VOL. LXXV No. 192
It should be clearly understood that is a medium for the discussion of subjects connected with the Objects of the Society, but the Council does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed by contributors or correspondents.
We have to report the much regretted retirement as our Editor of Mr Clifford Hall, who has now left Buckingham University as a Senior Lecturer in Law and who may shortly be moving to other climes on the far side of the Atlantic. We much appreciate his work not only as Editor but also for his valuable advice and co-operation on the Council. Mr Peter Welsford has offered to take over as Editor at least for the time being.
At the end of his Editorial in our last issue of Clifford mentioned some exciting developments involving our Chairman. It seems that in the Autumn there will be some interest shown on the Shakespeare works and the B. B. C. is planning to produce a Television programme on those heretical claims concerning their authorship. "On the 23rd of October, B.B.C.2 broad- cast a well produced programme on the Shakespeare authorship question in which Thomas Bokenham and Gwyn Richards battled for Bacon. Other claimants included Lord Burford for Oxford and Dolly Wraight for Marlow."
We are publishing in this issue a few articles conerning the esoteric side of Francis Bacon's teachings which may enlighten those who believe that he and his Rosicrucian Fraternity were attempting to pervert our Christian beliefs.
In 1993 the Society was delighted to be in receipt of two unexpected legacies amounting to £6,000 from Mrs Irene Rowland, the stepdaughter of Alfred Dodd and the widow of a former Council member, Grieves, for which we are very grateful.
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Society, it was proposed by our Chairman that we should contribute a sum of £100 to the Star & Garter Home for the Disabled at Richmond towards their D-Day Anniversary Appeal Fund which has been gratefully received.
THE ROSE, THE CROSS AND THE HOLY GRAIL
David Costello London 1993
The creative tension that exists in the emblem of the Rosicrucians, the Rose and the Cross, is echoed at several levels in the image of the Grail.
Its primary manifestation is in the shape of the Grail itself. The image of the stemmed cup is clearly emblematic of the conjunction of the male and female principles - the basis of continuing life but at the same time representing the androgyne, potentially the end of the cycle of birth and rebirth. "In my end is my beginning. . . ." and the first paradox, the paradox of the wine, brings new life from the certain end of life.
The second paradox is in the essential basis of the Grail legend. This could be described as the paradox of the bread, since just as the breaking of bread - "the staff of life" - destroys its form so the attainment of the Grail destroys the element of the Grail Quest. Without the Quest the Grail is just another cup, without the cup the Quest is just another journey.
The journey of the Grail Legend echoes the journey in the Rose Cross Ritual* itself and also recalls the phrase used as a recognition code by Freemasons to describing a Freemason as a "traveller from the East". One legend has it that the Rosicrucians came from the East bringing the knowledge of their tradition and then returned there, retreating from the growing materialism of the Christian world.
There is though a more profound tension in the concept of the lost cup, holder of the creative wine, which is amongst us and yet invisible.
Two statements recur in writings about Rosicrucians. The first is that there is a distinction between Rosicrucians and people who are Rose-Croix. Rosicrucians are members of a Society which, like the Freemasons and Alchemists uses more or less ancient rituals in an attempt to uncover esoteric knowledge of man's position in the Universe. Someone who is Rose-Croix however is someone already in possession of that knowledge or perhaps in "state of grace" of which possession of such knowledge is either a part only or an irrelevance.
* Please note: "Rose Cross Ritual" refers to the Ritual used in 18th Degree "Scottish Rite" masonry, not any Rosicrucian Ritual.
THE ROSE, THE CROSS AND THE HOLY GRAIL
The second statement made about people who are Rose-Croix is that they can never reveal themselves as such: anyone who claims to be a Rose- Croix is, by definition, not one. This poses a further paradox, fairly straightforwardly expressed thus: ultimately there is no such thing as a really secret society. There will always be someone at whatever level who will out of spite or disillusion or as part of a genuine moral imperative ultimately reveal the secrets. Therefore if this statement is true - that a Rose-Croix will never reveal himself or herself as such - then the only explanation for this must be that he or she does not know it: that a genuine Rose-Croix is ignorant of the fact that he is one - the Grail does not know of its own existence. Presumably if the Rose-Croix attains the knowledge that he is one then he must immediately cease to be one - the immortal who falls in love with a human loses the attributes of immortality.
This fits with the Christian version of the Grail legend. The Grail - the androgyne without the power of birth and rebirth (innocence) - nonetheless contains the life force represented as wine (experience) which becomes the blood of Christ (knowledge - the "invisible sphere" of the Kabbalists). God made man loses his godhood and can be killed. He can only regain his immortality by dying as a man and rising as a spirit.
Thus the journey of the Grail becomes the journey of the soul, the Rosicrucian traveller with his staff coming from the East of dawn and returning there. The Eagle of the Scottish Rite flying into the rising Sun.
There is though one other underlying paradox. We have noted that a true Rose-Croix can never reveal he or she is one. Perhaps he cannot know it or perhaps by revealing himself he loses the knowledge of being Rose- Croix. But if this is the case it is impossible that we should know that the condition of being Rose-Croix actually exists.
There is no answer to this but an act of faith. To paraphrase Casanova "The secret of the Grail cannot be imparted: he who knows where it is cannot find the words to explain its location, he who has not found it will never understand the directions to it."
REASONS FOR BACON'S PARTICIPATION
Given as a talk in April 1994
The general public know that Francis Bacon was the principal founder of empirical science and its inductive method, a writer of philosophical treatises and moral essays, as well as being a parliamentarian, a statesman and an eminent solicitor, ultimately rising to the top of his legal career by being given the office of Lord Chancellor of England in 1618 in the reign of King James I.
Some might suppose that the latter was a profession he chose because legal matters really interested him. Baconians know that in point of fact other subjects were much nearer to his heart, and occupied his time and attention to a larger extent than the laws of his country during his early manhood.
Cultural pursuits provided him with a greater stimulus. He passionately loved poetry, drama, Greek mythology and symbology, and the Mystery Teachings, and he threw himself into the creation of dramatic entertainments with enormous enthusiasm.
The study of the Law was imposed upon him in order that he could earn a living and become self-reliant, but it was not congenial to him, whereas the writing and production of Masques, pageants and plays was to him a source of amusement, relaxation and enjoyment.
In her book 'Francis Bacon and his Secret Society' Mrs. Pott (the founder of the Francis Bacon Society) tells us:
There is reason to think that, Francis, in childhood, showed great talent for acting, and that he took leading parts in the Latin Plays which were performed at college. At home, such doings were checked by Lady Anne's Puritan prejudices. The strong tendency which Anthony and Francis evinced for the theatre, and for "mumming and masquing" with their companions, was a source of great anxiety and displeasure to this good lady. She bewailed it as a falling-off from grace, and prayed that it might not be accounted a sin that she shold permit her dear son Francis to amuse himself at home in getting up such entertainments, with the help of the domestics.'
The one big compensation for commencing legal studies at Gray's Inn was the opportunity this afforded him in the creation of Masques - a unique form of entertainment put on by the students for presentation to the elite.
Masques comprised a fusion of many different arts, such as poetry, acting, disguising, presentation of symbolic gifts, vocal and instrumental music, dancing, specialised costume, pageantry and splendid scenic decoration.
These entertainments were divided into sections. The main masque was performed by the nobility followed by the anti-masque, the latter being performed by professional actors, acrobats, dancers, and were of a much coarser type, even grotesque. In his essay, Bacon said: - 'let anti-masque not be long'... In the last section of the evening's entertainment at the conclusion of the masque there followed the dancing, referred to as Revelling or Commoning. When the vizards or masks which had disguised the aristocratic performers were finally removed, the Masquers came down from the stage and took the audience to dance with them in the main hall. The intermingling of players and spectators was a characteristic feature of Masques.
They were devised for the purpose of celebrating birthdays, or weddings, or recovery from illness, or other important events such as the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne.
I would now like to quote an extract from a slim volume, entitled 'Did Francis Bacon write Shakespeare?' which gives Mrs. Pott's description of a masque called the Prince of Purpoole at Gray's Inn at the end of 1594. On pages 19/20 she writes:-
The Christmas revels in which the students at Gray's Inn had formerly prided themselves had been intermitted for three or four years, and they were resolved to redeem the time by producing this season something out of the common way. A device, or elaborate burlesque, which turned Gray's Inn into a mimic court, was arranged. A Prince of Purpoole and a Master of the Revels chosen, and the sports were to last twelve days.
The Prince, with all his state, proceeded to the Great Hall of Gray's Inn, on December 20, and the entertainment was so gorgeous, so skilfully managed, and so hit the taste of the times, that the players were encouraged to enlarge their plan and to raise their style. They ' resolved, therefore (besides all this court pomp and their daily sport amongst themselves) to have certain "grand nights", in which something special should be performed for the entertainment of strangers. But the excitement produced on the first grand night, and the throng of people, which was beyond everything which had been expected, crowded the hall so that the actors were driven from the stage. The performers had to retire and when the tumult partly subsided, they were obliged (in default of those "very good inventions and conceits" which had been intended) to content themselves with ordinary dancing and revelling, and when that was over with A Comedy of Errors (like to Plautus his Menechums), which was played by the players. This was on Dec. 28. '
The next night was taken up with a legal inquiry into the causes of those disorders, and after this (which was a broad parody upon the administration of justice by the Crown in Council), they held "a great consultation for the recovery of their lost honour," which ended in a resolution that the Prince's Council should be reformed, and some graver conceits should have their places." It is most probable that one of these 'Graver conceits" was by Bacon himself. It is certain that an entertainment of a very superior kind was produced a few days after, in which he took a principal part. This entertainment, "one of the most elegant that was ever presented to an audience of statesmen and courtiers," was performed on Friday, January 3, 1595. It was called the "Order of the Helmet".
In 1612 King James I's daughter Elizabeth was married to Frederick V, the Count Palatine, and to celebrate this marriage certain members of Gray's Inn and the Inner Temple jointly presented a masque which they called 'The Marriage of the Rhine and Thames.' Francis Bacon was alluded to as the chief contriver. The Lord Chamberlain gives a vivid account of it: -
"On Tuesday," writes Chamberlain, February 18, 1612 "it came to Gray's Inn and the Inner Temple's turn to come with their masque, whereof Sir Francis Bacon was the chief contriver; and because the former came on horseback and in open chariots, they made choice to come by water from Winchester Place, in Southwark; which suited well with their device, which was the marriage of the River Thames to the Rhine; and their show by water was very gallant, by reason of infinite store of lights, very curiously set and placed, and many boats and barges with devices of lights and lamps, with three peals of ordnance, one at their taking water, another in the Temple Garden, and the last at their landing; which passage by water cost them better than £300. They were received at the privy stairs, and great expectation there was that they should every way excell their competitors that went before them, both in device, daintiness of apparel, and above all in dancing, wherein they are held excellent, and esteemed for the properer men.
"But by what ill planet it fell out I know not, they came home as they went, without doing anything; the reason whereof I cannot yet learn thoroughly, but only that the hall was so full that it was not possible to avoid it, or make room for them; besides that, most of the ladies were in the galleries to see them land, and could not get in. But the worst of all was that the king was so wearied and sleepy with sitting almost two whole nights before, that he had no edge to it, whereupon Sir Francis Bacon adventured to entreat of His Majesty that by this difference he would not, as it were, bury them quick; and I hear the King should answer that then they must bury him quick, for he could last no longer; but withal gave them very good words and appointed them to come again on Saturday.
But the grace of their Masque is quite gone, when their apparel hath been already showed, and their devices vented, so that how it will fall out. God knows, for they are much discouraged and out of countenance. Their devices, however, went much beyond the mere exhibition of themselves and their apparel, and there was novelty enough behind the curtain to make a sufficient entertainment by itself, without the water business for overture."
Beaumont is said to have written this Masque, but since the Lord Chamberlain refers to Francis Bacon as being the chief contriver, and when the Masque was printed the dedication began with an acknowledgement that Bacon, with the gentleman of Gray's Inn and the Inner Temple had "spared no pain nor travail in the setting forth, ordering, and furnishing of this Masque", it becomes fairly obvious that he must have been a good producer and stage-manager. The following reference in the dedication - "And you, Sir Francis Bacon, especially, did by your countenance and loving affections advance it" - points to his dramatic skills being recognised and followed with enthusiasm, trust, and goodwill.
The next year, 1613, when Bacon was created Attorney-General, we hear of Francis once again preparing a Masque to honour another marriage - this time the betrothed couple were the Earl of Somerset and Lady Essex. The bride's father was the Earl of Suffolk, then the Lord Chamberlain. Mrs. Pott in her book 'Francis Bacon and His Secret Society' explains this masque as follows:
It was proposed that during the week of festivities which celebrated this marriage the four Inns of Court (the Middle and Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn) should join in getting up a masque, but they could not manage it. Although Ben Jonson and Shakespeare were at the height of their fame we find it was Francis Bacon, the Attorney-General, who, once more was called upon to supply their dramatic deficiencies. Surely this is another indication of his knowledge and aptitude, his versatility, practicality and artistry? It appears that Bacon considered that he owed Somerset some complimentary offering, because Somerset claimed (though Bacon doubted it) to have used his influence with the King to secure Bacon's promotion. While all the world were making presents - one of plate, another of furniture, a third of horses, a fourth of gold - he chose a Masque for which an accident supplied him with an excellent opportunity. When the united efforts of the four inns of court failed to produce the required entertainment Bacon offered, on the part of Gray's Inn, to supply the place of it by a masque of their own. We learn from a letter of the Lord Chamberlain that Sir Francis Bacon prepared a masque to honour this marriage, which will stand him in above £2,000.
The nature of the obligations considered, as Mrs. Potts explains:
"there was judgement as well as magnificence in the choice of retribution. The obligation being for assistance in obtaining an office, to repay it by any present which could be turned into money would have been objectionable, as tending to countenance the great abuse of the times (from which Bacon stands clear) - the sale of offices for money. There was no such objection to a masque. As a compliment it was splendid, according to the taste and magnificence of the times; costly to the giver, not negotiable to the receiver; valuable as a compliment but as nothing else. Also it conferred great distinction upon Gray's Inn."
The masque in question was called 'The Masque of Flowers'. It was published shortly after its performance with a dedication to Bacon as "the principal and in effect the only person that doth encourage and warrant the gentlemen to show their good affection in a time of such magnificence;. . . wherein you have made a notable demonstration thereof in the lighter and less serious kind, by this, that one Inn of Court by itself, in time of a vacation, and in the space of three weeks, could perform that which hath been performed; which could not have been done but that every man's exceeding love and respect to you gave him wings to overtake time, which is the swiftest of things.
Usually a group of people were engaged in the presentation of Masques, and honours were not normally given to one person because teamwork was essential. It is evident from this dedication that Bacon's personality was such that he engendered love and respect among his colleagues, and galvanised them into continued action. When we remember that a masque consisted of a fusion of many of the arts with Dancing, Singing, Ceremony, and Spectacle, Disguising and the Spoken Word, the fact that this masque was created in the space of three weeks, is a clear indication that Bacon knew exactly what he was about, and that he achieved team work.
Indeed we only have to read Bacon's Essay 'Of Masques and Triumphs' (especially after a study of the history of Masques) to realise that he must have had much personal experience in their preparation and production. He discusses with great accuracy therein technical details such as gestures, costume design, apparatus for scenery, colours that show best by candlelights, the placings of the singers, and the fitness of the music. Different ways of introducing variety concerned him. That he was very practical as well as imaginative is therefore evident.
In Bacon' s essay 'Of Masques and Triumphs' he concludes with a brief reference to jousts, tourneys, and barriers, with these words: "For jousts, and turneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts: as lions, bears, camels, and the like; or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys."
Jousting and tilting were favourite pastimes with the nobility, and at the accession of Queen Elizabeth pageantry was introduced. They were often dramatised within an allegorical frame and became known as Accession Tilts.
Like Masques these were often spectacles on a lavish scale and in both, dramatic speeches were required. The main differences between the two genres, so it would seem, were that a Masque was performed indoors with music and dancing as an essential part of it, whereas the main feature of a tilt, apart from dramatic speeches spoken by characters in the device was a combat by two armed men on horseback which took place out of doors in the tiltyard, during daylight hours.
Sir Philip Sydney, and Sir Fulke Greville are known to have been champions of the Tiltyard and together with the Earl of Arundel - all friends of Francis Bacon - took part in Tournaments and triumphs.
In 1592 and again in 1595 Francis wrote, for the benefit of the Earl of Essex, the dramatic speeches for two Accession Tilts organised by the latter, and sometimes referred to as the 'Conferance of Pleasure' and the 'Philautia Device' respectively. In 1597 he again wrote speeches for another tilt.
Jousts, tourneys, and barriers were slightly differing though related forms of entertainments for celebrating special events, where festivities were required to take place on subsequent days, spanning perhaps a whole week.
As I have already mentioned the main feature of these was a fight on horseback between two armed combatants, or challengers.
Tourney was derived from the Latin word tornus, signifying combatants turning or wheeling round to face each other for battle. Barriers indicated the combatants coming toward a bar or rail, or partition. This term was also used by lawyers, signifying a partition separating qualified versus unqualified lawyers in hall who were 'called to the bar'.
From what Francis Bacon wrote at the conclusion of his essay 'Of Masques and Triumphs' and how he refrained from elaborating upon jousts and triumphs in detail but tossed the subject aside with the ejaculation 'but enough of such toys' suggests that armed combats did not interest him. Nevertheless, although tilts and jousts being a martial type of amusement, did not appeal to Francis Bacon himself they did so to the Earl of Essex who, from time to time liked to present to the Queen and her retinue a show of this kind. However, the contrivance of a Device and the writing of dramatic speeches, which preceded ajoust or tilt, was, it would seem, not one of the talents of the Earl of Essex whereas it was one of Bacon's accomplishments. Therefore we can assume that Francis was asked by Robert Devereux to provide the first part of the spectacle to enable him to make such occasional offerings to the Queen, and obviously Francis acceded to the requests.
Thus we can perceive that this must have been the reason for Francis Bacon's involvement in this particular pastime which called for dramatic speeches, even though he did not much care for this form of recreation and festivity,
Similarly, it was because Bacon was either asked or he offered to give a helping hand on more than one occasion, and a to a lesser or greater degree, in the contrivance of masques at Gray's Inn, initially as a student and thereafter as a respected Member of the Inn, that Francis participated in that type of dramatic entertainment. However, Masques and Revels were to his taste, even though these also were designed mainly for recreational purposes for the nobility and aristocracy during times of celebration.
This brings to a close information regarding the subject of Masques and Revels, held at Gray's Inn (and some of the other Inns of Court), and of Devices, culminating in Jousts and Triumphs which took place in tiltyards.
For the sake of avoiding confusion I have purposely discussed these differing types of dramatic entertainment separately. Now I am going to turn my attention to the other category of dramatic art with which Francis Bacon was intimately concerned and which occupied so much of this thought and time from 1594 until 1623. But before embarking upon this subject I must state that his participation in all these dramatic pursuits were, in fact, (as all Baconians know) being pursued concurrently, but not for the same reasons. Initially my next remarks may seem like a digression, but my comments will turn out to be relevant, I can assure you.
It must be remembered that both Sir Nicholas and Lady Ann Bacon were keen classical scholars, proficient in Latin and Greek, possessing a good library in their home at Gorhambury, and they encouraged Anthony and Francis to read books. Moreover the latter had access to other libraries and sources of information not available to most people. Francis, in particular, was an avid reader, and made extensive researches into all manner of subjects. He also imbibed specalised knowledges from two of his tutors: Sir Amyas Paulet and Dr John Dee.
Branches of learning which were of particular interest to Francis were etymology and languages, occult philosophy, human philosophy, natural philosophy, metaphysics, Greek mythology, classical drama, morality plays, symbolism, and the mystical tradition.
These studies into the wisdom of the ancients made a great impact upon this precocious teenager. So too did his two and a half year stay in France, October 1576-March 1579 under the guardianship of Sir Amyas Paulet, who was not only Bacon's French tutor, but also had been created English Ambassador Elect by Queen Elizabeth, giving him the privilege of visiting the French Court. There the young Francis Bacon had the opportunity, amongst other things, of meeting Pierre de Ronsard, of becoming acquainted with the other members of 'La Pleiade', and learning about the French Renaissance and enjoying the beauty of their enriched language. Francis also witnessed French theatricals.
Bacon's inherent philosophical turn of mind; his Christian faith; his awareness of Humanistic thought and the ideals of the Reformation; together with the inspiration gained from Sir Nicholas Bacon's example, and ideas for the advancement of learning; his deep love of and reverence for Nature's beauties, bounties, and processes; his phenomenal knowledges, imbibed from the vast quantity of books he had read in a number of languages; from life's experiences during his journeys in England and on the Continent; his keen and perceptive observation of people in all walks of life from the humblest to the highest; his participation in classical drama at college; and in Masques at Gray's Inn; these were all factors of influence which acted as a springboard for the burning desire he had, to create a different form of dramatic entertainment which would not only give to him greater scope for his creativity, but also yield a far higher purpose than that of mere celebration of a special event or only for amusement. His imagination was also fired in the direction of trying to bring about and produce an English Renaissance.
This new literary project would, he realised, need on the one hand to be well organised, and on the other hand would require helpers to give him practical assistance in its outworking. Everything would have to be unfolded in stages, systematically and with perseverance. Not surprisingly Anthony Bacon was in agreement with Francis Bacon and was a willing collaborator. Also Philip Sidney and a few other friends and poets.
This small band of literary colleagues, whom Francis referred to as his "good pens who forsake me not," recognised and acknowledged his superior abilities and they regarded Francis as the initiator and director of a vast scheme which would gradually enlarge the scope of culture and learning. They viewed themselves as members of the "choir of the Muses" with Francis Bacon as their much loved and inspired leader.
Just as the member of 'La Pleiade' in France had laboured for years to enlarge and beautify their language, as a needful requisite for the French Renaissance, so too did Fancis Bacon and his 'good pens' resolve to follow their example and amplify the English tongue to an even greater extent, as an important first stage in the creation of an English Renaissance.
When this task was accomplished, Francis and his collaborators incorporated this new and flexible vocabulary into all manner of writings in prose, poetry and drama. The task of providing English translations of many of the classics was also undertaken. But English dramatic works had to be done in secret and printed either anonymously, or using initials, or pen-names.
Although poets and men of letters were held in high esteem in France by all people, including the Kings of France, and Marguerite of Navarre attracted poets and writers to her Court, this policy had not been adopted by the English monarchs, as you know. How frustrating and bewildering it must have been to Francis Bacon and his confederates to be confronted by the huge contrast of opinions and conventions which still existed in 1576, the year he went to France and experienced the marvel of the labours of 'La Pleiade' and their beautiful new language, and to find that this had evoked the admiration of their countrymen. Yet in England it was considered discreditable for a gentleman to be amorous of any learned art, and many writers felt obliged not to use their own names.
The second half of the decade of the 1570's was indeed an important period for Francis Bacon, for these years marked the conception and commencement of a major aspect of his life's work.
Amongst my researches I have been reading some of Peter Dawkins' writings, especially his "Commentary on Bacon's Great Instauration". I have found some of his ideas so thought-provoking that I would like to share them with you. He maintains that having been inspired with the idea, which Bacon attributed to divine revelation, of creating a scheme for a total regeneration of the Arts and Sciences, which, as you know, was eventually referred to as The Great Instauration, Francis started in earnest to put it into operation, after he had left Cambridge University.
Because he believed this plan for Enlightenment was divinely revealed, as a mark of respect to his Creator and in imitation of divine Law Francis Bacon decided to make the scheme of the Great Instauration fall into six parts, echoing the Six Days Work of Creation. In addition to this, throughout the scheme runs a triple principle, again imitating the Law of the Holy Trinity.
Thus his aim was to erect, metaphorically, a true Pyramid of Philosophy which could then find expression in action. It was his conviction that, just as the stone pyramids of ancient Egypt were three-faced or aspected, so should his intellectual Pyramid of Philosophy deal with the three basic knowledges or aspects of Philosophy: Divine Philosophy, Natural Philosophy, Human Philosophy. As he later wrote in the 1605 edition of his Advancement of Learning: -
"In Philosophy, the contemplations of man do either penetrate unto God, - or are circumferred to nature - or are reflected or reverted upon himself. Out of which several enquiries there do arise three knowledges, divine philosophy, natural philosophy and human philosophy or humanity. For all things are marked and stamped with this triple character of the power of God, the difference of nature, and the use of man."
The Pyramid of Philosophy, besides being three-faced, was also planned to be three-tiered: the base or first stage was to be History (i.e. well ordered and digested experience), the second or middle stage was to be physics, and the third and final stage that of metaphysics. As Francis explained: -
"For knowledge are as pyramids, whereof History is the basis. So of Natural Philosophy the basis is Natural History; the stage next the basis is Physique; the stage next the vertical point is Metaphysique. As for the vertical point (Opus quod operatur Deus a principio usque ad finem) the Summary Law of Nature, we do not know whether man's enquiry can attain unto it . . ,"
Peter Dawkins goes on to explain that the second and third stages of the Pyramid of Philosophy deal with the knowledges relating to physical and metaphysical laws respectively. The fourth part is concerned with the presentation of the History to the mind using the imaginative arts, that is to say, combining a structure of drama and poetry, and referred to as Tables of Invention or Discovery.
From many years of study as well as from intuitive perception and reasoning, some of the past and current Baconian researchers have put two and two together and cognized and 'discovered' that the Tables of Invention and Discovery were none other than the poetic dramas, brought forth anonymously at first but later under the pseudonym of William Shakespeare, and given to the world as examples of these Tables of Invention, relating to Human and Divine Philosophy.
Peter Dawkins is also of the opinion that
"Francis Bacon perceived that divine Emotion (or Love) was the fundamental life force or motivating power of the universe, which forms and animates all things. He therefore considered that the study of emotion, in all its manifestations, was (or should be) the primary study of man, so as to discover and learn the causes of all motions and things, and so eventually to discover the supreme cause, the ultimate truth, divine Love."
If Peter Dawkins' theory is correct (and I think it is a plausible one), and if Francis Bacon did set out to write in detail about the study of human emotion, in all its manifestations, and record a history of human natures, one can understand why he decided to present this History as a series of plays - comedies, histories, tragedies. He obviously realised that if each play was carefully written, possessing the correct structure for such a purpose, it would be possible to show people the causes of human attitudes, motivations and behaviour.
Thus in the Shakespeare plays he planned to record a collection of observations of human emotions, thoughts and actions. Francis Bacon gave hints about his intentions in his De Augmentis Scientiarum.
"Let a full and careful treatise be constructed. Not, however, that I would have their characters presented in ethics (as we find them in history, or poetry, or even in common discourse) in the shape of complete individual portraits, but rather the several features and simple lineaments of which they are composed, and by the various combinations and arrangements of which all characters whatever are made up, showing how many, and of what nature these are, and how connected and subordinated one to another; that so we may have a scientific and accurate dissection of minds and characters, and the secret dispositions or particular men may be revealed; and that from a knowledge thereof better rules may be framed for the treatment of the mind. And not only should the characters of dispositions which are impressed by nature be received into this treatise, but those also which are imposed upon the mind by sex, by age, by region, by health and sickness, by beauty and deformity and the like; and again, those which are caused by fortune, as sovereignty, nobility, obscure birth, riches, want, magistracy, privateness, prosperity, adversity and the like." . . .
..."But to speak the truth the poets and writers of history are the best doctors of this knowledge, where we may find painted forth with great life and dissected, how affections are kindled and excited, and how pacified and restrained, and how again contained from act and further degree; how they disclose themselves, though repressed and concealed; how they work; how they vary; how they are enwrapped one within another; how they fight and encounter one with another; and many more particulars of this kind;". . .
Here is another hint regarding Bacon's intentions relating to poetic drama. In his Distributio Operis he writes thus:
"I do not speak of these precepts and rules by way of illustration (for of these I have given plenty in the second part of the work); but I mean actual types and models, by which the entire process of the mind and the whole fabric and order of invention from the beginning to the end in certain subjects, and those various and remarkable, should be set as it were, before the eyes. ... To examples of this kind, being in fact, nothing more than an application of the second part in detail, and at large, the fourth part of the work is devoted."
If Bacon had envisaged constructing plays to act as mirrors reflecting to the spectators the inner processes of the minds and emotions of the characters, then we can perceive the reasons for writing this new type of psychological drama as well as for choosing the novel idea of introducing soliloquies into the structure of each play. The employment of soliloquies was one of the means he used to reveal the inner processes of the thoughts and motivations of the character who was speaking the soliloquy. Of course, the latter were also expressed in the dialogue in conversation between two or more of the characters.
The last two quotations alone show what a master Bacon became in the art of veiling truth, and wrapping up his meaning and yet, at the same time, of hinting at it, with carefully selected words and phrases, offered as signposts to discerning seekers-after-truth, who are able on the one hand to use reason, logic and analysis, and on the other hand to exercise their powers of intuitive perception to guide them on the treasure trail. It was these two extracts, as well as one or two other quotations from Francis Bacon's writings, together with the introduction of so many legal words and phrases in the Plays, which caused the Baconian pioneers, as well as current researchers, to arrive at the conclusion that the psychological dramas (which had been ascribed to William Shakespeare) must surely have constituted the supposedly missing fourth part of Bacon's Great Instauration, which he referred to as "a full and careful treatise", in which should be presented in detail, examples of the internal workings of the minds and affections of characters.
In my opinion two of the 'certain subjects' to which he referred in the last quotation, would seem to have been the Wisdom Teachings of past ages, and what we now call psychology. He makes this clear by stating that this treatise should 'set, as it were, before the eyes the entire process of the mind, from the beginning to the end'. It is obvious that he recognised the potential power of human thoughts and feelings, and how these were the motivating impulses to actions, good or bad. He would no doubt have remembered that above the entrance to the Greek and Egyptian temples were the words 'Man, Know Thyself, and thou shalt know God and the Universe.'
These mystery teachings of the ageless wisdom revealed to the student, in gradual stages, knowledge concerning the sevenfold constitution of man: of his earthly, reasoning, rational, conscious mind, and of his spiritual, intuitive, super-conscious mind; of his soul and psyche; and the control and development of these faculties. It was a long and arduous training but led ultimately to the acquisition of wisdom, enlightenment, peace of mind, and kind and virtuous behaviour.
Undoubtedly it would have been the ancient wisdom teachings which would have brought into sharp focus Bacon's recognition of the fact that a man was a composite being comprising body, soul and spirit, possessing tangible and mortal, as well as intangible and divine vehicle of expression; negative and positive attributes and qualities; and personalities which could be trained and disciplined, and thus changed from manifesting only the baser, unrefined and often unpleasing human natures and responses towards expressing more pleasant, virtuous, and divine reactions and attributes.
The inter-related concepts of the evolution of consciousness, and of the metamorphosis of human natures, as the aspirant treads the Path of Attainment under invisible direction, was regarded by Francis Bacon as being of supreme importance. These subjects often constituted the underlying theme of a number of the Shakespeare Plays.
Beryl Pogson and Mabel Sennett, both past, staunch Members of the Francis Bacon Society, who studied psychology and the mystical tradition, maintained that many of the Plays were allegorical and symbolic at one level. In 1950 Beryl Pogson wrote a book entitled In The East my Pleasure Lies presenting esoteric interpretations of nine of the Shakespeare dramas.
In 1949 the Francis Bacon Society published a book called His Erring Pilgrimage by Mabel Sennett. This provided an in-depth esoteric interpretation of the play As You Like It as portraying the development of human consciousness. She regards the characters as symbolising different aspects of human consciousness, some characters expressing the level of the ordinary human self, referred to as the Natural Man who is unawakened spiritually, and others who are more advanced, having disciplined their human nature and developed their mind and will, to become the Regenerate Being, the spiritual man.
Act by act through the play we are shown the gradual transformation of the self as it grows and matures psychologically, or spiritually. Some characters really are transformed and changed for the better, while others do not have the capacity to grow in wisdom so they remain the same all through the play.
When I myself went to see a production of As You Like It performed by Rudolf Steiner-trained actors and actresses who, of course do study levels of consciousness, I noted with interest how well they brought out this viewpoint.
Alongside the many philosophical discussions which are deftly woven into the dialogue, especially between characters such as Jacques, Orlando, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone, where there are references to the tenets of the Path of Attainment, there is also another level of wisdom and teaching which is much easier to comprehend. The subject of ethics and morals interested Bacon and apart from discussing them in his book of moral Essays there are many incidents in the Plays which reflect to the audience clearly recognised examples of good or bad behaviour in human beings, moral instruction given but in a way which was simple to understand, often portraying the kind of reactions which many people have. But although the subject of morality and ethics is present it is never overdone, the dramatist always remembered that the function of the play was to entertain as well as to instruct, and to cater for different levels of comprehension. The spectator was given the choice to aspire to deeper perception, or to shun it, as he pleased.
Of course being a philosopher as well as a dramatist, coupled with the knowledge of the esoteric tradition and the potential it gave for widening man's understanding and of gaining new insights, I think that he hoped that many people, current and future generations, would accept and make use of the wisdom offered. He perceived the possibility of inculcating a gradual change of attitude and better behaviour in men and women in all walks of life and that the new psychological dramas might be a helpful way of dropping new seeds of thought via the technique of reflection, and of showing up negative traits in human beings in contrast to positive, charitable and kindly expressions of thought and feeling in the living of life, aiming to inculcate the desire to develop virtue, and demonstrating too the need to bridle and control sensuous instincts, negative impulses and passions.
What daring innovations his new concepts regarding the use of drama must have introduced in Elizabethan times. These Shakespeare Plays certainly did provide a new type of dramatic entertainment which had most unusual and startling strands woven into the weft and warp of the fabric of each drama.
Reflecting on the history of drama, we can recognise that the introduction of morals and ethics into the dialogue and plot was reminiscent of morality plays of former times, but with additions which were more subtle, and introducing teachings expounded by pre-Christian teachers such as Pythagoras and other Sages.
In the Middle Ages when morality plays were allowed to be acted in churches, moral instruction was made obvious to the spectators because each character was given the name of the passion he was portraying.
The action and dialogue revealed to the audience the temptations of the soul of every man during his pilgrimage through life.
It portrayed visibly an interior problem as to whether the soul (which the leading character in the play represented) was strong enough morally to overcome the gravitational pull of earthiness and expression of the baser negative aspects of his human personality, or whether the soul was not able to be victorious, either in resisting temptations or in acknowledging his own shortcomings.
Positive or negative attributes were easily recognised by the spectators because each character was given the name of a virtue or a strong passion, such as Love, Goodness, Lust, Pride etc. But in the Shakespeare plays there was far greater subtlety. Characters were given more ordinary names e.g. Orlando, Adam, Oliver, Audrey. Shakespeare had a talent for character delineation. I agree with William Smedley who, on page 186 of his book The Mystery of Francis Bacon
"If Shakespeare deserves our admiration for his characters he is equally deserving of it for his exhibition of passion, taking this word in its widest signification, as including every mental condition, every tone from indifference or familiar mirth to the wildest rage and despair.
... He paints, in a most inimitable manner, the gradual progress from the first origin. He gives, as Lessing says, 'a living picture of all the most minute and secret artifices by which a feeling steals into our souls; of all the imperceptible advantages which it there gains, of all the stratagems by which every other passion is made subservient to it, till it becomes the sole tyrant of our desires and our aversions."
Francis Bacon recognised that although he sought to 'cleanse the foul body of the infected world' showing the way of the soul from darkness to light, from inner conflict, through illusions and temptations of the darker side to harmony and joy and the light, he must convey his teaching subtly without arousing antagonism amongst the public of his times to whom the subject of morals and of self-discipline would have no appeal.
Leaving the subject of character delineation and returning briefly to the passages of philosophising which formed another feature, it is interesting to note that although different aspects of human philosophy were discussed more often, there are a number of references to nature and natural philosophy, and also to divine philosophy. The latter was alluded to sometimes in the actual theme of the play which often centres upon a cosmic law or principle. The play Romeo and Juliet displays examples of the cosmic law of opposites such as love and hate, strife and friendship, life and death. So many of the plays touch on great spiritual truths, and show especially the need to tread the middle way so as to harmonise opposing opinions and drastic and harmful actions. In the comedies especially the opening act usually introduces the disagreement, misunderstanding or other negative half of a polarity, while in the final act one sees the unravelling of complexities. So where there had been disagreement or antagonism, or unfair rejection, banishment, separation, by the end of the play the misunderstandings have become understood and resolved, and harmony, reconciliation and reunion have taken their place. And this is what Francis would refer to as divine philosophy, which is something quite different to orthodox religion. The three philosophies are a closely-linked triad and Bacon realised this truth.
As most of the plays incorporate poetic passages I think it is significant and interesting to find a few pages on the subject of poesy in The Advancement and Proficience of Learning under Francis Bacon's own name, and to note that this topic also embraced three aspects. Thus he wrote about narrative Poesy, Dramatical or Representative Poesy, and also what he termed Parabolic, Allegoric and Allusive Poesy. These references to the three different categories of poesy serve as a broad hint, taking our minds at once to the Shakespeare Plays which do indeed possess these different types of poesy in their structure.
Francis regarded poetry as the science and art of the imagination and perceived that poetry (or poesy as he called it) should have a vital place in his scheme for presenting human philosophy in the form of the imaginative arts, which could simultaneously appeal and speak to the feelings and heart of man's soul and intuitive mind as well as to the outer, intellectual mind.
This concept of playing upon man's mind and feelings is subtly hinted at by Bacon in another passage in book 2 of his De Augmentis Scientarium relating to the action of the theatre and the highest use of drama when he wrote:-
'Dramatic poesy, which has the theatre for its world, would be of excellent use if well directed. For the stage is capable of no small influence both of discipline and of corruption. Now of corruption in this kind we have enough, but the discipline has in our time been plainly neglected. The action of the theatre, though modern states esteem it but ludicrous unless it be satirical and biting, was carefully watched by the Ancients that it might improve mankind in virtue; and indeed many wise men and great philosophers have thought it to the mind as the bow to the fiddle'.
