Othello: Act 2, Scene 1

           Enter MONTANO and two

  1   What from the cape can you discern at sea?

      First Gentleman
  2   Nothing at all: it is a highwrought flood;
3. main: ocean.
  3   I cannot, 'twixt the heaven and the main,
  4   Descry a sail.

  5   Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
  6   A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements:
7. ruffian'd: raged.
  7   If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea,
8. mountains: i.e., of water.
  8   What 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.
  9   Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

      Second Gentleman
 10   A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
 11   For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
 12   The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
 13   The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous main,
 14   seems to cast water on the burning bear,
 15   And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:
 16   I never did like molestation view
 17   On the enchafed flood.

 17                        If that the Turkish fleet
 18   Be not enshelter'd and embay'd, they are drown'd:
 19   It is impossible they bear it out.

           Enter a [third] GENTLEMAN.

      Third Gentleman
 20   News, lads! our wars are done.
 21   The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks,
22. designment: enterprise, plan. halts: is lame.
 22   That their designment halts: a noble ship of Venice
23. sufferance: disaster, damage.
 23   Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
 24   On most part of their fleet.

 25   How! is this true?

      Third Gentleman
 25                    The ship is here put in,
26. Veronesa: a type of ship associated with Verona
 26   A Veronesa; Michael Cassio,
 27   Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
 28   Is come on shore: the Moor himself at sea,
 29   And is in full commission here for Cyprus.

 30   I am glad on't; 'tis a worthy governor.

      Third Gentleman
 31   But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort
 32   Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly,
 33   And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
 34   With foul and violent tempest.

 34                                Pray heavens he be;
 35   For I have served him, and the man commands
36. full: perfect.
 36   Like a full soldier. Let's to the seaside, ho!
 37   As well to see the vessel that's come in
 38   As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
 39   Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
40. An indistinct regard: indistinguishable to the sight.
 40   An indistinct regard.

      Third Gentleman

 40                       Come, let's do so:
 41   For every minute is expectancy
42. arrivance: arrival.
 42   Of more arrivance.

           Enter CASSIO.

43. Thanks, you: thanks to you.
 43   Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
44. approve: commend, admire.
 44   That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
 45   Give him defence against the elements,
 46   For I have lost us him on a dangerous sea.

 47   Is he well shipp'd?

 48   His 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.
 49   Of very expert and approved allowance;
 50   Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
 51   Stand in bold cure.

           [A cry] within, "A sail, a sail, a sail!"

           [Enter a fourth Gentleman.]

 52   What noise?

      Fourth Gentleman
 53   The town is empty; on the brow o' the sea
 54   Stand ranks of people, and they cry "A sail!"

 55   My hopes do shape him for the governor.

           [Guns heard.]

      Second Gentlemen
 56   They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
 57   Our friends at least.

 57                       I pray you, sir, go forth,
 58   And give us truth who 'tis that is arrived.

      Second Gentleman
 59   I shall.


 60   But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?

 61   Most 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.
 62   That paragons description and wild fame;
 63   One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
 64   And in the essential vesture of creation
 65   Does tire the ingener.

           Enter [second] GENTLEMAN.

65. put in: i.e., to harbor.
 65                                      How now! who has put in?

      Second Gentleman
 66   'Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

 67   H'as had most favorable and happy speed:
 68   Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
69. gutter'd: jagged, trenched.
 69   The gutter'd rocks and congregated sands—
70. ensteep'd: submerged.
 70   Traitors ensteep'd to clog the guiltless keel,—
71. omit: give up, do not act in accordance with.
 71   As having sense of beauty, do omit
72. mortal: deadly.
 72   Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
 73   The divine Desdemona.

 73                                         What is she?

 74   She that I spake of, our great captain's captain,
 75   Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
76. footing: landing, arrival.
 76   Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
77. se'nnight's: week's.
 77   A se'nnight's speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
 78   And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
 79   That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
 80   Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,
 81   Give renew'd fire to our extincted spirits
 82   And bring all Cyprus comfort!

           Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO,
           RODERIGO, and EMILIA.

 82                               O, behold,
83. riches: singular (from French richesse).
 83   The riches of the ship is come on shore!
 84   Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
 85   Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
 86   Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
 87   Enwheel thee round!

 87                     I thank you, valiant Cassio.
 88   What tidings can you tell me of my lord?

 89   He is not yet arrived: nor know I aught
 90   But that he's well and will be shortly here.

 91   O, but I fear—How lost you company?

 92   The great contention of the sea and skies
 93   Parted our fellowship.

           Within "A sail, a sail!"

 93                                   But, hark! a sail.

      Second Gentleman
 94   They give their greeting to the citadel;
 95   This likewise is a friend.

 95                            See for the news.

           [Exit Second Gentleman.]

 96   Good ancient, you are welcome.

           [To Emilia.]

