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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Who Wrote the Plays of Shakespeare?

The late Joy Lonsdale was much intrigued by such matters. Here, found among her papers, is a commentary followed by an extract from a letter sent by one of her many academic correspondents. Buzzword posts it for your interest. (As for us - do we have an opinion? Only that if Shakespeare wrote the plays, he was assisted by others with great wisdom who interpolated profundities and ensured that they were uttered from the mouths of dolts such as Polonius. There is the long tradition of the fool at Court generally being the most perceptive person. But we digress.) See what you can make of this yourself:

My English friend and I have lately been discussing Gurdjieff and his numerous made-up words, such as "Trogoautoegocrat", which is based on four Greek roots, and he happened to mention that they were not quite as incomprehensible as "Honorificabilitudinitatibus" which appears in Act Five of Love's Labour Lost. Probably not too many people would even bother trying to work it out, and it certainly can't be done in the simple way that "Trogo…" can, for it is far more complicated, and a perfect anagram. Rather than retype it all out here, I will enclose a copy of part of Roy's letter dealing with it. What I find interesting is the mention of R. M. Bucke, who it seems was in the pro-Bacon camp.

Incidentally, Francis Bacon was a Rosicrucian, being at one time Imperator of the Order of England. This, to me, explains the Fr. in front of his name, which is short for Frater rather than Francis.

They also state that many scholars now believe from their researches that Bacon was the author of the "Shakespearean" plays, and that the Rosicrucian history states that he was also the author of the Manifestos, which brought about the revival of the Order in Germany in the 17th century.

This is debatable, for it is also thought by some that Johann Valentin Andreae wrote them under the influence of John Dee. (No one has ever claimed authorship, once a very common procedure for knowledgeable men imparting a teaching. They have no need of fleeting fame, or for the more prudent reason of avoiding a stake or the chop!)

So far, I have not come across Dee ever being mentioned in Rosicrucian literature - most likely because of the stigma of charlatan undeservedly attached to his name.

Francis Yates maintains that he was a Rosicrucian, albeit secretly ( as most were) because of the threat of the heresy charge in those days. He cleverly invented a doppel-ganger named Edward Kelly, on whom he could heap any blame if accused, but it backfired on him.

Bacon is also thought to be the brain behind the rehashing of the King James' version of the Bible, with its multitudinous hermetic references. Many years ago, before I became aware of any of this, I marked Psalm 46 in my copy, for I had read that if one counts down 46 words from the beginning, and 46 words from the end, one comes to the two words shake and spear (disregarding the word selah where it appears twice, for this simply means "pause"). The number 46 was probably chosen because it reduces to 1 - the Bible also being based on numbers.

This is the end of Joy's preamble. The extract she referred to follows:

Yes, the Francis Bacon/Shakespeare argument is one that I have so far avoided, since I spent my research time more on the subject of Alchemy. However, it was impossible to avoid entirely, and perhaps it was R. M. Bucke (of Cosmic Consciousness) who made me give the matter more thought than I had intended when he wrote an article for a Canadian magazine describing an anagram which appears in Love's Labour Lost - I wonder if you know of it? In case you don't, here is the gist. Get your pocket Shakespeare ready:

At the start of Act Five, you will come across the following Latin quotes placed in the text one after another:
Satis quod sufficit (That which suffices is enough.)
Novi Hominem tanquam te (I know the man as well as I know you.)
Laus Deo Bene intelligo (Praise God, I understand well.)
Vidrane quis venit (Do you see who comes?)
Video et gaudeo (I see and rejoice)
Quare (Wherefore?)

Then, a few lines further on, the word " Honorificabilitudinitatibus" startles everyone by appearing in the text. Immediately afterward, one says: 
"Are you not lettered?" 
The answer is: "Yes, he teaches boys the Hornbrook." 
"What is a "b" spelt backward with a horn on his head?"

Obviously this is a cipher of some kind. The answer to the last question is, of course, "Ba, with a horn added." Now "Ba" with a horn added is "Bacornu" which could suggest Bacon (by the existing rules of ciphering).

In the middle of the long word there appear the letters "ab". Begin at the "b" and spell backward, as instructed, and, from the result, "bacifironoH" it is not hard to pick out Fr. Bacon.

Take the other half of the long word and spell it forward. - "ilitudinitatibus" and it is just as easy to extract "ludi" (the plays), "tuiti" (protected or guarded) , "nati" (produced). These extracts, coupled with the first, give: "Ludi tuiti Fr. Bacon nati". The remaining letters are "hiiiba", which are easily read as "hi sibi". Placing all these together in correct grammatical order yields: "Hi ludi, tuiti sibi, Fr Bacon nati". (These plays entrusted to themselves proceeded from Fr. Bacon).

Thus the answer is a perfect anagram, each letter used once and once only. The form of the long word is Latin and it is read in Latin. The sense of the infolded words corresponds with the sense of the infolding long word, so far as it has any. (Compare "honorificare, honorifico".) The infolding Latin is grammatical, its intention fully declared and plain.

As to where this long word came from, consult the Northumberland House MS - a document that belonged to Bacon and could never have been seen by the actor Shakespeare. On the outer leaf is written the word "Honorificabilitudino", also an anagram. It infolds the words "initio hiludi Fr. Bacon". (In the beginning, these plays from Fr. Bacon.) It seems to have been a prototype of the words used in Love's Labour Lost. The Latin words do not form a complete sentence, rather suggesting a meaning without actually containing one. The perfected word appears in the play.

In Cosmic Consciousness, Bucke announces the discovery that Shakespeare's plays and poems - nearly all of them -are signed by Bacon, using a cipher invented by himself and kept to himself.

And, of course, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Fr. Bacon was quite familiar with the Hermetic code - as his New Atlantis will readily show.

There are other lesser references within the plays to the shadowy Fr. Bacon and Alchemy as, for example, in The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 4 Scene 1:

The scene has just opened when Eva asks:
…What is a lapis, William?
Will: A stone.
Eva: And what is a stone, William?
Will: A pebble.
Eva: No, it is lapis. I pray you remember…
Notice here the emphasis on the word lapis, generally employed in Hermetic texts to signify the Philosopher's Stone.
There follows a brief flourish of Latin questioning by Eva, ending in: "Accusative, hing, hang, hog.
Quick: Hang hog is Latin for Bacon, I warrant you.

This controversy still remains for scholars, especially in Aberdeen, where David Angus presented a paper to a gathering of academics a year or so ago. Angus, a lecturer in Scottish Literature, claims that phrases that have puzzled scholars for centuries only make sense if they are translated into Gaelic. The word "ronyon" for example has defeated all modern editors, but Gaelic offers "rongean" (a bulky, idle person). Ronyon, which appears in Macbeth, is generally translated as a scurvy woman. Angus will have none of it and claims that the plays were actually written by the Scottish actor/manager  Lawrence Fletcher. It's one argument I'm keeping clear of.

So there you have it. By the way, Buzzword Books is the eBook publisher for both of Joy's works - Gurdjieff and the Arch Preposterous and Dictionary of Allegorical Words. Both have proved very popular. Check them out on our site.

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