UPDATED New claims over Shakespeare’s final resting place dismissed as “fantasy”

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THE Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Holy Trinity Church have dismissed new suggestions that William Shakespeare is not buried in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Paul Edmondson, the trust’s head of research and knowledge, said the claims by Alexander Waugh in two national newspapers as “fantasy”.

The Reverend Patrick Taylor, vicar of Holy Trinity, said it was “an historical fact” that Shakespeare was buried there.

Mr Waugh – a writer and critic, who is an advocate of the Oxfordian theory, the belief that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the works of Shakespeare – says the Bard of Avon is buried in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

The grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh is reported in the Guardian as saying that he discovered the new theory after decoding encryptions in the title and dedication pages of Aspley’s edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets of 1609.

Hidden geometries, grid patterns and other clues, he says, reveal that Shakespeare was actually buried underneath his 1740 monument in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

But Mr Edmondson told the Herald: “If Shakespeare had died in London he would probably have been buried in Westminster Abbey.

“But he died in Stratford-upon-Avon, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church. Alexander Waugh is of course presenting a fantasy.

“He isn’t the grandson of the fiction writer and satirist Evelyn Waugh for nothing.”

Rev Taylor added: “It is an historical fact that William Shakespeare was buried in Holy Trinity.

“We still have the register of burials and the entry which was completed on the day of his funeral clearly shows this.

“In my experience those who come from around the world to visit his grave here in Stratford experience a powerful sense of connection between the human being buried before them and the plays William Shakespeare wrote.”

Mr Waugh was due to present his research at a conference on Sunday at the Globe Theatre in London.
Prince Charles arrives at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Bishop of Coventry and the Reverend Patrick Taylor, Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon during the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2016. Photo: Mark Williamson.
  • Howard Schumann

    Of course, the SBT will deny any evidence that shows the man from Stratford to be the wrong author. It seems like this will be pretty easy to prove, however. Let’s find out who is buried in Poet’s Corner beneath the statue.

    • Benjamin Hackman

      Howard, So could you share with us 2 or 3 pieces of evidence for your candidate? And what makes you think anyone, much less Oxford, is buried beneath the Shakespeare statue?

      • Does mean there are two bodies in de Vere’s grave, wherever it is?

      • 2 or 3 examples?? Out of hundreds? That will be a bit arbitrary.

        Why not read the hundred reasons Hank Whittemore outlines in his recent book?
        https://www.amazon.com/100-Reasons-Shake-speare-Earl-Oxford/dp/0983502773/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509325574&sr=8-1&keywords=hank+whittemore

        • Benjamin Hackman

          Come now Richard. Each and every one of Hank’s delightful speculations is just that. And speculations, whether 1 or 100, are not evidence. Individually or cumulatively.

          So let’s start with the infamous pirates.

          They were a plot device, missing in Q1, that Shakespeare added in Q2 to explain how Hamlet was able to let poor R&G continue unsuspectingly to England, while Hamlet slipped back to Denmark. Pirates! The kindliest pirates in the world, whose ship Hamlet alone boarded (odd, I thought pirates did the boarding), and the same kindly pirates who delivered Hamlet’s letter to Horatio.

          So these pirates are not real pirates. They are a plot device. And they are in the play not because Oxford was once captured by actual pirates, but because Shakespeare needed a device to get Hamlet back to Denmark.

          Of course, this is old news. See Martin Stevens, “Hamlet and the Pirates, in the “Shakespeare Quarterly,” Summer 1975.

          Sir, would you like another?

        • A. R. Lyon

          Dr. Waugaman, In the group think world of Oxfordians, you are convinced the so-called “authorship problem” has been solved in favor of Edward de Vere. Funny thing, your findings haven’t traveled very far in the outside world.

          You claim articles in various Oxfordian publications are peer reviewed. I call them best friends reviewed. None of them and no Oxfordian book can stand close examination.

          If evidence does not support Oxfordian claims,Oxfordians make things up. Oxfordians have been doing this so long, they can give Donald J. Trump lessons.

          Dr. Waugman, you have wasted your life. You are a disgrace to your profession.

      • Paul Crowley

        > Could you share with us 2 or 3 examples of the evidence for your candidate that the SBT would deny?<<

        There are so many that it’s hard to choose. Every Oxfordian will have their own favourites. Some of mine would be:
        1) The Stratford Birthplace Trust (SBT) would deny that the Lady Olivia of Twelfth Night is a representation of Queen Elizabeth — even though they would not be able to find any other similar female before ~1850, neither in fiction nor in real life. By ‘similar’ here I mean ‘rich, noble, never-married, who controlled her own estates, and who could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all’.

        2) The SBT would also deny that other fictional characters in that play are representations of Elizabethan courtiers: Christopher Hatton as Malvolio, Henry Carey (Lord Hunsdon) as Sir Toby Belch, Philip Sidney as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Robert Dudley (Leicester) as Duke Orsino, and Walter Raleigh as Viola — with whom the Lady Olivia ridiculously falls in love.

        3) An exception to rule in (1) above is another canonical figure: the Lady Portia in the Merchant of Venice. In the play she is assailed by streams of foreign suitors for her hand in marriage, just like — well, you have guessed.

        4) In that play that fictional person (a representation of Queen Elizabeth) is addressed in an immensely bawdy speech including the phrase: “riding on the balls of mine”. The SBT would probably deny that the speech is bawdy. After all, that fact had never been admitted by any Stratfordian editor, and placing bawdiness at this juncture of the action makes no sense within a Stratfordian understanding of the works, nor of their setting, nor of their audience, nor of the Stratford man as author.

        5) Another representation of the monarch’s tendency to fall in love with a monstrously absurd figure (as the poet saw him) appears in Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, where Elizabeth is caricatured as the Fairy Queen, Titania, and Walter Raleigh as Nick Bottom, the weaver. Robert Dudley is again the ‘master’ to her ‘mistress’ as Oberon. They quarrel over the custody of a ‘changeling boy’ exactly as Dudley and Elizabeth did in real life over the custody of the young Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.

        The SBT would deny all these, and hundreds of other similar items.

        • Benjamin Hackman

          You nailed it Paul. Every play is a send up of QE.

          Yup. That’s the ticket.

          BTW, the SBT could care less about your interpretations.

          • Paul Crowley

            > You nailed it Paul. Every play is a send up of QE.<<

            Only a few plays have representations of QE — and any implied criticisms in them are restrained.

            > BTW, the SBT could care less about your interpretations.
            And why would your interpretations be evidence of Oxford’s authorship?<<

            Because if they were false, they would very easily be disproved. For the SBT (and Stratfordians generally) there is no more likelihood that the story and other details of the canonical play will match the court of Queen Elizabeth around 1580 than they would match that of Donald Trump in 2017, or that of Philip II in 1580.

            You could start by finding ONE real-life example — from anywhere in Europe before ~1870 — of a ‘rich, noble, never-married woman, who controlled her own estates, and who could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all’.

            The claim is Fictional Person X represents Real Person Y. The SBT (and Stratfordians generally) must say ‘any matching is coincidental’. But what are the odds against the matching we see in the canonical works?

            Of course, we must also take into account the wider context. Is it conceivable that a trusted courtier would be allowed to present — as a private entertainment for the court — such a roman a clef? Was Oxford in a position to caricature Raleigh as an ass? (With the pun on ‘ass’.) Would he have been inclined to do so? Might he have regarded Raleigh’s relationship with the Queen as something monstrous? In fact, we know that the low-born Raleigh displaced Oxford as the Queen’s chief favourite in the late 1570s.

            Of course, I know that the SBT will not consider the issues — any more that the Papal astronomers would consider looking through Galileo’s telescope. But I also know who has the most powerful story, and whom later ages will follow.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Paul. You’re all over the place. I’m not sure from whose perspective you’re writing, much less just what your point is.

            First you say only a few plays have representations of QE, yet all your examples were precisely this. And Mark Anderson tells us just about every female character is QE, including Nell the kitchen wench.

            Next you say any “implied criticism” in plays is restrained. But Oxfordians claim the criticism was blatant, and so obvious that only Oxford could have gotten away with it. So which is it?

            Then all the rhetorical questions about Oxford. Were you asking them expecting a “yes” to confirm Oxford’s authorship, or a “no” suggesting he could not have been.

            Paul, get a grip.

            And really, the SBT does not care about your interpretations.

            BTW,

          • Paul Crowley

            > Paul. You’re all over the place. I’m not sure from whose perspective you’re writing, much less just what your point is.<<

            It’s very simple. We have certain historical texts. Do they relate to certain known historical persons and events? Or is there no real connection, and all apparent similarities are present by chance?

            As a Stratfordian, you must necessarily go for the second option. But how do you explain all the ‘coincidences’?

            > Next you say any “implied criticism” in plays is restrained. But Oxfordians claim the criticism was blatant, and so obvious that only Oxford could have gotten away with it. So which is it?<<

            I’m arguing my own case, not that of Mark Anderson, nor of anyone else. But it’s all a question of context. No one outside the court could have commented on the Queen’s behaviour without the risk of losing body parts. No theatre company would have dared portray a living monarch on the public stage. But inside the court, an intimately trusted friend and courtier could have made the representations we see, and when we examine them closely, we can see that there was little to which she would object — once she had given her ‘allowed fool’ the licence for that approach.

            > Then all the rhetorical questions about Oxford. Were you asking them expecting a “yes” to confirm Oxford’s authorship, or a “no” suggesting he could not have been.<<

            The questions were not rhetorical. Although I’m fully aware that you will use any excuse to avoid answering them.

          • headlight

            You could start by finding ONE real-life example — from anywhere in Europe before ~1870 — of a ‘rich, noble, never-married woman, who controlled her own estates, and who could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all’.

            And there’s the problem: the best example is not a real-life one; it was from an Italian story, later translated by Barnabe Rich.
            This formulaic description was created (by you) to describe Elizabeth, apparently as you imagine she was decades before the play was written. It really is not an accurate description of Olivia from Twelfth Night, since her refusal to marry was because she was in mourning for her dead brother.
            The inclusion of the character being “never married” was the one significant change Shakespeare made in the character from Barnabe Rich’s version of the story.
            Why was the change made? We may never know, but it certainly wasn’t because anyone would associate the young Olivia, comically falling in love with a girl dressed as a boy, with the elderly Queen Elizabeth. Might it be something as simple as wanting the character (who in Rich’s version was a young, beautiful woman) to be seen as virginal, perhaps because a widow might be perceived as less likely to fall head-over-heels in love?
            Oxfordians do not seem to understand that artists use their artistic license to reimagine characters and plots. Imagining that the plays were intended to deliver some lesson or message from the playwright to (for example) the Queen (“You really should get married!”) requires more than claiming that there is a coincidental resemblance between the character and the person supposedly being portrayed.
            Shakespeare not only had to worry about the plot and the words, but the practical activities of the professional stage that a nobleman like Oxford would have no knowledge of — making sure there were roles for all the principal players in the LCM/KM, tailoring the roles to suit the particular boy actors they had available to play females (one tall, the other short and dark? Midsummer Night’s Dream!) Writing the play so one actor could play two or more roles, so they never appear onstage at the same time? Writing a few fourteener poems and maybe some short comic court interludes doesn’t prepare you for those practical considerations. And Oxford was never a practical person.

          • Paul Crowley

            > > You could start by finding ONE real-life example — from anywhere in Europe before ~1870 — of a ‘rich, noble, never-married woman, who controlled her own estates, and who could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all’. < And there’s the problem: the best example is not a real-life one; it was from an Italian story, later translated by Barnabe Rich.<<

            The problem is yours. There was nothing unusual or remarkable about widows having control of their own property, and deciding who, if anyone they should marry. Given the high death-rates in medieval and early-modern times, and the large number of older rich men acquiring younger wives, there were always plenty of rich widows. The truly remarkable aspect of Queen Elizabeth, and of her fictional representations, the Lady Olivia and the Lady Portia is their shared — and indeed UNIQUE — ‘never-married’ state.

