“Shake-Speare’s Treason” at Shakespeare Authorship Conference in Houston

We look forward to presenting the one-man show SHAKE-SPEARE’S TREASON during the Joint Conference of the Shakespeare Fellowship and the Shakespeare Oxford Society to be held November 5-8 in Houston, Texas. The 90-minute solo show is performed by Hank Whittemore, co-writer with Ted Story, who directed it.

Picture 17.jpg - Cover from Lori

“Riveting, inspiring, entertaining … amazing and thought-provoking … The words of the Sonnets finally make sense and the story is more personal and exciting than I ever imagined!”

– Students of Flathead Valley Community College, Montana, in a letter following Hank’s performance in March 2008.  (We look forward to returning for two more performances in March 2010!)

“A ripping tale of murder, treason, hangings, bastardy, love, betrayal and danger … and one of those Big Thoughts that, if you embrace it, seems to clear up a lot of mystery.”

– Bill Varble, Medford Mail Tribune, Oregon

We also look forward to experiencing two different solo performances by Keir Cutler of MontrealTeaching Shakespeare and Is Shakespeare Dead?

keir cutler

"Shakespeare" and Keir Cutler

Teaching Shakespeare is a parody of a college Shakespeare class, and a portrait of a frustrated actor turned frustrated professor struggling to keep his teaching position, despite terrible student evaluations.

twain3Is Shakespeare Dead? is a monologue adaptation of Mark Twain’s hilarious 1909 debunking of the myth that William Shakespeare wrote the works of Shakespeare. Listing the handful of established facts of Shakespeare’s life, Twain ridicules the fantasy that an uneducated youth could have wandered into London and, with virtually none of the necessary skills, became the greatest author in English literature.

Current details of the conference are posted at the Shakespeare Oxford Society blog hosted by Linda Theil.

“Locked Up” – Southampton in the Tower – “The Living Record” – Chapter 45

Here is my entry for Sonnet 48 in THE MONUMENT:

“Locked Up”
1 March 1601

THE MONUMENT by Hank Whittemore

THE MONUMENT by Hank Whittemore

While working to save his son’s life, Oxford is concerned that other conspirators inside the prison are urging his royal son (Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton) to further revolt before the Crown has a chance to execute him.

Sonnet 48

How careful was I, when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
That to my use it might unused stay
From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust?
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou best of dearest, and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not locked up in any chest,
Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art
Within the gentle closure of my breast,
From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
And even thence thou wilt be stol’n, I fear;
For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.


CAREFUL = echoed by “care” in line 7; TOOK MY WAY = set out on the journey of my life; also, set out to write these sonnets to record my son’s royal progress in relation to the dwindling time of Elizabeth’s life; MY WAY =  “Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood, I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks and smooth my way upon their headless necks” – 2 Henry VI, 1.2.63-65; “Torment myself to catch the English crown: And from that torment I will free myself, or hew my way out with a bloody axe” – 3 Henry VI, 3.2.179-181; “I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way among the thorns and dangers of this world” – King John, 4.3.140-141


EACH TRIFLE = each piece of writing (precious jewels or rings or tokens of bond: “And sweetest, fairest, as I my poor self did exchange for you to your so infinite loss; so in our trifles I still win of you” – Cymbeline, 1.2.49-52); TRUEST = Oxford’s motto  (Nothing Truer than Truth); TRUEST BARS = (“most reliable locks or barricades” – Duncan-Jones); also, the image of the BARS or locks and barricades of the Tower, where Southampton is a prisoner; “Through a secret grate of iron bars in yonder Tower” – 1 Henry VI, 1.4.10-11; TO THRUST = the image of Oxford hiding his written work; also in these lines, Oxford may be referring to the care he took to keep his royal son hidden from view, protected from plots and so on.


STAY = remain under lock and key; be kept away from; “where thou dost stay” – Sonnet 44, line 4; also suggesting the hope for a “stay of execution”; “Retreat is made and execution stay’d” – 2 Henry IV, 4.3.72


FROM HANDS OF FALSEHOOD = away from those who are “untrue” or who do not wish the truth ever to be written; from thieves or other conspirators; also the hands or hand of Elizabeth, who is also Time; “And by their hands this grace of kings must die, if hell and treason hold their promises” – Henry V, 2.0.Chorus.28-29; “With time’s injurious hand crushed and o’erworn” – Sonnet 63, line 2; “When I have seen by time’s fell hand defaced” – Sonnet 64, line 1; “Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?” – Sonnet 65, line 11; “And almost thence my nature is subdued,/ To what it works in, like the Dyer’s hand” – Sonnet 111, lines 6-7; “For since each hand hath put on Nature’s power” – Sonnet 127, line 5; “Was sleeping by a Virgin hand disarmed” – Sonnet 154, line 8, the latter in reference to Elizabeth, the so-called Virgin Queen, refusing to acknowledge her newborn son in 1574; FALSEHOOD = “The usual adverbs in legal records alongside the descriptions of particular treasons are ‘falsely’ and ‘traitorously’” – Bellamy, Tudor Law of Treason, p. 33; hands of falsehood = hands of traitors; WARDS = “Meaning ‘guards’ and used to describe places that can be locked for safekeeping; the range of its applications includes chests and prison cells” – Booth; “I am come to survey the Tower this day … where be these warders … Open the gates” – 1 Henry VI, 1.3.1-3; “prison … in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons” – Hamlet, 2.2.260,262-263; prison guards; the “wards” of a lock; OF TRUST = of those who can be trusted


BUT THOU = but you; TO WHOM = compared to whom; MY JEWELS = my writings, i.e., these private verses, which all involve Southampton, a prince who was “the world’s fresh ornament” in Sonnet 1 or the “jewel” whose life is being recorded here; “As for my sons, say I account of them as jewels” – Titus Andronicus, 3.1.198-199; “Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,/ Which like a jewel hung in ghastly night” – Sonnet 27, lines 10-11; “As on the finger of a throned Queen,/ The basest Jewel will be well esteemed” – Sonnet 96, lines 5-6


MOST WORTHY = most royal or kingly; “a king of so much worth” – 1 Henry VI, 1.1. 7; “Most worthy brother England” – the King of France addressing Henry V of England, Henry V, 5.2.10; “That were I crown’d the most imperial monarch, thereof most worthy” – The Winter’s Tale, 4.4.374-375; “Most worthy prince” – Cymbeline, 5.5.359; COMFORT = “Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age” – 2 Henry VI, 1.1.189; “O my good lord, that comfort comes too late; ‘tis like a pardon after execution” – Henry VIII, 4.2.120-121; “As a decrepit father takes delight/ To see his active child do deeds of youth,/ So I, made lame by Fortune’s dearest spite,/ Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth” – Sonnet 37, lines 1-4; NOW MY GREATEST GRIEF = now you are the cause of the greatest grief in my life; “To me and to the state of my great grief let kings assemble; for my grief’s so great” – King John, 2.2.70-71; “Let every word weigh heavy of her worth that he does weigh too light: my greatest grief, though little do he feel it, set down sharply” – All’s Well That Ends Well, 3.4.31-33

This Sessions, to our great grief we pronounce     The Winter’s Tale, 3.2.
(The king opens the Sessions or Treason Trial)


THOU BEST OF DEAREST = you, most royal of most royal, dear son; “My dear dear lord … dear my liege” – Richard II, 1.1.176, 184); BEST = “Richard hath best deserv’d of all my sons” – 3 Henry VI, 1.1.18; DEAREST = “Thou would’st have left thy dearest heart-blood there, rather than made that savage duke thine heir, and disinherited thine only son” – 3 Henry VI, 1.1.229-231; “And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends” – Richard III, 1.3.224

Too familiar is my dear son with such sour company

Romeo and Juliet, 3.3.7-8

ONLY = the “one” of Southampton’s motto; supreme; he is the “onlie begetter” of the 1609 dedication of the Sonnets; he was the “only herald to the gaudy spring” of Sonnet 1

MINE ONLY = “Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son!” – 3 Henry VI, 2.5.83; “His name is Lucentio and he is mine only son” – The Taming of the Shrew, 5.1.77-78

O me, O me!  My child, my only life

Romeo and Juliet, 4.5.19

MINE ONLY CARE = Southampton, my only concern; CARE = Bolinbroke: “Part of your cares you give me with your crown”; King Richard: “Your cares set up do not puck my cares down.  My care is loss of care, by old care done; your care is gain of care, by new care won.  The cares I give, I have, though given away, they ‘tend the crown, yet still with me they stay” – Richard II, 4.1.194-199


Are left in the Tower for every common thief to harm or steal; EVERY VULGAR THIEF = a passing glance at himself as E. Ver, Edward de Vere, who tries to steal looks at his son; every common or base criminal in the Tower with you, urging you to further rebellion

Southampton in the Tower

Southampton in the Tower


LOCKED UP = It is not I who have locked you up in the Tower or anywhere else; “Lock up my doors” – The Merchant of Venice, 2.5.29; “You’re my prisoner, but your gaoler shall deliver the keys that lock up your restraint” – Cymbeline, 1.2.3-5

For treason is but trusted like the fox,
Who, never so tame, so cherished and locked up 1 Henry IV, 5.2.9-10

So am I as the rich whose blessed key
Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure     Sonnet 52, lines 1-2

CHEST = coffer for valuables or jewels; IN ANY CHEST = in any prison; “A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest is a bold spirit in a loyal breast” – Richard II, 1.1.180-181; (to Southampton in the Sonnets as “ornament” or “jewel” or royal prince who is imprisoned and whose truth is hidden: “So is the time that keeps you as my chest” – Sonnet 52, line 9; “Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?” – Sonnet 65, line 10); “I thought myself to commit an unpardonable error to have murdered the same in waste-bottoms of my chests” – Oxford’s Prefatory Letter to Cardanus’ Comfort, 1573


Except where you are not, i.e., except outside the high fortress walls, where you are free (in my mind and heart, within my breast)


GENTLE = suited for royalty; tender; CLOSURE = enclosure; the only place I keep you; i.e., the more loving “closure” of his breast or heart, as opposed to the fortress walls of the Tower prison where Southampton is confined:

O Pomfret, Pomfret!  O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the Second here was hack’d to death!    Richard III, 3.3.9-12

To Elizabeth about their son, contrasting the gentleness of his “jail” with the harshness or rigor of her Tower: “Prison my heart in thy steel bosom’s ward,/ But then my friend’s heart let my poor heart bail;/ Who ere keeps me, let my heart be his guard,/ Thou canst not then use rigor in my jail” – Sonnet 133, lines 9-12

Queen Elizabeth I never lifted a finger to help Southampton, who remained in the Tower until she died and King James succeeded her

Queen Elizabeth I never lifted a finger to help Southampton, who remained in the Tower until she died and King James succeeded her


AT PLEASURE = at Your Majesty’s pleasure; at his royal son’s command; “She flatly said whether it were mine or hers she would bestow it at her pleasure” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, October 20, 1595, in reference to the Queen; THOU MAYST COME AND PART = you may come and go


Even then I fear you will be stolen from me; THOU WILT BE STOL’N, I FEAR = “Thou hast stol’n that which after some few hours were thine without offence” – the king to his royal son, referring to the crown, in 1 Henry IV, 4.5.101-102; “And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair” – Sonnet 99, line 7, playing on “heir”


TRUTH = Oxford, Nothing Truer than Truth; “your true rights” – Sonnet 17, line 11; FOR TRUTH PROVES THIEVISH FOR A PRIZE SO DEAR = because the truth, that you are a prince, proves a prize for those “thieves” who want to rebel against the Crown and put you on the throne; for even I, Oxford, might become a thief to steal you, my dear son, who are so royal a prize; (“The prey entices the thief” – Tilley, P570, adapted in Venus and Adonis: “Rich preys make true men thieves” – line 724); Southampton, having a claim to the throne, is indeed “a prize so dear” or so royal, with “dear” as in “my dear royal son”; “If my dear love were but the child of state,/ It might for fortune’s bastard be un-fathered” – Sonnet 124, lines 1-2

The End of the Authorship Question – Not!

Anticipating James Shapiro’s defense of Stratfordian virtue (and anti-Stratfordian lunacy) in his book Contesting Will, due this spring, I figured it would be wise to finally read through The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question by Scott McCrea.

The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question (Not!) - by Scott McCrea

The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question (Not!) - by Scott McCrea

As the title indicates, this was supposed to be a knockout punch, the final blow to those of us who are very much involved in the Question; but lo, four years after its 2005 publication, here we are!  Stubborn, ain’t we!

Well, I did read McCrea’s book very carefully and for some reason it was quite enjoyable, perhaps because of the feeling that I actually understand his point of view; or, I should say, I find it normal even though naive.  He spends time knocking down certain arguments used by some Oxfordians and other anti-Stratfordians – arguments with which I myself disagree; and also sets up fabricated or conveniently weak arguments or “straw men” to be easily slain.

For now I’ll touch on just one example: that McCrea apparently assumes that most if not all Oxfordians believe that Shakspere of Stratford acted as a “front man” during the 1590’s onward, somehow convincing everyone that he, yes, he, was the great poet-dramatist.  Well, I’ve never believed such a silly thing.  What I do believe is that “William Shakespeare” was a pen name used by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and that most contemporaries were unaware of this.

Will, if this is you, tell the truth: you never acted as a "front man" for the real author, did you?!

Will, if this is you, tell the truth: you never acted as a "front man" for the real author, did you?!

