“Shake-Speare’s Treason” in Concord MA – Aug. 1st

We’ll be presenting the one-man show Shake-speare’s Treason at the upcoming Third Annual Concord Shakespeare Festival at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31st at the Masonic Temple in Monument Square, Concord, MA.

Script Cover of "Shake-speare's Treason"

Script Cover of "Shake-speare's Treason"

This year the festival is called Much Ado About Shakespeare; it begins on Friday evening at the Concord Free Public Library and continues at the Temple on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival is “Celebrating the 400th Anniverary of the Publication of the Sonnets.”  The solo show, co-written with Ted Story (who directed me in it), dramatizes the recorded “story” of the Sonnets as set forth in my edition The Monument (2005) — which, after a new perception of the language and structure of the Sonnets came into view, took six years to write in order to fully demonstrate this “macro solution” to the longstanding puzzle of the 154 numbered verses published in 1609.

(PS – More than likely the quarto edition was “suppressed” before going “underground” for more than a century; there was no second edition; it re-appeared in the same form in 1711.)

Helen Vendler Spots That “King” Word…

My friend and colleague William Boyle over at the Shakespeare Adventure Page has pointed out that Harvard professor Helen Vendler, in her book The Art of Shakesepare’s Sonnets, makes some perceptive observations about the “King” word in the final line of Sonnet 87.

Sonnet 87 - All Lines Lead us to KING

Sonnet 87 - All Lines Lead us to KING

The gist of it is that the entire sonnet moves relentlessly toward this loss of kingship:

Thus have I had thee as a dreame doth flatter,
In sleepe a King, but waking no such matter.

Professor Vendler notices that no less than ten of the fourteen lines end in -ING, thereby foregrounding or leading to “King” and “waking” in the last line.

She also points out that “mistaking” (mista-KING) in line 10 and “making” (ma-KING) in line 12 add momentum toward the target word KING:

“In sleepe a KING, but wa-KING no such matter.”

"The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets" by Helen Vendler

"The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets" by Helen Vendler

Okay…but so what?  Well, in Professor Vendler’s book there is no answer to “so what,” because she is not concerned with any biographical or historical context.

Not long before my book THE MONUMENT appeared in 2005 (demonstrating how the Sonnets comprise “the living record” of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton as an unacknowledged prince who deserves by blood to become King Henry IX), another friend and colleague, Elliott Stone, sent samples of my work to Vendler and asked for an opinion.

"The Monument" by Hank Whittemore

"The Monument" by Hank Whittemore

Her answer was that she knew nothing of any biographical or historical context for any of the Shakespeare sonnets and, moreover, she herself was concerned only with the “rhetorical” devices or aspects of these little poems — regardless of the palpable fact that they are intensely autobiographical and related to real, specific circumstances and events in the poet’s life.

Without Professor Vendler realizing it, however, her observations of the rhetorical devices in Sonnet 87 lend support to the suggestion that the author, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is recording the permanent loss of kingship by Southampton, his son by Queen Elizabeth.  In his dreams he had seen Southampton as a King, but now the dream has disappeared.

The moral here is that in reading the Sonnets we can have the rhetoric and the reality behind it.   We don’t have to choose; we can have both!

“The Living Record” – Chapter 37 – Interlude

I pause here to mention the irony that many words of the Sonnets that have been taken literally are actually meant to signify something else.

Title Page of the Sonnets of 1609

Title Page of the Sonnets of 1609

For example, the words “bright” and “fair” and “golden” — to name just a few — carry their usual meanings on the surface, but the author (Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford) is in fact creating an illusion of variety by “dressing old words new” (Sonnet 76) or exchanging one word for another to mean the same thing.

All three words “bright” and “fair” and “golden” are adjectives meaning “royal.”

Sonnet 1: “thine own bright eyes” – your own royal eyes
Sonnet 13:  “So fair a house” = so royal a House of Tudor
Sonnet 3:  “thy golden time” – your time of royal hope

Meanwhile many other words that have been viewed as merely metaphorical are actually intended to be taken literally, such as the word “King,” as in:

And all those beauties whereof now he’s King
Are vanishing, or vanished out of sight.

Sonnet 63

Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a King, but waking no such matter.

Sonnet 87

(Each “King” is capitalized in the 1609 quarto.)

Opening Page of the Sonnets of 1609: the first two lines meaning, "From most royal children we command heirs, so Elizabeth's dynasty of the Tudor Rose might not die when she does."

Opening Page of the Sonnets of 1609: the first two lines meaning, "From most royal children we command heirs, so Elizabeth's dynasty of the Tudor Rose might not die when she does."

Oxford is referring literally to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, his son by Queen Elizabeth, as a king — as one who should succeed his mother on the throne as Henry IX of England; but because the Queen refuses to acknowledge him, and later because he is found guilty of high treason, he has lost that chance.

Oxford uses the diary of the Sonnets to record Southampton’s loss of kingship.  He also records the sacrifice of his own identity as Southampton’s father and as the writer known as “Shakespeare,” the pen name he had adopted to publicly support his son.

“Ocean” is a word used by Elizabethan writers for king; and here we see the author (Oxford) recording that King James is getting ready to come down to England, once Elizabeth dies, to claim the throne:

When I have seen the hungry Ocean gain
Advantage on the Kingdom of the shore

Sonnet 64

What do traditional editors (Stratfordians) have to say about these “Kings”?

Well, for example, in the Arden edition Katherine Duncan-Jones ignores the “King” word in Sonnet 63 entirely, but she then deals with the “King” word in Sonnet 87 in a curious way:

First she says the poet is suggesting he has “enjoyed intense happiness.”  (In other words, it’s a metaphor.)  Then, however, she suggests some kind of association with King James; but changing course again, she goes on to say that “King” could “apply to the addressee [Southampton], elevated to kingly status, or the status of a specific King, only by the speaker’s imagination.”  (Emphasis added)

Of course!  If Will of Stratford is the writer, the “King” stuff can’t be real.

Since the sonnets are autobiographical, reading them with the wrong man in mind as author is fatal!

Imagine receiving a letter that says, “Dear ______, I love you,” but there’s no indication of who wrote it.  In such a case, of course, knowing the identity of the author makes all the difference!

So, too, with the Sonnets.

So long as Will of Stratford is viewed as the author, the “King” in those lines cannot refer to Southampton as a real, if unacknowledged, king — except in his imagination, and it can only be a metaphor.  The traditional view of the authorship dictates that the true, underlying story of the Sonnets is lost.

It’s been lost for 400 years.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 19, 2009 at 3:54 am  Leave a Comment  

“The Living Record” – Chapter 36 – “What Woman’s Son…”

Within the context of a perceived love triangle, the poet in Sonnet 41 appears to be accusing the younger man (Henry, Earl of Southampton) of having stolen the poet’s mistress, who seduced him.

Within the context suggested here, however, Sonnet 41 is written by a father to his royal son [the Earl of Oxford, 50, to the Earl of Southampton, 26] and corresponds to the younger earl’s imprisonment during February 1601, after being convicted of high treason for the abortive Essex Rebellion and condemned to death.

Southampton’s supporters are urging him to take new action against Secretary Robert Cecil, who has assumed virtually total power over the government, with control over the looming succession that will occur upon the Queen’s death.

Oxford warns his son that “temptation follows where thou art” (in the Tower) because others want him to try another “riot” or rebellion. The woman involved is Queen Elizabeth, mother of Southampton, who is the “woman’s son” to whom Oxford refers below.

Southampton has inherited his mother’s “beauty” or royal blood.  Oxford acknowledges Elizabeth’s “wooing” of their son, that is, she led Southampton to believe he would become king.  And “what woman’s son” [what royal heir] would turn away from such wooing until he has achieved the crown that is rightfully his?

Queen Elizabeth had led Southampton to believe that, since he possessed her “beauty” or Tudor blood, she would name him in succession as King Henry IX.

Southampton’s “beauty” or royal blood led him to commit an act of treason, but the revolt failed, thereby breaking or nullifying the “truth” of his right to the throne — a play on Oxford’s motto Nothing Truer than Truth while he accuses his son [in the ending couplet] of destroying the dynastic hopes of both parents.

Sonnet 41

Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits

When I am sometime absent from thy heart,

Thy beauty and thy years full well befits;

For still temptation follows where thou art.

Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won;

Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assailed;

And when a woman woos, what woman’s son

Will sourly leave her till he have prevailed?

Aye me, but yet thou mightst my seat forbear,

And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth

Who lead thee in their riot even there

Where thou art forced to break a twofold truth:

Hers by thy beauty tempting her to thee,

Thine by thy beauty being false to me.

This sonnet, like all the others, produces a “double image” — on the surface it’s an emotional poem about love and betrayal, but running simultaneously is a tragic personal and political story being recorded for posterity.    To save his son from execution and gain the promise of his eventual release with a royal pardon, Oxford must forfeit his identity as Southampton’s father — and, in turn, he must sacrifice his identity as “Shakespeare,” the pen name to which he linked Southampton [with two public dedications; see below], uniquely and for all time.

Dedication of "Venus and Adonis" to Southampton - 1593

Dedication of "Venus and Adonis" to Southampton - 1593

Dedication of "Lucrece" to Southampton - 1594

Dedication of "Lucrece" to Southampton - 1594

Published in: Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  


Below is the introduction to Volume I of our series of papers entitled Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare, edited by Paul Hemenway Altrocchi and Hank Whittemore.

Volume I of "Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare"

The title of the opening volume is The Great Shakespeare Hoax: After Unmasking the Fraudulent Pretender, Search for the True Genius Begins.


A hoax is a stratagem, scheme or story intentionally designed to deceive a group of people into believing something is true when it is not. Thus did the father-son team of William and Robert Cecil, the most powerful politicians in Elizabethan England and the early Stuart monarchy, force Edward de Vere to assume a pen name and become anonymous as “William Shakespeare.” Why? For reasons of avarice and unquenchable desire for power, to be described fully in this book series.

This four-century hoax foisted on an unsuspecting world is the most successful literary ruse in the Western World. It is hard to believe, but true, that deceptive strategies to maintain the Great Shakespeare Hoax continue up to the present day both in England and the United States.

The Wrong Guy

The Wrong Guy

For more than a hundred years after the death of William Shaksper of Stratford-on-Avon, no one publicly disputed his fraudulent authorship of the plays of William Shakespeare. It was only in the late 1700s that a brave few began to question his authenticity because of the marked discrepancy between his background and the subject matter of the plays.

When authorship skeptics looked around for alternative candidates, they sought an individual with a brilliant mind who also had access to England’s aristocracy and Royal Court. The brightest known encyclopedic mind of the late Elizabethan and early Stuart eras was Francis Bacon’s. Never mind that his fields of expertise were natural science, rational inquiry, and philosophy rather than creative literature. Thus, beginning quietly in the late 1700s and building incrementally for the next one hundred and fifty years, Bacon’s candicacy for being the great playwright assumed primacy among those who simply could not believe that Shaksper of Stratford had the intelligence, ability, or training to write great plays and poetry.

With Bacon’s phenomenal memory and high I.Q., it was assumed by his followers that he should have been able to shine in any field. They overlooked the fact that Bacon had no reason to use a pseudonym. Therefore they postulated that he must have had secret reasons for doing so.  He did have access to the Court and to aristocracy – the major backdrops for the great plays.  He had traveled to Europe and was a brilliant lawyer. He seemed to be the best available choice and therefore must have been Shakespeare. No other known Elizabethan filled the bill. Baconians have never been able to admit that their Bard just didn’t have the proper kind of brain to be a genius poet and playwright.  He wasn’t a “right- brained” creative person.  As Cumberland Clark said in 1929 in his book, Shakespeare and Science:

Francis Bacon - Another Wrong Guy

Francis Bacon - Another Wrong Guy

“Bacon sought to explain the causes of phenomena. The dramatist was content to describe their beauty. Bacon dived into scientific experiment; the dramatist borrowed picturesque simile and metaphor. Bacon revealed in his astronomical researches a dry, legal, scientific mind. The dramatist’s mind glowed with poetry, beauty, and romance. Bacon could not have been the dramatist.”

Oxfordians don’t agree with the Bacon advocacy but Baconians were quite useful in their heyday in pointing out the extraordinary weakness of the case for Shaksper of Stratford.  Baconian enthusiasts did, however, have a negative impact on other authorship viewpoints because of their radical views on unconvincing cyphers and numerical codes which were easily proven false and which became a source of widespread academic ridicule.
Despite Edward de Vere’s vitally important impact on the Elizabethan Era, he was virtually unknown to history. Why? Because most documents and letters pertaining to his life had been successfully destroyed by William and Robert Cecil to perpetuate their deception. The reasons for the Cecils’ hoax will become clear in later volumes.

Sir George Greenwood

Sir George Greenwood

Volume One begins by featuring the eloquent barrister, Sir George Greenwood, who was anti-Stratfordian to the core and who, with blistering rhetoric, basically demolished the case for the illiterate Will Shaksper. Greenwood didn’t know the identity of the real Shakespeare but knew it wasn’t the Stratford Man.  Part Two of Volume One contains excerpts from books, paers and lectures emphasizing Shakespeare’s breadth of knowledge and encyclopedic mind. To round out the fascinating story of the quest for the true Shakespeare, the strengths and weaknesses of the Baconian case are presented in Part Three.

J. Thomas Looney

J. Thomas Looney

Edward de Vere bursts out of his historical anonymity in Part Four with the publication in 1920 of J. Thomas Looney’s stunning book, “Shakespeare” Identified in Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, which initiated the Oxfordian Era.  Looney’s powerful deductive logic plucked de Vere from historical obscurity, resurrected his magnificent authorial qualifications, and introduced this unknown genius to the literary world. Since then, de Vere has been the number one Shakespeare authorship candidate.

In this series, Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare, no attempt is made to give the Stratfordian authorship theory “equal time.” The Oxfordian Editors believe that four-hundred years should have been quite sufficient for Stratfordian professors to prove their theory. The fact that they haven’t been able to come remotely close to doing so speaks volumes against their flimsy premise and even flimsier case.

The Right Guy

The Right Guy

During the past ninety years, Oxfordians have steadily built their case through solid research, beginning with the impressive group of English authorship writers who burst forth following the publication of Looney’s book.  Remarkably able thinkers and investigators from England like Percy Allen, B.R. Ward and his son B. M. Ward sprung to life in the twinkling of an eye once Edward de Vere was liberated from his coerced hibernation. These first Oxfordian Giants are featured in Part Five of Volume One.

The excerpts from books and articles included in these volumes speak for themselves with minimal commentary by the Editors. The material demonstrates the inherent power of factual discovery and the intrinsic Elegance of Truth, especially when pitted against fiction, fantasy and dogma. Research references from the older literature, usually to extinct journals and out-of-print books, have been deleted.  When necessary for clarity and consistency, minor changes in wording, punctuation and spelling have been made, without substantive change.

During the four centuries available to Stratfordians to establish their Man, Shaksper, as Shakespeare with bona fide research, virtually no data has emerged to validate their candidate. Yet they still hold sway, attempting to squash Edward de Vere not by the intrinsic persuasiveness of rationale and proof but by the astonishing power of Conventional Wisdom.

It was John Kenneth Gaibraith, late Harvard Professor of Economics, who introduced the term “conventional wisdom” in his 1958 book, The Affluent Society.  He clearly described how a traditional guild belief “is more preciously guarded than any other treasure,” and that the defense of conventional wisdom is almost a religious rite, permeated with mystique and powered by amazing tenacity and resistance to change.

Edward de Vere, by the sheer power of evidential logic, is beginning to win the Shakespeare authorship controversy. We believe he will continue to do so until the inevitable Paradigm Shift occurs.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 5, 2009 at 4:05 am  Comments (2)  
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