Via a musical analogy Francis inferred that just as the bow was employed to play upon the fiddle to create musical harmony, so could the action of the theatre have a similar function and influence upon the spectators, as they watched and listened to a well ordered and inter-related stage play, possessing carefully placed moral and spiritual instruction concealed within the play. If some of the audience were able to finally draw conclusions and perceive flashes of wisdom and truth from what had been spoken and enacted whilst they were being entertained, then the highest use of drama would be achieved. It is significant that the word 'discipline' was used in this extract since the latter had a Latin derivation meaning 'instruction' and this he remarked 'had been plainly neglected'. However instruction would need to be veiled and therefore Bacon followed the example of the Ancients and incorporated into the play parables, analogies, allusions and symbology, as part of his system of teaching. Hence the introduction of parabolic and allegoric poesy in conjunction with narrative poesy and dramatic poesy. From the wisdom of the ancient sages Francis had learnt that the triad of symbology, imagery and poetry, constituting a three-fold sacred language as they did, were important requisites for raising the minds and souls of the audience to a higher plane of consciousness, and also for heightening the intensity of feeling and of dramatic situations in important scenes and speeches.
There is no doubt that Francis Bacon from an earty stage and all through his life was no low grade poet and dramatist, and no ordinary philosopher, and that the fusion of his inherent talents, under the aspiration of his Muse, produced a genius who was capable in due time of creating such dramatic masterpieces as the poetic psychological plays ascribed to his symbolic pen-name William Shakespeare.
Bacon never regarded these plays as mere box-office attractions. He viewed their creation from the angle of a philosopher and also as an ethical and spiritual teacher would, that of providing the great potential for education of the ancient wisdom in a disguised and acceptable way. This could be achieved by inserting in the structure of each play a didactic stratum of parable, allegory, analogy, and spiritual truth, concealed under the outer garb of easily recognised entertainment such as a comedy, or a tragedy, or a history play.
From all that has been discussed I hope that the following comparisons have emerged:
The cycle of psychological stage plays known to the world as the Shakespeare plays, were totally different types of dramatic entertainment to the more aristocratic genre called Masques and Revels, the latter being performed in the legal Inns of Court as well as in palaces and stately homes and whose performers included the nobility, while the former were acted mainly in theatres, or in courtyards of certain Inns such as the Bull Inn, in Bishopsgate Street, and whose actors were largely drawn from the uncultured classes, the commoners. Also the purpose for Bacon's participation in each category was for different reasons.
His involvement in Masques and Revels was for current use and outwardly for diplomatic and social purposes, as a customary form of amusement and celebration.
In contrast to this, Bacon's preoccupation with the construction of psychological stage plays, which took up the biggest proportion of his time had of course a two-fold intention, partly as a gift to posterity of Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies in the great Folio edition printed in 1623 under his symbolic pen-name and also as an important, but secret, fourth part of Bacon's 'Great Instauration' which was introduced to the world, as we all know, under his own name.
Surely, it must have given Francis and his collaborators a sense of satisfaction that they had all managed to make worthwhile contributions to the creation of an English Renaissance, Bacon with his own acknowledged and pseudonymous writings, and they with their own individual work, as well as their group endeavour of enlarging and enriching the English language, which had been widely circulated especially in the Shake-speare Plays, together with the translations into English of many of the classics of antiquity. Perhaps the success of the anonymity and pseudonymity of much of this labour had also made them smile, and gain pleasure and a sense of reward for their willingness to work so hard without recognition. Francis Bacon and his 'good-pens' certainly did make a valuable gift to the culture of England, and made their mark on the literature of their country. Bacon must also have felt pleased to recall that with the creation of the Shakespeare Plays he had really achieved his goal of inventing a new form of dramatic art, in which he had found a way of incorporating a unique blend of moral and spiritual wisdom as well as a detailed study of human natures and the motivations to actions, woven together in two triads of philosophies and poesies, coupled with wonderful entertainment, for current and future generations. All in all I think it is true to say that Francis Bacon's participation in all these dramatic entertainments constituted the most creative, rewarding, and enjoyable aspect of his whole life's activities.
ALCHEMY AND THE HOLY GRAIL
PART OF A LECTURE DELIVERED BEFORE THE BACON SOCIETY, ON DECEMBER 20th, 1906
... I invite you to examine some of the facsimiles of paper-marks shown herewith. They are representative of thousands and thousands of similar character, which any seeker may find for himself. It is generally assumed by orthodox bibliographers that paper-marks were the trade signs of paper- makers, but an investigation of this theory proves it to bristle with technical difficulties which render it untenable. Driven into the corner by the logic of facts which I need not here discuss, but shall be happy to do should anyone care to challenge my conclusions. Orthodoxy has fatuously suggested that the "curious shapes" which are assumed by these mysterious marks were due to the workmen having varied them for their own amusement. As a matter of fact, the great majority of paper-marks in mediaeval literature are not trade signs at all, but symbols of the many secret and invisible associations which were at work sowing seeds of sweetness and light, and risking their existence in the attempt to shake off the nightmare of ecclesiasticism. For the purpose of illustration I have selected merely two or three of the hundreds of philosophical symbols which prove the reality and the extent of ethical Alchemy. Just as the fossil is a positive proof of former life, so these curious marks in paper seem to me tangible evidence of the energy and virility of the "mystical trash" condemned by Hallam. The first object that I have chosen to point this suggestion is the paper-mark of a jug or pot. There are two ideas underlying these figures, both springing from the Legend of the Holy Grail, "We cannot be sure," says Mr. Alfred Nutt, "how this or that writer conceived the story as a whole, or in what sense he figured the Grail to himself." It is true we cannot define the exact meanings which were attached by particular writers, but the forms in which these writers figured the Grail are depicted in infinite variety in the paper-marks of the period. Of these many are necessarily crude, but you must bear in mind that they were impressed upon wet paper pulp by being designed in wire and then stitched to the paper-maker's tray or mould.
Most of us are familiar with the Legend of the Grail in the form which was grafted on to it by Christian writers, but as a symbol it is very much older than Christianity. The Rev. Baring Gould describes it as "the mysterious relic of a past heathen rite," and Mr. Alfred Nutt terms it "a mythical talisman of increase and plenty."
The Rev. Baring Gould quotes an old British poet as his authority for the claim that the St. Grail "inspires poetic genius, gives wisdom, discovers the knowledge of futurity, the mysteries of the world, the whole treasure of human sciences. That this vessel of the liquor of wisdom," continues Mr. Gould, "held a prominent place in British mythology is certain from the allusions made to it by the bards." "Taliesin, in the description of his initiation into the mysteries of the basin, cries out, 'I have lost my speech,' because on all who had been admitted to the privileges of full membership secrecy was imposed. This initiation (continues Mr. Gould) was regarded as a new birth, and those who had once become members were regarded as elect, regenerate, separate from the rest of mankind, who lay in darkness and ignorance."
Jacob Boehme leads off in Chapter I. of De Mysterio Magno with the words:-"If we would understand what the New Birth is and how it is brought to pass, then we must first know what Man is."
Now Hitchcock, who derived his opinions from the study of upwards of 200 works on Alchemy, sums up his conclusions as to their real object by saying he could liken it to nothing better expressive than the experience known in religion as THE NEW BIRTH. He adds: "There are many signs in Alchemical volumes of a secret society in which possibly the language used was conventionally determined. I have at times thought that some members of the Masonic fraternity might have found the secret language of the Alchemists a convenient mode of publishing, or rather circulating, among the initiated doctrines which they had taken an oath not to speak directly or to make known except to a brother."
In these independent extracts we thus find correlated the ideas of the exhaustless vase of wisdom, secrecy, and the New Birth. It is my conviction that the vast movement which, when it appeared above the suface of History was known, or, at any rate, is to-day known, as the RENAISSANCE or New Birth, was merely the effect of which the secret and unrecognised efforts of the Alchemists and other kindred reformers were the direct cause.
You will find a great deal of information on the Holy Grail in Mr. Alfred Nutt's book, and I would also refer you to Mrs. Cooper Oakley's Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Mediaeval Mysticism. Mrs. Oakley says: "Gathered round the Holy Grail are the Knights and Guardians of the Grail Kingdom, led by Titurel the mystic King, to whom is entrusted the Holy teaching. Then later we find the Knights Templar taking up the sacred mission. But everywhere and always is there the inner doctrine for the few who seek the Holy Grail, for it is invisible to all but those who form the inner circle. The chief function of the Grail Kingdom was to supply a constant type of a divinely governed Society, a Society ruled from the inner and spiritual planes, and to train in the Kingly art of ruling leaders for such communities as needed them. It was destined to be a practical civilising power as well as a Palace spiritual; not a passive force only, but active and powerful for the suppression of all evil on earth."
Who that is at all familiar with the works of Francis Bacon can doubt that he was a leader among the many very perfect Grail Knights of his period?
Mr. Alfred Nutt tells us that, "although caught up to very Heaven, though filled with the essence of Divinity, still the Grail retains the material characteristics of an increase and plenty talisman." Mrs. Cooper Oakley, who approaches her subject from a totally different aspect, sums it up as her conclusion that in the Grail myth "we are face to face with a symbol of man; man who is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The chalice or cup is but another way," says she, "of denoting the coats of skin, the veils or vestures which garment man on earth, robes woven by the Nature powers in which and through which the divine spark has to dwell, until in process of time the vestures or chalice become permeated through by the divine light within."
Now Hitchcock and other ethical interpreters of the Alchemists are convinced that it was MICROCOSMOS, the little world of Man, which was the real stone upon which they were experimenting and working to transmute into gold. In his Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers, Mr. A. E. Waite quotes an anonymous writer who states that 'the publication of the writings of Jacob Boehme caused the Alchemists who were his contemporaries to fear that their art could not much longer remain a secret, and that the mystic vase in particular would be shortly revealed to all. This vase is the vas insigne electionis, namely, Man, who is the only all-containing subject, and who alone has need to be investigated for the eventual discovery of all." We thus see that in all probability the pot water-marks which you have before you emblemise the very essence of Alchemy.
Before passing from these Grail water-marks I would invite you to consider the almost infinite variety with which they are ornamented. Time does not permit me to linger over the symbolism of these decorations, but I should just like to draw your attention to the handles arranged in the form of the double SS standing for Sanctus Spiritus. Also to the variety of initials which appear upon them. These, almost without doubt, are the first letters of the words of certain phrases. They form part of the mystic system of the Cabala known as "notaricon". By this system certain initials came to be perfectly well understood, conveying profound meanings. Rossetti mentions that Dante made frequent use of the method, and there are even today many relics of it among us. I might mention the expression AMEN, which is a composition word, and the Italian secret society known as the MAFIA, said to be so named from the initials of the sentence, MAZZINI AUTORIZZA FURTI INCENDI AVVELENAMENTI.
The remembrance of the paper-mark we have been discussing has lingered until the present day, and is the origin of the modern technical term "pott," used to denote a certain size of paper. The term foolscap, with which you are all familiar, is likewise the survival of an old paper- mark. The facsimiles which you have before you are typical representatives of it. You will notice the curious sort of pigtail, with a cross on the end. Some years ago I was told that this pigtail was the badge of a jester in the service of an ecclesiastic, but it is only recently that I have struck on what is, I think, probably the explanation. Everyone has heard of the Troubadours, but it is not generally realised that they were heretics under the ban of the Church and driven hither and thither by that relentless antagonist. Their mission, Aroux tell us, was to redress the wrongs of Rome, to take up the defence of the weak and oppressed. They were also represented and celebrated as the true soldiers of the Christ, the exponents of celestial chivalry, and the champions of the poor, attacking under all their forms the monstrous abuses of the Priesthood. It is said that great number of the higher classes became Troubadors, wandering from Court to Court and castle to castle, spreading the doctrine of the organisation for which they were acting as emissaries.
This uncanonical "Church of the Grail" as it has been called, was extraordinarily methodical and extended in its operations. It claimed a higher authority than. the official Church of Christendom. Aroux tells us that it had its Priests, Bishops, and Deacons, who wandered far and wide disguised under the hoods of Troubadours. It is said that the frightful persecutions which scattered the Templars were due to the belief that they were Knights of the secret Church of the Holy Grail. You will now see why these Troubadour-jester emblems are distinguished by the clerical badge, and you will appreciate that among the Troubadours were exponents of the same unseen movement to which some of the so-called Alchemists were undoubtedly allied.
