Compeers by Night Series – Part III – (Part 3 of 3)


Francis Bacon and the Secret of the Ornamental Devices


Mather Walker

August 2002


A few days ago I was in the barroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Bay Street in Savannah, Georgia. There is a fine view of the high level bridge and the Savannah River. Two drink glasses sat empty and desolate on the table before me. I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! All was not lost, however. My waiter, although afflicted with some serious degenerative disease (his fingers clashed together like the claws of a spastic lobster every time they came within ten feet of a dollar bill), was a greyhound when it came to refilling empty drink glasses; and therefore, in my book, a veritable Prince Among Men. He had scuttled away with commendable celerity to remedy the deplorable drink situation. I passed the time enjoying the view while I suffered through the dry season, O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again. Above me on the high level bridge various distance diminished vehicles looked like nothing so much as a sequence of black bugs as they scooted across the arc of the bridge. Below on the wide surface of the Savannah River small boats of various types moved here and there.

Suddenly on the river below there crept into view, like a mountain moving with glacial slowness, one of those gargantuan cargo ships carrying a cargo of merchandise from China, the deck stacked from bow to stern, with hundreds of cargo containers labeled Hanjin and so forth, all ready to be downloaded at the Savannah Port Authority. There, when attached to flat cars, they would become the familiar box cars seen on railways as suspect goods are transported to unsuspecting, and soon to be exploited, consumers all over our great nation. The consumers will find the garments too small, and the goods too shoddy, but as the thug said in the Godfather movie, “It’s not personal, it’s just bizziness”.

This was when it occurred to me. I had been looking for a parallel for comparison with the phenomena of Bacon’s London. There it was right before my eyes. It seemed to me Savannah, in a number of ways, would serve the turn. Both were port cities. A surprising volume of shipping entered London during Bacon’s time, and a surprising volume of shipping comes through Savannah, especially in recent years since the politicians have completely sold this country out to the multinationals who have found the goose that lays the golden egg in cheap, foreign labor.

Bacon’s London was a relatively small port town with a population around 250,000 at the beginning of the 17th century. The population of Savannah was around 250,000 at the beginning of the 21st century. But my interest in comparing of the two cities was the book trade. There are no books written and published in Savannah. Only three publishers are listed in the yellow pages, and God knows what they publish because the handful of booksellers, such as Barnes and Nobles, and Books-a-Million deal in books written, published, and printed elsewhere.

The situation in Bacon’s London was startlingly different. In my opinion, an anomaly that cries for explanation. Frances Yates made an observation that has been echoed by a number of people when she remarked,

“I do not think it is sufficiently realized how very peculiar the Elizabethan Renaissance was.”

The comment is very true. It was very peculiar mainly because it was engineered by one man – Francis Bacon. But it is odd that the peculiarity of the twin phenomena – the Elizabethan book trade has not been similarly noted. In my opinion, again, although a number of factors, such as the fad for the “New Learning”, and the spirit of outreach and exploration contributed to this peculiarity, the main factor was that the moving force behind the phenomenon was Francis Bacon. Supposedly the rate of literacy was a great deal lower than now. If you excluded the illiterates, and the hordes of people who were forced to spent all their time scrabbling just to survive, the remaining, reading public was very small. Yet the number of publishers, booksellers, and works printed was absolutely amazing. Great works from classical antiquity were translated and published with surprisingly comprehensive coverage, and a large portion of works printed in London were home grown, written and published right there in London. Virtually all of the works that went on the market in London were published in London. Many were great works of literature.

How did the situation sort with Savannah, Georgia? Were any great books written in Savannah, Georgia? Forget about it. Were any books at all written in Savannah, Georgia? Only one, a trash novel called, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, written, as the local gentry would say, by one of those Damn Yankees who came down from the north and who must have had the soul of a garbage collector since he was greatly taken with the lowest of the low of the local scum. The book showed exactly what it was made of by turning out be a very good manure for the tourist trade. This was the single signal event that occurred in Savannah since the city was captured by Sherman during The Civil War and proffered to Lincoln as a present. The story (possibly apocryphal) is that Lincoln was overhear to mutter, “I would rather be shot.”

In Bacon’s London, St. Paul’s churchyard at the great cathedral (once a favored place for burning to death martyrs to their faith) became a favored meeting place, and place of doing business. If an Elizabethan wanted to know what was going on he just strolled down to St. Paul’s churchyard, and mingled with the crowds. St. Paul’s Churchyard was also the principal center of the London book trade. An almost unbelievable number of book sellers plied their trade in St. Paul’s churchyard. Each had a sign with a picture painted on it that distinguished his shop from the horde of others. Some of these were as follows :

Adams, Thomas (White Lion) - Allot, Robert (Black Bear) - Aspley, William (Parrot) - Barnes, Joseph (Bible) - Barret, William (Green Dragon) - Barret, William (Three Pidgeons) – Bladen, William (Bible) – Blunt, Edward (Bear) - Boler, James (Marigold) – Bostocke, Robert (King’s Head) - Burby, Cuthbert (Swan) - Burre, Walter (Crane) - Burton, Francis (Green Dragon) - Cadman, Thomas (Bible) – Clarke, Thomas (Angel) - Cooke, Tobie (Tiger’s Head) - Constable, Francis (Crane) - Dexter, Robert (Brazen Serpent) - East, Thomas (Black Horse) – Fetherstone, Henry (Rose) - Flasket, Iohn (Black Bear) – Iacson, Ralph (Swan) - Johnson, Arthur (White Horse) - Johnson, Thomas (Golden Key) – Knight, Clement (Holy Lamb) – Leake, William (Holy Ghost) - Linley, Paul (Black Bear) - Lisle, Laurence (Tiger’s Head) - Lownes, Matthew (Bishop’s Head) – Machem, Samuel (Bullhead) - Man, Samuel (Swan) - Maunsell, Andrew (Parrot) - Parker, John (Three Pigeons) - Perin, Iohn (Angel) - Ponsonby, William (Bishop’s Head) – Rounthwaite, Ralph (Golden Lion) – Seile, Henry (Tiger’s Head) - Stirrop, Thomas (The George) - Thorpe, Thomas (Black Bear) - Veale, Abraham (Lamb) - Walley, H. (Spread Eagle) - Waterson, Simon (Crown) – Wise, Andrew (Angel)

This begs two obvious questions: how do you make a lamb holy? And even more enigmatically, how do you paint the Holy Ghost? As with much else the Elizabethans were not phazed by things that might have stupefied us ordinary humans. You make a lamb holy by drawing a cross laying over one of its shoulders. As the guy said in the vaudeville act, “Why is watermelons called watermelons?” Because they is planted in the spring, Mr. Bones. Yuk, yuk, yuk. And as for the Holy Ghost, it was a truly grotesque looking thing - a skull resting on the winged globe of the earth. The proud parent of this one had to pertain to those special cases of which the warthog is the conspicuous example, “only its parent would have thought it was attractive”.

Although St. Paul’s churchyard stood head and shoulders above the rest, it was certainly not the be-all and the end-all of the population of booksellers of the time. The larger bookshops were outside, immediately adjacent to the Cathedral. Here you could find William Seres’ shop “at the West end of Paules at the signe of the Hedgehogge”; Robert Mylbourne’s shop “at the great south dore of Paules”; John Busbie’s shop “neere to the west door of Paules”; Edward White’s shop “at the little north-dore of Pauls at the sign of the gun”; Ed Blackmore’s shop “at the great south dore of Paules”; Arthur Johson’s and R. Howell’s shop “neere to the great north doore of Paules at the sign of the white horse”; John Baylie’s shop “neere to the little north-doore of Paules church”; Edmund Weaver’s shop “at the great north dore of Pauls”; and Nicholas Ling’s shop “at the little west doore at the west ende of Paules”.

St. Dunstan’s Churchyard ranked immediately behind St. Paul’s as the “most favored” location for the London booksellers of the time. Here I. Smithweeke (or Smithewicke, one of the men who funded the Shakespeare First Folio) had his shop “in Saint Dunstanes Church yard under the Dial”; others were:

Roger Barnes “in S. Dunstans Church-yard in Fleetstreet”; John Busby “in Fleet-Street in Saint Dunstans Church Yard”; William Jaggard (another of the funders of the First Folio) “at the East end of Dunstons Church”; Richard Moore “in Saint Dunstans Church-yard”; Matthew Lownes “under S. Dunstans church in the west”; George Winder “in Saint Dunstons Church yard in Fleet Street”; Richard Moore “in Saint Dunstans Chruch-yard in Fleet Streete”; and Nicholas Ling’s second shop “in Saint Dunstans Church-Yard in Fleete-Street”.

Numerous other bookshops were scattered throughout the city. I especially like the colorful description of Michael Sparke’s shop - at the sign of the blue bible in Green Arbor. George Bishop’s shop was located at the sign of the Three Cranes in Vintree. Nathaniell Butter’s shop was located “at the sign of the pide-bull neere St. Augustines Gate”. Thomas Man’s shop was “in Paternoster Row at the signe of the Talbot [a Talbot was a kind of hound]. Peter Short’s shop was “on Bredestreet hill at the sign of the star”. Henrie Tomes’ was “at Greyes Inn gate in Holborne (was this why Bacon used him for some of his works?). Robert Wilson’s shop was in Holborne “at the new gate of Grays Inn”. Henry Middletown’s was in “Ivy lane at the signe of the black horse”. John Harison’s was in “Pater noster rowe at the signe of the ancher”. Thomas Gosson’s was “in Pater noster rowe at the signe of the castle”. George Eld (the G. Eld who printed the sonnets) had a shop “at his house in fleet-lane at the signe of the printers press”. Francis Grove’s was “at the sarazens head outside Newgate”. James Davies’ was “at the red cross neare fleet streete conduit”. Henry Gosson’s shop was on London Bridge. William Timme’s shop was on “Pater-noster rowe at the signe of the Flower de luce and crown under cheapside.” John Bellamie’s shop was “at the signe of the two greyhounds in Comehill neare the royall exchange”. Nathaneal Newbery’s shop was “at the sign of the star under St. Peters church in cornhill”. Francis Constable’s shop was under St. Martines church at Ludgate.” John Jaggard’s shop was “in temple bar at the sign of the hand and stare between the two temple gates”. W. Butler’s shop was “in the bulwark, neere to the tower of London”. William Jaggard had another shop at his house in Barbican. Thomas Snodham’s shop was “at the signe of the red-Bull neere Temple-barre”. Abell Ieffes’ shop was at his “dwelling at the fore-streete without creeple gate, neere vnto Grubstreete.” Cuthbert Burby had a second shop “at the middle shop at Saint Mildres church in the Poultire by the stocks”. Thomas Scarlet had a shop “at the sign of the greene dragon in adling streete”. There were many others, but why go on? I think I have made my point about the amazing number of booksellers operating at that time. And we must not jump to the conclusion that these were tiny book stalls with only a handful of books. H. S. Bennett (English Books and Readers) mentions one who had a stock of 5,500 volumes when he died, and adds that a stock of 4,000 volumes was not uncommon.

In “The Mystery of Francis Bacon” Smedley theorized that after Francis Bacon returned to England from France in 1579 he began to devote his energies to systematically producing publications to develop the literature and language of England. This much is certain: Bacon was engaged at that time in processing written material. He was also connected to the two ornamental devices whose publication I have been surveying. Since writing the first article in part three of this series I have returned to EEBO’s digital vault for additional exploration. I have distinguished around 20 variations of the “AA” device. My records now cover around 500 publications marked with this device, some 100 odd publications marked with the Archer device, a considerable number of publications marked with the device used on the Venus and Adonis publication, and an assortment of other publication marked with other devices I have come to associate with Bacon’s publishing operation. Bacon, and the people assisting him, were processing an enormous amount of written material. Some of this material consisted of short tracts he wrote for various member of the ruling class. Most was material to be published for sale to the reading public of London. In a letter to his uncle, Lord Burghley, written in 1591, Bacon said:

“And if your lordship will not carry me on, I will not do as Anaxagoras did, who reduced himself with contemplation unto voluntary poverty: but this I will do, I will sell the inheritance that I have, and purchase some lease of quick revenue, or some office of gain, that shall be executed by deputy, and so give over all care of service, and become some sorry book-maker, or a true pioneer in that mine of truth, which, he said, lay so deep.

In a letter to his brother Anthony dated January 25th, 1594, he said:

“I have here an idle pen or two, specially one, that was cozened, thinking to have got some money this term. I pray send me somewhat else for them to write out besides your Irish collection, which is almost done. There is a collection of King James, of foreign states, largeliest of Flanders; which, though it is no great matter, yet I would be glad to have it.”

Mingled with the scribblings on the cover of papers belonging to Bacon (The Northumberland Manuscript) were the following fragments:

Earle of Arundells letter to the Queen

Speeches for my Lord of Essex at the tylt

Speech for my Lord of Sussex tilt

Leycesters Common Wealth

Essaies by the same author –printed

William Shakespeare

Rychard the second

Rychard the third

Asmund and Cornelia

Ile of Dogs

Thomas Nashe inferior plaiers

Exactly how was the work carried out? The matter is somewhat blurred, so let’s see if we can screw this unwieldy thing into focus. (1) We know Bacon had people assisting him in his labors. In his letter from Twickenham to Anthony he spoke of having “an idle pen or two” there. In a letter written after his fall he spoke of “a few good pens who forsake me not”. What we do not know is whether “good pens” referred merely to people who could be depended to turn foul copy into good copy ready for printing, or whether it also implied people who were skilled writers, i.e. authors. (2) We know he was actively seeking written material from various sources. The letter to Anthony tells us this. (3) We know that among his helpers were scriveners who put manuscripts into legible copy for printers to work from. His “I pray send me somewhat else for them to write out”, tells us this. (4) We know he had secretaries who took down the writing he dictated to them. Aubrey tells us this. These are the “given” pieces of the puzzle. With a little assistance from the fine art of reading between the lines we can go even further.

In his 1623 ‘De Augmentis’ Bacon described a collection wanting to the apparatus of rhetoric which he termed “lesser forms”. He said:

“…these are a kind of portals, postern-doors, outer rooms, back-rooms, and passages of speech which may serve indifferently for all subjects: such as prefaces, conclusions, digressions, transitions, etc.”

I think Bacon had dictated a collection of “lesser forms” for prefaces, or “letters dedicatorie” to the published material his group processed. When a manuscript was ready for publication, if Bacon did not have time to write a custom made preface, an assistant sorted through the collection and selected one that seemed appropriate for the work being published. Perhaps his assistants needed the nod from Bacon to have one of the devices placed on a work to be published, but did not need his okay to put a preface on a work and send it on to the publisher. This may be why numerous publications exist that for one reason or another can be connected to Bacon, but are not marked with one of the devices.

Probably Bacon dictated many works himself and had them published under various masks. His masks were actual people in London who allowed him to use their name, or people who were safely dead, or people who were absent from England. How did he persuade people living in London to get on board his operation? I have no idea. The waters are too murky, and I won’t go there. For all I know he enticed them aboard by offering them candy, or told them he had a puppy in his coach. In any event Francis Bacon knew humans like a farmer knows corn, and no doubt the force of his personal charisma enabled him to attract devoted followers. His words to the effect – it is not my intention to start a cult – implies this. Most publications marked with the devices consisted of works written by someone other than Bacon. Most of the labor of processing this printed material was probably done by assistants. As for printers, a few were closely associated with Bacon and his group, and got much of the work, but when these were not available Bacon’s assistants allocated the jobbing work out to such printers as were available at the time. This probably explains why so many printers were involved with publications marked with the ornamental devices.

Another element that must be factored into this is the Freemasons. I have demonstrated that “device” publications were dedicated to most of the known Freemasons of the day. This, in itself, is not proof they were responsible for having these works published. Bacon was a Freemason with support and probably funding from his brother Freemasons. The system of patronage in place at the time could have accounted for his dedicating “AA” works to these people. A more definite connection needs to be established before the argument of a direct connection of the Freemasons with these device publication can be established

While I am on this subject, I would like to mention that there were a number of other publication I have not cited that indicate a connection with the Freemasons . For example:

“Arcana arcanissima hoc est Hieroglyphica AEgyptio-Graeca”, by Maier, Michael, 1568?-1622. [London : Printed by Thomas Creede, 1613 --- no AA--has two columns with globes

The illustration from the title page was as follows:


What is significant about this title page is that it seems to have been the first appearance of the Masonic pillars with the globes on top of the pillars. Even more interestingly, Maier along with Robert Fludd were the two primary figures associated with the Rosicrucians, yet here we find Maier associated with the Freemasons. Moreover it is highly significant that Maier send a copy of his new book to Lancelot Andrewes, the Bishop of Ely; one of Francis Bacon’s closest friends. Three years later another work printed this time by William Stansby (one of the more frequently used printers for printing the “AA” device publications), not only showed the two globes atop the pillars, but the respective globes was maps of the celestial and terrestrial spheres - the specific feature of the spheres atop the Freemason pillars, and this publication was also marked with the “AA” device:

“The surueyor”, by Rathborne, Aaron. London : Printed by W: Stansby for, W: Burre, 1616 --- 125p---AA p

The title page of the following work specified the work as “Serving for the necessary use and generall benefit of diuer Trades-men and artificers, as namesly Painters, Ioyners, Free-masons”, and so forth.This implies operative not speculative Freemasonry, but may have been an intentional red-herring:

“The gentlemans exercise. by Peacham, Henry, 1576?-1643?. London : Printed [by J. Legat] for I. M[arriott] and are to bee sold be Francis Constable at the signe of the Crane in Pauls Church-yard, 1634 ---86p---AA

In “Compeers II” I documented the Sarpi circle as associated with the beginnings of the Rosicrucian phenomena, and in this connection it is noteworthy also that the publication of a Sarpi book in England was marked with one of the devices:

“The historie of the Councel of Trent”, by Sarpi, Paolo, 1552-1623. London. Printed by Robert Barker, and Iohn Bill, printers to the Kings most Excellent Maiestie, 1620 --- Archer device

At this point I have gone as far as feasible through samples of raw data. In order to zero in a little closer on the truth of the matter it’s going to be necessary to refine my sampling technique.

Instances of the Fingerpost

In his Novum Organum Bacon described various types of instances relating to investigation. One instance was where the direction of the inference was obvious. Bacon used the analogy of Direction Markers, frequently found at crossroads in his time (posts with a hand atop the post with the finger pointing the traveler to the right direction), and termed these “Instances of the Fingerpost”. In investigating device publications there are instances where the direction of the inference is obvious also.

We have seen that along with the throne of England, King James assumed the office of Grandmaster of the Freemasons in England in 1603 (Compeers III – part 1). In my opinion two publications dedicated to King James provide an “Instance of the Fingerpost” for connecting Freemasons with the “AA” device.

The following work is dedicated “To the right honorable, the lords of the kings maiesties most honorable privie counsel”. It is obvious that the “AA” device at the top of this dedication was designed specifically for King James:

“A general tresury, a perpetual repertory, or a common councel-place of accounts for all countries in Christendome. by Colson, William. At London : Printed with priuiledge royal and archiducall by Nicholas Okes, at the expences of the author, 1612 ---197p---AA p3 w/crown & IR/8922

Another “AA” device was also designed specifically for King James. It appeared in at least two publications:

“The belman of London”, by Dekker, Thomas, ca. 1572-1632. Printed at London : [By E. Allde] for Nathaniell Butter, 1608 --- AA

“A briefe discourse of the true (but neglected) vse of charact'ring the degrees, by their perfection, imperfection, and diminution in measurable musicke, against the common practise and custome of these times”, by Ravenscroft, Thomas, 1592?-1635? London : Printed by Edw: Allde for Tho. Adams, 1614 --- AA

The software I have available did not allow me to get an adequately legible example of this graphic, but this device is a variant of the “AA” device that looks on a casual glance as if it is merely an “A” with a shadow drawn behind it. A closer examination reveals it is actually two distinct “A’s”, the light A in front, and the dark “A” behind. On either side is a nude, winged cupid, while above the crossbar of the “A” is a crown, and below the crossbar is a large rose with the letter “I” on the left side of the rose, and the letter “R” on the right side.

Several publications, with Robert Greene listed as the author, were marked with “AA” device. The most interesting work with Robert Greene listed as the author, however, was one not marked with the “AA” device. This was the following publication:

“Greenes mourning garment given him by repentance at the Funerals of Love”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London : Printed by I. W[olfe] for Thomas Newman, 1590 --- no AA

One notes the anomaly that in this book the dedication “To the Reader” is on the very first page in the book, facing the title page. The dedication is as follows:

That which Hierem said was his condition in publishing some of his labours, do I now expect to
To fall upon me, i.e. plurimoium mori sibus patere, to lie open to many censures; I have ever
Thought myself below Envy, which being the daughter of Pride (as S. Ambrose said) I will not
Abase herself to look on so small a thing as me: yet because (as S. Chrysostome hath observed)
There are some men (like Carrion Crows, that flie over fair meadows and sit on ferns; and like
Flies, which passé by sound flesh, and seaze on ulcers) flie over and passe by mens better parts,
and feed upon their Imperfections: I do therefore emplore thy favor in reading these papers,
that what Accidental defects or Errores thy findest therein, thou wouldest reform with thy pen,
that the Carrion Crows and Corrupt Flies may not find whereon to fall: if there be any erroneous
matter, thereof inform me, and I shall retr. Edit it; for though I may erreyet I will not be an
Heretick; if anything thou findest good, that ascribeth to the Father of Lights, to whose glory
In daily prayes I devote myself, craving no retribution but thy prayer, for me, that whilest I
Preach to others, I myself may not be a castaway, so shall I be
Ever thine in Christ Jesus, F.B.”

This is not only a good example of Baconian prose, it is also signed with his initials, and is definitely an “Instance of the Fingerpost”. It demonstrates unequivocally that Bacon was not only involved with publishing Greene’s works, but also wrote the dedication to one work, and therefore probably others, and possibly wrote some of the works. In this particular case the assistant who selected one of the prefaces slipped up and affixed a preface with Bacon’s initials to a “masked” work the group was publishing. Evidently it was as hard to get good help in those days as it is today. A slip up is also indicated by the fact that this particular dedication was not really appropriate to the work that followed. It looks as if it was something he had written to accompany one of his manuscripts he was sending (as was his custom) to a friend to review.

The following is another Instance of the Fingerpost, establishing two points. (1) In the case of this printer the “AA” appeared because the party behind the publisher who initiated the publication directed that it be put on that work. (2) The name of the author of the publication connects it to Francis Bacon. Here is the Instance: The EEBO search engine brings up 60 publications under the name Nicholas Ling. Only one is marked with an “AA” device, but observe who the author is. It is a work by Thomas Nash, who the Northumberland Manuscript connects to Bacon:

“Pierce Penilesse his supplication to the diuell”, Written by Tho. Nash, Gent by Nash, Thomas, 1567-1601.London : Printed [by T[homas] C[reede]] for Nicholas Ling, and are to be sold at his shop, at the northwest doore of S. Paules, 1595 --- AA p2

There are many other instances that point directly to Bacon also. In 1593 Francis Bacon wrote a dedication to Henry Wriotheseley at the beginning of Venus and Adonis. It read as follows:

"To the Right Honorable Henrie Wriotheseley, Earle of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield. Right Honorable, I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolisht lines to your Lordship, nor how the worlde will censure me for choosing so strong a propp to support so weak a burthen, onely, if your Honour seeme but pleased, I account myselfe highly praised, and vowe to take advantage of all idele houres, till I have honoured you with some graver labour.

But, if the first heire of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorie it had so noble a god-father, and never after eare so barren a land, for feare it yeeld me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your Honourable survey, and your Honor to your heart's content; which I wish may always answere your owne wish, and the world's hopeful expectation. Your Honor's in all dutie.

Your Honors in all dutie”

During the interval between the 1593 dedication and the 1594 dedication to Lucrecre Bacon evidently established a close relationship with Wriothesley. The 1594 dedication to Lucrecre was as follows:

To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley Earle of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield.

The loue I dedicate to your Lordship is without end; whereof this Pamphlet without beginning is but a superfluous Moity. The warrant I have of your Honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored Lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duety would shew greater, meane time, as it is, it is bound to your Lordship; To whom I wish long life still lengthened with all happiness, 

Your Lordship's in all duety

I would ask the reader to note particularly two features of these dedications. In the 1593 dedication Bacon says, “if your Honour seeme but pleased, I account myselfe highly praised, and vowe to take advantage of all idele houres, till I have honoured you with some graver labour”, and he signs both “in all dutie” (in one of his letters Bacon proclaimed duty more important than life itself). In 1597 an “AA” publication printed by Thomas Creede was dedicated to Wriothesely:

“The most delectable and pleasaunt history of Clitiphon and Leucippe”, written first in Greeke, by Achilles Statius, an Alexandrian: and now newly translated into English, by VV.B. Whereunto is also annexed the argument of euery booke, in the beginning of the same, for the better vnderstanding of the historie. by Achilles Tatius. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for William Mattes, and are to be sold at his shop in Fleetstreete, at the signe of the hand and Plough, 1597 --- dedicated to Southampton ---AA

The dedication was as follows:

“To the right honovrable Henry Wriothesley Earle of Sovthampton, and Baron of Titchfield, W.B. wisheth continuance of health, with prosperoses estate and felicitie

At the time (Right Honourable) the renowned Prince Philip of Macedon, was about to lay siege vnto
The famous cittie of Corinth, the Corinthians appalled with the fear of this sodaine newes every man
Fell to prepare himselfe readie to the defence of the citie: here one scoured vp old armour, another
Carried mortar and stones, to fill vp the breaches of the wall: others went to make a trench, others to
The casting vp of a bulwarke: to conclude, every man applied himselfe about some thing, as need
And time did require. Which diligence of the people, Diogenes marking well, hauing nothing
Wheron he might bestow his labour, girding his clothes to him, began to row his tub, wherein he
Dwelt, vp and downe the market place: and being asked of one of his acquaintances why he did so;
And I also (said he) do rowle my tub, that amongst so many workmen I alone might not be idle.
In like maner (Right Noble Lord) since the same hap hapned to me now, as it was in Diogines age,
That amogst so many multitudes of writers, which euery day doo publish, and set footh new workes,
I alone might not be idle, I haue thought good with Diogenes to rowle my small tub also: and because
That, non omnibus contigit adire corinthum, of euery course wood Mercury is not made, neither is
Euerie mans muse alike, to flie aloft: I have bestowed my labor on the translation of this pleasant
History, first writte in Greek by Achilles Statiue, which now I haue presumed to dedicate to your
Honor, being a delightful poeme, although in prose: which doth consist in the fiction, not in the
Meter; although seeming full of prolixity, yet with delight avoiding satietie, being a meane to
beguile the time, and other exercises being past, to serve for recreation: wherefore I commit this
To your honourable protection: beseeching your honour fauourably to accept of this my small
Trauell in translating of this Author, whom if I have worthily translated as he requires, I am
Assured your honour will well like of: knowing that if the gratious beames of your fauour shine
Therin, no carping Momus can shadow it. Resting thus in hope of your honours curtesie, I cease:

Wishing you a happie life with increase of all honour and felicity.

