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  • Title: Othello (Quarto 1, 1622)
  • Editor: Donald Bailey
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-466-0

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Donald Bailey
    Peer Reviewed

    Othello (Quarto 1, 1622)

    Enter Desdemona, Cassi}o and Emillia.
    1590Des. Be thou assur'd good Cassio, I will doe
    All my abilities in thy behalfe.
    Em. Good Madam do, I know it grieues my husband,
    As if the case were his.
    1595Desd. O that's an honest fellow: - do not doubt Cassio,
    But I will haue my Lord and you againe,
    As friendly as you were.
    Cas. Bountious Madame,
    What euer shall become of Michael Cassio,
    1600Hee's neuer any thing but your true seruant.
    Desd. O sir, I thanke you, you doe loue my Lord:
    You haue knowne him long, and be you well assur'd,
    He shall in strangest, stand no farther off,
    Then in a politique distance.
    1605Cas. I but Lady,
    The pollicy may either last so long,
    Or feede vpon such nice, and watrish diet,
    Or breed it selfe, so out of circumstance,
    That I being absent, and my place supplied,
    1610My Generall will forget my loue and seruice:
    Desd. Doe not doubt that, before Emillia here,
    I giue thee warrant of thy place; assure thee
    If I doe vow a friendship, I'le performe it
    To the last Article; my Lord shall neuer rest,
    1615I'le watch him tame, and talke him out of patience;
    His bed shall seeme a schoole, his boord a shrift,
    I'le intermingle euery thing he does,
    With Cassio's suite; therefore be merry Cassio,
    For thy soiliciter shall rather die,
    1620Then giue thee cause: away.
    Enter Othello, Iago, and Gentlemen.
    Em. Madam, here comes my Lord.
    Cas. Madam, I'le take my leaue.
    Desd. Why stay and heare me speake.
    1625Cas. Madam not now, I am very ill at ease,
    Vnfit for mine owne purpose.
    Desd. Well, doe your discretion. Exit Cassi}o.
    Iag. Ha, I like not that.
    Oth. What doest thou say?
    1630Iag. Nothing my Lord; or if, I know not what.
    Oth. Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?
    Iag. Cassio my Lord? -- no sure, I cannot thinke it,
    That he would sneake away so guilty-like,
    Seeing you comming.
    1635Oth. I doe beleeue twas he.
    Desd. How now my Lord,
    I haue beene talking with a suiter here,
    A man that languishes in your displeasure.
    Oth. Who i'st you meane?
    1640Desd. Why your Leiutenant Cassio, good my Lord,
    If I haue any grace or power to moue you,
    His present reconsiliation take:
    For if he be not one that truely loues you,
    That erres in ignorance, and not in cunning,
    1645I haue no iudgement in an honest face,
    I preethee call him backe.
    Oth. Went he hence now?
    Desd. Yes faith, so humbled,
    That he has left part of his griefes with me,
    1650I suffer with him; good loue call him backe.
    Oth. Not now sweete Desdemona some other time.
    Desd. But shal't be shortly?
    Oth. The sooner sweete for you.
    Desd. Shal't be to night at supper?
    1655Oth. No, not to night.
    Desd. To morrow dinner then?
    Oth. I shall not dine at home,
    I meete the Captaines, at the Cittadell.
    Desd. Why then to morrow night, or Tuesday morne,
    1660On Tuesday morne, or night, or Wensday morne,
    I preethee name the time, but let it not
    Exceed three dayes: Ifaith hee's penitent,
    And yet his trespasse, in our common reason,
    (Saue that they say, the warres must make examples,
    1665Out of her best) is not almost a fault,
    To incurre a priuate checke: when shall he come?
    Tell me Othello: I wonder in my soule,
    What you could aske me, that I should deny?
    Or stand so muttering on? What Michael Cassio?
