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TOPIC: Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits"

Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 3 months ago #4452

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

This subset of parallels represents the third (of four) subsets that Cockburn felt by themselves were remarkable enough to prove common authorship. Two others that he mentioned were from Troilus and Cressida and from The Tempest. He also felt that there could be others that were similarly special, though he didn't specify them. Personally, I would add the set from Julius Caesar with these (this will be posted a little later, though probably in one of the other topics). This subject of "spirits" takes up 8-9 pages in Cockburn's book and I don't see an easy way to abridge it without losing much of the force of the argument. So I'm going to break it down into a number of smaller posts that can be digested and reviewed in chunks. In addition to the authorship argument contribution they make, Shake-Speare enthusiasts can also find the insight into this topic interesting in the light they throw upon the understanding of the plays they are found in.

So this is Part 1 of 9

Bacon tells us in his Natural History that the "spirits" as a principle of life were "scarce known" and that there were no less than five theories about them; namely, that they should be equated with (1) a vacuum; or (2) air; or (3) natural heat; or (4) the quality of tangible parts; or (5) (in the case of animals) the soul.

Bacon's own theory of "spirits" is summarized by his main biographers (Spedding and Elis) in the preface to Bacon's History of Life and Death as follows:

"The principle of life resides in a subtle fluid or spirit which permeates the tangible parts of the organization of plants and animals...Bacon was one of those by whom this idea was extended from organized to inorganic bodies; in all substances, according to him, resides a portion of spirit which manifests itself only in its operations, being altogether intangible and without weight...In living bodies he conceived that two kinds of spirits exist; a crude or mortuary spirit, such as is present in other substances, and an animal or vital spirit, to which the phenomena of life are to be referred. To keep the vital spirit, the wine of life, from oozing away, ought to be the aim of the physician".

Bacon believed that motion was the prime characteristic of the spirits and essential to them. In his History of Life and Death he says: "The living spirit seems to require three things for its subsistence", the first being "Suitable motion". In the same work he says: "The living spirit perishes immediately when it is deprived either of motion or refrigeration or of aliment". In his Novum Organum he refers to the spirits' "eager and restless motion". He speaks regularly of the "motions" of the "spirits". For example, in his History of Life and Death he says: "Next follows the inquiry for restraining the motions of the spirits".

Time and time again throughout his works, especially in his Natural History and his History of Life and Death, he seeks to explain some phenomenon of animate or inanimate nature by reference to the supposed activities of the spirits. For "the spirits are the agents and workmen that produce all the effects of the body"; and "they are never almost at rest and from their motions principally proceed...most of the effects of nature".

Bacon's obsessive theory of the spirits is reflected in the Shake-Speare plays. They mention "spirits" or "spirit" (usually the latter) about 360 times. Usually the word is not used in a sense which is obviously technical but rather in today's general sense - e.g., "he had a fine spirit" or "his spirits were low". Or occasionally of course to denote phantoms. But sometimes Bacon's theory shows its head and I shall cite and explain several instances of this in (a) through (i) below [in the following posts]. And added will be (j) three more texts (one of them a famous crux) which provide interesting Bacon/Shake-Speare parallels in terminology, though their "spirits" are not transparently technical.

end of part 1, the next post will begin with the (a) mentioned above.
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 3 months ago #4456

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

Part 2 of 9

(a) the emphasis on the motions of the spirits; and that joy is caused by the spirits coming into the outward parts.

First, Shake-Speare:

"Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,"
Hamlet 3.4.119

"Fie, fie upon her!
There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip -
Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
At every joint and motive of her body."
Troilus and Cressida 4.5.56-7

The idea of the spirits peeping out from the eyes or other parts of the body seems a quaint one. But Bacon's theory explains it. In his Natural History he writes:

"Joy causeth cheerfulness and vigour in the eyes, singing, leaping, dancing, and sometimes tears. All these are the effects of dilatation and coming forth of the spirits into the outward parts; which maketh them more lively and stirring. We know it hath been seen that excessive sudden joy hath caused present death, while the spirits did spread so much as they could not retire again".

See also his History of Life and Death:

"The vital spirit has a special abhorrence of leaving the body...it may perhaps rush to the extremities of the body to meet something that it loves".

