Was Francis Bacon a Masked Musician?




Mather Walker
January 2003

see Alexander Ovsov's translation of this essay in Romanian


When Uranus was discovered in 1781 unexpected anomalies were found. An invisible, gigantic force, somewhere further out from the sun was powerfully affecting the path of its orbit. Scientists suspected the presence of a huge, undiscovered planet. After extended mathematical labors they began to zero in on its location. Astronomers scanned the skies night after night. On September 10, 1846, in a historic prophecy, Herschel remarked:
“Its movements have been felt, trembling along the far-reaching line of our analysis with a certainty hardly inferior to that of ocular demonstration.”

A few days later the planet Neptune was sighted.



The Elizabethan Neptune

Francis Bacon was the Neptune of his age. His invisible presence behind the events of his time was so immense that zeroing in on his hidden influence is comparable to the search for a gigantic hidden planet. Baconians have continued this search for more than a century. Hundreds of books marked with his ornamental devices signaled his hidden presence behind the amazing London publishing phenomenon. Hidden behind many masks Bacon authored the principal literary works of the Elizabethan Literary Renaissance. He was the gigantic, invisible force behind the amazing development of the English Language, which took place in his time. Countless new words were coined, countless new forms of speech devised, causing the English language to explode from its island home and eventually become the predominant global language. Bacon has justly been called “The Father of Modern Science”, but there is more to the story than just his overt writings. Bacon was the dominant force behind the Freemasons.

His hidden influence behind the Freemason and Rosicrucian phenomena led to the founding of the Royal Society which, in turn, played a profound part in the scientific revolution. And, as his heritage to the Secret Societies, Francis Bacon restored The Mysteries.


The Presence of Neptune - Literary Works


A survey of Francis Bacon’s masked literary writings reveals a definite ‘Presence of Neptune’ profile. In some cases Bacon used actual people for his masks. In other cases what we know about the authors is based solely on the information in works published under their names. The works are often marked with Bacon’s special devices, the “AA”, Archer, Bear, or other ornamental devices. The authors are often connected in some way with Francis Bacon; or the books are dedicated to various people with whom Bacon was closely associated; or the authors are, in various ways, absent from the London stage; or there is a suspicious lack of information about the authors.

William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon, for example, was acquainted with close associates of Bacon. Ben Jonson, who knew the man well, was close to Bacon, and even lived in Bacon’s house for a time. Southampton, to whom Venus and Adonis, and Lucrece were dedicated, was the inseparable friend of Essex with whom Bacon was closely associated.. Bacon was certainly a Freemason as I have shown in my first Compeers article, and if that evidence is not enough, a letter from his nephew, Sir Edmund Bacon, written in October of 1616 to Francis Bacon has the following passage:

"I am bound both by your favours to myself, and also by those to my nephew, WHOM YOU HAVE BROUGHT OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT"

This can only mean that Bacon initiated his great nephew into the Freemasons, and that Bacon not only was a Freemason, but that he was at least at a level as high as that of WM (Worshipful Master), i.e., Master of a Lodge. In fact Bacon was not just a Worshipful Master, he was THE Worshipful Master. In his book, “Bacon-Masonry” George Tudhope points out that the reference in the Old Charges of Freemasonry to the origin of Freemasony from the lodge of the Holy Saint John is not to the Holy Saint John AT Jerusalem, but to the Holy Saint OF Jerusalem. He cites Mackey’s Revised Encyclopedia of Freemason, 1950 edition, page 601, which states:

“In all Masonic documents the words ran formerly as follows: ‘From the Lodge of the Holy Saint John Of Jerusalem…”

and goes on to show that in England there was a building known as the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem at the revels Office in Clerkenwall, and included within its complex of buildings was Canonbury Tower on which Bacon held a lease from 1616 to 1625. Beneath this mysterious place were two secret passageways, one to the gate of the Priory of St. Johns in Clerkenwall, and the other leading down under the river into London. There is evidence connecting Bacon with this location well before 1616, and the location implies this was the original meeting place of the Freemasons.

Evidence in the Shakespeare First Folio points to the

Stratford man as a Fellow Craft in the Freemasons.

When Heminge and Condell address the “BRETHREN”, at the very beginning of the ‘Shakespeare’ First Folio, and refer to the Stratford man as a worthy friend and FELLOW they are using Masonic idiom, and sending a clear message to the Freemasons, who are being addressed, that the man from Stratford was a lowly Fellow Craft. This was further revealed by the “Wil is a FC” message in “Love’s Labour's Lost”. The Stratford man was merely a lackey, the quintessential Elizabethan gopher who fell into the circle of Bacon and his friends with his mercenary hands outstretched, and who Bacon used for his own ends. No doubt he was initiated into the Freemason Fraternity with it’s blood curling oaths as an additional way of ensuring his silence, in addition to the money he was paid for playing the role of Bacon’s mask. Beyond this still, there are suspicious gaps and anomalies in the contemporary records pertaining to the man.

Almost everything we know about Spenser comes from the works published under his name. There are many anomalies and peculiarities about this information. Though only a lowly student servant at Cambridge, Spenser was supposedly closely associated with Bacon’s intimate circle the aristocratic Sidney group, and even more unbelievable supposedly had private access to the Queen. His various works are constantly dedicated to people in the small aristocratic circle in which Bacon moved: Mary, Countess of Pembroke; Lady Anne, Countess of Warwick; Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, and so on. Essex, with whom Bacon was closely associated, paid the funeral expenses for Spenser, and Spenser was secluded in a remote corner of Ireland while his works were appearing in London. Marlowe was a member of Raleigh’s circle and Bacon was closely connected to Raleigh. Moreover, Marlowe was already dead when works with his name on them began to appear. Raleigh’s circle, who were, by and large, Freemasons, had only to keep quiet as the deception was played out. The Hoby family (the intimate friends and cousins of Bacon) were Thomas Lodge’s intimate friends. “Margarite of America” was dedicated to Elizabeth Hoby, who was Bacon’s aunt, and Thomas Lodge was away on distant travels while works under his name were appearing in London. The pattern is repeated over and over again in the area of Bacon’s concealed literary activities.

The Presence of Neptune - Musical Works

Interestingly, the same ‘Presence of Neptune’ pattern exists in numerous musical publications of Bacon’s time. There was a Masonic connection to some of the top musicians of the age. Furthermore a curious parallel exists both between the musical and the literary renaissance in Bacon’s time, and between the polyphonic music of that musical renaissance and the polyphonic blank verse of the Shakespeare plays.

The authors had connections to Bacon. Their works are dedicated to the same people from Bacon’s close circle of acquaintances that his various masked literary works are dedicated to. Some of the authors are absent from London when the works that are supposedly theirs are published. The works were often marked with Bacon’s ornamental devices. In the huge 1673 page “Literary History of England” Edited by Albert C. Baugh, a strong emphasis is placed on the relation between the song collections that appeared in the Elizabethan Renaissance, and the Literary Renaissance:

“The Elizabethan poets to a very great extent learned their art, and in turn communicated it to their readers, by means of the song collections which issued in a constant stream from -“Tottel’s Miscellany” in 1557 to Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody in 1602.”

To show how intimately Bacon was connected with all this it is noteworthy that in the latter part of Bacon's life, the steward of his estates was William Tottel, son of the famous Elizabethan printer, Richard Totell, master of the Stationers' Company in 1579, who published the famous Tottel's Miscellany, or “Songes and Sonnets” in 1557. Richard Totell’s apprentice was John Jaggard who took over his shop at the Hand and Star in Fleet Street when Tottel retired. John Jaggard entered into partnership with his brother William Jaggard. The Jaggard firm printed several works that Bacon wrote under his own name, as well as his master masked work - The Shakespeare First Folio of 1623.

Dodd thought he caught a glimpse of Bacon in a musical connection when he was still a child. In his “Francis Bacon’s Personal Life Story” Alfred Dodd says:

“In the ‘Duke of Norfolk’s Confession for High Treason,’ we get an illuminating flash into the private life of the Queen as a proud mother of Francis enfolded with the affectionate love of her secret husband Leicester.

When the Court was at Guilford, I went unaware into the Queen’s Privy Chamber; and found her sitting on the threshold of the door listening with one ear to a Little Child who was singing and playing on the Lute to her; and with other to Leicester who was kneeling by her side. The child could have been no other than Francis, who would then be about nine years of age.”

Was this little child, Francis Bacon? We cannot be sure. But he is the most likely candidate to fit the scenario. Bacon was a prodigy and his universal genius manifested itself at an early age. In 1665, David Lloyd in his, “The Statesmen and Favourites of England Since the Reformation” compiled a number of biographies of Elizabethan statesmen that were written by someone who was closely acquainted with them. In this book the author says of Bacon:

“He had a large mind from his Father and great abilities from his Mother; His parts improved more than his years, his great fixed and methodical memory, his solide judgement, his quick fancy, his ready expression, gave assurance of that profound and universal comprehension of things which then rendered him the observation of great and wise men; and afterwards the wonder of all…at twelve his industry was above the capacity and his minde beyond the reache of his contemporaries.”

Edward George Harman argued that Bacon had begun writing minor works, by the age of nine. I think it very probable that his early, short works included the music and lyrics of some of the songs in those song collections that issued in such a steady stream from the time Bacon was very young. Since Bacon was such a massive presence in the Literary Renaissance, he may have began by writing short songs, and expanded later into longer literary and poetic writings. Certainly Bacon had a deep, and all encompassing knowledge of music. There is ample evidence of this in the works he produced under his own name, and the works he produced under his ‘Shakespeare’ mask are saturated with this evidence. Did Bacon compose musical works as well as literary works, and put these works forth hidden behind the masks of various people whose names he used? Were there famous musicians of Bacon’s day who were actually masks he used, just as there were famous authors of his day who were masks he used?

