of this passage was formed, and written, and thus I understood 
it : " Let him command any bloody business, and to obey him 
shall be in me an act of pity and compassion for wrong'd Othello." 
Remorse frequently signifies pity, mercy, compassion, or a ten- 
derness of heart, unattended with the stings of a guilty conscience. 
So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act IV. sc. iii. the crime- 
less Eglamour is called remorseful. So, in King Richard III. 
Act III. sc. vii : 

" As well we know your tenderness of heart, 
" And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse." 

So, in Holinshed's Conquest of Ireland, p. 13: " to have 
remorse and compassion upon others distresses ;" and in the De- 
dication, " to have regard and remorse to your said land." 


Some of the examples quoted by Mr. Steevens I have omitted, 
as I think those already inserted are sufficient to prove the mean- 
ing of the word. Mr. M. Mason says, he may venture to assert, 
that Shakspeare seldom, if ever, uses the word in any other sense. 


If I am not deceived, this passage has been entirely mistaken. 
I read : 

let him command, 

An' to obey shall be in me remorse, 
What bloody business ever . 

And for if is sufficiently common : and Othello's impatience 
breaks off the sentence, I think, with additional beauty. 


What bloody work soever.] So the quartos. The folio : 

What bloody business ever. STEEVENS. ; 

sc. iv.. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 411 

And will upon the instant put thee to't : 
Within these three days let me hear thee say, 
That Cassio's not alive. 

I AGO. My friend is dead j 'tis done, at your re- 
quest : 2 
But let her live. 

OTH. Damn her, lewd minx ! O, damn her! 3 
Come, go with me apart ; I will withdraw, 
To furnish me with some swift means of death 
For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant. 

IAGO. I am your own for ever. \_Exeunt. 


The same. 
Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Clown. 

DES. Do you know, sirrah, where lieutenant 
Cassio lies ? 

CLO. I dare not say, he lies any where. 
DES. Why, man ? 

CLO. He is a soldier j and for me to say a soldier 
lies, is stabbing. 

DES. Go to ; Where lodges he ? 

CLO. To tell you 4 where he lodges, is to tell you 
where I lie. 

2 at your request:^ Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, 

reads as you request. MALONE. 

3 0, damn her!'] Thus the quarto, 1622. Folio: O damn 
her, damn her. MALONE. 

4 To tell you &c.] This and the following speech are wanting 
in the first quarto. STEEVENS. 

4 1 2 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

DES. Can any thing be made of this ? 

CLO. I know not where he lodges ; and for me 
to devise a lodging, and say he lies here, or he lies 
there, were to lie in my own throat. 

DES. Can you enquire him out, and be edified 
by report ? 

CLO. I will catechize the world for him ; that is, 
make questions, and by them answer. 5 

DES. Seek him, bid him come hither : tell him, 
I have moved my lord in his behalf, and hope, all 
will be well. 

CLO. To do this, is within the compass of man's 
wit j and therefore I will attempt the doing it. 6 


s Clown. / will catechize the world for him; that is, make 
questions, and by them answer.'] This Clown is a fool to some 
purpose. He was to go seek for one ; he says, he will ask for 
him, and by his own questions make answer. Without doubt 
we should read and bid them answer; i. e. the world ; those 
whom he questions. WAUBURTON. 

There is no necessity for changing the text. It is the Clown's 
play to wrench what is said, from its proper meaning. Sir T. 
More hath briefly worked his character : " he plaieth the iester, 
nowe with skoffinge, and nowe with his ovcrthwarte woords, to 
prouoke all to laughter." His design here was to propose such 
questions as might elicit the information sought for from him, and 
therefore, BY his questions he might be enabled to answer. 


and J)ij them answer.] i. e. and by them, when answered, 

form my own answer to you. The quaintness of the expression 
is in character. By is found both in the quarto, 1622, and the 

The modern editors, following a quarto of no authority, 
printed in 1630, read and make them answer. MA!LONE. 

6 To do this, is within the compass of man's wit ; and there- 
fore &c.] So, in King Lear: 

" I cannot draw a cart, nor eat wild oats ; 
" If it be man's work, I'll do it." MALONE. 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 413 

DES. Where should I lose that handkerchief, 
Emilia ? 

EMIL. I know not, madam. 

DES. Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse 
Full of cruzadoes. 7 And, but my noble Moor 
Is true of mind, and made of no such baseness 
As jealous creatures are, it were enough 
To put him to ill thinking. 

EMIL. Is he not jealous ? 

DES. Who, he ? I think, the sun, where he was 

Drew all such humours from him. 

EMIL. Look, where he comes. 

DES. I will not leave him now, till Cassio 
Be calPd to him. 8 How is't with you, my lord ? 


OTH. Well, my good lady : [_Aside.~] O, hard- 
ness to dissemble ! 
How do you, Desdemona ? 

DES. Well, my good lord. 

7 cruzadoes."] A Portuguese coin, in value three shillings 

sterling. GREY. 

So called from the cross stamped upon it. JOHNSON. 

The exact value of a cruzado is here of no importance, nor 
does it appear precisely what it was in Shakspeare's time. By a 
mercantile friend I am informed, that there are at present thre,e 
sorts. The imaginary one of the value of 2s. or 2s. , like the 
English pound, is only a denomination, and not a coin. The 
two other sorts are really coins, and all the three differ in value. 


8 till Cassio 

Be call'd to him.'] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, reads 
Let Cassio be call'd to him. MALONE. 

414. OTHELLO, ACT m. 

OTH. Give me your hand: This hand is moist, 
my lady. 

DES. It yet has felt no age, nor known no sor- 

OTH. This argues fruitfulness, and liberal 

heart ; 

Hot, hot, and moist : 9 This hand of yours requires 
A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer, 
Much castigation, exercise devout ; l 
For here's a young and sweating devil here, 
That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand, 
A frank one. 

DES. You may, indeed, say so ; 

For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart. 

OTH. A liberal hand : The hearts of old, gave 

hands ; 
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts. 2 

9 Hot, hot, and moist:'] Ben Jonson seems to have attempted 
a ridicule on this passage, in Every Man out of his Humour, 
Act V. sc. ii. where Sogliardo says to Saviolina : " How does 
my sweet lady ? hot and moist ? beautiful and lusty ?" 


Ben Jonson was ready enough on all occasions to depreciate 
and ridicule our author, but in the present instance, I believe, 
he must be acquitted ; for Every Man out of his Humour was 
printed in 1600, and written probably in the preceding year ; at 
which time, we are almost certain that Othello had not been ex- 
hibited. MALONE. 

1 exercise devout ;] Exercise was the religious term. 

Henry the Seventh (says Bacon) "had the fortune of a true 
Christian as well as of a great king, in living exercised, and dying 

So, Lord Hastings in King Richard III. says to a priest : 

" I am in debt for your last exercise" 
See Vol. XIV. 390, n. 5. MALONE. 

2 The hearts, of old, gave hands ; 

But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts. 3 It is evident 
the first line should be read thus : 

se. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 415 

DES. I cannot speak of this. Come now your 

The hands of old gave hearts; 
otherwise it would be no reply to the preceding words, 

" For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart" 
Not so, says her husband: The hands of old indeed gave hearts; 
but the custom now is to give hands without hearts. The ex- 
pression of new heraldry was a satirical allusion to the times. 
Soon after King James the First came to the crown, he created 
the new dignity of baronets for money. Amongst their other 
prerogatives of honour, they had an addition to their paternal 
arms, of a hand gules in an escutcheon argent. And we are 
riot to doubt but that this was the new heraldry alluded to by our 
author: by which he insinuates, that some then created had 
hands indeed, but not hearts; that is, money to pay for the 
creation, but no virtue to purchase the honour. But the finest 
part of the poet's address in this allusion, is the compliment he 
pays to his old mistress Elizabeth. For James's pretence for 
raising money by this creation, was the reduction of Ulster, and 
other parts of Ireland ; the memory of which he would perpe- 
tuate by that addition to their arms, it being the arms of Ulster.- 
Now the method used by Elizabeth in the reduction of that 
kingdom was so different from this, the dignities she conferred 
being on those who employed their steel, and not their gold, in 
this service, that nothing could add more to her glory, than the 
being compared to her successor in this point of view : nor was 
it uncommon for the dramatick poets of that time to satirize the 
ignominy of James's reign. So, Fletcher, in The Fair Maid of 
the Inn. One says, / ivill send thee to Amboyna in the East 
Indies for pepper. The other replies, To Amboyna ? so I might 
be pepper* a. Again, in the same play, a Sailor says, Despise 
not this pitch'd canvas, the time was, we have known them lined 
with Spanish ducats. WARBURTON. 

The historical observation is very judicious and acute, but of 
the emendation there is no need. She says, that her hand gave 
away her heart. He goes on with his suspicion, and the hand 
which he had before called frank, he now terms liberal; then 
proceeds to remark, that the hand was formerly given by the 
heart ; but now it neither gives it, nor is given by it. 


I think, with Dr. Warburton, that the new order of baronets 
is here again alluded to. See The Merry Wives of Windsor, 
Vol. V. p. 63, and Spelman's Epigram there cited : 

416 OTHELLO, ACT in, 

OTH. What promise, chuck ? 

DES. I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with 

florentis nomen honoris 

" Indicat in clypei fronte cruenta manus. 
" Non quod saevi aliquid, aut stricto fortiter ense 

" Hostibus occisis gesserit iste cohors." BLACKSTONE. 

The reader will not find the Epigram alluded to by Sir William 
Blackstone, in the page to which he has referred [in my edition], 
for I have omitted that part of his note, (an omission of which I 
have there given notice,) because it appeared to me extremely 
improbable that any passage in that play should allude to an event 
that did not take place till 1611. The omitted words I add here, 
( distinguishing them by Italick characters, ) as they may appear 
to add weight to his opinion and that of Dr. Warburton. 

" / suspect this is an oblique reflection on the prodigality of 
James the First in bestowing these honours, and erecting a new 
order of knighthood called baronets; which Jew of the ancient 
gentry would condescend to accept. See Sir Henry Spelmans 
epigram on them, GLOSS. p. 76, which ends thus: 

" dum cauponare recusant 

" Ex vera geniti nobilitate virij 
" Interea e caulis hie prorepit, ille tabernis, 

" Et modo Jit dominus, qui modo servus crat. 
See another stroke at them in Othello." MALONE. 

My respect for the sentiments of Sir William Blackstone might 
have induced me to print both them, and the epigram referred to, 
in both places, even if the preceding- remark of Mr. Malone had 
not, in this second instance, afforded them an apt introduction. 


our new heraldry &>c.~\ I believe this to be only a figu- 
rative expression, without the least reference to King James's 
creation of baronets. The absurdity of making Othello so fami- 
liar with British heraldry, the utter want of consistency as well 
as policy in any sneer of Shakspeare at the badge of honours in- 
stituted by a Prince whom on all other occasions he was solicitous 
to flatter, and at whose court this very piece was acted in 1613, 
most strongly incline me to question the propriety of Dr. War- 
burton's historical explanation. STEEVENS. 

To almost every sentence of Dr. Warburton's note, an objec- 
tion may be taken ; but I have preserved it as a specimen of this 
commentator's manner. 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 417 
OTH. I have a salt and sullen rheum 9 offends me; 

It is not true that King James created the order of baronets 
soon after he came to the throne. It was created in the year 
1611. The conceit that by the word hearts the poet meant to 
allude to the gallantry of the reign of Elizabeth, in which men 
distinguished themselves by their steel, and that by hands those 
courtiers were pointed at, who served her inglorious successor 
only by their gold, is too fanciful to deserve an answer. 
. Thus Dr. Warburton's note stood as it appeared originally in 
Theobald's edition ; but in his own, by way of confirmation of 
his notion, we are told, that " it was not uncommon for the sa- 
tirical poets of that time to satirise theignominy of James's reign;" 
and for this assertion we are referred to Fletcher's Fair Maid of 
the Lm. But, unluckily, it appears from the office-book of Sir 
Henry Herbert, a MS. of which an account is given in Vol. III. 
that Fletcher's plays were generally performed at court soon 
after they were first exhibited at the theatre, and we may be as- 
sured that he would not venture to offend his courtly auditors. 
The Fair Maid of the Inn, indeed, never was performed before 
King James, being the last play but one that Fletcher wrote, 
and not produced till the 22d of Jan. 1625-6, after the death 
both of its author and King James; but when it was written, he 
must, from the circumstances already mentioned, have had the 
court before his eyes. 

In various parts of our poet's works he has alluded to the cus- 
tom of plighting troth by the union of hands. 
So, in Hamlet : 

" Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands 
" Unite co-mutual in most sacred bands." 
Again, in The Tempest, which was probably written at no 
great distance of time from the play before us: 
" Mir. My husband then? 
" Fer. Ay, with a heart as willing 
" As bondage e'er of freedom. Here's my hand. 
" Mir. And mine, with my heart in't." 

The hearts of old, sa) r s Othello, dictated the union of hands, 
which formerly were joined with the hearts of the parties in them; 
but in our modern marriages, hands alone are united, without 
hearts. Such evidently is the plain meaning of the words. I do 
not, however, undertake to maintain that the poet, when he used 
the word heraldry, had not the new order of baronets in his 
thoughts, without intending any satirical allusion. MALONE. 

' salt and sullen rheum ] Thus the quarto, 1622. The 

folio, for sullen, has sorry. MALONE. 

VOL. XIX. 2 E 

418 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

Lend me thy handkerchief. 
DBS. Here, my lord. 

OTH. That which I gave you. 
DES. I have it not about me. 

OTH. Not? 
DES. No, indeed, my lord. 

OTH. That is a fault : 

That handkerchief 
Did an Egyptian to my mother give; 1 

Sullen, that is, a rheum obstinately troublesome. I think this 
better. JOHNSON. 

1 That handkerchief 

Did an Egyptian to my mother give ;] In the account of 
this tremendous handkerchief, are some particulars, which lead 
me to think that here is an allusion to a fact, heightened by po- 
etical imagery. It is the practice in the eastern regions, for 
persons of both sexes to carry handkerchiefs very curiously 
wrought. In the MS. papers of Sir John Chardin, that great 
oriental traveller, is a passage which fully describes the custom : 
" The mode of wrought handkerchiefs (says this learned enqui- 
rer,) is general in Arabia, in Syria, in Palestine, and generally 
in all the Turkish empire. They are wrought with a needle, and 
it is the amusement of the fair sex there, as among us the 
making tapestry and lace. The young women make them for their 
lathers, their brothers, and by way of preparation before hand 
for their spouses, bestowing them as favours on their lovers. 
They have them almost constantly in their hands in those warm 
countries, to wipe off sweat." But whether this circumstance 
ever came to Shakspeare's knowledge, and gave rise to the in- 
cident, I am not able to determine. WHALLEY. 

Shakspeare found in Cinthio's novel the incident of Desde- 
mona's losing a handkerchief finely wrought in Morisco work, 
which had been presented to her by her husband, or rather of its 
being stolen from her by the villain who afterwards by his ma- 
chinations robbed her of her life. The eastern custom of brides 
presenting such gifts to their husbands, certainly did not give 
rise to the incident on which this tragedy turns, though Shak- 
speare should seem to have been apprized of it. However, the 
preceding note is retained as illustrative of the passage before 
us. MALONE. 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 419 

She was a charmer, 2 and could almost read 

The thoughts of people : she told her, while she 

kept it, 

'Twould make her amiable, and subdue my father 
Entirely to her love ; but if she lost it, 
Or made a gift of it, my father's eye 
Should hold her loathly, and his spirits should hunt 
After new fancies : She, dying, gave it me ; 
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive, 
To give it her. I did so : and take heed oft, 
Make it a darling like your precious eye ; 
To lose or give't away, 3 were such perdition, 
As nothing else could match. 

DES. Is it possible ? 

OTH. 'Tis true : there's magick in the web of it: 
A sibyl, 4 that had number'd in the world 

* She "vans a charmer,] In Deut. xviii. 11, there is an injunc- 
tion : " Let none be found among you that is a charmer." In 
Perkins's Discourse of the damned Art of Witchcraft, 8vo. 
1610, it is said that " Inchantment is the working of wonders by 
a charme;" and a charm is afterwards defined, "a spell or verse, 
consisting of strange words, used as a signe or watchword to 
the Devil to cause him to worke wonders." In this Discourse 
is an enumeration of the wonders done by inchanters, as raising 
storms and tempests, &c. and at the conclusion it is said : " by 
witches we understand not those only which kill and torment, 
but all diviners, charmers, jugglers, all wizzards, commonly called 
wise men and wise women; yea, whosoever do any thing 
(knowing what they do) which cannot be effected by nature or 
art." REED. 

3 To lose or give' t aivay,~\ Thus the quarto, 1622. The fo- 
lio To lose'* &c. STEEVENS. 

4 A sibyl, &c.] This circumstance perhaps is imitated by Ben 
Jonson in The Sad Shepherd: 

" A Gypsan lady, and a right beldame, 
" Wrought it by moonshine for me, and 

star-light," &c. 

2 E 2 

420 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

The sun to make 5 two hundred compasses, 

In her prophetick fury sew'd the work : 

The worms were hallow'd, that did breed the silk; 

And it was died in mummy, 6 which the skilful 

Conserv'd of maidens' hearts. 7 

5 -~- number d 

The. sun to make #c.] Thus the quarto, 1622. The folio 
to course. STEEVENS. 

That ^, numbered the sun's courses: badly expressed. 


The expression is not very infrequent: we say, / counted the 
clock to strike four ; so she numbered the sun to course, to run 
two hundred compasses, two hundred annual circuits. 


I have preferred the original reading, because we have in 
Hamlet : 

" When yon same star, that's eastward from the pole, 
" Had made his course, to illume that part of heaven." 


6 And it tons died in mummy, #c.] The balsamick liquor 
running from mummies, was formerly celebrated for its anti-epi- 
leptick virtues. We are now wise enough to know, that the 
qualities ascribed to it are all imaginary ; and yet this fanciful 
medicine still holds a place in the principal shops where drugs 
are sold. So, in The Bird in a Cage, by Shirley, 1633: 

*' make mummy of my flesh, and sell me to the 

Again, in The Honest Latvyer, 1616: 

" That I might tear their flesh in mammocks, raise 
" My losses, from their carcases turn'd mummy." 
Mummy, however, is still much coveted by painters, as a 
transparent brown colour that throws a warmth into their sha- 
dows. STEEVENS. 

7 which the skilful 

Conserv'd of maidens' hearts."] Thus the folio. The quarto 
reads : 

with the skilful 

Conserves, &c. 

So, in the Microcosmos of John Davies of Hereford, 4to. 

" Mummy made of the mere hart of love." 



DES. Indeed ! is't true ? 

OTH. Most veritable ; therefore look to't well. 

DES. Then 'would to heaven, that I had never 
seen it. 

OTH. Ha ! wherefore ? 

DES. Why do you speak so startingly and rash ? 8 

OTH. Is't lost ? is't gone ? speak, is it out of the 
way ? 

DES. Heaven bless us i 

OTH. Say you ? 

DES. It is not lost j But what an if it were ? 

OTH. Ha! 

DES. I say, it is not lost. 

OTH. Fetch't, let me see it. 

DES. Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now ; 
This is a trick, to put me from my suit ; 
I pray, let Cassio be received again. 

OTH. Fetch me that handkerchief: my mind 

DES. Come, come ; 
You'll never meet a more sufficient man, 

OTH. The handkerchief, 

DES. I pray, talk me of Cassio. 9 
OTH. The handkerchief, 

DES. A man that, all his time, 
Hath founded his good fortune on your love ; 
Shar'd dangers with you ; 

8 rysh?~] is vehement, violent. JOHNSON. 

9 I pray, talk me of Cassio. ,] This and the following short 
speech, are omitted in all the ancient editions but the first 
quarto. STEEVENS. 


OTH. The handkerchief, 

DES. In sooth, 
You are to blame. 

OTH. Away ! [Exit OTHELLO. 

EMIL. Is not this man jealous ? 

DES. I ne'er saw this before. 
Sure, there's some wonder in this handkerchief: 
I am most unhappy in the loss of it. 

EMIL. 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man: 1 
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food ; 
They eat us hungerly, and when they are full, 
They belch us. Look you! Cassio, and my husband. 

1 'Tis not a year or two shoixs us a man ] From this line it 
may be conjectured, that the author intended the action of this 
play to be considered as longer than is marked by any note of 
time. Since their arrival at Cyprus, to which they were hur- 
ried on their wedding-night, the fable seems to have been in one 
continual progress, nor can I see any vacuity in which a year 
or two, or even a month or two, could be put. On the night of 
Othello's arrival, a feast was proclaimed ; at that feast Cassio 
was degraded, and immediately applies to Desdemona to get him 
restored. lago, indeed, advises Othello to hold him off a while, 
but there is no reason to think, that he has been held off long. 
A little longer interval would increase the probability of the 
story, though it might violate the rules of the drama. See 
Act V. sc. ii. JOHNSON. 

This line has no reference to the duration of the action of this 
play, or to the length of time that Desdemona had been mar- 
ried. What Emilia says, is a sort of proverbial remark, of ge- 
neral application, where a definite time is put for an indefinite. 
Besides, there is no necessity for fixing the commencement of 
Emilia's year or two, to the time of the marriage or the opening 
of the piece. She would with more propriety refer to the be- 
ginning of the acquaintance and intimacy between the married 
couple, which might extend beyond that period. STEEVENS. 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 423 

Enter IAGO and CASSIO. 

I AGO. There is no other way; 'tis she must do't; 
And, lo, the happiness ! go, and importune her. 

DES. How now, good Cassio ? what's the news 
with you ? 

CAS. Madam, my former suit : I do beseech you, 
That, by your virtuous means, I may again 
Exist, and be a member of his love, 
Whom I, with all the duty of my heart, 2 
Entirely honour; I would not be delay'd: 
If my offence be of such mortal kind, 
That neither service past, nor present sorrows, 
Nor purpos'd merit in futurity, 
Can ransome me into his love again, 

the duty of my heart,~] The elder quarto reads: 
the duty of my heart, - 

The author used the more proper word, and then changed it, I 
suppose, for fashionable diction ; [" \he office of my heart," the 
reading of the folio;] but, as fashion is a very weak protectress, 
the old word is now ready to resume its place. JOHNSON. 

A careful comparison of the quartos and folio incline me to 
believe that many of the variations which are found in the later 
copy, did not come from the pen of Shakspeare. See Vol. XVIII. 
p. 335, n. 3. That duty was the word intended here, is highly 
probable from other passages in his works. So, in his 26th Son- 

" Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage 
" Thy merit has my duty strongly knit." 

Again, in his Dedication of Lucrece, to Lord Southampton : 
" Were my worth greater, my duty would shew greater ; mean 
time, as it is, it is bound to your lordship." MALONE. 

Office may be the true reading. So, in Antony and Cleo- 
patra : 

" his goodly eyes now turn 

" The office and devotion of their view," &c. 



But to know so must be my benefit ; 3 
So shall I clothe me in a forc'd content, 
And shut myself up in some other course, 
To fortune's alms. 4 

3 But to know so must Ic my benefit ;] 

" Si nequeo placidas affari Caesaris aures, 

" Saltern aliquis veniat, qui niihi dicat, abi." JOHNSON. 

* And shut myself up in some other course, 

To fortune s alms."] Shoot is the reading of one of the early 
quartos. The folio, and all the modern editions, have 
And shut myself up . JOHNSON. 

I cannot help thinking this reading to be the true one. The 
idea seems taken from the confinement of a monastick life. The 
words, forced content, help to confirm the supposition. The 
meaning will therefore be, " I will put on a constrained appear- 
ance of being contented, and shut myself up in a different course 
of life, no longer to depend on my own efforts, but to wait for 
relief from the accidental hand of charity." 

Shakspeare uses the same expression in Macbeth ; 

" and shut up 

" In measureless content." 
Again, in All's well that ends well: 

" Whose basest stars do shut us up in wishes." 


The quarto, 1622, reads And shoot myself &c. I think, 
with Mr. Steevens, that it was a corruption, and that the read- 
ing of the folio is the true one. 
Hanmer reads: 

And shoot myself upon some other course, 
To fortune's alms. 

To fortune s alms means, waiting patiently for whatever 
bounty fortune or chance may bestow upon me. 

