Are There Ciphers in Shakespeare? Essay

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Introductory Note: his is an introduction to an ingenious and creative cipher system to be found in the works of William Shakespeare. Here it is necessary to explain that cryptography is a very old technique. Even in antiquity the rule was, whenever the name of a place or person must be repeated in a message, it must always be misspelled. Therefore Bacon"s name is never spelled correctly, and there are many alternate forms, but see the 25 letter solution to the dedication of the 1623 Folio which includes “BEKAANBACON” adjoining.
Sometimes the name is preceded by “F” or “FS,” as he abbreviated his first name in his signature. Bacon was himself a cryptographer, if not a cryptanalyst as his brother Anthony was. Proofs by cryptanalysis, such as are shown here, do not depend upon comparing styles, or vocabulary counts, or literary opinions. If a cipher be found in such ancient works, and the name of the author is included, proof of authorship must be regarded as conclusive. The “probable word” attack is most useful in breaking a monoalphabetic cipher.
A cryptanalyst, suspecting that the name “Bacon” might appear in the plaintext, can use that as a useful tool to solve a cipher. Thus, misspelling of this name, and in as many ways as possible, must be done in order to attempt to defeat a solution. Bacon"s ciphers were steganographic, that is they were designed to be concealed. One artifice was to hide the signifigant letters in the capital letters of a verse or text. This type of cipher is called acrostic and it was a popular method in his day. It may be complicated by substitution.
A substitution cipher is a very simple device. Substitute the letter B for the letter A, substitute C for B, substitue D for C and so on. It may be complicated by a key whereby the alphabet is reversed or scrambled, or altered in some other way. And the substitution may be more extreme such as G for A, H for B, I for C, etc. Bacon"s way was not so simple. Bacon explains, by the use of the “Dyers"s Hand” metaphor in Sonnet 111, why his name except for one instance is always misspelled, but it still belongs to him.
All of which brings us to a short article about Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare, and many examples of the name of the author hidden in the ciphertext. Penn Leary, July 1, 1995 Are there Ciphers in Shakespeare? Copyright 1993 By Penn Leary t is considered by some yet certainly not by all academicians that it is a lunacy to question the authorship of the Works of William Shakespeare — a comical 1984 thought-crime, a preposterous and radical and specious view of the obvious, a conspicuous deviation from a normal and Politically Correct academic opinion.
But Charles Dickens, a student of human nature, had this to say: “The life of Shakespeare is a fine mystery, and I tremble every day lest something should turn up. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “As long as the question is of talent and mental power, the world of men has not his equal to show. . . The Egyptian verdict of the Shakespeare societies comes to mind that he was a jovial actor and manager. I cannot marry this fact to his verse. ” John Greenleaf Whittier said, “Whether Bacon wrote the wonderful plays or not, I am quite sure the man Shakspere neither did nor could. James M. Barrie put it more whimsically: “I know not, sir, whether Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare, but if he did not it seems to me that he missed the opportunity of his lifetime. ” Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “Ask your own hearts, ask your own common sense, to conceive the possibility of the author of the Plays being the anomalous, the wild, the irregular genius of our daily criticism. What! are we to have miracles in sport? Does God choose idiots by whom to convey divine truths to man? ” And there yet remains a band of doubters.
If someone else wrote the plays and poems, then who? Let us consult a calendar of years: |—-Publication of the Plays—| 1560 1570 1580 1590| 1600 1610 1620 | 1626 The Reign of Queen Elizabeth I 1558-1603 Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford 1550-1604 Christopher Marlowe 1564-1593 William Shaksper, of Stratford 1564-1616 Francis Bacon 1561-1626The 1623 edition of the First Folio contained twenty new plays. At that time Shakespeare had been dead for seven years, Edward De Vere for nineteen and Christopher Marlowe for thirty. Only Francis Bacon survived the 1623 publication.
This is hardly enough to credit the authorship to Bacon, but it arouses skepticism upon the claims of the other three leading contenders. There is also considerable doubt about the facts of Shakespeare"s own life. Let us read what Mark Twain had to say about that From Is Shakespeare Dead? 1909: He was born on the 23rd of April, 1564. Of good farmer-class parents who could not read, could not write, could not sign their names. At Stratford, a small back settlement which in that day was shabby and unclean, and densely illiterate.
Of the nineteen important men charged with the government of the town, thirteen had to “make their mark” in attesting important documents, because they could not write their names. Of the first eighteen years of his life nothing is known. They are a blank. On the 27th of November 1582 William Shakespeare took out a license to marry Anne Whateley. Next day William Shakespeare took out a license to marry Anne Hathaway. She was eight years his senior. William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. In a hurry. By grace of a reluctantly granted dispensation there was but one publication of the banns.
Within six months the first child was born. About two blank years followed, during which period nothing at all happened to Shakespeare, so far as anybody knows. Then came twins–1585. February. Two blank years follow. Then–1587–he makes a ten-year visit to London, leaving the family behind. Five blank years follow. During this period nothing happened to him, as far as anybody actually knows. Then–1592–there is mention of him as an actor. Next year–1593–his name appears in the official list of players. Next year–1594–he played before the queen.
A detail of no consequence: other obscurities did it every year of the forty-five of her reign. And remained obscure. Three pretty full years follow. Full of play-acting. Then. In 1597 he bought New Place, Stratford. Thirteen or fourteen busy years follow; years in which he accumulated money, and also reputation as actor and manager. Meantime his name, liberally and variously spelt, had become associated with a number of great plays and poems, as ostensibly author of the same. Some of these, in these years and later, were pirated, but he made no protest.
Then–1610-11–he returned to Stratford and settled down for good and all, and busied himself in lending money, trading in tithes, trading in land and houses; shirking a debt of forty-one shillings, borrowed by his wife during his long desertion of his family; suing debtors for shillings and coppers; being sued himself for shillings and coppers; and acting as a confederate to a neighbor who tried to rob the town of its rights in a certain common, and did not succeed. He lived five or six years–till 1616–in the joy of these elevated pursuits. . .
When Shakespeare died in Stratford it was not an event. It made no more stir in England than the death of any other forgotten theatre-actor would have made. Nobody came down from London; there were no lamenting poems, no eulogies, no national tears–there was merely silence, and nothing more. A striking contrast to what happened when Ben Jonson and Francis Bacon, and Spenser, and Raleigh and the other distinguished literary folk of Shakespeare"s time passed from life! No praiseful voice was lifted for the lost Bard of Avon; even Ben Jonson waited seven years before he lifted his.
So far as anybody actually knows and can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon never wrote a play in his life. So far as anybody knows and can prove he never wrote a letter to anybody in his life. So far as any one knows, he received only one letter during his life. So far as anyone can know and can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford wrote only one poem during his life. This one is authentic. He did write that one–a fact which stands undisputed; he wrote the whole of it; he wrote the whole of it out of his own head. He commanded that this work of art be engraved upon his tomb, and he was obeyed.
There it abides to this day. This is it: Good frend for Iesus sake forbeare to digg the dust encloased heare! Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones And curst be he yt moves my bones. Mark Twain abridged ——————————————————————————– From Johnson and Steevens, Plays and Poems of Shakespeare: All that is known with any degree of certainty concerning Shakespeare is . . . that he was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, married and had children there . . . went to London where he commenced as an actor, wrote poems and plays . . . eturned to Stratford, made his will, died and was buried. On this, James P. Baxter comments, “This indeed is more than is really known of him. “Richard Bentley, writing in the American Bar Association Journal, “Elizabethan Whodunit,” February, 1959 abridges Francis Bacon"s biography: “The facts of Bacon"s life are well known. He was born three years before Shaksper 1561 and died ten years after him 1626. Bacon was educated at Cambridge University 1574-6. He then went to Paris in the suite of the English Ambassador. After his return he studied law and was admitted to the Bar at the age of 21 years.
He became a Bencher at Gray"s Inn. . . “Bacon came into royal favor with James I. He was knighted almost at once, became Solicitor General in 1607, Attorney General in 1613, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in 1617 and then in 1618 Lord Chancellor. Within four years, however, he confessed to a charge of bribery and was imprisoned; but was released after a few days . Thereafter he devoted himself to literature, writing on jurisprudence, science and philosophy.
His education, his breadth of learning, knowledge of law, familiarity with Court circles both abroad and in England, and his unusual literary ability made him the natural choice of those who were convinced the Shakespeare works must have been written by someone possessed of these advantages, and not by Shaksper of Stratford, who apparently had none of them. “See the Bentley file. Oxfordians, seeking the prize for their idol who died nineteen years too soon, complain that Bacon is ineligible. He was too busy, they say, with other things to write The Works. Bacon became a barrister in 1582, age 21.
He had almost no practice and survived by becoming a special counsel to the Queen in 1588. He was a member of Parliament for many years, but the House met very infrequently and attendance was not considered a profession. In 1605, at age 44, he published The Advancement of Learning; before that he had published nothing but a book of Essays and of meditations, a matter of 8000 words. Two years later his public life began when he was made Solicitor General by James I. His twenty-two major works were not printed until 1621 and after. Bacon was interested in ciphers and invented one of his own that he called the “Biliterarie Cipher. His system anticipated the Binary Scale supposedly invented by Leibniz in 1671. Any two unlike things could be used, such as “a” and “b”, “0” and “1”, or even signal flags. An extended version is called the ASCII code and is the basis for computer science. He offered this example: In the Advancement of Learning 1623 Bacon had this to say: “The knowledge of Cyphering, hath drawne on with it a knowledge relative unto it, which is the knowledge of Discyphering, or of Discreting Cyphers, and the Capitulations of secrecy past between the Parties.
Certainly it is an Art which requires great paines and a good witt and is as the other was consecrate to the Counsels of Princes: yet notwithstanding by diligent prevision it may be made unprofitable, though, as things are, it be of great use. For if good and faithfull Cyphers were invented & practised, many of them would delude and forestall all the Cunning of the Decypherer, which yet are very apt and easie to be read or written: but the rawnesse and unskilfulnesse of Secretaries, and Clarks in the Courts of Princes, is such that many times the greatest matters are Committed to futile and weake Cyphers. At another place Bacon continues on the same subject: “For CYPHARS; they are commonly in Letters or Alphabets, but may bee in Wordes. T he kindes of CYPHARS, besides the SIMPLE CYPHARS with Changes, and intermixtures of NVLLES, and NONSIGNIFICANTS are many, according to the Nature or Rule of the infoulding: WHEELE-CYPHARS, KAY-CYPHARS, DOVBLES, &c. But the vertues of them, whereby they are to be preferred, are three; that they be not laborious to write and reade; that they bee impossible to discypher; and in some cases, that they bee without suspition.
The highest Degree whereof, is to write OMNIA PER OMNIA; which is vndoubtedly possible, with a proportion Quintuple at most, of the writing infoulding, to the writing infoulded, and no other restrainte whatsoever. This Arte of Cypheringe, hath for Relatiue, an Art of Discypheringe ; by supposition vnprofitable; but, as things are, of great vse. For suppose that Cyphars were well mannaged, there bee Multitudes of them which exclude the Discypherer. But in regarde of the rawnesse and vnskilfulnesse of the handes, through which they passe, the greatest Matters, are many times carryed in the weakest CYPHARS. By ciphers “without suspition,” Bacon meant steganography. This may be accomplished by the use of acrostics, whereby the first capitalized letter of each line in a poem may convey the message; the strategy included his own Biliterarie Cipher. Here the very existence of a cipher writing may never be noticed. For a preview of ciphers in the Works, hit here. Francis Bacon was not a poet: so say modern critics.
Perhaps they are unaware of these quotations collected by Mrs. Henry Pott Francis Bacon and his Secret Society, Schulte & Co. , Chicago 1891: It is he that filled up all numbers , and performed that which may be compared or preferred to insolent Greece or haughty Rome Ben Jonson. His Lordship was a good poet, but concealed, as appears by his letters John Aubrey. The author of “The Great Assises Holden in Parnassus” ranks Lord Verulam next to Apollo .
The poetic faculty was strong in Bacon"s mind. No imagination was ever at once so strong and so subjugated. In truth, much of Bacon"s life was passed in a visionary world. . . magnificent day-dreams. . . analogies of all sorts Macauley. Few poets deal in finer imagery than is to be found in Bacon. . . His prose is poetry Campbell. The varieties and sprightliness of Bacon"s imagination, an imagination piercing almost into futurity, conjectures improving even to prophecy. . .
The greatest felicity of expression and the most splendid imagery Basil Montagu. The Wisdom of the Ancients. . . a kind of parabolical beauty. . . To the Advancement of Learning he brings every species of poetry by which the imagination can elevate the mind from the dungeon of the body to the enjoying of its own essence. . . Metaphors, similitudes and analogies make up a great part of his reasoning. . . Ingenuity, poetic fancy, and the highest imagination and fertility cannot be denied him Craik.
The creative fancy of a Dante or Milton never called up more gorgeous images than those suggested by Bacon, and we question much whether their worlds surpass his in affording scope for the imagination. His extended over all time. His mind brooded over all nature. . . unfolding to the gaze of the spectator the order of the universe as exhibited to angelic intelligences Devey. The tendency of Bacon to see analogies is characteristic of him, the result of that mind not truly philosophic but truly poetic, which will find similitudes everywhere in heaven and earth Dr.
