Troilus and Cressida 8 of 9
Point 7 Bacon the likely author
Gray’s is most likely to be the Inn envisaged in Points 5 and 6 because it was the largest and because it had staged a performance of The Comedy Of Errors, which in my (Cockburn’s) view was also a first performance of a Shake-Speare play written specially for the Inn. Can one go further and identify the Inn member who wrote Troilus And Cressida? Two points, and perhaps a third suggest Bacon:
(a) He had done much at least of the writing for the Gray’s Inn Revels of Christmas 1594-5, including, if I am right, The Masque of Proteus and The Comedy Of Errors performed as part of them.
(b) This intellectual play with its philosophical debates is redolent of Bacon in every way. In (an earlier post, see “Baconian Evidence: misc.”) I give one example of his (Shake-Speare’s) philosophising in which he quotes Aristotle (2.2.164-172) just as Bacon does. From a biographical point of view, Love’s Labour’s Lost is the play most easily identifiable as Bacon’s. But for affinity of thought and language, Troilus And Cressida is Bacon pure and simple - or rather pure and complex. (note: the parallels in the “misc.” forum posts for this play were presented as one of the stand-alone proofs of Bacon’s authorship, aside from this additional evidence).
(c) We have seen that the Epistle to “Eternal reader” oddly describes the play as “a birth of your brain”.
Still, the general public, reading the Epistle, would have blinked at “your”, as we do. It is a little strained to use it of someone else’s brain, and one wonders if it was done for a purpose. I make the tentative suggestion that “your” may have been addressed simultaneously to three different classes of reader: (1) to the general public as a product of their country and culture; (2) to an Inn of Court who would either read it as “your collective brain which fathered the play,”;
(3) to the Inn member who wrote it, to whom “your” would bear its natural meaning. On this last point the word “reader” in “Eternal reader” might conceivably help in identification. Bacon was a Reader of his Inn. True, “reader” in the Epistle lacks a capital “R”, which it would normally have, even without intended double meaning, in an Address to the Reader. But Elizabethans were unpredictable in their use of capitals. True also that the construction changes from “your” to “this author’s comedies”. But it would have to do this to be intelligible to the general public. There might be a similar double meaning in the heading. “an ever reader” suggests one particular reader, though “an ever” might have been used only for the antithesis and word play with “A never”. My suggestion is obviously rather a long shot, but it is not impossibly fanciful. And at least it would fit the facetious tone of the Epistle which has other double meanings, namely in the words with legal overtones and in L1.28-9 which use “prayed” in different senses. A double meaning in “reader” would have amused the Epistle’s author and other members of the Inn. And Bacon would have been quite flattered to be addressed as “Eternal” - unless that was a reference to the length of his readings!
[A Reader was a person literally elected to read—he would be elected to the Pension (council) of Gray's Inn, and would take his place by giving a "reading", or lecture, on a particular legal topic.]
Ignoring “reader” completely, the other circumstances surrounding Troilus And Cressida suggest an Inn play, with Bacon as the likely author.