Why I'm Not an Oxfordian:

Bacon Versus De Vere

A Review of the Evidence

 

By

Jerome Harner

April 2001 

 

Many Oxfordians have a talent for unconscious humor. They match remarkably G. K. Chesterton's witticism, "I have seen the truth, and it makes no sense." But the Oxfordian movement has a really intriguing feature. There is evidence of goats mixed in with the sheep, who, fully conscious of how preposterous the idea is that Edward De Vere wrote the Shakespeare works, are playing the whole thing for laughs.

Certainly, if this is the case, these people have a real genius for surreptitious humor.As one reads the Oxfordian material it is fascinating to try to distinguish between those who are sincere, and the sly humorists in their midst. As an example, in his1679 book, "Brief Lives", John Aubrey had the following story about De Vere:

"This Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed And ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 years. On his return The Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had Forgott the Fart."

And Oxfordian flag bearer, the late Charlton Ogburn (who gave the languishing Oxfordian movement new life with his 1984 book, "The Mysterious William Shakespeare", and who after all his years of research on De Vere was certainly familiar with Aubrey's story) ingenuously remarked in his book:

"Looney first picked up the scent."

Was Ogburn's humor unconscious, or surreptitious? Was he a sheep or a goat? Ogburn was alluding to the man who started their movement, J. Thomas Looney, a Gateshead schoolmaster, whose 1920 book, "Shakespeare Identified" originated the idea that Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the works published under the name of Shakespeare. There are subtle hints by some Oxfordian insiders that Looney was a pseudonym used to tip off the more alert to what was really going on. Although there are certainly Oxfordian sheep who will disagree with this, they haven't provided a convincing argument why the name "Looney" was used if the work was really serious. In any event, the fact that their founder published under the name Looney" has interjected a wonderfully comedic element into the whole thing.

People unaware the Oxfordian movement may have began as a joke, continually suggest, while snickering behind their sleeves, that instead of Oxfordian, it would be fitting, as a proper tribute to their founder, to call themselves Looneys. Little do they know they are amateurs, and the Oxfordian goats are far ahead of them. The fact that along with the handful of goats (who are in on the joke) there are a multitude of sheep in the Oxfordian fold who think the whole thing is serious adds a delightfully zany dimension to the comedic aspect of the whole thing. There is reason to think these people are continually being bamboozled to the top of their bent by their more savvy, and hilariously zany colleagues. My own opinion is both Looney AND Ogburn were goats. After all, given Ogburn's sly comment that "Looney first picked up the scent" what else can one think?

While prey to a despondent mood, one rainy day last week, I visited the Oxford Society Website. As soon as I began to read their articles I cheered up. Their main act, always playing on center stage, is their "We Revere De Vere" parody. At least I think it is a parody. One can never be sure whether the author of any given piece is a "totally in earnest" sheep, or a "tongue in cheek" goat. In any event, it put me in a jocular mood because in the real world to know De Vere was to loathe him. The Oxfordians expend a great deal of time and energy on their reinvention of De Vere. For outsiders to appreciate the "comedy act" they must be aware that although the Elizabethan Era had some real stinkers, Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) was conspicuous both figuratively and literally. The idea that such a person wrote the Shakespeare plays is so preposterous it contains almost unlimited comedic potential. Since the Oxfordians believe, or pretend to believe, De Vere wrote the Shakespeare plays, the script demands they clean up after him. As a result they continually parody the clown with the oversized shovel in the circus who trudges along behind the elephant. It is a marvelous comedy act!

It has been said that Rose Kennedy when asked why her daughter-in-law Joan lived in Boston while her son Ted lived in Virginia, responded, "Who's Virginia?" Perhaps the Oxfordian sheep could come up with a response of equal intelligence if asked about de Vere. But don't count on it.

Bernard M. Ward wrote the sole biography of de Vere in 1928. Ward was not only an Oxfordian, but an Oxfordian sheep, and his answer to the de Vere question failed to rise to the intellectual level of Rose Kennedy. So it is necessary to resort to more orthodox historians for a valid depiction of de Vere's character. If the researcher does this, he or she will find De Vere provides wonderful support for the Oxfordian farce. He was a most unsavory and dissolute character. After he was married he impregnated the unlovely Anne Vavasour, the tart among the cream pies of Elizabeth's maids in waiting. He then abandoned his first wife, Anne Cecil, to take up with an Italian choirboy he brought back from Italy with him. Charles Arundel accused De Vere of being "a buggerer of a boy that is his cook." And added, "I have gone to the back door to satisfy myself : at the which the boy hath come out all in a sweat, and I have gone in and found the beast [De Vere] in the same plight." This, of course, was after De Vere, a former Catholic, broke with the faith and denounced Arundel as a traitor on the grounds that HE was a Catholic. Admittedly there may have been just a tad of animus in Arundel's accusation. However, it is curious that De Vere kept the Italian choirboy in his residence for a year. Anyone who knows anything about De Vere's character knows it could not have been an act of charity.

De Vere was an unmitigated egotist. In "Elizabeth the Great" Elizabeth Jenkins described him as "psychologically selfish". An unselfish act would have been as foreign to his nature as the deep blue sea to cacti. In a letter to William Cecil written when he was twenty-six, DeVere sounded the keynote of his character:

"always I have, and I will still, prefer mine own content before others."

This from the man the Oxfordians (tongue in cheek perhaps?) claim was the source of the universal humanity exhibited in the Shakespeare plays. Oxford had about as much humanity as Atilla the Hun. He recklessly squandered his family fortune and was associated with many violent skirmishes and frequent deaths. He was vain, arrogant, self-centered, truculent, and perpetually getting into trouble. He was only 17 when he murdered his first man, and he may have murdered a number of others. It is certain that he plotted to murder Sir Walter Raleigh. He insulted Sir Philip Sidney, wanted to fight a duel with him, but was prevented by the Queen. Because he squandered the vast fortune left him by his father, John De Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, he reduced himself to a destitute state. As a consequence, the Queen (because the premier peer of the realm as a beggar would have been a great embarrassment to her monarchy) granted him a stipend of 1,000 pounds annually for life. The Oxfordians have concocted a hilarious conspiracy comedy out of the 1,000-pound stipend. They actually claim he utilized it to produce theater plays for the war effort, an idea that would have even someone with an abscessed tooth rolling around in the aisles. In any event, when even this stipend did not suffice for his prodigality, De Vere married a rich woman and proceeded to squander her wealth as well.

In the real world every schoolboy knows at least ten of the Shakespeare plays were written after 1604. This is based on evidence that goes well beyond "a reasonable doubt." But an article at the Oxford Society Website explained that these plays were all written in the 1590s. The article neglected to mention the point that if this was true,then given the scholarly consensus of a beginning date of 1590 for the first play this would mean all 37 were written in that one decade. Since De Vere died in 1604 following an extended illness this is a corner the Oxies have painted themselves into. Was this a diabolically clever sense of humor, or an abysmally ignorant lack of humor? In this ambivalent milieu what I found particularly amusing was the vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity that ran through the article. Was it just a trifle overdone, consciously engineered perhaps to be a tip off?

It should be noted that in one of the most hilarious comedy skits ever concocted by the Oxfordian goats, Eva Turner Clark in "Hidden Allusions in Shakespeare's Plays" performed the task (vital to the Oxfordian cause) of re-dating the plays to conform with Oxford's life and early death. The book goes beyond zany all the way to idiotic genius. I would recommend it for anyone who needs a good laugh. Are you depressed, gloomy, lugubrious even? Do visions of Nefazodone, Mirtazapine, or Ventafaxine float through your head? Here's an alternative medicine for you. Read "Hidden Allusions in Shakespeare's Plays".

If the Oxie, whose article I was reading at the Oxford Society site, was jesting he was extremely clever about it. From his tone you would have never known he imagined that there was anything ridiculous or funny about his claim. Sincerity fairly dripped off the page. Never mind that Looney himself was not so loony that he failed to see no one would believe The Tempest could have been written by De Vere since it was written long after 1604. An additional fact is that Macbeth was patently constructed around the attempted assassination of King James in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Even hard-core Oxfordians of the sheep variety (who don't have to hold their noses to remain oblivious to the fact that something smells about their theory) sometimes show traces of recusancy regarding this issue. But the article I was reading plunged doggedly on.

The article explained that the period from the early 1590s through the end of the century coincided exactly with the "recluse period" in De Vere's life. It went on to share the choice bit of information that this was when De Vere retired from court and withdrew to Hackney. It was obvious, the article fantasized, that the reason he retired from court and withdrew to Hackney was so he could buckle down and produce all those great masterpieces that later appeared under the nom de plume of Shakespeare. I might have found the article more persuasive, but as chance would have it, on that very same day I had happened across a passage in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy that supported Aubrey's tale. Burton said:

"Or as he did, of whom Felix Plater speaks, that thought he had some of Aristophanes' frogs in his belly, still crying Brecececex, coax, coax, oop, oop, and for that cause studied physic seven years, and travelled all over most part of Europe to ease himself;"

That Burton's 1621 book referred to the same incident Aubrey recorded in his 1679 Brief Lives can, I think, be accepted as a self-evident fact. Without this independent testimony it would have been necessary to heed the comment of antiquary Anthony Wood that Aubrey was "roving and magotie-headed" and discount his story about de Vere. With this independent testimony we must accept that we are dealing with no imaginary effluvium, but with something reeking and real. In short with a blast of history that must be fitted into the chronicle of de Vere's life. And since Oxford's life is well documented except for that period of the last decade of the 16th century when he retired from court and dropped out of sight, the seven years wandering "all over most part of Europe" must have taken place during this time. It seems that, although the incident of the "blast from the past" (when Oxford, a man not averse to tooting his own horn, performed for the Queen) was repressed in official records, the accounts of Burton and Aubrey slipped through the cracks. It was, indeed, "an ill wind that blows de Vere no good", and objectivity dictates we admit the Oxie's claim is `gone with the wind'".

The incident may have provided material for the Shakespearean play Coriolanus. De Vere was a martial type, champion at the tilts, even equipping a ship at his own expense to fight against the Spaniards when their Armada sailed against England. In addition, one of De Vere's major features was his haughty nature and his pride. So when the "blast from the past" incident took place, and when afterwards he was laughed at behind his back wherever he went, the situation, given his haughty nature, must have been excruciating for him. Imagine the degree of shame to cause him to leave England and wander from country to country about the continent for seven long years trying to rid himself of the albatross (Diomedia flatulanus) hung about his neck. When we see in Coriolanus, a hero noted for his martial exploits, who has only contempt for the commonalty; and who is humbled and shamed before the people he despises, and who as a consequence goes to another country, the similarity to the case of De Vere is obvious.

Trust the Oxfordians never to rest on their laurels. No sooner had I finished reading about De Vere's retirement from court so he could produce those great masterpieces that later appeared under the name of Shakespeare than I came across the transcript of "The Shakespeare Mystery" segment of PBS' Frontline. Charlton Ogburn, Oxfordian point man, was a member of the panel on the program. In order to understand the humor in the situation I am about to recount one must be familiar with an old story.

