Sunday, June 5, 2011

Love's Labor's Lost - Authorship Evidence - Part 3

[Part 3 of 4]  Summary Authorship Evidence in Love's Labor's Lost

Parallels between Love's Labor's Lost (L.L.L) and Gray's Inn Revels of 1594-5

I summarized in earlier posts how The Comedy of Errors was integrated into these revels at Bacon's law school. Shake-Speare's 'L.L.L' also has strong connections to these same Revels.

(a)   In the Revels there were rules given for the students to read, one of which was to read a book on "The French Academy", again, one of Francis Bacon's fascinations.  

(b)   One of the themes of the play was the rival merits of Love versus Play. This was also a theme in the Revels, as would be natural for a law school. Among the speeches ascribed to Bacon is one that advocates the study of philosophy, and another that advocates the pursuit of pastimes and sport including love. And as in the play, so in the Revels is there a temporary abandonment of study for the pleasure of revelry. And in another speech in the Revels, a counsellor says "What! Nothing but tasks, nothing but working-days? No feasting, no music, no dancing, no triumphs, no comedies, no love, no ladies? Let other men's lives be as pilgrimages, but Princes' lives are as Progresses [royal visits] dedicated only to variety and solace." Compare the similarity of this speech to that in 'L L L' by Berowne  "O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,/ Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep".  

(c)   In 'L L L' the characters disguise themselves as 'Muscovites' and 'blackamoors'. Likewise, in the Revels, there are characters playing 'Russians' and 'Negro Tartars'.  

(d)  In the play Rosaline mocks the King as looking "Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy". In the Revels, a character supposedly returning from Russia describes himself as having seasickness.   From correspondences like these, the Stratfordian Francis Yates even observed that "It is my belief...that Love's Labor's Lost ... took immediate inspiration from the Gray's Inn Revels of 1594-5". So the question is asked - How could Shakspere be so familiar with all the minute details and speeches of the Revels, and then to be so motivated to add them to his plays, especially considering it's very unlikely he could have even attended them? 

Francis Yates also wrote "It is very curious indeed to remember that the speeches of the Counselors in Gesta Grayorum have been attributed to Francis Bacon, and if that attribution is correct, and if i am also correct in hearing echoes of those speeches in Love's Labor's Lost, then the "civil war of wits" in that play may be, in one of its aspects, a reflection of some friendly crossing of swords between the two greatest wits of the age, Shakespeare and Bacon".   If only he had been aware of all the current evidence for Bacon's authorship of both, the curiosity would be much less surprising.

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