Iago speaks to Roderigo, explaining that he considers himself next in line for the position of
Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capp'd to him: and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place: But he; as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war; And, in conclusion, Nonsuits my mediators; for, 'Certes,' says he, 'I have already chose my officer.' And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife; That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric, Wherein the toged consuls can propose As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise, Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election: And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds Christian and heathen, must be be-lee'd and calm'd By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster, He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship's ancient.