The Autumning Empire

Culture, Politics, Etc.

The Triumph Over Will: Why Educators Need to Get it Right About Who Wrote Shakespeare

Imagine that you’ve enrolled in a creative writing class. Perhaps it’s not the only course you’re taking, but for you it’s by far the most important. So you throw yourself into your work with passion. Every day you hit the page, and soon, you begin to stretch the limits of your ability and imagination. Characters leap out from nowhere. Your facility with language skyrockets, and your work as an artist matures. Even your classmates and instructor begin to take note of the scope and depth of your writing. And at the end of the year you are rewarded, because the incredible risks taken have paid off with an enduring and meaningful body of work.

But now pretend that after the class is over (perhaps a year or two has passed), you are abruptly called into your professor’s office. There, he accuses you point blank of plagiarizing every single word. “This can’t be your work,” he says. “I mean really! You lack the background, the breeding, and the life experience to write anything even approaching this level of talent and creativity. This is the work of another author.”

What would you do? Well, you might reasonably challenge this professor to conclusively prove his accusation. But he refuses, and instead has the temerity to put the burden of proof upon you, saying: “Enough of your lies! Prove to me that you aren’t a plagiarist.” Your reputation at stake, you scramble to retrieve notes that you’ve handwritten, or stored away on your computer or USB key, anything to get this professor off of your back and clear your tarnished name. But you’d better do it quickly, because in the meantime your former instructor is drawing up a lengthy list of alternative candidates as the work’s true author. You are guilty until proven innocent, slimed by association, and discredited by crass and baseless innuendo.

It’d be tough, but chances are that you could set the record straight by finding the necessary documentation. But what if a full decade passed before that professor called you in? Or two? Or even three? You might have to work a little harder. The evidence might be tougher to track down. But in the end, you’d probably still be able to advocate on your own behalf, and clear your name while looking your own accuser in the face.

But now imagine that the unfounded smear comes not during your lifetime, but almost two centuries after your death. There wouldn’t be a whole lot that you could do. The defense of your integrity would now be left in the hands of historians and educators, and the public’s perception of the truth might forever be clouded by a thick and impenetrable fog.

Welcome to the world of the authorship “debate.” William Shakespeare’s work and influence is ubiquitous. His plays dominate high school and college reading lists. There are over 115 Shakespeare companies and festivals in the United States alone. It’s all but impossible to count the number of film and television adaptations of his works, but they certainly number in the hundreds. Such an overwhelming cultural presence makes it hard to remember that four centuries ago, someone – a real live human being – had to sit down, pull out a quill, and pump those suckers out. Perhaps I’m speculating, but I’d be willing to bet that writing at least 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and two erotic poems must have been one hell of a chore. I think we can all agree that it involved painstaking hours of intense and exhausting work. And while scores of doubters edge their way into the market place of ideas, there isn’t one shred of reliable evidence to cast any reasonable doubt upon the author’s true identity: William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon.

You want me to prove it? Sure you do, and I’m happy to oblige. Declarative assertions demand nothing less. Those of us who celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday mark it on April 23, so the time seems awfully ripe. But before we get down to the case at hand, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the very backwardness of this scenario: any reasonable standard of jurisprudence establishes that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. But thanks to the legion of Doubting Thomases, all but demanding that Shakespeare rise from the grave and present an ink stained stigmata as proof of authentic authorship, the burden appears to have shifted to the Bard’s defenders. Thus, it falls to us to prove a case that was never raised once during the author’s lifetime.

William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564 (we actually don’t know his date of birth), and died on April 23, 1616 in the Warkwickshire town of Stratford. He was an actor and shareholder of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later The King’s Men) theatre company, which erected the Globe Theatre in 1599.  These facts are not in dispute. The “controversy” is over who actually wrote the plays, sonnets, and other poems that bear William Shakespeare’s name. But as earlier mentioned, no such controversy existed when Shakespeare himself was alive. Indeed, in 1964 William M. Murphy cited at least 23 historical documents establishing the man from Stratford as the author of virtually all the works in question, including diary entries and legal papers.  (This list does not even include the title pages of plays and poems crediting William Shakespeare as their author).

One of the most impressive of these is Frances Meres’ Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury, first published in 1598. Meres, a minister educated at Cambridge, was an avid enthusiast of the London theatre scene. He was especially taken with Shakespeare’s work, as evidenced in the following passage:

“…so Shakespeare among y’ English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage; for Comedy, witnes his Ge’tleme’ of Verona, his Errors, his Love labors lost, his Love labours wonne, his Midsummer night dreame, & his Merchant of Venice : for Tragedy his Richard the 2. Richard the 3. Henry the 4. King John, Titus Andronicus and his Romeo and Juliet.As Epius Stolo said, that the Muses would speake with Plautus tongue, if they would speak Latin: so I say that the Muses would speak with Shakespeares fine filed phrase, if they would speake English.

Palladis is one of several primary historical documents that acknowledges Shakespeare as the author of the works in question. (It’s also been an indispensable tool for dating his plays.) No one has brought this evidence together more concisely and authoritatively than James Shapiro in his book Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? Shapiro shows us a Shakespeare deeply rooted in a specific place and time. We see a well-known man of considerable accomplishment and reputation. More than seventy editions of his works appeared in print during his lifetime. Moreover, as we have seen above, Shakespeare’s contemporaries wrote about him, and they had a lot to say. Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit, written in 1592, lampooned Shakespeare’s ‘upstart crow’ pretentions. The author, Robert Greene, was shocked that a lowly actor might presume to be a man of letters, mocking his fellow poet’s “Tygers heart wrapped in a Players hyde…” Other writers appear to have been more positively disposed to Shakespeare’s work. Shapiro cites the Parnassus trilogies, performed at King’s College at the turn of the 17th century, in which one character exclaims: “We shall hear nothing but pure Shakespeare!”

Those of us curious about Shakespeare’s relationship with other writers would do well in turning to Ben Jonson. Shakespeare acted in more than one of Jonson’s plays, and appears to have cast quite the shadow over the younger writer’s career and psyche. Jonson’s reviews of Shakespeare’s works are decidedly mixed. He effusively praised Shakespeare in the First Folio, which was published in 1623. But Jonson could also turn on Shakespeare, as when he took the older poet to task for his geographical inaccuracies in A Winter’s Tale. (How can you have a shipwreck in Bohemia?)

But Jonson’s admiration for Shakespeare appears to have won out, as shown in this excerpt from his private notes, which were published after his death in 1641 as Timber, or Discoveries; Made Upon Men and Matter:

I loved the man, and do honour his memory (on this side of Idolotry) as much as any. He was (indeed) honest, and of an open, and free nature; had an excellent fancy; brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that it was sometimes necessary that he should be stopped.

William Shakespeare of Stratford died in 1616 a wealthy, famous man. As an actor and shareholder in an incredibly successful theatre company, he’d experienced innumerable business and artistic interactions during the fifty-two years of his life. By his peers and contemporaries, he was both loved and hated. If all of the works attributed to him were actually written by another person, doesn’t it seem like somebody would have figured it out and said something? An Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre company was an extremely competitive business venture; the same was true with publishing. Proving, or even asserting, that a major shareholder and actor in The Lord Chamberlain’s Men didn’t actually write Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet would have been a major (and potentially profitable) coup.

Or let’s just say that this was a conspiracy astoundingly executed for a period of roughly 27 years. This means that virtually every literary, theatrical, and even major political figure in England was either a participant or a dupe. But what about after Shakespeare’s death? Was the awful truth finally revealed? After all, entire books questioning The Warren Commission’s findings on the JFK assassination were being published as early as 1964. If Shakespeare had been the front man for an authorial cover up and conspiracy, somebody would have surely let it slip.

But no one did. For over a century after his death, Shakespeare was universally acknowledged as the author of all the works that bore his name. So where did the controversy start? If the case for Shakespeare is so obvious, why would anyone ever believe otherwise?

To find the answer, we have to go back towards the end of the 18th century, when historians became extremely curious about the facts of Shakespeare’s life. But the discovery of historical documents can be a slow and tedious business; perhaps the lack of ready and immediate evidence seemed suspicious. In the meantime, William Shakespeare was becoming the victim of his own posthumous success. While many of his plays enjoyed great commercial and critical acclaim during his lifetime, his literary reputation ascended dramatically during the late 18th and much of the 19th centuries. Indeed, this rise caused George Bernard Shaw to coin the term ‘Bardolatry’ in derisive reference to the growing deification of Shakespeare and his poetic genius.

But the emerging biographical information discovered proved to be somewhat less than pleasing. It turns out that Shakespeare was not an abstract, idealized personification of genius. The man had many faults. The creator of Shylock was a moneylender himself: in 1609, when his neighbor John Addenbrooke defaulted on a six-pound loan, Shakespeare had the man arrested. Like Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare was self-educated (which I would consider a virtue, not a vice); the man from Stratford did not attend a university. His first child was apparently conceived out of wedlock. Shakespeare wasn’t much of a family man, living most of his life in London with only occasional visits to his wife and three children back in Stratford. He was probably not even present for his eleven year-old son Hamnet’s burial.

These facts didn’t sit well with some of the 19th century’s more prominent men and women of letters. Rather than abandon their preconceived notion of Shakespeare’s character, they chose instead to abandon Shakespeare:

 “I am… haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world.” Henry James

“[Shakespeare] carries the court influence with him, unconsciously, wherever he goes… He looks into Arden and Eastcheap from the court standpoint, not from these into the court.” Delia Bacon

 “(Shakespeare) was a jovial actor and manager. I cannot marry this fact to his verse.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The anonymous author of the Shakespeare Oxford Society’s FAQ page puts the case forward in no uncertain terms:

“Nothing about the Stratford man rings true: his character, his background, his education, his family, his friends, his behavior towards his debtors and his neighbors, his recorded conversation and his attitude to money and property. It would have been very surprising if someone like that had become the world’s greatest author.”

And there you have it. William Shakespeare was incapable of such genius. He was too ordinary. Too un-aristocratic. Too common. Too actorly. Too….just not exactly what I want him to be to have written the greatest plays on earth. If I can’t understand it, then I guess it just isn’t true.

The argument is not simply ridiculous. It is downright dangerous in its pernicious elitism. Worse yet, it’s an insult to the wondrous capacities of the human imagination. The mystery and miracle of genius is its sheer inexplicability. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but some people come into the world with astounding abilities and talents that the rest of us don’t have. If aristocratic background and formal education were the only prerequisites for sensational writing, we’d be reading masterpieces penned by the likes Prince Charles and George W. Bush.

But let’s put aside the obscenely classist premise of the “anti-Stratfordian” arguments. I am willing to assume for five uninterrupted minutes that the actor manager (how did Emerson know he was “jovial”?) did not write the works for which all of his contemporaries gave him credit. The accusation begs the question: who really wrote all of Shakespeare’s works?

Brace yourself, people, because answer is shocking. Ladies and Gentlemen, the real author behind the fraud of William Shakespeare is….Francis Bacon!

No, wait, I’m sorry, I got that wrong. It’s actually Christopher Marlowe. It’s not? Ok, wait, hang on, I got it, I got it, it’s, um…it’s Queen Elizabeth! Oh, Jesus (not him either), I’m sorry! It couldn’t be her. Or him. Ok, wait, I’ve got it now: the real author behind the Shakespeare conspiracy is…Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

Go ahead. Pick one. You don’t like them? Don’t worry, there are lots more; keep looking, and eventually you’ll find a candidate who suits you. As long as you’re convinced that Shakespeare wasn’t capable of writing his plays and poems, you can twist any fact to fit your foregone conclusion. And you will have to twist a lot of facts. Of the candidates I just mentioned, only Francis Bacon had the good taste to die after Shakespeare passed away. The rest of them met their respective ends before Shakespeare had written some of his most important work.

The current favorite is Oxford, the misunderstood hero of Anonymous: that Roland Emerich film that everyone talked about and nobody saw. As with every candidate, there are numerous holes in the Oxford candidacy. For now, let’s just look at two. The most obvious is de Vere’s inconvenient date of death: June 24, 1604. Even the most conservative dating of Shakespeare’s works gives us eleven plays composed between 1605 and 1613 (including King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest).*

The second piece of evidence is more circumstantial, but to my mind, no less compelling. Edward de Vere was an avid patron of the arts. In fact, the 17th Earl of Oxford sponsored his own theatrical troupe, which existed from 1580 to 1602.   If Oxford really was the author of Shakespeare’s plays, why wasn’t he penning his best work for his own company, instead of its rival, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men? For it was Shakespeare’s troupe, and not Oxford’s, who staged Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and all the other works of the cannon. Doesn’t it seem odd that the anonymous earl didn’t use one of his own actors as a front man? Wouldn’t a more probable authorship candidate be someone who was a member of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men? Perhaps an actor, and a shareholder in the company? Isn’t there a slight possibility that the real author of Shakespeare’s plays is William Shakespeare himself?

Examine the biographies of the other would be Shakespeares; as with Oxford, their cases fall apart.  And when you get right down to it, the sheer number of candidates (some count at least 70) tells us everything we need to know. The scramble for anyone but Shakespeare reveals the flimsy reasoning of his desperate nay-sayers. If I’ve already decided that Barack Obama simply couldn’t be an American citizen, then even a certified copy of his birth certificate will fail to change my mind.

It would be comical if nobody took it seriously. But last fall, a major Hollywood film touted this fiction as fact; once again, the authorship debate became part of our cultural conversation. At the time I was directing an 8th grade production of Hamlet, and for a while, I couldn’t get through a rehearsal without the issue coming up. Parents at my son’s soccer games began to ask me: “So! What do you think about the idea that Shakespeare didn’t really write all of those plays?”

I’m always happy to answer a student’s question. And when it comes to my son, I’ll always take one for the team. But my patience finally snapped several months ago during a chat with a friend, an educated man who is not unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s works. Perhaps I wore him down with the passion of my argument. Whatever the reason, I knew he was ready for our conversation to be over when I heard these words: “Well, in a sense, it doesn’t really matter who wrote these plays. They’re great. They’re beautiful. Why don’t we just leave it at that?”

I have heard this argument before, and I’ll be honest: I find it more troubling than the most improbable anti-Stratfordian dogma. Why? Because in fact, it does really matter. It matters because denying an author credit for his or her work is a slap in the face to basic fairness. It matters because what biographical information we have about Shakespeare does help us understand the world of his imaginary creations. And it matters because we know the author’s identity, and to pretend otherwise is simply craven and irresponsible. It isn’t hard to believe that Shakespeare wrote those plays. What’s hard to believe is that anyone wrote them at all. To inhabit the world of Shakespeare – be it as a teacher, student, actor, designer, director, or audience member – is to find yourself in the throws of a life long love affair. Those eighth graders that I mentioned earlier did astonishing work with Hamlet, giving me and a sold out crowd a wild and beautiful night at the theatre. As is so often the case with young actors, these kids tapped into the play’s crazy, angsty, and anarchic spirit with more zest and honesty than I’ve seen in most highly trained professionals.

Those kids in the Hamlet cast are my students. Were I to catch any of them plagiarizing, there would be serious consequences. So I would need to be sure before making the accusation. I couldn’t just draw up a list of alternative authors. I couldn’t just say to my student: “You didn’t write this essay. Nothing about you rings true: your character, your background, your education, your family, your friends.” No. I’d have to lay my prejudices aside and look at the facts. We all have our hunches. And conspiracy theories are always tempting. But the search for the truth demands a rational and coherent respect for the cold, hard facts.

I owe that to my students. And if you’re a teacher, you owe the same to yours, whether you’re looking at their work, or Shakespeare’s. For most of my career I sidestepped the issue with, “Well, some people believe that he wrote the plays, and some believe he didn’t.” I now realize that’s just as much of a cop out as saying Columbus might have proven the world was round, or that climate change might not be man made. There are times when impartiality imparts nothing, and some arguments are more equal than others.

400 years ago, the world was given a body of theatrical and poetic masterpieces that continue to delight, horrify, astound, and amaze. William Shakespeare was universally acknowledged by his friends, enemies, colleagues, and acquaintances as the author of these astonishing wonderworks. Since every effort to prove otherwise has failed, it’s time to stop asking who wrote them. Let’s get back to the business of asking the questions that will help us understand them.

David Berkson

3/26/12

* The dating of Shakespeare’s plays is a favorite line of attack amongst his doubters. The reasoning goes that because we can not always affix a precise date to his plays without absolute certainty, the entire process is no more than professorial conjecture. That’s sort of like saying that meteorology is not a science because the weatherman is sometimes wrong. Just because we don’t know everything doesn’t mean we know nothing.

For instance, many of Shakespeare’s later plays such as The Tempest call for special lighting effects that weren’t present in the earlier plays. Scholars attribute this to the fact that in 1608 Shakespeare’s company took possession of the Blackfriars Theatre, an indoor venue with different production capabilities than the outdoor Globe Theatre. Oxford died in 1604. While this in and of itself does not prove Shakespeare’s authorship, the burden still rests on the prosecution. Their best line of attack is that deVere wrote a number of the plays before his death that happened to be perfectly suited to a venue that Shakespeare’s company coincidentally acquired four years later. I guess that one of Oxford’s agents must have secretly fed these plays to Shakespeare’s company. Feel free to believe this line of reasoning if you like, but be sure to ignore the mountain of evidence supporting Shakespeare, especially the fact that no one during his lifetime challenged the universal acceptance his authorship.

Post Script

Well, if I wanted to end the debate on who wrote Shakespeare, I didn’t do a very good job, did I? For some reason, I just didn’t think asserting that Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet would be very controversial. But as the responses to this piece clearly demonstrate, I was wrong.

And it’s been a fun debate, albeit one that I’d love to bring to swift conclusion. But since that probably won’t happen, and especially since my colleagues, along with my students and their families, are starting to read this, I wanted to make a few things clear:

  • I would never shut a student or anyone else down who disagreed with me on this or any other matter. Respectful debate is good, and I hope that the one we’ve had in the comments section of this blog has modeled that mantra. When I felt that my rhetoric bordered on disrespect, I tried to check in with the respondents to make sure that they felt welcome to come back and share their views, even (and I guess especially) when they disagreed with me.
  • I’ve learned a lot from the below discussion. “Edward” in particular gave me a run for my money. I had to do some extra research and fact checking when attempting to disprove some of his arguments. But perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned that two people can look at the same piece of evidence, and come up with completely different conclusions regarding what that evidence means.
  • I’ll speak only for myself on this one: the only reason why I sidestepped this issue in the past was because I felt as if I didn’t have enough information. Now, being better educated, I speak with a clearer voice. I believe that an informed educator with a strong view, and who acknowledges that view while inviting debate, does his or her students a tremendous service. To be sure, it’s not the only way to teach. But it can certainly lead to some interesting discussions. I’m looking forward to many more.

David Berkson

4/8/12

 

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

66 thoughts on “The Triumph Over Will: Why Educators Need to Get it Right About Who Wrote Shakespeare

  1. Nicely done. Very well written and relevant to the point. Thanks for this!

  2. Cheri on said:

    Hmmn, now I feel like a wuss because I have been one of those who said “what does it matter?” But you’re right. It does matter. I’ll do better in the future. By the way, I thought Anonymous was a lovely piece of fiction.

    • Cheri: You’re not a wuss at all. I know for a fact that in the past I’ve said “it doesn’t matter”. If we really didn’t know who wrote this stuff, then we’d have to live with it. But since we do who wrote it, let’s not pretend otherwise just to avoid conflict. The elitism of the anti-Stratfordian argument is pernicious, and totally misses the zeitgeist of the Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre scene. I read a comment by someone who called Shakespeare an ‘illiterate grain merchant’. Whoa there! How many actors do you know who can’t read? Or successful business men, for that matter?

      I deliberately avoided discussing the artistic merits of “Anonymous”. “Shakespeare in Love” is total fiction, and I don’t have a problem with that. Nor do I have a problem with all the historical inaccuracies of Shakespeare’s “histories”.

      But then again, maybe I should. How would we feel about a movie that said, “What if Columbus didn’t really enslave Indians?” “What if Hitler didn’t really invade Poland?” “What if carbon emissions really helped the environment?” Historical inaccuracies in fiction should be pointed out and discussed. We can’t teach kids to be critical thinkers if we avoid critical thinking ourselves.

  3. Edward on said:

    “The most obvious is de Vere’s inconvenient date of death: June 24, 1604. Even the most conservative dating of Shakespeare’s works gives us eleven plays composed between 1605 and 1613 (including King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest).”

    It would be interesting to take part of some hard facts to back up this claim. It is in fact impossible to date the Shakespeare plays with certainty. As shown by e.g. Mark Anderson in this article http://asktheauthor.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474976776589 there exists no definitive post 1604 sources to the plays. There is no such a thing as a consensus on this matter, and all solutions that has come from the Stratfordian camp is nothing more than guesses.

    Yes, I think Oxford wrote the canon, and no, I was rather disappointed with “Anonymous”.

    • Edward: Thanks for jumping into the fray. Check out Garry Wills'”Witches & Jesuits”; he makes a compelling case for “Macbeth” as a response to the Gunpowder Plot, which was discovered in October of 1605.

      But let’s just say for a moment that the point is arguable. The dating of the plays is not the only evidence for Shakespeare’s authorship. As I mention in my piece, the anti-Stratfordian case wasn’t raised until over a century after his death. There’s plenty of proof that Shakespeare is the author, and no conclusive proof that anybody else is. Why didn’t Oxford feed “his” plays to his own theatre company, instead giving them all to The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (Shakespeare’s)? I don’t feel that de Vere’s case comes anywhere close to Shakespeare’s.

      I’m still grateful for your input.

      David

      • Edward on said:

        David

        The book on Macbeth appears to be interesting, thanks for info. The theme of equivocation is surely very present in the play, but the theme was in the air much earlier (again see Anderson). Actually I think it would have been a very brave thing of “Shakespeare” to write Macbeth for the new king, since James was extremely scared of witchcraft and, more important, because of the many parallels to the Darnley murder back in 1567, since Darnley was James’ father who was killed by Mary, James’ mother. Over all, stratfordians seem to give a lot of importance to very vague parallels (as between Macbeth and the Gunpowder Plot) but completely ignore much more prominent ones, as the one mentioned, if it indicates a much earlier composition of the play.

        You:
        “the anti-Stratfordian case wasn’t raised until over a century after his death”

        Is this a correct statement? I would say no. Katherine Chiljan gives examples of early doubters, and one example is the “mock-edition” of the Sonnets in 1640 by one “John Benson” (probably a hint to Ben Jonson) which criticizes the statements of the first folio with an altered version of the Droeshout drawing accompanied with a verse of mockery:

        This Shadow is renowned Shakespear’s? Soul of th’age.
        The applause? delight? the wonder of the Stage.
        Nature herself, was proud of his designs
        And joy’d to wear the dressing of his lines…

        I could also mention Peacham’s “The Compleat Gentleman” from 1622 with new editions in -26 and -27 who in his summary of the great era of Elizabethan writers (in all these editions) first of all lists Oxford but does not bother to mention Shakespeare as a writer.

        You:
        “There’s plenty of proof that Shakespeare is the author, and no conclusive proof that anybody else is.”

        Yes “Shakespeare” is the author, but who was he? You have to fuse the name with the man and show how they can be the same. The failure of the stratfordian scholars in this field is what has triggered the Authorship Question.

        You:
        “Why didn’t Oxford feed “his” plays to his own theatre company, instead giving them all to The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (Shakespeare’s)?”

        I cannot say whether it is a correct description to say that “Shakespeare” (whoever) exclusively “fed” the lord Ch. Men with his plays. As I, and many oxfordians with me, see it, the plays were written much earlier than the stratfordian dating attempts imply. We know from Nashe that Hamlet existed in 1588, and that “English Seneca” had written it, presumably someone of high rank who could not be named openly. We know that many plays were staged at court with interesting parallels to the Shakespeare canon; e.g. “The Historie of Errors” (Comedy of Errors) and “The History of Titus and Gisippus” (Titus Andronicus) in 1577. As many oxfordians see it these plays were written by de Vere and were later revised and ultimately published in the folio.

        I find it totally impossible that someone (i.e. the Stratford man) could write all this poetry and all these plays in 20 years, at the same time being a full time businessman and actor. Even more strange is the fact that he left no personal paper trail of all this labour. He is like a ghost, and whenever we try to fixate our eyes on him he disappears in the air, like Ariel (just pick up any one of all these so called “biographies” and try to find some substance).

  4. Edward,

    I’d like to address all of your points. I only have time for one or two at the moment.

    Shakespeare of Stratford was a member of The King’s Men (formerly The Lord Chamberlain’s Men). Simon Forman saw a production of the play at The Globe Theatre in 1611. King James I of England (also James VI of Scotland) was obsessed with witchcraft, as evidenced in his treatise ‘Daemonlogie’. So we know that the play was performed by King James’ company during his reign.

    So we have a play about Scottish succession (James I believed that he was descended from Banquo), with witches (whom James was obsessed with), performed by his own theatre company as late as 1611. The play certainly can’t have escaped his notice

    So why would it have been ‘a very brave thing’ for Shakespeare to write it? James had no trouble silencing real or perceived threats. The focus on Banquo’s line does little to further the plot. It’s clear that James was at the very least comfortable with the play, and certainly probable that it was written by someone in the theatre company in which he actively sponsored as deference to his nationality and personal interests.

    Proof of authorship? No. But implying that James I might have had issues with the play ignores: 1) That it was performed without incident by his own company during his lifetime, and 2) that William Shakespeare of Stratford was a part of that company.

    Please re-read the posting for Frances Meres’ and Ben Jonson’s remarks about the man from Stratford as the author of the plays that bear his name. (Jonson specifically took issue with the geography in ‘A Winter’s Tale’). They, and many other contemporaneous documents, fuse the name with the man. I’ll be more than happy to cite some more in a later reply.

    And finally, of course it’s hard to believe that a business man and an actor found time to write so much enduring and unparalleled work. You know what else is hard to believe? That Mozart wrote his first symphony when he was eight. And yet, he did. Are we to believe that Salieri, or perhaps the 17th Earl of Oxford wrote it, and everything else of Mozart’s as well? I agree that there are ‘vague parallels’ at work here. But it’s not the Stratfordians who are putting them forward.

  5. Edward on said:

    David.

    First about Mozart, which is easy for me to answer since I am a musician. Since we know the capacity of Leopold (his father) as musician and teacher, who e.g. wrote a famous violin school STILL IN USE today, and all the verified anecdotes about Mozart’s miraculous gifts as a child prodigy, his early achievements are not at all hard to believe. It is lightyears away from believing the Stratford story about a man who has left us not one single piece of evidence of his alleged creative life. Mozart has left us with hundreds of manuscript pages in his own hand. This is not a relevant parallel. On the other hand, we could expect to find, in a genius of Shakespeare’s magnitude, that he, like Mozart, was very gifted as a child and that this talent was apparent to (and in some way documented by) people around him. As is the case with Edward de Vere, but certainly not with William-of-Stratford.

    About Meres. His comments about Shakespeare is not enough to create a literary biography from. He mentions Shakespeare as the writer of certain plays, but he gives us no further information about the author. We need more information to decide whether: 1) Meres knew the Stratford man in person 2) Meres was just expressing his opinion about a writer in fashion, not caring whether the name was a pseudonym or not 3) Meres knew very well that the name was a pseudonym, but used it anyway.
    Meres is impersonal when he mentions Shakespeare, so we need more information to settle the question. The problem with Stratford Will as author is that there exists no contemporary, personal, literary paper trail for him. At all. This makes him unique among Elizabethan writers (I know stratfordians always try to escape from this fact, but it is still a fact). Meres’ testimony is literary and contemporary for sure, but it is not personal. It speaks about the AUTHOR Shakespeare, not the man, and so it adds nothing new, since we have a successful poet named William Shakespeare already with Venus & Adonis in 1593. If you accept the Stratford man as author of V&A just because of the name at the bottom of the dedication, then Meres adds nothing new. But if you, like me, don’t accept this, then you need to go deeper in to the matter.

    As formulated by Diana Price:

    “If all the Shakespeare plays had been published anonymously, *nothing* in William Shakspere’s documented biographical trails would remotely suggest that he wrote them. Shakspere of Stratford is not, in fact, a viable authorship candidate, and if he were discovered today as a new contender, his candidacy would not be taken seriously.”

    • Mark Johnson on said:

      Diana Price is quite wrong. There is evidence from Shakespeare’s lifetime which specifically suggests William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author of the works, since he is explicitly identified as “Mr.” William Shakespeare, the honorific which accompnied his status as a “gentleman” following the grant of the coat of arms to his father, John. Those pieces of evidence which identify the author in this way are contemporary, personal and literary documentation — a paper trail that Price ignores. One can quibble all they want about such evidence [questioning its accuracy or the weight to be given to it] but to deny that it exists, as Price does, demonstrates a blind refusal to accept documentary evidence that would be accepted as relevant to any other writer of the Elizabethan era. Further personal evidence is supplied by Jonson, Digges and others; the fact that some of this evidence is posthumous does nothing to prevent it from being evidence, and personal evidence at that. In this regard, Price’s filter is ridculous.

      As for Meres, he adds quite a bit to the issue. For one, he only cites Oxford as a writer of comedies, while Shakespeare is cited as the best for comedy and tragedy, FOR THE STAGE.
      He appears to know enough to distinguish between those authors who write courtly conceits and those who write for the public theatres.

      • Thanks for your input, Mark. I had meant at some point to mention that Meres included Oxford in ‘Palladis”; among other things, it shows that Oxford was writing work for which he was willing to take credit at the same time that Shakespeare’s works were acknowledged as his own.

      • Edward on said:

        Sorry Mark, but it is not possible to create a literary career for Stratford Will out of a “Mr”. For example, no one, publicly or privately, mentioned the death of the great author in 1616. This is certainly not what we should expect.

        “those authors who write courtly conceits”

        Does this mean that you could consider the possibility that Edward de Vere was the author of “The History of Error” and “The History of Caesar”, performed before the Queen in 1577 and 1583?

    • Cheri on said:

      I would like to point out that since Shakespeare’s parents were illiterate, it would be unlikely that anyone would leave evidence of his genius at an early age, if he did show it. And perhaps his father was disappointed that Will liked to “scribble verse” rather than follow in his father’s footsteps. And who’s to say that he DID show an early genius?

      Also, there are so many errors about various sites the plays are set in, I find it hard to believe that is used as an excuse to say they were obviously written by someone who’d been there. (Of course, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut ends up in the “desert” outside New Orleans, but that’s another story….)

      And who would have thought back then that his plays would become so famous? It took a long time after his death before they took the world over. I have often wondered how many absolutely amazingly wonderful plays are out there that got lost?

      • Edward on said:

        Cheri. If you think that Shakespeare was so wrong about Italy you should read the lovely book by late Richard Paul Roe: The Shakespeare Guide to Italy.

        /Cheers Edward

  6. Well, at last we can agree on Mozart.

    And apparently, it’s the only thing upon which we agree. To tell you the truth, I’m starting to feel kind of silly. Right now the Supreme Court is debating the future of healthcare, and here we are debating the authorship of a bunch of plays and poems written some 400 years ago.

    Well, I did ask for it, didn’t I?

    What’s clear to me is that neither of us will budge an inch. I guess that’s just the nature of a debate: rarely do we really try to persuade our opponents; it’s our listeners who matter most. Maybe that’s why I’m hanging in with so many replies, in the hopes that my undecided readers will be convinced.

    What’s even clearer to me, Edward, is that our disagreement doesn’t stop at the authorship question, but extends to the nature and validity of evidence itself. You and I appear to be able to look at the same piece of document and assign it a completely different value. With that in mind, I’ll put out more of what I know, and do the best I can to show how it makes a thoroughly convincing case for Shakespeare of Stratford:

    You ended with “If the Shakespeare plays had been published anonymously,” conjecture. This ignores the fact for a while Shakespeare’s plays were published anonymously until 1598. Sounds pretty suspicious, until you take into consideration that Marolowe’s “Tambourlaine” and Kyd’s “The Spanish Tragedy” were also published anonymously. Quarto editions were cheap and often carelessly put together; only about a third of those published in the 1590s had the author’s name on the title page.

    And a lot of those editions had Shakespeare’s name beginning in 1598: “Richard II”,
    Richard III”, “Love’s Labour’s Lost”, followed in later years by such plays as “Hamlet”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, to name a only a few.

    How did Shakespeare’s name get to be associated with these plays? Call me crazy, but I believe there’s a strong possibility that he actually wrote them.

    Edward, I have to admit that I’m confused by your use of the term ‘pseudonym’. That suggests a made up name. But William Shakespeare wasn’t a made up name. It was the real name of an actor and shareholder of the theatre company that happened to be producing all of these plays. (What a coincidence.) So if somebody other than William Shakespeare wrote them, then we aren’t really talking about a pseudonym; the man from Stratford would have been a front for the real writer.

    If that’s true, then Shakespeare must have been one hell of an actor, because he had a lot of people fooled, and Frances Meres was only one of them. (I never meant to suggest that the validity of Shakespeare’s biography rested solely on Meres’ account). James Shapiro’s “Contested Will” lists a number of writers who acknowledged Shakespeare as the author of the works that bear his name. A few of them are:

    William Covell (referencing Shakespeare as the author of The Rape of Lucrece)
    Richard Barnfield (Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis)
    Gabriel Harvey (Lucrece, Venus, and Hamlet)
    John Weever (Sonnets, Romeo and Juliet)
    William Camden (puts Shakespeare in the same list as Sydney and Spencer of “pregnant wits”)

    The list goes on. The great Jacobean tragedian John Webster lists Shakespeare as one of his influences. I’ve already mentioned Ben Jonson, a fellow company member and writer who watched Shakespeare act in his plays. Jonson had good and bad things to say about the man from Stratford, in both public and private, but he never once suggested that his colleague and rival was not the true poet.

    William Shakespeare wasn’t exactly a low profile kind of guy. His association with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and The King’s Men is well documented. In 1595, Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, and Will Kemp were paid by Queen Elizabeth as “servants to the Lord Chamberleyne,” for performances at Greenwich in December of 1594. Shakespeare was licensed with his fellow actors as one of The King’s Men in 1603. And…

    Well, you get the point. And I’m sure this documentation is nothing new to you. The difference is in how we perceive it. You look at the aforementioned data, and say: “the man was a ghost.” I look at the data and see a man of the theatre who was critically and financially rewarded for his work. Shakespeare was so intimately connected with his fellow players, that he occasionally made the mistake of writing the names actors John Sinklo and Will Kemp into his stage directions, where he’d meant to indicate the characters they were playing. Shakespeare’s authorship can’t rest alone on the fact that he wrote in Kemp’s name for Dogberry, any more than it can solely rest upon Meres’ written appreciation of his work. But say what you will about these manifold and diverse pieces of documentation regarding Shakespeare’s life; they are hardly unrelated.

    Do Bacon, Marlowe, Oxford, or any of the other candidates stand up to this kind of scrutiny? There again, that depends on how you look at the documentation, and what you think it means. Clearly, Edward, when adding two and two, you and I get completely different answers.

    • Edward on said:

      Sorry for late answer…

      “How did Shakespeare’s name get to be associated with these plays?”

      Well that is not really the question here, is it? “Shakespeare” took two poems to print in 1593 and -94, and he was later (from 1598 and on) named as the author of all these plays and the sonnets. The question is of course whether “Shakespeare” the poet is the same man as the Stratford man, or if the name of the poet is a pen name. Outside from the likeness of names, nothing from his life connects Stratford Will with the poet. He has no recorded connection with Henry Wriothesley (the dedicatee of the poems). Nobody in Stratford noticed him as a writer (not even his booklearned son-in-law), nobody in the literary world had connections with him (like letters, dedications, payments for writing etc), nobody cared to pay tribute when he died and so on. (He was obviously a part-owner in the theatre business but this does not in itself make him qualified to write masterpieces of poetry.) . At the same time “Shakespeare” was, as your examples above show, hailed to the skies as poet and dramatist. This discrepancy between man and work IS the Authorship Question.

      Let me just point to two dating problems here to give you a glimpse of the mountain of problems the Stratford side has; the dating of Hamlet and the fact that contemporary documents from 1607 and 1609 show that the author Shakespeare was well dead by then, in contrast with Will-of-Stratford who died in 1616.

      According to stratfordian scholarship Hamlet was written c 1600-02. Why? It is an educated guess built on the first quarto (1603) and the fact that it is not only a mature work but a masterpiece impossible to imagine having been written by a writer new in his business, and since Will is supposed to have started up his career around 1590 it seems plausible to date Hamlet to this period. But it is just an assumption built on the not proved thesis of the Stratford man as the author and not on contemporary evidence. So what does the contemporary evidence tell us? They tell us something completely different. Katherine Chiljan has found no less than 12 allusions to Hamlet from the period 1588-97. Among them is Gabriel Harvey’s quote of “To be or not to be” from 1593, Henslowe’s diary that mentions that the play “Hamlet” was performed in 1594 and writer Thomas Nashe’s prefatory letter to Green’s novel Menaphon of 1589. So how do the Stratfordians react to this documentation? Well, they deny its existence or, if they have a vivid imagination, invent ANOTHER play, called “Ur-Hamlet”, for which there exists no evidence at all. They also fantasize about the author of this invented play; he could be Thomas Kyd, since Nashe goes on to talk about “the Kid in Aesop”, whereas the meaning of what Nashe actually wrote seems to escape the stratfordian mind. Instead the stratfordian seems to believe that Shakespeare was a mere plagiarist. Nashe actually mentions the Author, although he does not give us his real name; he calls him “English Seneca” in contrast to all lesser writers who are merely translators. So according to Nashe, by 1589 “English Seneca”, apparently a leading writer in the english language that the readers in Cambridge and Oxford are supposed to identify although his name for some reason cannot be published (the reason for this could be political and that the author was of very high position) has already written Hamlet, although it only exists in manuscript (the reader is advised to “entreat him fair in a frosty morning, he will afford you whole Hamlets”). The obvious conclusion is that this author is the SAME person as the later “Shakespeare” and that this person is not the Stratford man who could impossibly have the status of “English Seneca” at age 24 and having probably not yet arrived in London. (Also observe that Meres in 1598 equals Shakespeare and Seneca).

      In 1609 “Shake-speares Sonnets” was published. The print has a dedication, not written by the author, but by the publisher Thomas Thorpe. This is odd. If this was published by the author, why didn’t he write the dedication himself, or if it was a piracy, why write a dedication at all? Secondly, the author is mentioned in the dedication as “our ever-living poet”. This is not a description of a living man but of someone that is dead. Thirdly, the title of the work has a finality over it, otherwise it would have been e.g. “Sonnets by …” etc, but now we learn that we have ALL sonnets of “Shake-speare” in our hand. So, the publisher tells us that no more sonnets are to be expected from this author, ergo he is dead. So, we have three indications here that the author was considered dead in 1609.

      In 1607 William Barksted wrote a poem inspired by Venus & Adonis which ends with a tribute to Shakespeare; he calls Shakespeare a “neighbor” of his Muse and refers to him in the past tense (“His song was worthy merit (Shakspeare) ). The apparent meaning of his poem is that Shakespeare is dead but tributes to him are still lacking (“Laurel is due to him”).

      As said these are just examples. The list goes on…

      • Mark Johnson on said:

        Just a quick note on Hamlet and Kyd and the evidence from Nashe:

        The “English Seneca” reference you’ve quoted is only a portion of the evidence in Nashe’s epistle. Here is a fuller version of the relevant passages:

        “It is a common practice nowadays amongst a sort of shifting companions, that run through every art and thrive by none, to leave the trade of Noverint, whereto they were born, and busy themselves with the endeavours of art, that could scarcely Latinize their neck-verses if they should have need; yet English Seneca read by candle-light yields many good sentences, as “Blood is a beggar”, and so forth; and if you entreat him fair in a frosty morning, he will afford you whole Hamlets, I should say handfuls of tragical speeches. But… Seneca, let blood line by line and page by page, at length must needs die to our stage; which makes his famished followers to imitate the Kidde in Aesop, who enamoured of the fox’s newfangles, forsook all hopes of life to leap into a new occupation; and these men, renouncing all possibilities of credit or estimation, to intermeddle with Italian translations…”

        “This passage seems to be attacking, in the oblique way used by Elizabethan pamphleteers, a person with the following characteristics:
        1) He was born to the trade of “Noverint”, or scrivener;
        2) He had limited classical education (“could scarcely Latinize their neck-verse if they had need”);
        3) He had written English work reminiscent of Seneca;
        4) He had “intermeddle[d] with Italian translations”.

        There’s also the seemingly gratiutous reference to “the Kidde in Aesop”, as well as the reference to “whole Hamlets” that is at issue. Now, Thomas Kyd had the following characteristics:

        1) His father was a scrivener, thus Thomas was “born to” that profession;
        2) He did not attend a university, unlike all the other major playwrights of the late 1580s;
        3) He translated the Senecan tragedy “Cornelia” into English from Robert Garnier’s French (to be fair, this was not published until 1594, but it could have been written earlier, and Kyd may have written other similar works which have not survived);
        4) In 1588, the year before Nashe’s epistle, he published a translation from Italian to English of Tasso’s *Householder’s Philosophy*.

        Kyd thus matches up in several notable respects with the person Nashe appears to be attacking (though there is certainly room for argument). Combine this with the fact that Kyd’s *Spanish Tragedy* is similar in many ways to *Hamlet*, along with Nashe’s oblique mention of the person he is attacking “afford[ing] you whole Hamlets, I should say tragical speeches”, and many people have concluded that Nashe is attacking Kyd, and that Kyd was the author of a play on Hamlet. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the evidence is ambiguous and open to various interpretations. For example, one might agree that Nashe is attacking Kyd without necessarily agreeing that Kyd was the author of *Hamlet*; perhaps there was a *Hamlet* written by somebody else, and Nashe is just using it as an illustration of the type of verse written by the person he’s attacking. I think the case for Kyd as the object of Nashe’s scorn is pretty good, though the case for Kyd as the author of *Hamlet* is less secure, and has been taken as open to doubt by many scholars, such as E.K. Chambers and Harold Jenkins.” [from David Kathman]

        Edward, do you think Nashe would feel free to demean Oxenforde so freely? Now I really have to get back to work…

  7. Jonathan Lindgren on said:

    In medicine (the art I practice), a long list of cures for an ailment is usually a sign that none of them works particularly well. In the case of Shakespeare, the long list of alternative authors appears less an indictment of those offering the alternatives, and more an indictment of how poorly “Shakespeare” serves as the putative author. Hence, hundreds of very savvy and intelligent people (including the very anti-elite Mark Twain) have questioned his authorship.

    There’s even an annual conference here in our beloved Portland on this question.

    http://www.authorshipstudies.org/conference/agenda.cfm

    My father’s library of books on the authorship controversy now far exceeds the number of books ever purported to derive from Shakespeare’s hand. What I have found most interesting about all this, is how many details of life in 16-17th century England and Italy have surfaced, as people have used these details to make their arguments. As someone who loves history, culture, and language, this is a lot of fun.

    I doubt the question will ever be settled, and perhaps that’s for the best. It is a wonderful literary, cultural, and historical bone to be gnawed upon and kicked around. Worse things have been given 8th graders for their consideration.

  8. Edward on said:

    I appreciate your way of reasoning on this topic, since the usual hostility and adhominem stuff that usually comes from stratfordians as the only argument is for once absent. Thanks. Unfortunately I will be abroad without possibility to write for a week now, but I will be back later on.

    • Edward: I’m not sure if that was for me or Jonathan, but I kinda felt like you got ganged up on with my last response. As far as the argument goes, I couldn’t disagree with you more, but the debate is fun, and I hope that my verbiage was spirited, and not hostile. Appreciation to you and everyone else who’s taken the time to join in; I’m certainly learning a lot.

  9. Edward, it appears that Europe has been good to you. Welcome back to the arena.

    I’d really like to simplify this, so I’m going to break this down into two parts:

    PART I: WHAT I THINK HAPPENED

    I’m saying that William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon wrote the plays and poems in the Shakespeare canon. I’ll even put aside all of the questions regarding dating for the moment and say that the evidence for him is overwhelming. A diverse number of his contemporaries recognized his authorship (see my above comments and original piece) both publicly and privately. Ben Jonson was no dummy, and he had lots to say about Shakespeare, both positive and negative. But nowhere does he, or any other Shakespeare contemporary, make the claim that Shakespeare was not the author, and lots of them said that he was.

    Couple that with the appearance of his name on innumerable title pages of the works in question, and Shakespeare starts to look an awful lot like the author in question. The fact that Shakespeare was an actor and company member of the theatre company that produced the plays may not prove anything by itself, but it sure doesn’t hurt. It certainly explains how these plays found their way to this particular company.

    That’s what I think happened. What do you think happened? And how?

    PART II: REBUTTAL

    1. Actually, how Shakespeare’s name became connected with the plays seems to be a very reasonable question. The obvious answer is that he wrote them. Your candidate is Oxford. How exactly do you think that this arrangement worked?

    2. Meres mentions the plays “Love’s Labours Wonne” and “Cardenio”. Yet we have no record of them. Does that mean that they never existed? Probably not. They, as so many other Elizabethan and Jacobean primary documents, are lost to us. We have to make a decision based upon the documentation that we have, and I believe that it points to Shakespeare.

    3. Putting an asterisk next to the date of “Hamlet” does not prove that Shakespeare didn’t write it or anything else to which his name is attached. Yes, historians posit that the earlier “Hamlet” is a different play than the published quartos of the early 17th century. That’s based on Thomas Lodge’s account of: “”the ghost which cried so miserably at the theatre, like an oyster-wife, ‘Hamlet, revenge!’ This is a markedly different picture than what we get from the “Hamlet” found in the first two quartos and the First Folio. Saxo Grammaticus and Belleforest give us even earlier versions of the “Amleth” story. To make an educated guess that Hamlet was a figure of Elizabethan pop culture, an avenging superhero if you will, is not that far a jump.

    But perhaps you’re not comfortable with that jump. Harold Bloom, a staunch defender of the Stratford position, actually argues that Shakespeare wrote the earlier version of “Hamlet” himself, and that the version(s) we have now amounts to a major revision. There’s no way to prove this. I only mention it as a way of saying that the debate over dating of the plays does not disprove Shakespeare’s authorship.

    I’m still wondering if Oxford stands up to the scrutiny under which you and the earl’s other defenders put Shakespeare.

    • Edward on said:

      “Edward, it appears that Europe has been good to you”

      Aha slight misunderstanding here, I’m from Scandinavia, and I never left Europe (well the Canaries are sort of Africa but still 100% Spain) 😉

      “What do you think happened? And how?”

      OK, I’ll try to concentrate this:

      de Vere was a child prodigy who received the most advanced education possible in e.g. England’s history, french, music, fencing, botany, the classics etc. (documented). He also had access to the most sophisticated and rare books through William Cecil’s library, the biggest in England (documented). In his teens his uncle William Golding, living under the same roof, translated Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Possibly de Vere wrote parts (or the whole) of this translation. At 21 he won a tournament in front of the Queen and was for a while her favorite and lover (documented). At 25 he traveled in Italy for 1 year. He became obsessed with the country and its renaissance culture and became, after his homecoming, a leading figure in England and its literary life; as poet, dramatist and patron for writers and musicians (27 authors dedicated their works to him).
      He was a disaster as earl (he became almost broke) and his political ambitions came to nothing, so he took his escape to literature and art. He wrote plays for the court during the -70s and 80s. In 1586 the Queen gave him an annuity of 1000 Pounds, presumably as payment for the writing of propagandistic plays that would give the people the right spirit against Spain and pro the Tudors (the History plays).

      In 1593, at age 43, he adopts his great pen name William Shakespeare. Why? A very specific reason; he wants to give open support to Henry Wriothesley (the reason for this is political; let’s come back to it later). Note that “William Shakespeare” only took two works to print. After Lucrece in -94 he was silent again, and the only non fiction texts we have from the author are the two dedications. So, accordingly, as I see it, the pen name was adopted with the single purpose of supporting the dedications, something that was not possible for him to do using his own name. He took his name from a popular literary image; the shaking of a spear, which was associated with Pallas Athena, a warlike action that was very common in literature. Accordingly, the next time the name “Shakespeare” gets printed, in the satire Willobie his Avisa, the name is hyphenated (Shake-speare) indicating that the writer considered it a pen name.

      From 1598 and on “Shakespeare” is given as the author to certain plays printed in quartos; but note that all these prints were done without the author’s consent; the texts are generally very bad and incomplete. No legal action was taken from the author (or “his” supposed troupe) to prevent this. This is exactly what we could expect from a writer of high position who does not want to reveal himself.

      de Vere realizes at the end of his life that for political reasons his works will not be published in his own name even after his death; this is what the sonnets tell us; “My name receives a brand” “And art made tongue-ti’d by authority” “My name be buried where my body is” “Your name from hence immortal life shall have/ Though I (once gone) to all the world must die” are all expressions of this agony.

      Part II:

      1. “How exactly do you think that this arrangement worked?”

      As above, but I guess you wonder about the Stratford Man’s role in this scenario?

      As said, the world is still awaiting a PERSONAL CONTEMPORARY attribution of the works to William-of-Stratford. The first printed comes in fact in 1630 (in Banquet of Jests, where Stratford is described as “a town most remarkable for the birth of famous William Shakespeare”). NOT EVEN THE FOLIO of 1623 is clear on this point, if you read it with fresh eyes. Just because someone names “Shakespeare” does not prove anything in itself, if it does not point to a specific person, since it could very well just mean the name of the popular writer. Stratfordians suffer from circular reasoning: they associate the name Shakespeare with Stratford before the documents do it. Accordingly they associate the man William-of-Stratford with literary achievements without any proof of it. We have proof of his moneylending business, his property business and his involvement in the theatre business and a lot of other things, but not for any literary activities. SIMILARITY OF NAMES DOES NOT CREATE LITERATURE.
      But there are contemporary portraits of the Stratford man that have survived, both inside and outside the canon. Unfortunately the stratfordians are unwilling to understand this, since these portraits are not very flattering; let me here just name these plays and recommend to further reading (Katherine Chiljan’s book Shakespeare suppressed); Every Man Out of His Humour, Every man in His Humour, Poetaster, The return from Parnassus, As you like it, The Winter’s Tale: the conclusion from contemporary sources is that the Stratford man did not try to steal the credit for the plays, but that he tried to make profit on them, and that the author was outraged since the authorities tolerated this.

      About Ben Jonson; he is a special case. I’m sure he knew the complete story since he wrote the ambiguous material in the folio, and his statements are also ambiguous. But if you study what he has to say about the Stratford man in the plays mentioned above the picture gets clearer.

      2. “We have to make a decision based upon the documentation that we have, and I believe that it points to Shakespeare.”

      It is my suspicion you have not studied the complete documentation. Read Chiljan’s book. I would really like to hear what you have to say (specially chapter 15; “Overlooked Commentary about Shakespeare by his Contemporaries (1589-1614).

      3. I am sure that the plays were revised over and over, but I am also sure that Stratford Will could never ever have been identical with Nashe’s English Seneca. I have read Bloom’s The Western Canon where he tries to demolish the Oxfordian case with character assassination (of Freud). The usual stratfordian mumbo-jumbo. Otherwise he is known for his “Shakespeare is Shakespeare” exclamations; a living proof of the circular thinking I just mentioned.

  10. Mark Johnson on said:

    Sorry, Edward, but I don’t really need the honorific “Mr.” to “create a literary career for Stratford Will.” There is a monument in Stratford and plenty of 16th century allusions to it that substantiate his literary career [plus a lot of other evidence, documentary and testimonial in nature]. The point I was making is that the claim that there is no evidence linking Stratford Will to the works during his lifetime, expounded by Price, Chiljan and too many others to name, is incorrect. There was no other William Shakespeare at the time [please correct me if I’m wrong] whose father had been granted a coat of arms, which grant entitled him to be addressed as “Mr.” William Shakespeare — much less a William Shakespeare who was also a player in the actor’s company which performed the plays and a shareholder in the theatre where they were performed.

    Since all we have of the plays that you mention is their titles, I have no idea why anyone would attempt to connect them to Oxford. In particular, since Meres specifically states that de Vere was known for his comedies, and makes no mention of tragedies, I doubt that a play having to do with julius Caesar would be his work.

    Finally, although I don’t have time to discuss all of the points you have raised, I do find it interesting that you claim that Stratford Will had no “recorded connection with Henry Wriothesley (the dedicatee of the poems).” Utilizing the standard Oxfordian Methodology of locating biographical parallels in the literature of the time, it is readily apparent that the character of Gullio in the Parnassus plays is intended to satirize Southampton. The parallels are too numerous to mention here, but let me offer just one to start the ball roling. It is universally accepted that the character Ingenioso is a depiction of Thomas Nashe. Nashe wrote a pornographic poem [known as “Nashe’s Dildo”] dedicated to Southampton in an attempt to gain his patronage, an attempt that failed. Ingenioso states that he has written just such a poem for Gullio, but Ingenioso’s efforts have failed to gain him patronage from Gullio. It seems that Gullio [Southampton] is besotted by another poet entirely — that would be “sweet Mr. Shakespeare” [note the use of the honorific again]. There are many other correspondences between the character of Gullio in the play and the real-life activities of Southampton [if you prefer, I can cite some others]. Please tell me why such references would not serve as evidence of a relationship between Southampton and Shakespeare, if Oxford’s encounter with pirates is considered to be evidence. By the way, there actually is a reference to de Vere in the play, and he isn’t the author at all. He is the earl who attempts to foist his daughter on Gullio and is rebuffed [just as Southampton rebuffed the efforts made to have him marry Oxford’s daughter–another correspondence].

    • Edward on said:

      Yes, Mark, there is a Monument in Trinity Church. Have you actually read what it says? It formulates a challenge to the reader; “Stay passenger, why goest thou by so fast, read if thou canst, whom envious death hath plast within this monument Shakspeare”. Not a word here about the great writer of Stratford. If you dare you should study mathematician David L Roper’s solution to the riddle. You can read it for yourself here:

      http://www.dlropershakespearians.com/Ben%20Jonson's%20Vow.pdf

      You say there is “plenty of 16th century allusions to it that substantiate his literary career [plus a lot of other evidence, documentary and testimonial in nature].”

      You must help me out here. Exactly what allusions and evidence?

      Great that you mention Gullio. I will come back to answer that one soon.

      • Mark Johnson on said:

        Yes, Edward, I have actually read what it says, and that isn’t all that the Stratford Monument says about Shakespeare. It also talks about “all that he hath writ,” and there is a separate inscription which compares his artistry to Virgil. As to the allusions I should have stated that they are 17th [not 16th] century allusions. You can read them at http://shakespeareauthorship.com/monrefs.html, where you will find that seven separate individuals writing in the years after Shakespeare’s death understood that the Monument was erected for the author Shakespeare.

        As for David Roper, I’ve already dared to read that before, but I take it with more than a grain of salt, as Mr. Roper is also of the opinion that Nostradamus established the exact date of Christ’s crucifixion, and the year of his birth, and integrated both those dates into his prophecies, and that all of those prophecies are 100% accurate. Besides that, Mr. Roper’s account is, imo, inaccuraqte [as even Diana Price would acknowledge – she has written an article on this matter debunking many of the Oxfordian claims as to this issue]. I find his proposed solution to be nearly incoherent and absolutely ridficulous [“SO TEST HIM, I VOWHE IS E VERE DE: AS HE SHAKSPEARE;ME I.B”]. Finally, Mr. Roper must ignore Ben Jonson’s conversations with Drummond and his writing in ‘Timber’ in order to push his argument [unless he wishes to claim that de Vere was a “fellow” in the acting company]. I also know that Peter Farey has taken the same inscription and found therein a proof that Christopher Marlowe was the true author of the works. I’ll take the word of the 17th century witnesses, and all of the contemporaneous evidence regarding Stratford Will, over what Mr. Roper and Mr. Farey believe.

        In 1612 [long after Edward de Vere died] appeared a work entitled “The Passionate Pilgrime, or certaine amorous Sonnets between Venus and Adonis, newly corrected and augmented. By W. Shakespeare. The third edition. Whereunto is newly added two Love Epistles, the first from Paris to Hellen, and Hellen’s answere back again to Paris.” Printed by W. Jaggard._ (These “two Love Epistles” were really by Thomas Heywood.) This title-page was very quickly cancelled, and Shakespeare’s name omitted.

        The following passage, indicating that Heywood and Shakespeare were quite upset with Jaggard, is from Heywood’s “Epistle to the printer after An Apology for Actors” (1612): “Here likewise, I must necessarily insert a manifest injury done me in that worke, by taking the two Epistles of Paris to Helen, and Helen to Paris, and printing them in a lesse volume, vnder the name of another, which may put the world in opinion I might steale them from him; and HEE TO DOE HIMSELFE RIGHT, HATH SINCE PUBLISHED THEM IN HIS OWNE NAME: but as I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage, vnder whom he hath publisht them, so THE AUTHOR I KNOW MUCH OFFENDED WITH M. *Jaggard* that (ALTOGETHER VNKNOWNE TO HIM) PRESUMED TO MAKE SO BOLD WITH HIS NAME.” [emphasis supplied]

        How does this not qualify as a personal reference to Shakespeare connected to his literary endeavors [as well as showing that the author Shakespeare was still alive]? It comes from a witness who wrote a poem claiming that Shakespeare was known as just “Will” to his friends.

        I’ll be interested to read your take on Gullio; I can produce a number of additional correspondences that prove beyond any reasonable doubt [again, imo] that the character of Gullio is intended to caricature Southampton. Here’s another one:

        Ingenioso: I dare sweare youre worship scapt knightinge verie hardly. [Southampton had recently returned from Ireland, just as Gullio is said to have done, where Essex handed out knighthoods like they were m&m’s].

        Gullio: Thats but a pettie requitall to good desertes, he that esteems mee of less worth than a knight is a peasande & a gull. Giue mee a new knight of them all, in fencschoole att a Nimbrocado or at a Stocado. Sr Oliuer, Sr Randal – base, base chambertearms: I am saluted euery morninge by the name of, Good morow captaine, my sworde is at youre seruice.

        This is a quite obvious reference to Southampton’s Ireland dalliance with Piers Edmunds. In 1599, Southampton went to Ireland with Essex, who made him general of his horse, but the queen insisted that the appointment be canceled. Southampton remained on in personal attendance upon the Earl, rather than as an officer. During his time in the Irish wars, it was reported to Cecil that he saw most of his active service in bed with a Captain Piers Edmunds – he would “cole and hug” his captain in his arms, and “play wantonly” with him. This is some excellent sword play involved here [pun intended]. The sword that was always at Southampton’s service belonged to his Captain and saluted him every morning.

        The fact that Southampton was a graduate of St. John’s College and the Parnassus plays were written for its students is telling. As I’ve said, there are numerous other correspondences, but I’ve gone on too long here already. What is the evidence for the claim that Gullio is a representation of William Shakespeare?

    • Edward on said:

      Answer to Mark J:

      About Heywood:
      As always in the matters concerning the publications of Shakespeare’s work, the Author is absent and completely silent. Heywood is in this letter upset that people might think that his Troia Britannica, that had been published by Jaggard in 1609, was stolen from “another” writer i.e. Shakespeare (unnamed in the letter) since parts of this work appeared in the third edition of Passionate Pilgrim, printed by Jaggard in 1612 with the name Shakespeare on the front page. But there is a confusion about the pronoun “he” in this letter. What comes next “HEE TO DOE HIMSELFE RIGHT, HATH SINCE PUBLISHED THEM IN HIS OWNE NAME:” cannot relate to Shakespeare. Shakespeare was not a publisher and never published anything, and there was no need for Shakespeare to “doe himself right” in this affair. No, it is Heywood’s way of saying that the PUBLISHER Jaggard corrected his fault and, as you said, took away Shakespeare’s name and published the work “in his owns name” (i.e. Jaggard’s as publisher). Now, in what follows the pronoun confusion escalates, so to make it clear I add in brackets what is intended (this is from Chiljan):

      “but as I must acknowledge my lines {in Troia Britanica} not worthy his {the earl of Worcester’s} patronage, vnder whom {Worcester} he {Jaggard} hath publisht them, so THE AUTHOR {Shakespeare} I KNOW MUCH OFFENDED WITH M. *Jaggard* that (ALTOGETHER VNKNOWNE TO HIM) PRESUMED TO MAKE SO BOLD WITH HIS NAME {for citing Shakespeare as author of Passionate Pilgrim}.”

      So what is Heywood actually saying here? Well he makes a comparison between his own agreement with Worcester, who in 1609 acted as patron for Jaggard’s publication of Troia Britannica, with the circumstances in 1598-99 when Jaggard had “made bold with” the name of “the Author” i.e. Shakespeare which had “much offended” him. But, says Heywood, his own “boldness” when he used Worcester’s name (in 1609) was sanctioned since Worcester had paid Jaggard, whereas Jaggard’s use of the Author’s name (in 1598-99) had been unauthorized. So, what Heywood tells printer Nicholas Okes in this letter is that Jaggard is dishonest.

      Note that Heywood in these lines places Worcester and “the Author” on a similar social position; they are both people that could be very much offended if you “make bold” with their names. This indicates that “the Author” is, like Worcester, an aristocrat. Neither of them are mentioned by their names, nor is the name of the controversial work. So what makes Heywood really nervous here is that he may be accused of stealing the work of a nobleman.

      Apparently people in the business knew that the Author had been offended by Jaggard’s publication, and the great lap of 13 years before the third edition implies that the Author had taken action of some sort against Jaggard. Also, apparently, in 1612, Jaggard felt that the time had come for a third edition; there would be no more complaints from the Author since he was now dead.

      Had the Stratford man been the Author, and had he been offended in this way by Jaggard, he would certainly have taken some legal action. But he didn’t. If the author was an aristocrat this total silence from him is what we should expect from someone who wished to remain silent about his identity.

      I will come back to your other points.

      • Mark Johnson on said:

        The author is not absent nor is he completely silent. In fact, Heywood states quite specifically that the author [the man to whom Heywood’s two poems are “attributed”, which can only be William Shakespeare as his name is the only one on the title page, from whom Heywood might be suspected as having stolen the poems since they were printed “under the name of another”] is known to him to be quite offended by what Jaggard had done, who, “altogether unknown to him [Shakespeare] presumed to make so bold with his name.” Who else could that offended person be but the person named on the title page?

        How would Heywood be aware of the fact that the author was: 1.) offended, and 2.) claimed that Jagger had acted without his knowledge when he included the two Heywood poems in the work, if Heywood had not spoken to the author or to someone close to the author? Heywood is upset and so is the author named on the title page, William Shakespeare. The author is spoken of in the present tense; Oxenforde died in 1604.

        As for the word “publish”, it doesn’t necessarily imply “publisher” and can indicate the actions of an author. Even so, for the sake of the argument, say there is confusion as to who the “he” references in the phrase, “he to doe himselfe right, hath since published them in his owne name,” so that it doesn’t necessarily refer to Shakespeare. That does nothing whatsoever to affect the other references to the author who was named on the title page, an action that was done without his permission and which has offended him. Heywood is privy to this personal information about the author and a literary work attributed to him…to contend that this does not qualify as evidence that is personal and references literary activity is naked denialism. Of course, that doesn’t mean that anti-Stratfordians are not entitled to attempt to spin that evidence, as long as such attempts are reasonable.

        Ms. Chiljan’s argument, that Heywood is worried that he will be thought to have stolen from a noble, is contrary to the plain and unambiguous meaning of the text itself, as the author who is much offended is the man Shakespeare [Jagger has used his name], the same one Heywood knows as just “Will”. This is illustrative of the problems with Oxfordian methodology in that Ms. Chiljan feels compelled to invent a convoluted and, quite frankly, incredible, scenario in her attempt to cloud an otherwise unambiguous passage. I’d be interested to know what legal action you believe would have been available to Shakespeare against Jaggard.

      • Edward on said:

        Mark:

        I thought my reply was clear enough, but OK, here is another go

        “HEE TO DOE HIMSELFE RIGHT, HATH SINCE PUBLISHED THEM IN HIS OWNE NAME:”

        Is this the reference to Shakespeare in present time you refer to? If this is the case, and this really is such a record, then Heywood is saying that “Shakespeare then corrected his mistake and has now published The Passionate Pilgrim with the name Shakespeare on the front page.”

        But this is NOT WHAT HAPPENED in reality, and therefore the reference must be to something else. In reality quite THE OPPOSITE occurred; Jaggard FIRST published The P P WITH the name Shakespeare, and later, after Heywood’s reaction, “did himself right”, changed the front page and TOOK AWAY the name Shakespeare from the front, replacing it with his own (as the publisher). So, if “HEE” refers to Shakespeare, the sentence says something that never happened. In reality Shakespeare, after 1594, NEVER published any of his work. With “HEE” referring to Jaggard the meaning of the sentence is clear though, since it describes WHAT ACTUALLY took place.

