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    Act II. Scene III

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    Chapter 6
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    SCENE III. A hall in the castle.

    Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and Attendants
    OTHELLO
    Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
    Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop,
    Not to outsport discretion.

    CASSIO
    Iago hath direction what to do;
    But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
    Will I look to't.

    OTHELLO
    Iago is most honest.
    Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
    Let me have speech with you.

    To DESDEMONA

    Come, my dear love,
    The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
    That profit's yet to come 'tween me and you.
    Good night.

    Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants

    Enter IAGO

    CASSIO
    Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

    IAGO
    Not this hour, lieutenant; 'tis not yet ten o' the
    clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love
    of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore blame:
    he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and
    she is sport for Jove.

    CASSIO
    She's a most exquisite lady.

    IAGO
    And, I'll warrant her, fun of game.

    CASSIO
    Indeed, she's a most fresh and delicate creature.

    IAGO
    What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of
    provocation.

    CASSIO
    An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.

    IAGO
    And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?

    CASSIO
    She is indeed perfection.

    IAGO
    Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I
    have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace
    of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to
    the health of black Othello.

    CASSIO
    Not to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and
    unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish
    courtesy would invent some other custom of
    entertainment.

    IAGO
    O, they are our friends; but one cup: I'll drink for
    you.

    CASSIO
    I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was
    craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation
    it makes here: I am unfortunate in the infirmity,
    and dare not task my weakness with any more.

    IAGO
    What, man! 'tis a night of revels: the gallants
    desire it.

    CASSIO
    Where are they?

    IAGO
    Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.

    CASSIO
    I'll do't; but it dislikes me.

    Exit

    IAGO
    If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
    With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
    He'll be as full of quarrel and offence
    As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
    Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side out,
    To Desdemona hath to-night caroused
    Potations pottle-deep; and he's to watch:
    Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
    That hold their honours in a wary distance,
    The very elements of this warlike isle,
    Have I to-night fluster'd with flowing cups,
    And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of drunkards,
    Am I to put our Cassio in some action
    That may offend the isle.--But here they come:
    If consequence do but approve my dream,
    My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

    Re-enter CASSIO; with him MONTANO and Gentlemen; servants following with wine

    CASSIO
    'Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.

    MONTANO
    Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am
    a soldier.

    IAGO
    Some wine, ho!

    Sings

    And let me the canakin clink, clink;
    And let me the canakin clink
    A soldier's a man;
    A life's but a span;
    Why, then, let a soldier drink.
    Some wine, boys!

    CASSIO
    'Fore God, an excellent song.

    IAGO
    I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
    most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and
    your swag-bellied Hollander--Drink, ho!--are nothing
    to your English.

    CASSIO
    Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

    IAGO
    Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
    drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he
    gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
    can be filled.

    CASSIO
    To the health of our general!

    MONTANO
    I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.

    IAGO
    O sweet England!
    King Stephen was a worthy peer,
    His breeches cost him but a crown;
    He held them sixpence all too dear,
    With that he call'd the tailor lown.
    He was a wight of high renown,
    And thou art but of low degree:
    'Tis pride that pulls the country down;
    Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
    Some wine, ho!

    CASSIO
    Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.

    IAGO
    Will you hear't again?

    CASSIO
    No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that
    does those things. Well, God's above all; and there
    be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

    IAGO
    It's true, good lieutenant.

    CASSIO
    For mine own part,--no offence to the general, nor
    any man of quality,--I hope to be saved.

    IAGO
    And so do I too, lieutenant.

    CASSIO
    Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the
    lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's
    have no more of this; let's to our affairs.--Forgive
    us our sins!--Gentlemen, let's look to our business.
    Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
    ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
    I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and
    speak well enough.

    All
    Excellent well.

    CASSIO
    Why, very well then; you must not think then that I am drunk.

    Exit

    MONTANO
    To the platform, masters; come, let's set the watch.

    IAGO
    You see this fellow that is gone before;
    He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
    And give direction: and do but see his vice;
    'Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
    The one as long as the other: 'tis pity of him.
    I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
    On some odd time of his infirmity,
    Will shake this island.

    MONTANO
    But is he often thus?

    IAGO
    'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
    He'll watch the horologe a double set,
    If drink rock not his cradle.

    MONTANO
    It were well
    The general were put in mind of it.
    Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
    Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
    And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

    Enter RODERIGO

    IAGO
    [Aside to him] How now, Roderigo!
    I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

    Exit RODERIGO

    MONTANO
    And 'tis great pity that the noble Moor
    Should hazard such a place as his own second
    With one of an ingraft infirmity:
    It were an honest action to say
    So to the Moor.

    IAGO
    Not I, for this fair island:
    I do love Cassio well; and would do much
    To cure him of this evil--But, hark! what noise?

    Cry within: 'Help! help!'

    Re-enter CASSIO, driving in RODERIGO

    CASSIO
    You rogue! you rascal!

    MONTANO
    What's the matter, lieutenant?

    CASSIO
    A knave teach me my duty!
    I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.

    RODERIGO
    Beat me!

    CASSIO
    Dost thou prate, rogue?

    Striking RODERIGO

    MONTANO
    Nay, good lieutenant;

    Staying him

    I pray you, sir, hold your hand.

    CASSIO
    Let me go, sir,
    Or I'll knock you o'er the mazzard.

    MONTANO
    Come, come,
    you're drunk.

    CASSIO
    Drunk!

    They fight

    IAGO
    [Aside to RODERIGO] Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.

    Exit RODERIGO

    Nay, good lieutenant,--alas, gentlemen;--
    Help, ho!--Lieutenant,--sir,--Montano,--sir;
    Help, masters!--Here's a goodly watch indeed!

    Bell rings

    Who's that which rings the bell?--Diablo, ho!
    The town will rise: God's will, lieutenant, hold!
    You will be shamed for ever.

    Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants

    OTHELLO
    What is the matter here?

    MONTANO
    'Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

    Faints

    OTHELLO
    Hold, for your lives!

    IAGO
    Hold, ho! Lieutenant,--sir--Montano,--gentlemen,--
    Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
    Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

    OTHELLO
    Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
    Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that
    Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
    For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
    He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
    Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
    Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
    From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
    Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving,
    Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

    IAGO
    I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
    In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
    Devesting them for bed; and then, but now--
    As if some planet had unwitted men--
    Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast,
    In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
    Any beginning to this peevish odds;
    And would in action glorious I had lost
    Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

    OTHELLO
    How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

    CASSIO
    I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

    OTHELLO
    Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
    The gravity and stillness of your youth
    The world hath noted, and your name is great
    In mouths of wisest censure: what's the matter,
    That you unlace your reputation thus
    And spend your rich opinion for the name
    Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

    MONTANO
    Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
    Your officer, Iago, can inform you,--
    While I spare speech, which something now
    offends me,--
    Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
    By me that's said or done amiss this night;
    Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
    And to defend ourselves it be a sin
    When violence assails us.

    OTHELLO
    Now, by heaven,
    My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
    And passion, having my best judgment collied,
    Assays to lead the way: if I once stir,
    Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
    Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
    How this foul rout began, who set it on;
    And he that is approved in this offence,
    Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth,
    Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
    Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear,
    To manage private and domestic quarrel,
    In night, and on the court and guard of safety!
    'Tis monstrous. Iago, who began't?

    MONTANO
    If partially affined, or leagued in office,
    Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
    Thou art no soldier.

    IAGO
    Touch me not so near:
    I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
    Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
    Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
    Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general.
    Montano and myself being in speech,
    There comes a fellow crying out for help:
    And Cassio following him with determined sword,
    To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
    Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
    Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
    Lest by his clamour--as it so fell out--
    The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
    Outran my purpose; and I return'd the rather
    For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
    And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
    I ne'er might say before. When I came back--
    For this was brief--I found them close together,
    At blow and thrust; even as again they were
    When you yourself did part them.
    More of this matter cannot I report:
    But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
    Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
    As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
    Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
    From him that fled some strange indignity,
    Which patience could not pass.

    OTHELLO
    I know, Iago,
    Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
    Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
    But never more be officer of mine.

    Re-enter DESDEMONA, attended

    Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
    I'll make thee an example.

    DESDEMONA
    What's the matter?

    OTHELLO
    All's well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
    Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
    Lead him off.

    To MONTANO, who is led off

    Iago, look with care about the town,
    And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
    Come, Desdemona: 'tis the soldiers' life
    To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

    Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO

    IAGO
    What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

    CASSIO
    Ay, past all surgery.

    IAGO
    Marry, heaven forbid!

    CASSIO
    Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
    my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
    myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
    Iago, my reputation!

    IAGO
    As I am an honest man, I thought you had received
    some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than
    in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false
    imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without
    deserving: you have lost no reputation at all,
    unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man!
    there are ways to recover the general again: you
    are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
    policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
    offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: sue
    to him again, and he's yours.

    CASSIO
    I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
    good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
    indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
    and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
    fustian with one's own shadow? O thou invisible
    spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
    let us call thee devil!

    IAGO
    What was he that you followed with your sword? What
    had he done to you?

    CASSIO
    I know not.

    IAGO
    Is't possible?

    CASSIO
    I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly;
    a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men
    should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away
    their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance
    revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!

    IAGO
    Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus
    recovered?

    CASSIO
    It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
    to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me
    another, to make me frankly despise myself.

    IAGO
    Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
    the place, and the condition of this country
    stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
    but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.

    CASSIO
    I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me
    I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra,
    such an answer would stop them all. To be now a
    sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a
    beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is
    unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

    IAGO
    Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
    if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
    And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.

    CASSIO
    I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!

    IAGO
    You or any man living may be drunk! at a time, man.
    I'll tell you what you shall do. Our general's wife
    is now the general: may say so in this respect, for
    that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
    contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and
    graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune
    her help to put you in your place again: she is of
    so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition,
    she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more
    than she is requested: this broken joint between
    you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my
    fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
    crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

    CASSIO
    You advise me well.

    IAGO
    I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

    CASSIO
    I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will
    beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me:
    I am desperate of my fortunes if they cheque me here.

    IAGO
    You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
    must to the watch.
    CASSIO: Good night, honest Iago.

    Exit

    IAGO
    And what's he then that says I play the villain?
    When this advice is free I give and honest,
    Probal to thinking and indeed the course
    To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
    The inclining Desdemona to subdue
    In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
    As the free elements. And then for her
    To win the Moor--were't to renounce his baptism,
    All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
    His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
    That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
    Even as her appetite shall play the god
    With his weak function. How am I then a villain
    To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
    Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
    When devils will the blackest sins put on,
    They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
    As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
    Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
    And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
    I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
    That she repeals him for her body's lust;
    And by how much she strives to do him good,
    She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
    So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
    And out of her own goodness make the net
    That shall enmesh them all.

    Re-enter RODERIGO

    How now, Roderigo!

    RODERIGO
    I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
    hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
    almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well
    cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
    have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
    no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.

    IAGO
    How poor are they that have not patience!
    What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
    Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
    And wit depends on dilatory time.
    Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
    And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio:
    Though other things grow fair against the sun,
    Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
    Content thyself awhile. By the mass, 'tis morning;
    Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
    Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
    Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
    Nay, get thee gone.

    Exit RODERIGO

    Two things are to be done:
    My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
    I'll set her on;
    Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
    And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
    Soliciting his wife: ay, that's the way
    Dull not device by coldness and delay.

    Exit
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