Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -68- Sea-coale 2


32)  Continued

Getting back to the play, the next we see of this character is on page 113 in the second column, Sea-coale’s name has changed from “George” to “Francis”. The Arden edition on page 255 shows additional possibilities, such that the name could suggest a new character. If it isn’t an error then it still qualifies as an attention grabber. So with the Seacoal lantern indicating beacon/Bacon we have the playfully alluded to or derived name of “Francis Bacon”. 

The word “beacon” was also directly associated to Francis Bacon by one of his friends and in his time (1621), just two years before the First Folio was published. Sir John Davies of Hereford, used “Beacon” as an anagram for “Bacone” (the same spelling as in the Anthonie Bacone acrostic).  "To the Right Honorable Sir Francis Bacone, Knight, Lord High Chancellor of England”, “the bright Beacon of the State.”

Whether this “George” and then “Francis” Sea-coale is considered an error or not from the orthodox perspective, from the hidden authorship perspective it appears to have been carefully planned.  Incidentally, there’s a very similar phrase in the play Troilus and Cressida, Act 2, Scene 2 where we find in the second column: “The Beacon of the wise” which would fit the great philosopher Bacon.

It may seem a bit involved to fit in such a hidden allusion to Francis Bacon in this way. But just a few lines later on the last line of the page 113 of the Comedies is “Wee will spare for no witte I warrant you”.  On the next page is the only dialogue in the play to mention “Friar Francis”. Some may argue that the playwright or typesetter had the name of Friar Francis in mind when the Francis Seacoale was written or typeset. But such an accident would seem to be far less plausible than a craftily planned cipher that makes sense when once revealed. The usage of the name ‘Francis’ on the next page then may be another priming of his name in the reader’s mind to the existence of a hidden cipher.
A couple more coincidental cipher possibilities are in the play. At the bottom of page 105 is the line: “Pedro. Now Signior, where’s the Count, did you see him?” So, wondering if I missed something I first looked at the previous paragraph and did not see a significant number but across from it in the first column there’s a paragraph beginning “Why he is the Princes jester, a very dull foole,” which looked promising and I found it has a word count of ‘67’.  Then again later on page 115, 1st column, there is Friar ‘Francis’ saying “Against her maiden truth. Call me a foole”. This line happens to have a letter count of 33,  again the simple count for 'Bacon'.

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