Back to the Garden

The Golden Legacy of “As You Like It”


Mather Walker
October 2002


We are stardust,
We are billion-year-old carbon,
We are golden,
Caught in the Devil's bargain,
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the Garden.

-Lyrics from a song by Joni Mitchell


Mark Van Doren said “As You Like It” is such a charming comedy that in order to enjoy it, it is best to not to think about it at all. I can see why this approach would appeal to Van Doren and his fellow Stratfordians. Asking a Stratfordian to think is like asking a turtle to high jump. However, if you do choose to think you may find the waters in the babbling brooks of this green world run surprisingly deep. The play contains two large, contrasted, bodies of knowledge concealed under the surface guise of this charming comedy. Moreover, if you understand the play you will understand who was the real author of the play. Who was the real author? Here is a clue. All we need for our guide in order to understand the play is to review a few of the ideas of Francis Bacon.

Bacon Revisited

When Bacon came on the scene, mankind was lost, swept here and there on the storm tossed sea of experience with no star or compass to guide them. Bacon immediately went to the heart of the issue. Look, he said, everyone realizes that all knowledge begins with understanding the properties that distinguishes one thing from another, but we must carry this realization to its logical conclusion. We must know the real difference. We must know what is always present when a particular thing is present (for example, heat, or light, or weight) and what is absent when they are absent. In short, we must know the law or “form” that distinguishes any one thing from any other thing.

Bacon said “forms”, like the letters of the alphabet, although very limited in number, made up all the variety of nature, just as the letters of the alphabet although limited in number make up all the variety of written language. Each particular in nature was composed of a number of these “forms”. Bacon thought knowledge of these differences, once gained, could be used (among other things) as the basis of a science that would give the ability to transform substances into other substances. For example, Bacon said, if one wanted to transform a substance into gold, one would note that gold is yellow, heavy, of a certain weight, malleable and ductile to a certain extent, and so on, comprising all the other natures observable in gold. Anyone who had discovered the “forms” of these natures, and methods of super inducing these “forms” on any particular substance would have the ability to turn that substance into gold. Bacon’s science did not deal merely with the transformation of material substances, but covered the entire panorama of knowledge.

In his Novum Organum Bacon demonstrated how special tables could be used as a basis for determining “forms”. Take some particular in nature, he said. Construct four tables (1) a table of instances where the real nature of the thing under investigation is present (2) A table of instances where the real nature of the thing under investigation is absent (3) A table of instances where the real nature of the thing under investigation is present in greater or lesser degrees. (4) A table of exclusion where features not pertaining to the real character of the subject under investigation are excluded. Through this contrivance you can arrive at the true difference of a thing.

The Novum Organum was intentionally incomplete. Bacon tells us that he had developed his discovery device (His Novum Organum, or New Machine for the Intellect) into a device that would automatically guide the intellect of man to the discovery of new arts and science:

“There remains but one course for the recovery of a sound and healthy condition,- namely, that the entire work of the understanding be commenced afresh, and the mind itself be from the very outset not left to take its own course, but guided at every step; and the business be done as if by machinery.”

But he also tells us he had decided the transmission of the knowledge of the operation of this device must be kept secret and transmitted in such a manner that it would select its users. He transmitted this information in his concealed works, the works that he wrote under various “masks” or pseudonyms.

In his Valerius Terminus he says:

“the discretion anciently observed, though by the precedent of many vain persons and deceivers disgraced, of publishing part, and reserving part to a private succession, and of publishing in a manner whereby it shall not be to the capacity nor taste of all, but shall as it were single and adopt his reader, is not to be laid aside, both for the avoiding of abuse in the excluded, and the strengthening of affection in the admitted.”

In these works he used allegory, metaphor and allusion to convey the information he wanted to convey.In the preface to his “Wisdom of the Ancients” he tells us why he did this, and gives some details about his concealed works:

“And even to this day, if any man would let new light upon the human understanding, and conquer prejudice, without raising contests, animosities, opposition, or disturbance, he must still go in the same path [as the ancients], and have recourse to the like method of allegory, metaphor, and allusion.”

In his 1603 De Interpretatione Naturae (Of the Interpretation of Nature) he was candid about his plans to keep secret the details of his discovery device :

“Now for my plan of publication-those parts of the work which have it for their object to find out and bring into correspondence such minds as are prepared and disposed for the argument, and to purge the floors of men’s understandings, I wish to be published to the world and circulate from mouth to mouth: the rest I have passed from hand to hand, with selection and judgment. Not but I know that it is an old trick of imposters to keep a few of their follies back from the public which are indeed no better than those they put forward: but in this case it is no imposture at all, but a sober foresight, which tells me that the formula itself of interpretation, and the discoveries made by the same, will thrive better if committed to the charge of some fit and selected minds, and kept private. This however is other people’s concern.”

In a letter to his friend Lancelot Andrewes he hinted at a special form of publication:

“Therefore having not long since set forth a part of my Instauration; which is the work, that in mine own judgment (si nunquam fallit imago) I do most esteem; I think to proceed in some new parts thereof. And although I have received from many parts beyond the seas, testimonies touching that work, such as beyond which I would not expect at the first in so abstruse an argument; yet nevertheless I have just cause to doubt, that it flies too high over men’s heads: I have a purpose therefore (though I break the order of time) to draw it down to the sense, by some patterns of a Natural Story and Inquisition.”

And In Thoughts and Conclusions he said:

“For himself Bacon was minded not to yield to his own or to anyone’s impatience,but to keep his eyes fixed on the ultimate success of the project. He would therefore communicate his tables only to a few and keep the rest back till after the publication of a treatise for popular perusal.”

What do we know about this treatise for popular perusal? As I have already noted, he used allegory, metaphor and allusion, and we can deduce, based on his above statements, that it incorporated his tables in allegoric story format, and from Bacon’s following statement we can further deduce that these allegoric stories were designed to entertain. Bacon said he thought best:

“after long considering the subject and weighing it carefully, first of all prepare Tabulae Inveniendi or regular forms of inquiry; in other words, a mass of particulars arranged for the understanding, and to serve, as it were, for an example and almost visible representation of the matter. But when these Tabulae Inveniendi have been put forth and seen, he does not doubt that the more timid wits will shrink almost in despair from imitating them with productions with other materials or on other subjects; and they will take so much delight in the specimen given that they will miss the precepts in it.”

In order to transmit the knowledge he wanted to transmit to future ages Bacon concealed this knowledge in works of literature. In his Advancement he remarked:

“We see then how far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable than the monuments of power or of the hands. For have not the verses of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years or more, without the loss of a syllable or letter; during which time infinite palaces, temples, castles, cities, have been decayed and demolished?

He devised the emblem of the ship sailing forth to the future, noting:

“So if the invention of the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, which as ships pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages to distant to participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other?”

Although Bacon published his works of literature under various ‘masks’, the most famous was his “Shakespeare” mask. Bacon often spoke disparagingly of stage plays, and there are numerous indications that he felt he was being forced to prostitute his abilities by having to write common stage plays. But he remarks that ‘things that are mean or even filthy,- things which (as Pliny says) must be introduced with an apology,- such things, no less than the most splendid and costly, must be admitted”. And again he says, “from mean and sordid instances there sometimes emanates excellent light and information”.

Although he concealed the information he wanted to transmit in allegory and metaphor, he provided a key for those who were able to use it.. This key was the allusions in these works. These allusions are a form of shorthand by which he indicates specific bodies of tradition or received knowledge without going into detail. These are clues to the concealed meaning in his concealed writings. Bacon’s mind had a naturally allegoric bent, and he found that when cast in an allegoric format his tables could be constructed in the format of stories that entertained at the same time they transmitted the information he wanted to transmit.

What subjects did these concealed writings cover? He tells us in the Preface to his Great Instauration:

“Of these the first is to set forth examples of inquiry and invention according to my method, exhibited by anticipation in some particular subjects; choosing such subjects as are at once the most noble in themselves among those under inquiry and most different one from another, that there may be an example of every kind. I do not speak of those examples which are joined to the several precepts and rules by way of illustration (for of these I have given plenty in the second part of the work); but I mean actual types and models, by which the entire process of the mind and the whole fabric and order of invention from the beginning to the end, in certain subjects, and those various and remarkable, should be set as it were before the Eyes. For I remember that in the mathematics it is easy to follow the demonstration when you have a machine beside you, whereas without that help all appears involved and more subtle than it really is.”

These works designed for “popular perusal” were models of the operation of his discovery device, in each case demonstrating the operation of his discovery device in inquiring into the “form” of some particular aspect of knowledge chosen by Bacon. We know these models as the “Shakespeare” plays.

There was another important feature to Bacon’s tables. Francis Bacon was torn between the past and the future. In his “Wisdom of the Ancients” he said a high level of knowledge had existed in remote antiquity, but was hidden from the present by the veil of myth. In his “Advancement” He said, “…it seemeth best to keep way with antiquity usque ad aras”. “Usque ad aras” means “even to the altars” and is evidence of his interest in the Ancient Mysteries.

(as seen in the beginning of the Shakespeare First Folio this "W" begins the name of William Shakespeare on the list of the names of the principal actors . There is a Janus Head in the "W" with the faces looking in the opposite directions of the past, and the future.)

Another important feature of Bacon’s allegoric tables was the Janus design. What is the Janus Design? Each play has two faces, one face looking toward the past, the other toward the future. One face looks at the course and progress of the ancients in some particular aspect of knowledge. The other, looking toward the future, contrasts Bacon’s method with theirs and shows that his is better by demonstrating the operation of his discovery device in inquiring into the form of a related aspect of knowledge. He described this design and stated his intent to use it in His “Masculine Birth of Time”:

“Nevertheless it is important to understand how the present is like a seer with two faces,one looking toward the future, and the other towards the past. Accordingly I have decided to prepare for your instruction tables of both ages, containing not only the past course and progress of science, but also anticipations of things to come. The Nature of these tables you could not conjecture before you see them. A genuine anticipation of them is beyond your scope, nor would you be aware of the lack of it unless it was put into your hands. It is a compliment reserved to some of the choicer spirits among you whom I hope to win thereby. But generally speaking science is to be sought from the light of Nature, not from the darkness of antiquity.”

This Janus design was also related to his master metaphor of the Intellectual Globe. The Intellectual Globe was designed to be a replica of the great globe – the earth. Bacon said:

“I am building in the human understanding a true model of the world.”

The world of his time was composed of the Old World centered around the Mediterranean Sea, and the New World that had been discovered far west of the Pillars of Hercules. Bacon used as his master metaphor the idea of an Intellectual Globe that corresponded in every part to the physical globe. In his Intellectual Globe the Old World of the Mediterranean Sea symbolized the knowledge of the past and the New World west of the gates of Hercules symbolized the knowledge of the future. Hence the two faces. Bacon devised a special ornamental device to denote this Janus design. The device consisted of two A’s, one dark, and the other light. The dark “A” denoted the darkness of Antiquity. The light “A” denoted what he referred to as his Anticipations – knowledge gained through the use of his discovery device from the light of nature.

