Alexander Waugh's diary: Shakespeare was a nom de plume — get over it

Plus: If I were a panda I'd rather be extinct; Dame Edna's show sent me to hospital

2 November 2013

9:00 AM

2 November 2013

9:00 AM

Researching a new book on Shakespeare’s sonnets, I stumbled upon an astonishing piece of hitherto unnoticed evidence in a 16th-century book by a sex-maniac clergyman from Cambridge. I shall not bore you with the details; suffice it to say that William Covell (the author and S-MC in question) revealed in words not especially ambiguous by Elizabethan standards that ‘Shakespeare’ was a nom de plume used by the courtier poet Edward de Vere. Now a lot of people have been saying this for a very long time — so stale buns to that, you may think — except that no one has yet noticed that the matter was revealed in a book as long ago as 1595, so that makes it an important discovery. Well the Sunday Times ran a jumbled account on its news pages illustrated by a photograph of a nudist performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Times ran a piece the next day suggesting that ‘The Rape of Lucrece’ was a rarely performed play by Shakespeare.

'Our de Vere - a secret'? Is this an encrypted allusion by William Covell to Shakespeare from Polimanteia (1595)

‘Our de Vere – a secret’? Is this an encrypted allusion to Shakespeare in William Covell’s Polimanteia?

Our newspapers may be put together by degraded and ill-educated editors, but the reports were still just about coherent enough to rouse the hornet’s nest. ‘Stratfordians’ used to hoot at anyone who questioned their orthodoxy, but now that the tide of evidence has turned against them, and almost every intelligent educated person concedes, at very least, that there is a genuine authorship problem, their derisive laughter has toned itself down to the sort of soft growl that senile dogs emit when you try to get them into the car. After two days of manfully parrying emails of vituperation (‘Evelyn [sic] your [sic] just an attention seeking pratt [sic]’: ‘why give air to the views of that talentless little wanker Waugh’ etc), I decided that enough was enough and it was time to take myself abroad.

British Airways has just started direct flights from Heathrow to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China and supposedly the fastest-growing city in the world. Two days among 14 million Chengdu Chinese, none of whom has ever heard of Shakespeare or Edward de Vere, was just what I needed. At Xiongmao Jidi, the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, I saw a panda penis and balls preserved in formaldehyde, photographs of pandas attempting copulation, and of masked Chinese surgeons penetrating unconscious female pandas with gaudy plastic inseminators. Two living but hairless adults were held each in a cramped concrete cage. Uniformed security guards dragged me from three motionless babies when I asked if they might be dead. Two adolescents held in another cage were kept from repose by a zookeeper antagonising them with a luminous broom handle. The crowds were not interested in seeing the animals except through the lenses of their cameras and were ruthless in barging themselves and their equipment to the front. None of the pandas looked happy. Oh the hell of belonging to one of the cuter species! Were I a giant panda I would prefer the extinction of my entire race to any one of the humiliations inflicted upon me at Xiongmao Jidi.

Returning to Heathrow the next day, I headed straight to Milton Keynes to catch Dame Edna Everage at the start of her ‘Farewell Tour’. Uncontrollable laughter for two hours left me with a headache that lasted the night. Next morning I felt a heart attack coming on — sharp pain in the left side of my chest, heavy weights pushing against the ribcage, numbness in the shoulder and a left hand that seemed colder and clammier than the right. When I explained this to the woman from NHS Direct and told her that I had just come off a long-haul flight, she ordered me to check myself immediately into the accident and emergency unit of my nearest hospital. After three-and-a-half hours of X-ray, blood test, ECG scan, leg-slapping, form-filling, probes and inquisitions, the wonderfully efficient and sympathetic staff of the Northampton General Hospital discharged me with a clean bill of health. I walked out backwards feeling perfectly well, but ashamed and dribbling in supine apology. They laughed and wished me good day. The diagnosis was ‘phantom heart attack’ and for a moment, out of sheer embarrassment, I wished it had been a real one.

Alexander Waugh’s books include Fathers and Sons: the Autobiography of a Family, The House of Wittgenstein: a Family at War, and God.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • Richard Waugaman

    A former President of the Shakespeare Association of America told me last week, “We all get apoplectic about the Oxfordians.” I tactfully informed him that I’m one myself.

    Since I have some training in neurology, I thought of “lacunar state,” a form of dementia caused by repeated small strokes. That could explain a lot about the Stratfordians.

    So I would advise close-minded Stratfordians to skip Alexander Waugh’s column.

    Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.
    Faculty Expert on Shakespeare for Media Contacts, Georgetown University

    • Mike Gordon

      Richard, would you agree close-minded is a term applying to Oxfordians. After all, how many do you know who think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare?

      As for your slur, that Strats suffer from dementia, physician heal thyself.

      • Greg Koch

        Mike, it is the frequent personal insults levied by prime defenders of Stratfordia that make Oxfordians appear overly abused. Oxfordians as a rule have no need to make personal attacks, but they do attack the dumb Shakspere from Stratford. Stratfordia strongly believes in their beloved man’s background. They claim that although those were times of severe economic and educational disparity the Stratford man was richly endowed with cultural and literary influences that obviously produced the great plays and poems. Oxfordians think not.

        • Mike Gordon

          Greg, perhaps the worst ad hominem attack I’ve seen in years was delivered by Oxfordian W.J. Ray.

          Sadly, it’s typical of the way SAQ is going. One side attacks the others claimed ignorance and distortion, and cannot avoid attacking the originator [of the claim] in similar terms.

          This is not debate, it’s assertion. We’re right, you’re wrong Yaboo Sucks.

          For example, you write “the dumb Shakespeare”. Colours to the mast Greg, and it’s clear where you stand in rehashing the superficial ‘heads up’ start point of all conjecture in the debate.

          • Greg Koch

            Mike, Calling a bloke dumb who was long ago dead still stings a bit, I see. But I meant dumb in the known sense of the terrible disparity of education between haves and have-nots: that he could never offer anything intellectual to the arts in Elizabethan times (when the great plays were originally performed), except perhaps his fractional share in a theatre (theatres weren’t important Elizabethan times) which he probably coerced from another hapless bloke in Southwark. Harsh statements about textual interpretation might sound like personal attacks, but surely they were intended as a critique of research skill. One also has to admit Wells recently flew off the cliff with clipped wings. Since he leads Stratfordia (although that shifted more so to Shapiro), it had an adverse affect on the bar for literary scholarship. – That is not an insult. I appreciate risk-takers who go head first down, down into the void. But the difference between criticism and insults sounds like this: “sort of soft growl that senile dogs emit when you try to get them into the car.” They sting like a hellish rash.

      • F. Arthur Holding

        Mr. Mike Gordon— You suggest that it is Oxfordians who are closed-minded. How many Oxfordians do you think were once Stratfordians? Is changing one’s mind included in your definition of closed-minded?

        • Mike Gordon

          Dear Arthur Holding, I think the vast majority of people interested in research and discussion have to be open minded. However, once conclusions are set, they remain so. Oxfordians say Shakespeare didn’t go to school because there’s no record of attendance. Ergo he couldn’t have read/written and so on. It’s one of the tenets applicable to all the 70 + alternative candidates. In many ways it’s a closed book. A done deal. Accepting the alternative view is an impossibility if a person is to retain their belief Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare.

          • F. Arthur Holding

            Mike Gordon— Thank you for your response. I think you misstate the Oxfordian position, however. There is a subtle but important difference. Oxfordians never say Shaksper didn’t go to school because there are no school records, instead they say that because there are no records, you can not from that, conclude that he did in fact go to school. Stratfordians are forced into faulty circular reasoning when they assert that Shaksper must have gone to school since he wrote the works of Shakespeare. I think both sides can agree that whoever Shakespeare was, he was supremely well educated.

          • psi2u2

            Mike, you would benefit from actually reading what the Oxfordians are arguing, rather than superimposing your own facile substitute on them to construct a convenient straw man. No one (except for you, constructing a straw man) has tried to argue that Shakspere could not write *because* there is no evidence he went to school (there’s isn’t, but this is not the basis for the argument of his illteracy).

            The argument that he could not read or write is based on the direct evidence of 1) his handwriting; 2) the fact that his parents and children were functionally illiterate; 3) The fact that there is no evidence he ever read books. It is quite possible that he did for few years attend the Stratford grammar school; the records are lost. But there is no evidence that he actually did so. There are not really “70 +” alternative candidates. There are about five that have any following at all, and since 1920 there has not really been any credible alternative to the orthodox view except for Oxford.

          • Mike Gordon

            Dear Roger, re your point 3, and coincidental to your later comment that I should retreat to my library, I’ve been reading Hector Boece’s Historia Scotorum. There are three copies. One belonged to William Cecil and another to Thomas Randolph. Their marginalia in Book XII dealing with Macbeth is fascinating. I’m also reading an extremely rare first edition of John Bellenden’s translation of Boece. All in conjunction with Holinshed 1577 (a first edition) and the 1587 facsimile. The results of this research will be published in an article entitled Attour Macbeth. I’ll let you know when it’s done because it’s apparent to me that WS not only read Latin very well, but that he had enormous perspicacity in the way he edited and adapted the history. BTW, reading Bellenden is akin to a foreign language. Attour is an old Scots word and even though I’m a Scot..I had to ask! See if you can track it down.

        • psi2u2

          Good point.

      • psi2u2

        Mike, please go do your homework. You can say that this is closed minded as many times as you like. It doesnt’ have any impact, because its about *you,* not about Dr. Waugaman or anyone else. Why am I so sure?

        Having studied this question for over twenty years, in great detail, and having written several dozen related books in their totality and hundreds more articles and parts of books, I can confidently state that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Here are some links to get you started.


        If you’d like to discuss any particular aspect of the cast articulated on any of them, I’m sure a number here, myself included, would be happy to oblige. Or you can take a hint and realize that you inadvertently stumbled on a discussion in which there are any number of participants who know far more than you do, and make a strategic repeat to your own library.
        Good luck.

        • Felicity Morgan
          • psi2u2

            Thank you, Felicity. Sorry for the confusion.

          • Mike Gordon

            Dear Felicity, I did see your (no need to apologise) belated post, but was working on what you and Alexander said about direction to the compositor. I doubt you’ll be amused that your contentions result in showing Daniel wrote de Vere!


            And yes..it’s fun when courteous, thoughtful and intelligent people take the time to outline their points with supportive detail. Thanks…

        • Mike Gordon

          I, oh sorry, the writer exchanged emails with Dr. Waugaman earlier today. Funnily enough we were discussing the issue of ad hominem attacks within the SAQ arena. Let’s take a look at an example….psi2u2 to me above^^.

          It seems you’ve studied the question of closed mindedness for 20 years and written several dozen books, hundreds of articles and bits of other peoples books. Evidently your something of a specialist in the predicate of your opening paragraph.

          You’re confident I don’t know what I’m talking [writing actually] about and conclude I’ve stumbled upon a discussion that I’m incompetent to take part in. Evidently, you’re also a specialist when it comes to me.

          Although you hide your identity, you know my name and have made judgement that I should do my homework. Presumably so that you may deem me worthy of readmission to the discussion at a later date, after you, or members of your obliging number have educated me.

          No thanks: I think you’ve shown me, and anyone else who reads this, the epitome of closed mindedness. Combined with breathtaking arrogance and condescension.

          • Anka Z

            “[Y]ou hide your identity”? Anyone who has barely scratched the surface of the Authorship Question or has followed the comments sections of countless blogs and online periodicals knows who psi2u2 is. Your not instantly recognizing the handle or the photo tells me that you are woefully ignorant of the most basic of Oxfordian scholarship. This is not meant as a criticism, but an attempt to point out an undeniable fact. Stratfordians have shown time and again that references to Looney’s politics or Delia Bacon’s mental state is preferable to real scholarship when buttressing their arguments.

          • psi2u2

            You mean, my cover’s blown? Damn.

          • It’s your credibility you really need to worry about.

          • psi2u2

            Sicinius, coming from a guy with a sense of humor like yours I can’t imagine a better compliment. Yes, you really made my day with that one, Bub. You guys sure aren’t very well studied in your Bibles, are you? Cause your entire world view is about to be overturned. O, it may take another twenty years for some of today’s students to make it past the higher ed. gauntlet with their consciences still intact, but they’re coming. Count on it. They aren’t intimated by your threats and they won’t be told what they are “supposed” to think, either. Sorry, that sort of thinking went out a few centuries ago, in case you hadn’t noticed.
            You may now go back to one of your other egos.

          • I’m glad you liked it. I put a lot of effort into getting it just right.

            The business of who wrote what in the 1590’s and 1610’s is indeed getting high priority in English faculties at the moment.

            If this is what you are referring to, you are going to be seriously disappointed. Neddy Hedingham’s mediocre versification is nowhere to be seen

    • Dominic Hughes

      Dr. Waugaman, with his usual public resort to derogatory remarks as to those who have the nerve to disagree with him [“dementia”], may qualify as the most unprofessional professional I have ever encountered. I doubt that Georgetown University would countenance his remarks if it was made aware of them.

      • Richard Waugaman

        Thank you for mentioning Georgetown University. Its current President especially champions academic freedom. That’s no doubt one reason that this post-Stratfordian has been named one of Georgetown’s faculty experts on Shakespeare for media contacts. Georgetown’s fantastic library has been instrumental in my publications. If you write “Shakespeare” in the search box of the link below, you’ll see I’ve written two-thirds of the Georgetown faculty’s most recent publications on Shakespeare–


        • Dominic Hughes

          Classic avoidance, unless you hold the opinion that your name-calling and unprofessional conduct actually have something to do with academic freedom. If you truly believe that President DeGioia would agree with that opinion why don’t you run this exchange by him to get his thoughts on the matter. I wonder how he might feel about you invoking his name and office to support your unbecoming behavior.

          • Richard Waugaman

            One useful rule of thumb I’ve discovered in many Stratfordian accusations against authorship doubters is that they quickly resort to projection. In this case, it suggests that you feel threatened by what I have written, and you try to cope with this by threatening to “expose” me to Georgetown (be my guest). It also implies that there is something in my reply that you wish to avoid. Stratfordians have treated the authorship question as taboo, as a topic that does not deserve the protection of academic freedom. It seems difficult for them to engage in a respectful way, when for decades they have felt safe in ridiculing authorship skeptics, and in ignoring the steady accumulation of evidence that casts serious doubt on their theory (which they treat as 100% proven).

            Readers may notice what Mr. Hughes has ignored in my reply. So, to put a finer point on it, check out the link above, and you’ll find that this Oxfordian wrote 25 of the most recent 26 articles on Shakespeare by the Georgetown faculty. Ironically, Georgetown is currently the home of the Shakespeare Association of America. Last I heard, the SAA won’t discuss the authorship question, because they believe there is no question of who wrote the canon.

            It’s understandable that mainstream Stratfordians are running out of significant things to say about Shakespeare, since they keep trying to force the square peg of their presumed author into the round hole of the literary works.

          • Dominic Hughes

            On thing I’ve learned in dealing with Dr. Waugaman is that he will engage in internet psycho analysis to deflect from the real point. Readers may notice that in all of his response Dr. Waugaman never once acknowledges that he was the first one here to indulge in ridicule [he has yet to deny his insulting remarks about dementia, except perhaps to himself]. The truly amazing thing about his rant is that he actually does project his own behavior onto those with whom he disagrees, contending that it is Stratfordians who “feel safe in ridiculing” others and have difficulkty in engaging “in a respectful way”, all while ignoring the fact that he engaged in that very disrespectful conduct in this very exchange. The reader may also notice that Dr. Waugaman has utterly failed to show how his insulting remarks have the slightest connection to the issue of academic freedom. Denial?

            As for the rest, I do not feel threatened, nor did I ever threaten you. Since you invoked the President of Georgetown, I merely suggested that YOU run this exchange by him to see if it involved academic freedom. I never proposed to do anything at all to “expose” you to Georgetown. That you take this as a threat may indicate that, subconsciously anyway, you do recognize the fault in your behavior. Or, readers may see in Dr. Waugaman’s rant some indications of developing paranoia.

            It is true that I ignored your habitual efforts at self-promotion, but that is understandable since the quantity of what you have written has absolutely nothing to do with your disrespectful and insulting comments…the ones you seem unwilling to address. Deflection?

          • Richard Waugaman

            Interested readers must be losing interest in this exchange. Dominic Hughes will no doubt be incensed by what he will consider further “self-promotion,” but here’s my Georgetown faculty website, for those who wish to read what I’ve written–


          • Dominic Hughes

            So not only does Dr. Waugaman practice internet psycho analysis, he also appears to believe that he is an online psychic who can perceive my reactions through the internet tubes. He has “no doubt” that he can “see” into the future through the internet and “know” that I will be incensed by his habitual self-promotion. Contrary to his psychic prediction, I don’t see any cause for anger in Dr. Waugaman’s unprofessional conduct. Disappointment, pity, and sadness are more appropriate responses.

            I’m sorry to break the news to Dr. Waugaman but his faith in his internet psychoanalysis and his belief that he is an online psychic are mere quackery. It is interesting that while Dr. Waugaman contends that his opponents in this debate must be suffering from dementia, it is Dr. Wauagaman who appears to be exhibiting delusional beliefs in his purported psychic powers. And doesn’t his belief that anyone who disagrees with his expressions of faith in his Lord must be ill qualify as a symptom of megalomania…or perhaps it is part of an inferiority complex.

            To the interested readers of this exchange [if any are left]:
            All kidding aside, you will note that Dr. Waugaman still fails to offer any explanation as to how his unprofessional and insulting comments have anything whatsoever to do with academic freedom. I will predict here and now that he never will offer any such explanation.

          • Richard Waugaman

            Dominic Hughes has now used the phrase “all kidding aside.” That suggests he may be familiar with the rhetorical device of a joke. My comment on “lacunar state” was a joke, Mr. Hughes.

          • I see you, however, despite your qualifications, wouldn’t recognise a joke if a Supreme Court Justice force-fed you one. The fact that you can’t tell a joke from pompous, pseudo-intellectual condescension is, in fact, a bit of joke.

            I’d like to see you trying out some of your ‘rhetorical devices’ at the Improv or The Comedy Store.

          • psi2u2

            Hmmm….we are just hurling insults now, huh? Get over yourself, sir. That’s not a joke.

          • minesweep-(ing): vi; adding posts to public discussion threads sometimes days or weeks after the principals have left the argument in an attempt to grab whatever is left of the moral high ground.

            stritmatter: n; material added to public discussion threads days or weeks after discussion has ended, usually to try and repair damage to argument. See also “l’esprit d’escalier”.

            >> Get over yourself, ***sir***. That’s not a joke.

            Well it made me laugh.

          • psi2u2

            Sicinius, your nastiness is showing again. Really you must learn to curb that hostility in public as it does not make your case look any more attractive. As those who have actually met Dr. Waugaman,. or followed his career even a little bit, are aware he is a widely respected psychoanalyst with one of those cv’s containing multiple pages of publications in a wide range of academic journals. He also does have quite a wit on him. He just doesn’t try to substitute cheap jokes for an informed discussion.

          • Waugman, in his opening shot, threw his credentials out of the window and abandoned any high ground he may have laid claim to by calling the desire to see Will credited with his own work “dementia”. A bit like you calling the students of Guelph university ‘dirt ignorant’ in your opening post in reply to their coverage of the Oxfordian conference in Toronto.

            After that diagnosis you don’t need to consult The Doc again on psychological matters.

            He then tried to make a joke out it which took him so far out of his comfort zone that he felt compelled to compound his initial gaffe with further condescensions from “From The Doctor’s High Horse” which were not appreciated. I didn’t feel any need to add to the pasting that the Doc was getting from Domenic but you can’t expect a northerner to ignore someone mistaking jokes for rhetorical devices. . .

          • Dominic Hughes

            I do recognize a joke when I see one, and you are pretty funny. Your purported attempt at a joke is not. And, just as I predicted, it still doesn’t have anything to do with issues of academic freedom.

          • Wag the Doc is definitely not Doc the Wag.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Now that is funny.

          • Dominic Hughes

            I wanted to add that your comment that “mainstream Stratfordians are running out of significant things to say about Shakespeare” couldn’t be more wrong. I just finished reading ‘Owning William Shakespeare’, by James J. Marino, and I am currently reading both of Lukas Erne’s books. These books are proof that there are still significant things to say about Shakespeare that don’t have anything to do with your Oxfordian conspiracy.

          • psi2u2

            Lukas Erne’s book is indeed a valuable one, but it remains largely circumscribed within its closely guarded Stratfordian premises. Erne was instrumental in preventing Lynne Kositsky from preventing the results of her research on the Tempest, now published in a book (http://www.shakespearestempest.com) at the 2007 SAA meetings, so I would not really hold him up as a paragon of scholarship, even if his book is a decent one (I reviewed it several years ago for *Choice* magazine).

          • 25 out of 26 eh? Just imagine. Well, nobody can do anything other than admire the quantity of Oxfordian publishing. There certainly is a lot of it about.

            Convincing arguments, well – they’re a bit thinner on the ground. Evidence, of course, is totally absent. Common sense, that can be hard to find too. Logic? That’s often missing. And as for a coherent overall theory, well, even Justice Stevens couldn’t find one of those.

          • psi2u2

            “Evidence is totally absent.”

            This is a very convincing argument. As long as your readers are ignorant. But you might want to wise up a bit, because one those same readers actually get her hands on of some of said literature, they will never trust a thing you say again. And for those readers who are still confused by your dust, Justice Stevens, in his “Shakespeare Canon of Statutory Construction,” does say that based on the considerable evidence he presents in that article, that De Vere probably wrote the canon. Either you have not read that article, or you have a bizarrely constricted idea of what does or does not constitute evidence, or you are simply not telling the truth.

          • Confusing readers, eh? How?

            You’re talking about the same Justice Stevens who said, almost in the same breath, “The Oxfordian case suffers from not having a single coherent theory” aren’t you?

            Misrepresenting people by concealing half of what they say-you don’t think that’s a tad confusing?

          • Hieronymite

            I take the expression to be “The Oxfordian case suffers from not having a SINGLE coherent theory.” No, it has SEVERAL fairly coherent theories, somewhat scandalous, and the case stands in doubt.

          • I think the original intention behind the quote is more damaging.

            What Stevens means is that a few small, disconnected, superficially suggestive coincidences don’t add up to the sort of plausible overall theory that would be necessary to set up a credible alternative to Shakespeare. Their explanations of the big issues don’t add up. They can’t explain how their candidate died before a third of the dramatic work was written. Their version of history does not hang together. Their picture of Jacobean theatre is unrecognisable to students.

            Stevens said this in 1987 but it is much, much more apposite today than it was then. And he is absolutely right to tackle Oxfordian theory at the macro level, which is where it is most obviously false.

            Oxfordians get hysterically excited over microscopic minutiae while postulating a hilariously inaccurate picture of modern Shakespeare scholarship, unable to assimilate such evidence. The fact is that academia is now fully engaged in authorship examination. It’s the new structuralism. The latest fashion and in some Faculties, it is becoming the top priority.

            Disaster! In the new game of computer-assisted discrimination between authors, no trace of De Vere has shown up anywhere. Nor will it. Ever. The man can’t write.

            There are two huge lacunae (to use a word they like) from which they are now strenuously trying to divert attention.

            The first is the stratospheric gulf in imagination, creativity, humanity, artistic breadth and verbal dexterity that lies between Oxford and Shakespeare.

            And the second is the gulf in quality between real academic study of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and their parlour game with evidence snippets.

            Oxford’s authorship of the canon is completely impossible.

            It’s a HUGE mistake to compare them to malicious, right wing, swivel-eyed, lunatic conspiracy theorists like holocaust deniers. This cedes them some moral high ground which they are absolutely desperate to claim. However irritating they may be, Oxfordians are not malicious.

            Believing in Oxfordian authorship of the Shakespearean canon is equivalent to believing in fairies.

            Although this may turn out, at some point in the future to have been unfair (on fairies), Strats should stick with that metaphor.

          • Hieronymite

            Sicinius says: “It’s a HUGE mistake to compare them (Oxfordians) to malicious, right wing, swivel-eyed, lunatic conspiracy theorists like holocaust deniers. This cedes them some moral high ground which they are absolutely desperate to claim. However irritating they may be, Oxfordians are not malicious.”

            Of course that’s very cute. The reply in kind goes like this: “It’s
            a HUGE mistake to suppose that Sicinius is a bookless, spew-mouthed, mucking pig to bring the holocaust into the authorship question. But to his credit, Sicinius is not bookless.

          • Well exactly. I’d hate anyone to think that.

            Which is why I’ve hoisted my new colours: Crushed Gossamer Wings above a Supine Jolly Roger surmounted by the legend “Quid censes, si quid credis Oxoniam scripsit?” (If you believe Oxford wrote the plays, you’ll believe anything)

          • psi2u2

            Clearly you have more than little Latin and less Greek.

          • psi2u2


          • Nurse! the screens.

            Mr psi2u2 has taken a funny turn.

          • psi2u2

            Right Hieronymite. Thanks for the apt comment.

  • Felicity Morgan

    Mr. Waugh,
    Thank you for this. As you’ve discovered, the authorship question is not for the faint of heart.
    May you live a LONG time!
    Felicity M

  • psi2u2

    Congratulations are in order to Mr. Waugh for standing up to the bullies and telling it like it is.

  • psi2u2

    To which it should be added that Covell was by no means the only one who understood the nature of the authorship ruse and let it be known, using the resources of literary ambiguity (in this case a rather conspicuous anagram that Mr. Waugh has, it seems evident, correctly unriddled), that he knew who the real author was.

    • Mike Gordon

      That’s right. “All praiseworthy. Lucrece. Sweet Shakespeare”

      • psi2u2

        No, not what I had in mind at *all* Mike. You don’t even seem to understand what Waugh found, let alone the clever ways that Barnefield, Meres, and others are telling us what they know about de Vere’s connection to the Shakespeare works. Like I said, try doing your homework and you’ll be able to keep up with the rapidly evolving discussion. On Meres, see Detobel and Ligon, *Brief Chronicles*, 2010.

  • Beth Swain

    Glad to know the heart attack was a phantom event–but perhaps not entirely attributable to an evening with Dame Edna? Disgust at the treatment meted out to the long-suffering Pandas would put up the blood pressure somewhat. Add the vituperative abuse that the Shakespeare authorship question seems to provoke on the part of the Stratfordian traditionalists, and any thinking person might have a heart attack. How strange it is that some have to resort to cheap insult rather than acknowledge that there is an informed debate to be had. Perhaps a little more enthusiasm for defending the rights of the pandas and a spot of calm in discussing ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare’ would benefit both causes. Unlike the pandas, the Shakespeare authorship question is not black and white, but it’s looking increasingly likely that Edward de Vere had something to do with it.

  • Kevin Gilvary

    Alexander made his discovery by going back to the original material and not relying on second-hand filtered versions. His compelling case can be found on the De Vere Society website. The Society welcomes all interest in the Shakespeare Authorship Question as it is so important to know the origins and influence of the greatest writer in the English Language.
    Kevin Gilvary, Chairman De Vere Society.

    • psi2u2

      Good point, Kevin.

  • Hippograd

    why give air to the views of that talentless little wanker Waugh?

    Hear, hear! It’s shocking how degenerate this once-great family have become. Evelyn must be spinning in her grave.

    • Mike Gordon

      Hippo….good to see the gist of your post, Could be here here, but Mr Evelyn Waugh can’t be spinning in her grave.

      • Sir Philip Sydney, of course, took a more headmasterly eye to Oxford’s poetry with his acidly biting response to Oxford’s poem, ‘Were I a king’.

        It is not the satire of a rival. Sydney corrects Oxford’s metrical mistakes like a disappointed teacher correcting an unpromising pupil’s homework. He even alters the sentiment in direct rebuke of the arrogant, self-obsession shown in Oxford’s original.

        Gabriel Harvey didn’t think much of his work, either. . .

        • Greg Koch

          You are not in the least convincing in degrading Vere’s highly praised skill as a poet.

          Meanwhile, the Stratford man was promoted as the great playwright and accused by townsfolk for leaving a huge pile of feces on his front yard.

          We certainly do know the Stratford man was never praised at all for poetic skill, and totally devoid from any cultural impact. In fact, he was later cited in London for petty loansharking. That’s it. He was darn good at something: being a small-time crook.

          • Dominic Hughes

            You are a real credit to Oxfordian scholarship. It was John Shakespeare who was fined in April 1552 for having an unauthorized sterquinarium in front of his house in Henley Street. Since William Shakespeare was not even born until April of 1564, it would be quite impossible for him to have had any part in the events of 1552. In addition, William Shakespeare was never cited for “petty loansharking” in London or anywhere else. Finally, William Shakespeare of Stratford was, in fact, praised for his poetic skill during his lifetime and after.

          • psi2u2


            Your point is what, exactly? This tells us what about the works of Shakespeare? Right. Nothing. Its just more of the fetishization of an empty biography.

            As for your astounding claim that “William Shakespeare of Stratford was, in fact, praised for his poetic skill during his lifetime and after,” it is very carefully worded, is it not, in order to create in the mind of the reader a false impression?

            To my knowledge (which is no doubt less comprehensive than that demonstrated in your posting), there is not any evidence “praising William Shakespeare (sic) of Stratford *during his lifetime.” As you know, the folio and the monument of 1623 for the first time makes any concrete and explicit connection between William Shaksper (as he spelled his own name) of Stratford and the works. Only circular reasoning gives you any evidence within the lifetime of the alleged author.

            Now, Oxfordians do suggest that the ruse was well known, and is for example illustrated in *As You Like It* 5, in the scene in which Touchstone threatens to duel “William” over Audrey. But there isn’t any evidence other than this dramatic and literary evidence that de Vere even knew the Stratford lad, let alone that other people regarded him as the true author. Like Alexander Waugh says, “get over it.”

          • Dominic Hughes


            I would have thought my point was obvious as to Mr. Koch’s factually incorrect claims. As for what the “detritus” has to do with the works of Shakespeare, your question should be directed to Mr. Koch, as he is the one who seems to think that his allegations [incorrect as they are] disqualify William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author.

            As for my claim that “William Shakespeare of Stratford was, in fact, praised for his poetic skill during and after his lifetime,” I meant exactly what I said, and it is quite rude and arrogant of you to suggest otherwise. My statement was straightforward and factually correct, and your imputation that I am trying to deceive the reader says more about you than it does about me. You seem predisposed to read things into statementsw that are not actually there.

            The three poems by John Davies of Hereford which allude to Shakespeare serve to praise him, and either put him in company with Burbage or address him as Mr. Will Shake-speare, using the title [Master or Mr.] which signifies his status as a gentleman, specifically connecting him to WS of Stratford [and please don’t tell me that I need to read Detobel on the subject as I already have and have found his analysis to be vacuous]. The Meres’ references also point to the Stratford man, as he is praised for his comedies and tragedies written “for the stage” [unlike Oxford who is praised for his comedies, not tragedies, and not, in Meres, written for the stage. [Again, please don’t direct me to Detobel & Ligon, as I’ve already read that].

            John Webster praises M. Shake-speare in ‘The White Devil’ in 1612. Thomas freeman praises “Master
            W. Shakespeare” in ‘Runne and a Great Cast’ in 1614. 1615. From continuation [1614] in ed. 5 of John Stow’s ‘Annales’ (by Edmund Howes), we have praise for “M. Willi. Shakespeare gentleman”, in a list of contemporary authors.

            All of these allusions to Shakespeare indicate that he is the one William Shakespeare who is entitled to be addressed as Master William Shakespeare, Gent., which specifically identifies the author as that William Shakespeare from Stratford whose father was granted a coat of arms. All of these references qualify as direct, documentary evidence linking William Shakespeare of Stratford to the authorship of the works. You need to get over this evidence instead of trying to get around it — or ignoring it outright.

            Perhaps my favorite example of praise for Mr. Shakespeare is found in the ‘Parnassus’ plays, where, once again, Shakespeare is addressed with the title suiting his status as a Gentleman, and where he is also placed in the acting company of his fellows Burbage and Kempe. The praise is not complete, as he is criticized for his subject matter, but it is there. The plays also depict Mr. Shakespeare besting Thomas Nashe [Ingenioso] in the pursuit of the patronage of the Earl of Southampton [Gullio]. Was your Lord seeking patronage from Southampton? But wait, it gets even better…there is actually an allusion to your Lord Oxford in the play but it certainly doesn’t portray him as Shakespeare.

            As I know, the First Folio and the Monument supply additional direct evidence concretely and explicitly connecting William Shakespeare of Stratford to the authorship of the works. More evidence for you to get over.

          • psi2u2

            Dear Dominic,

            I’m sorry, but I fail to understand how it is “rude and arrogant” for me to ask you to supply some evidence for your claim. You seem to think that I am some sort of “johnny come lately” upstart to the study of Shakespearean biography and more specifically the Shakespeare allusions of the period 1591-1623. These assumptions are false. I have studied this evidence for over twenty years, and am more than passingly familiar with the John Davies of Hereford poems, which certainly do not identify “Shakespeare” with the Stratford William.

            They do, on the other hand, obliquely identify the author as someone who, in the astute synopsis of Catherine Chiljan in her *Shakespeare Suppressed,* was “a nobleman who wrote plays and poetry anonymously under a pseudonym….” To take but one example, perhaps you could explain why Davies refers to the bard as “our English Terence.” The answer is known to anyone who is familiar with the 16th century reputation of Terence as a front for Laelio and Scipio. The point is not that this belief was (or was not) correct, but that a number of Sh. contemporaries believed it to be true. Let us, then, take the lines:

            Had’st thou not plaid some Kingly parts in sport,

            Thou hadst bin a companion for a King;

            This refers pretty evidently to the loss of status suffered by “Shakespeare” for his acting on the stage and suggests that had he not suffered a decline in reputation (to which the sonnets several times allude) from his “trafficking” in the public stage, he would have been a “companion to a king.” In a literary sense this refers to Falstaff being Hal’s “companion” in the H4 plays, but in a real world sense it once again makes no sense applied to your author, who did not lose status by his theatrical endeavors and could be no real stretch of imagination ever have been a “companion to a king” in Elizabethan England. One could go on from this, as Diana Price and Lynne Kositsky, have both done, to examine the remainder of the poem, but I think these points raise a reasonable doubt that your literalistic interpretation of the poem is the correct one.

            Given the close and well documented association between Davies and de Vere (see Warren Hope’s excellent article on this topic, The Singing Swallow: Sir John Davies and Shakespeare, http://www.elizabethanreview.com/editorial_board.html)

            When you cite the Parnassus plays you are, likewise, citing evidence that has been discussed by Oxfordians for many decades now, and which is most certainly not saying what you think it is saying. Your Parnassus play “authority” William Kempe thinks that “Metamorpheses” is a writer, so of course he will comically attribute the works to the wrong person. The play is a *satire,* not a legal brief — a distinction defenders of Shakespearean orthodoxy sometimes seem incapable of grasping the implications of. As you may or may not know, Nashe was a close associate of Oxford’s during the years that Southampton was engaged to be married to Oxford’s daughter, a circumstance to which Gullio alludes directly in the play when he says that “I percieve the Earl would fain have thrust one of his daughters upon me). As you can see from this link, the Parnassus plays are well discussed in Mark Anderson’s Shakespeare By Another Name, a book I recommend you read if you want to get up to speed on where the authorship question is really going: http://books.google.com/books?id=kzav7JrRRJsC&pg=PA281&lpg=PA281&dq=gullio+I+would+have+no+knave+priest+meddle+with+my+ring&source=bl&ots=HdDJ_yyvO6&sig=iyPjf9kxTDlZxifLnlHX7rxZxZY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=pzx1UrfrFcrlsAS58oDIBA&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=gullio%20I%20would%20have%20no%20knave%20priest%20meddle%20with%20my%20ring&f=false.

            When you write, “as you know, the First Folio and the monument supply additional evidence” etc. I can only smile at your confidence in assessing these documents at their face value. You clearly have not spent much time reading the introductory materials to the first folio or you could not possibly write this with a straight fact. Here are a few hints for you or for other readers curious about why the folio and the monument cannot unproblematically be cited as evidence for the traditional view of authorship:


            To this one must ad the cogent testimony of Leah Marcus, former president of the MLA, in her intriguing book, *Puzzling Shakespeare* (you see, Marcus does understand that the bard is a “puzzle”):

            “Jonson’s [first folio] poem sets readers off on a treasure hunt for the author: where is the “real” Shakespeare to be found?”

            In his “booke,” answers Jonson, not in his “picture.” You are still looking at the picture. Trying reading the book.

            Finally, if you don’t mind, would it be too much to ask that you stop calling me names in your responses, should you elect to continue the conversation?

          • Dominic Hughes

            RS: I’m sorry, but I fail to understand how it is “rude and
            arrogant” for me to ask you to supply some evidence for your claim.

            DH: I’m baffled that you fail to understand why I described your behavior as rude and arrogant. I would never have done so if what you had done was simply to ask me to supply some evidence for my claims, but that isn’t at all what you actually did. Here is your statement which led
            to my comment: “As for your claim that “William Shakespeare of Stratford was, in fact, praised for his poetic skill during his lifetime and after,” it is very carefully worded, is it not, in order to create in the mind of the reader a false impression?” It is quite clear that you are alleging that I had worded my sentence s as to intentionally “create” a false impression. This is an accusation of dishonesty in this debate, and it is rude and unwarranted. It is also arrogance on your part for you to think you know my intention better than I do myself.

            RS: You seem to think that I am some sort of “johnny come lately” upstart to the study of Shakespearean biography and more specifically the Shakespeare allusions of the period 1591-1623. These assumptions are false.

            DH: More arrogance from you which leads you to claim that you know what my assumptions are, and more evidence that betrays your predilection for reading things into statement that are not actually there.

            RS: I have studied this evidence for over twenty years, and am more than passingly familiar with the John Davies of Hereford poems, which certainly do not identify “Shakespeare” with the Stratford William.

            DH: I have studied this evidence since @ 1984 when I first bought Ogburn’s book, and your certainty that the Davies poems do not identify “Shakespeare with the Stratford man is certainly misplaced. As for Ms. Chiljan, I do not find her to be as “astute” as you believe her to be. She doesn’t even appear to realize that Gullio is Southampton and that Ingenioso is Nashe. Her explication of the ‘Parnassus’ plays is vapid at best. If you get Gullio wrong, you get ‘Parnassus’ wrong.

            RS: To take but one example, perhaps you could explain why Davies refers to the bard as “our English Terence.” The answer is known to anyone who is familiar with the 16th century reputation of Terence as a front for Laelio and Scipio. The point is not that this belief was (or was not) correct, but that a number of Sh. contemporaries
            believed it to be true.

            DH: I knew you would pull out the Terence-as-front Oxfordian boilerplate. As Irvin Matus theorizes, Davies was most likely complimenting Shakespeare for his verbal clarity and elegant style, qualities for which Terence was praised by Elizabethans. According to Matus, Terence “was in the curriculum of Westminster School, one of the great schools of the day, ‘for the better learning (of) the pure Roman style.’” That is terence’s known reputation among Elizabtehans. Many of Shakespeare’s contemporaries commented on his mellifluousness style, the same type of style which was admired in Terence. There is
            nothing in the poem itself to indicate that we are to interpret this title so as to spin it the way that you do, so that the title refers to WS of Stratford and then the poem itself veers off to describe some entirely different person. The title specifically identifies Mr. Will Shakespeare as the subject of the poem, and there is no hint or clue that we are then supposed to read the following lines as being addressed to anyone else.

            RS: Let us, then, take the lines: Had’st thou not plaid some Kingly parts in sport, Thou hadst bin a companion for a King;

            This refers pretty evidently to the loss of status suffered by
            “Shakespeare” for his acting on the stage and suggests that had he not suffered a decline in reputation (to which the sonnets several times allude) from his “trafficking” in the public stage, he would have been a “companion for a king.”

            DH: Are you contending that the Earl of Oxford was an actor on the public stage in the performance of the Shakespeare plays? Seriously? And why don’t we add the context to our consideration of the poem:

            Some say (good Will), which I, in sport, do sing,
            Hadst thou not played some Kingly parts in sport,
            Thou hadst been a companion for a King;
            And been a King among the meaner sort.

            Your Lord was a companion for his Queen and for a King, and there is no explanation for why he would have been a king himself “among the meaner sort.” In a literary sense, all the talk of kings and being a companion for a king is a reference to Shakespeare being a member of the King’s Men [a play on words that Davies repeats in a poem concerning Robert Armin].

            RS: In a literary sense this refers to Falstaff being Hal’s “companion” in the H4 plays, but in a real world sense it once again makes no sense applied to your author, who did not lose status by his theatrical endeavors and could by no stretch of imagination ever have actually been a “companion to a king” in Elizabethan England.

            DH: I’ve already explained how Shakespeare was a “companion” for a King [by his membership in the King’s acting company]. The poem doesn’t say that he has lost any status at all; it only says that the status of an actor is not such as would make him an actual companion
            for a king [as actors were considered no better than vagabonds]. I do find it rather ironic that you would read one line in a “literalistic” fashion and require Davies to be saying that Shakespeare must have actually been in a position to be a companion to a king. In a real world sense the poem makes no sense as applied to your Lord as he was, in fact, a companion to kings, and never lost
            such status, and by no stretch of the imagination could he ever have been said to not be a companion to royalty.

            One could go on from this, to examine the remainder of the poem, but I think these points raise more than a reasonable doubt as to your interpretation of the poem being the correct one. For instance, we haven’t even mentioned the other two Davies poems that praise WS and place him in company with Richard Burbage.

            RS: Given the close and well documented association between Davies and de Vere (see Warren Hope’s excellent article on this topic, The Singing Swallow: Sir John Davies and Shakespeare, it should hardly come as a surprise that Davies, like Barnfield, Francis Meres, William Covell, Ben Jonson, and many others, knew the real identity of the author and made it their business to tip their hats to a knowing posterity.

            DH: Your interpretations are not evidence.

            RS: When you cite the Parnassus plays you are, likewise, citing evidence that has been discussed by Oxfordians for many decades now, and which is most certainly not saying what you think it is saying.

            DH: I’m well aware of what Oxfordians have had to say about the ‘Parnassus’ plays, and what they have said is wide of the mark as to what the plays actually say.

            RS: Your Parnassus play “authority” William Kempe thinks that “Metamorpheses” is a writer, so of course he will comically attribute the works to the wrong person.

            DH: Kempe is not my ‘Parnassus’ play authority, or did you fail to read and understand what I wrote regarding the section of the play where Gullio who is a caricdature of Southampton, as I believe you have previously acknowledged] frustrates Nashe’s attempts to gain his
            patronage, and instead favors Master William Shakespeare. This scenario, with Shakespeare besting Nashe in the effort to gain Southampton’s patronage is corroborated in other literary works [although I won’t go into that here]. As I stated before [and as you have already acknowledged elsewhere] your Lord Oxford is alluded to
            in a Gullio scene and he isn’t William Shakespeare. Are you now going to contend that Oxford had to contend with Thomas Nashe in seeking patronage from Southampton?

            As for your claim that Kempe “comically attributes the works to the wrong person” I’d request that you supply the textual basis for that claim. It is true that Kempe is portrayed as an unlearned dolt but that has nothing whatsoever to do with authorship attribution, and there is no language in his portion of the text that indicates that a joke is being made about his fellow Shakespeare not being an author. In fact, to the contrary, Kempe specifically discusses the
            Poetomachia and Shakespeare giving Jonson the purge that makes him bewray his credit. The actual joke is that Kempe is so uneducated that he doesn’t recognize Shakespeare’s debt to Ovid.

            RS: The play is a *satire,* not a legal brief — a distinction defenders of Shakespearean orthodoxy sometimes seem incapable of grasping the implications of.

            DH: I grasp that it is satire. The who0le point of the satire involves the plight of university graduates who are forced by their economic situations to take whatever scraps they can from their intellectual inferiors]. I also grasp that it has nothing to do with jokes about authorship, that the Gullio scenes portray Nashe and Shakespeare dueling to see which will win patronage from Southampton, and that the author is noted to be Master William Shakespeare – and that would be evidence identifying him as William Shakespeare of Stratford. You can spin that however you’d like but it remains evidence for the orthodox attribution.

            RS: As you may or may not know, Nashe was a close associate of Oxford’s during the years that Southampton was engaged to be married to Oxford’s daughter, a circumstance to which Gullio alludes directly in the play when he says that “I percieve the Earl would fain have
            thrust one of his daughters upon me).

            DH: I already brought this up. Your Lord is alluded to in the play and there isn’t a single iota of textual evidence to indicate that anyone involved with the play, authors or audience, believed him to be the secret Shakespeare.

            RS; As you can see from this link, the Parnassus plays are well discussed in Mark Anderson’s Shakespeare By Another Name, a book I recommend you read if you want to get up to speed on where the authorship question is really going.

            DH: There you go again, making assumptions that have no basis in reality. I’ve already read Mr. Anderson’s book, and I don’t find that the ‘Parnassus’ plays are “well-discussed” in his book. Although he does understand that Gullio is Southampton, he fails to see the scenario which is presented in which Southampton rejects Nashe in favor of Mr. William Shakespeare. I note that you have chosen to ignore this scenario as well, as I presume you realize that
            your Lord would not fit in it.

            RS: When you write, “as you know, the First Folio and the monument supply additional evidence” etc. I can only smile at your confidence in assessing these documents at their face value. You clearly have not spent much time reading the introductory materials to the first folio or you could not possibly write this with a straight fact [sic].

            DH: More arrogance with a dash of condescension. I’ve spent a great deal of time studying the introductory materials to the First Folio and I can only smile at your willingness to read them as some sort of secret code.

            RS: In his “booke,” answers Jonson, not in his “picture.”
            You are still looking at the picture. Trying reading the book.

            DH: Thanks, but I’ve read the book and I’m still reading.

          • Dominic Hughes

            For readers who might wish to explore the only book-length treatment of the ‘Parnassus’ plays I would suggest tracking down Paula Glatzer’s ‘The Complaint of the Poet”. It took quite a bit of searching before I acquired my copy but it was well worth the effort. The plays actually are “well-discussed” in Glatzer’s book.

          • You’ll have to excuse him. I think Oxfordians were a bit disappointed with the reaction to their recent conference, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Toronto, last month. Especially when embarrassed English Faculty students protested at their institutions’ sponsorship of the event.

            Psi2u2, never rude or arrogant, called the student newspaper which reported the story ‘dirt ignorant’, having already secured his reputation for politeness in the vicinity with an anonymous note to Director of Communications at the Canadian Stratford Shakespeare festival. pic.twitter.com/ja1Icu3kZA

            Oxfordians seem to be having a bit of a crisis of faith.

            And to be fair to them, their world IS falling apart.

            They have no stakes and no cards in the new game of collaborative authorship as there is not trace of the earl’s DNA in the new, more detailed picture of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Genome. It must be very frustrating to watch proper academics starting a new game of authorship studies and not letting any of them play.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Sicinius, are you unaware of the imminent arrival of the great paradigm shift — of the turning point that was going to be the Emmerich movie, but is now some other movie. As Abel Lefranc stated,

            “It is clear for all that a new era of Shakespearian studies is about to open. The scepticism about the man of Stratford is spreading in spite of the resistance of the defence-quarters of the tradition. Quantity of beliefs long time accepted as dogmas are on their way out: the block is cracking.”

            Of course, that was in 1918. The Oxfordians resemble doomsday cultists who keep predicting that the world will end on a certain day, and, when that day comes and goes, and the next sunrise proves them wrong once again, continue to insist that they are right even if their calculations proved to be inaccurate this time…and all the times before that.

          • psi2u2

            From a Never Writer to Mr. Dominic Hughes, Esq.: News.

            To quote the former Educational Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, writing as long ago as 1985, in *The Shakespeare Quarterly*:

            “”Doubts about Shakespeare came early and grew rapidly. They have a simple and direct plausibility. The plausibility (of such arguments) has been reinforced by the tone and methods by which traditional scholarship has responded to the doubts.”

            It’s been, what, 28 years now and you still don’t get Crinkley’s point?

          • Dominic Hughes

            Roger…such sloppy thinking. How could I possibly have missed Mr. Crinkley’s point for 28 years when I wasn’t informed as to what he had said until you posted his comments here. As for what he did say, I think he was quite wrong. The plausibility of your arguments has not improved since 1985, and nothing that orthodox scholars have said or done, their tone or their methods, have served to make your doubts more plausible to the general public. You are still a fringe group at best and that shows no sign of changing in the immediate or distant future.

          • psi2u2

            All important ideas begin on the margins. This is what you fail to understand. As for the plausibility of the arguments not improving since 1985, can you possibly hang your bare ass out the window any further? You are clueless.


          • Dominic Hughes

            I doubt that it is true that all important ideas begin on the margins, but, even if it is, that doesn’t mean that any idea which begins on the margins is important or will thrive.

            As to the plausibility of your arguments, if you are going to rely on Rambler and calendar, your argument is in worse trouble than I previously thought. Also, I’d prefer that you not indulge in thinking about my bare ass…because that’s just creepy. Its a pity that you can’t learn a little courtesy and engage in a real conversation.

          • psi2u2

            You’re hardly in a position to lecture anyone about courtesy, Sir Your discourtesy not only to others participating in this discussion but to your own higher sensibilities is written all over this discussion. Example: your insinuation that I “rely” on Rambler for my conclusions. That’s ridiculous and shows that you either don’t know anything about who I am or what I have done, or you just find it convenient to continue writing slurs about people even when you do know better.

            Why not discuss the content of Rambler’s blog? Huh? Rambler cogently discusses the role of circumstantial evidence in induction. As Dr. Waugaman has said more than once (you do know who he is, don’t you?), the irony of the Stratfordian position is that ya’ll rely on a pre-enlightenment mode of argument, using deductive logic (when you use logic at all and are not just in your typical attack mode) to avoid examining the inductive basis for the Oxfordian case. So, shall we try again?

            You say you don’t want to talk about your ass, and perhaps you’re still unaware of how far out the window of your speeding car it is hanging, and you show yourself as unwilling to discuss methodology and epistemology in your current reply – so how about this? As you know, Lynne Kositsky (the award winning Ontario novelist and U of T graduate) and Roger Stritmatter have recently completed a book showing that Stratfordians have been wrong for the last two hundred years about the date of the Tempest (http://www.shakespearestempest.com)

            Perhaps you’d care to discuss that book? I know, its really creepy to think about actually reading a book by post-Stratfordians – but unlike the present discussion, you might actually learn something if you started dealing with the substance of the arguments of those for whom you carry such evident contempt. Until you can answer this book, your faith is rooted in sand.

          • Dominic Hughes

            For someone who is always urging people to read, you don’t read very well yourself. I made no “insinuation” that you rely on the Rambler blog for your conclusions. What I did say was that your reliance on the festivalrobe.com blog [which is something of an offshoot of the Rambler blog], as evidence for your conclusion that the plausibility of your argument had been enhanced since 1985, was misplaced.
            Therefore, your one purported “example” of my alleged discourtesy is incorrect and unfounded.

            Contrary to your reading of it, my last post does not show any unwillingness to discuss methodology and epistemology; those are subjects that I am more than happy to discuss as they relate to this argument. I also did not say that I didn’t want to talk about my ass. What I did
            say was that I found the fact that you were thinking about my “bare ass” to be rather creepy. Now it seems you are fixated on talking about my ass and you are even adding details to your fantasy [it is now the window of a speeding car]. Finally, if you have actually read this discussion, as you claim to have done, you would realize that I do know who Dr. Waugaman is. Earlier in the discussion, I took hime to task forhis discourteous comment that those people who were of the opinion that the orthodox case was correct were
            suffering from dementia; he tried to justify his remark by claiming “academic freedom”, hemmed and hawed, and ultimately fell back on the excuse that he was simply using the “rhetorical device” known as a joke. I’m so sorry that you took offense, but there was no insinuation or slur. You are seriously misreading what I have written.

            I’ll also be more than happy to discuss Rambler’s blog, although, unlike you, I don’t find that what he most often produces would even qualify as circumstantial evidence derived from induction. Would you like to start with his commentary on ‘Gabriel and the Shaking Spear’?

            As to the ‘Tempest’ book, why are you referring to yourself in the third person, and why would you possibly think that my opinion as to the authorship of Shakespeare is “rooted in sand” if I do not answer this particular book? In addition, why do you make the assumption that I don’t read anti-Stratfordian books? In just the last couple of months I’ve read SBD?, ‘I Come to Bury Shakespeare’, and ‘AKA Shakespeare’. I’ve previously read Ogburn [back in the early 80’s], Anderson, Chiljan, and Price. Your assumption is based on your arrogance; you seem to believe that
            everyone should think as you do, and that, once they have been exposed to the holy texts of the anti-Stratfordian faith, they will be converted and share your belief in your Lord.

            As for dealing with the substance of anti-Stratfordian
            claims, that is exactly what I have done in this discussion. In
            fact, I’ve provided textual evidence on ‘Labeo’, ‘Terence’, and the ‘Parnassus’ plays which has been answered, if at all, with mere argument by assertion.

            Finally, I don’t hold anyone in these discussions in contempt, and I believe your claim that I do is indicative of your overly-emotional investment in your Lord. These discussions do not make me angry at all. They do appear to make you angry. Sorry.

          • psi2u2

            Deny deny deny. And then hairsplit the split end as needed. Rinse and repeat. Here is what you wrote:

            if you are going to rely on calendar’s blog [or Rambler’s blog], your argument is in worse trouble than I previously thought.”

            I offered to discuss the book with you. It shows that your team has been deluded for over two hundred years about the date of the Tempest.

            Your carefully suppressed anger is evident in your many emotionally charged adjectives and your undue reliance, in this posting as in many on sarcastic phrases like “will be converted to share your belief in your Lord.” Readers will eventually decide which party in the debate depends on essentially religious motives. So you are free to continue depending on such characterizations as long as you like. Emotion has its role in the process of generating knowledge, as anyone who has studied the history of ideas is aware. I understand that you believe that you have “provided textual evidence on ‘Labeo’, ‘Terence’, and the ‘Parnassus’ plays which has been answered, if at all, with mere argument by assertion.”

            I think many readers will disagree with you.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Project, project, project. Deny, deny, deny. Here is what I actually wrote, including what you apparently felt compelled to exclude: “As to the plausibility of your arguments, if you are going to rely on calendar’s blog [or Rambler’s blog], your argument is in worse trouble than I previously thought.” This was in direct response to your posting of the link to the festival robe site, which you provided as evidence for your allegation that I didn’t have a clue as to “the plausibility of the arguments not improving since 1985.” Those are direct quotes. The words and phrases are all there for any reader to view, as is the fact that you intentionally snipped the phrase in my sentence which directly relates what I was saying as to “plausibility” to what you had written about plausibility. Your inability to read with any sense and/or your submersion in denial are quite obvious. I’m not the one here who is splitting sentences. You only make yourself look worse for doing so.

            As to your book, I have a lot of other books on Shakespeare that I’ve already purchased that I am reading currently or will be reading in the near future. I do plan on reading your book at some point but I will probably wait until it is available on Kindle or the price is reduced.

            As for the rest, I find it truly amusing when Oxfordians like you and Dr. Waugaman practice internet psycho analysis. My sarcastic remarks have nothing whatsoever to do with any “carefully suppressed anger” — they do have to do with my amusement at your arguments. You do not make me angry…you make me laugh [eliciting the sarcastic response], as you do here when you attempt to read what I have written in a way to reinforce your predetermined view of Stratfordians. I can barely suppress laughing out loud when you use “emotionally charged” language to accuse me of using emotionally charged language, and even more humorous is that you don’t realize just how often you engage in the same behavior as that which you criticize in your opponents in the discussion. It is hilarious.

            As a matter of fact, I have provided textual evidence on ‘Labeo’, ‘Terence’, and the ‘Parnassus’ plays. My analysis may be incorrect or it may not, but the evidence has been posted and is there for anyone to read. I also trust the reader to decide whether or not my points have been answered with anything more than argument by mere assertion. I have no problem whatsoever in leaving that decision to the readers.

          • psi2u2

            You are a very confused man.

          • Pressing the ‘Like’ button once seems a totally inadequate expression of the amount of enjoyment I got out of your last two posts, Domenic.

          • Richard Waugaman

            I “hemmed and hawed”??

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Dominic, If you had really been following this debate since 1985 you would be aware of all the significant advances that have taken place since that date in the identification of Edward de Vere as Shakespeare. Furthermore you would not be parlaying so relentlessly on this blog if the Oxfordian claim were really so insignificant and stagnated as you suggest. Nor would your brethren the “Oxfrauds” need to set up an engine solely dedicated to rebutting the Oxfordian case if it were really such a ‘fringe’ affair. Where is “Baconfraud.com”?, where “Marlowefraud.com”? Come on, admit it, you are scared and rightly so. Deep in your trembling maple-leaf heart you know it’s all over. A

          • Dominic Hughes

            Dear Alexander, I have been following the debate since the early 80’s, and, pardon me for my opinion, but I continue to see the same old tired arguments trotted out again and again…there is no evidence for WS of Stratford prior to the Folio, Shakespeare of Stratford was just a businessman, maybe a part-time actor, or worse, a usurer and a grain hoarder in time of famine [neither of which claims are supported by actual evidence]. Shakespeare was illiterate, his family was illiterate, Gullio is Shakespeare,Labeo, Terence, we don’t have any manuscripts or letters, Oxford had three daughters and was waylaid by pirates, He is Hamlet, etc., etc. etc. I understand that this is a somewhat superficial response, necessitated by the forum, but the argument really hasn’t changed all that much since Delia Bacon. In fact, some of the Oxfordian arguments were adopted from Baconian arguments.

            As for why I am here, “parlaying so relentlessly,” I think your logic fails. I do think the Oxfordian claim is insignificant [in that there isn’t a bit of direct evidence for it] and i do find it largely stagnant [perhaps your book will break new ground]. But that really has nothing whatsoever to do with why I participate in the discussion. I do that for myself, for a number of reasons, foremost of which are the fact that the subject has fascinated me for thirty years, I have a deep and abiding [at one time, professional] interest in how people use and abuse evidence in making their arguments, and that the discussion has compelled me to engage in reading and research that I otherwise would not have done.

            I am not at all scared, and rightly so. In fact, I find this argument [that Stratfordians are trembling in fear] to be pretty humorous, but my amusement is tempered by the fact that I feel somewhat sorry for you lot when I consider that you will all go to your graves clinging to your faith in your Lord while the rest of the world continues to hold the opinion that WS of Stratford wrote the Shakespeare works, most of them unaware that your fringe theory even exists. I do admire your optimism but I find it to be overly exhuberant. I think you’re on a bubble, and citing the fact that other fringe groups like Baconians and Marlovians who employed your methodology have largely died out doesn’t really serve to enhance your case. By the way, I am not, and have never been, Canadian. DH

          • Alexander Waugh

            I did not say that you were a Canadian I said that you had a trembling maple-leaf heart. You are doing precisely what you object to in Oxfordians – taking a word from a text, assuming significant meaning and didactically asserting whatever interpretation best suits you. Maples are not unique to Canada and where ever they are found their leaves tremble in the breeze. Talking of which, you are probably aware that noblemen in the 1590s wrongly called the Great Maple a ‘sycomore’ tree. This is attested in Gerard’s ‘Herbal’ (1597): “The Great Maple is a stranger to England, only it groweth in the walkes and places of pleasure of noble men, where it is especially planted for the shadowe sake and under the name of Sycomore tree.” Shakespeare made the same mistake as the English noblemen in calling the great maple a ‘sycomore.’ Funny that.

