… “The World’s Hopeful Expectation” … “The Hope and Expectation of Thy Time” … “The Expectation of the World”

“When Parliament convened in February 1593, the queen was fifty-nine years old, her age intensifying public concern over that ‘uncertain certainty,’ the as-yet-unsettled succession on her death … Despite, or rather because of, the decisive importance of this question, it remained largely invisible on the landscape of public discourse. Elizabeth’s government was determined to see that this preoccupation had no outlet. Public discussion of the succession was forbidden, declared treason by parliamentary statute … The aim of the Crown’s policy was wholly to remove the question of royal lineage from discussion by subjects…” – Robert Lane, The University of North Carolina Press *

Henry Wriothesley
3rd Earl of Southampton

Such was the situation in 1593 when “William Shakespeare” appeared for the first time as the printed signature on the dedication of Venus and Adonis to Henry Wriothesely, Earl of Southampton, to whom he wrote:

“I leave it to your Honourable survey, and your Honour to your heart’s content, which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world’s hopeful expectation.” **

The same poet would use a variation of “the world’s hopeful expectation” in his play of royal history Henry IV, Part 1, when the King chastises his wayward son, Prince Hal, for wasting his gift of blood and failing to prepare for his kingship:

The hope and expectation of thy time is ruined, and the soul of every man prophetically do forethink thy fall.” (3.2.36-38]

By pointing to “the world’s hopeful expectation” for Henry Wriothesley, the poet was consciously and deliberately proclaiming him as the long-hoped-for successor to Elizabeth, who was adamant in refusing to name anyone to follow her on the throne. “Shakespeare” had carefully selected those words, both to address the young earl directly and to publicly advertise this solution to the nation’s crisis. He was voicing his own hope for Southampton to be named the future Henry IX of England.

Robert Lane observes that a major weapon against the Crown’s suppression of public discussion was the power wielded by Elizabethan writers. Plays, for example, “provided a forum for examination of the issue in a manner sufficiently oblique to avoid government retaliation.” Lane then proceeds to focus on how Shakespeare in his history play King John “thoroughly, almost systematically” engages “the specific issues entailed in the succession crisis of the 1590s.”

Yes — and this same “Shakespeare” – Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford – was so concerned about the crisis that he used the launch of his new pen name to voice his own “hopeful expectation” for Southampton as a prince. Here was Oxford’s answer to avoiding civil war over the crown; to preventing a foreigner from gaining the throne; and to finally ending the inherent danger to England caused by the Virgin Queen’s silence.

In Part 2 of Henry IV, after Prince Hal becomes King Henry V, he admits the public had viewed him as a wastrel unworthy of the Crown; but now he vows to wipe away that negative “expectation of the world” and fulfill his destiny as a great monarch:

My father is gone wild into his grave,

For in his tomb lie my affections,

And with his spirit sadly I survive

To mock the expectation of the world,

To frustrate prophecies and to raze out

Rotten opinion, who hath writ me down

After my seeming. The tide of blood in me

Hath proudly flowed in vanity till now.

Now doth it turn and ebb back to the sea,

Where it shall mingle with the state of floods

And flow henceforth in formal majesty. (5.2.123-133)

In my view, Oxford dearly hoped that in the future Henry Wriothesley would use similar words, expressing similar sentiments, about “the tide of blood” that flowed in him.

///

x “‘The sequence of posterity’: Shakespeare’s King John and the Succession Controversy” by Robert Lane, The University of North Carolina Press, 1995

xx My emphases

“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.

ElizaTriumphansWmRogers1589Compressed

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

 

DNA Confirms President Harding’s Love Child — Reprinting a Blog Post about DNA and Prince Tudor

president's daughter

Nan Britton, mistress of the 29th president, with daughter Elizabeth Ann Britton (1931)

Nan Britton, mistress of the 29th president, with daughter Elizabeth Ann Britton (1931)

In light of the big news about DNA confirming that President Harding was the father of a “love child,” reported first by the New York Times this morning, I am reprinting a blog entry posted here more than five years ago.

DNA TESTING – BRING IT ON (April 17, 2010)

I hereby put forth my public appeal for DNA testing to determine once and for all whether a “Prince Tudor” existed during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, the First Elizabeth (1533-1603) of England.  Was Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton her son and heir to the throne?

Henry Wriothesley 3rd Earl of Southampton – In the Tower of London (1601-1603) – Was he the future Henry IX of England?

We now have Charles Beauclerk’s magnificent book Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, which further explores the idea that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford was the son of Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour, born in 1548, and that Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton was born in 1574 of mother-son incest, i.e., that Oxford and Elizabeth were his parents.  Paul Streitz writes of this “double Prince Tudor theory” in his book Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth I , and Beauclerk delivers a magnificent portrait of Edward de Vere’s identity crisis as it relates to his deeply divided life and authorship of the Shakespeare works.

My book The Monument demonstrates how Oxford wrote the Sonnets as a record of the truth for posterity that Southampton (the “fair youth”) was his son by the Queen and deserved to succeed her as King Henry IX of England.  (I don’t rule out the theory that Oxford himself was the Queen’s son, but do not use it to interpret the Sonnets; after all, I have enough on my plate!)

So bring it on — DNA testing for all this.  Is it possible to test the Southampton PT theory, i.e., to determine whether he was the son of Elizabeth?  Can DNA testing rule it out?

Anyone who might have answers is welcome to use the “comments” option below.  I’ll post your contributions here in the main blog section, if warranted.

Oh — Roland Emmerich’s movie Anonymous, starring Vanessa Redgrave as the Queen and due out next year, reportedly will contain that “double” PT theory as part of its story line, so the call for DNA testing may become much louder.  I hereby register my fervent support for such testing.

By the way, I’m halfway through reading James Shapiro’s book Contested Will, making fun of all us anti-Stratfordians.  I’ll wait to comment until I’m done reading, except to say that the book has nothing to do with genuine interest in the English renaissance that created “Shakespeare” — the great surge of literature and drama that occurred in Elizabeth’s reign during the 1560’s, 1570’s and 1580’s before the first [miraculous] appearance of the “Shakespeare” name in 1593.

It seems to me that those who applaud Shapiro’s attempts at mockery have no real interest in learning such genuine history leading to Shakespeare — real history that includes the Earl of Oxford as a central figure of this renaissance, a poet-dramatist and patron of writers and actors who was vitally connected to each of Shakespeare’s contemporary sources.  If you’re really interested in Shakespeare the man and artist, you have to study Oxford’s life and work, regardless of whether you accept that he himself was the great author.

Oh – I should mention that Shapiro quotes me inaccurately.  He quotes me as saying the works of Shakespeare are nonfiction dressed as fiction.  No, I said that about the Sonnets, not about all the other works.  The Sonnets are different.  They’re personal.  In the Sonnets the author uses the personal pronoun “I” to speak in his own voice, tell his own story.   And we Oxfordians do NOT believe that the works are “autobiographical,” but, rather, that Oxford drew upon many sources including aspects of his own life — in other words, they are works of the imagination based on life itself.  There’s a big difference between that and strict autobiography; and Shapiro, by stating that we think the works are autobiographical,  is setting up a straw man to knock down.

When the Paradigm Changes, So Too the Surrounding Concepts Must be Changed

Mark Anderson, author of Shakespeare by Another Name (2005) recently shared a statement about how difficult it can be to accept a new paradigm in place of one to which we have become attached.  Orthodox scholars face such difficulty when invited to consider that “Shakespeare” was not William of Stratford, but, rather, Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford.  Here is part of that passage from The Nature of Technology (2011) by W. Brian Arthur:

“Even if a novel principle [paradigm] is developed and does perform better than the old, adopting it may mean changing surrounding structures and organizations [my emphasis] … The old [paradigm] lives on because practitioners are  not comfortable with the vision — and promise — of the new. Origination is not just a new way of doing things, but a new way of seeing things.  And the new threatens to make the old expertise obsolete. Often, in fact, some version of the new principle [paradigm] has been already touted or already exists and has been dismissed by standard practitioners, not necessarily because of lack of imagination, but because it creates a cognitive dissonance, an emotional mismatch, between the potential of the new and the security of the old.”

An allegorical portrait of Elizabeth I painted after 1620

An allegorical portrait of Elizabeth I painted after 1620

Oxfordians view most “standard practitioners” of Shakespearean biography as unable to break from the “security” of the old Stratfordian paradigm. By the same token, however, many who accept Oxford as the true author still resist the need to change “surrounding structures” or concepts that need overturning. These include, for example, the traditional conceptions of the “Rival Poet” and “Dark Lady” of the Sonnets.

In the orthodox view, the Stratford fellow is recording (1) his painful defeat by a “rival” author who has stolen the affections of the younger man; and (2) his fury at the treachery of his own “dark” mistress for also stealing the affections of the younger man – who, for most Stratfordians and Oxfordians alike, is Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton.  Most of those who now view Edward de Vere as the author have yet to realize that these traditional concepts are not only incorrect but, I would argue, ridiculous.

THE RIVAL POET of Sonnets 78-86:

Under the old Stratfordian paradigm, this “rival” of the author must be a real person; however, the Oxfordian view presents a man leading a double life, so that the Earl’s “rival” must be his own pen name. Oxford introduced “Shakespeare” to the world as the printed signature on the dedications of Venus and Adonis (1593) and Lucrece (1594) to Southampton; and never again did he use that pen name to dedicate anything to anyone else, thereby uniquely linking the younger earl to “Shakespeare” and ensuring his immortality. But after the failed Essex Rebellion of February 8, 1601, to save Southampton from execution and gain his eventual release, Oxford agreed reluctantly to remain hidden behind the pen name.