We have the same uncommon phrase in King Lear : 

" . Let your study 

" Be to content your lord, who hath receiv'd you 
" At fortune's alms" MALONE. 

I cannot agree with Steevens in approving of the present 
reading, nor of course, in his explanation of this passage, but 
think the quarto right, which reads shoot instead of shut. To 
say that a man will shut himself up in a course of life, is lan- 
guage such as Shakspeare would never make use of, even in his 
most whimsical or licentious moments. 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 425 

DES. Alas ! thrice-gentle Cassio, 

My advocation is not now in tune ; 
My lord is not my lord ; nor 'should I know him, 
Were he in favour, 5 as in humour, alter'd. 
So help me, every spirit sanctified, 
As I have spoken for you all my best ; 
And stood within the blank of his displeasure, 6 
For my free speech ! You must a while be patient : 
What I can do, I will ; and more I will, 
Than for myself I dare : let that suffice you. 

I AGO. Is my lord angry ? 

EMIL. He went hence but now, 

And, certainly, in strange unquietness. 

I AGO. Can he be angry ? I have seen the cannon, 
When it hath blown his ranks into the air j 7 

One of the meanings of the verb to shoot, is to push suddenly, 
or to push forward; and in that sense it is used in this place. 
Cassio means to say, that if he finds he has no chance of regain- 
ing the favour of the general, he will push forward into some 
other line of life, and seek his fortune ; but I think it probable 
we ought to read : 

And shoot myself upon some other course, 
instead of up in some other course. M. MASON. 

Mr. M. Mason's explanation is a very forced one. It appears 
from the information of lago, that Cassio had not long been a 
soldier. Before Othello promoted him, for his good offices in re- 
spect to Desdemona, he was " a great arithmetician,, a counter- 
caster;" and now, being discarded from the military line, he 
purposes to confine or shut himself up, as he formerly had, with- 
in the limits of a new profession. HENLEY. 

5 in favour,] In look, in countenance. JOHNSON. 

See p. 295, n. 2. STEEVENS. 

6 ixiihin the blank of his displeasure,'] Within the shot 

of his anger. JOHNSON. 

See Vol. XVIII. p. 262, n. 9. STEEVENS. 

7 / have seen the cannon, 

When it hath bloivn &c.] In lago's speech something is 

426 OTHELLO, ACT in. 

And, like the devil, from his very arm 
Puff'd his own brother ; And can he be angry ? 
Something of moment, then : I will go meet him ; 
There's matter in't indeed, if he be angry. 

DES. I pr'ythee, do so. Something, sure, of 
state, \_Exit IAGO. 

Either from Venice ; or some unhatch'd practice, 8 
Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him, 
Hath puddled his clear spirit : and, in such cases, 
Men's natures wrangle with inferior things, 
Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so ; 
For let our finger ache, and it indues 
Our other healthful members ev'n to that sense 
Of pain : 9 Nay, we must think, men are not gods j 

suppressed. He means to say, I have seen his ranks blown into 
the air, and his own brother puff'd from his side, and mean 
"while have seen him cool and unruffled. And can he now be 
angry ? MALONE. 

some unhatch'd practice,'] Some treason that has not 

taken effect. JOHNSON. 

9 For let our finger ache, and it indues 
Our other healthful members ev'n to that sense 
Of pain :~] I believe it should be rather, Subdues our other 
liealthful members to a sense of pain. JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's conjecture may be supported by a passage in 
one of Desdemona's speeches to the Senate : 

" My heart's subdued 

" Even to the very quality of my lord." 
Again, in p. 419: 

" - and subdue my father 

" Entirely to her love." STEEVENS. 

To indue appears to have signified in Shakspcare's time, to 
tincture, to embrue, and is so used here. See Vol. XVIII. p. 317, 
n. 3. 

The words 'Tis even so, relate to what Desdemona has jusl 
conjectured. " This is certainly the case; some state affair has 
disturbed him." MALONE. 

How a member is to be tinctured or embretved to any particular 
sensation, I am glad it is not my office to explain. STEEVENS. 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 427 

Nor of them look for such observances 
As fit the bridal. 1 Beshrew me much, Emilia, 
I was (unhandsome warrior as I am, 2 ) 
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul ; 
But now I find, I had suborn'd the witness, 
And he's indited falsely. 

EMIL. Pray heaven, it be state matters, as you 

think ; 

And no conception, nor no jealous toy, 
Concerning you. 

DES. Alas, the day ! I never gave him cause. 

EMIL. But jealous souls will not be answer'd so j 
They are not ever jealous for the cause, 
But jealous for they are jealous: 'tis a monster, 
Begot upon itself, born on itself. 

DES. Heaven keep that monster from Othello's 

EMIL. Lady, amen. 

DES. I will go seek him. Cassio walk here- 
about : 

If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit, 
And seek to effect it to my uttermost. 

CAS. I humbly thank your ladyship. 


1 the bridal.] i. e. the nuptial feast ; a Saxon word. 

Thus, in the ancient romance of Ytvain and Gatvain: 

" The bridal sat, for soth to tell 

" Till king Arthur come" &c. 
Again, in Gamelyn, or the Cokes Tale: 

" At every bridale he would sing and hop." STEEVENS. 

* ( unhandsome warrior as / am, ) ~] Unhandsome warrior, 

is evidently unfair assailant. JOHNSON. 

See note on the same expression, Act II. sc. i. STEEVENS. 

428 OTHELLO, ACT m. 

Enter BIANCA, 

BIAN. Save you, friend Cassio ! 

CAS. What make you from home ? 

How is it with you, my most fair Bianca ? 
I'faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house. 

BIAN. And I was going to your lodging, Cassio. 
What ! keep a week away ? seven days and nights ? 
Eight score eight hours ? and lovers' absent hours, 
More tedious than the dial eight score times ? 

weary reckoning ! 

CAS. Pardon me, Bianca ; 

1 have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd j 
But I shall, in a more continuate time, 3 

Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca, 

\_Giving her DESDEMONA'S Handkerchief* 
Take me this work out. 4 

3 in a more continuate time,'] Thus the folio. The 

quarto, 1622, has a more convenient time. MALONE. 

A more continuate time is time less interrupted, time which 
I can call more my own. It gives a more distinct image 
than convenient. JOHNSON. 

The word occurs again in Timon of Athens, sc. i ; 

" breath'd, as it were, 

" To an untirable and continuate goodness." 
See p. 6. n. 5. STEEVENS. 

4 Take me this work out.'} The meaning is not, " Pick out the 
work, and leave the ground plain ;" but, " Copy this work in 
another handkerchief." JOHNSON. 

So, in a comedy, by Middleton, called, Women beware of 
Women : 

" she intends 

" To take out other works in a new sampler." 
Again, in the preface to P. Holland's Pliny, 1601 : " Nicophanes 
(a famous painter) gave his mind wholly to antique pictures, 
partly to exemplifie and take out their patterns, after that in long 

sc. iv. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 429 

BIAN. O, Cassio, whence came this ? 

This is some token from a newer friend. 
To the felt absence now I feel a cause : 
Is it come to this ? Well, well. 

CAS. Woman, go to ! 5 

Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth, 
From whence you have them. You are jealous 


That this is from some mistress, some remem- 
brance : 
No, in good troth, Bianca. 

BIAN. Why, whose is it ? 

CAS. I know not, sweet: I found it in my 


I like the work well ; ere it be demanded, 
(As like enough, it will,) I'd have it copied : 
Take it, and do't ; and leave me for this time. 

BIAN. Leave you ! w r herefore ? 

CAS. I do attend here on the general ; 
And think it no addition, nor my wish, 
To have him see me woman'd. 

BIAN. Why, I pray you ? 6 

CAS. Not that I love you not. 

BIAN. But that you do not love me. 

continuance of time they were decaied." Again, in Sidney's 
Arcadia, Book II : " why doest thou in thy beautiful sampler 
set such a work for my desire to take out?" STEEVENS. 

So, in Hearne's Liber Niger Scaccarii, Vol. II. p. 578, 581, 
and 585 : " to take out the arms," means, to copy them. 


5 Woman, go to!'] Old copies, unmetrically 

Goto, woman! STEEVENS. 

6 Why, I pray you ?] This and the following speech are 
wanting in the first quarto. STEEVFNS. 


I pray you, bring me on the way a little ; 
And say, if I shall see you soon at night. 

CAS. 'Tis but a little way, that I can bring you, 
For I attend here : but Til see you soon. 

BIAN. *Tis very good ; I must be circum- 
stanc'd. 7 \_Exeunt. 


The same. 

Enter OTHELLO and IAGO. 

I AGO. Will you think so ? 

OTH. Think so, lago ? 

IAGO. What, 

To kiss in private ? 

OTH. An unauthoriz'd kiss. 

IAGO. Or to be naked with her friend abed, 
An hour, or more, not meaning any harm ? 

OTH. Naked abed, lago, and not mean harm ? 
It is hypocrisy against the devil : 8 

7 / must be circumstancd.'] i. e. your civility is now 

grown conditional. WARBURTON. 

Rather, I must give way to circumstances. M. MASON. 

Particular circumstances and your own convenience have, I 
see, more weight with you than Bianca has. I must be post- 
poned to these considerations. MA LONE. 

8 Naked abed, lago, and not mean harm? 
It is hypocrisy against the devil:'] This observation seems 

sc. /. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 431 

They that mean virtuously, and yet do so, 
The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt 
heaven. 9 

strangely abrupt and unoccasioned. We must suppose that lago 
had, before they appeared in this scene, been applying cases 
of false comfort to Othello ; as that though the parties had been 
even found in bed together, there might be no harm done ; it 
might be only for the trial of their virtue ; as was reported of 
the Romish saint, Robert D' Arbrissel and his nuns : To this we 
must suppose Othello here replies ; and like a good protestant. 
For so the sentiment does but suit the character of the speaker, 
Shakspeare little heeds how these sentiments are circum- 
stanced. WARBURTON. 

Hypocrisy against the devil, means hypocrisy to cheat the 
devil. As common hypocrites cheat men, by seeming good, 
and yet living wickedly, these men would cheat the devil, by 
giving him flattering hopes, and at last avoiding the crime which 
he thinks them ready to commit. JOHNSON. 

9 The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven.^ The 
true key to the explanation of this passage may be found in St. 
Maltheiv, iv. 7. The poet's idea is, that the devil tempts their 
virtues, by stirring up their passions, and they tempt heaven, by 
placing themselves in such a situation as makes it scarcely 
possible to avoid fulling by the gratification of them. HENLEY. 

As the devil makes a trial of their virtue by often throwing 
temptation in their way, so they presumptuously make a trial 
whether the divine goodness will enable them to resist a tempta- 
tion which they have voluntarily created for themselves, or aban- 
don them to the government of their passions. MALONE. 

Shakspeare had probably in view a very popular book of his 
time, The Beehive of the Roman Church: " There was an old 
wife, called Julia, which would take the young men and maides, 
and lay them together in a bed. And for that they should not 
one byte another, nor kicke backewardes with their heeles, slie 
did lay a crucifix between them." FARMER. 

More probably from Fabian's Chronicle, Part IV. ch. Ill': 
" Of hyrn [Bishop Adhelme] it is wrytten that when he was 
styred by his gostly enemy to the synne of the fleshe, he to do 
the more tormente to hym selfe and of his body, wolde holde 
within his bedde by him a fayre mayden, by so longe tyme as he 
myght, say over the hole sauter, albeit that suche holynes is no 


IAGO. So they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip : 

But if I give my wife a handkerchief, 

OTH. What then ? 

IAGO. Why, then 'tis hers, my lord ; and, being 

She may, I think, bestow't on any man. 

OTH. She is protectress of her honour too ; 
May she give that ? 

IAGO. Her honour is an essence that's not seen ; 
They have it very oft, that have it not : 
But, for the handkerchief, 

OTH. By heaven, I would most gladly have for- 
got it : 

Thou said'st, O, it comes o'er my memory, 
As doth the raven o'er the infected house, 
Boding to all, 1 he had my handkerchief. 

artycle of saynte Bennetis lore, nor yet for dyverse inconveny- 
ence mooste alowed by holye doctours." 

Again, and yet more appositely, in Bale's Actes of Englysh 
Fotaryes, 1548: " This Adhelmus never refused women, but 
wold have them commonly both at borde and at bedde, to mockc 
the devyll ivith," &c. " he layed by hym naked the fayrost 
mayde he coude get" &c. STEEVENS. 
1 As doth the raven o'er the infected house, 
Boding to all,~\ So, in King John: 

" confusion waits, 

" As doth the raven on a sick-fallen beast, ." 


boding to all ] Thus all the old copies. The moderns 

less grammatically 

Boding to ill . JOHNSON. 

The raven was thought to be a constant attendant on a house, 
in which there was infection. So, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 

" Thus like the sad presaging raven, that tolls 
" The sick man's passport in her hollow beak, 
" And in the shadow of the silent night 
" Does shake contagion from her sable wing." 


sc. /. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 433 

IAGO. Ay, what of that ? 

OTH. That's not so good, now. 

IAGO. What, if I had said, I had seen him do 

you wrong ? 

Or heard him say, As knaves be such abroad, 
Who having, by their own importunate suit, 
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress, 
Convinced or supplied them, 2 cannot choose 

2 Convinced or supplied them,'] I cannot understand the vulgar 
reading. I read convinc'd or suppled. My emendation makes 
the sense of the passage easy and intelligible : that there are some 
such long-tongued knaves in the world, who, if they through 
the force of importunity extort a favour from their mistress, or 
if through her own fondness they make her pliant to their desires, 
cannot help boasting of their success. To convince, here, is not, 
as in the common acceptation, to make sensible of the truth of 
any thing by reasons and arguments ; but to overcome, get the 
better of, &c. THEOBALD. 

So, in Macbeth : 

" his two chamberlains 

" Will I, with wine and wassel so convince." 
Again, in the same play : 

" their malady convinces 

" The great assay of art." 

Dr. Farmer is of opinion that supplied has here the same 
meaning as supplicated. STEEVENS. 

Theobald's emendation evidently hurts, instead of improving, 
the sense; for what is suppled, but convinced, i. e. subdued. 
Supplied relates to the words " voluntary dotage," as convinced 
does to " their own importunate suit." Having by their impor- 
tunacy conquered the resistance of a mistress, or, in compliance 
with her own request, and in consequence of her unsolicited 
fondness, gratified her desires. MALONE. 

Supplied is certainly the true reading, and with a sense that 
may be collected from the following passage in Measure for 
Measure : 

" And did supply thee at the garden-house :" 

Or, rather, as may be inferred from the following sentence in 
Sir R. Cotton's View of the Raigne of Henry III. 1627 : " De- 

VOL. XIX. 2 F 


But they must blab - - 

OTH. Hath he said any thing ? 

I AGO. He hath, my lord; but be you well assur'd, 
No more than he'll unswear. 

OTH. What hath he said ? 

IAGO. 'Faith, that he did, I know not what he 

OTH. What? what? 

IAGO. Lie - 

OTH. With her ? 

IAGO. With her, on her ; what you will. 

OTH. Lie with her ! lie on her ! We say, lie on 
her, when they belie her : Lie with her ! that's 
fulsome. Handkerchief, confessions, hand- 
kerchief. To confess, and be hanged* for his 
labour. First, to be hanged, and then to confess : 
I tremble at it. Nature would not invest her- 
self in such shadowing passion, 5 without some in- 

nials from Princes must bee supplied with gracious usage, that 
though they cure not the sore, yet they may abate the sence of 
it." P. 12. Supplied is the old spelling of suppled, i. e. soft- 
ened. STEEVENS. 

3 'Faith, that he did, I knoiv not tuJiat he did.~] I believe 
that the line should be pointed thus : 

'Faith, that he did I knotv not tvhat; he did. 


* - To confess, and be hanged 3 ^' s ls a proverbial 
sayiug. It is used by Marlowe, in his Jem of Malta, 1633 : 
" Blame us not, but the proverb Confess* and be hang'd." 

It occurs again, in The Travels of the Three English Brothers, 
1 607 : And in one of the old collections of small poems there is 
an epigram on it. All that remains of this speech, including the 
words to confess, is wanting in the first quarto. STEEVENS. 

shadowing passion,"] The modern editions have left out 

nasnoti. JOHNSON. 

sc. I. . THE MOOR OF VENICE. 435 
struction. 6 It is not words, that shake me thus : 

6 without some instruction.] The starts and broken re- 
flections in this speech have something very terrible, and show 
the mind of the speaker to be in inexpressible agonies. But the 
words we are upon, when set right, have a sublime in them that 
can never be enough admired. The ridiculous blunder of writing 
instruction for induction (for so it should be read) has indeed 
sunk it into arrant nonsense. Othello is just going to fall into a 
swoon ; and as is common for people in that circumstance, feels 
an unusual mist and darkness, accompanied with horror, coming 
upon him. This, with vast sublimity of thought, is compared 
to the season of the sun's eclipse, at which time the earth be- 
comes shadowed by the induction or bringing over of the moon 
between it and the sun. This being the allusion, the reasoning 
stands thus : " My nature could never be thus overshadowed, 
and falling, as it were, into dissolution, for no cause. There 
must be an induction of something : there must be a real cause. 
My jealousy cannot be merely imaginary. Ideas, ivords only, 
could not shake me thus, and raise all this disorder. My jealousy 
therefore must be grounded on matter of fact." Shakspeare uses 
this word in the same sense in King RicJiard III; 
" A dire induction am I witness to." 

Marston seems to have read it thus in some copy, and to 
allude to it in these words of his Fame: 

" Plots ha' you laid? inductions dangerous!" 


This is a noble conjecture, and whether right or wrong does 
honour to its author. Yet I am in doubt whether there is aay 
necessity of emendation. There has always prevailed in the 
world an opinion, that when any great calamity happens at a 
distance, notice is given of it to the sufferer by some dejection 
or perturbation of mind, of which he discovers^no external cause. 
This is ascribed to that general communication of one part of 
the universe with another, which is called sympathy and anti- 
pathy ; or to the secret monition, instruction^ and influence of a 
Superior Being, which superintends the order of nature and of 
life. Othello says, Nature coidd not invest herself in suck 
shadowing passion without instruction. It is not ivords that 
shake me thus. This passion, which spreads its clouds over me, 
is the effect of some agency more than the operation of words; 
it is one of those notices, which men have, of unseen calami- 
ties. JOHNSON. 

Nature could not invest herself in such shadowing passion 
without some instruction.] However ingenious Dr. Warburton's 

2 F 2 

436 OTHELLO, ACT iv. 

Pish ! Noses, ears, and lips : 7 Is it possible ? 
Confess ! Handkerchief! O devil ! 

[Falls in a Trance. 

IAGO. Work on, 
My medicine, work ! Thus credulous fools are 

caught ; 

And many worthy and chaste dames, even thus, 
All guiltless meet reproach. What, ho ! my lord ! 

note may be, it is certainly too forced and far-fetched. Othello 
alludes only to Cassio's dream, which had been invented and 
told him by lago. When many confused and very interesting 
ideas pour in upon the mind all at once, and with such rapidity 
that it has not time to shape or digest them, if it does not re- 
lieve itself by tears (which we know it often does, whether for 
joy or grief) it produces stupefaction and fainting. 

Othello, in broken sentences and single words, all of which 
have a reference to the cause of his jealousy, shows, that all the 
proofs are present at once to his mind, which so over-powers it, 
that he falls into a trance, the natural consequence. 


If Othello, by the words shadowing passion alludes to his own 
feelings, and not to Cassio's dream, Dr. Warburton's interpre- 
tation, if we substitute instruction for induction, (which was in- 
troduced merely to usher in the image of an eclipse) is perhaps 
nearly correct. Induction, in Shakspeare's time, meant intro- 
duction, or prelude, (as in the instance quoted from King Rich- 
ard III.) and at no time signified bringing over, as Dr. War- 
burton interprets it. MALONE. 

I believe, the text, as it stands, is perfectly right, and that 
Othello's allusion is to his present and uncommon sensations. 


7 Noses, ears, and lips :] Othello is imagining to himself the 
familiarities which he supposes to have passed between Cassio 
and his wife. So, in The Winter'' s Tale: 

" Cheek to cheek, meeting noses 
" Kissing with inside lip," &c. 

If this be not the meaning, we must suppose he is meditating 
a cruel punishment for Desdemona and her suspected paramour : 

" raptis 

" Auribus, et truncas inhonesto vulnere nares." 


ac. /. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 43? 

Enter CASSIO. 

My lord, I say ! Othello ! How now, Cassio ? 
CAS. What is the matter ? 

I AGO. My lord is fallen into an epilepsy; 
This is his second fit ; he had one yesterday. 

CAS. Rub him about the temples. 

I AGO. No, forbear : 

The lethargy must have his quiet course : 
If not, he foams at mouth ; and, by and by, 
Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he stirs : 
Do you withdraw yourself a little while, 
He will recover straight ; when he is gone, 
I would on great occasion speak with you. 

[_Exit CASSIO. 
How is it, general ? have you not hurt your head ? 

OTH. Dost thou mock me ? 

I AGO. I mock you ! no, by heaven : 

'Would, you would bear your fortunes like a man. 

OTH. A horned man's a monster, and a beast. 

IAGO. There's many a beast then in a populous 

And many a civil monster. 

OTH. Did he confess it ? 

IAGO. Good sir, be a man ; 

Think, every bearded fellow, that's but yok'd, 
May draw with you : there's millions now alive, 
That nightly lie in those unproper beds, 8 

5 in those unproper beds,~] Unproper, for common. 


So, in The Arcadia, by Shirley, 1640: 
" Every woman shall be common. 


Which they dare swear peculiar; your case isbetter. 
O, 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock, 
To lip a wanton 9 in a secure couch, 1 
And to suppose her chaste ! No, let me know ; 
And, knowing what I am, I know what she shall 
be. 2 

OTH. O, thou art wise; 'tis certain. 

1 AGO. Stand you awhile apart ; 
Confine yourself but in a patient list. 3 

" Every woman common ! what shall we do with all the 

proper women in Arcadia ? 
" They shall be common too." 
Again, in Gower De Confessione Amantis, B. II. fol: 

" And is his proper by the lawe." 

Again, in The Mastive, &c. an ancient collection of Epigrams 
and Satires, no date : 

" Rose is a fayre, but not a proper woman ; 

" Can any creature proper be, that's common ?" 


9 To lip a wanton ~] This phrase occurs in Eastward Hoe, 
Act I: 

" lip her, lip her, knave." REED. 

1 in a secure couch,"] In a couch in which he is lulled 

into a false security and confidence in his wife's virtue. A 
Latin sense. 

So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: " Though Page be a 
secure fool, and stands so firmly on his wife's frailty," &c. 

See also Vol. XV. p. 409, n. 8. MALONE. 

2 And, knowing 'what I am, I know what she shall be.~] Re- 
dundancy of metre, without improvement of sense, inclines me 
to. consider the word she, in this line, as an intruder. lago is 
merely stating an imaginary case as his own. When I know 
what I am (says he) / knmv what the result of that conviction 
shall be. To whom, indeed, could the pronoun she, gramma- 
tically refer? STEEVENS. 

3 list.^ List, or lists, is barriers, bounds. Keep your 

temper, says lago, within the bounds of patience. 
So, in Hamlet: 

" The ocean over-peering of his list, 

" Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste," &c. 


sc. i, THE MOOR OF VENICE. 439 

Whilst you were here, ere while mad with your 

grief, 4 

(A passion most unsuiting such a man,) 
Cassio came hither : I shifted him away, 
And laid good 'scuse upon your ecstasy ; 
Bade him anon return, and here speak with me ; 
The which he promis'd. Do but encave yourself, 5 
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns, 
That dwell in every region of his face ; G 
For I will make him tell the tale anew, 
Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when 
He hath, and is again to cope your wife ; 
I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience ; 

Again, in King Henry V. Act V. sc. ii : " you and I can- 
not be confined within the weak list of a country fashion." 
Again, in King Henry IV. P. I : 

" The very list, the very utmost bound, 
" Of all our fortunes." 

Again, in All's well that ends "well, Act II. sc. i : " you 
have restrained yourself within the list of too cold an adieu." 

