THE TWO REMAINING FINALISTS
We've already completed a brief life history of Edward de Vere in chapters 6,
7, and 8. What we need to do now is cross check this information against what
the unidentified poet known as Shakespeare tells us about himself in his poems,
particularly the sonnets (to #125). There are quite a number of personal traits,
characteristics, and events experienced which the poet describes in these
poems that de Vere must satisfy as applicable to him for him to have been this
unidentified poet/playwright. I have listed 11 criteria in this category.
Conversely, there are a number of identifiers of Edward de Vere which we
have noted in his life which must be shown to apply to the unidentified
poet/playwright. By my count there are 6 in this grouping, making 17 the
required common attributes in all for William Shakespeare to have been the
pseudonym of Edward de Vere. Rather than taking them in alphabetical order,
which has no particular relevance, I've set them down in random order, as
they occurred to me. We begin with what the unidentified poet says. For
convenience only, I'll refer to him as Shakespeare.
.I'm not unaware that Stratfordians have a number of objections and contrary
arguments to some of the evidence presented in this chapter. But because I
intend to limit my comments here to facts which I consider incontrovertible I
don't propose to introduce Stratfordian counter arguments now. Instead, I'm
noting their arguments as I go along and will list all I those I can find for
discussion in a separate chapter which I propose to call 'Criticisms."
SHAKESPEARE AND ITALY
1. It is a fact that at present there is a Web page whose URL is
with an article entitled "Was Shakespeare Italian?" This begins
Over the centuries scholars have been puzzled by Shakespeare's profound
knowledge of Italian...
Retired Sicilian professor Martino Iuvara claims that Shakespeare was, in fact,
not English at all, but Italian. His conclusion is drawn from research carried
out from 1925 to 1950 by two professors at Palermo University...
I don't think we need to review the entire article here. From our perspective I
suggest it's sufficient for us to know that this has happened, and that it said
Shakespeare had an impressive familiarity with stories by several Italian
authors, because it provides good third party evidence that Shakespeare was
familiar with the language, customs, and literature of northern Italy, the centre
of the Renaissance.
2. Shakespeare located a number of his plays in Italy:
The Merchant of Venice
Othello, the Moor of Venice
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Romeo and Juliet (Verona)
Much Ado About Nothing (Messina, Sicily)
The Taming of the Shrew (Padua)
All's Well that Ends Well (partly in Florence, partly in France).
and certain historical plays:
Julius Caesar (Rome)
Titus Andronicus (Rome)
Cymbeline (Britain and Rome)
Anthony and Cleopatra (Rome and Egypt)
and Shakespeare's longest narrative poem
The Rape of Lucrece (Rome)
This is a substantial proportion of the poet/dramatist's total output, showing he
was comfortable with siting some contemporary as well as historical plays in
Italy, and able to do this convincingly enough to provide something of a case
for the Italian professors as to his nationality there.
3. It's also been suggested elsewhere that Shakespeare shows knowledge of
Italian dialect of his day in a way that only someone who had been there and
spoke Italian would know.
4. In chapter 12, The Rape of Lucrece, Note 2, we discussed the significance of
the Winter's Tale reference to the work of Julio Romano, and the reference in
the Lucrece poem to Mount Etna, in Sicily, as well as the lengthy and detailed
description of a Romano painting/mural which I identified as at the Palazzo del
Te, at Mantua. This seems reasonable evidence that Shakespeare was familiar
with Venice and Verona, (two plays each) and had also visited Sicily (Etna and
De VERE AND ITALY
1. We know for a fact that de Vere travelled in France, Germany and Italy in
1575-6. He made Venice his base for touring northern Italy, from May 1575
until he finally left Venice in March 1576. Verona, Padua, Florence and Rome
were within easy reach of Venice, as was Mantua.
2. We also mentioned in chapter 6 the story of de Vere's issue of a challenge
while in Palermo, Sicily, which is about 100 miles from Messina.
3. Orazio Cogno, the Venetian choirboy and musician de Vere brought back to
England with him, stated later in court testimony in Italy that de Vere "speaks
Latin and Italian well." (see chapter 7).
Shakespeare very probably visited Italy, and very probably spoke Italian.
de Vere did visit italy and did speak Italian.
1. Shakespeare states unequivocally in Sonnet 125 "I bore the canopy."
(Chapter 20). To do that he must have been very close to Queen Elizabeth, and
at least a knight with a noble pedigree to be part of her inner circle of trusted
attendants, officials and ministers.
2. In sonnet 91 (chapter 18) he writes
Thy love is better than high birth to me
This sonnet should not, in my opinion, be misinterpreted to mean that he
hasn't high birth; to the contrary, he is saying he has it and this person's love is
even more estimable for him. That's not a surprising statement because he's
part of the Court inner circle and apparently writing to the Queen.
