Reason 67 of 100 Why the Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare”: Following the Trail of Three Plays of King John

PART ONE: John Bale’s “King Johan” & the Earls of Oxford

Elizabeth Tudor embarked on her royal progress in the summer of 1561, less than three years after her ascendency to the throne at age twenty-five, and in early August the court spent a week at Ipswich, where the Queen attended a performance of King Johan (King John), the first known historical verse drama in English and the first play to present a King of England on stage.

John Bale

John Bale

The author, minister-scholar John Bale (1495-1563), had written the first version of the play by 1537 while in the service of Henry VIII’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell, who helped engineer an annulment of the King’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that Henry could marry Anne Boleyn.  An active member of Cromwell’s stable of propagandists, Bale managed to turn King John – for centuries a despised monarch, who had surrendered England to the power of the papacy – into a Protestant hero.

A quarter century later, in 1561, the daughter of Anne Boleyn was on the throne and her own chief minister, William Cecil, was just as eager to use the stage for Reformation propaganda; and by now Bale had updated his King Johan in time for the arrival of Elizabeth at Ipswich.  A crucial link between the old morality plays and the new style of drama to come later in the sixteenth century, Bale’s version of John’s reign (1199-1216) presented him as a “good” king struggling against the Pope and the Church of Rome on behalf of England – just as Henry VIII had done and as Elizabeth was doing now.

        King JohnReigned 1199-1216

King John
Reigned 1199-1216

At this point Bale was writing plays for John de Vere, sixteenth Earl of Oxford, whose company of actors performed King Johan for Elizabeth at Ipswich.  Jesse W. Harris, in his 1940 biography of Bale, writes that he was “in the service of Oxford, for whom he wrote a series of plays intended for use as Reformation propaganda.”

Elizabeth’s progress continued to the Vere seat of Castle Hedingham in Essex for a visit of five nights (August 14-19, 1561).  In the great hall of the castle, John de Vere’s players again performed for the royal entourage, most likely with plays Bale had written under the earl’s patronage, including his newly revised play about King John.

On hand for the royal festivities was eleven-year-old Edward de Vere, the future seventeenth Earl of Oxford, who keenly watched  the twenty-seven-year-old Queen’s reactions to the performances; and historians of the future may judge whether this moment marks the true birth of “William Shakespeare” – who, after all, would write plays of English royal history mirroring current political issues.

Hedingham

Hedingham

A year later, upon John de Vere’s death, William Cecil had young Edward brought to London as a royal ward of the Queen in his care.  As Master of the Royal Wards, Cecil also “took possession of all the young noble’s assets,” reports Ruth Loyd Miller (1922-2005) in Oxfordian Vistas, adding:

“Cecil, who had standing orders for his agents on the Continent to supply him with copies of books and publications of interest, would not have failed to appreciate the sixteenth Earl of Oxford’s collection of Bale’s dramatic works, and to move them for safekeeping to Cecil House on the Strand.  Even before Bale’s death (in 1563), Archbishop Matthew Parker and Cecil were aware of the value of Bale’s work, and were involved in efforts to retrieve Bale’s manuscripts from various sources.  Undoubtedly ‘Shakespeare’ saw Bale’s manuscript plays, and undoubtedly he saw them through the eyes of Edward de Vere, who owned many of them, in the Library at Cecil House.”

PART TWO: The Anonymous “Troublesome Reign” & Shakespeare’s “King John”

The next phase of this story begins with the formation of Queen Elizabeth’s Men in 1583 at the instigation of secret service head Francis Walsingham, who knew the power of the stage as a means of spreading political propaganda.   Edward de Vere, thirty-three, contributed some of his adult players to the Queen’s Men along with John Lyly, his personal secretary, as stage manager.  And among the company’s history plays – up through 1588, when England defeated the Spanish armada and the Pope – was the anonymous Troublesome Reign of King John, printed in 1591 as “publicly acted by the Queen’s Majesty’s Players.”

Troublesome Reignof King John - 1591

Troublesome Reign
of King John – 1591

Seven years later, in late 1598, Francis Meres announced in Palladis Tamia that “Shakespeare” was not only the poet of Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, but, also, a playwright.  Meres listed six comedies and six tragedies, the latter including “King John” plus five others, all printed anonymously in this order:  Titus Andronicus in 1594; Romeo and Juliet, Richard II and Richard III in 1597; and Henry IV in 1598.

When Meres listed Shakespeare’s play as King John, wasn’t he referring to the anonymous Troublesome Reign of King John printed in 1591?  We might well think so, given that each of the other Shakespeare plays listed “for tragedy” was printed without any author’s name.  So why not the one about King John?  Well, the simple answer is because that play’s previous existence in the 1580’s is too early for William Shakspere of Stratford, the traditional author, to have written it.

Therefore, to make things fit, orthodox scholars tell us that Shakespeare’s play of King John was not the one published in 1591, but, rather, the one printed in the First Folio of 1623 as The Life and Death of King John.  It’s a different text, but virtually all scholars agree – if reluctantly – that the great author surely based his own King John on the earlier anonymous one, Troublesome Reign … which means that he must have been guilty of substantial plagiarism!

Oxfordian researcher Ramon Jimenez writes in the annual Oxfordian of 2010 that both the anonymous Troublesome Reign of King John and Shakespeare’s Life and Death of King John “tell the same story in the same sequence of events, with only minor variations … The same characters appear in both plays … [and] Shakespeare’s play contains the same scenes in the same order.”

The only logical conclusion is that both plays were written by the same author, who could not have been the Stratford fellow and must have been Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who first appears in this story at age eleven.

Castle Hedingham -- an interior view

Castle Hedingham — an interior view

Jimenez reports “substantial evidence” that “Shakespeare” wrote Troublesome Reign “at an early age” and then “rewrote it in his middle years” to complete the text of King John printed eventually in the Folio of 1623.  And at this point we might be tempted to announce these facts as “smoking gun” evidence of Oxford’s authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, but we’ll refrain from that temptation while making one other point:

“No scholar has suggested “that Shakespeare depended on or even knew of John Bale’s King Johan,” writes James A. Morey in The Shakespeare Quarterly of autumn 1994, but, it turns out, “The accounts of the death of John by Shakespeare and Bale are significantly alike” and, for other reasons, it does appear that “Shakespeare” must have had firsthand knowledge of Bale’s play performed by John de Vere’s players for Elizabeth back in 1561 … three years before William of Stratford would be born!

William Cecil Lord Burghley, Queen Elizabeth and Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford — Paving the way for “Shakespeare”

“[William] Cecil’s role in establishing the office of propaganda [during wartime in the 1580s], and placing his son-in-law [Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford] over it, has been sadly neglected by historians.”

William Cecil  Lord Burghley 1520 - 1598

William Cecil
Lord Burghley
1520 – 1598

So begins a lengthy footnote by Ruth Lloyd Miller in her volume entitled Oxfordian Vistas (1975), continuing:

“Yet it would be entirely out of character for Cecil, whose ‘hand is seen’ in everything, everywhere, during Elizabeth’s reign, not to have had his hands on the reins of public opinion. It would be entirely in accord with what is known of Cecilian ratiocination for Cecil to feign disapproval of stage plays, ‘lewd’ actors, and dramatists while, behind the scenes, manipulating them for political purposes.

“The vitae of virtually every Elizabethan writer in the Dictionary of National Biography shows Cecil lurking in their shadows. Lyly and Munday, the mainstays of Oxford’s dramatic staff, were both placed on that staff by Cecil. Lyly acknowledges Cecil ‘as a father.’ Munday was rendering service to the Cecil-[Francis] Walsingham camp as a spy, infiltrating the Roman school, before he entered Oxford’s service.

“Very early in the Anglo-Spanish struggle, before Cecil and Elizabeth finally threw the gauntlet in 1585 at the feet of [King] Philip, the Spanish ambassador, Feria, protested against comedies in London which made mock of his royal master. (The play Philip II, mentioned by Chambers in The Elizabethan Stage, may date to this period.)

Queen Elizabeth  1533 - 1603

Queen Elizabeth
1533 – 1603

“Feria said Cecil had supplied the authors of them with their themes, and that Elizabeth had practically admitted Cecil was the guilty man. (Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, found in Hawarde, Comera Stellata – R 1237, 48.)

“It is not without significance that the earliest English political dramatist, John Bale, ‘appears in the service of [John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford], for whom he wrote a series of plays, intended for use as [Protestant] Reformation propaganda.’ (Jesse W. Harris, John Bale, University of Illinois Press, 1940, p. 24.) Bale’s plays were performed almost exclusively in promotion of the ‘New Learning’ by the companies of John de Vere and Thomas Cromwell.

“Harris comments, as does R. Wallerstein (King John in Fact and Fiction), that Bale’s influence is reflected in Shakespeare’s plays. They see, as do other commentators, Bale’s [version of King John] as the primary source for Shakespeare’s King John – but cannot account for how Shakesepare had access to Bale’s unpublished manuscript. The Shakespeare and Bale eras were too widely separated in time for the Bale drama to have survived by way of an actor’s memory version.

“It is no mystery at all, however, when Cecil, Oxford, and Shakespeare are brought together. In August 1561, the Earl of Oxford’s players performed Bale’s King John for the Queen at Ipswich … Elizabeth spent a week that same August at Castle Hedingham, where she was again entertained by Earl John’s players, performing other plays of Bale, if not a second performance of King John.

Castle Hedingham

Castle Hedingham

“During the time of Elizabeth’s visit to Hedingham, Edward, Lord Bolebeck, heir of the family of Vere, was at the impressionable age of eleven. A year later, on Earl John’s death, when Cecil gathered the twelve year old Earl Edward into the fold of wardship, he also took possession of all the young noble’s assets. Cecil, who had standing orders for his agents on the continent to supply him with copies of books and publications of interest, would not have failed to appreciate the Earl of Oxford’s collection of Bale’s dramatic works, and move them to safekeeping to Cecil House on the Strand.

“Even before Bale’s death, at an advanced age, in 1563, Archbishop Matthew Parker and Cecil were aware of the value of Bale’s work, and were involved in efforts to retrieve Bale’s manuscripts from various sources. (B.M. Lansdowne Ms. Pt. I, no. 6, Art. 81.) Undoubtedly ‘Shakespeare’ saw Bale’s manuscript plays, and undoubtedly he saw them through the eyes of Edward de Vere, who owned many of them, in the Library at Cecil House.”

This footnote, which runs along the bottom of pp. 469 to 481 of Miller’s volume, is an important reminder that, from the outset, William Cecil Lord Burghley was intimately involved in the use of plays for political propaganda, and that the close working relationship of Elizabeth, Cecil and Edward de Vere provided the fertile ground from which the phenomenon of “Shakespeare” was to eventually grow.

Hank’s 100 Reasons Why Oxford was “Shakespeare” — The List To Date

THE LIST TO DATE:

Reason No. 1: Oxford, like Hamlet, brought plays to Court

Reason No. 2: Golding, Translator of Ovid, was Oxford’s Uncle

Reason No. 3: Oxford Promoted The Courtier, Model for Hamlet

Reason No. 4: Oxford Hailed “New Glory of Language” in Courtier Preface

Reason No. 5: Hamlet’s Brush with Pirates Reflects Oxford’s Encounter

Reason No. 6: Lyly Taught Shakespeare, but Oxford Taught Lyly

Reason No. 7: Oxford Wrote the First “Shakespearean” Sonnet of the Elizabethan Reign

Reason No. 8: Gabriel Harvey’s address to Oxford in 1578: “Thy Countenance Shakes a Spear!”

Reason No. 9: Oxford to Burghley: “I AM THAT I AM”; Shakespeare Sonnet 121: “I AM THAT I AM”

Reason No. 10: Oxford Commanded the English Publication of “Hamlet’s Book”

Reason No. 11 – Part One: The Earl’s Preface to “Cardanus Comforte” is Shakespearean!

Reason No. 11 – Part Two: His Words, Thoughts & Phrases Anticipate Shakespeare’s

Reason No. 11 – Part Three: And Here’s Some of the Extraordinary Evidence

Reason No. 12 – Part One: “Shakespeare” & Queen Elizabeth’s Men

Reason No. 12 – Part Two: Lord Oxford & the Queen’s Men

Reason No. 13 – “Shakespeare” Describes a Titian Painting of “Venus and Adonis” that Oxford, not Shakspere, would have seen in Venice

Reason No. 14 – The Famous “Precepts” of Lord Polonius & Lord Burghley

Reason No. 15 – Oxford’s Prominence in “The Arte of English Poesie” of 1589

Reason No. 16: Bertram in “All’s Well” is a Portrait of Young Oxford

Reason No 17: Oxford at Age 14 Witnessed an Event like the Pivotal Scene in “Hamlet”

Reason No. 18: Henry Peacham and the Hand of an Unseen Author Identified as De Vere

Reason No. 19: The Families of Oxford and Hamlet as Mirror Reflections 

Reason No. 20: Part One: The Nearly 30 Dedications of Books to Oxford 

Reason No. 20: Part Two – The Dedications Show Oxford’s Personal Involvement with the Writers

Reason No. 21: Jealousies and Suspicions Regarding His Wife: Anne Cecil in Desdemona and Ophelia 

Reason No. 22: Edward de Vere’s Geneva Bible and its Annotations in His Own Hand

Reason No. 23: Those “Haggards” That Fly From Man to Man

Reason No. 24: Shakespeare’s Deep Knowledge of Italy & Oxford’s Italian Travels

Reason No. 25: Oxford’s Grant of a Thousand Pounds Per Year in Wartime 

Reason No. 26: “L’Envoy to ‘Narcissus'” in 1595 and “One whose power floweth far … Tilting under Frieries”

Reason No. 27: Anthony Munday and his Long Association with Oxford and “Shakespeare”

Reason No. 28: Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton and his links to both “Shakespeasre” and Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford

Reason No. 29: The Fabric of Oxford’s Life is Woven into the Autobiographical Sonnets

Reason No. 30: Part One – Oxford’s Letters are Filled Throughout with Thoughts and Phrases Used in the Shakespeare Works 

Reason No. 30 – Part Two – His Response in “Shakespearean” Style to the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in August 1572

Reason No. 31: “Timon of Athens” Mirrors Oxford’s Own Character, Life Experiences and Emotional Responses

Reason No. 32: “The Quality of Mercy” and Oxford’s view that “Nothing Adorns a King more than Justice.”

Reason No. 33:  The Earl of Oxford, like Shakespeare, had deep knowledge of France and of the French Language

Reason No. 34: The College of Writers at Fisher’s Folly, Oxford’s House, and the Book of Verses by Oxford and Shakespeare Transcribed by Anne Cornwallis, Daughter of the New Owner 

Reason No. 35 (Part One): The poet Thomas Watson and his Links between Edward de Vere and “Shakespeare”

Reason No. 35 (Part Two): The structure of Watson’s 1582 sonnet “century,” dedicated to Oxford, is duplicated in SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS of 1609 

Reason No. 36: The “Bed-Trick” in Edward de Vere’s Life Story, whether Fact or Legend, and its Appearance in Four of Shakespeare’s Plays 

Reason No. 37 (Part One): Oxford’s Life in Music Explains the Enormous Breadth and Depth of Shakespeare’s Love & Knowledge of It – “Mark the Music!” 

Reason No. 37 (Part Two): Oxford Worked With and Patronized the Composer William Byrd 

Reason No. 37 (Part Three): Oxford Patronized the Composer John Farmer, Who Dedicated His Works to the Earl

Reason No. 38: Henry Peacham in “The Compleat Gentleman” of 1622 Lists Oxford at the Top of Elizabethan Poets but Neglects “Shakespeare” 

Reason No. 39 (Part One): Shakespeare’s Vast Medical Knowledge and Oxford’s Interest in Medicine and Access to Medical Information  

Reason No. 39 (Part Two): More of the Medical Mind of “Shakespeare” and Why Oxford, not Shakspere of Stratford,  is the Author

Reason No. 40: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Its Origins in the Early 1580’s as a Comic Skit about Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Alencon 

Reason No. 41: The Deep Familiarity of “Shakespeare” and Oxford with the Italian Commedia Dell’Arte

Reason No. 42: “Truth is Truth” — Oxford and “Shakespeare” Share the Same Commitment to Truth in the Same Words

Reason No. 43: Oxford and the Law: He had the Experience to Develop and Use the Legal Mind of “Shakespeare” 

Reason No. 44 (Part One):https://hankwhittemore.wordpress.com/?s=reason+44&submit=Search (Scroll down to the Post)

Reason No. 44 (Part Two): Oxford’s Poetry and “Shakespeare’s” Poetry Suggest a Common Source

Reason No. 45: Oxford’s Echo Poem and the Echo Verse in William Shake-speare’s “A Lover’s Complaint”

Reason No. 46: Edmund Spenser’s Lament in 1590 for “Our Pleasant Willy” Who Was “Dead of Late”

Reason No. 46 (Part Two): Additional Thoughts about “Our Pleasant Willy”

Reaspm No. 47: Spenser’s Rhyming Match in 1579 between “Willie” (Oxford) and “Perigot” (Philip Sidney)

Reason No. 48: The Many Characters Reflecting Queen Elizabeth in the Shakespeare Poems and Plays

Reason No. 49: The Many Characters Reflecting Edward de Vere in the Shakespeare Plays

Reason No. 50: Oxford was Court Impressario and Master Showman: The Mock Military Battle for the Queen in 1572

Reason No. 51: Oxford Had Gained All the Military Knowledge Exhibited by the “Shakespeare” Works  

Reason No. 52 (Part One): Oxford Stages a Dramatic Show for the Queen, Playing the Lead Role as “The Knight of the Tree of the Sunne”

Reason No. 52 (Part Two): Oxford’s Page Delivers a Shakespearean Oration to Elizabeth, Professing His Master’s Loyalty

Reason No. 53 (Part One): “The Phoenix and Turtle” of 1601 is Explained by Oxford’s Role as “Knight of the Tree of the Sunne” in 1581

Reason No. 53 (Part Two): The Royal Family Triangle at the Tiltyard (1581), in “The Phoenix and Turtle” (1601) and “Shake-speares Sonnets” (1609)

Reason No. 54: The Author as Gardener: Oxford Grew up in one of the World’s Most Famous Gardens

Reason No. 55: The Earl of Surrey, who introduced the Shakespearean sonnet form in England, was Oxford’s uncle

Reason No. 56: Richard Edwards, Master of the Children of the Royal Chapel, and links with the Young Edward de Vere in the 1560’s

Reason No. 57: Each of the Three Dedicatees of Shakespeare Works was Engaged to One of Oxford’s Three Daughters

Reason No. 58: Touchstone to William in “As You Like It” act one scene five: “You are not ‘ipse,’ for I am he!”

