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TOPIC: Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure

Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4852

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This series Shakespeare-Bacon parallels derives from Melsome’s book The Bacon-Shakespeare Anatomy, (1945). The parallels selected are just the ones most easily recognized and don’t really do the comparison justice. Melsome goes into much greater depth showing how Bacon’s philosophy permeates the Shakespeare works.

There is a letter extant from Sir Tobie Mathew to Francis Bacon, the date on which has been erased, acknowledging receipt of some work which is un-named. In this letter Mathew writes:

“I will return you weight for weight but measure for measure.”

Knowing as we do that Bacon frequently submitted his works in manuscript to Mathew before publication Baconians think it’s possible that Bacon had Mathews review this new play.

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(Line numberings in the Shakespeare quotes are only approximate)

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Shake-Speare:
Duke. “Since I am put to know that your own science Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice My strength can give you; then no more remains But that to your sufficiency - as your worth is able - And let them work”.
Meas.,1.1.5
(The Duke speaking to Escalus acknowledges his great knowledge of law, and so passes over any advice on it.)

Bacon:
“Considering that I write to a king that is a master of this Science, and is so well assisted, I think it decent to pass over this part in silence.”
Advancement of Learning, 2.23.48
(Bacon, writing to King James also on the subject of law, passes over a discussion of it after acknowledging the king’s mastery of it.)
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4853

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (2)

Shake-Speare:
Duke: “The nature of our people, Our city's institutions, and the terms for common justice, y'are as pregnant in as art and practice hath enriched any that we remember”.
Meas., 1.1.10
(Here, Escalus is chosen as commissioner because he knows the nature of the people—as Bacon prescribed).


Bacon:
“Unto princes and states, and especially towards wise senates and councils, the natures and dispositions of the people…ought to be…in great part clear and transparent.”
Advancement of Learning, 2.23.48

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Shake-Speare:
Duke: “Thyself and thy belongings are not thine own so proper as to waste thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee”.
Meas.,1.1.30
“Heaven doth with us as we with torches do, not light them for themselves. For if our virtues did not go forth of us, ‘twere all alike as if we had them not”.
Meas., 1.1.33

(The Duke tells Angelo that his virtues should not be wasted, but should serve society.)
See also King John 5.1.45
See also Hamlet, 4.4.36
See also Merchant of Venice, 5.1.90


Bacon:
“The king’s most excellent majesty …hath thought fit not to leave you these talents to be employed upon yourself only, but to call you to serve himself and his people.”
(Life and Letters, Spedding et al., 6. p. 201)

“I do think every man in his particular bound to help the commonwealth the best he may.”
Life and Letters, Spedding et al., 3. P.19

“For what is your virtue if you show it not”?
Life and Letters, 1. P. 333

Also, the above idea is likely derived from the Bible: "Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5.15)
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4854

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (3)

Shake-Speare:
Duke: “Nor Nature never lends the smallest scruple of her excellence but, like a thrifty goddess, she determines herself the glory of a creditor, both thanks and use”.
Meas.,1.1.37


Bacon:
“. . .everything in nature seems not made for itself, but for man”. . .”for all things are made subservient to man, and he receives use and benefit from them all”.
Bacon’s Prometheus

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Shake-Speare:
Duke (a judge) to Angelo (another judge): “Mortality and mercy in Vienna Live in thy tongue and heart”. Meas.1.1.45

Bacon:
Bacon (a judge) addressing the judges in the Star Chamber in 1617, “Do good to the people, love them and give them justice.” Life and Letters, 6.p. 211
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4858

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (4)

Shake-Speare:
Duke: “I love the people, But do not like to stage me to their eyes; Though it do well, I do not relish well their loud applause and aves vehement; Nor do I think the man of safe discretion that does affect it”.
Meas.,1.1.68


Bacon:
“I wish you to take heed of popularity. A popular judge is a deformed thing, and plaudites are fitter for players than for magistrates.”
Life and Letters, 6.p 211

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Shake-Speare:
Escalus to Angelo: “It concerns me to look into the BOTTOM of my PLACE, A power I have, but of what strength and nature I am not yet instructed”.
Meas.,1.1.79

Angelo replying to Escalus: “Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together and we may soon our satisfaction have TOUCHING that point”.
Meas., 1.1.82-95


Bacon:
“. . .he complained to my Lord Chancellor of the troublesomeness of his PLACE;”
Works 7.p.170 (Spedding, et al.)

“Embrace and invite helps and advices TOUCHING the execution of thy PLACE”.
Essay 11 “Of Great Place

Common word usage - BOTTOM.
“the BOTTOM of his danger” Bacon’s History of Henry VII.
“the BOTTOM of your business” Works 7. p.170 (Spedding et al.)

See also Troilus and Cressida 2.2.17
Titus Andronicus 2.3.262
All’s Well That Ends Well 3.7.29
Romeo and Juliet 3.5.198
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4860

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (5)

Shake-Speare:
Claudio: “. . .all the enrolled penalties which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by th' wall so long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round and none of them been worn;” . . . “Now puts the drowsy and neglected act freshly on me.”
Meas., 1.2.158-174

Bacon:
“Obsolete laws that are grown into disuse.” De Augmentis 7.3.57
“There are a number of ensnaring penal laws, which lie upon the subject; and if in bad times they should be awaked and put in execution, would grind them to powder.”
Life and Letters, 6. P.65

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Shake-Speare:
Claudio: Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?”
Provost: “I do it not in evil disposition, But from Lord Angelo by special charge”.
Meas., 1.2.120
(Claudio is shamed and scandalized above and beyond the penalty of death.)

Bacon:
“And let there be, besides penalty, a note of infamy or punishment by way of admonishing others, and chastising delinquents, as it were, by putting them to the blush with shame and scandal”.
Aphorism 40
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4861

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (6)

Shake-Speare:
Duke: I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,. . . My absolute power and place here in Vienna.
Meas.,1.3.11

Bacon:
“. . .good thoughts are little better than good dreams except they be put in act, and that cannot be without power and place”.
Essay “Of Great Place”

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Shake-Speare:
Duke to Friar: “We have strict statutes and most biting laws, The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds, which for this fourteen years we have let slip (sleep)”;
Meas., 1.3.19
(modern editions keep ‘slip’ which we think is wrong and should be ‘sleep’, not just because Bacon also mentioned sleeping laws, but because of previous references to laws in the play as “drowsy and neglected” and as having “hung by th’ wall so long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round and none of them been worn”).

Bacon:
“Nevertheless I would not have you headstrong, but heartstrong.”
Life and Letters, 7. P. 104
(The Duke will be testing to see whether Mercy seasons Justice. He’s also curious to see if power will change Angelo’s natural disposition.)

“Therefore let penal laws, if they have been sleepers of long, or if they be grown unfit for the present time, be by wise judges confined . . .”
Essay “Of Judicature”
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4864

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (7)

Bacon and Shake-Speare comments on neglected laws.

Shake-Speare:
Duke: “As fond fathers having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch, only to stick it in their children's sight for terror, not to use, in time the rod becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees, dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;”
Meas., 1.3.23


Bacon:
“…judges …especially in cases of laws penal, ought to have a care that that which was meant for terror be not turned into rigour”. (They should not be kept “like scarecrows” merely to intimidate.)
Essay Of Judicature

“Obsolete laws that are grown into disuse”. De Augmentis, 8.3.57

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Shake-Speare:
“In time the rod becomes more mock’d than feared”. Meas., 1.3.26

“Liberty plucks justice by the nose.” Meas., 1.3.29

”The birds of prey make the scarecrow law their perch, and not their terror”. Meas., 2.1.2

“The strong statutes stand, like the forfeits in a barber’s shop, as much in mock as mark”. Meas., 5.1.322

“The baby beats the nurse and quite athwart goes all decorum”. Meas., 1.3.30

“The service of the foot being once gangrened, is not then respected for what before it was". Coriolanus, 3.1.305

Bacon:
Obsolete laws, if not cut away from the general body of the law “ . . .bring a gangrene, neglect and habit of disobedience upon other wholesome laws”, and cause them to “lose part of their authority”, and “the lessening of authority in what degree soever must needs increase disobedience”.
Life and Letters, 3. P. 380

“ . . . above all things a gangrene of the law is to be avoided,” De Augmentis, 8, 3, 57

“Their principal working was upon penal laws, wherein they spared none great or small; nor considered whether the law were possible or impossible, in use or obsolete; but raked over all old and new statutes; though many of them were made with intention rather of terror than of rigour”
Works, 6. P. 219 (Spedding et al.)
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4866

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (8)

Shake-Speare:
Duke: “ . . ;for we bid this be done, when evil deeds have their permissive pass and not the punishment”.
Meas., 1.3.37

“Tis necessary he should die;” for “Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.”
Timon of Athens, 3.5.2

Bacon:
“He who shows mercy to his enemy denies it to himself”.
De Augmentis, 6.3. Antitheta


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Shake-Speare:
Lucio: “He (Angelo) hath pick’d out an act under whose heavy sense your brother’s life fall into forfeit”.
Meas., 1.4.64

Angelo: “Your brother is a forfeit of the law”. Meas., 2.2.100

Angelo: “It is the law not I condemns your brother”. Meas., 2.2.112

Isabel: “My brother had but justice In that he did the thing for which he died”. Meas., 5.1.453

(Why does Angelo make the above statements to Isabel? Surely to show her that his judgment was contained within the compass of the law.)


Bacon:
“Nor should a man lose his life without first knowing that he had forfeited it”.
Aphorism 39

Aphorism 46: “As that law is the best which leaves least to the discretion of the judge, so is that judge the best who leaves least to himself”. (De Augmentis, 8.3. and Aristotle, Rhet. I. I.)

Bacon: “The judge as long as his judgment was contained within the compass of the law was excused; the subject knew by what law he was to govern himself, and his actions; nothing was left to the judge’s discretion".
Life and Letters, 3. p. 331-2
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4871

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (9)

Shake-Speare:
Angelo: “We must not make a scarecrow of the law,. .. .”
Meas., 2.1.1


Bacon:
“As posteriores leges priores abrogant, so new judgements avoid the former. The records reverent things, but like scarecrows.”
(Life and Letters, 4. P. 200)


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Shake-Speare:
Isabella: “I have a brother is condemned to die: I do beseech you, let it be his fault and not my brother.
Angelo: “Condemn the fault and not the actor of it”!
Meas 2.2.34-37


Bacon:
“…and to cast a severe eye upon the example, but a merciful eye upon the person”.
(Bacon Essay OF JUDICATURE)

“Such is our inclination to clemency and moderation as we are willing rather to correct the fault than to deal with the persons whom it may concern”.
(Life and Letters 3. P. 387)

“…because the example is more than the man.”
(Life and Letters, 5.p.160)
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Some Baconian Evidence - Measure for Measure 6 years 9 months ago #4872

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Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (10)

Shake-Speare:
“Some (are) condemned for a fault alone”.
Meas., 2.1.40


Bacon:
“. . . in men of eminent virtue, their smallest faults (or defects) are readily seen, talked of, and severely censured, which in ordinary men would be either entirely unnoticed or readily excused”.
Bacon on Ecclesiastes X.I.

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Shake-Speare:
Isabella: “O just but severe law”!
Meas., 2.2.41


Bacon:
“There are some laws fit to be retained but their penalty too great.”
(Life and Letters, 6. p.65)

“And it is ever a rule that any over-great penalty (besides the acerbity of it) deads the execution of the law”.
(Life and Letters, 6, p. 65)
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