“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.

“To Gain Knowledge and Understanding of the Ways of Men” – Queen Elizabeth, Describing the Earl of Oxford in Letters of Introduction to Foreign Princes

It’s my pleasure to pass on news of work by Alexander Waugh, who has obtained English translations of two Latin letters by Queen Elizabeth, addressing the princes of Europe on behalf of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford as he was about to set forth in early 1575 on his foreign travels. The translations were obtained after “quite a sweat and a consultation with two serious Latin scholars,” he reports, adding, “What I think is really tremendous about this is that Elizabeth says her recommendation of Oxford is not the normal thing but ‘in all sincerity’ (‘ex animo’) or ‘from the heart’, because of his ‘outstanding intellect’ (‘praestantes animi’) or ‘outstanding mind.’”

oxford11

In the second letter the queen uses “ingenio,” which refers to innate talent and natural capacity or, quite possibly as the Latin word suggests, genius. Waugh aptly remarks that these introductions of Oxford from the Queen of England are not merely standard letters prepared by a clerk for her Majesty to sign off.  Instead they refer in specific ways to a specific young nobleman, not quite twenty-five years old, taking the trouble to emphasize his unique qualities and indicating a special interest in his mission “to gain knowledge and understanding of the ways of men in different cities and regions.”

1 Elizabeth, by the grace of God, etc.  To all individual kings, etc. 

An illustrious and highly accomplished young man, our beloved cousin, Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, Viscount Bulbeck, Lord of Scales and Badelsmore, Great Chamberlain of England, plans (with our good grace) to travel overseas to gain knowledge and understanding of the ways of men in different cities and regions. We therefore sincerely request your servants, your most excellent educators and your own kindness, that when he comes into any kingdom, territory, land or jurisdiction of yours, not only will he be permitted to stay there freely and to pass through without impediment, but he will be treated with all kindness for our sake, and will be welcomed so that we may see your friendship and benevolence towards us reflected in your treatment of this most noble earl, our kinsman (whom we recommend not in the usual way, but in all sincerity, on account of his outstanding intellect and virtue). When this young nobleman shows himself worthy of your kindness by virtue of his manners, we too, as a sign of thanks for things great and small, shall never forget to repay you generously, and by any means, when the time and occasion may arise.  In witness whereof etc.

Hampton, 24 January 1574 [=1575], in the seventeenth year of our reign.

2 Elizabeth by the grace of God etc.   To the most powerful Prince and Lord Maximilian the Second, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia, eternally Augustus, our brother and kinsman and dear friend, greetings. 

An illustrious young man, greatly adorned with many virtues – Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, Viscount Bolbeck, Lord of Scales and Badelsmere, Lord High Chamberlain of England, our most beloved subject and cousin – is presently setting out from England to visit your royal court of many princes and will be passing through the cities and regions of your empire, to benefit from the knowledge thereof. He is endowed, by his very nature, with manners, virtue and learning. We therefore earnestly desire your Imperial Majesty to protect this young nobleman by your authority, to grant him your favour, to help him with recommendations, and to favour him with all kindness, so that he may understand that our greatest recommendation holds weight with your Imperial Majesty. Nothing else could give us greater joy. May God preserve your Imperial Majesty in health and safety.

Hampton [Court], 24 January 1574 [=1575], in the seventeenth year of our reign.

The full Latin texts are on Nina Green’s website The Oxford Authorship site to be found at this location.

“Sweet Swan of Avon” Refers to the Poet-Playwright of Hampton Court Palace!

At the recent conference of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship in Madison, Wisconsin, the multi-talented Alexander Waugh of England delivered a talk that should be picked up by the New York Times and put right on the front page, with a headline such as:

“SWEET SWAN OF AVON!” = “POET-PLAYWRIGHT OF HAMPTON COURT!”

(Click on Image for Larger View)

(Click on Image for Larger View)

In other words, all these years – these centuries! – we have been misinformed that Ben Jonson, in the First Folio of Shakespeare plays (1623), was referring exclusively to William Shaksper of Stratford-upon-Avon:

Sweet Swan of Avon! What a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
That so did take Eliza and our James!

Waugh pointed out that neither Queen Elizabeth nor King James ever went to a play at the Globe on the Thames (or any other public playhouse in England). But the magical location where both monarchs enjoyed performances of the Shakespeare plays was the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, on the banks of the Thames; and it turns out that Hampton Court had been known as Avon!

Alexander Waugh

Alexander Waugh

In Britannia, his Latin history of Great Britain and Ireland, Jonson’s mentor William Camden quoted historian John Leland in Genethliacon (1543) as indicating that Hampton Court had been called Avon; and when Camden translated his own work in 1610, he rendered Leland’s lines about Hampton Court this way (with my emphasis):

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

“A Stately place for rare and glorious shew. There is, which Tamis with wandring stream doth dowse; Times past, by name of Avon men it knew: Heere Henrie, the Eighth of that name, built an house So sumputuous, as that on such an one (Seeke through the world) the bright Sunne never shone.”

Waugh included many other details in his talk, which is reproduced in the current issue of The Oxfordian , the annual journal of the Fellowship. For example: “In his Cygnea Cantio (1545), Leland explained that Hampton Court was called ‘Avon’ as a shortening of the Celtic-Roman name ‘Avondunum’ meaning a fortified place (dunum) by a river (avon), which ‘the common people by corruption called Hampton.” And, Waugh added, “This etymology was supported by Raphael Hollinshed, who wrote in his Chronicles (1586) that ‘we now pronounce Hampton for Avondune.’”

[The original meaning of Avondunum was “fort by the river.”]

The Great Hall Hampton Court Palace

The Great Hall
Hampton Court Palace

So Jonson in the Folio of 1623 was undoubtedly pointing – indirectly! – to Stratford-upon-Avon, but he was even more strongly (for those who would know) identifying the great palace on the Thames where the true author’s plays were given wondrous “flights” or performances for Elizabeth and James – the Palace of Avon, a.k.a. Hampton Court!

////

PS – The swan, representing a poet, had been given royal status in the 12th century. And “sweet” in Shakespeare has several meanings, but perhaps the most famous one is applied to the royal protagonist of Hamlet: “Good night, sweet prince …”

“Sweet Swan of Avon!” – Royal Poet-Prince of Hampton Court Palace!

Discovery of a 1595 Reference to “Sweet Shakspeare … Oxford … Our De Vere … A Secret” — No. 80 of 100 Reasons to Conclude that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare”

“Most contemporaries alluded to Shakespeare’s famous lines or characters – they did not usually mention his name or give personal information. Even praise for the great author was often indirect, implying that there was something secret about him.” – Katherine Chiljan, “Shakespeare Suppressed”

scan of Polimanteia
(Click on Image for Larger View)

These “reasons” to conclude that Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford wrote the Shakespeare works have generally avoided anagrams and the like, but for Reason No. 80 we make an exception. In my view, what we have here – based on common sense, requiring no formal training to recognize it – is a veritable knockout punch.

In 1595, two years after “Shakespeare” initially appeared — on the dedication of Venus and Adonis to Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton — and one year after the name appeared on the dedication of Lucrece to that young nobleman, the University of Cambridge published a book containing one of the first mentions of the new poet.

A page of this book contained an italicized margin note Lucrecia Sweet Shak-speare” alongside two lines of text, one containing the italicized word “Oxford” and the line below containing a perfect anagram of OUR DE VERE — A SECRET.

To be more precise, directly underneath Oxford was printed the odd hyphenated phrase “court-deare-verse,” with letters and words which, in correct sequence, spelled out OUR DE VERE. [c-OUR-t-e-DE-e-a-r-e VERsE.] Moreover, the remaining seven letters (c-t-e-a-r-e-s) formed a perfect anagram of A SECRET.

scan of Polimanteia
(Click on Image for Larger View)

The book was Polimanteia. The publication in 1595 was anonymous, but later evidence showed it was written by William Covell, a clergyman who received his MA from Cambridge in 1588 and went on to serve as a Fellow of Queen’s College, Cambridge, from 1589 to 1599.

Discoverer of this rather amazing Oxford=Shakespeare reference, which had been hiding in plain sight for more than four centuries, is Alexander Waugh, the English writer who is also a critic, journalist, composer, cartoonist, record producer, television producer and outspoken critic of the traditional Stratfordian biography.

Alexander Waugh

Alexander Waugh

The grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh, he recently co-edited (with John M. Shahan) — and contributed to — the book of essays entitled Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?, Exposing an Industry in Denial, published in response to the orthodox position of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The complete marginal note reads: “All praise/ worthy./ Lucrecia/ Sweet Shak-/ speare./ Eloquent Gaveston./ Wanton Adonis./ Watsons heyre (heir).”

(“The spelling ‘Shakspeare’ – missing the medial ‘e’ – is here forced by lack of space,” Waugh points out. Adding an ‘e’ after the ‘k’ would make it collide with the main text. “No other significance should be attached to this spelling.”)

"Venus and Adonis" Dedication - 1593

“Venus and Adonis” Dedication – 1593

The note’s references to “Lucrecia” and “Adonis” obviously refer to Shakespeare’s two narrative poems. Given that the overall topic covers poets and poetry, “Gaveston” most likely refers to Michael Drayton’s historical poem The Legend of Piers Gaveston, published in 1593; and “Watson” refers to the poet Thomas Watson, who had dedicated Hekatompathia, or the Passionate Century of Love (1582), a sequence of 100 consecutively numbered verses, to his patron Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford, who had viewed them in manuscript and apparently had been involved with their actual writing.

Covell, well aware that “Shakespeare” was Oxford’s new pen name and that this was a highly sensitive state secret, was careful to avoid pointing directly to the earl. On the other hand, he was equally careful to place the margin words “Lucrecia Sweet Shakspeare” right next to the lines containing “Oxford” and “courte-deare-verse” — and, therefore, the crucial aspect of his indirect message was the combination of both the margin note and the text; to get Covell’s barely hidden meaning, the reader must view them in conjunction with each other.

"Lucrece" Dedication 1594

“Lucrece” Dedication
1594

“The main text of Polimanteia is supported by a great many marginal notes,” Waugh writes in the De Vere Society Newsletter, “all of which have been precisely and meticulously placed by the printer so that there can be no doubt as to which line each is intended to reference.” With that observation in mind, he declares, “Given that only a handful of direct allusions to Shakespeare are known to exist from the 1590s, and given that the world has been turned upside-down in search of any information relating to the Bard, I find it very strange that no Shakespearean scholar has yet seen fit to investigate the meaning of this little note in relation to the text to which it is supposed to refer.” (My emphasis)

Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton

Henry Wriothesley
Earl of Southampton

There is a definite political dimension to this story, however, and it involves Oxford’s support via “Shakespeare” to the Earl of Southampton, to whom he wrote in the Lucrece dedication: “The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end … What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours.” During these years, roughly 1592-1594, there had been an open effort to raise Southampton in the public eye and even to suggest he was a prince who deserved to succeed Elizabeth I on the throne.

But the young earl had refused a political marriage to Elizabeth Vere, granddaughter of William Cecil Lord Burghley (and the reputed daughter of Oxford, who had denied his paternity), preferring instead to join Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex in breaking away from Burghley and his son Robert Cecil. And now William Covell was dedicating Polimanteia to Essex, pledging his “deep affection” as well as his “kindnesse and love” in the process of devoting “the full interest of my self to your dispose.”

William Cecil Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil

William Cecil Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil

Edward de Vere, Robert Devereux and Henry Wriothesley had all three been royal wards of the Queen in Burghley’s household; all three had been Cambridge men, as was Covell, who appears to have used Polimanteia to publicly (though indirectly) declare his support for the “Essex faction” in the power struggle to control the succession upon Elizabeth’s death.

This growing political battle would result just six years later in the Essex faction’s use of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (known to us as “Shakespeare’s Company”) to perform Richard II at the Globe (showing the deposition of a monarch) on the eve of the so-called Essex rebellion of 8 February 1601, aimed at removing Robert Cecil. It ended in utter failure, followed by the execution of Essex and the confinement of Southampton in the Tower until after Elizabeth’s death in 1603 and Cecil’s engineering of the succession of King James.

Going back to 1595, however, Alexander Waugh raises the question of how to explain the “brazen temerity” of William Covell in publishing with Cambridge at a time when Lord Burghley himself was Chancellor of the University. That fact, plus the dedication to Essex, leads to a “natural supposition,” he writes, “that the release of Covell’s secret [about Oxford as Shakespeare] was in some way sanctioned by Essex and/or Burghley.”

While the proposed alliance of Southampton and the Cecil family through marriage was in play, during 1590-1594, Burghley would have been in favor of Oxford’s attempt to persuade the younger earl to go along (in Venus and Adonis the Goddess of Love has thirty-six lines urging the young god to hurry into marriage and fatherhood, using virtually the same words as in the first seventeen sonnets to Southampton urging procreation). Even the Archbishop of Canterbury (who took his orders from Burghley and/or the Queen) had signed off on Venus and Adonis, that first published offering with “Shakespeare” attached to it.

Southampton in Tower 1601 - 1603

Southampton in Tower
1601 – 1603

By 1595, however, the potential Oxford-Elizabeth-Burghley alliance with Southampton had ended, so that now Oxford was breaking with William and Robert Cecil while using “Shakespeare” to support Southampton alone. And in doing so, he was inevitably joining the Essex faction — even against his better judgment. It appears to me, therefore, that Covell in 1595 must have been quite daring to insert his allusion to the Earl of Oxford as “Shakespeare,” with its implied support of Essex and Southampton against the entrenched Cecil faction.

Yes, quite daring, in a world where writers were being censored, imprisoned, tortured, killed.

At stake, after all, was the crown.

Announcement of November Conference at the Globe by The Shakespearean Authorship Trust

Italy Poster
Here, hot off the press, is the official announcement of the Shakespearean AuthorshipTrust (S.A.T.) conference at the Globe in London on 24 November 2013. The group owes its vitality to award-winning actor Mark Rylance, who is currently starring on Broadway concurrently in Twelfth Night and Richard III. (FOR LARGER & READABLE VIEW CLICK ON IMAGE)

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