One Hundred Reasons Why Oxford Was “Shakespeare” – Starting with No. 1

Dear Reader: From time to time I’ll be re-posting the original blogs (in their original order) that were transformed into the book 100 Reasons Shake-speare was the Earl of Oxford. Ultimately the blog posts were newly organized and then immensely improved — first with editorial help from Brian Bechtold and then from the primary editor, Alex McNeil, who guided the project to its end.  Today we begin with the first post, the way it originally appeared in early 2011:

There must be at least a hundred reasons for my conclusion that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford wrote the Shakespeare works.  And I figure it would be fun to make a list of such reasons by posting one each day on this blog site, until we get up to the first one-hundred mark.  Where to start?

REASON NO. 1:  Oxford, like Hamlet, was involved with Plays and Play Companies at the Royal Court

The great turning point of the play Hamlet occurs when the Prince contributes some lines for the players in their performance at Court in order that he might “catch the conscience of the king.”  In 1583 the earl of Oxford, in his early thirties, acquired the sublease of the Blackfriars Playhouse in a former monastery.  His children’s group Oxford’s Boys joined up with the Paul’s Boys to form a composite company; then the earl transferred the lease of Blackfriars to his private secretary John Lyly, whose plays were performed by the children for Queen Elizabeth.   A bit earlier Oxford’s own company of boys had given a performance for the Queen of Agamemnon and Ulysses (possibly an early version of Troilus and Cressida).

Hamlet and the Players – “Tales from Shakespeare” by Charles and Mary Lamb, 1901

We can feel the authorial voice in Hamlet’s speeches; his soliloquies sound like echoes of the private and personal sonnets.  The Prince greets the players with that special mixture of affection and condescension that seems to come so naturally to one of such high rank — and so naturally to the author himself.  Such would have been Oxford’s own attitude toward the actors.

But how likely is it that William of Stratford, if he really was an actor, would give his most authorial voice to a prince rather than to one of the players like himself?  How much more likely was it that Lord Oxford, an extraordinarily involved patron of play companies and writers, as well as an acknowledged playwright, used those scenes in Hamlet to depict his own relationship to the players under his patronage at Court?

If William of Stratford had been part of the Court and had brought play companies to perform before the monarch, who would doubt that he created Shakespeare’s great character of Hamlet?  Who would doubt that he captured those wonderful interactions between the prince and the actors?  But it was Oxford who was the highest-ranking nobleman at the Elizabethan Court, and it was he who was in much the same relation to the players as Hamlet — and not the least of Oxford’s motives was to “catch the conscience” of the Queen herself.

So that’s my reason No. 1.

And just 99 to go…

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A very powerful reason.

    I am now studying De Vere’s voice through Brooke, Golding, Edwards, Gascoigne, Lyly and Greene.

    Now, from Gascoigne’s “Poesies” (1576) and Lyly’s “Euphues” (1578 and 1581),to Greene’s “Mamelia” (1583 onwards until 1593), you can hear De Vere’s voice clearly.

    By 1593, Marlowe, Lyly, Kyd (his “Spanish Tragedy” was anonymous) and Greene were gone. What happened by 1593? De Vere was married and left Fisher’s Folly for Hackney.

    Have you read Edmund Spencer’s “Amoretti” (1594) and the marriage poem “Epithalamion” (1595). I have done and I found this:

    Sonet 1.- “Happy.. lyly hands.”

    Sonet 3.- The soverayne beauty… and when my pen would write her titles true.”

    Sonet 4.- For lusty spring [lusty Ver of “Poseies” by Gascoigne]… you faire flowre.

    Sonet 7.- “Dark is the world, where your light shined ever; Ever is he borne, that may behold you ever.” This is De Vere signature.

    Sonet 19.- This merry Cuckow, messenger of Spring.

    Sonet 28.- Proud Daphne scorning Phaebus lovely fire. This is another De Vere’s typical simil.

    Sonet 35. In their amazement lyke Narcissus vaine whose eyes him starv’d. (…) All this worlds glory seemeth vayne to me, and all their showes but shadowes, saving she.” Shakespearian theme about shadow and identity.

    Sonnet 43.- Shall I then silent be or shall i speake? And if I speake, her wrath renew I shall: and if I silent be, my hart will breake, or choked be with overflowing gall. What tyranny is this (…) that nether I may speake nor thinke at all, but like a stupid stock in silence die.

    Sonnet 44.- But this continual cruell civill warre, the which my selfe against my selfe doe make. (…) Mongst whome the more I seeke to settle peace, the more I find their malice to increase.” This is euphism and shakesperian comparison 100 per cent.

    Sonnet 54.- Of this world Theatre in which we stay, My love lyke the Spectator ydly sits beholding me that all the pageants play, disguysing my troubled wits. Sometimes I joy when glad ocassion fits, and mask in myrth lyke to a Comedy: soone after when my joy of sorrow flits, I waile and make my woes a Tragedy.

    Sonnet 64.- Comming to kisse her lyps, (such grace I found) Me seemd I smelt a gardin of sweet flowres: (…) her ruddy cheekes lyke unto Roses red; (…) her brest lyke lillyes…

    Sonnet 69.- Even this verse vowd to eternity, shall be thereof inmortall moniment: and tell her prayse to all posterity…

    Sonnet 74.- The which three times thrise happy hath me made, with guifts of body, fortune and of mind. The first my being to me gave by kind, from motheres womb deriv’d by dew descent [Elizabeth, the queen], the second is my sovereigne Queene most kind, that honour and large richesse to me lent. The third my love, my lives last ornament [Elizabeth Trentham] (…) Ye three Elizabeths for ever live, that three such graces did unto me give.

    Sonnet 75.- My verse your vertues rare shall eternize, and in the hevens wryte your glorious name. Where whenas death shall all the world subdew…

    Etc., etc. In the “Epithalamion”, you have Venus, Cupid and the eco themes all over it.

    In here, like in Marlowe’s “Dido”, there is De Vere’s hands subdued to what he works in.

    • Great stuff. I agree with this thinking. Have you read any “biographies” of Edmund Spenser? Ha… Well, keep on, you’re doing amazing work. Thanks again. We look forward to more as you continue – Hank

  2. I have a minor in Shakespeare from the mid 70’s, I’m just along for the ride. I find the topic fascinating.

    • Welcome aboard! It’s a great adventure and the fun at this point is just trying to see the truth — as much of the truth as we can — as clearly as possible. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhaur said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” We are definitely entering the “violently opposed” stage (one example being James Shapiro’s book “Contested Will”) before the “Berlin Wall” crumbles and everyone can see the obvious. It’s fascinating on that level. As one who became acquainted with Shakespeare, you’re in a great position to watch the real-life play unfold. Welcome to the Round Earth Society, dedicated to the truth we find self-evident, here in the final days of Flat Earth thinking! And feel free to ask questions and/or make comments along the way. Best from Hank

  3. I started to read your hundred reasons tonight. I deeply enjoy the reading. Outside my library, close to the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia, the snow is seven feet deep. While I read I feel the spring.

    • Hey Frank — What a lovely way to express it — thanks, and keep warm as you can! All best, Hank

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