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One Michael Caffio ;-(" the Florentine's (3) " A fellow almoft damn'd in a fair wife; ”
(3) Forsooth, a great Arithmetician,
One Michael Caffio, a Florentine,
A Fellow almoft damn'd in a fair Wife.] Thus has this Passage ignorantly been corrupted, (as Mr. Warburton likewise faw with me ;) by false Pointing, and an Inadvertence to Matter of fact, thro' the whole Course of the Editions. By the Bye, this Play was not publish'd even fingly, that I can find, till fix Years after the Author's Death: and by that Interval became more liable to Errors.' I'll subjoin the Correction, and then the Reasons for it.
And, in Conclusion,
That never, &c. This Painting sets Circumstances right, as I shall immediately explain; and it gives a Variety, in lago reporting the Behaviour of Othello, to start into thefe Breaks ; now, to make Othello speak;
then, to interrupt what Othello says with his own private Reflexions ; then, again, to proceed with Othello's Speeches : For this not only marks the Inquietude of lago's Mind upon the Subject in hand ; but likew fhews the Actor in the Variation of Tone and Gesture, whilft he (in a Breath, as 'twere) personates alternately Othello and himself. Besides, to come to
the Necessity of the Change made ; lago, not Callio, was the Florentine ; in lago, not Casio, was the married Man ; Iago's Wife attends Desdemo
na to Cyprus ; Caffio has a Mistress there, a common Strumpet ; and lago tells him in the fourth Act,
She gives it out, that you shall marry her: Which would be very abfurd, if Caffio had been already married at Venice, Besides, our Poet follows the Authority of his Novel in giving the villanous Ensign a fair Wife. “ Havea fimilmente menata questo Malvagio so la sua Moglie in Cipri, la quale era bella & honefta Giovane.” And it is very good reason for rejecting lago, because he was a married Man, and might be thought too much govern'd by his Wife to be capable of
this Charge. And this was a natural Objection in an unmarried General, of as Othello was when he chose his Officers. Iago therefore was "the Fel
low almoft damn'd in a fair Wife: which is an Expresfion obfcare enough to deserve a short Explanation. The Poet means, lago had so beautiful & Wife, that she was his Heaven on Earth; that he idoliz'd her ; and forgot to think of Happiness in an After-state, as placing all his Views of
Bliss in the single Enjoyment of her. In this sense, Beauty, when it can 0 fo feduce and ingrois a Man's Thoughts, may be faid almost to damn him.
That never fet a squadron in the field,
Feffica, speaking of Bafanio's Happiness in a Wife, says something a most equal to this.
For having such a Blessing in his Lady,
In Reason he should never come to Heav'n. [Merch. of Venice Beaumont and Fletcher likewise, in their King and 10 King, make Tigranes speak of such a Degree of Beauty sufficient to darn Souls.
-had She so tenopting Fair, That She could wish it of for damning Souls. 2. e. either, for that it did damn Souls; or, for Fear it should.
66 Slip on
(4) Wherein the tongued Confuls.) So the generality of the Impression read'; but the oldest Quarto has it, toged; (which gave the Hint for my Emendation ;) the Senators, that afsifted the Duke in Council, in their proper Gowns.- Iago, a little lower, says to Brabantio,
Zound's, Sir, you're robb’d: for Jhamè, put on your Gown ; Now I think, 'tis pretty certain, that lago does not mean,
your Night-gown, but your Gown of Office, your Senatorial Gown; put on your Authority, and pursue the Thief who has stole your
Daughter." Besides, there is not that Contrast of Terms betwix: tongued, as there is betwixt toged, and Soldiership. This Reading is peculiarly proper here ; and the same Opposition is almost for ever made by the Roman Writers. For Instance ; Cicero in Offic.
Cedant Arma Togæ, Idem in Pisonem.
--- Sed quòd Pacis eft Infigne & Otii, Toga: contrà autem Arma, Tumultûs atq; Belli. Vell. Paterculus de Scipione Æmiliano.
--- paternisq; Lucii Pauli Virtutibus fimillimus, omnibus Belli a: Toga dotibus, &c. Callius Ciceroni.
Etenim tua Toga omnium Armis felicior. Ovid. Metamor. lib. xv.
Cæfar in urbe fuâ Deus eft ; quem Marte Togaq;
Juvenal. Sat. 10.
As masterly as he ; meer prattle, without practice,
Rod. By heav'n, I rather would have been his hangman.
Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of fervice ; Preferment goes by letter and affection, And not by old gradation, where each secondStood heir to th' first. Now, Sir, be judge your self, If I in any just term am assign’d To love the Moor.
Rod. I would not follow him then.
Iago. O Sir, content you ; But now let me proceed to explain, why I have ventured to substitute Counsellors in the Room of Consuls : and then, I hope, the Alteration will not appear arbitrary. The Venetian Nobility, 'tis well known, conftitute the great Council of the Senate, and are a Part of the Administration ; and summond to assist and counsel the Doge, who is Prince of the Senate; and, in that Regard, has only Precedency before the other Magistrates. So that, in this Respect," they may very properly be calld Counselfors
. Again, when the Officer comes from the Duke to Brabantio, in a subsequent Scene of this Act, he says,
The Duke's in Council, and your Noble felfą
I'm sure, is fent for.
We lack'd your Counsel, and your Help to Night.
(5) Must be led and calm d.) There is no Consonance of Metaphor in
these two Terms. I have chose to read with the first Folio, and several all other of the old Editions. Belee'd is a Sea-Term as well as calm'd; and a
Ship is said to be beleed, when the lies close under the Wind, on the Lee-
I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,
her father ; 1
Iago. Do, with like timorous accent, and dire yell,
Rod. What, ho! Brabantio! Signior Brabantio! ho.
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags :
Brabantio appears above, at a window.
Rod. Signior, is all your family within ?
on your Gown;
voice? Bra. Nor I, what are you
Bra. The worse welcome ;
Rod. Sir, Sir, Sir
Bra. But thou must needs be sure,
Rod. Patience, good Sir.
Bra. What tell’łt thou me of robbing? this is Verice : My house is not a grange.
ins Rod. Most grave Brabantio, In simple and pure soul, I come to you.
Iago. Zounds ! Sir, you are one of those that will not serve God, if the Devil bid you. Because we come to do you service, you think we are ruffians, you'll have your