This subject needs to be explored. The evidence, for the most part, is circumstantial, although in certain instances it goes beyond the circumstantial. But it must be realized that I am breaking new ground. For more than a century Baconians have probed into Bacon’s masked activities as a writer of literary works.

A great deal of evidence has been accumulated in regards to this aspect of Bacon’s concealed activities. Parallel investigations have not been made into his possible activities as a concealed composer of musical works. So in this area the investigation is just beginning. The present article is merely a suggestive inquiry into this unexplored aspect of Bacon’s concealed authorship, and will have fulfilled it purpose if it moves others to carry the inquiry further.

Probative Value of the Ornamental Devices


Since I will be using the presence of Bacon’s ornamental devices in various publications as evidence in this study, I will begin by making a general statement as to the probative value of these devices. In the three part article on “ Francis Bacon and the Secret of the Ornamental Devices” I provided evidence to support Smedley’s claim that Bacon directed the production of a great quantity of published material and he had books he was interested in marked with one of his ornamental devices. So I propose the following:

Premise. The appearance of one of these devices on any publication is evidence that Bacon was the real publisher of that publication, notwithstanding whatever name may appear as publisher on the work itself..

This does not necessarily mean Bacon was the author of any given work. It is obvious he was not the author of many works marked with his devices. However, the works so marked for which he was the author had specific distinguishing characteristics. The ‘Shakespeare” First Folio was marked with both the “AA” and the Archer device, and there were numerous quarto editions of the plays marked with one of the devices. This was also the case with the ‘Spenser’ works. Most of the Bacon’s major masks had more than one work marked with his devices. There were, to my knowledge, only two cases in which more than two works of a given author were marked with the devices and Bacon was not the author. These were the works of Jonson and Chapman. But in both cases there were open and overt connections between these authors and Bacon. So if a work was written in London in Bacon’s time, it would seem the work is likely to have been authored by Bacon if it had more than one of his devices in it, or more than two of any authors works were marked with his devices and there was no overt connection of the author to Bacon.

General Assumption. If a work was written in London in Bacon’s time, and an author has more than two works marked with one of Bacon’s devices, or if any given work is marked more than once, and there is no overt connection of the author to Bacon, then the likelihood that Bacon was the author is high.

As You Like It Revisited

In a recent article on “As You Like It” I argued the play allegorized Bacon’s activities as a concealed author of literary works that appeared under the names of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Lodge, and others. I also pointed out that this play contained more songs than any other ‘Shakespeare’ play, and that, as well as showing Bacon’s masked activities in writing literary works, As You Like . It also allegorized his masked activities in writing music. However, the theme related to his concealed musical compositions was more comprehensive than I covered at that time.

Music (I omit the music of classical antiquity) originated in, and flowed from, two streams: religious music and secular music. Secular music derived in large part from the wandering minstrels who became the original court ‘fools’. In addition, another major facet of secular music was the troubadour music dealing with the theme of Love and “The Lady.” In addition to containing more songs than any other ‘Shakespeare” play, “As You Like It” has a religious theme as well as a “fool” who is a central character, as well as Rosalind who is the stereotypical personification of The Lady. It is no accident that all of these elements are present in the play. A background on the origins of modern music will provides the context for understanding the music of Bacon’s day, and also allow the reader to see more clearly how the themes of allegory in “As You Like It” reflects the origins of music.

The Origins of Western Music


Religious Music

In the fourth century A.D., Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, an influential early Church Father, instigated the antiphonal chant in which the congregation was divided into two parts that alternated in singing the Psalms. Two centuries later another influential Church Father, Gregory the Great, stamped his imprint on the heritage of music by originating chants or plain songs which were based on passages from the Book of Psalms sung in a spirit of deep reverence and dignity.

Gradually a system of notation was evolved so music of the chants could be written down and read by the singers. When Gregory had the Antiphonary copied he had little marks called “neumes” placed above the words to show whether the voice should move up or down in singing them. Dots, dashes, and other symbols were gradually added, but their evolution was very slow. Three centuries later the notation was still so vague that, after singing the first tone, the singer did not know (with the second, lower sign) whether to go down one tone only or to go down two or three, if the chant had not been heard before.

Around 1024 A.D., Guido of Arezzo, choirmaster in the monastery at Pomposa in Italy, made innovations to the old notation system. Guido claimed his innovations would enable a monk to learn in five months what had taken nine years before. He divided the scale into hexachords (groups of six sounds), arranged so as to place a diatonic semitone between the third and fourth notes of each series. He increased the number of lines drawn across the manuscript from two to four, five, six, seven and sometimes even as many as eleven, for the lines of the staff were not fixed as they are today. Next he arranged symbols, either on the lines, or in the spaces between the lines, that showed with some exactness how the chant should be sung. He invented black marks to replace the neumes. These were now called notes, but they were far different then, -. they were merely little black squares.

As a further aid Guido drew a red line across the page of music. The neumes marked above that line were to be sung higher than the present tone F, those below it - lower. Then Guido drew another line this time a yellow line, that represented the present tone C; and a third line - green line for when B Flat was needed. With the aid of these lines the choir could keep fairly close to the chant as it was indicated by the neumes.

Guido then made yet another improvement. He gave names to the notes. He chose the first syllables of the lines of an old hymn to John the Baptist for these names. The words of the hymn were:

Ut queant laxis

Resonare fibris

Mira gestorum

Famuli tuorum

Sove polluti

Labia reatum

The translation was roughly as follows:

Grant that the unworthy lips of the servant

May be gifted with due harmony

Let the tones of my voice

Sing the praises of thy wonders.

So the choirs began singing: ut, re, mi, fa, so, and la. But in time the syllable “ut” was changed to “do”, because that was easier to sing, and “si” was added to complete the scale. The letters “s” and “i” were taken from the initial letters of Sancte Ioannes (St. John) to whom the hymn was written.

Having completed his commendatory labors Guido was ready for his reward. It was not long in coming. The Church didn’t like change, and threw him into prison. Fortunately after a year or so, Pope John XIX released him, and he collected all the improvements he had made into a book which was then used by choirmasters in many places to make the teaching of Gregorian chants easier.

Sometime around the 12th century the change from unison to two-part singing occurred. Rules were later devised. The upper, or principal voice, was called the “tenor” because the Latin verb “tenere” meant “to hold”, and the tenor held the melody. The lower voice was called the “Organum”, a term taken from a phrase in St. Jerome’s translation of the Bible which meant “to glorify the Lord.” Two-part singing was an exciting discovery. People realized certain notes sound well when sung together. This was the basis of modern harmony.

Gradually other discoveries were made. Singers found the part which had been sung below the tenor could also be sung above it, and that the two voices did not have to move at an even rate &endash; the added part could be sung with a different rhythm and could be woven into beautiful decorative passages which they called “melismas.”

Before long, a third part was added. Then still more voices that echoed one another or sang independent melodies simultaneous. . The music was composed of melodic lines heard against one another, and woven together so the individual notes harmonized. Medieval Latin for the idea of note-against-note, or point against point was “punctus contra punctum”. The term contrapuntal, or counterpoint was later adopted.

A more general term is polyphony (“many sounds”). This is often used in opposition to monophony (music of “one sound”, or one single line of melody), and homophony (music of “like sounds” with voices moving in the same rhythm, or a melody in which each note harmonizes). Gradually also, the old way of singing notes of even lengths was abandoned. Notes became shorter, or short notes were mingled with long ones. A new notation for writing music had to be invented, and a monk named Franco, who lived in the German city of Cologne, made some admirable innovations in musical notation..

Franco devised a way to show not only various tones, but their duration as well. He made a black square with a tail to indicate a long sound, and a black square without a tail to indicate a short sound. Then he made a black diamond for a still shorter note. (Only considerably later, and at various times in various places, was Franco’s marks replaced by the rounded black and white symbols we used today.) In Paris in the twelfth century two great masters, Leoninus and Perotinus, worked on problems of musical notation, elaborating Franco’s notation, and laying the foundations of three and four-voice counterpoint. England was late in adopting the rounded black and white symbols we use today. Most of the musical publications in Bacon’s time were in the old notation, the notation is known as “White Mensural Notation.”

Franco’s improved notation was not without it drawbacks. Since choirs could sing much more accurately now, composers tended to go over board. They wrote as many melodies as possible to be sung at the same time. Voices sang against each other, crossing back and forth, echoing each other, overlapping, while throughout it all the tenor maintained the basic song. This was termed the “cantus firmus” and gave unity to the whole. In a famous Paris Notre Dame choir school polyphonic singing pulled out all the stops. Singers used not only different melodies, but different words in their singing. While the tenor sang his chant, a second voice sang a melody with entirely different words (a folk song or a popular tune, or even a different language) and other voices echoed and imitated each other. The French called this kind of singing a “motet,” from the French “mot” meaning “word”. We still use the term for a polyphonic composition on a sacred text.

In the fifteenth century, when Ottaviano dei Petrucci of Venice brought the printing of music to perfection, this complicated ornate music spread throughout Europe. By the sixteenth century choirs no longer sang to glorify God, but to perform technical feats of skill and ingenuity. Church officials was incensed. They felt this music created a ‘wantonness’ which drew the mind away from the worship. They saw a need for drastic measures. Perhaps polyphonic singing should be done away with altogether? But, if so, what should take its place?

In 1545 a large group of scholars and church officials assembled in Trent, a city on the boundary between the German-speaking and Italian-speaking peoples, for the purpose of rectifying the situation that existed with church music. They wrangled, and argued, and debated intermittently for the better part of 18 years, but in the end all their talk seems to have moved to action two people who played an important role in rectifying the situation that had arose in church music. These people were Giovanni Pierhrigi da Palestrina (c1525-1594), and Orlande de Lassu (1532-1594). They both composed music for the church that was cleansed of all worldly artificiality and soared to heights of spiritual ecstasy. And the reaction may have had far reaching effects.

