The Italian Language


"Othello" chides Desdemona for losing the handkerchief he had given her as his first love token in the following words:

"There's magic in the web of it,
A Sybil that numbered in the world
The sun to course two hundred compasses,
In her prophetic fury, sew'd the work."

This passage shows us that "Shakespeare" must have been able to read Italian in the original, since the unusual phrase "prophetic fury" is taken form Orlando Furioso by Ariosto, where we find the words "furor prophetico" used in the description of a woman, sibyl-like, weaving a cloth of magic virtues.
There is no evidence that Will Shaksper could either speak or read Italian.
Is it a coincidence that Bacon in his acknowledged works makes free use of Italian literature, and quotes it in its own language?

return to the directory - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning