This is Actor Keir Cutler's new video on the Shakespeare Authorship question, recounting how he got interested and involved in it. It's sponsored by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
- The poetical faculty was powerful in Bacon's mind but not, like his wit, so powerful as occasionally to usurp the place of reason, and to tyrannise over the whole man. No imagination was ever at once so strong and to thoroughly subjugated. It never stirred but at a signal from good sense...In truth, much of Bacon's life was passed in a visionary world, amidst things as strange as any that are described in the Arabian tales. Lord Macauley
- A kind of melody of speech belongs to Bacon; [his ear is exact] and counts its seconds like the pendulum of a clock. J.W.Taverner
- In Bacon's mode of writing there is that remarkable quality which gives the style of Shakespeare such a strongly marked individuality; that is, a combination of the intellectual and imaginative, the closest reasoning, the boldest metaphor. T.B.Shaw in Outlines of English Literature (1849)
- His style is also the reflection of a poetical mind which adorns its logic with an imagery, picturesque, piquant, and full of metaphors, similes and analogies, sometimes strained, always suggestive. Thomas Case in the World Classic edition of Bacon's Advancement of Learning.
- H.A. Taine in his History of English Literature (1871) wrote: In this band of scholars, dreamers and inquirers appears the most comprehensive, sensible, originative of the minds of the age, Francis Bacon, a great luminous intellect, one of the finest of this poetic progeny who, like his predecessors, was naturally disposed to clothe his ideas in the most splendid dress...He has thought in the manner of artists and poets, and he speaks after the manner of prophets and seers.
- Shakespeare is as astonishing for the exuberance of his genius in abstract notions, and for the depth of his analytical and philosophic insight, as for the scope and minuteness of his poetic imagination. It is as if into a mind poetical in form there had been poured all the matter that existed in the mind of his contemporary Bacon. In Shakespeare's plays we have thought, history, exposition, philosophy, all within the round of the poets. The only difference between him and Bacon sometimes is that Bacon writes an essay and calls it his own, while Shakespeare writes a similar essay and puts in into the mouth of a Ulysses or a Polonius. David Masson in Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and other Essays (1874)
- He was also a philosopher. In the construction of Shakespeare's dramas is an understanding manifested equal to that in Bacon's Novum Organum. Thomas Carlyle
- Bacon's similes, for their aptness and their vividness, are of a kind of which Shakespeare or Goethe or Richter might have been proud. Prof. J.S. Blackie (1886)
- Example of Bacon: "Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded wherein he saith that young men are no fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heart of their affections [passions], nor tempered with time and experience."
- Is that so different from this in Troilus And Cressida 2.2.166-172 "Not much unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought unfit to hear moral philosophy. The reasons you allege do more conduce to the hot passions of distempered blood than to make up a free determination twixt right and wrong." This parallel is discussed in more detail elsewhere on this site.
- His style varied almost as much as his handwriting but was influenced more by the subject matter than by youth or old age. Few men have shown equal versatility in adapting their language to the slightest change of circumstance and purpose. his style depended on whether he was composing a State paper, pleading in a State trial, magnifying the prerogative, extolling truth, discussing studies, exhorting a judge, sending a New Year present, or sounding a trumpet to prepare the way for the Kingdom of Man over nature. E.A. Abbott
- His constant practice in every kind of literary composition and in the meditation which constant literary composition sometimes tempts its practitioners to dispense with, enabled him to write on a vast variety of subjects and in many different styles. Prof. George E.B. Saintsbury in his Short history of English Literature (1898)
- It has always struck me as extraordinary, and almost as a problem to be explained, how the two greatest Englishmen belonged to one era, nearly the same interval of years, how they lived, as it were, side by side, face to face, yet, so far as we could learn, were strangers to each other, the one a poetical philosopher, the other a philosophical poet. W. Carew Hazlitt, a Stratfordian
Posted by Unfoldyourself at 7:57 PM
First, consider what many others that have read closely both Bacon and Shakespeare have said (this is only a partial list, it could be more than twice as long):
- In conversation he could assume the most different characters, and speak the language proper to each, with a facility which was perfectly natural.- David Mallet, Bacon biographer
- In his book, "Francis Bacon, His Career and Thought" Fulton Anderson says certainly the Shakespeare works are not in Bacon's usual style. But we must remember, he adds, Bacon could write in many different styles at will. Anderson notes that when trying to bring Essex back into Elizabeth's favor Bacon had successfully composed feigned correspondence supposedly written by Essex and by Bacon's brother Anthony in which he imitated the styles of each perfectly. He even wrote letters to Elizabeth, says Anderson, at the bidding of Essex in exact imitation of the Earl. And when James succeeded to the throne after the death of Elizabeth, Bacon addressed a letter to James in exact imitation of the ponderous style of James.
- "A high perfection, attainable only by use, and treating with every man in his respective profession, and what he was most vers'd in. So as I have heard him entertain a Country Lord in the proper terms relating to Hawks and Dogs. And at another time out-Cant a Loundon Chirurgeon (Surgeon). Thus he did not only learn himself, but gratifie such as taught himn; who looked upon their Callings as honoured through his Notice..." Francis Osborn, in his "Advice to a Son," writing of Bacon
- "My conceit of his person was never increased toward him by his place, or honors: but I have and do reverence him, for the greatness that was only proper to himself, in that he seemed to me ever, by his work, one of the greatest men, and most worthy of admiration, that had been in many ages." --Ben Johnson
- The fire, the wine, the men! and in the midst, Thou stands't as if some Mysterie thou didst! ---Ben Jonson 1620 addressing Bacon during a tribute on his 60th birthday
- He who have filled up all numbers and performed that in our tongue which may be compared or preferred either to insolent Greece or haughty Rome...In short, within his view, and about his times , were all the wits born that could honor a language or help study. Now things daily fall; wits grow downward and eloquence grows backward, so that he may be named and stand as the mark and acme of our language. -- Ben Jonson
- I am one of the many who have never been able to bring the life of William Shakespeare and the plays of Shakespeare within planetary space of each other. Are there any two things in the world more incongruous? Had the plays come down to us anonymously, had the labor of discovering the author been imposed upon after generations, I think we could have found no one of that day but Francis Bacon to whom to assign the crown. In this case it would have been resting now on his head by almost common consent.- Dr. W. H. Furness, the eminent American scholar in a letter to Nathaniel Holmes, Oct. 29, 1866
- A Dictionary of the English language might be compiled from Bacon's works alone.- -- Samuel Jonson
- The first time I heard Bacon mentioned as the possible author of the plays and poems, the idea lit up in my brain , and I felt certain that it could not have been the Mummer...... The moment it was suggested that Bacon had written them, I felt as many must have felt when they heard for the first time that the earth goes round the sun. Things began to get concentric again; hitherto they had all been eccentric. --George Moore in a Letter to R. L. Eagle
- Among so many virtues that made this great man commendable, prudence, as the first of all the moral virtues, and that most necessary of those of his profession, was that which shone in him the most brightly. Never was there man who so loved equity, or so enthusiastically worked for the public good as he. Vanity, avarice, and ambition, vices that too often attach themselves to great honors, were to him quite unknown, and if he did a good action it was not from a desire of fame, but simply because he could not do otherwise. His good qualities were entirely pure, without being clouded by the admixture of any imperfections, and the passions that form usually the defects in great men in him only served to bring out his virtues.--Pierre Amboise, 1631
- Thus it is easier to prove that if Shakspere wrote the literature we have an instance of a stupendous miracle than it is to prove that, although Bacon possessed all the qualifications , he might still have refrained from writing it. In the one case we should have to exercise that form of faith described as "believing what you know to be untrue," on the other there is no tax whatever upon one's faculty of credence.-- H. Crouch Batchelor from Francis Bacon Wrote Shakespeare
- The wisdom displayed in Shakespeare is equal in profoundness to the great Lord Bacon's Novum Organum. -- Hazlitt
- There is an understanding manifested in the construction of Shakespeare's plays equal to that in Bacon's Novum Organum -- Carlyle
- The philosophical writings of Bacon are suffused and saturated with Shakespeare's thought. -- Gerald Massey
