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Line 660 - Commentary Note (CN) More Information

660 That {bettles} <beetles> ore his base into the sea, 1.4.71
1752 Dodd
660 bettles] Dodd (1752, 1: 224): “Beetles, i.e. hangs over, in the same manner as the head of a beetle hangs over, and is too big for the rest of its body: so, we say, a beetle-headed or beetle-brow’d fellow for a heavy, thick-headed one.”
1773- mstv1
mstv1 ≈ Dodd without attribution
660 bettles] Steevens (ms. notes in Steevens, ed. 1773): “beetles, juts over.”
1784 Davies
660 bettles] Davies (1784, 3:18-19): <p.18> “If I understand the meaning of the word beetle, in this place, it looks frowningly, or dreadfully, on the ocean. —The same </p.18 > <p.19 > thought occurs, with great force, in Southern’s Oroonoko, [5.]. ‘—Oh! for a whirlwind’s wing To hurry us to yonder cliff, that frowns Upon the flood.” </p.19>
1790 mal
mal ≈ Dodd without attribution
660 bettles] Malone (ed. 1790): “That hangs o’er his base, like what is called a beetle-brow. This verb is, I believe, of our author’s coinage. Malone.”
1791- rann
rann: Dodd, Steevens, and Davies, all without attribution
660 bettles] Rann (ed. 1791-): “juts out, projects beyond, hangs it’s brow frowningly over.”
1793 v1793
v1793 = mal +
660 bettles] Steevens (ed. 1793): “So in Sidney’s Arcadia, BI: ‘Hills lifted up their beetle brows, as if they would overlooke the pleasantnesse of their under prospect.’
1803 v1803
v1803 = v1793
660 bettles]
1813 v1813
v1813 = v1803
660 bettles]
1819 cald1
CALD1 = Steevens v1813 +
660 bettles] Caldecott (ed. 1819): “Projects darkly.”
1821 v1821
v1821 = v1813
660 bettles]
1826 sing1
sing1: mal; Steevens v1793
660 bettles] Singer (ed. 1826): “i.e. overhangs his base. Thus in Sidney’’s Arcadia b.i. [quotes as in v1793, except lift]. The verb to beetle is apparently of Shakspeare’s creation.”
1832 cald2
cald2 = cald1
660 bettles]
1833 valpy
valpy: standard
660 bettles] Valpy (ed. 1833): “Hangs.”
1854 del2
660 Delius (ed. 1854): “die Klippe hängt oben weiter, als unten ihr Fuss geht, in die See hinaus.”
[The cliff above hangs out farther over the sea than its foot.]
1856 hud1
hud1 = sing1 minus (documentation), without attribution
660 bettles]
1856b sing2
sing2 = sing1
660 bettles]
1872 cln1
cln1: standard gloss + //
660 bettles] Clark & Wright (ed. 1872): “So, beetle brows,’ [Rom. 1.4.32 (485)].”
1872 hud2
hud2 = hud1 minus (last sentence about Sh’s originality)
660 bettles]
hud2: standard on his for its at the time
660 his] Hudson (ed. 1872): “Overhangs its base.”
1881 hud3
hud3 = hud2
660 bettles]
1885 mull
mull: standard
660 bettles] Mull (ed. 1885): “hangs.”
1934 rid1
rid1: standard
660 bettles] Ridley (ed. 1934) explains that he keeps the Q2 form with support from the NED.
1938 parc
660 bettles] Parrott & Craig (ed. 1938): “hangs over.”
1947 cln2
cln2: standard
660 bettles ore] Rylands (ed. 1947): "overhangs."
1957 pel1
pel1: standard
660 bettles] Farnham (ed. 1957): “juts out.”
1970 pel2
pel2 = pel1
660 bettles] beetles Farnham (ed. 1970): “juts out”
1980 pen2
pen2: standard
660 bettles] Spencer (ed. 1980): “projects.”
1982 ard2
ard2 contra Bowers, Wilson, and Walker
660 bettles] Jenkins (ed. 1982): “overhangs. The verb is a Shakespearean nonce-word but obviously derives from beetle brows, which Shakespeare was not the first to ascribe figuratively to a hill (see OED beetle a 2b). But though the word has gained currency from F, I take it that bettles was Shakespeare’s form. For it is far better to explain Q1 beckles as the actor’s corruption of this (how else?) than, like Bowers, ’to suppose with Dover Wilson and Alice Walker that Q2 bettles owes its odd form to contamination from Q1’ ( Textual and Literary Criticism, p. 154).”
1985 cam4
660 bettles ore] Edwards (ed. 1985): "overhangs like bushy eyebrows. As OED notes, Shakespeare coined the verb ’beetle’ from a recollection of a passage in Sidney’s Arcadia, Book 1, ch. 10, ’they past in a pleasant valley, (of either side of which high hils lifted up their beetle-brows, as if they would over looke the pleasantness of their under-prospect)."
1987 oxf4
oxf4: OED; Rom.; H5, Cercignani
660 bettles] Hibbard (ed. 1987): "projects itself, threateningly overhangs. Shakespeare seems to have made up this verb which occurs nowhere else in his work, and nowhere else in English until the late 18th century, when writers began to borrow it from him. It comes, apparently, from the much older word beetle-browed, meaning ‘having prominent eye-brows’ (OED beetle a. and beetle v.1); compare ‘beetle brows’ [Rom. 1.4.32 (485)]. That there was an intimate connection in his mind between a threatening brow and an overhanging cliff is evident from [H5 3.1.9-14 (1094 ff)], ‘Then lend the eye a terrible aspect . . . let the brow o’erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a galled rock O’erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swilled by the wild and wasteful ocean.’ With reference to the variant spellings of beetles in the three primary texts, Cercignani points out that ‘a nonce-word . . . is particularly liable to textual corruption’ (p. 321)."
1989 OED
660 bettles] OED: bettle is one of the spellings of beetle. “beetle ? a. “(As the 14-15th c, form had bitel-, bytel-, it has been
Continue this at NCC Library (or seek it online). Georgie ptd this out to me.
1997 Shaksper
660 bettles] Rizvi (shaksper, 17 Nov. 1997): Beetles “is unique to the Folio, the other two texts having ‘bettles’ and ‘beckles’ (if my memory serves). Ridley points out that OED cites this very passage for the earliest use and so this could be another example of the following sequence: (a) early text misprints something so as to create a new word, (ii) by looking at the context, readers create a meaning for the new word, (iii) with an authority no less than Shakespeare behind it, the new word/meaning enters the language, (iv) result: we get a new word/meaning which Shakespeare never intended.”
Ed. note: Here is an instance of the OED leading someone (Ridley? Rizvi?) astray, and then the error persisting. Though Sh. may be the 1st to use the word beetles or bettles (both spellings possible) as a verb, the phrase from which the verb derives apparently begins with Langland in 1362 ‘bitel-brouwed’ (Piers Plowman A text v. 109); continues with the 1400 Destruction of Troy (8: 3824): “Bytell-browet”; unhyphenataed in 1532 More Against Tyndale: “betle browes” (398/1), &c.
2000 OED online
660 bettles] “beetle /bit()l/, ? a. In beetle brows, beetle-browed. Forms; 4 bitel, bytel(l, 5 betyl, bittil, 6 beetell, -ill, -yll, 7 betle, bittle, 6- beetle.[Found first in the comb. beetle-browed (1362); much later (1532), beetle is treated as a separate word in beetle brow(s; whence a derived verb to beetle (see next) formed by Shakspere. . . . ”