Around 1597 in Italy, in secular music, the homophonic style of music began, in which the single voice replaced the old intricate weaving of several parts. This style of music arose from attempts at imitating Greek drama, and for its main use it was put to dramatic purposes in operas. As far as England was concerned it had little or no effect at that time. In all of the technical allusions to music in the Shakespeare plays produced from that time until the performance of The Tempest in 1611, there is no allusion to the ‘new music’.

One of the most comprehensive source references on Shakespeare is “Shakespeare’s England”, a huge, two-volume compendium that required some eleven years to complete, and has articles by some forty contributors devoted to all phases of the England of Shakespeare’s time. The article on music in the book was written by W. Barclay Squire, who states:

“It is noticeable that his [Shakespeare’s] musical education wherever it was acquired, was strictly on the line of the polyphonic school…”

In view of the influence that Italy had on the English Literature of the day, and also because the masque that was so closely allied to the opera reached it highest development in England during the first quarter of the seventeenth century it is quite surprising that the ‘new music’ was not reflected in the ‘Shakespeare’ plays. The question that naturally arises is why? Since Bacon had such an all encompassing intellectuality why did he not embrace the new music? The answer may be that this was due to the special quality of his consciousness. In my book The Secret of the Shakespeare Plays I described an experience where, in an altered state of consciousness I had a special perception of The Tempest:

“Through some strange inner faculty I was aware of the entire play in one perception. At the same time I knew this was how the author of the play had perceived it. There was a unity to it's totality yet, at the same time, the play was an exquisite array of precisely counter-poised opposing entities; each precisely equal to its opposite, so that, overall, there was an absolute equilibrium of opposing entities; the two radical entities being darkness and light; and all the others arising from the opposition and struggle between these two. Suddenly there arose in my consciousness a kind of terror. This exquisite array was so exact, so inexonerable, so implacable, it was terrifying in its unrelenting power. There was a terrible beauty to it like the ‘fearful symmetry’ of Blake's tiger.”

This shows both an aionic consciousness, and a basic contrapuntal construction to the play. It may well be that this was also embodied in Bacon’s music. The only other musician I am aware of who produced aionic musical works was Mozart. In “The Personality of Man” by G.N.M. Tyrrell, London 1946, Tyrrell recorded that Mozart said of his musical creations:

“Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them, as it were, all at once…What a delight this is I cannot tell!”

The function of the various voices in contrapuntal music tended later to be replaced by the various instruments that provided this function, so there is some difference, but it still might be interesting to make a study of Mozart’s music in connection with music believed to have been authored by Bacon.

Secular Music

Secular music was made up an older and livelier heritage than religious music - spinning songs, lullabies, battle songs, songs of brave deeds, wedding songs, drinking songs, and harvest songs. Each separate locality had its own special style of singing. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, homeless people were spread throughout Europe. In the ninth and tenth centuries thousands of these people took to the road. These people had to make a living somehow Many did this by amusing people with songs. Sometimes they added acrobatic stunts to their music. Sometimes they took trained bears or monkeys with them.

These people were called “minstrels” and they stopped to perform wherever they could find an audience.Eventually some managed to become permanently attached to the servant staffs of the lord of castles, and thus began the tradition of the Court Fool. In their book, “The Heritage of Music”, Katherine Shippen and Anca Seidlova say:

“Because they were poor but quick-witted, the minstrels often helped themselves to what they wanted, and this gave them a bad reputation. People loved to hear them perform but were afraid of have them around. Officials of both State and Church declared that they were “lawless fellows.” For that reason they were required to wear special costumes so that they would be easy to identify. Here they must go in green and yellow stripes; there, in checked suits of red and blue. At one time they were required to wear their hair long; then sometimes, with a saucy gaiety, they twined peacock feathers in it.”

Compare this with the description of the Fool’s costume in The Arden Shakespeare edition of “As You Like It”:

“The particolour of the fool’s motley was in the weave of the material, and not in the cut of the coat. Favourite colours for a fool were green and yellow, emblematic of his unripe intellect, and doubtless cheap, fast dyes. It appears from an article by E.W. Ives that Hotson was mistaken in supposing that the colours were mingled in the subtle and unemphatic style of modern tweeds, which require advanced manufacturing techniques. They were arranged in striped or checks or any other simple pattern that can be produced with yarns of two colours on a hand-loom. Thus a fool’s costume, often described as pied, patched, or particoloured, could be very fantastic. It seems likely that Touchstone at court cut a startling figure.”

With the beginning of the crusades in the twelfth century Knights who rode off to the crusades generally took their minstrels with them to lighten the tedium of their journeys. The knights, though they left the singing and playing to the minstrels, soon began to create new music of their own. The returning Crusaders had been inspired by the melodies and rhythms of the Moslem countries to write new songs and new music.

They wanted to revive the melodies they had heard in the East and make new ones that told of spring, of love, of homecoming. They had found joy, they said. The French word for “to find” is “trouver”. Therefore, they were called “troubadours” in the language of Provence in southern France. The music became the music of courtly love and addressed to The Lady. Before long this type of music had found its way into Germany. Wolfram von Eschenbach and Walther von der Bogelweide were delighting the German people with their songs. The Germans called these singers “minnesingers”. “mine” was the old German word for “love.” As the strains of minstrels, troubadours, minnesingers, and penitents spread across Europe, the people, especially of England, had found a new musical enjoyment. They were singing “canons” or “rounds.”

The Presence of Neptune - the Elizabethan Renaissance

All of this was the musical heritage bequeathed to the musicians of the Elizabethan Renaissance, which, any way you slice it, was a very strange phenomena. In their book, “Renaissance England” Roy Lamson and Hallett Smith say, “How it came about is one of the complexes of history, and no narrative does real justice to the facts.” Frances Yates said, “I do not think it is sufficiently realized how very peculiar the Elizabethan Renaissance was.” The fact is most of the great works of the Elizabethan Literary Renaissance appeared in the period from 1579 when Bacon returned from France until around 1615 when Bacon became caught up in the press of more and more duties for King James.

The label ‘Elizabethan Renaissance’ is a misnomer. The phenomena should be called, ‘The Baconian Renaissance’. A peculiar trait of the ‘Elizabethan’ literary renaissance is the musical renaissance in England closely paralleled the literary renaissance. They were concurrent floods swelling swelled and ebbing at almost the same time, although the musical began slightly earlier. While Spenser, Shakespeare Sidney, Greene and Peele, and others poured out those great new literary works; a parallel phenomena was taking place in which a coterie of musicians were pouring out their musical works. The greatest of them all was William Byrd (1543-1623) who seems to have had a delayed maturity - only beginning to pour forth his great works in his thirties. Almost at the same rank were the two other supreme composers of the age: John Bull(?1562 &endash; 1628) and Orlando Gibbons(1583-1623). Then there was the greatest luteist and composer of “ayres” of the age, John Dowland (1563-1626); and a number of other lesser lights: Richard Alison(ff1592-1606),Thomas Morley(1557-1602), Thomas Ravenscroft(c1582-c1635), Thomas Campion(1567-1620), Robert Jones(f1597-1615), William Corkine (ff1610-1612), and others. (In general, whenever available, I have used the 20 volume “New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians”, Macmillian Publishers Limited 1980, for biographical information on these musicians.)

Just as many of the literary works of the Elizabethan Renaissance were marked with Bacon’s ornamental devices, so were many of the musical works. And just as many of the literary works were dedicated to people within Bacon’s close circle of acquaintances, so were many of the musical works. And this outpouring of musical works began to slacken off about the same time as the outpouring of literary works. In his article on “Words and Music In Elizabethan England” in the book “The Age of Shakespeare”, Wilfrid Mellers, Mellon Professor of music, at the University of Pittsburg, said:

“Only quite recently have we come to see that the achievement of the Elizabethans and Jacobeans in music is strictly comparable with their achievement in literature….

The Elizabethan and Jacobean age is, then, one of the greatest epochs in the history of European music; and the finest things in it was created in a relatively brief period stretching from about 1600 to 1615. This period corresponds exactly with the highest point of contemporary culture in poetry and the drama”

This sudden flowering of music in England was even more surprising in view of the condition of music in England up to this point. At one time England had stood at the head of musical progress. The art of polyphony is generally considered to have emerged from a purely theoretical stage under the influence of an Englishman, John Dunstable (c1390-1453), but his influence was greater abroad than in England. The great civil - War of the Roses, drove English musicians abroad, and the seed sown by Dunstable bore fruit not in England, but in Italy, Burgundy, and The Netherlands. The Reformation dealt another severe blow to the progress of English Music because, after the Court, the Church was the chief support of musicians. At the time of the beginning of the Elizabethan Renaissance, England had fallen far behind Italy and the Netherlands in music. But amazingly by the year 1600 it had more than made up for lost time, and produced a school of composers which fully equaled and in some respects surpassed any to be found on the Continent.

Francis Bacon’s Musical Knowledge

Francis Bacon wrote a short summary on music in Century II of his Slyva Slyvarum that has a place with his various summaries of the various other branches of knowledge he put in his Advancement of Learning. This overview of music shows the same ability for comprehensive compression that graced the many overviews in the Advancement. The treatise in Slyva Slyvarum provides much data that could be used by people who are knowledgeable in the field of music to compare Bacon’s technical perspective and musical interests with the music in works of his time that seem to be masked works of Bacon’s. Another way we can gain information about Bacon’s music knowledge is through his ‘Shakespeare’ plays.

