Friday, March 25, 2011

Parallels - Tempest: 2 of 2 Granting/Denying suits; over-topping; ivy; oft-telling; screens

This parallel is the second of two parallels from The Tempest that Cockburn believes, by their remarkableness, reach the status of proof of common authorship by themselves.

They are both from The Tempest. The first parallel of this set was published earlier. It involved the phrase "The print of goodness". 

This is a long post as Cockburn wrote 4 pages on it alone. I'm abridging it down to about three of his pages. The analysis you'll find gets into some challenging detail, but this is necessary to cover all angles of an argument. So some of the extra detail may only be of interest to those with more of a scholarly interest in the subject.
The following is from The Tempest 1.2. 77-110

  PROSPERO.      Thy false uncle-
    Dost thou attend me?
  MIRANDA.    Sir, most heedfully.
  PROSPERO.    Being once perfected how to grant suits,    {ACT1|SC2, line 80}
    How to deny them, who t'advance, and who
    To trash for over-topping, new created
    The creatures that were mine, I say, or chang'd 'em,
    Or else new form'd 'em; having both the key
    Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state
    To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was
    The ivy which had hid my princely trunk,                    {ACT1|SC2, line 87}
    And suck'd my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not.
  MIRANDA.    O, good sir, I do!
  PROSPERO.   I pray thee, mark me.
    I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
    To closeness and the bettering of my mind
    With that which, but by being so retir'd,
    O'er-priz'd all popular rate, in my false brother
    Awak'd an evil nature; and my trust,
    Like a good parent, did beget of him
    A falsehood, in its contrary as great
    As my trust was; which had indeed no limit,
    A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,
    Not only with what my revenue yielded,
    But what my power might else exact, like one       
    Who having into truth, by telling of it,                    {ACT1|SC2, line 100}
    Made such a sinner of his memory,
    To credit his own lie-he did believe
    He was indeed the Duke; out o' th' substitution,
    And executing th' outward face of royalty
    With all prerogative. Hence his ambition growing--Dost thou hear?
  MIRANDA.     Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
  PROSPERO.     To have no screen between this part he play'd
    And him he play'd it for, he needs will be
    Absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library
    Was dukedom large enough,

Comments: Let us look first at lines 80-82, and compare them with a letter from Bacon to the King in 1620:

Bacon: "To grant all suits were to undo yourself or your people; to deny all suits were to see never a contented face; as your Majesty hath of late won hearts by depressing, you should in this lose no hearts by advancing".

And in his Essay on Ambition Bacon wrote:  "There is use also of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops". As in line 82 above.

These passages share with Shake-Speare's lines the contrast between granting and denying suits, and the collocation of "advance" / "advancing" and "overtopping" / "overtops".
Now look at line 87, and compare it with this from Bacon's History of Henry VII, speaking of Perkin Warbeck's plan to murder the Lieutenant of the Tower:

"It was ordained that this winding ivy of a Plantagenet should kill the tree itself".

Thus in both authors this ivy-round-a-tree metaphor is applied to a usurper.

Next, lines 100-4. The 18th century scholar Edmund Malone wrote of these lines: "There is a very singluar coincidence between this passage and one in Bacon's History of Henry VII". The Bacon passage reads:

"[Perking Warbeck] did in all things notably acquit himself; insomuch as it was generally believed, as well amongst great persons as amongst the vulgar, that he was indeed Duke Richard. Nay, himself with long and continual counterfeiting and oft telling a lie, he was turned by habit almost into the thing he seemed to be; and from a liar to a believer".

Warbeck was a boy who was schooled by Margaret, duchess dowager of Burgandy, to put himself forward as being young Duke Richard, heir to the throne, who was now in fact dead. Like Bacon, Shake-Speare evidently knew of the story that Warbeck had come to believe his own deception, and he decided to apply it to Antonio in the play. The story is related in John Speed's History of Great Britain (1611), as follows:

"Neither was he [Warbeck] in any point wanting to his part...and as it is so observed of some, that by long using to report an untruth, as last forgetting themselves to be the authors thereof, believe it is earnest; so these honours making our Peter [Perkins] to bury in utter oblivion his birth's obscurity, he seemed to be persuaded that he was indeed the self party whom he did so exactly personate".

