….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,

 

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Speak of me as I am.  Nothing extenuate,

Nor set down aught in malice.

 

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                                     Then must you speak

Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;

 

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Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,

Perplexed in the extreme,

 

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                                          of one whose hand,

Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away

Richer than all his tribe;

 

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                        of one whose subdued eyes        

 

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Albeit unused to the melting mood,

 

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Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees

Their medicinable gum.

 

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

 

 

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