People with musical expertise, who have also had a deep acquaintance with the Shakespeare plays, have tended to believe that the author of the plays was a musician. John Wilson, to cite one example, in his, “Musical Standard” declared his conviction that Shakespeare was a practical musician with an intimate acquaintance with both the theory and practice of music. And there is considerable evidence in the plays to support this claim. In addition to the songs there are the numerous passage that refer to music, often from a very technical and practical standpoint. It has been calculated that there are around 170 passages in the plays that use the words ‘music’, ‘musical’, or ‘musician’; that ‘sing’, or its derivatives occur some 247 times; and that there are between 30 and 40 passages dealing with musical instruments. Furthermore, the constant use of technical terms by ‘Shakespeare’ shows an expert knowledge of both the art of composition, and of the construction of musical instruments.

In a letter written to Sir Robert Cecil, Francis Bacon said:

“And I am of one spirit still. I ever liked the Galenists, that deal with good compositions; and not the Paracelsians, that deal with fine separations: and in music, I ever loved easy airs, that go full all parts together; and not these strange points of accord and discord.”

This is interesting in view of the role the airs played in the plays. Moreover, the musical taste expressed in the plays reflects Bacon’s taste. Consider, for example, the following passage from Richard II:

“ Music do I hear?

Ha. ha! keep time. How sour sweet music is

When time is broke and no proportion kept!”

W. Barclay Squire says the above passage, “cannot be understood without some knowledge of the elaborate system of proportions inherited by Elizabethan composers from the earlier English school, and the same knowledge of the technicalities of the polyphonic composers is displayed in Hortensio’s gamut (Tam. Sh. III. i. 73ff.) and in many other passages.” The polyphonic allusions in Shakespeare’s technical references to music is underscored by an even closer connection to this music that is present in his blank verse. the amazing poetics of the ‘Shakespeare’ plays may have owed their development to a comprehensive apprenticeship in music.

In his “Cultural History of England” F. E. Halliday goes further and connects his polyphonic blank verse with the polyphonic music of his time. Halliday says:

“Perhaps it was no accident that while Spenser was meditating the verbal harmonies of The Faerie Queene Byrd was composing his Songs of Sundry Natures, among which were some to be accompanied by viols, the earliest English madrigals of any importance, though voices were soon to replace viols. At about the same time, 1588, Nicholas Yonge published Musica Transalpina, a collection of Italian madrigals madrigals, and the form was taken up and developed by Thomas Morley, who in 1594 published his Madrigals to Four Voices, the first book of madrigals by an English composer. The most characteristic form of Elizabethan music, therefore coincided with the new blank-verse drama and the sonnet sequences, with the great outburst of poetry after the defeat of the Armada.

The madrigal was a secular form of the motet, a contrapuntal interweaving of a number of melodies for unaccompanied voices, though in the madrigal there was normally only one voice to a part, and the words were the love-songs and lyrics of the age. As in the motet, therefore, the music of the madrigal must be followed horizontally, a music more difficult to appreciate than the vertical and simultaneous concord of harmony. For much the same reason blank verse is more difficult to appreciate than rhyme, and Shakespeare’s development of blank verse curiously resembles the polyphony of the contemporary madrigal.”

And Halliday goes on to say:

“it was Shakespeare who, in the last decade of the sixteenth century, developed the verbal polyphony of blank verse until in the Twelfth Night it became the complex and extended counterpoint of:

‘Tis beauty truly bless, who red and white
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on:
Lady, you are the cruelest she alive
If you will lead these graces to the grave
And leave the world no copy.’

Here, in the most musical of speeches, without the aid of feminine endings a counter- rhythm is induced by assonance, alliteration, and juxtaposition of verbal trochees: beauty truly, laid on, lady, nature, graces, cruel, cunning, copy.”

Since the volume of allusions to musical terms in the plays is so great I will restrict myself to merely citing a few from “As You Like It.” Here is a sample:

Broken music refers to music performed by instruments of different classes part music.

“But is there anyone else longs to feel this broken music in his sides?” (A.Y.L. I. 150-1)

Burden or burthen was the bass or under song to a melody.

“I would sing my song without a melody: thou bringest me out of tune.” (A.Y.L . III,ii. 263-4)

Discord is want of harmony between two or more musical notes sounded together, and Jar is a discord.

“If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
We shall shortly discord in the spheres. (A.Y.L. II. vii. 5-6)

Music formerly used both to refer to a piece of music and to a band of musicians, and Measure was the relation between the time values of one denomination and a note of the next, determining the kind of rhythm.

“Play, music I and you, brides and bridegrooms all,
With measure heap’d in joy, to the measures fall.” (A.Y.L. iv.i. 11-13)

Musician was a professional performer of music, especially of instrumental music.

“I have neither the scholar’s melancholy, which is emulation; nor the musician’s, which is fantastical; nor the courtier’s which is proud.” (A.Y.L. iv.i. 11-13)

Still music referred to soft or subdued music.

“Enter Hymen, Rosalind, and Celia. Still Music.” (A.Y.L. v.iv)

Strain referred to a musical phrase or piece of melody.

“What, to make thee an instrument and play false strains upon thee!” (A.Y.L. IV. iii. 68-70)

Out of tune, not keeping the correct or proper pitch.

“I would sing my song without a burthen: thou bringest me out of tune.” (A.Y.L. III. ii. 263-4)

The plays refer to a wide variety of musical terms: Accord, Air, Anthem, Bear a part, Breast, Broken, Burden, Carol, Catch, Chant, Clef, Close, Compass, Consort, Concord, Crotchet, Dead March, Descant, Diapason, Discord, Division, Drone, Ear, False, Fancy, Fingering, Fit, Flat, Fret, Gamut, Govern, Ground, Harmony, Holding, Jar, Key, Knock It, Lesson, Madrigal, March, Mean, Measure, Mi, Minim, Mode, Note, Part, Plain-song, Point, Prick-song, Proportion, Reed-voice, Relish, Rest, Round, Scale, Sennet, Set, Sharp, Soundpost, Still Music, Stop, Strain, String, Three-man-song, Time, Tongs, Touch, Treble, Triplex, Troll, Tucket, Tune, Ventages, Wind, Wind Up, and Wrest.

In addition to referring to a wide variety of musical terms, the plays contain references to a wide variety of musical instruments: Bagpipes, Bass viol, Cithern, Cornet, Cymbals, Drums, Dulcimers, Fiddles, Fifes, Flutes, Harp, Hautboys, Hornpipes, Kettles, Lute, Organ-pipes, Psalteries, Rebecks, Recorders, Sackbuts, Tabors, Tabourines, Trumpets, Viols, Viol da gambas, and Virginals.

The Shakespeare plays employ music of all varieties. There is stage music for banquets, serenades, or calls to battle. There is magical music to make someone fall in love, fall asleep, or be miraculously healed. There is character music to reveal the character of a protagonist in a play. For example, in Troilus and Cressida the nature of Pandarus the panderer is shown by the song he sings:

“Love, love, nothing but love, still love, still more!”

There is even music that reveals the character’s madness, as when Ophelia sings numerous songs (and bits of songs) before the King, the Queen, and Horatio, or when she breaks into song spontaneously. And there are many more types of music present in the plays. There are songs that (if all are counted, including the snatches of songs) total to around 100, and in about forty instances we have music. The songs come from various sources. Some snatches of songs come from popular ballads and folksongs that were probably well known to contemporary audiences, and did not require musical notation. But there are also songs that do not arise spontaneously, but are often song as a studied and considered performance either after entreaties by friends or at the express command of a master, and the songs usually require an instrumental accompaniment, and are made up of poetic lyrics on a par with the remainder of the poetry of the plays. Songs of this type are, “O mistress mine” of Twelfth Night:

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journey’s end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.

Or “It Was a Lover and His Lass” in “As You Like It”:

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green corn field did pass
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a dig, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Or the “Full Fathom Five” from The Tempest:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

And “Where the Bee Sucks” also from The Tempest:

Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.

For this type of song there is every reason to think that the author of the play was also the author of the song, and given the musical expertise exhibited in the plays, that the author of the play also wrote the music for the song. I cite these particular four songs because we have contemporary settings to music for each, but each setting was put forth under a different name than the ‘Shakespeare’ name, and in each case there exists connections to Bacon. “Oh Mistress Mine”, for example, was set to music by the greatest of all the musicians of Bacon’s time &endash; William Byrd.

William Byrd: Neptune and the Grand Trine

The towering figure among the musicians of Bacon’s time was William Byrd (1543-1623). In their book, “The Age of Reason Begins” in their Story of Civilization series, Will and Ariel Durant give him an interesting title. They say:

“William Byrd was the Shakespeare of Elizabethan music, famous for masses and madrigals, for vocal and instrumental compositions alike.”

The Durants may have been more correct than they knew in the title they applied to Byrd. Byrd exhibited that same giant intellect present in Bacon and the Shakespeare plays. Byrd’s music exhibited a great number of styles, forms, and genres. And Byrd exhibited an amazingly rapid and sure molding of them all into something individual, as if he had deliberately embarked on a program of experimentation, both in the kinds of music he wrote, and the composers whose styles he transformed and remolded.

In examining the works of Byrd one find many connections to Bacon. The early seventeenth-century Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, an invaluable collection of early English keyboard music contains the lyrics and music of “Oh Mistress Mine” with the author listed as William Byrd. The play Twelfth Night, on the other hand, gives every indication the author is William Shakespeare, aka, Francis Bacon. But we shouldn’t be all that puzzled by this since there are many other connections of William Byrd to Francis Bacon. For example, there are works marked with his devices, such as the following:

“Psalmes, sonets, & songs of sadnes and pietie, made into musicke of fiue parts”, by Byrd, William, 1542 or 3-1623. [London] : Printed by Thomas East, at the assigne of VV. Byrd, and are to be sold at the dwelling house of the said T. East, by Paules wharfe, 1588 --- AA p2

“Songs of sundry natures”, by Byrd, William, 1542 or 3-1623. Jmprinted at London : By Lucretia East, the assigne of William Barley, and are to be sold at the house of the sayd L. East, being in Aldersgate streete, neere the gate, 1610 ---AA title page

“Liber primus sacrarum cantionum quinque vocum”,. Autore Guilielmo Byrd organista regio, Anglo by

Byrd, William, 1542 or 3-1623. [London] : Excudebat Thomas Est ex assignatione Guilielmi Byrd. Cum priuilegio. Londini, 1589 --- AA title page

Furthermore, the following, and apparently the first, work of Byrd and Thomas Tallis was printed by Thomas Vautroullier:

“Discanvs, Cantiones, Qvae Ab Argv,emtp Sacrae Vocantve”, 1575, printed by Thomas Vautrollerius

In the first part of “Francis Bacon and the Secret of the Ornamental Devices” I showed that the “AA” device first began to appear in works printed by Thomas Vautrollier, indicating a close connection between Bacon and Vautrollier. In addition, the above work was marked on page 4 with an image of Pallas Athena.

