REFLECTIONS

ON

THE STORY OF THE LEARNED PIG

by

Mather Walker
2005

 

An interesting book. It definitely contains secret, insider information, but you have to look beneath the surface, and follow the guideposts of metaphor, allegory, and allusion to find this information. Of course, the Stratfordians deny that there is an allusion to Bacon as author of Shakespeare plays there. But, this is understandable, because when has any of that blind breed ever had the ability to see beneath the surface of anything?

Sam Schoenbaum spoke for the Stratfordians (in Shakespeare's Lives) with his opinion that: 

1. The Bacon-Shakespeare connection in the work is purely co-incidental.
2. There is no intentional reference to Bacon.
3. The work is just what it appears: a work written by an Officer of the Royal Navy for the purpose of drawing attention to "the sad neglect of former Naval Officers by an ungrateful nation".

 Schoenbaum had his usual snide remark for the Baconians:

 "Only the remorselessly literal-minded could detect the seeds of heresy in this quaint narrative, but such literal-mindedness is not alien to the anti-Stratfordian sensibility."

But this remarks tells us more about Schoenbaum than it does about the Baconians. It shows his own mental condition went beyond that of a closed mind all the way to pathological. When he labels people who disagree with him heretics, he demonstrates the same sick mentality as those sociopaths of the Church, who, at an earlier time in history, burned alive people who disagreed with them. 

Something more than Schoenbaum's theory is required to explain the format of the book. If the aim of the book was to show that former Naval Officers got less attention than a trained pig,- why the transmigration motif? Certainly, if the work was written by an Officer of the Royal Navy, he had a good reason for remaining anonymous, but there would have been no need to introduce a transmigration motif if the concern was merely the sad neglect of former Naval Officers.

The transmigration motif serves yeoman duty in that it allows the author to bring in the account of the Learned Pig authoring Shakespeare plays. It also allows the author to bring in evidence that strongly indicates the Learned Pig does, in fact, refer to Bacon. But, of course, Schoenbaum was blind to this, because it was in contradiction to his preconceptions. 

The evidence I refer to is the following passage in the book:

 "I shall pass over my juvenile exploits at court while a page, as well as the part I took in the affairs of an unfortunate prince, for which I have been held out by many as a monster of ingratitude; but let any man in this world lay his hand on his heart and say, if he can, that in my circumstances he would not have done the same.The great actions that afterwards signalized my life are well known to you and all the world, as well as my subsequent disgrace, the common fate of all great men."

 Earls were commonly referred to as princes in Elizabethan times, so now we not only:

1. Have the Learned Pig writing 'Shakespeare' plays.
2. We have him at court.
3. We have him involved in a matter that describes perfectly the part Bacon took in the Essex affair.
4. Which caused him later to be held out by many as a monster of ingratitude.
5. We have him as a great man (describing Bacon's subsequent rise to great place).
6. We have a reference to his subsequent disgrace which describes Bacon's fall and disgrace after becoming a great man.

So the similarities have piled up. They go well beyond co-incidence.

What conclusions should we draw from this? Could those Baconians be correct who have believed the work was written by the Rev. James Wilmot? We know now that in 1785 (just one year before the publication of The Learned Pig in 1786) Wilmot had arrived at the conclusion that Francis Bacon was the real author of the "Shakespeare" works. In 1598, publications by Joseph Hall and John Marston showed they both believed Bacon was the author of the 'Shakespeare' works. But a hiatus of 187 years had occurred before Bacon was again being seen as the author. Could it have been mere co-incidence, that after almost two hundred years these two instances should occur so close together in time?  Moreover, The Learned Pig was written anonymously, and since Wilmot did not want to offend his Stratford neighbors, we know he had a good reason for producing the work anonymously, if, indeed, he was the author. 

There might be some grounds for believing Wilmot was the author, except, The Learned Pig contains additional allusions that indicates a knowledge of an esoteric nature in the book , i.e., information produced by, intended for, or to be understood by only an inner group, or chosen few. In my opinion this knowledge clearly goes far beyond what might have been expected of Wilmot. I conclude this for the simple reason that: if Wilmot had this information he would never have needed to embark on a quest for information about the Stratford man in his Stratford neighborhood,- a quest that led him finally to question the Stratford man's authorship of the Shakespeare works.

