O Thou My Lovely Boy, Who in Thy Power…

Lo thus by day my limbs, by night my mind,

For thee, and for my self, no quiet find – Sonnet 27

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 be borne by me alone – Sonnet 36

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

What can mine own praise to mine own self bring,

And what is’t but mine own when I praise thee? – 39

Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you – Sonnet 57

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

Yet this abundant issue seemed to me

But hope of Orphans, and un-fathered fruit – Sonnet 97

What’s in the brain that ink may character,

Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit?

What’s new to speak, what now to register,

That may express my love, or thy dear merit?

Nothing, sweet boy, but yet like prayers divine,

I must each day say o’er the very same,

Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,

Even as when first I hallowed thy fair name – Sonnet 108

For nothing in this wide Universe I call,

Save thou, my Rose, in it thou art my all – Sonnet 109

Now all is done, have what shall have no end – Sonnet 110

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments.  Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no, it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken – Sonnet 116

But that your trespass now becomes a fee;

Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me – Sonnet 120

If my dear love were but the child of state,

It might for fortune’s bastard be un-fathered – Sonnet 124

And take thou my oblation, poor but free,

Which is not mixed with seconds, knows no art

But mutual render, only me for thee – Sonnet 125

O Thou my lovely Boy, who in thy power

Dost hold time’s fickle glass, his sick hour,

Who hast by waning grown, and therein show’st

Thy lovers withering, as they sweet self grow’st:

If Nature (sovereign mistress over wrack)

As thou goest onwards still will pluck thee back,

She keeps thee to this purpose: that her skill

May time disgrace and wretched minute kill.

Yet fear her O thou minion of her pleasure,

She may detain but not sill keep her treasure!

Her Audit (though delayed) answered must be,

And her Quietus is to render thee.

(                                                                                 )

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The Medical Mind and Knowledge of “Shakespeare” — Part Two of Reason 39 Why the Real Author was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

Defenders of the Stratfordian faith often try to “dumb down” the Shakespeare works, to avoid having to explain how he could have acquired such amazing knowledge:  “Well, see, he really didn’t know that much.  He wrote about stuff that anyone in England could have picked up, in the tavern or on the street, and of course he made mistakes…”   Such is the typical attempt to minimize the medical knowledge that Shakespeare displays with such precise, accurate details that — even so! — numerous books have been devoted to just this single topic of mental, physical and emotional health or illness.   If something is too large to be filled by the Stratford man’s pitifully small biography, it must be cut down to fit – even while “the miracle” of his “genius” is further inflated, to explain the inexplicable.

Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577)

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford requires no such adjustments to explain the knowledge displayed by “Shakespeare” in his works.  Oxford was tutored during childhood by Sir Thomas Smith, known for his great library and his interest in diseases, alchemy and therapeutic botanicals; at twelve he became a royal ward in the custody of William Cecil (later Lord Burghley and his father-in-law), whose library held some 200 books on alchemy and medical topics; and in his twenties Oxford lived next door to Bedlam Hospital, a source of firsthand knowledge about patients suffering from mental illness.

Edward de Vere’s life forms a picture that deepens, rather than cheapens, our perceptions of what is contained within the great plays and poems.  And because of the Oxfordian authorship theory, researchers are now continually finding new evidence that “Shakespeare” was even more brilliant than we have been able to know and appreciate.

Dr. Earl Showerman

Shakespeare’s Medical Knowledge: Illuminating the Authorship Question was the title of a talk last April by Earl Showerman, M.D., during the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, OR.  His comprehensive lecture was supported by dozens of slides, with information such as that the plays contain “over 700 medical references to practically all the diseases and drugs” that were known by the year1600, along with “knowledge of anatomy, physiology, surgery, obstetrics, public health, aging, forensics, neurology and mental disorders,” not to mention “detailed knowledge of syphilis.”

Dr. Showerman, current president of the Shakespeare Fellowship, graduated from Harvard College and the University of Michigan Medical School before practicing emergency medicine in Oregon for more than three decades.  In the past several years he has carried out extraordinary research into Greek literary sources and allegorical elements in plays such as Hamlet (see essay here) and The Winter’s Tale (see essay here).  His findings have already shattered the notion that Shakespeare had “small Latin, and less Greek” – another example of how we are learning (over and over) that the “big lie” of the Stratford man as “Shakespeare” is invariably covering up much larger and more meaningful truths.

“Shakespeare and Medicine” by R.R. Simpson (1962)

Dr. Showerman quoted from Shakespeare and Medicine (1962) by R.R. Simpson, who reports that Shakespeare demonstrates “not only an astute knowledge of medical affairs, but also a keen sense of the correct use of that knowledge” – a sign that he was well-acquainted with the medical literature of his day.  Among many other works he cited The Medical Mind of Shakespeare (1986) by Aubrey Kail, who writes that the Bard’s plays “bear witness to profound knowledge of contemporary physiology and psychology” and that he “employed medical terms in a manner which would have been beyond the powers of any ordinary playwright or physician.”

“The Medical Mind of Shakespeare” by Aubrey Kail (1986)

In his lecture Dr. Showerman gave much credit to the work of another leading Oxfordian researcher, Frank M. Davis, M.D., co-founder of the Tallahassee Neurological Clinic.  In a paper on Shakespeare’s medical knowledge (and how he acquired it) published in 2000, Dr. Davis writes that during Shakespeare’s time “true medical literature, like medicine itself, was still in its infancy,” so he could not have absorbed much from reading what was available in English.  “The vast majority of medical works were published in Latin or Greek.”

Dr. Davis finds it “remarkable” that Shakespeare refers in three plays to the pia mater, the inner lining of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.

“Knowledge of this relatively obscure part of anatomy could only mean that Shakespeare had either studied anatomy or read medical literature …

“The Anatomie of the Bodie of Man” by Thomas Vicary (1490-1561)

“Even more striking to me as a neurosurgeon is his acquaintance with the relationship of the third ventricle with memory,” Dr. Davis adds, noting that a possible source was Thomas Vicary’s Anatomy of the Body of Man, published in 1548, which refers to the third ventricle as the ‘ventricle of memory’” – a phrase used in Love’s Labour’s Lost when the pedant Holfernes states that his various gifts of the mind “are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of the pia mater…” (4.2.70-71)

William Harvey (1578-1657)

And another example – that while the discovery of the circulation of blood has been assigned to William Harvey, there are indications that “Shakespeare” was aware of it long before Harvey’s announcement of it in 1616.  There are “at least nine significant references to the circulation or flowing of blood in Shakespeare’s plays,” Dr. Davis writes.

England was far behind the advances in medical technology taking place on the Continent.  Most of the great doctors and teachers were based at the University of Padua, then the center for medical learning; others studied there before returning to their hometowns to practice medicine.

University of Padua

And the Earl of Oxford, touring the cities of Europe during 1575 at age twenty-five, definitely visited Padua – at least once, probably twice.  “With the background in pharmacology gained from his years with Sir Thomas Smith,” writes Dr. Davis, “it seems unlikely that Oxford would visit Padua without attempting to discover the latest developments in ‘physic.’”

Fabricius (1537-1619)

Only the year before had the famous Renaissance doctor Fabricius discovered “the valves in veins responsible for keeping the blood flowing in one direction toward the heart,” Dr. Davis writes, noting that he was “the first to bring this important discovery to light.”  Even if Oxford hadn’t met with Fabricius in person “it is easy to imagine” that the great teacher’s 1574 discovery of those valves, along with other topics related to the circulation of the blood, “would have been an ongoing staple of conversation among the students and faculty at the time of Oxford’s visit the following year.”

Shakespeare and Medicine by Stephanie Hughes

Shakespeare and Medicine by Michael J. Cummings

The Vast Medical Knowledge of “Shakespeare” and of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford — Part One of Reason No. 39 to Believe that “Shakesepare” was Oxford Himself

In his edition of the Shakespeare sonnets, the Stratfordian scholar Stephen Booth includes the title page of The Newe Jewell of Health, wherein is contained the most excellent Secrets of Physic and Philosophy, divided into four Books by the surgeon George Baker, published in 1576.

Editor Booth presents an illustration of this important book in connection with Sonnet 119, which builds upon metaphors and analogies from alchemy and medicine:

What potions have I drunk of siren tears,

Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within…

“Shakespeare” knew all about the “distillations” of waters, oils, balms and so on as set forth by Dr. Baker, whose book has been long considered a key source for the Bard’s interest in alchemy as well as the full range of medical knowledge at the time. And it just so happens that Dr. Baker, who would become surgeon to Queen Elizabeth, was the personal physician of Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, and that he dedicated The New Jewel of Health to Oxford’s wife Anne Cecil.  In fact Baker dedicated his first book, Olenum Magistrale (1574) to Edward de Vere and, later on, dedicated his Practice of the New and Old Physic (1599) to the earl as well.

This is one relatively small example of how “Shakespeare’s” remarkable knowledge of medicine is mirrored by Oxford’s own demonstrable connection to the leading medical experts and advances of his time, not only in England but also on the Continent.  It’s also just the beginning of Reason No. 39 to believe that the Oxford theory of Shakespearean authorship makes sense of otherwise plain nonsense.

George Baker was part of the household of Edward de Vere, whose patronage undoubtedly made it possible for this forward-looking doctor-surgeon and medical pioneer to write his books in the first place.

If Dr. Baker had just once treated William Shakspere for a cut finger, upholders of the Stratfordian faith would have devoted entire books to that medical incident with titles such as Will & George, Poet & Physician: Their Amazing Relationship and Its Influence Upon Shakespeare’s Life and Work. 

On the other hand, Editor Booth uses a full page to illustrate The Newe Jewell of Health in connection with Shakespeare’s sonnets, but never indicates that Dr. Baker dedicated that very book to the wife of the leading candidate to replace the Stratford man, not to mention that the doctor dedicated two other books to the Earl of Oxford himself!

 

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