Nearly all foolscap water-marks have pending from them a figure of Four, and three circles. The figure Four was held sacred by the Pythagoreans, being the perfect square. It was the emblem of Moral Justice and Divine Equity geometrically expressed. The ineffable Name of The Deity was expressed by this sacred number Four, which was regarded as a most binding and solemn oath by the ancient mystics. The three circles, I think, probably denote the three great principles ofAlchemistic Philosophy - Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, or in other words - Body, Soul, and Spirit.
It is said that Dante was a Troubadour, and that St. Francis of Assissi had been one. Aroux mentions many eminent names and includes among them King Richard of England. Some time about 150 years ago the Troubadour's head disappeared from paper and in its place there appeared the design you have before you. This emblem has survived until the present day, and enshrines a world of romance and suffering. It is, I think, without doubt a counterfeit presentment of the Troubadour's mysterious and perfect Lady, in other words the Virgin Sophia eulogised by Dante, Petrarch, and a host of poets, among them our Elizabethan Sonneteers.
To introduce this perfect, mysterious Lady to you, I cannot, I think do better than quote some passages from a letter written by that saint of rationalism - Giordano Bruno. He writes: "I am displeased with the bulk of mankind; I hate the vulgar rout; I despise the authority of the multitude and am enamoured with one particular lady. 'Tis for her that I am free in servitude, content in pain, rich in necessity, and alive in death. . . Hence it is even for my passion for this beauty that, as being weary, I draw not back my feet from the difficult road, nor, as being lazy, hang down my hands from the work that is before me; I turn not my shoulders, as grown desperate, to the enemy that contends with me, nor, as dazzled, divert my eyes from the divine object. . . . 'Tis for the love of true Wisdom and by the studious admiration of this Mistress that I fatigue, that I disquiet, that I torment myself."
This, ladies and gentlemen, was the spirit of the Grail which the Inquisition and all the power of the governments of Europe was engaged for many centuries in endeavouring to crush. The result of the suppression was that the Spirit of Truth was idolized and discussed under the protective veils of "Beatrice," "Laura," and a variety of other names to which the imperceptive have more or less vainly endeavoured to fit physical women. I chanced the other day on a coincidence with regard to Dante's ' "Beatrice" to which I am not aware that attention has hitherto been drawn. We are told in the Vita Nuova (I need hardly draw your attention to the significance of this Alchemistic title) that "Beatrice" was nine years of age when Dante first met her. He remarks, "Many times the number nine hath appeared among the preceding words whereby it appeareth that it is not without reason." He then says that he will assign the reason "why this number was so friendly to her," and explains that three being the root of nine Beatrice was accompanied by the number nine to give to understand that she was a nine, that is a miracle whose root is the wondrous Trinity alone. Then he gives us permission to speculate a little by adding: "Perchance a more subtle person might see in it a yet more subtle reason." A few weeks before reading this passage I happened to have pasted into my commonplace book the following newspaper cutting:
Sir William Huggins, at the dinner of the Maccabeans, referred to the curious properties of the Hebrew word for Truth. It comes from a root signifying strength - that which could not be moved. The letters of the word are equivalent to the mysterious number nine. When multiplied that figure frequently gives figures so true to each that when added together they again prove the figure nine; thus twice 9 are 18, thrice 9 are 27, and so on.
In England this same spirit of Truth, or spirit of Nature, was invoked under the veils of Phoebe, Idea, Licia, Cynthia, Elizabeth, etc., and numerous sonnets were written in her honour. It think it unquestionable that much of the adulation which is supposed to have been lavished upon Queen Elizabeth by servile poets was never in reality intended for her at all, but for that more mystic Elizabeth of whom we catch a glimpse in Spenser.
One of the lesser-known English sonneteers - Richard Smith - dedicates his sonnet sequence DIANA "Unto Her Majesties Sacred Honourable Maids."
It is obvious that it is not the maids of honour of Elizabeth Tudor that are in the poet's eye, for he leads off:
Eternal twins that conquer Death and Time
Rossetti comments at length upon the double and sometimes triple meanings which were placed by the secret schools upon apparently innocent and orthodox words and phrases. I have but little doubt that many of the works dedicated in what is apparently the most fulsome flattery were in reality addressed in a spirit of religious ecstasy to a mystic Elizabeth. I am told that the name El-izza-beth is practically the same as Beth-el of the Old Testament, and means The House of God. This is synonymous with the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and that, as we have seen, was symbolised by the St. Grail. Please take this suggestion for what it may be worth!
The sister figure which now appears upon our coinage as Britannia was I think also originally intended to suggest the same mysterious and perfect Lady of the middle ages. She appeared suddenly about 1676, just when the anti-Papal storm was brewing, which, when it burst, cost James II, his throne. If you will refer to the coin collection at the British Museum you will notice that Britannia has only comparatively recently donned the trident and helmet. On her first appearance she held an olive branch in one hand and a spear in the other. The spear was the attribute of Pallas, the Goddess of Wisdom, and if it is a bad guess on my part it is at any rate an agreeable fancy to believe that a variant of the Virgin Sophia is one of the everyday symbols of our Nation. You will notice that the lady in paper-mark bears a trefoil instead of an olive branch, again the emblem of the three Alchemical principles - Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt.
It is becoming daily more recognised that Elizabethan literature was not a spontaneous and national home growth; rather it was an exotic imported from the continent. Especially was this so in the case of the sonnet literature which was so luxuriant a weed in the reign of Elizabeth. Much of this was directly borrowed; so directly, in fact, that Mr. Sidney Lee holds up his hands in pained perplexity. He denounces Lodge as a scandalous example of the literary thief, and it was in a sonnet sequence entitled "Phyllis" that, according to Mr. Lee, Lodge sank most deeply into"the mire of deceit and mystification." Now I have shown elsewhere that practically the whole of Elizabethan poetry is a symphony and that there must have existed at that time a very abnormal system of collaboration; further, that the facts point unmistakably to Francis Bacon as the hinge upon which that system turned. It is significant that the birth of English literature coincides with the birth and career of Francis Bacon. In Europe, letters had been flourishing for many centuries, but they had awakened no answering enthusiasm from our semi-barbarous island. I therefore infer that it was Bacon who introduced into this country, and cherished with his influence, the vast literature of Europe. With this must have come the methods of the mystic schools to which much of it was due, and I regard, therefore, all these alleged pilferings and plagiarisms not as proof of bad faith but of the existence here of the same system as was at work elsewhere. The beautiful and mystic theories figured in the book emblems and paper emblems of the period seem, so far as I can gather, to have sprung originally from the East, whence they were revived by Pythagoras. Of the Troubadours, the Templars, the Alchemists, the Rosicrucians and other Idealist schools, the philosophy of Pythagoras was undoubtedly the nursing mother. "Virgil," says W. F. C. Wigston, "takes up the lighted torch of Homer and hands it on to Dante, who passes it to the genius behind the Shakespeare mask - Francis Bacon. Thus the handing of the 'Lamp for Posterity' has been kept going by a chain of giant poets, who, like the distant peaks of some mighty range of Alps, beckon and nod to each other o'er the cloudland of ignorance and above the mists of the ages."
Through these mists I have sometimes thought to have perceived glimpses of the Palace of Wisdom upon which these great master masons were at work, but I feel to-night very like the poor fool who brought a brick as a sample of the house he wished to show. I thank you very much for lending my remarks such patient attention.
FRANCIS BACON: A Forerunner
by Michael Srigley
'Believing that I was born for the service of mankind . . . I set myself to consider in what way mankind might be best served and what service I was myself best fitted by nature to perform.' (Interpretation of Nature, 1603)
What has Francis Bacon to say to us today? It is now over three and a half centuries since he died, and yet his reputation is still obscured by misunderstanding, and the work to which he devoted his life is not yet fully understood. The belief that he betrayed the Earl of Essex has not died, and it is still widely accepted that he was guilty of the charge of corruption that led to his fall as Lord Chancellor in 1621.
Misunderstanding also surrounds the nature of his life's work. He is generally regarded as one of the founders of the scientific method, and today his writings are studied almost exclusively from this angle. But, for Bacon, the scientific revolution he planned was part of a vast plan of restoration for the benefit of humanity. If mankind was to come into its promised heritage, this involved the freeing of man from physical want and to this end Bacon believed that the powers of the human mind should be harnessed to the task of investigating and controlling nature. In this respect he is a forerunner of such modern thinkers as Alice A. Bailey and the Tibetan, Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo. In all of these there is a refusal to avoid the problem of the material world, to achieve a spirituality based on flight from the world, and a striving to anchor man's highest intuitions in matter. Bacon, along with a group of kindred spirits spread throughout Europe in the late 16th and early 17th century, paved the way towards what might be called this material spirituality, and much of what is being done today is foreshadowed in their endeavours.
The closing decade of the 16th century witnessed a European movement embracing such people as John Dee, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Campanella and Robert Fludd, that only in recent years has caught the attention of such scholars as Francis A. Yates. It lasted from 1575 to about 1625, and was a loose association of scholars, thinkers and artists bound, like men and women of goodwill today, by a common ideal: to bring about a fundamental revolution in man's way of life. Its aims included religious tolerance, social reform and the ending of material want by encouraging science and technology. The first twenty-five years were preparative, the second twenty-five witnessed the attempt to carry out the revolution. Throughout the entire fifty years, and giving the period its peculiar intensity, there was a belief that a new era was opening, ushering in a golden age and marking the reappearance of the Christ. In a very real sense it is as though those fifty years, four hundred years ago, were a preview or dress-rehearsal for what is happening now. This may justify the following brief account of what unfolded then.
In August, 1572, in the constellation Cassiopeia, a new star made a sudden and dramatic appearance. It was as bright as Venus, and to an astonished world taught to believe that the heavens were immutable, it shone as a portent of some convulsive change in the order of the world. To Theodore Beza, the Calvinist Biblical scholar, it heralded the Second Coming, while Paracelsus saw it as "the sign and harbinger of the approaching revolution: there is nothing concealed which shall not be revealed, for which cause a marvellous being shall come after me, who as yet lives not, and who shall reveal many things". Tycho Brahe wrote a small tract on the "new and much admired star" of 1572, which eventually appeared in 1602 dedicated to that royal occultist Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and part model for Shakespeare's Prospero. In it Brahe writes that for him the star marked the entrance of the world into the seventh revolution that would inaugurate the golden age: "Some great Light is now at hand which shall enlighten and by degrees expell the former darkness." He goes on to say that the star would be followed by a major conjunction when the actual fulfilment of the prophecies of the star of 1572 would be realised. Such then was the reaction to the new star which remained visible until 1574; it was the Star of Bethlehem inaugurating the Second Coming and the restoration of the Golden Age. In the reference to the coming major conjunction of the planets we find a hint as to the timetable followed by those actively striving to bring about the restoration, including Francis Bacon.
As James Spedding, Bacon's biographer, put it, the star of 1572 "shone with full lustre" on Bacon's freshmanship at Trinity College, Cambridge, which he entered in 1573 with his brother, Anthony, and left toward the end of 1575. It was in this latter year that Bacon laid the foundation for his life's work, based on a deep dissatisfaction with the prevailing Aristotelianism of the time and its failure as far as "the production of works for the benefit of the life of man" was concerned. Instead of abstract scholastic philosophy. Bacon conceived in his fifteenth year a way of investigating nature that would result in concrete benefits for mankind. This was in 1575.
Readers of Volume I of Esoteric Psychology will recall that it was in that self-same year that the second ray of Love-Wisdom came back into manifestation. Among the names of the Ray-Lord given are "the Displayer of Glory", "the Master Builder", "the Great Geometrician", and "the Light Bringer". The keynote in the associated aphorisms is revelation of the hidden: "Send forth the Word and speak the radiant Love of God. Make all men hear . . . Pull forth into the light of day from out the night of time the one thou lovest . . . When light and love are shown forth then let the power within produce the perfect flower . . . Send forth the Word, and lead the sons of men from off the path I of knowledge onto the path of understanding."
What a flood of light these words throw on the endeavours of Francis Bacon and his associates. One of the most frequent images to be met with in the literature and emblems of the period in any way connected with the movement is that of light emerging from darkness, a spark emerging from flint, the dark and light Aleph of contemporary Cabalism incorporated in the printer's device of the so-called "double-A" found in books from 1575 onwards, and the morning "that steales upon the night, melting the darknesse", as Shakespeare expresses it in that dramatic enigma, the Tempest. The task of leading "the sons of men from off the path of knowledge onto the path of understanding" was peculiarly Bacon's own in that he set himself to woo his contemporaries from barren speculation towards a systematic understanding of Nature and her laws for the eventual benefit of the human race. He continued what John Dee and, before him, Roger Bacon had prefigured, and laid the foundation for the scientific and industrial revolution that has matured in the 20th century. It remains for us to temper with light and love the enormous power thus gained. '
The Major Conjunction
Between the formulation of his life's work, in 1575, and 1605, Francis Bacon published no philosophical works. In the winter of 1603-4, after the death of Elizabeth, Bacon started to put into words the ideas first conceived in 1575, and two years later The Two Books of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning was published. In the same winter of 1603-4 occurred one of the rare conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter. It is Robert Fludd, the English Rosicrucian and follower of Paracelsus, who provides the details of this important event:
"In the year 1603, the 29th of December, following the New Style, at midday, I perceived Saturn enter 8° 39' Sagittarius. Likewise Jupiter nearly at the same time entered the same sign Saggitarius at 8° 39'" (Tractatus Apologetici, ch. V, p.l).
