Othello: Act 1, Scene 3
Enter DUKE, Senators and Officers.
1. composition: consistency.
1There is no composition in these news
2That gives them credit.
2. disproportion'd: inconsistent.
2Indeed, they are disproportion'd;
3My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.
4And mine, a hundred and forty.
4And mine, two hundred!
5. jump: agree. just: exact. account: accounting, number.
5But though they jump not on a just account,
6. the aim: i.e., conjecture.
6As in these cases, where the aim reports,
7'Tis oft with difference yet do they all confirm
8A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
9Nay, it is possible enough to judgment:
10-11. I do not so secure me in the error, / But the main article I do approve: I don't find so much safety in the discrepancies [in the number of Turkish ships reported] but I believe the main message [that the Turks are mounting an attack on Cyprus].
10I do not so secure me in the error
11But the main article I do approve
12In fearful sense.
12What, ho! what, ho! what, ho!
13A messenger from the galleys.
13Now, what's the business?
14. preparation: force prepared for war; here, fleet (so also at line 221 below).
14The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes;
15So was I bid report here to the state
16By Signior Angelo.
17. by: about.
17How say you by this change?
17This cannot be,
18. assay of reason: test of common sense. pageant: mere show. 19. in false gaze: looking in the wrong direction.
18By no assay of reason: 'tis a pageant,
19To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
20The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
21And let ourselves again but understand,
22That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,
23. with more facile question bear it: capture it (Cyprus) more easily. 24. brace: readiness, state of defense.
23So may he with more facile question bear it,
24For that it stands not in such warlike brace,
25But altogether lacks the abilities
26That Rhodes is dress'd in: if we make thought of this,
27. unskilful: unable to weigh the situation, undiscriminating. 28. latest: last.
27We must not think the Turk is so unskilful
28To leave that latest which concerns him first,
29. of ease and gain: i.e., that will yield easy success. 30. wage: risk.
29Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
30To wake and wage a danger profitless.
31Nay, in all confidence, he's not for Rhodes.
32Here is more news.
Enter a MESSENGER.
33The Ottomites, reverend and gracious,
34Steering with due course towards the isle of Rhodes,
35. injointed them: joined themselves. after: second.
35Have there injointed them with an after fleet.
36Ay, so I thought. How many, as you guess?
37. restem: steer again.
37Of thirty sail: and now they do restem
38. with frank appearance: openly, without disguising their intention.
38Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
39Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano,
40Your trusty and most valiant servitor,
41. his free duty: i.e., expressions of unwavering loyalty. recommends: commends himself and reports to; informs.
41With his free duty recommends you thus,
42And prays you to believe him.
43'Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.
44Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?
45He's now in Florence.
46Write from us to him; post-post-haste. Dispatch!
47Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.
Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, CASSIO,
IAGO, RODERIGO, and OFFICERS.
48Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
49. general: universal, i.e., of all Christendom.
49Against the general enemy Ottoman.
50. gentle: noble.
50I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior;
51We lack'd your counsel and your help tonight.
52So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me;
53Neither my place nor aught I heard of business
54Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general care
55. particular: private.
55Take hold on me, for my particular grief
56. flood-gate: i.e., overwhelming (like the onrushing water when flood-gates are opened). 57. engluts: engulfs.
56Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature
57That it engluts and swallows other sorrows
58And it is still itself.
58Why, what's the matter?
59My daughter! O, my daughter!
59Ay, to me;
60. abus'd: deceived, deluded.
60She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and corrupted
61. mountebanks: quacks.
61By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
62. err: suffer aberration.
62For nature so preposterously to err,
63. deficient: defective. sense: reason.
63Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
64. Sans witchcraft could not: Without witchcraft [nature] could not [create such].
64Sans witchcraft could not.
65Whoe'er he be that in this foul proceeding
66Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself
67And you of her, the bloody book of law
68You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
69. After your own sense: giving it your own interpretation. our proper: my own. 70. Stood in your action: you were the one who faced your charges.
69After your own sense, yea, though our proper son
70Stood in your action.
70Humbly I thank your grace.
71Here is the man, this Moor, whom now, it seems,
72Your special mandate for the state-affairs
73Hath hither brought.
73We are very sorry for't.
DUKE [To Othello.]
74What, in your own part, can you say to this?
75Nothing, but this is so.
76Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
77. approv'd: proved.
77My very noble and approv'd good masters,
78That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
79It is most true; true, I have married her:
80. The very head and front of my offending: i.e., my offense at the utmost. front: forehead, face. 81. Rude: unpolished.
80The very head and front of my offending
81Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
82And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace:
83. seven years' pith: the strength of [a boy of] seven years. 84. Till now some nine moons wasted: until some nine months ago (during which time Othello has evidently not been on active duty, but in Venice).
83For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
84Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
85Their dearest action in the tented field,
86And little of this great world can I speak,
87More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,
88And therefore little shall I grace my cause
89In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
90. round: plain.
90I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver
91Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
92What conjuration and what mighty magic,
93. withal: with.
93For such proceeding I am charged withal,
94I won his daughter.
94A maiden never bold;
95-96. her motion / Blush'd at herself: any stirring of her feelings made her blush (as if her feelings were improper).
95Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
96Blush'd at herself; and she, in spite of nature,
97. credit: virtuous reputation.
97Of years, of country, credit, every thing,
98To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on!
99It is a judgment maim'd and most imperfect
100. confess: concede (that), aver, or declare.
100That will confess perfection so could err
101. must: i.e., the unmaimed judgment must.
101Against all rules of nature, and must be driven
102. practices: plots.
102To find out practises of cunning hell,
103. vouch: assert, affirm.
103Why this should be. I therefore vouch again
104. blood: passions.
104That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood,
105. conjur'd to this effect: made thus efficacious by spells.
105Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect,
106He wrought upon her.
106To vouch this, is no proof,
107. more wider: i.e., fuller.
107Without more wider and more overt test
108. thin habits: thin clothing; i.e., slight appearances.
108Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods
109. modern: commonplace, insignificant. seeming: assumption, supposition. prefer: present.
109Of modern seeming do prefer against him.
110But, Othello, speak:
111Did you by indirect and forced courses
112Subdue and poison this young maid's affections?
113. question: conversation.
113Or came it by request and such fair question
114As soul to soul affordeth?
114I do beseech you,
115Send for the lady to the Sagittary,
116And let her speak of me before her father:
117If you do find me foul in her report,
118The trust, the office I do hold of you,
119Not only take away, but let your sentence
120Even fall upon my life.
120Fetch Desdemona hither.
121Ancient, conduct them: you best know the place.
[Exeunt IAGO and Attendants.]
122And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
123. vices of my blood: my human failings. blood: passions.
123I do confess the vices of my blood,
124. justly: exactly, truthfully.
124So justly to your grave ears I'll present
125How I did thrive in this fair lady's love,
126And she in mine.
127Say it, Othello.
128Her father loved me; oft invited me;
129. Still: Continually.
129Still question'd me the story of my life,
130From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
131That I have passed.
132I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
133To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
134Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
135. accidents: happenings, events.
135Of moving accidents by flood and field
136. imminent deadly: threatening death. breach: gap made in fortifications.
136Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
137Of being taken by the insolent foe
138And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
139. portance: conduct, behavior.
139And portance in my travels' history:
140. antres: caves. idle: barren, empty, unprofitable.
140Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
141. Rough quarries: rugged stone-masses.
141Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
142. hint: occasion, opportunity. process: proceeding (?) or story (?).
142It was my hint to speak, such was the process;
143And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
144. Anthropophagi: man-eaters (A term from Pliny's Natural History).
144The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
145Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
146Would Desdemona seriously incline:
147But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
148Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
149She'ld come again, and with a greedy ear
150Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
151. pliant: well-suited, convenient, favorable.
151Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
152To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
153. dilate: relate in detail.
153That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
154. by parcels: by snatches, in bits and pieces.
154Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
155. intentively: with full and continuous attention.
155But not intentively: I did consent,
156And often did beguile her of her tears,
157When I did speak of some distressful stroke
158That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
159She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
160She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
161'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
162She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
163. made her such a man: made such a man for her (to marry).
163That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me,
164And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
165I should but teach him how to tell my story.
