Sunday, November 29, 2015

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon - 4 Passions Commissions Taxation

The next set of posts will cover a number of parallel passages in the works of Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII and from works of Sir Francis Bacon, all taken from The Bacon-Shakespeare Anatomy by W. S. Melsome, M.A., M.D. 1945.

The Bacon passages come from Spedding, Ellis and Heath comprising the The Works of Francis Bacon (seven volumes, 1857-1859, and the Life and Letters (seven volumes, 1861-1874).

Note: The comparisons are sometimes with the language, and often it is with the philosophical or political idea being expressed. This is essentially the same method used for inferring the authorship of scenes or parts by John Fletcher. Color coding will often be used to help readers in identifying the passages to compare. 

Act 1, Sc 1
“Stay my lord,
And let your REASON with your choler question
What ‘tis you go about …
“Anger is like a full hot horse….
Be advised:
I say again, there is no English soul
More stronger to direct you than yourself,
If with the sap of REASON you would QUENCH,
Or but allay, the fire of PASSION.”
Act 1, Sc 1, 132-149

“Passions which are indeed the sicknesses of the mind.” (Life ii, p. 7)
“Physic hath no more medicine against the disease of the body than REASON hath preservatives against the PASSIONS of the mind.” (Life, ii. p. 8)

Note: Shakespeare also used these terms in Measure for Measure, Act 3, Sc 1:
“His unjust unkindness that in all REASON should have QUENCHED her (Mariana’s) love hath, like an impediment in a current, made it more violent and unruly.”
This parallels Bacon’s  “Every PASSION  grows fresh, strong and vigorous by opposition or prohibition as it were by reaction or antiperistasis (reaction).” (De Augmentis, ii, xiii.)

Act 1, Sc 2 17-~96
I am solicited – not by a few,
And those of true condition – that your subjects
Are in great grievance. There have been commissions
Sent down among ‘em which hath flawed the heart
Of all their loyalties; wherein although,
My good lord Cardinal, they vent reproaches
Most bitterly on you as putter—on
Of these exactions, yet the King our master
Whose honour heaven shield from soil – even he
    escapes not
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
The sides of loyalty and almost appears
In loud rebellion.
[Arden note on ‘commissions’ above: “Hamilton suggests that this scene
may also refer to topical taxation demands in 1612-1613”]

“It is affirmed unto me by divers gentlemen of good regard.”: (Life, iii. P. 185) Bacon was solicited by members of parliament to petition King James concerning a great grievance of the common people. “Concerning the great grievance arising by the manifold abuses of purveyors.” (Life, iii p. 182)
[Bacon’s petition to James was not published until 1657]
“The commissions they bring down are against the law. “ (Life, iii. P. 185). “They take in kind what they ought not to take  . . . instead of takers they become taxers.” (Life, iii, p. 184)
“All these great misdemeanors are committed in and under your Majesty’s name” (Life, iii ,p. 186)
Bacon’s speech of 1593 against the Queen’s wish for the granting of three subsidies, payable in four years: “The danger is this: we (shall thus) breed discontentment in the people. And in the cause of jeopardy, her Majesty’s safety must consist more in the love of her people than in their wealth. And therefore (we should beware) not to give them cause of discontentment.” (Life, i. p. 223). [Note—Queen Elizabeth barred Bacon from her presence for some time afterward.]

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