I have pointed out two reasons why it was to the advantage of the author to use the transmigration motif, but the special emphasize on transmigration seems to go beyond those. They do not explain why the book was signed:

TRANSMIGRATUS

With this emphasis on transmigration the question that comes to mind is,- is it co-incidence that there exists evidence that Bacon was connected to a religion which held transmigration as one of its main tenets?

The religion I refer was known as The Family Of Love. It's members were commonly referred to as Familists. Frances Yates pointed out that Christoper Plantin, the foremost printer of the age was allied with this group, and that there is evidence John Dee was also. The Familists used a special emblem - a flaming heart with a handshake depicted inside the heart. If the title pages of Bacon's books are examined it seems apparent there is evidence to connect him to the Familists. For example, here is the title page of the rare Latin version of the first edition of the De Augmentis:

William Rawley, Bacon's personal chaplain and close acquaintance, had the same emblem placed on the title page of a book containing some of Bacon's works which he published in 1638:

The emblem on the title page of the above merely shows the flaming heart without the handshake, the title page of the 1624 edition of Bacon's Advancement of Learning has the handshake:

 

The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries by Charles William Heckethorn is a useful reference for understanding the origins of the Family of Love.

According to Heckethorn, The Family of Love stands at the latest end of a religious tradition that began several millenia earlier with Zoroaster, and the stream of its transmission passed through changes made by the Persia prophet Mani who melded it with Gnosticism, and Christianity,- founding around 250 A.D. the religion of Manichaeism, which Heckethorn terms, "The Religion of Love" because it placed great emphasis on love. This religion spread, as it was transmitted down the centuries, to Bulgaria (Bogomiles); to Lombardy (Patarini); to the eastern Saracens and Sufis where the Templars during their sojourn in the East contacted it and attached themselves to the doctrines of the Gnostics and Manichaeans (and from which, according to Heckethorn) came the seeds of the Rosicrucians and Freemasonry. It then spread then to France (Cathari, Albigenses), and subsequently to the troubadours and the Courts of Love. 

Contained in the flow of this stream of tradition are elements that are very prominent in the design of the First Folio, and in Bacon's ideas. This is the dualist religion in which there exists two opposing, eternal principles: the god of light and good above, is opposed to, equal to, and in eternal conflict with the god of darkness and evil in the sphere of matter below, and the soul, once it has fallen into the sphere of matter below, is subject to a great cycle of transmigration before it can free itself and return to the realm of light above.

The doctrine is closely akin to that of the legendary Orpheus who was supposed to have originated The Mysteries. Empedocles, the great sage of Sicily, and a favorite of Bacon's, said:

"There is an oracle of Necessity, and ancient decree of the gods, eternal, sealed fast with broad oaths, that when one of the spirits whose portion is long life sinfully stains his own limbs with bloodshed, and following Hate has sworn a false oath-these muse wander for thrice ten thousand seasons far from the company of the blessed, being born throughout the period into all kinds of mortal shapes, which exchange one hard way of life for another."

In the ceremonies of The Mysteries the opposition between light and dark was dramatized (this conflict was "The Eternal War of Eleusis") and the doctrine of transmigration was also taught in these Mysteries.

The account of the transmigrations of The Learned Pig in the book begins at the time of Numa Pompilius. Bokenham noted that Pompilius built the Temple of Janus and was originally the God of light and Day, later becoming the God of beginnings. But Thomas Bokenham only had part of it. in his essay on The Learned Pig. In ancient times, in this region, the year was divided into two halves; the half of darkness and winter, and the half of light and summer. Janus was the God who stood between these two halve of the year. He was the God of two faces who looked back at the darkness of of winter, and forward at the light of of summer. This allusion to darkness and light at the beginning of the book corresponds to the doctrine of darkness and light at the beginning of the tradition that eventually flowed down to the Family of Love.

The plays in the First Folio certainly have a Janus design. They also have the theme of light and darkness. And the theme of reincarnation, or transmigration, also plays a prominent part.

Colin Still's "Shakespeare's Mystery Play" demonstrates one stream of alleogry in The Tempest has to do with The Mysteries at Eleusis. These took place on the Equinoxes. The play exhibits a detailed allegory of the equally balanced and opposed contraries of light and darkness. Day and night are equal. The earth is half light and half dark. The earth is always half light and half dark. With The Tempest designed so the island is a microcosm of the earth, the greater earth becomes a microcosm of the universe. Thus the play allegorizes an equality between light and darkness not only on the earth, but in the entire universe.

There is an interesting book by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval "TALISMAN" in which they say the religion of dualism has been a persecuted secret underground heretic faith that surfaced from time to time, and has had a secret underground influence on humanity.

In this faith, as already noted, the god of light and good above, is opposed to, equal to, and in eternal conflict with the god of darkness and evil below, and matter is equated with darkness and evil. Hancock and Bauval point out that among those who entertained various forms of this religion were the Zoroastrians, the Essenes, the Gnostics, the Manicheists, the Kabbalists and the Cathars or Albigenists.

It seems that after the monstrous Roman Catholic Church conducted their campaign of genocide on the Cathars, murdering thousands of innocent, good people, some of these people survived as a heretic underground religion.

I think Bacon was probably first introduced to this religion by John Dee, and when he was in France from 1576 to 1579 he had contacts with this underground group. Hence his Alciat emblem where the pyramid of nature is shown with one side with the dark "A" and the other side with the light "A".

But Bacon gave his own slant to this faith. According to Bacon it was the interaction between the opposites that produce the world of nature. He has a fragmentary work called "The History of the Sympathy and Antipathy of Things" in which he says:

"Strife and friendship in nature are the spurs of motions and the keys of works. Hence are derived the union and repulsion of bodies, the mixture and separation of parts, the deep and intimate impressions of virtues, and that which is termed the junction of actives with passives; in a word, the magnalia naturae. But this part of philosophy concerning the sympathy and antipathy of things, which is also called Natural Magic, is very corrupt"

So Bacon devised the "AA" device showing the relation between light and dark as producing the harvest of things. The device customarily showed a cornucopia or harvest vase between the two A's, and the device frequently showed cupids on each of the A's, connecting it with the idea of love.

In De Principiis Atque Originbus he says:

"But seeing there are such armies of contraries in the world, as of dense and rare, hot and cold, light and darkness, animate and inanimate, and many others oppose, deprive and destroy one another in turn"

What is really interesting about this, is that while The Tempest incorporates the basic doctrine of opposition of darkness and light, it also incorporates a specific and detailed reflection of Zoroastrianism (aka Mazdaism, or fire worship) which seems to be the earliest historical record of this dualist faith. Traditionally Zoroaster is supposed to have lived around 600 B.C., but some authorities place him much earlier.

James Darmesteter, who edited the Zend-Avesta in the Sacred Books of the East series, said he probably lived around 1,500 B.C. The Zend-Avesta, or by its correct title, The Avesta, is the sacred book of Zoroastrianism. Heckethorn believed Zoroaster lived at an era more than 5,000 B.C.

Zoroaster lived in the region of Media, an ancient country in what is now the northeastern section of present-day Iran, Northern-Khvarvarana and Asuristan (now known as Iraq), and South and Eastern Anatolia. In Media there were six tribes: Busae, Paraetakeni, Strouchates, Arizanti, Budii, and Magi. Zoroaster was a member of the Magi tribe, and in addition to establishing the religion of Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism, it seems that he also established the priesthood or caste of the Magi. The Magi were reputed to have occult or supernatural powers, and it is from their name that we have derive words: magus, magic, and magician. (Curiously, according to Heckethorn, the word Magi is derived from Maja, the mirror wherein Brahm, in Indian Mythology beholds all his creation, and Bacon constantly describes his Intellectual globe as a mirror which in which can be seen all of creation.) 

In this religion Ohrmazd, the god of light and good, is opposed to and in eternal conflict with Ahriman, the god of darkness and evil. Ohrmazd has existed for all eternity above in light and goodness, (the realm of fire) while Ahriman has existed for all eternity below in darkness and ignorance.

The world is twofold, being the work of two hostile principles. Ahura Mazda, the principle of light and good, and Angra Mainyu the principle of darkness and evil.

The history of the universe and of the world is the history of their conflict. This was the religion of the Magi and was derived from the same source as that of the Indian Rishis, that is, from the religion followed by the common forefathers of the Iranians and Indians, the Indo-Iranian religion. There were two general ideas at the bottom of the Indo-Iranian religion; first, that there is a law in nature, and, secondly, that there is a war in nature. The law in nature by which everything goes on in an orderly pattern: days after days; season after seasons; years after years come and come again, in their appointed time, is the result of the principle of Ahura Mazda. There is a war in nature because the power of Angra Mainyu is in eternal conflict with the power of Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda is the heavenly God, the God of spirit, while Angra Mainyu is the earthy God in matter. Both Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu have six subsidiary principles or Gods. James Darmesteter notes that the number was later raised to twelve to correspond to the twelve successive aspects of the sun (that is to the zodiac). Angra Mainyu is a reflection of Ahura Mazda as shadow is a reflection of light.

