The Special Language of the Sonnets — To Perceive or Not to Perceive, that’s the Question

The special language used by Edward de Vere the Earl of Oxford for SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS published in 1609 – to conceal, yet also reveal, his subject matter – was developed over at least a couple of decades — publicly!  This double-image vocabulary was never a secret; it appeared in Oxford’s own published writings, in the works of writers under his patronage and, of course, in the writings printed under his “Shakespeare” pen name.

tudor-rose

Use of the special language is conspicuous in each of the 154 sonnets; for a good example, we don’t have to look any farther than the first two lines of Sonnet 1.  These serve to open the entire sequence and, as well, to announce that what follows is a record of the final chapter of Queen Elizabeth’s dynasty of the Tudor Rose.  The first line:

From fairest creatures we desire increase

The five key words in the very first line of the opening sonnet were all part of Oxford’s public lexicon in the Shakespearean plays, often within a royal context:

FAIR = (Royal) = “Take her, fair son, and from her blood raise up issue to me” – the French king to Henry V of England in Henry V, 5.2

CREATURE = (Child) = “The majesty of the creature in resemblance to the mother” – The Winter’s Tale, 5.2

WE = (The Queen, using her royal “we”; and/or the people of England) = “Once more we sit in England’s royal throne” – 3 Henry VI, 5.7

DESIRE = (Command) = “Desire the earl to see me in my tent” – Richard III, 5.3

INCREASE = (Offspring; heirs) = “If I have killed the issue of your womb, to quicken your increase I will beget mine issue of your blood upon your daughter” – Richard III, 4.4

“From most royal children the Queen and her subjects command heirs”

And now the second line:

That thereby beauty’s Rose might never die

BEAUTY = “Touching the beauty of this Prince, her countenance, her personage, her majesty” – John Lyly, Euphues and his England, 1580, dedicated to Oxford

ROSE = “Rosa Sine Spina” or “Rose without a Thorn” – a motto of Queen Elizabeth, referring to her dynasty of the Tudor Rose

BEAUTY’S ROSE = the phrase itself appears in Hymns of Astraea by John Davies, 1599, referring to Elizabeth and her dynasty

“So that thereby Elizabeth’s Tudor Rose dynasty will continue”

To see the intended meaning, we have no need for cryptography or secret codes or cipher systems and the like; on the contrary, the intended meaning is right in front of us:

From fairest creatures we desire increase,

That thereby beauty’s Rose might never die

OR —

From most royal children the Queen and England command heirs,

So that thereby Elizabeth’s Tudor Rose dynasty will continue

Stratfordian-orthodox scholars view the meaning of those first two lines as wishing for “the bloom of youth” or “beauty’s prime” (Stephen Booth) to survive by  propagation or reproduction.  How do they fail to see the other meanings of the same words that Shakespeare himself often uses in his plays and narrative poems?

The reason, I suggest, has nothing to do with lack of intellect or knowledge, but, rather, the framework of meaning dictated by traditional premises or assumptions — which, in turn, are dictated by academic pressure and conformity.  If the only permissible or acceptable view of the author is that of a man having no personal connection to the monarch, and no business involving himself in highly sensitive matters of state, why, then, it’s impossible to see those other, more important meanings of the same words that exist simultaneously within the royal context.  When we hear those words within the context of the Shakespeare plays of English royal history, however, we immediately understand them that way.

No codes, no ciphers, no tricks.

It’s all about the context of the author’s identity and his world.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks Hank!
    Really enjoying your posts.

    • Jake – thanks and good to hear from you.

  2. You might send this to Richard Kennedy,who has posted a pix of Queen Elizabeth and commented on the meaning of “Tudor Rose”;
    and I might add that Shakespeare/Oxford used many words symbolically as well as double-entendre. Perhaps no need for ciphers and codes, but they are helpful if you can understand them.
    HHg

    • I’m sure you’re right. I’ve been in touch with Richard and will continue. Thanks.


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