Even Shakspere of Stratford was unaware of it! In my view  all the contemporary tributes and references to Shakespeare the writer were by those who assumed that the name was real but knew nothing else about him, much less that he was actually the Earl of

This is a common experience, after all.  We read the names of authors and playwrights and screenwriters and poets every day and have no idea who they are, what they look like, where they live and so on.  Out of the last dozen movies you’ve seen, how many of the screen writers can you name?  If you heard a name and it was new to you, how curious were you to find out more about him or her?

How many folks knew - or cared to know - the identity of the man who was "Trevanian," a pen name?

How many folks knew - or cared to know - the identity of the man who was "Trevanian," a pen name?

You know of the author “Trevanian,” no doubt.  He was finally identified —  but how many readers are aware of it?  How many cared a hoot about it?  [“Trevanian” was the pen name of American author Dr. Rodney William Whitaker: June 12, 1931- Dec 14, 2005; see Wikipedia on this.  Was it a “conspiracy”?  Of course not.]

Some of you have heard about the playwright Jane Martin of Louisville, yes?  Here’s a link to a short essay entitled, A Two Decade Old Mystery: Who is Jane Martin?

The piece starts this way: “It is a mystery that has confounded the theatre community for over two decades. Who is Jane Martin? She has produced over ten full length plays, six one-acts, and numerous shorts.  She has been nominated for the Pulitzer prize, and won the American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award twice. Yet, she has not made one public appearance. There are no interviews. No pictures. No sightings. Nothing. She has been called ‘America’s best known unknown playwright…”

A play by "Jane Martin" - a pen name

A play by "Jane Martin" - a pen name

Here’s from Wikipedia’s entry:

“Jane Martin is the pen-name of a playwright speculated to be retired Actors Theatre of Louisville artistic director Jon Jory.  Jon Jory, Martin’s spokesperson, denies being Jane Martin but has directed the premieres of Martin’s shows.  Martin has traditionally been billed as a Kentucky playwright. While speculation about her identity centers around Jory, other theories have cited former Actors Theatre of Louisville Executive Director Alexander Speer, former Actors Theatre Literary Manager Michael Bigelow Dixon, and former intern Kyle John Schmidt…”

Sounds like the authorship debate!  Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon… Well, you get the picture.  EVEN NOW in the 21st century, with all our technical miracles, we have folks referring to a playwright by his or her PEN NAME without knowing, or caring, about anything else.  Any of us could write a tribute — “O Jane Martin, you are a great dramatist!” — without having a clue about Jane’s identity.  In fact, people pay tribute to Jane all the time!

Such was the case of the pen name “Shakespeare” or “Shake-speare,” suggesting a warrior shaking the spear of his pen…

I should stop here for now.  But let’s put it to rest: the wiser sort among us “heretics,” as McCrea routinely calls Oxfordians and those supporting other claimants, have understood that Will of Stratford was never a “front man” or “stand-in” who was posing or acting as the man to eventually be regarded as the greatest writer the world has known. But I must admit that some of my colleagues in the “heresy” camp do, in fact, entertain that nonsensical notion.

(Of course Will was in fact a real individual, a businessman, and in a future blog I’ll describe my version of his entry into this history as well as the role he played up to, and after,his death in 1616. And I’ll take up the matter of Ben Jonson’s testimony at the same time, since, as a matter of fact, Ben and Will go together…)

Castle Hedingham in Essex, England, birthplace of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Castle Hedingham in Essex, England, birthplace of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

The fact is that Edward de Vere was a central figure behind the great growth of literature and drama in England up to the victory over the Spanish armada in 1588, after which he went “underground,” while “Shakespeare” emerged in 1593 as the printed name for an author whose contemporary sources were nearly all associated personally, on the record, with Oxford.   That’s a fact, a verifiable fact, and it’s much more interesting and meaningful than the last dozen biographies of the Stratfordian Shakespeare put together!  Beyond that, it’s the truth.

McCrea’s overall problem, which I’ll get to in one of these blogs about his book that has “ended” the authorship question (Not!), is that he’s holding onto a mythical figure with no more physical reality than Santa Claus.

He thinks we’re pulling a “con job” by separating the Stratford man’s recorded life from the documented history of the “Shakespeare” name — but McCrea himself would never have connected the two on his own, certainly not during Will’s lifetime, since the words “Sweet Swan of Avon” and “Stratford moniment” (correct spelling) in the First Folio came later in 1623. (Even then few if any readers would have connected those two phrases, which were in separate eulogies.)

Near the very end of his book McCrea states:  “We can try to make sense of the world and make decisions based on reason, or we can cling to our prejudices.  We can defend our wrong ideas to the death or be open to the possibility of changing our minds.”

Well, Scott, most Oxfordians including myself were once Statfordians; we tried to make sense of the facts we were given and to make decisions about them based on reason; we did not cling to our ‘prejudices’ or ideas that had been ingrained in us; we did not try to defend those old knee-jerk ideas to the death; instead, without being conspiracy nuts or snobs or misguided con men, we were open to the possibility of changing our minds — and when we learned about a Hamlet-like nobleman named Oxford whom no college professor had ever told us about, in fact we did begin to change our minds … and we are still on that exciting adventure, learning, discussing, debating, researching, having the time of our lives … and I suggest you come on over and try it with the possibility of changing your mind!

Cheers from Hank

A Bargain for Southampton’s Life – “The Living Record” – Chapter 44

Sonnet 47 – February 28, 1601

Three days after the execution of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, this sonnet resolves the struggle between Oxford’s eye (mind) and heart (emotions) described in the previous verse — the struggle between his duty to the state, having to vote for a guilty verdict against both Essex and Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton … and then to work behind the scenes for the latter, his son by the Queen, in order to hopefully save his life.

The Earl of Essex, beheaded at the Tower Green on February 25, 1601

The Earl of Essex, beheaded at the Tower Green on February 25, 1601

Oxford records that a “league” or bargain with Secretary Robert Cecil has been struck in order to spare Southampton from execution. The ransom price, however, will be Southampton’s relinquishment of any claim to the throne. Meanwhile Oxford writes to record again that the image of his imprisoned royal son is always with him:\

Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,

(“You peers, continue this united league” – Richard III, 2.1.2)

And each doth good turns now unto the other;

When that mine eye is famished for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,
With my love’s picture then my eye doth feast,
And to the painted banquet bids my heart:
An other time mine eye is my heart’s guest,
And in his thoughts of love doth share a part.

(“The pleasure that some fathers feed upon is my strict fast – I mean my children’s looks, and therein fasting hast thou made me gaunt” – Richard II, 2.1.79-81;  “And so my state … show’d like a feast” – the king in 1 Henry IV, 3.2.53-59)

So either by thy picture or my love,
Thy self away, art present still with me:
For thou no further than my thoughts canst move,
And I am still with them, and they with thee;
Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
Awakes my heart to heart’s and eye’s delight.

Are these sonnets referring to Southampton being “away” in the Tower?  Look at these references:

“Things removed” – Sonnet 31, line 8
“O absence” – Sonnet 39, line 9
“When I am sometime absent from thy heart” – Sonnet 41, line 2
“Where thou art” – Sonnet 41, line 12
“Injurious distance” – Sonnet 44, line 1
“Where thou dost stay” – Sonnet 44, line 4
“Removed from thee” – Sonnet 44, line 6
“Present-absent” – Sonnet 45, line 4
“Where thou art” – Sonnet 51, line 3
“The bitterness of absence” – Sonnet 57, line 6
“Where you may be” – Sonnet 57, line 10
“Where you are” – Sonnet 57, line 12
“The imprisoned absence of your liberty” – Sonnet 58, line 6
“Where you list” – Sonnet 58, line 9
“Thou dost wake elsewhere” – Sonnet 61, line 12
“All away” – Sonnet 75, line 14
“Be absent from thy walks” – Sonnet 89, line 9
“How like a Winter hath my absence been/ From thee” – Sonnet 97, line 1
“This time removed” – Sonnet 97, line 5
“And thou away” – Sonnet 97, line 12
“You away” – Sonnet 98, line 13

King James VI of Scotland, for whom Robert Cecil is now working, behind Queen Elizabeth's back, in order to engineer his succession (with Southampton being held hostage in the Tower until James can be proclaimed King of England)

King James VI of Scotland, for whom Robert Cecil is now working, behind Queen Elizabeth's back, in order to engineer his succession (with Southampton being held hostage in the Tower until James can be proclaimed King of England)

To be continued…

Edward de Vere’s “Crown” Signature – and More

Over the years many Oxfordians have been mystified by what appears to be a “crown signature” that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford used at age nineteen at the end of a letter to his guardian William Cecil (the future Lord Burghley) on November 24, 1569.

Edward de Vere's "crown" signature that he used on letters to William and Robert Cecil from 1569 until the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603

Edward de Vere's "crown" signature that he used on letters to William and Robert Cecil from 1569 until the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603

He referred to himself as “Edward Oxenford” and continued to use the same crown-shaped signature on letters to William and Robert Cecil for more than three decades until the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, after which he reverted to a different form of signature.

What did it signify?  Why did he stop using it after the Queen died?  Couldn’t such a signature have amounted to a claim that he deserved to be a King or at least a King Consort? Was he taunting both Cecils, father and son, with extremely sensitive information of which they were aware?  Otherwise, couldn’t they have accused him of treason?  What do you think?

In Oxford’s letter of November 1569 he requests Cecil’s permission to take part in the military campaign against the uprising of the powerful Catholic earls in the north of England.  He reminds the chief minister that “heretofore you have given me your good word to have me see the wars and services in strange and foreign places,” but that Cecil had been unable to “obtain me license of the Queen’s Majesty.”

“Now you will do me so much honour,” he adds, “as that by your purchase of my License I may be called to the service of my prince and country as at this present troublous time a number are.”

“If your father will do me any honour” – 1 Henry IV, 5.4

“I come to thee for charitable license” – Henry V, 4.7

“That in your country’s service drew your swords” – Titus Andronicus, 1.1

“And showed how well you love your prince and country” – 2 Henry VI, 4.9

“But in this troublous time, what’s to be done?” – 3 Henry VI, 2.1

“So are a number more” – 2 Henry IV, 3.2

The following spring Oxford was allowed to accompany the Earl of Sussex as the campaign was winding down and they pursued the fleeing rebels and their allies into Scotland.

A terrified Elizabeth commanded barbarous reprisals, to the point where some 90 fortified castles were razed and 300 villages were savagely pillaged and destroyed and 800 captives were hanged — and we are left to wonder about how this harsh reality of war affected the young man who, more than two decades later, at age forty-three in 1593, would adopt the warrior-like pen name “Shakespeare” on his dedications to nineteen-year-old Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, his son by the Queen who deserved by blood to succeed her on the throne.

PS – The lines from the plays with matching words or phrases come from the magnificent book SHAKESPEARE REVEALED IN OXFORD’S LETTERS by William Plumer Fowler, Peter E. Randall, Publisher, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1986 — one of the great Oxfordian works, with 872 pages showing how Edward de Vere’s letters are filled with Shakespearean language and unique Shakespearean forms of expression.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Fowler a few years before he died, in his nineties, and he recited Sonnet 33 while expressing his belief that Southampton was the son of Oxford and the Queen.  A retired lawyer and recognized poet, he was a graduate of Roxbury Latin School, Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, not to mention that he had been an ardent Stratfordian and, for twelve years, president of the Shakespeare Club of Boston!

Now, there was a man who trusted his head and his heart, his mind and his gut instincts; and there, I might add, was a man of courage.

“Building the Case for Edward de Vere as Shakespeare” – The Complete Tables of Contents Vols 1 – 5

Here are all Tables of Contents for the first five volumes of


Series Editors: Paul Altrocchi & Hank Whittemore


iUniverse Publishing (800-288-4677 x 5024)

iuniverse.com … amazon.com (search by volume title)


After Unmasking the Fraudulent Pretender,

Search for the True Genius Begins

Part 1: Growing Disbelief in the Stratford Man as Shakespeare

1. Preface

2. Elsie Greenwood: Obituary of G. G. Greenwood [1859-1928]

3. George Greenwood, 1916: Is There A Shakespeare Problem?

4. George Greenwood, 1916: Professor Dryasdust and “Genius”

5. George Greenwood, 1916: The Portraits of Shakespeare

6. George Greenwood, 1916: Shakespeare as a Lawyer

7. George Greenwood, 1921: Ben Jonson and Shakespeare

8. George Greenwood, 1925: Stratford Bust and the Droeshout

Part 2: The Breadth of Shakespeare’s Knowledge

1. Preface

2. James Harting, 1864: Ornithology of Shakespeare

3. Archibald Geikie, 1916: The Birds of Shakespeare

4. William Theobald, 1909: The Classical Element in the Shakespeare Plays.

5. Cumberland Clark, 1922: Astronomy in the Poets

6. St. ClairThomson, 1916: Shakespeare and Medicine

7. Eva Turner Clark, 1931: Singleton’s The Shakespeare Garden

8. C. Clark, 1929: Shakespeare and Science, including Astronomy

9. Richard Noble, 1935: Shakespeare’s Biblical Knowledge

Part 3: The Case for Francis Bacon

1. Preface

2. H. Crouch Batchelor, 1912: Advice to English Schoolboys

3. Georges Connes, 1927: The Shakespeare Mystery

4. J. Churton Collins, 1904: Studies in Shakespeare

5. Roderick Eagle, 1930: Shakespeare. New Views for Old

6. Harold Bayley, 1902: The Tragedy of Sir Francis Bacon

7. George Bompas, 1902: The Problem of Shakespeare Plays

8. Elizabeth Wells Gallup, 1910: The Bi-lateral Cipher of Sir Francis Bacon.

9. John H. Stotsenburg, 1904: An Impartial Study of the Shakespeare Title.

10. Granville Cuningham, 1911: Bacon’s Secrets Disclosed in Contemporary Books

11. Gilbert Slater, 1931: Seven Shakespeares

Part 4: Edward de Vere Bursts out of Anonymity

1. Preface

2. V. A. Demant, 1962: Obituary of J. Thomas Looney [1870-1944]

3. J. Thomas Looney, 1920: “Shakespeare” Identified in Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford

Part 5: A Sudden Eruption of Oxfordian Giants

1. Preface

2. Marjorie Bowen, 1933: Introduction to Percy Allen’s The Plays of Shakespeare and Chapman in Relation to French History

