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and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
[Illustration: Plate I From “Sylva Sylvarum,” 1627]
BACON IS SHAKE-SPEARE
SIR EDWIN DURNING-LAWRENCE, BT.
”Every hollow Idol is dethroned by skill,
insinuation and regular approach.”
Together with a Reprint of
Bacon’s Promus of Formularies and Elegancies.
Collated, with the Original MS. by the late F.B. BICKLEY,
and revised by F.A. HERBERT, of the British Museum.
TO THE READER
The plays known as Shakespeare’s are at the present time universally
acknowledged to be the “Greatest birth of time,” the grandest
production of the human mind. Their author also is generally
recognised as the greatest genius of all the ages. The more the
marvellous plays are studied, the more wonderful they are seen to be.
Classical scholars are amazed at the prodigious amount of knowledge of
classical lore which they display. Lawyers declare that their author
must take rank among the greatest of lawyers, and must have been
learned not only in the theory of law, but also intimately acquainted
with its forensic practice. In like manner, travellers feel certain
that the author must have visited the foreign cities and countries
which he so minutely and graphically describes.
It is true that at a dark period for English literature certain
critics denied the possibility of Bohemia being accurately described
as by the sea, and pointed out the “manifest absurdity” of speaking
of the “port” at Milan; but a wider knowledge of the actual facts
has vindicated the author at the expense of his unfortunate critics.
It is the same with respect to other matters referred to in the
plays. The expert possessing special knowledge of any subject
invariably discovers that the plays shew that their author was well
acquainted with almost all that was known at the time about that
And the knowledge is so extensive and so varied that it is not too much
to say that there is not a single living man capable of perceiving half
of the learning involved in the production of the plays. One of the
greatest students of law publicly declared, while he was editor of the
Law Times, that although he thought that he knew something of law, yet
he was not ashamed to confess that he had not sufficient legal knowledge
or mental capacity to enable him to fully comprehend a quarter of the
law contained in the plays.
Of course, men of small learning, who know very little of classics and
still less of law, do not experience any of these difficulties, because
they are not able to perceive how great is the vast store of learning
exhibited in the plays.
There is also shewn in the plays the most perfect knowledge of Court
etiquette, and of the manners and the methods of the greatest in the
land, a knowledge which none but a courtier moving in the highest
circles could by any possibility have acquired.
In his diary, Wolfe Tone records that the French soldiers who invaded
Ireland behaved exactly like the French soldiers are described as
conducting themselves at Agincourt in the play of “Henry V,” and he
exclaims, “It is marvellous!” (Wolfe Tone also adds that Shakespeare
could never have seen a French soldier, but we know that Bacon while in
Paris had had considerable experience of them.)
The mighty author of the immortal plays was gifted with the most
brilliant genius ever conferred upon man. He possessed an intimate and
accurate acquaintance, which could not have been artificially acquired,
with all the intricacies and mysteries of Court life. He had by study
obtained nearly all the learning that could be gained from books. And he
had by travel and experience acquired a knowledge of cities and of men
that has never been surpassed.
Who was in existence at that period who could by any possibility be
supposed to be this universal genius? In the days of Queen Elizabeth,
for the first time in human history, one such man appeared, the man who
is described as the marvel and mystery of the age, and this was the man
known to us under the name of Francis Bacon.
In answer to the demand for a “mechanical proof that Bacon is
Shakespeare” I have added a chapter shewing the meaning of
“Honorificabilitudinitatibus,” and I have in Chapter XIV. shewn how
completely the documents recently discovered by Dr. Wallace confirm the
statements which I had made in the previous chapters.
I have also annexed a reprint of Bacon’s “Promus,” which has recently
been collated with the original manuscript. “Promus” signifies
Storehouse, and the collection of “Fourmes and Elegancyes” stored
therein was largely used by Bacon in the Shakespeare plays, in his own
acknowledged works, and also in some other works for which he was mainly
I trust that students will derive considerable pleasure and profit from
examining the “Promus” and from comparing the words and phrases, as they
are there preserved, with the very greatly extended form in which many
of them finally appeared.
II. The Shackspere Monument, Bust, and Portrait
III. The [so-called] “Signatures”
IV. Contemporary allusions to Shackspere in “Every
Man out of his Humour”; and “As you Like it”
V. Further contemporary allusions in “The return
from Parnassus”; and “Ratsei’s Ghost”
VI. Shackspere’s Correspondence
VII. Bacon acknowledged to be a Poet
VIII. The Author revealed in the Sonnets
IX. Mr. Sidney Lee, and the Stratford Bust