Edwin Bormann was a German Baconian writing at the turn of the 19th century. His works are virtually unknown outside Baconian circles, and Shakespearean scholarship is the poorer for it. They afford an excellent example of the kinds of analysis that are possible once one has moved beyond the sterile mystery of the authorship question, into the wondrous spaces which open up with the understanding that Francis Bacon is the answer to the question. The passage below is extracted from Bormann's "Francis Bacon's Cryptic Rhymes", first published in Leipzig in 1906. It is not presented as 'proof' that Bacon is Shakespeare, but rather as an example of what is possible once one has achieved that and moved beyond. The passage discusses how the first page of Bacon's Essays contains veiled allusions to the first page of the First Folio. The appreciation of this requires a willingness to enter into the subtleties of the author's approach. It will not do to try to demolish what follows by thrashing around with the blunt instrument of ignorance, or to expect to dismiss it by rejecting all but loud and blatant parallels conforming to some arbitrary academic methodology. This is Shakespeare after all.
Instead, to read what follows carefully is to peek behind the curtain, to a place where orthodoxy and oxfordianism can never go, to see the wheels of the machinery turning. Every page of Bormann is replete with nuggets of wisdom and insight as thrilling as what follows, but this is an excellent place to start: the first page of the Essays echoes the first page of The Tempest with clear and unmistakeable, though subtle, authorial gestures which leave no room for doubt that one and the same mind was responsible for both works.---Simon Miles
Everything in the Essays aims at playing, plays, poetry and dramatic art at Shakespeare. Thus also the beautiful comparison of poetry to the 'shadow of a Lie' affords us a parallel to the opening words in the Elipoge to A Midsummer Night's Dream, spoken by Puck:
'If we shadows have offended.' Both in the Essay and in the Comedy poetic figures are counted as 'Shadows', Shadows of a Lie, sweet Shadows of a poet's thoughts.We must remember, however, that two years before the publication of the Essays, the first Shakespeare Folio Edition had appeared. Also, that the first Play contained in that edition of 1623 is The Tempest.
Finally, that the first scene, i.e., that which is written on the first page of the whole book, depicts a storm at sea and a sinking ship.
Accordingly, Bacon's first Essay ("On Truth"), which appeared a year and a half after the first publication of The Tempest, contains, of (colours in) a diamond, a direct allusion to the first scene in the large book which Bacon had in mind when he wrote the Essay, i.e an allusion to his Shakespeare Folio of the year 1623.
The Essay describes a storm at sea, and represents it as a glorious sight, as a pleasant play. Bacon however does not make this disclosure in so many blunt words, but in his own particular style and after the fashion of his contemparies, allegorically. He takes a well-known passage from the poem of the Roman Poet, Lucrece, entitled "De Rerum Natura" "sage from the poem of the Roman Poet, Lucrece, entitled "De Rerum Natura" "(On the Nature of Things"), the opening lines of the Second Book. But he alters that quotation as he thinks fit. Like Lucrece, he begins by telling of the dangers of the storm-racked sea, but he adds such words as suit his purpose which are not contained in the Roman poem.
The first added word is 'ships'. For a while, he follows the line of thoughts set down by the original poem, to depart from it suddenly, and turn to things not mentioned by Lucrece, deliberately adding the word 'Tempests'. Besudes that, he translates the whole passage into modern English poetry, for Bacon is again about to reveal something that is on his mind. He does not choose the form of the hexameter, which he theoretically discards as unsuited to English form of verse; he adopts the healthy form of English rich rhylmes, which toward the end (i.e. where the ideas approach, and finally merge into the word 'Tempests') burst into a carol of rhymes.
A close examination of the alterations made at will by the essayist in the passage from "De Rerum Natura", will afford us a general insight into Bacon's manner of treating the quotation he selects. Over and over again we see him taking passages from the works of other authors, selecting by preference those ideas best known, and recasting them at will to suit his ideas and the objects he has in view.
The Second Book of the work entitled "De Rerum Natura" begins thus: (Latin verses given in Bormann, omitted here for sake of brevity. Then follows the English translation, as
(Sweet 'tis, from the shore, to watch another in peril
on turbulent seas, threatened by raging winds; not
because it is a pleasant sensation to see another
tormented, but because it is sweet to see 'gainst what
evil one is guarded one's self. It is sweet, also, to
watch valiant fighting in well-ordered battle, without
exposing one's self to danger; but nothing is sweeter
than to won the firmly set serene temples, erected by
the wisdom of the wise, whence thou mayst look down
upon others erring to and fro, wandering about,
seeking for honour and dignity, striving day and night
to climb to the highest summit of authority and reign
supreme over all.)
Now let us see what in the pursuit of his object, Bacon makes of those verses, utilising them to draw the reader's attention to the comedy The Tempest, or rather to the first scene. He says in the Essay:
The Poet that beautified the Sect, that was otherwise inferiour to the rest, saith excellently well: It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the Sea: A pleasure to stand in the window of a Castle, and to see a Battaille, and the Adventure thereof below: But no pleasure is comparable, to the standing, upon the vantage ground of Truth: (A hill not to be commanded, and where the Ayre is alwaies cleare and serene;) And to see the Errours, and Wandrings, and Mists, and Tempests, in the vale below:
Look at what Bacon has done! First of all, he hushes up the name of the poet Lucrece (just as he does everywhere with the name of Shakespeare). He speaks of a 'Poet that beautified the Sect.' That may refer to Lucrece who belonged to the 'Sect' of the Epicureans; but the remark may just as well refer to Bacon himself, who belonged to the 'Sect' of 'concealed Poets', for the words we heard last and the rhymes are Bacon's own rather than the words and metre of t' three times. Bacon views the battle from a 'window'; Lucrece never mentions the word. Thus Bacon so changes that part of the passage as to make it resemble a box at a theatre, the scene on the stage as witnessed from an enclosed portion of the gallery in a public theatre.
He then changes Lucrece's 'temple' into a 'hill'. And from that hill Bacon looks down upon erring humanity, just as his equitype, the Magician Prospero, does in the last act of The Tempest. We have already mentioned that the words "ships' and 'Tempests' were deliberately added by Bacon. The hill of truth, in Bacon's mind, is identical with the hill of the Muses. For in the 'Hermit's Speech' in the 'Device' which Bacon wrote for the Earl of Essex, the same thought is expressed in the words :
"That hill of the Muses is above tempests, always clear and calm."
We would (also) refer (the reader) to another passage in Bacon's writings, in which he himself adds the word 'scene', i.e. 'play' or 'spectacle' to the same quotation (from Lucrece). Bacon also employed this favourite passage from Lucrece in the Latin edition of his "Advancement of Learning" in "De Augmentis Scientarum" (1623). But there he begins the Lucrece quotation which he had deliberately altered, at once with the words: 'Suave est spectaculum' (it is a delightful spectacle), namely to see a ship tossed to and fro by the tempest!
Those are not Lucrece's words, Bacon it is who says so, only he puts the words into the old Roman's mouth. Francis Bacon says: "It is a delightful spectacle to see a Tempest!"
See : Francis Bacon's Cryptic Rhymes and The Truth They Reveal
by Edwin Bormann
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