authorship question

 
 


An Enlightened Spirit


Sacred and inspired divinity, [is] the sabaoth [holy yearning] and port of all men’s labours and peregrinations [travels or wanderings]...               Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning, II


    The most compelling proof that Bacon was Shakespeare is the enlightened--one might say, luminous--spirit of the author. The Bard has a matchless understanding of the moral beauty of life and its diviner mysteries. His spirituality is exquisite. Dr. Bucke, cited earlier, calls it cosmic consciousness, whereby the author palpably feels the radiance of heaven’s wisdom and heaven’s love in his own awareness, and inevitably must express it, so wholly compelling is that “muse” of divine inspiration within him. Many of the Catholic saints experienced this same sublime condition of consciousness in their visions and meditations so that their writings breathe forth its pure spirit, or what St. John of the Cross called, “joy-like glory, sweetness, pureness, love, humility, or elevation of the mind to God.” Such blessed souls who could verily see the face of divinity possessed a core of intrinsic goodness, where there is no other way to live except as an open and active vessel for the will of God here in this place and time. It seems that one can only be fully dedicated to that exalted life if one has been groomed for it, and if there is literally no other choice before you, as in the case of Jesus or Buddha. Jesus became the Christ--that is, he achieved Christ consciousness, while Gautama became the Buddha, having achieved Buddhic enlightenment. They followed different paths to the summit of divine love, but each path perfected his heart on the way by surrendering that heart to God that He might fashion it in the image divine.

   Bacon, who was both clairaudient and clairvoyant, cherished the true sweetness of the light and indeed labored a lifetime to give that “living light eternal,” as Dante referred to it, a form and expression in literature, so that people of all classes might touch upon its beauty and feel something of the hope of heaven in their lives. Dante wrote:

  

O, splendor of the living light eternal! Who hath become so pallid under the shadow of Parnassus [the mountain sacred to Apollo and home of the Muses], or hath so drunk at its cistern, that he would not seem to have his mind encumbered, trying to represent thee as thou didst appear there where in harmony the heaven overshadows thee when in the open air thou didst thyself disclose. [Dante, The Divine Comedy, Volume 2, Purgatory]


        Gautama Buddha describes this illumined state of consciousness thus:

    

Arhatship [enlightenment] enables a man to comprehend by his own heart the hearts of other beings and of other men, to understand all minds, the passionate, the calm, the angry, the peaceable, the deluded, the wise, the concentrated, the ever varying, the lofty, the narrow, the sublime, the mean, the steadfast, the wavering, the free, and the enslaved.


    In other words, graced with divine hearing and seeing, the illumined soul has a kind of cosmic view of man and the nature of his heart. All character is revealed. And, surely, there is no greater master at revealing all character than Shakespeare. His is a vision of humanity so full of love that it urges the soul towards heaven. This is the divine impulse that we experience when we read or act out a Shakespearean poem or play.

    As many of the Catholic mystics demonstrated, one can be born with the genius to love, but it often takes the injustices and heartaches of life to scourge the soul of its pride and human passions and so teach it to love as finely and purely as God loves. And Francis Bacon, as his own true life history reveals in the secret narratives he ingeniously concealed in code, was a man of the finest character, of sweet honor and ineffable kindness, who himself knew not only the fame and power of place and office, but “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” He was the unacknowledged first-born son of Queen Elizabeth and Lord Leicester--and thus heir to the throne of England. It was this amazing situation and the lifetime struggle that ensued from it that comprised the root of that “outrageous fortune.” For Bacon, or Prince Tudor, was cruelly denied his “divine right” to rule England. But that is a subject by itself, and one that makes up the story line of Prince of Our Dreams. It is a heartbreaking story of a soul’s overcoming, of the surrender of his earthly kingdom, and of the sub rosa carving out of a “kingdom of the mind,” whereby he could leave to the generations that would follow the extraordinary riches of his heart that God had so excruciatingly wrought in him.