3. In chapter 12, Note 2, was provided evidence that Shakespeare was a
nobleman to have gained entrance to the Palazzo del Te and later described a
painting/mural there in detail.
1. We have factual evidence that de Vere bore the Queen's train, and that he
carried the Sword of State. For the sword, we have Holler's engraving showing
a young, 22 year old, holding it before the Queen, in 1572. She is standing
straight-faced and solemn, regally dressed, but the young man is nonchalantly
holding up the sword in an impish or puckish mood, legs straddled apart, a
smile or smirk on his face. He must have been a handful to deal with, this
'madcap earl.' It's not identified in writing as de Vere, but it certainly isn't the
55 year old Marquis of Winchester, and in the Court pecking order de Vere
was next in line for this awesome function. We don't have factual evidence that
he bore the canopy, but we have evidence he performed the still higher
function with the sword, and lower function with the train. There would have
been a number of state occasions when he might well have borne the canopy as
2. He was a nobleman, the 17th Earl of Oxford, and hereditary Lord Great
Chamberlain to the monarch.
Shakespeare bore the canopy and so was of high birth, probably a nobleman
De Vere probably bore the canopy and was of high birth, a nobleman..
Shakespeare was a prolific poet with much published work
De Vere was a poet with a number of published poems.
Conclusion: Yes to both.
Shakespeare was a prolific playwright
De Vere was "the best for Comedy" (Francis Meres, chapter 21)
Conclusion: yes to both.
In his plays Shakespeare has a number of court or trial scenes. In the
Merchant of Venice, for example. He uses legal metaphors in his sonnets from
time to time, for example sonnet 46 (chapter 17). It seems no one has ever
stated that his legal knowledge was inadequate or inaccurate, The conclusion is
that he had legal training, which would mean at the Inns of Court after
obtaining a university degree.
He had private tutors of high academic standing, was granted university
degrees at Oxford and Cambridge, and had studied law at the Inns of Court
(chapter 6). Further, he had dealings from time to time in legal matters, in his
estates, and with his tenants (chapters 7 and 8), and was required to attend the
trials of Mary Queen of Scots (chapter 7) and the Earls of Essex and
Southampton (chapter 8).
Shakespeare had an excellent knowledge of law and probably studied it
De Vere had been present at State Treason trials and had studied law.
6. THE BLACK HAIRED MISTRESS
We have yet to continue on from sonnet 125 to the end at 154. There may be
information there to tell us more about the elusive poet Shakespeare, and we'll
review these remaining sonnets in the next chapter. But I can tell you now that
two sonnets speak directly of his black haired mistress:
In the old age black was not counted fair...
...my mistress' brows are raven black
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun...
if hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head
This is surprising because it suggests the mistress has wiry 'peasant' hair, and
not the soft, silky hair of the 'noblilty.'
Fortunately we have a portrait of Anne Vavasour. It's reproduced facing page
485 in Dorothy and Charles Ogburn's This Star of England, (Coward-McCann
Inc. New York, 1952, 1,297 pages). It shows her to have a long thin face with
jet black hair, brows, and, dark eyes. She was the mistress of de Vere.
Shakespeare had a black haired mistress
De Vere had a black haired mistress.
In my youth I studied keyboard and voice, sang in the school choir and at
university in the college choir, passed all the keyboard exams of the combined
Royal Academy and Royal College of Music, including the final with honours,
and competed in voice and keyboard (silver medallist) at the Stratford Music
Festival. I remember singing the lyrics to a number of Shakespearean songs.
Some of the melodies were quite beautiful, others haunting, or catchy: It Was a
Lover and His Lass; Sigh No More Ladies; O Mistress Mine; Where the Bee
Sucks; Who is Silvia.
Lorenzo says in the Merchant of Venice (Act 5, Scene 1, lines 83-5):
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
I always unthinkingly assumed that Shakespeare had written the words and
music, they seemed to flow together so naturally. But now, much later in life,
and involved in this investigation, I find no one knows whether Shakespeare
was musical or not, and no one knows whether he wrote the music to
accompany his lyrics. My own intuition tells me he wrote both, but that means
nothing in this inquiry. Irving Berlin composed the music and wrote the lyrics
for many famous songs, including Blue Skies, and God Bless America. But one
would be misled if one thought that there was one composer/lyricist when
hearing a Gilbert and Sullivan song, or a George and Ira Gershwin song.
On the Web there's an informative article on Music In Shakespeare's Plays by
Mary Springfels, Musician in Residence at the Newberry library,
Northwestern University, in the US. In it she says
Not a single note of instrumental music from the Shakespeare plays has been
preserved, with the possible exception of the witches' dances from Macbeth,
which are thought to have been borrowed from a contemporary masque...
The problem of authenticity plagues most of the vocal music as well, Barely a
dozen songs exist in contemporary settings, and not all of them are known to
have been used in Shakespeare's own productions. For example, the very
famous Thomas Morley version of "It was a lover and his lass" is a very
ungratefully arranged lute song. ...In addition to Morley, it is believed that two
other composers, Robert Johnson and John Wilson... had some association with
Shakespeare at the end of his career...