- Surely the Essays must be numbered among the few books that deserve to be chewed and digested. Rarely shall you find so much meat, so admirably dressed and flavored, in so small a dish. Bacon abhors padding, and disdains to waste a word; he offers us infinite riches in a little phrase; each of these essays gives in a page or two the distilled subtlety of a master mind on a major issue of life. It is difficult to say whether the matter more excels; for here is language as supreme in prose as Shakespeare's is in verse. It is a style like sturdy Tacitus', compact yet polished; and indeed some of its conciseness is due to skillful adaptation of Latin idiom and phrase. But its wealth of metaphor is characteristically Elizabethan, and reflects the exuberance of the Renaissance; no man in English literature is so fertile in pregnant and pithy comparisons.--Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy
- Sir Walter Raleigh once spoke of him by way of comparison, "That the Earl of Salisbury was an excellent speaker, but no good penman; that the Earl of Northampton (the Lord Henry Howard) was an excellent penman, but no good speaker; but that Sir Francis Bacon was eminent in both."
- I infer from this sample that Bacon had all the natural faculties which a poet wants; a fine ear for metre, a fine feeling for imaginative effect in words, and a vein of poetic passion....Truth is that Bacon was not without the fine phrensy of a poet. --James Spedding, "Works "
- Lord Bacon was a poet. His language has a sweet and majestic rhythm, which satisfies the sense, no less than the almost superhuman wisdom of his philosophy satisfies the intellect. It is a strain which distends and then bursts the circumference of the reader's mind and pours itself forth together with it into the universal element with which it has perpetual sympathy. He is the greatest philosopher-poet since Plato. -- Percy Shelley, the poet
- I shall give you Measure for Measure.--Tobie Matthew in a letter to Bacon.
- He seems to have written his Essays with the pen of Shakespeare.--Alexander Smith
- "It will go near to pose any other nation of Europe, to muster out in any age, four men, who in so many respects should excel four such as we are able to show them: Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Sir Philip Sidney, and Sir Francis Bacon. The fourth was a creature of incomparable abilities of mind, of a sharp and catching apprehension, large and faithful memory, plentiful and sprouting, deep and solid judgment, for as such as might concern the understanding part. A man so rare in knowledge, of so many several kinds endued with the facility and felicity of expressing it all in so eloquent, significant, so abundant, and yet so choice and ravishing, a way of words, of metaphors and allusions as, perhaps, the world hath not seen, since it was a world. I know this may seem a great hyperbole, and strange kind of excess of speech, but the best means of putting me to shame will be, for you to place any other man of yours by this of mine." - Tobie Mathew, friend of F. Bacon
- It is my belief that Love's Labour's Lost took immediate inspiration from the Gray's Inn revels of 1594-5. It is very curious indeed to remember that the speeches of the Counsellors in Gesta Grayorum have been attributed to Francis Bacon, and if that attribution is correct, and if I am correct in hearing echoes of those speeches in Love's Labour's Lost, then the "civil war of wits" in that play may be, in one of its aspects, a reflection of some friendly crossing of swords between the two greatest wits of the age, Shakespeare and Bacon.--Frances Yates, a Stratfordian ; in the book A Study of Love's Labour's Lost
- .......There has been a great deal of scholarship gone into both sides of this issue. One of the things that has convinced me the most is that those who believe in Shakespeare don't seem to have the same kind of knowledge of facts and the depth of perception. They're mostly denying Bacon because--well--most people don't think so, therefore it isn't true. Shakespeareans are very defensive , often very superficial in their treatment of what is put out by Baconians.---Arthur Young 1987 The Shakespeare/Bacon Controversy
Posted by Unfoldyourself at 1:13 PM