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TOPIC: Some Baconian Evidence

Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4335

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A special set of Shake-Speare and Bacon parallels

Troilus and Cressida (a subgroup of four parallels from this play)

(1 of 4)

"As knots, by the conflux of meeting sap,
Infects the sound pine and diverts his grain
Tortive and errant from his course of growth."
Troilus and Cressida 1.3.7-10

"There be divers herbs, but no trees, that may be said to have some kind of order in the putting forth of their leaves; for they have joints or knuckles, as it were, stops in their germination. The cause whereof is for that the sap ascendeth unequally, and doth as it were tire and stop by the way. And it seemeth they have some closeness and hardness in their stalk which hindereth the sap from going up, until it hath gathered into a knot."
A Natural History

Comment: Thus both authors attribute knots to a conflux of sap. Bacon is speaking of herbs, not trees, in so far as order in the putting forth of leaves is concerned. But he would presumably have given the same explanation for knots in trees since their hardness is even more likely to hinder the sap from going up. Does any other Elizabethan dramatist show the slightest interest in the cause of knots in trees or plants? Chronologically Bacon could have borrowed from the published play (1609).

Troilus and Cressida (a subgroup of four parallels)
(2 of 4)

(Hector favours the return of Helen to the Greeks to secure peace, and says:)

"Though no man lesser fears the Greeks than I
As far as toucheth my particular,
Yet, dread Priam,
There is no lady of more softer bowels,
More spongy to suck in the sense of fear,
More ready to cry out "Who knows what follows?"
Than Hector is. The wound of peace is surety,
Surety secure [over-confidence]; but modest doubt [fear] is called
The beacon of the wise."
Troilus And Cressida 2.2.8-16

"A young man's bowels are soft and succulent" [from the Latin Juveni viscere mollier et succulenta]
History of Life and Death (1623)

"Doubt [fears] are so many suckers or sponges to draw use of knowledge."
The Advancement of Learning (1605)

"Distrust is the sinews of wisdom"
De Augmentis (1623)

Comment: Hector was a young man. And Shake-Speare associates "softer" and "suck" and "spongy" with bowels and with fear, as Bacon associates "soft" and "succulent" with bowels and "spongy" with "doubts" [fears]. The folly of over-confidence and the wisdom of modest fear were commonplaces, but this parallel derives its force from their combination in both authors with the striking verbal similarities noted.

(Sidenote: I've read also that in Elizabethan times the word "beacon" could be pronounced like "Bacon".)
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4336

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A special set of Shake-Speare and Bacon parallels

Troilus and Cressida (a subgroup of four parallels)

(Part 3 of 4)


"Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz'd, but superficially - not much
Unlike young men,
whom Aristotle thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy.
The reasons you allege do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong."
Troilus And Cressida 2.2.164-72

"Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded wherein he saith that young men are no fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heat of their affections [passions], nor attempered with time and experience."
The Advancement of Learning

Comment: Actually, Aristotle said "political philosophy", not "moral philosophy", but the latter was the Elizabethan synonym for "political philosophy". Aristotle's opinion was probably quite well known, but it is surprising that Shake-Speare made Hector quote Aristotle by name. It is almost as though Bacon, writing the Shake-Speare lines, had forgotten for a moment that he was writing a play, not an Essay. However, the principal significance of this parallel lies in three similarities of wording:

(a) Bacon and Shake-Speare both use metaphors of heat - "the boiling heat of
their affections" and "the hot passion of distemper'd blood". Aristotle uses
no metaphor
, saying simply that a young man is "swayed by his feelings".

(b) Only three pages earlier in The Advancement of Learning Bacon had used the
word "distempers", saying:

"Another article of this knowledge is the inquiry touching the affections [human passions] medicining of the mind, after knowledge of the divers characters of men's natures, it followeth, in order, to know the diseases and infirmities of the mind, which are no other than the perturbations and distempers of the affections...[8 lines later] And here again I find it strange, as before, that Aristotle should have written divers volumes of ethics, and never handled the affections, which is the principal subject thereof."

Comment cont. "The perturbations and distempers of the affections" echoes Shake-Speare's "the hot passions of distemper'd blood", "distempers" being used (like "distemper'd") in connection with human passions and with Aristotle.

