Bacon's Mind in Shakespeare
What evidence points to Bacon as the author of the plays?
1. Bacon and the author of the plays are very close.
a. Bacon is associated with people who are known associates of the author of the plays.
b. Bacon is associated with places and events reflected in the plays.
c. A "Local" readings of the plays demonstrates that may of the characters are modeled from contemporary people who Bacon was associated with.
2. Bacon was a concealed poet.
3. Both Bacon and the author of the plays possessed an immense vocabulary and constantly coined new words
4. Both Bacon and the author of the plays possessed the characteristic that they wrote extremely fast and produced copy almost without blot.
5. Although there were many learned men in Shakespeare's day their learning was in the classics and antiquity, The characteristic of an immense, apparently universal, learning which extended into a detailed knowledge of arts and trades seems to be a unique trait possessed only by Bacon and the author of the plays.
6. The author of the plays could depict the most different characters, and speak the language proper to each, exactly the same facility which a biographer notes of Bacon.
7. Many of the expressions and metaphors used by Bacon appear in the Plays.
8. Many of the identical characteristics of the writing style of the author of the plays can be seen in the writing of Bacon.
9. Bacon wrote a notebook (The Promus) in which he collected phrases, most of which later appeared in the Plays.
10. Many opinions expressed by Bacon appear in the Plays.
11. Often the change of opinion is reflected in the work of both.
12. Many of Bacon's ideas appear in the Plays.
13. The design of the Globe Playhouse demonstrated it to be the the work of Bacon.
14. Bacon produced and published a number of literary works with the assistance of a group of scriveners who worked for him. He used a light "A", dark "A" emblematics headpiece to mark various works which he produced. The Shakespeare Plays were marked with this emblematic headpiece.
15. Evidence connects Bacon with the "sunburst" emblem which marked the Shakespeare Plays.
16. We have testimony of a knowledgable contemporary that Bacon wrote the plays.
17. Bacon left a manuscript with a list of works he had produced and some of the "Shakespeare" works are on this list.
18. In his letters to Bacon, Bacon's closest friend Tobie Matthew indicates in one passage that he is returning the work Measure for Measure Bacon had sent him, and at another time that Bacon wrote Julius Caesar.
19. Shakespeare and Bacon are never original. They always borrow and improve.
20. Both have the habit of writing phrases with double and and opposite meanings.
21. On the first full page of text in the First Folio, Bacon left a message signing his name to the Shakespeare works.
1. Bacon closely associated with the author of the plays.
The dedications of Venus and Adonis , and The Rape of Lucrece establishes that the author had a close relationship with The Earl of Southampton. Southampton and Essex were inseparable friends, and at the time the dedications were written, Bacon was closely associated with Essex and the Essex circle, and frequently in his company, which would mean that he was frequently in the company of Southampton.
Furthermore The dedications of Venus and Lucrece indicates that the friendship with Southampton began in 1592 and had became more intimate by the time Lucrece was written. This follow the circumstances of Bacon's relationship with the Essex circle. The relationship began in late 1591 or in 1592, so the indications are that his acquaintance with Southampton began shortly before Venus and Adonis was written.
Venus and Adonis was probably written in 1592. On April 18, 1593 it was registered in the Stationers' Registers. It is written in a fashion that indicates the author is not established in his friendship with Southhampton and does not know how his dedication will be received. The printer was Richard Field, and it was dedicated to Henry Wriotheseley, 3rd Earl of Southampton 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 barren a 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."
The Rape of Lucrece was probably written during 1594. The dedication indicates that the friendship, apparently just beginning at the time of the dedication of Venus and Adonis, is now firmly established. On May 9, 1594 Lucrece was registered with the following dedication:
To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley Earle of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield.
The loue I dedicate to your Lordship is without end; whereof this Pamphlet without beginning is but a superfluous Moity. The warrant I have of your Honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored Lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duety would shew greater, meane time, as it is, it is bound to your Lordship; To whom I wish long life still lengthened with all happiness,
Your Lordship's in all duety
The Comedy Of Errors was first played at a Christmas entertainment at Gray's Inn which Francis Bacon had the princple part in producing. Bacon was very familiar with the Cecil household.
(Bacon's foster mother,Anne Cooke Bacon, her sister Mildred, married Lord Burghley. Later when Nicholas Bacon died, Burghley, Francis' Uncle, now assumed paternal responsibility toward Francis' upbringing.)
Topical reading of some of the plays indicates a close association with this household. There is no doubt that the character of Polonius was William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Richard III is modeled after Robert Cecil, the son of William Cecil. Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well is modeled after Edward DeVere, XVIIth Earl of Oxford who was also a ward in the Cecil houshold married Anne, William Cecil's daughter. Helen is modeled after that daughter Anne.
Bacon was a courtier, and had close contact with Queen Elizabeth I, and those in close contact with her. Richard II is modeled after Elizabeth and the first record of Richard II is in a letter from Essex where he mentions it is being played in the Hoby household.
The Hoby's were Francis' first cousins and Francis and his brother Anthony were close to the Hoby's. Malvolio was modeled after Christopher Hatton. Love's Labour Lost has numerous topical references to members of the Essex circle. Othello was modeled after Sir Walter Raleigh, and Iago after Lord Henry Howard and Robert Cecil. In Macbeth, in Measure for Measure, and in Cymbelline are seen reflections of King James I. The Tempest had its rise from papers of the Virginia Company of which Bacon was a moving force.
2. Bacon a concealed poet.
Bacon himself said he was a concealed poet. Referring to himself in a letter he wrote in 1603, to his friend John Davies, he said,
And in the book of eulogies written to him at his death in 1626 there are a number of references to his concealed writings. One example is the passage from R.C. of Trinity College:
In 1679 Bishop T. Tenison, who apparently had personal knowledge of the fact that Bacon was in the habit of producing pseudonymous works said:
"Those who have true skill in the Works of the Lord Verulam, like the Great Masters in Painting, can tell by the Design, the Strength, the way of the Colouring, whether he was the author of this or the other Piece, though is name be not to it."
3. Both Bacon and the author of the Plays possessed an immense vocabulary, and were constantly coining new words.
The author of the Plays possessed an immense, perhaps unique vocabulary.
The Plays contain the largest vocabulary utilized by any writer up until the time they were written. This may be paralleled with the immense vocabulary utilized by Francis Bacon. When Samuel Johnson was employed in writing the first English Dictionery he said that he could write a dictionery merely from the works of Lord Bacon alone. The author of the Plays was constantly coining new words.
The Oxford English Dictionary credits Shakespeare with being the first to use about 3,200 words. This means that approximately one in every five words used by the author of the plays was a word he himself had coined. Parallel this with the known propensity of Francis Bacon for coining new words, witness the letterfrom Gosnold regarding the speech Bacon made arguing his first case in court.
On the 5th and 9th of February 1594 Francis Bacon appeared in two cases. Harry Gosnold, a young lawyer of Gray's Inn, who heard him, left a report:
"That Francis Bacon retains his reputation gained, is not strange to any that knows him. That he hath increased it, is not incredible. The absence of the Lords that were looked for was recompensed with a presence of learned Judges, and seemed an Assembly rather capable than honourable.
The respect they gave him was extraordinary, was well-noted but not envied. The attention of the rest, springing from an experience of good and an expectation of better, could not be better. His argument, contracted by the time, seemed a bataille serree as hard to be discovered as conquered.
The unusual words wherewith he had spangled his speech, were rather gracious for their propriety than strange for their novelty, and like to serve both for occasions to report and means to remember his argument. Certain sentences of his , somewhat obscure, and as it were presuming upon their capacities will, I fear, make some of them rather admire than commend him.
In sum, all is as well as words can make it, and if it please Her Majesty to add deeds, the Bacon may be too hard for the Cook.[Coke]."
4. Both Bacon and the author of the Plays had the characteristic in common that they wrote extremely fast and produced copy almost without blot.
Rawley (Bacon's personal chaplain) had a good deal to say about the speed with which he produced his works. Bacon had trained a number of amanuenses in a special shorthand which he invented and his works were dictated and produced as fast as he could speak, apparently keeping several amanuenses busy in rotation. For example, Rawley says the Apothegms, a collection of 308 anecdotes were produced within one day while Bacon was sick. Tenison adds that this was one mornings work. This statement was so fantastic that Spedding, Bacon's foremost biographers, refused to believe it.
However, Tenison had access to works of Bacon which even Rawley had considered lost, and certainly should have been in a position to know whether this was true or not. Rawley gave a list of Bacon's works and stated that all except three of them were produced in the last five years of his life.
Ben Jonson in his Explorata: or Discoveries said:
"I remember, the players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing (whatsoever he penned) he never blotted out line."
Francis Osborn, in his Advice to a Son, writes of Bacon:
"As I have been told his first or foulest Copys required no great Labour to render them competent for the nicest judgments."
"A high perfection, attainable only by use, and treating with every man in his respective profession, and what he was most vers'd in.
So as I have heard him entertain a Country Lord in the proper terms relating to Hawks and Dogs. And at another time out-Cant a Loundon Chirurgeon. Thus he did not only learn himself, but gratifie such as taught himn; who looked upon their Callings as honoured through his Notice..."
5. Although there were many learned men in Shakespeare's day their learning was in languages, in classics, and in antiquity, whereas the author of the Plays and Bacon had in common the fact that their learning extended into a detailed knowledge of the "mechanical" arts and trades.
"It was esteemed a kind of dishonour unto learning," wrote Bacon,"to descend to inquiry or meditation upon matters mechanical."
