Why Bacon, Oxford and Other's Weren't Shakespeare:
Note: This Essay IS BEING written explicitly for the Calvin and Rose Hoffman Prize for 2005 and appears here as proof of that entry. I have urged the King's School to make all Hoffman essays available on the internet, but they have repeatedly refused to do so.
Ok, let's keep this simple. Not just anyone could have been Shakespeare. To have been Shakespeare one had to possess what might be called a "cluster" of certain very precise qualifications. Which, ultimately, is why Shakespeare couldn't have been Shakespeare.
There was, in all of England, only one person who, in 1593, had all the qualifications to have become Shakespeare. Fifteen-ninety-three was the year Shakespeare first appeared in print and the same year Christopher Marlowe, who was, co-incidentally, exactly the actor's age, supposedly died.
Marlowe possessed the every bona fide or prerequisite required to have become Shakespeare and was, thus, one of the very few men, if not the only one, who might have become the writer, had "the branch growth straight and tall." The more t known of Marlowe's work and his life, the more certain this is.
He was, according Gabriel Harvey, who knew these things firsthand, the "highest mind" to have "haunted" Paul's Churchyard, the famous bookseller's market in London, which included books from Aristotle to Xenophon. From Galileo to Montaigne.
He had invented the diplomatic docudrama format and introduced true tragedy to the language. He was a translator of unrivaled powers, as gifted in Latin as he was in Greek. He had served, it has recently been proven, for "a space of three years and a half" as "reader" and "attendant" to Lady Arbella Stuart, then Elizabeth I.'s most likely successor. If things had been different, he would certainly have equaled Shakespeare in drama and surpassed him in the areas of translations, histories, political, philosophic and religious essays and epic poems.
Indeed Marlowe's verse form was so lovely and uniquely his, that as Swinburne once noted, had all of Marlowe's works passed into oblivion, with the single exception of his lovely six stanza, "Come and be with me..." paean, Marlowe would have earned a primary place among men of English letters forever.
If we were running a talent search, in Elizabethan England, as Theseus' master of revels, Philostrate, resorted to in Midsummer Night's Dream, ostensively set in Athens, but actually in Scotland, as Harrison and others have noted, we'd need to post an advertisement or announcement, as Philostrate did, asking for specific types of entertainments, for plays, poems and masques, as they were called, for the forthcoming revelries, the assumption being, anyone who could produce a winner commanded the required competence.
Shakespeare's works prove he possessed the requisite credentials of a world class writer, unlike Bottom's, now famous, producer, Quince. These qualifications were by no means ordinary. Indeed in his particular case, since he rarely wrote simple fiction, where good imagination will carry the day, these qualifications were extraordinary. Quince did the best he could, just as the players and Hamlet did in transforming Gonzago into the Mousetrap. But no one is likely to have mistaken either for Shakespeare's works.
Quince struggled with this troop and materials, but he was not "the Muses' darling," no morning shown in his eyes or sang in his quatrains. He was, when all things were said and done, just a simple carpenter and Bottom's friend. The author, who filled Bottom's speeches with life-threatening heresies, as Howard Bloom has pointed out, cannot have felt all that chummy with poor Bottom. Though one must allow the gifting him with a donkey's privates and pairing him with Trina, Queen of the Fairies, can be viewed as a friendly gesture amongst men.
Shakespeare's first published work was the matchless and quite mature, Venus and Adonis. In its advertisement the author boasted it as the "first heir of [his] invention," a curious phrase, the meaning of which has never been completely deciphered. It was published just a few weeks after Marlowe's final embarrassment or debacle and was dedicated to Southampton. Young Southampton, or Henry Wriothesley, had overlapped at Cambridge with Marlowe, but has never been proven to have known the actor.
The underlying locale of Venus and Adonis proves Kentish, Marlowe's home of record. It deals, albeit obliquely, with Mary Sidney Hebert, who Marlowe knew and had dedicated amorous Latin love poems to, which he attributed to Thomas Watson, just the year before (1592). Watson and Marlowe were friends and Sonnet 76 contains a clever acrostic to Watson, identifying him as the poet's mentor and inspiration. Not surprisingly it has been overlooked or ignored by Stratfordians for four centuries. Since it is of considerable importance to our narrative I include it here:
Why is my verse so barren of new pride?
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost fell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the Sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.
"Fell," which meant "hide" or the outside of an animal, is used here as a verb for the first time in the English language but had been emendated out of existence by Stratfordians to "tell," despite the fact Shakespeare uses the word, as a noun, in both Macbeth and King Lear. The "sound value" of "And" is, of course, "N" which completes the acrostic and since it is legal according to Faustus to read these things "forward and backwards" the third line's opening letter should, I suppose be counted also. That way we have two TWs, which may have been part of this conceit. For a fuller treatment see this essay: link.
The Ovidian Venus and Adonis, still one of the most remarkable poems in the English language, remains positive proof the Author had mastered the classics and English to a level not exceeded by any of his period and matched only by a few, one of whom was Marlowe. Importantly everything that is implicit in Shakespeare's educational background or command of the classics is explicit in Marlowe's, since Marlowe proves a Cambridge bred scholar.
Marlowe's Hero and Leander is obviously a "sequel" to Venus and Adonis in the sense it came after Venus and Adonis and builds upon it. The author makes certain we know this by reminding us of Venus and Adonis in the opening lines of Hero and Leander. The sequential order of the two poems is revealed by the notice only the second poem, Hero and Leander, alludes to the former. This would be perfectly normal if there was one author, but is difficult to explain if there prove two. This proposition must assume they had shared their manuscripts with one another, as Rowse imagined. However Venus evidences no knowledge of Hero, while Hero alludes throughout to Venus. What is even more difficult to fathom is the fact Marlowe allegedly died before Venus and Adonis was published, so, technically speaking, Marlowe cannot have known of the poem, a fact almost universally ignored by scholars.
Given the underlying Kentish locale of the poems, both which are set amongst the downs, brakes and coastal features of Kent, with Hero's "tower" being modeled, Bakeless pointed out decades ago, on the old Roman light house at Dover, facing France at the narrowest point of the channel, only Marlowe can have been their author. This is particularly so when we note the oblique patterning in Venus on Mary Sidney Herbert, who was also Kentish, the dedications to Southampton, who Shakespeare cannot have known, but whom Marlowe overlapped with at Cambridge, and this underlying classical content, which, of the two, only Marlowe was an established master.
The case becomes even more overwhelming when we notice Venus and Adonis entered on the 13th birthday of William Herbert, Mary's first born son, who Venus pledges as the poet's future patron:
|Venus salutes him with this fair good morrow:
"Oh thou clear god, and patron of all light,
From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow
The beauteous influence that makes him bright,
There lives a son that sucked an earthly mother,
May lend thee light, as thou dost lend to other."
William Herbert is revealed as the poet's illicit son in the Sonnets, which were dedicated to him by means of his initials, "Mr. W. H." The First Folio is, of course, addressed to him by name or, to be more accurate, by his title, "William, the Earl of Pembroke." Nearly all authorities agree the poetic impulse of the sonnets pushes the composition for most of the poems back to the c. 1594/5 period. Or a period when young William Herbert was being urged, unsuccessfully, to wed, which is the theme of the first 17 sonnets. This fact, along with his initials, convinced both Boas and Chambers that Herbert, and not Southampton or another, was the poet's "sweet boy." A horde of scholars have stumbled through this process, unsuccessfully, suggesting various others, including the groom Willy Hughes. One ingenious theory supposes that the phrase "only begetter of these ensuing sonnets" implied someone who procured them for press for Thorpe. However that theory first died when Chambers pointed out there was "an identity between the person Thorpe wished eternity to and the person to whom the poet pledged that eternity." Or words to that effect. Chambers, who long favored Southampton, reversed himself late in life when evidence for Herbert's early (1594) match surfaced. No groom can have been the poet's estranged "sun," since the poet makes it perfectly clear that the boy outranks his father and was thus a member of the peerage. Hence these observations
Let me confess that we two must be twain,
Although our undivided loves are one:
So shall those blots that do with me remain,
Without thy help, by me be borne alone.
In our two loves there is but one respect,
Though in our lives a separable spite,
Which though it alter not love's sole effect,
Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love's delight.
I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
Nor thou with public kindness honor me,
Unless thou take that honor from thy name.
But do not so, I love thee in such sort,
As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by Fortune's dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth.
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in (thy) parts do crowned sit,
I make my love ingrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despised,
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give,
That I in thy abundance am sufficed,
And by a part of all thy glory live.
Look what is best, that best I wish in thee:
This wish I have, then ten times happy me!
Just to make this illicit relationship as clear as he dared he left us this sonnet too:
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my Sun one early morn did shine
With all-triumphant splendor on my brow,
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath masked him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth:
Suns of the world may stain, when heaven's sun staineth.
For those who have fathered an illicit son, the affliction is, one must suppose, best held as a "lameness" "made...by Fortune's dearest spite."
Hebert was born on 8/18 April 1580, the year young Marlowe matriculated at Cambridge. Elizabethans were straddled with two dates, one Old Style, one New Style, hence the necessity of this "double entry." The 8th of April in England was actually the 18th of April in France, just a hard swim away. Everyone born in England, on the one day thought, to themselves of the other, particularly literate peers who were as French as they were English. Even Thomas Jefferson obligated himself to have the dates on his tombstone read "O. S.," since he lived during the period the English finally converted to the the "N.S." Benjamin Woolley, author of The Queen's Conjurer, The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Adviser to Queen Elizabeth I., obverses about this important problem, "as a result of the decision , England remained outside the Gregorian system for a further 170 years, communications during that period customarily carrying two dates." (173) Indeed the dispatch from William Vaughan, sent from Pisa, to the Privy Council warming a Cambridge scholar calling himself "Christopher Marlowe" was planning to return to England, carried two dates, "July 4/14.1602", as Hotson first noted in his study, The Death of Christopher Marlowe. Yes, that was nine years after Marlowe supposedly died and we'll have more to say about this later.
Mary's connection to Venus is seem in her fondness for horses and her perversion regarding their mating habits, as first noted by Aubrey, an introversion which is shared by Venus, along with her physical description, as a golden haired equestrian, with the author even naming the breed of Mary's mount, a Jennet, correctly, makes the connection exclusive:
|Sometime he trots, as if he told the steps,
With gentle majesty and modest pride;
Anon he rears upright, curvets, and leaps,
As who should say, "lo thus my strength is tried;
And this I do to captivate the eye
Of the fair breeder that is standing by."
Mary's hair, we know both from period portraits and from Aubrey's account, was a lovely golden red:
|He burns with bashful shame, she with her tears
Doth quench the maiden burning of his cheeks;
Then with her windy sighs and golden hairs
To fan and blow them dry again she seeks.
He saith she is immodest, blames her miss;
What follows more, she murders with a kiss.