There was a final aspect to Bacon’s system of knowledge that needs to be emphasized since it plays an important part in the play “As You Like It”. One of Bacon’s statements about his system of thought was the work, “On Principles and Origins According to the Fables of Cupid and Coelum”. In this work he speaks of two cupids. The first was the eldest of the gods, the other (the son of Venus) was the youngest of the gods. And he assigns the force symbolized by cupid, or love, as being that primal force by which order was brought out of chaos, and all things were created, and, in short, the force at the pinnacle of his Pyramid of Nature. On the “AA” device that appeared in the First Folio there were two cupids, one seated on the light “A”, and one seated on the dark “A”.

The seminal work on love in classical antiquity was “The Symposium” by Plato. According to Plato’s Symposium love is the desire produced by beauty for generation upon the body of the beautiful. This should not be understood as merely a fleshly generation. The passion for the beautiful begins with the devotion to one beautiful body, generalizes itself into the love of all bodily beauty, and rises by successive graduations through the love of beautiful souls, thoughts, laws, institutions, to love of the sciences and of the beauty of every kind of knowledge, and finally to the contemplation of the infinite sea of the beautiful. The absolute, timeless, spaceless, form of beauty that transcends all the particular embodiments whose beauty is derived from it by participation, and come into being and passes away while it remains eternally the same. Love is that cosmic power of attraction evoked by the hierarchy of beauty which successively rises fallen souls through higher and higher stages until they finally once again attain union with THE ONE.

The ideas in The Symposium had an enormous influence on renaissance ideas. In 1474 a banquet was held by the Platonic Academy of Florence in commemoration of the birthday of Plato, and Marsilio Ficino delivered a commentary on The Symposium. Ficino’s commentary inspired an entire genre of writing known as the Trattati d’amore (Treatises of Love). The stages of love were compared to climbing the successive rungs of a ladder. “In the ladder of love one ascends from step to step”. The first step was from looking into his lady’s eyes to touching her hand. Giovanni Della Mirandola set out six stages in the Ladder of Love:

A specific beautiful body is presented to the eye.
The beautiful body is analyzed by the mind.
The mind passes from the specific to all beautiful bodies.
The ascent is made by the intellect to the form of ideal beauty
True beauty is viewed.
The Intellect is united to the universal mind.

Bacon used this as a basis for the six divisions of his Great Instauration:

Particulars (The Advancement)
The particular is analyzed by the mind (Norvum Organum)
The mind passes from the particular to all bodies of a like nature (The Histories)
The ascent is made by the intellect to the form of all bodies of a like nature (Ladder of The Intellect).
The anticipation of the active philosophy is attained.
The true philosophy is attained.

As well as being an indication of the role of the tradition of love in Bacon’s system of thought, the six parts of his Instauration are also the schema of his discovery device. Bacon cast the models of the operation of his discovery device in the Shakespeare plays in the form of an intellectual compass, with the 32 compass directions afforded each of his four tables. It worked rather like a binary search, beginning going from 32, to 16, to 8, to 4, to 2, to 1. So the inquiry process moves up from the particular at the base of the pyramid to the ‘form’ at the apex of the pyramid in six steps following the schema of the six divisions of Bacon’s Great Instauration. But Experiment 846 of Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum combines a division of 32 with a division of 24, and 24 has five steps: 24 – 12 – 6 – 3- ?. So this enters into the process also.

In the Shakespeare plays the allegory of love played an important part. Two books by John Vyvyan give information about this aspect of allegory in the Shakespeare plays. These books are “Shakespeare & Platonic Beauty”, and “Shakespeare and the Rose of Love”. This particular aspect of allegory played a particularly prominent role in “As You Like It”.

Francis Bacon called his plan for the advancement of human knowledge The Great Instauration. Just as God had endowed man with an estate and ruler ship over all nature before the Fall, so Bacon intended to imitate God in restoring that estate to man. Instauration derives from the Latin instaurare (to renew, to begin afresh) signifying restoration of man to his place before the Fall. God’s creation had six parts, so did Bacon’s. God’s creation ended with the Sabbath, Bacon’s Great Instauration ended with the short work, “Parasceve”, the vulgate word for the Jewish day of preparation for the Sabbath. Bacon’s goal was to restore man to the original understanding of all nature that was his before the Fall, and, consequently, to the ruler ship of all nature which had been his by divine endowment. In other words, Bacon would do for man what previously had been done for him only by God. Through a correct use of man’s mental powers in a planned program for the study of nature he would give man back The Garden.

The Allusions in As You Like It

In his “Wisdom of the Ancients” Bacon tells us that “And even to this day, if any man would let new light upon the human understanding, and conquer prejudice, without raising contests, animosities, opposition, or disturbance, he must still go in the same path [as the ancients], and have recourse to the like method of allegory, metaphor, and allusion.” This gives us our keys to unlock the many doors of meaning in the the Shakespeare plays. The allusions in the play are clues that enable us understand the play. Let’s examine a couple of these clues just to get our feet wet.

Rowland de Boys has died and left three sons: Oliver, Jaques, and Orlando. Jaques remains at school, and ‘reports speaks goldenly of his profit’, but Oliver has conceived an enmity toward the youngest brother, and not only keeps him in a state no better than his animals, but has even denied his small inheritance of 1,000 crowns to him. Oliver seeks to have Charles the wrestler kill Orlando, but Orlando meets and defeats this giant easily. So Oliver casts him out. The younger son must leave home and go out into the world. Surely all of this is familiar. It is the stuff of which fairy tales are made. There is even the wicked uncle - Duke Frederick. Just to make sure the allusion to the fairy tale motif is noted Bacon has the following exchange between Le Beau and Celia:

Le Beau. There comes an old man and his three sons-
Celia.: I could match this beginning with an old tale.[that is, Le Beau’s story about the man with the three sons has a fairy tale beginning]

Many people have noted the Fairy Tale element in the play. But although fairy tales belong to the realm of fantasy this does not mean they do not contain any real information. One feature certainly is based in fact. The reason the younger son leaves home in fairy tales is because of the law of inheritance that existed at that time. This law, known as the Law of Primogeniture, stipulated that the first born son got everything. Even though the first act of the play is a model of compression, Bacon takes time to emphasize this point near the beginning of the play. Orlando says to Oliver: “The courtesy of Nations allows you my better in that you are the first born.” This, of course, is an additional clue for identifying the fairy tale nature of the play, but it also has a deeper significance.

The allusions in the play next move to the Garden of Eden theme. Old Adam is exiled along with Orlando when Orlando is forced to leave the court. The parallels are the Court and the Garden of Eden; the forest of Arden and the world of nature that Adam went out to after he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden all of the necessities of life were provided just as in the Court. When the Biblical Adam went out into the world he would have starved if he did not manage to provide his own food. Old Adam in the play is soon in danger of starving when he goes to the forest of Arden. When Orlando comes to the Duke’s table, where there is food, he comes carrying Adam. When we seek food we all carry the burden of old Adam with us, that original curse that gave us the burden of providing our own sustenance. Just to make sure the allusion is sufficient to zero the reader in on the main theme, Bacon has Orlando ask Oliver:

“Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury?”

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is also referred to in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, and, as I have shown there, refers to the cycle of the soul. The basic theme of “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” has much in common with the face looking toward the past in “As You Like It”. The parable of the younger son journeying into a far country while the elder remained in his father’s house parallels the story of Orlando in “As You Like It”. The story of the Fall of man and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden deals with the same idea. The soul goes out into the phenomenal universe for a reason. The cycle of incarnation is necessary for the soul to be perfected. This idea is brought out in various passages in the Gnostic works, as well as in the Gnostic document The Hymn of The Robe of Glory which closely follows, but greatly extends, the general ideas and cycle set out in the Parable of The Prodigal Son. “As You Like It” deals with the Christian myth of “The Fall” and the Fairy Tale theme also allows Bacon to introduce the tripartite division of man’s being as he elaborates on the theme of “The Fall”. Also, here for once we catch a glimpse of Bacon behind his veil. We may wonder whether Bacon, with his towering intellect, endorsed the religion of the time. On the surface Bacon seems to have been a very religious man. Here he lets us know what he really thinks about that religion. He thinks that although there is some truth in it, it is actually a fairy tale.

This is merely a taste of the role of the allusions or clues in “As You Like It”. “As You Like It” is loaded with these clues. Each is a question that must be answered if we are to really understand the play. Probably the best single study of “As You Like It’ is “His Erring Pilgrimage” by Mabel Sennett. Her background in studying dream symbolism enabled her to perceive a significant portion of the symbolism in the play. However, in the final analysis, her study, although edifying, suffers from the same short coming as the other studies of the play in that it only covers a portion of the allegory contained in the play, and omits an equally significant portion. In addition, because of the fragmentary nature of her study she sometimes goes astray. In order to understand the play it is important to place the interpretation in the framework of the Janus design integrated with all the allusions in the play, and there are a great many of these.

One of the more important is the name of the play. “As You Like It” embodies meanings that applies to the play on several levels. Then there are the changes that were made to the source on which the play was based. In adapting the story from Thomas Lodge’s book “Rosalynde or Euphues’ Golden Legacy” we must ask why is the name Rosader in Lodge’s book changed to Orlando in the play? Then we must solve all the other allusions, each of which poses a question. Why does Rosalind give Orlando the chain? Why does Celia stress that Rosalind is The Rose: “Therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry.” What is the meaning of the sex shift in Rosalind? An actor (a boy) disguised as a girl plays a girl who disguised as a boy plays the pretend part for Orlando of a girl (Rosalind) and the character is Rosalind, but the character is actually a boy who is playing Rosalind. Surely this has some specific intent. Why are Celia and Rosalind inseparable? Why do they use the names Aliena and Ganymede when they go to the forest of Arden? Why are there two Jaques in the play who seem related since they are both intellectuals? Why are there two Oliver’s in the play? One is Oliver the older brother. The other is Oliver Martext, the forest vicar. What is the significance of the considerable body of allusions to the deer in the play? Why is the forest the forest of Arden when it is actually the forest of Ardennes? What is the significance of the snake and the lion in the play? What is the significance of Orlando’s inheritance of 1,000 crowns? Why does Oliver harbor enmity toward Orlando when he doesn’t seem to harbor any enmity toward the middle brother Jaques? Why must Orlando defeat the giant Charles before he goes to the forest of Arden? Why does Jaques remain in the forest when the others return to court? Why are William and Audrey in the play? As Helen Gardner notes, “These additional characters add nothing at all to the story. If you were to tell it you would leave them out”. Why are there allusions to Christopher Marlowe and other writers in the play?

The Legacy Theme in As You Like It

Sometimes the most obvious thing is the most difficult to see and this seems to be the case with “As You Like It”. Even though the central theme of the play is in plain sight for everyone to see, and moreover, is reinforced by the source from which the play was taken, commentators have skipped over the idea as if it doesn’t exist. The source for “As You Like It” was a book by Thomas Lodge titled, “Rosalynde. Euphues Golden Legacy”. It dealt with the legacy left by Euphues. The legacy was a book titled, Rosalynde”, just as the legacy left by Bacon is a book, or books. The legacy theme is very much the central theme of “As You Like It’. From the very first words to the end the play deals with a legacy, Orlando says:

“As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou say’st, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well; and there begins my sadness.”

and the words of Jaques at the end of the play reaffirm the theme:

[To Duke] You to your former honor I bequeath;
Your patience and your virtue well deserves it.
[To Orlando] You to a love that your true faith doth merit;
{To Oliver] You to your land and love and great allies’
[To Silvius] You to a long and well-deserved bed;
[To Touchstone] And you to wrangling

and we should remember that “the penalty of Adam” was also a legacy.