Reason No. 59: Prospero in “The Tempest” based on Dr. John Dee, the Conjurer, and also a self-portrait of Edward de Vere

Reason No. 60: If “Shakespeare” wrote the early play “Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth,” it must have been the young Edward de Vere

Reason No. 60 (Part Two): The Prince Tudor Aspect of “Famous Victories” and the Henry plays of Shakespeare

Reason No. 61: The Sea & Seamanship: Edward de Vere’s Life Explains Shakespeare’s Knowledge

Reason No. 62: Shakespeare’s Use of Heraldry and Heraldic Terms as an Inextricable Part of His Language

Reason No. 63: “A Never Writer to an Ever Reader”

Reason No. 63 (Part Two): Edward de Vere as “Ever or Never”

Reason No. 64: The Year of Oxford’s Recorded Death – 1604 – is a Pivotal Year in the “Shakespeare” Story

Reason No. 65: The Shakespeare Plays were Revised to Become Dramatic Literature

Reason No. 66 (Part One): Oxford was a Complete Man of the Theater – On the Record!

Reason No. 66 (Part Two): Oxford’s Life in the Theater

Reason No. 66 (Part Three): Connecting the Dots of Oxford’s Theatrical Life

Reason No. 67: John Bale’s Early Play of King John and the Earls of Oxford; also, the anonymous “Troublesome Reign” of King John

Reason No. 68 (Part One): “A Pleasant Conceit of Vere Earl of Oxford, Discontented at the Rising of a Mean Gentleman” etc. = Oxford and Christopher Hatton

Reason No. 68 (Part Two): Christopher Hatton and Malvolio of “Twelfth Night”

Reason No. 69: “Cymbeline” from an Oxfordian viewpoint, as an early work, finally makes sense

Reason No. 70: The Duke of Alencon in the Shakespeare plays

Reason No. 71: Alencon and Simier in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Reason No. 72: Oxford and the Northwest Passage … the bond … the 3,000 pounds and the 3,000 ducats … Lock and Shylock

Reason No. 73 (Part One): “The Merchant of Venice” – Portia as Queen Elizabeth

Reason No. 73 (Part Two): Portia’s Belmont is a Real Place — the Villa Foscari

Reason No. 74: Oxford’s brother-in-law Lord Willoughby brought back report on “Hamlet’s Castle” in Denmark

Reason No. 75: The New Sophisticated Clown Robert Armin was a “servant” of Oxford when he was a “servant” of Shakespeare’s Company

Reason No. 76: Oxford, like Hamlet at the Court of Denmark, was the Most Amazing Jester at the Court of Elizabethan England

Reason No. 77: The Poet-Playwright George Chapman Knew that Oxford = Hamlet = Shakespeare

Reason No. 78: “A King of Infinite Space” – Oxford and Hamlet have the same point of view

Reason No. 79: Shakespearean “history” plays as mirrors (and instruments) of Elizabethan Tudor policy

Reason No. 80: A 1595 Reference to “Sweet Shakespeare” linked to “Our DeVere … A Secret” Discovered by Alexander Waugh

Reason No. 81: Allusions in “Twelfth Night” to the 1581 Interrogation and Torture of Jesuit priest Edmund Campion

Reason No. 82: Both “Shakespeare” and Oxford were Highly Educated in Greek – Demonstrated in the work of Dr. Earl Showerman

Reason No. 83: “Romeus and Juliet” of 1562, when Edward de Vere was Twelve, and Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juiliet”

Reason No. 84: Oxford was Involved in the Revolutionary Expanding Universe of Astronomy as Indicated by “Shakespeare”

Reason No. 85: The Gad’s Hill Robbery: an Episode of Oxford’s Life Shows Up in “Henry the Fourth Part One”

Reason No. 86: The Darnley Murder of 1567, the Assassination of Coligny in 1572, and more — The Likelihood of Contemporary Sources of “Macbeth” in Oxford’s Experience between 1567 and 1589

Reason No. 87: Horses and Horsemanship: An Integral Part of “Shakespeare’s” Work and of Oxford’s Life Experience

Reason No. 88: Oxford’s Links to the Bard’s Printers and Publishers

Reason No. 89: “The Two Most Noble Henries” – Henry Wriothesley and Henry De Vere

Reason No. 90: Oxford’s Tutor Had the Only Manuscript of “Beowulf,” an Influence Upon “Hamlet”

Reason No. 91 (Part One): “The Winter’s Tale”

Reason No. 91 (Part Two): The Trial of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Trial of Queen Hermione

Reason No. 91 (Part Three): “The Stubborn Bear of Authority”

Reason No. 92: Given his anonymity, Oxford had “The Record of a Wasted Genius”

Reason No. 93: Oxford had “Knowledge of Power” that is exhibited in the Shakespeare works

Reason No. 94: Shakespeare’s “immediate predecessors” worked under Oxford’s patronage and guidance

Reason No. 95 (Part One): The Shadowy Figure of Christopher Marlowe

Reason No. 95 (Part Two): Christopher Marlowe, continued

Reason No. 95 (Part Three): Christopher Marlowe, continued

Reason No. 95 (Part Four): Christopher Marlowe, continued to conclusion

Reason No. 96: “Oxford was with Elizabeth before her Speech to the Troops at Tilbury on August 8, 1588”

Reason No. 97: A 1584 Play at Court Performed by Oxford’s Boys was the Early Version of “Troilus and Cressida”

Reason No. 98: Oxford is the Only One on Francis Meres’ List with No Surviving Plays

Reason No. 99 (Part One): The “Taming” Plays in which Oxford Reveals his Identity

Reason No. 99 (Part Two): The Tale of Two Shrews and How it Reveals the Dramatist’s Method

Reason No. 100: How the Oxfordian movement began by looking for a special kind of genius and finding the conditions fulfilled

“Oxford’s Final Love Letters to Queen Elizabeth” by Robert Prechter

The following article is reprinted from the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship Newsletter edition of Summer 2015. It calls to mind one powerful thought about Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford: Under any name, he is consistently telling his own story. Comments and questions are invited and encouraged.

“Oxford’s Final Love Letters to Queen Elizabeth” by Robert Prechter

Thomas Proctor’s compendium of verse titled A gorgious Gallery, of gallant Inventions…by divers worthy workemen (1578) contains ninety-two poems. I count sixteen of them as Oxford’s. By far the most important among them are three poems that appear to be Oxford’s personal entreaties to Queen Elizabeth, written after what seems to have been—and, in light of these poems, must have been—their affair of approximately 1571 to 1574, as postulated in numerous Oxfordian sources. The poems’ titles and first lines are:

(1) A loving Epistle, written by Ruphilus a yonge Gentilman, to his best beloved Lady Elriza (“Twice hath my quaking hand”)

(2) Narsetus a wofull youth, in his exile writeth to Rosana his beloved mistresse, to assure her of his faithfull constancie, requiring the like of her (“To stay thy musinge minde”)

(3) The Lover forsaken, writeth to his Lady a desperate Farwell (“Even hee that whilome was”)

(Numbers below in parentheses refer to these three poems. Original spellings have been kept.)

The addressee of these poems is easy to discern. The name Elriza is an anagram for Eliza R, i.e., Eliza Regina. Rosana is another name for Queen Elizabeth, the only woman then living whose symbol was the Tudor Rose.

Who is addressing the Queen? One of the most revealing aspects of the three poems is how similar some of their lines are to those in the Earl of Oxford’s poem The Loss of My Good Name. The final stanza of that poem reads:

Help gods, help saints, help sprites and powers that in the heaven do dwell,

Help ye that are to wail, ay wont, ye howling hounds of hell,

Help man, help beasts, help birds and worms that on the earth doth toil,

Help fish, help fowl that flocks and feeds upon the salt-sea soil,

Help echo that in air doth flee, shrill voices to resound

To wail this loss of my good name, as of these griefs the ground.

 

The three poems from gorgious Gallery resound with Oxford’s words, images and 
parallel constructions:

Help thou Minerva, graunt I pray, some of thy learned skill.

Help all you Muses nine, my wofull Pen to write: (1)

Let all the furies forth, that pine in Hell with payne,

Let all their torments come abroad…

Come wilde and savadge beastes, stretch forth your cruell pawes,

Dismember mee, consume my flesh: imbrew your greedy jawes. (3)

And yee my sences all: whose helpe was aye at hand…

Ye sonne, ye moone and starres…

Forbeare to show your force a while. 

Yet for the worldly shame…

Or for the losse of your good name… (3)

 

We may reasonably conclude, then, that these poems are missives from Oxford to Elizabeth.

In keeping with changing authorship—both indicated and hypothesized—within gorgious Gallery, suddenly the versification in the book leaps to a level above that of the surrounding material. The poet begins by expressing his fear and hesitancy:

Twice hath my quaking hand withdrawen this pen away

And twice again it gladly would, before I dare beewray

The secret shrined thoughts, that in my hart do dwell,

That never wight as yet hath wist, nor I desire to tell. (1)

In our proposed context, Oxford would indeed have possessed “secret shrined thoughts,” ones of which no one else was aware (“never wight as yet hath wist”) and which his beloved’s social rank would have barred him from revealing. The poet quickly employs a thoughtful comparison:

But as the smoothered cole, doth wast and still consume,
And outwardly doth geve no heate, of burnyng blaze or fume:
So hath my hidden harmes, been harbred in my corpce,
Till faintyng limes and life and all, had welnigh lost his force. (1)

Shakespeare uses “coals” metaphorically fourteen times, including “dying coal” in Venus and Adonis (Stz.55) and “dying coals” in Lucrece (Stz.197).

The poet next admits, “stand I halfe in doubt,” and hesitates. He finally resolves, “I will lay feare aside” and write. Several lines in the poems link the names Elriza and Rosana to the Queen by using terms of political power. Consider:

Who yeeldeth all hee hath: as subject to thy will,

If thou command hee doth obey, and all thy heastes fulfill. (1)

I am banisht thus from thee….(2)

I doo commend to thee: my life and all I have,

Commaund them both as hee best likes; so lose or else to save. (2)

Thou art Queene of women kinde, and all they ought obay.

And all for shame doo blush, when thou doost come in place…(3)

And every wight on earth: that living breath do draw,

Lo here your queene sent from above, to kepe you all in awe. (2)

 

One comparison begins with words that imply a throne:

As highest seates wee see be subject to most winde…(1)

 

He says to his poem:

Fall flat to ground before her face: and at her feet doo lie:

Haste not to rise againe [until she] rayse thee with her hand.

…A pardon crave upon thy knee, and pray her to forgeve…(2)

 

Royal suitors had been assailing Queen Elizabeth, as they are Elriza:

Though Princes sue for grace: and ech one do thee woo

Mislyke not this my meane estate: wherewith I can nought doo. (1)

 

And in one line, Oxford seems to identify himself as her subject:

The subject Oxe doth like his yoke: when hee is driven to draw. (1)

 The original aphorism shows up in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing (I,i):

“In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.

 

Many Oxfordians believe that Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis describes Elizabeth’s pursuit of Oxford. Echoing an equally unbalanced courtship, the anonymous author of these poems attributes romantic advances firmly to the lady. He speaks of “thy bewailing words” (3) while asserting his own innocence:

“Sith first I did you know: I never spake the thing/ That did intend you to beguile.” (3)

 

Further fitting Oxford’s relative youth, the poet confesses naiveté in allowing his beloved to use him:

Unskilful though I bee, and cannot best discerne,
Where craft for troth doth preace in place, yet am I not to learne.
And I did thinke you such: that litle knew of guile,
But seemings now be plaste for deedes, and please fulwel the while. (2)

The poet’s youth, in turn, provides a reason for the lady’s reluctance to commit:

Have you thus sone forgot, the doutes and dreades you made,

Of yongmens love how litle holde, how sone away they fade. 

 

As it happens, a report written in July 1571 to Regent Catherine de’ Medici by the French ambassador to England, de la Mothe Fenelon, confirms that Oxford’s youth would have doomed a permanent match with Elizabeth. He wrote (in French) that “she wanted to tell me freely that, given her age, she would not willingly be led to church to be married to someone who looked as young as the Earl of Oxford and that that could not be without a certain feeling of shame and some regret.”

We may even have evidence to date the start of Oxford and Elizabeth’s involvement. At the beginning of the third poem, the poet reveals the length of time he has been enthralled. Speaking of himself in the third person he writes, thrise three yeeres hath spent & past, reposing all his trust/ In thy bewailing words, that seemed sugar sweet…(3) Counting back nine years from the publication date of the book gives 1569. By this reckoning, we may conclude that Elizabeth first flirted with Oxford in 1569, when he was nineteen years old. (On the other hand, the poet may have taken some temporal license in favor of employing the parallel and alliterative phrase “thrise three.”)

The poet refers to “My absence longe” (1), implying that for a time he had left the area. This recollection corresponds with the fact that Oxford had departed for a trip through the continent that had ended just two years before the publication of these poems. Yet he begs his beloved to remember—while using another term fitting her royal prerogative—what drove him away:

But if thou call to minde: when I did part thee fro,

What was the cause of my exile: and why I did forgo

The happy life I held, and lost therewith thy sight…(1) 

And I in cares doo flame, to thinke of my exile,

That I am barred from thy sight. (1)

 

Some sort of breakup, then, seems to have prompted Oxford to run away, without royal permission, to France in early 1575 and then spend a year on the continent in 1575-76.