        About next part of Heywood’s letter: The Author is mentioned in PAST tense (OFFENDED with M.Jaggard that… PRESUMED…). This is a reference to the moment when Jaggard offended the Author by “making bold with his name”. This instance occurred of course when The P P was printed by Jaggard for the first time in 1598 (or -99). Or are we to believe that the Author did not care when his name and work was pirated the first time, but was “offended” in 1612 when the third edition came, only because we want to “prove” that the Author was alive in 1612? You miss what I wrote in my first answer; we have to take into consideration the meaning of the whole passage, namely the fact that Heywood mentions his own patron Worcester (without naming him) and then makes a COMPARISON between his own relation with a nobleman and the relation between Jaggard and the Author, also not mentioned by name (of course to show that he is a better man than Jaggard). Sorry for repeating myself, but you obviously missed the point.

        ” I’d be interested to know what legal action you believe would have been available to Shakespeare against Jaggard.”

        One very appropriate and available legal action would have been to PUBLISH HIS WORK himself, something that he declined to do after 1594, although his work was very popular. There was obviously money to be earned and as a byproduct the readers would have got texts of good quality, worthy of his genius. But he didn’t, and so the field was free for piracy printers like Jaggard.

    • Edward on said:

      Mark J:

      Part 2.

      Just a comment on your link regarding the allusions:

      It confirms what I wrote earlier: the first record of the Stratford man’s fame is from 1630 (the first may be somewhat earlier, but it is of an unsure date) well after the Monument and the Folio had been published. These records just tell us that after a while people started to believe in the double fraud of the Folio/Monument. Nothing strange in this. Many people still believes in this way 😉

      I will come back to your other points.

      • Mark Johnson on said:

        I disagree. There are records of the Stratford man’s fame, long before 1630, in documents referring to the author specifically as a gentleman [which could only apply to Stratford Will], and in works from contemporaries that identify the author with the actor [such as the three poems by John Davies]. And then, of course, there is the First Folio [1623], in which Digges’ poem specifically identifies the author with the monument in Stratford, and Jonson’s poem references the same in an echo of Digges’ poem. I look forward to further discussion, as this has been an enjoyable [and amicable] exchange.

      • Edward on said:

        Mark

        It was a comment to your link. Now you add other stuff as Davies and the Folio but let us try to stick to one item at a time, shall we?

    • Edward on said:

      To Mark J

      Part 3: Roper’s solution and the Monument

      Actually I don’t care if Roper believes in UFOs, he is unimportant (I totally disagree about his reading of the Sonnets e.g.). But his finding is there and is easy to follow. Here are some reasons why I consider his solution correct:

      * The text on the Monument has no relation to the Stratford man (except for its position in Trinity Church), instead it formulates this challenge to the reader to find out the name of the person hidden in it.

      * The anomalies in the text are there to adjust the letters so that the message can be revealed

      * The coded text has a coherent meaning (although by necessity awkward) with a clear bearing on the Authorship Question. It is also long, more than 10 words, which makes the odds for this being a coincidence 1 in 40 billions or so.

      * The name E de Vere belongs to a person who already has very strong connections with the Shakespeare Canon

      * The “magical” number that reveals the message is one in close relation to the number associated with the man E de Vere (34 = 17 * 2)

      * The Monument is first mentioned in the Folio. “and time dissolves thy Stratford Moniment”, showing us that these two artifacts were produced by the same people and that they should by studied together and in context with each other.

      * Whatever Mr Farey says; no other readable hidden sentence is possible to find in the text with scientific, objective means.

      Coming back later for Gullio

      • Mark Johnson on said:

        Once again, [surprise] I disagree. I find the purported message offered by Roper to be more than incoherent. “SO TEST HIM, I VOWHE IS E VERE DE: AS HE SHAKSPEARE;ME I.B” Not to mention the questions as to Mr. Roper’s credibility. When you say that “the text on the Monument has no relation to the Stratford man” and that it “formulates this challenge to the reader”, you are engaging in circular argument. If this verse was written by Jonson, as seems likely, there are other verses written by him which use the same formula and do not illustrate that any challenge or test whatsoever is involved:

        “This injunction is echoed in several other epitaphs by Jonson. His Epitaph on Elizabeth, L.H., for example, begins:

        Wouldst thou hear what man can say
        In a little? Reader, stay (Donaldson 272).

        An identical injunction is found in his An Epitaph on Master Philip Gray, which opens with the words:

        “Reader, stay” (Donaldson 338).

        Similarly, An Epitaph on Henry, Lord La Warr/To the Passer-by commences with the lines:

        If, passenger, thou canst but read,
        Stay, drop a tear for him that’s dead
        (Donaldson 387).

        The first two lines of Jonson’s Epitaph on CeciliaBulstrode are cast in the same mold, urging the reader to:

        Stay, view this stone; and if thou beest not such,
        Read here a little, that thou mayst know much
        (Donaldson 442).

        Finally, his Epitaph on Katherine, Lady Ogle expresses the same sentiment with a slight variation in wording, instructing Lady Ogle’s children and grandchildren to “look with pause upon it” rather than “stay”:

        Read it here…….Do but look
        With pause upon it: make this page your book
        (Donaldson 460).”

        [These references are taken from the Edward de Vere Newsletter, No. 9]

        I look forward to your comments on Gullio, and I wonder if you might provide the basis for Ms. Chiljan’s argument that Gullio is Shakespeare. In the meantime, I’d like to offer you another correspondence between Nashe/Ingenioso and Southampton/Gullio.

        From ‘Parnassus’:

        Gullio: I had in my days not vnfitly been likned to Sr Phillip Sidney, only with this diference, that I had the better legg, and more amiable face. His Arcadia was prittie, soe are my sonnetes; he had bene at Paris, I at Padua; he fought, and so dare I; he dyed in the lowe cuntries, and soe I thinke shall I; he loued a scholler, I mantaine them, witness thy selfe, nowe, because I sawe thee haue the wit to acknowledge those vertus to be mine, which indeede are, I haue restored thy dylaniated back & ruinous estate to those prettie clothes wherin thou now walkest.

        Ingenioso Oh it is a most lousie caste sute of his, that he before bought of an Irish souldier. – Durste enuie otherwise reporte of your excellencie than I haue done, I would bob him on the pate, & make forlorne malice recante. If I liue, I will lime out your vertues in such rude colours as I haue, that youre late nephwes may knowe what good witts were youre worshipps most bounden.

        In addition, much is made of the fact that Gullio is a clotheshorse parading around in expensive silks. So what is the correspondence?

        In the address to the reader in ‘Pierce Pennilesse’, Nashe complains at length about an unidentified patron, a Courtier who failed to pay him after promises of patronage. ‘Easy’ says Nashe ‘for a goodly tall fellow that shines in his SILKS, to come and outface a poor simple pedant in his THREADBARE CLOAK, and tell him his book is pretty, but at this time he is not provided for him’. Nashe warns his fellow scholars to be wary about who they choose as their patrons and to ‘not cast away so many months’ labour on a clown that knows not how to use a scholar: for what reason have I to bestow any wit on him, that will bestow none of his wealth on me’.” This so closely parallels the lines from Parnassus about Ingenioso’s coat and Gullio’s clothes that there can be no reasonable doubt it was intended. In fact, the Parnassus authors probably had the text of ‘Pierce Pennilesse’ open before them, the easier to mock Southampton.

        Nashe sarcastically identifies the target of his bitterness as “that wonder, the matchless image of Honor, and magnificent rewarder of virtue, Jove’s Eagle-borne Ganymede, thrice noble Amyntas”. Both Ganymede and Amyntas were classical figures associated with homo- eroticism…an obvious parallel to Southampton. Even more of a correspondence is found in the reference to the target as “thrice-noble”. Southampton had three titles, Lord, Earl, and Baron. As a matter of fact, in his sarcastic dedication to “The Unfortunate Traveller,’ [a dedication which echoed and parodied Shakespeare’s dedication to Venus & Adonis], Nashe had used the three noble titles: To the Right Honourable Lord Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton and Baron Titchfield.

        The relationship between Ingenioso and Gullio is identical to that between Nashe and Southampton [scholar seeking patronage from courtier], and the events that transpire are more than similar to those that took place between Southampton and Nashe, down to the coat on Ingenioso’s [Nashe’s] back:

        There are even more parallels that show Gullio to be a caricature of Southampton, but the correspondences provided so far should be enough to conclusively establish the matter.
        — MDHJ

  11. David Wagstaff on said:

    Genius is a lightening strike. There was nothing in Mozart’s education or background to suggest the depth if his creativity. For the anti-Strafordians to suggest that social standing and education account for remarkable literary ability leaves us without an explanation for Faulkner as well as a hundred others. On the other hand, there are plenty of folks with MFA’s in creative writers who can be called writers only because they write.

    • Mr. Wagstaff, I’m very happy that you addressed the education issue with Shakespeare. It’s received little mention here, but it’s a hallmark of the anti-Stratford argument. Lincoln, in addition to being a skillful statesman, was a skilled attorney and profoundly gifted writer who was entirely self educated. This is not to say that formal education counts for nothing, but some people are born doing a particular thing incredibly well.

    • Edward on said:

      David, I see you are playing the elitist card, the “all oxfordians are snobs” argument. I have studied this topic for some years now and have yet to find an oxfordian who suggests that “social standing and education account for remarkable literary ability”. So, according to my experience, your argument is a non-issue, at least among oxfordians. Can you name one who has put forward such thoughts?

      When it comes to Mozart, again, the comparison with the man from Stratford is not really possible. Genius may or may not be a “lightening strike”, none the less it needs nurturing. As musician myself I can guarantee that if Mozart had grown up with the same genes but without the instructions he got from his father from very early age, we would not have “Mozart” as we know him, we would have had something else. Maybe great, but much less accomplished from the technical aspect. What we call genius may actually in part be an obsession with one specific area, an obsession that starts early in life and involves a huge mass of doing, training and practicing. Imagine Leo Messi finding a football for the first time at age 15. He would have been totally mediocre.

      What I am trying to say is that genius can appear anywhere, but it inevitably leaves it traces. The life of William-of-Stratford has left behind it no such traces, and therefore we have an Authorship Question.

      • I know you were replying to David Wagstaff, but I’ll take it up anyway.

        Edward, to your credit, you mentioned neither class nor education when it came to Shakespeare, but you have lots of allies who do. Here’s a quote from the Shakespeare-Oxford Society’s webpage (quoted in the original piece).

        “Nothing about the Stratford man rings true: his character, his background, his education, his family, his friends…”

        The idea that formal education produces excellent writing works if you’re the author of a college catalogue, but those of us who admire Lincoln and don’t care for Prince Charles no better. Check out some of the “honor roll of skeptics”:

        Delia Bacon (1811-1859) “[Shakespeare] carries the court influence with him, unconsciously, wherever he goes… He looks into Arden and Eastcheap from the court standpoint, not from these into the court, and he is as much a prince with Poins and Bardolph as he is when he enters and throws open to us, without awe, without consciousness, the most delicate mysteries of the royal presence.”

        Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) “In the work of the greatest geniuses, humble beginnings will reveal themselves somewhere but one cannot trace the slightest sign of them in Shakespeare… Whoever wrote [Shakespeare] had an aristocratic attitude.”

        Mr. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.. “I have never thought that the man of Stratford-on-Avon wrote the plays of Shakespeare. I know of no admissible evidence that he ever left England or was educated in the normal sense of the term.”

        The class/education issue hasn’t really come up until now until these discussions. But it has played a huge part in the whole debate, and if you’re willing to leave it behind, Edward, you are the better man for it. Let’s stay focused on the evidence.

  12. The comments section of this blog are starting to read like a Jonathan Franzen novel. I think this entire conversation merits a piece of its own. Stay tuned.

  13. Mark Johnson on said:

    David Berkson: Thank you for being such a cordial host during this dialogue. I hope I am not becoming “that guest who has overstayed his welcome.” If you would prefer that we move on to other arenas I would certainly understand.

  14. Mark Johnson on said:

    Edward: On the Heywood passage, I thought I had made myself clear but it appears I had not. The reference to Shakespeare in the present tense are found in Heywood’s comments. Heywood is discussing an event which has just recently taken place in 1612 [“Here I must tell you how I was harmed…”], and his commentary is that he knows that the author [Shakespeare] is upset, as he himself is, with the fact that “M. Jaggard” has made it appear that two Heywood works were stolen from Shakespeare. In addition, Heywood knows that Shakespeare did not know in advance that Jaggard was going to do such a thing. The context of the remarks, the passage as a whole, makes it clear that Heywood is not referring to an event that took place in 1599 – one that he was not even involved in. The sentence is not in the past tense; Heywood says he knows [present tense] the author to be “much offended” – he also knows that the author had no knowledge Jaggard was going to include Heywood’s works in a volume published under his name.

    Here is my reading of the Heywood passage:
    “Here I must tell you how I was harmed by Jaggard’s inclusion of two of my works, the two epistles entitled ‘Paris to Helen’ and ‘Helen to Paris’, in a smaller volume [published in 1612], under another person’s name [that of William Shakespeare]. This might induce the reading public to think that I stole these two works from William Shakespeare. To correct this error, Jaggard has now reissued ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ and removed the author’s [Shakespeare’s] name as the author of the works included in the volume. And while I must acknowledge that my works are not worthy of being included with Shakespeare’s works, I know that Shakespeare [‘the author] was himself much offended by what Jaggard had done, using his name to sell my works as his, and that Jaggard had done so without his knowledge.”

    The name of the person “under whom” Jaggard “hath publisht them” is the author who Heywood knows to be “much offended” with Jaggard, as Jaggard opted “to make so bold with his name” without his, Shakespeare’s, knowledge.

    It really is quite straightforward and doesn’t require resorting to bringing in people who are not identified in the text itself. This is an event that has taken place in 1612. Heywood knows that Shakespeare is upset by the matter, in that his name was used, and Heywood knows that his name was used without the author’s prior knowledge [“the Author I know much offended”]. These are present-tense statements as to the existing mindset of the author in 1612. Stratford Will was very much alive…de Vere was worm meal.

    Whether Shakespeare was equally upset in 1599 we do not know, as we have no record referring to those events. Speculation as to what occurred with that earlier event is ultimately pointless. I agree with you that we have to consider the entire passage and view it in context. With that said, I don’t see how the assertion that Worcester is referenced can be justified. Your reading appears to be as follows [please correct me if I am wrong]: “As I must acknowledge that my lines are not worthy of Worcester’s patronage, I also know that the author named on the title page was upset back in 1599 and that his name appeared on the title page without his prior knowledge.” Sorry, but that sentence makes no sense to me, as one phrase appears to be totally unrelated to the other [a total non sequitur, in fact].

    When Heywood writes “I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage, vnder whom he hath publisht them”, Shakespeare has been made in a sense the patron of the verses, because they have been published under his name. Heywood, being gracious, is merely acknowledging that he is not as good a poet as Shakespeare [not worthy of having him as his “patron”]. The patronage is metaphorical, and, in the context of the total sentence, referring as it does to the author named on the title page, contains no language relating to an actual patron. In addition, I see no similarities whatsoever in any relationship between Worcester/Heywood and Jaggard/Author named Shakespeare that would be applicable here. There is no reason that Heywood would be referencing Worcester in a complaint which he himself, in the text, concerns Jaggard’s publishing of ‘Passionate Pilgrim” in 1612.

    Finally, I don’t agree with your assertion that Shakespeare did not publish any of his works after 1594…but that’s a discussion for another day.

    • Edward on said:

      Mark

      “Here is my reading of the Heywood passage:
      “Here I must tell you how I was harmed by Jaggard’s inclusion of two of my works, the two epistles entitled ‘Paris to Helen’ and ‘Helen to Paris’, in a smaller volume [published in 1612], under another person’s name [that of William Shakespeare]. This might induce the reading public to think that I stole these two works from William Shakespeare. To correct this error, Jaggard has now reissued ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ and removed the author’s [Shakespeare’s] name as the author of the works included in the volume…””

      I agree this far, so let’s focus on what comes after.

      Or, rather, before. The whole first half of Heywood’s letter is concerned with the many faults committed by Jaggard in the production of Heywood’s work Britain’s Troy three years earlier in 1609, which has nothing to do with Shakespeare. In short, Heywood says that Jaggard is bad at his job and Okes (the addressee) is good. Now, when Heywood later writes “but as I must acknowledge MY LINES not worthy HIS PATRONAGE, under whom he hath published them” he refers to the main theme of the letter i.e. Britain’s Troy, published under the patronage of the earl of Worcester. There is no reason to assume that Heywood suddenly, in this down-to-earth letter, uses the word PATRONAGE in a diffuse metaphoric sense where Shakespeare’s name is the “patron” to Heywood’s lines. This could very easily be misunderstood in this context. There are no other metaphors involved here, so I find it safe to conclude that when Heywood writes PATRONAGE he means PATRONAGE in the concrete sense.

      Also you say that this letter talks about events in 1612. Yes, the printing of Passionate Pilgrim in question took place in 1612, but the Britain’s Troy business is already old stuff, and this is the main theme of the letter.

      “I see no similarities whatsoever in any relationship between Worcester/Heywood and Jaggard/Author named Shakespeare that would be applicable here.”

      Yes there are, if you take in the possibility that Shakespeare, like Worcester, was a nobleman. Heywood is saying that he himself had been “bold” to use the name of Worcester in 1609, but not as “bold” as Jaggard had been when he took use of Shakespeare’s name to make money on it without permission. The expression “make so bold with his name” implies a person of high status, and this impression is reinforced by the fact that the Author is not named, neither is the controversial work nor the name of Heywood’s patron Worcester.

      If the Stratford man was the Author, there would be no problem for Heywood to name him openly in the letter, but the didn’t, and if the Stratford man, with no need for secrecy, had been so “offended” by other people using his name, why didn’t he simply do something about it?

      • Mark Johnson on said:

        1. As to Heywood: Let’s do look at the context of these lines. As you have noted, in the paragraphs preceding the one under discussion Heywood is lambasting Jaggard for the lousy job that Jaggard did in the printing of ‘Britain’s Troy’ three years earlier in 1609’, a work which had nothing to do with Shakespeare. Heywood then turns to a different wrong done to him by Jaggard, citing ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ as it was published in 1612. The paragraph begins with a specific reference to that work and the fact that two of Heywood’s pieces were included in a volume of works attributed to one William Shakespeare.

        Throughout this paragraph, Heywood refers to the author [Shakespeare], and there is no textual reason to believe that the “author” he knows to be “much offended” is anyone other than Shakespeare, nor to believe that Heywood “suddenly, in this down-to-earth letter,” ends the paragraph relating to the injury done him by Jaggard in 1612 by making a reference to a secret author hidden by a pseudonym who Heywood knows to have been much offended back in 1599, and who Heywood knows was unaware that Jaggard was going to make so bold with his name. There is also no textual evidence to support the conclusion that Heywood suddenly jumps back to ‘Britain’s Troy’ to make some strained allusion to the real author of Shakespeare’s works. Such a reading arises only because anti-Startfordians want to “prove” that the author isn’t Shakespeare and that this must be a hidden allusion to a hidden author who must be a nobleman.

        It is only, as you say, by using a notion external to the text that you are able to arrive at the convoluted reading that you give to this passage. You must first approach it with “the possibility that Shakespeare, like Worcester, was a nobleman,” and, even then, the passage makes little sense. There is no doubt that Heywood is discussing the Passionate Pilgrim edition published in 1612 immediately preceding the last line of this paragraph, as you have acknowledged. Jaggard has, in an attempt to make things right, entirely removed the author’s name from the work.

        Then comes the following: but as I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage, vnder whom he hath publisht them, so THE AUTHOR I KNOW MUCH OFFENDED WITH M. *Jaggard* that (ALTOGETHER VNKNOWNE TO HIM) PRESUMED TO MAKE SO BOLD WITH HIS NAME.” [emphasis supplied]

        Correct me if I am wrong, but you want this to be interpreted to read, “As I must acknowledge that my work, ‘Britain’s Troy’, was not worthy of the patronage of Worcester, under whose name Jaggard published that work [which isn’t factually correct], so also I know that Oxenforde [the “author” hidden behind the Shakespeare pseudonym] was upset that Jaggard used his pseudonym without his knowledge back in 1599.” Imo, that runs contrary to the text itself, in which Heywood is complaining of the specific harm done to him in 1612. The sentence as a whole is about the author under whose name Jaggard has published the works, and Heywood knows that this author is offended by Jaggard’s action and has offered the information that he did not know Jaggard was going to publish Heywood’s works under his name. That is a plain and unambiguous meaning in the text. There is no textual support for the author being discussed by Heywood to be anyone other than the person named on the title page – that being Shakespeare – in 1599 or in 1612, so there is no indication that Jaggard made so bold with anyone else’s name. To believe that Oxenforde was upset with this would be to believe that he knew that everyone was in on his secret – which, according to anti-Stratfordians, apparently they were.

        How is it that Heywood would know that Oxenforde was the true author? More specifically, how would Heywood have the particular knowledge that Oxenforde was upset that Jaggard used the pseudonym in 1599, some thirteen years earlier, and the specific knowledge that Oxenforde did not know in advance that Jaggard would include works of others in that volume? Why are his comments in the present tense [“the author I know much offended”]?

        How is it that Jaggard would know that Oxenforde was the true author? For that matter, how is it that the authors of the Parnassus plays would know that Stratford Will wasn’t the actual author, and would place jokes about this that, presumably, would be understood by the audience to mean that Shakespeare wasn’t the actual author? Why bother with a pseudonym if the true authorship was such an open secret? It seems anti-Stratfordians want to have this issue both ways. On the one hand, they claim that Oxenforde had to adopt a pseudonym to keep his authorship of the works hidden; on the other hand, they claim that many were in on the secret and were making allusions to it, such as in the case of Heywood, or Parnassus.

