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THE STATIONER TO THE READER.*
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.
DUKE OF VENICE.
BRABANTIO, a senator.
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.
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.
OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.
SCENE I. Venice. A street.
Enter RODERIGO and IAGO.
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,
Rod. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place :—
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
Nonsuits my mediators; for, "Certes,"(2) says he,
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,
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
To love the Moor.
I would not follow him, then.
I follow him to serve my turn upon him :
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lin'd their coats,
And such a one do I profess myself.
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago: