“The Living Record” – Chapter 30 – “I May Not Ever-More Acknowledge Thee”

Within the context of The Monument, it becomes apparent that the sequence of Shakespeare’s sonnets as we know it exists solely because of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford’s reaction to the failed Essex Rebellion of 8 February 1601 and the imprisonment of his royal son, Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. The heart of his one hundred and fifty-four  numbered poems begins with Sonnet 27 when he envisions the unacknowledged prince as “a jewel hung in ghastly night” in the Tower of London.

Oxford was determined to write and arrange one sonnet per day until his son by Elizabeth was either executed for high treason or spared.  In fact it would take about forty days until he was sure that Southampton’s  sentence had been reduced to life in prison, according to a deal  arranged with Secretary Robert Cecil, who was now in full charge of the Elizabethan government.

When Oxford finally worked out the architectural scheme of his “monument” of sonnets much later, he arranged exactly forty sonnets in correspondence with forty days, until Sonnet 66 on 19 March 1601 — reflecting the forty days and nights Jesus spent in the wilderness, when he was tempted by the devil.

These forty sonnets/days are divided into four chapters of ten sonnets apiece.  The first chapter (27 to 36) concludes on 17 February, when the earls of Essex and Southampton are formally charged with “conspiring to depose and slay the Queen and subvert the government.”

Oxford, who has been summoned to sit as senior judge on the tribunal of peers at the upcoming trial, uses Sonnet 36 to set forth the basic terms of the bargain he is making with Cecil in order to save Southampton’s life: they must publicly bury their father-son relationship and act as “twain” or separated; taking all the blame upon himself, Oxford may never acknowledge the younger earl as his son; and by the same token, he must remain  invisible behind “Shakespeare,” the pen name to which he linked Southampton through the dedications to him of Venus and Adonis of 1593 and Lucrece of 1594:

Sonnet 36

Let me confess that we two must be twain,
Although our undivided loves are one;
So shall those blots that do with me remain,
Without thy help, by me be borne alone.

In our two loves there is but one respect,
Though in our lives a separable spite,
Which, though it alter not love’s sole effect,
Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love’s delight.

I may not ever-more acknowledge thee,
Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
Nor thou with public kindness honor me,
Unless thou take that honor from thy name:

But do not so; I love thee in such sort,
As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

The deeply felt sorrow of these lines finally makes sense within the context of a father desperately trying to save his royal son — who, of course, must forfeit any claim as the Queen’s natural heir.  Yes, I know that the the spiteful separation stealing “sweet hours from love’s delight” sounds to our modern ears strictly like a romantic poem, but that’s just one half of the “double image” Oxford created in the Sonnets.  The other half shows a father speaking of his son as “mine,” the way Oxford wrote to Lord Burghley on March 17, 1575, about his hope for “a son of mine own” to continue his earldom.

To be continued…

Published in: Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Shake-Speare’s Treason” in the News

Bill Varble of the Mail Tribune gave us a fine notice after attending the performance of SHAKE-SPEARE’S TREASON on Monday 20 April at Carpenter Hall on the campus of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival:

“New York actor-writer Hank Whittemore presented “Shake-speare’s Treason,” an Oxfordian interpretation of the sonnets, Monday night at Carpenter Hall. His story is that the sonnets, those exquisite little mysteries, fall into place if you read them as being written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, to Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton, and Queen Elizabeth.

“Whittemore argues that Oxford not only wrote the plays of Shakespeare, a claim most literary experts reject, but that Southampton is the “fair youth” and Elizabeth the “dark lady” of the sonnets, and Southampton de Vere’s son by Elizabeth. Which is why the sonnets were suppressed when they were published in 1609. Stifle that dismissive chuckle and check it out in “The Monument,” a 900-page analysis (see shakespearesmonument.com or Amazon.com).”

Here’s a You Tube clip from Hank’s recent performance of the show in Winchester MA to raise funds for Cheryl Eagan Donovan’s new documentary Nothing is Truer than Truth on Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford as “Shakespeare”:

Published in: Uncategorized on April 26, 2009 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Oxfordians” on a Roll with Rylance, Jacobi, Justice Stevens…!

Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance

We heard about the appearance together of two great actors, Mark Rylance and Sir Derek Jacobi, at Brunel University, where both again expressed their strong doubts that William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon (1564-1616) wrote the works attributed to “Shakespeare” — and where Jacobi told the audience that he was “99 percent” certain that the real author had been Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604).

Derek Jacobi

Derek Jacobi

No, these men are not snobs; no, they are not conspiracy theorists.  On the contrary, they are brilliant artists of the stage (and screen) who have decided to shed the shackles of blind tradition in order to investigate the matter with their minds, their instincts and their common sense.  Folks, this is the biggest literary hoax in world history and the detective work is fascinating as well as exciting and, yes, important.

We also heard (by the grapevine) that during their joint appearance Mark Rylance made positive mention of The Monument, my book on the Sonnets, for which we’re profoundly grateful.  A fine article by Frank McNally in the Irish Times focuses on Rylance, who “reiterated a call for more investigation” of the question of who wrote the great poems, plays and sonnets.  Mark is also chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, which is dedicated to precisely such investigation.

Oh, yes – by now readers of this blog undoubtedly know about the front-page article in The Wall Street Journal (weekend edition, April 18-19, 2009), with word that Justice John Paul Stevens, who has served 34 years on the Court, believes that the Earl of Oxford wrote the “Shakespeare” works: “EVIDENCE IS BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.”   The NewYorker picked up the story….

I’d say we’re on a roll!

Dr. Daniel Wright

Dr. Daniel Wright

Meanwhile, check out Bill Boyle’s Adventure Page for a report on the annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland Oregon this month, under the direction of Professor Daniel Wright.

Cheers from Hank

Published in: Uncategorized on April 25, 2009 at 12:11 am  Leave a Comment  

“Shake-speare’s Treason” in Ashland, Oregon

The day before the performance of SHAKE-SPEARE’S TREASON at Carpenter Hall in Ashland, we were delighted with a fine article by popular columnist Bill Varble in the Mail Tribune.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Carpenter Hall is right next to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Thanks to Earl Showerman, who has become a foremost authority on the Greek sources (yes, Greek) of that great poet-dramatist Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford  a.k.a. “Shakespeare,” we were able to catch the Festival’s wonderful productions of Macbeth and Equivocation.  More later!

Published in: Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 at 6:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Shake-speare’s Treason” on the Road

Well, I performed our solo show SHAKE-SPEARE’S TREASON on the night of April 16 for the folks at the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, and last night up in Ashland at Carpenter Hall next to the site of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

My co-writer and director Ted Story and I especially want to thank Professor Dan Wright of Concordia for making the show possible at that university; and Earl Showerman of Jacksonville, Oregon, for arranging our show in Ashland.  Our audiences were wonderful and we’re grateful.

I’ll be back here soon to catch up.  Meanwhile, still on the road!

Cheers from Hank

Published in: Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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