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In this volume, as well as in our preceding ones on the same subject, wherever personal reference is made to William Shakspere of Stratford, the reputed dramatist, the name is so spelled, William Shakspere; but where the reference is to the author of the Plays, as such, we treat the name as a pseudonym, spelling it as it was printed on the title-pages of many of the early quartos, WILLIAM SHAKE-SPEARE. In all cases of citation, except in those where confusion would arise, we follow the originals.
Y first perilous adventure on the subject of the authorship of Shake-speare is entitled 'Bacon vs. Shakspere, Brief for Plaintiff' (1897). It is mainly devoted to the historical evidences pertinent to the case, indirect and circumstantial as these evidences necessarily are.
My second bears the title Francis Bacon, Our Shakespeare' (1899). This deals with internal criticism, and shows the philosophic purpose for which the Plays were written. For this effort to assign to the great author of the Shake-speare dramas-dramas imbedded in the love and reverence of mankind a motive higher than one merely mercenary, I venture to ask a candid, if not sympathetic hearing.
In the present volume I rest the argument for Bacon as the sole author of these Poems and Plays on a single point, viz., identity of thought and diction between them and his acknowledged works. It is confidently believed that the passages, quoted herein on either side, exhibit the warp and woof of but one fabric, running in and out, over and under, from end to end.
Inasmuch as in nearly every instance in these parallelisms the earlier expression, or germ, is in prose, subsequently developed in verse, I suggest to the student that
the respective extracts from Bacon be read first. This would be particularly serviceable in the case of the Promus. The Promus is Bacon's private memorandum book, or, as its name signifies, literary storehouse, embracing nearly two thousand entries in various languages (Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, and English), and contributing an immense variety of metaphors and illustrations to the future work of his pen. The Shake-speare pages are everywhere ablaze with this imagery. Some of the entries are suitable only for use in dialogue, such as the following: 'come to the point;' 'you take more than is granted;' 'you go from the matter;' hear me out;'' now you say;' 'you speak colorably;' 'that is not so, by your favor; answer directly;' answer me shortly;' 'your reason;' and many more of the same character. These are, of course, wholly absent from Bacon's prose works. Other entries are mere hooks and eyes, as it were, to connect sentences: 'nevertheless,' 'well well,' 'peradventure,' 'yet,' 'whereas,' and the like. Others still are hints only; sharp-pointed phrases, to attract and bring down, when wanted on any subject, flashes of creative imagination, latent in the mind of the author. They served to enrich and broaden the thought. One of these, for example, consists of the words 'Bellerophon's Letters,' that is to say, sealed letters in which the person addressed is desired to put the bearer to death. Such a letter is in 'Hamlet,' but nowhere else in any writing ever attributed to Bacon. Another instance is the salutation 'good dawning,' never used before and but once (1608) since, in the English language, viz., in 'King Lear.' This would seem to establish a connection between Bacon's Promus