If you correlate all this with The Tempest you find the beginning (which symbolizes the descent of souls from the realm of light above to the dark realm of matter) as depicted with fire running through the masts of the ship. That is, the realm above is the realm of fire as in Zoroastrianism (and as in Bacon ideas). Two 12 years periods are depicted on the island. Sycorax and her son Caliban (Mistress, and thing of darkness) ruled the island for the first 12 years, and next 12 Prospero (the personification of knowledge and light) had ruled the island. (In Zoroastrianism there are two 12,000 years periods). The Tempest, of course, is crafted with the exact balance between darkness and light. Prospero is the magician who uses magic to gain his ends. In Zoroastrianism the Magi are magicians, and our words magic and magicians are derived from them.

Furthermore, both the divisions of the 6 good and six evil entities is depicted, as well as the zodiac. The characters are as follows:

1. Alonso
2. Sebastian
3. Prospero
4. Antonio
5. Ferdinand
6. Gonzalo
7. Adrian and Francisco
8. Caliban
9. Trinculo
10. Stephano
11. Miranda
12. Ariel

They can be depicted in two way. First, as the respective 6 subordinate good and evil entities:

Just and Good

Unjust and Evil

1. Gonzalo

2. Alonso

3. Ferdinand

4. Antonio

5. Miranda

6. Sebastian

7. Ariel

8. Trinculo

9. Adrian

10. Caliban

11. Francisco

12. Stephano

Or next as a depiction of the zodiac (note Adrian and Francisco are listed together in the First Folio.

  Just and Good

Unjust and Evil

1. Prospero

2. Alonso

3. Gonzalo

4.Antonio


5. Ferdinand

6. Sebastian


7. Miranda


8. Trinculo

9. Ariel

10. Caliban

11. Adrain & Francisco

12. Stephano

Adrian and Francisco (who are listed together) would apparently represent Gemini, the twins, while Miranda would represent Virgo, the virgin. Caliban would represent Pisces (we are told in the play he was part fish) and so on.

But the depiction in the First Folio goes beyond this. Heckethorn says:

"It is scarcely necessary to point out to the reader the astronomical bearing of the theogony of Zoroaster. The six good genii represent the six summer months, while the evil genii stand for the winter months."

And, in the catalogue of the First Folio the large ornamental "T" indents the first two comedies so that there twelve comedies not indented are parallel with the twelve tragedies (Troilus and Cressida is not shown in the catalogue). In the list of these twelve comedies, Midsummer Nights Dream is the sixth, and The Winter's Tale is the twelfth, exactly dividing the twelve between the six summer months and the six winter months.

There is a great deal more in the plays of the First Folio that correlates with this stream of tradition, but I am trying to keep this short while covering some of the basic features I see in the book.

 The next important point that needs comment is the passage where the Learned Pig says he contracted a friendship with Shakspeare and that he wrote Hamlet, Othello, As you like it, The Tempest, and A Midsummer's Night Dream.

 On the surface it looks as if we are being told that Bacon wrote only these five plays. But the book does not say these were the only plays the Learned Pig wrote; and a careful reading of the book shows various allusions running through it that connects The Learned Pig with various other 'Shakespeare' plays. As an example, at the very beginning of the book before the author begins with a description of his first transmigration, he says:

 "Before I proceed, however, it may not be improper to inform you, that about six hundred years ago, I fell in with Achilles on the Alpine mountains in the character of a wolf, myself being then no more than a filly grasshopper. He accosted me as I was skipping by him, and swore he had known me a soldier in the Grecian army, at the siege of Troy, and that I had often distinguished myself by his side, although he could not, at so great a distance of time, recollect the name I went by. Three hours after this, I was accosted by Hector, in an animal of the same species, who affirmed he had known me a soldier in the Trojan army; and that I was within the walls during the whole siege. I did not, indeed, contradict either of them, for very good reasons; though nothing can be more clear than that one of them lied at least. But, to proceed------"

Anyone alert to allusion cannot fail to note this allusion is to the play of Troilus and Cressida. Both deal with the seige of Troy. Achilles and Hector both appear "in the character of a wolf", alluding to that famous passage in Troilus and Cressida where Ulysses says:

 "And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And last eat up himself."