            > This formulaic description was created (by you) to describe Elizabeth, apparently as you imagine she was decades before the play was written. <<

            You think I’m responsible for Elizabeth’s remarkable never-married state?

            BTW, Twelfth Night was written in or around 1579.

            > Why was the change made?<<

            The translation made by ‘Barnabe Rich’ probably antedated the play (even if published after it).

            > We may never know, but it certainly wasn’t because anyone would associate the young Olivia, comically falling in love with a girl dressed as a boy, with the elderly Queen Elizabeth.<<

            Elizabeth was in her mid- to late-forties when she fell in love with Raleigh. The playwright made fun of that relationship, but he was not going to accurately portray her age. (His licence went only so far.) The only people of the day who would ever be a position to associate her with the fictional Olivia were the Queen herself and a few of her trusted courtiers.

            > Oxfordians do not seem to understand that artists use their artistic license to reimagine characters and plots.<<

            Yada, yada, yada . . .

            The issue could hardly be more straightforward. We have historical texts. We have a set of known historical people and events. The texts resemble the people and the events. Are they based upon them? Or did the resemblances occur by chance?

            Why can’t you deal with those questions? For example, you could explain how the resemblances all occurred by chance.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Paul,

            I do not accept that the plays lampoon QE. Because if they did, the Master of the Revels would have not have approved them. (I notice that chose not to reply to that particular point I made.)

            I do, however, acknowledge that some things in some of the plays could be perceived by some people (especially Oxfordians trying to fabricate a narrative to fit their theory) as critical of the Queen. But Shakespeare was smart enough to ensure that nothing was obvious, building in a plenty of plausible deniability in case anyone ever wanted to make a stink.

            As even you concede, “any implied criticisms in them are restrained.” In other words, “if” there were “any,” there’s not much to them. Because Shakespeare would never write a scene or create a character that could be considered an overt attack on QE. Which means I’m not straying in the least from your poor understanding of “Stratfordians.”

            It’s all a matter of degree, Paul. You admit that whatever criticism, if any, Shakespeare put in the plays was small potatoes. But then you jump up and down and holler “See! See! The plays are full of nasty lampoons of QE.” But your own words say otherwise. In short, you are hoist by your own uncritical petar.

            But I do find the following bit of Oxfordian shtick quite touching, while also capturing the very essence of the fanciful narrative that Oxfordians have fabricated: “QE knew the 17th Earl from the time he was a small child. He was her constant favourite for many years. She would take words from him — in fairly private circumstances — that would be almost inconceivable from anyone else, let alone from an unknown yeoman, uttered on the public stage.” Even though you’ve just admitted that there’s no there there.

            Finally, what makes you think Olivia could be a representation of QE? By your own admission (another petar?) you correctly point out “That would have made no sense whatever around 1600, when QE was 67.” Indeed. Which is why TN, first performed c. 1602 (per Manningham’s diary and snatches of songs from Robert Jones’s 1600 “First Book of Songs”) would never have been viewed as a send up of QE.

            Olivia was not a Queen, she was not old, her father had just died, and the only one urging her to marry was the Duke, not as a marriage of state, but simply because he had the hots for her—the oldest and most overworked love comedy trope that’s been around forever. Boy loves girl, girl resists, and after some silly trials and tribulations, somebody gets married. Zero parallels to an aging QE. And once again, thank you for helping me prove my point, “That would have made no sense whatever around 1600, when QE was 67.” No doubt, just what everyone in the audience would think.

            Good night and good bye Paul. And pleasant dreams of your dear sweete Lord Oxford. Do you have his picture in your study, and lay his Venus and Adonis under your pillowe?

          • Paul Crowley

            > I do not accept that the plays lampoon QE. Because if they did, the Master of the Revels would have not have approved them. (I notice that chose not to reply to that particular point I made.)<<

            When you get the author wrong, you will also get wrong the date of composition, the whole context of the play, and everything else that matters about it.
            In any case, the master of the revels had no significant role as regards the plays performed privately for the monarch and for nobles in their own houses, especially for those works written by members of the court (above all those by the Earl of Oxford — even if he took care to avoid his name being linked to particular works).

            > I do, however, acknowledge that some things in some ofthe plays could be perceived by some people . . . as critical of the Queen.<<

            What an absurd statement! How, in your view, did this ‘situation’ arise? Did the playwright intend the reading these ‘some people’ take? Or was he super-careless, and accidentally put some matters in to the play which can be misinterpreted?

            > But Shakespeare was smart enough to ensure that nothing was obvious, building in a plenty of plausible deniability in case anyone ever wanted to make a stink.<<

            Quite ahistorical. ‘Deniablity’ was never a option for someone in Shagsber’s class. If the monarch or other high authority decided something was amiss or suspicious, you went straight to jail. Jonson’s Sejanus was thought to contain ‘popery and treason’ — for some quite mysterious reason. The historian, John Hayward, was imprisoned indefinitely for covering the same period as Shake-speare’s plays. No one knows why.

            > As even you concede, “any implied criticisms in them are restrained.”<<

            I have explained your misreading on this several times. Yet you persist with your lying distortion.

            > It ’s all a matter of degree, Paul. You admit that whatever criticism, if any, Shakespeare put in the plays was small potatoes. <<

            Coming from a yeoman-playwright, and performed on the public stage, ANY reference to the monarch would be one heck of a deal. His feet would not touch the ground. Nor would those of his (supposed) collaborators in the theatre world.

            > But I do find the following bit of Oxfordian shtick quite touching, while also capturing the very essence of the fanciful narrative that Oxfordians have fabricated: “QE knew the 17th Earl from the time he was a small child. He was her constant favourite for many years. She would take words from him — in fairly private circumstances — that would be almost inconceivable from anyone else, let alone from an unknown yeoman, uttered on the public stage.” Eve n though you’ve just admitted that there’s no there there.<<

            I have admitted no such thing. I can say things to my mother, or my wife, that coming from you would get an immediate (and fully deserved) punch in the face.

            > Finally, what makes you think Olivia could be a representation of QE?<<

            Name ONE other rich, noble, never-married woman who controlled her own estates and who could decide whom she would marry, and whether or not she would marry at all? (Have I asked you that before?) Then there is her ridiculous falling in love with a hopelessly unfitting person — who replaced the great poet in her affections. Then there are all the other well-known and fairly-easily identifiable courtiers, including Robert Dudley, Christopher Hatton, Henry Carey, Philip Sidney, and Walter Raleigh. There is also a mass of detail; as one example the reference to the portrait of Mary QS, (mistress Mall) and the fact that, unlike all the other portraits, it did not get dusted.

            > By your own admission (another petar?) you correctly point out “That would have made no sense whatever around 1600, when QE was 67.” Indeed. <<

            I was pointing out the absurdity of the ~1600 date. The play was written when the words (and the action) made historical, poltical, dramatic, poetic and personal sense — i.e. around 1579

            > Olivia was not a Queen, she was not old, her father had just died, and the only one urging her to ma rry was the Duke<<

            The desirability (and implied urgency) of ‘Olivia’ leaving an heir is put into the mouth of Viola

            Lady, you are the cruell’st she alive,
            If you will lead these graces to the grave
            And leave the world no copy.

            > Boy loves girl, girl resists, and after some silly trials and tribulations, somebody gets married. <<

            As always, Stratfordians are obliged to reduce the great plays to their own level of bottom-feeding banality. But what else can you do when you have no context?

          • Benjamin Hackman

            What evidence do you have that 12N was written around 1579? Been reading Eva Turner Clark again?

          • Paul Crowley

            > What evidence do you have that 12N was written around 1579? <<

            I have already given you plenty on this. Elizabeth was informed of Leicester’s marriage to Lettice Knollys around June 1579. This led to various ructions, but thereafter Elizabeth simply refused to acknowledge its existence. Leicester remained her courtier-companion until his death. However, there is no sign of the marriage in Twelfth Night, where he remains (as Orsino) little more than her exceptionally-long-standing suitor. However, he IS a suitor. Raleigh has begun to succeed as the incoming favourite, but the relationship is clearly new and recent. On that basis, I’d date the play to the first half of 1579. Raleigh moved more and more into Leicester’s circle, and the marriage of Viola to Orsino at the end of the play is joke on that. By the time Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is written, Raleigh was more established as chief favourite — even if the monstrosity of the ‘love affair’ is still shocking to the poet. Leicester and the Queen were having arguments, if finishing one about the custody of the ‘changeling boy’ — i.e. Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. His 14th birthday was on 10th Novermber 1579. MSND is probably written in late 1579 or early 1580.

            > BTW, Paul, I am enjoying our back-and -forth, and if I step over the line, let me know, and I’ll be kinder and gentler.<<

            The only courtesy I require is that you answer reasonable questions.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Paul ,

            You claim the following: “The historian, John Hayward, was imprisoned indefinitely for covering the same period as Shake-speare’s plays. No one knows why.”

            First, Hayward was not a poet/playwright. And even if you don’t know why Heyward was imprisoned, Wiki does. (You really need to keep up.)

            “In 1599 he published The First Part of the Life and Raigne of King Henrie IV – a treatise dealing with the accession of Henry IV and the deposition of Richard II – dedicated to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. Queen Elizabeth and her advisers disliked the tone of the book and its dedication, and the queen ordered Francis Bacon to search for passages in it that might be drawn within a case of treason being compiled against Essex.[ On 11 July Hayward was interrogated before the Star Chamber. The Queen argued that Hayward was pretending to be the author in order to shield ‘some more mischievous’ person, and that he should be racked so that he might disclose the truth. Bacon reported for treason ‘surely I find none, but for felony very many,’ explaining that many of the sentences were stolen from Tacitus. Nevertheless Hayward was put in prison, where he remained until at least 1602.”

            But as an Oxfordian, you’re more than willing to apply this false analogy to support you contention that the imagined (buy Oxfordians) slights to QE in the canon would have inevitably led to commoner Shakespeare’s imprisonment.

            But Shakespeare was too smart to get in trouble like Jonson and Nashe. And the sources for Shakespeare’s play (as Oxfordians tell us again and again, he was a great borrower) are, in most cases, readily identifiable.

            Returning to your favorite example, Olivia. Both the borrowings from Jones’s 1600 “First Book of Songs” and the 1602 performance reported Manningham’s diary suggest date of composition for 12N c. 1600. And perhaps the best evidence for 1600 is that 12N was NOT listed in Meres, suggesting the play was, indeed, not on the stage yet by 1598.

            Furthermore, the most direct source is Riche’s “Apolonius and Silla” (from “Riche his Farewell,” 1580, reprinted in the Arden Shakespeare), though you can argue the trope goes back to Plautus, with a number of medieval and renaissance manifestations in between. Which means, much to the dismay of a devoted Oxfordian, the proto-12N could have been written as easily a 100 A.D., thus taking Oxford out of contention altogether. =O)

            Silly digression aside, it’s unlikely Shakespeare had the aging QE in mind when he wrote 12N. Though you still argue the following:

            The Given: Olivia is a representation of QE (because for Oxfordians, it’s a given that all of Oxford’s plays are a roman a clef, with all important female characters a representation, one way or another, of QE).

            The Oops: But that won’t work in 1600 cuz QE is too old.

            The Fix: To keep Oxfordian theory from imploding, we’ll tweak the facts and move the date of composition back to c. 1580. Yup. That’s the ticket.

            Thus Eva Turner Clark proclaims that Malvolio is Sir Christopher Hatton, a competitor with Oxford for favor at court in 1570s, which is why Oxford wrote him into 12N. And made Olivia a middle-aged QE (which still doesn’t fit, since QE would have been 47 by 1580).

            Which brings us to the overwhelming Oxfordian flaw. Their utter inability to grasp Shakespeare. Sam Johnson got it right. We value Shakespeare for his “just representations of general nature.” In other words, Shakespeare captures us all. All our types and archetypes, or as Harold Bloom put it, Shakespeare invented us, the human. And that Oxfordians can find all their favorite Oxfordian characters in the plays is a tribute to Shakespeare’s art, not to the imagination of the Oxfordians.

            Put another, we value Shakespeare for what he tells us about us, not what he tells us about Oxford. All of us that is, except for the reductio ad absurdum Oxfordians.

          • Paul Crowley

            > So which is more likely. A documentary record that shows 12N is 1600? Or Eva Turner Clark’s belief that Mavolio is Hatton and thus Oxford wrote the play in 1580 . . . . when QE l would have been 47 years old and thus long past child bearing age, which Olivia most certainly wasn’t.<<

            You are simply ignorant of history. Read up on the ‘French marriage’.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis,_Duke_of_Anjou#Courting_Elizabeth_I

            Our poet was well known for his fervent advocacy of this marriage, supporting his father-in-law, Burghley. It may seem far-fetched to us now, but the nation was desperate to have a royal heir. In the past, the lack of an agreed heir had invariably led to civil war, and no one wanted that. Our poet was intensely conscious of that history.

            > First, Hayward was not a poet/playwright.<<

            The analogy goes my way, not yours. Playwrights have always been seen as much more dangerous than scholar-historians. Would the plotters of the Essex Rebellion in 1601 have spent the evening before their uprising in a lecture hall, listening to a scholarly talk from an historian? Would they have circulated copies of Hayward’s book to read in the days leading up to it?

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Paul,

            You write, “When you get the author wrong, you will also get wrong the date of composition.”

            The irony here is delicious. It’s the other way around.

            When you get the date wrong, you will also get the wrong author.

            Cuz your author won’t work if 12N is 1600. Even you admit this. Hence the Oxfordian contortions to push 12N back to c. 1580.

            So which is more likely. A documentary record that shows 12N is 1600? Or Eva Turner Clark’s belief that Mavolio is Hatton and thus Oxford wrote the play in 1580 . . . . when QE l would have been 47 years old and thus long past child bearing age, which Olivia most certainly wasn’t.

            Oh what tangled webs Oxfordians weave when they first practice to deceive. And keep trying, again and again, and only get more tangled, because they’re really not very good at it.

          • headlight

            When you get the author wrong, you will also get wrong the date of composition, the whole context of the play, and everything else that matters about it.

            You’ve admirably captured the point in a nutshell. You’ve got the wrong author.

          • Paul Crowley

            >> When you get the author wrong, you will also get wrong the date of composition, the whole context of the play, and everything else that matters about it.

            > You’ve admirably captured the point in a nutshell. You’ve got the wrong author.<<

            We are all well aware of your beliefs. This kind of forum is for expressing arguments to justify them. Why have you have chosen to opt out?

            Was Queen Elizabeth portrayed as Olivia in 12th Night? If not, how do you explain the coincidence of her being a never-married woman who controlled her own estates and who could decide whom she would marry, or whether she would marry at all? (Elizabeth being the only such woman in Europe before ~1900). We also have the presence of a very-long-standing noble suitor (Orsino), exactly like Robert Dudley. And further, we have her falling in love with a hopelessly inappropriate person — as Elizabeth was criticised for doing — along with numerous other indications of Olivia’s royal status.

            You can admit the presence of the parallels, but then you have to explain their purpose, and how they got past the Master of the Revels.

            It’s clear that you can neither admit nor deny anything — you can only regurgitate the empty words of doctrines you acquired at school.

          • headlight

            Olivia was in mourning for her father and brother. Elizabeth’s father executed her mother, treated her as illegitimate during his lifetime, only giving her a path to the throne in his will. Her brother took steps to bypass his half-sisters in favor of Lady Jane Grey. Are you claiming that Elizabeth’s ability to decline to marry were because she was in mourning for her dead relations, as Olivia was? If not, then the parallel you’re trying to draw is pretty weak.

          • Paul Crowley

            > Are you claiming that Elizabeth’s ability to decline to marry were because she was in mourning for her dead relations, as Olivia was? If not, then the parallel you’re trying to draw is weak. There’s a fundamental difference between the Queen and a noblewoman <<

            You might as well argue that the fictional character was called ‘Olivia’ and not ‘Elizabeth’. She’s a representation, not a true-to-life portrait. (Although ‘Olivia’ is a play on ‘O Live’ — the usual acclamation: ‘Vivat Regina’.)

            > I think we can reasonably assume that if your scenario is correct, then Twelfth Night would have been performed at court on Twelfth Night in the 1579-80 season, correct?<<

            Not correct. Shake-speare gave throw-away names to many of his comedies (here the subtitle is “What you Will”). I have never attached significance to them. , including this one.

            > At the time, Oxford and Leicester were bitter enemies;<<

            I see little evidence for this. They were usually in rival factions at court, but I doubt if Leicester saw Oxford as any kind of threat. The Leicester characters in the plays are mostly portrayed with respect and courtesy.

            > And of course, basing a plot on actual actions by the Queen is not just a bad idea — it would be a form of treason. <<

            It might be — without the implicit or explicit permission of the Queen. She loved the theatre, and must have seen the licence she extended to her ‘allowed fool’ as a small price to pay for such glorious works.

            > De Vere was not a successful courtier; <<

            ‘My Lord of Oxford,’ wrote Gilbert Talbot to his father, the Earl of Shrewsbury, on 11 May 1573, ‘is lately grown into great credit; for the queen’s Majesty delighteth more in his personage, and his dancing and valiantness, than any other. I think Sussex doth back him all that he can; if it were not for his fickle head, he would pass any of them shortly’

            > But he was not foolish enough to imagine he could send a troupe of players to Court at the peak of the yuletide season to satirize her as a confused young woman who needed to be goaded into marriage.<<

            I’m sure she admitted her confusion, and didn’t mind being regarded as ‘young’. She was contemplating marriage with Alencon at the time.

            > Oxford’s story would have ended in the tower; <<

            She and Oxford knew each other well. If he went too far (as, at times, he must) he was slapped down. The play was never (as far as we know) published in quarto, and was likely never performed for a public audience before the 1623 folio.

            Your response avoids the issues. There are three possible theories about when and how the play was written:
            (a) 1579 by Oxford as a current roman-a-clef;
            (b) ~1600 by Shagsper with no allusion whatever to the reigning monarch;
            (c) ~1600 by Shagsper with allusions to her circumstances of 20+ years earlier.
            Which theory do you support?

          • headlight

            She’s a representation, not a true-to-life portrait.

            I’ve been trying to explain that to you. But if one were trying to create a recognizable representation of Elizabeth when she was a young woman in mourning, her father and brother would certainly not be the relatives she’d be mourning. If she were in mourning for he dead mother, that might make more sense. Of course, you really have no coherent explanation for your dating of the play other than it being required.

            Shake-speare gave throw-away names to many of his comedies (here the subtitle is “What you Will”). I have never attached significance to them.

            Obviously — you ignore any evidence that you cannot cram into your pre-determined theory. An explanation needs to account for all the data. Yours doesn’t. Oxfordians are assembling their theory like a dresser from Ikea — at the end they have a bunch of parts they couldn’t fit.

            > At the time, Oxford and Leicester were bitter enemies;<<

            I see little evidence for this. They were usually in rival factions at court, but I doubt if Leicester saw Oxford as any kind of threat.

            Oxford had been confined to his chamber in Greenwich in September 1579, and only was allowed to leave when the Queen left just before the yuletide. He was accused by Howard and Arundel of plotting physical attacks on Leicester. And you imagine that Leicester’s men would be performing a play penned by Oxford that yuletide?

            The Leicester characters in the plays are mostly portrayed with respect and courtesy.

            You’re making assumptions again. Finding vague similarities between fictional characters in a play and historical figures doesn’t prove anything.

            ‘My Lord of Oxford,’ wrote Gilbert Talbot to his father, the Earl of Shrewsbury, on 11 May 1573, ‘is lately grown into great credit . . .

            Just six years later, the Queen had him under house arrest, for plotting against other courtiers. A promising young man, who sadly lost favor and squandered his fortune.

            I’m sure she admitted her confusion

            But you have no evidence of it. You may not have noticed it, but the Queen of England doesn’t admit to many personal failings to her inferiors at court. Might she do so for her closest confidants? Perhaps. But Oxford was not in that circle, and was only being released from house arrest at the time you imagine Twelfth Night was premiered.

            Even if he was still in the Queen’s favor (contrary to all the evidence), why would she accept someone publicly ridiculing her.

            The play was never (as far as we know) published in quarto, and was likely never performed for a public audience before the 1623 folio.

            It was performed at Middle Temple in 1602, and was likely premiered at court Twelfth Night in 1601. There were later performances recorded as well. I’m not sure how you can assert it was “likely never performed for a public audience;” we simply do not have records of the public performances of plays the way we do for court performances, since the public ones were only recorded by the companies, whose records have disappeared other than Henslowe’s diary.

            I would say that you’re doing better than some of your benighted Oxfordian colleagues. William Ray once claimed to me that Susan de Vere, just married to Philip Herbert, performed the role of Viola in Twelfth Night at court in 1604-05. He confused her performing IN Twelfth Night with her performing ON Twelfth Night, in Jonson’s Masque of Blackness.

            There are three possible theories

            Not surprisingly, you missed the best documented and most probable theory: William Shakespeare derived the story from Barnabe Rich’s story, with some modifications, writing the play as a light court comedy for Twelfth Night, 1601. The supposed resemblance between Elizabeth and Olivia was never part of Shakespeare’s creative process, and nobody but you seem to have ever noticed it.

          • Paul Crowley

            >> She’s a representation, not a true-to-life portrait. < I’ve been trying to explain that to you. But if one were trying to create a recognizable representation of Elizabeth when she was a young woman in mourning<<

            You are far too literal. In 1579 Elizabeth celebrated her 46th birthday. She was not ‘young’. Nor was she in mourning. That was the poet’s excuse (on behalf of his mistress) to ‘explain’ why she was not seriously seeking marriage.

            > her father and brother would certainly not be the relatives she’d be mourning. If she were in mourning for he dead mother, that might make more sense. <<

            Your suggestion is perfectly logical — for the historically naive. Elizabeth never sought a restoration of her mother’s reputation. Anne Boleyn remained (as she does to this day) a condemned traitor. The most logical point to do this would have been at the beginning of her reign, but historians guess that Elizabeth felt too insecure — as a female monarch regnant in her own name. Her right to rule came from the will of her father (who was strongly respected) and implied criticisms of him would undermine that inheritance. The detestation of Anne Boleyn was still intense among both Catholics and Londoners. There was never a convenient time thereafter, and she let Anne Boleyn’s conviction stand.

            Please read up on history before making such ill-informed ‘criticisms’. The topic of ‘Anne Boleyn’ was a highly sensitive one throughout Elizabeth’s reigh, and poets, playwrights and contemporary historians had to delicately manouver around it.

            > Obviously — you ignore any evidence that you cannot cram into your pre-determined theory. An explanation needs to account for all the data. Yours doesn’t. Oxfordians are assembling their theory like a dresser from Ikea — at the end they have a bunch of pa rts they couldn’t fit.<<

            It’s a shame you can’t make any sensible criticism. You should be able to find passages in the plays that could not possibly fit the (extremely precise) scenario I outline. You might want to say the same back to me, but Strats don’t have a scenario — other than that the play was a bit of mindless nonsense, written to maximise bums on seats.

