Part 1 out of 4
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[Illustration: Plate I From "Sylva Sylvarum," 1627]
BACON IS SHAKE-SPEARE
SIR EDWIN DURNING-LAWRENCE, BT.
"Every hollow Idol is dethroned by skill,
insinuation and regular approach."
Together with a Reprint of
Bacon's Promus of Formularies and Elegancies.
Collated, with the Original MS. by the late F.B. BICKLEY,
and revised by F.A. HERBERT, of the British Museum.
TO THE READER
The plays known as Shakespeare's are at the present time universally
acknowledged to be the "Greatest birth of time," the grandest
production of the human mind. Their author also is generally
recognised as the greatest genius of all the ages. The more the
marvellous plays are studied, the more wonderful they are seen to be.
Classical scholars are amazed at the prodigious amount of knowledge of
classical lore which they display. Lawyers declare that their author
must take rank among the greatest of lawyers, and must have been
learned not only in the theory of law, but also intimately acquainted
with its forensic practice. In like manner, travellers feel certain
that the author must have visited the foreign cities and countries
which he so minutely and graphically describes.
It is true that at a dark period for English literature certain
critics denied the possibility of Bohemia being accurately described
as by the sea, and pointed out the "manifest absurdity" of speaking
of the "port" at Milan; but a wider knowledge of the actual facts
has vindicated the author at the expense of his unfortunate critics.
It is the same with respect to other matters referred to in the
plays. The expert possessing special knowledge of any subject
invariably discovers that the plays shew that their author was well
acquainted with almost all that was known at the time about that
And the knowledge is so extensive and so varied that it is not too much
to say that there is not a single living man capable of perceiving half
of the learning involved in the production of the plays. One of the
greatest students of law publicly declared, while he was editor of the
_Law Times_, that although he thought that he knew something of law, yet
he was not ashamed to confess that he had not sufficient legal knowledge
or mental capacity to enable him to fully comprehend a quarter of the
law contained in the plays.
Of course, men of small learning, who know very little of classics and
still less of law, do not experience any of these difficulties, because
they are not able to perceive how great is the vast store of learning
exhibited in the plays.
There is also shewn in the plays the most perfect knowledge of Court
etiquette, and of the manners and the methods of the greatest in the
land, a knowledge which none but a courtier moving in the highest
circles could by any possibility have acquired.
In his diary, Wolfe Tone records that the French soldiers who invaded
Ireland behaved exactly like the French soldiers are described as
conducting themselves at Agincourt in the play of "Henry V," and he
exclaims, "It is marvellous!" (Wolfe Tone also adds that Shakespeare
could never have seen a French soldier, but we know that Bacon while in
Paris had had considerable experience of them.)
The mighty author of the immortal plays was gifted with the most
brilliant genius ever conferred upon man. He possessed an intimate and
accurate acquaintance, which could not have been artificially acquired,
with all the intricacies and mysteries of Court life. He had by study
obtained nearly all the learning that could be gained from books. And he
had by travel and experience acquired a knowledge of cities and of men
that has never been surpassed.
Who was in existence at that period who could by any possibility be
supposed to be this universal genius? In the days of Queen Elizabeth,
for the first time in human history, one such man appeared, the man who
is described as the marvel and mystery of the age, and this was the man
known to us under the name of Francis Bacon.
In answer to the demand for a "mechanical proof that Bacon is
Shakespeare" I have added a chapter shewing the meaning of
"Honorificabilitudinitatibus," and I have in Chapter XIV. shewn how
completely the documents recently discovered by Dr. Wallace confirm the
statements which I had made in the previous chapters.
I have also annexed a reprint of Bacon's "Promus," which has recently
been collated with the original manuscript. "Promus" signifies
Storehouse, and the collection of "Fourmes and Elegancyes" stored
therein was largely used by Bacon in the Shakespeare plays, in his own
acknowledged works, and also in some other works for which he was mainly
I trust that students will derive considerable pleasure and profit from
examining the "Promus" and from comparing the words and phrases, as they
are there preserved, with the very greatly extended form in which many
of them finally appeared.
II. The Shackspere Monument, Bust, and Portrait
III. The [so-called] "Signatures"
IV. Contemporary allusions to Shackspere in "Every
Man out of his Humour"; and "As you Like it"
V. Further contemporary allusions in "The return
from Parnassus"; and "Ratsei's Ghost"
VI. Shackspere's Correspondence
VII. Bacon acknowledged to be a Poet
VIII. The Author revealed in the Sonnets
IX. Mr. Sidney Lee, and the Stratford Bust
X. The meaning of the word "Honorificabilitudinitatibus"
XI. On page 136 of the Shakespeare Folio of 1623, being a portion
of the play "Loves labour's lost," and its connection with
Gustavi Seleni "Cryptomenytices"
XII. The "Householder of Stratford"
XIII. Conclusion, with further evidences from Title Pages
Addenda et Corrigenda
Introduction to Bacon's "Promus"
Reprint of Bacon's "Promus"
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
I. _Frontispiece_. Portrait of Francis Bacon, from his "Sylva
II. Portrait of Francis Bacon, by Van Somer.
Engraved by W.C. Edwards.
III. The original "Shakespeare" Monument in Stratford Parish Church,
a facsimile from Dugdale's "History of Warwickshire,"
published in 1656.
IV. The Shakespeare Monument as it appears at the present time.
V. The original Bust, enlarged from Plate III.
VI. The present Bust, enlarged from Plate IV.
VII. Reduced facsimile of the title page of the first folio edition
of "Mr. William Shakespeare's" plays, published in 1623.
VIII. Facsimile, full size, of the original portrait
[so-called] of "Shakespeare" from the 1623 Folio.
IX. Verses ascribed to Ben Jonson, facing the title page which is
shewn in Plate VII.
X. The back of the left arm, which does duty for the right arm
of the figure, shewn on Plates VII. and VIII.
XI. The front of the left arm of the figure, shewn on Plates VII.
XII. The [mask] head from the [so-called] portrait by Droeshout
in the 1623 Folio.
XIII. Portrait of Sir Nicholas Bacon. By Zucchero.
XIV. The five [so-called] "Shakespeare" Signatures.
[The sixth is shewn in Plate XXXVIII., Page 164].
XV. Francis Bacon's Crest, from the binding of a presentation copy
of his "Novum Organum," published in 1620.
XVI. Facsimile of the title page of "The Great Assises holden
XVII.-XVIII. Facsimiles of pages iii. and iv. of the same.
XIX. The original "Shakespeare" Monument in Stratford Parish Church,
a facsimile from Rowe's "Life and Works of Shakespeare,"
Vol. I, 1709.
XX. Reduced facsimile of page 136 of the first folio edition of
the plays, 1623.
XXI. Full size facsimile of a portion of the same page 136 of the
first folio edition of the plays, 1623.
XXII. Full size facsimile of page F4 of "Loves labor's lost," first
quarto edition, published in 1598.
XXIII. Facsimile of a portion of a contemporary copy of a letter by
Francis Bacon, dated 1595.
XXIV. Facsimiles from page 255 of Gustavi Seleni "Cryptomenytices
et Cryptographiae," published in 1624.
XXV. Facsimile from page 2O2b of "Traicte des chiffres ou secretes
manieres d'escrire," par Blaise de Vigenere, published in 1585.
XXVI. Ornamental Heading, from William Camden's "Remains,"
published in 1616.
XXVII. Reduced facsimile of the title page of Gustavi Seleni
"Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae," published in 1624.
XXVIII.-XXXI Various portions of Plate XXVII. enlarged.
XXXII. Scene from "The Merry Wives of Windsor," from a painting
by Thomas Stothard.
XXXIII. Facsimile of the title page of Bacon's "De Augmentis
Scientiarum," published in 1645.
XXXIV. Facsimile of the title page of "New Atlantis, begun by Lord
Verulam and continued by R.H., Esquire," published in 1660.
XXXV. Facsimile of the title page of Bacon's "Historia Regni Henrici
Septem," published in 1642.
XXXVI. Nemesis, from Alciati's "Emblems," published in 1531.
XXXVII. Nemesis, from Baudoin's "Emblems," published in 1638.
XXXVIII.-IX. Portion of the MSS. mentioning Shakespeare, discovered
by Dr. Wallace.
XL. Facsimiles of three examples of law clerks' writing of the name
XLI. Facsimile of the Dedication of "The Attourney's Academy." 1630.
XLII. Facsimile of portion of Folio 85 of the original MS. of Bacon's
XLIII. Portrait of Francis Bacon, from painting by Van Somer, formerly
in the collection of the Duke of Fife.
The Ornamental Headings of the various Chapters are mostly variations of
the "Double A" ornament found in certain Shakespeare Quarto Plays, and
in various other books published circa 1590-1650.
A few references will be found below:--
_Title Page_, and _To the Reader_.
Shakespeare's Works. 1623.
_Contents_. Page ix.
North's "Lives." 1595.
Spenser's "Faerie Queene." 1609, 1611.
Works of King James. 1616.
Purchas' "Pilgrimages." 1617.
Bacon's "Novum Organum." 1620.
Seneca's Works. 1620.
Speed's "Great Britaine." 1623.
Bacon's "Operum Moralium." 1638.
Page 1. Heading of CHAPTER I.
"Contention of Yorke and Lancaster," Part I. 1594.
"Romeo and Juliet." 1599.