        Speaking of context, since you appear to believe that Heywood was making a veiled allusion to the hidden nature of Oxenforde’s authorship of the Shakespeare works, why would Heywood write about Shakespeare in his 1635 ‘Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels’, including him in a list of contemporary authors from his younger days, as follows:

        Mellifluous Shakespeare, whose enchanting quill
        Commanded mirth or passion, was but Will;
        And famous Jonson, though his learned pen
        Be dipped in Castaly, is still but Ben.
        Fletcher and Webster, of that learned pack
        None of the meanest, was but Jack;
        Dekker but Tom, nor May, nor Middleton,
        And he’s but now Jack Ford that once was John.

        In your opinion, what compelled Heywood to continue the subterfuge at such a late date., and, why would he do so at that time, considering the fact that it was so well known that Shakespeare wasn’t the true author?

        2. Forgive me for saying, but my mention of the Davies poems did not expand the discussion. That expansion took place when you used the 17th century allusions to the Stratford monument to claim that they confirmed your assertion that “the first record of the Stratford man’s fame is from 1630.” My point was that there are records documenting Shakespeare’s “fame” prior to that time, such as the Davies poems [as those poems reference Shakespeare the actor, and in company with Richard Burbage], and that the Monument allusions and Shakespeare’s fame are two different subjects. I should have made my point clearer.

        3. I look forward to your comments on Gullio. Will you be addressing the specific allusion to Southampton that I have pointed out here?

      • Edward on said:

        Obviously we could discuss Heywood for months, and I would probably end up in a divorce here if I try to answer all your admittedly interesting questions here.

        But anyway; Jaggard did not publish Britain’s Troy under THE NAME of Heywood’s patron Worcester (as your transcription of my reading says), he simply published it under Worcester’s patronage, EXACTLY as Heywood’s letter says; “vnder whom {Worcester} he {Jaggard} hath publisht them”. For your reading to work you need to reinterpret the word “whom” to refer not to “William Shakespeare” but to “the NAME of writer William Shakespeare”, since W.S. was not a patron, only his NAME is supposed to have been a metaphoric patron for Heywood’s lines when Jaggard included them in the Passionate Pilgrim. So, your reading needs a strained metaphoric interpretation of 1) Patronage = not meaning real patronage but a metaphoric one 2) Whom = refering not to a person but to the NAME of a person. Also we need an explanation as to why Heywood would have such low thoughts about his own written work. Sure, Shakespeare was great, but don’t you think Heywood would regard himself as an equal? There is no place for this kind of humility if he wants to get recognition as a poet. Accordingly I find your reading of this passage more strained than mine, which doesn’t demand metaphoric reinterpretations of Heywood’s words.

        Actually I don’t think Heywood made a “veiled allusion” to Oxford, he just avoided to name him (even though it was only his literary alias) and Worcester, because this was what for him was the right thing to do, since they were nobility. To publish their names would be to “make bold with their names” exactly the thing he is criticizing in the letter, but it is a fact he did not openly write the name of the Author. As long as nobody wrote:

        “I took a trip to Stratford-on-Avon the other week to meet our wonderful poet Mr Shakspere, and you know, he told me that he is so offended with that jerk Jaggard at the moment…”

        there is no hard evidence in the Stratford man’s favor.

        Time for our friend Gullio?

    • Edward on said:

      Mark:

      Just a short notice on the Monument before I go on to Gullio:

      I know secret messages are very controversial stuff, so I won’t push this to hard. Anyway, I think the examples you added above confirms that Jonson really is the Author of the text. I have not so much to add to my earlier arguments more than point to some of the anomalies in the text, which as I see it confirm that the text has been manipulated in order to make the message readable; WHOM is spelt in two different ways (also WHOME, where E provides the E in TEST), THIS is also written YS (gives S in TEST), THAT is written YT, the words SHAKSPEARE MONVMENT are written in inverted order. There is much more to say about the Monument, but let me focus on our friend Gullio next time I find time to spend here.

      E

  15. Mark Johnson on said:

    Edward:

    It is probably due to my poor expression of the notion, but my reading of the passage does not depend upon reinterpreting “the word “whom” to refer not to ‘William Shakespeare’ but to ‘the NAME of writer William Shakespeare.’” I believe the phrase, “vnder whom he hath publisht them,” simply relates back to the previous phrase in this paragraph, “vnder the name of another,” which is a clear reference to the William Shakespeare as appears from the title page of the 1612 ‘Passionate Pilgrim’. The only metaphorical language in the line is Heywood’s use of “patron” to refer to Shakespeare, and I see no reason why such a reading would be at all strained.

    I see this paragraph as a single piece concerning the issue of the wrong done to Heywood by Jaggard having published ‘Passionate Pilgrim’ in 1612, as Heywood quite directly and specifically says in the subject matter sentence [“Here likewise, I must necessarily insert a manifest injury done me in that worke, by taking the two Epistles of Paris to Helen, and Helen to Paris, and printing them in a lesse volume, vnder the name of another, which may put the world in opinion I might steale them from him.”]

    I believe it is your interpretation that is strained in that you have to interpret “patronage” to refer to Worcester’s patronage of Heywood and the dedication of ‘Great Britain’s Troy’to Worcester, which have absolutely nothing to do with the particular offence committed by Jaggard which is the stated subject matter of this paragraph. Likewise with having to interpret “my lines” to refer back to ‘Britain’s Troy’, rather than to the two works which Heywood specifically cites in this particular paragraph, ‘Paris to Helen’ and ‘Helen to Paris’. There is no textual indication that supports the notion that Heywood has stopped discussing the ‘PP’ of 1612 and has reverted to a discussion of ‘BT’.

    You then have to reinterpret the phrase “under whom he hath publisht them” to mean “under whom, Worcester, Jaggard published them” – as you say, “he [Jaggard] simply published it under Worcester’s patronage.” Imo, that is an incorrect representation of the patronage system as it existed at the time, and a reading stretched too thin to be valid. Jaggard did not publish ‘Troia Britanica’ under the author’s patron’s patronage. In fact, as was typical for the period, Heywood merely included a dedication** to the Earl of Worcester in the work, followed by an address “To the two-fold Readers: the Courteous and the Criticke,” followed by the poem itself. The typical patron/author relationship [and I presume that it was the one which prevailed here] is that the patron had nothing whatsoever to do with the publishing or the printing of the work. The patron, if pleased [unlike Southampton with Nashe’s pornographic poem] gave money, gifts, etc. directly to the writer. Jaggard, as the printer of the work, would have no relationship to Worcester and did not publish the work under his name. If Heywood had said that he, Heywood, had published the works under someone, your reading would have more merit…but he is specifically referencing Jaggard, and it is Jaggard, not Heywood, who “hath publisht them.”

    You then have to interpret “the Author” to be Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, alias Shakespeare, and put forward a speculative interpretation that what Jaggard has done with the publishing of “PP” in 1599 can be compared to Heywood seeking patronage from Worcester, in that they are both making bold with a noble’s name. This seems even more farfetched to me, that Heywood, in a paragraph concerning a wrong done to him in 1612, would now go back to a work that did not concern him that was published in 1598-99, and that he would have specific knowledge as to the secret [or not-so-secret] circumstances involved therein.

    **In the dedication to him of ‘Troia Britanica’, Heywood says Lord Worcester’s

    Favour gave my Muse first breath,
    To try in th’ Ayre her weake unable wing,
    And soare this pitch …..
    Your Noble hand, to her, supportance gave,
    Even in her Pen-lesse Age about to fall,
    Her Cradle then had beene her Infant grave,
    Had not your power and Grace kept her from thrall:

    Though smothered long, yet she findes time at length
    To shew her pffice to her Patron-Lord.

    Finally, while the Heywood passage we have been examining may not be a smoking gun, I believe it does constitute evidence that tends to prove the assertion that Stratford Will was the author of the works attributed to Shakespeare [the person Heywood says he knows to be ticked off at Jaggard and whom he later refers to as “but Will”].

    With that, I have said my final piece on Heywood [anyone following this breathes a sigh of relief] and will leave the field open to you if you would like the opportunity to have the last word on the subject. If not, I look forward to your take on Gullio and why that character should be taken to represent Stratford Will. I must say I have enjoyed our exchange very much to this point as you have forced me to refine my arguments and make a fuller study of this issue without any of the rancor that sometimes infects these discussions. Cordially, MDHJ

    • Edward on said:

      Our main goal here may not be to reach consensus, but anyhow I agree when you write that Heywood’s letter “may not be a smoking gun”. For me to accept that Stratford Will was a writer I would like to see a personal record, and whatever Heywood writes he does not name or in any other way make it possible for us to identify “the Author” as a specific human being (other that we are told that the Author was upset with Jaggard). Accordingly we have to look elsewhere, so for the moment let us look at a play, or rather, a group of plays, which undoubtedly were dealing with “the Author” of the Shakespeare canon.

      “Now gentlemen, you may laugh if you will, for here comes a gull”

      Thus the scholar Ingenioso introduces Gullio to the audience in the opening of the third act of The Return From Parnassus-Part One (written c 1600). That Gullio has something to do with Shakespeare is clear already from the closing lines of the first “parnassus” play Pilgrimage To Parnassus; a reference to Venus&Adonis is followed by the line: “Where we will… scorn each earthly Gullio of this age”. Obviously, in the eyes of the play’s author, this Gullio deserves to be ridiculed, and in his first spoken line we get more information of him: he has a rapier, “a pure Toledo”. This line recalls another “gull” from another play; Master Stephen “the town gull” in Ben Jonson’s play Every Man In His Humour, who likewise buys a rapier, “a most pure Toledo”. So, the “gull” is not isolated to Parnassus, but is also present in plays written in the same period (1598-1602) by Jonson (as we may talk about later not only in EMIHH, but also Every Man Out of His Humor” and “Poetaster”). So, if Gullio is a portrait of a real person, which seems highly probable in the context, who might this person be? Could it be the “Author” aka Shakespeare? Certainly not. Gullio is not a poet, he is ridiculed because is a total ignorant who uses the poetry of others to woo women and pretend to be a gentleman. He is a thief, but a stupid one and as such only worthy of ridicule. Could he be an aristocrat e.g. Southampton, as you suggested? Gullio says:

      I had in my days not unfitly been likened to Sir Philip Sidney … His Arcadia was pretty, so are my sonnets; he had been at Paris, I at Padua … he loved a scholar, I maintain them…

      No, it is very unlikely. These words are not a description of the real Gullio, they are just his fantasies, fantasies that make him believe (or try to make others believe) that he really IS Shakespeare. So these lines may actually describe the real Author, but they certainly do not describe Gullio. I find it totally impossible that an english lord could have been ridiculed in this way in front of the students of Cambridge. I would presume that even the idea of doing it was impossible. And anyway, if it was a satire of Southampton why not do it better; Southampton was highly educated, with long reddish hair and a certain femininity about him, factors that would invite to satire. He was certainly not a Gullio, a foolish nobody who pretends to be a gentleman. A scandal would have been the result of such a thing, and I am sure Southampton would not have hesitated to draw his sword to defend his honor.

      In one instance Gullio recites lines 7 to 12 of Shakespeare’s Venus&Adonis, but he changes “thus she began” to “thus I began”. In this way Gullio attributes the poetry of Shakespeare to HIMSELF. In this way the writer of the play tells the audience that Gullio is a stealer of poetry. But he cannot BE Shakespeare, since he is a worshipper of him. So, who is “Gullio”? Within the Stratfordian context there is actually no good solution to this, but if we accept the possibility that someone else than Stratford Will was the real author, we have the possibility that Gullio is a portrait of Will-of-Stratford. This possibility can be further confirmed when we look at this play together with the other mentioned above, and it is also strengthened by the fact that “Gullio” is short for Gulielium, which is the latin equivalent to William.

  16. Mark Johnson on said:

    Edward: I found that I was unable to answer your post on Gullio without spending a great deal of time and effort on it. My answer has turned out to be so long that I feel it necessary to break it up into separate posts, the easier for you, or anyone else who would like to join in, to respond. And my thanks once again to our host.

    1.
    Our main goal here may not be to reach consensus, but anyhow I agree when you write that Heywood’s letter “may not be a smoking gun”. For me to accept that Stratford Will was a writer I would like to see a personal record, and whatever Heywood writes he does not name or in any other way make it possible for us to identify “the Author” as a specific human being (other that we are told that the Author was upset with Jaggard).

    RESPONSE: My goal is to have an engaging discussion…that goal has been accomplished, and I must reiterate how much I have enjoyed the dialogue. As you stated previously, we could probably spend even more time on the substance of what Heywood wrote in his note to Nicholas Okes . At this time I would only add that I find that the documentary record evidences personal knowledge on Heywood’s part and that the reference does identify an author as a specific human being personally known to Heywood as “W. Shakespere” [the name that appears on the title page] – the same person he later refers to as “Will”. Not a smoking gun, but certainly qualifying as evidence that tends to support the proposition that Stratford Will was the author. Enough said on that.

    2.
    Accordingly we have to look elsewhere, so for the moment let us look at a play, or rather, a group of plays, which undoubtedly were dealing with “the Author” of the Shakespeare canon.

    RESPONSE: I would ditch the quotation marks and I wouldn’t capitalize author. It is quite certain that the Parnassus author thought highly of Shakespeare’s ability, but did not appreciate the topics to which he devoted himself. The author also disliked actors who had achieved status above what he though they deserved. The references to Mr. Shakespeare may be indications of that but they do nothing to indicate that Gullio is Shakespeare. It is also interesting to note that Shakespeare is not ridiculed with his fellows, Kempe and Burbadge, which the author could very well have done if he so chose.

    3.
    “Now gentlemen, you may laugh if you will, for here comes a gull” Thus the scholar Ingenioso introduces Gullio to the audience in the opening of the third act of The Return From Parnassus-Part One (written c 1600). That Gullio has something to do with Shakespeare is clear already from the closing lines of the first “parnassus” play Pilgrimage To Parnassus; a reference to Venus&Adonis is followed by the line: “Where we will… scorn each earthly Gullio of this age”.

    RESPONSE: I would definitely agree that Gullio has something to do with Shakespeare. I think it is clear from the text of the play, without adding in any extra-textual issues whatsoever [such as a preconception that there is a hidden author behind the Shakespeare name] that Gullio is a biting caricature of Southampton, Ingenioso is Nashe, and Will Shakespeare is the fellow of Kempe and Burbage, just as is written in the play. In fact, I would also contend that the context of the remarks regarding Shakespeare, and the fact that Gullios is a caricature of Southampton, tend to rule out any noble author hiding behind a pseudonym.

    According to the OED, a “gull” is a credulous person, one who is easily imposed upon, a dupe. That fits someone that Ingenioso [Nashe] is attempting to win patronage from, but it doesn’t fit Will Shakespeare.

  17. Mark Johnson on said:

    4.
    Obviously, in the eyes of the play’s author, this Gullio deserves to be ridiculed, and in his first spoken line we get more information of him: he has a rapier, “a pure Toledo”. This line recalls another “gull” from another play; Master Stephen “the town gull” in Ben Jonson’s play Every Man In His Humour, who likewise buys a rapier, “a most pure Toledo”.

    RESPONSE: Let’s look at the Parnassus line in context. We’re talking about a play performed for a very specific audience – the students at St. John’s College in December, 1601 — who would be expected by the author of the play to understand the in-jokes set out in the play. What is there in the text of the Parnassus play that would indicate that a reference to a rapier, “a pure Toledo” that Gullio bought when he “sojourned in the University of Padua,” would cause any member of the audience to associate that reference with Will Shakespeare? What is there in the life of Stratford Will which would correlate with such a reference? On the other hand, Southampton was known to have travelled abroad and to have suffered from the widespread affliction common to Elizabethan courtier’s that they were infatuated with all things Italian [Southampton was even tutored in Italian by John Florio]. Gullio has travelled to Cadiz, and says that his “Latin was pure Latin, and such as they speak at Rheims and Padua.” Rheims was a Catholic seminary, which could be a shot at Southampton’s continued adherence to Catholicism. How would any of this be associated with Will Shakespeare by the in-group audience at St. John’s College [which Southampton had attended]?

    It is not enough to speculate that a reference to Gullio in the Parnassus play is actually targeting Will Shakespeare [not to mention the fact that there is no historical evidence to substantiate such speculation, and there is historical evidence to tie the reference, and many others, to Southampton], and then speculate that a reference to Master Stephen in EMIHH is Shakespeare, which employs the same language, must also be a reference to Will Shakespeare.

    5.
    So, the “gull” is not isolated to Parnassus, but is also present in plays written in the same period (1598-1602) by Jonson

    RESPONSE: If Shakespeare is falsely getting people [gulls] to believe he is the author, how can Gullio, who is a person Ingenioso says can be gulled, a representation of Shakespeare? Many birds were used in the literature of the time [crows, jackdaws, gulls, etc].…it was a common literary trope. In ‘The Gull’s Hornbook, Dekker advises the Gull to tell these same lies at the ordinary: “If you be a soldier, talk how often you have been in action; as the Portingale voyage, Cales voyage, the Island voyage; besides some eight or nine employments in Ireland. ”

    ‘The Gull’s Hornbook’ was first published in 1609, and it shows that authors of the period borrowed language from other authors with impunity and it didn’t mean that they were identifying the same person or that the fictional characters described were targeting the exact same historical person. It appears here that Dekker borrowed from Nashe or from the Parnassus author or from both. There is no indication that Dekker’s “gull” is Will Shakespeare.

    In fact, the Parnassus author borrows mightily from Thomas Nashe’s ‘Pierce Peniless’. This passage concerning boasting of martial exploits has a precedent in that work, where Nashe writes of the Upstart character:

    “…he will “tell a whole legend of lies of his travels unto Constantinople…. been bitten by the shins by a wolf, and saith he hath adventured upon the barricadoes of Gournay or Guingamp, and fought with the young Guise hand to hand.”

    Compare this to what the Parnassus author does:

    Gullio : I’faith I care not for fame, but valour and virtue will be spoken of in spite of oblivion. Had I cared for that prating Echo, fame, my exploits at Cosmopolis, at Cadiz, at Portingale voyage, and now very lately in Ireland had been jetting ere this through every by-street, and talked of as well at the wheel of a country maid as the tilts and tournaments of the court.

    The author of Parnassus took the general idea from Nashe’s Pierce Penniless but appears to have intentionally changed the specifics so that Gullio was bragging of his travels and his exploits in Padua and, even more interesting, Cadiz [not to mention his very recent return from Ireland]…why would he do such a thing? The answer is that he was caricaturing Southampton, with his connection to Essex, who, in 1596 and 1597, just happened to have mounted expeditions to Cádiz. The clues are actually discovered in the changes in the language from Nashe’s Upstart to Gullio. The language is borrowed, but then modified to make it correspond directly to the biographical facts which comport with the life of Southampton. This is another specific and explicit correspondence between Gullio and Southampton’s actual life [not a speculative connection between two fictional caricatures devoid of any matching historical correspondence]. It couldn’t get any clearer than this. While Nashe may have had someone else in mind for the Upstart figure, it is quite obvious that the author of Parnassus was targeting Southampton.

    One thing that is demonstrable is that there is no indication that the passage has anything whatsoever to do with Will Shakespeare of Stratford, and he would not be recognized in the fictional character of Gullio. Like Southampton, Gullio had just come back from Ireland, was boastfully proud of his military conquests, had a great quarrel with a ‘puling Liteltonian’ (code for Southampton’s enemy Lord Grey) and worshipped ‘sweet Mr. Shakespeare’ whose Venus and Adonis he lays under his pillow and whose picture he will have in his ‘study at the Court’.

  18. Mark Johnson on said:

    6.
    (as we may talk about later not only in EMIHH, but also Every Man Out of His Humor” and “Poetaster”).

    RESPONSE: Sounds like an interesting discussion…I’ll be happy to participate.

    7.
    So, if Gullio is a portrait of a real person, which seems highly probable in the context, who might this person be? Could it be the “Author” aka Shakespeare? Certainly not. Gullio is not a poet, he is ridiculed because is a total ignorant who uses the poetry of others to woo women and pretend to be a gentleman.

    RESPONSE: He is a courtier who is infatuated with the poetry of “sweet Mr. Shakespeare”, but you’re right – he isn’t Will Shakespeare. That is made quite clear. In fact, although Mr. Will Shakespeare does not make an appearance in the play, he is referenced quite specifically in ‘The Return to Parnassus’, Part 2 , Act 4, Scene 3, in the exchange involving Kempe and Burbage. In a scene in which the two actors are made to look foolish, Shakespeare himself is conspicuous by his absence and the Parnassus author quite explicitly refrains from making him the object of any negative remarks whatsoever, even though he is taking shots at the intelligence of Shakespeare’s fellow actors. In fact, earlier in the play, the authors comment on his wit and writing ability:

    William Shakespeare.
    Judicio. Who loues not Adons loue, or Lucrece rape?
    His sweeter verse contaynes hart throbbing line,
    Could but a grauer subiect him content,
    Without loues foolish lazy languishment.

    The Parnassus author’s only complaint is that he wishes Shakespeare would turn his poetic gifts to graver matter rather than writing silly love poems like V&A that infatuate the young and distract them from more intellectual, scholastic pursuits. As Gabriel Harvey noted, “The younger sort take much delight in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis’. But, he added, Lucrece and Hamlet ‘have it in them to please the wiser sort’.

    There is no textual reason to inject a secret, hidden author into the mix here. Will Shakespeare is an actor [the fellow of Kempe and Burbage]. Gullio is not. Will Shakespeare is also a writer of plays, like Ben Jonson, and unlike Gullio, and he has recently made Johnson crap his pants [metaphorically speaking].

  19. Mark Johnson on said:

    8.
    He is a thief, but a stupid one and as such only worthy of ridicule.

    RESPONSE: He is a courtier who is patronizing authors. He wants Ingenioso/Nashe to pen some lines for him to use in wooing a woman, and he wants Ingenioso to do so in the style of various authors:

    Gullio : But stay, it’s very true – good wits have bad memories: I had almost forgotten the chief point I called thee out for! New Year’s Day approacheth, and whereas other gallants bestow jewels upon their mistresses (as I have done whilom), I now count it base to do as the common people do. I will bestow upon them the precious stones of my wit, a diamond of Invention, that shall be above all value and esteem!… Therefore, since I am employed in some weighty affairs of the court, I will have thee, Ingenioso, to make them: and when thou hast done, I will peruse, polish, and correct them.

    Ingenioso My pen is your bounden vassal to command; but what vein would it please you to have them in?

    Gullio Not in a vain vein. Pretty, i’faith! – make me them in two or three diverse veins, in Chaucer’s, Gower’s and Spencer’s, and – Mr Shakespeare’s. Marry, I think I shall entertain those verses which run like these:
    Euen as the sun with purple-coloured face
    Had ta’en his last leave on the weeping morn, etc.
    [lines from V&A]
    O sweet Mr Shakspeare! I’ll have his picture in my study at the court.

    Ingenioso : Take heed, my masters, he’ll kill you with tediousness ere I can rid him of the stage.

    Gullio Come, let us in. I’ll eat a bite of pheasant, and drink a cup of wine in my cellar, and straight to the court I’ll go. A countess and two lords expect me today at dinner, they are my very honourable friends, I must not disappoint them.

    This is an accurate depiction of the patronage system as it existed at the time where courtiers requested poets to write in certain styles for their pleasure.

    Another correspondence:

    From ‘Exchange and Reciprocation in Nashe’s ‘Choise of Valentines’ (c. 1592)’, by Hannah Lavery:

    “4> One key pressure was the sense of commission that came with patronage, in the sense of a requirement for the writer to adopt different personas and writing style, depending on the commission. In a response to criticism by Harvey, Nashe replies:

    ‘As newfangled and idle, and prostituting my pen like a Curtizan, is the next Item that you taxe me with; well it may and it may not bee so, for neither deny it nor will I grant it; onely thus farre Ile goe with you, that twise or thrise in a month, when res est augusta domi, the bottome of my purse is turnd downeward, and my conduit of incke will no longer flowe for want of reparations, I am faine to let my Plow stand still in the midst of a furrow, and follow some of these new-fangled Galiardos and Senor Fantasticos, to whose amorous Villanellas and Quipassas I prostitute my pen in hope of gaine; but otherwise there is no newfanglenes in mee but pouertie, which alone maketh mee so vnconstant to my determined studies.’ (‘Have with you to Saffron Walden’, 1596)”
    — APPOSITIONS: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & Culture, http://appositions.blogspot.com/, ISSN: 1946-1992, Volume One (2008): Genres & Cultures

    Gullio is definitely an object of ridicule, just as Southampton was in Nashe’s other works, and, possibly, even in Nashe’s ‘Choise of Valentines’. On the other hand, Will Shakespeare, the fellow of Burbage and Kempe is not subjected to ridicule elsewhere in the Parnassus play.

    By the way, in the Parnassus play, Gullio stiffs Ingenioso and doesn’t reward him monetarily for the poems supplied. One more correspondence to the situation with Southampton and Nashe…Nashe loses the patronage of Southampton who is taken with the poetry of the author Will Shakespeare.

    9.
    Could he be an aristocrat e.g. Southampton, as you suggested? Gullio says: I had in my days not unfitly been likened to Sir Philip Sidney …

    RESPONSE: Well, let’s look at the full context:

    Gullio: I had in my days not unfitly been likened to Sir Philip Sidney, only with this difference – that I had the better leg and more amiable face.
    Southampton had a series of portraits made which prominently depicted his long legs and effeminate face.

  20. Mark Johnson on said:

    10.
    His Arcadia was pretty, so are my sonnets; he had been at Paris, I at Padua … he loved a scholar, I maintain them… No, it is very unlikely. These words are not a description of the real Gullio, they are just his fantasies, fantasies that make him believe (or try to make others believe) that he really IS Shakespeare.

    RESPONSE: “His Arcadia was pretty, so are my sonnets; he had been at Paris, I at Padua; he fought, and so dare I; he died in the low countries, and so I think shall I; he loved a scholar, I maintain them – witness thyself, now: because I saw thee have the wit to acknowledge those virtues to be mine, which indeed are, I have restored thy dylaniated back and ruinous estate to those pretty clothes wherein thou now walkest.”

    Sidney was the quintessential Elizabethan “poet, courtier and soldier” – for Gullio, sarcastically called “young Jupiter” by Ingenioso, [Shakespeare was past age 35 at this point, certainly not a “young” man as is Gullio] to be comparing himself to Sidney serves to show just what type of braggart he is.
    Shakespeare did not maintain scholars. That is a description of the patronage system then existing, whereby members of the nobility housed and fed, and sometimes rewarded monetarily, scholars who dedicated works to them. As a matter of fact, the play itself shows Ingenioso [who is a thinly veiled representation of Thomas Nashe] seeking patronage from Gullio (and complaining mightily when he is not paid for his efforts).

    Ingenioso : … Surely, sir, a notable exploit, worthy to be chronicled! But had you any witness of your valiancy?

    Gullio : Why, I could never abide to fight privately, because I would not have obscurity so familiar with my virtues. Since my arrival in England (which is now six months I take since) I had been the death of one of our puling Littletonians for passing by me in the Moorefields unsaluted, but that there was no historiographer by to have recorded it.

    Ingenioso : Please you now, sir, to lay the reins on the neck of your virtuous disposition, you have gotten a suppliant poet that will teach mossy posterity to know how that this earth in such a reign was blessed with a young Jupiter.

    Ingenioso/Nashe slyly insinuates that someone should be there to furnish an account of Gullio’s daring and then offers to be the previously missing “witness of your [Gullio’s] valiancy” – to record for posterity his “notable exploit[s], worthy to be chronicled!” If Gullio is not a courtier then why is Ingenioso/Nashe attempting to make him his patron? What evidence is there that Nashe ever sought patronage from Will Shakespeare? By this evidence, Gullio cannot possibly be Will Shakespeare.

    More evidence that Gullio is portrayed as a patron, evidence that could not possibly be taken to refer to Will Shakespeare:

    Gullio : Nay, I have not only recreated thy cold state with the warmth of my bounty, but also maintain other poetical spirits, that live upon my trenchers; insomuch that I cannot come to my Inn in Oxford without a dozen congratulatory orations, made by ‘Genus-and-Species'(University scholars) and his ragged companions.

    By the way, how could any of this apply to Will Shakespeare so that the audience would recognize a satirical poke at him. How does the reference to “one of our puling Liteltonians” correlate to any event in Will Shakespeare’s life. It doesn’t, but it actually does correlate to a situation in the life of Southampton. The ‘puling Liteltonians’ refers to the students of law who still studied the Tenures of Sir Thomas Littleton (1422-1481) at Gray’s Inn Court, the original home of the Grays of Wilton of which Thomas Lord Gray, Southampton’s enemy, was a member.

    Another possible parallel: the line that reads, “Please you now, sir, to lay the reins on the neck of your virtuous disposition, “ sound like they are referencing the General of the Horse in Ireland who wasn’t allowed to ride into battle and is recently returned to England – Southampton.

    Gullio’s statements are not fantasies. Many of his statements are boastful exaggerations – examples of hyperbole, a comedic figure of speech that would be well known to an Elizabethan writer and an Elizabethan audience. Thus, when Gullio brags about how he is a patron to many scholars and treats them so well, Ingenioso turns that boast upon him and shows that the reality is far different.

    That Ingenioso is a representation of Nashe is acknowledged. The facts of his relationship with Gullio show that he is Nashe and Gullio is Southampton, since the fictional relationship between Ingenioso and Gullio mirrors the historical relationship which existed between Nashe and Southampton. It has no similarity to the relationship between Nashe and Shakespeare. The relationship depicted in the play FITS that between Nashe and Southampton – It doesn’t fit Nashe and Shakespeare.

    It is highly doubtful that any of the students there would not be aware of Nashe, especially considering that he had recently died and would have been a topic of much conversation. That being said, we all agree that Ingenioso is Nashe….the audience would be well aware of this identification as well. They would get the in-jokes having to do with Nashe as portrayed in the character of Ingenioso.

  21. Mark Johnson on said:

    11.
    So these lines may actually describe the real Author, but they certainly do not describe Gullio. I find it totally impossible that an english lord could have been ridiculed in this way in front of the students of Cambridge. I would presume that even the idea of doing it was impossible.

    RESPONSE: What “real Author”? There is nothing in the text to indicate that the author of the Parnassus play is dropping any hints that there is a hidden author of the Shakespeare works. In addition, Gullio isn’t Shakespeare.
    I’m not sure you want to argue from personal incredulity. Far from being impossible, the evidence demonstrates that this wasn’t even the first time that Southampton was mocked. And it was Nashe [Ingenioso] himself who had engaged in the prior mockery. I’ve already pointed out previously how Nashe sarcastically identified the target of his bitterness as “that wonder, the matchless image of Honor, and magnificent rewarder of virtue, Jove’s Eagle-borne Ganymede, thrice noble Amyntas”. Both Ganymede and Amyntas were classical figures associated with homosexual activity…an obvious dig at Southampton, which accusation is echoed in Parnassus. Even more of a correspondence is found in the reference to the target as “thrice-noble”. Southampton had three titles, Lord, Earl, and Baron.

    As a matter of fact, in his sarcastic dedication to “The Unfortunate Traveller,’ [a dedication which echoed and parodied Shakespeare’s dedication to Venus & Adonis], Nashe had used the three noble titles: To the Right Honourable Lord Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton and Baron Titchfield. It is instructive of the offense that was taken that the critical dedication was removed from future editions of the work. In summary, I’m not sure why you believe that the very idea of ridiculing Southampton had to be impossible when it had already happened before.

    12.
    And anyway, if it was a satire of Southampton why not do it better; Southampton was highly educated, with long reddish hair and a certain femininity about him, factors that would invite to satire.

    RESPONSE: His bisexuality is satirized in the play [homosexuality was considered a crime at that time]. He’s depicted as engaging in a homosexual dalliance while he’s supposed to be off fighting for Queen and country. The fact that he was not made a Knight of the Garter is alluded to. He’s shown to be an Italianate fop, a clotheshorse besotted with Will Shakespeare, a vainglorious braggart, a coward [“Why, I could never abide to fight privately…”], an habitué of the debauched Shoreditch area and the public theatres there. You don’t think these are factors “that would invite to satire.” How much better do you want the satire to be?

    13,
    He was certainly not a Gullio, a foolish nobody who pretends to be a gentleman.

    RESPONSE: Who was not a Gullio? There seems to be some circularity in this argument. Will Shakespeare is not the real author. Gullio is Will Shakespeare. Gullio is nothing like the real author. Therefore, Will Shakespeare is not the real author.

    There is nothing in the text to show that Gullio is anything other than a caricature of Southampton. With such a caricature, the author takes certain traits of a person, or events in his life, and exaggerates them hyperbolically. Gullio/Southampton brags. Ingenioso/Nashe undercuts him with knowing asides to the audience who are in on the inside joke. That is where the comedy comes in. According to the author of the Parnassus play, channeling the bitterness of Thomas Nashe, Southampton is a Gullio.

    14.
    A scandal would have been the result of such a thing, and I am sure Southampton would not have hesitated to draw his sword to defend his honor.

    RESPONSE: Against whom? An anonymous author? The deceased Thomas Nashe?

  22. Mark Johnson on said:

    15.
    In one instance Gullio recites lines 7 to 12 of Shakespeare’s Venus&Adonis, but he changes “thus she began” to “thus I began”. In this way Gullio attributes the poetry of Shakespeare to HIMSELF.

    RESPONSE: Let’s examine the context.

    Gullio : Marry, well remembered. I’ll repeat unto you an enthusiastical oration wherewith my new mistress’s ears were made happy. The carriage of my body, by the report of my mistress, was excellent. I stood stroking up my hair, which became me very admirably, gave a low conge at the beginning of each period, made every sentence end sweetly, with an oath. It is the part of an orator to persuade! and I know not how better, than to conclude with such earnest protestations. Suppose also that thou wert my Mistress, as sometimes wooden statues represent the goddesses; thus I would look amorously, thus I would pace, thus I would salute thee.

    Ingenioso : It will be my luck to die no other death than by hearing of his follies. I fear this speech that’s a-coming will breed a deadly disease in my ears.

    Gullio : Pardon fair lady, though sick-thoughted Gullio makes amain unto thee, and like a bold-faced suitor ‘gins to woo thee!

    Ingenioso : We shall have nothing but pure Shakspeare, and shreds of poetry that he hath gathered at the theatres.
    [This appears to be discussing a commonplace book in which Gullio/Southampton jots down bits of poetry, dialogue from plays, etc. The Sonnets may very well make reference to this very book (check out Sonnet 77 with its reference to the book given by the poet to the youth — “thy tables”). The plain meaning of this text, without any unnecessary ambiguation, is that Gullio, enamored with the poet Shakespeare, will recite lines from that poet and pretend they are his in his pursuit of a lady.]

    [Marston, in The Scourge of Villainy, also parodies someone who courts a Lesbia and speaks in play quotes:
    I set thy lips abroach, from whence doth flow
    Naught but pure Juliet and Romeo?
    Say, who acts best? Drusus, or Roscio?
    Now I have him, that ne’er of aught did speak
    But when of plays or Players he did treat –
    Hath made a commonplace book out of plays,
    And speaks in print: at least what e’er he says
    Is warranted by Curtain plaudities.
    If e’er you heard him courting Lesbia’s eyes;
    Say, (Courteous Sir), speaks he not movingly
    From out some new pathetic tragedy?
    He writes, he rails, he jests, he courts, what not,
    And all from out his huge long scraped stock
    Of well penned plays. (3:372-373).

    This is someone, not an actor or a playwright, who has made a commonplace book containing quotes from well-penned plays, and, when this person speaks, he speaks in play-quotes and Curtain [theater] plaudities [he has scraped the plays for entries in his book — his stock of quotations]. That is very similar to the portrayal of Gullio, but it has nothing to do with Shakespeare. And Southampton’s wife was named Lizbeth…awfully close to Lesbia.] Continuing with the play text:

    Gullio: Pardon mee moy mittressa, ast am a gentleman, the moon in comparison of thy bright hue a mere slut, Anthony’s Cleopatra a black-browed milkmaid, Helen a dowdie.
    [He’s passing off Romeo and Juliet as his own, which means he isn’t the author. In fact, it indicates that he isn’t Shakespeare, but implies nothing about pseudonymity and Shakespeare.]

    Ingenioso: Mark – Romeo and Juliet: o monstrous theft! I think he will run through a whole book of Samuel Daniel’s.
    [Gullio is a fop who will pass off the works of Shakespeare and Daniel as his own in pursuit of his pleasures.]

    Gullio: Thrice fairer than my self, thus I began,
    [Now Gullio is passing off Venus and Adonis as his own here. However, the phrase, “thus I began” refers only to his starting the recollection of the “enthusiastical oration” he used to woo his new mistress.]
    The gods fair riches, sweet above compare,
    Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
    More white and red than doves and roses are:
    Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,
    Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.

    Ingenioso : Sweet Mr Shakespeare!

    [Ingenioso, still playing the part of the young lady, refuses to play along with Gullio’s game and calls him out on his “theft” of Mr. Shakespeare’s works – also note, according to Inegnioso/Nashe, the actual author of the poetry is a “Mr.” and not a many-titled earl.]

    Gullio : As I am a scholar, these arms of mine are long and strong withall: Thus elms by vines are compast ere they falle.

    [Here Gullio is stealing from Thomas Kyd – is that supposed to indicate that de Vere was the real author of The Spanish Tragedy?]

    Ingenioso : Faith, gentleman, your reading is wonderful in our English poets!

    Gullio : Sweet mistress, I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation. Report thou upon thy credit – is not my vein in courting gallant and honourable?

    ***{End Of Play Excerpt}***

    Gullio states that he is going to repeat an oration he made to his mistress. He does not mention the fact that he was quoting Shakespeare’s lines to her. Ingenioso guesses that it will be “pure Shakespeare, and threads of poetry that he [Gullio] hath gathered at the theatres.” Gullio may even start in with Samuel Daniel.
    Gullio begins his oration, reciting lines from Romeo & Juliet, and then from Venus & Adonis, and, just as predicted, Ingenioso immediately recognizes the lines as “Sweet Mr. Shakespeare”. Then we get other bits from Gullio, more “threads of poetry that he [Gullio] hath gathered at the theatres. [including a bit from Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy].” Ingenioso calls him out on it [“your reading is wonderful in our English poets”] and, Gullio is forced to admit that he is using their words [“I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation.”]. Even after his dishonesty has been revealed he’s still trying to brazen it out.

    There is absolutely nothing in the text or in the context that supports a reading that Gullio is being identified as Shakespeare. In fact, the “Sweet Mr. Shakespeare” utterance references the lines of poetry that immediately precede it, not any person.

  23. Mark Johnson on said:

    16.
    In this way the writer of the play tells the audience that Gullio is a stealer of poetry.

    RESPONSE: Well, he’s a courtier who is passing off lines from Shakespeare and Kyd in an attempt to seduce a lady.

    But he cannot BE Shakespeare, since he is a worshipper of him. So, who is “Gullio”? Within the Stratfordian context there is actually no good solution to this,

    RESPONSE: Sure there is…Gullio/Southampton was Shakespeare’s patron.
    In ‘Lucrece’, the second work of Shakespeare’s poetry dedicated to Southampton, the dedication therein is much more personal than that found in V&A, and indicates that Shakespeare has already been rewarded with patronage by Southampton [“The warrant I have of your honorable disposition…”], as follows:

    To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley,
    Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield.
    The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this
    pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant
    I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored
    lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what
    I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were
    my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it
    is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened
    with all happiness.
    Your lordship’s in all duty,
    WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

    There is evidence, in a letter by Rowland Whyte written in 1599 to Sir R. Sydney, that the Earl of Southampton was a lover of plays, and at that time was a constant visitor to the theatres. He says: “My Lord of Southampton and Lord Rutland come not to the Court. The one doth very seldom. They pass away the time in London merely in going to plays every day.”

    Rowe tells us: “There is one instance so singular in the magnificence of this patron of Shakespeare that, if I had not been assured that the story was handed down by Sir William D’Avenant, who was probably very well acquainted with his affairs, I should not have ventured to have inserted; that my Lord Southampton at one time gave him a thousand pounds to enable him to go through with a purchase which he heard he had a mind to.” And this is rendered more probable, or at least the gift of something munificent, as we further learn from other testimony [Jonson’s ‘Timber’ for instance] that the poet, besides the advantages of his wit and worthy qualities, his “honesty” and “uprightness of dealing,” was in himself a good- natured man, of great sweetness in his manners, and a most agreeable companion. This the printed records of the time, from his earliest period as also the latest that have been handed down, most expressly affirm; to these qualities as also to his poetical merit we may doubtless attribute his rapid advancement.

    Southampton is the patron {Gullio} and Shakespeare is his poet, much to the chagrin of Thomas Nashe, who had sought the patronage of Southampton, gained it for a time, and is now bitter that he has been supplanted in the Earl’s affections [and more importantly, in his wallet] by Will Shakespeare. “I once tasted,” Nash writes in 1593, “the full spring of the Earl’s liberality.”
    The Parnassus play accurately depicts the patronage relationship between Southampton and Nashe in the relationship between Gullio and Ingenioso. The Oxfordian context cannot cite any similarly valid correlations from the play.

    17.
    …but if we accept the possibility that someone else than Stratford Will was the real author, we have the possibility that Gullio is a portrait of Will-of-Stratford.

    RESPONSE: That seems to me to involve circular reasoning and also appears to violate what I would consider to be a proper method of textual analysis. There is nothing that I can find in the text itself that even remotely implies that there is a hidden, secret author behind the Shakespeare works.

    There also appears to be an inherent contradiction in Oxfordian theory presented here. In the first instance, we are informed that Lord Oxenforde had to hide his authorship of the works behind a pseudonym, as it would be politically dangerous if his secret were divulged. In the next breath, we’re told that his authorship was such an open secret that it could be the subject of a play performed for an audience of future scholars who would presumably be in on the joke. And, finally, we’re then expected to believe that not a single one of those scholars ever made any specific comment, even years later, say at the publishing of the First Folio, or years thereafter, that the whole thing was a big ruse. What are the odds on that?

    18.
    This possibility can be further confirmed when we look at this play together with the other mentioned above,

    RESPONSE: All there are in this theory are some alleged similarities between certain characters in literary works [all of whom you speculate to be Shakespeare] but there is no correspondence between those similarities among fictional characters and the facts of Shakespeare’s life. On the other hand, in Parnassus, the descriptions of Gullio do correspond to the life actually led by Southampton.

    Correspondences between the language used to describe certain characters in different works do not necessarily mean that the characters in those different works all represent the same person. Do you have any evidence that William Shakespeare ever stumbled through Latin when trying to court a woman? How would such a notion be known to an audience like the one for this play?

    This particular anti-Stratfordian method involves taking a fictional character from one work [for instance, ‘Poetaster’], speculating that it is Will Shakespeare [my opinion is that, due to the imagery in the poem and some other factors, it is more likely to be Dekker], then use that subjective speculation to tie the character to speculative and subjective interpretations of other works, creating a speculative chain contending that Shakespeare is the intended target in all of the works due to certain similarities shared by the fictional characters [while ignoring any and all negative differences between the fictional characters and the historical person] . In this case, on the contrary, we have a work in which the fictional characters, Gullio and Ingenioso, are shown to have an identical correlation to Southampton and Nashe in a number of instances from the text itself. No circular reasoning or external key is required to discern the parallels.

    Once this correlation is recognized, it has serious implications for the SAQ, as it tends to confirm the theory that Southampton is the “Fair Youth” of the Sonnets and that he did, in fact, act as Shakespeare’s patron.

  24. Mark Johnson on said:

    19.
    …and it is also strengthened by the fact that “Gullio” is short for Gulielium, which is the latin equivalent to William.

    RESPONSE: This is just as easily simply an Italianate rendering of “Gull” — someone easily led. Or it could derive from ‘Giulio’, which would also reflect Southampton’s well-known affection for Italian society and manners.

    20.
    I note that you have offered no response to the correlations between Gullio and Southampton that I posted previously in this thread. Repeating a question I asked before, why don’t these correspondences carry as much evidentiary weight as the pirate episode in Hamlet does for Oxfordians?

    To state the negative of the case [the positive side being the clear parallels between Southampton and Gullio and Ingenioso and Nashe], when did Nashe write a pornographic poem to Shakespeare in an attempt to win patronage from him, as the real Thomas Nashe actually did with Southampton, and as the fictional Ingenioso did with Gullio?

    When did an Earl attempt to arrange a marriage between his daughter and Shakespeare, a match that was refused by the courtier [who was then forced to pay a fine], a situation that historically correlates precisely to the situation with de Vere and Southampton, and a situation which is mirrored quite closely in the Gullio story of his encounter with an Earl [down to his payment of money on his exit]?

    The connection of Gullio with Southampton is right there in the text [imo, providing much more of a fingerprint than the pirate episode in Hamlet]. Who was the dedicatee of two of Shakespeare’s works, who was known to be enamored of Shakespeare, who stiffed Nashe as a patron, who had porno written for him by Nashe, who was recently returned from service in Ireland at the time of the writing of Parnassus play, who was depicted as having engaged in a homosexual dalliance while there, etc.? Southampton fits all of these satiric barbs…Shakespeare fits none of them. These are real-life, historical correspondences between Southampton and the character of Gullio in the Parnassus play [I left some out as they involve even more bawdy language]. There are also real-life, historical correspondences which match the relationship of Gullio and Ingenioso to that which existed between Southampton and Nashe. There are no such parallels to Will Shakespeare.

    Gullio is portrayed as a great admirer of “sweet Mr. Shakespeare” and speaks of him in the third person. It is quite obvious in the play that Gullio is not a representation of Shakespeare, but is someone who is easily led [gulled] and has succumbed to the less than wholesome poetry written by Shakespeare. When Gullio speaks of his admiration for Shakespeare, is it your claim that he is speaking of himself? What is the textual support for such a claim?
    Even if we assume your argument is correct, that Gullio’s statements are to be seen as fantasies which he believes will lead others to believe that he is William Shakespeare the real author, then when did Shakespeare go to Ireland? And return just recently [as Southampton had actually done]? Gullio was in Ireland. Do you have any evidence that William Shakespeare was ever in Ireland, or that the Parnassus audience would have any reason to believe Shakespeare was recently returned from Ireland? Of course, they would make that connection with Southampton.

    When did he serve in the military? Who was the Littletonian? What were the inside jokes that the audience would be recognizing if Will Shakespeare is the intended target of the satire?

    Gullio speaks of Shakespeare in the third person and says he will obtain his portrait to hang in his room [“I’le have his picture in my study at the courte.”]…..are we supposed to believe that line means that Gullio is fantasizing that he is Will Shakespeare, even though the text says no such thing. He says he will honor Mr. Shakespeare and will place a copy of Shakespeare’s V&A under his pillow [“I’le worshipp sweet Mr. Shakspeare, and to honoure him will lay his Venus and Adonis under my pillowe, as wee reade of one (I doe not well remember his name, but I am sure he was a kinge) slept with Homer under his bed’s heade.”] …seems a strange thing to say if he is trying to persuade people that he is actually Shakespeare.

    Here’s a couple of other correspondences that make sense if Southampton is the intended target but make no sense if Shakespeare is.

    When Gullio talks about being entertained by a Countess and a Lord, again Ingenioso hits him with a sarcastic comment:

    Ingenioso: “Why he is acquainted with neer a lord except my Lord Coulton, and for Countesses, he never came in the country where a Countess dwells!”

    The biggest and bawdiest joke in this exchange is that Ingenioso is playing on the fact that Southampton engaged in homosexual pursuits when he says that Gullio ‘never came in the country where a Countess dwells.” Anyone with any familiarity with the literature of the time should be able to discern the very obvious wordplay here. There may also be a jab at the fact that rumors were abroad that Southampton was not the father of his children [I have to do some further study on this]. Shakespeare, on the other hand, was known to be quite the womanizer [See the Manningham anecdote].

    Here’s another correlation: Ingenioso responds to Gullio’s boasting as to his recent exploits in Ireland.

    Ingenioso: I dare swear your worship escaped knighting very hardly.

    This is a two-pronged joke about a subject popular at the time. There was much discussion around the time of the Parnassus play as to the fact that Essex, Southampton’s good friend, was handing out knighthoods left and right in Ireland, so this is an excellent, topical allusion to that issue. At the same time, Southampton DID escape a knighting in 1599 – he was nominated to be made a Knight of the Garter but did not succeed.

    And who is Lord Coulton? It appears to be another Cambridge in-joke. In Leishman’s edition of the Parnassus plays, he gives Professor F. P. Wilson credit for pointing out the following passage in Henry Peacham’s ‘The Worth of a Peny’: “I will instance one; In *Cambridge* there dwelt, some twenty or thirty years ago [c. 1615], one *Godfrey Colton*, who was by his Trade a Tailor, but a merry companion with his Taber and Pipe, and for singing all manner of Northern songs before Nobles and Gentlemen, who much delighted in his company. Beside, he was Lord of *Sturbridge* Fair, and all the misorders there.” (The fair was held at Stourbridge Common in Cambridge; by the Elizabethan Era it was reputedly the largest fair in Europe.)

    A joke that associates Gullio with a Cambridge tailor and musician makes sense if Southampton, who was a Cambridge man, is the target; it makes no sense at all if Shakespeare, who had no associations with Cambridge, is the target. The fun for the audience is spotting the in-jokes.

    Is there any reason to believe that William Shakespeare ever once boasted about his military exploits in Ireland or elsewhere? If not, and I am quite confident in saying that there is zero evidence he ever did any such thing, then there is no reason to conclude that Gullio is Shakespeare. The references to his experiences, to acting as a patron, to military service, etc., all correspond to Southampton’s experience, but not to William Shakespeare’s, so far as any of us know. All that Ingenioso is doing is pointing out how Gullio/Southampton is exaggerating his foreign travel, his military exploits, his sexual conquests, etc….Ingenioso is telling jokes that the audience, that coterie audience at St. John’s College that would be in the know, would associate not with Shakespeare but with Southampton, an aristocrat who was smitten with the poet William Shakespeare [the same man who dedicated two poems to Southampton].

    The actions and the content of the play fit the relationship between Southampton and Shakespeare [and Southampton and Nashe], and do not fit the notion that Gullio is Shakespeare speaking about himself. For the jokes to work for the audience they must reflect actual experience…in the Parnassus play that actual experience reflects Southampton’s life, not the life of Will Shakespeare. Finis MHDJ

  25. Edward on said:

    Great work, Mark. I will give it time when my schedule permits and come back.

    Thanks to David from me as well, I appreciate your Post Script above.

    “E”

  26. Mark Johnson on said:

    Thanks, “E” — I don’t know that it’s all that great but it was work putting it together, but work that I very much enjoyed.

  27. Edward on said:

    Mark, your post is a lengthy one, and our lives are limited, so forgive me for not giving a complete response to all your points. I will try to be concise, and I start with your number 4, which hopefully covers some of your other points as well.

    4:
    Mark: “Let’s look at the Parnassus line in context. We’re talking about a play performed for a very specific audience – the students at St. John’s College in December, 1601 — who would be expected by the author of the play to understand the in-jokes set out in the play.”

    In December 1601, Henry Wriothesley, the person you say is portrayed as Gullio, was a convict in the Tower of London. He was a traitor to the english crown, and would have been beheaded if not Cecil had changed his mind and saved his life. Do you think that this man from the highest aristocracy of the country, and especially under these circumstances, was an appropriate goal for a Cambridge writer of theatrical satire? How is this destiny of Wriothesley’s mirrored in the play? If your dating is (perhaps) incorrect and the play was written some years earlier, how was it possible to ridicule an english lord in this way? Do you have another example of such daring behavior? We are talking about a time when writers were torn to pieces for writing inappropriate things about the royalties and nobilities. And this is not mild satire:

    “Now gentlemen, you may laugh if you will, for here comes a gull”

    Do you think it was possible to present the earl of Southampton to an audience in this way? I certainly do not.

    Mark: “What is there in the text of the Parnassus play that would indicate that a reference to a rapier, “a pure Toledo” that Gullio bought when he “sojourned in the University of Padua,” would cause any member of the audience to associate that reference with Will Shakespeare?”

    See below. Let me come back to this topic.

    Mark: “On the other hand, Southampton was known to have travelled abroad and to have suffered from the widespread affliction common to Elizabethan courtier’s that they were infatuated with all things Italian [Southampton was even tutored in Italian by John Florio]. Gullio has travelled to Cadiz, and says that his “Latin was pure Latin, and such as they speak at Rheims and Padua.” Rheims was a Catholic seminary, which could be a shot at Southampton’s continued adherence to Catholicism. How would any of this be associated with Will Shakespeare by the in-group audience at St. John’s College [which Southampton had attended]?”

    It is my conviction that when you write that “Gullio has travelled to Cadiz” or about when he boasts about his life at court you miss the satire of the play. No, Gullio has not been to Cadiz, he does not live at the Court, and that is why Ingenioso ridicules him. He SAYS he has been to Cadiz, which is something else. He is a liar, someone who tries to impress on others with his made-up stories. These stories may very well be true stories about REAL courtiers, stories that Gullio borrows to impress, from persons such as Southampton, but they are NOT true for Gullio. A real aristocrat like Southampton would never do what Gullio does; try to make impression on people of a lower class. It would immediately declass him. It is the behavior of an upstart, not one of a born aristocrat. No, Gullio is a fraud, and that is why Ingenioso ridicules him.

    In the same way as he borrows the life of a courtier Gullio borrows the poetry of poets he adores, especially Shakespeare. He says it himself; “I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation.” Could this be a description of Southampton, the earl who supposedly bragged about his court life among lesser born people and tried to steal poetry to try to appear like a gentleman? The power of your argument escapes me here. What records are there to support this behavior on Southampton’s part?

    If Gullio was a portrait of a real lord I am sure he would be identified as one in the play, like Sir Puntarvolo in Jonson’s play. The latter is undoubtedly a portrait of a real aristocrat (most probably de Vere, but let’s come back to that), while Gullio is certainly not. He is an upstart, he is uneducated and he is a wanna-be-gentleman. The situation is strengthened when Ingenioso speaks to the audience; the crowd is invited to join his little game with Gullio. So in fact, with your scenario, what we see in front of us is a Cambridge University audience laughing out loud in the face of one of the most powerful and decorated men in the country. In Elizabeth’s England. I find it completely unthinkable.

    “speculate that a reference to Master Stephen in EMIHH is Shakespeare, which employs the same language, must also be a reference to Will Shakespeare.”

    I will be happy to come back later with a discussion on the Jonson plays.

    Generally I find that Gullios sentence above “I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation” is crucial. By applying the Shakespeare works to his own matters Gullio is actually making a comment on the Authorship Question. If Gullio here is saying (and he is) that he uses Shakespeare’s works in his own name to gain from it, he parallels Jonson’s character’s Crispinus, Master Matthew/Stephen and Sogliardo/Shift. He also parallels certain characters WITHIN the Shakespeare canon, most notable a certain “William” who resides in the forest of Arden (in the County of Warwickshire close to Stratford-upon-Avon) in As You Like It. This is the context in which the character of Gullio should be seen, and not in context with the life of Southampton. As characters they have nothing in common. Southampton may have been a lot of things, but he was certainly not an upstart.

    • Mark Johnson on said:

      Edward: Sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of town for a bit

      E: 4:
      Mark: “Let’s look at the Parnassus line in context. We’re talking about a play performed for a very specific audience – the students at St. John’s College in December, 1601 — who would be expected by the author of the play to understand the in-jokes set out in the play.”

      RESPONSE: My mistake – my dating is incorrect: “The three pieces were evidently performed at Christmas of different years, the last being not later than Christmas 1602, as is shown by the references to Queen Elizabeth I, while the Pilgrimage mentions books not printed until 1598, and hence can hardly have been earlier than that year. The prologue of 2 Return states that that play had been written for the preceding year, and also, in a passage of which the reading is somewhat doubtful, implies that the whole series had extended over four years. Thus we arrive at either 1599, 1600 and 1602, or 1598, 1599 and 1601, as, on the whole, the most likely dates of performance.” [wikipedia] Therefore, the particular play we are concerned with, Return Part 1, was most likely performed in 1600. This would also fit in better with Southampton’s recent return from Ireland.

      E: In December 1601, Henry Wriothesley, the person you say is portrayed as Gullio, was a convict in the Tower of London. He was a traitor to the english crown, and would have been beheaded if not Cecil had changed his mind and saved his life. Do you think that this man from the highest aristocracy of the country, and especially under these circumstances, was an appropriate goal for a Cambridge writer of theatrical satire? How is this destiny of Wriothesley’s mirrored in the play?
      If your dating is (perhaps) incorrect and the play was written some years earlier, how was it possible to ridicule an english lord in this way?

      RESPONSE: As shown above, it appears I was mistaken as to the date of performance of Return, Part 1. As to the mockery of an English lord, I presume that the Parnassus author did it the same way in which Nashe did it [almost verbatim in some instances].

      E: Do you have another example of such daring behavior?

      RESPONSE: I’ve already provided one example in the earlier writings of Thomas Nashe. You can also look up “Early Stuart libels” the play entitled ‘Isle of Dogs’, and John Harington’s ‘Metamorphosis of Ajax’. The correspondences between Gullio and Southampton are there. I think that it is incumbent upon you to show how they are not there or are mistakes in interpretation.

      E: We are talking about a time when writers were torn to pieces for writing inappropriate things about the royalties and nobilities.

      RESPONSE: Ben Jonson became poet laureate even after writing Isle of Dogs [which was termed “seditious’ and apparently took potshots at the Queen herself]. Nashe was not torn to bits after lampooning Southampton in earlier works. While John Harrington was banned from Court for a bit he eventually gained the good graces of his monarch once again. John Hayward wrote 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, earning Queen Elizxabeth’s displeasure and a stint in prison. He was out in 1600 and later earned the favor of King James.

      E: And this is not mild satire:
      “Now gentlemen, you may laugh if you will, for here comes a gull”

      RESPONSE: It certainly wasn’t mild. How would Nashe be “gulling” Shakespeare. You have Shakespeare as the individual who is gulling others – tricking them into thinking he is the author. Gullio, on the other hand, is the person who is being gulled by Ingenioso.

      E: Do you think it was possible to present the earl of Southampton to an audience in this way? I certainly do not.

      RESPONSE: Yes, as Nashe had already done it before [as I’ve discussed elsewhere].

      E: Mark: “What is there in the text of the Parnassus play that would indicate that a reference to a rapier, “a pure Toledo” that Gullio bought when he “sojourned in the University of Padua,” would cause any member of the audience to associate that reference with Will Shakespeare?”
      See below. Let me come back to this topic.
      Mark: “On the other hand, Southampton was known to have travelled abroad and to have suffered from the widespread affliction common to Elizabethan courtier’s that they were infatuated with all things Italian [Southampton was even tutored in Italian by John Florio]. Gullio has travelled to Cadiz, and says that his “Latin was pure Latin, and such as they speak at Rheims and Padua.” Rheims was a Catholic seminary, which could be a shot at Southampton’s continued adherence to Catholicism. How would any of this be associated with Will Shakespeare by the in-group audience at St. John’s College [which Southampton had attended]?”

      E: It is my conviction that when you write that “Gullio has travelled to Cadiz” or about when he boasts about his life at court you miss the satire of the play.

      RESPONSE: I think you do. There must be a germ of truth in the story in order for there to be satire. In the literary genre [or form] of satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals. There must be some truth in it in order for the audience to “get” who is being targeted….who is being shamed. A common feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—”in satire, irony is militant”—but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, hyperbole, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. The humor in satire is derived from the audience’s recognition of just who it is that is the target of the satire. Therefore, the target must be identifiable, in spite of the exaggerated portrait that may be drawn.

      From wikipedia: Direct social commentary via satire returned with a vengeance in the 16th century, when farcical texts such as the works of François Rabelais tackled more serious issues (and incurred the wrath of the crown as a result). The Elizabethan (i.e. 16th century English) writers thought of satire as related to the notoriously rude, coarse and sharp satyr play. Elizabethan “satire” (typically in pamphlet form) therefore contains more straightforward abuse than subtle irony. The French Huguenot Isaac Casaubon pointed out in 1605 that satire in the Roman fashion was something altogether more civilised. Casaubon discovered and published Quintilian’s writing and presented the original meaning of the term (satira, not satyr), and the sense of wittiness (reflecting the “dishfull of fruits”) became more important again. 17th century English satire once again aimed at the “amendment of vices” (Dryden). In the 1590s a new wave of verse satire broke with the publication of Hall’s ‘Virgidemiarum’, six books of verse satires targeting everything from literary fads to corrupt noblemen. Although Donne had already circulated satires in manuscript, Hall’s was the first real attempt in English at verse satire on the Juvenalian model.[56]The success of his work combined with a national mood of disillusion in the last years of Elizabeth’s reign triggered an avalanche of satire – much of it less conscious of classical models than Hall’s – until the fashion was brought to an abrupt stop by censorship.[57]

      Nashe wasn’t referred to as “young Juvenal for nothing.

      E: No, Gullio has not been to Cadiz, he does not live at the Court, and that is why Ingenioso ridicules him. He SAYS he has been to Cadiz, which is something else. He is a liar, someone who tries to impress on others with his made-up stories.

      RESPONSE: Nope, he is a braggart and an exaggerator as to his military exploits, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. Why would any audience at Cambridge consider a mention of military service at Cadiz as a satiric comment directed at Stratford Will? I’ll answer that for you…there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that such an inference would be drawn, as there would be if Southampton is the target. There is no doubt in the play that Gullio has recently returned from Ireland [in fact, Gullio’s sojourn in Ireland serves as further comedic and satiric fodder for Ingenioso, as I’ve shown elsewhere]. Why would any audience of the time identify Stratford Will as the target of a satire that has him recently returned from military service in Ireland. I’ll answer that for you…there isn’t any evidence that it would make such an identification. On the other hand, I’ve demonstrated why it is applicable, in specific and identifiable circumstances, to Southampton. Gullio is a courtier…that is why Ingenioso is seeking patronage from him. Nashe would never stoop to seeking patronage from Stratford Will, nor would he [or did he] write a pornographic poem dedicated to Shakespeare, as Nashe did, in fact, do with Southampton.

      E: These stories may very well be true stories about REAL courtiers, stories that Gullio borrows to impress, from persons such as Southampton, but they are NOT true for Gullio.

      RESPONSE: They are certainly true. I have shown a large number of correspondences between the satiric comments directed at Gullio in the Parnassus play and the real-life counterparts which mirror those comments in the actual life and experience of Southampton. In addition, the comments have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual life of William Shakespeare of Stratford.

      E: A real aristocrat like Southampton would never do what Gullio does; try to make impression on people of a lower class. It would immediately declass him. It is the behavior of an upstart, not one of a born aristocrat. No, Gullio is a fraud, and that is why Ingenioso ridicules him.

      RESPONSE: Southampton was known for slumming it. “My Lord Southampton and Lord Rutland,” writes Rowland Whyte to Sir Robert Sydney in 1599, “come not to the court … They pass away the time in London merely in going to plays every day” (Sydney Papers, ed. Collins, ii. 132). They were lording it over the commoners, which, of course, would be a natural subject of satire written by those very commoners [in this case, Thomas Nashe, the frustrated seeker of patronage]. A “born aristocrat” can’t be a pompous jerk or a braggart? Seriously?

      E: In the same way as he borrows the life of a courtier Gullio borrows the poetry of poets he adores, especially Shakespeare. He says it himself; “I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation.” Could this be a description of Southampton, the earl who supposedly bragged about his court life among lesser born people and tried to steal poetry to try to appear like a gentleman?

      RESPONSE: Yes, of course. I’ve already explained this and even cited how Gullio is reciting lines from Kyd, Daniel and Shakespeare that he has written in his commonplace book. Southampton is being satirized for his reliance on the words of others…nothing surprising there.

      E: The power of your argument escapes me here. What records are there to support this behavior on Southampton’s part?

      RESPONSE: That’s rather ironic. There are other works by Nashe, which I have cited, which contain satiric treatments of Southampton. To turn the question around what records are there which would support an identification of Gullio with Shakespeare? When did Shakespeare go to Ireland and serve in the military expedition there?

      E: If Gullio was a portrait of a real lord I am sure he would be identified as one in the play, like Sir Puntarvolo in Jonson’s play. The latter is undoubtedly a portrait of a real aristocrat (most probably de Vere, but let’s come back to that), while Gullio is certainly not.

      RESPONSE: He is identified as a courtier in the play. That is why Ingenioso [Nashe] is seeking patronage from him [just as Nashe sought Southampton’s patronage in real life]. What records support the assertion that Nashe sought patronage from William Shakespeare?

      E: He is an upstart,

      RESPONSE: No, he really isn’t. What is the textual support for this statement? The actors in the play [Kempe and Burbage] are definitely portrayed as upstarts but, curiously, Shakespeare is conspicuous by his absence from that scene.

      E: he is uneducated

      RESPONSE: What is the textual support for this statement?

      E: and he is a wanna-be-gentleman.

      RESPONSE: What is the textual support for this statement?