Coincident with the time of Oxford’s return, the poet’s beloved has barred him from her presence. This “exile” confuses him. He hurls a charge of infidelity:

Well mayst thou wayle thy want of troth: & rue thy great unright

If thou be found to fayle thy vow that thou hast sworne…(1)

and could you gree thereto?

Thus to betray your faithful freend, and promis to undo? 

Thy fawning flattering wordes, which now full falce I finde…

Yet pardon I do pray: and if my wordes offend…(3)

 

He entreats her to explain,

what trespass have I done?/That am banisht thus from thee…(2)

 

and wonders if false rumors found her ear while he was gone, thus explaining why she won’t see him:

Or if my absence long: to thy disgrace hath wrought mee

Or hindring tales of my back freends: unto such state hath brought mee…

…Yet blame mee not though I doo stand somewhat in feare

The cause is great of my exile, which hardly I do bear. (1)

 

The poet reminisces about their intimate time together:

And then I call to minde, thy shape and cumly grace,

Thy heavenly hew thy sugred words, thy sweet enticing face

The pleasant passed sportes: that spent the day to end…(2) 

 

He flatters his beloved by declaring that Venus “Shall yeeld the palme of filed speche, to thee that doth her staine” (2).

Eloquence is one of Elizabeth’s well-known traits. He entreats her to answer a heartfelt, personal question: “How are you?”

But oh Rosanna dere: since time of my exile

How hast thou done? and doost thou live: how hast thou spent the while

How standeth health with thee? and art thou glad of chere? (2)

 

The poet richly describes the anguish of his feelings for his beloved:

O thou Elrisa fayre, the beuty of thine eyes

Hath bred such bale within my brest, and cau’sde such strife to ryse. (1) 

Awake, asleape, and at my meales, thou doost torment my brest. (1)

Thus Joyfull thoughtes a while, doth lessen much my payne

But after calme and fayer tides, the stormes do come agayne. (1) 

Thy bewty bids mee trust, unto thy promise past,

My absence longe and not to speake: doth make mee doubt as fast. (1)

 

Despite his hurt, the poet vows eternal loyalty:

But oh Elrisa mine, why doo I stir such war
Within my selfe to thinke of this: and yet thy love so far?
…No length of lingring time: no distance can remoove,
The faith that I have vowed to thee: nor alter once my love. (1) 

the greatest care I have,
Is how to wish and will thee good; and most thy honor save. (2)

Though time that trieth all, hath turnde the love you ought,
No changing time could alter mee: or wrest awry my thought. (3)

I doo commend to thee: my life and all I have. (2) 

I am all thine, and not my owne. (1) 

 

and begs her to reciprocate:

Bee faythfull sound therfore, bee constant true and just
If thou betray thy loving freend, whom hensforth shall I trust? (2)

 

But she will not, and perhaps cannot, do so. Befitting our case that the Lord Great Chamberlain is speaking to the Queen of England, the poet understands that their public eminence restrains her and admits they must be discreet, because the world is watching them:

Though Argus jelus eyes: that daily on us tend,
Forbid us meat [meet] and speech also, or message for to send. (2)

 

But as the third poem’s title indicates, the young man by 1578 had finally realized that his quest was futile. He bids his wished lover “a desperate Farewell.” In the first poem he had begged her,

Let not thy freend to shipwracke go: sith thou doost hold his helme (1)

yet by the third poem he is resolved to the futility of his hopes:

And I thus tost and turnd: whose life to shipwracke goes…. (3)

The poet proved prescient. Elizabeth ignored Oxford’s entreaties, and after her demise the Earl of Oxford wrote to his brother-in-law Robert Cecil on 27 April 1603, lamenting:

“In this common shipwracke, mine is above all the rest.” (3)

Shakespeare uses shipwreck as a metaphor three times: in Henry VI Part 1 (V,v): “driven by breath of her renown/ Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive/ Where I may have fruition of her love”; in Titus Andronicus (II,i): “This siren, that will charm Rome’s Saturnine,/ And see his shipwreck and his commonweal’s”; and in the positive in Twelfth Night (V,i), when Duke Orsino celebrates, “I shall have share in this most happy wrack.”

We may be sure that these three poems form a united group, as all of them are linked in terms of theme and language. In addition to the parallels cited above, the term pistle meaning epistle is in the first two poems; and the image, “hollow lookes, the pale and ledy hew” in the second poem is repeated in the third poem as “pale and lean with hollow lookes.” At the outset of the first poem the poet sighs, “Twice hath my quaking hand withdrawen this pen away,” in the third poem his hesitancy is augmented: “Thrise hath my pen falne downe: upon this paper pale.”

The anonymous poet’s writing fits Shakespeare’s proclivities. There are parallel constructions, serial questions, metaphors of fishing, birding and sailing, “as…so” comparisons, a mention of Ovid, and effective alliteration, for example: “Then should my sorowes seace, and drowne my deepe dispaire.” To shape his entreaties, the poet cites a bevy of classical figures, including Pyramus and Thisby and Troylus and Cressid, whose stories Shakespeare treated in two plays.

The poems are full of Shakespeare’s terms and phrases. The line, “A thousand deathes I do desire” echoes Shakespeare in Henry IV Part 1 (III,ii): “I will die a hundred thousand deaths”; and in Twelfth Night (V,i): “To do you rest, a thousand deaths would die.”

The lines “time too long doth try mee” and “Though time that trieth all” echo in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing (I,i): “as time shall try.” Variations of “when time shal serve” appear eight times in six Shakespeare plays as well as in Sonnet 19 of The Passionate Pilgrim.

The metaphor “Lament unlustie legges: bee lame for ever more” calls to mind Shakespeare’s line “So I, made lame by fortune’s dearest spite” in Sonnet 37.

The Bard, moreover, links two of these words in King Lear (II,iv): “a man’s/ over-lusty at legs,” and two others in Henry VIII (I,iii): “They have all new legs, and lame ones.”

The poet worries, “stand I halfe in doubt,” but resolves, “I will lay feare aside,” and muses, “Who never durst assaile his foe: did never conquest win”; Shakespeare offers the same ideas in similar words: “Our doubts…make us lose the good we oft might win/ By fearing to attempt” (Measure for Measure, I,iv) and “To outlook conquest and to win renown” (King John, V,ii).

The line, “No more then water soft, can stir a steadfast rocke,” is the flip side of a theme that Shakespeare employs in Troilus and Cressida (III,ii): “When waterdrops have worn the stones of Troy”; in Othello (IV,iii): “Her salt tears fell from her, and soften’d the stones”; and four times in Lucrece, including the mixed-image line, “Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.”