            > Oxford had been confined to his chamber in Greenwich in September 1579, and only was allo wed to leave when the Queen left just before the yuletide. He was accused by Howard and Arundel of plotting physical attacks on Leicester. And you imagine that Leicester’s men would be performing a play penned by Oxford that yuletide?<<

            I see a lot of bluff, and double-bluff going on. To get into the confidence of Howard, Arundel, and other Catholics, Oxford needed to be ‘in trouble’ with the State and the monarch, and ‘libels’ against Leicester were as good a course as any. I see Twelfth Night as being written in the first half of 1579, presumably performed for the court before Elizabeth found out about Leicester’s marriage (in June 1579). It may well have acquired the name (as we have it) much later.

            > > The Leicester characters in the plays are mostly portrayed with respect and courtesy.< You’re making assumptions again. Finding vague similarities between fictional characters in a play and historical figures doesn’t prove anything.<<

            Finding close parallels very much does — especially when you (and other Stratfordians) are so pathetically incapable of slipping a cigarette paper between the fictional character and the real one. Start with the opening lines. To what ‘dying fall’ might the poet have being alluding? (And bear in mind the bawdy sense of ‘music’; it’s one the poet loved to play upon.)

            IF there was no relationship there would be differences in every second line the stage character speaks.

            > Even if he was still in the Queen’s favor (contrary to all the evidence), why would she accept someone publicly ridiculing her.<<

            Firstly (and yet again) there was NO ‘publicly’. Secondly, the ‘ridicule’ is about as gentle as it could have been made. The Queen was the dominant personality at court, and no entertainment in the form of a roman-a-clef based on it could have avoided representing her; to have excluded her would have been both insulting and pointless. If she loved theatre (as we all know she did) and if she wanted to see her courtiers put down, she had herself to accept some gentle teasing. Quote some lines that do not fit this scenario.

            > It was performed at Middle Temple in 1602<<

            A John Payne Collier ‘finding’. Not to be trusted. But even if true, it was not a public audience. The young students present would have had little or no familiarity with the court politics of 23 years earlier and would not have picked up the parallels. No one had a text to study.

            > There were later performances recorded as well.<<

            Such as?

            > Not surprisingly, you missed the best documented and most probable theory: William Shakespeare derived the story from Barnabe Rich’s story, with some modifications, writing the play as a light court comedy for Twelfth Night, 1601. <<

            This is the second theory I mentioned
            > > (b) ~1600 by Shagsper with no allusion whatever to the reigning monarch;<<

            > The supposed resemblance between Elizabeth and Olivia was never part of Shakespeare’s creative process<<

            So all the similarities (between Elizabeth/ Olivia, between Leicester / Orsino, between Henry Carey / Sir Toby Belch, between Christopher Hatton / Malvolio, between Philip Sidney / Sir Andrew Aguecheek, between Walter Raleigh / Viola) — and involving all their inter-linked roles and relationships — are all there by chance?

            What are the odds against there being another rich, never-married noble female, who ran her own household and could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all?

            What you are saying here is insane. You may never have seen a locally-produced roman-a-clef in your benighted world, but they are often put on (typically as Christmas entertainments) in UK colleges, schools and other institutions. Each one is unique to its own time and circumstances. The people involved, and the issues of the day, are forever changing. That is exactly what we see here. Philip Sidney left court after his impertinent letter to the Queen in late 1579. So, while he has a prominent role in Twelfth Night, he does not figure in Midsummer Nights Dream. Likewise the relationship between the Queen and Leicester changed. What was appropriate at one time in one play would have been quite out-of-the-question in the other.

            > and nobody but you seem to have ever noticed it.<<

            Nonsense. The parallels above were pointed out in the 1920s — apart from the Raleigh / Viola one, of which I am especially proud.

          • headlight

            I happened to see a wonderful production of twelfth night yesterday. It’s such marvelous fun, four centuries later.

            But watching it, who in their right mind would look at the character Viola and categorize her as a “rich, never-married noble female, who ran her own household and could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all.”

            The message you claim was being sent would have gone over the heads of the audience, because it relies on picking out a particular set of characteristics and ignoring others. For instance, why wouldn’t these characteristics also include the existence of Viola’s drunkard braggart uncle, Sir Toby? Viola has no other male relatives; who would be in a position to force her to marry outside her family?

            Of course, Elizabeth HAD a close male relative — her first cousin on her mother’s side, Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon. It’s unlikely that any playing company would want to portray him disrespectfully — at the date you think the play was first performed in 1581, he was about to be appointed Captain-General of the forces responsible for the safety of English borders, and shortly after that, he was made Elizabeth’s Lord Chamberlain of the Household. Portraying Viola’s cousin as a drunken reprobate, cavorting with Sir Andrew, soaking his foolish friend for thousands of pounds, eventually marrying his niece’s servant — if the court saw this portrayal and connected Viola with Elizabeth, it would be hard not to imagine that Toby was Henry Carey.

            Of course, most historians believe the first performance of Twelfth Night was by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, though by that time the office of Lord Chamberlain had passed to Henry’s son, George.

            You ask, “What are the odds?” Since you (entirely without evidence) decided to shift the play back twenty years, you also miss the obvious source for the plot.

          • Paul Crowley

            > I happened to see a wonderful production of twelfth night yesterday. It’s such marvelous fun, four centuries later.<<

            It was written as light entertainment for the royal court — essentially for Elizabeth.

            > But watching it, who in their right mind would look at the character Viola and categorize her as a “rich, never-married noble female, who ran her own household and could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all.”<<

            You are mis-naming the Lady Olivia as ‘Viola’. The characteristics I bring out are part of the portrayal of Olivia. Everyone present at its first performance would have known whom she represented. It’s only later audiences and generations that need to have it spelt out..

            > The message you claim was being sent<<

            What ‘message’ are you talking about. The initial audience would have picked up everything relevant.

            > would have gone over the heads of the audience<<

            You are lost in a Stratfordian garbage heap. The playwright had little or no interest in what audiences of non-courtiers, twenty or fifty later, would make of the play.

            > because it relies on picking out a particular set of characteristics and ignoring others. For instance, why wouldn’t these characteristics also include the existence of Viola’s drunkard braggart uncle, Sir Toby? Viola has no other male relatives; who would be in a position to force her to marry outside her family?<<

            In normal circumstances (i.e. in every rich noble European family prior to ~1900) that drunken braggart uncle would rule the family, and decide who would marry his niece. He’d be fully backed by legislation and by every judge (if it came to that). BUT in this play, he clearly occupies a subservient role, and must behave as instructed by his ‘niece’.

            > Of course, Elizabeth HAD a close male relative — her first cousin on her mother’s side, Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon. It’s unlikely that any playing company would want to portray him disrespectfully <<

            Another view from the Stratfordian garbage heap. A company playing at court in 1579 would do what it was told. The instructions would, in effect, come from the Queen.

            > — at the date you think the play was first performed in 1581, he was about to be appointed Captain-General of the forces responsible for the safety of English borders, and shortly after that, he was made Elizabeth’s Lord Chamberlain of the Household. Portraying Viola’s cousin as a drunken reprobate, cavorting with Sir Andrew, soaking his foolish friend for thousands of pounds, eventually marrying his niece’s servant — if the court saw this portrayal and connected Viola with Elizabeth, it would be hard not to imagine that Toby was Henry Carey.<<

            Sir Toby is indeed a caricature of Henry Carey. A ‘message’ in the play (from the Queen) may well have been an implicit scolding of him for being too drunk too often about the court. The ‘marriage’ was probably little more than a joke, but since we don’t know who ‘Maria’ was, we can only speculate on its point.

  • We are confident that Paul Edmondson is an objective scholar, not influenced in the least by any conflicts of interest. He couldn’t care less if the outcome of the Shakespeare authorship debate led to a decline in the tourist industry in Stratford-on-Avon. He can be trusted to put the truth above any crass commercial interests.

    You can immediately see how objective he is from the careful, measured way he responds to challenges to the traditional authorship theory. He advocates an evidence-based approach, rather than a faith-based approach that would keep the pounds rolling into the home town of the front man of the real Shake-speare.

    • headlight

      Dr. Waugaman immediately goes for an ad hominem attack on the motivations of a prominent scholar and churchman. That’s about all the proponents of the theories of J. Thomas Looney have left.

    • Dear Rick, why are you so cross. Didn’t you get the SBT Christmas card?

  • Eddy Veresh

    REVEREND Paul Edmondson, head of RESEARCH and KNOWLEDGE.

    So I’m assuming Reverend Edmondson believes that the bible is the word of God and religious miracles exist? Says it all, really. Keep the faith, Paul.

  • William Ray

    I might wish the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust had the dignity to view and evaluate the research of Mr. Waugh, knowing Shakespeare’s own essential regard for truth, and then thoughtfully respond should he present his case sufficiently. Or would that gesture be impossible to rather vile, vicious, petty, and above all entrenched interests, political, educational, and economic? If they, and we the interested educated class, do value truth, a scholarly representation of it will of course be welcomed. As de Vere himself wrote, long before the phrasing appeared in Measure for Measure: “For truth is truth though never so old, and time cannot make that false which was once true.”

    • Benjamin Hackman

      Mr. Ray’s indictment of the money-grubbing prevaricators at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is understandable, given his own bizarre geometric proclivities.

      For example, Mr Ray claims that “the Droeshout portrait is four inches long and two inches wide. This sets up a pun in French and English: deux-vier, de Vere.” (From a comment defending his splenetic U.S. Amazon review of James Shapiro’s “The Year of Lear,” where Mr. Ray calls Professor Shapiro a schmuck.)

      The only problem is that Mr. Ray took his measurements from a reduced facsimile. The original portrait in the First Folio is closer to 8 inches by 6 ½ inches. Meaning the true author must actually be Mr. Huitsechs. Or perhaps Mr. Achtsix.

      But such are the pareidolian fantasies of yet another “committed” Oxfordian.

      If you’d care to see more, here’s a link to the full monty of Mr. Ray’s fantasies, leaving us only to wonder if Mr. Waugh will be able to “measure up” to such a high standard.

      http://www.wjray.net/shakespeare_papers/Secrets_of_the_Droeshout_Shakespeare_Portrait.pdf

      • William Ray

        Sir, the face of the Droeshout engraving is two inches wide, four inches long. 2-4, deux-vier. That only scratches the surface of the geometric ideogram, typical of its era. I will say nothing more about your thoughts as all can see they are out to claw and kill, a self-indictment not easy to observe from any distance.

        • A. R. Lyon

          No, Mr. Ray, Mr. Hackman is pointing out that you are an ass! When “Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies History and Tragedies was published in 1623, Edward de Vere had been dead 19 years. After all that time, why didn’t the publishers just say he wrote the plays?

          • William Ray

            Emerson would describe your question by the words, “the foolish consistency of mediocre minds.” If you really want to know why the publishers did not directly mention de Vere as the author, check the dedicatees, the Herbert brothers, one the husband of de Vere’s youngest daughter, the other engaged at one time to his middle daughter, and the other financier publishing the volume, William Stanley, married de Vere’s eldest daughter. A high noble telling on his class was ahead of his time, infra dig. Now check the mirror and inquire who is the ass.

          • A. R. Lyon

            Mr. Ray – ” A high noble telling on his class was ahead of his time, infra dig.” Your claim is interpretation of the plays in the First Folio. What J. Thomas Looney(tunes) and Eva Turner Clark wrote comes under the heading of interpretation. It is possible and probable for others to read the plays and come up with a different interpretation. For some unknown reason, Oxfordians can never understand this. Yes, the First Folio is dedicated to the Herbert brothers, but there is no evidence they financed its publication. The Oxfordian claim they did is another fantasy!

          • William Ray

            Why waste my time and yours? If you cannot see that extended family’s intimate connection with the First Folio and each other’s influence in theater, it is because you stubbornly wish to deny the obvious. Do so and die in denial.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Ray,

            You claim the Herbert brothers and William Stanley financed the FF. That’s just more Oxfordian poppycock.

            The original colophon reads: “Printed at the charges of W.[illiam] Iaggard, Ed.[ward] Blount, I.[ohn] Smithweeke [i.e. Smethwick], and W.[illiam] Aspley, 1623.” The printers funded the FF; it was a business venture. Whereas, noblemen received dedications for being nobleman; they did not pay for them.

