The Masonic Headpiece placed at the Head of Shakespeare's Sonnets in 1723, the year Grand Lodge announced it's existence to the World
The Freemasons emerged from their hiding places in 1723 and let the world know of their existence officially. In 1723-25 Alexander Pope and Dr. Sewell published "Shakespeare's Sonnets"(the Benson Medley Edition). The above illustration is the headpiece from it---a remarkable example of Masonic Symbolism. On the left is to be seen the Square and Compasses, the Mask, and the clasped book with the Pallette and brushes. There is also the special Cross "T's" of the Knight's Degree. In the centre are the Three Principals hailing the Sun. At the back of the third figure are the initials "F.B." On the right side are the organ pipes indicative of the "New Organ," (Novum Organum) with the Cock and Serpent of the Higher Christian Degrees. These same symbols were afterwards used in the tail-piece of Dr. Peter Shaw's edition of Francis Bacon's works. They distinctly show the connection between "Shakespeare's Sonnets" and the "Great Instauration" of Francis Bacon.
The Creation and organization of the Ethical Brotherhood was in fact Part VI to which he says "all the rest are subservient," including the Shakespeare Plays, Part IV.
I directly call the attention of the above symbolism to all Masonic Research Associations, and particularly the Quatuor Coronati Research Lodge of London who are investigating the Genesis and Origins of Freemasonry, noting also the same Symbolism on pages 273 and 267, as well as 43,44, 252, 257, 261, 263, 269, 274, 176 and the Ritual Contractions pp.278-287.
In Francis Bacon is to be found the Secret of Freemasonry and the Origin of the Modern Mystery. The time is over-ripe for ALL Freemasons to know the Truth of their Craft. The Quatuor Coronati has hitherto neglected the ancient Elizabethan books. If the scholars will but search them they will find the Key-Stone. It is not too late to make that Stone which the Builders rejected THE HEAD OF THE CORNER.
This Tailpiece is from the Collected Edition of Francis Bacon's Prose Works by Dr. Peter Shaw in 1733....the first Collection to appear after the Emergence of the Freemasons in 1723. It unmistakbly links Francis Bacon with the Craft.
There is the Square and Compasses, the Globe, the "T.T." and Cross Symbol found in the 1723 Book of Constitutions, the Palette denoting that he is a Painter or Poet who PAINTS with (like "F.B. Pictor et Architectus" in the Rosicrucian "Fama") the New Organ---symbolising the New Philosophy told in the Instauration Part VI--and a MASK to denote he was a Concealed Writer.
The Eagle of the Higher Degrees broods over the Engraving.