“The Quality of Mercy”: Re-Posting No. 32 of 100 Reasons Shake-speare was the Earl of Oxford

The works of “Shakespeare” contain the author’s own meditations on justice and mercy, emphasizing the need for kings to carry out lawful remedies and punishments with compassion and forbearance.  In Portia’s famous speech in The Merchant of Venice about “the quality of mercy” being “not strained” (not constrained), she declares that mercy is “mightiest in the mightiest” and “becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.”  Mercy is above such trappings and is “enthroned in the hearts of kings,” she says, adding:

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice (4.1)

On 7 May 1603, six weeks after Queen Elizabeth died and James VI of Scotland was proclaimed James I of England, fifty-three-year-old Edward de Vere wrote a business letter to Secretary Robert Cecil and, in passing, made this comment (printed below in the form of a speech in a Shakespeare play):

Nothing adorns a King more than justice,

Nor in anything doth a King more resemble God than in justice,

Which is the head of all virtue,

And he that is endued therewith hath all the rest.

There is a remarkable similarity of thinking between Oxford and “Shakespeare” as well as a similarity of words; for example, Portia’s statement that when a king combines justice with mercy his “earthly power doth then show likest God’s” is reflected in Oxford’s remark that “nor in anything doth a King more resemble God than in justice” – by which he clearly meant a kind of justice that contains the “virtue” of mercy, or the capacity for forgiveness.

It’s easy to imagine Oxford giving Isabella these words about monarchs in Measure for Measure:

Not the King’s Crown nor the deputed sword,

The Marshall’s Truncheon nor the Judge’s Robe,

Become them with one half so good a grace

As mercy does.  (2.2)

In his dissertation on the “marginalia” of de Vere’s Geneva bible, which the earl had purchased in 1569-70 before age twenty, Roger Stritmatter reports Oxford had marked a series of verses in Ecclesiasticus on the theme of mercy.The question of mercy “is central to the unfolding action of The Tempest,” he notes.  “In this fable Prospero, like Hamlet, learns to abandon the lust to punish his enemies and realizes that ‘the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance.’ (5.1). In that statement, ‘virtue’ is a metaphor for ‘mercy.’ ” Stritmatter also points out that previous students of Shakespeare and the Bible failed to notice that Prospero’s epilogue — “as you from crimes would pardoned be — derives “direct, unequivocal inspiration” from Ecclesiasticus 28.1-5, which Oxford had marked in his Geneva bible.

Ecclesiasticus 28.1-5, as marked by Edward de Vere in his Geneva Bible

Ellen Terry as Portia in 1885

 

“The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringay Castle” painted by Edouard Berveiller (1843-1910)

“There can be little doubt as to which side Oxford’s sympathies would lean” during the treason trial of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots in October 1586,” J. Thomas Looney wrote in “Shakespeare” Identified in 1920, introducing the Oxford theory of Shakespearean authorship. In other words, the earl, who sat as one of the commissioners at the trial, would have been on Mary’s side, and “as we read of her wonderfully brave and dignified bearing, and of her capable and unaided conduct of her own defense, we can quite believe that if the dramatist who wrote The Merchant of Venice was present at the trial of the Scottish Queen … he had before him a worthy model for the fair Portia…”

Looney quoted Martin Hume: “Mary defended herself with consummate ability before a tribunal almost entirely prejudiced against her. She was deprived of legal aid, without her papers and in ill health. In her argument with [William Cecil Lord Burghley] she reached a point of touching eloquence which might have moved the hearts, though it did not convince the intellects, of her august judges.”

Drawing of the Trial of Mary Queen of Scots as part of the official record made by Robert Beale (1541-1601)

Hume himself quotes a letter in which Burghley says of Mary, “Her intention was to move pity by long, artificial speeches.” Looney writes, “With this remark of Burghley’s in mind, let the reader weigh carefully the terms, of Portia’s speech on ‘Mercy,’ all turning upon conceptions of royal power, with its symbols the crown and the scepter … Now let any one judge whether this speech is not vastly more appropriate to Mary Queen of Scots pleading her own cause before Burleigh, Walsingham, and indirectly the English Queen, than to an Italian lady pleading to an old Jew for the life of a merchant she had never seen before.  Who, then, could have been better qualified for giving an idealized and poetical rendering of Mary’s speeches than Oxford, touted as ‘the best of the courtier poets,’ who was a sympathetic listener to her pathetic and dignified appeals?”

