Bacon and Shakespeare on Love by Edwin Reed
In a lecture on Francis Bacon’s essays, recently delivered in our American Cambridge by an instructor of Harvard university, the audience, when the essay of Love had been read, was convulsed with laughter by the quizzical injunction addressed to it. “Fancy Bacon writing ‘Romeo and Juliet!'” Lord Tennyson, had he been present, would undoubtedly have been in full sympathy with the spirit of the occasion, for he also, referring to the same essay, once asked, ” Could Bacon, holding such sentiments, have written ‘Romeo and Juliet?’ ” Tennyson’s own answer to the question was this : “any man who believes that he could have done so is a fool.” Indeed, the opinion among cultivated people on both sides of the Atlantic, that the greatest with one possible exception the world has produced, and according to Macaulay, the “possessor of the most exquisitely constructed intellect ever bestowed on any children of men” was incapacitated by a constitutional defect in his character to write the garden scene in the famous play is so general that we are brought face to face with a new problem, not in authorship alone, but in psychology itself. The question is not one of intellectual power, of style of writing, of differences in poetry and prose as expressions of thought, but of the heart, of pure feeling. Read more…>
Also, for a Happy Valentine’s day…
LOVE AND BUSINESS by Robert Theobald
from the book Shakespeare Studies in Baconian Light
Bacon and Shakespeare Parallelisms Paperback – August 24, 2016
by Edwin 1835-1908 Reed (Author)
“I have just had a letter from a man who wants my opinion as to whether Shakespeare’s Plays were written by Bacon. I feel inclined to write back, “Don’t be a fool, sir!’ The way in which Bacon speaks of love would be enough to prove that he was not Shakespeare. ” I know not how, but martial men are given to love. I think it is but as they are given to wine, for perils commonly asked to be paid in pleasures.’ How could a man with such an idea of love write Romeo and Juliet?
And yet even Tennyson might have paused before shutting off the claims for Bacon with such resolute incredulity, not to say unexpressed incivility. For he himself had found in Bacon qualities which are at first sight as incompatible with an unromantic view of love, as he supposed Shakespeare to be. Tennyson had been on one occasion speaking of Lord Bacon, and said,
“That certain passages of his writings, their frequent eloquence and vivid completeness lifted him more than those of almost any other writer.”
And of the Essays he said,
“There is more wisdom compressed into that small volume than in any other book of the same size that I know.” (Life, II. 76, 415).
Clearly, then, any unfavourable impression derived from one or tow passages in a small Essay may be corrected and perhaps even vindicated when a larger view is taken. What more could he say of Shakespeare’s wisdom than this?
The objection which Tennyson expressed so energetically is one that is often raised when the Baconian theory is under discussion.