            First, Stanley had no role in the printing of First Folio, other than the imagined connection Oxfordians assert based solely on his marriage to Oxford’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth. Even the Shakespeare Authorship Trust does not acknowledge any role for Stanley. From their website, “Derby was immensely rich and could easily have financed the first two Folios.” Why don’t you read that again, Mr. Ray? “Could easily have.” But for a devoted Oxfordian fantasist like yourself, “could easily have” mutates into fact. Tut, man.

            As for the Herberts, William was never engaged to Bridget de Vere. Granted, her grandfather, Cecil/Burghley, tried to arrange (1597) her marriage (at age 13) to William, with a promise by Cecil to pay him £3,000 upon Cecil’s death. But William wanted cash up front, Cecil would not agree, so no deal, no engagement, nada, except the basis for another bit of Oxfordian mythology. And if anything, this would have left “bad blood,” between the Cecil/Oxford family and the Herberts, at least William, especially since ended up marrying a dwarf.

            As for the dedication itself, William was Lord Chamberlain when the FF was published, thus boss of the Master of the Revels. Who better to dedicate the FF to? Would simply be good business sense.

            And for younger brother Philip, he was “the” favorite of King James. If the printers were offering a dedication to William based on his position as Lord Chamberlain, then it was prudent to include his little brother, based on his “position” with James I.

            And yes, Phillip was, indeed, married to Susan, the middle de Vere daughter. But that is not evidence of anything other than that while Cecil failed in “marrying up” Bridgette to William, he made sufficient provision for Susan to succeed with Philip after his and Oxford’s death. Remember, it was Cecil, not Oxford, who looked after the upbringing his granddaughters, and made sure there were sufficient funds to bring about suitable marriages.

            So, any other specious coincidences, or speculative interpretations, or any other evidence of things unseen that you you’d like to offer to sustain your passionate faith in Oxenford as Shakespeare?

            BTW, be careful about bringing Stanley into play, lest he muddy the Oxfordian claim.

          • William Ray

            For the first time, I enjoyed your rationalizations and omissions of fact. Philip Herbert WAS married to Susan, de Vere’s YOUNGEST daughter. William Herbert was engaged with if not formally to de Vere’s middle daughter. They were on good terms throughout their lives. Stanley (Derby) WAS married to de Vere’s eldest daughter Elizabeth. He DID pen for the common players, and with whom do you guess that was? Contrary to your unconditional claim, Derby WAS immortalized in the First Folio front matter for it; check the actors list, where a tellestich appears going down from the fourth surname (i.e., fourth being vierde in Dutch, reverse of de vier) end-letter down to the tenth end-letter (10 resembling IO, in Italian pronounced E’O). These people weren’t stupid. Though Jonson had to fudge Kemp’s name into Kempt for the resulting contrivance. It is on record he was William Herbert’s employee as the Folio was being assembled and his stipend went way up as they neared completion. As for the claim that the printers fronted the money, no, none had the capital individually, nor all together to put up the L5000 outlay. If you believe they did, then of course you were as gullibly sure of the rest of the conceit comprising the front matter was not a conceit. The First Folio producers couldn’t have been more pleased than making a 400 year bamboozle. The front matter was very clearly in Jonson’s hand, not Heminge’s and Condell’s. This last has been accepted (but ignored for its importance) since Steevens so many Christmases past. Blount wasn’t a printer anyway. He was a bookseller. But the O in his name was mighty handy for the right side EO device in the two lower printing lines. Check them. There is a matching IO device on the other side, both lines apexing at the FOURTH (vierde) button from the lower edge of the engraving. Don’t think I enjoy putting you down. It is not a pleasure. It’s just that fighting the truth is silly living. We’ll make an honest scholar of you yet.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Ray,

            Oops. Susan was the youngest, not the middle daughter. Corrected. Thank you.

            Else I omitted nothing.

            You say, “William Herbert was engaged with if not formally to de Vere’s middle daughter.” Sorry, but you are hoist by your own “if not formally.” Because “if not formally,” then Bridget was not engaged to William. Sorry, the deal never went down.

            But what’s truly astounding is your claim that “He [Stanley] DID pen for the common players.” Because if William Stanley, the 6th Earl of Derby could pen plays for the common players, then why not Oxford? And if Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorsett could pen plays when Oxford was young, then once again, why not Oxford? So tell me again, what is this so-called stigma of print? Because it never kept Oxford from publishing his poetry under his own name, or initials. And his literary efforts were well enough known to be remarked upon by Webb, Puttenham, and Meres. So again, what stigma?

            Moving on to your “tellestich” [sic], the last seven letters reading down from Augustine PhillipS are S-T-E-N-L-E-Y, which is NOT Stanley.
            So your telestich is bogus, which means the significance the 4th name isn’t, which wipes out the Dutch 4 silliness. Besides, your Dutch 4’s and EO’s are just screaming bonkers no matter where you locate them:

            4 = vierde, which if reversed = de Vere

            10 looks like IO, which sounds like EO, which stands for the Earl of Oxford,

            And Oxfrod wrote “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWhqORImND0

            But then anything’s possible when you can see an “EO device in the two lower printing lines,” and “a matching IO device on the other side,” and “both lines apexing at the FOURTH (vierde) button from the lower edge of the [Droeshout] engraving.”

            One last point. The First Folio sold for about £1, about $400 today. About 800 were printed, which would thus generate about £800/$320,000 in total revenue. So even with production costs of £400 – £500, the printers would still have a tidy profit. Thus the £5,000 cost you came up with must have been pulled out of your pajamas one fine morning, because it’s a really big number, which is just what EVERy good Oxfordian wants to believe, since the printers could nEVER have come up with that much cash (as some Oxfordian, grasping for “evidence,” must have proposed at one time in a Brief Chronicles article).

            Now the £5,000 has become an article of faith among Oxfordians, repeated and recyclced so many times (as you just did here) that it has become proof that the First Folio was funded by the Incomparable Paire of Brethren, thus feeding the Oxie story line. But only because you’re convinced that’s the way it happened. Because it makes so much sense to you. And since it confirms your daft theory that Oxford was Shakespeare.

            But, Mr. Ray, I’ll take it all back if you can provide some documentary evidence that the cost of producing the First Folio would have been around £5,000/$2,000,000. Or else you need to put that one back in your pajamas.

          • William Ray

            This is going on far too much. That Herbert and Bridget were close to marriage and that they were on good terms afterward shows the point, the families were close with warm allied relations, in a simple term, -in-laws given Phillip’s marriage to Susan and their all, including the dowager Mary Sidney Herbert. They were committed to theater as a means of public culture and education and
            Wiliam Herbert held out to get the Lord Chamberlain powers over it. Don’t injure yourself playing blind. And the STENLEY was a perfectly acceptable telestich by their puzzle standards. Note that Kemp became Kempt? for the device. You will see DYER on the other column as a false lead, but only if you open your eyes to look for it. The STENLEY puzzle clue joins the well-known phrase “penning for the common players” to show how active Derby was in the interconnected family enterprise, Oxford the much more active and accomplished. Finally, answering the rhetorical mud-pie, de Vere’s “prince’s creations” was backed by the queen through a Walsingham-sponsored secret contract (L1000/yr) of 1586, and thus wrote pseudonymous with far less notice, releasing only three poems under his name in the last three decades of his life. Your quoted source on this went on to say, if they would let themselves be known. He wouldn’t. I have had a ready and reasonable response to each of your potshots. Consider that and put just a bit more energy on studying the matter and less on defending an ideology.

          • headlight

            Bridget de Vere was proposed as a bride for William Herbert when she was 13 and he was 17. A critical part of the bargain was that the bulk of the proposed dowry would be paid on the death of Bridget’s grandfather, William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Herbert insisted that the money be paid immediately, and when that was refused, he broke off negotiations.
            He didn’t have long to wait: Cecil died the following year. But there was no effort to renew the negotiations though both were still free. Like most marriages among nobility of the time, this was a business arrangement between the two prospective partners’ fathers, not a love match. There is no evidence that William Herbert harbored any lingering attachment to a girl he rejected out of financial considerations three decades before.
            Susan Vere, on the other hand, really did seemingly have a love match with Philip Herbert. But the match was not announced until after her father’s death. Her uncle, Robert Cecil, served as surrogate father as his father William had in raising the daughters that de Vere had dumped on his father in law immediately after their mother’s death. He negotiated the dowry, and used his considerable influence with King James to sweeten the pot.
            Since Edward de Vere died months before the engagement was announced, we can at least say that Philip was never Edward’s son-in-law. There is little evidence that the girl sent to be raised by his mother’s family as an infant was close to the Earl of Oxford, whose focus seems to have been fathering a male heir to carry on the line.
            All this goes to show is that the nobility at court was a very small and interbred social group. Susan seems to have been a charming person, with the additional blessing that her uncle had successfully (and peacefully) handed the crown to James, for which the King was profoundly grateful. It’s hardly surprising that Lord Burghley sought to marry his dowry-less granddaughters to eligible young noblemen.
            Though Edward de Vere’s relationship to the two brothers was not particularly close, the relationship between the Herberts and the Folio’s compilers, Heminges and Condell, was very close indeed. William Herbert was Lord Chancellor of the Household, in charge of the King’s royal household. Among the King’s servants under his charge were the King’s Men. Heminges and Condell were both Grooms of the Chamber. William Herbert also directly oversaw the Master of the Revels, whose approval was required for the King’s Men to perform plays at all. The dedication to William was good business — really it’s hard to imagine who else the book would be dedicated to.
            Philip Herbert was also a logical choice for the two players. First, Philip was a favorite of the King’s, a Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber. William Herbert had made known his desire for his brother to succeed him as Lord Chancellor, and refused royal appointments offered until his brother’s succession in that office was part of the bargain. Philip did indeed succeed his brother. Aware that William wanted Philip to succeed him, the players also dedicated the book to the next Lord Chancellor.
            There’s also a much less pragmatic reason. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men seems to have included players who had been members of the Earl of Pembroke’s Men in the early 1590’s, possibly including Shakespeare himself. The company also may have had Richard Burbage. William Herbert was much affected by Burbage’s death, whom he referred to as his “old friend” in a 1619 letter to Lord Doncaster. His initials, W.H., may identify him with the Sonnets. Pembroke wrote a letter intervening to prevent publication of the King’s Men’s plays without their permission. So William was clearly close to the players of the company, as well as being their boss.
            There’s no record of either Herbert’s reaction to the death of Edward de Vere.

          • William Ray

            If the gentleman wishes to converse in facts instead of gloss that accords with his bias, refer to Edward de Vere’s 1597 letter to Burghley on the very subject at hand, William Herbert’s marriage to Bridget Vere. There de Vere was all praising of the young Herbert and affectionately concerned both with his daughter’s happiness and the elder Pembroke’s wish to align his son with the Veres. It is in William Plumer Fowler’s ‘Shakespeare Rvealed in Oxford’s Letters’. The chapter contains over thirty seven distinctive expressions in the letter, curiously repeated in about a hundred instances in “Shakespeare”. Thanks for the effort. Now seek a more productive direction.

          • headlight

            De Vere’s support for the marriage is not in question — Oxford and Burghley liked the match, and for that matter, so did Pembroke, William’s father. Why shouldn’t de Vere like it? He didn’t even have to put up the dowry — his dead wife’s father would do it, though not until his own death.
            The question is, why is the First Folio dedicated to William Herbert? Your theory is that he had some emotional relationship to the daughter of the secret author of the works, smoldering over thirty years from their brief entanglement.
            But William was the one who said no to the deal. There’s just no evidence that William had any emotional investment in the relationship, or that William cared about her father. On the other hand, we have Pembroke’s own words to show that he cared about his “old friend,” Burbage. There’s ample evidence that he held the company in high regard, certainly a good reason for the players to dedicate the First Folio to him.
            You’re grasping at straws.

          • William Ray

            There appears to be a self-serving misinterpretation of what I wrote about the Herberts and Veres. “The question is, why is the First Folio dedicated to William Herbert? Your theory is that he had some emotional relationship to the daughter of the secret author of the works, smoldering over thirty years from their brief entanglement.” Never said anything like that. They parted on good terms and the families were aligned as landed aristocrats through the two generations. Your projected personalization is inaccurate and the attempt to kill the Herberts connection to the Veres is silly.

          • headlight

            I’m sorry if I misunderstood your position, Mr. Ray. Is this correct?

            The dedication of the First Folio was to William and Philip Herbert because:
            1. Philip Herbert married Oxford’s youngest daughter.

            This fact requires a series of assumptions to be relevant. Of course, first it assumes that Oxford wrote the works, but all of your arguments assume that conclusion. But it also assumes that Susan was aware of her father’s authorship, and that she wanted to honor her father’s memory.

            One way to honor his memory that Shakespeare wrote about in the plays was through a public and lengthy period of mourning. In Twelfth Night, Olivia mourned the passing of her father for a year, and had begun an even longer period of mourning for her brother. This was considered too long by others in the play, though there was a distinction between mourning a mere brother and her father.

            Contrast that with the mourning period for Old Hamlet, the murdered King in Hamlet. Gertrude was denounced by her son for her over-hasty marriage to Claudius, after mourning just two months. Hamlet, of course, the dutiful son, continued to mourn long after her mother’s remarriage.

            From these examples, from the perspective of the writer, it would seem like a respectful mourning period for a father is considerably more than two months, and probably nearer a full year.

            Susan Vere and Philip Herbert announced their betrothal about 3-1/2 months after Edward died. That really doesn’t suggest to me someone who was particularly close to her father, particularly if her father’s idea of a respectful mourning period was clearly about three times as long. The tie between Susan and the First Folio is only as strong as her relationship to the father who was absent from her life, who had publicly humiliated her mother, and who had maintained that her sister was illegitimate.

            2. William Herbert “was engaged with if not formally to de Vere’s middle daughter. They were on good terms throughout their lives.” No, he was never engaged to her; he rejected the proposed match because her dowry was insufficient. Being on good terms with her after rejecting her at 13 is really a pretty low bar to count William as anything more than just another courtier as related to Bridget. You come closer with William’s relation to Susan: William and Philip were apparently close, and I’d assume William was also close to Susan. It was William who first learned of their wedding plans. But again — William being Susan’s brother-in-law doesn’t make Oxford William’s father-in-law, particularly since he was dead by the time the betrothal was announced.

            3. It was the elder Pembroke’s “wish to align his son with the Veres.”
            So what? That was many years before, and he did not attempt to renew the match after Burghley’s death when the issue of the dowry would not have been an issue. I’d suggest that you’re mischaracterizing Pembroke’s goal: he wanted to ingratiate himself with Elizabeth’s chief minister, Burghley (who had power and the ability to influence royal favor), not with Oxford (who had no money or power, and whose only means to it was through Burghley.)

            4. ” Stanley (Derby) WAS married to de Vere’s eldest daughter Elizabeth.”
            Stanley was not a dedicatee. Why not?

            5. The Herberts (and Stanley?) financed the production of the Folio.

            The publishers of the folio are listed in the colophon, a consortium of men who were variously printers and booksellers, some of whom were also holders of the publication rights to Shakespeare’s works that had already been published in quarto. I’d recommend you read Professor Emma Smith’s book on Shakespeare’s First Folio; also the anthology Shakespeare and Theatrical Patronage in Early Modern England. Pembroke earned the dedication, not by funding a commercial book release, but by writing a letter prohibiting the publication of the King’s Men’s plays without their permission.
            It put Heminges and Condell into a dominant bargaining position — people who owned copyrights might be able to prevent works from being included in the Folio, but they couldn’t publish them anywhere else without the company’s approval.
            The First Folio was certainly a large project, but it was not different from other large books of the period, all of which were paid for by publishers. Printers were in business to print, booksellers to sell books. Shakespeare’s folio was speculative to some degree because they were all at least ten years old by the time the book was published, and some dated back thirty or more. The whole project was delayed a year to print other books — again, not what we’d expect if the project was a priority paid for by two high ranking noblemen.

          • William Ray

            “The dedication of the First Folio was to William and Philip Herbert because:

            1. Philip Herbert married Oxford’s youngest daughter.” No in formulating this distortion, you are only setting up a straw man to knock down. The families were aligned personally, politically, and theatrically. Jonson, responsible for the title-page and other front matter, coopting names for the entries, had known both Pembroke and Montgmoery’s wife, Susan Vere Herbert, for many years, at least since 1604. Of course Derby was included, via the actors’ list, part his, part his brother Ferdinando’s, and signaled by the telestich on the actors’ page. Certain events in the Histories heralded their ancestors, an indication of influence and favor.
            And regarding the terrible terrible marriage manners of Susan and Philip, James had sponsored and aided the marriage, acted as de Vere’s substitute in the ceremony and gifted them in various ways after, such as a Shakespeare festival that Nov-Jan court season, in honor of “the Great Oxford”s passing a few months before. There are far too many coincidences to ignore. On the matter of the colophon (stating the publishers who produced the volume), as Richard Feynman once wrote, there is nothing wrong with this argument so much as believing it. None of these businesses could afford to finance the work, and a telltale sign was that Blount was not a printer, as claimed on the title page, he was a bookseller. I suggest ending the exchange because you have your Gospel and take refuge in it, despite innumerable contradictions. with good wishes, William Ray

          • headlight

            Jonson, responsible for the title-page and other front matter

            There’s really no evidence that Jonson was “responsible for” the prefatory material.

            Let’s be clear about Jonson’s role vis a vis Heminges and Condell. The two players were sharers in the King’s Men, householders of the Globe and Blackfriars theatres, and Grooms of the Chamber to King James. they owned the rights to most of Shakespeare’s plays.

            Jonson was a writer for hire. He had written works for the King’s Men (probably hired by their in-house playwright, Shakespeare) and had a good relationship with the company; he went on to write other plays that the King’s Men performed after the publication of the First Folio. So he had every reason to be helpful to the wealthy players.

            Remember Green’s portrayal of the power relationship between the players and the playwright in Groatsworth? Until writers retained some copyright in their own works, they sold their written work outright to the company. Jonson was able to publish some of his own plays he had sold to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in his 1616 volume — it’s entirely possible that the price he paid to the company was writing a couple poems for their Folio of Shakespeare’s works a few years later, or possibly reviewing the first draft of the players’ epistles.

            And regarding the terrible terrible marriage manners of Susan and Philip, James had sponsored and aided the marriage, acted as de Vere’s substitute in the ceremony and gifted them in various ways after, such as a Shakespeare festival that Nov-Jan court season, in honor of “the Great Oxford”s passing a few months before.

            James’s role in the marriage had nothing to do with the bride’s father. Philip was James’s favorite at court — James and Philip were both big fans of hunting and other manly activities (not so big on plays, though; that was Queen Anne’s passion).

            Susan, of course, was the niece of James’s “little beagle,” Robert Cecil, who as Elizabeth’s Secretary of State had secretly negotiated James’s bloodless succession to the throne in 1603. James was overwhelmed by the vast wealth and grandeur he had acquired, and his gratitude extended to Robert and his entire family. Robert rapidly moved up the social scale. He was Sir Robert when James arrived in London in 1603; he was the Earl of Salisbury two years later, having touched base as baron and viscount on the way.

            Everyone else in his family benefitted as well. Oxford himself received back Waltham Forest, which he’d lost under Elizabeth. Robert’s half-brother was also made an earl. Robert’s nephew William was made a knight of the Bath over the yuletide holidays in 1604-05.

            Robert had been Susan’s guardian after her grandfather Lord Burghley died, and was responsible for her dowry. But he was in a position to persuade the King to provide for the new couple, and James seemed happy to agree.

            Again — no evidence at all that James thought of Susan as Oxford’s daughter so much as his “little beagle’s” niece and his close friend Philip Herbert’s intended bride.

            As for the supposed “Shakespeare festival?” What else would you expect, when the King’s Men were on hand with Shakespeare himself performing? They brought their best stuff, most of which was Shakespeare or Ben Jonson.

            But it’s worth noting that the scheduled plays were only planned through Twelfth Night, the climax of the Yule season on which Ben Jonson’s Masque of Blackness was performed. James went hunting immediately after that but Anne’s brother was in London from Denmark, and they ordered that more plays be performed. Tilney sought out Burbage, who added some older plays to the bill for the entertainment of the Queen and her guests, and not surprisingly, the plays the King’s Men could put on at short notice were Shakespeare’s.

          • William Ray

            While I appreciate the thought that went into your objections to de Vere as the author behind the title-page name Shakespeare, I also feel you have a blind spot to historical evidence. Proximity and association are prime indicators of cooperation and mutual effort. There is no such evidence for your preferred “author”. There is much for the de Vere hypothesis.

            In response to your substantive objection, that Jonson was responsible for the front matter, a huge list of conventional scholars will differ with you. A summary of the argument is in Greg’s ‘First Folio’. It has never been successfully countermanded because Jonson’s style and use of indirection, ambiguity, and allegory are abundantly plain. Jonson worked for Herbert. Herbert and his extended family were deeply involved with theater and publishing. Jonson dedicated the prototype of the First Folio, his Workes (although far from the end of his writing career), to the elder of the “Incomparable Paire of Brethren”. They were master and man. If you deny this, so be it. I say quits.

          • headlight

            I agree that Greg’s First Folio is a good reference. But he credits Condell and Heminges for compiling the work. Jonson may well have contributed to the two players’ epistles, including adding classical imagery. If I had the services of a writer like Jonson, I’d certainly ask him to punch up something I’d written. And as I point out — Jonson had a long business relationship with the players that continued after the publication of the folio.

            Proximity and association are prime indicators of cooperation and mutual effort.

            Indeed; I agree. The King’s Men were under the direct authority of William Herbert, the Lord Chancellor. His brother Philip had been designated (by William) to succeed him in that office. William had written a letter that gave the players a strong bargaining position to acquire the texts for the First Folio. William had also expressed his grief at the death of Richard Burbage and his personal friendship with him.
            So here’s a series of facts, showing that the King’s Men had a strong bond with the Herberts, which particularly extended to the texts of the plays.
            For your theory about Oxford: there’s no evidence that Oxford ever had the plays; there is no evidence that his heirs ever had them. There is no evidence that they played any role in the publication of the plays (the publishers listed in the colophon financed it).
            To credit your theory, one has to assume that Oxford was the secret author, and that this complicated series of events took place, all without ever being recorded. To credit my theory, one only has to trust the web of evidence that shows that Heminges and Condell’s “fellow,” William Shakespeare, was also their “fellow” who died in Stratford leaving them money for mourning rings, who was a member of the same playing company.

          • William Ray

            Again I must invoke the adage, there is nothing so wrong with your argument as believing it. The mourning rings sentence in the Shakspere will was interlineated in another hand, bringing high suspicion about such a close connection between the usurer/businessman from Stratford and actors in the King’s Company. Your refrain of “no evidence” is undercut by ignoring obvious connections over time among the principals. For example, who were the “grand possessors” releasing Troilus and Cressida. Were these people residents of Stratford? As for the outrageous claim that Oxford had no theater production background in the 1580’s, I must refer you to quite detailed information to the contrary. As I assume you really are interested in fact, please access the link: https://hankwhittemore.com/2017/11/01/re-posting-number-12-of-100-reasons-why-shake-speare-was-the-earl-of-oxford-the-queens-men/

            As I said before, it is unlikely we will agree or even find a basis to communicate, let us cease in civil difference. No one else is reading this that I know of. The discussion is not edifying or useful at this point.

          • headlight

            The mourning rings were added to the first draft. Most likely, Shakespeare’s attorney (in Stratford) developed the basic text, distributing the major assets according to Shakespeare’s wishes. Adding some last minute bequests to his fellows — as their fellow Augustine Phillips had done — is hardly suspicious. The bequests were included in the probated document. Your imaginary conspiracy is far reaching indeed if they could change William Shakespeare’s will before he even signed it, to give bequests to people he didn’t know.
            And of course, Shakespeare’s relationship to John Hemminges in particular is well documented. Hemminges was a trustee in Shakespeare’s acquisition of the Blackfriars gatehouse in London, and after Shakespeare’s death, Hemminges transferred the property to a trustee in Stratford, in the interest of Susanna and John Hall, Shakespeare’s daughter and son-in-law. This was a position of trust that would only go to someone with the full confidence of the owner of the property.

          • William Ray

            An interesting response to an interlineation on a will completely lacking in the education and tone of someone claimed to be a great author. I recommend Bonner Cutting’s analysis in Brief Chronicles for a different perspective. We are not dealing with an imaginary conspiracy, but an actual one, if a different and unidentified hand wrote between lines completely unrelated to the “gift of rings”. You merely assume a collegial bond. And perhaps you might mention in connection with the Blackfriars gatehouse property that Richard Field was one of the neighbors objecting to its use by Shakspere. This seems to contradict the back-home-we-were-friends assumption played up by the currently prevalent point of view. This presumes their birth origins was sufficient to support Field printing Venus and Adonis. My best wishes for your education in a broader contextual understanding.

          • headlight

            I just re-read the will. I do not know of anyone claiming that Shakespeare wrote the will himself. I administered my mother’s estate when she passed away a few years ago, and her will did not express her personality or education — it was written by her lawyer to satisfy the requirements of state law.

            Shakespeare’s will was the same: written by his local attorney, a fair copy written by a clerk, and taken to Shakespeare for signature. It’s neither unusual or suspicious for a person reviewing his will before signature to add personal bequests he thought of after his initial discussion with the attorney. Shakespeare’s relationship with Hemminges in particular is well documented, so we do not have to imagine some shadowy conspirators changing Shakespeare’s will between his signature and its being probated.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Roy,

            “Proximity and association.”

            Indeed, the magic formula for Oxfordians in the absence of ANY documentary evidence that Oxford was Shakespeare.

            Oxford lived with (or nearby?) his Uncle Golding. Therefore Oxford likely was the actual translator of “The Metamorphoses,” or had least acquired a mastery of the work while helping his uncle translate. And this is how Ovid, one of the mostly widely taught works in the English grammar school, came to be the source of so many of Shakespeare’s works. All thanks to Uncle Golding.

            Yup. That’s how it happened. Oxford was close by, and therefore he did it.

            What a great mechanic to fall back on in the absence of any real evidence.

            Or, Mr. Roy, can you point me to any actual/documentary evidence for Oxford. And don’t tell me all of it was destroyed or purposefully erased as part of the conspiracy.

          • William Ray

            Your intent and manner of address are reprehensible. Stop this filth and go right to the mirror.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Ray,

            Oh, please. I was just having a little fun with Ray/Roy since you said that Stenley is as good as Stanley. To refresh your memory, “And the STENLEY was a perfectly acceptable telestich by their puzzle standards.”

            So nothing reprehensible here. And certainly nothing filthy. Though it’s possible you’re throwing up a smokescreen to cover fact that you cannot “point me to any actual/documentary evidence for Oxford. And don’t tell me all of it was destroyed or purposefully erased as part of the conspiracy.”

            On the other hand, perhaps that question/challenge could, indeed, be considered reprehensible and filthy by an Oxfordian. Especially since Looney noted this problem back in 1920. And almost 100 years later, the problem still has not gone away. And Oxfordians cannot like having their noses rubbed in that fact.

            So I’ll ask again, very politely, while being sure that the question is neither reprehensible nor filthy, “Do you have any actual documentary evidence that Oxford wrote Shakespeare?”

          • William Ray

            Yes sir. The front matter of the First Folio is overwhelming documentary proof of the true author of the ensuing work. Now you have shown your petty hand. Cease.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Ray,

            “Proof” only for an Oxfordian, and only with a deliberately subversive reading that tortures the text to mean the precisely opposite of what it says.

            As in, “When I use a word,” Humpty Ray said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

            So good night, Mr. Ray.

            Now back up on your wall.

          • Paul Crowley

            Still waiting for one real-life example — from anywhere in Europe before ~1870 — of a ‘rich, noble, never-married woman, who controlled her own estates, and who could decide whom she would marry, or if she would marry at all’.

            Still waiting for a logical, political, dramatic, or other reason why the Lady Olivia, or the Lady Portia, or Queen Titania could not possibly have been a representation of Q.E.

            Still waiting for a logical, political, dramatic, or other reason why Raleigh could not possibly have been caricatured as Nick Bottom or Viola.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Mr. Crowley,

            I think you meant to direct this comment to “headlight.” That aside, the issue here is not whether there were any other historical persons exactly like QE. There weren’t. But that’s not the point.

            The real issue is whether the plays lampoon QE viciously enough such that only de Vere could have gotten away with writing them, while having to conceal his name to avoid the public scandal of QE’s most prominent nobleman publicly and brutally bashing her.

            Your problem is that the dramatic situation you’ve described on this thread is not the least bit inflammatory, but instead, rather mundane.

            Premise #1: There are some female characters in Shakespeare who could be representations of QE. Some, because you took exception to Mark Anderson’s rather long list that included even Nell the kitchen wench.

            Premise #2: Some of these portrayals could be regarded as critical. But even you admitted, “Only a few plays have representations of QE — and any implied criticisms in them are restrained.”

            But still you would have us believe that only Edw de Vere could have written Shakespeare, because he alone could have gotten away with it—even though “Only a few plays have representations of QE — and any implied criticisms in them are restrained.”

            I’m sorry Mr. Crowley, but your Oxfordian conclusion does not match your own carefully defined premises. If anything, they decsribe the work of a public playwright writing for public performance, while carefully triangulating the London scene to ensure just enough, shall we say, “plausible deniability,” so that no one could punish him for trashing QE. As Ben Jonson and Thomas Nashe failed to do with “The Isle of Dogs.”

            Besides, if there were any overt slanders, the play would have never gotten past the Master of the Revels—as was the case with “Sir Thomas More.” (And likely, “The Isle of Dogs” was not approved by the Master of the Revels. Do you know if anyone has researched this?)

            So, Mr. Crowley, ar you going to continue to argue for Oxford based on him, alone, being able to trash the Queen? When, based on your own carefully bounded interpretation, it neither very specific nor particularly harmful.

          • Paul Crowley

            > I think you meant to direct this comment to “headlight.” <<

            No. I was criticising your hypocrisy in claiming that Mr Ray was avoiding your arguments when that is exactly what you have been doing in respect of mine.

            > The real issue is whether the plays lampoon QE viciously enough <<

            So you accept that the plays lampoon QE? Really? In Twelfth Night? In Midsummer’s Night’s Dream? In the Merchant of Venice? (Are you aware how far you are straying from the Stratfordian line?)
            Do you accept the bawdy reading of the “riding on the balls of mine” speech? Do you agree that it’s directed at a representation of QE?

            > Your problem is that the dramatic situation you’ve described on this thread is not the least bit inflammatory, but instead, rather mundane.<<

            Mundane?!?! So the Stratford man could readily depict — on the public stage — the foolishness of the reigning monarch falling in love with an ass? Or with a woman-man-woman?

            > Premise #2: Some of these portrayals could be regarded as critical. But even you admitted, “Only a few plays have representations of QE — and any implied criticisms in them are restrained.”<<

            You are taking my words out of context. If I was to address your mother, or your wife, in the way that you yourself do (or have done) I would expect the lady to take offence. The meaning is embedded in the relationship, not in the words themselves. QE knew the 17th Earl from the time he was a small child. He was her constant favourite for many years. She would take words from him — in fairly private circumstances — that would be almost inconceivable from anyone else, let alone from an unknown yeoman, uttered on the public stage.

            > I’m sorry Mr. Crowley, but your Oxfordian conclusion does not match your own carefully defined premises. If anything, they decsribe the work of a public playwright writing for public performance, while carefully triangulating the London scene to ensure just enough, shall we say, “plausible deniability,” so that no one could punish him for trashing QE.<<

            Two of the fictional representations: Olivia and Portia are urged to marry and bear offspring. That would have made no sense whatever around 1600, when QE was 67. That alone makes it insulting — apart from being incomprehensible to any potential audience.

            The whole humour of the ‘falling in love’ with a wildly inappropriate person (or creature) was that it was current — AND that it was a matter of _current_ significance. (The poet hated watching it, when QE should have been getting married and doing her best to bear an heir of her body.)

            > Besides, if there were any overt slanders, the play would have never gotten past the Master of the Revels<<

            It was illegal to portray any living monarch on the public stage. IF you are a genuine Stratfordian, you must necessarily deny that QE is represented in any play. (Likewise you must deny that King Henri IV, (also king of Navarre) is present in in the play LLL — even if that’s what the text states. But when was self-contradiction ever a problem for a Strat?)

            > So, Mr. Crowley, as you going to continue to argue for Oxford based on him, alone, being able to trash the Queen? When, based on your own carefully bounded interpretation, it neither very specific nor particularly harmful.<<

            You sound like a lawyer making the best of a hopeless case, endlessly repeating the same lying distortion.

          • headlight

            Two of the fictional representations: Olivia and Portia are urged to marry and bear offspring. That would have made no sense whatever around 1600, when QE was 67.

            Precisely. This shows the incoherence of your argument. Elizabeth had no resemblance to Olivia in 1600; the play was simply an entertainment for the holidays.

            Your supposed historical coincidence only make sense if you ignore the internal evidence for the play’s dating to 1600 or later. Your circular reasoning shifts the date of the work far earlier than the evidence suggests. You date the play to match your interpretation that it’s about the unmarried, childless Elizabeth, because only if the play is that old does your interpretation make any sense. And of course, you also have to cast aside all the other evidence that Shakespeare wrote the work.

            And here’s another odd twist. You seem to think that Oxford could get away with making an obvious reference to the monarch, ridiculing her. There’s no reason to think that’s the case — Oxford went to the tower because he had an affair with a maid of honor, an insult to the Crown. Why would Elizabeth think twice about the same punishment if he was behind a play representing the Queen herself as a figure of ridicule?

            Let’s suppose that the Queen somehow had this play performed before her; and that she knew that the play was an obvious satire about her being a childless, unmarried rich noble who could decide on her own whether to marry (which as I’ve pointed out, is not the case with Olivia); and she knew that Oxford wrote the play; and that she decided that rather than punishing Oxford for his insolence, she would not because he was somehow special.

            If anyone else saw the play, wouldn’t those others recognize the insult? Wouldn’t the players be in danger? Who in their right mind would go up on stage in such a play, no matter what assurances the Earl of Oxford might provide that the Queen would be just fine being ridiculed in front of her court? It’s an improbable fiction.

          • headlight

            The front matter of the First Folio is overwhelming documentary proof of the true author of the ensuing work.

            Thank you for that concession. Hemminge and Condell’s epistle crediting their “fellow,” Shakespeare, is really indisputable, and I’ve never seen any credible counter-argument for that by the Oxfordian side.

          • headlight

            The families were aligned personally, politically, and theatrically.

            There’s little to show Oxford having much of a role in theater after the 1580s. His company used to play the provinces; he had a boy’s company play at court one yuletide after the company had lost the lease to the Blackfriars. He was credited by Puttenham as being one of the better court poets for comedy and interlude in 1588. He did not seem to have done much thereafter and it’s not clear how far back Puttenham was referring to. Oxford happened to have hired two professional playwrights around that time, Lyly and Munday, who may have been ghost-writing works that the Earl took credit for.

            By “families,” are you including Oxford with the Cecils? Certainly his daughters were aligned with the Cecils, since they were raised in the Cecil household. But Oxford seemed to only be in touch with the Cecils to ask them to help him with moneymaking schemes or help getting the Queen’s favor.

            None of these businesses could afford to finance the work, and a telltale sign was that Blount was not a printer, as claimed on the title page, he was a bookseller.

            Booksellers frequently financed the publication of books. Edward Blount was a Freeman of the Stationers’ Company, and published many other works. Can you provide sources for your belief that the cost of publishing the First Folio exceeded the resources of a cooperative group of publishers? By the way, the publishers are listed on the colophon (at the back of the book, at the end of Cymbeline) rather than the title page.
            I’d encourage you to read Professor Smith’s book, and also to read W.W. Greg’s book on the First Folio. The publication of this book was remarkable in its impact on the world, but it really was not out of the ordinary other than the size of the book.
            Thank you for taking the time to discuss this.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            WJR,

            So you pass on defending the 4 = vierde and 10 = EO? Wise decision.

            And you have no evidence to support the £5,000, which blows up the Oxfordian claim that the Herberts funded the FF? Thought so.

            At least you try, albeit desperately, to defend your telestich, asserting that STENLEY is close enough for STANLEY. Maybe in horseshoes and hand grenades. Made worse by possibility that the T at end of “Kempt” was likely a typesetting error. =O)

            The Walsingham “secret contract” for Oxford’s penning of plays is nothing more than more unsupported speculation. The far more likely explanation is simply that the Crown did not want to be embarrassed by an impoverished Earl begging on the streets. Besides, QE was getting tired of Oxford’s whining about tin mines and forests. After a while, you just give him £1,000 to make him shut up and go away. Unless, of course, you can offer ANY documentary evidence that the £1,000 was to pay for Oxford’s playwriting–as opposed this being just one more bit of fake evidence from the insubstantial pageant that Oxfordians imagine from airy nothing.

            Finally, you offer the usual Oxfordian misreading of Puttenham (1588), Chapter 31, where he chastises “an other crewe of courtly makers . . . who haue written excellently well as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and made publicke with the rest; of which number is first that noble Gentleman Edward Earle of Oxford, Thomas Lord of Bukhurst, when he was young, Henry Lord Paget, Sir Philip Sydney, Sir Walter Rawleigh, [et al].”

            So there were some Gentlemen of the Court, “an other crew,” who suppressed their names, unlike a different the different crew, “the rest,” who did not suppress their names, such as Oxford, and the long list of other prominent men named by Puttenham, who wrote for the public, and did not suppress their writing. Which was why Puttenham could name them, because if they were writing in secret, do you think Puttenham would have outed them?

            So much for the stigma of print, at least for these men, whose works were published under their own names, such as Lord Buckhurst’s seminal tragedy, “Gorboduc.”

            Again, note how Puttenham lists Oxford BY NAME. So not much of a secret is there? In fact, Oxford’s name could not have been any more prominent, and his literary “doings’ any more widely known if he had hired an Elizabethan publicist, cf. Webbe (1586) and Meres (1598) where Oxford also figures prominently.

            Yet Oxfordians must claim that Oxford wrote in secret, leaving no evidence of his activities, because it’s the they only way Oxfordians can explain the complete lack of evidence that he wrote Shakespeare. Because it was all concealed as part of the cover up. Just like my pink elephant ring keeps all the pink elephants away, the stigma of print explains away all the missing evidence for Oxford.

            Fool proof, actually. Or proof of fools. =O)

          • William Ray

            “So you pass on defending the 4 = vierde and 10 = EO? Wise decision.”
            In no way. Vierde in Dutch is four. Confirmed by the two spears on our left side of the Droeshout face and FOUR on the other. I do not bother to debate you, as you are a dishonest arguer. For instance, in the anagram texts of the time, close to an original with one variation WAS good enough. It conveyed the hint. Study and you won’t have to be petty If you want a full discussion, showing high probability that the L1000 contract was unique, see Bonner Cutting’s lecture on it, illustrated from the text. You blow smoke and call it perfume. Elizabeth’s remark, to aid “princes in their creations” was not decorous. She knew writing what was to be “Shakespeare’ would glorify her reign. The rest of the rant is weak drivel, denying what the quotation actually says, a childish dishonesty to avoid if you wish for a reputation of integrity.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            WJR,

            I’ve watched the first few minutes of Bonning Cutter’s video. An extended speculation where everything is examined from a priori belief that the £1,000 was to reimburse Oxford for writing Shakespeare’s plays. Interesting, though, how she opens her remarks: “I’m going to explore a little more deeply what it might mean . . . . .”

            Indeed. What it “might” mean, if you assume, up front, that Oxford was Shakespeare, and then examine everything from that perspective, in effect, trying to make things fit into the Oxfordian narrative, no matter how much twisting is necessary.

            I’ll report back after I watch the full presentation, but I have a hunch there’s not going to be a single fact there, just a lot of idiosyncratic interpretation about what words, phrases, and events mean from an Oxfordian perspective.

            A bit like believing, fervently, that a jar is filled with 100 blue marbles, then carefully picking out what turns out to be the only 5 blue ones, then proudly proclaiming that the jar is, indeed, full of blue marbles, just like you believed all along–even though the other 95 are red.

            And if you say Stenley is close enough to Stanley, then I’m gonna start calling you Mr. Roy.

            Finally are you sure Puttenham didn’t get into trouble for outing Oxford and there rest of the secret authors? More to the point, how do you explain Puttenham’s accusation when they were actually public men of letters, especially Oxford, who was highly and widely regarded as a literary man. Clearly this was not the crew who were hiding their literary lights under a bushel. So why would Puttenham have been taking the public writers to task? Even you just mentioned Webbe corroborating “de Vere’s high literary stature.”

            Oxfordians want to have it both ways. Despite de Vere’s well-established literary bona fides that you often cite to show that he could have written Shakespeare, in the same breath you trot out the stigma of print as reason he went underground to write Shakespeare.

            Just like so many other aspects of Oxfordian theory, it’s riddled with loose ends, inconsistencies, wild and wilder speculations, and still not a single bit of documentary evidence to support a bardish Oxford. In short, your center does not hold.

          • William Ray

            “…you’re sure Puttenham didn’t get into trouble for outing Oxford and the[re-sic] rest of the secret authors?” Positive since Puttenham was a name used, [Pudens homme-Modest man] no doubt with his permission, so as to protect de Vere (whose stylisms pervade ‘The Arte of English Poesie’) regarding the kabuki of aristocratic insouciance about producing literature. See Waugaman’s exegesis in Brief Chronicles II (2009) for the linguistic comparison. So your altering my name on an ignorant and mistaken basis is again petty in intent as well as execution, especially in a public forum.

            “[W]hy would Puttenham have been taking the public writers to task? Even you just mentioned Webbe corroborating “de Vere’s high literary stature.” de Vere/Puttenham wished to expand the extent of high aristocratic participation in literature, contrary to the convention among courtiers. He adumbrated this cultural change in one of his first public statements, in his introduction to Castiglione’s ‘The Courtier’ into Latin in 1572. He wanted more than offhand court literature, the kabuki I mentioned before. He achieved a certain freedom under pseudonyms, but minus the honor of full artistic recognition. To write of universal truths without restriction was a freedom his age did not permit him. He thought he died a failure. The First Folio changed that, again minus the honor of a heroic (literary) deed.

          • A. R. Lyon

            Mr. Ray – You state, “It is on record he was William Herbert’s employee as the Folio was being assembled and his stipend went way up as they neared completion.”

            I have consulted “Ben Jonson, A Life” by David Riggs and “Ben Jonson, A Life” by Ian Donaldson and neither of them mention that Jonson was William Herbert’s employee as the Folio was being assembled. The source of your claim is no doubt is some misguided Oxfordian.

            As for the front matter prose signed by Heminges and Condell, I have read a number of real scholars’s views and they say Jonson probably had an hand in it, but some of it was probably written by Heminges and Condell. So what! I know you Oxfordians are convinced Jonson was the editor of the First Folio, but again you are misguided.

            In Shakespeare By Another Name, Mark Anderson has a heart tugging scene with Jaggard going to Susan de Vere and asking for her father’s unpublished plays. There is no evidence to support this; it’s an Oxfordian fantasy.

            Edward de Vere died in 1604. The First Folio was published in 1623. Why did it take 19 years? Have you come up a handy dandy cipher for the answer?

            You tell Mr. Hackman, “We’ll make an honest scholar of you yet.” Oxfordians do a lot of research, out side of the Oxfordian echo chamber; none would call it scholarship.

          • William Ray

            Just promise me you’ll always remain as mannered and equable as your post indicates. That will alert people to never invite you in their homes, much less trust your judgment.

            In reply to your challenge, “…[N]either (Donaldson nor Riggs) mention that Jonson was William Herbert’s employee as the Folio was being assembled. The source of your claim is no doubt is [sic] some misguided Oxfordian.” No, Richard Bentley in the ABA Journal, Nov. 1959, p. 1229 regarding the First Folio. He referred to records which, as you know, have no affiliation. When Jonson assembled his ‘Workes’ in 1616, dedicated to Herbert, his stipend was made L20, then L100, and during the FF preparations L200. That is being an employee of the Revels, of which Herbert was master. You scoff that the two biographers did not mention this as though to imply if they didn’t it didn’t happen and I’m lying or citing false fact. Why would they be interested except if suspecting some close relationship between the Lord Chamberlain, dedicatee of, and his employee the assembler and editor of, that enormous expensive immortalizing volume? Their historical imagination like your own is limited by faulty and incompleted assumptions.

            You also find cause to doubt that Jonson wrote what Heminge and Condell putatively signed as theirs. Note that much of what is given as their writing is a graceless howl for sales, a burlesque of what an epistle dedicatory should be. Note also that the dedication to the Herberts is derived from Pliny, with whom Jonson was thoroughly familiar. No documentary record of that for the actors, who had never left any written work. Were you under the impression that Heminge and Condell were something more than their titles, “servants” to their master, Herbert? The conceit Jonson wrote in their names ridiculed them second-hand and posed them as play editors at the same time they were acting or working full time, one as a grocer, both deeply involved in church duties. I trust even true believer might question that as credible. Why, because the assertion of their editorship has no features of common sense or credibility.

            Edward de Vere died in 1604. The First Folio was published in 1623. Why did it take 19 years? Have you come up a handy dandy cipher for the answer?

            “Edward de Vere died in 1604. The First Folio was published in 1623. Why did it take 19 years? Have you come up a handy dandy cipher for the answer?” Again with the sneering manner, discounting what you haven’t even heard yet and certainly do not know. The FF couldn’t have been achieved without power to control publications. William Herbert held out for the Lord Chamberlain position for years. When he finally secured it in 1614, he consolidated his power and arranged for Jonson to first initiate drama as literature (the Workes), then when Shakspere died, order the work and scheme the author name (Shake-speare) to transfer to and mingle the works with a corpse who couldn’t extort about it, and finally get it published. He headed off a collected plays attempt in 1619 in furtherance of that object. That would have interfered with the plan. The Othello quarto coming out in 1622 had its dedication referring to the Stanleys’ “great ancestor”, hinting that this publication prefigured the family’s FF coup de grace. Jonson used some of the same language in his FF elegy he had used in praise of de Vere’s daughter Susan years before. A further hint of family business. You can call this brief summary handy-dandy––call it anything you wish–– or you can realize only the truth fits the known facts together without contradiction. Your concept of what “scholarship” is has failed utterly and irresponsibly at reaching that high purpose. Your fable has become academe’s inherited paradigm passed down to succeeding generations like nursery tales to trusting minds.