Your Honours in all dutie:


Three points seem particularly significant about this dedication. The phrase “being a meane to beguile the time”, recalls the phrase by Lady Macbeth:

“…To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue; look like th’ innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t.”

The closing, “Your Honours in all dutie”, is the same as the closing Bacon used in his dedications to Venus and Adonis, and to Lucrecre. Thirdly, the author seems to possess an effortless, seeming absolute knowledge of details concerning the people of classical antiquity. This is a familiar trait of Bacon’s as will be recognized by anyone who has even a passing familiarity with his writings.

In 1597 Bacon was still in Wriotheseley’s good graces, “I am assured your honour will well llike of”. But soon afterward the Essex rebellion occurred followed by the trial in which Bacon was required to take part against Essex and Southampton. So once again Bacon stood outside Southampton’s good graces. He wrote a letter trying to reintegrate himself in Southampton’s good graces. When that didn’t work , another “AA” publication printed by Creede, and dedicated to Wriotheseley, appeared in 1604:

“The most excellent historie of Lysimachus and Varrona, daughter to Syllanus, Duke of Hypata, in Thessalia. by Hind, John, fl. 1596-1606. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, 1604 --- dedicated to Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton --- AA

The dedication to Southampton was as follows:

“Report (Right Honorable) that hath enobled your singular, and manifold virtues, by nature and fortune,
to the worldes recommendation, hath enduced mee, to thrust into the open light this my abourtiue iffue,
to be fhrowded vnder the fhadowe of your Lordfhips winges, the fruite of some idle houres, fith after
many thought I could not excogitate any more pleasing recreation, whereon I might beftow times of
leyfure. The argument I confeffe, is of too bafe confequence; to procure your liking, or deferue your
allowing. Neuertheleffe the force of dutie, and zeale, poffeffing the chiefeft portion of mine intereftes,
ouerrule my thought and refolutions, in hazarding the entertainment thereof, at your fauourable
copurtefie, and conftuction. And if I may perceiue that your Lordfhip affords the countenance, to
grace my papers with the demonftration, of the extreameft degree of good liking, I fhall be emboldned to
raife my mufes note, that now yields harfh mufick to an higher note, a fairer fruite, of my better ordered
vacant houres, and manifeft my dutie to your Honour, in fome matter of greater import, then a fuperficiall
toy. But fearing to grow offensiue through tedioufnes, I commit this fimple work to your Lordships
patronage, and your honour to the Almighties protection: for the which, I will pray continually. I ende.

Your Lordfhips moft firmely deuoted

In all feviceable endeuours


The parallels with the original Venus and Adonis dedication are striking. In both there is an attempt to curry Wriotheseley’s favor and a promise if the attempt met with a favorable reception to take advantage of his leisure hours by following the work with another of more weight. Note the remarkable similarity with the dedication to Venus and Adonis :

“onely, if your Honour seeme but pleased, I account myselfe highly praised, and vowe to take advantage of all idele houres, till I have honoured you with some graver labour”.

The 1604 publication:

“And if I may perceiue that your Lordfhip affords the countenance, to grace my papers with the demonftration, of the extreameft degree of good liking, I fhall be emboldned to raife my mufes note, that now yields harfh mufick to an higher note, a fairer fruite, of my better ordered vacant houres, and manifeft my dutie to your Honour, in fome matter of greater import, then a fuperficiall toy”.

In addition, the “shadow of your wings” phrase was the same phrase used at the end of the first Rosicrucian Manifesto when it appeared 10 years later.

Identical phrasing to that in the dedication to Wriotheseley is present in a dedication in another “AA” marked work that appeared 10 years earlier and was dedicated to Bacon’s friend Edward Dyer:

“Arisbas, Euphues amidst his slumbers: or Cupids iourney to hell”, by Dickenson, John, romance writer. Imprinted at London : By Thomas Creede, for Thomas Woodcocke, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, 1594 --- AA --- dedicated to Edward Dyer

The dedication to the work is as follows (for the convenience of the reader I have taken the liberty of modernizing the spelling):

“To the Right Worshipful Maister Edward Dyer Esquire,The Maecenas of worth, and mirror of all admired perfections

Well might Telamonian Ajax (Right Worshipful) a peer of the peerless Illiad, and owner of the
sevenfold target, stoutly oppose himself to invading Hector, that vaunted His dreaded prowess,
backed by succor of the gods, and strongly repulse the thick-darted Trojan fires from their
then-doubted return, having for his valiant heart so man-like a body. And (si magnis componer
parua licebit) in like sort I, shrouded under the shadow of your Worships winges, have therefore
the more boldly adventured to thrust into the open light, this mine abortive issue, the fruit of
some few idle hours, since after many thoughts, I could not excogitate anymore pleasing
recreation whereon I might bestow times of leisure, hoping that for the common good liking
which all men conceive of you, and for the general good speeches which all men use of you,
they will the better censure of my doing, when they see your worships name to whose worth
this worthless pamphlet is titled, standing in the front as a strong defense to shield me from
the descanting verdicts of such unfriendly readers, which conceiting the authors intent amiss,
may wrest his meaning by wrong conjectures, and from the sour censures of the over-curious
moralists of our age, which glory to be termed the new-upressers of the long ago confused
stoical apathy, although these harsh ensuing lines merit no such high protection, since they
are not over curiously labored: for I deem it mere folly to make a trifle a labor, or my pleasure
a pain: and they may be termed the work of a slumbering rather than a wakefull muse: yet I
have observed that Poetical method in discourse, which the best and most approved of authors
of the ancientest and most famous languages have always used and allowed, beginning in
medio, and afterward at occasions, unfolding former accidents. Howsoever, if these the
hapless fruits of green youth, and pithless blossoms of a simple authors unripe wit, purchase
such favor and acceptance and I desire, thoughty they deserve not, I shall be emboldened to
raise my muses note that now yields harsh music, to an an higher key, a fairer fruit of my better
ordered vacant hours, and manifest my duty to your worship in some matter of greater import,
than a superficial toy: for I judge it the extremity of folly to trouble the world with heaps of
trifles. But fearing to grow offensive through tedious interrupting of your worships serious
affairs, and humbly craving pardon of mine audacious enterprise, I end, wishing to your
worship many days of happiness in this life, and heaven in the other life.

Your Worships most firmly devoted

In all duty and service,

John Dickenson

Note the “shadow of your wings” phrase in both dedications.

Tricks of Phrasing and Other Peculiarities

According to Smedley there were “tricks of phrasing and other peculiarities” by which Bacon’s writing style could be detected. Smedley didn’t describe these. They should be defined if one is to cite other publications as examples of Bacon’s writing style. In addition, examples of publications containing these “tricks of phrasing and other peculiarities” should be presented. What exactly are the traits by which we may detect the hand of Bacon?

This is a difficult area. The human brain is wired to recognize faces. A person of the most modest intelligence can recognize instantly a familiar face in the midst of scores of others. Unfortunately the human brain is not endowed with a corresponding ability for recognizing writing styles. Scholars have attempted to devise idiostylonymic criteria that can be used as stylistic fingerprinting for identifying individual authors. Unfortunately they always go the route of stylometric analysis. In its basic form this consists of simple word counts. What is the average word count per sentence? What is the average word count per paragraph? Etc., Etc., Etc. In its more glorified form it consists of statistical analysis of blocks of text utilizing frequencies of words. This method totally ignores higher traits of writing styles, and its reliability is questionable at best. I propose an alternate test based on Bacon’s known mental traits. Bacon was unique in the vastness, and complete mastery, of his frame of reference. As Goethe noted of Shakespeare, Bacon had, “drawn a sponge over the table of all human knowledge”. He possessed a unique cerebral celerity that that made all that knowledge instantly his. Consider the following sample from his Essay “Of Prophecies"148;:

“…The daughter of Polycrates, dreamed that Jupiter bathed her father, and Apollo anointed him; and it came to pass that he was crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamed, he sealed up his wife’s belly; whereby he did expound it, that his wife should be barren; but Aristander the soothsayer, told him his wife was with child, because men do not use to seal vessels, that are empty. A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus, in his tent, said to him, Philippis iterum me videbis. Tiberius said to Galba, Tu quoque, Galba, degustabis imperium. In Vespasians’s time there went a prophecy in the East, that those that should come forth of Judea, should reign over the world: which though it may be was meant of our Savior; yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. Domitian dreamed, the night before he was slain, that a golden head was growing out of the nape of his neck: and indeed, the succession that followed him for many years, made golden times.”

