….Speak of me as I am….


Othello, marble and bronze, modeled c. 1868, executed 1873.  Pietro Calvi, 1833-1884, Italian. 

The sculpture is thought to have been modeled on photographs and prints of the African-American actor, Ira Aldridge, 1807-1867.  Famous for his portrayal of Hamlet, the actor used his fame to speak out against slavery. 

Walters Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland



When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,



Speak of me as I am.  Nothing extenuate,

Nor set down aught in malice.



                                     Then must you speak

Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;



Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,

Perplexed in the extreme,



                                          of one whose hand,

Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away

Richer than all his tribe;



                        of one whose subdued eyes        



Albeit unused to the melting mood,



Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees

Their medicinable gum.




Othello, act 5, scene 2, of William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English



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