The 1623 Shakespeare First Folio: A Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic Illusion

by A. Phoenix

Announcing The 1623 Shakespeare First Folio: A Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic Illusion. The book is available at

Coming in at 404 pages we are also publishing selected chapters as smaller stand alone papers with accompanying videos. Each paper and video will concentrate on a selected facet of the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio.

Follow the discussion on the B’Hive Forum here on


On the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio, The 1623 Shakespeare First Folio: A Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic Illusion uncovers and reveals unknown and untold secrets about the greatest work of literature in the history of humankind. Here for the first time, it brings forth the hidden and concealed connections of its secret author Francis Bacon and his Rosicrucian-Freemasonry Brotherhood with all the key members involved in its production, printing, and publication. It explores his hidden relationships with its printers William and Isaac Jaggard, and the other members of the First Folio consortium, John Smethwick, William Aspley, and its publisher Edward Blount. It is almost universally unknown that its dedicatee William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke was at the time of its dedication Grand Master of England, one of half of the ‘Incomparable Paire Of Brethren’, with his brother Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery, whose joint open and hidden relationships with Bacon went back decades. The other important critical member in the production of the 1623 First Folio was its editor and contributor of its two verses Ben Jonson who at the time the Folio was making its way through the Jaggard printing presses was living with Bacon at Gorhambury, where he was at the heart of the secret plans for bringing together this vast and complex enterprise.

The Droeshout engraving on the title page of the most famous secular work in English history is iconic and recognised the world over as the contemporary face of William Shakespeare the greatest poet and dramatist of all time. In strikingly marked contrast virtually nothing is known about Martin Droeshout the draughtsman responsible for the most recognisable literary image since time immemorial. A remarkable level of secrecy still surrounds his private life, friends and the social and professional circles he moved in, even though he self-evidently knew some of the most important figures in Jacobean England and moved in the highest circles of his times. This man who for the first thirty-three years of his life lived in the heart of London has scarcely left any documentary trace of his existence akin to him having been deliberately expunged from the records. To the present day his whole life is completely shrouded in secrecy and mystery. The silence is deafening. What could be the reason for all this secrecy and silence? The key reason is the Droeshout engraving on the title page of the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio is a mask behind which its concealed author Francis Bacon is hidden in plain sight, which when lifted reveals the truth behind the Rosicrucian-Freemasonic illusion and ludibrium that the illiterate/semi-illiterate William Shakspere of Stratford was the author of the greatest literature in the history of the world. This illusion revealed, with one devastating stroke brings the whole Stratfordian fiction crashing to the ground.

For the first time, The 1623 Shakespeare First Folio: A Baconian Rosicrucian-Freemasonic Illusion conveys an explosive secret in making known the concealed and hidden relationship between Francis Bacon and Martin Droeshout which has been suppressed for the last four hundred years. Their secret relationship is encapsulated in an earlier Droeshout engraving titled Doctor Panurgus (c. 1621) wherein one of its central figures is a depiction of Francis Bacon replete with a series of clues and indicators to confirm it.

The figure of Bacon in the Dr Panurgus engraving by Droeshout dating from the early 1620s is drawn from life, which points to Bacon sitting for it at Gorhambury. The complex engraving has clearly been carefully planned and must have involved Bacon giving Droeshout instructions and further directions that over a period of time necessitated numerous revision and amendments, not unlike the Droeshout in the First Folio, which exists in three known states, showing close attention to minor details as well as slight changes made to various aspects of it. This process was taking place around the time Bacon was planning and preparing his Shakespeare plays for the Jaggard printing house during the years 1621 to 1623 when it is likely that Droeshout made numerous visits to see Bacon at his country estate at Gorhambury where he was most likely residing for periods with Bacon and Ben Jonson as part of his entourage of good pens and other artists that made up his literary workshop.

The work also lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the hitherto unknown relationships between Francis Bacon and the other little-known figures Hugh Holland, James Mabbe and Leonard Digges who contributed verses to the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio. Particularly, Bacon’s relationship with Leonard Digges, whose father Sir Nicholas Bacon was the special patron of his grandfather and father Leonard Digges and Thomas Digges, the poet whose verse prefixed to the First Folio refers to the Stratford Monument, which is adorned with Rosicrucian-Freemasonic symbols and Baconian ciphers, secretly commissioned by Francis Bacon and his Rosicrucian-Freemasonry Brotherhood.

It is little known that the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio contains a series of special Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic AA and Archer headpieces cryptically incorporating the monogram of Francis Bacon and in the case of the latter spelling out his name F. Bacon. Across the address by Ben Jonson in the First Folio ‘To the memory of my beloued, The AVTHOR Mr. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: AND what he hath left vs’, written during the period he was living with Bacon at Gorhambury, appears the Freemasonic Seven Set Squares headpiece, indicating to other members of the Brotherhood that Bacon was the concealed author behind the pseudonym Shakespeare and the secret Grand Master of all Freemasons who rules by the Square, with ‘what he has left vs’, alluding to the secret Freemasonic system left to the world for the future benefit of humankind. Beyond the fact that the Freemasonic Seven Set Squares appears over the Ben Jonson address in the Folio, the same headpiece appears numerous times throughout the volume over the following Shakespeare plays: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, King John, I Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Richard III, Henry VIII, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens and Hamlet.

In addition to all the above cryptic devices secretly inserted by Bacon in the Shakespeare First Folio there are also many remarkable and astonishing references and allusions to himself and members of the Bacon family, which for four hundred years have remained unfamiliar or unknown to the ordinary schoolmen, the casual student, and effectively the rest of the world. These include references and allusions to himself in several different plays where the character is in some instances named Francis and similarly where characters are named after his three brothers Sir Nicholas Bacon, Sir Nathaniel Bacon, and Anthony Bacon. Similarly in the First Folio there are references and allusions to his father and mother Sir Nicholas and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon, her sisters Lady Katherine Cooke Killigrew, Lady Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell and her husband John, Lord Russell, Lady Mildred Cooke Cecil and her husband William Cecil, Lord Burghley, as well as their offspring (Bacon’s cousins) Thomas Posthumous Hoby and Sir Robert Cecil, and the son of their brother William Cooke, named after his father, Bacon’s other cousin, known as William Cooke of Highnam Court in Gloucester.

In recent times a very substantial body of academic literature has been produced by orthodox critics and commentators surrounding the subject of Shakespeare and anagrams. Individually and collectively these writings illustrate and determine that not only was Shakespeare, the greatest poet of his age, but he was its greatest anagrammatist. In the First Folio Bacon secretly inserts numerous acrostics and anagrams confirming his authorship among them: I AM FRA[NCIS] BACON, FRANCIS BACON, FRAN [CIS] BACON, F BACON, BY ONE BACON, BY BACON, and BACON.

The Shakespeare First Folio embodies the philosophy and teachings of Freemasonry and contains overt and covert references and allusions to its secret practices, protocols, and customs. It is intimately familiar with knowledge of its degrees of initiations, and the constitution, rules, and regular workings of the Lodge. It is also familiar with the language and terminology of the Freemasonry Brotherhood, its secret signs, handshakes, and other forms of greetings and identification. It is most importantly saturated with the grand philosophical scheme of Bacon to regenerate the world and unite humankind into a truly global society based upon peace and love, the declared aim of his Rosicrucian-Freemasonry Brotherhood, to bring about over time the Universal Reformation of the Whole World.

Review of N. B. Cockburn, The Bacon Shakespeare Question: The Baconian Theory Made Sane (1998): A Classic Worth Reprinting

by Christina G. Waldman

1998 does not seem so long ago to me. That was when N. B.Cockburn, late British barrister, devoted 740 pages to setting forth his evidence in favor of Francis Bacon’s authorship of the works traditionally attributed to “William Shakespeare,” based largely on that name/pseudonym’s being printed on the title page of the 1623 First Folio. Barry R. Clarke (Francis Bacon’s Contribution to Shakespeare (New York: Routledge, 2019)), Brian McClinton (The Shakespeare Conspiracies, (Aubane: Aubane Historical Society, 2006 and Belfast: Shanway Press, 2008)), and other authors, including myself, have acknowledged their debt to Cockburn. Mather Walker has previously reviewed the book for which prints in full its table of contents.

Read more: Download PDF

Brian McClinton critiques writers with a bias against Bacon

Thanks to Christina Waldman for pointing out Brian McClinton critiques writers with a bias against Bacon
Saving Bacon 4

Brian McClinton’s letter, Sept. 27, 2005, in Prospect Magazine, Nov. 20, 2005.

27th September 2005

In his travesty of the character and ideas of Francis Bacon, Terence Kealey describes him as an “unusually unpleasant” man “who collected… many bribes.” On the contrary, JG Crowther demonstrates (Francis Bacon: The First Statesman of Science, 1960) that Bacon was “fundamentally incorruptible.” Indeed he was almost alone among leading politicians in not paying James I for his offices and promotions. Nieves Mathews in Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination (1996), argues that he was completely innocent of the charges of bribery and that writers such as Macaulay were themselves guilty of slandering Bacon’s reputation and unfairly influencing later generations.

The best judges of Bacon’s character are those nearest to him. To his apothecary Peter Boener he was “a noteworthy example… of all virtue, gentleness, peacefulness, and patience.” To his editor Rawley, “if [ever] there were a beam of knowledge derived from God upon any man in these modern times, it was upon him.” Aubrey tells us that “all that were great and good loved and honoured him.”

As for his ideas, Kealey completely misrepresents his whole philosophy. Bacon’s lodestar was not power, as he suggests, but truth. He spells it out himself in his beautiful Proem: “For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things (which is the chief point), and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to reconsider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture. So I thought my nature had a kind of familiarity and relationship with Truth.”

In other words, Bacon’s “method” is as provisional as that of Popper, who completely misrepresents him. If modern science is based upon the presumption of error and fallibility, then Bacon remains its true trumpeter. Nor did he rely only on induction, as Kealey implies, for he insisted on a continual interchange between theory and experiment. When he wrote that “knowledge itself is power” he meant not worldly success or useful technology but the proof of scientific theories: “Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known, the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule” (Novum Organum). In short, only by making nature act in a certain way—exercising power—can we be sure that we understand how it does act, and only by knowing that can we control it. Bacon realised that science could be useful for the good of mankind but he also believed in knowledge and work for their own sake as “pledges of truth.”

Finally, Kealey goes off the rails altogether in his paean to private funding of science. It was the co-operative and collaborative nature of scientific discovery that concerned Bacon, not the issue of the state’s role.

Frankly, it is a puzzle why so many writers in England persistently misrepresent one of the world’s greatest geniuses. Most of them would improve their scholarship if they read Bacon himself instead of parroting his unreliable commentators.

Brian McClinton, Author of

Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Academic journals

26th September 2005 Letters.

The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

A book by Don Elfenbein


One reader of, Don Elfenbein of Morgantown, West Virginia, has recently self-published, through Lulu Press, a short print-on-demand book entitled The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery: The Allegory of Francis Bacon’s Natural Philosophy in The Tempest.

Click here to read the PDF version.

This essay gathers together and documents a number of incontrovertible but little-noticed facts that speak Shakespeare’s true name loudly and clearly.

Written for general readers and scholars alike, the essay systematizes and extends the investigations of the pioneering researchers who first published, more than a century ago, the provocative contention that The Tempest allegorizes a body of Baconian thought. It demonstrates that fourteen elements of this play having to do with the magus Prospero, the spirit Ariel, and the witch Sycorax resemble and represent fourteen of Bacon’s natural-philosophical ideas, several of which are peculiar to him. Those ideas include not only the general methodological prescriptions for which Bacon is famous but also his unique and largely forgotten conjectures about the inner workings of nature.

These numerous and striking parallels between elements of the play and elements of Bacon’s philosophy, the author argues, together constitute persuasive proof that Bacon wrote this celebrated drama.

Don is a researcher and former law professor who has been interested in the Baconian theory since the 1970s. He is eager to discuss his study with anyone who is interested in examining it and perhaps offering him comments, corrections, or suggestions.

A printed copy of the essay can be ordered from the Lulu Press bookstore:The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

Don’s email address is

UPDATE: June 1, 2023:


FBS: Shakespeare, aka Sir Francis Bacon – Sir Mark Rylance and Gary Cordice

Video by the Francis Bacon Society

Shakespeare, aka Sir Francis Bacon – Sir Mark Rylance and Gary Cordice celebrate 463 years of his legacy within world culture at his birthday bash in 2023 at the Royal Airforce Club, London
The Francis Bacon Society provides a platform for discussion of subjects connected with the Objects of the Society, but the Council does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed by contributors or correspondents.
We welcome members of the public to pitch suitable videos they have made or will make which can be uploaded to the Francis Bacon website and/or YouTube Channel. Please contact us at

Baconamania at Greenwich – April 14, 2023

The Francis Bacon Society established in 1886 will be celebrating it’s 137th anniversary on April 14th. If you would like to attend this special event see the information below. If you want to know more about the Francis Bacon Society visit

Friday 14th April Diana and Gary Invite you and your guests to:


In the dawning of this new age,
Baconamania is all the rage,
Come and meet not just this sage,
Other Knights who went from light to shade.