"Henry V." 1598, 1600.
"Sir John Falstaffe." 1602.
"Richard III." 1602.
"Regimen Sanitatis Salerni." 1597.
Page 6. Heading of CHAPTER II.
Hardy's "Le Theatre," vol. 4. 1626.
Barclay's "Argenis." 2 vols. 1625-26.
Aleman's "Le Gueux." 1632.
Page 35. Heading of CHAPTER III.
Mayer's "Praxis Theologica." 1629.
Ben Jonson's Works, Vol. 2. 1640.
Page 40. Heading of CHAPTER IV.
"The Shepheard's Calendar." 1617.
"The Rogue." 1622.
Barclay's "Argenis." 1636.
Bacon's "Remaines." 1648.
"The Mirrour of State." 1656.
Page 47. Heading to CHAPTER V.
Preston's "Breast-plate of Faith." 1630.
Page 51. Heading to CHAPTER VI.
"Venus and Adonis." 1593.
"Unnatural conspiracie of Scottish Papists." 1593.
"Nosce te ipsum." 1602.
The ornament reversed is found in:
Spenser's "Faerie Queene." 1596.
"Historie of Tamerlane." 1597.
Barckley's "Felicitie of Man." 1598.
Page 55. Heading to CHAPTER VII.
James I. "Essayes of a Prentise in the Art of Poesie."
De Loque's "Single Combat." 1591.
"Taming of a Shrew." 1594
Hartwell's "Warres." 1595.
Heywood's Works. 1598.
Hayward's "Of the Union." 1604.
Page 55 _(continued)_.
Cervantes' "Don Quixote." 1612.
Peacham's "Compleat Gentleman." 1622.
Page 69. Heading of CHAPTER VIII.
"Richard II." 1597.
"Richard III." 1597.
"Henrie IV." 1600.
Shakespeare's "Sonnets." 1609.
Matheieu's "Henry IV." [of France.] 1612.
Page 74. Heading of CHAPTER IX.
Hardy's "Le Theatre." 1624.
Page 84. Heading of CHAPTER X.
Boys' "Exposition of the last Psalme." 1615.
Page 103. Heading of CHAPTER XI.
Bacon's "Henry VII." 1629.
Bacon's "New Atlantis." 1631.
Page 113. Printed upside down.
Camden's "Remains." 1616.
Page 134. Heading of CHAPTER XII.
Preston's "Life Eternall." 1634.
Page 144. Heading of CHAPTER XIII.
Barclay's "Argenis." 1636.
Page 161. Heading of CHAPTER XIV.
Martyn's "Lives of the Kings." 1615.
Seneca's Works. 1620.
Slatyer's "Great Britaine." 1621.
Bacon's "Resuscitatio," Part II. 1671.
Page 177. Heading of CHAPTER XV.
Gustavi Seleni "Cryptomenytices." 1624.
Page 187. Introduction to "Promus."
"King John." 1591.
Florio's "Second Frutes." 1591.
De Loque's "Single Combat." 1591
Montaigne's "Essais." 1602.
Cervantes' "Don Quixote," translated by Shelton. 1612-20.
Page 287. Tail Piece from Spenser's "Faerie Queen." 1617.
[Illustration: Plate II Portrait of Francis Bacon,
By Van Somer.
Engraved by W.C. Edwards]
BACON IS SHAKESPEARE.
"What does it matter whether the immortal works were written by
Shakespeare (of Stratford) or by another man who bore (or assumed) the
Some twenty years ago, when this question was first propounded, it was
deemed an excellent joke, and I find that there still are a great number
of persons who seem unable to perceive that the question is one of
When the Shakespeare revival came, some eighty or ninety years ago,
people said "pretty well for Shakespeare" and the "learned" men of that
period were rather ashamed that Shakespeare should be deemed to be
"_the_" English poet.
"Three poets in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy and England did adorn,
. . . . . . . . . .
The force of Nature could no further go,
To make a third she joined the other two."
Dryden did not write these lines in reference to Shakespeare but to
Milton. Where will you find the person who to-day thinks Milton comes
within any measurable distance of the greatest genius among the sons of
earth who was called by the name of Shakespeare?
Ninety-two years ago, viz.: in June 1818, an article appeared in
_Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_, under the heading "Time's Magic
Lantern. No. V. Dialogue between Lord Bacon and Shakspeare" [Shakespeare
being spelled Shakspeare]. The dialogue speaks of "Lord" Bacon and
refers to him as being engaged in transcribing the "Novum Organum" when
Shakspeare enters with a letter from Her Majesty (meaning Queen
Elizabeth) asking him, Shakspeare, to see "her own" sonnets now in the
keeping of _her_ Lord Chancellor.
Of course this is all topsy turvydom, for in Queen Elizabeth's reign
Bacon was never "Lord" Bacon or Lord Chancellor.
But to continue, Shakspeare tells Bacon "Near to Castalia there bubbles
also a fountain of petrifying water, wherein the muses are wont to dip
whatever posies have met the approval of Apollo; so that the slender
foliage which originally sprung forth in the cherishing brain of a true
poet becomes hardened in all its leaves and glitters as if it were
carved out of rubies and emeralds. The elements have afterwards no
power over it."
_Bacon_. Such will be the fortune of your own
_Shakspeare_. Ah my Lord! Do not encourage me to
hope so. I am but a poor unlettered man,
who seizes whatever rude conceits his own
natural vein supplies him with, upon the
enforcement of haste and necessity; and
therefore I fear that such as are of deeper
studies than myself, will find many flaws in
my handiwork to laugh at both now and
_Bacon_. He that can make the multitude laugh and
weep as you do Mr. Shakspeare need not
fear scholars.... More scholarship
might have sharpened your judgment
but the particulars whereof a character is
composed are better assembled by force of
imagination than of judgment....
_Shakspeare_. My Lord thus far I know, that the first
glimpse and conception of a character in
my mind, is always engendered by chance
and accident. We shall suppose, for instance,
that I, sitting in a tap-room, or
standing in a tennis court. The behaviour
of some one fixes my attention.... Thus
comes forth Shallow, and Slender,
and Mercutio, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
_Bacon_. These are characters who may be found alive
in the streets. But how frame you such
interlocutors as Brutus and Coriolanus?
_Shakspeare_. By searching histories, in the first place,
my Lord, for the germ. The filling up
afterwards comes rather from feeling than
observation. I turn myself into a Brutus
or a Coriolanus for the time; and can, at
least in fancy, partake sufficiently of the
nobleness of their nature, to put proper
words in their mouths....
My knowledge of the tongues is but small,
on which account I have read ancient
authors mostly at secondhand. I remember,
when I first came to London, and
began to be a hanger-on at the theatres, a
great desire grew in me for more learning
than had fallen to my share at Stratford;
but fickleness and impatience, and the
bewilderment caused by new objects, dispersed
that wish into empty air....
This ridiculous and most absurd nonsense, which appeared in 1818 in
_Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_ was deemed so excellent and so
_instructive_ that (slightly abridged) it was copied into "Reading
lessons for the use of public and private schools" by John Pierpont, of
Boston, U.S.A., which was published in London nearly twenty years later,
viz., in 1837.
As I said before, the dialogue is really all topsy turvydom, for the
writer must have known perfectly well that Bacon was not Lord Keeper
till 1617, the year after Shakspeare's death in 1616, and was not made
Lord Chancellor till 1618, and that he is not supposed to have began to
write the "Novum Organum" before the death of Queen Elizabeth.
I have therefore arrived at the conclusion that the whole article was
really intended to poke fun at the generally received notion that the
author of the plays was an _un_lettered man, who picked up his knowledge
at tavern doors and in taprooms and tennis courts. I would specially
refer to the passage where Bacon asks "How frame you such interlocutors
as Brutus and Coriolanus?" and Shakspeare replies "By searching
histories, in the first place, my Lord, for the germ. The filling up
afterwards comes rather from feeling than observation. I turn myself
into a Brutus or a Coriolanus for the time and can at least in fancy
partake sufficiently of the nobleness of their nature to put proper
words in their mouths."
Surely this also must have been penned to open the eyes of the public to
the absurdity of the popular conception of the author of the plays as an
_un_lettered man who "had small Latin and less Greek"!
The highest scholarship not only in this country and in Germany but
throughout the world has been for many years concentrated upon the
classical characters portrayed in the plays, and the adverse criticism
of former days has given place to a reverential admiration for the
marvellous knowledge of antiquity displayed throughout the plays in the
presentation of the historical characters of bygone times; classical
authority being found for nearly every word put into their mouths.
What does it matter whether the immortal works were written by
Shakspeare (of Stratford) or by a great and learned man who assumed the
name Shakespeare to "Shake a lance at Ignorance"? We should not forget
that this phrase "Shake a lance at Ignorance" is contemporary, appearing
in Ben Jonson's panegyric in the Shakespeare folio of 1623.
The Shackspere Monument, Bust, and Portrait.
