Muses Welcome

 

by

MAther WAlker
(Fall 2006)


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London of a century or so ago was a happy hunting ground for collectors of rare books from the Elizabethan and Stuart era.Not only were these books readily available, but they could be purchased without parting with so much as an arm and a leg, not to mention one or both testicles.  One of these collectors, William T. Smedley, amassed a sizable library of these books, and, having familiarized himself with the books in his library, noticed that a large number of them were marked with one or the other of the variants of the following device (which also appeared in the 1623 First Folio edition of the collected works on William Shakespeare):

William Smedley was one of the newly formed Baconian persuasion, and based on information he garnered from his really outstanding library he theorized that Francis Bacon was behind the publication of a large number of works of his era, and that he marked his books with one or the other of the variants of the above device, of which Smedley said there were 14 distinct variants. Smedley noted a special feature associated with these books was that, ‚ one man appeared to have contributed to all the books thus marked-either the dedication, the preface, or the lines ‚To the Reader‚ in some case all three.‚ (It is significant that in his 1623 De Augmentis‚ Bacon described a collection wanting to the apparatus of rhetoric which he termed‚ lesser forms‚. He said:

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

Bacon may have dictated a collection of‚ lesser forms‚ for prefaces, or dedications to the published material his group processed. When manuscripts were ready for publication, if Bacon did not have time to write a custom made preface, an assistant could sort through the collection and selected one that seemed appropriate for the work being published.)Smedley called these devices, light A and dark A devices, and the designation has stuck, although as anyone can plainly see, the light and dark characters in the device above have two cross-bars instead of one, as it does in almost all of the variants.

In addition, to the above device Smedley noticed also that a many of these rare books were marked with the following device (this device also appeared in the First Folio):

Smedley attributed this device to Francis Bacon also.

Around 1592 Francis addressed a letter to Lord Burleigh, his uncle and Lord Treasurer, asking his aid, and saying playfully that if Burleigh would not carry him on he would become some sorry book-maker.  If Bacon was, indeed, behind the publication of the various books marked with these devices, he must have become a phenomenal book-maker, for around 600 books from his era are marked with one or the other variants of the‚ device, of which there are more than 20 variants, and at least 75 books are marked with the Archer Device.

It should be noted that it is certain that some people in Bacon's own time believed he was the author of the works that appeared under the Shakespeare‚ name After Joseph Hall wrote a book in 1598 criticizing the work of an author he called Labeo (a work, which from the details in Hall‚ allusions to the work was obviously Venus and Adonis, and Labeo had many of the characteristics of Francis Bacon) John Marston wrote a rebuttal in which he specifically identified Labeo with the following line:

What not mediocria firma from thy spite?

That Marston designated Bacon is demonstrated in the following colorized version of Francis Bacon's coat of arms:

Since‚ "Mediocria Firma"‚ clearly identifies Francis Bacon, then John Marston clearly believed Francis Bacon wrote Venus and Adonis as Joseph Hall apparently did also.

But John Marston was not just any Johnny Come Lately.In addition to being prominent among the writers of the time, he was also a member of the Middle Temple which was closely allied with Francis Bacon's Gray's Inn.

Smedley provided plausible evidence to support his claim, and Baconians have tended to support his theory.On the other hand, the evidence is only circumstantial, and as a result, open to rebuttal.  However, one book from the period clearly links Francis Bacon to the "light A, dark A"‚ device, as well as to the Archer Device, and to the device which appeared on the 1609 Shake-Speares Sonnets.

In 1617 King James returned to Scotland and spent several months touring his old kingdom.He named his Lord Keeper, Francis Bacon, regent of England during his absence.So while King James was gone Francis Bacon effectively ruled England.

Then in 1618 a book appeared which commemorated King James' visit to Scotland. Here is the title page of the book:

 

The book does not show the name of the printer.And although the title page says it was printed at Edinburgh, this cannot be taken at face value. Also, a customary feature of books of that time was a dedication at the beginning of the book signed by the author. This particular book had a page, following the title page, with the name Ioannes Adamsonus, who was supposedly the author, the I. A. on the title page of the book.
But page 231 of the book tells us that this was a deception :

 "As Adam was the first of men, whence all beginning take:
So Adamson was president, and first man in this Act
The thesis Fair-Lie did defend, which though they lies contain;
 Yet were fair lies, & he the same right fairlie [fairly] did maintain."

