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“My golden locks hath time to silver turned,
“My helmet now shall make a hive for bees,
“And when I sadly sit in lonely cell, I'll teach my swains this carol for a song : “Blest be the hearts that wish my Sovereign well, Curst be the souls that think to do her wrong." Goddess! vouchsafe this aged man his right, To be your beadsman now that was your knight.” Parallels are found in Bacon and Shakspere with almost every sentiment and expression in these lines. (See Mrs. Pott's “Promus,” p. 528.) The verses were published anonymously in Dowland's “First Book of Songs,” 1600, and again in 1844; both times with the pronouns changed from the first to the third person—e.g., “His golden locks,” etc. In the “Works of George Peele,” 1828, they are credited to that poet, but the only evidence adduced of his authorship is the fact that he, as an eye-witness,
wrote a poetic description of the celebration in 1590. .
Mrs. Pott is doubtless right in claiming for Bacon the authorship, and is only mistaken in supposing that the person to whom the verses were intended to apply was Lord Burleigh, who about that time, on account of the loss of his wife, had temporarily withdrawn from court.
“Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent.” —Twelfth Wight, ii, 4.
Born April 23, 1564; died April 23, 1616; aged fifty-two years.
Son of a woolstapler and glover of Stratford, an illiterate Catholic.
Taught at a free school in Stratford—perhaps.
Left school at fourteen —if he ever was at school.
Worked with his father at a trade until eighteen, or longer.
D rank beer at pothouses—probably.
Said to have hunted conies and poached on neighboring deer-parks.
Married at eighteen (name Shagsper) to a girl of twenty-six.
“His works are full of pasSages . ... which, if he had loved and honored her, he
could not have written.” —White's Shak., p. 51.
Had no child after Child born five months.
twenty years' marriage. after marriage. “The noblést works and “The less that is said about
foundations have proceeded the matter the better.”
from childless men.”—Bacon's — White's Shak., p. 49.
Admitted to the bar at Absconded from Strattwenty-one ; elected to ford to London at twenty
Parliament at twenty- two or twenty-three. three.*
An ideal tableau of the youthful statesman is gaily depicted by Wm. Hepworth Dixon, in his “Personal History of Lord Bacon:”
“How he appears in outward guise and aspect among these courtly and martial contemporaries the miniature of Hilyard helps us to conceive. Slight in build, rosy and round in flesh, dight in a sumptuous suit, the head well-set, erect, and framed in a thick starched fence of frill; a bloom of study and travel on the fat, girlish face, which looks far younger than his years; the hat and feather tossed aside from the white brow, over which. crisps and curls a mane of dark, soft hair; an English nose, firm, open, straight; a mouth delicate and small—a lady's or jester's mouth—a thousand pranks and humors, quibbles, whims. and laughters lurking in its twinkling, tremulous lines;–such is Francis Bacon at the age of twenty-four.”
Bearing in mind that Bacon is three years and three months older than Shakspere, we will now parallel their lives by successive years.
* If the Parliament met November 23, 1584, as Mr. Spedding: distinctly says, then Bacon was not yet twenty-four.
A. D. 1585.
Bacon at 24, in a letter to the Queen's principal secretary, Sir Francis Walsingham, urges his some time pending suit, which is to determine his “course of practice”—supposed to mean a shortening of the five years' probation required to become a pleader.
He writes an essay entitled “Greatest Birth of Time,” foreshadowing his scientific works.
His mother in her zeal for the Nonconformists urges
their cause in person before Lord Treasurer Burleigh,
and follows it by a letter to the same in which she says:
“I confess as one that hath found mercy, that I have profited more in the inward feeling knowledge of God his holy will, though but in small measure, by an ordinary preaching within these seven or eight years, than I did by hearing odd sermons at Paul's well nigh twenty years together.”
Shakspere at 21 is still living at Stratford, the father of three children—two of them twins. His father is said to have been a butcher as well as a dealer in wool; and gossiping John Aubrey says he was told by some of the neighbors that when the boy William “kill'd a calfe, he wold doe it in a high style, and make a speeche.”
Mr. Richard Grant White guesses that William may have gone to London this year or the next.
A. D. 1586.
Bacon at 25 writes a letter, May 6th, to Lord Treasurer Burleigh, his uncle, saying:
“I find in my simple observation that they which live as it. were in umbra and not in public or frequent action, how moderately and modestly soever they behave themselves, yet laborant invidia. I find also that such persons as are of nature bashful (as myself is,) whereby they want that plausible familiarity which others have, are often mistaken for proud. But once I know well, and I most humbly beseech your Lordship to believe that arrogancy and overweening is so far from my nature, as, if I think well of myself in anything, it is in this, that I am free from that vice.”
He is again elected to Parliament. The conspirators who attempted to liberate Mary of Scotland have been tried, condemned, and sentenced. The case is brought before the Parliament. Bacon is one of the speakers in “the Great Cause,” and one of the committees to whom it is referred.
Shakspere at 22 is probably still at Stratford, though Mr. White presumes he has become connected with the London stage this year, or perhaps a little later.
To be continued to the end of both lives, making a book of 300 pages or more, including this pamphlet as an appendix, with important additions. All the essential facts of Lord Bacon's. life will be presented, whereby his secret authorship will be more abundantly proved, and his moral character vindicated against the aspersions of 260 years.