The Compeers by Night Series– III – (2nd Part of 3)

Francis Bacon

the Secret of the Ornamental Devices



Mather Walker
July 2002


A prudent traveler uses the rearview mirror while re-entering the highway after leaving a rest area. In the present case, having taken a rest after Part 1 of my third Compeers article, it might be prudent also to take a look back before going on with this journey. Bacon was a Freemason (Compeers I ). Bacon originated the “AA” device and was closely associated with publications marked with this device (Compeers III – Part 1). A number of Bacon’s contemporaries were Freemasons, and were closely associated with publications marked with the device (Compeers III – Part 1). The next stage, as we continue the journey, is to show these same Freemasons were linked to Bacon. Before doing this, however, I would like to to remind my readers that proof of Bacon’s authorship of the Shakespeare works has already been provided in “The Secret of the Shakespeare Plays”, and “The Secret of the First Folio”, plus various others of my previous articles.

Francis Bacon contrived the red herring from Stratford on Avon to lead his contemporaries astray from the trail of his concealed authorship, but he also devised a contrivance to ensure the truth would be revealed to future ages. He left a message at the beginning of the 1623 First Folio of collected plays of Shakespeare.

In addition to signing his name to the first full page of text in the First Folio, and leaving ample proof of his authorship of the book (an issue I have covered fully in “The Secret of the Shakespeare Plays”, and “Secrets of the First Folio”) Bacon also left evidence that his plays incorporated a Janus design (this is fully supported in the articles I have previously written). I mention the latter at this point because this feature also gives us one of the meanings embodied in the “AA” devices. Each of Bacon’s plays included a face looking towards the darkness of Antiquity (the dark “A”), and another face looking toward the light of the future, i.e. his Anticipations (the light “A”).

Beyond this Bacon included as part of the message at the beginning of the First Folio, the words “two sow, two alike”, showing both he and Tobie Matthews were master Masons (all master freemason were “SOW”, i.e. “Sons Of the Widow”). Stratfordians, of course, will persist in their folly. They are like those mythical ghetto roaches with brains the size of a pinhead that can live for a month on the residual protein from a single fingerprint, except in the case of the Stratfordians the brains are even smaller than a pinhead, and they have lived almost four hundred years on the imaginary residual protein from an imaginary fingerprint. Enjoyable as it to enage in the Baconians second most popular indoor sport of beating up on the Stratfordians, I digress. So to recap: (1) Bacon wrote the Shakespeare plays; (2) Francis Bacon was a Freemason (Compeers I ); (3) He originated and was linked to the “AA” and Archer device publications; (4) Many of his Freemason contemporaries were linked to the “AA” and Archer device publications. Now back onto the highway and on with our journey.

In her book, “Golden Lads” Daphne du Maurier notes that the Bacon brothers, Francis and Anthony had a good relationship with their first first cousins, the Hobys. When Edward Hoby’s book, “The Courtier” was printed in 1577, at the beginning of the book there was a commendation to the author by Thomas Sackville. So it is reasonable to surmise that Sackville was close to the Bacons also.

The Russells were friends of Nicholas Bacon, and his family. The link was reinforced by Francis Bacon's aunt, Elizabeth, who married John Russell, son of Francis Russell, after her first husband, Edward Hoby died. In his biography of Nicholas Bacon, Robert Tittler notes, "Several factors suggest John, Lord Russell (son of Francis Russell, and future Earl of Bedford) as Bacon's patron in 1545)".

In addition, the Bacon family had close ties to Sir Thomas Gresham. Gresham married Nicholas Bacon's sister-in-law Anne Ferneley in 1544, and in 1569 Nicholas Bacon arranged a match for his second son by his first wife, with Sir Thomas Gresham's only surviving child,- an illegitimate daughter named Anne.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester is believed by many Baconians to have actually been Francis Bacon’s father; but even apart from this issue, the Bacon family had close ties with Leicester. Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and brother of Robert Dudley, married Anne Russell, sister of John Russell The Russells, rather than William Cecil, were responsible for obtaining Francis Bacon's first seat in the House of Commons. Robert Dudley’s sister, Mary Dudley, married Henry Sidney. She was the mother of Philip and Mary Sidney. When young Mary Sidney was only 14 she was invited to court by Queen Elizabeth. Mary didn’t let any grass grow under her feet (her back maybe, but not her feet) and quickly made a remarkable match with Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. The former Mary Sidney, now Mary Herbert, in turn, was the mother of William and Philip Herbert, the "Incomparable Paire of Brethren" to whom the Shakespeare First Folio was dedicated.

Catherine Drinker Bowen tells us, in The Lion and the Throne, that Francis Bacon "grew up in the Burghley household". Lord Burghley, William Cecil, was Francis Bacon's uncle. Burghley was also a close friend of Henry Sidney, Philip Sidney's father. Although never a formal ward, Philip spent considerable time at the Cecil household. Sir Henry left the care of his wife and children to Cecil during his absences in Ireland (from 1565 to 1571 with the break of a year's visit to England). At one time William Cecil planned to marry his daughter Anne to Philip Sidney, but later switched to Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Philip always spent his Christmas holidays with the Cecils. So Francis Bacon obviously had a close contact with Philip Sidney.

Fulke Greville was Sidney's closest companion from the time they were boys at Shrewesbury School, and Fulke Greville was also a close friend of Bacon’s. The Dictionary of National Biography notes letters that passed between Francis Bacon and Fulke Greville indicate close personal intimacy and adds Greville maintained friendly relations with Bacon up to Bacon's death in 1626. Robert Devereux was so close to Sidney that Sidney bequeathed him his sword (and his wife) when he died, and Devereux was, of course, closely acquainted with Bacon. Ben Jonson at one time lived in the household of Francis Bacon, and also lived from time to time at Wilton, the household of the Sidneys. We can be certain Francis Bacon visited there, and was friends with Philip's sister Mary and later was a friend of her sons William Herbert and Philip Herbert. Aubrey says, "in her time, Wilton House was like a College, there were so many learned and ingeniose persons. She was the greatest Patronesse of witt and learning of any lady of her time."

In "Law Sports at Gray's Inn" Basil Brown notes of the Herbert brothers that they were, "two of Bacon's warmest friends, one of whom married his cousin". In, "Kingdom for a Stage" Joy Hancox provides proof that Francis Bacon was partners with William Herbert in the Wireworks at Tintern. This has significance even beyond the partnership with Herbert. The first brass produced in England was produced at the Wireworks at Tintern. At this time printing in England was moving from the old wood blocks to the new printing techniques of brass plate engravings. So this connection and involvement of Bacon, is part of the evidence for Bacon’s deep involvement with the book trade.

George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon (1540-1604) was a member of Bacon's circle of acquaintances. George Hastings’ brother Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon (1535-1595), popularly known as 'the Puritan Earl', was married to Robert Dudley's sister. The household of Nicholas and Anne Bacon was a haven for puritan sympathizers, and it should be noted that Robert Dudley, Philip Sidney and Francis Walsingham were the Puritan camp.

Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby, was a page to Philip Sidney. In his "Brief Lives" Aubrey notes Francis was a frequent visitor to the home of Sir John Danvers at Chelsey. Sir John Danvers was Henry Danvers father. When Bacon wrote his History of Henry VII, he sent the manuscript copy to Sir John Danvers to review. Both Henry Danvers and his brother Sir Charles Danvers were closely acquainted with Sir Walter Raleigh. Their other brother, Sir John Danvers, was married to Lady Herbert mother of George Herbert. who was a very close friend to Bacon in the last years of Bacon's life. Their kinsman, William Herbert was the brother of Philip Herbert.

The Georgics of Hesiod translated by George Chapman, and dedicated to Francis Bacon, had a curious variant of the "AA" device at the beginning of the dedication. This particular "AA" device had a rose, recalling Bacon's custom of wearing a large rose on the instep of each shoe. In his glowing tribute to Bacon, Chapman spoke of him as the ocean into which all the rivers of knowledge ran.

Other Bacon Acquaintances Linked to the Device Publications

Aside from individuals for whom there is evidence of Freemason connections, a number of other people with links to the “AA” publications, were also linked to Francis Bacon. John Davies was evidently a close friend of Francis Bacon. In 1603, after Elizabeth died, when Davies went out to greet the new king who was on his way to London, Bacon wrote him a letter (prized jewel of the Baconians, trampled underfoot by those dastardly swine, the Stratfordians) asking him to recommend him to the new king, which included the postscript :

"So desiring you to be good to all concealed poets."

Evidently Davies was an insider who knew about Bacon's concealed authorship. It is interesting, therefore, that in the 1599 edition of Davies' "Nosce Teipsum" there are three different versions of the "AA" device on three consecutive beginning pages of the work. Davies "AA" works are as follows:

"Nosce teipsum", by Davies, John, Sir, 1569-1626. London : Printed by Richard Field for Iohn Standish, 1599 ---AA

"Nosce teipsum", by Davies, John, Sir, 1569-1626. London : Printed by Richard Field for Iohn Standish, 1602 ---AA

William Camden, Jonson's revered teacher and close friend, was also a close friend of Bacon’s. Spedding notes that a considerable number of alterations and additions to the fourth book of Camden's Annals of Queen Elizabeth were found in a copy in the Cottonian Library, and these alteration and additions were in Francis Bacon's handwriting. It is significant then that the four volumes published as "The historie" in 1630 bore both the "AA" and "Archer" device :

"The historie of the most renowned and victorious princesse Elizabeth, late Queene of England", by Camden, William, 1551-1623. London : Printed [by Nicholas Okes, Elizabeth Allde?, Bernard Alsop and Thomas Fawcet, Thomas Purfoot, and John Beale] for Benjamin Fisher and are to be sold at his shop in Aldersgate streete, at the signe of the Talbot, 1630 ---338p---diff AA--Archer p2

"Remaines of a greater worke, concerning Britaine, the inhabitants thereof, their languages, names, surnames, empreses, wise speeches, poësies, and epitaphes", by Camden, William, 1551-1623. At London : Printed by G[eorge] E[ld] for Simon Waterson, 1605 ---153p---AA p5

"Remaines, concerning Britaine", by Camden, William, 1551-1623. Printed at London : By Iohn Legatt for Simon Waterson, 1614 ---193p---AA p2

Perhaps the person closest to Bacon was his good friend Tobie Matthew. Although I found no “AA” marked publication dedicated to Tobie, there was one dedicated to his father:

“The way to the true church”, by White, John, 1570-1615. London : Printed [by R. Field] for Iohn Bill and William Barret, 1608 ---dedicated to Tobie Archbishop of York --- AA

Bacon had close ties with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and with Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. In addition he was very close to Thomas Egerton. If Bacon was, "directing the production of a great quantity of the Elizabethan literature", as Smedley claimed, it would be reasonable to expect that he would have dedicated some of these works to Essex and Southampton. It is significant that such works exist:

Earl of Essex :
"Thomas Masterson his first booke of arithmeticke", by Masterson, Thomas. Imprinted at London : By Richard Field, dwelling in the Blacke friers neare Ludgate, 1592 ---dedicated to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex---AA

"The wisdome of Solomon paraphrased", by Thomas Middleton. by Middleton, Thomas, d. 1627. Printed at London : By Valentine Sems [i.e. Simmes], dwelling on Adling hil at the signe of the white Swanne, 1597 ---dedicated to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex---AA

Earl of Southampton :
"The most delectable and pleasaunt history of Clitiphon and Leucippe", written first in Greeke, by Achilles Statius, an Alexandrian: and now newly translated into English, by VV.B. Whereunto is also annexed the argument of euery booke, in the beginning of the same, for the better vnderstanding of the historie. by Achilles Tatius. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for William Mattes, and are to be sold at his shop in Fleetstreete, at the signe of the hand and Plough, 1597 ---dedicated to Southampton--AA

"A VVelch bayte to spare prouender. Or, A looking backe vpon the times past",. by Powell, Thomas, (1572?-1635?). Printed at London : By Valentine Simmes, 1603 ---dedicated to Southampton---AA

“Venus and Adonis”, by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Richard Field, and are to be sold [by J. Harrison] at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Church-yard, 1594 ---Dedicated to the Earl of Southampton --- AA

Thomas Egerton :

“The sinners guide”, by Luis, de Granada, 1504-1588. At London : Printed by Richard Field, for Edward Blount and are to be sold in Paules church-yard, at the signe of the Beare, 1614 --- dedicated to Thomas Egerton—AA

Thomas Egerton (1540-1617) was made Attorney General in 1592; Lord Keeper in 1596; Lord Chancellor and Baron Ellesmore in 1603. He was very close to Bacon. In a letter written to Essex in 1596, Bacon described Egerton as follows:

“so for my particular, I do find in an extraordinary manner, that his lordship doth succeed my father almost in his fatherly care of me, and love towards me, as much as he professeth to follow him in his honourable and sound course of justice and estate; of which so special favour the open and apparent reason I can ascribe to nothing more than the impression, which upon many conferences of long time use between his lordship and me he may have received.”
Who Was That Masked Man?

In other essays I have argued for Bacon’s authorship of the works of William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, and the Cervantes novel “Don Quixote”. The evidence I provided was not based on links to the “AA” or Archer devices. A number of Baconians have claimed Bacon used “masks” for his concealed writings, and have given evidence that Bacon’s authored works appearing under quite a few other names. Where this evidence was developed without reference to the “AA” or “Archer” devices, the appearance of either of these two devices marking one of these works provides further corroborating evidence.

In “Bacon’s Secret Disclosed in Contemporary Books” Granville C. Cuningham argued for Bacon’s authorship of the works of William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and John Barclay’s, “Argenis”. In “Francis Bacon Concealed and Revealed”, Bertram G. Theobald supported Bacon’s authorship of the works of Williams Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, and Hadrian Dorrell. In, “EDMUND SPENSER and the Impersonations of Francis Bacon” Edward George Harmon gave evidence for Bacon’s authorship of the Spenser works, and in his “The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia” Edward George Harmon argued for Bacon’s authorship of the work of that title by Philip Sidney; and also for his authorship of the “Astrophel and Stella” cycle of sonnets that appeared under the same authors name, as well as for his authorship of some of the works of Thomas Lodge. In “The Greatest of Literary Problems” James Phinney Baxter supported Bacon’s authorship of the William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, George Peele, and Gustavus Selenus masks. In “The Prince of Poets” S.A.E. Hickson cited William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Lodge, Robert Green, George Peele, Thomas Watson, Thomas Nashe, Miguel Cervantes, Michael Montaigne, John Barclay, and Hadrian Dorrell as “masked” works of Bacon. In the two books of Parker Woodward, “Sir Francis Bacon” and “Tudor Problems”, Woodward cited the works of William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Lodge, George Peele, Robert Greene, Thomas Watson, Thomas Nashe, and Hadrian Dorrell, among others, as being works written by Bacon.

In view of these pugnacious, not to mention, perceptive Baconians, I would argue that the following “AA” marked works provide corroboration for Bacon’s connection with those works, and for his connection with the “AA” and Archer devices:

Edmund Spenser
“The faerie queene”, by Spenser, Edmund, 1552?-1599. London : Printed [by John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, 1590 --- AA

“Colin Clouts come home againe”, By Ed. Spencer. by Spenser, Edmund, 1552?-1599. [London] : Printed [by T[homas] C[reede]] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, 1595 --- AA

“Fovvre hymnes”, made by Edm. Spenser. by Spenser, Edmund, 1552?-1599. London Printed [by Richard Field] for VVilliam Ponsonby, 1596 --- AA

“The faerie queene”, by Spenser, Edmund, 1552?-1599. London : Printed [by Richard Field] for Vvilliam Ponsonbie, 1596 --- AA

Philip Sidney:
"The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia", written by Sir Philippe Sidnei. by Sidney, Philip, Sir, 1554-1586. London : Printed [by John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, 1590 ---364p---AA p4

"L'Arcadie de la Comtesse de Pembroke", Composee par Philippe Sidney: Tradvitte en nostre langve par vn Gentil-homme Francois: [Printed] A Paris Chez Robert Fouet, MDCXXV [1625]---different "AA" with shield in center and 3 fleur-du-lis'

"The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia", Written by Sir Philip Sidney Knight. Now since the first edition augmented and ended. by Sidney, Philip, Sir, 1554-1586. London : Printed [by John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, 1593 ---244p---no AA--Archer p2

"The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia", Written by Sir Philip Sidney Knight. by Sidney, Philip, Sir, 1554-1586. London : Imprinted [by R. Field] for William Ponsonbie, 1598 ---no AA--Archer

"The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia", Written by Sir Philip Sidney Knight. by Sidney, Philip, Sir, 1554-1586. London : Imprinted by H[umphrey] L[ownes] for Simon Waterson, 1613 ---294p---no AA--Archer p2

"The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia", by Sidney, Philip, Sir, 1554-1586. London : Imprinted by H.L. for Simon Waterson, 1613 ---304p---no AA—Archer

Sidney died in 1586. The Arcadia was first published four years later in 1590. Sidney was evidently a born leader with a very forceful character, but he was certainly not a writer. His letters attest to this.

Apart from the evidence of his labored expression in these letters we have his own testimony to his lack of writing skills. In a letter to Languet, written in 1573, Sidney said:

“At present I am learning the sphere and a little music. My pen I only practice when I write to you; but in truth I begin to find that by writing ill I only learn to write ill, and therefore I wish you would give me some rules for improving my style.”

Some years later, in 1578, in another letter to Languet, Sidney continues in the same vein:

“You sharply accuse me of slothfulness, and in the meantime fall into the same fault, nay, a far greater, inasmuch as I am always made better by your letters while mine must of necessity grate upon your ears to no purpose. And the use of the pen, as you may perceive, has plainly fallen from me; “
Christopher Marlowe
“Amintae gaudia”, authore Thoma VVatsono Londinensi, iuris studioso. by Watson, Thomas, 1557?-1592. Londini : [Printed by P. Short] impensis Gulihelmi Ponsonbei, 1592 [dedicated. with "AA" by Christopher Marlowe] ---43p --- AA p2

“The famous tragedy of the rich Ievv of Malta”, by Marlowe, Christopher, 1564-1593. London : Printed by I[ohn] B[eale] for Nicholas Vavasour, and are to be sold at his shop in the Inner-Temple, neere the Church, 1633 --- AA

Thomas Lodge
“Scillaes metamorphosis, enterlaced with the vnfortunate loue of Glaucus”, by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. Imprinted at London : By Richard Jhones, and are to be sold at his shop neere Holburne bridge, at the signe of the Rose and Crowne, 1590 --- AA

“Euphues shadow, the battaile of the sences”, by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed by Abell Ieffes, for Iohn Busbie, and are to be sould at his shop in Paules Churchyard, neere to the west doore of Paules, 1592 --- AA

“A looking glasse for London and England”, Made by Thomas Lodge Gentleman, and Robert Greene. In Artibus Magister. by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1594 --- AA on title page

“A fig for Momus”, by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. At London : Printed by [T. Orwin] for Clement Knight, and are to bee solde at his shop at the little north-doore of Paules Church, 1595 --- AA

“A looking glasse, for London and Englande”, Made by Thomas Lodge Gentleman, and Robert Greene. In Artibus Magister. by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be solde by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1598 --- AA p2

“Rosalynd. Euphues golden legacie”, by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed [by Valentine Simmes] for N. Lyng, and T. Gubbins, 1598 --- AA

“A looking glasse, for London and Englande”, Made by Thomas Lodge Gentleman, and Robert Greene. In Artibus Magister. by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Thomas Pauier, and are to be solde at his shop in Cornhill, neare the exchange, at the signe of the Cat and Parots, 1602 ---AA

“A treatise of the plague”, by Lodge, Thomas, 1558?-1625. London : Printed [by Thomas Creede and Valentine Simmes] for Edward White and N[icholas] L[ing], 1603 ---AA--Ling's Printer's Mark

George Peele
“Pareus”, by Peele, George, 1556-1596, Oxoniae : Typis Iosephi Barnesii, inclytae Academiae typographi, 1585 --- AA title page

“Polyhymnia”, by Peele, George, 1556-1596. Printed at London : By Richard Ihones, 1590 --- AA  

“The famous chronicle of king Edward the first, sirnamed Edward Longshankes”, by Peele, George, 1556-1596. London : Printed by Abell Ieffes, and are to be solde by William Barley, at his shop in Gratious streete, 1593 --- AA

Robert Greene
“Pandosto”, by Greene, Robert, 1558-1592. Imprinted at London : By Thomas Orwin for Thomas Cadman, dwelling at the signe of the Bible, neere vnto the north doore of Paules, 1588 --- 28p --- AA

“Ciceronis amor· = Tullies loue”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. At London : Printed by Robert Robinson, for Thomas Newman and Iohn Winington, 1589 --- AA

“Greenes neuer too late,. Or, A powder of experience: sent to all youthfull gentlemen” by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London : Printed by Thomas Orwin for N[icholas] L[ing] and Iohn Busbie, 1590 --- AA 

“A quip for an vpstart courtier: or, A quaint dispute betvveen veluet breeches and clothbreeches”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London : Imprinted by Iohn Wolfe, and are to bee sold at his shop at Poules chayne, 1592 ---29p ---AA

“Greens, groats-vvorth of vvit, bought with a million of repentaunce”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London: Printed by Thomas Creede, for Richarde Oliue, dwelling in long long [sic] Lane, and are there to be solde, 1596 --- AA

“The comicall historie of Alphonsus, King of Aragon”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London : Brinted [sic] by Thomas Creede, 1599 --- AA

“A quip for an vpstart courtier: or, A quaint dispute betweene velvet-breeches and cloth-breeches”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London : Printed by E. Purslow, dwelling at the east end of Christs-Church, 1635 --- 27p --- AA

“A quip for an vpstart courtier: or, A quaint dispute betweene veluet breeches and cloth breeches”, by Greene, Robert, 1558?-1592. London : Printed by G. P[urslowe] and are to bee sold by Thomas Dewe in St Dunstans Churchyard, 1622 --- 27p --- AA

Thomas Watson
“Meliboeus Thomae Watsoni siuè, Ecloga in obitum honoratissimi viri, Domini Francisci VValsinghami, equitis aurati, diuae Elizabethae a secretis, & sanctioribus consilijs”, by Watson, Thomas, 1557?-1592. Londini : Excudebat Robertus Robinsonus, 1590 --- 12p --- AA p2

“The hekatompathia or Passionate centurie of loue”, by Watson, Thomas, 1557?-1592. London : Imprinted by Iohn Wolfe for Gabriell Cawood, dwellinge in Paules Churchyard at the signe of the Holy Ghost, 1582--- 60p --- AA title page

Thomas Nashe
“Pierce Penilesse his supplication to the diuell”, by Nash, Thomas, 1567-1601. London : Printed by Abell Ieffes, for Iohn Busbie, 1592 ---AA
Miguel Cervantes
“The history of the valorous and vvittie knight-errant, Don-Quixote of the Mancha”, Translated out of the Spanish. by Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616. London : Printed by William Stansby, for Ed. Blount and W. Barret, 1612 --- AA

In his, “The Spanish Elizabethans” Albert J. Loomie noted that, in an inquisition post mortem taken in London May 27, 1597, Thomas Thorpe "stationer" testified that five months before, he had been in Spain where "by the meanes of Father Parsons he did lye in the said Sir Francis Englefield's house in Madrid" three weeks after the death of Englefield. As a member of the Stationers' Company Thorpe had published nothing from February 4, 1594, when he was admitted freeman of the Company, until 1600 when he arranged for the publication of Lucans First Booke translated line by line, by Christopher Marlow. He dedicated this volume "To His Kind and True Friend: Edward Blount". There is reason to believe Blount had a continuing interest in the publication. The testimony of the inquisition post mortem strongly suggests that Thorpe was a Catholic and was in the employ of the English government. Bacon was closely involved in government business; Thorpe published the “Shake-Speare” sonnets in 1609; Thorpe’s close friend Blount was closely connected to Bacon. En passant it is interesting to glance at the London printing of Cervantes works. The first was published in 1594. February of 1594 was the time of the cessation of publication by Thorpe, probably because he first went to Spain at this time :

“The Troublesome and hard aduentures in loue”, by Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616. printed by Thomas Creede, 1594

“The history of the valorous and vvittie knight-errant, Don-Quixote of the Mancha”, Translated out of the

Spanish. by Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616. London : Printed by William Stansby, for Ed. Blount and W. Barret, 1612 --- AA

“The second part of the history of the valorous and witty knight-errant, Don Quixote of the Mançha”,. Written in Spanish by Michael Ceruantes: and now translated into English. by Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616. London : Printed [by Eliot's Court Press] for Edward Blount, 1620

“The trauels of Persiles and Sigismunda”by Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. 1547-1616. London : Printed by H[umphrey] L[ownes] for M[atthew] L[ownes] and are to be sold at the signe of the Bishops head, in Pauls Church-yard, 1619

“The history of Don-Quichote. The first parte. by Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616. [London] : Printed [by William Stansby] for Ed: Blounte, 1620

The Spanish connection began with Thorpe’s residence in Madrid. After the cessation of the war with Spain when King James assumed the Throne of England in 1603, Count Gondamar, the Spanish Embassador, became a close friend of Bacon’s. Gondamar was also a resident of Madrid. Consequently, Bacon had connections with Madrid when the first Don Quixote publication took place there in 1605.

Gustavus Selenus
“Cryptomenytices”, by Gustavus Selenus [pseudonym] [Durning-Lawrence (Bacon is Shake-Speare) says Cryptomenytices was marked with the “AA” device]

It is worthy of note that in Birch’s Memoirs we are told that “there was much inwardness between the duke of Brunswick [the reputed author of Cryptomenytices] and Thomas Bodley. Thomas Bodley was a cousin and close friend of Francis Bacon. The old proverb, ‘the apples always fall close to the tree’ remains as true as ever, but one wonders how many will have to fall on the heads of our esteemed colleagues, the Stratfordians, before they wake up and show some signs of de minimus perception. In Birch’s Memoirs we also find:

“The friendship, which Mr. Bacon [Anthony] had contracted at Bourdeaux with Michael de Montagne, who was the counselor of the parliament of that city, and his esteem for the genius of that writer, made him desirous of cultivating a correspondence with him, after his own return to England. But the letter, which he wrote to Montagne, was the last, which that gentleman received, who was prevented from answering it by his death, occasioned by a quinsy, on the 13th of September 1592, in the 60th year of his age.”

The same book also describes a detailed correspondence Francis Bacon was carrying on with a friend resided in Venice, and this correspondence took place shortly before The Merchant of Venice was written.

Hadrian Dorrell
“ Willobie his Auisa or The true picture of a modest maide, and of a chast and constant wife”, by Dorrell, Hadrian. Imprinted at London : By Iohn VVindet, 1609 --- 80p --- AA p2, p3 inverted

“Willoby his Auisa or, The true picture of a modest maide, and of a chaste and constant wife”, by Dorrell, Hadrian. London : Printed by William Stansby, 1635 --- 83p ---AA title page (variant)

Willobie his Avisa was licensed for the press on the 3rd of September 1594, four months after the entry of Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece. Willobie his Avisa proved extremely .popular, and passed through numerous editions, and Peter Colse produced in 1596 an imitation named Penelope's Complaint. It was printed by John Windet, and preceded by two commendatory poems, the second of which, signed " Contraria Contrariis; Vigilantius; Dormitanus," Events in the Avisa seem to parody Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece, which was licensed four months earlier. A prefatory poem in the work mentions Lucrece and gives the world its first printed reference to Shakespeare by his correct name:

Yet Tarquin plucked his glistering grape
And Shakes-peare paints poor Lucrece' rape.

In the poem, Avisa, whose name is explained in Dorrell's " Epistle to the Reader " as Amans Uxor Inviolata Semper Amanda, takes up the parable alternately with her suitors, one of whom is introduced to the reader in a prose interlude signed by the author H. W., as Henrico Willobego Italo Hispalensis. This passage contains a reference which may fairly be applied to the sonnets of Shakespeare. It runs:

" H. W. being sodenly infected with the contagion of a fantasticall fit, at the first sight of A, . . . bewrayeth the secresy of his disease unto his familiar frend W. S. who not long before had tryed the curtesy of the like passion, and was now newly recouered ... he determined to see whether it would sort to a happier end for this new actor, then it did for the old player."

Then follows a dialogue between H. W. and W. S., in which W. S.," the old player," a phrase susceptible of a double sense, gives somewhat commonplace advice to the disconsolate wooer. Dorrell alleges that he found the MS. of Willobie his Avisa among his friend's papers left in his charge when Willoughby departed from Oxford on her majesty's service.

Who was Hadrian Dorell? The name seems to have been fictitious, designed to conceal the personality of the real author of the work. This seems to have been the only work by this author, and has some very peculiar and interesting features.

In 1905 a book was published by Bernard Quaritch in London titled, “Letters from the Dead to the Dead”. The author was listed as Oliver Lector, which may have been a pseudonym. The statements by the author had the air of authoritative pronouncements. Whether they were, or not, one of these statements was certainly very interesting. Lector pointed out that the epistle to the reader in “Willobie” gave a veiled allusion to the bi-literal cipher [of Francis Bacon]. The subject passage was as follows:

“In a voide paper rolled up in the boke, I found the very name AVISA , written in great letters a pretty distance a sunder & under euery letter a word beinning with the same letter in this forme.

A.. V. I. S. A.

Amans vxor inviolate semper armanda

Since the word, as printed above in huge capitals, with stops between each letter, and with slightly more space than between “I” and “S”, it may be read as: “A 5 is A”. Lector may have known more than he told. In any event, what he does not point out is that ‘Willobie His Avisa’ yields the following pun:

Wheel O’ B[acon] his A, 5 is A.

In his 1623 De Augmentis Bacon described a cipher he had invented which used two sets of fonts. The idea was the letters of the two sets would be so similar only a close examination could distinguish the two. The first set of fonts was referred to as “A” fonts. Bacon referred to the letters in the second set of fonts as “B”, however, the implicit might be that they were the dark “A” font, since Bacon implied elsewhere a symbolization of dark for anything hidden. Bacon’s cipher required five places to designate all of the letters in the 24 letter alphabet he used since, as he said:

“…a transposition of two letters through five places, or different arrangement, will denote two and thirty differences, and consequently fewer, or four and twenty, the number of letter in our alphabet…”

And the designation of the letter “A”, in the key he gave, was 5 sequential letters of the first alphabet, i.e., aaaaa. The letter B was designated by the five letter group aaaab, with the beginning letters were from the first font set, and the last letter was from the second font set, and so on for the other letters in the alphabet.

There is evidence that Bacon did use a wheel in connection with a secret device constructed into the Shakespeare plays. In my “Secret of the Shakespeare Plays” I have shown evidence to support the contention that Bacon had concealed a compass wheel in the plays, and used this in connection with a secret cipher type discovery device. Willobie was first printed in 1594. A special passage was included on the title pages of the 1605 And 1635 edition of the book. This wording was as follows:

“Wherein is added an Apologie fhewing the true meaning of Willobie his Avisa:”

The purpose of this wording seems to have been solely to indicate that there was a hidden meaning in Willobie, since the Apologie added to the book, did not live up to the advertisement on the title page.

I found four editions of Willobie citied in EEBO: 1594, 1605, 1609, and 1635. The cover page of the 1635 editions seemed to imply it was printed six times, since it said, “The fifth time corrected and augmented. The 1609 had the “AA” device on page 2, and the “AA” appeared again on page 3 inverted.

The 1635 had a curious variation of the “AA” device at the top of the title page. On a platform on each side of the top of the title page was a structure intertwined with leaved vines in such a manner that where the vines crossed the structures they caused them to resemble the letter “A”, and the letter “A” thus constructed on the left was a light “A”, while the “A” on the left was dark “A”. In between the two was the crown and traditional shield of England with the knights of the garter motto surrounding the shield, and the “diev et mon droit”, i.e., “God and My Right”, motto of the monarchy below.

In view of this evidence it seems that one of the meanings of the “AA” device on works, published during Bacon’s time, was that works marked with this device concealed the biliteral cipher.

John Barclay
“Barclay his Argenis: or, The loues of Poliarchus and Argenis: faithfully translated out of Latine into English, by Kingesmill Long, Gent”, by Barclay, John, 1582-1621. London : Printed by G. P[urslowe] for Henry Seile, and are to be sold at his shop at the Tygers head in Saint Pauls Churchyard, 1625 --- -AA

“Barclay his Argenis. Or, the loves of Polyarchus & Argenis. Faithfully translated out of Latin into English. by Kingsmill Long Esquire”, by Barclay, John, 1582-1621. London : Printed [by E. Purslowe] for Henry Seile at the signe of the Tygres head in Fleetstreet - neere the conduit, 1636 --- 206p ---AA

Many Baconians believe Queen Elizabeth was secretly married to Robert Dudley, and Francis Bacon was their son. The idea was born, bred and attained full growth without benefit of “Argenis”, but certainly this book throws a great light on the matter. “Argenis” first appeared in Latin in Paris in 1621, published (very conveniently) after the death of the author. A translation by Ben Jonson was entered at the Stationers’ Hall on October 2, 1623, but was never published. The first published English translation was the 1625 one above, that appeared in London. A second English translation by Sir Robert le Grys and Thomas May was published in London in 1629 and to this for the first time was added a key, to explain the ‘fained names’. The third English translation, listed above also had a key added to unlock the whole story.

In the words of Granville C. Cuningham (Bacon’s Secret Disclosed in Contemporary Books):

“Argenis is a pseudo-historical account of intrigues, battles, love-making, and marriages, of kings and princes, and lesser folk, reveling in old Greek names, who lived about Sicility, Sardina, Gallia, Mauretania, and other places.”

But when the key is read they all appear in a more factual light. In the key we are informed that Argenis is the daughter of the King of France, and in the end wife to Poliarchus (Henry IV), i.e. Argenis is Marguerite of Valois. Meleander is Henry II. Or III. Of France. Poliarchus is Henry IV of France; Radirobanes is Philip II of Spain, Selenissa is Catherine de Medici; Hyanisbe is Queen Elizabeth; Archombrotus, or Hiempsall, is her son; and under the fanciful names various countries are feigned: Sicily is France; Sardinia is Spain; Mauretania is England, and the Moors are the English; Gallia is Navarre, and so on.

The scheme of the book is explained early in narrative by Nicopompus, named as the author by the key. In a discussion with his friends Antenorius and Hieroleander (secretary to Argenis). Nicopompus says:

“I will (saith he) write a Fable like a Historie. In it I wrap up strange events: armes, marriages, bloud, and contentments, I will blend together with success that could not be hoped for. The vanities that is grafted in man, will make them delight to reade me: and therefore they will study it the harder, because they shall not take me in their hands as a severe Instructor. I will feede their minds with divers contemplations, as it were with a Landskip. Then, with the imaginations of danger, I will stirre up in them pittie, feare and horror. At last, when they are perplexed, I will relieve them, and make faire weather of a storm. Whom I please I will redeeme out of the hand of destinie; at my pleasure suffer to perish. I am well acquainted with the humors of our people: because they will believe that I trifle; I shall have them all. They will love me, as they doe the showes of the Theater or the Tilt-yard. So having won their liking to the Potion, I will also add to it wholesome herbes. Vertues and vices I will frame, and the rewards of them shall sute to both. While they reade, while as not concerned in it, they shall be angry, or favor, they shall meete with theselves, and as in a Looking-glasse, they shall see the face and merit of their own fame. Perhaps, they will bee ashamed to play any longer that part upon the Stage of this World, which they shall perceive in my Fable to have been duely set out for them. And lest they should complain that they are traduced, there shall be no man’s picture to be plainely found there. To disguise them, I will have many inventions, which cannot possibly agree to those that I entend to point at. For this liberty shall be mine, who am not religiously tyed to the truth of a History. So shall vices not men be galled, nor shall any have reason to bee offended, but he that first will basely confess himselfe defiled with those abominations, which I have so scourged. Beside I will everywhere give them imagined names, onely to personate both the virtues and vices. That in this my Booke, he shall erre as well, that will have it all to be a true relation of things really done, as he that takes it to be wholly fained.”

The description of Hyanisbe (Queen Elizabeth) is very interesting. We are told she was married to ‘a man of the most eminent qualitie, next the King, of all the Moors [English].” This describes Leicester. We are told of Hiempsall [Bacon] that “to win himselfe honour among strangers he was gone to travel in the habit of a private person; into what country, except only to the Queen, was unknown.” Barclay’s Argenis, with its interesting statement about the travels of Queen Elizabeth’s son, came out ten years before the French Life of Bacon in which we are told that Bacon spent several years of his youth in his travels; that he visited France, Italy, and Spain as being the most civilized nations of the world. In Argenis we are told Hiempsall [Bacon] falls deeply in love with Argenis [Marguerite of Valois], and the only thing that deferred his marriage with her was want of his mother’s approbation. He sends his servant to her with letters asking for her approval. In the letters he said that according to her command he had faithfully concealed the fortunes of his descent, and asks for her approval for the marriage. Queen Elizabeth was not only displeased with the letter, but ‘amazedly terrified’ at it, so that the courtiers, seeing the change in her countenance thought there was ill news of the Prince’s heath. And Queen Elizabeth writes her son back refusing her permission for the marriage. The scheme of the book as described by Nicopompus provides the the scheme of Bacon’s writings. A stream of topical allusion exists in most of the Shakespeare plays, but this topical allusion (as we are informed in Argenis) is “not religiously tied to the truth of history.”

William Shakespeare

The devices played a big role in 1623 when Francis Bacon and his Compeers by Night engineered the greatest publishing event in the history of our planet, - the publication of the first folio edition of the collected works of William Shakespeare. They were prominently displayed on the beginning pages of the book. By time the "First Folio" was published many of the original Compeers by Night were dead - Leicester of natural causes; Philip Sidney from a wound received in battle; Raleigh beheaded; Hariot of cancer, but Bacon remained, and he, along with the remnants of his "Compeers" that remained, or with new "Compeers" who had taken the place of the old, engineered the publication of the First Folio. It was a huge book destined for a huge place in history.

The colophon at the end of the First Folio states, "printed at the charges of W. Jaggard, Ed. Blount, I. Smithweeke, and W. Aspley". It is, perhaps, understandable that others have seen more in the publication of the First Folio than is apparent on the surface. For one point, there were the two brothers to whom the First Folio was dedicated, William Herbert Earl of Pembroke, and Philip Herbert Earl of Montgomery. William Herbert was the same person who, according to Anderson, became Grand Master of the Masons in 1618. These brothers, as I have already noted, were nephews to Philip Sidney. The dedication to the brothers in the First Folio was cleverly contrived so that the word "MASON" was concealed in the first and second lines. The word "and" was positioned under the dedication "TO THE M O S T NOBLE" (and) INCOMPARABLE PAIRE OF BRETHREN so that the The "M" in "most", reads down at an angle to the "A" beneath and then back up at an angle to the "S" above, proceeding around in a spiral to spell "MASON". This, joined with the word "Brethren", gives a conspicuous indication of the hand of the Freemasons in the publication. One of the ornamental headpieces placed at the beginning of some of the plays in the volume appeared to be composed of seven connected Masonic squares.

The First Folio was both printed and funded by Ed Blount and Isaac Jaggard (although Isaac Jaggard's name was not included among those underwriting the cost in the colophon, he was in partnership with his father, William Jaggard, who also worked on the First Folio, but died before it was completed in 1623, and he would have had part in the funding). It is interesting to note that a number of books printed by William Jaggard had the "AA" device, and that, in addition, William Jaggard printed editions of Bacon's Essays in 1606, 1612, 1613, and 1617, and after he died in 1623 an edition of Bacon's essays was printed in 1624 by I. Dawson for Elizabeth Jaggard. Moreover, while William Jaggard was working on printing the First Folio of Shakespeare's Collected Work in 1621, he interrupted this work to print Bacon's, "Certaine Considerations Touching the Better Pacification, and Edification of the Church of England." Although we do not know when printing began, the First Folio was clearly expected to be on the market by mid-1622. The principal center of the European book-trade was the fair held every spring and autumn in Frankfurt.

A bi-annual advertisement known as the Mess-Katalog was published in conjunction with the fair. The catalogue for April 1622 to October 1622 books contained the entry "Playes written by mr William Shakespeare, all in one volume, printed by Isaack Iaggard, in fol.". In view of the fact that the Folio did not actually appear until late in 1623, Charlton Hinman reconstructed the events in the Jaggard printing-house and demonstrated that most of the comedies were printed sometime around the last part of 1621, after which, Hinman notes, work on the Folio was unaccountably suspended, and the tragedies were not printed until the summer of 1623. It is highly significant that it was apparently suspended to print a work of Bacon's, and then was not resumed until the summer of 1623, a delay probably related to the sickness and death of William Jaggard. Bacon obviously had a close connection with the printer and bookseller William Jaggard, and it is interesting that the following quarto publication of A Midsummer Nights Dream had the same Post Tenebras Lux on the printer’s device as appeared on the Cervantes crest on the title page of Don Quixote. This could mean Jaggard was a Freemason :

A midsommer nights dreame. by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. [London] : Printed by Iames Roberts [i.e. William Jaggard for T. Pavier], 1619 --- Post Tenebras Lux on printer’s device on title page--- no AA

William Aspley, in addition to be the publisher of one of Francis Bacon’s acknowledged works, had a number of works printed for him that displayed the "AA" device. When King James (who Anderson lists as assuming the role of Grand Master of the Freemasons in England in 1603) came to the throne in England in 1603, Aspley had James' book "Daemonologie" printed so he could sell it his shop at the sign of the parrot in St. Paul's Churchyard, and this book sported two different variations of the "AA" device. In the same year Bacon's "A briefe discourse touching the happie vnion of the kingdomes of England and Scotland" was annotated as slated to be sold by William Aspley. A number of works of George Chapman were printed for William Aspley. The famous 1609 edition of "Shake-speares sonnets" printed by George Eld for Thomas Thorpe, bearing the "AA" device, was annotated as printed for sale by William Aspley. The quarto edition of "The second part of Henrie the Fourth" was printed for William Aspley in 1600 and bore the "AA" device. I will demonstrate later in this article that, for the most part, only the "good" quartos displayed the "AA" device which is a significant indication that the author - Francis Bacon was actually involved in their publication. Aspley was obviously connected to Bacon.

Edward Blount (b. c. 1565--d. after 1632), printer, publisher and translator, had a very interesting background. According to A.D. Wraight, "In Search of Christopher Marlowe" there is evidence that he was a member of Raleigh's School of Night. He began his career by serving a ten year apprenticeship to London publisher William Ponsonby. Then, in 1588, he became a freeman of the Stationers' Company and opened a book shop in London. He printed several books dedicated to William or Philip Herbert, or to both. He used for his early printer's mark one of the two main symbols of the Freemasons - the compass. His early publications included Giovanni Florio's Italian-English dictionary (1595); Florio's translation of Montaigne's essays (1603); and Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander (1598), containing a dedication by Blount in which he speaks of his close friendship with the late poet. In 1612 Blount published Thomas Shelton's translation of Cervantes' Don Quixote, the first English version, and one of the books sporting the "AA" device. As tutor to the Earl of Southampton, Florio was associated with the Essex-Southampton group. Any cognoscente of the situation would have recognized in the works of Montaigne, Marlowe, and Cervantes, various "masks" of Francis Bacon. Blount also produced a number of books in partnership with William Barrets who was one of Francis Bacon’s most frequently used printers. Furthermore, for anyone who didn't have their head buried in the sand, (or some other ordinarily anatomically improbable location) the association of Blount with Ponsonby should have set off all kind of signals.

Ponsonby was connected with the "Compeers" in a big way. His past publishing activities associated him not only with the Sidney's and with Spenser [Bacon's most notable early mask], but also with Raleigh's School of Night. From the house of this noted publisher there issued between 1577 and 1604 (the year of his death) a series of important books. Beginning with The Faerie Queene (books 1-3) in 1590, he issued all Spenser's works, with the exception of the Shepheards Calender, which was published by Hugh Singleton in 1579. He also published the various works of Philip Sidney, and The Shadow of Night by George Chapman, as well as the translation by Sidney's sister of "A Discourse of Life and Death". The "AA" device was on most of these books. These devices provide a connecting link between the multiphase activities of Bacon and his Compeers by Night.

Leonard Digges

The verse by L. Digges “TO THE MEMORIE of the deceafed Authour Maifter W. Shakespeare” at the beginning of the First Folio has some interesting connections to Francis Bacon. The full name of L. Digges was Leonard Digges. The story of the links with Francis Bacon begins with his grandfather.

Leonard Digges (c. 1521-c.1571) had a scientific bent of mind. His son Thomas Digges (c.1546-1595), protégé, close friend and virtually adopted son of John Dee, was of an even more pronounced scientific mentality. Thomas Digges’ son was named Leonard Digges after his grandfather and was the same L. Digges who wrote the verse “TO THE MEMORIE of the deceafed Authour Maifter W. Shakespeare” at the beginning of the First Folio edition of the collected works of Shakespeare in 1623.

Leonard Digges’ father, Thomas Digges, had close connections to the Bacon family. Shortly after Thomas Digges father, the first Leonard Digges, died in 1571, Thomas Digges published the following book:

“A geometrical practise, named Pantometria”, by Digges, Leonard, d. 1571?. Imprinted at London : By Henrie Bynneman, 1571 ---129p---Dedicated to Nicholas Bacon---no AA

The dedication, by Thomas Digges, to Nicholas Bacon demonstrate the close connection of the Digges family with the Bacon Family (I have taken the liberty of modernizing some of the spelling):

“To the right honorable my singular good Lord Sir Nicholas Bacon Knight, Lord Keeper of the great Seal of England. Calling to memory Right Honourable, and my singular good Lord, the great favor your lordship bare my father in his lifetime, and the conference it pleased your honor to use with him touching the sciences mathematical, especially in geometrical mesurations, perusing also of late certain volumes that he in his youth time long sithens had compiled in the English tongue, among others I found this geometrical practice, which my father (if God had spared him life) minded to have presented your honor withal.”

When the book was published again in 1591, it was also dedicated to Nicholas Bacon:

“ A geometrical practical treatize named Pantometria, by Digges”, Leonard, d. 1571?. At London : Printed by Abell Ieffes, 1591 ---dedicated to Nicholas Bacon--no AA

These books were not marked with the “AA” device, however, another book by Leonard Digges was:

“A booke named Tectonicon”, by Digges, Leonard, d. 1571?. At London : Imprinted by Felix Kyngston, 1614---29p---AA

Since Thomas Digges was so close to John Dee it might be expected that he was close to Robert Dudley, and it is no surprise he also had books published that he dedicated to Robert Dudley, indicating that the Digges family was quite close to Robert Dudley.

“An arithmeticall vvarlike treatise named Stratioticos”, by Digges, Leonard, d. 1571?, At London, Imprinted by Richard Field, 1590---158p--dedicated to Robert Dudley--no AA

“An arithmeticall treatise, named Stratioticos”, by Digges, Leonard, d. 157?, At London, Printed by Henrie Bynneman, 1579---105p---no AA

Thomas Digges was the foremost Copernican astronomer of his day. In the “Shakespeare” plays, those miraculous examples of art embodying so many levels of meaning, Bacon adopted the practice of including topical reference to contemporary events and people with whom he was associated. Hamlet is structured around the astronomical theme of the declivity of the earth, and Bacon built into the play a running stream of allusions to Thomas Digges, and his ideas. The Digges connection touches close upon the Shakespeare Authorship question.