            As ever Alexander

            P.S. I still think you’re scared.

          • Dominic Hughes

            I appreciate your neat summation of Oxfordian methodology, but I did not say that you said I was a Canadian, Alexander, and Gerard did not say that ONLY noble men made the mistake of calling the great maple a ‘sycamore’. And you are still wrong if you think I am the least bit scared. Snakes scare me, but I would never put you and your co-religionists in that category [although there may be similarities to Bible-belt snake-handlers]. All the best, and I mean that quite sincerely, DH

          • Alexander Waugh

            Did ‘co-religionist’ hit a raw nerve? That was the word I used to describe your Stratfrauds a while back in a message to you on these very boards. Indeed Stratfordianism is remarkably similar to a religion, particularly Christianity of the ‘born-again’ sort – a good analogy I think.

            If you are scared of snakes, Ireland is the place to move. They don’t have any. If you are scared of Oxfordians I would recommend Chengdu.

            As ever, Alexander

          • Dominic Hughes

            No, Alexander, it didn’t hit a nerve, especially since I had used “co-religionists” some ten days ago now to describe Oxfordians [I believe my use of the term was first in time in this discussion — please correct me if I am wrong]. You can find it in my response to Greg Koch above. Immediately following my use of the term, the poster named as “calendar” took umbrage at its use to describe his fellow Oxfordians. Also ten days ago, I replied to calendar and informed him that I found his dislike of the term to be rather strange considering that Oxfordians often referred to the Stratfordian position as a religion, if not a myth. A couple of days later, I returned to this discussion and edited my post to calendar to reflect that you had provided us with evidence of such with your comment that Stratfordianism was a religion founded in 1642. You can read all of this above. I recall feeling somewhat amused when you used that same term three to four days ago…I thought maybe you were throwing it back in my face. Perhaps it struck a nerve with you when I employed it….

            I think the analogy is far more appropriate for Oxfordians, as opposed to Stratfordians as the latter, at least, have direct physical and documentary evidence which supports their claims. But that’s a discussion for another time and a more suitable venue.

            I am afraid of some snakes, most notably rattlers and copperheads, both of which are found in my area of the country. I am loath to encounter them, especially the copperheads, but I did just that the other day. I immediately retreated. I do not fear Oxfordians. I feel no need to retreat. Always, DH

          • Alexander Waugh

            OK sorry, I was wrong about ‘co-religionist’. Funny that we both accuse each other of exactly the same sin – being crackpot religionists. “Hatred of the wolf for the dog” is the saying that springs to mind.

            Very best Alexander

          • Shelphi

            If you knew anything at all about the Shakespeare Authorship Conference or about Oxfordian scholarship, you would see that our movement is inspiring many brilliant scholars and young students who are disillusioned with the status quo and professors who tell them to believe a preposterous, outdated mythology. A few close-minded people who knew nothing about the legitimate questions of authorship complained about our event, which was actually a well-attended inclusive, welcoming, scholarly and professional event that presented some of the most innovative thought in the fields of Elizabethan history and Shakespearean studies. All this defensiveness and divisiveness on the part of Stratfordians just makes the old theories look stale. Much ado? Oxfordians stand on the side of evidence which the other side, entrenched and fat with cash just ignores or insults because they think they do not have to read the now countless arguments that undermine their house of cards. http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/discover-shakespeare/

          • Felicity Morgan

            And…”When you’re trying to build a house of cards, the last thing you should do is blow hard and wave your hands like a madman.”
            — Rupert Goodwins

          • Shelphi

            Great quotation, Felicity! Exactly.

          • I know Rupert Goodwins. We have worked together twice in different companies.

            So let me tell you that Oxfordianism is absolutely exactly what he had in mind with that quote. He is a scourge of creationists and conspiracy theorists everywhere and a master craftsman when it comes to the insulting put down.

            I’d be quite careful about quoting him or attracting his attention if I were you.

          • Dingdong


            Did you ask Goodwins about Hand D? What else is Hand D than creationism? Sir Edward Maunde Thompson starts his analysis with the observation that signatures and holographs are incomparable. He should have stoppped then. But he continues. Next observation: a sample of six signatures is by far too small to come to valid conclusions. He should have stopped here at least. But he continues. Next observation: one of the six signatures (on the mortgage deed) is worthless for it is obviously written by someone with a nervous disease (Thompson’s explanation). But he continues and finds a single ‘a’ in a single signature.

          • psi2u2

            Yes, it is pretty humorous, isn’t it Shelpi, to see Sicinius quoting a tweet from a guy who not only did not attend the conference in question, but condemned it in advance by calling the attendees the intellectual equivalents of people who think the moon landings were faked? This is a bit like quoting George Wallace in the subject of racial integration.

          • Greg Koch

            I think you just don’t get it. “Shakespeare” was a nom de plume. The arguments you give were solved long ago half of which was common sense.

            But I do remain puzzled why you continue pressing for the uncultured illiterate from Stratford in Elizabethan times as if he had the motive and license to produce great drama about aristocrats (a life he knew nothing at all about). About the upper crust generally making bad choices (which the Stratford man neither experienced nor could fathom) and half the time throughout Italy domiciled for some time among its noblemen (where the Stratford man would neither have the opportunity nor the resources).

          • Dominic Hughes


            Nobody needs your comments, as they are typically factually incorrect [as previously demonstrated] and, as in this post, consist entirely of mere argument by assertion devoid of supporting evidence. Even your Oxfordian co-religionists realize that you rarely make any sense, common or otherwise. I think you are just incapable of making any logically coherent argument.

            Attempting to have a rational, fact-based discussion with you is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter what moves I might make or how good my game might be, you will simply bump into all the pieces scattering them here and there, leave your droppings on the board, and then strut around triumphantly.

            Edit: I see that Dr. Waugaman and Mr. Holding have “liked” your comment [I am a bit surprised you didn’t get more support since you went back to your echo chamber to report your post]. Perhaps one of them will be kind enough to show how my arguments were “solved long ago” since you are unable to do so.

          • Richard Waugaman

            Mr. Hughes has the presumption to tell Mr. Koch, “Nobody needs your comments.” Typical of Stratfordians, trying to enforce their shameful taboo against discussion of the authorship question. They are clearly losing this battle against free speech. It makes them get still nastier.

          • Dominic Hughes

            As usual, Dr. Waugaman doesn’t know what he is talking about. If he did, he would know that Mr. Koch reported back to the Shakes-vere FB page that he had posted to this thread and stated there that, “Dominic needed my reply.”

            In actuality, my post to Mr. Koch was not “presumptuous” at all but was merely in response to his truly presumptuous and condescending statement that, for some unknown reason, I “needed” his reply. In light of this reality, my comments quite obviously had nothing at all to do with trying to “enforce” any “shameful taboo against discussion of the authorship question,” or hindering “free speech”. The interested reader will note how quick you are to jump to conclusions and to claim victim status when you don’t even know all of the facts.

            Speaking of the Shakes-vere FB page, I recall not too long ago where you agreed that all of the Stratfordian posters to another thread were “creeps”. Do you get any “nastier”? Projection?

          • Greg Koch

            Dear Dominic, do you work for the NSA? Of course you can’t tell me, but can’t one have any privacy anymore? Don’t answer that. Anyway, you seem bright but terribly defensive – and worse you relish it. Isn’t it a factual statement to say the Stratford man (a.k.a. “Shakespeare” by Stratfordians) just did not have the means and motive and background to compose complex dramas and poems about aristocrats for the Elizabeth’s court. You can rely on that fact. He would also never have the means, motive, and background to compose plays about the noblemen at the leading Italian cities either. He never received a pence from Elizabeth’s court. There was no money for playwrights: it wasn’t at all a jackpot job in Elizabethan times, like today – and Harry Potter. The “Shakespeare” plays were performed again during James I’s reign but they had no relationship with the Stratford man. At that time, Jonson began to earn a wage as a playwright, but the Stratford man received nothing at all. Because he had no connection whatsoever.

            Get over it: Shakespeare was a nom de plume.

          • Dominic Hughes


            I’m not at all defensive. In fact, quite the opposite, as I am on the offensive here. I’ve posted two arguments [1. references to Master Shakespeare, and there are plenty more of those that I haven’t even posted yet, and 2. the scenario presented in the ‘Parnassus’ plays which depicts Southampton favoring Shakespeare over Nashe, and the author of Shakespeare as the fellow of actors Burbage andf Kempe] and neither of the arguments has been rebutted by any anti-Stratfordian here. Why don’t you give it a shot?

            As to the rest of your claims, you are still simply scattering the chess pieces all over the board with your current factually deficient post. It is not a fact that William Shakespeare of Stratford “did not have the means and motive and background to compose complex poems and dramas,” nor is it a fact that the plays and poems were written for Elizabeth’s court. It is not a fact that he could not have composed plays about noblemen in Italian cities. It is not a fact that Shakespeare never received money from Elizabeth’s court [documentary evidence, in the form of a 1595 record of payment to Kempe, Shakespeare and Burbage refutes your claim]. It is not a fact that William Shakespeare of Stratford had “no connection” to the plays, as documentary evidence identifies him as the author of the plays, as an actor in the company that performed the plays, and as a shareholder in the theaters where the plays were performed. There is no evidence that Shakespeare received nothing for his plays.

            There isn’t a single thing in what you have said which constitutes a historical fact, much less a fact to rely on. All you have produced is wishful thinking and speculation. You need to get over the historical record, but I sincerely doubt that you will ever even try. Your mind is closed.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Dom, You are mistaken if you think that the Parnassus plays do not identify Oxford as Shakespeare. Turn to Return from Parnassus Act 4, Scene. Gullio on hearing a Shakespeare rendition from Ingenioso says “No more! I am one who can judge according to the proverb, bovem ex unguibus.’ As the clever audience of Cambridge scholars (c. 1599) would have known, he is misquoting from Erasmus: ‘Leonem ex unguibus aestimare’ ‘To recognise a lion by it’s claws.’ But the Erasmus quotation has been changed to ‘to recognise an ox by it’s claws.’ Why, I wonder does Gullio need to say he can recognise an ox by it’s claws (changing it from lion to ox) in reaction to hearing Ingenioso’s Shakespearean lines?

          • Dominic Hughes

            I don’t believe that my opinion as to the ‘Parnassus’ plays is mistaken, and I think your post illustrates the lengths Oxfordians will go to squirrel out an allusion to their Lord, and also shows the circular methodology at the root of Oxfordian thinking. You are all on a literary easter egg hunt, and, if you can’t find an egg, you will lay one. When you ask, “Why, I wonder does [sic] Gullio NEED to say he can recognise an ox by its claws,” and you can only see one reason why he might do that, you exhibit the typical Oxfordian presumption that every time an ox is mentioned it must be about some hidden author. [emphasis supplied]

            The Gullio character is meant as a caricature of Southampton [there are many parallels between the passages in the play and thereal-life experiences of Southampton – in fact, they are far better correspondences than those made by Oxfordians for their Lord]. Southampton is portrayed as a foolish and pompous courtier, and so, this line is just one of a number of occasions where the author[s] of RFP show Gullio mangling Latin adages. In fact, he does so in the same scene that you have cited, at lines 118-122.

            “Howsoeuer prating Tullie in his poem saith ‘Cum amarem eram miser, when I loved I was a driuell, yet he was well taunted by another poet in this goulden sayinge, ‘vir sapit qui parum loquitur, that is, Tullie might haue holde his peace with moe honestie.” [Act IV, Scene I, Lines 118-122]

            Here, Gullio/Southampton not only substitutes ‘parum’ for ‘pauca’ [which is the original word in the source material (Lyly)], but he also mistranslates the first Latin phrase so that he is not a “wretch” but a “simpleton.

            The next six lines also demonstrate Gullio’s ignorance:

            “True it is that Ronzarde spake, ‘Chi pecora si fa il lupo la mangia’ [Actual translation: He who behaves like the sheep is devoured by the wolf], Which I thus translated, ‘Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam, and thus extempore into Englishe, What man souer loues a crane / The same he thinkes to be Diane. A dull vniuersities heade woulde haue bene a month about thus muche.” [Act IV, Scene I, Lines 118-122]

            There are other examples. Gullio is a vainglorious, untalented, pompous, unlearned buffoon and is portrayed as such. He doesn’t even know that an ox doesn’t have claws. The passage you cite doesn’t “need” to be a hint about some hidden authorship of Shakespeare’s works, and your necessity that it must have something to do with your Lord merely serves to illustrate that Oxfordians approach every piece of literature from the era with a predetermined resolve to find allusions to their Lord, even where none exist. Why does the author of RFP show Gullio mangling his Latin…I would suggest that he does so for the same reason he shows Gullio’s failute to realize that an ox doesn’t have claws. It is all part of a caricature depicting Gullio/Southampton as the typically ignorant patron who does not appreciate [or reward] the learning and talents of university-trained scholars. You might have had a better argument, though not by much, if Gullio had said he could recognize a boar by its claws. The real question you should probably be asking yourself is how you transform your interpretation of the passage into a matter of fact, so that I am allegedly mistaken and, according to you, the Parnassus plays do, in fact, identify Oxford as Shakespeare.

            There actually is an allusion to your Lord in the play, and, as I’ve already pointed out, he doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with Shakespeare. See Act IV, Scene 1, Lines 1101 – 1108.

            “The Countess and my lorde entertayned me verie honorabely. Indeede they vsed my aduise in some state matters, and I percyued the Earle woulde faine haue thruste one of his daughters vpon mee, but I will haue noe knaue priste to medle with my ringe. I bestowed some 20 angells vpon the officers of the house at my departure, kist the Countess, took my leaue of my lorde, and came awaye.”

            Perhaps you can find the Earl of Oxford in that passage. Shakespeare isn’t in it.

          • Dominic Hughes

            The central subject of the ‘Parnassus’ plays is the struggle of university scholars to make their way in Elizabethan society. Their lives revolve around learning and art…but they still have to eat. Unfortunately for these scholars the society at large does not appreciate them and they must seek out a living wherever they can, including grovelling before some patron who may be a social superior but is thick as a brick. So why don’t you attempt to rebut my actual argument instead of going on an easter egg hunt with a basket that has no bottom. Explain how your Lord can possibly fit into a scenario which portrays William Shakespeare as a rival of Thomas Nashe in the attempt to win the patronage of the Earl of Southampton. Or, I suppose, you could try to show that Gullio is not Southampton, that Ingenioso is not Nashe, and/or that I am incorrect in describing the scenario that is portrayed in the play.

          • psi2u2

            Yes, Mr. Waugh, I agree with your reading. My University of Tennessee Law Review article on Venus and Adonis cites these lines in another context, but I do think that the punning nick at Oxford’s name is pretty secure given the larger context of the play’s anti-Stratfordian rhetoric and other clear reference to Oxford as “Gullio’s” prospective father-in-law. Of course for those who don’t already grasp the context (which no doubt you will elaborate on in the future), the allusion may in isolation seem strained. But it is now clear that Oxford’s friends and followers found many creative ways to express their knowledge and gratitude to him. Sadly, we have not yet heard what they were really saying.

          • Dominic Hughes

            More cheerleading from Roger. I only wish Mr. Waugh would speak for himself and elaborate on all of the supposed “anti-Stratfordian rhetoric” allegedly found in the ‘Parnassus’ plays that would save the otherwise “strained” [at best] allusion. In the meantime, Roger, care to explain the logic behind your assertion that a “clear reference to Oxford as ‘Gullio’s’ prospective father-in-law” supports the suggestion that Oxford is Shakespeare.

          • calendar

            ” co-religionists ”

            “No matter what moves I might make or how good my game might be, you will simply bump into all the pieces scattering them here and there, leave your droppings on the board, and then strut around triumphantly.”

            The poster is unable to rise above name-calling.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Actually, calendar, I’ve posted two specific arguments here that rise above name-calling, and I don’t see where you have responded to either of them.

            As to name-calling, does calling people “creeps” and “useful idiots”, or saying they are as “ignorant as dirt” qualify as such in your book [those are actual quotes from Oxfordians]? Is being accused of intentionally attempting to mislead readers name-calling for you? Are you blind to the shrillness and name-calling engaged in by your Oxfordian compatriots? Are they unable to rise above name-calling? Especially ironic is the fact that you have posted above that Stratfordians are corrupt and cling to their opinions out of greed. Mote, meet timber. Better yet, meet Jonson’s ‘Timber’.

            As to your umbrage at “co-religionists” that is pretty humorous coming from an Oxfordian. It is the Oxfordians who constantly refer to the orthodox attribution as a religion, if not a myth [in fact, I’ve read such claims in just the last couple of days]. As for my description of Mr. Koch’s style of argumentation, I didn’t call him any name whatsoever. I merely offered an assessment of how he fails to present a case.

          • psi2u2

            He’s pretty creative about it, you have to give him that. I love the scatological innuendo combined with all the “strutting” imagery. I mean, if you could make piece money for constructing straw men, this guy would be a millionaire.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Here comes Roger, shaking his pompoms. As a cheerleader Roger has no peer. There was no “innuendo” in my “creative” description of Greg’s posts, but I realize that someone like you who perceives hints and clues and innuendos where they don’t exist might believe the contrary. As for straw men, I note that you are unable to identify a single one constructed by me. Rah.

          • psi2u2

            The standard authority on these plays is J.B. Leishman’s excellent edition. The reader is advised to consult this book first so as to help contextualize subsequent analyses of the plays. Also they have been much discussed in many Oxfordian books, including Mark Anderson’s “Shakespeare By Another Name” (279) and Ogburn (107). I especially like Ogburn’s quotably astute question:

            “What do Dowden, Schoenbaum, and their followers think the authors of the Parnassus plays meant by having ‘Kempe’ charge that it was the university men who smelled too much of Ovid and Metamorphosis’?” (107).

            Indeed, it takes a cultivated ignorance of Shakespeare not to understand how ludicrous this is.

          • Dominic Hughes

            It is unfortunate that Ogburn apparently did not read “J.B.
            Leishman’s excellent edition” of the Parnassus plays, or he might have realized that the answer to his question didn’t involve secret authors and conspiracies which attempted to protect that secret author’s identity while simultaneously dropping clues as to his real identity. If Ogburn had read both Leishman and Paula Glatzer’s ‘The Complaint of the Poet’, he would have had a much better understanding of the context for the Kempe scene, and might have realized how ridiculous his question actually was.

            Leishman shows the cultural and literary context which explains the attitude of the university wits to actors on the public stage:

            “…the author [of ‘2nd Return’], like many other University men, seems to have despised, and worse still, he was in league with those exploiters of unfortunate scholars, the professional actors. That the author’s opinion of the popular drama was still pretty much that which Sidney
            had expressed in his ‘Apology for Poetry’ is suggested by the passage at the end of the ‘Pilgrimage,’ where a clown is dragged in with a rope [Ll. 662 ff]. That his opinion of the professional actors was the same as which Nashe, in his Preface to Greene’s ‘Menaphon’ (1589), and Greene himslef, in his ‘Groatsworth of Witte (1592), had expressed with so much bitterness, is proved by the passage where Philomusus and Studioso, at the lowest ebb of their fortunes, present themselves as candidates to Shakespeare’s fellow-actors and fellow-sharers in the Globe playhouse, Burbage and Kempe. It is two of

            glorious vagabonds,
            That carried earst their fardels on their backes
            and who
            With mouthing words that better wits have framed
            have been able to
            purchase lands, and now Esquiers are namde.
            [Leishman, pp. 58-59]

            As Leishman points out, the university men were antagonistic to the actors and the acting companies, not only because they considered their product to be shoddy in comparison tot he work of actual scholars, but because the university men were forced to rely on such parasites for their employment. The Kempe line that so puzzled Ogburn [he thought it could only possibly mean that the ‘Parnassus’ author was indicating that Shakespeare was actually a university man – so much for logic] is in keeping with the context of the scholars’ resentment of the common players. Kempe is being made to speak as he does for the simple reason that he is being portrayed, rather sarcastically, as an ignorant and unlearned, but pretentious, clown. There is no reason [and I use that word intentionally] to complicate the line by inventing secret authors and hidden clues. The line matches perfectly well with the literary and social context in which it was delivered.

            If Ogburn had read Glatzer’s book, he would have discovered more of the same message. In fact, he would have learned that the reference in ‘Pilgrimage’ pointed out by Leishman contains a barber reference to Kempe:

            “Clownes have been thrust into plays by head & shoulders, euer since Kempe could make a scuruey face, and therefore reason thou shouldst be drawn in with a cart rope.”

            The clown in this earlier scene also exhibits a pretentious claim to scholarship above his status. He “presents his audience with ‘a proper newe loue letter of mine’” which turns out to be “a grossly rhetorical pastiche of inappropriate metaphors, colloquial diction and dethroned gods.” He “offers this love letter “as a model of epistolary composition,” instructing the scholars just as Kempe attempts to do in his later scene. In fact, I would suggest
            that the author[s] of ‘2nd Return’ used this earlier scene in writing the Kempe scene. The clown even states that if he could “make a fine scuruey face” [a reference back to the allusion to Kempe], he could play a king. [pp. 63-65]

            Glatzer writes that the “general background of the animosity toward the professional stage is a familiar but complex history compounded of moral attacks on plays and playhouses, artistic criticism of popular drama, and writer’s complaints about conditions of employment.” [p. 263] As examples of the hostility toward plays and players, she cites, among others, Gosson, Sidney, Stubbes, Stow,
            Greene, Nashe, Hall, Marston and Jonson.

            Glatzer: “As the most active3 members of a disreputable institution, the actors were generally regarded by the wits with moral and social disdain. That they had economic powers over the playwrights only made matters worse…From the point of view of the university wits, however, the fact that some actors made an enviable living did not compensate for their humble social origins and intellectual deficiencies. On the contrary, here was another artistic enterprise, like publishing, run for economic profit rather than artistic advancement, a business managed by poetic pretenders for consumption by Philistines – and all made possible by the unrewarded creativity of the scholar-poet.” [pp. 281-282] With this background, of which Ogburn appeared to be completely ignorant, the Kempe/Burbage scene makes perfect sense without resort to conspiratorial motivation. Kempe is ridiculed for his
            social and scholarly pretensions with his ludicrous failure to realize Shakespeare’s use of Ovid, his confusion in thinking Metamorphosis was an author, and his “ignorant rejection of the educated playwrights and the mythological romances
            they composed for the boy actors at the private theaters.”

            As Philomusus says, after his brief acting career comes to an end,

            And must the basest trade yeeld vs reliefe?
            Must we be practis’d to those leaden spouts
            That nought doe vent but what they do receive.
            [‘2nd Return’, IV.iv.1846-48]

            Kempe is portrayed as just such a “leaden spoute”.

          • psi2u2

            “As for your claim that “William Shakespeare of Stratford was, in fact, praised for his poetic skill during his lifetime and after,” it is very carefully worded, is it not, in order to create in the mind of the reader a false impression?” It is quite clear that you are alleging that I had worded my sentence s as to intentionally “create” a false impression. This is an accusation of dishonesty in this debate, and it is rude and unwarranted.”

            I am sorry that you took offense from my analysis. However, it was not meant as a personal attack. It was (and is), instead, an analysis of your misleading use of language. I trust you will appreciate the distinction between attacking a man and merely taking issue with his unkempt phraseology. Your intent may not have been purposeful (although I incline to the view that it was, in view of the larger fact pattern of your argument), but a measurement of the plausible effect leaves a great distance between your views and an honest dialogue that acknowledges relevant distinctions in the quality of evidence. Your position depends very much, for example on the monument and the frontespiece materials to the folio (insofar, that is, that it does depend on evidence as distinct from being no more an a priori prejudice). The Oxfordians, by contrast, are interested in the psychological dimensions of the works and in their relationship to the documented circumstances of the lives of actual Elizabethan persons – not just de Vere, but Nashe, Harvey, Burleigh, QE1, Christopher Hatton, the Earl of Southampton, Sir Phillip Sidney, Ben Jonson, and many others whose personalities and circumstances inform the Shakespearean canon.

            My intent was merely to highlight the slippery and misleading nature of your sentence, which confused the critical distinction between posthumous and contemporaneous evidence with the result of making your argument seem stronger than it actually is. And now before someone accuses me of saying that posthumous evidence is irrelevant – no, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying that your sentence didn’t rate very high on the honesty scale, that’s all.

            The facts, as stated, are pretty simple: There is no evidence before the folio and the monument, linking the Stratford Shakspere to the works.

            To claim that there is is to assume the point at issue, which is whether the “Shakespeare” of the allusions self-evidently and unproblematically refers to Mr. Shakspere of New Place, Stratford, gentleman, businessman, and sometime actor. You maintain that it can – indeed so far as one can tell it probably never even entered your mind until less than a week ago that perhaps it might not.

            What makes your position ironic to the nth degree is that the evidence on which your faith depends has been carefully analyzed, often with great credibility, by the Oxfordians over the last ninety years. They have answers to questions you haven’t even asked.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Nonsense. There is nothing in the language that I used which is misleading at all. My statement is supported with evidence. I realize that you don’t appreciate that and you find it difficult, if not impossible to rebut it with anything remotely approaching a reasonable and coherent argument, but that’s your problem. The best you can muster is a general pout and a repetition of your dogma — there is no evidence. Why…because you said so? Pardon me if I don’t take your word for it.

            There certainly is contemporaneous evidence, before the Folio and the monument, linking Stratford Will Shakespeare to the works. I’ve already posted a little of it above, but there is more. You can summarily dismiss it if you like but that doesn’t disqualify it as evidence. What you should be able to do if you actually want to engage in reasoned discussion is present some logical argument as to why such contemporaneous references and records which identify the author as Master or Mr. William Shakespere should be considered problematic…but I doubt you will do this. And, you ought to explain what you see as the “critical distinction between posthumous and contemporaneous evidence.” I’m not sure how we could ever try anyone for murder if we didn’t have posthumous evidence, but why don’t you tell me what you see as the critical distinction.

            This is the slippery and misleading world in which you live. A mangled Latin phrase in RFP is a “secure” allusion to Oxford, but an official document which attributes a play to Master Shakespere, or Master William Shakespeare, or M. William Shak-spere can’t possibly be considered as evidence identifying the one William Shakespere who was an actor in the company that performed the plays and a shareholder in the theaters where the plays were performed — and also happened to be the one William Shakespere of the time and place who was entitled to be addressed as Master William Shakespere, Gent. following the grant of a coat of arms to his father. Claiming that such references and allusions qualify as evidence identifying WS of Stratford as the author does not assume the point in contention. It is a conclusion derived logically from a consideration of the evidence, individually and cumulatively, and it is evident that you will not engage in a discussion of the text of these documents. You will simply and summarily dismiss them because you are not equipped to deal with them or because you don’t understand what evidence is.

            My opinion that the orthodox attribution is correct has nothing whatsoever to do with faith [you might want to check your own 100% certainty in your Lord and see if that isn’t faith]. My opinion has everything to do with close to forty years of collecting and presenting evidence, and putting that evidence together to make a coherent and logical whole. It also has to do with studying the authorship question for thirty years now. I’ve read your books and considered your “answers”, and, when it comes to evidence and logic, I find a giant, sucking hole.

            Instead of simply arguing by assertion why don’t you actually deal with the evidence and the arguments I’ve advanced. It doesn’t seem that you have any valid answer for that.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Those who are unable to acknowledge or to understand the immense significance and prevalence of ‘ambiguity’ as a Jacobethan literary technique should refrain from pontificating on the subject – AW

          • Dominic Hughes

            Because I don’t agree with certain of his subjective interpretations of texts Mr. Waugh reaches the illogical conclusion that I am allegedly “unable to acknowledge or to understand the immense significance and prevalence of ‘ambiguity’ as a Jacobethan literary technique.” Mr. Waugh wishes to treat his interpretations as incontrovertible facts, and, sadly, he doesn’t even appear to realize that this is what he is doing.

          • Alexander Waugh

            As with Sicinius I must urge you to learn to read better. If you had followed my postings you would have noticed that while I consider the tenets of Stratfordianism to be potty, I do not seek to convert you or any of your co-religionists away from the faith. My interest is simply to encourage intelligent research and open discussion of the authorship question and to correct gross examples of factual error or deliberate deception. That ‘courte-deare-verse’ sits beside the marginal note ‘Sweet Shakespeare’ in Polimanteia (1595) is indeed an “incontrovertible fact” and that ‘court-deare-verse’ is an anagram of ‘our de Vere – a secret’ is also an ‘incontrovertible fact.’ Now it is of no interest to me whether you or Sicinius think that this fact is there by accident, any more than it is of any interest to you and Sicinius that I believe it was deliberately planted there by the author. What IS interesting however is that I found this ‘incontrovertible fact’ and that if I found it, then it must have been there in 1595 and 1596 for others to find too. Got it?

          • Dominic Hughes

            I read quite well, thank you, enough to know that you are not really interested in an “open discussion of the authorship question.” Your faith in your Lord is obviously so strong, that anyone who engages in intelligent research and happens to disagree with your proclamations of “truth” is deemed to be “silly” or “potty”. It does appear that you may have reading problems of your own since you have responded to my disagreements as to your interpretations of the ‘Parnassus’ plays and the “Labeo issue by alluding to your ‘Polimanteia’ interpretation, a subject about which I have not commented
            so far.

            Concerning some factual matters, according to Suetonius, Santra does not contend that “the African slave, Terence, was a front man for the play writing praetor, Quintus Flavius Labeo” as you have previously stated. According to Suetonius:

            “Santra is of the opinion that if Terence required any assistance in his compositions, he would not have had recourse to Scipio and Lælius, who were then very young men, but rather to Sulpicius Gallus, an accomplished
            scholar, who had been the first to introduce his plays at the games given by the consuls; or to Q. Fabius Labeo, or Marcus Popilius, both men of consular rank, as well as poets. It was for this reason that, in alluding to the assistance he had received, he did not speak of his coadjutors as very young men, but as persons of whose services the people had full experience in peace, in war, and in the administration of daily affairs.”

            [Santra Terentium existimat, si modo in scribendo adiutoribus indiguerit, non tam Scipione et Laelio uti potuisse, qui tunc adulescentuli fuerint, quam C. Sculpio Gallo, homine docto et quo consule Megalensibus ludis initium fabularum dandarem fecerit, vel Q. Fabio Labeone et M. Popillo, consulari utroque poeta, ideo ipsum non iuvenes designare, qui se adiuvare dicantur, sed viros quorum operam et in bello et in otio et in negotio populus sit expertus.]

            Santra thinks that if [“IF”] Terence had actually needed any help in writing his plays, he would not have turned to Scipio and Laelius, who were the two people Terence was rumored to be fronting for, he would not have turned to them for assistance due to their youth. Instead, he would have turned to someone like the scholar and playwright, Gaius Sulpicius Gallus, or to Quintus Fabius Labeo and
            Marcus Popillius, both of whom were ex-consuls and poets. The description that Terence himself gave of the people who had helped him [ in the prologue to ‘The Adelphi’] was that they had been tried in war, in peace, and in their daily
            business, a description that would not have fit Scipio and Laelius.

            Santra did not write “that Labeo was more likely to have been the true author of Terence’s plays than Laelio or Scipio,” nor is such a statement “revealed in Suetonius’s much read ‘Life of Terence’.” Is this is an example of gross factual error.

            As to Joseph Hall, in his literary battle with John Marston, the ‘Labeo’ he most likely intended for his expected audience to connect to his targeted poet was the Roman lawyer, Marcus Antistius Labeo, and not the nobleman, Quintus Fabius Labeo, mentioned by Suetonius as someone Terence might have turned to for assistance in his writing [that is, if he needed any help at all]. Why would anyone think that Hall, in the midst of a satirical exchange
            with John Marston, might intend for his reading audience to take the name “Labeo” to suggest the lawyer Marcus Antistius Labeo? What link might there be?

            M. A. Labeo was the son of Quintus Antistius Labeo, a very
            prominent lawyer of Rome at the time of Caesar Augustus. M. A. Labeo followed after his father and became a lawyer,
            and also achieved prominence in that field.
            John Marston’s father was a highly regarded and prominent
            lawyer of Middle Temple. John Marston began his education in the law at Middle Temple in 1592, and spent three years studying there, butdid not follow after his father. In his father’s view, Marston threw away the chance to pursue a rewarding career in the law to engage in the trivial pursuits of poetry and plays [his father’s Last Will expressed the hope that he would give up such vanities].
            This appears to be a much clearer correspondence than some vague reference to the Labeo who might have helped Terence, and the scenario furnished an excellent means for taking a satirical shot at Marston. I think I got it.

            wishes, Dominic Hughes

            – The phrase “courte deare verse” is also an anagram of “courte arse de vere” or “de vere courte arse,” either
            of which may have been considered applicable.

          • Alexander Waugh

            My dear Dom,If you wish to believe that Covell intended the anagram ‘courte arse de vere’ that is fine by me. The problem of course is that if you are right and Covell did indeed intend ‘courte arse de vere” rather than ‘our de Vere – a secret” as I contend then you are still left with the problem as to why the message is aligned to the marginal note ‘Sweet Shakspeare’ Are you then conceding that Covell thought de Vere was Shakspeare?

          • Dominic Hughes

            Or, of course, Covell could merely have been placing Shakespeare’s excellent [sweet] poetry in opposition to the execrable courtier [court-deare] verse penned by the likes of the courte arse de vere. “You keep all your courtier poets, give me William Shakespeare” [to paraphrase Raymond Douglas Davies].

            No mention of Terence and Santra and Suetonius?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Well very odd way to signal that de Vere’s poetry is not as good as de Vere’s – I think you will struggle to win any disciples to that one.

            I have already said what I want to say about Santra’s assertion that Quintus Fabius Labeo was the nobleman behind the works of Terence as explained by Suetonius, and see no need to repeat it all in the light of your more recent post on the same subject, Your explanations, backed by a great deal of copying and pasting from precisely the same site from which I drew my own conclusions, fails, I am afraid, to convince me. Sorry. AW

          • Dominic Hughes


            I must urge you to learn to read better. Also, if you are actually interested in an open discussion of the authorship question, it would be best if you didn’t misrepresent what others in the discussion have written. Such behavior is not conducive to an open and honest discussion. Not sorry, DH

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Dominic, thank you for this. I wrote a short lighthearted paragraph for the Spectator. Out of that (and greatly to my surprise) has grown an astonishing morass of comment from people of all ages and intellectual abilities, many vaunting their own special theories and counter theories about a whole range of issues, some of which are only distantly related to the points raised by my original article. Many of the bloggers are evidently bright intelligent inquiring people, others toothless nincompoops, hiding behind pseudonyms, bandied together under the umbrella of a semi-literate brotherhood calling itself ‘Oxfraud’. Now surely, as a reasonable man, you must realize that I cannot be expected to engage with every single ringside fight, every floated crack-pot theory, regardless of its relevance to my my original article. I gave you my thoughts on Santra. You disagreed with them. I am not convinced by your representations and that is really all there is to it.

            Your ‘Not Sorry’ sign-off is petulant – grow up! Alexander

          • Dominic Hughes

            Nothing at all “petulant” about it, Alexander. All I meant was that I was not sorry for my participation in the discussion…you go your way, I go mine. As for your “grow up” comment, that does seem a bit petulant and condescending. Dom

          • psi2u2

            Nice summary, Alexander. What is really quite astonishing about all of this is what my former adviser Marc Shell (the MacArthur awardee who now teaches at Harvard) almost two decades ago deemed the “false consciousness” of the the Stratfordian ethic, at least in its extreme forms such as that manifest on Oxfraud and in the comments here by Sicinius, Gordon, and Hughes among others. This refers to the contradiction between theory and practice manifested in aggressively announced postulates that

            1) the authorship question does not exist;

            2) the only question to be addressed is what is wrong with people who don’t agree with this,

            combined with 3) Vociferous, highly energetic (if not relentless or ruthless) attempts at suppression, distraction, etc.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Roger,

            According to the ancient biographer, Santra, the African slave, Terence, was a front man for the play writing praetor, Quintus Flavius Labeo. Santra wrote that Labeo was more likely to have been the true author of Terence’s plays than Laelio or Scipio. Quintus Flavius Labeo was a scion of one of the oldest and grandest families of Ancient Rome and a Consul of the Republic. John Davies of Hereford, who wrote the poem ‘To our English Terence, Mr Will. Shake-speare’ would have known this as it is revealed in Suetonius’s much read ‘Life of Terence.’ So too would Joseph Hall who, in his Satires, rails against a contemporary poet who is hiding like a cuttle fish in his ink, behind a pseudonym. Hall obscures the identity of this poet behind the name ‘Labeo.’ In the ‘Metamorphosis of Pigmalion’s Image’ (1598) John Marston identifies Hall’s ‘Labeo’ as Shakespeare. I notice some Baconians have attempted to link Hall and Marston’s ‘Labeo’ to the Roman lawyer, Antistius Labeo, but the nobleman, Quintus Fabius Labeo, as a nobleman-playwright linked to spurious works of Terence is surely more likely than a lawyer in this context. The similarities between this Quintus Fabius Labeo and Edward de Vere are pretty obvious. Attempts to link Hall’s Labeo references to Bacon’s motto ‘mediocre firma’ are specious because Hall’s passage in which the motto is quoted is not concerned with ‘Labeo’. I mention all this, not to correct you. Your mention of Scipio and Laelius is of course correct and is also mentioned by Suetonius, but I believe that the Labeo-Terrence-Shakespeare connection makes an even stronger case for Shakespeare as ‘Our English Terence’ than do Laelius and Scipio.

            Best wishes, Alexander

          • Dominic Hughes

            So your argument is that Davies was in on the big non-secret, and the Oxfordian argument is that the use of a hyphen indicates the pseudonym and actually stands for de Vere. Therefore, Davies was calling de Vere Terence. Brilliant. You might notice that the poem is written in the present tense, circa 1610, when your Lord was long dead.
            You might also want to read the poem in context with other relevant evidence, including two other poems by Davies that reference WS, and his poem on Robert Armin.

            Are you seriously contending that Oxford acted in the plays on the public stage – because that’s what the William Shakespeare addressed in Davies’ poem has done? The old chestnut about allusions to Terence always signifying that the author named is a front is not accurate, and such a conclusion in this instance doesn’t fit with the actual text of the poem itself. Nowhere in the text of the poem does Davies say anything that would lead to the conclusion that
            by referencing Terence he is doing anything other than complimenting the author William Shakespeare. Terence was often cited by contemporaries with no indication that any kind of front-man situation existed.

            The front matter to the 1609 quarto of Troilus and Cressida which describes the play as the equivalent of “the best comedy in Terence or Plautus.” There is no indication that whoever wrote this is indicating that a front-man wrote the play, as whoever the author was also cites Plautus along
            with Terence. They are merely two of the best comedic authors – like Shakespeare [by the way, isn’t it interesting that Oxford is only cited as an author of comedies but never as an author of tragedies or histories – strange that].

            Another allusion to Terence occurs in a poem of 1614 written by Thomas Freeman which also references
            ….Who loves chaste life, there’s Lucrece for a teacher;
            Who list read lust, there’s Venus and Adonis,
            True model of a most lascivious lecher.
            Besides, in plays thy wit winds like Meander,
            Whence needy new composers borrow more
            Than Terence doth from Plautus or Meander….
            In this case Freeman is clearly stating that authors are borrowing from Shakespeare as much as Terence [obviously a writer] borrowed from Plautus and Meander.

            Meres lists “the best poets for comedy … among the Latines” as “Plautus, Terence, Naevius, Sext. Turpilius, Licinus Imbrex, and Virgilius Romanus”; Shakespeare is listed as one of “the best for Comedy among us.”
            Once again, Terence is a genuine author and is not a front for anybody.

            In the First Folio eulogy to Shakespeare, Ben Jonson compares him to “tart Aristophanes, / Neat Terence, witty Plautus ….” no mention of a front-man unless you wish to argue that Aristophanes and Plautus were also fronts, and Shakespeare is compared to other genuine authors.

            George Puttenham (1529-1590), wrote, “there were also Poets that wrote onely for the stage, I mean playes and interludes, to recreate the people with matters of disporte [NOTICE this use of sport, similar to Davies use I would contend, which he also employes in the poem to Armin], and to that intent did set forth in shewes & pageants, accompanied with speach the common behauiours and maner of life of priuate persons, and such as were the
            meaner sort of men, and they were called Comicall Poets, of whom among the Greekes Menander and Aristophanes were most excellent, with the Latines Terence and Plautus.” Again, no mention of Terence being a front for nobles, and he is included with other known authors.

            As for Labeo you have that wrong as well. Labeo is W.K.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Dom, if you can explain to me what you mean by “Davies was in on the big non-secret” I shall give you a sensible answer to your last. But since you attribute this argument to me and since I have no idea by what is meant by a “big non-secret” I need to refer back to you in order for you to clarify what it really is you think I was saying so that I can answer you. Your idea that “W. K. = Labeo” is silly. Marston was not using the pseudonym ‘W.K” when Venus and Adonis was written, nor was it in use by the time Joseph Hall was attacking Labeo in his satires, so that is nonsense. Too much more of this silly stuff and I shall cease to dignify your postings with answers.


          • Dominic Hughes

            I’m sorry, I thought it was pretty obvious. Oxfordians believe that Oxford hid his name behind a pseudonym, and, at the same time, contend that this hoax was not all that much of a secret, as numerous people, including Davies, were aware of it and commented upon it obliquely.

            As to “W.K.”, in 1598, ‘The Metamorphosis of Pigmalion’s
            Image’ appeared in print for the first time [though it most likely circulated in manuscript prior to that time]. The poem was accompanied by a number of satires also attributed to its anonymous author “WK”. It was entered in the Stationer’s Register on 27 May 1598.

            When ‘The Scourge of Villanie’ was published later in 1598
            the author identifies himself as “W Kinsayder”. This work continued W.K.’s exchanges with Hall. The second edition of ‘The Scourge’, published in 1599, contained additional material, and, for the first time, W.K. was identified as John Marston. This is not silly stuff.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Dom, thank you for your explanation of ‘in on the non secret.” I cannot speak for all Oxfordians, or non-Stratfordians, but as far as my own understanding goes you have it right. I do indeed contend that Oxford concealed himself behind pseudonyms which, in 1593 and 1994 included the name ‘William Shakespeare’ and that this name was also used by him for plays printed from 1598. So I agree with you there. I also agree that a) the true identity of the man behind this pseudonym and/or b) the fact that ‘William Shakespeare was a pseudonym was widely known in literary circles. I say ‘literary circles’ because we do not know what people were saying in court circles or in other circles, but at least we have records from printed literary circles. So to name just some of those authors who reveal knowledge of what you call the ‘non-secret’ in their printed works: 1. Anonymous author of Willobie (1594), 2: William Covell in Polimateia (1595); 3. John Weever two epigrams (c. 1595), 4. Joseph Hall (as above), W.K. (John Marston) as above; 5. Thomas Edwardes (1595), 6. Richard Barnfield (1598); 7. William Barksted (1607), 8. Davies of Hereford (c. 1611) – need I go on – even the post 1623 lot are plentiful William Davenant (1637), Richard Brome (1638), John Warren (1640) and on and on. The fact that you and your co-religionists will hotly deny each and every one of these references is really neither here nor there, what is interesting is that anti-Stratfordians have spotted them, and if these allusions were there for anti-Strats to spot in 2013 then they were certainly there for sharp-eyed Elizabethans and Jacobeans to spot at the time. the print hasn’t changed.

            Your explanation of Labeo being W.K. still needs special pleading. For even if Pigmalion was circulating in MS before it was published (I happen to agree with you about this), but what makes you suppose that the MS bore a pseudonym? Pseudonyms are generally used to conceal a writer’s name for a work in print. Do you have other examples of MS copies bearing pseudonyms. How do you explain that Marston reveals ‘Labeo’ to be ‘Shakespeare’ with a direct reference to Venus and Adonis? So I am sorry. I do not wish to be rude, but on this particular issue I remain of the view that “Labeo = W.K.” is, if not ‘silly’ as per my previous, highly unlikely and very untidy.

            Best wishes, Alexander

          • Dominic Hughes

            Dear Alexander,

            I do not wish to be rude, but the fact that you and the rest of the Oxfordians are able to spin [contort might be a better word] certain literary passages to fit your faith in your Lord, and the fact that they were there for you to spot, does not convince me of their validity. Isn’t it amazing that, while these allusions were there for any attentive Elizabethan or Jacobean reader to spot at the time, that none of them ever wrote a word suggesting that they had spotted such a coded reference. That is interesting, and I would think it might give any person engaged in a skeptical approach to the documents pause to consider if they might be reading more into them than was actually there.

            Do anti-Startfordians ever pause to consider just how much they must rely on “ambiguity” — how everything [every document, every record, every poem — everything] absolutely MUST be something other than what it quite
            obviously purports to be on its face, in order for that thing to support their theory. They do not allow themselves, ever, to read anything literally. Of course, when you use ambiguation as method, one of the problems is that everything becomes subjective, idiosyncratic interpretation, as opposed to objective fact, and there is nothing
            that makes your interpretation more valid than anyone else’s interpretation. It reminds me of a line from Montaigne’s *On Cannibals*, where he says: “We embrace everything, but we clasp only wind.”

            As to “Labeo” I don’t think that Marston reveals “Labeo” to be Shakespeare. In fact, the exchanges bewteen Hall and Marston show that Marston accepts that the criticism of Labeo is directed at him. For instance, Hall states that he will be the “Nemesis” who “scourges” Labeo, the vulgar “new laureat”. Marston responds:

            Come, come, Augustus crowne my laureat quill.
            Now, by the whips of epigramatists,
            Ile not be lasht for my dissembling shifts

            The poem under attack involves a statue which comes to life, and the poem is bawdy and appeals to vulgar tastes. This aptly describes W.K.’s ‘Metamorphosis’. There are other parallels which also suggest that Marston acknowledges that he is the target of Hall’s criticism of “Labeo”.

            W.K.’s ‘Metamorposis” is a parody of V&A; in fact, Marston later specifically asserts that he wrote the poem with parodic intent [what poem would you suggest is the subject of the parody of it is not V&A]. The reference to Shakespeare is Marston acknowledging that he has used [abused] Shakespeare, in response to Hall’s criticism that he, Labeo, should “write alone”. According to Marston, he copied [wrote with] Shakespeare in order to parody him, something that Marston claims Hall has completely misunderstood in attacking him as a “lewd” poet. I don’t know that the manuscript bore any name, initials or a pseudonym and Hall does not refer to W.K., but my point that the ‘Metamorphosis’ was first published as being authored by W.K. still stands. Even Hall may not have known who the author was when he wrote his initial attacks; the fact that it was first published as by W.K. may lend support to that notion.

            This space is too limited for the full argument, and the need to provide large excerpts of the poems in order to show the correspondences, but there is nothing at all unlikely or untidy about the argument.

          • psi2u2

            Dear Alexander,

            Thank you for your reply, which I just now noticed. You’ve sparked quite an active and, in very many respects, informative series of exchanges, so congratulations on that.

            Iknow that I, at least, continue to be educated from posts by yourself, Felicity Morgan, Dingdong, John Savage, Habicht, and many others who have participated in the discussion and I can only say that I regret that so many hang back for fear of becoming the target of the abuse that has sometimes characterized the comments of the more zealous partisans on the Stratfordian side. I think my
            favorite among the Stratfordian commentators has been ChristopherMorley, the Brit who not only still believes Arlen Spector’s magic bullet theory but thinks that displaying his beliefs in public is a way to convince the neutral that the
            Stratfordians have some intellectual chops. That one really makes me smile.

            Some of what you say I was familiar with already, but not the key point that Quintus Fabius Labeo had been identified as an author of works published under Terence’s name. That is indeed a remarkable and telling point and all readers, whatever their persuasions, should be gratified for your observation, for it makes use of the different voices in the authorship discussion of the earliest period (c. 1590- 1624) to mutually interpret one another, illustrating that the
            Oxfordian evidence is more than the sum of its parts, but has a kind of organicunity that seems unlikely to be a result of anything except the robustness of the underlying paradigm.

            In other words, if the Labeo of Hall and Marton does refer to Quintius Fabius, as well as identifying “Shakespeare” (as they certainly seem to do), then it shows that Marston and Hall are participating in the same system of covert signifiers that are later used by Davies. I think that as we discover
            more about the participants in this fascinating early-modern discussion we will increasingly see them engaged in a single conversation (or, better, a series of mutually overlapping conversations), by which they communicated their inside knowledge of the reality of their circumstances by use of poetic artifice. The Stratfordian presumption, of course, begins from a kind of Cartesian division of logic and poetry, and so will always have a difficult time understanding the early-modern reality, for whom such a world view would have been utterly anachronistic.

            on a more personal note, I’ve been looking at this Covell allusion for many
            years now (and even have a slide of the original document that I took years ago
            at the Huntington Library after my visit to speak their on the invitation of
            the late William Moffett (who, as you probably know, was responsible for
            liberating the Dead Sea Scrolls from the control of a nepotistic group of
            senior scholars who had spent thirty years monopolizing the vexing task of the
            most important documents known to humanity as an expensive seat cushion whilst
            charitably collecting public funds).

            long felt that there was something to discover about this document, but didn’t
            know what it was. Your remarkable and convincing solution to the enigma of
            Covell’s book seems destined to become a cause celebre – and that is surely to
            the advantage of all thinking people who believe in the existence of the human
            conscience as a discerning instrument of aesthetic appreciation as well as

            I’ve mentioned in previous comments, and as your remarks about the Labeo
            situation would indicate, there is of course much more gold left in this mine,
            and with each instance of this kind of use of “strategic ambiguity”
            pointing to Oxford, the probability of the others increases geometrically. It
            will soon become evident to those familiar with the original evidence that the
            circle of knowers was rather wide. A good example is Richard Barnfield, whose
            1598 poem in praise of Spenser, Daniel, Drayton, and Shakespeare, is falsely
            reproduced by James Shapiro in his *Contested Will* as follows:

            Shakespeare thou, whose hony-flowing Vaine,

            the World) thy Praises doth obtaine.

            Venus, and whose Lucrece (sweete, and chaste)

            Name in fames immortall Booke have plac’t.

            Full stanza, as I pointed out (and should here acknowledge the brilliant
            Oxfordian scholar, Mr. Robert Detobel, who first flagged this gaffe to me) in a
            highly rated Amazon review of the book, is as follows:

            Shakespeare thou, whose hony-flowing Vaine,

            the World) thy Praises doth obtaine.

            Venus, and whose Lucrece (sweete, and chaste)

            Name in fames immortall Booke have plac’t.

            ever you, at least in Fame live ever:

            may the Bodye dye, but Fame dies never.



            beauty of this “error” is that in making it Shapiro left a thorough
            account documenting that the redaction was deliberate and motivated, not
            haphazard or incidental, for he follows the redacted lines with the comment:

            rhymes are a bit wooden, but the message is clear: Shakespeare was a writer to
            be reckoned with.”

            always helps, of course, when trying to make a document say something that it
            very manifestly *does not* say, to chop off the inconvenient bits, a practice
            that seems endemic in the history of Shakespearean scholarship (making what
            might otherwise seem like the problem of one unreliable maverick like Shapiro
            into a more generic, “industry-wide” type of problem).

            “message” of the restored stanza is very evidently *not at all*
            “clear,” is it? On the contrary, invoking readily understood
            principles of early modern poetic artifice and vocabulary, it rings repetition
            on the words “live ever” and even rhymes them both with
            “never.” My my. What can *that* be about? Three “evers” in
            only two lines?! Of course the lines had to be redacted.

            the good Professor Shapiro’s lead, I will venture no answer, lest I be pounced
            upon by one of our local censors for offering the reasonably obvious
            interpretation from the locution, especially as read in light of the echo we
            can overhear in the curiously cryptographic preface to the 1609 Sonnets in the
            phrase “ever-living,” as well as the headline “From a Never
            Writer to an Ever Reader. News.” in the new preface added to the second
            state of *Troilus and Cressida* in the same year after the title page of the
            first state was destroyed and replaced in the print shop.

            I will let readers draw their own conclusions from this evidence, whether those
            consist merely of “o, my, there is something here, maybe, maybe all that
            glizt and glitter at Stratford really isn’t all its cracked up to be and we
            should hear what the Oxfordians have to say about it before reaching a
            conclusion” to the most fully elaborated and comprehensive Oxfordian
            analysis of this kind of word-gaming.

            will, however, point out that Shapiro also quotes out of context Francis
            Beaumont’s epistle to Ben Jonson in which he mentions Shakespeare
            (conventionally but not very securely dated 1615). This document poses
            difficult problems for the orthodox because, at least judging by the
            performance put in by Chambers, who should be the soundest authority on a
            subject like this one, they don’t really know what it means or what it is
            saying. Shapiro, of course, just *uses* Beaumont’s complex, literary poetic
            epistle — which begins with the statement

            to follow fashion nor to show my wit against the state….wrote I this

            when one turns to the entirety of Barnfield’s poem, things begin to look even
            more interesting than they do when we first noticed Shapiro’s gaffe. But I
            shall say no more. This is a terra incognita awaiting our inquiry. It’s going
            to be fun.

            it has been a pleasure to exchange ideas with you. I look forward to more in
            the future.

          • Hieronymite

            Perhaps Shapiro left off the “ever-never” portion of that
            poem in Strange News because of his weariness that such a common rhyme was bound to occur now and then and he
            didn’t want to deal with any obsession otherwise. Some Oxfordians think so, too. And yet the trick could be just the sort of word-humping that a poet might climb onto if there was some monstrous secret in his breast. Suppose, for
            example, that the poet had an impossible wish that the woman of cause and in question would someday marry him, but she had a “tygrish heart”, and so finished a sonnet to her with this couplet:

            Thus would to God that I had seene thee never,
            Or would to God that I might see thee ever.

            If one takes “Ever” being Oxford in this tricky context
            (allowing the conceit), the lines could read something like a dreamed-of union in marriage with this woman he’s addressing, thus she would take the name of Vere. That’s a reach, the lesson being that all uses of ever-never need not indicate an anagram for Vere. Another example (from the same poet), if one is fond of the “Ever = Vere” trick, might be used to mark the poet’s first lines from another of his sonnets.

            Mine eyes would ever on thy beauties gaze,
            Mine ears are ever greedie of thy fame,
            My heart is ever musing on the same…

            Any poet living near the heat of Great Power must groom his quill that he may perch, and not fly. This same poet leaves us the rule of the age, the watch-work all poets must observe in that watchful age.

            Although that words chain’d with affection faile,
            As that which makes me burst abasht t’unfold,
            Yet Lines (dumbe Orators) ye may be bold,
            Th’inke will not blush, though paper doth looke pale,
            Ye of my state the secrets did containe,

            That then through clouds of darke inventions shin’d:
            Whil’st I disclos’d, yet not disclos’d my mind,
            Obscure to others, but to one ore plaine:
            And yet that one did whiles (as th’end may prove)
            Not marke, not understand, or else despise,
            That (though mysterious ) language of mine eyes,
            Which might have bene interpreted by love.
            Thus she, what I discovered, yet conceal’d:
            Knowes, and not knows; both hid, and both reveal’d.

            The poet in question is Sir William Alexander, a Scotsman
            who wrote the Aurora sonnets, 1604. Alexander’s
            biographers don’t know what the hell this young man is talking about and they can’t find the woman, either.

          • psi2u2

            One can always invent reasons to justify the redaction of historical documents. Moreover, it is certainly true that Shapiro’s track record in *Contested Will* is either that of a man who thinks he can get away with lying just because he teaches at Columbia, or it is a book by someone who makes mistakes that a smart fourth grader wouldn’t make, for example his claim that that “While [Shakespeare’s] name didn’t appear on the title pages of these volumes, dedicatory letters addressed to the Earl of Southampton and signed ‘William Shake-speare’ are included in italics in the front-matter of both.”

            Shapiro goes on from this remarkable and completely untrue claim to try to explain away the hyphen (which first appears, contrary to Shapiro’s account, on the pseudonymous 1594 satiric poem, *Willowby His Avisa* and most definitely does not appear on either of the narrative poems as he says it does) using a completely bogus typographical explanation.


            Context is all and one can easily find counter examples but they fail to explain what Barnfield, very closely connected de Vere’s son-in-law William Stanley, the closeted playwright the 16th Earl of Derby, meant by his own word choice in that particular context.

            Moreover, you have ignored my primary point about Shapiro, which is that he very distinctly tells us *why* he omitted the lines — because they clash with his theory that the meaning of the poem is “obvious.” Sorry, whatever Barnfield had in mind, it is *not*, as Shapiro claims, obvious. That fully explains why he redacted the poem; it was inconsistent with his theory. That also explains why he could write a 300 page book, allegedly about the authorship question, without acknowledging that the title page of the 1609 Q of The Sonnets conspicuously *does* employ the hyphen, viz. SHAKE-SPEARE’S SONNETS.

            Like almost all the other instances in which the hyphen appears in print, Shapiro’s typographical explanation definitely fails the test of applicability to the Sonnets. So it is, like the lines from Barnfield, cut out of Shapiro’s book. Shapiro, in other words, makes up stories about the hyphen appearing in places it doesn’t appear, and fails to mention the most important ones in which it does appear. Gosh. If this is what Shakespearean orthodoxy offers as “scholarship” then it is no wonder that so many have come to realize that something is rotten in Stratford.

          • Hieronymite

            I have no doubt about Stratfordian duplicity now and again. That wasn’t my point at all. I was only wondering, along with yourself, when we are to believe EVER = VERE and when it is greedy to ask for that. I think you’re right about Barnfield’s poem.

          • psi2u2

            Well then, that’s a horse of a different color, as the gateman to Oz says, and I certainly apologize if I have misunderstood the intent of your questioning. I think that the answer to your question is entirely one of context. There are millions of uses of the words “ever” and “never” in the history of English over the past several hundred years. Only a tiny handful suggest that they are being used in contexts that may involve some sort of anagramatical reference to someone named “de Vere.” I do think that the Barnfield poem is one of these, just as I think that Mr. Waugh has correctly identified a similar linguistic felicity in the phrase “our court dear verse.” In both cases the context strongly implies the existence of some covert messaging.

            The full reasons for this conclusion I will not spell out here beyond these general remarks – but they will be forthcoming within a year or two as part of a more comprehensive study of the Shakespeare Allusion book tradition. Thanks for your clarification. Ever yours,


          • Hieronymite

            Except for some typographical minutia which may not mean
            much to the naked eye, I would think that the maker of the puzzle would leave us a key to the thing. That’s a rule. And what was the danger of de Vere’s name that it must be buried so, whispered of his fame on a squinty page amongst many
            pages? Why be pusillanimous when you could be famous these four centuries later? Waugh’s solution may be right and it may be wrong, there’s absolutely no way to know. The
            opposition will like the discovery more than we do, and have more use for it.

          • psi2u2

            hmm…there are many “keys” to the problem presented by this document, I will not enumerate them here.

            As for your question, “what was the danger of de Vere’s name that it must be buried so, whispered of his fame on a squinty page amongst many pages?” it is clear that you have not read very widely in the Oxfordian literature, even on the web. Google is your friend on this and many other points. Please don’t ask me to reinvent the wheel here.

            “Why be pusillanimous when you could be famous these four centuries later?” Your question is rooted in entirely anachronistic presumptions.

          • Hieronymite

            What Waugh has found might be a deliberate setting. It could
            be that the hyphens in “courte-deare-verse” serve as a key that we’re looking at some typographic trick, much the same as in “Shake-speare”.

            I’m glad that Waugh brings the Sonnet’s dedication page to the question. Those who know of Rollett’s solution to that dotty page might find the same sort of trick in the setting of
            “OUR.EVER-LIVING.POET”. If EVER is to be read as VERE, then we might make a guess that the man was LIVING still, not dead in 1604. And I’ll thank psi2u2 not to insult my library.

          • There is no actual ‘high’ praise of De Vere’s work which is specific to a poem or a play. There’s a very small amount obvious flattery in a few chains of deference but tragically (and ironically for the Stritmatter response a couple of posts below) no one actually and definitively called Oxford a good poet in his lifetime. Quite the reverse.

            Nor has anyone since (excluding Oxfordians).

            The man can’t write 5 lines of pentameter without making 10 mistakes. 85% of his poetic vocabulary consists of monosyllables which he relies on for regularity in his metre, like any amateur.

            There’s evidence in his letters that Oxford himself didn’t think all that highly of his own status a writer. And why would he?

            Whereas in Will’s case, to make your claim, you have to blind yourself to remarks by Henry Willobie, Richard Barnfield, John Weever, Thomas Freeman, Anthony Scoloker, and the anonymous author of the Parnassus plays (in which a character wants a portrait of him as a pin-up: ‘O, sweet Master Shakespeare, I’ll have his picture in my study at the court’, and also wishes to ‘worship sweet Master Shakespeare, and to honour him will lay his Venus and Adonis under my pillow’) and all the other writers who mention him include Henry Chettle, William Camden, William Barksted, Leonard Digges, and the dramatist John Webster.

            Quite an effort encompassing that lot in your idea that he was never praised at all. Especially since they are all further down the course and you can’t get over the very first fence, accounting for what Ben Jonson says about the Swan of Avon in the Preface to his plays.

          • Dingdong


            Chettle nowhere mentions the name William Shakespeare, He refers to him as Melicertus, That’s all,
            You omitted the name of the person who desired a picture of Shakespeare in the anonymous Parnassus play, His name is “Gullio”, derived from “gull”.. He’s introduced by Ingenioso ” Now, gentlemen, you may laugh if you will, for here comes a gull.

          • Hieronymite

            Dingdong has set us a puzzle:


            It’s a kind of Find a Word layout, and can be read in part as “O, sweet master Shakespeare I’ll have his picture in my study in the court” The strange typographic display is like saying, “Dig here”.

            It’s the same with the Sonnets dedication. “These sonnets all by ever (VERE)” Isn’t that Oxfordian enough, or what? It’s a perfectly good cipher.

          • psi2u2

            Actually, one of the remarkable elements of the 37+ book dedications to Oxford is how clearly these are *not* merely engaging in flattery. His reputation as a polymath in languages, history, philosophy, medicine and music is extremely well established in the historical record, and far outstrips the reputation of any comparable nobleman (which in itself proves that something beyond mere flattery forms the basis of these many praises). Regarding the Parnassus plays, please see my reply to Dominic. I will merely add that, ironically, As the satirist Tom Weedy remarks in this comic send up, Gullio’s remarks “Since Martin Droeshout, engraver of the [first folio picture] (Figure Two), had not yet been born, that is proof that there once must have existed numerous now-lost low-cost miniatures of the bard, one of them, clearly, in Gullio’s possession.” http://shake-speares-bible.com/2011/04/02/seventeen-more-answers-to-the-shakespeare-deniers/

            Look not on his picture, but his book.

          • Beth345

            I just wonder if there might be a trace of irony in any of the quoted comments..

          • psi2u2

            Sicinius, on the topic of the Shakespeare allusions I recommend for your edification (not to mention education) Katherine Chiljan’s excellent new book, *Shakespeare Suppressed.* http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Suppressed-Uncensored-Truth-About/dp/0982940548. Your statement to the effect that the Oxfordians are “blind” to the documents you cite is as preposterously inaccurate as your summation of Oxford’s 16th c. literary reputation.

            These allusions have been very extensively discussed by any number of Oxfordians, at least since Ruth Loyd Miller’s 1975 edition of *Shakespeare Identified* and Charlton Ogburn’s 1984 *Mysterious William Shakespeare*. Chiljan’s analysis is, however, to date the most comprehensive.

            As Beth suggests, you seem to fail to understand the irony of the passage you cite as evidence.

          • psi2u2

            Right Greg, this kind of revisionism, and selective use of evidence (ignoring William Webbe or Francis Meres, say, in favor of Gabriel Harvey or Oxford’s rival the great “Sir Andrew Aguecheek,” aka Sir Phillip himself) is an impressive display of special pleading but is unlikely to make much of an impact on a serious student of the question, beyond making him or her wonder why “Sicinius” is so unable to place his own prejudices within a more objective framework capable of facilitating informed debate.

    • KateSawyer

      Dear hippocrip you hippowank how can you claim any knowledge of English writing if a) you don’t know that Evelyn Waugh is a HE not a SHE and b) you think family is a plural noun?

      • A Waugh

        This is a very amusing and pithy reply.

      • Hippograd

        you don’t know that Evelyn Waugh is a HE not a SHE

        Nonsense. If you’d ever seen her with a seal-pup you’d know better. Auberon was the biological son of Randolph Churchill. Degenerates, the lot of them.

        • psi2u2

          Hippo, you can now go back into your cave. You’ll be happier there.

    • psi2u2

      Such an enlightened, enlightening, and even charming comment.

  • Mike Gordon

    Don’t fall for Mr Waugh’s nonsense. He’s a Johnny come lately to the SAQ and reveals a predisposition towards believing Edward de Vere was the secret and hidden true author. He’s reading Polimanteia and picks the marginalia “All praiseworthy. Lucrece. Sweet Shakespeare”. It is printed next to a typeset block of text: “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte- deare – verse”…and claims to have uncovered a cryptogram.

    No, it’s a simple and somewhat derogatory pun.

    “Oxford thou maistt extol [you talk up] thy courte-deare-verse”. [your own verse used at court]

    The fact that deare verse contains the letters of de Vere’s name confirms the pun. The derogatory bit is the implication de Vere’s verse is only dear to himself and to a limited audience.

    The juxtaposed marginalia to “All praisworthy” [not limited] Shakespeare and his hugely popular Lucrece makes things clear. Two different poets are mentioned. One (de Vere) is subtly derided whilst “sweet Shakespeare” [allusion to Mere’s and the sugar tongued sonnets] is not. The claimed deliberate appearance of the word Oxford above ‘deare-vere’ is nonsense. Are we to believe Covell stood over the 1595 typesetter and told him where to place words? The appearance of a word above another, in a typeset block, is meaningless except in the febrile imagination of Oxfordians.

    In Waugh’s mind, his “astonishing evidence” is a willful misreading reliant on there being a hidden code!

    Sadly, Waugh is another example of someone trying to do a jigsaw puzzle using the picture from the lid of a different box…and without most of the pieces.

    • Felicity Morgan

      Mike, not so fast. Your attempts to sound logical reveal intellectual chicanery afoot. Fuelling vituperation like Hippograd’s surely does no credit to an argument; ad hominem attacks less so. Important aspects of bibliography and ‘materiality of the book’ pertain in this case which might be considered.

      (1) Your remarks about “sweet Shakespeare” being an “allusion to ‘Mere’s [sic] and the sugar tongued sonnets” is factually incorrect. Meres’ remarks hadn’t been printed yet. Polymanteia [1595] which contains the marginalia “sweet Shak-speare” immediately abutting the line referencing ‘Oxford’ predates Meres’ remarks [1598] by 3 years!
      (Meres’ words were ‘honey-tongued Shakespeare’ & his ‘sugred sonnets among his private friends…”.) The question remains as to how Covell knew so much about a “sweet Shak-speare” (the word hyphenated) on the mere basis of a line from The Rape of Lucrece [1594].

      (2) Waugh’s article at http://www.deveresociety.co.uk repays further study; it also reveals how the laudable E.K. Chambers felt it necessary to elide over that same ‘Sweet Shak-speare’ margin note of 1595, nonsensically saying it was a laudation of Spenser and Daniel, Chambers playing a little fast and loose with that allusion.

      (3) There is no ‘typeset block of text’ as such; but lines of text in which each font (letter) has been picked out by hand and put into the composing stick in this case. There are no mistakes. If you look closely at the text in question (reproduced in Waugh’s article above) you’ll notice the 2 lines have been ‘leaded out’ (prised apart slightly) adjacent to, and to possibly maximise the impact of [?] the word ‘SHAK-SPEARE’ with the hyphen.

      And all this printer’s sophisication as early as 1595??

      Felicity M

      • Mike Gordon

        Felicity, yes the reference to Meres should have been accompanied by a question mark. But evidently two contemporaries made a similar allusion to Shakespeare. In partial answer to you associated question “how Covell knew so much about Shakespeare” at the time, I suggest an answer from Covell’s words: In the passage under discussion, he mentions Spenser, Daniel and Shake-speare by name. But puns, via an anagram, on de Vere. He can’t even bring himself to give the 17th Earl of Oxford his place with customary deference. There are four writers mentioned, indicating Covell had an appreciation of them.

        Re your point 2. E.K. Chambers is entitled to his view. Whether ‘laudation’ is fair is open to opinion. All that can be said is that Covell wasn’t lauding Edward de Vere. He was making his name from a pun!

        Re point 3. Your micro analysis of the text shows a fairly desperate attempt to counter my comment on the improbability of Covell instructing the compositor. Are you suggesting he did?

        In which case, your initial question should have been to ask, how come Covell is privy to the big secret of de Vere’s big secret? Can I add further questions, which I hope you might kindly answer. What made Covell so sure of himself, that he was not only disrespectful of de Vere, but also was letting the cat out of the bag? And, if this is representative of an ‘open secret’, please can you point to others ‘in the know’?

        • psi2u2

          You fail to understand the nature of the political problem posed by the existence of a “Shakespeare” writing plays like *Troilus and Cressida* or *Hamlet.* The real author was not to be identified directly in print. That’s why so many, including Covell, chose to identify him indirectly, via such literary means as that identified by Waugh.

        • Felicity Morgan

          Mike (sorry for the delay) – your points are interesting, some may be valid, and thank you for expanding on them (e.g. your analysis of Covell’s apparent ‘put down’ of de Vere).

          To say “Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare” (and repeating the litany “Shakespeare was… er…Shakespeare”) is a common statement of avoidance by traditionalists, and by now an old saw, as you know. Dress that linguistic mannequin however you like, it raises epistemological questions concerning semiotics and semantics. The question is, ‘What do we mean by ‘Shakespeare’? The authorship Q is thankfully now a multidisciplinary exercise, no longer shackled by the ‘Lit Crits’ (as my professor says).

          As to your “two contemporaries” who referred to the writer as ‘sweet Shakespeare’ before 1595 which you haven’t named, let’s take a look at them. Spenser’s “Our pleasant Willy who is dead of late,” that “gentle spirit…sitting in idle cell” from whom “sweete nectar flows” must be one? But (surprise, surprise) Chambers has a problem with Spenser’s ‘too early’ date (1591) and says it couldn’t refer to Shakespeare!; and Gabriel Harvey had already let the cat out of the bag by April 1593 in Pierce’s Supererogation by declaring to the world that Venus & Adonis was about to hit the presses in the harness of Minerva (Minerva wears a ‘disguise’ Mike?) by “Pierce Pennilesse…sprouting in the rich garden of poor Adonis.” Harvey’s punchline if we are in doubt? – that the “fair body of the sweetest Venus [is] in print…”.

          Please don’t tell me that ‘Pierce Penniless’ is the 28 year old kid from Stratford who was distributing press releases.

          My point? Such early allusions to this ‘sweet’ writer Shakespeare are unlikely to refer to the Stratford youth. A lengthy literary analysis of WHA is not for these boards, but as you’ve mentioned the ‘old player’ WS, then that ‘Shakespeare’ too, is not likely to have been the 30 yr. old bloke from Stratford.

          Regarding my so-called ‘micro-anlysis’ of the text, I would invite you to consider that the field of analytical bibliography in all its manifestations, is very likely to endorse Mr. Waugh’s ‘take’ and analysis in the end. There are many reasons for this, and any number of agencies and influences upon the materiality of the Covell text, from its purported author to the pressman, compositor, binder, to the printer/stationer Legate himself. And of course there is the warden at the Stationer’s Office who approved it. Or did he? Chambers says it was a “tract appended” to the original. Was it? What fun…

          Felicity M

          • Felicity Morgan


            Readers interested in Harvey’s ‘outing’ of the real author of V&A in 1593, should visit http://www.shakespearefellowship.org
            where “The Potent Testimony of Gabriel Harvey” can be read in “Shakespeare Matters”, Winter 2002 issue.
            Felicity M

          • The potent testimony of Gabriel Harvey is that milord Oxford was a feckless, cringing, smirking, Tuscanish, womanish wastrel. A figure of fun. Is that what you mean?

          • Felicity Morgan

            Please don’t misquote or deliberately minconstrue my remarks about Gabriel Harvey’s ‘outing’ of Oxford (‘Pierce Penniless’) in 1593 as being the ‘disguised’ author of Venus and Adonis. He will come in the harness of ‘Minerva’ (a disguise). This pamphlet was written in 1593, 13 years after the remarks in 1580 you disingenuously quote. Please give me the source of Harvey’s ‘wastrel’ remark to Oxford. I refer you again to “Harvey’s Potent Testimony” above. Take time to read it.
            Felicity M

          • Harvey was explicit about the Earl in the only potent testimony we have. You can fantasise all you like about the identity of Pierce Penniless. You won’t find anyone less likely to be publishing great work anonymously in 1593 than the Earl of Oxford. At the time, he was breaking every sinew to win a return to court after the dual disaster of screwing up a Queen’s favourite, Ann Vavasour and screwing up the defence of Harwich during the Armada crisis.

            Getting back into favour was his abiding priority and he was useless at it.

            If he had written the greatest English poem of the age, he would have been back, basking in the royal presence before you could said ‘unwanted pregnancy’.

            So whoever wrote V&A (and it’s really, really, really easy to find out) it certainly wasn’t Milord Gigolo of Castle Hedingham.

          • psi2u2

            Take time to read it.

            I wouldn’t hold your breath, darlin’.

          • psi2u2


            Perhaps spending less time questioning the qualifications of others (since you asked, above, I’ve published about twenty articles in peer reviewed academic journals (Shakespeare Yearbook, Critical Survey, Cahiers Elisabethain, Notes and Queries, and Review of English Studies), as well as just completing a highly rated book on The Tempest), you might wish to actually study (as I have, in conversation with another scholar who is now writing a book about Loves Labour’s Lost, Harvey, Nashe, and Oxford) the materials in question. Harvey says quite a few things about Oxford and was indeed rather obsessed with him over a period of many years.

            The “Speculam Tuscanismi” poem to which you repeated advert, as if was the only thing Harvey ever said about Oxford, is only one of them. Given your emphasis on Oxford’s impecunious condition by the 1590s (he was far less impoverished in the 1570s and early 1580s) you will be gratified to know that Harvey even follows Nashe’s lead by sometime referring to Oxford as “pierce penniless.”

          • Felicity Morgan

            Well, psi2u2, you wrote to Sicinius 2 days ago: “…Because once those same readers actually gets her hands on some of the said literature, they will never trust a thing you say again…”.

            H o w T r u e.

            Meanwhile the scholarly website they would lure you to is a site with no names (I do not count Tom Reedy); no webmaster address; no ‘About Us’; no Administrator; no evidence of who’s sponsoring it; no funding mentioned; links not working (just contact them with ‘feedback’?).

            Know that song? “I’ve been through the desert on ‘A Horse with No Name’…??
            Felicity M

          • psi2u2

            Yes, remarkable isn’t it, how eager the anonymous shadow — a kind of wannabee English Prof. or graduate student dropout who has never written scholarship of any consequence — is to lecture those participating in real inquiry?

            I wonder why they advertise a website with no responsible parties. O, I forgot, the Oxfordians are so such terribly hypercritical sorts that you can’t write anything on the internet without having it compared to “a soft growl that senile dogs emit when you try to get them into the car.” Ergo, you must go anonymous and become one of the partisans of the fern seed of which the Chamberlain of I Hen. IV speaks.

            Actually, come to think of it, I do understand the connection. Its kind of like those dead links you mention. Eventually the dogma just gets run over by the karma, and its best to be in cul-de-sac when that happens.


          • And you know what? When you try and buy their Christmas goodies, nothing happens either.

            Whilst Oxfraud would dearly love to prove that the SAQ is not an academic argument, it would be churlish to take any credit for that away from you and your SAQ colleagues.

            Cul de sac, eh? Well that certainly is a good description of where your pet authorship theory has found itself.

          • psi2u2

            What, no comment about Hand D? Have we given up on that one already?

          • You’re not paying attention.

          • psi2u2

            No, I saw your non-response, which incidentally appears to have been posted after I first asked you why you had dropped the subject. Readers who follow that exchange will know that you dropped the topic like a hot potato after I pointed out that you were all wet behind the ears and could not cite a single reliable authority for your claim. And what happened to your promise that you were “done”? Can’t we trust a thing you say?

          • psi2u2

            Yes, it is curious, that website. Highly “professional,” I must say, and yet strangely floating in cyberspace, very sure of itself and yet brazenly unaware of current state of the debate, depending as it does on the reader’s unqualified acceptance of the unquestioned dominance of ideas simply because they are traditional, wholly lacking in even the pretense of critical thinking.

          • I note that when you publish in Notes and Queries you take off all your Oxfordian clothes and pose as an uncommitted researcher into historical trivia. I didn’t mention my qualifications. This is public internet debate. Everybody is as qualified as they seem and as stupid as they sound, which is rather unfortunate in your case.

            If you have studied what Harvey said about Oxford you will have noticed that when he was speaking to Oxford’s face or asking him for money, he may seem to flatter but there is always a supercilious double entendre in the air.

            When he’s talking about Oxford behind his back, he is acidly contemptuous.

            This is probably because there is so little to admire.

          • Dingdong

            How do you
            know that when Harvey spoke to “Oxford’s face or asking him for money, he may
            seem to flatter but there is always a supercilious entendre in the air”?

            Always? We
            have very few statements of Harvey about Oxford. Eh man, were you present on
            several occasions when Harvey was talking about Oxford behind his back? In
            1580? In 1590? In 1600? If so, happy 400+th birthday. Wishing you many happy centuries

            “Always a
            double entendre in the air”? Given that we have less than a handful of such
            statements, the “air” must be in your brain. Always.

          • >>How do you know that when Harvey spoke

            I read what he wrote. What’s your technique?

          • Dingdong

            Approximately the same. But what I read and you are writing convinced me you heard what he spoke.

          • psi2u2

            DingDong, I suspect that we are going to find that Harvey made a lot of statements about Oxford. However, he usually praises him (and criticizes him) under one of several sobriquets, including “Euphues,” “Pierce Penniless,” etc. This testimony, from *Pierce’s Supererogation* and other pamphlets of the Harvey Nashe quarrel, is extremely important and has been understudied and under analysed in the past. However, at least one highly qualified scholar that I know is now undertaking to rectify that circumstance.

          • psi2u2

            And to think that only a few posts ago you were going on and on about how anonymous I am. And now you’ve actually read, or pretend to have read, something I’ve written. Charming, quite.

            Harvey certainly was ambivalent about Oxford and could not have liked being parodied as the pedant Holophernes in *Loves Labours Lost* — a parody that is nearly as obvious as to those familiar with the historical evidence as that of Burghley as Polonius in *Hamlet*.

            Therefore it is not surprising that he warns other theatre patrons to “fee Euphues betimes, for fear he be moved, or some one of his apes hired, to make a play of you” (*Pierces Supererogation,* p. 213, Grosart). Charlton Ogburn among others (who was not, by the way, a lawyer) as Oxford. Harvey was by all indications not only threatened by “Euphues” theatrical wit but deeply envious of the close association Green, Nashe, and Lyly sustained with Oxford over many years. He preferred them, it seems, to Harvey.

            It occurs to me that you would appear better in the eyes of open-minded readers if you adopted a bit of Harvey’s ambivalence yourself, instead of persisting in your over-reaching attempts to paint Oxford as a “monstrous adversary.” I mean, really, your claim that he was not a graduate of Gray’s Inn is pretty preposterous, not only in light of the evidence adduced in this forum by Felicity regarding his long and distinguished career on important committees of the House of Lords, but also by the legal sophistication of his many surviving letters.

          • Whilst it would nice to deal with all your misconceptions like Hand D in detail and explain why ‘forensic calligraphy’ isn’t needed to attribute it, your comments on Harvey are a much better example of your self-induced myopia and are therefore a better illustration of what is wrong at the heart of Oxfordianism.

            In what we Stratfordians like to call ‘the real world’, the spectrum of doubt runs from probable to improbable, As your comments on Harvey demonstrate, at least half of the Oxfordian spectrum of doubt has gone AWOL. When it comes to authorship matters, the Oxfordian spectrum starts at ‘probable’ but gets derailed so that it terminates in ‘ambivalent’. It’s an area where everything you don’t like or find inconvenient also terminates.

            Harvey excoriating Oxford thus becomes ‘Harvey’s opinion is ambivalent’. The fact that Ben Jonson calls Will ‘the Swan of Avon’ associating the plays, the author and Startford-upon-Avon’ becomes ambivalent. The fact that Leonard Digges, stepson of one of Will’s executors connects Will, the Globe, his monument and his dramatic reputation in two long poems means that Digges is ambivalent about the authorship. Bequests to fellow actors? Ambivalent, of course. Names on title pages? Ambivalent. Says ‘My name is Will’ in the sonnets? ambivalent. References to Warwickshire? Ambivalent. Glove-making? Ambivalent. Friday coming after Thursday? Ambivalent.

            1+1=2? Ambivalent

            Ambivalence. It’s the Oxfordian Black Hole.

            Unfortunately, the Large Shakespeare Collider is gradually getting into gear and it now looks certain that the Looney De Vere Boson particle is too small to register.

        • psi2u2

          Mike, I recommend to and anyone else interested in Meres the excellent article by Robert Detobel and K.C. Ligon, published in the 2009 issue of Brief Chronicles: http://shakespearefellowship.org//wp-content/uploads/2013/09/briefchronicles-1.pdf. The article suggests that, like Covell, Meres was operating on two levels in what he wrote. In case anyone thinks this is strange, it is not at all strange in the paranoid, volatile society of Elizabethan England, in which many matters of what we would regard as great public import were only discussed in private or very indirectly in print. Many people were privy to de Vere’s “big secret.” It was just not something that was talked about openly in print. It was talked about, quite often, through literary indirection of the sort that Alexander Waugh has identified in the Covell allusion. There is more to be said about Detobel and Ligon’s case, and I am personally of the opinion that their article falls short of an absolutely convincing and airtight demonstration of their claim. However, it comes close, and there is more research to come backing them up with further detail.

    • Alexander Waugh

      Dear Mike, you need to look at more original editions from this period. Yes authors very frequently oversaw the compositors to ensure that words were placed exactly where they should be in order to create puzzles and cryptograms. This passage from ‘Polimanteia’ is no exception. Have a look for instance at the 81st Sonnet from Thomas Watson’s ‘Hekatompathia’. Here the whole sonnet is arranged into the shape of a Pasquine Pillar, with the foot of the pillar being orchematical and using a cypher learned from Trithemius. I can think of other examples where text is set into triangles and double pillars. Naturally this process required the author’s careful over-sight during the printing process. If you read R. B. McKerrow’s ‘An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students’ (Clarendon 1927), p240-41, you will see that authors gave minute instructions on type setting to printers. For example Harrington bossing the printer Field over the typesetting of his translation of ‘Orlando Furioso’ by printer Richard Field in 1591. Setting texts into odd shapes and using marginal notes to enhance double meanings were fairly standard techniques in the 1590s. Actually there is much more to this passage from ‘Polimanteia’ than the authorship revelation which was probably the least interesting part of it as far as Covell was concerned. Remember that by 1595 only two works had been published bearing the Shakespeare name (Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, 1593 and 1594). So have another look at the passage and see if you can work out what Covell is really trying to say apart from revealing the little secret about de Vere’s use of the name Shakespeare. If you can’t work it out I shall reveal all in a book I hope to have out some time next year. Very best Alexander

      • Knit Witted

        Hi Mr. Waugh,

        1. How many other marginal notes are in the book? And how many of those point to secret anagrams? Why only this one secret in an entire book?

        2. What other books besides the following were written solely to prove that Oxford was Shakespeare?
        a. William Covell’s *Polimanteia* (1595)
        b. Francis Meres’ *Palladis Tamia* (1598)
        c. Henry Peacham’s *Minerva Britanna* (1612): “MENTE.VIDEBOR” = de Vere in tomb

        3. If Ed was always referred to as Edward, Earl of Oxford when
        mentioned by others (Meres, etc.) and he himself signed his poems EO / Edward Oxenforde, why would anyone relate Shakespeare to Oxford’s family name de Vere?

        4. William Covell, like Francis Meres, was a minister. Why did these ministers reveal Oxford’s secret?

        5. Per “William Covell” in the *Dictionary of National Biography*
        (1887): “On 2 Jan. 1595-6 Dr. Goade, vice-chancellor of the [Cambridge] university, complained to Lord Burghley that Covell, in a sermon at St. Mary’s, had railed against noblemen and bishops.” Why would Covell give any credit to the Earl of Oxford?

        6. Why can’t “courte-deare-verse” mean “vere arte code ruse”? What’s so great about your answer? Personally, my favorites are “e vere reacted sour” and “vere roared cue set”.

        7. Note: “Oxford” in the context “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse” refers to the university, not to a person.



        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Knit, Thank you for your email. I shall try and answer all your questions but some I am reserving for my book on the subject.

          1. There are many marginal notes in this section of the book. Quite a few of them contain what you call ‘secret anagrams’ others are intended to give double meanings to the text. I advise you to study the 1595 text yourself rather than ask me to list all the ones I have found.

          2. Polimanteia was not ‘written solely to prove that Oxford was Shakespeare.’ If you read my response to Mike, you will see that it is my view that this revelation was the least interesting or important part of Covell’s message.

          3. The poet’s family name was de Vere, his main title ‘Oxford’ and he is often referred to by the name ‘de Vere’, so I am not quite sure what you are getting at here.

          5. Covell was not ‘giving credit’ to de Vere in this passage. He was being remarkably spiteful. To understand why you need to understand the whole passage and not just focus on the authorship revelation.

          6. If you read the passage in question you will see the phrase ‘in contracted shape.’ This clue allows the reader to to form ‘who we refuse’ by contracting the shape of ‘whose sweete refined muse.’ Now whether you like it or not ‘courte-deare-verse” in contracted shape reads ‘Our De Vere” not ‘vere arte code ruse” or whatever fanciful anagram you are trying to get from it.

          7. The double meaning of Oxford is what we call a pun. Elizabethans used puns the whole time. Surely you do not need me to list examples of Elizabethan punning.

          Thank you for your questions. I hope these answers help your understanding in some way.

          Sincerely, Alexander

          • Hi Mr. Waugh,

            I very much appreciate your answers! With such new knowledge:

            3. I’ll take back my statement regarding others using his family name… apologies, my mistake. I see now that both Golding and Harvey used the de Vere family name in their books.

            5. Looks like Covell was a spiteful man (even though he was a minister), so I’ll concede he could have spilled Oxford’s secret.

            6. As for the “contracted” shape… that I understand to mean take away letters but what other clues in the book did you use to conclude the remaining letters form an anagram? (As you said, it’ll be in your book 🙂

            7. Certainly puns. I was thinking Covell would put his ministerial duties first and not play games. However, a spiteful man would use such means.

            My other questions were very thoughtfully answered. I’ll be looking forward to your book and best wishes with your project!

            Thank you very much for your consideration and I hope all is well again,


          • Knit Witted

            Howdy Mr. Waugh,

            I’m just curious… Why don’t you go ahead and get your discovery published in a peer-reviewed mainstream journal and forget about publishing a book? That way, you’ll be assured your work receives the proper credit it deserves. Frankly, I’m surprised you’d prefer a group of internet hobbyists “guess” if your contribution to the Shakespearean knowledge database is indeed meritorious.


        • calendar

          ” If Ed was always referred to as Edward, Earl of Oxford when mentioned by others.”

          You assume, without basis, that Spenser was not referring to Oxford as “pleasant Willy.”

      • Mike Gordon

        Dear Alexander, thanks for your detailed response to my critique of your discovery. On the subject of authors overseeing compositors work, I wonder who was involved in the Dedication to the Sonnets?

        Perhaps you might also reflect that any contention of authorial care has to be set against there being no copyright, and known purloining of manuscripts. I agree there are numerous examples of design, although I won’t add more since this deflects the focus of discussion away from my other point, that there is no cryptogram. it’s a somewhat belittling pun. Please see my response to Felicity above ^^ and add that if Covell felt free enough to make his little joke, why would he need a cryptogram?

        And, aren’t you falling into the same trap as John Rollet? he claimed the dedication to the sonnets was a code (later retracted?) showing de Vere as the author. The same question posed to him is posed to you. For there be something to unlock, you need to provide two things: An indication of the coded passage and a key so that it may be unlocked. Where are they in Polimanteia?

        As Robert Pirsig wrote. When you’re on the horns of a dilemma, throw sand in the bulls eye. Debating authorial influence over a compositor is sand.

        • A Waugh

          Dear Mike,

          An essential element of all these
          passages of Elizabethan double meaning is that when things got hot the
          creator could deny them. So it is fine for you to think that the
          Oxfordian message next to this Shakespeare allusion is accidental or
          unintended. That is exactly how it was meant to be. It is not really
          that interesting that you interpret the whole thing as a fluke or that I
          see it as a deliberately planted message. What really interests me is
          something else: Given that the Elizabethans were constantly playing
          these sorts of games, obscuring often risky, secondary meanings in their
          texts with anagrams, puns, word puzzles etc.,is it not possible (likely
          even) that someone in 1595 might have spotted what I spotted in 2013?
          It was not very difficult. I saw it straight away – there was
          ‘courte-deare-verse’ with ‘our-de-Vere’ staring right out of it. The
          fact that the remaining letters made up an anagram of ‘a secret’ is
          neither here nor there. What interests me is not whether we 21st
          century commentators think it was deliberately set there by Covell or
          not, but what would Essex (to whom the work is dedicated), Burghley
          (Chancellor of Cambridge University under whose imprimatur Polimanteia
          was published), Southampton, and de Vere etc etc have thought if they
          noticed what I noticed? As Oxford, Cambridge and Inns of Court alumni,
          not to mention poetry nuts they were more than likely to have owned
          copies of this book. Now whether it pleases you or not the phrase
          ‘courte-deare-verse’ sits under the word Oxford and is annotated by the
          marginal note Lucretia Sweet Shakspeare, and the phrase
          ‘courte-deare-verse’ when read ‘in contracted shape’ reads ‘Our de
          Vere’. These points cannot be disputed. If you wish to dismiss it as
          pure chance – an unfortunate coincidence of letters and names and notes,
          then fine. As I have written it was (in my view) deliberately
          constructed so that it could be denied and so that people like you back
          in 1595 might concede that the message was unintentional when and if a
          challenge arose. The cognoscenti of 1595 would, I am sure, have tapped
          their noses and said ‘ah yes but we can see what Covell is really
          saying.’ So regardless of how intentional or unintentional you or I
          believe it was, you (and not I) are left with a bitter cheroot to chew
          upon for when you think of all the extraordinary fuss that has been made
          of the Oxfordian authorship case over past 90 years it really is the
          most incredible fluke that this message about de Vere sits there in
          plain view if really was an unintended outcome.

          Stratford Shakspere did not attend Oxford or Cambridge Universities or
          the Inns of Court. So on top of your insistence that the whole thing is
          an unfortunate accident, you need also to explain why Shakespeare is
          named here at all, what Covell intended by the phrase “in contracted
          shape” if it were not some word puzzle clue, and what meaning the
          marginal note ‘Sweet Shakespeare’ was intended to convey in terms of its
          relation to the line of text by which it has been set. My explanations
          are clear and meaningful, and until such a time as better explanations
          are forthcoming then by the rule of Occam’s razor, the simplest
          explanation should remain, to most people’s minds, the best,

          as ever,


          • Mike Gordon

            Dear Alexander, Elizabethan literary wordplay and the use of metaphor, cryptic allusion,classical allusion, anagrams and puns is well known, Perhaps the best known slander of the age was Willobie His Avisa, published a year before Covell in 1594. You’re probably aware of the consensus that Avisa was not a chaste woman, she is unchaste and has suitors including HW – Henry Wriothesley and WS – William Shakespeare. WHA contains the reference “Shake-speare paints poore Lucrece rape”. It also describes the menage a trois between Avisa, HW and WS. “H. W. being soddenly infected with the contagion of a fantastical fit, at the first sight of A, … bewrayeth the secresy of his disease unto his familiar frend W. S., who not long before had tried the courtesy of the like passion, and was now newly recovered … he determined to see whether it would sort to a happier end for this new actor, than it did for the old player.” Whoever she was is for another day, but she’s known as the woman coloured ill of the sonnets, which also describes the relationship between the three and possibly includes the author of WHA as the rival poet.

            The connection between Southampton and Shakespeare’s two best selling poems is evident from the dedications.

            However, the key point about WHA is the jealousy of it’s author towards WS, as a poet in a relationship with the attractive young HW. The author of WHA is homosexual and bitter that he’s not in the mix.

            My point [sorry for the delay] is that WHA is targeted, amongst others, at the poet/player William Shakespeare. It’s such a detailed and clever slander that if it had been intended to deride anyone else, let’s say EO or EDV, it would have done.

            The author of WHA knows Shakespeare is a poet and puns about WS as an old player in apposition to HW as new player.

            Remember, this was a year before Covell mentions Shakespeare. Occam would say that if Shakespeare’s name is on two well known books, contemporaries associate him with them and are jealous enough to implicate him (none too cryptically) in a scandal with his aristocratic patron, the explanation is all too simple. It was known that Shakespeare was er…Shakespeare.

            The cognoscenti of 1595 were tapping their noses alright. But not about Edward de Vere secretly being Shakespeare.

            Your’e looking for things that aren’t there in Covell. What is there, you should take at face value. A compliment to Shakespeare and a probable punning dig at de Vere. I beg to suggest Occam would agree on both counts.

          • A Waugh

            Dear Mike, You are certainly on the right tracks and yes I agree with almost every line of your last – BUT – you are very wrong if you think that WS in Willobie was not aimed at Edward de Vere. The clues are all there. Check out what Hadrian Dorrell has to say about the Frenchman in his intro; see what Avisa responds to the Frenchman, see how this relates to the passages between HW and WS. It is all there, but I am not going to spill all my years of research into this late night blog. I’ve given you clues. If you cannot find them on your own you must await publication of my explanations. Very best,


          • Mike Gordon

            Dear Alexander, you’re right that a blog is not the place for depth and detail. I’ve studied Willobie too and think the best critique was epublished 4/5 years ago. WHA is written in the satirical style of Ironia as a series of libels. As a hint for your good self, it might be wiser to focus on the ‘Italianate’ characterisation. The clear reference to written verse is probably a better clue than songs and disports associated with the eponymous Frenchman. All the best.

          • psi2u2


          • Mike Gordon

            “No More Slander” Do these three words sound familiar to you?

          • They’re watermarked, aren’t they??

      • Mike Gordon

        Dear Alexander, thanks to yourself and Felicity confirming the deliberate instructions Covell gave to the compositor, a completely new reading of the lines in question becomes possible.

        The deliberate absence of a stop after courte-deare-verse (and therefore no upper case H in the next word in the sentence, “happie”, renders the solution as follows:

        ‘a secret de Vere – our happie Daniel’.

        Bombshell! You’ve got the wrong idea. Covell was outing Daniel who in “contracted shape” wrote de Vere.


        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Mike, do you realise that you are the first Stratfordian since 1642 (when I believe your religion was founded) who has attempted to explain what this Polimanteian reference is all about. Since your early incivilities you have been consistently courteous and engaged with the argument of this blog. So my vote goes to you for ‘Stratfordian of the Year’ and that is not some ironic prize for an apostate but a genuine prize for a Stratfordian who abandons ad hominem abuse in favour of intelligent debate. So well done on that. However your attempt to find an answer to the riddle is far messier than mine. It leaves as loose ends the marginal reference to Shakspeare, it fails to explain the hyphenation of ‘courte-deare-verse’, it requires an entirely fanciful and hitherto novel interpretation of the very simple phrase ‘in contracted shape’, it ignores the obvious application of this clue to the phrase ‘whom we refuse’. If you can only persuade yourself to remain patient until my book is published I assure you that I will provide you with a full and entirely satisfactory explanation of this whole passage, but I will not be persuaded by your gallant misses and near hits to divulge all in this wretched blog. ‘Stratfordian of the Year’ is in the bag. Thank you for your intelligent and reasoned persistence. Alexander

          • psi2u2

            since 1642 (when I believe your religion was founded)…

            Hahaha. Nice one.

        • Felicity Morgan

          Mike, you’re obviously out of your depth. Derision, projection, whacko-hyperboles – coupled with deliberate misreadings of what I wrote are eloquent examples of what you criticise in others: ‘When you’re on the horns of a dilemma, throw sand in the bull’s eye.’ More like kids in a sandpit. It takes “a special kind of self-confidence to repeatedly engage in such disruptive tactics, without betraying the slightest sense of regret,” (my professor again).
          Your repeated sarcasm is another form of unaddressed anger. Whacking a pillow with a tennis racket will help. Waugaman’s joke about Stratfordian fulminations is warranted: a rational conversation about the authorship question appears to elude some, and can provoke most terrific outbursts (‘apoplectic’ was the word of the former president of the SAA?).
          You wrote: “Debating authorial influence over a compositor is sand.” I suggested the importance of “analytical bibliography” as a methodology in helping to solve the riddle, e.g. “There are any number of agencies and influences on the materiality of the [Covell] text.” This is physical evidence which, like detective work, cannot be ignored. If you were familiar with any one of these methodologies you might try to be more scholarly. I gave you another possible evidential clue: that the Polimanteia was a tract appended to the original (Chambers). The hint was lost on you.
          By the way, the following authors stood at the elbows of their compositors: Thomas Nashe, Anthony Munday, Ben Jonson…to name but three. In the case of Thomas Nashe, he actually lodged with his printer John Danter.
          When you are serious, I will reply to your postings.
          Fellicity M

          • Dingdong

            and on familiar terms with Henry Chettle, Danter’s compositor. Gabriel Harvey lodged with the printer and publisher John Wolfe.

          • Mike Gordon

            Dear Felicity, Thanks again for your further detailed response to what were initial responses in blogisphere. I agree with your objective points and think the subjective elements correlate to much that has featured in this discussion. As Alexander said, a blog isn’t the place for detail. I will write an evaluation of the claim that Covell was outing de Vere that will include comment on authorial direction to compositors. Both yourself and Alexander think it important. It certainly is in relation to demonstrating predetermined intent. If Covell can be shown to have the intent, it supports the contention. If not, other readings are permissible and should be considered. Was I wrong to observe that If Covell did have intent, the line is meant to read……. “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse happie Daniel, whose sweete muse, in contracted shape”…

            The [expected?] full stop after ‘verse’ and subsequent upper case H would have separated Daniel from Oxford and made the claimed connection to Shakespeare more convincing. As it stands, Covell’s deliberations result in the text associating Oxford with Daniel.

            What do you think. Purposeful or clumsy? If clumsy, Covell didn’t supervise and your argument is weaker. If he did, please can you give your understanding of how to read the link to Daniel, and how that get’s us to Shakespeare?

            Finally, as one of my colleagues observed, at the compositor stage, Covell would be reading a mirror image with almost no contrast to reveal the letter forms, upside down and back to front. It’s a neat trick. Even compositors waited for a proof before proof-reading. It’s possible Covell waited for proofs and approved them…if so, back to my prior question.

            For my article, I’d like permission to quote you before I do any more on this topic. I promise to be objective, pay the respect you deserve, and represent your views without bias.

            Then let the serious discussion commence?

            Best wishes, Mike

            PS, is there a way I can contact you away from this blog?

          • Felicity Morgan

            You’ve made your point. I’ve made my point.
            I wish you well.
            Felicity M

          • psi2u2

            Felicity, are you free for dinner?

      • psi2u2

        A good reference for Mike and other newbies on this would be the 1586 Arte of English Poesie, which contains numerous literary puzzles of this nature.

    • psi2u2

      Mike, give us all a break from your prejudices, OK? Yes, Waugh has only recently come out of the closet with his Oxfordian conviction. But the implications of the rest of your post are just baloney. Waugh’s case, while not cryptographically beyond criticism, looks sound to many, like myself, who have spent a good bit of time wondering just what Covell was up to in this bizarre and almost ungrammatical passage. Why, for example, does he in the sidenote, mix the name “Shakespeare” with a list of other figures, some of who are fictional? Does Covell do that anywhere else in his book? Huh? You don’t know, do you. Good to find out before you go to far down this road on your fool’s errand.

  • Dingdong

    if you like to steel a march on others by using bluff, make it sure that your
    bluff be not all too easy to call. Wholly uninformed readers might gain the
    impression that an expert person is talking here but actually we have to do with
    a pert person (possibly the true etymology; an expert person is a person that
    is no longer merely pert, hence ex-pert – maybe some people here will like the



    Let us look a little bit closer at it:


    Were I a King.

    I a king I might command content;

    I obscure unknown would be my cares,

    were I dead no thoughts should me torment,

    words, nor wrongs, nor love, nor hate, nor fears;

    doubtful choice of these things which to crave,

    kingdom or a cottage or a grave.

    Sidney’s Answer:

    Wert thou a King yet not command content,

    Since empire none thy mind could yet suffice,

    Wert thou obscure still cares would thee torment;

    But wert thou dead, all care and sorrow dies;

    An easy choice of these things which to crave,

    No kingdom nor a cottage but a grave.

    Where do you see Oxford’s “metrical mistakes”? I see
    none. On the other hand, I discover certain syntactical deficiencies in Sidney’s
    lines. But are those lines Sidney’s? Moreover, Professor William Ringler (The
    Poems of Sir Philip Sidney, 1962) doubts the lines are Sidney’s. They exist in
    several manuscripts; only in one of them are the lines ascribed to Sidney.
    Probably wrongly, Ringler writes He gives the reasons why the ascription to
    Sidney is probably wrong..

    Then, we find a similar reflexion from another author
    in one of his plays:

    ever king that joy’d an earthly throne

    And could command no more content than I?

    No sooner was I crept out of my cradle

    But I was made a king, at nine months old.

    Was never subject long’d to be a King

    As I do long and wish to be a subject.

    which play and which author.



    To my knowledge, Harvey
    refers three times to Oxford as an author never disparagingly.

    1. 1578 in a speech given (probably
    intended to be given)at Audley End. Harvey extolls Oxford’s literary
    achievements. Only, Harvey adds, he should throw away the “insignificant pen”,
    his proper occupation should be the military profession, arms, not letters,
    which was often expressed by a synecdoche; “hold or handle the sword”, “ shake
    a lance or spear” (Harvey seems to have taken Castiglione too literally).

    2. 1580 in the satire “Speculum
    Tuscanismi” within his Three Familiar Letters.
    But Harvey’s reproach here is not that Oxford is bad author, it’s rather the
    contrary: that he is too much occupied with letters (“No man, but Minion,
    Stout, Loute, Plain, Swayne, quoth a Lording;/No words but valourous, no works
    but womanish onely.) The fault Harvey finds in Oxford is his “effeminate” and “Italionate”
    behavior. “Shakespeare is — let us put
    it this way — the least English of English writers…and it would come to us as
    no surprise to us to learn that Shakespeare had been Italian, or Jewish, for
    instance” (Jorge Luis Borges, 1979). If we can trust that there is a grain of
    truth in Borges’s word, Oxford and Shakespeare might have had the latter
    quality in common.

    3. Again in 1593 In Harvey’s “Pierce’s Supererogation”.“It is not the first time that I
    have preferred a Gentleman of deeds before a Lord of words: and what if I once
    by way of familiar discourse said?” (Harvey’s Works, edited ny A.B. Grosart,
    1884, II.200. The “familiar discourse” are of course The Three Familiar Letters
    of 1580 with the satire “Speculum Tuscanismi”.

    question of Harvey not thinking much of his work. How did this enter your head?
    Or do you have other examples confirming your talk?

    doubt it.


    • Your ‘pun’ is an entirely non-functional version of the hackneyed response to the question “What is an expert” to which the possibly once humorous reply is “An ‘ex’ is a ‘has-been’ and a ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure'”. The rest of your post demonstrates a similar feel for the language.

      Like a great deal of Oxford’s poetry, the first three lines of this poem, shorn of their line breaks,

      “Were I a king I might command content. Were I obscure unknown would be my cares and were I dead no thoughts should me torment,”

      are ploddingly prosaic. If we reverse his one concession to poetic language, and place the subject before the verb thus: “Were I obscure my cares would be unknown” then the lines have nothing to distinguish them from prose.

      Sydney (for it is he) mischievously corrects this (the word ‘thou’ gives his game away – he’s talking directly to Oxford and not in a nice way)

      “Wert thou a King yet not command content,
      Since empire none thy mind could yet suffice,”

      Note how what takes Oxford nearly three lines, Sydney betters in just three words “since empire none”. By omitting verbs and prepositions, Sydney creates a poetic phrase with his parenthetic monosyllables around the word “empire”. This kind of lyrical compression is almost entirely absent in Oxford’s work. It’s outside the range of his limited technical expertise.

      Now, using your own quote, let’s have a look at how the champ does it in a play whose moments of lyrical perfection pissed off more than one of his contemporaries. Will could even have spotted the poetic argument and may be giving the pair of them a lesson.

      “Was ever king that joy’d an earthly throne.
      And could command no more content than I?”

      Will takes a noun, ‘joy’, and turns it into a transitive verb. The dexterity of the trick gives the two lines a shimmering beauty that is in a completely different class to the pedestrian Oxford and the sarcastically didactic Sydney.

      As for Gabriel Harvey “put away your feeble pen” is a fairer translation. And to finish the quote:

      …For life Magnificos, not a beck but glorious in show,
      In deed most frivolous, not a look but Tuscanish always
      His cringing side neck, eyes glancing, physnomy smirking

      Not much admiration detectable there.

      • habicht

        From Harvey’s oration to the Earl of Oxford
        “For a long time past Phoebus Apollo has cultivated thy mind in the arts. English poetical measures have been sung by thee long enough. Let that Courtly Epistle — more polished even than the writings of Castiglione himself — witness how greatly thou dost excel in letters. I have seen many Latin verses of thine , yea, even more English verses English verses are extant; thou hast drunk deep draughts not only of the Muses of France and Italy, but hast learned the manners of many men, and the arts of foreign countries. It was not for nothing that Sturmius himself was visited by thee; neither in France, Italy, nor Germany are such cultivated and polished men. O thou hero worthy of renown, throw away the insignificant pen, throw away bloodless books, and writings that serve no useful purpose, now must the sword be brought into play, now is the time, now is the time for thee to sharpen the spear and to handle great engines of war.”

        You write, “‘put away your feeble pen’ is a fairer translation.” I understand this fits your purpose. But to me it is no more than an intolerable distortion of words. Harvey says that writings and books serve no useful purpose. He does not say “throw away thy or your insignificant pen”. At least you should offer an explanation for your interpretation. If you think you don’t need it, I am afraid most other people will need it. So for the sake of your credibility…

        • Thank you for helping me make my point. Harvey’s IQ was probably three times that of Oxford.

          Phoebus is the Sun God. Apollo, the God of Music and Truth. Oxford would have known that. Phoebus Apollo, however, as Harvey and the Cambridge chums of his who were in on this joke knew, is a small, gaudy, whiteish butterfly. Oxford wouldn’t have known that. A beautifully mutilated compliment that Harvey knew would fly over the arrogant but empty head of the Earl.

          The massively overstated praise which follows, especially that which compares an Earl who has wasted his fortune on gloves and hose, with one of the greatest humanists of the age, allied to the carefully barbed description of the ‘glory which will spread out from the Arctic Ocean’ (snigger-think about it!) would have had the intelligent listeners pinching themselves to suppress a smile. And by the time he got to ‘putting down his feeble pen’, the urge to snort with open laughter must have been uncontrollable. Alexander Pope would have loved it.

          See how perfectly this interpretation, rather obvious when you look hard, fits with Harvey’s later assessment- “womanish, tuscanish, cringing, frivolous, smirking”.

          “No words but valorous, no works but womanish”.

          This should have been Oxford’s epitaph. Oscar Wilde never cut a better or more damning insult.

          Your idol has feet of clay.

          • psi2u2

            “Harvey’s IQ was probably three times that of Oxford.”

            That rich. Perhaps the best antidote to your “monstrous adversary” pabulum is the words of Gervase Markham, writing about Oxford less than a year after the publication of the 1623 folio:

            The Alms he gave (which at this day would not only feed the poor, but the great man’s family also) and the bounty which religion and learning daily took from him, are Trumpets so loud, that all ears hear them.

            Paradoxically, the passage affirming that Oxford’s “alms” are “trumpets so loud, that all ears hear them,” is based on Matt 6.1-4, Christ’s admonition, “when you give your alms, don’t blow your trumpet in the marketplace.”

            I guess that in order to understand what Markham is saying, one not only requires a proper historical context (i.e., shortly after the folio is published), but an “ear” to hear what is implied but not said directly. Maybe if you clean out all those cobwebs out of your ears you’ll hear it too.

          • Silly boy. Oxford had been dead 20 years by then. You Oxfordians aren’t keen on posthumous reputation building, are you?

            And where does anything in my post refer or relate to Monstrous Adversary? Doesn’t look like your attentive faculties are up to much, either.

            And you can cut the philanthropic Oxford rubbish right out. He may have thrown money around now and again but he was guilty of some of the most disgustingly venal negligence imaginable. Ask Thomas Churchyard, a lifelong servant who stood as guarantor for Oxford’s rent in 1591. Oxford welched and dodged and the 75 year old Churchyard was forced to take sanctuary to avoid prison. Nice work, Eddie.

            Myne is made to serve me ring any bells? How are your cobwebbed auditory functions?

          • psi2u2

            “Silly boy”?

            What is wrong with you, guy? Why do you still think that this kind of confrontational rhetoric is appropriate? Of course Oxford had been dead for twenty years – AND the “Shakespeare” folio had just been published. You are the one who started this part of the conversation by attacking Oxford. I cited the evidence of Gervase Markham, commenting on Oxford’s “alms” in the year after the folio was published, to show that not everyone shares your opinion in the matter. And you call me “Silly Boy”? You have a problem.

            And it goes on….

            “Philanthropic rubbish….disgustingly venial negligence….nice work, Eddie…”

            Your comments drip with inappropriate emotion that speaks volumes about your unbalanced state of mind but contributes nothing to an informed discussion. Habnicht below offers you a few tips on how real scholars place personality foibles (yes, Oxford was certainly improvident with money and sometimes failed to come through with his many promised subsidies to poets, actors, philosophers, musicians, etc.) in historical context. Your arguments are simply a retread of Alan Nelson’s “monstrous adversary” biography, a book I highly recommend to those who want to see how desperate some Stratfordians have become in their effort to smear Oxford rather than dealing with the case for his authorship.

            Perhaps the most eloquent answer to your carping about Oxford’s failure to pay his debts, however, comes from J.T. Looney himself, who made an astute observation about “Shakespeare” and money. Looney was the first to note, Oxford’s legendary improvidence, for which he earned the nickname “Pierce Penilesse” from Gabriel Harvey and Tom Nashe, is one of the strongest confirmations of his identity as Shakespeare, for in the Shakespearean plays “almost every reference to money and purses is of the loosest description and, by implication, teaches an improvidence what would seen involve any man’s financial affairs in complete chaos” (98).

            But apparently your “Shakespeare” never missed a payment. Just another nail in the coffin of the myth.


          • I’m still here. So waiting three days before replying isn’t going to work.

            Perhaps the most eloquent answer to your citation of J T Looney “himself” lies in the schoolteacher and cultist’s own words.

            “our case will either stand or fall” as readers are convinced that De Vere’s poetry does in fact “contain the natural seed and clear promise” of Shakespeare’s verse …”

            Truly epic fail, then.

            As I pointed out in a comparison of De Vere’s work with that of Sydney and Will in this very comment column.

            I suppose the tactic is to wait a month or two before we get to hear your reply to that.

          • psi2u2

            I don’t feel under any compulsion to answer anything that you say, Sicinius. You are your own worst critic. As others have already said to in their replies, there is (to say the least) serious doubt as to Sidney’s authorship of his alleged reply. Moreover, you entirely ignore the testimony of Oxford’s own contemporaries, including Webbe, “Puttenham,” Meres, and Peacham, all of whom had a considerably higher opinion — as did Alexander Grosart in a later generation — of Oxford’s lyric poetry. Of course, in order to maintain your opinion, you must ignore this testimony.

          • 8 days.

          • psi2u2

            12 days. And your point is?

          • 8 days

            Addressed it head on, actually. Here’s a head on issue for you. I’ll check in again in 8 days time to see if you’ve replied.

            To believe in Oxford’s talent as a poet you have to account for lines like

            “For he that beats the bush the bird not gets,”

            As far as poetic incompetence goes, this is as good as it ‘not gets’.

          • habicht

            To begin with I would like to ask you what you think of the following quotes from Conyers Read , Lord Burghley and Queen Elizabeth, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1960. Conyers Read had no favorable opinion of Oxford. He calls him a “cad if ever there was one” (135). On Oxford’d education Read has the following to say:
            “Presumably both degrees [Rutland and Oxford] were honorary. But Oxford had matriculated at Cambridge… Oxford distinguished himself as a classical scholar, showed considerable talent as a poet, took a great interest in the drama, and has since been put forth seriously as the author of Shakespeare’s plays… One gets a clear impression of his training in Burghley’s household from a document called ‘Orders for the Earl of Oxford’s Exercises’, which has been preserved. It tuns as follows:

            8:00-9:00 French
            9:00-10:00 Latin

            1:00-2:00 Cosmography
            2:00-3:00 Latin
            3:00-4:00 French
            4:00-4:30 Exercises with his pen
            On holidays we are told that he is to read before dinner the Epistle and the Gospel in his own tongue and in the other tongue [Greek?] after dinner. All the rest of the day to be spent in riding, dancing, walking and other commendable exercises.
            His tutor was Lawrence Nowell, Dean of Lichfield, a scholar of distinction. There can be little doubt that Oxford was a diligent student.” (125-6)

            II. Burghley in a letter to the Earl of Rutland shortly before the marriage oh his daughter Anne to Oxford:
            “Now that the matter is determined brtwixt my Lord of Oxford and me… And surely, my Lord, by dealing with him I find that which I often heard of your Lordship, that there is much more in him of understanding than any stranger to him would think. And for mine own part I find that whereof
            I take comfort in his wit and knowledge grown by good conversation.” (127-8). “Conversation” here means “social intercourse” in general. But exactly what means “wit”? A printing error for “nut” or “nerd”? An ironical expression for “lack of wit”?

            III. Burghley in a letter to Walsingham: “I cannot well end, neither will I end, without also praying you to remember Master Hatton to continue my Lord’s friend as he hath manifestly been… And Idoubt not but Master Secretary Smith will remember his old love towards the earl when he was his scholar.” (130-1).

            Master Secretary Smith is Sir Thomas Smith, one of the outstanding statesmen and scholars of his time. So the Earl of Oxford had been Thomas Smith’s sometime scholar. What did he learn there? Probably nothing, in your opinion.

            IV. Then we have George Chapman and his play The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois. The protagonist of that play, probably written c. 1611, is Clermont D’Ambois, a fictitious person, modeled after Hamlet. In Act III.iv Chapman places Clermont D’Ambois, a stoicist, into a similar situation as Hamlet in V.ii. Clermont D’Ambois does not identify himself with Hamlet, he identifies himself with the Earl of Oxford:
            “He was beside of spirit passing great
            Valiant and learn’d. and liberal as the sun,
            Spoke and writ sweetly, or of learned subjects,
            Or of the discipline of public weals:
            And ‘twas the Earl of Oxford.
            Chapman’s praise might sound somewhat fulsome. But do you think, while writing this, Chapman’s “urge to snort with open laughter must have been uncontrollable”?
            V. Gabriel Harvey was in Cambridge. The Earl of Oxford was in Cambridge. They must have met there, they surely met there for in his Four Letters (1592)Harvey writes: “whose noble Lordship I protest I never meant to dishonour with the least prejudicial word of my tongue or pen: but ever kept a mindful reckoning of many bounden duties toward the same: since in the prime of his gallantest youth he bestowed Angels upon me in Christes Colledge in Cambridge, and otherwise vouchsafed me many gratious favours at the affectionate commendation of my Cousin, M. Thomas Smith, the son of Sir Thomas…” (II. 184).
            Could it not be that the Earl of Oxford, however empty-headed he was, would also have been in on the joke that Phoebus Apollo was “a small, gaudy, whiteish butterfly”?

            VI. Thomas Nashe was also a student in Cambridge. In 1596 he writes in Have With You to Saffron-Walden: “another honourable Knight (his companion) about Court yet attending; to whom I wish no better fortune than the forelocks of Fortune he had hold of in his youth, & no higher fame than he hath purchased himself by his pen; being the first (in our language) I have encountered, that repurified Poetry from Art’s pedantism, & that instructed it to speak courtly. Our Patron, our Phœbus, our first Orpheus or quintessence of invention he is;” (McKerrow edition, III.77). One could think Nashe is speaking of Shakespeare. But Nashe nowhere mentions Shakespeare. He is speaking, certainly of the Earl of Oxford, though he does not name him explicitly. Did Nashe by Phoebus also mean “a small, gaudy, whiteish butterfly”? And by Orpheus another “small, gaudy butterfly”? reddish or blackish or whatever colorish?
            I ask this in the firm conviction that you, if any, will be able to give a serene and informed answer.


          • >>But Oxford had matriculated at Cambridge… Oxford distinguished himself as a classical scholar, showed considerable talent as a poet,

            This is not true. Oxford matriculated at Cambridge when he was eight. “Matriculate” means to enter your name in the register. Oxford did not study at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he matriculated, or any other university. He matriculated ‘impubes’ at the age of eight and in the four months he spent there, the only records he left behind were numerous bills for broken windows. He was probably “sent down”. You can ‘assume’, entirely safely, that he was no fellow student of either Nashe or Harvey. And if Harvey was after a few more Angels in 1592, he’d need a bit of apology first, wouldn’t he?

            Oxford certainly did not distinguish himself as a scholar. We have his prose as proof. Furthermore, much of the small poetic oeuvre he left behind is execrable. Whining, self-pitying, monosyllabic, pathetic threnody. Oxford’s marriage was one of Burghley’s many financial interests in the Earl. There’s no way he’d risk damage to it with bad reports before he had it sorted.

