Second Edition (Revised Text) of “Hidden in Plain Sight” by Peter Rush

Rush Cover Second Edition

A brilliant & cogent exploration of THE MONUMENT by Hank Whittemore

“Hidden in Plain Sight” is available here at…

“The Monument” is available here at…

“Proving His Beauty by Succession” – Queen Elizabeth in the Sonnets (Continued)…

Queen Elizabeth appears throughout SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS of 1609.  Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, employs a conventional form of romantic poetry to preserve for posterity a real-life story that is not at all romantic but political.  In this slice of contemporary history within the Elizabethan poetry, otherwise unavailable to future historians,  Oxford reveals the reasons behind his obliteration as the author of the Shakespearean works – not just the reasons for his use of the pen name, which began in 1593, but also the why’s and how’s of his subsequent and enduring erasure from the official record.


This is the thirteenth item on our expanding list of ways in which the queen appears as the woman (or dark lady) of the Sonnets.

“History is written by the winners,” George Orwell wrote; and Oxford in Sonnet 123 yells at “Time,” that is, at the official record being written by those who engineered the royal succession after Elizabeth’s death in 1603: “Thy registers and thee I both defy … For thy records and what we see doth lie…”  He knew the false history written by the winners of the political power struggle would become a widely accepted lie, a myth, so he constructed a “monument” of verse containing the truth for future generations: “And thou in this shalt find thy monument, When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.” (Sonnet 107)

(When J.T. Looney “identified” the author in 1920 as the Lord Great Chamberlain of England, he was standing the Stratfordian fairy tale on its head. The true story is just the opposite of the popular legend that is still being celebrated.  It resides not in Anne Hathaway’s cottage but, rather, at the Royal Court of Elizabethan England — thinly disguised as the Royal Court of Denmark, where Prince Hamlet fights until his dying breath and begs his friend to tell the world what really happened:  “O God, Horatio, what a wounded name, things standing thus unknown shall live behind me! If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity awhile, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, to tell my story.”)

Now we focus on line 12 of Sonnet 2: “Proving his beauty by succession thine.”   De Vere was fully aware of the reverberations of succession.  He was inserting a political bombshell within the landscape of what may appear to be a bisexual triangle — concealing yet revealing his dangerous subject matter within the “noted weed” (Sonnet 76) or familiar costume of the poetry of love.

There’s an interesting angle on that line of Sonnet 2 in a 2015 book by the late John M. Rollett: William Stanley as Shakespeare: Evidence of Authorship by the Sixth Earl of Derby, which I highly recommend (despite our different candidates for “Shakespeare”).  When John and I spent a day together at the British Library in September 2000, we shared our mutual conviction that words and phrases throughout the Sonnets are intentionally royal and dynastic.

The poet tells the younger man in Sonnet 2 (which I believe was written circa 1591*) that his use of “beauty” will be praised if he has a “fair child,” thereby “Proving his beauty by succession thine.” This line, Rollet writes, is “introducing what seems to be the main theme of these ‘dynastic’ sonnets, that of ‘succession.’ It is interesting to learn,” he continues, “that this sonnet was the one most frequently copied out into common-place books in the thirty years following publication [in 1609].”

No less than eleven manuscript versions of Sonnet 2 have been found, “suggesting that it had a particular appeal or significance for readers at the time,” Rollet writes, adding that in those three decades after 1609 the Stuart kings James I and Charles I “had proved themselves lamentably inferior to the Tudors as rulers, and maybe people were speculating on how things might have turned out differently.” **

As mentioned before in this series, the phrase “beauty’s Rose”*** at the outset of Sonnet 1 amounts to an announcement that the overall theme of the forthcoming sequence is a plea for the preservation and continuance of Elizabeth’s dynasty of the Tudor Rose: “From fairest creatures we desire increase, That thereby beauty’s Rose might never die.”

And so that theme continues in Sonnet 2, with “beauty” signifying not only Elizabeth herself, but, as well, her Tudor blood within her own successor, who will pass on the “warm blood” of the final line to his own child:

1 When forty Winters shall besiege thy brow,

2 And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,

3 Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,

4 Will be a tottered weed of small worth held:

5 Then being asked where all thy beauty lies,

6 Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,

7 To say within thine own deep sunken eyes

8 Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.        

9 How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,

10 If thou couldst answer, ‘This fair child of mine

11 Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,

12 Proving his beauty by succession thine.

13 This were to be new made when thou art old

14 And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

+   The Monument sets forth a structural design opening with twenty-six sonnets (1 – 26) corresponding to the years 1591-1600.  (The first seventeen also correspond, numerically, with the first seventeen years in the life of Henry Wriothseley, third Earl of Southampton, up to 1591; the next nine correspond with the years 1592-1600, making a total of twenty-six.) The Monument explains the real-life story of the Sonnets in terms of three individuals: the author (Oxford), the fair youth (Southampton) and Elizabeth (the dark lady), with Oxford’s pen name (“Shakespeare”) mistaken by tradition for a so-called rival poet.

++ Some of the early sonnets (1-26) may have begun circulating in manuscript during the 1590s. (Francis Meres in 1598 wrote of the author’s “sugared sonnets among his private friends.”)  The remaining 100 sonnets of the fair youth series (nos. 27-126) correspond with the years 1601-1603 and were not circulated in manuscript; they, along with the rest of the quarto, remained underground until 1711.  [However, a bogus edition in 1640, thoroughly mangling the 1609 quarto, represents an extension of the 1623 Folio effort to obscure the true story.  And this version is another source of some manuscript versions, which have many variations from the authentic text of 1609.]

+++ “Rose” is both capitalized and italicized in the 1609 quarto.

The list to date, compiled by sonnet number:

In the Fair Youth series:

1 – Sonnet 1: “Beauty’s Rose” – the Queen’s dynasty of the Tudor Rose

2 – Sonnet 2: “Proving his beauty by succession” — the succession to Elizabeth 

3 – Sonnet 19: “The Phoenix” – the Queen’s emblem

4 – Sonnet 25: “The Marigold” – the Queen’s flower

5 – Sonnet 76: “Ever the Same” – the Queen’s motto in English

6  – Sonnet 107: “the Mortal Moon” – Queen Elizabeth as Diana, the chaste moon goddess

7 – Sonnet 125: “Were’t Ought to Me I Bore the Canopy” – Elizabeth’s funeral

In the Dark Lady series:

8 – Sonnet 128: “Those Jacks that Nimble Leap” – recalling the Queen at her virginals

9 – Sonnet 131: “Commanded by the Motion of Thine Eyes” – to a monarch

10 – Sonnet 151: “I Rise and Fall” – the courtier as sexual slave to his Queen

11 – Sonnet 152: “Thy love, thy truth, thy constancy” – Echo of Oxford’s sonnet to Elizabeth

The Bath Epilogue:

12 – Sonnet 153: “Against Strange Maladies a Sovereign Cure” – the Queen’s touch

13 – Sonnet 154: “Sleeping by a Virgin Hand Disarmed” – the Virgin Queen


Queen Elizabeth as the Dark Lady: “Do I envy those Jacks that nimble leap to kiss the tender inward of thy hand”

“Prominent among these favorites was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford … He was an agile and energetic dancer, the ideal partner for the queen, and he had a refined ear for music and was a dexterous performer on the virginals.” – Carolly Erickson, “The First Elizabeth” (1983)

How oft, when thou my music music play’st

Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds

With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st

The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,

Do I envy those Jacks that nimble leap           

To kiss the tender inward of thy hand…

(Emphasis added)

Queen Elizabeth's Virginal

So begins Sonnet 128, the second verse of the Dark Lady series (127-152); and with Oxford viewed as the author, it is plainly about Elizabeth I, who was fond of playing on her virginals – a musical instrument of the harpsichord family, with “jacks” or wooden shafts that rest on the ends of the keys. The presumption here is that Oxford, an expert musician, composed pieces that he and the queen would play together:

Oxford had been jealous of Sir Walter Raleigh, a “jack” who had leaped into the court’s attention in 1580, when he went to Ireland to help suppress an uprising. He soon became a favorite of the queen, and in 1587 he was knighted and appointed Captain of the Queen’s Guard.  Later he helped the government bring Essex to his tragic ending upon the failure of the Essex Rebellion and was said to gloat at the time of the earl’s execution.

“When the news was officially announced that the tragedy was over, there was a dead silence in the Privy Chamber, but the queen continued to play, and the Earl of Oxford, casting a significant glance at Raleigh, observed, as if in reference to the effect of Her Majesty’s fingers on the instrument, which was a sort of open spinet, ‘When Jacks start up, then heads go down.’ Everyone understood the bitter pun contained in this allusion.” – Agnes Strickland, “The Life of Queen Elizabeth” (1910), p. 674, citing “Fragmenta Regalia: Observations on the late Q. Elizabeth, her times and favorites,” Sir Robert Naughton (1641)

[The Monument views the chronological arrangement of the Dark Lady series as beginning with Sonnet 127 on the night of the Rebellion on February 8, 1601; in this context, Sonnet 128 would follow upon the execution of Essex a little more than two weeks later on February 25, 1601.  The placement is a perfect fit within that context of the contemporary history.]

The lines about “those Jacks that nimble leap/ To kiss the tender inward of thy hand” recall a letter from Essex to Elizabeth in 1597: “And so wishing Your Majesty to be Mistress of all that you wish most, I humbly kiss your fair hands.”

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh

Francis Bacon apparently recalled the same incident with the virginals (or perhaps one that occurred much earlier) in “Apophthegemes New and Old” (1625): “When Queen Elizabeth had advanced Raleigh, she was one day playing on the virginals, and my Lord of Oxford, & another Noble-man, stood by. It fell out so that the Ledge, before the Jacks, was taken away, so the Jacks were seen [i.e., making them visible]; My Lord of Oxford and the other Noble-man smiled, and a little whispered.  The Queen marked it, and would needs know what the matter was?  My Lord of Oxford answered that they smiled to see that ‘when Jacks went up, Heads went down.’”

The actual occasion of the incident matters little in terms of its placement in the Dark Lady series or its relationship to Sonnet 128. The point is that there is, in fact, documentary evidence that the Queen and Oxford were together while she played on the virginals and he came up with his now-famous, spontaneous quip about the leaping jacks being like Raleigh, an upstart “jack” at the royal court.  To express his bitterness at Raleigh in relation to the execution of Essex, there was no better allusion than this one.  [In addition, all recollections of the quip have the same rather obvious allusion to an execution-by-beheading.]

Sonnet 128

How oft, when thou my music music play’st

Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds

With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st

The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,

Do I envy those Jacks that nimble leap

To kiss the tender inward of thy hand…

Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,

At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand.

To be so tickled they would change their state

And situation with those dancing chips,

O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,

Making dead wood more blest than living lips.

Since saucy Jacks so happy are in this,

Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

The list of ways in which Queen Elizabeth permeates the Sonnets of Shakespeare continues to grow:

1 – Sonnet 76: “Ever the Same” – the Queen’s motto in English

2 – Sonnet 25: “The Marigold” – the Queen’s flower

3 – Sonnet 131: “Commanded by the Motion of Thine Eyes” – to a monarch

4 – Sonnet 1: “Beauty’s Rose” – the Queen’s dynasty of the Tudor Rose

5 – Sonnet 107: “the Mortal Moon” – Queen Elizabeth as Diana, the chaste moon goddess

6 – Sonnet 19: “The Phoenix” – the Queen’s emblem

7 – Sonnet 151: “I Rise and Fall” – the courtier as sexual slave to his Queen

8 – Sonnet 128: “Those Jacks that Nimble Leap” – recalling the Queen at her virginals

Oxford to Queen Elizabeth as Dark Lady: “Commanded by the Motion of Thine Eyes”

This is the second chapter of a series about how the Sonnets identify Elizabeth I of England as the so-called Dark Lady, who is “dark” or “black” only because of her negative imperial attitude and actions:  “In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,” he tells her in Sonnet 131.

Elizabeth Tudor

Elizabeth Tudor

For those of us who conclude that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare, one particular phrase in the so-called Dark Lady sequence confirms that the powerful, deceitful woman in question is none other than the Queen.  That phrase is comprised by line 12 of Sonnet 149:

“Commanded by the motion of thine eyes.”

Here is Gloucester in 1 Henry VI (1, 1):

“England ne’er had a king until his time.

Virtue he had, deserving to command.”

G. Wilson Knight declares in The Mutual Flame (1955) that the Sonnets “regularly express love through metaphors from royalty and its derivatives, using such phrases as ‘my sovereign … thy glory … lord of my love … embassy of love … commanded by the motion of thine eyes.’”

If William of Stratford is the author, he cannot be addressing the Queen in these private, personal sonnets — to understate it.  His use of royal language would necessarily be metaphorical.

Oxford, however, is a high-ranking nobleman at the royal court, accustomed to speaking directly with her Majesty, and therefore he cannot be using such language when addressing any female but the Queen.

For this proud Earl, so keenly attuned to the meaning and power of words, to suggest that any woman other than her Majesty might “command” him would be unthinkable.

Elizabeth is the absolute monarch whom he has pledged to serve; now, toward the end of her life and reign, she has crushed all his hopes for a Tudor succession.  Having pledged his undying loyalty, however, he is compelled to continue in her service even though he has come to despise it:

“What merit do I in my self respect

That is so proud thy service to despise,

When all my best doth worship thy defect,

Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?”

(Emphases added)

“Thy service” echoes Oxford’s own postscript to William Cecil Lord Burghley on 30 October 1584: “I serve her Majesty, and I am that I am,” while also echoing his words to the Queen herself, in a letter of June 1599, while trying to help her avoid losing income on a tin-mining venture: “I beseech Your Majesty, in whose service I have faithfully employed myself … to give commandment that the order of your preemption be not altered…”

[Oxford often did write to Burghley, the Lord High Treasurer of England and chief minister to the Queen, the most powerful man in the realm, signing off as “Your Lordship’s to command,” but otherwise any such address by him was to Elizabeth.  Characters in the plays of various types and in various contexts might be “commanded” metaphorically, but the Sonnets are personal and direct statements in real life, from a specific writer to a specific person; and the authorship question poses a choice between two entirely different contexts, Stratfordian or Oxfordian.  The latter perspective, with de Vere as author of the Sonnets, compels the same words on the page to be viewed within a very different framework.]

Meanwhile the slightest “motion” of the monarch’s eye, indicating disapproval, is all it takes to send any subject (regardless of rank) to the scaffold.  The Sonnets are filled with such powerful eyes – ninety of them, in various forms – and Shakespeare knows their authority, as the Bastard advises his sovereign in King John (5.1):

“Be great in act, as you have been in thought;

Let not the world see and fear mistrust

Govern the motion of a kingly eye!

The bottom line is that if Oxford is Shakespeare the Dark Lady can only be Elizabeth Tudor, his sovereign mistress.

Recapping to this point:

  1. “Ever the same” in Sonnet 76 is how Queen Elizabeth translated her motto.
  2. “Marigold” in Sonnet 25 is her Majesty’s flower.
  3. “Commanded by the motion of thine eyes” in Sonnet 149, if from Oxford’s pen, must be to the Queen.

Sonnet 149

Canst thou O cruel, say I love thee not,

When I against my self with thee partake?

Do I not think on thee when I forgot

Am of my self all tyrant for thy sake?

Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?

On whom frown’st* thou that I do fawn upon?

Nay, if thou lour’st on me, do I not spend

Revenge upon my self with present moan?

What merit do I in my self respect

That is so proud thy service to despise,

When all my best doth worship thy defect,

Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?

But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind,

Those that can see thou lov’st, and I am blind.

  • Frown’st recalls how, in Sonnet 25, even those “favorites” of “Great Princes” can be plunged into disgrace and ruin by the sudden loss of their favor, “For at a frown they in their glory die” — another reason why Sonnet 149 can be addressed by Oxford only to the Queen.  In these lines he is saying his “love” or loyalty to her is so great that he supports her even when it means to “partake” with her “against my self.”  Such is the bitter end of the entire Dark Lady series, in the final line of Sonnet 152, when he accuses her of forcing him to “swear against the truth so foul a lie” — the truth being his own motto and identity, which he has betrayed because of her.  He has become “all tyrant” for her sake, a traitor to himself, by joining her in failing to tell the truth about Southampton, their unacknowledged royal son, who remains in prison so long as she lives and will not succeed her on the throne.

The Dark Lady is Identified in the Sonnets as Elizabeth I of England – (1)

Elizabeth I 1533 - 1603

Elizabeth I
1533 – 1603

The Shakespeare sonnets involve three real-life individuals: the author, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford; the friend, Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton; and the dark lady, Queen Elizabeth I of England.  There is a fourth character [the “rival poet”] who is not a person but, rather, Oxford’s pen name — “Shakespeare” — which he can attach publicly to Southampton while he himself must remain silent.

Oxfordians have had many candidates for the Dark Lady, but this is only because some continue to view the Sonnets as recording a “love” story rather than a political story involving Southampton’s role in the “succession crisis,” which led to his death sentence as a traitor followed by the Queen’s sparing of his life, and, after a confinement of more than two years in the Tower, his release and pardon by King James. Once this context of the Sonnets is perceived, it becomes immediately clear that the so-called dark lady must be Elizabeth, who was only “dark” or “black” because of her negative view of Southampton — her imperial “frown” that cast its shadow of shame and disgrace upon him.

Once Elizabeth is recognized as the treacherous, powerful female of the Sonnets, she can be seen being identified throughout the  sequence of Sonnets 1 to 154. Following are just two examples, rooted in documents of the time:

Elizabeth to Leicester July 19, 1586 CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW

Elizabeth to Leicester
July 19, 1586


In Sonnet 76 the author states by way of a rhetorical question that he writes in all these lines of the sequence “still” or always “all” about just “one” topic, which is “ever the same” – the Queen’s recognized motto, Semper Eadem, which she occasionally signed in English as “ever the same.”

“Why write I still all one, ever the same…”

A good example is provided by a letter from “E. R.” (Elizabeth Regina) written on July 19, 1586 to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was acting as her lieutenant general in the Low Countries, signed, “As you know, ever the same, E.R.”  [See Leah Marcus, Janel Mueller and Mary Beth Rose: Elizabeth I: Collected Works, University of Chicago Press, 2000, p. 283]

If in fact Edward de Vere is writing these words, it’s a given he’s quite aware of referring to the Queen by means of her motto. Oxford knew many things about his sovereign mistress, without question, and was incapable of using her motto without doing so deliberately.  He was recording her presence in the Sonnets and it was intentional.

Marigold Flower

Marigold Flower


In Sonnet 25 he refers quite explicitly to her Majesty as one of the “Great Princes” who can remove all glory from her favored subjects by a simple “frown” of royal disapproval – and in the process he brings in the Queen’s own flower, the marigold, again identifying her without question. (Oxford’s personal secretary John Lyly wrote in Euphues his England, dedicated to Oxford in 1580, about Elizabeth:  “She useth the marigold for her flower, which at the rising of the sunne openeth his leaves, and at the setting shutteth them…”)

“Great Princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread,

“But as the Marigold at the sun’s eye,

“And in themselves their pride lies buried,

“For at a frown they in their glory die…”

To be continued…

“Hidden in Plain Sight” by Peter Rush – Shedding More Light on the Sonnets

HPS FRONT COVERIt never occurred to me that anyone would undertake to write an entire book devoted to describing and deepening an understanding of my own work, but Peter Rush has done just that with Hidden in Plain Sight: The True History Revealed in Shake-speares Sonnets (from Real Deal Publications – edited by Alex McNeil, with publishing assistance from William Boyle) now available on

Peter and I met online back in 1999, when I first put up some information about a possible discovery about the 154 sonnets of the 1609 sequence, which was suppressed upon printing and remained underground for more than a century. It took me six years to work my way through the Sonnets according to this new “paradigm” that involved the language, form and content of the sequence; and the results in 2005 became The Monument: “Shake-speares” Sonnets by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

Having kept in touch since then, Peter Rush began writing his own book – presenting the same description of the Sonnets, but from a different angle and with a new approach. In addition, he includes a running comparison with the commentaries of four “orthodox” editors, who, unhappily, are tied down by the bankrupt Stratfordian mythology; and he shows how they are consistently unable to make sense of the Sonnets, regardless of their expertise as scholars.

In this book you’ll find much new and brilliant work – powerful stuff, making not only an important complement to The Monument but also contributing a ton of original insights.  I’ll have more to report on this book as we go along; for now, I must say that Hidden in Plain Sight has reinforced my conviction that The Sonnets will be viewed one day as Oxford’s ultimate masterwork … a “message in a bottle” to preserve the true history for “eyes not yet created” (you and me) in the future.

Oh – once more, here’s the Cast of Characters in the Sonnets; as the author tells us:

Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument,

Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words,

And in this change is my invention spent,

Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.

Fair, kind, and true, have often lived alone,

Which three, till now, never kept seat in one.

(Seat = Throne of England)

Friend or Fair Youth – Southampton

Mistress or Dark Lady – Queen Elizabeth

Author – Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford


Rival Poet – Oxford’s Pen Name “Shakespeare”

Hidden in Plain Sight is a lucid, penetrating analysis of one of the most difficult-to-understand pieces of literature in the world: Shakespeare’s sonnets.  Rush articulately, coherently and believably summarizes the evidence that the Sonnets not only identify the true author of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry but also reveal hitherto unknown, astonishing details of the decline and fall of the Tudor Era.” – Dr. Paul Altrocchi, researcher and author (most recently of Fraught With Hazard, a novel of the Spanish Armada).

The Friend or Fair Youth

The “Friend” or Fair Youth










Elizabeth I The Phoenix Portrait circa 1575

The “Mistress” or Dark Lady










The Author

The Author



Two Recent Customer Reviews of “The Monument”

Edward de Vere  17th Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere
17th Earl of Oxford

I’d like to thank all the readers who have contributed “customer reviews” of The Monument over at and to express my appreciation to the most recent reviewers.  What sparked my current gratitude was a review during February by “Yosemity” (a pen name, surely), along with one by Mark Lippstreueron in late December.  To my knowledge I’m not acquainted with either writer; I post their reviews here to encourage more Shakespeare lovers to explore the authorship question and, in particular, the Monument theory of the Sonnets as written by Edward  de Vere, Earl of Oxford.

By Yosemity — February 16, 2015

“This masterful literary detective work is brilliant. This interpretation of the Sonnets is the most coherent of all interpretations. It ties together the fair youth, the dark lady, and the rival poet with the underlying political context of the Essex Rebellion. It shows words and phrases cross references from early poems (i.e. Love Thy Choice) and plays to various sonnets most natural and sensible.