6 The author of the plays could depict the most different characters, and speak the language proper to each, a facility which Bacon and the author of the Plays had in common.
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Letter CXXIII, 1664:
"Shakespear did not want wit, to Express to the Life all Sorts of Persons, of whatever Quality, Profession, Degree, Breeding, or Birth soever; nor did he want Wit to Express the Divers, and Different Humours, or Natures, or Several Passions in Manking..."
The author of the Plays possessed the ability to reproduce the speech, mannerisms, and characteristics of every variety of people of no matter what quality, profession, degree, breeding, or birth whatever.
One of the earliest biographers of Bacon, Mallet, who was in much closer contact with the time then we are now, had the following description of Bacon:
"In conversation he could assume the most different characters, and speak the language proper to each, with a facility which was perfectly natural."
7. Many expressions and metaphors used by Bacon appear in the Plays.
"The Spanish have a proverb,'To-morrow, tomorrow; and when to-morrow comes, to-morrow.." Religious Meditations- Bacon
"Let me live to serve you, else life is but the shadow of death to your Majesty's most devoted servant." Letter to King James - Bacon
"It is nothing else but words, which rather sound than signify anything." -Bacon
"I saw him run after a gilden 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..." Coriolanus - Shakespeare
"...and if her Majesty will not take me, it may be selling by parcels will be more gainful. 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...." Letter to Fulke Greville - Bacon
"For if the sun breeds maggots in a dead dog being a god kissing carrion." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Aristotle dogmatically assigned the cause of generation to the sun..." Novum Organum - Bacon
"A silence in the heavens, the rack stood still,
The bold winds speechless and the orb below
As hush as death; anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region."-Hamlet - Shakespeare
"The winds in the upper region (which move the clouds about what we call the rack, and are not perceived below; pass without noise.." Sylva Sylvarum - Bacon
"Assume a virtue if you have it not." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Whatever a want a man hath, he must see that he pretend the virtue that shadoweth it." Advancement of Learning - Bacon
" From the tables
Of my memory I'll wipe away all saws of books." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Tables of the mind differ from the common tables...you will scarcely wipe out the former records unless you shall have inscribed the new." Redargutio Phil. - Bacon
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in it." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"They were only taking pains to show a kind of method and discretion in their madness" Novum Organum - Bacon
"Polonius. What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet. Words, words, words.
Polonius. What is the matter, my lord?"
Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Here, then, is the first distemper of learning, when men study words and not matter." Advancement of Learning - Bacon
"There's such divinity doth hedge a king
That treason dares not look on." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"God hath implanted such a majesty in the face of a prince that no private man dare approach the person of his sovereign with a traitorous intent." -Speech at trial of Essex - Bacon
"Hamlet. Denmark's a prison.
Rosencrantz. Then is the world one." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"The world is a prison." Letter to Buckingham - Bacon
" It is very cold,
It is a nipping, and an eager air." Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Whereby the cold becomes more eager." Natural History - Bacon
"The expense of spirit in a waste of shame." Sonnets - Shakespeare
"The cause of dimness of sight is the expense of spirits." Natural History - Bacon
The Art o' the Court
As hard to heave as keepe; whose top to climbe
Is certain falling, or so slipp'ry, that
The feere's as bad as falling." Cymbeline - Shakespeare
"The Stairs to honores are steep, the standing slippery, the regresse a downfall." -Advancement of Learning - Bacon
"Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
And each particular haire to stand on end,
Like Quilles upon the fretfull Porcupine."-Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Feare causeth paleness, trembling, the standing of the hair upright; starting." Sylva Sylvarum - Bacon
"That straine agen; it had a dying fall;
O it came ore my eare like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a banke of Violets;
Stealing and giving Odour."
"And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (when it comes and goes like the warbling of music)." Essay on Gardens - Bacon
"Looke how the floore of
Is Thicke inlayed with patines of bright gold
There's not the smallest orbe which thou beholdst
But in his motion like an Angell sings
Still quiring to the young eyed Cherubins."
"If we place any belief in the opinion of Plato and Cardan, a divine harmony is generated from the intercourse of the Spheres which we cannot hear on account of the greatness of the distance." Of Nature Arcanis - Bacon
"There is a Tide in the affayres of men
Which taken at the Flood leades on to Fortune." Julius Caesar - Shakespeare
"In 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." De Augmentis - Bacon
"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?" Macbeth - Shakespeare
"The particular remedies which learning doth minister to all the diseases of the mind." Bacon
"Cowards die many times before their deaths." Julius Caesar - Shakespeare
"Men have their time, and die many times, in desire of some things which they principally take to heart." Essay of Friendship - Bacon
" To thine own self be
and it must follow, as night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
Hamlet - Shakespeare
"Be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others."Essay of Wisdom - Bacon
8. Many of the identical characteristics of the writing style of the author of the Plays are found in the writing of Bacon.
