Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bacon and Shake-Speare's publishers/printers - Part 4 of 4

Bacon’s connection to the printing of “Shake-Speares Sonnets”

We look again at Cockburn’s analysis (a little abridged):

This is headed simply “Shake-Speare’s Sonnets”, with no first name given. The use of the surname only, and in its hyphenated, metaphorical form, would be consistent with its use as a pen name. There appear to be only three other Elizabethan instances of the first name of a living author being omitted on a title page. However, I think the form of the heading here is of little or no significance since the metaphorical nature of Shakespeare’s surname may have appealed to the publisher and prompted him to use it without a prenomen. Besides, Shakespeare’s first name does appear in the separate heading to A Lover’s Complaint, included in the same volume, which is stated to be “By William Shake-Speare”.

This famous and much mulled-over Dedication (see the earlier post this month of the Sonnet's dedication). 

T.T. was Thomas Thorpe, the publisher. The wording is convoluted, but probably means:

I, Thomas Thorpe, wish Mr. W.H., the only begetter of these sonnets, who is wishing himself well as he sets forth on an adventure, all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet.
But who is Mr. W.H., the only begetter? He cannot be the author of the Sonnets, since the Dedication distinguishes between the two. Is he the inspirer, i.e, the Fair Youth? But the only two serious candidates for that role - Henry Wriothesly (1573-1624), 3rd Earl of Southampton, and William Herbert (1580-1630), 3rd Earl of Pembroke - could not have been addressed as “Mr.”

The final alternative is that “begetter” means “getter”, “procurer”. That is now the most favoured view and I have little doubt that it is correct. “Beget” was an archaic alternative to “get”. Shake-Speare himself comes close to using the word in that sense in Hamlet 3.2.7-8: “You must acquire and beget a temperament that may give it smoothness”. The procurer could also be regarded as begetting the Sonnets in the more usual sense in that he fathered them on the world at large by making them available for publication. Thus the Dedication was Thorpe’s thank-you to the procurer.

But who was the procurer? There are two main candidates. One is Sir William Harvey. The suggestion of his supporters is that the Sonnets were addressed to the young Earl of Southampton, who gave them to his mother the Countess or somehow let them into her possession. The idea is that, because of their intimate nature, she did not want them published in her lifetime. In 1598 she married her 3rd husband Sir William Harvey. She died in 1607 and Harvey inherited her chattels, which included the Sonnets. And then in 1609 he sold them to Thorpe for publication.

This theory is most implausible. Harvey was a Knight. Yet the Dedication addresses Mr. W.H. as “Mr.”. True, the Countess in letters to Harvey addressed him as “Master Harvey” “Mr.” being a contraction of “Master”. But informality is acceptable in letters between spouses. True also that in the House of Commons Knights were referred to as “Mr.”. But that was a rule special to the House. No one has found any Elizabethan precedent for addressing a Knight as “Mr.” in a dedication. Leslie Hotson, who knew so much about such things, rightly dismissed as absurd the notion that “a Jacobean publisher could conceivably address a Right Worshipful Knight: [e.g. Sir William Harvey] as ‘Master”’. The rest of Thorpe’s wording also seems too informal for a dedication to a Knight. In his dedications in other works he published he was facetious and colloquial only when addressing friends or equals.

Again, how would the Sonnets pass from Southampton to his mother (with whom he was not even living for most of the time)? If one assumes for the moment (as the theory assumes) that the Sonnets depict a real and intimate emotional relationship between Southampton and Shakspere the actor, and record also how the two men shared a mistress who, according to three of the Sonnets, was little better than a prostitute, surely his mother would have been the last person Southampton wanted to see the Sonnets. And why would Harvey have them published, so as to bring scandal on the Southampton family? Even if one takes the view, which I shall urge below, that the Sonnets are almost entirely fictional, painting no real relationship, Southampton, his mother and Harvey might all have seen the risk that the world might construe them differently.

By contrast, the other main candidate for the role of Mr. W.H. is utterly convincing. He is William Hall, who was active in the publishing world and became a publisher in his own name in 1606. He seems to have published mostly theological works and business papers; and in 1609 to have been in partnership with Thomas Haviland, and in 1612 in association with John Beale. Hall disappears from the scene about 1614, having on 7 April of that year transferred some copyrights to Beale.

If one refers again to the Dedication, one sees that by removing the full stop after Mr. W.H., one gets Mr. W. Hall. It looks as though the wording may have been deliberately convoluted to bring “all” immediately after “Mr. W.H.”

Mr. W.H. was setting forth on some adventure. One thinks immediately of the colonisation of Virginia which was much in the public mind at that time. It is also worth noting that a William Hall became an “adventurer”, the official description of a shareholder in the Virginia Company, on a date unknown between the Company’s second Charter of 23 May 1609 and its third Charter of 12 March 1612. The Sonnets were entered in the S.R. on 20 May 1609 and presumably printed thereafter. Perhaps Hall became a shareholder before Thorpe drafted his Dedication.

There is a little further evidence that Mr. W.H. was our William Hall. One of the books Hall published was a collection of poems by Robert Southwell. It was printed for Hall by G. Eld who printed the Sonnets for Thorpe. The book has a dedication to one Mathew Saunders which says: “W.H. wisheth [Saunders] with long life a prosperous achievement of his good desires”. W.H. was no doubt William Hall. So there too he went by his initials. Speaking of the manuscripts from which the work was printed, W.H. says: “Long have they lain hidden in obscurity and happily [by hap] had never seen the light of day; had not a mere accident conveyed them to my hands”. Perhaps Hall’s speciality was to procure manuscripts for publication.

Now, all this leads nowhere for our purposes unless one can find some connection between Hall and either Shake-Speare or Bacon. But one can. Though this important point seems never to have been noted in this context, it was Hall and Beale who owned the copyright of the Second edition of Bacon’s Essays. The entry in the S.R. of 12 October 1612 reads:

Wm Hall, John Beale. Entred for their copy under the handes of my Lo: Bysshopp of London & the Wardens A booke called the Essayes of Sr Frs Bacon knight the Ks Sollicitor gen’all

This edition was an authorised one. So Bacon chose Hall or Beale or both as his publisher (probably not Beale alone since Hall’s name is first in the Register). But when the Essays were printed, they appeared under Beale’s name only.

Two of the objections which have been raised to the identification of Mr. W.H. with Hall are that Hall was too obscure a publisher to have obtained so important a work as the Sonnets; and that, had he obtained them, he would surely have published them himself, instead of making them over to another publisher. But Hall’s “obscurity” did not prevent him obtaining the Essays. They were of course a major scoop, especially as this edition contained 39 essays compared with 10 only in the First Edition of 1597. Further, Hall consented to their being published under Beale’s name only; just as, having acquired the Sonnets (if I am right), he made a similar arrangement with Thorpe. It seems that Hall had some reason for not wanting to publish either the Sonnets or the Essays under his own name. Yet he did not pirate the Essays, so perhaps not the Sonnets either.

They are likely to have been obtained from their author, directly or through an intermediary. It would have been difficult to collect the whole set piecemeal, one here, one there, from a number of the author’s friends among whom (so Meres tells us in his Palladis Tamia, 1598) they had circulated.

There are a number of misprints in the Sonnets. But in those days proofs were hardly ever sent to an author. He had to attend the printing house in person daily if he wanted to ensure accuracy. Shakspere could have done that, but Bacon, as Solicitor-General, could not; above all, it would have endangered his anonymity.

Does it not look, then, as though Hall obtained the Sonnets, A Lover’s Complaint and the Essays from the same source - Bacon?

End of part 4

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bacon and Shake-Speare's publishers/printers - Part 3 of 4

Bacon’s connection to the printing of “Shake-Speares Sonnets”focusing on A Lover’s Complaint

Note: This post and the next are part of a pair, relating to the publishing of Shake-Speare’s Sonnets. The connection to the publisher and printer will be covered in the following posting. This post is an abridgement of a section of Nigel Cockburns book The Bacon-Shakespeare Question. He was curious about an entry in the Northumberland Manuscript (dated to 1597 and discussed earlier here in this ‘misc.’ evidence). See the two underlined entries of “Asmund and Cornelia” in the copied potion of the manuscript in the "Asmund and Cornelia" blog post made earlier this month.