3. Obituary of Hubert Henry Holland [1873-1957]

4. Hubert H. Holland, 1923: Shakespeare through Oxford Glasses

5. Phyllis Carrington, 1962: Obituary of Bernard Rowland Ward

6. Colonel B. R. Ward, 1923: The Mystery of “Mr. W. H.”

7. Obituary of Bernard Mordaunt Ward [1893-1943]

8. B. M. Ward, 1928: The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford

9. Obituary of Mrs. Eva Turner Clark [1871-1947]

10. Eva Turner Clark, 1931: Hidden Allusions in Shakespeare’s Plays

11. Rev. Gerald Rendall, 1930: Shakespeare’s Sonnets

12. T. L. Adamson, 1959: Obituary of Percy AlIen [1875-1959]

13. Percy Allen, 1933: The Plays of Shakespeare and Chapman in Relation to French History

14. Percy Allen, 1930: The Case for Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford as “Shakespeare”

15. Percy Allen, 1931: The Oxford-Shakespeare Case Corroborated

16. F. Lingard Ranson, 1940: Death of Ernest Allen [1875-1940]

17. Percy Allen and Ernest Allen, 1933: Lord Oxford and “Shakespeare”: A Reply to John Drinkwater


Fact versus Fiction in the

Shakespeare Authorship Debate

Part 1: Authorship Articles from England in the 1930s

1. Preface

2. Percy Allen, 1937: Lord Oxford as Shakespeare

3. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1938: The Man Who Was Shakespeare by Eva Turner Clark

4. J. Thomas Looney, 1935: Lord Oxford and the Shrew Plays, Part 1

5. J. Thomas Looney, 1935: Lord Oxford and the Shrew Plays, Part 2

6. Gilbert Slater, 1934: Letter to Editor

7. Canon Gerald Rendall, 1935: Lord Oxford was “Shakespeare” by Montague Douglas

8. Editors, 1935: Elizabeth Trentham and Edward deVere

9. Ernest Allen, 1937: Shakespeare’s Sonnets

10. Bernard M. Ward, 1937: Shakespearean Notes

11. Bernard M. Ward, 1937: When Shakespeare Died by Ernest Allen

12. F. Lingard Ranson, 1937: Shakespeare: An East Anglian

13. Percy Allen, 1938: The De Vere Star

14. Editor, 1940: Ben Jonson and the First Folio by G. H. Rendall

15. Montague Douglas, 1940: Welcome to the American Branch

Part 2: Shakespeare Fellowship News-Letters from the American Branch, 1939-1943

1. Preface

2. Eva Turner Clark, 1939: Introduction to the ShakespeareFellowship, American Branch

3. Louis Benezet, 1939: The President’s Message

4. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1939: To Pluck the Heart of the Mystery

5. Editors, 1939: Origins and Achievements of the Shakespeare Fellowship

6. Editors, 1939: Noted Oxfordian Ernest Allen Dies

7. Editors, 1940: Scientific Proof that certain Shakesper Portraits are De Vere

8. Editors, 1940: Dean of Literary Detectives on the War

9. Louis Benezet, 1940: Organization of the Shakespeare Fellowship, American Branch

10. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: Shakespeare Read Books Written in Greek

11. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: Shakespeare’s Birthday

12. Editors, 1940: Editorial in The Argonaut of San Francisco

13. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1940: Mountainous Error

14. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: The Date of Hamlet’s Composition

15. Louis Benezet, 1940: Shakespeare and Ben Jonson

16. Editors, 1940: A Master of Double-Talk

17. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: He Must Build Churches Then

18. Esther Singleton, 1940: Was Edward de Vere Shakespeare?

19. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1940: Dr. Phelps and his Muddled Miracle

20. EvaTurner Clark, 1940: The Painting in Lucrece

21. Charles Wisner BarreD, 1940: Arthur Golding and Edward de Vere

22. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: Topicalities in the Plays

23. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: Anomos, or A. W.

24. Eva Turner Clark, 1940: Gabriel Harvey and Axiophilus

25. J. Thomas Looney, 1941:”Shakespeare”: A Missing Author, Part 1

26. J. Thomas Looney, 1941: “Shakespeare”: A Missing Author, Part 2

27. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1941: Shakespeare’s Irish Sympathies

28. Louis Benezet, 1941: A 19th Century Revolt against the Stratford Theory, Part 1

29. Louis Benezet, 1941: The Great Debate of 1892-1893: Bacon vs. Shakespeare, Part 2

30. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1941: Shakespeare’s “Fluellen” Identified as a Retainer of the Earl of Oxford

31. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1941: “Shake-speare’s” Own Secret Drama, Pt 1

32. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1941: “Shake-speare’s” Own Secret Drama, Pt 2

33. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1942: “Shake-speare’s” Own Secret Drama, Pt 3

34. Editors, 1942: Import of These Discoveries

35. Flodden W. Heron, 1942: Bacon Was Not Shakespeare

36. Eva Turner Clark, 1942: Lord Oxford as Shakespeare

37. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1942:  “Shake-speare’s” Own Secret Drama, Pt 4

38. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1942: “Shake-speare’s” Own Secret Drama, Pt 5

39. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1942: “Shake-speare’s” Own Secret Drama, Pt 6

40. Louis Benezet, 1942: Shaksper, Shakespeare, and DeVere

41. Eva Turner Clark, 1942: The Red Rose

42. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1942: “Shake-speare’s” Unknown Home on the Avon

43. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1943: He Is Dead and Gone, Lady

44. Louis Benezet, 1943: Look at the Chronicles, Part 1

45. Louis Benezet, 1943: Look at the Chronicles, Part 2

46. Louis Benezet, 1943: Look in the Chronicles, Part 3

47. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1943: King of Shreds and Patches – Dyer as “Great Revisor” of the Shakespearean Works

48. Phyllis Carrington, 1943: Was Lord Oxford Buried in Westminster Abbey?

49. Editors, 1943: The Duke of Portland’s Welbeck Portrait

50. Eva Turner Clark, 1943: A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres

51. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1943: Who Was John Soothern?