(c) Shake-Speare's rather odd and prosaic expression "not much unlike" is used by
Bacon 19 pages earlier in The Advancement of Learning, and again in relation to Aristotle.
Speaking of "controversies wherein Moral Philosophy is conversant", he says that
one is whether the contemplative life is to be preferred, and adds that the
arguments for the contemplative life are "not much unlike" a certain argument which
Pythagoras advanced. Bacon uses "not much unlike" in at least 4 other of his
writings according to one of his biographers (Spedding). The expression is not
used elsewhere in Shake-Speare. Does it appear in other Elizabethan literature?
(Note: "not unlike" was a common expression and is not to be confused with "not much unlike").

Cockburn adds: "The conjunction of all these similarities cannot be accidental. Yet Shake-Speare cannot have borrowed from Bacon's The Advancement of Learning which was not published until 1605, about three years after the play was written. And Bacon cannot have borrowed from the published play which did not come out till 1609."
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4337

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A special set of Shake-Speare and Bacon parallels

Troilus and Cressida (a subgroup of four parallels)

(Part 4 of 4)

First, Bacon:
In his De Augmentis Bacon wrote:
"The second
is to keep a discreet temper and mediocrity both in liberty of speech and in secrecy. For liberty of speech invites and provokes a similar liberty in others; and so brings much to a man's knowledge; but secrecy induceth trust, so that men like to deposit their secrets there, as in their own bosom".

Comment: So liberty in speech and secrecy in speech can both be used to draw people out. Remarkably, we find both these axioms illustrated in the same scene in the play. Cressida says to Troilus:

"Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
For in this rapture I shall surely speak
The think I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws
My very soul of counsel. Stop my mouth."
Troilus And Cressida, 3.2. 128-132

And then a little later in the same scene, Cressida, again addressing Troilus, refers to the other tactic for drawing out another's thoughts:

"Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love,
And fell so roundly to a large confession
To angle for your thoughts."
Troilus And Cressida, 3.2. 151-3

Comment: Shake-Speare could not have borrowed from Bacon since the play was written (but not published) about 1602, which was before De Augmentis (1623) (or The Advancement of Learning, 1605, which voiced similar sentiments) was published. And Bacon could not have borrowed from the published play because the Advancement of Learning was written before the play was published in 1609.

Cockburn adds that the last three of the these four parallels for Troilus And Cressida are each quite remarkable in themselves. So, the set of four by themselves he would grant the status of proof of common authorship.

There seem to be at least four subsets of parallels that Cockburn believes reach the level of proof of common authorship between Bacon and Shakespeare. In the next post I will conclude with the second part of another of these subsets. And at another time I'll write more of why other explanations for them, such as coincidence, using a common source, or mutual borrowing are very unlikely to account for their usage by both authors.
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4341

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This parallel is the second of two parallels that Cockburn believes, by their remarkableness, reach the status of proof of common authorship by themselves. It is also the second SET of four sets of parallels that he believes can have such status.

They are both from The Tempest. The first parallel of this set was published earlier. It involved the phrase "The print of goodness".
This is a long post as Cockburn wrote 4 pages on it alone. I'm abridging it down to about three of his pages. The analysis you'll find gets into some challenging detail, but this is necessary to cover all angles of an argument. So some of the extra detail may only be of interest to those with more of a scholarly interest in the subject.
The following is from The Tempest 1.2. 77-110

PROSPERO. Thy false uncle-
Dost thou attend me?
MIRANDA. Sir, most heedfully.
PROSPERO. Being once perfected how to grant suits, {ACT1|SC2, line 80}
How to deny them, who t'advance, and who
To trash for over-topping
, new created
The creatures that were mine, I say, or chang'd 'em,
Or else new form'd 'em; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state
To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was
The ivy which had hid my princely trunk, {ACT1|SC2, line 87}
And suck'd my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not.
MIRANDA. O, good sir, I do!
PROSPERO. I pray thee, mark me.
I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness and the bettering of my mind
With that which, but by being so retir'd,
O'er-priz'd all popular rate, in my false brother
Awak'd an evil nature; and my trust,
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood, in its contrary as great
As my trust was; which had indeed no limit,
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
Not only with what my revenue yielded,
But what my power might else exact, like one
Who having into truth, by telling of it, {ACT1|SC2, line 100}
Made such a sinner of his memory,
To credit his own lie-he did believe
He was indeed the Duke; out o' th' substitution,
And executing th' outward face of royalty
With all prerogative. Hence his ambition growing--Dost thou hear?
MIRANDA. Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
PROSPERO. To have no screen between this part he play'd
And him he play'd it for, he needs will be
Absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library
Was dukedom large enough,

Comments: Let us look first at lines 80-82, and compare them with a letter from Bacon to the King in 1620:

Bacon: "To grant all suits were to undo yourself or your people; to deny all suits were to see never a contented face; as your Majesty hath of late won hearts by depressing, you should in this lose no hearts by advancing".

And in his Essay on Ambition Bacon wrote: "There is use also of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops". As in line 82 above.

These passages share with Shake-Speare's lines the contrast between granting and denying suits, and the collocation of "advance" / "advancing" and "overtopping" / "overtops".

Now look at line 87, and compare it with this from Bacon's History of Henry VII, speaking of Perkin Warbeck's plan to murder the Lieutenant of the Tower:

"It was ordained that this winding ivy of a Plantagenet should kill the tree itself".

Thus in both authors this ivy-round-a-tree metaphor is applied to a usurper.

Next, lines 100-4. The 18th century scholar Edmund Malone wrote of these lines: "There is a very singluar coincidence between this passage and one in Bacon's History of Henry VII". The Bacon passage reads:

"[Perking Warbeck] did in all things notably acquit himself; insomuch as it was generally believed, as well amongst great persons as amongst the vulgar, that he was indeed Duke Richard. Nay, himself with long and continual counterfeiting and oft telling a lie, he was turned by habit almost into the thing he seemed to be; and from a liar to a believer".

Warbeck was a boy who was schooled by Margaret, duchess dowager of Burgandy, to put himself forward as being young Duke Richard, heir to the throne, who was now in fact dead. Like Bacon, Shake-Speare evidently knew of the story that Warbeck had come to believe his own deception, and he decided to apply it to Antonio in the play. The story is related in John Speed's History of Great Britain (1611), as follows:

"Neither was he [Warbeck] in any point wanting to his part...and as it is so observed of some, that by long using to report an untruth, as last forgetting themselves to be the authors thereof, believe it is earnest; so these honours making our Peter [Perkins] to bury in utter oblivion his birth's obscurity, he seemed to be persuaded that he was indeed the self party whom he did so exactly personate".

However, Shake-Speare is unlikely to have taken the story from Speed since The Tempest was probably written in 1610, before Speed's huge work was published (though Bacon might well have seen it in manuscript if it was in preparation over a period of years). And, so far as I know, the story did not appear in any other published source. But it was probably well known among historians by reason of its human and dramatic interest. Bacon is far more likely to have known it than Shakspere - English history was not on the curriculum at Stratford Grammar School. Further, there are two similarities of wording between the Shake-Speare lines and the Bacon passage, which are not the inevitable consequence of both authors writing about the same thing, as is illustrated by their absence from Speed's account. First, "into" in line 100 must be a corruption of "minted", as some scholars have suggested. So Shake-Speare had a coin image in mind. So probably did Bacon in his "counterfeiting". This inference is strengthened by a comment on Warbeck which Bacon attributes only 6 lines later to a speech by Dr. Warham, our Ambassador to Flanders, namely that:

"To counterfeit the dead image of a King in his coin is an high offence by all laws. But to counterfeit the living image of a king in his person exceedeth all falsifications."

And in his The Advancement of Learning Bacon refer to "the mint of knowledge".

Secondly, Shake-Speare's "telling of it" must be a corruption of "telling oft", as again scholars have recognized - 'oft telling' was an essential prerequisite of the deception. So Shake-Speare's "telling oft" matches Bacon's "oft telling".

Shake-Speare cannot have borrowed from Bacon, whose Henry VII was not published till 1622; nor could Bacon from the published play which first appeared in 1623 and in any event does not mention Warbeck.

Then in line 107 Shake-Speare says: "To have no screen between his part..." There are three places where Bacon describes ministers as "screens" for the rulers they serve.

a) "There is also great use of ambitious men in being screens to Princes in matters of danger and envy. For no man will take that part except he be like a sealed dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him. There is also use of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops".
Essay on Ambition

The last sentence, as we have seen, affords the parallel with lines 80-82. By the first sentence Bacon meant that ministers are useful screens for Princes since, if anything goes wrong, the ministers, rather than the Princes themselves, will get the blame.

b) "And nothing doth extinguish envy more than for a great person to preserve all other inferior officers in their full rights and pre-eminences of their places. For by that means there be so many screens between him and envy".
Essay on Envy

c) "...make a good Lord Treasurer whose proper duty stop suits, put back pensions, check allowances, question merits, translate the suit from the suitor to your Majesty in a proportion; and in short to be a screen to your Majesty in things of this nature".
Letter to King James of 20 September 1620

This last quote was from the same letter that was quoted earlier in regard to "granting suits". So the same letter deals with both suits and screens, as do the Shake-Speare lines. Shake-Speare, like Bacon, associated ministers with "screens". So, though he does not quite liken Antonio to a screen, he still couches his statement in "screen" terminology. Did any other Elizabethan speak of ministers as "screens", or as having "screens" between themselves and their sovereign? Shake-Speare cannot have borrowed "screens" from Bacon since the play was written before any of the three Bacon texts had appeared; nor Bacon from the published play which first appeared in 1623.

Lastly, in the last two Shake-Speare lines above, where Prospero describes his library as "dukedom large enough". Compare a letter by Bacon to Lord Burleigh about 1592 in which Bacon says: "I have taken all knowledge to be my province".

So, in the above Shake-Speare Tempest quote there are 4 striking parallels with Bacon passages. The first and fourth arise from three consecutive sentences in Bacon's Essay on Ambition. And the fourth explains Shake-Speare lines which have troubled editors. (I omitted some of that analysis to save space here). It is fair to say that the whole Tempest quote is saturated with Bacon thought and expression.

Now that readers must be getting used to these parallels, and some longer analyses. I think I'll post some other long parallels and their analyses since they represent some of the best evidence in the Bacon/Shake-Speare authorship question. Though there will also be additional short parallels that are still important.
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4342

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And now for some more Hamlet parallels.

Shakes-Speare's Hamlet - Polonius / Bacon part 1

The following well-known passage from Hamlet was given a three-page analysis by Cockburn. And I'll break it up into three posts to make it more digestible.

This passage is from Hamlet 1.3.57-80

(Polonius, an elderly adviser to the King - as Burleigh was to Queen Elizabeth - gives this famous advice to his son Laertes who was about to visit Paris):

"There, my blessing with thee,
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned though his act.
Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar;
Those friends thou hast and their adoption tried, {line 62}
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do no dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd courage. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, {line 66)
Bear't that th'opposed may beware of thee.
Give everyman thy ear but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure [opinion], but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gawdy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous [well-born] chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loseth both itself and friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. {line 77)
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Comment: In 1596 young Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland, was about to set out on a Grand Tour of Europe. He received three letters of advice (according to Bacon's biographer Spedding). They were written in the name of the Earl of Essex, but it is obvious from the style of the first two that they were drafted for Essex by Bacon. Parental advice containing gems of worldly wisdom was common in the period, especially to a son about to travel. But it is interesting to compare Polonius's advice with that drafted by Bacon. Here are some extracts from the letters and numbered for convenience:

1) When you see an infinite variety of men, choose the best...Good choice should be made of those with whom you converse.

2) To profit much by conference, you must first choose to confer with expert men...By hearing able to judge the truth. In conference be not superstitious, not believing all you hear, nor too desirous to contradict.

Now compare these and some other Bacon writings with some of Polonius's precepts:

a) "Those friends thou hast and their adoption tried" (line 62) - This advice to be careful in one's choice of friends is reflected in Bacon's 1) above "choose the best...Good choice should be made of with whom you converse". But this was common advice and itself count little by itself.

b) Bacon's advice in the letters above does not deal with quarrels. But in his Essay on Travel he says: "For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided". This can also be compared with Much Ado About Nothing 2.3.190 "He avoids them [quarrels] all with great discretion". This agrees with Polonius's "Beware Of entrance to a quarrel". (lines 65-66)

c) "Take each man's censure [opinion], but reserve thy judgment". - This fits with 2) above "By hearing able to judge the truth...nor believing all you hear.."

d) "But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gawdy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man" - Bacon does not deal with clothing in the letters or elsewhere, except for a few allusions. The Arden editor notes that "Polonius's advice on dress has perhaps an individual note (costly, rich)". The usual advice was that attire should not be costly. But rich dress would fit Bacon's known liking for tasteful splendour. For example, he married clad in purple from head to toe. And as Lord Chancellor, he had all his staff attired in his own personal livery.

continued on next post.
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4343

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Shakes-Speare's Hamlet - Polonius / Bacon part 2

In the letters drafted by Bacon borrowing is not mentioned. But Bacon kept a notebook called the Promus, in which he wrote in French "Qui prete a l'ami perd au double" which translates to "Loan to a friend loseth double". This means the same as the Shake-Speare lines for Polonius:

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loseth both itself and friend,"

Also, in an Essay on Usury Bacon sets out the advantages and disadvantage of lending. On the one hand, "as a farmer cannot husband his ground so well if he sit at a great rent, so the merchant cannot drive his trade so well if he sit at great usury". Usury "doth dull and damp all industries". On the other hand, "the greatest part of trade is driven by young merchants upon borrowing at interest". And if interest is limited to 5%, it "will encourage and edge industrious and profitable improvements".

Remember that Polonius's said in line 77:

"And borrowing (usury) dulls the edge of husbandry".

So, the collocation of "dull" / "dulls", "edge" / "edge", and "husbandry" / "husband" in the Shake-Speare and Bacon texts is striking.

How many authors of an Essay on Usury would use all three of "dulls" (or "dull"), "edge" and "husband" (or "husbandry")?
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4344

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Shakes-Speare's Hamlet - Polonius / Bacon Part 3

Finally there are the last three lines of Polonius's speech:

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

In the Arden edition of Hamlet, the editor comments "The final precept - to thine own self be true - has proved ambiguous. Interpretation has ranged from a noble ideal of integrity to a cynical injunction to pursue self-interest. But the tradition of the maxim puts its meaning (Be constant) beyond doubt". The editor paraphrases it as "Be constant, be consistent in your opinions".

Cockburn goes into some finer analysis here which I'll bypass. He notes, though, that Bacon uses the phrase "true to self", or variants of this, several times and with various meanings. However, in his Essay on Wisdom for a Man's Self he couples "true to self" with "not false to others".

Bacon writes:

"An ant is a wise creature for itself but is a shrewd [harmful] thing in an orchard or garden. And certainly men that are great lovers of themselves, waste the Public. Divide with reason between self-love and society. And be so true to thyself, as thou be not false to others; specially to thy king and country...."

In this sense Bacon meant that one should not be self-centered (except in moderation) but should serve others. "False" in the context does not mean "fickle", but has its usual and wider meaning of "wrong" - one must not wrong others.

It should be noted that the conjunction of "true to self" and "not false to others" has only been found in Shake-Speare and Bacon. Though Coburn thinks something like them might be found elsewhere. He adds that Shake-Speare editors have not been aware of these usages of the same passages by Bacon and that there should be little doubt that Shake-Speare and Bacon had the same meaning in mind in these phrases. He notes there is a similar phrase and meaning in All's Well That Ends Well 1.1.61 where in a somewhat similar passage of advice to a young man, one precept is "Do wrong to none".

The confusion over the meaning of these lines has arisen because Shake-speare in using "false" (which has been misunderstood by some to mean "fickle") sacrificed clarity to have antithesis, as did Bacon in his almost identical wording - both authors were addicted to antithesis. The confusion would have been dispelled long ago if Stratfordian scholars would bother to read Bacon.

Shake-Speare cannot have borrowed from Bacon any of the points arising from Polonius's advice to Laertes since Hamlet predates all the Bacon works in question.
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4345

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And here is another group of Hamlet parallels. You'll need to read it over carefully several times to appreciate it. And it really doesn't do the analysis justice as it is much more extensive than I can show here.


So oft it chances in particular men
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth,- wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin,-
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason, {ACT1|SC4 line 28}
Or by some habit that too much o'er leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
Their virtues else- be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo-
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of eale [modern editions 'evil' or 'e'il']
Doth all the noble substance of a dout To his own scandal. [modern: "often dout"]
Hamlet 1.4.23-38

And now some Bacon excerpts:

"[Catholic priests who] had by their own acts and poisons depraved and soured with a new leaven of malignity the whole lump of Catholics".
In Felicem Memoriam Elizabethae

".......sour the lump of all Papists in their loyalty".
Charge against St. John

"The best men are like the best precious stones, wherein every flaw or icicle or grain are seen and noted more than in those that are generally foul and corrupted". [compare "every flaw or icicle or grain" to "The stamp of one defect"]
A Speech in Parliament

"Here a little folly in a very wise man, a small offence in a very good man, a slight impropriety in a man of polite and elegant manners, detracts from their character and reputation". [compare "a little folly" "a small offence" "a slight impropiety" to "The stamp of one defect"]
De Augmentis

(Sir William Stanley had been largely responsible for gaining the victory at Bosworth Field. But years later he became a suitor for the Earl of Chester, whereupon, says Bacon:) "His suit did not only end in denial but in distaste [on the part of the King, despite his earlier service. So Bacon adds:] And as a little leaven of new distaste doth commonly sour the whole lump of former merits".
History of Henry VII

And here are some additional Shake-Speare quotes:

"Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
the uglier seem the clouds that in it fly".
Richard II, 1.1.35

"Wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit"
Twelfth Night, 3.1.75

[Note: Both Bacon and Shake-Speare were very fond of the same Bible quotations, though they also both could modify them in the same way. One of these was: "Dead flies cause to stinke and putrefie the ointment of the apoticarie; so doeth a little folie (folly) him that is in estimation for wisdom and for glorie."
Ecclesiastes x, 1 -- Geneva Bible of 1585]

Cockburn's comments:
The whole of Hamlet's speech is wanting in Quarto 1 of 1603 and in the First Folio of 1623. The last sentence is as it appears in Quarto 2 of 1604 and Quarto 3 of 1605, except that Quarto 3 substitutes "ease" for "eale".
[For more on Shake-Speare Quartos see ]

Obviously the various compositors misread or misunderstood whatever texts they were working from. The Arden editor in a Long Note at page 449 describes the sentence as "probably the most famous crux in Shakespeare". Scholars have tried almost ad absurdum to reform it, and numerous suggestions are summarised in the Variorum edition. The Arden editor's own reconstruction is:

"The dram of evil Doth all the noble substance often dout [put out, extinguish]
To his own scandal."

This expresses the obvious meaning of the sentence, namely that the one fault overshadows the man's good qualities, to the damage of his reputation [to his own scandal]. And "often" for "of a" is obviously right.

[My note: the Hamlet scholars could have saved a lot of time if they had read Melsome's "The Bacon-Shakespeare Anatomy", 1945, where he explains that "deale" in Scotland is equivalent to "[u]devil[/u]" in England; and then removing the "d" from each, and you have "eale" and "evil" left. In the 1604 Hamlet quarto there is "The spirit that I have seen may be a deale; and the deale hath power." [i]Hamlet[/i], 2.2.638. Again, "deale" meaning "devil".]

Cockburn continues: The parallels between Shake-Speare's sentence and Bacon's in Henry VII are striking. Both authors state the same principle (admittedly proverbial, at any rate in the form "Dead flies do cause the best ointment to stink" - see Bacon's De Augmentis. Shake-Speare's "all the noble substance" matches Bacon's "the whole lump of former merits"; and "often" matches "commonly". And both authors state the principle in a metaphor of distaste, using the same word "sour" (implied by 'o'er leavens'). And both authors state the principle with reference to leaven. This reference would not be an obvious way of expressing the principle, especially as it seems that "leaven" was only rarely used in Elizabethan times to imply "corrupt". The same principle is found in Pliny the Elder's History of the World which Bacon definitely knew as this was a major source for his Natural History. And there's a similar passage in the Bible: Galatians v. 9 "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump". Pliny the Elder wrote about housewives withdrawing a portion of the yeasted dough of today to infect the fresh dough of tomorrow's baking; and when tomorrow came, this withdrawn dough had become sour; and the sourness was thought to be caused by over-leavening, and that to over-leaven dough was to sour it; and so the author of Hamlet's speech thought he might write o'er-leavens as the equivalent of "sours"; just as Bacon thought he might write "A little leaven ...doth commonly sour the whole lump...".

So in line 29 of Hamlet's speech the "o'er leavens" is suggesting that some invidious habit that, by exciting the ill will of the people, sours their minds against even his plausive or pleasing actions, or corrupts all their otherwise virtuous reputation.

Then there's "the pales and forts of reason" in line 28. Plus the following:

"Reason become the marshal to my will"
A Midsummer Night's Dream 2.2.119

"Armour of the mind"
Hamlet 3.3.12

"Thus is fortitude the marshal of thought, the armour of the will and the fort of reason".
Speech on Fortitude in Conference of Pleasure

"I know but two forts in this house which the King ever hath, the fort of affection and the fort of reason; the one commands the hearts, the other commands the heads".
Speech on "undertakers"

The only relevant parallel found in another Elizabethan source:

"What war so cruel, or what siege so sore
As that which strong affections do apply
Against the fort of reason everywhere."
Spenser's Fairy Queen

"Fort of reason" may have been fairly common. But Shake-Speare (though in different texts) used both "marshal to my will" and "armour of the mind" to compare with Bacon's conjunction of "the marshal of thought, the armour of the will". Further, "marshal of thought" and "marshal to my will" seem not to be known elsewhere. These texts are a good example of how Bacon and Shake-Speare built with the same bricks, even if they arranged them in lightly different ways.
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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4346

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If you went to the website I mentioned in the last post:

and read about the Hamlet quartos. You could also have read the following under the section of Shakespeare's sources:

"Saxo Grammaticus, Danorum Regum Heroumque Historiae (1514). Although this contains all the principal elements of Shakespeare’s plot, it is unlikely that he knew Saxo’s work at first hand."

So it's interesting that Bacon cites this work in the French edition of his Natural History (1631):

“In fact, I have only remarked on a single example of such a marvel, and that is in The History of Denmark, a book written by Saxo Grammaticus, who relates a veritable history that during the reign of King Ericius there arrived at the Court of Denmark a musician very skilled in his profession, who boasted that he could produce the feelings of joy or sadness, of peace or rage, in the breasts of man, by the mere sound of music”.

So readers should consider that maybe 'Shake-Speare' (i.e. Bacon) likely did know of Saxo's work first hand.
more on Saxo's work:

SAXO GRAMMATICUS. Danorum Regum heroumque historiae. Paris, Iodocus Badius Ascensius, 1514.

Folio, [8], 198 leaves, roman letter, title printed in large red gothic characters within a renaissance style architectural border in black and red enclosing a woodcut of the Danish king at the head of his army; fine woodcut initials including several specially designed for the book incorporating a portrait of the king of Denmark and the royal arms, etc.; a few inoffensive wormholes throughout, but a clean, crisp copy, bound with two other works (see below) in 17th century blindstamped calf, rebacked in the early 19th century with an attractively gilt spine with green and tan morocco labels.

Rare first edition of this famous history of Denmark, important textually because no complete manuscript version now survives. It was edited by Christiernus Petri, a Canon of Lund. His dedicatory epistle dated “ex Parahisiorum academia, 13.III.1514” is addressed to Lago Bishop of Ruskild. The great interest of the book lies in the fact that it was the principal source for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

“As a chronicler both of truth and fiction he had in his own land no predecessor, nor had he any literary tradition behind him. Single-handed, therefore, he may be said to have lifted the dead-weight against him, and given Denmark a writer” (Elton, introduction to Saxo Grammaticus). The History is composed from a variety of sources: “Saxo was to Denmark what Geoffrey of Monmouth was to Britain. He drew on Latin histories such as Bede and Adam of Bremen, on Icelandic and Danish MSS. and on oral traditions ... The Amleth saga belongs to a common type of revenge-story in which the hero feigns insanity or stupidity to save his life and gain an opportunity for a coup” (Bullough, Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare).

The Amleth story agrees in the main points of its narrative with Shakespeare’s Hamlet: a king is murdered by his brother, who marries the widow and succeeds to the throne. The son of the murdered king feigns madness, whereupon he is suspected and tried, first by entangling him in his love of a maiden (Ophelia), and second by an interview with his mother, during which he discovers and kills a spy (Polonius). The king sends him to Britain in charge of two attendants (Rosencrantz and Guilderstern) with a letter asking for his assassination. He alters the letter so the attendants are slain. Returning to Denmark he kills the courtiers, burns the palace, and slays the king. As Bullough points out, there were considerable changes of plot and emphasis in Shakespeare’s version: “At some stage, the saga already somewhat modernized by Belleforest was brought into line with Renaissance manners and current tales of court-murders and revenge. This involved changing the ending by having Hamlet achieve his vengeance during a fencing match. It also meant altering the way in which Old Hamlet was killed, and the Ghost’s part was made important by substituting the Italianate secret way of poison for open murder at a banquet ... Neither in Saxo or Belleforest did the wicked uncle show any sign of remorse, and the introduction of the prayer scene indicates that the play had religious implications not present in the old saga ...” (ibid.).

Bound with two other historical texts: Aimon of Fleury, De regum procerumque Francorum origine gestisque, (Paris, 1514), and Jordanes, De rebus Gothorum, (Augsburg, 1515).

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Some Baconian Evidence 7 years 4 months ago #4379

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Wow... this is a lot of great stuff... Keep it coming... :)
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