Othello's History by Shakespeare

Letter H.

Her father loved me; oft invited me;

Still question'd me the story of my life,

From year to year: the battles, sieges, fortunes,

That I have past.

I ran it through, even from my boyish days

To the very moment that he bade me tell it.

Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,

Of moving incidents by flood and field,

Of hair-breadth 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach,

Of being taken by the insolent foe,

And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,

And 'portance in my travels' 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 the process;

And of the cannibals that each other eat—

The Anthropophagi—and men whose heads

Do grow beneath their shoulders. These things to bear

Would Desdemona seriously incline:

still the house affairs would draw her thence;

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,

That I would all my pilgrimage relate,

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

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

That Heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me;

And bade me if I had a friend that loved her,

I should but teach him how to tell my story,

And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake;

She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,

And I loved her that she did pity them.

This only is the witchcraft I have used:

Here comes the lady; let her witness it.