52. Eva Turner Clark, 1943: Cryptic Passages by Davies of Hereford

53. George Frisbee, 1943: Shame on the Professors


Evidence Grows Rapidly in Favor of

Edward de Vere as Shakespeare

Part 1: Articles from the Shakespeare Fellowship Quarterly (1943-1947)

1. Preface

2. Editors, 1943: The Quarterly, A Continuation of the News-Letter

3. Louis Benezet, 1944: The Frauds and Stealths of Injurious Impostors

4. Eva Turner Clark, 1944: Stolen and Surreptitious Copies

5. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1944: Documentary Notes on the Swan Theatre

6. Editors, 1944: Obituary of John Thomas Looney [1870-1944]

7. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1944: Newly Discovered Oxford- Shakespeare Pictorial Evidence

8. Eva Turner Clark, 1944: Some Character Names in Shakespeare’s Plays. Part 1

9. Eva Turner Clark, 1944: Some Character Names in Shakespeare’s Plays. Part 2

10. Eva Turner Clark, 1944: Some Character Names in Shakespeare’s Plays. Part 3

11. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1944: Lord Oxford as Supervising Patron of Shakespeare’s Theatrical Company

12. Louis Benezet, 1944: The Stratford Defendant Compromised His Own Advocates. Part 1

13. Louis Benezet, 1944: The Stratford Defendant Compromised His Own Advocates. Part 2

14. Louis Benezet, 1944: The Stratford Defendant Compromised His Own Advocates. Part 3

15. Louis Benezet, 1944: The Stratford Defendant Compromised His Own Advocates. Part 4

16. Louis Benezet, 1944: The Authorship of Othello

17. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1944: New Milestone in Shakespearean Research: “Gentle Master William”

18. Eva Turner Clark, 1945: Lord Oxford’s Shakespearean Travels

19. Charles W. Barrell, 1945: “The Sole Author of Renowned Victorie.” Gabriel Harvey Testifies in the Oxford-Shakespeare Case

20. Charles Wisner Barreil, 1945: Earliest Authenticated “Shakespeare” Transcript Found With Oxford’s Personal Poems

21. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1945: Rare Military Volume Sponsored by Lord Oxford Issued by “Shakespeare’s” First Publisher

22. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1945: The Wayward Water-Bearer Who Wrote “Shake-speare’s” Sonnet 109

23. Eva Turner Clark, 1945: Lord Oxford’s Letters Echoed in Shakespeare’s Plays. An Early Letter Examined. Part 1

24. Eva Turner Clark, 1945: Lord Oxford’s Letters Echoed in Shakespeare’s Plays. An Early Letter Examined. Part 2

25. Louis Benezet, 1945: The Remarkable Testimony of Henry Peacham.

26. Charles W. Barrell, 1945: “Creature of Their Own Creating.” An Answer to the Present School of Shakespeare Biography

27. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1945: Genesis of a Henry James Story

28. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1946: Exploding the Ancient Play Cobbler Fantasy

29. Lewis Hammond Webster, 1946: Those Authorities

30. Louis Benezet, 1946: Another Stratfordian Aids the Oxford Cause.

31. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1946: A Literary Pirate’s Attempt to Publish The Winter’s Tale in 1594

32. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1946: The Playwright Earl Publishes “Hamlet’s Book”

33. Louis Benezet, 1946: False Shakespeare Chronology Regarding the Date of King Henry VIII

34. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1946: Shakespeare’s Henry V Can Be Identified as Harry of Cornwall in Henslowe’s Diary

35, Eva Turner Clark, 1946: Shakespeare’s Strange Silence When James I Succeeded Elizabeth

36. Charles W. Barrell, 1946: Proof That Shakespeare’s Thought and Imagery Dominate Oxford’s Statement of Creative Principles

37. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1947: Queen Elizabeth’s Master Showman Shakes a Spear in Her Defense

38. James J. Dwyer, 1947: The Poet Earl of Oxford and Grays Inn

39. Louis Benezet, 1947: Dr. Smart’s Man of Stratford Outsmarts Credulity

40. Editors, 1947: Sir George Greenwood

41. Editors, 1947: Physician, Heal Thyself

Part 2: Bonus Selections

1. Preface

2. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1937: Elizabethan Mystery Man

3. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1940: Shakespearean Detective Story

4. Percy Allen & B.M. Ward, 1936: Relations between Lord Oxford as “Shakespeare,” Queen Elizabeth and the Fair Youth. Part 1

5. Percy Allen & B.M. Ward, 1936: Relations between Lord Oxford as “Shakespeare,” Queen Elizabeth and the Fair Youth. Part 2


A Coerced Pen Name Forces the

Real Shakespeare into Anonymity

Part 1: Articles from The Shakespeare Fellowship Quarterly, 1947-1948

1. Preface

2. Louis Benezet, 1947: The Shakespeare Hoax: An Improbable Narrative

3. Editors, 1947: Tufts College Then and Now

4. Abraham Feldman, 1947: Shakespeare’s Jester: Oxford’s Servant

5. Editors, 1947: Revising Some Details of an Important Discovery in Oxford-Shakespeare Research: Peacham’s Minerva Britanna

6. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1947: Pictorial Clues and Key Initials

7. Editors, 1947: Historical Background of The Merchant of Venice Clarified

8. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1947: New Proof that Henry Vlll was Written Before the spring of 1606

9. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1947: Dr. John Dover Wilson’s “New” Macbeth is a Masterpiece without a Master

10. Louis Benezet, 1948: Oxford and the Professors

11. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1948: Rarest Contemporary Description of “Shakespeare” Proves Poet to Have Been a Nobleman

12. EvaTurner Clark, 1948: Alias

13. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1948: Oxford vs. Other “Claimants” of the Edwards Shakespearean Honors, 1593

14. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1948: “In deed as in name: Vere nobilis for he was W… (?)…”

15. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1948: John Lyly as Both Oxford’s and Shakespeare’s “Honest Steward”

Part 2: English Shakespeare Fellowship News-Letters after World War II

1. Preface

2. J.J. Dwyer, 1947: Queen Elizabeth and Her Turk

3. J. J. Dwyer, 1947: The Portraits of Shakespeare

4. Montague Douglas, 1948: Book Review of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Edward de Vere by Canon Gerald Rendall

5. Percy Allen, 1951: King Lear in Relation to French History

6. H. Cutner, 1951: Provincial Dialect in Shakespeare’s Day

7. Percy Allen, 1952: Book Review of This Star of England by Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn

8. Kathleen Le Riche, 1953: A Portrait of Shake-speare?

9. Gwynneth Bowen, 1954: The Wounded Name

10. T. Adamson, 1955: Shakespeare and Oxford in the Lecture Room

11. J. Shera Atkinson, 1955: The Famous Victories of Henry V

12. John R. Metz, 1955: Gascoigne and De Vere

13. John R. Metz, 1955: The Poet with a Spear

14. Katherine Eggar, 1955: Brooke House, Hackney

15. Editors, 1956: The Aristocratic Look of Shakespeare

16. Rex Clements, 1957: Shakespeare as Mariner

Part 3: Excerpts from Books, 1920s to 1950s

1. Preface

2. B. M. Ward, 1928: The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford

3. Eva Turner Clark, 1937: The Man Who Was Shakespeare

4. Louis P. Benezet, 1937: Shakspere, Shakespeare, and De Vere

5. Alden Brooks, 1937: Factotem and Agent

6. Montague Douglas, 1952: Lord Oxford and the Shakespeare Group

7. Hilda Amphlett, 1955: Who Was Shakespeare? A New Enquiry

8. J. J. Dwyer, 1946: Italian Art in Poems and Plays of Shakespeare

9. Ernesto Grub, 1949: Shakespeare and Italy

10. Louis P. Benezet, 1958: The Six Loves of “Shakespeare”

11. Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn, 1955: The Renaissance Man of England

Part 4: Bonus Selections

1. Preface

2. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1946. Verifying the Secret History of Shake-speares Sonnets

3. Dorothy and Chariton Ogburn, 1959. The True Shakespeare: England’s Great and Complete Man

4. Dorothy and Chariton Ogburn, 1952: This Star of England


Four Hundred Years of Deceit are Enough.

Edward de Vere is Shakespeare

Part 1: Shakespearean Authorship Review 1959-1973

1. Preface

2. Julia Cooley Altrocchi, 1959: Ships and Spears in Genoa

3. Ruth Wainewright, 1959: Elizabethan Noblemen and the Literary Profession

4. Gwynneth Bowen, 1959: Debate at the Old Vic – The Shakespeare Mystery

5. Katharine Eggar, 1959: Review of G. Bowen paper: Hamlet, A Mirror of the Time

6. D.F., 1959: Review of Katharine Eggar paper: Lord Oxford and His Servants

7. Julia Cooley Altrocchi, 1959: Edward de Vere and the Commedia dell’Arte

8. Gwynneth Bowen, 1959: Book Review of Louis Benezet’s The Six Loves of Shakespeare

9. Editors, 1959: The Deiphic Oracle

10. Sir John Russell, 1960: Book Review of Joel Hurstfield’s The Queen’s Wards

11. Ruth Wainewright, 1960: Replies to Mr. Mendi’s Criticisms of Who Was Shakespeare?

12. Gwynneth Bowen, 1960: Oxford Did Go to Milan?

13. D.W.T. Vessey, 1961: Freud and the Authorship Question

14. Georges Lambin, 1961: Did Oxford Go North-East of Milan?

15. Gwynneth Bowen, 1961: Editorial Reply Regarding Spinola Letter

16. Gwynneth Bowen, 1961: The Incomparable Pair and “The Works of William Shakespeare”

17. R. Ridgill Trout, 1961: The Clifford Bax Portrait of W. Shakespeare

18. Ruth Wainewright, 1961: Book Review of Martin Holmes’ Shakespeare’s Public

19. Ruth Wainewright, 1961: Review of Prof. Penrose’s Lecture, “The Shakespeare Portraits”

20. Gwynneth Bowen, 1961: Review of Ruth Wainewright’s Lecture, “Macbeth and the Authorship Question”

21. J.H.D., 1961: Obituary of Professor Louis P. Benezet

22. T. Adamson, 1962: Obituary of Chariton Ogburn

23. Editors, 1962: A Backward Look

24. Phyllis Carrington, 1962: Obituary of B. R. Ward [1863-1933]

25. E. Greenwood, 1962: Obituary: George Greenwood [1850-1928]

26. V.A. Demant, 1962: Obituary of J. Thomas Looney [1870-1944]

27. Georges Lambin, 1962: Obituary of Abel Lefranc [1863-1952]

28. Ruth Wainewright, 1962: “Forty Winters”

29. William Kent, 1963: Professor Saintsbury and Shakespeare

30. Ruth Wainewright, 1963: Book Review of Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn, Jr.’s Shakespeare: The Real Man Behind the Name