            And you’ve come up a few lines short on your Chapman. Once again, Oxford is being damn’d with faint praise. The point of Chapman’s anecdote is that this paragon of perfumed English virtue preferred to sit in his tent, admiring himself in the mirror, rather than take a military inspection arranged in his honour.

            Nashe is not ‘certainly’ talking about Oxford. Demoting Oxford to a ‘knight’ would be an insult and since Oxford, as we know, had purchased precisely zero fame with his pen, unless you intend to interpret his remarks as another sarcastic jibe aimed over Oxford’s head, Nashe means someone else. Almost certainly someone of much lower social status, an actual Knight or at least someone likely to be flattered by the attribution. Can you really not think of anyone who fits the bill better than De Vere?.

          • habicht

            Really, no. And I feel sure that you yourself have no better candidate, otherwise you would probably have blurted him out instantly. I should have quoted Nashe’s full text. Here it is:
            Nashe is speaking of Harvey’s conduct during the Queen’s visit at Audley End in 1578. Nashe was then 11 years old. He was not personally present there. But he could rely on some materials, namely Harvey’s four books of Gratulationes Valdinenses containing his speeches to the Queen, the Earl of Leicester, Lord Burghley and, in the fourth book, to Sir Christopher Hatton, Philip Sidney (not yet knighted then), and the Earl of Oxford. That book was printed shortly afterwards (September 1578). On the basis of those speeches Nashe accuses Harvey to have displayed a patronizing attitude to Sidney and “his knight companion”.. Who was this “knight companion”? In fact, Nashe leaves hardly any doubt about it. Let us hear:
            “… to take the wall of Sir Philip Sidney and another honourable Knight (his companion) about Court yet attending; to whom I wish no better fortune than the forelocks of Fortune he had hold of in his youth, & no higher fame than he hath purchased himself by his pen; being the first (in our language) I have encountered, that repurified Poetry from Art’s pedantism, & that instructed it to speak courtly. Our Patron, our Phœbus, our first Orpheus or quintessence of invention he is; wherefore, either let us jointly invent some worthy subject to eternize him, or let war call back barbarism from the Danes, Picts, and Saxons, to suppress our frolick spirits, and the least spark of more elevated sense amongst us finally be quenched and die, ere we can set up brazen pillars for our names and sciences, to preserve them from the deluge of ignorance.”
            This knight — who was he? He was still alive, “about Court yet attending”. Nashe wishes him he might recover the favour of the Queen, “forelocks of Fortune”, which he had enjoyed in his youth. This applies to Oxford. Did Nashe mean the Queen? Nonsense, the Queen woud have had to recover the favour of the Queen. Did Nashe mean Lord Burghley? Nonsense? Did Nashe mean Leicester? Nonsense, Leicester had died in 1588. Did Nashe mean Sidney? Double nonsense, the other knight was Sidney’s companion. Did Nashe mean Sir Christopher Hatton? Nonsense, Hatton had died in 1591. Now count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: no. Number 6, the remaining candidate is Oxford. He was still living in 1596, had not entirely regained the Queen’s favour. Count again: 1, 2, 3,4, 5… 6. No seventh eye on the dice.
            But, so you say, “Demoting Oxford to a ‘knight’ would be an insult and since Oxford, as we know, had purchased precisely zero fame with his pen.” Wait a moment! Both objections can be refuted by a quote from Puttenham in The Arte of English Poesie: “And in her Maiesties time that now is are sprong up an other crew of Courtly makers Noble men a…, who have written excellently well as it would appeare if their doings could be found out and made publicke with rest, of which number is first that noble Gentleman [my emphasis] Edwared Earle of Oxford…” (61).
            No fame? Not at all? Really? An even greater insult than Nashe’s “knight”? Nonsense. The terms “knight” and “gentleman” here refer not to a title but to a “knightly way of life” and “ gentlemanlike lifestyle”. Or do you think that Henry Peacham’s The compleat Gentleman refers to a titled gentleman? Peacham speaks of earls that are “gentlemen”, of “knights” tat are “gentleman”, of masters that are “gentleman”. Puttenham speaks of Edmund Spenser as “that other Gentleman who wrate of late the Shepheardes Callender”. Note that he does not name Spenser expressly. Spenser himself had published his Shepherd’s Calendar in 1579 under the pseudonym Immerito. Spenser was still hoping then for a career at Court (as he explains in a letter to Gabriel Harvey). Puttenham respects that, recognizes him as a “gentleman” and does not name him. Similarly, “knight” may take the meaning of someone committed to knightly values. Which Sidney certainly was. Oxford too. Sidney and Oxford figured together as “knights” , the “Blue Knight” and the “Knight of the Tree of the Sun” in 1581.

            In short: “knight” and “gentleman” could denote a cultural ideal, independently of the titles.

          • habicht

            << And you've come up
            a few lines short on your Chapman. Once again, Oxford is being damn'd with
            faint praise. The point of Chapman's anecdote is that this paragon of perfumed
            English virtue preferred to sit in his tent, admiring himself in the mirror,
            rather than take a military inspection arranged in his honour.

            Your interpretation is
            doubtlessly original. It is even more original than Chapman’s original Let us look for the tent, the closer into it.
            Let us look for Oxford sitting in his tent, admiring himself in a mirror and
            cowardly refusing to muster troops.

            In his edition of Chapman’s
            play Frederick S. Boas remarks: “Had Hamlet never faltered in the task of executing justice upon the
            murderer of his father, it is doubtful if a brother of Bussy would ever have
            trod the Jacobean stage. The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois has something to do with
            Hamlet. In III.iv Chapman introduces the Earl of Oxford. “The subject of this
            remarkable encomium was Edward de Vere (1550-1604), seventeenth Earl of Oxford…
            The portrait here drawn of him is too flattering, as he was violent in temper
            and extravagant, but the Earl's literary gifts merited the praise of Chapman.
            Puttenham and Meres speak highly of him as a writer of comedy, and Webbe pays a
            tribute to his excellence in "the rare devises of poetry." Over
            twenty of his lyrics survive, chiefly in anthologies.“ And in the following
            note he asks: “Why, however, does Chapman introduce it here, and how did he
            know of it?”. We’ll see whether Chapman pictures Oxford as a “

            Just before Clermont
            D’Ambois speaks some lines reminiscent of Hamlet in V.ii:

            “But he, that knowing how
            divine a frame

            The whole world is; and of
            it all can name

            (Without self-flattery) no
            part so divine

            As he himself, and
            therefore will confine

            Freely his whole powers in
            his proper part,

            Goes on most God-like.

            What Chapman’s hero
            Clermont here formulates, to do what is in one’s own powers, is the basic maxim
            of the philosophy of Epictetus.

            Then Clermont goes on:

            As the world esteeme it.

            But to decide that, you
            make me remember

            An accident of high and
            noble note,

            And fits the subject of my
            late discourse

            Of holding on our free and
            proper way.

            I overtook, coming from

            In Germany, a great and
            famous earl

            Of England, the most

            I ever saw; from head to
            foot in form

            Rare and mot absolute: he
            had a face

            Like one of the most
            ancient honour’d Romans,

            From whence his noblest
            family was deriv’d;

            He was beside of spirit
            passing great,

            Valiant, and learn’d, and liberal as the sun,

            Sicinius, to be liberal was
            a positive attribute for an aristocrat; “living nobly” was defined in terms of
            spending, of “liberality”. Is it that what you call a “wastrel”?

            Clermont further:

            Spoke and writ sweetly, or
            of learned subjects,

            Or of the discipline of
            public weals;

            And ‘twas the Earl of
            Oxford; and being offer’d

            At that time, by Duke
            Casimir, the view

            Of his right royal army
            then in field

            Refus’d it, and no foot was
            mov’d to stir

            Out of his own free
            determin’d course:

            I, wondering at it, ask’d
            for it his reason,

            It being an offer so much
            for his honour.

            He, all acknowledging, said
            ‘was not fit

            To take those honours that
            one cannot quit.

            Chapman has Oxford confirm
            the Epictetian principle as stated just above by Clermont.

            Duke Casimir is, in fact,
            the Count Palatine John Casimir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Casimir,_Count_Palatine_of_Lautern)
            In 1576, when Oxford returned from Italy, John Casimir was indeed gathering
            troops in support of the French Huguenots in Burgundy. It is possible that he
            and Oxford met; it is possible that he asked Oxford to muster his troops. But
            it seems not likely. As far as I know, troops were mustered by subordinate people,
            by Sir John Smith (see below) for instance. If the story was not invented by
            Chapman to adapt it to his own dramatic plot in which a mustering constitutes a
            major dramatic event, it served at any rate another purpose: to present Oxford
            as example for an Epictetian principle (attention, don’t read “Epicurean”). For
            Chapman’s hero Clermont D’Ambois Oxford is an example; and Hamlet is a model
            for Clermont. Could this not answer Boas’s question: why is Oxford introduced

            But if we were to follow
            your interpretation Chapman should have continued: “But the great Earl entered
            the tent,/ sat down and began to spend/hour after hour, hour after hour/looking
            in into the mirror,/admiring the sublime grace/ of his well-perfum’d face”. Or
            something the like. This is nothing but humbug. Do you realize that in you infinite
            zeal to detract and lampoon Oxford you could end up cutting yourself a
            burlesque figure?

            But soft, Chapman
            continues… perhaps:

            And yet he cast it it only
            in the way,

            To stay and serve the world.
            Nor did it fit

            His own true estimate how
            much it weigh’d ,

            For he despis’d it: and
            esteem’d it freer

            To keep his own way
            straight, and swore that he

            Had rather make away his
            whole estate

            In things that cross’d the
            vulgar, than he would

            Be frozen up stiff (like a
            Sir John Smith,

            His countryman (in common
            nobles’s fashions,

            Affecting of noblesse were,

            Those servile observations.

            “Frozen up stiff” is
            probably or possibly a reference to a miles gloriosus in Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. But I don’t enter
            into that issue here.

            Conclusion: no perfume, no
            mirror, no tent. It seems you’ve hallucinated that. Or else you are a poor
            swindler. Or I know not what. In no case, however, someone to be taken

            You are pontificating about
            something you have not read carefully. You just picked out one element, overlooked
            the context, the reference to Epictetus. And of course you didn’t see the
            reference to Hamlet.

          • Thank you, yet again, for proving my point.

          • habicht

            Your point zero?

          • Yes my point.

            My point that Chapman was commenting on Oxford choosing not to get off his backside and accept the offer of high honour from a foreign dignitary. Refusing to take an inspection was the equivalent of giving the Duke the finger.

            Chapman is satirically upbraiding the idle git. It’s right there under your nose.

          • habicht

            Right under your nose you cannot see anything, you can only smell. Again you are proving MY POINT:

          • Well we’re in the playground now, alrighty.

          • habicht

            From Edward Arber, Shorter Elizabethan Poems: ‘ What cunning

            can express (p. 313) shows the Earl of Oxford at his

            Then, Arte of English Poetry contains two
            specimen of Oxford’s poetry and singles out Oxford as the best of the court
            poets. So does William Webbe in 1585. Why don’t you attack Puttenham and Webbe
            as “Oxfordian freaks”? Why don’t you “desecrate” Puttenham’s 2 specimen?

            And if my recollection is correct: some months ago I
            visited Mike Leadbetter’s website “oxfraud”. Even Mike Leadbetter, who for his
            nemesis I sometimes fancy could be your twin brother, was able to overcome his
            aversion and found positive words about Oxford’s “My Mind to me a Kingdom is”.
            Maybe one day you might be able to join your twin brother’s objectivity.

            Finally, Oxford’s “Were I a King” was set to music by
            John Mundy. Mundy must have perceived some musical quality in it, I think.

          • psi2u2

            Oxford also collaborated with, and patronized, both Byrd and Farmer, two of the greatest composers of his generation.

          • psi2u2

            I missed this comment in the flood of postings. It is a remarkable illustration of Sicinius’ logic. “Refusing to take an inspection was the equivalent of giving the Duke the finger.” No, your interpretations are the equivalent of giving your readers the finger. If you actually had any literary sensibility you would realize that Chapman is paying Oxford the highest compliment of when he has him unwilling to undertake honors that he could not acquit. That is, in this passage at least, he corresponds to Chapman’s stoic ideal.

            More than that, as Robert Detobel has argued in an impressive article published in Brief Chronicles I, and as Habicht notes above, Chapman in his play is conspicuously associating Oxford with Hamlet. Now I wonder why he might be doing that?

          • psi2u2

            And Shakespeare, of course, as A. L. Rowse points out, was “abnormally heterosexual.” He would not have been writing “womanish” words, would he? Let’s supply a little historical context, shall we? Harvey was the great loser in the fierce struggle over close association with Oxford, who preferred Lyly, Nashe, Munday and Green. But I guess you prefer reading Harvey – he at least seems to confirm your (misogynistic?) prejudices.

          • Without getting into the gender politics (I can see you’re not qualified) Harvey uses ‘womanish’ as an antonym for ‘valorous’ in his cutting insult.

            Do you ever, EVER actually read any of the works you pontificate about?

          • habicht

            You asked psi2u2 “Do you ever, EVER
            actually read any of the works you are pontificating about?” Originally I
            didn’t intend to answer your comment on Chapman’s praise of Edward de Vere.
            However, your question addressed to psi2u2 forces me to post the text. I’ll not
            return that question to you. It is superfluous. Obviously you didn’t read
            Chapman’s text. You are just crying “catch the thief”. I’m not going to return
            that cry: YOU ARE CAUGHT.

            Your remarks on education and
            matriculations will also be answered. Some historians have written about this
            matter. I don’t include you into “some historians”.

            As for Oxford’s and Shakespeare’s poetry,
            it is too complicated a subject to deal with in a blog., except for one with
            slanted preconceptions.>>

          • The whole purpose of Oxfordian argument is to foster and promote a series of deliberate misunderstandings and misreadings of creative work and historical fact.

            Instead of giving us more examples, why not address the issue I started with and explain why much of Oxford’s poetry can hardly be distinguished from prose and why his ample prose oeuvre doesn’t contain a single memorable line?

            You’ll understand what Harvey thinks of Oxford if you try and produce some kind of realistic assessment of his life and work and his inadequacies in both areas.

            He really isn’t Shakespeare. Every day that goes by advances our knowledge of the Genome of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and each advance further disqualifies Oxford and the rest of the pretenders.

            Oxford was never much of a runner, being dead for a third of Shakespeare’s active career. In the new Authorship Studies race, he’s a total non-starter.

          • habicht


            I quoted from Conyers Read. Conyers Read
            didn’t state that Oxford studied at Queen’s College, Cambridge. I didn’t state
            that Oxford studied there. I didn’t state that Nashe and Oxford were
            fellow-students. I just asked you if Nashe when speaking of Phoebus would not
            have known the meaning you project into the name of Phoebus.

            I didn’t state that Oxford and Gabriel
            Harvey STUDIED together at Cambridge. I quoted Harvey “since in the prime of
            his gallantest youth he bestowed Angels upon me in Christes Colledge in
            Cambridge,” and from this I inferred that Oxford and Harvey must have met
            there. So Oxford did leave something more there than broken windows.

            I don’t pretend you cannot read, but I
            note that on hearing or reading the name “Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford” your
            self-control, or to use your own terminology “your attentive faculties” are
            almost suddenly shattered.

            Note that Philip Herbert, Earl of
            Montgomery and later also of Pembroke, also matriculated at the age of eight.
            It was likely a symbolic matriculation by which the aristocracy wanted to
            express their commitment to learning. This had not always been so. Still early
            in the 16th century the majority of the aristocracy seems to have
            been rather hostile to learning. This changed dramatically afterwards. See Sir
            Richard Sackville’s words in the preface to the reader in Roger Ascham’s The Scholemaster. See also Sir Thomas
            Elyot’s The Boke of the Governor
            (1531), a handbook for the education or rather re-education of the aristocracy.

            And here a quote from J.H. Hexter’s
            article “The Education of the Aristocracy in the Renaissance” (The Journal of Modern History, Volume
            XXII, March 1950, 1-17): “English university registers of the sixteenth century
            are not altogether reliable and are less likely to mark the presence of the
            wellborn than of the baseborn. Moreover, no English school record will tell of
            the education in letters of men like Sir Thomas Elyot [the same Thomas Elyot],
            who acquired his learning from private tutors…” p. 8).

            of Oxford’s private tutors was Sir Thomas Smith, probably before Sir Thomas
            Smith acceded again to the public offices in 1558, hence during the reign of
            Mary Tudor. Sir Thomas Smith was along with John Cheke the leading classical
            scholar, especially for Greek; Sir Thomas Smith was Regius Professor of Civil
            Law in Cambridge. Another of Oxford’s tutors was Lawrence Nowell, cartographer,
            antiquarian, and scholar of Anglo-Saxon language and literature. He lived in
            the house of his patron Sir William Cecil. It seems likely to me that it was he
            who taught young Edward de Vere cartography. Edward de Vere’s uncle was Arthur
            Golding, another outstanding scholar.

            it would have been extremely surprising, not to say impossible, if Lord
            Burghley had not bestowed an exquisite education on his noble wards. Why?
            Because it was a central element of his policies. Do you need another quote?

          • We know so much about Oxford we don’t have to indulge in all this guesswork.

            We know he didn’t study at Cambridge and we can be fairly certain he didn’t study at Gray’s Inn. It is lovely, though, watching Oxfordians trying to fill that vacuum, given the noise they make about Shakespeare’s education. The absence of educational records is supported by his execrable poetry and his large prose oeuvre which does not not contain a single memorable line. It does contain enough schoolboy errors in legal latin to make a grammar schoolboy blush. And a lot of distinctive fenland orthography you won’t find dramatists using.

            We know that despite having the highest born aristocrats and the highest placed statesmen in his immediate family, he was never trusted with public office and once he lost his place at court, he could not muster his influential friends to help recover it or secure him an income from a monopoly.

            We know he never wrote anything under his own name that qualified as drama fit for the professional theatre. Judging by his poetry, no one could have sat through more than 10 minutes of an Oxford-authored play.

            And we know he died before a third of Shakespeare’s work for the theatre was written.

            Hard to find someone less suitable as a candidate for Shakespeare’s replacement, really.

            So no.

            No, thank you, I do not want another quote.

          • Felicity Morgan

            Sicinius wrote: “And we can be fairly certain he didn’t study at Gray’s Inn..”.
            “Lord Oxford, summoned to Parliament in 1571 at the age of 21, was appointed one of the “Triers of Petitions for England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.” He was also named in the list of 22 Lords to meet with the same number of members from the House of Commons in the Star-Chamber, “in the great matter touching the Queen of Scots.” When a new Parliament was called in 1584, Oxford was appointed to a second committee, “Triers of Petitions for Gascoigne and the Counties beyond the Seas, and the Isles.”

            “Other members were the Archbishop of York; the Earls of Warwick and of Pembroke; Lords Cobham, Lumley, and Buckhurst; the Bishops of Norwich, Chester, and Rochester. At each succeeding Parliament, Oxford was appointed to both these committees. Upon the death of the Archbishop in 1588, Oxford became the ranking member of the second, retaining that position until his own death in 1604.”

            “The Triers of Petitions was active in 1584 and continued through all of Elizabeth’s reign. As its hearings were held in the Lord Treasurer’s (Lord Burghley’s) chamber…” (See Eva Turner Clark: MAN WHO WAS SHAKESPEARE, 1937 edition).

            For Oxford to have been a member of the Triers of Petitions required considerable legal knowledge, for which his legal training at Gray’s Inn had qualified him. His appointment was made by Parliament.

            The word ‘Petition’ is found 25 times in the plays. The word ‘Auditor’ is found 3 times, 2 of which have the technical meaning of a ‘Trier of Petitions’. (See MY NAME BE BURIED: A COERCED PEN NAME/2009)
            ‘BRAINWASHING’ (OED): The systematic…elimination from a person’s mind of all established ideas, esp. political ones, so that another set of ideas may take their place.
            OR, Sicinius, as the Doc said: “Once [the student]…gets her hands on some of the said literature, she will never trust a thing you say again…”

            Felicity M

          • psi2u2

            Interestingly, it’s been a full day and not one of our cold warriors for Stratford has responded to this. They seem to not like posts containing significant amounts of factual data that contradict their loudly espoused conclusions.

          • This is because there are no facts linking Oxford to legal training in that post. Nor could there be because, of course, there are no facts linking Oxford to legal training.

            What we have instead is a chain of assumptions long enough to anchor the Queen Mary.

            Given they can produce no evidence, the way Oxfordians credit their man with a university and legal education is spectacularly ironic when set against the rabid histrionics which follow any suggestion that Shakespeare, using his free entitlement, went to the grammar school at the bottom of his street.

          • Dingdong

            Don’t forget the tutors: Sir Thomas Smith. outstanding classic scholar, Regius professor of civil law, statesman; Laurence Nowell, cartographer, specialist for Anglosaxon literature; his uncle Arthur Golding; last but not least ward in Burghley’s household. The education of his wards was of prime concern to Burghley, at that point that he tried to make it a legal obligation for the aristocracy to send their sons to the university. Sorry, I forgot: as you not only know what Harvey wrote but also what he spoke, you must already have been living then. Possibly you told Burghley: “Don’t give an education to that feckless, womanish, perfumed bloke.” Did you?

            A document evidencing Oxford’s education is extant. More than entitlement, but to you obviously “non-evidencing evidence,” whatever that may be.

            Don’t forget: no record exists that Sir Thomas Elyot ever visited a school.
            Your assertions are bold and bald is their value.
            Borrowing your own words: Given you produce no evidence, the way you credit your man with a grammar school education is dazzlingly ironic when set against your vapid rattling that Oxford had no education. Oxford needed not go to school at the bottom of his street, he could stay in the houses where he lived.

          • psi2u2

            “Don’t forget: no record exists that Sir Thomas Elyot ever visited a school.”

            Lol. Dingdong, you are asking Sicinius not to forget something he never knew. It seems to a characteristic of the more voluble defenders of the status quo ante in Shakespearean studies that they fail to subject their own arguments to any reasonable cross-examination to see whether they produce absurd results. This is why they frequently appear to absurd to those who actually have open minds about the authorship question.

          • psi2u2

            What you mean to say is “Given that the Oxfordians can produce no evidence which I will consider….” That’s your choice. “Rabid histrionics?” Wow. You need to reread Felicity’s posting. The only person in this exchange who is behaving rabidly is you.

          • psi2u2

            Without getting into the gender politics (I can see you’re not qualified)

            Nice try. You are the one who introduced Harvey’s misogynistic caricature of Oxford as if it said something of significance about Oxford. And actually, it does. It shows that he had a rather capacious idea of his own gender identity, that he was, to coin a phrase, larger than Harvey in his conception of himself — capable, like Shakespeare, of identifying in profound ways with female experience and no inclined to sling stones about the gender identities of others.

          • I wonder what they’re putting in your tea. Oxford was as nasty a misogynist as you could find anywhere in the 16c.

            Harvey’s humour was aimed over Oxford’s head. Don’t trouble yourself with it. Just let it pass harmlessly over yours, as nature intended.

          • psi2u2

            Say Sicinius, what’s your horse in this race, anyway? Just someone who naturally hates dead aristocratic men and especially has it in for the one who sponsored the publication into English of what Hardin Craig called “Hamlet’s Book” — the book of philosophy that perhaps more than any other of its age left a profound imprint on *Hamlet*, *Cardanus Comforte*?

            O, and what was that other book that Oxford had translated into Latin, o that’s right, it was Castiglione’s “Courtier,” the book which left such a mark on *The Arte of English Poesie* in its discourses on the value of sprezzatura. I’d judge you, though, to be more of a follower of the new Italian social scientist, Macchiavalli. Am I near to the mark? Sprezzatura certainly isn’t your game, that’s for sure.

        • psi2u2

          I think its funny that two people actually “dislike” this cogent comment.

          • I think it’s funny that every time anyone looks in detail at Oxford’s work, Oxfordians will either change the subject as habricht does above (and you do below). Or run away.

          • psi2u2

            You haven’t given up yet, Sicinius. I think its really funny that a guy who insists that someone else wasn’t writing under a pseudonym feels the need to make this argument under a pseudonym. If you didn’t like my comment, why not just ignore it? Nope. You had to throw more stones.

          • Do you understand what comment columns are for? They’re for comments.

            Or that I was commenting on your the way you and habricht keep trying to divert attention from a comparison of the verse of Oxford, Sydney and Shakespeare which is massively unfavourable to the idea that the first could have been the third?

            And is psi2u2 your real name?

          • psi2u2

            Of all people to talk about others writing under pseudonyms, that you would make this argument shows an audacity that borders on Pyrrhic recklessness.

          • I keep forgetting that you Oxforidans get all confused about what a pseudonym actually is.

          • Beth345

            ‘I name this child PS12U2’ .. sounds like something from Star Wars.

      • Dingdong


        Sorry for this belated additional information on “Were I a King”, but I could not reach earlier a friend who has examined lots of original manuscripts. He has not read William Ringler’s edition of Sidney’s poems but arrives at the same conclusion.
        Sidney’s alleged reply to Oxford’s poem exists in 2 manuscripts. The one is in Chetham College Manchester MS. 8012, p. 14. Here the poem is indicatedas being Sidney’s reply. Ringler discards that ascription because the Chetham MS. would be notoriously unreliable. This was also my friend’s assessment.
        You were sure (“for it is his”). I assume you’ve not consulted the manuscript, and your judgement must be based on the incontestably superior poetic quality of Sidney’s alleged anwer, itself based on your own incontestably superior power of judgement in such matters.

        But the alleged answer also appears in the Rawlinson MS. Folger Va.89 folio 7. There it is ascribed – it means : “Sidney’s alleged answer” – to ‘Vere’. Yes, ‘Vere’.It could well be that you are able to appreciate Edward de Vere’s poems provided that you don’t know in advance that they are his.

        • I wonder if it occurred to you, all the time you’ve been away thinking about this, to look at the actual poems and see if you could make your own mind up on the differences between the three extracts.

          Elizabethan literature is not attributed to its authors by some sort of lottery containing a bias against the Earl. A lottery only understood by wise Oxfordians.

          You can’t account for all the authorship improbabilities by continually discrediting authors of anything that counters your conjecture.

          Some things are exactly what they appear to be.

          In the case of Oxford, he appears to be a mediocre poet and a writer of dull prose because he actually is a mediocre poet and a writer of dull prose.

          There are no other possible options.

          • Dingdong


            You write “I wonder if it occurred to you.” Did you really wonder? I cannot wed Sicinius to wondering,
            according to Plato the basic requirement for acquiring knowledge. What you are
            doing is hammering in your assertions. “This is that,” “actually,” “no doubt,”
            etc. And why is it so as it is? It is because Sicinius is shouting it so with
            an ever bolder face and increasingly in boldface.

            Most recently you’ve, come up with new evidence, whoops, an almost
            smoking gun to corroborate that Hand D is Shakespeare’s. To the already propagated
            single ‘a’ and ‘h’ you’ve added a single ‘i’. I wouldn’t call it delirium but ‘i-a-h’
            sounds alarmingly like the braying of a donkey.

            How often have you repeated here that Oxford is a ‘feckless,
            cringing, smirking, Tuscanish, womanish wastrel,’ terming it Harvey’s only
            potent witness while on other occasions you were heavily suggesting that Harvey
            was constantly bashing Oxford, as if you had been talking to Harvey personally.
            My very strong suspicion is that you have not read Harvey’s works (but for the
            interesting information they reveal they are not very pleasant to read).

            You like to judge in terms of sport rankings. You’ve
            won a tennis match and you played at the same time the referee declaring
            yourself the winner. You are placing Oxford as poet far below the Premier
            League. I now do the same for you in terms of boxing and place you in the
            category of superlight flyweights. Because you are clearly training with a punching
            ball filled with air. From Chapman’s long digression on Oxford in The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois you cherrypicked
            the episode on mustering. Is it unlikely
            that Duke Casimir (a well-known figure at Elizabeth’s Court) would have invited
            Oxford to muster his troops. Mustering troops — as far as I know — was not the
            task of high-ranking nobles but of subordinate people. Casimir was waging war
            in Burgundy, in France, not in Germany, but Burgundy then was under the rule of
            the Habsburg empire. So it seems not impossible that Oxford, returning from
            Italy, would have met Casimir. But Chapman writes ‘Coming from Italy I overtook’.
            Was Chapman ever in Italy. Surely no (unless evidence crops up in the future).
            Who then was ‘coming from Italy’? Obviously Clermont D’Ambois, in whose mouth Chapman
            put these words). Most likely — are you familiar, brave Sicinius, with this
            phrase ‘most likely’? — Chapman wanted to synchronize his play (Clermont D’Ambois
            in III.iv had been invited to muster troops — with Hamlet, and not Hamlet was
            introduced but Oxford. No bell set a-ringing? Clermont D’Ambois is an entirely
            fictitious figure. For your disparagement of Oxford you are trusting the
            witness of an entirely fictitious figure. That tells enough about your windy

            Windy? I should congratulate you. You’ve outdone Don
            Quixote. Don Quixote was fighting windmills. You are fighting wind without

            What you have to offer are mainly unsubstantiated
            assertions, endlessly. Substantiated by mere noise, the badge of intellectual

            And what is your evidence for pretending that Oxford
            wrote “Were I a King” about 1580 and Sidney replied shortly afterwards, during
            the French marriage negotiations? You have none. It’s just another of your

            Regarding Oxford’s poetry: something is in the
            pipeline. Wait, wait, a couple of months or so. Be
            patient, if you can.

          • psi2u2

            “What you have to offer are mainly unsubstantiated assertions, endlessly. Substantiated by mere noise, the badge of intellectual impotence.”

            Dingdong, this is an excellent synopsis of the bizarre nature of Sicinius’ “contributions” to this dialogue. He’s a shouter. When he fails to convince, he shouts more loudly. As you suggest, he seems to confuse discussion with beating up the fans of another football team. Thank you for your enlightened and enlightening contributions to the discussion.

          • psi2u2

            “I am not as I seem to be, for when I smile I am not glad.” Who wrote that?

  • John Savage

    When I was younger I discovered “Bacon is Shakespeare” by Sir Edward Durning-Lawrence, which bases its thesis largely on an astonishing series of cryptograms and coincidences and hidden messages on title-pages – fascinating stuff, still mind-blowing. But a few years ago a friend persuaded me of the superior claims of Edward de Vere. The question resolves itself into two parts: 1) Could Shaksper have written the plays, etc? Read Tony Pointon, “The Man Who Was Never Shakespeare”, and you will never again believe that he could. 2). So who did, if Shaksper didn’t?. Read Mark Anderson, “‘Shakespeare’ by Another Name”;
    Edward Holmes, “Discovering Shakespeare”, and Charlton Ogburn, “The
    Mysterious William Shakespeare”, and you will find it very difficult to believe that Edward de Vere is not the author.
    The problem for Stratfordians is that many of them have written books about Shaksper and cannot renege from their situation; also, what would happen to Stratford and the whole Shakespeare tourist industry if Shaksper were thrown from his pedestal? Think about it.

    • calendar

      It is all about the pound sterling flowing into Disney-upon-Avon™’s coffers isn’t it?

      Money corrupts and tourist money corrupts absolutely – apologies to Lord Acton.

    • hewardwilkinson

      John! hello there across the years! I have never forgotten, and quoted many times, in psychotherapy and literary contexts, as an instance of dramatic suspension of disbelief, in Coleridge’s sense, how you told us of watching Beattie Bryant’s great climactic speech in Arnold Wesker’s ‘Roots’, and you were so engrossed by it, you forgot you were in a theatre! Well recently while in Toronto we had the privilege of watching ‘Merchant’ at the Stratford Ontario Festival. Apparently the town was losing its livelihood as a manufacturing town, and an enterprising businessman said, ‘Lets use the name and start a Shakespeare Festival’. Well, my guess is that enterprising business people in Stratford on Avon Warwickshire are not sitting on their hands but are considering tourism in Stratford as a ‘futures’ issue when the Authorship Pendulum has swung in due course (capitalists of course have to think about future actual probabilities, not people’s allegiance to a cultus, though to be sure money can still be made out of a cultus – but what if the cultus collapses?). I do not think Stratford on Avon will go down the tubes. Firstly we can envisage a thirty to fifty years Tourism War between Stratford and, for instance, Essex – or Lancashire and the Isle of Man if you are a Derby-ite or St Albans, or Wilton, or or or…. This could be orchestrated collaboratively as the Shakespeare Phenomenon Tour, for instance. The Stratfordians believe we are missing out on the ‘collaborative character’ of Elizabethan Drama – well here is an opportunity for them! Or, again, Stratford could be orchestrated as the amazing place where the World’s Greatest Literary Pseudonym in 2500 years was created – and let us remember that without Stratford we would HAVE no Shakespeare Phenomenon, we should, all of us, be grateful to Stratford.

      I am being a little impish of course. But at the same time I think that, once this paradigm shift becomes inevitable, creative resourcefulness will ensure that Stratford on Avon does not go down the tubes financially. I do not think we have to worry about that. If one is locked into old rigidities, of course one will. But this is a detective story unfolding that knocks the ‘Da Vinci Code’ into a cocked hat, and I think ‘Shakespeare’ in the widest sense, including Stratford, cannot but benefit!!

  • Heidi Hill Tobin

    Mr. Savage,

    I enjoyed your posting and you are right, “The problem for Stratfordians
    is that many of them have written books about Shaksper and cannot renege from
    their situation.” I have seen the proof
    in the pudding. I am a high school teacher and recently saw the
    film, “Last Will. and Testament”. These
    very books to which you refer, earning
    their writers thousands of dollars, were
    revealed in this fabulous film. Naturally, I have shared this film with my
    English department colleagues who are using the film as a teaching guide for
    educating students about the real ‘Shakespeare’ in English Literature classes. My teaching colleagues have no problem with
    this. Thank you for enlightening us!

    Heidi Hill Tobin

    • Alexander Waugh

      You are a very brilliant and enlightened teacher. I wish they were all like you. Good luck and best wishes, Alexander

    • Guest

      Woohoo! That is excellent news!

  • Richard Waugaman

    For those who are surprised by the acrimony directed at me for my joke about apoplectic Stratfordians, you might want to know some of the back-story. Mr. Waugh, who wrote this column, is co-editor of the recent book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt?

    Its back cover quotes endorsements by Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, Michael York, and me.

    My comment was “Authorities tell us there is no doubt that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Should we trust them? This book comes at a critical time, with defenders of orthodoxy deceiving the public about how weak their case really is. It is time for a serious re-examination of the evidence. This book does just that.”

    This may explain some of the anger I seem to have stirred up.

    • Nope.

      It’s not the ‘joke’, though heaven knows you could use some better material.

      It’s the way you tell ’em.

  • pearlsandoysters

    Though there’s no way to attribute the authorship beyond the reasonable doubt, the author was not this guy from Stanford.

    • psi2u2

      I think you mean “Stratford.” But yes, you are right that the plays were certainly not written by a man who could barely write his own name.

  • ChristopherMoseley

    Pace Alexander Waugh, the reason why we know for certain that Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare is that we are repeatedly told so by a coterie of swivel-eyed loons inhabiting the more obscure wormholes of American academia. However I am in the happy position of returning the favour to our American cousins by sharing with them an interesting discovery I made when engaged on some totally unrelated research, and throw new light on a controversial topic of American history: namely who shot JFK.

    While ploughing through (or plowing thru) the archives of an obscure Dallas local newspaper I came across an interview, published on Friday 8th November 1963, with HRH Princess Margaret who staying in the city incognito at the time. In this interview she not only expresses her intention of killing JFK but also discusses her weapon of choice (a Carcano bolt action rifle), and mentions the Texas School Book Depository as an ideal firing platform.

    Her stated motive was to avenge an imagined slight on her sister, HM The Queen by JFK whom she believed had worn a made-up bow tie at a state banquet in Buckingham Palace.

    I would not like to be categorised with the afore-mentioned swivel-eyed loons as some type of mad conspiracy theorist, so I wish to state categorically that I do not believe there is one iota of truth in this. No US president, even a Democrat, would have the temerity to wear a made-up bow tie in the presence of HM The Queen.

    • calendar

      Another “I can’t refute their arguments so I’ll change the subject.”

      Pathetic weak sauce from a defender of tourist turnstile scholarship.

      • ChristopherMoseley

        Calendar: I don’t know what your arguments are and have better things to do than wade through your turgid illiterate drivel to find out if you have actually made any.

        But if by your curious phrase “tourist turnstile scholarship” you are casting aspersions on my research, I resent that. I found the original newspaper and have copious notes on the article. If I rather skimmed over the JFK section it was only because it had no relevance to my line of research.

        From my notes, I see that the interview was published in the back of a catfish breeding supplement in the Dallas Evening Advertizer of 8th November 1963. The interview took place at the bar of the Pig and Whistleblower somewhere in downtown Dallas and the DEAd reporter mentions the fact that they were both drinking Martinis. It appears from the published transcript that he recorded the interview and no other persons are mentioned as being present.

        From my memory, that section of the transcript went something like this

        DEAd Reporter: …and apart from that, Your Royal Highness, do you have any other plans for your stay in Dallas?

        HRH: I am going to assassinate your president when pays a visit on 22nd November

        DEAd Reporter: Does Your Royal Highness have any preferences, weapon-wise, when it comes to assassinating heads of state?

        HRH (laughing): You may think me rather old-fashioned, but I prefer a bolt action Carcano. It has good stopping power, and very little chance of jamming.

        DEAd Reporter: I would have thought your Royal Highness would look for something with a rather higher rate of fire. Your Royal Highness will want a ranging shot and at least two target shots. Has your Royal Highness found a suitable venue which will give you sufficient time with the President in view.

        HRH: Dealy [sic] Plaza looks ideal and I have found a book warehouse overlooking it which will provide a good platform.

        DEAd Reporter: And does your Royal Highness have a getaway plan?

        HRH: I shall take along my halfwitted nephew Lee Harvey Oswald and have him walk out into the arms of the Dallas police force. Then before he can start talking, Louis’ [Mountbatten] brother, Ruby King Mountbatten will shoot him. That should generate enough conspiracy theories to last another fifty years.

        DEAd Reporter: thank you for sparing me the time Your Royal Highness and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay. Would Your Royal Highness care for another Martini?

        • psi2u2

          Christopher, you may not intentionally be defending the Stratford tourist industry, but you are doing so. You evidently prefer the tinseltown bard to the one found between the pages of the folio. You do go on and on abut drinking martinis, catfish, and Dallas, but have yet to tell us one useful or memorable thing about the topic supposedly under discussion.

          • ChristopherMoseley

            Dear me, Mr psi2u2 (does hiding behind a pseudonym give you a sense of power, or is that your real name?), you do seem to be a bit hot under the collar. While everyone has always realised that an upper class twit like Shakespeare, so inbred he could not even spell his own name, could not possibly have written Shakespeare but must have stolen the deathless verse from a decent working class lad (I think that more or less summarises your theory), your breaking through 400 years of establishment cover-up to reveal that the lad in question was no less than the Earl of Oxford is a truly earth-shattering discovery and if I had thought that just one of your millions of devoted followers could have been diverted for even a second by my revealing the truth behind a run-of-the-mill mid 20th century assassination, I would never have put finger to keyboard. In my naivety I thought your disciples might be interested in hearing of another establishment cover-up, not dissimilar from the one you have obviously devoted your life to exposing.

            I had not intended to reveal the real reason why HRH Princess Margaret was in Dallas at the time (or at least not until my book was published) because she had a theory even more astonishing than your own, a theory beside which the authorship of a few plays and sonnets pales into insignificance – but I have been goaded by your remarks into laying my cards on the table rather earlier than intended.

            Along with the British Secret Intelligence Service (who was sponsoring her mission) she had come to believe (I apologise for the capitals but I think you’ll agree that they are justified) ELVIS PRESLEY WAS DEAD. She was convinced that the sightings at concerts and elsewhere were actually of doubles (or as SIS rather quaintly put it in their files, “Elvis Impersonators”) keeping the legend alive for commercial reasons. She had come to Dallas with her husband, the well known paparazzo “Snapper” Snowdon (whose illegitimate son Edward Snowden was until recently an analyst at the NSA – the similarity of names is no mere coincidence), to take photos which could be compared with those in the SIS archives and provide incontrovertible proof that they were of more than one person.

            Alas this particular SIS file has not been been released under the 30 year rule so we are still ignorant of the outcome of her mission. But my extensive researches have convinced me that she was correct, and this is the subject of my 1,600 page opus now nearing completion. If you would care to give your real name and contact details, I would happily send you a copy on publication. I think you might find chapter 73 of particular interest outlining, as it does, the evidence that Francis Bacon was the author of much of the Presley oeuvre.

          • psi2u2

            Dear Mr. Moseley, for your ready reference, here is my website: http://www.shakes-speares-bible.com. If you bother to click on my cv you will see that I hold a Masters Degree in Anthropology prior to my PhD in Comparative Literature. I’m now in my mid-50s and I haven’t decided what I want to “devote my life to.” I may decide sometime, but until I do, do you think it would be too much to ask you keep your opinions about such matters to yourself? You really are hardly an expert on what I’ve devoted my life to.

            Moreover, and perhaps really more to the point, it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the premises, rationale, or conclusions of your position that you feel such a strong need to personalize the discussion with prejudicial innuendo of this kind. Now, I don’t really have anything further to say to you about these matters. As Mr. Savage has recently said here, why don’t we forbear these kinds of attacks and simply discuss the evidence? Maybe you could begin by telling us just what, to you, are the strongest pieces of evidence supporting the orthodox view of the bard. I’m sure that any number of participants in this discussion would be happy to discuss that with you. I’ve found that Oxfordians are generally not averse to such conversations. What we are, however, is really tired of ya’ll being so abusive or, as you are here, merely offensively personal.

            So, have at it. Tell us what convinces you and someone will offer to show you why your evidence can readily be construed to support an entirely contrasting position.

          • ChristopherMoseley

            Dear Mr psi2u2, I am sorry you are so upset by my use of the phrase “hot under the collar” and if it makes you feel any better I withdraw it, although I have to say that for someone so ready to dish out the insults you seem remarkably thin-skinned. If you had actually read my post you would have seen I had nothing but praise for your efforts to expose an establishment cover-up. But now, having read your latest post, I am beginning to change my mind.

            Apart from not actually reading anything before replying, you appear not to know the name of your own website (“http://www.shakes-speares-bible.com” does not exist); your English is appalling (what kind of construction is “I hold a Masters Degree in Anthropology prior to my PhD in Comparative Literature”?); you flatly contradict yourself in the space of one short paragraph (“… I haven’t decided what I want to devote my life to… You really are hardly an expert on what I’ve devoted my life to.” [your quote marks removed for clarity]); and you end sentences with prepositions (as in the previous excerpt). In fact, you are a dickhead of the first water with whom it is pointless having any discussion.

            So, to quote the great bard, William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon
            Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump

          • psi2u2

            You don’t upset me at all. But thanks for the correction.

    • Good grief! If it’s true (that he wore a made-up bow tie) then there could have been grounds for a plea of justifiable homicide.

  • Dingdong


    In wholehearted support
    of your endeavors to exclude the pedestrian, empty-headed, zero IQ, womanish, arrogant,
    self-obsessed gigolo Oxford, murderous precursor of the perfume Coco Channel Mademoiselle,
    from the authorship race I am glad to present you a very hot new candidate. He
    is Sir Arthur Gorges. Gorges was a poet, ten times superior to Oxford as
    thinker and hundred times better for
    poetry; he was a friend of Spenser’s.
    Charles Arundel reported that Sir Arthur Gorges was among those the womanishly
    perfumed spendthrift Oxford sought to kill. Why? It is evident: Gorges was
    writing Shakespeare’s works which Oxford would have liked to write himself.

    Hope you appreciate my

    • John Savage

      Dingdong – Penetrating the heavy irony of your spoof on Sicinius (let’s hope that
      other contributors manage to do the same, and don’t misconstrue it !), I enjoyed your sense of humour and I thank you for your whole-hearted support for the only sensible position that can be taken in this debate on the SAQ. How can anyone believe that the Stratfordian entrepreneur wrote those wonderful works?

      Three cheers for scholarship

      • Like being savaged by a dead sheep.

        I can hardly control my indifference.

        • John Savage

          Interesting, at this particular time, when “Pleb” is the new insult, that Sicinius should choose a pseudonym which
          comes from the name of a plebeian Roman family. Of course, the name is also found in “Coriolanus”, where
          Sicinius disapproves of the hero’s intolerance of “the rank-scented many”, “the Hydra-headed multitude.” And in “Julius Caesar”, the mob “uttered such a deal of stinking breath that it had almost choked Caesar.”
          Let’s stick to textual analysis: it’s so much more fun than
          verbal bludgeoning and bullying.

          • psi2u2

            It is indeed interesting, Mr. Savage. “Let’s stick to textual analysis” – ok, I will drink to that. What texts are on your mind? For my part I’m rereading for the umpteenth time the *Shakspere Allusion Books* (Ingleby etc.). I first turned to the books two decades ago when I was just beginning my study of the authorship question, and even then I was stunned by how poorly they supported the orthodox account of authorship and how readily they seemed to make better sense as dimly understood comments about the authorship question itself. It was almost as if no one in print from 1591-1624 could mention “Shakespeare” without at the same time, one way or another, undermining the orthodox story. Rereading the books I am struck even more powerfully by how this evidence – the very evidence we are assured over and over again (the folio, especially) constitutes the imregnable foundations of orthodox belief – when restored to its original larger contexts utterly demolishes the conclusions it purportedly warrants.

          • OK, let’s. Its spelling in quarto editions, “Sci-cinius” is unique to Will’s orthography in drama of the period. Will clearly used it wherever he wants to “i” to be pronounced long, as in “science”.

            In proper names, Justice Scilens and Scicinius, the “c” is preserved by compositors who might otherwise have removed it in common nouns.

            It also appears in Hand D and in no other manuscript document of the time.

            For this, and many other reasons, Hand D is now pretty much accepted as being that of Will Shakespeare.

            The “Hydra-headed multitude” of Oxfordian arguments about handwriting and what Will left behind are all as dead as a handmade Tudor doornail.


            With the help of Scicinius (no relation).

          • John Savage

            Sicinius – I think we had better agree to differ. We both seem to be happy in our chosen corners. I enjoy reading about the SAQ, and I don’t much enjoy this slightly unreasoned debate.
            No doubt the truth will emerge some day!
            psi2u2 – Thank you for your interesting message. I have not heard of the “Shakspere Allusion Books”, so I will work on it, no doubt with much pleasure.
            I didn’t have any particular texts in mind: I was suggesting that scholarly discussion is so much more valuable and enjoyable than bad-tempered mud-throwing. It seems to me that the “orthodox” are defending the indefensible, and they have too much invested in their belief, so they become strident. Think of all those fantasy “biographies” of Shakspere, which are full of “probably”, “possibly”, “it could be that”, and so on. And the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is a semantic blank, or an oxymoron, since the attribution of the building and its contents is also a fantasy. I remember feeling uneasy about it as a schoolboy.
            Floreant litterae.

          • Yes but.

            The bad tempered mud-thowing always starts when the subject of Oxford’s talents as a writer come up. And it always starts (and mostly continues) on the same side. Have a look at some of the closed comments sections on The Guardian’s 2013 coverage of the SAQ. You will see there (as here) that Oxfordians out-insult, out-patronise and out-condescend Stratfordians by a considerable margin. There as here, you will see Oxfordians like ps12u2 and Doctor Waugaman parading their credentials before sneering at people they regard as their inferiors. Or have a look at The Ontarion, where psi2u2 responded to criticism by calling the authors of a university newspaper ‘dirt ignorant’ and Doc Waugaman followed up by describing it as the finest authorship pot ever written.

            If you going to ask evidence-free, highly speculative rhetorical questions like “How can anyone believe that the Stratfordian entrepreneur wrote those wonderful works?” you must expect to be called ridiculous by people who not only believe but actually understand why that is just what happened.

            If you don’t believe Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, if you can’t accept even that much of the historical record, then any fantasy account of the authorship must seem as good as any other to you.

            And I’m not at all happy in my corner. I am appalled at the idea that Oxfordian authorship theory might be taught in schools, simply because enough people have shouted the odds long and loud enough, I fought hard to have Black Adder WW1 history and Intelligent Design returned to the crackpot theory index and intend to see Oxfordianism back where it belongs.

          • John Savage

            Sicinius – I was offering you an olive branch! By “happy in your corner” I meant that you were presumably comfortable with your beliefs. I did not include your unhappy concern about the beliefs and behaviour of others. The insults, the patronising and the condescension are regrettable, and I have to deplore them; but they do seem to be an inevitable and regrettable part of academic rivalry.
            I don’t mind being called ridiculous, because I’m far too old to let it upset me, and also because in my less charitable moments I think the same of the opposition! Have you read Poynton’s “The Man Who was NEVER Shakespeare”?
            I don’t believe Shakespeare was born in Stratford: I believe
            Shakspere was.
            I agree with you about Intelligent Design.
            As a retired teacher of English I would be pleased to know that the SAQ was being aired in schools. My friend the late-lamented John Michell’s book “Who Wrote Shakespeare?” could be the recommended text, since it does not prefer any of the authors discussed.
            Unless I am unbearably aroused, I now intend to withdraw from this dialogue..

          • > Unless I am unbearably aroused,

            That, John, would qualify as a lot more than an olive branch!


          • Felicity Morgan

            Dear Mr. Savage,

            ‘Savaged by a dead sheep’? ‘Ridiculous’? ‘Slain? With the help of Sicinius (no relation)’?
            The same Sicinius who in the next breath offers oils and unguents? ‘SALVE’?

            “What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!” –
            King Henry VI. Part II. Act iii. Sc. 2.

          • Sal-ve. Latin.

            Keep up at the back.

          • Felicity Morgan

            Sicinius, I don’t wish to parry ‘salves’ with you and thank you for putting me straight [sic]: for emphasising your rectitude in matters Latin (L. rectitudo = right) as if you are the only Latinist here; or that I should have mind-read your preferred (and gratuitously unpleasant) response to Mr. Savage then, as meaning ‘keep up at the back’. Have it your way.

            Actually I was giving you the benefit of the doubt on this occasion, thinking there was a vestige of regret in losing Mr. Savage’s thoughtful contributions to this blog. So whether ‘Salve’ is used as an adverb, vocative, noun, ‘goodbye’, whatever – sadly I was mistaken. You’ve indicated you meant ‘Keep up at the back.’

            BTW, Shakespeare used the word ‘salve’ seven times meaning ‘unguent’ in the first instance (4x in LLL; 1 x in Hen.IV; 1 x in HenVI; 1 x in Coriolanus; & 1 x in Much Ado, derivatively), but I bow to your interpretation.

            Felicity M

          • Known, I think, in Internet debate, as opening your mouth to change feet.

          • Felicity Morgan

            Sicinius, what charm school did you attend?

          • I can’ t remember the name but my parents got a full refund.

          • Known, in internet forum parlance, as “opening your mouth to change feet”.

          • psi2u2

            The phrase I used in responding to the name-calling claptrap by that flamboyantly ignorant student journalist at Guelph University, who was publicly throwing mud at anyone who has doubted the authorship of the works while knowing even less about the topic than you do, was “as ignorant as dirt.” Please do not misquote me. The (anonymous) journalist in question was as “ignorant as dirt.” Please note that this is not at all the same thing as calling him “dirt ignorant.” Details: http://www.theontarion.com/2013/10/to-believe-or-not-to-believe-that-is-only-half-the-question/

            Apparently having a student newspaper held accountable to some standards of public decency rather than engage in one of your anonymous defamation campaigns was too much for your team, since Mike Leadbetter wrote: “You are students and have far better things to do and far better arguments to engage with. Better still, close the comments section.”

            Close the comments section? What? Close the comments section? You mean, like they do at the Guardian or the Globe and Mail, or any number of other publications which in a premeditated fashion pre-emptively *close* comments on authorship related articles? What’s the matter, you guys can’t handle a little democracy in the classroom?

            Here is Dr. Keir Cutler’s lecture from the recent Toronto Shakespeare Authorship Conference, exposing the foolish hypocrisy of one of the books on which the Guelph journalist was relying for his certitudes, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s “Shakespeare Beyond Doubt”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpc5A-14tmw

            I believe it is fair to conclude that anyone who takes the time to view this video from a relatively impartial perspective would have to agree that the Guelph editorialist in question, was indeed, at the time of his writing at least, “ignorant as dirt,” or, to vary the idiom of Mr. Waugh, was filling as an understudy in the play by emitting a growl not unlike that of a lonely but no doubt ultimately lovable companion to the Professor. Whether he has learned anything since then I do not profess know. However, I do wish him all the best in his studies. I don’t think he’s a bad person or even a bad student just because he went about half-cocked in public declaiming on subjects on which he was at that time at least, fantastically ignorant. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone is born “ignorant as dirt” — just like almost everyone is born into a culture that instructs them from birth that the Stratford man was the author. Some learn from their mistakes and others just go about making the same ones, over and over and over. One can only hope that the anonymous Guelph author is the former category.

          • There you have it.

            Game, set and match.

            Psi2u2 offers us a clear vision of Modern Oxfordianism. A festering vat of splenetic narcissism.

          • Felicity Morgan

            In other words, Sicinius thinks he has won the intellectual Wimbledon. But all he has revealed is a nasty nature where abuse takes the place of serious discussion, in which he’s been plundering his Roget’s Thesaurus.

          • psi2u2


            He’ll “be revenged on the lot of us,” count on it.

            I think he discovered this: http://shake-speares-bible.com/2013/11/10/alexander-waughs-spectator-debate-goes-live/ and felt that some response announcing his departure after “replying” to my query about hand D was required. He may have realized that my second in the duel was Dr. Cutler, and that naturally under those circumstances I would fail to show up, leaving him debating Cutler instead.

            That outcome he could in now wise undertake to risk. It was bad enough fencing with Cutler’s understudy, but the real “Oxfordian” Professor, no way.

            O by the way Felicity, I really love the pseudo-erudition of the remark “Justice Scilens and Scicinius, the ‘c’ is preserved by compositors who might otherwise have removed it in common nouns.”

            What this is really say, if I’m interpreting it correctly, is that the author of the plays and poems made a habit (only sometimes, mark you) of interjecting an excrescent “c” into words that in our modern spelling (or in the already more modern spelling of compositors) doesn’t require one.

            Am I on the right track?

            If so, I found this amusing quotation from Alan Nelson’s most excellent original spelling transcriptions of Oxford’s letters: “I am constreyned by necescite to depend vpon them” (51).

            Just look at that excrescent “c,” right there, after the “s,” just like in Scilens or even Scicinius! Do you suppose that the compositors forgot to remove that one also? Wow.

            It now appears that Doc Stritmatter’s prognostication in his blog (see the above link to the article, chastising Alexander Waugh for reading too many books) has come true.

            All of the Stratfordians have now run away, overwhelmed in the immortal words of Sicinius (with no help from Scicinius, or so he claims) by this ” festering vat of splenetic narcissism, simmering over the embers of anonymous letters and gratuitous abuse” that you and I and all John Savage and all the others who won’t fall into line have created.

            Well, that’s probably an overly optimistic assessment, but we can always hope that maybe Sicinius really has completed his mission to the unlettered and will pick up a new occupation like reading the Earl of Oxford’s letters.

          • A real Oxfordian Professor in here. Do point him out.

            “What this is really say, if I’m interpreting it correctly, is that the author of the plays and poems made a habit (only sometimes, mark you) of interjecting an excrescent “c” into words that in our modern spelling (or in the already more modern spelling of compositors) doesn’t require one.”

            Any chance of having that in English? You haven’t understood the very simple point I made and have objected to claims I didn’t make. Read my post again and you can start looking again for an excrescent ‘c’. In the right place, this time.

            And you sent the anonymous letter, you turned on the faucets of splenetic narcissism, here and in The Ontarion. Don’t bracket yourself with people who share your ideas but who know how to be polite and humorous.

            “Am I on the right track?”

            Mate, it’ll be years before you even get within sight of the railway.

          • psi2u2
          • Beth345


          • Dingdong

            Lame, wet, patch.

          • psi2u2


            The Allusion books are very worth digging into. If you get a copy and want to discuss anything from them there will be many more opportunities to do so in any one of a number of venues. I wonder, for example, if you or other discussants on this forum are aware of the Oxfordian facebook discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/shakesvere/?hc_location=stream. These discussions are closely monitored by the Oxfraud gang, but as there is nothing really to hide about what the early allusions to the bard are saying, it would be a great place to discuss free from the kind of vulgarities that are being injected into the conversation here.

            I think that many really smart people have long shared your discontent of the Shakespearean biographical tradition. Smart scholars who wish to remain nominally Stratfordian do not engage in biography (there are, of course, many other ways to approach the works, almost all of them more satisfying and revealing) and do not inject themselves into defending the orthodox attribution. Some, however, appear to be over-identified with the Stratford Shakspere and cannot stop themselves. Its a pity that they can’t learn a little courtesy and engage in a real conversation. Take care and be well!

          • psi2u2

            You’ve got to love a sentence like “Hand D is now pretty much accepted as being that of Will Shakespeare.”

            By *whom*? Can you give us the name of even a single board certified forensic document analyst who will sign off on this claim? No. I thought not.

            The time is long past when this form of insider trading on phrases like “all the scholars agree” is effective in public debate. Informed minds want to know, what methodology are you claiming can establish an identity of handwriting using only six (or seven) signatures as the known hand? Huh? Keep peddling this stuff. Its an impressive display of special pleading rooted in airy nothing.

          • The time is long past when this form of insider trading on phrases like “all the scholars agree” is effective in public debate.

            But are you going to stop doing it? This is you, isn’t it?

            “A number of prominent academicians, adapting consciously or otherwise to the present threat to orthodox cognitive equilibrium, have adopted epistemic positions on the early modern cultural history of Europe which are inexorably undermining conventional views of Shakespeare.”

            The claim that academics are agreeing with you ‘unconsciously’ just has to be a record for self-delusion.

          • psi2u2

            Stop trying to change the subject, Sicinius. I asked you to offer some evidence for your claim that “Hand D is now pretty much accepted as being that of Will Shakespeare.”

            Its now been two days and you haven’t even addressed my point. Not one name of one qualified person. How impressive.

            Nothing from you. Nada. Instead you are doing research on *my* past publications to see if you can find something to try to hang me with? If that isn’t a revealing do-se-do I don’t know what is. Do you think that the readers of this exchange are third graders?

          • You’re just not looking in the right place. And anyway, you can’t call yourself much of a SAQ expert if you don’t know where to go for the current evidence on Hand D or don’t know why its getting more scrutiny.

            Just aggressively pretending it doesn’t exist. Again.


          • Beth345

            Reading through this column I find myself wondering how much you might be paid for your contributions, or perhaps you are not a real person but some kind of syndicate?

          • People paid to contribute add flocks of meaningless short comments which contribute nothing to the discussion. Drop down the ‘My Disqus’ menu, look at the most recent comments and see if you can spot anyone who might be doing that.

          • Beth345

            You mean all that comes just from you? Me oh my but you must be amazingly well qualified.

