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swiftly. The former Anthropophagi or eaters of mans flesh whom we have placed above the north pole, tenne daies journey by land above the river Borysthenes, used to drinke out of the sculs of mens heads, and to weare the scalpes, haire and all, in steed of mandellions or stomachers before their breasts. . . . Beyond the Sciopodes westward, some there be without heads standing upon their neckes who carrie eies in their shoulders."'PLINIE's Natural Historie. Book" vii. ch. 2.
(5) SCENE III.— The food that to him now is as luscious as loousts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida.] It is a question not easily settled whether by “locusts” Shakespeare referred to the insect, which is said to be considered a great delicacy at Tonquin, or to the fruit of the locust-tree: “ That viscous substance which the pod of the locust contains, is perhaps, of all others, the most luscious. From its likeness to honey, in consistency and flavour, the locust is called the honey-tree also.”-HENLEY.
Coloquintida, says Parkinson in his Theatre of Plants," runneth with his branches upon the ground as a gourd or cowcumber doth. The fruit is small and round as a ball, green at the first on the outside, and afterwards growing to be of a browne yellow, which shell is as hard as a pompion or gourde; and is usually pared away while it is greene, the substance under it being white, very light, spongie or loose, and of an extreame bitter taste, almost indurable, and provoking loathing or casting in many that taste it.”—PARKINSON's Theatre of Plants, Tribe II. ch. 3.
(1) SCENE III.- 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.) The Englishman's potentiality in potting, was a common topic of satire with our old writers. In Beaumont and Fletcher's play of "The Captain," Act III. Scene. 2, Lodovico asks—
“ Are the Englishmen
Such stubborn drinkers :”
" Not a leak at sea
Defy a hogshead." Peachem in his Complete Gentleman, 1622, p. 193, has a section entitled " Drinking the Plague of our English Gentry,” in which he remarks :-“Within these fiftie or threescore yeares it was a rare thing with us to see a drunken man, our nation carrying the name of the most sober and temperate of any other in the world. But since we had to doe in the quarrell of the Netherlands, about the time of Sir John Norris his first being there, the custom of drinking and pledging healthes was brought over into England; wherein let the Dutch he their own judges, if we equall them not; yea I think rather excell them.”
To the same effect, Heywood, in the "Philocothonista, or the Drunkard opened, dissected, and anatomized,” 4to. London, 1635, tells us that—"There is now profest an eighth liberal art of science called Ars Bibendi, i.e. the Art of Drinking. The students or professors thereof call a greene garland or painted boope hang'd out a College : a signe where there is lodging, man's meate, and horse meate, an Inne of Courte, an Hall or an Postle : where nothing is sold but ale and tobacco, a Grammar Schoole; a red or blew lattice (the usual designation of an ale-house) that they terme a Free Schoole for all comers. The bookes which they study and whose leaves they do often turne over are for the most part three of the old translation and three of the new. Those of the old translation:-1. The tankard : 2. the blacke Jacks: 3. the quart pot rib'd, or thorendell., Those of the new be these : 1. the jugge : 2. the beaker : 2. the double or single can or black pot,” &c. See also Nash's Pierce Pennilesse (1592), on De Arte Bibendi; Barnaby Rich's Irish Hubbub, 1618; and Harington's Nuga Antiquiæ, I. p. 348.
(2) SCENE III.
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.] The ballad whence the stanzas sung by Iago are taken is printed as follows in Capell's School of Shakespeare; it will be found also in Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry.
“ TAKE THY OLD CLOAK ABOUT THEE.
And frost doth freese on everie hill,
That all our cattell are like to spill;
She sayd unto me quietlie,
Thou kenst my cloak is very thin;
A cricke theron oannot renn:
For once Ile new appareld bee,
For Ile have a new cloake about mee.
Shee has been alwayes true to the payle,
And other things she will not fayle:
Good husband, councell take of mee,
Then take thine old cloake about thee.
Itt hath been alwayes true to the weare,
I have had it four-and-forty yeare.
'Tis now but a sigh-clout,t as you may see,
Ile have a new cloake about mee.
Since th' one of us the other did ken;
Of children either nine or ten :
In the feare of God I trow they bee;
Now is nowe, and then was then:
Thou kenst not clowns from gentlemen.
Soe far above their own degree:
For Ile have a new cloake about mee.
Spill. To spoil; to come to harm.
+ Sigh-clout. A cloth to strain milk through.
His breeches cost him but a crowne;
Therefore he calld the taylor Lowne.
And thouse but of a low degree;
Yet she will lead me if she can;
I am forced to yield, though Ime good man,
Unlesse he first give oer the plea:
And take mine old cloake about mec."
ACT III. (1) SCENE III.