According to this story a lion was walking down a jungle trail. He proclaimed for the entire world to hear, "KING OF THE BEASTS, LORD OF THE JUNGLE", swelled his great chest, and let out a mighty roar. He saw an elephant and began to laugh. "Ha!" he said, "Look at you, you overgrown oddity! What's it with you and over eating? Do you have a glandular problem? And what's that? A big snake growing out your nose? Why can't you be like me? King of the beasts. LORD OF THE JUNGLE." And he let out a mighty roar.

The lion proceeded on down the jungle trail and saw a giraffe. He began to laugh again. "Look at you." He said. "You walk like you got a stick stuck up the wrong place, and that neck. Is it a neck or a stepladder? Why can't you be like me. KING OF THE BEASTS, LORD OF THE JUNGLE." And he let out a mighty roar again. Then he proceeded down the jungle trail and had only gone a few steps when he spied, hiding under a big leaf, a little scrawny, miserable looking mouse. The little mouse was in general the most pathetic and miserable looking creature anyone could ever imagine, and it kept shivering all the time. The lion laughed so hard he fell over on his side.

"And you!" He said, "You are beyond the shadow of a doubt the poorest excuse for any creature I have ever seen. You are scrawny. You are tiny. You shiver all the time.Why can't YOU be like me?" And the lion went into a paroxysm of laughter at the very idea before he said, "KING OF THE BEASTS! LORD OF THE JUNGLE!" and let out his mighty roar. The little mouse said, "I been sick."

I think Ogburn may have been familiar with this story. In the transcript of the Frontline segment, when taxed by the MC for his failure to give a convincing answer to a question about De Vere, Ogburn (who carried the burden of the Oxfordian hoax on his shoulders) slyly said:

"I been sick."

This was so delightfully comical I almost fell off my chair laughing!

Charlton Ogburn committed suicide on October 17, 1998. Although it has been claimed that suicide is the sincerest form of self-criticism, it is a cheap shot to say (as some have) that he killed himself because he finally saw the truth about De Vere. I think he knew all along. Ogburn was old and scrawny, gray as a rat, but he played his role with passion, if it was a role, to the very end, never wavering from his defiant act as an ardent Oxfordian. When Ogburn committed suicide he was 87 years old. And I would note for the record that his book, "The Mysterious William Shakespeare" is actually quite a good book, in fact it is unique of its kind.

I happened to go to Beaufort, South Carolina, where Ogburn had lived, about a year and a half after he committed suicide. While I was wandering around along the shops on Bay Street I saw the McIntosh Bookstore, and, as is my habit, I went in to check out the books. In the rear of the bookstore I came across almost an entire shelf of books, (including the 1975, two volume, edition of J. Thomas Looney's "Shakespeare Identified") devoted to the Oxford question. When I began to page through the books I saw the books had belonged to Charlton Ogburn. The clerk told me the bookstore had purchased a large `lot' of books from the Ogburn estate. A number of these were autographed by Ogburn, and had his annotations on the margins throughout the books. I have to admit this was the first indication I had that the whole Oxfordian thing may have been a sham. Until then I actually thought they were all serious! But Ogburn's marginal scrawl in the Oxfordian books that were ardently preaching the Oxfordian doctrine, with his comments such as, "silly inference', "oh, no!", "ROT", and his favorite derisive annotation, "heigho!", threw a whole new light on the Oxfordian movement.

Other books on the shelf were autographed by his mother, Dorothy Ogburn. The Oxford Theory was very much a family affair with the Ogburns. Dorothy Ogburn, along with Charlton Ogburn Sr, wrote the book, "This Star of England", a 1,297 page tome, that purports to give information proving De Vere wrote the Shakespeare works. I must say that, although I steeled myself to the point where I was able to struggle through the book, I had no success in finding the evidence for Oxford's claim to the Shakespeare title that purports to be there. It consists almost exclusively of overblown claims for reflections of Oxford's life in various passages in the plays. It is difficult to be absolutely certain whether the parents were sheep or goats. But there is a strong indication. To produce a 1,297 page book whose stated purpose is to prove De Vere wrote the Shakespeare works, and yet not have one iota of evidence in the book to support that claim, is, in my opinion, an absolute tour de force.

I bought the books I found at the Mcintosh Bookstore, dumped them in the trunk of my car, and took them home with me. I didn't know where I could store them. For years I have found the people and the period of the Elizabethan era fascinating. All of the space in my house was already completely taken up with these books. But I had a fortuitous idea. There was a bin at the back of the walk-in closet off the master bedroom that I used for storing old clothes. I cleaned out the bin and tucked the books away in it. As an after thought I printed a label in extra large letters for the bin. It would have delighted the hearts of the covert humorists in the Oxfordian fold. It is there where I see it whenever I go into the closet: THE LOONEY BIN

For the sake of the poor, deluded sheep in the Oxfordian fold, and of the people outside the Oxfordian fold who are too naive to know what is going on, the case for Oxford versus Bacon deserves serious evaluation. In addition to books on the Baconian and Oxfordian authorship issue I have ransacked both the Bacon (sirbacon.org) and Oxfordian websites. (It's been pointed out that the "Shakespeare Oxford Society" (SOS) have an acronym which seems to be an unconscious admission that membership of the Society could be regarded as a cry for help.)
Consequently I have gathered and collated the material necessary for a comparison of the claims of Oxford and Bacon for the Shakespeare title. Although asking me what I think about the Oxfordians is somewhat like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs, and although you cannot expect impartially from me since, as the title of this article shows, I have already made up mind. Nevertheless, I will promise you one thing: I will not sweep any of the facts under the rug as the Stratfordians do to a greater degree, than the Oxfordians who are guilty of this to a lesser degree. I will drag everything out into the light-no matter how much it smells.

One prerequisite is a backdrop for the information. Edward De Vere and Francis Bacon were both brought up in William Cecil's great mansion on the Strand. As a result a considerable portion of their lives overlap. It helps to know a little about William Cecil and his great mansion on the Strand. William Cecil was an exceedingly clever and devious man. He was born in 1520 and entered St. John's College, Cambridge at the age of fourteen. While there he became acquainted with Nicholas Bacon.

Cecil first marriage was to Mary Cheke, the sister of John Cheke who later became a famous scholar and was another of his close acquaintances while at Cambridge. Mary died less than a year after his son Thomas was born in May of 1542. In December of 1545 Cecil married Mildred Cooke, the eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall, Essex. Sir Anthony was famed for his learning and tutored his four daughters who were among the most learned women in the nation. One of them, Anne, became the wife of Sir Nicholas Bacon. Nicholas and Anne had two sons, Anthony and Francis Bacon. Until Nicholas Bacon's death in 1579 the families were very close. As far as Francis Bacon's association with Cecil is concerned, not only was Cecil his uncle, but William Cecil and Nicholas Bacon association as friends and close business associates persisted for more than 40 years.

After Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 Cecil became her chief minister, and also Master of the Court of Wards. This latter post proved extremely lucrative to him. His enemies in ensuing years accused him of amassing great wealth by stealing from the royal wards, encroaching on the realm and the commons, compelling all suitors to apply to him for justice, and making England in fact, "Regnum Caecilianum." Certainly it must be allowed that his great mansion on the strand (not even the largest of the several that he acquired) was an overt sign of the great wealth he had amassed. Known variously as Cecil House, or Burghley House, this house was on the north side of the Strand, occupying a large site westward of what is now Wellington Street. Cecil had a large garden behind the mansion, and also had a library in the mansion that was famous all over England.

At the mansion Cecil ran what amounted to a school for young noblemen. Since he was Master of Wards some of the royal wards lived in his house. Even apart from this the aristocracy of the period often sent their sons to be educated in a great man's household, and Cecil liked to accept them because it not only added to his prestige, but also allowed him to get in on the ground floor with the scion of the Elizabethan ruling class. His house became much sought after as an exclusive educational establishment. Although the pupils never numbered more than twenty at one time, they included, at one time or another, some of the greatest fortunes and bluest blood in England. Not only Oxford, but also the Earl of Surrey, two Earls of Rutland, Shakespeare's Earl of Southampton, the Earl of Essex, Francis Bacon, and, as a visitor from time to time, Fulke Greville and Sir Philip Sidney, were part of this group.

Edward De Vere came to the Cecil mansion as a royal ward at age 12 in 1562. Francis Bacon may have come to the Cecil mansion as early as 1565 at age 5, but probably no later than 1567 at age 7. Describing the funeral of Robert Cecil, Catherine Drinker Bowen, "The Lion and the Throne" says,

"Somewhere among them walked Sir Francis Bacon, Cecil's nearest cousin, intimate with him since childhood, reared in the same household, schooled by the same tutor."

It was a great privilege for him, and no doubt, came about as a result of Nicholas Bacon's long and close association with Cecil. The 1665 volume, "The Statesmen and Favourites of England since the Reformation" compiled by David Lloyd, gave an account of Elizabethan statesmen written by someone closely associated with them. The description of Bacon says,

"at twelve his industry was above the capacity and his mind beyond the reach of his Contemporaries."

The comparison would have been to the scion of the nobility in the school in Cecil's house on the Strand, and gives a direct comparison of Bacon with De Vere. This also leads to the first point in weighing the respective evidence between De Vere and Bacon.

1. The Oxfordians say the learning exhibited in the Plays was clearly beyond that possible for the man from Stratford on Avon, and could only have reflected the learning of Edward De Vere.

The Oxfordian claim for De Vere's learning says that since de Vere was taught at Cecil's school in his house on the Strand he would have been given the best contemporary schooling. There is no doubt, they say, of de Vere's exceptional learning ability. They cite a letter from his tutor Lawrence Nowell written to Cecil when de Vere was aged 13. In the letter Nowell says:

"I clearly see that my work for the Earl of Oxford cannot be much longer required."

The Oxford sheep take this as an allusion to how quickly de Vere learned. But there is another, more likely explanation. De Vere was a very abrasive personality. In "The Virgin Queen" Christopher Hibbert says of Oxford,

"He went to live at Cecil House, where he was soon at odds with almost the entire household."

So the alternate explanation is he clashed with Nowell, and this was the reason for Nowell's statement.

The Oxfordians also cite a play written in 1576 by George Chapman in which one of the characters in eulogizing de Vere has the following lines:

He was beside of spirit passing great,
Valiant and learn'd, and liberal as the sun,
Spoke and writ sweetly, or of learned subjects,
Or of the discipline of public weals;
And `twas the Earl of Oxford."

This probably has less to do with de Vere's actual learning than with a poet looking for a possible patron.The Oxfordians cite the fact that in 1564 and 1566, Edward received degrees from both Cambridge University and Oxford University, and that in 1567 he was sent by Cecil to study law at Gray's Inn. But these were honorary degrees, and the fact that he spent three years at Gray Inn does not necessarily mean he learned any law while he was there.