 96                            Welcome, mistress.
 97   Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
98. extend: show.
 98   That I extend my manners; 'tis my breeding
 99   That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

           [Kissing her.]

100   Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
101   As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
102   You would have enough.

102                        Alas, she has no speech.

103   In faith, too much;
104. list: inclination.
104   I find it still, when I have list to sleep:
105   Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
106   She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
107. chides with thinking: i.e., scolds with thoughts.
107   And chides with thinking.

108   You have little cause to say so.

109. pictures out of doors: picture-perfect in public
109   Come 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.
110   Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
111   Saints in your injuries, devils being offended,
112   Players in your huswifery, and huswives in your beds.

113   O, fie upon thee, slanderer!

114   Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
115   You rise to play and go to bed to work.

116   You shall not write my praise.

116                                No, let me not.

117   What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?

118   O gentle lady, do not put me to't;
119. critical: censorious.
119   For I am nothing, if not critical.

120. assay: try.
120   Come on, assay. —There's one gone to the harbor?

121   Ay, madam.

122   I am not merry; but I do beguile
123. The thing I am: my anxious self.
123   The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.—
124   Come, how wouldst thou praise me?

125   I am about it; but indeed my invention
126. birdlime: sticky substance used to catch small birds. frieze: coarse woolen cloth
126   Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frieze;
127   It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labors,
128   And thus she is deliver'd.
129   If 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.
130   The one's for use, the other useth it.

131. black: dark complexioned, brunette.
131   Well praised! How if she be black and witty?

132   If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
133. white: a fair person with a pun on wight, "person."
133   She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

134   Worse and worse.

135   How if fair and foolish?

136   She never yet was foolish that was fair;
137. folly: With second sense "wantonness," or "lechery." to an heir: i.e., to bear a child.
137   For even her folly help'd her to an heir.

138. fond: foolish.
138   These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i'
139   the alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for
140. foul: ugly.
140   her that's foul and foolish?

141   There's none so foul and foolish thereunto,
142   But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

143   O heavy ignorance! thou praisest the worst
144   best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on a
145. in the authority: by virtue.
145   deserving woman indeed,—one that, in the authority
146. put on the vouch: compel the favorable testimony.
146   of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice
147   itself?

148   She that was ever fair and never proud,
149   Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
150. gay: extravagantly dressed.
150   Never 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.
151   Fled from her wish and yet said "Now I may,"
152   She that being anger'd, her revenge being nigh,
153. Bade her wrong stay: Commanded her justified anger to stop short.
153   Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
154   She 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"; but—more probably a sexual innuendo.
155   To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
156   She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,
157   See suitors following and not look behind,
158   She was a wight, if ever such wight were,—

159   To do what?

160. suckle fools and chronicle small beer: tend babies and keep petty household accounts.
160   To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

161   O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn
162   of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say
163. liberal: licentious, free-spoken.
163   you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal
164   counsellor?

165. home: bluntly.
165   He speaks home, madam: You may relish him more
166. in: in the character of.
166   in the soldier than in the scholar.

      IAGO [Aside.]
167. well said: well done.
167   He takes her by the palm: ay, well said,
168   whisper: with as little a web as this will I
169   ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon
170. gyve: fetter, entangle, shackle. courtship: courtesy, display of courtly manners.
170   her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.
171   You say true; 'tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
172   these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had
173   been better you had not kissed your three fingers so
174. sir: gentleman, gallant.
174   oft, which now again you are most apt to play the
175. courtesy: bow.
175   sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
176   courtesy! 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers
177. clyster-pipes: enema tubes.
177   to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!

           [Trumpet within.]

178   The Moor! I know his trumpet.

179   'Tis truly so.

180   Let's meet him and receive him.

181   Lo, where he comes!

           Enter OTHELLO and Attendants.

182   O my fair warrior!

182                    My dear Othello!

183   It gives me wonder great as my content
184   To see you here before me. O my soul's joy!
185   If after every tempest come such calms,
186   May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
187   And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
188   Olympus-high and duck again as low
189   As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
190   'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
191   My soul hath her content so absolute
192   That not another comfort like to this
193. Succeeds in unknown fate: i.e., can follow in the unknown future.
193   Succeeds in unknown fate.

193                           The heavens forbid
194   But that our loves and comforts should increase,
195   Even as our days do grow!

195                           Amen to that, sweet powers!
196   I cannot speak enough of this content;
197   It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
198   And this, and this, the greatest discords be

           [They kiss.]

199   That e'er our hearts shall make!

      IAGO [Aside.]
199                                    O, you are well tuned now!
200. set down the pegs: i.e., untune the instrument (and so produce discords).
200   But I'll set down the pegs that make this music,
201   As honest as I am.