In addition to performed vocal music, Shakespeare used all kinds of music and
musical instruments referentially. The folk songs and ballad tunes quoted so
frequently by Shakespeare were equally well known both to the groundlings and
to the more distinguished patrons....
Shakespeare used musical instruments and their playing techniques as the basis
for sexual double-entendre or extended metaphor...
What can we learn from Shakespeare's use of music about his knowledge of and
attitude toward that art? There is very little evidence to be found in the texts
themselves to show that he had any particular knowledge of the art music of the
period. There are no allusions to the magnificent church polyphony being
written at the time by William Byrd and his contemporaries, or to the brilliantly
witty madrigals of Thomas Weelkes and John Wilbye. The complexities of such
music was perhaps inappropriate to outdoor theatrical performance and above
the heads of most of Shakespeare's audience...
The sententious choirboy dramas presented at court throughout the second half
of the 16th century... most of these... included a lament... Shakespeare parodies
the genre mercilessly in the Pyramus and Thisbe interlude performed by the
rustics in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the blissfully absurd lament "What
dreadful dole is here?" is a send-up of "Gulchardo," a consort song that has
lasted into the present century...
Shakespeare certainly had a profound comprehension of the Renaissance
Neoplatonic idea of the "music of the spheres" and the effect of both heavenly
and earthly harmonies on the health of the human spirit.
His mischievous and irrepressible sense of humour extended to the field of
music. We can see from this analysis that Shakespeare was at ease in using
music and musical references throughout his work. The only possible clues to
Shakespeare's direct involvement in music are first, among his miscellaneous
poems there are "Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music" but I don't know whether
this title was provided by the poet or added by some publisher. More
significant is the reference to 'diapason' in The Rape of Lucrece line 1131,
(discussed at the end of chapter 12). There, Shakespeare in a few lines
mentions: strain, diapason, burden, hum, and descant. And many of his plays
are studded with lyrics intended to be sung. I suggest all this shows us that the
poet/playwright had a considerable love for and very probably performing
ability with music.
As to de Vere, we've already quoted (chapter 6) the organist John Farmer
who, on writing a book dedicated it to de Vere, saying that he was more
proficient in the art than many professionals, This is good third party evidence
that de Vere was musical.
Conclusion as to musical ability:
Shakespeare: probably had musical ability
De Vere: had musical ability.
8. BECOMING LAME
The poet mentions this disability more than once in the sonnets, but one
quotation will establish the fact for us here:
Sonnet 66 (chapter 17) lists many problems in his life:
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced
And strength by limping sway disabled...
Tir'd with all these, from these I would be gone...
In chapter 16 was quoted a sentence from a letter dated March 25, 1595
written to Burghley, the relevant phrase is:
I will attend your Lordship as well as a lame man may at your house.
Shakespeare became lame
De Vere became lame
9. SENSE OF HUMOUR
1. He had a 'wicked' sense of humour. The characters in his plays satirized
with deadly accuracy the weaknesses and foibles of certain courtiers around
Elizabeth. She, and those unharmed, must have had enormous enjoyment from
this devilish humour. I don't know whether Sir Christopher Hatton was
already an enemy of Shakespeare's, causing him to be ridiculed as Malvolio in
12th Night, but if he wasn't until then he certainly was afterwards for the rest
of his life. The very name Mal-volio, with the prefix 'mal' shows how bad
Shakespeare thought he was.
2. Polonius' farewell to his son Laertes in Hamlet is Burghley lecturing his
somewhat wayward elder son Thomas, who he had caused to be spied on when
Thomas visited France. Shakespeare in his world of remade courtiers and
politicians could re-do them as he saw fit, so he has Polonius hiding behind an
arras (curtain or drape) to spy on Hamlet. Hamlet is lecturing the Queen, his
mother, on her overhasty re-marriage. Act 3, scene 4) She cries out
What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?
Help, help, ho!
And Polonius behind the arras calls out
What, Ho! help, help, help!
Hamlet draws his sword saying
How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!
plunges his sword through the arras and Polonius fall dead.
Hamlet lifts the arras and says
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell.
I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune
Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
What a convenient way for Shakespeare to express his dislike of Burghley - he
has him killed off for what he was prone to do: spy on others.
3. Perhaps the best documented example is Sir John Falstaff, who
Shakespeare makes into an amusing thieving rogue and something of a coward.
This character in Henry 4th part 1 was originally named Sir John Oldcastle.
