« ForrigeFortsæt »
This method was itself used among the ancients, and employed with judgment and discretion. But in later times it has been disgraced by many who have made it as a false and deceitful light to put forward their counterfeit merchandise. The intention of it, however, seems to be by obscurity of delivery to exclude the vulgar (that is, the profane vulgar) from the secrets of knowledges, and to admit those only who have either received the interpretation of the enigmas through the hands of their teachers, or have wits of such sharpness and discernment as can pierce the veil.3
Other passages of a kindred nature are to be found throughout his writings.
Having here not only a proof that Bacon was in this respect no exception among the statesmen of his day, but also what he took to be an encouraging though dark hint that his suspicions were well founded, Mr. Donnelly set to work to discover, if possible, a cipher in the Plays. The immediate reason of his applying himself to this department of Bacon's writings seems to have been his inability to believe that the writer of such works would for ever renounce them, and his opinion that in the Plays themselves would most probably be found the assertion of his authorship of them. He turned to the Folio of 1623, which Grant White had pronounced, in his edition of Shakespeare, to be the only authentic form in which the text of his dramatic works has reached us.' In this volume, while intending to investigate the matter of the text in the light of the above remarks on cipher work, he made discoveries of an entirely different nature.
The condition in which the Plays are presented to us in the Folio had been a source of amazement and regret to many generations of commentators, but nothing more satisfactory had been suggested by way of explanation than that it'must be attributed merely to the lack of proper editorial supervision.' This is the conclusion of Grant White after an enumeration of the defects and blemishes' that disfigure that precious volume.'' Mr. Donnelly's investigation resulted in his discovering, in addition to the items enumerated by Grant White (unless indeed these are the minor errors' referred to by the latter), what he characterises as irregular paging, arbitrary italicising, meaningless bracketing, and senseless hyphenation.' Now the book is known to have been brought out at great cost, and was evidently intended to be a first-rate edition of the Plays. Is it conceivable, argued Mr. Donnelly to himself, that the editorial supervision should have been carelessly conducted ? Surely those
: De Augmentis, vi. 2 (S., E., & H., vol. iv. p. 450).
* He remarks (vol. i. p. cclviii), · Besides minor errors, the correction of which is obvious, words are in some cases so transformed as to be past recognition, eren with the aid of the context; lines are transposed ; sentences are sometimes broken by a full point followed by a capital letter, and at other times have their members displaced and mingled in incomprehensible confusion ; verse is printed as prose, and prose as verse; speeches belonging to one character are given to another; and, in brief, all possible varieties of typographical derangement may be found in this volume, in the careful printing of which the after world bad so deep an interest.'
who put forth so expensive a volume would have been at the pains to make it perfect in such common matters as are concerned with typographical correctness. If there is one thing in which printers are careful, it is the paging of the work which they do. This is not the author's work but the printer's, and surely the printer would have been called to sharp account for any incorrectness in this branch of his art. Can the irregularities in this respect and in the use of the italics, brackets, and hyphens be with any semblance of plausibility attributed to the carelessness of the editors ? Is it not a far more natural supposition that this extraordinary derangement in matters so simple was the result of deliberate and jealously carried out intention—that these irregularities were purposely inserted ? And is it not at least a fair hypothesis that these may in some way contain the key to the Cipher? The De Augmentis was published in the same year as the Folio. Is it altogether unwarrantable to suggest that in the simultaneous appearance of these two works Bacon with one hand presented to the world a locked-up secret, and with the other a key by means of which that secret could be unlocked ? Would not this most amply justify the words of Sir Tobie Matthew, who, in a letter to Bacon, answering one which accompanied the gift of a 'great and noble token' of his · Lordship’s favour' (believed to have been a presentation copy of the Folio), remarks, 'The most prodigious wit that ever I knew of my nation, and of this side of the sea, is of your Lordship's name, though he be known by another'?5
Such were the pregnant thoughts that at this time suggested themselves to Mr. Donnelly. It must be remembered by those who now hear of his work for the first time that, owing to his longstanding conviction that the Plays were Bacon's work, the notion did not appear to his mind one of extraordinary audacity.