Oxford may have written the first version of The Merchant several years prior to the trial of Mary Stuart – that is, by the early 1580’s, having returned in 1576 from fifteen months on the Continent with Venice as his home base.

Portia’s speech in 4.1 of The Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That, in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

To mitigate the justice of thy plea;

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

Prospero’s farewell at the end of The Tempest:

Now my charms are all o’erthrown,

And what strength I have’s mine own,

Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,

I must be here confined by you,

Or sent to Naples. Let me not,

Since I have my dukedom got

And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell

In this bare island by your spell;

But release me from my bands

With the help of your good hands:

Gentle breath of yours my sails

Must fill, or else my project fails,

Which was to please. Now I want

Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,

And my ending is despair,

Unless I be relieved by prayer,

Which pierces so that it assaults

Mercy itself and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardon’d be,

Let your indulgence set me free.


 

Portia’s Estate of Belmont — Part Two of Reason 73 Why Oxford was Shakespeare: It was a Real Place that the Author Saw Firsthand

Background Image: Henry de Vere, eighteenth Earl of Oxford; and Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton – the “Two Henries” circa 1619

“In Belmont is a lady richly left; and she is fair, and, fairer than that word, of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages: her name is Portia” – Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice

BELMONTthe estate of Portia … apparently located on the mainland near Venice a fictitious place” –  Charles Boyce, Shakespeare A to Z, 1990

“Belmont is a real place, though called differently in Italian: its identification has been made possible by the precise geographical information and a specific historical reference given in the play.” – Dr. Noemi Magri, De Vere Society Newsletter, 2003; reprinted in Great Oxford, 2004

Villa Foscari on the River Brenta, built by 1560, is Portia's estate of Belmont

Villa Foscari on the River Brenta, built by 1560, is Portia’s estate of Belmont

Portia’s home in The Merchant of Venice is a grand palace where trumpets sound as each new member of the nobility is received in its richly decorated Great Hall, where musicians serenade and aristocrats dance and players perform.  Shakespeare took the name “Belmont” from his main Italian source, Il Pecorone, a novella composed around 1380 and printed in Italian in 1558, wherein the character Gianetto travels a long distance from Venice to see the Lady of Belmont.

The original Belmont in the story was a port on the Adriatic coast.   To simplify things for his play, Shakespeare indicates that Belmont is much closer to Venice; but no real place by that name actually existed or exists at the location he gives — or at any location anywhere near it.   Given that William Shakspere of Stratford never left England, much less spent time in Italy, it follows that he had no real grand estate in mind to begin with; and so, as Boyce indicates above, scholars have universally viewed Shakespeare’s Belmont as a wondrous “fictitious place” he created as a vivid contrast to the crass commercial world of Venice.

The trouble, however, is that the author takes great pains to precisely locate and identify Portia’s estate of Belmont.  He indicates, for example, that the mansion is on a riverbank — in the scene with Lorenzo and Jessica outside the great house in the evening, gazing at the water, when Lorenzo exclaims: “How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!”

So Portia’s great house is on a river.  And in the third act she plans to go to Venice with Nerissa, both disguised as men (to be at Antonio’s trial, where Portia will appear as a lawyer), and then to return straightaway to Belmont.  She tells Nerissa to “haste away, for we must measure twenty miles today.”   So the roundtrip is twenty miles, or ten miles to Venice and ten miles back to Belmont.

Now the author inserts another clue.  To conceal her true plan, Portia tells Lorenzo and Jessica a fake story about where they’re going:  “There is a monastery two miles off,” she says, and “there we will abide” until the trial in Venice is concluded.

malcon01So now we know Belmont is (1) on the bank of a river, (2) ten miles from Venice and (3) two miles from a monastery.   And it so happens that there was, and still is, a famous grand mansion on the bank of the River Brenta – the Villa Foscari-Malcontenta, the country residence of the illustrious Foscari family in Venice, exactly ten miles from Venice and precisely two miles from the monastery Ca’ delle Monache, the Nun’s House.

These clues from “Shakespeare” serve to identify Belmont as the architectural masterpiece Villa Foscari , designed by Andrea Palladio and constructed by 1560, when Elizabeth I of England was at the outset of her reign.  This grand villa on the River Brenta, with its richly decorated interior rooms and Great Hall, was known for receiving members of the nobility (and royalty, such as Henry III of France, in 1574) with trumpets sounding, and for entertaining the guests with music and dance and plays – an unforgettable place that the author saw firsthand, later changing its name to Belmont.

“Though now the central seat of the University of Venice, the Villa-Foscari-Malcontenta can be visited today,” writes Richard Paul Roe, author of The Shakespeare Guide to Italy (2011), who independently came to the same conclusion as Dr. Noemi Magri.  “It was an easy reach to Venice and a fitting ‘Belmont’ for an heiress, such as Portia, whose hand was sought by princes far and wide” – just as princes came from far and wide for the hand of Queen Elizabeth.

fusina on map

But the man who wrote The Merchant of Venice supplied even more specifics — such as when Portia sends her servant Balthasar to Padua for “notes and garments” that she needs, telling him to then continue in haste “unto the Tranect, to the common ferry which trades to Venice,” where she will be waiting with Nerissa in her coach.   The two women will go from the Tranect by ferry to Venice.

According to Roe, scholars have been wide of the mark trying to identify the Tranect, unaware that it was a narrow strip of land where travelers could transfer from their coach to a ferry, which was pulled across the dry land by machinery to the water and the final lap to Venice.   Their rendezvous at the Tranect “would have to have been in Fusina,” Roe concluded, because it’s five miles alongside the river from Belmont to Fusina, and from there across the water it’s “exactly five miles to the landing place called ‘il Molo,’ which sits in front of the Ducal Palace and Courts of Justice,” where Antonio’s trial was being held.

The ten-mile journey was in two parts of five miles each.  Portia and Nerissa would return from Venice by ferrying the five miles across the water to the Tranect at Fusina, then travel by coach beside the River Brenta for five miles back to the Villa Foscari — or, as it’s called in the play, Belmont.  In total the roundtrip had four legs of five miles apiece, adding up to the “twenty miles” that Portia states so emphatically.  In other words, the great dramatist of The Merchant described not only the various lengths of the journey, but, also, the practical means by which the two women went to the trial in Venice and back.

Now for that “specific historical reference” mentioned by Dr. Magri – an event that is mentioned in The Merchant as having occurred at Belmont and that actually did happen at Villa Foscari.  The reference is made by Nerissa, who asks Portia if she remembers Bassanio’s visit to Belmont:  “Do you not remember, lady, in your father’s time, a Venetian, a scholar and a soldier that came hither in company of the Marquis of Montferrat?”

“Yes, yes, it was Bassanio, as I think, so he was called,” Portia says, but totally ignoring Nerissa’s recollection of the Marguis of Montferrat, who is neither one of Portia’s suitors nor one of the play’s characters; in fact, this is the only time he’s mentioned.  Traditional scholars have never found any good reason for the playwright to make such an allusion, but Dr. Magri, viewing The Merchant as written by Edward de Vere, found the reason — in the historical record of the visit to Venice in July 1574 by Henry III of France, who traveled with his party up the River Brenta and stopped at Villa Foscari, where he had been invited for dinner.

It turns out that with the French king on that visit was Guglielmo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Marquis of Montferrat!