In the year 1909 Mr. George Hookham in the January number of the
_National Review_ sums up practically all that is really known of the
life of William Shakspeare of Stratford as follows:--
'We only know that he was born at Stratford, of illiterate parents--
(we do _not_ know that he went to school there)--that, when 18-1/2
years old, he married Anne Hathaway (who was eight years his senior,
and who bore him a child six months after marriage); that he had
in all three children by her (whom with their mother he left, and
went to London, having apparently done his best to desert her before
marriage);--that in London he became an actor with an interest in a
theatre, and was reputed to be the writer of plays;--that he
purchased property in Stratford, to which town he returned;--engaged
in purchases and sales and law-suits (of no biographical interest
except as indicating his money-making and litigious temperament);
helped his father in an application for coat armour (to be obtained
by false pretences); promoted the enclosure of common lands at
Stratford (after being guaranteed against personal loss); made his
will--and died at the age of 52, without a book in his possession,
and leaving nothing to his wife but his second best bed, and this
by an afterthought. No record of friendship with anyone more
cultured than his fellow actors.
No letter,--only two contemporary reports of his conversation, one
with regard to the commons enclosure as above, and the other in
circumstances not to be recited unnecessarily.
In a word we know his parentage, birth, marriage, fatherhood,
occupation, his wealth and his chief ambition, his will and his
death, and absolutely nothing else; his death being received with
unbroken and ominous silence by the literary world, not even Ben
Jonson who seven years later glorified the plays _in excelsis_,
expending so much as a quatrain on his memory.'
[Illustration: Plate III. The Stratford Monument,
From Dugdale's Warwickshire, 1656.]
[Illustration: Plate IV. The Stratford Monument as it appears
at the present time.]
To this statement by Mr. George Hookham I would add that we know W.
Shakspeare was christened 26th April 1564, that his Will which commences
"In the name of god Amen! I Willim Shackspeare, of Stratford upon Avon,
in the countie of warr gent in perfect health and memorie, god be
praysed," was dated 25th (January altered to) March 1616, and it was
proved 22nd June 1616, Shakspeare having died 23rd April 1616, four
weeks after the date of the Will.
We also know that a monument was erected to him in Stratford Church. And
because L. Digges, in his lines in the Shakespeare folio of 1623 says
"When Time dissolves thy Stratford Moniment," it is supposed that the
monument must have been put up before 1623. But we should remember that
as Mrs. Stopes (who is by no means a Baconian) pointed out in the
_Monthly Review_ of April 1904, the original monument was not like the
present monument which shews a man with a pen in his hand; but was the
very different monument which will be found depicted in Sir William
Dugdale's "Antiquities of Warwickshire," published in 1656. The bust
taken from this is shewn on Plate 5, Page 14, and the whole monument on
Plate 3, Page 8.
[Illustration: Plate V. The Stratford Bust, from Dugdale's Warwickshire.
The figure bears no resemblance to the usually accepted likeness of
Shakspeare. It hugs a sack of wool, or a pocket of hops to its belly and
does not hold a pen in its hand.
In Plate 6, Page 15, is shewn the bust from the monument as it exists
at the present time, with the great pen in the right hand and a
sheet of paper under the left hand. The whole monument is shewn on
Plate 4, Page 9.
[Illustration: Plate VI. The Stratford Bust as it appears at the
The face seems copied from the mask of the so-called portrait in the
1623 folio, which is shewn in Plate 8.
[Illustration: Plate VIII. Full size Facsimile of part of the Title Page
of the 1623 Shakespeare folio]
It is desirable to look at that picture very carefully, because every
student ought to know that the portrait in the title-page of the first
folio edition of the plays published in 1623, which was drawn by Martin
Droeshout, is cunningly composed of two left arms and a mask. Martin
Droeshout, its designer, was, as Mr. Sidney Lee tells us, but 15 years
of age when Shakspeare died. He is not likely therefore ever to have
seen the actor of Stratford, yet this is the "Authentic," that is the
"Authorised" portrait of Shakspeare, although there _is_ no
question--there _can be_ no possible question--that in fact it is a
cunningly drawn cryptographic picture, shewing two left arms and a mask.
The back of the left arm which does duty for the right arm is shewn in
Plate 10, Page 26.
[Illustration: Plate X. The Back of the Left Arm, from Plate VIII]
Every tailor will admit that this is not and cannot be the front of
the right arm, but is, without possibility of doubt, the back of
the left arm.
[Illustration: Plate XI. The Front of the Left Arm, from Plate VIII]
[Illustration: (not included in list of plates) The Front of Left Arm.
_From Plate VIII_. The Back of Left Arm _From Plate VIII._ Arranged
Tailor fashion, shoulder to shoulder, as in the _Gentleman's Tailor
Magazine_, April, 1911]
Plate 11 shews the front of the left arm, and you at once perceive
that you are no longer looking at the back of the coat but at the
front of the coat.
[Illustration: Plate XII. The [Mask] Head, from the [so-called]
Portrait, by Droeshout, in the 1623 Folio]
Now in Plate 12, Page 32, you see the mask, especially note that the ear
is a mask ear and stands out curiously; note also how distinct the line
shewing the edge of the mask appears. Perhaps the reader will perceive
this more clearly if he turns the page upside down.
[Illustration: Plate XIII. Sir Nicholas Bacon, from the Painting
Plate 13, Page 33, depicts a real face, that of Sir Nicholas Bacon,
eldest son of the Lord Keeper, from a contemporary portrait by Zucchero,
lately in the Duke of Fife's Collection. This shews by contrast the
difference between the portrait of a living man, and the drawing of a
lifeless mask with the double line from ear to chin. Again examine
Plates 8, Pages 20, 21, the complete portrait in the folio. The reader
having seen the separate portions, will, I trust, be able now to
perceive that this portrait is correctly characterised as cunningly
composed of two left arms and a mask.
While examining this portrait, the reader should study the lines that
describe it in the Shakespeare folio of 1623, a facsimile of which is
To the Reader.
This Figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;
Wherein the Grauer had a strife
with Nature, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but haue drawne his wit
As well in brasse, as he hath hit
His face; the Print would then surpasse
All, that was euer writ in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his Picture, but his Booke.
VERSES ASCRIBED TO BEN JONSON, FROM THE 1623 FOLIO EDITION
OF SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS.
B.I. call the ridiculous dummy a "portrait" but describes it as the
"Figure put for" (that is "instead of") and as "the Print," and as "his
Picture"; he likewise most clearly tells us to "looke not on his
(ridiculous) Picture, but (only) his Booke." It seems, therefore, evident
that he knew the secret of Bacon's authorship and intended to inform
those capable of understanding that the graver had done out the life
when he writes, "Out-doo the life." In the New English Dictionary, edited
by Sir J.A.H. Murray, there are upwards of six hundred words beginning
with "Out," and every one of them, with scarcely a single exception,
requires, in order to be fully understood, to be read reversed. Out-law
does not mean outside of the law, but lawed out by a legal process.
"Out-doo" was used only in the sense of "do out"; thus, in the "Cursor
Mundi," written centuries before the days of Elizabeth, we read that
Adam was out done [of Paradise]; and in Drayton's "Barons' Wars,"
published in 1603, we find in Book V. s. li.
"That he his foe not able to withstand,
Was ta'en in battle and his eyes out-done."
The graver has indeed done out the life so cleverly that for hundreds of
years learned pedants and others have thought that the figure
represented a real man, and altogether failed to perceive that it was a
mere stuffed dummy clothed in an impossible coat, cunningly composed of
the front of the left arm buttoned on to the back of the same left arm,
as to form a double left armed apology for a man. Moreover, this dummy
is surmounted by a hideous staring mask, furnished with an imaginary
ear, utterly unlike anything human, because, instead of being hollowed
in, it is rounded out something like the rounded outside of a shoe-horn,
in order to form a cup which would cover and conceal any real ear that
might be behind it.
Perhaps the reader will more fully understand the full meaning of B.I.'s
lines if I paraphrase them as follows:--
To the Reader.
The dummy that thou seest set here,
Was put instead of Shake-a-speare;
Wherein the Graver had a strife
To extinguish all of Nature's life;
O, could he but have drawn his mind
As well as he's concealed behind
His face; the Print would then surpasse
All, that was ever writ in brasse.
But since he cannot, do not looke
On his mas'd Picture, but his Booke.
Do out appears in the name of the little instrument something like a
pair of snuffer which was formerly used to extinguish the candles and
called a "Doute." Therefore I have correctly substituted "extinguished"
for "out-doo." At the beginning I have substituted "dummy" for "figure"
because we are told that the figure is "put for" (that is, put instead
of) Shakespeare. In modern English we frequently describe a chairman who
is a mere dummy as a figurehead. Then "wit" in these lines means
absolutely the same as "mind," which I have used in its place because I
think it refers to the fact that upon the miniature of Bacon in his 18th
year, which was painted by Hilliard in 1578, we read:--"Si tabula
daretur digna animum mallem." This line is believed to have been written
at the time by the artist, and was translated in "Spedding":--"If one
could but paint his mind."
In March, 1911, the _Tailor and Cutter_ newspaper stated that the
Figure, put for Shakepeare in the 1623 folio, was undoubtedly clothed in
an impossible coat, composed of the back and the front of the same left
arm. And in the following April the _Gentleman's Tailor Magazine_,
under the heading of a "Problem for the Trade," shews the two halves of
the coat as printed on page 28a, and says: "It is passing strange that
something like three centuries should have been allowed to elapse
before the tailors' handiwork should have been appealed to in this
"The special point is that in what is known as the authentic portrait of
William Shakespeare, which appears in the celebrated first folio
edition, published in 1623, a remarkable sartorial puzzle is apparent."
