Othello By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 1

DESDEMONA.
I thank you, valiant Cassio.
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?

CASSIO.
He is not yet arrived nor know I aught
But that he's well, and will be shortly here.

DESDEMONA.
O, but I fear — How lost you company?

CASSIO.
The great contention of the sea and skies
Parted our fellowship: — but, hark! a sail.

[Within.] A sail, a sail!

[Guns within.]

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
They give their greeting to the citadel:
This likewise is a friend.

CASSIO.
See for the news.

[Exit Gentleman.]

Good ancient, you are welcome: — [To Emilia.] Welcome, mistress: —
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners; 'tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

[Kissing her.]

IAGO.
Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You'd have enough.

DESDEMONA.
Alas, she has no speech.

IAGO.
In faith, too much;
I find it still when I have list to sleep:
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
And chides with thinking.

EMILIA.
You have little cause to say so.

IAGO.
Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
Bells in your parlours, wild cats in your kitchens,
Saints in your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.

DESDEMONA.
O, fie upon thee, slanderer!

IAGO.
Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
You rise to play, and go to bed to work.

EMILIA.
You shall not write my praise.

IAGO.
No, let me not.

DESDEMONA.
What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?

IAGO.
O gentle lady, do not put me to't;
For I am nothing if not critical.

DESDEMONA.
Come on, assay — There's one gone to the harbor?

IAGO.
Ay, madam.

DESDEMONA.
I am not merry; but I do beguile
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise. —
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?

IAGO.
I am about it; but, indeed, my invention
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize, —
It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labours,
And thus she is deliver'd.
If she be fair and wise, — fairness and wit,
The one's for use, the other useth it.

DESDEMONA.
Well prais'd! How if she be black and witty?

IAGO.
If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

DESDEMONA.
Worse and worse.

EMILIA.
How if fair and foolish?

IAGO.
She never yet was foolish that was fair;
For even her folly help'd her to an heir.

DESDEMONA.
These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i' the
alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for her that's foul
and foolish?

IAGO.
There's none so foul and foolish thereunto,
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

DESDEMONA.
O heavy ignorance! — thou praisest the worst best. But what
praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed, — one
that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch
of very malice itself?

IAGO.
She that was ever fair and never proud;
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud;
Never lack'd gold and yet went never gay;
Fled from her wish, and yet said, "Now I may";
She that, being anger'd, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly;
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind;
See suitors following and not look behind;
She was a wight, if ever such wight were; —

DESDEMONA.
To do what?

IAGO.
To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

DESDEMONA.
O most lame and impotent conclusion! — Do not learn of him,
Emilia, though he be thy husband. — How say you, Cassio? is he
not a most profane and liberal counsellor?

CASSIO.
He speaks home, madam: you may relish him more in the
soldier than in the scholar.

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