And his De Augmentis:

"For every passion of the more vehement kind produces motions in the eyes and indeed in the whole countenance and gesture, which are uncomely, unsettled, skipping and deformed".

So in the first of these Bacon passages we have express reference to the spirits coming forth into the outward parts. He is speaking of this as the cause of the outward manifestations of joy, but presumably he would have given the same explanation of outward passions generally - the De Augmentis passage implies this. And note that both authors speak of spirits coming "forth". Bacon also couples spirits and "forth" in other passages, as in his Natural History "It has been noted also that it is most dangerous when an envious eye is cast upon persons in glory and triumph and joy, the reason whereof is for that at such times the spirits come forth most into the outward parts ..."; and in Spedding 5.224 "if moreover it [the spirit] be not much excited by the external air to come forth"; and "do not excite them [the spirits] too much to go forth".

Did other writers make this verbal collocation? Compare too "motive" with "motions", though this time Bacon uses the latter word of the body's motions, not of the spirits responsible for them.

Death due to sudden joy was a commonplace, but features in Shake-Speare in Pericles 5.1.191-4:

"Give me a gash, put me to present pain
Lest this great sea of joys rushing upon me
O'erbear the shores of my mortality
And drown me with their sweetness".

end of (a) - part 2 of 9
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 3 months ago #4464

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 3 of 9

(b) if one's sprits are imprisoned, one will be a dulled or tired


First, Shake-Speare:

From Love's Labour's Lost 4.3.301-4 & 323-6

[Berowne is objecting to the proposal that he and his fellows should forswear women in favor of studies]
"Why, universal plodding poisons up
The nimble spirits in the arteries,
As motion and long-during action tires
The sinewy vigour of the traveller".
"But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power".

Comments: The Arden editor comments on "poisons up" in L.301: "Dyce pointed out that the Folio misprints poison'd for prison'd in 1 H6, V.IV.120. Halliwell and Furnivall retain 'poisons'. Furnivall says: "You don't want the metaphor of nimble spirits struggling to burst their prison: you want them dulled and numbed by poison'...Much may be said on both sides, but it is better to adhere to the originals".

But in my view Shake-Speare obviously wrote "prisons up". Though there is no such verb as either "poison up" or "prison up", Shake-Speare coined the latter by analogy with "pent up" - the metre requires "prison", not "pent" in connection with spirits. In a letter to the Duke of Buckingham in 1621 thanking him for procuring Bacon's release from the Tower, Bacon wrote: "Wherein your Lordship, by the grace of God, shall find that my adversity hath neither spent nor pent my spirits". Bacon's theory explains the consequences of the nimble spirits being imprisoned in the arteries - they cannot reach the outward parts, so that they and their owner are not "lively and stirring" (to use Bacon's words already quoted--see (a) in previous post).

Bacon speaks a number of times of spirits being imprisoned or detained. For example, in his Natural History he lists as one of the causes of putrefaction "closeness and stopping which detaineth the spirits in prison more than they would". In his History of Life and Death we find at p. 283 "detains the spirit within"; at p. 286 "the spirit being shut in"; and at p. 287 "all spirit (which like flame is fanned by motion) by being shut up becomes languid and therefore less active...slow in motion". This in essence is what Berowne says. -- If the nimble spirits are prisoned up in the arteries, they become slower in motion like a tired traveller.

In line 325 of the passage we again have Bacon's beloved word "motion". Shake-Speare was probably thinking of the motion of the lover's spirits throughout his body, engaging all his faculties. As to "spirits of the arteries", this part of Berowne's lines accords with an Elizabethan doctrine of which Shake-Speare was evidently aware. Hall's Work of Anatomie (1565) says: "The arterial spirit is more subtle, and pierceth sooner unto the quickening of the members than doth the venal or nutrimental blood". Thus Berowne's line expresses the medical theory (which prevailed before William Harvey) that the arteries were not the conduits of the blood but of the vital spirits.

end of (b) part 3 of 9
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 3 months ago #4467

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 4 of 9

(c) one is never merry when one hears sweet music because it stills (and dulls) the spirits

First, Shake-Speare:

from The Merchant of Venice 5.1.69-70 and 83-6

Jessica: I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
Lorenzo: The reason is, your spirits are attentive.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds
Is fit for treasons, strategems and spoils,
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,

Commentary: The Arden editor, misunderstanding "spirits" in line 70, paraphrases it as "mind, faculties of perception". But Shake-Speare's true meaning is shown by Bacon's Natural History:

"...some noises...help sleep; as the blowing of the wind, the trickling of water, humming of bees, soft singing, reading. The cause is that they move in the spirits a gentle attention and whatsoever moveth attention, without too much labour, stilleth the natural and discursive motion of the spirits."

So Jessica is never merry when she hears sweet music (such as soft singing) because it stills her spirits - if she were merry, they would be "lively and stirring (see (a) above). Shake-Speare had no need to introduce lines 69-70, but he did so to air his theory of spirits. Compare Shake-Speare's "attentive" with Bacon's "attention"; and "the motions of his spirit" in line 86 with Bacon's "the natural and discursive motion of the spirits".

Bacon twice more associates sound or music with "the spirits". In his Natural History he says: "The sense of hearing striketh the spirits more immediately than the other senses...So it is no marvel if they [tunes] alter the spirits, considering that tunes have a predisposition to the motion of the spirits in themselves". In the same work he says: "The objects of the ear do affect the spirits (immediately) most with pleasure and offence". One should add before passing on that "concord of sweet sounds" in line 84 is also a very Baconian expression that was posted earlier.

The above passage from The Merchant of Venice immediately precedes the earlier parallel in which Portia speaks of the greater hiding the less, and silence making sounds sweeter by night. Thus Bacon's thought is dense in this scene.

end of (c) part 4 of 9
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 2 months ago #4479

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 5 of 9

(d) the concept of vital spirits being seized

First, Shake-Speare:

from Romeo and Juliet 4.1.95-97

Quarto 1 says of the drug to be given to Juliet to put her into a sleep which feigns death:

"When presently through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humour which shall seize
Each and vital spirit".



Bacon in his History of Henry VII says of a pestilent fever:

"It seemeth not seated in the veins or humurs...only a malign vapour flew to the heart and seized the vital spirits; which stirred nature to strive to send it forth by an extreme sweat".

Did other writers speak of something "seizing the vital spirits"? (The words "which shall seize each vital spirit" are omitted from the later Quartos and from the First Folio).

end of (d)

(e) inflamed spirits

from Shake-Speare's 2 Henry IV 4.3.92-4

Falstaff: They are generally fools and cowards - which some of us would be
too but for inflammation [i.e. excitement through drink].

Comments: In his Novum Organum Bacon says:

"Some opiates, when taken in moderation, do strengthen the spirits, render them more robust and check the useless and inflammatory motion [i.e. some opiates, if taken in moderation, do not excite unduly]".

The O.E.D. gives the Shake-Speare text as the first and only instance of "inflammation", meaning excitement through drink or drugs. But here Bacon uses "inflammatory" in the same sense. Further, in his History of Life and Death also Bacon three times speaks of the inflammation of the spirits, namely:

"And there is no question that the spirits most absorb and consume the body, so that a larger quantity of them or a greater inflammation and acrimony greatly shortens life".

"Next follows the inquiry for restraining the motions of the spirits, for motion evidently alternates and inflames them. This restraint is effected in three ways; namely by sleep, by avoiding strong labour, too much exercise and all fatigue, and by controlling uneasy affections [passions]".

"The vital spirit has in it a degree of inflammation and is like a breath compounded of flame and air".

A little later in the same speech from 2 Henry IV Falstaff links the vital spirits and the heart, as Bacon does in the Henry VII text above. In line 106 Falstaff says that one benefit of drinking sherry is that

"then the vital commoners, and inland petty spirits, muster me all to their captain, the heart; who great and puffed up with this retinue, doth any deed of courage".

Thus Shake-Speare thinks of the natural science doctrine of vital spirits even when giving Falstaff a joke about drinking sherry.

end of (e)


(f) from Othello 23.273-5

"O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee Devil!"

Bacon in his Natural History wrote:

"Drunken men...reel, they tremble, they cannot stand nor speak strongly. The cause is, for that the spirits of the wine oppress the spirits animal and occupate part of the place where they are".

Here, Bacon, and apparently Shake-Speare, extend the theory of spirits to wine; Bacon being one of those, as we have seen who made the extension to inorganic bodies. And why does Shake-Speare call the spirit of wine "invisible"? Possibly in keeping with Bacon's view that the spirits were "altogether intangible and without weight" (to quote Spedding's summary).

end of (f) and of part 5 of 9
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 2 months ago #4485

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 6 of 9

(g) the swelling of spirits which shortens life

First, Shake-Speare's Timon of Athens 3.5.101-4

The senators banish Alcibiades for ever, and the 1st Senator warns him:

"If after two days shine Athens contain thee,
Attend our weightier judgment.
And not to swell our spirit,
He shall be executed presently".

In other words, he shall be executed at once if he has not left Athens within two days. The Arden editor notes on "not to swell our spirit": "There have been many emendations, most involving the substitution of "your" for "our". The Folio text may be interpreted satisfactorily if it is remembered that the "spirit" was often thought of as the seat of angry feeling (O.E.D.). So [the line means] "without giving further rein to our anger". The full and true meaning is, I think, provided by Bacon texts. For a start, we find Bacon using the terminology of spirits "swelling". In his Natural History he says:

"As for the cold, though it take hold of the tangible parts, yet as to the spirits, it doth rather make them swell than congeal them; as when ice is congealed in a cup, the ice will swell instead of contracting, and sometimes rift".

And in the same work he matches the Timon of Athens line with:

"Anger causeth...in some...swelling".

But why does the 1st Senator say: "And not to swell our spirit"? The reason, I suggest, is that he knew such swelling would damage the Senators' own health. In his History of Life and Death, when dealing with an analogous topic, Bacon wrote:

"We should likewise take care that a body fully nourished and not reduced by any of these spare diets, does not neglect a seasonable use of sexual intercourse, lest the spirits grow too full and soften and destroy the body".

"Lest the spirits grow too full" is of course tantamount to "Lest the spirits swell". And the grave consequence of passions damaging the spirits is emphasized again by another Bacon text. In his De Augmentis he wrote:

"The prolongation of life is to be expected rather from working on the spirits and from the softening of the parts than from the modes of alimentation. The spirits are immediately affected both by vapours and passions which have strange power over them".

In his History of Life and Death he wrote:

"The spirits most absorb and consume the body, so that a larger quantity of them or a greater inflammation and acrimony, greatly shortens life".

It looks then as though what the 1st Senator meant by "not to swell our spirits" was "not to shorten our own lives by prolonging our anger". At least, Shake-Speare had this idea in mind, even if it was above the heads of the Senators and his audience.

end of (g) and of part 6
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 2 months ago #4493

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 7 of 9

(h) indulgence in sex causes expense of spirit

First, Shake-Speare

Sonnet 129:

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action, and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest, to have extreme,
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe,
Before a joy proposed behind a dream.
All this the world well knows yet none knows well,
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

On lines 1-2, compare Bacon's Natural History:

"It hath been observed by the ancients that much use of Venus [sex] doth dim the sight. The cause...is...the expense of spirits".

J.M. Robertson in his The Baconian Heresy (p. 457) gives two other instances of "spend spirits", namely:

"A scholar doth disdain to spend his spirits
Upon such base employment as a hard labour"
Patient Grisil (1599) by Thomas Dekker

"Foolish enamorates who spend their ages, their spirits, nay themselves in the servile and ridiculous employments of their mistresses".
Apology for Actors by Thomas Heywood

The first of these passages is not about lust, and the second is not solely about lust and does not use the exact expression "expense of spirit [or spirits]".

Now on lines 4-7 of the sonnet, compare Bacon's Wisdom of the Ancients where in the chapter on Dionysus or Desire he says of desire of all kinds (in Spedding's translation of the Latin):

"u]Desire[/u never rests satisfied with what it has, but goes on and on, with infinite insatiable appetite, panting after new triumphs. Tigers also are kept in its stalls and yoked to its chariot, for as soon as it ceases to go on foot and comes to ride in its chariot, as in celebration of its victory and triumph over reason, then it is cruel, savage and pitiless.