Chapman, in his translation of the 16th Book of Homer's 
Odyssey, has thus expressed an idea similar to that in the text : 

" ; let thy heart 

" Beat in fix'd confines of thy bosom still." STEEVENS. 

ere while mad with your grief, ~\ Thus the first quarto. 

The folio reads : 

o'ervshelmed with your grief. STEEVENS. 

s encave yourself,'} Hide yourself in a private place. 


6 That dwell in every region of his face;"] Congreve might 
have had this passage in his memory, when he made Lady 
Touchwood say to Maskwell " Ten thousand meanings lurk 
in each corner of that various face." STEEVENS. 

region of his face ;~\ The same uncommon expression 

occurs again in King Henry VIII: 

" The respite shook 

" The bosom of my conscience 

" and made to tremble 

" The region of my breast." MALONE. 

440 OTHELLO, ACT iv. 

Or I shall say, you are all in all in spleen, 8 
And nothing of a man. 

OTH. Dost thou hear, lago ? 

I will be found most cunning in my patience ; 
But (dost thou hear ?) most bloody. 

IAGO. That's not amiss ; 

But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw ? 

[OTHELLO withdraws. 
Now will I question Cassio of Bianca, 
A housewife, that, by selling her desires, 
Buys herself bread and clothes : it is a creature, 
That dotes on Cassio, as 'tis the strumpet's plague, 
To beguile many, and be beguil'd by one ; 
He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain 
From the excess of laughter : Here he comes : 

Re-enter CASSIO. 

As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad ; 
And his unbookish jealousy 9 must construe 
Poor Cassio's smiles, gestures, and light behaviour, 
Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieu- 
tenant ? 

CAS. The worser, that you give me the addition, 
Whose want even kills me. 

Or I shall say, you are all in all in spleen,"] I read: 

Or shall I say, you're all in all a spleen, . 

I think our author uses this expression elsewhere. JOHNSON. 

** A hare-brain'd Hotspur, govern'd by a spleen. 1 ' The old 
reading, however, is not inexplicable. We still say, such a one 
is in wrath, in the dumps, &c. The sense therefore is plain. 
Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream: 

" That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth " 


9 And his unbookish jealousy'] Unbookish, for ignorant. 


sc.i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 441 

I AGO. Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure of't. 
Now, if this suit lay in Bianca's power, 

[Speaking lower. 
How quickly should you speed ? 

CAS. Alas, poor .caitiff! 

OTH. Look, how he laughs already ! [Aside. 

JAGO. I never knew a woman love man so. 

CAS. Alas, poor rogue ! I think i'faith, she loves 

OTH. Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out. 


I AGO. Do you hear, Cassio ? 

OTH. Now he importunes him 

To tell it o'er : Go to ; well said, well said. 


I AGO. She gives it out, that you shall marry her: 
Do you intend it ? 

CAS. Ha, ha, ha ! 

OTH. Do you triumph, Roman ? do you tri- 
umph ? 1 [Aside. 

CAS. I marry her ! what ? a customer ! 2 I pr'y- 
thee, bear some charity to my wit ; do not think 
it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha ! 

OTH. So, so, so, so : They laugh that win. 


1 Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?] Othello calls 
him Roman ironically. Triumph, which was a Roman cere- 
mony, brought Roman into his thoughts. What (says he) you 
are noiv triumphing as great as a Roman ? JOHNSON.' 

s a customer !] A common woman, one that invites 

custom. JOHNSON. 

So, in All's 'well that ends well: 

" I think thee now some common customer." 



IAGO. 'Faith, the cry goes, that you shall marry 

CAS. Pr'ythee, say true. 

IAGO. I am a very villain else. 

OTH. Have you scored me ? 3 Well. [Aside. 

CAS. This is the monkey's own giving out : she 
is persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love 
and flattery, not out of my promise. 

OTH. lago beckons me ; now he begins the story. 


CAS. She was here even now ; she haunts me in 
every place. 1 was, the other day, talking on the 

3 Have you scored me?~\ Have you made my reckoning ? have 
you settled the term of my life ? The old quarto reads stored 
me ? Have you disposed of me ? have you laid me up ? 


To score originally meant no more than to cut a notch upon a 
tally, or to mark out a form by indenting it on any substance. 
Spenser, in the first canto of his Fairy Queen, speaking of the 
Cross, says : 

" Upon his shield the like was also scored." 
Again, in Book II. c. ix : 

why on your shield, so goodly scor'd, 

" Bear you the picture of that lady's head ?" 
But it was soon figuratively used for setting a brand or mark of 
disgrace on any one. " Let us score their backs," says Scarus, 
in Antony and Cleopatra; and it is employed in the same sense 
on the present occasion. STEEVENS. 

In Antony and Cleopatra, we find : 
" --- I know not 

" What counts harsh fortune casts upon my face," &c. 
But in the passage before us our poet might have been thinking 
of the ignominious punishment of slaves. So, in his Rape of 

" Worse than a slavish tripe, or birth-hour's blot." 


I suspect that ivipe, in the foregoing passage from The Rape 
of Lucrece, was a typographical depravation of wispe. See 
Vol. XIV. p. 68, n. 2. STEEVENS. 

so. /. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 443 

sea-bank with certain Venetians ; and thither 
comes this bauble; 4 by this hand, 5 she falls thus 
about my neck ; 

OTH. Crying, O dear Cassio ! as it were : his 
gesture imports it. [Aside. 

CAS. So hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me j 
so hales, and pulls me : ha, ha, ha ! 

OTH. Now he tells, how she plucked him to my 
chamber : O, I see that nose of yours, but not 
that dog I shall throw it to. [Aside. 

CAS. Well, I must leave her company. 
IAGO. Before me ! look, where she comes. 

Enter BIANCA. 

CAS. 'Tis such another fitchew! 6 marry, a per- 
fumed one. What do you mean by this haunting 
of me ? 

BIAN. Let the devil and his dam haunt you ! 

* this bauble ;] So the quarto. The folio the bauble. 


' ly this hand,"] This is the reading of the first quarto. 


Instead of which, the editor of the folio, or rather the licenser 
of plays, substituted thither comes the bauble, and falls me 
thus, &c. MALONE. 

6 Jltcheiv /] A pole-cat. POPE. 

Shakspeare has in another place mentioned the lust of this 
animal. He tells lago, that she is as lewd as the polecat, but of 
better scent, the polecat being a very stinking animal. 


By " another place," Dr. Johnson means ATzwg- Lear: 
" Thejitchetv, nor the soiled horse, goes to't 
" With a more riotous appetite." 

A polecat therefore was anciently one of the cant terms for a 
strumpet. STEEVENS. 

444 OTHELLO, ACT ir. 

What did you mean by that same handkerchief, 
you gave me even now ? I was a fine fool to take it. 
I must take out the whole work? A likely piece 
of work, that you should find it in your chamber, 
and not know who left it there ! This is some 
minx's token, and I must take out the work ? 
There, give it your hobby-horse : wheresoever 
you had' it, I'll take out no work on't. 

CAS. How now, my sweet Bianca ? how now r 
how now ? 

OTH. By heaven, that should be my handker- 
chief! [Aside. 

BIAN. An you'll come to supper to-night, you 
may : an you will not, come when you are next 
prepared for. [Exit. 

I AGO. After her, after her. 
CAS. 'Faith I must, she'll rail in the street else. 
IAGO. Will you sup there ? 
CAS. 'Faith, I intend so. 

IAGO. Well, I may chance to see you ; for I 
would very fain speak with you. 

CAS. Pr'ythee, come; Will you ? 
IAGO. Go to ; say no more. [Exit CASSIO. 

OTH. How shall I murder him, lago ? 
IAGO. Did you perceive how he laughed at his 

OTH. O, lago ! 

IAGO. And did you see the handkerchief? 

OTH. Was that mine ? 

IAGO. Yours, by this hand : 7 and to see how he 

7 . Yours, by this hand:'] This speech is not in the original 
quarto, 1622. MALONE. 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 445 

prizes the foolish woman, your wife ! she gave it 
him, and he hath given it his whore. 

OTH. I would have him nine years a killing: 
A fine woman ! a fair woman ! a sweet woman ! 

IAGO. Nay, you must forget that. 

OTH. Ay, let her rot, and perish, and be damned 
to-night ; for she shall not live : No, my heart is 
turned to stone ; I strike it, and it hurts my hand. 8 
O, the world hath not a sweeter creature: she 
might lie by an emperor's side, and command him 

IAGO. Nay, that's not your way. 

OTH. Hang her ! I do but say what she is : So 
delicate with her needle ! An admirable musician 1 
O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear ! 9 Of 
so high and plenteous wit and invention ! 

IAGO. She's the worse for all this. 

OTH. O, a thousand, a thousand times : And 
then, of so gentle a condition! 1 

IAGO. Ay, too gentle. 

8 No, my heart is turned to stone ;, I strike it, and it hurts my 
hand.] This thought, as often as it occurs to Shakspeare, is sure 
to be received, and as often counteracts his pathos. So, in An- 
tony and Cleopatra, Act IV. sc. viii : 

" throw my heart 

" Against the flint and hardness of my fault, 

** Which, being dried with grief, will break to powder, 

" And finish all foul thoughts." STEEVENS. 

O, she "will sing the savageness out of a bear /] So, in 

Venus and Adonis : 

" when he hath sung 

" The tiger would be tame." MA LONE. 

1 And then, of so gentle a condition !] i. e. of so sweet 

a disposition. So, in King Henry V : " Our tongue is rough, 
coz, and my condition is not smooth." MALONE. 

446 OTHELLO^ ACT iv. 

OTH. Nay, that's certain : But yet the pity of it, 
lago ! O, lago, the pity of it, lago ! 

I AGO. If you are so fond over her iniquity, give 
her patent to offend ; 2 for, if it touch not you, it 
comes near nobody. 

OTH. I will chop her into messes :- Cuckold nie ! 
IAGO. O, 'tis foul in her. 
OTH. With mine officer ! 
IAGO. That's fouler. 

OTH. Get me some poison, lago ; this night : 
I'll not expostulate with her, lest her body and 
beauty unprovide my mind again : - this night, 

IAGO. Do it not with poison, strangle her in her 
bed, even the bed she hath contaminated. 

OTH. Good, good : the justice of it pleases ; 
very good. 

IAGO. And, for Cassio, let me be his under- 
taker : You shall hear more by midnight. 

\_A Trumpet within. 

OTH. Excellent good. What trumpet is that 

IAGO. Something from Venice, sure. 'Tis Lo- 


Come from the duke : and, see, your wife is with 

* If you are Kofond over her iniquity, give her patent to of- 
fend ;] So, in King Edward III. a tragedy, 1596: 

" Why then give sin a passport to offend," MALONE. 


Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants. 

LOD. 'Save you, worthy general ! 

OTH. With all my heart, sir. 3 

LOD. The duke and senators of Venice greet 
you. {Gives him a Packet. 

OTH. I kiss the instrument of their pleasures. 
{Opens the Packet, and reads. 

DES. And what's -the news, good cousin Lodo- 
vico ? 

I AGO. I am very glad to see you, signior ; 
Welcome to Cyprus. 

LOD. I thank you: How does lieutenant Cassio? 

3 With all my heart, sir,"] This does not relate to what Lo- 
dovico has just said, but is spoken by Othello while he salutes 
him. MA LONE. 

I know not how the meaning of this speech can be ascertain- 
ed, unless by reference to the salutation of Lodovico. 

The distracted Othello, considering his own happiness at an 
end in this world, readily catches at the idea of future felicity 
suggested by the words " 'Save you, general !" 

In his present reply, therefore, he must be supposed to wel- 
come the pious wish expressed on his behalf. 

In Measure for Measure, two replies of Angelo, equally equi- 
vocal, are derived from similar premises : 

" Isab. Heaven keep your honour safe ! 
" Ang. Amen !" 

Again, at the conclusion of the same scene : 
" Isab, 'Save your honour! 
" Ang. From thee : even from thy virtue t" 
If it be urged, that *' save you" only means preserve you m 
this world, my sense of the passage will not be much weakened: 
as our protection, 

" Even here, upon this bank and shoal of time," 
depends on the Almighty. STEEVENS. 


IAGO. Lives, sir, 

DES. Cousin, there's fallen between him and 

my lord 

An unkind breach : but you shall make all well. 
OTH. Are you sure of that? 
DES. My lord? 

OTH. This fail you not to do, as you will 


LOD. He did not call ; he's busy in the paper. 
Is there division 'twixt thy lord and Cassio ? 

DES. A most unhappy one ; I would do much 
To atone them, 4 for the love I bear to Cassio. 

OTH. Fire and brimstone ! 

DES. My lord ? 

OTH. Are you wise r 

DES. What, is he angry ? 

LOD. 'May be, the letter mov'd him ; 

For, as I think, they do command him home, 
Deputing Cassio in his government. 

DES. By my troth, I am glad on't. 
OTH. Indeed ? 

DES. My lord ? 

OTH. I am glad to see you mad. 

4 atone them,"] Make them one ; reconcile them. 


The expression is formed by the coalescence of the words at 
one, the verb to set, or some equivalent being omitted. Thus, 
in the Acts: " he showed himself to them as they strove, and 
would have set them AT ONE again." And in The Beehive of 
the Romish Church : " through which God is made AT ONE 
with us, and hath forgiven us our sins." HENLEY, 

See Vol. XVI. p. 199, n. 8, MALONI*. 

sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 449 

DES. How, sweet Othello ? 

OTH. Devil! [Striking her. 

DES. I have not deserved this. 

LOD. My lord, this would not be believ'd in 


Though I should swear I saw it : 'Tis very much ; 
Make her amends, she weeps. 

OTH. O devil, devil ! 

If that the earth could teem with woman's tears, 5 
Each drop she falls 6 would prove a crocodile : 
Out of my sight ! 

DES. I will not stay to offend you. 


LOD. Truly, an obedient lady : 
I do beseech your lordship, call her back. 

OTH. Mistress, 

* If that the earth could teem &c.] If women's tears could 
impregnate the earth. By the doctrine of equivocal generation, 
new animals were supposed producible by new combinations of 
matter. See Bacon. JOHNSON. 

Shakspeare here alludes to the fabulous accounts of crocodiles. 
Each tear, says Othello, which falls from the false Desdemona, 
would generate a crocodile, the most deceitful of all animals, and 
whose own tears are proverbially fallacious. " It is written," 
says Bullokar, " that he will weep over a man's head when he 
hath devoured the body, and then he will eat up the head too. 
Wherefore in Latin there is a proverbe, crocodili lachrymce, cro- 
codile's tears, to signifie such tears as are fained, and spent only 
with intent to deceive, or doe harme." English Expositor, 8vo. 
1616. It appears from this writer, that a dead crocodile, "but 
in perfect forme," of about nine feet long, had been exhibited 
in London, in our poet's time. MALONE. 

Each drop she falls ] To Jail is here a verb active. So, 
in The Tempest: ,. 

" when I rear my hand, do you the like, 

" To Jail it on Gonzalo." STEEVENS. 
VOL. XIX. 2 G 

450 OTHELLO, ACT jr. 

My lord ? 

OTH. What would you with her, sir ? 

LOD. Who, I, my lord ? 

OTH. Ay ; you did wish, that I would make her 

turn : 

Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on, 
And turn again ; 7 and she can weep, sir, we'ep ; 
And she's obedient, as you say, obedient, 
Very obedient ; Proceed you in your tears. 8 
Concerning this, sir, O well-painted passion ! 
I am commanded home : 9 Get you away ; 
I'll send for you anon. Sir, I obey the mandate, 
And will return to Venice ; Hence, avaunt ! 

Cassio shall have my place. 1 And, sir, to-night, 

7 Sir, she can turn, &c.] So, in King Henry VI. P. I: 

" Done like a Frenchman ; turn and turn again" 


8 - Proceed you in your tears."] I cannot think that the 
poet meant to make Othello bid Desdemona to continue weeping, 
which proceed you in your tears, (as the passage is at present 
pointed) must mean. He rather would have said : 

- Proceed you in your tears t 

What! will you still continue to be a hypocrite by a display of 
this "well-painted passion ? WARNER. 

I think the old punctuation the true one. MAI/ONE. 

* I am commanded home:} Thus the folio. The quarto, 
1622, reads, perhaps better : 

/ am commanded here Gel you away, Sec. 
The alteration, I suspect, was made, from the editor of the folio 
not perceiving that an abrupt sentence was intended. MALONE. 

/ am commanded here, (without the least idea of an abrupt 
sentence, ) may be an indignant sentiment of Othello : " I have 
an officer here placed over my head : I am now under the com- 
mand of another :" i. e. of Cassio, to whom the government of 
Cyprus was just transferred. STEEVEXS. 

1 Cassio shall have n\y place."] Perhaps this is addressed to 
Desdemona, who had just expressed her joy on hearing Cassio was 


I do entreat that we may sup together. 
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and 
monkies! 2 [Exit. 

LOD. Is this the noble Moor whom our full 


Call all-in-all sufficient ? This the noble nature 
Whom passion could not shake ? whose solid virtue 
The shot of accident, nor dart of chance, 
Could neither graze, nor pierce? 3 

deputed in the room of her husband. Her innocent satisfaction 
in the hope of returning to her native place, is construed by 
Othello into the pleasure she received from the advancement of 
his rival. STEEVENS. 

4 Goats and monkies !~] In this exclamation Shakspeare 

has shown great art. lago, in the first scene in which he endea- 
vours to awaken his suspicion, being urged to give some evident 
proof of the guilt of Cassio and Desdemona, tells him it were 
impossible to have ocular demonstration of it, though they should 
be " as prime as goats, as hot as monkies." These words, we 
may suppose, still ring in the ears of Othello, who being now 
fully convinced of his wife's infidelity, rushes out with this em- 
phatick exclamation : lago's words vrere but too true ; now in- 
deed I am convinced that they are as hot as "goats and monkies." 


Though the words of Othello, cited by Mr. Malone, could not 
have escaped the deliberate reader's memory, a reference to a 
distant scene, but ill agrees with the infuriation of Othello's mind. 
His fancy, haunted by still growing images of lewdness, would 
scarce have expressed its feelings in recollected phraseology. 


3 whose solid virtus 

The shot o/'accident, nor dart of chance, 

Could neither graze, nor pierce ?] I cannot see, for my 
heart, the difference betwixt the shot of accident ami dart of 
chance. The words and things they imply are purely synony- 
mous ; but that the poet intended two different things seems plain 
from the discretive adverb. Chance may afflict a man in Some 
circumstances ; but other distresses are to be accounted for from 
a different cause. I am persuaded our author wrote : 

2 G 2 

452 OTHELLO, ACT ir. 

IAGO. He is much chang'd. 

LOD. Are his wits safe ? is he not light of brain ? 

IAGO. He is that he is ; I may not breathe my 


What he might be, if, what he might, he is not, 
I. would to heaven, he were. 

LOD. What, strike his wife ! 

IAGO. 'Faith, that was not so well ; Yet 'would I 

That stroke would prove the worst. 

LOD. Is it his use ? 

Or did the letters work upon his blood, 
And new-create this fault ? 

IAGO. Alas, alas ! 

It is not honesty in me, to speak 
What I have seen and known. You shall observe 

him ; 
And his own courses will denote him so, 

The shot of accident, nor dart of change, Sfc. 
And, in a number of other places, our poet industriously puts 
these two words in opposition to each other. THEOBALD. 

To graze is not merely to touch superficially, [as Dr. War- 
burton has stated,] but to strike not directly, not so as to bury 
the body of the thing striking in the matter struck. 

Theobald trifles, as is usual. Accident and chance may admit 
a subtle distinction ; accident may be considered as the act, and 
chance as the poiver or agency of fortune ; as, It was by chance 
that this accident befel me. At least, if we suppose all corrupt 
that is inaccurate, there will be no end of emendation. 


I do not see the least ground for supposing any corruption in 
this passage. As pierce relates to the dart of chance, so graze is 
referred to the shot of accident. The expression is still used; 
we still say he was grazed by a bullet. 

Fr graze, Dr. Warburton arbitrarily substituted raze. 


sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 453 

That I may save my speech : Do but go after, 
And mark how he continues. 

LOD. I am sorry, that I am deceived in him. 



A Room in the Castle.' 

OTH. You have seen nothing then ? 

EMIL. Nor ever heard ; nor ever did suspect. 

4 A Room in the Castle.~\ There are great difficulties in ascer- 
taining the place of this scene. Near the close of it, lago says 
to Desdemona, " Go in, and weep not," which would lead us 
to place it in the court before Othello's castle. These words may 
indeed be explained to mean, "Go into the supper-room" 
(though I do not think that the meaning) : but immediately 
afterwards Roderigo enters, and converses with lago, which de- 
cisively ascertains the scene not to be in Othello's house : for 
Roderigo, who had given the first intelligence to Brabantio, of 
his daughter's flight, and had shortly afterwards drawn his sword 
on Othello and his partisans, certainly would not take the liberty 
of walking into his house at pleasure. 

On the other hand, what Othello says early in the scene to 

" Leave procreants alone, and shut the door;" 
and his subsequent address to her as he goes out, as decisively 
point out a room in Othello's castle as the place of the scene ; 
and compel us to place the several interlocutors there, however 
inconsistent M'ith Roderigo's entry, and lago's address to Des- 

The truth is, that our poet and his audience, in this instance, 
as in many others, were content, from want of scenery, to con- 
sider the very same spot, at one and at the same time, as the out- 
side and inside of a house. See The Historical Account of the 
English Stage, &c. Vol. III. MALONE. 


OTH. Yes, you have seen Cassio and she toge- 

EMIL. But then I saw no harm j and then I 

Each syllable, that breath made up between them. 

OTH. What, did they never whisper ? 
EMIL. Never, my lord. 

OTH. Nor send you out o'the way ? 
EMIL. Never. 

OTH. To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor 
nothing ? 

EMIL. Never, my lord. 

OTH. That's strange. 

EMIL. I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest, 
Lay down my soul at stake : if you think other, 
.Remove your thought ; it doth abuse your bosom. 
If any wretch hath put this in your head, 
Let heaven requite it with the serpent's curse ! 
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true, 
There's no man happy ; the purest of their wives 5 
Is foul as slander. 

OTH. Bid her come hither : go. 

[Exit EMILIA. 

She says enough ; yet she's a simple bawd, 
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore, 
A closet-lock-and-key of villainous secrets : 
And yet she'll kneel, and pray ; 1 have seen her do't. 

4 of their 'wives ] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, 

reads of her sex. MALONE. 

sc.n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 455 

Re-enter EMILIA, with DESDEMONA. 

DES. My lord, what is your will ? 

OTH. Pray, chuck, come hither. 

DES. What is your pleasure ? 

OTH. Let me see your eyes j 

Look in my face. 

DES. What horrible fancy's this ? 

OTH. Some of your function, mistress ; 


Leave procreants alone, and shut the door ; 
Cough, or cry hem, if any body come : 
Your mystery, your mystery j nay, despatch. 

[Exit EMILIA. 

DES. Upon my knees, what doth your speech 

import ? 

I understand a fury in your words, 
But not the words. 6 

OTH. Why, what art thou ? 

DES. Your wife, my lord ; your true 

And loyal wife. 

OTH. Come, swear it, damn thyself ; 

Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils them- 

Should fear to seize thee : therefore be double- 

Swear thou art honest. 

DES. Heaven doth truly know it. 

OTH. Heaven truly knows, that thou art false as 

But not the ioords.~\ This line is added out of the fii'st edition. 


456 OTHELLO, . ACT iv. 

DES. To whom, my lord ? with whom ? How am 
I false ? 

OTH. O Desdemona ! away ! away ! away ! 

DES. Alas, the heavy day ! Why do you weep ? 
Am I the occasion of these tears, my lord ? 
If, haply, you my father do suspect, 
An instrument of this your calling back, 
Lay not your blame on me ; if you have lost him, 
Why, I nave lost him too. 

OTH. Had it pleas'd heaven 

To try me with affliction ; had he rain'd 
All kinds of sores, and shames, on my bare head j 
Steep'd me in poverty to the very lips ; 
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes ; 
I should have found in some part of my soul 
A drop of patience : but (alas!) to make me 
A fixed figure, for the time of scorn 7 

7 time of scorn &c.] The reading of both the eldest 

quartos and the folio is 

for the time of scorn. 

Mr. Howe reads hand of scorn ; and succeeding editors have 
silently followed him. 

