THE SHAKESPEARE MYTH
Many of the Royal colleges
of science and learning could trace their origin to Bacon or his
Societies, if they were interested, but so few realise today what the
world owes to the greatest man of all time.
From 1576 to 1623, the English language developed from barbarous crudeness to the highest pitch, but when Bacon died we read in the records of the time "things daily fall, wits grow downward and eloquence grows backward."
It was a period of fracton, intrigue, plot, counter-plot and sudden death, and every man who entered public life realised that he walked in the shadows of the Tower or the block. Very few escaped one or the other. What greater reason could Bacon have for secrecy? He was working out his vast project of educating the people to which the Queen had repeatedly registered her disapproval. Had the truth been known, his chance of any judicial appointment, essential in many ways to the working of his scheme, would have been irretrievably lost, apart from the fact that many had gone to execution for far less disobedience. Concealed and feigned authorship was not an unheard of thing in those days by any means. There were many ever watchful for heresies and many more for treason. The incident with the Queen concerning the play Richard II bears out that fact.
Fed on pap history few people realise the actual workings and trend of Elizabethan times. The Queen had the right of life or death over every subject in the country. Lady Mary Gray, torn from her husband, was doomed to life long imprisonment by the Queen for no greater crime than stealing a love-match.
Lady Katherine Gray was incarcerated apart from her husband and children till released by death seven years laterfor marrying secretly. These are only two minor examples.
The play, Richard II, was performedanonymouslythe afternoon before Essex broke into rebellion. It was denounced by the Queen as an act of treason. Bacon, as Solicitor-Extraordinary, was commanded to seek out the author of the play that he might be put on the rack. This alone proves that the authorship was not generally known.
Bacon's embarrassment can be well imagined. A scapegoat had to be found, someone outside the political arena and without motive for intrigue. All the data available point to the fact that the huckster Shagsper of Stratford was cited as the author, bribed with a thousand pounds through Bacon's friend Southampton, and despatched to his home in Warwickshire. His sudden acquisition of wealth supports the story, from which undoubtedly has sprung the germ of the present day myth and Stratfordian obsession. Remember always that theoretically Stratford was as far from London as Canada is to-day.
The rest of the story calls only for common sense.
Distort it as you will, there is no mystery, no puzzlethe
pieces fit at any angle.
Bacon's note-book (The Promus) can be seen in the British Museum. It is a unique collection of phrases and elegancies of language both English and foreign, and mostly new to the period. Obviously very few of them were suitable for inclusion in his essays, and most of them have been traced in the Shakespeare Plays.
If not intended for the Plays, for what purpose
did Bacon make notes of "Good morrow," "Good matins," "Bon jour,"
"Good day to me and good morrow to you," and other expressions not
then in common use in England?
Volumes have been filled with thousands of parallelisms between Bacon's acknowledged works and the Plays. The philosophy, the phrases, the forms of expression, the classical allusions, the learning and opinions are again and again identical. Of fifty-three points of style selected by Mr. Cowden Clarke as being " characteristic" of Shakespeare, all have been found in the prose works by Bacon.
"Good dawning" entered in Bacon's note book circa 1596 has since appeared but once in English print viz. in "King Lear" first published 1608.
Shakespeare: "Many men that stumble at the threshold"
Bacon : "To stumble at the threshold"
Shak.: "Thought is free"
Bac.: "Thought is free"
Shak.:"He will fence with his own shadow"
Bac.: "To fight with a shadow"
Shak.: "What's done cannot be undone"
Bac.: Things done cannot be undone"
Shak.: "Loan oft loses both itself and friend"
Bac.: "He who loans to a friend loses double"
Shak.: "Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind"
Bac.: "We usually try which way the wind bloweth by casting up grass"
Shak.: "Sense sure you have, else could you not have motion"
Bac.: The ancients could not conceive how there can be motion without sense"
Shak.: "The ill wind which blows no man to good"
Bac.: "An ill wind that bloweth no man to good"
Shak.: "Call me not fool, till Heaven hath sent me good fortune."
Bac.: "God sendeth fortune to fools."
These are only a few suggested
brevities: there are hundreds more. There is scarcely a
sentiment or opinion expressed in the plays which has not its
counterpart in the acknowledged works of Bacon.
"Both authors" call the sun by the exceptional name of Titan.
The earliest work attributed to the Stratford butcher-boy is dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, one of Bacon's friends. Comment is superfluous.
The great folio published in 1623 was dedicated to the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, again Bacon's intimates. Surely dedication demands some preliminary courtesy, and Shakespeare had been dead seven years?
The same folio of 1623 contains thirty-six plays. Several had been published previously, but now reappeared with voluminous alterations , new scenes and hundreds of new lines. Five of the plays had never been heard of before. Who would have seen the necessity of all this work, who would have been capableShakespeare dead seven years? Bacon was very much alive and published some of his acknowledged works at the same time.