Bilt he that filches from me my good name,
And makes me poor indeed.] Mr. Halliwell in his Life of Shakespeare, p. 190, ed. 8vo., cites the subjoined lines from & MS. entitled " The Newe Metamorphosis, or a Feaste of Fancie, or Poeticall Legendes, written by J. M. Gent, 1600," as proof that “Othello” must have been produced before that year :-
“ The highwayman that robs one of his purse
Is not soe bad; nay, these are ten tymes worse!
And in exchange give obliquie and shame." But the reflection is sufficiently trite, and in both instances, as in many others where it occurs, was probably founded on the following passages:
“ Is not that Treasure which before all other, is most regarded of honest persons, the good Fame of lan and Woman, lost through whoredom?"-Homily XI. pt. 2.
“Now here consider that St. Paul numbreth a Scolder, Brawler, or a Picker of Quarrels, among Thieves and Idolators, and many Times there cometh less Hurt of a Thiefe than of a railing tongue. For the one taketh away a Mans good name, the other tuketh but his Riches, which is of much less l'alue and Estimation, than is his good name." -Homily XII. pt. 1.
(2) SCENE III.- Not poppy, nor mandragora.) “ The herb Mandragoras some writers call Circeium; two or three roots it hath of a tleshie substance running downe into the earth almost a cubit, and a fruit or apple of the bignesse of filberds or hazel-nuts, within which there be seeds like unto the pippins of peares. In some countries they venture to eat the apples or fruit thereof: but those that know not how to dresse and order them aright loose the use of their tongue thereby, and prove dumbe for the time. And verily if they be so bold as to take a great quantity thereof in drink, they are sure to die for it. Yet it may be used safely ynough for to procure sleepe if there be good regard had in the dose, that it be answerable in proportion to the strength and complexion of the patient.
Also it is an ordinary thing to drink it against the poyson of serpents : like rise befo the cutting, cauterizing, pricking, or launcing of any member to take away the sence or feeling of such extreme cures. And sufficient it is in some bodies to cast them into a sleepe with the smell of Mandrage."-PLINIE's Natural Historie, Bk. XXV. ch. 13.
* To threape. To dispute.
(3) SCENE III.- The spirit- stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife.1 “In mentioning the fife joined with the drum, Shakspeare, as usual, paints from the life; those instruments accompanying each other being used in his age by the English soldiery. The fife, however, 'as a martial instrument, was afterwards entirely discontinued among our troops for many years, but at length revived in the war before the last. It is commonly supposed that our soldiers borrowed it from the Highlanders in the last rebellion : but I do not know that the fife is peculiar to the Scotch, or even used at all by them. It was first used within the memory of man among our troops by the British guards, by order of the Duke of Cumberland, when they were encamped at Maestricht, in the year 1747, and thence soon adopted into other English regiments of infantry. They took it from the Allies with whom they served. This instrument, accompanying the drum, is of considerable antiquity in the European armies, particularly the German. In a curious picture in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, painted 1525, representing the siege of Pavia by the French King, where the emperor was taken prisoner, we see fifes and drums. In an old English treatise written by William Garrard before 1587, and published by one captain Hitchcock in 1591, intituled The Art of Warre, there are several wood cuts of military evolutions, in which these instruments are both introduced. In Rymer's Fædera, in a diary of King Henry's siege of Bulloigne, 1544, mention is made of the drommes and viffleurs marching at the head of the King's army.— Tom. xv. p. 53.
“ The drum and fife were also much used at ancient festivals, shows, and processions. Gerard Leigh, in his Accidence of Armorie, printed in 1576, describing a Christmas magnificently celebrated at the Inner Temple, says, “We entered the prince his hall, where anon we heard the noyse of drum and fife.:-P. 119.
“At a stately masque on Shrove-Sunday, 1510, in which King Henry VIII. was an actor, Holinshed mentions the entry of a drum and fife apparelled in white damaske and grene bonnettes.'—Chron. III. 805, col. 2. There are many more instances in Holinshed and Stow's Survey of London."—Warton.
(4) SCENE IV.
I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes.] " The cruzado was not current, as it should seem, at Venice, though it certainly was in England in the time of Shakspeare, who has here indulged his usual practice of departing from national costume. It was of gold, and weighed two penny-weights six grains, or nine shillings English.”-Douce, Illustrations of Shakspeare.
(5) SCENE IV.
the hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.] The antithesis of hearts and hands appears to have been a favourite with Shakespeare and the writers of his age: so in “The Tempest,” Act III. Scene 1:
My husband, then?
Mir. And mine, with my heart in't.”
"My hand shall never give
My heart, my heart shall give my hand." And Mr. Singer has quoted a passage from the essays of Sir William Cornwallis the younger, 1601, where we have the words in similar opposition :-"We of these later times, full of a nice curiositie, mislike all the performances of our forefathers; we say they were honest plaine men, but they want the capering wits of this ripe age. They had wont to give their hands and hearts together, but we think it a finer grace to looke asquint, our hand looking one way and our heart another.". Warburton conjectured, and Malone at one time was of the same opinion, that the expression, our new heraldry” was a satirical reflection upon King James' creation of baronets." But to this it has been objected that the new order was not created until 1611, while the play was written before November 1604; and it is in the highest degree improbable that an allusion so offensive to the king was inserted afterwards.
