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The way to (21) ftudy death. Out, out, brief candle!
(21) Study, &c.] . e. the time itself, the yefterdays that are paft, teach even fools to study death: death is a leffon fo easily learnt, that fools themselves, inform'd by the very time can reafon and moralize upon it." See As you like it, p. 17. This is a fine and juft fenfe; and this doubtlefs is Shakespear's true word: the firft folio reads dujiy death, i. e. fays Mr. Theobald, the death which reduces us to duft and afhes; and the fecond study: either give good fenfe, the latter appears to me greatly preferable. In the 6th Scene of the ift Act of this play, fpeaking of Cawdor's dying, he fays,
As one that had been ßudied in his death
GBXWDEIX MDEIA) betet f
IS the curfe of fervice;
Preferment goes by letter, and affection, And not (1) by old gradation, where each fecond Stood heir to th' fi ft.
In difpraife of Honesty.
We cannot all be mafters, nor all masters
That, doting on his own obfequious bondage,
Do themselves homage. Thefe folks have fome fcul, And fuch a one do I profefs myself. For, Sir,
It is as fure as you are Roderigo,
(1) By old, &c.] i. e. by the old and former gradation, the old and usual method formerly practis'd. It is a very common manner of expreffion, when speaking of any thing formerly in ufe..
(2) Were I the Moor, I would not be Tago:
Love the fole Motive of Othello's marrying.
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 masters; That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter, It is most true; true I have married her; The very head, and front of my offending, Hath this extent; no more. Rude am I in my Speech; And little blefs'd with the (3) foft phrafe of peace;
(2) Were I, &c.] This bears fome resemblance to that cele brated anfwer of Alexander which Longinus fo greatly commends-See his effay on the fublime, fect. 9. When Parmenio cried, I would accept thefe proposals, if I was Alexander ;" Alexander made this noble reply, "And fo would I, if I was Parmenio." His anfwer fhew'd the greatnefs of his mind.---See the learned Dr. Pearce's note on the paffage.
(3) Soft] i. e. gentle, perfuafive, fuch as is used by fenators and men of peace. See Vol. I. p. 177.) na6.
For fince these arms of mine had seven years pith,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battle;
In fpeaking for my felf. Yet by your gracious patience,
What drugs, what
Of my whole courfe of love.
What conjuration, and what mighty magick,
Her father lov'd me, oft invited me ;
From year to year; the battles, fieges, fortunes,
I ran it through, e'en from my boyish days,
And fold to flavery; of my redemption thence,
All these to hear
Would Defdemona feriously incline;
(4) And, &c.] I have omitted here five or fix lines, which tho' indeed capable of defence, cannot well be produced as beauties. The simplest expreffions, where nature and propriety dictate, may be truly fublime; fuch is all this fine fpeech of Othello. Portance in my---others read.
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
She fwore in faith, 'twas ftrange, 'twas paffing ftrange,
She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heav'n had made her fuch a man-fhe thank'd me,
I should but teach him how to tell my ftory;
O my foul's joy!
If after every tempeft comes fuch calms,
May the winds blow, till they have weaken'd death: (5) And let the labouring bark climb hills of feas
(5) And, &c.] This is plainly taken from that Psalm, which the reader will find quoted in note 7. p. 142 of vol. 1. the latter part of this paffage is very like one in the Eunuch of Terence, where Chaerea in a tranfport of delight, breaks out into the following exclamation;
Nunc tempus profecto eft, cum perpeti me poffum interfici,
A. 3. Si 5