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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act I. Scene II.

Othello, the Moor of Venice

Another Street.

Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants, with torches.

Iago.Though in the trade of war I have slain men,

Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscience

To do no contriv’d murder: I lack iniquity

Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times

I had thought to have yerk’d him here under the ribs.

Oth.’Tis better as it is.

Iago.Nay, but he prated,

And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms

Against your honour

That, with the little godliness I have,

I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray, sir,

Are you fast married? Be assur’d of this,

That the magnifico is much belov’d,

And hath in his effect a voice potential

As double as the duke’s; he will divorce you,

Or put upon you what restraint and grievance

The law—with all his might to enforce it on—

Will give him cable.

Oth.Let him do his spite:

My services which I have done the signiory

Shall out-tongue his complaints. ’Tis yet to know,

Which when I know that boasting is an honour

I shall promulgate, I fetch my life and being

From men of royal siege, and my demerits

May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune

As this that I have reach’d; for know, Iago,

But that I love the gentle Desdemona,

I would not my unhoused free condition

Put into circumscription and confine

For the sea’s worth. But, look! what lights come yond?

Iago.Those are the raised father and his friends:

You were best go in.

Oth.Not I; I must be found:

My parts, my title, and my perfect soul

Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?

Iago.By Janus, I think no.

Enter CASSIO and certain Officers, with torches.

Oth.The servants of the duke, and my lieutenant.

The goodness of the night upon you, friends!

What is the news?

Cas.The duke does greet you, general,

And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,

Even on the instant.

Oth.What is the matter, think you?

Cas.Something from Cyprus, as I may divine.

It is a business of some heat; the galleys

Have sent a dozen sequent messengers

This very night at one another’s heels,

And many of the consuls, rais’d and met,

Are at the duke’s already. You have been hotly call’d for;

When, being not at your lodging to be found,

The senate hath sent about three several quests

To search you out.

Oth.’Tis well I am found by you.

I will but spend a word here in the house,

And go with you.[Exit.

Cas.Ancient, what makes he here?

Iago.Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carrack;

If it prove lawful prize, he’s made for ever.

Cas.I do not understand.

Iago.He’s married.

Cas.To who?

Re-enter OTHELLO.

Iago.Marry, to—Come, captain, will you go?

Oth.Have with you.

Cas.Here comes another troop to seek for you.

Iago.It is Brabantio. General, be advis’d;

He comes to bad intent.

Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers, with torches and weapons.

Oth.Holla! stand there!

Rod.Signior, it is the Moor.

Bra.Down with him, thief![They draw on both sides.

Iago.You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.

Oth.Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.

Good signior, you shall more command with years

Than with your weapons.

Bra.O thou foul thief! where hast thou stow’d my daughter?

Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;

For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,

If she in chains of magic were not bound,

Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy,

So opposite to marriage that she shunn’d

The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,

Would ever have, to incur a general mock,

Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom

Of such a thing as thou; to fear, not to delight.

Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense

That thou hast practis’d on her with foul charms,

Abus’d her delicate youth with drugs or minerals

That weaken motion: I’ll have ’t disputed on;

’Tis probable, and palpable to thinking.

I therefore apprehend and do attach thee

For an abuser of the world, a practiser

Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.

Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,

Subdue him at his peril.

Oth.Hold your hands,

Both you of my inclining, and the rest:

Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it

Without a prompter. Where will you that I go

To answer this your charge?

Bra.To prison; till fit time

Of law and course of direct session

Call thee to answer.

Oth.What if I do obey?

How may the duke be there with satisfied,

Whose messengers are here about my side,

Upon some present business of the state

To bring me to him?

Off.’Tis true, most worthy signior;

The duke’s in council, and your noble self,

I am sure, is sent for.

Bra.How! the duke in council!

In this time of the night! Bring him away.

Mine’s not an idle cause: the duke himself,

Or any of my brothers of the state,

Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own;

For if such actions may have passage free,

Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.[Exeunt.