Eduardus is my proper name

Posted By on June 15, 2011

John Keats (1795-1821), poet and Shakespeare scholar.

“Shakespeare lived a life of allegory. His works are comments on it.”

These words by John Keats, perhaps the greatest English poet after Shakespeare, distill the essence of authentic Shakespearean biography — as distinct from the seemingly never-ending parade of sham biographies inflicted year after year on an unsuspecting public.

In 21st century literary circles it is no longer fashionable to speak of essences. But this book does have an essence – even, especially, a quintessence – that fifth part of what is essential, the constituting DNA of life, from which everything that is worth saying owes its genesis and germination.

In 16th century alchemy and neo-Platonism — the philosophy of Shakespeare’s own age —  the  quintessence of a substance could be separated from impurities by chemical means through distillation to reveal the concealed but “divine signatures impressed on earthly things by the Creator for their proper use” (Debus 4).

Shakespeare lived a life of allegory.

His works – down to the tiniest particles of meaning, the letters that make up words, like sequences of amino acids on the double helix of life –  are comments on it. Macbeth felt that life was a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, but Macbeth is not Shakespeare; in Shakespeare every dust mote signifies, every exclamation echoes to the reverberate hills.  He signed his works.

The only unanswered question is: are we human enough to hear?

There is an old tradition, going back even before Keats, that Shakespeare was a magician.

He was. But like Prospero in the concluding scene of his Tempest, he was a magician caged within the confines of his own magic, shipwrecked and alone, unable to remove the spell of his own devising, but left to solicit forgiveness and redemption from comprehending readers.

Divided within himself, he transformed his own alienation into the wellspring of his art. On the one hand, he followed the admonition to self-sacrifice so explicitly inscribed in Matthew 6.1-4, underlined in his Geneva Bible: “when you give your alms, do not blow your trumpet in the marketplace.”  But, he was also, in the prophetic words of Walt Whitman,  a “wolfish Earl”  one of those with a “towering spirit of ruthless and gigantic caste, with its own peculiar air and arrogance.” Could he follow Christ’s path?

Figure One: Matt 6.1-3, underlined in red in the de Vere Geneva STC 2106: "When you give your alms, don't blow your trumpet."

We will probably never know when he marked those verses in his Geneva Bible; that he did so is beyond dispute, just as it is beyond dispute that his contemporaries regarded those verses as the spiritual justification for completion of great works in secret, read them as Christ’s injunction to anonymity (See Stritmatter, 2001, 23-30, 217).

If you are an average literate reader of the 21st century you are now experiencing doubt.

Chances are, you have been told that it is ridiculous to think that Shakespeare was anyone but Shakespeare. You thought that Bill Bryson, Stephen Greenblatt, and James Shapiro had laid all this nonsense to rest. You may even have heard Birthplace Trust Fund promoter Stanley Wells declare that “Shakespeare of Stratford wins the debate.”

You do not, yet, count yourself among the “unsatisfied,” do not feel compelled to share Henry James’ conviction that Shakespeare is “the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world.”

Stay with me for a moment longer.

Try an experiment. Imagine, if you can (even against your “better judgment” if you must)  that what the Oxfordians have said is true.  Imagine that “Shakespeare,” aka Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604),  following the admonition of Matt. 6.1-4 (among other reasons), hid himself and allowed his works to appear under the “noted weed” (Sonnet 76) of a pseudonym and a literary “front.”

What kind of psychology does that dilemma produce? If you were that man, how would you feel, what would you do?

That’s right.

Something there is, says Robert Frost, that does not love a wall.

And something there is in “Shakespeare” that does not want to be concealed, a part that wants, nay yearns to be known, a small still voice inside that protests with every fiber of his literary being against the “loss of his good name”:

And this desire, to be known by the reader, is the secret spring of the Shakespearean vernacular, the language and mythos Shakespeare created for himself, about himself.

We may commence consideration of this claim by considering a recent article by independent British Columbia scholar  Nina Green, which appeared in the 2010 issue of Brief Chronicles.

Green begins from a puzzle left us by Shakespeare. Noticing that the bard  at least three times, in three different plays (Titus Andronicus, 4; I Henry IV, 2; Merry Wives, 4) alludes to the same page and passage in Lily’s Latin Grammar, perhaps the most generally known book (except the Bible) in early modern England, Green wonders, why?