This image appeared both in “masked” works of Bacon’s and works that appeared under his own name. For example, in “Tudor Problems” Parker Woodward gives evidence that the following work was actually written by Francis Bacon:

“A discourse of English poetrie”, by Webbe, William. Imprinted at London : By Iohn Charlewood for Robert Walley, 1586

What Woodward does not tell us is that the Pallas Athena image appeared on the last page of that work. The same image also appeared on the last page of the following work:

“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

The large image of Pallas Athena that appeared in “Discanvs” was marked with the initials “TV”, so it may be claimed this was merely a device that Vautrollier used. But the counter to this is the evidence I have just cited. Besides a closer look reveals an interesting coincidence if it is a coincidence. It is well known that the boar was Bacon’s device on his crest of arms. Vautrollier comes from a French root associated with “boar”. “vautrait”, for example, means a boar-hunting pack; and “vautre” is a boar-hound. “Thomas” means twin. So the name “Thomas Vautrollier” literally signifies “twin of the boar”. Bacon may have chosen Vautrollier as his printer for this very reason. And, as for the Thomas equates to twin aspect, it is interesting that three of the major people Bacon used had the name “Thomas”: Thomas Vautrollier, Thomas Adams, and Thomas Lodge, as well as two of his minor ‘masks’: Thomas Watson, and Thomas Nash. The “Good Pen” who scrawled all over the cover sheet of the Northumberland Manuscript may have been aware of the connection of Francis Bacon’s name with the name “Thomas”. If you look there where Bacon’s name is written you see the name “Thomas” curiously intermingled with Bacon’s name.

The case of William Byrd, “the Shakespeare of Elizabethan music” seems to have features in common with the case of William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon. Byrd even shares the trait of constantly suing for small sums of money owed him, and the Byrd Institution may have the same degree of smoke and mirrors in it as the Stratford Institution. On first glance the Stratford case seems rock solid. There are generations of Scholars and Stratfordians lined up to tell us that there is not the slightest doubt about his authorship of the ‘Shakespeare’ plays, and we know more about him than we know about Victor Hugo, or Benjamin Franklin, or Charles Lindbergh, or John F. Kennedy, or Jesus Christ. But, when you take a closer look it turns out to be just another case of “the incredible shrinking man.” We know very little about the Stratford man, and most of the little we do know is lies. So likewise with William Byrd. The 1575 publication printed by Thomas Vautrollier seems to be the first printed record of his music. Nothing is known of Byrd’s origins or his early life. Our lack of knowledge about him is shown strikingly in the Heralds’ Visitation of Essex a few years about his death where there is no mention made either of his parents or his birthplace. We only ‘know’ he was born in 1543 because on November 15, 1622 he described himself in his will as “in the 80th yeare of myne age.” Since musicians tend to be early bloomers, and Byrd would have been in his 30’s at the time of the work printed by Vautrollier, the New Grove Dictionary says, “although the chronology of his music is naturally uncertain at many points, and it is only from later that we have a good number of dated sources, internal musical evidence allows us to draw up a reasonable list of works composed at Lincoln”, (i.e. of music composed in the period from 1563-1570). This is the same type of “we may assume” business that Mark Twain ridiculed to such hilarious effect in regards to the Stratfordians!

Byrd studied music under Thomas Tallis and in 1575 Byrd and Tallis secured the 21 year patent from the crown for the printing and publishing of part music and lined music paper. When Tallis died in 1587 the patent reverted to Byrd, and his monopoly continued until it expired in 1596. It was then granted to Thomas Morley in 1598. Since Bacon was such a massive (although concealed) presence in the London publishing industry this is another link between Bacon and Byrd.

And then there are works such as “Parthenia”, the Grand Trine, a joint production of the three greatest musicians of the age: William Byrd, John Bull, and Orlando Gibbons. Although not marked with his devices this work has a number of connections that are not immediately apparent.

“Parthenia or The maydenhead of the first musicke that [eue]r was printed for the virginals”,Composed by three famous masters: William Byrd, Dr: Iohn Bull, & Orlando Gibbons, gentilmen of his [M]a:ties most illustrious Chappell. Dedicated to all th[e mai]sters and louers of musick. Ingrauen by William Hole. For Dorethie Euans. Cum priuilegio by Byrd, William, 1542 or 3-1623. Printed at London : By G: Lowe and are to be soulde at his howse in Loathberry, 1613

The portrait painting of John Bull in the Faculty of Music at Oxford shows he was a Freemason. To the right of Bull’s head is a skull with a cross bone (one of the familiar symbols of the early Freemasons) and immediately beneath this an hourglass. The hourglass, of course, is one of the emblems found in the third, Master Mason degree, of the blue lodge. In addition, “Parthenia was the first musical work to appear utilizing the new, copper-plate, engraving technique. In her “Kingdom For a Stage”, Joy Hancox shows that Bacon was a partner along with Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke of the Wireworks at Tintern where the first copper was produced in England, and she also provides evidence that Bacon was the owner at one time of the copper plate engraving from which the Byrom Collection was printed. We find further evidence of Bacon’s connection with the early copper plate engraving in the following work, which is one of the early copper plate engraving publications that appeared in England:

“Calligraphotechnia or The art of faire writing sett forth, and newly enlarged by Ri: Gethinge M: in the said 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

In addition to this the engraving is made by William Hole. William Hole engraved the 1616 headpiece for Ben Jonson’s collected works, a work marked with the Baconian devices, as well as Raleigh’s portrait for his History of the World, another works marked with Bacon’s devices. Hole also engraved a number of other works connected to Bacon’s printing operation.

You can listen to some of Byrd’s music at:

John Wilson : Neptune in Opposition

Anyone familiar with the ‘Shakespeare’ related literature will have happened across those passages where the author makes a glib remark to the effect that it is general knowledge that the music for “Full Fathom Five” and “Where the Bee Sucks” (two songs from The Tempest) were composed by Robert Johnson. Where does this idea come from? Almost 50 years after The Tempest was written a little 87 page booklet was published:

“Cheerfull ayres or ballads”, by Wilson, John, 1595-1674. Oxford, 1659

The booklet was of the poorest quality imaginable. There was no printers mark on the title page, not even the name of a printer, and there were no ornamentation at all. In works on music it was customary for the composer’s name to appear at the upper right hand of the page with the music on it. In this work on page 5 appeared the words and music of “Full Fathom Five”, and at the upper right hand corner “J. Wilson” is shown as the composer. On page 6 was the words and music of “Where the Bee Sucks” and “R. Johnson” was listed at the upper right hand corner as the composer.

The book is not of the type to inspire any particular confidence. It seems that Wilson came across the music somewhere for the two Shakespearean songs, and not knowing who composed the music at the time the manuscript was being prepared for printing he put his name on “Full Fathom Five”, and then happening to remember that Robert Johnson was a musician and worked for George Carey, who was in charge of theatrical production for the king at the time, put Johnson’s name on “Where the Bee Sucks”, but his editorial work was so shoddy he forgot to go back and put Johnson’s name on the first song.

Thomas Morley : Neptune in Conjunction

“It Was a Lover and His Lass” appeared in “As You Like It” in the context of Bacon’s concealed writings. But this song along with the music for the song also appeared in Thomas Morley’s “First Book of Ayres” published in 1600. This was the same year “As You Like It” appeared. The customary assumption is the music for the song was composed by Thomas Morley, while the words were possibly by William Shakespeare. On the surface this view seems plausible since there were no publications of Morley’s that were marked with Bacon’s ornamental devices, and thus there are no grounds for claiming Bacon’s was the concealed author of these works. But a look at the original publication put things in an entirely different light.

“The first booke of ayres. Or Little short songs, to sing and play to the lute, with the base viole”, Newly published by Thomas Morley, Imprinted at London : In litle S. Helen's by [H. Ballard for] VVilliam Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, and are to be sold at his house in Gracious streete, 1600

(Here is a portion of the song as it originally appeared with the old music notation):

(Here is a portion of the song in modern notation):

The above work was actually printed for William Barley, and Barley was a long time agent for Bacon as anyone can easily see who looks at the publication connected with his name:

“The famous chronicle of king Edward the first, sirnamed Edward Longshankes”, by Peele, George, 1556-1596. London : Printed by Abell Ieffes, and are to be solde by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1593 --- AA p2

“The true tragedie of Richard the third.”, London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by William Barley, at his shop in Newgate Market, neare Christ Church doore, 1594 --- AA p2

“A looking glasse for London and England. Made by Thomas Lodge Gentleman, and Robert Greene. In Artibus Magister by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1594 --- AA T/P, p2

“Menaecmi”, by Plautus, Titus Maccius. London : Printed by Tho. Creede, and are to be sold by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1595 --- AA p2 [For those who overlook the ‘coincidence’, The Comedy of Errors, supposedly by the Stratford Shakespeare, first appeared in the Gray’s Inn Revels of 1594 in an entertainment of which, a considerable portion at least, is acknowledged to have been written by Bacon, and here a short time later the classical work on which the play was based is printed by the printer who printed more “AA” marked works than any other printer, and to be sold by a bookseller who is securely connected to Bacon].

