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Francis Bacon by Max Beerbohm (1904)


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You might have seen this cartoon before, as I gather it is widely reproduced and is the work of famous English caricaturist, Max Beerbohm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Beerbohm The funny thing is that I found it on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's website.

https://collections.shakespeare.org.uk/search/museum/strst-sbt-2004-54/view_as/grid/search/everywhere:beerbohm-421/page/1

image.png.f8be79886f6846428e7a16895a36d473.png

Caption reads: "WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. HIS METHOD OF WORK"

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Hi Eric,

The caption contains 33 letters Bacon in simple cipher and 6 words: 33+6=39 F Bacon in simple cipher.

Might we then interpret the cartoon as cryptically conveying that Bacon/F Bacon is secretly passing his literary mask William Shakspere of Stratford his Shakespeare play Hamlet (a disguised dramatic portrait of Bacon himself), a talking picture not dissimilar to the frontispiece of Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae published a few weeks after the Shakespeare First Folio (November 1623) in early 1624.

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11 minutes ago, A Phoenix said:

Hi Eric,

The caption contains 33 letters Bacon in simple cipher and 6 words: 33+6=39 F Bacon in simple cipher.

Might we then interpret the cartoon as cryptically conveying that Bacon/F Bacon is secretly passing his literary mask William Shakspere of Stratford his Shakespeare play Hamlet (a disguised dramatic portrait of Bacon himself), a talking picture not dissimilar to the frontispiece of Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae published a few weeks after the Shakespeare First Folio (November 1623) in early 1624.

Hi A.P.

I came across the cartoon as I was searching for any studies on the history of the commodification of the Droeshout FF engraving of WS - how is it that it has become so ubiquitous? I just thought it was historically interesting and mildly amusing, yet you see so much more, even in a cartoon. 

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5 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

You might have seen this cartoon before, as I gather it is widely reproduced and is the work of famous English caricaturist, Max Beerbohm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Beerbohm The funny thing is that I found it on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's website.

https://collections.shakespeare.org.uk/search/museum/strst-sbt-2004-54/view_as/grid/search/everywhere:beerbohm-421/page/1

image.png.f8be79886f6846428e7a16895a36d473.png

Caption reads: "WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. HIS METHOD OF WORK"

Who is he poking fun of? Max Beerbohm, as far as I can tell, does not appear to have been a Freemason. The inclusion of a 33 letter caption begins to tell us who he is saying is makin this suggestion--Freemasons.  We can actually confirm that this is a faction where you would have encountered this idea. It's to be found in part of their origin mythologies still today. There is a rather large literary community of people who poked fun at Freemasonry in varying degrees  in the late Victorian period. The common theme was that there wasn't any secret to be teased out of these secret societies. Some suggested that the secret was that there was no secret.

As with many things presented to us it is possible to twist the context to make things say what we want.  The suggestion presented here was all the rage in the 1890s in the popular literature of Constance Pott and in esoteric circles. As a literary critic I think that he was much more likely to be commenting on what was being said in these times than what happened in the early 17th century.

If he's doing anything stealthily here it's making fun of Freemasons. One of my favorite Nova Scoria authors did the same thing in the 1850s, and he was much closer to the origins of that popular suggestion. He was Constance's mother's cousin. He lived in an old British colony full of Freemasons, and he had a great old time making fun of them in his world famous stories.

 

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I always took the name "Max Beerbohm" for its face value, "Lots of Beer!" And I always related and celebrated!

Maybe he was a real person? I never looked. (He was real, I just looked...)

Making fun of Freemasons? I never thought of that.

Making fun of Stratfordians? I get that, I get the cartoon joke.

You may be correct and it is possible he is making fun of almost all Freemasons as Stratfordians?

Are all Stratfordians Freemasons" Hardly.

Sorry for posting without thought, still working at my pay job...

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Hi Eric,

The caption contains 33 letters Bacon in simple cipher and 6 words: 33+6=39 F Bacon in simple cipher.

Might we then interpret the cartoon as cryptically conveying that Bacon/F Bacon is secretly passing his literary mask William Shakspere of Stratford his Shakespeare play Hamlet (a disguised dramatic portrait of Bacon himself), a talking picture not dissimilar to the frontispiece of Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae published a few weeks after the Shakespeare First Folio (November 1623) in early 1624.

Great insight/analogy A.P.!

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1 hour ago, Light-of-Truth said:

I always took the name "Max Beerbohm" for its face value, "Lots of Beer!" And I always related and celebrated!

Maybe he was a real person? I never looked. (He was real, I just looked...)

Making fun of Freemasons? I never thought of that.

Making fun of Stratfordians? I get that, I get the cartoon joke.

You may be correct and it is possible he is making fun of almost all Freemasons as Stratfordians?

Are all Stratfordians Freemasons" Hardly.

Sorry for posting without thought, still working at my pay job...

 

 

 

 

Why would Stratfordians need to all be Masons? Not all Masons think they have a connection to Bacon.. The problem is that many of the earliest suggestions about Bacon are multi-pronged. Involving Bacon with Freemasonry in Victorian times is something that happened. Anyone could suggest that Freemasons were the source of this. Oxfordian's might have nothing to say about it. I don't think he was giving his opinion about who wrote Shakespeare. He's caricaturizing the idea that there's a Masonic code to tell you that which is based in 33. Why else involve it? Surely it's not to overtly pass on a secret! That's levels of conspiracy. 

Edited by RoyalCraftiness
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3 minutes ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

...The problem is that many of the earliest suggestions about Bacon are multi-pronged. Involving Bacon with Freemasonry in Victorian times is something that happened.

Are you saying that when Bacon was alive there were no Masonic hints, symbols, secrets around? There were no jokes being kicked around and shared among a few of these guys? None of the things from Bacon's lifetime we are recognizing as part of the rituals and lessons of Freemasonry today are valid?

The "history" of Freemasonry? Even the "myths" mean so little when Bacon's words, Jonson's words, even Dee's, woven together with the symbolic artwork of the Elizabethan times. That is not even touching on the potential ciphers and hidden treasures behind the veil.

It is 1717 that Freemasonry stepped out from wherever they had been hiding for however long that may be. It was 1717, right? I don't know exactly as I never cared. I am always eager to demonstrate for you how in 1609 the Sonnets Dedication appears to be a Freemason piece of art. 😉

But yea, out here on this side of the veil it was not until 1717 when there was an active Freemason Brotherhood. I get the idea, it's not for everyone to know, or even think about.

CJ, am I making bad syllogisms based on the literature and artwork from a century before Freemasonry existed?

Why not! LOL

🙂

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Are you saying that when Bacon was alive there were no Masonic hints, symbols, secrets around? There were no jokes being kicked around and shared among a few of these guys? None of the things from Bacon's lifetime we are recognizing as part of the rituals and lessons of Freemasonry today are valid?

The "history" of Freemasonry? Even the "myths" mean so little when Bacon's words, Jonson's words, even Dee's, woven together with the symbolic artwork of the Elizabethan times. That is not even touching on the potential ciphers and hidden treasures behind the veil.

It is 1717 that Freemasonry stepped out from wherever they had been hiding for however long that may be. It was 1717, right? I don't know exactly as I never cared. I am always eager to demonstrate for you how in 1609 the Sonnets Dedication appears to be a Freemason piece of art. 😉

But yea, out here on this side of the veil it was not until 1717 when there was an active Freemason Brotherhood. I get the idea, it's not for everyone to know, or even think about.

CJ, am I making bad syllogisms based on the literature and artwork from a century before Freemasonry existed?

Why not! LOL

🙂

 

 

It's a huge error to call any and all this Freemasonry as if that word has one meaning or captures everything about "secret societies" going back to operative Masonry in Scotland. Calling Rosicrucianism Freemasonry isn't correct either. There are likely many incarnations of groups which have no real and consistent lineage except for a possible philosophical one.  It goes in fits and starts if you ask me. Things continued to the degree that other things inspired themselves from earlier things, and there was an evolution at every stage. One hundred years after 1617 it was perfectly acceptable for someone to pick up where some previous story left off with it's suggestion if one wanted to ride on it. We know there was something in London called the Acception whose name is an invention in English and related to the English translation of the word for Kabbalah (reception). We know there was something later called "accepted and free Masons" that still used the word "acception". We know there was later Freemasonry that never used the word acception, where acepted simply meant "accepted in" by the brethren to a lot of casual onlookers. We know that would eventually branch off in a hundred different flavors.

At every point in the history there was frustration expressed by purists about how lodges were making things up to suit themselves. Efforts to harmonize and unify the message occurred. In the 1850s Freemasonry was all the rage, and many like Joseph Smith emulated it to branch off with their own philosophies.

There are Freemasons completely on board with the idea that they trace right back to Bacon even if we know that there is no proof of such a thing. Where does the idea come from? It has to be referred to as secret knowledge. There's nowhere else to park it. If some knew why couldn't all know or be convinced of it? This is where you get into the suggestion of: "some forgot", "Some never knew", "some simply didn't appreciate how important it was and never pass it on" or "it was meant to be kept secret". The latter is contradicted by all those who think great efforts were made to tell us if we could only simply come to accept that 33 meant exactly two things linked by one relationship. 

There are always great possibilities to rescue the initial possibility. I will always contend that if we do not know it serves no purpose to pretend that we know to serve our case. The science that Bacon believed in doesn't work on imposture. Freemasonry today says that it does not have any proof of this Bacon link. Is is hiding its past? Of course not. Possibilities simply don't count as proof to face the public with. Freemasonry is also not about the Knights Templar lineages. It is, to some degree, about people identifying with those men. You can most certainly identify with Bacon as a Mason, but any identity is a fiction.  Hiram Abiff is a fiction. As far we know King Solomon is a fiction too. He most certainly exists in stories and his stories do refer back to a time and places that did exist (like Atlantis).  It's all very complicated and not something we can neatly explain with one theory that ties it all together. Complexity is not simple to unravel. If we knew that Freemasonry was something that dealt in true stories then we might have a starting point, but we know the opposite. Why couldn't fiction be there right from the start? And what if all these men were like Plantard's friends--part of a "club" intent on staging a great play to teach the world a lesson with a morality tale?

Never forget that the point of the mystery in the mystery cults is to know the father. The father can be a fiction and you can know him in order to get your morality tale. God knows that Luke Skywalker had to. If we are to follow "the force", then I am afraid that the force is reason, and this force requires we question everything to the nth degree. 

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Wagner writes to his readers and has told me a few times that someone who is not a Freemason cannot possibly know about being one. Makes sense to me. Everything you say above is based on your knowledge and experience, and you have a very respectable abundance of both. I am curious from the sidelines, from the edges.

I am not a Freemason nor a Rosicrucian, but have had a strange experience without any intent of initiating myself into some space where there are others. It may not have a name, and nobody knows who else in part of it. There is no paper trail. 😉

Is the Freemason club of 1717 even what I am making connections in my brain to Bacon in 1617? Probably not! LOL

Lawrence and I talked about a Bacon website in March or April of 1997 in his cool little office in the East Bay of CA. He was already discussing it with artists and designers in his world by then. SirBacon.org launched to the public on October 10, 1997.

So before 10-10 of 1997 there was no SirBacon.org website. Yet Lawrence collected everything about Francis Bacon and his works as he could, building a network of connections and friends who were all on the same page. By the time the website launched his work was busting out the seams! Peter Dawkins, Penn Leary, so many names we know, myself as a novice green as a fresh pea.

Do we say before October 10, 1997 the work Lawrence had put in for so many years did not exist? Maybe it did not have a name, but it was SirBacon.org. 🙂

Year 1609, the top line of the Sonnets Dedication which I consider an amazing piece of Freemason art:

TO.THE.ONLIE.BEGETTER.OF.

The last letters of the words, "O E E R F", or reversed, "F R E E O"

When I noticed that I asked an old Freemason I knew and he said, "Of course, the Circle is a symbol of Masonry. Free - Mason.""

 

 

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52 minutes ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

It's a huge error to call any and all this Freemasonry as if that word has one meaning or captures everything about "secret societies" going back to operative Masonry in Scotland. Calling Rosicrucianism Freemasonry isn't correct either. There are likely many incarnations of groups which have no real and consistent lineage except for a possible philosophical one.  It goes in fits and starts if you ask me. Things continued to the degree that other things inspired themselves from earlier things, and there was an evolution at every stage. One hundred years after 1617 it was perfectly acceptable for someone to pick up where some previous story left off with it's suggestion if one wanted to ride on it. We know there was something in London called the Acception whose name is an invention in English and related to the English translation of the word for Kabbalah (reception). We know there was something later called "accepted and free Masons" that still used the word "acception". We know there was later Freemasonry that never used the word acception, where acepted simply meant "accepted in" by the brethren to a lot of casual onlookers. We know that would eventually branch off in a hundred different flavors.

At every point in the history there was frustration expressed by purists about how lodges were making things up to suit themselves. Efforts to harmonize and unify the message occurred. In the 1850s Freemasonry was all the rage, and many like Joseph Smith emulated it to branch off with their own philosophies.

There are Freemasons completely on board with the idea that they trace right back to Bacon even if we know that there is no proof of such a thing. Where does the idea come from? It has to be referred to as secret knowledge. There's nowhere else to park it. If some knew why couldn't all know or be convinced of it? This is where you get into the suggestion of: "some forgot", "Some never knew", "some simply didn't appreciate how important it was and never pass it on" or "it was meant to be kept secret". The latter is contradicted by all those who think great efforts were made to tell us if we could only simply come to accept that 33 meant exactly two things linked by one relationship. 

There are always great possibilities to rescue the initial possibility. I will always contend that if we do not know it serves no purpose to pretend that we know to serve our case. The science that Bacon believed in doesn't work on imposture. Freemasonry today says that it does not have any proof of this Bacon link. Is is hiding its past? Of course not. Possibilities simply don't count as proof to face the public with. Freemasonry is also not about the Knights Templar lineages. It is, to some degree, about people identifying with those men. You can most certainly identify with Bacon as a Mason, but any identity is a fiction.  Hiram Abiff is a fiction. As far we know King Solomon is a fiction too. He most certainly exists in stories and his stories do refer back to a time and places that did exist (like Atlantis).  It's all very complicated and not something we can neatly explain with one theory that ties it all together. Complexity is not simple to unravel. If we knew that Freemasonry was something that dealt in true stories then we might have a starting point, but we know the opposite. Why couldn't fiction be there right from the start? And what if all these men were like Plantard's friends--part of a "club" intent on staging a great play to teach the world a lesson with a morality tale?

Never forget that the point of the mystery in the mystery cults is to know the father. The father can be a fiction and you can know him in order to get your morality tale. God knows that Luke Skywalker had to. If we are to follow "the force", then I am afraid that the force is reason, and this force requires we question everything to the nth degree. 

Hi CJ

If your force is reason, my force is love. All great teachers plant their teachings with great Love, and thus they grow long into the future, changing Time and Potential. 

I do agree with you though: "it serves no purpose to pretend that we know". 

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I agree with Eric we have to question everything and examine our assumptions and theories so they are not relied upon as historical facts. That's what Oxfordians have to do as well as fall into their own cognitive dissonance trance of obfuscation because they are so threatened by Bacon's candidacy. 

Between Alfred Dodd, George Tudhope's "Bacon Masonry," Richard Wagner, Peter Dawkins and Manly P. Hall that's pretty much all I can go on regarding Freemasonry, Bacon and the Elizabethan- James era. There's no question in my mind that there are "Craft" references in the Plays and whether it's called Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Knights of the Helmet, there existed a noble impulse for the benefit and relief of man's estate and  the greater good of mankind that is now a lost intention of  many contemporary  watered down  so called Freemasons.
 

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14 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

Hi CJ

If your force is reason, my force is love. All great teachers plant their teachings with great Love, and thus they grow long into the future, changing Time and Potential. 

I do agree with you though: "it serves no purpose to pretend that we know". 

Love is a great thing to point to since none of us has any clue of how to describe it subjectively. You could have a mystery cult around it and it would never cease to interest youth with its secrets. It certainly cannot be tackled by pure reason, and if it is it will only garner objection from those who feel intuitively that it is purely experiential and "magic".

Efforts to describe love have led humans to break it down into different types with different motivations. Some types felt by others toward you are said to be higher and mightier than what you may feel when you are struck by it.

What does it mean to be guided by love in your choices? Must you love the sound of something to go long with it?  What would be the response to those who would remind you that love is blind to many things? I love my cat, but it is mainly because it is my cat. I do not love the stray cats in my barn as much  (or at all). I am even oblivious to their feelings for me and the things in there they urinate on. I love my wife (I think), but it is because she is my wife and she goes along with it. If she had not gone along with it, I'd be called delusional for saying I love her and I would have needed to give up on the suggestion and look elsewhere. I owe her quite a bit for allowing me the latitude to have the feeling of not being rejected. We are prone to love what is an essential part of giving us our identity.  Love involves us and our search for our identity.  Part of that is to be included in something bigger than us. 

What your admission hints to me is that there is something about Bacon as a father figure that you love. And it explains why I see descriptions of him having a great love affair with humanity to the point that his life's work has been a great gift to us in myriad ways. To see the world in such rose colored glasses is part of what is possible. I do not condemn that genre. It is a great way to tell a story to relate it to an experience we may all know.  It is something that can touch and influence people, because we have certainly raised love into an idealized notion where it exudes the character of goodness.  It is also the way of Romantics, and we must recognize that Britain was subjected to that current with the Norman Conquest. The Carolingian Renaissance made Romance an important subject matter of deliberation. What love was to Anglo-Saxons was probably ideologically different in many ways. Some people's Gods were more about war and winning battles.

God is love, is a familiar enough refrain. Who would dare tackle that? It would seem reasonable for that to be a sound conclusion if we see only goodness in love. In making this connection we are only equating two idealized concepts which we do have any subjective knowledge about. It is useful to suggest that God could exit since love can exist as a mystery to us. But neither implies the other.

When I was a younger man I remember thinking that I definitely needed to know what love felt like before I died.  How is that possible if my parents loved me and many others professed that also? It is pretty clear that we are in a search for something that uniquely relates to our own experience and perspective. To be loved and not be in love is troublesome. It is so troublesome that you can go down a very dark path of thinking about yourself when that is missing. Boy, does the ego value love. 

And speaking of boys. Bacon and his friend King James did love boys, it is said. It was not just that one was a misogynist who enjoyed burning women, but there was also a burning desire to be a pedarast. I have no explanation for it. To be guided by love is to be guided by God knows what. Apparently all is permissible in Nature.  I look out the window into the world and see young people dressing up like clowns and wearing make-up as if they had taken the identity of the clown. I ask myself what is guiding them, but I have no answer beyond the fact that they are searching for an identity and that is tickling them the right way for now. It is said that we only truly get a grip on the concept of identity when we are in our fifties. Before that we are searchers in search of meaning. Imagine a world where lifespan was around 45 yeas or age...What was passed as common knowledge?

When we are most selfish (as infants) is when we know love most intimately. I equate it with the possession of the object of want which can be no more than a feeling of warmth or a soothing vibration of a heart muscle. Who has not seen a child suddenly be taken by the desire to have what he sees the other child having in hand. O the pain of not knowing that feeling! It must have that thing so the acute pain can be transformed into the exact opposite of what is being felt.  To be or not to be in the comfort of one's satisfaction; that is the question.

We have placed love on a spectrum,on one end. It is somehow akin to a degree of something that eventually changes its designation to hate as we move towards the other end. What is incrementally growing or fading in intensity? It cannot be love or hate, but something which ends up being described by those words. I hate egg salad sandwiches, and I can see only a parallel in the idea of not being comfortable being with the idea of that in my mouth. I hate neither eggs nor sandwiches, to confuse me even more.

I believe you are honest in stating what you state. There is a part of you that desires to identity with Love. It is a comfortable association. Efforts to weaken that would likely cause you to defend love, and it could be that what is most pleasing is that we feel that that love needs no defense. 

Edited by RoyalCraftiness
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Bacon:

"There is in man's nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon someone or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable, as it is seen sometime in friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind, friendly love perfecteth it, but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it."

 

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20 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

If your force is reason, my force is love.

Last night, enjoying an interesting conversation, I did some Baconian digging on "Reason vs. Love" not realizing the can of worms I was opening. I read opinions by Bacon and Shakespeare that typically resonated with each other, while at the same time conflicted within themselves.

Reason is the Devil, or Love is Devil, and vice-versa. Great fun! But I had to go to sleep.

I picked it up again a little today, and it is a tug-o-war of ideas. It kind of boils down to Rational vs Emotional, yet that is not accurate either. Neither is worthy without the other.

Bacon said:

"The stage is more beholding to love than the life of man. For as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies, but in life it doth much mischief, sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury.

Is he saying Shakespeare is more beholding to Love and Bacon is more beholding to Reason? One makes sense as the other does not, and they take turns being accurate. The trick is to Balance them both. Do we ever know which is which?

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