This is a familiar feature of Bacon’s writing style. Whatever subject he writes about he seems to have unlimited, instantly recallable, resources at his command. A second trait was he also constantly saw similarities between seemingly unrelated things enabling him to effortlessly create striking metaphors. This was apparent in even his most casual letters. In a letter to the Earl of Essex, referring to a man noted for his deviousness, Bacon says:

“…he is a man likely to trust so much to his art and finesse (as he, that is an excellent wherryman, who, you know, looketh toward the bridge, when he pulleth towards Westminster)”

In a letter to Fulke Greville he said:

“…and if her Majesty will not take me, it may be selling by parcels will be more gainful. For to be, as I have told you, like a child following a bird, which when he is nearest flieth away and lighteth a little before, and then the child after it again, and so on ad infinitum…”: [a few acute observers have noticed that he used an analogous metaphor in Coriolanus: “I saw him run after a gilden butterfly; and when he caught it he let it go again, and after it again, and over and over he comes, up again, catch’d it again…] 

In his Essay on Gardens he said:

“And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the (when it comes and goes like the warbling of music” [Here again the analogy was used in a Shakespeare play:

“That straine agen; it has a dying fall;
O it came ore my eare like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a banke of Violets;
Stealing and giving Odour.”]

Compare these with the samples of prefaces to various works, known, or suspected to be from Bacon’s hand that I have already quoted. A third trait was the intimate person to person tone of the address he used. There are other traits, more complex, but this would involve going into a detail which available space does not allow. I think the ones I have cited will serve as de minimus evidentiary support for my demonstration since they have the collaborative support that the text samples are also marked with an ornamental device already linked to Francis Bacon..

So let me present a few examples, based merely on the traits I have just cited, and I ask the reader to understand that with the limited space I have available I can not cite these at any length, and that evidence thrives poorly in cameo form.

The following “AA” marked work seems to me to show Bacon’s metaphoric gift at work:

“The m[ost] excell[ent] historie, of Euryalus and Lucresia”, by Pius, II, , Pope, 1405-1464. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be solde by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete; neare Leaden Hall, 1596 --- A

To the courteous reader

“The branch that early bloometh, is like to have his blossoms bitten with disdainful blasts, whereby they oftentimes prove but mere blights, and better had he fared with a friendly biting frost, to have his new peeping limbs gently nipped, and at first detained within their buds, then persuaded with the pleasing applause of sweet breathing zephyrus, so timely or rather untimely to display them to the full view, which exposed should be injured by the baleful breaths, violent and virulent blasts, proceeding from those freezing quarters, and their cold collaterals. Pardon me if I fear the barker, since my rind is yet but young and tender: nevertheless, if I must needs meet the curre, he shall hear my soft buzzing leaves ever murmuring in his ears, an egregia vero laudem. I know that unripe fruit gathered from the green branch, must naturally taste of their unsavory sap: nevertheless, these are not altogether to be refused, where dainty dishes are reserved afterwards to be served. And if this, our first service, wherein are few things current, none curious, shall serve to sharpen the stomach for those cases which we may hereafter afford, I will not doubt to dedicate my pains wholly to your pleasures.
Your well-willer. W.B.”

The following publication seems to show that same metaphoric ability, along with an indication of the comprehensive knowledge of the writer:

“Honours conquest”, by H. R. fl. 1585-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, 1598 --- AA

The dedication is as follows:

“To the courteous readers

Like as the load-stone pointeth at the immoueable poles of heaven, and will not lye still otherwise
so true generous and noble mindes euer ayme at virtue, and esteeme their noble houses by them halfe
stayned, vnlesse in valorous prowesse, wise policies, and kind courtesies, the equal themselues to,
(if not surpasse) the most famous of their Progenitors, year of all where of memorial is extant: by
which their worthie endeuors they live in most great honourable reputation in this world, and after
do live by fame euerlastingly. Among which famous worthies, this Edward Lancaster, here mentioned,
deserueth not the least of praise or prise. And if any will allege, that in this Poeticall praising of him,
there be many fictions (as, Poetis et pictoribus permagna conceditur licentia) let such learne to read
those manner of bookes, as Socrates wished women to use their looking glasses; namely, fair women
to looke on their glasses, to beware that their good maners may shine as well as their beautie;”

The following work, with its dedication to Queen Elizabeth, has a number of interesting features:

“A briefe conference of diuers lawes”, by Lloyd, Lodowick, fl. 1573-1610. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, 1602 --- AA

“To the Most High and Mightie Prince Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queene of England, France and Ireland & c.

I knew not how most gratious queene, to make my most bounden and dutifull service known
Vnto your majestie; but as Davids seruants ventured theyr lives through the middest of their
Enemies to fetch water from the well of Bethelem, to please their lord and maister; so my
Selfe thought it my dutie to trauell into some farre countries in no danger, but of your maiesties
Displeasure, by presenting some strange Iewels among so many, as might dislike your highnesse,
Which should scorch me more than the sunne did Ionas when his gourd was off, and terrify
Me more than the countenance of Moses terrified the Children of Israel. 

In addition to displaying his comprehensive knowledge, Bacon seems to be referring back to the displeasure (recorded in Argenis) that he had caused her previously, and seems to be in a playful mood as if he is jesting with Elizabeth. The following work seems to me to be indicated as his because of the comprehensive knowledge that was completely at his command, and the familiar tone of the writing:

“The first part of Parismus the renovvmed [sic] Prince of Bohemia, his most famous, delectable, and pleasant historie”, by Ford, Emanuel. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, 1609 --- AA

“To the right honourable Sir Robert Ratcliffe Knight, Earle of Suffex, Viscount Fitz-waters, Lord Egremond, and Burnell, E.F. wisheth health, honours and happinesse.

The most mighty monarch Alexander, as well beheld the crooked counterfetit of Vulcan, as
The sweete picture of Venus. Philip of Macedone, accepted a bunch of grapes presented
By a simple countrey swaine. The widows mite was a graciously esteemed as the great
Giftes of the wealthie. So I, (Right Honourable, and my very good Lord,) haue presumed
To present your honour with this fancie, intituled Honours Triumphe.”

Another very interesting work is the following:

“Natures embassie, or, The wilde-mans measures. Danced Naked by Twelve Satyres, With Soundry Others Continued in the Next Section”, by Brathwaite, Richard, 1588?-1673. [London] : Printed for Richard Whitaker, 1621 --- AA

The dedication is as follows:

“To the accomplished mirror of Trve worth, Sr. T.H. the elder, knight, professed fauorer and furtherer of all free borne studies: continuance of all happinesse

When the natures of men are cleere peruerted, then it is high time for the Satyrist to pen something
Which may diuert them from their impietie, and direct them in the course and progress of virtue;
Upon which consideration, I, (as the meanest of Menalchas that is able to play upon an oaten
Pipe) began presently to describe the nature of men, made so far good bvy obseruation, as my weake
And immature iudgement could attain unto; meaning to make the Poets verse an Axiome: Scribimus
Indocti, doctiq; poemata passim. This thus discussed and weighed, I was long in doubt to whom I
Should dedicate this unfruitful vintage, rather gleanings, or who I should flie unto for as sanctuaries,
if the sinister Reader (as who ever wrote without his detractour) should carpe at my labours.”

The dedication is signed: Richard Bratwayt, but is followed by the same picture of Pallas Athena that appeared at the end of the following work that appeared under Bacon’s own name:

“Sir Francis Bacon his apologie, in certaine imputations concerning the late Earle of Essex”, by Bacon, Francis, 1561-1626. London : Printed [by Richard Field] for Felix Norton and are to be sold in Pauls Church-yard at the signe of the Parrot, 1604

A picture of Pallas Athena appeared on the last page of the above work by Francis Bacon, and appeared on page 4 of the Braithwaite work. The picture was as follows:

and the text that followed in the “Natures Embassie” work seems to be an extension of Bacon’s “Wisdom of the Ancients” Degeneration is personified by Dame Nature. Ambition is personified by the Giants (it will be remembered that in his treatise on the Giants in “The Wisdom of the Ancients” Bacon portrayed them as Fame, or those who would rise themselves above their normal natures). This work has Bacon’s fingerprints all over it and certainly merits further study.

Ordinary Publications

One of the arguments against Bacon’s connection to the device publications is that they included inferior, ordinary works, Bacon was unlikely to have been associated with. This overview would be incomplete without glancing at some of these publications. In part 1 of the present Compeers articles I have referred to the fact that my penpal, Glen Claston, objected to the idea that Bacon could have associated with the following two works because he considered them inferior writings:

“The historie of fovre-footed beastes. Collected out of all the volumes of Conradvs Gesner, and all other writers to this present day”, by Topsell, Edward 1607. London. Printed by William Iaggard. 1607 ---Arche

“The Historie of Serpents: or, the Second Booke of liuing Creatures”, by Topsell, Edward 1608, London. Printed by William Iaggard 1608 --- Archer

However, as I also pointed out, these same works provided most of the beast lore that Bacon used in his Shakespeare writings. So it is easy to be misled by surface appearance. Another of these works that, on the surface at least, appears unlikely to have merited Bacon’s attention was:

“The discouery of a London monster called, the black dog of Newgate”, by Hutton, Luke, d. 1596. Imprinted at London: By G. Eld, for Robert Wilson, and are to be sold at his shop at the new gate of Grayes-Inne, 1612 --- 28p --- AA

This book relates a horrific tale of the prisoners at Newgate, who were starving, and killed other prisoners for food. One of these they killed was a scholar and somewhat of a sorcerer. After he was killed a huge black dog appeared and haunted the confines of Newgate Prison. On the surface there seems to have been no reason why Bacon would have chosen to be associated with such a tawdry book. However, when you stop to consider the matter, it will be remembered that Bacon was a reformer to core, involved constantly in striving to improve the human condition. One of his more perceptive biographers – Fulton H. Anderson in his book, “FRANCIS BACON His Career and His Thought” emphasized this when he noted,

“Francis Bacon was by nature and nurture a reformer”.

Social reform was certainly one of the things Bacon was interested in.Yet another was the work, already cited by Thomas Nashe:

“Pierce Penilesse his supplication to the diuell”, by Nash, Thomas, 1567-1601. London : Printed by Abell Ieffes, for Iohn Busbie, 1592 ---AA

Nashe was decidedly a minor writer of inferior productions. So why would Bacon have been associated with these writings? This might be a valid point except that there is direct evidence of Bacon’s association with Nashe’s writings. In 1867 an old manuscript was discovered in the London house of the Duke of Northumberland. No one doubts the manuscript belonged to Francis Bacon. It included 22 old sheets folded in half for binding and enclosed by another sheet to provide a cover. The cover was completely written over with many words and scriblings, among which was what appeared to be a list of contents,

And included on this (as already noted) were two Shakespeare plays, and also the following:

“By Thomas Nashe inferior plaiers” [look toward the bottom of the facsimile]

So there was a definite link between Bacon and the works of Nashe.

Extraordinary Publications

I would be remiss if I did not balance my references to the ordinary works marked with devices by referring to the extraordinary works marked with these devices. The most extraordinary, of course, was the Shakespeare First Folio. But I have already covered that work in detail. Another extraordinary work was the following book of emblems.

“Minerua Britanna or A garden of heroical deuises”, by Peacham, Henry, 1576?-1643?. London : Printed in Shoe-lane at the signe of the Faulcon by Wa: Dight, 1612 --- 116p --ded to prince Henry --- AA

A number of Baconians have argued for Bacon’s authorship of this work. In the dedication to Prince Henry the author of the book says:

“It is now two years since I presented vnto your highness some of them, then done by me in Latine verse, with their pictures drawen and limned by mine own hand in their liuely coulours.”

which brings up the possibility that Bacon was also an artist. A book written by Henry Green in 1870, “Shakespeare and the Emblem Writers” demonstrated that the author of the Shakespeare plays had an extensive connection with the emblem writers. Green showed that Whitney’s “Choice of Emblems” had a particular reflection in the plays, which is particularly interesting since Parker Woodward argued that Bacon was the author of this work (this work was also connected to the original appearance of the “AA” device in the Alciat Emblem book). “Minerva Britanna” is an extraordinary work in every way. It is a large book. An enormous amount of work was involved in drawing the extraordinary number of emblems, plus it is an enormously learned book, the pages are annotated with references to a huge array of classical sources supporting the emblems. The title page has a picture of an arm reaching out from behind a curtain with the hand holding a pen in the act of writing the inverted words, “MENTE VIDEBORI”, i.e. “by the mind I shall be known”. This recalls John Owen’s epigram in his “Epigrammatum,” published in 1612:

AD. D.B.

“Si bene qui latuit, bene vixit, tu bene vivis:
Ingeniumque tuum grade latendo patet.”

“Thou livest well if one well hid well lives,
And thy great genius in being concealed is revealed.”

Smedley says “D. is elsewhere used by Owen as the initial of Dominus. The suggestion that Ad. D.B. represents Ad Dominum Baconum is therefore reasonable.” Smedley goes on to cite the “Attourney’s Academy” published by Thomas Powell in 1630 which was dedicated “To True Nobility and Tryde learning beholden To no Mountaine for Eminence, nor supportment for Height, Francis, Lord Verulam and Viscount St. Albanes” with the following lines, which suggest an allusion to the title page of Minerva Britannia:

“O Give me leave to pull the Curtaine by
That clouds thy Worth in such obscurity.
Good Seneca, stay but a while thy bleeding,
T’ accept what I received at thy Reading:
Here I present it in a solemne strayne,
And thus I pluckt the Curtayne backe again.”

The beginning pages of “Minerva” refer to Janus, and at the bottom of page 5 is a curious design which seems to be a disguised form of the “AA” device. A stylized form of the letter “A” can be discerned on each side of the center of the device, although neither of the “A’s” is dark.

A dedicatory poem in Latin by “Ingenio” at the beginning of the work refers to Minerva, but uses Minerva only once, while using the name Pallas twice. Another dedicated with the name “Thos. Heywood” affixed to it begins:

“Pallas thou hast a second champion bred,
As great in Arte, as was stout DIOMED.”

Indicating that the alternate, concealed title of the work would be Pallas Athena’s England, or more appropriately still, “Shake-Speare’s England”. Even more curious is another dedicatory poem. The Poem is as follows:

“Me thought I saw in dead of silent night
A goodly citie all to cinders turned,
Vpon whose ruines, sate a nymphe in white,
Rending her hair of wiery gold, who mourned
Or for the fall of that faire citie burned,
Or some deare loue, whose death so made her sad,
That since no joye in worldly thing she had.

This was that GENIVS of that auntient TROY,
In her owne ashes buried long agoe:
So grieu’d to see that Britaine should enjoy
Her PALLAS, whom she held and honour’d so:
And now no little memorie could show
To eternize her, since she did infuse,
Her Enthean soule, into this English muse.”


The “E.S.” signed to the poem is obviously intended to mean Edmund Spenser since the poem mirrors

“The Ruines of Time” poem of Spenser:
“It chanunced me one day beside the shore
Of silver streaming Thamesis to bee,
Nigh where the goodly Verlame stood of yore,
Of which there now remaines no memorie,
Nor anie little monument to see,
By which the travailer, that fares that way,
This once was she, may warned be to say.

There on the other side, I did behold
A Woman sitting sorrowfullie wailing,
Rending her yeolow locks, like wyrie golde,
About her shoulders careleslie downe trailing,
And streames of teares from her faire eyes forth railing.
In her right hand a broken rod she held,
Which towards heaven shee seemd on high to weld.

Whether she was one of that Rivers Nymphes
Which did the losse of some dere love lament,
I doubt; or one of those fatall Impes,
Which draw the dayes of men forth in extent;
Or th’auncient GENIUS of that Citie brent:”

But seeing her so piteouslie perplexed,
I (to her calling) askt what her so vexed.”

But Edmund Spenser died in 1599, and Peacham’s “Minerva” was published 13 years later in 1612, long after Spenser’s supposed death. The author of “Minerva Britanna” would have known that this would be obvious to the readers, so why was this poem placed at the beginning of the work? The only reason I can think of is that this was a veiled hint to the reader that the author of the Spenser works (Francis Bacon) was also the author of “Minerva Britanna”.

On page 33 (the number that represents Bacon’s name) is a picture of a hand holding a spear. (A hand shaking a spear?) And on the facing page (page 34) is an emblem dedicated “To the most iudicious, and learned, Sir Francis Bacon, Knight”. On page 53 (the secret “sow” and “lux”number that denoted Bacon) is the same hand holding a spear, but a purse hangs from the end of the spear. The emblem deals with the liberality of the Spear Shaker, and the purse denotes the concealed gift bestowed through that liberality of the Spear Shaker..

Another extraordinary work is the following:

“The arch's of triumph erected in honor of the high and mighty prince. Iames. the first of that name. King, of England. and the sixt of Scotland. by Harrison, Stephen, joiner and architect. [Imprinted at London : By Iohn VVindet, printer to the honourable citie of London, and are to be sold at the authors house in Lime-street, at the signe of the Snayle, 1604 --- AA inverted --- Archer on most pages--diff version --- compasses on three pages.

The arches of triumph were erected, according to the book, in honor of King James entrance and passage through London on March 13, 1603 when he entered London to assume the throne of England. The author (listed as John Harrison, Joyner and Architect) said that although these fruits of his invention were torn down afterwards, they were now new wrought in the book that they might live forever. The book was 19 pages long. Archer devices appeared on pages 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 13, 15, and 19. An inverted “AA” device appeared on page 17. Drawings of the seven arches appeared on pages 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. The drawings were very skillfully done, and were apparently copper plate engravings. If you have ever seen a copy of Guptill’s book, “Rendering in Pen and Ink” you will know what really skillful drawings in pen and ink look like. The drawings of the arches in the Harrison book have that same high degree of skill, but the technique of photographic reproduction did not exist then, so some other means must have been used. The drawings are two detailed and exact to have been done in wood block. In any case, I would judge that the title page was definitely a copper plate engraving. The book had obvious Freemason elements. The title page had the Mason mallet and ruler on the left side, and the mason square and compass on the Right side. All of the drawings of the arches except that of the Temple of Janus depicted a compass. In the lectures accompanying the Blue Lodge Freemasonry rituals the five columns of architecture are described, as also are the five senses, and they are referred to in the book also. The number 17 plays a part in the design of the book. The Triumphal arches are seven although they are referred to as five at one place in the book. There are (1) London (2) Italian (3) Dutchman (4) Phoenix (5) Garden of Plenty (6) New World (7) Temple of Janus. The inverted “AA” device was at the top of the Temple of Janus page. The Shakespeare Sonnets are structured around the symbolism of the number 17. The plays are all structured on a Janus design with one face looking to the past, and one to the future. The contrast between the New World and the Old is an integral part of the Bacon mythos. A number of the “AA” devices incorporate the symbolism of the cornucopia. This book is Masonic and Baconian through and through.

Another work that is obviously an example of copper plate engraving is the following:

“Calligraphotechnia or The art of faire writing sett forth, and newly enlarged by Ri: Gethinge M: in thesaid art- by Gething, Richard, 1585?-1652? [London] : Dwelling in Fetter-lane, at the hand and penne, and are to bee soulde by George Humble at the white horse in Popes head alley, ouer against the roiall Exchange in London, 1619 --- dedicated to Francis Bacon

Modern techniques of photographic reproduction did not exist in those days. Whoever did the marvelously intricate engravings of the examples of calligraphy must have done these on copper plate. I have seen only one parallel to the amazing skill shown in the engraving of the handwriting examples in this book. That was in the examples from the Byrom Collection in two books of Joy Hancox.. In her “Kingdom For a Stage” Hancox provided proof of Bacon’s connection with the early production of copper or brass in England, and evidence for his connection with the material printed from the engravings made from this copper or brass. I think the above publication provides additional evidence.

Before I leave the issue of extraordinary publications one other really needed to be mentioned.

Thomas Adams

Stratfordians are not exactly noted for stretch marks on their brains. Rumor has it the last time one of them gave birth to an original idea was when they spawned the notion that the four faces on Mt. Rushmore were the result of erosion. Be that as it may, since the minds of the masses are unstable as water, pushed this way and that by every stray breeze that happens along, and always finds the lowest level, it is not surprising they should have come to rest at the Stratfordian level.

A bulwark of Stratfordianism is the book “The Baconian Heresy” by M. P. Robertson. H. N. Gibson (the rumor that this was the same Henry Gibson who appeared on the T.V. series “Laugh in” is probably not true) in his “The Shakespeare Claimants” He referred to Robertson as “that very great Elizabethan scholar”. The case of Thomas Adams is an “in vitro” of Robertson’s whole asinine book. Thomas Adams was a Puritan divine, sometimes called ‘the puritan Shakespeare” - known principally because his “Collected Works”, a collection of sermons, a large volume in excess of 600 pages, survived him.

“The workes of Tho: Adams”, by Adams, Thomas, fl. 1612-1653. London : Printed by Tho. Harper [andAugustine Mathewes] for Iohn Grismand, and are to be sold at his shop in Iuie Lane, at the signe of the Gunne, 1630 --- inverted Archer device p2

There may or may not be any significance to the fact that the Archer device was inverted, but I would remind the reader of Durning-Lawrence’s claim that inverted “AA” devices indicated a publication to which special attention was be given, and there seems to be some evidence to support this. The “ workes of Tho: Adams” is the only case I have found of an inverted Archer device.

Among the attacks made on the Baconians by Robertson was one on their claims for the legal expertise displayed in the Shakespeare plays. To show that the use of legal terms and expressions were habitual with seventeenth-century writers and speakers Robertson trotted out a sermon of Thomas Adams supposedly preached at St. Paul’s Cross in 1612. This sermon had very striking and technical legal terms.

But, as is usual with the Stratfordians, if the matter is beyond the tip of their pointed little noses (or above the top of their pointed little heads) they just don’t get it. And in this case there are other aspects to the Thomas Adams matter that cast a whole new light on the situation. There are some very interesting works marked with the ornamental devices that were either written or published by Thomas Adams. Thomas Adams stacks up as one of Francis Bacon’s major masks.

In “The Mystery of Francis Bacon” Smedley makes a good case for Bacon’s authorship of “The French Academy”. He notes that the first English edition appeared in 1586, and the second in 1589, and that the large ornamental letter “S” the first letter in each of these books was the same ornamental letter “S” that appeared as the first letter in the dedication of the 1625 edition of Bacon’s Essays, and that all three were printed from the same wood block. However, the first and only complete edition in English was the 1618 edition printed for Thomas Adams. This is the following work:

“The French academie”, by La Primaudaye, Pierre de, b. ca. 1545. London : Printed [by John Legat] for Thomas Adams, 1618 --- Archer device p2

Smedley notes that the edition, a thick folio volume with 1,038 pages double columns was marked with the archer device. What he does not note is that the work was not only printed for Thomas Adams, Adams is also listed in the book as the person who translated it from French into English. The EEBO search engine shows a large number of listings for Thomas Adams. Many are quite interesting. For example, there is the following, which has both the Janus head that I have associated with Bacon in my other writings, and Pallas Athena which has been associated by any number of Baconians with Bacon:

“The sacrifice of thankefulnesse by Adams, Thomas, fl. 1612-1653. London : Printed by Thomas Purfoot, for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard, at the signe of the Holy Lambe, 1616 --- Janus heads with head of Pallas Athena in middle

Another interesting work, this time published for Thomas Adams, is the following :

“Melismata. Mvsical Phansies”, by Ravenscroft, Thomas, 1592?-1635? London : Printed by William Stansby for Thomas Adams, 1611 --- AA p15,p20 ---Archer p3,p13

This is a book of songs described as “fitting the covrt, citie, and covntrey hvmovrs”. With all those exquisite songs in the Shakespeare plays, and with the numerous indications in works written under Bacon’s own name that he was interested in music one would think he would have written music along with his numerous other works. I think this book shows that he did. The book includes the sheet music for the songs, many of which are reflected in the Shakespeare plays. Although the musical notation was quite different in those days from the contemporary notation, this could be converted without too much difficulty into contemporary notation. Then we could hear Bacon’s music just as he wrote it. Although I can’t show you the sheet music here for the songs here, one song will be familiar to almost everyone. The song was originally titled “The Frog in the Well”. Although the music and the lyrics have changed somewhat during the centuries of transmission they are similar enough that the connection is readily recognizable. Here’s a passage from the original work:

The froggy would a wooing ride,
Humble dum, humble dum
Sword and buckler by his side,
Tweedle, tweedle twino

Here’s a passage from the song as we have it today:

A froggy went a-courting and he did ride
Uh huh, uh huh

A froggy went a-courting and he did ride
Uh huh, uh huh

A froggy went a-courting on a little white horse
A sword and pistol by his side.

Funny when you get right down to it, just how much of our intellectual heritage can be traced back to Francis Bacon. I said I would mention just one other extraordinary publication(s), but since I’m on the subject of music written by Francis Bacon, I can’t forego mentioning the following:

“An howres recreation in musicke”, by Alison, Richard, fl. 1588-1606. London : Printed by Iohn windet the assigne of William Barley, and are to be sold at the Golden Anchore in Pater Noster Row, 1606 – AA and Archer devices

This extraordinary work has numerous reflections from Bacon’s acknowledged works. It is 150 pages long and has 17 “AA” devices (pages 3, 8, 10, 16, 35, 41, 48, 53, 67, 80, 82, 99, 101, 112, 118, 131, and 134), and 20 “Archer” devices (pages 9, 11, 27, 29, 40, 61, 72, 73, 81, 85, 93, 104, 105, 107, 109, 113, 117, 119, 147, and 149). I think the fact it is marked with so many ornamental devices is evidence that the work was written by Bacon and not the work of someone else that he had the device placed on

Publications Marked with the Archer Device

The Archer device marked publications have not been given as much attention in this survey since the “AA” devices account for the preponderance of device marked publications. However, at this point I would like to list a few of these:

“The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes”, by Plutarch. Imprinted at London : By Richard Field for Bonham Norton, 1595 --- Archer

“The catalogue of honour or Tresury of true nobility. peculiar and proper to the isle of Great Britaine”, by Milles, Tho. 1550?-1627?. London : Printed by William Iaggard, 1610 ---604p -- Archer p2

“The Holy Bible [King James Version]”, printed by Robert Baker, Printer to the King's most excellent majesty. Anno Domini 1611--- Archer

“The history of the world by Raleigh, Sir, , Walter, 1552?-1618. At London : Printed [by William Stansby] for Walter Burre[, and are to be sold at his Shop in Paules Church-yard at the signe of the Crane, 1617--- Archer

“The famous and memorable vvorkes of Iosephus, a man of much honour and learning among the Iewes”, by Josephus, Flavius. London : Printed for Thomas Adams : , Printed at London by Humphrey Lovvnes dwelling on Bredstreet hill at the signe of the Starre, 1620 --- Archer

“The theater of honour and knight-hood. Or A compendious chronicle and historie of the whole Christian vvorld. by Favyn, André. London : Printed by VVilliam Iaggard, dwelling in Barbican, and are there to be sold, 1623 ---594p--- Archer

“Britain, or, A chorographicall description of the most flourishing kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the islands adjoyning, out of the depth of antiquitie”, by Camden, William, 1551-1623. London : Printed by F.K.R.Y. and I.L. for William Aspley, 1637 --- Archer

“Aristotles politiques, or Discourses of gouernment. Translated out of Greeke into French, with expositions taken out of the best authours, specially out of Aristotle himselfe, and out of Plato, conferred together where occasion of matter treated of by them both doth offer it selfe: the obseruations and reasons whereof are illustrated and confirmed by innumerable examples, both old and new, gathered out of the most renowmed empires, kingdomes, seignories, and commonweals that euer haue bene, and wherof the knowledge could be had in writing, or by faythfull report, concerning the beginning, proceeding, and excellencie of ciuile gouernment”, By Loys Le Roy, called Regius. Translated out of French into English by Aristotle. At London : Printed by Adam Islip, 1598 --- Archer

The observant reader will note a particular feature that distinguishes the Archer device publications from the “AA” device publications, and also accounts for the fact that there were so many more publications marked with the “AA” device. This feature is that the more prestigious works tend to be marked with the Archer device. I will explain the reason for this shortly, and this explanation provides further evidence for Bacon’s connection to the works.


This is the last article in the Compeers and devices series- time to wrap up the package. But there’s never exactly the right amount of string to tie up a package. There’s always too much or too little. In this case the surplus is considerable, and there are many small pieces of string that need to be used. A larger package would be needed to really do justice to the subject, but space limitations mandate abridgement (I would remind the reader again that evidence thrives poorly in cameo). Nevertheless in my judgment (‘tis a poor thing esteemed reader, but ‘tis my own) with the completion of this article I will have supported my argument that Francis Bacon was behind the ornamental devices, and I will have revealed the secret of the Ornamental Devices. And in regards to the latter I will do that now before the spirit moves me to return to my perch at the Hyatt Regency on Bay Street and gaze upon the River of booze. Scratch that, what I meant, of course, was gaze upon the river of Savannah. Bacon was noted for packing many different meanings in a small compass. The “AA” device is a prime example of this trait.

The “AA” device

1. The first and most obvious meaning of the “AA” device was that it symbolized all the variety of written material. Smedley notes that Camden comments in his “Remaines Concerning Britaine,”:

“Variete and vicissitude of humane things he seemed to shew which parted his shield, Per Pale, Argent & Sables and counter-changeably writte in the Argent, Ater and in the Sables Albus.”

2.The device, as already noted (Compeers III – Part 1) had a Masonic significance. The "AA" device was very apt for the Freemasons. The idea of the light and dark "A" first appeared in a passage in "De Arte Cabalistica" by Johann Reuchlin where, describing creation, Reuchlin said the dark "A" (Aleph), that originally existed, became the light "A" (Aleph) through the "fiat lux" of the Creator. The central Freemason ceremony, their "illumination" ritual dealt with this biblical "fiat lux", when, according to Reuchlin, the light "A" was created from the dark "A". The Masonic motto was, "Lux e tenebris", i.e. "light from darkness". Thus the emblem was tailor made for the Freemasons. The biblical "fiat lux" was cosmological since it dealt with the creation.

3.The union of light and dark "A's" with the Pyramid of Nature in the 1577 emblem was cosmological also since it symbolized Bacon ideas about the creation of universal nature. Bacon had the peculiar idea of the "Alphabet of Nature" that emanated from the two cupids, one the oldest of the gods, and the other the youngest of the gods (the "AA" device in the First Folio had two cupids on it). The elder cupid came from the egg of night. In Bacon's system of thought, Cupid was the force of attraction implanted by God in the beginning that drew particles together, and by virtue, and multiplication of which all things were formed. As "A", was the first letter in the alphabet, it referred to the beginning of things. So, according to Bacon, a light and a dark aspect existed in all things. Bacon also said, things concluded by affirmations may be considered as the offspring of light; whereas those concluded by negatives and exclusions are the offspring of night. The pyramid with the light and dark "A" was a symbolic cosmology

4.The basis of Bacon’s science was the applying of opposites for the production of works. In his fragmentary work, “The History of the Sympathy and Antipathy of Things”, Bacon said:

“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 magnolia naturae.”

5. As I noted in Compeers III – Part 2 the device may also have referred to his bi-literal cipher

6. The device also signified the Janus design found in his Shakespeare plays and elsewhere where the two faces, one looking toward the past and the other toward the future, the dark “A” representing the darkness of Antiquity, and the light “A” representing the Anticipations, the light of the future, signified the presence of his discovery built into the design of the plays.

The Archer Device

The meaning of the Archer device is fairly obvious also. For Bacon, Pan represented universal nature, and to the acquisition of all knowledge as "the Hunt of Pan." The office of Pan, he said, could not be more lively represented than by making him the god of hunters. So the Arts and Science have their particular end which they hunt after. For every natural action, every motion and process, is no other than a hunt. Therefore, the central figure in the emblem is Pan, shown by the fact that He was god of hunters, by the shaggy nature of his legs, and by the fivefold headdress. According to Bacon the generations of Nature naturally fell into five divisions, (1) Celestial; (2) Meteors; (3) Earth and Sea; (4) Elements; and (5) Species.

So in the emblem the hounds of the chase are depicted as turned toward Pan, the central figure, with their noses to the ground, i.e. hot on the scent of Pan, or the search for knowledge. The archers are also turned toward the central figure of Pan, but their arrows are dipped low so they are actually directed about half way between Pan and the clusters of grapes beneath him. This was entirely In accordance with the logic of Literate Experience, of which Bacon had said: 

'I pledge mankind a liquor strained from countless Grapes, from grapes ripe and fully seasoned, collected In clusters, and gathered, then squeezed in the press, And finally purified and clarified in the vat.'

Here also are seen the rabbits, emblem of that vigilance necessary to the Sons of Science (it was believed that rabbits slept with one eye open), and here are seen the running vines of ivy since Bacon said Science in its healthy state should be like running vines or ivy, continually growing. The blossoms are shown with two directed straight up, and two directed outward to the reader, since Bacon said one beam of knowledge is directed upward toward God, and one toward man. The two peacocks held by the seated figure tells us by the “Archer” device was used to mark the more prestigious works. In his essay “Of Vain-glory” Bacon said:

“In fame of learning, the flight will be slow without some feathers of ostentation. Qui de contemnenda Gloria libros scibunt, nomen, suum inscribunt. Socrates, Aristotle, Galen, were men full of ostentation.”

And what better symbol than the strutting peacock to signify this? The peacock was also an apt symbol for designating knowledge since the tail feathers of its fan seemed to be adorned with numerous eyes.

I end this series of articles as I began – amazed at that fantastic being Francis Bacon. The scope of his accomplishments was absolutely astounding. During the romantic period when Shakespeare was deified, one of his admirers waxed hyperbolic, raving, “Next to God Shakespeare created most”. If he had known the full extent of Bacon’s creativity he might have been tempted to say, “Next to Bacon God created most.”

When Newton was praised for his great achievements in science he said, “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” The same may be said of the Baconians attempt to understand Bacon – the great ocean of truth lies undiscovered before them. And if others have waxed hyperbolic why should not I? Bacon was a superman. He was literally a walking god. To him we owe the heritage of the language we possess to day. To him he owe every scientific and technological benefit we possess today. Loren Eiseley spoke truly in “The Man Who Saw Through Time” when he described the unique soil required for science to take root, saying that many lost civilizations, “Roman, Mayan, Egyptian – had great builders, whether of roads, aqueducts, temples, or pyramids” without possessing science, and then suggesting that we owe the science we possess today to one man – Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon not only possessed the greatest intellect of any person in recorded history – he was a good man in the highest sense of the word, and he expended all his energies and abilities for the good of humanity. But the light he gave, and the good he gave has gone unrecognized for the most part. I stand with Ben Jonson who said, “I do love the man on this side idolatry”, and a whim, an imp of the perverse perhaps, moves me to end this article by writing a eulogy of Francis Bacon that is, at the same time, an indictment of the human race:

Peerless mind here have been,
Dwelling briefly like strangers,
Held captive in Tartar camps.
This is the world where men,
Like savages bewail the darkness,
And then throw stones at lamps.


comments for Mather Walker
See : The Bacon-Shakespeare Essays of Mather Walker