Henry Wriothesley  3rd Earl of Southampton circa 1594

Henry Wriothesley
3rd Earl of Southampton
circa 1594

This is why Oxford writes to Southampton in Sonnet 81 that “Your name from hence immortal life shall have,/ Though I (once gone) to all the world must die.”  It is also why he refers in Sonnet 82 to “The dedicated words which writers use/ Of their fair subject, blessing every book” – the public dedications by “Shakespeare” to the “fair” young man, Southampton, blessing E. Ver’s books of narrative poems.

Now the pseudonym is being used by the government (i.e., by Secretary Robert Cecil) to “make me tongue-tied” (Sonnet 80) and has “struck me dead” (Sonnet 86) when it comes to writing publicly about Southampton. Most Oxfordians still automatically assume that the “rival poet” must be a flesh-and-blood individual (like Essex or Sir Walter Raleigh), even though, within the new authorship paradigm, it becomes obvious that his only “rival” is the “Shakespeare” pseudonym itself.  It is difficult for Oxfordians to accept this new (and far more logical) concept because, I suggest, it creates a “cognitive dissonance” between “the potential of the new and the security of the old.”

It turns out that the so-called “rival poet” (a made-up term not used in the Sonnets) never had anything to do with the great author’s feelings toward a real person.   Students in the future will look back at the traditional view and wonder how folks thought “Shakespeare” could have felt himself “struck dead” by any other living writer.

THE DARK LADY of Sonnets 127-152:

Under the old paradigm, this treacherous and deceitful woman must be some female toward whom Shakespeare was attracted yet from whom he was violently repulsed — or repulsed by his own sexual appetite for her.  This woman had to be, say, Emilia Lanier – or, in the Oxfordian view, she was Anne Vavasour or Elizabeth Trentham or – yes – that same Emilia Lanier.

Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere
17th Earl of Oxford

But once Oxford is accepted as the author, the so-called Dark Lady can only be Queen Elizabeth I of England, who is only “dark” because of her negative imperial view of Southampton. In other words, the Earl is using this section of the Sonnets to record, for posterity, his final resentment and even hatred toward his sovereign Mistress, for failing to name the younger earl as her “successive heir” (Sonnet 127).

In that section are lines that Oxford could write only to the Queen and to no one else. He asks her rhetorically in Sonnet 149, for example: “What merit do I in myself respect,/ That is so proud thy service to despise,/ When all my best doth worship thy defect,/ Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?”

There was no other woman in whose “service” Oxford had labored. No other woman could have “commanded” him by “the motion” of her eyes.  This is language reserved for the monarch, as when he writes in King John about “the motion of a kingly eye.” (5.1.47)

Perhaps even more striking is the anger and pain that Oxford expresses, as when he winds up Sonnet 147 telling her: “Past cure I am, now Reason is past care,/ And frantic mad with ever-more unrest./ My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,/ At random from the truth, vainly expressed./ For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,/ Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.”

Oxford could not address those lines to anyone but Elizabeth Tudor.  Given his stature as the highest-ranking earl of her royal court, there is no alternative but to realize that he is recording his feelings toward the Queen herself.

Even for most Oxfordians, a complete change of authorship paradigm will not be easy; and part of the difficulty will be to alter our view of the “surrounding structures” — such as those traditional concepts of the Rival Poet and the Dark Lady.

In terms of the overall paradigm of the Sonnets, the traditional view of these poems as “romantic” must be changed to “political” — and that will take some time.  For further explanations, see The Monument website.

“Shakespeare” the Pen Name was Political!

During the first forty years of his life, Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford wrote highly successful “comedies” staged at the Elizabethan royal court.  He wrote elegant prose as well as poetry and, too, helped save the Blackfriars playhouse while actively patronizing play companies and writers.  Only after turning forty-three in 1593 did he adopt “Shakespeare” — a pen name to which, via the dedications of Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, he deliberately and boldly linked nineteen-year-old Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton.

Dedication of "Venus and Adonis" in 1593 to Southampton with first printing of the Shakespeare name

Dedication of “Venus and Adonis” in 1593 to Southampton with first printing of the Shakespeare name

Southampton is the only individual to whom “Shakespeare” dedicated his work.

This is the starting point for any theory that Oxford deliberately used “William Shakespeare” as the printed signature to those dedications.  It means the Earl got along for more than four decades writing anonymously or under fictional names or the names of real individuals.  Then, in the early 1590s, just when the power struggle over control of the succession to Elizabeth on the English throne had begun in earnest, and when Southampton was coming of age at court, Oxford used this military-sounding name to conjure the image of a poet shaking the spear of his pen on the dedicatee’s behalf.

In the first dedication he referred to “the world’s hopeful expectation” for Southampton, echoing the king’s image of his son Prince Hal in 1 Henry IV (3.2.36) as “the hope and expectation of thy time” — that is, as the future Henry the Fifth of England.

In the second dedication he issued an extraordinary pledge to Southampton:  “What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours.”

Here is the big dividing line for Oxfordians who wish to persuade others that Edward de Vere wrote the Shakespeare works:

Why did he use this particular pen name?

Why did he choose to adopt it on his published poems?

Why did he link it to Henry Wriothesley?

Why did he introduce the pen name in 1593 and not before?

What did he mean when he wrote that “what I have to do is yours”?

"Lucrece" Dedication 1594

“Lucrece” Dedication
1594

Was he publicly thanking the younger Earl for his financial help?  (No.)

Was he making this public proclamation to a real or prospective lover?  (No.)

There is only one correct answer — not to mention the only one that will enable Oxford’s proponents to persuade the world that he was the author.

The answer involves politics, policy and power, within the historical context of 1593 and the contemporary history that led to the succession of a foreigner, King James of Scotland, in the same way that Fortinbras of Norway arrives to claim the throne of Denmark in place of the true prince.

Oxford’s intentions were political.  He was publicly taking Southampton’s side in the deadly political end game of the Tudor dynasty.  He was putting the weight and influence of his writings as “Shakespeare” behind Southampton and his political goals … to avoid for England the tragic ending that he rendered in Hamlet.

He would continue to use “Shakespeare” in Southampton’s support until February 7, 1601, when conspirators of the coming Essex Rebellion, led by Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex and Southampton, enlisted the Lord Chamberlain’s men to play Richard II at the Globe.  Whatever the Essex camp hoped to gain by this special performance of a play dramatizing the deposition of a king, clearly their motive was political and clearly “Shakespeare” was involved.

“I am Richard the Second,” the Queen reportedly said six months after the failed Rebellion of February 8, 1601 had led to the destruction and execution of Essex and to Southampton’s death sentence followed by perpetual imprisonment.

The reason why Oxford’s authorship had to be covered up in the decades that followed?  The answer is that those in power feared that Southampton’s claim as Henry IX of England would be revealed, leading to a rising against James followed by civil war.

“Shakespeare” was political.

The Rival Poet of the Sonnets is “William Shakespeare” or “Shake-speare” the Pen Name

Many of my Oxfordian colleagues do not (yet) agree with the following little essay, reprinted from my website for The Monument: “Shake-speare’s Sonnets” by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford … but I persist:

MONUMENT coverA startling discovery made possible by the Monument solution to the Sonnets is that Edward de Vere’s own pseudonym “Shake-speare” was the so-called Rival Poet of Sonnets 77-86, written while the Earl of Southampton languished as a convicted traitor in the Tower of London.

This idea — that the pen name “Shake-speare” was the Rival Poet — has been the most difficult aspect of The Monument solution to the Sonnets for many to accept. Yet, if one can step back for a moment and consider the larger picture of the Shakespeare authorship debate itself, it becomes clear why this idea makes perfect sense:

The authorship debate, at its core, posits that some unknown poet of the Elizabethan era chose to publish under a pen name while concealing his own name. Thus this assumed identity of “Shake-speare” is, in fact, an alter-ego of some sort — a natural, logical extension of the true author’s own identity.

[The name was hyphenated on many play quartos; more importantly, it was hyphenated for the printings of “The Phoenix and Turtle” (1601) and the title page of “SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS” as well as for printed signature on the narrative poem “A Lover’s Complaint” in the same quarto (1609).]

More importantly the pen name is in fact his “rival” (a word the poet never uses, in any case), since the verse published under the rival name “Shake-speare” will live forever, along with the Fair Youth (“You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen” – 81), while the Poet’s own name will be buried (“My name be buried where my body is” – 72).

This is just one more example of how The Monument addresses — and answers — just about every single question about the Sonnets raised over several centuries of criticism and commentary.

"Venus and Adonis" Dedication - 1593

“Venus and Adonis” Dedication – 1593

 

Oxford had first linked Southampton to “Shakespeare” in his very first published work, Venus and Adonis. Employing “the dedicated words which writers use of their fair subject, blessing every book,” as he wrote in Sonnet 82, he wrote dedications in both Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594), which forever linked Southampton to “Shakespeare,” and which continue to provide the primary evidence that Southampton is the Fair Youth of the Sonnets.

During his 1601-1603 imprisonment, Southampton was a “dead man” in the eyes of the law (referred to as “the late earl”) and, therefore, no poets were publicly praising him then.  Oxford’s only “rival” was his own pen name, the “better spirit” known as William Shakespeare, whose dedications to Southampton were continuing to appear in new editions of the two narrative poems:

VENUS AND ADONIS – 1593

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE Henry Wriothesley, Earle of Southampton, And Baron of Titchfield

Right Honourable,

I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your Lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden.  Only, if your Honour seem but pleased, I account my self highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour.  But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather: and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest.  I leave it to your Honourable survey, and your Honour to your heart’s content, which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world’s hopeful expectation.