The writing style of the author of the Plays evinced unusual characteristics also present in the writing of Bacon.
1. The Plays reveal varying writing styles which have prompted some students to conclude that more than one author assisted in writing some of the Plays. Fulton Anderson notes in his book, Francis Bacon, His Career and Thought , that Bacon had the ability to write in any style he choose. When trying to bring Essex back into Elizabeth's favor Bacon had successfully composed feigned correspondence supposedly written by Essex and Anthony Bacon, in which he imitated their style perfectly. Evenwriting letters to Elizabeth at the bidding of Essex in exact imitation of the Earl. When James succeeded to the throne after the death of Elizabeth, Bacon addressed a letter to James which was an exact imitation of the ponderous style of James.
Dr. Edwin Abbott writes of Bacon:
"His style varied as much as his handwriting. It depended on whether he was addressing a King, a great Nobleman, a philosopher or a friend, composing a State paper, extolling Truth or discussing studies..."
2. The stylistic structural devices in The Plays and in the works of Bacon closely reflect each other:
In Ben Jonson and The language of Prose Comedy, Jonas Barish says:
"Shakespeare starts with the highly specialized set of expressive devices worked out by Lyly, inflects them variously, fills them with nuance, widens their range, and so finally transcends them, but without departing from the structural principles on which they are based. One Tends not to notice the logicality of Shakespeare's prose because it is managed with such virtuoisity as to seem natural as breathing. But by his constant invention of fresh logical formulas, his endless improvising of new patterns, Shakespeare, if anything, carries logical syntax even further than Lyly.
The term logicality here, refers not merely to the use of syllogisms and other formal schemes, though these are numerous enough, but to a stylistic habit that includes these and goes deeper: the habit, first, of treating a piece of discourse as argument, of tracking effects back to causes, discovering consequences from antecedents, elucidating premises, proposing hypotheses, and the like; and second, more important, the habit of proceeding disjunctively, of splitting every idea into its component elements and then symmetrizing the elements so as to sharpen the sense of division between them."
Parallel this with the description of Bacon's writing style given by Brian Vickers in Francis Bacon and Renaissance Prose Vickers says:
"It is impossible not to admire the structure of Bacon's works. Outlines are clear and easily grasped, the argument proceeds firmly through each section, and each topic is covered with thoroughness and precision. There is in all the finished work, and even in some of the fragments, a strong sense of unity- the organic unity of a tree and its branches- which Coleridge perceived, and attributed partly to the unityof the subject and partly to 'the perpetual growth and evolution of the thoughts, one generating and explaining, and justifying, the place of another....' But, in addition to this intellectual unity, this tough but relaxed control of thought into an essentially positive, onward movement, there is to be felt throughout Bacon's work an effective organisation of the larger units of argument. The method he uses to achieve this tight structure is seen most clearly in the Advancement of Learning, and seems to be the deceptively simple one of dividing up the topic into its main heads, subdividing within these, and the following the argument along its respective branches."
9. Bacon wrote a notebook in which he collected phrases, most of which later appeared in the Plays.
In 1594 Bacon began a notebook. The first page is dated December 5, 1594. He titled it,The Promus of Formularies and Elegancies.
In this notebook Bacon set down phrases, words, tricks of speech,- whatever might prove useful not only in writing but in conversation. Catherine Dinker Bowen in Francis Bacon - The Temper of a Man says of the notebook:
"It is wonderful to read these exercises, with their simplicity,their workaday air. One page is filled with morning and evening salutations: 'Good night, good soir, good matins...Good day to me and good morrow to you...I pray God your early rising does you no hurt...Up early and never the nearer...There is a law against liers-abed.' A second sheet has phrases to help speed an argument:
'Now you say somewhat...Answer me shortly...The matter goeth so slowly forward that I have almost forgotten it myself, so as I marvel not if my friends forget.'
One imagines the accompanying bow, easy, elegant, learned perhaps in France. Did Bacon practice these phrases, alone in his room?
It is not too fanciful to think that he did. In the Promus, no phrase is too brief for Bacon's attention. He rings changes, tries out, the words. The exercises are interspersed with phrases descriptive of character, perhaps of lawyers in court, or Parliament ment in the House of Commons. Mixed with all this are quotations from Bacon's reading, stirred in his memory and thrown down as random, correctly, incorrectly, with no authors given. (Most of the quotations will be met later, in the Advancement of Learning or the Novum Organum.)
What Dinker does not note is that most of these phrases are also later used in the Shakespeare Plays.
Promus 99 : To stumble at the threshold
Men that stumble at the threshold
3 K. Henry VI,iv,7.
84b-Promus: Galen's compositions, not Paracelsus' separations.
So I say both of Galen and Paracelsus.
