An essay on poetical logic, Nineteen plays by Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare / © 2010/14/15/16 by Franz Gnaedinger

 

 

When a man’s verses cannot be understood, a good wit not seconded by the forward child Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.    Edward de Vere in the guise of the clown Touchstone, As You Like It

 

 

Kurt Kreiler, in his book Der Mann, der Shakespeare erfand  vere1.JPG  The Man who Invented Shakespeare, convincingly shows that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford  vere2.JPG  wrote the plays that sail under the name of William Shakespeare, pen name of the earl, alluding to quaint Bellona (Philip Spenser) viz. Pallas Athene who sprang in full armor from the head of Zeus / Jupiter, wielding her lance, shaking her spear, Shake-Speare, as war goddess protecting the polis, also worshiped as goddess of art and wisdom … From the end of February till May 2010 read and interpreted seventeen plays, in this order: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Love’s Labour’s Lost, All’s Well That Ends Well, and the Comedy of Errors, always looking out for the playwright, finding him in many guises, a veritable Proteus … I published my messages online. Here is a worked over version, the seventeen plays in the same order, dating partly according to Kurt Kreiler. Appendix: The Adventures of Master F.I. – young Edward de Vere meeting Pierre de Ronsard.

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet    1581-82

 

Romeo is first mentioned in Act 1 Scene 1, here in the version of the First Folio from 1623

 

     O where is Romeo ?

 

Considering the Norman origin of the name de Vere, pronounced something like dö Wör, we can read the question as an exclamation

 

     O Vere is Romeo !

 

The opposite joke occurs in The Merry Wives of Windsor, where the French physician Caius calls out for his knave in Act 1 Scene 4

 

     Vere is that knave Rugby ?

 

Edward de Vere signed a couple of early poems E.O. for Earl of Oxenford, also Edward Oxenford. Now the letters EO, pronounced in the English way, yield io, and this, read in the Italian way, means I, me. The letters EO are present in the name of Rom-eo, signing the play ever so clandestinely at the very end

 

     For never was a story of more woe

     Than this of Juliet and Romeo.

 

If Romeo mirrors young Edward de Vere, the Tybalt incident may allude to the Thomas Brincknell accident, Thomas Brincknell, T.B. Ty-Balt.

 

On a sublevel of the play, Romeo personifies the playwright, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. His beloved Juliet personifies the audience – perhaps inspired by Anne Vavasour, with whom Edward de Vere had a secret affair in 1580; and finally Paris personifies the actor, “valiant Paris” – “gentle Paris” – “a flower; in faith, a very flower” – “By heaven, I love thee better than myself” (the latter said by Romeo, alter ego de Vere’s).

 

Romeo and Paris are also rivals: both loving Juliet – playwright and actor love the audience and want to be loved by her.

 

In those days, a nobleman who wrote plays had to stage them under a pseudonym. In the case of Edward de Vere, raised from the age of 12 years onward at the court of Queen Elizabeth, one might envision a further reason for the obligation to use an alias: the Queen loved him well, protecting him whenever possible, but she must have feared the scandals he caused and therefore obliged him to veil his authorship in the plays and poems. One such scandal might have been the Thomas Brincknell incident; another the secret affair of the married earl with Anna Vavasour in 1580, revealed when she gave birth to a son in 1581. The Queen, angry, put both in the Tower (where he might have written a draft of his famous play).

 

Now let us have a look at the sonnets by William Shake-Speare, pen name of Edward de Vere. The beautiful young man of the sonnets 1-126 is Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton; the rival poet of the sonnets 80-89 Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (Peter P. Moore); and the dark lady of the sonnets 127-154 Elizabeth Trentham, Edward de Vere’s second wife (Kurt Kreiler). However, some of the sonnets might be ambiguous. Number 20 may also address Queen Elizabeth, combining high praise with mild chiding (the too hot summer days referring to her power and some hard decisions she has to make). Number 83 could again address not only Henry but also the Queen. If so, the following line is meaningful

 

     This silence for my sin you did impute

 

indicating a sin as reason for the obligation to hide his true name as author of the plays and poems, perhaps the affair with Anna Vavasour while he was married to Anne Cecil? Sonnet 83 ends on these lines

 

        There lives more life in one of your fair eyes

        Than both your poets can in praise devise.

 

When Henry is meant, “both your poets” are de Vere and Devereux, and when the Queen is meant, “both your poets” are the playwright and his actors who cooperate in shaping the play, making it in the sense of Greek poieo ‘I make’ and poiaesis, English poetry and poet.

 

On the sublevel, Romeo is the playwright and Paris the actor: valiant Paris, gentle Paris, a flower, in faith, a very flower, whom Romeo loves better than himself. The actors help him develop the play, bring it to life and make it bloom. On the other hand, playwright and actors are rivals for the love of the audience. Paris challenges Romeo toward the end of the play, whereupon Romeo stabs him, indicating the final supremacy of the playwright over the actor. An actor dies while the play lives on. However, Romeo promises him a “triumphant grave” and a “feasting presence full of light” – namely the play in which the first actors live on, those who helped him shape the play, “both your poets” in the alternative sense of sonnet 83.

 

Paris, called “a flower; in faith, a very flower” would make a good husband for Juliet, however, she prefers Romeo, and when it comes to him she mentions the rose, flower of flowers, indicating the ultimate superiority of the playwright over the actor. Juliet, audience personified, tells Romeo in a beautiful speech

 

     What’s a name! that which we call a rose

     By any other name would smell as sweet;

     So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

     Retain that dear perfection which he owes

     Without that title:–Romeo, doff thy name;

     And for that name, which is no part of thee,

     Take all myself.

 

The poet’s name doesn’t count, important are his plays, and the audience loves them, is all for him to take. Romeo replies

 

     … I take thee at thy word

     Call me but love and I’ll be new baptized;

     Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

 

Edward de Vere abandons his name and adopts a new one

 

     …never will … -ver will … Vere Will-I-am

 

     Henceforth I never will

     Henceforth I n.e.ver will

     Henceforth I n. E. Ver Will

     Henceforth I not Edward de Vere, Will I am

     William who shakes the spear, William Shake-Speare

 

And then, perhaps in 1589, he found a young country fellow of a similar name, engaged him for the Chamberlain’s Men, whose cashier he was in 1594, and gave him minor roles, the best one being the ghost in Hamlet … Kurt Kreiler identified the country fellow William from Arden in Act 5 Scene 1 of the play As You Like It with William Shakspere from Stratford-upon-Avon, son of Mary Arden whose father was the landowner Robert Arden of Wilmscote. Romeo – Juliet – Paris of the tragedy from 1581/82 get parodied in the clownish trio Touchstone – Audrey – William of the romantic comedy As You Like It from 1593 (first version). Everybody is made fun of in this play, also the author who exaggerates his own diction in Touchstone’s tumble of words, but still, the way this one menaces William proves that Edward de Vere hated the obligation to hide his name and authorship. While he loved his actors, calling Paris “gentle Paris” and making him a count, a noble, his equal.

 

Paris was the prince of Troy, an allusion confirmed by Helen, most beautiful girl from Verona. The conqueror of Troy was sly Odysseus, mentioned as Ulysses in the poem Lucrèce

 

     But the mild glance that sly Ulysses lent

     Show’d deep regard and smiling government.

 

giving us a hint at how de Vere directed his plays, not openly (being obliged to hide his authorship), but by showing deep regard for the actors and rewarding the right understanding of his intention with an encouraging smile. Joining the audience, he may have observed many a young lady laughing and weeping while the fancies of his mind unfolded on the stage. Also observing the audience from close up must have helped him shape his plays, a practice revealed by Hamlet who observes his uncle during a play staged within the play, especially during an inserted speech. We shall encounter an inoculated satire of a similar sort later on, when discussing the second version of the play As You Like It from 1600.

 

 

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Romeo and Juliet, a wider interpretation from 2014

 

 

In the spring and summer of 2010 I interpreted a series of plays by Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare, beginning with Romeo and Juliet seen as playwright and his audience. Now, a good four years later, I widen my interpretation.

 

Juliet may be a more complex symbol than the audience of a play - poetry mediating between nature and a lively audience.

 

In Act 2 Scene 1 Romeo compares Juliet in her window to the sun rising in the east. Later on, in the same monologue, Romeo looking up to her

 

  See, how she leans her cheek on her hand!

  O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

  That I might touch that cheek!

 

Sigh of a lover and poetological program in one. Genuine poetry emerges from the unconscious and quasi writes itself - her cheek held by her own hand - while the conscious ego of the poet is but a glove upon that metaphorical hand

 

     O, that I were a glove upon that hand

     I, Vere, a glove upon that hand

 

Here again the key equation from 2010

 

     Edward de Vere  (12 letters)

     bound by one letter  E...e

 

     O, where is Romeo?

     O, Vere is Romeo  (12 letters)

     bound by one letter  O...o

 

     Earl of Oxford  (12 letters)

     Romeo -eo  E.O.

     above binding letters

 

Expanding the key equation

 

     O gentle Romeo  (12 letters)

     bound by one letter  O...o

 

     Why, where the devil should Romeo be?

     Vere the devil  (12 letters)

 

     O, I am fortune's fool!

     fortune's fool  (12 letters)

 

Young Edward de Vere stabbed another young man in the leg, so very unfortunately that this one died. Only a little to the side and he would have survived. This incident, on top of other minor ones, would have been the reason why Queen Elizabeth obliged Edward de Vere to use a pseudonym - banishing Romeo, as it were, taking him away from his one true love Juliet. Having slain Tybalt, Romeo calls himself a fool of fortune; later on he confesses that he murdered Tybalt. We may assume that also Edward de Vere had mixed emotions, feeling guilty and being fortune's fool. But he held out. Bravely looking into the depths of his own soul he would have becomne the great poet and playwright.

 

Prince Escalus, ruler of Verona, would stand for Queen Elizabeth fearing the escalation between young Edward de Vere in her care and his opponents. Maybe the charming dare-devil called her Lady Verona? Allow me a pun

 

     Vere, o no!   Vere o no   Verona

 

 

 

Edward de Vere's mother

 

Lady Montague, mother of Romeo, speaks up in the opening scene of the play

 

     Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.

 

Her Mosaic line is followed and contrasted by an edict in the language of the court, given by Prince Escalus, alter ego of Queen Elizabeth. Also Edward de Vere whose alter ego in the play is Romeo acquired court speak, but he avoided empty formalism, his language remained basically simple, its amazing richness and complexity own to a lively mind, plenty interwoven thoughts, feelings and images - the formula of all great works being simple yet complex.

 

Lady Montague says two more lines, also in the opening scene of the play

 

     O where is Romeo?--saw you him today?

     Right glad I am he was not at this fray.

 

Here we have two puns

 

     O, Vere is Romeo

 

- a mother knows her child

 

     I am he

 

- referring to early pregnancy when he was part of her, transformed into motherly care, while the short line, semantically broken up, still held together, became an archetypical sigh of a mother

 

     I am he

     Right glad I am he was not at this fray

 

Lady Montague speaks only the three above lines, in the entire play. One line plus two lines. Prolong the pattern by doubling and doubling the numbers and soon you get more lines than in the complete works of Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare. A similar progression leads from zygote to foetus and child in the womb of a pregnant woman and expectant mother.

 

Lady Montague, barely speaking, unobtrusive, makes me think of the camouflage of a brood animal or dam protecting her young.

 

From all this we may glean that John de Vere's wife in the guise of Lady Montague was Edward's real mother (not a foster mother), a pious woman, her language simple and direct, however, she loved a good pun, and she cared for her son Edward.

 

 

 

Lady Montague and Prince Escalus

 

What I call the Mosaic line by Lady Montague

 

     Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe

 

is followed by an edict of twenty-three lines in the language of the court, given by Prince Escalus, wordy equivalent of the single line by Lady Montague, mother of Romeo

 

     Lady Montague  1 line  (1.1.76)

     Prince Escalus  23 lines  (1.1.77-99)

     together 24 lines

 

The 24 lines of Lady Mantague and Prince Escalus have a parallel in the 24 letters of Edward's name and title combined

 

     Edward de Vere  12 letters

     Earl of Oxford  12 letters

     together 24 letters

 

The 24 letters correspond to the 24 hours in a day and the 24 letters of the classical Greek alphabet - 'alpha and omega' (from alpha to omega) being a formula of completeness.

 

The language of Lady Montague, alter ego of his mother, and the one of Prince Escalus, alter ego of Queen Elizabeth, are combined in the powerful language of the great poet and playwright who packed the whole world into the nutshell of his work and became, as Ben Jonson said, the soul of his age.

 

 

 

structure of the play

 

Word language can be seen as a triangle of the corners

 

     life with needs and wishes

 

     mathematics as logic of building and maintaining

     based on the formula a = a

 

     art as human measure in a technical world

     based on Goethe's world formula and ever turning key

     all is equal, all unequal ...

 

The roles of life and art in the language of Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare are obvious. What about mathematics? We found the number 12 in word plays, doubled in the number 24 of completeness, and the implicit numerical progression 1 2 (4 8 16 32 64 ...). What about a mathematical structure of the entire play?

 

The first half of the play is rising action, the second half is falling action, suggesting an equilateral triangle as underlying geometrical model.

 

The play has 5 acts and 5 5 5 5 3 sum 23 scenes. In the middle we find Act 3 Scene 2, and the 3 middle lines of that scene (3.2.71-73) are spoken by Juliet (J) and her nurse (N)

 

     (J)  O God, did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood?

     (N)  It did, it did, alas the day, it did.

     (J)  O serpent heart, hid within a flowering face!

 

Middle word of middle line of middle scene: alas. The play itself is a big alas, "an exclamation to express sorrow, grief, pity, concern, or apprehension of evil" (Webster's).

 

The corners of the equilateral triangle are then the prologue mentioning an ancient grudge that breaks into new mutiny; the three lines in the middle of the middle scene, middle word alas; and the last lines ending the woeful story with a ray of hope, the ancient grudge is gone, the feud overcome by the love of "Juliet and her Romeo."

 

The 23 scenes of the play correspond to the edict of 23 lines given by Prince Escalus in the opening scene while the basis of the equilateral triangle would correspond to what I call the Mosaic line by Lady Montague, mother of Romeo - in all 24 lines, number of completeness, alpha and omega.

 

 

 

a stepped bridge

 

Remember the equilateral triangle. You may lay it out with pebbles or coins, 3 for the corners, 10 and 10 and 10 in between, sum 33 pebbles or coins, 23 for the 23 scenes of the play, also for the 23 lines of the edict given by Prince Escalus, 10 for the 10 commandements in the Bible, alluded to by the Mosaic line given by Lady Montague. Replace the 10 pebbles of the basis by a stick and you have in all 24 elements forming the equilateral triangle, the ascending side and descending side counting 12 pebbles each, the pebble at the top counted twice, marking both the end of the ascending and beginning of the descending side.