The page with the name Ioannes Adamsonus, was followed by another page on which the dedication appeared.  This dedication did not have the author's name at the bottom as was the custom, but instead had something that identified the author as clearly as if his name had been there :

The "Mediocria Firma"‚ obviously designates Bacon. "The Mediocria Firma," scroll was on several other pages throughout the book, appearing at the bottom of pages 115, 153, 168, and 249.The book is obviously a book Bacon had compiled to commemorate King James‚ visit to Scotland.  Although very rare and obscure, this book could not be more important since it establishes a direct link of Bacon with those very devices to which Smedley sought to link him.The title page, shown above, has the Archer Device which appeared in the First Folio.The device on the top of the page preceding the dedication page is the device which appeared on the 1609 Shake-Speare Sonnets :

In passing it is of interest also to examine the emblem that appeared on the bottom of the same page as the Sonnets emblem. This emblem is as follows:

 

This emblem seems to combine the emblems of the Freemasons and the Family Of Love, which is quite interesting, because there is evidence that Bacon was associated with both of these.  Here is the Masonic emblem:

 

And here is the Family Of Love emblem:

At the top of page 172 in The Muses Welcome appeared the variant of the AA‚ device that had also appeared on the Sonnets:

Now let's put this in perspective. In his own time John Marston, and Joseph Hall both recognized Francis Bacon as the author of Venus and Adonis.  In 1867 twenty-two old manuscript sheets, folded in half for binding and enclosed by another sheet to provide a cover, were discovered by James Spedding, the noted authority on Francis Bacon, in the London House of the Duke of Northumberland.  Spedding concluded the manuscript had been the property of Francis Bacon since his name was on the top, right-hand side of the cover, and most of the writings in the list of contents on the front of the cover were his.  It is obvious that these papers were material from Bacon's Scriptorium where he was producing material to be sent to the printer.Here we see Bacon in his proper milieu at work behind the scenes, as the all purpose wordsmith producing written material for the upper crust, and for various other purposes, "Earle of Arundell's letter to the Queen‚" "Speeches for my Lord of Essex at the tilt," " Speech for my Lord of Sussex tilt‚" and the "Orations at Graies Inne revels."  But the really interesting thing about the Northumberland Manuscript is that among the works  in the list of contents on the cover sheet were two Shakespeare plays,- Richard the Second, and Richard the Third.

On the first full page of text of the plays in the famous 1623 First Folio of the Collected Works of William Shakespeare, a message runs down the first letters of the respective lines which has the names of Francis Bacon and his friend Tobie Matthew:

                                    SET THE DIAL AT NBW, F. BACON, TOBEY

In the play in which this message appears (The Tempest) there is a detailed and intricate allegory of the divisions of human learning as set out in Bacon's Advancement of Learning.In addition to this, in The Wisdom Of The Ancients, written by Francis Bacon in 1609, is a template of The First Folio, which was not published until 14 years later in 1623, with each respective fable containing information relating to the respective and corresponding plays in the First Folio.  Moreover, Bacon's 1620, Instauratio Magna, printed by John Bill, the King's printer, had the Archer emblem (that appeared three years later in the First Folio) at the top of the second page:

 

And, lastly, The Muses Welcome, as well as including information that definitively demonstrates the book was the work of Francis Bacon, has the devices that appeared on the Sonnets of 1609, and the First Folio of 1623.

Now might be a good time for the Stratfordians to throw in the towel and publicly acknowledge their error. Not that I think they will, but as time goes by, things can only get worse for their camp.  And it is not as if they can be blamed for this error. After all they have the best excuse in the world‚--- they are stupid.  

 

Fool me once,

Shame on you.

Fool me twice,

Shame on me.

Fool me 100 times

My God, I must be a Stratfordian!

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 SEE THE 1618 BOOK in PDF :

MUSES WELCOME

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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