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IS the curfe of service:
Preferment goes by letter, and affection, And not (1) by old gradation, where each fecond Stood heir to th' first.
In difpraife of Honefty.
We cannot all be mafters, nor all masters Cannot be truly follow'd. You fhall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave, That, doting on his own obfequious bondage, Wears out his time much like his master's afs, For nought but provender, and when he's old, cashier'd; Whip me fuch honeft knaves. Others there are
(1) By old, &c.] i. c. by the old and former gradation, the old and ufual method formerly practis'd. It is a very common manner of expreffion, when speaking of any thing formerly in ufe.
Who trimm'd in forms and vifages of duty,
Do themselves homage. These folks have fome foul,
(2) Were the Moor, I would not be Iago:
SCENE IV. Love the fole Motive of Othello's
For know Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
SCENE VIII. Othello's Relation of his Courtship
to the Senate.
Moft potent, grave, and reverend figniors, My very noble, and approv'd good mafters;
(2) Were I, &c.] This bears fome refemblance to that celebrated anfwer of Alexander which Longinus fo greatly commends -See his Effay on the Sublime, fect. 9. "When Parmenio cried, "I would accept thefe propofals, if I was Alexander;" Alexander made this noble reply, "And fo would I, if I was Parmenio." His answer fhew'd the greatness of his mind.--See the learned Dr. Pearce's note on the paffage..
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battle;
In fpeaking for myfelf. Yet by your gracious patience,
Of my whole courfe of love. What drugs, what charms,
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,
Her father lov'd me, oft invited me ;
I ran it through, e'en from my boyish days,
Of hair-breadth fcapes i' th' imminent deadly breach;
And fold to flavery; of my redemption thence, (4) And (5) with it all my travels' history.
(3) Soft i. e. gentle, perfuafive, fuch as is ufed by fenators and men of peace.
(4) And, &c.]. I have omitted here five or fix lines, which tho' indeed capable of defence, cannot well be produced as beauties. The fimpleft expreffions, where nature and propriety dictate, may be truly fublime; fuch is all this fine fpeech of Othello.
(5) Portance in my others read.
All these to hear
Would Defdemona feriously incline;
She with'd fhe had not heard it, yet she wish'd
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov'd her,
ACT II. SCENE VI.
O my foul's joy!
If after every tempeft comes fuch calms, May the winds blow, till they have weaken'd death: (6) And let the labouring bark climb hills of feas
(6) And, &c.] This is plainly taken from that Pfalm, which the Reader will find quoted in n. 15.p. 112. vol. 2. the latter part of
Ólympus high; and duck again as low
A Lover's Exclamation.
(7) Excellent wretch! perdition catch my foul, But I do love thee, and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.
this paffage is very like one in the Eunuch of Terence, where Chorea in a tranfport of delight, breaks out into the following exclamation;
Nunc tempus profecto eft, cum perpeti me possum interfici,
Now is the time that I could gladly yield to death;
(7) Wretch] This word is found in all the copies; but ne. vertheless Mr. Theobald, and the Oxford editor read wench, which tho' doubtless it was "not formerly used in the low and vulgar acceptation, it is at prefent," yet I am perfuaded Shakespear gave us wretch, and Mr. Upton's remark feems very juft and beautiful: fpeaking of Defdemona's name, which is deriv'd from Avodauwv, i. e. the unfortunate; he fays, " and I make no queftion, but Othello, in his rapturous admiration, with fome allufion to her name exclaims, Excellent wretch," &c.
The ancient tragedians are full of these allufions; fome inftances I have mention'd above; this rapturous exclamation and allufion too has fomething ominous in it; and inftances of thefe prefaging and ominous expreffions our poet is full of." See Critical Obfervations, P. 303.