166. hint: opportunity.
166And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
167She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
168And I loved her that she did pity them.
169This only is the witchcraft I have used:
170Here comes the lady; let her witness it.
Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, ATTENDANTS.
171I think this tale would win my daughter too.
173. Take up this mangled matter at the best: Make the best of this badly damaged situation.
173Take up this mangled matter at the best:
174Men do their broken weapons rather use
175Than their bare hands.
175I pray you, hear her speak:
176If she confess that she was half the wooer,
177Destruction on my head, if my bad blame
178Light on the man! Come hither, gentle mistress:
179Do you perceive in all this noble company
180Where most you owe obedience?
180My noble father,
181I do perceive here a divided duty:
182. education: upbringing, rearing.
182To you I am bound for life and education;
183. learn: teach.
183My life and education both do learn me
184. respect: regard.
184How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
185. I am hitherto your daughter: i.e., until now I have owed all my obedience to you as my father.
185I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,
186And so much duty as my mother show'd
187To you, preferring you before her father,
188. challenge: claim.
188So much I challenge that I may profess
189. God be with you: good-bye.
189Due to the Moor, my lord.
189God be with you! I have done.
190Please it your grace, on to the state affairs:
191. get: beget.
191I had rather to adopt a child than get it.
192Come hither, Moor:
193I here do give thee that with all my heart
194Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
195. For your sake: on your account, because of what you have done.
195I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,
196I am glad at soul I have no other child:
197. escape: transgression.
197For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
198. clogs: blocks of wood hung on criminals or animals to prevent their running away. 199. like yourself: as you should; i.e., as you would in your proper temper. sentence: maxim, moral saying. 200. grise: degree, step.
198To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.
199Let me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence,
200Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers
201Into your favor.
202. remedies: i.e., hopes of remedy.
202When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
203. which: i.e., the griefs. hopes: anticipations.
203By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
204. mischief: injury.
204To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
205. next: nearest.
205Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
206. What: Whatever.
206What cannot be preserved when fortune takes
207. Patience her injury a mockery makes: patient endurance of the loss makes a mockery of Fortune's intended injury and [thus eases the pain]. 209. bootless: incurable, unavailing.
207Patience her injury a mockery makes.
208The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
209He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.
210So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
211We lose it not, so long as we can smile.
212-215. He bears . . . borrow: i.e., a person well bears out your maxim who . . . more 213. free: i.e., unmixed with sorrow.
212He bears the sentence well that nothing bears
213But the free comfort which from thence he hears,
214But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
215. poor patience: i.e., endurance, which hasn't much to lend.
215That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
216These sentences, to sugar, or to gall,
217Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
218But words are words; I never yet did hear
219. pierced: i.e., relieved as by a surgeon's lancet.
219That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.
220I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.
221. preparation: fleet.
221The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for
222. fortitude: military strength.
222Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best
223. substitute: deputy, representative.
223known to you; and though we have there a substitute
224-225. allow'd: acknowledged. opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects: public opinion, . . . more 225-226. throws a more safer voice on you: gives you the reputation of being safer. 227. slubber: soil, sully.
224of most allow'd sufficiency, yet opinion, a
225sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer
226voice on you: you must therefore be content to
227slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this
228. stubborn: rough.
228more stubborn and boisterous expedition.
229The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
230Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
231. thrice-driven: thrice-winnowed (to obtain the softest feathers). agnize: acknowledge, recognize. 232. alacrity: readiness. 233. hardness: hardship.
231My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnize
232A natural and prompt alacrity
233I find in hardness, and do undertake
234These present wars against the Ottomites.
235. bending to your state: i.e., bowing or kneeling to your authority. 236. fit disposition: suitable provision. 237. reference of place: assignment of residence. exhibition: allowance of money. 238. accommodation: apparel. besort: suitable company. 239. levels: equals, suits.
235Most humbly therefore bending to your state,
236I crave fit disposition for my wife.
237Due reference of place and exhibition,
238With such accommodation and besort
239As levels with her breeding.
239If you please,
240Be't at her father's.
240I'll not have it so.
