Sunday, March 27, 2011

Parallels - Shakespeare's King John and Bacon

Here is shown what parallels exist between a single Shake-Speare play - King John - and a single Bacon work, the History of Henry VII (1622). Bacon seldom philosophizes in that work, so the only parallels we can expect to find, if our two authors are one, between the play and the history, are little snatches of distinctive phraseology. And we do find them. Individually they are slight, but cumulatively significant.

K.J. 1.1.188:  'too respective [respectful] and too sociable'
Bacon:          'towards his Queen respective and companionable'

K.J. 2.1.82:   'For courage mounteth with occasion'
Bacon:         'His wit increased upon the occasion'
note: There was a proverb "Great courage is in greatest dangers tried". But Shake-Speare words it similarly to Bacon's line.

K.J. 2.1.241-2: 'For this down-trodden equity we tread
                       In war-like march these greens before your town,'
Bacon:            'He had  given order that there should be nothing in his journey like unto a warlike march'
note: The usual expression was "to tread a march", without the inclusion of "warlike".

K.J. 2.1.568-9 & 587-8
                'That broker [expediency] that still breaks the pate of faith,
                 That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,'
                'And why rail I on this commodity [expediency]?    (line 587)
                 But for because he hath not woo'd me yet'
Bacon:      'And for the politic and wholesome laws which were enacted in his
                 time they were interpreted to be but the brokage of an usurper
                 thereby to woo and win the hearts of the people.'
note:  Compare Hamlet 1.3.126-31 where Polonius tells Orphelia not to believe Hamlet's vows "for they are brokers...the better to beguile". Thus Bacon and Shake-Speare both describe expediency (supposed expediency in the Bacon passage) as a "broker" designed to "woo" or to "beguile".

K.J. 2.2.40:    'Which harm within itself so heinous'
Bacon:          'This offence, in itself so heinous'

K.J. 3.3.167:   The legate Pandulph tells the Dauphin that the people will "pick
                     strong matter of revolt and wrath / Out of the bloody fingers' ends
                     of John".
Bacon:           'Some [people] prying and picking matter out of Perkin's countenance and gesture to talk of'

K.J. 3.3.176-7   [of amassing soldiers] 'Or as a little snow, tumbled about,
                      Anon becomes a mountain.'
Bacon:           'Their snowball did not gather as it rolled.'
note:  In both these texts the rolling snowball image is used of military forces.

K.J. 2.1.114 & 3.3.181
                 'To look into the blots and stains of right.'    (line 114)
                 'I will whet on [play on] the King.'             (line 181)
Bacon:       '[There] began to be discovered in the King that disposition which
                  afterwards nourished and whet on by bad counsellors and ministers,
                  proved the blot of his time.'

K.J. 4.2.203:    'Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears?'
Bacon:            'And he was possessed with many secret fears.'
note:  This Shake-Speare text is immediately followed by the King John parallel in the previous post.
note 2: Shake-Speare uses similar words in 1 Henry IV 2.2.100 and Henry V, 4.1.296,

K.J. 5.1.69:     'Arms invasive'
Bacon:           'It was not the first blow that made the war invasive.'

K.J. 5.7.53-4:   'The shrouds wherewith my life should sail'
Bacon:            'Indeed it came to pass that divers came away by the thread,
                      Sometimes one and sometimes another.'

K.J. 1.1.92:     'A half face like my father'
Bacon:           'Neither did they observe so much as the half face of justice'

It is legitimate to wonder whether one could find any other single play written at any time by any author other than Shake-Speare which shares with Bacon's Henry VII, 11 or more such turns of speech, most of them, it seems, idiosyncratic to some extent.

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