Mary was several years Marlowe's senior, so in 1579 the year of her conception, Marlowe was, like Adonis, just 15 and still unversed in these matters,
|"Fair Queen," quoth he, "if any love you owe
Measure my strangeness with my unripe years;
Before I know myself, seek not to know me,
No fisher but the ungrown fry forbears;
The mellow plum doth fall, the green sticks fast,
Or being early plucked, is sour to taste.
Since the first and last works of Shakespeare enter on this date, over a forty year span, we are entitled to suppose a deliberate connection, particularly so when we notice Marlowe's last known play, the lost Maiden's Holiday, also entered on this date in 1654, connecting the two over a period of 60 years. Or within the lifetime of a poet who was 29 when the cycle began. Two of Marlowe's sisters, both of whom were childbearing during Elizabeth's reign, lived nearly as long, attesting to a rugged longevity in Marlowe's immediate family. Shakespeare's last appearing work was Two Noble Kinsmen, which surfaced on the 8/18 April 1634.
Inexplicitly for Stratfordians, Oxfordians, Baconians and for those who suppose "W.H." was really Southampton, who initials are, as we have seen, the reverse of these, the poet fondly recalls the boy's mother and "the lovely April" of her spring,
|Thou art thy mother's glass,
and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime, 
Needless to say, the poet must have know the boy's mother during her prime, which limits the candidates considerably.
Marlowe and Mary can be placed, with considerable biographic confidence, in Canterbury, then a small community of three or four thousand souls, according to Urry, at the time of her conception, i.e., during the summer of 1579. Her brother made an unexpected, but well recorded visit to the King's School that year, the year Marlowe entered, several years older than the average young scholar. No one knows where young Marlowe received his initial grooming, but this appearance by Sidney suggest that Marlowe may have been his page, as do several other factors. The first of which is Sidney's presence in Paris for the St. Bartholomew Massacre, about which Marlowe will write as if he had witnessed it and the fact that Marlowe's plays dog Sidney's travels.
Returning to Mary's conception of William Herbert, it is a well established fact that her husband, Henry Herbert, then the second Earl of Pembroke, was a generation older than Mary and had been childless through two marriages and many affairs. So Mary's fecundity, particularly several years into her marriage, requires note. John Aubrey, Mary's first biographer, attributed it to incest with her brother, Sir Philip, but we would rather it have been with the poet, who was, we suspect, his page. Nashe signals this when he dubs him "chieftain of Pages" at Wilton House, Mary's primary residence.
In any case once one has seen that the poet's relationship to his "sweet boy" is that of an estranged father to his illicit son, all the lingering puzzles and nuances of these sonnets vanish, including their shared love for the boy's mother. A love which is inexplicable if the boy was the poet's homosexual lover. Just as it is difficult to explain why his older hypothetical lover would be urging him to marry and procreate.
Given these "background" qualifications we can easily see why neither Oxford or Bacon can have been the poet. Not only did neither interact with Mary during the Spring of her years, both were members of the peerage. Which means neither would have been outranked by their illicit son, as the sonnets assure us the poet was. So early on we have the strongest possible signal Christopher Marlowe was the poet, and thus, if the poet was also the playwright, then Shakespeare as well.
The case could be closed by a DNA analysis of the bones of Henry and William Herbert, who are buried side by side at Penshurst. Or at least greatly strengthened. If they don't match we know Sir Henry, who the Poet dubbed "the regional cloud," wasn't his de facto father, only his de jure father. To prove Marlowe his natural father would require a match with Marlowe DNA materials, possible since his sister's descendants are still among us, though much "diluted." A closer and more direct match would be to prove that William Herbert and Prince Henry were half-brothers, since there is circumstantial evidence hinting Marlowe was Henry's father also.
That evidence is as follows. James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, had been without heir for several years, though married Anne of Denmark, who like Mary Sidney, would eventually prove herself very fertile. Scholars now have ample reason as to why, since James appears to have been a homosexual, from childhood. In any case, it was necessary for James to have an heir and the English foreign service knew this, as did its Scottish counterparts. The Cecils had positioned a minor English poet close to James, one John Locke, who found considerable favor with Anne, James' Queen and to a lesser degree with James VI. During 1593, or at the time of Anne's conception of Prince Henry, Locke made several trips back and forth to Scotland, at just the time Marlowe, a better match for James, was being groomed, by the Cecils, to take Lock's place. Diplomatic materials about James are cleverly woven into Marlowe's Edward II, proving he was privy to this then classified information and confirming Kyd's remark that he was planning to "be with the King of Scots."
Since these materials find their way into Midsummer's Night Dream and Hamlet, along with what seem to be more personal recollections of Scotland, it is certainly possible the author was in Scotland and in the circle of James and Anne in time to do the deed. Indeed A. D. Wraight notes her study, Shakespeare: The New Evidence, has established that an agent of Bacon's, who was perhaps working also for Cecil, the mysterious M. Louis Le Doux, who Wraight has supposed for good reasons to have been Marlowe, had in his possession a diplomatic file entitled, "my secret memories of Scotland," in 1595. If so, it would explain why Henry IV suggests that Prince Henry was Sir John Falstaff's illicit son. And this, in turn, suggests why Shakespeare stopped writing in 1612 when Prince Henry died, perhaps on the orders of James I.
It is true the case is circumstantial, but somewhat compelling. Since Prince Henry's remains and James' are also side by side, a similar DNA analysis would confirm or disallow their relationship, a relationship which, by the way, was certainly not apparent visually or intellectually, since Prince Henry overshadowed this father in nearly every aspect. We are hardly the first to suppose James played a part in Henry's death. His Queen thought so as well. Indeed James was quoted, not long before the fact, "will he burry me alive?" after observing the Prince's courtiers fawning over the handsome Prince in Court, as Scott notes. Since a study of his remains would also clarify the cause of his death, as well as establishing Henry's parentage, it seems doubly warranted. If we are right, James must have known these circumstances and this, in turn, would help historians and biographers understand why he might have had a hand in Henry's death, as Anne and Cooke suspected. One well understands, of course, why both the Herbert and the Stuart descendants, might not be particularly anxious to allow these studies, but similar ones, conducted in the United States, did establish that Thomas Jefferson fathered children among his slaves, an equally embarrassing chapter of Western history. The upside is that if our hunches prove wrong, these whispers can forever be set aside.
Returning to our narrative and our suggestion of a Marlowe/Southampton connection at Cambridge, where the two overlapped, suspicion has it Marlowe, who worked for Lord Burghley, who was Master of Wards, and thus in charge of Southampton's education, must have met Southampton at Cambridge and was, for a time, Southampton's still unidentified tutor or mentor. Southampton received his MA on 6 June1589, "by special grace." He was still just fifteen years old and would not turn 16 until the 6th of October 1589. So Marlowe could have met him as early as 1585, as Rowse, himself, seems to suggest. (Southampton, 49) Southampton was then just 12, or "three or four years under the average age for admission." (Ibid.) Southampton left Cambridge about the time Marlowe left it, being "admitted a member of Gray's Inn," on 29 February 1588, evidently a leap year. Marlowe, the record proves he received his MA during the summer of 1587 or just six months prior to Southampton's admission to Grey's Inn, which would have put him in a perfect position to tutor the young and handsome earl.
Given the Earl's age, his future lack of scholarly habits, and the fact he was at Cambridge slightly less than three years, we cannot suppose he profited much from this exposure, despite his degree by "special grace." Like many of these peers, his command of scholarly and legal matters were buttressed by a covey of personal secretaries and tutors. Indeed over a decade later, when Southampton found himself immured in the Essex Rebellion, this youth and lack of judgment, was cited in his defense, even though he was, by 1601, pushing thirty. The Queen, who must have known of his problems and/or personal challenges, personally, graciously communed his sentence of death to life in the Tower. Released by James I, he played role in Jacobean affairs until his death on the 10th of November 1624, likely from plague, contracted at Rosendaal. His son preceding him. (Southampton succumbed at Bergen-op-Zoom, in an effort to bring his son's body home.) This was the year after the appearance of the First Folio, dedicated as we have noted to Pembroke, frequently his rival with James. Scholarly studies of Southampton's life, which have illuminated it in considerable detail, have not cast any light on a possible Shakespeare/Southampton connection. Rumors he supported the actor/writer, remain just that.
Rowse suggests optimistically, we think, that their letters (though not Southampton's lesser papers and records) were, somehow, "lost." What the record shows are back to back dedications to Southampton 30 years prior to the appearance of the First Folio and no mention of him afterwards. There is, however, a suggestion of a link c. 1600, prior to his fiasco with Essex, when a string of anonymous dedications were linked to his name, as well as to Pembroke's and Walsingham's, by Blount, Marlowe's publisher of record and, later, the man who turned up with the 20 manuscripts said Shakespeare's used in the First Folio. Manuscripts which were then the only source for two thirds of the works attributed to Shakespeare in that marvelous undertaking. Since Blount assured his dedicatees the translator was alive, well, and seeking to do them good service, but forced to remain anonymous, and since during this same time Blount showed up with Marlowe's manuscript of Hero and Leander, a Blount/Marlowe/Southampton/ Pembroke/ Walsingham connection seems reasonable.
Don Quixote, which Blount also published in two parts, also bears closer scrutiny. (1605/ 1612) Like these others translations Blount dedicated to these three (DQ went to Pembroke) its translator has proven illusive. The initials read "T. S." which were later attributed to a "Thomas Shelton." However no person of this name and background has been traced, so scholars freely acknowledge the name was a nom de plume. All authorities are in agreement the translator's command of both Spanish and English was easily on par with masters of the period, and in all likelihood, in excess. "Shelton" tells us the translation was a "thing" which sprang from him in "40 days" to be "tossed into a corner" and forgotten about. Modern considerations of the parallel texts, Cervantes' and Shelton's, prove Shelton's is more correctly seen as an independent English version of this story than a translation.
Marlovian scholars have pointed out that the pseudonym, "Thomas Shelton" is comprised of the names of Marlowe's patrons, Sir Thomas Walsingham and his wife, Lady Audrey Shelton. And of even greater interest is the well established fact that a Cambridge MA, calling himself "Christopher Marlowe" proves at Valladolid, in Spain, while Cervantes was there working on Don Quixote. According to Professor Leslie Hotson, this chap surfaced at Valladolid on the 20/30 May 1599 or six years to the day from Marlowe's troubles in London. (TDCM) Indeed the record proves this man returned to England and was pardoned in 1604 by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard Bancroft, who also overlapped with Marlowe at Cambridge, in his case as a Don.