In addition to the 1623 “First Folio”, the “AA” device also appeared on a number of quarto publications of Shakespeare plays:

"The true tragedie of Richard the third": At London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by William Barley, at his shop in Newgate Market, neare Christ Church doore, 1594 Bib Name / Number:STC (2nd ed.) / 21009---AA/11493

"A pleasant conceited historie, called The taming of a shrew", Printed at London : By Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, at his shop at the Royall Exchange, 1594 ---AA

"The tragedy of King Richard the third", At London : Printed by Valentine Simmes [and Peter Short], for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Chuch-yard [sic], at the signe of the Angell, 1597 ---AA

"The tragedie of King Richard the second", At London : Printed by Valentine Simmes for Androw Wise, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules church yard at the signe of the Angel, 1597 ---AA

"The tragedy of King Richard the third. by Shakespeare", At London : Printed by Valentine Simmes [and Peter Short], for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Chuch-yard [sic], at the signe of the Angell, 1597--- AA

"The tragedie of King Richard the third". by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell, 1598---AA

"The famous victories of Henry the fifth: by London : Printed by Thomas Creede, 1598 ---AA/6722

"The most excellent and lamentable tragedie, of Romeo and Iuliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and amended: as it hath bene sundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants". by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare the Exchange, 1599 ---AA

"The chronicle history of Henry the fifth", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Tho. Millington, and Iohn Busby. And are to be sold at his house in Carter Lane, next the Powle head, 1600 ---AA

"The first part of the contention betwixt the two famous houses of Yorke and Lancaster", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Millington, and are to be sold at his shop vnder S. Peters church in Cornewall, 1600 ---AA

"The second part of Henrie the fourth", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, 1600 --- AA

“A most pleasaunt and excellent conceited comedie, of Syr Iohn Falstaffe, and the merrie wiues of Windsor by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by T[homas] C[reede] for Arthur Iohnson, and are to be sold at his shop in Powles Church-yard, at the signe of the Flower de Leuse and the Crowne, 1602 --- AA

"The chronicle history of Henry the fifth", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Thomas Pauier, and are to be sold at his shop in Cornhill, at the signe of the Cat and Parrets neare the Exchange, 1602 ---AA

"The tragicall historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke", by William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diuerse times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the cittie of London: as also in the two vniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else-where by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. At London : Printed [by Valentine Simmes] for N[icholas] L[ing] and Iohn Trundell, 1603 ---AA on title page

"The history of Henrie the fourth", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Valentine Simmes, for Mathew Law, and are to be solde at his shop in Paules Churchyard, at the signe of the Fox, 1604 ---AA

"The history of Henrie the fourth", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Valentine Simmes, for Mathew Law, and are to be solde at his shop in Paules Churchyard, at the signe of the Fox, 1604 ---AA p2

"The tragedie of King Richard the third",. by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by Mathew Lawe, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe, neare S. Austins gate, 1605 ---AA

“The London prodigall by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, London : Printed by T[homas] C[reede] for Nathaniel Butter, and are to be sold neere S. Austins gate, at the signe of the pyde Bull, 1605 --- AA inverted

“A Yorkshire tragedy by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. At London : Printed by R[ichard] B[radock] for Thomas Pauier and are to bee sold at his shop on Cornhill, neere tot he [sic] exchange, 1608 --- AA

"The tragedie of King Richard the third", by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by Mathew Lawe, dwelling in Pauls Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe, neare S. Austins gate, 1612 ---AA inverted

Two of these quartos require special attention; critics might even say fancy footwork, if I hope to keep my theory unscathed. These are the quarto publications of Henry V (Q1) and Hamlet (Q1) printed by Thomas Creede, because these are what are commonly known as ‘bad” quartos. For those not familiar with the issue of ‘good’ and ‘bad” quartos a bit of background is in order.

Quarto, of course, means 4. These publications got their name from the method of printing in which pieces of paper were printed on both sides, then folded in half, and following this folded in half again to yield 8 pages on 4 leaves. In their preface to the Shakespeare First Folio of 1623, entitled 'To the Great Variety of Readers', editors Heminge and Condell made the following statement:

'...where before you were abused with divers stolen and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the frauds and stealths of injurious impostors that exposed them, even those are now offered to your view cured and perfect of their limbs, and all the rest absolute in their numbers as he conceived them.'

Commentators at first thought Heminge and Condell were referring to all quarto editions that appeared before 1623. But in 1908 Pollard pointed out that the passage implies two groups of quartos. One group had presented their texts in mangled form, hence Heminge and Condell’s, ‘now even those join all the rest’...cured in the Folio. Pollard labelled the mangled group the 'Bad Quartos'. He theorized that these had been pirated editions, obtained by unscrupulous printers from the reports of unaffiliated actors (hired men), or even audience members who had witnessed performances. The scholars were happy in the explanation. They thought they had all the bases covered. 22 plays were published in quartos; 6 are generally accepted as 'bad' Quartos: '2 Henry VI' (Q1 1594), '3 Henry VI (Q1 1595), 'Romeo and Juliet' (Q1 1597), 'Henry V' (Q1 1600), 'Merry Wives' (Q1 1602) and 'Hamlet' (Q1 1603).

Then, in his 1956 “Quarto Copy for Folio Henry V” Andrew S. Cairncross presented a persuasive demonstration ”that the First Folio text of Henry V was set up, so far as that was feasible, from one or more corrected exemplars of the bad quarto”. After making a detailed examination of the facts that proved his conclusion Cairncross said :

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine any other explanation of the facts here presented. One cannot imagine such a copy originating, for example, in the theatre. It certainly would have been impossible as promptcopy; nor is it likely that, even if Heminge and Condell set themselves, or their scribe, to make a transcript, it would have been done in this way, or on two exemplars. The use of Q is much too widespread to admit of a "patching" theory, such as has been offered for Richard III; a manuscript that required patching to that extent would obviously have been so dealt with long before, and one hesitates to think what it would look like after the "patching." Again, if there was to be transcription, it is difficult to see the point of the intermediate use of the quartos; it would have been better to do the transcript direct from the manuscript. In short, except as a printer's device, there seems to be no accounting for all the phenomena of the F text.

Apart from possible repercussions on the general theory of Shakespearean texts, which are beyond the scope of this article, it is clear that the approach to the text of Henry V will have to be revolutionized. All existing texts, to my knowledge, are based on the assumption that F is independent of Q, and that therefore, as Greg puts it (Pr. Em., p. 16), "Where the texts differ, one possesses vastly greater authority than the other: where they agree, we not only have direct transcriptional witness to what the author wrote, but we know . . . that this was actually spoken on the stage."

It has often been noted that if you turn the coin over, the strongest argument against some particular issue often becomes the strongest argument for that issue. This seems to be the case for Creede’s printing of the ‘bad’ folio of Henry V. Cairncross’ evidence would indicate that instead of pirating the manuscript for Henry V, Creede actually had ‘insider’ access to the author’s preliminary and very rough draft of the play.

We do not have far to look for the reason as to why Bacon would have allowed publication of this “bad” quarto of one of his works either. Bacon was always pressed for cash to fund his projects. The “Shakespeare” quartos were best sellers. So we may assume this was the rationale behind the premature publication.

I will skip the issue of the ‘bad’ quarto of Hamlet since I have already examined one ‘bad’ quarto printed by Creede, and I want to use the limited space I have available to examine some of the other interesting “AA” publications printed by Creede and others. Smedley said there were works marked with the “AA” device that contained “tricks of phrasing and other peculiarities” by which Bacon’s writing style could be detected, but he didn’t define those or show examples, and I want to do this. Besides, since my poor opponents, the Stratfordians, don’t have a brain to think with, it is only Christian Charity that I leave them a bone to gnaw on.

comments for Mather Walker

The Bacon-Shakespeare Essays of Mather Walker









 - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning