Francis Bacon

 

Poet, Prophet, Philosopher,

Versus

Phantom Captain Shakespeare

The Rosicrucian Mask

 

by

W.F.C. Wigston

 

from

Chapter XI.

Parallels

pp192-267

 

Hamlet--Bacon's "Wisdom of the Ancients" refound in the Plays--Horticultural Parallels--Custom, Habit, Use--Love--Falconry--Swans--Duke Humphrey--Music

 

 

 

(A Selection of 33 Parallels from the book out of hundreds ;
found in the writings of Bacon and in the Shakespeare Works)

 

Either Francis Bacon and William Shakespeare were the same man, at least so far as the writings are concerned, or else for once in the history of mankind, two men absolutely dissimilar in birth, in education and in bringing up, had the same thoughts, used the same words, piled up the same ideas, wrote upon the same subjects, and thought, wrote, talked and dreamed absolutely alike -ORVILLE W. OWEN, M. D.

 

 

1.

Bacon :

"For, as the fable goeth of the basilisk, that if he see you first you die for it ; but if you see him first, he dieth."(Advancement of Learning, Book II., xxxi. 9).

Shakespeare:

It is a basilisk, unto mine eye,
Kills me to look on't.
(Cymbeline, act ii sc. 4, 107)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

Bacon :

"There is a an ancient received tradition of the Salamander, that it liveth in the fire, and hath force also to extinguish the fire." (Exp. 860 Natural History

 

Shakespeare :

I have maintained that Salamander of yours with fire
Any time this two and thirty years.
(1 King Henry IV., act iii. sc. 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

 

Bacon :

"And the opinion of Epicurus, answerable to the same in Heathenism who supposed the gods to be of human shape." (Advancement of Learning, Book II., p.56)

Shakespeare :

Cassius. You know that I held Epicurus strong,
And his opinion.

(Julius Caesar, act v. sc. 1)

 

 

 

 

4.

Bacon :

"But as for imitation, it is certain that there is in men and other creatures a predisposition to imitate. We see how ready apes and monkeys are to imitate all motions of man. And besides you shall have parrots that will not only imitate voices but laughing" (Slyva Sylvarum, Cent III., Exp. 236, 237)

Shakespeare :

Now by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time :
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh like Parrots at a bagpiper.

(Merchant of Venice, act.i. sc. 1.)

5.

Bacon :

"The death that is most without pain, hath been noted to be upon the taking of the potion of hemlock, which, in humanity, was the form of execution of capital offenders in Athens. The poison of the asp that Cleopatra used hath some affinity with it." ( Natural History , Exp. 643, Cent. VII).

Shakespeare :

Cleopatra. Hast thou the pretty worm of Nilus there,
That kills and pains not?

(Antony and Cleopatra, act. v. sc. 2)

 

 

6.

Bacon :

"The third is, where a man is killed upon a sudden heat or affray, whereunto the Law gives some little favour, because a man in fury is not himsef. Ira furor brevis, wrath is a short madness."
(Sir Francis Bacon's Charge," At a Session of the Verge).

Shakespeare:

They say, my Lords, Ira furor brevis est,
But yond man is angry.

(Timon of Athens, act i. sc. 1)

 

 

 

7.

Bacon:

" The first precept may be that whereof we have admonished already; let the greater revolutions be retain'd; the lesser horoscopes and houses casheer'd (Advancement of Leaning p. 149)

Shakespeare :

For naught but provender, and when he's old casheer'd.

(Othello, act i. sc. 1.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.

Bacon :

Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well !
Curst be the soul that thinks her any wrong!

(Bacon's "Retired Courtier.")

Shakespeare :

Good friend, for Jesus' sake, forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here :
Blest be the man that spares these stones ,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

(Shakespeare's Epitaph)

 

 

 

 

 

9. 

Bacon :

"They perfect Nature, and are perfected by Experience." (Essay on Studies).

Shakespeare :

Experience is by industry achieved,
And perfected by the swift course of time.

(Two Gentlemen of Verona, act i. sc. 3.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. 

 

Bacon:

"And yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants, which set a bias upon their bowl, of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master's great and important affairs." (Of Wisdom for a Man's Self," 1625).

Shakespeare :

Pet. Well, forward, forward! thus the bowl should run,
And not unluckily against the bias
.
(Taming of the Shrew, act iv. sc. 5)

 

 

11.

 

Bacon:

"It is the wisdom of crocodiles that shed tears when they would devour."(Of Wisdom for a Man's Self," 1625).

Shakespeare :

If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile. (Othello, act iv. sc. 1)

 

 

 

12.

 

Bacon:

"And at the first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders."
(Essay on Nature in Men)

Shakespeare :

I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory.
(Henry VIII, act iii. sc. 2)

 

13.

Bacon:

In a letter to King James

"I have been the keeper of your seal, and now am your beadsman." (Letter to the King, 5th Sept. 1621,pub. 1763,Birch, p. 278). Bacon signs this letter "Your Majesty's faithful, poor servant and beadsman."

Shakespeare :

Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
Of double-fatal yew against thy state.(Richard II., act iii. sc. 2)

For I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.

(Two Gentlemen of Verona, act i. sc.1)

14.

Bacon:

 In a letter to King James I., Bacon writes of England :--
"The fields growing every day by the improvement of grounds, from the desert to the garden; the city grown from wood to brick, your sea-walls or Pomerium of your island surveyed, &c."(Letter, 2nd Jan. 1618, Cabala, Birch, 1654).

Shakespeare :

Serv. Why should we in the compass of a pale
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing, as in a model, our firm estate,When our sea-walled garden, the whole land...(Richard II., act iii. sc. 4)

15.

Bacon:

 "The Poets feigned AEolus his kingdom to be placed under ground in dens and caves, where the wind's prison was, out of which they were at times let forth." ( Natural History of Winds, p. 17 Resuscitatio).

Shakespeare :

But cursed the gentle gusts,
And he that loos'd them forth their brazen caves,
And bid them blow towards England's blessed shore,
Or turn our stern upon a dreadful rock :Yet AEolus would not be a murderer.
(2 King Henry VI., act iii. sc. 2)

16.

Bacon:

"And all this while I have been a little imperfect in my foot. But I have taken pains more like the beast with four legs than like a man with scarce two legs."
(Letter to Buckingham, 8th June 1617, Birch , 1654).

Shakespeare :

This is some monster of the island with four legs.
(Tempest, " act ii. sc. 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.

Bacon:

 "Of this, however, I shall speak presently upon the question whether the stars are real fires." ( Description of the Intellectual Globe, p.533

"Another question is, are the stars true fires?" (Ibid., p. 538)

"For the fire of the stars is pure, perfect, and native, whereas our fire is degenerate, like Vulcan thrown from heaven and halting with the fall." (Description of the Intellectual Globe, p. 538)

Shakespeare :

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
(Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2)

The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks,
They are all fire, and every one doth shine. (Julius Caesar, act iii. sc. 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18.

Bacon:

...Chameleon changes its colours..."

"A chameleon is a creature about the bigness of an ordinary lizard, his head unproportionately big, his eyes great."(Sylva Sylvarum 16, 360)

" He feedeth not only upon air, though tht be his principal sustenace, for sometimes he taketh flies, as was said; yet some that have kept Chameleons a whole year together, could never perceive that ever they fed upon anything else but air." (Natural History, ex. 360)

In Bacon's "Wisdom of the Ancients" he describes Proteus as one who could, "turn himself into all manner of forms and wonders of Nature ; sometimes into fire, sometimes into water, sometimes into the shapes of beasts and the like." 

Shakespeare :

Sil. What, angry, Sir Thurio! do you change colour?
Val. Give him leave, madam, he is a kind of Chameleon.
(Two Gentlemen of Verona, act ii. sc 3)

I can add colours to the Chameleon,Change shapes with Proteus for advantages.
(3 King Henry VI., act iii. sc. 2)

King. How fares our cousin Hamlet

Ham. Excellent , i' faith, of the Chameleon's dish : I eat the air promis'd cramm'd , you cannot feed capons so.
(Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2)

19.

Bacon:

"It is an observation amongst country people, that years of store of Haws and Hips do commonly portend cold winters, and they ascribe it to God's Providence, that (as the Scripture saith) reacheth even to the falling of a sparrow." (Sylva Sylvarum, Exp. 737) 

Shakespeare :

Hamlet. Not a whit, we defy augury : there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. (Hamlet , act v. sc. 2.)

20.

Bacon:

 "It is manifest that flies, spiders, ants, or the like small creatures falling by chance into amber or the gum of trees."(Life and Death, 21)

Shakespeare :

Their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum.

(Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2)

 

 

21.

Bacon:

 "Laughing causeth....shaking of the breast and sides." (Sylva Sylvarum, 721)

Shakespeare :

Your lord, I mean--laughs from free lungs, cries Oh,
Can my sides hold.
(Cymbeline, act i. sc. 5)

 

 

22.

Bacon:

 In a letter to King James (concerning Peacham's trial) Bacon writes : --" I hold it fit that myself and my fellows go to the Tower, and so I purpose to examine him upon these points and some others. I think also, it were not amiss to make a false fire, as if all things were ready for his going down to his trial." (Collected Works,v. 354).

Shakespeare :

Ophelia. The King rises.
Hamlet. What, frightened with false fire!

(Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2)

23.

Bacon:

 "And therefore we see that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitious Princes turn melancholy." (Book I.,p. 71, Adv. of Learning)

Shakespeare :

King. There's something in his soul, O'er which his melancholy sits on brood.

Hamlet. Sir, I lack advancement.
(Hamlet, act iii. sc. 2)

 

 

 

24.

Bacon:

 "For we see a scion or young slip grafted upon the trunk of a tree, to shoot forth more prosperously, than if it had been set in earth" (Book V., "Advancement of Learning 1640p.227

Shakespeare :

Perdita. I care not
To get slips of them.
Polix. We marry
A gentle scion to the wildest stock.

(Winter's Tale, act iii. sc. 4)

 

 

25.

Bacon:

 "After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace in the affections and support of the judgment) followeth the last fruit; which is like the pomegranate full of many kernels." (Essay on Friendship)

Shakespeare :

Lafen. Go to, sir, you were beaten in Italy for picking
A kernel out of a pomegranate.
(All's Well that Ends Well, act ii. sc. 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

26.

Bacon:

 "It is true, nevertheless , that a great light drowneth a smaller, that it cannot be seen; as the sun that of a glow-worm ; as well as a great sound drownth the lesser."

"And two candles of like light will not make things seem twice as far as one."

(Sylva Sylvarum, 224)

Shakespeare :

Portia. That light we see is burning in my hall,
How far that little candle throws his beams;
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Nerissa. When the moon shone we did not see the candle.
Portia. So doth the greater dim the less.
(Merchant of Venice, act v. sc1, 89)

 

27.

Bacon:

 "I understand it that the song be in Quire placed aloft, and accompanied with some broken music".( Masques and Triumphs)

Shakespeare :

Here is good broken music.
(Troilus and Cressida, act iii. sc. 1)

But is there any else longs to see this broken music in his sides?
(As You Like It act i. sc. 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28.

Bacon:

 "I may obtain the excuse of affection, for that it is not granted to man to love and to be wise." (Advancement of Learning p.76, Book II)

Shakespeare :

For to be wise and love,
Exceeds man's might, that dwells with Gods above.

(Troilus and Cressida, Act iii. sc.2)

29.

Bacon:

 " Silence is a candidate for Truth (Loquacity, xxxi, Antitheta Rerum, Adv. of Learning)

Shakespeare :

Ant. Thou art a soldier only ; speak no more.
Eno. That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.(Antony and Cleopatra, act ii. sc. 2)

 

 

30.

Bacon:

 "But even, without that, a man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as against a stone.(Essay on Friendship)

Shakespeare :

Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but Nature's, who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such a Goddess, hath sent this Natural for our whetstone, for always the dulness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. ( As You Like It, act i. sc. 1)

31.

 

Bacon:

 "Nevertheless, since I perceive that this cloud still hangs over the house."(Resuscitatio, 1671, Part I. p. 40) Speech delievered by Sir Francis Bacon in the Lower House about the Undertakers. Parliament, 12th Tac.)

Shakespeare :

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York :
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

(Richard III.)

 

 

 

32.

 

Bacon:

 "For it is a rule that whatsoever science is not consonant to presuppositions, must pray in aid of similitudes." (Advancement of Learning, Book II. p.174)

Shakespeare :

A conquerer that will pray in aid for kindness,
Where he for grace is kneel'd to.
(Antony and Clepatra act v. sc. 2. 27).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33.

 

Bacon:

 " The Poets say that Jupiter, to enjoy his lustful delights, took upon him the shape of sundry creatures, as of a bull, of an eagle, of a swan, and of a golden shower." (Wisdom of the Ancients, Juno's Suitor)

Shakespeare :

The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them : Jupiter
Became a bull, and bellow'd.
(Winter's Tale, act iv. sc. 3)

Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love set on thy horns. You were also Jupiter, a swan, for the love of Leda. ( Merry Wives of Windsor," act v. sc. 5)

Great Jupiter upon his eagle backed.
(Cymbeline, act v. sc. 5.)

******
Additonal Bacon-Shakespere Parallels
can be Found in Constance Pott's Book 

Obiter Dicta of Bacon and Shakespeare

on

Manners, Mind and Morals