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Amazon Book Reviews by Edwin Larson of Robert Shapiro's book & Virginia Fellows' Book


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Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2010

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RAJ2KUV7TWQTZ/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_viewpnt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B003DXPTRA#RAJ2KUV7TWQTZ

On reading the prologue of Will Contested I prepared myself for truly researched history of the Shakespeare controversy. The last paragraph is a statement about the proper treatment of this tough subject but between the prologue and the last paragraph something else happened,

James Shapiro succeeded in writing an interesting book, informative in many ways, though lacking thoroughness. Only Dr Shapiro knows why he left out information but it is not hard to guess. I will describe later.

The dominant motive behind Will Contested was to make a stunning argument for the Shakespeare authorship and deliver it with shock and awe. Literary or military shock and awe is neither without fire power. The Stratford on Avon Shakespeare man regardless the colorful scenario Dr Shapiro places him is as flat an Ayn Rand character (Ayn Rand is a great writer).

One cannot create a three-dimensional character when the aim is a factual biography of a fictional character as its basis. A biography can be fictionalized but not the other way around.

Creating a fictional character who breaths and bleeds could be wonderful read but then old school scholars would have to give up the fantasy. However, a good fictional story would be better than what we have now. Stephen Greenblatt tried to find Shakespeare's character in the plays in Will in the World.

After exhaustive research and painstaking analysis, and with clear devotion Dr Shapiro is apparently still perplexed by the doubters. I think he wonders why everyone isn't as passionate about his opinion as he is. This kind of fervor is effective in the classroom and with loyal followers but not for those who want the complete commonsense story.

The doubters, for him, are like pesky mosquitoes for which one merely puts up netting to keep them out. Dr Shapiro must be perplexed by the non-scholars who examine the same material as he and then arrive at the opposite conclusion.

This is because the theories formulated in isolation without the vigor of testing and open examination makes them seem right. "Our Shakespeare" is a phrase that suggests the plays are mine and not yours. It seems that much more is possible in the ivory towers than the real world. Who of those near him is going to tell him there are other conclusions.

There is a rather nasty innuendo going about that the doubters discriminate against the possibility that a poor commoner could be a creative genius. To be sure the author was a genius. The innuendo is a self gratifying smoke screen intended to put the doubters on the defensive and conceal the bigotry or self serving interests about a genius that really existed.

The Shakespeare myth is a belief in miracles, not genius. Common sense, not Santa Clause is what we need.

Dr Shapiro believes that good fiction does not have to be autobiographical. I think he reads to much Steven King because the Shakespeare author would be as powerful in a good way as Kings monsters are in a bad way.

Keep in mind that England's class system is rock solid and protecting ones fiefdom was often a class struggle. The history of dogma is history itself and Dr Shapiro by being so very sure of his thinking allies himself with the history of the powerful (who write the histories). The only winner here is confusion.

Prior to the internet Shakespearean fought successfully to keep their story pure simply by ignoring information. Now they wage a strange war. It is a war against information so that the only safe haven for the Shakespeare myth is in the disinterest of the public, the bias of Shakespeare fans , the big cottage industry and financial interest of book producers.

I don't want to put anyone out of a job. I only want the truth. When the truth is accepted there will be tons of money to be made by many people.

Contested Will is condescending to some great thinkers in literature and psychology. Can one can claim to be a better judge of human nature than for example; Mark Twain and Sigmund Freud without risking the appearance of arrogance. Dr Shapiro arrogantly capitalizes on and attacks apparent character flaws that, to him, represents the flaw in the reasoning behind doubting.

Dr Shapiro treads on thin ice in highlighting the Della Bacon story considering the prejudices against women and the use of psychiatry in the suppression of dissenters.

The most troubling comment Dr Shapiro makes is generalizing about Freud Freud's claims, "like those of many others, it reveals more about the skeptic than it does about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays." Dr Shapiro applies this attitude to every example. I hope that attitude is never applied to you.

It is an odd conclusion that since main stream publishers still accept and publish the same Shakespeare story decade after decade despite the information to the contrary the main stream story must be true. The true story behind the Shakespeare controversy is about power and influence.

Please don't tell me that publishers are guided by the virtuous vision of the truth and the education of their readership. They will publish it if it makes money and they aren't sued. I need not press this point.

Dr Shapiro's laughter at the deification of Shakespeare is interesting because deification is exactly what he does by adhering dogmatically to one conclusion. He finds the flaws in others that he is guilty of. It's obvious to any one that Shakspur is the author if you ignore and dismiss at whim.

If Dr Shapiro writes a novel equal to Huckleberry Finn I will listen to him intently or if he makes a contribution to psychology that shapes a century of self-knowledge I will be his disciple. Or if he goes head to head with Frederick Nietzsche I will wear the Shakespeare mask.

In the book I learned that Shakespeare had reached deity status in England at the same time Stratford-on-Avon became a sell-able item. Here-in is the cause of the controversy. Religion and profit make for ruthless and blind bed fellows.

Here is a fun tid-bit. Go get your King James Bible and turn to Psalms 46 and count 46 words down and then go to the last word and count up 46 words. I will wait while you do that. .... Interesting, huh. There have been no claims that Shakespeare wrote the Bible. Why?

Contested Will is a good title because a contest of wills is exactly what we have. If the old school literary critics through the years were also our scientists we would still be living in caves.

I was surprised to read that Dr Shapiro felt compelled to bring up intellectual suppression in universities. He claims to be unaware of academic suppression but it has been a reality ever since there were teachers and students. Suppression can be overt or subtle and Dr Shapiro would be unaware of it unless maybe he was cooperative without question or he is part of the problem.
In fact Contested Will gives a nice history of academic suppression by the examination of the Shakespeare controversy.

More than in other Shakespeare promotion books, Contested Will seems to heavily emphasize the enormous number of candidates for authorship with more flocking in daily. Why stress that idea except to suggest "Our Shakespeare" is distinctly separate from all the wannabes and don't mess with my stuff. Avoidance of common sense.

If reading Contested Will was my introduction to the controversy, I would have wanted to know that the Stratford on Avon man died in 1616 and the 1623 folio was published in 1623(I know). Do you see a problem with the math? Case closed? Not. Shakespeare's friends saved the plays for publication posthumously? Really? Why? Were the English at that time in history any were different from now? Those friends would have had the market and become rich by selling the portfolio. Human nature has not changed since Cro-Magnon. Common sense says the author was still alive in 1623.

People were different from people today? Ridiculous. Life was harder then but people were no different. If they were different then Shakespeare would be unrecognizable and go unnoticed. If Dr Shapiro's Elizabethan England is different he cannot claim to know how Shakespeare thinks. He wants us to believe they were different and then explains his opinion and reasoning that assumes the cultures are the same. Dr Shapiro is not logical.

"Shakespeare imagined it all(?)" is an astounding statement and if I didn't know he was a scholar I would assume he was an idiot. It is Dr Shapiro who has the enormous imagination but his claim is transparently self serving: Shakespeare is who I say he is.

In addition, how is it that information about an event that happened after 1616 appeared in the 1623 plays? What does common sense say? Answer: The author was alive and writing in 1623 and Shakespeare is a myth.

How is it that the Oxford people think that even though DeVere, who had no friends and died in 16o4 wrote the plays: Answer: DeVere is more of myth than Shakspur.

At least the Marlow people claim he didn't die but continued to write somewhere else. The Stratfordians just ignore everyone but themselves. It is moot what the Oxfordians say because De Vere died

Dr Shapiro makes a reference to Homer which I think means: If you reject Shakespeare you have to give up Homer too? Or was it that if you accept Pete Rose into the hall of fame you must accept Shoeless Joe Jackson? Dr Shapiro confuses me on this point.

Did Dr Shapiro mention the Promus? The Promus was Francis Bacon's notebook that contain references to the plays and actual lines from the plays? Not a peep from the Stratfordian but he is not alone. Of the three recent Stratfordian books I have reviewed none mentioned the Promus. Why? Answer: Shakespeare is a pen name.