Now, here is Cockburn’s analysis:

Asmund and Cornelia
I have left to the last the remaining inventory item, “Asmund and Cornelia” which is repeated to the left over the slight misquotation from L.1086 of The Rape of Lucrece. Everyone has been nonplussed by Asmund and Cornelia, since there is no trace of any work of that name having been published or mentioned elsewhere. It has been generally assumed to be a lost play or narrative poem. I make the novel suggestion that it was the original projected title for Shake-Speare’s longish poem A Lover’s Complaint which was published in 1609 in the same volume as the Sonnets. In the poem a nameless woman laments to an old man that a nameless youth had succeeded in seducing her by his devilish charm. Early in the 20th century some eminent Stratfordian scholars, to their discredit, questioned Shake-Speare’s authorship, but more recent Stratfordian studies based on style and parallelisms have confirmed the poem to be his.

[Note: More of Bacon’s connection to Shakespeare’s poem A Lover’s Complaint will be posted  here later.]

For my part I had long suspected that Asmund and Cornelia was an alternative title for A Lover’s Complaint. Its position in the inventory immediately beneath the Richard plays (which likewise have no author ascribed to them, except in the subsequent scribbling), and also above a quotation from The Rape of Lucrece, inclines one to see it as a Shake-Speare work. Further, he had already published his other two long poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. That would have left only Asmund and Cornelia, if it is his, to be entered in the inventory and kept in manuscript in the bundle. I knew that my surmise would largely stand or fall on whether the names Asmund and Cornelia have associations which fit the theme of A Lover’s Complaint

When I eventually looked them up, I found as follows: One Cornelia was a Roman matron of the 2nd century BC., celebrated for her accomplishments and virtues as a mother. After her husband’s death she refused to marry again but devoted her life to her children. Her name was for long a byword for female virtue. Shake-Speare mentions her favourably in Titus Andronicus 4.1.12; and in 4.2.141 the midwife is named Cornelia. Another Cornelia was wife of Pompey the Great. In 1595 Thomas Kyd published as Pompey the Great, his fair Cornelia’s Tragedy an English translation of a French play about her. It deals with the death of her husband in battle, and the suicide of her father soon afterwards. Most of the play consists of Cornelia’s lamentations for her misfortunes. The woman in A Lover’s Complaint is unmarried, and her story bears no relation to those of the real Cornelias. But both sentences italicised would make Cornelia an excellent choice of name for her, a name an author might use to evoke sympathy for the character. She was virtuous - it was not her fault that she was seduced by a devil. And the poem is one long lamentation by her. 

As to Asmund, Asmodeus in Jewish legend was the king of demons, with a tendency towards licentiousness. There are various stories about his behaviour which bear no resemblance to the story of A Lover’s Complaint. But the important thing is that he was a devil, his name (or variants of it) being used by Elizabethan writers and for long afterwards to represent a devil. Thus Thomas Lodge his Wits Misery and the World’s Madness (1596), which has the subtitle Discovering the devils Incarnate of this Age, speaks at p. 45 of “The discovery of Asmodeus and his lecherous race of Devils Incarnate in our age”; and says: “No sooner came Asmodeus into the world by Sathan’s direction”. And at p. 94 he names an Arch-Devil Astaroth. So it is reasonable to infer that the author of Asmund and Cornelia chose the name Asmund for its likeness to Asmodeus, Asmund having the advantage of being acceptable as a real name. In 2 Henry VI, 1.4.23 the evil spirit (called “False fiend” in L.39) is addressed as Asmath. This may be a misprint for Asnath, which is an anagram of Sathan; or the n may have been changed to m to give the name some resemblance to Asmodeus. The weird form Asmath (or Asnath) is suitable for a spirit; and Asmund more suitable for a human being. Later, Milton in his Paradise Lost (1663) was to use Asmadai as the name of one of the rebel angels who fought for Satan; and the French writer Lesage to use Asmodée for the devilish character in his novel Le Diable Boiteaux (1707). 

