Othello: Act 2, Scene 1
Enter MONTANO and two
1What from the cape can you discern at sea?
2Nothing at all: it is a highwrought flood;
3. main: ocean.
3I cannot, 'twixt the heaven and the main,
4Descry a sail.
5Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
6A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements:
7. ruffian'd: raged.
7If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea,
8. mountains: i.e., of water.
8What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
9. hold the mortise: hold their joints together. (A mortise is the socket hollowed out in fitting timbers).
14-15. burning bear: i.e., the constellation Ursa Major. . . . more guards: probably the two stars in the Big Dipper . . . more 16. like molestation: comparable uproar. 17. enchafed: angry.
14-15. burning bear: i.e., the constellation Ursa Major. . . . more guards: probably the two stars in the Big Dipper . . . more 16. like molestation: comparable uproar. 17. enchafed: angry.
9Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?
10A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
11For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
12The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
13The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous main,
14seems to cast water on the burning bear,
15And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:
16I never did like molestation view
17On the enchafed flood.
17If that the Turkish fleet
18Be not enshelter'd and embay'd, they are drown'd:
19It is impossible they bear it out.
Enter a [third] GENTLEMAN.
20News, lads! our wars are done.
21The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks,
22. designment: enterprise, plan. halts: is lame.
22That their designment halts: a noble ship of Venice
23. sufferance: disaster, damage.
23Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
24On most part of their fleet.
25How! is this true?
25The ship is here put in,
26. Veronesa: a type of ship associated with Verona
26A Veronesa; Michael Cassio,
27Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
28Is come on shore: the Moor himself at sea,
29And is in full commission here for Cyprus.
30I am glad on't; 'tis a worthy governor.
31But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort
32Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly,
33And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
34With foul and violent tempest.
34Pray heavens he be;
35For I have served him, and the man commands
36. full: perfect.
36Like a full soldier. Let's to the seaside, ho!
37As well to see the vessel that's come in
38As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
39Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
40. An indistinct regard: indistinguishable to the sight.
40An indistinct regard.
40Come, let's do so:
41For every minute is expectancy
42. arrivance: arrival.
42Of more arrivance.
43. Thanks, you: thanks to you.
43Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
44. approve: commend, admire.
44That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
45Give him defence against the elements,
46For I have lost us him on a dangerous sea.
47Is he well shipp'd?
48His bark is stoutly timber'd, his pilot
49. Of very expert and approved allowance: i.e., of acknowledged and proved skill. 50-51. my hopes, not surfeited to death, / Stand in bold cure: my hopes, not fatally over-fed, are very healthy.
49Of very expert and approved allowance;
50Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
51Stand in bold cure.
[A cry] within, "A sail, a sail, a sail!"
[Enter a fourth Gentleman.]
53The town is empty; on the brow o' the sea
54Stand ranks of people, and they cry "A sail!"
55My hopes do shape him for the governor.
56They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
57Our friends at least.
57I pray you, sir, go forth,
58And give us truth who 'tis that is arrived.
60But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?
61Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid
62. paragons description: surpasses whatever praise is uttered of her. 63. quirks: witty conceits, flourishes. blazoning: in heraldic language; listing her beauties. 64-65. in the essential vesture of creation / Does tire the ingener: being in the state of her native beauty defeats all attempts of the inventive poet to praise her adequately.
62That paragons description and wild fame;
63One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
64And in the essential vesture of creation
65Does tire the ingener.
Enter [second] GENTLEMAN.
65. put in: i.e., to harbor.
65How now! who has put in?
66'Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.
67H'as had most favorable and happy speed:
68Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
69. gutter'd: jagged, trenched.
69The gutter'd rocks and congregated sands
70. ensteep'd: submerged.
70Traitors ensteep'd to clog the guiltless keel,
71. omit: give up, do not act in accordance with.
71As having sense of beauty, do omit
72. mortal: deadly.
72Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
73The divine Desdemona.
73What is she?
74She that I spake of, our great captain's captain,
75Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
76. footing: landing, arrival.
76Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
77. se'nnight's: week's.
77A se'nnight's speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
78And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
79That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
80Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,
81Give renew'd fire to our extincted spirits
82And bring all Cyprus comfort!
Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO,
RODERIGO, and EMILIA.
83. riches: singular (from French richesse).
83The riches of the ship is come on shore!
84Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
85Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
86Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
87Enwheel thee round!
87I thank you, valiant Cassio.
88What tidings can you tell me of my lord?
89He is not yet arrived: nor know I aught
90But that he's well and will be shortly here.
91O, but I fearHow lost you company?
92The great contention of the sea and skies
93Parted our fellowship.
Within "A sail, a sail!"
93But, hark! a sail.
94They give their greeting to the citadel;
95This likewise is a friend.
95See for the news.
[Exit Second Gentleman.]
96Good ancient, you are welcome.
97Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
98. extend: show.
98That I extend my manners; 'tis my breeding
99That gives me this bold show of courtesy.
100Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
101As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
102You would have enough.
102Alas, she has no speech.
103In faith, too much;
104. list: inclination.
104I find it still, when I have list to sleep:
105Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
106She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
107. chides with thinking: i.e., scolds with thoughts.
107And chides with thinking.
108You have little cause to say so.
109. pictures out of doors: picture-perfect in public
109Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
110. Bells: gracious ladies, belles; pleasing conversationalists. 111. Saints in your injuries: [hypocritically] saintly . . . more 112. Players: actors, fakers. huswifery: housekeeping. huswives: hussies. A moment later Iago sums up his opinion about the way housewives earn their living: "You rise to play and go to bed to work"; in other words, housewives are actually hussies.
110Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
111Saints in your injuries, devils being offended,
112Players in your huswifery, and huswives in your beds.
113O, fie upon thee, slanderer!
114Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
115You rise to play and go to bed to work.
116You shall not write my praise.
116No, let me not.
117What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?
118O gentle lady, do not put me to't;
119. critical: censorious.
119For I am nothing, if not critical.
120. assay: try.
120Come on, assay. There's one gone to the harbor?
122I am not merry; but I do beguile
123. The thing I am: my anxious self.
123The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.
124Come, how wouldst thou praise me?
125I am about it; but indeed my invention
126. birdlime: sticky substance used to catch small birds. frieze: coarse woolen cloth
126Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frieze;
127It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labors,
128And thus she is deliver'd.
129If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
130. The one's for use, the other useth it: i.e., her cleverness will make use of her beauty.
130The one's for use, the other useth it.
131. black: dark complexioned, brunette.
131Well praised! How if she be black and witty?
132If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
133. white: a fair person with a pun on wight, "person."
133She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.
134Worse and worse.
135How if fair and foolish?
136She never yet was foolish that was fair;
137. folly: With second sense "wantonness," or "lechery." to an heir: i.e., to bear a child.
137For even her folly help'd her to an heir.
138. fond: foolish.
138These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i'
139the alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for
140. foul: ugly.
140her that's foul and foolish?
141There's none so foul and foolish thereunto,
142But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.
143O heavy ignorance! thou praisest the worst
144best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on a
145. in the authority: by virtue.
145deserving woman indeed,one that, in the authority
146. put on the vouch: compel the favorable testimony.
146of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice
148She that was ever fair and never proud,
149Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
150. gay: extravagantly dressed.
150Never lack'd gold and yet went never gay,
151. Fled from her wish and yet said "Now I may": i.e., did not indulge herself even though she was free to do so.
151Fled from her wish and yet said "Now I may,"
152She that being anger'd, her revenge being nigh,
153. Bade her wrong stay: Commanded her justified anger to stop short.
153Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
154She that in wisdom never was so frail
155. change the cod's head for the salmon's tail: Obscure. Perhaps "give up something common but valuable in exchange for something showy but worthless"; butmore probably a sexual innuendo.
155To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
156She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,
157See suitors following and not look behind,
158She was a wight, if ever such wight were,
159To do what?
160. suckle fools and chronicle small beer: tend babies and keep petty household accounts.
160To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.
161O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn
162of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say
163. liberal: licentious, free-spoken.
163you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal
165. home: bluntly.
165He speaks home, madam: You may relish him more
166. in: in the character of.
166in the soldier than in the scholar.
167. well said: well done.
167He takes her by the palm: ay, well said,
168whisper: with as little a web as this will I
169ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon
170. gyve: fetter, entangle, shackle. courtship: courtesy, display of courtly manners.
170her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.
171You say true; 'tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
172these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had
173been better you had not kissed your three fingers so
174. sir: gentleman, gallant.
174oft, which now again you are most apt to play the
175. courtesy: bow.
175sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
176courtesy! 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers
177. clyster-pipes: enema tubes.
177to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!
178The Moor! I know his trumpet.
179'Tis truly so.
180Let's meet him and receive him.
181Lo, where he comes!
Enter OTHELLO and Attendants.
182O my fair warrior!
182My dear Othello!
183It gives me wonder great as my content
184To see you here before me. O my soul's joy!
185If after every tempest come such calms,
186May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
187And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
188Olympus-high and duck again as low
189As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
190'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
191My soul hath her content so absolute
192That not another comfort like to this
193. Succeeds in unknown fate: i.e., can follow in the unknown future.
193Succeeds in unknown fate.
193The heavens forbid
194But that our loves and comforts should increase,
195Even as our days do grow!
195Amen to that, sweet powers!
196I cannot speak enough of this content;
197It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
198And this, and this, the greatest discords be
199That e'er our hearts shall make!
199O, you are well tuned now!
200. set down the pegs: i.e., untune the instrument (and so produce discords).
200But I'll set down the pegs that make this music,
201As honest as I am.
201Come, let us to the castle.
202News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd.
203How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
204. desir'd: welcomed, loved.
204Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus;
205I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
206. out of fashion: perhaps irrelevantly or unconventionally.