Your Honors in all duty, William Shakespeare

"Lucrece" Dedication 1594

“Lucrece” Dedication
1594

LUCRECE [THE RAPE OF LUCRECE] – 1594

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE Henry Wriothesley, Earle of Southampton, And Baron of Titchfield

The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end, whereof this Pamphlet without beginning is but a superfluous Moity.  The warrant I have of your Honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored Lines, makes it assured of acceptance.  What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours.  Were my worth   greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your Lordship: To whom I wish long life still lengthened with all happiness.

Your Lordship’s in all duty, William Shakespeare

Sonnets 77-86 comprise one of the ten “chapters” of exactly ten sonnets apiece within the 100-sonnet center of the monument.  Each of the ten sequences is similar to a “movement” or self-contained section of music within a larger composition – the way liturgical works from the 14th century onward have often consisted of many movements, each intended to be performed at a different place of worship.  [And Oxford may well have had this spiritual or religious aspect in mind when constructing the “movements” of sonnets within his “monument” of verse.]

In the traditional view of the sonnets as written by William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon, there was no possible way to perceive the “rival” of Sonnets 77-86 other than as an unnamed real-life individual who was successfully competing for the Fair Youth’s [Southampton’s] affections.  Naturally enough many Oxfordians have adopted the same perception, sending them off on a similar fruitless hunt for the Rival Poet – the Earl of Essex, Sir Walter Raleigh, George Chapman, Christopher Marlowe and so on.

Once Oxford is accepted as the author, however, the whole “movement” or chapter begins to make perfect sense: Edward de Vere is using these sonnets as a way of confirming that in fact he buried his identity behind the mask of the poet “Shakespeare” linked to Southampton.

The previous “movement” of ten sonnets [67-76] expressed the death of Oxford’s “name” or identity:

Do not so much as my poor name rehearse [71)

My name be buried where my body is [72]

Oxford’s own spirit is transferred to Southampton:

My spirit is thine, the better part of me [74]

He disappears from sight, but nonetheless he “almost” reveals his “name” or identity in “every word” of these sonnets:

Why write I still all one, ever the same, And keep invention in a noted weed, That every word doth almost tell my name…(Sonnet 76)

Following this spiritual death or obliteration is Oxford’s resurrection as “Shakespeare.”  Here is an overview of the so-called Rival Poet sequence:

Sonnet 77 – Oxford dedicates “this book” to Southampton: “And of this book this learning mayst thou taste.”  He tells the younger earl that the sonnets themselves will become his own “children nursed, delivered from thy brain,” since they are “the living record of your memory” [55] and therefore, in that sense, they are alive.  In effect Southampton gave birth to these verses, so he is “the onlie begetter” of them as the Dedication of the Sonnets indicates.  “This book” now becomes “thy book” as Oxford concludes in the couplet:

These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,

Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book.

Sonnet 78 – Oxford begins by addressing Southampton this way:

So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse,

And found such fair assistance in my verse,

As every Alien pen hath got my use,

And under thee their poesy disperse.

Southampton has been Oxford’s muse or inspiration; the younger earl has given “fair” assistance as the so-called Fair Youth [“From fairest creatures we desire increase” – Sonnet 1, where he also uses the plural to refer to a single individual]; “every Alien pen” is Oxford’s poetical way of identifying his “Shakespeare” pseudonym (“E. Ver’s pen name, which is alien or different than his real name”); and it has been used “under thee” or under Southampton name as the printed signature to the public dedications of “poesy” or published narrative poems.

A few lines later Oxford tells Southampton directly that he is the sole inspirer or “onlie begetter” of the Sonnets, i.e., the one who gave birth to them:

Yet be most proud of that which I compile,

Whose influence is thine, and borne of thee…

Sonnet 79 – Oxford writes that “an other” [another poet, “Shakespeare”] has taken his place, as he tells Southampton:

Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid,

My verse alone had all thy gentle grace,

But now my gracious numbers are decayed,

And my sick Muse doth give an other place.

Sonnet 80 – The pen name “Shakespeare” is the “better spirit” who can praise Southampton publicly while Oxford must be silent:

O how I faint when I of you do write,

Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,

And in the praise thereof spends all his might

To make me tongue-tied speaking of your fame.

Sonnet 81 – This is one of the towering verses in which Oxford expresses his commitment to making Southampton immortal (“Your monument shall be my gentle verse/ Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read”); and the following statement actually sums up the entire authorship issue, which is tied directly to Southampton:

Your name from hence immortal life shall have

Though I (once gone) to all the world must die.

Southampton’s own “name” will be immortal because “Shakespeare” publicly dedicated his work to him; for that alone he will live forever; but Oxford himself, meanwhile, must “die” or disappear “to all the world.”  [Clearly he is not speaking of his literal death, but, rather, of the obliteration of his identity.]

Sonnet 82 – And now comes a direct reference to the “dedicated words” or dedications by “Shakespeare” to Southampton:

I grant thou wert not married to my Muse,

And therefore mayst without attaint o’erlook

The dedicated words which writers use

Of their fair subject, blessing every book.

Dedicated Words = dedications of Venus and Adonis & Lucrece Writers = the writer known as “Shakespeare” Fair Subject = the Fair Youth, Southampton Every Book = E. Ver’s or Edward de Vere’s books of those two poems

Sonnet 83 – Oxford refers to “Shakespeare” in public and to himself in these private verses; “both” are Southampton’s poets:

There lives more life in one of your fair eyes

Than both your Poets can in praise devise.

Sonnet 84 – “And such a counterpart shall fame his wit,” Oxford writes, with Oxford now referring to his pen name “Shakespeare” as “such a counterpart” or copy of himself.  [This is actually a legal term; that is, a counterpart is a duplicate or copy of an indenture; and the latter is a sealed agreement, often binding one person to the service of another, i.e., binding “Shakespeare” to Southampton’s service].

Sonnet 85 – Oxford refers to the silence imposed upon him by his secret agreement with Robert Cecil, who in 1601 has already entered into a “secret (and treasonous) correspondence” with King James in Scotland, working to prepare his way to the throne upon Elizabeth’s death.  Oxford has agreed give up his identity as “Shakespeare” and remain “tongue-tied” as a result, as he writes to Southampton:

My tongue-tied Muse in manners hold her still,

While comments of your praise, richly compiled,

Reserve their Character with golden quill,

And precious phrase by all the Muses filed.

I think good thoughts, whilst other write good words…

“Other” was apparently an accepted plural form, but here it refers again to Oxford’s pen name, the “other” (or rival) poet; and it seems obvious that he intended us to read it as singular, since by contrast he uses “others” in the ending couplet:

Then others for the breath of words respect,

Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.

Sonnet 86 – These magnificent lines bring the chapter to its end:

Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,

Bound for the prize of (all too precious) you,

That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse,

Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew?

[The pen name “Shakespeare” has buried Oxford’s thoughts within his own brain; but from this “tomb” has come the “womb” of these sonnets, growing Southampton into “the living record” of him for posterity.]

Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write

Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?

No, neither he, nor his compeers by night

Giving him aid, my verse astonished.

[Was it “Shakespeare’s” power, which is above any height that any mere mortals have reached, that obliterated my identity?  No!  Neither he – my public pen name – nor my spirit during these nights of disgrace, giving “Shakespeare” my assistance, have stunned my verse into privacy.]

He, nor that affable familiar ghost

Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,

As victors of my silence cannot boast;

I was not sick of any fear from thence.

[Neither “Shakespeare” nor that friendly servant, my spirit that secretly crams him with information, can boast that they have caused my silence; no, I was not afraid of those things.]

But when your countenance filled up his line,

Then lacked I matter, that enfeebled mine.

[To Southampton: But when your person filled up “Shakespeare’s” lines in public, then I lost power and substance – that weakened my voice and drove me to use these private sonnets.]

After viewing this great “movement” of ten sonnets through this lens, it would seem not only difficult but impossible to make sense of them as written about any real “rival” for Southampton rather than Oxford’s own pen name that he himself had linked to the younger earl.

In effect, to save him Oxford had allowed the mask of “Shakespeare” to be glued to his face, smothering him.

More of the Earl of Oxford’s Poetry to Queen Elizabeth – Part 2 of 2

 

An allegorical portrait of Elizabeth I painted after 1620

An allegorical portrait of Elizabeth I painted after 1620

The evidence is overwhelming that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford used most if not all of his early signed poetry to express his feelings about Queen Elizabeth and his relationship to her.  For example, in one of his signed poems in The Paradise of Dainty Devices of 1576 (“I am not as I seem to be”), he strikes a note that will turn up again and again in the so-called Dark Lady sonnets — which, I suggest, are also to and/or about that contradictory female monarch to whom he was utterly devoted but, in the end, to whom he bitterly complained in Sonnet 152 with his final words:

And all my honest faith in thee is lost.

For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,

Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy,

And to enlighten thee gave eyes to blindness,

Or made them swear against the thing they see.

For I have sworn thee fair: more perjured eye,

To swear against the truth so foul a lie.

In his final words to the Queen, having lost “all my honest faith” in her promises to him, Oxford complains about being forced to “swear against the truth” by swearing “so foul a lie” for her sake – to pretend to see and think and feel in one way while seeing and thinking and feeling in the opposite way. Given that his own motto was “Nothing Truer than Truth,” and that in the Sonnets he is represented as Truth, he is clearly recording (not long before Elizabeth’s death on March 24, 1603) that because of her he has sworn against himself – a terribly tragic view of his own life.  (See The Monument, my edition of the Sonnets, for a full treatment of Elizabeth as so-called Dark Lady.)

The very first line of Oxford’s youthful poem (i.e., first published before 1576, when he was twenty-six) – “I am not as I seem to be/ For when I smile, I am not glad” – is an early expression of the emotional double-bind in which Elizabeth had forced him to exist.

I am not as I seem to be,

For when I smile I am not glad;

A thrall, although you count me free,

I, most in mirth, most pensive sad.