When one turns to A Lover’s Complaint one finds no doubt whatever about the devilry of its young man. L.317 explicitly brands him as a fiend: “The naked and concealed fiend he covered”.  The aptness to Shake-Speare’s poem of both the names Asmund and Cornelia (double aptness in her case - virtue and lamentation), together with the other circumstances, makes it highly probable that the two works are the same. Shake-Speare had specified names in the titles of his two earlier long poems and may have been minded to do the same with A Lover’s Complaint. But since in the event no names are mentioned in its text, it is not surprising if it was thought better before publication to substitute a nameless title. If my identification of Asmund and Cornelia is correct, an obvious and pregnant question arises, which is: Unless Bacon was the poem’s author, how could he have it in his possession in manuscript under a different title perhaps about 12 years before it was published? It seems that A Lover’s Complaint was lying around in a Bacon file for more than 10 years, till it was finally brought out, dusted off, given a different title and published at the end of Shake-Speare’s Sonnets.

Note: This continues on part 4

Bacon and Shake-Speare’s publishers/printers – Part 2 of 4

Richard Field

From Wikipedia, “Richard Field (or Feild) (1561–1624) was a printer and publisher in Elizabethan London, best known for his close association with the poems of William Shakespeare, with whom he grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon

Field is best remembered for printing the early editions of three of Shakespeare's non-dramatic poems:
  • ·      Venus and Adonis
  • ·      The Rape of Lucrece
  • ·      The Phoenix and the Turtle

“In 1579 Richard Field began an apprenticeship with the London printers John Bishop and Thomas Vautrollier. Vautrollier died in 1587. In 1588, Field collaborated with Jacqueline Vautrollier, Thomas Vautrollier's widow and a printer in her own right.” Richard Field, upon Vautrollier’s death in July 1587, married Vautrollier’s widow in February (or March) 1588. Field thus inherited the publishing rights to Vautrollier’s books as well as now owning one of the best printing businesses in London.

Kathman describes their relationship as “Richard Field was apprenticed to George Bishop, one of the more prominent stationers (i.e. printers/publishers) in London, for the normal term of seven years. However, it was agreed that Richard would spend the first six of these years under Thomas Vautrollier…”

Though there is NO evidence of William Shakspere of Stratford-Upon-Avon and Richard Field meeting or working together, or even knowing or acknowledging each other, it’s assumed that they were friends because “Richard's father Henry was a tanner, much like John Shakespeare (who was a glover), and the Fields lived on Bridge Street, a few hundred yards down the road from the Shakespeares. Given their similar occupations in a small town, we can reasonably assume that the two men knew each other from childhood,…” (says David Kathman). Let me pause here to add that it would be more reasonable to assume that they knew of each other. William’s father John had sued Richard Field’s father Henry in 1556 (before either son was born). So it’s possible that the families didn’t have close friendly relations. Kathman continues “…and it’s entirely reasonable to think that the relationship continued when they were both living in London. (In the real world, the fact that Field published Venus and Adonis counts as evidence of their association in London, but I realize that that's out of bounds here.)”    (for Kathman’s article)

Two more comments on his analysis: He says “and it’s entirely reasonable to think that the relationship continued…”. Wait, WHAT RELATIONSHIP????  We don’t know ANYTHING about their relationship other than they were born in the same town and may have lived somewhat near each other while in Stratford. Maybe they had a bad relationship (or no relationship) and maybe that bad (or none) relationship continued when they both lived in London while Richard was a successful printer and William was a struggling young actor!  And the fact that Field published Venus and Adonis counts as evidence of their association in London???  No, it doesn’t. It counts as evidence that Field had a connection of some sort with the poet Shake-Speare, whoever that was. But even if it was Bacon it still doesn’t prove that Field even had a friendship with Bacon or even knew that he was Shake-Speare, if he was. If Bacon was Shake-Speare he may have used an associate to deliver his literary works to printers.

Field was, however, involved in the printing of a large number of sources used by Shake-Speare (Francis Bacon, William Shakspere, or someone else). And so it would not be surprising if this Shake-Speare spent time with Field and other printers to have better access to the books and manuscripts in their possession. Bacon, then, being a prolific writer under his own name (in his later years), and seeing his works printed both in England and maybe even more so on the continent, as well as being a voracious reader (having taken “all knowledge as his province”) would definitely fit this scenario. It’s interesting that Bacon, when frustrated at not receiving a government position, wrote to William Cecil in 1592, jested that he may as well “become some sorry bookmaker.” It would seem he knew that profession well to have it in mind, not seriously, as an alternate profession.

Richard Field, it turns out, is connected to Francis Bacon through a publication dedicated to Bacon’s parents:

"A treasurie of catechisme, or Christian instruction. The first part, which is concerning the morall law or ten Commandements of Almightie God: with certaine questions and aunswers preparatory to the same". by Allen, Robert, fl. 1596-1612. London : Printed by Richard Field for Thomas Man, 1600 ---dedicated to Nicholas and Anne Bacon 

Let’s now take a look at Field’s apprenticeship with Vautrollier. Thomas Vautrollier became an English citizen in March of 1562. Kathman describes him as a French refugee printer with an excellent record of printing difficult books, many in foreign languages”. Vautrollier was a Huguenot that left France during  The French Wars of Religion, which was primarily between the Catholics and the French Protestants, which drove many Huguenots to other lands. The Huguenots had the strong backing of Henry of Navarre.

Henry of Navarre and the House of Bourbon allied themselves to the Huguenots, adding wealth and holdings to the Protestant strength, which at its height grew to sixty fortified cities, and posed a serious threat to the Catholic crown and Paris over the next three decades.

As King of Navarre, before becoming Henry IV, King of France, Henry was a Huguenot (French Protestants).

Apparently, Vautrollier kept connected with the French Huguenots for at least another 16 years as he published a book dedicated to Henry:

"Traicte, de l'eglise", by Mornay, Philippe de, seigneur du Plessis-Marly, 1549-1623. Imprimé à Londres : Par Thomas Vautrollier, 1578 ---ded to Henry Navarre

Vautrollier’s, and then Field’s, wife was a member of the community of Huguenot exiles in London. So Field was likely sympathetic and sensitive to her former country’s religious struggles. William Shakspere of Stratford, on the other hand, has more often lately been considered as favoring Catholicism. His parents, especially his mother, were Catholic or had Catholic connections. See for example:

This would not likely endear him to Richard Field and his wife. Bacon, though, was broad-minded on religious matters, and one of his closest friends, Toby Mathew had converted to Catholicism and had been banished because of it. This could explain some of the favorable or tolerant Catholic characters/ideas/symbolism in the Shakespeare plays.

Also, elsewhere here, under another blog topic (to be added later) , I’ve posted a four part series that represents a proof of Bacon’s authorship of the Shake-Speare play Love’s Labors Lost. Those posts provide evidence of Bacon’s connections to Henry of Navarre.

This establishes a connection between Francis Bacon and the Shakespearean printer Richard Field. It’s not a strong connection, but there seems to be more evidence for such between Bacon and Field than between William of Stratford and Field. Field, besides printing a work favorable to Francis Bacon’s parents, inherited Vautrollier’s publishing rights to books associated with Huguenot Henry of Navarre, with whom Francis and his brother Antony were, or had been, closely associated.

There’s more.

One of Francis Bacon’s closest friends was Sir Fulke Greville, Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman.

His connection to Bacon and Stratford-Upon-Avon are discussed on this site in the ‘Shakespeare Evidence Reviewed’ section (to be added to this blog later) where we examined famous persons that should have known whether or not William Shakspeare of Stratford was the playwright ‘Shake-Speare’.

In April 1583 the philosopher Giordano Bruno came to England, and Greville received him with enthusiasm; and in his house in London, Bruno held several of those disputations which he recorded in "La Cena de la Ceneri" (Frith, "Life of Giordano Bruno," 1887, p. 227, &c.).

From Shakespeare's Warwickshire Contemporaries, (1907, first published in 1897 by Charlotte Carmichael Stopes) we find “We know that he [Greville] befriended Giordano Bruno, whose works were published by Vautrollier and Field, and read by Shakespeare.” 

In this same book we find "In some of the Sonnets there are such evident traces of the influence of Giordano Bruno that I long wondered how Shakespeare could have come in contact with him. That philosopher had, it is true, lectured in Oxford in 1583, but one could hardly fit Shakespeare into a university lecture room. He (Bruno) had visited in 1582 Sir Fulke Greville and Sir Philip Sidney in London; yet we cannot imagine Shakespeare in their company then." 
And yet, Bacon, the close friend of Greville, and who became an eminent philosopher, would be very likely to want to familiarize himself with the thought of Bruno, and possibly to have attended Bruno’s lecture at Oxford.
Stopes also added that “The "Dialectics of Aristotle," edited by John Case, of Oxford, came out in 1584. This book doubtless read by Shakespeare was a treatise on moral, political, and economical philosophy, by Petrucio Ubaldino, a Florentine, for many years pensioned by Queen Elizabeth.”
Bacon’s book of Essays are often titled “Essays, Moral, Economical, and Political”, showing how close in philosophical interests Bacon was with some of these books “doubtless read by Shakespeare”.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bacon and Shake-Speare's publishers/printers - Part 1 of 4

Bacon's Connection to the Printers of the 1623 Shakespeare Folio
In the latter part of Bacon's life, the steward of his estates was William Tottel. He is also described as "A Six Clerk in Chancery."

This William Totell was the son of the famous Elizabethan printer, Richard Totell, who was master of the Stationers' Company in 1579. Richard had a patent for the printing of law books, and also published, among other works, the famous Tottel's Miscellany, or Songes and Sonnets written by Henry Howard, late Earle of Surrey, and others (1557). He took as apprentice John Jaggard. Richard died in 1594. When Richard Tottel retired, John Jaggard took over his shop at the Hand and Star in Fleet Street. After his father retired, William Tottell, in 1591, was acting as "dealer for his father," presumably in the capacity of liquidator.

William Jaggard (c. 1568 – November 1623) was an Elizabethan and Jacobean printer and publisher, best known for his connection with the texts of William Shakespeare, most notably the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays. William Jaggard's brother John Jaggard was also a printer and publisher, and held the rights to print the Essays of Sir Francis Bacon. John published editions of the Essays (1606, 1612, 1613) that were printed by his brother William.

John Jaggard entered into partnership with his brother William. William had published, for his brother John, the first edition of Bacon's Essays in 1597.

John Jaggard’s shop was quite close to Bacon’s house, and his old master’s son (William Tottell, son of Richard) was a steward of Bacon. In 1618, Bacon interested himself in a petition which John Jaggard presented, partly on behalf of poor stationers of London, and partly on behalf of himself. See A Printer of Shakespeare by Edwin Eliott Willoughby, 1934.

And keep in mind, for later, that in 1612 John Beale and William Hall were also allowed to register a copy of Bacon’s essays and to print an edition.

The Shakespeare Folio of 1623 was "printed by Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount." Isaac was the eldest son of William Jaggard. We have thus a connection between the Tottels, the Jaggards, Bacon and the works of Shakespeare's First Folio. William Jaggard also published The Passionate Pilgrim by W. Shakespeare, 1599.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shakespeare's Sonnets

I'm drawing on Cockburn's book for the following:

The direct evidence we have with Bacon and sonnets is very slight. In 1599 he says he wrote a sonnet to the Queen who was to dine with him. This was after the Earl of Essex made his disastrous return from Ireland. And it's been surmised that possibly this sonnet was an effort to lessen the damage to Essex from the Queen's anger. And that possibly this sonnet or it's theme  found it's way into the play The Merchant of Venice where Portia gives her speech to Shylock "The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, etc. It does seem odd that Shake-Speare in this speech of Portia speaks of the Mercy of the monarch as above the power he/she wields. What does this aspect of a monarch have to do with a moneylender? Wouldn't a somewhat despised moneylender relate better to, say, a Duke than to a monarch?  In any case, we don't have the sonnet that Bacon wrote for the Queen. But the assumption is that based on Bacon's language skills and poetic reputation (which I'll get to) that his sonnet would likely be of good quality if he felt confident enough to read it to the Queen.