Philip Henslowe, the greatest theatrical manager and producer of his day, kept a diary(which is preserved) in which he set down the sums of money paid to authors for their work. We find in this diary the names of practically all the dramatic writers of that day excepting Shakespeare, his name being entirely ignored. Neither does Shaksper, Shaxspur, or Shagsper figure anywhere in this historic list of Henslowe's.
After 1594, all plays were required to be registered before publication. Nothing was ever registered in Shakespeare's name, nor is there any trace of the actual writer with the various people who effected the registrations at Stationer's Hall. Bacon had his reasons for secrecy. Shakespeare none.
"Venus and Adonis" was enrolled on the Stationers' Register under the special authority of Dr. Whitgift, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had previously closed the register against very many books of the same licentious character. Why this favouritism? The Archbishop was very friendly to Bacon having been his tutor at Cambridge. He knew nothing of the man Shaksper.
If Bacon did not write the plays, the pen of this great man was more or less idle between the ages of fifteeen and forty-four. Can anyone believe that a brilliant writer filled with a tremendous purpose accomplished nothing during the best years of his life, especially when all the records testify to his unceasing industry? William Rawley states "that he would suffer no moment of time to slip from him without some present improvement." Again his "idle years" fit in with the dates of the plays.
Most authors write about people and things they understand and take colour from their surroundings. Why should an unlettered rustic of Stratford select for his themes in nearly every instance the lives of Kings and courtiers, with scenes laid in foreign courts and distant places? How could he know the precedence of the nobles, or the technical procedure of a legatine exclestiastical court? It was Bacon's life in England and abroad. Bismark wrote that the author must have been in touch with the great affairs of State, and behind the scenes in political life.
There is no record of Shakespeare's early immature work, but Bacon wrote masques and plays at an early age.
There is a letter from his uncle wherein he deprecates "a waste of time over sonnets, plays and such frivolities." There are similiar letters to the young Francis from his mother.
Loves Labour's Lost is considered to be the first play produced. It teems with Bacon's educational purpose. The scene is laid at the King's Court of Navarre, and three of the characters are the identical names on the passports in the British Museum. Shakespeare could never have heard of them : Francis and his brother Anthony had been honoured guests at that distant court. The play also reveals court secrets which could not possibly have been known by Shakespeare.
"But" says a bigoted actor "how did Bacon acquire a technical knowledge of the stage?"
Besides writing masques and plays at an early age he had a prolonged acquaintance with French and Italian plays in France. In fact more experience than many of the English dramatists and certainly more than Shaksper who wrote his first play, after being in London for only two or three years, moving in the lowest section of Society.
Further, there were no dramas in the English language to serve as models for the Author of any plays. Bacon originated a new dramatic style founded on the Attic and Roman plays which he had read, studied and copiously annotated.
The other plays contain the History of England and the Wars of the Roses from Richard II to Henry VIII, omitting Henry VII. Bacon fills the gap and writes a prose history of Henry VII. Is it not remarkable that he should write a history of the one reign omitted in the Plays? Mr. Bengough, a student of Shakespeare, compared the prose history with Shakespeare's King John and found in these two works alone twenty-two metaphors used in both,several catch words, nine or ten peculiar phrases used in both, twenty or more words used in an unusual sense and twenty-one passages in one scene of the play with corresponding passages in three pages of the history. And what is more the History begins at the precise point at which the Shakespeare play of Henry VI ends, and closes at the precise point at which the Shakespeare play Henry VIII begins.
The themes of nearly all the plays were taken from foreign works not translated at that time. They show no point of contact with Shakespeare's life, but fit into the life of Bacon in date,episode, thought and feeling.
Twelfth Night was a satire on the English Court. The arrogant Malvolio's counterpart is easily discernible in the Queen's Chamberlain, ect.
Love's Labour's Lost is clearly a travesty of the French Court of Navarre, which Bacon had visited and Shakespeare had not.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona was founded on the Spanish romance of "Diana." We know that Bacon had a knowledge of Spanish from his Promus notebook. A dramatist may have to read fifty stories before he finds one suitable for adaptation. Was Shakespeare capable of this work without books or travel?
All the scenes in France in the historical series of the plays had been visited by Bacon. He lived at St. Albans and all the secret history of that place appears in the Plays.
In 1593 Bacon was in money straits, having borrowed from the moneylender Spencer. His brother Anthony came to his relief. The incident with the names slightly altered appears in The Merchant of Venice.
