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SHAKE-SPEARS SONNETS

 By

Edward D. Johnson

 Significance Behind This Image

 

The Francis Bacon Society
Canonbury Tower
London

 

Go to the Sonnet Directory

 

The object of this little book is to persuade literary men and the general public to take an interest in Shake-spears Sonnets. The Stratfordians as a whole always avoid any references to the Sonnets-the chief reason being that they cannot trace any connection between the subjects dealt with in the Sonnets and the life of Will Shakspere,  although these Sonnets are clearly auto-biographical being a record of the feelings and experiences of the man who wrote them, and it is hoped that this book contains evidence that that man was not the actor of Stratford but Francis Bacon of St. Albans.

----Edward D. Johnson, 1962

 


There is a little book with this title containing 154 Sonnets dealing with a number of different  subjects. The Stratfordians say that these Sonnets were written by Will Shakspere of Stratford,but they offer no explanation of the fact that Shakspere has changed his name from Shakspere to Shake-spear.  The name Shake-spear is not the name of any person but is a "nom-de-plume" derived from the Greek goddess Pallas Athene, who in statuary art is depicted  as holding a spear striking at a serpent  representing ignorance.   These Sonnets are autobiographic and are a poetical record of the feelings and experiences of the man who wrote them. We find in these Sonnets direct and emphatic allusions to the life of the author  but they cannot be reconciled with any known account of the life of Will Shakspere.  It is quite clear that these Sonnets are telling us a story of some sort, staring us in the face if we could only see it.  These Sonnets are the keys to unlock the great secret of the true authorship which has to be discovered.  If the greatest  problem  in literature is the authorship of the Shakspeare plays and   poems-then  the greatest  mystery  is the  riddle of Shakespear's Sonnets.

 The words on the title page of this book are as follows:
 

"Shake-spears Sonnets-never before imprinted-at  London- by G. Eld for T.T. and are to be solde by John Wright dwelling at Christ Church Gate 1609." 

In the middle of this title page is a blank space  between two lines.  If Shakspere wrote these Sonnets, we would naturally expect that his name would appear on the title page or at any rate that the publisher, in order to sell this book to the public, would have added a note that the Sonnets were the work of Shakspere, the author of the celebrated plays. At the bottom of this title page is the number 1609. If this is supposed to represent the year when the Sonnets were published then it is a false date for the following reasons:

   1. In 1609 anything written by Shakespeare was in great demand
-the quartos of the plays were reprinted  over and over again.

If these  Sonnets had  been published in  1609 then there
would have been so great a demand for the work of a popular
writer like Shakspere that this book of Sonnets would have been
reprinted again and again. Why was it not reprinted?  Because
it was not originally printed in 1609.  The absence of reprints
is a problem which has never been explained by the Stratfordians.
Even J. M. Robertson admitted this when he wrote: " it belonged
to the sonnet age-its failure to reach a second edition calls for
an explanation that has not yet been forthcoming ." The
explanation  is given above.

  2. There is absolutely no mention of the Sonnets as a complete
body of verse or any phrase or quotation in letters, diaries,
printed book or pamphlet between the years 1609 and 1624, a
period of 15 years.  This book was not seen by the public
until 1640, when an edition was printed, 31 years after 1609.

  3. In 1609 Shakspere, born in 1564, would be 45 years old.
Then in the prime of life-a  successful man, wealthy and the
owner of the largest house in Stratford, with no troubles, so
far as we know.  How could he at this age have written a number
of Sonnets which have all the characteristics of old age.

  In Sonnet No.63 we read: "As I am now  with times injurious
hand crushed and oer worn." How could Shakspere at the age
of 45 describe himself as crushed by time and worn out?

  In Sonnet No. 30 we read: " When in the sessions of sweet
silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past- then
can I drown an eye for precious friends  hid in death's dateless
night." It is clear that this Sonnet was written by someone
near the close of life.   How could Shakspere write that at the
age of 45, he had lost all his friends who were then dead?

  In Sonnet No.51 we read: "No longer mourn for me when I
am dead." The man who wrote this Sonnet was clearly some-
one who owing to length of years  was nearing death.  How could
Shakspere at the age of 45 write that he thought that he would
shortly die and tell his friends not to mourn for him?

  In Sonnet No.73 we read:

       "That time of year-thou may'st in me behold,
        When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
        Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
        Bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
        In me thou seest the twilight of such day
        As after sunset  fadeth in the west,
        In me thou seest  the glowing of such fire.
        That on the ashes of his youth doth lie.
        As the death bed whereon it must expire."

The man who wrote this Sonnet tells us that he had reached
the age of the sere and yellow leaf  that he was nearing the
sunset of his life  and that the ashes of his youth were expiring
on the death bed of his old age.
  We see the words-in me, in me, in me, which shows that me
is the writer of this Sonnet and that therefore this Sonnet could
not have been written by Shakspere at the age of 45 when he
was only in middle age. These quotations prove that the
Sonnets were not published in 1609.

  4. That there was neither  printed  nor published  any  book
entitled Shake-spear's Sonnets in 1609 is also proved by the
fact that there is no reference to this book by any Shakespearian
commentator between the years 1609 and 1640 when John
Benson published these Sonnets under the title of :

POEMS :
WRITTEN

BY
WIL. SHAKES-SPEARE.
Gent.

Printed  at    London by Tho. Cotes and are
to be sold by John Benson dwelling in
St. Dunstan's Churchyard 1640.

So that for a period of 31 years- there is no record of this book.

Between the years 1640 and 1766, a period of 126 years, there is
still  no mention  of the quarto-in 1766 George  Steevens
reprinted " Shake-spear's Sonnets from a copy published by
G. Eld".  Note this is the first mention of the 1609 quarto in
English Literature-156  years after its alleged  publication.  There
was never a whisper during this period of 156 years that such
a book had been published in the lifetime of the supposed author.
If it had been published in Shakspere's lifetime it would have
been known to the public and would have been referred to and
read by people interested in the "Shakespeare" plays.

  5. The Scotch poet and sonneteer-Drummond of Haw-
thornden, a close friend of Ben Johnson in 1614-prepared a
list of all the books in his library which he had acquired up to
that date. If the 1609 quarto had been publicly on sale for
five years prior to the date when he made this list-it is un-
believable that  he did not acquire a copy of this book of sonnets
to add to his library.  This is evidence that he had never even
heard of this book so it could not have been in print at the time
that he made the list of his books.

  6. The Stratfordians say that the Sonnets were published in
1609. How do they account for the fact that this book of
sonnets contains distinct references to public incidents which
occurred in 1620-21-four years after Shakspere's death, which
proves that the author could not have been Shakspere.

  One of the difficulties encountered when trying to solve the
mystery of the Sonnets is that  the Stratfordian critics when they
come across anything thay they do not understand, ignore it
entirely.  They are so obsessed with the idea that Shakspere
wrote the Sonnets that when they are not able to connect the
Sonnets with any incident in the life of Shakespere, they are
completely baffled and unable to offer any explanation of the
meaning of a great number of the Sonnets beyond making the
wildest guesses and surmises.
  The Stratfordians say that the book "Shake-Speares Sonnets"
published at London by G. Eld for TT, 1609, was the work of
Will Shakspere of Stratford.  They have no authority whatso-
ever for making this statement. This book does not state that
it was the work of Will Shakspere or anyone else.  No name of
the author appears on the title page or anywhere in the book itself.
If the reader wishes to understand the Shake-Speare Sonnets
-it is necessary for him to read these sonnets as originally
printed and to ignore the alterations made by modern editors,
who are not capable of understanding these sonnets.  There is
nothing in any of these sonnets to connect them in any way with
the
life of Will Shakspere of Stratford.

If Will Shakspere had written the" Shakespeare " plays when
he published his sonnets he would naturally inform the public
that these sonnets were the work of the man who had written
the celebrated plays because he would wish to get all the publicity
he could and not hide his light under a bushel by publishing
sonnets without acknowledging that he was the author.
  It can be shown that the Shake-speare sonnets were written
by Francis Bacon and record certain  incidents in his own life.
The reader can prove this for himself if we will take the trouble
to study these sonnets carefully and intelligently.

The  literary critics  cannot  understand "Shake-spears
Sonnets" because they try to link them with the life of Will
Shakspere but without any success because these sonnets have
nothing to do with Shakspere or his life-they  are groping about
in the dark because they can find no key anywhere to unlock
the secrets contained in the sonnets.  If they  could only
realise that the sonnets were the work of Francis Bacon and refer
to incidents in his life and not the life of Shakspere, they would
be able to understand the meaning of the sonnets.  They labour
under the delusion that the word love in the sonnets refers to
physical love, whereas Bacon uses this word love to refer to his
love of Pallas Athene the Greek goddess of wisdom who is
the same as Minerva the Roman goddess of wisdom.  He also
uses the word love to refer to his love for his plays-the children
of his brain.  He also writes of his love for his other personality,
the dramatist Shakes-spear. Bearing this in mind, the true
meaning of the word love  in the sonnets will be found and
enable the reader to understand the sonnets of Shakes-speare.
Anyone reading " Shake-spear's " Sonnets for the first time
must come to the conclusion that certain of the Sonnets are out
of order because he will find certain Sonnets the subject matter
of which has no relation  to Sonnets which appear before or
after them as printed in the book.  When it is discovered that
there are numerous Sonnets where this appears it is obvious
that these Sonnets have been purposely disarranged. What
was the object in doing this?  The object would appear to be
that Bacon did not wish to give the reader any broad hints to
disclose that he was writing under the name of "Shake-spear."

The Sonnets when re-arranged will be found to form groups
dealing with different subjects.  It is necessary therefore to
re-arrange some of the Sonnets to achieve this result. The first
thing to do is to discover which of the Sonnets should come first
in any re-arrangement.  It will be found that the first Sonnet is
No.23 which is addressed to the readers, followed by Sonnets
relating to Apollo-the Greek patron of poetry-which are
Sonnets numbered 24, 26, 53, 54, 55.

   The Sonnets of Shake-speare refer to certain persons and
events as well as to a number of different subjects, so for con-
venience I have divided them into different groups as follows:

   1. Those relating to
Marguerite de Valois-these were the
     first Sonnets that Bacon wrote during the years 1577-1579
     when he was abroad.
   2. Those relating to
William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke,
     written during the years 1599 to 1602.
   3. Those relating to King James of England and Scotland.
   4. Those relating to Mistress Mary Fitton, written during
     the years 1595 to 1602.
   5. Those relating to the First Folio and his nom-de-plume
     Shake-speare.
   6. Those relating to Apollo.
   7. Those relating to Pallas Athene.
   8. Those relating to Time.
   9. Miscellaneous Sonnets.

In the demonstration which follows, I set out the Sonnets in
the order in which they appear in the quarto but I put at the
head of each Sonnet the subject to which it refers.

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