His living relatives protested loudly about this disgraceful portrayal of their
ancestor, particularly as to his cowardice. Shakespeare changed his name to
Falstaff (False-staff) but in Act 1, scene 2, line 39 the Prince calls Falstaff "my
old lad of the castle.' This means nothing in the revised play, but was a pun
when Falstaff was formerly Sir John Oldcastle,
To show how serious this identity had become, Shakespeare attached a
disclaimer as the last part of an Epilogue to Henry 4th part 2. Here's the text
of it in full:
One word more, I beseech you. If you be not too much cloyed with fat meat, our
humble author will continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make you merry
with fair Katharine of France: where, for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of
a sweat, unless already a' be killed with your hard opinions; for Oldcastle died a
martyr, and this is not the man. My tongue is weary; when my legs are too, I will
bid you good night: and so kneel down before you; but, indeed, to pray for the
1. He had the same kind of devilish humour. We have only one example that I
know of which has come down to us (see chapter 6): the very tall tale of how
the great Spanish commander the Duke of Alba was so impressed with de
Vere that he made him Lieutenant General over all his armed forces and de
Vere then describes in astonishing detail how he dealt with the siege of a city.
Charles Arundel was so taken in by it he included it in his accusations to the
Privy Council. Poor Arundel. No wonder the Privy Council took no action
against de Vere over it.
2. Frances Meres lists de Vere first among the playwrights 'best for comedy'
3. The English ambassador to the Court of France, in Paris, in 1575 wrote to
Burghley about de Vere who was starting his Tour of Europe and was received
well at the French Court:
My Lord's device is very proper, witty and significant.
Presumably this was a masque or play.
4. Thomas Nashe, poet, playwright, and pamphleteer (1567-1601) has this to
say of Dr. Gabriel Harvey and de Vere:
(Harvey) came very short but yet sharp upon my Lord of Oxford in a rattling
bunch of English hexameters,,, he is but a little fellow, but he hath one of the
best wits in England. Should he take thee in hand..(as he flieth from such
inferior concertation) I prophesy there would more gentle readers die of a merry
mortality engendered by the eternal jests he would maul thee with, than there
have done of this last infection. I myself ... enjoy but a mite of wit in comparison
of his talent.
This 'infection' appears to be a reference to a recent bout of the often
Shakespeare had an excellent sense of humour which could be slapstick
comedy, intellectual, sarcastic or situational.
De Vere had an equally talented wide ranging sense of humour.
10. MALE LOVER
A substantial number of the 125 sonnets we have reviewed refer to a male or
perhaps more than one male, who is loved. Some of them indicate this is a
19. (chapter 16)
O! carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow...
Him in thy course untainted do allow
...thou, the master-mistress of my passion;...
A man ,,,
..adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure
Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasure.
Apparently his partner was bi-sexual.
Lord of my love...
...guides my moving...
...puts apparel on...
...I do love thee...
...show my head where thou mayst prove me.
...thou mightst my seat forbear,...
...thou art forc'd to break a twofold truth, -
Hers, by thy beauty tempting her to thee,
Thine, by thy beauty being false to me.
My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.
To end the poem with that last word emphasizes its significance.
Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph,being lack'd to hope.
...Time's injurious hand...
...shall never cut from memory
My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life:
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,...
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A god in love,
The choice of words quoted above by a poet who is a master of expression
leaves, I believe, no doubt that here we have an active homosexual relationship.
In chapter 7 we discussed in some detail the charges aginst de Vere by Howard
and Arundel, which included pederasty (homosexuality with young boys) and a
list of boys' names to go with the charges, including circumstances and at least
one event. I don't think we need to recapitulate all that information here.
Apparently de Vere never did publicly deny the charges. De Vere had a
personality that imbued those around him with extreme loyalty. It seems no
one allegedly taken advantage of, by reason of youth, ever came forward to
accuse him. His former adult friends were his accusers, turned enemies when
de Vere accused them of hatching a Catholic plot against the Queen. As
friends they would have known, no doubt, something about his private life and
behaviour. I think we can accept the statements of Howard and Arundel as
having some truth. It was at a time in his life when de Vere had probably
enough of the female sex. His wife possibly unfaithful, the Queen making
advances which he dare not risk complete surrender to, a mother who had little
regard for her husband and remarried as soon as she could after his death,
and his own probable infection by a courtesan in Venice. Add to that an illicit
love affair with a wanton Maid of Honour who became pregnant and so
destroyed both their careers. No wonder he turned to the male sex which some
ancient Greeks thought was a higher form of love.
Shakespeare was homosexual and heterosexual.
De Vere was homosexual and heterosexual.
It's perhaps fortunate that I came upon the signature problem when I did.
Before my time as a chartered accountant with a tax and auditing practice the
tax regimes in Canada were relatively simple, not requiring many signatures.
But, working as I came to, in international tax, I faced studying the imposition
of capital gains taxes, goods and services taxes, sales taxes, government
mandated pension "contributions," health "contribution" schemes, vast
increases in the complexity of federal income taxes and imposition of north
American state/province income taxes, and even city income taxes. All these
filings required documentation in triplicate and included many schedules, and
signatures by presidents of corporations, directors, officers, and taxpayers
from varied walks of life.