I smile to shade my bitter spite…

He is a “thrall” – a subject in bondage to her Majesty, as when he complains in Sonnet 149 of being “Commanded by the motion of thine eyes” (a power over him of which only his sovereign Mistress was capable); and in Sonnet 154, the second and final verse of the Bath epilogue about a much earlier time (August 1574), he calls himself “my Mistress’ thrall.”

In that same youthful poem to/about the Queen is a more potent foreshadowing of his much-later Dark Lady sonnets to Elizabeth:

O cruel hap and hard estate,

That forceth me to love my foe…

The Dark Lady sonnets are filled with the same theme – that because she holds such power over him and because he owes her his unquestioning service, he is forced to remain loyal to her and obey her commands, even though she has become his “foe” or enemy. Because of his “love” for her, as the servant of his sovereign, he is forced to act against his own interests. He opens Sonnet 149 with this theme, speaking to Elizabeth and saying, in effect, that he is so devoted to her that he joins with her against himself:

Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not

When I against myself with thee partake?

In an earlier time, by at least 1573, Oxford had written a sonnet to the Queen in the so-called “Shakespearean” sonnet form, asking himself rhetorical questions all pointing to her:

Who taught thee first to sigh, alas, my heart?

Above the rest in Court who gave thee grace?

Who made thee strive in honor to be best?

In constant truth to bide so firm and sure,

To scorn the world regarding but thy friends?

In Sonnet 150 to Elizabeth, however, near the end of her life, he roared back by turning those lines inside-out:

Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,

The more I hear and see just cause of hate?

In another early poem by Oxford published in Paradise of 1576, the seeds of agony to be expressed much later in the Dark Lady sonnets are all too apparent:

She is my joy, she is my care and woe;

She is my pain, she is my ease therefore;

She is my death, she is my life also,

She is my salve, she is my wounded sore:

In fine, she hath the hand and knife,

That may both save and end my life.

And shall I live on earth to be her thrall’

[Again he’s the “thrall” of the Queen, held in servitude to her; italics here and below are my emphases]

And shall I live and serve her all in vain?

The answer, years later, will be yes – yes, it was all in vain to think that, by continuing to serve her (and to lie for her), she would come to her senses and acknowledge Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton, as her son and successive heir to the throne.  (Whether, in the end, Oxford expected that he himself could be acknowledged as Southampton’s natural father is another matter.)

I am not as I seem to be,

For when I smile I am not glad;

A thrall, although you count me free,

I, most in mirth, most pensive sad.

I smile to shade my bitter spite

As Hannibal that saw in sight
His country soil with Carthage town,

By Roman force defaced down.

And Caesar that presented was,

With noble Pompey’s princely head;

As ’twere some judge to rule the case,

A flood of tears he seemed to shed;
Although indeed it sprung of joy;

Yet others thought it was annoy.

Thus contraries be used I find,

Of wise to cloak the covert mind

I, Hannibal that smile for grief;

And let you Csesar’s tears suffice;
The one that laughs at his mischief;

The other all for joy that cries.

I smile to see me scorned so,

You weep for joy to see me woe;

And I, a heart by Love slain dead,

Present in place of Pompey s head.

O cruel hap and hard estate,

That forceth me to love my foe;

Accursed be so foul a fate,

My choice for to prefix it so.

So long to fight with secret sore

And find no secret salve therefore;
Some purge their pain by plaint I find,

But I in vain do breathe my wind.

E.O.

 

The trickling tears that fall along my cheeks,

The secret sighs that show my inward grief,

The present pains perforce that Love aye seeks,

Bid me renew my cares without relief;

In woeful song, in dole display,

My pensive heart for to betray.

 

Betray thy grief, thy woeful heart with speed;

Resign thy voice to her that caused thee woe;

With irksome cries, bewail thy late done deed,

For she thou lov’st is sure thy mortal foe;

And help for thee there is none sure,

But still in pain thou must endure.

 

The stricken deer hath help to heal his wound,

The haggard hawk with toil is made full tame;

The strongest tower, the cannon lays on ground,

The wisest wit that ever had the fame,

Was thrall to Love by Cupid’s slights;

Then weigh my cause with equal wights.

 

She is my joy, she is my care and woe;

She is my pain, she is my ease therefore;

She is my death, she is my life also,

She is my salve, she is my wounded sore:

In fine, she hath the hand and knife,

That may both save and end my life.

x – (See Note below on his use of “anaphora”)

 

And shall I live on earth to be her thrall’?

And shall I live and serve her all in vain?

And kiss the steps that she lets fall,

And shall I pray the Gods to keep the pain

From her that is so cruel still?

No, no, on her work all your will.

 

And let her feel the power of all your might,

And let her have her most desire with speed,

And let her pine away both day and night,

And let her moan, and none lament her need;

And let all those that shall her see,

Despise her state and pity me.

E.O.

x – It was Stephanie Caruana and Elisabeth Sears who alerted me in their 99-page pamphlet Oxford’s Revenge (1989), still an important work for Shakespeare authorship studies, about Edward de Vere’s early use of “anaphora” – the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more successive lines, as exhibited in the poem above – and, of course, his use of “anaphora” within the works attributed to Shakespeare, such as Sonnet 66, which itself expresses his inability to speak his mind openly and honestly (“tongue-tied by authority … simple Truth miscalled Simplicity”):

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry:

As to behold desert a beggar born,

And needy Nothing trimmed in jollity,

And purest faith unhappily forsworn,

And gilded honor shamefully misplaced,

And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,

And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,

And strength by limping sway disabled,

And art made tongue-tied by authority,

And Folly (Doctor-like) controlling skill,

And simple Truth miscalled Simplicity,

And captive-good attending Captain ill.

Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,

Save that to die, I leave my love alone.

(He would kill himself, except that he would be leaving Southampton, his beloved son, “alone” in the Tower.)

The Darkness of the Dark Lady is Metaphorical: “THEREFORE My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black”

The darkness of the Dark Lady in the Shakespeare sonnets has nothing to do with her physical coloring — nothing to do with her hair or eyes or skin. It’s a metaphor! The so-called Dark Lady series begins with Sonnet 127, in which the operative word is THEREFORE” in line 9 – as in “Therefore my Mistress’ eyes are Raven black,/ Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem …” The failed Essex Rebellion of 8 February 1601 has just taken place and Southampton is now confined in the Tower, the bird of which is the Raven.

Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger 1595

Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger 1595

The woman, Queen Elizabeth, is pictured attending a funeral – not literally, of course. It’s figurative! It’s the funeral of any hope for the perpetuation of the Tudor dynasty — the same funeral depicted by the Earl of Oxford in “The Phoenix and Turtle,” to be published later in the same year as by “William Shake-speare” (yes, hyphenated). The blackness and darkness are metaphorical! And such is the case all through the Dark Lady series (127-152). Here are notes from The Monument for the opening sonnet:

THE DARK LADY: ELIZABETH: REBELLION & IMPRISONMENT
Sonnet 127
Beauty’s Successive Heir
8 February 1601

This opening sonnet to and about Queen Elizabeth is the start of the separate Dark Lady series, running in parallel with the Fair Youth series from 1601 to 1603. Two verses of this series, Sonnets 138 and 144, were first published in 1599; but Oxford has inserted them with slight but significant revisions into this sequence. The result is a series of twenty-six sonnets (127-152) matching the twenty-six sonnets of the opening series (1-26), each flanking the series of exactly one hundred verses (Sonnets 27-126) forming the center of the one hundred and fifty-two sonnet structure. Sonnet 127 corresponds in time to Sonnet 27 – the night of Southampton’s revolt and imprisonment on February 8, 1601 – both introducing “black” into their respective sequences.

In the past the royal son was “fair” but now he is “black” with disgrace, although he remains the Queen’s “successive heir” to the throne. Elizabeth’s imperial viewpoint determines everything. At a glance, she can turn him from “fair” (royal) to “black” (disgraced). She continues to slander her own “beauty” or royal blood, which is possessed by her son, by viewing him with “a bastard shame” or consigning him to the status of a royal bastard.

Sonnet 127

1- In the old age black was not counted fair,
2- Or if it were it bore not beauty’s name:
3- But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
4- And Beauty slandered by a bastard shame,
5- For since each hand hath put on Nature’s power,
6- Fairing the foul with Art’s false borrowed face,
7- Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bow’r,
8- But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
9- Therefore my Mistress’ eyes are Raven black,
10 Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem,
11 At such who not born fair no beauty lack,
12 Sland’ring Creation with a fasle esteem.
13 Yet so they mourn becoming of their woe,
14 That every tongue says beauty should look so.

1 – IN THE OLD AGE BLACK WAS NOT COUNTED FAIR
OLD AGE = former times; as in Sonnets 1 – 26 up to the year 1600, before the Essex Rebellion, after which everything changed; OLD = “Wherefore, not as a stranger but in the old style” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, May (?) 1601; “For truth is truth, though never so old” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, May 7, 1603; “That I might see what the old world could say” – Sonnet 59, line 9; “O him she stores, to show what wealth she had/ In days long since, before these last so bad” – Sonnet 67, lines 13-14, “Robbing no old to dress his beauty new” – Sonnet 68, line 12; “For as the Sun is daily new and old,/ So is my love still telling what is told” – Sonnet 76, lines 13-14; “Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine” – Sonnet 108, line 7; AGE = “A generation of men, a particular period of time; the period of life at which a person has arrived; a stage of life” – Schmidt; “Had my friend’s Muse grown with this growing age” – Sonnet 32, line 10; “The rich proud cost of outworn buried age” – Sonnet 64, line 2; “Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure” – Sonnet 75, line 6; “For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred” – Sonnet 104, line 13; “And peace proclaims Olives of endless age” – Sonnet 107, line 8; “The age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe” – Hamlet, 5.1.138-140

essex-trial-report1.jpg

BLACK = Southampton, in disgrace for treason; “It will help me nothing to plead mine innocence, for that dye is on me which makes my whitest part black” – Henry VIII, 1.1.208-209; also, as royal bastard; “A joyless, dismal, black and sorrowful issue” – Titus Andronicus, 4.2.68-73; COUNTED FAIR = accounted (i.e., his “fair” or royal blood as Elizabeth’s “treasure”) or acknowledged as royal; “From fairest creatures we desire increase” – Sonnet 1, line 1

2 – OR IF IT WERE IT BORE NOT BEAUTY’S NAME
Or even if he was accounted as royal (by me), he did not bear Elizabeth’s name (Tudor); BORE = heraldic, i.e., Southampton never bore his mother’s coat-of-arms; also related to his birth as a bastard; (“Before these bastard signs of fair were borne” – Sonnet 68, line 3); BEAUTY’S NAME = Elizabeth’s name, Tudor; i.e., he was never known as Prince Henry Tudor; (“That thereby beauty’s Rose might never die” – Sonnet 1, line 2)

3 – BUT NOW IS BLACK BEAUTY’S SUCCESSIVE HEIR
But now Southampton is Elizabeth’s immediate heir to the throne; BLACK = Southampton; BEAUTY’S = Elizabeth’s; SUCCESSIVE HEIR = one who deserves to succeed by virtue of inheritance; rightful claimant to a title; “Yet, by reputing of his high descent, as next the King he was successive heir” – 2 Henry VI, 3.148-49 (the only other Shakespeare usage of the phrase); “Plead my successive title with your swords; I am his first-born son that was the last that wore the diadem of Rome: then let my father’s honor live in me, nor wrong mine age with this indignity” – Titus Andronicus, 1.1.4-8; “To God, my king, and my succeeding issue” – Richard II, 1.3.20; “rightful heir to the crown” – 2 Henry VI, 1.3.26; “But as successively from blood to blood, your right of birth” – Richard III, 3.7.134-135; “O now let Richmond and Elizabeth, the true succeeders of each royal House, by God’s fair ordinance conjoin together, and let their heirs, God, if Thy will be so, enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace” – Richard III, 5.5.29-33; “Richer than that which four successive kings in Denmark’s crown have worn” – Hamlet, 5.2.273-274; “No son of mine succeeding” – Macbeth, 3.1.63; “They labored to plant the rightful heir” – 1 Henry VI, 2.5.80

Southampton in the Tower of London 1601-1603

Southampton in the Tower of London 1601-1603

4 – AND BEAUTY SLANDERED WITH A BASTARD SHAME
BEAUTY = Elizabeth; also, her blood that Southampton possesses by inheritance of it as a “natural issue of her Majesty’s body”; SLANDERED = brought into “discredit, disgrace, or disrepute” – OED; “But once he slandered me with bastardy” – King John, 1.l.74; “With the attainder of his slanderous lips” – Richard II, 4.1.24; SLANDERED BY A BASTARD SHAME = shame or disgrace because of royal-bastard status; (“Thy issue blurred with needless bastardy” – Lucrece, 522; also “slander” as “to charge with, accuse of, a crime or offence” = OED., citing Scotland Council of 1579: “Persons slandered or suspect of treason”); same as “The region cloud hath masked him from me now” – Sonnet 33, line 12, i.e., Elizabeth Regina’s dark cloud of shame has covered and hidden her son; “For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair,/ The ornament of beauty is suspect,/ A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air” – Sonnet 70, lines 2-4; “this slander of his blood” – Richard II, 1.1.113; “And that he is a bastard, not thy son” – Richard II, 5.2.106; “Out, insolent! Thy bastard shall be king … My boy a bastard!” – King John, 2.1.122-129)

“I am a bastard, too: I love bastards. I am bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in everything illegitimate. One bear will not bite another, and where should one bastard? Take heed: the quarrel’s most ominous to us – if the son of a whore fight for a whore, he tempts judgment. Farewell, bastard” – Troilus & Cressida, 5.7.18-32

5 – FOR SINCE EACH HAND HATH PUT ON NATURE’S POWER
HAND = the powerful hand of Elizabeth, the absolute monarch; “Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, and put a barren scepter in my gripe, thence to be wrenched by an un-lineal hand, no son of mine succeeding” – Macbeth, 3.1.59-63; “I’ll claim that promise at your Grace’s hand” – to the King in Richard III, 3.1.197; EACH HAND = others who have sought Elizabeth’s favor; both of the Queen’s royal hands; “If Heaven will take the present at our hands” – the King in Richard III, 1.1.120; “A Woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted/ Hast thou, the Master Mistress of my passion” – Sonnet 20, lines 1-2; Southampton at birth was “sleeping by a Virgin hand disarmed” – Sonnet 154, line 8; “From hands of falsehood” – Sonnet 48, line 4; “With time’s injurious hand crushed and o’er-worn” – Sonnet 63, line 2; “Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?” – Sonnet 65, line 11; PUT ON = assumed the royal power of the monarch and acted with that power; “For he was likely, had he been put on, to have proved most royal” – Horatio, saying that Prince Hamlet would have been a superb king, in Hamlet, 5.2.404-405; “deaths put on by cunning and forced causes” – Hamlet, 5.2.394; NATURE’S POWER = Elizabeth’s royal power as absolute monarch, whose imperial viewpoint can turn fair to black or vice versa; “O Thou my lovely Boy, who in thy power … If Nature, sovereign mistress over wrack” – Sonnet 126, lines 1, 5

Robert Cecil was holding Southampton in the Tower until the Queen died and King James succeeded her, thereby keeping his own power behind the throne

Robert Cecil was holding Southampton in the Tower until the Queen died and King James succeeded her, thereby keeping his own power behind the throne

6 – FAIRING THE FOUL WITH ART’S FALSE BORROWED FACE
Giving royal favor to foul persons by her false estimation; turning truth into falsity; “To make me give the lie to my true sight/ And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?/ Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill” – Sonnet 150, lines 3-4

7 – SWEET BEAUTY HATH NO NAME NO HOLY BOW’R
BEAUTY HATH NO NAME = Southampton’s royal blood from his mother, Elizabeth, is not acknowledged; NO HOLY BOW’R = no sacrosanct dwelling place, i.e., no right to sit on the throne as a god on earth

8 – BUT IS PROFANED, IF NOT LIVES IN DISGRACE
Instead she is profaned, because our son is now disgraced and imprisoned because of his role in the Rebellion; (Booth refers to “false identities that pass for real and real ones that seem false”); Southampton’s real identity as royal prince is hidden, so it seems false; PROFANED = defiled, usurped; “Question your royal thoughts, make the case yours, be now the father, and propose a son, hear your own dignity profaned” – Chief Justice to the newly crowned King Henry Fifth in 2 Henry IV, 5.3.91-93; IF NOT = or even; LIVES IN DISGRACE = lives in disgrace as a prisoner in the Tower of London

Ravens at the Tower of London

Ravens at the Tower of London

9 – THEREFORE MY MISTRESS’ EYES ARE RAVEN BLACK
THEREFORE = “Therefore” is the key word, i.e., the Queen’s eyes are not black in color, but rather reflect her dark point of view as absolute monarch; “therefore” the viewpoint of Elizabeth, my sovereign mistress, is black; ARE RAVEN BLACK = they are “therefore” black, because the Queen’s own viewpoint, casting its shadow, has turned Southampton from fair to black; her negative attitude has turned her into the so-called Dark Lady; “By heaven, thy love is black as ebony … O paradox! Black is the badge of hell” – the king in Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.243, 250; RAVEN = “Legend has it that should the ravens ever leave the Tower of London the White Tower will crumble and a great disaster shall befall England. For many centuries ravens have been known to be residents of the Tower of London” – http://www.tower-of-london.com; (Southampton is in the White Tower); “For he’s disposed as the hateful raven … For he’s inclined as is the ravenous wolf” – 2 Henry VI, 3.1.76-78; “Come, the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge” – Hamlet, 3.2.255-256; MISTRESS: “To be her mistress’ mistress? The queen’s queen?” – Henry VIII, 3.2.95; same as the sovereign mistress, Elizabeth, of “my mistress’ eye” in Sonnet 153, line 14, and “my mistress’ thrall” of Sonnet 154, line 12; “I cannot but find a great grief in myself to remember the Mistress we have lost” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, April 25/27, 1603, referring to the Queen on the eve of her funeral

10 – HER EYES SO SUITED, AND THEY MOURNERS SEEM
MOURNERS = at a funeral, as in The Phoenix and the Turtle (published this year, 1601); the funeral of their son, Southampton, if he is executed; and the funeral of Oxford’s and Elizabeth’s royal hopes for him to succeed to the throne: “Thy end is Truth’s (Oxford’s) and Beauty’s (Elizabeth’s) doom and date” – Sonnet 14, line 14; dovetailing with Sonnet 31, line 5: “How many a holy and obsequious tear/ Hath religious love stolen from mine eye.”

