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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: beauty/booty
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1245  Monday, 28 May 2001

[1]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Saturday, 26 May 2001 22:32:14 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1222 Re: beauty/booty

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Saturday, 26 May 2001 21:36:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1221 Re: Hawk and handsaw; beauty/booty

[3]     From:   Rainbow Saari <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 May 2001 11:34:13 +1200
        Subj:   re; shk 12.1221 beauty/booty


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Saturday, 26 May 2001 22:32:14 +0100
Subject: 12.1222 Re: beauty/booty
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1222 Re: beauty/booty

UK list members will be aware of a certain turkey farm owner, called
Bernard Matthews, who appeared on his own TV ads saying that his wares
were "bootiful" (beautiful).  His accent is Norfolk - a very old English
dialect - and may have other interesting pronunciations linked with
Shakespeare's accent.  Anyone from Norfolk or Suffolk?

SAM SMALL

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Saturday, 26 May 2001 21:36:21 -0400
Subject: 12.1221 Re: Hawk and handsaw; beauty/booty
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1221 Re: Hawk and handsaw; beauty/booty

Karen Peterson-Kranz observes of these lines in sonnet 65,

       Or what strong hand can hold his swift foote back,
        Or who his spoile or beautie can forbid?

" The "or" in line 12 is one of the problem points for editors of the
Sonnets."

I'm puzzled by this.  A quick scan of the concordance produces a couple
of dozen instances where successive clauses begin with "or. . .or" where
modern usage would elide the first "or" or call for "either".  The idiom
seems to me perfectly apposite in the sonnet; the most plausible
emendation to me would be to replace the first "or" with "O", not "of",
but I see no compelling reason to do either.  Or.

Alternatively,
Dave Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rainbow Saari <
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Date:           Monday, 28 May 2001 11:34:13 +1200
Subject:        re; shk 12.1221 beauty/booty

Agreeing with Samuel Johnson, as I do, that Shakespeare will follow a
quibble "at all adventures" I admit to seeing the possibility, if not
the probability, of a pun on beauty/booty in line 12 of Sonnet 65. The Q
text reads (thanks Karen)

Since brasse, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundlesse sea,
But sad mortallity ore-swaies their power,
How with this rage shall beautie hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger then a flower?
O how shall summers hunny breath hold out,
Against the wrackfull siedge of battring dayes,
When rocks impregnable are not so stoute,
Nor gates of steele so strong but time decayes?
O fearefull meditation, where alack,
Shall times best Iewell from times chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foote back,
Or who his spoile or beautie can forbid?
    O none, unlesse this miracle haue might,
    That in black inck my loue may still shine bright.

I don't have Booth's book handy so I don't know what his gloss on 'spoil
or beauty' is, but in my interpretation of line 12 the word 'his' is
ambiguous. 'Time decayes'. What strong hand can hold Time's swift foot
back? Or who his [own] spoil  [decay] or beauty can forbid? To be
'spoiled' by ageing or to be beautiful and to retain beauty is not a
matter we are able to control. If this reading is to be allowed one
would expect a question mark to follow 'his swift foote back?'. With
none there 'his' in lines 11 and 12 can be read also as referring to
Time; Which of us 'Time's' spoil or beauty/booty can forbid?

'Spoil ' and 'booty' are not necessarily synonymous. 'His spoil' may
mean Time's act of violently stripping what is of value from a person.
Beauty/ booty equals plunder, treasure, the prize, that taken by
'spoiling'.  No one can forbid Time his violent act of sacking/ spoiling
or deny him his beauty/booty.

As written the original text of the Sonnets deliberately allows for two
possible interpretations of the line, which include a pun on
beauty/booty.  I think the 'or' is an 'or',  not an o'er'  or 'of'. In
the second and third lines we are given the image of 'sad mortality' who
'ore-swaies' 'beauty'. In line 12 the language carries echoes of these
words, but does not simply repeat  the image.

As to the pronunciation of 'beauty', the quote from 1 H IV Bill Godshalk
mentions, Falstaff's "When thou art King, let not us that are of the
night's [knight's?] body be called thieves of the day's beauty "
includes  a triple pun on body/ beauty/booty which suggests they are all
close enough in  sound  to carry the jest.

Other spoil/booty associations; In the same play, 1.1 we hear "And is
not
this an honorable  spoil? A gallant prize?" In the Rape of Lucrece,
lines
279, 280

Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize.
Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies?

I suspect a play on beauty/ booty = treasure here as well.

All the best, from another incorrigible punster,
Rainbow

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