 

Another illustration is a double stairway, the basis representing the Mosaic line by Lady Montague, mother of Romeo, 12 steps leading upward, 12 steps downward, the top counted twice again, height of the stairway 12, numerical signature of the poet and playwright

 

     Edward de Vere  12 letters

     Earl of Oxford  12 letters

 

as Romeo in the play the son of

 

     Lady Montague  12 letters

 

The woeful story of Romeo and Juliet ended the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. Imagine their love as a stepped bridge from the bank of one family to the bank of the other family.

 

Verona is near Venice where the famous stepped bridge Ponte di Rialto was constructed of marble in 1590. I date 'Romeo and Juliet' in the version of Quarto 1 to 1581/82. If the Ponte di Rialto should have inspired the underlying geometry of the more elaborate version of the play in Quarto 2, the second version would have been written some ten years later, when the playwright reached the height of his art.

 

 

 

the more I give the more I have

 

6 1 6 marble arches of the Ponte di Rialto frame the view on the Canal Grande and Venice (on either side of the bridge). 11 1 11 scenes frame the love story of Romeo and Juliet in a firm and shiny language.

 

     My bounty is boundless as the sea,

     My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

     The more I have, for both are infinite.

 

Venice owed her riches or boundless bounty to seafaring, to sailing across the wide and deep sea, while the Ponte di Rialto has a counterpart in a verbal bridge connecting a pair of lines

 

     the more I give to thee the more I have

 

Many people go over the bridge, many people come over the bridge, ever more go and come, come and go, so many that one can hardly count them. Venice and the Ponte Rialto may well have inspired the beautiful love metaphor given by Juliet in the version of Quarto 2, Act 2 Scene 1 lines 176-8.

 

 

 

to hide, alas, I am laid

 

Another partition of the 23 scenes

 

     5 1 5 1 5 1 5 1 5

 

yields a small triangle

 

     2.1 and 3.2 and 4.3  or  6 12 18

 

with a couple of correspondences along the principle of equal unequal

 

     2.1 Romeo separating himself,

     Juliet compared to the rising sun,

     night toward morning

 

     3.2 day, sun traveling across the sky

 

     4.3 Juliet separating herself,

     setting sun, sleeping potion,

     evening toward night

 

Looking out for the middle words in 2.1 and 3.2 and 4.3 I found a meaningful message.

 

2.1 has 235 lines, ergo the one in the middle is line 118

 

     I have night's cloak to hide me from their eyes

 

from which I take the middle words

 

     ... to hide ...

 

3.2 has 143 lines, ergo the one in the middle is line 72

 

     It did, it did, alas the day, it did

 

from which I take the middle word (middle word of middle

line of middle scene)

 

     ... alas ...

 

4.3 has 57 lines, ergo the one in the middle is line 29

 

     How if, when I am laid into the tomb

 

from which I take again the middle words

 

     ... I am laid ...

 

and combine them with the previous ones

 

     to hide, alas, I am laid

 

My Webster's Unabridged gives the second meaning of lay laid as follows: "to knock or beat down, as from an erect position; strike or beat down to the ground: One punch laid him low." A further meaning is to impose as a penalty. So we'd have

 

     to hide (behind a pseudonym)

     alas (I am obliged, being

     punched punished banished,

     knocked down, laid low)

     I am laid (for all my dear life)

 

Edward de Vere, laid low, humbled (a further meaning of laid), hid his authorship in the play Romeo and Juliet, and in the entire work sailing under the name of William Shakespeare

 

     to hide

      alas

     I am laid

 

The participle of lay was also given as layd, in that case we almost have a rhyme

 

     to hide

      alas

     I am layd

 

However, he didn't really lie low, as we can glean from his pseudonym

 

     William

     will I am

     a strong will personified

     Shakespeare

     shaking my spear

     wielding my sword

     which is my word

     my elegant and powerful word

 

 

 

owing the queen

 

The word of the playwright can be sharp as the blade of a sword or point of a spear (Shakespeare), shine like polished marble (Ponte di Rialto inspiring the second version of the play), or chime like bells rich in overtones

 

     Romeo   O Rome   Omero

 

The names Romeo and Juliet evoke Rome and Julius Caesar whose family traced themselves back to the Roman love goddess Venus, born from the sea, her name akin to Veneti, dwellers of the Veneto, Verona in its western tip, and to  Venexia Venetia Venezia Venice, marvel of a town that rose from the sea, Rosaline, gossip Venus (2.1), the Ponte di Rialto having been a market place where, me may imagine, also gossip was exchanged, perhaps near a pair of marble statues of Mars and Venus adorning the bridge?

 

Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare may have seen himself as literary version of Julius Caesar who conquered Rome then the world, and as heir of Homer, Italian Omero, Juliet being loved by both Romeo and Paris, the latter in Homer a prince of Troy, husband of the abducted beauty Helen.

 

Edward de Vere in the guise of William Shakespeare is no less wily than Odysseus hiding in a wooden horse.

 

Athene, wise Athene, in Homer the symbol of history, guided and protected Odysseus. Edward de Vere found his mentor in Queen Elizabeth. She handled him well, considering the rough time and the many dangers awaiting a free spirit like his. We owe her.

 

 

 

Whetstone of witte

 

Romeo and Juliet have an echo in Touchstone and Audrey in the play As You Like It - he the playwright and she his audience (Audrey audire audience).

 

Robert Recorde, in his algebra book Whetstone of witte, London 1557, chapter The Arte, introduces the equality sign as a pair of long parallel lines  ======  "bicause noe.2.thynges, can be moare equalle." Edward de Vere may have read it as a teenager (in the later 1560s) and may have told himself: Nothing is really equal, not even twins are. One line is above, the other below. I can find something unequal in everything that is equal, and something equal in everything unequal. And nothing remains unchanged forever - panta rhei. With my writing talent I might become a poet and playwright. If so, my work shall be an alternative Whetstone of witte: full of symbols and personifications, metaphors, analogies and similes, many layers of meaning woven together, overtones and undertones, word playing, ambiguities and contradictions, metamorphoses, transformations and changing identities, in short an algebra of life based on the equation of my life.

 

Queen Elizabeth compelled him to use a pseudonym for his and her own safety. He loathed being restricted in his ambition (to hide, alas), feeling knocked down, laid low, humbled (I am laid). However, he obliged - and took revenge by making a colossal joke. First he chose a telling nom de plume

 

     William

     will I am

     a strong will personified

     Shakespeare

     shaking my spear

     wielding my sword

     which is my word

     my elegant and powerful word

 

Then he looked out for a young analphabet of a similar name and appointed him the official author of his work!

 

Touchstone and Audrey meet William in the forest of Arden (5.1)

 

     Then learn from me:--to have, is to have (poetic talent);

     for it is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured

     out of a cup into a glass (plays ascribed to someone else)

     by filling the one doth empty the other; for all your writers

     consent that ipse is he: now, you are not ipse (the author),

     for I am he.

 

And then in sonnet 76

 

     almost every word does tell my name

 

Only he can write in such a way.

 

 

 

business and literature

 

The Merchant of Venice 1.3

 

     ... he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis,

     another to the Indies; I understand, moreover,

     on the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico,

     a fourth for England,--and other ventures he hath,

     spander'd abroad.

 

     What news on the Rialto?

 

Back to Romeo and Juliet. 'Gossip' has then the meaning of business rumors, while Rosaline of the red lips may refer to courtesans accompanying wealthy merchants, 'gossip Venus' hinting at their possible involvement in spreading rumors and weaving intrigues.

 

The play has many levels of meaning. On one of them Rosaline quickly abandoned for Juliet may symbolize an early business vocation soon abandoned for literature.

 

I didn't read the historical plays. However, the associative link to Rome and Julius Caesar made me look up the first pages of that play (Julius Caesar). The opening scene struck me as a possible satire on the literary circle of contemporary England transferred to Ancient Rome, Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare flying (writing) on

 

     Caesar's wing

 

the cobbler another playwright, and the feathers plucked from the wing imitations of Shakespeare

 

     These growing feather pluckt from Caesar's wing

 

No biographical traces of the 'bard' whereas Edward de Vere is omnipresent once we open the doors. I won't go on reading the play, nor will I read the other historical plays (fearing to find more and be occupied for the rest of my life). Now it's your turn. I gave you the keys.

 

 

 

The Oxford Shakespeare

 

Remember the partition 5 5 5 5 3 transformed into 5 1 5 1 5 1 5 and the concealed message composed from the middle words of 2.1 and 3.2 and 4.3

 

     to hide, alas, I am laid

 

The interwoven sigh would confirm the enlarged version of the play as presented in The Oxford Shakespeare (edited by Jill L. Levenson 2000 reissued 2008) on which my interpretation relies. 'Romeo and Juliet' would have been a key play, at least on the autobiographical level, copied with such care and diligence that the secret 'watermark' was preserved.

 

August Wilhelm Schlegel used a different partition in his German translation, 5 6 5 5 3, splitting 2.1 into a short scene (Mercutio speaking about Rosaline) and a long one (so-called balcony scene) while omitting several vulgar passages. He is wrong in splitting up 2.1. Rosaline and Juliet belong in the same scene, as a deliberate contrast, Rosaline personifying Venice that rose from the saline (lagoon), business and rumors on the Rialto, gossip Venus, with her scarlet lips a courtesan (harlot) accompanying wealthy merchants, furthermore an early business vocation of young Edward de Vere, soon abandoned for his true love Juliet personifying poetry. Moreover, 2.1 is mirrored in 4.3 insofar as Romeo separates himself from his friends and Juliet separates herself from her mother and her nurse at the beginning of the respective scene.

 

I trust the play in the version of The Oxford Shakespeare and thank generations of scholars for their excellent work.

 

 

 

divine love

 

Is there a parallel of a numerical 'watermark' ? Yes, possibly in the cycle of 154 sonnets.

 

Wilhelm Pötters made a connection between the medieval formula

 

     Deus est sphaera

     God is present in the perfect shape of the divine sphere

 

and the fixed form of the Italian sonetto invented by Giacomo da Lentini. Picture a circle of diameter 14 as projection of the divine sphere. The rectangle 14 by 11 has practically the same area (22/7 for pi) and provides the metric pattern for the sonetto, 14 lines of 11 pronounced syllables each, in all 154 pronounced syllables (also the ideal of the English sonnet, only that lines of 11 pronounced syllables are easily found in the melodic Italian, less easy in English).

 

Now let us visualize the cycle of 154 sonnets by Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare as a circle of the circumference 154 (number of pronounced syllables in the sonetto). How long is the circumference? 49, partition 24 1 24, middle number 25.

 

Sonnet 25, here in my interpretation, can be seen as core message of the entire cycle (both in the center and on the circumference of the imaginary circle). Edward de Vere mourns his fate, still Fortune's fool, obliged to hide behind a pseudonym, deprived from enjoying fame, however, he finds joy in the divine miracle of love, in loving and being loved, and where he can't remove and be removed from his juvenile guilt, which is the reason why he must hide, the reason why he had to adopt a pseudonym he can't remove nor be removed from, he can neither be removed from his place, being the actual author of his beloved work

 

     Then happy I, that love and am beloved

     Where I may not remove and be removed.

 

The poet seeks and finds redemption by the divine gift of love, pagan version of God's love prevailing over the original sin.

 

 

 

love thrives in freedom

 

Out of curiosity I looked for a numerical 'watermark' in the love poem Venus and Adonis, 199 verses of 6 lines each, in all 1194 lines. Consider them the circumference of a circle. How long is the diameter? 380. Line 380 or verse 63 line 2

 

     'Give me my heart,' saith she, 'and thou shalt have it(')

 

Venus lost her heart to young Adonis, but he, having other things on his mind, is not ready for love. She wishes that she were the man and he the woman, so that he would understand her desire, and takes his hand. He, unwilling, wants it back. She replies that he can have back his hand if she gets back her heart ...

 

Now picture that we had only that one line, as tiny fragment of a lost poem. In this case the final 'it' would refer to 'my heart' and we'd have a psychological puzzle

 

     Give me my heart, and you shall have it

 

What can this mean? A woman speaking, so apparently her heart had been stolen. She wants it back, and if she can decide in freedom, she will give her heart gladly - don't force me to love you, don't cage me, don't steal my heart, set me free, give back my heart, and you shall have it really ...

 

Line 380 in the alternative reading, in many ways contrary to the actual meaning, evokes the love formula in Romeo and Juliet

 

     ... the more I give to thee, The more I have

 

Love is a beautiful paradox. The more we give the more we have. Let freedom be the bond.

 

Maybe I go too far? Line 380 in the alternative reading might be a poetic misunderstanding (often invited by real poesy) and the numbers a mere coincidence. Yet if the alternative and contrary meaning was intended as a psychological pun and a humanistic message (with more impact in the negative version of Othello) the number game supporting the word play can be justified.

 

Wilhelm Pötters found the number pi not only in the forma fissa of the Italian sonetto (Nascita del sonetto, Metrica e matematica nel tempo di Federico II, Longo Editore Ravenna 1998) but also in the works of Petrarca and Dante where it has theological, philosophical and cosmological implications. He contacted me (via a colleague who found me online) and asked for advice regarding early calculating methods. I told him about additive number patterns and sequences - universal tool of pre-Greek mathematics, still used in the Renaissance - including a pair of pi sequences that now also apply in our case

 

     4/1  (plus 3/1)  7/2  10/3  13/4  16/5  19/6  22/7  25/8

 

     3/1  (plus 22/7)  25/8  47/15  ...  311/99  ...  377/120

 

     ...  597/190  doubled  1194/380  used in Venus and Adonis

 

Edward de Vere may have learned about Renaissance art and poetology including the numerical aspects on an Italian journey. Remember that also mathematics belongs to the triangle of word language: life with needs and wishes, mathematics as logic of building and maintaining, art as human measure in a technical word.

 

 

 

flower springing from Adonis' blood

 

In the poem A Lover's Complaint a woman aged from sorrow accuses her false lover, easily recognizable as the author praising and mocking himself, while she may personify a play - each time he writes a play he cares for it as his one and only great love, and once in a lifetime romance, yet when the play is finished he leaves it for to write a new play, having another affair ... She would fall for him again, and really, this happened when he wrote the second version of Romeo and Juliet, inspired by Renaissance art, Italian poetology, and the audacious Ponte di Rialto at Venice.

 

The poem A Lover's Complaint has 47 verses (of seven lines each), the one of Venus and Adonis 199 verses (of six lines each), numbers from a golden sequence

 

     1  3  4  7  11  18  29  47  76  123  199  ...

 

Consider a circle of the circumference 47. How long is the diameter? 15, according to an early value of the pi sequence a later value of which led to the hidden paradox of love in Venus and Adonis

 

     3/1  (plus 22/7)  25/8  47/15  ...  597/190 or 1194/380

 

Verse 15 reveals a double aspect of the author. He can be like a sweet maiden, writing mellifluous love lyrics, or he can be a storm, writing sharp satires and harsh polemic, sometimes veiled as comedy. However, he doesn't spare himself, bravely looking into the depths of his own soul. In himself he finds the human measure to shape the world with, genuine task of an artist.