Mars also was in conjunction, while the Sun and Venus were in the same sign. Fludd, who was defending the Rosicrucians in this tract, interpreted the conjunction as a sign to the Brotherhood to expand their membership and begin the restoration of the world. It marked the emergence of the Brotherhood into the open, after a period of secrecy that began according to Fludd at the time of the new star of 1572. In 1603-4 then, began the externalisation of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood on the one hand, and the implementation in practical form of Bacon's life work on the other. There is no doubt that Bacon was aware of the major conjunction observed by Fludd and forecast by Brahe. A mysterious handwritten note on the title-page of his Valerius Terminus gives the year 1603 and a number of astrological signs identified as Mercury, Jupiter, probably Saturn, Sagittarius, Aquarius, possibly Capricorn. It seems most likely that this refers to the same rare line-up of planets that Fludd observed, and that it was in Bacon's mind at this time is shown by these words on the significance of such a conjunction:
"But this is that which will dignify and exalt knowledge: if contemplation and action may be more nearly and straitly conjoined and united together than they have been; a conjunction like unto that of the highest planets, Saturn, the planet of rest and contemplation, and Jupiter, the planet of civil society and action."
These words from The Advancement of Learning must have been written shortly after the actual conjunction of these planets. The contemplative years stretching from 1575 to 1603 now issued in activity, and the remainder of Francis Bacon's life was devoted to the writing of what he called the Great Instauration.
The word instauration means restoration or renewal of something that has been lost. Throughout his writings there are scattered hints of a belief in the existence of a civilisation in the remote past that was higher than our own, and which Bacon believed could be restored if man applied his brains to the secrets of Nature "For the Glorie of the Creator and the reliefe of man's estate". The same belief is implicit in the title of his New Atlantis. In harmony with Bacon, the Rosicrucians in a series of pamphlets and tracts that reached a climax about 1623, also called for the restoration of a lost golden age. In the Universal Reformation, for example, we hear a call for a "Perfect Method of all Arts' to be used for the benefit of all men, and in their manifestos they appealed to the thinkers and writers of Europe not to "keep their secrets close only to themselves". The same note of fervour and expectation called forth by the star of 1572 rings in their publications:
"One thing should here, 0 mortals, be established by us, that God hath decreed to the world before her end, which presently thereupon shall ensue, an influx of truth, light and grandeur, such as he commanded should accompany Adam from Paradise and sweeten the misery of man." (Waite: History of the Rosicrucians, p. 92).
This fervour and expectation is abroad in the world today, and the same call for renewal has been sounded. Now it embraces the world, then only Europe. It is as though what happened between 1575 and 1625 was an anticipation of what is about to happen now. We are told that from 1975 the potency of three major constellations that have produced much of the upheaval of this century "will greatly lessen until it fades out", and that "around the year 2025" the teaching on astrology contained in the writings of Alice A. Bailey and the Tibetan will be continued, based on the firm footing already established. (Esoteric Astrology, pp. 537 and 589).
When Bacon died in 1626 his work was incomplete. Parts of the Great Instauration were either never written, which is the normally accepted view, or Bacon followed the plan expressed in Of The Interpretation of Nature (Spedding, vol. iii, p. 248) "of publishing part and reserving part to a private succession". Many Baconians believe that the missing parts of the Great Instauration are the works of Shakespeare. It seems more likely that either there were, and are, manuscripts preserved in "a private succession", or that the missing parts are locked in the body of his published work in the form of a cipher. If there is a cipher, it is possible that part of the key to it is connected with the fact that the capital letters in the second book of the Advancement of Learning "have several magnitudes, or sizes", although "therein is meant no difference". (Errata page to 1605 edition of The Advancement of Learning). It is quite possible that Bacon's true significance lies hidden in his public works awaiting revelation.
His work is incomplete in another sense. "The commerce between the mind of man and the nature of things" which Bacon hoped might be "restored to its perfect and original condition" has been started and yet there is still more of exploitation in it than of exchange. The next stages in this commerce have been outlined in the Tibetan's "Letter to a Scientist" (Esoteric Healing, pp. 376-9), and the science of Bionics based on the discoveries of Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958) and his principle of implosive energy, points to a future cooperation of man and nature that may bring the relief of man's estate that Bacon dreamt of. The man who "Mourned the divisions of thy Church", and whose most intimate friend was a Roman Catholic in an age when such friends were dangerous, would also still find much to mourn as well as signs that the divisions were slowly being healed. As to the alleviation of man's physical lot. Bacon's immediate goal, this is far from complete. The inequality between the rich and poor countries increases, and distribution has not yet undone excess, to use Lear's words.
It was Bacon's genius to have foreseen the major trends the world would follow in the centuries succeeding his own, and we are reaping what he and his fellow-workers sowed four centuries ago. Bacon clearly foresaw that power divorced from love and light would only bring destruction. He was the victim of this in others in his own life. As the Tibetan has said repeatedly, service is the safeguard, and in Bacon we have an exemplar of what such service could mean. Nowhere is this sense of dedication and service more memorably expressed than in the prayer penned by Bacon on the eve of his trial for a crime of which he was innocent, but to which he pleaded guilty out of a sense of duty:
"Remember how thy servant hath walked before thee: remember what I have first sought, and what hath been principal in my intentions. I have loved thy Assemblies, I have mourned the diversions of thy Church, I have delighted in the brightness of thy Sanctuary. This Vine, which thy Right Hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever prayed unto thee that it might have the first and the latter rain; and that it might stretch her branches to the seas and the floods. The state and the bread of the poor and oppressed have been precious in my eyes: I have hated all cruelty and hardness of heart: I have - though in a despised weed - procured the good of all men. If any have been my enemies, I thought not of them; neither hath the sun set on my displeasure: but I have been as a dove, free from superfluity of maliciousness. They creatures have been my books, but thy Scriptures much more. I have sought thee in the courts, fields and gardens, but I have found thee in thy temples."
T. D. Bokenham
Baconiana numbers 37-40 of 1912 contain no less than six articles on these enigmatic poems. These include one by W. T. Smedley, the author of "The Mystery of Francis Bacon", who believed that the key to the sonnets will be found in Sonnet 62 which starts:
"Sinne of selfe-love possesseth al mine eie And all my soule, and al my every part:"
Smedley added, "He has been picturing himself as he was when a young man. He turns to his glass and sees himself beated and chopt with tanned antiquity; forty summers have passed over his brow." This remark is a misquotation from Sonnet 2. "When fortie Winters shall besiege thy brow".
Another writer, Parker Woodward, believed that the sonnets are sometimes soliloquies and sometimes pleas with the far-off decipherer. However, he adds, "my hypothesis is that the first twenty five of them are addressed by Francis to himself. Numbers 26-32 were written to his decipherer, while No. 33 being Bacon's name sonnet, is naturally very beautiful and reminiscent. It recounts how,
"Even so my sunne one early morn did shine
But out alack, he was but one hour mine".
Other writers in this series of articles were the American, J. E. Roe, whose book "The Mortal Moon or Bacon and his Masks" had been published in 1891, John Hutchinson and R. M. Theobald, who believed that the sonnets were written for the young Earl of Southampton.
Clearly, these articles contain some element of truth, but it is obvious that they were based on only a few of the sonnets. My studies of a cipher system used by Bacon and demonstrated in the cipher book "Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae" of 1624 which I own, show that a number of the Shakespeare sonnets were designed for the eventual discovery of many of Bacon's well kept secrets. They confirm his royal birth as a son of Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley, his youthful love for Marguerite of Navarre, his Muse Pallas Athene, the story of the ring given as "a troth" by Queen Elizabeth to her other son, Robert Earl of Essex, his Rose Fraternity, his "Rose Sonnets", which he called "Times best Jewell", and his great admiration for Dante, the so-called "rival-poet". It should be noted that the first English translation of his "Divine Comedy" was published in 1802, though part of it, the "Inferno", appeared some twenty years earlier. Some rival!
Some of these encipherments also deal with Bacon's ethical and Rosicrucian teachings which are contained in the "beautious and lovely youth" and "Dark Lady" sonnets who turn out to be Adonis, who anciently represented the Sun, or Light and Artemis, the Mother Goddess of Nature whose statue at Ephesus was made of a black substance, probably ebony, representing her earthly origins. Sonnet 20, the "Master-Mistris" sonnet reveals that those mythical beings represent what Pythagoras called the Light and Dark sides of our natures, the one, the spiritual, to be developed and the other to be controlled or cleansed. Pythagoras travelled to Egypt and other Middle East lands and became a member of the Essene Brotherhood whom Jesus contacted some five hundred and fifty years later, and this teaching illustrates the age old precept "From Darkness to Light". Some of our dark sides include our prejudices, our ignorance, our intolerance and the divisions in the Christian Church which have been the cause of so many wars between nations. Bacon believed, as did Shakespeare, that Ignorance is the chief of those shortcomings. I believe that the wealthier members of his Rosicrucian Fraternity were the patrons and sponsors of most of the translations from the Classics and other great books published during Bacon's life-time, including the Shakespeare Folio of 1623. Those plays were not only designed as "Histories, Comedies and Tragedies" but also to teach mankind about himself, his failings and his otherwise noble character.
Other encipherments found in the sonnets include messages concerning Bacon's innocence over taking bribes in the Chancery Court and one sonnet, number 125, actually includes the words "Impeacht" and "subborn'd informer" in the open text. The subborned informer was John Churchill who, for rewards, gave false evidence against Francis St Alban during his indictment in the House of Commons in 1621. This sonnet is enciphered "Francis St Alban Author" which proves that these sonnets were not published in 1609 as seen on their first edition. I must add that the words SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS on their title page add, in Bacon's simple cipher, to 221 the count of FR ST ALBAN (88) THINE AUTHOR (133). Three of these sonnets. Numbers 48, 71 and 74, all suggest that Francis St Alban left this country in 1626 when he is supposed to have died. Sonnet 71 starts:
"Noe longer mourne for me when I am dead,
Sonnet 74 starts:
"But be contented when that fell arest, With out all bayle shall carry me away",
Sonnet 48 however, tells us a little more. It starts:
"How carefull was I when I tooke my way,
Under the words "my way" are the letters R E S T 0 T H which, with shared letters can spell "to other shores". There are four other enciphered messages, one spelling FRA TUDOR AUTHOR, another, starting in line 9 which refers to those "trifles", spelling THE GORHAMBURY VAULT. Above this is another message A LONELY GRAVE and beside this, starting with line 5 which mentions "my jewels trifles" gives MY PLAIES AND SONNETS - FRA TUDOR. The lines and columns which contain this symmetrical group of letters, plus their initial letters, number 274 the count of HID (21) IN (22) GORHAMBURY (121) APSE (39) VAULT (71), the expression used in the Bacon monument encipherment.
John Aubrey, in his biography of Bacon of 1681 told us that Sir Harbottle Grimston, the then owner of the Gorhambury estate, removed Bacon's coffin from that vault to make room for his own. Grimston had married secondly the widow of Sir Thomas Meautys, Bacon's former Secretary, who was responsible for erecting that monument with its enciphered epitaph, "manuscripts in apse vault". It is obvious that the Grimstons, and possibly Aubrey, were aware that Bacon had left this country and that those precious manuscripts were concealed in that coffin. It is interesting that Aubrey did not say where that coffin was reburied, but it is certain that those manuscripts were in existence in 1681 and not lost or destroyed as is generally thought. I cannot say any more but I could give a shrewd guess where they now are.
T. D. BOKENHAM
OVID cum SHAKESPEARE, cum MARLOWE cum BEN JONSON
Rev. Walter Begley
The motto which Shakespeare chose for"the first heir of his invention," Venus and Adonis, is the following: -
"Vilia miretur vulgus; mihi flavus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua."
This couplet is taken from Ovid's Amores, Book I, xv.36; and it is worth notice that this poem is one of those translated by Marlowe, and known as Ovid's Elegies. The translation is very skilful, very accurate, generally very closely literal, so that a struggling student might use Marlowe as a crib in grinding through the Amores. These verses are thus rendered by Marlowe: -
"Let base conceited wits admire vile things, Fair Phoebus lead me to the Muse's springs."
Following Marlowe's translation is one by "B. J." and it appears complete in Ben Jonson's Poetaster. Jonson's translation of the same couplet is: -
"Kneel hinds to trash: me let bright Phoebus swell, With cups full flowing from the Muse's well."
It is curious and interesting to see Shakespeare and Marlowe and Ben Jonson and Ovid all harnessed together in one team. There are many indications in the Marlowe version of Ovid's Amores that Marlowe and Shakespeare are inextricably coupled together; and that when Marlowe paraphrases, instead of translating literally, Shakespeare uses the same words. Thus, Marlowe translates longas hiemes (I. viii.) by "winter's lasting rage." "Winter's rages" are heard in Cymbeline IV. ii. 260;
and a close approximation to it in Sonnet xiii. :-
"Against the stormy gusts of winter's day
And again in Marlowe's Edward II. II. i. 61, -
"The shepherd nipt with biting winter's rage." Rage is a very favourite word with Shakespeare .
In the 13th Elegy Ovid writes, "Adspice quot somnos juveni donarit amato, -Luna!" Literally, "See what slumbers the moon bestows on the youth she loves."
Marlowe names the youth -
"The moon sleeps with Endymion every day."
And the same joint slumbers of the moon and Endymion are referred to in Merch. Ven. V. i. 109.
The bitter question put by Shylock - "Hates any man the thing he would not kill?" - is evidently a reflection of the line in Ovid's Amores II. ii. 10, "Quern rnetuit quisque, perrise cupit, "which "Marlowe" renders -
"Believe me whom we fear we wish to perish."
The comparison between death and its "cold image," sleep, so frequently repeated, in varied modes of expression, in Shakespeare (see Promus 1204) is derived from Ovid's Amores II. ix. 41. Stulte (the Promus, as printed, has FALSA: perhaps a misreading of the MS.) Quid est somnus gelidae nisi mortis imago? - and "Marlowe" translates it, very literally,
"Fool! What is sleep but image of cold death?"
In the last Elegy of the second book, line 35, we find the words "Quod sequitur, jugio; Quod fugit, ipse sequor, " translated by "Marlowe,"
"What flies, I follow, what follows me I shun."
This recalls the speech of the fourth Counsellor in the Gesta Grayorum:
"The proverb is a country proverb, but significative, 'Milk the cow that standeth still, why follow you her that flieth away?' " And this, again, recalls the lines in Sonnet 143:
"Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant's discontent. So run'st thou after that which flies from thee, Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee from far behind."
"Love like a shadow flies, when substance love pursues, Pursuing that which flies and flying what pursues."
These comparisons are pointed out in the translation of the Promus 553. Unfortunately two of the references are wrong; the "SECOND COUNSELLOR" should be the fourth; and the last quotation is given as Mer. V. II. 3, instead of II. 2.
The 15th Elegy of the first book also anticipates the sentiment which closes Bacon's Essay of Death: - "Death hath this also: that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy." Mr. Reynolds, in his edition of the Essays, quotes the passage from this Elegy:
"Pascitur in vivis Livor, post fata quiescit, Cum suus ex merito quemque tuetur honos."
Translated nearly alike in the two versions - Marlowe's and B. J.'s -
"Envy the living, not the dead doth bite, For after death all men receive their right."
There is another very striking anticipation of Shakespeare in the 14th Elegy of the third book. The subject is described as "Ad amicam, si peccatura est, ut occulte peccet," and the whole drift of it, repeatedly expressed with ingenious variations and reiterations, is this: - The poet tells his mistress to hide her frailties, if she cannot avoid them. She is to wear modesty as a garment even if it is not a native quality of her character - she is to"Put it on" when she dresses, - "Indue cum tunicis metuentem crimina vultum." The whole Elegy is well reflected in the speech of Luciana to Antipholus of Syracuse - Com. Er. III. ii. 7-28. Both poets tell their wooer to "Muffle your false love with some show of blindness." Both give the counsel that virtue should be assumed even if it is not possessed: Sit tibi mens melior, saltern ve imitare pudicas, Teque probam, quamvis non eris, esse putem (13, 14).
"Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger;
Bear a fair presence though your heart be tainted;
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint."
Both Ovid's Latin and Marlowe's translation are too naked and unabashed 53
for entire quotation. The same advice is given by Hamlet to his mother: -
"Assume a virtue if you have it not." -Ham. III. iv. 160. And he tells her of custom,
That to the use of actions fair and good, He likewise gives a frock or livery That aptly is put on."
Obviously Bacon's philosophy of behaviour, as a dress that can be put on or taken off, is reflected in both these plays, as it is in about fifty passages in Shakspeare (See Chapter VIII. in my "Shakespeare Studies in Baconian Light"). And it is curiously anticipated by the one word "Indue" in Ovid.
As a sequel to these references to Marlowe's translation of Ovid's Elegies, I am glad to be able to add what Rev. Walter Begley wrote on the same subject. This is the chapter in his uncompleted work on Marlowe.
R. M. THEOBALD
Translated by C.M.
These have been universally attributed to Marlowe, and I should not have thought of raising a doubt if it had not been for my researches into Ben Jonson's Poetaster.
I will only say that Ben Jonson, when he brings Bacon on the stage, at the very beginning of the Poetaster, as Ovid Junior, composing a new revised edition of Ovid's fifteenth Elegy, does certainly seem to suggest the Baconian author of these translations, or anyhow of the latter and revised one.
It is against commonsense to suppose that any author intending to turn one of Ovid's Elegies into English verse, should at once take the previous translation of the same Elegy by another author, and, changing only a word or two here and there, put it forth as his own. Nothing can induce belief that Ben Jonson, or B. J., or anyone else except the original author, is responsible for the second revised version of the first. Whoever wrote the first, wrote the revised also. We have not here two independent attempts by different authors. Whatever, then, was the reason that those two versions should be presented to the public in the second edition of Hero and Leander with the title put over the second one, "The same by B. J." - when it must be clear to the common sense of even the uncritical reader that the two versions were from the same pen - only the second had a few verbal and metrical improvements.
It is most amusing to see how the critics are nonplussed by these two Elegies, and at what extraordinary and contradictory conclusions they arrive. Mr. Bullen, the last editor, having had the advantage of perusing his predecessor's amazing attempts, gives us the following footnote to the title of the second version: - "The same by B. J., i.e., Ben Jonson, who afterwards introduced it into the Poetaster. This version is merely a revision of the preceding, which must also have been written by Ben Jonson. (Not in Isham copy or Ed. A.)." Notice the "must," which I have italicised. How categorically and imperatively it settles the question! But Elegy XV., in its first version, was in the original edition and all succeeding ones, and Mr. Bullen will find it rather hard to show how Ben Jonson got this particular Elegy mixed up and printed with Marlowe's when they were first published. Is it supposed that Ben Jonson had any more of his work among Marlowe's Elegies? Ben Jonson and Marlowe never wrote in collaboration, for Jonson was unknown to fame at Marlowe's death and for some little time afterwards.
It really seems as if the Bacon theory is the only one to explain these versions. The matter is simple enough on this supposition, and could be thus explained. Bacon (or Ovid Junior, as Ben Jonson called him), wrote some English translations of a few of Ovid's Amores, and they were printed "at Middleborough," under the title of Epigrammes and Elegies by J. D. and C. M. J. D. was the Sir John Davies to whom Bacon, in 1603, wrote the famous letter referring to "concealed poets," and C. M. was supposed to stand for Christopher Marlowe. Not long afterwards another edition appeared - also printed "at Middlesbrough" - containing "All Ovid's Elegies, 3 Books by C. M., Epigrammes by J. D." (There is no date on these books. Col. Cuningham suggests circa 1597.) Now we get for the first time the second version of Elegy I. xv., and the initials B. J. given as the author. My suggestion is that both are Bacon's composition, and as he had improved his original version and wished to print it, he was obliged to attribute it to someone, for everyone would know that it could not be Marlowe's, who had been in his grave for several years. Therefore Bacon put some initials to the new production, viz., B. J. (perhaps John Bodenham), which a casual reader might take for Ben Jonson and think no more of it. But on my supposition Ben Jonson would not thus pass it over, for he would know well enough that it was not his, and so I suggest that he made use of his knowledge in the Poetaster when he brings before us Ovid Junior, correcting this very Elegy, and saying, "Yes! it shall go so," and it goes into the Poetaster, as it had before in the volume. If Jonson had really made the second translation he would not have given it to Ovid Junior, but if he knew the real author of both, then the Poetaster makes things perfectly clear, and the way Jonson puts the matter meets all the difficulties.
But with regard to these Ovidian Elegies I can offer what seems to be a stronger proof still, hitherto unnoticed. Referring to the two title- pages, we see that the Elegies, some years after Marlowe's death, were apparently first published in part, and then, when Marlowe had been a little longer in the grave, they were completed in three books. Now if they were written by Marlowe and left behind him at his death, why was the first edition incomplete? If the reason was that another version of Marlowe's translation had been found, why was not this much required explanation given? For it surely required a little explaining why a man's poems or translations should grow in size after his death.
To say the least this is suspicious; but I have referred to a stronger proof, which comes from John Stow's Annales, 1615, p. 811, as follows:
"Our moderne and present excellent poets, which worthely florish in their owne workes, and all of them in their very owne knowledge lived together in this Queenes raigne, according to their priorities as neere as I could. I have orderly set down." Then follows a long list, beginning with George Gascoigne, Esquire, and ending with M. George Withers. In this list - and here is my proof - only two poets are coupled together, and they are Sir Francis Bacon and Sir John Davies!
Now why should these two be thus coupled, and why should Bacon, of all men, be put among the illustrious poets, when, so far as we know, he had never published a line of poetry in his own name of any kind in 1615? I think the answer is obvious. John Stow coupled these two because he had reason to know that the Epigrammes and Elegies ofJ. D. and C. M. were really written by Sir John Davies and Francis Bacon, and as these poems were published together he did not make a separate entry to the two, but wrote them down as joint authors, thus: - Sir Francis Bacon, Knight, & Sir John Davies, Knight; this ampersand being the only one in the whole list. When Sir John Davies published his collected works in 1622, he did not include these Epigrammes. Why? We may conjecture; we do not know.
It should also be noticed that the several early editions of the Elegies, which came in pretty rapid succession, had all, including the first, the imprint Middlebourgh. Why Middlebourgh? Simply, I think, as a great joke. They were probably all printed in London; and as Mr. Edmunds found a copy of one of the Middlebourgh editions of the year 1599 in the Lamport cupboard, Jaggard would probably be the printer. The joke about the imprint would arise from the fact that such lascivious poems should issue from Middlebrough, the very place which the Brownists and rabid Puritans put as a blind on their own very different productions. In fact, it was as amusingly deceptive as the somewhat parallel case of Mirabeau, two centuries later, who published the Erotica Biblion as emanating from the press of the Vatican itself (a Rome de 1'Imprimerie du Vatican, 1783).
REV. WALTER BEGLEY
THE BACONIAN 33 AND THE ARCHETYPAL 28
In the last issue of Baconiana the author of "The Prerogative Instances And The Shakespeare Plays" presented examples to support his thesis of an archetypal twenty-eight that manifests synchronistically across cultures in history, architecture, literature, and myths as twenty-eight separate and distinct phases, personalities, and characteristics.
One example were pages 3 and 4 of THE GREAT ASSIZES by George Withers, which is duplicated in CHART 1. On the left of CHART 1 (page 3 of The Great Assizes) under the ornate box containing the name "APOLLO" are listed twenty-eight names beginning with The Lord Verulam (Francis Bacon). On the right of CHART 1 (page 4 of The Great Assizes) four names are listed.
One of the codes used by Bacon was a simple number code in which A is 1, B is 2, etc (I and J being the same). In this code "Bacon" is number 33. The twenty-eight names on the left of CHART 1, the four names on the right, and the name Apollo in the ornately trimmed box at the top total 33, Bacon's cipher name.
The combination of 33 and 28 as the Baconian 33 and the Archetypal 28 are discovered in three other publications that esoterically are attributable to Francis Bacon: The Catalogue of Shakespeare plays, the Dedication to the Shakespeare Sonnets, and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz.
THE CATALOGUE OF SHAKESPEARE PLAYS
The Catalogue from the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare Plays is shown in CHART 2. Of the thirty-six plays,"Troilus and Cressida" is not listed in the Catalogue. Two of the listed plays are the first and second parts of Henry Fourth, and three of the plays are listed as the first, second, and third parts of Henry Sixth.
These five listings as"parts" are essentially two lengthy plays of Henry the Fourth and Henry the Sixth. The thirty-six plays, then, are actually thirty-three. Bacon's cipher name. In CHART 2 these thirty-three plays are numbered with large numerals, and the twenty-eight characters mentioned in the play titles (for example, 1 and 2 in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" and 16 and 17 in "Romeo and Juliet") are numbered with small numerals.