Now, years later, like many others, I file my tax return electronically, without
a signature. I pay my bills via the web, no cheques, and no signatures. The
days of multiple signatures are long gone in most cases. So, as I said, it's
fortunate that before looking into the Shakespeare identity problem I had a
unique experience over many years witnessing a huge number of signatures,
which could not have occurred earlier, and now no longer exists. And that is
why I can say that William Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon (Shaxper, as a
literate person there spelled it) with his illiterate parents, an illiterate wife, and
no evidence whatsoever for his own education, a man who could barely scratch
a partial name for himself on legal documents and for which we do have the
evidence as to how he did this, could never have been the greatest writer who
has ever lived because he could scarcely write at all. (See chapter 3 for the
signatures and an analysis).
It seems incredible that for about 400 years scholars have believed to be, and
tried to make a case for, Shakespeare as the man from Stratford on Avon who
could never have been any kind of writer because he lacked the necessary
penmanship. Clearly, until now, no one who has looked at the six extant
signatures of Shaxper has had considerable experience over many years of
witnessing the signatures of persons from all walks of life.
Having excluded Shaxper as a non-starter, we know at once that William
Shake-speare is a pseudonym because diligent search by many scholars over
many years has found in Elizabethan London only one Shakespeare, Thomas
Shakespeare, and an Edmund Shakespeare (brother of William Shaxper)
whose death notation says 'actor' but for whom there is no other evidence that
he was an actor. Therefore William Shake-speare is a pseudonym.
In a metropolitan city today with about 3 million people, as opposed to
Elizabethan London's 100-200,000 population, I find in the telephone directory
one "Shake," five "Speares," twelve "Shakespeares," no "Shake-Speares."
But the hyphenated form is how some of the earliest works of the poet/dramatist were
published. (see chapter 10 for a fuller discussion).
Starting with an unknown person there is no sure way of knowing who he is,
and why he chose that particular pseudonym. What we do know is that his
earliest plays were published anonymously, and then in 1593 came the long
narrative poem Venus and Adonis, the "first heir of my invention," - a typical
Elizabethan pun - his first published work with a name on it, Shakespeare, and
in 1598 his first published plays with his pseudonym which was then spelled
"Shake-speare," not a real person's name.
I conclude that Shake-speare is a pseudonym. The person using it has to meet
all the 11 criteria already listed in this chapter for him to qualify as the
poet/dramatist we are looking for. Five of our candidates have been eliminated
for failing in one or more respect(s), and we are left at present with de Vere
who has a perfect score in the criteria so far.
In chapter 10 we discussed the evolution of the pseudonym William, and cited
sonnet 135 in full as evidence for my reasoning.
In chapter 7 we reviewed Gabriel Harvey's Latin speech, in part praising de
Vere, where he said "Pallas (Athene) ..with her spear-shaft will attend thee."
She was the spear-shaker and ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, poetry and
the fine arts. Gabriel Harvey continued, ..."thine eyes flash fire, thy
countenance shakes a spear." This was said before the Queen and her Court,
with de Vere present.
In that chapter I also mentioned that one of de Vere's titles was Lord Bolebec,
or Bolbeck, whose crest was a lion shaking a broken spear, and de Vere had
been a champion at the Royal Tournament Lists. My source for this was the
book This Star of England by Dorothy and Charles Ogburn. I accepted the
information for our purposes at that time, particularly as Richard F. Whalen
(Shakespeare - Who Was He?: Prager, Newport, Connecticut, 1994, page 92)
Before succeeding to his father's title as earl at age 12 young Edward de Vere
was Viscount Bulbeck and his crest a lion that brandishes a lance, or shakes a
spear. The jousting spear in the crest is broken, indicating a victory with a solid
hit on the adversary in the joust.
Now that de Vere is our only remaining finalist, I need to see a picture of the
crest or a heraldic description of it in a reference book because the
information has become of considerable importance to us. If verified, it will be
substantial evidence to confirm de Vere as our man because he then has a
justification for that particular pseudonym, Shake-speare, which no other
poet/dramatist could have.
To attempt this further verification I consulted other sources. I found the
Domesday (Survey and) Book (1086) of William the Conqueror was being
posted to the Web and had an entry for
Hugh de Bolbec
with the statement that his heirs became earls of Oxford. Elsewhere I found his
daughter Isobel de Bolbec married Robert de Vere, 3rd earl of Oxford. Next I
found on an atlas that Bolbec to this day is a town in Normandy, France, about
18 miles a little north and east of Le Havre. But no genealogical or heraldic site
showed a crest or badge for Bolbec.
The local metropolitan library system here had over 200 titles relating to
heraldry. Among them was a book by J. P. Elven: The Book of Family Crests
(1856). Volume 2 has this entry:
A lion sejant (supporting with his dexter paw) a broken lance, all ppr.