"The tunic, coat, or whatever the garment may have been called at the
time, is so strangely illustrated that the right-hand side of the
forepart is obviously the left-hand side of the backpart; and so gives a
harlequin appearance to the figure, which it is not unnatural to assume
was intentional, and done with express object and purpose."
"Anyhow, it is pretty safe to say that if a Referendum of the trade was
taken on the question whether the two illustrations shown above
represent the foreparts of the same garments, the polling would give an
unanimous vote in the negative."
"It is outside the province of a trade journal to dogmatise on such a
subject; but when such a glaring incongruity as these illustrations show
is brought into court, it is only natural that the tailor should have
something to say; or, at any rate, to think about."
This one simple fact which can neither be disputed nor explained away,
viz., that the "Figure" put upon the title-page of the First Folio of
the Plays in 1623 to represent Shakespeare, is a doubly left-armed and
stuffed dummy, surmounted by a ridiculous putty-faced mask, disposes once
and for all of any idea that the mighty Plays were written by the
illiterate clown of Stratford-upon-Avon.
"He hath _hit_ his face"
It is thought that _hit_ means _hid_ as in Chaucer's Squiere's Tale,
line 512 etc.
"Right as a serpent _hit_ him under floures
Til he may seen his tyme for to byte"
If indeed "hit" be intended to be read as "hid" then these ten lines are
no longer the cryptic puzzle which they have hitherto been considered to
be, but in conjunction with the portrait, they clearly reveal the true
facts, that the real author is writing left-handedly, that means
secretly, in shadow, with his face hidden behind a mask or pseudonym.
We should also notice "out-doo" is spelled with a hyphen. In the
language of to-day and still more in that of the time of Shakespeare
all, or nearly all, words beginning with _out_ may be read reversed,
out-bar is bar out, out-bud is bud out, out-crop is crop out, out-fit is
fit out, and so on through the alphabet.
If therefore we may read "out-doo the life" as "doo out the life"
meaning "shut out the real face of the living man" we perceive that here
also we are told "that the real face is hidden."
The description, with the head line "To the Reader" and the signature
"B.I.," forms twelve lines, the words of which can be turned into
numerous significant anagrams, etc., to which, however, no allusion is
made in the present work. But our readers will find that if all the
letters are counted (the two v.v.'s in line nine being counted as four
letters) they will amount to the number 287. In subsequent chapters a
good deal is said about this number, but here we only desire to say that
we are "informed" that the "Great Author" intended to reveal himself 287
years after 1623, the date when the First Folio was published, that is
in the present year, 1910, when very numerous tongues will be loosened.
Examine once more the original Stratford Bust, Plate 5, Page 14, and the
present Stratford Bust, Plate 6, Page 15, _with the large pen in the
If the Stratford actor were indeed the author of the plays it was most
appropriate that he should have a pen in his hand. But in the original
monument as shewn in Plate 3, Page 8, the figure hugs a sack of wool or
a pocket of hops or may be a cushion. For about 120 years, this
continued to be the Stratford effigy and shewed nothing that could in
any way connect the man portrayed, with literary work. I believe that
this was not accidental. I think that everybody in Stratford must have
known that William "Sha_c_kspeare" could not write so much as his own
name, for I assert that we possess nothing which can by any reasonable
possibility be deemed to be his signature.
[Illustration: Decorative Chapter Heading]
The so-called "Signatures."
In Plate 14, Page 36, are shewn the five so-called signatures. These
five being the only pieces of writing in the world that can, even by the
most ardent Stratfordians, be supposed to have been written by
Shakspeare's pen; let us consider them carefully. The Will commences "In
the name of God Amen I Willum Shackspeare." It is written upon three
sheets of paper and each sheet bears a supposed signature. The Will is
dated in Latin "Vicesimo quinto die [Januarij] Mtij Anno Regni Dni nri
Jacobi, nunc R Anglie, &c. decimo quarto & Scotie xlix� annoq Dni 1616",
or shortly in English 25th March 1616.
Shakspeare died 23rd April 1616 just four weeks after publishing his
I say after "PUBLISHING his Will" advisedly, for such is the
attestation, viz., "Witnes to the publyshing hereof,"
Nothing is said about the witnessing of the signing hereof. The Will
might therefore have been, and I myself am perfectly certain that it
was, marked with the name of William Shakspeare by the Solicitor, Fra
(ncis) Collyns, who wrote the body of the Will.
[Illustration: Plate XIV. The Five so-called "Shakespeare Signatures."
THE FIVE SO-CALLED "SHAKESPEARE SIGNATURES."]
He also wrote the names of the other witnesses, which are all in the
same hand-writing as the Will; shewing that Shakspeare's witnesses were
also unable to write their names.
This fact, that Shakspeare's name is written by the solicitor, is
conclusively proved by the recent article of Magdalene Thumm-Kintzel in
the Leipzig magazine, _Der Menschenkenner_, which was published in
In this publication, photo reproductions of certain letters in the body
of the Will, and in the so-called Shakspeare signatures are placed side
by side, and the evidence is irresistible that they are written by the
same hand. Moreover when we remember that the Will commences "I Willim
Sha_c_kspeare" with a "c" between the "a" and "k," the idea that
Shakspeare himself wrote his own Will cannot be deemed worthy of serious
consideration. The whole Will is in fact in the handwriting of Francis
Collyns, the Warwick solicitor, who added the attestation clause.
I myself was sure that the solicitor had added the so-called signatures,
when, many years ago, I examined under the strongest magnifying glasses
the Will at Somerset House.
Look first at the upper writings and never again call them "signatures."
The top one is on the first page of the Will, the second on the second
page, the third on the last page of the Will.
The original of the top one has been very much damaged but the "W"
remains quite clear. Look first only at the "W's". If the writings were
signatures what could induce a man when signing his last Will to make
each "W" as different from the others as possible, and why is the second
Christian name written Willm?
Compare also the second and third "Shakspeare" and note that every
letter is formed in a different manner. Compare the two "S's", next
compare the two "h's", the "h" of the second begins at the bottom, the
"h" of the third begins at the top, the same applies to the next
letter the "a", so also with respect to the "k's "; how widely
different these are.
Plate 14 shews at the bottom two other names also. These are taken, the
one on the left from a deed of purchase of a dwelling house in
Blackfriars dated March 10th 1612-13 (now in the City Library of the
Corporation of London); the other on the right is from a mortgage of the
same property executed on the following day, viz: March 11th 1612-13,
which is now in the British Museum.
Neither of these documents states that it was "signed" but only says
that it was "sealed," and it was at that date in no way necessary that
any signatures should be written over the seals, but the clerks might
and evidently did, place upon these deeds an abbreviated name of William
Shakspeare over the seal on each document. In the case of the other two
parties to the documents, the signatures are most beautifully written
and are almost absolutely identical in the two deeds.
Look at these two supposititious signatures. To myself it is difficult
to imagine that anyone with eyes to see could suppose them to be
signatures by the same hand.
[Illustration: The Signatures (so called) of "Shakespeare," which are the
best possible reproductions of the originals, and shew that all are
written in "lawscript" by skilled penman.]
Note on the so-called "Signatures."
When part of the purchase money is what is commonly called "left on
mortgage," the mortgage deed is always dated one day _after_, but is
always signed one moment _before_, the purchase deed, because the owner
will not part with his property before he receives his security.
The Shakespeare purchase deed and the mortgage deed were therefore
both signed at the same time, in the same place, with the same pen,
and the same ink.
This is evidently true with respect to the signatures of Wm. Johnson
and Jno. Jackson, the other parries to both of the deeds.
But as I wrote to the City authorities and the British Museum
authorities, it would be impossible to discover a scoundrel who would
venture to perjure himself and falsely swear that it was even remotely
possible that the two supposed signature of Wm. Shakespeare could have
been written at the same time, in the same place, with the same pen, and
the same ink, by the _same hand_.
They are widely different, one having been written by the law clerk of
the seller, the other by the law clerk of the purchaser.
According to the law of England, anyone may (by request) attach any
person's name to any document, and if that person touch it, any third
person may witness it as a signature.
Some years ago by the courtesy of the Corporation of London, the
Librarian and the Chairman of the Library Committee carried the Purchase
Deed to the British Museum to place it side by side with the Mortgage
After they had with myself and the Museum Authorities most carefully
examined the two deeds, the Librarian of the City Corporation said to
me, there is no reason to suppose that the Corporation deed has upon it
the signature of Wm. Shakespeare, and the British Museum Authorities
likewise told me that they did not think that the Museum Mortgage Deed
had upon it a signature of William Shakespeare.
The more you examine the whole five the more you will be certain, as the
writer is, after the most careful study of the Will and of the Deeds,
that not one of the five writings is a "signature," or pretends to be a
"signature," and that therefore there is a probability, practically
amounting to a certainty, that the Stratford Actor could not so much as
manage to scrawl his own name.
No! We possess not a scrap of writing, not even an attempt at a
signature, [see also Chapter XIV., p. 161] that can be reasonably
supposed to be written by the Stratford _gentleman_.
He is styled "gentle Shakespeare": this does not refer to anything
relating to his character or to his manners but it means that possessing
a coat of arms he was legally entitled to call himself a "gentleman."
Contemporary Allusions to Shackspere.
Shakspeare the Actor purchased New Place at Stratford-on-Avon in 1597
for �60 and he became a "gentleman" and an esquire when he secured a
grant of arms in 1599.
How did the stage "honour" the player who had bought a coat of arms and
was able to call himself a "gentleman"?
Three contemporary plays give us scenes illustrating the incident:
1st. Ben Jonson's "Every man out of his humour" which was acted in 1599
the very year of Shakspeare's grant of arms.
2nd. Shakespeare's "As you like it" which was entered at
Stationers' Hall in 1600, although no copy is known to exist before
the folio of 1623.
3rd. "The Return from Parnassus" which was acted at St. John's College,
Cambridge in 1601, though not printed till 1606.
In addition to these three plays, there is a fourth evidence of the way
in which the Clown who had purchased a coat of arms was regarded, in a
pamphlet or tract of which only one copy is known to exist. This tract
which can be seen in the Rylands Library, Manchester, used to be in Lord
Spencer's library at Althorp, and is reprinted by Halliwell-Phillipps in
"Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare," 1889, Vol. I, pages 325-6.
[Illustration: PLATE XV. Bacon's Crest from the Binding of a
Presentation Copy of the Novum Organum, 1620.]
To commence with Ben Jonson's "Every man out of his humour." The clown
who had purchased a coat of arms is said to be the brother of Sordido (a
miser), and is described as an "essential" clown (that is an uneducated
rustic), and is styled Sogliardo which is the Italian for the filthiest
The other two characters in the scene (act iii. sc. I) are Puntarvolo
who, as his crest is a _Boar_, must be intended to represent Bacon;
and Carlo Buffone who is a buffoon or jester.
Enter Sogliardo (the filth), who is evidently the Stratford Clown, who
has just purchased a coat of arms:--
Actus Tertius, Scena Prima,
Sogliardo, Punt., Carlo.
_Sog_. Nay I will haue him, I am resolute for that,
by this Parchment Gentlemen, I haue ben
so toil'd among the Harrots [meaning
_Heralds_] yonder, you will not beleeue, they
doe speake i' the straungest language, and
giue a man the hardest termes for his money,
that euer you knew.
_Car_. But ha' you armes? ha' your armes?
_Sog_. Yfaith, I thanke God I can write myselfe
Gentleman now, here's my Pattent, it cost
me thirtie pound by this breath.
_Punt_. A very faire Coat, well charg'd and full of
_Sog_. Nay, it has, as much varietie of colours in it,
as you haue seene a Coat haue, how like you
the Crest, Sir?
_Punt_. I vnderstand it not well, what is't?
_Sog_. Marry Sir, it is your Bore without a head
_Punt_. A Bore without a head, that's very rare.
_Car_. I, [Aye] and Rampant too: troth I commend
the Herald's wit, he has deciphered him well:
A Swine without a head, without braine, wit,
anything indeed, Ramping to Gentilitie. You
can blazon the rest signior? can you not?
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
_Punt_. Let the word be, _Not without mustard_, your
Crest is very rare sir.
Shakspeare's "word" that is his "motto" was--non sanz droict--not
without right--and I desire the reader also especially to remember
Sogliardo's words "Yfaith I thanke God" a phrase which though it appears
in the quartos is changed in the 1616 Ben Jonson folio into "I thank
_them_" which has no meaning.
Next we turn to Shakespeare's "As you like it." This play though entered
at Stationers' Hall in 1600 and probably played quite as early is not
known in print till it appeared in the folio of 1623. The portion to
which I wish to refer is the commencement of Actus Quintus, Scena Prima.
Act 5, Scene i.
Enter Clowne and Awdrie.
_Clow_. We shall finde a time _Awdrie_, patience gentle
_Awd_. Faith the priest was good enough, for all the
olde gentlemans saying.
_Clow_. A most wicked Sir _Oliver, Awdrie_, a most vile
_Mar-text._ But _Awdrie_, there is a youth heere
in the forrest layes claime to you.
_Awd_. I, I know who 'tis: he hath no interest in mee
in the world: here comes the man you meane.
_Clo_. It is meat and drinke to me to see a clowne,
by my troth, we that haue good wits, haue
much to answer for: we shall be flouting: we
_Will_. Good eu'n _Audrey._
_Awd_. God ye good eu'n _William_.
_Will_. And good eu'n to you sir.
_Clo_. Good eu'n gentle friend. Couer thy head,
couer thy head: Nay prethee bee couer'd.
How olde are you Friend?
_Will_. Fiue and twentie Sir.
_Clo_. A ripe age: Is thy name _William_?
_Will_. _William_, Sir.
_Clo_. A faire name. Was't borne i' the Forrest
_Will_. I [Aye] Sir, I thanke God.
_Clo_. Thanke God: A good answer: Art rich?
_Will_. 'Faith Sir, so, so.
_Clo_. So, so, is good, very good, very excellent
good: and yet it is not, it is but so, so: Art
_Will_. I [Aye] sir, I haue a prettie wit.
_Clo_. Why, thou saist well. I do now remember
a saying: The Foole doth thinke he is wise,
but the wise man knowes himselfe to be a
Foole.... You do loue this maid?
_Will_. I do Sir.
_Clo_. Giue me your hand: art thou Learned?
_Will_. No Sir.
_Clo_. Then learne this of me, To haue is to haue.
For it is a figure in Rhetoricke, that drink
being powr'd out of a cup into a glasse, by
filling the one, doth empty the other. For all
your Writers do consent, that _ipse_ is hee:
now you are not _ipse_, for I am he.
_Will_. Which he Sir?
_Clo_. He Sir, that must marrie this woman.
Firstly I want to call your attention to Touchstone the courtier who is
playing clown and who we are told "uses his folly like a stalking horse
and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit." Notice that
Touchstone refuses to be married to Awdrey (who probably represents the
plays of Shakespeare) by a-Mar-text_, and she declares that the Clown
William "has no interest in mee in the world." William--shall we say
Shakspeare of Stratford?--enters and is greeted as "gentle" (_i. e_. he
is possessed of a coat of arms). He says "Thank God" he was born in the
forest here (Ardennes, very near in sound to Arden). "Thank God" is
repeated by Touchstone and as it is the same phrase that is used by
Sogliardo in Ben Jonson's play I expect that it was an ejaculation very
characteristic of the real man of Stratford and I am confirmed in this
belief because in the folio edition of Ben Jonson's plays the phrase is
changed to "I thank _them_" which has no meaning.
The clown of Ardennes is rich but only rich for a clown (Shakspeare of
Stratford was not really rich, New Place cost only �60).
Asked if he is wise, he says "aye," that is "yes," and adds that he has
"a pretty wit," a phrase we must remember that is constantly used in
reference to the Stratford actor. Touchstone mocks him with a paraphrase
of the well-known maxim "If you are wise you are a Foole if you be a
Foole you are wise" which is to be found in Bacon's "Advancement of
Learning" Antitheta xxxi. Then he asks him "_Art thou learned_" and
William replies "_No sir_." This means, _unquestionably_, as every
lawyer must know, that William replies that he cannot _read_ one line of
print. I feel sure the man called Shackspeare of Stratford was an
uneducated rustic, never able to read a single line of print, and that
this is the reason why no books were found in his house, this is the
reason why his solicitor, Thomas Greene, lived with him in his house at
New Place (Halliwell-Phillipps: Outlines, 1889, Vol. i, p. 226);--a
well-known fact that very much puzzles those who do not realize the
depth of Shakspeare's illiteracy.
"The Return from Parnassus" and "Ratsei's Ghost."
The next play to which attention must be called is "The Return from
Parnassus" which was produced at Cambridge in 1601 and was printed in
1606 with the following title page:--
The Returne from Parnassus
The Scourge of Simony.
Publiquely acted by the Students
in Saint Johns Colledge in
Printed by G. Eld for John Wright, and
are to bee sold at his shop at
The portion to which I wish to direct attention is:--
Actus 5, Scena i.
_Studioso_. Fayre fell good _Orpheus_, that would rather be
King of a mole hill, then a Keysars slaue:
Better it is mongst fidlers to be chiefe,
Then at plaiers trencher beg reliefe.
But ist not strange this mimick apes should prize
Vnhappy Schollers at a hireling rate.
Vile world, that lifts them vp to hye degree,
And treades vs downe in groueling misery.
_England_ affordes those glorious vagabonds,
That carried earst their fardels on their backes,
Coursers to ride on through the gazing streetes
Sooping it in their glaring Satten sutes,
And Pages to attend their maisterships:
With mouthing words that better wits haue framed,
They purchase lands, and now Esquiers are made.
_Philomusus_. What ere they seeme being euen at the best
They are but sporting fortunes _scornfull_ iests.
Can these last two lines refer to Shakspeare the actor seeming to be the
poet? Note that they are spoken by Philomusus that is friend of the
poetic muse. Mark also the words "this mimick apes." Notice especially
"with mouthing words that _better_ wits haue framed, they purchase lands
and now Esquiers are made" i.e. get grants of arms. Who at this period
among mimics excepting W. Shakspeare of Stratford purchased lands and
obtained also a grant of arms?
That this sneer "mouthing words that better wits have framed" must have
been aimed at Shakspeare is strongly confirmed by the tract (reprinted
by Halliwell-Phillipps in his "Outlines of Shakespeare," 1889, Vol. I,
p. 325) which is called "Ratsei's Ghost or the second part of his mad
prankes and Robberies."