The following are instances of the four points referred to :
(1) The pagination of this volume is as follows: The Comedies come first, and are paged consecutively to page 303. Then follow the Histories, beginning again at page 1. Page 100 sees the end of the text of II. Henry IV. Two then follow unnumbered. Then comes Henry V., beginning suddenly on page 69. Henry VIII. ends on page 232, and is succeeded by Troilus and Cressida, the third page of which is numbered 79, and the fourth 80. Here the pagination abruptly ceases, the remaining twenty-five pages of the play following unnumbered. Then comes Coriolanus, starting afresh with page 1. Soon after the beginning of Hamlet page 156 is followed by page 257, and from this number the pagination proceeds consecutively to the end of the volume, except that the last page of all, which follows 398, is numbered 993.
5 For this letter in full and its circumstances, see Holmes' Authorship of Shakespeare, pp. 172 ff. (3rd edition, New York, 1875).
(2) With respect to the italics, it must suffice here to quote one instance of their inconsistent use. Proper names are as a rule italicised, but sometimes, when no rational explanation for the change suggests itself, they appear in Roman type. Perhaps the most remarkable instance is to be found on page 56 of the Histories (I. Henry IV.). There the name “Francis' occurs five times in italics and sixteen times in Roman letters.
(3) The irregularity in the use of brackets is well seen in comparing pages 70 and 71 and pages 72 and 73 of the Histories, in which occur respectively one and three bracketed words, with pages 74 and 75, immediately following, where there are eighty-six. For another example reference may be made to page 53 of the Comedies. The Merry Wives of Windsor is here in progress, the page containing the end of Act iii. and the beginning of Act iv. A study of this page will give a good idea of the curious use both of italics and of brackets.
(4) Hyphenation is most irregular and unaccountable throughout the volume. For instance, in I. Henry IV., Act ii., Scene 1 (page 53 in the Folio), Gadshill is made to remark
I am ioyned with no Foot-land-Rakers, no Long-staffe
hu'd-Maltwormes, but with Nobility, and Tranquilitie. Again, in II. Henry IV., at the end of the Induction (page 74), we read
From Rumours Tongues They bring smooth-Comforts-false, worse then True-wrongs. On pages 74 (a two-thirds page) and 75 occur twenty-one hyphens ; on the two preceding them, 72 and 73 (a half page), are five. This is reckoned excluding six that occur at the ends of the lines in prose diction on pages 72 and 73. There is no prose on 74 and 75.) How far the appearance of any of these is natural must be left to the judgment of each reader.
Mr. Donnelly was also struck with the strange use of capital letters. This needs no illustration to any one who has ever studied one page of the Folio carefully. Mr. Donnelly was, however, particularly interested in this matter from noticing the fact that in all the four places where the word 'Bacon' occurs in the Plays it is found with a capital letter. It will be noticed that these four passages are all in close connection with scenes to which Mr. Donnelly's attention had been called through other peculiarities. Further research convinced him that in suspecting the capitals throughout the volume he had hit on a true light.8
6 There are none of these antics in the corresponding passages in the Quartos.
? The references are: Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. 1; 1. Henry IV. ii. 1; I. Henry IV. ii. 2 (twice-once in the composition 'Bacon-fed ').
8 For the use of capitals in Shakespeare cf. the remarks of Mr. Allan Park Paton in his (Hamnet) edition of Macbeth (Edinburgh, 1877).
With a mind fully bent upon the discovery of a secret the existence of which he now considered proved, Mr. Donnelly commenced a series of laborious experiments in order to satisfy himself as to whether or not, and if so in what manner, the curious features which the Folio presents were connected with the cipher which he believed the Plays to contain. He writes to a correspondent in England
I counted up all these peculiarities and set myself to consider how they could be used as factors in the problem. After some experiments I obtained the following results : I found that in many cases where some remarkable word, such as “St. Albans' or 'Bacon,' is in the text, that word is reached by multiplying the number of the page at which the scene begins by the number of italic words in the first column of that page.