His poetic reputation comes from a few sources. 1. He wrote how poets behave when they come for an opinion of their poetry. The assumption here is that he's  implying that poets come to him for his advice on their poetry, further implying that his reputation with poetry is well-regarded. 2. He called himself a poet. Further than that, he called him self a "concealed poet". He called himself this to another poet--John Davies, a distinguished poet who was on his way to meet James I to assume the English throne. The implication here is that Bacon wouldn't have identified himself as a poet to a known distinguished poet unless his own reputation, even as an anonymous poet, was well-regarded. It also shows that his anonymity wasn't complete, that others, such as Davies must have known of his concealed poet status. Also, this letter from Bacon to Davies was in the hand of one of Bacon's secretaries, though it was signed by Bacon in his own hand. This shows further that Bacon's anonymous writings were known by some others who honored his desire for anonymity. 3. Bacon did write some poems, some to his name, and some other that are argued to be his though not in his name. He wrote some Psalm paraphrases under his name in late 1624. These are not on the same quality as the Shake-speare sonnets or early poems. However, at this time an explanation for their poorer quality (assuming Bacon did write the Shake-speare poetry) is that by late 1624 "Bacon was an old and broken man, undergoing a prolonged sickness, perhaps with declining powers, and within 18 months of death." And he probably hadn't written any poetry since 1613 when he was appointed Attorney-general, so that his inspirational powers were weaker. Further, even trying to paraphrase the psalms into verse was probably a poor judgment on his part as they don't lend themselves well to this change without subtracting from their effect. 

More importantly is whether Bacon's style in these psalm paraphrases is like Shake-speare's style. Cockburn says they are similar in diction and the use of alliteration. And there are a number of verbal parallels in his paraphrases with phrases in Shake-speare. For example, both Bacon and Shake-speare use the term "line of life" (Bacon regarded life as a line that moves forward). "Mounted high" is used by both; the both use "frail mortality"; they both use "thou to them" or some other version having 2 personal pronouns joined by a preposition. These are just a few of many similarities.

Cockburn also argues that the best identity for W.H. would be William Hall, whose last name you can see in the dedication if you remove the period after the 'H'. His initials are used in another dedication similar to that of the Sonnets. This other dedication (to a Mathew Saunders) is "W.H. wisheth [Saunders] with long life a prosperous achievement of his good desires." William Hall, along with his business partner John Beale, both owned the copyright to the second edition of Bacon's Essays (1612).

Also, it should be kept in mind that an argument can work more than one way. So, one way is by saying "this person has written sonnets that are equal in quality to the Shake-speare sonnets, therefore he/she could have written them." Another argument can be made that "this person wrote the other Shake-speare works--the plays and longer poems" therefore, he/she also likely wrote the sonnets."

Of course, we're not trying to prove anything here. We're just sharing ideas and evidence we have. Ideally we'd like a large commission of experts to examine all the evidence and see what they say.
If you have the time you can read Cockburn's full chapter on Bacon's connections to the Sonnets by downloading the pdf file of the first half of his book. The Sonnets discussion is in Chapter 25, pages 281-316.

Another Baconian has tried to map out many of the sonnets to Bacon's life, as others have tried connecting them to Oxford, Raleigh, or whomever. I haven't read many of this person's analysis and wouldn't attempt to try vouching for them. I just want to point out that other people think they can see biographical connections between Bacon's life and the Shake-speare works.

Asmund and Cornelia in the Northumberland MS