Given the conjunction at Valladolid of "Thomas Shelton," Cervantes and "Christopher Marlowe" and the subsequent appearance of Blount's version of this popular novel, our interest here seems warranted. According to the Pardon Rolls, Marlowe, who used the seminary name "John Mathew," was pardoned in Canterbury. The Gatehouse Prison record, however, reads, "Christopher Marlowe, alias John Mathew" along with a sizable amount for his meals and washing, evidently sent along to Cecil. If I had to bet money which record was right, I lay odds on the Gatehouse Prison record, for the simple fact that "John Mathew" or "Matthew" is a rather obvious seminary alias, taken from the Gospels. What is so peculiar about all this is that there was another Christopher Marlowe at Cambridge, who Hotson and others have confused with the man at Valladolid. However that "other Marlowe" was at Trinity College and died there in 1596, too early to have been the scholar at Valladolid, as I proved in 1998. His will is on record at this college and it was witnessed, believe it or not, by Hugh Holland, the same man who reportedly gave a dedicatory epistle to the First Folio.
The suggestion is that the poet Marlowe assumed this other Marlowe'sidentity in 1599, not knowing the Trinity scholar had died in 1596. If he was the poet, he was described as having been "very short of stature," which may explain why many of the figures in these works were described as "tall." While it would have simplified matters for the poet to feign to have been the Trinity scholar, it does not seem likely that another would have used this name, soiled as it was, as an alias or nom de guerre (a name of war). We have, of course, no DNA evidence. The use of the name may have been coincidental. Against coincidence are the dates of his appearance at Valladolid, the death of the Trinity Marlowe, the Gatehouse prison record, giving his name as "Christopher Marlowe" and his "alias" as "John Mathew." This along with sending the accounting for his billet to Cecil, the fact the Pardon Rolls give his community as Canterbury, and the overlap at Valladolid between "Marlowe" and Cervantes. Which, as we have seen, ties in nicely with the subsequent appearance of Don Quixote bearing the nom de plume of "Thomas Shelton," a name comprised of Marlowe's patrons' names. Indeed, if we are allowed to reach further afield, we must recall young Marlowe seems to have gone to Rheims, the French/Catholic seminary, and that Shakespeare confesses (in the Sonnets) to have been cloistered. (110) Added to this, of course, is the fact that Shakespeare is believed t have written a play on an interlude from Don Quixote, i.e., Cardenio, now thought to be the so called "The Second Maiden's Tragedy." (Hamilton/Baker) All in all, no circumstantial case can be more conclusive.
Southampton's birthday is several times memorialized by the registrations of these works. It was, for example, remembered decades later by the registration of Othello, in 1622, or six years after the actor died; who was still tracking this important day? In 1592 Southampton's nineteenth birthday was marked by the registration of Spanish Tragedy, which contrived to allude to it in line, "he had not seen the back of nineteen year." (III.xii,35) The authorship of ST has been contested. Several decades later "Heywood" attributed it to "Master Kyd," but stylometric analysis suggest it Marlowe's. Could "Kyd" have been a misprint for "Kyt?" A year earlier "Lodge's" Rosalyn entered on Southampton's birthday. While Rowse writes "the Earl continued to keep his terms at Cambridge," he was, in fact, in London at Grey's Inn and a frequent member of Burghley's own household which Rowse calls "a school of virtue, whose inmates turned out somewhat otherwise than intended." (Southampton, 53) Surely young Marlowe, bristling with intelligence and degrees, must have been safely ensconced within that enchanted circle.
The reason for this inference is straightforward. For some particular reason Lord Burghley, not Sir Francis Walsingham, as often supposed, had intervened at Cambridge in July 1587 demanding, as a member of the Privy Council and alluding to the Queen's personal displeasure, that the Dons issue Marlowe's MA. Since the entail or conciliar attests to Marlowe's work on covert diplomatic matters for the Queen, it is obvious, on the face of the entail, that the Privy Council was "blowing," as we Yanks say, Marlowe's cover. This implies young Marlowe was being moved up in the diplomatic corps, "up" to where his degree would be required.
Remarkable new discoveries show Marlowe was following the path of his fellow Canterburian, Nicholas Faunt. Faunt had taken his MA in 1579, also from Corpus Christi, Marlowe's college. Faunt was, like Marlowe, a Parker Scholarship recipient. Faunt had begun working in the diplomatic corps whilst still enrolled in the King's School. He witnessed, for example, the St. Bartholomew Massacre in Paris during the summer of 1572. If fact, young Faunt carried Sir Francis Walsingham's diplomatic message back to Elizabeth I., safely tucked inside his head. Marlowe, we know, later wrote about it as if he'd witnessed it in his play, The Massacre at Paris, so he may have been with Faunt, even then.
If so he was also with young Sir Thomas Walsingham and, as the record proves, young Sir Philip Sidney and Frances Walsingham, Sir Francis' younger daughter, to later married Sidney and then Essex. Faunt would enter Cambridge a year later (1573) and would take his MA just as Marlowe was matriculating to Corpus Christi to replace him.
Faunt promptly went to work for Sir Francis Walsingham in the capacity of an "under secretary," as Nicholl noted, and thus commenced a well documented carrier in the Foreign Service, most, but by no means all of it, in England. Faunt worked for Walsingham until his death on 9 April 1590, when he then went to work for Lord Burghley, as control of the "Secret Service" shifted to the Cecils. After that Faunt worked for the Bacon brothers, who were Burghley's nephews. So their interactions were, always, both political and personal.
A point of interest to our narrative concerns Walsingham's private papers, which vanished on the night of his death in 1590. Oddly Faunt will eventually publish a diplomatic manual on Europe (Tanner, Constitutional Documents of England) which seems to base on them. Prior to this, however, Sir Edmund Tyllney, Elizabeth's Master of Revels and Censor of Plays, prepared a remarkable thousand page Manual predicated on these same papers, which he planned to dedicate to James I in 1603. However something unexpected happened and the mysterious Sir Lewis Lewknor appeared, more or less out of the blue, to be appointed as James' Master of Ceremonies, the position to which Tyllney had aspired. When this happened, Tyllney quietly withdrew his Manual, which was never published. My colleague, Professor William Streitberger, brought out an outline or "Descriptive Index" of the Manual in 1986 for AMS Press. He invited me to Edit one or two of the planned volumes, but lost interest in this scholarly undertaking, after I pointed out Faunt had published a version of the Manual that might be called a précis, so we have never completed this chore. My suspicion is that Tyllney did not have title to the papers upon which the Manual depended, whereas Lewknor and Faunt did, so Tyllney wisely retired and suppressed the Manual after Lewknor's appointment. After Tyllney's death, Faunt published. The Lewknors, it will be remembered were family friends of the Marlowes, there being a family of them even in the same small village where Marlowe's father originated, now part of Faversham. Another one of these lads was in the King School with Marlowe. And yet another played a roll in arranging Lord Strange's downfall in the summer of 1593, acting Nicholl says as "a Cecil projector." Nicholl fails to index this agent in his study, The Reckoning, but the episode appears during his elaboration of the so called "Hesketh plot of 1593." (246-9) This Lewknor called himself "Samuel." Readers of Shakespeare's plays should be familiar with the plot, since it resurfaces in Hamlet. The mechanism involved the switching of diplomatic papers in poor Hesketh's pouch, which caused his death upon his return to England, or precisely the fate of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz. These machinations may easily be viewed as revenge for Marlowe's problems of that spring, since Kyd implies that Strange was behind Marlowe's troubles. Sir Robert Sidney, then governor of the Low Countries, had reported Marlowe "the scholar," to have been well connected to Lords Strange and Northumberland early in 1592, so this relationship or interaction between Marlowe and Lord Strange, Sir William Stanley, seems certain. The luckless Haskins was hanged and quartered (still alive) at St Albans on the 29th of November 1593. Strange died of poison, at Cecil's order, the record suggests, not long afterwards. Nicholl writes:
|[Kyd] implies, and perhaps really believed, that Marlowe's [alleged] atheism was the reason for Strange's dislike of him. I suspect it was also, indeed primarily, Strange's knowledge of Marlowe 'conditions' as a government projector [for the Cecils] that caused his tension between the play-maker and his patron [i.e., Lord Strange]. (249)|
Let's just file this information away for now, under the heading that those who caused Marlowe and the Cecils trouble in the spring of 1593 paid for it with their lives. This included the peer, Lord Strange, or Sir William Stanley. This was indeed a lesson of Elizabethan realpolitik. One those who would understand these distant events and the later publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare, must grasp thoroughly. The stakes were high. Men gambled their lives on them and frequently lost. The prize was dynastic and would set the course of Western Civilization for centuries to come.
Returning to Faunt, who traveled the known world for his masters, proves to have been in Dover, Kent on the night of Marlowe's troubles, i.e., 30th of May, where we discover him preparing to send English agents to Calais, where they will meet with the Scotsman, Anthony Standen, Elizabeth's returning agent from Spain, and hence the man with whom Marlowe was scheduled to have met, since Marlowe was headed to Scotland on Spanish matters. Standen returned to English soil on the 12 of June, to begin a long series of debriefings. eventually with Elizabeth I., herself. There is absolutely no doubt Marlowe would have required a similar face to face meeting with Standen, before going to Scotland on the issue of the Spanish Blanks, as he had been tasked earlier that spring. (Invisible Power and The Gunpowder Plot)
Two things are of interest about this correspondence. Bacon does not inform Faunt of Marlowe's troubles, even though their correspondence is peppered with personal materials and Bacon would have known of Faunt's friendship with Marlowe and about Marlowe's sensational death; second, Faunt returns home through Canterbury, the more difficult route. Both are suggestive Faunt knew something about Marlowe's fate that was not to be reduced to writing. Did Faunt usher Marlowe safely out of the realm on the 1 of June? If so he arrived safely, according to Standen's dispatch dated the 3rd of June, which writes of the "safe" arrival of Faunt's "young man from Dover." Did Faunt then deliver a private message to Marlowe's family after arriving in Canterbury? Was it one of condolences or hope? I've always supposed the family was fairly close. When his young sister, Jane, dies while he is at Cambridge, and was like Ophelia deigned burial in the Churchyard, according to Urry, Marlowe is absent from his college in the semester following. Was Loratio's grieving brother scene taken from real life?
The Marlowes were never financially comfortable, yet they were able to loose Marlowe, their oldest son, to his university life. Surely he must have sent home some of his clandestine earnings? This would help explain how his father, John Marlowe, was able to always find a willing apprentice, even when he was beating them, as Urry reports. It may explain why he seems "self-important." He knew something about which he couldn't speak. And it filled him with pride and loathing. Pride for young Marlowe, loathing for himself. In one of the anonymous plays the father is described "as always in extreme," a good description of John Marlowe, according to Urry. Taming of A Shrew, the source play of Taming of The Shrew, can be seen to set, underlying, in Kent, because the author slips when he describes the "key" in the port of Athens. Dover, home to Marlowe's mother, has a famous geological feature in its remarkable deepwater port that looks like a "key." Kate is the diminutive of Marlowe's mother's name and her household was ruled by sisters, the old drunk, Christopher Sly, who opens the play is a dead rigger for John Marlowe. In Locrine the father is an abusive drunken cobbler who rapes his wife in their rooms above the shop, evidently while the children watch. This would explain why Marlowe's plays may best be described as anti-royal, but pro England, as Professor Cheney notes. Marlowe had little respect for authority figures. The same may be said in Spades for the author of Macbeth and Richard II.
At this point one must recall Marlowe's play, The Jew of Malta, played a role in securing the death of the Spanish projector Lopez, accused of plotting to poison Elizabeth I. (Handover, Second Cecil, 120) Internal parallels to Lopez's fate suggest the author was still alive during this 1594 period, though, of course, the official record suggests he died at Deptford on the 30th of May 1593. Not surprisingly for Marlovians, Nicholas Faunt proves up to his ears in the Lopez affair. (Ibid.) Just as he was in getting Standen safely home. Marlowe's play entered history on the 17th of May 1594 or a year to the day from the date of Marlowe's trouble, his summons having been issued on the 18th of May 1593. Dr. Lopez was a Portuguese Jew and the Queen physician, who had been involved in diplomatic affairs with Walsingham's agent "Andrada, " at least as far back as 1589, so Marlowe may well have known him personally. However Marlowe cannot have known about his plan to poison the Queen, which came to light only in 1594. Barabas, Marlowe's protagonist, one recalls, boasted that poisoning was one of his specialties. Oddly Handover fails to index Marlowe's part in this, despite her cogent discussion of it. (117 )
Marlowe was on a parallel track to Faunt, but headed for duty with Lord Burghley, rather than Sir Francis. It is Burghley, not Walsingham, who signs the Privy Council demand or entail to Cambridge. It was to Burghley the Countess of Shrewsbury addressed her letter and Arbella's reader "one Morley." It was to Burghley that Marlowe was shipped home to in the early part of 1592 by Sir Robert Sidney, then the English Governor of the Low Countries and it was Burghley who summarily released him from his pending capital charges, indicating Nicholl later wrote, that they were a play to see him safely out of Europe and back into the realm. (CMERC, 46) It was Burghley who released Marlowe on the 20th of May 1593 on pending capital charges. It was Burghley and his son, Sir Robert Cecil, who were planning on sending Marlowe to Scotland during that same spring on a diplomatic mission of dynastic importance.
Indeed it is no longer suspicion that just a month or so before Southampton's commencement, which was, as we have seen, just a formality, Marlowe, working for Burghley, became the tutor to Lady Arbella Stuart, then Elizabeth I.'s most likely successor. Like Southampton Lady Arbella was one of Burghley's wards. Marlowe would persist in this key station for the "space of three years and a half," most of it spent in London, though some pf it in the Low Countries, on Arbella's behalf. He left her service Bess (the Countess of Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot) tells us, either late in August or early in September 1592. (N&Q, September 1997) He reports to us about this chapter of his life in Edward II, when he contrives to have the scholar/tutor Baldock confess to similar details to be told by Spencer that he would have "to cast the scholar off and learn to court it like a gentleman," meaning to become a member of the king's court.
It is essential to keep our eye on the diplomatic backdrop. Here is what Handover reminds us about Arbella and the Cecils:
|There were strong argument for [Cecil's] policy. The death of Mary Queen of Scots had left the Catholic with a choice of candidates to succeed Elizabeth. The plots with which Cecil was concerned in 1594 suggested that the claim of Lord Strange, who had succeeded as Earl of Derby, was highly regarded, and their exposure had the effect of forcing this peer to ratify his allegiance to the Protestant cause. This was a constructive result of the examinations of the plotters, a result that may have been deliberate on the part of the Cecils. Similarly, in 1595, it would seem that the Earl of Shrewsbury, uncle to the Lady Arbella, was discreetly warned not to meddle in the succession on behalf of his nice or of anyone else. Cecil bore the whole responsibility in this affair. The Lady herself was still kept at Hardwick, under the hawk-eyed watch of her grandmother. There can be little doubt that at this period the Cecils were working to simplify and reduce the dangers of a contested succession. (122)|
We cannot cut it much closer. The Cecils were, according to Handover, already well involved in "working to simplify and reduce the dangers of a contested succession" They had warned off the Talbots. Which means, they had decided in favor of James VI, at least by 1594. I would argue a year or so earlier. Indeed by the summer of 1593 James VI began to receive an infusion of English favor which allowed him to solidify his rule or hold on Scotland, which is the oblique theme of Midsummer Night's Dream. In Dream Theseus is solidifying his rule over Athens, whereas in Scotland, James VI was doing likewise. Stratfordians have long conceded Dream's subplot concerns the baptism of Prince Henry, which took place mid summer 1594. James, working with his analog of Philostrate, also worked on perspirations for these festivities himself. Moreover it was during the spring and summer of 1593 that 200,000 Spanish Crowns headed for Scotland went missing. This was more than enough to finance the unexpected solidification of James' reign, and the entire Shakespeare hoax. (Alan Hayes, Invisible Power...)
All in all the First Folio provided readers with 12 English History plays, Lear and Cymbeline being misplaced amongst the Tragedies. Cymbeline is generally reclassified as a "romance," but scholars know Cymbeline was an English king at the time of Jesus. Indeed Cymbeline is a nativity play, as Howard White has noted in his remarkable Capp'd Hills Towards Heaven, Shakespeare and the Classical Polity. White and other scholars (Strauss, Craig, and Baker) have pegged Shakespeare as "a political philosopher in the mold of Plato." One needs only consider the fact Plato left us 36 dramatic dialogues, one of which has become lost. The First Folio contains 36 plays, one of which was "hidden" by not being included in the Table of Plays. But just in case that's not good enough consider sonnet 105
Let not my love be called Idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an Idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so.
Kind is my love today, tomorrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence,
Therefore my verse, to constancy confined,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
"Fair," "kind," and "true" is all my argument,
"Fair," "kind," and "true" varying to other words,
And in this change is my invention spent,
Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
"Fair," "kind," and "true" have often lived alone,
Which three till now never kept seat in one.
"Fair, kind and true" or varying words, like "the Beautiful, the Good and the True" form the so called Platonic triad. Professor Vendler, writing about this in her recent study, The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets, notes, "The early Christianizing of the Platonic Triad had somewhat muted the contrast between classical and Christian values, but Shakespeare here restores them to full opposition."(445) Vendler, a Harvard scholar, isn't the least bit troubled that Plato had not been translated into English at the time. She continues, "whereas the Good is the highest value in Christian practice, Shakespeare decides to make the Beautiful the highest value in his formulation of the Platonic Triad." (446) This rearrangement of Christian values, risked evoking the awful law of Talon, just as Bloom noted about his parody of Paul's Letter to the Corinthians in Midsummer Night's Dream. (Shakespeare's Invention of the Human) Notice Shakespeare uses quotation marks around these three words, indicating he knows they are "quotes" and that he repeats them three times. Just as the First Folio can be subdivided into three equal parts, 12 Histories, 12 Tragedies and 12 Comedies, with little or no effort, once one realizes what must be done. Our first hint concerns the "missing" or un enumerated play, Troilus and Cressida. Was it a history or a tragedy? If a reader knows Greek history, it will be seen as a tragedy, since it is not a history. Putting in in with the tragedies swells their number from 11 to 12, signaling that magic tripartite division is near to hand. Getting Lear and Cymbeline out of the tragedies and back into the histories, leaves the tragedies two short of 12, so two comedies, out f the fourteen, have to "move." The three obvious possibilities are Taming of The Shrew, The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure. Measure moves most easily, as it has always been considered out of place as a comedy. If we take Angelo and Lucio as our touchstones, rather than Vincentio and Claudio, then Measure for Measure is tragic. That leaves us with having to move either The Shrew or The Merchant and, while feminists may contest it, poor Shylock's fate seems much worse than Kate's.
The sift with Lear may seem problematic, not because of Lear's fate, which is certain, but because of Cornelia's. However once we regard it as historical, we avoid the pitfall of Cordelia's death, which Dr. Johnson found so abhorrent he gave up on Shakespeare, since the historical good daughter did not die but lived on to rule his kingdom. The reader will no doubt think I'm making this up, but actually it is only modern editors who would fabricate Cordelia's death. Lear, the last to see her, thinks otherwise. And history agrees with him as Holinshed assures us. Again it is ONLY modern editors who have added instructions about her death to the text block this possibility. I agree with Dr Johnson, Cordelia shouldn't be seen to die in Lear and a close reading of the original text supports our opinions.
Regardless of Cordelia's fate, these twelve histories formed a matchless propaganda effort to alert period audiences to the dangers of a contested succession. Just as the Cecils would have wanted. Marlowe, we must remember, was the resident scholar in the Cecil's stable working on the perils of contested succession and civil war in 1593, as attested to by his unfinished translation of Lucian's Pharsalia or The Civil Wars of Rome. Moreover we must keep in mind the plays are actually moral harangues, like the Platonic dialogues. What is it the author reminds us in the opening scene of Measure for Measure,
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. Spirits are not finely touched But to fine issues... 33-38
This is pure Platonism. Both these works and the dramatic dialogues of Plato were designed to tune our souls to finer issues. To give us a taste for what Socrates called "he greatest combat of all" that of our communities. In an equally revealing exchange, Shakespeare opens Julius Caesar, with two brilliant aural puns that point to his cobbler background and to his Platonic intention. There the Roman Centurion ask the old man for his occupation, to which he replies he is "a mender of old soles" and that he works with "awl" but the audience and the Centurion hears "souls" and "all." A Platonic playmaker is concerned with the souls of his audience and has contrived a means to work with us all. We don't go to see Romeo and Juliet to discover what happens to them, this we know from the opening lines, if not from elsewhere. We go to see what will happen to us, while we watch what happens to them. And as Harold Bloom keeps reminding us, something marvelous does happen to us, when we see what happens to them. We become more human, our souls more finely tuned to the Platonic harmonies.
It is simplicity itself to see the Cecils backing the creation of these works, which favored their political outlook. Indeed Robert Cecil aspired to become the Earl of Salisbury, who is "featured" half a hundred times in Shakespeare. It smacks of an appeal for patronage. Cecil fulfilled his aspirations when he became the First Earl of Salisbury in 1606, he, unlike Bacon, was in fully agreement with the prose introduction to Rape of Lucrece which, along with the text, reminds us it is the "poet's duty to wrong the wronger until he renders right" and sings of a time when the "state government changed from kings to counsels." Only this oblique text can account for Lucrece's overwhelming popularity. Lucrece, by the way is Ovidian, Marlowe's Roman poet of choice, and had not been translated out of the Fasti when "Shakespeare" took up the chore.
So we need not look for Shakespeare among the un-credentialed and unqualified. Whoever he was, he was capable of passing for a classically educated scholar, a Latinist and a master of English capable of operating at the highest level. Thus Bacon and Oxford become reasonable candidates for Shakespeare's mantel. They cannot be eliminated because they lacked education, experience and talent, but since neither proves to have been in Scotland during this crucial period, they appear, again, to be out of the picture.
Luckily these three areas are not the end of the necessary qualifications, rather they are just the beginning hurdles.
To have been Shakespeare, one must not only have been qualified, but to have been willing to have written the works of Shakespeare. Which means, at the very least, that someone must have been willing to put in the requisite hours to have churned out about one million highly organized words. The Folio canon contains about 800,000 words and the poems and supernumerary works push it to over a million words. If you can turn out a thousand words a day, writing with quill, ink and clean paper, it takes a thousand days. Say four or five full time years. This supposes no time for revision. With an equal amount of time for revision, research and rough draft or foul paper work, the time easily requirement jumps to 15 years.
Most scholars suppose Shakespeare wrote two plays a year for 18 years. That accounts only for the plays of the FF and not for the poems or the many supernumerary plays ( at least18 in number). So a conservative estimate looks more and more like 20 years of full time work went into the canon. That's a considerable commitment.
No person fully employed in an ordinary life, as Bacon was, can have put in that sort of time towards the works of Shakespeare. Oxford, who was not often in the public eye, could have found the time. But it would certainly have cut into his ordinary matters, to a considerable extent. Which is to say he simply could not have lived the fairly well documented life of the Earl of Oxford and, at the same time, have been the writer William Shakespeare. I should point out the stylometric evidence suggest a single writer, not a consortium. ("Pace, ....)
Whoever this person was, he or she, spent considerable time writing these works, and did so over an extended period of time. Likely, as we have seen, for a period of twenty to thirty years. So no one who could not have devoted this amount of time to this enterprise could have undertaken it, regardless of his or her qualifications. This and the former considerations considerably narrows the field. Notice I have said "thirty years," this is because scholars know that the FF plays were being modified even in 1622 for inclusion in that volume, as the case of Othello, as elaborated by Sir W. W. Greg, proves.
This is why we are looking for a "hidden poet." This person did not have time to enjoy or to partake in a high profile, well known public life. Whoever he or she was, they were well hidden. Ensconced. There are very few readers who will have lived the sort of life where they were able to devote twenty full time years to a fulltime literary task. One that required voluminous readings in four or five languages, considerable close study of the underlying subject matter and then the mental effort or work of dramatizing it into masterpieces like Macbeth and Hamlet. Most of what I call the "optional" canon, that which does not deal with English history, is set overseas in distant locales which the author appears to have been intimately familiar with. So the works appear, on their face, to have also involved the author in foreign travels, a fact he vouches to, repeatedly, in the autobiographic Sonnets.
Consider the case of Midsummer Night's Dream. It's official location was far away Athens, but its oblique location, as I have mentioned above, was Scotland and the court of James VI, as even Stratfordians have conceded. (Harrison, CW...) How did Shakespeare learn about these distant events? Why did he write about them as if he were part of them? After all it was Marlowe who was slated for Scotland in 1592/3. Marlowe's Edward II proves an oblique study of James VI, based on what was then covert diplomatic intelligence about James. We know how Marlowe came by it, both Talbot and Cecil were paying well for Scottish intelligence, but we don't know how Shakespeare came by similar intelligence in Hamlet and Dream.
I've mentioned the enormous requirement for preliminary readings that went into these works. In the case of Dream, Shakespeare had read Pultarch's life, certainly in North's translation, and likely in the original as well. He signals us of this reading by means of the contrivance of Dream's registration date: October 8, 1600. This was not just any day. North set it out for the Athenian celebration of Theseus's return and, thus, of the birth of their Republic. It is the only date North mentions and was of his invention, since the two calendars were not then in agreement. It occurs on the final page of his treatment of Theseus' life. Hamlet, which is also an oblique look at James VI, as discovered long ago by Stratfordians, entered on St. James' day in 1602. James had become King on that day in 1569 and would become King of England on that day in 1603. I'd call that a strong signal. As with Dream's diplomatic materials, no one knows how Shakespeare came by his intelligence of James in Hamlet. I believe these two plays make it perfectly clear Marlowe completed his mission to Scotland and packed these two plays with intelligence about James and Prince Henry gained on that mission or missions. I must, of course, remember to acknowledge the Cambridge bred Professor Lillian Winstanley who was first to notice these parallels in Hamlet and the Scottish Succession. (1921) Winstanley was savaged by Stratfordians, but her insights have proven sound.
We only have to recall the similar case of Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639), later James' ambassador to Venice. It is well documented. Wotton, it should be remembered, was also Kentish. He worked closely with Essex, we might call him his Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He specialized in "Transylvania, Poland, Italy and Germany." Essex managed, when Essex's coup failed, to flee to France, reportedly making landfall and, thus safety, "within 16 hours," not bad time in that age. He lived by his wits during the next year or so, traveling to Italy, making Florence his base, while keeping his eye on the likelihood of James' succession. There he claims to have learned, from the Duke of Tuscany, of a plot on the life of James VI. So he traveled to Scotland, with this intelligence and "antidotes." However Wotton did not travel under his own name and identity. Instead he styled himself as one "Ottavio Baldi," a Florentine, and traveled incognito, to the continuous amusement of himself and his small staff. "He remained," we are told, "three months at the Scottish court, retaining his Italian incognito." (EB) This gives us either some idea of the gullibility of the Scots or of Wotton's inherent plausibility. James, of course, was grateful and a year later rewarded Wotton with knighthood and "the embassy at Madrid or Paris." Despite the prestige and the several thousand pound stipend for these coveted posts, Wotton knew his expenses would be greater than his income, so he begged for Venice and took it when James offered it.
Now it should be quite clear that a man as gifted as Shakespeare or Marlowe could have managed similar charades, to even greater personal profit. I have not introduced Wotton accidentally. Wotton's incognito as the Florentine "Ottavio Baldi" reminds one of a Florentine historian with a similar name, :Petruccio Ubaldino," who was resident in London during the late 1580s and 1590s. Unbaldino is of considerable interest to our narrative because he left us an account of the Armada battle that found its way into Edward III, long said to have been either Marlowe's or Shakespeare's. This account even names the ship the poet sailed on, the Nonpareil, formerly Drake's flagship. A. D. Wraight had delved into this in considerable detail in her study, Christopher Marlowe and Edward Alleyn (65-80). However she failed to connect "Unbaldino" to Wotton and "Ottavio Baldi." She thus missed noticing Wotton's staff included a "William Bedell," as chaplain, credited with a translation of the Bible into Irish and thus a personal friend of the Earl of Cork, Robert Boyle. Boyle, we must remember, was Marlowe's classmate at both the King's School and later at Cambridge. "William Bedell" appears to have been the driving force in the publication of the curious and highly heretical History of the Council of Trent, which was published in London in 1619 and assigned to the Florentine polyglot, Di Pietro Soave Polano or Paola Sarpi. Not surprisingly, this heretical book was not entered for publication. It was printed, according to the title page, by John Bill, a licensed printer of some standing who normally entered his publications for print.
What we glimpse here is a whirlwind in English foreign affairs related to the plays of Shakespeare and Marlowe and reaching back to the King's School in Canterbury. With squalls of irreverence and hailstones of lives lived incognito. Wotton's interests, later in his career turned, of course, along with Shakespeare's, to Vienna and Bohemia, where James' daughter, Elizabeth, had become Queen of Palatine. We remind the reader of these events to make the point that the Shakespeare case is by no means the only curiosity of these distant times. I am certain the Wotton/James/Bedwell/Polano/Baldi/ Unbaldino/Richard Boyle/Edward III/Measure for Measure/ Winter's Tale line is related to our narrative. At some time in Wotton's carrier, likely in the 1595-8 period, when he was working for Essex, he met Marlowe, who was at that time using the alias, Le Doux. They were both Kentish and would have had friends in common. Richard Deacon in his A History of the British Secret Service, is of the opinion that Wotton became the de facto head of the Secret Service under James. Since Deacon was in possession of the records, often still "classified," he must know:
|England continued to regard Italy as the best listening-post in Europe and Venice as of paramount importance. So it was not surpassing to find that the supreme example of Intelligence organization masquerading under a cloak of diplomacy was to be found in James I's reign at Venice where Sir Henry Wotton was ambassador. (53)|
Wotton admired the theater and let us his notes of a performance at the Globe of Henry VIII, with no mention of the author or even of the player Shakespeare. However Wotton's notes, which observed the imitation of greatness makes it "commonplace," assures us he, along with many others in the audience, got the subversive point. Wotton, we should remember, tripped himself up at just this same moment, when he observed too publicly that "an ambassador is a honest man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country." Wotton, undoubtedly would have been sacked for this indiscretion, were it not for the fact someone close to him saved his bacon by noting that "lie" was actually a pun, since ambassadors are required to reside (and thus to lie) in the country to which they are assigned. This clever insight saved Wotton's job, but things were never quite the same between Wotton and James for many years. Could this someone have been Marlowe/Shakespeare? Certainly. Could Marlowe have been William Bedwell. Perhaps. He certainly could have been the author of The History of the Council of Trent. Just as he could easily have been Unbaldinio in "A Discourse concerninge the Spanishe fleete inuading Englande in 1588," as Wraight first suggests. In any case the man who was Shakespeare had read these books thoroughly and was as familiar with the Italian and Latin as he was with English, as has been proven regarding the sources of Lucrece and Othello.
I have already mentioned the case concerning Lucrece, which had not yet been translated from the Latin of Ovid. Othello, we recall, opens in Venice, the home base of Wotton and the locale of Shakespeare's play, The Merchant of Venice. In order to have written Othello, Shakespeare had to be versed in the governance of Venice, since the opening scenes take place in or around the Council and because Desdemona is a Councilman's daughter. Stratfordians believe he read Lewknor's translation, The Council of Venice, but he may have read it in the original or traveled the Dukedom himself. In any case, the action of Othello quickly moves from Venice to Malta, the scene of Marlowe's play The Jew of Malta. So already we have a network. Venice connects to Malta and Malta connects to Venice Shakespeare's Jew is based in Venice, Marlowe's Jew in Malta. Othello is based in both. Now it is a well established fact the Italian source for Othello had not been translated into English at the time, so "Shakespeare" must have read the story either in French or in Italian. The evidence strongly suggests Italian. One of the major points of Dover Wilson's argument, now many decades old, hinges on the use of the words "ocular proof" demanded by Othello regarding Desdemona's alleged infidelities.
Shakespeare had never used the word "ocular" before and would not use it again in the canon. Yet it is the word used by Cinthio in the Italian story upon which Othello basis. The French version suggests the word "tangible". Considering the number of "Shakespearian" plays that base, whole or in part in Italy, some 16 in number, there can be little doubt the writer knew the territory well, but whether as a mental or an actual traveler is more difficult to gauge. He knew, for example, of Julio Romano's tomb, which seems, almost certainly, a personal remembrance. Stratfordians have seen fit to remove Romano's name from LLL but the First Folio proves it was in there to begin with. Likewise he knew the common or vernacular name for the local ferry in Venice, which trafficked to Belmont, the "traject." Stratfordians also attempted to remove this word via emendation, but it is now being seen again. (Crystals, Sk. Words) Most Italian traveled Englishmen are of the impression "Shakespeare" was likewise traveled, which is one reason the Oxfordian case continues to roll along. Oxford lived in Italy for an extended period of time and was considered to have been Italianated by his residency.
Since it occasionally pops up, I need to say both Shakespeare and Marlowe at times seem not to have enjoyed all that firm a grip on geography. Shakespeare appears to suppose in Winter's Tale that Bohemia had a seacoast and in Two Gentlemen of Verona, seems to suppose that it is, like Venice, a port, rather than an inland city by sixty some odd miles. Matters seem to worsen when Lance and his master, Valentine, travel to Milan, a city further inland still, by boat. Some have suggested canals, but it seems to me that TGV was a comedy, so this juxtaposition may simply have been part of the humor of the play, much enjoyed by those in the know. The journey from Verona to Milan, in Romeo and Juliet, seems normative, taken by donkey. In a similar vein, Marlowe causes Faustus and Mephistopheles to appear confused about the relative locations of much of the known world. Again I suggest the proper interpretation of this is to suppose the author considered them two fools and wanted his audience to do likewise. Faustus is best thought of as farce, from its opening lines to its melodramatic close. Not every lapse in either canon can be considered intentional, but these certainly can. Frankly to suppose that the mind or minds behind these dramas didn't know the known face of the earth as well as any man then living, which is to say as well as he knew the back of his hand, is an unlikely proposition. These types can and did visualize quite well and have been known to furnish detailed maps even from what appears to have been a casual pass through of a community. Leonardo was famous for being able to produce a "bird's eye" view of any town or city he'd passed through and he certainly wasn't alone in this capacity. "Shakespeare" and Marlowe were geopolitical thinkers, these types always know their geography.
Thomas Harriot, who was according to three independent period sources, a personal friend of Marlowe's recorded a conversation with Marlowe in his diaries about the plain sphere of Mesker, then the famous mapping technique. Harriot followed this notation by many pages of excited calculations, indicting that whatever he and Marlowe had talked about had profound mathematical implications. Some scholars suppose this was the Captain Marlo, but there is no proof of that and there is certainly no proof that Marlo was into Mathematics, whereas our Marlowe's fondness for it has been well documented and is alluded to in these works. Of the two, my money and Bakeless', is on the poet here and not on the Captain.
Recall, while we think of this remarkable effort, that things were not then as they are today. Simply laying hands on the required books would have been a difficult chore. Paper and ink were expensive commodities, beyond the means of many. Marlowe's Headmaster at the King's School in Canterbury, John Gresshop, had solved the book problem. He personally owned one of the largest private libraries in England, larger than those owned by most, if not all, of the University Dons. Indeed it is said there were only 451 books in the Cambridge library about this time, The Friar and the Cipher (180). Dr. Dee, who was a friend of Gerard Mercator and John Cheke, and in all likelihood the oblique subject of Dr. Faustus, ended up with "in all neere 4,000" volumes. (Ibid.) However he was a confidant of Elizabeth I. and recipient of her generosity. Dee, we should remember had chanced across a copy of Trithemius' Steganographia or On Secret Writing, the watershed book on cryptography. He was a friend of both Walsingham and Burghley. Burghley we should remember had first married Cheke's daughter, before marrying Mildred Cooke, sister to Nicholas Bacon's wife, Anne Cooke, cementing the relationship between these two powerful families.
Gresshop's four hundred or so volumes were painstakingly catalogued upon his death in 1580, the year Marlowe matriculated to Cambridge and Faunt went to work for Walsingham. Faunt's father and Marlowe's left their names among those who interacted with his estate. Gresshop obviously commanded an unexpected source of income and, along with it, the connections required to have accumulated this remarkable private library. The list of diplomats and spies who attended the King's School while he was Headmaster, suggest Gresshop was recruiting young lads for Walsingham, the Cecils and the other Earls; this in turn suggests where his income and foreign contacts came from. Indeed it is now known, thanks to Handover, Talbot had his own small intelligence service, as several of these peers did, so Marlowe may have enjoyed an input into Talbot's "net" while he was Arbella's tutor. (103) Some Headmasters do the same today. So Marlowe knew how it was done. A few of the peerage, of course, had similar sized and larger family libraries. But the trick would be to position one's self in such a setting. Where one's access to these books would be unencumbered and one could command the leisure time to have completed the canon.
We can, I would suggest, quickly eliminate all well known and lesser known university scholars. These men were engaged in full-time scholarly work, that would have precluded them having been involved in this equally full-time work. Perhaps the author could have passed himself off as a visiting scholar from time to time at a university? Or found employment as a librarian for a well-known private collector like Northumberland, Mary Sidney Herbert or Dering. Governor Sidney reported him well known by Northumberland, the so called Wizard Earl, confirming the rumors about him. His duties would not have been too demanding. He would have seen to the library, purchased new books, seen that they were properly shelved and had those in poor condition rebound and or transcribed. He could then have studied, tutored the children of the household and worked his "night job" in as a side line. The Countess of Shrewsbury hints that Marlowe was also in charge of household communications, since she appologies to Burghley for handing to use the hand of her son, after Marlowe's dismissal. Indeed Bess paid him a backhanded complement by confessing "we have none that can replace him." Bess Talbot, the Countess of Shrewsbury, was reportedly the wealthiest woman in England, after the Queen, and her staff reflected that wealth. So we catch some idea of how Marlowe fulfilled his duties. He'd made himself indispensable to the household.
However this extra work would extend the time required and would push the limit, since the deadline would be 1623. All work had to be completed by then. If we say it didn't begin until 1593 that's thirty years, figured at half time, that gives us 15 fulltime years or about right.
So just how did he manage it? If he were an Earl, as Oxford and Bacon were, he might or might not also have been a man of independent means. Keep in mind that more than a few of the peerage were paupers. Land and title rich, but pence and cash poor. Even Oxford, who received a thousand pounds stipend yearly from the Crown, was frequently caught short. Walsingham died deep in debt. So it is by no means clear how just he managed it. I've mentioned above the missing 200,000 Spanish Crowns. If Marlowe was in on this, the money would have backed not only the solidification of James' reign in Scotland, but kept the Author in leisure for life. Against this are the sonnets which tell us he traveled and worked for spare pence most of his life, in some capacity or the other.
One possible place, suggested by his knowledge of the book trade would be to have worked as a a publisher's "assistant" or an "editor." Someone associated with Field or Blount. Someone who these men valued enough to give a free ride in turn for publication rights. Someone who would have known Cervantes. Someone who could travel Europe and bring back "best sellers."
Blount, thus, becomes the prime private suspect. Blount appears to have had in hand, in his personal possession, all 20 of the then unpublished manuscripts of Shakespeare in 1622 when the First Folio was being mastered. We are confident Blount carried them to the SR himself, because there his name appears first, whereas on the printed page, it appears second. But if it were Blount, we'd have to suppose he allowed "Shakespeare" the status of "free agent," thus explaining why Blount did not have all of Shakespeare's works, firmly in hand. I suspect it wasn't a question of "allowing" him anything. This was the sort of author who set his own terms.
Apparently some of Shakespeare's works were sold, privately, to other publishers. Since Blount didn't object, he countenanced the sales. Perhaps, as Thorpe's dedication to the Sonnets suggests, the writer was thought of as an "adventurer" who frequently "set forth" on enterprises and on those adventures was a free agent? Against this is the fact that the Author, whoever he proves to have been, does not appear to have been particularly interested in selling his own works. If he had been, we'd not have had two thirds of them unpublished at the time of the First Folio. I've always considered it important that the publication of Hero and Leander was delayed for five years. Why? If two authors had been involved, as the title pages claim, surely this would not have been the case. The second author would have wanted his poem in print so it could compete with Venus and Adonis. So I see in the "suppression" of Hero and Leander a single author who simply did not wish to compete with the success of Venus and Adonis. We have, of course, no real idea how the Author cut his literary deals. If we take the sonnets for a clue, he frequently sold himself short:
|Alas, 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offenses of affections new;
Most true it is that I have looked on truth
Askance and strangely: but by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays proved thee my best of love. (110)
Against it also is the socioeconomic placement. He becomes almost a blue-collar tradesman. Perhaps he was what we might call a "reader" or an "editor," someone well placed in the book trade who read professionally and had access to all the books as, or slightly before they were published. Indeed this would explain a few long enduring puzzles, since it is a well established fact the works contain ironclad allusions to works that were not yet published. The problem here is we are without a model. We simply don't know enough about the nebulous web of London publishers to know much, if anything about their editorial staffs. My old friend, now passed, Professor Elaine Prosser writing in her study of Henry IV, Scribe and Compositor, was forced into that title because it hadn't been proven Shakespeare had an editor. Ralph Crane, about whom little is known, perhaps might be considered a model here. Crane is generally thought of as a scribe capable of producing a presentation style manuscript, as Marlowe's flat mate, Thomas Kyd was. Even today these kinds of relationships often don't yield themselves to a record. A given writer will hear of a good typist/editor who works privately out of their home, often employed fulltime as a teacher or secretary. Indeed many of these essential but nondescript jobs today have been taken over by Microsoft Editor and similar programs. A tireless worker, who John Payne Collier dubbed "the old editor," made over twenty thousand emendations to the so called Perkins Copy of the Second Folio, c. 1635 writing in an Elizabethan hand that had learned its letters c. 1570. Long believed to have been Collier forgeries, these priceless period emendations, as they are now proven to have been, by Ganzel and others, are proof positive someone did edit Shakespeare's works, frequently writing as well as the author himself.
So it seems plausible Shakespeare was, at least at one point in his long life, a private person living in or near London, who worked in the publishing industry. This possibility becomes even more attractive when we expand our note to include translations, many of a diplomatic nature, which appeared during the period, often anonymously, but dedicated to Southampton, Walsingham and William Herbert the three principles in the Shakespeare hoax, often by Blount, the forth principle. A high level diplomatic translator, as the Author seems to have been, could have made a living with his pen, without having to spend much time in public. We have, for example, the strange case of James' mysterious Master of Ceremonies known as "Sir Lewis Lewknor," who I mentioned in passing above. Lewknor appeared more or less out of nowhere in 1603, already much in favor with James, who appointed him over his rival, Sir Edmund Tyllney, Elizabeth I.'s Master of Revels and Censor of Plays. His appointment fell on a day of importance to Marlowe, 21 May 1603 and read in part "for his matchless command of languages and foreign customs." Lewknor is of importance to us for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact later he claimed Marlowe's MA from Cambridge, despite the absence of any record there for him under the name Lewknor and that he used Marlowe's MA to gain a late entry at Oxford. Lewknor's job was to interface between visiting ambassadors and heads of state, of which there was a steady stream. Shakespeare creates parts for them in his dramas. Archidamus and Philostrate may be thought of as Master of Ceremonies, since Archidamus confesses that when .... jcb visits Sicily he will have a difficult time entertaining him as well as he has entertained. Against it is that if Lewknor was actually fully involved in his professional duties, as it would appear he was, he simply might not have had the time to have written Shakespeare's plays and all those translations too.