(6) SCENE IV.-Away! The incident of the hundkerchief, which Shakespeare has invested with such terrible sublimity, is derived from the novel in the Hecatommithi on which this play was founded :
"I have already said that Desdemona went frequently to the ensign's house, and passed great part of the day with his wife. The villain had observed that she often brought with her a handkerchief that the Moor had given her, and which, as it was very delicately worked in the Moorish taste, was very highly valued by them both; he determined to steal it, and by its means complete her ruin. He had a little girl of three years old that was much caressed by Desdemona; and one day, when that unhappy woman was on a visit to this villain, he took up the child in his arms and presented it to Desdemona, who received it and pressed it to her bosom. In the same instant this deceiver stole from her sash the handkerchief, with such dexterity, that she did not perceive him; and went away with it in very high spirits. Desdemona went hom', and, taken up with other thoughts, never recollected her handkerchief till some days after; when, not being able to find it, she began to fear that the Moor should ask her for it, as he often did. The infamous ensign, watching his opportunity, went to the lieutenant, and, to aid his wicked purpose, left the handkerchiet on his bolster. The lieutenant did not find it till the next morning, when, getting up, he set his foot upon it as it had fallen to the floor. Not being able to imagine how it came there, and knowing it to be Desdemona's, he determined to carry it back to her; and, waiting till the Moor was gone out, he went to the back-door and knocked. Fortune, who seemed to have conspired along with the ensign the death of this poor woman, brought the Moor home in the same instant. Hearing some one knock, he went to the window, and, much disturbed, asked who is there? The lieutenant hearing his voice, and fearing that when he came down he should do him some mischief, ran away without answering. The Moor came down, and finding no one either at the door or in the street, returned full of suspicion to his wife, and asked if she knew who it was that had knocked. She answered with great truth that she knew not. “But I think,' mid he, it was the lieutenant;'-—It might be he,' said she, or any one else.' The Moor checked himself at the time, though he was violently enraged, and determined to take no step without first consulting the ensign. To him he immediately went, and related what had just happened, begging him to learn from the lieutenant what he could on the subject. The ensign rejoiced much in this accident, and promised to do so. He contrived to enter into discourse with him one day in a place where the Moor might see them. He talked with him on a very different subject, laughed much, and expressed by his motions and attitudes very great surprise. The Moor as soon as he saw them separate went to the ensign, and desired to know what had passed between them The ensign, after many solicitations, at last told him that he had concealed nothing from him. He says he has enjoyed your wife every time that you have stayed long enough from home to give him an opportunity; and that in their last interview she had made him a present of that handkerchief which you gave her when you married her.* The Moor thanked him, and thought that if his wife had no longer the handkerchief in her possession it would be a proof that the ensign had told him the truth. For which reason one day after dinner, among other subjects, he asked her for this handkerchief. The poor woman, who had long apprehended this, blushed excessively at the question, and, to hide her change of colour, which the Moor had very accurately observed, ran to her wardrobe and pretended to look for it. After having searched for some time, I cannot conceive,' said she, • what is become of it! have not you taken it?' 'Had I taken it,' replied he, 'I should not have asked you for it. But you may look for it another time more at your ease.' Leaving her then, he began to reflect what would be the best way of putting to death his wife and the lieutenant, and how he might avoid being prosecuted for the murder. Thinking night and day on this subject, he could not prevent Desdemona from perceiving that his behaviour was very different from what it had been formerly. She often asked him what it was that agitated him so violently. 'You, who were once the merriest man alire, are now the most melancholy. The Moor answered and alleged a variety of reasons, but she was not satisfied with any of them; and knowing that she had done nothing to justify so much agitation, she began to fear that he grew tired of her. She once in conversation with the ensign's wife expressed herself thus: 'I know not what to say of the Moor; he used to treat me most affectionately; and I begin to fear that my example will teach young women never to marry against their parents' consent, and the Italians in particular, not to connect themselves with men from whom they are separated by nature, climate, education, and complexion. But as I know him to be the confidential of your husband, whom he consults on all occasions, I intreat you, if you have heard anything that might explain this mystery and be of use to me, not to deny me your assistance. These words were accompanied with a flood of tears
. “The ensign's wife, who knew all (as her husband had in vain endeavoured to prevail upon her to become an accomplice in the murder of Desdemona), but durst tell her nothing for fear of her husband, only said, “Take care not to give the Moor any cause
In the tolerably correct but far from elegant translation of W. Parr, which we adopt, the words “when you married her" (quando la sposaste) are inadvertently omitted.