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«- must have their disgraces still new rub'd, " To make them smart,” &c. Steevens. 14. -my gain:] The quartos read-my game.
STEEVENS. 36. And your fate hies apace :) Thus the first quarto. The second quarto and the folio read~" And your " unblest fate hies."
STEEVENS. 37. Forth of my heart, &c.] Thus the first quarto. The folio reads, “ For of :" perhaps the true reading For off, &c.
But Mr. Whalley observes to me, that the reading of the quarto may be the true one. Forth signifies both out and from. So in Hamlet :
“ Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep.” Again, in Jonson's Volpone :
« Forth the resolved corners of his eyes." Mr. Henley had also made the same observation, and in proof of it produced the following passages. Richard III.
“ I clothe my naked villany
“ With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ." Again,
Humphrey Hoare that called upon your grace, “ To breakfast once forth of my company.
Reed. 39. no passage?] No passengers ? nobody going by?
JOHNSON. So, in the Comedy of Errors : ". Now in the stirring passage of the day."
STEEVENS. 44 a heavy night ;] A thick cloudy night, in which an ambush may be commodiously Jaid. JOHNSON. So, in Measure for Measure: “Upon the heavy middle of the night."
STEEVENS. 89. Lend me a garter, &c.] This speech is omitted in the first quarto.
STEEVENS. 96. Alas! my friend, my dear countryman!) This passage incontestably proves that Iago was meant for a Venetian.
STEEVENS. 114. -good gentlemen.] Thus the folio. The quartos read, gentlewoman.
STEEVENS. 115. -the ghastness,] So the folio. The quartos read, jestures.
STÉE VENS. 116. Nay, if you stare,] So the folio. The quartos read, stirre.
STEEVENS. 139. -or fordoes me quite.] To fordo, is to undo, to ruin, to destroy. See Midsummer Night's Dream, act v. line 374. and note.
STEEVENS. 140. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul
Let me not name it- -] The abruptness of this soliloquy makes it obscure. The meaning, I think, is this: “ I am here (says Othello in his mind) overwhelmed with horror. What is the reason of this perturbation? Is it want of resolution to do justice? Is it the dread of shedding blood ? No; it is not the action that shocks me, but it is the cause, it is the cause, my soul ; let me not name it to you, ye chaste stars! it is the
Othello, full of horror at the cruel action which he is about to perpetrate, seems at this instant to be seeking his justification, from representing to himself the cause, i. e: the greatness of the provocation he had received.
Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.) This is the second attempt of Othello to justify what he has undertaken. First, he says, It is the cause; i.e. his own cause; now he is willing to suppose himself the preventer to succeeding mischief to others,
STEVENS. 146. Put out the light, and then-Put out the light!] So it should be printed. The meaning is, I will put out the light, and then proceed to the execution of my purpose. But the expression of putting out the light, bringing to mind the effects of the extinction of the light of life, he breaks short, and questions himself about the effects of this metaphorical extinction, introduced by a repetition of his first words, as much as to say, but hold, let me first weigh the reflections which this expression so naturally excites.
WARBURTON, This has been considered as a very difficult line. Fielding makes Betterton and Booth dispute about it with the author himself in the other world. The punctua. tion recommended by Dr. Warburton, gives a spirit to it which I fear was not intended. It seems to have been only a play upon words. To put the light out was a phrase for to kill. In the Maid's tragedy, Melantius says,
'Tis a justice, and a noble one,
FARMER. Put out the light. This phrase is twice used in Sidney's Arcadia for killing a lady, p. 460 and 470. edition 1633.
Again, in an unpublished play, called The Second Maiden's Tragedy, by George Chapman, licensed by Sir George Buc, October 31, 1611:
- soul of cunning!
The 149. put out thy light,] Thus the folio. quarto reads-put out thine.
STEEVENS. 150. Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,] in Palmerin D'Oliva, 1988, p. 1 "those that be. held her esteemed her for the chiefest piece of workmanshippe that ever nature framed,"
REED. 152. relumine.] The folio reads-relume. The first quarto-return : the second quartom-relumine.
STEEVENS. thy rose,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads,
the rose." Again, the quarto reads,
" I'll smell it on the tree." Steevens. The folio, " I'll smell thee on the tree." STEÉ V ens.
16. - This sorrow's heavenly;] This tenderness, with which I lament the punishment which justice compels me to inflict, is a holy passion.
I wish these two lines could be honestly ejected. It is the fate of Shakspere to counteract his own pathos.
JOHNSON. Perhaps the poet would not have retained both these images had he published the play himself, though in the hurry of composition he threw them both upon paper. The first seems adopted from the fabulous history of the crocodile, the second from a passage in the scripture.
STEEVENS 172. I would not kill thy soul.] Sir W. D'Avenant has borrowed this thought in his Albovine King of Lombardy, 1629 :
“ I am not fraught with devil's spleen; I would “ Not hurt thy soul.”
Steevens. 215. A murder, which I thought a sacrifice.] This line is difficult. Thou hast hardened my heart, and makest me kill thee with the rage of a murderer, when I thought to have sacrificed thee to justice with the calmness of a priest striking a victim.
It must not be omitted, that one of the elder quartos reads, thou dost stone thy heart; which I sus. pect to be genuine. The meaning then will be, thou forcest me to dismiss thee from the world in the state of the murdered without preparation for death, when I intended that thy punishment should have been a sacrifice atoning for thy crime.