In the First Folio, Troilus and Cressida appears at the beginning of the Tragedies, yet in a sense it not part of the Tragedies, because it is not listed with the Tragedies in the catalogue. And when the play was published in the Quarto format in 1609, in the introduction it was referred to as a 'comedy', while in the First Folio it was placed at the beginning of the tragedies. Likewise in the Learned Pig it is part of the transmigration account, but at the same time, it is not part of the transmigration account, because it is actually placed before the account of the first transmigration is given.

So The Learned Pig is connected to Troilus and Cressida. And there are a number of allusions in the book that connects The Learned Pig to other plays. These allusions insinuate his authorship of those plays. So why are we told of his writing only five plays at the point where his contracting a friendship with Shakespeare is described? Since other allusions connect him to other plays, we must assume that in naming only these plays, the book is not saying Bacon wrote only these plays, but that the fact that the passage only cites five plays, means it is making some other allusion, that we must puzzle out. I think this allusion tells us that Bacon did not work alone, that he had some 'good pens' assisting him, and that some of these had works published under the name of Shakespeare.

 There is evidence Sir Walter Raleigh and Bacon jointly wrote the Shakespeare Sonnets. William Jaggard, who was closely associated with the printing of works of Bacon, and of the 'Shakespeare' First Folio, printed under Shakespeare's name in 1599, The Passionate Pilgrime which had poems by Bartholomew Griffin, Richard Barnfield, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh and others. In 1640, Thomas Cotes (who had became apprentice to Jaggard in 1597, and who was working in Jaggard's shop at the time The First Folio was printed; and who took over the business after Isaac Jaggard died in 1627) printed a book of poems of Shakespeare which contained works by Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont, and R. Herrick as well as the the caricature of the 1623 Shakespeare portrait with the leading question below it: "This shadowe is renowned Shakespeare's?"

Of course the plan, and in the main, the writing in The First Folio is Bacon's and Bacon's alone.

Even apart from numerous other instances in the book, the placement of the allusion to Troilus and Cressida as a prologue to the transmigration account in the book, clearly shows that the author had special, insider knowledge. Homer's account of the seige of Troy was an allegory of the fall of the soul from the realm of light above to the dark realm of matter below. Homer understood that the fall was actually a fall outward from the inner realm. Hence a walled city with the seige from without. After the account of the fall in the Illiad, Homer then gives the account of the transmigrations of the soul in his Odyssey, which relates the wanderings of Ulysses. Bacon adopts the same allegory in his play of the seige of Troy. This is why this play is placed at the beginning of the Tragedies. Because the fall must take place before the transmigrations in the physical plane.

In Bacon's microcosm, the twelve comedies represent the celestial, or intellectual realm of light above, while the tragedies represent the terrestrial or realm of matter and darkness below. Hence the logic of the location of the play, and of the references to it as both as a comedy and as a tragedy. Because, in the account before the fall of Troy it belongs to the realm of the comedies, and after the fall of Troy it below to the realm of the Tragedies, and this is why it is placed at the beginning of the tragedies, and yet, in a sense does not belong to the tragedies.
And whoever wrote The Learned Pig clearly understood this, because he placed the allusion to the seige of Troy at the point before the account of the transmigration began, because the transmigrations do not begin until the soul has fallen into the physical realm of matter.

An interesting feature of the account in the book is that The Learned Pig is shown as both inside Troy and outside Troy. Bacon was one of those very rare individuals who had achieved the point where the inner soul mind was integrated with the outer mind of the physical personality, so he was actually both inside Troy and outside Troy.

So who was the author of this book that displays so much insider information about Bacon and about Bacon's Shakespeare plays? Here again we must follow the guideposts of metaphor, allegory, and allusion. He tells us he is an officer of the Royal Navy. Remember Bacon's emblematic device of the ship of discovery sailing out from the small Mediterranean sea, beyond the pillars of Hercules into the vast unexplored Atlantic? Remember Bacon's letter to Burleigh where he says he has taken all knowledge for his province?

 If Bacon then, is the King of Knowledge, an officer of the Royal Navy is someone who is an officer in his great program of discovery. This might mean that even as late as 1786 the secret society began by Bacon was still extant, or again it might mean the author was Bacon and he was being self depreciating.

****

 Comments on this essay can be sent to Lawrence Gerald

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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