This pamphlet bears no date, but was entered at Stationers' Hall May
31st 1605. There is only a single copy in existence, which used to be in
Earl Spencer's library at Althorp but is now in the Rylands; Library at
Manchester. As I said, it is reprinted by Halliwell-Phillipps, and
Stratfordians are obliged to agree with him that the reference is
unquestionably to "Wm Shakespeare of Stratford." The most important part
which is spoken by Ratsei the robber to a country player is as
_Ratsei_. And for you sirra, saies hee to the chiefest
of them, thou hast a good presence upon a
stage; methinks thou darkenst thy merite
by playing in the country. Get thee to
London, for if one man were dead, they will
have much neede of such a one as thou art.
There would be none in my opinion fitter
then thyselfe to play his parts. My conceipt
is such of thee, that I durst venture all the
mony in my purse on thy head to play
Hamlet with him for a wager. There thou
shalt learn to be frugall,--for players were
never so thriftie as they are now about
London--and to feed upon all men, to let
none feede upon thee; to make thy hand a
stranger to thy pocket, thy hart slow to
performe thy tongues promise, and when
thou feelest thy purse well lined, buy thee
some place of lordship in the country, that,
growing weary of playing, thy mony may
there bring thee to dignitie and reputation;
then thou needest care for no man, nor not
for them that before made thee prowd
with speaking their words upon the stage.
The whole account of buying a place in the country, of feeding upon all
men (that is lending money upon usury) of never keeping promises, of
never giving anything in charity, agrees but too well with the few
records we possess of the man of Stratford. And therefore Stratfordians
are obliged to accept Halliwell-Phillipps' dictum that this tract called
Ratsei's Ghost refers to the actor of Stratford and that "_he_ needed
not to care for them that before made _him_ proud with speaking _their_
words upon the stage." How is it possible that Stratfordians can
continue to refuse to admit that the statement in the "Return from
Pernassus" "with mouthing words that better wits haue framed they
purchase lands and now Esquiers are made" must also refer to the
There is only a single letter extant addressed to Shakspeare, and this
asks for a loan of �30 It is dated 25th October 1598, and is from
Richard Quiney. It reads
"Loveinge Countreyman I am bolde of vow as of a ffrende,
craveinge yowr helpe wth xxxll vppon mr Bushells & my
securytee or mr Myttons wth me. mr Rosswell is nott come
to London as yeate & I have especiall cawse. yow shall
ffrende me muche in helpeinge me out of all the debttes I
owe in London I thancke god & muche quiet my mynde wch
wolde nott be indebeted I am nowe towardes the Cowrte in
hope of answer for the dispatche of my Buysenes. yow shall
nether loase creddytt nor monney by me the Lorde wyllinge
and nowe butt perswade yowr selfe soe as I hope & yow shall
nott need to feare butt wth all hartie thanckefullenes I wyll
holde my tyme & content yowr ffrende & yf we Bargaine
farther yow shalbe the paie mr yowr selfe. my tyme biddes me
hasten to an ende & soe I committ thys [to] yowr care & hope
of yowr helpe. I feare I shall nott be backe thys night ffrom
the Cowrte. haste, the Lorde be wth yow & with us all
ffrom the Bell in Carter Lane the 25 October 1598.
yowrs in all kyndenes
LS To my Loveinge good ffrend
& contreymann mr wm
Shackespere d[e]l[ive]r thees."
This letter is the only letter known to exist which was ever addressed
to William Shackspere, the illiterate householder of Stratford, who as
has been pointed out in these pages was totally unable to read a line of
print, or to write even his own name. There are however in existence
three, and three only, contemporary letters referring in any way to him,
and these are not about literature with which the Stratford man had
nothing whatever to do--but about mean and sordid small business
One is from Master Abraham Sturley, who writes in 1598 to a friend in
London in reference to Shakspeare lending "Some monei on some od yarde
land or other att Shottri or neare about us."
Another is dated Nov. 4th 1598, and is from the same Abraham Sturley to
Richard Quiney in which we are told that "our countriman Mr Wm Shak
would procure us monei wc I will like of."
A third from Adrian Quiney written (about 1598-1599) to his son Rycharde
Quiney in which he says "yff yow bargen with Wm Sha or receve money
therfor, brynge youre money homme."
There exists no contemporary letter from anyone to anyone, referring to
the Stratford actor as being a poet or as being in any way connected
with literature. But from the Court Records we learn that;
In 1600 Shakespeare brought action against John Clayton in London for �7
and got judgment in his favour. He also sued Philip Rogers of Stratford
for two shillings loaned.
In 1604 he sued Philip Rogers for several bushels of malt sold to
him at various times between March 27th and the end of May of that
year, amounting in all to the value of �1. 15s. 10d. The poet a
dealer in malt?
In 1608 he prosecuted John Addenbroke to recover a debt of �6 and sued
his surety Horneby.
Halliwell-Phillipps tells us that "The precepts as appears from
memoranda in the originals, were issued by the poet's solicitor Thomas
Greene who was then residing under some unknown conditions at
Referring to these sordid stories, Richard Grant White, that strong
believer in the Stratford man, says in his "Life and genius of William
Shakespeare," p. 156 "The pursuit of an impoverished man for the sake of
imprisoning him and depriving him both of the power of paying his debts
and supporting himself and his family, is an incident in Shakespeare's
life which it requires the utmost allowance and consideration for the
practice of the time and country to enable us to contemplate with
equanimity--satisfaction is impossible."
"The biographer of Shakespeare must record these facts because the
literary antiquaries have unearthed and brought them forward as new
particulars of the life of Shakespeare. We hunger and receive these
husks; we open our mouths for food and we break our teeth against
Yes! The world has broken its teeth too long upon these stones to
continue to mistake them for bread. And as the accomplished scholar and
poetess the late Miss Anna Swanwick once declared to the writer, she
knew nothing of the Bacon and Shakespeare controversy, but Mr. Sidney
Lee's "Life of Shakespeare" had convinced her that his man never wrote
the plays. And that is just what everybody else is saying at Eton, at
Oxford, at Cambridge, in the Navy, in the Army, and pretty generally
among unprejudiced people everywhere, who are satisfied, as is Mark
Twain, that the most learned of works could not have been written by the
most _un_learned of men.
Yes! It does matter that the "Greatest Birth of Time" should no longer
be considered to have been the work of the unlettered rustic of
Stratford; and the hour has at last come when it should be universally
known that this mighty work was written by the man who had taken all
knowledge for his province, the man who said "I have, though in a
despised weed [that is under a Pseudonym] procured the good of all men";
the man who left his "name and memory to men's charitable speeches, and
to foreign nations, and the next ages."
Bacon acknowledged to be a Poet.
In discussing the question of the Authorship of the plays many people
appear to be unaware that Bacon was considered by his contemporaries to
be a great poet. It seems therefore advisable to quote a few witnesses
who speak of his pre-eminence in poetry.
In 1645 there was published "The Great Assises holden in Parnassus by
Apollo and his assessours" a facsimile of the title of which is given on
page 57. This work is anonymous but is usually ascribed to George
Withers and in it Bacon as Lord Verulan is placed first and designated
"Chancellor of Parnassus" that is "Greatest of Poets."
After the title, the book commences with two pages of which facsimiles
are given on pages 58, 59.
[Illustration: Plate XVI. Facsimile Title Page]
[Illustration: Plate XVII. Facsimile of Page III of "The Great Assises"]
[Illustration: Plate XVIII Facsimile of Page IV of "The Great Assises"]
Apollo appears at the top, next comes Lord Verulan as Chancellor of
Parnassus, Sir Philip Sidney and other world renowned names follow and
then below the line side by side is a list of the jurors and a list of
A little examination will teach us that the jurors are really the same
persons as the malefactors and that we ought to read right across the
page as if the dividing line did not exist.
Acting on this principle we perceive that George Wither [Withers] is
correctly described as Mercurius Britanicus. Mr. Sidney Lee tells us
that Withers regarded "Britain's Remembrancer" 1628 and "Prosopopaeia
Britannica" 1648 as his greatest works.
Thomas Cary [Carew] is correctly described as Mercurias Aulicus--Court
Messenger. He went to the French Court with Lord Herbert and was made
Gentleman of the Privy Chamber by Charles I who presented him with an
estate at Sunninghill.
Thomas May is correctly described as Mercurius Civicus. He applied for
the post of Chronologer to the City of London and James I wrote to the
Lord Mayor (unsuccessfully) in his favour.
Josuah Sylvester is correctly described as The Writer of Diurnals. He
translated Du Bartas "Divine Weekes," describing day by day, that is
"Diurnally," the creation of the world.
Georges Sandes [Sandys] is The Intelligencer. He travelled all over
the world and his book of travels was one of the popular works of
Michael Drayton is The Writer of Occurrences. Besides the "Poly-Olbion,"
he wrote "England's Heroicall Epistles" and "The Barron's Wars."
Francis Beaumont is The Writer of Passages. This exactly describes him
as he is known as writing in conjunction with Fletcher. "Beamount and
Fletcher make one poet, they single dare not adventure on a play."
William Shakespeere is "The writer of weekely accounts." This exactly
describes him, for the only literature for which he was responsible was
the accounts sent out by his clerk or attorney.
Turning over the pages of the little book on page 9 the cryer calls out
"Then Sylvester, Sands, Drayton, Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger,
Shakespeare (sic) and Heywood, Poets good and true." This statement
seems to be contradicted so far as Shakespeare is concerned by the
defendant who says on page 31 "Shakespear's (sic) a mimicke" (that is a
mere actor not a poet).