The Two Faces in As You Like It

“As You Like It” deals specifically with Bacon’s concealed works. When Bacon wrote “As You Like It” he was looking for a unifying theme through which he could contrast his Instauration with some aspect of ancient knowledge in accordance with the Janus design he had adopted for the plays. He hit upon the idea of a legacy. “As You Like It” has two faces, one looking toward the past, and one toward the future. The face looking toward the past deals with the Garden of Eden, i.e. the Golden Age, The Fall, or expulsion from the Garden when man was cast out and forced to go out from the Garden of Eden and make his own way in the world of nature. This was the legacy of Adam. By this legacy the soul must complete the long cycle of incarnations in the earth before it can regain its celestial estate, and the Garden of Eden. The face looking toward the future deals with the legacy of Bacon’s Great Instauration as transmitted in his concealed writings. This was related to the allegory of man’s fall and exile from the Garden of Eden because Bacon constructed his Instauration with the express purpose of giving man back The Garden.

He would shortcut the return of man to the Garden of Eden by endowing him with a science that would give him the mastery over all nature that was his in the Edenic state. Although unable to give this knowledge to mankind in his own age, he left a legacy in his concealed writing that was intended to demonstrate the operation of his New Machine for the Intellect by which The Garden could be regained. This is the golden legacy with which “As You Like It” deals, the reinvestment of man to the Golden Age - to The Garden of Eden. The ultimate case of, “As You Like It”, hence the name of the play.

The Face Looking Toward the Past

A number of clues are significant in regards to the face looking toward the past. First, there are the two dukes who are brothers. Duke Senior has been banished to the forest of Arden by Duke Frederick who has usurped his kingdom. For the alert reader this should raise a flag. Throughout the plays whenever Bacon wants a particular character to symbolize God, he makes that character a duke. Prospero is a duke. Vincentio in Measure for Measure is a duke. Theseus in A Mid-summer Night’s Dream is a duke. The father of Silvia in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is a duke. Solinus in The Comedy of Errors is a duke. They all personify God. An understanding of why Bacon symbolizes God as a duke throws light on the meaning of “As You Like It”.

The rationale is found in the writings of Robert Fludd who was probably one of Bacon’s masks, and if not a mask, certainly someone very close to him. Most of Fludd’s very valuable and very ponderous works remain locked up in the renaissance Latin of extremely rare books available in only a few of the great libraries of the world. However, I happened one day some years ago to be on lower Broadway in New York City and wandered into Samuel Weiser’s bookstore. Here I found a book containing 124 pages of Robert Fludd’s “Mosaical Philosophy” translated into English, edited by Adam McLean, only 250 copies printed. I snapped the thing up quicker than you could say, “Give me all your money”, which is essentially what the clerk in the bookshop said. This book frequently throws light on the plays.

As might be expected from the title, Fludd based his account of the creation on the Biblical genesis. What is properly described as God does not enter into creation at all, but always remains, above, beyond, and apart from all creation, as does the Alien God described in the teachings of the Gnostics. Fludd says God is the eternal unity in which everything was contained in potentiality. He says that Scripture teaches us that God, the fountain of all being, in the beginning was in that profound abyss of darkness in His original unity, that was termed in Hebrew “Ain”, i.e. nothing. Fludd says the wisest of the cabalists have termed this original darkness – the Dark “A” (Aleph tenebrosum). Scripture tells us, says Fludd, that God existed first in that state defined as “without form and void”. Then God willed and this action produced the Light “A”, producing order, but with light comes shadow, so the original “fiat lux” after producing light and order, next produced chaos. We may note that the famous American Seer, Edgar Cayce, gave an identical description of creation:

“God moved, the spirit came into activity. In moving it brought light, and then chaos.” (3508-1)

Out of the original unity arose two opposites. One was light, concord, truth, beauty, order, and life; the other darkness, discord, error, deformity, contention, and death. We call the first God; the second The Devil,- but God, above and apart from all this, combines both principles. The Alien God of the Gnostics (the real God) corresponds to a king, the highest ruler, while what we think of as God actually corresponds to a duke, the highest rank beneath that of a king - the ruler of an independent dukedom or subordinate territory. Hence Bacon uses dukes in the Shakespeare plays to personify what we call God. Duke Senior represents The God of Order. Duke Frederick represents the God of Chaos. These are the Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu of ancient Persia.

After the Biblical story of creation comes the Biblical story of the creation of man and the Garden of Eden. Because the Garden of Eden story has an important bearing on the play it is important to understand the story. Everyone knows the story of The Garden of Eden. God created a garden. In the midst of the garden He put the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the Garden He also put Adam and Eve, the first man, and the first woman. They were not supposed to eat of the fruit of the tree, but the serpent enticed Eve, and Eve enticed Adam. As a result God cast the serpent down. He will go on his belly and eat dust all the days of his life. And God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.

According to the Ancients there were three worlds – divine, celestial, and terrestrial. The Biblical account of the creation of man and the Garden of Eden story deals with these three worlds. We can gain some idea of the divine world through Plato’s idea of the world of “forms”. Plato said the divine world was the world of forms. According to Plato, a man is not the real man. The real man is the ideal form of all men that exists in the divine world. All men in the terrestrial world are only approximations in some degree, shadows of that ideal form. The divine world contains the prototypes or “form” of everything that exists on lower planes. The man whose creation is described in Genesis 1:27 was the ideal “form” of man, known in Kabbalah as Adam Kadmon. Adam Kadmon was not an individual man, but the prototype of all mankind - the archetypal androgyne .

All individual souls were created in the beginning when God moved and the spirit came into activity. They are individualized portions of the universal spirit, reflections of the ideal “form” of man. This is the man whose creation is described in Genesis 2:7 :

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

At the time the Bible was written no terms existed for finer grades of matter such as have been developed by modern physics. The term “dust of the earth” was an effort to express a very subtle grade of matter in an era in which there were no words to express this. On this plane of matter the soul still combined the polarities of male and female.

Where did the souls exist after they were created in the beginning? The key is in the word soul itself which derives ultimately from the Latin ‘caelum’ the vault of heaven, i.e. the heavens out among the stars. English comes from Frisian a West German dialect. In old Frisian the word for soul was ‘siele’; in North Frisian it was ‘seel’ or ‘siale’. This has the same derivation as our modern word ‘ceiling’, which derives from the earlier ‘ceil’ and this from the Latin ‘caelum’. The universal belief among the ancients was that the soul came from the stars, the heavens. The Ancient Egyptians even put star maps on the inside of their coffin lids, right above the face of the deceased, to guide him on his journey among the stars. When the Christians came along they mangled the idea into the belief that the soul can go to ‘heaven’ (their ill-digested concept of paradise) after its life on this earth. The ancient Orphic idea from which the Mysteries derived was that the original home of the soul was in starry heaven, but due to some primal wrong it was doomed to wander here below on the earth for thrice ten thousand years until the original sin was expiated. The Orphic plate found in an ancient grave in Petelia in South Italy proclaims, “I am a child of Earth and Starry Heaven, but my race is of Heaven (alone)”.

Moses, who was an initiate, got his lore from the priests of the great pyramid school, who had transmitted the teaching from thousands of years previously when this type of knowledge existed at a much higher level. According to these people the soul came from the stars, but with a special stipulation. When the polar axis pointed to a specific star group an ‘in phrase’ condition existed that allowed the souls from that star group to come to earth, and these souls, after they came to earth from other star systems dwelt originally in the celestial realm in the area above the north pole of the earth..

The Serpent and the Tree in the Garden of Eden story tells us this. The serpent is the constellation Draco. In “Star Lore of All Ages” William Tyler Olcott says, “Of all creatures the serpent is historically the most interesting. It is referred to in myth and legend more often than any other, and connected as it is with the very story of Eden, it is linked with the earliest history of man as no other creature is.” Draconis is a star within the constellation Draco. It has a special place because it is actually at the pole of the polar ecliptic. In other words, when Draconis was the Pole Star, the ecliptic would have coincided with the equator. Days and nights would have been equal year round, and there would have been spring year round - a golden age. This is related to the great motif in myths of the World Tree. In their fascinating book, “Hamlet’s Mill” Santillana and Dechend say:

“One of the great motifs of myth is the wondrous tree so often described as reaching up to heaven. There are many of them – the Ash Yggdrasil in the Edda, the world- darkening oak of the Kalevala, Pherecydes’ world-oak draped with the starry mantle, and the tree of life in Eden”

This World Tree, that figured so prominently in ancient myths, grew out of the north pole extending into the heavens above. Actually there were two trees. One growing from the north pole, and one growing from the south pole. The bible refers to them as the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The poles of the earth are the source of geomagnetism. This is not only the source of all life on our planet (the Tree of Life); it is also the factor which enables all mental activity (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil). Around 3,000 B.C. Draconis was the pole star, and would have been in the branches of the World Tree at the zenith. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, constellations and stars take their place successively during the vast 25,800 year cycle as the pole star. As the earth spins it wobbles like a spinning top and its axis describes a circle around the north pole of the ecliptic. But unlike the circle caused by the wobble of a top that takes only seconds, the earth takes 25,800 years for the north pole to trace out one of its circles. As it makes this circle the axis of the earth points to one star system after another. Around 3,000 B.C. it pointed to Alpha Draconis. At the time of the Greeks it pointed to beta Ursae Minoris. At the present it points to the star Polaris in alpha Ursae Minoris. In A.D. 14,000 it will point toward Vega. Souls came to our planet from the respective constellations pointed to by our wandering planetary axis. They originally dwelt in celestial forms in very subtle matter in the area above the poles of the earth.

There were two Edens. The Eden of the Golden Age on earth is a terrestrial reflection of the celestial Eden when the souls existed without want in the celestial sphere above the north pole. The terrestrial Golden Age was around 3,000 B.C., but has occurred many times in those 2,100 year periods during the 25,800 year cycle when the pole star was Draconis, and the ecliptic coincided with the equator. Days and nights would have been equal year round, and there would have been spring year round - a golden age. This would have occurred at 3,000 B.C., 28,800 B.C., 54,600 B.C., 80,400 B.C., and so on all the way through remote antiquity each time the great cycle of years came around. The terrestrial Garden of Eden, and terrestrial Golden Age are types and symbols of the celestial Garden of Eden and the celestial Golden Age. The celestial Garden of Eden and the celestial Golden Age was when the souls first came to earth before they incarnated into physical matter in the earth. At this point the souls were androgynous. The earth was populated with animals. The Bible says:

“And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air”

According to the American seer, Edgar Cayce, incarnation in the flesh was not part of the original plan. The souls at that time had the creative powers of gods and many wanted to experience the life on earth. They projected themselves into these creatures creating gross forms in size and stature. The result was to bring chaos into the earth. Then there was a second entering of the souls into the earth in an attempt to correct the imbalance. A soul that completed the soul cycle in the created universe and attained oneness with God offered itself to lead the souls that had became entangled in the earth back to their original lost estate, although that meant this soul would have to undergo the entire cycle again, this time in the earth. This was Plan B. This soul, a very advanced soul who came from Sirius, became the earthy Adam. Sirius has been known from time immemorial as The Dog Star, hence the allusion in the play when Oliver says to Adam who he exiles along with Orlando:

“Get you with him, you old dog.”