I would ( though in opposition to so many great authorities in 
favour of the change ) continue to read with the old copy : 

the time of scorn. 

We call the hour in which we are to die, the hour of death 
the time when we are to be judged the day of judgment the 
instant when we suffer calamity the moment of evil; and why 
may we not distinguish the time which brings contempt along 
with it, by the title of the time of scorn ? Thus, in King Richard 

" Had you such leisure in the time of death ?" 
Again, in King Henry VI. P. Ill : 

" To help king Edward in his time of storm." 
Again, in Soliman and Perseda, 1599: 

" So sings the mariner upon the shore, 
" When he hath past the dangerous time of storms." 
Again, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613: 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 457 

To point his slow unmoving finger at, 
O! O! 

" I'll poison thee ; with murder curbe thy paths, 
" And make thee know a time of infamy." 
Othello takes his idea from a clock. To make me (says he) a 
Jlxed Jigure (on the dial of the world) for the hour of scorn to 
point and make a full stop at ! 

By slow unmoving finger our poet could have meant only 
so slow that its motion was imperceptible. Thus, in Antony and 
Cleopatra the Messenger, describing the gait of the demure 
Octavia, says 

" she creeps ; 

" Her motion and her station are as one:" 
i. e. she moved so slowly, that she appeared as if she stood still. 


Might not Shakspeare have written : 

" for the scorn of time 

" To point his slow unmoving finger at," 
i. e. the marked object for the contempt of all ages and all time. 
So, in Hamlet : 

" For who would bear the whips and scorns of time?" 
However, in support of the reading of the old copies, it may 
be observed, that our author has personified scorn in his 88th 
Sonnet : 

" When thou shalt be dispos'd to set me light, 
" And place my merit in the eye of scorn ." 
The epithet unmoving may likewise derive some support from 
Shakspeare's 104th Sonnet, in which this very thought is ex- 
pressed : 

" Ah ! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand, 
" Steal from his Jigure, and no pace perceived; 
" So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand y 
" Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv'd." 
In the clocks of the last age there was, I think, in the middle 
of the dial-plate a figure of time, which, I believe, was in our 
poet's thoughts, when he wrote the passage in the text. [See 
Vol. XL p. 162, n. 7.] 

The foiger of the dial was the technical phrase. So, in Albo* 
vine King of the Lombards, by D'Avenant, 1629: 
** Even as the slow finger of the dial 
** Doth in its motion circular remove 
" To distant figures, ." 
D'Avenant was a great reader of Shakspeare, and probably 

458 OTHELLO, ACT iv. 

Yet could I bear that too ; well, very well : 

had read his plays, according to the fashion of the time, in the 
folio, without troubling himself to look into the quarto copies. 

Unmoving is the reading of the quarto, 1622. The folio reads 
and moving ; and this certainly agrees with the image pre- 
sented and its counterpart, better than unmoving, which can be 
applied to a clock, only by licence of poetry, ( not appearing to 
move,) and as applied to scorn, has but little force : to say 
nothing of the superfluous epithet slow ; for there needs no 
ghost to tell us, that that which is unmoving is slow. Slow im- 
plies some sort of motion, however little it may be, and there- 
fore appears to me to favour the reading of the folio. 

I have given the arguments on both sides, and, from respect 
to the opinion of others, have printed unmoving, though 1 am 
very doubtful whether it was the word intended by Shakspeare. 
The quarto, 1622, has -fingers ; the folio fager. MALONE. 

Perhaps we should read slowly moving jtnger at, I should 
wish to reject the present reading, for even the word slow implies 
some degree of motion, though that motion may not be percep- 
tible to the eye. The time of acorn is a strange expression, to 
which I cannot reconcile myself; I have no doubt but it is erro- 
neous, and wish we had authority to read hand of scorn, in- 
stead of time. M. MASON. 

If a certain culprit, in one of his soliloquies (after the execu- 
tion of a late sentence in the com market) had been heard to 
exclaim : 

" but, alas ! to make me 

" A fixed figure, for the time of scorn 

" To point his slow unmoving finger at, 

" O! O!" 

he would, at once, have been understood, by the TIME of scorn, 
to mean the HOUR of his exposure in the pillory ; and by its slow 
unmoving FINGER, the HOUR-INDEX oj the dial tliat fronted 

Mr. Malone, in a subsequent note, hath remarked that " his 
for its is common in our author ;" and in respect to the epithet 
unmoving, it may be observed, with Rosalind, not only that 
time travels in divers places with divers persons, but, that for 
the same reason, it GALLOPS with the thief to the gallows, it 
apparently STANDS STILL with the perjured in the pillory. 
Whatever were the precise instance of disgrace to which Othello 
alluded, the text in its present state, is perfectly intelligible; and, 
therefore, should be preserved from capricious alterations. 


sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 459 

But there, where I have garner' d up my heart j 8 

Where either I must live, or bear no life ; 9 

The fountain from the which my current runs, 

Or else dries up ; to be discarded thence ! 

Or keep it as a cistern, for foul toads 1 

To knot and gender in ! turn thy complexion 

there ! 

Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin ; 
Ay, there, look grim as hell ! 2 

DES. I hope, my noble lord esteems me honest. 

OTH. O, ay ; as summer flies are in the sham- 
That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed, 3 

8 : garner d up my heart ;~\ That is, treasured up; the 
garner and \\iefountain are improperly conjoined. JOHNSON. 

9 Where either I must live, or bear no life ;~] So, in K. Lear; 
" Whereby we do exist, or cease to be." STEEVENS. 

1 a cistern, for foul toads &c.] So, in Antony and Cleo- 
patra : 

" So half my Egypt were submerg'd, and made 

" A cistern for scal'd snakes ." STEEVENS. 

s turn thy complexion there ! &c.] At such an object do 

thou, patience, thyself change colour ; at this do thou, even 
thou, rosy cherub as thou art, look as grim as hell. The old edi- 
tions and the new have it : 

" / here look grim as hell." 
Jwas written for ay, and not since corrected. JOHNSON. 

Here in the old copies was manifestly an error of the press. 
See the line next but one above. Mr. Theobald made the cor- 
rection. MALONE. 

3 O thou weed,'] Dr. Johnson has, on this occasion, been 

unjustly censured for having stifled difficulties where he could 
not remove them. I would therefore observe, that Othello's 
speech is printed word for word from the folio edition, though 
the quarto reads : 

" O thou black weed!" 

Had this epithet, black, been admitted, there would still have 
remained an incomplete verse in the speech: no additional beauty 

460 OTHELLO, ACT ir. 

Who art so lovely fair, and smell'st so sweet, 
That the sense aches at thee. 'Would, thou had'st 
ne'er been born ! 

DES. Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed? 

OTH. Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, 
Made to write whore upon ? 4 What committed ! 
Committed! 5 O thou publick commoner! 
I should make very forges of my cheeks, 
That would to cinders burn up modesty, 

would have been introduced ; but instead of it, a paltry antithesis 
between the words black andjair. STEEVENS. 
The quarto, 1622, reads : 

" O .thou black weed, 'why art so lovely fair ? 
" Thou smell'st so sweet, that the sense aches at thee,'* 
&c. MALONE. 

4 Was this fair paper, c.] Massinger has imitated this pas- 
sage in The Emperor of the East : 

" can you think 

" This master piece of heaven, this precious vellum 
" Of such a purity and virgin whiteness, 
" Could be design'd to have perjury and whoredom 
" In capital letters writ upon't ?" STEEVENS. 
4 Committed !~\ This and the three following lines, are omitted 
in the first quarto. For the peculiar sense in which the word 
committed, is here used, see Vol. XVII. p. 466, n. 8. See also, 
Decker's Bell-mans Night Walkes, &c : " But what doe they ? 
marrie, they doe that which the Constable should have done for 
them both in the streets ; that is to say, commit, commit !" 


This word in Shakspeare's time, beside its general significa- 
tion, seems to have been applied particularly to unlawful acts of 
love. Hence perhaps it is so often repeated by Othello. 

So, in Sir Thomas Overbury's CHARACTERS, (A Very Woman} 
1614: " She commits with her ears for certain; after that, she 
may go for a maid, but she has been lain with in her understand- 
ing." The word is used in the same sense in King Lear: 

" Commit not with man's sworn spouse." 
Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, P. I: 

" if all committers stood in a rank, 

" They'd make a lane, in which your shame might dwell." 


sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 461 

Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed ! 
Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks; 
The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets, 6 
Is hush'd within the hollow mine of earth, 
And will not hear it : What committed ! 
Impudent strumpet ! 

DES. By heaven, you do me wrong. 

OTH. Are not you a strumpet ? 

DES. No, as I am a Christian : 

If to preserve this vessel for my lord, 7 
From any other 8 foul unlawful touch, 
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none. 

OTH. What, not a whore ? 

DES. No, as I shall be saved. 

OTH. Is it possible ? 

DES. O, heaven forgive us ! 

OTH. I cry you mercy, then ; 

I took you for that cunning whore of Venice, 
That married with Othello. You, mistress, 

Re-enter EMILIA. 

That have the office opposite to Saint Peter, 
And keep the gate of hell ; You ! you ! ay, you ! 

6 The bawdy ivind, that kisses all it meets,"] So, in The Mer- 
chant of Venice : 

" Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind." 


7 If to preserve this vessel for my lord,] This expression, as 
well as many others, our author has borrowed from the sacred 
writings: " to possess his vessel in sanctification," 1 Thess. 
iy. 4. MALONE. 

any other ] Thus the folio. The quarto reads any 

hated. STKIVENS. 

462 OTHELLO, ACT ir. 

We have done our course ; there's money for your 

pains ; 
I pray you, turn the key, and keep our counsel. 


EMIL. Alas, what does this gentleman con- 
ceive ? 
How do you, madam ? how do you, my good lady ? 

DES. 'Faith, half asleep. 

EMIL. Good madam, what's the matter with my 


Zto.. With who? 

EMIL. Why, with my lord, madam. 

DES. Who is thy lord ? 9 
EMIL. He that is yours, sweet lady. 

DES. I have none : Do not talk to me, Emilia ; 
I cannot weep ; nor answer I have none, 
But what should go by water. 1 Pr'ythee, to-night 
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets, remember; 
And call thy husband hither. 

EMIL. Here is a change, indeed ! 


9 Who is thy lord?] This, and the following speech, are 
omitted in the first quarto. STEEVENS. 

1 answer I have none, 

But ivhat should go by water.] Camden has preserved an 
Epitaph on Queen Elizabeth, which concludes with a similar 
conceit : 

" I think the barge-men might with easier thighs 

" Have rowed her thither in her people's eyes : 

" For how-so-ere, thus much my thoughts have scann'd , 

*' Sh'ad come by iwter, had she come by land." 


These lines are to be found in Decker's Wonderful Yeare, 
1603, and probably were written by him. They are not as an 
epitaph. REED. 

sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 463 

DES. 'Tis meet I should be us'd so, very meet. 
How have I been behav'd, that he might stick 
The smallest opinion on my great'st abuse ? 2 

Re-enter EMILIA, with IAGO. 

I AGO. What is your pleasure, madam ? How is 
it with you ? 

DES. I cannot tell. Those, that do teach young 


Do it with gentle means, and easy tasks : 
He might have chid me so ; for, in good faith, 
I am a child to chiding. 

IAGO. What's the matter, lady ? 

EMIL. Alas, lago, my lord hath so bewhor'd her, 
Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her, 
As true hearts cannot bear. 

DES. Am I that name, lago ? 

IAGO. What name, fair lady ? 

DES. Such as, she says, my lord did say I was. 

EMIL. He call'd her, whore ; a beggar, in his 

Could not have laid such terms upon his callet. 3 

* on my great'st abuse?~\ This is the reading of the 

quarto, 1622, which Dr. Johnson thought preferable to the read- 
ing of the folio on my least misuse. MALONE. 

3 ' upon his callet.] Callet is a lewd woman ; so called 
(says Dr. Grey) from the French calote, which was a sort of 
head-dress worn by country girls. This head-dress is mentioned 
by Ben Jonson in his Magnetick Lady : 

" The wearing the callot> the politick hood." 
The word is likewise found in Cocke Lorelles Bote, a satyre, 
bl. 1. printed by Wynkyn de Worde, no date : 

" Yf he call her calat, she calleth hym knave agayne." 
On the books of the Stationers' Company is the following 


I AGO. Why did he so ? 

DES. I do not know; I am sure, I am none such. 

I AGO. Do not weep, do not weep; Alas, the day! 

EMIL. Has she forsook so many noble matches, 
Her father, and her country, and her friends, 
To be calPd whore ? would it not make one weep ? 

DES. It is my wretched fortune. 

I AGO. Beshrew him for it ! 

How comes this trick upon him ? 

DES. Nay, heaven doth know. 

EMIL. I will be hang'd, if some eternal villain, 
Some busy and insinuating rogue, 
Some cogging cozening slave, to get some office, 
Have not devis'd this slander ; I'll be hang'd else. 

IAGO. Fye, there is no such man ; it is impos- 

DES. If any such there be, heaven pardon him ! 

EMIL. A halter pardon him ! and hell gnaw his 
bones ! 

entry : " Recevyd of Alexandre Lucye for his lycence for 

printinge of a boke intituled the orders of Callets or 

drabbys." 1563. STEEVENS. 

suck terms upon his callet.] This word is of great anti- 
quity in the English language. Chaucer has it in his Remedy of 
Love : 

" C, for calet, for of, we have O, 

" L, for leude, D, for demeanure," &c. PERCY. 

I meet with this word in the translation of Ariosto, 1591 : 

" And thus this old ill-favour'd spiteful callet ." 
Harrington, in a note on that line, says that " callet is a nick- 
name used to a woman," and that " in Irish it signifies a witch." 
I have no faith in Dr. Grey's etymology of this word. Calotc 
is a coif or light cap, worn by others beside country girls. 


Dr. Grey's etymology is taken from the Glossary to Urry'a 
Chaucer. REED. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 465 

Why should he call her, whore ? who keeps her 

company ? 

What place ? what time ? what form ? what likeli- 
hood ? 

The Moor's abus'd by some most villainous knave, 4 
Some base notorious 5 knave, some scurvy fellow : 
O, heaven, that such companions 6 thou'dst unfold ; 
And put in every honest hand a whip, 
To lash the rascal 7 naked through the world, 
Even from the east to the west ! 

I AGO. Speak within door. 8 

EMIL. O, fye upon him ! some such squire he was, 
That turn'd your wit the seamy side without, 9 

4 some most villainous knave,'] Thus the folio. The 

quarto, 1622, reads some outrageous knave. MALONE. 

" notorious ] For gross, not in its proper meaning for 

known. JOHNSON. 

suck companions 3 The same term of degradation 

has already occurred and been explained in Julius Cccsar. See 
Vol. XVI. p. 384, n. 7. In King Henry IV. P. II. Vol. XII. 
p. 86, Dol Tearsheet also says to Pistol : " I scorn you, scurvy 
companion." STEEVENS. 

Companion, in the time of Shakspeare, was used as a word of 
contempt, in the same sense as fellow is at this day. 

So, in The Widow's Tears, by Chapman, 1612: " How now, 
base companion ?" 

Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1605: 

" And better 'tis, that base companions die, 
" Than by their life to hazard our good haps." 


7 the rascal 1 Thus the quarto, 1622; folio rascals. 

Emilia first wishes that all base fellows were detected, and then 
that heaven would put a whip in every honest hand to punish in 
a signal manner that villainous knave, particularly in her thoughts, 
who had abused the too credulous Moor. MALONE. 

8 Speak within door."] Do not clamour so as to be heard 
beyond the house. JOHNSON. 

the seamy side ivithoui,~\ That is, inside out. 


VOL. XIX. 2 H 

466 OTHELLO, ACT iv. 

And made you to suspect me with the Moor. 
IAGO. You are a fool ; go to. 

DES. O good lago, 

What shall I do to win my lord again ? 
Good friend, go to him ; for, by this light of heaven, 
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel : ' 
If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love, 
Either in discourse of thought, or actual deed; 2 
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense, 
Delighted them in any other form ; 
Or that I do not yet, and ever did, 
And ever will, though he do shake me off 
To beggarly divorcement, love him dearly, 
Comfort forswear me ! Unkindness may do much ; 
And his imkindness may defeat my life, 
But never taint my love. I cannot say, whore ; 
It does abhor me, now I speak the word ; 
To do the act that might the addition earn, 
Not the world's mass of vanity could make me. 

This idea has already occurred. In a former scene, lago 
speaks of Roderigo as of one 

" Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side outward." 


1 Here I kneel: c.] The first quarto omits these words and 
the rest of the speech. STEEVENS. 

2 Either in discourse of thought, or actual deed;~\ Thus the 
old copies. So, in Hamlet: 

" O heaven ! a beast, that wants discourse of reason, 
" Would have mourn'd longer." 

The modern editors, following Mr. Pope, read discourse, or 
thought. MALONE. 

Notwithstanding the instance given in favour of the old read- 
ing, I suspect, on the authority of the following note, that Mr. 
.Pope's correction is defensible. STEEVENS. 

The three ways of committing sin mentioned in the Catholick 
catechisms are -in thought, "word, and deed. C. 

The same words remain in our Liturgy. 

sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 467 

I AGO. I pray you, be content; 'tis but his hu- 
mour ; 

The business of the state does him offence, 
And he does chide with you. 3 

DES. If 'twere no other, 

I AGO. It is but so, I warrant you. [Trumpets. 
Hark, how these instruments summon to supper ! 
And the great messengers of Venice stay : 4 
Go in, and weep not ; all things shall be well. 



How now, Roderigo ? 

ROD. I do not find, that thou deal'st justly with 

IAGO. What in the contrary ? 

ROD. Every day thou doff'st me with some de- 
vice, lago ; and rather (as it seems to me now,) 
keep'st from me all conveniency, than suppliest me 
with the least advantage of hope. I will, indeed, 
no longer endure it : Nor am I yet persuaded, to 
put up in peace what already I have foolishly suf- 

3 and he does chide with you.~\ This line is from the 

quarto, 1622. STEF.VENS. 

To chide tvith was the phraseology of the time. We have, I 
think, the same phrase in one of our poet's Sonnets. MALONE. 

The same phrase indeed occurs in p. 313, but perhaps with a 
somewhat different construction : 

" And chides ivith thinking." STEEVENS. 

4 And the great messengers of Venice stay:] Thus the quarto. 
The folio poorly reads : 

The messengers of Venice stay the meat. STEEVENS. 

2 H 2 

468 OTHELLO, ACT iv. 

IAGO. Will you hear me, Roderigo ? 

Ron. 'Faith, I have heard too much ; for your 
words, and performances, are no kin together. 

IAGO. You charge me most unjustly. 

ROD. With nought but truth. I have wasted 
myself out of my means. The jewels you have 
had from me, to deliver to Desdemona, would half 
have corrupted a votarist : You have told me she 
has received them, and returned me expectations 
and comforts of sudden respect and acquittance ; 5 
but I find none. 

IAGO. Well ; go to ; very well. 

ROD. Very well ! go to ! I cannot go to, man ; 
nor 'tis not very well : By this hand, I say, it is 
very scurvy ; and begin to find myself fobbed in it. 

IAGO. Very well. 

ROD. I tell you, 'tis not very well. I will make 
myself known to Desdemona : If she will return 
me my jewels, I will give over my suit, and repent 
my unlawful solicitation ; if not, assure yourself, I 
will seek satisfaction of you. 

IAGO. You have said now. 

ROD. Ay, and I have said nothing, but what I 
protest intendrnent of doing. 

IAGO. Why, now I see there's mettle in thee ; 
and even, from this instant, do build on thee a 
better opinion than ever before. Give me thy 

5 and acquittance;] This is the reading of the original 

quarto, 1622. The folio reads and acquaintance. 

Acquittance is requital. So, in King Henri/ V : 
" And shall forget the office of our hand 
" Sooner than 'quittance of desert and merit." 

See also Hamlet, Vol. XVIII. p. 352, n. 1. MALONB, 

See also Vol. IX. p. 16, n. 7. >STEEVENS. 

sc. if. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 469 

hand, Roderigo : Thou hast taken against me a most 
just exception ; but, yet, I protest, I have dealt most 
directly in thy affair. 

ROD. It hath not appeared. 

I AGO. I grant, indeed, it hath not appeared ; and 
your suspicion is not without wit and judgment. 6 
But, Roderigo, if thou hast that within thee indeed, 
which I have greater reason to believe now than 
ever, I mean, purpose, courage, and valour, this 
night show it : if thou the next night following 
enjoyest not Desdemona, take me from this world 
with treachery, and devise engines for my life. 7 

ROD. Well, what is it ? is it within reason, and 
compass ? 

I AGO. Sir, there is especial commission 8 come from 
Venice, to depute Cassio in Othello's place. 

ROD. Is that true ? why, then Othello and Des- 
demona return again to Venice. 

IAGO. O, no ; he goes into Mauritania, and takes 
away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode 
be lingered here by some accident ; wherein none 
can be so determinate, as the removing of Cassio. 

c your suspicion is not without wit and judgment.] Shak- 

speare knew well, that most men like to be flattered on account 
of those endowments in which they are most deficient. Hence 
lago's compliment to this snipe on his sagacity and shrewdness. 


7 lake me from this world nvith treachery, and devise 

engines for my life."] To devise engines, seems to mean, to 
contrive racks, tortures, &c. RITSON. 

So, in King Lear : 

" like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature." 


8 there is especial commission ] Shakspcare probably 

wrote a special . MALONE. 


ROD. How do you mean removing of him ? 

I AGO. Why, by making him uncapable of Othel- 
lo's place ; knocking out his brains. 

ROD. And that you would have me do ? 

I AGO. Ay ; if you dare do yourself a profit, and 
a right. He sups to-night with a harlot, 9 and thi- 
ther will I go to him ; he knows not yet of his 
honourable fortune : if you will watch his going 
thence, (which I will fashion to fall out between 
twelve and one,) you may take him at your plea- 
sure ; I will be near to second your attempt, and 
he shall fall between us. Come, stand not amazed 
at it, but go along with me ; I will show you 
such a necessity in his death, that you shall think 
yourself bound to put it on him. It is now high 
supper-time, 1 and the night grows to waste : 2 about 

9 He sups to-night with a harlot,] The folio reads a harlotry, 
which may be right. Our author has the expression " a peevish 
self-will'd harlotry" in two plays. RITSON. 

1 It is now high supper-time,^ I believe we should read : 

It is now nigh supper-time, . M. MASON. 

The old reading is the true one. There is no phrase more 
common than " high time to go to bed to get up," &c. High 
time, isjfullf complete time. 

Thus Spenser, in his Fairy Queen: 

" High time now 'gan it wax for Una fair 

" To think of those her captive parents ." 


" High time it is this war now ended were." 
Clarendon is frequent in his use of this expression. 


2 and the night grows to waste:] I suppose lago means 

to say, that it is near midnight. Perhaps we ought to print 
waist. Both the old copies, the quarto, 1622, and the folio, 
1623, read yeast, which was the old spelling of Waist. 

So, Hamlet: 

" In the dead wast [wairf] and middle of the night.'* 

ac. in. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 471 

ROD. I will hear further reason for this. 

IAGO. And you shall, be satisfied. [Exeunt. 


Another Room in the Castle. 


and Attendants. 

LOD. I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no 

OTH. O, pardon me ; 'twill do me good to walk. 

LOD. Madam, good night ; I humbly thank your 

DES. Your honour is most welcome. 

OTH. Will you walk, sir ? 

O, Desdemona, 

DES. My lord ? 

OTH. Get you to bed on the instant ; I will be 
returned forthwith : dismiss your attendant there j 
look, it be done. 

DES. I will, my lord. 

[Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and Attendants. 

See note on that passage, Vol. XVIII. p. 45, n. 3. 
See also, The Puritan, a comedy, 1607 : 

" . ere the day 

" Be spent to the girdle, thou shalt be free." 
The words, however, may only mean the night is wasting 
apace. MALONE. 

The last is certainly the true explanation. So, in Julius 
" Sir, March is wasted fourteen days." STEEVENS. 


EMIL. How goes it now ? he looks gentler than 
he did. 

DES. He says, he will return incontinent ; 
He hath commanded me to go to bed, 
And bade me to dismiss you. 

EMIL. Dismiss me ! 

DES. It was his bidding ; therefore, good Emilia, 
Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu : 
We must not now displease him. 

EMIL. I would, you had never seen him ! 

DES. So would not I ; my love doth so approve 


That even his stubbornness,his checks,and frowns, 
Pr'ythee, unpin me, have grace and favour in 

EMIL. I have laid those sheets you bade me on 
the bed. 

DES. All's one : Good father ! 3 how foolish are 
our minds ! 

If I do die before thee, pr'ythee, shroud me 

In one of those same sheets. 

EMIL. Come, come, you talk, 

DES. My mother had a maid call'd Barbara ; 

She was in love ; and he, she lov'd, prov'd mad, 

And did forsake her : 4 she had a song of willow, 

3 Good father .'] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1622, 

reads all's one, good faith. MALONE. 

4 and he, she lov'd, prov'd mad, 

And did for sake her:'] I believe that mad only signifies wild, 
frantick, uncertain. JOHNSON. 

Mad, in the present instance, ought to mean inconstant. 


We still call a wild giddy girl a mad-cap: and, in The First 
Part of King Henry VI. are mentioned: 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 473 

An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune, 
And she died singing it : That song, to-night, 
Will not go from my mind ; I have much to do, 
But to go hang my head 5 all at one side, 
And sing it like poor Barbara. Pr'ythee, despatch. 

EMIL. Shall I go fetch your night-gown ? 

DES. No, unpin me here. 

This Lodovico is a proper man. 

EMIL. A very handsome man. 

DES. And he speaks well. 

EMIL. I know a lady in Venice, who would have 
walked barefoot to Palestine, for a touch of his 
nether lip. 

" Mad, natural graces that extinguish art." 
Again, in The ZW Gentlemen of Verona : 

" Come on, you mad-cap." 

Again, in Love's Labour's Lost: "Do you hear, my mad 
wenches ?" STEEVENS. 

s I have much to do, 

But to go hang my head ~\ I have much ado to do any 
thing but hang my ^head. We might read : 
Not to go hang my head. 

This is perhaps the only insertion made in the latter editions 
which has improved the play. The rest seem to have been added 
for the sake of amplification, or of ornament. When the ima- 
gination had subsided, and the mind was no longer agitated by 
the horror of the action, it became at leisure to look round for 
specious additions. This addition is natural. Desdemona can 
at first hardly forbear to sing the song ; she endeavours to change 
her train of thoughts, but her imagination at last prevails, and 
she sings it. JOHNSON. 

From / have much to do, to Nay, that's not next, was inserted 
after the first edition, as was likewise the remaining part of the 
song. STEEVENS. 



DBS. The poor soul 6 sat sighing"* by a sycamore 
tree, [Singing. 

Sing all a green willow ; 8 
Her hand on her bosom , her head on her knee, 

Sing willow, willow, willow : 
The fresh streams'* ran by her, and murmur* d her 


Sing willow, fyc. 
Her salt tears fell from her, and softened the stones; 

Lay by these : 

Sing willow, willow, willow; 
Pr'ythee, hie thee ; he'll come anon. 

Sing all a green willow must be my gar- 

8 The poor soul &c.] This song, in two parts, is printed in a 
late collection of old ballads ; the lines preserved here differ 
somewhat from the copy discovered by the ingenious collector. 


7 sat sighing ] The folio reads singing. The passage, 

as has been already observed, is not in the original copy printed 
in 1622. The reading of the text is taken from a quarto of no 
authority printed in 1630. Sighing, as Mr. Steevens has ob- 
served, is also the reading in the black-letter copy of this ballad, 
in the Pepys Collection, which Dr. Percy followed. See The 
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Vol. 1. 192. MALONE. 

8 Sing all a green tvilloiu; &c.] In the Gallery of Gorgious 
Inuentions, &c. 4to. 1578, there is also a song to which the 
burden is 

" Willow, willow, willow, sing all of green willlow; 
" Sing all of greene willow shall be my garland." 
Sig. L. ii. STEEVENS. 

5 The Jresh streams &c.] These lines are formed with some 
additions from two couplets of the original song : 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 475 


Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve^ 

Nay, that's not next. Hark ! who is it that knocks? 
EMIL. It is the wind. 

DES. / call'd my love, false love ; 2 but what said 

he then? 
Sing willow, fyc. 
If I court mo women, you'll couch with mo men. 3 

So, get thee gone ; good night. Mine eyes do itch ; 
Doth that bode weeping ? 

EMIL. 'Tis neither here nor there. 

" The cold streams ran by him, his eyes wept apace ; 
O willow, &c. 

The salt tears fell from him, which drowned his face ; 
O willow, &c. 

The mute birds sate by him, made tame by his mones; 
O willow, &c. 

The salt tears fell from him, which soft end the stones." 


1 Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve,"] in the original: 
" Let nobody blame me, her scorns I do prove, 
" O willow, &c. 
" She was born to be fair ; I to die for her love." 


* / call'd my love, fahc loves'] This couplet is not in the 
ballad, which is the complaint, not of a woman forsaken, but 
of a man rejected. These lines were properly added when it 
was accommodated to a woman. JOHNSON. 

3 you'll couch 'with mo men.'] This verb is found also in 

The Tivo Noble Kinsmen, 1634: 

" O, if thou couch 

" But one night with her, ." MALONE. 

It is used likewise in The Merchant of Venice: 

" couching with the lawyer's clerk." STEEVEXS. 

476 OTHELLO, ACT iv. 

DES. I have heard it said so. 4 O, these men, 

these men ! 

Dost thou in conscience think, tell me, Emilia, 
That there be women do abuse their husbands 
In such gross kind ? 

EMIL. There be some such, no question. 

DES. Would'st thou do such a deed for all the 
world ? 

EMIL. Why, would not you ? 

DES. No, by this heavenly light ! 

EMIL. Nor I neither by this heavenly light ; 
I might do't as well i'the dark. 

DES. Would'st thou do such a deed for all the 
world ? 

EMIL. The world is a huge thing : 'Tis a great 

For a small vice. 

DES. Good troth, I think thou would'st not. 

EMIL. By my troth, I think I should ; and un- 
do't, when I had done. Marry, I would not do 
such a thing for a joint-ring ; 5 nor for measures of 

4 I have heard it said so.~] This, as well as the following 
speech, is omitted in the first quarto. STEEVENS. 

5 for a joint-ring ;] Anciently a common token among 

lovers. They are mentioned by Burton in his Anatomy of Me- 
lancholy, edit. 163^, 544 : " With tokens, hearts divided, and 
halfe rings." 

The nature of these rings will be best explained by a passage 
in Dryden's Don Sebastian: 

" a curious artist wrought them, 

" With joints so close as not to be perceiv'd ; 

" Yet are they both each other's counterpart : 

" Her part had Juan inscrib'd, and his had Xayda, 

" (You know those names are theirs) and, in the midst, 

" A heart divided in two halves was plac'd. 

** Now if the rivets of those rings inclos'dj 

sc. m. THE MOOR OF VENICE, 477 

lawn ; nor for gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any 
petty exhibition : but, for the whole world, Why, 
who would not make her husband a cuckold, to 
make him a monarch ? I should venture purgatorv 

DES. Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong 
for the whole world. 

EMIL. Why, the wrong is but a wrong i'the 
world ; and, having the world for your labour, 'tis 
a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly 
make it right. 

DES. I do not think there is any such woman. 

EMIL. Yes, a dozen ; and as many 
To the vantage, 6 as would store the world thev 

O y l 

play'd for. 

.But, I do think, 7 it is their husbands' faults, 
If wives do fall : Say, that they slack their duties, 
And pour our treasures into foreign laps ; s 
Or else break out in peevish jealousies, 
Throwing restraint upon us ; or, say, they strike us, 
Or scant our former having 9 in despite ; 
Why, we have galls ; and, though we have some 

Yet we have some revenge. Let husbands know, 

" Fit not each other, I have forg'd this lye : 

" But if they join, you must for ever part." STEEVENS. 

fi To the vantage,"] i. e. to boot, over and above. STEEVENS. 

7 But, I do think, &c.] The remaining part of this speech is 
omitted in the first quarto.- STEEVENS. 

8 And pour our treasures into foreign laps;"] So, in one of our 
author's Poems : 

" Robb'd other beds' revenues of their rents." 


9 our former having ] Our former allowance of ex- 
pence. JOHNSON. 

478 OTHELLO, ACT ir. 

Their wives have sense like them : l they see, and 


And have their palates both for sweet and sour, 
As husbands have. What is it that they do, 
When they change us for others ? Is it sport ? 
I think it is ; And dotli affection breed it ? 
I think, it doth ; Is't frailty, that thus errs ? 
It is so too : And have not we affections ? 
Desires for sport ? and frailty, as men have ? 
Then, let them use us well : else, let them know, 
The ills we do, their ills instruct us to. 2 

DES. Good night, good night : Heaven me such 

usage send, 3 
Not to pick bad from bad ; but, by bad, mend ! 


1 have sense like them:'] Sense is used here, as in 

Hamlet, for sensation, or sensual appetite. See Vol. XVIII. 
p. 244, n. 2. MALONE. 

* instruct us to.] Mr. Malone, in the following note, 

has described and rejected a correction which I have received 
on the authority of the following passage in Pericles. Till this 
instant I had supposed this passage itself to need amendment : 

" Your honour and your goodness teach me to it." 
Perhaps no rhyme was intended. STEEVENS. 

This passage, [in Othello,'] as has been already observed, is not 
in the quarto, 1622. The reading of my text [so] is that of the 
folio, 1623. The modern editors, following an alteration made 
by the editor of the second folio, read instrust us to. Our poet, 
for the sake of rhyme, often uses an uncommon phraseology ; I 
have therefore adhered to the authentick copy. MALONE. 

1 Heaven me such usage send,~] Such uses is the reading 

of the folio, and of the subsequent editions; but the old quarto 
has, such usage send. Usage is an old word for custom, and, 
I think, better than uses. JOHNSON. 



A Street. 

I AGO. Here, stand behind this bulk ; straight will 

he come : 

Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home ; 
Quick, quick ; fear nothing ; I'll be at thy elbow : 
It makes us, or it mars us ; think on that, 
And fix most firm thy resolution. 

ROD. Be near at hand ; I may miscarry in't. 

IAGO. Here, at thy hand ; be bold, and take thy 
sword. \_Retires to a little distance. 

ROD. I have no great devotion to the deed ; 
And yet he has given me satisfying reasons : 
'Tis but a man gone : forth, my sword ; he dies. 

[Goes to his stand. 

IAGO. I have rubb'd this young quat almost to 

the sense, 
And he grows angry. 4 Now, whether he kill Cassio, 

4 / have rubb'd this young quat almost to the sense, 

And he grows angry. ~\ This is a passage much controverted 
among the editors. Sir T. Hanmer reads quab, a gudgeon; not 
-that a gudgeon can be rubbed to much sense, but that a man 
grossly deceived is often called a gudgeon. Mr. Upton reads 
quail, which he proves, by much learning, to be a very cho- 
lerick bird. Dr. Warburton retains gnat, which is found in the 
early quarto. Theobald would introduce knot, a small bird of 
that name. I have followed the text of the folio, and third and 
fourth quartos. 

A quat in the midland counties is a pimple, which by rubbing 
is made to smart, or is rubbed to sense. Roderigo is called a 

480 OTHELLO, ACT 7. 

Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, 
Every way makes my gain : 5 Live Roderigo, 
He calls me to a restitution large 
Of gold, and jewels, that I bobb'd from him, 6 
As gifts to Desdemona ; 
It must not be : if Cassio do remain, 
He hath a daily beauty in his life, 
That makes me ugly ; and, besides, the Moor 
May unfold me to him ; there stand I in much 
peril : 

quat by the same mode of speech, as a low fellow is now termed 
in low language a scab. To rub to the sense, is to rub to the 
quick. JOHNSON. 

The same explanation appeared in The British Magazine, 
p. 425, in the year 1748. REED. 

So, in The Devil's Law Case, 1623 : " O young quat ! incon- 
tinence is plagued in all creatures in the world." 

Again, in Decker's Gul's Hornbook, 1609: " whether he 
be a yong quat of the first yeeres revennew, or some austere and 
sullen-fac'd steward," &c. 

Such another thought occurs in Ben Jonson's Catiline: 

" must have their disgraces still new rubb'd, 

" To make them smart," &c. 

Again, in the Preface to Robert Dallington's Method of 
Travel, shelved by taking the Vieiu of France, as it stood in the 
Yeare of our Lord, 1598: " and be assured that where it 
rubbeth the French itche till it smart, &c. 

Again, in Chapman's translation of Homer's Batrachomuo- 

" And this it is that rubs the angry sore 
" Of my offence ." STEEVENS. 

s my gain:] The quartos read my game. STEEVENS. 

that I bobb'd from him~] That \fooTd him out of. 

A bob formerly signified a mock, or jeer. Cole renders it in his 
Dictionary, 1679, by xanna, as he does bobb'd b}' illusus. 


To bob for fish is likewise a technical term among those who 
delight in angling. Thus, in a well-known line describing a 
giant's occupation : 

" He sat upon a rock, and bobb'd for whales." 


sc.i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 481 

No, he must die : But so, I hear him coming. 

Enter CASSIO. 


ROD. I knowhis gait,'tishe; Villain, thou diest. 
[Rushes from his post, and makes a pass at 

CAS. That thrust had been mine enemy indeed, 
But that my coat is better than thou think'st ; 
I will make proof of thine. 

[Draws, and wounds RODERIGO. 

ROD. O, I am slain ! 

[I AGO rushes from his post, cuts CASSIO behind 
in the Leg, 1 and exit. 

CAS. I am maim'd for ever : Help, ho ! murder! 
murder ! [Falls. 

Enter OTHELLO, at a distance. 

OTH. The voice of Cassio : lago keeps his 

ROD. O, villain that I am ! 

OTH. Hark ! 'tis even so. 

CAS. O, help ! ho ! light ! a surgeon ! 

OTH. 'Tis he; O brave lago, honest, and just, 
That hast such noble sense of thy friend's wrong ! 
Thou teachest me, Minion, your dear lies dead, 
And your fate hies apace : 8 Strumpet, I come : 

7 in the leg,~\ lago maims Cassio in the leg, in conse- 
quence of what he had just heard him say, from which he sup- 
posed that his body was defended by some secret armour. 


8 And your fate hies apace :] Thus the first quarto. The 
second quarto and the folio read And your unblest fate hies. 


^'OL, XIX. 2 I 

482 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

Forth of nay heart 9 those charms, thine eyes are 

blotted ; 
Thy bed, lust-stain'd, shall with lust's blood be 

spotted. [Exit OTHELLO. 

Enter LODOVICO and GRATIANO, at a distance. 

CAS. What, ho ! no watch ? no passage ? ! mur- 
der! murder! 

GRA. 'Tis some mischance ; the cry is very dire- 

9 Forth of my heart &c.] Thus the first quarto. The folio 
reads For of, STEEVENS. 

Mr, Whalley observes to me that the reading of the quarto is 
the true one. Forth signifies both out and from. So, in Hamlet : 

" Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep.'* 
Again, in Jonson*s Volpone: 

** Forth the resolved corners of his eyes." 
Mr. Henley tad ulso made the same observation, and in proof 
of it produced the following passages from King Richard III: 
" I clothe my naked villainy 
" With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ." 

" 'Faith, none but Humphrey Houre, that call'd your 

" To breakfast once, forth of my company." REED. 

For off [once proposed by Mr. Steevens] is the conjectural 
reading introduced by the editor of the second folio, and is one 
of a thousand proofs of capricious alterations made in that copy, 
without any regard to the most ancient editions. The original 
reading is undoubtedly the true one. So, in Mount Tabor, or 
the Private Exercises of a Penitent Sinner, 1639 : ** whilst 
all this was acting, there came forth of another door at the far- 
thest end of the stage, two old men," &c. MALONE. 

1 no passage f] No passengers ? nobody going by ? 


So, in The Comedy of Errors : 

" Now in the stirring passage of the day." STEEVENS. 



CAS. O, help ! 

Lop. Hark ! 

MOD. O wretched villain ! 

Lox>. Two or three groans ; it is a heavy night: 2 
These may be counterfeits ; let's think't unsafe 
To come in to the cry, without more help. 

ROD. No body come? then shall I bleed to death. 

Enter IAGO, with a flight. 

LOD. Hark! 

GRA. Here's one comes in his shirt, with light 
and weapons. 

IAGO. Who's there ? whose noise is this, that 
cries on murder ? 3 

8 a heavy night:"] A thick cloudy night, in which an 

ambush may be commodiously laid. JOHNSON. 

So, in Measure for Measure; 

" Upon the heavy middle of the night.'* STEEVENS. 

3 "whose noise is this, that cries on murder?"] Thus the 

quarto, 1622, and the folio, 1623 ; and such was the phrase- 
ology of Shakspeare's age. So, in Eastward Hoe, a comedy, 

" Who cries on murder ? lady, was it you ?" 

That line is a parody on one in The Spanish Tragedy. The 
editor of the second folio, who altered whatever he did not un- 
derstand, for cries on, substituted cries out, and has been fol- 
lowed by all the modern editors. MALONE. 

To " cry on" any thing, is not, I believe, a phrase more an- 
cient than to " cry out" on any thing. In King Henry IF. P. 
II. these prepositions act together in one line : 

" And that same word even now cries out on us." 
Perhaps they would both also have been employed in the passage 
under consideration, but that the structure of our author's verse 
required only one of them. I mention these circumstances, 
that the enormous guilt of the second folio, and its copiers, may 
be in some degree extenuated. STEEVENS. 

2 I 2 

484 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

LOD. We do not know. 

I AGO. Did you not hear a cry ? 

CAS. Here, here ; for heaven's sake, help me. 
IAGO. What's the matter ? 

GRA. This is Othello's ancient, as I take it. 
LOD. The same, indeed ; a very valiant fellow. 
IAGO. What are you here that cry so grievously ? 

CAS. lago ? O, I am spoil'd, undone by villains ! 
Give me some help. 

IAGO. O me, lieutenant ! what villains have done 
this ? 

CAS. I think, that one of them is hereabout, 
And cannot make away. 

IAGO. O treacherous villains ! 

What are you there ? come in, and give some help, 


HOD. O, help me here ! 
CAS. That's one of them. 

IAGO. O murderous slave ! O villain ! 

[!AGO stabs RODERIGO. 

ROD. O damn'd lago ! O inhuman dog ! 
O! O! O! 

IAGO. Kill men i'the dark ! Where be these 

bloody thieves ? 

How silent is this town ! Ho ! murder ! murder ! 
What may you be ? are you of good, or evil ?* 

LOD. As you shall prove us, praise us. 

IAGO* Signior Lodovico ? 

are you of good, or evil?'] So, in Hamlet: 
" Art thou a spirit of'health ? or goblin damn'd?" 


sc. i. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 485 

LOD. He, sir. 

IAGO. I cry you mercy j Here's Cassio hurt 
By villains. 

GRA. Cassio ? 

IAGO. How is it, brother ? 

CAS. My leg is cut in two. 
IAGO. Marry, heaven forbid ! 

Light, gentlemen ; I'll bind it with my shirt. 

Enter BIANCA. 

BIAN. What is the matter, ho? who is't that 
cry'd ? 

IAGO. Who is't that cry'd ? 

BIAN. O my dear Cassio ! my sweet Cassio ! 
O Cassio ! Cassio ! Cassio ! 

IAGO. O notable strumpet ! Cassio, may you 

Who they should be, that have thus mangled you ? 

CAS. No. 

GRA. I am sorry, to find you thus : I have been 
to seek you. 

IAGO. Lend me a garter : 5 So. O, for a chair, 
To bear him easily hence ! 

BIAN. Alas, he faints: O Cassio! Cassio! Cassio! 

IAGO. Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash 
To be a party in this injury. 6 

* Lend me a garter: &c.] This speech is omitted in the first 
quarto. STEEVENS. 

6 To be a party in this injury.'] Thus the folio. The quarto, 
1622, reads to bear a part in this. STEEVENS. 

486 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

Patience a while, good Cassio. Come, come ; 
Lend me a light. Know we this face, or no ? 
Alas ! my friend, and my dear countryman, 7 
Roderigo ? no : Yes, sure ; O heaven ! Roderigo. 

GRA. What, of Venice ? 

IAGO. Even he, sir ; did you know him ? 

GRA. Know him ? ay. 

IAGO. Signior Gratiano ? I cry you gentle par- 

These bloody accidents must excuse my manners, 
That so neglected you. 

GRA. I am glad to see you. 

IAGO. How do you, Cassio ?< O, a chair, a chair! 

GRA. Roderigo! 

IAGO. He, he, 'tis he: O, that's well said; 
the chair : \_A Chair brought in. 
Some good man bear him carefully from hence ; 
I'll fetch the general's surgeon. For you, mistress, 

Save you your labour. He that lies slain here, 


Was my dear friend : What malice was between 

CAS. None in the world; nor do I know the man. 

IAGO. [To BIAK.] What, look you pale? O, 
bear him out o'the air. 

[CASSIO and ROD. are borne off. 
Stay you, good gentlemen :* Look you pale, mis- 
tress ? 

7 Alas! my friend, and my dear countryman,] This passage 
incontestably proves that Jago was meant for a Venetian. 


8 good gentlemen :] Thus the folio. The quarto reads 

gentlewoman. STEEVENS. 


Do you perceive tbe gastaess 9 of her eye ?rm 
Nay, if you stare, 1 we shall hear moire- anon : 
Behold her well j I pray you, look upon her ; 
Do you see, gentlemen ? nay, guiltiness will speak, 
Though tongues were out of use. 2 

Enter EMILIA. 

EMIL. 'Las, what's the matter ; what's the mat- 
ter, husband ? 

IAGO. Cassio hath here been set on in the dark, 
By Roderigo, and fellows that are scap'd ; 
He's almost slain, and Roderigo dead. 

EMIL. Alas, good gentlemen ! alas, good Cassio ! 

That the original is the true reading, may be collected from 
the situation and feelings of the parties on the scene. No reason 
can be assigned why Lodovico and Gratiano should immediately 

Juit the spot where they now are, before they had heard from 
ago further particulars of the attack on Cassio, merely because 
Cassio was borne off: whereas, on the other hand, his mistress, 
Bianca, who has been officiously offering him assistance, would 
naturally endeavour to accompany him to his lodgings. 


There seems to me to be a very good reason assignable why 
these two gentlemen should immediately quit the spot on Cassio's 
being borne off, viz. to assist him or see him properly taken care 
of, rather than to stay and gratify their curiosity. Respect for 
the person appointed Othello's successor, if not personal regard, 
would, I should think, naturally have dictated such a proceed- 
ing, had they not been stopped by lago's desiring them not to 
go. REED. 

9 the gastness ] So, the folio. The quartos read 

jestures. STEEVENS. 

1 Nay, if you stare,] So, the folio. The quartos read stirre. 


* guiltiness will speak , 

Though tongues were out of use.~] So, in Hamlet: 
" For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak 
" With most miraculous organ." .STEEVENS. 

488 OTHELLO, ACT r. 

IAGO. This is the fruit of whoring. Pr'ythee, 


Go know of Cassio where he supp'd to-night: 3 
What, do you shake at that ? 

BIAN. He supp'd at my house ; but I therefore 
shake not. 

IAGO. O, did he so ? I charge you, go with me. 
EMIL. Fye, fye upon thee, strumpet ! 

BIAN. I am no strumpet ; but of life as honest, 
As you that thus abuse me. 

EMIL. As I ? foh ! fye upon thee ! 

IAGO. Kind gentlemen, let's go see poor Cassio 

dress' d : 

Come, mistress, you must tell us another tale. 
Emilia, run you to the citadel, 
And tell my lord and lady what has happ'd. 

3 Pr'ythee, Emilia, 

Go Icnoui of Cassio where he supp'd to-night:"] In the last 
scene of the preceding Act lago informs Roderigo, that Cassio 
was to sup with Bianca ; that he would accompany Cassio to her 
house, and would take care to bring him away from thence be- 
tween twelve and one. Cassio too had himself informed lago, 
Act IV. sc. i. that he would sup with Bianca, and lago had pro- 
mised to meet him at her house. Perhaps, however, here lago 
chose to appear ignorant of this fact, conscious that he had way- 
laid Cassio, and therefore desirous of being thought ignorant of 
his motions during the evening. MALONE. 