31. Sir John Russell, 1963: Book Review of Georges Lambin’s Voyages de Shakespeare en France et en Italie

32. Editors, 1963: Review of H. Gibson’s Lecture, “The Case against the Claimants”

33. Editors, 1963: Debate with Orthodoxy, “The Authorship Question”

34. G. Bowen, 1963: Book Review of S. Pitcher’s The Case for Shakespeare’s Authorship of ‘The Famous Victories.’

35. H. Cutner, 1963: Obituary of William Kent

36. Gwynneth Bowen, 1963: Stratfordian Quarter-centenary

37. D.W. Vessey, 1964: Some Early References to Shakespeare

38. Ruth Wainewright, 1964: Review of G. Bowen’s Lecture: “New Evidence for Dating the Plays: Orthodox and Oxfordian”

39. Hilda Amphlett, 1964: Review of Lecture by G. Cimino, “The Golden Age of Padua”

40. Gwynneth Bowen, 1964: Reverberations

41. D.W. Vessey, 1964: After the Pageant: A Meditation for 1965

42. James Walker, 1965: The Pregnant Silence

43. W.A. Ferguson, 1965: The Sonnets of Shakespeare: The “Oxfordian” Solution

44. G. Bowen, 1965: Hackney, Harsnett, and the Devils in King Lear

45. H.W. Patience, 1965: Topical Allusions in King John

46. l.L. McGeoch, 1965: Book Review of A. Falconer’s Shakespeare and the Sea

47. Ruth Wainewright, 1965: Book Review of E. Brewster’s Oxford: Courtier to the Queen

48. Ruth Wainewright, 1965: Review of G. Bowen’s Lecture “The Merchant and the Jew”

49. Gwynneth Bowen, 1965: Review of Ruth Wainwright’s Lecture, “Conflicting Dates for Various Candidates”

50. Gerald Rendall, 1966: A 1930 Toast to Edward de Vere

51. G. Bowen, 1965: Sir Edward Vere and His Mother, Anne Vavasor

52. Frances Carr: Review of Lecture by Marlowe Society Members: “The Death of Kit Marlowe: A Reconstruction”

53. Frances Carr, 1966: Review of Lecture by G. Bowen: “Who Was Kyd’s and Marlowe’s Lord”?

54. Ruth Wainewright, 1966: On the Poems of Edward de Vere

55. Editors, 1966: Brief Note on the “Flower Portrait”

56. W.T. Patience, 1966: Shakespeare and “Authority”

57. Gwynneth Bowen, 1967: Oxford’s Letter to Bedingfield and “Shake-speare’s Sonnets”

58. R. Ridgill Trout, 1967: Edward de Vere to Robert Cecil

59. Editors, 1967: Review of T. Bokenham’s Lecture: “Ben Jonson, Shakespeare and the 1623 Folio”

60. Editors, 1967: Review of D.W. Vessey’s Lecture: “Shakespeare’s Classical Learning”

61. Editors, 1967: Review of Gwynneth Bowen’s Lecture: “The Shakespeare Portraits and the Earl of Oxford”

62. Gwynneth Bowen, 1967: Touching the Affray at the Blackfriers

63. Dorothy Ogburn, 1967: The Authorship of The True Tragedie of Edward the Second

64. Ruth Wainewright, 1967: Book Review of M. Dewar’s Sir Thomas Smith: A Tudor Intellectual in Office

65. Craig Huston, 1968: Edward de Vere

66. Hilda Amphlett, 1968: Titchfield Abbey

67. Ruth Wainewright, 1968: Book Review of Tresham Lever’s The Herberts of Wilton

68. Editors, 1968: Book Review of Christmas Humphreys’ A Cross-Examination of Oxfordians

69. Gwynneth Bowen, 1968: More Brabbles and Frays

70. H.W. Patience, 1968: Earls Come and Castle Hedingham

71. Ruth Wainewright, 1968: Book Review of B. Grebanier’s The Great Shakespeare Forgery

72. Gwynneth Bowen, 1970: What Happened at Hedingham and Earls Come? Part 1

73. Gwynneth Bowen, 1971: What Happened at Hedingham and EarlsColne? Part 2

74. H.W. Patience, 1970: Note on the 16th Earl of Oxford

75. Alexis Dawson, 1970: Master Apis Lapis

76. D.W. Vessey, 1970: Book Review of G. Akrigg’s Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton

77. D.W. Vessey, 1970: Review of Sir John Russell’s Lecture: “For and Against William of Stratford: A Barrister’s Evaluation”

78.Gwynneth Bowen, 1971. Review of Lecture by Ruth Wainewright “All’s Well That Ends Well and the Authorship Question”

79. Ruth Wainewright, 1971: Review of Alexis Dawson’s Lecture “They Tried to Tell Us”

80. Gwynneth Bowen, 1972: Purloined Plumes

81. Minos Miller, 1972: Address to the Shakespearean Authorship Society on its 50th Anniversary

82. Gwynneth Bowen, 1972: Book Review of C. Sisson’s The Boar’s Head Theatre: An Inn-Yard Theatre of the Elizabethan Age

83. Gwynneth Bowen, 1973: Oxford’s and Worcester’s Men and the “Boar’s Head”

84. Francis Edwards, 1973: Oxford and the Duke of Norfolk

Part 2: Bonus Selections

1. Preface

2. Gywnneth Bowen, 1951: Shakespeare’s Farewell

3. William Kent, 1947: Edward de Vere, the Real Shakespeare

4. Charles Wisner Barrell, 1940: Identifying Shakespeare by X-ray and Infrared Photography

5. Ruth Loyd Miller, 1975: The “Ashbourne” Goes To Court

6. Percy Allen, 1934: Anne Cecil, Elizabeth and Oxford


Quite a lineup, eh?  All of us who feel it’s important to investigate the Shakespearean authorship can be proud of this amazingly rich body of research and writing — by extraordinary men and women — that stands as the foundation of more great work done up to, and including, the present.

“The Plea Bargain for Southampton’s Life” – The Living Record, Chapter 43

One of the big questions about the Shakespeare sonnets is whether they are arranged by the author to create an ongoing chronicle, in the form of a diary of private letters; and the resounding answer of the Monument Theory is … Yes!

A Contemporary Report of the Essex-Southampton trial, showing Edward de Vere as highest-ranking earl on the tribunal

A Contemporary Report of the Essex-Southampton trial, showing Edward de Vere as highest-ranking earl on the tribunal

My aim is to demonstrate this answer until, at some point, it becomes self-evident.

The first forty sonnets of the 100-sonnet central sequence are within four chapters of ten sonnets each, covering forty days from the night of the failed Essex Rebellion of February 8, 1601.  Oxford is writing to and about Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, who remains in his Tower prison room as a convicted traitor who is expected to die by execution:

THE CRIME – sonnets 27-36 – February 8 – 17, 1601

THE TRIAL – sonnets 37-46 –  February 18 – 27, 1601

THE PLEA  –  sonnets 47-56  – February 28 – March 9, 1601

REPRIEVE  – sonnets 57-66  – March 10 – 19, 1601

Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford


(Oxford is trying to solidify a “league” or plea bargain with Secretary Robert Cecil on behalf of Southampton, his son by the Queen and her rightful successor by blood.  The prince is “locked up” in the Tower while Oxford is desperately putting forth “the lawful reasons” for the Queen to excuse her son and spare his life.  [His dealings are actually with Cecil, who needs to bring James of Scotland to the throne upon Elizabeth’s death; otherwise, he will lose all his power and most likely his life.] To that end Oxford visits the Tower and personally tries to persuade Southampton to forfeit any claim as Elizabeth’s natural heir.  Oxford’s “grief lies onward” as he rides away from “where thou art” in the prison, while “strange shadows on you tend” — the shadows of disgrace and coming death, during “this sad interim” between the tragedy of the rebellion and whatever the outcome will be.)

Son 47 – Feb 28 – “A League is Took”
Son 48 – Mar 1    – “Locked Up”
Son 49 – Mar 2  – “Lawful Reasons”
Son 50 – Mar 3  – “My Grief Lies Onward”
Son 51 – Mar 4  – “Where Thou Art”
Son 52 – Mar 5  – “Up-Locked”
Son 53 – Mar 6  – “Strange Shadows on You”
Son 54 – Mar 7  – “Sweet Deaths”
Son 55 – Mar 8  – “‘Gainst Death”
Son 56 – Mar 9  – “This Sad Interim”

Tower of London

Tower of London

Has anyone had any other plausible explanation for the torrent of legal terms and “dark” imagery in these sonnets, along with the author’s emotional turmoil and insistence that the beloved younger man is “away” and “locked up”?

The ten sonnets of this chapter are packed with such images and expressions:

“Thy self away … bars [locks, barricades] … my greatest grief … locked up … closure [walls] … to guard the lawful reasons on thy part … the strength of laws … I can allege no cause … tired with my woe … my grief lies onward and my joy behind … excuse … offence … where thou art … excuse … excuse … key … up-locked … imprisoned … millions of strange shadows on you tend … die to themselves … sweet deaths … death and all-oblivious enmity … the ending doom … the judgment … perpetual dullness … this sad interim …”

We’ll take up the story as it proceeds through Sonnets 47-56, with Oxford desperately seeking a [legal] remedy for 27-year-old Southampton before it’s too late.  These sonnets reflect the very real suspense that was building and building within 50-year-old Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, as he labored behind the scenes and set down this “living record” of his royal son for “the eyes of all posterity that wear this world out to the ending doom.”  [Sonnet 55, lines 11-12]

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