Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -69- Foole-Spirit-Lord


32)  Continued

Referring to the last example in the previous two posts (pages 67-68), with their fairly elaborate yet  reasonable disguised name of 'Francis Bacon'--it may seem a bit involved to fit in such a hidden allusion to 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 has a letter count of 33.

The idea of an invisible playwright is not the least ridiculous or peculiar. Anonymous publications were quite common even during the Elizabethan periods, as discussed in The Faces of Anonymity: Anonymous and Pseudonymous Publication from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, 2003, by Robert J. Griffin, as well as Anonymous Renaissance: Cultures of Discretion in Tudor-Stuart England, 2003, by Marcy North. And an author using a psuedonym is essentially invisible. This then can metaphorically relate to the concept of a ghost or spirit, as in the Hamlet example.

Furthermore, in discussing the spy life and writings of Christopher Marlowe, in Sovereignty and Intelligence, by John Michael Archer, in the play Doctor Faustus, we’re told that “Faustus realizes the intelligencer’s fantasy of becoming “invisible”” (pg. 73). Queen Elizabeth nicknamed her chief advisor William Cecil her “Spirit”. Like her spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham, Cecil seemed to know all that was going on--“He filled hundreds of volumes with dossiers of intelligence scrounged from every corner of the land.” And Walsingham has been described as one who “saw every man, and none saw him”. See Her Majesty’s Spymaster, Stephen Budiansky, 2005.

33)   Shakespeare even makes this plain in The Life of Tymon of Athens, Act 2, Scene 2 on page 84 toward the bottom of the first column. We have mention of a Spirit, who plays the Foole (while shooting his wit) and sometimes like a Lord, or Lawyer, or Philosopher, or Knight – all titles or descriptions of Francis Bacon. In all shapes, from fourscore [80] to 13 (a difference of 67   [“Francis”]), “this Spirit walks in”.

We’ve seen some of these descriptors already associated with Baconian textual or numerical signatures. King Lear asked “where’s my foole?” in the text where we found “Sir France is bee Con”. The ‘Foole’ was also associated with ‘100’ in the play As You Like It.  Then there was “Lord 33” in Anthony and Cleopatra. There was “Knight 33” on three lines of the “Sir France is bee Con” cipher candidate in King Lear. The ‘Spirit’ associations have been shown a few times already, as with missing page 157 of the Tragedies in Hamlet. And a ‘Lawyer’ example is coming up.

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