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ACT III SCENE IVBefore the castle.
Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Clown.
DESDEMONADo you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?
ClownI dare not say he lies any where.
ClownHe’s a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
is stabbing.
DESDEMONAGo to: where lodges he?
ClownTo tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie.
DESDEMONACan any thing be made of this? 10
ClownI know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a
lodging and say he lies here or he lies there, were
to lie in mine own throat.
DESDEMONACan you inquire him out, and be edified by report?
ClownI will catechise the world for him; that is, make
questions, and by them answer.
DESDEMONASeek him, bid him come hither: tell him I have
moved my lord on his behalf, and hope all will be well. 20
ClownTo do this is within the compass of man’s wit: and
therefore I will attempt the doing it.
DESDEMONAWhere should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
EMILIAI know not, madam.
DESDEMONABelieve me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.
EMILIAIs he not jealous?
DESDEMONAWho, he? I think the sun where he was born 30
Drew all such humours from him.
EMILIALook, where he comes.
DESDEMONAI will not leave him now till Cassio
Be call’d to him.
How is’t with you, my lord
OTHELLOWell, my good lady.
O, hardness to dissemble!–
How do you, Desdemona?
DESDEMONAWell, my good lord.
OTHELLOGive me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady.
DESDEMONAIt yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.
OTHELLOThis argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:
Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requires
A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer, 40
Much castigation, exercise devout;
For here’s a young and sweating devil here,
That commonly rebels. ‘Tis a good hand,
A frank one.
DESDEMONAYou may, indeed, say so;
For ’twas that hand that gave away my heart.
OTHELLOA liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.
DESDEMONAI cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.
OTHELLOWhat promise, chuck?
DESDEMONAI have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you. 50
OTHELLOI have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
Lend me thy handkerchief.
DESDEMONAHere, my lord.
OTHELLOThat which I gave you.
DESDEMONAI have it not about me.
DESDEMONANo, indeed, my lord.
OTHELLOThat is a fault.
That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer, and could almost read
The thoughts of people: she told her, while
she kept it,
‘Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
Entirely to her love, but if she lost it 60
Or made gift of it, my father’s eye
Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt
After new fancies: she, dying, gave it me;
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
To give it her. I did so: and take heed on’t;
Make it a darling like your precious eye;
To lose’t or give’t away were such perdition
As nothing else could match.
DESDEMONAIs’t possible?
OTHELLO‘Tis true: there’s magic in the web of it:
A sibyl, that had number’d in the world 70
The sun to course two hundred compasses,
In her prophetic fury sew’d the work;
The worms were hallow’d that did breed the silk;
And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful
Conserved of maidens’ hearts.
DESDEMONAIndeed! is’t true?
OTHELLOMost veritable; therefore look to’t well.
DESDEMONAThen would to God that I had never seen’t!
OTHELLOHa! wherefore?
DESDEMONAWhy do you speak so startingly and rash?
OTHELLOIs’t lost? is’t gone? speak, is it out 80
o’ the way?
DESDEMONAHeaven bless us!
DESDEMONAIt is not lost; but what an if it were?
DESDEMONAI say, it is not lost.
OTHELLOFetch’t, let me see’t.
DESDEMONAWhy, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
This is a trick to put me from my suit:
Pray you, let Cassio be received again.
OTHELLOFetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.
DESDEMONACome, come; 90
You’ll never meet a more sufficient man.
OTHELLOThe handkerchief!
DESDEMONAI pray, talk me of Cassio.
OTHELLOThe handkerchief!
DESDEMONAA man that all his time
Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
Shared dangers with you,–
OTHELLOThe handkerchief!
DESDEMONAIn sooth, you are to blame.
EMILIAIs not this man jealous?
DESDEMONAI ne’er saw this before. 100
Sure, there’s some wonder in this handkerchief:
I am most unhappy in the loss of it.
EMILIA‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
To eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!
Enter CASSIO and IAGO.
IAGOThere is no other way; ’tis she must do’t:
And, lo, the happiness! go, and importune her.
DESDEMONAHow now, good Cassio! what’s the news with you?
CASSIOMadam, my former suit: I do beseech you 110
That by your virtuous means I may again
Exist, and be a member of his love
Whom I with all the office of my heart
Entirely honour: I would not be delay’d.
If my offence be of such mortal kind
That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
Nor purposed merit in futurity,
Can ransom me into his love again,
But to know so must be my benefit;
So shall I clothe me in a forced content, 120
And shut myself up in some other course,
To fortune’s alms.
DESDEMONAAlas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
My advocation is not now in tune;
My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,
Were he in favour as in humour alter’d.
So help me every spirit sanctified,
As I have spoken for you all my best
And stood within the blank of his displeasure
For my free speech! you must awhile be patient:
What I can do I will; and more I will 130
Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.
IAGOIs my lord angry?
EMILIAHe went hence but now,
And certainly in strange unquietness.
IAGOCan he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
And, like the devil, from his very arm
Puff’d his own brother:–and can he be angry?
Something of moment then: I will go meet him:
There’s matter in’t indeed, if he be angry.
DESDEMONAI prithee, do so.
Exit IAGO.
Something, sure, of state, 140
Either from Venice, or some unhatch’d practise
Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
Hath puddled his clear spirit: and in such cases
Men’s natures wrangle with inferior things,
Though great ones are their object. ‘Tis even so;
For let our finger ache, and it indues
Our other healthful members even to that sense
Of pain: nay, we must think men are not gods,
Nor of them look for such observances
As fits the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia, 150
I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
But now I find I had suborn’d the witness,
And he’s indicted falsely.
EMILIAPray heaven it be state-matters, as you think,
And no conception nor no jealous toy
Concerning you.
DESDEMONAAlas the day! I never gave him cause.
EMILIABut jealous souls will not be answer’d so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause, 160
But jealous for they are jealous: ’tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.
DESDEMONAHeaven keep that monster from Othello’s mind!
EMILIALady, amen.
DESDEMONAI will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout:
If I do find him fit, I’ll move your suit
And seek to effect it to my uttermost.
CASSIOI humbly thank your ladyship.
BIANCASave you, friend Cassio!
CASSIOWhat make you from home?
How is it with you, my most fair Bianca? 170
I’ faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.
BIANCAAnd I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
Eight score eight hours? and lovers’ absent hours,
More tedious than the dial eight score times?
O weary reckoning!
CASSIOPardon me, Bianca:
I have this while with leaden thoughts been press’d:
But I shall, in a more continuate time,
Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,
Giving her DESDEMONA’s handkerchief.
Take me this work out.
BIANCAO Cassio, whence came this? 180
This is some token from a newer friend:
To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
Is’t come to this? Well, well.
CASSIOGo to, woman!
Throw your vile guesses in the devil’s teeth,
From whence you have them. You are jealous now
That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
No, in good troth, Bianca.
BIANCAWhy, whose is it?
CASSIOI know not, sweet: I found it in my chamber.
I like the work well: ere it be demanded–
As like enough it will–I’ld have it copied: 190
Take it, and do’t; and leave me for this time.
BIANCALeave you! wherefore?
CASSIOI do attend here on the general;
And think it no addition, nor my wish,
To have him see me woman’d.
BIANCAWhy, I pray you?
CASSIONot that I love you not.
BIANCABut that you do not love me.
I pray you, bring me on the way a little,
And say if I shall see you soon at night.
CASSIO‘Tis but a little way that I can bring you;
For I attend here: but I’ll see you soon. 200
BIANCA‘Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.