          • psi2u2

            Yes, it does sort of sound like a self-description, doesn’t it Beth345? I especially love the part about Oxfordians and anti-Stratfordians being “paid” to make internet postings. What a joke. If I’ve ever read a comment based on the pre-emptive idea that one should hurl a little mud at the other party precisely where one is vulnerable oneself, this is it. Busted, Sicinius.

          • psi2u2

            You made the claim, back it up. You can’t.

            Because there are no certified forensic document analysts who support your point of view. Of course I’m aware that entire books have been written by so-called Shakespeare “experts” who do suppose, as you do, that it is a legitimate method in forensic document analysis to draw a conclusion from a sample consisting of six signatures. It isn’t. They only think this because they are English professors with no training of any substance in forensic document analysis defending a losing proposition that needs extravagant proof such as this to remain viable.

            So once again, let me ask *you* to substantiate your own claim. Stop pretending that its my responsibility to do that for you. It isn’t. You made the claim — back it up.

          • As you very well know, the authentication of Hand D does not rely on forensic document analysis for its attribution. Science confirms that the paper and ink are all of the right period. Will’s handwriting is only averagely distinctive and the opinions of a few Oxfordians on its similarity to the handwriting in the signatures contribute absolutely nothing. As with most evidential contra-indications, Oxfordian agenda-centricity has placed their opinions on the signatures well off the spectrum of common sense.

            His true autograph, however, as you would all realise if you read a little bit more of his work, is totally distinctive. And the amount of matter required for discrimination is falling rapidly as analysis methods improve. Read SBD.

            Analysis of Collaborative Authorship is the end of the line for the Oxfordian Fallacy. Finis.

            Your candidate can’t be a runner because the works which can be definitively attributed to him place him, in the League of Elizabethan Poets, at the bottom of Division Three, in danger of relegation.

            Only playwrights at the top of the Premiership played collaborative authorship with Will.

          • psi2u2

            You like to shout, don’t you? Here’s a clue, dude. Shouting louder is not an argument.

          • Shelphi

            No substance whatsoever. Hand D has been a joke since 1871 when first suggested. SBD is not scholarship, but polemic. No analysis method, even a future version, will produce proof with so negligible a sample, and it’s moot anyway. Induction requires more specifics than that. They won’t employ real experts because they do not want to know the truth. Sorry, it isn’t him.

          • It’s true. Hand D has been resisted by scholars as too good to be true. It has been largely absent from the debate because even committed Stratfordians regarded it as tainted, But analysis improves, computers get faster and the occasional new light gets turned on.

            And the needle swings the other way. In the case of Hand D, it’s now swung pretty much all the way over to Will’s side of the dial.

          • Shelphi

            Or so those who make judgments without the use of actual technology but just use the same faulty data have led you to believe. There is not enough of a sample to verify Hand D. The only needle swinging is confirmation-biased reaction to the bloated re-coated myth swelling with a renewed flow of the same old kool-aid. GIGO.

          • psi2u2

            Right. These are just empty mouthings, with no substance of any kind behind them.

          • Beth345

            Perhaps you should re-examine your own contributions to this column.

          • Dominic Hughes

            MacDonald P. Jackson [bucking E&V] states a case for Hand D at:


          • E&V didn’t say “no”. They said ” not in 1593″. Academics have gone all floppy on the date of Thomas More, now and dates up to 12 years later are now in the frame. So I’m inclined to go with Jackson. And the ‘c’ before the long ‘i’ is a bit of a smoking gun.

            The doubters are going to need a bit of a rethink to accommodate a whole screed of Will’s handwriting. I believe Ron Hess is working on how it can be attributed to De Vere. Ron was the Oxfordian who gave up meddling with the order of the plays and just took the whole standard chronology back 12 years, saying “Look! Now it fits!”

          • Dingdong


            Is this single long ‘i’ as smoking as the smoke raised by Edward Maunde Thompson around the one single ‘a” in one single signature?. O, I know, there could also be one ‘h’. Ha, ha.
            As for the orthodox chronology, there are holes in it. But are you able to tell apart ‘hiole’ from ‘whole’?

          • Dingdong

            “hiole’ should read ‘hole’ of course.

          • psi2u2


            Yes, this talk of “smoking guns” shows the foolish desperation of the team here trying to defend an indefensible status quo ante. You can edit your own posts.

          • psi2u2

            Ron Hess has some very good ideas from time to time. However, if you want to discuss the chronology, the place to begin is not with Hess’s work, but with the volume recently edited by PhD candidate Kevin Gilvary: http://www.amazon.com/Dating-Shakespeares-Plays-Critical-Evidence/dp/1898594864

          • psi2u2

            The point remains. McDonald P. Jackson has zero qualifications in forensic handwriting analysis and his conclusions would not be accepted by experts in the field. They are accepted only by orthodox Shakespeareans only because they flatter preconceived ideas. Handwriting is the real issue here.

        • Beth345

          But we all know what Geoffrey Howe did to Margaret Thatcher.

  • Bastian Conrad

    You write — except that no one has yet noticed that the matter was revealed in a book as long ago as 1595, so that makes it an important discovery.

    if you mean : William Cowell’s „Polimanteia“ (1595) your notice is not correct

    I wrote a subchapter on Cowells „Polimanteia“ some years ago , in my german book :The True Shakespeare :Christopher Marlowe

    The number of arguments (together with Willobie’s AVISA1594) convinced me definitely that Marlowe must have been the poet genius with the pseudonym Shake-speare

    In case of interest see my german / english Website


    • Alexander Waugh

      That the Earl of Oxford is identified as Shakespeare in a 1595 book has not been noticed – of course people have discussed Polimanteia, that is obviously not what I meant. – AW

      • Bastian Conrad

        Astonishing amount of rubbish…the author “.W.C”. was not William Cowell.believe me , The author of „Polimanteia“ was William Clarke (read his otherbooks!!)The matter of Edward de Vere as a nome de plum has not been revealed in Polimanteia. Ridiculous…..his name is mentioned with many others…thats all…..where is your important discovery ??,….give at least the key sentence…The rape
        of Lucrece was a poem of Shakespeare and not a play , the play was of Heywood (1594) and so on…..

        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Bastian, your tone is frantic. What is it with you and all these dots and dashes and multiple explanation marks and hyperbolic phrases like ‘astonishing amount of rubbish’? I wrote you two polite messages and you come back demented with hot and inexplicable indignation. As it happens I rather agree with you. I think Covell (not Cowell as you keep writing it) was probably not the author of Polimanteia and that it was William Clerke but I could not be bothered to go into all that in the one paragraph that I put into the Spectator. Most reference books state that William Covell was the author because the New York copy has a dedication subscribed ‘William Covell.’ You did not appear to know this so I politely sent a message to explain. Now will you calm down. Your photograph shows a pretty chihuaha face with nice fluffy hair on top. Why spoil all that with such an uncouth and intemperate performance as your previous post? You will find my article online at the De Vere Society Website. best of luck to you. Warmest wishes, Alexander

  • Bastian Conrad

    The book to which Waugh refers (1595 Polimanteia) bears only the initials WC – It is far more likely that this was William Clarke. An in-depth analysis showed to me that
    this must have been a pseudonym of Christopher Marlowe


    • Alexander Waugh

      Dear Bastion, there are two extant copies of this 1595 edition, one in New York one at the Bodleian library, Oxford. The dedication to the Oxford copy is subscribed ‘W.C.’ The dedication to the New York copy is subscribed ‘William Covell.’ AW

  • Hieronymite

    That shifty piece of text in Polimanteia is evidently a real finding. It’s been found out 400 years later, and so I suppose those gallants close within days of the publication would also find the trick. As PSI2U2 remarks, speaking to Waugh: “I’d
    long felt that there was something to discover about this document, but didn’t
    know what it was. Your remarkable and convincing solution to the enigma of
    Covell’s book seems destined to become a cause célèbre….”

    Waugh says of those ancient days, and quite correctly: “Given that the Elizabethans were constantly playing these sorts of games, obscuring often risky, secondary meanings in their texts with anagrams, puns, word puzzles etc.,is it not possible (likely even) that someone in 1595 might have spotted what I spotted in 2013?”

    Exactly. In February, 2011, a couple of years before Waugh’s finding, the trick was
    found out by a fellow named Art Neuendorffer. He published a note at the group site “Humanities.Literature.Authors.Shakespeare” (HLAS), expressing the puzzle in the same way as Waugh: “Oxford thou maist extoll thy court[E]-[DE]are-[VER]s[E]” It’s one of those “multiple independent discoveries” that turn up now and then, such as calculus, all credit to both Newton and Leibniz, Neuendorffer and Waugh.

    However, Neuendorffer made no more of it than that, and I don’t find he ever made a further comment on the Polimanteia. Waught found the rest of the puzzle, the
    “our secret” addition and the special setting of the type. Also, he gave the discovery a life, which it would never have got being buried in the HLAS archives.
    But if we’re giving honors to the first finder in the 21st century, Neuendorffer is the man.

    • psi2u2

      Thanks for the excellent contextualization, Hieronymite.

    • Alexander Waugh

      Dear Hieronymite, I am delighted to hand all honours to Neuendorffer for spotting ‘E de Vere’ in courte-deare-verse, while taking a little pinch of credit for ‘Our de Vere – A secret” and the alignment of this message to the marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare.’ But it is not really about credit, or who spotted it first. This fact now belongs to the world. There are only five printed references to Shakespeare in the 1590s and Polimanteia contains one of them, and however much people try to credit or disparage it, it will never be possible to discuss this particular Shakespeare allusion again without reference to it. Furthermore I would argue that until anyone can come up with a more convincing explanation as to why the marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare’ is aligned to this unique hyphenated phrase ‘courte-deare-verse’ and sits directly beneath the word ‘Oxford’, the most obvious interpretation (that Oxford was Shakespeare) will take precedence over all pretenders. AW

      • Hieronymite

        Yes, I understand your elaboration of that puzzling piece of text and it’s well done. The mention of Neuendorffer in your book will help the case. Since two independent sleuthers found the same trick we can suppose that some 1595 gents also found de Vere snugged inside that “courte-deare-verse”. Therefore the better. You say: “That the Earl of Oxford is identified as Shakespeare in a 1595 book has
        not been noticed…” It’s better that it HAS been noticed, today and in the long yesterday as well.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Hieronymite, I shall be delighted to credit Neuendorffer in my book. Can you give me the reference for the book or article in which his (her?) piece appeared. Many thanks, Alexander

          • Hieronymite
          • psi2u2

            Alexander, this of course raises interesting questions about attribution. Neuendorffer has “published” only on HLAS, and many of his ideas are ludicrous. And yet given the manic quality of his highly imaginative mind, he not infrequently hit on intriguing discoveries, especially of this nature. I cited him in an article I wrote about Minerva Britanna (here, if you haven’t seen it: http://archive.shakespearefellowship.org/virtualclassroom/minervagateway.htm).

          • Alexander Waugh

            Yes, I read the Neuendorffer report and was dismayed by it. I have no problem whatever about sharing honours. As I said to Heironymite it really is not about scholars’ glory this. In fact when I first spotted ‘our de vere’ glaring very obviously out of ‘courte-deare-verse’ – (I did not consider myself an Oxfordian until that moment) – my first reaction was not one of elation at having uncovered a 400-year old secret, but actually one of indignation. Why the hell had this not been spotted before? How could it be that in four hundred years of raking every archive for any single scrap of information about William Shakespeare no one had bothered to investigate the relation between the marginal note “Sweet Shak-speare” and the text to which it is aligned ‘courte-deare-verse’? Polimanteia is one of only five printed references to Shakespeare (by name) from the 1590s. The problem with citing batty bloggers is (as you suggest) that they undermine the credibility of our scholarship, but I think I can slip a footnote to Neuendorffer’s observations into the back of my book, not to credit him as a source but just point out that he had spotted that ‘E de Vere’ could be obtained from ‘courte-deare-verse’ back in 2005. Thank you, A

          • psi2u2

            My thoughts exactly. If it helps, as soon as Lynne and I began our Tempest work, Neuendorffer for whatever reason turned into an obscurantist wannabe turncoat, merely because we did not cite certain observations of his about the Tempest that were not germane to our arguments. Since at least one of his many observations about MB *was* imho relevant to my article on that subject I did cite him. But your arguments are no more *dependent* on his observation than mine were, so the only rational reasons for citing him at all are to preclude sour grapes and to set a higher standard than that followed by orthodox apologists like Shapiro.

          • Hieronymite

            Is the Polimanteia text online, free to the general public?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Hieronymite, No the complete text is not available online. You can buy (from amazon or abebooks) a copy of the original edition in facsimile though it is not of the whole book, only the ‘Letter from England to her three Daughters.’ The only way to read the whole 1595 edition online is through OEBO (Old English Books Online) and to do that you need to link through from the site of a subscribing library. I did it through the Bodleian where I am a member. Now that we know that Polimanteia reveals the true identity of ‘William Shakespeare’ as Edward de Vere, I suspect that the whole text will shortly find it’s way online. Until now (despite it’s being one of only 5 printed references to William Shakespeare of the 1590s) it has been unaccountably marginalized. I can assure you that it has much more to say about de Vere than the fact (unimportant in 1595) that he had published two poems under the name ‘William Shakespeare.’ Sincerely, Alexander Waugh

          • Hieronymite

            Dear Waugh, thanks, and a sour grape for EEBO; a private student in the hinterlands can’t get there from here, not even for cash. But I found a facsimile copy of the book at Open Library. They put up a copy of Alexander B. Grosart’s ‘Occasional Issue of Unique or Very Rare Books”, 1881, (62 copies only) which includes the complete text of POLIMANTEIA: ‘England’s Address to her Three Daughters” etc. at this place in facsimile.


            You have a mighty task if you would parse out these 142
            pages to further prove out the Shakespeare/Oxford connection. I wish you well, much candle-power, and the saving of your eyesight after all.

            I was looking for something else. There was a comment (I
            can’t find the source again) that the ‘’EVER-LIVING POET” note in the dedication to Shakespeare’s Sonnets need not mean that the poet was dead. It seemed to me to be a question because if EVER = VERE, the reading could be that the poet was still alive in 1609, VERE to be still LIVING. Whatever of that little anagram, the ‘Address’ has this to say to the question of mortality in a similiar usage: On page 34 the author says: “…write then of Elizas raigne, a taske onely meete for so rare a pen: it is easie to give immortalitie to an EVER-LIVING EMPRESS (my caps)…” The queen was alive in 1595 and so the ‘ever-living’ phrase need not be a deathly design. Therefore, perhaps the poet of the Sonnets was alive in 1609 and not dead in 1604, and so I believe. Somewhat.

            There are some other phrases in the ‘Address’ that are remindful of Shakespeare. On page 57 the author of the ‘address’ says, speaking of the queen: “a Princesse truelie nobled with all vertues…” Hamlet says, “That’s good! ‘Mobled queen’ is good. (There’s no such word as nobled). A sort of joke, maybe taking Hamlet back to 1595. The writer also makes use of “beautyfing,
            beautify, and beautified” As Polonius says, “That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase; “beautified” is a vile phrase.”

            Grosart also supplies an introduction, a preface to the
            reader, an acrostic, a dedication to Sir Christopher Hatton from another book, and notes. Regards, Hieronymite.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Hieronymite,

            Thank you for your post. As I wrote in my previous to you the facsimile copy of Polimanteia does not contain the whole work. All you get is the middle essay, the letter from England to her Three Daughters. This is the section that contains the allusion to Shakespeare, but to read the whole of Polimanteia you cannot rely on the Grosart ‘facsimile’; you need to go to OEBO. I am sure that you can join a free library that subscribes. Be careful of the Grosart edition, he was for instance unaware of the 1595 US copy whose dedication is signed ‘William Covell’ also he gives the impression that some pieces belong to Polimanteia that do not.

            ‘Our ever-living poet’ does not mean that the poet of the sonnets is dead any more than it means he is alive. A good poet becomes immortal through his poetry, that is the only meaning conveyed by this phrase in the sonnets’ dedication. The reference to Queen Elizabeth as ‘ever-living’ in Polimanteia is, I think, intended to convey the idea of her unspotted reputation being immortal.

            I was very interested to read your remarks on the language of Polimanteia and Hamlet. Thank you. What do you make of the three daughters, one of them bearing the name of a reputed lover and one reputed to be illegitimate?

            You do not need to trawl the whole of Polimanteia to find out what it has to say about de Vere/’Shakespeare.’ All that is contained in the passage covered by the marginal note from ‘All Praiseworthy’ to ‘Watsons heyre.’ If you want a clue, start by looking at the centred triangle with the name Delia at the top, ‘Cleopatra ; Oxford’ on the second line and ‘thy courte-deare-verse’ on the third. This will only work with the 1595 version. Have fun!

          • Hieronymite
          • Alexander Waugh

            Alas neither gives the full 1595 text!

          • Hieronymite

            Both seem to be complete, what do you say is missing?

          • Hieronymite

            No, it seems to be all there. Those who wish to follow the
            text as Waugh has use may read the total Polimanteia here:


            Along with ENGLANDS ADDRESS TO HER THREE DAUGHTERS, the text offered for free has the entire 142 pages, including these sections:

            Religions Speech to England’s

            Loyalties Speech to Englands

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Hieronymite. We have to stop meeting like this! For the last time: The original version of 1595 ‘Polimanteia’ does NOT contain ‘Religions Speech to England’s Children’ or “Loyalties Speech to Englands Children” which you mention in your post and which are in all those websites you keep finding. The 1595 edition does contain a long political essay entitled, ‘Polimanteia’ and a long letter entitled ‘England to all her Inhabitants’ which begins: “If the sad and just complaint of a mournfull mother…” As I said at the very start of our correspondence on this matter, the only way to find the complete 1595 text of Polimanteia online is to link through a subscribing library to Old English Books Online (OEBO). I am sorry if I have not made myself sufficiently clear. Very best Alexander

          • Hieronymite

            But no, that essay is available online in facsimile:ENGLAND
            TO AL HER INHABITANTS. “If the sad and just complaint (unjustly wronged) mother….” Etc. Pages 48-74.


            And for those who would follow along, read the testament of the writer Rev. William Covell (Mother England) to know his purpose.

            This quote below is from his earlier address to the Three Daughters, wherein Covell writes the text discovered in full by Waugh to read in anagram “A SECRET OUR DE VERE”. Page 44.

            “Let your aged sit downe, and rest them in honours chayre; set your children to write triumphing songs for their mothers victorie: shew your quick discerning eyesight in these deceiving times. Let the worlde see, that amongst your children, wit hath fruitefully growne, in this untimely, niggardly blasting age: wherein though blackemouthed envie repine at every choyce conceit, tearming it, either time or wit, or both idlelie imployed, yet my true discernment and a mothers love, makes mee terame them natures works, made with a comparing pride, in these latter times to shew their excellencie.”

            Coville here pleads that the words and poetry of a double handful of writers (many famous to this day) renew their force to save England from certain conditions “dangerous to the Common wealth”. The purpose of Polimanteia was of a much larger intent than the sly uncovering that De Vere was Shakespeare.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Thank you ‘Hieronymite’ – Of course the uncovering of ‘Shakespeare’ as de Vere was indeed a minor point to the writer of Polimanteia. In 1595 only two works had appeared with Shakespeare’s name on them – Venus and Adonis and Lucrece – so it was not nearly so fascinating for people to know who “Shakespeare” was then as it is for us now. What is most interesting about the small section which reveals de Vere behind the mask of Shakespeare, is not the authorship revelation itself. You need to look very closely at the marginal notes, the text, and the way in which one particular part of the text has been set (the triangle of names Delia, Cleopatra, Oxford with ‘thy courte-deare-verse’ below it) if you want to understand what Covell is really saying about de Vere-Shakespeare – and that, I can assure you, is a hell of a lot more interesting than who wrote what. But you cannot glean all this from the online versions you are looking at. Is there a way for me to download the 1595 image onto this blog? I am new to this.


          • Hieronymite

            Here’s a place where the facsimile text (with sometimes a whole page fuzzed out or tilted) is printed in modern font and spaced exactly as the facsimile, much better to read, and of course the Delia, Cleopatra and Oxford set in that triangle arrangement you mention. You’ll like it.


            I don’t know how to dowload a picture or blog either. And I don’t know if there’s much interest in Polimanteia here, except perhaps for psi2u2. I’ve more to say, and would you like to discuss the book email?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear ‘Hieronymite’ I owe you an apology. I have just checked your link and see that the text in question is there after all, but I must warn that it is not exactly a facsimile of the 1595 edition, the text has been re-set and crucially the marginal notes are not precisely aligned to the text in the same way as they were in 1595. Most significant of all, of course, is the marginal note ‘Sweet Shakespeare’ which is not (as per 1595) set with precision alongside ‘courte-deare-verse.’ The setting of these notes is very important if you want to go further towards a complete interpretation of this passage, as per my last post,


  • Nat Whilk

    Dear me, Mr. Waugh. If you’ve actually read the Earl of Oxford and believe he could have written Shakespeare, then you have no ear. You couldn’t tell Mozart from Muzak.

    I grieve for you.

    Nat Whilk

    • Dingdong

      If you believe William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the works, you canot distinguish between Genghis Khan and James Kahn.
      About 20 poems are known as Oxford’s, many of them song texts. What seems fairly certain is that he occasionally wrote under the pseudonym “Ball” (“My mind to me a Kingdom is”). One song text attributed to “Ball” in manuscript (Coningsbye MS, I remember) is “When griping griefs”). It is the song in the play * Romeo and Juliet*. Would be kind of you if you could tell me who the author is. Can’t remember his name.

      On Sonnet 126 Helen Vendler remarks: ‘The effect of the prosody is to suggest that easy conversational intonation in which Shakespeare excels all other poets.’ IMHO, this quality can also be attributed to ‘If I seem strange,’ a poem attributed in manuscript to Oxford. Please read it, but clean your ears before you get to work. It’s no use to have ears if they are clogged up.

      • hewardwilkinson

        I wonder if Edmund Spenser’s opinion of Oxford is merely flattery, he nicely catches the Earl’s narcissism I think (the Sonnets of Shakespeare have so little concern with narcissism, I dont know why I mention them….) – obviously we must not take seriously the opinion of the greatest of Shakespeare’s predecessors:
        ‘REceiue most Noble Lord in gentle gree,
        The vnripe fruit of an vnready wit:
        Which by thy countenaunce doth craue to bee
        Defended from foule Enuies poisnous bit.
        Which so to doe may thee right well befit,
        Sith th’antique glory of thine auncestry
        Vnder a shady vele is therein writ,
        And eke thine owne long liuing memory,
        Succeeding them in true nobility:
        And also for the loue, which thou doest beare
        To th’Heliconian ymps, and they to thee,
        They vnto thee, and thou to them most deare:
        Deare as thou art unto thy selfe, so loue
        That loues & honours thee, as doth behoue. ‘

        Now we do not have a reply from Oxford but we do have one from ‘Ignoto’, who, interestingly enough, also refers at some length to the subject of envy – and who appears to have written well enough to be imitated by Ben Jonson (another very undistinguished poet laureate of course) in the panegyric in the First Folio. I wonder who Stratfordians think this puny little poet ‘Ignoto’ might be??

        ‘TO looke vpon a worke of rare deuise
        The which a workman setteth out to view,
        And not to yield it the deserued prise,
        That vnto such a workmanship is dew,
        Doth either proue the iudgement to be naught
        Or els doth shew a mind with enuy fraught.

        To labour to commend a peece of worke,
        Which no man goes about to discommend,
        Would raise a iealous doubt that there did lurke
        Some secret doubt, whereto the prayse did tend.
        For when men know the goodnes of the wyne,
        Tis needlesse for the hoast to haue a sygne.

        Thus then to shew my iudgement to be such
        As can discern of colours blacke, and white,
        As alls to free my minde from enuies tuch,
        That neuer giues to any man his right,
        I here pronounce this workmanship is such,
        As that no pen can set it forth too much.

        And thus I hang a garland at the dore,
        Not for to shew the goodnes of the ware:
        But such hath beene the custome heretofore,
        And customes very hardly broken are.
        And when your tast shall tell you this is trew,
        Then looke you giue your hoast his vtmost dew.’

        Compare with stanza 3 and the rest ot the poem (both language and strategy):
        ‘To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
        Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
        While I confess thy writings to be such,
        As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
        ‘Tis true, and all men’s suffrage. But these ways
        Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ;
        For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
        Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ;
        Or blind affection, which doth ne’er advance
        The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
        Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
        And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
        These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
        Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more ?
        But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
        Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.’

        For those who wish to pursue:

    • Alexander Waugh

      Dear Whilk,
      Thank you for this. The poems that were contemporaneously acknowledged to be by Edward de Vere are very early works written when he was under 25 years of age. Some of them are exceptionally good and very like some of the poems in the Shakespeare comedies. If you can find the juvenilia of Will Shakspere of Stratford I would be most interested to read them. I would also recommend the beautiful letter that de Vere wrote to Robert Cecil upon the death of Queen Elizabeth if you want an idea of his naturally poetic prose style. My university degrees are both in music so telling the difference between Mozart and ‘Muzak’ (by which I assume you mean cheap lift music) is not a problem, Sincerely Alexander.

      • Nat Whilk

        Dear Waugh,

        You write: “The poems that were contemporaneously acknowledged to be by Edward de Vere are very early works written when he was under 25 years of age.”

        That’s not so young. Keats was dead at 25. And anyway, only nine of Oxford’s poems appeared in The Paradyse of daynty deuises (1576). The rest came out after 1591, when he was in his forties–rather creaking juvenilia. Unlike Shakespeare and his fellows, he clung to the poetic fashions of his Drab Age youth. His later verse is antiquated to the point of embarrassment, like winklepickers.

        He flatlined early.

        “Some of them are exceptionally good…”

        You really believe that, don’t you? Dear oh dear. I’m with C.S. Lewis: “Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, shows here and there, a faint talent, but is for the most part undistinguished and verbose.”

        “…and very like some of the poems in the Shakespeare comedies. ”


        I can hardly tell this:

        Helpe gods, helpe saintes, helpe sprites and powers, that in the heaven doo dwell,
        Helpe ye that are to waile aye woont, ye howling hounds of hell;
        Helpe man, helpe beastes, helpe birds and wormes, that on the earth doth toile,
        Helpe fishe, helpe foule, that flockes and feedes upon the salte sea soyle;
        Helpe eccho that in ayre dooth flee, shril voyces to resound,
        To waile this losse of my good name, as of these greefes the ground.

        From this:

        Thy mantle good,
        What, stain’d with blood!
        Approach, ye Furies fell!
        O Fates, come, come,
        Cut thread and thrum;
        Quail, crush, conclude, and quell!

        “To utter, moove, devise, conceave, sound foorth, declare and speake…” Quick–Oxford? Peter Quince?

        “If you can find the juvenilia of Will Shakspere of Stratford I would be most interested to read them.”

        Oh, no you wouldn’t. Your religion rides on their absence. But the rest of us would. Alas, Sonnet 145 is perhaps the closest we’ll come.

        “I would also recommend the beautiful letter that de Vere wrote to Robert Cecil upon the death of Queen Elizabeth if you want an idea of his naturally poetic prose style.”

        De Vere made an effort with that letter, and it’s less like chewed bootlace than most of his stuff. But beautiful? Not beside the Stratford fellow’s prose: “What a piece of work is a man…”

        “My university degrees are both in music so telling the difference between Mozart and ‘Muzak’ (by which I assume you mean cheap lift music) is not a problem.”

        And my degrees are in English. I can tell Shakespeare from that whining mediocrity, the Earl of Oxford.


        Nat Whilk

        • >He flatlined early.

          And low.

          • Felicity Morgan

            Sicinius, you could commence by putting a toe in the water and reading about the ‘Benezet test’, in Ogburn’s The Mysterious William Shakespeare, pp.393-6. The research and arguments have moved on from the mere 16 poems that Stephen May ascribed to Oxford; and research in the field of Oxford’s early poems and juvenalia is rapidly expanding. (See Dingdong’s post below.)

            Or should I say new ‘finds’ attributable to what you claim is ‘William Shakespeare’ (your Stratford man)? e.g Hand D.

            One is disinclined to post screeds here; peer review is the place for it; but try reading THE GREAT OXFORD (p.349), where Gilvary writes “Clearly, any description of an author’s poems as mediocre contains a measure of subjective assessment, wholly, one hopes, divorced from partisan claims about the authorship.” But I am not holding my breath, as I fear you would just toss it back across the net – as if serious literary analysis/study should take the form of your Premier League games.
            Felicity M

          • I’ve looked at the Benezet test more than once. In fact I plan to go over Ogburn’s version of it in detail in another place. It’s a simple conjuring trick.

            And while opinion is subjective, the aim of Practical Criticism is to improve the appreciation of those that study it by learning to discriminate. One can be charmed by the verses of a 5 years old and amazed by some people’s first time efforts. However, the devalued skill of developing an ear has been, and will continue to be, the source of all enjoyment to people whose pleasure derives from reading poetry rather than constructing daft theories about the people who write it.

          • Felicity Morgan

            So the aim of your ‘Practical Criticism’ is to improve my appreciation and teach me how to discriminate by reading REAL poetry, as opposed to anything Oxford might have written in his youth, because I am the one with ‘cloth ears’ conned by ‘daft theories’? Not a poetic bone in my body? Not a poetic bone in the bodies of Edward de Vere’s peers either, I guess. (See Waugh’s comment above.)

            Haven’t you sailed right past the obvious at the mere mention of the Benezet test: nothing more than a starting point for the uninitiated (which I took your and ‘Nat Whilk’s’ bootlace humour to be). What you call a conjuring trick were the discerning ‘ears’ of the grumpy academy’s own, who could not distinguish easily between Oxford’s lines of poetry and lines of Shakespeare’s, when hearing them interwoven in the test.* Hardly a conjuring trick, where assonance, consonance, diction & cadence – not to mention the iambic pentameter – are flowing indistinguishably & thematically between both.

            And where is it your intention to have your Benezet critique published or peer reviewed? Surely, not on the billboards of the Oxfraud gang.
            Felicity M

          • Why would it be ‘my’ Practical Criticism?

          • So this be your ‘Practical Criticism’.


            Start at 23:15 and don’t miss the portable Oxfordian microscope at 24:43.

          • Dominic Hughes

            After analyzing Oxford’s poetry to show how it fits with
            contemporaries who wrote poetry between 1550 and 1580, Professor Steven May writes the following:

            It would be easy to align another dozen or more phrases from Oxford’s poems with their counterparts in the work of other mid-century Tudor poets. I will instead stifle my own tendency toward amplificatio by concluding that these examples establish the pervasive affinity of Oxford’s verse with the immediate poetic context out of which his writings grew. But it is important to distinguish these parallels as
            nothing more than a general context, however specific the
            similarities. Even Turberville, whose verse predates and adumbrates almost every technical form, phrase, subject, motif, and rhetorical figure found in De Vere’s poetry, was not necessarily a source or model for anything the Earl wrote. Rather, the language and verse forms employed by Turberville and the other poets I have cited here all could be paralleled in the works of scores of early Elizabethan
            poets. The point is that the salient characteristics of Oxford’s verse are of a kind with the output of the 1560s and 70s; his style can be replicated wholesale in the works of many poets who wrote during those years. As a further demonstration of how thoroughly Oxford’s verse blends in with that of his contemporaries, Appendix V is a medley of excerpts from obscure mid-century poets interspersed with lines from Oxford’s lyrics. This pastiche is modeled on
            Professor Benezet’s famous “test,” a mixture of lines from
            Oxford’s verse and the works of Shakespeare. This he submitted as proof that their verse was indistinguishable. Following Benezet, I challenge anyone to distinguish De Vere’s poetry in Appendix V from the output of his mediocre mid-century contemporaries. In fact, of course, these “tests” reveal only that a selective placing of lines from one poet with those of another (or others) creates a jumble that no one could separate on the basis of style alone. With
            the rest of the Oxfordian stylistic methodology, Benezet’s test is meaningless as evidence for common authorship.

          • psi2u2

            That’s a great quote from Gilvary. My thought exactly.

        • psi2u2

          My my. You must have a degree in English as well as Muzak. Look at all those colorful adjectives.

        • Alexander Waugh

          Dear Nat Whilk, thank you for posting a reply. It’s great you’ve got an Eng. Litt. degree and I am sorry that you are not as moved and delighted as I am by the best of De Vere’s juvenilia. I would quit reading them for a while and revisit them after a pause of a year or two. They will grow on you. The greatest experts on poetry in the Elizabethan age – for instance the author of ‘The Art of Poesie’ (1589) – ranked de Vere ‘first’ among courtly poets who concealed their names; Soowthern (1584) wrote that he ‘merits a silver pen,’ Chapman thought de Vere had ‘a spirit passing great’, another well known expert on poetry, William Webbe, in a ‘Discourse on English Poetry’ (1586) wrote that ‘in the rare devises of poetry’ de Vere was ‘most excellent among the rest,’ Gabriel Harvey (1578) had no problem in admitting ‘how greatly [de Vere] doth excel in letters” I think most reasonable people would give more credence to the literary opinions of these well known and highly knowledgeable contemporaries than to a single 21st Century blogger calling himself ‘Nat Whilk,’ and frantically waiving an Eng. Litt. certificate in the unclean air.
          Where are Stratford-Shakspere’s juvenilia? You cannot answer – another fatal nail in the coffin of the Warwickshire wally!

          As ever, Alexander

          • Nat Whilk

            Good for you, liking Oxford’s poetry–after all, you’re stuck with it.

            Not being an Elizabethan seeking patronage, I don’t have to flatter his lordship. As you know, lesser talents are often praised more for their descent than their accomplishments.

            As for “frantically wa[i]ving”–there you are, all ignorant of apophenia, still brandishing your scrap of Covell. Yes, I know that cluster of stars looks _just like_ a giraffe, but don’t expect to bring down astrophysics with your great discovery.

            Nat Whilk

          • Alexander Waugh

            ADVICE TO ELIZABETHAN AUTHORS SEEKING PATRONAGE by ‘Nat Whilk’ Class Warrior, B.A (Eng Lit)

            1. Praise near-bankrupt poet in large book on poetry.
            2. Ensure near-bankrupt poet’s enemies are also well praised in front matter.
            3. Publish anonymously.
            4. Hope near-bankrupt poet spots ref to him, works out who you are, ignores front matter, and seeks you out with cheque book offering to finance your next work.
            5. Find Shakspere of Stratford’s juvenelia (whoops! forget that one.)
            6. Shit in pants at name of Covell!

          • Nat Whilk

            1. Covell had nothing whatever to say about Edward de Vere.

            2. See 1.

            3. See 1.

            4. See 1.

            5. Bring me yesteryear’s snow.

            6. Alexander Waugh? Wasn’t he that grandson of Evelyn’s who thought Queen Elizabeth or someone wrote Shakespeare?

            Nat Whilk

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear ‘Nat Whilk’ BA (Eng Lit), you seem very scared. Take your left wrist in your right hand, close your eyes and chant: ‘Covell had nothing whatever to say about Edward de Vere’ over and over again until you begin to feel better.
            Much loving, A. Waugh

          • Nat Whilk

            You see a Mighty MegaVere DestructoBot. I see a bit of Lego. Gosh, I’m terrified.

            Nat Whilk

            P.S. And don’t pull Galileo next. You’re not.

          • Dingdong

            Nat Whilk,

            Apophenia you write.

            August Kekulé is
            considered the initiator of structural chemistry. He himself reported that it
            was an “ouroboros” dream, a dream of a snake eating its own tail, that led him
            to the discovery of the ring shape of the benzene molecule. He didn’t see such
            a snake; he didn’t see a benzene molecule. So it may be said that at the very
            moment he associated a snake biting its own tail with the ring shape of a
            molecule he was somehow suffering from apophenia. He saw something he was
            dreaming of and associated it with something he had never seen and, having
            never been seen, was not there. Such things happen sometimes, in criminal
            investigations and in the process of science that someone sees something that
            nobody has seen before.

            Peter Higgs postulated
            the existence of the Higgs boson particle in 1964. It took nearly fifty years
            before its existence could be proved. Was Higgs suffering from apophenia? Was
            Kekulé suffering from apophenia? Of
            course not. They had a rich experience upon which their intuition was based. Kekulé’s dream of the snake eating its own tail
            might simply have been an illustrating anecdote; it might also have been a vision
            triggering or liberating a preconceived idea.
            Eventually it does not matter what it was. Structural chemistry is now long
            established and has mightily contributed to the progress of science. Higgs
            theoretical intuition of a missing link will probably mightily contribute to the
            progress of particle physics.

            It is not my intention
            to compare doubters of the traditional authorship attribution to the pioneers
            of chemistry or particle physics. But in one respect the comparison is
            justified and that is: the search for the missing link, here the missing link
            between life and work. Are some orthodox scholars not in search of it? And what
            about the Cobbe portrait?

            Orthodox believers are by no means better off than unorthodox believers.
            In my view they are rather worse off. Sicinius’ sneering, scathing and foaming
            comments on the present blog offer perhaps the best proof. Orthodox believers
            may be worse off because the missing link extends to the root of the authorship
            question. I mean the shaky evidence that Shakespeare was able to write
            altogether. To my knowledge, the first to suggest that Hand D might be in
            Shakespeare’s handwriting was Richard Simpson in 1874 (N&Q). His suggestion was entirely disregarded by orthodox
            scholarship. Even now Simpson seems to receive little to no credit for it. But at
            the time Baconians started to doubt that Shakespeare was able to write as much as his own name, at that time
            the Hand D theory was born. It was a legitimate undertaking to try to find this
            missing link. In a sense it too may be compared, mutatis mutandis, to Kekulé’s
            ring shaped molecule or Higgs’ particle. But Sir Edward Maunde Thompson’s
            demonstration was a colossal squib. He detected this one “a” in one signature
            and failed to explain the different “a’s” in the 5 other signatures. Not to
            speak of the many surrealistic assumptions he had to infuse to explain away
            other oddities: signature-holograph, tiny sample, the fact that Shakespeare would
            have wrongly believed he had to sign on the parchment tag (he did not address
            the question why the two trustees Jackson and Johnson, too, would have believed
            that in 1613 and, above all, why they no longer believed it in February 1618
            when the trusteeship for the same Blackfriars gatehouse was transferred), etc.
            What is now going on with respect to Hand D are efforts to find a more solid
            basis. I’ve read MacDonald Jackson. His reliance on feminine endings and
            contractions for dating Sir Thomas More
            is astute but not at all convincing. Contractions do not yield an unequivocal
            result. Some years ago I’ve done a little search. Take the contraction of “them”
            to “‘em “. “’em” occurs 17 times in Tempest, “them” 6 times; “’em” occurs 15 times in Coriolanus, but “them” 26 times; and in the
            late play Cymbeline “’em”
            occurs only 2 times, “them” 8 times; the closest match to Cymbeline is Two Gentlemen of
            Verona, 2:12, an early play. Another late play, Antony and Cleopatra has 3 times “’em” and 52 times “’them”. However,
            if the purpose is to institute a new
            discourse of “experts” accuracy is not high in demand. The rule is then”talk,
            talk, talk about it, and finally it will speak for itself”. I think that this
            was the main reason why the movie Anonymous
            caused such a stir. In a serious debate about the authorship this movie has
            nothing to seek. But it was talked of. It attracted attention.

            If Sicinius now writes that this one “i” is a bit of a “smoking gun” he should be able to answer
            at least two questions. 1) Why is a “smoking gun” necessary if no doubt is
            possible? 2) Why has Hand D from its inception been considered by so many
            orthodox scholars (not by all) as an unshakable certitude, long before the
            discovery of that “smoking gun”?

          • Dominic Hughes

            Do you think you could learn to format your posts so that they don’t look like a stream running down your leg.

          • psi2u2

            Getting a little over the top are we now? I wonder if you are capable of pausing long enough in your headlong descent into your own unconscious rage to consider the impression such remarks make on uncommitted readers?

          • Dominic Hughes

            That’s rather funny coming from someone who was previously so fixated on discussing my “bare ass”. Additionally, if it was good enough for Shakespeare to descend to the use of figures of speech and indulge in wordplay concerning bodily functions, I fail to see how my efforts at doing the same should cause any uncommitted readers any problems whatsoever.

            Finally, Mr. Dong’s posts are an affront to the eyes in the way that they are [not] formatted. The metaphor is apt. You already tried to let him know he could edit the posts, but that didn’t work. Perhaps this will get his attention.

          • Dingdong

            << Finally, Mr. Dong's posts are an affront for the eyes…"

            I'll be kind and format my posts. Be you in turn so nice to write out the name I'm using here, Dingdong not Mr. Dong. I don't like to see my name abbreviated. To facilitate matters I had already abbreviated it myself. The full name reads: Tao Dingdong, which means: he that ever doubts. No relative of Mao Zedong – who never doubted.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Dingdong: Thank you. I’d like to read what you have written, but the formatting was so bad that it made it difficult. You can edit your posts after making them so that they are easier to read.

          • psi2u2

            Read my lips, Dominic Hughes: “You are not Shakespeare.”

          • Dominic Hughes

            Roger, I never said I was. You are a very confused man.

          • Fantasising that the uncommitted reader shares your stance is quite ballsy in someone who dodges all discussion of actual poetry and replies to all contrary argument with flights of invective.

            I have to point out that insults need to have firm foundations in the behaviour of the target to be effective. You can’t accuse someone of unconscious rage if all they’re doing is forcing someone to stick to the point or asking them to post in a legible fashion.

            Fantasising that people agree with you ‘unconsciously’ or are outraged by your opinions ‘unconsciously’ is, in my opinion. making you look pretty stupid to the ‘uncommitted reader”.

          • Nat Whilk

            Nonsense. Apophenia is the perception of meaning in the meaningless: the madman or the crank mistakes delusion for a revelation. What Kekulé and Higgs experienced was an epiphany, an intuition based on knowledge. They realized. You fantasize.

            Nat Whilk

          • Dingdong

            You may contemplate the case of Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory. One of Wegener’s arguments was the shape of the east coast of Africa and the west coasts of South America. His critics, who prevailed for fifty years, laughed at him for… exactly… perceiving meaning in the meaningless. Apophenia, isn’t it? His theory is now widely accepted. In the light of additional evidence Apophenia might become an epiphany. Depends on what you know and how you look at it.

          • psi2u2

            Given the long paper trail you have left on the internet loudly proclaiming your bigotry, in service to your intellectual masters, if you are not worried, you’re even more of a fool than you already appear. History is not going to be kind to you.

          • psi2u2

            Nice summary. Shakespeare’s juvenalia, I would respectfully submit, are extant in such plays as *Edward III* (recently canonized in the Riverside edition of the plays, *Edmund Ironside* (Eric Sams), or *Famous Victories of Henry V* (see Seymour Pitcher’s excellent attribution study).

            And what relationship do these primitive but in significant ways profoundly “Shakespearean” plays bear to the mature works of the bard like *Lear* or *Measure for Measure*?

            Yes, pretty much the same kind of relationship that de Vere’s youthful lyrics do. In other words, the entire argument from style that is being used against de Vere proceeds from romanticized and unrealistic ideas about what constitutes “Shakespearean style.” Shakespeare did not leap full blown out of Minerva’s brow at age 23 with *Comedy of Errors* (often dated as early as 1587). He grew over several decades of stylistic, dramaturgic, and cognitive development. Viewed within the context of this larger pattern of development the early de Vere lyrics form a natural part of the whole trajectory of his development as an artist, just as *Famous Victories* (for example) does also.

          • Alexander Waugh

            I would recommend to ‘Nat Whilk’ BA (Eng. Lit.), ‘Sicinius’, ‘Dominic Hughes’ and other anonymized Stratfraudian bloggers, that they read Richard Malim’s ‘The Earl of Oxford and the Making of Shakespeare’ which puts the whole matter of ‘Shakespeare’s’ juvenilia into the context of a literary life – something that the Stratfordian hypothesis has never managed to achieve. Constructive criticism of the points raised in this book would be far more useful than embarrassing reiterations of “We don’t like de Vere’s early poems” to which the only answer is ‘Oh, don’t you?”

          • psi2u2

            They don’t seem to be too keen on actual discussion, do they? Insults, name calling, condescension, and sneering seem to be the subjects in which they are majoring.

          • >They don’t seem to be too keen on actual discussion, do they?


            After quoting Looney’s hostage to fortune, can I direct you at another? A poster who for argument’s sake we’ll call psi2u2, has fallen completely silent after announcing that a poem he wants to attribute to Oxford but is actually by Sir Edmund Dyer has a:

            Shakespearean quality [which] will be discernible to anyone widely and closely read in the canon.

            Ask to ‘discern’ an example he has not only fallen silent (after a couple of gratuitous insults) but the original post in which he made the claim has mysteriously disappeared.

            So who’s avoiding actual discussion again? Maybe psi2u2 is not so ‘widely and closely read in the canon’ as he thinks.

          • psi2u2

            Don’t get your hopes up too high.

          • What hopes? Getting any sense out of you on what Shakespearean language looks like?

            I’ve long since given up on those hopes.

            Whilst I tend to agree with Alexander on the issue of whether Professor May was totally serious about becoming rich and famous by surfing on a wave of Oxfordian discovery, there can be no arguing that he is still one of the pre-eminent living authorities on Elizabethan courtier poets. His opinions on Oxford’s verse need a bit more than a few Oxfordian fits of the vapours before any revaluation of his lower division, mid-table status could be deemed worthwhile in academic terms.

            You can’t pole-vault him to Shakespearean status by misattributing poems by Edward Dyer to him. Especially poems in which you claim a:

            Shakespearean quality [which] will be discernible to anyone widely and closely read in the canon.

            which you cannot yourself discern.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Since Professor Steven May has been cited, I think it might behoove us to some of the points he has raised:

            “As I worked on my edition of the Earl of Oxford’s poetry during the 1970’s, I hoped, as I still do, that I might find some connection between De Vere’s work and the writings, any writing, of William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, I discovered instead a gulf between the two poets’ styles that rules out any direct ties between their output….I regret these enforced conclusions, however, because no one has more to gain than I from discovery of persuasive evidence
            linking Shakespeare’s work with Oxford. That discovery would catapult me from my obscure role as a professor of English at Georgetown College to the exalted status of a pioneering editor of the poems of Shakespeare.”

            Oxford’s verse, in short, lacks any unique features of style, theme, or subject to connect it with Shakespeare’s poetry.

            After the publication of my edition of Oxford’s verse in 1980, references to the Earl’s poetry all but disappeared from Oxfordian polemic. The authentic canon of De Vere’s poetry is a great embarrassment to the movement because it so manifestly contradicts the claims of Looney and his followers that the Earls verse in any way resembles the poetry of William Shakespeare. The chasm between the two poets is immense. To be an Oxfordian, you must believe that the Earl published or released for circulation under his name or initials his canonical verse, all of it written in the mid-Tudor style between 1572 and 1593 at the latest. But by 1592, at the latest, and without any trace of a transitional style, Oxford somehow, and with absolute secrecy, began writing plays in the new style of blank verse that marked the great Elizabethan drama.”

            Those are just a few excerpts from Professor May’s article in Volume 72, Number 1, UT Law Review [Fall 2004]. I would heartily recommend reading the full article to see just how wide and deep the chasm is. It’s all there, minus Roger’s attempt at mind-reading.

          • Alexander Waugh

            If you really believe Prof Steven May when he writes that his career would have received a catapult boost in the 1970s if he had been able to point out stylistic similarities between Oxford’s and ‘Shakespeare’s’ poems, then you really know nothing of the history of anti-Stratfordianism within academia. As Professor May was well aware if he had even hinted at such a connection in the 1970s his career would have tumbled into everlasting blackness. Anti-Stratfordian positions have only just begun to be accepted in some Eng. Lit. schools and even then only where the resident professor has not already compromised himself with books and papers uncritically supporting the Stratfraudian hypothesis. AW

          • Dominic Hughes

            That’s an interesting addition to your conspiracy theory: Professor May was lying in 2004 when he wrote those words, and he is not to be believed. One theory begets another.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Of course he was being disingenuous, come on, don’t even pretend to yourself that you believe that nonsense! All May’s career has been invested in the Stratfraudian position and to pretend to himself or to you or to anyone else that he genuinely wished he could have supported the Oxford Shakespeare case for the sake of his career is as preposterous and mendacious as anything that ever spouted from the arse of a circus clown.

          • Dominic Hughes

            I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore at the Oxfordians’ notion that they are able to read other people’s minds and know their thoughts and motivations better than the people themselves.

            I also never knew that things mendacious spouted from the arses of circus clowns…

          • Tom Reedy

            Translation: Of course he was being disingenuous, come on, don’t you know that everybody is?

          • psi2u2

            Interesting that you need to make May either into an absolute authority figure, who speaks without need of qualification as the voice of rational inquiry, or a “liar” supporting a “conspiracy theory.”

            Once again we see that your argument begins and ends with the attempt to *characterize* the debate with emotionally charged language. As Looney himself pointed out after O.J. Campbell finally reviewed his book in Harpers in 1948, these are not the arguments of one who is comfortable with his own position, and make one suspect that, ultimately, he is not very secure in his own position.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Roger, are you having problems with ability to read and comprehend? I have not made Professor May “into an absolute authority figure, who speaks without need of qualification as the voice of rational inquiry” [that is what you attempt to make of yourself]. I merely brought up what Professor May had written in an article in response to others in the discussion having attempted to use him to make points that appeared to be at odds with what he had concluded in that article. In fact, I have requested that the Oxfordians here respond to Professor May’s analysis and his conclusions, but they don’t appear to be interested at all in discussing them.

            I have also not made Professor May into a “Liar supporting a conspiracy theory,” and I’m not sure how anyone who can read at a third-grade level could possibly come to that conclusion. In fact, it is Mr. Waugh who stated that Professor May was not to be “believed”, and, when I alleged that Mr. Waugh was saying that May had lied in 2004, and that he [Mr. Waugh] was adding that to his conspiracy theory, Mr. Waugh said, “Of course, he [May] was being disingenuous, and then opined that what May had written was “as preposterous and mendacious as anything that ever spouted from the arse of a circus clown.” Mr. Waugh has since edited the comment to remove the word “mendacious” — you’ll have to ask him why he did that.

            So, you see, you are a very confused man and you have it all backwards here. The “emotionally charged language” that you have criticized belonged to Mr. Waugh. Therefore, it must be your opinion that Mr. Waugh’s arguments “are not the arguments of one who is comfortable with his own position, and make one suspect that, ultimately, he is not very secure in his own position.” I suppose you’ll have to mark him down too.

          • psi2u2

            “If you really believe Prof Steven May when he writes that his career would have received a catapult boost in the 1970s if he had been able to point out stylistic similarities between Oxford’s and ‘Shakespeare’s’ poems, then you really know nothing of the history of anti-Stratfordianism within academia.”

            Indeed, Alexander. Professor May, like Professor Nelson, understood full well which side of his bread was buttered on. Statements of this nature, which I have heard him say in person as well as read in print from him, reveal what one senior colleague, now at Harvard University, once described to me as the “false consciousness” of conformist scholars like May.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Roger, which side of your “bread is buttered on”? It has been my general experience that individuals who point out alleged faults in other people often have those faults themselves.

          • psi2u2

            You are the best example of this. My bread is not buttered on any side. I’m a professional writing instructor who pays for most of his research out of his own salary. Now, shall we ask again, will the partisans of the Oxfraud website who have participated so regularly and with such great zeal in this discussion state that they are not being paid for their activities? By all means, now would be an opportune time to clarify that.

          • And if I may, the core thesis as laid out in Looney’s book, Shakespeare Identified offers the following hostage to fortune:

            “our case will either stand or fall” as readers are convinced that De Vere’s poetry does in fact “contain the natural seed and clear promise” of Shakespeare’s verse …”

            In internet parlance, an epic fail.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Professor May spends quite a bit of time examining Looney’s analysis of the poetry, and he mentions that quotation from Looney’s book. I’ll need to look to see if I can find any Oxfordian rebuttal of May’s work on Oxford.

          • Richard Waugaman

            It also behooves us to read Prof. May’s comments about de Vere a bit more widely. He also wrote, “De Vere’s sixteen canonical poems are the output of a competent,
            fairly experimental poet working in the established modes of mid-
            century lyric verse.”

            That was in his 1980 article in Studies in Philology.

          • Dominic Hughes

            He also wrote the following:

            Let me conclude by summarizing what we must believe if we are to accept the Oxfordian hypothesis. Since nothing in Oxford’s canonical verse in any way hints at an affinity with the poetry of William Shakespeare, we must believe that Oxford made the leap from his mid-century poetic style to the late Elizabethan style without leaving behind a trace of transitional writing. We must next believe that, after publishing both verse and prose under his own name, the
            Earl was suddenly afflicted with a manic compulsion for anonymity. This compulsion did not lead him, however, to protest published references to him as a playwright or the ongoing publication of verse under his name or initials. He then enlisted, not someone among his own players, but the obscure actor from Stratford to set forth his own creative writing as Shakespeare’s work and under his name. We
            must next believe that De Vere and William took this secret to their graves, that they fooled everyone. We must believe that as Oxford’s finances deteriorated in the last decades of his life, he nevertheless permitted his accomplice Shakespeare to enjoy the profits that accrued from the popular and courtly success of both the Earl’s plays and his non-dramatic writings. Finally, to be Oxfordians, we must believe that the Earl LEFT Shakespeare a substantial corpus of plays and poems before he expired in obscurity
            and poverty. Shakespeare then parceled out his patron’s work, successfully representing it as his own to the end of his professional career some eight years after Oxford’s death. As a result, Shakespeare died well-to-do, if not wealthy, and highly esteemed to this very day for his alleged literary accomplishments. What a tale of clandestine intrigue, bizarre passion, plus the wholesale outwitting of friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances for over twenty years. Can you believe it? I rather hope that you can, for as I explained at the beginning of this Article, my own career would benefit enormously if enough of you
            would only subscribe to the Oxfordian position. Yet it is
            disingenuous of me to ask you to believe in something I cannot believe myself; regrettably, that leaves me with little alternative but to resume my career as an obscure English teacher at Georgetown College.

            Professor Steven W. May Vol 72, No. 1; Tennessee Law Review [Fall 2004]

          • Dingdong

            There are no signs that Shakespeare ever cared for the edition of his plays. But there are signs he was so doing between about 1600 and 1604 when a number of good quartos were printed. If we assume that Oxford was the author the fact can be explained without difficult. The more so because the epistle to the reader in the First Folio states that “It had bene a thing, we confesse, that the Author himselfe had liv’d to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings.” If we assume Shakespeare of Stratford was the author we must believe that Shakespeare of Stratford LEFT a substantial corpus of plays and poems and poems and to care for their edition… since 1604.

          • Dingdong

            Professor May’s statement now formatted:

            “we must believe that the Earl LEFT Shakespeare a substantial corpus of plays and poems before he expired”

            and for good measure my answer again:

            There are no signs that Shakespeare ever cared for the edition of his plays. But there are signs he was so doing between about 1600 and 1604 when a number of good quartos were printed. If we assume that Oxford was
            the author the fact can be explained without difficult. The more so because the epistle to the reader in the First Folio states that “It had bene a thing, we confesse, that the Author himselfe had liv’d to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings.” If we assume Shakespeare of
            Stratford was the author we must believe that Shakespeare of Stratford LEFT his fellow-actors a substantial corpus of plays and poems and poems and to care for their edition… since 1604

          • Dominic Hughes

            “There are no signs that Shakespeare ever cared for the edition of his plays.”

            You might want to hold that statement until you’ve read Lukas Erne’s ‘Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist’. Try to spread your wings and read something that doesn’t come from an Oxfordian position.

          • Dingdong

            “There are no signs that Shakespeare ever cared for the edition of his plays,”
            The statement was qualified by the next sentence. Between 1600 and 1604 he did care, 1600 is perhaps too late. 1598 is more exact.
            It is not necessary to read Lukas Erne to know that Shakespeare cared for his texts. In his work on the First Folio Walter W. Greg rejected the notion he did not care. But EK Chambers pointed to his “detachment” regarding the fate of his literary production; Similarly Gerald E. Bentley. Your final recommendation is superfluous and indicative of lack of self-control. By far the greatest part of my reading does not come from an Oxfordian position.

            Chambers and Bentley were of course pointing to the corrupt texts of the quartos

          • Dominic Hughes

            Erne goes quite a bit further than simply saying that Shakespeare “cared for his texts.”

            “Lack of self-control”? Seriously? All I was attempting to do was to point you to a book which I consider to be quite an excellent source. I’m glad to hear that you don’t confine yourself to the Oxfordian echo chamber, but your claim that it is unnecessary to read Erne, followed by your dismissive misrepresentation of his conclusions, runs contrary to your stated openness to reading scholarly literature that “does not come from an Oxfordian position.” I realize it is impossible to read every book on Shakespeare that we would like to read.

          • psi2u2

            “By far the greatest part of my reading does not come from an Oxfordian position.” Yep.

          • psi2u2

            I marked this statement down because it contains a personal attack that I personally know to be based on the same kind of fallacious presumption that characterizes most of Mr. “Hughes” comments. He’s now mentioned Lucas Erne’s book (which, as I already mentioned, I read and reviewed in a professional journal for librarians) twice. His reading list would appear to be markedly unimpressive compared to Dingdong’s.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Roger…you “marked it down”? I’m hurt. Will that go on my permanent record? But a “personal attack”…seriously? I was wrong to make an assumption as to Mr. Dingdong’s reading habits but what I said was hardly a personal attack.

            What is ironic here is that you take this opportunity to make an actual personal attack upon me, claiming that I make comments that are logically fallacious. And the really hilarious thing is that you engage in truly fallacious logic to make your attack on me. Your “reasoning”, such as it is: Dominic has mentioned Lukas Erne’s book twice. Therefore, Dominic’s reading list is less impressive compared to Dingdong’s list. Roger, are you able to spot the errors in logic in your statement?

            Perhaps you should mark yourself down.

          • psi2u2

            Professor May ignores the fact in this charming discussion that it is absolutely documented in more than one source that the Earl of Oxford wrote works under names other than his own. This renders his conclusions more than a little suspect.

            There is, secondly, the matter of “made the leap from his mid-century poetic style of the late Elizabethan style without leaving a trace of transitional writing.” Which “late Elizabethan style” does the good Professor have in mind – the style exemplified in *Edward III,* *Timon of Athens* or *King Lear*? These plays are all attributed in the Riverside edition of the plays to “Shakespeare” and yet the first two differ from Lear as much in style as the Oxford’s early lyrics do .

            This is a prime example of the romanticization of Shakespearean “style” — as if it were a homogeneous phenomenon — to which I already referred in a previous posting. Citing yet another “authority” who fails to grasp the problem posed by such sweeping generalizations does not help resolve it.

            As for “nothing in Oxford’s canonical verse in any way hints at an affinity with the poetry of William Shakespeare” this shows that Professor May is better at cataloging poetry than he is at assessing authorship through stylistic contiguity.

          • Tom Reedy

            “it is absolutely documented in more than one source that the Earl of Oxford wrote works under names other than his own.”


