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was the reduction of Ulster, and other parts of Ireland; the inemory of which he would perpetuate by that addition to their arms, it being the arms of Ulster.
WARBURTON. The historical observation is very judicious and acute; but of the emendation there is no need. She says, that her hand gave away her heart. He goes on with his suspicion, and the hand which he had before called frank, he now terms liberal; then proceeds to remark, that the hand was formerly given by the heart; but now it neither gives it, nor is given by it.
JOHNSON. I think, with Dr. Warburton, that the new order of baronets is here again alluded to. See Merry Wives of Windsor, act ii. and Spelman's Epigram cited in the note.
BLACKSTONE. —our new heraldry, &c.] I believe this to be only a figurative expression, without the least reference to king James's creation of baronets. The absurdity of making Othello so familiar with British heraldry, the utter want of consistency as well as policy in any sneer of Shakspere at the badge of honours instituted by a prince, whom on all other occasions he was solicitous to Aatter, and at whose court this very piece was acted in 1613, very strongly incline me to question the pro. priety of Dr. Warburton's historical explanation.
STEEVENS. 651. -salt and sorry rheum-] The old quartos
-salt and sullen rheum
That That is, a rheum absolutely troublesome. I think this better.
JOHSNON. 658. That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give:] In the account of this tremendous handkerchief, are some particulars which lead me to think, that here is an allusion to a fact, heightened by poetical imagery. It is the practice in the eastern regions, for persons of both sexes to carry handkerchiefs very curiously wrought. In the MS. papers of Sir John Chardin, that great oriental traveller, is a passage which fully describes the custom. “ The mode of wrought handkerchiefs (says this learned inquirer), is general in Arabia, in Syria, in Palestine, and in all the Turkish empire. They are wrought with a needle, and it is the amusement of the fair sex threre, as among us the making tapestry and lace. The young women make them for their fathers, their brothers, and by way of preparation before hand for their spouses, bestowing them as favours on their lovers. They have them almost constantly in their hands in those warm countries, to wipe off sweat." But whether this circumstance ever came to Shakspere's knowledge, and gave rise to the incident, I am not able to determine.
WHALLEY, 674. A sybil, &c.] This circumstance, perhaps, is imitated by Ben Jonson in the Sad Shepherd:
“ A Gypsan lady, and a right beldame,
674. — number'd
The sun to course -] i.e. number'd the sun's courses : badly expressed.
WARBURTON. The expression is not very infrequent? we say, I counted the clock to strike four: so she number'd the sun to course, to run two hundred compasses, two hundred annual circuits.
JOHNSON. 675. —to course-] The first quarto reads—to make
STEEVENS. 678. And it was dy'd in mummy,–] The balsamick liquor running from mummies, was formerly celebrated for its anti-epileptic virtues. We are now wise enough to know, that the qualities ascribed to it are all imaginary; and yet I have been informed, that this fanciful medicine still holds a place in the shops wliere drugs are sold. So, in The Bird in a Cage, by Shirley, 1033: “:—make mumny of my flesh, and sell me to the
apothecaries.” Again, in The Honest Lawyer, 1616:
“ That I might tear their Aesh in mamocks, raise “ My losses, from their carcases turn'd mummy.”
STEEVENS. 678. —which the skilful
Conserv'd of maidens' hearts.] Thus the folio. The quarto reads- -with the skilful Conserves, &c.
Steevens. 684. -rash?] Is vehement, violent. JOHNSON. 699. I pray talk me of Cassio.] This and the following short speech are omitted in all ancient editions but the first quarto.
STEEVENS. 721. the office of my heart,] The elder quarto reads,
-the duty of my heart. The author used the more proper word, and then changed it, I suppose, for fashionable diction; but, as fashion is a very weak protectress, the old word is now ready to resume its place.
JOHNSON. 729. And shoot myself up-] This is the reading of one of the early quartos. The folio, and all the modern editions, have, And shut myself up
JOHNSON. The quarto 1630 (like the folio) reads,
And shut myself upI cannot help thinking this reading to be the true one. The idea seems taken from the confinement of a monastick life. The words, forc'd content, help to confirm the supposition. The meaning will therefore be, “ I will put on a constrained appearance of being “ contented, and shut myself up in a different course “ of life, no longer to depend on my own efforts, but " to wait for relief from the accidental hand of cha
Shakspere uses the same expression in Macbeth :
"and skut up “ In measureless content.” Again, in All's Well that Ends Well: " Whose basest stars do shut us up in wishes."
I cannot agree with Mr. Steevens in approving of the present reading, nor of course, in his explanation of this passage; but think the quarto right, which reads shoot instead of shut.-To say that a man will shut himself up in a course of life, is language such as Shakspere would never make use of, even in his most whimsical or licentious moments.
One of the meanings of the verb to shoot, is to push suddenly, or to push forward; and in that sense it is used in this place. Cassio means to say, that if he finds he has no chance of regaining the favour of the general, he will push forward into some other line of life, and seek his fortune ; but I think it probable we ought to read-And shoot myself upon some other course, instead of up in some other course.
MONCK MASON. Mr. Mason's explanation is a very forced one.--It appears- from the information of Iago, that Cassio had not long been a soldier. Before Othello pro. moted him, for his good offices in respect to Desde. mona, he was
a great arithmetician, a countercaster;" and now, being discarded from the military line, he purposes to confine, or shut hinself up, as he formerly had, within the limits of a new profession.
HENLEY. 734. min favour
In look, in countenance.
JOHNSON. 737. -within the blank of his displeasure,] Within the shot of his anger.