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OTHELLO,

THE

Moor of VENICE.

L 4

Dramatis Perfonæ.

DUKE of Venice.

Brabantio, a noble Venetian.

Gratiano, Brother to Brabantio.

Lodovico, Kinfman to Erabantio and Gratiano.
Othello, the Moor, General for the Venetians in Cyprus.
Caffio, his Lieutenant-General.

Jago, Standard-bearer to Othello.

Rodorigo, a foolish Gentleman, in love with Desdemona. Montano, the Moor's Predeceffor in the Government of Cyprus. Clown, Servant to the Moor.

Herald.

Desdemona, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to Othello. Emilia, Wife to lago.

Bianca, Courtexan, Miftrefs to Caffio.

Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Muficians, Sailors, and Attendants.

SCENE, for the First A, in Venice; during the reft of the Play, in Cyprus.

OTHELLO, (1)

The Moor of VENICE.

ACT I

SCENE, a Street in VENICE..

N

Enter Rodorigo and Iago..

RODORIGO.

EVER tell me, I take it much unkindly, .
That thou, lago, who haft had my purse,
As if the ftrings were thine, shouldst know
of this

Iago. But you'll not hear me.

If ever I did dream of fuch a matter, abhor me..

Rod.

(1) Othello.] The groundwork of this play is built on a novel of Cintbio Giraldi, (Dec. 3. Nov. 7.) who feems to have defign'd his tale a document to young ladies againft difproportion'd marriage: di non fe accompagnare con buomo, cui la natura & il cielo, & il modo della vita difgiunge da noi; That they fhould not link themselves to fuch,

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Rea. Thou told'ft me, thou didst hold him in thy hate, - lago. Defpife me,

If I do not. Three great ones of the city,

In perfonal fuit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capp'd to him: and, by the faith of man, (2)
I know my price, I'm worth no worse a place.
But he, as loving his own pride and purpose,

against whom nature, providence, and a different way of living have interpos'd a bar. Our Poet inculcates no fuch moral: but rather, that a woman may fall in love with the virtues and fhining qualities of a man; and therein overlook the difference of complexion and colour. Mr. Rymer has run riot against the conduct, manners, fentiments, and diction, of this play: but in such a strain, that one is mov'd rather to laugh at the freedom and coarfenefs of his raillery, than provok'd to be downright angry at his cenfures. To take a fhort fample of his criticism;"Shakespeare in this play calls 'em "the fuper-fuptle Venetians: yet examine thoroughly the tragedy, "there is nothing in the noble Desdemona, that is not below any 66 country chamber-maid with us." And the account, he gives of "their noblemen and fenate, can only be calculated for the lati"tude of Gotham. The character of the Venetian ftate is to em"ploy ftrangers in their wars: but fhall a poet thence fancy, that "they will fet a negra to be their general? or truft a Moor to de"fend them against the Turk? With us a Black-a-moor might rife "to be a trumpeter; but Shakespeare would not have him lefs than « a lieutenant-general. With us a Moor might marry fome little "drab, or fmallcoal-wench; Shakespeare would provide him the

:

daughter and heir of fome great lord, or privy-counsellor and "all the town fhould reckon it a very suitable match. Yet the "English are not bred up with that hatred and averfion to the Moors, "as are the Venetians, who fuffer by a perpetual hoftility from them. "Littora littoribus contraria. Nothing is more cdious in nature "than an improbable lie and certainly never was any play fraught "like this of Othello with improbabilities," &c.

Thus this critick goes on; but fuch reflexions require no ferious anfwer. This tragedy will continue to have lafting charms enough to make us blind to fuch abfurdities, as the Poet thought were not worth his care.

(2) Oft capt to him:] Thus the oldeft quarto, and fome modern editions: but I have chofe to restore the reading of the first and fecond folio impreffions, off-capt; i. e. ftood cap in hand, foliciting him. So, in Antony I have ever held my cap off to thy fortunes. And in Timor

And let his very breath, whom thoul't observe,
Blow off thy cap.

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