THE DEDICATION FROM SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS
The dedication from Shakespeare's sonnets appears in CHART 3. The entire dedication consists of twenty-eight words each of which is followed by a period. Five of these twenty-eight words are the abbreviation Mr., the two single letters "W" and "H", and the two hyphenations "ever- living" and "well-wishing". In CHART 3 small numerals appear under each of the twenty-eight periods that follow each of the twenty-eight words of the dedication.
Five other markings are numbered with a large numeral above each marking: The small raised "r", the two hyphens, and the two periods of the "T.T." at the end of the dedication. These five markings plus the twenty-eight total thirty-three. Bacon's cipher number.
THE CHYMICAL WEDDING OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ
The puzzling periods at the end of each word in the dedication have baffled readers and Baconians, who more readily assume the periods indicate a cipher. Penn Leary in THE. SECOND. CRYTOGRAPHIC. SHAKE- SPEARE. asks what are all those periods doing there, and were they stuck in for no reason except for someone's attempt at decoration? Cavalierly, Leary places periods at the end of each word in the title of his book in which he discovers a cipher based on four, the last word in the dedication ("Forth").
This profusion of unnecessary periods appears also in the Chymical Marriage or Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, the third of three Rosicrucian manifestoes that appeared in the second decade of the seventeenth century. The first two were the FAMA FRATERNITATIS and the COMFESSIO FRATERNITATIS. Esoterically Francis Bacon is considered to have been involved with each. Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC during the first half of this century, was certain that Bacon was the author of the FAMA.
On the sixth day of the Chemical Wedding Christian Rosenkreutz discovers a great square Copper Kettle with inscriptions on each of its four sides. The complete inscription from A CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ ANTHOLOGY, edited by Paul M. Alien, is shown in CHART 4.
For the forty-one words comprising the inscription twenty-eight are followed by a period (including the five periods that are the bottom period of a colon). CHART 4 numbers these twenty-eight periods with small numerals below each period. There are five periods that are the top period of each of the five colons in the inscription, and large numerals appear over each in CHART 4. These five plus the twenty-eight total thirty- three, Bacon's cipher name.
Some German editions omit the "I" in the second line of the inscription. Except for punctuation, however, the inscription in THE CHEMICAL WEDDING OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ, translated by Joscelyn Godwin, and the inscription in Arthur Edward Waite's REAL HISTORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS are the same as in A CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ ANTHOLOGY. In the Godwin translation there are 30 periods and in Waite's book 26 periods. These two are shown in CHART 5. Interestingly, their average (30 and 26) is 28.
THE CEILING OF THE SISTENE CHAPEL
The numbers 28 and 33, which seem a synchronicity in Baconian lore, appear coincidentally on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor and rebelled when Pope Julius II ordered him to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In a letter Michelangelo said that the Pope told him to do what he liked. The scheme of decoration, a vast complex of humanity thundering down upon the viewer, was largely his own idea.
The ceiling consisted of thirty-three panels, which are numbered on the sketch of the ceiling in CHART 6. Twenty-eight names of human figures are titles for twenty-seven panels; the remaining six panels have titles of biblical events. The panels, the twenty-eight names, and six biblical events are listed numerically on CHART 6.
The twenty-eight names within the titles of the thirty-three panels are simplified in the following:
23 panels with single names produce 23 names.
2 panels with 2 names each produce 4 names.
2 panels with the same name produce 1 name.
6 panels of biblical events produce 0 name.
The appearance of the numbers twenty-eight and thirty-three within each of these examples (four from literature and one painting) may be only a coincidence. However, from the perspective and understanding of the archetypal 28 and the Baconian 33 (which may symbolise the thirty- two mysterious paths of wisdom in the Kablistic Tree of Life) the coincidence becomes meaningful, becomes a synchronicity
Phone: (0533) 855362
18 Nevanthon Road Western Park Leicester LE3 6DR November 26th, 1993
Dear Mr. Bokenham,
I enclose my cheque for £10 in respect of my subscription. I am sending it early in case I forget - elderly people sometimes are forgetful. On February 13th next year I shall be 86 years old, so you will understand my caution.
I would like to make a few comments to you about Gwynne's article, acknowledging at the same time that I can by no means match his standard of scholarship.
(a) It seems obvious to me (as I suppose it does to you) that Gwynne is not an Initiate into the Universal mysteries. He therefore does not realise that Masonry (with all its faults) is a modern School of the Mysteries. As such, its aims are necessarily spiritual and motivated by benevolence towards mankind.
(b) John Dee was NOT a black magician! What he did was to obtain information from certain spirits, always putting himself and Kelly under Divine Protection first. Whether the vast system of tabulated invocations that emerged would ever be of general interest is a matter of some doubt. I myself think the whole thing is much too cumbersome for general use. But the invocations are effective and genuine. But any system of magic which seeks to balance evil and good spirits (and this is one) is properly the work of an Adept. Anyone of lower grade than that is likely to get into trouble.
(c) Whether Bacon intended to weaken the Catholic religion I do not know. The Catholic religion stands self-condemned by its rejection of the mysteries. Christianity was originally a mystical religion. This is clearly shown in "Esoteric Christianity" by Annie Besant. The Doctrine of Reincarnation is central in the Mysteries, and originally formed part of the Christian Faith. This doctrine was condemned in the Eastern Church by the council of Constantinople, in A.D. 553, and in the Western Church by the council of Lyons in 1274 and the Council of Florence in 1493. This was done to safeguard the church's finances by the sale of pardons, by the founding of Chantry Chapels and Masses for the dead. If men believed the Reincarnation gave them a "second chance" and subsequent chances, the Church would lose out.
The Catholic Church was - and is - a totalitarian institution, and devout Catholics are told what to believe. They have been brainwashed for centuries. This is the reason why - if you tell a Catholic - anything that does not agree with the party line, it simply does not register!
A great deal more might be said about these matters. Jesus said "the tree is known by its fruits". The fruits of the Catholic Religion in the past have included massacres, tortures, and the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, and the much milder Papal Inquisition.
I hope an adequate reply will be made to Gwynne's article either by yourself or some other learned Baconian.
With best wishes Very Sincerely Yours, H. T. HOWARD
Telephone: 0273 509460 9 Clermont Court Clermont Road, Brighton BN1 6SS
November 26, 1993
The Editor ,
The Parentage of Francis Bacon
In the article by George Stronach, written in 1902, and re-published in the 1992 issue of , the author has no answer to the facts which I stated in my article on this subject in the 1987 . Parker Woodward in fact gave him an easy time. Mr. Stronach has nothing to say about Dr. William Rawley's statement that Bacon was born in "York House or York Place", i.e. Whitehall Palace. He has nothing to say about Bacon's residence in Twickenham Park, a fine house with 87 acres of parkland opposite Richmond Palace, the reference to "ffrauncis, your Soveraign" in the Northumberland Manuscript, the word between Elizabeth and James that has been erased from the inscription in Canonbury Tower, Bacon's peremptory demand that he should be released from the Tower of London, after his trial in 1621, the Hilliard drawing of 'a Queen and her Son', or the amazing knowledge of the language of the 27 kings and queens displayed by the author of the Shakespeare plays.
I raised other points in my article, none of which were answered by Mr. Stronach.
29 November, 1993 Steep House 6 Church Lane, Wymington, Rushden
Northants NN10 9LW
The Editor ,
The late Mrs. Hilda Brameld told me she regarded as far more important than proving Bacon wrote Shakespeare the defence of his character from vile slander, and I had always imagined this to be one of the objects of the Francis Bacon Society. It was therefore with considerable surprise and distaste that I found myself reading in the issue of its formal organ which has just reached me, such an attack upon his moral worth and aims as could only have been made by an enemy.
What was the motivation of the writer? The word "Satanist" used by him more than once is employed mainly by Biblical fundamentalists, who regard all forms of esoteric teaching as directed to the worship of Satan, a being not believed in outside of the fundamentalist churches. The writer plainly hated all the Tudors; he also hated Rosicrucians and Freemasons. What kind of person hated both Tudors, Rosicrucians and Freemasons? The answer flashed on me: Catholics - the writer must be a Roman. Turning to the thumbnail biography on the inside cover, I see my hunch confirmed.
Further comment is perhaps superfluous, yet I will point out that so far from perverting the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, Bacon in his New Atlantis sought, as Plato in his Republic, and Thomas Moore in his Utopia, to design an ideal society; and if one has been reading Aristotle's Metaphysics, one finds the transition from that to Bacon's Novum Organum so natural and easy it could be imagined they came from the same pen.
Yours sincerely, JEAN OVERTON FULLER
(Author: SIR FRANCIS BACON, A BIOGRAPHY)
Telephone: 0892 513278 Wroxton Lodge 134 Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2EX
March 28, 1994 The Editor ,
As a newcomer to I was initially impressed to see N. M. Gwynne's article The Occult Life, Works and Importance of Francis Bacon. With most pressure groups and societies, tolerance of contrary views is not one of their strong points. Any opinion which fails to support or - heaven forfend - dares to challenge their basic precept is usually characterised as part of some Great Conspiracy and unhesitatingly suppressed.
However, while I am impressed by your broad-mindedness I am far from convinced that intrinsically the article was worth publishing. Warning bells started to ring when I reached the phrase 'true religion.' The assertion of the existence of a 'true religion' is usually the death knell of reasoned argument. Only a line or two later Bacon was - according to your writer - instigating a 'revolution . . . against a properly ordered society' and within a paragraph Bacon was also intending to destroy 'the true philosophy'. By this point the warning bells had become a full set of changes. Finally Bacon was revealed as intent on destroying the whole world order and replacing it with - horror of horrors - Freemasonry.
Now unlike Gwynne I will declare an interest and say that I am a Freemason. Furthermore the idea of moderating the present world order with even the smallest amount of universal brotherhood and tolerance does not strike me as so terrible. Nonetheless I can quite accept that Freemasonry is not everyone's cup of tea.
However, the organisation which has most consistently and violently opposed Freemasonry is the Roman Catholic Church and sure enough, in Gwynne's next paragraph it is the 'wholly Catholic influence' that the evil - and later Satanic - Bacon was intent on overthrowing.
So a letter - which could have presented a reasoned argument against the idea that Bacon wrote pretty well everything published or performed in his lifetime, turns out to be no more than unsubstantiated bigotry. Worse it is inspired by the writer's undeclared adherence to archaic tenets of the Roman Catholic Church which few present day Catholic intellectuals would seriously countenance.
But this is not my reason for writing: Gwynne is entitled to his opinions, such as they are, and you are to be congratulated on allowing them to be presented. My real objection to his article is this: How can a Society which advances the possibility that Francis Bacon was responsible for some of the greatest literature in the English language publish something so badly written?
Yours faithfully DAVID COSTELLO
January 5, 1994
Dear Mr. Bokenham,
Enclosed is a cheque for my subscription to for 1994, plus a bit extra to help with expenses. My daughter and I were very much interested in your article, The Money Pit. I think you are right that this is Raleigh's money. I was appalled by that dreadful article by N. M. Gwynne, but I suppose your editor feels that we should hear all sides.
I hope for you and the Francis Bacon Society the best of New Years. With kind regards OLIVE DRIVER
56 Westbury Road New Maiden, Surrey KT3 5AX
The Editor ,
I feel I must comment on Martin Gwynne's article in Baconiana 191 in which he tells us that he agrees with the opinions of most of the Francis Bacon Society members regarding Francis Bacon's authorship of the Shakespeare and other works and of his connection with the Rosicrucian and Freemason Brotherhoods. He also included a number of other works whom he thinks were by Bacon.
He then supplies us with further allegations regarding Bacon's character and amplified this in a repulsive and extremely biased way. He writes about Bacon's attempts to overthrow Christian beliefs "which had existed almost universally up till that time, with a 'shell' religion which has the appearance of traditional Christianity but was emptied of its meaning and a reversion to paganism".
This sort of abject nonsense has two main purposes,
1. To try and split the Society into two groups based on religious prejudice.
2. To use Baconiana as a vehicle for presenting his own personal views on the divisions in the Christian Church. In the past, these divisions were the cause of unholy wars, due to the intolerance and autocratic doctrines of that Church, a typical example being "The Thirty Years War" which laid waste most of central Europe. Not a particularly Christian way of settling differences. It is well known that Francis Bacon deplored these divisions in Christianity and condemned intolerance on both sides.
During the last hundred years the Francis Bacon Society has done its best to clear Bacon's name from the malice of the Macaulays of this world. Moreover, those religious differences should be forgotten at this time when the Churches should unite in order to combat the warring factions which now disgrace civilisation.
I would also remind Martin Gwynne that Baconiana is not a vehicle for discussing religious differences or a member's views on that subject.
Yours faithfully THOMAS BOKENHAM