241Nor I; I would not there reside,
242To put my father in impatient thoughts
243By being in his eye. Most gracious duke,
244. prosperous: favorable, propitious.
244To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear;
245. charter: authorization, privilege.
245And let me find a charter in your voice,
246To assist my simpleness.
247What would You, Desdemona?
248That I did love the Moor to live with him,
249. downright: plain, open. violence: i.e., boldly . . . more storm of fortunes: taking my fortune by storm. 250-251. subdu'd / Even to: brought completely into accord with. 251. quality: (1) nature, character; (2) profession, mode of life.
253. parts: qualities.
253. parts: qualities.
249My downright violence and storm of fortunes
250May trumpet to the world. My heart's subdued
251Even to the very quality of my lord:
252I saw Othello's visage in his mind,
253And to his honor and his valiant parts
254Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
255So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,
256. moth: meek idle consumer, parasite.
256A moth of peace, and he go to the war,
257. rites: i.e., Othello's performance as a warrior and leader of men, which make me love him.
257The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
258And I a heavy interim shall support
259. dear: heartfelt.
259By his dear absence. Let me go with him.
260Let her have your voices.
261Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not,
262To please the palate of my appetite,
263-264. Nor to comply with heat the young affects / In me defunct: Nor to serve sexual appetite since the excesses of youthful passion in me are over and done with. 264. proper: personal, private. 266. defend: forbid.
263Nor to comply with heat the young affects
264In me defunct and proper satisfaction.
265But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
266And heaven defend your good souls, that you think
267I will your serious and great business scant
268. For: Because.
268For she is with me: no, when light-wing'd toys
269. seel: blind . . . more wanton dullness: dullness produced by . . . more 270. My . . . instruments: My mental faculties when they have duties to perform. 271. That: so that. disports: pastimes.
269Of feather'd Cupid seel with wanton dullness
270My speculative and officed instruments,
271That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
272Let housewives make a skillet of my helm,
273. indign: unworthy, shameful.
273And all indign and base adversities
274. Make head: raise an armed force. estimation: reputation.
274Make head against my estimation!
275Be it as you shall privately determine,
276Either for her stay or going: the affair cries haste,
277And speed must answer it.
277You must away tonight.
278Tonight, my lord?
278With all my heart.
279At nine i' the morning here we'll meet again.
280Othello, leave some officer behind,
281And he shall our commission bring to you;
282. of quality and respect: pertaining to your rank and privilege. 283. import: concern.
282With such things else of quality and respect
283As doth import you.
283So please your grace, my ancient;
284. honesty: honor.
284A man he is of honesty and trust.
285To his conveyance I assign my wife,
286With what else needful your good grace shall think
287To be sent after me.
287Let it be so.
288Good night to every one.
288And, noble signior,
289. delighted: delightful.
289If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
290Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.
291Adieu, brave Moor, use Desdemona well.
292Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
293She has deceived her father, and may thee.
Exeunt [Duke, Senators, Officers, &c.]
294My life upon her faith! Honest Iago,
295My Desdemona must I leave to thee:
296I prithee, let thy wife attend on her:
297. in the best advantage: at the most favorable opportunity.
297And bring them after in the best advantage.
298Come, Desdemona: I have but an hour
299. direction: plans for the future.
299Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
300To spend with thee: we must obey the time.
Exit [with Desdemona].
302What say'st thou, noble heart?
303What will I do, thinkest thou?
304Why, go to bed, and sleep.
305. incontinently: immediately, at once.
305I will incontinently drown myself.
306If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why,
307thou silly gentleman?
308It is silliness to live when to live is torment; and
309. prescription: (1) perfect right; (2) doctor's order.
309then have we a prescription to die when death is
311. villainous: wretched nonsense.
311O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four
312times seven years; and since I could distinguish
313betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never found man
314that knew how to love himself. Ere I would say, I
315would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I
316would change my humanity with a baboon.
317What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so
318. fond: infatuated. virtue: strength, nature.
318fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it.
319-320. 'tis in ourselves that we are thus or / thus: it is in our own power to make ourselves what we will.
319Virtue! a fig! 'tis in ourselves that we are thus or
320thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our
321wills are gardeners: so that if we will plant nettles,
322. hyssop: a fragrant herb of the mint family. tine: tares, wild grasses. 323. gender: kind.
