Saturday, December 19, 2015

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon - 12 - Queen Catherine/Katherine

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon (as primary author) - 12

Finally, there’s the depiction of Queen Catherine in the play.

Here is what Edwin Reed wrote about Shakespeare’s depiction of her in Coincidences, Bacon and Shakespeare (1906):

Queen Catherine, the first wife of King Henry VIII, made her residence during the latter part of her life at Kimbolton in Huntingdonshire. The Duke of Manchester, to whom the place belongs, published in 1864 a valuable collection of papers, found in the castle and at Simancas in Spain, which show that of all the numerous and gifted persons who have written of that unfortunate princess, two, and two only, have correctly adjudged her character. These two, thus in singular agreement, are Francis Bacon and the author of the Shake-speare dramas.

The Duke [of Manchester] says:

“So far as concerns all popular ideas of her, Catherine is a creature of the mist. Shakespeare and Bacon, the highest judges and firmest painters of character, have, it is true, described her, if only lightly and by the way, as a woman of flesh and blood; the flesh rather stubborn, the blood somewhat hot; as a lady who could curse her enemies and caress her friends; a princess full of natural graces, virtues, and infirmities. Had the portraits by Shakespeare and Bacon been painted in full, they would have been all that we could hope or wish. But they are only fragments of the whole; and the work of all minor hands is nothing, or worse than nothing. In these inferior pencillings [from writers other than Shakespeare and Bacon], the woman is concealed beneath the veil of a nun. In place of a girl full of sun and life, eager to love and to be loved, enamoured of state and pomp, who liked a good dinner, a new gown, above all a young  husband; one who had her quarrels, her debts, her feminine fibs, and her little deceptions, even with those who were most  near and dear to her; a creature to be kissed and petted, to be adored, and chidden, and ill-used – all of which Catherine was in the flesh – we find a cold, grim Lady Abbess, a creature too pious for the world in which her lot was cast, too pure for the husband who had been given to her. Such a conception is vague in outline and false in spirit. Catherine was every inch a woman before she became every inch a queen.” – Court and Society, i. 5

Reed continues:

This judgment is confirmed by high literary authority:

The whole story of the Queen, as now told from ample Simancas text, is in perfect harmony with what Shakespeare and Bacon say of her.” – The Athenaeum, January 16, 1867.

Lord Montagu of Kimbolton, first Earl of Manchester, was one of Bacon’s dearest friends. [So it would have been expected that Bacon would have easy access to detailed information of her personality and character from her family’s descendants and others that knew stories of her and that kept records of her life.]

And from Wikipedia: “William Shakespeare’s play Henry VIII succeeds in recreating with great accuracy Catherine's statement about the legitimacy of her marriage at the court in Blackfriars before King Henry, and Shakespeare's portrayal of Catherine is remarkably sympathetic.

Is there any rational and justifiable hypothesis how someone like the Stratford Shaksper (of Shakespeare if you prefer) could accurately imagine what Catherine’s personality and character were like, and further, to have such sympathy for her?
End of series

The evidence for Bacon as primary author of this play cannot, I think, be equaled by any other person living in England at the time. It answers why Bacon, after leading both King James and Prince Charles for some time to expect a History of Henry VIII, never  produced one, even knowing that he spent time researching the topic and could easily have produce a draft, which was his practice.  It explains the unusual break from Holinshed that Shakespeare had followed so closely until 4 peers, rather than the historical 2, came to take the Seal from Wolsey. It best explains why the scene with Cranmer waiting with footboys and lackeys was included in the play. Though a similar event can be found in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, it would have more meaning to Bacon than to another playwright. The many close parallels in ideas and language between this play and Bacon’s writings are also now more easily explained. And who other than Bacon would be more able to write the political philosophy in it as well as the dialogue on commissions for taxes that Bacon was directly involved with during his time? Also, not only is there no evidence for the Stratford man writing this play, how could he have so accurately depicted Queen Catherine, when no one else could do so, except Bacon, whose familiarity with her life and character is documented and fully explainable? Finally, this play is considered “the most controversial of Shakespeare's history plays because it seems to be utterly devoid of any dramatic alterations to the sources. It lacks the creativity of Shakespeare's other works and one is left with a sense of confusion when reading the compressed and mixed-up chronology of the events of Henry's reign.” 

One good explanation for this is at this time Bacon was far busier in his work at court than in earlier times when he was mostly unemployed. In these circumstances it’s easy to see him not putting the time in to enhance the historical narrative with greater drama that would require more effort, and so more time, than he may have had available. On the other hand we would assume a ‘man of the theater’ who hardly ever needed to blot a line to easily and naturally spill drama from his pen with nearly every stroke.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon - 11 - Butts mong boys grooms lackeys

Following is another observation from Howard Bridgewater (Barrister-at-Law) in his article “Evidence Connecting Sir Francis Bacon with ‘Shakespeare’”.


“There is another passage in “Henry VIII.” that reflects an incident in Bacon's life that happened shortly before his fall. Bacon had opposed the proposed marriage of Sir John Villiers, the brother of the Duke of Buckingham, with the daughter of Sir Edward Coke, and in doing so had offended the Duke. Francis finally gave way to the Court favourite, and we have Macaulay's authority for the statement that he then ventured to present himself before Buckingham. “But,” says Macaulay, “the young upstart [Buckingham] did not think that he had yet sufficiently humbled an old man who had been his friend and his benefactor, who was the highest civil functionary in the realm and the most eminent man of letters in the world. It is said [I am still quoting Macaulay] that on two successive days Bacon repaired to Buckingham's house; that on two successive days he was suffered to remain in an ante-chamber among footboys, seated on an old wooden box, with the great seal of England at his side.