"Beamount and Fletcher make one poet, they
Single, dare not adventure on a play."
Each of these statements seems to be true. And on Page 33
"We should to thy exception give consent
But since we are assur'd, 'tis thy intent,
By this refusall, onely to deferre
That censure, which our justice must conferre
Upon thy merits; we must needs decline
From approbation of these pleas of thine."
That is, Apollo _admits_ that Shakespeare is not a poet but a "mimic,"
the word to which I called your attention in the "Return from Parnassus"
in relation to "this mimick apes." In this little book Shakespeare's
name occurs three times, and on each occasion is spelled differently.
This clear statement that the actor Shakespeare was not a poet but only
a tradesman who sent out his "weekly accounts" is, I think, here for the
first time pointed out. It seems very difficult to conceive of a much
higher testimony to Bacon's pre-eminence in poetry than the fact that he
is placed as "Chancellor of Parnassus" under Apollo. But a still higher
position is accorded to him when it is suggested that Apollo feared that
he himself should lose his crown which would be placed on Bacon's head.
Walter Begbie in "Is it Shakespeare?" 1903, p. 274, tells us:--That
Thomas Randolf, in Latin verses published in 1640 but probably written
some 14 years earlier says that Phoebus was accessory to Bacon's death
because he was afraid lest Bacon should some day come to be crowned King
of poetry or the Muses. Farther on the same writer declares that as
Bacon "was himself a singer" he did not need to be celebrated in song by
others, and that George Herbert calls Bacon the colleague of Sol
George Herbert was himself a dramatic poet and Bacon dedicated his
"Translation of the Psalms" to him "who has overlooked so many of
Mr. Begbie also tells us that Thomas Campion addresses Bacon thus
"Whether the thorny volume of the Law or the Schools or the _Sweet Muse_
It may be worth while here to quote the similar testimony which is borne
by John Davies of Hereford who in his "Scourge of Folly" published about
"To the royall, ingenious, and all-learned
Sr Francis Bacon.
Thy _bounty_ and the _Beauty_ of thy Witt
Comprisd in Lists of _Law_ and learned _Arts_,
Each making thee for great _Imployment_ fitt
Which now thou hast, (though short of thy
Compells my pen to let fall shining _Inke_
And to bedew the _Baies_ that _deck_ thy _Front_;--
And to thy health in _Helicon_ to drinke
As to her _Bellamour_ the _Muse_ is wont:
For thou dost her embozom; and dost vse
Her company for sport twixt grave affaires;
So vtterst Law the liuelyer through thy _Muse_.
And for that all thy _Notes_ are sweetest _Aires_;
_My Muse thus notes thy worth in eu'ry Line,
With yncke which thus she sugers; so, to shine_."
But nothing can much exceed in value the testimony of Ben Jonson who in
his "Discoveries," 1641, says "But his learned, and able (though
unfortunate) _Successor_ [Bacon in margin] is he, who hath fill'd up all
numbers, and perform'd that in our tongue, which may be compar'd or
preferr'd either to insolent _Greece_, or haughty _Rome_."
"He who hath filled up all numbers" means unquestionably "He that hath
written every kind of poetry."
Alexander Pope the poet declares that he himself "lisped in numbers for
the numbers came." Ben Jonson therefore bears testimony to the fact that
Bacon was so great a poet that he had in poetry written that "which may
be compar'd or preferr'd either to insolent _Greece_ or haughty _Rome_."
But in 1623 Ben Jonson had said of the AUTHOR of the plays
_"Or when thy sockes were on
Leaue thee alone, for the comparison
Of all, that insolent_ Greece _or haughtie_ Rome
_Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come."_
Surely the statements in the "Discoveries" were intended to tell us who
was the AUTHOR of the plays.
After perusing these contemporary evidences, and they might be
multiplied, it is difficult to understand how anyone can venture to
dispute Bacon's position as pre-eminent in poetry. But it may be of
interest to those who doubt whether Bacon (irrespective of any claim to
the authorship of the plays) could be deemed to be a great poet, to
quote here the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who in his "Defence of
"Bacon was a poet. His language has a sweet and majestic rhythm, which
satisfies the sense, no less than the almost superhuman wisdom of his
philosophy satisfies the intellect. It is a strain which distends and
then bursts the circumference of the reader's mind, and pours itself
forth together with it into the universal element with which it has
The immortal plays are the "Greatest Birth of Time," and contain a
short summary of the wisdom of the world from ancient times, and they
exhibit an extent and depth of knowledge in every branch which has
never been equalled at any period of the world's history. In classic
lore, as the late Mr. Churton Collins recently pointed out, they evince
the ripest scholarship. And this is confirmed by classical scholars all
the world over.
None but the profoundest lawyers can realise the extent of the knowledge
not only of the theory but of the practice of Law which is displayed.
Lord Campbell says that Lord Eldon [supposed to have been the most
learned of judges] need not have been ashamed of the law of Shakespeare.
And as an instance of the way in which the members of the legal
profession look up to the mighty author I may mention that some years
ago, at a banquet of a Shakespeare Society at which Mr. Sidney Lee and
the writer were present, the late Mr. Crump, Q.C., editor of the _Law
Times_, who probably possessed as much knowledge of law as any man in
this country, declared that to tell him that the plays were not written
by the greatest lawyer the world has ever seen, or ever would see, was
to tell him what he had sufficient knowledge of law to know to be
nonsense. He said also that he was not ashamed to confess that he
himself, though he had some reputation for knowledge of law, did not
possess sufficient legal knowledge to realise one quarter of the law
that was contained in the Shakespeare plays.
It requires a philologist to fully appreciate what the enormous
vocabulary employed in the plays implies.
Max Muller in his "Science of Language," Vol. I, 1899, p. 379, says
"A well-educated person in England, who has been at a public school and
at the University ... seldom uses more than about 3,000 or 4,000 words.
... The Hebrew Testament says all that it has to say with 5,642 words,
Milton's poetry is built up with 8,000; and Shakespeare, who probably
displayed a greater variety of expression than any writer in any
language ... produced all his plays with about 15,000 words."
Shakspeare the householder of Stratford could not have known so many as
one thousand words.
But Bacon declared that we must make our English language capable of
conveying the highest thoughts, and by the plays he has very largely
created what we now call the English language. The plays and the sonnets
also reveal their author's life.
In the play of "Hamlet" especially, Bacon seems to tell us a good deal
concerning himself, for the auto-biographical character of that play is
clearly apparent to those who have eyes to see. I will, however, refer
only to a single instance in that play. In the Quarto of 1603, which is
the first known edition of the play of "Hamlet," we are told, in the
scene at the grave, that Yorick has been dead a dozen years; but in the
1604 Quarto, which was printed in the following year, Yorick is stated
to have been dead twenty-three years. This corrected number,
twenty-three, looks therefore like a real date of the death of a real
person. The words in the Quarto of 1604 are as follows:--
Hamlet, Act v, Scene i.
"[Grave digger called.] Clow[n] ... heer's a scull
now hath lyen you i' th' earth 23 yeeres ... this
same scull, sir, was, sir, Yorick's skull, the Kings
_Ham_[_let_]. Alas poore _Yoricke_, I knew him
_Horatio_, a fellow of infinite iest, of most excellent
fancie, hee hath bore me on his backe a thousand
times ... Heere hung those lyppes that I haue
kist, I know not howe oft, where be your gibes now?
your gamboles, your songs, your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roare, not one
now to mocke your owne grinning...."
The King's Jester who died about 1580-1, just twenty-three years before
1604 (as stated in the play), was John Heywood, the last of the King's
Jesters. The words spoken by Hamlet exactly describe John Heywood, who
was wont to set the table in a roar with his jibes, his gambols, his
songs, and his flashes of merriment. He was a favourite at the English
Court during three if not four reigns, and it is recorded that Queen
Elizabeth as a Princess rewarded him. It is an absolutely gratuitous
assumption that he was obliged permanently to leave England when she
became Queen. Indeed it is believed that he was an intimate friend of
the Bacon family, and must have carried little Francis Bacon any number
of times upon his back, and the little fellow must have kissed him still
more oftentimes. The story in the play of "Hamlet" seems, therefore, to
fit in exactly with the facts of Bacon's life; but it is not possible
that the most fertile imagination of the most confirmed Stratfordian can
suppose that the Stratford actor ever saw John Heywood, who died long
before Shakspere came to London.
The Author revealed in the Sonnets.
Bacon also reveals much of himself in the play "As you like it," which
of course means "Wisdom from the mouth of a fool." In that play, besides
giving us much valuable information concerning his "mask" William
Shakespeare, he also tells us why it was necessary for him to write
under a pseudonym.
Speaking in the character of Jaques, who is the alter ego of
Touchstone, he says,
Act ii, Scene 7.
"O that I were a foole,
I am ambitious for a motley coat.
_Duke_. Thou shalt haue one.
_Jag_. It is my onely suite,
Prouided that you weed your better judgements
Of all opinion that growes ranke in them,
That I am wise. I must haue liberty
Wiithall, as large a Charter as the winde,
To blow on whom I please, for so fooles haue:
And they that are most gauled with my folly,
They most must laugh....
Inuest me in my motley: Giue me leaue
To speake my minde, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foule bodie of th' infected world
If they will patiently receiue my medicine."
He also gives us most valuable information in Sonnet 81.
