So here’s a pet peeve of mine…

Misattributed quotes.

I came across this quote on tumblr late this night, and something seemed off to me. The term “umbrella” seemed strangely modern, as did the overall mood and language of the poem. Shakespeare? I didn’t think so.

This is one of those quotes which has been attributed so often to Shakespeare that so many people believe he wrote it.

But it’s not Shakespeare, and not even Shakespearean language.

Dead giveaway: The word “umbrella” dates earliest (in the English language) from 1611, and came originally from Italian. Now, I am no linguist, but Shakespeare died c. 1616, and is not reported to have ever used this word in any of his plays or poetry (Oxford English Dictionary).

It is doubtful that he would have used it to refer to the rain, if he used it at all. My guess is that umbrellas would have been used more for the sun than for the rain during this time period. They were made of leather or some other fabric and were probably not as watertight.

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Comments
2 Responses to “So here’s a pet peeve of mine…”
  1. The Bespectacled Stenographer says:

    That’s observant. And you’re right about the language; it doesn’t seem Shakespearean. Now, it leaves me to wonder who actually did say this. This was an insightful post. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Forsooth, my heart doth beat more urgently when I catch sight of my bumbershoot. What water-repellant pixie has graced her with such a sheltering embrace? 🙂
    Neat post! 🙂

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