Kenneth R. Patton
For more than 150 years Baconians have read this prayer, and inevitably their main focus of interest is on the famous statement "....I have--though in a despised weed--procured the good of all men," which, of course, Baconians take as his hint that he was the author of the works of "Shakespeare." Being so much caught up in this one "hint," no one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever noticed another very broad "hint", one that is every bit as important as the "despised weed" hint--if not more so.
It has been said that Bacon wrote this prayer after having been forced by the king to "confess" to the charges of bribery. We can hardly know the depth of anguish for this innocent man. It seems that this was the crowning blow to his name and his honor : this on top of a lifetime of having been ignored by the Queen and Burleigh in his efforts to be of service to the Queen and his country; this on top of the taunts of his vicious enemy, Edward Coke; this in addition to the crushing "secret" which he had been forced since his early youth to bear in silence--that he was a bastard, and here he lets us know that truth! Near the end of the prayer, he wrote :
"And now when I thought most of Peace and Honour, thy Hand is heavy upon me, and hath Humbled me, according to thy former Loving Kindness, keeping me still in thy Fatherly School, not as a Bastard, but as a Child."
It is my very firm belief that Francis Bacon would never have written this sentence in this manner, refering to himself as a "bastard" if it were not for the simple truth that he was, in fact, the first child of Queen Elizabeth I. This is the most touching moment in this prayer. So profound was his anguish that in this prayer he let it all hang out-- all of the pain of his tortured existence. Others certainly knew the truth--if not everyone -- and we cannot know the depth of his suffering in having been denied the postion he would have held had the Queen but married the Earl of Leicester publicly.
Further, much has been said about Bacon's religious convictions, and this prayer alone proves that he was a Christian, whether Roman Catholic or Anglican.
Here is Bacon's Prayer