Or I shall liue your Epitaph to make,
Or you suruiue when I in earth am rotten,
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten,
Your name from hence immortall life shall haue,
Though I (once gone) to all the world must dye,
The Earth can yeeld me but a common graue,
When you intombed in men's eyes shall lye,
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall ore read,
And toungs to be, your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead,
You still shall liue (such vertue hath my Pen)
Where breath most breaths euen in the mouths of men.
Stratfordians tell us that the above is written in reference to a poet
whom Shakespeare "evidently" regarded as a rival. But it is difficult to
imagine how sensible men can satisfy their reason with such an
explanation. Is it possible to conceive that a poet should write
_against a rival_
"Your name from hence immortall life shall haue
Though I (once gone) to all the world must dye"
or should say _against_ a _rival_,
"The Earth can yeeld me but a common graue
While you intombed in men's eyes shall lye."
or should have declared "_against_ a _rival_,"
"Your monument shall be my gentle verse"
No! This sonnet is evidently written in reference to the writer's mask
or pseudonym which would continue to have immortal life (even though he
himself might be forgotten) as he says
"Although in me each part will be forgotten."
It is sometimes said that Shakespeare (meaning the Stratford actor) did
not know the value of his immortal works. Is that true of the writer of
this sonnet who says
"my gentle verse
Which eyes not yet created shall ore read"
No! The writer knew his verses were immortal and would immortalize the
pseudonym attached to them
"When all the breathers of this world are dead."
Perhaps the reader will better understand Sonnet 81 if I insert the
words necessary to fully explain it.
Or shall I [Bacon] live your Epitaph to make,
Or you [Shakespeare] survive when I in Earth am rotten,
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name [Shakespeare] from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I [Bacon] once gone to all the world must die,
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie,
Your monument shall be my [not your] gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall ore read,
And tongues to be your being [which as an author
was not] shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead,
You [Shakespeare] still shall live, such vertue
hath my pen [not your own pen, for you never wrote a line]
Where breathe most breaths even in the mouths of men.
This Sonnet was probably written considerably earlier than 1609, but at
that date Bacon's name had not been attached to any work of great
After the writer had learned the true meaning of Sonnet 81, his eyes
were opened to the inward meaning of other Sonnets, and he perceived
that Sonnet No. 76 repeated the same tale.
"Why write I still all one, euer the same,
And keep inuention in a noted weed,
That euery word doth almost sel my name,
Shewing their birth and where they did proceed?"
(Sel may mean spell or tell or possibly betray.)
Especially note that "Invention" is the same word that is used by Bacon
in his letter to Sir Tobie Matthew of 1609 (same date as the Sonnets),
and also especially remark the phrase "in a noted weed," which means in
a "pseudonym," and compare it with the words of Bacon's prayer, "I have
(though in a 'despised weed') procured the good of all men."
[Resuscitatio, 1671.] Was not the pseudonym of the Actor Shakespeare a
very "despised weed" in those days?
Let us look also at Sonnet No. 78.
"So oft have I enuoked thee for my Muse,
And found such faire assistance in my verse,
As every _alien_ pen hath got my use,
And under thee their poesy disperse."
Here again we should understand how to read this Sonnet as under:--
"So oft have I enuoked thee [Shakespeare] for my Muse,
And found such faire assistance in my verse,
As every _alien_ pen hath got my use,
And under thee [Shakespeare] their poesy disperse."
"Shakespeare" is frequently charged with being careless of his works and
indifferent to the piracy of his name; but we see by this Sonnet, No.
78, that the real author was not indifferent to the false use of his
pseudonym, though it was, of course, impossible for him to take any
effectual action if he desired to preserve his incognito, his mask, his
Mr. Sidney Lee and the Stratford Bust.
One word to the Stratfordians. The "Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon"
myth has been shattered and destroyed by the mass of inexactitudes
collected in the supposititious "Life of Shakespeare" by Mr. Sidney Lee,
who has done his best to pulverise what remained of that myth by
recently writing as follows:--
"Most of those who have pressed the question [of Bacon being the real
Shake-speare] on my notice, are men of acknowledged intelligence and
reputation in their own branch of life, both at home and abroad. I
therefore desire as respectfully, but also as emphatically and as
publicly, as I can, to put on record the fact, as one admitting to my
mind of no rational ground for dispute, that there exists every manner
of contemporary evidence to prove that Shakspere, the householder of
Stratford-on-Avon, wrote with his own hand, and exclusively by the light
of his only genius (merely to paraphrase the contemporary inscription on
his tomb in Stratford-on-Avon Church) those dramatic works which form
the supreme achievement in English Literature."
As a matter of fact, not a single scrap of evidence, contemporary or
otherwise, exists to show that Shakspere, the householder of
Stratford-on-Avon, wrote the plays or anything else; indeed, the writer
thinks that he has conclusively proved that this child of illiterate
parents and father of an illiterate child was himself so illiterate that
he was never able to write so much as his own name. But Mr. Sidney Lee
seems prepared to accept _anything_ as "contemporary evidence," for on
pages 276-7 (1898 edition) of his "Life of Shakespeare" he writes
"Before 1623 an elaborate monument, by a London sculptor of Dutch birth,
Gerard Johnson, was erected to Shakespeare's memory in the chancel of
the parish church. It includes a half-length bust, depicting the
dramatist on the point of writing. The fingers of the right hand are
disposed as if holding a pen, and under the left hand lies a quarto
sheet of paper."
As a matter of fact, the _present_ Stratford monument was not put up
till about one hundred and twenty years _after_ Shakspeare's death. The
original monument, see Plate 3 on Page 8, was a very different monument,
and the figure, as I have shewn in Plate 5, instead of holding a pen in
its hand, rests its two hands on a wool-sack or cushion. Of course, the
false bust in the existing monument was substituted for the old bust for
the purpose of fraudulently supporting the Stratford myth.
When Mr. Sidney Lee wrote that the present monument was erected before
1623 he did not do this consciously to deceive the public; still, it is
difficult to pardon him for this and the other reckless statements with
which his book is filled. But what are we to say of his words
(respecting the _present_ monument) which we read on page 286? "It was
first engraved--very imperfectly--in Rowe's edition of 1709." An exact
full size photo facsimile reproduction of Rowe's engraving is shown in
Plate 19, Page 77.
[Illustration: Plate. XIX. The Original Stratford Monument, from Rowe's
Life of Shakespeare, 1709]
As a matter of fact, the real Stratford monument of 1623 was first
engraved in Dugdale's "Warwickshire" of 1656, where it appears opposite
to page 523. We can, however, pardon Mr. Sidney Lee for his ignorance of
the existence of that engraving; but how shall we pardon him for citing
Rowe as a witness to the early existence of the present bust? To anyone
not wilfully blinded by passion and prejudice, Rowe's engraving [see
Plate 19, Page 77] clearly shews a figure absolutely different from the
Bust in the present monument. Rowe's figure is in the same attitude as
the Bust of the original monument engraved by Dugdale, and does not hold
a pen in its hand, but its two hands are supported on a wool-sack or
cushion, in the same manner as in the Bust from Dugdale which I have
shewn in Plate 5, on Page 14.
What are we to say respecting the frontispiece to the 1898 edition of
what he is pleased to describe as the "Life of William Shakespeare,"
which Mr. Sidney Lee tells us is "from the 'Droeshout' painting now in
the Shakespeare Memorial Gallery at Stratford-on-Avon"?
As a matter of fact there is no "Droeshout" painting. The picture
falsely so called is a manifest forgery and a palpable fraud, for in it
all the revealing marks of the engraving by Martin Droeshout which
appeared in the 1623 folio are purposely omitted. A full size photo
facsimile of Martin Droeshout's engraving is shewn in Plate 8, pp.
20-21. In the false and fraudulent painting we find no double line to
shew the mask, and the coat is really a coat and not a garment cunningly
composed of two left arms.
Still it does seem singularly appropriate and peculiarly fitting that
Mr. Sidney Lee should have selected as the frontispiece of the romance
which he calls the "Life" of Shakespeare, an engraving of the false and
fraudulent painting now in the Stratford-on-Avon Gallery for his first
edition of 1898; and should also have selected an engraving of the false
and fraudulent monument now in Stratford-on-Avon Church as the
frontispiece for his first Illustrated Library Edition of 1899.
Mr. Sidney Lee is aware of the fact that Martin Droeshout was only
fifteen years old when the Stratford actor died. But it is possible that
he may not know that (in addition to the Shakespeare Mask which
Droeshout drew for the frontispiece of the 1623 folio edition of the
Plays of Shakespeare, in order to reveal, to those who were able to
understand, the true facts of the Authorship of those plays), Martin
Droeshout also drew frontispieces for other books, which may be
similarly correctly characterised as cunningly composed, in order to
reveal the true facts of the authorship of such works, unto those who
were capable of grasping the hidden meaning of his engravings.
One other point it is worth while referring to. The question is
frequently asked, if Bacon wrote under the name of Shakespeare, why so
carefully conceal the fact? An answer is readily supplied by a little
anecdote related by Ben Jonson, which was printed by the Shakespeare
Society in 1842, in their "Notes of Ben Jonson's conversations with
William Drummond of Hawthornden".
"He [Ben Jonson] was dilated by Sir James Murray to the King, for
writting something against the Scots, in a play Eastward Hoe, and
voluntarly imprissonned himself with Chapman and Marston who had written