Queen Elizabeth and David--Shakespeare and Solomon

(A letter written by Roger Ascham & concealed for Two-Hundred Years)

Prefatory letter by Mr. Ascham from The Schoolmaster withheld and published separately by James Bennet, 1761
First, a word from Peter Dawkins a Baconian Scholar

Roger Ascham, reputedly the greatest scholar of the time, tutor to both Edward VI and Elizabeth, gives marked hints of the truth (regarding Francis Bacon's royal birth) in his dedication to the Queen, entitled Divae Elizabethae, written as a personal letter to the Queen, dated October 30th 1566 , and intended as the preface of his book, The Schoolmaster (completed in 1566 but not published until 1571, three years after his death) This preface was (not suprisingly) suppressed, concealed by someone unknown, until 1761 when it was first published by James Bennet.Ascham's theory being that young children were "sooner allured by love than driven by beatings to attain learning." The preface makes it clear that he was commanded personally by the Queen, in a private interiviw at Windsor Castle, to write the book. First asked by a Privy Councillor to write the book,"concerning the right order of teaching", Ascham at first refused:

"Beginning some excuse, I was suddenly called to the Queen. The night following I slept little, my head was so full of this our former talk." In the letter he likens Elizabeth's life to that of David, King of Israel, and shows that he is obviously intimately conversant with her secret life, singling out in particular the sin of David with respect to Uriah, whose death David brought about in order to marry Bathsheba.

In the same year (1563) that Queen Elizabeth "requested" her old tutor, Roger Ascham, to write a book (The Schoolmaster) "concerning the right order of teaching" of young noblemen and, in particular, princes, Sir Nicholas Bacon began to build a new house at Gorhambury, at which he would, in the years ahead, put into especial practice the principles laid down in The Schoolmaster, and provide an initiating school on Platonic lines for his son, Anthony (born 1558) and foster son, Francis, plus certain others placed under his care.--Peter Dawkins from Dedication to the Light

......And now Ascham's letter with commentary by S.A. Hickson


"Most noble Princess, and my best Lady and Mistress, I--oft thinking of this race of David's life, of his former felicities, of God's dealing with him at all points to bring happiness to his present time, and safety to his posterity--have had for many causes, many like thoughts even of the life and state of your Majesty."

He reminds her how God Blessed King David and " he heard from God's own mouth: "Thine owne seed shall sit in thy seat," ( Solomon, son of Bathsheba, was from another of nature's unions. Was not Shakespeare(Bacon) similiarly the son of the Queen Elizabeth?),which is the greatest comfort that come to a great Prince."

He then reviews the two books of Samuel, the second of which contains "life of David, the image of a good Prince, a fair picture of a flourishing state and happy time, when God was always in mind and his former benefits, his former deliveries from danger of death never utterly forgotten,.... and in the end, had this joyful blessing from God's own mouth by Nathan's message, which all true English hearts daily do pray, that God will send the same unto your Majesty: "I will set thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his Kingdom."

Had the courtly Ascham forgotten that he was addressing a professed Virgin Queen, who could expect no seed? or did he, too, know "things that it is not for all men to know?" His conclusion of the state of David, which seemed to remind him so much of Her Majesty, is certainly not wanting in frankness, Bathsheba being the mother of Solomon. (Francis Bacon was born, January 22,1561, four months after the death of Amy Robsart, the Earl of Leicester's wife)

Thus he proceeds:

"But David was wrapt in a stranger case and kind of misery; for when God had showed him his greatest favour, and had given him the highest benefits that man in earth could receive, yet God suffered him to fall into the deepest pit of wickedness, to commit the cruellest murder, the shamefullest adultery that man ever did upon earth. Whereinto he did not stumble by ignorance, nor slide by weakness, nor only fall by wilfulness, but went to it advisedly, purposing all practices, and finding out all fetches, that mischief could imagine, to bring mischief to pass. Yet though David had shaken from him God's fear, yet God had not taken from David his Grace. For, when God did knock, David did open; when Nathan said boldly, "Thou hast done evil inthe sight of the Lord. David answered humbly, "I have sinned before the Lord."; and so out of this foul matter is gathered the fairest example and best lesson, both for prince and private man, that is in all Scripture...... And therefore was I very willing to offer this book to your Majesty, wherein, as in a fair glass, your Majesty shall see and acknowledge, by God's dealing with David, even very many like dealings of God with your Majesty.... and in the end have as David had--that is, most prosperity and surest felicity for you, yours, and your posterity."

The sin of David was at least a strange one to hold up as an example to a Virgin Queen, to whom, moreover, the prospect of posterity would not appeal. Was poor Amy Robsart the Uriah, and Shakespeare(Bacon) the modern Solomon? Ascham's parallel almost passes belief-- a parallel without parallel.

For the sake of distinction I have throughout called the recognised actor and theatre proprietor by the name of "Shakspere of Stratford," and have confined the use of the name of "Shakespeare" to the authorship of the plays. There is said to be no such name as "Shakespeare" in the records of Stratford-on-Avon, in which the spelling takes various other forms, such as Shaxpere, Shackspere, Shaksper, and even Chacspere.


More on Queen Elizabeth : The World's Fresh Ornament 

see the Edited text of the Schoolmaster


SirBacon.org - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning