Introducing Shakespeare: A Graphic Guide - Nick Groom, Piero 2013
Cryptograms, Ciphers and Acrostics
Much Baconian “research” involved (and still involves) identifying fiendish ciphers in Shakespeare’s texts — in the First Folio, for example — or in making anagrams of particular words. It is also a tactic of the Anti-Stratfordians to treat the Sonnets as a cryptic autobiography, despite the overwhelming historical evidence that Elizabethans did not write such things. In at least one case, the Baconian cryptoanalyst Orville Owen received instructions on the cipher used from Bacon’s obliging ghost.
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A CRYPTOGRAM IN WHICH I AM SUPPOSED TO DISGUISE MYSELF …
In 1610, the King James translation of the Bible was being finalized. It has been proposed that Shakespeare, dramatist of the King’s Men, was consulted — and even wrote part of it. In Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”, the 46th word from the beginning is shake, and the 46th from the end is spear. In 1610, Shakespeare was 46 years old …
The librettist of the classic operettas, W.S.Gilbert (1836-1911), perhaps offered the best solution.
DO YOU KNOW HOW THEY ARE GOING TO DECIDE THE SHAKESPEARE-BACON DISPUTE? THEY ARE GOING TO DIG UP SHAKESPEARE AND DIG UP BACON … THEY ARE GOING TO SET THEIR COFFINS SIDE-BY-SIDE, AND THEY ARE GOING TO GET HERBERT BEERBOHM TREE TO RECITE HAMLET TO THEM. AND THE ONE WHO TURNS IN HIS COFFIN WILL BE THE AUTHOR OF THE PLAY.
There have been others proposed as the author of Shakespeare’s plays. It was suggested in 1824 that Shakespeare began his acting career under the name “Christopher Marlowe”, and Marlowe was later seriously proposed as the author of the plays — despite the fact that his death in 1593 was heavily documented. Other dramatic contemporaries like Peele and Chapman have been candidates, but there are less predictable ones.
CARDINAL WOLSEY, WHO DIED IN 1530 AND WHOSE PLAYS WERE THEREFORE EDITED BY BACON … OR A GANG OF JESUITS. OR KING JAMES I — A CLAIM INEXPLICABLY SUPPORTED BY THE BLACK MUSLIM ACTIVIST MALCOLM X. OR EVEN SIR PHILIP SIDNEY’S SISTER … AS THE COMIC WRITER JEROME K. JEROME PUT IT … THE BACON STUNT … DISCOVERED THAT SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS HAD ALL BEEN WRITTEN BY ANOTHER GENTLEMAN OF THE SAME NAME.