Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners

garden with poles for vines

The power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills

IAGO:
O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four
times seven years; and since I could distinguish
betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never found man
that knew how to love himself. Ere I would say, I
would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I
would change my humanity with a baboon.

RODERIGO:
What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so
fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it.

IAGO:
Virtue! a fig! ’tis in ourselves that we are thus
or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which
our wills are gardeners
: so that if we will plant
nettles, or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up
thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs, or
distract it with many, either to have it sterile
with idleness, or manured with industry, why, the
power and corrigible authority of this lies in our
wills. If the balance of our lives had not one
scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal
stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that
you call love to be a sect or scion.

from Othello, the Moore of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3
by William Shakespeare

Read the rest of Scene 3, online.

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