“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 --- AA p3

“A looking glasse, for London and Englande. Made by Thomas Lodge Gentleman, and Robert Greene. InArtibus Magister by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be solde by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1598 --- AA p2

“The first booke of consort lessons”, by Morley, Thomas, 1557-1603? [London] : Printed at London in Little Saint Helens by VVilliam Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morely, and are to be solde at his shop in Gratious-streete, 159

“The first set of English madrigals”, by Farmer, John, fl. 1591-1601. Printed at London : In Little Saint Helens by William Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, and are to be solde at his shoppe in Gratious-streete, 1599 ---no AA

“Madrigalls to foure voices”, newly published by Iohn Bennet his first works by Bennet, John, fl. 1599-1614. At London : Printed in little Saint Hellens by [H. Ballard for] William Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley. Cum priuilegio, 1599 --- no AA

“The Psalmes of Dauid in meter”, by Alison, Richard, fl. 1588-1606. London : Printed by [i.e. for] William Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, 1599 --- no AA--dedicated to Anne countess of Warwick

“The first booke of consort lessons, made by diuers exquisite authors, for six instruments to play together, the treble lute, the pandora, the cittern, the base-violl, the flute & treble-violl. Newly set forth at the coast &charges of a gentle-man, for his priuate pleasure, and for diuers others his frendes which delight in musicke. by Morley, Thomas, 1557-1603?, Printed at London : In Little Saint Helens by [H. Ballard for] VVilliam Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, and are to be solde at his shop in Gratious-streete, 1599--- no AA

“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--- many AA's & Archers

“Funeral teares by Coperario, John, 1570 (ca.)-1626. At London : Printed by Iohn VVindet the assigne of William Barley, for Iohn Browne, and are to be sold at his shop in S. Dunstons Churchyeard in Fleet street, 1606 --- AA, Archer p2, Bear p3, Skull & Cross Bones T/P, Archers each side [note although the Skull & Cross Bones might be apropos for the title, it was also one of the early Masonic symbols]

“Musicke of sundrie kindes” by Ford, Thomas, d. 1648. Imprinted at London : By Iohn Windet at [sic] the assignes of William Barley and are to be sold by Iohn Brovvne in Saint Dunstons churchyard in Fleetstreet, 1607 --- Archer p2

“Canzonets to three voyces by Youll, Henry. In London : Printed by Thomas Este, the assigne of William Barley, 1608 --- no AA --- but dedicated to the three sons of Edward Bacon, third son of Nicholas Bacon.

“New citharen lessons by Robinson, Thomas, fl. 1589-1609. London : Printed by [J. Windet for] William Barley, and are to be sold at his shop in Gracious-streete, 1609 --- AA p2

“A musicall dreame”, by Jones, Robert, fl. 1597-1615. London : Imprinted by [J. Windet for] the assignes of William Barley, and are to be solde [by S. Waterson] in Powles Church-yard, at the signe of the Crowne, 1609 --- AA p3, p4, Bear p2

“A musicall dreame. Or The fourth booke of ayres by Jones, Robert, fl. 1597-1615. London : Imprinted by Iohn Windet, and are to be solde by Simon Waterson, in Powles Church-yeard, at the signe of :he [sic] Crowne, 1609 --- AA p4, Bear p2, p3

“Songs of sundry natures by Byrd, William, 1542 or 3-1623. Jmprinted at London : By Lucretia East, the assigne of William Barley, and are to be sold at the house of the sayd L. East, being in Aldersgate streete, neere the gate, 1610 --- AA t/p

“The second booke of ayres by Corkine, William, fl. 1610-1612. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] for M[atthew] L[ownes] I. B[rowne] and T[homas] S[nodham] Assigned by W. Barley, 1612 --- no AA, Archer p2

Although the “First booke of ayres” says it was published by Thomas Morley, it was actually printed for William Barley, and William Barley was a front man for Francis Bacon. In my opinion that says it all. But thereby hangs a tale. Just how did Barley go from being bookseller selling works published by Francis Bacon to his association with Thomas Morley and his subsequent monopoly for publishing musical works in England? The answer may lie with Anthony Bacon who rented a house in Bishopgate in 1594 and lived there until his death in 1601.

The Strange Case of the Bishopsgate Resident

Anthony must have had a particularly strong reason for moving to the house in Bishopgate. Anthony was now a semi-invalid, attacked by pain in both legs. The house sounds like the last place on earth someone in Anthony’s condition should be in:

“The doors which stand to the weather partly rotten with rain….Somewhat melancholy being of brick stepping down to the entrance….The coming to it with draining cock unpleasant….The boarding of great chamber much in decay.”

Lady Bacon was not long in voicing her objection to the whole project:

“Having some speech with Mr. Henshaw after you went hence touching your house taken in Bishopgate Street, and asking him what ministry there, he answered it was very mean. The minister there but ignorant. And he thought you should find the people there given to voluptuousness and the more to make them so, having but mean or not edifying instructions, and the Bull Inn there with continual interludes had even infected the inhabitants with corrupt and lewd dispositions. I marvel you did not first consider of the ministry as most of all needful, and then to live so near a place haunted with such pernicious and obscene plays and theatres able to poison the very godly. And do what you can, you servants shall be incited and spoiled. Good Lord, thought I, how ill follows it out for the choice.No ministry at Twickenham either. Surely I am very sorry you went from Gray’s Inn where there was good Christian company in comparison. But your men always overrule you.”

It has been suggested that Anthony moved there so he could be available for duties provided by Essex, but if that was the reason, his Gray’s Inn lodging would have served as well. A closer look throws light on Anthony Bacon’s motivation. Anthony was almost next door to the Bull Inn, where plays were performed, and near Shoreditch where the Theatre and the Curtain were located. The brothers Burbage were already lodging in Bishopgate with their fellow-actors, which would have included William Shakespeare. It is apparent that Anthony was working for his brother Francis who had, by this time, deeply involved with the playhouses. Significantly, in 1598 the Stratford man became a lodger in Silver Street. Nicholas Bacon had owned tenements there which he bequeathed to Anthony, and 1598 was when the name William Shakespeare first appeared on a play written by Francis. So there was a need for more secure control over the Stratford man. I would suggest the Bacon brothers did this by providing the mercenary fellow free lodging in Silver Street. And although Anthony’s reasons for moving to Bishopsgate had to do with the theaters, he soon had additional reasons for remaining there:

-Thomas Morley moved to the parish of Bishopsgate shortly after Anthony and lived there until his death in 1602.

-William Barley moved to the parish of Bishopsgate soon after Morley and lived there during the same time period.

The 21 year printed monopoly of Tallis-Byrd, that begun in 1575, expired in 1596. There are a sufficient number of the Byrd publications marked with Bacon’s devices to tell us that Bacon was actually the publisher of the works that appeared with Byrd’s name on them. But after their monopoly expired, when Morley secured for himself the patent for printing music in 1598, until his death in 1602 or 1603, Bacon’s devices do not appear on any of Morley’s publications. Nevertheless Barley, who began his career selling literary works printed for Francis Bacon, moves to little St. Helens Parish in Bishopgate soon after Morley and next begins to print books at the assign of Morley. And when Morley’s patent expires he manages to get the patent for printing musical works himself and begins a career printing musical works for Bacon. There are various reasons for believing Bacon had considerable sway with Morley through the intermediary of Barley. .

During the period from 1598 to 1602 Barley issued, as Morley's assignee, some half dozen publications: the Sternhold and Hopkins' Whole Booke of Psalmes. With their wonted Tunes (1598?), and again, with Richard Alison's music, The Psalmes of Dauid in Meter. The plaine song to be sung and plaide vpon the lute, orpharyon, citterne or base violl (1599); John Bennet's Madrigalls to Foure Voyces (1599); John Farmer's The First Set of English Madrigals: To Foure Voices (1599); Anthony Holborne's Pauans, Galliards, Almains, and other short AEirs both graue and light, in fiue parts, for Viols, Violins, or other Musical Winde Instruments (1599); and Thomas Deloney's collection of ballads, Strange Histories, Of Kings, Princes, Dukes, (etc.) . . . Verie pleasant either to bee read or sunge (1602).

No one knows how this arrangement came about. It may have resulted from their being neighbors in Little St. Helens Bishopsgate. It may have happened because Anthony was there working for Francis behind the scenes. In any event, after Morley died in 1602 or 1603 the patent was inactive until 1606 at which time Barley secured the rights. The interval is significant. It was the time it took Francis to establish a solid footing with King James. (It is significant that in the following year [1607] he became Solicitor General.) From 1606 to 1613 all English music books were printed by Barley or by his assignees. Many of these works were marked with Bacon’s devices, and it is obvious that Bacon was the actual publisher working behind the scenes:

We can tell from the dedication to his books that Thomas Morley would have been acquainted with Francis and Anthony Bacon. He had books dedicated to Mary Herbert. There is no doubt that the Herberts were friends of Bacon. He had one book dedicated to Anne, Countess of Warwick. She was married to Leicester’s brother, and related to Bacon by marriage. He has another book dedicated to George Carey. Carey was a member of the School of Night group, and there is a letter of Bacon’s where he has a reference to Carey that indicates a close connection with Carey. Another book of Morley’s was dedicated to Lady Lucie Countess of Bedford. Lucy Bedford was married to Edward Russell, 3rd Earl of Bedford who had succeeded to the title in 1585 at the age of thirteen. The Bedfords had been close to the Bacon family for decades. John Russell, who died before he could succeed to the title of 3rd Earl of Bedford, was married to Bacon’s aunt, Elizabeth. Lucy was the daughter of Sir John Harington of Exton. Sir John was a neighbor of Anthony Bacon in Bishopsgate.