11 – AT SUCH WHO, NOT BORN FAIR, NO BEAUTY LACK
AT SUCH = at her royal son; NOT BORN FAIR = not born with acknowledged royal blood; NO BEAUTY LACK = but still lacks none of his royal blood from “beauty” or Elizabeth

12 – SLAND’RING CREATION WITH A FALSE ESTEEM
SLAND’RING = Disgracing your own child and accusing him of treason; echoing “beauty slandered with a bastard shame” of line 4; (“For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair” – Sonnet 70, line 2; CREATION = created being, child; “From fairest creatures we desire increase” – Sonnet 1, line 1; “But heaven in thy creation did decree” – Sonnet 93, line 9, Oxford to Southampton about Elizabeth (heaven), who gave birth to him; FALSE ESTEEM = false view or estimation of him; (“false women’s fashion” – Sonnet 20, line 4, about Elizabeth); esteeming her son as a “false traitor” as in “To warn false traitors from the like attempts” – Richard III, 3.5.48

13 – YET SO THEY MOURN BECOMING OF THEIR WOE
So Elizabeth’s eyes mourn for her son and for the fate of her royal blood that he possesses; and therefore they are “black” in these verses of the Sonnets; WOE = (“O that our night of woe might have rememb’red/ My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits” – Sonnet 120, lines 9-10)

14 – THAT EVERY TONGUE SAYS BEAUTY SHOULD LOOK SO
EVERY = Edward de Vere, E. Ver, Ever or Never; EVERY TONGUE = the voices of others, alluding to “my tongue” or “my voice”; “And art made tongue-tied by authority” – Sonnet 66, line 9; SAYS BEAUTY SHOULD LOOK SO = says that Elizabeth (or more specifically, her blood within Southampton) appears to be in such disgrace

“To Play the Watchman Ever for Thy Sake” – Sonnet 61 of the Living Record of Southampton

THE PRISON YEARS

DAY THIRTY-FIVE IN THE TOWER

SOUTHAMPTON EXECUTION APPEARS IMMINENT

Sonnet 61

“To Play the Watchman Ever for Thy Sake”

14 March 1601

Oxford records his attempt to keep Southampton in his mind’s eye at all times, as events lead either to his son’s execution or to a reprieve.  His royal son must wake each new day “elsewhere” — in the Tower — and yet Oxford continues to “play the watchman” and stand guard to protect Henry Wriothesley’s life. 

1 – Is it thy will thy Image should keep open                   

2 – My heavy eyelids to the weary night?                        

3 – Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,

4 – While shadows like to thee do mock my sight?

5 – Is it thy spirit that thou send’s from thee

6 – So far from home into my deeds to pry.

7 – To find out shames and idle hours in me,                  

8 – The scope and tenure of thy jealousy?

9 – O no, thy love, though much, is not so great.

10 – It is my love that keeps mine eye awake,             

11 – Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,

12 – To play the watchman ever for thy sake.              

13 – For thee watch I, whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,       

14 – From me far off, with others all too near.

Southampton in the   Tower 1601-1603

Southampton in the Tower 1601-1603

1 IS IT THY WILL THY IMAGE SHOULD KEEP OPEN

THY WILL = your royal will; is it your royal will that the image of you should keep open; IMAGE = your royal image; “if in the child the father’s image lies” – Lucrece, 1753; “our last king, whose image appeared to us” – Hamlet, 1.1.81

2 MY HEAVY EYELIDS TO THE WEARY NIGHT?

MY HEAVY EYELIDS = my weary, painful eyelids in the dark; “How heavy do I journey on the way” – Sonnet 50, line 1, Oxford recalling his sorrowful ride away from Southampton in the Tower, where he told his son of the bargain to save his life by giving up all claim to the throne; “And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,/ Looking on darkness which the blind do see” – Sonnet 27, lines 7-8; “And heavily from woe to woe” – Sonnet 30, line 10; “When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade/ Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!” – Sonnet 43, lines 11-12; “But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe” – Sonnet 44, line 14

And find our griefs heavier than our offences” –  2 Henry IV, 4.1.69

“A heavy reckoning for you, sir” –  The Gaoler in Cymbeline, 5.4.157

WEARY = “Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed” – Sonnet 27, line 1, Oxford’s first response to the Rebellion, on the night of February 8, 1601, when Southampton was imprisoned with Essex in the Tower; “for to tell truth I am weary of an unsettled life, which is the very pestilence that happens unto courtiers that propound to themselves no end of their time therein bestowed” – Oxford to Burghley, May 18, 1591; NIGHT = opposite of the “day” of golden opportunity prior to the Rebellion

I still do toil and never am at rest,

Enjoying least when I do covet most;

With weary thoughts are my green years oppres’d

– Signed “Lo. Ox” in Harleian MS

3 DOST THOU DESIRE MY SLUMBERS SHOULD BE BROKEN,

DESIRE = royal command; “From fairest creatures we desire increase” – Sonnet 1, line 1, emphasizing the royal “we” of the monarch

4 WHILE SHADOWS LIKE TO THEE DO MOCK MY SIGHT?

SHADOWS LIKE TO THEE = the shadows that cover you,  showing your likeness; “Save that my soul’s imaginary sight/ Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,/ Which like a jewel hung in ghastly night,/ Makes black night beauteous and her old face new” – Sonnet 27, lines 9-12; “What is your substance, whereof are you made,/ That millions of strange shadows on you tend?/ Since every one hath, every one, one shade,/ And you, but one, can every shadow lend” – Sonnet 53, lines 1-4; MOCK MY SIGHT = mock my eyesight, taunting me with this inner vision of you

5 IS IT THY SPIRIT THAT THOU SEND’ST FROM THEE

THY SPIRIT = your soul; your royal blood, which is spiritual; like a mystical vision; “and do not kill/ The spirit of love” – Sonnet 56, lines 7-8, i.e., the unseen essence of royal blood; “My spirit is thine, the better part of me” – Sonnet 74, line 8; SPIRIT = also Sonnets 80, 85, 86, 108, 129, 144; Essex wrote to Elizabeth in 1597 calling her “the Spirit of spirits” (Weir, 427); THAT THOU SEND’ST FROM THEE = Southampton sends his spirit and illuminates Oxford’s inner vision: “Save that my soul’s imaginary sight/ Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,/ Which like a jewel (hung in ghastly night)/ Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new” – Sonnet 27, lines 9-11

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

6 SO FAR FROM HOME INTO MY DEEDS TO PRY,

SO FAR FROM HOME = Southampton, in the Tower; INTO MY DEEDS TO PRY = to spy on my activities, carried out behind the scenes, on your behalf; “Or on my frailties why are frailer spies” – Sonnet 121, line 7; “Watch thou, and wake when others be asleep, to pry into the secrets of the state” – 2 Henry VI, 1.1.250-251

7 TO FIND OUT SHAMES AND IDLE HOURS IN ME,

TO FIND OUT SHAMES = to learn the disgraces that I suffer, by taking responsibility for your disgrace; “If thy offences were upon record, would it not shame thee, in so fair a troop, to read a lecture of them?  If thou wouldst, there shouldst thou find one heinous article, containing the deposing of a king” – Richard II, 4.1.230-234); IDLE HOURS = time spent pleading for you in vain; “I … vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour” – dedication of Venus and Adonis in 1593 to the Earl of Southampton; “That never am less idle lo, than when I am alone” – Oxford poem, signed E.O., in The Paradise of Dainty Devices, 1576

Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,

Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down – Richard II, 3.4.65-66

8 THE SCOPE AND TENURE OF THY JEALOUSY?

SCOPE = “Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords” – Sonnet 105, line 12; that to which the mind is directed; “shooting wide, do miss the marked scope” – Spenser, The Shepherd’s Calendar, November, 155; SCOPE AND TENURE = the purpose and “tenor” or meaning; Q has tenure, a common spelling of “tenor” at the time, but tenure is probably the intended word, as it relates to the “lease” of Southampton’s royal blood, i.e., tenure refers to the manner of holding lands and tenements, a subject with which Oxford was extremely familiar, having inherited no less than eighty-six estates; THY JEALOUSY = your curiosity; your apprehension; your state of being suspected as a traitor or being a “suspect traitor” in the eyes of the law; “Rumor is a pipe blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures” – 2 Henry IV, Induction 16; concerned about; “So loving-jealous of his liberty” – Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.182

9 O NO! THY LOVE, THOUGH MUCH, IS NOT SO GREAT: 

THY LOVE, THOUGH MUCH = your royal blood, though abundant; IS NOT SO GREAT = is not as great as it is within Oxford’s vision of him, as father

10 IT IS MY LOVE THAT KEEPS MINE EYE AWAKE,

MY LOVE = my royal son; i.e., it is the fact that you are my royal son that keeps me from taking my own life, keeps me awake; AWAKE = in a state of vigilance; alert, alive, attentive, watchful; “It is not Agamemnon’s sleeping hour: that thou shalt know, Trojan, he is awake, he tells thee so himself” – Agamemnon in Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.252-254; “I offered to awaken his regard for his private friends” – Coriolanus, 5.1.23; “The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept … Now ‘tis awake” – Measure for Measure, 2.2.91-94; “Watch thou, and wake when others be asleep, to pry into the secrets of the state” – 2 Henry VI, 1.1.250-251

11 MINE OWN TRUE LOVE THAT DOTH MY REST DEFEAT,

MINE OWN TRUE LOVE = my own true royal son; (“a son of mine own” – Oxford to Burghley, March 17, 1575; “Not mine own fears nor the prophetic soul/ Of the wide world dreaming on things to come/ Can yet the lease of my true love control” – Sonnet 107, lines 1-3); TRUE = Oxford, Nothing Truer than Truth; “you true rights” – Sonnet 17, line 11, to Southampton; MINE OWN: Sonnets 23, 39, 49, 61, 62, 72, 88, 107, 110; (“Rise, thou art my childMine own…” – Pericles, 5.1.213-214, the prince, realizing that Marina is his daughter); MY REST DEFEAT = destroy my inner peace; “His unkindness may defeat my life” – Othello, 4.2.150; “The dear repose for limbs with travail tired” – Sonnet 27, line 1; “That am debarred the benefit of rest” – Sonnet 28, line 2; “Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad” – Sonnet 140, line 11, to Elizabeth in the Dark Lady series, with ill-wresting echoing ill-resting. s

12 TO PLAY THE WATCHMAN EVER FOR THY SAKE.

TO PLAY THE WATCHMAN EVER = to constantly keep guard and protect; EVER = E. Ver, Edward de Vere; Oxford used “ever” in the same glancing way in his plays, such as these instances in Hamlet, Prince of Denmark:

Horatio: The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever.