206I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
207In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
208. coffers: baggage.
208Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
209. master: ship's captain.
209Bring thou the master to the citadel;
210He is a good one, and his worthiness
211. challenge: claim, deserve.
211Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
212Once more, well met at Cyprus.
Exeunt Othello and Desdemona [with all but
Iago and Roderigo].
IAGO [To an attendant.]
213Do thou meet me presently at the harbour.
214-215. base / men: even men of low birth.
214Come hither. If thou be'st valiant, as, they say, base
215men being in love have then a nobility in their
216natures more than is native to themlist me. The
217-218. watches on the court of / guard: has charge of the watch.
217lieutenant tonight watches on the court of
218guard. First, I must tell thee thisDesdemona is
219directly in love with him.
220With him! why, 'tis not possible.
221. thus: i.e., on your lips.
221Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed.
222Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor,
223but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies: To
224. still: always.
224love him still for pratinglet not thy discreet heart
225think it. Her eye must be fed; and what delight shall
226. the devil: traditionally black.
226she have to look on the devil? When the blood is
227made dull with the act of sport, there should be, again
228to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite,
229. favor: face, appearance. sympathy: similarity, correspondence.
229loveliness in favor, sympathy in years, manners and
230beauties; all which the Moor is defective in: now, for
231. conveniences: compatibilities.
231want of these required conveniences, her delicate
232-233. heave the / gorge: feel nauseated.
232tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the
233gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will
234instruct her in it and compel her to some second choice.
235. pregnant: evident, readily believable, obvious.
235Now, sir, this granted,as it is a most pregnant and
236unforced positionwho stands so eminent in the degree
237of this fortune as Cassio does? a knave very voluble;
238. conscionable: bound by considerations of conscience.
238no further conscionable than in putting on the mere
239. civil and humane: polite and courteous.
239form of civil and humane seeming, for the better
240. salt: licentious, lewd. affection: passion.
240compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection?
241. slipper: slippery.
241why, none; why, none: a slipper and subtle knave, a
242. stamp: coin, manufacture.
242finder of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and
243. counterfeit advantages: counterfeit opportunities.
243counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never
244present itself; a devilish knave. Besides, the knave
245is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in
246. folly: wantonness. green: youthful, lusty.
246him that folly and green minds look after: a pestilent
247. found him: sized him up.
247complete knave; and the woman hath found him
249I cannot believe that in her; she's full of
250. condition: disposition. character.
250most blessed condition.
251Blessed fig's-end! the wine she drinks is made of
252grapes: if she had been blessed, she would never
253. pudding: sausage.
253have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou
254not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst
255not mark that?
256Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.
257. index: table of contents at the beginning of a book.
257Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue
258to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met
259so near with their lips that their breaths embraced
260together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! when these
261. mutualities: exchanges, intimacies. hard at hand: very soon after. 262. incorporate: carnal.
261mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes
262the master and main exercise, the incorporate
263conclusion, Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I
264. Watch: serve as a member of the watch.
264have brought you from Venice. Watch you tonight;
265. lay't upon you: arrange for your orders.
265for the command, I'll lay't upon you. Cassio knows
266you not. I'll not be far from you: do you find
267some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking
268. tainting: disparaging, discrediting.
268too loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what
269other course you please, which the time shall more
272. rash: impetuous. choler: wrath. haply: perchance, happily, perhaps.
272Sir, he is rash and very sudden in choler, and haply
273may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for
274even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to
275-276. mutiny: riot. whose qualification shall come into no true / taste: i.e., only the firing of Cassio will calm the riot and restore normalcy.
275mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true
276taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So
277shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by
278. prefer: advance.
278the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the
279impediment most profitably removed, without the
280which there were no expectation of our prosperity.
281I will do this, if I can bring it to any
283. I warrant thee: I guarantee you'll have opportunity. by and by: immediately.
283I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel:
284I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.
286That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
287. apt and of great credit: likely and credible.
287That she loves him, 'tis apt and of great credit.
288The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
289Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
290And I dare think he'll prove to Desdemona
291A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
292Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
293. accountant: accountable.
293I stand accountant for as great a sin,
294. diet: feed.
294But partly led to diet my revenge,
295For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
296Hath leap'd into my seat; the thought whereof
297Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
298And nothing can or shall content my soul
299Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife,
300Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
301At least into a jealousy so strong
302That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
303. trace: put in harness; i.e., use for my own purposes.
303If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
304. stand the putting on: perform properly when the moment comes. 305. on the hip: at my mercy, in a position where I can throw him (wrestling term). 306. rank garb: coarse fashion. 307. with my night-cap: i.e., as a sexual rival. Iago apparently believes that his wife might be having affairs with both Othello and Cassio.
304For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
305I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
306Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb
307For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too
308Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
309For making him egregiously an ass
310. practising upon: plotting against.
310And practising upon his peace and quiet
311Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused:
312Knavery's plain face is never seen till used.