    And thus the Plays are not only the diary of the author’s comings and goings in the world and how he ennobled them in exquisite dramatic and poetic forms. They are also, and perhaps foremost, the diary of his soul’s inner journey and of his legacy of a deep and remarkable love for humanity—a love that reaches across the centuries to draw out what is best and noblest in us. For Shakespeare never fails to remind us to live our lives fully and intensely; to strive for a sweeter and more honorable life, and to embody those virtues St. Paul spoke of: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

   Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, and histories all provide bountiful examples of every virtue and every vice—showing us the rewards of right choice of action and the consequences of wrong. There is no richer, no purer, no more compelling teaching in literature, except perhaps the Bible—and it was Bacon, himself, who was responsible for the final translation of the King James version of the Bible. Indeed, as Rosicrucian Imperator D. H. Spencer Lewis wrote in 1930, we read and admire the Bible not merely for its content as the Word of God but “because of it's peculiar and beautiful English, written in that form by Bacon who invented and perfected that style of English expression. The first editions of this Bible were printed under the same guidance and in the same manner as were the Shakespeare plays, and the ornaments for the various pages were drawn in pen and ink and on wood by artists engaged by Bacon who worked under his supervision.” It is no wonder that traditional Catholics and most Christians today still prefer this poetic Baconian translation, which holds the spiritual concentrate of Jesus’ words intact, over the watered down prosaic revisions quoted from the modern pulpit.

   Shakespeare did not condemn man in his grosser humanity. The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis deal with inflamed lust, while the more bawdry reflections upon life, often mouthed from such profligate humorists as Falstaff and other well-liked rogues, are not disdained but make up a vital and colorful part of the Bard’s tapestry of observation. All aspects of our humanity are treated with a depth of compassion and practical sagacity, as becomes the best of artists. Nevertheless, it is the higher nature of man that is held up before us to emulate and reverence.

   No truer words have been spoken of the Plays than those of E.T. Roe who edited E. Nesbit's Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare a hundred years ago:


Shakespeare's plays alone contain more actual wisdom than the whole body of English learning. He is the teacher of all good – pity, generosity, true courage, love. His bright wit is cut out 'into little stars.' He ever kept the highroad of human life. He did not pick out by-paths of feeling and sentiment. In his creations we have no moral highwaymen, sentimental thieves, interesting villains, or amiable, elegant adventuresses – no delicate entanglements of situation, in which the grossest of images are presented to the mind disguised under the superficial attraction of style and emotion. He flattered no bad passion, disguised no vice in the garb of virtue, trifled with no just and generous principle. While causing us to laugh at folly, and shudder at crime, he still preserves our love for our fellow-beings, and our reverence for ourselves. There is scarcely a corner of the world today which he does not illuminate, or a cottage which he does not enrich. As his friend, Ben Jonson, wrote of him, 'He was not of an age but for all time.'


  James Spedding, having no investment in the Authorship issue whatsoever, was therefore Bacon’s most impartial biographer. What he spoke in summary at the end of his painstaking writings conveys the very essence of Bacon the man:


For myself at least, much as one must grieve over such a fall of such a man, and so forlorn a close of such a life, I have always felt that had he not fallen, or had he fallen upon a fortune less desolate in its outward conditions, I should never have known how good and how great a man he really was--hardly, perhaps, how great and how invincible a thing intrinsic goodness is. Turning from the world without to the world which was within him, I know nothing more inspiring, more affecting, more sublime, than the undaunted energy, the hopefulness, trustfulness, clearness, patience, and composure, with which his spirit sustained itself under that most depressing fortune. The heart of Job himself was not so sorely tried, nor did it pass the trial better...


   Nineteenth century Anglican minister Dean Church wrote this of Bacon:


In temper, in honesty, in labour, in humility, in reverence, he was the most perfect example that the world has yet seen.... the duty and service of helping his Brethren to know as they had never yet learned to know.


    Seventeenth century English essayist Francis Osborne, author of Advice to a Son wrote:


He struck all men with an awful reverence.


    English historian Hepworth Dixon in his book titled: Personal History of Lord Bacon:


A soft voice, a laughing lip, a melting heart, made him hosts of friends. No child could resist the spell of his sweet speech, of his tender smile, of his grace without study, his frankness without guile...Everything holy, innocent and gay acts on his spirits like wine on a strong man’s blood. Joyous, helpful, swift to do good, slow to think evil, he leaves on every one who meets him a sense of friendliness, of peace and power.


    Said Peter Boener, Bacon’s apothecary:


A memorable example to all of virtue, kindness, peaceableness, and patience.


    And these beautiful words from Dr. William Rawley:


He was deeply religious for he was conversant with God and able to render a reason for the hope which was in him.


   His authorship of the Plays aside, Bacon proved himself to be a statesman in the mode of the philosopher king. His Essays alone reveal the wisest and most loving of men who could express his thoughts with clarity, beauty and force. He was a practical idealist whose high purpose was to strengthen, deepen and uplift the minds and hearts of men. And thus he approached his writings from every field and endeavor of life through the transfiguring medium of a higher, more expressive language. Speaking about the Essays in his pocket book A Guide to Francis Bacon, prolific American philosopher Will Durant writes: “He [Bacon] offers us infinite riches in a little phrase; each of these essays gives in a page or two the distilled subtlety of a master mind on a major issue of life. It is difficult to say whether the matter or the manner more excels; for here is language as supreme in prose as Shakespeare’s is in verse...and reflects the exuberance of the Renaissance; no man in English literature is so fertile in pregnant and pithy comparisons.” The Shakespeare Plays teem with the same educational purpose, illuminating, increasing and procuring the good of all and the betterment of mankind, and doing so with that same ‘clarity, beauty and force’ that characterized the vast life and works of Bacon the philosopher statesman.

    Great art can carry the love of heaven to our hearts as sublimely as holy prayer can carry divine grace to our souls, if the soul has a living faith in such divinity. One could randomly choose a hundred different verses from any number of the Plays and Sonnet texts and discover that each thought is a concentrated pearl of Light: a seed ideal that long afterwards grows and flourishes in the soul’s understanding, bringing that soul closer to his true Reality, to the spirit of the divine. Shakespeare was the supreme alchemist in courting our souls to the noblest and purest expression of love on earth. Indeed, the Arts should be an expression of the noblest and purest of human sentiments; and a tribute to lives beautifully lived and fully given. For only by promoting the enduring virtues of the human spirit can we glorify God.

   Shakespeare’s characterizations are unforgettable because their humanity is framed by this divine understanding. No matter the injustice, no matter the pain or tragic suffering, nothing of nobility is ever lost, nothing that is true and honorable is ever destroyed because life is set against the eternal order. Each character is brightly etched as if we know them already and have always known them.  Like characters in the Bible, they are with us and yet live outside of the human life experience. They are filled with the essence (not the wasteland) of life and we take them to our hearts—even in their tragic humanness. And this is the wonder of Shakespeare. He created characters that were both fully human and transcendent because they possessed the quality of pathos—the power to draw profound pity from our hearts. Actors love them more than any other theatrical roles because of the concentration of this pathos in the spoken word and its power (harnessed in gorgeous poetry) to move and uplift an audience. Somehow the author was able to capture and render this dramatic pathos in all its touching and delicate hues with a skill near divine.

    This is no better illustrated than in Shakespeare’s depiction of his heroines. His women truly represent the original and authentic feminist, stamped with the divine imprimatur and not with the radical agenda of our present-day Eves. Indeed, when we think of the heaven-gifted Juliet, of the spirited Rosalind, of exquisite Isabella, of Imogen, Portia, Miranda, Helena, Viola, Hermoine, Perdita, Ophelia, Octavia, Desdemona and Cordelia, we discover the purest models of courage, sacrifice and selflessness, of strength, intelligence and wit, of ardent innocence, faith and lovingness--all qualities of noble womanhood. This gallery of stars features women of every age, parentage, education and life experience, and yet all are divinely feminine in their true nature. On the other hand, our modern literary heroines are more like ciphers of women, who correlate freedom with removing from their souls every trace of moral conscience, even to proudly boasting of their right to kill their unborn child. Shakespeare well understood that if a woman does not embody a strong moral core, from which all noble sensibilities blossom, then men and society are doomed.

    We might ask at this point just what kind of female Will Shakspur the actor kept company with. Without stating the obvious, we can easily assume that they were not the brilliant creatures of Shakespeare’s imagination.

    English actress Ellen Terry (1848-1928) eloquently summed up Shakespeare’s contribution to the feminist cause at a time in history (and for long centuries after) when a woman had no independent life whatsoever of her own. She wrote:


Wonderful women! Have you ever thought how much we all, and women especially, owe to Shakespeare for his vindication of women in these fearless, high-spirited, resolute and intelligent heroines?


   Even in the grandeur and sublimity of their evil, his women are triumphant figures and move us deeply. In the case of Lady Macbeth, Queen Margaret of Anjou, Goneril and Regan, the full measure of their wickedness--of their appetite for vengeance, cruelty and treacherous daring--is never disguised. They exist as they are: impersonations of the worst kind of woman. By their passions we understand to the depths of our being the terrible nature of evil and its consequences.

    No finer exposition of the women of Shakespeare exists than Mrs. Jameson’s Characteristics of Women, Moral, Poetical, and Historical, in which she discusses all of Shakespeare’s heroines according to their brilliantly conceived personalities and the rich and splendid imagery with which they are described in our memories. Her eloquence inclines the reader to think of Shakespeare as the greatest authority on women. And truly there is little to disagree with her about. Her book is a wonderful read.

    Needless to say, the Shakespeare plays contain infinite character-revealing passages that live in our imagination. There is Portia’s “The quality of mercy is not strained,” or the superbly apt testimony by Katherine, “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,” or the gorgeous monologues of Juliet, not to mention her ardent--oh, so thrilling--dialogues with Romeo!

   But the great wisdom of Shakespeare is equally heard from the men of the Plays: Othello’s “Speak of me as I am,” or Caesar’s prescient wisdom, “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,” or that scene between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth wherein he fears his hand will “the multitudinous seas incarnadine,” or his cry at her death:


She should have died hereafter;

There would have been a time for such a word.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more; it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.


    Hamlet is probably the most played figure on the world’s stage—at once noble, complex, and true-hearted to the core. Great tragic art conveys a sense of profound respect or sympathy for the hero and that is exactly what we feel when Hamlet speaks or is spoken about. Hamlet paints his own portrait theatrically with thoughts that are beautiful, deeply thoughtful, and true. There is nothing in all our language that equals his soliloquies. His first one beginning with the line, “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!” conveys so intensely the betrayal wrought upon his mind and soul by the marriage of his mother to his uncle only two months after his father’s death. Then, when his father’s ghost reveals that he was foully murdered, Hamlet plunges into another soul-plying introspection, “O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart.” And then in the keen and vigorous speech beginning, “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I,” we walk the line of cold sanity and mad revenge with Hamlet as he masterminds how “the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.” But no soliloquy is endowed with more tragic pathos than the one portraying Hamlet’s dark night of the soul, “To be or not to be – that is the question...” It is everyman’s spiritual struggle.

    Each character in Hamlet, as in Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello, is a rich study that contributes to the overall tragic exposition of the protagonist. Think of the king’s words, “O, my offense is rank, it smells to Heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon it...”—how they theatrically belong not only to the character speaking but also to Hamlet and all others in dramatic contact with the king.

   In Ophelia’s moving soliloquy we grieve Hamlet’s madness (or quixotic sanity) as much as we grieve the woman bound in love to him, who will soon become even more poignantly mad:


O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!

The courtier’s soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword:

The expectancy and rose of the fair state,

The glass of fashion and the mould of form,

The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!

And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,

That sucked the honey of his music vows,

Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,

Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;

The unmatch’d form and feature of blown youth

Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,

To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!


And how could we ever forget Horatio’s parting words to Hamlet after he dies—truly two of the most heart-wrenching lines in literature:


Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!


  Venus and Adonis was first published in May/April of 1593. In his dedication to the Earl of Southampton, the author describes the work as “the first heir of my invention.” The Latin quotation from Ovid that prominently follows the dedication translates to these words: “Let the common man admire trash or vile things; may golden Apollo serve me full cups of Castalian waters [referring to the mythic fountain created by Apollo, which provided poetic inspiration].” With these words William Shakespeare clearly set forth his noble intention. It is accurate to say that, thirty six plays and one hundred fifty four sonnets later, he never wavered from it...

    Shakespeare’s verse has a grandeur and divine coherence that no other playwright or poet has been able to equal. And in no other collection of plays can we find so many tenderly memorable characters: the tragic Othello, the piteous Lear, the loyal Troilus, the ardent and gallant Romeo, the divinely fanciful Rosalind, the wise and womanly Portia, the roguish Viola, the tenderly selfless Cordelia. We have the immortal lovers of Romeo and Juliet, Petruchio and Kate, Ferdinand and Miranda, and the tragic Othello and Desdemona. And for character actors the Bard gives us a feast of studies: Shylock, the Nurse, Bottom, Puck, Sir Toby, Touchstone, Ariel, Cassius, Malvolio, Iago, and Sir John Falstaff—to mention only a few in his extraordinary gallery of portraits perfectly created for acting.

    Shakespeare mined not only the riches of our earthly existence, but the very riches of heaven. Beauty, truth and goodness, made vibrant by wit, provided the wellspring of his genius. He equaled and surpassed the Greeks. They venerated the inexorable will of the gods against which man’s fate was set. Shakespeare assigned man accountability for his actions, and challenged him to be the master of his destiny, as the words of Caesar pronounce:


Men at some time are masters of their fates:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves.” (Julius Caesar I, 2)


   Shakespeare never indulged evil. He never rationalized it. Nor did he make it popular by glamorizing it. He painted it in its true colors for all to see and judge for themselves. If a man chose poorly, if he let his passion overrule his reason, the consequences were swift. He would be destroyed by those consequences or transformed by them through remorse and forgiveness. Personal accountability is the keynote of every one of the Plays. Shakespeare reverenced divinity in man. He admonished us to take charge of our own fate, overcome the vital weaknesses within our character, and seek reconciliation with the eternal order. If his heroes and heroines had intellectual and moral vigor, it was because they had spiritual aspirations toward which their souls ascended. If they had pathos it was because they had purity, tenderness, and nobility of heart. They were willing to suffer in order to grow. They were willing to go through the refiner’s fire to allow God to perfect their hearts in “the way, the truth, and the life” of Christ.

    Because of the Shakespearean works, theater rose to be far more than just the interpreter of the times. The author of the Plays proved not only that the stage was at the heart of life, but that life—at its highest, purest, and most poetic—was at the heart of the stage. He held his characters to the gold standard, and by that standard we have judged them, generation after generation. It is because Shakespeare kept the flame of divine virtue brilliantly illumined in the men and women who peopled his dramas that the Elizabethan era brought forth the noblest theater the world has ever known. Indeed, the entire Shakespeare Canon reveals a golden-age mind that would lead us to our soul’s best, and to attainment beyond even our fondest dreams! How fitting, therefore, that Sir Francis Bacon’s personal motto was PLUS ULTRA (Further Beyond)!

    Said Thomas Macaulay:


The largeness of his mind was all his own. The glance with which he surveyed the intellectual universe resembled that which the archangel, from the golden threshold of heaven, darted down into the new creation.

    “Round he surveyed and well might, where he stood

    So high above the circling canopy

    Of night’s extended shade--from eastern point

    Of Libra to the fleecy star which bears

    Andromeda far off Atlantic seas

    Beyond the horizon.[John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book III]


     Was Macaulay speaking of Bacon or Shakespeare? And, does it matter? For the words are infinitely true of both.

    It has been universally conceded that William Shakespeare was the greatest genius of his age. Likewise, the same consensus exists whenever history speaks of Francis Bacon—the words of Edwin Reed perhaps best summing up that illustrious reputation:


Not two critics agree as to the nature or cause of the profound impression he [Francis Bacon] has made on mankind. We are certain only that he is a resplendent orb, in the light of which, across an interval of three centuries, every man still casts a shadow.