Hamlet:  Sir, my good friend, I’ll change that name with you.  (1.2.162-163)

FOR THY SAKE = for your royal life here and now; for your eternal life, recorded in these sonnets filled with your royal blood

13 FOR THEE WATCH I, WHILST THOU DOST WAKE ELSEWHERE, 

FOR THEE WATCH I = for you I keep watch; “Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you” – Sonnet 57, line 6; “Therefore I have entreated him along with us to watch the minutes of the night, that if again this apparition come, he may approve our eyes and speak to it” – Hamlet, 1.1.29-32; WHILST THOU DOST WAKE ELSEWHERE = while you – Southampton – exist in the Tower; WAKE = echoing the “wake” related to a funeral; “There is no doubt that the poor, especially in the more remote counties of England, continued the old custom of the wake, or nightly feasting before and after a funeral.  Shakespeare uses the word in connection with a night revel in Sonnet 61: ‘For thee watch I, whilst thou dost wake elsewhere.’” – Percy Macquoid in Shakespeare’s England, Vol. 2, 196, p. 151; Oxford knows Southampton is in the Tower, of course, but he cannot know exactly where or if, for example, Southampton has been taken to the Privy Council room in the Tower for questioning, to one of the torture rooms, or even to the place of execution; the situation is still volatile, with Cecil having the power of life or death and holding the threat  of legal execution over him; so the echo of a “wake” preceding a funeral is quite apt.

14 FROM ME FAR OFF, WITH OTHERS ALL TOO NEAR.

FROM ME FAR OFF = Southampton, far from him, behind the high fortress walls; WITH OTHERS ALL TOO NEAR = with guards and other prisoners alike; with some of the latter, arrested for the Rebellion, who may urge you to escape or to attempt another revolt; those so physically near you that, despite their wakefulness, they are blind and cannot protect you (or save your life); but Oxford as his father is “nearer” to him than they are, and he is helping him more than they can help; “You twain, of all the rest, are nearest to Warwick by blood and by alliance” – 3 Henry VI, 4.1.133-134; “as we be knit near in alliance” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, his brother-in-law, February 2, 1601; “Whereby none is nearer allied than myself” – Oxford to Robert Cecil in May 1601; ALL = Southampton

Execution of Southampton Draws Nearer — “The Living Record” of Southampton, Continued — Sonnet 60

(Note:  This is a continuation of postings from “The Monument,” with excerpts of The Sonnets in numerical [and chronological] order with the first long series [1 to 126] focusing on the Earl of Southampton.  In due time the previous postings will be shifted into the new separate category [at right] entitled “The Living Record of Southampton.”)

THE PRISON YEARS

EXECUTIONS OF MERRICK & CUFFE

Southampton Execution Draws Nearer 

Day Thirty-four in the Tower 

Sonnet 60

“Our Minutes Hasten to their End”

“Crooked Eclipses ‘Gainst His Glory Fight”

13 March 1601

Essex-Southampton supporters Gelly Merrick and Henry Cuffe were taken today to Tyburn, where they were put through the horrible ordeal of being hanged, drawn and quartered. Oxford uses the royal imagery of the Ocean or Sea to envision the “changing place” or alteration of monarchs upon the royal succession. He refers to the crooked figure of hunchbacked Secretary Robert Cecil in citing the “crooked eclipses” fighting to deprive Southampton of being “crowned” with “glory” as a king. Oxford braces himself for the moment Southampton will come under the “scythe” or blade of the executioner as well as the “cruel hand” of Elizabeth — reminiscent of when their newly born royal son had been “by a Virgin hand disarmed” as put in Sonnet 154 of the Bath prologue.

1 – Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

2 – So do our minutes hasten to their end,                

3 – Each changing place with that which goes before,

4 – In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

5 – Nativity, once in the main of light,

6 – Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crowned,

7 – Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,

8 – And time that gave doth now his gift confound.

9 – Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,

10 – And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,

11 – Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,    

12 – And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.

13 – And yet to time in hope my verse shall stand,

14 – Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

“At the gallows Cuffe declared that he hoped for salvation in the atonement of his Savior’s blood … and asking pardon of God and the Queen, he was despatched by the executioner.  After him Sir Gelly Merrick suffered in the same way … and intreated those noblemen who stood by to intercede with the Queen that there might not be any further proceedings against such as had unwarily espoused this unhappy cause.”- An Elizabethan Chronicle

“As every wave drives others forth, and that comes behind/ Both thrusteth and is thrust himself; even so the time by kind/ Do fly and follow both at once and evermore renew”Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” as translated by Oxford’s uncle Arthur Golding

1 LIKE AS THE WAVES MAKE TOWARDS THE PEBBLED SHORE,

WAVES = related to the “ocean” of royal blood; (“’Thou art,’ quoth she, ‘a sea, a sovereign king, and lo there falls into thy boundless flood black lust, dishonor, shame, misgoverning, who seek to stain the ocean of thy blood.’ – Lucrece, 652-654); image of King James succeeding Elizabeth

2 SO DO OUR MINUTES HASTEN TO THEIR END,

OUR MINUTES = the time we have left, the actual minutes racing onward; HASTEN = “How like a Winter hath my absence been/ From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year” – Sonnet 97, lines 1-2; “And all in war with Time for love of you” – Sonnet 15, line 13; THEIR END = the end of these minutes, ending your life or ending Elizabeth’s reign; the end of this diary, which is leading to the time of royal succession, when the fate of the Tudor dynasty will be determined; “Thy end is Truth’s and Beauty’s doom and date” – Sonnet 14, line 14

3 EACH CHANGING PLACE WITH THAT WHICH GOES BEFORE,

CHANGING PLACE = succeeding to the throne, replacing one monarch with another; the succession that will inevitably come, just as the tide inevitably rolls in; “And says that once more I shall interchange my waned state for Henry’s regal crown” – 3 Henry VI, 4.7.3-4; “Arise, and take place by us” – the King in Henry VIII, 1.2.13; “I fear there will a worse come in his place” – of Caesar in Julius Caesar, 3.2.112; “That then I scorn to change my state with Kings” – Sonnet 29, line 14; also echoing his royal son as a “changeling” who had been “placed” in the Southampton household, changing places with another boy; “placed it safely, the changeling never known” – Hamlet, 5.2.53; “Even so have places oftentimes exchanged their estate” – Ovid’s Metamorphoses of 1567, Book XV, 287, the translation attributed to Oxford’s uncle Arthur Golding

CHANGING = the change from one royal decree to another; “shifting change” – Sonnet 20, line 4, referring to Elizabeth’s change of attitude, the breaking of her vows; “Where wasteful time debateth with decay, /To change your day of youth to sullied night” – Sonnet 15, lines 11-12; exchanging, substituting; anticipating the death of Elizabeth, the downfall of his son, Southampton, as king and the accession of James; “the state government was changed from kings to consuls” – the “Argument” of Lucrece; ““When I have seen such interchange of state” – Sonnet 64, line 9; “Creep in ‘twixt vows, and change decrees of Kings” – Sonnet 115, line 6; “And lean-looked prophets whisper fearful change … These signs foretell the death or fall of kings” – Richard II, 2.4.11-15; “Comets, importing change of time and state” – 1 Henry VI, 1.1.2; “Why is my verse so barren of new pride,/ So far from variation or quick change” – Sonnet 76, lines 1-2; “And in this change is my invention spent” – Sonnet 105, line 11; “Just to the time, not with the time exchanged” – Sonnet 109, line 7, referring to the change from the time of Elizabeth to the time of James; “No!  Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change!” – Sonnet 123, line 1

PLACE = echoing the “place” where Southampton is, i.e., the Tower: “As soon as think the place where he would be” – Sonnet 44, line 8; his “place” on the throne, as he tells Elizabeth: “Thy black is fairest in my judgment’s place” – Sonnet 131, line 12; “Finding yourself desired of such a person whose credit with the judge, or own great place, could fetch your brother from the manacles of the all-binding law” – Measure for Measure, 2.4.91-94

4 IN SEQUENT TOIL ALL FORWARDS DO CONTEND.

SEQUENT = “following, successive, consequent” – Schmidt; “Not merely successive, but in close succession” – Tucker; “Of six preceding ancestors, that gem conferred by testament to th’sequent issue” – All’s Well That Ends Well, 5.3.196-197; in sequence or royal succession; (“How art thou a king but by fair sequence and succession” – Richard II, 2.1.199); these private sonnets are numbered sequentially, reflecting the days that contain the onrushing hours and minutes leading to the succession; more immediately, leading to the still possible execution of Southampton

Then, good prince,

No longer session hold upon my shame,

But let my trial be mine own confession.