 

Maybe the two aspects are mirrored in the two relations of Adonis, one to Venus, the poet writing love lyrics, and one to the boar, the playwright coping with the world? Love is ambivalent, as we read close to the end of the long poem. However, there are moments of freedom in love worth living for. Line 380 in the alternative reading may then be the flower springing from Adonis' blood, cherished by Venus, kept in her bosom, near her heart - freedom in love and in art being the legacy of this poet and playwright. Give me my heart and you shall have it. Set me free and you shall have my very best.

 

 

 

achieving the best in freedom

 

The poem A Lover's Complaint uses the pi value 47/15 in marking verse 15, and the long poem Venus and Adonis the value 597/190 in singling out line 380. Both values are provided by the same pi sequence

 

     3/1  (plus 22/7)  25/8  ...  355/113  ...  597/190

 

Moreover, the numbers 47 and 199 of verses belong to the so-called Lucas sequence 1 3 4 7 11 18 29 47 76 123 199 252 ..., counterpart of the so-called Fibonacci sequence 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 ..., both part of a very ancient number column approximating the square root of 5, the first lines being 1 1 5, 2 6 10, 1 3 5, 4 8 20, 2 4 10, 1 2 5, 3 7 15, 10 22 50, 5 11 25, 16 36 80, 8 18 40, 4 9 20 ..., based on the model of the number column approximating the square root of 2, first lines 1 1 2, 2 3 4, 5 7 10, 12 17 24, 29 41 58, 70 99 140 ...

 

Now let us combine the above pi values 47/15 and 597/190 by adding the nominators and denominators. We obtain the better value 644/205, and if we add the value 22/7 of the sonetto and cycle of sonnets in the form of 66/21 analogously we obtain the still better value 355/113 that belongs as the best value to the above sequence.

 

Building the Ponte di Rialto of white marble on a single arch across the wide Canal Grande was a daring enterprise requiring a lot of careful calculations. Why shouldn't also one or another complex and many-layered poetic work rely on a numerical structure?

 

Pi, the number we call pi (from Greek peri-) held symbolic meaning for the Italian school of poetry, most notably Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) and Dante Alighieri. We can approximate the mysterious little number, getting close and closer, with more and ever more effort, never coming to an end. We will never know the complete truth, all of nature's laws, God's mind. Yet we came far, achieving the best in freedom.

 

 

 

Rialto Bridge

 

The former bridge across the most narrow passage of the Canal Grande was made of wood and nicknamed Ponte di Moneta, Money Bridge. Michelangelo proposed a stone bridge. Palladio, Sansovino and others took part in a later competition for a stone bridge that may replace the old wooden structure. The competition was won by the Swiss engineer Antonio da Ponte who surprised with an audacious plan, a single span bridge of white marble. The work was begun in 1588 and proceeded slowly because of the soft underground. The new Ponte di Rialto was opened in 1591. Most people found the marble arch and superposed triangle of small arches ugly. And it will crumble ... But no, it stood the test of time and became a romantic icon, a must for a visitor of Venice.

 

Along the Canal Grande one can see beautiful façades of prestigious houses and palazzi rise from the water, among them rose-colored ones, a further facet in the name of Rosaline who personifies the rich town that rose from the sea, from the lagoon, from the saline, rose (color) rose (verb) saline (lagoon) Rosaline, also personifying a hypothetical early business vocation of Edward de Vere (that would explain his ample knowledge in matters of the law), soon abandoned for his true love, poesy and plays, a world of words, or rather a verbal bridge between human nature and the world we live in.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream    1584-87

 

The tragedy Romeo and Juliet was followed by a poetical farce, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where Romeo turned into jealous Oberon, and Juliet into proud Titania, king and queen of the fairies, Titania symbolizes the general audience preferring popular plays of a mechanical sort Edward de Vere apparently despised, and so he gave a parody of that sort of theater: the mechanicals Peter Quince and his actors stage a classical tragedy, interfere unknowingly with the fairies, turn things upside down, doing harm and well at the same time, bringing one true couple of lovers apart, another together, and, to the big delight of Oberon, his wife Titania falls in love with an ass, Peter Qunice’s leading actor Bottom wearing the head of an ass [“translated” into an ass], of which Titania will soon be ashamed and return to her husband Oberon, as audience personified realizing that those popular mechanical plays are not the real thing. Edward de Vere gives the audience a pedagogical lesson in form of a funny, highly poetical and fantastic play, without any pedagogy at all.

 

 

 

The Two Gentlemen of Verona    1576-78

 

If there is a subtext in the play The Two Gentlemen of Verona, it may concern the relation between art and power, Julia symbolizing art, Silvia power, Proteus the poet and playwright, and Valentine the one destined by virtue to exert power, Latin valere meaning ‘to be worthy, having value, virtue’ being present in the name Valentine. Proteus would then symbolize de Vere. Homer tells us about Proteus in book 4 of the Odyssey: an old man (de Vere relying on a very long tradition), honest (the poet’s motto pronounced in sonnet 105 is “Fair, kind, and true,” being true an equivalent of being honest), of infallible lips (the poet claims the same in the sonnets), he sees and knows everything (and so does the playwright in his god-like position as creator of his plays), he metamorphoses into everything that walks on earth, but also into water and divine blazing fire, becomes a lion with a mane, a snake, a panther, liquid water, a tree of a towering crown (while the playwright can assume every guise in his plays), he knows the depths of all seas (he knows the depths of human nature), his daughter is Eidothea, literally the goddess of pictures (while the playwright creates living pictures on the illuminated stage), he knows what happens in the palace (while de Vere knew the court, having been raised in the care of the Queen), good or bad (the achievements and crimes of five hundred years of the empire’s history). De Vere matches Valentine with Silvia and Proteus with Julia, not without pointing out a temporary aberration of Proteus who was seduced by power.

 

 

 

Titus Andronicus    first version 1573, second version 1588

 

Titus Andronicus might be a surrealist play avant la lettre, a tragic satire, methodical insanity used in describing a mad time, the natural order of the human cosmos dissolving, held together for appearances by a stern logic of violence, five hundred years ending in doom

 

1086  Domesday Book  or  Doomsday Book

1588   second version of Titus Andronicus  “This is our doom”

 

Titus Andronicus --- ‘builders’ of the English empire, William the Conqueror, the Earls of Oxford, others, Henry VIII as military leader

 

Bassianus --- Henry VIII as humanist

 

Saturninus --- Henry VIII as king

 

Lavinia --- Anne Boleyn

 

Lucius --- Queen Elizabeth

 

Young Lucius --- Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

 

Marcus Antonius --- Arthur Golding / Lord Burghley (John Golding was the half-brother of Edward de Vere’s mother Margery Golding, young Edward helped his uncle John translate Ovid’s metamorphoses / William Cecil, Lord Burghley, helped Elizabeth to the throne, was her minister of finance, raised young Edward de Vere at the court, and was the father of Anne Cecil, first wife Edward’s; Anne died in 1588 and was praised as angel in euloges)

 

Tamora, queen of Goths --- Mathilde, widow of the German Kaiser Heinrich V, imposed as queen of England by her father, Saxon king Henry I, in 1127, her arrival in England in 1139 the begin of the age of anarchy (civil wars) / Mary Tudor “Bloody Mary” supporting the German Kaiser Karl V and marrying Philip II of Spain

 

Aaron the Moor --- Black Prince, waged war on France in 1369 / Philip II of Spain, prosecutor of the Moriscos ‘Moors and Maranos ‘pigs’ Jews, turned into a Moor of a Jewish name in the fiction of the play (turning persons around is a means of satire; according to Kurt Kreiler, John ‘false stuff’ Falstaff is a turned around puritan, Martin Marprelate, see my interpretation of As You Like It below)

 

The play, – a political allegory, condensing five hundred years of English history and focusing on then recent events – was real enough to ban the audience and unreal enough to avoid censorship. In all the mess of lost reality and upturned human relations one aspect becomes apparent: Edward de Vere’s political position. He welcomed the collapse of Karl’s Reich, indicated by the initial speech of Young Lucius, demanding the sacrifice of a Goth who must be dismembered before being placed on the pyre, symbolizing the breaking apart of Karl’s empire. He supported the English empire, indicated by the final speech of Young Lucius, honoring Titus Andronicus. And he welcomed the breaking up of the Spanish hegemony, indicated by Lucius condemning the Moor of a Jewish name, Philip II as one of his own victims … What appeared to be racism before is now a sharp satire used as weapon in defending the Moors and Jews against the ‘Christian’ monster Philip II, bow and arrow of his biting wit, indicated by the two lines of Horace written down in Act 4 Scene 2

 

     Integer vitae, scelerisque purus,

     Non eget Mauri jaculus, nec arcu

 

by Young Lucius and handed over as weapon. A literary weapon, the play itself. The verse means: Those integer of life and free of stains don’t need the arc and arrows of the Moors – here the Moor is Philip II turned into one of his own victims. The promise of a new order is given in the two last lines of the play, delivered by Queen Elizabeth in the guise of Lucius

 

     Then, afterwards, to order well the state,

     That like events never it ruinate.

 

 

 

The Merchant of Venice    1578-79

 

What about Shylock? Isn’t he evidence for a latent anti-Semitism in the playwright?

 

Bassianus in the play Titus Andronicus represented Henry VIII as humanist, while we have a close Italian version of Latin Bassianus, namely Bassanio in the play The Merchant of Venice, and accordingly Bassanio proposes a humanist view, for example when he speaks about law and religion in Act 3 Scene 2

 

     In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,

     But, being season’d with a gracious voice,

     Obscures the show of evil? In religion,

     What damned error, but some sober brow

     Will bless it, and approve it with a beat,

     Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?

 

When I read the convoluted second sentence I was baffled by the grammatical pun

 

     religion, what damned error

 

If the sentence is parsed correctly it proposes a humanist view, so I believe that ‘Christian’ in the play, when used in a positive sense, means Humanist. Jessica, daughter of Shylock, converts to Christendom, but really she remains a Jew, a humanist one. Shylock is sentenced to lose all his money, but he keeps it and reinstalls Jessica as his heir; he is also sentenced to become a Christ, but, we may infer, he remains a Jew, now a humane one, a humanist … In the poet’s opinion a truly humanist society has to give equal rights to women. In the play a woman, Portia, wife of Bassanio – the two married on their word, no priest and church involved – turns the play around and solves the dire conflict by telling Shylock that he is not allowed to shed one single drop of Christian blood. Now Christian blood is a nonsense term, Christians and Jews having the very same blood, human blood, so the word Christian has the meaning of human, humane, humanist … I see a variety of humanist messages enfolded in the play, in the dialectical way this poet loved so much.

 

 

 

Cymbeline    1603

 

Cymbeline and the Queen --- Britain

 

Imogen --- Queen Elizabeth

 

Posthumus Leonatus, introduced as a poor but worthy gentleman, a former playfellow of Imogen, called a base thing and a beggar by Cymbeline, an eagle and a luster to the court by Imogen ---Edward de Vere, raised at the court of Queen Elizabeth, wood by her as he claimed, begged her for an annuity, she remained without husband, in the memory of time the Queen and her poet belong together, the name Posthumus Leonatus would anticipate the posthumous fate of Leo- ‘the lion’ –natus ‘born (again)’ into a second life of literary fame …

 

The introduction as “a poor but worthy gentleman” provides another pun, wor-thy – Vere-thy – thy Vere – thy worthy de Vere …

 

I dare say that Cymbeline is a late play, destined to be staged posthumously. Scholars wonder why de Vere wrote no poem as eulogy on the passing away of his Queen in 1603. Well, he wrote an entire play.

 

Act 1 Scene 5, characterizations of Posthumus Leonatus

 

     the Briton reveler  /  the jolly Briton

 

     He sits amongst men like a descended god;

     He hath a kind of honour sets him off,

     More than a mortal, seeming

 

The poet and playwright anticipating posthumous fame. In Act 2 Scene 2 he is contradicted

 

     Leonatus! A banished rascal

 

Banished in a second sense means obliged to hide his name and authorship in the plays and poems. The second Lord, in his asides, retorts to the accusations, and in his speech at the end of Act 2 Scene 2 defends the legacy of Queen Elizabeth (Imogen) and Edward de Vere (her banished lord)

 

     … Alas, poor princess,

     Thou divine Imogen, what thou endurest

 

     … The heavens hold firm

     The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshaked

     That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand

     T’enjoy thy banisht lord and this great land!

 

The final words of the play – “this great land” – make clear what the play is about: Britain that may be ruled in the spirit of the late Queen and her poet, for centuries to come.

 

Toward the end of Act 2 Scene 2

 

     Though this is a heavenly angel, hell is here

 

The heavenly angel is Queen Elizabeth, and hell the political situation of her time. Act 3 Scene 2, Imogen is called

 

     More goddess-like than wife-like

 

Act 3 Scene 5, more praise for her

 

     … from everyone

     The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,

     Outsells them all

 

Posthumus Leonatus is called “most true” while the Oxford motto VERO NIHIL VERIUS, nothing truer than truth, is another pun on the family name de Vere and reminds of the triple formula “Fair, kind, and true” of sonnet 105. The coat of arms of Edward de Vere, by the way, show two lions on their hind legs, while the name Leonatus is explained toward the end of the play, Leo-natus, born a lion whelp, a born lion, born again into a second life of literary fame, as the king of poets, the lion being a royal animal, and so is the eagle, Imogen’s epithet of Leonatus.

 

The play Cymbeline is the missing eulogy on Queen Elizabeth. Act 3 Scene 5

 

     By Jupiter, an angel! Or, if not, an earthly paragon!

 

Act 4 Scene 2

 

     O sweetest, fairest lily!

 

Act 5 Scene 1, Posthumus Leonatus speaking

 

     … Let me make men know

     More valour in me than my habits show

 

Edward de Vere correcting his reputation.

 

Imogen dies as Fidele, is mourned, and wakes up again – Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, is mourned in moving lines of the play, and wakes up to posthumous fame owing to her poet. Also he dies, as Posthumus Leonatus, and wakes up again to a posthumous life of literary fame. While he sleeps – dies, actually – Jupiter himself descends on his eagle and holds a speech, Act 5 Scene 4

 

     Whom best I love I cross, to make my gift,

        The more delay’d, the more delighted. Be content;

     Your low-laid son your godhead will uplift:

        His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.

     Our Jovial star reigned at his birth, and in

        Our temple he was married.

 

‘Married’ to Queen Elizabeth, ideal union of the Queen and her poet in the Elizabethan legacy.

 

When Edward de Vere was born in 1550, an astrologer predicted the fall of the earldom in the earl’s lifetime. Now, toward the end of Cymbeline, a soothsayer names the concern of the play: “Britain be fortunate, and flourish in peace and plenty.”

 

The play is unreal enough to avoid “censure rash” (Act 4 Scene 2) “And Art made tongue-tied by Authority” (sonnet 66) but real enough to move the audience. The moving moments for me are those that praise and mourn Elizabeth via Imogen

 

     … O Imogen!

     My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,

     Imogen, Imogen!

 

Edward de Vere mourning the Queen, speaking right from his heart.

 

 

 

Hamlet    1585-86

 

Act 2 Scene 2

 

     O God, I would be bounded in a nut-shell,

     and count myself a king of infinite space,

     were it not that I have bad dreams.

 

What is that mysterious nut-shell? The human brain resembles a walnut, so the nut-shell is the human skull. With our eyes we behold the world, and our rational mind, a king of infinite space, imposes one or another system on the sensual impressions, be it religion or philosophy or science or the law, yet every closed system raises problems at the margin that cause bad dreams. Darwin’s ‘nightmare’ was the eye, hard to explain via gradual evolution alone, yet his followers turned his model into evolution per se, which gave raise to eugenic programs, the very nightmare of the past century. Sigmund Freud showed that we are not lord of our own house, Wir sind nicht Herr im eigenen Haus. Our consciousness, the rational mind, king of infinite space, isn’t really king; every closed system of beliefs and rules, internalized, must exclude one or another aspect, and what is suppressed will sooner or later return as a bad dream or symptom, Freud’s return of the repressed, Wiederkehr des Verdrängten. Hamlet is forced to act along the rules and beliefs of the feudal society, also a closed system, and the result is madness, played madness on his side, actual madness on the side of poor Ophelia who must suffer from Hamlet’s behaving. Act 4 Scene 5, Laertes witnessing the suffering of his dear sister Ophelia

 

     Do you see that, O God?

 

How can a good God allow so much suffering in the world, and why does an almighty God not end it? Religion as a closed system that claims to know all answers has caused another bad dream in form of the Malleus Malificarum and the Unholy Inquisition.

 

Edward de Vere pleads for an open mind in two famous lines of the play, Act 1 Scene 5

 

     There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

     Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

 

For example the unconscious, (re)discovered by Freud. Hamlet, Freud says, reproaches his uncle for doing what he wishes to do unconsciously. The unconscious has a logic of its own. A peculiar logic is found in the dream dialog of Hamlet which may be understood as follows. We behold the world with our eyes and apprehend it with our mind “in god-like manner.” By night, when we close our eyes and sleep, we may dream. Our dreams are but shadows of the real world we see by day. Now the word dream also has the meaning of something we desire, as in the case of the famous dream of Martin Luther King. Ambition, the poet says, is the shadow of such a dream. By equating both dreams, the shadow of the world and the sun of our ambition, he comes to the conclusion that ambition is the shadow of a shadow. Now the world, in the view of the ancient ones – a belief still cherished in the Renaissance – is the macro-cosmos, while a living being is a micro-cosmos, a mirror-image of the world, yet while the world is self-sufficient we are depending in many ways, and so we are not really mirror images of the universe but shadows – the body is a beggar, the poet says, full of desires, and desire is expressed in dreams, so we have the world, below it shadow and dream and body. Now the shadow of a dream is ambition, as explained above. The fiercest ambition lives in a king, so the king is the shadow of a beggar … what is highest becomes lowest, everyday logic doesn’t work anymore, the conscious mind fails, something else takes over, and if it is madness it has nevertheless method, as another famous line of the play states.

 

While mathematical logic – the logic of building and maintaining – is based on the equation

 

     a = a

 

the logic of the play anticipates Goethe’s ever turning key

 

     All is equal, all unequal …

 

Edward de Vere is Hamlet not Hamlet who is himself and not himself and loves Ophelia loves her not loves her more than everybody else. (More on this logic in my interpretation of the play As You Like It.)

 

 

 

The Winter’s Tale    1603/4

 

Leontes, king of Sicily --- playwright, Edward de Vere, close to the end of his carrier and life, Sicily a reference to the birthplace of Italian poetry, Giacomo da Lentini’s invention of the Italian sonnet at the court of Frederick II in Palermo (while Henry Howard, an uncle Edward de Vere’s, invented the English sonnet)

 

Hermione, his wife, a former Russian princess --- art personified; in early Italian poems (Lentini, Petrarca, Dante) the worshiped woman also personifies love and transcendence, an icon, really, therefore the reference to Russia. There is also a subtext in early Italian poetry, an apparent and a concealed level, the first one the body, as it were, the veiled one the soul.  As painter we have Julio (Giulio) Romano, pupil and helper of Raphael (who, I believe, was an unofficial pupil of Leonardo da Vinci; another influence on Romano was the great sculptor Michelangelo)

 

Maximilian, son to Leontes and Hermione, dies --- the poet has no heir; being a singular genius he remains without a real successor

 

Pauline, a woman, but also an old turtle, and has wings --- life personified, moving in water, on earth, and in the air

 

Pauline’s accusation of Leontes --- the poet gained insight into human nature, often by watching people suffer, and he contributed to some of their suffering himself

 

Perdita ‘the lost one’ --- the plays and poems, in danger of being lost, also lost in a second sense, known under the name of William Shakespeare, this a reason for Leontes to be jealous

 

Polixenes, king of Bohemia --- actors, leading actor, perhaps honoring Kempe who died in 1603? Bohemia in the sense of French bohème, English version first used between 1570-80, designating vagabonds, also wandering theater companies, Edward de Vere might have met his leading actor in 1582/83 (obtained by subtracting 31 years from 1603/4), the name Polixenes evokes Poly-xenos, Much Strange, indicating that an actor reveals elements and layers in a play the author was unaware of, and thus helps him form and shape the plays, raise them, as it were

 

Florizel, falls in love with Perdita, his father doesn’t approve of the liaison, and so the loving couple elopes --- while the poet, being a singular figure, has no real successor, the leading actor has many successors, ever new generations of brilliant actors who shine in the roles and fill them differently, which may make the previous generation jealous, not approving of the new ways of interpreting a role, yet every generation has a right to see and give a play in a fresh manner, and highlight other aspects of the multi-faced gem, making the plays bloom, so to say, indicated by the name Florizel, Latin flor floris ‘flower’ (remember Paris in Romeo and Juliet, actor personified, called “a flower, in faith; a real flower”)

 

Camillo --- perhaps a reference to a scribe who helped Edward de Vere to note his quick flowing verse in the last years, encouraging him to go on, hindering him from burning his work when seized by a bad temper and the futility of his attempts; may have carried away the sheets in order to save them

 

Antigonus, husband of Pauline, deposits Perdita on the shore of Bohemia, is then followed by a bear and devoured by this one --- the human struggle to save the cultural achievements, and the sacrifices we bring in doing so (a modern term for the bear would be entropy, Antigonus our struggle against entropy)

 

The poet, near the end of his life, reveals himself as a jealous tyrant, in the play and via the oracle of Apollo, while everybody around him is true and full of the best intentions, trying to save his work (the actors save them, having them written down, laid down, so to say). The name Leontes reminds of Posthumus Leonatus. In the play Cymbeline, the poet – effecting his own apotheosis via Posthumus Leonatus – makes himself shine in bright colors. Now, in The Winter’s Tale, he shows his dark colors, in amazing honesty (though veiled in the subtext of the play), perhaps feeling that his apotheosis and a second life of literary fame require full sincerity.

 

The second part of the play, sixteen years later, would anticipate the years 1619/20. The First Folio was published in 1623, under the name of William Shakespeare. The playwright’s work was saved for good, but belongs now to the actors who perform the plays in their own way. Saved for good by well meaning people who forgave the jealous tyrant for the beauty of his work, for his gentle praise, and for his honest confession – “Fair, kind, and true” (sonnet 105).

 

 

 

The Tempest    1604

 

Prospero in The Tempest symbolizes cultural progress that makes the world prosper, art and science, the poet and playwright again; Prospero being from Milan perhaps an allusion to Leonardo da Vinci who spent many years at the court of the Sforza in Milan); Miranda his admirable work; Ferdinand political power (King James; also a reference to the Sforza of Milan, Italian sforzo meaning effort, and forza power) that shall make good and not overhasty use of the “rich gift” (Act 4 Scene 1); Ferdinand playing at chess with Miranda indicating an always complicated relation between political power on the one side, art and science on the other side; the island seems to be far away, in the West Indies, but is very close, the stage of the Globe, the cell of the poet and the workshop of a painter or a scientist, even the memory of language; the hag reminding of the goddess of old, for example Circe in Homer’s Odyssee; Caliban being a chthonic god, also the animal nature of ourselves, and a simpler life of early times; Ariel the spirit, Latin spiritus Greek pneuma Hebrew ru-ach, the eternal spirit who serves the poet in the guise of Prospero for a while and is released when all is brought back to a good order so the land may prosper and its dwellers forgive the shortcomings and flaws of the poet and playwright

 

     Let your indulgence set me free.

 

The beauty of Miranda is the dazzling, enchanting beauty of the language of this play. Act 4 Scene 1, Iris calling out for Ceres, Roman version of Greek Demeter, emanation of the goddess of old, the hag of the play restored to her ancient glory

 

     Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas

     Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats, and peas,

     Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep,

     And flat meads thatch’d with stover them to keep,

     Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims,

     Which spongy April at thy best betrims,

     To make old nymphs chaste crowns, and thy broom groves

     Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves,

     Being lass-lorn; thy pole-clipt vineyard;

     And thy sea-marge, sterile and rocky-hard,

     Where thou thyself dost air;--the queen o’the sky,

     Whose watery arch and messenger am I,

     Bids thee leave these, and with her sovereign grace,

     Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,

     To come and sport:--her peacocks fly amain;

     Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain.

 

 

 

As You Like It    first version 1593, second version 1600

 

“When a man’s verses cannot be understood, a good wit not seconded by the forward child Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.”  Edward de Vere in the guise of the clown Touchstone, As You Like It

 

Touchstone, a clown, fool, motley, called a whetstone by Celia, rhymes, compares himself among the goats to Ovid among the Goths --- Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, “a motley to the view” (while Celia might echo the Queen’s voice). Touchstone as whetstone reminds of Recorde’s mathematical treatise Whetstone of witte, London 1557, wherein the equation sign == is introduced, for what can be more equal than parallels? The play is another Whetstone of witte, anticipating, once more, Goethe’s world formula and ever turning key “all is equal, all unequal”

 

Audrey, loved by Touchstone who fondly calls her a foul slut --- audience [a modern equivalent being Peggy in the sitcom Married with Children, watching TV all day long … the first seasons are hilarious, and full of allusions – how many of them would still be understood in the year 2400?]

 

Oliver Martext, village vicar, engaged to wed Audrey and Touchstone in a mock ceremony --- Martin Marprelate (pseudonym), a puritan zealot who published vitriolic pamphlets in 1588/89, rather the parody of a puritan (Kristen Poole), had the paradox effect of making theater production flourish

 

William, a country fellow, from Arden, 25 years old, also in love with Audrey --- William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon (Kurt Kreiler), born 1564, son of Mary Arden whose father was the landowner Robert Arden of Wilmscote, may have been 25 years old when he left his family for London where he was mentioned as cashier of the Chamberlain’s Men in 1594

 

The clownish trio Touchstone – Audrey – William parodies Romeo – Juliet – Paris. Everybody is made fun of in this comic romance that comes to a happy ending, as we like it.

 

A first version of the play may stem from the early 1590s, while the second version, the one of the First Folio from 1623, would have been written for the jubilee of the Queen’s enthronization on November 17, 1600, with an inoculated satire out of an impending reason: Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, former chief of the secret service, rival and enemy of Edward de Vere, had been banned from the court but now hoped to get back and gave the Queen a painting of his wife that was shown to the public on the same November 17, 1600. the now famous painting of Frances Walshingham as Mysterious Lady or Persian Lady

 

Rosalind --- on the level of the inoculated satire from 1600 Frances Walshingham as the Mysterious or Persian Lady, pregnant, wearing a long flower-decorated gown, standing before a proud walnut tree, embracing a weeping stag whose antlers are multiplied by branches of the tree, from which, on the other side, a nut is falling toward a framed poem written by Devereux who makes his wife speak and complain that she gets the rind while others get the fruit … Edward de Vere in the guise of the clown Touchstone turns her lament around, saying her husband is the rind and she the fruit

 

     Sweetest nut has the sourest rind

     Such a nut is Rosalind

 

Orlando, a son of Rowland de Boys, writes sentimental love poems and hangs them on trees --- on the level of the inoculated satire from 1600 Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, compared to “a worm-eaten nut” by Edward de Vere in the guise of Touchstone, Devereux véreux ‘worm-eaten’ versus de Vere veritas ‘truth’. Edward de Vere was jealous, because Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, who had an affair with his second wife, Elizabeth Trentham, left him for the admired Devereux, and so de Vere insinuates that Frances might be pregnant by Henry: “many a man has good horns and knows no end of them” (just one of many such remarks). Robert Devereux is the rival poet of the sonnets, while Henry Wriothesley is the beautiful young man. Now I believe that some of the poems are ambiguous, for example sonnet 20 that can also be read as high praise and mild chiding of Queen Elizabeth, or sonnet 83 mentioning “both your poets” – in one case de Vere and Devereux, in the other case the playwright and his actors who make the play together in the sense of Greek poieo ‘I make’ and poiaesis, wherefrom English poetry and poet. Edward de Vere in the guise of a clown warns the Queen of the treacherous man: “O, that’s a brave man, he writes brave verses, speaks brave words, swears brave oaths, and breaks them bravely …” And he justifies the use of satire. Touchstone. “The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.” Celia: “By my troth, thou sayest true, for since that little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show.” The satire was a warning. Devereux ignored it and went on organizing his rebellion. One year later he was beheaded for treason. His follower Henry, also condemned to the block, was saved in an extraordinary act of mercy, own, we may assume, to an intervention of Edward de Vere begging the Queen for the life of the still young man.

 

 

 

The Taming of the Shrew    1579

 

The Taming of the Shrew may be considered a paradox intervention. Relations are turned around. A drunken tinker is made lord, a boy his wife, Lucentio calls himself Cambio ‘Change’, his servant becomes the master, a pedant Lucentio’s father, Petruchio a fool, the sun the moon, an old man a young girl, the shrew Katherine a gentle woman, and the drunkard Christopher Sly, anti-hero of the Induction and a brief insertion near the begin, disappears and becomes the mirror image of the shrew Katherine, namely the Christopher Slys in the audience. You are the lord of your household? you got a shrew for a wife? you wish her tamed as Katherine on the stage, in the play we perform for you? gentle, kind, loving and subdued? Well then, prove yourself worth of the praise of men Katherine pronounced in her final speech! If you are sly, which I hope you are, you’ll get the hidden meaning. Carry your wife on your shoulders, metaphorically speaking, like Saint Christopher carried the infant Christ across the river, wading through the water. Then she will consider you her lord and master, place her hand under your foot, support you in her way, that is.

 

Kurt Kreiler dates the play to 1579. I agree.

 

On a sublevel, the playwright as author of comedies and serious plays may be present in the ‘brothers’ Petruchio and Lucentio, and the audience in the sisters Katharina Katherine Kate and Bianca, while the turning of a drunken tinker into a lord, called “the veriest antick in the world,” anticipates the elevation of the illiterate William Shaksper from Stratford-Upon-Avon to the playwright maybe in 1589. Lucentio pretends that he has to change his name because he killed a man. This would anticipate the Tybalt incident in the play Romeo and Juliet from 1581/82, Romeo on the sublevel being the playwright, and his beloved Juliet the audience. And the Tybalt incident may reflect the Thomas Brincknell accident from 1567.

 

 

 

King Lear

 

Also the play King Lear might be self-referential, reflecting on the necessity of serious plays, pondering what would happen if such plays were forbidden, the theaters closed. Here you are with my guesses

 

King Lear – symbol of Britain surrounded by the sea, the Celtic god Lir being the sea personified; Lear has an anagram in Real

 

Goneril – political power, finance

Albany – honoring Lord Burghley?

 

Regan – military power, army

 

Cordelia – theater, the French anagram cordiale meaning heartily, from the heart

France – honoring Pierre de Ronsard? (see also Love’s Labour’s Lost)

 

Gloster – audience, losing his eyes meaning the audience has no more plays to watch if theaters are closed

 

Edgar – serious plays

Edmund – plays that flatter power

 

Kent – actor

 

Fool – finding the difference in what is equal, and the equal in what is different (remember Goethe’s formula All is equal, all unequal …)

 

The tragedy begins with Cordelia saying that she loves the king according to her bond, after her sisters Goneril and Regan had made big and wordy confessions of their love. This means on the level of the subtext: politicians and military leaders are great in making patriotic statements, while art, being more critical, proves a deeper love. The play shows what happens if art were forbidden, and theaters closed. (For our time: what would happen if the media were forbidden in the free west?) The play opens with Kent speaking, the actor in the role of the actor, and closes with Edgar speaking, one of his four final lines being

 

     Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

 

Near the begin Kent is pleading

 

     See better, Lear; and let me still remain

     The true blank of thine eye.

 

Lear, mourning Cordelia, utters his last words

 

     … Look on her,--look, her lips,--

     Look there, look there !--                 [Dies

 

No more breath comes from her lips, Cordelia died, and now the king dies. Edward de Vere defends the theater by writing one of the most marvelous plays ever, resembling the sound of a bell, rich in overtones, resounding on many levels of meaning. The play being self-referential – a play reflecting on the role of plays – does not narrow its range of meanings, for also life itself is self-referential, the meaning of life being life according to Sigmund Freud.

 

 

 

Twelfth Night    turn of year 1589/90

 

Maria, Olivia’s woman, writes a fake love letter to Malvolio, steward to Oilivia, encoding the name of Olivia’s ‘darling’ in the letters M, O, A, I, which Malvolio recognizes as letters of his own name

 

     M-alvolio    M    first letter

 

     Malvoli-O    O    last letter

 

     m-A-lvolio    A    second letter

 

     malvol-I-o    I    second to last letter

 

By applying the same pattern to the name Vere we obtain

 

     V-ere    V    first letter

 

     Ver-E    E    last letter

 

     v-E-re    E    second letter

 

     ve-R-e    R    second to last letter

 

V, E, E, R, or veer, to change direction or turn about or aside; shift, turn, or change from one course, position, inclination, etc., to another (Webster’s) – the very program of the Twelfth Night, indicating the turn of year, namely the twelfth night following the earliest midwinter day (winter solstice on December 20 or 21 or 22 or 23, earliest midwinter day Dec 20, first night 20/21, second night 21/22, third night 22/23, fourth night 23/24, fifth night 24/25, sixth night 25/26, seventh night 26/27, eighth night 27/28, ninth night 28/29, tenth night 29/30, eleventh night 30/31, twelfth night between December 31 and January 1). Orsino loves Olivia who falls in love with Cesario who loves Orsino – an amorous merry-go-round symbolized by the ring Olivia sends to Cesario/Viola … Veer as anagram of Vere, a fine engrained signature, precisely encoded, the very program of the play.

 

Clown: “Nothing that is so is so.” The Clown in the guise of Sir Topas the curate: “Bonos dies, Sir Toby: for, as the old hermit of Prague, that never saw pen and ink, very wittily said to a niece of king Gorboduc, ‘That that is is;’ so I, being master parson, am master parson; for, what is that but that, and is but is?”

 

The Clown makes fun of dogmatism. He calls himself a corrupter of words, melting frozen concepts and views and opinions, anticipating, once more, Goethe’s ever turning key

 

     All is equal, all unequal …

 

The name of Sir Topas alludes to the mineral, crystal and gem topaz, highly appreciated for the remarkable variety of colors, from colorless and perfectly translucent to gray, green, red, honey-yellow, brown, orange, rose, violet, blue, aquamarine and azure (consider that a clown was called a motley, and Edward de Vere called himself “a motley to the view”). Also the sizes vary, from polished pingos de agua ‘water drops’ in river beds to perfectly formed crystals weighing over 150 kilograms (Florence) and even 300 kilograms (New York). Moreover, the stone is cut and polished to a variety of decorative shapes, pendeloques (pendants in the form of large drops), discs, ovals, squares and octagons. A topaz is a topaz, yet varies in size and shape and color …

 

Just before ‘bad meaning’ Malvolio (Italian male ‘bad’, voglio pronounced vollio ‘I want’) enters the stage, the Clown says

 

     ‘Better a witty fool than a foolish wit’

 

Malvolio offends the Clown, whereupon the Clown tries to drive the devil out of Malvolio

 

     Out, hyperbolical fiend!

 

Malvolio might stand for Martin Marprelate and his fellow puritans who tried to close the theaters and deprive the world of colors, as it were. If so, the play might have been written for the turn of year 1588/89, when Martin Marprelate was active, more precisely for New Years Eve – a hilarious comedy around a serious problem.

 

‘Puritan’, in the begin, was a derogatory term, and was preceded by the name ‘Precisionist’, for those rather extreme reformers of the faith knew precisely what is right and wrong, defining and confining everything in a pedantic way, so that they were also called ‘sticklers’ – That that is is, for what is that but that, and is but is? The word Precisionist goes back to French précis Latin praecisius praecidere ‘to cut off’ prae-caedere ‘to cut’. Now consider the steward Malvolio examining the fake love letter allegedly sent to him by his mistress Olivia: “By my life, this is my lady’s hand; these are her very C’s, her U’s, and her T’s; and thus makes she her great P’s. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.” Whereupon Sir Andrew Aguecheek: “Her C’s, her U’s, and her T’s, why that?” Because they yield CUT, the meaning of prae-caedere at the base of Precisionist, which term or name is indicated by the great P – those who know exactly what is right and what is wrong in the name of their precise belief … Precisionist and puritan pastors undertook exorcisms for demonic possession. In the play, the Clown performs a mock exorcism on Malvolio – “Out, hyperbolical fiend!” – and defines the dark house in which Malvolio is kept in an absurdly precise manner: “Why, it hath bay windows transparent as barricadoes, and the clearstories are as lustrous as ebony; and yet complainest thou of obstruction?

 

Traditionally, the twelfth night was the twelfth night following Christmas, December 25, namely the night between January 5 and January 6, Epiphany of Christ. The play makes mention of midsummer, and of the twelfth night in December, so I believe that the night of this play is New Year’s Eve, the night between December 31 and January 1, the turn of year, according to the M A O I pattern Vere verE vEre veRe yielding VEER ‘to turn and shift’, programmatic anagram of the playwright’s family name. Jove is mentioned several times in the play, and may be a reference to the Roman Saturnalia that survive in modest form in our New Year’s Eve. The Saturnalia were the seven days preceding the winter solstice, beginning on December 17. During the Saturnalia, human relations were turned around, master became slave, and slave master. A steward (Malvolio) believing that his mistress (Olivia) could have sent him a love letter is only imaginable during the Saturnalia, when everything was turned around, or then at New Year’s Eve as modest heir of the Roman Saturnalia.

 

 

 

Measure for Measure    January 17, 1590

 

The Duke in Measure for Measure symbolizes government – not a person but a task; Isabella, “having the truth of honor in her,” Queen Elizabeth, Isabella Isabel- Elisab- Elizabeth; and Angelo, a hypocrite, is another Malvolio. The playwright tells the Queen that she should listen to her own heart, and not to those who make big words they can’t live by. Good government is present in the allegorical marriage of the wily Duke and honest Isabella who knows her inner pattern, has grace to stand, and virtue go (qualities in a ruler demanded by the Duke in his programmatic speech in Act 3 Scene 2). Martin Marprelate – Malvolio of the Twelfth Night, Angelo in Measure for Measure – was active in 1588 and 89. The prank on Malvolio is staged by Maria, while Angelo would rather die than marry his former fiancée Mariana, but he must take her for his wife. This means the playwright, pointing out the antagonism of Papists and Precisionists (Marian exiles) or Puritans in one play, forcing them together in the other play, is highlighting the religious conflict in one play, and ending it in a satirical way in the other play. The Twelfth Night would have been written for the turn of year 1588/89, and Measure for Measure, full of praise for the Queen, for the 30th anniversary of her crowning on January 17. She was crowned on January 17, 1559, so the play would have been performed on January 17, 1589.

 

 

 

Love’s Labour’s Lost    late 1570s

 

Love’s Labour’s Lost, a play full of puns, might be a self-ironic poetology, and a contest between English, French, and Spanish literature, Edward de Vere being present in Fer-dinand, King of Na-var-re, in Lord Ber-owne, in the schoolmaster Holo-fer-nes, and in Ver the Spring of the closing song, while the princess of France may symbolize French poetry, her lady Rosaline perhaps Ronsard, and Don Adriano de Armado, a fantastical Spaniard, Spanish romances of chivalry. Edward de Vere places French poetry above and Spanish literature below him. As King Fer-dinand he seeks fame, as Lord Ber-owne he loves life, and as Holo-fer-nes he reveals his own “fickle mind” in Act 4 Scene 2: “This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricule of memory, nourisht in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it.” (Bob Dylan said he always felt like a matchbox of too many matches.) The song of Ver the Spring at the end of the play indicates the late 1570s, when Edward de Vere believed his wife had betrayed him. The playwright is measuring his art with French poetry and hopes that he will reach the same level in a year and a day.

 

Narvarre might be a reference to Beringia of Navarra, who, as wife of Richard Lionheart, became Queen of England (note the similarity of Beringie and Berowne), while the persiflage on Spanish romances of chivalry might have inspired Miguel Cervantes to his famous novel, first part 1605, second part 1615. We have then these correspondences: knight, on a mission to rescue the (enchanted) princess – Don Adriano de Armado, a fantastic Spaniard – Don Quixote // knave – page Moth – Sancho Panza // (enchanted) princess – Jaquenetta, a country wench – Dulcinea // horse – dancing horse – Rosinante (see the long dialogue between Armado and Moth in Act 1 Scene 2).

 

 

 

All’s Well That Ends Well    1599 or 1600

 

Edward de Vere as Ber-tram follows Robert Devereux as Parolles in a military campaign to Ireland, the geography veiled by a change of direction, instead of from London to Ireland from Paris to Florence, leaving his task of writing plays and thus caring for the health of the kingdom, so to say, as Bertram abandoning his wife Helena who cured the king. The play contains sharp attacks on Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose failed campaign in Ireland consisted merely in burning down fields and houses, alluded to by the Clown who evokes the black prince alias prince of darkness alias devil and his fire in Act 4 Scene 2. A further allusion to fire is Lafeu, French le feu meaning fire, and his “carbonadoed face” mentioned by the Clown, apparently a face blackened from exposure to fires instead of bearing a scar from a wound received in battle. Edward de Vere left Ireland in 1599, so the play would have been written in 1599 or 1600. Spooky is the mock process made to Parolles for treason, ending in a death sentence: “off with his head.” Robert Devereux was beheaded for treason in 1601. The playwright doesn’t spare himself, he makes harsh comments on his alter ego Bertram, while the First Lord resumes good and bad in life in Act 4 Scene 3: “The web of life is a mingled yarn, good and ill together, our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipt them not, and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherisht by our virtues.” A satirical element is Bertram, guise of Edward de Vere, appointed general of the king’s horse … Lafeu praises Bertram’s wife Helena, through her the art of the playwright

 

     … a wife

     Whose beauty did astonish the survey

     Of richest eyes; whose words all ears took captive;

     Whose dear perfection hearts that scorned to serve

     Humbly called mistress.

 

(Juliet, symbol of the audience, praised Romeo, another symbol of the playwright, for his “dear perfection”)

 

Helena bears a child, symbol of the new play, All’s Well That Ends Well, and the playwright as Bertram confesses his love for her

 

     I’ll love her dearly, ever, ever, dearly

 

Dearly ever ever dearly  *  ever dearly  *  e.ver  d-earl-y  *  E.Ver  –Earl-y  *  Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Earle of Oxenforde, finally reconciled with his proper task of writing plays.

 

 

 

Comedy of Errors    1574 or 75, update 1593 or 94

 

Conspicuous in the Comedy of Errors are the many names beginning on A – Adriana and Aemilia of Ephesus, Aegon of Syracuse, Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse, Aemilia as Abbess, and Angelo … Ancient Ephesus was the city of the powerful goddess Artemis, her Roman equivalent being Diana, encoded in Adriana Ardiana ArDiana Artemis/Diana, while her kitchen wench , round as a globe, all countries on her body, evokes Gaia, earth personified, another mighty goddess. Ephesus also was the place where Paulus formulated and established Christendom, symbolized in Aemilia as Abbess, and in Angelo whose name means angel. Syracuse is the town of Archimedes, a great mathematician and engineer of antiquity on whose work Renaissance thrived. So we have Artemis and Christendom, Archimedes and the Renaissance; a huge body of ancient religion that also invoked animal deities, and on top of it Christendom, and another huge body of ancient science and technology, and on top of it Renaissance – both double-bodies captured in the symbol of the centaur, alluded to by the hostel Centaur, and by the Antipholuses, Pholus having been the centaur who guarded the sacred wine in a cave, but, unluckily, handed it over to Hercules and thus brought doom over all centaurs. The Anti- in the name Antipholus means that both religion (Antipholus of Ephesus) and science (Antipholus of Syracuse) wisely keep their life-giving secret, their sacred wine, as it were, symbol of inspiration, but the Anti- also marks the antagonism of religion and science. Antipholus of Ephesus is excluded from his home, ends in Tartar, the deepest hell of the Greeks, and is pinched by an exorcist, whereas Antipholus of Syracuse survives a shipwreck, and then has a lot of luck, owing to his open mind, engages himself in a witty dialogue with his Dromio instead of beating him as his brother does, and tells us toward the end of Act 2 Scene 2 that science has to go through phases of great uncertainty and is basically an adventure (also a dangerous one, as the shipwreck proves)

 

     Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?

     Sleeping or waking? Mad or well advised?

     Known unto these, and to myself disguised!

     I’ll say as they say, and persever so,

     And in this mist at all adventures go.

 

He falls in love with Luciana, the rational and rationalizing sister of Adriana, her name containing Latin lux ‘light’, anticipating the age of enlightment, but also the ambiguous moral of Protestantism. The early play would have been written in 1574 or 75, while the litigating heirs of France are own to an update from perhaps 1593 or 94.

 

 

 

The Adventures of Master F.I. – Young Edward de Vere meeting Pierre de Ronsard    before 1573

 

The first edition of the anthology A Hundreth sundrie Flowres bounde vp in one small Poesie – containing, embedded in other contributions, the first English novel, The Adventures of Master F. I., followed by forty-seven poems under the title Divers excellent devises for sundrie Gentlemen – was published anonymously in 1572 (old calendar) or 1573 (our modern calendar). An altered version followed in 1576 under the name of George Gascoigne, a soldier poet and friend of young Edward de Vere; fifty remaining copies of the second edition were confiscated. Kurt Kreiler ascribes the novel and the following forty-seven poems to young Edward de Vere who used a lot of pseudonyms: Master F. I., Fortunatus Infoelix, Freeman Jones, Ferdinando Ieronimi, H. W. (editor), G. T. (commentator), A. B. (printer), Meritum petere grave, Si fortunatus infoelix, Spraeta tamen vivunt, Ferenda natura, Ball, Content, Phaeton, My lucke is losse, then also E. O. and Therle of Ox., and later, inspired by George Cascoigne, poet of the spear and pen, pushed by his adversary Gabriel Harvey and teased by his admirer Philip Spenser, William Shakespeare. Having read the novel, I noticed parallels to the play Love's Labour's Lost and dare propose the following key of symbols

 

Lady Elynor -- Queen Elizabeth, her husband -- her office

 

Lady Frances -- Poetry, also an admirer of Pierre de Ronsard and a mentor of young Edward de Vere, also Pierre de Ronsard himself (Rosaline of Love’s Labour’s Lost)

 

Master F. I., Fortunatus Infoelix alias Freeman Jones aka Ferdinando Ieronimi -- young Edward de Vere

 

The novel and the forty-seven subsequent poems, I dare say, report a meeting of Queen Elizabeth and Pierre de Ronsard, the French prince of poetry who got gifts also from Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots, and young Edward de Vere in allegorical form, while Love's Labour's Lost renders the same hypothetical meeting as a play, in form of a self-ironic comedy.

 

The Rose of France (a fable inspired by the novel The Advenrures of Master F. I., and by the play Love's Labour's Lost) A lady at the court of Queen Elizabeth and mentor of young Edward de Vere was very fond of the flower and rose poems of the immensely popular French 'prince of poetry' Pierre de Ronsard. Young Edward, inspired by these poems, wrote a couple of love poems himself, emulating Ronsard. His elegant and lively verses amazed his lady mentor to such a degree that she sent copies to France, and when Ronsard, invited by the Queen to receive a gift of honor, traveled to London, he asked to see the young man. This one, mighty pleased, wrote a long poem for the occasion, some one hundred lines honoring Ronsard and alluding to his famous rose poems: The Rose of France. He recited his poem before the Queen and Ronsard, hoping for applause, perhaps in form of a spontaneous little French poem? But no, Ronsard replied cryptically that he won't limp in front of a limping man, and went on: Young Edward, you got an enormous talent, your agile wit finds occasion everywhere, your fair tongue makes the old play truant in your tale and the young ravish, and your discourse is sweet and voluble. And yet, your long poem is not really honoring me. You are rather like a young rider demonstrating all the tricks your dancing horse can do; a knight without a sword, frankly speaking. Find a worthy object for your talent, and send me the result in a twelvemonth. Let this be my experiment. And now I wish you good luck ... Young Edward was pleased and ashamed at the same time, and challenged as well. He accepted the experiment and wrote a draft of his novel The Adventures of Master F. I., turning his meeting with Ronsard into an allegory, wherein the Queen appears as Lady Elynor; her office as her husband; his lady mentor and Ronsard combined in Lady Frances; he himself in Fortunatus Infoelix, the unhappy fortunate; and his bragging as the riding episode, he without a rapier exhausting his horse in front of Lady Elynor and Lady Frances. He has an affair with Lady Elynor, is then rejected, and travels to Fontainbleau and Paris. Elynor is also the symbol of power; Lady Frances, a relative called my Trust and my Hope, is also the symbol of poetry. The affair with Elynor is a flirt with power and the dream of a political career, while the escape to Paris, home of Ronsard, is a return to the true destiny as a poet.

 

A flirt with power and the return to poetry is the veiled topic of the play The Two Gentlemen of Verona, while the evaluation of young Edward de Vere's place in literature is the hidden topic of Love's Labour's Lost from the late 1570s, featuring Ronsard, French prince of poetry, in the guise of the Princess of France and of Lady Rosaline (alluding to the famous rose poems), young Edward de Vere in the guise of Ferdinand (Ferdinando Ieronimi) King of Navarre (birthplace of Queen Beringia of England, also referring to the college Navarre in Paris where young Ronsard was educated from age of nine onward) and of Lord Berowne (alluding to Beringia, wife of Richard Lionheart) and of the schoolmaster Holifernes (Divers excellent devises, poem 46: "I Holyfernes") and of Ver the Spring (poem 24: "The lustie Ver ... Springs now elsewhere"), while the fantastical Spaniard Don Arnoldo de Armado stands for the Spanish romances of chivalry. Don Arnoldo de Armado may have inspired Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra to his Alonso Quixano alias Don Quixote (Arnoldo A-o-o Alonso, Armado means armed and wearing an armor, while Quixote means the great Quixano and also names the part of an armor that covers the thighs). The plot of a lost play by Edward de Vere, The History of Cardenio, perhaps from 1580, is rendered in Cardenio's tale in the same novel Don Quixote (part 1, 1605).

 

 

 

 

Sonnets in the light of Italian poetology (commemorating the lovers who had blessed his life) and Pericles (looking back on a literary life, honoring Pierre de Ronsard, Thomas Sackville, and William Shaksper)    1601/02

 

 

What makes the plays by Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare so very attractive? They are veritable organisms of meaning, although large parts of meaning are veiled, hidden and concealed, but then, also most organs are invisible, hidden inside the body, but we can guess that they work well from the well-functioning body mirrored in a well-functioning play.

 

The poems he published under his name or title may may imitate or compete with Pierre de Ronsard, prince of poets, admired by the queen, and possibly his idol as a young aspiring poet, whereas using the pseudonym William Shakespeare

 

     William

     will I am

     a strong will personified

     Shakespeare

     shaking my spear

     wielding my sword

     which is my word

     my elegant and powerful word

 

he developed a freer style that may be characterized as fluent grammatical architecture, so

 

     That every word doth almost tell my name    (sonnet 76)

 

Now let us have a look at the cycle of 154 sonnets from the perspective of Italian poetology.

 

 

(part 1)

 

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Pötters relies on the medieval formula

 

     Deus est sphaera

      God is present in the perfect shape of the sphere

 

in explaining the origin of the Italian sonetto invented by Giacomo da Lentini. The projection of a sphere on a plain is a circle. Imagine a circle of diameter 14. Using 22/7 for pi, the area is 154 and can be turned into a rectangle of the height 14 (same as diameter) and width 11. Now these are the numbers of the original sonetto: 14 lines of 11 pronounced syllables each.

 

Italian poetry speaks of a double love, erotic and divine, consider Laura in Petrarca and Beatrice in Dante.

 

The cycle of 154 (!) sonnets by Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare might even talk on three levels: of a human lover, of poetry, and of divine love.

 

Picture a circle of the circumference 154 (number corresponding to the area of the original circle of the sonetto, number of pronounced syllables in the original sonetto, number of sonnets by Shakespeare). Using 22/7 for pi again we have a diameter of 49. Subtract 49 from 154 and you get 105 (a number game in the spirit of Wilhelm Pötters' literary studies). Now let us look at the sonnets 49 and 105. Opening lines of sonnet 49

 

     Against that time, if ever that time come,

     When I shall see thee frown on my defects

 

A young lover is addressed, but maybe also a young audience of the plays: we in our time who find out who the author of the famous work really is, Edward de Vere, heavily attacked by several critics.

 

Five lines of sonnet 105

 

     Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,

     Still constant in a wondrous excellence;

     Therefore my verse to constancy defined,

     One thing expressing, leaves out difference.

     Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument

 

The motto "Fair, kind, and true" appears three times in sonnet 105. Here we find absolute love, seen from a divine perspective, where the equal unequal of human affairs converge in a single picture, a glimpse of which the author finds in his love of poetry and his "wondrous excellence" as a poet and playwright.

 

Reading Shakespeare as a modern author we often forget his background in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

 

 

(part 2)

 

Having searched for a signature in letters, I finally found a strange coincidence of numbers that might be a signature in time.

 

While the original sonetto had 14 lines of 11 pronounced syllables each, in all 154 pronounced syllables, the 154 Shakespearean sonnets have 14 lines of 10 pronounced syllables each: a single poem 140, the whole cycle 21,560.

 

Now this may be an astronomical number denoting time. 21,560 days are practically 730 lunations or 59 years (exact numbers 730.090... and 59.0293... respectively).

 

Edward de Vere was born in 1550, and the sonnets were published in 1609 –– 59 years later! Did he fix the year of publication in a secret will? He died in 1604. The posthumous publisher called himself The Well-Wishing Adventvrer In Setting Forth. A good friend on a clandestine mission?

 

Time is a recurrent topic in the sonnets, addressed as Devouring Time in the opening of sonnet 19, while the final lines

 

     Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,

     My love shall in my verse ever live young

 

have an echo in the publisher's dedication to

 

     OVR.EVER-LIVING.POET

 

A quote from sonnet 116

 

     Love's not Time's fool

 

Love can overcome everything, even time.

 

 

(part 3)

 

Wilhelm Pötters discovered a model cosmos in Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia, encoded in a mysterious number, a high number given as a phrase. In a letter from the late 1990s he asked me for help with early mathematics: how could Dante have approximated the cube root of 10 ? I told him how to generate good values from a poor and a mediocre one, and excellent values from a mediocre and a good one. Here two pi sequences that explain the principle and may speak for themselves

 

     4/1  (plus 3/1)  7/2  10/3  13/4  16/5  19/6  22/7  25/8

 

     3/1  (plus 22/7)  25/8  47/5  ...  311/99  333/106  355/113  377/120

 

Additive number patterns and sequences came in great variety and were also used for astronomical purposes. Let us check on the 59 years or 730 lunations or 21,560 days insinuated by the sonnets - 154 poems of 14 lines of 10 pronounced syllables each, in all 21,560 pronounced syllables, as days covering the time between the birth of Edward de Vere in 1550 and his literary rebirth in 1609, when the sonnets were published by a complice.

 

How many lunations are in 59 years? This problem can be solved with another additive number sequence that relates lunations or synodic months (l) and years (y)

 

     l/y  37/3  99/8  136/11  235/19  371/30

 

     59  or  30 19 19 minus 3 3 3

     371 235 235 minus 37 37 37  or  730

 

59 years are practically 730 lunations.

 

How many days are 730 lunations or synodic months?

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... lunations

  30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 30 ... days

  30 59 89 118 148 177 207 236 266 ... days

 

  17 lunations counted that way are 502 days

  15 lunations counted that way are 443 days

 

  17 15 17 15 17 lunations

  17 32 40 64 81 lunations

  502 443 502 443 502 days

  502 945 1447 1890 2392 days

 

  9 lunations are 266 days

  64 lunations are 1,890 days

  73 lunations are 2,156 days

  730 lunations are 21,560 days

 

There is a whole mathematical cosmos below the level of Greek mathematics (including a systematic method of calculating the circle on the basis of the Sacred Triangle 3-4-5), a forgotten treasure of simple yet clever additive methods. Ample indirect evidence shows that they were still known to and used by Italian mathematicians, architects, artists and poets, among them Leonardo Fibonacci and Leon Battista Alberti, Petrarca and Dante.

 

Edward de Vere may have learned about those methods when in Italy, how to handle them, and apply them in a work of poetry.

 

Mathematics, logic of building and maintaining, can also be a help in constructing and organizing a literary cosmos.

 

 

(part 4)

 

"Then in the number let me pass untold" (sonnet 136). Here I do the contrary, make the numbers tell about the author.

 

27 sonnets have 3,780 pronounced syllables, while 3,780 days are 128.002... or practically 128 lunations, a whole number of synodic months, in this case from empty moon to empty moon (German Leermond). A quote from sonnet 27

 

     Looking on darkness which the blind do see:

     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 beautous, and her old face new.

 

Here we have a moonless night, a whole number of lunations being over, while the memory of the full moon hanging like a jewel in the night sky evokes the face of the absent lover.

 

60 sonnets have 8,400 pronounced syllables, while 8,400 days are 22.998... or practically 23 years. A long solar period comes to a close, 23 years. In sonnet 60 we read of "our minutes" that "haste to an end" and of time's "cruel hand"

 

     And yet, to time in hope my verse shall stand

 

Not all numbers are meaningful, but some are, having inspired the poet and given the cycle of sonnets a structure.

 

Dante Alighieri finished each canto of the Divina Commedia with a line of marvellous beauty. However, the very last line is missing. One more line, and the sum of all the lines would have been the number of the diameter of the so-called Emporio, the outmost sphere holding the universe, the realm where the divine messenger comes from. Only God or the messenger of divine love could pronounce the final line of absolute beauty, truth, and perfection.

 

In the sonnets we have a parallele in the shorter lines of sonnet 145 with 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 8 8 pronounced syllables, in all 113, 27 short of the regular 140. If I calculated correctly, the pronounced syllable in the very center is the word 'new' in sonnet 76, evoking a new life in poetry, a second literary life

 

     For as the sun is daily new and old

     So is my love still telling what is told.

 

The lunar and solar cycles are not really commensurable, nor are we in love. Sonnet 145 of the missing syllables is about ambiguity, resolved in a humoristic manner, but not really overcome. We can only ever get a glimpse of divine love, precious enough to make life worthwhile.

 

All 154 sonnets cover the years from the birth of Edward de Vere in 1550 to the publication of the sonnets in 1609. The later sonnets may be consulted as a linear calendar. Did he get ill in 1600 ? Mourning is a topic of sonnet 132. Did he expect to die in around 1605 ? The syllables are missing in sonnet 145. Did he write the sonnets against "Devouring Time" in 1601/02 ? The Will sonnets 135 and 136 play around his alias William, "will of mine" perhaps Will's last will of having the sonnets published in 1609.

 

Facing the end as a black moonless night, he commemorates the lovers who had blessed his life.

 

Does beautiful sonnet 18 honor his wife Anne Burghley? If so, he married her as a pretty young woman of a warm nature and a mild temper.

 

 

(part 5)

 

A word on sonnet 18, in my opinion the most beautiful poem in the whole cycle.

 

     May I compare thee to a summer's day?

 

Edward de Vere, looking back on his first wife Anne Cecile Burghley in 1601 - a young woman who had loved him and who had died early – compares her to a summer's day, indicating a warm natured girl and young woman. Summer can sometimes be too hot – maybe she loved him more than he deserved? And summer can be short. Her summer was, for she died prematurely, but she shall live on in his verse.

 

However, the poet, being honest, mentions ambivalence. His marriage was not a stormy love affair, indicated by the line

 

     Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

 

In his poem Fond Desire he sees desire

 

     In pride and pomp of May

 

The poem is the more conventional version of the first part of the story of Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Benedick compares Beatrice to "the first of May." Considering the opening words of sonnet 18

 

     May I

 

we might have a pun: May I, May One, the first of May - also Edward de Vere a stormy lover of the May variety, shaking the darling buds of May, and perhaps confessing to extramarital love affairs.

 

It has been said that Edward de Vere married Anne Cecile Burghley out of mercenary reasons. This might partly be true, and they apparently were of different natures, but judging by the loving lines of sonnet 18 we can find real and deep affection for his first wife who died early but lives on in his most beautiful poem.

 

 

  (part 6)

 

The calendar works for higher numbers.

 

Which sonnet corresponds to the year 1587 ?

 

Edward de Vere was born in 1550, so in 1587 he was 37 years old. The cycle of 154 sonnets covers the time from 1550 to 1609 when the sonnets were published, as planned beforehand in Will’s will. Divide 37 (age of de Vere in 1587) by 59 (years from birth to literary rebirth) and multiply the intermediate result by 154 (number of all sonnets)

 

     37 / 59  times  154  equals  about 96.5

 

Sonnet number 96 corresponds to the year 1587.

 

And which sonnet corresponds to the year 1601 ?

 

In 1601, Edward de Vere was 51 years old. Divide 51 by 59 and multiply the result by 154

 

     51 / 59  times  154  equals  about 133

 

Sonnet 133 corresponds to the year 1601.

 

1587 and 1601 are important years in the life of Queen Elizabeth and her supporter Edward de Vere, as will be shown in the next part.

 

 

  (part 7)

 

1587 and 1601 were years of hardship for Queen Elizabeth.

 

She had her cousin Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned for some fifteen years, and then beheaded for political treason in 1587, which caused her great sorrow and made her suffer for a long time. The year 1587 corresponds to sonnet 96 that speaks of a “throned queen” and forgives her faults, as if consoling her. Middle lines

 

     So are those errors that in thee are seen

     To truths translated, and for true things deem’d.

 

Her errors on the human level are political necessities – wrong personally but true to the kingdom.

 

In her later years the queen fell in love with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, rival of Edward de Vere who ridiculed Essex and attacked him sharply in two plays. Finally, Devereux was beheaded in early 1601, another political decision against her heart that made the queen suffer and was the beginning of her end. Her pain also affected Edward de Vere. 1601 corresponds to sonnet 133, perhaps the most tormented one, speaking of three parties

 

     Of him, myself, and thee, I am forsaken;

     A torment thrice threefold thus to be crossed.

 

Edward de Vere would have written the sonnets in 1601/02, when the queen’s health was rapidly declining. Supporting her in her last years may have been another major reason to write the cycle of poems, telling her that she will live on in his verse. He would have shown her the sonnets long before they were published. The queen died in 1603, mourned by Edward de Vere as Imogen in Cymbeline. He died one year later, in 1604, and the sonnets were published in 1609, literary rebirth of the queen and her poet and the lovers who had made his life worth living.

 

 

  (part 8)

 

Pericles = Edward de Vere, looking back on his literary life in 1601/02 (the play complementing the sonnets, here interpreted by a set of poetical equations, in a more temporal order, contrary to the scenic order of the play)

 

Gower as Chorus = the medieval English poet John Gower, dubbed “moral Gower” by Chaucer, wrote religious, moral, historical and political allegories, among them the long poem Confessio Amantis that revived an ancient tale and was adopted by Edward de Vere

 

Simonides, good king of Pentapolis = Pierre de Ronsard, prince of poets, here made a king, idol of young Edward de Vere who emulated Ronsard in his early poems, and in the poems he published under his real name and/or title (Love’s Labors Lost reports an actual encounter of Pierre de Ronsard and young Edward de Vere at the court of Queen Elizabeth); Penta- ‘five’ and -polis ‘town’ might refer to France that has roughly the shape of a pentagon, while Ronsard resided at the royal court in the capital Paris

 

Thaisa, daughter of Simonides = poems by Pierre de Ronsard, inspiring young Edward de Vere

 

Thaisa marries Pericles = Edward de Vere masters the classical style of Pierre de Ronsard

 

their daughter Marina is born, silver-voiced Marina = Edward de Vere finds his own voice via Pierre de Ronsard whose poems are personified by Thaisa, while Marina personifies the poems and the lyric side of the plays by Edward de Vere, metaphorically born on the high seas of life; a son of Thaisa and Pericles is mentioned in the epilogue of the play, he would then personify the militant side of the plays by Edward de Vere

 

changing language = the language of the play changes when Marina is born; autobiographical reference: early poems imitate Pierre de Ronsard, then he finds his own voice; early scenes perhaps written in the style of George Wilkins, Edward de Vere parodying himself as a young writer?

 

Lycorida, nurse of Marina = Lycoris, a woman celebrated in the love-elegies of the Roman poet Gallus (Webster’s Unabridged)

 

Marina got a good education from Cleon = religious origin of poetry (consider the Biblical imagery and language in many Bob Dylan songs)

 

Cleon in his later years, his wife, and their daughter = puritans, their zealotry, and their pamphlets (in the epilogue of the play we are briefly told that Cleon and his wife died in their burning palace, meaning that zealotry can set the world on fire but in the end devours itself)

 

Marina abducted by Cleon = puritans fighting the theater, would have caused a writing crisis in Edward de Vere, symbolized by the seeming death of Thaisa

 

pirates bring Marina to Mytilene and place her in a brothel = bootleg versions of the plays by Edward de Vere performed in cheap theaters, or inns (maybe the one of George Wilkins that also was a brothel?)

 

Lysimachus, governor of Mytilene, visiting the brothel, falls in love with Marina = young William Shaksper from Stratford-upon-Avon comes to London, besotted with the theater, watches bawdy plays, then discovers the plays by Edward de Vere and falls in love with their language, Mytilene on Lesbos evoking Sappho whose lyric poems are still fresh in tone millennia later, indicating again young Shakesper’s love of lyrics

 

Helicanus, grave and noble councillor, most wise in general, a figure of truth, of faith, of loyalty = Thomas Sackville, brought to the attention of the Shakespeare community by Sabrina Feldman; Helicanus referring to Mount Helicon in Greece, once believed to be the abode of Apollo and the Muses, counterpart of the Parnassus

 

Helicanus and Lysimachus lead Marina to Pericles = Thomas Sackville and young William Shaksper reconcile Edward de Vere with his work and motivate him to write again, perhaps helping him find his pseudonym William Shakespeare (Sack- Shak sper, -ville Will iam) and proposing a first idea for a new theater that was later realized as the Globe ? Lysimachus refers both to Lysimachia nummularia ‘moneywort, twopenny grass’ and Lysimachos, brother in arms of Alexander the Great, indicating that young William Shakesper took over the finances and helped Edward de Vere defend the theater against the puritan zealots (Lysimachos, in his later life, became a tyrant who abused his authority, and something similar would have happened with William Shaksper who was chided for his transgression in As You Like It, where he, as dull William in the forest of Arden, claims Audrey the audience, girlfriend of clown Touchstone, alias of Edward de Vere, for himself, provoking a verbal outburst which inspired a famous Monty Python sketch; but here, in Pericles, William Shaksper is praised for his help and support)

 

Marina marries Lysimachus = Edward de Vere allows young William Shaksper to care for his work, as financial director of his thespian enterprise, and as a supporter against the puritan zealots

 

Antiochus = Robert Devereux, rival poet of the sonnets, leader of the disastrous Irish campaign who let burn down fields and huts, later condemned for treason, too proud to apologize, and executed; sought glory also as a poet: Me pompae provexit apex ‘the summit of glory led me on’ or ‘Desire of renown he does devise’ – his poems, personified by his daughter, have the only purpose of satisfying his desire for glory instead of engaging themselves in the world and for life, metaphorically not allowing the young woman to get engaged with a fiancé; (Daniel books 7-9 in the Bible refer to the Syrian kings by the name of Antiochus, appearing in a vision as a beast of a morphing shape, in one case breathing fire on a fiery throne, evoking Devereux in Ireland burning down fields and huts in the hope of gaining the throne of England); ‘Antiochus’ was the name of ten Syrian kings, and the logic of the play requires that he represents not only Devereux but also earlier poets of the same sort who had just glory on their mind, one of them for a while impressing young Edward de Vere

 

Pericles wearing a rusty armor, on his shield painted a withering branch with green leaves at the top, and written the motto of his labor: In hoc spe vivo ‘In this hope I live’ = a different understanding of poetry by the playwright whose armor got rusty in the high seas of life: care for the green leaves, don’t let the whole branch go dry and wither away completely, support what vigor is left in the fresh green, nourish hope …

 

Edward de Vere would have been almost incredibly productive in his last years, writing (and working over) play for play for play and poem for poem, his “fyckle hed” and gift of the gap and rich experience accelerating each other, holding up time, pushing away the nearing end, overcoming time in blissful moments of a writer’s achievement.

 

 

  (part 9)

 

Now for the geography of the Pericles play:

 

Pericles governs Tyre, ancient Tyros, modern Sur in the Lebanon, also the town of councilor Helicanus –

 

Antiochus governs Antioch, ancient Antiocheia on the Orontes in Syria –

 

Cleon governs Tarsus, ancient Tarsos-Antiocheia in Cilicia, southern central Anatolia –

 

Artemis/Diana had been worshipped in one of the seven ancient world wonders, namely the most famous temple at Ephesos (larger than the Parthenon), Ionia, western shore of Anatolia –

 

Lysimachos governs Mytilene on Lesbos –

 

Simonides governs Pentapolis in the Cyrenaica, Libya, maybe ancient Apollonia near Cyrene –

 

– connect Tyre with both Mytilene and Ephesus and the lines will cross the island of Cyprus (while the connecting line Antiocheia-Apollonia marks the northern shore of Cyprus), island of the Greek love goddess Aphrodite whose Roman equivalent is Venus. Aphrodite was born from the sea (consider also Botticelli's Venus). Marina, born in a gale on the sea, personifies the lyric side of the plays by Edward de Vere, her connection with Aphrodite indicating love at the core of lyric poetry (Venus mentioned in the last sonnets).

 

Lesbos was the island of Sappho, the great poetress. Plutarch quoting Sarapion (Moralia, The Oracle at Delphi, Loeb Classical Library): "Do you not see what grace the songs of Sappho have, charming and bewitching all who listen to them?"

 

Apollonia would evoke Apollo, brother of Artemis at Ephesus, god of classical beauty, playing the lyre, singing and dancing, associated with the Muses, while good king Simonides, ruler of Pentapolis (Apollonia?) – honoring Pierre de Ronsard, prince of poets, admired by Queen Elizabeth, idol of young Edward de Vere – might have been named for the distinguished lyric poet Simonides of Ceos (Keos, modern Kea, island off the Attica, westernmost island of the Cyclades). Plato via Socrates: "It is not easy to disbelieve Simonides, for he is a wise man and divinely inspired." (High praise for Ronsard around the corner.) Plutarch: "Simonides calls painting silent poetry and poetry painting that speaks."

 

 

  (part 10)

 

Searching for inconsistencies of my Pericles interpretation I focused on Cleon and his wife, he personifying religion and she puritan zealotry. Her name Dionyza evokes Dionysos and his ecstatic cult. How can puritan zealotry and ecstasy go along? Here I have a problem.

 

Or do I ? Dionysos originally was a Phrygian vegetation god. His cult emerged in the dark age that followed the collapse of the Mycenaean culture and was mainly attended by women seeking temporary relieve from their hard life. And then, more importantly, religious or pseudo-religious zealotry can turn into an ecstasy of self-righteousness that shocks even Cleon and makes him say

 

     ... Thou art like the harpy,

     Which to betray, dost with thine angel's face,

     Seize with thy eagle's talons.

 

Dionyza tries to have Marina murdered. Pericles' daughter Marina personifies the lyric side of the plays by Edward de Vere. The attack on her symbolizes the puritans trying to close the Elizabethan theaters.

 

Pericles had once helped Cleon, meaning that religion owes a lot to the arts. Now religion or rather puritan zealotry turns against Pericles' daughter Marina, but she prevails, owing to her fine human qualities. Religious or pseudo-religious zealotry is again a menace in our time, giving the play relevance for the present.

 

 

(part 11)

 

Thaisa, wife of Pericles, evokes Thais, a courtesan, mistress of Alexander the Great and Ptolemy. Young and beautiful courtesans at Rome in the Renaissance had the status of pop stars, above all Imperia, mistress of the zillionaire Agostino Chigi (a financial Alexander the Great, as it were), favorite model of young Raphael who showed her as Sappho in the corner of the lyrical poets on the Parnassus in a stanza of the Vatican, and as the most lovely Galatea in Agostino Chigi's Villa Farnesina. Ptolemy on his turn evokes Ptolemaean astronomy.

 

Cleon invoking sun and moon makes me think of the calendar of the sonnets, a lunisolar calendar of 59 years or 730 lunations, from the year 1550 when Edward de Vere was born to the prefixed year 1609 when the sonnets were published, a calendar valid for the higher numbers of the sonnets, for example sonnet 107 corresponding to the turn of year 1590/91

 

     1550 plus 59 times 107/154  equals  1590.99...

 

Sonnet 107 mentions an eclipse of the moon that made some false prophets announce the end of the world (as again in this year, 2015). Has there been a lunar eclipse around the end of 1590 and beginning of 1591? Or is the eclipse of the moon a symbol of something else?

 

Cleon personified religion, his wife puritan zealotry, and their daughter for whom lovely Marina should die puritan pamphlets attacking the theater – a metaphorical eclipse of the moon, a shadow creeping over 'her' bright face, Mar-tin Mar-prelate casting his shadow over Mar-ina ...

 

     The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured

 

Nothing happened, the kind face in the night sky was fully restored, Marina returned to life, the theater blossomed again.