This is why Sirius was so important in the religion of the ancient Egyptians. They knew the souls came from the stars, and the master soul came from Sirius. With the advent of Adam it was decided that the best method through which a body in the pattern of the archetypal prototype could be built and propagated was through the method of sex. So the souls split into the feminine and masculine – the Bible says God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2:21,22). At this point the soul still existed in very subtle matter in the heavenly region above the north pole. Then, in Genesis 3:21 we are told God made coats of skin and clothed the man and the woman. This third and last description is that of the creation of the physical body of man. This body is actually a coating of denser matter which solidifies over the celestial body of man which is composed of much more subtle matter. This last body is the terrestrial body. The soul entered into physical incarnation and began the great cycle of incarnations in the earth.

Man was made in the image of the universe. As the universe was composed of three divisions: divine, celestial, and terrestrial, so man had three divisions:


These are the three brothers: Oliver, Jaques, and Orlando. This gives the rationale for the enmity of Oliver toward Orlando. In order to understand this one needs to understand the basic law of the universe.

This basic law, the Law of Triads, deals with the meeting and combination of the three basic forces in the universe. From this simple process, infinitely repeated, everything, every phenomena, on whatever scale, from the sub-atomic to the galactic has it arising.. Of itself each force has no distinguishable quality, but in their meeting and combination one force will always be active or positive, another passive or negative, and the third - the force of increase, results from the opposition of the other two. Bacon referred to this process in his “History of the Sympathy and Antipathy of Thing”:

“Strife and friendship in nature are the spurs of motions and the keys of works. Hence are derived the union and repulsion of bodies, the mixture and separation of parts, the deep and intimate impressions of virtues, and that which is termed the junction of actives with passives; in a word, the MAGNALIA NATURAE.”

In the process of the flow of the meeting and combination of these forces the “increase” force of the original triad becomes the active force of the subsequent triad, and as each triad of forces interacts with each subsequent triad the basic law of triads continues to operate, so that in respective triads of force the first triad is positive, the second negative and the third reconciling. The union of the forces is where growth or increase takes place – the product of the opposition between the other two forces.

This was a top-down process. It began with the entire universe. This explains Fludd’s scenario of the two opposites, symbolized by Bacon by the two Dukes – Duke Senior and Duke Frederick. The reconciling point between the two is the universe, the point of growth that takes place between the two opposites. This was the Protolatos (proto-first; olatos-wholeness) Within this original wholeness, or cosmos – the universe, the ray of creation proceeded downward on a diminishing scale. Within the Protolatos a certain, definite number of cosmoses were formed, and as the ray of creation continued, within each of these cosmoses a certain, definite number of cosmoses were formed, until finally on the diminishing scale the cosmos man was formed. Each cosmos mirrors in itself a reflection in miniature of the Protolatos. This was the original idea of the cosmoses from which the later, fragmentary idea of the macrocosm and microcosm was derived.

Bacon clearly understood this process and symbolized it in at least two of his “AA” devices. In the device that marked the Shakespeare First Folio there was a sheaf of wheat between the light “A” and dark “A”, showing the product of growth as a result of the two opposing forces. In another “AA” device there was a variant of the cornucopia, a vase filled with the fruits of the harvest between the Light “A”, and the dark “A”, indicating that the result of the two opposites was growth.

Just as in everything else the constitution of man is in accordance with the fundamental law of triads. The spiritual and the physical are the opposites, and the mental is the center of growth produced by the polarity of the opposites. The spiritual is the higher self, the physical the lower self. They are always opposed to and at war with each other up to the ultimate stage in soul evolution when they are united. This is the rationale of the enmity of Oliver toward Orlando. The same idea is found in the alchemistic idea of the Corascene Dog and the Armenia Dog that never cease to fight each other.

The mental is composed of two parts – the higher mental and the lower mental. The higher mental is the lowest part of the threefold division of the Higher Self. The lower mental is the highest part of the threefold division of the Lower Self. This is the reason for the two Jaques. The higher mental is the Jaques who is the lowest division of the higher self. The lower mental is the Jaques of the forest of Arden, the highest division of the threefold makeup of the lower self.. Yet they are the same, and at the end of the cycle, when the divisions of man are integrated we find them together. The two Jaques are an important clue in the play, a clue that has been lost on the blind guides – the Stratfordians commentators. Groping blindly at this clue, Harold Jenkins says, “It seems clear enough that these two men with the same name were originally meant to be one.” But he could go no further with the clue. Turtles can’t high jump.

In reference to Jaques it should be noted that his temperament of melancholy is an additional allusion relating the story in “As You Like It” to the Garden of Eden story. There is much of Hamlet in Jaques. In my article on Hamlet I have shown how the melancholy of Hamlet was a disorder resulting from the declivity of the earth’s axis which was the astronomical accompaniment of the lost of the Garden of Eden and the Golden Age, and was the macrocosmic parallel to the disorder in the microcosm. The declivity of the earth’s axis was also the factor that brought about winter. So in connection with the forest of Arden being the world of nature into which the soul went after exile from the Garden of Eden we should also find references to winter. Bacon was careful to ensure that these were in the play. We are introduced to the forest of Arden with Duke Senior’s speech in which he refers to:

“the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
‘This is no flattery: these are counselors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.’
Sweet are the uses of adversity”

Amiens sings:

“Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Some hither, come hiter, come hither.
Here shall he see no enemy
But winter and rough weather.”

And again:

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude:”

We are told Orlando was endowed with a legacy of 1,000 crowns by his father. This is a symbol of his heritage. The “1” symbolizes his separate being, and the three zeros symbolizes the potential of the three divisions of that separate being. This same symbolism of 1,000 is present in Bacon’s earliest “Shakespeare” play, The Comedy of Errors. Orlando cannot have his endowment while he is in court (the celestial realm) because he must go out into the lower world of nature in order to develop the triad which is his heritage. This heritage is the triad of the lower self:

Lower Mental

The growth of the emotional results through the long cycle of incarnation from the interaction of the mental and the physical. According to the famous American seer, Edgar Cayce, the emotions result from repeated incarnations in the earth. As the soul repeatedly incarnates it has lives where it comes in close contact with others, eventually forming attachments to others. Over the long period of the soul cycle of incarnations it begins to develop an emotional empathy toward others, until finally in the highly developed soul it comes to realize that “no man is an island, each is a part of main”. This is the rationale of the phenomenon found among serial killers. They have no emotional empathy toward others because they are souls just beginning the cycle of incarnations in the earth who have not developed the emotional body.

In order to have a complete understanding of the Garden of Eden story it is necessary to understand that in addition to the spiritual and astronomical meaning there was also a physiological meaning. If you look at a drawing of the circulatory system and the nervous system in any book on anatomy you will see that they bear a startling resemblance to inverted trees built on the trunk of the spinal column. The circulatory system is the Tree of Life, and the nervous system is Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent is Kundalini, that electric-fire energy which lies coiled at the base of the spine, and which impels man to all experience since it is the motivating spiritual force in his makeup.

The story is an allegory dealing with mans state before his descent into matter. The celestial entity as originally created, although all wise on its own plane, had not self consciousness. It had not tasted of life, nor of Good and Evil. It was led into experience and into physical matter by the serpent force, which through motivating toward activity and experience enticed the sensuous part of man (symbolized by the woman) to taste of experience. The soul of man pushed its way into matter and became clothed in a rude garment of flesh.

The allegory also deals with the story of man’s discovery of sex. The soul was created so it could procreate in a divine or immaculate manner by utilizing the soul force to materialize bodies. God, or the divine consciousness, gave man permission to enjoy all the fruits of the trees of the garden – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, but forbade him to taste of sex, the fruit at the center of the garden least he fall into the inferior animal mode of procreation. But the woman was seduced by the serpent, and the man was seduced by the woman, and that which began on the celestial plane fell into the terrestrial. Basically the story of The Garden of Eden is, therefore, a study of the celestial origin of man, of the mystery of the equilibrium of the electrical energies in the spinal column, their imbalance, and the subsequent fall into physical matter, necessitating the long cycle of the soul in the earth before it can regain its original celestial estate.

Oliver casts Orlando out and Orlando goes to the forest of Arden. Duke Frederick casts Rosalind out (just as he had cast Duke Senior out before her) and Celia accompanies her to the forest of Arden. What exactly does the forest of Arden represent? It represents nature – the world to which the soul goes after it loses its celestial estate. But before Orlando goes to the forest of Arden he defeats the giant – Charles. Charles symbolizes the titans which represent the forces of chaos. Symbolically the soul must wrestle against and defeat the forces of chaos before it can possess the organizing power to assemble the physical body, the vehicle necessary for incarnation in the physical world. Bacon shows the exile to the forest of Arden is a continuation of the biblical symbolism when he has Jaques says:

“I’ll go to sleep, if I can; if I cannot, I’ll rail against all the first-born of Egypt.”

Exodus continues the story begun in Genesis, and Exodus 11,12 reports that when the first-born of Egypt died, the Israelites were sent out into the wilderness. It is helpful here to understand the Biblical symbolism. After the soul was cast out from the Garden of Eden, that is, after it lost its celestial estate and entered into the world of nature, the children of Israel (the souls) were occupied in Egypt with making bricks from clay. Clay is a common allusion for the physical body. The soul makes forms of clay – it assumes successive physical bodies. Following this the Bible describes how the children of Israel passed through the red sea. The red sea is the sea of blood, the sea of physical generation. This is followed by the account of how the children of Israel wander lost in the wilderness. The soul that has been cast out from its original celestial estate loses its contact with its spiritual source, and must wander for a time lost in the wilderness of the world of nature. In the Biblical account the wilderness is also described as a desert (Exodus 13:1,2):

“In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai”

So in “As You Like It” there are repeated references to a desert. Rosalind says,

“I prithee, shepherd, if that love or gold can in this desert place buy entertainment, bring use where we may rest ourselves and feed.”

Orlando says to Adam,

“…there shalt not die for lack of a dinner if there live anything in this desert,” and again to Duke Senior, “But whate’er you are that in this desert inaccessible.”

In accordance with the Biblical theme in “As You Like It” there is also a theological theme. According to theologians God created man with free will and left it up to him what he would do with that free will. This is very much a theme of the forest of Arden. The forest of Arden is a place where man’s will and pleasure is the only law. Each character is an example of the use of free will. Each character plays his part in pursuit of his own fancies. As you like it is the only law of the forest in “As You Like It”.

Another important element that applies to the fallen man is the element of time. Time does not exist in the divine realm. In the celestial realm time exists, but the soul is exempt from the injuries of time. Time is the servant of the soul. The soul can go back or forward in time, expand or contract time at will. Therefore the peculiarity of the time scheme in the first act in “As You Like It” when the scene is in the court which symbolizes the celestial realm. In the first scene Oliver asks for ‘the new news at the new court’. Charles tells him that the Duke and his loyal followers have been banished and have taken to the Forest of Arden, implying that this is a fairly recent occurrence. Yet when Duke Frederick tells Celia that he spared Rosalind for her sake we learn that this was long ago for she was kept in the court and grew up with Celia after her father was banished. A number of Stratfordian commentators have noted this, and their general consensus is that Shakespeare was being sloppy. Of course Bacon designed his concealed writing to select their readers. This is a case of Nature and Bacon working hand in hand while the Stratfordians, were nulled by Nature, and culled by Bacon. Sorry Charlie.