Immediate sentence, then, and sequent death

Is all the grace I beg.  — Measure for Measure, 5.1.367-371

TOIL = labor, struggle; ALL = Southampton; ALL FORWARDS DO CONTEND = all new princes contend for the throne; “Time’s glory is to calm contending kings” – Lucrece, 939; “let his grace go forward” – Henry VIII, 3.2.281; “Friends that have been thus forward in my right” – Titus Andronicus, 1.1.59; “The forward violet thus did I chide” – Sonnet 99, line 1, referring to his royal son as flower; “When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room” – As You Like It, 3.3.11-14; CONTEND = to strive; to quarrel, combat, fight, make war ; vie with; “For never two such kingdoms did contend without much fall of blood, whose guiltless drops are every one a woe” – Henry V, 1.2.24-26; “The red rose and the white are on his face, the fatal colours of our striving houses … If you contend, a thousand lives must wither” – 3 Henry VI, 2.5.97-102

5 NATIVITY, ONCE IN THE MAIN OF LIGHT

NATIVITY = birth; the royal birth of Southampton (“the little Love-God” of Sonnet 154), echoing the Nativity of Christ; “To whom the heavens in thy nativity adjudged an olive branch and laurel crown” – 3 Henry VI, 4.6.33-34; “a god on earth thou art” – to Bolinbroke as King in Richard II, 5.3.134; ONCE = during his golden time up through the year 1600, prior to the Rebellion; echoing “one” for Southampton, One for All, All for One; similar to “first” as in “Even as when first I hallowed thy fair name” – Sonnet 108, line 8, carrying forward the Christ theme; MAIN = full might; the principal point; the ocean itself, the great (royal) sea: “When I have seen the hungry Ocean gain/ Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,/ And the firm soil win of the watery main” – Sonnet 64, lines 5-7; “But since your worth, wide as the Ocean is/ … On your broad main doth willfully appear” – Sonnet 80, lines 5, 8; “A substitute shines brightly as a king until a king be by, and then his state empties itself, as doth an inland brook into the main of waters” – The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.94-97; “by commission and main power” – Henry VIII, 2.2.7; IN THE MAIN OF LIGHT = filled with royal blood; (“the sun, suggested by main of light, of which it is the literal inhabitant” – Booth); echoing the birth of “my Sunne” recalled in Sonnet 33: “Full many a glorious morning have I seen/ Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,/ Kissing with golden face the meadows green,/ Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy/ … Even so my Sunne one early morn did shine” – Sonnet 33, lines 1-4, 9; also indicating (in the next lines) that such glory (on earth) is no longer his; “When thou thyself dost give invention light” – Sonnet 38, line 8; “the entrance of a child into the world at birth is an entrance into the main or ocean of light” – Dowden, offering (without intending to) more evidence of Oxford writing as father to son; LIGHT = Oxford is attempting to shine the light of his son’s royalty into the darkness of his disgrace and loss of the throne; “to lend the world his light” – Venus to Adonis in Venus and Adonis, dedicated to Southampton, 1593, line 756; Southampton, godlike, is a royal star or sun, lending light to the world; he is also a jewel, emitting light, as do his eyes; “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” – Genesis, 1.3; “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” – Gospel of John, 1.4; “Dark’ning thy power to lend base subjects light” – Sonnet 100, line 4, Oxford speaking of the power of his Muse to restore light to his royal son branded as a “base” criminal or traitor; “Lo, in the Orient when the gracious light/ Lifts up his burning head” – Sonnet 7, lines 1-2; “thy much clearer light” – Sonnet 43, line 7; “those suns of glory, those two lights of men” – Henry VIII, 1.1.6, referring to men as “suns” of light; “Yet looks he like a king; behold, his eye, as bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth controlling majesty” – Richard II, 3.3.68-71; “That in black ink my love may still shine bright” – Sonnet 65, line 14

“I have engaged myself so far in Her Majesty’s service to bring the truth to light” – Oxford to Burghley, June 13, 1595

6 CRAWLS TO MATURITY, WHEREWITH BEING CROWNED,

CRAWLS TO MATURITY = Southampton, gaining full maturity; WHEREWITH BEING CROWNED = Whereupon, just when he should be crowned as king; “wherein I do not doubt she is crowned with glory” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, April 25/27, 1603, speaking of the deceased Elizabeth just before her funeral; (“Add an immortal title to your crown” – Richard II, 1.1.24; “Make claim and title to the crown” – Henry V, 1.2.68); “Incertainties now crown themselves assured” – Sonnet 107, line 7, after Elizabeth’s death, when James is proclaimed King of England

7 CROOKED ECLIPSES ‘GAINST HIS GLORY FIGHT,

CROOKED ECLIPSES= Evil eclipses of the sun; the Queen’s (and Robert Cecil’s) malignant eclipse of the royal son, whose brightness can no longer be seen; CROOKED = Cecil as hunchback or “crook-back”; (“malignant, perverse, contrary, devious” – Crystal & Crystal); “By what by-paths and indirect crooked ways I met this crown” – 2 Henry IV, 4.5.184; (“If crooked fortune had not thwarted me” – Deut. 32.5); ECLIPSES = “The mortal Moone hath her eclipse endured” – Sonnet 107, referring to Elizabeth, whose royal lineage as a sun had been eclipsed by her death; “Clouds and eclipses stain both Moone and Sunne” – Sonnet 35, line 3, referring to the stain of treason that now eclipses the blood of both Elizabeth, the Moon, and her son

(“Note that ‘E C L I’ begins the word ‘ECLIPSE,’ and those four letters are in ‘CECIL.’  [And ‘CECIL’ contains only those four letters.]  Also, there’s really no such thing as a ‘crooked eclipse,’ so perhaps he’s punning on ‘Crooked ECLIpses’ = CECIL” – Alex McNeil, ed.)

‘GAINST HIS GLORY = against the glory of his kingship; “The king will in his glory hide thy shame” – Edward III, 2.1.399; “and although it hath pleased God after an earthly kingdom to take her up into a more permanent and heavenly state, wherein I do not doubt she is crowned with glory” – Oxford to Robert Cecil, April 25/27, 1603, about Elizabeth on the eve of her funeral; “For princes are a model which heaven likes to itself: as jewels lose their glory if neglected, so princes their renown if not respected” – Pericles, 2.2.10-13; “Even in the height and pride of all his glory” – Pericles, 2.4.6; “See, see, King Richard doth himself appear, as doth the blushing discontented sun from out the fiery portal of the East, when he perceives the envious clouds are bent to dim his glory and to stain the track of his bright passage to the occident” – Richard II, 3.3.62-67; “And threat the glory of my precious crown” – Richard II, 3.3.90; “That plotted thus our glory’s overthrow” – 1 Henry VI, 1.1.24

8 AND TIME THAT GAVE DOTH NOW HIS GIFT CONFOUND.

TIME THAT GAVE = time related to the life of Elizabeth, who gave birth to him; HIS GIFT = his inheritance of royal blood; his gift of royal life from Elizabeth; “So thy great gift, upon misprision growing” – Sonnet 87, line 11; DOTH NOW HIS GIFT CONFOUND = now destroys his gift of royalty and his claim to the throne; CONFOUND = to mingle, perplex, confuse, amaze, destroy, ruin, make away with, waste, wear away; i.e., the waste of time and royal life being recorded in this diary as “the Chronicle of wasted time” – Sonnet 106, line 1; “Against confounding age’s cruel knife” – Sonnet 63, line 10, referring to the executioner’s axe; “For never-resting time leads Summer on/ To hideous winter and confounds him there” – Sonnet 5, lines 5-6; “Or state itself confounded to decay” – Sonnet 64, line 10; “In other accents do this praise confound” – Sonnet 69, line 7

9 TIME DOTH TRANSFIX THE FLOURISH SET ON YOUTH 

TIME = repeated from the previous line; TRANSFIX = destroy; “pierce [or chip] through” – Tucker; echoing the piercing of the executioner’s axe; THE FLOURISH SET ON YOUTH = the flourishing royal blood and claim that Southampton had possessed until the day of the Rebellion; “Then music is even as the flourish when true subjects bow to a new-crowned monarch” – The Merchant of Venice, 3.2.49-50

10 AND DELVES THE PARALLELS IN BEAUTY’S BROW,

PARALLELS IN BEAUTY’S BROW = wrinkles, signs of age, in Southampton’s brow, which reflects his “beauty” or blood from Elizabeth and its advancement toward death, i.e., toward execution, lack of succession; also the brow of Beauty herself, Elizabeth; Southampton had been born “with all triumphant splendor on my brow” – Sonnet 33, line 10

11 FEEDS ON THE RARITIES OF NATURE’S TRUTH,

FEEDS ON = eats up, devours; RARITIES = royal aspects; “Beauty, Truth, and Rarity” – The Phoenix and Turtle, 1601, line 53, signifying Elizabeth, Oxford, and Southampton; “With April’s first-born flowers, and all things rare” – Sonnet 21, line 7, referring to Southampton as flower of the Tudor Rose

NATURE’S TRUTH = Elizabeth’s true son by Oxford, who is Nothing Truer than Truth; “His head by nature framed to wear a crown” – 3 Henry VI, 4.6.72

12 AND NOTHING STANDS BUT FOR HIS SCYTHE TO MOW.

NOTHING = Southampton as a nobody, the opposite of “one” of his motto One for All, All for One; NOTHING STANDS = none of Southampton’s glory can withstand the ravages of real time; “Let this pernicious hour stand aye accursed in the calendar” – Macbeth, 4.1.133-134; “When peers thus knit, a kingdom ever stands” – Pericles, 2.4.58; SCYTHE = the blade of time, also the sharp blade of the executioner’s axe (“And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence” – Sonnet 12, line 13)

13 AND YET TO TIME IN HOPE MY VERSE SHALL STAND

Nonetheless these sonnets, written according to time, hopefully will withstand – or stand against – all this destruction of his son; HOPE = “They call him Troilus, and on him erect a second hope” – Troilus and Cressida, 108-109; STAND = in counterpoint to “stands” of line 12 above; “if ought in me/ Worthy persusal stand against thy sight” – Sonnet 38, lines 5-6; “And the blots of Nature’s hand/ Shall not in their issue stand” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5.1.403-404

14 PRAISING THY WORTH, DESPITE HIS CRUEL HAND.

PRAISING THY WORTH = recording your royalty; CRUEL HAND = the cruel hand of Time is the same as Elizabeth’s cruel hand, since Time represents her life; Southampton as an infant had been “by a Virgin hand disarmed” – Sonnet 154, line 8; “And shall I pray the gods to keep the pain from her, that is so cruel still … O cruel hap and hard estate … Whom I might well condemn, to be a cruel judge” – lines from three different Oxford poems, printed in The Paradise of Dainty Devices, 1576, each signed E. O.

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