Honoring the True Bard
February 24, 2000
year 2000 marks the 450th anniversary of the author of the
Shakespeare works, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who was born in April
On the one hand, the academic
Shakespeare scholars hotly deny Oxfords authorship. On the other
hand, they have no answer to the mounting evidence for Oxford.
few years ago an independent scholar named Roger Stritmatter found that
Oxfords personal copy of the Bible is heavily marked, and that
hundreds of verses Oxford marked correspond to verses cited in the
Shakespeare plays. For example, Oxford underlined the verse in which the
shaft of Goliaths spear is compared to a weavers
beam. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sir John
Falstaff boasts: I fear not Goliath with a weavers
beam. Coincidence? If so, there are a hundred such coincidences
pointing to Oxford.
In my 1997 book Alias Shakespeare I showed that
the Shakespeare Sonnets likewise describe Oxford, not William of
Stratford. The poet twice mentions that he is lame, for
example; we have no indication that William was ever lame, but several of
Oxfords letters refer to his lameness, and one jokes about his
being a lame man.
The scholars who attacked my book
had no real answer to this. Some suggested that the Sonnets are fictional;
others suggested that if we had more information about William, we might
find that he too matches the poets self-portrait. But such answers
tacitly concede that the information we already have matches Oxford.
But why does it matter who
Shakespeare was, as long as we have the plays? Well, it
matters tremendously, of course. As a simple matter of justice, we want
to honor the right man for giving us these tremendous works. Besides,
biographers and scholars need to know who the author was for purposes of
understanding the relation between his life and his work.
And there is a further reason. Oxford
became Shakespeare fairly late in his life, in 1593, when he
was already 43 and had only 11 years to live. I believe he had already
written many other works under other aliases, and we should make every
effort to discover the full canon of his works. I have already claimed the
1595 sonnet cycle Emaricdulfe for him; it
contains 200 verbal parallels with the Shakespeare works, which the
orthodox scholars have completely failed to notice.
How could the experts overlook
evidence which has been lying in plain sight for four centuries? Its
easy. The experts assume they already know everything
there is to know about Shakespeare, so instead of looking for new data
they keep plowing old ground and repeating themselves. Shakespeare
scholarship is largely an echo-chamber of mutual quotation.
The pity is that the experts are actually hostile to new
discoveries, especially if those discoveries are made by outsiders and
I am convinced that Oxford was
consciously following in the footsteps of his uncle, Henry Howard, Earl of
Surrey, another great poet and pioneer of the English sonnet, who had been
beheaded by Henry VIII in 1547. I recently found a previously unobserved
link between Surrey and Shakespeare.
In the play Sir Thomas
More, now generally agreed to be at least partly Shakespearean,
Surrey appears as a major character; his distinction as a poet is
mentioned. But in fact, the real Surrey was still in his teens when the
historical More was beheaded in 1535; he had yet to make his name as a
So Shakespeare had to
take liberties with the facts to insert Surrey into the play. If
Shakespeare was Oxford, the reason seems obvious: he
wanted to honor his famous uncle by associating him with another great
man of letters, More, who was also killed by order of Henry VIII.
Oxford may have hidden his
authorship, but he left many such personal marks on his works
literary fingerprints, as it were, by which we may detect his hand.
In a future book, I will try to show
what the academic scholars have missed: the real life and career of the
greatest English poet, with dozens of works never before ascribed to
Shakespeare. As for William of Stratford, he probably never
even read the works he is supposed to have written.
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