In the terrestrial realm the soul enters the realm of time. Humans are born, grow old and die, and live under the iron rule of time. So we find Touchstone moralizing on the effects of time:

“And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And looking on it with lack-luster eye,
Says very wisely, ‘It is ten o’clock.
Thus we may see’, quoth he, ‘how the world wags.’
‘Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more ‘twill be eleven;
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.’”

And Jaques gives the famous seven ages of man soliloquy which deals with the same subject:

“ All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
This ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

An interesting allusion in “As You Like It” is the ‘tongues in trees’ allusion. Duke Senior says, where we are first introduced to the Forest of Arden:

“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

We might skip over this, but we find later Orlando using the same expression:

“Why should this a desert be?
For it is unpeopled? No.
Tongues I’ll hang on ever tree
That shall civil sayings show:
Some, how brief the life of man
Runs his erring pilgrimage,
That the stretching of a span
Buckles in his sum of age;
Some, of violated vows
‘Twixt the souls of friend and friend;
But upon the fairest boughs,
Or at every sentence end,
Will I ‘Rosalinda’ write,
Teaching all that read to know
The quintessence of every spite”

This is interesting because it shows that not only does Orlando write his love messages to Rosalind on trees, but also his “tongues on trees” cover all of human learning. What’s up with all this? Bacon has here an allusion to a forgotten facet of the beginnings of all human learning. The letters from the earliest alphabets came from the names of trees. This is shown very convincingly by Godfrey Higgins in his “Celtic Druids” and “Anacalypsis”. So the allusion when Bacon has Duke Senior and Orlando refer to ‘tongues on trees” has to do with the early beginnings of human learning. Duke Senior, to be sure, also speaks of, “books in the running brooks” and “Sermons in stones” and this also touches on certain facets of early human learning, but since my space is limited here, I won’t get into that.

The Forest of Arden in “As You Like It” deals with the world of nature. And the allegory has a religious theme. Much of this allegory pertains to the Judeo-Christian religion. However, there was another religion that was the religion of nature and, as such, pertained more directly to the nature setting of “As You Like It”. The thread of this allusion in the play begins immediately after we first encounter Duke Senior and his Lords in the forest of Arden. Duke Senior says:

“Come, shall we go and kill us venison?
And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city,
Should, in their own confines, with forked heads
Have their round haunches gored.”

It is perfectly reasonable that the exiles should kill deer to provide venison for their food. But it sounds strange that Duke Senior should refer to them as burghers or citizens, and the impression is heightened immediately afterward when we hear of a wounded stag heaving forth groans and big round tears coursing one another down its innocent nose. It sounds like a description of a human rather than a deer. And Jaques addresses the herd of deer in the same vein:

“Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizen,
‘Tis just the fashion: wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?”

When Touchstone is talking about marrying Audrey he says:

“A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no assembly but horn-beasts. But what thought? Courage! As horns are odious, they are necessary. It is said, ‘Many a man knows no end of his goods.’ Right! Many a man has good horns and knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; ‘tis none of his own getting. Horns! Even so, poor men alone. No, no; the noblest deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore blessed? No; as a walled town is more worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a married man more honorable than the bare brow of a bachelor; and by how much defense is better than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to want.”

The allusion, of course, is to the idea of the cuckold’s horns. The female of some Old World cuckoos lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, leaving them to be cared for by the resident nesters. This has given the female bird a figurative reputation for unfaithfulness as well. Hence the term to be cuckolded refers to a man whose wife has committed adultery with some other man. Such a man was said to wear the horns. In the rutting season, one stag may accumulate several females, taking the female away from other stags. Hence the expression ‘to wear horns’, the man who has been cuckolded figuratively wears horns like the stag whose female has gone over to another stag. Rosalind refers to the same idea when she reproaches Orlando for being late and says she has as soon be wooed of by a snail, besides the snail brings his destiny with him. When Orlando asks, “What’s that?”, she replies, “Why, horns; which such as you are fain to be beholding to your wives for”.

But the allusion moves to another theme in the scene where Jaques enters and the Lords dressed as foresters are found with the slain deer. When Jaques asked who killed the deer, and one of the Lords responds, “Sir, it was I.” Jaques says:

“Let’s present him to the Duke like a Roman conqueror; and it would do well to set the deer’s horns upon his head for a branch of victory.”

Then they have the song:

“What shall he have that killed the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear:
Then sing him home. The rest shall bear
This burden.

Take thou no scorn to wear the horn,
It was a crest ere thou wast born,
Thy father’s father wore it,
And thy father bore it.
The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.”

This has all the appearance of some type of ritual, and the explanation is in the play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” where, following his misadventures with the merry wives, a ritualistic scene follows in which Flagstaff has horns set on his head. The Merry Wives of Windsor deals with the old nature religion of witchcraft and The Horned God, and the nature theme of the allegory is an integral part of the nature theme of the “As You Like It’ allegory. The nature religion of The Horned God was widespread long before and after the advent of the Judeo-Christian creed. “The God of the Witches” by Margaret A. Murray is an excellent source of information about this. The entire book can be found online at:

In effect the Judeo-Christian god was cuckolded by the women who left Him for The Horned God. The nature religion of The Horned God was widespread all over Europe, England, and specifically the forest of Arden. The Celtic horned god Cernunnos, who was indigenous to this region, was also known by the name of Silvanus. The old form of the religion involved a ritual sacrifice. A man was dressed as a stag with the horns of the stag, and in the ritual the man was slain. Apparently it was believed this conveyed the virility of the stag to The Horned God. Another idea, in the original form of the rituals, was that the sacrificed victim provided food for the god, or gods.

The next allusion we need to look at in order to understand the play is Celia and Rosalind. The name Celia means heavenly and Rosalind has already been identified as The Rose. This symbolism is purely Platonic and is based on Plato’s great dialogue of The Symposium. The Symposium deals with the story of the soul. It tells how the original androgyne was split into the two sexes, but it also deals with another subject which has an additional bearing on “As You Like It”. According to The Symposium there were two Venuses – the heavenly Venus, and the earthly Venus. The realm of the heavenly Venus was the celestial realm while the earthly Venus ruled over the terrestrial realm. Celia, whose name means heavenly, is obviously the heavenly Venus. When she is exiled from the celestial realm (the court) she takes the name Aliena – that is the outcast or exiled. In other words she had become the terrestrial Venus. The inseparable aspect of Venus is love and beauty. The rose was the flower of Venus and later became the symbol of love and beauty – The Rose, or Rosalind. As Celia says:

“We still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learned, played, eat together;
And wheresoe’er we went, like Juno’s swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable.”

There is a subtle clue here that points toward the nature of Celia and Rosalind as goddesses. The gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece were very much taller than human. The fragment of a relief from Eleusis (now in the Athens National Museum) shows a goddess sprinkling water on the head of an Eleusinian hero.

The hero is a very muscular looking fellow. Probably above average size. But the goddess towers above him. She appears to be about 12 feet tall. In “As You Like It” there are reference to the height of Celia and Rosalind. Rosalind says, “…I am more than common tall”. Yet despite her height Celia is still taller than she is. When Orlando is talking to Le Beau, Le Beau says Celia was the taller of the two. However, once Rosalind had been exiled to the forest of Arden and takes on her male disguise she is described as short. Phebe says of Rosalind who is disguised as a boy and with whom she (Phebe) has fallen in love:

“He is not very tall.”

Then again in reference to Celia and Rosalind, Oliver says: “the woman low, and browner than her brother.” Anyone familiar with the writing of Homer knows that the idea of the gods and goddesses among the ancient Greeks was that when they appeared on earth they could take on any shape and size at will. All of this is only another subtle clue by Bacon of the divine status of Celia and Rosalind.

The burning question, of course, is why is Celia depicted as the daughter of Duke Frederick who is the personification of chaos? It makes sense, of course, that Rosalind (Beauty’s Rose) is the daughter Duke Senior the personification of order, but what logic is there in making Venus the daughter of chaos? The logic is in the ideas of Bacon, and this is another example of why it is so important to understand his ideas if we hope to understand the plays. Bacon has an interesting idea about the primordial creation. He said:

“For the summary law of nature, that impulse of desire impressed by God upon the primary particles of matter which makes them come together, and which by repetition and multiplication produces the variety of nature, is a thing which mortal thought may glance at, but can hardly take in.”

Desire or the Goddess of Love is Venus, and the matter upon which that primary impulse of desire was impressed by the God was the matter of chaos. So it is perfectly logical that Celia should be depicted as the daughter of chaos. As for the depiction of the role of Rosalind in the play we may best understand this by resorting to Plato’s famous dialogue The Symposium. According to Plato’s Symposium love is the desire produced by beauty for generation upon the body of the beautiful. This is not a mere fleshly generation. The passion for the beautiful begins with the devotion to one beautiful body, generalizes itself into the love of all bodily beauty, and rises by successive graduations through the love of beautiful souls, thoughts, laws, institutions, knowledge, to the contemplation of the infinite sea of the beautiful, and to the final apprehension of the absolute, timeless, space less, form of beauty that transcends all the particular embodiments whose beauty is derived from it by participation, and which comes into being and passes away while it remains eternally the same. Love is that cosmic power of attraction evoked by the hierarchy of beauty which successively rises fallen souls through higher and higher stages until they finally once again attain union with THE ONE.

A very interesting book by John Vyvyan is titled “Shakespeare and the Rose of Love – A Study of the Early Plays in Relation to the Medieval Philosophy of Love”. Knowing that the Rose of Love played a prominent role in both the system of knowledge of Bacon and the “Shakespeare” plays enables us to grasp the significance of a very interesting little ideogram Bacon paints as a word picture in the play. When Celia and Rosalind (The Rose) are preparing to go the forest of Arden, Rosalind says she will disguise herself and there will be “a boar-spear in my hand”. Think about it. The Rose with the spear of the boar in her hand. This fairly screams of Bacon (whose crest was the boar) and who wrote under the name Shake-Speare while assuming the mantle of The Rose (“For nothing this wide universe I call / Save thou, my Rose; in it thou art my all.) In Elizabethan times “hit” meant hid. The “boar-spear in my hand” passage in the First Folio is designed so that when the book is closed it will rest against another passage on the preceding page that spells out “HIT FB”, i.e. “hid Francis Bacon”:

H Hereafter is a better world than this,

I I shall desire more loue and knowledge of you,

Orl. I rest must bounden to you: fare you well.

T Thus must I from the smoake into the smother,

F From tyrant Duke, unto a tyrant Brother.

B But heavenly Rosaline.

Bacon gives us another clue when he has Rosalind give Orlando the chain. In his “De Augmentis” Bacon made reference to “…that excellent and divine fable of the golden chain, where men and gods are represented as unable to draw Jupiter to earth, but Jupiter able to draw them up to heaven. Rosalind represents that cosmic principle described in the dialogues of Plato, which draws men up to heaven.

When Rosalind goes to the forest of Arden she takes the name of Ganymede. In classical mythology Ganymede was a Trojan boy, who became the cupbearer of the gods after Jupiter in the form of an eagle seized him and carried him up to the abode of the gods. The cupbearer of the gods served the gods the magic elixir which may equate to that cosmic principle described in the dialogues of Plato. But there is another facet to The Symposium which had a bearing on the Ganymede story.

Ganymede was a catamite. According to the Greek ideal (as set forth fully in The Symposium) sex with women was solely for the purpose of procreation. True love existed only between males. The God of Love described in The Symposium is a young man or boy. And since Bacon is drawing on The Symposium he very cleverly incorporates this idea in his depiction of Rosalind. In Bacon’s time boy actors disguised as females depicted females on the stage. In the part of Rosalind an actor (a boy) disguised as a girl plays a girl who disguised as a boy plays the pretend part for Orlando of a girl (Rosalind) and the character is Rosalind, but the character is actually a boy who is playing Rosalind. Since the role of Rosalind in the play depicts the god of love described in The Symposium there was a need to depict her as a boy. Bacon solved this need very cleverly by his stratagem of having Rosalind disguised as a boy, and also through the assumed role of Orlando making love to the boy.

There is an additional depth to this. The play deals with the entire cycle of incarnations of the soul in the earth. At the end of this cycle the soul regains the garden. But in the interim, during its many incarnations in the earth the soul has incarnations in both sexes. So love through the cycle of incarnation involves sex shifting. And Bacon’s stratagem very cleverly depicts this. The sex shift is only seeming because the soul in its true nature is androgynous, but the sex shift is, in a sense, real - both because a boy actors plays the part, and because in as much as the events of the play are accepted as real they are real in the framework of the stage play.

If the role of Rosalind in the play is examined carefully it will be seen to follow exactly this idea from Plato of the god of love through the element of beauty elevating the love of the soul from physical love up to the successive higher stages of love . Rosalind assumes the role of teaching Orlando with the professed purpose of curing him of the madness of his love:

“Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel.”

And when Orlando asks, “Did you ever cure any so?”, she says:

“Yes, one, and in this manner. He was to imagine me his love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me. At which time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate, changeable, longing and liking, proud, fantastical, apish, shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every passion something and for no passion truly anything, as boys and women are for the most part cattle of this color; would now like him, now loathe him; then entertain him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor from his mad humor of love to a living humor of madness, which was, to forswear the full stream of the world and to live in a nook merely monastic. And thus I cured him; and this way will take upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep’s heart, that there shall not be one spot of love in’t.”

So the teaching lessons of Rosalind with Orlando represent stages of the soul as it is lifted from the lower stages of physical love up to the higher stages of soul attainment. The culmination of the evolution of the soul is when Oliver (the higher self) comes to the forest of Arden and is united with Orlando. The account certainly has a fairy tale flavor:

“Under an old oak, whose boughs were mossed with age
And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched ragged man, o’ergrown with hair,
Lay sleeping on his back; about his neck
A green and gilded snake had wreathed itself,
Who with her head, nimble in threats, approached
The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
Seeing Orlando, it unlinked itself
And with indented glides did slip away
Into a bush, under which bush’s shade
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching, head on ground with catlike watch
When that the sleeping man should stir; for ‘tis
The royal disposition of that beast
To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead.
This seen, Orlando did approach the man
And found it was his brother, his elder brother.”

This is a very esoteric little vignette. Here again we have the tree and the serpent. The old oak, ‘mossed with age’ is reminiscent of the ‘world darkening oak of the Kalevala’, but this oak is described as ‘bald with dry antiquity’. That is, it is without leaves,- the stars are not present. We are not dealing with an astronomical symbolism, but with a strictly physiological condition that has existed for an interminable period of time. The serpent is now a ‘green and gilded snaked’ whose head hovers above the open mouth. Green symbolizes life. In fallen man the Kundalini force is replaced with an interim mechanism, powered by the breathing mechanism. As the individual breathes minute amounts of magnetic-electrical energy are inducted into the make-shift mechanism via which the energy is stored at the base of the spine. When the physical mechanism of the lower self is eventually evolved to the stage where contact can again be established with the higher self the interim mechanism is no longer needed – the green serpent glides away.

This vignette is reminiscent of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. She falls into an enchanted sleep. Everyone in the castle falls asleep. The King and Queen, the whole court, the horses in their stalls, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons on the roof, the flies on the wall. The very wind ceased, and around the place grew a hedge of thorns that became thicker each year. The story, of course, represents the higher self within, that lies in an enchanted sleep until the lower, outer self, has evolved to point where it can contact the inner self and awaken it. At the advanced point in the evolution of the soul it regains union with the higher self. The lion is the symbol of royalty and pride, but this is a female lioness, representing the maternal quality. This represents the birth of that pride which is the danger that assails the soul that has acquired the powers that accompany the awakening of Kundalini and the contact with the higher self. This is shown by the lion wounding Orlando, albeit in this case the injury is minor - Orlando is depicted as overcoming the wound of pride.

At the end of the play Duke Senior says:

“First, in this forest let us do those ends
That here were well begun and well begot;
And after, every of this happy number
That have endured shrewd days and nights with us
Shall share the good of our returned fortune,
According to the measure of their states.”

One of the concepts of the Vedanta of India is the idea of pralaya. According to this idea there is a periodicity, a day and night, a breathing out and breathing in to all creation. At the end of a cosmic period everything is reabsorbed into its first principle. This is called pralaya. At the end of a world period the same thing happens, as also with the soul at the end of its cycle of incarnation. Pralaya is the period of rest between periods of creations. But one of the interesting ideas of pralaya is that the new creation does not begin from the starting point, but the new creation begins from level the life units had attained at the point of the pralaya. This seems to be what is referred to in the speech by Duke Senior. In the masque at the end of the play the god Hymen is brought in by Rosalind to marry the four couples.

Certain Stratfordians have suggested that Rosalind hired one of the locals to play the part. The only reason I mention this is I feel it is my duty as a card carrying Baconian to afford the Stratfordians every chance to show just how abysmally dumb they really are. And this idea is dumb even for the Stratfordians, who are to dumb what dirty is to dirt. Actually there is no indication that Hyman is not intended to represent the real god, and every indication to believe he is. Not only is this a further allusion to the status of Rosalind as a goddess, but it is an integral part of the symbolism of the allegory. At the end of the great cycle, the process of manifestation by which there was the separation into opposites is reversed and the union of the opposites takes place. Hymen says:

“Then is there mirth in heaven
When earthly things made even
Atone (at-one) together.”

In accordance with the idea of the inbreathing of prayala all of the other characters in the play prepare to return to court at the end of the play with the exception of Jaques. The following dialogue takes place:

Jaques. Sir, by your patience. If I heard you rightly,
The Duke [Frederick] hath put on a religious life
And thrown into neglect the pompous court.
Second Brother. He hath.
Jaques. To him will I. Out of these convertities

There is much matter to be heard and learned. Remember the description of the three forces? The middle force between the two opposites becomes the initial force for the next stage in the growth cycle. Therefore, although the cycle for the other characters in the play is completed, Jaques will pass on into the next cycle of growth.

The Face Looking Toward the Future

In the face looking toward the future, in “As You Like It”, Bacon constructed a model of the operation of his discovery device showing the operation of this device in inquiring into the ‘form’ of a legacy.Since this legacy deals with his concealed writings through which he transmitted the secret part of his Great Instauration, these two elements - his concealed writings and his Great Instauration have a major role in the allegory. Approximately one fifth of the drama takes place in the court which represents the celestial level, while the other four fifths takes place in the forest of Arden which represents the world of nature. The characters in the allegory pertain to these different levels.

In the face looking toward the future we are concerned with the realm of the world of nature. Duke Senior and his lords represents God and his allied entities in nature. When Celia and Rosalind discuss Fortune and Nature at the beginning of the play they give a clue to the reader as to the two divisions with which the play deals. Fortune pertains to the realm of heaven. Nature is the world symbolized by the forest of Arden.

Celia and Rosalind are goddesses, beings from a higher sphere. Since Touchstone is the companion of these Goddesses, who have a special role in the Great Instauration, we can assume Touchstone also has a special role and merits special attention. Adam, Oliver, Jaques, and Orlando represent the soul first in the celestial realm, and then in the world of nature. Corin (the old shepherd), Silvius (whose name means forest dweller), and Phebe obviously pertains to the pastoral or Arcadia motif in the play.

The Arcadia motif is pertinent to the drama because it is associated with the idea of the transmission of concealed knowledge. The Arcadia motif in the play is a very plausible theme of the greenwood setting, but it is also a clue touching on the deeper theme of the face looking toward the future. In the early Arcadia theme in European literature, a basic theme was that of a fountain which was associated with an underground stream. This stream was the river Alpheus – central river in the actual geographical Arcadia in Greece, which flowed underground and was said to surface again at the Fountain of Arethusa in Sicily. The idea was associated with the idea of the concealed transmission of knowledge – of a concealed, underground stream of knowledge.

Bacon made surprisingly few changes to Lodge’s ‘Rosalynde’ (other than stripping it down it to the bare bones -a necessity when compressing a book into the format of a play). But he did add five characters. These are Touchstone; the Jaques of the forest of Arden; the forest clown – William, the goat girl Audrey, and the vicar Sir Oliver Mar-text. Since these changes were made to adapt the book more closely to the particular requirements of his allegory, the role of these characters in the allegory is particularly informative, and the most important of these characters that was added is Touchstone. The presumptive significance of the Touchstone character is that he has the role of the actual touchstone - a black siliceous stone that reveals the gold in what it touches. On the surface this seems to be the role of Touchstone in the play.

Actually the role of Touchstone is a little different. And, so we will not be misled, Bacon defines the role of Touchstone when he first appears in the play. Celia and Rosalind are discussing Fortune and Nature.When Touchstone appears on the stage, Celia says, “Peradventure this is not Fortune’s work neither, but Nature’s who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses and hath sent this natural for our whetstone. For always the dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. [to Touchstone] How now, wit; whither wander you?”

With this we learn Touchstone’s role is to promote the wits of others, and this gives us a clue to the identity of Touchstone. In a letter to Dr. Playfere Bacon said, “my purpose was rather to excite other men’s wits, than to magnify mine own”. Touchstone is Bacon, or to be more accurate Touchstone personifies Bacon in his role of exciting other men’s wits. Touchstone has another trait in common with Bacon. We learn that he has also been a courtier. In accordance with his role of exciting other men’s wits, Jaques, who represents the mental part of the threefold man is the character most allied with, and most influenced by, Touchstone in the play. And Jaques immediately echoes the goal of Bacon as well as defining for us the role of the fool:

Jaques.: O that I were a fool!
I am ambitious for a motley coat.
Duke Senior.: Thou shalt have one.
Jaques.: It is my only suit,
Provided that you weed your better judgments
Of all opinion that grows ranks in them”
That I am wise. I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please, for so fools have,
And they that are most galled with my folly,
They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so?
The why is plain as way to parish church:
He that is a fool doth very wisely hit
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob. If not,
The wise man’s folly is anatomized
Even by the squand’ring glances of the fool.
Invest me in my motley, give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of th’ infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.

