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Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,
at fortune. Haply, for I am black;
of a dungeon, Than keep a corner in the thing I love, For others' uses. Yet 'tis the plague of great ones; Prerogativ'd are they less than the base; 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death; Even then this forked plague’ is fated to us, When we do quicken. Desdemona comes :
Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA.
How now, my dear Othello?
Oth. I am to blame.
• Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,] Jesses are short straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she is held on the fist.
5 P'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind,
To prey at fortune.] The falconers always let fly the hawk against the wind; if she flies with the wind behind her, she seldom returns. If therefore a hawk was for any reason to be dismissed, she was let down the wind, and from that time shifted for herself, and preyed at fortune.
chamberers-] i. e. men of intrigue.
- forked plague-) In allusion to a barbed or forked arrow, which, once infixed, cannot be extracted. But perhaps the forked plague is the cuckold's horns.
Des. Why is your speech sa faint ? are you not
well? Oth. I have a pain upon my forehead here. Des. Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away
Your napkin is too little ;
drops. Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you. Des. I am very sorry that you are not well.
[Exeunt OTH. and Des. Emil. I am glad I have found this napkin ; This was her first remembrance from the Moor: My wayward husband hath a hundred times Woo'd me to steal it: but she so loves the token, (For he conjur’d her, she would ever keep it,) That she reserves it evermore about her, To kiss, and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out, And give it Iago: What he'll do with it, heaven knows, not I; I nothing; but to please his fantasy.
Iago. How now! what do you here alone?
I'll have the work ta'en out,] That is, copied. Her first thoughts are, to have a copy made of it for her husband, and restore the original to Desdemona. But the sudden coming in of Iago, in a surly humour, makes her alter her resolution, to please him.
Emil. O, is that all? What will you give me
Iago. Hast stolen it from her?
Emil. No, faith ; she let it drop by negligence;
A good wench; give it me.
have been so earnest To have me filch it? Iago.
Why, what's that to you?
[Snatching it. Emil. If it be not for some purpose of import, Give it me again: Poor lady! she'll run mad, When she shall lack it.
Iago. Be not you known of 't;' I have use for it.
9 to the advantage, &c.] I being opportunely here, took Be not you known of 't;] i. e. seem as if you knew nothing of the matter,
Look, where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandra
Ha! ha! false to me? To me ?
Iago. Why, how now, general ? no more of that.
How now, my lord? Oth. What sense had I of her stolen hours of
Iago. I am sorry to hear this.
Oth. I had been happy, if the general camp,
? — nor mandragora,] The mandragoras or mandrake has a soporifick quality, and the ancients used it when they wanted an opiate of the most powerful kind.
3 Which thou ow'dst yesterday,] To owe is, in our author, oftener to possess, than to be indebted, and such is its meaning here.
4 Pioneers and all,] That is, the most abject and vilest of the camp. Pioneers were generally degraded soldiers, appointed to the office of pioneer, as a punishment for misbehaviour.
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Iago. Is it possible ?–My lord,
Oth. Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore; Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;
[Taking him by the Throat. Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul, Thou hadst been better have been born a dog, Than answer my wak'd wrath. Iago.
Is it come to this? Oih. Make me to see it; or (at the least) so
prove it, That the probation bear no hinge, nor loop, To hang a doubt on : or, woe upon thy life!
Iago. My noble lord,
Oth. If thou dost slander her, and torture me, Never pray more : abandon all remorse ;' On horror's head horrors accumulate : Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amaz’d, For nothing canst thou to damnation add, Greater than that. Iago.
O grace! O heaven defend me! Are you a man? have you a soul, or sense ? God be wi' you ; take mine office.-0 wretched fool, That liv'st to make thine honesty a vice !O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world, To be direct and honest, is not safe. I thank you for this profit; and, from hence, I'll love no friend, since love breeds such offence.
abandon all remorse ;] All tenderness of nature, all pity; in which sense the word was frequently used in Shakspeare's time.