          • psi2u2

            This is not a bad place to begin: http://hankwhittemore.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/the-earl-of-oxford-in-the-arte-of-english-poesie-of-1589-reason-no-15-why-he-became-shakespeare-in-1593/. Its true that *The Arte* does not directly refer in this context to the common practice of the use of pseudonyms, but it does prominently list Oxford as among those who “suppressed” his own work. Among the other impressive evidence to the contemporary awareness of Oxford’s pseudonymous activities is probably Edward’s 1595 Narcissus, which I discussed in some detail in a *Cahiers Elisabethain* article available here: http://shake-speares-bible.com/pdf/affair_at_blackfriars.pdf

            And you might go on from there to look at the works of “Shakespeare” himself. Or do you not consider those to be documents? There’s always sonnet 76, in which the poet writes:

            And keep invention in a noted weed,
            That every word doth almost tell my name,
            Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?

            I realize that’s looking at the problem from a holistic perspective and you prefer not to do that, but sooner or later the poet’s own words will have to become documents. You can’t keep up the pretense that they aren’t forever.

          • Tom Reedy

            Oh, so when you write, “it is absolutely documented in more than one source that the Earl of Oxford wrote works under names other than his own”, what you really mean is that it is documented in Oxfordian literature, and not really “documented” in the historical sense of the term, just Oxfordian interpretations (some written by yourself) of what several poems–none of who mention Oxford–were saying.

            Glad we got that sorted out. I wouldn’t want anyone to think you were given to making ridiculous statements.

          • Dingdong

            If you carefully look through the present blog you’ll find some instances. Don’t make others responsible for your myopia magna.

          • Dominic Hughes

            “Absolutely documented”…??? Now you’re simply making up facts in an attempt to denigrate Professor May’s work. There is no such documented evidence.

            Professor May is not ignoring any “fact in this charming discussion” as he isn’t participating in the discussion. Maybe one day you’ll actually answer the question as to what affinity you find between Oxford’s known verse and that of Shakespeare instead of simply making sweeping generalizations.

            Finally, you ask questions as to what Professor might mean by certain terms used in his analysis, and then supply your own answers. That’s not a very scholarly approach. Don’t you have a copy of that volume of the UT Law Review — your own article also appears therein.

          • psi2u2

            I realize that one of your specializations is misconstruing any possibly ambiguous statement for the purposes of ridicule. The discussion to which I alluded was May’s discussion of Oxford’s reputation as a lyric poet and patron. Got it now?

            You state that “there is no such documented evidence” that Oxford wrote under names other than his own. Really? Do you really find parading your own ignorance in public to be so edifying that you need to make such a boob of yourself. Are you unaware of the testimony of *The Arte of English Poesie,* to cite merely one prominent instance?

          • Dominic Hughes

            Yes, really, and if you want to discuss the parading of ignorance, you could be a float in the Macy’s Parade — full of gas. I am well aware of the “testimony” of the *Arte of English Poesie,* and there is no testimony in that work does where “it is absolutely documented…that the Earl of Oxford wrote works under names other than his own,” as you have claimed. You even admit this below [while further butchering *The Arte*], where you state, “Its
            true that *The Arte* does not directly refer in this context to the
            common practice of the use of pseudonyms.” You obviously don’t know what is meant by “absolutely documented.” In addition, you stated as fact that it was “absolutely documented” in more than one work. Looks like the one making a boob of himself here is you.

          • Tom Reedy

            Professor May, like Professors Ward Elliott and Dean Simonton, began his investigations into Oxford with the hope to find something that would connect him with writing Shakespeare’s works. Being a real scholar, however, he changed his mind after examining and assessing the evidence, just like Elliott and Simonton did. He didn’t gerrymander the evidence to conform to a predetermined conclusion–IOW he didn’t use the Oxfordian method.

          • psi2u2

            This is a typical Tom Reedy fib.

          • Richard Waugaman

            That 1980 article by Steve May also includes the following:

            “Much as Oxford’s rash, unpredictable nature minimized his success in the world of practical affairs, he deserves recognition not only as a poet but as a nobleman with extraordinary intellectual interests and commitments. Sir George Buc’s awareness of De Vere’s financial ruin did not prevent him from characterizing the Earl as “a magnificent and a very learned and religious man.” Abundant evidence of Oxford’s lifelong devotion to learning occurs in the
            contemporary tributes to his patronage.”

          • Richard Waugaman

            Steve May (1980) also wrote,

            “The range of Oxford’s patronage is as remarkable as its substance… Among the thirty-three works dedicated to the Earl, six deal with religion and philosophy, two with music, and three with medicine; but the focus of his patronage was literary, for thirteen of the books presented to him were original or translated works of literature.”

          • Richard Waugaman

            Furthermore, Steve May (1980) wrote,

            “Scholars tend to belittle as well the significance of the Oxfordian movement, yet its leaders are educated men and women who are sincerely interested in Renaissance English culture. Their arguments for De Vere are entertained as at least plausible by hosts of intellectually respectable persons, and the general interest in the “Oxfordian” movement is undoubtedly more widespread now than ever before.”

          • Dingdong

            “I regret these enforced conclusions, however, because no one has more to gain than I from discovery of persuasive evidence linking
            Shakespeare’s work with Oxford. That discovery would catapult me from
            my obscure role as a professor of English at Georgetown College to the
            exalted status of a pioneering editor of the poems of Shakespeare.”

            And no one has more to lose from discovery of such persuasive evidence than Professor Steven May. Did Professor May ever care to examine the huge mass of anonymous poems? Did he ever try to examine the song texts? A quote is in order, from Edmund Horace Fellows, “The English Madrigal Composers” (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1921) “It was not in accordance with the custom of the time to print in the music-books the name of the author of the lyrics. This was not done even in the case of those poems of which we can actually identify the author; and the presumption is, therefore, that many more of these charming verses were written by the the great Elizabethan poets, some of them perhaps by Shakespeare himself.”

          • Dominic Hughes

            Your entire post is nothing but assertion and non-responsive speculation. Why don’t you actually read the article by Professor May that I cited and deal with the analysis that persuades him that there is an unbridgeable chasm between the known poetic output of Oxford and the works of Shakespeare.

          • Dingdong

            Dearest, dearest Dominic,

            How do you know what I read and what not?

          • Dominic Hughes

            Dear Dingdong: My statement consisted of two parts: “read AND deal with the analysis.” If you have already read Professor May’s article then you should be in a position to dealo with its analysis and conclusions.

          • Dingdong

            This is not the space to demonstrate that Prof. May’s reasoning is not always flawless, A few points can be hinted at succintly, In an article on Oxford’s poetry he rejects the ascription of “Love is a Discord” (in fact a translation of the French mid-16th century poet Mellin de St Gelais – which May failed to notice) to Oxford and attributes it to “Content” whom he takes to be Thomas Campion. In the same article he rejects the ascription to Oxford a second time and now attributes it to Robert Greene.
            He rejects Looney’s ascription of the song text “Fortune and Love” (the density of the text is Shakespeare-like)

            and ascribes it to Fulke Greville, In the addition to the 1591 edition of Sidney’s * Astrophel and Stella * it was ascribed to E.O. The text ascribed to E.O. is close to a third version, the one in Dowland’s * Book of Ayres *. The text in Greville’s complete works is different. The pastoral setting of Greville’s text is lost, merely by changing the lass “Jane” into the mythical figure “Myra”. Greville’s changed version was possibly not intended by him for inclusion in his complete works for the exact conditions of the publication are not known (part was probably done posthumously, as Fulke Greville was killed by his servant in 1628). Moreover, Greville’s sonnet XLIV (not properly a sonnet but so called) is a more or less slavish imitation of “Fortune and Love”. It suffices to compare both text to realize they cannnot stem from the same author.
            All this Steven May fails to check. I don’t pretend he’s a “liar” or a “forger”. But in this case he’s clearly biased.

          • psi2u2

            It is pity, my friend, that one must conclude so learned an exposition as yours by clarifying that in criticizing Professor May’s methodology you are not calling him a “liar” or a “forger.”

            Nor is it irrelevant to observe (and to keep carefully in mind), how frequently and with what brazen self-assurance Mr. Hughes and company employ a particular form of argumentation of this kind that amounts to a kind of inverse character assassination. Is there, in your knowledge, a term for this kind of logical fallacy? What would you call it?

          • Dominic Hughes

            It is a pity that Mr. Waugh and Roger have indulged in character assassination when it comes to Professor May, Waugh citing May’s analysis as dishonest and mendacious, and Roger accusing him of academic fraud motivated by a desire to stay in the good graces of the Stratfordian establishment. I don’t know what you think “forgery” has to do with anything here.

            As for the rest, your criticism of May appears to be that he does not attribute poems to Oxford that you would argue should be so attributed. Of course, you don’t sate how or why Professor May’s analysis would be at all different if these other poems were to be included. To top it off, the fact that May does not include the poems that you think should be given to Oxford is a sign that he is “clearly biased”. Mote/timber?

            I do agree that this is not the place for a full response to Dr. May’s analysis, but note that, so far, no Oxfordian has even made a cursory attempt to deal with it. I’ve asked, on a number of occasions now, to be directed to some scholarly rebuttal of Professor May’s work on Oxford, and, again, I’d note that no Oxfordian has supplied first citation to any such work. Perhaps there is no such rebuttal.

        • Felicity Morgan

          So, grudgingly, “De Vere made an effort with that letter… but [not] beautiful? Not beside the Stratford fellow’s prose.”
          Nat Whilk, we HAVE NO Stratford fellow’s prose, on vellum or anything else.

          Sorry but this is circular reasoning and brainwashing.
          Felicity M

          • Dingdong


            Here my
            analysis of Oxford’s poem after the Sicinian or Nathwilkian fashion of Oxford’s
            “A crown of bays shall that man wear”, a song text printed in 1576. Dull
            Oxfordians, as we are, will see this as a song with a refrain. But according to the
            more objective method of Sicinius and Nat Whilk the text shows the cruel,
            almost bestial deficiency of Oxford’s lyrics. So it could go:


            A crown of
            bays shall that man wear,

            That triumphs over me;

            For black and tawny will I wear,

            Which mourning colors be.

            The more I follow’d one,

            The more she fled away,

            As Daphne did full long agone

            Apollo’s wishful prey.

            The more my plaints I do resound

            The less she pities me;

            The more I sought the less I found,

            Yet mine she meant to be.

            Melpomene alas, with doleful tunes help then

            And sing Bis, woe worth on me forsaken man.

            Then Daphne’s bays shall that man wear,

            That triumphs over me;

            For black and tawny will I wear,

            Which mourning colors be.

            Drown me with trickling tears,

            You wailful wights of woe;

            Come help these hands to rend my hairs,

            My rueful hap to show.

            On whom the scorching flame

            Of love doth feed you see;

            Ah a lalalantida, my dear dame

            Hath thus tormented me.

            Wherefore you muses nine, with doleful tunes help than,

            And sing, Bis, woe worth on me forsaken man.

            Then Daphne’s bays shall that man wear,

            That triumphs over me;

            For black and tawny will I wear,

            Which mourning colors be;

            An anchor’s life to lead,

            With nails to scratch my grave,

            Where earthly worms on me shall feed,

            Is all the joy I crave;

            And hide myself from shame,

            Since that mine eyes do see,

            Ah a lalalantida, my dear dame

            Hath thus tormented me.

            And all that present be, with doleful tunes help than,

            And sing Bis, woe worth on me, forsaken man.

            Don’t you
            hear the pedant Holofernes?

          • Careful not to get a naked flame anywhere near that huge straw man you’ve built.

          • Dingdong

            First amend your poem. Meter is irregular here and there. Certificate as ‘meter-meter’ refused.

          • It’s based on Dyer, so of course the metre is irregular. I could have based it on one of Oxford’s poems but I’m allergic to monosyllabic pentameter.

          • Better?

          • psi2u2

            The brainwashed trying to wash the brains of others.

    • psi2u2

      We already noticed that this was the new Shaxmeme, “Nat.” You might want to actually read the Earl of Oxford’s letters, as well as his poems, before continuing to parade your absolute ignorance in public as if it was some sort of argument. You can read the letters in one of two forms, at least. First there’s Alan Nelson’s old spelling transcripts, done during Nelson’s highly subsidized research for his book “Monstrous Adversary.” This book was written because orthodoxy needed a nice Oxford-bashing book. Looking into their crystal balls in the early 1990s, orthodox scholars knew that little internet squibs would not stem the tide of interest in Oxford. Stronger medicine was needed. They would transform the Oxford not only into a “bad poet” but a monstrous adversary.

      The other place you can find Oxford’s letters is in William Plumer Fowler’s *Shakespeare Revealed in Oxford’s Letters,* (1986), published almost two decades before Nelson’s *Monstrous Adversary*. If you really have a sincere interest in the dense lexical, semantic, and syntactic parallelisms between Oxford’s surviving prose and the works of Shakespeare this is clearly the place to begin. Fowler documented over 900 pages of parallelism between 37 surviving Oxford letters (not all of them by any means, but definitely the most interesting ones) and the Shakespeare canon. Unlike Professor Nelson, Fowler’s was a labor of love. He was not being paid to promote disinformation. I highly recommend the book. I don’t say that it’s conclusions are beyond doubt – the Oxfordians can afford to leave those sorts of outlandish claims to your team. But the book does advance scholarship and reveal just why you are now spitting into the wind.

  • Helen H Gordon

    Parody for Bardolaters
    © Helen Heightsman Gordon, M.A., Ed. D.

    Let me not to the carnage of closed minds
    Admit new evidence. Truth is not true
    Which alters not when orthodoxy binds
    And mummifies archaic points of view.

    O, no! The messenger will not succumb
    To all your ridicule and calumnies.
    A truthful messenger might be struck dumb,
    But logic trumps impassioned fallacies.

    Calling opponents nuts or snobs or cranks
    Does not invalidate their arguments.
    Nor have you proved the rightness in your ranks
    By iterating myths that make no sense.

    None are so blind as those who will not see,
    Who fool themselves with false Bardolatry.

    • psi2u2

      Lovely, Helen.

    • MY mind is on an earldom bent;
      All Shakespeare’s work therein I find,
      It quite excels as argument
      In study where I never shined.
      Though much I tried, it never took:
      Will’s drama didn’t snag my hook.

      No princely pomp, no bright patina,
      No Verona, Venice or Messina
      No wily wit, no burst of action,
      Ever gave me satisfaction;
      To none of these I listened and;
      For why? I didn’t understand.

      But now I see bright new potentials,
      To join debate; appearing wise.
      By casting doubt on Will’s credentials
      Cut orthodoxy down to size.
      And without toil, no work endemic:
      Mine mind becomes an academic.

      Content I live, to rant and reckon;
      I seek much more than may suffice;
      Awards and honour loudly beckon;
      Evidence I lack my mind supplies.
      I turn all fact to ambivalence,
      While scholars weep for common sense.

      • Helen H Gordon

        Nice try, Socinius, but see how hard
        it is to emulate the Bard!

        • Not hard, impossible. Oxford however….

      • F. Arthur Holding

        Nice job on your poem, Mr. Sicinius! Perhaps it is surprising that you show your only talents at imitating Oxford, but nowhere in any of your other comments. Maybe your case is not forever hopeless.

  • >>Its Shakespearean quality will be discernible to anyone widely and closely read in the canon

    Discern me a Shakespearean quality, then.

    Then discern me this sentiment somewhere else in Oxford’s work:

    I seek no more than may suffice;
    I press to bear no haughty sway;

    • psi2u2

      Please click on the already provided link to Looney’s analysis of the poems — which, as I already said — is the place to begin in evaluating the close connections between Oxford’s verse and Shakespeare. If you’d like to discuss any of Looney’s examples, I’m sure that would be useful. But kindly stop asking me to reinvent the wheel just because you are such a dull, insulting, and slow student.

      • Looney was completely incapable of backing up his broad claims with actual analysis, famously claiming ‘terse genius’ in a rambling piece of Oxford’s prose and detecting and a ‘wealth of figurative language’ in a piece which had no figures of speech.

        You have posted up a piece of work in which ‘Shakespearean quality’ is supposedly discernible to anyone, yet when it comes to actually discerning it, you’re stumped.

        • psi2u2

          Like I said, I’d be happy to discuss your *specific* criticisms of Looney’s analysis, which is certainly not beyond criticism. I’m not at all interested in discussing your prejudices or responding to your fulminations. Those are your problem, not anyone else’s. And they do not not constitute criticism. Did you even graduate from college, Mike?

          • You’re in a bind. A big one. You’ve made a categoric qualitative statement about a poem and you can’t back it up.

            I don’t see how someone who says “Its Shakespearean quality will be discernible to anyone widely and closely read in the canon”, can expect to have any credibility in this debate without being able to point to a single example that illustrates the claim. You’re doing exactly what Looney did. Imagining things that aren’t there.

            You either know what you are talking about, or you don’t.

            If you know what you’re talking about, you will now give examples which support your statement rather than trawling insults in the hope of a diversion.

  • Alexander Waugh

    The Spectator has kindly agreed to display the image from William Covell’s Polimanteia (1595) on this web page. If you haven’t seen it already you need to scroll up to the original diary article above. For a full discussion of the relevance of this reference to the Shakespeare authorship debate readers may turn to the article I wrote for the current De Vere Society Newsletter which can be found online at http://www.deveresociety.co.uk/pdf/Waugh_Secret.pdf. Those who do not wish to read the full argument may examine the above image where they will see that the unique phrase ‘court-deare-verse’ is supported by a marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare.’ You will also notice the phrase ‘in contracted shape’ a little lower down the text. Now ‘courte-deare-verse’ read ‘in contracted shape’ renders the message ‘our de Vere’ while the remaining letters provide an anagram of ‘a secret’ so that the whole message, annotated by the marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare’ Reads ‘Our de Vere – a secret” with the word ‘Oxford’ placed tidily above the half-concealed words ‘de Vere’ and within the compass of the whole left-hand marginal note ‘Lucrecia Sweet Shak-speare.’ There are other word puzzles and games lurking just beneath the surface of this piece of text which I hope readers will enjoy trying to figure out for themselves.

    In reacting to this recent revelation most Stratfordians reluctantly seem to agree that Edward de Vere was indeed being referenced in ‘courte-deare-verse’ however they are studiously excluding the possibility that Covell’s intent was to reveal the true identity of ‘William Shakespeare.’ One anonymous Stratfordian, on this blog, calling himself “Nat Whilk’ BA (Eng Lit), has insisted ‘Covell had nothing whatever to say about Edward de Vere,’ but gives no reasons for drawing this conclusion. The first Stratfordian in 400 years to attempt an explanation of the relation between Covell’s text and the supporting marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare’ has done so as a result of this blog.

    Readers are invited to speculate whether this message (which could have been deciphered as easily in 1595 as it was by me 2013) was deliberately planted in Polimanteia by its author, or whether it was all an extraordinary fluke – an unintended outcome that just so happened to support arguments for the Oxfordian identity of ‘William Shakespeare.’

    Thank you Spectator!


    • Nat Whilk

      “Most Stratfordians reluctantly seem to agree that Edward de Vere was indeed being referenced in ‘courte-deare-verse.'”

      Really? Cite one.

      Yes, it’s a very pretty giraffe. And a phantom, like your heart attack.

      Nat Whilk

      • Alexander Waugh

        Dear pseudonymous ‘Nat Whilk’ BA (Eng Lit), ‘Cite one’ Stratfordian you implore, who seemed to agree that Edward de Vere was referenced by William Covell in ‘Polimanteia’. OK, where shall I start? There was a Stratfraudian calling himself ‘Samuel Johnson’ who published a letter in the print version of The Spectator (9 Nov 2013) following my diary piece. He argued that the Polimanteia ref to de Vere ‘proves nothing. That some people believed something at the time does not mean it is true.’ Prof Stanley Wells in private correspondence with me did not dispute the ‘de Vere’ part of my analysis though he tried to assert that the word ‘our’ was ‘mere padding’ until I pointed out to him that “my Virgil” and ‘”thy Petrarch” occur in the same passage so that “our de Vere” was perfectly in keeping, and that furthermore de Vere was a member of Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Inns of Court as well as Lord Great Chamberlain of England so that in the Polimanteian letter “From England to her Three Daughters, Oxford, Cambridge and the Inns of Court’ the term ‘our de Vere’ makes perfect sense. So Professor Wells then tried to attack the anagram ‘a secret’ claiming it ‘could also make e g ‘set race’ or ‘arse etc’. I replied to Prof Wells:

        “Good joke about ‘arse etc’. You left out ‘creates’ as another possible anagram. As you know ‘&c’ would have been used in 1595, not ‘etc.’ OED sites the first example of ‘etc’ (the abbreviated form) in 1920. ‘set race’ has no meaning in this context. ‘a secret’ (unfortunately for you guys) does, so at a push does ‘creates’ but even that would serve to support the Oxfordian position.”

        So the natural and obvious conclusion is that Prof Wells accepted ‘de Vere’ since his only arguments were directed against words ‘our’ and the anagram ‘a secret.’

        Next, Oh yes, on this very blog, a brother of yours called Mike Gordon argued that William Covell was not praising de Vere as ‘Shakespeare’ but attempting to dispraise him as someone who boasts of his own poems and is inferior to Shakespeare.

        So you, my dear pseudonymous ‘Nat Whilk’ BA (Eng Lit), are the only Stratfordian to date who has proclaimed that Covell had absolutely nothing to say about de Vere and, as I remarked in my previous post, you have been very coy and reticent in sharing your reasons for such a grand and confident conclusion.

        My advice to you: Rally all the Oxfrauds you can find to bombard this blog cite with their agreement of your unreasoned and sweeping statement.

        Oh and by the way, John Rollett, the Derbyite of whom I am sure you are aware, also reasons that ‘de Vere’ was referenced in this passage, but uses this de Vere ref, not to argue the de Vere case, but to point out yet another example of contemporaries showing awareness that ‘Shakespeare’ was a pseudonym – rather like ‘Nat Whilk.’
        Yours in sympathy, Alexander W.

        A Waugh

        • Tom Reedy

          You are misconstruing Professor Wells’ comments the same way you are Covell’s. I may be in error, but Johnson’s comments seemed highly conditional to me. And Mike Gorden has since reconsidered and changed his mind, which you should know if you are familiar with the http://oxfraud.com/ web site.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Tom Reedy, Well, well, I wondered when you might step in to rescue the great mess up that the pastor ‘Whilk’ and his fellow Frauds have been making of things. Anyway, it is good to be addressing someone by his real name for a change. So, can you give me a straight answer to this:

            Given that my contention is that Covell’s phrase ‘courte-deare-verse’ is a deliberate anagram of ‘our de Vere – a secret,’ can you explain why Professor Wells sent me two alternative anagrams for ‘a secret’ if he was not accepting ‘our de Vere’ as a given?

            Your boastful pseudonymous friend ‘Whilk’ challenged me to find one example of a Stratfordian who ‘seemed to accept that Covell was referencing de Vere.’ I gave him three. Good to see that the Frauds are at last trying to get your story co-ordinated. Well done Mike Gordon for so quickly changing his mind! Samuel Johnson alas is stuck in print. Perhaps he should send a written retraction to the editor.


          • Tom Reedy

            Not having seen the originals, I suspect that Wells was most likely parodying your “solution”. Subtlety escapes most Oxfordians. You may be an exception, but judging by your responses here, I doubt it. Apparently it’s not a genetic trait.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Here is the complete text of the email Professor Wells sent me:

            Dear Alexander,

            Yes, I told Dalya I thought you were playing Scrabble. Certainly the author was deliberately being cryptic, like the author of Willobie his Avisa. But I have no solution to the puzzles he poses. The placing of the words on the page is likely to owe more to the compositor than to the author. In your anagram the word ‘our’ is mere padding. And the letters that make up ‘a secret’ could also make e g ‘set race’ or ‘arse etc’.

            Best wishes,


            Now can you answer my question?


          • Tom Reedy

            And you think that Wells’ message indicates that he agrees that he was “accepting ‘our de Vere’ as a given”? Having read Roger’s non-response to a similar question, I know it’s hard to get a straight answer from Oxfordians, but could you point out exactly what in that message gives you that idea?

          • Alexander Waugh

            So you need me to repeat my question and to repeat my request for a straight answer from you. I shall do so:

            Given that my contention is that Covell’s phrase ‘courte-deare-verse’ is a deliberate anagram of ‘our de Vere – a secret,’ can you explain why Professor Wells sent me two alternative anagrams for ‘a secret’ if he was not accepting ‘our de Vere’ as a given?

            Please do as you are told and answer the question.


          • Tom Reedy

            Look, if you think Wells is accepting your idea, that’s fine with me, whatever makes you happy, but I see no indication whatsoever that he does; you’re misreading him severely. So pardon me if I cannot “do as I am told” since I don’t accept the premise of the question. If you can point out the exact language that causes you to think that Wells does so, fire away.

            I’m sure you think your anagram “solution” is a wonderful thing; I have no objection to you thinking so, and in fact I’m sure it will open new and exciting doors for you–you might even be named Oxfordian of the Year at the next convention of 80 or so true believers. But I have better things to do than sit here answering your inanities.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Reedy, they drafted you in to steady the ship. You have almost capsized it. Three times you have waffled and dodged the same question. I shall not embarrass you by asking it again. Perhaps you will answer another one instead:

            What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he supported the phrase “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” with the aligned text-note “Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare.”?

            You have a bit of time, so don’t rush it, and yes you may confer with other Frauds so that you are not all spraying contradictory answers around the place like you did before. All I require is a meaningful, intelligent and coherent answer to this question. Now off you go, and good luck!


          • Tom Reedy

            In addition to your obvious lack of reading comprehension and total misapprehension of Wells’ irony, you are even more deluded than I first thought. As Tom Disch used to say, have fun with your new head.

          • Nat Whilk

            Irony indeed. Waugh said, ‘Look, a giraffe!’ Wells said, ‘Gosh, how about a flying pig? or a bicycle?’ Not quite the affirmation Waugh insists.

            As long as he’s playing Scrabble, he could broaden his game.

            How about ‘career due to verse’? (with reference to that Stratford fellow in the margin). Or ‘redecorates revue’? (a prescient vision of Inigo Jones). Or ‘Eve creates ordure’? (clearly a misogynist meditation on the Fall).

            Or if he must have his lordship, why not:

            Vere seduce ear? Rot

            Terse: Vere cad, roue

            De Vere, trouser ace

            And why exclude ‘thy’? Look what he could do with three more tiles:

            A cheesy tortured verse

            A trochee? Restudy verse

            Sc[ilicet] De Vere: a rusty hetero

            De Vere’s career—tush toy

            Or maybe the prophetic Covell saw Oxfordians unborn, and cursed them:

            Chartreuse-eyed voters

            Traducer! (Vetoes heresy.)

            Destroy these verrucae!


          • I cannot, after reading the above, resist quoting the ever-living Rambling Sid Rumpo’s camp version of The Internationale.

            The people’s flag is brightest puce,
            With fleur-de-lys in pale chartroose.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear “Whilk” You are a funny fellow! A couple of days ago you were damning anagrams in very uncouth terms. Now it looks as if you’ve been spending all night having a ball with them. See if you can do ‘Pay labia sub’? There’s a message in it for you.

            Listen, can you also give some assistance to that cheeky chappy from Texas? He’s got stuck on a question I set him – not a hard one since it only asked for his opinion on something but you know what it’s like – can’t get good staff anywhere these days! I’ve given him a bit more time but have a horrid suspicion he’s going to flunk it again. Perhaps with the confidence of your degree (Eng Lit) you can set an example by answering it yourself. Have a go:

            ‘What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he supported the phrase “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” with the aligned text-note “Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare.”?’


          • He didn’t have one.

            He’s just referred to Cambridge (first, naturally) and is balancing things up by referring to England’s second, less worthy academic institution, to keep things sweet.

            Claiming anagrams of the words ‘verse’ and ‘ever’ gets you nowhere. Both words are so frequent, especially in this context, that they are cryptically useless. Both merely supply the letter ‘v’ to the anagrammer along with the commonest vowel and two of the commonest consonants.

            A good anagram, like any cipher, has one unambiguous solution. If Covell was anagrammatically releasing a secret, and a big one, he’d could and would have done it 50 times better than this.

            As Nat says, what’s going on here is pareidolia.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Sicinius, you are trying, and I respect you for that, but your answer is, yet again, a dodge. Please stop worrying about ‘anagrams’ we’ve all heard what you have to say about my interpretation of Covell, what we all now want to hear is yours. And the question, I asked, if you remember, was to do with the relation between the marginal note “Sweet Shak-speare” and the text against which it is aligned. Your answer does not explain why someone who (as you say) has “just referred to Cambridge (first, naturally) and is balancing things up
            by referring to England’s second, less worthy academic institution, to keep things sweet” why this person needs to annotate that particular message with the words ‘Lucretia sweet Shakspeare”? We need your, or “Whilk’s” or Reedy’s answer to that please.


          • psi2u2

            “your obvious lack of reading comprehension.”

            That is pretty rich coming from a guy who is a public relations officer in a sherrif’s office in Texas, written to the editor of the Oxford University Press’ edition of the collected works of Evelyn Waugh. It really makes you wonder, “why does Tom Reedy even care?” What makes Tom Reedy tick? Why does Tom Reedy continue the thankless task of pointing out to the world what morons he likes to debate with?

          • Alexander Waugh

            OK Tom Reedy I gave you a bit of time and allowed you to confer with fellow Frauds, but you’ve now spent two days mulling over this one and still you have not come up with an answer to the question I set you..

            Just to remind, this was the question:

            ‘What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he
            supported the phrase “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse”
            with the aligned text-note “Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare.”?’

            I shall give you another two days and if you fail to offer a focused response after that I shall assume you are unable to provide an answer. Fair?


          • Tom Reedy

            > Just to remind, this was the question:

            > ‘What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he supported the phrase “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” with the aligned text-note “Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare.”?’

            No, that was not the question. The statement that began this little exchange was this:

            “Most Stratfordians reluctantly seem to agree that Edward de Vere was indeed being referenced in ‘courte-deare-verse.'”

            Nat Whilk challenged you to name one. As it happens, your “most Stratfordians” turned out to be exactly three: Mike Gordon, who originally thought “Oxford” referred to the earl but later learned it was the university; Stanley Wells, whose politeness caused you to misread his message; and one Samuel Johnson of London, who mistook the passage for a letter.

            Your question to me was, “Given that my contention is that Covell’s phrase ‘courte-deare-verse’ is a deliberate anagram of ‘our de Vere – a secret,’ can you explain why Professor Wells sent me two alternative anagrams for ‘a secret’ if he was not accepting ‘our de Vere’ as a given?”

            I of course answered that by revealing to you (probably the last person to get it) that Wells was in effect ridiculing your “solution”, not “accepting ‘our de Vere’ as a given”, and so I could not answer your question because it was based on a false assumption. You don’t seem to have understood what I wrote, so I asked you to point out exactly what in Wells’ message gave you the impression that he agreed with you that the “solution” was valid. So far, you have not done so, and my guess is that you haven’t because you can’t, after having Wells’ irony pointed out to you. If you want, you could e-mail him again and ask him to clarify; that would be the easiest way to learn what he meant by his reply. He seems to be amenable to answering your messages, so nothing is stopping you from untangling this in your mind. If I’m wrong, I’ll gladly admit I mistook his meaning.

            As to your other, new question, which you have tried to conflate with your first one, “What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he supported the phrase ‘Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse’ with the aligned text-note ‘Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare’?”, once again you are assuming that the “message” was intended on the part of the author. My answer is that Covell had no “intended purpose of meaning” because he didn’t align the marginal note with the text in the finished publication, and you have absolutely nothing to support your contention that he did.

            We have exactly zero manuscripts used by printers to set type from the era, but we do have examples from the mid-17th century. In every case it appears that printers regularised spellings and formatted page layouts themselves or by following general instructions from the publisher or the author. I doubt that it was generally any different in Shakespeare’s day. We do have some examples of published books where it is obvious that the author worked closely with the printer—Shakespeare’s *V&A* for one and Jonson’s *Workes* for another, but those are the exceptions that proof the rule. If you want to try to prove that Covell worked closely with his publisher and printer, you need to survey the other works they produced and point out how Covell’s book differentiates from their standard practices. That probably wouldn’t prove it in the absolute sense, but it would work to support or weaken your argument.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Reedy, well done for getting your essay in on time. I have marked it ‘C’ (much higher than your average for this term) as I am trying to encourage you to work harder in the few weeks remaining until Christmas break.

            If you are seriously intending to prove your theory (cribbed from Leadbetter?) that the marginal note ‘Lucretia Sweet-Shak-speare’ was aligned to the main text phrase ‘Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse’ for no purpose whatsoever you will need to bolster it with strong examples of this type of authorial eccentricity from both internal and external sources.

            So, for homework this week, you are to:

            a) Find other examples from within ‘Polimanteia’ of marginal notes (besides ‘Sweet Shak-speare’) that have been placed with no intended reference to the text and:
            b) Supply a list of writers (from any age) that have employed footnotes, marginal notes or end notes with no purpose of meaning, in the way that you suggest Covell has done in Polimanteia.

            Remember: always refer to the text; give your sources; check through all that you have written before posting and avoid hyperbolic redundancies eg. ‘vast conspiracy’ etc.

            Mr Waugh

            PS: This afternoon’s games have been cancelled due to the weather. You are to report to Miss Lea’s drama class in Great Hall at 3.30pm instead.

          • Beth345

            It seems that the esteemed Professor Wells is being quoted here and there in this debate and assumptions are being made as to what he may or may not have intended by certain statements, and it seems rather a shame that he is not able to participate directly. If, P

          • Tom Reedy

            I gather Mr Waugh did not contact him again as I suggested, or if he did he didn’t get the answer he wanted, otherwise we’d’ve heard about it by now.

          • Hieronymite

            Of course one can go too far with anagrams and the discovery that the writer of a text was posing puzzles, perhaps extensively. And so with the Polimanteia.

            If one has made a good finding, something as solid (yet
            always open to doubt) as the name of De Vere in close proximity of ‘Shakespeare’, the cipher hounds will bay and the game is afoot. Yet possibly it’s best to leave a good thing alone.

            For example, the breaking of a line in Polimanteia sometimes gives us E-VER, and we will find that the word OXFORD appears in close proximity with VERE a couple of times more. Or we would certainly take notice of this strange animal: “howsoe[ver]”, typeset just so. These things are in the book, and in the heat of the chase will certainly be noticed.

            Or notice that the intro. note to Robert Devereaux spells him out as DEVORAX, which is legitimate, but the tracker can hunt out VER OX in the name, with AD left over. According to the best and maybe only rules of Elizabethan anagramming, essays by Henry Peacham and Drummond of Hawthornden, such foolery is inside the pale.)

            These are the sort of prints that someone on the trail will
            sight and sniff at. But where does that lead us? Since these finding have nothing to do with the original discovery that De Vere is Shakespeare (and I take it to be so), what has the appearance of VER set aside in several places have to do with the case? I suppose one might say that the writer of Polimanteia is signing his name here and there, a small vanity to say that he (Edward de Vere) wrote the thing entirely and the author was neither Clerke nor Covell. Alas, the enthusiasm of sleuthing goes along like this, a madness
            searching for a method.

            Or, if we are led by hyphens to suspect some trickery is
            being tried, there is this pieced-out praise of Essex (my caps): “…thrise honorable & WORTHILIE-Worthie-honoured-noble-Essex.” Obeying the rules of anagramming of those days, we might take WORTHILIE to be an anagram for WRIOTHESLEY. That would be allowed, the anagram having only an S left over, and we are allowed the grace of taking I for Y. That’s perfectly okay. But what’s the use of it, except to remark that Essex and Wriothesley (Devorax and Southampton) were Captain and Lieutenant in the attempt to overthrow the government?

            But beware! The writer of Polimanteia spends several pages telling us (in the mouth of Mother England) to avoid such divinations discovered in the subtle design and knitting up of words, for such is the work of the devil. Up front in the book she tells us so, a caution worth repeating in a few lines:

            “…he (the devil) talketh by circumstances and dark figures, sometimes telling the trueth to gaine credit to his false lyes, seeing by a malicious instinct he striveth to obscure the trueth, to the great damage of mortall men. For his delight is in falsehood, and his joy is in our fall. That is the reason why hee useth these doubtfull & uncertaine answers, to the intent to abuse men by his ridiculous apish mockeries, and finally to bring them by a certaine feare, and a sorrow of things to come, to most abominable wickednesse, in executing the self same evil, which before he had told unto him, that inquired of it.”

            And so we are instructed against the ungodly practice of
            ‘signifying’ with any sort of double-speak, including anagrams, the fugitive layout of parallel lines, triangles, or whate[ver] seeking to find out secrets in Polimanteia. Mother England thereby absolves herself of the devilish practice, yet in confessing her concern for the distress of England, the great inequalities in the state (much spoken of), excess in fashion and the stunting of true worth, she submits to divination and prophecy herself in these lines, ah, by the very motions of the heavens:

            “And as for my owne part (sillie distressed as I am) I have
            considered the threatnings of God against my subjects lives: the tokens sent me not long since: the wonders that heaven shewed: the lowed speech that the dumbe creatures used, and all onely for this end, that I fearing might perswade you, and you perswaded might make mee to live without feare: yet I relie not so farre upon Astrologicall reason, as upon the strange starre 1572, the Comets that have appeared since: the great thunder 1584, the terrible Earth-quake the first of March the same year; the strange inundations not long since: the fearfull mortalitie that hath hewed downe my tallest Cedars, and moved (as it were) the lesser plants: yet I take these to bee meanes to humble me, least in pride of courage I overweiningly doe love my self.”

            The sky is falling! Disruptions everywhere! Strange stars!
            Beware of dark matter!

          • Alexander Waugh

            I agree, one can go too far with anagrams. Good point. The ‘Courte-deare-verse/Oxford/Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare/in contracted shape’ message is of course one hell of a lot more than a mere anagram, and that is the great stumbling block for the Strats, who cannot explain all this stuff, except by saying, inaccurately, that it is ‘just an anagram.’ But you are better than that, Hieronymous. Can you explain how this ref. supports the Earl of Derby’s claim? Alexander

          • Hieronymite

            The writer of Polimanteia may indeed have picked out an
            anagram to tell us that that Shakespeare was de Vere. If Neuendorffer and Waugh can solve that, we may be sure that Walsingham and his secret service boys found it also. We might suppose that the news was harmless to the state, so it was let pass. The Three Sisters (Cambridge, Oxford, and the Innes of Court) would have known the guise, and amongst several other poets were merely honoring their own.

            Mother England had something else on her mind. It might be called sedition. She puts up this paragraph below. I’ve redacted two or three words within the brackets indicated.

            “This age having received into her hands the Commonwealth, resembling a table of most curious and exact workmanship, yet obscured (as it were) and darkened with old age, doth so blame her selfe that anie shal go about to renew her colours, that she hath not so much as care to preserue her rude darke dimmed and obscured shadowes: for what is left now of the ancient
            [……] manners, which happily sometime sustained the Common wealth? Where is now that worthie and ancient honor due to the learned Student and couragious
            Souldier? These are so long since worne out of use [….] that sometimes flourished, seemes now to want the verie remembrance of them. It is needful therefore that I should awake the eternally famosed personages of olde, who lived once honourable to their countrie, but now lye dead, and their vertues buried with them, because few or none can be found to followe their example. Wee live to
            render an account for this offence, but God graunt wee bee not found faultie and chastised for our labour: for it is not by chance but by our sinne, that we have but the appearance of a state well governed, the trueth whereof we have lost long since.”

            I’ll fill in those brackets in another post. Better yet, let
            the readers at this place discover the context for themselves, and note the while several other comments of Mother England speaking her despite of the times, the rule and ruin of the state, and the question of succession, which is anathema. The final essay in Polimanteia is “Loyalties Speech to Englands Children.” The subject is treason, and what a bad thing it is, looked at with horror, but pressed upon.

            “…so rebellion (a thing which I quake to heare of) sedition (a thing which I hope I shall never heare of) are both so capitall in themselves, and so detested of all ages, as the people must needs be barbarous that live to doe them, and the Prince, land, and people lamentably miserable, that live to suffer them. And if it were not that false pretences (an usuall cloak for the greatest faults) did make men thinke they were lesse offensive, never traitor would intend his Princes death, but take punishment of himselfe for so bad a thought: & never subjects would draw their swords in seditious manner, but sheath them in the guiltie intrals of their own bowels….”

            And so forth, bringing treason to his treatise for several
            pages. It seems to me that the writer of all this might have found a better candidate for a dedication than Essex, who five years later with his Worthelie lieutenant Henry Worthesley attempted to overthrow the government. The writer (W.C. or Covell I much doubt) offers his duty thus:

            “And I (who though I must needs honour) yet usually with so deepe affection am not devoted without cause) doe so in kindnesse and love (if that be not a word too presumptuous passe over the full interest of my self to
            your dispose, as in what kinde soever a scholar may doe his dutie, I am ready and desirous to be commanded by you…”

            But read the Polimanteia in full.


          • Alexander Waugh

            Thanks Heironymous I have read Polimanteia in full so many times that I practically know it by heart. My book which will shortly be coming out is all about it. I am very glad to see that I am not the only one looking seriously now at this fascinating text. I hope others will join us. I know you are not an Oxfordian but don’t get hung up on this ‘it’s only just an anagram.’ nonsense. “Nat Whilk” tried that and I have put him right about it on this blog. You need to explain much more than just the anagram ‘a secret.’ In fact you can dispense with that and Covell’s message remains the same. You need to explain the alignment of the marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare’ the word ‘Oxford’ and it’s placement above the halfe concealed ‘de Vere’ the fact that ‘courte-deare-verse’ can be read ‘in contracted shape’ as ‘our de Vere’ which is not strictly an anagram since all words and letters appear in the same order. Let us know when you are next in England and I can take you through some other extremely interesting aspects of this text which I do not believe you have spotted, very best Alexander

          • Hieronymite

            I find a passage in Covell’s “Preface to the Reader’ that
            needs some understanding:

            “…taking leisure but to pause a little, my penne grewe
            passionate, and my idle papers scattered unawares flew abroad….”

            Two readings might be got from this. It might mean that
            Covell’s papers were purloined and flew abroad, or that Covell flew abroad. Taking up the first possibility, we have no notice that the papers of the man were distributed
            or published anywhere except in England. Taking up the other possibility, it suggests that Covell himself flew abroad. Even lacking a comma between ‘unawares’ and ‘flew’, that’s still the best reading, but it’s wrong for another reason: Covell never left England.

            Therefore, who wrote the Polimanteia? Evidently the writer is someone who suffered the loss of some ‘idle’ mss. (perhaps too passionate), and left England in a hurry. If it wasn’t Covell, who was it?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Hieronymite,

            I have been using the term ‘Covell’s Polimanteia’ in this blog for convenience, because Covell’s name appears under the dedication to one of the 1595 copies. I am absolutely confident that the Puritan Covell did not write this work but that his name was stuck upon it at a time when he was criticised for insulting aristocrats. If you are working on trying to establish the real author I would be very interested in following your adventure.

            I can think of many Elizabethan examples in which we find a name subscribed to a dedication or other prefatory matter – a name that is consequently assumed by ‘scholars’ to be the real author. We have, for example ‘W.K’ on Pigmalion’s Image; ‘Hadrian Dorrell’ on Willobie his Avisa; ‘Peter Colse’ on Penelope’s Complaint; ‘Richard Field’ on ‘Arte of Poesie’ ‘William Shakespeare’ on Venus and Lucrece etc etc. Well we know that none of those were the authors of those works even though their names can be found upon the dedication pages. It was a familiar way of deceiving without actually lying ‘William Covell’ is no exception. We must all keep searching for the real author. Keep it up Hieronymite!


          • Hieronymite

            POLIMANTEIA – To the Reader

            “Nobilitie fully learned made choice [My L. Henry Howard ]
            to handle the same argument, and with such profounde deepe skill performed it, as that truth taketh her selfe much bound unto him, who made her to speake eloquently that useth to be plaine, and false prophesies ashamed, who so long have usurped truths titles. From hence maist thou learne (or at least remember) that the greatest Monarches (howsoever proud in their owne strength must either fall with an enemies stroake, or (as Rome did) with her own waight: here maist thou see that nothing is so made, but
            subject to great change.” (pp. 5 – 6)

            There is much to wonder at in such a speech, how truth is
            usurped of its title and the fall of a state. But if one would search for a deeper meaning in this passage, know that such fishing in the sea of language is the work of the devil. The writer himself is innocent of such angling in his
            language that prophecy is to be taken from his book. Yet it’s well to look at the practice that we may be warned, so to abhor divination altogether.

            “Divination is a foretelling of things to come, performing
            it in divers manners, as well artificially, as naturally.” (p. 9)

            “But let us see a little nearer the divels policie, of what
            force & efficacie it is, especially in those things which concerne the ruines of Government, or change of a Common-wealth.” (p. 12)

            The Devil also knows the passing of the Scepter, given or
            taken, and how long the estate of Government shal endure, “and the enemies which shal rise up for the ruine of it.” Yea, and the Prince of Darkness knows of “the estate & change of Monarchies which must happen…” (p.13)

            We are given lessons out of history regarding the power of
            Satan, his subtle hand, for he is an “Ambidexter”, and worse yet he “knoweth the scripture” The troubling of the crown, even to the fall of a Prince, is known by the evil one, and divination into the affairs of men is his subtle employment, giving out his answers “hid, darke, double, and doubtful…being only led by suspicious and sleight conjectures…” (p.16)

            The writer gives the example of such foolish conjuring by
            citing the Emperor Valens, who, wishing to know the name of treachery, set a cock to the task. The bird pecked out four letters from a scatter of grain that spelled in part the name of his enemies, and he had them killed. Alas, in such a way as George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence) in Richard III is condemned by a single letter in his name, as follows.

            “He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;
            And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.
            And says a wizard told him that by G
            His issue disinherited should be;
            And, for my name of George begins with G,
            It follows in his thought that I am he.
            These, as I learn, and such like toys as these
            Have moved his highness to commit me now.”

            The writer of Polimanteia thus blames Satan for any imagined gloss that might be laid to his text, insofar as it looks at treachery to the state. The Prince of Darkness is meddlesome with the mind, and the writer excuses himself of any craft in the matter, speaking only by example that we
            may be warned of any motley interpretation drawn out of his text.

          • psi2u2

            Don’t hold your breath. Mr. Reedy is not being prompted to agree with anyone but himself and his prompters.

          • psi2u2

            Ah the elusive Mike Gordon. Is that the Mike Gordon who signed the declaration or reasonable doubt, or the one who didn’t sign it? ….the firefly who keeps blinking in the distance so that Tom Reedy can reinterpret him for us. How convenient to have a guy like Mike Gordon around. Inquiring minds want to know: Did Mike get the acting role?

      • Beth345

        That remark referring to Alexander Waugh’s medical problems is extremely offensive and unacceptable as a posting in a public forum. Perhaps you might care to withdraw it and apologise.

        • psi2u2

          Indeed. Quite so, as you would say in England.

  • Alexander Waugh

    Message for pseudonymous ‘Nat Whilk’ BA (Eng. Lit)

    Dear Whilk,

    I notice you have ‘up-voted’ Tom Reedy’s third waffling dodge to my question about Professor Wells. If I were in your shoes I would withdraw him from the field and threaten to dock his pay. He is making an even bigger hash of it than you did. But let us wait and see how he answers my latest question. As I am sure you would agree – it is never too late for redemption,


    • Nat Whilk

      Look, I’m sorry that your emerald is a bit of bottle glass. Blustering won’t help.

      You’d want more than an imaginary coded message to convict your earl of writing Shakespeare: he has an unbreakable alibi of time and place and incompatible poetic DNA. And I’m not just talking talent here: Oxford and the playwright spoke different dialects of English; they rhymed different words.

      Bugger the anagrams. Prove that De Vere worked closely–as a friend and fellow–with the King’s Men, 1603 to 1613, and you might have the glimmerings of a case.


      • psi2u2

        “Blustering won’t help.” Medice, cura te ipsum.

        • Running away isn’t all that effective, either. Still no answer to your big question, I see.

          • psi2u2


      • Alexander Waugh

        “Whilk” your intemperate outburst against anagrams is misplaced. For Covell’s message to be understood you do not require a single anagram. “Oxford” is not an anagram; “sweet Shak-speare” is not an anagram; “Lucrecia” is not an anagram; “our de Vere” is not strictly an anagram since it requires no reordering of either words or letters from the original source (see Chambers Dictionary definition of ‘anagram’); so that leaves only “a secret” which I agree is an anagram, but you can dispense with that altogether and Covell’s message about Shakespeare-de Vere remains the same. You can disparage anagrams all you like, but it does not get you out of your hole. AW

        • Furthermore, it casts aspersions on my own work using classic Oxfordian Cipher Technique in which I have proved beyond all doubt that Shakespeare wrote the plays on a Sony Vaio laptop (which he preferred to HP models), fancied the current Duchess of Cambridge and supported Everton Football Club. Watching yesterday’s Merseyside Derby match I could feel his presence strongly, hear his sighs, cheers and experience his rage at the late equaliser. I’m even certain he knew all the words to ‘Poor Scouser Tommy’, though he obviously didn’t realise the song belongs to Liverpool fans.

          The most interesting discovery indicates a much earlier start to the Oxfordian debate than anyone has so far claimed. The author of the inscription on his monument, clearly aware of someone’s ambitions to insert De Vere in Will’s rightful place, has cunningly encoded “Fob off curst fart Earl” into the memorial inscription. This can only refer to De Vere and the famous taunting by Elizabeth 1 on his return to court.

          What hole?

          These are games, aren’t they?

          Does anybody think that codes are likely to contribute a solution to the authorship problem? Could this now be a job for the NSA who must have lots of spare time, post-Snowden, given all the things they’re not doing any more.

          • Dingdong


            For this post the word “mouthfarting” must be coined.

          • See?

            First they fight you, then they let the tyres on your Vespa down, then they spam you, then they agree with you.

          • Dingdong

            No blunder this time. You should write short posts only.

          • Whereas you, of course, should consider writing posts somewhere else.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Are you sure you meant to write all that? Read it again!

          • Hmmm. I agree. A little too much post-match exuberance. Luckily the cricket soon wiped the smile off my face.

        • psi2u2

          He’s still digging.

    • Beth345

      Rummaging around the internet recently, I came across the HLAS (Humanities, Literature, Authorship, Shakespeare) discussion board referred to elsewhere in this column. There appeared to be references to a ‘goon squad’ alongside various names, such as Mr Tom Reedy, who also features on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s own ‘Blogging Shakespeare’ site. Both sites appeared to contain suggestions of some sort of financial transactions. Naturally, one wonders if there might be any hidden connections–and perhaps someone might be able to throw a little light on these matters.

      • Alexander Waugh

        Ask “Nat Whilk” he’ll know!

        • We’re all paid £1,000 per annum by Queen Elizabeth I to keep Shakespeare’s name bright and shiny and free from Oxfordian smears.

          • Alexander Waugh

            “We’re all paid…??!” How interesting that you, Mike Leadbetter (alias “Sicinius”) should spring back into the conversation to try and deflect things with your flat Kentish humour. We weren’t talking about you, we were on to “Nat Whilk” and your fellow member at oxfraud.com, the quivering Texan jelly “I-can’t-answer-a-straight-question” Reedy. So why should you suddenly be jumping back in at this point, I wonder?

          • Kentish? KENTISH? KENT – ISH!!!???

            I’ll not stay around if you’re going to use insulting language like that.

          • Alexander Waugh

            I have to admit this post made me chuckle. So I’ve ‘upvoted’ it and I apologize for my jibe about your “Kentish humour”

            On another unrelated matter, can you recommend the best film version of King Lear? My 15-year old son is very keen to see one. I remember a brilliant black and white 1930s Russian version but he’s rejected that out of hand.


          • Is this an elephant trap, Alexander? You’ll be pleased to learn your post has already cost me £18.00 on Amazon as I don’t own Romola Garai as Cordelia and I’ve replaced the BBC Michael Hordern version my daughter stole.

            I have a soft spot for Michael Hordern’s irascible bewilderment but Peter Brook’s film version with Scofield smouldering in the role is my first choice. A spectacular performance that repays every viewing with new insight. Every subsequent Shakespeare film is in its debt. In fact, McKellen sometimes seems to be doing Scofield rather than Lear.

            However, you may be able to use your theatre contacts to discover whether the Liverpool Everyman, scandalously negligent of posterity as always, managed to film Pete Postlethwaite’s 2008 version, one of the last things he did. I don’t think the theatre did anything but it was a centrepiece of the 2008: CIty of Culture Jamboree. The rumour is that there is a version of this floating around but I can’t find it. I saw his first Everyman version in the early 70’s and it’s still his face I see when I’m reading it, despite the excellence of Scofield.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Sicinius, many thanks for this helpful advice about Lear films – much appreciated – I shall take it.

            Now, back to battle – can you try and answer my question about the marginal note ‘Sweet Shak-speare’? To say that Covell had no purpose in placing it there, is not a sustainable argument. You only have to look at the other marginal notes in that book to see that they are placed with extreme care and for very specific reasons. Is it your view that the note above ‘Lucrecia’ which reads ‘all praiseworthy’ and references the line with the italicized word ‘Delia’ at it’s centre is not intended to invoke praise of Daniell’s sonnet sequence, Delia?

            How many of Covell’s marginal notes are you claiming he placed without purpose, or is it just the Shak-speare one?


          • Well, you’re on the right track now.

            If you want to prove that we are looking at a coded message here, the best way of advancing your case from its current position would be to find other examples of the use of the same code by the same author.

            A single solution of a single instance cannot adequately defend itself from the accusation of coincidence. This is what I think we have here. His literary name dropping is random and eclectic. I don’t actually think there is a hidden message.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Sicinius, really! I am not trying to defend anything. I am very obviously trying to get you to answer a simple question. I have asked it now, how many times? If you continue to duck and dive I shall be forced to the conclusion that you, your chums, and all the Stratfordian organisations that you and they represent, have no better answer to my question than “Covell had no reason to align the marginal note ‘Lucretia Sweet-Shakspeare” next to the text “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse.’ If that is really yours and your comrades position and final word, then fine, that is precisely how I shall report it in the book.

            I allowed Reedy a little more time because he is obviously not as bright as you and ‘Whilk’ but I am growing impatient. You have till Wednesday to submit your best responses all of you.


          • Do by all means, as long as you preserve the context, which is that neither the typographical proximity, nor the anagramatic solution offered (one of a very large range of possibilities for very obvious reasons) are in any way suggestive of covert Covell communication, especially given a) the absence of other examples of this type of communication and b) the possibility that the author may merely be pairing compliments to Oxford and Cambridge universities.

            You don’t have to preserve the alliteration.

            We don’t march in step, so this may well not be the position of other Strats in the debate but it’s where I stand. And I’d counsel you to be careful about pejorative statements about Tom’s intelligence.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Reedy is ‘obviously not as bright as you and ‘Whilk’.’ Perhaps you can explain how that is pejorative? I asked both you and him the same question. Readers of this blog can check both answers to that question and decide for themselves which among you is the brightest. I fear there will be no dissent.

            I shall certainly preserve your ‘context’ while itemizing all the ‘other examples of this type of communication’ that have been found in Polimanteia, starting with ‘in contracted shape.’ I shall also quote , if I may, your “possibility that the author may merely be pairing compliments to Oxford and Cambridge universities” and that in so doing he attached the marginal note ‘Sweet Shakspeare” to the line “Oxford, thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse” for no purpose whatsoever. Thank you. How do you wish to be referenced? ‘Leading Stratfordian pundit, Mike Leadbetter” “part-time photographer and Stratfordian adviser Michael Leadbetter” “keen anti-Oxfordian blogger Mr Leadbetter.”? I am not allowing ‘Mike” or “Sicinius” otherwise let me know. The chapter is almost finished.


          • Wit, savant and David Beckham lookalike?

            It’s your book, Alexander.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Can I have a photo?


          • Hmm. We’ve dated enough to exchange opinions on films but I’m not sure about photos.

          • psi2u2

            Yes, the patterns are interesting aren’t they?

          • Psi2u2. You’re starting to sound like a Mynah Bird.

          • psi2u2

            Thanks Mike Leadbetter. You just sound like yourself, Alpha, Alpha 16, and who knows how many others.

          • Nat Whilk

            Actually, I’m being paid by Oxford, who’s sick of all these squealing fanboys going through his bin for underpants. And the worst of it is, he says, they think I’m that bounder Shaxberd. Saw him in my old Italian peach-blow doublet just last Shrovetide, playing some damned juggler. Osrug? Icepick? Didn’t catch it. Beggar had the bloody cheek to come on after, telling us courtiers to rattle our jewellery. Looked straight at me. I complained to that Tilney fellow, but the Queen loves this stuff. Rack’n’rent, or whatever they call it. All about the beat, the I Am. Well, in my day, we had interludes, we had fourteeners, we had Euphuism…

            I just nod and tsk and take the money. Penny a post. It adds up.

            Nat Whilk

          • Beth345

            That is very indicative of a desire not to answer the question.

          • Tom Reedy

            The idea that there is a vast conspiracy employing
            professional shills is a common characteristic of nut job conspiracy theories. If only the opposition didn’t have all these vast resources at their disposal, the truth would come to light and the conspiracy theorists would take their rightful place in the forefront of the new paradigm.

            Some other characteristics (but not all) include irrational anticipation of imminent victory (which in the case of the SAQ has been going on for a century now), the inability to employ or understand Occam’s Razor, the inability to discern good evidence from bad, holding contradictory beliefs simultaneously, religious zeal, leaping to conclusions based on little or no evidence, and comparing themselves to Galileo as maverick seekers of the truth against a powerful (and evil) establishment whose members are controlling information for their own pecuniary gain.

            Do those remind you of anyone?

          • Dingdong

            Dear Mister Reedy,

            This religious litany reminds me of you.

          • psi2u2

            I was about to say the same thing, Dingdong — thanks for arriving there first. The recitation does sound more professional than Reedy’s more usual “you are all wasting your lives” line. That briefer version, so richly evocative of Malvolio, does, however, have the virtue of more fully revealing the underlying projective processes involved with Mr. Reedy’s febrile attempt to resuscitate a dying status quo ante via bullying.

          • Tom Reedy

            We all are wasting out lives here, but I suppose it cannot be helped once the obsession takes hold. The truly sad thing is to see people like you who once had opportunities to do real scholarship and to actually contribute knowledge to mankind choose instead to spend their time and talents being a big frog in a tiny, stagnant pond. Loss aversion and the sunk costs bias has claimed more human carnage than war ever has. And if you think the status quo is dying your powers of discernment have truly atrophied.

          • Knit Witted

            Dear Mr. Reedy,

            Help please… Now that I’ve made my firm decision on who wrote Shakespeare, I’m at a loss on how to proceed. Since I’ve already thrown away my two-years’ collection of books/articles/dissertations and my well-documented personal research, what should I do now?

            Should I contact my state legislators and declare my affiliation whereupon I assume they will in turn submit my status to the U.S. Congress so that the House Committee on SAQ can access my file and appropriate funds to send a delegation to the U.N. to consult with British Parliament and suggest it needs to add/subtract funding for the SBT?

            Sadly, I cannot figure any way to march upon my local university and demand my affiliation be so noted and that its courses may need amending to reflect my new status since I’m pretty sure its Board of Trustees will have much to say against my doing so especially since I am unarguably a non-academic.