    There is and can be no mystery as to the identity of William Shakespeare. For when we study the works of Shakespeare and the life and works of Francis Bacon, it is a perfect match! As I expressed to one of my favorite journalists recently: “I wrote the story of Francis Bacon to tell the truth. I knew even as a child that an uneducated bumpkin could not have penned the beautiful verse that touched so reverently the beauty in my heart. Nor could a rake in the person of the Earl of Oxford. Only a man who comprehended the mystery of God’s love, and lived that love intensely and beautifully in his own life, could have been such a worthy vessel. It took me a lifetime to discover who the real person was.” 

   I am a convinced and devoted Baconian. Since there is not a single volume of biographical history in print that has filled in all the days and months and years of Bacon’s life with actual events and actual dialogue (the historical records are few indeed), I have attempted to do so through the medium of an historical romance novel. Prince of Our Dreams: Young Shakespeare is my attempt to lead the reader to discover the man behind the mask of William Shakespeare, and to thereby pay tribute to one of the noblest hearts and visionary geniuses that ever walked this earth. And though I have had to invent imaginary scenes, these scenes have been based on historical fact, or woven together from what the Plays and Sonnets tell us and from what Bacon personally disclosed in his cipher codes. Some will argue that a novel is not scholarly evidence. I prefer to take Bacon’s view of fiction as the means to bring the heart and spirit of a character alive to men’s understanding and affections by appealing to the imagination, wherein is more receptivity to and acceptance of truth, as well as rejection of error. Bacon himself taught that both philosophy and dramatical poesy are equally powerful means to convey profound truths. It is why he mastered both.

   In my novel I have made our Sir Francis live as a flesh and blood person, with a heart open to every heartache and injustice, and a soul that soars to the heavens. In so doing, I have tried to follow the advice of Michel Montaigne (who was one of Bacon’s mask): “I have gathered here an offering of other people’s flowers, bringing to them of my own only a thread to bind them with.”

    It is important to realize that Bacon was a master of disguises--so much so that it is my firm belief that only through fiction can we adequately bring alive his true (and expertly concealed) character, and the beautiful, erudite spirit that animated his every thought and deed. If we do not comprehend that Bacon was Shakespeare, then we will never know the true Bacon, or the true Shakespeare, for that matter. For only in his art is Francis Bacon fully revealed as himself. Indeed, he is his art; his soul and spirit embody it.

    The Plays and Sonnets depict the full range of the most perplexing situations in which men and women find themselves in the conduct of their lives. The tenderest, most tragic, or sweetest passion was no stranger to Francis Bacon. He had lived them all, measure for measure, and placed them before our eyes in lively (comic and tragic) representation according to the golden mean of his heart. As I wrote in my article for Baconiana in 2008: “The Plays possess greatness as actable works of art. The elements that make them so supremely theatrical are the very same elements that make them unforgettable literature. These elements are as follows: noble vision (or intention), high theme, unity of story action, richly wrought characterizations, and dramatic dialogue that expresses the most exquisite pathos and sweetness. The wonder of the Plays is that all these elements are bound together by an unprejudiced and altruistic love for humanity—in other words, by Francis Bacon’s mysterious spirit.”

    “The entry of truth depends on the mind capable to lodge and harbor it,” wrote Bacon in Novum Organum (1620), Book I, Aphorism XXXV. I know that my book, in its narrative story line, will not convince all. It is difficult to uproot a deeply harbored bias in another, or to successfully appeal to the intellectually stubborn or prideful mind. Nor shall I be able to move those who do not or will not engage their hearts with the heart of Francis Bacon, and see and understand him anew as “Shake-speare.” But the great virtue shared by all Baconians is our persistence to keep trying to argue and persuade. For that is something Francis Bacon never stopped doing. It is why his labor was a great one. And why mankind continue to share in the harvest of that mighty labor, like the miracle of the bread and wine.  

