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Evade them with a bombaft circumstance,
Horribly stuft with epithets of war,

And, in conclufion,

Non-fuits my mediators.

"Certes, fays he,

"I have already chose my Officer."

And what was he?

Forfooth, a great arithmetician,

One Michael Cafio ;-(" the Florentine's (3) "A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;").

(3) Forfootb, a great arithmetician,

One Michael Caffio, a Florentine,


A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife.] Thus has this passage ignorantly been corrupted, (as Mr. Warburton likewife faw with me ;) by falfe pointing, and an inadvertence to matter of fact, thro' the whole courfe of the editions. By the bye, this play was not publish'd even fingly, that I can find, till fix years after the Author's death and by that interval became more liable to errors.

join the correction, and then the reasons for it.

And, in conclufion,

Nonfuits my mediators: Certes, fays be,

"I have already chofe my officer ;"

And what was be?

For footb, a great arithmetician,

One Michael Caffio;" the Florentine's

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A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife ;"-)

That never, &c.

I'il fub

This pointing fets circumftances right, as I fhall immediately explain; and it gives a variety, in Iago reporting the behaviour of Othello, to ftart into thefe breaks; now, to make Othello fpeak; then, to interrupt what O:hello fays, with his own private reflections; —then, again, to proceed with Othello's fpeeches:-for this not only marks the inqui-tude of Iago's mind upon the fubject in hand; but likewife fhews the actor in the variation of tone and gesture, whilst he (in a breath, as 'twere) perfonates alternately Othello and himself. Besides, to come to the neceffity of the change made; Lago, not Caffio, was the Florentine; lago, not Caffio, was the married man; Iago's wife attends Defdemona to Cyprus; Caffio has a mistress there, a common ftrumpet; and Iago tells him in the fourth act,

She gives it out, that you fhall marry her,

Which would be very abfurd, if Caffio had been already married at Venice. Befides, our Poet follows the authorit of his novel in giving the villainous enfign a fair wife. "Havea fimilmente menata quefto "Malvagio la fua Moglie in Cipri, la quale era bella & honefta gio"wane "And it is very good reafon for rejecting lago, because he was a married man, and might be thought too much govern'd by his wife L 6


That never fet a fquadron in the field,
Nor the divifion of a battle knows

More than a fpinfter; but the bookish theorick,
Wherein the toged counf'lors can propose (4)
As masterly as he; mere prattle, without practice,


to be capable of this charge. An this was a natural objection in an unmarried general, as Othello was when he chose his officers. Iago therefore was the fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife: which is an expreffion obfcure enough to deferve a fhort explanation. The Poet means, Iago had fo beautiful a wife, that fhe was his beaven on earth; that he idoliz'd her; and forgot to think of happiness in an after ftate, as placing all his views of blifs in the fingle enjoyment of her. In this fenfe, beauty, when it can fo feduce and ingrofs a man's thoughts, may be faid almost to damn him. Jeffica, fpeaking of Baffanio's happiness in a wife, fays fomething almost equal to this.

For having fuch a bleffing in his lady,

He finds the joys of heaven here on earth;:
And if on earth he do not merit it,

In reafon he should never come to heav'n,

Merch. of Venice.

Beaumont and Fletcher likewife, in their King and no King, makeTigranes fpeak of fuch a degree of beauty fufficient to damn fouls. -had the fo tempting fair,

That he could wish it off for damning fouls.

i. e. either, for that it did damn fouls; or, for fear it fhould.

(4) Wherein the tongued confuls.] So the generality of the impreffions read; but the oldeft quarto has it, toged; (which gave the hint for my emendation ;) the fenators, that ailifted the duke in council, in their proper gowns.-lago, a little lower, fays to Brabantio.



Zounds, Sir, you're robb'd: for fhame, put on your gewn ; Now, I think, 'tis pretty certain, that Iago does not mean, "Slip on your night-gown, but your gozun of office, your fenatorial gown; put on your authority, and purfue the thief who has ftole your daughter." Befides, there is not that contraft of terms betwixttongued, as there is betwixt toged, and foldiership. This reading is peculiarly proper here; and the fame oppofition is almoft for every made by the Roman writers. For instance;

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Cicero in Offic.

Cedant Arma Toge,

Idem in Pifonem.

-Sed quòd Pacis eft Infigne & Otii, Toga: contrà autèm.. Arma, Tumultus atque Belli.

Veil. Paterculus de Scipione Emiliano.

-paternifque Lucii Pauli Virtutibus fimillimus, omnibus Belli

ar Toge dotibus, &C.

Caffius Ciceroni.

Etenim tua Toga cmnium Armis felicior.

Is all his foldierfhip-he had th' election;
And I, of whom his eyes had feen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds
Christian and heathen must be belee'd and calm❜d (5)
By Debitor and Creditor, this Counter-Cafter ;
He, in good time, muft his lieutenant be,

And I, (God bless the mark!) his moor-ship's ancient.
Rod. By Heav'n, I rather would have been his hangman.
Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curfe of fervice;
Preferment goes by letter and affection,

And not by old gradation, where each fecond

Ovid. Metamor. lib. xv.

Cæfar in urbe fuâ Deus eft; quem Marte Togâque,
Præcipuum, &c.

Idem in Epift. ex Ponto, li. 2. Ep. г.

-Jàm nunc bæc à me, juvenum bellôque togâque

-nocitura Togâ, nocitura petuntur


Juvenal, Sat. ro.

And in a great number of paffages more, that might be quoted. But now let me proceed to explain, why I have ventured to fubftitute coun ellors in the room of confuls and then, I hope, the alteration will not appear arbitrary. The Venetian nobility, 'tis well known, conftitute the great council of the fenate, and are a part of the adminiftration; and fummon'd to affift and counsel the Doge, who is prince of the fenate; and, in that regard, has only precedency before the other magiftrates. So that, in this refpect, they may very properly be call'd counsellors. Again, when the officer comes from the duke to Brabantio, in a fubfequent scene of this act, he fays,

The Duke's in council, and your noble self,

I'm fure, is fent for.

And when Brabantio comes into the fenate, the duke fays to him ; We lack'd your counsel, and your help to-night.

Now Brabontio was a fenator, but no conful. Befides, tho' the government of Venice was democratic at firft, under confuls and tribunes; that form of power has been totally abrogated, fince Doges have been elected: and whatever confuls of other states may be refident there, yet they have no more a voice, or place, in the publick councils, or in what concerns peace or war, than foreign ambaffadors can have in our parliament.

(5) Must be led and calm'd.] There is no confonance of metaphor in these two terms. I have chofe to read with the first folio, and feveral other of the old editions. Belee'd is a fea-term as well as calm'd; and a fhip is faid to be belee'd, when the lies clofe under the wind, on the lee fhore; makes no fail.


Stood heir to th' firft. Now, Sir, be judge yourself,
If I in any just term am affign'd
To love the Moor.

Rod. I would not follow him-then.
lago. O Sir, content you;


I follow him to serve my turn upon
We cannot all be mafters, nor all mafters
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obfequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master's afs,
For nought but provender; and when he's old, cashier'd;
Whip me fuch honest knaves
-Others there are,

Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,

Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
And, throwing but fhows of fervice on their lords,
Well thrive by them; and when they've lin❜d their coats,
Do themselves homage. Thefe folks have some soul,
And fuch a one do I profess myself.

It is as fure as you are Rodorigo,

Were I the Moor, I would not be logo:
In following him, I follow but myself,

Heav'n is my judge, not I, for love and duty,
But, feeming fo, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonftrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve,
For daws to peck at; I'm not what I feem.

Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,
If he can carry her thus ?

lago. Call up her father,

Roufe him, make after him, poison his delight;
Proclaim him in the ftreets, incenfe her kinfmen:
And tho' he in a fertile climate dwell,

Plague him with flies; tho' that his joy be joy,
Yet throw fuch changes of vexation on't,
As it may lofe some colour.

Rod. Here is her father's houfe, I'll call aloud.

lago. Do, with like timorous acceat, and dire yell, As when, by night and negligence, the fire

Is fpied in populous cities."

Rod. What, ho! Brabantio! Signior Brabantio! ho. Iago. Awake! what, ho! Brabantio! ho! thieves! thieves!

Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags: Thieves! thieves!

Brabantio appears above at a Window.

Bra. What is the reafon of this terrible fummons ? What is the matter there?

Rod. Signior, is all your family within ?

Iago. Are all doors lock'd?

Bra. Why? wherefore ask you this?

[your gown,

lago. Zounds! Sir, you're robb'd, for fhame, put on Your heart is burst, you have loft half your foul:

Ev'n now, ev'n very now, an old black ram

Is tupping your white ewe.

Arife, arife,

Awake the fnorting citizens with the bell,

Or else the Devil will make a grandfire of you.
Arife, I fay.

Bra. What, have you loft your wits?

Rod. Moft reverend fignior, do you know my
Bra. Not 1; what are you?

Rod. My name is Rodorigo.

Bra. The worse welcome;

I've charg'd thee not to haunt about my doors:
In honest plainnefs thou haft heard me fay,


My daughter's not for thee. And now in madness,
Being full of fupper and diftemp'ring draughts,
Upon malicious bravery doft thou come

To start my quiet.

Ro. Sir, Sir, Sir

Bra. But thou must needs be fure,

My fpirit and my place have in their power
To make this bitter to thee.

Ro. Patience, good Sir.

Bra. What tell'ft thou me of robbing? this is Venice : My house is not a grange.


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