Given half a chance Bacon will point us in the right direction (if only we will second his clues ‘with the forward child understanding’), and the direction he points here is as plain as the nose on Cyrano de Bergerac’s face. In the first book of the “Advancement” and in the first book of the “Novum Organum” what Bacon does figuratively is to call on men to weed their ‘better judgments of all opinion that grows rank in them’. He anatomizes ‘the wise man’s folly’. But he wants the guise, or in this case the disguise of the fool, for his task because, although the men of his time would not suffer correction, it was a fad of the time for them to suffer fools gladly, and not take offense when their follies were corrected by fools. Therefore, this also points toward Bacon’s concealed writings. Bacon would hide himself behind the disguise of motley so that he might correct the faults of those occupied with natural philosophy, and that he might give his knowledge to the world.

Bacon’s masks – William Shakespeare

With Touchstone identified as Bacon we can also readily see that the play identifies Bacon as the author of the ‘Shakespeare’ works. This is clearly shown in the allegory of Touchstone, William, and Audrey. Both William and Touchstone claim Audrey. Touchstone says she is, ‘an ill-favored thing, sir, but mine own’. His meeting with William, the forest clown, proceeds as follows:

Touchstone.: A ripe age: Is thy name William?
William.: William, Sir
Touchstone.: A faire name. Was’t borne I’ the Forrest here?
William.: I Sir, I thanke God.
Touchstone.: Thanke God: A good answer.

And Touchstone disposes of his rival as follows:

Touchstone.: Art thou learned?
William.: No, sir.
Touchstone.: Then learn this of me: to have is to have’ for it is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being Poured out of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty the other; for all your writers do Consent that ipse is he. Now, you are not ipse, for I am he.
William.: Which he, sir?
Touchstone.: He, sir, that must marry this woman. Therefore, you clown, abandon – which is in the vulgar, leave – the society – which in the boorish is, company – of this female”

Here’s a coincidence for you. Out of nearly one thousand characters in Shakespeare’s plays only one is named William, and that one is encountered in the forest of Arden. William is an ignorant, uneducated, country lout, who stands only one rung above Ben Jonson’s parody of the Stratford man. In Ben Jonson’s “Every man out of his humour”, Jonson parodies a character who is obviously William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon. The character Sogliardo [excrement] has purchased a coat of arms and the motto is “Not without mustard” obviously a parody of the “Not without right” motto on the coat of arms of the Stratford man. When asked if he has arms Sogliardo replies, ”Yfaith, I thanke God.” In “As You Like It” the forest clown William, William uses the same ‘I thank God’ phrase. Apparently this was a characteristic phrase of the real man of Stratford. The phrase ‘God be praised’ in the will of the man from Stratford on Avon is quite similar.

In order to understand the rest of the allegory and we need to take a closer look at the character – Audrey, and we need to know exactly what Bacon thought of the plays he wrote under his ‘Shakespeare’ mask. Audrey’s occupation is herding goats. The name Audrey derives from the word tawdry, and she is exactly what her name implies. She is a tawdry goatherd. The allegory is obvious. By having to present his Instauration in concealed works couched in allegory and allusion for the purpose of creating works for ‘popular perusal’ Bacon felt he had to ‘write down’ - cater to the popular taste with tawdry works..He allegorized these works for ‘popular perusal’ in the character Audrey. The goat has been the symbol for drama from the earliest times. The word tragedy comes from the Greek tragos (goat) and tragoida (the song of the goat). Satyrs were a staple of early dramatic performances and the satyrs were always dressed in goatskin costumes. Hence Bacon’s authorship of the ‘Shakespeare’ is allegorized in “As You Like It”. The works are (in Bacon’s view) tawdry, ‘an ill-favored thing’ but his own. In this allegory Bacon tells us emphatically that it is he, not the man from Stratford on Avon, who is to be ‘married to the verse’. Ipse translates as “I myself.” Touchstone’s diatribe against William paraphrases as follows:

“For all your writers do consent I myself am he [the author]; now, you [William Shakespere] are not I myself – for I [Francis Bacon] am he.
Bacon’s Masks in France

The setting of the play is the forest of Ardennes in Frances, but the name of the forest is changed to Arden in the plays , and there are any number of suggestions in the play that this Arden is the forest of Arden in England. Why is this feature built into the play? Here again we are dealing with Bacon’s concealed writings. His first major concealing writing was “The French Academy” written while he was in France during the 1576-1579 period. He later wrote another major work, “The Essays of Michel Montaigne” that was published in France. France was a major aspect of his career as a writer of concealed works. But the major concealed work that he wrote was the plays of Shakespeare. The forest clown, William, in “As You Like It” was written to depict William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon who lived near the forest of Arden..

Bacon’s masks - Christopher Marlowe

While Touchstone is having the conversation with Audrey leading up the proposed plan for their marriage, he says to Audrey:

“I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.”

And in his next words to Audrey he says:

“When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.”

Then he schedules the marriage to be made by Sir Oliver Mar-text, the vicar of the next village who meets with the pair in the forest to perform the wedding. But Jaques persuades Touchstone that this would not be a suitable wedding:

“And will you, being a man of your breeding, be married under a bush like a beggar?”

A little later in the play, Phebe says:

“Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,
‘Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?’”

These are all references to Christopher Marlowe. One of Marlowe’s works was a translation of the works of Ovid. Marlowe was struck dead in a small room in Deptford as a result of a quarrel over the ‘reckoning’, i.e. the bill for the room. In Marlowe’s “The Jew of Malta” Barabas speaks of “Infinite riches in a little room”. The “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?” is a quotation from Marlowe’s “Hero and Leander”. Mar-text alludes to the name Marlowe. In his “Marlowe” works Bacon was experimenting with catering to the taste of the masses – hence the ‘Mar-text’ nomenclature. The editors of the Arden “As You Like It” say:

“Many commentators have been impressed by the evidence, even when they continue to date the play 1599, but nobody explains why Shakespeare should think Marlowe’s death by violence was material for a stage jester.”

They are obviously prey to the classical Stratfordian malady which has the technical name – Duh.(The Latin root from which the medical term derives is obscure, but there are common physiological characteristics that may be observed in Stratfordians everywhere: low, beetle-browed foreheads, eyes set close together with a vacant expression and a propensity to spout drivel about Shakespeare). In any case I will clear this little mystery up immediately. Since the face looking toward the future in “As You Like It” deals with Bacon’s concealed works, the works that appeared under his Marlowe “mask” are included in the allusions to his concealed works in this play. Sir Oliver Mar-text is not allowed to marry Touchstone to Audrey because Audrey represents the “Shakespeare” works, however, so the allusion will not mislead the reader into thinking it means Bacon did not write the Marlowe works, he gives Mar-text the Christian name of Oliver, showing for any except the mentally challenged that the Marlowe works are earlier siblings of the Shakespeare works, and therefore have the same parent, and he makes Mar-text a vicar because a vicar is a person who acts in place of another, just as the name Marlowe acted in place of the name Bacon.

Bacon’s masks - Thomas Lodge

The source for the play was the book by Thomas Lodge, “Rosalynde. Euphues golden Legacie”. Bertram Theobald, Edward Harmon, James Baxter, S.E.E. Hickson, and Parker Woodward have all given evidence to support Bacon’s authorship of the Thomas Lodge works. In addition, many of Lodge’s works were marked with the “AA” device, in particular the 1598 edition of “Rosalynde, Euphues golden Legacie”.

If we examine various authors suspected to be masks of Bacon’s we find Edmund Spenser was safely tucked away in a remote corner of Ireland before works began to appear with his name on them; Christopher Marlowe was dead before works began to appear with his name on them, and Thomas Lodge was away on ocean voyages. He supposedly wrote ‘Rosalynde’ while he was on a voyage to the Canaries with Captain Clarke. Supposedly again, in 1591 he sailed with Cavendish for South America, and his work ‘Euphues’ Shadow’ was published while he was away on this voyage. “Margaret of America” was purported to have been written while he was in the straits of Magellan. On top of all this, when Lodge went to Oxford he was the servitor of Edward Hoby, cousin and close friend of Francis Bacon. Another point that bears mentioning in Lodge’s Rosalynde is that the principal advice given by Sir John of Bordeaux on his deathbed was ‘the mean is sweetest melody’. This, of course, was the Bacon’s family motto – Mediocria Firma – moderate things endure.

Bacon’s masks - Robert Greene

The name of the character Rosader in Lodge’s Rosalynde was changed to Orlando in “As You Like It” to provide an allusion that tells the observant reader Robert Greene was one of Bacon’s masks. James Baxter, S.A.E. Hickson, and Parker Woodward have all given evidence to support Bacon’s authorship of some of the Robert Greene works. Many of these works were marked with the “AA” device. But the clue was lost on the editors of Arden edition of “As You Like It”. Without having the slightest clue as to it the significance of the allusion the editors say:

“Greene’s Orlando Furioso was played probably in 1591, the year in which Harington published his translation of Ariosto’s Orlando. The first scene of the second acts bears a curious resemblance to Shakespeare’s II. i. The hero in both plays is called Orlando. Both Orlandos address heavenly bodies, as sympathetic goddesses. Shakespeare’s Orlando invokes the moon as Diana, and Greene’s Orlando invokes the planet Venus:

‘Faire pride of morne, sweete beautie of the Eeuen / Looke on Orlando languishing in love’ (II. i. 558). Shakespeare’s Orlando hangs verses on trees in praise of Rosalind. Greene’s Orlando finds the trees already hung with ‘roundelayes’, which are the work of a rival, hoping to arouse his jealousy. Rosalind accuses Orlando of abusing young plants (III. ii. 351) and Jaques prays him to ‘mar no more trees with writing love- songs in their barks’ (II. 255-6). Greene’s Orlando inquires ‘Who wronged happy Nature so / To spoyle these trees with this Angelica?’ Lodge’s shepherds, and Rosader (Orlando) with them, make long inscriptions in bark, for which no one rebukes them, but they hang no papers on trees.”

These Stratfordians are peculiar folk. It happens every time. You could put an elephant holding a peanut in his trunk in front of a Stratfordian and all the Stratfordian would see would be the peanut.

Bacon’s Masks - The Sound of Music

There are more songs in As You Like It than in any other Shakespeare play. Faced with this very evident fact the Stratfordians have scratched their collective heads, a somewhat dangerous activity for Stratfordians, because (due to that sharp point on top of their heads) they uniformly tend to end up with bloody fingers rather than enlightened minds. One Stratfordian tells us the songs go well with the pastoral setting. No wait, says another, in 1599 when Robert Armin joined the company this put a good adult singer at Shakespeare’s disposal, and he sit down posthaste and wrote a bunch of songs. What can one say about the Stratfordians? They are like the guy who was out hunting with a friend. The friend suddenly fell to the ground, apparently dead. The guy, highly agitated, called 911 on his cell phone and explained what has happened. The phone operator tried to calm him, “Just take a deep breath, and relax. Lets take this one step at a time. First you need to make sure he is dead.” There was a momentary silence, followed by the sound of a gunshot, and then the guy’s voice on the phone again, “Okay. What do I do next?”

The best thing the Stratfordians could do is give up hunting for material to shore up their brain-damaged Shakespearean exegesis. Put their critical gun away before they slay ‘the forward child, understanding’ yet again. Take up some new occupation more congenial to their temperament. They might do very well, for example, laying sod for lawns (always providing there was someone to stand beside them and constantly call out, ‘green side up!’). Actually the reason for the unusual quantity of songs in “As You Like It” is more than evident. Bacon deals with his “masked” writings in the play, and a substantial portion of these consisted of his music. Let’s take, for example, the best known song in the play. It goes as follows:

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green cornfield did pass
In springtime, the only pretty ringtime,
When birds to ding, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a hoy, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would like
In springtime, &c. Etc.

