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SCENE I. Venice. A Street.



TUSH, never tell me, I take it much unkindly,
That thou, Iago,-who hast had my purse,
As if the strings were thine,-should'st know of this.
Iago. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me :-

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,
Oft capp'd1 to him;—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 circumstance2,

To cap is to salute by taking off the cap: it is still an academick phrase. The folio reads, ' Off-capp'd.'

2 Circumstance signifies circumlocution.

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And therefore without circumstance, to the point, Instruct me what I am?' The Picture, by Massinger.

Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion, nonsuits
My mediators; for, certes, says he,
I have already chose my officer.
And what was he?

Forsooth, a great arithmetician3,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife1;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows

More than a spinster; unless the bookish theorick5, Wherein the toged consuls can propose


3 Iago means to represent Cassio as a man merely conversant with civil matters, and who knew no more of a squadron than the number of men it contained. He afterwards calls him 'this counter-castor.'

4 The folio reads, dambd. This passage has given rise to much discussion. Mr. Tyrwhitt thought that we should read, ' almost damn'd in a fair life;' alluding to the judgment de nounced in the Gospel against those of whom all men speak well.' I should be contented to adopt his emendation, but with a different interpretation ::- A fellow almost damn'd (i. e. lost from luxurious habits) in the serene or equable tenour of his life.' The passage as it stands at present has been said by Steevens to mean, according to Iago's licentious manner of expressing himself, no more than a man very near being married.' This seems to have been the case in respect to Cassio. Act iv. Sc. 1, Iago, 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 love and self flattery, not out of my promise.' Iago then, having heard this report before, very naturally alludes to it in his present conversation with Roderigo.-Mr. Boswell suspects that there may be some corruption in the text.

5 i.e. theory. See All's Well that Ends Well, Act iv. Sc. 3,

p. 305.

6 The rulers of the state, or civil governors. The word is used in the same sense in Tamburlaine :

'Both we will reign the consuls of the earth.'

By toged is meant peaceable, in opposition to warlike qualifications, of which he had been speaking. The word may be formed

As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,
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
By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster7;
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,

And I (God bless the mark!) his Moorship's ancient. Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of service;

Preferment goes by letter, and affection,

Not by the old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself, Whether I in any just term am affin'd9

To love the Moor.


I would not follow him then.

Iago. O, sir, content you;
I follow him to serve my
turn upon
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow'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,

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in allusion to the adage, Cedant arma toga.' The folio reads, 'tongued consuls,' which agrees better with the words which follow:- mere prattle, without practice.'


7 It was anciently the practice to reckon up sums with counTo this the poet alludes in Cymbeline, 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 counters.'

8 i. e. by recommendation.

9 Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity to the Moor, as that I am bound to love him.' The first quarto has assign'd.

For nought but provender; and, when he's old,


Whip me such honest knaves 10: 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,

It is as sure as you are Roderigo,

Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
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 11, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws 12 to peck at: I am not what I am.
Rod. What a full fortune 13 does the thick-lips owe,
If he can carry't thus!


Call up her father, Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,

10 Knave is here used for servant, but with a sly mixture of contempt.

11 Outward show of civility.

12 This is the reading of the folio. The first quarto reads 'doves.

13 Full fortune is complete good fortune: to owe is to possess. So in Antony and Cleopatra :

not the imperious show

Of the full-fortun'd Cæsar.'

And in Cymbeline :—

Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine.'

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,

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Rod. Here is her father's house; I'll call aloud. Iago. Do; with like timorous accent, and dire yell, As when, by 14 night and negligence, the fire Is spied in populous cities.

Rod. What ho! Brabantio! signior Brabantio, ho! 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 summons? What is the matter there?

Rod. Signior, is all your family within?

Iago. Are your doors lock'd?


Why? wherefore ask you this?

Iago. 'Zounds, sir, you are robb'd; for shame,

put on your gown:

Your heart is burst 15,

have lost half , you Even now, very now, an old black ram

Is tupping your white ewe.

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Arise, arise;

Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,

Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say.


What, have you lost your wits? Rod. Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?

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14 By night and negligence' means in the time of night and negligence.' Nothing is more common than this mode of expression: we should not hesitate at the expression, By night and day.'

15 i. e. is broken. See vol. iii. p. 342.

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