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Secret Baconian clues in the Shakespeare Plays

A Phoenix

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We have seen Hamlet many times (some good and some not so good!) but if we had to choose three favourites we would opt for the film versions by Olivier, Branagh, and the version played by Ethan Hawke set in New York.

Hamlet is our favourite because it is so personal to Bacon and his early concealed life. Within this royal Tudor tragedy are lines, sentences and passages identical in thought and similar in expression, with resemblances, correspondences and parallels from more than thirty of Bacon’s writings and works.

The Tragedy of Hamlet shadows the most explosive and sensational secrets of the Elizabethan reign in which the not so Virgin Queen Elizabeth was secretly married to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester with whom she had two concealed royal princes Francis Tudor Bacon and Robert Tudor Devereux. It tells the tale of its author a disinherited royal prince Francis Tudor Bacon in the shape of Hamlet who is denied his rightful kingship by his mother Queen Elizabeth and the exhaustion and death of the royal Tudor dynasty.

The opening scene of the greatest play in world literature conceals and reveals its author in the dramatic disguise of Hamlet our most enigmatic Shakespearean character who has continued to mesmerise the world for the last four hundred years.



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Hamlet is great! However, I've never seen the play in real life. Actually I haven't seen any of the plays.

In the 6th grade we put on a short version of Julius Caesar. I was the Soothsayer. LOL

"Beware the ides of March."

I didn't have an interest in Shakespeare until I started to study Bacon.

I have read Hamlet and spent time finding cool little ciphers. Plenty to discover there! I'll try to find some finds in my notes.

The Tempest has been my favorite to read, and seek treasures. But my second passion in life is weather and storms. Plus, Prospero is based on Dee who I feel a connection with. So The Tempest is a playground for me.

As far as finding a wealth of cipher gold nuggets, for some reason King Henry IV, Part I has been a jackpot for me.

"And now I will unclasp a secret book"

I have considered this play was a lesson for new treasure hunters even in Bacon's time. So many surprises using several techniques. Again, I'll need to look through my notes, but even starting over from scratch I remember some of them.

I do need to see the plays performed as I am missing out on a huge part of the quality. Reading them backwards, criss-cross, bouncing around here and there is one level, but the actual way they were meant to be enjoyed is quite different I am sure. 🙂


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Hi Rob,

Many scholars (orthodox and Baconian) advocate that The Tempest is the most Baconian play in the Shakespeare canon and is a great favourite with theatre-goers in the United States of America.

We are blessed that the play has attracted the critical attention of a number of heavy-weight Baconian scholars. See below:

Edwin Bormann, The Shakespeare-Secret (London: Th. Wohlleben, 1850), pp. 9-22.

N. B. Cockburn, The Bacon Shakespeare Question The Baconian theory made sane (Guildford and Kings Lynn: Biddle Limited, 1998), pp. 241-50, 460-5.

Peter Dawkins, The Wisdom of Shakespeare in The Tempest (I. C. Media Productions, 2000).

Barry, R. Clarke, The Shakespeare Puzzle A Non-Esoteric Baconian Theory (Barry R. Clarke, 2009), pp. 69-88.

Barry R. Clarke, ‘The Virginia Company and The Tempest’, Journal of Drama Studies, 5 (2011), pp. 13-27.

Barry R. Clarke, ‘A linguistic analysis of Francis Bacon’s Contribution to three Shakespeare plays: The Comedy of Errors, Loves Labours Lost, and The Tempest’, PhD, Brunel University, 2013), pp. 211-242.

Barry R. Clarke, ‘The Virginia Company’s role in The Tempest’, in The Whirlwind of Passion New Critical Perspectives on William Shakespeare, ed., Petar Penda (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016), pp. 71-93.

Barry R. Clarke, Francis Bacons Contribution to Shakespeare A New Attribution Method (New York and London: Routledge, 2019), pp. 169-191, 276-82.

Mather Walker, Plus Ultra Francis Bacon’s Secret Design in hisShakespeareFirst Folio (https://sirbacon.org/archives/PLUS%20ULTRA%20-%20w4%20w%20ToC.pdf).

For a Rosicrucian interpretation of the play:

Frances A Yates, Shakespeares Last Plays: A New Approach (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975), pp. 92ff.


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I just recently read Barry Clarke's papers on the Virginia Company.

A while back I became curious of the Hog Money on the Sommers Islands (now Bermuda).


Granted, there were hogs on the island when the Sea-Adventurer wrecked and you could say "Bacon" helped keep them alive. Yet there is a historical connection to Bacon, the Virginia Company, the islands, and Sommers. And of course The Tempest. So I have wondered if the coin had a double purpose, one of them being to honor Francis Bacon. The coin has a Hog on one side and the Sea-Adventurer ship on the back. The ship left England in 1609, the same year the Sonnets were printed.

My interest started when trying to find out if the ship was called the "Adventurer" as one way to read the Sonnets Dedication starts out "Setting forth in the Adventurer..."

Barry has settled on "Sea-Venturer" from I can tell, but "Sea-Adventurer" and just "Adventurer" also come up in old references regarding the name of that ship. But no matter what, I became interested in the coins and have a hunch Bacon was in mind when they created the money.

The following coin description and images are from this website:


Bermuda Sommer Islands Hogge Pence and Shilling (Fakes are possible) 1616

In 1609, Sir George Somers, a British colonist from Virginia, was shipwrecked on the Bermuda Islands for 10 months. By 1612 there were 60 colonists on the Islands and the earliest brass 'hogge money' coins were hand struck in 2, 3, 6, and 12 pence (12 pence equals 1 shilling). An Internet search quickly uncovers detailed histories of these unique and interesting coins.

Recently, detectorists scouring the sands of Bermuda have uncovered a few of the early coins. They are tremendously valuable, even in worn and corroded condition. Brass coins do not do well when buried in sand soaked in tropical sea water!

Not surprisingly, modern reproductions of these coins have been made. Notably Dickeson and Bashlow copies have emerged and garnered a collector following. Our composite image below summarizes a few of these pieces.

CoinQuest thanks CoinAuctionsHelp and Stack's Bowers for use of their images of valuable original coins.

(A) Original shilling (XII), worth tens of thousands of US dollars
(B) Original sixpence (VI), worth tens of thousands of US dollars
(C) Original shilling, worth thousands of US dollars even in condition shown
(D) Dickeson reproduction, worth $200 US dollars worn to $800 or more uncirculated
(E) Bashlow restrike with 'mule' reverse, worth $10 worn to $100 fully uncirculated
(F) Nice reproduction, worth $10 to $50
(G) Crude reproduction shilling, worth $5 to $20
(H) Crude reproduction sixpence, worth $5 to $20



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 Arguably the play that is most obviously written by Bacon in the Shakespeare canon is The Merchant of Venice which in places reads like a thinly disguised dramatized autobiography of his life and his relationship with his brother Anthony Bacon in the years leading up to the writing, revising, performing and publication of the play.

Below we have reproduced a synopsis that accompanied an essay and video entitled ‘Francis Bacon (Bassanio/Bellario) and Anthony Bacon (its Titular Character Antonio) and The Merchant of Venice (2021) written a few months ago.

Following his return to England in February 1592 after a twelve absence abroad working closely with spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham for the English Secret Service, Anthony Bacon went to live with his brother Francis Bacon who was then already heavily in debt at Gray’s Inn. From the moment Anthony returned to England he immediately became involved in supporting and assisting his brother Francis with his money troubles and considerable debts. Francis and Anthony set up a literary workshop with connections to printers and publishers employing writers, translators, scribes and copyists for the distribution of private manuscripts, books, plays, masques and other entertainments. The enormous crippling costs of running and financially supporting this literary workshop resulted in Francis and Anthony further entering into a never ending cycle of debt incurred by having to raise large loans from money-lenders through bonds (legal agreements for loans) and other legal instruments.

The Bacon brothers were still dealing with various loans and mounting debts when in Trinity Term 1597 a goldsmith named Sympson of Lombard Street who held a bond for £300 principal, sued Francis for repayment but agreed to respite the satisfaction of it until the beginning of the following term. However without any warning a fortnight before Michaelmas Term commenced, Bacon was walking from the Tower of London when at the instigation of the moneylender Sympson he was served with an execution and arrested with a view to confining him to the Fleet prison.

The events were to inform and colour the most famous legal play in the history of English drama, The Merchant of Venice, whose titular character is named Antonio, the Italianate form of Anthony named after and modelled upon Anthony Bacon. It was entered as a new play on the Stationers’ Register on 22 July 1598 and was first published in 1600 as The Most excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice.

In the modern Arden edition of the play Professor Drakakis makes the obvious but very important observation ‘The central drama of The Merchant of Venice revolves around the relationship between the merchant Antonio and the Venetian Lord Bassanio.’ The character of Bassanio is modelled upon its author Francis Bacon. In The Merchant of Venice the two characters Antonio and Bassanio mirror the complex relationship and circumstances of Francis and Anthony Bacon before and during the time the play was written, revised and performed.

