Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bacon and Queen Elizabeth regarding Richard II

Bacon and the Queen regarding Richard II

In Bacon's Apotheghems it is said that, "The book of deposing Richard the Second, and the coming in of Henry the Fourth, supposed to be written by Dr. Hayward, who was committed to the Tower for it, had much incensed Elizabeth, and she asked Mr. Bacon, being then of her learned counsel: Whether there were no treason contained in it? Mr. Bacon, intending to do him a pleasure, and to take off the Queen's bitterness with a jest, answered:

"No, madam, for treason I cannot deliver opinion that there is any, but very much felony." The Queen apprehending it gladly, asked: "How and wherein?" Mr. Bacon answered: "Because he had stolen many of his sentences and conceits out of Cornelius Tacitus."

In an early number of the journal Baconiana, a writer showed that whole pages of The Annals of Tacitus were used in Richard II. The play was staged in 1597, again during the Essex Rebellion and before, and Bacon, at the trial of Essex makes the cryptic remark: "It is said I gave in evidence mine own tales." All these indications point to Bacon's connection with the Shake-Speare play Richard II.

Mr. Henry Seymour, in Baconiana, (December 1926) pointed out the extraordinary fact that this play was published annonymously in the first instance, and that only when the Queen was hunting for it's author to "rack" him, that the new edition of 1598 was then issued with the name of "William Shakespeare" as author! Was this the moment to print a real author's name upon it? It plainly shows that this name was but a pseudonym, that Bacon was the concealed author, and that his knowledge of its "cribbing" from Tacitus was an unconscious admission of the fact.

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