Friday, December 27, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -88- Achilles


Another interesting connection (also found in Bormann’s book) with Bacon’s OF THE ADVANCEMENT AND PROFICIENCIE OF LEARNING is that in the earlier editions of 1605 and 1633 the quote from Virgil had been altered so that it read:

Dextra mihi Deus, et telum quod inutile libro,
Nunc adsint.

So here his “telum inutile” is “a useless spear”.

And yet Shakespeare also speaks disparagingly of the power of his own writing. He wrote in the Epilogue chorus of Henry V:

“Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,    [with his crude, inadequate writing]
Our bending author hath pursued the story,” 

So it seems Bacon used the metaphor of a spear to represent his pen that he shook at ignorance and as well jousted with his literary cohorts, whether or not they knew who “Shakespeare” actually was, and even if some of them somehow had shared in the writing of some of the plays. And like Shakespeare he belittled his own talent.  The only other alternative to the idea of this being another extremely fitting “coincidence” is that the printer, on the very last page of the First Folio, carelessly used “993” instead of 399 and totally overlooked this error afterward.

52)  Signature moment three

And finally, it’s further noteworthy that Bacon’s closest secretary and the posthumous publisher of much of his writing, William Rawley, said in The Epistle Dedicatory of his Resuscitatio, referring to the worth of Bacon’s “true Value”  that he did not feel up to portraying, that 

“There were more need, of another Homer, to be the Trumpet, of Achilles’ Virtues.”

This is an allusion to Bacon’s discussion of how Alexander and Achilles had achieved fame but that how  Alexander’s tutor Aristotle led a greater life since he was concerned with learning and knowledge rather than of power and empire. It’s on page 52 of the Advancement:

However, this identification of Bacon with Achilles is striking considering these last several pages and where Prof. Chaney shows how Shakespeare is identified with Achilles and as a disguised author.  It otherwise does not seem fitting at all.

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