“For hundreds of years, the interpretation of a love triangle without the political context is twisting, awkward, and missed hundreds of double imagery in the sonnets sequence. What a remarkable discovery after 400 years. What a treasure and a gift to poetry lovers and to humanity…

“‘And thou in this shalt find thy monument’ (Sonnet 107, line 13).

“With the sonnets’ context based on Oxford’s life events, the double imagery in the sonnets can take both specific and more hidden meanings. The author wanted to hide the specific from plain sight. Readers can see it either way. Which way is more enjoyable? Which interpretation is more interesting? This depends on the reader. There are plenty of isolated lines that can be enjoyed without context. It’s like a rose by the side of the road, a summer day, etc.


“As an artist and a scientist, I find the Oxford context very interesting. It makes me appreciate the writer’s skill so much more, starting with the first two lines of Sonnet 1.  Here ‘beauty’s Rose’ can be a rose by the road, or the well-known Tudor Rose, Elizabeth I.  Based on personal experience, I know many artist, writers, actors often forgo more lucrative career paths to pursue their life’s calling. The most moving songs, poems, music, paintings, are drawn from life’s experience. Facts are much stranger than fiction. Art often imitates life more than we find life imitating art. Artists’ imaginations can’t go ‘outside the(ir) box’ unless they get help from outside (i.e. vision quest, or hallucinogens, or other muses). In short, Hank’s analysis compelled me to study the sonnets in greater depth.”

By Mark Lippstreueron — December 25, 2014:

“Very intriguing and well documented. This text give a solid argument for De Vere as the author of not just these poems, but all of the Shakespearean literature. Whether you are a Oxfordian or a pupil in the dark on this matter, the book is an excellent doorway to the Sonnets. The numeracy and historical support are quite powerful and worthy of note by any scholar. Enjoy and open your mind to the other side of the envelope and see the 154 sonnets as a single masterpiece.”

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.


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.

“Prince Tudor” Theory Began in 1932…

From Percy Allen, in The Life Story of Edward de Vere as “William Shakespeare” – 1932:


“Ever since beginning an intensive study of the Life of Edward de Vere as ‘Shakespeare,’ it has been more and more insistently borne in upon me that, if we could fully understand them, Oxford’s personal relations with Queen Elizabeth would provide the clue to a complete understanding of his life, and particularly to his mysterious withdrawal from court in 1589, the secret of which, as Lucio phrases it in Measure for Measure, must be ‘locked between teeth and lips.’

“The references in the plays and poems, to love affairs between de Vere and Elizabeth are many; but they are self-contradictory, and difficult wholly to reconcile with one another.

“First of all, there is The Two Gentlemen of Verona, obviously dealing with incidents closely following upon Oxford’s return from Italy in 1576, and dramatizing himself as Valentine and Silvia as Queen Elizabeth…

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

Speed: You never saw her since she was deformed.
Valentine: How long hath she been deformed?
Speed: Ever since you loved her.

[Valentine refers to “her passing deformity.”]

“…and what other conclusion is possible than this – that Silvia-Elizabeth’s ‘passing deformity,’ or, in other words, maternity, was the work of Edward de Vere.”

“…it seems to me possible that the Earl’s withdrawal from court in 1589 – evidently done, as the plays conclusively show, at the Queen’s request, and for some profoundly secret reason – must have been due, in part at least, to some change in his relations to her…”

“When all is so contradictory, so dependent upon circumstance, and upon the variable moods of two notoriously fickle and capricious creatures, it is impossible to form any precise or definite conclusions upon this delicate matter; but I have, I hope, set down enough here to justify my innate conviction, that de Vere’s relations with Queen Elizabeth – could they be sufficiently known – would completely solve the mystery that still hangs about ‘Shakespeare’s’ paradoxical and enigmatic career.”

Reason 94 to Believe that Edward de Vere the Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare” — Acknowledged Sources of the Plays Include the Works of Many of the Writers under His Patronage and Guidance

“Men can always be blind to a thing, so long as it’s big enough” – Chesterton

The bottom line of this post is that many of Shakespeare’s immediate or contemporary “predecessors,” cited by scholars over the generations as providing source materials for the great author, in fact gained their subject matter and learned their skills from Edward de Vere. As we look through various editions of the Shakespeare works, there emerges (seemingly from between the lines) a clear pattern of Oxford’s silent but hugely influential presence – like some towering and pervasive ghostly figure who has gone virtually unnoticed, simply because no one has been looking for him. So let us begin again…

Reader's Encyclopedia of  Shakespeare - edited  by O. J. Campbell

Reader’s Encyclopedia of Shakespeare – edited
by O. J. Campbell — one of the best books on the bard

A powerful reason why Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare” is that the identified sources for many of the comedies include literary or dramatic work by writers who worked under his patronage and guidance. Based primarily on two major reference works – The Reader’s Encyclopedia of Shakespeare edited by Oscar Campbell and Dating Shakespeare’s Plays edited by Kevin Gilvary, here are ten such plays in alphabetical order:

As You Like It – The direct and primary source is Rosalynde, Euphues’ Golden Legacy, a prose romance by Thomas Lodge, written by 1587. Lodge followed the euphuistic literary movement (aimed at refining and enriching the English language) of which Oxford was the leader. The earl’s secretary John Lyly had published two Euphues novels in 1579-1580; and As You Like It contains several thematic links with Lyly’s court plays such as Sappho and Phao, Galathea and The Woman in the Moon. In addition the play James IV by Robert Greene, another writer in Oxford’s orbit, contains forerunners of As You Like It’s feminine characters and is also notable for using the similar setting of rural England.

Indispensable for all kinds of solid information

Indispensable for all kinds of solid information

The Comedy of Errors – Once again, writings attributed to Oxford’s personal secretary Lyly are identified as sources used by the Shakespearean dramatist. “The rhetorical features of the comedy betray the influence of John Lyly that was strong during the formative years of Shakespeare’s art,” Campbell writes.

Love’s Labour’s Lost – This play contains “many features of the euphuistic style made fashionable by the publication of John Lyly’s Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit,” Derran Charlton and Kevin Gilvary report. H.R. Woudhuysen observes that parts of the play are “reminiscent of the court comedies and the prose romances of John Lyly,” who dedicated Euphues his England (1580) to Edward de Vere.

The Merchant of Venice – Considered a likely source is Zelauto, the Fountain of Fame (1580) by another of Oxford’s secretaries, Anthony Munday, who dedicated it to the earl. Details of plot, character and language in Munday’s work are paralleled in the Shakespearean play – including the usurer’s daughter and her marriage, as well as the two ladies who disguise themselves as lawyers. And it appears that Portia’s speech about the “quality of mercy” was influenced by the judge’s pleas for mercy in the same work by Munday, who referred to himself in the dedication as “Servant to the Right Honourable the Earl of Oxenford.”

The Merry Wives of Windsor – According to Philip Johnson, the treatment of Falstaff by the ‘fairies’ in the final scene appears to parallel the episode of Lyly’s play Endimion in which the soldier Corsites is pinched by fairies. Johnson also notes that some influence on Falstaff “may have been derived” from the character of Captain Crackstone in Munday’s Fedele and Fortunio (1585), a translation from Luigi Pasqualigo.

Geoffrey Bullough's multi-volume series on the sources -- a great library resource

Geoffrey Bullough’s multi-volume series on the sources — a great library resource

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – H.F. Brooks and C.L. Barber agree that this play also reflects the court dramas attributed to Lyly, who also acted as Oxford’s stage manager for plays performed at Blackfriars and the royal court. Geoffrey Bullough believes that Lyly’s play Endimion influenced the Shakespearean play. H.F. Brooks and Nevill Coghill have observed that the dramatic structure of the Dream by Shakespeare is similar to a combination of leading features in Munday’s play John a Kent and John a Cumber.

Much Ado About Nothing – The English source of this Shakespearean play appears to be Fedele and Fortunio (1585) by Oxford’s secretary Munday, who would have adapted it from an Italian play, Il Fedele, written in 1579.

The Tempest – The play Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (c. 1591) by Oxford’s protégé Robert Greene “bears some primitive and remote resemblance to The Tempest,” Campbell writes, “and is one of the earliest examples of the successful interweaving of a subplot with the main story.” In addition, Greene’s play The History of Orlando Furioso (1594) drew from Ariosto’s work of that name (1516); and in their game-changing book On the Date, Sources and Design of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest (2013), Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky show how that Italian epic poem is itself an important source of this Shakespearean play (and of Much Ado, for example).

The Two Gentlemen of Verona – Geoffrey Bullough notes some common techniques in Two Gentlemen and the comedies and romances of Lyly; and he believes that Lyly’s novel Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit (1579), inspired (and perhaps dictated to him) by Oxford, his employer, comes closest to this Shakespearean work. “Shakespeare’s debt appears in the courtly atmosphere of Lyly’s romance plays,” Noemi Magri writes; and C. Leech, editor of the Arden edition of Two Gentlemen, notes “many incidental echoings” of Lyly and that the Launce-Speed dialogue in Act Three, Scene One contains a major “crib” from Lyly’s romantic comedy Midas, played in 1591 by the Paul’s Boys for Elizabeth at court.

All the Varioriums of all the plays, poems and sonnets are gold mines of info!

All the Varioriums of all the plays, poems and sonnets are gold mines of info!

(The title of Two Gentlemen is suggestive of Munday’s play Fidelio and Fortunio, the Deceits in Love Discoursed in a Comedy of Two Italian Gentlemen. R. Hosley, an editor of Munday’s work, suggests that Fidelio and Fortunio was acted before the Queen by Oxford’s company of child actors called Oxford’s Boys.)

The Winter’s Tale – Campbell writes, “The source of the main plot is Robert Greene’s novel Pandosto, or the Triumph of Time,” printed in 1588. The Shakespearean play carries over all the characters in Pondosto except one (Mopsa)! “There has been considerable disagreement among scholars as to the relationship of Greene and Shakespeare,” Campbell observes. “If, as many scholars have believed, Shakespeare began his career by revising other men’s plays, then it is probable that some of these plays were at least partly Greene’s.”

(Some Oxfordians – notably Stephanie Hughes and Nina Green – have set forth impressive arguments that “Robert Greene” was but an early pen name used by Oxford before “killing him off” in 1592, prior to adopting the “Shakespeare” pseudonym. In any case, one of Greene’s earliest books – Card of Fancy, printed in 1584 – was dedicated to Oxford as “a worthy favourer and fosterer of learning” who had “forced many through your excellent virtues to offer the first-fruits of their study at the shrine of your Lordship’s courtesy.”)

Oxfordian editions of the plays are coming forth... (See

Oxfordian editions of the plays are coming forth…

Meanwhile The Winter’s Tale owes much to the use of Greek Romances. In that regard, two contemporary writers linked to Oxford contributed suggested sources: Angel Day, who published an English translation of Daphnis and Chloe in 1587; and Thomas Underdowne, who translated Heliodorus’ Aethiopica in 1569, when he dedicated it to nineteen-year-old Oxford, writing of the earl’s “haughty courage joined with great skill, such sufficiency in learning, so good nature and common sense” among other virtues. Eddi Jolly, noting the influence of Aethiopica upon The Winter’s Tale, observes that “the entire moving force is a king’s jealousy.”

Another Oxfordian edition -- with more sources than orthodox editions have acknowledged

Another Oxfordian edition — with more sources than orthodox editions have acknowledged

This rundown is about as brief and compact as I could make it; however, I cannot resist citing one of my favorite influences upon “Shakespeare” by a writer working under Oxford’s patronage: The sequence of 100 consecutively numbered sonnets or “passions” entitled Hekatompathia, or the Passionate Century of Love by Thomas Watson, who dedicated it to Oxford in 1582, thanking the earl for having “perused” the work in manuscript. (Oxfordians have suggested that Oxford wrote the prose “headers” or brief scholarly notes for each of Watson’s sonnets; and, too, they have suggested that Edward de Vere wrote the entire “century” or 100-sonnet sequence himself.) The point here is that, when I set forth the 100-verse sequence of Sonnets 27 to 126 as the centerpiece of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS of 1609, in my edition The Monument, citing Watson’s sequence as a precedent, it was unknown to me that someone else had already made the same observation nearly seventy years earlier!

It was Edgar Fripp, an orthodox scholar, in his work Shakespeare, Man and Artist of 1938, who wrote: “Centuries or ‘hundreds’ of literary pieces were in fashion – of Songs, Sonnets, Prayers, Sermons, Hymns, Sentences, ‘Flowers,’ ‘Points of Husbandry,’ Emblems, Medical Observations, or what not … The Hekatompathia or Passionate Century of Love by Thomas Watson, otherwise a Century of Passions, may have served as a model for Shakespeare’s Century of Sonnets … Shakespeare’s Sonnets 27-126 are a Century.”

hek TP WEB4

(Moreover it was suggested in The Monument that Shakespeare’s “century” of 1609 is divided into two parts: Part One, the eighty sonnets 27-106 and Part Two, the twenty sonnets 107-126; and Watson’s sequence of 1582 is also divided into two parts, in the same way, as Part One, Sonnets 1-80 and Part Two, Sonnets 81-100. I suggest that Oxford structured the Shakespearean sonnet sequence in direct reflection of the Watson sequence, in order to steer us back to Passionate Century , where we would find him!)

In addition to the Arden, Riverside, Penguin and other editions of the Works, here are just some of the other books that include Shakespeare sources:

This book represents  the most significant example of what results when the orthodox version of Shakesepeare's sources is examined from a fresh perspective!

This book represents the most significant example of what results when the orthodox version of Shakesepeare’s sources is examined from a fresh perspective!

Anderson, Mark, “Shakespeare” by Another Name, 2005

Bullough, Geoffrey, Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, 1958

Chambers, E.K., The Elizabethan Stage, 1923

Clark, Eva Turner, Hidden Allusions in Shakespeare’s Plays, 1931; reprint 1974

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