All's Well That Ends Well ii,3.
95 Promus: El buen suena el mal vuela=Godd dreams, ill waking.
Dreame as I have done,
Wake and finde nothing. Cymbeline,v,4.
Promus 85: A fools bolt is soon shot
A Fools Bolt is soon shot. K.Henry V,iii,7
Promus 92b: An yll wind that bloweth no man to good.
The yll wind that blows no man to good. 2 Henry IV,v,3.
Promus 101: Clavum clavo pellere=With one nail to drive out a nail
One fire drives out one fire,
One Naile, one Naile. Coriolanus,iv,6
Promus 92: Seldom cometh the better.
Seldom cometh the better. Richard III,ii,3.
Promus 96b: Thought is free.
Thought is free. Tempest,iii,2
10. Many opinions expressed by Bacon appear in The Plays.
11. There are even cases where a change of opinion in the Plays is reflected in the work of Bacon.
In Hamlet there are two remarkable instances of adherence to erroneous theories, the one philosophic, the other scientific. In the scene where Hamlet upbraids his mother, he says:-
Reference to commentators on the text of this drama discloses the curious ipinions they have held on the meaning of these words. In 1605 Bacon published his Advancement of Learning, and makes no correction of this theory, which had long been held, that in the absence of sense there can be no motion, but in 1623, when he republished the same work, he had abandoned it, explaining that ignorance
"drove some of the ancient philosophers to suppose that a soul was infused into all bodies without distinction; for they could not conceive how there could be motion at discretion without sense, or sense without a soul." -De Augmentis
In the First Folio of the "Shakespeare" Works published the same year, the lines above quoted from the earlier Hamlet were left out. By whom and why were they canceled if not by Bacon, who was then seeing his Augmentis through Jaggard's press?
The other case is disclosed in the following lines:-
And the moist Starre
Upon whose influence Neptune's Empier stands
Was sicke almost to doomsday with eclipse. -Hamlet Quarto of 1604
We here see that in 1604, the author of Hamlet held the popular theory that the motion of the tides was caused by the influence of the moon upon the sea and continued to hold it, as these lines appeared in all the editions of the drama until the Folio was published in 1623, when they were canceled.
It is a significant fact that Bacon's works disclose the same change of opinion respecting this theory. That he held the popular theory to be true for many years, we know, for in a masque written in 1594, after referring to the pole star, he wrote:-
Some years after this, however, he experienced a change of opinion, and wrote:-
"We dare not proceed so far as to assert that the sun and moon have a dominion or influence over those motions of the sea."
Mr. Spedding, in his Preface to Bacon's treatise on the "Ebb and Flow of the Sea," remarks:-
" With respect to theories of the cause of the tides, it may be observed that a connexion of some kind or other between the tides and the moon has at all times been popularly recognized. But the conception which was formed as to the nature of this connexion long continued vague and indefinite, and in Bacon's time those who speculated on the subject were disposed to reject it altogether."
In Hamlet we find another case of the reversal of a theory. We have already given two such reversals which conform to changes of opinions by Bacon. Is it possible to attribute these to coincidence, or to admit for a moment that the actor was so solicitous of his scientific fame as to make them? This great tragedy was written, as already stated, about the time that the actor left Stratford, but was not printed until 1603. In thisedition are these lines:-
In 1604, another edition much enlarged was printed and these lines were changed to:
The theory that the earth's core was a mass of fire was then and has ever since been held, but in 1604 Bacon wrote his Cogitations de Natura Rerum, and in this book advocated the theory that the earth was dead and cold throughout its entire mass, while all the other heavenly bodies were fire. Says Reed, commenting upon this remarkable incident:-
"Bacon adopted this new view of the earth's interior at precisely the same time that the author of Hamlet did, that is to say, according to the record, in the brief interval between theappearance of the first and that of the second edition of thedrama." ---Edwin Reed - Francis Bacon Our Shakespeare
The change in the second line of "Doubt that the stars do move" to "Doubt that the sun doth move," is equally impressive, as it shows beyond doubt that the author of Hamlet always adhered to the Ptolemaic system of the Universe, an erroneous dogma, which Bacon also adhered to throughout his life, and which has caused him to be harshly criticized.
16. Many of Bacon's ideas appear in the Plays.
17. A "local" reading of the Plays reveals that when characters can be shown to be based on contemporary people, they were all people with whom Bacon was acquainted. Francis, at Twickenham, was short of money as usual, and had asked brother Anthony to write to their uncle Sir Henry Killigrew for a loan of #2,000. Uncle Killigrew excused himself. 'To be plain,' Francis told Anthony on January 25, 1595,
'I mean to make the best of those small things I have, with as much expedition as may be without loss, and so I sing a mass of requiem, I hope abroad. For I know her Majesty's nature, that she neither careth tho' the whole surname of the Bacons travelled, nor of the Cecilsneither.'
Then, a tantalising footnote to his letter :
'I have here an idle pen or two, specially one, that was cozened, thinking to have got some money this term. I pray send me somewhat else for them to write out besides your Irish collection, which is almost done. There is a collectio0n of King James, of foreign states, largeliest of Glanders; which though it be no great matter, yet I would be glad to have it."
The Plays agree with the leading events of Bacon's external life. They agree so closely, in fact, that the story of Bacon's life can almost be drawn from them.
1st Henry VI. The plot is laid in France, and the scenes occur in the very provinces and districts of Maine, Anjou, Orleans, Poictiers, etc. through which Bacon travelled in the wake of the French court.
2nd Henry VI. The battle of St. Albans. The incident recorded on the tomb of Duke Humphrey, in an epitaph written circa 1621 (when Bacon was living at St. Albans), of the impostor who pretended to have recovered his sight at St. Alban's shrine, is the same as in the play. See 2 Henry Vi, ii.1.
The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Etc., Romeo and Juliet, and The Merchant of Venice all reflect Francis Bacon's studies as a lawyer, combined with his correspondence with his brother Anthony, then living in Italy. When Francis fell into great poverty and debt, he was forced to get help from the Jews and Lombards, and was actually cast into a sponging house by a "hard Jew," on account of a bond which was not to fall due for two months. Meanwhile Anthony, returning from abroad, mortgaged his property to pay his brother's debts, taking his own credit and that of his friends, in order to relieve Francis, precisely as the generous and unselfish Antonio is represented to do in The Merchant of Venice. This play appeared in the following year, and the hard Jew was immortalised as Shylock. The brothers spent the summer and autumn of 1582 at Twickenham.
The Midsummer Night's Dream appears shortly afterwards. In this piece Bacon seems, whilst creating his fairies, to have called to his help hiw new researches into the history of the winds, and of heat and cold.
The plays and their various editions and additions enable us to trace Bacon's progress in science and critical and metaphysical studies. The politics of the time also make their mark.
Richard II was a cause of dire offence to the Queen, since it alluded to troubles in Ireland, and Elizabeth considered that it conveyed rebukes to herself, of which Essex made use to stir up sedition. The whole history of this matter is very curious, and intimately connected with Bacon, but too long to repeat here.
Hamlet and Lear contain graphic description of melancholia and raving madness. They appeared after Lady Anne Bacon died, having lost the use of her faculties, and "being," said Bishop Goodman,"Little better than frantic in her age." She
Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
Thence to a lightness, and by this declensionInto the madness wherein,
like Hamlet, she raved, and which her children wailed for.The particulars of the death of Queen Elizabeth, which Bacon learned from her physician, bear a striking resemlance to passages in King Lear.
Macbeth appears to reflect a combination of circumstances connected with Bacon. About 1605-6 an act of Parliament was passed against witches, James implicitly believing in their existence and power, and Bacon, in part, at least, sharing that belief. James too, had been much offended by the remarks passed upon his book on demonology, and by the contemptuous jokes in which the players had indugled against the Scots. Mixed up with Bacon's legal and scientific inquiries into witchcraft, we find, in Macbeth, much that exhibits his acquaintance with the History of the Winds, of his experiments on Dense and Rare, and his observations on the Union of Mind and Body.
A Winter's Tale is notably full of Bacon's observations on horticulture, hybridising, grafting, etc., and on the virtues of plants medicinal, and other matters connected with his notes on the Regimen of Health.
Cymbeline, and Antony and Cleopatra, show him studying vivisection, and the effects of various poisons on the human body. The effects of mineral and vegetable poisons are also ullustrated in Hamlet , and if these plays were written so early as some commentators suppose, then we may believe that certain portions were interpolated after Bacon's investigations into the great poisoning cases which he was, later on, called upon to conduct.
The Tempest describes a wreck on the Bermudas, and Caliban, the man-monster or devil. It was published soon after the loss of the ship Admiral, in which Bacon had embarked money to aid Southampton, Pembroke, and Montgomery in the colonisation of Virginia. The ship was wrecked on the Bermudas, the "Isle of Divils." About this time the History of the Winds and of the Sailing of Ships was said to be written.
Timon of Athens, showing the folly of a large-hearted and over- generous patron in trusting to "time's flies" and "mouth-friends," who desert him in the time of need, seems to have been written by Bacon after his fall and retirement, to satirise his own too sanguine trust in parasites, who lived upon him, so long as he was prosperous, but who, on his reverse of fortune, deserted, and left him to the kindness of the few true friends and followers on whom he was absolutely dependent.
Henry VIII completes the picture. In a letter from Bacon to the King, in 1622, he quotes (in the original draft) the words which Wolsey utters in the play of Henry VIII, iii. 2. 454-457, though Bacon adds:
"My conscience says no such thing; for I know not but in serving you I have served God in one. But it may be if I had pleased men as I have pleased you, it would have been better with me."
This passage was cut out of the fair copy of the letter; its original idea appeared next year in the play of Henry VIII.
13. The light "A", dark "A" headpiece which marked the Plays was the headpiece Bacon used to mark works he produced.
From an early age Bacon became accustomed to using his pen. He wrote pieces for the crown, for high officials in government such as Walsingham (the greatest part of Walsingham's letter to "Monsieur Critoy, Secretary of France," circ. 1589 is reproduced in Bacon's Observations on a Libel, and an unfinished copy of it was found in the "Northumberland Manuscript" in 1867, so there is no doubt that Bacon was the author for various noblemen such as Essex (The Northumberland Manuscript add Earl of Arundel and Lord of Sussex, and so on.) We know he had a group of scriveners working for him.
A letter is extant dated January 25, 1595 while he was at his country retreat in Twickenham, in which he is solicits treatises from his brother Anthony that he can publish:
"I have here an idle pen or two, specially one, that was cozened, thinking to have got money this term, I pray send me somewhat else for them to write out besides your Irish collection, which is almost done. There is a collection of King James, of foreign states, largeliest of Flanders; which though it be no great matter, yet I would be glad to have it." Francis Bacon to Antony Bacon 01/25/1595
and at the age of 32 when he wrote his famous letter to Burghley, he threatened, if Burghley would not carry him on, to "become some sorrow bookmaker."
William T. Smedley in his "The Mystery of Francis Bacon" says that Bacon marked those books with the publication of which he was connected with a special emblematic design which featured a light and dark A.
We know that Bacon's coat of arms featured a boar and the motto, "Mediocria Firma". We know that one of the stock metaphors Bacon used for nature was the pyramid, and that in opposition to the ancient legend of the pillars of Hercules with the motto "non plus ultra" (no more beyond) on them, Bacon used these pillars with the motto "Plus Ultra" (more beyond) on them.
The " In dies meliora" emblem, first produced in Alciat's emblem books in 1577, and published again in Whitney's Choice of Emblems in 1586, obviously has to do with Bacon and his ideas. It includes the boar, the pyramid, the pillars of Hercules with "plus ultra" on them, and, if you look carefully, on the right hand side of the picture you the initials of Francis Bacon, an "F" laying forward on its face, and a "B" laying on its back. But, in addition, to all this, one side of the pyramid is a light "A", and on the other is a dark "A" which conclusively connects the light "A", dark "A" emblem with Bacon.
So this emblem gives a means of identifying books with which Bacon had some connections, whether as author, part author, or publisher. This emblem is very evidence in the headpiece to the First Folio. This use of this emblematic headpiece was begun in 1577 with the Alciat book, and continued up until the time of Bacon's death in 1626, and practically disappeared thereafter. The list of books bearing this headpiece is very interesting, since it not only covers most of the noteable books of the English literary renaissance, but also hallmarks authors for whom some connection to Bacon can be demonstrated, are some good reason for believing Bacon was the author can be demonstrated. The following is a list of works on which one or the other of the various light "A", dark "A" emblems was affixed:
Orlando Furioso 1607
Spencer Folio 1611
Florentine History translatio 1595
Barclay's Argenis 1636
First edition of Venus 1593
and Adonis 1594
First edition of Lucrece
Quarto editions of Shakespeare
Lodge's trans of Seneca 1614
Shakespeare's First Folio 1623
Bible - King James Version
Marlowe's dedication in
memoriam for Watson to the
Countess of Pembroke which
prefaced Watson's Amintae
15. We have the testimony of a knowledgeable contemporary that Bacon wrote the Plays. Thomas Greene was from Warwickshire. He always claimed to be Shakespeare's cousin, and possibly was by marriage. His father had business with the Stratford Corporation, and with the Marstons in Coventry. He and John Marston were evidently close friends. It has been claimed that they were roommates at the Middle Temple. In any event they were both members, and Greene had stood surety for John Marston's entry in 1594, and the Marstons for his in 1595.
Thomas Green had started out in Staple's Inn. He 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. His brother, John Greene, was born in 1575, settled in Stratford, was of Clement's Inn.
Of all the close knit fraternity of writers of the English Renaissance Marston was probably in the best position to know whether William Shakespeare actually authored the works attributed to him, since he alone was so closely connected with Shakespeare's close friend Thomas Greene.
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:
Because the thirstie swain with hollow
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 whoe 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:
On the Third line is another
reference to the Cynic, i.e., the
author, and from this it is
evident aht Hall is speaking of the
"Honourable Order of the
Knights of the Helmet", described in
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
to him as the author of
Venus and Adonis; while the
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
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:
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:
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:
The first two line of this passage are an obvious allusion to lines 200, and 201 of Venus and Adonis, since Marston compares the matamorphosis 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:
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.
16. Bacon left a manuscript with a list of works he had produced and some "Shakespeare" works are on this list.
"I have here an idle pen or two, specially one, that was cozened, thinking to have got some money this term. I pray send me somewhat else for them to write out besides your Irish collection, which is almost done. There is a collection of King James, of foreign states, largeliest of Flanders; which though it be no great matter,yet I would be glad to have." Francis in letter to Anthony 01/25/1595
17. In his letters to Bacon, Tobie Matthews cites two of the Plays, indicating that Bacon had wrote these works.
Bacon to Matthew, 1608, alluding to The Felicity of Elizabeth: which he had submitted to him: "At that time methought , you were more willing to hear Julius Caesar than Elizabeth commended"; and again Matthew in a letter to Bacon respecting some work he had received from him.
18. The design of the Globe Playhouse shows it to be the work of Bacon.
From the time it was constructed in the summer of 1599, the Globe Playhouse took and held the lead in the production of Elizabethan drama. Here many of the great works of the Elizabethan Renaissance, and especially those attributed to Shakespeare, were staged. The playhouse is generally believed to have been designed by Cuthbert Burbage, however, there is strong evidence in the structural design of the playhouse that it was, in fact, the product of Francis Bacon's thought and philosophical schemes. Bacon's scientific system centered around the idea of an intellectual Globe which was a replica in miniature of the great Globe,- the earth. The Globe Playhouse was nothing other than a wooden model of Bacon's Intellectual Globe. In her book,Theatre of the World Frances Yates argues the idea in detail that the Globe Theatre was designed as a replica in miniature of the Great Globe.
It is commonly known that after the destruction of the first Globe Playhouse by fire Jonson wrote a poem referring to the incident in which he said,
21. On the first full page of text in the First Folio Bacon left a message signing his name to the Shakespeare works. From time to time during the past 300 or so years there have those who have suspected that they might have to fish in other waters than the Avon to catch their immortal Bard. Well, suppose the Shakespeare plays were not written by William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon, but instead "our pleasant Willy" was a mask for some concealed author who for some reason or the other did not want it known in his age that he had written the plays. Suppose further that this concealed author wished to leave a message that would reveal his authorship to some future age. Where would the logical place be to leave such a message? The answer is obvious: The first full page of text in the First Folio of 1623.
Surprise! Surprise! As anyone can plainly see who makes a careful examination of the first full page of text in the First Folio there is a message:
spelled out with the first letters of the respective lines:
A And thy no greater Father.
Mira. More to know
D Did neuer medle with my thoughts.
Pros. 'Tis time
I I fshould 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'st 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 inquisition,
CON Concluding, ftay, not yet.
Prof. The howr's now come
T The very minute byds thee ope thine eare,
OBEY Obey, and be attentiue.
Tobey, or Tobie Matthew (the spelling was quite flexible in those days), was Bacon's closest companion who played an important, although subordinate role in carrying out Bacon's designs. He was so close to Bacon that Bacon called him "another myself", and, in a letter to Conde Gondomar said,
And this is brought out in the message in the Folio. In the Folio there are two columns of text on each page, and the column next to the signatures adds to the message:
If Matthew was Bacon's alter ego then they must, indeed, have been "two alike."
Actually there is still more to the message. Reading across one finds another word added in the first column on page 3:
B T A
A W N
CON O I
T A TO
The added word "banito" is Italian and means banished. So now we have the message: F. Bacon, Tobey, Two Alike, banished.
That is applies to Tobey Matthew is well known. While he was on the continent he became converted to Catholicism, and when he returned to England he felt that the oath of allegiance to King James contained clauses which conflicted with his faith. Therefore he refused to take the oath, and, as a result, was banished from England in 1608.
There is nothing on the surface to indicate "banished" applies to Bacon. However, Baconians have long claimed exactly this. They claim Bacon was the son of Queen Elizabeth, and due to her refusal to acknowledge this, was banished from his rightful heritage as king of England.
This message raises two questions. First, could such a message occur as a result of chance? Second, if the message was not the result of chance, what does it mean?
As for the first question, the odds against the possibility of such a message occurring accidently can easily be calculated. This calculation reveals that Stratfordian Conventionalism may well be the greatest liberty that man has ever taken with the truth. The profile of the calculation is as follows: In The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined , William Friedman, the renowned cipher expert, provided a frequency table showing the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurs per 1000 lines at the beginning of each line in the First Folio. With this it is easy to calculate the odds against the message resulting from chance. The result of such a calculation is:
against the probability of this message having resulted from random chance. Friedman laid down the following criteria to guide the searcher,"..if the plain text message makes sense", he said,"if the chances of it appearing by accident are one in one thousand million, his confidence in the solution will be more than justified." Therefore, in considering the message chance cannot be considered.