Did Dr Shapiro mention the Northumberland manuscript, a possession of Francis Bacon that has the name, Mr Francis William Shakespeare written on the front? No. Of the three recent Stratfordian books I have reviewed one mentioned the Northumberland Manuscript but failed to mention Bacon. A rather glaring omission. Why? Answer: Shakespeare is a pen name.

Does it matter that Ben Jonson was equally glowing with Shakespeare and Bacon but wrote to Bacon about the good times together: "And oh, the men," he said. Ben knew both men, right? Shakespeare was gay.Why wouldn't Ben talk about the men with Shakespeare? I'm not going to answer that one for you.

I could offer you many good concrete examples of Shakespeare existing through Francis Bacon but the information is available on the internet and doesn't take much digging to find it.

I do not aim to squash the pleasures of "mystery" because by recognizing the author we would be catapulted into literary blissful shock and awe.

I was interested to read a quote from Sigmund Freud although Freud believed in DeVere. "No single intelligence could have encompassed such a literary and philosophical range; if Bacon had written the plays along with his great philosophical works, he, would have been the most powerful brain the world has ever produced." Well, it looks like that's what we have here. What a story.

Critics like James Shapiro find the old school packaged Shakespeare story charming because they find their own spin about the plays charming. The story they have fed the public for centuries is no different than the prepackaged assembly line stereotyped selling of name brands.

Stratfordian means McShakespeare.
 
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2009
Thank you Virginia Fellows.

When there is an established body of knowledge with supporting institutions supplied by a steady flow of new talent that demonstrates, teaches and promotes an industry based on that body of knowledge change is not only unlikely it is resisted.

Virginia Fellows and her publisher has crossed the line, has taken up the banner with a book that tells the most incredible and dramatic story that Dan Brown couldn't rival. She has challenged the Queens authority to tell the truth to open the private life of Sir Francis Bacon a genius for the ages.

Superficially it hard to appreciate appreciate the significance of her well written and magnificently poignant biography that has been suppressed for 400 years. A wealth of knowledge has been available for well over 100 years about his life and writings but was not easily accessed until the internet. Many great authors have come and gone during that time but Virginia Fellows has been the one to roast the sacred cow of literature.

She captures the emotional wars Francis Bacon must have waged within himself about his duty, needs and seeming arbitrary restraints and has brought him into the light of day after centuries of entombment by bias and pedagogy.

You might think the authorship controversy is a religious war the way mud is slung. Gratefully, Virginia Fellows would have none of that. The Shakespeare Code is a passionate biography but also is an honest appraisal of a prominant and complicated man.

Even though change is the only thing that doesn't change people fear change and institutions not only loath change but ignore it unless realistically threatened. Take American football, for example, There was the money and interest in new football teams in the major cities but for many years the National Football League refused expansion. Then the rival American football League was formed in 1960 which grew and soon played on an equal par with the NFL resulting in a championship game. NFL was forced to recognize the power of the AFC and merged with it.

Examples like this could fill volumes, but the volume I want to fill is about the Bacon-Shakespeare problem. My amazement and astonishment that "Baconian spear-shaking" hasn't exploded on the literary scene decades ago has made me suspicious of censorship in higher institutions of learning. That;'s one reason "The Shakespeare Code" is a breath of fresh air.

They are a lot of people involved in the Stratfordian bureaucracy but no one has wanted to challenge from within until now. Dominant Stratfordian-ism is unfortunate but understandable if you understand human nature and Virginia Fellows does. The average Stratfordian, I believe, loves the truth as much as the next person but to truly wade into the vastness that is Bacon they turn to the shiny Shakespeare Santa.

Where-as William Shakespeare has mountains nay worlds of warm retoric, until now, the Bacon camp had offered the cold raw evidence and that's just about it. The average Shakespeare fan couldn't jump into an abyss without a bungi chord.

Now we have a safety net to compete with Santa.

"The Shakespeare Code" is a break-through biography because Virginia Fellows uses ALL the relevant and available information to create a coherent, new, and exciting biography of the man behind the Shakespeare mask.

We need more people like Fellows to put their pen where their mouth is and analyze the plays from a Bacon point of view. We need more interest in Bacon-as-Shakespeare because I believe the staleness of the current Shakespeare standards will continue the marginalization of Shakespeare and literature.

I fear Shakespeare will slowly fade away but not if Virginia has anything to do with it.

For the public and Hollywood to ignore the incredible drama that went on in the last Tudor family shows true disinterest.

For the publishers of textbooks to ignore the Northumberland Manuscript as well as the plain logic of Twain and others shows true disinterest.

That there is a controversy at all shows true disinterest because of the lack of knowledge of the simple fact that for instance, Shagspur died to soon. DeVeres died way too soon and shouldn't be an after thought.

That there is an abundance of information connecting Francis Bacon with the plays shows true disinterest.

For a biographies filled with few facts and little relevant information and an abundance of distortion and for one to be considered a Pulitzer Prize finalist shows true disinterest.

Education? In school we were introduced to the plays and the sonnets using old worn out concepts but did we care if we were taught falsely? It doesn't appear to be. Concerning the Sonnets, My son's teacher said to formulate his own interpretations. What else is she going to say?

The Shakespeare plays are a must for every library but who reads them? Not many.
Virginia Fellows aims to change all that.

I believe the disinterest is caused not by the author but how the information has been handled. The Queen is dead. Long live a new Queen.

Almost every American kid has played soccer but Americans don't watch soccer for the lack of scoring. The average educated American thinks Shakespeare is great as long as he/she doesn't have to read it because it's tedious and lacks scoring.

Virginia Fellow scores.

She has started the AFC of literature with a competitive product wthat may be the start of a new league, one that will score points and will make lots of money for the industrious. The NFL of Stratford will be forced to merge and then the Super bowl of Literature, Science and Art will result for everyone's benefit.

The riches Virginia Fellows has uncovered is unfathomable and I hope many more of her books are forthcoming.

Just thinking about it makes me hungry for a B.L.T.E. (Bacon, Leicester, Elizabeth Tudor and Essex - the last Tudor family).
Edited by Lawrence Gerald
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  • Lawrence Gerald changed the title to Amazon Book Reviews by Edwin Larson of Robert Shapiro's book & Virginia Fellows' Book
2 hours ago, Lawrence Gerald said:

...

Virginia Fellow scores.

She has started the AFC of literature with a competitive product wthat may be the start of a new league, one that will score points and will make lots of money for the industrious. The NFL of Stratford will be forced to merge and then the Super bowl of Literature, Science and Art will result for everyone's benefit.

The riches Virginia Fellows has uncovered is unfathomable and I hope many more of her books are forthcoming.

Just thinking about it makes me hungry for a B.L.T.E. (Bacon, Leicester, Elizabeth Tudor and Essex - the last Tudor family).

Read our B'Hive member Christie's famous review too! 🙂

https://sirbacon.org/McClinton Review Final for SirBacon 12-6-2020.pdf

 

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17 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Read our B'Hive member Christie's famous review too! 🙂

https://sirbacon.org/McClinton Review Final for SirBacon 12-6-2020.pdf

Thanks, Light-of-Truth. After Brian McClinton passed away in 2022, I put a short review up on Amazon, too. Amazon does not allow reviews put up there to be reposted anywhere else, according to its stated rules, so I'll just give the link. https://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Conspiracies-Untangling-400-year-Deceit/product-reviews/1903497361

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47 minutes ago, Christie Waldman said:

Christie, you state so beautifully in that comment something new to me which is a valuable point to remember:

"Barry Evans, I believe it was in your first piece that you mentioned the "wool sack." I would just point out that "wool sack" is defined as: "A sack for or of wool; specifically, the seat of the English Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords, a sack of wool in shape like a divan" (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary). Was the "wool sack" meant to be a clue as to the "real Shakespeare's" identity? Well, the only Shakespeare candidate to have actually served as Lord Chancellor was Francis Bacon. This fact had not registered with me previously, so thank you."