    1670That came a wooing with you, and so many a time
    When I haue spoke of you dispraisingly,
    Hath tane your part, to haue so much to doe
    To bring him in? Birlady I could doe much.
    Oth. Preethee no more, let him come when he will,
    1675I will deny thee nothing.
    Desd. Why this is not a boone,
    Tis as I should intreate you weare your gloues:
    Or feede on nourishing dishes, or keepe you warme,
    Or sue to you, to doe a peculiar profit
    1680To your owne person: nay, when I haue a suite,
    Wherein I meane to touch your loue indeed,
    It shall be full of poise and difficulty,
    And fearefull to be granted.
    Oth. I will deny thee nothing,
    1685Whereon I doe beseech thee grant me this,
    To leaue me but a little to my selfe.
    Desd. Shall I deny you? no, farewell my Lord.
    Oth. Farewell my Desdomona, I'le come to thee straight.
    Desd. Emillia, come, be it as your fancies teach you,
    1690What ere you be I am obedient. Exit Desd. and Em.
    Oth. Excellent wretch, perdition catch my soule,
    But I doe loue thee, and when I loue thee not,
    Chaos is come againe.
    Iag. My noble Lord.
    1695Oth. What doest thou say Iago?
    Iag. Did Michael Cassio when you wooed my Lady,
    Know of your loue?
    Oth. He did from first to last: -- Why doest thou aske?
    1700Iag. But for a satisfaction of my thoughts.
    No further harme.
    Oth. Why of thy thought Iago?
    Iag. I did not thinke he had beene acquainted with her.
    Oth. O yes, and went betweene vs very often.
    1705Iag. Indeed?
    Oth. Indeed? Indeed, disern'st thou ought in that?
    Is he not honest?
    Iag. Honest my Lord? Oth. Honest? I honest.
    1710Iag. My Lord, for ought I know.
    Oth. What doest thou thinke?
    Iag. Thinke my Lord?
    Oth. Thinke my Lord? By heauen he ecchoes me.
    As if there were some monster in his thought:
    1715Too hideous to be shewne: thou didst meane something;
    I heard thoe say but now, thou lik'st not that,
    When Cassio left my wife: what didst not like?
    And when I told thee, he was of my counsell,
    In my whole course of wooing, thou cridst indeed?
    1720And didst contract, and purse thy brow together,
    As if thou then hadst shut vp in thy braine,
    Some horrible counsell: if thou doest loue me,
    Shew me thy thought.
    Iag. My Lord, you know I loue you.
    1725Oth. I thinke thou doest,
    And for I know, thou art full of loue and honesty,
    And weighest thy words, before thou giue em breath,
    Therefore these stops of thine affright me the more:
    For such things in a false disloyall knaue,
    1730Are trickes of custome; but in a man that's iust,
    They are close denotements, working from the heart,
    That passion cannot rule.
    Iag. For Michael Cassio,
    I dare presume, I thinke that he is honest,
    1735Oth. I thinke so to.
    Iag. Men should be that they seeme,
    Or those that be not, would they might seeme none.
    Oth. Certaine, men should be what they seeme.
    Iag. Why then I thinke Cassio's an honest man.
    1740Oth. Nay yet there's more in this,
    I preethee speake to me to thy thinkings:
    As thou doest ruminate, and giue the worst of thought,
    The worst of word.
    Iag. Good my Lord pardon me;
    1745Though I am bound to euery act of duty,
    I am not bound to that all slaues are free to,
    Vtter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false:
    As where's that pallace, whereinto foule things
    Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure,
    1750But some vncleanely apprehensions,
    Keepe leetes and law-dayes, and in Session sit
    With meditations lawfull?
    Oth. Thou doest conspire against thy friend Iago,
    If thou but thinkest him wrongd, and makest his eare
    1755A stranger to thy thoughts.