Surely one hears some echo here of Shake-Speare's cruel, savage, past reason. How likely is it that two authors writing a few lines independently on this subject would both collocate the words italicised?

end of (h)


(i) blood and spirit are quite separate things

From Shake-Speare's Julius Caesar 2.1.166-70

"Let's be sacrificers, but not butchers, Caius.
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar,
And in the spirit of men there is no blood. [Line 168]
O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,
And not dismember Caesar!"

The odd-seeming line 168 is another application of the technical doctrine of spirits. On the theory of Bacon and others the blood and the spirit were quite separate things. We have seen under (b) above that the vital spirits but not the blood were considered to flow through the body's arteries. Bacon's conception of the vital spirits was that they were like "a breath compounded of flame and air", quoted earlier in (e). In a letter to King James of 1621 Bacon distinguished between spirit and blood, referring to Henry VII "whose spirit, as well as his blood, is doubled upon your Majesty".

end of (i) and of part 7
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 2 months ago #4504

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 8 of 9

(j) other word parallels combined with spirits

from Shake-Speare's Measure for Measure 3.1.118-122

[In Claudio's soliloquy on death]
"To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bath in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;"

"Delighted" has always been regarded as a problem. Some editors (such as the Arden editor and the editors of William Shakespeare, A Textual Companion) favor amending to "dilated", meaning "expansive, having full scope". Other editors let "delighted" stand but offer numerous different explanations of the word's meaning in the context. They include "filled with delight", "delightful", "a spirit discharged from the body", "removed from the regions of light" and "relieved from the weight of matter". The following Bacon texts (of which editors seem unaware) are relevant to the word's interpretation:

"Joy causeth cheerfulness and vigour in the eyes, singing, leaping, dancing, and sometimes tears. All these are the effects of dilatation and coming forth of the spirits into the outward parts; which maketh them more lively and stirring".
Natural History

"Swelling is caused, both by a dilatation of the spirits by over-heating and by a liquefaction or boiling of the humours thereupon."
Natural History

In a letter to King James dated 20 October 1620 Bacon sought his aid in setting men to work for the collection of a natural and experimental history. He said to James that it would be:

"An excellent recreation unto you; I say, to that admirable spirit of your that delighteth in light [i.e. in intellectual light].

"The souls of the living are the delight of the world"
The Wisdom of the Ancients

To take the third of these Bacon texts first, the King's spirit delighteth and could therefore have been described as "delighted". And I see no difficulty in supposing that Shake-Speare too regarded the human spirit/soul as an ecstatic thing. However, the first two texts, with their reference to dilatation of the spirits, may seem to support the reading "dilated". But in Bacon's terminology (which accords with normal usage) dilatation means expansion beyond the norm. Claudio is speaking of the human spirit in its normal state before it is consigned by death to harsher regions. So "delighted" is the better reading and no emendation is required. Nor would I be surprised if in his choice of word Shake-Speare, like Bacon, had in mind that the human spirit delights in intellectual light.

Another verbal parallel is as follows:

Richard III 5.3.74 "alacrity of spirit"

Bacon: "alacrity of spirit" [Spedding 9.88]

Love's Labour's Lost 4.2.64-5 "A foolish extravagant spirit"
Hamlet 1.1.159 "[of the ghost of Hamlet's father] "The extravagant and erring spirit"

Bacon: "Such extravagant and strange spirits" [Speech on Love in Conference of Pleasure, p. 11]
"Extravagant and strange spirit" [Essay 58]

"Extravagant" in these texts is from a Latin root and means "staying beyond proper bounds". Did anyone else associate spirits with all three of the above things - "delighted", "alacrity" and "extravagant" - or even perhaps with any of them?

end of (j) and of part 8
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Some Baconian Evidence - Their Theory of "Spirits" 7 years 2 months ago #4509

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The Bacon and Shake-Speare Theory of "spirits"

part 9 of 9

Conclusion:

As said, there are a great many other references in Shake-Speare to "spirit" or "spirits" in the sense of one's inner spirits. Though these others refer less obviously to the technical doctrine of "spirits", the word is introduced in contexts in which it would probably not have been used if Shake-Speare had not had the technical doctrine in mind. For example, in Antony and Cleopatra 3.13.69 a character says to Cleopatra of Caesar: "It would warm his spirits/ To hear from me you had left Antony". If Shake-Speare had not, like Bacon, been so obsessed with "spirits", he might instead have used some such phrase as "It would warm his heart", or "It would cheer his soul".

We have seen Shake-Speare follow Bacon, not only in his obsession with inner spirits, but also in several of the incidents of the theory, namely: (1) the emphasis on the motions of the spirits; (2) joy is caused by the spirits coming into the outward parts, a consequence of which is that, if one's spirits are imprisoned, one will be dulled; (3) one is never merry when one hears sweet music because it stills the spirits and makes them attentive; (4) the concept of vital spirits being seized; (5) anger swells the spirits, which will shorten life; (6) indulgence in sex causes expense of spirit; and (7) blood and spirit are quite separate things.

Three of the parallels - in (b), (g), and (j) above - have helped to explain Shake-Speare texts which have hitherto puzzled editors.

There are also similarities in language - "motions of the spirit", "spirits coming or going forth", "spirits imprisoned", "spirits attentive", "vital spirits seized", "inflammation of spirits", "spirits swell", "expense of spirits", "spirits delighted", "alacrity of spirit", and "spirits extravagant".

Shake-Speare's interest in the spirits theory seems to have gone virtually unrecognised. Yet the parallels listed above in doctrine and in terminology are remarkable, and must be considered conclusive of common authorship unless some other explanation can be found for them. They certainly cannot be explained by mutual borrowing. Bacon's History of Life and Death and his Natural History were not published in Will Shakspere's lifetime. And though some of the Shake-Speare plays were available to Bacon, he would not have constructed his elaborate theory of spirits on disjointed and glancing allusions to it in the works of a contemporary playwright.

The one other possible explanation which does deserve serious consideration is that Bacon and Shake-Speare may have been echoing doctrines and terminology which were already standard in the subject. There was certainly some theory, centered on the "vital spirits" (as they were called), in Elizabethan times. According to Spedding Bacon followed Telesius (Bernadino Telesio, 1509-1588, Italian philosopher and natural scientist whom Bacon commended as "the first of the moderns") in ascribing "all the phenomena of animal life [which includes human life] to the spiritus".

In the English version of Telesio's The First of the Moderns (1932) his doctrine on spirits was that "All animate functions such as memory, desire, sensation and even reasoning and bodily movement are referred to this corporeal spiritus. All these functions, furthermore, are either expansions or contractions"; and "When it is asked why the body does what it is observed to do, the answer is inevitably in terms of physical changes in a corporeal spirit".

But are such answers by Bacon identical with any which may have been given by Telesius (whom Bacon cites several times but never regarding "the spirits")? There must be many matters of detail on which Bacon did not follow Telesius, since the number of different phenomena which Bacon explains in one way or another in terms of the activities of the spirits is so large. One certainly has the impression that Bacon was making the explanations up as he went along (and sometimes one has difficulty in reconciling them). But whatever the degree of correspondence between Bacon and Telesius, the vital question for our purposes is whether the particular parallels which I have listed above in doctrine and terminology are unique to Bacon and Shake-Speare, or derive from Telesius or other writers on the subject. I cannot answer this question but I surmise that some of them are unique. (If anyone knows, he could make a useful contribution to Shake-Speare studies).

Even if none of the parallels was unique, I would find it hard to believe that Will Shakspere would spend leisure - and his own spirits - in the study of Telesius or other writers on these niceties of theoretical natural science. For Bacon on the other hand such matters were a lifelong obsession and fundamental to his concept of nature. I would add that in so far as my own reading of non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama has gone, I have only once come across any reference to "spirits" in the technical sense of Bacon and Shake-Speare, namely in Marlowe's Tamburlaine Part 2, 5.3.93-5

end of part 9 of 9
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