Antonio delivers Bassanio from the clutches of Shylock. The story was founded on an Italian novel which was only accessible in the original Italian Francis was devoted to his brother Anthony and his name occurs in eight or nine of the Plays. Again Romeo and Juliet was founded on an Italian story, and Othello and Measure for Measure, all with foreign scenes. In 1610, Bacon joined with the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery in an enterprise to the West Indies. Their ship Admiral was wrecked on the Bermudas.
His co-directors Pembroke and Montgomery, appear later in the dedication of the 1623 folio.
In 1611 The Tempest appeared whose scene was " the still vexed Bermoothes". The sea-faring terms show an accurate technical knowledge, and contain many allusions to Bacon's treatise on the sailing of ships "The History of the Winds," "Ebb and flow of the sea" etc. Shakespeare had already left London, and there is every reason to affirm that he never saw the sea. Surely this calls for two minutes silence.
The Author of the plays was quite familiar with the rival schools of Medicine and with the great medical names of antiquity.
In All's well that ends Well Act II scene 3. read about Galen and Paracelsus; the former is mentioned several times in other plays. Wherewhere could the author have secured this knowledge? The literature of Stratford was probably a horn book or two, where few of the Town Council could write their own names, and where the most appalling filth and depravity reigned supreme.
Where could Shakespeare have gained this knowledge? There is only one answer. In 1573 Trinity College received little Francis Bacon who was frail in health and loved to doctor himself; he took a keen interest in the science of medicine (Spedding). At Cambridge there was a lectureship for the students in the lore of Hippocrates and Galen. Linaicre, founder of the course of study, had been succeeded by one John Caius; one of the most learned men of the time. Need more be said. Further, en passant, the University idioms and expressions occur again and again in the plays. And Shakespeare did not study at a University.
William Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood in 1619. The fact appears in the plays. But Shakespeare died in 1616, and therefore could not possibly have written those lines. Could anything be more conclusive?
Timon of Athens was taken from the story of Plutarch, and the untranslated Greek of Lucian.
One entire scene in Henry VI is written in idiomatic French. There is no scrap of evidence that Shakespeare was so gifted. His time for reading and study must have been limited, his access to books even more so, and without travel of any description it would have been the greatest miracle of all.
The Comedy of Errors, taken from Plautus, not then translated, was played before the Queen in 1576. Shakespeare had not left Stratford and would be only thirteen years of age.
The next time it was acted was in 1594 at Francis Bacon's Inn, Grays Inn, under his direction.
Macbeth shows a wonderful knowledge of the locality and Scottish legal proceedings.
Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, Bart., writes that he has seen a rare copy of Buchanan's "Historia Scotia" in which the story of Duncan, Banquo and Macbeth is told. It contains many marginal notes by Bacon which point unmistakably to his preparation to the play.
Two thousand books annotated by Bacon have also been discovered, and nothing of course from Shakespeare.
The dileneation of madness in King Lear and Hamlet reflects the latter-day mental state of Bacon's mother. There is much data to show that the departed "Yorick" in Hamlet was formerly a jester at the Elizabethan Court. The young Francis was constantly with the Queen and must have joined with the merry Andrew in childish merriment at all times. The speech tells the story very plainly.
In As you LIke It Act V is a scene between Touchstone, Audrey (who represents the Plays) and "William". The scene is obviously "dragged in" and tells the story very clearly. It should be read. At every point one finds in the Plays a mirror of Bacon's life; but, although they reflect all the learning and philosophy which we find in Bacon's prose works, he never mentions the Plays, nor the author, which fact can only lead to one conclusion.
That Bacon and Shakespeare should live for years in the same city and neither know nor mention each other is an astonishing fact. But not only does Bacon never mention Shakespeare; but, a great many contemporaries never once mention his name. There is nothing in Shakespeare's recorded or traditional life which in any way connects the writings of the plays with him, and never did he claim the authorship of one line of the plays known as those of "Shakespeare." The only document in existence addressed to him is a letter from Richard Quiney asking for a loan £30 and none exists from him. Would a man as the writer of the Sonnets and Plays with all the self-confidenc and consciousness of superiority over his fellows, desert in the early ripeness of his career the very theatre of his triumphs to hide away in commonplace Stratford without books or manuscripts, to brew beer and lend money? Now take the evidence. There is not one letter of the time from anybody to anybody extolling Shaksper's poetic faculty, and he died unnoticed in every way. On Bacon's death 32 elegies were published......
Here a few more "coincidences."
In the first part of Henry the Sixth Jeanne d'Arc addresses the Duke of Burgundy in a speech of thirty-three lines. The speech is an absolutely faithful version of a letter in France written by the Maid of Orleans to the then Duke of Burgundy and dated July 17th , 1429. There is no historical authority for this letter which never saw the light of print till discovered by the Historian of the House of Burgundy in 1780. Bacon in his travels might easily have seen this letter : in fact the Author of the play must have done so. Shakespeare was never within miles of it.