Sejant means with forelegs erect and the animal's back sloping down to its hind
legs which are in a squatting position.
Dexter means right
All ppr is an abbreviation for all proper, which means all in their natural
In Volume 1 of this work the page that has the image of this crest has had that
particular image neatly cut out of the page.
Next, the local universities' library systems were checked, and another 2
volume work was found:
Royal Book of Crests of Great Britain & Ireland, Dominion of Canada, India
and Australasia. Derived from best authorities and family records.. Publisher:
James MacVeigh, London, Dumfries, 1883.
Page iv provided the following information:
A Crest is the uppermost part of the Armoury, or that part of the casque, or
helmet,... supposed to have been originally a projection over the top of some
helmets... deemed a greater mark of Nobility than the Armoury, as it was borne
at tournaments,... hence the word Crest is frequently used for spirit or courage.
The original purpose of a Crest, as some Authors affirm, was to make a
commander known to his men in battle. ...The Crest was an honourable emblem
of distinction, ... sometimes constituted by Royal Grant.
On page 49 of this work:
Bolbeck or Bolebeck,
a lion, sejant, supporting with dexter a broken lance, all ppr.
Here is the actual image from #11 on Plate #38:
There are keys to the Plates. The key to Plate 38 has these names for image 11:
Bolbeck, Butt, Drayner, Halton.
Plate 4 image 1 has a broken lance with a boar's head. The key to the plate has
the following names:
Alford, Espinasse, Gough, Hill, Luxford, Newbold, Poynter, Sandford,
Plate 130 image 8 has a broken lance by itself. The names given for this are:
Borelands, Borland, Borlands, Culler, Ethelstan, Ethelston, Foscott, Tidmarsh.
These 20 additional names are apparently the only others with a broken lance
in their crests. None of these names appear in either the list of Queen
Elizabeth's senior officials or list of 16th or 17th century poets provided in
chapter 20. Edward de Vere, as Viscount Bolbec is the only one who qualifies
in all three categories: broken spear or lance in the crest; member of the
Queen's inner circle; 3rd party evidence to his being a poet and playwright.
I suggest this cumulative evidence points to Edward de Vere as being the
person using Shake-Speare or Shakespeare as a pseudonym.
This ties in with Gabriel Harvey's speech to the Queen, de Vere, and Court at
Cambridge, connecting de Vere with the spear-shaker Pallas Athene. This is
the only evidence any candidate of ours has had for justification of use of the
Shakespeare is a pseudonym for the poet /dramatist. He has a reason for using
the pseudonym William, but no justification we have found for the name
Shake-speare unless he is de Vere.
De Vere had a reason for the pseudonym Shake-speare but no justification for
the use of the pseudonym William unless he was the elusive poet/dramatist.
This concludes our list of criteria for de Vere as Shakespeare. So far we have
not been able to fault his claim as a candidate. Now let's reverse the procedure.
Let's list the identifying criteria for De Vere and see if they apply to the works
of 'Shakespeare' the poet/dramatist.
1. ALLITERATION, REPETITION AND SELF-CENTREDNESS
I don't regard stylistic similarities or differences as particularly important
because all artists go through various stages of development, depending on
their own experiences and outlook on life as part of the maturing process.
Further, artists can compose in different moods and vary their techniques to
best correspond with their thoughts and feelings. But as a well known
anti-Oxfordian professor has referred to
The heavy alliteration, epigrams, and self-centredness which was Oxford's stock
we had better look at this rather than be thought to have avoided it. But I have
ignored any putative epigrams. I don't think we want to be bothered hunting
for these when we're seeking to identify the greatest poet/dramatist who ever
Here is all the evidence I can find in 20 of his poems. I have just quoted the
relevant lines, with no attempt to surround them with complete thoughts or
And he that beats the bush the wished bird not gets
. . . . .
Thus like a woeful wight I wove the web of woe
. . . . .
That with the careful culver climbs the worn and wither'd tree
. . . . .
Fram'd in the front of forlorn hope past all recovery
I stayless stand, t'abide the shock of shame and infamy.
My life, through ling'ring long, is lodg'd in lair of loathsome ways;
My death delay'd to keep from life the harm of hapless days.
My sprites, my heart, my wit and force, in deep distress are drown'd;
The only loss of my good name is of these griefs the ground.
There follows a second stanza and the third and last begins each of the first 5
of six lines with 'Help.' The word help is repeated ten times in these six lines.
. . . . .
I smile to see me scorned so
. . . . .
O cruel hap and hard estate
. . . . .
My hapless hap doth roil the restless stone
. . . . .
Then lofty love thy sacred sails advance
Amist disdain drive forth thy doleful chance
. . . . .
Clad in carnation colour fair
. . . . .
The trickling tears that falls along my cheek (sic)
. . . . .
... bewail thy late done deed
. . . . .
I fear no foe nor fawning friend
I loathe not life nor dread my end
. . . . .