Apart from Bassanio, the spectral presence of Bacon is dispersed through several other characters in the play. Professor Lamb voices that not only does Bassanio resemble Bacon but so too its heroine Portia. Then there is the character of Dr Bellario who as pointed out by the orthodox scholar Mark Edwin Andrews also represented Bacon which is further substantiated by the videos and lectures of Simon Miles and Christina G. Waldman the first to publish a full-length work on the subject entitled Francis Bacon’s Hidden Hand in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (2018). In his work Law Versus Equity in The Merchant of Venice as its title indicates Mark Edwin Andrews reads the play as an allegory of the conflict between law and equity which constitutes the consensus among modern scholars that the trial scene dramatizes the struggle between the common law courts and the equitable Court of Chancery. From the outset of the trial Andrews juxtaposes a prose version alongside the text of the play in which he substitutes Bacon for Dr Bellario.

The Merchant of Venice is about love and friendship particularly focused on the characters of Antonio (Anthony Bacon) and Bassanio (Bacon); about usury (a subject on which Bacon composed an essay and legal paper); money-lending mirroring the real lives of the Bacon brothers; and a bond between Antonio and Shylock similar to the bond between Bacon and Sympson. It’s also partly an allegory about the issue of debt and assumpsit that was finally decided in Slade’s Case (Slade v Morley), in which Bacon appeared for the defendant Morley, whose first substantive arguments made before the Justices of the Exchequer occurred in the Michaelmas Term of 1597 and 1598, at the very time Bacon was planning, writing and revising The Merchant of Venice, the most dramatic legal play in all world literature.

For incisive analysis and discussion see the following:

Simon Miles, ‘Francis Bacon and The Merchant of Venice Part 1’ and ‘Francis Bacon and The Merchant of Venice Part 2’, ‘Francis Bacon and The Merchant of Venice Part 3’, www.fbrt.org,uk/videos.

Christina G. Waldman, Francis Bacons Hidden Hand In Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice A Study Of Law, Rhetoric, And Authorship (New York: Algora Publishing, 2018).

Peter Dawkins, Shakespeares Wisdom in The Merchant of Venice (Warwickshire: I C Media Productions, 1998).

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                                                                                    The Taming of the Shrew - A Bacon Family Affair

For a detailed discussion see http://sirbacon.org/a-phoenix.html




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                                                                                                                    Love's Labour's Lost

The two Bacon bothers, Sir Nathaniel and Anthony Bacon in Love's Labours Lost.



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                                                                                                           The Merry Wives of Windsor


Francis Bacon alludes to his father Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

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For a detailed discussion see:

'Francis Bacon, the God-like Rosicrucian Figure of Duke Vincentio and the Unpublished Speeches of Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon, in Measure for Measure'.




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Awesome! I have not looked into Measure for Measure yet. But now have a reason.

Thank you for your insight, and another path to follow! It is amazing what you (and/or your team) have researched and revealed.

Very exciting for we who have had such an appetite for new Baconian knowledge!! Even though I've watched most of your videos, I miss much with an attention span that is short and constant interruptions no matter what I am doing or working on. Keep in mind that putting the Light out there is one thing, very important, but continuing reminders are just as important. 😉

There is a quote bouncing in my brain that someone wise said about how many times someone needs to hear something before it takes root. I could Google it, but busy right now. Whatever the quote is, it probably takes me twice as many "hearings" before it gets through. LOL


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A special unique copy of a Shakespeare First Folio with an upside down B on the first page of The Tempest, a Rosicrucian device, to draw attention to secret information about Francis Bacon- namely, a secret signature revealing that Bacon is the concealed author of the Shakespeare works.

In the second half of the twentieth century the American scholar Charlton Hinman subjected the printing of the First Folio to a forensic technical study in The Printing and Proof-Reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1963) based on an investigation of some eighty copies in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. The monumental standard work which is never likely to be surpassed is printed over two enormous volumes totalling more than a thousand pages. Like most large standard works it remains largely unread from cover to cover and some of its contents remain effectively hidden and unknown to the world. 

    Professor Hinman informs us that the first page of The Tempest exists in four different states:

The original upside-down setting of the large ornamental initial ‘B’ which begins the text proper was almost immediately noticed and corrected, for it is to be seen in but one copy (Folg. 24...).The incorrect signature was only later put right, since the page is mis-signed ‘B’ in four copies in addition to Folg. 24. And the press was thereafter stopped once again to replace the defective ‘S’ of ‘Actus primus, Scena prima.’-for the broken letter is still to be seen in two copies (Folg. 12 and 78) which are otherwise fully corrected. Thus we have: 

          State I-uncorrected, as in Folg. 24;   

          State II-ornamental initial righted but both signature and ‘Scena’ still uncorrected, as in 

                       Folg. 1, 14, 28, and 44;

          State III-signature correct but ‘Scena’ still defective, as in Folg. 12 and 78; and

          State IV-fully corrected, as in most copies, the press having been stopped a third time

                          simply in order to replace the defective ‘S’ of ‘Scena’.

 This last alteration is somewhat surprising because it is so trifling; but it doubtless reflects the special care for appearances thought necessary in the first page of the first play in the volume. (Baconians, however, will perhaps find other meanings both in the broken ‘S’ and in the two ‘B’s that invite such particular attention in the earliest state of page A1.).  

[Charlton Hinman, The Printing And Proof-Reading Of The First Folio Of Shakespeare (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1963), I, pp. 250-1]

What is it then concerning the two ‘B’s that Professor Hinman chose not to spell out for us? Firstly, let us take a look at the signature B at the bottom of the page (the correct signature should be A and the signature B is only found in four other copies). The letter B is obviously the first letter of the surname Bacon and if we look across the line in the adjacent column it reads ‘A cry within’ which means something that is not uttered out loud. These first two words begin with an A and C thus we have the letters BAC a self-evident contraction of BACON. Nor do have to look too far for the missing O and N. The last part of the sentence reads ‘Enter Sebastian, Anthonio & Gonzalo’. The O and N is found twice in the name ‘Anthonio’, the Christian name of Bacon’s brother, Anthony Bacon, and it will be observed that the line (omitting the ampersand ‘&’) contains 39 letters F BACON in simple cipher. Let us now turn our attention to the defective ‘S’ of ‘Actus primus, Scena prima’. What is it then Professor Hinman knows about the defective letter ‘S’ that the schoolmen and virtually the rest of the sleepy Shakespeare world do not? Here the large upside down ornamental letter B serves as a clue. If the reader turns this unique page of the Shakespeare First Folio upside-down the defective ‘S’ looks like an F and the letters CT of ‘Actus’ that when read normally looks like a B reversed (just like the large ornament B) when looked at upside down also forms the shape of the letter B giving us the two initial letters of the name Francis Bacon. It should also be noted that the upside down B is followed by the letter A with its ornate flourish down the one side representing the letter C thus in addition to the initials F and B we have the letters F BAC a self-evident contraction of FRANCIS BACON.








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  • Rob at 007 changed the title to Secret Baconian clues in the Shakespeare Plays


In what was one of the Grand Nights known as the 'Night of Errors and Confusions' at the Gray’s Inn Revels organised, directed and presided over by Bacon, its de facto Master of the Revels, that his great play on the themes of errors and confusions was premiered to an audience of lawyers. ‘There is’, as Professor Dorsch correctly observes in the recent Cambridge edition of the Comedy of Errors ‘considerable correspondence between the language and themes of the Gesta and those of Shakespeare’s play. This indicates that, far from being a last-minute substitution, the play was chosen, and the words of the Gesta devised, to complement each other.’1 The Gesta Grayorum with its central themes of errors and confusion and its centre-piece play The Comedy of Errors based upon the themes of errors and confusion were devised by one directing mind or Grand Sorcerer of Gray’s Inn, the Grand Master of these illusions, Lord Bacon.

In fact Bacon’s whole philosophical system and scientific empirical methodological inquiry to which he devoted his entire lifetime and wrote several large treatises departed from the premise that mankind had for thousands of years wandered through error upon error (and a case could be made out that the word error/errors was his favourite word) in what might very well be described as a veritable comedy of errors. It was this very foundation on which Bacon built his first major philosophical treatise which he aptly titled The Advancement of Learning wherein in some instances he actually began page after page with the word error in describing the phenomenon of historical and human error:

Another error, induced by the former, is a distrust that any thing should be now to be found out, which the world should have missed and passed over so long time….

Another error, that hath also some affinity with the former, is a conceit that of former opinions or sects, after a variety and examination, the best hath still prevailed; and suppressed the rest; so as if a man should begin the labour of a new search, he were but like to light upon somewhat formerly rejected; and by rejection, brought into oblivion: as if the multitude, or the wisest for the multitude’s sake, were not ready to give passage rather to that which is popular and superficial, than to that which is substantial and profound. For the truth is, that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river, or stream, which carrieth down to us that which is light and blown up; and sinketh and drowneth that which is weighty and solid.

Another error of a diverse nature from all the former, is the over-early and peremptory reduction of knowledge into arts and methods; from which time commonly sciences receive small or no augmentation….

Another error, which doth succeed that which we last mentioned, is that after the distribution of particular arts and sciences, men have abandoned universality, or ’philosophia prima’; which cannot but cease, and stop all progression….

Another error hath proceeded from too great a reverence, and a kind of adoration of the mind and understanding of man….

Another error that hath some connexion with this latter is, that men have used to infect their meditations, opinions, and doctrines, with some conceits which they have most admired, or some sciences which they have most applied; and given all things else a tincture according to them, utterly untrue and unproper…

Another error is an impatience of doubt, and haste to assertion without due and mature suspension of judgement. For the two ways of contemplation are not unlike the two ways of action commonly spoken of by the ancients; the one plain and smooth in the beginning, and in the end impassable; the other rough and troublesome in the entrance, but after a while fair and even. So it is in contemplation; if a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.

Another error is the manner of the tradition and delivery of knowledge, which is for the most part magistral and peremptory; and not ingenuous and faithful, in a sort as may be soonest believed; and not easiliest examined…. 

Other errors there are in the scope that men propound to themselves, whereunto they bend their endeavours; for whereas the more constant and devote kind of professors of any science ought to propound to themselves, to make some additions to their science; they convert their labours to aspire to certain second prizes….

But the greatest error of all the rest is the mistaking or misplacing of the last or furthest end of knowledge. For men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction, and most times for lucre and profession, and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men….2

Later in Book II of Advancement of Learning Bacon directly alludes to Terence and Plautus the Roman playwright whose Latin play Menaechmi The Comedy of Errors is based upon:

It decideth also the controversies between Zeno and Socrates, and their schools and successions on the one side, who placed felicity in virtue simply or attended; the actions and exercises whereof do chiefly embrace and concern society; and on the other side, the Cyrenaics and Epicureans, who placed it in pleasure, and made virtue, (as it is used in some comedies of errors, wherein the mistress and the maid change habits), to be but as a servant, without which pleasure cannot be served and attended 3

1. T. S. Dorsch, ed., The Comedy Of Errors (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 33.

2. Brian Vickers, ed., Francis Bacon A Critical Edition Of The Major Works (Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 145-7; Michael Kiernan, ed., The Advancement of      Learning (Oxford Clarendon Press, 2000), pp. 29-31.

3. Brian Vickers, ed., Francis Bacon A Critical Edition Of The Major Works (Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 247/651; Michael Kiernan, ed., The Advancement      of Learning (Oxford Clarendon Press, 2000), pp. 137/329.

For a detailed discussion see A. Phoenix, 'Francis Bacon and the Law in his Early Shakespeare Plays Reflected in his Life and Writings', pp. 57-68. 


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1 hour ago, A Phoenix said:

In fact Bacon’s whole philosophical system and scientific empirical methodological inquiry to which he devoted his entire lifetime and wrote several large treatises departed from the premise that mankind had for thousands of years wandered through error upon error (and a case could be made out that the word error/errors was his favourite word) in what might very well be described as a veritable comedy of errors.

Good evening A Phoenix.  What an instructive post ! ❤️ Thank you for bringing to light this connection of Bacon with the word/ concept of Error ! 


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I have just been looking at the first appearance of the word "error"  in Bacon's Essays and in "The Wisdom of the ancients" .

It is interesting !😃

Essay VII : Of Parents and Children



VII Perseus, or War



Notice the reference to the Helmet of Pluto (The Helmet of Invisibilty of the Knights of the Helmet ?) and the Looking Glass of Pallas (the Spear-shaker 🙂 )

"Error" seems to be used for the first time, in each book, in the Chapter VII.

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During his first decade at Gray’s Inn (his primary residence for the rest of his life) Bacon was in continual personal contact and correspondence with his uncle and aunt Sir William and Lady Mildred Cecil, sister of his mother Lady Anne Bacon.1 All the surviving letters from Bacon to his aunt and uncle are signed from Gray’s Inn where he penned the second part of his Shakespeare trilogy Henry VI. In a letter from his lodgings at Gray’s Inn (c.1591-2) Bacon begins by saying ‘With as much confidence as mine own honest and faithful devotion unto your service and your honourable correspondence unto me and my poor estate can breed in a man, do I commend myself unto your Lordship.’ Who he goes on to say ‘being the Atlas of this commonwealth, the honour of my house, and the second founder of my poor estate, I am tied by all duties, both of a good patriot, and of an unworthy kinsman, and of an obliged servant, to employ whatsoever I am to do you service.’2 In 1592 Bacon was commissioned by Cecil to compose a response to a Catholic anti-government tract (A Declaration of the true Causes of the great Troubles, presupposed to be intended against the Realm of England).3 After robustly defending his uncle Cecil against false and scurrilous accusations levelled against him in the Catholic libel Bacon proceeds to present a eulogistic account of the man and his character. He praised his loyalty to the monarch and the state and the ‘greatness of his experience and wisdom’. He was ‘ever respective and moderate’ and ‘no bearing man nor carrier of causes, but ever gave way to justice and law’, who is Bacon concludes ‘worthily celebrated as pater patriae [Father of the Country] in England.’4 This tract by Bacon entitled Observations Upon A Libel (1592) only circulated privately in manuscript and was never published during his lifetime. Parts of it were written in 1589-90 around the time Bacon composed the second part of Henry VI. A play which in certain passages writes Professor Chris Fitter ‘generated a truly electrifying level of seditious suggestion in late 1591 and 1592’ when placed in its immediate historical context. Under the very telling heading ‘Pater Patriae’ Fitter makes good the identification of Bacon’s uncle and patron William Cecil, Lord Burghley with Lord Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester:  

Unanimously, the Tudor chronicles had presented Gloucester as “the good Duke Humphrey,” loyal servant of the realm and beloved of the commons. Shakespeare emphatically reproduces the popular gratitude for justice and underlines the Duke’s unswerving impeccable loyalty to the crown (1.2.17-21). He also, however, introduces a range of further characteristics that must have made identification of Gloucester with Burghley in the minds of many in the audience entirely inescapable at many significant moments.    

 …A[nother] key similarity was a cluster of parallels centering upon the peers’ wives. “Art thou not second woman of the realm?” demands Gloucester of Dame Eleanor, whose sumptuous dress (she “bears a Duke’s revenues on her back” [1.3.84,134]) more than hinted at Mildred Cecil, whose “splendid garb,” worn from the earliest of days of her marriage and reflecting “personal pleasure” not a necessary uniform,” has been remarked upon by biographers and displayed in portraits. Mildred knew that “the status of her husband” demanded her “visibility at the centre of power,” and was a regular attender at court….What is certain is that Gloucester’s conspicuous pain over a “lost” wife (“sorrow and grief have vanquished all my powers” [2.1.193]) echoed Burghely’s: Mildred’s had recently died (1589), and Burghley’s spirit was left, in his own words, “oppressed with the greatest grief.”5 

In his letter to his uncle Bacon described Cecil as ‘the Atlas of this commonwealth’ and in his chapter entitled ‘2 Henry VI: A Commonwealth Tragedy’' Dr Emrys Jones repeatedly characterized the play as a ‘commonwealth tragedy’: ‘For Shakespeare the key phrase seems to have been bending all his indeuours to the aduancement of the common-wealth’. For as he has written it, 2 Henry VI is above all else a play of the commonwealth, a tragedy in which the commonwealth’s Protector [the role also performed by Cecil] is conspired against and murdered and in which as a result the commonwealth is torn to pieces.’6

 1. Spedding, Letters and Life, I, pp. 12-15, 58, 59-60, 102-3, 107, 108-9.

 2. Ibid., Letters and Life, I, p. 108.

 3. Ibid., Letters and Life, I, pp.146-208, at pp. 197-8; Alan Stewart and Harriet Knight, eds., Early Writings 1584-1596 (Oxford Clarendon Press, 2012), pp. 343-       413, at p. 400.

 4. Ibid., Letters and Life, I, pp. 200-1; Alan Stewart and Harriet Knight, eds., Early Writings 1584-1596 (Oxford Clarendon Press, 2012), pp. 403-4.

 5. Chris Fitter, ‘Emergent Shakespeare and the Politics of Protest: 2 Henry VI In Historical Contexts’, English Language History, 72 (2005), pp. 146-50.

 6. Emrys Jones, The Origins Of Shakespeare (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1977), p. 162.





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This tract by Bacon entitled Observations Upon A Libel (1592) only circulated privately in manuscript and was never published during his lifetime.

I'm not seeing a facsimile or even any images of it with a basic Google search. I wonder if it is online anywhere?



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