Many legal authorities have been convinced that Shakespeare was an expert lawyer. They include Lord Penzance, Nathaniel Holmes of the US Supreme Court, Judge Webb of Dublin, Judge Stotsenburg of Indiana and others. Because this points so clearly away from William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon, the Stratfordian side has found literary lawyers to argue against Shakespeare's legal expertise. However, in the early part of the 20th century Sir George Greenwood MP, a London barrister, presented formidable evidence for Shakespeare's legal attainments that should have ended the dispute once and for all. In 1908 he summarized the evidence in "The Shakespeare Problem Restated".

When J.M. Robertson took issue with him in his "The Baconian Heresy: A Confutation", Greenwood replied at length in a further book, "Is There a Shakespeare Problem?" and fired his coup de grace in 1920 with, "Shakespeare's Law".

The Oxfordians hopped aboard this bandwagon with alacrity, noting that de Vere spent three years at Gray's Inn. But de Vere's three years at Gray's Inn are no indication he was learned in the law. De Vere did not need the law to make a living as did Bacon.Gray's Inn was used as a finishing school for social contacts for the upper crust, and many young aristocrats entered Gray's Inn who had no intention of practicing law, and who did not study law. This was almost certainly the case with de Vere.

Bacon became an Utter Barrister after only three years in Gray's Inn. He was admitted to the high table where none were but Readers at the age of 25, and soon afterward became a Bencher of the Inn. We hear of Bacon arguing his first case with an "an eclat which," which caused Cecil to send congratulations and ask for notes of his pleading to show the Queen, and four days later he argued another case before a bevy of judges, including the Barons of the Exchequer, with great success. There are absolutely no such corresponding records for de Vere.

In the two chapters on "Myriad-Minded Man of the Renaissance" in his "The Mysterious William Shakespeare" Charlton Ogburn coyly flirts with the boundaries in examining the learning of Shakespeare. He considers the "Verbal Resources of Shakespeare", who is generally acknowledged to have possessed the largest vocabulary of any writer, and says that,

"Never has such verbal prodigality as Shakespeare's been approached."

What he does not say, although he goes right to the edge, is that the man who is acknowledged to have possessed those "Verbal Resources" was Francis Bacon, not de Vere. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), who wrote the first English Dictionary, said he could have written a dictionary from Bacon's works alone, and it is common knowledge that Francis Bacon had a habit of constantly coining of new words just as did Shakespeare.

Ogburn shows Shakespeare had a thorough knowledge of the classics, had read deeply in several languages, and had a deep knowledge of modern languages and literature. This could have been expected in part from Cecil's school at his house on the Strand which both de Vere and Bacon attended. But this also implies a continued scholarly discipline that is not demonstrated in the case of de Vere. Ogburn goes on to refer to the two-volume work, "Shakespeare's England: An Account of the Life & Manners of His Age" published in 1916. This work had around 20 contributors and covers special aspects of the Elizabethan Age in thirty chapters. Ogburn says Shakespeare's prodigious frame of reference comes out in the number of quotations from his works by the contributors to show how the dramatist had knowledge of their specialized fields. Ogburn cites numerous references to demonstrate Shakespeare's extensive and detailed knowledge of the Law, of Art, of Nature, of War and the Sea, and of the various specialized fields of the Arts and Sciences. Ogburn obviously goes beyond the boundaries of the perimeters of de Vere's knowledge.

Francis Bacon-Shakespeare: The Man Who Knew Everything

The great German, Goethe, said Shakespeare had drawn a sponge over all human knowledge. The evidence shown by a careful study of the plays is that the author of the Shakespeare Plays had made a special study of ALL aspects of the Arts and Sciences. It is curious how experts in special fields of knowledge constantly claim Shakespeare as one of their own. This points specifically to Bacon. Francis Bacon combined such an array of unique intellectual gifts as has never been found in any other single individual. We are told his memory was a marvel, and there are many testimonies regarding his power of instant comprehension. We must add to this the fact that he deliberately set out to stock his mind with ALL human learning ancient and modern. He deliberately set out to master ALL knowledge.

There is ample evidence that as a part of this effort he sought out people who were experts in their particular fields and drew them out so he could assimilate their knowledge. Furthermore, he was able to bring to bear his marvelous array of intellectual gifts on this effort: His uniquely comprehensive knowledge; his marvelous powers of memory; and his gift for instant comprehension, as well as his ability to extract the marrow from huge bodies of information. By virtue of this he was able to acquire the knowledge of an expert in any given field and even surpass them merely by talking to that individual. On the other hand, this door was effectively closed to the haughty premier peer of the realm, de Vere, who considered it below his dignity to even speak to such people.

Rawley said of Bacon,

"he would draw a man on and allure him to speak upon such a subject, as wherein he was peculiarly skillful."

And, Francis Osborn, another contemporary, described Bacon as

"a good Proficient, if not a Master in those Arts entertained for the Subject of every ones discourse."

He goes on to describe this as

"A high perfection, attainable only by use, and treating with every man in his respective profession, and what he was more vers'd in. So I have heard him entertain a Country Lord in proper terms relating to Hawks and Dogs. And at another time out-cant a London Chirurgeon. Thus he did not only learn himself, but gratifie such as taught him; who looked upon their Callings as honoured through his Notice.Now his general Knowledge he had in all things, husbanded by his wit, and dignif'd by so Majestical a carriage he was known to own, strook such an awful reverence in those he question'd, that they durst not conceal the most intrinsick part of their Mysteries from him."

If Bacon wrote the Shakespeare works this would explain Shakespeare's expertise in so many fields. Smith and Knight were of the opinion that Shakespeare was a farmer. Lord Campbell and others were convinced he was a lawyer (Catherine Drinker Bowen in her huge biography of the acerbic Edward Coke who was universally recognized as the very embodiment of the law, noted that Bacon quoted the law with more accuracy than Coke). Shakespeare had a minute and expert knowledge of Anatomy. "He was a surgeon", exclaimed Wadd, and Brown. Another authority swore he was a Chemist. Bucknill said he was a Physiologist. Other experts, including Freud and Schlegel, believed he was a Psychologist and a practicing Physician. Kellog said he was not only abreast of all human knowledge, he was ahead of it, "HE WAS A PROPHET." (Scholars have noted how prophetic was Bacon's vision of the future of science). No, wait a minute said Thoms, Shakespeare was definitely a soldier at some period of his life. Not so, said other experts, he was not a soldier, he was obviously a Sailor.

Master mariner, W.B. Whall, in 1910, a veteran from the old days of sail, had made a special study of archaic sea terms. In "Shakespeare's Sea Terms Explained" he demonstrated that the author of the plays had an intimate professional knowledge of seamanship, that words and phrases of an extremely technical nature were scattered throughout them, and a mistake in their use was never made. Then Whall dropped a bombshell. Francis Bacon's writings, he declared, contained just as much faultless sea terminology as Shakespeare's. In his excellent book, "Who Wrote Shakespeare" John Michell found it necessary for the sake of impartiality to note that Bacon was no professional seaman. However, he failed to bring out the point that Bacon sought out people with special knowledge such as this and made the effort required to obtain their knowledge. It seems that Bacon, although not a sailor, had acquired his knowledge of seamanship in this manner. John Wilson, in the, "Musical Standard" declared his conviction that Shakespeare was a practical Musician with an intimate acquaintance with both the theory and practice of Music. Farren claimed Shakespeare was a Botanist (it has been noted that in Bacon's essay, "On Gardens", he named thirty-two of the thirty-five flowers mentioned by Shakespeare). Bolingbroke was equally convinced Shakespeare was an Entomologist, while Harting was sure he was an Ornithologist. According to Fennell he was a Zoologist. Another expert knew he was a Ethnologist. Nathaniel Holmes had him as an Alchemist and Sorcerer. One authority said he was a Protestant while another was equally sure he was a Catholic. They both knew he was an expert on the Bible and thought he was probably a Churchman. Blades had proof that he was a skilled printer.

All of this points to Francis Bacon. Bacon, as he said in his letter to Cecil, he took all knowledge for his province. He learned everything he could from books, and then sought out and picked the brains of experts in the various trades, and fields of knowledge. In his Advancement of Learning Bacon said:

"In the enumeration of these private and retired arts, it may be thought I Seek to make a great muster-roll of sciences; naming them for shew and Ostentation, and to little other purpose. But let those which are skilful In them judge whether I bring them in only for appearance, or whether In that which I speak of them (though in few marks) there be not some Seed of proficience. And this must be remembered, that as there be Many of great account in their countries and provinces, which when They come up to the Seat of the Estate are but of mean rank and Scarcely regarded; so these arts being here placed with the principal And supreme sciences, seem petty things; yet to such as have chosen Them to spend their studies in them, they seem great matters."

The matter of learning alone almost certainly proves Bacon wrote the plays. Bacon was unique as regards the possession of the knowledge required. One of his biographers remarked that, "the immensity of his genius has been a sole trial for his biographers."

Bacon alone was proficient in ALL special areas of knowledge, and this proficiency in ALL special areas of knowledge is clearly shown in the plays. The scales are overwhelmingly weighed on the side of Francis Bacon in this instance.

2. The Shakespeare plays reflect the life and personal experiences of De Vere.

One of the major claims of the Oxfordians is that the plays reflect the life and personal experiences of de Vere and that he, and the people he came in contact with are depicted in the plays. In the book by the parents of Charlton Ogburn Jr., "This Star of England", the minutiae of the search for this evidence in the plays is carried far beyond sane credulity, or what could be expected of sane minds, unless these two were actually Oxfordian goats spoofing the Oxfordian fixation. Nevertheless "All's Well That Ends Well" details a story of Bertram that IS virtually identical with de Vere's early life.

In this play, Bertram, a young lord of ancient lineage, of which he is excessively proud, had lost his father for whom he entertained a strong affection, and is brought to court by his mother and left there as a royal ward to be brought up under royal supervision. After he grows up he asks for military service and the right to travel, but is repeatedly refused or put off. He finally goes away without permission, but before leaving he is married to a young woman with whom he has been brought up, and who had herself been most active in bringing about the marriage. Matrimonial troubles, of which the outstanding feature is a refusal to sleep with his wife, are associated with both his stay abroad and his return home. Since, in the dark he cannot tell one from another, he is tricked into sleeping with his wife, Helena, when she takes the place of a woman with whom he has made a nocturnal assignation.

There is no doubt that this is so like de Vere's history that, if de Vere was not the author, it was someone who knew him well. According to Wright, ''History of Essex", de Vere "forsook his lady's bed", but the father of Lady Anne, by stratagem, contrived that her husband should unknowingly sleep with her, believing her to be another woman, and she bore a son to him in consequence of this meeting." Helena, who admits she is socially inferior to Bertram, is a small, sweet, loyal and loving wife, exactly as contemporaries described Anne de Vere (nee Cecil), and, as in the story Anne produced a son after the liaison with her husband.

The details of the All's Well That Ends Well story were certainly taken from de Vere's life. However, Bacon grew up in the Cecil House on the Strand and moved in the same circles. So he could have equally well used the story. Moreover, if de Vere portrayed himself in All's Well That Ends Well we would expect him to depict the character in a more sympathetic manner. Betram does nothing in the play to win our sympathy or respect. He is self-centered and unfeeling just as de Vere was. This casts doubt on the contention that this was de Vere writing about himself.

In Hamlet the Oxfordians believe they have a play in which the author was definitely portraying himself. If any character in any Shakespeare play is meant in any way to represent the author, Hamlet is by a considerable degree the most likely. The Oxfordians have found remarkable correspondences between several of the characters in Hamlet and de Vere's family and close associates. Moreover, they are certain Hamlet is a depiction of de Vere himself. They say several characters in Hamlet have their parallels in Oxford's family and close associates. The king who poisoned Hamlet's father and then married his mother, they claim, is an exaggerated version of Oxford's stepfather. They recognize William Cecil in Polonius, the tedious counsellor. And who was Ophelia, they ask, if not Cecil's'daughter, Anne Cecil? And the advice of Polonius to his son, Laertes, was certainly paralleled in the advice of Cecil to his son, Thomas Cecil.

But lets take a closer look at this. The most convincing parallel is that of Cecil and his son. Bacon was just as close to these events as de Vere. And there is a more interesting parallel. The Baconians claim Bacon was the son of Queen Elizabeth by Leicester. Since the Oxfordians would have Southampton the son of Queen Elizabeth by de Vere, surely they will allow this hypothesis for the sake of argument. If this was the case Bacon would have been a prince just as Hamlet was (and as de Vere was not).

Furthermore, we have the similarity of the names Bacon and Hamlet. What about the marriage of Hamlet's uncle Claudius with the queen? Suppose Bacon split Cecil's character into two facets? We have seen how Cecil was accused by his enemies of making himself the de facto king, of making England in fact, "Regnum Caecilianum".

And for many years Cecil was as closely allied to Elizabeth as if it was an actual marriage. So if Claudius also represented Cecil there would be a close agreement, and the king would have actually been the uncle of Bacon, or Hamlet, as he was shown to be in the play.

But what about Claudius killing Hamlet's father by pouring poison in his ear? There is a very sound basis for the idea that Cecil obtained his position because Leicester killed his wife Amy in hopes that he could marry Elizabeth. Cecil engineered the extrication of Elizabeth from the perilous situation that arose as a result of the public outcry that followed Amy's death. And because of the public outcry Leicester (who had actually been the king because he was secretly married to Elizabeth) "died" as far as his kingship was concerned. But what about Claudius killing him by pouring poison in his ear? Cecil was a very crafty man. It is quite possible that he precipitated Leicester's action by covertly suggesting that if Amy were dead the way would be open to him to marry the all too willing Elizabeth (i.e. he poured poison in his ear). This would tie it all up in a very neat package making a very close connection with Bacon. And who is to say it did not happen this way. But wait, I hear one of the Oxfordian sheep bleating, what about Ophelia? There is evidence that the youthful Francis Bacon loved, and wanted to marry Elizabeth Cecil the daughter of Thomas Cecil. If Bacon was a prince, the play would closely parallel his situation. Bacon and Elizabeth Cecil would have been a perfect parallel with Hamlet and Ophelia. This makes a much better case than that of the Oxfordians.

Moreover, beyond this we must look at the plays that diverge from the people and events de Vere was acquainted with and follow those Bacon was acquainted with. In Twelfth Night Sir Andrew Aguecheek is obviously Bacon's friend Lancelot Andrewes. Andrewes was a tall man, pale from many years of constant study, and was noted as master of 21 languages. Sir Toby in the play says

"He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria" and again says, "speaks three or four languages word for word without book."

Since Sir Toby Mathew was a close friend of Bacon's we can assume he was often in company with Lancelot Andrews. So Sir Toby Belch in the play matches very well with Bacon's friend, Sir Toby Mathew. (The opposing theory for the Oxies was raised by Eva Turner Clark who noted that: BerTIE-WillOUGHBY equals TOBY. Therefore, Clark claimed, Sir Toby in the play must have been Willoughby. It might be apposite to mention here that Clark was known by the Oxfordians as "E.T.". One wonders why?

(Perhaps because some of the ideas she came up with would make any sane person think she was from another planet?). But it must be admitted that the Oxfordians do have some grounds for the contention that de Vere was portrayed in the clown in the play.

Macbeth was obviously written after de Vere's death. There are a number of incidents related to King Duncan of Scotland in the play that had to do with King James of Scotland and his relation to the Gunpowder Plot. And a case can be made that The Tempest, obviously written long after de Vere's death, portrays in the figure of Prospero the Magus John Dee with whom Bacon was acquainted.

I'm afraid that once again the scale tips in the direction of Bacon. I could draw this out and examine in detail a number of other plays, especially those numerous ones written after de Vere's death, but since a quick death is less painful than a prolonged one I will be merciful. No, Oxfordian sheep, there is no need to thank me, just go back to your grazing.

3. Passages in the Plays reflect passages from the letters and other writings of De Vere

Included among my collection of books from the Ogburn estate is a very large, 872 page book, titled, "Shakespeare Revealed In Oxford's Letters" by William Plumer Fowler. In this book Fowler pours through the Shakespeare plays, citing in mind numbing detail what he feels are parallels between `passages' in the plays, and 37 letters written by de Vere. When I say `passages' I use the word loosely. Fowler was not particular. For him even a single word often sufficed to constitute a parallel. And those `striking' parallels would lead you to believe that if there was any striking done it was by some one who struck him on the head. He cites the following passage from a letter of de Vere:

"I have received your letters"

And finds a heart warming parallel in the passage in Love's Labor Lost:

"We have received your letters"

In one of his letters de Vere said,

"I am content."

And I swear to God Fowler was almost drooling all over himself because he found not ONE but TWO parallels saying, "I am content" in Shakespeare:

In the opening sentence of a letter de Vere states:

"My lord I am sorry to hear how hard my fortune is in England."

And Fowler waxes absolutely ecstatic, for he has found the phrase, not once, but THREE times in Shakespeare:

"I am sorry to hear this" (Othello)
"I am sorry to hear this" (Henry VIII)
"Sorry I am to hear what I have heard" (Henry VI)

Folded in pages of the book when I purchased it was a letter from Fowler's daughter to Ogburn after her father died at the age of 92. She says:

Dear Mr. Ogburn,

I regret to inform you of my father's death. He died peacefully in his sleep, after only a few days of chest congestion. He was lucid to the end!

E-ver yours

(This e-ver thing is one of the quirks of the Oxfordians that seems designed specifically to cause any impartial third party to doubt their sanity. At any occurrence of "ever" in the plays they see a sign positive that de Vere was signing his name. dE VERe, get it? No. How about: d EVER e? Or maybe we can say Edward de Vere and then E. de Vere, and then E Vere, and then E ver? How about that? Does that do it for you? No? Don't let it bother you. E-VERyone I know has trouble with it.)

Now far be it from me to say any ill of the dead, but I have a problem conceiving that Fowler was e-ver `lucid' at anytime. Admittedly, Fowler was not the sharpest knife in their drawer, but his is not the only case where the Oxfordians have trouble discerning how to weigh parallels between de Vere's writings and those of Shakespeare. In the 1975 edition of Looney's (love that name) `Shakespeare' Identified there is an essay by Eva Turner Clark (one of the Oxie's shining stars) titled, "Lord Oxford's Letters Echoed in Shakespeare's Plays. Surely here at last we will get some real parallels between the plays and de Vere's letters. Right? Not!!!

Eva cites a letter written in 1572 by de Vere in which he says:

"I would to God your Lordship would let me understand some of your news"

And she finds the REMARKABLE parallel in Shakespeare:

"I have heard strange news"

De Vere again:

"I speak because I am not ignorant"

Shakespeare:

"I speak not out of weak surmises"

De Vere:

"I am.a follower of yours now in all fortunes"

Shakespeare:

"To his honours and his valient parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate"

Embarrassment for the Oxfordians prevents me from quoting any more.Now let's look at a few of Bacon's expressions:

Bacon:

"Some noises help sleep, as.soft singing. The cause is, for that they move In the spirits a gentle attention."

Shakespeare:

"I am never merry when I hear sweet music,
The reason is, your spirits are attentive."

Bacon:

"The particular remedies which learning doth minister to all the diseases of the mind"

Shakespeare:

"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased"

Bacon:

"Be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others"

Shakespeare:

"To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man"

Bacon:

"It is nothing else but words, which rather sound than signify anything"

Shakespeare:

"`Tis a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Bacon:

"This being but a leaf or two, I pray your pardon if I send it for you recreation,
Considering that love must creep where it cannot go"

Shakespeare:

"Ay, gentle Thurio; for you know that love
Must creep in service where it cannot go."

Bacon:

"He that turneth the humors back and maketh the wound bleed inwards,
Ingendereth malign ulcers and pernicious imposthumations."

Shakespeare:

"This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies."

A special trait of Bacon's mind was that he constantly thought in metaphors, and constantly perceived analogies that evoked superb metaphors and similes he expressed effortlessly even in the most casual letters. For example in a letter of Fulke Greville about his frustration in his suit for Solicitor-General he said:

"For to be, as I have told you, like a child following a bird, which when he is nearest flieth away and lighteth a little before, and then the child after it again, and so on ad infinitum, I am weary of it."

This is exactly the trait found in the mind of Shakespeare, where frequently the simile is almost identical. For example, Valeria in Coriolanus:

"I saw him run after a gilded butterfly; and when he caught it he let it go again, and after it again, and over and over he comes, and up again, catch'd it again."

Bacon:

"In the third place, I set down reputation, because of the peremptory tides and currents it hath; which, if they be not taken in their due time, are seldom recovered."

Shakespeare (Julius Caesar):

"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."

Bacon:

"The breath of flowers is far sweeter in the (where it comes and goes like the warbling of music) than in the hand."

Shakespeare (Twelfth Night):

"That strain again;-it had a dying fall'
Oh, it came o'er my soul like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor."

Bacon:

"As there are certain hollow blasts of wind and secret swelling of seas before a tempest, so are there in states."

Shakespeare (Richard III):

"Before the days of change, still is it so;
By a divine instinct, men's minds mistrust
Ensuing danger; as, by proof, we see
The waters swell before a boisterous storm."

The letters and writings of Bacon are filled with such instances. His mind is reflected everywhere in the Shakespeare plays. The scale in this instant is heavily weighed in Bacon's favor.

4. De Vere was well known to the Earl of Southampton, the person to whom "Shakespeare" dedicated Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece in 1593/94 respectively. These were the first works to be published under the name "Shake-speare" and for the next five years the records show the name to have been associated exclusively with these two works.

Sorry guys, the evidence indicates that at this particular time De Vere was dashing all over Europe trying to maintain a head start on his fart. Another point is the deference shown in the dedication to Southampton. It must be remembered that the de Vere's were the oldest and most illustrious nobility in the realm.Gervase Markham declared in 1624:

"And what is the most memorablest and glorious Sun which ever gave Light or shine to Nobility? Our Veres, from the first hour of Caesar to This present day of King James (which is above a thousand seven hundred Years ago) never let their feet slip from the path of nobility, never knew A true eclipse of glory, never found declination from virtue, never forsook Their country being wounded, or their lawful King distressed, never attainted, Never blemished, but in the purity of their garments.lived, governed, and Died, leaving the memory thereof on their monuments, and in the people's Hearts; and the imitation to all the Princes of the World, that either would Be accounted good men or would have good men to speak good things Of their actions."

The founder of the de Vere family was Aubrey de Vere who came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror, and was rewarded for his support with extensive estates in Essex, Suffolk, Cambridge, Huntingdonshire and Middlesex. The continuance of his family in the male line and its possession of the earldom for more than five and a half centuries made its name a household word. During these centuries the vast estates of the family, as well as its titles and dignities, were further augmented by marriage or royal favour. Edward de Vere's pride in his ancient ancestry, and his rank as premier earl of the realm, is commented on by more than one writer. Edward De Vere was extremely vain about his illustrious ancestry and his rank as premier earl of the realm. He never showed deference to anyone. Yet the dedication to Henry Wriotheseley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, in April 18, 1593, when Venus and Adonis was published was as follows:

"To the Right Honorable Henrie Wriotheseley, Earle of Southampton,
and Baron of Titchfield. Right Honorable,

I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolisht lines to your Lordship, nor how the worlde will censure me for choosing so strong a propp to support so weak a burthen, onely, if your Honour seeme but pleased, I account myselfe highly praised, and vowe to take advantage of all idele houres, till I have honoured you with some graver labour.

But, if the first heire of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorie it had so noble a god-father, and never after eare so barrena land,
for feare it yeeld me still so bad a harvest. I leave it
to your Honourable survey, and your Honor to your heart's content;
which I wish may always answere your owne wish, and the world's
hopeful expectation.

Your Honor's in all dutie."

It is an absolute impossibility that this could have been written by de Vere. De Vere was 17th in line of succession to his earldom. In contrast, Southampton only 3rd in succession was very much a "Johnny come lately" and greatly subordinate to de Vere. On the other hand Bacon not one of the peers, was a member of the Essex circle at the time this was written, and Essex and Southampton were at this time inseparable friends.

However, just to leave no stone unturned I will touch on one additional point here. Some Oxfordians claim that Southampton was de Vere's son by Queen Elizabeth. On the surface this seems an inane, not to mention an insane idea, even for the Oxfordians. But a letter written in October 1572 by the poet Edward Dyer to Christopher Hatton (quoted by Paul Johnson in "Elizabeth I") leaves one wondering if there were any extremes Elizabeth was not capable of. At the time Hatton was jealous of the favor the Queen was showing the young Earl of Oxford, and Dyer had the following to say in his letter:

For though in the beginning when her Majesty sought you (after her
Good manner) she did bear with rugged dealing of yours, until she
Had what she fancied, yet now, after satiety and fullness, it will
Rather hurt than help you. [Instead Hatton should] never seem
Deeply to condemn her frailities, but rather joyfully to commend
Such thing as should be in her, as though they were in her indeed.

Just for the sake of argument, lets assume Southampton was the son of Oxford. In that case could we suppose him writing the above dedication to his son? The answer is still no. He never showed deference to anyone else. What reason is there to think he would have shown such deference to a bastard son? Moreover, independent contemporary testimony says Francis Bacon wrote Venus and Adonis and Lucrece.

According to John Marston the first and second printed works attributed to William Shakespeare (Venus and Adonis, and The Rape of Lucrecre) were written by Francis Bacon.

This fact is made quite definite by contemporary evidence. This evidence is based on an allusion by Marston to a lawyer who wrote these works and who he identifies by the phrase,"Mediocria Firma", the motto on Bacon's coat of arms. The allusion refers back to a satire of Joseph Hall's. In 1597 Joseph Hall in his Satires, Book II, p.25, had the following passage:

For shame write better Labeo, or write none
Or better write, or Labeo write alone.
Nay, call the Cynic but a wittie fool,
Thence to obscure his handsome drinking bole;
Because the thirstie swain with hollow hand
Conveyed the streame to weet his drie weasand.
Write they that can, tho they that cannot do;
But who knows that, but they that do not know.

It is known that Labeo was a Roman lawyer so the writer being referred to is a lawyer.
Yet in this particular passage the meaning is not clear and editors habe been unable to
identify Labeo and the Cynic. If we anticipate for a moment by allowing what Marston later avers, that Francis Bacon was the Author of Venus and Adonis, the whole passage becomes clear. Hall may easily have been slightly shocked, or pretended to be, at the theme of the poem, even though it is handled with delicacy and not in a lascivious manner; and so he took the opportunity of reproving the author for writing in such a strain. He also rebukes him for writing in conjunction with someone else, but leaves us to conjecture what is the nature of the partnership with the other unnamed person. Yet in the Fourth Book, Satire I, the evidence become much stronger:

Labeo is whip't and laughs me in the face
Why? for I smite and hide the galled place,
Gird but the Cynicks Helmet on his head
Cares he for Talus or his flayle of lead?
Long as the craftie Cuttle lieth sure
In the black cloud of his thick vomiture
Who list complaine of wronged faith or fame
When he may shift it on to another name?

On the Third line is another reference to the Cynic, i.e., the author, and from this it is evident that Hall is speaking of the "Honourable Order of the Knights of the Helmet", described in those famous Christmas revels at Gray's Inn during the holiday season of 1594/1595 which are recorded in a publication called Gesta Grayorum, and which Bacon was in charge of producing, thus pointing to him as the author of Venus and Adonis; while the concluding lines once more emphasize the fact that he was writing under a pen-name. At the same time the reference to Talus or his flayle of lead has to do with the Faerie Queen and it seems the implication is that he was the author if this work as well.
Still another passage may be quoted where Hall satirizes Labeo, though here in a more good-natured manner. It is from Book VI, Satire I. The passage begins thus:

Tho Labeo reaches right; (who can deny)
The true straynes of Heroicke Poesie,
For he can tell how fury reft his sense
And Phoebus fild him with intelligence,
and shortly after comes the line:
While bit But OHs each stanze can begin,

a pointed allusion to Lucrece, where it is noticeable how many stanzas commence with "But", or "Oh". Another marked feature of both Venus and Adonis, and Lucrece is the use of hyphenated words as epithets; and this did not escape Hall's satirical comment, since he writes:

In Epithets to join two words as one,
Forsooth for Adjectives cannot stand alone.

So it is probable Hall recognized Bacon as the author of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis, and alluded to him under the names of Labeo and the Cynick. This identification although probable is still tentative, however, the "Pigmalion's Image" of John Marston published in 1598 has allusions which make a definite identification possible. Marston says:

So Labeo did complaine his loue was stone,
Obdurate, flinty, so relentless none;
Yet Lynceus knows, that in the end of this
He wrought as strange a metamorphosis.
Ends not my poem thus surprising ill?
Come, come, Augustus, crowne my laureat quill.

The first two line of this passage are an obvious allusion to lines 200, and 201 of Venus and Adonis, since Marston compares the metamorphosis of Pygmalion, as given in his own work, to that of Adonis described in Venus and Adonis. In Satire I is another covert allusion to an author who 'presumst as if thou wert unseene', and in Satire 4, Marston defends various authors whom Hall had attacked, and without actually naming Labeo both refers to Labeo and identifies him in the following line:

"What, not medioca firma from thy spite!"

i.e., has not even medioca firma escaped thy spite! Since these two latin words are the motto on Bacon's coat of arms and Bacon was a lawyer there can be no reasonable doubt that Marston was referring to Bacon.

From the evidence then, it is probable that Hall believed Bacon was the author of Venus and Adonis, Lucrece, and possibly The Faerie Queen.. It is definite that Marston believed Bacon was the author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare.

What does this mean? The naysayers admit that it was quite likely both Hall and Marston believed Bacon to be the secret author of Venus and Adonis, and thus also of the Rape of Lucrece. But that does not mean they were right, they say. However, they have omitted a very important point. Of all the close knit fraternity of writers of the English Renaissance John Marston was probably in the best position to know whether William Shakespeare actually authored the works attributed to him. He was closely connected with Shakespeare's cousin, Thomas Greene, of Staple's Inn who in turn was closely connected with William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon. Greene rented the rooms from Shakespeare in New Place in 1609 and named his children for the Shakespeares, Anne in 1603/4 and William in 1607/8. Greene had stood surety for Marston's entry in Middle Temple in 1594, and Marston for his in 1595.

But the cup is not full. In 1985 a magnificent specimen of a contemporary painting illustrating a scene from Venus and Adonis was discovered. The location was particularly interesting. It was located at the fourteenth-century White Hart Hotel on Holywell Hill, the nearest inn to Bacon's mansion at Gorhambury (two miles away) at the time he lived in Gorhambury.

The Venus and Adonis, Southampton thing is a slam-dunk in Bacon's favor. I can only think the idea that de Vere wrote Venus and Adonis and Lucrece was originated by one of the Oxfordian goats so they could stand back and laugh at the sheep.

5. The author of the plays was a concealed poet, and this poet was de Vere.

The only indication that de Vere might have been a concealed poet is in the following passages from The Arte of English Poesie (1589) published anonymously, but later attributed by rumor to George Puttenham:

"And in her maiesties time that now is are sprong up an other crew of Courtly makers Noble men and Gentlemen of her Maiesties own servaunts, who have written excellently well as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and made publicke with the rest, of which number is first that noble Gentleman, Edward Earle of Oxford. Thomas Lord Buckhurst, when he was young, Henry Lord Paget, Sir Phillip Sidney, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Master Edward Dyer, Maister Fulke Greville, Gascon, Britton, Turberville, and many other learned Gentlemen, whose names I do not omit for envie, but to avoyde tediousness ...."

However, nine years later Francis Meres had a passage in his Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury (598). Meres extolled Shakespeare as being the best for his poems, and plays, naming twelve plays, as well as Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece, and the Sonnets.

Then he had the following passage that included de Vere and Shakespeare separately, indicating that although de Vere was writing comedies he was not concealing his authorship of the comedies:

The best for Comedy amongst us be, Edward Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Maister Rowley once a rare Scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Edwardes one of her Maiesties Chappell, Eloquent and wittie John Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Mundye our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.

Clearly Meres did not believe de Vere wrote the Shakespeare works. Furthermore, if people knew de Vere was writing plays why did de Vere need Shakespeare as a mask? Also, in "The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare" edited by Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells. they make the following point on the Oxfordian theory,

"Looney offered no explanation as to why or how de Vere should have published mediocre work under his own name, and masterpieces under Shakespeare's."

Apart from the unsubstantiated claims of the Oxfordians there is absolutely no evidence to support the contention that de Vere was a concealed poet. De Vere seems to have had no compunctions in signing his name to his poetic works. This signature remains there in the collections containing his works. In addition, the contemporary references to his plays, contradicts the claims that he concealed his name when writing his plays.

For Bacon, on the other hand, there is ample evidence that he was a concealed poet. He wrote the poet, John Davies, asking him to bring his name to the favorable attention of King James, and finished the letter clearly referring to himself by saying,

"So desiring you to be good to all concealed poets."

And there is the evidence already cited that Hall and Marston believe he had written Venus and Adonis and Lucrece. Plus there was an ode by John Davies "To the royall, ingenious, and all-learned knight, Sir Francis Bacon" In which is addressed as a poet. A work by George Withers, "The Great Assises Holden in Parnassus by Apollo and his Assessours" listed "Lord Verulan", Francis Bacon as Chancellor of Parnassus, implying that he Was Apollo's chosen leader in the realm of poetry. And the book of eulogies published right after Bacon's death, Manes Verulamiani, in which 32 friends who were writers and poets such as Ben Jonson, Thomas Randolf, Robert Ashley, John Haviland George Herbert, William Rawley, William Boswell and others had numerous tributes that implied he was a supreme poet:

"Day -Star Of the Muses",

"The Leader of Apollo's Choir,"

"The Tenth Muse and the glory of the Choir,"

Leader of the Choir of the Muses and of Phoebus,"

" Joves brain like Minerva,"

"Let Apollo shed tears plentiful as the water which even the Castalian stream contains"

" Pallas too, now arrayed in a new robe, paces forth,"

"He taught the Pegasean arts to grow, as grew the the spear of Quirinus."

And of these eulogies, one in particular, the IVth is very interesting. This eulogy by "RP" states that:

"Philosophy entangled in the subtleties of Schoolmen seek Bacon as a deliverer, with such winged hand as Orpheus lightly touched the lyre's strings, the Styx before scarce ruffled now at last bounding, with like hand stroked Philosophy raised high her crest; nor did he with workmanship of fussy meddlers patch, but he renovated her walking lowly in the shoes of Comedy."

The "walking lowly in the shoes of Comedy" in the eulogy implies that Bacon wrote comedies. But the additional idea that he renovated philosophy by doing this sounds very much like the theory of Walker that the comedies were actually models of Bacon's Discovery Device, fashioned to contrast ancient and future knowledge, and show that in this philosophical arena he had something better to offer.

Lastly, it is to be noted that Archbishop Thomas Tenison in his "Baconiana" published in 1679 clearly says that it was the practice of Bacon to conceal himself when he published Certain works:

"And those who have true skill in the Works of Lord Verulam, like great Masters in painting, can tell by the design, the strength, the way of coloring, whether he was the author of this or the other piece,though his name be not to it."

So the evidence demonstrates that between de Vere and Bacon as a concealed poet the scales are tilted heavily in Bacon's favor.

6. De Vere's Geneva Bible has hundreds of underlined passages which appeared in the plays.

The Oxfordians have their Biblical fish story, but it has nothing to do with Jonah and the whale. In the balmy days of 1920s while brainless flappers were gyrating frenetically to the Charleston, and equally brainless votaries were beginning to gyrate to an idea begun by a rather devious Gateshead Schoolmaster, Millionaire Henry Clay Folger purchased a batch of books. The books were later stored in the vaults at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. Included among the books was a hand-annotated 1570 Geneva Bible, some believe was originally owned by Edward de Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford. More than a thousand verses in this bible were underlined.

In spring of 1992 Roger Stritmatter sent a letter to the Shakespeare Oxford Society Newsletter, in which he stated "around a dozen" of these underlined passages had been used in various Shakespeare plays. It was decided this discovery would be presented in the summer 1992 filming of the Bible for the GTE authorship teleconference. With the pressure on, by the time of the filming Stritmatter had the number up to "thirty or more."

Evidently someone patted him on the head and told him he had been a good boy, because he spent the next five years digging in the Oxford Bible/Shakespeare salt mines searching desperately for parallels. At the end of that time he claimed he had over a hundred. However, there was a curious disclaimer in this claim. The parallels were cited as demonstrating,

"a definite, probable, or possible influence in the Shakespeare canon."

implicit in the cautious language was the implication that someone was covering their ass in case they got caught with their pants down. And the increase of the original number of parallels from "around a dozen" to "over a hundred" had all the earmarks of a fish story that got bigger every time it was retold. And this fish story, if downsized to its original catch of the day proportion of "around a dozen", would shrink from whale to minnow size.

This was evidently the spark of truth the scholars found in all the smoke of claim when they investigated Stritmatter's story. Both the Smithsonian Magazine and The Shakespeare Newsletter in 1995 went on record stating that the Oxford Bible controversy had "proved a false alarm".

An additional feature of the bible was the presence of cropped annotations. Many of the notes, written in the Bible's margins, had been cropped by a binder's knife. It was this circumstance which led Bruce Smith, in a Folger pamphlet, to the conclusion that the Bible had been annotated before Oxford acquired it. Others who examined the book agreed with his conclusion that it was likely that if it had belonged to de Vere, it had been already used when he bought it and the annotations and underlined passages had already been in it. They suggested the Oxfordians hire a handwriting expert to determine if the writing in the bible was really that of de Vere's. The Oxfordians bristled at this suggestion. Handwriting analysis, they said, was a complicated field strewn with minefields, sometimes planted by Stratfordian pundits. The translation into non-Oxie language is as follows: suppose the handwriting expert determined the writing was not that of de Vere, we would be up fart creek without a paddle. And this is where the Oxie's biblical "fish story" remains at this time. Instead of fleeing abroad, and wandering seven years to live down the stench, they still proudly hold the Oxford Bible banner aloft as their own valued proof of de Vere's authorship of the plays.

7. The Oxfordians claim there is acrostic type evidence in the sonnets and and plays where De Vere plays on his name, i.e. "every line doth almost tell my name" (e-ver)

Have you ever (make that e-ver) seen a dog who someone has thrown a fake bone, with its tail wagging to beat the band, as happy as if it had good sense? Wouldn't it be bizarre if the same thing happened to a sheep? Well something very similar does happen to the Oxfordian sheep when they come across the word "ever" in the Shakespeare plays. They take this as proof positive not only that de Vere wrote the plays, but that he is telling them he wrote the plays. It must be agreed that this phenomenon of the Oxfordian's is very bizarre. Who can say what causes it? Only a fool would say why, a wise man wouldn't even try. The Oxfordians cite the following:

The dedication of the sonnets has the lines:

AND.THAT.ETERNITIE

PROMISED.

 

BY.

 

OVR.EVER.LIVING.POET

 

Shakespeare Sonnet 76 had the following three lines:

Why write I all still one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,

Plus there was an oddly phrased preface to the 1609 edition of Troilus and Cressida:

"A neuer writer, to an euer reader. Newes."

The Oxfordians have made a cottage industry out of these few fragments. For those who confess mystification in the face of this irrefutable proof, the Oxfordians submit as evidence the following verse de Vere's:

Oh heavens! Who was the first that bred in me this
Fever? Vere.

Who was the first that gave the wound whose fear I wear for ever? Vere.

What tyrant, Cupid, to my harm usurps thy golden
Quiver? Vere.

What wight first caught this heart and can from Bondage it deliver? Vere.

One must admit this makes very much of very little. So, how does the corresponding Baconian evidence stacks up? The most interesting evidence along these lines is on the Baconian site at http://www.sirbacon.org/Matherpage.htm where the essays of Mather Walker are located. Although Walker is given to flights of fancy, and his critical faculty is so loosely secured to the back of his Baconian vehicle that one fears it may become loose and drop off altogether at any time, he has assembled some quite compelling evidence for Bacon's authorship of the plays. Walker notes that at the beginning of the plays in the First Folio, i.e., at the beginning of The Tempest since it is the first play in The First Folio the latin word FUMAT is spelled out in the text:

T Though ever drop of water fweare againft it,

A And gape at widft to glut him.

M Mercy on vs.

V We flit, we flit, Farewell my wife, and children

F Farewell brother: we fplit, we fplit, we fplit.

And that this is immediately followed by the message HE IS HOG HANGED:

Gon. I haue great comfort from this fellow: methinks

HE he hath no drowning marke vpon him, his complexion

IS is perfect Gallowes: ftand faft good Fate to his han-

G ging, make the rope of his deftiny our cable, for our

O owne doth little aduantage: If he be not borne to bee

HANG'D hang'd, our caf, is miferable.

According to Walker HE IS HOG HANGED clearly alludes to the story Francis Bacon told in his APOPHTHEGMS about Sir Nicholas Bacon:

"Sir Nicholas Bacon being appointed a judge for the northern circuit, and having brought his trials that came before him to such a pass, as the passing of sentence on malefactors, he was by one of the malefactors mightily importuned for to save his life; which, when nothing that he had said did avail, he at length desired his mercy on account of kindred.`Prithee,' said my lord judge, `how came that in?' `Why, if it please you, my lord, your name is Bacon, and mine is Hog, and in all ages Hog and Bacon have been so near kindred, that they are not to be separated.' `Ay, but,' replied judge Bacon, `you and I cannot be kindred, except you be hanged; for Hog is not Bacon until it be well hanged."

This is a hint, Walker says, a subtle allusion to Francis Bacon, IT SMOKES. And he notes the message INIATTO a little further in the text, i.e., IT FLAMES:

I I boarded the Kings fhip: now on the Beake,

N Now in the Wafte, the Decke, in euery Cabyn,

I I flam'd amazement, fometime I'ld diuide

A And burne in many places; on the Top-maft,

T The Yards and Bore-fpritt, would I flame diftinctly,

T Then meete,and ioyne, Ioues Lightning, the precurfers

O Of fulphurous roaring, the moft mighty Neptune.

And positioned immediately after this in the text going down the page is the message:
SIT THE DIAL AT NBW, F BACON, TOBEY:

T Then Prospero,Mafter of a full poore cell,

A And thy no greater Father.

Mira. More to know

D Did neuer medle with my thoughts.

ProS.'Tis time

I I fhould informe thee farther:Lend thy hand

A And plucke my Magick garment from me: So,

L Lye there my Art:wipe thou thine eyes,haue comfort,

THE The direfull fpectacle of the wracke which touch'd

T The very vertue of compaffion in thee:

I I haue with fuch prouifion in mine Art

S So fafely ordered,that there is no foule

N No not fo much perdition as an hayre

B Betid to any creature in the veffell

W Which thou heardft cry, which thou faw'ft finke:Sit

F For thou muft now know farther. [downe,

Mira. You haue often

B Begun to tell me what I am, but ftopt

A And left me to a booteleffe Inquifition,

CON Concluding, ftay:not yet.

ProS. The howr's now come

T The very minute byds thee ope thine eare,

OBEY Obey,and be attentiue. Canft thou remember

Walker notes that Tobey or Tobie Matthew was Bacon's closest friend. Matthew was so close to Bacon, he says, that Bacon called him "another myself" and adds, certainly anyone familiar with the spelling of the day would not be put off by the spelling of Tobey instead of Tobie. He goes on to note that the first letters of the lines in the passage in the second column on page two, directly to the right of the F Bacon, Tobey passage, spell out TWO ALIKE:

T To clofenes, and the bettering of my mind

W with that, which but by being fo retir'd

O Ore-priz'd all popular ratetin my falfe brother

A Awak'd an euill nature,and my truft

Like Like a good parent, did beget of him

He calculates the odds against the message being the result of accident and arrives at a figure of 181,606,990,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1 for the probability against the accidental appearance of the message. According to Walker the message definitely and unequivocally establishes the authorship of The Tempest, once and for all. But his explanation of the meaning of the message is even more bizarre than the message itself. He cites passages in Bacon's writings where Bacon states he has invented a discovery device:

"In olden days, when men directed their course at sea by observation of the stars, they merely skirted the shores of the old continent or ventured to traverse small landlocked seas. They had to await the discovery of a more reliable guide, the needle, before they crossed the ocean and opened up the regions of the New World. Similarly, men's discoveries in the arts and sciences up till now are Such as could be made by intuition, experience, observation, thought; they Concerned only things accessible to the senses. But, before men can voyage To remote and hidden regions of nature, they must first be provided with Some better use and management of the human mind. Such a discovery Would, without a doubt, be the noblest, the truly masculine birth of time."

"If any one call on me for works, and that presently; I tell him frankly, without any imposture at all, that for me-a man not old, of weak health, my hands full of civil business, entering without guide or light upon an argument of all others the most obscure-I hold it enough to have constructed the machine, though I may not succeed in setting it to work."

And claims that Francis Bacon invented a discovery device which guided the human mind to the discovery of new arts and sciences just as a compass guides ships at sea. And furthermore that this discovery device was an Intellectual Compass since Bacon made a direct comparison of discovery on the Intellectual Globe with discovery on the material globe:

"It ought not to go for nothing that through the long voyages and travels which are the mark of our age many things in nature have been revealed which might throw new light on natural philosophy. Nay, it would be a disgrace for mankind if the expanse of the material globe, the lands, the seas, the stars, was opened up and brought to light, while, in contrast with this enormous expansion, the bounds of the Intellectual Globe should be restricted to what was known to the ancients."

He says Bacon indicated the basis behind his design in the plays when he said, in the Novum Organum:

"I am building in the human understanding a true model of the world."

And explained that the Old World of the past and the New World of the future reflected a major feature of the world of Bacon's time: the Old World around the Mediterranean, and the New World (America), that had been discovered far west of the Pillars of Hercules.

Hence his Intellectual Globe followed the design of the material globe and had two faces, a face looking toward the Old World and a face looking toward the New World. And this, he said, was what was meant by Bacon's passage in his Masculine Birth of Time:

"Nevertheless it is important to understand how the present is like a seer with two faces, one looking toward the future, and the other toward the past. Accordingly I have decided to prepare for your instruction tables of both ages, containing not only the past course and progress of science, but also anticipations of things to come. The nature of these tables you could not conjecture before you see them. A genuine anticipation of them is beyond your scope, nor would you be aware of the lack of it unless it was put into your hands."

In the Masculine Birth of Time Bacon refers to "tables", and according to Walker, Bacon called the models of his discovery device "Tabulae Inveniendi", i.e., "Tables of Discovery", and these models were actually the Shakespeare plays. In his preface to the Instauration, Bacon described these "Tabulae Inveniendi" as follows:

"...the first is to set forth examples of inquiry and invention according to my method, exhibited by anticipation in some particular subjects; choosing such subjects as are at once the most noble in themselves among these under inquiry, and most different one from another; that there may be an example in every kind. I do not speak of those examples which are joined to the several precepts and rules by way of illustration (for of these I have given plenty in the second part of the work); but I mean actual types and models, by which the entire process of the mind and the whole fabric and order of invention from the beginning to the end, in certain subjects, and those various and remarkable, should be set as it were before the eyes. For I remember that in the mathematics it is easy to follow the demonstration when you have a machine beside you; whereas without that help all appears involved and more subtle than it really is. To examples of this kind,- being in fact nothing more than an application of the second part in detail and at large,- the fourth part of the work is devoted."

And he later referred to them in the following curious terms:

"But when these Tabulae Inveniendi have been put forth and seen, he does not doubt that the more timid wits will shrink almost in despair from imitating them with productions with other materials or on other subjects; and they will take so much delight in the specimen given that they will miss the precepts in it. Still, many will be led to inquire into the real meaning and highest use of these writings, and to find the key to their interpretation, and thus more ardently desire, in some degree at least, to acquire the new aspect of nature which such a key will reveal."
 

In his, "Masculine Birth of Time" he described them as constructed so that each looked both to the past and to the future, i.e. with a Janus design. What was the Janus Design? Simply this: Each play has two faces. One face looks toward the past, the other toward the future. One face looks at the course and progress of the ancients in some particular aspect of knowledge. The other, looking toward the future contrasts Bacon's method with theirs and shows that his is better by using his discovery device to inquire into the form of a related aspect of knowledge. That is, they were Janus faced, and in the First Folio, the large ornamental "W" in William Shakespeare's name in the list of the principal actors is drawn so it incorporates a Janus face in its design. Each play deals with some particular notable aspect of ancient knowledge and by contrasting this with the operation of Bacon's discovery device in some related aspect of knowledge, shows that Bacon had something better to offer. Walker said this was what Bacon referred to in his, "Masculine Birth of Time":

Walker has essays covering 15 of the plays to demonstrate that they were constructed in this fashion. He says since this design is found throughout the First Folio it proves Bacon not only wrote The Tempest, but wrote all of the Shakespeare plays as well. And, he says, the convention of Bacon's models operated through an analogue model of the great world, which Bacon called the "Intellectual Globe", constructing his discovery device in such a manner that it fulfilled the function of an "intellectual compass" which guided the ship of discovery on his "Intellectual Globe." The Discovery device was constructed by Bacon so it enabled the user to select any particular in nature and ascend all the way up the pyramid of nature to the "form" of that particular. According to Bacon particulars in nature were composed of certain schematism of matter, and these in turn were composed certain simple motions so that at last the seeker could arrive at the "form" that was the true difference that distinguished the particular from every other particular in nature. And Bacon described certain features of his logic machine.

For example (he says) Bacon said the Fourth (missing part) of his Instauration would deal with his Tables of Discovery, because in his Novum Organum, referring to these tables, Bacon said, "the subject partly of the second, but more of the fourth part of my Instauration." Bacon described four tables:

1. The Table of Presence
2. The Table of Absence in Proximity
3. The table of Variance or Degrees
4. The table of Exclusion

The message in The Tempest implied they would be utilized in connection with a "dial", and this dial will be a compass dial with 32 divisions, or directions.

Obviously the division of matter in the plays will be correlated in some fashion with this dial, and the user would need to know with what direction the dial began, and how the correlation was made with the NBW in the message.

These are both easy to determine, Walker says, since we are told where NBW is, and the NBW reading is downward, indicating we should seek some division of the matter in the play beginning from the beginning of the play. The AT in the message "SIT THE DIAL AT NBW" was in the 32nd speech from the beginning of the play, and if we begin at North (the logical beginning point for a compass dial), the 32nd direction around the compass dial is NBW.

What we are looking, he says, is the beginning and termination of each table, and the termination of all four tables because at that point the analysis and induction process will begin again. The tables having been completed the process of the "First Vintage" as Bacon called it, would then begin. The simplest arrangement would be to have each table cover exactly 32 speeches. This would allow for all the variations in the dial of perogative natures, and would make it easy to follow the beginning and termination of each table. If this were so NBW would naturally indicate the last speech in the first table, and we should expect to have some indication of the end of all four of the tables. That is, the tables would proceed through 32 x 4, or 128 divisions, and following the 128th speech the process would begin again with the "First Vintage".

According to Walker, if the play is examined carefully, one sees this is exactly what Bacon has done. The 129th speech is as follows:

S Some God O' the island, sitting on a bank,

V VVeeping againe the King my Fathers wracke,

T This Musick crept by me upon the waters,

A Allaying both their fury, and my passion

V VVith it's sweet ayre: thence I have follow'd it

O Or it hath drawn me rather; but 'tis gone.

N No, it begins againe.

In Elizabethan times W's were often composed of two V's, and U's and V's were interchangeable. The message is NOVATUS (latin: it begins again) and is also repeated in the text of the speech. So Bacon gave clear verification for the arrangement of the tables, and there is clear evidence in The Tempest especially, but in the other plays as well, of the presence of the design and of the discovery device.

In this instance again, the evidence is overwhelmingly in Bacon favor.

8. There is contemporary testimony De Vere wrote the best plays and was connected with the theatre, and this is evidence he concealed his authorship under the name of Shakespeare.

Francis Meres in Palladis Tamia: Wits Treasury in 1598, after extolling Shakespeare as being the best for his poems, and plays, and naming twelve plays, as well as Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucre, and the Sonnets had the following passage that includes de Vere:

The best for Comedy amongst us be, Edward Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Maister Rowley once a rare Scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Edwardes one of her Maiesties Chappell, Eloquent and wittie John Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Mundye our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.

So clearly Meres did not believe de Vere wrote the Shakespeare works. Furthermore, if people knew de Vere was writing plays why did he need Shakespeare as a mask?

The Arte of English Poesie (1589) published anonymously, but later attributed by rumor to George Puttenham, had the following to say on the matter:

I know very many noble Gentlemen in the court that have written commendably well and suppressed it agayne, or else suffered it to be publish it without their own names to it: as if it were a discredit for a Gentlemen to seem learned, and to shew him selfe amorous of any good art (Book I, Of Poets and Poesie: Chapter 8, emphasis added).

Somewhat later in chapter 31 of the Booke I, the author makes the following intriguing repetition, with variation, of the first quote, this time naming some of the authors whose works have been published under false names or suppressed:

And in her maiesties time that now is are sprong up an other crew of Courtly makers Noble men and Gentlemen of her Maiesties own servaunts,who have written excellently well as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and made publicke with the rest, of which number is first that noble Gentleman, Edward Earle of Oxford. Thomas Lord Buckhurst, when he was young, Henry Lord Paget, Sir Phillip Sidney, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Master Edward Dyer, Maister Fulke Greville, Gascon, Britton, Turberville, and many other learned Gentlemen, whose names I do not omit for envie, but to avoyde tediousness....(Book I, Chapter 31).

And Peacham in The Compleat Gentlemen (1622) said:

In the time of our late Queen Elizabeth, which was truly a golden Age (for such a world of refined wits, excellent spirits it produced, whose like are hardly to be hoped for, in any succeeding age) above others, who honoured Poesie with their pennes and practice (to omit her Majestie who had a singular gift herein) were Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Lord Buckhurst, Henry Lord Paget, our Phoenix, the noble Sir Philip Sidney, M. Edward Dyer, M. Edmund Spenser, M. Samuel Daniel, with sundry others (together with those admirable wits, yet living, and so well known) not out of Ennuie, but to avoid tediousness, I overpass.

The final and extraordinary detailed literary reference concerning Oxford (long overlooked) can be found Bibliographica Poetica: A Catalogue of English Poets (1802) by the literary critic, Joseph Ritson (1752-1803). The passage is worth quoting in full for the record:

Vere Edward, earl of Oxford, the 14th [sic] of his surname and family, is the author of several poems printed in "The Paradise of Daintie Devices," 1576, etc. and in "Englands Helicon." One piece, by this nobleman, may be found in "The Phoenix nest," 1592, another is subjoin'd to "Astrophel & Stella," 1591, and another to "Brittons Bowre of Delights," 1597 (selected by mister Ellis). Some lines of his are, also, prefix'd to "Cardanuses Comforte,"1573. All or most of his compositions are distinguished by the signature E.O. He dye'd in 1604; and was bury'd at Hackney (not as Wood says, at Earls- Colne in Essex). Webbe and Puttenham applaud his attainments in poesy: Meres ranks him with the "best for comedy." Several specimens of Oxford's poetry occur in Englands Parnasus, 1600, in the posthumous edition of Lord Oxford's works, Vol. 1. two poems, by the Earl of Oxford, are given from an ancient MS. miscellany: but the possessor is not pointed out. One of these is reprinted by mister Ellis. (8)

I submit that this IS NOT evidence that de Vere used the name Shakespeare to conceal his authorship of the plays that appeared under that name. What this is evidence of, is that de Vere used his own name.

9. One of De Vere's tutors was his uncle, Arthur Golding, who is credited with the translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. This is widely recognised as having a major influence on "Shakespeare".

That Golding translated Ovid's Metamorphoses is not evidence for de Vere as against the claim of Bacon. Bacon could also have been attracted to the work.

10. Fourteen of the plays have Italian settings and demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the country beyond pure book knowledge.

So detailed is the knowledge that "blunders" about geography are now being shown to be correct. De Vere spent the best part of a year travelling in Italy in 1575. He was satirized as 'The Italian Earl' on his return to England.

There is evidence that Bacon also traveled in Italy. In the first biography of Bacon, the Life by Pierre Amboise, that appeared in the France in 1631, we are told:

"he employed some years of his youth in travel, in order to polish his mind and to mould his opinion by intercourse with all kinds of foreigners. France, Italy, and Spain, as the most civilized nations of the whole world were those Whither his desire for knowledge carried him."

And this is supported by a letter without date written from Thomas Bodley to Bacon that indicates he was about to embark on a tour of several nations. So this particular claim for special knowledge on de Vere's part by the Oxfordians applies just as much to Bacon, and the issue is a wash between the two.

11. Soon after the name "Shake-speare" appeared in print for the first time, poems stopped appearing under De Vere's own name; the vocabulary, style and imagery are consistent between the two.

This proves nothing. De Vere was undergoing his wandering through foreign nations trying to live down the bad odor from his past, and as far as the vocabulary, style and imagery being consistent between his writings and Shakespeare the point applies to Bacon, not to de Vere. So the scales tilt in Bacon's favor in this instance.

12. De Vere was excellent at the tilts and at jousting. He was known at Court as the "spear-shaker." This nickname recalls the Greek Goddess Pallas Athena who was associated with poetry and the theatre; Athens was the original home of drama, and of the finest tragic dramatists prior to Shakespeare. Gabriel Harvey in paying tribute to De Vere as a poet wrote, "thine eyes flash fire, thy countenance shakes spears". 

De Vere was known as the "spear-breaker" not the "spear-shaker". This was the term of distinction for prowess in the joust at which de Vere apparently excelled. The contestant was judged by the number of lances he broke. This is what was denoted by the lion with the broken lance on de Vere's coat of arms, and has nothing to do with "shake-speare". Shakespeare was an altogether different idea, and referred to Pallas Athena the goddess of knowledge, who, when she shook her spear, caused the darkness of ignorance to retreat. This was the designation of Bacon who spent his entire life for the cause of knowledge. And the fact that Bacon was associated with this idea is demonstrated by the letter he received in 1582, from Jean De la Jesse, (personal secretary to the duc d'Anjou and one of Ronsard's bohemian circle of poets in France) who identified the tenth muse that Bacon had selected as his own, when he asserted that his own Muse has been inspired by "Bacon's Pallas":

"bien que votre Pallas me rende mieux instruit"

translation : your Pallas has taught me better (how to speak or instruct)

And this was the allusion Ben Jonson was making in his poem to Shakespeare at the beginning of the First Folio when he said:

Of Shakefpeares minde, and manners brightly shines
In his well turned, and true filed lines:
In each of which, he seemes to shake a Lance,
As brandish't at the eyes of ignorance.

The tribute by Gabriel Harvey shows no association with this idea at all. The evidence here is all on Bacon's side of the scales.

13. Printed plays under the name "Shake-speare" did not appear until 1598, the year that Lord Burghley died.

This applies equally to Bacon as to de Vere so the evidence is a wash in this case. It doesn't tilt the scales either way.

14. 36 out of the 37 plays are set in Courtly or wealthy society. The noble characters are all natural, convincing and at ease. They speak the language of their class. Throughout the plays, every character through whom the author speaks on social or political issues is of noble birth or privileged position. The world "Shake-speare" wrote about was the world De Vere and his court audience knew.

Since both Oxford and Bacon were courtiers moving in the same circles at the pinnacle of Elizabethan society, this is a non-starter. There is no evidence here to tip the scales for either of the claimants.

15. De Vere was closely involved with the theater; he held a lease on the Blackfriars Theatre and had his own acting company, The Lord Oxford Players. He was acknowledged by his contemporaries as a poet and praised as a playwright. About 25 poems survive under his own name. Around 30 books were also dedicated to him during his lifetime, none by "Shake-speare". He was also the patron of many writers but again, not of "Shake-speare".

The Oxfordians have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is out. This is an excellent example of the axiom that "There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action." It is a rather scary thought, not only that Oxfordians could think this constitutes evidence for de Vere's authorship of the Shakespeare plays, but that there may be others simple enough to believe them. The theater was the rage among the young dandies of the upper crust. Since de Vere had more money (at least before he threw it all away) and means than most he had his own theater and players. But neither this, nor the fact that no works of "Shake-speare" were dedicated to him, is evidence for his authorship of the Shakespeare plays. By the time works with Shakespeare's name on them had begun to appear de Vere had wasted his inheritance, disgraced himself, and sank into obscurity, so there was nothing to be gained in dedicating works to him.

16. The records show Lord Oxford's Players performing in the Boar's Head tavern in Eastcheap (referred to in Henry IV part 1). The records also show that two former servants of Lord Burghley were waylaid by De Vere's men, on the highway between Gravesend and Rochester, the very same stretch of road where Falstaff was ambushed by Prince Hal and his men in disguise.

The mere fact that this incident was utilized in the play has no inherent information to allow a determination one way or the other between de Vere and Bacon. No doubt Bacon was familiar with the incident and could have utilized it for his own purposes in the play. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that this was exactly what happened.
The play, along with the subsequent play of King Henry V is constructed so it makes a clear distinction between the young prince Henry in his irresponsible state before his father died and he became King, and in his responsible state following his sudden total casting off of his old character and assuming a new character of responsibility after he became king.
According to Walker the play is constructed in this fashion because in this particular play Bacon has designed his discovery device to inquire into the "form" of a King. And Bacon had defined this in his essay Of Great Place.According to Bacon the "form" of a King was that "When he sits in place, he is another man." And according to Walker this was exactly what the play was designed to reveal. So we must say that in as far as this instance gives evidence to tilt the scales on either side it is all on Bacon's side.

17. Ben Jonson in Every Man in His Humour denotes De Vere as the author Since the parody of Shakespeare's coat of arms describes a boar, and there Was a boar on de Vere's coat of arms.

In 1596 the Garter King of Arms at the Heralds' Office drafted the Shakespeare coat of arms. The motto was `Non sanz Droict', i.e. `Not without Right'. A play by Ben Jonson, Every Man out of his Humour was registered in 1600. One of the characters, Sogliardo, a rustic boor who is ludicrously proud of his newly acquired coat of arms, is obviously meant to satirize Shakespeare. In Act iii, Scene 1, Sogliardo boasts about it in conversation with Sir Puntarvolo and Carlo the jester.

Sogliardo. Nay, I will have them, I am resolute for that. By this parchment, gentlemen, I have been so toiled among the harrots [heralds] yonder, you will not believe; they do speak I' the strangest language and give a man the hardest terms for his money, that ever you knew.

Carlo. But ha' you arms? Ha' you arms?

Sog. I' faith, I thank God. I can write myself a gentleman now; here's my patent, it cost

me thirty pounds, by this breath.

Puntarvolo. A very fair coat, well charged and full of armory.

Sog. Nay, it has as much variety of colours in it, as you have see a coat have; how like you the crest, sir?

Punt. I understand it not well, what is't?

Sog. Marry, sir, it is your boar with a head, rampant.

After more badinage Sogliardo comes the following:

Sog. On a chief argent, a boar's head proper, between two ann'lets tables.

Car. (to Puntarvolo). `Slud, it's a hog's cheek and puddings, in a pewter field, this.

Sog. How like you `hem, signior?

Punt. Let the word be, `Not without mustard': Your crest is very rare, sir.

This has often been given as evidence that Bacon was Shakespeare, but in this case, the scales obviously tilt in de Vere's favor since the boar on de Vere's crest was rampant, and the boar on Bacon's crest was not rampant.

Personally I was glad to come across this bit of evidence. I had run over and over the Oxfordian material searching for something to make a horse race of the comparison between Oxford and Bacon, but to no avail. The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets. Then I came across this item. If it doesn't make a horse race between the two, at least it serves a little to "save face" for the Oxfordians. There is a story by Ian Fleming in which a woman killed a husband who was cruel to her. Fleming made the point that people will stand almost anything as long as they are left a "quantum of solace" and in this case the man had not left her that, thus making an implacable enemy of her. I have resisted all temptation to demolish the "Every man Out of His Humor" evidence. Instead I have left it intact as my quantum of solace for the Oxfordians.

I had intended to go on, after examining the evidence under the de Vere headings, and show the mountain of additional evidence for Bacon's authorship of the Shakespeare plays. But this article has become rather lengthy. Moreover, additional evidence is not needed. The Oxford Theory is a prime example of the truism that if you come up with a dumb enough idea the world will beat a path to your doorway. In 1824 two tricksters came up with the idea of slicing off Manhattan Island and putting it back again the other way round. Hordes of people showed up with their row boats and ropes ready to assist in the effort of towing the island around the other way after it had been sawed apart with the collection of 100 ft long, 3-ft teeth saws the pranksters had produced.

The Oxford Theory is a "field of dreams" fantasy. Build it and the mentally challenged WILL come. This is obviously a case of "no contest". Examination of the evidence shows the case is overwhelmingly in the favor of Francis Bacon. The case for de Vere does not even rise to the level of a knock out in the first round. It is more in the nature of the opponent striking his head against the post while trying to climb into the ring and rendering himself senseless before the bout begins. To conclude this study I would say to the Oxfordians, you have been too close to your case for too long. Stand back a moment while your olfactory nerves return to normal, then approach your case again, you will find it does not pass the smell test.

***

comments for Jerome Harner

COMMENTARY BY THE EDITORS OF BACONIANA
on
EDWARD de VERE

See : Shakespeare Shows up the Earl of Oxford
in
All's Well That End's Well

&

Review of Monstrous Ally , Biography of Edward de Vere, by Alan Nelson :

A Malcontent of High Degree

&
Another Review of Monstrous Ally by
Thomas Pendleton