Othello: Act 4, Scene 3

           EMILIA and ATTENDANTS.

  1   I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

  2   O, pardon me: 'twill do me good to walk.

  3   Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.

  4   Your honor is most welcome.

  4                              Will you walk, sir?
  5   O,—Desdemona,—

  6   My lord?

  7   Get you to bed on the instant; I will be returned
  8   forthwith Dismiss your attendant there.
  9   Look it be done.

 10   I will, my lord.

           Exeunt [Othello, Lodovico, and Attendants].

 11   How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.

12. incontinent: at once.
 12   He says he will return incontinent:
 13   He hath commanded me to go to bed,
 14   And bade me to dismiss you.

 14                            Dismiss me?

 15   It was his bidding: therefore, good Emilia,
 16   Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:
 17   We must not now displease him.

 18   I would you had never seen him!

 19   So would not I. My love doth so approve him,
20. stubbornness: roughness. checks: rebukes.
 20   That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns—
21. favor: attractiveness.
 21   Prithee, unpin me,—have grace and favor in them.

 22   I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

 23   All's one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!
 24   If I do die before thee, prithee shroud me
 25   In one of those same sheets.

25. talk: i.e., prattle idly.
 25                          Come, come you talk.

 26   My mother had a maid call'd Barbary:
27. mad: wild; i.e., untrue, faithless.
 27   She was in love, and he she loved proved mad
28. Willow: Symbolic of disappointed love.
 28   And did forsake her: she had a song of "Willow,"
 29   An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune,
 30   And she died singing it. That song tonight
31-32. I have much to do, / But to: it's all I can do not to.
 31   Will not go from my mind; I have much to do,
 32   But to go hang my head all at one side,
 33   And sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee, dispatch.

 34   Shall I go fetch your nightgown?

 34                                  No, unpin me here.
35. proper: good-looking, attractive.
 35   This Lodovico is a proper man.

 36   A very handsome man.

 37   He speaks well.

 38   I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot
 39   to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

      DESDEMONA [Singing.]
 40          "The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
 41              Sing all a green willow:
 42          Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
 43              Sing willow, willow, willow:
 44          The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur'd her moans;
 45              Sing willow, willow, willow;
 46          Her salt tears fell from her, and soften'd the stones;
 47              Sing willow"—
 48   Lay by these:—
 49                             — "willow, willow";—
50. hie thee: make haste.
 50   Prithee, hie thee; he'll come anon:—
 51          "Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
 52          Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,"—
53. Nay, that's not next: The line, "Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve," is apparently a line that Desdemona unconsciously added to the ballad, because she was thinking about her loyalty to Othello.
 53   Nay, that's not next.—Hark! who is't that knocks?

 54   It's the wind.

      DESDEMONA [Singing.]
 55          "I call'd my love false love; but what said he then?
 56              Sing willow, willow, willow:
 57          If I court moe women, you'll couch with moe men."
 58   So, get thee gone; good night. Mine eyes do itch;
 59   Doth that bode weeping?

 59                               'Tis neither here nor there.

 60   I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!
61. in conscience: sincerely, truly.
 61   Dost thou in conscience think,—tell me, Emilia,—
 62   That there be women do abuse their husbands
 63   In such gross kind?

 63                         There be some such, no question.

 64   Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

 65   Why, would not you?

 65                           No, by this heavenly light!

 66   Nor I neither by this heavenly light;
 67   I might do't as well i' the dark.

 68   Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

69. price: prize.
 69   The world's a huge thing: it is a great price
 70   For a small vice.

 70                            Good troth, I think thou wouldst not.

 71   In troth, I think I should; and undo't when I had
 72   done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a
73. joint-ring: cheap ring made in separable halves. lawn: fine linen.
 73   joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
 74   gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
75. exhibition: gift. 'ud's pity: A slangy way of saying "God's pity," which, like "for God's sake" now (C.E. 2016), has no real religious meaning.
 75   exhibition; but for all the whole world,—'ud's pity,
 76   who would not make her husband a cuckold to make
 77   him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for't.

 78   Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong
 79   For the whole world.

 80   Why the wrong is but a wrong i' the world: and
 81   having the world for your labor, tis a wrong in your
 82   own world, and you might quickly make it right.

 83   I do not think there is any such woman.

84. to th' vantage: in addition, to boot.
 84   Yes, a dozen; and as many to th' vantage as would
85. store: populate. In saying that such women would go on to have babies and populate the world, Emilia points out that unfaithfulness is natural—a "small vice" at worst. 87. duties: marital duties. 88. And . . . laps: i.e., are unfaithful, give what is rightfully ours (semen) to other women. 89. peevish: silly, childish.
 85   store the world they played for.
 86   But I do think it is their husbands' faults
 87   If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,
 88   And pour our treasures into foreign laps,
 89   Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
 90   Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
91. scant our former having in despite: reduce our allowance to spite us. 92. galls: tempers, the capacity to resent such treatment.
 91   Or scant our former having in despite;
 92   Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
 93   Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
94. sense: bodily senses.
 94   Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell
 95   And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
 96   As husbands have. What is it that they do
 97   When they change us for others? Is it sport?
 98   I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
 99   I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs?
100   It is so too: and have not we affections,
101   Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
102   Then let them use us well: else let them know,
103   The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

104. me such uses send: i.e., enable me to make it my practice. 105. Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend: not to use others' ill conduct as an excuse for behaving likewise (as Emilia has suggested women learn from men), but rather to learn from it how to behave otherwise.
104   Good night, good night. God me such uses send,
105   Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!