Yet, how happens it, that Bianca, instead of replying He 
supp'd &c. did not answer, addressing herself to lago : 

Why^ you well know, 
He supp'd Sfc ? 

The former line being imperfect, some such words might have 
been omitted. Or perhaps, our author was unwilling that Bianca 
should say in the presence of lago's wife, that he too had been 
of Cassio's supper-party ; and hence this seeming inconsistency. 


ac. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 489 

Will you go on, I pray ? This is the night, [Aside. 
That either makes me, or fordoes me quite. 4 



A Bedchamber: DESDEMONA in bed asleep. A 
Light burning. 


OTH. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul, 
Let me not name it 5 to you, you chaste stars ! 6 

4 or fordoes me guite.~] To fordo, is to undo, to ruin, 

to destroy. So, in Hamlet: 

" did, with desperate hand, 

" Fordo its own life." * 

Again, in the Interlude of Jacob and Esau, 1578 : 

" If God were so pleased, I would that werefordonne." 


See Vol. XVIII. p. 102, n. 2. MALONE. 

* It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul, 

Let me not name it ] The abruptness of this soliloquy 
makes it obscure. The meaning, I think, is this : I am here 
(says Othello in his mind) overwhelmed with horror. What is 
the reason of this perturbation ? Is it want of resolution to do 
justice? Is it the dread of shedding blood? No; it is not the 
action that shocks me, but it is the cause, it is the cause, my 
soul; let me not name it to you, ye chaste stars! it is the cause. 


Othello, full of horror at the cruel action which he is about 
to perpetrate, seems at this instant to be seeking his justification, 
from representing to himself the cause, i. e. the greatness of the 
provocation he had received. He may, however, mean It is 
the cause of chastity and virtue, that I maintain. STEEVENS. 

6 you chaste stars!'] For the epithet chaste, applied 

to the stars, there is perhaps no classical authority. Statius, 
when Achilles, disguised in a female habit, had proved his man- 
hood on Deidamia, observes that 

490 OTHELLO, ACT r, 

It is the cause. Yet I'll not shed her blood ; 
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, 
And smooth as monumental alabaster. 

[Takes off his Sword. 

Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men. 7 
Put out the light, and then put out the light : 8 

" risit chorus omnis ab alto 

" Astrorum, et tenerae rubuerunt cornua Lunce." 
Hence we may infer that an occurrence offensive to the moon, 
was anciently supposed to put the less prudish stars ( " Diana's 
waiting-women") in good humour. STEEVENS. 

7 Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men."] This is the 
second attempt of Othello to justify Avhat he has undertaken. 
First he says, It is the cause, i. e. his own cause; now he is 
willing to suppose himself the preventer of mischief to others. 


8 Put out the light, and then put out the light .] It should be 
thus printed : 

Put out the light, and then Put out the light! 
The meaning is, I will put out the light, and then proceed to the 
execution of my purpose. But the expression of putting out the 
light, bringing to mind the effects of the extinction of the light 
of life, he breaks short, and questions himself about the effects 
of this metaphorical extinction, introduced by a repetition of his 
first words, as much as to say, But hold, let me first weigh the 
reflections which this expression so naturally excites. 


This has been considered as a very difficult line. Fielding 
makes Betterton and Booth dispute about it with the author hint' 
self in the other world. The punctuation recommended by Dr. 
Warburton, gives a spirit, to it which I fear was not intended. 
It seems to have been only a play upon words. To put the light 
out was a phrase for to kill. In The Maid's Tragedy, Melantius 

" 'Tis a justice, and a noble one, 

" To put the light out of such base offenders." 


This phrase is twice used in Sidney's Arcadia, for killing a 
lady, p. 460 and 470, edit. 1633. 

Again, in an unpublished play called The Second Maiden's 
Tragedy, by George Chapman, licensed by Sir George Buc, 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 491 

If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, 
I can again thy former light restore, 

October 3l5t, 1611: (now in the library of the Marquis of 
Lansdowne, who honoured me with the use of it:) 

O soul of cunning ! 

Came that arch subtilty from thy lady's counsel, 
Or thine own sudden craft? confess to me 
How oft thou hast been a bawd to their close actions, 
Or all thy light goes out." STEEVENS. 

Put out the light, and then put out the light:'] This is one of 
the passages to which 1 alluded in a note on As you like it, 
Vol. VIII. p. 191, in which, by a modern regulation, our poet's 
words have obtained a meaning, which in my opinion was not in 
his thoughts. Mr. Upton was the first person who introduced 
the conceit in this line, which has been adopted since his book 
appeared, by pointing it thus : 

Put out the light, and then Put out the light! &c. 
I entirely agree with Dr. Farmer, that this regulation gives a 
spirit to this passage that was not intended. The poet, I think, 
meant merely to say, " I will now put out the lighted taper 
which I hold, and then put out the light of life ;" and this in- 
troduces his subsequent reflection and comparison, just as aptly, 
as supposing the latter words of the line to be used in the same 
sense as in the beginning of it, which cannot be done without 
destroyin^ that equivoque and play of words of which Shakspeare 
was so fond. 

There are few images which occur more frequently in his 
Works than this. Thus, in King Henry VI. P. III. the dying 
Clifford says : 

" Here burns my candle out, ay, here it dies." 
Again, in Macbeth: 

" Out, out, brief candle!" 
Again, in King Henry VIII: 

" This candle burns not clear ; 'tis I must snuff it ; 

" Then out it goes." 
Again, in his Rape of Lucrece : 

" Fair torch, burn out thy light, and lend it not 

" To darken her, whose light excelleth thine !" 
Let the words put out her light, stand for a moment in the 
place of darken her, and than the sentence will run Burn out 
thy light, fair torch, and lend it not to put out her light, whose 
light is more excellent than thine. In the very same strain, says 
Othello, let mejirst extinguish the light I now hold, and then 

492 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

Should I repent me : but once put out thine, 9 
Thou cunning* st pattern of excelling nature, 1 
I know not where is that Promethean heat, 
That can thy light relume. 2 When I have pluck* d 

thy rose, 3 

I cannot give it vital growth again, 
It needs must wither : I'll smell it on the tree. 

[Kissing her. 

O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade 
Justice to break her sword ! One more, one more, 

put out the light of life. But how different in effect and impor- 
tance are these two acts! The extinguished taper can be lighted 
again, but the light of life, when once extinguished, can never, 
alas, be relumined! 

The question is not, which regulation renders the passage most 
elegant and spirited, but what was the poet's idea. I believe, 
however, that Shakspeare wrote and then put out thy light; 
and the reading of the original copy in a subsequent line, " but 
once put out thine" seems to me to countenance this emendation. 

In The Merchant of Venice the word light is used with equal 

" Let me give light, but let me not be light." 


9 put out thine,] Thus the quarto. The folio reads 

put out thy light. I have chosen the former reading for the sake 
of measure, and to escape a useless repetition of the word light. 


1 Thou cunning' st pattern of excelling nature,"] So, in Palme- 
rin D 'Olivia, 1.588, p. 1 : " those that beheld her, esteemed 
her for the chiefest piece of workmanshipp that ever nature 
framed." REED. 

* That can thy light relume.] Thus the folio. The first 
quarto return: the second quarto relumine. STEEVENS. 
Our poet has illume for illuminate, in Hamlet : 

" Had made his course, to illume that part of heaven, 
" Where now it burn's." MALONE. 

3 thy rose,"] Thus the folio. The quarto reads, the rose. 

Again, the quarto reads : 

" I'll smell it on the tree." 

The folio : 

" I'll smell thee on the tree." STEEVENS. 

sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 49* 

Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee, 
And love thee after : One more, and this the 

last : 

So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep, 
But they are cruel tears : This sorrow's heavenly, 4 
It strikes, where it doth love. She wakes 

DES. Who's there ? Othello ? 

OTH. Ay, Desdemona. 

DES. .Will you come to bed, my lord ? 

OTH. Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona ? 

DES. Ay, my lord. 

OTH. If you bethink yourself of any crime, 
Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace, 
Solicit for it straight. 

DES. Alas, my lord, what may you mean by that? 

OTH. Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by: 
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit ; 
No, Heaven forefend! I would not kill thy soul. 5 

4 This sorrow's heavenly ;~] This tenderness, with which 

I lament the punishment which justice compels me to inflict, is 
a holy passion. 

I wish .these two lines could be honestly ejected. It is the 
fate of Shakspeare to counteract his own pathos. JOHNSON. 

Perhaps the poet would not have retained both these images, 
had he published the play himself, though in the hurry of com- 
position he threw them both upon paper. The first seems 
adopted from the fabulous history of the crocodile, the second 
from a passage in the scripture. STEEVENS. 

" Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth." M. MASON. 

5 I ivould not kill thy soul.'] So, in the First Part of the 

Straunge and Wonderful Adventures of Don Simonides, &c. 
bl. 1. 4to. 1581 : " for that her Master would putte her Mistris 
to shrifte, before he destroyed her bodie, yet to the savegarde of 
her .wide." 

Sir W. D' Avenant has also borrowed this thought in his Albo- 
vine King of Lombardy, 1629 : 

4,94 OTHELLO, ACT 7. 

DES. Talk you of killing ? 

OTH. Ay, I do. 

DES. Then, heaven 

Have mercy on me ! 

OTH. Amen, with all my heart ! 

DES. If you say so, I hope you will not kill me. 

OTH. Humph ! 

DES. And yet I fear you ; for you are fatal then, 
When your eyes roll so : Why I should fear, I 

know not, 
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet, I feel, I fear. 6 

OTH. Think on thy sins. 

DES. They are loves I bear to you. 

OTH. Ay, and for that thou diest. 

DES. That death's unnatural, that kills for 
loving. 7 

" I am not fraught with devil's spleen ; I would 

" Not hurt thy soul." 

Othello appears to have been a favourite of his author ; for he 
has bestowed on him that piety which he had refused to Hamlet. 
See Vol. XVIII. p. 231, n. 1. STEEVENS. 

* Since guiltiness / knotv not; but yet, I feel, I fear.'} Read : 
Since guilt / knmo not ; but yet, I feel, I fear. 

Guiltiness has been already misprinted for guilt. [See p. 487, 
line 4.] It is impossible that Shakspeare should lengthen a word 
merely to spoil his metre. RITSON. 

The chivalry of criticism does not, in my opinion, require us 
to defend the old copies (those grannams of the stage, balbade 
nare locutce) when they so grossly offend against the laws of 
metre. In the earlier part of this work I have got rid of some 
of their deformities, but in this and a few of the latter plays I 
have been content with exposing them, being certain that their 
notoriety will hereafter prove the means of securing a privilege 
which, respecting the present editors, may be litigated. 


7 That deaths unnatural, that kills for loving.'] This thought 

se. Ji. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 495 

Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip ? 
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame : 
These are portents ; but yet, I hope, I hope, 
They do not point on me. 

OTH. Peace, and be still ! 

DES. I will so : What's the matter ? 

OTH. That handkerchief, which I so lov'd, and 

gave thee, 
Thou gav'st to Cassio. 

DES. No, by my life and soul j 

Send for the man, and ask him. 

OTH. Sweet soul, take heed, 

Take heed of perjury ; thou'rt on thy death-bed. 

DES. Ay, but not yet to die. 

OTH. Yes, presently : 

Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin 5 
For to deny each article with oath, 
Cannot remove, nor choke, the strong conception, 
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die. 

DES. Then, Lord have mercy on me ! 

OTH. I say, amen. 

DES. And have you mercy too ! I never did 
Offend you in my life ; never lov'd Cassio, 
But with such general warranty of heaven 
As I might love : I never gave him token. 

OTH. By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in his 

is likewise found in The Legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, a 
poem, by H. L. 16mo. 1597: 

** Unnatural, which kill where you should kisse." 
Again, in our poet's King Richard III : 

** It is a quarrel most unnatural, 

" To be reveng'd on him that loveth thee." MALONS. 

496 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

perjur'd woman ! thou dost stone my heart, 
And mak'st me call, what I intend to do, 
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice : 8 

1 saw the handkerchief. 

DES. He found it then ; 

I never gave it him : Send for him hither, 
And let him confess a truth. 

OTH. He hath confess'd. 

DES. What, my lord ? 

OTH. That he hath us'd thee. 9 

DES. How ? unlawfully ? 

OTH. Ay. 

DES. He'll not say so. 

OTH. No, his mouth is stopp'd ; 

Honest lago hath ta'en order for't. 1 

8 A murder, ivhich I thought a sacrifice:"] This line is diffi- 
cult. Thou hast hardened my heart, and makest me kill thee 
with the rage of a murderer, when / thought to have sacrificed 
thee to justice with the calmness of a priest striking a victim. 

It must not be omitted, that one of the elder quartos reads, 
thou dost stone thy heart; which I suspect to be genuine. The 
meaning then will be, thou forcest me to dismiss thee from the 
world in the state of the murdered without preparation for death, 
"when I intended that thy punishment should have been a sacrifice 
atoning for thy crime. 

I am glad that I have ended my revisal of this dreadful scene. 
It is not to be endured. JOHNSON. 

Thy heart, is the reading of the original quarto, 1622. 


9 That he hathus'd thee.] The quarto, 1622, exhibits this 
line thus : 

That he hath uds death. MALONE. 

1 hath ta'en order for't.'] i. e. has taken measures. So, 
in Holihshed's Reign of King John: " he took such order for 
him, that he was despoiled of all his goods and benefices." 
p. 174-. STEEVENS. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 497 

DES. My fear interprets then, What, is he 
dead ? 

OTH. Had all his hairs been lives, 2 my great re- 
Had stomach for them all. 

DES. Alas ! he is betray'd, and I undone. 

OTH. Out, strumpet ! Weep'st thou for him to 
my face ? 

DES. O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not. 

OTH. Down, strumpet ! 

DES. Kill me to-morrow, let me live to-night. 

OTH. Nay, if you strive, 

DES. But half an hour. 

OTH. Being done, 

There is no pause. 3 

Again, in Dido, Queen of Carthage, by Marlowe and Nashe, 

" I will take order for that presently." MALONE. 
a Had all his hairs been lives,~\ This thought appears to have 
been very common, as it occurs frequently in dramatick per- 
formances prior to Shakspeare's Othello. So, in The Devil's 
Charter, by Barnaby Barnes, 1607 : 

" Know, Caesar, had 1 now as many lives 

" As there are stones, or hairs upon my head, 

" I would," &c. 
Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King : 

" but if all 

" My hairs ivere lives, I would not be engaged 

" In such a cause." 
Again, in Hieronymo : 

" Had I as many lives as there be stars " STEEVENS. 

King and no King, as appears by Sir Henry Herbert's papers, 
was produced in 1611. See The Historical Account of the Eng- 
lish Stage, Vol. III. MALONE. 

3 Being done, 
There is no pause.'} The first quarto omits this speech. 


vor. xix. i? K 

498 OTHELLO, ACT r. 

DBS. But while I say one prayer. 

OTH. It is too late. 4 \_He smothers her, 

EMIL. \Within.~\ My lord, my lord ! what ho! 
my lord ! my lord ! 

OTH. What noise is this ? Not dead ! not yet 

quite dead ? 

I, that am cruel, am yet merciful ; 
I would not have thee linger in thy pain. 
So, so. 

EMIL. [Within^ What ho ! my lord, my lord ! 
OTH. Who's there ? 

EMIL. \lVitliin.~\ O, good my lord, I would 
speak a word with you. 

OTH. Yes ; 'tis Emilia : by and by. She's 


'Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio's death ; 
The noise was high. Ha ! no more moving ? 

4 It is too late.~\ After this speech of Othello, the elder quarto 
adds an invocation from Desdemona, consisting only of the sa- 
cred name thrice repeated. As this must be supposed to have 
been uttered while she is yet struggling with death, I think an 
editor may be excused from inserting such a circumstance of 
supererogatory horror, especially as it is found in but one of the 
ancient copies. STEEVENS. 

This alteration was probably made in consequence of the sta- 
tute of the 3d of James I. c. 21, which lays a penalty for the 
profane use of the name of God, &c. in stage-plays, interludes, 
May-games, &c. TOLLET. 

The statute was necessary ; for not only the ancient moralities, 
but the plays (those of Chapman in particular) abound with the 
most wanton and shocking repetitions of a name which never 
ought to be mentioned in such an irreverend manner on the stage. 


The alteration was undoubtedly made by the Master of the 
Hevels. MALONE. 


Still as the grave. Shall she come in? Were't good? 
I think, she. stirs again : No. What's the bsst ? 
If she come in, she'll sure speak to my wife : 
My wife ! my wife ! what wife ? I have no wife, : 5 . 
O, insupportable ! O heavy hour ! 5 
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse 
Of sun and moon ; and that the affrighted globe 
Should yawn at alteration. 

EMIL. \_Within.~] I do beseech you I may apeak 

with you, 
O, good my lord ! 

OTH. I had forgot thee : O, come in, Emilia : 

Soft, by and by : Let me the curtains draw. 

Where art thou? What's the matter with thee 

now ? [ IJnlQcks tfi& J}gvr. 


EMIL. O, good my lord, yonder's foul murder 

OTH. What? now? 

EMIL. But now, my lord ! 

OTH. It is the very error of the moon ; 
She comes more near the earth than she was wont ; 

* My ixifel my wife ! ixhat ivife ? I have no 'wife:'] " Fi- 
lium unicum adolescentulum baboo : ah ! quid dixi habere me ? 
imo habui, Chrome." Ter, Heautont. STEEVEN$. 

6 heavy hour /] In the first scene of this act we have 

" a heavy night." This epithet likewise occurs in a sense 

somewhat unusual in Letters from the Paston Family, Vol. IL 
p. 193 : " it is dernyd y 1 my Lady wolde herafter be the ra- 
ther myn hevy Lady for y l delyng ." STEEVENS. 

2 K 2 

500 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

And makes men mad. 7 

EMIL. Cassio, my lord, has kill'd a young Ve- 
Call'd Roderigo. 

OTH. Roderigo kill'd ! 

And Cassio kilPd ? 

EMIL. No, Cassio is not kuTd. 

OTH. Not Cassio kill'd ? Then murder's out of 

And sweet revenge grows harsh. 

DES. O, falsely, falsely murder'd! 8 

7 It is the very error of the moon ; 
She comes more near the earth than she ivas ivont ; 
And makes men mad.~] So, in The Play of the Wether, by 
John Hey wood, 4. bl. 1: 

" On my fayth I thynke the moone be at the full, 
" For frantyke fansyes be then most plentefull." 


8 O, falsely, falsely murder'd!~\ It cannot be supposed that 
a person who had been effectually strangled or smothered, could 
speak again ; for if the power of breathing returned after the 
instrument of suffocation was removed, no act of violence had 
"in reality taken place by which the conclusion of life could be 
brought on. But such is the peculiar fate of Desdemona, 
that she is supposed to be smothered, revives to acquaint us 
that she smothered herself, and then dies without any ostensible 
cause of death. I am of opinion that some theatrical direction 
has been omitted ; and that when Othello says 

. Not dead? not yet quite dead ? 

" I, that am cruel, am yet merciful ; 

" I would not have thee linger in thy pain: 

" So, so." 

He then stabs her, repeating the two last words, as he repeats 
the blow. Thus, Virgil: 

" sic, sic juvat ire sub umbras." 

After the repetition of wounds, Desdemona might speak again, 
with propriety, and yet very soon expire; as says Cassio of Ro- 
derigo : 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 501 

EMIL. Alas ! what cry is that ? 

OTH. That! what? 

EMIL. Out, and alas! that was my lady's voice I- 
Help ! help, ho ! help ! O lady, speak again ! 
Sweet Desdemona ! O, sweet mistress, speak ! 

DES. A guiltless death I die. 

EMIL. O, who hath done 

This deed ? 

DES. Nobody ; I myself; farewell : 

Commend me to my kind lord ; O, farewell. 


OTH. Why, how should she be murder'd ? 
EMIL. Alas, who knows ? 

OTH. You heard her say herself, it was not I. 
EMIL. She said so ; I must needs report the truth. 

" After long seeming dead." 
The first resolution of Othello was to poison her, but from this 
measure he is dissuaded by the policy of lago. He is next de- 
termined to use the poniard ; but, his tenderness awaking, he 
cannot bear to deform those beauties which he had so often 
approached with other sensations, and for different purposes. 
Therefore, says he, 

" I'll not shed her blood, 

" Nor scar that whiter skin of her's than snow, 
" And smooth as monumental alabaster :" 
And this resolution we are to imagine he would have kept, but 
that he was averse to employing those means again, which had 
already appeared to be uncertain in their effect. 

If this apparent want of a play-house direction had occasioned 
an}' absurdity in the original representation of the play, probably 
it is glanced at by Ben Jonson in The Alchemist, Act V: 
" Didst hear a cry, said'st thou ? Yes, sir, like unto a man that 
had been strangled an hour, and could not speak." STEEVENS. 

The Alchemist was first represented in the year 1610, and 
this passage is found in the original copy printed in that year. 



OTH. She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell j 9 
'Twas I that kill'd her. 

EMIL. O, the more angel she, 

And you the blacker devil ! 

OTH. She turn'd to folly, and she was a whore. 1 
EMIL. Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil. 
OTH>, She was false as water. 2 

EMIL. Thou art rash as fire, to say 

That she was false ; O, she was heavenly true ! 

OTH. Cassio did tup her ; ask thy husband else. 
O, I were damn'd beneath all depth in hell, 
But that I did proceed upon just grounds 
To this extremity ; 3 Thy husband knew it all. 

EMIL. My husband ? 
OTH. Thy husband. 

9 She's, like a liar, gone to burning hell ;} Here is nothing 
faulty in this passage, but it may be read 
She's, like a liar, gone to burn in hell. 

The vulgar denunciation of future vengeance is, I think, 
you'll burn in hell for this. WHALLEY. 

So, in King Richard II ; 

" That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire, " 


1 She turned to folly, and she teas a tvhore.~] Folly, signifies 
here, as in the sacred writings, depravity of mind. So, in our 
author's Rape of Lucrece : 

" Her sad behaviour feeds his vulture Jolly." MALONE. 
So, in Deuteronomy, xxii. 21 : " she hath wrought folly in 
Israel, to play the whore" &c. STEEVENS. 

* -false as u-ater.~] As water that will support no weight, 

nor keep any impression. JOHNSON. 

3 this extremity;] Perhaps our author wrote to this 

extreme. The measure demands a shorter word than the former. 
Thus, in Romeo and Juliet : 

" 'Twixt my extremes ami me this bloody knife 

*' Shall play the umpire." STEEVENS. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 503 

EMIL. That she was false to wedlock ? 

OTH. Ay, with Cassio. 

Nay, had she been true, 
If heaven would make me such another world 
Of one entire and perfect chrysolite, 
I'd not have sold her for it. 

EMIL. My husband ? 

OTH. Ay, 'twas he that told me first j 4 

An honest man he is, and hates the slime 
That sticks on filthy deeds. 

EMIL. My husband ? 

OTH. What needs this iterance, 5 woman ? I say, 
thy husband. 

EMIL. 6 O mistress, villainy hath made mocks 

with love ! 7 
My husband say, that she was false ? 

OTH. He, woman ; 

I say, thy husband ; Dost understand the word ? 
My friend, thy husband, honest, honest lago. 

EMIL. If he say so, may his pernicious soul 

that told me Jlrst ; ] The folio reads that told me on 

her first. STEEVEXS. 

5 iterance,'] Thus the folio. The quarto reads iteration. 


6 Emit."] The first quarto omits this and the following speech. 


7 villainy hath made mocks ivith love .'"] Villainy has 

taken advantage to play upon the weakness of a violent passion. 


I have sometimes thought that these words might mean, that 
" villainy hath play'd on its object under a pretence of kindness.'* 
So, in Macbeth : 

" the surfeited grooms 

" Do mock their charge with snores" 
But in this I have very little confidence. MALONE. 

504 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

Rot half a grain a day ! he lies to the heart ; 
She was too fond of her most filthy bargain. 

OTH. Ha! 

EMIL. Do thy worst : 

This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven, 
Than thou wast worthy her. 

OTH. Peace, you were best. 

