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equivocal generation, new animals were supposed producible by new combinations of matter. See Bacon.
JOHNSON. 271. Each drop she falls] To fall is here a verb active. So, in The Tempest :
—when I rear my hand, do you the like, “ To fall it on Gonzalo."
SreeVENS. 284. Proceed you in your tears.-] I cannot think that the poet meant to make Othello bid Desdemona to continue weeping, which proceed you in your tears (as the passage is at present pointed) must mean. He rather would have said,
-Proceed you in your tears ?. What! will you still continue to be a hypocrite by a display of this well-painted passion?
WARNER. 289. Cassio shall have my place.] Perhaps this is addressed to Desdemona, who had just expressed her joy on hearing Cassio was deputed in the room of her hus. band. Her innocent satisfaction in the hope of returning to her native place is construed by Othello into the pleasure she received from the advancement of his rival.
STEEVENS. 291. -Goats and monkies!] In this exclamation Shakspere has shewn great art. lago, in the first scene in which he endeavours to awaken his suspicion, being urged to give some evident proof of the guilt of Cassio and Desdemona, tells him it were impossible to have ocular deinonstration of it, though they should be, as prime as goats, as hot as monkies.”—These words we may suppose: still ring in the ears of Othello,
who being now fully convinced of his wife's infidelity, rushes out with this emphatic exclamation :-lago's words were but too truenow indeed I am convinced that they are as prime as goats, as hot as monkies.
MALONE. 352. But not your words.] This line is added out of the first edition.
Pope. 377. -time of scorn] The reading of both the elder quartos and the folio is,
-for the time of scorn. Mr. Rowe reads-hand of scorn; and succeeding editors have silently followed him.
I would (though in opposition to so many great authorities in favour of the change) continue to read with the old copy,
-the time of scorn. We call the hour in which we are to die, the hour of death-the time when we are to be judged—the day of judgment—the instant when we suffer calamity—the moment of evil ; and why may we not distinguish the time which brings contempt along with it, by the title of the time of scorn? Thus, in Soliman and Perseda, 1599 :
“ So sings the mariner upon the shore,
“ When he hath past the dangerous time of storms." Again, Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1633 :
“I'll poison thee; with murder curbe thy paths,
“ And make thee know a time of infamy !" Othello takes this idea from a clock. To make me (says he) a fixed figure (on the dial of the world) for the hour of scorn to point and make a full stop at ! STEEVENS.
Might not Shakspere have written
--for the scorn of time To point his slow unmoving finger at ? i. e. the marked object for the contempt of all ages and all time. So, in Hamlet : “For who would bear the whips and scorns of
time?" However, in support of the reading of the old copies, it may be observed, that our author has personified scorn, in his 88th Sonnet:
“ When thou shalt be dispos'd to set me light, “ And place my merit in the eye
of scorn." The epithet unmoving (the folio reads--and moving) may likewise be supported by Shakspere's 104th Sonnet, in which this very thought is expressed:
“ Ah ? yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
“Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceivid."
MALONE. Perhaps we should read-slowly moving finger at. I should wish to reject the present reading, for even then the word slow implied some degree of motion, though that motion may not be perceptible to the eye. The time of scorn is a strange expression, to which, I cannot reconcile myself; I have no doubt but it is erroneous, and wish we had authority to read hand of scorn, instead of time.
If Atkinson, the contractor, in one of his soliloquies (after the execution of a late sentence in the corn-narket) had been heard to explain :
-but, alas ! to make me
“O! O!" he would, at once, have been understood, by the TIME of scorn, to mean the hour of his exposure in the pillory; and by its slow unmoving FINGER, the HOURINDEX of the dial that fronted him.
Mr. Malone, in a subsequent note, hath remarked that, “his for its is common in our author ;” and in respect to the epithet unmoving, it may be observed, with Rosalind, not'o ly that time travels in divers paces with divers persons, but, that for the same reason, it GALLOPS with the thief to the gallows, it apparently STANDS STILL with the perjured in the pillory –Whatever were the precise instance of disgrace to which Othello alluded, the text in its present state,
perfectly intelligible; and, therefore, should be preserved from capricious alterations.
HENLEY. 381. –garner'd up my heart;] That is, treasured up. See Matt. iii. 12.
JOHNSON. 386. - Turn thy compleEtion there, &c.] At such an object do thou, patience, thyself change colour; at this do thou, even thou, rosy cherub as thou art, look as grim as hell.
JOHNSON. 391. -O thou weed!] Dr. Johnson has, on this occasion, been unjustly censured for having stifled difficulties where he could not remove them. I would therefore observe, that Othello's speech is printed word for word from the folio edition, though the quarto reads:
O thou black weed! Had this epithet, black, been admitted, there would still have remained an incomplete verse in this speech: no additional beauty would have been introduced; but instead of it, a paltry antithesis between the words black and fair.
Steevens. 395. Was this fair paper, &c.] Massinger has imitated this passage in The Emperor of the East :
can you think “ This master-piece of heaven, this precious
vellum “ Of such a purity and virgin whiteness, “ Could be design’d to have perjury and whore
dom “ In capital letters writ upon't?" Steevens. 396. Committed !] This, and the three following lines, are omitted in the first quarto. STEEVENS.
This word in Shakspere's time, besides its general signification, seems to have been applied particularly to unlawful acts of love. Hence perhaps it is so often repeated by Othello.-So, in Sir Thomas Overbury's Very Woman, 1610: She commits with her ears for cer
after that she may go for a maid, but she has. been lain with in her understanding.” The word is used in the same sense in King Lear: Commit not with man's sworn spouse.”