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More than a fpinfter; unless the bookish theoric',


"O my Anthonio, I do know of those "Who therefore only are reputed wife, "For faying nothing; who, I'm very fure, "If they should speak, would almost damn thofe ears, "Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools." And there the allufion is evident to the gofpel-judgment against thofe, who call their brothers fools. I am therefore inclined to believe, that the true reading here is,

A fellow almost damn'd in a fair life ;

and that Shakspeare alludes to the judgment denounced in the gofpel against thofe of whom all men Speak well.

The character of Caffio is certainly fuch, as would be very likely to draw upon him all the peril of this denunciation, literally underfood. Well-bred, eafy, fociable, good-natured; with abilities enough to make him agreeable and ufeful, but not fufficient to excite the envy of his equals, or to alarm the jealoufy of his fuperiors. It may be obferved too, that Shakspeare has thought it proper to make Iago, in feveral other paffages, bear his teftimony to the amiable qualities of his rival. In act v. fc. 1. he fpeaks thus of him:

If Caffio do remain,

He hath a daily beauty in his life,
That makes me ugly.

I will only add, that, however hard or farfetch'd this allufion (whether Shakspeare's, or only mine) may feem to be, archbifhop Sheldon had exactly the fame conceit, when he made that fingular compliment, as the writer calls it, [Biog. Britan. Art. TEMPLE] to a nephew of fir William Temple, that he had the curfe of the gospel, because all men fpoke well of him."


Mr. Tyrwhitt's ingenious emendation is fupported by a paffage in the Merry Wives of Windfor, where good life is ufed for a fair charazer: Defend your reputation, or bid farewell to your good life for ever." MALONE.

The poet, I think, does not appear to have meant Iago to be a Florentine, which has hitherto been inferred from the following paffage in act iii. fc. 1. where Caffio, fpeaking of Iago, fays,


9-theoric, Theoric for theory. So in the Proceedings againft Garnet on the Powder Plot, "as much deceived in the Theoric e of truft, as the lay difciples were in the practicke of confpiracie.”


Wherein the toged confuls can propofe As mafterly as he mere prattle, without practice,


I never knew

A Florentine more kind and boneft.

It is furely not uncommon for us to fay in praife of a foreigner, that we never knew one of our own countrymen of a more friendly difpofition. This, I believe, is all that Caffio meant by his obfervation.

From the already-mentioned paffage in act iii. fc. 3. it is certain (as fir T. Hanmer has obferved) that Iago was a Vene, tian:


I know our country difpofition well,

In Venice they do let heaven fee the pranks
They dare not flew their husbands.

Alas, my friend and my dear countryman
Roderigo, &c.

Gra. What of Venice? lago. Even he, &c.

That Caffio, however, was married, is not fufficiently implied in the words, a fellow almost damn'd in a fair avife, fince they may mean, according to Iago's licentious manner of expreffing himself, no more than a man very near being married. This feems to have been the cafe in refpect to Caffio, act iv. fc 1. lago, fpeaking to him of Bianca, fays-Why the ery goes that you fall marry her. Caffio acknowledges that fuch a report has been raifed, and adds, This is the monkey's own giving out: She is perfuaded I will marry her out of her own love and felf-flattery, not out of my promife. Iago then, having heard this report before, very naturally circulates it in his prefent converfation with Ro derigo. If Shakspeare, however, defigned Bianca for a curtezan of Cyprus (where Caffio had not yet been, and had therefore never feen her) Iago cannot be fuppofed to allude to the report concerning his marriage with her, and confequently this part of my argument must fall to the ground.

Had Shakspeare, confiftently with Iago's character, meant to make him fay that Catho was actually damn'd in being married to a handsome woman, he would have made him fay it outright, and not have interpofed the palliative almat. Whereas what he lays at prefent amounts to no more than that (however near his mar, riage) he is not yet completely damn'd, because he is not abfolutely married. The fucceeding parts of Iago's converfation sufficiently evince, that the poet thought no mode of conception or expreffion too brutal for the character. STEEVENS.

Wherein the tongued confuls--] So the generality of the im


Is all his foldierfhip. But he, fir, had the election :
And I,-of whom his eyes had feen the proof,
At Rhodes, at Cyprus; and on other grounds
Christian and heathen,- must be be-lee'd and

By debtor and creditor, this counter-cafter ';


preffions read; but the oldest quarto has it toged; the fenators, that affifted the duke in council, in their proper gowns.-But let me explain why I have ventured to fubftitute counsellors in the room of confuls: the Venetian nobility conflitute the great countil of the fenate, and are a part of the administration; and fummoned to affist and counfel the Doge, who is prince of the fe. nate. So that they may very properly be called Counsellers. Though the government of Venice was democratic at first, under confuls and tribunes; that form of power has been totally abrogated, fince Doges have been elected. THEOBALD.

Wherein the toged confuls-] Confuls, for counsellors.


Rather, the rulers of the fate or civil governors. The word is ufed by Marlowe, in the fame fenfe, in Tambur laine, a tragedy, 1591:

"Both we will raigne as confuls of the earth." MALONE. By toged perhaps is meant peaceable, in oppofition to the warlike qualifications of which he had been fpeaking. He might have formed the word, in allution to the Latin adage-Gedant arma toga. STEEVENS.


must be led and calm'd] So the old quarto. The first folio reads be-lee'd: but that spoils the meafure. I read let, hindered. WARBURTON.

Be-lee'd fuits to calm'd, and the meafure is not lefs perfect than in many other places. JOHNSON.

Be-lee'd and be-calm'd are terms of navigation.

I have been informed that one vefiel is faid to be in the Lee of another when it is fo placed that the wind is intercepted from it. Jago's meaning therefore is, that Caffio had get the wind of him, and be-calm'd him from going on.

To be-calm (as I learn from Falconer's Marine Dictionary) is likewife to obftruct the current of the wind it its paffage to a fhip, by any contiguous object. STEEVENS.

3-this counter-cafter;] It was anciently the practice to reckon up fums with counters. To this Shakspeare alludes again in Cymbeline, aft v. "it fums up thousands in a trice: you have no true debtor and creditor, but it: of what's past, is, and to come, the difcharge. Your neck, fir, is pen, book, and coun


He, in good time, muft his lieutenant be,
And I, God blefs the mark! his Moor-fhip's "


Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his. hangman.

Jago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curfe of fer


Preferment goes by letter, and affection,

"Not by the old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the firft. Now, fir, be judge yourself, 8 Whether I in any juft term am affin'd To love the Moor.

Rod. I would not follow him then.
Iago. O, fir, content you;

I follow him to ferve my turn upon him:
We cannot all be mafters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obfequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his mafter's afs,

ters," &c. Again, in Acolafus, a comedy, 1540: "I wyl caft my counters, or with counters, make all my reckenynges."


3 And I, god bless the mark!] So the quarto. The folio, to avoid the penalty of the ftatute, reads, "And I, blefs the mark." MALONE.


- blejs the mark!] Kelly, in his comments on Scots proverbs, obferves, that the Scots, when they compare perfon to perfon, ufe this exclamation, STEEVENS.

5 bis Moorship's-] The firit quarto 1eads-his quorshipsSTEEVENS.


by letter. By recommendation from powerful friends. JOHNSON. "Not by the old gradation,-] Old gradation, is gradation eftablished by ancient practice. JOHNSON.


If I in any just term am affin'd.] Affined is the reading of the third quarto and the first folio. The fecond quarto and all the modern editions have affign'd. The meaning is, Do I ftand within any fuch terms of propinquity or relation to the Moor, as that it is my duty to love bim? JOHNSON,


For nought but provender, and, when he's old, cafhier'd;

Whip me fuch honeft knaves: Others there are,
Who, trimm'd in forms and vifages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
And, throwing but fhows of fervice on their lords,
Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lin'd
their coats,

Do themfelves homage: thefe fellows have fome foul;

And fuch a one do I profefs my felf.
For, fir,

It is as fure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago :
In following him, I follow but my felf;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But feeming fo, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonftrate
The native act and figure of my heart


In compliment extern, 'tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my fleeve

For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lipsowe 3,

If he can carry't thus !

Iago. Call up her father,

Roufe him make after him, poison his delight,

hone knaves.-] Knave is here for fervant, but with a mixture of fly contempt. JOHNSON.

In compliment extern, In that which I do only for an outward fhew of civility. JOHNSON.

So, in fir W. D'Avenant's Albovine, 1629:

66 that in fight extern

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"A patriarch feems."


2 For daws-] The first quarto reads, for doves- STEEVENS. 51bat a full fortune does the thick-lips owe?] Full fortune is, I believe, a complete piece of good fortune, as in another fcene of this play a fall foldier is put for a complete foldier. To owe is in ancient language, to own, to poffefs. STEEVENS,


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