Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Tempest authorship -part 16

The Tempest,  (16)

3.5 Dating The True Declaration (TD) cont.

Our final parallel is one between The Tempest and Bacon's History of Henry VII which was first pointed out by Edmund Malone and subsequently discussed by Cockburn. From a young age, a Flemish citizen by the name of Perkin Warbeck (1474-99) had been trained by Margaret, duchess dowager of Burgundy and Edward IV of England's sister, to play the part of Richard of Shrewsbury, who was the 1st Duke of York and the younger son of Edward IV. It seems that the real Duke had earlier been murdered in the Tower. In his History of Henry VII, Sir Francis Bacon relates that:

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

In The Tempest, Prospero tells Miranda about his brother the Duke of Milan:

Prospero: Like one
Who having into truth by telling of it,
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 the outward face of royalty,
With all prerogative;
(1610-11 The Tempest, 1.2.99-105)

The New Cambridge Shakespeare  suggests that this piece is suffused with counterfeit-coining metaphors. The word “into” is to be read as “minted”, “telling” (a teller's occupation) becomes “counting it over”, “credit his own lie” is a financial metaphor, “out o' th' substitution” has the interpretation of “replacing with baser metal”, and “executing the outward face of royalty” refers to “stamping the head of the coin”. In the History of Henry VII, Bacon informs us that Sir William Warham, doctor of canon law, was sent to Flanders to argue for the censure of Perkins. Warham made the following speech:

“Now this country of all others should be the stage where a base [metal]
counterfeit should play the part of a King of England; not only to his
grace's disquiet and dishonour, but to the scorn and reproach of all
sovereign princes. 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”.

It is interesting that both Bacon and Shakespeare emphasize the counterfeiting aspect of this story.

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