For instance, on page 53 of the Histories (I. Henry IV.) there are seven italic words in the first column. 53 x7= 371. The 371st word is · Bacon.' On page 67 (same play) the first column contains six words in italics. 67 x 6=402, and the 402nd word is “St. Albans.'' These are two significant instances out of many given by Mr. Donnelly.
He seems to have found further encouragement in the fact that there are several individual pages in the volume in which more than one peculiarity of strong suggestiveness occurs, as though to attract the attention of the reader. Thus the page 53 just referred to contains, to start with, the strange hyphenation in Gadsbill's speech, the word · Bacon' with a capital letter, and Nicholas' twice. On the next page are found 'Exchequer 'twice, Bacons,' and 'Bacon-fed,' and on page 52, in that portion of the page which is exactly opposite to Gadshill's speech on page 53, the words—
And now I will unclasp a secret book,
Mr. Donnelly considered this simile forced. It may appear so or not to others, but Mr. Donnelly states that subsequent researches have convinced him that it was only introduced to bring in the word • Speare,' the latter half of. Shakespeare.'
Again, on page 53 of the Comedies, already referred to as illustrative of the irregular use of brackets and italics, the word “ Bacon' is found in a most irrelevant scene in a most irrelevant. pun, based on a story which is told, perhaps by Bacon himself, of his father, Sir
• The accuracy of these statements, as well as that of the others made by Mr. Donnelly and quoted here, may be verified by any one who can give an hour to the study of the Folio.
10 The spelling &c. in this passage, being for this purpose unimportant, have been modernised. The last word appears as 'Speare.'
Nicholas." This scene does not occur in the Quarto of 1602. Nor does what Mr. Donnelly terms the very forced and unnatural construction' on page 54, where the jealous Ford is made to strike himself on the forehead and cry "peere-out, peere-out;' nor, again, the description on page 56 of Herne the Hunter, who
shakes a chain
The occurrence of these two words shakes' and 'peere' under these circumstances is also among the observations which in the mass have been so much encouragement to Mr. Donnelly.
It will now be seen that his researches proceeded upon a rule based on the mutual relations of the paging, the brackets, the italics, and the hyphens of the Folio text. This implies that these irregularities were inserted in manuscript for reproduction in the text, and that the proofs of the latter must have been submitted to their author for correction at the risk of rendering necessary a re-setting of a large portion of the type. This is a tremendous assumption indeed, but even for this there is something to be said. In the first place, the corrections would amount to nothing more than the addition or deletion of one or two hyphens or brackets, in case there was a word too few or too many in the page or the column; and in the second place Mr. Donnelly is content to wait until the publication of the Cipher with its workings and results will reduce this consideration from the rank of an objection to that of an eternal source of amazement. That this would be the case in the event of his establishing the genuine nature of his assertions seems clear, for that the Cipher should be true is not impossible, while that a continuous story should be mathematically worked out of the Plays by means of a consistent use of a non-existent Cipher is, by any known or conjectured law of chances, plainly out of the question.
With respect to this matter of the addition and deletion of hyphens &c. in the proof sheets, an examination of the text will show that these do not really present the difficulties that at first appear inevitable. Hyphens might have been inserted between words which have such an original connection that their typographical junction would not create suspicion to the ordinary reader; this is
11 Apophthegms, S., E., & H., vol. vii. p. 185: — Sir Nicholas Bacon being appointed a judge for the northern circuit, and having brought his trials that came before him to such a pass as the passing of sentence on malefactors, he was by one of the malefactors mightily importuned for to save his life; which, when nothing that he had said did avail, he at length desired his mercy on account of kindred. “ Prithee," said my lord judge, “how came that in?” “Why, if it please you, my lord, your name is Bacon, and mine is Hog, and in all ages Hog and Bacon have been so near kindred that they are not to be separated.” “Ay, but,” replied Judge Bacon, “you and I cannot be kindred except you be hanged, for Hog is not Bacon until it be well hanged."' It is of no importance whether or not the anecdote is given by Bacon himself.