On the theological side, our writer could have been a clergyman, or a priest, with the rank of a Jesuit Provincial, a Monsignor, Abbot or "nuncio," a theological term for an ambassador or representative of the Pope or of a Cardinal and an Italian word for "messenger." This would have allowed him to travel freely, be lodged in any monastery and to have commanded, while there, a small staff. He tells us he was cloistered in sonnet 110
|Now all is done, save what shall have no end,
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A God in love, to whom I am confined.
We know that Marlowe was at Douai and Rheims, as well as Valladolid, all seminaries. If the allusion to Shakespeare encoded into the 46th Psalm is proof he worked on the King James translation, as many suppose he did, he may well have done so as a proxy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, an entree that would have opened many doors for him or, even more likely, as a nuncio of James' Chaplin, Benjamin Carrier, who was Marlowe's classmate at both the King's School and later at Corpus Christi. Carrier's rise to fame cannot be easily explained, unless he had a personal friend close to James VI, who vouched for him, someone like Marlowe. With Carrier's authorization the Author, using a suitable pseudonym would have been a welcome member of the committee assembled to "translate" the Bible into English. Carrier, we must remember defected to Rome shortly after the death of Prince Henry or at the same time Shakespeare stopped writing. The remarkable thing about the appearance of Shakespeare's name, encoded as it is into the 46th Psalm, hidden 46 words in from the beginning and end, accomplished the year Marlowe and Shakespeare turned 46, (1610) is that it follows the 45th Psalm, where he translator boasts of being a "ready writer" who has concocted "indictments touching on the king," expressions not to be found either in the Hebrew or in Tinsdale's translation, which served for about 90% of the King James' final text, the major difference being a lack of marginal notations. We must also recall that Shakespeare appears to have been associated with the highly heretical rhymed translation of the New Testament that appeared the same year as the King James version attributed to the courtesan Emilia Lanier, as Rowse first suggested. Since the author several times uses the masculine pronoun to refer to himself, by mistake, I think we need not suppose, as Rowse and others have, that Ms. Lanier was the author. That version of the New Testament , which stresses the betrayal of Jesus, contains a heretical insight only Marlowe could have thought up, one that remains unique in the history of Judeo-Christian thought. The observation is built around the proposition that if Jesus was born without sin, then sin must enter the human race through males and not through females. It makes sin a sex linked characteristic and was thus centuries in advance of modern Mendelian genetics.
It remains most likely, however, that for much of "Shakespeare's" life he worked in the British Foreign Service, just as Marlowe had. Consider Thomas Wilson and Father John Cecil. These two men were selected, on short notice by Burghley and his son, Sir Robert Cecil, to stand-in for Marlowe, once he was entangled in the controversy leading up to the events of 30 May 1593. Which is double talk for saying they were picked to replace Marlowe as the Cecils' proxies or projectors to the court of James VI in Scotland, where Kyd tells us Marlowe was already bound earlier that spring, "when last I saw him...he planned to be with the King of Scots..." Kyd is not clear about when this was, but one can suppose earlier in the spring or late in the winter, perhaps around Marlowe's birthday in February 1592/3? Handover wrote that Father Cecil, who she believed was an Oxford educated scholar, was "able, clear-headed, audacious [and] of far greater worth [to Cecil] than a self-seeker such as Charles Paget." Father Cecil, wrote Handover, "was for more than a decade to keep Europe guessing as to his real loyalty." Which, Handover concluded, was to Sir Robert Cecil and to England. (108) Upon close inspection Handover's seemingly well considered discussion of this agent and these events dissolves into a soupy morass, when one notices that she has conflated reports from several years into one. So she has Father Cecil leaving England in 1593 at the same time he is leaving it in 1591 and being in Scotland when he may have been in Marseilles in 1591! (109)
I must call our attention to Thomas Wilson. Handover will return to him several hundred pages later without an interconnection when she notes:
|Cecil did not lavish such are on Italy, where in 1601 only two men are known to have received payment. One was Mr Fox in Venice (L 20), the other in Florence, Thomas Wilson, one of the most able men Cecil employed at this period. Though Wilson on received L30 in 1601, this was at the beginning of his career as a correspondent, for it was not until 1602 that Cecil promised him that 'whatsoever you perform...shall be kindly taken and as thankfully requited, as by one never backward to reward good services. Using the alias Jeronoimo Poalluzzi, Wilson traveled in Italy during 1602, then turned north to France, and eventually reached England, where he entered Cecil's employment. Wilson was one of the few men Cecil ever praised. (267-268)|
Since Handover's narrative ends about this time, she does not tell us what happened to "Thomas Wilson," after his return. Wilson, the record shows was, like Lewknor and Wotton, knighted by James I and became Cecil's right-hand man. He reorganized the "net" and oversaw the building of Cecil's new home. He is certainly a person of interest in our narrative and might have been "Shakespeare." He reappears in 1601, with his Scottish mission nearly a decade behind him. It is the same year Vaughan tells us Marlowe was leaving Valladolid. He uses an alias "Jeronimo Palluzzi" related first to Spanish Tragedy and then, phonically, to the pseudonym chosen for the author of The History of the Council of Trent. He and Fox may have been the same person. In any case Wotton will build on his organizational skills to turn Venice into the center of English espionage in Europe, as we have seen.
Actually, like Father Cecil and Thomas Wilson, then called Mr Fixer, we don't really know when Marlowe left for Scotland. If he wasn't killed in Deptford, it is possible he wasn't even in the country when these now well known events unfolded and that a stand-in took his place. This wasn't the 20th century, so positive identification was, shall we say, quite impossible. In any case, here is how Father Cecil was described by a friend, "that jolly scholar, that famous traveler, that notable wit." Sound familiar? What is so intriguing about this chapter of English/Scottish history is that Wilson and Father Cecil traveled under the aliases of names of war (nom de guerre) of John Fixer and John Snowden. Years later, Thomas Wilson would surface in Venice and eventually return home to become Cecil's right-hand man, placed in charge of the Secret Service. Wilson was knighted and oversaw the building of Cecil's home .... Hall. It is a remarkable story and Thomas Wilson, alias John Fixer, and perhaps Father Cecil, at times, could well have been the Author of Shakespeare's works. I suggest him Father Cecil, following a hint from Handover who tells us several dispatches said Father Cecil's weren't in his hand. ( 110 )
If we was, he had to send them home, one at a time to Blount or to Walsingham, retaining a scribal copy to guard against loss. Or perhaps he kept them all with him. It's doubtful, given their value and the possibility of a fire or loss at sea.
So let us suppose he had a fixed base of operations in or near London. Lets suppose in Kent, perhaps in Pluckley, where his major professor, Thomas Harris had lived? Harris' wife and the village is mentioned in the Benchkin will which Marlowe witnessed in November 1585, when he and Bruno prove to have been in Canterbury. Scholars now know that the tiny village of Pluckley was also the seat of Sir Edward Dering, later a Baronet, in whose library the manuscript of Henry IV, as a single one part five act play, survived until the mid 1800s. It is now in the Folger Shakespeare Library, where lip service to Stratfordian orthodoxy has forced the Folger to falsify the records and classify this priceless treasure as derivative of the printed texts. (Craig, Ule, Baker) There we can suppose he would have been free to work at his leisure, sequestered safely at Dering's remarkable Surrenden Hall, where "Dering's" extraordinary library of playbooks was housed. Mr. Carrington, who commanded a lovely Italian hand, was nearby and could be counted on as a scribe, as records there attest. So was Fletcher. And there were other notables nearby as well. He would have had money, leisure and some secondhand access to the Court. He could have taken day or week trips to Court, incognito, and spent the days engaged in some freelance intelligence work, which he could then have relayed back to Sir Thomas Walsingham, who lived nearby. Or to Cecil or Bacon. It was there he, or someone like him, excitedly entered the purchase of two copies of the First Folio writing "Two copies of I Shakespeares plays" without blot or crossover. Orthodox Stratfordians have claimed this entry was intended to read "Two copies of Jonson's plays," which the writer corrected currente clamore. But the sheet is clear, without blot or crossover. Over 250 playbooks were catalogued in this remarkable library, the largest specialized kind in the records.
Over lo these many years I have frequently thought that during the 1615 to 1623 period this was Marlowe. We know he ordered the literary copy of Henry IV used in the printing of the First Folio's text. And we know he paid for the order on the same day Henry IV appeared on twenty five years earlier. Just as we know it was Marlowe's birthday, the 26th of February. So whoever he was he was deeply involved in the deception. Part of this deception extends back to 1603-4, when the Magna Charta was taken from Dover Castle to London, through Pluckley, as part of the coronation ceremonies for James I. Someone inserted Dering's family name into the document. It could not have been the future Sir Edward, because he was just five or six at the time. Funeral bonzes in Kent were also modified. So I again suspect a father/tutor type relationship. I point out that Dering seems to have been conceived in the Tower of London, when his mother was married to the Chaplin in 1597 or at a period Marlowe is supposed to have been back in London. I wouldn't draw these conclusions were it not for the above circumstances and the fact they parallel the subplot of Two Noble Kinsmen, where the jailer's daughter becomes enamored with one of her two politically important prisoners.
I have not focused on Heywood. He certainly is important to our note. Oddly "two hundred and fifty plays" is the same number that Thomas Heywood claimed to have had a finger in. He surfaced on the 17th of May 1594, or on the same day that Marlowe's The Jew of Malta entered on. Rather odd. It was roughly a year after Marlowe's official end. Where had the play been for that year? Why does it contain allusions the Lopez events that took place in 1594 or well after Marlowe supposedly perished? Did Heywood or his publisher take it down to the Registry? It was on that day Heywood's Oenone and Paris entered history. Oenone and Paris can be thought of as the completion of the literary triptych formed by it, Venus and Adonis and Hero and Leander. It was popular in its own right, though it isn't of the poetic quality of the other two works. In any case recall it was allegedly Heywood who brought out The Jew of Malta about forty years later in 1632. There he signed himself "Tuissimus" reminding us of the English word "tuism" which means "the rhetorical use of the second person in avoidance of the first." A very clever device, if it was a device. Heywood has been considered "a prose Shakespeare" or Marlowe and his published prose English histories can be thought of as the notebooks that lie behind the history plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare. Heywood was proud of his Histories, though today they are the least attractive of his works. Swinburne, who was familiar with his canon, wrote glowingly of him:
Heywood once wrote of himself, "it was not in this capacity my intention to be voluminously read." Meaning that he picked and choose which works were to bear his name. We see in this one remark alone a man who was not driven to publish everything he wrote, but who published works only when it suited his "intention." Biographies of his life, even modern ones, are notoriously slender. Meaning there is precious little known about Heywood. So it is possible he was either a fictitious character or a front, like Shakespeare, for our illusive and very prolific author.
The one thing we know for certain, the rustic actor wasn't William Shakespeare. The most qualified candidate was Christopher Marlowe. Since the record has him alive after 1593, the case that he was Shakespeare is much stronger today than when it was originally supposed. First by Queen Elizabeth I., herself, in 1601 and later by scholars from the early 1800s onwards. Marlowe's case has been greatly strengthened by computer authorship studies which prove his overlap with Shakespeare to exceed the overlaps of any other period author and frequently to equal the overlaps between various works by "either" author. Which is to say the stylometric "distance" is sometimes greater between canonical works of either man than works within either canon. Additionally only Marlowe's life and survival explains the autobiographical sonnets which parallel Marlowe's story, chapter for chapter, as Archie Webster first pointed out in 1923.
For longer trips, overseas, he would travel well. In progress manuscripts would be copied out by his small staff and kept under lock and key, while he delivered messages and gathered intelligence, for Walsingham, Bacon or Cecil. Reporting back either directly or to Faunt. Some of these trips would require him to be cloistered. To travel as a Catholic. To live the life of a Monsignor. He would return frequently to Kent, to Pluckley and to his primary base of operations. Perhaps he traveled under the authorization of the King's Chaplin Benjamin Carrier, who turned out to be a double agent and whose appointment cannot be easily reconciled? He always had friends in high places. The Earl of Cork was a classmate from both the King's School and from Corpus Christi.
When on his missions, he, like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, could be counted on for producing a play or masque on short notice. Just as Dering's librarian could, as evidenced by that play list attached to the manuscript of Henry IV, dealing with Fletcher's then unpublished The Spanish Curate. Or the writer of This Be Endless, who signed himself "W. Sk." in 1607? for the Derby wedding festivities, and who boasted in it that he was a better groom for Derby's bride than Derby was...something only he would have had the moxie to do.
Ok. So we have kept it simple. The facts suggest only Marlowe could have matured into the writer William Shakespeare. The facts proves that the works, which stopped with the death of Prince Henry in 1612, continued to be modified, often on the face of the last printed work, not only in 1622/3, but even in 1634 as proven by the 20,000 emendations to the Perkins Copy of the Second Folio, published that year. The continued presence of Scottish diplomatic materials in these plays, which begins in Marlowe's Edward II, is the strongest possible proof Marlowe completed his mission to Scotland and became a confidant of James VI, just as he was of Northumberland and the Cecils. The autobiographic sonnets detail his public shame, his faked death, his common grave, his name change and the birth of his illicit son, whose initials were "W. H." They also signal us he used "pressure" against William Herbert to secure the publication of the plays, which, by the way, were not printed until after the death of Mary Sidney Herbert, William's mother:
|For if I should despair, I should grow mad,
And in my madness might speak ill of thee;
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be. (140)
Biographic evidence places young Marlowe and Mary in Kent and Canterbury at the time of William's conception. Mary is surely depicted as the amorous Venus in Venus and Adonis, which explains why the poems were not included along with the plays in the First Folio. Jonson's Folio(s), which are said to be the model for Shakespeare's, did include his poems. So the absence of the poems must be explained on non literary grounds. The fact is their autobiographic content gave rise to the Folio's lie that the rustic actor was the author. No Jacobean would have believed that lie, if the poems had been included in the First Folio. Moreover, once it is seen that William Herbert was the poet's illicit son, Herbert stood to loose his titles and lands and hence couldn't afford to notoriety, nor could he have backed the Folio's publication. Since it is certain W. H. outranked the Poet, the poet cannot have been either Bacon or Oxford or any member of the peerage. By the way, Herbert's life events, including a brief period of incarceration and his "fickleness" in love, which caused his incarceration, match the hints in the sonnets perfectly. William Honey who produced a huge two volume study concluding Marlowe was indeed Shakespeare and praising Sir E. K. Chambers' deservedly excellent scholarship to the skies, persisted in the erroneous belief the poet's "sweet boy," was Southampton. Even though his initials were not "W.H.", even though this made the poet a homosexual pedophile, even though it blurred the Sindey/Pembroke/Marlowe/Shakespeare alliance and even though Sir E. K. Chambers came to precisely the opposite conclusion after many decades of study. It is possible Honey missed this reversal, since it appears only in Chamber's late Short Life of Shakespeare (1933):
|And it is a striking fact that, although Southampton was still alive, it was not to him, but to Herbert and his brother, that the Folio was dedicated. On the whole, therefore, if we are to look in the ranks of the higher nobility, it is Herbert, rather than Southampton, who affords the most plausible identification for Shakespeare's friend. (130)|
And we must look into their ranks because the "sweet boy" outranks the poet by the poet's own words. Chambers allows some "wiggle room," by suggesting he might be a lesser peer, i.e., not an earl, but the fact remains no member of the peerage, whose dates fit, had the initials "W.H." during this period, except William Herbert, according to the comprehensive list in Titled Elizabethans. Sadly then Honey's elaborate case implodes.
Nevertheless it is easy to see why the case for Marlowe continues to gain speed. Of all those suggested, only Marlowe could have become William Shakespeare and this is certainly true if the field is narrowed to just Marlowe and the rustic. No case is weaker than poor William's. If he had appeared capable of writing the plays, if he was, as some have suggested, really Marlowe, he would have been executed during the aftermath of the Essex Rebellion, when Richard II was used to foment the coup and the Queen identified herself as Richard II, ranting "I am Richard II. Know ye not that?" Oxford and Bacon easily overshadow the rustic. But neither had the time necessary to devote to these works and to the works that appear also to have been by the same author. Works that include the English versions of Don Quixote and The Constitution of Venice. While I did not mention it, the record proves that Marlowe's translation of Dido's Death, surfaced in 1622, during the hiatus in the publication of the First Folio and was then ascribed "To the One That Hath No Name." That's our boy. And the publication record continued to 1654, the year he would have turned 90.
Since we lack DNA evidence, the only certain way to prove the Marlowe case is to reply on published period accounts. As it turns out there are enough to make the case conclusive. At least two are to be found in Shakespeare's plays. The first is hidden in Henry IV. The second in Hamlet. The third, which is the capstone, appears in The Famous Victories of Henry V, upon which Henry IV and Henry V depend.
Lets start with Henry IV. There Shakespeare contrives to have the Hostess report to the Lord Chief Justice that Falstaff was bashed in the head by the Prince "for likening his father to a singing man of Windsor." As period audiences knew, a Thomas Marlo or Morley was the famous singing man of the period, so the allusion to "Marley" is very solid. The Hostess tells us the attack occurred on "a Wednesday in Whitsun week." "Wit's Wednesday," it is called.
That turns out to have been the same Wednesday Marlowe was supposedly bashed on the head in Deptford, Kent and said dead. Unexpectedly Falstaff recovers from his wounds, but refuses to marry the Hostess. This is not the only mention of "Wednesday" by Falstaff. During the battle of Shrewsbury he is made to say of honor "doth he who died a Wednesday have it?" Both allusions are to Marlowe's death or brush with death, with Shakespeare signaling that Marlowe, like Falstaff, unexpectedly escaped.
To glean the total certainty of this we have to now consider the source play, The Famous Victories of Henry V, on which Henry IV and Henry V depended. Famous Victories was an older play dating to c. 1577 or so, but it was first published in May 1594, a year after Marlowe's troubles. Someone went to the effort to fiddle with the text, changing the date of the Gad's Hill Robbery, which opens the play, from the Eve of Saint John the Baptist, June 23th, to "the 20/30 May last past," ten scenes into the play. Which, in 1594, when the play first appeared, would have been 1593. Or the same day and year Marlowe allegedly died in Deptford, Kent. This same person also changed the location of the robbery to "Deptford, Kent" or the same village where Marlowe supposedly died. Still wishing to hammer in his point, he also contrived to have the robber, John Cubtert, be referred to by the Prince as "he that was want to spy out our booties," meaning a cobbler spy, as Marlowe was. Cutbert is sentenced to death by the Chief Justice, even though the Prince tried to prevent it, but off stage Cutbert is freed and surfaces in the home of John Cobbler, the same name and occupation as Marlowe's father, John Marlowe. He is then sent to France for his Prince.
No parallels can be more certain. Someone signaled period audiences, who were adapt at following the oblique text, that Marlowe, the cobbler spy, supposedly slain in Deptford, Kent on the 30th of May 1593, survived and went to France for his Prince. The proof is that Shakespeare, who relied on Famous Victories, for Henry IV, cleverly rewove all this into Henry IV, but was not comfortable enough to give us the date and the town in the clear. So he used "a Wednesday in Wheesome week" as a clever contrivance. He even risked the reference to the "singing man" or Morley and couched the entire episode as an attack on Falstaff's head which left him for dead, but from which, with the help of the Hostess, he miraculous recovered. To make certain we got it, he tossed in Falstaff's remarks about an ignoble death on Wednesday in the aftermath of the battle of Shrewsbury. So there can be no doubt both plays were signaling period readers and audiences that Marlowe survived. And Shakespeare's modification of FV, proves he believed it as well.
An even more certain proof is to be found embedded in Hamlet. (II.ii.373) There he contrives to have Hamlet tells us the actor and the poet were two different persons, "unless the poet and player went to cuffs in the question." He goes on to have Hamlet weigh in on the authorship question saying ""Sblood there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out." To make the case even clearer he then shows us what can be called "the Marlowe/Shakespeare method," where an old play is revised to indict the king, just as he boasts about doing in the 45th psalm. And to top it all off, he then has Hamlet quote Marlowe's Dido extensively. This is complicated, so I refer the general reader to my essay on this topic link.
I conclude with the following insight. If Marlowe had died by the time of the publication of the First Folio, it well might have ended up attributed to him. But he hadn't. He was safely ensconced in some alternative identity and did not wish to be exposed. So I'm convinced he lived on, as the registration trail suggests, dying c. 1654, in his early nineties. He's left us plenty of clues. He suspected we'd sort it all out. So like any good Platonist he opted for irony, knowing the simpleminded would be lead to salutatory opinions while the wise would see through to deeper ones. To tell the truth, I feel a bit ill at ease about pulling his mask aside.
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