It is the birthday of prophet Bacon,
Time to rattle chains and to take on
This tour of paintings to you inspire
In the company of certain Knights of the sacred empire.

Come and hear brave stories to incite ire,
Hear what led their fortune to expire,
Then to the tavern we will retire,
Over a cold brew and a cosy fire.










No later than Tuesday 11th April


The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon, Chapter II

The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon by Alfred Dodd

From :  Alfred Dodd’s Book

The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon

pp. 30-35
Chapter II

His Birth, Life and Labours, 1561-1621

(special thanks to Gerald Francis Bacon)

Pallas Athena was the Goddess of Wisdom and was supposed to preside over the whole of the intellectual and moral side of human life. She was the patroness of the useful and elegant arts such as weaving (felling), imparting to her devotees the peuculiar Masonic Virtues of Prudence, Courage, Preserverance. She protected the State from outward enemies. The Britannia on our English coins is taken from Pallas. She was credited with being the inventor of musical instruments. The Olive wreath denoting Peace was her emblem. She was a Creator and Preserver.

She was depicted in Greek Art with a Helmet on her head. She held the Spear of Knowledge in her right hand, poised to strike at the Serpent of Ignorance writhing under her foot. The large Helmet denoted that she waged invisibly a silent war against Sloth and Ignorance. She was usually placed on the Greek Temples with a Golden Spear in her hand. When the morning rays of the sun glinted on the weapon, causing it apparently to tremble, the common people were in the habit of saying smilingly : “Athena is Shaking her Spear again.” She was thus known as “the Spear Shaker” or ” the “Shaker of the Spear.”….

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Bacon and Shakespeare on Love by Edwin Reed


Bacon and Shakespeare on Love by Edwin Reed

Pages 5-30

In a lecture on Francis Bacon’s essays, recently delivered in our American Cambridge by an instructor of Harvard university, the audience, when the essay of Love had been read, was convulsed with laughter by the quizzical injunction addressed to it. “Fancy Bacon writing ‘Romeo and Juliet!'” Lord Tennyson, had he been present, would undoubtedly have been in full sympathy with the spirit of the occasion, for he also, referring to the same essay, once asked, ” Could Bacon, holding such sentiments, have written ‘Romeo and Juliet?’ ” Tennyson’s own answer to the question was this : “any man who believes that he could have done so is a fool.” Indeed, the opinion among cultivated people on both sides of the Atlantic, that the greatest with one possible exception the world has produced, and according to Macaulay, the “possessor of the most exquisitely constructed intellect ever bestowed on any children of men” was incapacitated by a constitutional defect in his character to write the garden scene in the famous play is so general that we are brought face to face with a new problem, not in authorship alone, but in psychology itself. The question is not one of intellectual power, of style of writing, of differences in poetry and prose as expressions of thought, but of the heart, of pure feeling. Read more…>

Also, for a Happy Valentine’s day…

LOVE AND BUSINESS by Robert Theobald

from the book Shakespeare Studies in Baconian Light

Bacon and Shakespeare Parallelisms Paperback – August 24, 2016
by Edwin 1835-1908 Reed (Author)

“I have just had a letter from a man who wants my opinion as to whether Shakespeare’s Plays were written by Bacon. I feel inclined to write back, “Don’t be a fool, sir!’ The way in which Bacon speaks of love would be enough to prove that he was not Shakespeare. ” I know not how, but martial men are given to love. I think it is but as they are given to wine, for perils commonly asked to be paid in pleasures.’ How could a man with such an idea of love write Romeo and Juliet?

And yet even Tennyson might have paused before shutting off the claims for Bacon with such resolute incredulity, not to say unexpressed incivility. For he himself had found in Bacon qualities which are at first sight as incompatible with an unromantic view of love, as he supposed Shakespeare to be. Tennyson had been on one occasion speaking of Lord Bacon, and said,

“That certain passages of his writings, their frequent eloquence and vivid completeness lifted him more than those of almost any other writer.”

And of the Essays he said,

“There is more wisdom compressed into that small volume than in any other book of the same size that I know.” (Life, II. 76, 415).

Clearly, then, any unfavourable impression derived from one or tow passages in a small Essay may be corrected and perhaps even vindicated when a larger view is taken. What more could he say of Shakespeare’s wisdom than this?

The objection which Tennyson expressed so energetically is one that is often raised when the Baconian theory is under discussion.

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