Richard Alision: Neptune at Mid heaven

Of the works published by Barley, one is particularly significant. One, in fact, was marked with more of Bacon’s ornamental devices than any other publication, and, in my opinion, was definitely authored by Bacon. This was the following work:

“An howres recreation in musicke”, by Alison, Richard, (fl. 1592-1606). 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 definitely shows it was written by Bacon and not the work of someone else that he had the device placed on. The exquisite lyrics also indicates Bacon. Consider the song “There is a Garden in her Face”

Those cherries fairly do enclose of orient pearls a double row
Which when her lovely, lovely laughter shows
They look like rose buds filled with snow
Yet these not Peer nor Prince may buy, nor Prince may buy,
Til cherry ripe ripe, cherry ripe themselves do cry.

Or again:

Earth’s but a point to the world and man is but a point to the world’s compared centure
Shall then a point of a point be so vaine…
Days of pleasure are like streams through fair meadows gliding,
Fair meadows gliding, through fair meadows gliding, gliding
Weal and woe time doth go, time is never turning
Secret fates guide our states,
Both in mirth and mourning

The (fl 1592 1606) for ‘flourished” during this period in The New Grove Dictionary tells us that almost nothing is known about Alison, although he was an outstanding musician, and we are told by this source that Beck, “commented that he ‘achieved real orchestration in the modern sense for the first time’.

The following work of Alison’s is also of interest. It was dedicated to Anne, Countess of Warwick.

Anne was the wife of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick who was the brother of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and suspected father of Francis Bacon. She was the sister of Lord John Russell (d. 1584) who had been married to Bacon’s maternal aunt, Elizabeth, fourth daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke. We know that Bacon set a number of the Psalms in meter:

“The Psalmes of Dauid in meter”, by Alison, Richard, fl. 1588-1606. London : Printed by [i.e. for] William Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, 1599 --- no AA--dedicated to Anne countess of Warwick
John Dowland: Neptune Exalted

John Dowland is another case where the movements of Neptune can be felt, “trembling along the far-reaching line of our analysis with a certainty hardly inferior to that of ocular demonstration.” Dowland matched all the features of the “Presence of Neptune” profile. We know nothing of his early life beyond statements made in his publications. These tell us that he was born in 1563 and studied the 'ingenuous profession of Musicke from childhood. We know virtually nothing of his activities before 1594, when he applied for a court post as a lutenist. He was unsuccessful, and the story is that, bitter and frustrated, he decided to travel abroad. Thereafter, like Thomas Lodge, he spent most of his time away from London.

There are close connections to Bacon. His travels took him to places associated with Francis Bacon. He had a particularly interesting connection with Hamlet which was written in 1600. Five of his works were marked with Bacon’s devices one with the Pallas Athena image. Bacon was the hidden force behind the publication of all his works. His works were printed by or dedicated to close associates of Bacon. Many Baconians believe that Bacon did not actually die in 1626, that he concocted the hoax of his death so he could drop out of sight. Is it a coincidence that John Dowland is recorded as dying in 1626 shortly before Bacon?

Another connection between Dowland and Bacon is that strange work, “The Passionate Pilgrim” printed in 1599 by William Jaggard with William Shakespeare listed as the author. It is always necessary to bear in mind that the Jaggard printing firm was very close to Bacon, having printing several versions of his essays, not to mention the 1623 First Folio edition of the Collected Works of William Shakespeare. In the Passionate Pilgrim there is a sonnet addressed to Dowland that is general accredited to Richard Barnfield, but has sometimes been attributed to Shakespeare. The sonnet is addressed ‘To his friend Maister R.L. in praise of Musique and Poetrie’ and is as follows:

If musique and sweet Poetrie agree,
As they must needes (the Sister and the Brother),
Then must the Love be great, twixt thee and mee,
Because thou lov’st the one, and I the other.
Dowland to thee is deare; whose heavenly tuch
Upon the Lute, doeth ravish humaine sense;
Spenser to mee; whose deepe Conceit is such,
As, passing all Conceit, needs no defence.
Thou lov’st to heare the sweete melodious sound,
That Phoebus Lute (the Queen of Musique) makes:
And I in deepe Delight am chiefly drowned,
When as himselfe to singing he betakes.
One God is God of Both (as Poets faigne),
One Knight loves Both, and Both in thee remaine.

What is particularly interesting about this sonnet is it is addressed to one person who is describing as containing within himself both Spenser and Dowland. And if both Spenser and Dowland are one person, then that one person is certainly Francis Bacon.

John Dowland was the foremost composer “ayres”, and the foremost exponent of the lute, of his age.And we should remember that “ayres” accompanied by the lute accounted for the majority of songs found in the ‘Shakespeare’ plays. In my first Compeers article on Francis Bacon’s ornamental devices, I showed that Matthew Lownes was the publisher for four of the works Bacon had printed under his own name. It is significant then that a number Dowland’s works were published either by Matthew Lownes, or his brother Humphrey Lownes:

“A pilgrimes solace”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. 1612. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] forM[atthew] L[ownes] I[ohn] B[rome] and T[homas] S[nodham] by the assignment of William Barley, 1612--- no AA

“The first booke of songs or aires of foure parts”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. Imprinted at London : By Humfrey Lownes, dwelling on Bredstreet-hill, at the signe of the Starre, 1606 --- no AA ----dedicated to George Carey

“The first booke of songs or ayres of foure partes with tableture for the lute”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. Imprinted at London : By Humfrey Lownes, dwelling on Bredstreet-hill, at the sign of the Starre, 1613--- no AA, Bear p3--- dedicated to George Carey

“The first booke of songs or aires of foure parts”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. Imprinted at London : By Humfrey Lownes, dwelling on Bredstreet-hill, at the signe of the Starre, 1606 --- no AA--- Bear

Henry Carey, first Lord Hunsdon, was Lord Chamberlain, and his son George Carey became Lord Chamberlain after him. Bacon’s first cousin, Sir Edward Hoby, married Margret, daughter of Henry Carey, first Lord Hunsdon. Sir Edward Hoby was the son of Bacon’s aunt Elizabeth, who on the death of her first husband, Sir Thomas Hoby, married John Lord Russell, son of the Earl of Bedford. It is significant that there were works of John Dowland dedicated to both George Carey, and Lucie Bedford :

“The second booke of songs or ayres, of 2. 4. and 5. parts”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. London : Printed by Thomas Este, the assigne of Thomas Morley, 1600 --- no AA---dedicated to Lucie Bedford

“The first booke of songes or ayres of fowre partes with tableture for the lute”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. [London] : Printed by Peter Short, dwelling on Bredstreet hill at the sign of the Starre, 1597 Bib Name / Number:STC (2nd ed.) / 7091--- no AA --- dedicated to George Carey

“By the assignment of William Barley” on any work means it was actually published by Francis Bacon. These books are often dedicated to people with whom Bacon was closely associated. Moreover, books printed by Barley are often listed as printed for Thomas Adams. In Compeers III part III, I showed evidence to indicate that Thomas Adams was one of the major masks of Francis Bacon. There I itemized the special connections that existed between Bacon and Adams, citing such special links as Adams translation and publishing of The French Academy, and the appearance of the Janus-Pallas device on one particular book published under the Adams name. It is very significant, I think, that a number of Dowland’s works were published by Thomas Adams:

“The third and last booke of songs or aires”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. Printed at London : By P. S[hort] for Thomas Adams, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Lion in Paules Churchyard, by the assignement of a patent granted to T. Morley, 1603 --- no AA --- bear p2, p3

84. A musicall banquet by Dowland, Robert, ca. 1586-1641. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] forThomas Adams, 1610 ---25p---no AA--Archer p2---22513 [Robert Dowland was John Dowland’s son]

85. Varietie of lute-lessons by Dowland, Robert, ca. 1586-1641. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] for Thomas Adams, 1610 ---37p---no AA--Archer p2,p3---22514 [Robert Dowland was John Dowland’s son]

“Lachrimae, or Seauen teares figured in seauen passionate pauans”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. London : Printed by Iohn Windet, dwelling at the signe of the Crosse Keyes at Povvles Wharfe, and are to be solde at the authors house in Fetter-lane neare Fleet-streete, 1604 --- no AA, Archer p2, p3-Athena p3

I have mentioned the Pallas Athena device earlier, and I consider it particularly significant that this device appeared on what may have been Dowland’s most important work. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians has this to say about “Lachrimae”:

“The ‘seaven teares’ of the Lachrimae set constitue an achievement of great originality.
Each pavan starts with the famous theme of one of the voices, and other phrases are passed on from one pavan to another so that each, though showing an individual character of its own, falls into place as part of a larger whole. The lute is used with consummate mastery to add its own particular quality to the texture, and to provide some of the most important of the recurring passage which enhance the sense of unity in the seven pavans.”

The New Grove Dictionary describes his “In Darknesse let mee dwell” as follows:

“In the greatest of his songs, In darknesse let mee dwell, Dowland freed himself from almost all the conventions of his time. The strange and beautiful melody rises from the words with a sense of inevitability, while the demands of verbal rhythms override conventional bar-lines. Biting discords from the lute enhance the tragedy in the words and chords with augmented and diminished intervals are used to express emotional intensity to an extent unsurpassed in any other song at that time.”

On leaving England in 1594 Dowland proceeded to the court of Henry Julio, Duke of Brunswick. Is it a coincidence that “Cryptomenytices” one of the major masked works attributed by Baconians to Bacon was published in 1623 under the auspices of a later Duke of Brunswick, Augustus? And is it also coincidence that Dowland just happened to be employed for Christian IV of Denmark as a court lutenist at the castle of Elsinore at the time Hamlet was written in 1600?

