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Home > Othello > ACT II - SCENE III. A hall in the castle.

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ACT II - SCENE III. A hall in the castle.
Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and Attendants

1    Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
2    Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop,
3    Not to outsport discretion.
4    Iago hath direction what to do;
5    But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
6    Will I look to't.
7    Iago is most honest.
8    Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
9    Let me have speech with you.
10   Come, my dear love,
11   The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
12   That profit's yet to come 'tween me and you.
13   Good night.
Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants

Enter IAGO

14   Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.
15   Not this hour, lieutenant; 'tis not yet ten o' the
16   clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love
17   of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore blame:
18   he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and
19   she is sport for Jove.
20   She's a most exquisite lady.
21   And, I'll warrant her, fun of game.
22   Indeed, she's a most fresh and delicate creature.
23   What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of
24   provocation.
25   An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.
26   And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?
27   She is indeed perfection.
28   Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I
29   have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace
30   of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to
31   the health of black Othello.
32   Not to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and
33   unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish
34   courtesy would invent some other custom of
35   entertainment.
36   O, they are our friends; but one cup: I'll drink for
37   you.
38   I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was
39   craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation
40   it makes here: I am unfortunate in the infirmity,
41   and dare not task my weakness with any more.
42   What, man! 'tis a night of revels: the gallants
43   desire it.
44   Where are they?
45   Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.
46   I'll do't; but it dislikes me.

47   If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
48   With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
49   He'll be as full of quarrel and offence
50   As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
51   Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side out,
52   To Desdemona hath to-night caroused
53   Potations pottle-deep; and he's to watch:
54   Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
55   That hold their honours in a wary distance,
56   The very elements of this warlike isle,
57   Have I to-night fluster'd with flowing cups,
58   And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of drunkards,
59   Am I to put our Cassio in some action
60   That may offend the isle.--But here they come:
61   If consequence do but approve my dream,
62   My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.
63   'Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.
64   Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am
65   a soldier.
66   Some wine, ho!
67   And let me the canakin clink, clink;
68   And let me the canakin clink
69   A soldier's a man;
70   A life's but a span;
71   Why, then, let a soldier drink.
72   Some wine, boys!
73   'Fore God, an excellent song.
74   I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
75   most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and
76   your swag-bellied Hollander--Drink, ho!--are nothing
77   to your English.
78   Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?
79   Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
80   drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he
81   gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
82   can be filled.
83   To the health of our general!
84   I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.
85   O sweet England!
86   King Stephen was a worthy peer,
87   His breeches cost him but a crown;
88   He held them sixpence all too dear,
89   With that he call'd the tailor lown.
90   He was a wight of high renown,
91   And thou art but of low degree:
92   'Tis pride that pulls the country down;
93   Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
94   Some wine, ho!
95   Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.
96   Will you hear't again?
97   No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that
98   does those things. Well, God's above all; and there
99   be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.
100  It's true, good lieutenant.
101  For mine own part,--no offence to the general, nor
102  any man of quality,--I hope to be saved.
103  And so do I too, lieutenant.
104  Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the
105  lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's
106  have no more of this; let's to our affairs.--Forgive
107  us our sins!--Gentlemen, let's look to our business.
108  Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
109  ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
110  I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and
111  speak well enough.
112  Excellent well.
113  Why, very well then; you must not think then that I am drunk.

114  To the platform, masters; come, let's set the watch.
115  You see this fellow that is gone before;
116  He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
117  And give direction: and do but see his vice;
118  'Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
119  The one as long as the other: 'tis pity of him.
120  I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
121  On some odd time of his infirmity,
122  Will shake this island.
123  But is he often thus?
124  'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
125  He'll watch the horologe a double set,
126  If drink rock not his cradle.
127  It were well
128  The general were put in mind of it.
129  Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
130  Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
131  And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

Aside to him
132   How now, Roderigo!
133  I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

134  And 'tis great pity that the noble Moor
135  Should hazard such a place as his own second
136  With one of an ingraft infirmity:
137  It were an honest action to say
138  So to the Moor.
139  Not I, for this fair island:
140  I do love Cassio well; and would do much
141  To cure him of this evil--But, hark! what noise?
Cry within: 'Help! help!'

Re-enter CASSIO, driving in RODERIGO

142  You rogue! you rascal!
143  What's the matter, lieutenant?
144  A knave teach me my duty!
145  I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.
146  Beat me!
147  Dost thou prate, rogue?

148  Nay, good lieutenant;
Staying him
149  I pray you, sir, hold your hand.
150  Let me go, sir,
151  Or I'll knock you o'er the mazzard.
152  Come, come,
153  you're drunk.
154  Drunk!
They fight

155   Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.
156  Nay, good lieutenant,--alas, gentlemen;--
157  Help, ho!--Lieutenant,--sir,--Montano,--sir;
158  Help, masters!--Here's a goodly watch indeed!
Bell rings
159  Who's that which rings the bell?--Diablo, ho!
160  The town will rise: God's will, lieutenant, hold!
161  You will be shamed for ever.
Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants

162  What is the matter here?
163  'Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

164  Hold, for your lives!
165  Hold, ho! Lieutenant,--sir--Montano,--gentlemen,--
166  Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
167  Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!
168  Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
169  Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that
170  Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
171  For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
172  He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
173  Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
174  Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
175  From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
176  Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving,
177  Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.
178  I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
179  In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
180  Devesting them for bed; and then, but now--
181  As if some planet had unwitted men--
182  Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast,
183  In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
184  Any beginning to this peevish odds;
185  And would in action glorious I had lost
186  Those legs that brought me to a part of it!
187  How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?
188  I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.
189  Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
190  The gravity and stillness of your youth
191  The world hath noted, and your name is great
192  In mouths of wisest censure: what's the matter,
193  That you unlace your reputation thus
194  And spend your rich opinion for the name
195  Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.
196  Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
197  Your officer, Iago, can inform you,--
198  While I spare speech, which something now
199  offends me,--
200  Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
201  By me that's said or done amiss this night;
202  Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
203  And to defend ourselves it be a sin
204  When violence assails us.
205  Now, by heaven,
206  My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
207  And passion, having my best judgment collied,
208  Assays to lead the way: if I once stir,
209  Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
210  Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
211  How this foul rout began, who set it on;
212  And he that is approved in this offence,
213  Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth,
214  Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
215  Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear,
216  To manage private and domestic quarrel,
217  In night, and on the court and guard of safety!
218  'Tis monstrous. Iago, who began't?
219  If partially affined, or leagued in office,
220  Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
221  Thou art no soldier.
222  Touch me not so near:
223  I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
224  Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
225  Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
226  Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general.
227  Montano and myself being in speech,
228  There comes a fellow crying out for help:
229  And Cassio following him with determined sword,
230  To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
231  Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
232  Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
233  Lest by his clamour--as it so fell out--
234  The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
235  Outran my purpose; and I return'd the rather
236  For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
237  And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
238  I ne'er might say before. When I came back--
239  For this was brief--I found them close together,
240  At blow and thrust; even as again they were
241  When you yourself did part them.
242  More of this matter cannot I report:
243  But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
244  Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
245  As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
246  Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
247  From him that fled some strange indignity,
248  Which patience could not pass.
249  I know, Iago,
250  Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
251  Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
252  But never more be officer of mine.
Re-enter DESDEMONA, attended
253  Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
254  I'll make thee an example.
255  What's the matter?
256  All's well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
257  Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
258  Lead him off.
To MONTANO, who is led off
259  Iago, look with care about the town,
260  And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
261  Come, Desdemona: 'tis the soldiers' life
262  To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.
Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO

263  What, are you hurt, lieutenant?
264  Ay, past all surgery.
265  Marry, heaven forbid!
266  Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
267  my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
268  myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
269  Iago, my reputation!
270  As I am an honest man, I thought you had received
271  some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than
272  in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false
273  imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without
274  deserving: you have lost no reputation at all,
275  unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man!
276  there are ways to recover the general again: you
277  are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
278  policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
279  offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: sue
280  to him again, and he's yours.
281  I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
282  good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
283  indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
284  and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
285  fustian with one's own shadow? O thou invisible
286  spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
287  let us call thee devil!
288  What was he that you followed with your sword? What
289  had he done to you?
290  I know not.
291  Is't possible?
292  I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly;
293  a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men
294  should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away
295  their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance
296  revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
297  Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus
298  recovered?
299  It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
300  to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me
301  another, to make me frankly despise myself.
302  Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
303  the place, and the condition of this country
304  stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
305  but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
306  I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me
307  I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra,
308  such an answer would stop them all. To be now a
309  sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a
310  beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is
311  unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.
312  Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
313  if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
314  And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.
315  I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!
316  You or any man living may be drunk! at a time, man.
317  I'll tell you what you shall do. Our general's wife
318  is now the general: may say so in this respect, for
319  that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
320  contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and
321  graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune
322  her help to put you in your place again: she is of
323  so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition,
324  she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more
325  than she is requested: this broken joint between
326  you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my
327  fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
328  crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.
329  You advise me well.
330  I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.
331  I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will
332  beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me:
333  I am desperate of my fortunes if they cheque me here.
334  You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
335  must to the watch.
336  Good night, honest Iago.

337  And what's he then that says I play the villain?
338  When this advice is free I give and honest,
339  Probal to thinking and indeed the course
340  To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
341  The inclining Desdemona to subdue
342  In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
343  As the free elements. And then for her
344  To win the Moor--were't to renounce his baptism,
345  All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
346  His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
347  That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
348  Even as her appetite shall play the god
349  With his weak function. How am I then a villain
350  To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
351  Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
352  When devils will the blackest sins put on,
353  They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
354  As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
355  Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
356  And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
357  I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
358  That she repeals him for her body's lust;
359  And by how much she strives to do him good,
360  She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
361  So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
362  And out of her own goodness make the net
363  That shall enmesh them all.
364  How now, Roderigo!
365  I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
366  hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
367  almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well
368  cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
369  have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
370  no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.
371  How poor are they that have not patience!
372  What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
373  Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
374  And wit depends on dilatory time.
375  Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
376  And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio:
377  Though other things grow fair against the sun,
378  Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
379  Content thyself awhile. By the mass, 'tis morning;
380  Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
381  Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
382  Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
383  Nay, get thee gone.
384  Two things are to be done:
385  My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
386  I'll set her on;
387  Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
388  And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
389  Soliciting his wife: ay, that's the way
390  Dull not device by coldness and delay.

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