 

What may be interpreted as paired Ver self-references appear several times in these poems:

I never will agree to like, or looke on other wight.

Nor never shall my mouth consent to pleasant sound…(3)

Let never soyle bringe forth, agayn the lusty greene

Nor trees that new despoiled are, with leafe be ever greene (3)

Beleeve this to bee true: that now too true I prove…(3)

 

and a possible signature also appears to lie within the final line in each of the first and last poems:

And that my love doo never fleet out of thy secret brest…(1)

A better hap and that hee may, a truer Mystrisse finde. (3)

I think these are Oxford’s last love letters to Elizabeth before he gave up on being her lifelong companion. Yet as Oxford’s and Shakespeare’s activities demonstrate, the anonymous poet stayed true to his promise of devoted service.

///

Proctor, Thomas, ed., A gorgious Gallery, of gallant Inventions…by
divers worthy workemen, London: Richard Jones, 1578.

Fenelon, De la Mothe, July 1571, report to Catherine de Medici. Quoted in

Elizabeth Imlay, “Scoop in the Bibliotheque Nationale,” De Vere Society Newsletter (July 2006): 25.

De Vere, Edward, Earl of Oxford: “Personal Letter to Robert Cecil,” April 27 1603, Letters and Papers of Edward de Vere 17th earl of Oxford: Personal Letters (#39), Ed. Nelson, Alan H. https://socrates.berkeley.edu/~PERSONAL/030427.html.

Transferred to:

http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~ahnelson/oxlets.html

“First they ignore you … then they ridicule you … then they fight you … and then you win.”

There’s some strident Stratfordian activity on the Amazon.com site for 100 Reasons Shake-speare was the Earl of Oxford a sign, I believe, that upholders of the traditional faith are worried. It brings to my mind the well-known saying, often attributed [without evidence] to Gandhi: “First, they ignore you; then they ridicule you; then they fight you; and then you win.”  My fellow Oxfordians, let us savor the final stage before victory!

Followers of this blog site may wish to check out the attacks that have come from individuals who, apparently, have not read the book but are committed to the traditional view of the authorship at all cost. My current Oxfordian book makes no claim of proving anything; it presents various kinds of biographical and historical evidence for Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) as the true author of the Shakespeare works. The evidence is circumstantial and it’s overwhelmingly strong.

Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere
17th Earl of Oxford

There is no such biographical or historical evidence for the authorship of the Stratford man, whose death in 1616 failed to produce the slightest ripple of reaction. The traditional view needs no evidence, because it’s akin to religious faith.

Whether these folks are part of an organized attempt to hold back the inevitable collapse of the traditional paradigm, I cannot say; they do seem to be trolling for listings of Oxfordian books, seeking opportunities to attack. Their arguments are either disingenuous or deliberately inaccurate.

Alexander Waugh, the multi-talented author, scholar, critic and composer who is also Chairman of the De Vere Society of London, posted a response to one B. J. Robbins, who had not offered an honest review, but, instead, produced a list of sixteen points under the screaming headline, “REAL FACTS why Oxford WAS NOT SHAKESPEARE!!!!!”  Mr. Waugh replied with a point-by-point rebuttal:

You write: “1, There is no evidence that Oxford and Shakespeare ever even met or knew each other.”
Comment – a problem for Stratfordians. Oxford was known to many of the top poets, playwrights and scholars of his day, e.g. Greene, Lyly, Bale, Mundy, Nash, Chapman, Day, Twynne, Churchyard, etc., etc., none of whom knew Stratford-Shakspere, who was never acknowledged as a playwright or poet by anyone (including himself) during his lifetime.

You write: “2. Oxford died in 1604, while the plays in the First Folio came out until 1613 (Henry VIII). No logical, believable explanation has ever been offered by Oxfordians about how that happened.”
Comment – The plays `came out’ in 1623 (not 1613 as you claim) in the First Folio. At least 18 of these plays had never been published before. This was 7 years AFTER the death of Stratford-Shakspere, so by your own argument your own candidate fails.

You write: “3. Subjective interpretation of the Sonnets and plays is inconsequential and invalid and unscholary. It is not the way scholars work. Objective, empirical evidence, direct evidence.”
Comment – The Oxfordian case does not rely upon ‘subjective interpretations’ of the Sonnets or plays. If you had read Whittemore’s 100 reasons you would have known this.

You write: “4. Oxford left no literary writings behind besides a few ordinary poems. No plays. We don’t know if he had the genius to write Hamlet or King Lear. Having 3 daughters like Lear is not proof that he wrote it. Don’t make me laugh”
Comment – If you had read Bodenham (1600) you would know that Oxford’s works were published under the names of other people. Meres and Webbe tell us that he was writing plays in the 1580 and 90s. There is no evidence that Stratford-Shakspere was a writer of plays and poetry during his lifetime; or indeed anything, from the period 1593-1616, to suggest that `William Shakespeare’ on the quartos was not a pseudonym.

You write “5. The vast preponderance of the evidence points to William Shakespeare of Stratford writing the plays and Sonnets. No contradictions no contra indications. Chronology is perfect.”
Comment – This is incorrect. The `vast preponderance of the evidence’ from the lifetime of Stratford-Shakspere points to Shakespeare as a pseudonym used by the Earl of Oxford (see Willobie, Barnfield, Weever, Meres, Davis of Hereford etc etc). The `vast preponderance of the evidence’ for Stratford-Shakspere shows him only to be a wheeler-dealer unknown to those at the center of literary life. It is meaningless to add `chronology is perfect’ – what chronology are you talking about? Why is it `perfect’?

You write: “6. Anyone having anything to do with the theater, or writing plays, will tell you that the plays of Shakespeare were written by someone who spent his entire life in the world of the theater. Sir John Gielgud said that they must have been written by an actor after playing King Lear. Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, and stayed with them after they were renamed the King’s Men, until he retired about 1613. That is more than 20 years spent in the SAME TROUPE, unheard of in those times. Oxford was busy writing letters to the Queen for privilege to the tin mines.”
Comment – You change your mind from `entire life’ to `more than 20 years’ in one paragraph. The first record of Stratford-Shakspere’s having anything to do with the theatre relates to him as accountant-payee for the Chamberlain’s Men in 1595 and you say he retired `by 1613′. Hardly an `entire life’ let alone `more than 20 years’ is it? Oxford’s family connections with theatre are traceable to the late 15th century, and with his own players to as late as 1602. That really means an `entire life’ during which time Oxford was the patron of several theatrical troupes, friend of many of the leading playwrights, owner of a major public theatre, an actor and a writer who was highly commended by his contemporaries as a playwright, poet, and scholar. Playwrights can write letters about tin-mines and still be playwrights.

You write: “7. There is absolutely NO PROOF that William Shakespeare was a pen name for anybody. The hyphen is meaningless and simply a front for Dr. Waughman. [Dr. Richard Waugaman, a prominent Oxfordian.] It is his life’s work, poor man.”
Comment – Who is Dr Waughman? Do you mean me? The man from Stratford never used a hyphen in his name nor did any of his friends or family. A hyphenated name (`Shake-speare’) appears on 45% of the early quartos and in many of the contemporary allusions to the poet Shakespeare. This is a problem for Stratfordians as it implies a pen-name. Weever (1598) calls the author of Venus and Adonis `spurious’ – look it up.

You write: “8. Frances Mere’s note [Palladis Tamia, 1598] makes it plain that Oxford and Shakespeare were two different people. Oxford wrote comedies, and Shakespeare wrote comedies AND tragedies, histories and dramas. (Julius Caesar).”
Comment – Meres, a theologian and numerologist, reveals that William Shakespeare was a pseudonym used by Oxford in paragraph 34 of his `Comparative Discourse of our English Poets.’ Since you are not up to date with recent (or old) Oxfordian scholarship, you possibly have no idea what I am talking about – your loss. You might begin by asking yourself why (in paragraph 34) Meres compares 16 Classical playwrights to 17 English playwrights with Oxford at the top of the list, and try to work it all out from there.

You write: “9. After Oxford’s death, no one in his family came out and declared that “Daddy” was the writer of Shakespeare’s plays!!!! Why not? This should have happened!!!! Why this 400-year conspiracy to keep Oxford’s name off Shakespeare?”
Comment – as is well recorded Oxford died almost bankrupt and in social disgrace; also, he was lame – a bit like `Shake-speare’ who describes himself as `poor’, ‘lame’ and ‘despised’ in his sonnets. The First Folio was dedicated to Oxford’s son-in-law and, according to many, funded by the Herbert family. The prefatory pages are full of veiled allusions to Shakespeare’s identity as Oxford. After Stratford-Shakspere’s death no one in his family came out and declared “Daddy” was the writer. His family were functionally illiterate. Neither he nor his family, or any of his friends and acquaintances, ever said that he was a writer.

Your write: “10. How did Oxfraud pay Shakespeare? How much? More for comedies than tragedies, or vice versa? The guy didn’t work. How would he have money for the dowries of his 3 daughters?”
Comment – You are confused `Oxfraud’ is a group of Stratfordian internet lobbyists; they did not pay Shakespeare anything, though it is rumoured that they are funded by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, to support for the Stratford ideology. If you mean ‘Oxford’, he did not pay Shakespeare anything either, `Shakespeare’ was his literary pseudonym.

Your write: “11. Shakespeare is mentioned by several contemporaries as a writer of plays. Oxford is not, except by Meres. Shakespeare is mentioned as a writer of Sonnets.”
Comment. Shakespeare is a pseudonym and no one by that name is mentioned as a writer of plays until plays started appearing with that pseudonym upon their title pages, which was as late as 1598. The only sense in which Shakespeare is mentioned as a writer of plays is in the same sense that it is said `George Orwell wrote essays’. Stratford-Shakspere is not mentioned as a writer of Sonnets, all that Meres says is that the writer of plays `William Shakespeare’ also wrote sonnets. They appeared in print in 1609 as `SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS’ – hardly promising for Shax supporters.

Your write: “12. All of the plays are entered in the Station’s Register as the works of William Shakespeare. Now anyone can say that Shakespeare of Stratford did not really write the plays, that they were given to him by someone else. Only one thing is lacking. Any proof that this is true.”
Comment – Nonsense! not `all of the plays’ are entered into the Stationers’ Register as by Shakespeare or anything like all. The Stationers took no interest in authorship, they simply copied what was on the title pages of books they were registering – including, in the case of Shakespeare, `Yorkshire Tragedy,’ and they got that wrong! There isn’t a single example of play attributed to Shakespeare by the Stationers in which the same attribution is not given on corresponding title page.

You write: “13. Looking at Oxford’s poetry and Shakespeare’s Sonnets, it is easy to tell the difference. Shakespeare’s are far superior. They were not written by the same person.”
Comment – Need I remind you of your own argument? You wrote (point 3): “Subjective interpretation of the Sonnets and plays is inconsequential and invalid and unscholarly.” So I can’t see why you bothered to add this one.

You write: “14. Hemings and Condell said they were the ones who saw Shakespeare’s manuscripts. Shakespeare used the commoner’s Secretary hand; Oxford undoubtedly used the aristocrat’s Italian hand. It is easy to tell the difference. Hemings and Condell would have sniffed something fishy was going on.”
Comment – This point is too silly for words. Hemings and Condell never said that Shakespearte’s plays were written in secretary hand. You are starting to fabricate.

You write: “15. The plays in the Revels Account in 1604-1605, give credit to “Shaxberd” for writing Measure for Measure, Othello, Comedy of Errors, Merchant of Venice. There is no mention of “Shake-Speare”. It seems to be a terrible mispellilng of William Shakespeare’s last name.”
Comment – Arguments concerning the authenticity of this record are as old as its discovery. Let us assume it is genuine. The Revels Account lists Shakespeare plays performed at court in the season immediately following Oxford’s death and at the marriage of his daughter. Stratford-Shakspere does not appear to have been present for any of these performances but was quietly arranging his business in Warwickshire. Just because someone misspells a pseudonym does not mean that the name belongs to a real person whose name is commonly spelled in another way altogether.

You write: “16. In the First Folio, the name of William Shakespeare appears twice, on the same page. Once as the writer of the comedies, histories, and tragedies within, and once at the top of the list of players who performed the plays. No hyphen in either. So either there were two William Shakespeares in the same troupe, one an actor and one writer of plays, or they were the same person. I think most reasonable persons would believe the latter.”
Comment – you are clearly out of the loop about this page and all the Stratfordian commentary about the peculiarity of a second half-title. This page does not state that Stratford-Shakspere wrote the plays of the First Folio. The ‘actor’ and the playwright are clearly separated by a very pronounced and rigid black line. Turn back the pages and you will find a cornucopia of evidence telling you that `William Shakespeare’ the author is a pseudonym.

I believe Mr. Robbins replied to Mr. Waugh’s reply on the Amazon site.  If so, you can find that and further comments there.

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