Simon Miles, a pen pal from Australia, visited Elsinore Castle in Denmark, and was kind enough to send me a copy of the book “Hamlet’s Castle and Shakespeare’s Elsinore” by David Hohnen. This book gives accounts of detailed reflections from the actual Castle of Elsinore in Hamlet that build a very strong case that the author of Hamlet actually visited the castle of Elsinore. For example, the Ghost scenes on the platform of the Castle at the beginning of the play are set on the eastern parapet of the castle with repeated emphasis on the cold: “’Tis bitter cold’”, etc. Hohnen asks, “can it really be mere coincidence that the eastern parapet is notoriously the coldest, most windswept spot in the whole Castle?” Then we are told that the Ghost appears shortly after one o’clock at night, but immediately afterward we have:

“But look, the morn in russet mantle clad
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill”

which prompts Hohnen to refer to the idea that the author visited Elsinore in the late spring or early summer and experienced the extraordinary shortness and beauty of the Nordic night, when the “morn, in russet mantle clad” really did begin to glow in the sky at 2 or 3 o’clock. And Hahnen hastes to add that this not conflict with the ‘bitter cold’ part since the short interval between sunset and sunrise can indeed be ‘bitter coldl’ at this time of the year.

And again Hohnen refers to the following passage:

“…if indeed you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby”

and says the reference to stairs leading up to the lobby serves no particular purpose except the opportunity to interject a bit of local color. For the Castle’s famous banqueting hall, the Great Hall, was indeed, connected to the royal apartment in the north wing by a long, narrow corridor or anteroom (which at the time would have been called a lobby in English) and was accessible by a stair tower located between the north and east wing that led to the Queen’s Gallery and further up to an open, parapeted terrace.

This brings me to another interesting coincidence, if it was a coincidence, and I certainly don’t think it was in view of all of the other “Presence of Neptune” traits found in the Dowland works. Look at the following book:

“The second booke of songs or ayres, of 2. 4. and 5. parts”, by Dowland, John, 1563?-1626. London : Printed by Thomas Este, the assigne of Thomas Morley, 1600 --- no AA---dedicated to Lucie Bedford

It had the following dedication:

To the right Honorable the Lady Lucie Comptesse of Bedford

Excellent ladie: I send unto your La: from the court of a forreine prince, this volume of my second labours as to the worthiest patronesse of Musicke: which is the noblest of all sciences: for the whole frame of Nature, is nothing but harmonie, as wel in soules, as bodies: and because I am now remoued from your sight, I will speake boldly, that your La: shall be unthankfull to Nature hirselfe, if you do not love, & defend that art by which she hath given you so well tuned a minde.

Your ladiship hath in your selfe, and excellent agreement of many vertues, of which: thought I admire all, yet I am bound by my profession, to give especiall honor, to your knowledge of Musicke: which in the judgement of ancient times, was so proper an excelencie to woeman, that the Muses tooke their name from it, and yet so rare, that the world durst imagin but nine of them.

I most humby beseech your La: to receive this workse, into your favour: and the rather because it commeth far to beg it, of you.

From Helsingnoure in Denmarke
the first of June.  1600

Now let’s sum this up. Here is a man who fits the “Presence of Neptune” pattern like a glove. He not only has numerous books marked with Bacon’s devices, the books are printed or published by people who have close connections to Francis Bacon. Beyond this still some of these books are dedicated to people who have close connections to Francis Bacon. Furthermore this is a man whose works continue to appear in London while he is away from London on distant travels like Lodge. And the author of these works writes “ayres” for the accompaniment of the lute. This particular music is the staple of the “Shakespeare” plays, the works which constitutes Bacon’s major mask. As if this is not enough we have the above book published by Thomas Morley, who had close connections to Bacon via the intermediary of William Barley. William Barley, who was a front for Francis Bacon, was closely connected to Morley, and printed a number of Morley’s books. The book is dedicated to Lucie Bedford who was close to the Bacons and actually lived in the same area Anthony Bacon was living in at the time. The letter of dedication is from the Castle of Elsinore in Denmark - the setting of the play of Hamlet. The date of the letter is the same year Hamlet was written. There are numerous indications in Hamlet that the author (Bacon) had actually visited Elsinore. Surely this is just too much here to be coincidence. I think the real author of the music that appeared under John Dowland’s name was Francis Bacon. You can listen to Dowland’s music at:

Thomas Ravenscroft: Neptune at Midheaven

We know very little about Thomas Ravenscroft. The dates of his birth and death are unknown. The New Grove Dictionary has (b ? c1582 d c1635). We do know that Ravenscroft had a connection with the theater, certainly a feature in common with Bacon. The Grove Dictionary says he was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral under Thomas Giles (both names appear in a list of the choir included in the report of Bishop Bancroft’s visitation in 1598; and his appointment coincided with a renewal of activity of the St Paul’s company of child actors which, like the children of the Chapel Royal, catered for more sophisticated tastes by including in their plays specially written songs to be performed by trained voices and instrumentalists.

A very interesting work, with Ravenscroft listed as the author, and 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 p 24, p31 ---Archer p2, p13, p19

To begin with the book is printed by William Stansby. Stansby printed over 30 books marked with Bacon’s devices. Thomas Adams had many connections to Bacon, translating into English and publishing what was his first major work, “The French Academy”, as well as quite a few other books marked with Bacon’s devices. Melismata has a very interesting design, it is 40 pages in length, set out as follows:

Title page

p 2 dedication to the true favorer of music Archer device at top

p 3 dedication to the noblest of the court, liberallest of the country, and freest of the city

p 4 Table of all the songs in the book Pegasus device at top of page

p 5 18 Court Varieties

p 19 -21 City Rounds Archer device at top of page 19

p 22 -30 City Conceits “AA” device at top of page 22

p 31 32 Country Round “AA” device at top of page 31

p 33 -40 Country Pastimes

This work certainly reflects the phrase in in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” about the poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, glancing from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven. Here is a song to Mercury the messenger of the Gods, and another with a street merchant offering to exchange brooms for old shoes. Another, “The Scriveners Servants Song of Holborne” has the scriveners repeating the refrain,

“My Master is so wise, so wise” and “My mistress is a fool, a fool”.

Certainly Bacon, who was wise beyond the power of the imagination to grasp, employed scriveners, and was married to Alice Barnham who was a common shrew. The author is very familiar with the Court (as was Bacon) and has several songs dealing with court matters. Another song deals with the crowning of Belphebe of Faerie Queene fame and entreats her to be the Shepherds Queen. And “love is a pretie thing”, and “hey no-ny, hey no-ny, hey nony, hey nony no” reflects lyrics employed in songs in the ‘Shakespeare’ plays.

The part of the book containing the music is divided into 36 pages just as the First Folio is divided into 36 plays. Moreover, it is even constructed so the number 32 has a part in the construction. This is another number that was a prominent part of the design of the Shakespeare First Folio. You can not only listen to the music from “Melismata” at the following location, you can also view a facsimile of the book:

Miscellaneous Other Works: Neptune in Orb

Quite a number of other musical works are marked with Bacon’s devices. Since I am running short of space I wont go into any detail about any of these. I will merely list some of them.

“New citharen lessons”, by Robinson, Thomas, fl. 1589-1609. London : Printed by [J. Windet for] William Barley, and are to be sold at his shop in Gracious-streete, 1609 --- AA p2

“The maske of flowers”, by Coperario, John, 1570 (ca.)-1626. London : Printed by N[icholas] O[kes] for Robert Wilson, and are to be sold at his shop at Graies-Inne new gate, 1614 --- no AA --- dedicated to Francis Bacon

“A musicall dreame. Or The fourth booke of ayres”, by Jones, Robert, fl. 1597-1615. London : Imprinted by Iohn Windet, and are to be solde by Simon Waterson, in Powles Church-yeard, at the signe of :he [sic] Crowne, 1609 ---AA p4---Bear p2, p3

“The whole booke of Psalmes”, by Sternhold, Thomas, d. 1549. London : Printed by JohnWindet for the assignes of Richard Daye, 1600 ---Archer p2

“The vvhole booke of Psalmes”, by Sternhold, Thomas, d. 1549. London : Printed for the Companie of Stationers, 1609 ---Archer p2

“Cantus The first set of madrigals, of parts”, by Jones, Robert, fl. 1597-1615. London : Imprinted by Iohn Windet, 1607 --- no AA --- Archer p2

“A booke of ayres”, by Bartlet, John, fl. 1606-1610. London : Printed by Iohn VVindet, for Iohn Browne and are to bee solde at his shoppe in Saint Dunstones Churchyeard in Fleet street, 1606 --- no AA --- Bear device

“The second booke of ayres”, by Corkine, William, fl. 1610-1612. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] for M[atthew] L[ownes] I. B[rowne] and T[homas] S[nodham] Assigned by W. Barley, 1612 --- no AA--Archer p2

“Ayres”, by Corkine, William, fl. 1610-1612. London : Printed by W. Stansby for Iohn Browne, and are to be sold at his shop in Saint Dunstans Church-yard in Fleete-streete --- no AA ---Archer title page

“A musicall banquet”, by Dowland, Robert, ca. 1586-1641. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] forThomas Adams, 1610 --- no AA ---Archer p2

“Sacred hymnes”, by Amner, John, d. 1641. Printed at London : By Edw: Allde, dwelling neere Christ-Church. Cum priuilegio regali, 1615 --- AA p2

“Songs of mourning”, by Coperario, John, 1570 (ca.)-1626. London : Printed [by Thomas Snodham] for Iohn Browne, and are to be sould in S. dunstons Churchyard, 1613 --- no AA ---Archer p2

“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 p2


There is ample reason for believing that Bacon was involved in writing musical works as well as literary works. The evidence of musical “masks” follows the same pattern and is consistent with the evidence of literary “masks”. Recognition for this aspect of Bacon’s amazing creativity can be added to the recognition already given him for his literary creativity by the perceptive few (aka Baconians), and investigations should be made into this area of the activities of that amazing being Francis Bacon.


comments for Mather Walker

See The Bacon-Shakespeare Essays of Mather Walker