She is my... (repeated, four lines)
And shall I... (repeated, 3 lines)
And let... (repeated, 5 lines)
The poem with the first line commencing
Fain would I sing...
is quoted in full in chapter 7.
Who... starts 7 lines
What... starts 5 lines.
That's it, for the 20 poems.
Venus and Adonis (chapter 11) line 1141
It shall be fickle false and full of fraud
The next three stanzas begin with It shall
The Rape of Lucrece (chapter 12)
See Note 1 to chapter 12 for a discussion of reiterative verses.
Chapter 13, The Passionate Pilgrim. The first poem, a sonnet, uses love 10
times in 14 lines.
another poem in the series ends
Faithful friend from flattering foe.
Chapter 17, sonnet 66, 10 lines begin with And.
Chapter 18, sonnet 91, the first 4 lines begin with Some.
Chapter 19, sonnet 116
Within his bending sickle's compass come
We sicken to shun sickness when we purge
In chapter 17, I had some comments to make on sonnet 62, which I consider
the epitome of self-centredness. It begins
Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
Of course all the sonnets are replete with such statements as: my great mind
and that the poems will be immortal, this said many times over, and similar
self aggrandizing remarks.
Some evidence for alliterative, repetitive, and self-centered verses.
Similar evidence for alliterative, repetitive, and self-centered verses.
In chapter 6 we discussed the evidence that during his stay in Venice de Vere
consorted with an Italian courtesan, Virginia Padoana. In Chapter 7 we
discussed Henry Howard's charges against de Vere, and that Howard had
claimed de Vere had the Neapolitan disease, or syphilis.
This is not proof that de Vere had the disease, nor is the information that in his
declining years his eyesight was deteriorating. But the possibility, perhaps
even the likelihood, is there.
In chapter 9 we discussed the play Troilus and Cressida and its last 15 lines
which contain references to syphilis from the viewpoint of a sufferer from it.
Some of the sonnets have possible references, for example chapter 18, sonnet
Ah! wherefore with infection should he live,,,
That sin by him advantage should achieve
And lace itself with his society?...
Im days long since, before these last so bad.
I suggest this relates to syphilis. The problem is whether he's writing about
himself or someone else, perhaps someone he has infected. The last line quoted
seems to bring it more back to himself.
In chapter 19, sonnet 118
I... sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness
To be diseas'd...
and sonnet 119
What potions have I drunk of siren tears...
Distill'd from limbecks foul as hell within,,,
How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted
In the distraction of the madding fever!
This evidence from Shakespeare may indicate he personally experienced
syphilis, but we cannot be sure this is the case.
De Vere may have had syphilis
Shakespeare may have had syphilis
3. WOUNDED NAME
Here are some lines from de Vere's verse
The only loss of my good name is of these griefs the ground
and the last line of the same poem
To wail this loss of my good name is of these griefs the ground.
And in another poem
I am no sot to suffer such abuse...
I rest reveng'd of whom I am abused.
De Vere was concerned over what his enemies had done to sully the name of de
Vere. His original taste of it was when he was alleged to have been a bastard,
the next when the rumour spread that the first child of Anne his wife was not
his. They were allegations which became public and them he could never
Hamlet, in his penultimate speech before he dies says
O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
In my youth when I studied Hamlet intensively, I never understood why
Hamlet said this. I didn't see what it had to do with the plot of the play. It's
true Hamlet did kill Polonius, but apparently by accident. Hamlet didn't kill
Ophelia, or his mother the Queen. In extremis he merely wounded Claudius
who murdered Hamlet's father, and Hamlet then made Claudius drink from a
cup Claudius had poisoned. Laertes had earlier led a revolt against the king,
Claudius, who explained that Hamlet killed Laertes' father, Polonius.
Claudius and Laertes then hatched a plot to kill Hamlet with a poisoned rapier
in a friendly match. But in a scuffle during the bout, the rapiers became
exchanged causing both Hamlet and Laertes to be killed by the poison. So what
had any of this to do with Hamlet having a wounded name?
The notes or commentary with my edition were no help. They merely said cf.
line 261, (Laertes speaking)
I have a voice and precedent of peace,
To keep my name ungored.
This, it seems to me, only emphasizes the problem. The 'quarrel' between
Hamlet and Laertes doesn't appear particularly to involve the latter's good
The comments of Goethe, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Charles Williams, Chambers,
Wilson Knight, and others are of no help here. I only mention all this because
so many commentators have said that of all the characters in Shakespeare's
plays, surely Hamlet most represents the poet/dramatist himself.
In sonnet 111 (Chapter 19) we have
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand
De VERE wrote of the loss of his good name and experienced abuse by others.
SHAKESPEARE wrote in Hamlet of a wounded name, and an effort to keep a
name ungored. Privately in a sonnet he said his name received a brand.
Closely linked with the wounded name theme is the experience of disgrace.
