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The Sir Nicholas Bacon Collection: Sources on English Society, 1250-1700


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https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/collex/exhibits/exsnb/

https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/ead/pdf/ex-bacon.pdf

 

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The Bacon collection, with its fine chronological series of manorial court and account rolls spanning four centuries, allows one to view the development of English rural and agricultural society in considerable detail. The real strength of the collection lies in the manorial documents relating to Redgrave and Hindercley in Suffolk, both manors in the large ecclesiastical estat4es of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. The present exhibition also serves as the culmination of the efforts of two generations of Chicago scholars beginning with the initiative and foresight of Professors Charles R. Baskerfill, John M. Manly, and Edith Rickert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

 

MYSTERY OF THE MISSING DRAGON WHISTLE

 

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For his last portrait not long before he died, Nicholas Bacon chose to wear a pendant on a blue ribbon, a jewel-encrusted dragon whistle, bequeathed to him by his close friend, Sir Thomas Pope in 1557, as mentioned in Pope's will. This wonderful example of English Renaissance jewellery doesn't seem to be in any major museums or libraries and there are no records online of it ever having passed through an auction house. This leaves us with three possibilities: it has been lost or destroyed; it is in private hands; or it is at Gorhambury. I have just written to Lady Grimston (Rosie) to ask if it is in the Gorhambury Art Collection. Any further information would be welcome as it relates to a project I'm working on.

At Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, there is a statue of Sir Nicholas Bacon on the facade. Although made long after Sir Nicholas's death, the sculptor has seen fit to include the dragon whistle around the great man's neck. 

 

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Edited by Eric Roberts
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8 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

 

If you can spare the time this exemplary will, dictated by an exemplary man, provides a glimpse into a long lost world.

 

 

Sir Nicholas Bacon

LAST WILL & TESTAMENT

23rd December 1578

 

BACON WILL.pdf 75.82 kB · 1 download

 

 

No mention or hint of Francis. 😞

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

No mention or hint of Francis. 😞

 

Hi Rob

Sorry to contradict you.  Francis is mentioned 5 times in the will, although Anthony is referred to 14 times.

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It is certainly not true that Francis was excluded from Sir Nicholas's will, although he seems to have received no immediate or direct benefit from the distribution of Sir Nicholas's wealth, whereas, Anthony is well provided for. One has to remember also that Francis was 17 and in France at the time the will was recorded.

It is significant that the last paragraph begins: To Anthonie my jewel that I weare. This was the dragon whistle, one of his most personal possessions.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

 

If you can spare the time this exemplary will, dictated by an exemplary man, provides a glimpse into a long lost world.

 

 

Sir Nicholas Bacon

LAST WILL & TESTAMENT

23rd December 1578

 

BACON WILL.pdf 75.82 kB · 2 downloads

 

 

I actually read it, finally! 🙂

It's interesting how much the English language solidified in the 45 years from 1578 to 1623. This is one of the earliest pieces I have read in the original spelling.

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2 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

I actually read it, finally! 🙂

It's interesting how much the English language solidified in the 45 years from 1578 to 1623. This is one of the earliest pieces I have read in the original spelling.

Hi Rob

 

To return to Sir Nicholas's intentions regarding his "poor orphans without a father", Anthony and Francis. This is the relevant paragraph:

And further I will and bequethe to the said Anthonie my sonne all that my lease and tearme of yeres and all my intereste and demaunde which I have of or in all those woodes comonly knowne or called by the name or names of Brittetfirth alias Brighteighfirthe alias Brighteighe woode and Burnet Heathe lyinge and beynge in the parrish of Sainte Stephens in the countie of Hertforde And also all that yerely rente of £26 13 4 due and payable for the said woodes And also all my righte tittle and possession which I have of and in eny lands tenements and heriditamentes assuered to my said [son] Sir Nicholas for the true payment of the said rente of £26 18 4 And also all that my lease and tearme of yeres and all my tittle and intereste and demaunde which I have of or in the fearme of Pynner Parke lying in the parrishe of Harrowe in the County of Middlesex. And also of and in all my other landes tenements and heriditaments lying in the said parrishe of Har- rowe To have and to houlde to the said Anthonie the said woodes lying within the said parrishe of Sainte Stephens And all the said fearme called Pynner Park and all the said landes and heriditameuts in Harrowe for and duryinge so maney yeres as yt shall happen the said Anthonie to live. And if yt shall fortune the said Anthonie to die before the full ende and expiracon or determinacon of the said leases and tearmes of yeares therein contained then my will and intent is that the eldeste sonne of the bodie of the said Anthonie for the tyme beynge and the heyres mayles of his bodie for the tyme boynge shall have houlde occupie and enjoye successively during their severall lyves all the said woodes and fearme and other the premysses before bequeathed to the said Anthonie for so maney yeres as the said eldeste sonne of the said Anthonie for the time beinge or the heyres males of the bodie of the said eldeste sonne shall severallye and successivelie fortune to live and yf it fortune the said Anthonie and his said eldeste sonne and the heyres males of the said eldest sonne and everie of them to die without issue male of their bodies and of the body of every of them before the full ende and determination of the saide leases and termes of yeares therein contayned, then my will and full meanynge is further that Frauncis my sonne shall have houlde occupy und enjoye the said woodes fearme and other the premysses before bequeathed to the said Anthonie. To hym the said Frauncis his executors and assignes for ever.

 

Perhaps Christie could run her legal eye over this clause for us? My limited understanding is that SNB bequeathed all his land holdings in Hereford and Middlesex to Anthony and his potential (male) offspring in perpetuity. In the event that Anthony (who was 20 at the time and living somewhere on the Continent) died before the expiry of the specified leases, and if he left no male heirs to inherit them, ownership of all the relevant estates would be transferred to Francis. On the face of it, this looks like preferential treatment towards Anthony, with Francis only benefitting if Anthony and any sons he might produce were to predecease him. This seems like some sort of chastisement of Francis by Sir Nicholas - until you consider that the father may have suspected that Anthony was gay and that he was therefore unlikely to produce any heirs. Consequently, in time, Francis would inherit his substantial properties should Anthony die first. 

 

 

 

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First, I would ask, what do you mean exactly by "this clause"? The whole paragraph?

I feel safer saying that the starting point in construing a will is that the words mean mean exactly what they say, unless their meaning is not clear. This will seems pretty clear, for the most part. The parts about Gorhambury seem the least straightforward to me (Gorhambury: p. 1, 3d par.; p. 2: 1st and 2d. (full) pars.; p. 3, 2d par.; p. 4, 1st par.; as to Yorke House, the only mention is : p. 2, 3d par.). The estates I was aware of that came to Francis, eventually, were York House and Gorhambury, with his mother still having interests in them until her death in 1610 (Anthony having died in 1601 at age 43). I have never researched the matter. I don't know whether Anthony still owned any other real estate interests at the time of his death that would have come to Francis, or did come to Francis, or if they didn't, why not.  There were five sons (Nicholas, Nathaniel, Edward, Anthony, Francis--bottom of p. 3). Francis was the youngest son of a second marriage of an extremely land-rich father at the time of his father's death. We've been told Sir Nicholas had been planning to purchase an estate to leave for Francis, but died before he accomplished the task.  Or did he presume the Queen would take care of Francis financially? At any rate, as we know, Sir Nicholas's Will left Francis poor and, thus, at the mercy of creditors for most of his adult life, although, as I recall, he once wrote that he thought he had the better part of his father's affection.

"Burnet Heath" (p. 2, 4th par.) made me think of "Birnam Wood" in Macbeth (IV, 1; V, 2, 3, 4, 5).

4-15-24: Sorry for adding to a post after others have responded. I'll try not to do it again. I just wanted to post this afterthought: "Primogeniture" was the rule (the eldest son inherits). Here, we see that the eldest son (Nicholas) received the bulk of his father's estate. Sir Nicholas was generous in additionally bequeathing 200 pounds to his second son Nathaniel for the building of his house. Edward, the third son (by first wife Jane Fearnly), was also barely mentioned in Sir Nicholas's Will. Perhaps we could say that Sir Nicholas showed unusual thoughtfulness in providing for his youngest two sons (by 2d wife Anne) as he did. How was Edward provided for financially after his father's death, we might also ask. Did his older brothers take care of him?

Edited by Christie Waldman
wanted to add point that oldest son usually inherited
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1 hour ago, Christie Waldman said:

Francis was the youngest son of a second marriage of an extremely land-rich father at the time of his father's death. We've been told Sir Nicholas had been planning to purchase an estate to leave for Francis, but died before he accomplished the task.  Or did he presume the Queen would take care of Francis financially? At any rate, as we know, Sir Nicholas's Will left Francis poor and, thus, at the mercy of creditors for most of his adult life, although, as I recall, he once wrote that he thought he had the better part of his father's affection.

There is so much I do not know. 🙂

Many years I for the most part accepted that Francis was left out of Sir Nicholas's Will as he expected Elizabeth to take care of him.

I never remember hearing that SNB was planning to purchase an estate for Francis. I'd be happy to know about that and it does not change what I believe about Bacon's Royal Birth. It would maybe change my opinion of Sir Nicholas Bacon a little bit though. 🙂

How was the relationship between Francis and his public Father? I know Bacon had a dream when Nicholas died, but I don't know much more about how they got along.

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16 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

There is so much I do not know. 🙂

Many years I for the most part accepted that Francis was left out of Sir Nicholas's Will as he expected Elizabeth to take care of him.

I never remember hearing that SNB was planning to purchase an estate for Francis. I'd be happy to know about that and it does not change what I believe about Bacon's Royal Birth. It would maybe change my opinion of Sir Nicholas Bacon a little bit though. 🙂

How was the relationship between Francis and his public Father? I know Bacon had a dream when Nicholas died, but I don't know much more about how they got along.

 

Hi L-o-T

Francis talking about Sir Nicholas:

 

Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of England: from the earliest times till the reign of King George IV, by John Campbell (1779-1861) 

p.110

His son bears the most honourable testimony to his sincerity of mind and straightforward conduct—abstaining from ascribing to him brilliant qualities which he knew did not belong to him: — He was a plainman, direct and constant, without all finesse and doubleness, and one that was of a mind that a man in his private proceedings and in the proceedings of state, should rest on the soundness and strength of his own courses, and not upon practice to circumvent others, according to the sentence of Solomon, Virprudens advertit ad gressus suos; stultus autem divertit ad dolos, insomuch that the Bishop of Ross, a subtle and observing man, said of him that he could fasten no words upon him, and that it was impossible to come within him, because he offered no play; and the Queen Mother of France, a very politic Princess, said of him that he should have been of the Council of Spain, because he despised the occurrents and rested on the first plot.

 

 

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I would say, we should try to track statements down to primary sources as much as possible. What are John Campbell's sources? What is the source for saying Sir Nicholas was in the process of purchasing an estate for Francis (or is it just said to make it seem as though he intended to provide for Francis after his death)? I do not know. I was just repeating what I had read, passing along hearsay. I do not know if Lord Campbell is accurate in what he is saying or not, either. He has made errors in his published writing on Bacon that Spedding informed him of and he did not correct his errors in his next edition, according to Spedding. Sometimes a writer is not objective, but his agenda or that of others casts a shadow of bias on the truth of what is being said. Was Sir Nicholas not involved in a major subterfuge, that of fostering Francis Bacon, raising him as if he were his own son (but no legacy). You see in the Will Sir Nicholas even left land to a nephew. It is a really big job to try to rewrite history. Who but Baconians would care enough to do it, I wonder? We have to pick and choose how we will spend our time, tracing things back, but it's generally worthwhile, if you like doing that sort of thing. I am not, however, a fan of John Campbell because he plagiarized William Lowes Rushton's Shakespeare a Lawyer. That is a sign of dishonesty.

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3 hours ago, Christie Waldman said:

I would say, we should try to track statements down to primary sources as much as possible. ...

Who but Baconians would care enough to do it, I wonder?

In all seriousness, I have been thinking this as far as my own mind.

I consider myself a "seasoned" Baconian if for no other reason is that I have been doing it for over 25 years. In these years I have been presented with a lot of books and papers to read and have also stumbled on many in my own Bacon treasure hunt. There is a ton of information in my sub-conscious that is often conflicting in my Baconian world. The B'Hive is a valuable resource where ideas are freely shared so we can get reconnected with or discover something important. But we have an ocean of stuff to filter through.

I'm used to being embarrassed for thinking something that has been dismissed or proven to be false. But, I prefer to be inside the loop on Baconian knowledge.

Since the beginning I have heard that Sir Nicholas Bacon left Francis out of the will. It became a brick for sure. I never questioned it nor ever came across anyone who questioned it. Just a little thing in a big history. And then I spoke with confidence making a fool of myself. LOL

Maybe we need a Bacon set of agreed upon ideas in a few categories:

  1. Widely accepted with solid documentation.
     
  2. Mostly accepted with strong documentation or other suggestions (Bacon's Royal Birth idea?).
     
  3. Marginally accepted with fringe ideas (such as my Sonnets Pyramid design) with questionable evidence or documentation.
     
  4. Dismissed by nearly all Baconians as proven wrong or totally ridiculous with no evidence.

 

🙂

 

 

 

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And so, I followed my own advice and see that Campbell did cite sources (sorry). In The Lives of the Lord Chancellors, vol 2 (of 7) (Philadelphia 1851 edition, on Google books, p. 104), Lord Campbell took the quotation which Eric provided for us (thank you, Eric) from a pre-Spedding edition of Bacon's Observations on a Libel (circulated 1592) which was first published in Rawley's Rescuscitatio (says Spedding at 8: 144). It was a response to the Responsio ad edictum Reginae Angliae, believed to have been written by Robert Parsons, characterized by Spedding as "a laboured invective against the government, charging upon the Queen and her advisers all the evils of England and all the disturbances of Christendom." Spedding 8:144-208, at 142. In Spedding, the quotation from Bacon on Sir Nicholas is on p. 202. Bacon was defending his father's reputation against the charge that Sir Nicholas was "a man of exceedingly crafty wit," apparently finding that offensive enough to justify a rejoinder.

It is interesting that Campbell also cites Puttenham's comment on Sir Bacon, not knowing, apparently, that Puttenham was Bacon. In Puttenham: "I have come," said one of them, to the Lord Keeper and found him sitting in his gallery alone with the works of Quintilian before him. Indeed he was a most eloquent man, of rare wisdom and learning as ever I knew England to breed, and one that joyed as much in learned men and good wits--from whose lips I have seen to proceed more grace and natural eloquence than from all the orators of Oxford and Cambridge." (Campbell, 104-105). No, I have not looked up the passage in Puttenham's The Art of English Poesie, but we might learn even more from doing so.

Light-of-Truth, I appreciate your moderation skills! I wish we could find the "Hang Hog" story in some other source besides Bacon's Apopthegms, just for corroboration. It's such a good story. I see that Campbell included it. Surely it did happen just as it's written in the apopthegms said to be by Bacon which Spedding would call spurious. Somehow, though, even Shakespeare knew the story!

Edited by Christie Waldman
to add edition of Campbell's "Lives" that I used
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28 minutes ago, Christie Waldman said:

It is interesting that Campbell also cites Puttenham's comment on Sir Bacon, not knowing, apparently, that Puttenham was Bacon.

Huh? What?

Bacon was Puttenham?

Puttenham is mentioned over 200 times in this book:

https://sirbacon.org/archives/baconsnovresusci01begleyVo1!uoft.pdf

GEORGE PUTTENHAM'S ' Arte of English Poesie ' is one of the most celebrated treatises on poetry that have been handed down to us from Elizabethan times. It is in many respects superior to the other books on the same subject by Sir Philip Sidney, Webbe, and other contemporaries. 'In this work,' says Hallam, who was a competent judge, ' we find an approach to the higher province of philosophical criticism.'

But critics have found the greatest difficulty in settling the point of authorship ; for the book was published anonymously in 1589, and the printer, Richard Field, confessed that he was ignorant of the author's name, when he dedicated it to Lord Burghley.

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FRANCIS BACON AND HIS ANONYMOUS AUTHORSHIP OF THE ARTE OF ENGLISH POETRIE AND HIS SHAKESPEARE POEMS AND PLAYS

The first English writer to use the word anagram was the anonymous author of The Arte of English Poesie still wrongly attributed by orthodox scholarship to one George Puttenham.1 After ‘a minute and exhaustive analysis of the work, tracing every contemporary allusion to its date would’ writes its editor Edward Arber ‘probably but confirm…that it was written about 1585, and then as, with but few corrections and additions, it was printed in 1589,’2just prior to the period marking the known golden dawn of the Shakespearean era. It was printed by Richard Field the printer of Bacon’s two Shakespeare narrative poems Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594). Opposite the title page of The Arte of English Poesie is an engraving of his royal mother Queen Elizabeth. A Baconian-Rosicrucian AA headpiece stands above a dedication to Bacon’s nominal uncle Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley married to Lady Mildred Cooke, the elder sister of Bacon’s adopted mother Lady Anne Cooke Bacon. In the dedication observes Arber ‘the printer was or feigned to be in ignorance of its author’.3 The true author of the dedication signed with the initials of its printer Richard Field was Bacon purporting to be Field, so I think we can confidently say as he wrote it, Bacon knew the author was himself! In the dedication Bacon assuming the identity of Field tells Cecil that it had come into his hands ‘without any Authours name’ and was ‘by the Authour intended to our Soueraigne Lady the Queene’, but he gave no reason why she had been replaced by Burghley.4 With priceless Baconian wit and irony Bacon states in the text that Elizabethan poets (himself included) have written poetry that was published anonymously or without their own names to it-the very modus operandi he himself adopted when publishing his Shakespeare poems and plays under his pseudonym William Shake-speare:  

Now also of such among the Nobilitie or gentrie as to be very well seene in many laudable sciences, and especially in making or Poesie, it is so come to passe that they haue no courage to write and if the haue, yet they are loathe to be knowen of their skill. So as I know many notable Gentlemen in the Court that haue written commendably and suppressed it agayne, or els suffred it to be published without their owne names to it.5       

 

1. It is pointed out by Andrew Sofer in‘All’s I-L-L That Starts “I’Le”:Acrostic space and Ludic Reading in the Margins of the Early Modern Play-Text’, Renaissance Drama, 48 (2020), that the anonymous author of The Arte of English Poesie (whom he mistakenly takes to be George Puttenham) ‘is the first writer to use the word anagrame’.

2. Edward Arber, ed., The Arte of English Poesie (London: 1869), p. 4.

3. Ibid., p. 3.

4. Anon., The Arte Of English Poesie. Contriued into three Bookes: The first of Poets and Poesie, the second of Proportion, the third of Ornament (London: printed by Richard Field, 1589), B3r. 

5. Edward Arber, ed., The Arte of English Poesie (London: 1869), Book 1, p. 37.   

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FRANCIS BACON AND HIS ANONYMOUS AUTHORSHIP OF THE ARTE OF ENGLISH POETRIE AND HIS SHAKESPEARE POEMS AND PLAYS

In Bacons Nova Resuscitatio or the Unveiling of his Concealed Works and Travels Rev. Walter Begley devoted eighty pages to revealing and confirming his authorship of The Arte of English Poesie.1 The relatively little known and even less read work has been systematically ignored, overlooked and suppressed by orthodox Shakespeare scholars and historians of Elizabethan poetry and literature, as well as the Fraudulent Friedmans, for reasons that will become only all too apparent.2 Begley immediately examined and dismantled the transparent charade of identifying both Richard and George Puttenham with its authorship before presenting overwhelming external and internal evidence that it was anonymously written by Bacon.

1. Walter Begley, Bacons Nova Resuscitatio Or the Unveiling of his Concealed Works and Travels (London: Gay and Brid, 1905), I, pp. 1-80. See also William Booth, Some Acrostic Signatures Of Francis Bacon (London: Archibald Constable & Co., Limited, 1909), pp. 94-112, 120-23.

2. The Friedmans mention the name Puttenham once throughout their work see William F. Friedman and Elizebeth S. Friedman, The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined An Analysis Of Cryptographic Systems Used As Evidence That Some Other Author Than William Shakespeare Wrote The Plays Commonly Attributed To Him (Cambridge University Press, 1958), p. 177 ‘A profusion of Baconian pseudonyms emerge, including, Puttenham, Green, Peele, Spenser and Marlowe …’ and see also p. 132 ‘For good measure he added Webster’s Arte of Poesie to the list (the work is enormously popular among Baconians).’

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FRANCIS BACON AND HIS ANONYMOUS AUTHORSHIP OF THE ARTE OF ENGLISH POETRIE AND HIS SHAKESPEARE POEMS AND PLAYS

Shortly after Begley set forth Nova Resuscitatio or the Unveiling of his Concealed Works showing Bacon was the real author of The Arte of English Poesie another work appeared from the voluminous Shakespeare scholar William Lowes Rushton entitled Shakespeare andThe Arte Of English Poesie’ which he knows has been ‘attributed’ to George Puttenham. On its first page Rushton sets out his stall ‘Knowledge of this old book, with which Shakespeare was very familiar, has enabled me to illustrate many obscure passages and words and expressions of doubtful meaning. Shakespeare not only introduces in his Plays many of the Figures which Puttenham describes, but he also frequently uses the same words which appear in the examples Puttenham gives of the Figures.’1In substantiating the premise throughout his treatise Rushton places the figures and words in The Arte of English Poesie alongside the relevant passages in the Shakespeare poems and plays from the earliest through to the last plays in the cannon, illustrating the numerous unmistakable correspondences, resemblances and parallels between the two works evident in the poems: Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, Sonnets, A Lovers Complaint, The Passionate Pilgrim, and the comedies, histories and tragedies: The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI, Richard III, Comedy of Errors, Loves Labours Lost, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Merry Wives of Windsor, 2 Henry IV, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, Othello, Alls Well That Ends Well, Timon of Athens, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winters Tale, Cymbeline, The Tempest and Henry VIII.

1. William Lowes Rushton, Shakespeare AndThe Arte Of English Poesie’ (Liverpool: Henry Young & Sons, 1908), p. 1.

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FRANCIS BACON AND HIS ANONYMOUS AUTHORSHIP OF THE ARTE OF ENGLISH POETRIE AND HIS SHAKESPEARE POEMS AND PLAYS

It should now be clear to all and sundry that when the true authorship of The Arte of English Poesie is known (a work written around 1585 or thereabouts when William Shakspere had not even left Stratford) with its extensive correspondences throughout the whole Shakespeare canon it gives rise to a self-evident and seemingly intractable problem. Some of the early Shakespeare plays which find correspondence in The Arte of English Poesie were written before its publication in 1589 propounding that Bacon author of the greatest treatise on poetry and the greatest poet Shakespeare were one and the very same. This was not, of course, raised and confronted by William Lowes Rushton in Shakespeare AndThe Arte Of English Poesie’, well at least not in his open plain text, however the work was carefully formatted to ensure it was printed across 167 pages: 167 is a double cipher for Francis (67)/Francis Bacon (100) conveying the secret message that Francis Bacon is the author of The Arte of English Poesie and the Shakespeare poems and plays.1      

1. William Lowes Rushton, Shakespeare AndThe Arte Of English Poesie’ (Liverpool: Henry Young & Sons, 1908), p. 167.

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