Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Parallel - Bright Alexander

Here is a Bacon/Shakespeare parallel in I Henry VI lines 55-58

Bedford: A far more glorious star thy soul will make
                than Julius Caesar or bright ---
                                   Enter a messenger
Messenger: My honourable lords, health to you all!
                  Sad tidings bring I to you out of France.

Neither my Folger nor Signet Classics editions say anything about what might come after the word 'bright'.

Here are some relevant Bacon quotes:

"Both in persons and in times there hath been a meeting and concurrence in Learning and Arms, flourishing and excelling in the same men and the same ages. For, as for men, there cannot be a better nor the like instance, as of that pair, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar the Dictator; whereof the one was Aristotle's scholar in philosophy, and the other was Cicero's rival in eloquence."
The Advancement of Learning

"[Alexander] gave him [Aristotle] to understand that himself esteemed it more to excel other men in learning and knowledge than in power and empire. And what use he [Alexander] had of learning doth appear, or rather shine, in all his speeches and answers, being full of science and use of science, and that in all variety . . . I am as willing to flatter, if they will so cal it, an Alexander or a Caesar or an Antonimus that are dead many hundred years since, as any that now liveth: for it is the displaying of the glory of learning in sovereignty that I propound to myself, and not an humour of declaiming in any man's praises. . . there are prints and footsteps of learning in those few speeches which are reported of this prince: the admiration of whom, when I consider him not as Alexander the Great, but as Aristotle's scholar, hath carried me too far. As for Julius Caesar, the excellency of his learning needeth not to be argued."
The Advancement of Learning

"It is not possible to have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Caesar . . . But the images of men's wits and knowledges remain in books, exempted from the wrong time."
The Advancement of Learning

"In which point I promise to myself a like future to that of Alexander the Great. [For it was said of Alexander that he] had done no more than to take courage to despise vain apprehensions. And a like judgment I suppose may be passed on myself in future ages."
Novum Organum

"Alexander did not think his fame so engraven in his conquests but that he thought it further shined in the buildings of Alexandria."
Bacon's Speech at Gray's Inn Revels

Here is Cockburn's analysis and comment on what it likely said, based on Bacon's known writings:

The reader sees that in the Shake-Speare text the second line ends with a blank. The editors of William Shakespeare A Textual Companion opine that "despite numerous conjectures about the intended completion of this sentence, a dramatic interruption is almost certainly intended". But Shake-Speare would hardly have broken a sentence off between an adjective and its noun. The Arden editor and most other scholars make the far more plausible suggestion that Shake-Speare wrote a second name which the compositor could not decipher; a long name with many minims may have baffled him. Names suggested have included Sir Francis Drake, Berenice and Cassiopey. But the Bacon texts almost certainly provide the answer. They show that he greatly admired both Caesar and Alexander. Alexander fits the metre and would have to be prefaced by an adjective to fill the gap before his name since, unlike Julius Caesar, he was not known by any prenomen. Above all, he would be a natural partner for Caesar, and comparison for Henry V. "Bright" rather than 'great' is an unexpected adjective for Alexander and has put editors off the scent, but Bacon's shine (used twice) explains it - he thought Alexander bright by reason of his intellectual qualities. As for flattering Caesar and Alexander, that is exactly what Shake-Speare does in L.56, if Alexander is the missing name."
"It is not possible to have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Caesar . . . But the images of men's wits and knowledges remain in books, exempted from the wrong time."
The Advancement of Learning

Here Bacon is saying that a person's mind that remains in their books is a truer picture of them than a painting or statue. Compare this idea to the First Folio 'To the Reader' where the last 4 lines say:
His face; the Print would then surpasse
  All, that was ever writ in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
  Not on his Picture, but his Books.

Finally, see how this corresponds to :

"And those who have true skill in the Works of the Lord Verulam [Bacon], like great Masters in Painting, can tell by the Design, the Strength, the way of colouring, whether he was the author of this or the other Piece, though his Name be not to it."
Archbishop Tenison, in his Baconiana, 1679

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