"il Molo," Portia's landing place in front of the Ducal Palace and Courts of Justice

“il Molo,” Portia’s landing place in front of the Ducal Palace and Courts of Justice

Just eight months later in March 1575, the twenty-five-year-old Earl of Oxford arrived at the royal court in Paris and met King Henry III, who was fond of expressing his admiration for Villa Foscari and its charming location.  Oxford continued his journey to Italy and stopped in Mantua — where, Mark Anderson writes in Shakespeare by Another Name, the earl’s “probable host” was Guglielmo Gonzaga, Marquis of Monteferrat, who surely would have told Oxford about his experiences during that historic visit of the French king.

Oxford’s trip from Padua to Venice by traghetto (horse-drawn ferry) along the River Brenta lasted seven hours.  His ferry ride passed “the classically inspired Villa Foscari,” Anderson writes, “as the traghetto slowed down to round a wide curve on the riverbank.”

Noemi Magri concluded that Oxford “intended to describe Villa Foscari and had in mind the Brenta with its villas” and that he “wished to remember the Marquis of Montferrat, Guglielmo Gonzaga Duke of Mantua, the ruler of one of the greatest centers of learning in Renaissance times.”

What does it matter who wrote the Shakespeare plays?  I’d say that Belmont = Villa Foscari is one good reason all by itself.

Reason Number 24 of 100 Why Edward de Vere was “Shakespeare” – His & the Bard’s Deep Knowledge of Italy

For anyone interested in Shakespeare, and particularly the study of Shakespearean authorship, this coming Tuesday, November 8, 2011, is a landmark on the calendar.  That’s the official publication date of a book that could – and should – break down the rigid walls of Stratfordian tradition as more and more people demand some better explanations.

"The Shakespeare Guide to Italy" by Richard Paul Roe

This potential bombshell is The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels, by Richard Paul “Dick” Roe, who died December 1, 2010 in Pasadena at eighty-eight, having spent the last quarter-century of his life traveling the length and breadth of Italy on what the publisher, HarperCollins, aptly describes as “a literary quest of unparalleled significance.”

“If you take a map of Italy and grab ten push pins and put them in ten cities, that’s essentially Shakespeare’s Italy,” said Mark Anderson, author of Shakespeare by Another Name, in a BBC interview, adding, “That to me is quite a remarkable happenstance.”

And now, in honor of the imminent release of Dick Roe’s masterwork, it’s also the twenty-fourth reason on this list to believe that the Earl of Oxford wrote the Shakespeare works.

When Edward de Vere traveled through Italy at age twenty-five during 1575, he and his retinue skirted Spanish-controlled Milan before navigating by canal and a network of rivers on a 120-mile journey to Verona.  His travels took him to Padua, Venice, Mantua, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Naples, Florence, Messina, Palermo and elsewhere, making his home base in Venice.

Aside from three stage works set in ancient Rome (Corianlanus, Titus Andronicus and Julius Caesar), ten of Shakespeare’s fictional plays are set in Italy – Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Othello (Act One), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (adduced), All’s Well That Ends Well (also France), Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest (which opens aboard a ship in the Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy).

Verona, Italy

On the other hand, only one play of fiction (The Merry Wives of Windsor) is set in England … an astounding ten-to-one ratio!  Why?  The only logical answer, I submit, is that “Shakespeare” (whoever he was!) must have fallen in love with Italy.  And I’d think it would be pretty hard to fall in love with a country without ever visiting it!

Oxfordians have often said that Edward de Vere “brought the European Renaissance back to England” when he returned in 1576 after fifteen months of travel through France, Germany and, most extensively, Italy.  He became the quintessential “Italianate Englishman” wearing “new-fangled” clothes* of the latest styles.

Verona

He brought richly embroidered, perfumed gloves for Queen Elizabeth, who delighted in them, and such gloves became all the rage among the great ladies of the time.  And, for example, he brought back his perfumed leather jerkin (a close-fitting, sleeveless jacket) and “sweet bags” with costly washes and perfumes.

Soon enough John Lyly, who was Oxford’s personal secretary and stage manager, issued two novels about an Italian traveler – Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and his England (1580), the latter dedicated to Edward de Vere, who apparently supervised the writing of both books.  Together they are said to comprise “the first English novel” and, yes, in the following decade the great author “Shakespeare” would demonstrate Lyly’s influence upon some of his plays.

"Shakespeare" demonstrates knowledge of the Italian comedy form known as "Commedia Dell'Arte" -- Edward de Vere must have attended shows of the "Commedia" during his time in Venice

“There is a secret Italy hidden in the plays of Shakespeare,” Roe begins the Introduction of his ground-breaking book.   “It is an ingeniously-described Italy that has neither been recognized, nor even suspected – not in four hundred years – save by a curious few.  It is exact; it is detailed; and it is brilliant.”

The descriptions to be found in the Italian plays are in “challenging detail” and “nearly all their locations” can be found to this day.  Whoever wrote them “had a personal interest in that country equal to the interest in his own.”  The places and things in Italy to which Shakespeare alludes or which he describes “reveal themselves to be singularly unique to that one country.”  His familiarity with Italy’s sites and sights – “specific details, history, geography, unique cultural aspects, places and things, practices and propensities” and so on – “is, quite simply, astonishing.”

Roe never mentions Oxford or any other Shakespearean candidate; instead he takes us right away to Verona, the setting for Romeo and Juliet, and recounts making one trip to search for – sycamore!  That’s right, he went to find sycamore trees, and they would have to be located in one specific spot — “just outside the western wall” as “remnants of a grove that had flourished in that one place for centuries.”

A canal in Italy

The trees are described in the very opening scene –

Where, underneath the grove of sycamore

That westward rooteth from the city’s side…

There are no sycamore trees in any of the known source materials for the play; and “no one has ever thought that the English genius who wrote the play could have been telling the truth: that there were such trees, growing exactly where he said in Verona.”

So our intrepid detective-explorer arrives in the old city of Verona: “My driver took me across the city, then to its edge on the Viale Cristoforo Colombo.  Turning south onto the Viale Colonnello Galliano, he began to slow.  This was the boulevard where, long before and rushing to the airport at Milan, I had glimpsed trees, but had no idea what kind.”

His car creeps along the Viale and then comes to a halt.  Are there sycamores at the very same spot where “Shakespeare” said they were?  Did this playwright, who is said to be ignorant of Italy, know this “unnoted and unimportant but literal truth” about Verona?  Had he deliberately “dropped an odd little stone about a real grove of trees into the pool of his powerful drama”?

I’m sure you know the answer …

Dick Roe took this photograph outside the Porta Palio, one of Verona's three western gates; and yes, sycamore trees

* “New-fangled” clothing:

Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,

Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force,

Some in their garments though new-fangled ill … Sonnet 91

“Shakespeare’s Guide to Italy” has a dozen chapters, each with more amazing personal discoveries proving that the great author had to have been there:

1 – Romeo and Juliet – “Devoted Love in Verona”

2 – The Two Gentlemen of Verona – part one – “Sailing to Milan”

3 – The Two Gentlemen of Verona – part two – “Milan: Arrivals and Departures”

4 – The Taming of the Shrew – “Pisa to Padua”

5 – The Merchant of Venice – part one – “Venice: the City and the Empire”

6 – The Merchant of Venice – part two – “Venice: Trouble and Trial”

7 – Othello – “Strangers and Streets, Swords and Shoes”

8 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – “Midsummer in Sabbioneta”

9 – All’s Well That Ends Well – “France and Florence”

10 – Much Ado About Nothing – “Misfortune in Messina”

11 – The Winter’s Tale – “A Cruel Notion Resolved”

12 – The Tempest – “Island of Wind and Fire”

Titian’s Painting of “Venus and Adonis” – Reason No. 13 Why Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare”

"Venus and Adonis" by Titian, the painting that "Shakespeare" must have seen in Venice

VENUS AND ADONIS

By William Shakespeare

He sees her coming and begins to glow…

And with his bonnet hides his angry brow…

For all askance he holds her in his eye

Now was she just before him as he sat,

And like a lowly lover down she kneels…

O what a war of looks was then between them!

"Great Oxford," the collection of essays from the De Vere Society, with its cover in reference to Dr. Noemi Magri's article about the Titian painting

Her eyes petitioners to his eyes suing,

His eyes saw her eyes as they had not seen them;

Her eyes wooed still, his eyes disdained the wooing;

And all this dumb play had his acts made plain…

Some time her arms infold him like a band.

She would, he will not in her arms be bound…

For shame, he cries, let go and let me go.

Lines 337-342; 225-6; 349-350; 355-360; 379

(My emphases in italics)

The author of Venus and Adonis by “William Shakespeare” (1593) describes a painting by Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian, in which Adonis wears a bonnet or cap.

This was the only Titian painting with that detail and, during Shakespeare’s time, it could have been seen only at Titian’s home in Venice. 

William of Stratford had never left England, but Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford had traveled throughout Italy during 1575-1576 (at age twenty-five), making his home base in Venice, where Titian worked until his death on August 27, 1576.

I continue to be struck by the simplicity and clarity of this piece of factual evidence presented in an article by the brilliant scholar Dr. Noemi Magri in Great Oxford: Essays on the Life and Works of Edward de Vere (2004), a collection of papers from the De Vere Society in England.

Tizanio Vecellio, known as Titian (1488?-1576), whose home in Venice was a mecca for princes, ambassadors, cardinals, artists and literary men

In her essay, entitled The Influence of Italian Renaissance Art on Shakespeare’s Works; Titian’s Barberini Painting: the Pictorial Source of “Venus and Adonis,” Dr. Magri writes that Titian made many replicas of his work and that Shakespeare based his poem on the only autographed replica in which Adonis wears a bonnet or hat:

“Titian’s painting was his source of inspiration, the thing that stimulated him to write a poem about this subject though he also had a thorough knowledge of Ovid … Shakespeare describes the painting in detail: he portrays the painting in words and the description is too faithful to ascribe it to mere coincidence…

“It is evident that Shakespeare’s Adonis is wearing a hat, a bonnet.  The mention of the bonnet is not coincidental.  This is the detail here taken as evidence of the pictorial source.”

With one fair hand she heaveth up his hat – line 351

Bonnet nor veil henceforth no creature wear – line 1081

And therefore would he put his bonnet on – line 1087

Princes, cardinals, ambassadors and the like, as well as top literary figures, “never failed to pay Titian a visit” when they came to Venice, Dr. Magri notes.   His home was a kind of cultural center and such notables felt they could not leave without going to see the man who was the greatest painter of sixteenth-century Venice and, too, the first to have a mainly international clientele.  To be received into his house was an honor that brought them high prestige.

A drawing of Titian's house in Venice by Joseph Cadorin (1833) -- in Canciano S. Biri

“Considering de Vere’s desire for learning and his love for Italian culture, he must have felt the wish to meet him and admire his collection,” writes Dr. Magri.

(She provides evidence to confirm that the autographed copy with Adonis wearing a hat, now held in the National Gallery of Palazzo Barberini in Rome, was in fact at Titian’s house during the same time Oxford was in Venice.)

Anyone who studies even a little of Oxford’s life will conclude that he could not have failed to pay such a visit.

In the lines above, Shakespeare writes that Adonis looks at Venus all askance, which, Dr. Magri observes, “is a faithful and precise description of Adonis’ posture in the painting.”  Moreover their glances are “the central motif of the painting” and Shakespeare “has retained the dramatic pictorial element” in his description of their eyes such as “Her eyes petitioners to his eyes suing,” etc.

Also Shakespeare’s reference to all this dumb play is an accurate description: the play they have performed “is a dumb one since their words are not to be heard.”  The two protagonists, Venus and Adonis, “are not acting on a stage: they are painted on the canvas.”

Another by Titian -- without the hat

Dr. Magri even notes how Venus, reacting angrily to Adonis’s resistance, bursts out a clear reference to the painted image of him:

Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone

Well-painted idol...

So that’s Reason No. 13 why I believe Oxford was “Shakespeare.”   Oxford was there, in Venice, and so was Titian and the painting with the bonnet, or hat, that “Shakespeare” describes in Venus and Adonis.

We welcome any Stratfordian to comment and present us with a counterargument.

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