      E: The situation is strengthened when Ingenioso speaks to the audience; the crowd is invited to join his little game with Gullio. So in fact, with your scenario, what we see in front of us is a Cambridge University audience laughing out loud in the face of one of the most powerful and decorated men in the country. In Elizabeth’s England. I find it completely unthinkable.

      RESPONSE: You may find it unthinkable, but arguments from personal incredulity do not trump the text of the play itself. I find it extremely ironic that an Oxenfordian would summarily dismiss the many correspondences that have been shown to exist between the portrait of Gullio in the Parnassus play and the experiences and circumstances actually present in Southampton’s life – correspondences which prove the identification of Gullio with Southampton more so than any correspondence which exists between Hamlet and Lord Oxenforde.

      E: “speculate that a reference to Master Stephen in EMIHH is Shakespeare, which employs the same language, must also be a reference to Will Shakespeare.”
      I will be happy to come back later with a discussion on the Jonson plays.
      Generally I find that Gullios sentence above “I vouchsafe to take some of their words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical imitation” is crucial. By applying the Shakespeare works to his own matters Gullio is actually making a comment on the Authorship Question.

      RESPONSE: You are forcing this passage to haul more freight than the lines will bear. I’ve already explained how this line fits, and works, in the context of the surrounding passage so I won’t go into it again. Suffice to say that there is nothing in this line which indicates that there is any doubt as to Shakespeare’s authorship of the works — a fact that is confirmed elsewhere in the play itself. Of course, if that is not enough, I’ve already presented numerous correlations which demonstrate that this is a thinly veiled depiction of the relationship between Southampton and Shakespeare, and Southampton and Nashe, further confirming that Shakespeare is the author of the works mentioned as his in the Parnassus play.

      E: If Gullio here is saying (and he is) that he uses Shakespeare’s works in his own name to gain from it, he parallels Jonson’s character’s Crispinus, Master Matthew/Stephen and Sogliardo/Shift.

      RESPONSE: All Gullio is saying is that he uses lines from authors, including his favorite, Shakespeare, to advance his romantic interests. Nothing more. I’m interested…what are parallels between Gullio and Crispinus, Gullio and Master Matthew, Gullio and Stephen, Gullio and Sogliardo, Gullio and Shift, Gullio and William from AYLI? How do these alleged parallels trump the actual parallels that I’ve presented here between the portrait of Gullio and the actual life experiences of Southampton?

      E: He also parallels certain characters WITHIN the Shakespeare canon, most notable a certain “William” who resides in the forest of Arden (in the County of Warwickshire close to Stratford-upon-Avon) in As You Like It. This is the context in which the character of Gullio should be seen, and not in context with the life of Southampton. As characters they have nothing in common.

      RESPONSE: They have all of the many correspondences that I’ve shown between them.

      E: Southampton may have been a lot of things, but he was certainly not an upstart.

      RESPONSE: I agree…and Gullio is not an upstart either. I find it extremely ironic that an Oxenfordian would appear to summarily dismiss the many correspondences that have been shown to exist between the portrait of Gullio in the Parnassus play and the experiences and circumstances actually present in Southampton’s life – correspondences which prove the identification of Gullio with Southampton more so than any particular correspondence which exists between Hamlet and Lord Oxenforde. Correspondences, which by their cumulative weight, make the case for the identification of Southampton, in my opinion, beyond any reasonable doubt. I’d request that you specifically address the many correspondences that have been pointed out to show why you think they do not make the case that I have claimed they do.

  28. Edward on said:

    Mark

    It looks as if we have a problem. Your argument here is based on the alleged conflict between Nashe and Southampton as the source of the dialogue Gullio/Ingenioso. But without some documentation this is just plain speculation. You refer to Nashe’s address to the reader in Pierce Pennilesse, and give a quote where he talks about an unnamed courtier, supposedly Southampton. But are you sure this is from PP? I simply cannot find it. There is no letter to the reader there at all, just “A Private Epistle of the Author to the Printer”. Can you help me out here and I will be back with an answer.

    “Edward”

    • Mark Johnson on said:

      Edward

      Try this site and go to page 41, with the paragraph beginning, “Gentle Reader tandem aliquando…”

      http://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/jspui/bitstream/1794/852/1/nashe.pdf

      Much of the satire in that passage is self-evident, but I’d be more than happy to go through some of it if you’d like. Also, the correspondences to the Gullio/Ingenioso scenes in ‘Parnassus’ are quite obvious as I think has already been demonstrated.

      I have also referenced the dedication included in the first edition of Nashe’s ‘The Unfortunate Traveller’ [it is this dedication which disappeared from the next edition], which reads as follows:

      To the Right Honourable Lord Henry Wriothesley

      Earl of Southampton and Baron Titchfield.

      Ingenuous honourable Lord, I know not what blind custom methodical antiquity has thrust upon us, to dedicate such books as we publish to one great man or another. In which respect (lest any man should challenge these, my papers, as goods uncustomed [unwanted] and so extend upon them as forfeit to contempt) to the seal of your excellent censure, lo, here I present them to be seen and allowed. Prize them as high or as low as you list [wish]: if you set any price on them, I hold my labour well satisfied.

      Long have I desired to approve my wit unto you. My reverent dutiful thoughts (even from their infancy) have been retainers to your glory. Now at last I have enforced an opportunity to plead my devoted mind. All that is in this fantastical Treatise, I can promise, is some reasonable conveyance of history & variety of mirth. By diverse of my good friends have I been dealt with to employ my dull pen in this kind, it being a clean different vein from other my former courses of writing. How well or ill I have done in it I am ignorant (the eye that sees round about itself sees not into itself); only your Honour’s applauding encouragement has power to make me arrogant.

      Incomprehensible is the height of your spirit both in heroical resolution and matters of conceit. Unreprievably perishes that book whatsoever to wastepaper, which on the diamond rock of your judgement disasterly [disastrously] chances to be shipwrecked. A dear lover and cherisher you are, as well of the lovers of Poets, as of Poets themselves. Amongst their sacred number I dare not ascribe myself, though now and then I speak English: that small brain I have to no further use I convert, save to be kind to my friends and fatal to my enemies. A new brain, a new wit, a new style, a new soul will I get me, to canonize your name to posterity, if in this my first attempt I be not taxed of presumption.

      Of your gracious favour I despair not, for I am not altogether Fame’s outcast. This handful of leaves I offer to your view: to the leaves on trees I compare, which as they cannot grow of themselves except they have some branches or boughs to cleave to, & with whose juice and sap they be evermore recreated & nourished, so except these unpolished leaves of mine have some branch of Nobility whereon to depend and cleave, and with the vigorous nutriment of whose authorized commendation they may be continually fostered and refreshed, never will they grow to the world’s good liking, but forthwith fade and die on the first hour of their birth.

      Your Lordship is the large spreading branch of renown, from whence these my idle leaves seek to derive their whole nourishing: it rests you either scornfully shake them off, as worm-eaten and worthless, or in pity preserve them and cherish them for some little summer fruit you hope to find amongst them.

      Your Honour’s in all humble service:

      Thos Nashe.

      Many see this as an intentional parody of Shakespeare’s dedication in ‘Venus & Adonis’.

      To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley,

      Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield.

      Right Honourable,

      I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your Lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden, only if your Honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather: and never after ear [cultivate] so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your Honourable survey, and your Honour to your heart’s content, which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world’s hopeful expectation.

      Your Honour’s in all duty,

      William Shakespeare.

      Shakespeare” “unpolished lines” =
      Nashe: “unpolished leaves”.

      Shakespeare: fear of offending =
      Nashe’s: worry that he “be taxed of presumption”

      Shakespeare: “first heir of invention” =
      Nashe: “first attempt”

      Shakespeare: “idle hours” =
      Nashe: “idle leaves”

      Shakespeare: “bad harvest” =
      Nashe: “little summer fruit”.

      Shakespeare: “strong prop” =
      Nashe: “large spreading branch of renown”.

      Shakespeare: promise to work hard in order to honour with a graver labour = Nashe: intent to get a new brain, a new style and a new soul

      The correspondences are striking. Interestingly, Nashe even discusses the “vein” in which he has written, which appears to be clearly echoed in ‘Parnassus’ [“not in a vain vein”]. The humor engendered by the satire in ‘Parnassus’ depends upon its employment of thinly veiled caricatures of actual persons who would be identifiable to the audience. The identification of the character of Ingenioso with Thomas Nashe is generally accepted as being valid. If that identification is acknowledged, and Ingenioso is Nashe, then the question becomes who is Gullio. Based on the correlations between Gullio and Ingenioso, and Southampton and Nashe, there can be little doubt that Gullio is Southampton — not to mention the other correspondences between Gullio and Southampton [his service in Ireland, his dalliance there, his feud with Gray, etc.]. The other side of the coin is that there is no similar, textual evidence within the ‘Parnassus’ play which would support an audience identification of William Shakespeare as Gullio. If you believe otherwise, I would be very interested to see the textual evidence from within the play which you contend proves such an identification — as well as hearing why you don’t think the many correspondences I’ve mentioned previously here are not valid.

      Mark

  29. Edward on said:

    I would like to thank you Mark for that link, since this text by Nashe is a true gem. Maybe I have missed the significance of it before, or other Oxfordians have missed it. Anyway, it is wonderful.

    And again, Mark, I am sorry to say, you have missed the point. Yes, Nashe is really (and very entertaining when so) pissed off with certain patrons, so much that he calls for the dead Pietro Aretino to come to his help using his whip against “our English Peacocks”. But then, from the sentence “Far be it bright stars…” he changes his direction of speak and instead starts to celebrate the “attendants to the true Diana”, the “bright stars of Nobilitie” that is, the courtiers of Queen Elizabeth. It is as if he wants to excuse himself so that readers at court won’t come after him. Then he starts to hail a certain man that he adores; his tongue is “vnworthy to name” his name, but anyhow he spends the whole last paragraph of the book in praise of this man. He accuses “heavenlie Spencer” of forgetfulness for not saluting this “special pillar of Nobiltie” among his English Heroes. This man is apparently both a Nobleman and a “rare scholar”. Nashe owes to this man “all the utmost powers of [his] love and duty” and insert a sonnet to him (and Spencer for not mentioning him). It is Nashe’s wish to “acquaint our countrymen that live out of the Echo of the court, with a common knowledge of his invaluable vertues and show” himself “thankful for benefits received”

    Who could this man be? A courtier, patron and scholar that is associated with sonnets and Ovid? I can think of no other than “the most copious Carminist of our time, and famous persecutor of Priscian, his verie friend Master Apis Lapis” as Nashe writes in his Strange News, (Apis Lapis meaning Bull (or Ox) Stone), the same man that Nashe calls “Will. Monox” (hast thou never heard of him and his great dagger?). His name is highly associated with “Ox” and the word “verie” (the verie thought of his far derived discent…).

    This is certainly a homage to the patron, poet and courtier Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford.

    • Mark Johnson on said:

      Edward: You’d better hold off on the thanks. There is no Oxenfordian significance to this text, and I’m sorry to say that your interpretation misses the mark.

      E: I would like to thank you Mark for that link, since this text by Nashe is a true gem. Maybe I have missed the significance of it before, or other Oxfordians have missed it. Anyway, it is wonderful. And again, Mark, I am sorry to say, you have missed the point.

      RESPONSE: This text really is a gem, but not for the reasons that you think. Unfortunately, you are exercising the Oxenfordian penchant for interpreting all documents of the era in a de Vereian context. You appear to have turned off the irony/sarcasm detector that is a necessity when reading any text written by Nashe. The passage that you cite has nothing to do with Oxenforde, as will be demonstrated shortly by pointing out one particular fact that defeats your identification.

      E: Yes, Nashe is really (and very entertaining when so) pissed off with certain patrons, so much that he calls for the dead Pietro Aretino to come to his help using his whip against “our English Peacocks”.

      RESPONSE: Right…and the patron he is pissed off at is Southampton. I am unable to understand why you now seem to admit that Nashe is discussing a courtier patron [at least up to your alleged turning point], but are unwilling to admit that Southampton is the target of the satire and that the satiric barbs in this work are specifically echoed in ‘Parnassus’.

      E: But then, from the sentence “Far be it bright stars…” he changes his direction of speak and instead starts to celebrate the “attendants to the true Diana”, the “bright stars of Nobilitie” that is, the courtiers of Queen Elizabeth. It is as if he wants to excuse himself so that readers at court won’t come after him.

      RESPONSE: All Nashe is doing here is saying that not all patrons are like the man he is criticizing. He then goes back to his personal experience with one individual, and continues his satiric attack.

      E: Then he starts to hail a certain man that he adores; his tongue is “vnworthy to name” his name, but anyhow he spends the whole last paragraph of the book in praise of this man.

      RESPONSE: No, actually, he isn’t praising him at all. He is subjecting him to withering sarcasm and pointing out his homosexual activities, as discussed before. Prior to this, you couldn’t possibly see how Nashe or the Parnassus author could have ridiculed Southampton for his homosexual activities, but here you appear to think it involves praise of Oxenforde to call him a “Ganymede, thrice noble Amyntas”. Do you believe that Oxenforde would have considered those references to be praising him?

      In fact, Nashe indicates that he doesn’t really believe in praising patrons:

      “Manye writers and good wits, are giuen to commend their patrons and Benefactors, some for prowesse, some for policie, others for the glorie of their Ancestrie and exceeding bountie and liberalitie: but if my vnable pen should euer enterprise such a ccontinuate taske of praise, I woulde embowell a number of those wind puft bladders, and disfurnish their bald-pates of the periwigs Poets haue lent them, that so I might restore glorie to his right inheritance, and these stoln Titles to their true owners…”

      Although other authors may engage in the practice of praising patrons, if Nashe were ever to contemplate doing such a thing he would instead “embowel” those who had been undeservedly beautified with the “periwigs” of poets’ praises. Here, Nashe signals that he is not actually praising any noble patron. Rather, he is still engaging in the satiric and sarcastic “emboweling” of such individuals.

      E: He accuses “heavenlie Spencer” of forgetfulness for not saluting this “special pillar of Nobiltie” among his English Heroes. This man is apparently both a Nobleman and a “rare scholar”.

      RESPONSE: I would like to thank you for pointing this out, as this one fact proves that your identification of Oxenforde is incorrect.

      Nashe writes: “And heere (heauenlie Spencer) I am most highlie to accuse thee of forgetfulnes, that in that honourable catalogue of our English Heroes, which insueth the conclusion of thy famous Fairie Queene, thou wouldst let so speciall a piller of Nobilitie passe vnsaluted.”

      This is a reference to the fact that Spencer had attached commendatory sonnets to ‘The Faerie Queene’. The sonnets were addressed to, and set out the various accomplishments of, some twenty English noblemen. Those nobles catalogued by Spencer included the Earls of Essex, Northumberland, Cumberland, and, most importantly for purposes of our discussion, the Earl of Oxford.

      TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE EARLE OF OXENFORD, LORD HIGH CHAMBERLAYNE OF ENGLAND, &C.

      RECEIVE, most noble Lord, in gentle gree
      The unripe fruit of an unready wit,
      Which by thy countenaunce doth crave to bee
      Defended from foule Envies poisnous bit:
      Which so to doe may thee right well befit,
      Sith th’ antique glory of thine auncestry
      Under a shady vele is therein writ,
      And eke thine owne long living memory,
      Succeeding them in true nobility;
      And also for the love which thou doest beare
      To th’ Heliconian ymps, and they to thee,
      They unto thee, and thou to them, most deare.
      Deare as thou art unto thy selfe, so love
      That loves and honours thee, as doth behove.

      One of the names conspicuously missing from the catalogue of nobles saluted by Spencer is that of the Earl of Southampton. Therefore, since you have acknowledged that Nashe indicates that the intended target of his “praise” was not addressed in Spencer’s list of nobles, we must rule out Oxenforde as the target, but Southampton remains. I find it somewhat amazing that you think that Nashe would be praising Oxenforde by reminding him that he had been left out of a catalogue of the nation’s worthiest nobles – I sincerely doubt that Lord Oxenforde would consider that to be praise. This alone should tell us that Nashe had a different agenda in mind, and that he was still attacking the target of his anger.

      This is confirmed in the use of the word “piller” in the sentence under discussion. Nashe assails his target when he chides Spencer for letting “so special a piller of nobility pass unsaluted”. The word “piller” then had a secondary meaning as someone who was a despoiler of the commonwealth. In this case then, Nashe’s noble target is a despoiler of the nobility, a thief and a plunderer. There are many such double-edged usages throughout this passage.

      I do note that you are correct in stating that the target of Nashe’s praise-attack is, in fact, a nobleman. However, it simply isn’t Oxford.

      E: Nashe owes to this man “all the utmost powers of [his] love and duty” and insert a sonnet to him (and Spencer for not mentioning him). It is Nashe’s wish to “acquaint our countrymen that live out of the Echo of the court, with a common knowledge of his invaluable vertues and show” himself “thankful for benefits received”

      RESPONSE: Let’s take a good look at that sonnet. The whole poem is about how Nashe was reading Spencer’s ‘Faerie Queene’, jumped to the end to see the verses celebrating “sundry Nobles” that Spencer “as speciall Mirrours singled fourth.” We then get to the last four lines:

      I read them all, and reverenced their worth,
      Yet wondered he left out thy memory.
      But therefore guessed I he suppressed thy name,
      Because few words might not comprise thy fame

      It is important to remember the author we are dealing with here. Nashe most assuredly knew how to bury someone while appearing to celebrate them. The last two lines of the sonnet have a double meaning, in which Nashe, the young Juvenal, is saying that the target’s deeds or values are too miniscule for Spencer to find even a few words to spare on the subject. His virtues are invaluable, meaning they are valueless. Nashe is thankful for benefits received only “in some small part,” meaning the benefits are small to nothing.

      E: Who could this man be? A courtier, patron and scholar that is associated with sonnets and Ovid? I can think of no other than “the most copious Carminist of our time, and famous persecutor of Priscian, his verie friend Master Apis Lapis” as Nashe writes in his Strange News, (Apis Lapis meaning Bull (or Ox) Stone), the same man that Nashe calls “Will. Monox” (hast thou never heard of him and his great dagger?). His name is highly associated with “Ox” and the word “verie” (the verie thought of his far derived discent…). This is certainly a homage to the patron, poet and courtier Edward de Vere, earl of Oxford.

      RESPONSE: It is nothing of the kind, as is shown by the fact that the man who Nashe is “praising” was left out of Spencer’s list of worthies. Oxenforde was not left off of that list and so he can’t be the individual Nashe was supposedly praising. I’d be happy to go through much more of the passage you have cited to show the double-edged meanings of which Nashe was a master, but that would take more time than I currently have and the fact that Oxenforde is excluded by his being included in Spencer’s catalogue of worthy nobles should be sufficient to show that your identification of him is incorrect. As to “Apis Lapis” [bee-stone] and Will Monox, I’d be happy to discuss those monikers as well, although that would be expanding our current discussion. Neither of them is Oxenforde either.

  30. Mark Johnson on said:

    Edward:
    I sincerely hope I did not say anything to drive you away from this most enjoyable discussion. If I did so, please accept my apologies. MDHJ

  31. Edward on said:

    Mark: No I have just been occupied for a while. I plan to come back later, though.

  32. Edward on said:

    Short and late answer: of course, just after posting my comment above I realized that Oxford IS addressed by Spencer, so accordingly, as you say, he is apparently not intended by Nashe. But that was not the main point. And besides, if I am wrong it doesn’t follow automatically that you are right.

    Yes, Southampton was a courtier, so he could be the one intended, but I would like to see much more substance in your argument to be convinced about this. For example, there is no big wonder that S. is left out by Spencer; in 1590 S. was sixteen years old, and was hardly a big name as a patron and “scholar”. So why would Nashe make a big deal about this? According to you, since he was full of hatred towards this teenager earl, but the story is still to be confirmed. It is not enough to say that “Ganymed and Amyntas = Homosexual = Southampton”.

    Also, according to you, Nashe is using not irony, but hyper irony. I find it very hard to believe that Nashe in the following, writing in 1592, actually means the absolute OPPOSITE to what he writes:

    “And heere (heavenlie Spencer) I am most highlie to accuse thee of forgetfulnes, that in that honorable catalogue of our English Heroes, which insueth the conclusion of thy famous Fairie Queen, thou wouldst let so special a piller of Nobilitie passe unsaluted. The verie thought of his far derived discount & extraordinary parts wherewith he astonish the world, and draws all harts to his love, have inspired thy forewearied Muse with new furie to proceede to the next triumphs of thy stately Goddesse, but as I in favor of so rare a scoller, suppose with this counsel he refrained his mention in this first part that he might with full sail proceed to his due commendations in the second. Of this occasion long since I happened to frame a sonnet which being whole intended to the reverence of this remoumed lord, (to whom I owe all the utmost powers of my love and duty) I meant here for variety of stile to insert.”

    The instruction to Spencer is apparently very clear: Include a “due commendation” to the unnamed courtier and “rare scoller” in the second part of “Fairie Queene”. Spencer has in the eyes of Nashe been unfair to the unnamed scholar and courtier and is asked to correct this next time.

    So, what I would like to see is a clear sign of Nashe’s irony here, that he actually means the opposite of what he is saying, and also a clear proof that the person he points at is the teenaged Southampton.

    Can you give me that?

    More important though; we are moving around very far away from the question of the authorship here. Even if you were right here, that Southampton is the one intended etc, you are a very long way from showing that William of Stratford was known by his contemporaries as a distinguished writer, or, even, as a literate person. As I have written before, the first personal record of him being an author is from 1630. That is 14 years after his death and 7 years after the publication of the fraud we call the First Folio and the Stratford Monument, which changed the paradigm for hundreds of years to come.

    If I find time I will come back on the issue of the Jonson (and Shakespeare) plays portraits of the Stratford man Gulli(elium) Shaksper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: