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48

CHAPTER V.

PROOFS.

“Remember,
First to possess his books ; for without them
He's but a sot, as I am, nor hath not
One spirit to command."

THE TEMPEST. Ir is fit and proper that we should so far humour the proposer of this new theory, as to exhibit the kind of proofs which he deems sufficient to establish his charges of fraud and imposture against the most honoured name in literature. At the ninth page of this pamphlet, Mr. William Henry Smith remarks :

“I purposely abstain from any attempt to compare the writings of the author I am about to mention with the plays which are attributed to Shakespeare, not merely because that is a labour too vast to enter upon now, but more particularly because it is essentially the province of the literary student.”

The writer might have added, because such a comparison must be altogether delusive, and could prove nothing. A startling array of parallel passages might lead one to suppose that Bacon had borrowed from Shakespeare, or that Shakespeare had borrowed from Bacon, as the case might be, but they could not be received as demonstrating that the latter was the author of those dramas, which have, for more than two centuries, passed current as the productions of William Shakespeare.

Towards the close of his squib--for the effusion really merits no better title-Mr. William Henry Smith states,

“It is not my intention now to adduce proofs ;" and the pamphlet is dated Brompton, Sept., 1856. It would, however, appear that the author managed to achieve the

vast labour” to which he referred, or found some "literary student” to do it for him; for in “Notes and Queries” of the 27th of December, a paper was published, entitled “ Bacon and Shakspeare,” bearing the signature “W.H.S.” and dated from “ Brompton, Middlesex.” The initials reveal the true state of the case. The correspondent is Mr. William Henry Smith, who avails himself of the medium of a deservedly-popular periodical to bring his proofs before the public. As curiosities of the aberrations to which human intellects are but too prone, or illustrations of the extremes into which men run in pursuit of a favourite theory, they deserve especial notice; and we accordingly append them. We have made no alteration whatever either in the wording or arrangement of these quotations, which are indeed very carelessly thrown together, and are not taken from the best editions; and have merely numbered them for facility of reference.

BACON AND SHAKSPEARE.

1. ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING :

Poetry is nothing else but feigned history.
TWELFTH Night, Act i. Sc. ii. :

Viola.—'Tis poetical.

Olivia. It is more likely to be feigned.
As You LIKE IT, Act iii. Sc. vii. :

The truest poetry is the most feigning.

2. ON BUILDINGS :

He that builds a fair house upon an ill seat committeth himself to prison ; neither do I reckon that an ill seat only, where the air is unwholesome, but likewise where it is unequal.

E

MACBETH, Act i. Sc. vi. :

This castle hath a pleasant seat—the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.

3. ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING :

Behaviour seemeth to me a garment of the mind, and to have the conditions of a garment. For it ought to be made in fashion, it ought not to be too curious. HAMLET, Act i. Sc. ii. :

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not exprest in fancy.

4. ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING :

In the third place I set down reputation, because of the peremptory tides and currents it bath, which, if they be not taken in due time, are seldom recovered, it being extreme hard to play an after game of reputation.

JULIUS CÆSAR, Act iv. Sc. iii. :

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune :
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

5. ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING :

Is not the opinion of Aristotle worthy to be regarded, where he saith that young men are not fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the boiling heat of their affections, nor attempered by time and experience. TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, Act ii. Sc. ii. :

Not much
Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought

Unfit to hear moral philosophy. Aristotle quoted incorrectly in both these passages. He says political, not moral, philosophy.

6. APOPHTHEGMS :

Bacon relates that a fellow named Hog importuned Sir Nicholas to save his life on account of the kindred between Hog and Bacon.

“Aye, but,” replied the judge, “You and I cannot be kindred except you be hanged; for Hog is not Bacon until it be well hanged.”

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR :

Evans.—Hing-hang-hog.
S. Quickly.Hang hog—is the Latin for Bacon.

7. ON CUNNING :

For there be many men that have secret hearts, but transparent countenances. HENRY IV.:

The cheek
Is apter than the tongue to tell an errand.

8. COLLECTION OF SENTENCES :

He that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memories. HENRY VI. :

An insult, when we think it is forgotten,
Is written in the book of memory,
E’en in the heart, to scourge our apprehensions.

9. INTERPRETATION OF NATURE :

Yet evermore it must be remembered, that the least part of knowledge passed to man by this so large a charter from God-must be subject to that use for which God hath granted it, which is the benefit and relief of the state and society of man. MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Act i. Sc. ii. :

Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence;
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both use and thanks.

10. ON ADVERSITY :

It is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn errand, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome errand. HENRY IV.:

Brigbt metals on a sullen errand
Will show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.

Note the peculiar use of the words knee and chew. 11. LIFE OF HENRY VII. :

As his victory gave him the knee, so his purposed marriage with the Lady Elizabeth gave him the heart, so that both knee and heart did truly bow before him.

RICHARD II. :

Show Heaven the humbled heart and not the knee.
HAMLET :

And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee.

12. ON STUDIES :

Some books are to be tasted, and some few chewed and digested.
JULIUS CÆSAR, Act i. :

Till then, my noble friend, chew upon this ;
Brutus had rather be a villager.

13. Trench says " Essays” was a new word in Bacon's time, and his use of it quite novel. Bacon thus writes of his Essays :

Which I have called Essays. The word is late, though the thing is ancient.

Mrs. Clarke, in her Concordance, reports the word Essay as occurring twice in Shakespeare, which, indeed, is true of Knight's Shakespeare; but it only occurs once

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