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It may be added that with his appointment to high office and advent into public life the production of the Shakespeare Plays suddenly ceased.†

* It is interesting to note that Bacon regarded the drama as an educational instrumentality of the highest value. He says of it:

"Although in modern states play-acting is esteemed but as a ludicrous thing, except when it is too satirical and biting, yet among the ancients it became a means of forming the souls of men to virtue. Even the wise and prudent, and great philosophers, considered it to be, as it were, the plectrum of the mind. And most certainly, what is one of the secrets of nature, the minds of men, when assembled together, are more open to affections and impressions than when they are alone."—De Augmentis.

+ What a crushing argument our friends on the other side would have made against Scott's authorship of the Waverly novels, had a kind Providence sent them into the world fifty years earlier! Scott was a great poet, and previous to the publication of Waverly, in the forty-third year of his age, he had never written a romance in prose. In 1814, when Waverly made its mysterious appearance, Scott published in two volumes a work on Border Antiquities, contributed articles on Chivalry and the Drama to the Encyclopædia Britannica, and edited the Life and Works of Dean Swift. The latter publication, comprising nineteen volumes, was issued in the same week with Waverly. In the following year Guy Mannering appeared; and also, from Scott, the two poems, Lord of the Isles and Field of Waterloo. In 1816, came in quick succession from the Great Unknown the Antiquary, Black Dwarf, Old Mortality, and Tales of My Landlord, first series; and in the same year from Scott's pen, Paul's Letters to His Kinsfolk and the Edinburgh Annual Register. The poem, Harold the Dauntless, was published in January, 1817, preceded within thirty days by three of the above-named works of fiction.

During all this time Scott was keeping "open house at Abbotsford in the old feudal fashion, and was seldom without visitors, entirely occupied to all outward appearance with local and domestic business and sport, building and planting, adding wing to wing, acre to acre, plantation to plantation, with just

13. Ben Jonson was Bacon's private secretary, and presumably in the secret, if there were any, of his employer's literary undertakings. In this fact we find the key to the exquisite satire of the inscription, composed by him and printed opposite Shakespeare's portrait in the folio of 1623, of which the following, in reference to the engraver's art, is an extract:

"O, could he but have drawn his wit

As well in brasse as he hath hit

His face, the print would then surpass

All that was ever writ in brasse."

It is a straw, but one carrying with it, perhaps, "the wisdom of the fathers," that in this invocation Jonson speaks of the Plays as superior to

"All that insolent Greece or haughty Rome sent forth;" while in a subsequent book of his own, he uses exactly the same language in describing Bacon's genius:

"He performed that in our tongue which may be compared or preferred either to insolent Greece or haughty Rome."

Ben Jonson and Sir Toby Matthew made lists of the great wits of their time and of the preceding century;

leisure enough for the free-hearted entertainment of his guests and the cultivation of friendly relations with his humble neighbors."

He even mystified some of his most intimate friends by reviewing one of his own novels in the Quarterly.

both placed Bacon at the head; neither of them mentioned Shakespeare. The reasonable explanation is that they were in the secret.

Jonson pronounced Bacon "the mark and acme of our age." Matthew wrote of him:

'A man so rare in knowledge, of so many several kinds, indued with the facility and felicity of expressing it all, in so elegant, significant, so abundant and yet so choice and ravishing a way of words, of metaphors and allusions, as perhaps the world has not seen since it was a world."

14. Bacon's authorship of the Plays was not unsuspected during his life-time. When he was appointed by the Queen to join in the prosecution of Essex for treason, and was assigned to that count of the indictment which charged connivance with the play-actors in producing the play of Richard II., he protested, on the ground that his name was already bruited about in that connection, and it would now be said of him, in derision, that he gave in evidence his own tales.* These rumors could have originated only in the recognized inadequacy of the reputed authorship.

* Bacon's exact language, applying primarily to Hayward's pamphlet, but with a deeper significance, as we may infer from the Queen's wrath over the performance of the play, was as follows:

"Whereupon I replied to that allotment, and said to their Lordships, that it was an old matter, and had no manner of coherence with the rest of the charges, being matters of Ireland, and thereupon that I having been wronged

15. With the exception of the isolated play of King John, the series depicting English history extends from the deposition of Richard II. to the birth of Elizabeth, in the reign of Henry VIII. In this long chain, there is one break and one only-the important period of Henry VII., when the foundations of social order, as we now have them, were firmly laid. The omission, on any but the Baconian theory of authorship, is inexplicable, for the dramatist could hardly have failed, except for personal considerations, to drop his plummet into the richest and most instructive experiences of political life that lay in his path. The truth is, Bacon wrote a history of the missing reign in prose,

by bruits before, this would expose me to them more; and it would be said I gave in evidence mine own tales."

It is certainly remarkable that Bacon was able to preserve his incognito as well as he did, considering that in Sonnet LXXVI. we find the following:

"Why write I still all one, ever the same,

And keep invention in a noted weed,

That every word doth almost tell my name,

Showing their birth and where they do proceed?"

Here is a plain statement that the author of this sonnet was writing under a disguise.

The same remarkable admission appears in Bacon's prayer:

"The state and bread of the poor and oppressed have been precious in mine eyes; I have hated all cruelty and hardness of heart; I have, though in a despised weed, sought the good of all men."

In the sonnets, he had assumed a popular literary dress; but here, on his knees before God, he confesses to a higher kind of composition that was "despised."

which exactly fills the gap; the one is tongued and grooved, as it were, into the other.

16. Troilus and Cressida was published for the first time, without reservation, in 1609. A writer in the preface claims special credit for the work on the ground that it had not been produced on the public stage, or (to use his own words) "never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar," or "sullied with the smoky breath of the multitude." Then he thanks fortune that a copy of the play had escaped from "grand possessors."


Three inferences seem to be justifiable, viz. : 1. The author was indifferent to pecuniary reward; 2. He was not a member of the theatrical profession; 3. He was of high social rank.

17. The Plays, as they came out, were first published anonymously. Several of them had been in the hands of the public for years before the name of Shakespeare appeared on the title-page. Other plays, not belonging to the Shakespearean canon, and most of them of very inferior merit, were also given to the world as Shakespeare's. We have fifteen of these heterogeneous compositions attributed to the same 'divine" authorship,-geese and

*At this time, Bacon was in easy circumstances. By the death of his brother he had come into possession of Gorhambury and other remnants of the family estate; and he was in receipt of a salary from the government.

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