Abbott. I infer from this sample that Bacon had all the natural faculties which a poet wants: a fine ear for metre, a fine feeling for imaginative effect in words, and a vein of poetic passion. . . The truth is that Bacon was not without the “fine phrensy” of a poet Spedding. Sir Tobie Matthew, writing to his friend Francis Bacon in 1618, states: “The most prodigious wit that ever I knew of my nation, and of this side of the sea, is of your Lordship"s name, though he be known by another. In the Scourge of Folly, John Davies of Hereford 1565-1618 wrote this epigram: To the Royall Ingenious and All-learned Knight– Sr Francis Bacon Thy bounty and the Beauty of thy Witt Compris"d in Lists of Law and the learned Arts, Each making thee for great Imployment fitt, Which now thou hast, though short of thy deserts Compells my pen to let fall shining Inke And to bedew the Baies that deck thy Front ; And to thy health in Helicon to drinke As to her Bellamour the Muse is wont; For thou dost her embozom; and dost vse Her company for sport twixt graue affaires.
So vtter"st Law the liuelyer through the Muse . And for that all thy Notes are sweetest Aires ; My Muse thus notes thy worth in ev"ry Line. With ynke which thus she sugers; so, to shine. Thus John Davies in 1610 states plainly that Francis Bacon was a poet and that he had woven into his works spirited illustrations of the law. John Davies was the same man to whom Bacon had written a letter which concluded, “so desiring you to be good to concealed poets. Francis Bacon had a great respect and affection for poetry; here are his words: “Poesy cheereth and refreshes the soule; chanting things rare, and various, and full of vicissitudes.
So as Poesy serveth and conferreth to Delectation, Magnaminity, and Morality; and therefore it may seem deservedly to have some Participation of Divinenesse, becauwse it doth raise the mind, and exalt the spirit with high raptures, by proportioning the shewes of things to the desires of the mind; and not submitting the mind to things, as Reason and History doe. Why might Bacon have concealed his creations? George Puttenham in The Arte of English Poesie 1589 wrote, “I know many notable Gentlemen in the Court that have written commendably, and suppressed it agayne, or else suffered it to be publisht without their owne names to it, as if it were a discredit for a Gentleman to seem learned, and to shew himself amorous of any learned Art. ” In addition, the Plays were written during a very dangerous period. The airing of some political doctrine might offend a royal sensibility, and death or mutilation was the penalty.
In 1591 Greene, in his “Farewell to Folly,” sneers at the practice of concealing the authorship of plays under other names. “Others,” he says, “if they come to write or publish anything in print, which for their calling and gravity being loth to have any profane pamphlets pass under their hands, get some other to set his name to their verses. And he that cannot write true English without the aid of clerks of parish churches will needs make himself the father of interludes. What did Bacon"s contemporaries think of his poetic talents?
Here is a statement made by Edmund Howes in 1615: “Our moderne, and present excellent poets which worthely florish in their owne workes, and all of them in my owne knowledge lived togeather in this Queenes raigne, according to their priorities as neere as I could, I have orderly set downe viz George Gascoigne, Thomas Churchyard, Edward Dyer, Edmond Spencer, Philip Sidney, John Harrington, Thomas Challoner, Frauncis Bacon, John Davie, Iohn Lillie, George Chapman, W. Warner, Willi Shakespeare, Samuell Daniell, Michaell Draiton, Christopher Marlo, Benjamine Johnson, Iohn Marston, Abraham Frauncis, Frauncis Meers, Joshua Siluester, Thomas Deckers, John Flecher, John Webster, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Middleton, George Withers. ” Thus did Edmund Howes rank “Frauncis” Bacon with Shakespeare among these twenty-seven contemporary “excellent Poets. ”
He put him six names ahead of “Willi. Edmust Howes was not alone among Bacon"s contemporaries to acknowledge his poetic capability. John Stowe 1525-1605 collected manuscripts and books. He published and edited many works, particularly The Chronicles. In a 1615 edition he enumerated twenty-four of “Our modern and excellent poets which worthely flourish in their own workes in the Queen"s reign”. Amongst them he listed: “Edmond Spencer, Esq. ; Sir Philip Sidney, Knight; Sir Francis Bacon, Knight; Maister George Chapman, Gentleman; Mr.
William Shakespeare, Gentleman; Michael Draiton, Esquire, and Mr. Benjamin Johnson, Gentleman. ” Bacon spoke of himself and was spoken of by others as “a concealed poet. ” In 1600 Bacon received a visit from Queen Elizabeth at his lodge at Twickenham. “At which time,” he says, “I had, though I profess not to be a poet, prepared a sonnet directly tending and alluding to draw on her Majesty"s reconcilement to my Lord .

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