EMIL. Thou hast not half the power to do me 


As I have to be hurt. 8 O gull ! O dolt ! 
As ignorant as dirt ! thou hast done a deed, 
I care not for thy sword ; I'll make thee known, 
Though I lost twenty lives: Help ! help, ho! help ! 
The Moor has kill'd my mistress ; Murder ! mur- 


MON. What is the matter ! How now, gene- 
ral ? 

EMIL. O, are you come, lago ? you have done 

That men must lay their murders on your neck, 

GRA. What is the matter ? 

* Thou hast not half the power to do me harm, 

As I have to be hurt.~\ She means to say, / have in this 
cause power to endure more than thou hast power to inflict. 


This sentiment is more expanded in King Henry VIII : 

" 1 am able now, methinks, 

" (Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,) 
" To endure more miseries and greater far, 
" Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer." 
Again, in King Henry VI. Part II : 

" More can I bear than you dare execute." 
Of this last line there is no trace in the old play on which Shak- 
gpeare formed The Second Part of King Henry VI. MALONE, 

sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 50.5 

EMIL. Disprove this villain, if tbou be'st a man : 
He says, thou told'st him that his wife was false : 
I know, thou didst not, thou'rt not such a villain j 
Speak, for my heart is full. 

IAGO. I told him what I thought ; and told no 

Than what he found himself was apt and true. 

EMIL. But did you ever tell him, she was false ? 
IAGO, I did. 

EMIL. You told a lie ; an odious, damned lie ; 
Upon my soul, a lie ; a wicked lie : 
She false with Cassio ! Did you say with Cassio ? 

IAGO. With Cassio, mistress ; Go to, charm your 
tongue. 9 

EMIL. I will not charm my tongue ; I am bound 
to speak j 

9 charm your tongue.'] By this expression, Charm your 

tongue, the poet meant no more than to make lago say, " Apply 
some power, strong as a charm would be, to your tongue ; for 
nothing less can stop its volubility." So, in Kins; Henry VI. 
Part III : 

" Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue." 
Again, Ben Jonson, in Cynthia's Revels: 

" charm your skipping tongue." 

Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. V. c. ix : 

" That well could charm his tongue, and time his speech," 
Again, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608: 

" The surest way to c/iarm a woman's tongue, 
" Is break her neck : a politician did it." 
The same phrase is also employed by Chapman in his version 
of the fifth Iliad: 

11 Downe from the chariot he fell, his gay arms shin'd and 

" The swift horse trembled, and his soule for ever charm'd 

his tongue." 

Pliny informs us, that Jcivete linguis was the constant exclama- 
tion before any religious charm was applied. From this circum- 
stance the phrase, to charm a tongue, might have originated. 


.506 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

My mistress 1 here lies murder'd in her bed. 
ALL. O heavens forefend ! 
EMIL. And your reports have set the murder on* 
OTH. Nay, stare not, masters ; it is true, indeed, 
GRA. J Tis a strange truth. 
MON. O monstrous act ! 

EMIL. Villainy, villainy, villainy ! 

I think upon't, I think, I smell't; O villainy! 
J thought so then ; 2 I'll kill myself for grief. 

villainy, villainy ! 

IAGO. What, are you mad ? I charge you, get 
you home. 

EMIL. Good gentlemen, let me have leave to 

speak ; 

*Tis proper I obey him, but not now : 
Perchance, lago, I will ne'er go home. 

OTH. O ! O ! O ! [Hanging over his Wife. 

EMIL. Nay, lay thee down, and roar ; 

For thou hast kill'd the sweetest innocent, 
That e'er did lift up eye. 

OTH. O, she was foul ! 


1 scarce did know you, uncle : There lies your 


1 My mistress &c.] This line, and the following six speeches, 
are wanting in the first quarto. STEEVENS. 

- I thought so then ;] i. e. at the instant when she gave Des- 
deinona's handkerchief to lago : for even then Emilia appears to 
have suspected it was sought after for no honest purpose, and 
therefore asks her husband 

" What will you do with it ?" &c. 
See p. 393. STEEVENS. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 507 

Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly 

stopp'd : 
I know, this act shows horrible and grim. 

GRA. Poor Desdemona ! I am glad thy father's 


Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief 
Shore his old thread in twain : did he live now, 
This sight would make him do a desperate turn, 
Yea, curse his better angel from his side, 
And fall to reprobation. 3 

OTH. 'Tis pitiful : but yet lago knows, 
That she with Cassio hath the act of shame 
A thousand times committed ; 4 Cassio confessed it : 

3 Yea, curse his better angel from his side, 

And fall to reprobation.'] So, in our author's 144th Sonnet: 

" my female evil 

" Tempteth my better angel from my side" MALONE. 

reprobation.'] Both the first and second folio read repro- 

bance. STEEVENS. 

4 A thousand times committed ;~\ This is another passage which 
seems to suppose a longer space comprised in the action of this 
play than the scenes include. JOHNSON. 

That she to?'//? Cassio hatk the act of shame 

A thousand times committed; . 

And again : 

'Tis not a -year or tivo sJiotvs us a man. 

I am not convinced from these passages only, that a longer space 
is comprised in the action of this play than the scenes include. 

What Othello mentions in the first instance, might have passed 
still more often, before they were married, when Cassio went 
between them ; for she, who could find means to elude the vigi- 
lance of her father in respect of Othello, might have done so in 
respect of Cassio, when there was time enough for the occurrence 
supposed to have happened. A jealous person will aggravate all 
he thinks, or speaks of; and might use a thousand for a much 
less number, only to give weight to his censure : nor would it 
have answered any purpose to have made Othello a little nearer 
or further off from truth in his calculation. We might apply 
the poet's own words in Cymbelinei 


And she did gratify his amorous works 
With that recognizance and pledge of love 
Which I first gave her ; I saw it in his hand - 7 
It was a handkerchief, 5 an antique token 

spare your arithmetick ; 

" Once, and a million." 
The latter is a proverbial expression, and might have been 
Introduced with propriety, had they been married only a day or 
two. Emilia's reply perhaps was dictated by her own private 
experience ; and seems to mean only, " that it is too soon to 
judge of a husband's disposition ; or that Desdemona must not 
be surprised at the discovery of Othello's jealousy, for it is not 
even a year or two that will display all the failings of a man." 

Mr. Toilet, however, on this occasion has produced several 
instances in support of Dr. Johnson's opinion ; and as I am un- 
able to explain them in favour of my own supposition, I shall 
lay them before the publick. 
Act III. sc. iii. Othello says : 

" What sense had I of her stolen hours of lust ? 

" I saw it not, thought it not, it harm'd not me : 

" / slept the next night n-cll, was free and merry : 

" I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips. 

" On Othello's wedding night he and Cassio embarked from Ve- 
nice, where Desdemona was left under the care of lago. They 
all meet at Cj^prus; and since their arrival there, the scenes in- 
clude only one night, the night of the celebration of their nup- 
tials, lago had not then infused any jealousy into Othello's mind, 
nor did he suspect any former intimacy between Cassio and Des- 
demona, but only thought it ' apt and of great credit that she 
loved him.' What night then was there to intervene between 
Cassio's kisses and Othello's sleeping the next night well ? lago 
lias said, ' I lay with Cassio lately,' which he could not have done, 
unless they had been longer at Cyprus than is represented in the 
play ; nor could Cassio have kept away, for the space of a whole 
week, from Bianca." STEEVENS. 

In confirmation of Johnson's observation, that this and several 
other passages tend to prove that a larger space of time is com- 
prized in the action of this play than the scenes include, we may 
cite that in which Emilia says, " That her husband had a hundred 
times woo'd her to steal Desdemona's handkerchief." 


4 // IMS a handkerchief, &c.] Othello tells his wife, Act III. 
sc. iv: 

sc.n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 509 

My father gave my mother. 

EMIL. O heaven ! O heavenly powers ! 

IAGO. Come, hold your peace. 

EMIL. 'Twill out, 'twill out ; I hold my peace, 

sir ? no ; 
No, I will speak as liberal as the air ; r> 

" that handkerchief 

" Did an Egyptian to my mother give." 
And here he says : 

It was a handkerchief, 

My father gave my mother-. 

This last passage has been censured as an oversight in the poet; 
but perhaps it exhibits only a fresh proof of his art. The first 
account of the handkerchief, as given by Othello, was purposely 
ostentatious, in order to alarm his wife the more. When he men- 
tions it a second time, the truth was sufficient for his purpose. 

This circumstance of the handkerchief is perhaps ridiculed 
by Ben Jonson, in his Poetaster: " you shall see me do the 
Moor; master, lend me your scarf." STEEVENS. 

I question whether Othello was written early enough to be 
ridiculed by The Poetaster. There were many other Moors on 
the stage. 

It is certain at least, that the passage : 

" Our new heraldry is hands, not hearts," 
could not be inserted before the middle of the year 1611. 


If the allusion in The Poetaster (which was printed in 1601,) 
were to Othello, it would fix its date much earlier than I con- 
ceive it to have been written. But the allusion in the passage 
quoted, is not to Othello, but to an old play called The Battle of 
Alcazar, 1594. In The Poetaster, Pyrgus, who says, "you shall 
see me do the Moor," proceeds in the same scene, and repeats 
an absurd speech of the Moor's in The Battle of 'Alcazar, begin- 
ning with this line : 

" Where art thou, boy ? where is Calipolis ?" 
which ascertains the allusion to be to that play. MALOXE. 
6 No, I will speak as liberal as the air ;] The folio reads : 

/'// be in speaking liberal as the north. 
Liberal is free, under no control. So, in Hamlet: 

" Which liberal shepherds give a grosser name." 
This quality of the North wind is also mentioned in The White 
Devilf'or Vittoria Corowbona, 1612: 


Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all, 
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak, 

IAGO. Be wise, and get you home. 

EMIL. I will not. 

[!AGO offers to stab his Wife. 

GRA. Fye ! 

Your sword upon a woman ? 

EMIL.O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou 

speak'st of, 

I found by fortune, and did give my husband ; 
For often, with a solemn earnestness, 
(More than, indeed, belong'd to such a trifle,) 
He begg'd of me to steal it. 

IAGO. Villainous whore ! 

EMIL. She give it Cassio ! no, alas ; I found it, 
And I did give't my husband. 

IAGO. Filth, thou liest. 

EMIL. By heaven, I do not ; I do not, gentle- 
men : 

O murd'rous coxcomb ! what should such a fool 
Do with so good a wife ? 

[!AGO stabs EMILIA, then runs out. 

OTH. Are there no stones in heaven, 

But what serve for the thunder ? 7 Precious villain ! 

'* And let th' irregular North wind sweep her up." 
Again, in Jeronimo, i. e. the first part of The Spanish Tragedy , 

" Now let your bloods be liberal as the sea.'* 


No, I ivill speak as liberal as the air;] The quarto, 1622, 
reads : 

I'll be in speaking liberal as the air. 
The text is formed out of the two copies. MALOUE. 

7 Are there no stones in heaven, 
But what serve for the thunder?"} Othello does not demand 

sc.n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 511 

GXA. The woman falls ; sure, he has kili'd his 

. Ay, ay ; O, lay me by my mistress* side! 
GRA. He's gone, but his wife's kili'd. 

MON. 'Tis a notorious villain. Take you this 


Which I have here recover'd from the Moor : 
Come, guard the door without ; let him not pass, 

a thunderbolt for lago. He only asks, if there are no lesser de- 
grees of chastisement more proportioned to the guilt of mortals, 
ready to drop down on such villains as lago, though Omnipotence 
withholds its thunder, as too noble an instrument for the punish- 
ment of crimes like his ? 

The same thought occurs in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1609 : 

" Is there no thunder left ? or is't kept up 

" In stock, for heavier vengeance?" 

Shakspeare might, however, mean, does heaven reserve its 
thunder only to make a noise ? has it no implements of mischief 
to punish as well as terrify ? 

" - quum fulmina torques, 

*' Necquicquam horremus ? cascique in nubibus ignes 

" Terrificant animos, et inania muruiura miscent ?" 


Steevens's last explanation of this passage appears to be just, 
kis first was unnatural. We cannot suppose that Othello in the 
paroxysm of resentment, agitation, and despair, should think any 
crimes more heinous than that of lago. It is difficult indeed to 
conceive a crime that demanded a heavier vengeance. 


The meaning, I think, is, Has not Heaven one supernumerary 
bolt, to hurl directly at the head of this atrocious villain ? Must 
all the stores of its arsenal be reserved for common and ordinary 
thunder, which, though sometimes destructive, is in the usual 
course of nature not specifically pointed at a particular object ? 

** ---. - Magne regnator deum, 

" Tarn lentus audis scelera ? tarn lentus vides ? 

" Ecquando saeva fulmen emittes manu, 

** Si nunc serenum est ? - 

*' Car dextra, divum rector atque hominum, vacat 

** Tiia, nee trisulca mundus ardescit face ? 

" In hune tbnes t hunc JigaaT' MALONF. 

512 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

But kill him rather ; I'll after that same villain, 
For 'tis a damned slave. 


OTV/. I am not valiant neither. 

But every puny whipster gets my sword : 
But why should honour outlive honesty ? 
Let it go all. 

EMIL. What did thy song bode, lady ? 

Hark, can'st thou hear me ? I will play the swan, 
And die in musick ; 8 Willow p , willow, willow. 
Moor, she was chaste ; she lov'd thee, cruel Moor ; 
So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true ; 
So speaking as I think, I die, I die. [Dies. 

OTH. I have another weapon in this chamber, 
It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper ; 9 

8 1 'will play the stvan, 

And die in musick ; c.] This, and the two former lines of 
the speech, are wanting in the first quarto. 

The same thought has already occurred in The Merchant of 

" he makes a swan-like end, 

" Fading in musick :" . 

Again, in King John: 

" this pale faint swan, 

" Who chants a woful hymn to his own death.'* 


9 the ice-brook's temper ;~] In the first edition it is 

Ise-brooke's temper. Thence corrupted to Ice-brook's. Ebro's 
temper: the waters of that river of Spain are particularly famous 
for tempering of steel. The finest arms in the world, the Cata- 
lonian fusees. POPE. 

I believe the old reading changed to ice-brook is right. Steel 
is hardened by being put red-hot into very cold water. 


The particular name of the ice-brook may be determined by 
the following passages in Martial. It was undoubtedly the brook 
or rivulet called Salo (now Xalon), near Bilbilis in Celtiberia. 
In this the Spaniards plunged all their swords and other weapons 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 513 

O, here it is : Uncle, I must come forth. 

GRA. [ Within.~\ If thou attempt it, it will cost 

thee dear; 
Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer. 

OTH. Look in upon me then, and speak with me, 
Or, naked as I am, I will assault thee. 

while hot from the forge ; and to the icy quality of the waters, 
they were indebted for their stubborn temper : 

" Saevo Bilbilin optimam metallo 

" Et ferro Plateam suo sonantem, 

" Quam fliictu lenui sed inquieto 

" Armorum Salo temperator ambit." 
Again : 

" Quibus remissum corpus astringes brevi, 

" Salone qui ferrum gelat." 
Again : 

" Pugio, quern curvis signat brevis orbita venis, 

" Stridentem gelidis hunc Salo tinxit aquis." 
Again, in Justin, 1. 44: " Praecipua hisquidemferrimateria sed 
aqua ipsa ferro violentior ; quippe temperamento ejus ferrum 
acrius redditur ; nee ullum apud eos telum probatur quod non 
aut in Bilbili fluvio aut Chalybe tingatur. Unde etiam Chaly- 
bes fluvii hujus finitimi appellati, ferroque caeteris prsestare 
dicuntur." These parts of Spain have been at all times famous 
for the temper of their arms. STEEVENS. 

I incline to read : 

It is a sword of Spain, 'tis ebroes temper . 
If we suppose that the words ['tis ebroes] were huddled toge- 
ther either in transcribing or composing, thus, ['tisebroesj the 
compositor in running it over with his eye, might (to make it 
sense as he thought) add a couple of letters and divide the words 
thus [t^'isebroA-es] which is nearly as it stands in the old quarto. 
I doubt whether ice-brooks are usual m the climate of Spain. 


the ice-brook's temper;'] The quarto, 1622, has Ise 

brookes, which is only the old spelling of Ice-brooke's, the read- 
ing of the folio. Sir William Blackstone doubts whether ice- 
brooks are usual in the climate of Spain. How that fact maybe, 
I know not ; and I am confident Shakspeare did not inquire. 




Re-enter GRATJANO. 

GRA. What is the matter ? 

OTH. 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, 
I have made my way through more impediments 
Than twenty times your stop: 2 But, O vain boast! 
Who can control his fate ? 'tis not so now. 
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon' d ; s 
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt, 
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. 
Do you go back dismay 'd ? 'tis a lost fear ; 
Man but a rush against Othello's breast, 
And he retires ; Where should Othello go ? 
Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starr'd 
wench ! 4 

1 A better never did itself sustain 

Upon a soldier's thigh :J So, in The Tixo Noble Kinsmen, 
by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1634- : 

On his thigh a sword 

" Hung by a curious baldricke, when he frowns, 
" To seal his will by; better, on my conscience, 
" Never was soldier's friend." MALONE. 

'" I have made my way through more impediments 
Than twenty times your stop:~\ So, in Coriolanus, sc. i : 

" cracking ten thousand curbs 

" Of more strong link asunder, than can ever 
" Appear in your impediment." STEEVENS. 

though you do see me weapon'd;] This uncommon 

participle is used by Sidney in his Arcadia. MALONE. 

4 ill-starr d wench !] This and the six preceding lines, 

are omitted in the first quarto. Wench originally signified only 
a young woman. Cassandra, in Whetstone's Promos and Cas- 
sandra, 1578, says of herself: 

" O wretched wench, where may I first complayne ?" 

sc. n. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 515 

Pale as thy smock ! when we shall meet at compt, 
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven, 
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl? 
Even like thy chastity. 
O cursed, cursed slave ! Whip me, ye devils, 
From the possession of this heavenly sight ! 
Blow me about in winds ! roast me in sulphur ! 
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire ! 
O Desdemona ! Desdemona ! dead ? 
Dead? O! O! O! 

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. 

LOD. Where is that viper ? bring the villain 

OTH. I look down towards his feet ; 5 but that's 

a fable : 
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee. 

[OTHELLO wounds IAGO. 

Again : 

" Therefore, sweet tvenche, helpe me to rue my woe.'* 
The word is used without any dishonourable meaning in the 
Bible : " Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel ; (for 
they might not be seen to come into the city:) and a tvenck 
went and told them ; and they went and told king David." 
2 Sam. xvii. 17. 

And again, by Gawin Douglas, in his version of the JEneid: 

" audetque viris concurrere virgo." 

" This ivensche stoutlye rencounter durst with men." 


4 towards his feet ;~\ To see if, according to the common 

opinion, his feet be cloven. JOHNSON. 

2 L 2 

516 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

LOD. Wrench his sword from him* 

I AGO. I bleed, sir ; but not kill'd. 

OTH. I am not sorry neither; I'd have thee live; 
For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die. 6 

LOD. O thou Othello, that was once so good, 
Fall'n in the practice 7 of a cursed slave, 
What shall be said to thee ? 

OTH. Why, any thing : 

An honourable murderer, if you will ; 
For nought I did in hate, but all in honour. 

LOD. Thiswretch hath part confessed his villainy: 
Did you and he consent in Cassio's death ? 

OTH. Ay. 

CAS. Dear general, I never gave you cause. 8 

OTH. I do believe it, and I ask your pardon. 
Will you, I pray you, demand that demi-devil, 
Why he hath thus ensnar'd my soul and body ? 

IAGO. Demand me nothing : What you know, 

you know : 
From this time forth I never will speak word. 

6 For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die.~\ The same thought 
has already occurred in Antony and Cleopatra: 

" 'Tis well thou'rt gone, 

" If it be well to live." STEEVENS. 

7 . in the practice ] In the snare, by the stratagem. 


See Vol. XVII. p. 426, n. 5. MALOXE. 

8 Dear general, I never gave you cause.'] Our poet, probably 
without knowing it, has used the words of The Spanish Tragedy, 

" Hieronymo, I never gave thee cause?" 
This phrase, a very familiar one, is also employed in p. -127, 
1. 11: 

" Alas, the day! I never gave him cause." MAI, ON*:. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 517 

LOD. What ? not to pray ? 

GRA. Torments will ope your lips. 

OTH. Well, thou dost best. 

LOD. Sir, you shall understand what hath be- 


Which, as I think, you know not : Here is a letter, 
Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo ; 
And here, another : the one of them imports 
The death of Cassio to be undertook 
By Roderigo. 

OTH. O villain ! 

CAS. Most heathenish, and most gross ! 9 

LOD. Now here's another discontented paper, 
Found in his pocket too ; and this, it seems, 
Roderigo meant to have sent this damned villain 5 
But that, belike, lago in the interim 1 
Came in and satisfied him. 

OTH. O the pernicious caitiff! 

How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief 
That was my wife's ? 

CAS. I found it in my chamber : 

And he himself confessed, but even now, 2 

9 Oth. O villain ! 

Cas. Most heathenish, and most gross /] Read, for the sake 
of both sense and metre : 
Oth. villainy ! 
Cas. Most heathenish, and most gross. 


1 in the interim ] The first copy has In the nick. It 

was, I suppose, thought upon revisal, that nick was too familiar. 


coiifess'd, but even no'w,'} The quarto, 1622, reads 

confess'd it even now. The folio confess'd it, but even now. 


That there he dropp'd it, for a special purpose, 
Which wrought to his desire. 

OTH. O fool ! fool ! fool ! 

CAS. There is, besides, in Roderigo's letter, 
How he upbraids lago, that he made him 
Brave me upon the watch ; whereon it came 
That I was cast : And even but now he spake, 
After long seeming dead, lago hurt him, 
lago set him on. 

LOD. You must forsake this room, and go with 

us ; 

Your power and your command is taken off, 
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave, 
If there be any cunning cruelty, 
That can torment him much, and hold him long, 
It shall be his : You shall close prisoner rest, 
Till that the nature of your fault be known 
To the Venetian state : Come, bring him away. 

OTH. Soft you ; a word or two, before you go. 
I have done the state some service, and they know 


No more of that : I pray you, in your letters, 
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, 
Speak of me as I am ; 3 nothing extenuate, 
Nor set down aught in malice : then must you speak 
Of one, that lov'd not wisely, but too well ; 
Of one, not easily jealous, but, being wrought, 
Perplex'd in the extreme ; of one, whose hand, 
Like the base Judean, threw a pearl away, 

The word it was manifestly caught by the compositor's eye 
glancing on the subsequent line. MALONE. 

3 Speak of me as I am;"] The first quarto reads, Speak of' 
them as they are. The present reading, which is the reading of 
the folio, has more force. JOHNSON. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 519 

Richer than all his tribe ; 4 of one, whose subdu'd 

4 of one, whose hand, 

Like the base Judean, threw a pearl away. 

Richer than all his tribe;'] I have restored Judian, from 
the elder quarto, as the genuine and more eligible reading. Mr. 
Pope thinks this was occasioned probably by the word tribe just 
after : I have many reasons to oppose this opinion. In the first 
place, the most ignorant Indian, I believe, is so far the reverse 
of the dunghill-cock in the fable, as to know the estimation of 
a pearl beyond that of a barley-corn. So that, in that respect, 
the thought itself would not be just. Then, if our author had 
designed to reflect on the ignorance of the Indian without any 
farther reproach, he would have called him rude, and not base. 
Again, I am persuaded, as my friend Mr. Warburton long ago 
observed, the phrase is not here literal, but metaphorical ; and, 
by his pearl, our author very properly means a Jine woman. 
But Mr. Pope objects farther to the reading Judian, because, to 
make sense of this, we must pre-suppose some particular story of 
a Jew alluded to ; which is much less obvious : but has Shak- 
speare never done this, but in this single instance ? I am satis- 
fied, in his Judian, he is alluding to Herod; who, in a fit of 
blind jealousy, threw away such a jewel of a wife as Mariamne 
was to him. What can be more parallel in circumstance, than 
the conduct of Herod and Othello ? Nor was the story so little 
obvious as Mr. Pope seem&to imagine: for, in the year 1613, 
the Lady Elizabeth Carew published a tragedy called MARIAM, 
the Fair Queen of JEWRY. I shall only add, that our author 
might write Judian or Judean, (if that 'should be alledged as 
any objection,) instead of Jud&an, with the same licence and 
change of accent, as, in his Antony and Cleopatra, he shortens 
the second syllable of Euphrates in pronunciation : which was 
:i liberty likewise taken by Spenser, of whom our author was a 
studious imitator. THEOBALD. 

Like the base Judean.] Thus the folio. The first quarto, 
1622, reads Indian. Mr. Theobald therefore is not accurate 
in the preceding note, in his account of the old copies. 


The elder quarto reads Judian, and this is certainly right. 
And by the Judian is meant Herod, whose usage to Mariamne 
is so apposite to the speaker's case, that a more proper instance 
could not be thought of. Besides, he was the subject of a tra- 

520 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

Albeit unused to the melting mood, 5 

gedy at that time, as appears from the words in Hamlet, where 
an ill player is described 

" to out-herod Herod." 

The metaphorical term of a pearl for a fine woman, is so com- 
mon as scarce to need examples. In Troilus and Cressida, a 
lover says of his mistress 

" There she lies a PEARL." 
Arid again: 

" Why she is a pearl, whose price" &c. WARBURTON. 

I cannot join with the learned criticks in conceiving this pas- 
sage to refer either to the ignorance of the natives of India, in 
respect of pearls, or the well-known story of Herod and Mari- 
amne. The poet might just as fairly be supposed to have alluded 
to that of Jephthah and his daughter. 

Othello, in detestation of what he had done, seems to compare 
himself to another person who had thrown away a thing of' va- 
lue, with some circumstances of the meanest 'villainy, which 
the epithet base seems to imply in its general sense, though it is 
sometimes used only for Zoto or mean. The Indian could not 
properly be termed base in the former and most common sense, 
whose fault was ignorance, which brings its own excuse with 
it ; and the crime of Herod surely deserves a more aggravated 
distinction. For though in every crime, great as well as small, 
there is a degree of baseness, yet the furiis agitatus amor, such 
as contributed to that of Herod, seems to ask a stronger word 
to characterize it ; as there was spirit at least in what he did, 
though the spirit of a fiend, and the epithet base would better 
suit with petty larceny than royal guilt. Besides, the simile 
appears to me too apposite almost to be used on the occasion, and 
is little more than bringing the fact into comparison with itself. 
Each through jealousy had destroyed an innocent wife, circum- 
stances so parallel, as hardly to admit of that variety which we 
generally find in one allusion, which is meant to illustrate ano- 
ther, and at the same time to appear as more than a superfluous 
ornament. Of a like kind of imperfection, there is an instance 

tvhose subdu'd eyes, 

Albeit unused to the melting mood,] So, in our poet's 30th 
Sonnet : 

" Then can I drown an eye unus'd to flow" MALONE. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 521 
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees 

in Virgil, Book XI. where, after Camilla and her attendants 
have been described as absolute Amazons, 

" At medias inter caedes exultat Amazon, 
" Unum exerta latus pugnse pharetrata Camilla. 
" At circum lectae comites," &c. 

we find them, nine lines after, compared to the Amazons them- 
selves, to Hippolyta or Penthesilea, surrounded by their com- 
panions : 

" Quales Threiciae, cum flumina Thermodontis 
" Pulsant, et pictis bellantur Amazones armis : 
" Seu circum Hippolyten, seu quum se martia curru 
" Penthesilea refert." 

What is this but bringing a fact into comparison with itself? 
Neither do I believe the poet intended to make the present simile 
coincide with all the circumstances of Othello's situation, but 
merely with the single act of having basely (as he himself terms 
it) destroyed that on which he ought to have set a greater value. 
As the pearl may bear a literal as well as a melapliorical sense, 
I would rather choose to take it in the literal one, and receive 
Mr. Pope's rejected explanation, pre-supposing some story of a 
JeiM alluded to, which might be well understood at that time, 
though now perhaps forgotten, or at least imperfectly remem- 
bered. I have read in some book, as ancient as the time of 
Shakspeare, the following tale ; though at present, I am un- 
able either to recollect the title of the piece, or the author's 
name : 

" A Jew, who had been prisoner for many years in distant 
parts, brought with him at his return to Venice a great number 
of pearls, which he offered on the 'change among the merchants, 
and (one alone excepted) disposed of them to his satisfaction. 
On this pearl, which was the largest ever shown at market, he 
had fixed an immoderate price, nor could be persuaded to make 
the least abatement. Many of the magnificoes, as well as 
traders, offered him considerable sums for it, but he was resolute 
in his first demand. At last, after repeated and unsuccessful 
applications to individuals, he assembled the merchants of the 
city, by proclamation, to meet him on the Rialto, where he once 
more exposed it to sale on the former terms, but to no purpose. 
After having expatiated, for the last time, on the singular 
beauty and value of it, he threw it suddenly into the sea before 
them all." 

Though this anecdote may appear inconsistent with the avarice 


Their medicinal gum : 7 Set you down this : 

of a Jew, yet it sufficiently agrees with the spirit so remarkable 
at all times in the scattered remains of that vindictive nation. 

Shakspeare's seeming aversion to the Jews in general, and his 
constant desire to expose their avarice and baseness as often as he 
had an opportunity, may serve to strengthen my supposition ; and 
as that nation, in his time, and since, has not been famous for 
crimes daring and conspicuous, but has rather contented itself to 
thrive by the meaner and more successful arts of baseness, there 
seems to be a particular propriety in the epithet. When Fal staff 
is justifying himself in King Henry IV, he adds, " If what I 
have said be not true, I am a Jew, an Ebrew Jew," i. e. one of 
the most suspected characters of the time. The liver of a Jew 
is an ingredient in the cauldron of Macbeth; and the vigilance 
for gain, which is described in Shylock, may afford us reason to 
suppose the poet was alluding to a story like that ahead}' 

Richer than all his tribe, seems to point out the Jew again in 
a mercantile light ; and may mean, that the pearl was richer 
than all the gems to be found among a set r>f men generally 
trading in them. Neither do I recollect that Othello mentions 
many things, but what he might fairly have been allowed to have 
had knowledge of in the course of his peregrinations. Of this 
kind are the similes of the Euxine sea flowing into the Propon- 
tick, and the Arabian trees dropping their gums. The rest of 
his speeches are more free from mythological and historical allu- 
sions, than almost any to be found in Shakspeare, for he is never 
quite clear from them ; though in the design of this character he 
seems to have meant it for one who had spent a greater part of 
his life in the field, than in the cultivation of any other know- 
ledge than what would be of use to him in his military capacity. 
It should be observed, that most of the flourishes merely orna- 
mental were added after the first edition ; and this is not the only 
proof to be met with, that the poet in his alterations sometimes 
forgot his original plan. 

7 Their medicinal gum:~\ Thus the quarto, 1622. This word 
is also used by our author in The Winters Talc; and occurs in 
the works of two of our greatest poets Milton and Dryden. 


I have preferred the reading of the folio [medicinable] because 
the word occurs again in Much Ado about Nothing: " any 
impediment will be medicinable to me." i. e. salutary. 


sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 523 

And say, besides, that in Aleppo once, 

The metaphorical term of a pearl for a Jine "woman, may, 
for aught I know, be very common ; but in the instances Dr. 
Warburton has brought to prove it so, there are found circum- 
stances that immediately show a woman to have been meant. 
So, in Troilus and Cressida : 

" HER BKD is INDIA, there SHE lies a pearl. 

" Why SHE is a pearl whose price hath launch'd" &c. 

In Othello's speech we find no such leading expression ; and 
are therefore at liberty, I think, to take the passage in its 
literal meaning. 

Either we are partial to discoveries which we make for our- 
selves, or the spirit of controversy is contagious ; for it usually 
happens that each possessor of an ancient copy of our author, is 
led to assert the superiority of all such readings as have not been, 
exhibited in the notes, or received into the text of the last edition. 
On this account, our present republication (and more especially 
in the celebrated plays) affords a greater number of these diver- 
sities than were ever before obtruded on the publick. A time 
however may arrive, when a complete body of variations being 
printed, our readers may luxuriate in an ample feast of thats and 
whiches . ; and thenceforward it may be prophecied, that all will 
unite in a wish that the selection had been made by an editor, 
rather than submitted to their own labour and sagacity. 

To this note should be subjoined (as an apology for many others 
which may not be thought to bring a conviction with them ) that 
the true sense of a passage has frequently remained undetermined, 
till repeated experiments have been tried on it ; when one com- 
mentator, making a proper use of the errors of another, has at 
last explained it to universal satisfaction. When mistakes have 
such effects, who would regret having been mistaken, or be sorry 
to prove the means of directing others, by that affinity which a 
wrong reading or interpretation sometimes has to the right, 
though he has not been so lucky as to produce at once authorities 
which could not be questioned, or decisions to which nothing 
could be added ? STEEVENS. 

I abide by the old text, " the Judian" Shakspeare seems 
to allude to Herod in the play of Mariamne : 

" I had but one inestimable jewel 

" Yet I in suddaine choler cast it downe, 
" And dasht it all to pieces." FARMER. 

The words quoted by Dr. Warburton from Hamlet do not 
prove what they are adduced for. The Herod there alluded to, 


Where a malignant and a turban' d Turk 8 
Beat a Venetian, and traduc'd the state, 

was a character in one of the ancient Mysteries. [See Candle- 
mas-da j, or the Killi/ig '/ the Children of Israel, a Mystery, in 
Hawkins's Origin of the English Drama, Vol. I.] 

I once thought that the accent here given to Judean was a 
strong objection to this reading : and that the word must have 
been Judean or Judatan, (as a derivative from Judcea) which 
would not s^it the metre. But the objection was founded on a 
mistake; for derivative words of this kind were thus accented in 
Shakspeare's time. Thus, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 
we have in the old copies, " an Epicurian rascal," which ascer- 
tains the pronunciation of that word to have been different for- 
merly from what ;t is now. The word is thus spelt by North 
also, in his translation of Plutarch. Again, in Antony and Cleo- 
patra : 

" Kep his brains fuming, Epicurean cooks." 

So, in Hamlet, we have the Nemean lion (which is written in 
the oM copy Ncmian]. 

Those who would adopt the original reading, Indian, may 
urge in its support that tht pearl naturally brings a people of 
the East to Shakspeare's mind ; the connexion in his time' being 
considered so strong, that a contemporary author has distin- 
guished the inhabitants c< India by an epithet founded on the 
circumstance of their abounding in pjaris : 

" where the bright, sun with his neighbour beams 

" Doth early light the pearled Indians." 

Cornelia, a tragedy, by T. Kyd, 1594. 

On the other hand, the word tribe is strongly in favour of the 
reading of the text, and I have now no doubt that it is the true 

Webster, in his Appius and Virginia, appears to have had 
this passage in his thoughts : 

Had your lordship yesterday 

Proceeded as 'twas fit, to a just sentence, 
The apparel and the jeivels that she wore, 
More iKorth than all her tribe, had then been due 
Unto our client." MALONE. 

8 Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk 3 I am told that 
it is immediate death for a Christian to strike a Turk in Aleppo. 
Othello is boasting of his own audacity. STEEVENS. 

sc. ii. THE MOOR OF VENICE. 525 

I took by the throat the circumcised dog, 

And smote him thus. [Stabs himself. 

LOD. O bloody period ! 

GRA. All, that's spoke, is marr'd. 

OTH. I kiss'd thee, ere I kilPd thee ; No way 

but this, [Fatting upon DESDEMONA. 

Killing myself, to die upon a kiss. 9 [Dies. 

CAS. This did I fear, but thought he had no 

weapon ; 
For he was great of heart. 

LOD. O Spartan dog, 1 

More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea ! 
Look on the tragick loading of this bed ; 

[To IAGO< 

This is thy work : the object poisons sight j 
Let it be hid. Gratiano, keep the house, 
And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor, 
For they succeed to you. To you, lord governor, 
Remains the censure of this hellish villain ; 2 

y Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.] So, in the Second Part 
of Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590: 

" Yet let me kiss my lord before I dye, 

" And let me dye with kissing of my lord." STEEVENS. 

1 Spartan dog,~\ The dogs of Spartan race were reckoned 
among those of the most fierce and savage kind. HANMER. 

They are again mentioned in A Midsummer-Night 's Dream: 
" When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear 
" With hounds of Sparta" HENLEY. 

The Spartan dogs in our poet's contemplation, were blood- 
hounds. See Vol. IV. p. 4-51. MALONE. 

s y you, lord governor, 

Remains the censure of this hellish villain ;] Rymer, who 
had neither vigour of imagination to make a poet, nor strength 
of judgment to make a critick, as appears from his Edgar, and 
his Remarks on 'Shakspeare, had yet just enough to play the 
buffoon and caviller. His criticism on the Poets of the last Age, 

526 OTHELLO, ACT v. 

The time, the place, the torture, O enforce it! 
Myself will straight aboard; and, to the state, 
This heavy act with heavy heart relate. [Exeunt? 

with only a mixture of trite remarks, transcribed from the French 
commentators on Aristotle, are one continued heap of ignorance 
and insolence. Almost the only remark on Shakspeare, which, 
I think, deserves an answer, is upon lago's character, which he 
thus censures: To entertain the audience (says he) ivitk some- 
thing new and surprising, against common sense and nature, he 
would pass upon us a close, dissembling, false, ungrateful rascal, 
instead of an open-hen rted,jrank, 'plain-dealing soldier, a character 
constantly tuorn by them for some thousand of years in the ivorld. 
This hath the appearance of sense, being founded on that rule 
of Nature and Aristotle, that each character should have man- 
ners convenient to the age, sex, and condition. 

^Etatis cujusque notandi sunt tibi mores, 8fc. 
says Horace. But how has our critick applied it ? According 
to this rule it is confessed, that a soldier should be brave, gene- 
rous, and a man of honour. This is to be his dramatick cha- 
racter. But either one or more of any order may be brought in. 
If only one, then the character of the order takes its denomina- 
tion from the manners of that one. Had therefore the only 
soldier in this play been lago, the rule had been transgressed, and 
Rymer's censure well founded. For then this eternal villain 
must have given the character of the soldiery ; which had been 
unjust and unnatural. But if a number of the same order be re- 
presented, then the character of the order is taken from the man- 
ners of the majority ; and this according to nature and common 
sense. Now in this play there are many of the order of the 
soldiery ; and all, excepting lago, represented as open, generous, 
and brave. From these the soldier's character is to be taken ; 
and not from lago, who is brought as an exception to it: unless 
it be unnatural to suppose there could be an exception; or that 
a villain ever insinuated himself into that corps. And thus 
Shakspeare stands clear of this impertinent criticism. 


Me censure ] i. e. the sentence. See Vol. IV. p. 190, 

n. 4. STEEVENS. 

See also Vol. IX. p. 25G, n. 2. MALONE. 

3 The beauties of this play impress themselves so strongly upon 
the attention of the reader, that they can draw no aid from cri- 
tical illustration. The fiery openness of Othello, magnanimous^ 


artless, and credulous, boundless in his confidence, ardent in his 
affection, inflexible in his resolution, and obdurate in his re- 
venge; the cool malignity of lago, silent in his resentment, 
subtle in his designs, and studious at once of his interest and his 
vengeance ; 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, 
are such proofs of Shakspeare's skill in human nature, as, I sup- 
pose, it is vain to seek in any modern writer. The gradual pro- 
gress which lago makes in the Moor's conviction, and the cir- 
cumstances which he employs to enflame him, are so artfully na- 
tural, that, though it will perhaps not be said of him as he says 
of himself, that he is a man not easily jealous, yet we cannot but 
pity him, when at last we find him perplexed in the extreme. 

There is always danger, lest wickedness, conjoined with abili- 
ties, should steal upon esteem, though it misses of approbation; 
but the character of lago is so conducted, that he is from the 
first scene to the last hated and despised. 

Even the inferior characters of this play would be very conspi- 
cuous in any other piece, not only for their justness, but their 
strength. Cassio is brave, benevolent, and honest, ruined only 
by his want of stubbornness to resist an insidious invitation. Ro- 
derigo's suspicious credulity, and impatient submission to the 
cheats which he sees practised upon him, and which by persua- 
sion he suffers to be repeated, exhibit a strong picture of a weak 
mind betrayed by unlawful desires to a false friend ; and the 
virtue of Emilia is such as we often find, worn loosely, but not 
cast off, easy to commit small crimes, but quickened and alarmed 
at atrocious villainies. 

The scenes from the beginning to the end are busy, varied by 
happy interchanges, and regularly promoting the progression of 
the story; and the narrative in the end, though it tells but 
what is known already, yet is necessary to produce the death of 

Had the scene opened in Cyprus, and the preceding incidents 
been occasionally related, there had been little wanting to a 
drama of the most exact and scrupulous regularity. JOHNSON. 

To Dr. Johnson's admirable and nicely discriminative character 
of Othello, it may seem unnecessary to make any addition ; yet 
I cannot forbear to conclude our commentaries on this tran- 
scendent poet with the fine eulogy which the judicious and 
learned Lowth has pronounced on him, with a particular refer- 
ence to this tragedy, perhaps the most perfect of all his works: 

" In his viris [tragediae Graecae scilicet scriptoribusj accessio 
quaedam Philosophiae eratPoetica facultas : neque sane quisquam 


adhuc Poesin adfastigium suum ac culmen evexit, nisi qui prius 
in intima Philosophia artis suae fundamenta jecerit. 

" Quod si quis objiciat, nonnullos in hoc ipso poeseos genere 
excelluisse, qui nunquam habiti sunt Philosophi, ac ne literis 
quidem praeter caeteros imbuti; sciat is, merem ipsam quaerere, 
non de vulgari opinione, aut de verbo laborare: qui autem tan- 
turn ingenio consecutus est, ut naturas hominum, vimgue omnem 
liumanitatiS) causasque eas, quibus aut incitalur mentis impetus aut 
retunditur, penitus perspectas habeat, ejusque omnes motus orations 
non modo explicet, scd effingat, planeque oculis suljiciat ; scd ex- 
citet, regat, commoveat, moderctur; eum, etsi disciplinarum instru- 
mento minus adjutum, eximie tamen esse Philosophum arhitrari. 
Quo in genere affectum Zelotypire, ejusque causas, adjuncta, 
progressiones, effectus, in una SHAKSPEARI nostri fabula, copi- 
osius, subtilius, accuratius etiam veriusque pertractari existimo, 
quam ab omnibus omnium Philosophorum scholis in simili argu- 
mento est unquam disputattmi." [Praelectio prima. edit. 1763, 
p. 8.] MALONE. 

If by " the most perfect" is meant the most regular of the 
foregoing plays, I subscribe to Mr. Malone's opinion ; but if his 
words were designed to convey a more exalted praise, without 
a moment's hesitation I should transfer it to MACBETH. 

It is true, that the domestick tragedy of Othello affords room 
for a various and forcible display of character. The less familiar 
groundwork of Macbeth (as Dr. Johnson has observed) excludes 
the influence of peculiar dispositions. That exclusion, however, 
is recompensed by a loftier strain of poetry, and by events of 
higher rank ; by supernatural agency, by the solemnities of in- 
cantation, by shades of guilt and horror deepening in their pro- 
gress, and by visions of futurity solicited in aid of hope, but even- 
tually the ministers of despair. 

Were it necessary to weigh the pathetick effusions of these 
dramas against each other, it is generally allowed that the sor- 
rows of Desdemona would be more than counterbalanced by 
those of Macduff. 

Yet if our author's rival pieces (the distinct property of their 
subjects considered) are written with equal force, it must still 
be admitted that the latter has more of originality. A novel of 
considerable length (perhaps amplified and embellished by the 
English translator of it) supplied a regular and circumstantial 
outline for OUtello; while a few slight hints collected from sepa- 
rate narratives of Holinshed, were expanded into the sublime 
and awful tragedy of Macbeth, 

Should readers, who are alike conversant with the appropriate 
excellencies of poetry and painting, pronounce on the reciprocal 


merits of these great productions, I must suppose they would 
describe them as of different pedigrees. They would add, that 
one was of the school of Raphael, the other from that of Michael 
Angelo ; and that if the steady Sophocles and Virgil should 
have decided in favour of Othello, the remonstrances of the 
daring ^Eschylus and Homer would have claimed the laurel for 

To the sentiments of Dr. Lowth respecting the tragedy of 
Othello, a general eulogium on the dramatick works of Shak- 
speare, imputed by a judicious and amiable critick to Milton, 
may be not improperly subjoined : 

" There is good reason to suppose (says my late friend the 
Rev. Thomas Warton, in a note on L : Allegro,} that Milton 
threw many additions and corrections into the THE AT RUM 
POET ARUM, a book published by his nephew Edward Philips, in 
1675. It contains criticisms far above the taste of that period. 
Among these is the following judgment on Shakspeare, which 
was not then, I believe, the general opinion." " In tragedy, 
never any expressed a more lofty and tragick heighth, never 
any represented nature more purely to the life ; and where the 
polishments of art are most wanting, as probably his learning 
was not extraordinary, he pleases with a certain WILD and NA- 
TIVE elegance." P. 194. 

What greater praise can any poet have received, than that of 
the author of Paradise Lost? STEEVENS. 

See p. 271. 

" Of the canibals, that each other eat, 

" The Anthropophagi ; and men whose heads 
" Do grow beneath their shoulders." 

These lines have been considered by Pope and others, as the 
interpolation of the players, or at least vulgar trash, which Shak- 
speare admitted merely to humour the lower part of his audience. 
But the case was probably the very reverse, and the poet rather 
VOL. XIX. 2 M 


meant to recommend his play to the more curious and refihed 
among his auditors, by alluding here to some of the most extra- 
ordinary passages in Sir Walter Raleigh's celebrated voyage to 
Guiana, performed in 1595 : in which nothing excited more 
universal attention, than the accounts which he brought from 
the new world of the canibals, Amazons, and especially of the 

" whose heads 

" Do grow beneath their shoulders." 

Hear his own solemn relation : " Next unto the Arvi" [a 
river, which he says falls into the Orenoque or Oronoko] " are 
two rivers, Atoica and Caora; and on that branch^ which is 
called Caora, are a nation of people, whose heads appear not 
above their shoulders ; which though it may be thought a meere 
because every childe in the province of Arromaia and Canuri 
affirme the same: they are called Ewaipanoma; they are re- 
ported to have their eyes in their shoulders, and their mouthes 
in the middle of their breasts, and that a long traine of haire 
grbweth backward betweene their shoulders," &c. 

[See Sir Walter Raleigh's Narrative of the Discoverie of 
Guiana, printed in Hackluyt's Voyages, Vol. III. Lond. 1600, 
folio, p. 652, 653, 665, 677, &c.] ' 

As for the Anthropophagi, or canibals " that each other eat," 
the same celebrated voyager tells us : At " one of the outlets of 
Orenoque, we left on the right hand of us, a nation of inhu- 
maine canibals," [p. 659.] And in the second Voyage to Guiana, 
in 1596, published also by Sir Walter, one of the nations, called 
Ipaios, are thus described : " They are but few, but very cruel 
to their enemies ; for they bind, and eat them alive peecemeale. 
These Indians, because they eate them whom they kill, use 
no poyson." [Ibid. p. 688. See also p. 507, 516, 682, &c.] 

These extraordinary reports were universally credited, and 
therefore Othello assumes here no other character but what was 
very common among the celebrated commanders of his time 
that of an adventurer and voyager into the East or West-Indies. 
As for Sir Walter Raleigh's strange discoveries, a short extract of 
the more wonderful passages was published in several languages, 
accompanied with a map of Guiana, by lodocus Hondius, a 
Dutch geographer, and adorned with copper-plates, representing 
these Amazons, canibals, and headless people, &c. in different 
points of view. The drawing below is copied from the frontis- 
piece to one of these pamphlets, intitled, Brevis et hdmiranda 
Descriptio Regni Guiana;, fyc. . . . Quod nifper admodum annia 
nimirum, 1564, 1595, et 1596, per . . . Dn. Gualtherum Raleigh 
Equitem Anglum detectum est. . . . . JLx quibus lodocus Hondius 


tabulam gcographicam adornavit, addita cxplicatione Belgico Ser- 
mone scripta: Nunc vero in Latinum Scrmonem translata, fyc. 
Noribcrgae, 1559. 4to. P. 


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