 

This is absolutely exciting! Made my day!

https://www.wordreference.com/definition/woolsack

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1 hour ago, Christie Waldman said:

It was a detail that had never registered with me before.

I do not remember knowing the woolsack/Lord Chancellor connection before, but that does not mean I have never seen it. It has been mentioned on SirBacon.org and also the B'Hive. But it did not register with me. Maybe I once knew and forgot. 😉

How many times has the Dugdale woolsack come up here with Stratfordian deception about Willy's father was a "dealer or tradesman" and that the truth is that pillow is what Bacon sat his behind on as Lord Chancellor? Wow! 🙂

1 hour ago, Christie Waldman said:

I was going to look up Virginia Fellows' book to order it, and I came across this, "Bacon and Shakespeare Cyphers" by Virginia Fellows, here at SirBacon: https://sirbacon.org/links/fellows.html. Worth reading!

Thanks! Yesterday was searching Google on Virginia Fellows and was surprised at the very limited results.

Today, following the woolsack theme I am revisiting some works by William Hepworth Dixon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hepworth_Dixon

In 1854 he began research on Francis Bacon. He had leave through Lord Stanley and Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton to inspect the "State Papers", until then guarded from general view by successive secretaries of state. He published four articles criticising John Campbell's Life of Bacon in the Athenæum for January 1860. These were expanded and republished as The Personal History of Lord Bacon from Unpublished Papers in 1861. He published separately as a pamphlet in 1861 A Statement of the Facts in regard to Lord Bacon's Confession, and a more elaborate volume called The Story of Lord Bacon's Life, 1862. Dixon's books on Bacon have not been valued by scholars.[1]

 

He mentions sitting on the woolsack in 1861, "By rule of Parliament, the Lord Chancellor, and of course an inferior person acting in his place, sat on the woolsack while the Lords were in session..."

Page 412:

https://sirbacon.org/archives/The_Story_of_Lord_Bacon_s_Life.pdf

 

The Dugdale sketch makes sense now. Willy Shakspur is holding Bacon's Lord Chancellor cushion in his lap!

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Grateful Dead: Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

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James Shapiro in Contested Will does at least list in his bibliographical essay resources on alternative candidates. For Bacon, he lists the first edition of Brian McClinton's book, The Shakespeare Conspiracies (2007, the 2d being published by  Shanway Press in Belfast, 2008) and Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning, SirBacon.org (p. 282). Baconiana gets three page listings in his book's index. He gives about equal space in his book to Bacon as he does to Oxford. In these ways, his book is superior to that of a certain journalist. Yes, he's a Stratfordian, and he leaves out important aspects of the case, as Larson noted, and writers such as Constance Pott in the past and Peter Dawkins today. Shapiro admits that he found George Greenwood's 1908 The Shakespeare Problem Restated useful (Shapiro, p. 282), but I don't think he had read Greenwood's three Baconian essays (including the Conclusion) in the Smithson volume he edited which Eric Roberts pointed out to us here in the forum. In those essays, Greenwood wrote that he found the case for Bacon entirely plausible. He just didn't think it was proven. I thought Shapiro's treatment of Delia was more sympathetic than we sometimes see.  Shapiro in Contested Will may have misled others into thinking the Baconian movement was dead (see p. 149) or of historical interest only--if they did not also read his p. 139: "The case for Francis Bacon's authorship of the plays continues to find new supporters to this day, though they are fewer in number, less prominent, and less vocal" (p. 139). Fewer than what? Baconians of the past? Oxfordians? Okay, both were true thirteen years ago; but we are still here, and growing, with this wonderful forum in which to discuss "all things Bacon." 

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FRANCIS BACON, THE WOOLSACK, AND THE ROSICRUCIAN-FREEMASONIC SHAKESPEARE STRATFORD MONUMENT

Hundreds of thousands of scholars, students and tourists travel from all around the globe to visit Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Shakespeare monument to pay homage to the greatest poet and dramatist in the history of the world but are not able to see and comprehend what is hidden in plain sight in front of their own eyes. The full Rosicrucian-Freemasonic significance of the Shakespeare monument at Stratford (which is known to learned members of the Brotherhood) has been concealed, hidden, and suppressed for the last four hundred years.