Now Shakespeare:

In Act V., Scene 2, 10, Cranmer is discovered outside the Council Chamber waiting for an audience, surrounded by servants and pages. Dr. Butts passes by on his way to the King, and we have -

Cranmer. (aside).                       'Tis Butts,
 The King's physician: as he passed along,
How earnestly he cast his eyes upon me!
Pray heaven he sound not my disgrace! For certain
This is of purpose laid by some that hate me -
God turn their hearts: I never sought their malice--
To quench mine honour: they would shame to make me
Wait else at door
, a fellow councillor,
'Mong boys, grooms and lackeys. But their pleasures
Must be fulfilled, and I attend with patience.

Enter the King and Butts at a window above.

Butts. I'll show your grace the strangest sight -
King.                          What's that, Butts?
Butts. I think your highness saw this many a day.
King. Body o' me, where is it?
Butts.                         There, my lord:
The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury;
Who holds his state at door, 'mongst pursuivants,
Pages and footboys.
King. Ha! 'tis he indeed:
Is this the honour they do one another?
'Tis well there's one above 'em yet. I had thought
They had parted so much honesty among 'em,
At least good manners, as not thus to suffer
A man of his place, and so near our favour
To dance attendance on their lordships' pleasures,
And at the door too, like a post with packets.
By Holy Mary, Butts, there's knavery.

Bridgewater asks:    Isn't it as clear as daylight that in this passage Bacon has painted the incident that Macaulay tells us of? Who but a man who had suffered such an indignity would have been likely to interrupt the course of the Play with the tale of it?

Again, it’s highly likely that Baconian Authorship Theory offers the best, and maybe the only, rational explanation for the inclusion and content of this scene.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon - 10 - Wolsey Great Seal Surrey Camberlain Cromwell

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon (as primary author) - 10

Act 3, Sc. 2, 227.2

Enter to Wolsey, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Earl of Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlain.

This is historically inaccurate according to Holinshed as only the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk entered to Wolsey to take his Great Seal.

NORFOLK: Hear the King’s pleasure, Cardinal, who commands you
To render up the great seal presently Into our hands ….”

The Arden (2000) edition has these notes:

227.2 “Holinshed describes an encounter between Wolsey and the two Dukes only.”
228-32 “The scene now returns to Holinshed, extrapolating from the chronicle account of the confrontation of Wolsey and the Dukes, and incorporating from slightly later in Holinshed the list of charges brought against the Cardinal. Norfolk’s opening speech is almost verbatim Holinshed: ‘the seventeenth of November the king sent the two dukes of Norfolke and Suffolke to the cardinals place at Westminster, who went as they were commanded and finding the cardinall there, they declared that the kings pleasure was that he should surrender up the great seale into their hands….”.
232-5 “This exchange closely parallels Holinshed….”
236-50 “Holinshed’s account is the basis for Wolsey’s defiance here…”

So by these notes it appears that Shakespeare followed Holinshed quite closely from the beginning of this scene. So what reason would he have to significantly change the historical record he was closely following and add in the Earl of Surrey and the Lord Chamberlain?  And if he was going to add anyone, why them in particular?

Probably the Baconian Authorship Theory can best provide the most reasonable solution. Here is the comment by Howard Bridgewater (Barrister-at-Law):

         The extraordinary point about this is that while the writer adheres, with historical accuracy, to the names of two of the peers who were sent to relieve Cardinal Wolsey of the great seal, on the occasion of his downfall, he adds two more to the number of them. And it is remarkable that the titles (though not their only titles) of these other peers are those of two of the four Peers who, upon the occasion of the downfall of Lord Verulam, waited upon him for this same purpose!

            While it would be natural enough for Francis Bacon (at this time Lord Verulam) thus to bring the circumstances of Wolsey's fall into line with his own, the chance that anyone else would do so is so remote that, expressed in figures, it could scarcely be greater than as one is to a million. For firstly, what are the chances that anyone at all, other than a man who had suffered the same experience, would, in such a matter, depart at all from the historical requirements of the case? Is it not entirely improbable that the thought of so doing would ever cross the mind of any other person? And if by chance it had done so, what are the chances that he would then have selected, as the other two peers to be sent to relieve Wolsey of his seal, two of those four who actually were sent to do that office in the case of Verulam?”

*Note. - “Surrey” was the second title of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, while the Lord Chamberlain, in Verulam's [Bacon’s] time, was the Earl of Pembroke.

Others have also noted the following famous speech of the same scene as above and it’s relation to Bacon:

Also, in the play Henry VIII its principal character Cardinal Wolsey says a speech in which he’s fallen from greatness. The following lines:

"O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my King, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies."
Act 3, Sc. 2, 454

In 1621 Bacon fell from power, a few months afterward he wrote a letter to King James in which he says "Cardinal Wolsey said that if he had pleased God as he had pleased the King he had not been ruined." Is it a coincidence that Cardinal Wolsey’s fallen greatness exactly fits Francis Bacon’s? And who other than Bacon and major historians such as Holinshed would likely be so interested and  familiar with Wolsey’s personality and career?