            I’m hoping you can provide a correct means as I understand you have spent far more time than I have in effecting such end.

            Yours truly,
            Knit Witted

          • Nat Whilk

            Another diagnostic of a cult, as Dingdong reminds us, is projection.

            Nat Whilk

          • >>holding contradictory beliefs simultaneously.

            F Scott Fitzgerald might disagree with you on that one. Just that one, mind.

          • Tom Reedy

            Fitzgerald was talking about Keats’ negative capability, whereas the type of contradictory beliefs held by fringe theorists are on the order of claiming that Oxford was deeply involved in theatre because he patronised a playing company, yet he wrote plays for a rival troupe; or that Shaxpurd was an illiterate who never spelled his name the same way twice, yet all his signatures were made by scribes. When it comes to anti-Strat arguments any ad hoc pig in a poke will do, as long as it denigrates Shakespeare of Stratford. The arguments are made with such frequency as to discourage contemplation, because anyone with average intelligence who stops and considers them will recognize the ridiculousness of them (probably why it has remained a fringe theory for ~170 years).

          • Oh, of course. He absolutely was not referring to people who can’t speak for more than three minutes without contradicting themselves.

          • Beth345

            You know, the confrontational language gives the game away: ‘opposition’, ‘nut job’, ‘conspiracy’, ‘irrational’, ‘victory’. The public still awaits some straight answers.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Come on, Reedy, concentrate! No one said ‘vast conspiracy’ those are your words. It has been suggested that certain people on this blog are being paid to combat online anti-Stratfordianism – that is all. Where is the ‘vast conspiracy’ in that? If I were, say, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, whose large income is dependent upon the Stratfordian identity of the playwright I would see nothing wrong in paying a few knowledgeable IT folk to promote my case online. No one is accusing anyone of any crime. All we are saying is that if any of the bloggers on this site have a financial stake in protecting Stratfordiasm then they should do the decent thing and declare it. Coming clean will not invalidate their arguments but it will allow the readers and correspondents to read those comments in correct perspective.


            P.S. I am still awaiting your answer about the marginal note. Your time is running out. AW

          • Tom Reedy

            The only persons participating in this discussion on this site who have a financial interest at stake that I know of are you and Roger Stritmatter, who has already spammed his book here at least once that I know of (he didn’t get the sobriquet “Spammatter” by accident; he plugs his book and web site everywhere he posts).

          • Felicity Morgan

            Come, come Mr. Reedy. Anyone reading this might think you are not the one working hand in glove with your pseudonymous colleague[s] Alfa, or is it Alfa-16 – your ‘Oxfraud man’ of the 1 star reviews on Amazon, who has a tendency to ‘copy and paste’ himself.

            I’d say it is you who is more interested in trying to destroy reputations and livelihood.

            Felicity M

          • Alexander Waugh

            Just answer this question ‘Are you being paid to contribute to this site?’ Yes or no – that is all we want to hear from you. Anything else is garbled distraction. If you are not authorized to speak on behalf of the other contributing Stratfraudians you must let them speak for themselves.

          • Tom Reedy

            Oh I’d like to, Alexander–I’d really love to, but … but … THEY WON’T LET ME!!!!! (breaks down sobbing) THEY WON’T LET ME!!!!

            DO IT TO JULIA!!!!

            DO IT TO JULIA!!!!

          • Alexander Waugh

            Let’s just replay that shall we?

            A WAUGH to TOM REEDY: Just answer this question: Are you being paid to contribute to this site Yes or no?

            TOM REEDY’S REPLY A WAUGH: Oh I’d like to, Alexander–I’d really love to, but … but … THEY WON’T LET ME!!!!! (breaks down sobbing) THEY WON’T LET ME!!!!
            DO IT TO JULIA!!!!
            DO IT TO JULIA!!!!

          • Tom Reedy

            And ruin the public demonstration of the idiotic Oxfordian conspiratorial mind set and spoil the joke? You’ve got to be kidding.

            I wonder if Orwell (a pseudonym–what do you make of that?) had ever read Lovecraft (surely a name like that is a pseudonym, don’t you think? I mean it’s too close to a name like Shakespeare, don’t you agree? All kinds of avenues to explore there, Alexander–but if I were you I would not waste my time–nothing to see there, nothing at all).

            You are getting all these literary references, aren’t you?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Just one more reminder before I take the hook from your mouth and let you gently back into the water. Here goes:

            A WAUGH to TOM REEDY: Just answer this question: Are you being paid to contribute to this site Yes or no?

            TOM REEDY’S REPLY A WAUGH: Oh I’d like to, Alexander–I’d really love
            to, but … but … THEY WON’T LET ME!!!!! (breaks down sobbing) THEY
            WON’T LET ME!!!!
            DO IT TO JULIA!!!!
            DO IT TO JULIA!!!!

          • psi2u2

            Who said anything about “vast”?

          • And of course, our audience didn’t scream like schoolgirls with a cartwheel on their frocks. They were all asleep.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear ‘Nat Whilk’ (Pseudonym Eng Lit), Since the question of who is, or is not paying whom to place their opinions on this site is getting a little heated it is now time for you to do the honourable thing. State your real name, state your full time occupation and then state, in a straightforward and believable way, whether you or your employees are or are not bankrolling anyone else to assist you in countering online anti-Stratfordianism.


          • psi2u2

            Yes, it would be very simple to say, “no I am not being paid.” Interesting that Sicinius cannot bring himself to say it. Perhaps the lie direct is too much even for him.

          • What a funny combination of ignorance, paranoia and narcissism you are.

            Who on earth do you think would pay people for what we do??

          • Beth345

            There could be quite a few interested parties. Maybe you and your colleagues could enlighten us?

          • Well I hope, in the name of Doctor Johnson, that you’re getting paid, Alexander.

            However, the strength of the myth that we’re all mercenaries, as I am sure you have guessed, lies in the fact that one or two of us are just too weak, too unprincipled if you must, to resist leading the odd zealot up the garden paths they keep building.

            For the record, I am more than willing for The Spectator to pay me.

          • Beth345

            Looks as the fundamental question is still being ignored by What Link. No signs of openness or transparancy yet. What does it take to extract a simple answer?

          • Beth345

            Well, if you wish to waste your time on such farcical stuff that’s up to you. Meanwhile, some straightforward answers in this public forum would be appreciated.

          • Dingdong


            You write “We’re all paid £1,000 per annum by Queen Elizabeth I to keep Shakespeare’s name bright and shiny and free from Oxfordian smears.” Thanks for the clue. Here some reflections on spending and annuities. I divide this long post into three parts. So everybody who is bored can stop after Part I or before. He that is not bored and feels the other parts could be interesting can continue. I recommend you to read at least the third part in which I warn you against a possible danger you are incurring.

            PART I

            In his seminal work * The Court Society * ( New York, 1983, pp. 66-67) Norbert Elias pinpoints one of the basic systemic differences between the courtly society in early modern
            times and later modern societies. In the latter prevails what Elias calls “the saving-for-future-profits ethos”, in the former “the status consumption ethos”. “In societies in which the status-consumption predominates, the mere
            preservation of the existing social position of the family, not to speak of an increase in social prestige, depends on the ability to make the cost of maintaining one’s household and one’s expenditure match one’s social rank, the status one possesses or aspires to. Anyone who cannot maintain an appearance befitting his rank loses the respect of his society. In the incessant race for status and prestige he falls behind his rivals and runs the risk of being both ruined and eliminated from the social life of his status group. This obligation to spend [my emphasis] on a scale befitting one’s rank demands an education in the use of money that differs from bourgeois conceptions. We find a paradigmatic expression of this social ethos in an action of the Duc de Richelieu related by Taine. He gives his son a purse full of money so that he can learn to spend [my emphasis] it like a *grand seigneur*, and when the young man brings the money back his father throws the purse out of the window before his eyes.”

            Yes, the great French Duke of Richelieu and the English 17th Earl of Oxford were “wastrels”. Yet the Duke of Richelieu enjoyed great prestige within his peer group, the Earl of Oxford’s prestige was rather at a low ebb, he fell into “an outcast state within the high nobility. But both were
            “wastrels”. The Earl of Leicester, too, was a wastrel. He died heavily indebted. And Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury was also a “wastrel,” he died heavily indebted. The third Earl of Sussex’ financial situation was bad. But they never
            lost credit. “Credit” in courtly societies was in the first place Fortune, the favor of the monarch. However, my impression is that in your opinion all of them: Richelieu, Oxford, Salisbury, Sussex were “wastrels”. The difference
            between Oxford on the one hand and, on the other hand, Richelieu, Leicester, Salisbury, Sussex etc. was that the behavior of the latter was in compliance with the
            aristocratic codex of behavior whereas Oxford’s behavior must have violated this codex for some reason or another. One reason could be his involvement in the theatre. Maybe there’s no way of knowing that. Maybe there’s a way of knowing that. I don’t know whether there’s a way or no way.

          • Tom Reedy

            Or maybe turning Catholic and running off overseas without a passport might have been a sore point. Or being on the wrong side of the Catholic marriage question. Maybe being given the money to sue his livery and coming fully into his lands and rents but dissipating it on personal binges of spending could have arched a few backs. Or perhaps informing on your friends and accusing them of being traitors might have given the queen a hint that he wasn’t the most stable person to have around, much less in charge of any governmental responsibilities. Quarreling with his military superiors might have raised a tiny red flag, and refusing to serve in a post at the direction of the queen might have further caused her to hesitate assigning him any responsible position in government. And who knows? Maybe having the holder of the second-highest peerage in the land refuse to support his wife, the daughter of the queen’s most trusted adviser, accuse her of adultery, and impregnate a queen’s maid of honor out of wedlock and ruin her chances of making any kind of honorable marriage–perhaps these might have carried a bit more weight with the queen than scribbling a few stage plays. And finally after dissipating one of the largest hereditary estates in the kingdom, refusing to pay his just debts, and having to accept the charity of the crown (payable quarterly so he wouldn’t spend it all at one time)–maybe just perhaps that would have caused the queen and anybody who had any responsible position with the government to steer clear of Oxford and refuse to pay attention to his hare-brained ideas.

            I think a slight possibility exists that Oxford’s scribbling a few poems and entertainments didn’t have all that much to do with his being persona non grata at the court.

          • Dingdong

            Dear Mr Reedy,

            The right place to post your “insightful” observations is the yellow press. It contains too much nonsense to be dealt with at once. I’ll answer only two points. That should be
            enough to demonstrate that you have never dealt with history.

            First “Or being on the wrong side of the Catholic marriage question.”

            Oxford seems to have been a partisan of the French marriage. Hence, according to you John Stubbs ,writing
            his “Advertisement,” was on the right side. No? No? I must insist. Dear Mister Reedy, brabbling “expert”, is this your user name or your real name? If your user name, add “needy” to it to signal your incompetence: Needyreedy”. Can you explain why John Stubbs had his right hand cut off as a punishment for intermeddling with affairs he had no right to comment about in an absolute monarchy? In a long letter Philip Sidney had also warned the Queen. He was banished from court for his intervention. On the right side? He was on the right side, wasn’t he? And have you looked into
            Fulke Greville’s account of the tennis quarrel in *The Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney*? Oxford is depicted as “swolne with the windes of this faction then reigning”. And, dear Mister Reedy, which faction was then reigning? Reigning “on the wrong side”? Dear, needy Reedy, which faction did Greville mean? See 2). This was the faction of Lord Burghley, “the queen’s most trusted adviser” as you rightly put it.

            Your strategy seems to be to tell whatever silly thoughts are crossing your mind, but to do it in such a bullying way that nobody dares contradict you. Otherwise I cannot understand
            how you can expect that anybody will swallow your crap.

            2) “And who knows? Maybe having the holder of the second-highest peerage in the land refuse to support
            his wife, the daughter of the queen’s most trusted adviser…”

            Is this Sir Boy not an expert?

            What could he have meant? It suffices to look into the “Statutes of the Realm”. I think it is the statute in the 39th year of Henry VIII’s reign about the order of precedence in Parliament. As Lord Great Chamberlain, Oxford ranked fifth or fourth. After Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Lord President of the King’s Council (this office sometimes remained vacant), and Lord Privy Seal. But this was usual before the enactment of this statute. Needyreedy, look
            into the Selden volumes.: Yearbook of the reign of Henry VII or some other volume in the Selden series.

            If you mean anciennity of the title he was the highest-ranking pee (17th)r. The Earls of Arundel claimed the
            highest anciennity (21st) but that was never recognized.

            Dear ignorant, go, go, do some reading before posing here as the great expert and at the same time revealing yourself as the quintessential ignorant.

            These are not the only gaffes in your post. You’re not a poster but an imposter.

          • Tom Reedy

            I was accurate enough to make my point: Oxford wasn’t shunned at court because he wrote plays; several other noblemen wrote and published plays and poems and somehow they seemed to be bale to hold on to their courtly status and serve in responsible government positions. (And Oxford was eventually on both sides of the Catholic marriage question.) Your idea that Oxford’s “involvement in the theatre” was the manner he “aristocratic codex of behavior” is your wet-dream fantasy, not an historical fact. Oxford just wasn’t very good at anything except wasting his substance and estate–those are the historical facts about your Lord that you and your co-religionists cannot accept. If that gives your existence meaning, fine, I have no objections, but I do object to advocating the teaching of this clap-trap pseudo-history in the public schools, which is what is being advocated as a long-term goal.

            As David Aaronovitch writes in the chapter “The anti-Stratfordians” in his Voodoo (2010): “I have now plowed through enough of these books to be able to state that, as a genre, they are badly written and, in their anxiety to establish their dubious neo-scholarly credentials, incredibly tedious. . . . Why do we read bad history books that have the added lack of distinction of not being in any way true or useful . . .?”

            And if I were going to use a pseudonym to post under the way you do, it wouldn’t be anything on the order of Dingdong, though I must admit it does suit your style and substance.

          • Dingdong

            Dear Mr Reedy,

            You were accurate enough, you write. But your previous post contains so many inaccuracies that you must have a very low standard of accuracy.

            Look, you write; ” Quarreling with his military superiors might have raised a tiny red flag, and refusing to serve in a post at the direction of the queen might have further caused her to
            hesitate assigning him any responsible position in government.”

            To which events are you pointing? October 1585 or July 1588? Instead of supplying exact dates you start ad hominem attacks. In October 1585 left the Low Countries. The reason is not known. Possibly – I am not as sure as you are, but your self-assuredness springs from a flagrant absence of knowledge – because he didn’t want to serve under Leicester. If so, you may look into Sir Philip Sidney’s letters. Sidney, Leicester’s nephew was highly critical about his uncle. The great majority of politicians, both in England and the Low Countries, were highly critical of Leicester. Wilkes, the representative of the English Privy Council in the Dutch Council of State was highly critical; Lord Buckhurst also. Even his closest ally, Sir Francis Walsingham, grew sarcastic about Leicester’s military qualities. I could give you the direct link to the CSP, foreign series. But you should do some searching and reading yourself. You need it. Less than 8 months after he left the Low Countries, Oxford received his annuity of 1000 pounds. Walsingham himself seems to have advocated it (see Burghley’s letter of 21 June 1586 to Walsingham).

            Or do you mean July 1588? Oxford didn’t disobey the Queen. The proposal he declined came from Leicester. Had it come from the Queen herself, Oxford wouldn’t have escaped so easily. Yet during the celebration of the victory over the Spanish Armada, Oxford cannot have been in disfavor, for he was near the Queen. I recommend you Peter Moore’s article “The Earl of Oxford and the Order of the Garter.”

            You are unable of contextualization.

          • psi2u2

            “I have now plowed through enough of these books to be able to state” Titles? Which bad bad books is he referring to? In what ways are they “bad”? Inquiring minds still want to know.

          • Well inquiring minds are still waiting to hear whether you have discerned any of the Shakespearean qualities in Dyer’s poem that you said they were obvious to anyone ‘widely and closely read in the canon’.

            That not include you?

          • psi2u2


          • Dingdong

            “several other noblemen wrote and published plays”.

            Again this generalization.True is that several other noblemen wrote plays. Not true is that they published them. See ‘The Arte of English Poesie*.

            Lord Brooke (Fulke Greville) wrote some plays, so-called closet plays. In *The Life of Sir Philip Sidney* he is eager to stress that he never wrote for the stage. One of his two
            surviving plays was printed during his lifetime, *Mustapha*. But it was surreptitiously printed. Greville did not publish it himself. Do you mean *Gorboduc*? It was not written for the stage.

            And this from a man who says himself to be conversant with literature and history? Why do you have to issue your own certificate?

            I see you have lost your face. Do you feel ashamed?

          • Tom Reedy

            > True is that several other noblemen wrote plays. Not true is that they published them.



            > I see you have lost your face. Do you feel ashamed?

            I am not the one hiding behind a (very appropriate, I must say) pseudonym, you are.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Dingdong is short…for Tao Dingdong, which means:
            “he that ever doubts.” Using Oxfordian methodology that means that Dingdong doubts Edward de Vere.

            I think he’s doing a fine job of establishing that noblemen never wrote for the stage.

          • Beth345

            Why waste everyone’s time with facile stuff like this, if not to deflect attention from the meat of the debate and hope everyone is getting so bored by now they’ll give up?

          • Dominic Hughes

            The irony is thick here. You haven’t contributed anything of substance in any of your comments here. On the other hand, I’m still waiting for any Oxfordian to offer any “meat” in response to the points I’ve made on ‘Parnassus’ and ‘Labeo’. Care to actually join the debate?

          • psi2u2

            Good things come to those who are patient, Dominic.

          • Dingdong

            Not exactly. William Stanley, sixth Earl of Derby, is reported to have written plays.But none have been published under his name.
            “‘He that ever doubts’ Using Oxfordian methodology that means Dingdong doubts Edward de Vere.”
            The meaning of the name works only when I am in China. I’m not there for the moment.

          • Dominic Hughes

            I assume you are referring to the two notes from George Fenner (a spy) to two correspondents in June 1599: “Therle of Darby is busyed only in penning commedies for the common players.” “Our Erle of Darby is busye in penning commodyes for the common players.” No other record exists which mentions Derby’s literary efforts.

          • Dingdong

            Dear Dominic,

            I’m relying on information of Andrew Gurr in *The Shakespearian Playing Companies*. Gurr does not refer to Fenner’s letter. But he writes about the Children of Paul’s (the one re-established around 1600): “The launch of the new Paul’s was socially pretentious It had more specific backing from the nobility than any other company or playhouse ever received.Conceivably the new enthusiasm., which led several nobles to start writing plays for public (usually private) showing… More likely, though, the nobles were concerned to maintain their self-respect by writing for boys instead of the professional adults, and still saw the resurrected Paul’s as more reputable performers, private or not, than the adults. The opportunities it offered were taken up by writers who included William Stanley, the sixth earl of Derby, and William Percy, Raleigh’s friend and close kin to the earls of Northumberland. Stanley is said to have financed the new company.”(p. 339-40). William Percy was a younger son of the 8th Earl of Northumberland. He could perhaps be considered as a nobleman who wrote and published poems (sonnets) and plays (6 are known, 2 were printed). But technically he was not a nobleman. as far as I know he never a “Sir”, that is, knighted. Gurr gives no plays for Stanley. There may be some among the mass of anonymous plays. I don’t know.

          • psi2u2

            Yes Dominic, and this is exactly what is interesting to the historian. That the Jesuits knew that Derby was penning plays but that there is not a single surviving corroboration from any of the English records. Either the Jesuit spies were in error or else it tells us something about the extent of the prohibition of even discussing the reality that members of the higher aristocracy were writing plays. As usual, you assume that the record means one thing only when it is readily understood to mean something quite different that is not congenial to your pet assumptions. Real historians explore these questions. You assume.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Your ability to read and comprehend is sorely lacking. The only thing thatassumed in this particular exchange with Dingdong was that he was referring to Fenner’s reports, which Dingdong now assures me he was not — rather, he was referring to an excerpt from one of Gurrr’s books that had to do with some noblemen writing comedies for the Children of Paul’s. I have not offered any interpretation at all of the Fenner notes.

            Far from assuming “that the record means one thing only,” I have not offered any opinion whatsoever as to what the records might mean — I have not made or expressed any assumptions as to their meaning [if you disagree, I’d ask you to cite the specific language where I am alleged to have done as you claim]. In fact, I am still exploring these questions with Dingdong.

            Ironically, you are the one person in this exchange who, “as usual,” does “assume that the record means one thing only when it is readily understood to mean something quite different that is not congenial to your pet assumptions.” Of course, you are not a real historian.

          • psi2u2

            Quite right, Dominic. My advanced degrees are in Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Literature, so as a historian I am utterly without any credentials. What are your credentials? Public relations? Or are you more into stocks and bonds? Certainly argumentation is not your strong point, or you would realize that the interpretation of your comments was implicit in their use in the discussion and does not depend on any explicit avowal on your own part. Good luck.

          • Dominic Hughes

            I see…you are unable to cite any specific language in which I made any assumptions whatsoever about the Fenner reports, and so you invent some “implicit” interpretation of my comments that only you can see. What a ridiculous dodge…you only make yourself look foolish in engaging in such behavior.

            As for my qualifications, your assumptions are, as usual, quite incorrect. I’ll stack my degrees in History and English, not to mention my JD, against your credentials any day. I’ve made a living off of argumentation, to the point that I’m retired in my 50’s, while you are at a third-rate institution and will never climb any higher than that. I’m not being spiteful here, just telling you the hard truth. Good luck to you…you’ll need it.

          • Dingdong

            I’m preparing an answer to Hieronymite that will include some comments on May’s article which I’ve read several times and shall read it yet another time. My conclusion at which I arrived many years ago: another fallacious generalization, your brand.

          • Dingdong

            On May’s article about the stigma of print. I’ll be as brief as

            In February Francis Bacon publishes the first version of his *Essays*. No name on the title-page. But Bacon acknowledges his authorship in the prefacing letter to his brother Anthony. In this letter he apologizes for publishing the essays. His essays had been entered in the Stationers’ Register, without his authorization, Bacon says that to prevent the publication of a corrupt text with the addition of ‘some ornaments’ (the prayers of the Queen) ‘I helde it best discretion to publish them my selfe as they passed long agoe from my pen, without any further disgrace, then the
            weaknesse of the Author. And as I did ever hold, there mought be as great a vanitie in retiring and withdrawing mens conceites (except they bee of some nature) from the world, as in obtruding them…” What Bacon alludes to is sort of “stigma of print”. Yet he holds that non-publication might be as great a vanity as publication, at least for such serious matters as his essays. But Bacon approves of non-publication of writings “of some nature”. What else could this kind of writings be if not poems, plays, ballads, etc.

            25 years later or so (c.1625) Bacon will publish the enlarged version of the essays, name on the title-page, dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham.

            Yet around 1640 the famous scholar John Selden, no enemy of literature (among his close friends were Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton) states in his table talk: “Tis ridiculous for a Lord to print verses, ‘tis well enough to make them to please himself but to make them publick is foolish. If a man in a private Chamber twirles his Band string, or plays with a Rush to please himselfe ‘tis well enough, but if hee should goe into Fleet streete & sett upon a stall & twirle his bandstring or play with a Rush, then all the boyes in the streete would laugh att him.”

            Print was not equal to “any print”. Where was the fault
            line? Let us look at Ariosto. He published his epic poem *Orlando Furioso*. But he did not publish his plays and is reported to have been trembling for fear they could be pirated and printed in a maimed version. Did the fault line run between poems and plays? No. *Orlando Furioso* is a so-called dynastic poem in honor of the Este family from which the dukes of Ferrara descended. It was a “public
            good”, hence politically very weigthty. Plays were not, other poems were not.

            The question to be asked is: did a work have a useful function for the commonalty, the general public?
            If so then it could be printed and even should be printed. Religious works (if not heretical) always had a useful function, also works promoting learning (eg translations)
            also, even plays if of edifying character could be printed. There was no stigma of print for such works. Therefore the printing of Queen Catherine Parr’s *Lamentation of a Sinner* and most, almost all of May’s examples cannot serve as
            counter-examples to the stigma of print.

            But the blame does not wholly lie with May. Indeed, he does draw the distinction, just not, IMO, distinctly enough. It would be better, May writes, to speak of “stigma of verses”; it had still been better, in my view, to speak of “stigma of printing
            verses”. And May also indicates where the fault line lay: “Thus, in 1550 England’s foremost duke [Somerset, the Lord-Protector] appeals as to a well-known fact that it is honorific to publish USEFUL [my emphasis] works.”

            To infer from May’s article that there was no stigma of print, as you seem to suggest, is indeed a fallacious generalization. But to stick such generalizations over with torrents of adjectives and wild protestations of your immensely superior intelligence is not so infrequent on your website. Understandably you seem contemptuous of details. However, if an enterologist wants to discover the bacteria causing a particular disease he has to look into the entrails, and so has a literary scholar or a historian to do into the details.

            This is my last post on this blog.

          • Dingdong

            Dear Mr Reedy,

            Obviously you’re better at hysteria than at history.

            “Or perhaps informing on your friends and accusing them of being traitors might have given the queen a hint that he wasn’t the most stable person to have around, much less in charge of any governmental responsibilities.”

            I agree with “much less in charge of any governmental responsibilities”. But which “friends” of Oxford’s
            do you mean? Certainly not Charles Arundel whom Oxford accused to be a traitor.For Arundel was a traitor. He fled to France, he is now considered as the chief inspirator of * Leicester’s Commonwealth*. And the other main figure Oxford accused was Lord Henry Howard, later Earl of Northampton. Have you read what role Northampton played in the Overbury affair? He was no delectable character. But surely Arundel would never have become a traitor had the fiendish Oxford not accused him. Is that fine with you? And Henry Howard was Oxford’s cousin. But the fact that they were friends before, that they were cousins, does not that tell enough on the diabolic character of Oxford? Fine with you, gossiper?

            You must mean Arundel and Howard. But you generalize them into “general friends” making readers believe Oxford would generally betray his friends. You are an equivocator and shouldn’t be proud of it for you are a very crude one.

          • So you invent a ‘codex’ of behaviour and postulate infractions which might have resulted in Oxford’s isolation.

            The Duc de Richlieu (there are lots and Taine wrote about ’em all but I assume you’re talking about the one in the Three Musketeers) had a tremendous amount in common with Lord Burghley. He ascended from minor aristocracy and played a similar role in the modernisation of French government, in particular in the de-secularisation of foreign politics. After Richlieu, states could no longer be automatically aligned according to religion.

            He had absolutely nothing at all in common with Oxford. Not one thing.

            In the 16c, if you died before your majority, you had your work cut out attaining it. You needed to be smart, you needed to become financially astute, pronto and you needed powerful friends on your side. Oxford had the friends but was too dumb to appreciate his position.

          • Dingdong


            Thank you, illustrious illuminator, for your quick response. But it was too quick. You could have thought a few seconds more. The first Duc de Richelieu was indeed the adversary of the Three Musketeers, better known as Cardinal Richelieu. Your joke misfired, however. Taine’s anecdote was about the Duc of Richelieu AND HIS SON. I don’t know whether Cardinal Richelieu had a son. You may ask yellow press columnist Tom Reedy. He could know it, and even if he doen’t know it he will have something to say about it. The lesser he knows, the more you can be certain he’ll tell us something. Anyway. Even if Cardinal Richelieu had a son, he would have been a bastard and could not have inherited the title of Duke. The title descended to Cardinal Richelieu’s nephew. In all likelihood it is he about whom Taine related the anecdote. Mark that!

            So I didn’t compare Cardinal Richelieu and Burghley. I would rather compare Cardinal Wolsey and Cardinal Richelieu.And note that he is called RichElieu.

            This response was also too quick:

            “played a similar role in the modernisation of French government, in particular in the de-secularisation of foreign politics,>>

            You certainly mean Richelieu’s support of the Protestant king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. This was a “secularisation”, not “de-secularisation”.

            Are you confused?

          • Would you like me to find you a new keyboard driver?

            I think that’s where your problem may be.

          • Dingdong

            I’m more interested in learning more on Cardinal Richelieu’s son and how the Vatican responds to this sensational discovery of yours.

          • Well, I can tell you they were a bit teed off to find the French church’s finances managed by protestants, the government in massive debt to protestant financiers and the Cardinal and his chums snuggling up to wealthy protestant neighbours and ignoring the plight of good catholics in nearby bankrupt Spain.

          • Dingdong

            No, I didn’t ‘invent’ a codex of behavior, but you invented a son of Cardinal Richelieu. Nor did I ‘postulate’ possible infractions. You’ll see it in time. Ahead of my answer a question: have you read Roger Ascham’s *The Scholemaster*?

          • See what? A resemblance between the powerful, ruthless and successful Richlieus and the weak, incompetent and selfish Oxford?

            I don’t think so.

          • Dingdong


            Another argument against Oxford (astoundingly Alan Nelson overlooked it). Oxford left Venice early in 1576. A few months later a plague epidemic broke out, killing the great humanist painter Titian at the tender age of approx. 90 years. The plague was, of course, triggered by Oxford, the bacteria oxoniensia.

            I’m just trying to figure out what will come next from you.

          • Dingdong

            PART II


            I’ve studied the courtsocieties somewhat, to a certain extent I’ve acquired some knowledge of it, and there are still some things I don’t fully understand. You seem to think to fully
            understand it, and the probable reason is that you know nothing. Your fatal neglect of the possibility that many members of the aristocracy were tutored by private
            teachers proceeds from the same lack of knowledge. In that you are not unlike a certain English professor who wrote Oxford’s biography and whom I prefer not toname out of respect of privacy and of fear to infuriate Minerva. For the same reason, I think, your refutations stagnate on the entertainer level at best, on the mountebank level at worst.

            But wait, wait, wait. I’ve cited Norbert Elias as an authority and Elias’s work deals with the court of Louis XIV in France in the second half of the 17th century, not of England
            in the second half of the 16th century. Surely, there are major differences to take into account; but there are also basic concordances. Elias tells us that social status was defined in terms of spending. And in England?
            Let us hear Sir Thomas Smith in * De Republica Anglorum *. “and in Englande no man is created barron, excepte he may dispend [my emphasis} of yearly revenue, one thousand poundes or one thousand markes [my emphasis] at the least. Vicountes, earles, marquises and dukes more according to the proportion of the degree and honour, but though by chaunce he or his sonne have lesse, he
            keepeth his degree: but if the decaye be excessive and not able to maintaine the honour (as senatores Romani were *amoti senatu*) so sometimes they are not admitted to the upper house in the parliament, although they keepe the name of Lorde still.”

            In England this kind of spending was often expressed as “liberality” and “hospitality”. I could pass over more exemplifications were it not that today on this blog one dwarf cried out “Cite!”, and the exclamation mark suggests that thereby this dwarf felt like a giant. Instead of exemplifications I refer to sources. For “liberality”
            and “hospitality” see Lawrence Stone, * The Crisis of the Aristocracy, * pp.42ff. If you want a pendant for the French Duke of Richelieu throwing a full purse out of the window, take Lord Burghley who was certainly no spendthrift or
            “wastrel” but so posed on a painting: “ Was it to improve his public image as a man of the world that the austere and preoccupied Lord Burghley had himself painted engaged in a card game for high stakes?” (Stone, 568) It’s a rhetorical
            question that Stone asks here. Status was defined by spending, not caring for money or making it appear as if one were not caring for money.

            In a letter to Robert Cecil King James complains that Lord Sheffield, Lord President of the Council of the North, was not content with his annuity of £1,000. Even the “Great Oxford”, James writes, was not given more when his estate was ruined. Why was Sheffield given an annuity? Because he was Lord President of the North, an important office. Most likely for that reason.But King James nowhere in his letter expressly states it was for that reason.The prime reason is that Sheffield could not earn enough from the office and
            spend according to his rank. Salaries were in general ludicrously low and had to be supplemented by annuities. But it seems that the grant of an annuity was rarely expressly connected with the holding of an office. “Annuities granted under the Privy Seal show a heavier preponderance of office-holders. In practice, some pensions and
            particularly several of the annuities authorized by Privy Seal tended to be granted almost as a matter of course to the holders of certain offfices; in all but name these might seem to be *ex officio” grants.” (Gerald E. Aylmer, *The King’s Servants*, 1974, p. 162). This can, IMO, only mean that the annuity was granted for an office without express mention of the office. Was Oxford’s annuity of £1,000 perhaps granted *ex officio* or for some services, though such was not expressly stated in the grant? Maybe there’s no way of knowing that. Maybe there’s a way of knowing that. I don’t know whether there’s a way or no way.

          • Dingdong

            PART III


            You also warned to be “Careful not to get a naked flame anywhere near that huge straw man you’ve built.” Thanks again. Realizing that a similar danger might threaten your own strawman,it would be perfidiously ungrateful not to return the warning.

            Around 1660 the Stratford vicar John Ward noted: “I have heard that Mr. Shakespeare was a natural wit, without any art at all; he frequented the plays all his younger time, but in his elder days lived at Stratford:” plus “ and supplied the stage with 2 plays every year, and for that had an allowance so large, that he SPENT [my emphasis] at the rate of
            1,000l. a year, as I have heard.”

            EK Chambers classifies this information under “The Shakespeare Mythos”. He doesn’t explain why. But
            almost certainly he so decided because the allowance of £1,000 looks surrealistic… if related to William Shakespeare of Stratford.

            Now merely as a logical exercise. If Oxford would be
            Shakespeare — nonsense according to you —, but merely as a logical exercise, if Oxford would be Shakespeare, the second part of Ward’s statement could no longer be considered a myth. It would be an information! The first part of the statement would still refer to William Shakespeare, your strawman. The second part would refer to my strawman, Oxford.

            An Oxfordian would argue: yes, Oxford received his annuity of £1,000 to keep his expenditures in accord with his social status and he spent it for the theatre, which is confirmed in Thomas Nashe’s play *Summers Last Will and Testament*. There the spendthrift “Ver” says: “Truth, my Lord, to tell you plain, I can give you no other account: *nam quae habui, perdidi*; what I had, I have spent on good fellows; in these sports you have seen, which are proper to the Spring.” So the two strawmen come together. Yours in the first part of the statement and mine in the latter part. Whether true or not, even if a rumour, a rumour that Oxford was Shakespeare must have existed. Ward must have heard it somewhere. And the Shakespeare who retired to Stratford and the Shakespeare who wrote the plays had something to do with each other. But they were not the same, which Ward was not aware of.

            If we take Ward’s statement to be the naked flame, both strawmen here come near it. And I don’t feel my strawman is devoured by the flame, but near the same flame shines out
            with a bright light.

      • psi2u2

        Notwithstanding the desperately unscholarly presentation of the Oxfraud site, it should be reasonably obvious to most thinking people who have considered the problem that the site, which is from a design point of view quite slick, is very well funded. Given that there is a billion dollar a year (give or take a few hundred mill.) tourist industry that is being led by people who believe that its future is dependent on the continued promulgation of a lie, which has financed publications comparing anti-Stratfordians to vampires, and edited a volume of essays which purport to dismiss the authorship question while effectively ignoring the last fifty years of scholarship on the question, disbursements to third parties is exactly what would under the circumstances be predicted by any conscientious observer.

        This is of course not proof but it does establish grounds for further inquiry. And of course there is nothing wrong with someone like Mike Leadbetter (aka Sicinius, Alpha, etc.) or Tom Reedy being paid to promote a certain point of view. This happens all the time in our modern world. Everyone has to make a living. What is wrong about it, if this is indeed what Nat Whilk and Co. are up to, is that it is being kept a secret. If someone is being paid to promote a certain point of view then that person’s posts should contain a warning label, viz.:

        “Warning, this posting is a paid advertisement. I am not engaging in a real conversation. I am hired for purposes of ‘damage control’ in order to protect certain vested financial (and psychological) interests. This explains why I use many sock puppets and an very anxious about not having my real identity revealed (and hence, among other things, why I am so aggressive about revealing the identities of others who have never tried to make them a secret.)”

        If we could have that sort of a truth-in-advertising reconciliation, then I’m sure that the conversation could continue much more productively.

        • Tom Reedy

          Just when one thinks you have surely reached the apogee of idiocy, you surpass your previous mark and set the bar even higher.

          • psi2u2

            Thanks Tom. Love the new haircut by the way. But even more so your creative use of new epithets like “apogee of idiocy.” If you could prevail with new insults, you certainly would. Where did Sicinius and the Reverend Whilk run off to?

          • Roger, Roger, Roger. Roger. What are we going to do with you?

            I’ve reviewed pretty much the whole thread and I reckon that half the insults (and nearly two thirds of the gratuitous insults) are in posts from yourself. In fact, nearly half your posts contain nothing more than insults. And you don’t even know you’re doing it, do you?

            And you keep dodging the questions you are asked and reappearing in other parts of the thread claiming people are running away from you.

            Be a good chap, as Alexander might say, and tell us what Shakespearean qualities you discern in Dyer’s poem, My Mind to me a Kingdom is. The one in which Shakespearean quality can be discerned by anyone ‘widely and closely read in the canon’.

          • Dingdong

            If psi2u2’s is correct in identifying you as Mike Leadbetter, the administrator of the oxfraud website, could you confirm this identification? Some time ago the oxfraud website diagnosed that ‘ My mind to me a Kingdom is’ was Oxford’s poem, one of his rare good poems (or perhaps the only). Not surprisingly after all. Prof. Steven May (‘The authorship of “My Mind to me a Kingdom Is”‘, RES 1975) had argued that Oxford’s authorship was more likely than Sir Edward Dyer’s. Do Mike Leadbetter and Sicinius disagree on the authorship of this song text? Has Mike Leadbetter changed his mind? Or does Mike Leadbetter still think it’s Oxford’s but as Sicinius within the present blog thinks it tactically advantageous to re-ascribe it to Edward Dyer? Or more simply put: has Mike Leadbetter turned into Sicinius like a weathercock?

          • It’s Dyer.

            As opposed to Oxford’s poetry.

            Which is merely dire.

          • Dingdong


            Mike Leadbetter thought it is Oxford. Have you asked him?
            Steven May favors Oxford’s authorship. Have you asked him?
            Your arrogance is looking threadbare. You need a better pun to cover it.

          • Steven May does NOT now favour Oxford for the same reason I do not favour Oxford. It’s too good. No one (apart from the usual suspects) attributes it to Oxford today.

            If it were Oxford (and it isn’t) it would be best thing he wrote revealing a massive swerve from self-pity to stoicism for which there is no evidence in the life-long body of prose we have from him.

          • Dingdong


            But what about Leadbetter? What does he think – now? Are you at loggerheads with him?

          • He thinks you interest in him is suspicious and you might be after his new car.

          • Dingdong

            Lukewarm, saltless, dishwatery.

          • psi2u2

            And you say this based on what? May changed his mind? Please cite your sources. “He told me so in an email” doesn’t count. That’s called ad hoc reasoning.

            “a massive swerve from self-pity to stoicism”?

            O what a Leadbetter it is!

            You really don’t care what you write as long as it rationalizes the “correct” answer, do you? Do you even know what stoicism is? The only two choices I can see are that you are utterly ignorant of Oxford’s poetry (and hence unaware of the significant threads of stoicism and Senecanism that characterize it from its earliest phases) or you really don’t understand the key terms of your own analysis. Or, the most likely answer, you don’t care. You’re on auto-pilot at this point, trying to cover for Nat Whilk.

          • Look, Roger. You’ve failed spectacularly to back up your claim that this poem has Shakespearean influences that anyone can see. If you want me to make you look even more foolish than you do at the moment, then by all means carry on, though we have reached the point where the Law of Diminishing Returns means that it is scarcely worth my time.

            But before we do, let me ask you again to identify the Shakespearean influences which you claim are discernible to anyone ‘widely and closely read in the canon’.

            I think this is the sixth time I have put the question to you.

            You’ll have to answer before we start wibbling about Senecanism. Hamish McTeagle was a stoic. He might be your sort of poet, like Oxford, but he certainly isn’t mine.

          • Dingdong

            A short debate on the authorship of ‘My Mind to me a Kingdom Is’ occurred in Notes & Queries, 1853. Dyer was favored. Here the short comment of C.L. Ingleby, Nemesis of JP Collier, editor of the Allusions Books. Date: May 21, 1853:
            “*My Mind to me a kingdom is*” (Vol I, pp. 302, 489; Vol.vi, pp. 555, 615). – The idea is Shakespeare’s (Third Part of *Hen. VI*)
            ” Keeper. Ay , but thou talk’st as if thou wert a king.
            K. Henry. Why, so I am in mind; and that’s enough.”
            The quote is complete

          • psi2u2

            Yes, a bit of a problem for Sicinius. Apparently the editor of the Shakspere Allusion Books doesn’t agree with him. But what the heck!

          • Let’s get a bit of perspective here.

            We are trying to decide whether a poem was written by Third Division Dyer, (near the top but not in contention for promotion) or Third Division Oxford, (near the bottom, almost certain to be relegated).

            Despayre my name, whoe never findes releife,
            Frended of none, but to my selfe a foe;
            An idle care, mayntaynde by firme beleife
            That prayse of faythe shall throughe my torments growe,
            And counte those hopes, that others hartes do ease,
            Butt base conceites the common sense to please.

            Roger, in his agenda-centric, purblind folly, calls Dyer’s poetry ‘vastly inferior’ to Oxford’s. This is clearly not the case. These six lines from Dyer show a competence in poetical expression – ‘frended of none, but to myselfe a foe’ – that is as rare as rocking horse droppings in Oxford’s work. His works have a coherent structure which Oxford’a lack and they exhibit metrical regularity that does not depend on the monosyllabic threnody that Oxford repeatedly falls back on to make his pentameter work, nor does Dyer pad his metre out with filler, like Oxford does.

            We have to put up with this nonsense because the Oxfordian task is to somehow to be fit the Earl to Shakespeare. But it’s as hopeless as trying to fit William McGonagall to T S Eliot.

          • Greg Koch

            Hopeless? Trying to fit a commoner – a petty thief from Stratford – into some supremely advantaged individual possessing rights of equality with a peer as published in quarto dedications. – The temerity of this commoner might be unique?

            That he could influence English arts and culture and history by some kind of osmosis witht native fauna? – Are you for real?

            First tell us the kind of excellence you seek in the defense of this Dumbness. Perhaps during those hard times you see Stratford men as a case for socioeconomic blindness? You see your literary comparatives defend – what? The poetry from the Stratford man’s childhood?

            Give us some merit to follow in at least a few of your arguments.

          • Tom Reedy

            The correct refs are i: 302, 355, 489. The vol. ii comments are worthless.

            The MS that attributes it to Dyer has it signed “E. DIER”. Since it also contains other poems by Dyer as well as by Oxford, I wonder if the copyist actually wrote E. DVER or mistranscribed it. It would be worth taking a close look at under an infrared light.

            The idea is a commonplace; it did not originate with Oxford, Dyer, or Shakespeare. A look at other court poets of the era will turn up several more examples.

          • Dingdong


            Small wonder. It’s plain Seneca. It is not saying too
            much that ‘My mind to me a Kingdom is’ , and the sequel ‘I joy not in no earthly bliss’ as well, is a poetization of Senecan thought. Only three comparisons:

            Seneca: It is the mind that makes us rich.

            My mind: My mind to me a kingdom is.

            2) Seneca:
            And desires no joys greater than his inner joys.

            My mind: Such perfect joy therein I find,/ That
            it excells all other bliss,

            3) Seneca:
            We ask, then, how the mind may always remain the same and proceed on its way undisturbed, be contented with itself, and look with pleasure upon its own condition

            My mind: Look, what I want my mind supplies;/Lo, I
            thus triumph like a king,/ My mind content with anything.

            There are more parallels. So far, I hope, I’ve shown a
            sound mind.

            And now also an open mind or according to your phraseology: “the apogee of idiocy of an intellectually bankrupt, hare-brained Oxfordian”(please , dear mister Reedy, understand that for lack of space I cannot repeat here all the adjectives you are using)

            Chapman’s play *The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois*. Clermont D’Ambois, the fictitious brother of the real Bussy D’Ambois , is a ‘Senecal’ man (Chapman’s adjective) mirrors Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Clermont D’Ambois in this one passage also mirrors the Earl of Oxford. “Pseudoxy” as Nat Whilk would say? Or “apogee of idiocy” as you would probably say.

            I still owe you an answer on Steven May’s article on “The
            Stigma of Print”.

          • psi2u2

            Right. The same idea is also echoed in Thyestes, *immane regnum est, psse sine regno pati*/it is a vast kingdom to be able to cope without a kingdom.

            No doubt both the poem and the passages in Shakespeare are inspired by these or other Senecan precedents.

            But I have seen no evidence, and Tom has not produced any, that it was known in any other English verse, outside of Shakespeare and the lyric in question, during the 16th century. Have you? If so, please help us out with the evidence Tom has not produced. I am eager to see how widely these ideas were current during the 16th century. The best Ingleby was able to do was to find a much later echo in the emblem book literature of the 17th century.

            So far it appears to me that the Senecan influence diffused only to Sh. and to the author of “My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is.” Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

          • psi2u2

            Prove that the idea is a commonplace.

          • psi2u2

            Like I said, Mike, your lack of impulse control gets you in trouble. And besides, since you refuse to concede that the poem is even by Oxford, your repeated accusations that I have not jumped through your hoops don’t seem to indicate a very high level of rationality on your part.

          • Well I’m in good company when it comes to attributing it to Dyer.

            Your written work and the hundreds of posts in public discussions such as this, indicate that you (and the other Oxfordian theorists) can not discern Shakespearean quality in the written word. You attribute pedestrian third and fourth rate nonsense to the pen of a Premiership poet who may well have dropped his standards now and then but is unmatched in stagecraft and verbal dexterity. Whose best work is distinctive.

            And here you are. Refusing to jump a fence you built yourself. Unable to discern the Shakespearean qualities that you yourself have ascribed to Dyer’s work.

            Since the entire Authorship Studies Question is now being addressed by grown-ups, front rank academics in first rate English Faculties, a Licence to Discern Shakespearean Quality will be an essential for all players in the debate from hereon in.

            So the time we’ve spent revoking yours will not have been wasted in the debate to come.

          • Tom Reedy

            Despite your quotation of his e-mail, he does not attribute the poem to Oxford; he says that he believes the case is stronger for Oxford than for Dyer. And in fact in the 1975 article he stops short of attributing it to Oxford, only suggesting that Oxford has a claim at least as strong–and in his opinion stronger–than Dyer. I’d give it 50-50 odds for either author.

            If it is by Oxford, it is the best thing he ever wrote, but it is not Shakespearean in either expression or style. Let’s assume it is by Oxford (which is the case in the Oxford Wikipedia article); what do you think is his second-best poem? My vote would go to The Lively Lark (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Lively_Lark), which is probably the least-painful of his work to read. Everything else sounds like a steam locomotive.

          • psi2u2

            Tom, you seem to have missed Dingdong’s memo reporting on Ingleby’s 1853 Notes and Queries article: http://shake-speares-bible.com/2013/11/29/%E2%80%9Cmy-mind-to-me-a-kingdom-is%E2%80%9D-the-earl-of-oxford-and-the-shakespearean-question-part-i/

            When you say that “is not Shakespearean in either expression or style” you are not arguing with me, you are arguing with Ingleby, the editor of the Shakespeare Allusion Book, who says point blank that “the idea [of “My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is”] is Shakespeare’s.”

            Nor should you make Mike Leadbetter’s mistake of thinking that we are through with this topic. You guys are pissing in the wind. Good luck to you.

          • psi2u2

            While we are waiting for you to produce the requested evidence supporting your statement above that “Steve May does NOT now favour Oxford for the same reason I do not favour Oxford,” here is what Professor May wrote in an email this July about the matter: “The case for Oxford is, I believe, still better than Dyer’s. The Dyer attribution was made by a student of St. John’s C., Cambridge in an anthology with many incorrect attributions. The nod to Oxford was made by the London clergyman Stephen Batman and is more detailed.

            I don’t see anything in that statement about basing an attribution on aesthetics. May generally avoids such questions and limits his inferences to manuscript philology. Unless he has changed his mind in the last four months – in which case all we are requesting is a quotation from an email of record to that effect, then you sir – are a liar. And no, changing the subject will not help you.

          • Dingdong

            It is his method to buffalo people through his roaring self-assuredness. It’s a pity he’s sometimes witty but never wise.

          • Roger, I have proved one of two things. Either:

            1. You cannot discern Shakespearean qualities in Elizabethan poetry,

            2. You are not widely or closely read in the canon.

            Do you think I’m going to let you off the hook? If May thinks his tentative attribution to Oxford is stronger than the attribution to Dyer, he’s wrong and I was wrong to trust him.

            But that doesn’t unhoist you from your much, much more embarrassing petard.

          • >>And no, changing the subject will not help you.

            I have stuck, dogmatically, well beyond the limits of my own patience, to the subject, which is the Shakespearean influences in Elizabethan poetry that you claim anyone can see. However, the elite which can discern these influences clearly does not include you.

            You have either ignored me completely, insulted me or changed the subject. I see you have also declared victory in the argument over on the ShakesVere board, the equivalent of Custer declaring victory at Little Big Horn.

            Furthermore, rather than replying here, in a public forum, you have announced you intend to do so on your own website, where no one has the right of reply. A craven and pusillanimous way of hoisting the white flag.

            I do not intend to argue with you over the attribution of the poem. May, in his DNB entry for Dyer, says: The twelve or more extant lyrics that can be attributed to Dyer include love laments that rank among the most popular and influential poems of the Elizabethan age. Even if he did not write the perennial favourite ‘My mind to me a kingdom is’ (to which the earl of Oxford holds a slightly better claim), Dyer’s ‘The lowest trees have tops’ and ‘He that his mirth hath lost’ circulated widely in print and manuscript well into the seventeenth century. The latter poem, moreover, inspired imitations and responses by Greville, James VI of Scotland, Sir Francis Drake, and Robert Southwell, among others. Hardly definitive. And Dyer can still claim better notice from his peers, without his most famous poem.

            My belief is that you can not discern Shakespearean influences in Elizabethan verse because you have allowed your dedication to Oxford to blind your critical faculties to the content of the work itself. I have never seen you address the content of Will’s work. In fact you seem to actively disparage ‘aesthetics’ whenever the subject crops up. You reduce every discussion to what can be gleaned from your hoary old collection of Oxfordian-friendly nuggets. The Reverend Batman, Harper’s (whose articles on the issue have hardly been neutral) and a youtube video are examples. Who can argue with an attribution from the Batcave?

            A Bat-tribution.

            Well. If you’ve read any of the new scholarship on Collaborative Authorship Studies, you’ll know that proper academics are about to call time on all of that.

            You really, really need to improve your game if you’re going to play Grown-up Authorship Studies.

          • psi2u2

            And you base this conclusion on what?

          • psi2u2

            Yes, it would be nice to have a simple answer to that question, wouldn’t it? One notices, reviewing the threat, that Sicinius et al have completely and studiously ignored the problem that May’s attribution poses for their central argument that Oxford was a terrible poet. It is of course not possible to reconcile this proposition with the evidence of the “My Mind To Me a Kingdom Is,” unless Sicinius et al. propose that their own subjective interpretations of merit should take precedence over several hundred years of critical opinion.

            This would seem to explain why their only response to my post has been to challenge my related conclusion that the poem has many powerful Shakespearean associations. But this was only one of at least two significant conclusions that may be drawn from the evidence for Oxford’s authorship of the poem. So, thank you Dingdong for refocusing the question.

            Mike, Tom, Nat, let’s have a straight answer to a straight question: do you accept Oxford’s authorship of the poem. Yes or No? By all means, feel free to qualify your opinion as needed, but let’s clarify this point, shall we?

        • Beth345

          That is indeed the point. All the world at large requires is openness and transparency. The reluctance to provide some straight answers does seem strange. (See Mr Reedy’s interjection 5 hours ago, below.)

        • Alexander Waugh

          Reedy and ‘Sicinius’ are hirelings and that is all there is to it. Pseudonym ‘Whilk’ (who seems to have backed out after I asked him to do the honorable thing and state his real name and occupation) must be very cross with the way they have handled things. My guess is there will be a big post-mortem and review. Reedy will almost certainly be cut loose. Sicinius may be kept on for a probationary period during which he will be expected to show evidence that he is able and willing to sharpen up his act. What I believe we have all learned from this exercise is that the Stratfordian online response is really very small and tinpot, with little or no support from the general public. Thank you to all those who have joined so intelligently and energetically in this lively discussion.

          Very best, Alexander

          • Tom Reedy

            I know it’s sinful, but I must admit that few things are more amusing than trolling pompous windbags with close-to-zero self awareness. Good luck in your and Roger’s investigations! He’s already asked about accessing my income tax information.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Reedy’s embers…no longer warm…ashen…dim… “trolling pompous wi..’…”ndbag….” “self awar…” “..urrrgh”

            R.I.P. Tom Reedy “ARSE”

          • Not a great assessment Alexander. I’d have to disagree.

            Looking at our contribution, The Georgetown Gorilla was quickly returned to his cage and Top Oxfordian 2013 is hog-tied and still hanging out over the crocodile pit.

            We have still heard nothing whatsoever to convince us that your single idiosyncrasy is down to anything beyond chance. Nat’s long post of about an hour ago shows everyone what clarity can do and expands what MG and I have been saying to the point where even an Oxfordian can’t misunderstand it.

            So on the whole, I’d say we were pretty happy.

            If you can’t demonstrate more than one example of Covell’s covert coding technique, you have nothing. Read a book on cryptography and you’ll understand why before you are out of the first chapter. What you have is a coincidence.

            Anyway, since you have given me the freedom to make some recommendations, I think once you review your performances, we’re going to see less and less of psi2u2 from now on. What does he contribute? What is there of use in any of his posts? He’s starting to sound like a Mynah bird and he’s constantly in the soup. Ask me one day to show you his history of motive power which omits the steam engine.

            Doc W needs the reconstruction camp. Once again, beyond enumerating his contributions to the Georgetown review, he hardly contributes anything.

            What we have all learned is just how close the whole Oxfordian House of Cards is to a nasty draught coming under the door. And if anyone opens it, well we all know what will happen.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Hireling -There is a difference between us. You and Reedy are paid to plow on in this thick and relentless way. You are part of a team. I have never met psi2u2 or ‘The Georgetown Gorilla” or “Doctor W” who are, as far as I am aware, inquiring, scholarly, intelligent self-motivated people who have surfaced out of the ether from all around the world to contribute brilliantly to the discussion by countering your sloppy opinions. Others who read these posts may agree or disagree with my assessment that together we have destroyed all of your arguments. When you insisted that writers used reference notes for no purpose, it was obvious to all that your case had collapsed. Unless your delete your posts the record is here for us all to review.

            As a PR team you have performed poorly. I would not wish to be in your shoes at the next meeting of the Out-Reach Committee,


          • Tom Reedy

            > Hireling -There is a difference between us.

            Yes, a big one. Nat, the others, and myself are conversant with Shakespeare’s era and its literature. Your viewpoint is about as informed and valid as mine would be if I contradicted you on some fine point about opera. Fortunately, I have enough sense and proportion about my knowledge to know that any opinion I might have–while I would have every right to have it–would be misinformed and I would only make an ass out of myself if I, say, publicly declared that all musical history was wrong because I deciphered a secret code in some obscure aria proving that Verdi was a front for Wagner. Would that you had at least that degree of self-awareness. But I predict that your swollen ego will not at this late date allow you to backtrack and admit error in a branch of knowledge about which you know next to nothing. Good luck with your book–you should sell a couple of hundred copies, at least. The Oxfordians are usually good for at least that many. You’ll probably even make the Hall of Fame as a notable Shakespeare sceptic.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Hired Man, Can you demonstrate that you really are ‘conversant with Shakespeare’s era and its literature’ (what a phrase!) by completing the exercise I set you for this week’s prep. You were asked to find examples of writers who used annotations for no purpose of meaning as you claimed Covell had done with his note ‘Sweet Shak-speare’

            Kindly do as you are told and quit your jealous speculations about my book sales.

            Mr A Waugh

          • Piece of cake. http://oxfraud.com/DISC-dyer

            You were asked to find some other instances of Covell using the same code to convey other messages to counter the most obvious and most likely alternative explanation. Now run along and get on with it.

            There’s a faint trace of petulant spittle in your all postings at the moment. It’s quite unattractive.

          • Tom Reedy

            Uh, no. You’re the one trying to make the case, do your own research.

          • psi2u2

            Right. As usual, these are empty words from a man who just can’t leave well enough alone. He boasts about an expertise and then, when asks to show it, can only retort “do your own research.”

          • Alexander Waugh

            Reedy, you produced a wild and crackpot theory – namely that Covell had set a marginal note against a piece of text for no purpose whatsoever. I advised that if you wished to prove it you would need to find other examples of other writers who had done the same. It is not incumbent upon me to research any and every crazy idea that is thrown in my direction by any and every internet cretin. The theory is yours so you have a choice: get on and research it properly or reject it and find something more plausible to say. It makes no difference to me.

            Mr Waugh

          • Tom Reedy

            I cannot recall advancing any such theory. Perhaps you could refer us all to the post in which I did (without using any anagrams, please). And I take you you’ve conceded on Prof. Wells endorsing your crackpot idea?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Your memory is feeble. I have already advised Pseudonym “Whilk” that he is wasting his money on you and that you should be expelled before you can do any further damage to “Team Fraud.” When I ordered ‘Whilk’ to return immediately to this blog and mop up your messes, he did so. Can’t you see, he is malleable to my suggestions. You have been warned.

            Now, I asked you:

            “What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he supported the phrase ‘Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse’ with the aligned text-note ‘Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare’?”

            You replied: ‘My answer is that Covell had no “intended purpose of meaning”.’ I then challenged you support your assertion by finding any other example of any other writer who put annotations into his or her work with ‘no intended purpose of meaning’ and so far you have produced nothing.

            Professor Wells tried to refute my translation of ‘courte-deare-verse’ as ‘our de Vere – a secret’ – by finding alternative anagrams for ‘a secret’. I asked you why, in your view, Prof. Wells was playing around with the letters of ‘a secret,’ since these seven letters were only arrived at by first withdrawing ‘our de Vere’ from the letters of “courte-deare-verse,” leading many bright folks to suppose that he had thereby accepted “our de Vere” as a given.

            Your response to this was that Prof Wells was ‘ridiculing my solution.’ While I have no doubt that his intention was to ridicule my solution the fact is that he attempted to so by attacking the anagram ‘a secret’ and this, as I said, left the impression that he was accepting ‘our de Vere.’

            Why don’t you get paymaster ‘Whilk’ to persuade his ‘spessal fwend’, Wells, to come onto this blog and explain it all for himself.


          • psi2u2

            Alexander, it looks like some are still reading and upvoting in this conversation, and I can’t help but notice that when you note that Tom has “produced a wild and crackpot theory,” you’ve more or less hit on a fairly typical pattern in his thinking. One thing I learned in carefully reviewing his published comments on The Tempest is that Tom is never afraid to endorse a wild and crackpot theory as long as it supports his assumptions. It is only the “wild” theories that would require him to question his own assumptions that seem to concern him so much that combating them has become his day job.