 

However, a certain ambiguity remains. While sonnet 107 claims that the poet and playwright won't waver in fear and love, the puritan attack was such a big menace that it made Edward de Vere alias Pericles give up on literature alias Marina, if only for a while.

 

 

  (part 12)

 

Helicanus appears already in Gower's Confessio Amantis that was adopted by Edward de Vere and required only few modifications.

 

Edward de Vere would have seen Thomas Sackville in Gower's Helicanus, and may have smiled over a line in a Sackville poem

 

     I never drank from Parnassus spring

 

No, dear friend and collaborator, you are not from Parnassus but from Helicon where you drank from Hippocrene, the spring of poetic inspiration sacred to the Muses! I will make you Helicanus of my Pericles play, good noble Lord Helicane, grave and noble councillor, most wise in general, a figure of truth, of faith, of loyalty. How do you like that?

 

Mount Parnassus above Delphi in southern central Greece was the abode of Apollo and the Muses. They had another abode in Mount Helicon, Boeotia, above the Gulf of Corinth. On top of the mountain stood a sanctuary with statues of the nine Muses, nearby was their dancing ground, somewhere else their grove, and they played their games in Thespiai at the eastern foot of the mountain, wherefrom the adjective thespian. While the Parnassus watches over Delphi and its famous oracle, the first Sibyl was reared by the Helicon Muses. Apollo loved her, and gave her the gifts of prophecy and a long life. In a song of her own she says "that even after her death she shall not cease from prophesying, but that she shall go round and round in the moon, becoming what is called the face that appears in the moon" (Sarapion quoted by Plutarch, Moralia, The Oracles at Delphi, Loeb Classical Library; remember Mar-ina as face of the moon eclipsed by Mar-tin Mar-prelate). The springs Aganippe and Hippocrene were sacred to the Helicon Muses. Pegasus, the winged horse of poetry, once flew over the Helicon, kicked a rock, and thus created the Hippocrene spring. So if Thomas Sackville didn't drink from Parnassus spring, he surely drank from the Hippocrene spring on Mount Helicon, and this made Edward de Vere smile when he made Thomas Sackville a figure in his play.

 

Parnassus and Helicon are counterparts – maybe mirrored in the relation of Edward de Vere and Thomas Sackville?

 

Edward de Vere is ‘bound by one letter’, and so is Thomas Sackville according to Sabrina Feldman

 

     Edward de VerE   EE

 

     Thomas Sackville, Lord BuckhursT   TT

 

Funny that THE WELL-WISHING ADVENTVRER IN SETTING FORTH the sonnets calls himself T.T. Could he have been Thomas Sackville, preparing the cycle of sonnets for their publication? And if so, did he work over and finish some of the late plays by Edward de Vere?

 

 

  (part 13)

 

If Edward de Vere alias Pericles corresponds to Mount Parnassos, 2457 m, and Thomas Sackville to Mount Helicon, 1748 m, William Shaksper might correspond to Lake Lysimacheia in Aetolia, part of a wide draining system that may go along with William's care for the financial aspects of the old boy group's thespian enterprise (Lysimacheia nummularia 'moneywort, twopenny grass').

 

Parnassos, higher than Helicon, has a parallel in the play. The men of Tyre wish to crown Helicanus, but this one orders them to wait for Pericles, meaning the crown belongs to Edward de Vere.

 

As for the oracle at Delphi watched over by Parnassus, the utterings of Pythia (Apollo speaking via his priestess) are more than ambigous, and this may be mirrored in the 'knotted language' of the plays and poems. Plutarch, Moralia, The E at Delphi (Loeb Classical Library): "It seems that our beloved Apollo finds a remedy and a solution for the problems connected with our life by the oracular responses which he gives to those who consult him (... and are) by nature inclined to the love of knowledge, thus creating in the soul a craving onward to the truth ..."

 

The letter E has many meanings in Plutarch: five, sun god Apollo, if (only), thou art. E also is the letter binding the name of Edward de VerE. Pentapolis, town of Simonides/Ronsard, contains penta- 'five'. (Clusters of associations are the medium of the poetic mind.)

 

Most important in the above quote is the formula epi taen alaetheian 'onward to the truth'. Nobody knows and owns the truth, but we can approach it, slowly, by and by, step for step for step, never really getting there.

 

Absolute Marina, godlike Marina, comes close to perfection, but also she has her flaws, "a rough tongue and shrewd knowledge of the world"(Hilary Spurling). Lucrece 853/4

 

     But no perfection is so absolute,

     That some imperfection does not pollute.

 

Marina personifying the lyric side of the plays and poems prevails over Philoten who personifies puritan pamphlets, her name a corrupt form of Philotheos ‘God loving’. Religious fanaticism can be seen as a betrayal of transcendence (we know exactly who God is and what He wants, He wants what we want, He is our mighty henchman). Art pleads for a human measure, longing for truth and perfection but knowing that we will never really reach and achieve them.

 

The same lesson is conveyed by the mathematical underpinnings of Italian literature, from Giacomo da Lentini via Francesco Petrarca to Dante Alighieri. The last line of each canto in the Divina Commedia is of a special beauty, while the very last line that would complete the cosmic number of the long poem is missing, the line of the divine messenger.

 

 

  (part 14)

 

Artemis was born on Mount Cynthos on Delos, ergo Cynthia, her emblem the moon, eye of Cynthia, also the emblem of her Roman alter ego Diana, in the play Queen Elizabeth, while the most famous temple at Ephesus, one of the seven ancient world wonders, represents the court of Elizabeth – and if the buildings of stone should crumble, the plays and poems made of words will last, and be an eternal home for the queen immortalized by the poet and playwright. Marina joining Diana means that Edward de Vere’s poems and plays are dedicated to the queen.

 

Cerimon appears already in Gower’s Confessio Amantis, where he is the husband of Thaisa. Edward de Vere made her the daughter of Simonides and husband of Pericles. Cerimon calls Thaisa back into life. His name evokes the tragic poet Chaeremon. Plutarch quotes a line by him

 

     Wine mixes with the manner of each guest

 

People understand an oracle (wine) along their situation in life (mixing the wine), which can also be said of a poem or play. Cerimon in the play of Pericles may be the guise of a poet who made young Edward de Vere discover and love the poems by Pierre de Ronsard.

 

 

 

Timon of Athens

 

Timon of Athens might personify the genius of a society based on an overall balance of give and get. Genius gives freely, being most generous by nature, finding reward in itself, but still needs a basic sustenance. Timon gives freely, but when he is in need himself he gets nothing from his false friends. He turns bitter, retires to a cave, finds gold, and pays general Alcibiades to sack Athens. Then he writes an epitaph on himself, as inscription for the stone of his tomb by the sea, and writes it as an oracle. His false friends are delivered to Alcibiades, who, then, spares Athens. Meanwhile Timon died. Alcibiades reads the epitaph from a wax impression taken by a soldier. It says that we should not ask for the man buried here, and then calls his name, Timon. What is the sense of that? We should not ask for the name but in the next line we are given the name ... Apparently Timon is not just a man called Timon but an allegorical figure, in my opinion the genius of a society based on the law of give and get, which is blatantly violated by the false friends of Timon – but life's equation finds a solution, if not a favorable one then one against us, and if it must take a very long and weird and completely unpredictable detour, as in the case of Timon and his false friends. Very close to the end, Alcibiades pronounces what may be the key line of the play

 

     Make war breed peace, and peace stint war

 

Life's equation will be solved one way or another, so better make it in favor of a society, along its genius. And then Alcibiades mentions in the final lines "noble Timon: of whose memory / Hereafter more." But nothing follows. The play ends. Apparently it was not finished. Or was it? Aren't we thinking about society and its genius that makes it work?

 

Timon is an allegorical figure in a philosophical play that might be a late answer to Solon who proposed (strongly simplified) timocracy as rulership of golden souls that guarantees productivity. The lords ruling Athens in the play are no golden souls, apart from noble Timon; however, when he is abandoned by his false friends, leaves Athens and dwells in a cave, his soul turns into gold that buys him timoria 'revenge'. Government was a main concern of Greek philosophy. Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare, as a young man envisioning a career in business and law – symbolized by Romeo's first love Rosaline, personification of the mercantile capital Venice that rose from the saline (lagoon) -, then becoming a playwright, insinuates a deep law holding society together: an overall balance of give and get as life's equation that will be solved one way or another. Let us organize our societies in such a way that a favorable solution can take over, also in the case of the emerging global society.

 

Sir Walter Raleigh proposed a commonwealth of nobles that may have been a revival of Solon’s timocracy, rulership of golden souls who guarantee productivity. The play Timon of Athens reveals this concept of rulership as naïve: none of the lords in the play has a golden soul, apart from Timon, however, the metaphorical gold falls from him in the cave and buys him revenge, Greek timoria – Timon timocracy timoria. We need institutions that hold society together and make it work.

 

 

 

A hunch of evolution in around 1600 ?   Herball, The Tempest, Voynich ms

 

The rebus on the title page of The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes by Lord Burghley’s gardener John Gerarde, London 1597 (google for "herball" and focus on the plinth of the pillar on the right side), is an elaborate calligraphic composition of centered elements: a long vertical arrow that can be seen as ideogram of a spear; its top combined with 4E (unequal horizontal bars enhancing the right slope of the arrowhead, ideogram of a spearhead); below OR; and below that a large W combined with a large A (horizontal bar lacking).

 

A couple of years ago Mark Griffiths explained the intricate Herbal rebus as emblem of William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon. It can more easily be read as emblem of Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare.

 

The following lines from a poem by John Marston

 

     ... Far fly thy fame,

     Most, most of me beloved, whose silent name

     One letter bounds

 

have been related to

 

     E d w a r d   d e   v e r E

 

4E as four letters E can also refer to

 

     E d w a r d   d E   v E r E

 

The large W may stand for Will, the long shaft of the arrow or spear may stand for I, and the large A may stand for Am, together

 

     Will I Am  ***  William

     holding or shaking a spear

     William Shakespeare

 

Consider the word plays around Will and will in the sonnets 135 and 136. 'William Shakespeare' is a telling pseudonym

 

     William

     will I am  ***

     a strong will personified

     Shakespeare

     shaking my spear

     wielding my sword

     which is my word

     my elegant and powerful word

 

In all

 

     Edward de Vere  (of the four Es, by one letter bound)

     or  (alias)

     William Shakespeare

 

The man on the right side, seen as William Shakespeare by Mark Griffiths, might be an idealized representation of Edward de Vere, by then 47 years old, as a young man. I'd say it goes along with the official portrait of Edward de Vere  vere2.JPG 

 

 

The Voynich ms, understood as Francis Bacon's fake report of a sailor who had gone lost in the Southern Seas and arrived per chance on the shore of New Atlantis, would date from 1605/6 and may somehow be connected with a play Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare, The Tempest, no later than 1604.

 

A couple of years ago 'Dr. HotSalt' remarked in sci.lang that four words at the top of Voynich 77r might name the four elements earth water air fire (which led to my readable transliteration revealing a half-automatic writing in what I call pseudo-Polynesian, Polynesia in the wide literal sense of Many Islands, region of the many islands in the Southern Seas). Now the four elements are also present in The Tempest. Caliban personifies water (via his fish appearance) and earth (anagram cannibal indicating that the earth 'devours' the creatures it produces and nourishes - from dust to dust). Ariel personifies air (pneuma ruach spirit) and fire (St. Elmo's fire and Jupiter's lightning). On the same key page 77r is a strange tree with an animal and a woman, symbol of animals and human beings descending from the same tree of life? Caliban evolves from fish via ape and savage to a wise man, still bound to nature, as we all are.

 

The Voynich abounds in drawings of herbs, while the island of Caliban, temporarily taken over by Prospero, has a lush vegetation praised by Iris and Ceres in lines of great beauty (beginning of 4:1). Moreover it seems that John Gerarde secretly dedicated his Herball (1597) to Edward de Vere alias WilliamShakespeare (consider the alternative reading of the rebus on the title page). Could there be a hunch of evolution also in the Herball?

 

Prospero honors Leonardo da Vinci as inventor, and human creativity per se that produces ever more artificial things from the primeval elements = helped by Caliban and Ariel. Miranda symbolizes art, and her lover Ferdinand politics - which is why they play at chess, not really the occupation of young lovers on their honeymoon, but appropriate for the relation of art and politics. (Bacon might have seen himself in all three roles or fields of Prospero inventor, Miranda art, and Ferdinand politics.)

 

Caveat. A play has more levels than I can mention here. While mathematical logic is based on the formula  a = a  the logic of art follows Goethe's formula  'all is equal, all unequal ...'  known to artists of all times. In this logic a symbol can mean something and something else and again something different. Caliban for example has more meanings than said above, and a counterpart in the kitchen-wench in The Comedy of Errors 3:2, parody on the Greek earth goddess Gaia.

 

 

     'Ban, 'Ban, Ca-Caliban

 

The syncopic line of drunken Caliban stammering his name could have been de Vere's attempt at imitating a southern islander's native language combined with the sound of a beaten tambourine

 

     Ban Ban  -ban

 

and thus a fine intuition about the etymology of English word German Wort as combination of English fur Ancient Greek byrsa 'hide, fur, leather' and English tone German Ton, here the sound made by the fur of a beaten tambourine. English word is akin to Latin verbum that may combine byr- in the form of ver- with onomatopoeic -bum analoguous to German Bumm and English boom, while 'tambourine' combines tam doubled in tam-tam Hindi tamtam with byr- in the form of bour-, tambourines having accompanied the rhythmic and melodic singsong of shamans and shamanesses ...

 

Bacon would have tried to go back to early writing via half-automatic writing. Here a sample of my transliteration, Voynich 87r, second paragraph

 

     Pihuavihà ven ihuu senven ihan envà

     àihuuus iukià kuaves akiuan kailia

     luas iliuà ihavà kauuuukà s iavà vero

     vero ihan ikuà aluan iuas aluua vero

     ihas iuan iuas iliuà sero dailiuan vero

     àquuas ihuan viuuan

 

Occasionally one recognizes a word or has the illusion of a word: Italian vero 'true', Latin aqua 'water', French vie 'life' – true water of life and rejuvenation.

 

Italian or Latin vero appears frequently in the above transliteration of the Voynich. Edward de Vere's family motto vero nihil veritas ‘true nothing but the truth’ had been altered by him to vero nihil verius ‘nothing truer than the truth’. Francis Bacon was Baron Verulam

 

     Vere  vero  veritas  vero  verius  Verulam  vero

 

If ver- in veritas vero verius derives from the same byr- then perhaps from a fur showing its true colors, of from a fur indicating the rank of its bearer, for example the royal cape of ermine, or from a fur bag containing a token of someone's identity – in the case of Edward de Vere alias William Shakespeare his leather-bound word that speaks for a courtier who had been raised in a household with a big library. Sonnet 76

 

     ... every word doth almost tell my name

 

 

 

 

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