Figure Two: "Of the Noune" from Lily's Latin Grammar: content from this exact page is alluded to three times in Shakespeare.

Was the bard trying to tell us something, using Lily as his trusted confidante?

If so, was there some method to his madness?  Had he some precedent or guide?

What might we find, on that thrice-marked page of Lily’s grammar, that he  wanted us to know?

Perhaps – Green does not say this herself but it seems to me a reasonable speculation – the bard was following a clue from his favorite source, the book to which, above all others save the Bible, he turned over and over  for wisdom and literary sustenance: Ovid.

Perhaps the bard was imitating a  motif which Leonard Barkan –former Bliss Snyder Professor of English and Art History at Northwestern University and now Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton — identifies as the connecting link between Shakespeare and Ovid,

the first signal that Shakespeare knew his Ovid at first hand, and that he read The Metamorphoses with a deliberate and original purpose.

This “first signal” and  connecting link, says Barkan, is the myth of Philomela,[i] the natural “point of entry to the powerful relation between [the] two geniuses,” Ovid and Shakespeare.

Figure Thee: The rape of Philomela by Tereus. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses Book VI, 519-562. Fol. 80 r, image 6.

In that Ovidian myth, the rapist Tereus cuts out his victim’s  tongue  to prevent her from naming him; the inventive Philomela, tongueless,  instead weaves a tapestry to identify and accuse him.

In so doing she supplies a model for the literary figure, well known to modern literary critics but first named by Ovid, in another passage[ii] of his Metamorphoses, of intertextuality. Intertextuality is the study of the conversations which literary texts have with one another — for example the way Shakespeare makes deliberate use of such Bible passages as Ezekiel 16.49 in order to supply a context and commentary for Hamlet or Joyce’s Ulysses retells The Odyssey.

In his comparative analysis of Titus Andronicus and the Philomela motif, Barkan notes that both stories involve “escalating efforts to stifle communication” and he argues that  “The [Philomela] story attracts Shakespeare because it is centrally concerned with communication.”[iii]

Concluding that this Ovidian motif forms the deepest and most potent strata of Shakespeare’s involvement with Ovid, Barkan leads us directly to the center of our shared question:

Titus takes us back to the darkest side of Ovid’s poem…[but]….it is not lessons in perversity that Ovid offers Shakespeare – there are many other classical sources for that – but a series of paradigms for the act of communication. Many of the great figures of Ovid’s poem define themselves by their struggle to invent new languages….Narcissus, [like Philomela], must discover a language of paradox that suits his situation….Shakespeare appears to be still struggling [in Lucrece and Cymbeline] with the problems of Philomela, the juxtaposition of mutilation and communication.[iv]

“Inventing new languages?”

Appropriating “a series of paradigms for the act of communication” in order to “struggle with….the juxtaposition of mutilation and communication”?

Surely this is not the Shakespeare you studied in 9th grade.

We may wonder:  just as Shakespeare’s characters are forced by circumstance to follow Ovid’s exemplars to “define themselves by their struggle to invent new languages” and “discover a language of paradox that suits their situations,” is Shakespeare himself  following the same Ovidian template? Could such a communicative strategy be the concealed key to otherwise obscure passages or subterranean connections to third party texts like Lily’s Grammar?

Let us see.

Here is the first passage, from I Henry IV, alluding to Lily’s discussion of nouns:

Gadshill. Go to; ‘homo’ is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave. (I Henry IV, 2.1.90-92)

Figure Four shows a detail of the passage from which the line “homo is a common name to all men” is drawn:


Figure Four (After Green, 2010): Close up from Lily's discussion of nouns, showing phrase "Eduardus is my propre name."


In Merry Wives of Windsor in Act 4, scene 1 the bard also draws  from the same page while Sir Hugh Evans tutors “William” during his Latin lesson. Evans introduces the lesson by asking, “How many numbers is in nouns?”  The answer is found in Lily’s discussion of nouns:  “in nouns be two numbers,” immediately following the above excerpt.

Neophytes may have some difficulty appreciating how funny this is, but it is, in fact, hilarious: William is getting his Latin lesson from the page  in Lily, used to  illustrate the definition of a “noune substantive,” which announces the name of the real author.  In renaissance philosophy, a substantive is distinguished from an accident —  it describes  a real thing, while an accident is merely a quality of a thing and has no independent existence. Reading Lily and Merry Wives together, we might say that the message is that William is an unlettered accident — an adjective — of Edward.

The jest may even remind some of Thomas Nashe’s remark to Gabriel Harvey to watch out for de Vere: “he may be a little man, but he hath one of the best wits in England.”

Under the revivifying influence of the bard’s literary magic, Lily’s book is filled with a new signifying presence, speaking what cannot be said in propria persona.

It is the first grammar lesson for a post-Stratfordian epistemology, a strand from the double helix: Eduardus is my propre name.

[i] The Gods Made Flesh: Metamorphosis and the Pursuit of Paganism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 247.

[ii] Ovid, Meta. VI: 127-28.

[iii] Barkan, 245; my emphasis.

[iv] Barkan, 247, 249; my emphasis.


About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


31 Responses to “Eduardus is my proper name”

  1. richard waugaman says:

    It is not difficult to imagine that de Vere was in some inner conflict about accepting his literary anonymity. This is a brilliant demonstration of one of de Vere’s reactions to that conflict– to leave such a clue that most listeners and readers would miss.

  2. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Absolutely. The evidence of such inner conflict is written, for example, all over the sonnets. Thanks for the read and comment!

  3. Lurking Ox says:

    “he may be a little man, but he hath one of the best wits in England.”

    Does this refer to Vere, or to Lyly?

    And slightly off subject, but “Gentle Maister William”, at the beginning of Strange News, not so sure that’s Vere either (but not that it matters so much considering…). Outside the genre of traditional Shakespeare biography, nowhere is the orthodox polemic so willfully shortsighted, or the Stratfordian bias so assidonkulously apparent, as in its interpretation of Tho. Nashe. Nashe is a goldmine.

  4. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Hi LO,

    Well, that’s a much discussed question — in fact it is so much discussed that I’m starting to think that Nashe worded it that way partly to be intentionally ambiguous. If intended only for Lyly it would seem to be an astounding piece of hyperbole. In any case, you are certainly correct about Nashe. A colleague who remains off the radar (unidentified yet as a “flaming Oxfordian”) has written at length analyzing Nashe’s work from an Oxfordian perspective, updating the impressive work of Charles Wisner Barrell and others. A very valuable line of inquiry.

  5. Lurking Ox says:

    I’ve been reading Nashe lately (again) and would be very interested in reading any analysis of Nashe written from an Oxfordian perspective (other than Barrell, what else is there?). Hibbard et al seem to have gone out of their way to avoid Oxford, even when his presence is required. The notion that Nashe (or Harvey) did not write about Shakespeare (considering his weight, and the fact that he actually seems to have weighed in on their quarrel), is absolutely incredible. Doesn’t “as blood is a beggar” remind you of Spring?

    • Roger Stritmatter says:

      It is coming up. The author is someone with a PhD and a very strong handle on philology and interpretative strategies as well as a first class academic rhetorician. It is going to be difficult for the major journals to turn this down, much as they try to wriggle out from under the implications of the argument — which is never Oxfordian as such — just probingly insightful about what happens when you put Oxford back into the history of his own lifetime, from which he has usually been excised quite thoroughly.

      He may or may not have been the man Nashe meant. But there is no doubt about it. He was a little fellow. He was also one of the funniest wits in England – John Lyly, sad to say, couldn’t hold a candle to him. Somehow I figure Nashe had figured that out on his own…..: )

  6. knitwitted says:

    hmm… “all over the sonnets”. Curious about the lines:
    Sonnet 136: “Then in the number let me passe vntold, Though in thy stores account I one must be, For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold, That nothing me, a some-thing sweet to thee.”

    Sonnet 81: “When all the breathers of this world are dead, You still shall liue (such vertue hath my Pen) Where breath most breaths, euen in the mouths of men.”

    Ovid’s Metamorphoses (per your translation): “The better part of me shall rise into the starry heavens And then my name shall printed be, indelibly in brass, However far as Roman might holds sway across the conquered earth, I still shall be remembered in the mouths of men.”

    “In the mouths of men”… isn’t it his *words* the author wants us to remember and *not* his name? “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. The author’s name will be recorded in heaven for his work in secret.

    So what if the author intended his writings to be a “secret work”. Wouldn’t this disqualify Will of Stratford as its author since (psst… for your ears only) it’s no secret he wrote his own works. Have some fun. Seriously, k thanx bye.

  7. knitwitted says:

    Has anyone compared the Bible passages in the plays to the Koran? Is there a better match?

  8. Lurking Ox says:

    Very Intersetsting! Thanks!

  9. Roger Stritmatter says:

    LO — You’re welcome!

    Knit — interesting and provocative quotes from the Sonnets. The line “among a number one is counted none” is of course based on the mathematical paradox that “O” both is and is not a number. With this in mind, one way of reading the line, consistent with the Oxfordian view (and utterly bizarre to Stratfordians) is that the author is insisting, consistent with similar statements elsewhere in the Sonnets, on enforcing the logic of Rev. 3.5 and Ecclus. 41.12, “my name be buried where my body is,” i.e. count me as zero.

    But there is another reading, not inconsistent with this, but actually complementary in a way that reveals the elegant structural and rhetorical complexity of the Sonnets. This is the idea, proposed by Alistair Fowler, that the subjunctive command in the Sonnet refers to the sonnet itself. His reasoning is that there are 154 sonnets, and if you take away one you get 153, a number of great mystical significance for early modern readers. We aren’t used to seeing the numerical dimension of poetry, but to Elizabethans the word “numbers” was synonymous with poetry, and to write in “numbers” was to write poetry. The sonnets contain quite a bit of numerical symbolism, and this is only one dimension of Fowler’s remarkably sophisticated analysis in his *Triumphal Forms* (1976, I think). A good book to blow your mind. Don’t know about the Koran.

    Regarding the distinction between remembering the name or the words that is, indeed, the crux of the matter. I would certainly not want to say that he would not place emphasis on remembering his words, but I would note that his name is one of his words, and also argue that because of his anonymous condition he developed many strategies for effectively saying, to those “with ears to hear,” — “here I am.”

  10. knitwitted says:

    Hi Roger! Good stuff here… Thanks! Of course you must know my way of thinking is a bit *different*… Sonnet 136: “Then in the number let me passe vntold, Though in thy stores account I one must be, For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold, That nothing me, a some-thing sweet to thee.” Sounds like number means population (human); stores account = God’s account (book of remembrance)… Essentially nothing will accrue to the writer… all his works will accrue to God (the ultimate creator).

    BTW… a quibble please regarding “Could he follow Christ’s path?” Seems de Vere marked passages referencing “one God” and the wickedness of idolatry. I’m assuming de Vere wouldn’t have followed Christ (who was only an example) but would follow directly God. i.e. de Vere wouldn’t need a middle man (and a commoner at that!) to do God’s will. And with that said, I keep thinking de Vere left us his most wicked comedy… As a Lord, Oxford had a common man (Will) speak his words. A certainly irreverent play on the Bible but then one wonders could de Vere have figured out a way to gain access to God’s kingdom by being irreverent yet still be reverent (giving of alms)? Doesn’t that sound like de Vere in all his glory character?

    Also, I think the Koran also encourages the giving of alms in secret.

  11. knitwitted says:

    Hi Roger! “His name is one of his words”… which name please? Guessing “Oxenford” (did he make up that name?) But I do remember an earlier discussion regarding Vere *means* truth and God *is* truth… Have been wondering if de Vere may have made on play that. Wasn’t a Vere instrumental in placing the Tudors on the throne? Then later, something about Henry VIII claiming it was God’s will the Tudors came to power. Well, what about Edward equating Vere with God? hmm… Wouldn’t it have been within Ed’s character to make an irreverent triple play if we add the Bible *is* God’s truth to the equation. Didn’t Meres say all things come in threes?

  12. Roger Stritmatter says:


    Well, many ideas here, so to start from the last one, the only one that has a simple answer, yes Meres says in *Palladis Tamia* that “all things come in threes,” and that statement is highly relevant to his numerical purposes on the book. When I said “his name,” I meant “Vere” etc. Most of the wordplays are on that name, it being cognate in various European languages with truth, boar, and worm (vermis). Thus, the line

    A prey of worms,
    my body being dead,

    echos Ecclus. 41.11-13, in which the wicked fear the “death of the body” but the name of the ungodly will be “put out.” Playing on those verses (marked in the de Vere bible), the lines “magically” invoke the name through the pun on “worms.”

    Thus, he follows the admonition of Ecclus. 41.11-13 of “putting out the name” but invokes the Shakespearean principle of always saying more than one thing at a time, so that the Biblical verse becomes a kind of template against which, and only against which, one may find the meaning of the line — the line is a riddle that is answered by the Bible verse. When the body is dead, the “prey of worms” will keep the name punningly alive through the polysemantic potential of the language.

    From time to time I still have well-intentioned Stratfordians tell me things like “but what can you learn from interextuality” (knowing the sources in some detail)?

    Gimmee a break. For starters, you can learn what the poem is actually saying. But since too many orthodox Shakespeareans are less interested in knowing what the text means than they are in propping up the myth by whatever means necessary, we have all collectively sworn never to “go there…..”

  13. knitwitted says:

    Okie dokie… worm puns!! So how ’bout going here then… If the author puts his own name “in the mouths of men,” wouldn’t that be idolatry? Shouldn’t what’s marked in the Bible take precedence over innuendoes, etc.? Roger, why does Oxford’s anonymity have to be an ugly conspiracy? Can’t it just be pretty (i.e. an act of generosity)? Wasn’t the Bible written anonymously? And aren’t the works of Shax the second-best selling works… the Bible being the first?

    Speaking of Meres, why didn’t de Vere publish his “best in comedies” and put his name on them? And, here’s one more Meres P.T. puzzle you’d might like to add to your repertoire… A triple play on the basic Pythagorean theorem 3:4:5 (per Meres equating Pythagoras with Shakespeare) alphabetically equals I, L. O. which surely must stand for “I, Lurking Ox”. 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying your summer!! Peace, love and happiness, L.

  14. Roger Stritmatter says:

    I have no response to these queries, which seem to be largely based on misunderstandings.

  15. knitwitted says:

    Why is it the de Vere Bible isn’t good enough? Why is it the Oxfordians insist puzzles, innuendoes, etc. will make their case? i.e. Why do they insist on making the Sonnets ugly with their guesses? I very much wish you would read some of the Sonnets (including 74) as if written not for man’s eyes (per Meres’ “shared among his private friends”) but from a man’s heart. “For man loketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord beholdeth the heart.” That concept makes *several* of the Sonnets pretty. MHO.

    So why would a lord sign his works commonly (i.e. Vere)? He was Lord Oxford & signed himself Edward Oxenford. He signed his poems E.O. When did he ever refer to himself commonly? Best wishes.

  16. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Because the Oxfordians read the plays and poems and listen to what they are saying. These are cryptic puzzles. Period. End of sentence. Those who want a dumb bard who never meant more than he seemed to be saying will not understand him or his language. Sorry to be blunt, but you seem to making some mammoth assumptions about “the Oxfordians.” I already explained to you why “Vere” was the relevant semantic marker. He also signed his work “E.O.,” and half a dozen at least other cryptonyms in addition to Shakespeare. In correspondence he used his full title, including the well-known “crown” signature. If you want to hear the echos of the “e.o.” listen to the terminations on his Italian names, which he habitually terminated in “eo/io,” viz. Bassanio, Romeo. The best article, perhaps, on the name games in the plays is Ian Haste’s on the sound of the ring in Merchant of Venice. A real gem of scholarship written by a retired Jr. High English teacher in British Columbia.

  17. knitwitted says:

    Take a Care Bear, doc. teehee

  18. knitwitted says:

    re: The “dumb bard”. I *finally* got it… It’s not that Will of Stratford wasn’t smart enough, etc. to write but that it’s because he wasn’t smart enough to bury secret codes in his works (after all, he did plainly write “my name is Will). Ok, so if I stomp away all huffy puffy but LOL’ing, well then I *know* you’ve made your point so I do concede and I do apologize but maybe it’s a girl-thing that I enjoy pretty, simple, and annoyingly cute (i.e. Care Bears) that makes me think the way I do but I will certainly *allow* you to have your say 🙂

    May we start over please? Am very curious if it doesn’t affect you to think the Bible annotator’s faith was so strong he could get into heaven? And that his faith was independent of his birth right, education, status, wealth, etc.? But that it came from within his own self? If the author of the Sonnets was capable of a deeply emotional thought, couldn’t the annotator be capable of a deeply committed faith? Enjoy! L

    P.S. Not to knitpik but I do wish at times you’d let some air outta your britches because at times it seems you hath forgot the fart.

  19. Roger Stritmatter says:

    I have never forgot the fart. Being a close reader of the bard means that you are not allowed forget the fart. I can go to several plays as illustration, but perhaps the best is Othello 3.1, “thereby hangs a tale.” Haha. He was not only witty in himself but the cause that wit was in other men.

  20. knitwitted says:

    teehee! Very nice Doc!! And guess what? I think you’ve hit upon something that really fits my brain. De Vere changed the latin Romeus to the Italian Romeo. What if we change the latin Eduardus to the Italian Eduardo? We get our Eduardo(xenford). Wasn’t he known as the “Italian Earl”?

  21. Lurking Ox says:

    Knitwitted, I tend to agree with you on general principle regarding those ubiquitous encodings and secret messages embedded into almost every page these days. It boggles the mind. PT theory for instance, strikes me as a thing manufactured from whole cloth, a fictitious intercalation, oceans from icebergs, interpolation, like a bad fairy tale. And I am aware, being more of a lazy writer myself, that a sentence is sometimes a sentence. But not always I don’t suppose.

    If Oxford was Shakespeare then Shake-speares Sonnets were published posthumously. There is no definitive finger-point from sonneteer to dramatist (the plays were not even collected at the time). Offhand, I can’t recall which Sonnet it is that states: “I am the great author Shakespeare who wrote Hamlet.” The connection is tenuous I think. The link is the title page. If it read “Bob’s Sonnets” rather than “Shake-speares” I wonder if we would necessarily assume they were written by the same man? And if ancillaries are to be believed and these verses were circulated amongst his private friends, wouldn’t the “private friends” already know? Why try to convince the initiated? Having said that, the sonnet you mention has lines other than “my name is Will”:

    “Among a number one is reckoned none.
    Then in the number let me pass untold,
    Though in thy store’s account I one must be.
    For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
    That nothing me, a something sweet to thee.
    ??Make but my name thy love, and love that still;
    ??And then thou lov’st me, for my name is Will”

    A number reckoned none might be written “O”. And if it is the author’s number by which he passes untold — and assuming this isn’t just some “writing exercise” — then it must mean something. Perhaps it means “nothing” – which is also “O”. And the “nothing” is “me”, says the author. Followed by the obvious “Will” & etcetera. Of course, the great Stanley Wells informs me that this is a poem about sex, so maybe it is? Whether it is or it isn’t I am still reminded of other “nothings” – from Hamlet and Lear most notably.

    Hamlet speaks to Ophelia (“O” lover?):

    Ophelia: I think nothing, my lord.
    Hamlet: That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.
    Ophelia: What is my lord?
    Hamlet: Nothing

    It’s an interesting thought at least (“For, O, for, O…”). And a fair one for Hamlet, I suspect, to imagine “nothing” lying between maids legs. But it may mean nothing, literally. But Lear leaves his youngest daughter “nothing”. And Manningham in 1602 (ish) recorded this couplet by John Davies:

    “Lady Susan Vere
    Nothing’s your lott, that’s more than can be told,
    For nothing is more precious than gold.”

    It may mean nothing, but then again…. ? It may mean something after all. It may spell “I am Lurking Ox” in Sanskrit.

    And “worm” may be just another word, or it may be “nothing”, or it may be some Nashean red herring (realizing of course that Nashe could not have meant “red herring”, not in that way, and not according to the OED), but it may be something. And it may be something else entirely. Sourcetext has a nice concordance. Several Shakespearean “worms” seem more than just worms to me.

    For what it’s worth, this comment contains no acrostic hints or clues of any kind regarding my actual identity. The smooth cold fact of the matter is, I didn’t even write this.


  22. knitwitted says:

    Howdy L.F.!
    First off, congrats on your “I didn’t even write this.” which of course means “I did oddly write this.” Careful L.F. Nothing lies like the truth and hence I’m truly liable to write “L, u r King Ox”, but I won’t.

    Regarding Sonnet 136, of course, the even greater Cliffs Notes tells me that given the woman’s prodigious lust, adding one more lover to her stable of lovers is insignificant, so we know it’s true. Yikes!! I am definitely reading the Sonnets wrong! But then I’m not reading them in order which may be the problem.

    I’m afraid the EO sound has taken over… from Spenser’s Braggadocchio to Massinger’s Gracchio to that all-time classic canned good (although there’s nothing good about it) Spaghetti-O’s. Speaking of cans, will let the worm things lay where “they” may.

    re: PT theory. Not a personal favorite but I do delight in thinking Mr. Greenblatt is a closet PT theorist. Imagine Queen Liz whispering that naughty pillycock rhyme in son/lover Ed’s ear.



  23. knitwitted says:

    Hi Doc!
    Didn’t Arundel accuse de Vere of saying “that he culd prove by scripture that after this life we shuld be as yf we had never ben”? And isn’t the statement true regardless of who said it? No one worries about where they were before this life, so why should we worry about where we’ll be after?

    “And were I dead, no thoughts should me torment,
    Nor words, nor wrongs, nor loves, nor hopes, nor fears.”

    Isn’t it a grave which will give de Vere both his kingdom (in heaven) and his obscurity (on earth)?

  24. knitwitted says:

    Dear Doc S:
    Enclosed please find a copy of my latest book entitled *Contested Jim: Who Wrote For Shapiro?*, the contents of which will be recited in its entirety as follows:

    Chapter 1
    Arundel accused Oxford of saying “that he cold make a better and more orderlie scripture in six dayes warninge”. []

    Chapter 2
    “Shakespeare seldom borrows biblical references from his sources, even when those sources contain many references.” [*Biblical References in Shakespeare’s Plays*, Naseeb Shaheen, 2011, p. 90]

    Chapter 3
    “The entire set of regular sonnets corresponds numerically to the entire set of psalms.” “The contents of several of Shakespeare’s Sonnets correspond to those of psalms bearing the same numbers in the book of common prayer.” [*Triumphal Forms*, Alistair Fowler, 1970]

    Hoping my book answers once and for all the scholar’s authorship question. Apologies for the missing “Index”.

    Respectfully submitted,

  25. knitwitted says:

    re: Base 17 = 153 [*Triumphal Forms*, Alistair Fowler, 1970]
    a. 17th Earl of Oxford
    b. “17 was a familiar Pythagorean number symbolic of misfortune and discord.” [pp. 176-77]
    c. “The triangle rising on 17 as base, 153, denotes believers risen in Christ and endowed with the Spirit.” “153 ‘pertains to the resurrection of eternal life'” [p. 189]
    d. “C. S. Lewis’s view that ‘the greatest of sonnets are written from a region in which love abandons all claims and flows into charity….'” [p. 190]


  26. knitwitted says:

    Two more questions please… (1) How would de Vere’s life been different (i.e. improved) had he been able to put his own name on his works? (2) Is it more important to agree with the specific Oxfordian theory of why de Vere wrote pseudonymously *or* to agree with the general idea that Oxford wrote Shax (based on non-Oxfordian theories)?

  27. Roger Stritmatter says:

    1) He wouldn’t have been; 2) You pays your money and takes your choice, I guess. I would say the MOST important thing is to realize that the authorship question is real. If someone does that and then starts looking at the history of the debate, de Vere comes out hands down as the top suspect. It is a fact based on contemporary evidence that de Vere wrote anonymously and/or pseudonymously. Exactly what he wrote that way is, one supposes, open to debate. That he did so is not.

  28. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Knit, re yours of August 15, great quotes there, I missed Fowler’s comment on 17 as the symbol of “misfortune and discord.” Very interesting indeed. Lewis is a strong reader of Sh.

  29. Roger Stritmatter says:

    And re that of August 7 ( I was lost in Oregon then), lovely, especially chapter 2. What a quote. You would think that at some point these people would do a self-assessment and ask themselves where they are going. But that apparently is too much work. So being creative with reality remains their industry. They just aren’t as good at as as the real fiction writers. Here’s waiting for the index! : )

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In "From Crackpot to Mainstream"Keir Cutler, PhD, takes down the recent Shakespeare Beyond Doubt (OUP, 2013)

Criticism of Cutler's "Is Shakespeare Dead?": "A magnificently witty performance!" (Winnipeg Sun). "Highly entertaining and engrossing!" (EYE Weekly). "Is Shakespeare Dead? marshals startling facts into an elegant and often tenacious argument that floats on a current of delicious irony" (Montreal Gazette).