    Iag. I doe beseech you,
    Though I perchance am vicious in my ghesse,
    As I confesse it is my natures plague,
    To spy into abuses, and oft my iealousie
    1760Shapes faults that are not, I intreate you then,
    From one that so imperfectly coniects,
    You'd take no notice, nor build your selfe a trouble,
    Out of my scattering, and vnsure obseruance;
    It were not for your quiet, nor your good,
    1765Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisedome,
    To let you know my thoughts,
    Oth. Zouns.
    Iag. Good name in man and woman's deere my Lord;
    Is the immediate Iewell of our soules:
    1770Who steales my purse, steals trash, tis something, nothing,
    Twas mine, tis his, and has bin slaue to thousands:
    But he that filches from me my good name,
    Robs me of that, which not inriches him,
    1775And makes me poore indeed.
    Oth. By heauen I'le know thy thought.
    Iag. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand,
    Nor shall not, whilst tis in my custody:
    1780O beware iealousie.
    It is the greene eyd monster, which doth mocke
    That meate it feedes on. That Cuckold liues in blisse,
    Who certaine of his fate, loues not his wronger:
    But oh, what damned minutes tells he ore,
    1785Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loues.
    Oth. O misery.
    Iag. Poore and content, is rich, and rich enough,
    But riches, finelesse, is as poore as winter,
    To him that euer feares he shall be poore:
    1790Good God, the soules of all my tribe defend
    From iealousie,
    Oth. Why, why is this?
    Thinkst thou I'de make a life of iealousie?
    To follow still the changes of the Moone
    1795With fresh suspitions? No, to be once in doubt,
    Is once to be resolud: exchange me for a Goate,
    When I shall turne the businesse of my soule
    To such exufflicate, and blowne surmises,
    Matching thy inference: tis not to make me iealous,
    1800To say my wife is faire, feedes well, loues company,
    Is free of speech, sings, playes, and dances well;
    Where vertue is, these are more virtuous:
    Nor from mine owne weake merrits will I draw
    The smallest feare, or doubt of her reuolt,
    1805For she had eies, and chose me: no Iago,
    I'le see before I doubt, when I doubt, proue,
    And on the proofe, there is no more but this:
    Away at once with loue or iealousie.
    Iag. I am glad of it, for now I shall haue reason,
    1810To shew the loue and duty that I beare you,
    With franker spirit: therefore as I am bound
    Receiue it from me: I speake not yet of proofe,
    Looke to your wife, obserue her well with Cassio;
    Weare your eie thus, not iealous, nor secure,
    1815I would not haue your free and noble nature,
    Out of selfe-bounty be abus'd, looke to't:
    I know our Countrey disposition well,
    In Venice they doe let God see the prankes
    They dare shew their husbands: their best conscience,
    Is not to leaue vndone, but keepe vnknowne.
    Oth. Doest thou say so.
    Iag. She did deceiue her father marrying you;
    And when she seem'd to shake and feare your lookes,
    1825She lou'd them most. Oth. And so she did.
    Iag. Why go too then,
    She that so young, could giue out such a seeming,
    To seale her fathers eyes vp, close as Oake,
    1830He thought twas witchcraft: but I am much too blame,
    I humbly doe beseech you of your pardon,
    For too much louing you.
    Oth. I am bound to thee for euer.
    1835Iag. I see this hath a little dasht your spirits.
    Oth. Not a iot, not a iot.
    Iag. Ifaith I feare it has.
    I hope you will consider what is spoke,
    Comes from my loue: But I doe see you are moou'd,
    I am to pray you, not to straine my speech,
    To groser issues, nor to larger reach,
    Then to suspition.
    Oth. I will not.
    1845Iag. Should you doe so my Lord,
    My speech should fall into such vile successe,
    As my thoughts aime not at: Cassio's my trusty friend:
    My Lord, I see you are moou'd.
    1850Oth. No, not much moou'd,
    I doe not thinke but Desdemona's honest.
    Iag. Long liue she so, and long liue you to thinke so.
    Oth. And yet how nature erring from it selfe.
