Reason No. 45 Suggesting Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford wrote the Shakespeare Works: Oxford’s Echo Poem and the Echo Verse in William Shake-speare’s “A Lover’s Complaint”

This reason to believe that Edward de Vere was “Shakespeare” involves two poems — A Lover’s Complaint as by William Shake-speare (yes, hyphenated), printed in the 1609 quarto of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS, and the Echo poem “Sitting Alone Upon My Thought”  in Verses Made by the Earl of Oxfordewritten circa 1581.  The similarities are unmistakable, in my view.  I also suggest that Oxford wrote the Complaint around the same time he wrote the Echo poem, or even earlier.  Here are the openings of each:

A Lover’s Complaint by William Shakespeare (1609)

From off a hill whose concave womb re-worded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow’s wind and rain.

Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcass of beauty spent and done…

“Sitting Alone Upon My Thought” – From Verses Made by the Earl of Oxforde (1581?)

Sitting alone upon my thought in melancholy mood,
In sight of sea, and at my back an ancient hoary wood,
I saw a fair young lady come, her secret fears to wail,
Clad all in color of a nun, and covered with a veil;
Yet (for the day was calm and clear) I might discern her face,
As one might see a damask rose hid under crystal glass.

Three times, with her soft hand, full hard on her left side she knocks,
And sigh’d so sore as might have mov’d some pity in the rocks;
From sighs and shedding amber tears into sweet song she brake,
When thus the echo answered her to every word she spake…

And here is Edmund Spenser’s Ruins of Time (1591), with remarkable similarities:

It chaunced me one day beside the Shore
Of silver streaming Thamesis to be,
Nigh where the goodly Verlame stood of yore,
Of which there now remains no Memory,
Nor any little Monument to see;
By which the Traveller, that fares that way,
This once was she, may warned be to say.

There, on the other side, I did behold
A Woman sitting sorrowfully wailing,
Rending her yellow Locks, like wiry Gold,
About her Shoulders carelesly down trailing,
And Streams of Tears from her fair Eyes forth railing:
In her right Hand a broken Rod she held,
Which towards Haven she seem’d on high to weld.

All three poems center around the mysterious maiden sitting alone and weeping tears…

The Stratfordian model dictates that “Shake-speare” must have seen Spenser’s Ruins of Time before writing his Complaint; but Oxford had written his Echo poem far earlier than 1591, so the likelihood is quite the reverse, i.e., that Spenser borrowed from him!  And if Oxford had also written A Lover’s Complaint much earlier, then Spenser might have borrowed from that poem as well!  The mind boggles at the thought of how much rewriting of history will have to be done once Edward de Vere is recognized as Shakespeare…

(For some wonderful insights see this article by William J. Ray on Oxford’s poetry and his website The Poetry and Thought of W.J.)

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for drawing attention to A Lover’s Complaint, Hank. It is an extraordinary poem. Scholars have begrudgingly acknowledged just how widely read “Shakespeare” was. LC is a tour de force of literary allusion. Its first verse alone, for example, “echoes” “The Humble Suit of a Sinner” (a prayer bound with the Whole Book of Psalms), as well as Tasso, Calvin, Chaucer, Churchyard, and “C.M.” Words in the poem that are the first used (or the only use) in Early English Books Online include reworded; fickle maid; blusterer; grounds and motives; and dialogued. The poem has been neglected even more than the Sonnets. As David Bevington has quipped, “Poorly edited because thought peripheral, the text has stayed peripheral because poorly edited.”

    • This is pioneering work you’re doing, Richard. It’s like a gold rush and you’re arriving on the scene before the others wake up and realize what riches are there. I continue to be amazed at the blindness that results from false assumptions, in this case the Stratfordian assumption of authorship. I’ve never forgotten Joe Sobran, quoting Chesterton: “Men can always be blind to a thing, so long as it’s big enough.”

  2. Thanks for giving my essay a squib Hank. A Lover’s Complaint is a complete aesthetic unit with the Sonnets, i.e., the Pythagorean sense of Number infuses the work. It is an example, with certain works of Spenser, of the near-secret architectonic structure in Elizabethan poetry.

    It is a high compliment to be referenced by the scholar who broke the study of Shakespeare’s Sonnets wide open into an historical document and chronicle. The biggest discovery in centuries, along with Roger Stritmatter’s discovery of Oxford’s Geneva bible annotations that eventually went into the Shakespeare canon.

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