Sunday, June 5, 2011

Love's Labor's Lost - Authorship Evidence - Part 2

Part 2 of 4 on Summary Authorship Evidence in Love's Labour's Lost 

Point 3) The play uses historical incidents within Bacon's, but not Shakspere's known experience and awareness.

    The Arden editor said that "Shakespeare's play follows historical fact remarkably closely." The parallels are:   

(a) The Academy.   An actual academy, like that in the play, was set up at the Court of Navarre by Henri. There is also a letter from 1583 by the English Ambassador to Sir Francis Walsingham, one of Queen Elizabeth's Secretaries of State, that the King of Navarre "has furnished his Court with principal gentlemen of the Religion and reformed his house", which also is found echoed in the play.  

(b) in the play, an embassy of women come from the French court to King of Navarre's academy. In actual history, there were two such embassies, though the characters are slightly different. For instance, a princess is used in the play rather than the sister of the King of France. But in each there were negotiations over money and over the region of Aquitaine.  

(c)   the historical embassy was led by Marguerite de Valois, and her journey corresponds exactly with the princess's journey in the play. For instance, both real and play embassies visited the Duc d'Alencon at his residence, and they both also visited Brabant/Flanders. In addition the Alencon family dies out before 1589, before the likely writing of the play, but after Bacon's time in France. So, again, these particular correspondences between the play and history were much more likely to be known by Francis Bacon, who had a deep interest in Academies and whose brother Anthony lived with the King of Navarre at his court in the summer of 1584, and who later resided some years with Francis after his return to England.  (Anthony Bacon had spent 12 years living on the continent and was a great resource of information and communication to him regarding European events and contacts.) 

(d)   The French surnames in the play for the three young lords (Berowne, Longaville, and Dumain) are nearly exactly those of real persons--(Duc de Biron, Duc de Longueville, and Duc de Mayenne). These characters in the play don't reflect the personalities of the actual historical persons, and the names themselves would have been known to many in England that followed events in France. However, they would be more easily known to Francis and Anthony Bacon due to their years spent in France and their associations with various personages there. In addition, Anthony Bacon personally knew the Duc de Longueville (like Longaville in the play). And one of his servants had passports in which were found the names of a de Lomagne (similar to Dumain) and a Baron de Biron (similar to Berowne). Antonio Perez, the Spanish braggart onetime friend of the Bacons, had also for a time been a companion of Henri of Navarre.     

(e)   The play refers to King of Navarre's manner of horse riding. "Was that the King, that spurred his horse so hard / Against the steep-up rising of the hill?" (4.1.1-2) The real King Henri of Navarre actually did have a habit of riding impetuously. The Bacon brothers would have known this.  

 (f)   The play also has the princess say

"Nothing but this! yes; as much love in rhyme
As would be crammed up in a sheet of paper,
Writ o' both sides the leaf, margent and all,
That he was fain to seal on Cupid's name."  (5.2.6-9)
Henri, the real King of Navarre, actually did cover the whole sheet, including margins, in his love letters, and he did seal them with romantic "special emblematic signet".   

(g)   In the play the princess has an interest in hunting. Her historical counterpart Margurite had hunting as a favorite pastime.

The above facts were mostly not published in Shakspere's lifetime. There had been a book on The French Academy published in English in 1586 but Bacon would be much more likely to have read it out of his consuming interest in academies, than would have Will Shakspere. Nor does the book mention such an academy at the court of Navarre. Casual chats with travelers would not likely be a source for all these personal and peculiar historical facts represented in the play. And I've only described maybe half of them listed by Cockburn.

Point 4)  At the end of the play the Princess has to leave due to the sudden death of her father. A more appropriate ending would have had her complete the business that she had planned and could also then have had a happy ending, as usual for a comedy. Nor was the princess' father hardly mentioned in the play, last hear about early in act 2. Plus, the historical father, Henry II, died many years before in 1559. But it so happens that Francis Bacon's own father had died on February 20, 1579 while he was in France (and while the historical Marguerite was on her embassy visit to Navarre) and this caused Francis' time on the continent to abruptly end as he then had to return to England. This would seem a perfect explanation for the similar ending in the play.

There are two other important points of evidence that I'll deal with in separate posts following this.

[end of Part 2 of 4]

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