    1855Iag. I, there's the point: as to be bold with you,
    Not to affect many proposed matches,
    Of her owne Clime, complexion, and degree,
    Whereto we see in all things, nature tends;
    1860Fie we may smell in such a will, most ranke
    Foule disproportion: thoughts vnnaturall.
    But pardon me: I doe not in position,
    Destinctly speake of her, tho I may feare
    Her will recoyling to her better iudgement,
    1865May fall to match you with her countrey formes,
    And happily repent.
    Oth. Farewell, if more
    Thou doest perceiue, let me know more, set on
    Thy wife to obserue: leaue me Iago.
    Iag. My Lord I take my leaue.
    Oth. Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtlesse
    Sees and knowes more, much more then he vnfoulds.
    1875 My Lord, I would I might intreate your honour,
    Iag. To scan this thing no further, leaue it to time,
    Tho it be fit, that Cassio haue his place,
    For sure he fills it vp with great ability:
    Yet if you please to hold him off awhile,
    1880You shall by that perceiue him and his meanes;
    Note if your Lady straine her entertainement,
    With any strong or vehement importunity,
    Much will be seene in that, in the meane time,
    Let me be thought too busie in my feares,
    1885As worthy cause I haue, to feare I am;
    And hold her free, I doe beseech your honour.
    Oth. Feare not my gouernement.
    Iag. I once more take my leaue. Exit
    Oth. This fellowe's of exceeding honesty,
    1890And knowes all qualities, with a learned spirit
    Of humaine dealing: if I doe prooue her haggard,
    Tho that her Iesses were my deare heart strings,
    I'de whistle her off, and let her downe the wind,
    To prey at fortune. Happily, for I am blacke,
    1895And haue not those soft parts of conuersation,
    That Chamberers haue, or for I am declind
    Into the valt of yeares; yet that's not much,
    Shee's gone, I am abus'd, and my releife
    Must be to lothe her: O curse of marriage,
    1900That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
    And not their appetites: I had rather be a Toade,
    And liue vpon the vapor in a dungeon,
    Then keepe a corner in a thing I loue,
    For others vses: yet tis the plague of great ones,
    1905Prerogatiu'd are they lesse then the base,
    Tis desteny, vnshunnable, like death:
    Euen then this forked plague is fated to vs,
    When we doe quicken: Desdemona comes,
    1910If she be false, O then heauen mocks it selfe,
    I'le not beleeue it.
    Enter Desdemona and Emillia.
    Desd. How now my deare Othello?
    Your dinner, and the generous Ilander
    By you inuited, doe attend your presence,
    1915Oth. I am to blame.
    Des. Why is your speech so faint? are you not well?
    Oth. I haue a paine vpon my forehead, here.
    Des. Faith that's with watching, t'will away againe;
    1920Let me but bind your head, within this houre
    It will be well againe.
    Oth. Your napkin is too little:
    Let it alone, come I'le goe in with you.
    Des. I am very sorry that you are not well.
    1925Em. I am glad I haue found this napkin, Ex. Oth. andDesd.
    This was her first remembrance from the Moore,
    My wayward husband, hath a hundred times
    Wooed me to steale it, but she so loues the token,
    For he coniur'd her, she should euer keepe it,
    1930That she reserues it euer more about her,
    To kisse, and talke to; I'le ha the worke taine out,
    And giu't Iago: what hee'll doe with it,
    Heauen knowes, not I, Enter Iago.
    I nothing know, but for his fantasie.
    Iag. How now, what doe you here alone?
    Em. Doe not you chide, I haue a thing for you.
    Iag. A thing for me, it is a common thing.
    1940Em. Ha?
    Iag. To haue a foolish thing.
    Em. O, is that all? what will you giue me now,
    For that same handkercher?
    Iag. What handkercher?
    1945Em. What handkercher?
    Why that the Moore first gaue to Desdemona,
    That which so often you did bid me steale.
    Iag. Ha'st stole it from her?
    Em. No faith, she let it drop by negligence,
    1950And to the aduantage, I being here, took't vp:
    Looke here it is.
    Iag. A good wench, gine it me.
    Em What will you doe with it, that you haue bin
    So earnest to haue me filch it?
    1955Iag. Why, what's that to you?
    Em. If it be not for some purpose of import,
    Giue mee't againe, poore Lady, shee'll run mad,
    When she shall lacke it.
    Iag. Be not you knowne on't, I haue vse for it: --go leaue me;
    I will in Cassio's Lodging lose this napkin, Exit Em.
    And let him finde it: trifles light as ayre,
    Are to the iealous, confirmations strong
    As proofes of holy writ, this may doe something,
    Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons,
    Which at the first are scarce found to distast.
    But with a little art, vpon the blood, Ent. Othello.
    Burne like the mindes of sulphure: I did say so:
    looke where he comes, not Poppy, nor Mandragora,
    Nor all the drousie sirrops of the world,
    Shall euer medicine thee to that sweete sleepe,
    Which thou owedst yesterday.
    1975Oth. Ha, ha, false to me, to me?
    Iag. Why how now Generall? no more of that.
    Oth. Auant, be gone, thou hast set me on the racke,
    I sweare, tis better to be much abus'd,
    Then but to know a little.
    1980Iag. How now my Lord?
    Oth. What sense had I of her stolne houres of lust:
    I saw't not, thought it not, it harm'd not me,
    I slept the next night well, was free, and merry;
    I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips,
    1985He that is rob'd, not wanting what is stolne,
    Let him not know'r, and hee's not rob'd at all.
    Iag. I am sorry to heare this.
    Oth. I had bin happy if the generall Campe,
    Pyoners, and all, had tasted her sweete body,
    1990So I had nothing knowne: O now for euer
    Farewell the tranquile mind, farewell content:
    Farewell the plumed troope, and the big warres.
    That makes ambition vertue: O farewell,
    Farewell the neighing Steed, and the shrill Trumpe,
    1995The spirit-stirring Drumme, the eare-peircing Fife;
    The royall Banner, and all quality,
    Pride, pompe, and circumstance of glorious warre.
    And O ye mortall Engines, whose wide throates,
    The immortall Ioues great clamor counterfeit;
    2000Farewell, Othello's Occupation's gone.
    Iag. Ist possible my Lord?
    Oth. Villaine, be sure you proue my Loue a whore,
    Be sure of it, giue me the oculer proofe,
    Or by the worth of mans eternall soule,
    2005Thou hadst bin better haue beene borne a dog,
    Then answer my wak'd wrath.
    Iag. Ist come to this?
    Oth. Make me to see't, or at the least so proue it,
    That the probation, beare no hinge, nor loope,
    2010To hang a doubt on: or woe vpon thy life.
    Iag. My noble Lord.
    Oth. If thou doest slander her, and torture me,
    Neuer pray more, abandon all remorce.
    On horrors head, horrors accumilate:
    2015Do deeds, to make heauen weepe, all earth amaz'd,
    For nothing canst thou to damnation ad greater then that.
    Iag. O grace, O heauen defend me,
    Are you a man, haue you a soule or sence?
    2020God buy, you take thine office, -- O wretched foole,
    That liuest to make thine honesty a vice,
    O monstrous world, take note, take note, O world,
    To be direct and honest, is not safe,
    I thanke you for this profit, and from hence,
    2025I'le loue no friend, since loue breedes such offence.
    Oth. Nay stay, thou shouldst be honest.
    Iag. I should be wise, for honestie's a foole,
    And looses that it workes for:
    I see sir, you are eaten vp with passion,
    I doe repent me that I put it to you,
    You would be satisfied.
    2040Oth. Would, nay, I will.
    Iag. And may, but how, how satisfied my Lord?
    Would you, the superuisor grossely gape on,
    Behold her topt?
    Oth. Death and damnation --oh.
    2045Iag. It were a tedious difficulty I thinke,
    To bring em to that prospect, dam em then,
    If euer mortall eyes did see them boulster
    More then their owne; what then, how then?
    What shall I say? where's satisfaction?
    2050It is impossible you should see this.
    Were they as prime as Goates, as hot as Monkies,
    As salt as Wolues, in pride; and fooles as grosse,
    As ignorance made drunke: But yet I say,
    If imputation and strong circumstances,
    2055Which leade directly to the doore of truth,
    Will giue you satisfaction, you may ha't.
    Oth. Giue me a liuing reason, that shee's disloyall.
    Iag. I doe not like the office,
    But sith I am enter'd into this cause so farre,
    2060Prickt to't by foolish honesty and loue,
    I will goe on: I lay with Cassio lately,
    And being troubled with a raging tooth, I could not sleep.
    There are a kinde of men so loose of soule,
    That in their sleepes will mutter their affaires,
    2065One of this kinde is Cassio:
    In sleepe I heard him say. Sweete Desdemona,
    Let vs be merry, let vs hide our loues;
    And then sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
    Cry out, sweete creature, and then kisse me hard,
    2070As if he pluckt vp kisses by the rootes,
    That grew vpon my lips, then layed his
    Ouer my thigh, and sigh'd, and kissed, and then
    Cried, cursed fate, that gaue thee to the Moore.
    Oth. O Monstrous, monstrous.
    2075Iag. Nay, this was but his dreame.
    Oth. But this deuoted a fore-gone conclusion,
    Iag. Tis a shrewd doubt, tho it be but a dreame,
    And this may helpe to thicken other proofes,
    That doe demonstrate thinly.
    2080Oth. I'le teare her all to peeces.
    Iag. Nay, but be wise, yet we see nothing done,
    She may be honest yet, tell me but this,
    Haue you not sometimes seene a handkercher,
    Spotted with strawberries in your wiues hand.
    2085Oth. I gaue her such a one, twas my first gift.
    Iag. I know not that, but such a handkercher,
    I am sure it was your wiues, did I to day
    See Cassio wipe his beard with.
    Oth. If't be that.
    2090Iag. If it be that, or any, it was hers,
    It speakes against her, with the other proofes.
    Oth. O that the slaue had forty thousand liues,
    One is too poore, too weake for my reuenge:
    Now doe I see tis time, looke here Iago,
    2095All my fond loue, thus doe I blow to heauen, -- tis gone.
    Arise blacke vengeance, from thy hollow Cell,
    Yeeld vp O loue thy crowne, and harted Throne,
    To tirranous hate, swell bosome with thy fraught,
    For tis of Aspecks tongues.
    2100Iag. Pray be content. he kneeles.
    Oth. O blood, Iago, blood.
    Iag. Patience I say, your mind perhaps may change.
    Oth. Neuer:
    In the due reuerence of a sacred vow,
    I here ingage my words.
    Iag. Doe not rise yet:
    Witnesse you euer-burning lights aboue,
    2115You Elements that clip vs round about, Iago kneeles.
    Witnesse that here, Iago doth giue vp
    The excellency of his wit, hand, heart,
    To wrong'd Othello's seruice: let him command,
    And to obey, shall be remorce,
    2120What bloody worke so euer.
    Oth. I greete thy loue:
    Not with vaine thankes, but with acceptance bounteous,
    And will vpon the instant put thee to't,
    Within these three dayes, let me heare thee say,
    2125That Cassio's not aliue,
    Iag. My friend is dead:
    Tis done as you request, but let her liue.
    Oth. Dam her lewd minks: O dam her,
    Come, goe with me apart, I will withdraw
    To furnish me with some swift meanes of death,
    For the faire diuell: now art thou my Leiutenant.
    2135Iag. I am your owne for euer.