Othello By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 3

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.

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.

Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgement 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 approv'd in this offense,
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?

If partially affin'd, or leagu'd in office,
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
Thou art no soldier.

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 determin'd 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, receiv'd
From him that fled some strange indignity,
Which patience could not pass.

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 rais'd up! —
I'll make thee an example.

What's the matter?

All's well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
[To Montano, who is led off.]
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
Lead him 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 wak'd with strife.

[Exeunt all but Iago and Cassio.]

What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

Ay, past all surgery.

Marry, heaven forbid!

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!

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 is yours.

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!

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

I know not.

Is't possible?

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

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

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

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.

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