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.

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