However, Shake-Speare is unlikely to have taken the story from Speed since The Tempest was probably written in 1610, before Speed's huge work was published (though Bacon might well have seen it in manuscript if it was in preparation over a period of years). And, so far as I know, the story did not appear in any other published source. But it was probably well known among historians by reason of its human and dramatic interest. Bacon is far more likely to have known it than Shakspere - English history was not on the curriculum at Stratford Grammar School. Further, there are two similarities of wording between the Shake-Speare lines and the Bacon passage, which are not the inevitable consequence of both authors writing about the same thing, as is illustrated by their absence from Speed's account. First, "into" in line 100 must be a corruption of "minted", as some scholars have suggested. So Shake-Speare had a coin image in mind. So probably did Bacon in his "counterfeiting". This inference is strengthened by a comment on Warbeck which Bacon attributes only 6 lines later to a speech by Dr. Warham, our Ambassador to Flanders, namely that:

"To counterfeit the dead image of a King in his coin is an high offence by all laws. But to counterfeit the living image of a king in his person exceedeth all falsifications."

And in his The Advancement of Learning Bacon refers to "the mint of knowledge".

Secondly, Shake-Speare's "telling of it" must be a corruption of "telling oft", as again scholars have recognized - 'oft telling' was an essential prerequisite of the deception. So Shake-Speare's "telling oft" matches Bacon's "oft telling".

Shake-Speare cannot have borrowed from Bacon, whose Henry VII was not published till 1622; nor could Bacon from the published play which first appeared in 1623 and in any event does not mention Warbeck.

Then in line 107 Shake-Speare says: "To have no screen between his part..."  There are three places where Bacon describes ministers as "screens" for the rulers they serve.

a) "There is also great use of ambitious men in being screens to Princes in matters of danger and envy. For no man will take that part except he be like a sealed dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him. There is also use of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops".
    Essay on Ambition

The last sentence, as we have seen, affords the parallel with line 79-81. By the first sentence Bacon meant that ministers are useful screens for Princes since, if anything goes wrong, the ministers, rather than the Princes themselves, will get the blame.

b) "And nothing doth extinguish envy more than for a great person to preserve all other inferior officers in their full rights and pre-eminences of their places. For by that means there be so many screens between him and envy".
    Essay on Envy

c)  "...make a good Lord Treasurer whose proper duty stop suits, put back pensions, check allowances, question merits, translate the suit from the suitor to your Majesty in a proportion; and in short to be a screen to your Majesty in things of this nature".
    Letter to King James of 20 September 1620

This last quote was from the same letter that was quoted earlier in regard to "granting suits". So the same letter deals with both suits and screens, as do the Shake-Speare lines. Shake-Speare, like Bacon, associated ministers with "screens". So, though he does not quite liken Antonio to a screen, he still couches his statement in "screen" terminology. Did any other Elizabethan speak of ministers as "screens", or as having "screens" between themselves and their sovereign? Shake-Speare cannot have borrowed "screens" from Bacon since the play was written before any of the three Bacon texts had appeared; nor Bacon from the published play which first appeared in 1623.

Lastly, in the last two Shake-Speare lines above, where Prospero describes his library as "dukedom large enough". Compare a letter by Bacon to Lord Burleigh about 1592 in which Bacon says: "I have taken  all knowledge to be my province".

So, in the above Shake-Speare Tempest quote there are 4 striking parallels with Bacon passages. The first and fourth arise from three consecutive sentences in Bacon's Essay on Ambition. And the fourth explains Shake-Speare lines which have troubled editors. (I omitted some of that analysis to save space here). It is fair to say that the whole Tempest quote is saturated with Bacon thought and expression.

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