In the play HenryVIII the Author shows a profound intimacy with Cardinal Wolsey's personal character. Shakespeare's friends of the rogue and vagabond class would scarcely be helpful in matters of this kind. Apart from mixing with people who would know something of their predecessors, Bacon's grandmother was the daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliam, who had been in the Prelate's service and who had entertained him at Milton after his disgrace. Lady Anne Bacon would have transmitted a great deal of Wolsey's private life and character to her son Francis. In Henry VIII two of the peers sent to relieve Cardinal Wolsey of the Great Seal bear the titles of those who waited on Lord Verulam (Bacon) for a similar purpose. Strange!
Every phase of Bacon's fall, clearly defined in his letters and papers appears in the Sonnets. Read them carefully. Shakespeare was never "impeached" or "attainted"; and Bacon was the only writer of his age who suffered "impeachment."
Bacon became Secretary of State 1612, Attorney-General 1613, Privy Councillor 1616, Lord Keeper 1617, Lord Chancellor 1618, and was made Viscount St. Albans 1621. From 1611during these busy years the output of plays ceased. Shaksper was still alive. But in 1621 after Bacon's fall they were resumed although Shaksper had been dead five years.
Aristotle wrote of political philosophy and he is wrongly quoted in Troilus and Cressida ....."unfit to hear moral philosophy" Bacon makes identically the same misquotation in his great work "The Advancement of Learning."
Was Bacon or Shakespeare the more likely man to depict accurately and to the very life the many Aristocrats by birth and intellect that figure so frequently in the dramas? And what could have put
it into the head of Will Shak, fresh from a provincial town to talk of nothing else but foreign parts, lf which he could know little or nothing.
Two lines in I Henry VI
Thy promises are like Adonis' gardens
That one day bloomed and fruitful were the next.
Critics were long puzzled to trace this legend. It
has been found in Plato's "Phaedrus" which Bacon knew but which was
not translanted in Shakespeare's time. "Adonis Gardens" is also in
Bacon's notebook in the British Museum.
It is quite the orthodox belief that many of the plays were founded upon earlier works by various authors. Edwin Reed in his book "Francis Bacon, our Shakespeare" has clearly shown that these early versions were written by the same author and subsequently rewritten by him. Why then, is this fact not acknowledged? For a very good reason. If "Shakespeare" was the author of the early version of Hamlet he could not have been William Shaksper of Stratford by reason of the dates.
Othello was published in 1622, and appeared as "newly augmented" although Shaksper had been dead six years. In the following year it appeared again in the great Folio with a further 160 lines of the same wonderful character. Shaksper still dead.
There were many piracies of the plays, and the name Shakespeare was used frequently to sell inferior works, but there was never a word of complaint from the litigious Shaksper who had sued one man for two shillings. Bacon had to guard his own secret.
Again speaks the bigoted actor. Without troubling to investigate in any way he affirms that the man who wrote the Bacon Essay On Love could not have written Romeo and Juliet . Yet, in the history of literature no "two minds" have ever shown such complete agreement on the subject of "Love."
Shak.: Love moderately: long love doth so.
Bac.: Love me little: love me long
Shak.: Is not love a Hercules?
Bac.: What fortune can be such a Hercules as love?
Shak.: Why to love I can allege no cause.
Bac.: Love has no cause.
Shak.: O, flatter me, for love delights in praises.
Bac.:There is no flatterer like a lover
Shak. : He's mad that trusts in......a boys' love
Bac.: A boy's love doth not endure
Shak.: Love will creep in service where it cannot go.
Bac. : Love must creep in service where it cannot go.
Shak.: Love gives to every power a double power.
Bac.: Love gives the mind power to exceed itself.
Shak.: Love.....with the motion of all elements.
Bac.: Love is the motion that animateth all things.
Shak.: Love is first learned in a women's eyes.
Bac.: The eye where love beginneth.
Shak.: I shall be lov'd when I am lack'd
Bac.: When he is dead he will be loved.
Shak.:By love the young and tender wit is turned to folly.
Bac.: Love is the child of folly.
Shak. : Love is merely a madness.
Bac. : Transported to the mad degree of love.
What do these lines mean from the Shakespeare Sonnets? :
Why write I still all one, ever the same
And keep Invention in a Noted Weed,
That every Word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their Birth, and Where they did Proceed?
The word "Invention" is used in this sense by Bacon again and again. "Weed" means a cloak or disguise.
In his prayer to Godthe pregnant phrase :
"I have , though in a despised weed (disguise) procurred the good of all men."
Title Page of Bacon's Advancement of Learning
In The First Continental Editions of 1645, 1652,1654,1662
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