This song appeared in Thomas Morley’s “First Book of Ayres” published in 1600. This was the same year “As You Like It” first appeared. We know this because there was an entry in the Stationers’ Register on August 4, 1600 for “As you Lyke it” with the notation ‘to be staied’. It is customary for the assumption to be made that the music for the song was by Thomas Morley, and the words were possibly by William Shakespeare (see, for example, the book “An Elizabethan Song Book”, music edited by Noah Greenberg, text edited by W.H. Auden and Chester Hallman, published by Doubleday Anchor Books, 1955. But this assumption requires a closer look.

Thomas Morley (1557-1602) was a publisher as well as a musician and composer. The people who make the assumption that he wrote the music for the above song in “As You Like It” may not have examined the title pages of his works as carefully as they should have. The following works appeared with the legend ‘by Thomas Morley’ on the title page:.

“Cantvs Of Thomas Morley the first booke of balletts to fiue voices”, 1595
“Canzonets or Litle short aers to fiue and sixe voices”, 1597
“A plaine and easie introduction to practicall musicke”, 1597
“Of Thomas Morley the first booke of canzonets to two voices”, 1595

But a number of works bore the legend ‘published by Thomas Morley’, or ‘the assigne of Thomas Morley’ on the title page.

“Madrigalls to foure voices” newly published by Thomas Morley,1594
“Canzonets. Or little short songs to three voices” published by Thomas Morley, 1602
“Of Thomas Morley the first booke of balletts to five voices”, the assigne of Thomas Morley, 1600
“Madrigals to foure voices” published by Thomas Morley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, 1600

This was obviously the case with ‘The first booke of ayres’ which says on the title page ‘published by Thomas Morley’:

“The first booke of ayres. Or Little short songs, to sing and play to the lute, with the base viole”, Newly published by Thomas Morley, Imprinted at London : In litle S. Helen's by [H. Ballard for] VVilliam Barley, the assigne of Thomas Morley, and are to be sold at his house in Gracious streete, 1600

We can tell from the dedication to his books that Thomas Morley would have been acquainted with Francis Bacon. He has two books dedicated to Mary Herbert. There is no doubt that the Herberts were friends of Bacon. He has one book dedicated to Anne, Countess of Warwick. She was married to Leicester’s brother, and related to Bacon by marriage. He has another book dedicated to George Carey. Carey was a member of the School of Night group, and there is a letter of Bacon’s where he has a reference to Carey that indicates a close connection with Carey. Another book of Morley’s was dedicated to Lady Lucie Countess of Bedford. The Bedfords were close to the Bacon family.

Allusions relating to the Great Instauration

In his Novum Organum Bacon said:

“But the course I propose for the discovery of sciences is such as leaves but little to the acuteness and strength of wits, but places all wits and understandings nearly on a level. But as in the drawing of a straight line or a perfect circle, much depends on the steadiness and practice of the hand, if it be done by aim of hand only, but if with the aid of rule or compass, little or nothing; so is it exactly with my plan.”

Touchstone levels everything to its lowest common denominator, or should we say (in the context of Bacon’s science) its highest common denominator. This is exactly the end defined by Bacon when he said all knowledge begins with understanding the properties that distinguishes one thing from another, and arriving at the real difference. We must know, he said, what is always present when a particular thing is present (for example, heat, or light, or weight) and what is absent when they are absent. In short, we must know the law or “form” that distinguishes any one thing from any other thing. This is exactly the function arrived at a little later by Newton and Leibnitz when they developed the ultimate mathematical tool of the calculus.

We see an example of this, and of Touchstone as the whetstone who excites the wits of others when he asks Corin,

“Hast any philosophy in thee, shepherd?”, and Corin replies:

“No more, but that I know the more one sickens, the worse at ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content is without three good friends; that the property of rain is to wet and fire to burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep, and that a great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that he that hath learned no wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.”

Touchstone replies, “Such a one is a natural philosopher”, and well he might, for Corin is stating Bacon’s definition of the basis of all knowledge, i.e. to understand the properties that distinguish one thing from another. Bacon can also be clearly discerned in other Touchstone scenes that deal with the Great Instauration. Bacon said:

“Besides, independently of that delight and vanity which I have described, it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human intellect to be more moved and excited by affirmative than by negatives;”

So we see the answer of Touchstone when asked by Corin, how he likes the shepherd’s life highlights the need to consider both affirmative and negatives:

“Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good life; but in respect that it is a shepherd’s life, it is naught. In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life, look you it fits my humor well; but as there is no more plenty in it, it goes much my stomach.”

It is obvious that in these two examples we have a description of two basic features of Bacon’s Great Instauration. Bacon used the schema of the ladder of love as a basis for the six divisions of his Great Instauration:

Particulars (The Advancement)

The particular is analyzed by the mind (Novum Organum)
The mind passes from the particular to all bodies of a like nature (The Histories)
The ascent is made by the intellect to the form of all bodies of a like nature (Ladder of The Intellect).
The anticipation of the active philosophy is attained.
The true philosophy is attained.

and this can clearly be seen allegorized in the play.

1. Particulars

The character that brings about the initial contact between Rosalind and Orlando is Le Beau, that is, the first step on the rung the ladder of ascent is initiated by beauty. This particular is when Orlando first sees Rosalind and immediately falls in love with her. We see this with his words, “What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue.”

2. The particular is analyzed by the mind

“Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
And thou, thrice-crowned Queen of Night, survey
With thy caste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress name that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind? These tree shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witnessed everywhere
Run, run, Orlando, carve on every tree
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.”

3. The mind passes from the particular to all bodies of a like nature (The Histories)

“From the east to western Ind,
No jewel is like Rosalind.
Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
Through all the world bears Rosalind.
All the pictures fairest lined
Are but black to Rosalind.
Let no face be kept in mind
But the fair of Rosalind.”

4. The ascent is made by the intellect to the form of all bodies of a like nature (Ladder of The Intellect)

“But upon the fairest boughts,
Or at every sentence end,
Will I ‘Rosalinda’ write,
Teaching all that read to know
The quintessence of every sprite
Heaven would in little show.
Therefore heaven Nature charged
That one body should be filled
With all graces wide-enlarged.
Nature presently distilled
Helen’s cheek, but not her heart,
Cleopatra’s majesty,
Atalanta’s better part,
Sad Lucretia’s modesty.
Thus Rosalind of many parts
By heavenly synod was devised,
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,
To have the touches dearest prized.”

It is at this stage in the allegory when Orlando encounters Rosalind in the forest that she begins the process of ‘curing’ him. That is, she leads him through the process of the Platonic Ascent, raising his love from a purely physical love up through the intellectual level.

5. The Anticipation of the Active Philosophy is attained.

When beauty raises the soul to the higher level of the love of knowledge then the anticipation of the active philosophy is attained. This is shown where the marriage of Rosalind and Orlando is ‘anticipated’ , or acted out by Celia, Rosalind, and Orlando:

Rosalind.: Are you not good?
Orlando.: I hope so.
Rosalind.: Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? Come, sister, you shall be the priest
and marry us. Give me your hand, Orlando. What do you say, sister?
Orlando.: Pray thee marry us.
Celia.: I cannot say the words.
Rosalind.: You must begin, “Will you, Orlando-“
Celia.: Go t. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this Rosalind?
Orlando.: I will.
Rosalind.: Ay, but when?
Orlando.: Why now, as fast as she can marry us.
Rosalind.: Then you must say, “I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.”
Orlando.: I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
Rosalind.: I might ask you for your commission; but I do take thee, Orlando, for my husband.There’s a girl goes before the priest, and certainly a woman’s thought runs before her actions.
Orlando.: So do all thoughts; they are winged.

6. The true philosophy is attained.

This is symbolized in the actual marriage of Rosalind to Orlando at the end of the play.The play deals with the inquiry into the form of a legacy. Since Rosalind symbolizes the Rose of beauty, and since love and union is beauty’s legacy, the marriages which were brought about by Rosalind, are her legacy. Here were are nearing the end of the induction process, and this is brought to our attention by the words of the god Hymen, who presides over the wedding:

“Here’s eight that must take hands
To join in Hymen’s bands,
If truth holds true contents.”

The words of Hymen are somewhat odd. Why, “If truth holds true contents”? The words seem misplaced if applied to a wedding. However, if applied to the operation of a discovery machine which operates somewhat like a binary search, eliminating pairs of opposites as it moves to the top tier of the search, these words seem right on the mark. In century 846 of the Sylva Sylvarum Bacon lists what he calls an,”Experiment solitary touching other passions of matter, and characters of bodies.” These ‘passions and characters’ compose a total of 32, made up of 16 pairs of opposites. However, if the various characters of spirits are listed as one then the total number is 24 made up of 12 pairs of opposites. The movement up the ladder of deduction for the 32 pair would go as follows: 32-16-8-4-2-1. The movement up the ladder of deduction for the 24 pair would go as follows: 24-12-6-3-?. It is interesting that in the wedding that takes place at the end of “As You Like It” both of these are present. There are 8, made up of 4 couples, however, in the case of Touchstone and Audrey there is a different. The other 3 couples all make a match from their own level, court with court, or forest of Arden with forest of Arden. The Touchstone and Audrey match is court with forest of Arden, singling that marriage out from the others. So we have a distinction between the 8 composed of the 4 couples, the 6 composed of the 3 couples, and the 2 composed of 1 couple. What is shown here, for those who can perceive it, is the final stage in the operation of Bacon’s induction machine.

To stress the point that we are here dealing with a legacy, the words of Jaques are given immediately after the union of the four couples:

“To him WILL I. Out of these convertites
There is much matter to be heard and learned.
[To Duke] You to your former honor I bequeath;
Your patience and your virtue well deserves it.
[To Orlando] You to a love that your true faith doth merit;
[To Oliver] You to your land and love and great allies;
[To Silvius] You to a long and well-deserved bed;
[To Touchstone] And you to wrangling, for thy loving voyage
Is but for two months victualled. So, to your pleasures:”

The ostensible in Jaques speech is that when he says “To him will I” he is saying, he will go to Duke Senior, but this is fashioned so when he says “Will I” he is saying he will make a will, and this is immediately followed by his legacy. In the event that the fact that the union of the four couples is the legacy of Rosalind is overlooked, the speech of Jaques is fashioned to bring the mind of the viewer back to the idea of a will, or legacy.

The Form of a Legacy

“As You Like It” inquires into the ‘form’ of a legacy. What is a legacy? A legacy is a devise to exercise the will of the legator. This is why it is called a Will. Devise means to divide. The bequeath of the legator is divided according to the exercise of the free will of the legator. The principal legator in “As You Like It” is Rosalind who, at the end of the play, bequeaths her legacy of love and union (the legitimate legacy of The Rose) upon the four couples who are united. This is according to the free will of Rosalind. She bequeaths to them and to herself what she and they like most. And this is the form of a legacy. From the viewpoint of the legator the form of the legacy is defined by the phrase, “As You Like It”.

comments for Mather Walker

See the Bacon-Shakespeare Essays of Mather Walker








 - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning