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"If Bacon wrote Shakespeare,
the Promus is intelligible -
if he did not,
it is an insoluble riddle."

-
Robert Theobald,
Shakespeare Studies In Baconian Light, 1901




From Edward D. Johnson: "The Shaksper Illusion," chapter:"Francis Bacon's Promus"

FRANCIS BACON 'S Promus is by itself sufficient evidence to show that the man who wrote the Promus also wrote the "Shakespeare" Plays.

Bacon kept a private memorandum book which he called The Promus of Formularies and Elegancies which from time to time he jotted down any words, similies, phrases, proverbs or colloquialisms which he thought might come in useful in connection with his literary work, gathering them together so as to be able to draw upon them as occasion should require. The word Promus means storehouse, and Bacon's Promus contains nearly 2,000 entries in various languages such as English, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish and French.
The Promus which was in Bacon's own hand-writing, fortunately was preserved and is now in the British Museum.
It was reproduced and published for the first time by Mrs. Henry Pott in 1883. No one, of course, knows the date when he commenced to make this collection, it may have been written during the years 1594 to 1596. Folio 85 being dated Dec. 5, 1594(This is a sample page), and Folio 4 being dated 27 Jan. 1595.  The Promus was a private note book and was unknown to the public for a period of more than 200 years after it was written.
Now it is a significant fact that Bacon in the works published under his own name makes very little use of the notes he had jotted down in the Promus . What was the object of making this collection of phrases, etc.? The answer is that they were used in his dramatic works published by Bacon in the name of ''William Shakespeare.'' A great number of these entries are reproduced in the ''Shakespeare'' plays.
An appendix to the book has a table illustrating the many entries which also appear in the works of Shakespeare.

The Stratfordians try to get over this fact by contending that these expressions were in common use at the time,
but Bacon would not be such a fool as to waste his time by making a note of anything that was commonly current.  The words and expressions in the Promus occur so frequently in the ''Shakespeare'' plays that it is quite clear that the author of the Plays had seen and made use of the "Promus "and Will Shakesper could not have seen Francis Bacon's private notebook.

The most important evidence in the Promus is the word ALBADA, Spanish for good dawning (Folio 112).  This expression good dawning' only appears once in English print, namely, in the play of King Lear where we find "Good dawning to thee friend," Act 2, Scene 2. This word ALBADA is in the Promus 1594-96 and King Lear was not published until 1600's.If Will Shaksper had not seen the "Promus", and as he could not read Spanish, it would mean that some friend had found this word ALBADA, meaning good dawning and told Shaksper about it, and that Shaksper then put the word into King Lear, which sounds highly improbable. A part of one of the folios in the "Promus "is devoted by Bacon to the subject of salutations such as good morrow, good soir, good matin, bon jour, good day. From this it would appear that Bacon wished to introduce these salutations into English speech. These notes were made in the Promus in 1596 and it is a remarkable co-incidence that in the following year 1597 the play of Romeo and Juliet was published containing some of these salutations, and they afterwards appeared in other "Shakespeare" plays good morrow being used 115 times; good day, I5 times; and good soir (even), 12 times. These words are found in the ''Shakespeare'' Plays and nowhere else.
 

The following show some of the connections between the Promus and the "Shakespeare" Plays.

Promus (I594-96) "To drive out a nail with a nail.''
Coriolanus, Act 4 Sc. 7 (1623) ''One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail."
"One nail by strength drives out another."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Fire shall try every man's work."
Merchant of Venice, "The fire seven times tried this''
Act 2, Sc. 9 (1600)  

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Conscience is worth a thousand witnesses."
Richard III, Act 5, ''Every man's conscience is a thousand swords." Sc. 2 (1597) 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "A Fool's bolt is soon shot."
Henry V, Act 3, Sc.7(1623) "A Fool's bolt is soon shot." 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Good wine needs no bush."
As You Like It,Epilogue (1623) "Good wine needs no bush."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "I had not known sin but by the law.''
Measure for Measure Act 2, Sc. I (1623) "What do you think of the trade Pompey?  Is it a lawful trade."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Gratitude is justly due only for things unbought."
Timon of Athens, Act I, Sc. 2 (1623) "You mistake my love, I give it freely ever; and there's none can truly say he gives, if he receives.''
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "To slay with a leaden sword."
Love's Labour's Lost, Act 5, Sc. 2 (1598) "Wounds like a leaden sword."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) 'If our betters have sustained
the like events; we have the  less  cause  to  be grieved.''

Lucrece (1594) ''When we our betters see bearing our woes, we scarcely think our miseries our foes.''

*   *
Promus 1594-96) "When he is dead, he will beloved."
Coriolanus, Act 4 Sc.6 (1600) "I shall be loved when I am lacked."

*   *
Promus (1594-96)Suum cuique." (To every man his own).
Titus Andronicus,Act I, Sc. 2 (1600) "Suum cuique is our Roman Justice."

 *   *
Promus (1594-96) "Galen's compositions and Paracelsus' separations.''
All's Well that Ends Well,"So I say both of Galen and Paracelsus." Act 2, Sc. 3 (1623)
   
*   *
Promus (1594-96) "He had rather have his will than his wish."
Henry V, Act 5, Sc.2 (1623) "So the maid that stood in the way for my wish shall show me the way to my will."
     
*   *
Promus (1594-96) "They have a better question in Cheapside, 'What lack you?
King John, Act 4,Sc. I (1623) "What lack you?"

*   *

Promus (1594-96) "Poets invent much."
As You Like It, Act 3, Sc. 3 (1623) ''The truest poetry is the most feigning."
  

*   *
Promus (1595-96) "He who loans to a friend loses double."
Hamlet, Act I,Sc. 3 (1604) ''Loan oft loses both itself and friend."
 
 *   *
Promus (1594-96) "We think that a rich man is always right."
Timon of Athens,Act I, Sc. 2 (1623) ''Faults that are rich are fair."

 *   *

Promus (1594-96) "Have recourse to a foreign war to appease parties at home."
2 Henry IV, Act 4,Sc,5 (1600) "Be it thy course to busy giddy minds with  foreign quarrels.''
 
*   *
Promus (1594-96) ''Always let losers have their words."
Titus Andronicus, Act 1, Sc. I (1600) ''Losers will have leave to ease their stomachs with their bitter tongues."

 *  *                                                
Promus (1594-96) "The prudent man conceals his knowledge."
3 Henry VI, Act 4 Sc.7 (1623) "'Tis wisdom to conceal our meaning."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Things done cannot be undone."
Macbeth, Act 5, Sc.i (1623) "What's done cannot be undone."

*   *.
Promus (1594-96) "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak."
Hamlet, Act, I,Sc. 3(1604) ''Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) ''Leisure breeds evil thoughts.''
Anthony and Cleopatra Act I, Sc. 2 (1623) "We bring forth weeds when our quick minds be still."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "A boy's love doth not endure.''
King Lear, Act 3 Sc. 6 (1608) "He's mad that trusts in a boy's love."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "A cat may look on a King."
Romeo and Juliet, Act 3,Sc.3 (1597) "Every cat and dog may look on her." 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "He had need be a wily mouse should breed in a cat's ear."
Henry V, Act 3 Sc. 7 (1623) "That's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Our sorrows are our school-masters.''
King Lear, Act 2, Sc. 4 (1608) ''To wilful men, the injuries that they themselves procure, must be their schoolmasters.''
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "To fight with a shadow."
Merchant of Venice, Act I, Sc. 2 (1600) ''He will fence with his own shadow.''
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) ''Diluculo surgere saluberrimum est.''
Twelfth Night (Act 2,Sc,2) (1623) "Diluculo surgere, thou knowest.''
  

*  *
Promus (1594-96) "To stumble at the threshold."
3 Henry VI, Act 4, Sc. 7 (1623)  "Many men that stumble at the threshold.''

*   *
Promus (1594-96) ''Thought is free.''
The Tempest, Act 3 Sc.2 (1623)''Thought is free.''
Twelfth Night, Act I,Sc. 3 (1623) ''Thought is free.''

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Out of God's blessing into the warm sun."
King Lear, Act 2, Sc. 2 (1608)"Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st to the warm sun."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Put no confidence in Princes"
Henry VII, Act 3' "0, how wretched is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favours.''

* *
Promus (1594-96)  ''Frost burns.''
Hamlet Act 3 Sc.4 (1604) ''Frost itself as actively doth born."
    

* *
Promus (1594-96)  "Appetite comes by eating."
Hamlet, Act I, ''As if increase of appetite had grown by what he feeds on."
Sc. 2 (1604)

* *

Promus (1594-96) "Better coming to the ending of a feast than to the beginning of a fray."
I Henry IV , Act 4, "The latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast." Sc. 2 (1598)   

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "He stumbles who makes too much haste."
Romeo and Juliet,Act 2, Sc. 3 (1599) "They stumble that run fast."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Anyone can manage a boat in calm weather."
Coriolanus, Act 4, Sc. I (1623) ''When the sea was calm, all boats alike show'd master-ship in floating."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Happy man, happy dole."
Merry Wives of Windsor Act 3, Sc. 4(1623) "Happy man be his dole."
Henry IV, Act 2,Sc. 2 (1598) "Happy man be his dole."
The Taming of the Shrew Act I, Sc. I (1623) "Happy man be his dole."
The Winter's Tale, Act 1, Sc. 2 (1623) "Happy man be his dole."

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "An ill wind that bloweth no man to good."
2 Henry IV, Act 5, "The ill wind which blows no man to good."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Seldom cometh the better."
Richard III, Act 2,Sc. 3(1597)''Seldom comes the better."

 *   *
Promus (1594-96) "A thorn is gentle when it is young." 
Henry VI, Act 5,Sc. 5 (1623) "What can so young a thorn begin to prick."
 

*   *
Promus (1594-96) "He who has not patience has nothing.

"Othello, Act 2, Sc. 3 (1622) "How poor are they that have not patience.''
 
*   *
Promus (1594-96) "Know thyself."
As You Like It, Act 3, Sc. 5 (1623) "Know yourself."


 More on the Promus

 

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