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The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice

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Act IV, Scene 3

Another room in the castle.



  • Lodovico. I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.
  • Othello. O, pardon me: 'twill do me good to walk. 3020
  • Lodovico. Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.
  • Othello. Will you walk, sir?
  • Othello. Get you to bed on the instant; I will be returned
    forthwith: dismiss your attendant there: look it be done.

[Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and Attendants]

  • Emilia. How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did. 3030
  • Desdemona. He says he will return incontinent:
    He hath commanded me to go to bed,
    And bade me to dismiss you.
  • Desdemona. It was his bidding: therefore, good Emilia,. 3035
    Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:
    We must not now displease him.
  • Emilia. I would you had never seen him!
  • Desdemona. So would not I. my love doth so approve him,
    That even his stubbornness, his cheques, his frowns— 3040
    Prithee, unpin me,—have grace and favour in them.
  • Emilia. I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.
  • Desdemona. All's one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!
    If I do die before thee prithee, shroud me
    In one of those same sheets. 3045
  • Desdemona. My mother had a maid call'd Barbara:
    She was in love, and he she loved proved mad
    And did forsake her: she had a song of 'willow;'
    An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune, 3050
    And she died singing it: that song to-night
    Will not go from my mind; I have much to do,
    But to go hang my head all at one side,
    And sing it like poor Barbara. Prithee, dispatch.
  • Emilia. Shall I go fetch your night-gown? 3055
  • Desdemona. No, unpin me here.
    This Lodovico is a proper man.
  • Emilia. I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot 3060
    to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.
  • Desdemona. [Singing] The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
    Sing all a green willow:
    Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
    Sing willow, willow, willow: 3065
    The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur'd her moans;
    Sing willow, willow, willow;
    Her salt tears fell from her, and soften'd the stones;
    Lay by these:—
    [Singing] 3070
    Sing willow, willow, willow;
    Prithee, hie thee; he'll come anon:—
    Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
    Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,- 3075
    Nay, that's not next.—Hark! who is't that knocks?
  • Desdemona. [Singing] I call'd my love false love; but what
    said he then?
    Sing willow, willow, willow: 3080
    If I court moe women, you'll couch with moe men!
    So, get thee gone; good night Ate eyes do itch;
    Doth that bode weeping?
  • Emilia. 'Tis neither here nor there.
  • Desdemona. I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men! 3085
    Dost thou in conscience think,—tell me, Emilia,—
    That there be women do abuse their husbands
    In such gross kind?
  • Emilia. There be some such, no question.
  • Desdemona. Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world? 3090
  • Emilia. Nor I neither by this heavenly light;
    I might do't as well i' the dark.
  • Desdemona. Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world? 3095
  • Emilia. The world's a huge thing: it is a great price.
    For a small vice.
  • Desdemona. In troth, I think thou wouldst not.
  • Emilia. In troth, I think I should; and undo't when I had
    done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a 3100
    joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
    gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
    exhibition; but for the whole world,—why, who would
    not make her husband a cuckold to make him a
    monarch? I should venture purgatory for't. 3105
  • Desdemona. Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong
    For the whole world.
  • Emilia. Why the wrong is but a wrong i' the world: and
    having the world for your labour, tis a wrong in your
    own world, and you might quickly make it right. 3110
  • Desdemona. I do not think there is any such woman.
  • Emilia. Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as would
    store the world they played for.
    But I do think it is their husbands' faults
    If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties, 3115
    And pour our treasures into foreign laps,
    Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
    Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
    Or scant our former having in despite;
    Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace, 3120
    Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
    Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell
    And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
    As husbands have. What is it that they do
    When they change us for others? Is it sport? 3125
    I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
    I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs?
    It is so too: and have not we affections,
    Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
    Then let them use us well: else let them know, 3130
    The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.
  • Desdemona. Good night, good night: heaven me such uses send,
    Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!