36) Later in the same play, on page 131 there is a short simple song or poem (a ditty) playing on the words “Sore”, “ell”, and “Sorell”. While there may be more encrypted or played with in the ditty that I can see, what is obvious is another play on the letter “L”, this time to refer to the Roman numeral “50”. The playwright first adds one L to “Sore” and makes “50 sores of sorrel”. Then another “L” is added to make a hundred. If the double “L” is meant as a cryptic code for the number 100 it wouldn’t seem that witty since the word “hundred” is part of the riddle. However, the following dialogue again speaks of a “foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures,….” so maybe a number riddle is meant after all. What interests me more is that we have evidence that the playwright actually used Roman numerals identified as regular English letters.
Also of interest, though not related to ciphers, is this text following the Sorrell ditty which is:
There’s a quote from Bacon’s “De Augmentis” that fits with this Shakespeare passage. He wrote: “Neither again is that arrangement of the intellectual faculties (imagination, reason, and memory) according to the respective ventricles of the brain, destitute of error.” We see that both Shakespeare and Bacon had read of memory being in a ventricle of the brain.