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Francis Bacon's Friends and Family


A Phoenix
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FRANCIS BACON INVITES HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO THE PREMIER OF THE COMEDY OF ERRORS AT THE GRAY'S INN REVELS AND TO THE REMARKABLE SPECTACLE OF WITNESSING THE DISGUISED DRAMATISED SECRET RITUALS OFTHE KNIGHTS OF THE HELMET, i.e., HIS ROSICRUCIAN-FREEMASONRY BROTHERHOOD. 

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THE CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LORD BACON & THE EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON THE DEDICATEE OF HIS TWO SHAKESPERARE POEMS VENUS & ADONIS AND THE RAPE OF LUCRECE

For obvious reasons the orthodox editors and biographers of Lord Bacon and the biographers of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton have very carefully avoided placing them together even though FB and Southampton had a close relationship with each other from the 1580s right through to the latter’s death in 1624. In February 1588 Southampton was admitted to Gray’s Inn the month in which members of Gray’s Inn presented Bacon’s The Misfortunes of Arthur (his first unrecognised Shakespeare play) before Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich. Francis was admitted to Gray’s inn nine years earlier  and was de facto Master of the Revels at the Inn organising dramatic entertainments, masques and plays, something loved by Southampton who it was said attended the London theatres on an almost daily basis. From the point Southampton went to reside at Gray’s Inn with Lord Bacon over time the two of them formed an intimate relationship that afterwards resulted in FB dedicating to Southampton his two Shakespeare poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Their close relationship continued through the 1590s in which the lives of Bacon and Southampton became intertwined with that of Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex. The events leading up to the ill-fated Essex uprising turned their relationship sour. Essex was executed for treason but Southampton was to have his death sentence commuted. On the accession of James I Southampton was released from prison. Buried away in Spedding’s seven-volume Letters and Life of Bacon is a virtually unknown letter from Lord Bacon to Southampton where he pointedly says to him in direct reference to their previous close relationship ‘I may safely be now that which I was truly before’:

It may please your Lordship,

I would have been very glad to have presented my humble service to your Lordship by my attendance, if I could have foreseen that it should not have been unpleasing unto you. And therefore, because I would commit no error, I choose to write; assuring your Lordship (how credible soever it may seem to you at first) yet it is as true as a thing that God knoweth, that this great change hath wrought in me no other change towards your Lordship than this, that I may safely be now that which I was truly before. And so craving no other pardon than for troubling you with this letter, I do not now begin, but continue to be

                                                                                    Your Lordships humble and much devoted.

                                              [Spedding, Letters and Life, III, pp. 75-6]      

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