It was to this Tobie Matthew that Bacon was in the practice of sending some of his works for review. For instance in one letter still extant, Bacon wrote: “I have sent you some copies of The Advancement [of Learning] which you desired; and a little work of my recreation which you desired not [that he had not asked for]”. It was also to this Tobie Matthew that Shakespearian Professor James Shapiro went to for a quote showing how the language and ideas in the Shakespeare plays had entered popular discourse. He quotes Tobie Matthew paraphrasing Falstaff: “Sir Francis Veer is coming towards the Low Countries, and Sir Alexander Ratcliff and Sir Robert Drury with him. ‘Honor pricks them on, and the world thinks that honor will quickly prick them off again’ ”. This is in reference to the play The First Part of Henry the Fourth where Falstaff says “Honor pricks me on. Yea, but how if honor prick me off when I come on?” See pg. 18 in A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, 1599, Shapiro, 2005.
So far this would appear like a slightly unorthodox acrostic. But if the intent is to ‘conceal the message rather than proclaim it’ then an unorthodox form may be needed. This is because, as The Friedmans also pointed out “[anagrams and acrostics] abounded in the literature of the times.”[p.101] and “nor should we be surprised if these devices concern the authorship of the works, for they have often been used to this end. We should even be tolerant of variable and erratic spelling.” At some points they insisted on a fixed pattern in order to determine validity. Yet at other times they accepted some ambiguity and agreed that any uncertainty could potentially be overcome. In their arguments of faulty patterns they did not look at this type that mix first letters with a contiguous first syllable or short word (like ‘Obey’). What they plainly didn’t like were samples with unclear, seemingly random, selection of letters, or those making up a group of letters and then used as an anagram. If an acrostic was used that followed some strict rule of letter insertion then it would be much more easily detectable and harder to deny if he were confronted with it. The above Bacon-Tobey acrostic should be examined on its own merits.
But that’s not the end of this particular acrostic. What Walker found next was in the next over parallel column where on the line exactly next to the one “Begun to tell me what I am, but stopp’d” we find what appears as the beginning of another acrostic of first letters and a first syllable:
PROSPERO I pray thee marke me:
I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness, and the bettering of my mind
with that, which but by being so retir’d
Ore-priz’d all popular rate:in my false brother
Awak’d an evill nature, and my trust
Like a good parent, did beget of him