322or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up tine, supply
323it with one gender of herbs, or distract it with many,
324. idleness: want of cultivation.
324either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with
325. corrigible: corrective.
325industry, why, the power and corrigible authority of
326. beam: balance.
326this lies in our wills. If the balance of our lives had not
327. poise: counterbalance.
327one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
328. blood and baseness: base passions.
328blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
329to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
330. motions: desires, appetites.
330reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal
331. unbitted: uncontrolled.
331stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that
332. sect or scion: cutting or offshoot.
332you call love to be a sect or scion.
333It cannot be!
334It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of
335the will. Come, be a man. Drown thyself! drown
336cats and blind puppies. I have professed me thy
337friend and I confess me knit to thy deserving with
338. perdurable: very durable, lasting.
338cables of perdurable toughness; I could never
339. stead: serve, help.
339better stead thee than now. Put money in thy
340. defeat thy favor: alter your appearance, disfigure your face. 341. usurp'd: to which you have no right (because you are scarcely old enough to grow it).
340purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favor with
341an usurped beard; I say, put money in thy purse. It
342cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her
343love to the Moor, put money in thy purse, nor he
344his to her: it was a violent commencement, and thou
345. answerable sequestration: correspondingly abrupt ending (or separation).
345shalt see an answerable sequestration: put but
346money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in
347. wills: carnal appetites, lusts.
347their wills: fill thy purse with money: the food
348. locusts: the sweet fruit of the carob tree. See Matthew 3:4: . . . more 349. coloquintida: colocynth, or "bitter apple," used as a purgative.
348that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be
349to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must
350change for youth: when she is sated with his body,
351she will find the error of her choice: she must
352have change, she must: therefore put money in thy
353purse. If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a
354. Make: raise, collect, get together.
354more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money
355. sanctimony: religious bond or ceremony.
355thou canst: if sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt
356. super-subtle: highly refined and sensitive.
356an erring barbarian and a super-subtle Venetian be not
357too hard for my wits and all the tribe of hell, thou
358shalt enjoy her; therefore make money. A pox of
359drowning thyself! it is clean out of the way: seek
360thou rather to be hanged in compassing thy joy than
361to be drowned and go without her.
362. fast: true.
362Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on
364Thou art sure of me: go, make money: I have told
365thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I
366. hearted: rooted in my heart, i.e., deeply and passionately felt. 367. conjunctive: united.
366hate the Moor: my cause is hearted; thine hath no
367less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge
368against him: if thou canst cuckold him, thou dost
369thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many
370events in the womb of time which will be delivered.
371. Traverse: go forward (a military term).
371Traverse! go, provide thy money. We will have more
372of this tomorrow. Adieu.
373Where shall we meet i' the morning?
374At my lodging.
375I'll be with thee betimes.
376. Do you hear: just a minute, one more thing.
376Go to; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo?
377What say you?
378No more of drowning, do you hear?
379I am chang'd.
380Go to, farewell. Put money enough in your
382I'll sell all my land.
383Thus do I ever make my fool my purse:
384For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane,
385. snipe: woodcock; used contemptuously of an insignificant or silly person.
385If I would time expend with such a snipe,
386But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor:
387. it is thought abroad: there is gossip.
387And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
388He has done my office: I know not if't be true;
389But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
390. do as if for surety: act as if on the basis of proved fact.
390Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;
391The better shall my purpose work on him.
392. proper: handsome.
392Cassio's a proper man: let me see now:
393. plume up my will: pamper my ego.
393To get his place and to plume up my will
394In double knavery How, how? Let's see:
395After some time, to abuse Othello's ear
396. he: i.e., Cassio.
396That he is too familiar with his wife.
397. dispose: manner, bearing.
397He hath a person and a smooth dispose
398To be suspected, framed to make women false.
399. free: frank, generous. open: unsuspicious.
399The Moor is of a free and open nature,
400That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
401. tenderly: readily.
401And will as tenderly be led by the nose
402As asses are.
403I have't. It is engender'd. Hell and night
404Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.