Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jessica Slights
Peer Reviewed

Othello (Modern)

Enter Montano, [Governor of Cyprus, with] two [other] Gentlemen.
What from the cape can you discern at sea?
1 Gentleman
Nothing at all; it is a high-wrought flood.
755I cannot 'twixt the heaven and the main
Descry a sail.
Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land.
A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements;
If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea,
760What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?
2 Gentleman
A segregation of the Turkish fleet--
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chiding billow seems to pelt the clouds,
765The wind-shaked surge with high and monstrous mane
Seems to cast water on the burning Bear
And quench the guards of th'ever-fixèd Pole.
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafèd flood.
If that the Turkish fleet
Be not ensheltered and embayed, they are drowned;
It is impossible to bear it out.
Enter a [third] Gentleman.
3 Gentleman
News, lads! Our wars are done.
775The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks
That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.
How? Is this true?
7803 Gentleman
The ship is here put in, a Veronnesa. Michael Cassio,
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor, Othello,
Is come on shore; the Moor himself at sea,
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.
I am glad on't; 785'tis a worthy governor.
3 Gentleman
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.
Pray heavens he be,
For I have served him, and the man commands
Like a full soldier. Let's to the seaside, ho!
As well to see the vessel that's come in
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
795Even till we make the main and th'aerial blue
An indistinct regard.
3 Gentleman
Come, let's do so;
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivancy.
800Enter Cassio.
Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle
That so approve the Moor. Oh, let the heavens
Give him defense against the elements,
For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.
Is he well shipped?
His bark is stoutly timbered, and his pilot
Of very expert and approved allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.
810(Voices within) A sail! a sail! a sail!
What noise?
1 Gentleman
The town is empty; on the brow o'th'sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry "A sail!"
My hopes do shape him for the governor.
[A shot]
8152 Gentleman
They do discharge their shot of courtesy;
Our friends at least.
I pray you sir, go forth
And give us truth who 'tis that is arrived.
2 Gentleman
I shall.
Exit [2 Gentleman].
But good lieutenant, is your general wived?
Most fortunately; he hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame,
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens
And in th'essential vesture of creation
825Does tire the ingener.
Enter [2] Gentleman.
How now? Who has put in?
2 Gentleman
'Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.
He's had most favorable and happy speed.
830Tempests themselves, high seas and howling winds,
The guttered rocks and congregated sands,
Traitors ensteeped to enclog the guiltless keel,
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
835The divine Desdemona.
What is she?
She that I spake of, our great captain's captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
840Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A sennight's speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,
845Give renewed fire to our extincted spirits
And bring all Cyprus comfort--
Enter Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo, and Emilia.
Oh, behold,
The riches of the ship is come on shore!
You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
850Hail to thee, lady, and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand
Enwheel thee round.
I thank you, valiant Cassio.
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?
He is not yet arrived, nor know I aught
But that he's well and will be shortly here.
Oh, but I fear--how lost you company?
The great contention of the sea and skies
860Parted our fellowship.
(Voices within) A sail! a sail!
But hark, a sail.
[A shot]
2 Gentleman
They give this greeting to the citadel;
This likewise is a friend.
See for the news.
865Good ancient, you are welcome. Welcome, mistress.
[He kisses Emilia.]
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners. 'Tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.
Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
870As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You'd have enough.
Alas, she has no speech!
In faith, too much;
I find it still when I have leave to sleep.
875Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart
And chides with thinking.
You have little cause to say so.
Come on, come on! You are pictures out of 880doors, bells in your parlors, wildcats in your kitchens, saints in your injuries, devils being offended, players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.
Oh, fie upon thee, slanderer!
Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk.
You rise to play and go to bed to work.
You shall not write my praise.
No, let me not.
What wouldst write of me, if thou shouldst 890praise me?
Oh, gentle lady, do not put me to't,
For I am nothing if not critical.
Come on, assay--there's one gone to the harbor?
Ay, madam.
I am not merry, but I do beguile
The thing I am by seeming otherwise.
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?
I am about it, but indeed my invention comes 900from my pate as birdlime does from frieze; it plucks out brains and all. But my muse labors, and thus she is delivered:
If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit;
The one's for use, the other useth it.
Well praised! How if she be black and witty?
If she be black and thereto have a wit,
She'll find a white that shall her blackness hit.
Worse and worse.
How if fair and foolish?
She never yet was foolish that was fair,
For even her folly helped her to an heir.
These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i'th'alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou 915for her that's foul and foolish?
There's none so foul and foolish thereunto,
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.
O heavy ignorance! Thou praisest the worst best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on a 920deserving woman indeed? One that in the authority of her merit did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself.
She that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud,
925Never lacked gold, and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish, and yet said "now I may."
She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly.
She that in wisdom never was so frail
930To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail.
She that could think, and ne'er disclose her mind,
See suitors following, and not look behind.
She was a wight, if ever such wights were--
To do what?
To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.
O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn of him Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say you, Cassio, is he not a most profane and liberal counselor?
He speaks home, madam. You may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar.
[Cassio takes Desdemona by the hand.]
[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 945in 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. Very good! Well kissed and excellent courtesy!950 'Tis so indeed. Yet again, your fingers to your lips? Would they were clysterpipes for your sake.
[Trumpet within.]
[Aloud] The Moor. I know his trumpet.
'Tis truly so.
Let's meet him and receive him.
Lo, where he comes.
Enter Othello and attendants.
O my fair warrior!
My dear Othello.
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,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death,
965And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven. If it were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy, for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
970That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.
The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase
975Even as our days do grow.
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--
[They kiss.]
--the greatest discords be
980That ere our hearts shall make.
[Aside] Oh, you are well tuned now! But I'll set down the pegs that make this music, as honest as I am.
Come, let us to the castle.
News, friends: our wars are done; 985the Turks are drowned.
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion and I dote
990In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers.
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
995Once more well met at Cyprus.
Exeunt [all but Iago and Roderigo].
Do thou meet me presently at the harbor. Come thither, if thou be'st valiant--as they say base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures 1000more than is native to them--list me: the lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard. First, I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him.
With him? Why, 'tis not possible.
Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be 1005instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor, but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies. To love him still for prating? 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 1010is made dull with the act of sport, there should be a game to enflame it, and, to give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favor, sympathy in years, manners, and beauties--all which the Moor is defective in. Now, for want of these required conveniences her delicate 1015tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor. 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 eminent in the degree of 1020this fortune as Cassio does--a knave very voluble, no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming for the better compass of his salt and most hidden loose affection? Why none, why none! A slipper and subtle knave, a finder of 1025occasion 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 look after--a pestilent complete knave, and the 1030woman hath found him already.
I cannot believe that in her; she's full of most blessed condition.
Blessed fig's-end! The wine she drinks is made of grapes. If she had been blessed, she would 1035never have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? Didst not mark that?
Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.
Lechery, by this hand--an index and obscure 1040prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so near with their lips that their breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo, when these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, th'incorporate 1045conclusion--pish! But sir, be you ruled by me. I have brought you from Venice. Watch you tonight; 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 1050tainting his discipline, or from what other course you please which the time shall more favorably minister.
Sir, he's rash and very sudden in choler, and 1055haply may strike at you. Provoke him that he may, for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no true taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I 1060shall then have to prefer them, and the impediment most profitably removed without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.
I will do this, if you can bring it to any opportunity.
I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel. I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.
Exit [Roderigo].
That Cassio loves her, I do well believ't;
1070That 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,
1075Not out of absolute lust (though peradventure
I stand accountant for as great a sin),
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leaped into my seat--the thought whereof
1080Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards,
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am evened with him, wife for wife;
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
1085That judgment cannot cure; which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the right garb
1090(For I fear Cassio with my nightcap too),
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me
for making him egregiously an ass
And practicing upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused;
1095Knavery's plain face is never seen till used.
Exit [Iago].