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To set forth a book without an epistle were like to the old English proverb, A blue coat without a badge; and the author being dead, I thought good to take that piece of work upon me. To commend it, I will not; for that which is good I hope every man will commend without entreaty; and I am the bolder because the author's name is sufficient to vent his work. Thus leaving every one to the liberty of judgment, I have ventured to print this play, and leave it to the general censure.



* Prefixed to the quarto 1622.



BRABANTIO, a senator.

Other Senators.

GRATIANO, brother to Brabantio.

LODOVICO, kinsman to Brabantio.

OTHELLO, a noble Moor in the service of the Venetian state.

CASSIO, his lieutenant.

IAGO, his ancient.

RODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman.

MONTANO, Othello's predecessor in the government of Cyprus.
Clown, servant to Othello.

DESDEMONA, daughter to Brabantio and wife to Othello.

EMILIA, wife to Iago.

BIANCA, mistress to Cassio.

Sailor, Messenger, Herald, Officers, Gentlemen, Musicians, and Attendants.

SCENE-The first act in Venice; during the rest of the play, at a seaport in Cyprus.



SCENE I. Venice. A street.


Rod. Never tell me; I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this,

Iago. 'Sblood,(1) but you will not hear me :—

If ever I did dream of such a matter,

Abhor me.

Rod. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the

In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capp'd to him:—and, by the faith of man,

I know my price, I am worth no worse a place :—

But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them, with a bombast circumstance
Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion,

Nonsuits my mediators; for, "Certes,"(2) says he,
"I have already chose my officer."
And what was he?

Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,

A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows

More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the togèd (3) consuls can propose

As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
And I,-of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds
Christian and heathen,-must be be-lee'd and calm'd
By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster;
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,

And I (God bless the mark!) his Moorship's ancient.

Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman. Iago. Why, there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service, Preferment goes by letter and affection,

And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,
Whether I in any just term am affin’d

To love the Moor.

I would not follow him, then.

Iago. O, sir, content you;

I follow him to serve my turn upon him :
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
For naught but provender; and, when he's old, cashier'd:
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are,
Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,

Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,

Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lin'd their coats,
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;

And such a one do I profess myself.

For, sir,

It is as sure as you are Roderigo,

Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:

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