William Shakespeare: Othello, Moor of Venice

2. SCENE II. Cyprus. A Bedchamber in the castle: Desdemona in bed

asleep; a light burning.

[Enter Othello.]

It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,--
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars!--
It is the cause.--Yet I'll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.

[Takes off his sword.]

Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light:
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me:--but once put out thy light,
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It must needs wither:--I'll smell it on the tree.--

[Kissing her.]

O, balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword!--One more, one more;--
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after.--One more, and this the last;
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow's heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love.--She wakes.

Who's there? Othello?

Ay, Desdemona.

Will you come to bed, my lord?

Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona?

Ay, my lord.

If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.

Alack, my lord, what may you mean by that?

Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by.
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;
No,--heaven forfend!--I would not kill thy soul.

Talk you of killing?

Ay, I do.

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