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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Scenes from the Tragedies
Othello’s Story of his Wooing
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
From ‘Othello

OTHELLO—Her father lov’d me; oft invited me;
Still question’d me the story of my life
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have pass’d.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,        5
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances.
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe        10
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travel’s history;
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It was my hint to speak,—such was my process,—        15
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. These to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline;
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence,        20
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She’d come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart        25
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively. I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears
When I did speak of some distressful stroke        30
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
She swore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange,
’Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful.
She wish’d she had not heard it; yet she wish’d        35
That Heaven had made her such a man. She thank’d me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov’d her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake;
She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d,        40
And I lov’d her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have us’d.
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.
 
 
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