    I cannot help but think of Bacon when I read the words of Huston Smith, From The Religions of Man, when he spoke of Gautama Buddha: “…but in his life as Buddha, he springs of tenderness gushed abundant. Intent to draw from all the arrows of sorrow, he gave to each his sympathy, his enlightenment, and that strange power of soul which, even when he did not speak a word, gripped the hearts of his visitors and left them transformed.”

  Prince of our Dreams: Young Shakespeare is the first volume of a planned trilogy on Francis Bacon’s life. It tells the story of his royal birth and of his eager youth as a Tudor Rose-bud, dreaming of those great things he would accomplish as England’s king--dreams tragically brought to ground by the tyrannical hand of his mother the queen. It is my fervent hope that those who read my novel will feel something of the divine fire that lives in the Shakespeare plays and sonnets, and which represents the true personality of Francis Bacon’s soul and its holy communion with that “sacred and inspired divinity, the sabaoth and port of all [his] labors and peregrinations...”



    

“The Great Poet Sage has waited overlong for his restoration in the eyes of his own countrymen...[and of the world].”  J.S.L. Millar, The Man in the Shakespeare Mask.    




The Prayer of Sir Francis Bacon



Most Gracious Lord God, my merciful Father, from my youth up, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Comforter. Thou (O Lord) soundest and searchest the depths and secrets of all hearts; thou acknowledgest the upright of heart, thou judgest the hypocrite, thou ponderest men's thoughts and doings as in a balance, thou measurest their intentions as with a line, vanity and crooked ways cannot be hid from thee.

Remember (O Lord) how thy servant hath walked before thee; remember what I have first sought, and what hath been principal in my intentions. I have loved thy assemblies, I have mourned for the divisions of thy Church, I have delighted in the brightness of thy sanctuary. This vine which thy right hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever prayed unto thee that it might have the first and the latter rain; and that it might stretch her branches to the seas and to the floods. The state and bread of the poor and oppressed have been precious in my eyes: I have hated all cruelty and hardness of heart; I have (though in a despised weed) procured the good of all men. If any have been mine enemies, I thought not of them; neither hath the sun almost set upon my displeasure; but I have been as a dove, free from superfluity of maliciousness. Thy creatures have been my books, but thy Scriptures much more. I have sought thee in the courts, fields, and gardens, but I have found thee in thy temples.

Thousands have been my sins, and ten thousand my transgressions; but thy sanctifications have remained with me, and my heart, through thy grace, hath been an unquenched coal upon thy altar. O Lord, my strength, I have since my youth met with thee in all my ways, by thy fatherly compassions, by thy comfortable chastisements, and by thy most visible providence. As thy favours have increased upon me, so have thy corrections; so as thou hast been always near me, O Lord; and ever as my worldly blessings were exalted, so secret darts from thee have pierced me; and when I have ascended before men, I have descended in humiliation before thee.

And now when I thought most of peace and honour, thy hand is heavy upon me, and hath humbled me, according to thy former loving-kindness, keeping me still in thy fatherly school, not as a bastard, but as a child. Just are thy judgments upon me for my sins, which are more in number than the sands of the sea, but have no proportion to thy mercies; for what are the sands of the sea, to the sea, earth, heavens? and all these are nothing to thy mercies.

Besides my innumerable sins, I confess before thee, that I am debtor to thee for the gracious talent of thy gifts and graces, which I have neither put into a napkin, nor put it (as I ought) to exchangers, where it might have made best profit; but misspent it in things for which I was least fit; so as I may truly say, my soul hath been a stranger in the course of my pilgrimage. Be merciful unto me (O Lord) for my Saviour's sake, and receive me into thy bosom, or guide me in thy ways.


Found among Bacon's papers: Birch MSS, 4263, f.110, copy in contemporary hand, published in James Spedding's The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon, Vol. VII, p 229. According to Spedding, this prayer was composed 'certainly before the 18th April [1621], and most probably at this very time'. This time was during the period when his impeachment was being discussed and proposed in the House of Lords, and he had just written his will, dated 10th April 1621. On the 18th April Bacon had an interview with the King concerning the charge about to be brought against him. (Excerpt taken from www.sirbacon.org)