Othello By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 1

ACT II.

SCENE I. A seaport in Cyprus. A Platform.

[Enter Montano and two Gentlemen.]

MONTANO.
What from the cape can you discern at sea?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Nothing at all: it is a high-wrought flood;
I cannot, 'twixt the heaven and the main,
Descry a sail.

MONTANO.
Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements:
If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea,
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
The wind-shak'd surge, with high and monstrous main,
Seems to cast water on the burning Bear,
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole;
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.

MONTANO.
If that the Turkish fleet
Be not enshelter'd and embay'd, they are drown'd;
It is impossible to bear it out.

[Enter a third Gentleman.]

THIRD GENTLEMAN.
News, lads! our wars are done.
The desperate tempest hath so bang'd the Turks
That their designment halts; a noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.

MONTANO.
How! is this true?

THIRD GENTLEMAN.
The ship is here put in,
A Veronessa; Michael Cassio,
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
Is come on shore: the Moor himself's at sea,
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.

MONTANO.
I am glad on't; 'tis a worthy governor.

THIRD GENTLEMAN.
But this same Cassio, — though he speak of comfort
Touching the Turkish loss, — yet he looks sadly,
And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
With foul and violent tempest.

MONTANO.
Pray heavens he be;
For I have serv'd him, and the man commands
Like a full soldier. Let's to the sea-side, ho!
As well to see the vessel that's come in
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
An indistinct regard.

THIRD GENTLEMAN.
Come, let's do so;
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivance.

[Enter Cassio.]

CASSIO.
Thanks you, the valiant of this warlike isle,
That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
Give him defence against the elements,
For I have lost him on a dangerous sea!

MONTANO.
Is he well shipp'd?

CASSIO.
His bark is stoutly timber'd, and his pilot
Of very expert and approv'd allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.

[Within.] A sail, a sail, a sail!

[Enter a fourth Gentleman.]

CASSIO.
What noise?

FOURTH GENTLEMAN.
The town is empty; on the brow o' the sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry, "A sail!"

CASSIO.
My hopes do shape him for the governor.

[Guns within.]

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
Our friends at least.

CASSIO.
I pray you, sir, go forth,
And give us truth who 'tis that is arriv'd.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
I shall.

[Exit.]

MONTANO.
But, good lieutenant, is your general wiv'd?

CASSIO.
Most fortunately: he hath achiev'd a maid
That paragons description and wild fame,
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the ingener. —

[Re-enter second Gentleman.]

How now! who has put in?

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
'Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

CASSIO.
He has had most favourable and happy speed:
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
The gutter'd rocks, and congregated sands, —
Traitors ensteep'd to clog the guiltless keel, —
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
The divine Desdemona.

MONTANO.
What is she?

CASSIO.
She that I spake of, our great captain's captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago;
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A se'nnight's speed. — Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,
Give renew'd fire to our extincted spirits,
And bring all Cyprus comfort! O, behold,

[Enter Desdemona, Emilia, Iago, Roderigo, and Attendants.]

The riches of the ship is come on shore!
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees. —
Hall to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
Enwheel thee round!

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