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

by A. Phoenix

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

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

Follow the discussion on the B’Hive Forum here on


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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