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This is a noble conjecture, and, whether right or wrong, does honour to its author. Yet I am in doubt whether there is any necessity of emendation. There has always prevailed in the world an opinion, that when any great calamity happens at a distance, notice is given of it to the sufferer by some dejection or perturbation of mind, of which he discovers no external cause. This is ascribed to that general communication of one part of the universe with another, which is called sympathy and antipathy; or to the secret monition, instruction, and influence of a superior Being, which superintends the order of nature and of life. Othello says, Nature could not invest herself in such shadowing passion without instruction.
It is not words that shake me thus. This passion, which spreads its clouds over me, is the effect of some agency more than the operation of words; it is one of those notices which men have of unseen calamities. JOHNSON,
However ingenious Dr. Warburton's note may be, it is certainly too forced and far-fetched. Othello alludes only to Cassio's dream, which had been in' vented and told him by Iago. When many confused and very interesting ideas pour in upon the mind all at once, and with such rapidity that it has not time to shape or digest them, if it does not relieve itself by tears (which we know it often does, whether for joy or grief) it produces stupefaction and fainting.
Othello, in broken sentences and single words, all of which have a reference to the cause of his jealousy, shews, that all the proofs are present at once to his
mind, which so overpowers it, that he falls into a trance, the natural consequence. Sir J. REYNOLDS.
50. Noses, ears, and lips :] Othello is imagining to himself the familiarities which he supposes to have passed between Cassio and his wife. So, in the Winter's Tale :
“ Cheek to cheek,-meeting noses
Kissing with inside lip,” &c.If this be not the meaning, we must suppose he is meditating a cruel punishment for Desdemona and her suspected paramour:
STEEVENS. 73. A horned man- -] In Much Ado about Nothing, I omitted to attempt the illustration of a passage where Benedick says—“there is no staff more honourable than one tipt with horn.” Perhaps he alludes to the staff which was anciently carried before a challenger. Thus, in Stowe's Chronicle, edition 1615, p. 659: "-his baston (a staffe of an elle long, made taperwise, tipt with horne) &c. was borne before him.”
STEEVENS. 80. in those unproper beds,] Unproper, for common.
WARBURTON. So, in The Arcadia, by Shirley, 1610:
“ Ever woinan shall be common.-
all the proper women in Arcadia ?
“-you and I
88. -list.] The obvious meaning of list, is bounds. Keep your temper, says Iago, within the bounds of patience.
COLLINS. So, in King Henry V. act v. sc. 2: cannot be confined within the weak list of a country fashion." Again, in King Henry IV. Part I.
“ The very list, the very utmost bound,
« Of all our fortunes." Again, in All's Well that Ends Well, act ii. sc. 1. ---you
have restrain'd yourself within the list of too cold an adien."
STEEVENS. 89. —ere while, mad with your grief,] Thus the first quarto. The folio reads: -o’erwhelmed with your grief.
STEEVENS. 94. -encave yourself.] Hide yourself in a private place.
JOHNSON. Or shall I say, your're all in all in spleen, ] I read :
Or shall I say, you're all in all a spleen.
JOHNSON A hair-brain'd Hotspur, govern'd by a spleen. The old reading, however, is not inexplicable. We still say, such one is in wrath, in the dumps, &c. The sense therefore is plain. Again, in The Midsummer Night's Dream : “ That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth."
116. And his unbookish jealousyą] Unbookish, for ignorant.
WARBURTON. 135. Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph ?] Othello calls him Roman ironically. Triumph, which was a Roman ceremony, brought Roman into his thoughts. What (says he) you are now triumphing as great as a Roman?
JOHNSON. 136. a customer!] A common woman, one that invites custom.
JOHNSON. So, in All's Well that Ends Well:' so I think thee now some common customer.”
STEEVENS. 143. Have you scor'd me ?-] Have you made my reckoning? have you settled the term of my life? The Cold quarto reads, stored me. Have you disposed of me? have you laid me up
JOHNSON To score originally meant no more than to cut a notch upon a tally, or to mark out a form by indenting it on any substance. Spenser, in the first Canto of his Fairy Queen, speaking of the cross, says:
Upon his shield the like was also scor'd." Again, b. ii. c. 9:
“why on your shield, so goodly scord,
“ Bear you the picture of that lady's head?” But it was soon figuratively used for setting a brand or mark of disgrace on any one.
« Let us score their backs,” says Scarus, in Antony and Cleopatra; and it is einployed in the same sense on the present occasion.
STEEVENS. 151. -by this hand-] This is the reading of the
very stinking animal.
162. - fitchew !-] A pole-cat.
PoРБ. . Shakspere has in another place mentioned the lust of this animal. Cassio tells Iago, that she is as lewd as the pole-cat, but of better scent, the pole-cat being a
JOHNSON A pole-cat was anciently one of the cant terms for a strumpet.
STEEVENS. heart is turn'd to stone ; I strike it and it hurts my hand.] This thought, as often as it occurs to Shakspere, is sure to be received, and as often counteracts his pathos.
STEEVENS. atone them,--] Make them one ; reconcile them.
JOHNSON. Few words have occasioned the spilling of so much Christian ink as the word atone, which is here used in its proper sense. So likewise in Cymbeline, act i.
“ To atone my countryman and you.”' Again, in As you Like It, act v. line 338.
". Then there is mirth in heaven,
“ Atone together.” 'This expression is formed by the coalescence of the words at one, the verb to set, or some equivalent being omitted. Thus, in the afts : -" he shewed himself to them as they strove and would have sei them AT ONE again." and in The Beehive of the Romish Church: “ through which God is made AT ONE with us, and hath forgiven us our sins.”
HENLEY. 270. If that the earth would teem, &c.] If women's teurs could impregnate tie earth. By the doctrine of