201                                Come, let us to the castle.
202   News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd.
203   How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
204. desir'd: welcomed, loved.
204   Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus;
205   I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
206. out of fashion: perhaps irrelevantly or unconventionally.
206   I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
207   In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
208. coffers: baggage.
208   Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
209. master: ship's captain.
209   Bring thou the master to the citadel;
210   He is a good one, and his worthiness
211. challenge: claim, deserve.
211   Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
212   Once more, well met at Cyprus.

           Exeunt Othello and Desdemona [with all but
           Iago and Roderigo].

      IAGO [To an attendant.]
213   Do thou meet me presently at the harbour.

           [To Roderigo.]

214-215. base / men: even men of low birth.
214   Come hither. If thou be'st valiant,— as, they say, base
215   men being in love have then a nobility in their
216   natures more than is native to them—list me. The
217-218. watches on the court of / guard: has charge of the watch.
217   lieutenant tonight watches on the court of
218   guard. First, I must tell thee this—Desdemona is
219   directly in love with him.

220   With him! why, 'tis not possible.

221. thus: i.e., on your lips.
221   Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed.
222   Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor,
223   but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies: To
224. still: always.
224   love him still for prating—let not thy discreet heart
225   think it. Her eye must be fed; and what delight shall
226. the devil: traditionally black.
226   she have to look on the devil? When the blood is
227   made dull with the act of sport, there should be, again
228   to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite,
229. favor: face, appearance. sympathy: similarity, correspondence.
229   loveliness in favor, sympathy in years, manners and
230   beauties; all which the Moor is defective in: now, for
231. conveniences: compatibilities.
231   want of these required conveniences, her delicate
232-233. heave the / gorge: feel nauseated.
232   tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the
233   gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will
234   instruct her in it and compel her to some second choice.
235. pregnant: evident, readily believable, obvious.
235   Now, sir, this granted,—as it is a most pregnant and
236   unforced position—who stands so eminent in the degree
237   of this fortune as Cassio does? a knave very voluble;
238. conscionable: bound by considerations of conscience.
238   no further conscionable than in putting on the mere
239. civil and humane: polite and courteous.
239   form of civil and humane seeming, for the better
240. salt: licentious, lewd. affection: passion.
240   compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection?
241. slipper: slippery.
241   why, none; why, none: a slipper and subtle knave, a
242. stamp: coin, manufacture.
242   finder of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and
243. counterfeit advantages: counterfeit opportunities.
243   counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never
244   present itself; a devilish knave. Besides, the knave
245   is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in
246. folly: wantonness. green: youthful, lusty.
246   him that folly and green minds look after: a pestilent
247. found him: sized him up.
247   complete knave; and the woman hath found him
248   already.

249   I cannot believe that in her; she's full of
250. condition: disposition. character.
250   most blessed condition.

251   Blessed fig's-end! the wine she drinks is made of
252   grapes: if she had been blessed, she would never
253. pudding: sausage.
253   have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou
254   not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst
255   not mark that?

256   Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

257. index: table of contents at the beginning of a book.
257   Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue
258   to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met
259   so near with their lips that their breaths embraced
260   together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! when these
261. mutualities: exchanges, intimacies. hard at hand: very soon after. 262. incorporate: carnal.
261   mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes
262   the master and main exercise, the incorporate
263   conclusion, Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I
264. Watch: serve as a member of the watch.
264   have brought you from Venice. Watch you tonight;
265. lay't upon you: arrange for your orders.
265   for the command, I'll lay't upon you. Cassio knows
266   you not. I'll not be far from you: do you find
267   some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking
268. tainting: disparaging, discrediting.
268   too loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what
269   other course you please, which the time shall more
270   favorably minister.

271   Well.

272. rash: impetuous. choler: wrath. haply: perchance, happily, perhaps.
272   Sir, he is rash and very sudden in choler, and haply
273   may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for
274   even 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.
275   mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true
276   taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So
277   shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by
278. prefer: advance.
278   the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the
279   impediment most profitably removed, without the
280   which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

281   I will do this, if I can bring it to any
282   opportunity.

283. I warrant thee: I guarantee you'll have opportunity. by and by: immediately.
283   I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel:
284   I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.

285   Adieu.


286   That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
287. apt and of great credit: likely and credible.
287   That she loves him, 'tis apt and of great credit.
288   The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
289   Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
290   And I dare think he'll prove to Desdemona
291   A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
292   Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
293. accountant: accountable.
293   I stand accountant for as great a sin,
294. diet: feed.
294   But partly led to diet my revenge,
295   For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
296   Hath leap'd into my seat; the thought whereof
297   Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
298   And nothing can or shall content my soul
299   Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife,
300   Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
301   At least into a jealousy so strong
302   That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
303. trace: put in harness; i.e., use for my own purposes.
303   If 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.
304   For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
305   I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
306   Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb—
307   For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too—
308   Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
309   For making him egregiously an ass
310. practising upon: plotting against.
310   And practising upon his peace and quiet
311   Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused:
312   Knavery's plain face is never seen till used.