This does not seem to appear in poetry with de Vere's name attached. As they
look like early poems, the disgrace he brought upon himself may not then have
occurred. But it's there for all to see in his life. It's recounted in Chapters 6,7
and 8; his getting a Maid of Honour pregnant when he was already married;
effectual banishment from Court; imprisonment in the Tower; the multiple
and serious accusations of Howard and Arundel; probable contraction of
syphilis; inimical relations with Burghley, the most powerful political figure in
the land; thriftless spending of his inherited family fortune.
As we don't know who he is yet, we can only rely on what his work tells us. It
tells us much.
Sonnet 28 (chapter 16)
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state
Sonnet 66 (Chapter 17)
and right perfection wrongfully disgraced
Sonnet 89 (chapter 18)
Thou canst not love, disgrace me half so ill...
As I'll myself disgrace, knowing thy will...
Sonnet 112 (chapter 19)
Which vulgar scandal stamp'd upon my brow
Needs must I under my transgression bow
'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed ...
For why should others... give salutation to ...
...my frailties... my abuses...
De VERE suffered disgrace which had a significant effect on his life.
SHAKESPEARE suffered disgrace serious enough to be referred to in his
5. NEVER AND EVER
The family name plus de Vere's own initial, E for Edward, comes to E.VERE.
This is close to 'ever.' Mention was made in chapter 6 that de Vere, when he
was travelling in Europe, apparently sent his wife Anne a Greek bible with a
poem by him in Latin inscribed on the flyleaf. It's said to be full of puns on
vere, veritas, and vera. That's because the de Vere family motto was Vero
Nihil Verius, nothing is truer than truth, and the French Ver, derived from the
Latin could mean true. (Now vrai in French). It's said that de Vere had the
family motto engraved below the family coat of arms. The motto can also be
thought of as Nothing Truer than Vere.
We began chapter 15 with a discussion of the dedication of the 154 sonnets
(published in 1609). It includes the words 'OUR EVER-LIVING POET' There
may be some added significance to these words. They certainly include the
In chapter 9 we discussed the so-called quarto epistle of the 1609 edition of
Troilus and Cressida. It's headed
A NEVER WRITER TO AN EVER READER NEWS
It seems to be pointing towards the de Vere marker.
De VERE punned on his name and family motto.
SHAKESPEARE'S publishers in 1609 seem to have punned on the de Vere
6. TRUE AND TRUTH
That these two words should be used by de Vere is a natural consequence of
the family motto. They are an essential part of the family heritage.
Sonnets 101 to 125 contain these two words as follows:
101 truth, truth, truth, truth
105 true (ever) true, true, true
110 true, true, truth
118 true, truth
That's 20 times in the published order of 25 poems, which seems a bit excessive
if there is no special significance to the words for the poet.
Sonnet 82 (chapter 18)
In true plain words by thy true-telling friend
Sonnet 110 (chapter 19)
Most true it is that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely,
This I do vow, and this shall ever be,
I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.
The poem has both ever and true in close proximity. I believe the poet is too
competent for this to be accidental.
The poem ends:
Hence, thou suborn'd informer! a true soul
When most impeach'd stands least in thy control.
Suborn is a legal term meaning to induce by bribery or otherwise commit
perjury or other unlawful act.
impeach is another legal term meaning to accuse of treason or other high crime
before a competent tribunal.
Both these things happened to de Vere, as we know from looking at his life,
but this is Shakespeare in his private sonnets commenting on it as applicable to
De VERE is proud of the family motto: Nothing is Truer than Truth
SHAKESPEARE'S publishers refer to EVER which could be a linkage to
SHAKESPEARE in his sonnets refers with unusual frequency to 'true' and
'truth' and at least twice to 'ever' at the same time.
We've now listed 11 identifiers for Shakespeare, and find they all applied also
to de Vere. Next, we listed 6 markers for de Vere and found they all applied
also to Shakespeare's work. That's a score of 17 out of 17. I think we have here
what I would call negative assurance. It has to be that de Vere is Shakespeare
because there is no one else to fit the evidence for bearing the canopy,
becoming lame, being homosexual, and all the other elements of potential
dissimilarity which have become instead evidence for being the same.
I suggest the evidence is sufficient for a confirmatory verdict by a jury in a
court of law, that de Vere is Shakespeare beyond a reasonable doubt. We are,
then, I believe, now justified in the statement that Edward de Vere was
Shakespeare. Frankly, I don't like this conclusion, and found myself gradually
drawn unwillingly to it. Because of this, I don't regard this chapter as the end
of the matter. Next, we must complete our review of the 154 sonnets, from 126
to the end. And after that we'll look at all the criticisms of de Vere as
Shakespeare that we can find. If de Vere is really Shakespeare, then these
criticisms must somehow be wrong, and that seems unlikely. So there's more
to be considered yet as we move on to the next chapter.
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