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The Holy Grail of the Shakespeare World

by A. Phoenix

This is the Holy Grail of the Shakespeare World: an original manuscript of a Shakespeare play corrected in the hand of its secret concealed author Francis Bacon

126 page Academic Paper 

It is little known to virtually all Shakespeare scholars, the ordinary schoolmen, and the rest of the world that there exists an early manuscript version of the play Henry IV. This manuscript is the earliest extant manuscript of a Shakespeare play ever discovered, an historical landmark of the utmost importance, that one might be forgiven for thinking that it would not only be well-known and minutely scrutinised by Shakespeare scholars around the globe, as well as known to all and sundry with only the remotest interest in Shakespeare, but celebrated for what it is: a unique artefact of world-wide significance.

The reason this is not the case is because the manuscript itself conceals an explosive secret which it would be difficult to overestimate of the most far-reaching consequences which completely collapses the fiction and illusion William Shakspere of Stratford wrote the Shakespeare works and at the same time confirms the truth that Francis Bacon is our supreme poet and dramatist Shakespeare.

This manuscript was discovered in 1844 preserved in the collection of the eighth Baronet Sir Edward Dering (1807-96) at Surrenden Hall near Pluckley in Kent. It had previously formed part of the library of the first Sir Edward Dering (1598-1644), an antiquarian with an interest in literature and drama, named after his uncle the Puritan preacher Edward Dering patronised by the Cooke sisters Lady Anne Cooke Bacon, Lady Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell, Lady Mildred Cooke Cecil and Lady Cooke Killigrew. The relatively obscure Sir Edward Dering (1598-1644) about whose early life very little is known was-here revealed for the first time-a close friend and relative (twice over) of the author of Henry IV Francis Bacon.

To the present day the so-called Dering manuscript is presented to the world as a handwritten version of an abridgement of I and 2 Henry IV mainly written by a scribe, with revisions in the hand of Sir Edward Dering, possibly for a court performance at the court of James I or a private performance at his house in Kent c.1623. It is said that the manuscript is or is apparently based on the 1613 quarto edition of I Henry IV and 1600 quarto edition of 2 Henry IV meaning the manuscript dates from no earlier than 1613 and as Dering’s revisions appear to incorporate some emendations in the First Folio, the MS or parts of the MS, may be dated sometime between 1622 to 1624.

One hundred and twenty years after the so-called Dering MS was first discovered which was afterwards purchased in  great secrecy by Henry Folger, who secreted it away in the Folger Shakespeare Library, a Secret Baconian-Rosicrucian-Freemasonic Institution, a facsimile edition of it was published in 1974.

The edition entitled The History of King Henry The Fourth as revised by Sir Edward Dering published by the Folger Shakespeare, edited by George Walton Williams and Gwynne Blakemore Evans, is not generally well known and remains unfamiliar to the ordinary schoolmen and casual student, and is not quite what it appears to the uninstructed eye.

Its joint editor G. Blakemore Evans worked for US Intelligence serving in the Army Signal Corps alongside William Friedman at Bletchley run by British Intelligence, the centre of allied cipher and code-breaking during the Second World War. In their book The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined the Fraudulent Friedmans falsely maintained that there were no Baconian ciphers used in the Shakespeare works, in perpetrating one of the greatest academic and literary frauds of all time.

However as the present writer demonstrated in The Fraudulent Friedmans: The Bacon Ciphers in the Shakespeare Works their fraudulent book The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined is itself an elaborate cryptogram containing hidden Baconian ciphers conveying the concealed cryptographic message that Francis Bacon, Brother of the Rosy Cross, is Shakespeare. The Friedmans knew there were Baconian ciphers present in the Shakespeare works, a secret cryptically incorporated throughout their work aided by the Folger Shakespeare Library, revealing and confirming Bacon is Shakespeare.

Similarly, while in the open plain text of The History of King Henry The Fourth as revised by Sir Edward Dering its editors George Walton Williams and Gwynne Blakemore Evans himself an expert in cryptography, maintained the fiction of the so-called Dering manuscript, its title page incorporated a number of hidden Baconian ciphers, revealing and confirming that the manuscript of Henry IV was of Baconian origin and likewise that Bacon is Shakespeare.  

In contrast to Williams and Evans and several other Shakespeare scholars who have maintained and repeated the fiction of the so-called Dering manuscript, the orthodox scholar Professor Hardin Craig observed that the MS contains a number of differences and peculiarities which remain unchanged by any contact with the fifth 1613 quarto of I Henry IV. He further observes that it was written in a normal Elizabethan hand with no discernible Jacobean intermixtures, and most importantly, concludes it may be older than the earliest 1598 quarto edition of I Henry IV, and that it is a manuscript of Shakespeare’s play when it was originally one and not two plays.

This whole illusory house of cards rests entirely on the presence of Dering’s hand in the manuscript. If his hand is not present, Dering self-evidently had nothing whatsoever to do with its composition, or its revision, cuts, its division into acts and scenes, its numerous additions of fifty lines and half lines, the introduction of original material in prose and verse, or its wholesale and extensive corrections. All from a person who never wrote a single drama in his entire life or is known to have heavily revised and amended any other play, never mind a Shakespeare play, in the same fashion or manner. The very premise on which this theory rests is self-evidently absurd and more importantly demonstrably false.

The large formatted edition of The History of King Henry The Fourth as revised by Sir Edward Dering totals two hundred and thirty-eight pages, comprising an introduction, a Note on the Transcription and Textual Notes, The Names of All the Characters, a facsimile and transcription with textual notes of the manuscript itself, and a Descriptive and Historical Collation. There is however one absolutely critical piece of evidence missing, namely a facsimile of Dering’s handwriting.

There is no reasonable and rational explanation whatsoever why Evans and Williams did not reproduce what constitutes the most important evidence in their whole Dering theory. By now the intelligent and alert reader will probably strongly suspect or more likely readily realise there is something wrong, something very wrong when the modern authorities on the Dering manuscript have unmistakably and very deliberately not reproduced facsimiles of Dering’s handwriting in this standard edition of the so-called Dering manuscript.

What was it then they wanted to conceal from other ordinary scholars and the rest of the Shakespearean world? Simple, the hand of Dering is nowhere present in the so-called Dering manuscript, a very simple fact which at a stroke completely and incontrovertibly exposes and collapses this whole charade and irrefutably demolishes a fraud or illusion (secretly known to some for more than a century) once and for all.    

The known and undoubted examples of Dering’s hand bears no resemblance whatsoever to the handwriting (including its corrections) to any of the handwriting in the so-called Dering manuscript, or the handwriting in the obverse and reverse of the scrap of paper. It fact not only is it manifestly plain that Dering’s known hand and the hands in the so-called Dering MS do not even remotely resemble each other, it is difficult to conceive of any other specimens of handwritings, being more different.

What then is the reason for the fraud and the false insistence on Dering’s handwriting being present in the so-called Dering MS? The reason is because it masks and conceals its true status, provenance and date. In other words it misdirects the eye away from a great historical secret, one known to some since it was first discovered, and others who were made privy to the secret afterwards.

The so-called Dering manuscript is a single-five act Shakespeare play of Henry IV and is earlier than the first printed quarto of The Historie of Henrie the fourth issued in 1598 and the quarto edition of The Second part of Henrie the fourth printed in 1600. The MS represents the play as Bacon originally composed it when it was one play and not two before developing his original version into two separate parts. Furthermore, we can be reasonably precise regarding the date of the manuscript. It is widely agreed Henry IV followed closely upon Richard II as not only is Henry IV next chronologically its predecessor Richard II clearly points to a sequel. The earlier Richard II is believed to date to around late 1595 or early 1596, and Henry IV was probably composed shortly after, sometime in 1596.

There appears to be three hands in the so-called Dering MS two of which were scribes. It appears the manuscript was copied from another MS now lost. The so-called Dering MS was begun by one scribe who copied out the whole of page one and for some unknown reason after he had completed the first page the task was turned over to a second scribe, who copied out the rest of the manuscript.

The manuscript is intimately connected to Bacon’s literary workshop of writers, scribes and copyists that produced Bacon’s Northumberland MSS, which once contained his Shakespeare plays Richard II and Richard III, that dates from around 1596/7. On the outside cover of the Northumberland MSS in a contemporary hand there are more than a dozen examples of various forms of the name Bacon or Francis Bacon and his literary mask Shakespeare or William Shakespeare. Above the entry for the Shakespeare play Richard II is written ‘By Mr. ffrauncis William Shakespeare’ and where the name ‘William Shakespeare’ has been written further down the page the word ‘Your’ is written twice across it, so thus reads ‘Your William Shakespeare’. The writing on the outer cover of the manuscript is chiefly in one hand with occasional words in another, and a few words written at angle, possibly by a third. One of the hands was undoubtedly Bacon who was also responsible for the monogram signature ‘W.S.’ at the top right hand corner. As with the so-called Dering manuscript, the main content of Bacon’s Northumberland MSS is written in two or more hands. One of the works contained within it generally referred to by the title Leicester’s Commonwealth is itself written by two different scribes whose identity remains unknown. On examining the facsimiles of the so-called Dering MS and the aforementioned work in Bacon’s Northumberland MSS it appears that one of the scribes who copied out Leicester’s Commonwealth was also responsible for copying out the so-called Dering MS from the second page onwards. It appears that in producing the so-called Dering manuscript one of these scribes was most likely working from Bacon’s original (‘foul papers’) manuscript of I Henry IV, producing an authorial fair copy of the play, which Bacon later gifted to his friend and relative Sir Edward Dering.

The so-called corrector’s hand in the so-called Dering manuscript is Bacon’s own cramped hand, as one would expect, from the author of the play.

It is now more than fitting that instead of it being referred to as the Dering manuscript it is hereafter known by its right and proper designation as Francis Bacon’s 1596 manuscript of Henry IV, the unique and earliest known extant manuscript of a Shakespeare play, the holy grail of Shakespeare scholarship.