This systematic silence was recently overturned by Peter Dawkins, Director of the Francis Bacon Trust, a recognised authority on the Rosicrucian-Freemasonry Brotherhood (who by his own admission is not a Freemason) in his ground-breaking article The symbolism, mystery and secret message of the Shakespeare Monument’ (2020). It was also addressed by M. R. Osborne in his 112-page work Allegory in Stone: A Short Study of the Shakespeare Monument published in 2022. In contrast to Dawkins, while Osborne (a descendent of the Shakespeare family) was apparently not a Baconian, he is a member of the secretive Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia whose admission rules require that its members have achieved the rank of Master Mason of a Grand Lodge under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England.   

The Shakespeare monument is replete with Rosicrucian-Freemasonry symbolism. There are the two putti (a representation of a naked child or cherub) above the monument representing Adam’s labour with the trowel symbolically used to spread brotherly love among humankind a key tool of modern Speculative Freemasonry.1 The sandstone skull, ‘a profoundly masonic symbol’ situated at the top of the monument ‘reminds us of the “Grand Lodge Above” is never far away.Here on the Shakespeare monument the black marble Corinthian columns represent the Freemasonic columns that beautify and adorn Freemasonic Lodges all around the world.3 In his chapter on ‘Rosicrucianism’ Osborne reveals that ‘One Rosicrucian secret is that our bodies have a further six nonphysical forms…concealed by seven veils…The seven roses above Shakespeare’s head on the monument refer to this Rosicrucian doctrine of the Seven Aphorisms or Sevenfold Soul.’4 The hidden secret of the Shakespeare monument is that it is ‘in truth, a Rosicrucian memorial’, and ‘we need only consider the trowel and spear in the monument, and the three Working Tools of the Poet in the frieze (the quill pen, page and cushion he needed to sit on while working) to recognise the quasi-Freemasonic symbolism.’5

The Shakespeare monument is a Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic cryptogram concealing and revealing its hidden architect and secret author of the Shakespeare poems and plays. It is as Peter Dawkins points out a critical gateway into the heart of the mystery of Shakespeare which when fully revealed has very far-reaching consequences that will demand the re-writing of history and change forever the face of Baconian-Shakespearean scholarship.

In the drawing by Sir William Dugdale carefully engraved by Wenceslaus Hollar published in the Antiquities of Warwickshire ‘Shakespeare’ is depicted appearing to clutch a sack without (as appears in the familiar Shakespeare monument) resting his left hand on a paper laid on a cushion with his right hand holding a quill. The sack observes Dawkins is clearly a woolsack. The Dugdale drawing/engraving of the Shakespeare monument appears to have been designed ‘to draw notice to its Masonic significance, for the arms of Shakespeare are shown in a most awkward but stylised way which immediately draws attention. These arms are disposed such that they portray the geometrical form of the Masonic Square and Compass, the single most universally identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. The upper arms and head form the Compass (i.e. pair or set of Compasses) the lower arms and hands the Square.’To substitute a woolsack for a cushion is of great Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic significance because the most famous woolsack is the seat of the Lord Chancellor (Bacon was Lord Chancellor of England) while presiding over the House of Lords.The lions shown crowning the pillars alludes to the ‘Lions Paw’, the grip used in the third degree ritual to resurrect or raise up the Freemason from darkness into light.8

1. M. R. Osborne, Allegory in Stone: A Short Study of the Shakespeare Monument (Rose Circle Publications, 2022), pp. 50-51.

2. Ibid., p. 55-56.

3. Ibid., pp. 57-62.

4. Ibid., p. 98.

5. Ibid., pp. 100-102.

6. Peter Dawkins, ‘The Stratford Shakespeare Monument: The symbolism, mystery and secret message of the Shakespeare Monument in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon’, Francis Bacon Research Trust, (2020), pp. 1-26, at p. 5.

7. Ibid., p. 5.

8. Ibid., p. 5.

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10 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

To substitute a woolsack for a cushion is of great Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic significance because the most famous woolsack is the seat of the Lord Chancellor (Bacon was Lord Chancellor of England) while presiding over the House of Lords.7

I admit I had no idea what that meant and assumed I would need to be a Rosicrucian to understand. Looking up the definition of woolsack changed everything. 😉

In my wildest imagination I never expected woolsack to be defined as anything related to the Lord Chancellor! Maybe because as an American these things are not mentioned in our basic education. DOH!

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So now I am on a "woolsack" adventure for a Saturday afternoon.

A Google search with "woolsack" and "Francis Bacon" has a ton of interesting results with many on SirBacon.org. So many times for centuries Bacon's name and "woolsack" appear together. One example:

https://sirbacon.org/johnsonmac.htm


Bacon knew as well as any man that a judge who listens to private solicitations is a disgrace to his post. He had himself, before he was raised to the woolsack, represented this strongly to Villiers (in a letter saying) ‘By no means be you persuaded to interpose yourself, either by word or letter in any cause depending in any court of justice.’ Yet he had not been Lord Keeper a month when Buckingham began to interfere in Chancery suits; and Buckingham’s interference was, as might have been expected, successful.

Ben Jonson comes up on a search with "woolsack". Here is one reference:

https://deadpubs.co.uk/TavernsFleetstreet.shtml

...Although those inns have long been swept away, the quaint half-timbered buildings of Staple Inn remain to aid the imagination in repicturing those far-off days when the Dagger, and the Red Lion, and the Bull and Gate, and the Blue Boar, and countless other hostelries were dotted on either side of the street.

With the first of these, the Dagger Tavern, we cross the tracks of Ben Jonson once more. Twice does the dramatist allude to this house in "The Alchemist," and the revelation that Dapper frequented the Dagger would have conveyed its own moral to seventeenth century playgoers, for it was then notorious as a resort of the lowest and most disreputable kind. The other reference makes mention of "Dagger frumety," which is a reminder that this house, as was the case with another of like name, prided itself upon the excellence of its pies, which were decorated with a representation of a dagger. That these pasties were highly appreciated is the only conclusion which can be drawn from the contemporary exclamation, "I'll not take thy word for a Dagger pie," and from the fact that in "The Devil is an Ass" Jonson makes Iniquity declare that the 'prentice boys rob their masters and "spend it in pies at the Dagger and the Woolsack."

I must keep poking around...

https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/Bran_F1/376/index.html%3Fzoom=800.html

Prin. How now Woolsacke, what mntter you?
Fal. A Kings Sonne? If I do not beate thee out of thy
Kingdome with a dagger of Lath, and driue all thy Sub-
iects afore thee like a flocke of Wilde-geese, Ile neuer
weare haire on my face more. You Prince of Wales?

 

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2 hours ago, Christie Waldman said:

Presumably the Prince calls him Woolsacke because Falstaff is fat, like a cushion. I like Francis's constant "Anon, anon, I come anon." Could suggest anonymous. The only use of "woolsack" in Shakespeare and it's in that scene.

This is THE page with much of the Francis and Anon banter. And it is merely a wink to explore these pages more.

FRANCIS is 67 Simple cipher as is well known and appears 33 times.

ANON is 67 Kaye cipher which is not as well known.

I've spent weeks or months exploring this play when I first started seeking Bacon's thinly placed captaine Iewells in the carconet. 😉

https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/Bran_F1/376/index.html%3Fzoom=800.html

You know, in Shakespeare's works it is rare to find the word "hang" and not find "Bacon" below it.

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I wonder if "Woolsack" refers to "Lord Chancellor"?

Why the very noticeable typo, "mntter"?

MNTTER is 111 Kaye cipher which is the same as BACON.

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A Kings Sonne?

A Queen's son I believe. 😉

 

 

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T A A A A A A A A A A A T
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9 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

This is THE page with much of the Francis and Anon banter. And it is merely a wink to explore these pages more.

FRANCIS is 67 Simple cipher as is well known and appears 33 times.

ANON is 67 Kaye cipher which is not as well known.

I've spent weeks or months exploring this play when I first started seeking Bacon's thinly placed captaine Iewells in the carconet. 😉

https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/Bran_F1/376/index.html%3Fzoom=800.html

You know, in Shakespeare's works it is rare to find the word "hang" and not find "Bacon" below it.

image.png.4cb66f1326bcbd91947a93861d10cdd9.png

I wonder if "Woolsack" refers to "Lord Chancellor"?

Why the very noticeable typo, "mntter"?

MNTTER is 111 Kaye cipher which is the same as BACON.

image.png.6377981793f9f2d5a77eece8b7e2de0e.png

image.png.d9fc41b77c8f881c6604b8723935164e.png

A Kings Sonne?

A Queen's son I believe. 😉

 

 

Great finding Rob !

Notice right in the middle (mediocria firma 😉 ) ...  it seems that one question is asked.

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Am I hang hog ?

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https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/SLNSW_F1/71/?zoom=1275

And notice that with the remaining letters we have the name fo another animal : COW.

If all this was intended, I wonder what is its particular significance.

P.S. : here is another possibility ...

there lives not three good men unhang'd  "

"there" is an anagram of "three".

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21 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Eric,

Are there any 1500s or 1600s interesting engravings or paintings containing a woolsack besides Dugdale’s that we can look at? 🙂

 

Hi Rob

I could only find these two for now...

 

https://www.mediastorehouse.com.au/fine-art-finder/artists/european-school/le-vocabulaire-illustre-balle-de-laine-24726248.html

 

https://www.mediastorehouse.com.au/fine-art-finder/artists/english-school/fall-wolsey-woolsack-published-hannah-humphrey-22932448.html

 

Not much help, I'm afraid.

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Posted (edited)

William Stone Booth in Subtle Shining Secrecies talks about the gallows device on 2 pages, 31 and 67. I don't always follows the ciphers discussions, since I don't understand them well (so forgive me if I'm repeating something you all already know), but I had found Booth's book persuasive when I got it from the library and now have a copy of it. Here's what he says on p. 31. "The gallows, or to give it a French name the potence, is often used by Shake-speare, and, as will be seen, sometimes in connection with some use of the verb to hang. The famous hang-hog story here lends its point, and is told on page 67. The gallows acrostic device is so called because of its shape. Examples of the gallows are:

That    T      S         hang

H          H      A        o

A          A      Turn    g

T          That

End quote. He goes on to give a second example.

On p. 67 the device is in beginning to The Tempest. Here's the first paragraph:

"Device No. 10 exposes a subtle shining secrecy writ in the margent of The Tempest, at the foot of the first column and on the word unnecessarily carried over to the second column.The form of the first part of the device is in an inverted gallows, and it expresses the words "hang-hog," a nod to the observant. It will be noted that by misplacing the stage directions after, instead of before, the words "A Plague," and by unnecessarily carrying over the word "upon" to the next column, the name of Bacon has been exposed on the typographical corners of the first column."

Then he proceeds to tell the story of Sir Nicholas Bacon and Hogge.

He says, "The wit in the remark not only depends on the need for "smoking" the Hogge, but also on the Hog-latin of the pun in suspendere meaning to hang, which when cut into its sound components gives sus and pendere; Sus, a pig, and Pendere, to hang. Hence Mistress Quickly's assurance that "Hang-Hog is Latten (hog-latin) for Bacon, I warrant you." It is hardly necessary to point out the double entente of the text on which the gallows is to be seen. The Boatswaine is intended in time to become well hanged, or in other words, to become good Bacon, as he does actually by the completion of the typographiccal device, which I have rubricated for the reader's guidance." (etc.)

I had thought maybe this book would have come into the public domain by now, but maybe not. My copy was published in 1925. He says in his intro. that Subtle Shining Secrecies contains his best examples. He spent fourteen years on the book. I think there's a lot of good material in it. I recommend it!

Edited by Christie Waldman
typo
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