          • psi2u2

            So conversant that you’ve published what in a peer reviewed journals, Tom? *One* article that has been thoroughly dismantled by your friend Lynne Kositksy and myself (here: http://www.shakespearestempest.com). Meanwhile, not to mention the numerous publications by Dingdong and others in this conversation, my scorecard is around 15 to your one. So by what outlandishly unselfaware criteria do you derive your conclusion that your team, prominently featuring the internet propagandist Mike Leadbetter, whose publication credits do not extend far beyond Oxfraud, and two entirely anonymous polemicists whose expertise can be neither verified nor refuted since they refuse to identify themselves, holds any qualifications whatsoever as “experts”?

            Why is “Nat Whilk” still so closeted? Are we afraid that exposing his real identity might create some sort of crisis at Stratford’s tinseltown?

          • Roger Parisious

            You are a complete fake,Reedy.You are hired to act as a spin doctor for a much distrusted and despised sheriff’s department in Denton,Texas,you were brought to fulfill the same function here

          • psi2u2

            I would argue that the PR team, given what it has to work with, has performed well. I notice, for example, that the most gratuitously ad hominem banners have now been removed from the oxfraud website. Surely this was a wise move.
            The site no longer declares a primary mission to inquire into what makes Oxfordians “tick” and is now headlining itself as as presenting “Clues to Covell.” Clearly Mike and Co. know how to turn on a dime and are scared as hell that your Covell discoveries will turn out to be valid in the eyes of the larger reading public. Hence, also, Reedy’s snarky pre-emptive attack on your book. It sure would be interesting to be a fly on the wall at that committee meeting.

        • Poor Roger, Anything you don’t understand is just witchcraft, isn’t it?

          • Dingdong


            This is perhaps the fittest place to remind you that you yourself, despite your very pitiful habit to declare yourself, the player, the winner, have left a great number of questions
            unanswered. It does not suffice to open your mouth to be convincing, you are but loud. In one of your recent posts, in which you’d better avowed you had made a formidable blunder by confusing the first Duke of Richelieu, the
            cardinal, and his successor, his great nephew Jean de Vignerot du Plessis, the second duke. None of them did I compare with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. What I meant is that court society was a society of conspicuous
            consumption. The anecdote of the second Duke of Richelieu and his son is perhaps but an anecdote, not a real event. However, it very well illustrates that a court society, in which status was based on consumption, spending, was basically different from a modern society. You thought you could deflect from your blunder, committed in an overhasty attempt always to have the last word by having the first word, by some display of knowledge, thereby showing once more you didn’t know what you’re speaking about. Not only do you cut your nose to save your face, you also cut off your ears and cut out your eyes. Only your tongue is left intact.

            In the same post you decreed that I had invented a code of behavior. A code need not to be encoded to be effective. There is no written code of political correctness, there was
            no code of “honesty” in the 16th and 17th centuries. The
            term “honesty” then covered a much broader semantic field than now. Have a look in Cotgrave’s French-English
            dictionary (you can find it on the Web). “Honest learning” and “honest manners” were the two main criteria a “governor” had to fulfil according to Sir Thomas Elyot (1531). A “governor” was an aristocratic member of the political élite.Several decades later Roger Ascham repeated this claim in *The Scholemaster* (written between 1563 and 1569). ‘Take heed therefore, ye great ones in the Court, yea though ye be the greatest of all, take heed how ye live. For as you great ones use to do, so all meane men love to do. You be in deed, makers or marrers, of all mens manners within the Realme.” (see Henry V’, V.ii “we are the makers of manners, Kate.”). Elyot and Ascham assigned to the aristocracy an exemplary function for social behavior. The behavior that the aristocracy should abnegate is also described by Ascham: ‘ This last summer I was in a gentleman’s house where a young child, somewhat past four years old, could in no wise frame his tongue to say a little short grace; and yet he could roundly rap out so many ugly oaths of the newest fashion as some good man of fourscore years old had never heard named before; and that which was most detestable of all, his father and mother would laugh at it.’ A few lines below Ascham sets ancient Athens as example: ‘The City was not more careful to see their children well taught than to see their young men well governed which they brought to pass, not so much by common law as by private discipline.’ Private discipline, self-control, control of the passions was another meaning of ‘honesty’. There exists a letter in which an infuriated Earl of Leicester scolds Lord Burghley for having reproached him in
            the presence of the Queen not to control his passions. He that could not control his passions lost social credit.

            Finally a quote of Francis Meres about Michael Drayton. Drayton ‘is helde for a man of vertuous disposition, honest
            conversation [conversation here means social behaviour as in Stefano Guazzo’s *Civil Conversation*] and well governed carriage, which is almost miraculous among good wits in these declining and corrupt times…’

            If, good Sicinius, you are not satisfied you can, at your polite request, receive more examples.

          • There’s no easy way of putting this.

            Dingdong, the witch is dead.

            You’re not getting a Eureka moment out of Polymanteia. Now I know it must seem harsh to have to clean out the Sports Pavilion for the rest of the year, just for comparing the Earl of Oxford to the Duc de Richlieu but as Alexander can testify, you’ll be stronger at the end of it.

          • Dingdong

            Why do you write ‘Richlieu’ all the time? There’s an ‘e’ between “Rich’ and ‘lieu’. It cannot be that difficult to write the name correctly… if you can read it correctly. I didn’t compare Richelieu and Oxford. And certainly not the cardinal, as you mistook it.

            Therefore Leadbetter, read better.

          • Yeah, you did.

            And you didn’t specify which Richelieu you were talking about. And you retailed an apocryphal story.

            Neither of which is all that serious compared to the stonkingly inappropriate comparison you were making.

            >Therefore Leadbetter, read better.

            Well stap me vitals! Oxfordian humour. My tables! Meet it is I set it down.

          • Dingdong

            The Richelieu referred to by Taine and quoted by Elias had a son. That much is clear. The Richelieu you had in mind was a cardinal. Though the son was in the text I quoted, he did not enter your mind. Had he, you couldn’t have been so rash and so comically self-assured.

          • Dingdong


            This is perhaps the fittest place to remind you that you yourself, despite your very pitiful habit to declare yourself, the player, the winner, have left a great number of questions
            unanswered. It does not suffice to open your mouth to be convincing, you are but loud. In one of your recent posts, in which you’d better avowed you had made a formidable blunder by confusing the first Duke of Richelieu, the
            cardinal, and his successor, his great nephew Jean de Vignerot du Plessis, the second duke. None of them did I compare with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. What I meant is that court society was a society of conspicuous
            consumption. The anecdote of the second Duke of Richelieu and his son is perhaps but an anecdote, not a real event. However, it very well illustrates that a court society, in which status was based on consumption, spending, was basically different from a modern society. You thought you could deflect from your blunder, committed in an overhasty attempt always to have the last word by having the first word, by some display of knowledge, thereby showing once more you didn’t know what you’re speaking about. Not only do you cut your nose to save your face, you also cut off your ears and cut out your eyes. Only your tongue is left intact.

            In the same post you decreed that I had invented a code of behavior. A code need not to be encoded to be effective. There is no written code of political correctness, there was
            no code of “honesty” in the 16th and 17th centuries. The
            term “honesty” then covered a much broader semantic field than now. Have a look in Cotgrave’s French-English
            dictionary (you can find it on the Web). “Honest learning” and “honest manners” were the two main criteria a “governor” had to fulfil according to Sir Thomas Elyot (1531). A “governor” was an aristocratic member of the political élite.Several decades later Roger Ascham repeated this claim in *The Scholemaster* (written between 1563 and 1569). ‘Take heed therefore, ye great ones in the Court, yea though ye be the greatest of all, take heed how ye live. For as you great ones use to do, so all meane men love to do. You be in deed, makers or marrers, of all mens manners within the Realme.” (see Henry V’, V.ii “we are the makers of manners, Kate.”). Elyot and Ascham assigned to the aristocracy an exemplary function for social behavior. The behavior that the aristocracy should abnegate is also described by Ascham: ‘ This last summer I was in a gentleman’s house where a young child, somewhat past four years old, could in no wise frame his tongue to say a little short grace; and yet he could roundly rap out so many ugly oaths of the newest fashion as some good man of fourscore years old had never heard named before; and that which was most detestable of all, his father and mother would laugh at it.’ A few lines below Ascham sets ancient Athens as example: ‘The City was not more careful to see their children well taught than to see their young men well governed which they brought to pass, not so much by common law as by private discipline.’ Private discipline, self-control, control of the passions was another meaning of ‘honesty’. There exists a letter in which an infuriated Earl of Leicester scolds Lord Burghley for having reproached him in
            the presence of the Queen not to control his passions. He that could not control his passions lost social credit.

            Finally a quote of Francis Meres about Michael Drayton. Drayton ‘is helde for a man of vertuous disposition, honest
            conversation [conversation here means social behaviour as in Stefano Guazzo’s *Civil Conversation*] and well governed carriage, which is almost miraculous among good wits in these declining and corrupt times…’

            If, good Sicinius, you are not satisfied you can, at your polite request, receive more examples.

          • psi2u2

            That’s pretty funny coming from “don’t name me, please, my employers don’t like it,” Mike.

      • Tom Reedy

        I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. You should contact Art Neuendorffer as soon as possible and ask him for all the information he has compiled about the Stratford Trust Goon Squad. Good luck!


        • I’ll join if there are free drinks.

        • Beth345

          Been there, seen that, got the t-shirt. However, since you mention it, perhaps Art Neuendorffer might have something to contribute: thanks.

          • Tom Reedy

            Well that takes care of a decade or so of her life.

          • Beth345

            ‘Her’? Manners, Sir, manners!

  • John Savage

    I feel reluctantly compelled to re-enter this debate by the tone of some of the contributions.

    I start from the position that no thinking person can deny that there is a Shakespeare Authorship Question. No one has yet convincingly linked William Shakspere of Stratford to the plays and poems, and many people, some of whom are well known, even famous, have expressed serious doubts about the received belief.

    While surfing the internet I came across a Stratfordian blog posted six months ago by Mr Tom Reedy which contains the phrase, “dishonest and intellectually bankrupt mental gyrations and double standards upon which the Oxfordian delusion is built.” [“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”] Such intemperate language makes me wonder whether the writer is frightened of the implications of the revelation of the true identity of “William Shake-speare.” Such a tone
    bespeaks panic, sheer terror at the thought that his idol has feet of clay, not
    to mention legs, arms, torso and head (see Droeshout, who obviously knew a
    thing or two).

    A study of books about Oxford reveals serious and often brilliant intellectual research and an honest desire to achieve and reveal the truth. No
    intellectual bankruptcy there, and “dishonest” and “double standards” are merely
    baseless insults.

    Mr Tom Reedy also wrote, ironically, of “those nasty Stratfordians” [many a true word spoken in jest] “with their insistence on facts and logic.”

    As for facts and logic, I heard Professor Stanley Wells say on television, “Just look at the evidence.” I was amazed, since there isn’t any evidence that William Shakspere of Stratford was “William Shake-speare”.

    So far, many Stratfordians in this debate have relied on rudeness and insult to make their case; not one has yet produced any “evidence.” Come on, SHOW! Put all our minds at rest.

    • psi2u2

      John, your summary of the abusive tone and disreputable methodology of local Stratfordian apologists like Mr. Reedy is much appreciated, I am sure, by all readers who care about the values of frank and open discussion, and prefer a conversation unmolested by telling phrases like “mental gyrations” or “Oxfordian delusion.”

      One may only add to this a query about motivation. It is obvious why the Oxfordians care about this topic. They understand Oxford’s biography as the key to apprehending the full literary and historic significance of the works, and believe that a historic injustice has been done in the foisting of the works onto a man who in no way, shape, or form, constitutes a plausible author. He never has. He never will. But why does the issue matter to Tom Reedy, “Mike Gordon,” or the several other routinely abusive and carefully anonymous posters on this blog? It is a question worth pondering.

      • John Savage

        psi2u2 – Thank you for your encouraging communication. You have identified the great mystery: why do the Stratfordians behave like flat-earthers, believing in the impossible and refusing to see the truth?

        One day, at a not particularly interesting lecture in a library, I amused myself by reading a biography of Shakespeare that I found in the shelves by my chair. The following extracts show the nature of the Stratfordian problem:
        “Surely Shakespeare would know this part of the world / What did Shakespeare do during this period? One pleasant hypothesis…. / One authority has suggested that Shakespeare… / Whether Shakespeare got possession of Anne Hathaway’s bed we have, of course, no way of determining, and to pursue such speculation… / If, as a young lover, Shakespeare composed any woeful ballads for Anne Hathaway…” &c. Just froth posing as serious nourishment.

        • psi2u2

          The failure of the Stratfordian biographical tradition exemplified in the quotations you supply is manifest to any reasonably educated person who takes the time to *critically* examine this tradition. Even leading Stratfordians such as David Ellis are very well aware of its deficiencies. Reviewing Charlton Ogburn’s 1984 *Mysterious William Shakespeare* Folger Shakespeare Library Educations Director Richmond Crinkley observed that doubt over the traditional biography developed “early and grew rapidly. They have a simple and direct plausibility.”

          Crinkley went on to point out that “The plausibility (of the anti-Stratfordian position) has been reinforced by the tone and methods by which traditional scholarship has responded to the doubts.”

          Pity ’tis, ’tis true — our local Stratfordolators still don’t get Crinkley’s point, and continue to engage in the very disreputable methods of inquiry and conversation to with the Folger director alluded.

        • calendar

          “You have identified the great mystery: why do the Stratfordians behave like flat-earthers, believing in the impossible and refusing to see the truth?”

          Follow the money, John. There’s a billion pounds per year flowing into Disney-upon-Avon. They seem to have quite the ‘astro-turf’ operation, to use the political operative’s term.

  • Alexander Waugh

    Pseudonym ‘Whilk’ BA (Eng Lit) – Where the hell are you? Put down that anagram and get back here immediately. Your rudderless lieutenants have been making an awful hash of things in your absence – now they’re trying to think of names of writers (any writers) that have used footnotes, or marginal notes or end notes for no purpose whatsoever – just as they claim Covell did when he annotated the phrase “Oxford thou maist extol thy court-deare-verse’ with the comment: ‘Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare.’

    So hurry back and pull them out of the soup – or sack them – before they do any further damage to the tattered reputation of ‘Team Fraud.’


  • Nat Whilk

    Waugh importunes: ‘What, in your opinion, was Covell’s intended purpose of meaning when he supported the phrase “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” with the aligned text-note “Lucretia Sweet Shak-speare.”’

    The bending of evidence starts here. “Intended purpose of meaning”? “Supported”? “Aligned”? You’ve written the question to enforce your desired answer. That’s at best naive—and I don’t think you are.

    A more honest form of the question would be “Why do you think that Covell wrote this marginal note for this text?” Bearing in mind, of course, that we have no idea how this passage looked in manuscript, and that any alignment is the printer’s work.

    Let’s start with the text.

    It is not, of course, from Polimanteia proper but from an appended “Letter from England to her three daughters, Cambridge, Oxford, Innes of Court, and to all the rest of her inhabitants…”

    Covell speaks of “sweet daughter Oxford” and “sweet Cambridge.” They are embodiments, sisters.

    “Let other countries (sweet Cambridge) envie, (yet admire) my Virgil, thy petrarch, divine Spenser. And unlesse I erre, (a thing easie in such simplicitie) deluded by dearlie beloved Delia, and fortunatelie fortunate Cleopatra; Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse happie Daniell, whose sweet refined muse, in contracted shape, were sufficient amongst men, to gaine pardon of the sinne to Rosemond, pittie to distressed Cleopatra, and everliving praise to her loving Delia.”

    Which may be parsed: Cambridge gave us Spenser; but thou, Oxford, may’st exalt with praise thy Daniel, felicitous in making poetry beloved at court, whose muse [that is, his particular genius, his style: OED 2a], in its concise and pithy form, would suffice to gain pardon, pity, and praise to her [note “her”: the subject is still “muse”] heroines.

    That “courte-deare-verse happie Daniell” is weird, but Covell loves inventing extravagantly linked and nested adjectives. In just these few pages, we find:

    blackemouthed envie
    prince-killing Judith
    hate-working gold
    love-writing muse
    Phoenix-like fire
    ever-living Empresse (Oxfordians note: Elizabeth was very much alive in 1595)
    foe-danting shield
    Mars-conquering honor
    free-toongd and un-aw-bound skill
    Rome live-making Livie (Livy, whose history of Rome brought it to life)
    courte-deare-verse happie Daniell

    So: Covell picks Spenser as the greatest of contemporary Cambridge poets, and Daniel as the Oxford champion.

    Throughout the text, Covell has used the marginalia for all the sorts of reasons we use footnotes: as glosses, afterthoughts, abstracts, streams of consciousness. Here in the margin—the sidebar—he gives a shortlist of lesser but still admirable poets’ creations, muddled up with their uncourtly makers. Runners-up, as it were: “All praise worthy.” He’s been thinking about Delia and Cleopatra, so Lucrece comes first to mind; then her maker.

    All praise
    Sweet Shak-

    Why is “Sweet Shakspeare” only a side-note? Remember that he was still a rising star: Venus and Adonis (1593) was blazing through its second printing and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) was fire-new. Do you think an Oxfordian pseudo-Shakespeare, who had already written half the great plays would be relegated to the marginalia? On the other hand, how could the uncourtly Stratford poet, who was nursed by none of England’s three daughters, neither Oxford nor Cambridge nor the Inns of Court, have made it to the main text? So: first among the runners-up, with a little nosegay: “Sweet Shakspeare.”

    Half London would have known him as a player: many at sight. Even if they’d never heard of the player, anyone with eyes to read the dedications to those poems could see that William Shakespeare was a commoner, cap in hand to Southampton.

    Would anyone then, seeing “Sweet Shakspeare” west by southwest of “Oxford” have identified the two? Not bloody likely. Throughout the letter, “Oxford” and “Cambridge” have been goddess-like embodiments of learning. Here, all of a sudden, “sweet daughter Oxford” is allegedly the Earl.

    This is indecorous on many levels.

    First, in one sentence now, Oxford is mismatched with Cambridge, boot and slipper. Elizabethans thought a great deal of balance in rhetoric, as in philosophy. Either both are both genii loci and living nobles in disguise, or neither is.

    Second, now Oxford is mismatched with all the other Oxfords in the piece. It is unnatural to single out just one as a cipher: like drawing a target round your bullet-holes. Look! Bullseye!

    Thirdly, Oxford is mismatched with Shakespeare. Gabriel Harvey, who thought that Shakespeare’s Lucrece had that in it “to please the wiser sort,” thought otherwise of Oxford: “Vanitie aboue all: Villainie next her.”

    So much for alignment. What about your purported cipher?

    Are there any examples at all in Elizabethan texts of embedded anagrams? That mangle the sentences they’re in? Because “Oxford thou maist extoll thy our De Vere a secret happie Daniell” makes no damned sense at all. Perhaps something like “Oxford who gav’st birth to courte-dear-verse” (with the anagram in nudge-wink italics) might have been conceivable. Not this. Like every Oxfordian I’ve ever known, you don’t much care for grammar or sense, as long you can find a pseudo-message.

    I’m not impressed with your reading of “in contracted shape.” Your alleged “our De Vere — a secret” isn’t that at all, but jumbled up. Even “our De Vere” is not so much contracted as winkled out or sieved from its matrix. Covell might have called it “pickt.” I call it cherry-picked.

    You are fortunate to have a sock-puppet Shakespeare with a brief, ubiquitous name. By sheer fortuity, his letters are four-fifths of “verse.” And of course, “ever” is one of the commonest of English words. “Er” and “re” are the 4th and 6th most common digrams; “ve” and “de” are 33rd and 45th. (For comparison, “of” is 31st.) Trigrams? “Ere” is 8th and “ver” is 26th. You can’t find a passage of English prose that isn’t speckled with bits of De Vere, like raisins in plum duff.

    Connect the dots.

    It took me five minutes to find this in Polimanteia (p. 28 in the PDF):

    “…for euen as in the seede the vertue of those things is hid which it bringeth foorth…”

    Oh, look, a giraffe! De Vere sings, is hid.
    And aligned in the margin next to that: “An unlike similitude.”

    There’s no art in this sort of thing. Covell himself described a version of your method as “A foolish proofe” (p. 8):

    Jamblicke, who wanted to know the name of the next emperor, “made trial of it by a certain foolish … and most unlearned divination in this manner: He caused the Greeke Alphabet written to bee put by distinct letters, in the ground, and vpon euery one he placed a graine of Barley; in the midst a Cock, & the letters where the Cocke scraped the Barley, should signifie the thing he so much desired.”


    Nat Whilk

    • Nat Whilk


      ‘Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse’ is not a phrase, as Mr. Waugh keeps insisting. As anyone who’d been to the Stratford grammar school would know, it’s a clause, with a subject and predicate. Waugh presents it as a sentence, as if Covell had put a full stop after ‘verse’; but he did not. The full unamputated clause reads ‘Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse happie Daniell.’ That is: Thou, Oxford, may’st uplift with praise thy Daniel. Not at all what Waugh wants it to say, so he snips that inconvenient ‘happie Daniell’.

      Even if Waugh’s ‘phrase’ were a sentence in itself, it’s ridiculous. Oxford may uplift himself? What is this, a selfie?

      Nat Whilk

      • Alexander Waugh

        Pseudonym “Whilk” BA (Eng Lit). Thank God you’re back. I appealed to you only because Bushy and Baggot had messed things up so badly and I sensed that your were the only one who could possibly right the ship. They insisted you were too wet, or too vexed by the anagram I set you, but I knew you would return.

        Shall I respond to your long the essay ending “Cock-a-doodle-do!” or to your shorter ‘note’ sent in support of it 2 hours later? Perhaps the latter:

        “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” is not a phrase” you say – Obvious answer: “YES IT IS.” Come on ‘Pseudonym’ you can do better than that! Why should I hack my way back through the preceding post when I can see that your conclusion contains a daft statement like “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” is not a phrase”?

        You can do better – have another shot…


        • Nat Whilk

          And how do we define ‘phrase’? Waugh minimus?

          Nat Whilk

          • Alexander Waugh

            Look it up, BA (Eng Lit)

          • Nat Whilk

            I know what it means. You don’t.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Pseudonym, you’ve got to be joking! You’re supposed to be the one with a degree BA (Eng Lit) remember? You are making such a monumental ass or yourself every time you post. I cannot believe you really mean to do this. Just to refresh readers memories. ‘Whilk’ BA (Eng Lit) posts this:

            “‘Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse’ is not a phrase, as Mr. Waugh keeps insisting.'”

            I post back saying yes it is. ‘Whilk’ asks for a definition of ‘phrase’ and then in a wet panic tries to assert that I am muddled between a phrase and a clause!

            CHAMBERS DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF ‘PHRASE’: ‘A group of words generally not forming a clause but felt as expressing a single idea’

            As ever,


          • Nat Whilk

            Dear gods, you really are that thick.

            What part of “not forming a clause” don’t you get?


            phrase, n.

            2. c. Grammar.
            A small, unified group of words (in a sentence) that does not include both a subject and a predicate or finite verb; (more recently also) a single word having an equivalent syntactic function; (gen.) any syntactic unit larger than a word and smaller than a clause.

            Among others, they cite one N. Dalgleish (1865): “A phrase is a combination of words without a predicate; a clause is a
            term of a sentence containing a predicate within itself, as Phrase, spring returning; Clause, when spring returns.”

            As the rest of us have seen, your beloved fragment contains both a subject, “Oxford thou” and a predicate, “maist extol thy courte-deare-verse,” and is therefore a clause.

            There are gaps in everyone’s knowledge. The intelligent thing to do would have been to look it up quickly and say, “Oops, typo: I meant clause.”*

            But there you are, still hopping on your last leg, spouting blood and trying to head-butt.

            The Black Knight was clearly an Oxfordian.


            *Marginal note: Of course, if you’ve written “phrase” throughout your book, you’re screwed.

          • Of course, my favourite bit of Monty Python was when the 16 ton weight appeared and squelched whoever was sounding off beneath it.

            Rather like what we have here.

          • Beth345

            Oh come now, things haven’t got that desperate for you, surely?

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear “Whilk” I owe you an apology. In the quarrel about the difference between a ‘phrase’ and a ‘clause’ you were right and I was wrong. I am also very sorry that I was responsible for raising the temperature over this seeming trifle by my derisive tone when I falsely imputed the error to you.

            You have every right to crow. I shall in future remember to refer to “Oxford thou maist extol thy courte-deare-verse” as a “clause” and not a “phrase.” Thank you for saving me from repeating this mistake in my book.

            Now that you have achieved this well deserved little victory, might you be feeling confident enough to reveal your true name?


            Waugh minimus

          • Nat Whilk

            Dear Waugh,

            Many thanks for your apology. In these debates, an “I am sorry” is rarer than a black swan. If your book has not yet gone to press, you might, as a further courtesy, acknowledge Nat Whilk .

            My true name? Pas si bête.


            Nat Whilk

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Nat Whilk, you are welcome and thank you for accepting it graciously. (This feels like one of those friendly football matches played between the German and British soldiers on Christmas Day in WWI.)

            There has been a lot of teasing (mainly from me) about your pseudonym. I know who you are and so do a number of other bloggers on this site. Your case would be weakened by revealing your true identity. Surely your opinions will be taken more, not less seriously, if you publish them under your own name. Of course you will have to parry the odd squib about how “you are only doing this to protect your income etc” but that sort of argument does not hold much water and will soon lose its impact. You are trying to convince people of your position in the Shakespeare authorship debate. You really shouldn’t need to hide behind the shifty name of “Nat Whilk” to do that.

            The same applies, by the way, to the anti-Stratfordian bloggers. We should all stand or fall by what we write with our own real names attached to our postings – that is my view.

            Now alas it is ‘Boxing Day’ – and we must return to our trenches,


          • >>Your case would be weakened by revealing your true >>identity.

            Then you don’t know who he is.

          • Alexander Waugh

            The sentence ‘Your case would be weakened…’ was corrected two seconds after posting to “your case would not be weakened…’ which was obviously my intended meaning. You must have copied and pasted it in the first second of it’s arrival onto your computer. Why?

          • Well, I’m not free to spend all day here, Alexander. I have deleted it. Slightly awkward as I will have to delete this as well. And you will have to delete your post, too.

            I will also delete my Monty Python 16 ton post as I do not want people to think I posted that after your generous reply to Nat.

          • I don’t have the smallest idea of what Disqus is doing. I did try and delete all three posts but they have made a comeback, altogether in the same place. There’s a cacheing issue somewhere.

            I tried.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Sicinius, I think we should avoid deleting our posts. Yes we all make mistakes here and there, but the record is interesting and I believe it should be preserved. You have covered yourself – no need therefore to delete,


          • psi2u2

            Given that Oxfordians undoubtedly own most copies of Nelson’s book, which has been extensively reviewed by them ( http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/tag/alan-nelson/), your reasoning is, to say the least, bizarre.

          • Tom Reedy

            > Given that Oxfordians undoubtedly own most copies of Nelson’s book

            Very doubtful. WorldCat says there are 353 copies in libraries world wide; I doubt there are that many Oxfordians interested enough to buy Nelson’s book, much less read it.

          • calendar

            Just because you don’t read Oxfordian books (yet review them anyway – e.g. William Plummer Fowler) doesn’t mean Oxfordians share your contempt for understanding both sides of an issue.

            I own and have read Nelson. You pretended to read Fowler.

          • Tom Reedy

            I’ve probably read more Fowler than you have, Carolan. Anybody who reads more than 100 pages of that tripe is inviting early-onset dementia.

            Come to think of it, maybe you HAVE read more Folwer than I. That would explain a lot.

          • calendar

            It’s awesome watching you self-destruct publicly, Tom.

            Please don’t ever stop.

          • Tom Reedy

            Yes, I’m sure when the New Paradigm™ arrives I’ll be out in the cold while you and your co-religionists will be sitting pretty. I’ll take my chances.

          • psi2u2

            Yes, the language is revealing, isn’t it?

          • Dominic Hughes

            Tom, isn’t this interesting. Your language about “early onset dementia” is “revealing” — but Dr. Waugaman’s nearly identical shots at Stratfordians are not subject to criticism…they are protected by “academic freedom”. It is a wonder that some people have absolutely no capacity for self-awareness. Dom

          • Tom Reedy

            Only a degreed professional can diagnose over the Internet. They don’t like others practicing medicine without a license.

          • Felicity Morgan

            Thank you, Calendar. There is not a serious Oxfordian who does not own Monstrous Adversary. Whatever we feel about Alan Nelson’s methodology, it is still a valuable research tool for us, and it never occurred to Mr. Reedy that that might be the case; that Oxfordians know they must deal with negative evidence. This shows how out of touch Mr. Reedy is.

          • Tom Reedy

            I’m not questioning that some Oxfordians don’t own the book; I’m challenging the idea that “Oxfordians undoubtedly own most copies of Nelson’s book”, but as usual with Oxfordians,you miss the point. I doubt there are 353 Oxfordians (the number according to WorldCat that are held in libraries) that own the book–in fact I doubt there are 100.

            How many Oxfordians do you think there are, anyway? After 6 1/2 years of trying, the SAC has only been able to get 2838 people to sign their internet petition expressing doubt that Shakespeare wrote his works. You know all of those aren’t Oxfordians. How many members do you think the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship has? The number of ballots merging the two rival Oxfordian organizations totaled 78.

          • calendar

            “How many Oxfordians do you think there are, anyway? After 6 1/2 years of trying, the SAC has only been able to get 2838 people to sign their internet petition expressing doubt that Shakespeare wrote his works. You know all of those aren’t Oxfordians. How many members do you think the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship has? The number of ballots merging the two rival Oxfordian organizations totaled 78.”

            This is rich. Tom is the guy who, when the topic turned to Sturrock’s statistcal calculations claims he knows no math!!!!

            Now he’s a NUMBERS GUY!

            Don’t ever change, Tom.

          • psi2u2

            I should have qualified that statement with “outside of research libraries.” It is certainly true with that qualification; whether it is true without that qualification is anyone’s guess. Your argument, however, seems to boil down to the claim that the validity of a point of view depends upon the number of persons who hold it. This is called the argumentum ad populum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum. You may wish to study it.

          • Richard Waugaman

            Some of my discoveries about further connections between Shakespeare’s spellings and de Vere’s spellings are thanks to Prof. Nelson’s wonderful lists of all the words in de Vere’s letters, in their original spellings.

            Here is one example–


          • psi2u2

            One should add to this, Dr. Waugaman, that Nelson was the first person to prove that Oxford had actually been lamed in his c. 1583 brawls with the Knyvet faction.

            This is significant. As you know, the poet of the sonnets several times speaks of himself as if he is lame, and a longstanding debate in sonnet criticism had considered the question of whether the poet was, in fact, lame. Avoiding this literary evidence, *Shakespeare Allusion Book* (1909) editor Munro concluded that “we can only say that the absence of contemporary
            reference to such an affliction is almost certain proof that
            it did not exist.” Of course, “the absence of contemporary reference” applies only the Stratfordian.

            Nelson’s discovery of a 1595 letter in which Oxford definitively speaks of himself as a “lame man” confirmed for the first time what Oxfordians, knowing that Oxford was seriously wounded (but not exactly how) in the duel, had long suspected: when the poet speaks of himself as “made lame by fortune’s dearest spite” (Sonnet 37) this is not “mere metaphor,” but metaphor rooted in real experience – like the rest of the Shakespeare canon, in other words.

            Whatever the errors and scholarly sins of Dr. Nelson’s book (and other contributions to the authorship debate), we should not lose sight of such important contributions to our collective knowledge as this one.

          • Richard Waugaman

            Thank you. What a contrast with the Edmundson and Wells article on the Sonnets that was published in 2012, in Shakespeare Studies. They lamely complain that Sonnet critics have misread them as a sonnet sequence; have falsely concluded they were published in the correct order; that they speak of a Fair Youth, a Dark Lady, and a Rival Poet; and– worst of all!– critics write as though there are connections with Shakespeare’s life experiences.

            Edmundson and Wells insist that such reasonable inferences must cease and desist immediately! The survival of their cult is at stake, mind you.

            One more sign of their desperation, as the dots connect better with post-Stratfordian readings.

          • psi2u2

            Richard, it is a little like watching a tragi-comedy in slow motion, as Sicinius et al. struggle to put a good face on what remains, all things considered, one of their finest moments.

            How can we defend the cliche that “Shakespeare is Shakespeare” and anyone who questions this dogma must be a moron or a conspirator?

            We begin by making an exception to what everyone knows — that all writers draw on their experience to construct their art. This rickety construct must then be defended at all cost, and sparing no expense, the small still voice of reason must be stomped on, beaten to a bloody pulp with words, threatened with ostracism and humiliation by paid informants and bullies.

            The sound and fury changes nothing. The writer’s nature is subdued by what it works in, like the dyer’s hand. This was just as true, albeit in a different way, in the 16th century, as it is today. One sees Ben Jonson’s character on his plays as surely as one sees the character of the spy, Christopher Marlowe, on his. But it is even more true, as the Romantics sensed, of Shakespeare. They have not only the wrong man – they have the wrong *body*.

            The “surly sullen bell” gives warning to the world that the Stratmyth has fled. In its place, of the father’s bones, nothing of him doth change, but suffers a sea change, into something rich and strange.

          • Minesweeping again Roger, I see. Trying to kick field goals after both teams have left the stadium.

            “A tragi-comedy in slow motion.” You do know, don’t you, that this thread is already known as Roger’s Great Rebuff?

            I only popped back to pick up a link for Nat’s article on Oxfraud, yet here you are. Boasting about how clever you have been when all the rest of us can see is 10 ignominious refusals to answer what started out as one of your own rhetorical questions: the result disqualifying you either from an ability to discern Shakespearean qualities in Elizabethan poetry or cancelling your qualifications as someone ‘widely and closely read in the canon’.

            Ah well. I’ll drop by in another week or two.

          • Benjamin Hackman

            Thanks so much for pointing me to Univ of Liverpool Press. I just ordered my long sought after copy of “Monstrous Adversity” for L22, just as you said. Since I’m a Colonial, guess I should have ordered 10 more to re-sell on this side of pond for, say $69. Make a few bucks and provide more folks opportunity to read for themselves about the real Eddie de Vere.

            Again, my thanks!

          • You’re welcome, Ben.

            (P.S. That counts as three words in the “Who can get the highest downvote/word ratio? contest)

          • psi2u2

            So glad that you could locate Dr. “Monstrous Adversary”s book. Please be sure to consult the reviews available online, including these: http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/tag/alan-nelson/. My favorite gaffe of all in the book is on p. 432 when Nelson transcribes a letter of Henry de Vere’s to Lord Admiral Howard as concerning “fish called white-herrings (here hyphenated to enhance comprehensibility.” Of course, as Oxfordian Christoper Paul pointed out to Nelson, de Vere is not referring in the letter to “white-herrings” (hyphenated or otherwise), but to a man named “whytheringes.”

            The numerous and telling sins of omission are less easy to spot, but should become evident to you if you graduate beyond the Dr. Nelson level of comprehension of your subject.

          • Dominic Hughes

            > I know who you are and so do a number of other bloggers on this site.

            Do tell please…not only who you think Mr. Whilk might be but how you arrived at your conclusion as to his identity.

          • psi2u2

            Dominic, Mr. Waugh is under no compulsion to explain to you what he knows or how he knows it. It is satisfactory that he, among others, does know.

          • Dominic Hughes

            Roger: When were you demoted to the position of Mr. Waugh’s spokesboy? And I see your reading ability has not yet improved. I did not write anywhere that Mr. Waugh was under any compulsion — in fact, that is precisely why I politely asked him to please tell us how he “knew” Mr. Whilk’s identity. I’m not the one here who is looking into how to obtain 1099’s.

            As for Mr. Whilk’s actual identity, I understand that you and Mr. Waugh are satisfied to think you know it, but, all I can say is that if you really did know who he was you wouldn’t be keeping it under wraps.

          • Tom Reedy


            I seriously doubt they have the resources to discover Sir Nat’s true connections.

          • Dominic Hughes

            I seriously doubt they would be pleased to discover his true connections…I think it might come as something of a shock.

          • psi2u2

            It is remarkable how readily this lot wants to argue over nothing, to demonstrate their mastery of nothing, for the edification of no one.

          • psi2u2 noted: “It is remarkable how readily this lot wants to argue over nothing, to demonstrate their mastery of nothing, for the edification of no one.”

            Funny, but I’d always heard nothing is truer than the truth.

          • You OK knitwitted? You disappeared a bit suddenly.

          • Nat Whilk

            Here you go, Waugh minimus:

            Phrase or clause?

            Hand up your work when you’ve finished.


        • Nat Whilk


          Now that you’re in a chastened frame of mind, perhaps you could respond to my longer essay? Clearly you used the whole “phrase” contention as a dodge–arguing minutiae to avoid larger questions is the oldest of schoolboy tricks.

          Let’s start with the unmutilated clause: “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse happie Daniell.” How would you translate that into modern English? What purpose does “happie Daniell” serve? Syntactically? Semantically? Why did you excise it?


          • Alexander Waugh

            Dear Pseudonym, I shall be happy to do so.

            “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse happie Daniell” has a fairly simple surface meaning which I am surprised you haven’t got. In modern English it is this: “Oxford [University] – (remember this is a letter from England to ‘her daughters’, Oxford and Cambridge Universities) – “Oxford [University] you may praise the verse of that felicitous poet Daniell which is beloved of the court”. I shall be amazed if you dispute that translation, but you and your boys can be very contrary so I wait and see. Samuel Daniel was an undergraduate at Oxford so that makes sense.

            You ask what purpose does “happie Daniell” serve? I hope I have answered that in my modern English rendition above. ‘Happie’ is an adjective and therefore, on surface meaning, it serves much the same purpose as ‘courte-deare-verse’ in describing Daniel. What is interesting to the Oxfordian case is that the unique contrivance ‘courte-deare-verse’ is hyphenated and ‘happie’ is separated from this. To understand why you need to look at the words ‘thy courte-deare-verse’ in relation to the triangle of italicized names above it. As you will see it forms the base of this triangle.

            You write of the ‘unmutilated’ clause: As you can see the Shakespearean marginal note is aligned to the clause “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse” The word ‘Daniell’ is covered by the marginal note ‘Eloquent Gaveston’ So what you have to work out is what was the intended purpose of the Shakespearean marginal note in relation to the aligned clause “Oxford thou maist extoll thy courte-deare-verse.”

            Now as a scholar of the literature of this period you would not be so silly as to pretend that Elizabethan writing isn’t jam packed with double meanings, so, knowing this, and seeing all those clues to a puzzle (eg. ‘fortunatelie fortunate Cleopatra’, ‘in contracted shape’ courte-deare-verse happie’, the centred triangle of Italicised names etc etc), you should be as certain as I am that Covell has planted a secondary meaning in there. Even your chum Professor Wells agrees with this. He wrote to me “Certainly the author was deliberately being cryptic.”

            Now if you wish to disagree with Professor Wells by insisting that only Covell’s surface meaning is valid, then you are free to do so. However, given that I have proposed a coherent, tidy and self explanatory double meaning, which just so happens to conflict with your Stratfordian hypothesis, it may look to outsiders as though your motives for rejecting it are impure – not exactly in scholarly search of the truth.

            So it is back to you. Are you going to:

            1. contradict Professor Wells by insisting that this passage has no intended double meaning.
            2. Take his side, agree that Covell was being cryptic, but say you cannot decipher the double meaning but insist nonetheless that it has absolutely nothing to do with the concealed poet Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford, or
            3. Produce an alternative double meaning that is more palatable to you than ‘our de Vere – a secret’ and more plausible to your readers.

            So it is up to you. At the moment you seem to be floundering.


          • Nat Whilk


            You write “…has a fairly simple surface meaning which I am surprised you haven’t got.” So you haven’t actually read my long post of two days ago, beginning “Waugh importunes…” Or you have and you’re pretending you haven’t. Shoddy work. You’ve been playing this same game with Mr. Reedy.

            As for your momentous discovery™—gosh, that does look just like the Virgin Mary on that grilled-cheese sandwich! Classic apophenia. For “triangle,” read “giraffe” throughout.


          • Alexander Waugh

            It is true. I haven’t read your essay. You posted it and followed it up two hours later with a much shorter one. I arrived back from dinner, rather late and a little tipsy, to discover both and answered the second, making (as you will remember that error about ‘phrase’ and ‘clause’ My latest post to you, which I note you have not tackled in any detail or given much thought to, was written in response to your questions about Daniel etc. You cannot gloss over my points and then expect me to spend hours mulling over every full-stop of yours. I am doing my best. Unlike you it is not part of my job to be blogging in this baleful way.

            You are in error if you think that I have imagined the triangle. Take out a ruler, measure the width of the main text, then measure to the centre of the word ‘Delia’ (the ‘l’) at the top of the triangle and then, on the line beneath, measure to the centre point, ie to the semi-colon between Cleopatra and Oxford. You will notice that the distance between Cleopatra and the semi colon is shorter than the distance between the colon and Oxford. Had those distances been the same the effect of the triangle would have been destroyed and perhaps I might then have believed in your ‘giraffe.’ But the spacing shows signs of deliberate text-manipulation by the author and compositor who create the triangle. You will notice that the midway points on the first two lines (eg the ‘l’ of Delia and the semi colon beneath it) are placed exactly in the centre of the text and aligned to one another. You will also notice that the words ‘thy courte-deare-verse’ form the third line which is again precisely centred to the two lines above it to form a word triangle of all three lines.

            Now this is quite a lot of factual evidence in support of my contention that what you glibly call the ‘giraffe’ triangle was in fact deliberately set and centred in Covell’s text. There are plenty of other clues confirming this. Look for instance at the spacing of the text around the triangle. It should also be fairly obvious to BA (Eng Lits) like you that the triangle was created first and that the marginal notes and supporting text were added afterwards. Perhaps you have never seen Elizabethan texts set into triangles and other strange shapes before. Perhaps you have never come across Elizabethan anagrams and word puzzles before. I can send plenty of examples of each if you need them.

            It matters not one jot to me whether you see the triangle there or not or whether you shout from the hilltops that it is ‘just an accident’, just like ‘Our de Vere – a secret’ is ‘just an anagram’. You make yourself look silly by calling it ‘giraffe’ before you have properly examined the case and pondered all the evidence. Try to be less knee-jerk.

            Remember I am way ahead of you on all this. I have been studying Polimanteia for much longer than you have and I understand precisely why that triangle was put there and precisely what Covell is telling his readers about Shakespeare and de Vere and a great deal else. You are lagging and you will never catch up because you will never accept even the most obvious part of this message – the only part I have so far revealed – which tells us that Edward de Vere was the author of Lucrece.

            Since you will never accept this and since you continue to hide behind a fake name, I really do not see why I should assist you further in this matter. It is tiring for me and feels like trying to explain the beauty of nightingale’s song to someone born without ears.

            What you refuse to understand is, I am afraid, entirely your loss.


          • Nat Whilk


            “The triangle was created first.”

            Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a long-time connoisseur of pseudodoxy, I’m enraptured. Glorious, hilarious, pitiful. (And if that’s what you sent Wells, I must applaud his restraint.)

            I wish you all good fortune.



          • Nat Whilk


            A parting gift, from your fortuitous triangle.

            I’ve had borrow an “l” from “simplicitie” to form the apex of the triangle, but the message is this:

            Hell! A lord, tortured coterie verse—a poxy facade!


          • Tom Reedy

            Since Mr Waugh insists on selectively quoting and truncating my statements, I feel justified in doing the same to his.

            > You make yourself look silly … Remember I am way ahead of you on all this.

            Yes, you are. You really are. “tipsy” explains a lot.

  • Beth345

    One question still hanging in the air concerns possible payment to individuals who attempt to demolish professional reputations. Another was a simple ‘why?’: why, if financial transactions were not involved are some people expending so much time and vitriol on pursuing this matter?

    May I quote from a document which is easily available online, a piece by Dr Bill Leahy which was published in The Guardian in April:

    ‘There is certainly something about this issue that causes people to lose all sense of reason. Many seem to have formed a personal connection to Shakespeare, or at least to the romantic conception of the author that has been handed down to us. Essentially, they are fans and they respond as such, taking criticism of his work personally.
    ‘.. I receive hate mail on a regular basis and have been advised to “drop it now” if I wish to get published ever again. Yet I do not argue for an alternative author and do not suggest that any other individual wrote the plays and poems. I simply do not believe that Shakespeare wrote all of the plays and poems attributed to him and evidence seems to suggest I am right.
    ‘It seems ironic to me that such sublime writings prompt such extreme and often irrational behaviour by so many well-educated people. The reason for this can only be that a romantic, comfortable and conventional truth is being questioned and that this is difficult to handle.’

    Does this sound familiar? Could it be that some of those individuals have been participating in this column? Because it seems that some have been using The Spectator to express the same brand of intolerance, whether seeking to sustain what some might see as some sort of 400-year-old campaign, or simply deriving their personal kicks from bullying–or attempting to destroy fellow professionals.

    Hate mail and threats to people’s professional standing are unacceptable
    and cowardly. It is [Wikipedia] “..a form of harrassment consisting of
    invective and potentially intimidating or threatening comments towards
    the recipient. Hate mail often contains exceptionally abusive, foul or
    otherwise hurtful language. If often contains profanity (“‘you wanker
    Waugh”) or it may simply contain “a negative, disappropriating message.”

    One wonders.

    • Tom Reedy

      > One question still hanging in the air concerns possible payment to
      individuals who attempt to demolish professional reputations. Another
      was a simple ‘why?’: why, if financial transactions were not involved
      are some people expending so much time and vitriol on pursuing this

      I don’t know; why don’t you ask them? Ask Roger Stritmatter, Greg Koch, Chris Carolan, and all the other ShakesVereans why they so savagely impugn the integrity and reputations of such renowned and respected scholars as Stanley Wells, James Shapiro, Jonathan Bate, Dave Kathman, and all the other Shakespeare scholars they regularly smear on their Facebook and web sites? I see nor reason for it unless someone is paying them, and you must admit nobody has more to gain financially than Oxfordians by trashing the reputations of these scholars.

      • calendar

        “Ask Roger Stritmatter, Greg Koch, Chris Carolan, and all the other ShakesVereans why they so savagely impugn the integrity and reputations of such renowned and respected scholars as Stanley Wells, James Shapiro, Jonathan Bate, Dave Kathman, and all the other Shakespeare scholars they regularly smear on their Facebook and web sites? ”

        Here is the classic Reedy technique of attributing to others what he himself practices. One need only search for Tom Reedy’s comments on the eminent, Stanford astrophysicist Peter Sturrock to read such smears. Me thinks thou project too much.

        I, however, esteem some of Wells work. Particularly his observation that the Stratford monument describes Shakspere as a ‘servant’ to use Wells’ word. This observation dovetails perfectly with the allusion of Shakspere in George Chapman’s The Gentleman Usher as an illiterate minion to a nobleman who usurps his lord’s ‘treasure.’

        The puzzle is being solved, and it’s certainly an exciting time for Shakespeare scholarship. It’s a shame that the conversation is soiled with verbal thuggery as displayed throughout this discussion by Mr. Reedy.

        • Tom Reedy

          Are you saying that you and your fellow travelers DON’T indulge in group name-calling? Really? And how about producing some of those “smears”? In fact, here’s a nice exercise for you: read every message in this forum (close to 700 by now) and make a list of who uses insult and abuse. I think you’d be surprised that your fearless leader, the Oxfordian of 2013, is the main offender.

          As far as Sturrock goes, the only comment I can find that I made about him is “Ha ha! I’ve read Sturrock. It reads like a Seventh-Day Adventist recruiting pamphlet.” Anybody who has read his “scientific” book with its phoney, set-up dialogue can see that it’s far from being scientific or unbiased.

          And you might want to revisit what Wells wrote. I haven’t read what he wrote, so i don’t know exactly what you’re referring to, but the monument inscription reads “since all that he hath writ, leaves living art but page to serve his wit”. The wordplay here has a double meaning: Shakespeare has left his works to art; Shakespeare’s works reduces the role of the theatre (living art) to that of a servant whose purpose is to display how witty he was. (I sometimes think Oxfordians are afflicted with some type of ocular disorder that causes them to miss every third word; what other explanation could there be for their comical misreadings?)

          Have you ever wondered that with all this “progress” Oxfordians regularly declare, why you’re still considered a fringe theory? With all the breathy declarations of victory, one would think the entire world would be Oxfordian by now. Maybe the real world doesn’t pay much attention to your preferred forums: Facebook, comment sections, self-financed web sites, and self-published books and journals?

          • calendar

            “….self-financed web sites”

            by definition these are more objective than those materials financed by tourist pounds whose intention is to maintain the flow of said tourist pounds.

            Those books are ethically compromised, don’t you think?

          • Tom Reedy

            I think it’s wonderful that you continue to display your conspiratorial mind set to the world. It reduces your credibility to that of Art Neuendorffer’s, who in fact is the prototypical Oxfodian writ large.

          • calendar

            Conspiracy is not a synonym for ‘financial self-interest.’

            That you are intellectually unable to discern the difference is telling.

          • psi2u2

            Calendar, let us note in passing one of Mr. Reedy’s three or four most handy sticks to beat the Oxfordians, the spotlight fallacy: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Spotlight_fallacy. This is a common form of overgeneralization among anti-Oxfordians, but one of which Mr. Reedy is particularly fond. So far he fails to realize how his common use of the fallacy marks him as an ideologue and not a critical thinker.

        • psi2u2

          Yes, quite amazing with what a broad brush Mr. Reedy likes to mush up the canvas, isn’t it? I’ve debate professor Wells but, to my knowledge, never “smeared” him. In fact I find him several cuts above Shapiro, Kathman, and Paul Edmondson – a name conspicuously missing from Reedy’s list…I wonder why?

      • Beth345

        While this public forum is available, and as a matter of public interest, your colleagues might like to use the opportunity to say where they stand on these important matters of finance and accountability.

  • Knit Witted

    Hi Dr. Stritmatter,

    Why do suppose Mr. Waugh has decided to by-pass mainstream peer-review in favor of publishing a book? Isn’t it scholarly protocol to have one’s work reviewed before wasting resources on a book whose topic may be weak? I notice that even you, the Oxfordian of the Year, humbly submits your work to the mainstream peer-review process. Why is Mr. Waugh’s work above such review?

    • Beth345

      One might reasonably suppose the reason to be that Mr Waugh is a writer. He writes books. That’s what authors do.

      We are still waiting for some illumination on the questions I raised below.

      • Knit Witted

        Beth345 announced: “We are still waiting for some illumination on the questions I raised below.”

        Gosh. You might try the extra-strength Midol next time.

  • Knit Witted

    Dear Oxfraud,

    It is embarassing, but I have finally admitted I’ve fallen prey to an internet scam. I made the mistake of buying into a story that I originally thought had merit. The first days of spending time with my new-found outlet were indeed gleeful. The object of my desire seemed so life-like and realistic that I could hardly believe my eyes. Much to my surprise, it came with its own preliminary instruction: “Read the book please.” Obeying said instruction, I did begin to read its book wherein I note the first instruction requested I must immediately name my said object of desire. Needless to say, the name “Roger” came to mind. I was further instructed to sign an agreement that I would place said object out of reach and never touch him in fear his magic spell would be broken.

    It seemed like a shame that I could not communicate with “Roger”. Being the curious researcher that I am, internet searches revealed the object to actually be a wireless transmitter spying on my every move. I seriously considered wrapping his e’fing head with tin foil and filing an eviction notice with the local sheriff but then I remembered my legally binding agreement.

    Further research on the internet proved the object has often been nicknamed “Shake-speare’s Brick Top” which made no sense to me until I recognized the initials “SBT”. My gawd!!!!!!!! The SBT is spying on me!! I immediately deleted my negative Amazon reviews and my personal blog wherein I had also posted said negative reviews in hopes of retaining favor with “Roger”. I also removed all books in my possession related to Shakespeare in fear that my 1st edition of George Frisbee’s *Edward de Vere: A Great Elizabethan * had infected all said books with secret codes.

    Please help me figure out a way to get rid of my totally wanker Elf on the Shelf.

    Yours truly,
    Ms. Knit Witted

    • Perhaps we could do something to try and restore the reputation of D H Lawrence? Roger may never have heard of him.

      A snake came to my water-trough
      On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
      To drink there.

      In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
      I came down the steps with my pitcher
      And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before

      He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
      And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
      the stone trough
      And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
      i o And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
      He sipped with his straight mouth,
      Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,

      Someone was before me at my water-trough,
      And I, like a second comer, waiting.

      He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
      And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
      And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
      And stooped and drank a little more,
      Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
      On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
      The voice of my education said to me
      He must be killed,
      For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

      And voices in me said, If you were a man
      You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

      But must I confess how I liked him,
      How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
      And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
      Into the burning bowels of this earth?

      Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
      I felt so honoured.

      And yet those voices:
      If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

      And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
      That he should seek my hospitality
      From out the dark door of the secret earth.

      He drank enough
      And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
      And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
      Seeming to lick his lips,
      And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
      And slowly turned his head,
      And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
      Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
      And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

      And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
      And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
      A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
      Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
      Overcame me now his back was turned.

      I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
      I picked up a clumsy log
      And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

      I think it did not hit him,
      But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
      Writhed like lightning, and was gone
      Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
      At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

      And immediately I regretted it.
      I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
      I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

      And I thought of the albatross
      And I wished he would come back, my snake.

      For he seemed to me again like a king,
      Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
      Now due to be crowned again.

      And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
      Of life.
      And I have something to expiate:
      A pettiness.

      • Knit Witted

        Hi Sicinius,

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to my complaint about your product. Your solution was most appropriate. The Elf on the Shelf is merely doing his job and no Elf should be grudged for doing so.


  • Nat Whilk’s considered response to the article is up on Oxfraud.com and is well worth the notice of anyone who followed the Polymanteia argument.


    • Tom Reedy

      “… his imperishable-blind-academe-denied-praise tragic Oxford.”


    • Knit Witted

      O nice…

      “Let’s not forget “Delia, Cleopatra; Oxford”:
      Lo! I, Lord Ox., farted apace”

      At least Mr. Waugh could provide external evidence for this anagram.

    • Alexander Waugh

      You’re not telling me that Dave keeps up his Whilkish pseudonym even on the oxfraud site! From whom is he hiding there I wonder? I look forward to reading it. You Sicinius must learn to spell Polimanteia. Did none of you hired boys do any Greek at school?


      • Nat Whilk


        I do hope you will enjoy the essay, and will comment on it, if you’re not too tipsy to engage.

        I can’t wait for your book. The reviews should be a banquet of Schadenfreude.



        • Dominic Hughes

          Dave??? It appears that Mr. Waugh was not interested in engaging with your excellent essay. It must have been too difficult to see his discovery go circling the drain.

          • Nat Whilk


            Mr. Waugh has a little problem with authorship, doesn’t he? Can’t tell Nat from Dave, can’t tell Will from Ned…

            Of course he’s not going to engage. He hath Pronounced.


          • Tom Reedy

            Sometimes on a dark, moonlit night, if you listen closely, you can hear the ghost of the Lord Great Oxford calling the name of Alexander Waugh through the dead centuries …


          • Dominic Hughes

            I see that Mr. Waugh believes he’s been talking here with Kathman, Edmondson, and Bate…so much for his ability to ascertain the identity behind an alleged pseudonym.

          • Nat Whilk



          • Nat Whilk

            Ooh, can I be Jonathan Bate next time? It’s my turn.


          • Tom Reedy

            What is amazing is that when you get two would-be-geniuses such as Stritmatter and Waugh together the result is even dumber than either of them working alone. It really speaks to the mentality required to see Oxford in the clouds as Shakespeare. Here is Waugh’s cleverness on display in case anybody missed it. He’s batting 25%, and that’s only because I post under my own name.


      • Nat Whilk


        So you object to my using a nom de plume? How inconsistent of you.


      • As we have discovered following your arguments, Elizabethans were the Impressionists of spelling and cryptography. They merely use the printed word to set the mood for communication. Their actual meaning is left to the reader.

        • Nat Whilk


          λάβετέ μευ ταἰμάτια, κόψω Βουπάλου τὸν ὀφθαλμόν.


          • All Greek to me.

          • Alexander Waugh

            Dave…but your punches always miss.

          • Nat Whilk

            Haven’t had to lift a finger. You’ve been blacking your own eyes, quite divertingly.


          • Tom Reedy

            You must give him credit: he’d been consistently right about everything. If he ever gets one correct he’ll break his streak.

  • Isabella J’s Inner Aethelflaed


  • Isabella J’s Inner Aethelflaed

    Hope you will, D. Shakespeare said life is just a play and the human soul the most
    fragile of things ?

  • Isabella J

    An ideal dusty spot is this, says the one named after the Shakespeare character.
    Will he come..will Sonnets be needed

    • silent_pilot

      There are a few cobwebs round here. I vaguely remember something about this.

      I have to admit that I have never ever read any Shakespeare, even though I was supposed to have read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at school. I got bored before the end of the first chapter. Is that bad of me? I didn’t mind Keats, Wordsworth all that sort of stuff but flat out refused to read Shakespeare.

      • Isabella J

        More then cobwebs its deserted apart from you and I.Always
        felt sorry for the tavern wench.

        • silent_pilot

          Maybe that’s where they were going wrong trying to get me to read instead of acting it? Does watching ‘Shakespeare in Love’ count? 😀

          • Isabella J

            Its utterly deserted here
            PS I am also really boring being one for astrophysics, I never mention it as people yawn.

          • silent_pilot

            It really feels that way on here. Like a long deserted Army barracks that are ever more prevalent in Germany these days

            Astrophysics is quite interesting but not something I religiously follow.I can find the Pole star using either ‘The Plough’ or Cassiopeia. That skill is not much help for gliding though. 😀

          • Isabella J

            Oi are you moaning about the deserted threads I find?
            Actually considering the who was Queen at the time it’s
            more like the war with the Spanish ( so well deserted)

          • silent_pilot

            Not complaining at all. It’s an observation on how quiet it is here.

            I know my limitations and there’s no way I could talk confidently about astrophysics.

          • Isabella J

            I’ve a few ideas ;-D

          • Isabella J

            PS Did you wear a sporran too ?

          • silent_pilot

            Yes, we had the entire works shoes, shirt Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket. I can’t remember which tartan I wore now. Entirely possible that I had one for my family name even though I’m proudly and stubbornly English. The Reiver in me is strong (best said in a Yoda voice).

          • Isabella J

            I bet you cant play the bagpipes.

          • silent_pilot

            I can’t play the bagpipes.

            Very proud Englishman and love that I can say that to the Germans and they don’t bat an eyelid.

          • Isabella J

            Well an inflated bag of air suits the Scots very well.

          • silent_pilot

            No comment! 😀

          • Isabella J

            No Comment, what do you mean No comment 🙂

          • silent_pilot

            No comment as in ‘No comment as I do not wish to incriminate myself!” 😀 Suffice to say that we are in agreement.

            Here’s a sonnet for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2vGa-yLiso

          • Isabella J

            Well your the one with the

            We are in agreement are we, when did you decide this 😀

          • silent_pilot

            OK a poem I wrote while drunk about 3am many moons ago!

            Why do I drink

            Why do I drink?
            I drink to travel to life’s surreal antipodes.

            Ta da! 😀

          • Isabella J