This page contains the original text of Act 2 of Othello. Shakespeare’s original Othello text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Act per page. All Acts are listed on the Othello text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 2, SCENE 1. A Sea-port in Cyprus. An open place near the quay.
Enter MONTANO and two Gentlemen
What from the cape can you discern at sea?
Nothing at all: it is a highwrought flood;
I cannot, ‘twixt the heaven and the main,
Descry a sail.
Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements:
If it hath ruffian’d so upon the sea,
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?
A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,
seems to cast water on the burning bear,
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.
If that the Turkish fleet
Be not enshelter’d and embay’d, they are drown’d:
It is impossible they bear it out.
Enter a third Gentleman
News, lads! our wars are done.
The desperate tempest hath so bang’d the Turks,
That their designment halts: a noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.
How! is this true?
The ship is here put in,
A Veronesa; Michael Cassio,
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
Is come on shore: the Moor himself at sea,
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.
I am glad on’t; ’tis a worthy governor.
But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort
Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly,
And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
With foul and violent tempest.
Pray heavens he be;
For I have served him, and the man commands
Like a full soldier. Let’s to the seaside, ho!
As well to see the vessel that’s come in
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
An indistinct regard.
Come, let’s do so:
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivance.
Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
Give him defence against the elements,
For I have lost us him on a dangerous sea.
Is he well shipp’d?
His bark is stoutly timber’d, his pilot
Of very expert and approved allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.
A cry within ‘A sail, a sail, a sail!’
Enter a fourth Gentleman
The town is empty; on the brow o’ the sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry ‘A sail!’
My hopes do shape him for the governor.
They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
Our friends at least.
I pray you, sir, go forth,
And give us truth who ’tis that is arrived.
But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?
Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame;
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the ingener.
Re-enter second Gentleman
How now! who has put in?
‘Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.
Has had most favourable and happy speed:
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
The gutter’d rocks and congregated sands–
Traitors ensteep’d to clog the guiltless keel,–
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
The divine Desdemona.
What is she?
She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A se’nnight’s speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love’s quick pants in Desdemona’s arms,
Give renew’d fire to our extincted spirits
And bring all Cyprus comfort!
Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Attendants
The riches of the ship is come on shore!
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
Enwheel thee round!
I thank you, valiant Cassio.
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?
He is not yet arrived: nor know I aught
But that he’s well and will be shortly here.
O, but I fear–How lost you company?
The great contention of the sea and skies
Parted our fellowship–But, hark! a sail.
Within ‘A sail, a sail!’ Guns heard
They give their greeting to the citadel;
This likewise is a friend.
See for the news.
Good ancient, you are welcome.
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners; ’tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.
Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You’ll have enough.
Alas, she has no speech.
In faith, too much;
I find it still, when I have list to sleep:
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
And chides with thinking.
You have little cause to say so.
Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
Saints m your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives’ in your beds.
O, fie upon thee, slanderer!
Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
You rise to play and go to bed to work.
You shall not write my praise.
No, let me not.
What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst
O gentle lady, do not put me to’t;
For I am nothing, if not critical.
Come on assay. There’s one gone to the harbour?
I am not merry; but I do beguile
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?
I am about it; but indeed my invention
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize;
It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labours,
And thus she is deliver’d.
If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
The one’s for use, the other useth it.
Well praised! How if she be black and witty?
If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
She’ll find a white that shall her blackness fit.
Worse and worse.
How if fair and foolish?
She never yet was foolish that was fair;
For even her folly help’d her to an heir.
These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’
the alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for
her that’s foul and foolish?
There’s none so foul and foolish thereunto,
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.
O heavy ignorance! thou praisest the worst best.
But what praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving
woman indeed, one that, in the authority of her
merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?
She that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
Never lack’d gold and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish and yet said ‘Now I may,’
She that being anger’d, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail;
She that could think and ne’er disclose her mind,
See suitors following and not look behind,
She was a wight, if ever such wight were,–
To do what?
To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.
O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn
of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say
you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal
He speaks home, madam: You may relish him more in
the soldier than in the scholar.
[Aside] He takes her by the palm: ay, well said,
whisper: with as little a web as this will I
ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon
her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship.
You say true; ’tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had
been better you had not kissed your three fingers so
oft, which now again you are most apt to play the
sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
courtesy! ’tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers
to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!
The Moor! I know his trumpet.
‘Tis truly so.
Let’s meet him and receive him.
Lo, where he comes!
Enter OTHELLO and Attendants
O my fair warrior!
My dear Othello!
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,
‘Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.
The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!
Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be
That e’er our hearts shall make!
[Aside] O, you are well tuned now!
But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,
As honest as I am.
Come, let us to the castle.
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
Once more, well met at Cyprus.
Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants
Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come
hither. If thou be’st valiant,– as, they say, base
men being in love have then a nobility in their
natures more than is native to them–list me. The
lieutenant tonight watches on the court of
guard:–first, I must tell thee this–Desdemona is
directly in love with him.
With him! why, ’tis not possible.
Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed.
Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor,
but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies:
and will she love him still for prating? let not
thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be fed;
and what delight shall she have to look on the
devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of
sport, there should be, again to inflame it and to
give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favour,
sympathy in years, manners and beauties; all which
the Moor is defective in: now, for want of these
required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will
find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge,
disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will
instruct her in it and compel her to some second
choice. Now, sir, this granted,–as it is a most
pregnant and unforced position–who stands so
eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio
does? a knave very voluble; no further
conscionable than in putting on the mere form of
civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing
of his salt and most hidden loose affection? why,
none; why, none: a slipper and subtle knave, a
finder of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and
counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never
present itself; a devilish knave. Besides, the
knave is handsome, young, and hath all those
requisites in him that folly and green minds look
after: a pestilent complete knave; and the woman
hath found him already.
I cannot believe that in her; she’s full of
most blessed condition.
Blessed fig’s-end! the wine she drinks is made of
grapes: if she had been blessed, she would never
have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou
not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst
not mark that?
Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.
Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue
to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met
so near with their lips that their breaths embraced
together. Villanous thoughts, Roderigo! when these
mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes
the master and main exercise, the incorporate
conclusion, Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I
have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night;
for the command, I’ll lay’t upon you. Cassio knows
you not. I’ll not be far from you: do you find
some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking
too loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what
other course you please, which the time shall more
Sir, he is rash and very sudden in choler, and haply
may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for
even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to
mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true
taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So
shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by
the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the
impediment most profitably removed, without the
which there were no expectation of our prosperity.
I will do this, if I can bring it to any
I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel:
I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.
That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
I stand accountant for as great a sin,
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap’d into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am even’d with him, wife for wife,
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb–
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too–
Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
For making him egregiously an ass
And practising upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. ‘Tis here, but yet confused:
Knavery’s plain face is never seen tin used.
SCENE II. A street.
Enter a Herald with a proclamation; People following
It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant
general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived,
importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet,
every man put himself into triumph; some to dance,
some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and
revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these
beneficial news, it is the celebration of his
nuptial. So much was his pleasure should be
proclaimed. All offices are open, and there is full
liberty of feasting from this present hour of five
till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the
isle of Cyprus and our noble general Othello!
SCENE III. A hall in the castle.
Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and Attendants
Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
Let’s teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to outsport discretion.
Iago hath direction what to do;
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
Will I look to’t.
Iago is most honest.
Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
Let me have speech with you.
Come, my dear love,
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
That profit’s yet to come ‘tween me and you.
Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants
Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.
Not this hour, lieutenant; ’tis not yet ten o’ the
clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love
of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore blame:
he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and
she is sport for Jove.
She’s a most exquisite lady.
And, I’ll warrant her, fun of game.
Indeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate creature.
What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of
An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.
And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?
She is indeed perfection.
Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I
have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace
of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to
the health of black Othello.
Not to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and
unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish
courtesy would invent some other custom of
O, they are our friends; but one cup: I’ll drink for
I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was
craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation
it makes here: I am unfortunate in the infirmity,
and dare not task my weakness with any more.
What, man! ’tis a night of revels: the gallants
Where are they?
Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.
I’ll do’t; but it dislikes me.
If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress’ dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
Whom love hath turn’d almost the wrong side out,
To Desdemona hath to-night caroused
Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch:
Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
That hold their honours in a wary distance,
The very elements of this warlike isle,
Have I to-night fluster’d with flowing cups,
And they watch too. Now, ‘mongst this flock of drunkards,
Am I to put our Cassio in some action
That may offend the isle.–But here they come:
If consequence do but approve my dream,
My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.
Re-enter CASSIO; with him MONTANO and Gentlemen; servants following with wine
‘Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.
Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am
Some wine, ho!
And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
Some wine, boys!
‘Fore God, an excellent song.
I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and
your swag-bellied Hollander–Drink, ho!–are nothing
to your English.
Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?
Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he
gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
can be filled.
To the health of our general!
I am for it, lieutenant; and I’ll do you justice.
O sweet England!
King Stephen was a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call’d the tailor lown.
He was a wight of high renown,
And thou art but of low degree:
‘Tis pride that pulls the country down;
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
Some wine, ho!
Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.
Will you hear’t again?
No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that
does those things. Well, God’s above all; and there
be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.
It’s true, good lieutenant.
For mine own part,–no offence to the general, nor
any man of quality,–I hope to be saved.
And so do I too, lieutenant.
Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the
lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let’s
have no more of this; let’s to our affairs.–Forgive
us our sins!–Gentlemen, let’s look to our business.
Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and
speak well enough.
Why, very well then; you must not think then that I am drunk.
To the platform, masters; come, let’s set the watch.
You see this fellow that is gone before;
He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction: and do but see his vice;
‘Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as the other: ’tis pity of him.
I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.
But is he often thus?
‘Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
He’ll watch the horologe a double set,
If drink rock not his cradle.
It were well
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true?
[Aside to him] How now, Roderigo!
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.
And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.
Not I, for this fair island:
I do love Cassio well; and would do much
To cure him of this evil–But, hark! what noise?
Cry within: ‘Help! help!’
Re-enter CASSIO, driving in RODERIGO
You rogue! you rascal!
What’s the matter, lieutenant?
A knave teach me my duty!
I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.
Dost thou prate, rogue?
Nay, good lieutenant;
I pray you, sir, hold your hand.
Let me go, sir,
Or I’ll knock you o’er the mazzard.
[Aside to RODERIGO] Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.
Nay, good lieutenant,–alas, gentlemen;–
Help, masters!–Here’s a goodly watch indeed!
Who’s that which rings the bell?–Diablo, ho!
The town will rise: God’s will, lieutenant, hold!
You will be shamed for ever.
Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants
What is the matter here?
‘Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.
Hold, for your lives!
Hold, ho! Lieutenant,–sir–Montano,–gentlemen,–
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!
Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
Are we turn’d Turks, and to ourselves do that
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
Honest Iago, that look’st dead with grieving,
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.
I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed; and then, but now–
As if some planet had unwitted men–
Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!
How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?
I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.
Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
The gravity and stillness of your youth
The world hath noted, and your name is great
In mouths of wisest censure: what’s the matter,
That you unlace your reputation thus
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.
Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
Your officer, Iago, can inform you,–
While I spare speech, which something now
Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
By me that’s said or done amiss this night;
Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
And to defend ourselves it be a sin
When violence assails us.
Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgment collied,
Assays to lead the way: if I once stir,
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
How this foul rout began, who set it on;
And he that is approved in this offence,
Though he had twinn’d with me, both at a birth,
Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear,
To manage private and domestic quarrel,
In night, and on the court and guard of safety!
‘Tis monstrous. Iago, who began’t?
If partially affined, or leagued in office,
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
Thou art no soldier.
Touch me not so near:
I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general.
Montano and myself being in speech,
There comes a fellow crying out for help:
And Cassio following him with determined sword,
To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
Lest by his clamour–as it so fell out–
The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
Outran my purpose; and I return’d the rather
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
I ne’er might say before. When I came back–
For this was brief–I found them close together,
At blow and thrust; even as again they were
When you yourself did part them.
More of this matter cannot I report:
But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
From him that fled some strange indignity,
Which patience could not pass.
I know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
But never more be officer of mine.
Re-enter DESDEMONA, attended
Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
I’ll make thee an example.
What’s the matter?
All’s well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
Lead him off.
To MONTANO, who is led off
Iago, look with care about the town,
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
Come, Desdemona: ’tis the soldiers’ life
To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.
Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO
What, are you hurt, lieutenant?
Ay, past all surgery.
Marry, heaven forbid!
Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
Iago, my reputation!
As I am an honest man, I thought you had received
some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than
in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false
imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without
deserving: you have lost no reputation at all,
unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man!
there are ways to recover the general again: you
are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: sue
to him again, and he’s yours.
I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible
spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
let us call thee devil!
What was he that you followed with your sword? What
had he done to you?
I know not.
I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly;
a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men
should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away
their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance
revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus
It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me
another, to make me frankly despise myself.
Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
the place, and the condition of this country
stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me
I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra,
such an answer would stop them all. To be now a
sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a
beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is
unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.
Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.
I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!
You or any man living may be drunk! at a time, man.
I’ll tell you what you shall do. Our general’s wife
is now the general: may say so in this respect, for
that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and
graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune
her help to put you in your place again: she is of
so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition,
she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more
than she is requested: this broken joint between
you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my
fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.
You advise me well.
I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.
I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will
beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me:
I am desperate of my fortunes if they cheque me here.
You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
must to the watch.
Good night, honest Iago.
And what’s he then that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to thinking and indeed the course
To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy
The inclining Desdemona to subdue
In any honest suit: she’s framed as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor–were’t to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
His soul is so enfetter’d to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I then a villain
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear,
That she repeals him for her body’s lust;
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.
How now, Roderigo!
I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well
cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.
How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know’st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier’d Cassio:
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
Content thyself awhile. By the mass, ’tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
Nay, get thee gone.
Two things are to be done:
My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
I’ll set her on;
Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
Soliciting his wife: ay, that’s the way
Dull not device by coldness and delay.