ACT III
Scene 4
 

Before the castle.

Enter Desdemona, Emilia, and Clown.

DESDEMONA
Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?

CLOWN
I dare not say he lies anywhere.

DESDEMONA
Why, man?

CLOWN
He's a soldier; and for one to say a soldier lies, is
stabbing.

DESDEMONA
Go to! Where lodges he?

CLOWN
To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie.

DESDEMONA
Can anything be made of this?

CLOWN
I know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a lodging,
and say he lies here or he lies there, were to lie in mine own
throat.

DESDEMONA
Can you inquire him out and be edified by report?

CLOWN
I will catechize the world for him; that is, make questions
and by them answer.

DESDEMONA
Seek him, bid him come hither. Tell him I have moved my
lord on his behalf and hope all will be well.

CLOWN
To do this is within the compass of man's wit, and therefore
I will attempt the doing it.

Exit.

DESDEMONA
Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?

EMILIA
I know not, madam.

DESDEMONA
Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
Full of crusadoes; and, but my noble Moor
Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
As jealous creatures are, it were enough
To put him to ill thinking.

EMILIA
Is he not jealous?

DESDEMONA
Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
Drew all such humors from him.

EMILIA
Look, where he comes.

DESDEMONA
I will not leave him now till Cassio
Be call'd to him.

Enter Othello.

How is't with you, my lord?

OTHELLO
Well, my good lady. [Aside.] O, hardness to dissemble!
How do you, Desdemona?

DESDEMONA
Well, my good lord.

OTHELLO
Give me your hand. This hand is moist, my lady.

DESDEMONA
It yet has felt no age nor known no sorrow.

OTHELLO
This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart;
Hot, hot, and moist. This hand of yours requires
A sequester from liberty, fasting, and prayer,
Much castigation, exercise devout,
For here's a young and sweating devil here
That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,
A frank one.

DESDEMONA
You may, indeed, say so;
For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.

OTHELLO
A liberal hand. The hearts of old gave hands;
But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.

DESDEMONA
I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.

OTHELLO
What promise, chuck?

DESDEMONA
I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.

OTHELLO
I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
Lend me thy handkerchief.

DESDEMONA
Here, my lord.

OTHELLO
That which I gave you.

DESDEMONA
I have it not about me.

OTHELLO
Not?

DESDEMONA
No, faith, my lord.

OTHELLO
That's a fault. That handkerchief
Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
She was a charmer, and could almost read
The thoughts of people. She told her, while she kept it,
'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
Entirely to her love, but if she lost it
Or made a gift of it, my father's eye
Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt
After new fancies. She dying gave it me,
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
To give it her. I did so, and take heed on't;
Make it a darling like your precious eye;
To lose't or give't away were such perdition
As nothing else could match.

DESDEMONA
Is't possible?

OTHELLO
'Tis true; there's magic in the web of it.
A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
The sun to course two hundred compasses,
In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk,
And it was dyed in mummy which the skillful
Conserved of maiden's hearts.

DESDEMONA
Indeed! is't true?

OTHELLO
Most veritable; therefore look to't well.

DESDEMONA
Then would to God that I had never seen't!

OTHELLO
Ha! wherefore?

DESDEMONA
Why do you speak so startingly and rash?

OTHELLO
Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out o' the way?

DESDEMONA
Heaven bless us!

OTHELLO
Say you?

DESDEMONA
It is not lost; but what an if it were?

OTHELLO
How?

DESDEMONA
I say, it is not lost.

OTHELLO
Fetch't, let me see it.

DESDEMONA
Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
This is a trick to put me from my suit.
Pray you, let Cassio be received again.

OTHELLO
Fetch me the handkerchief, my mind misgives.

DESDEMONA
Come, come,
You'll never meet a more sufficient man.

OTHELLO
The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA
I pray, talk me of Cassio.

OTHELLO
The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA
A man that all his time
Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
Shared dangers with you--

OTHELLO
The handkerchief!

DESDEMONA
In sooth, you are to blame.

OTHELLO
Away!

Exit.

EMILIA
Is not this man jealous?

DESDEMONA
I ne'er saw this before.
Sure there's some wonder in this handkerchief;
I am most unhappy in the loss of it.

EMILIA
'Tis not a year or two shows us a man.
They are all but stomachs and we all but food;
They eat us hungerly, and when they are full
They belch us. Look you! Cassio and my husband.

Enter Cassio and Iago.

IAGO
There is no other way; 'tis she must do't.
And, lo, the happiness! Go and importune her.

DESDEMONA
How now, good Cassio! What's the news with you?

CASSIO
Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you
That by your virtuous means I may again
Exist and be a member of his love
Whom I with all the office of my heart
Entirely honor. I would not be delay'd.
If my offense be of such mortal kind
That nor my service past nor present sorrows
Nor purposed merit in futurity
Can ransom me into his love again,
But to know so must be my benefit;
So shall I clothe me in a forced content
And shut myself up in some other course
To Fortune's alms.

DESDEMONA
Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
My advocation is not now in tune;
My lord is not my lord, nor should I know him
Were he in favor as in humor alter'd.
So help me every spirit sanctified,
As I have spoken for you all my best
And stood within the blank of his displeasure
For my free speech! You must awhile be patient.
What I can do I will; and more I will
Than for myself I dare. Let that suffice you.

IAGO
Is my lord angry?

EMILIA
He went hence but now,
And certainly in strange unquietness.

IAGO
Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
When it hath blown his ranks into the air
And, like the devil, from his very arm
Puff'd his own brother. And can he be angry?
Something of moment then. I will go meet him.
There's matter in't indeed if he be angry.

DESDEMONA
I prithee, do so.

Exit Iago.

Something sure of state,
Either from Venice or some unhatch'd practice
Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
Hath puddled his clear spirit; and in such cases
Men's natures wrangle with inferior things,
Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so;
For let our finger ache, and it indues
Our other healthful members even to that sense
Of pain. Nay, we must think men are not gods,
Nor of them look for such observancy
As fits the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia,
I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
But now I find I had suborn'd the witness,
And he's indicted falsely.

EMILIA
Pray heaven it be state matters, as you think,
And no conception nor no jealous toy
Concerning you.

DESDEMONA
Alas the day, I never gave him cause!

EMILIA
But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous. 'Tis a monster
Begot upon itself, born on itself.

DESDEMONA
Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind!

EMILIA
Lady, amen.

DESDEMONA
I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout.
If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit,
And seek to effect it to my uttermost.

CASSIO
I humbly thank your ladyship.

Exeunt Desdemona and Emilia.

Enter Bianca.

BIANCA
Save you, friend Cassio!

CASSIO
What make you from home?
How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
I'faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.

BIANCA
And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
Eight score eight hours? and lovers' absent hours,
More tedious than the dial eight score times?
O weary reckoning!

CASSIO
Pardon me, Bianca.
I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd;
But I shall in a more continuate time
Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,

Gives her Desdemona's handkerchief.

Take me this work out.

BIANCA
O Cassio, whence came this?
This is some token from a newer friend.
To the felt absence now I feel a cause.
Is't come to this? Well, well.

CASSIO
Go to, woman!
Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth,
From whence you have them. You are jealous now
That this is from some mistress, some remembrance.
No, by my faith, Bianca.

BIANCA
Why, whose is it?

CASSIO
I know not, sweet. I found it in my chamber.
I like the work well. Ere it be demanded--
As like enough it will--I'ld have it copied.
Take it, and do't; and leave me for this time.

BIANCA
Leave you! wherefore?

CASSIO
I do attend here on the general;
And think it no addition, nor my wish,
To have him see me woman'd.

BIANCA
Why, I pray you?

CASSIO
Not that I love you not.

BIANCA
But that you do not love me.
I pray you, bring me on the way a little,
And say if I shall see you soon at night.

CASSIO
'Tis but a little way that I can bring you,
For I attend here, but I'll see you soon.

BIANCA
'Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.

Exeunt.