Othello, Act 4, Scene 1


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 4

From Othello. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard.

Abbreviations. — A.-S. = Anglo-Saxon: M.E. = Middle English (from the 13th to the 15th century) ; Fr. = French ; Ger. = German ; Gr. = Greek ; Cf. = compare (Lat. confer) ; Abbott refers to the excellent Shakespearean Grammar of Dr. Abbott; Schmidt, to Dr. Schmidt’s invaluable Shakespeare Lexicon.


22. The doing itThe frequently precedes a transitive participle. Cf, “In the delaying death.” – Measure for Measure, iv.2.172. “The locking up the spirits.” – Cymbeline, i.5.41. It is still so used.

26. Crusadoes, a Portuguese coin bearing a cross. But, unless.

38. Argues, proves.

40. Sequester, seclusion from liberty. The word originally meant a trustee, to whom property was devised.

49. Chuck, chicken.

51.Rheum, a flowing discharge. Often tears.

66. Darling, a diminutive, little dear.

73. Fury, madness.

83. An. Shakespeare’s an is nothing but the Scandinavian use of the common word and. When the force of an grew misty, it was reduplicated by the addition of if; so that an if = if-if. SKEAT.

119, sq. Simply to know that would be a satisfaction, and I would make the best of it.

123. Advocation, pleading.

128. Blank, centre of target.

143. Puddled, make muddy.

152. With my soul as judge. Suborn. Especially used of providing a perjured witness.

157. Toy, idle fancy.

178. Continuate, unbroken by other business.

194. And think it will not add to my benefit, nor is it my desire, to be seen with a woman.


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1892.