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Why Robert Devereux is the Shakespeare Image



Why Robert Devereux is the Image of Shakespeare


Edwin R Larson


Table of Contents

5   Introduction

9   A Brief History of the Robert Deveroux 2nd Earl of Essex

14  Brief Outline of The Tragical History of Our Late Brother, Earl of Essex

by Orville Owen

20 Excerpt from Murder of the Queen in which Francis expresses his


23 The Image

24 Oddly Shaped Man or Severed Head

25 Edge of Mask or Axe Cut

26 Strange Non Seeing Eyes

27 The StrangeCollar

28 The Coat

29To the Reader

31 Severed Heads

32 Side by Side Comparison

33 Condell and Hemminge



Shakespeare scholarship has been strangled  by the simplistic  and magical  theory that Shagspur was an acceptable misspelling for the  name of a man for whom there are no tax records and nothing official to validate his existence. William Shagspur of Stratford on Avon owned not a single book or play and was possibly illiterate.  Nevertheless Shapiro and others who are very literate teach students that the plays and sonnets came from a source reserved for dieties and  magicians. The truth is sometimes disappointing to the strong imagination but truth makes sense and is always reassuring.  Human nature is complicated enough without inventing events.

I was originally shocked and even angered by the paucity of relevant Shakespeare research. Now I am delighted because the field is open for the discovery of answers to questions that have heretofore produced only loud but baseless opinions.

There have been many books and articles written in the last couple of centuries about  the authorship of Shakespeare but I have been impressed only by the rigorous dismissal of Francis Bacon especially when the feature for inclusion for all the  candidates other than Bacon is imagination –  imagination reserved for no other author in history. Even the Francis Bacon scholars and biographers separate him from any association with Shakespeare. That speaks for the power of the myth. Nevertheless the Francis Bacon story from top bottom is burdened by no contradictions.


But why the myth? Why 384 years after the death of Sir Francis Bacon has mainstream universities and textbooks not taken up a serious examination of his life and the people around him. His story is one for the ages but there have been forces greater than true scholarship that maintain the secret though some people have known about Bacon since the middle of the 18th century.

Here are some reasons why the myth has endured.

(1) The Baconians scattered through the centuries, including Mark Twain, have suffered from lack of producing a

relevant analysis of Elizabethan literature to demonstrate what the Bacon authorship means. The plays need to be analyzed and scientifically compared to all Elizabethan writers. The many gaps in Spedding and other biographers need to be filled. That one man accounted for so much profound literature, poetry, and philosophy is astounding but a fresh and blood genius is far more inspiring than the Stratfordian miracle. Pivotal is Orville Owen’s discovery of Bacon’s autobiography inserted into the Shakespeare plays and works of Herbert Spencer, Chris Marlowe, Ben Johnson, Peele, and Burton.

I believe Owen’s discovery places him in a category apart from all the professors who teach and write the textbooks. Who of them has memorized the plays like Owens? Unfortunately, Orville appears to have  fallen in love with Francis Bacon rather than his work and published five  volumes of autobiography in the raw Shakespearian without offering an explanation for what it all meant. That may be one reason Owens was so easily forgotten. The Shakespeare in autobiographical form is more difficult to read than the plays because it doesn’t flow as well and the information is camaflougue by the elaborate wording.

(2) Bacon would have made his autobiography difficult to read because his enemies would torture and kill him if they found out what he said about them. Being an heir to the throne was like a death sentence in that family. Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth’s first born, was directly in the line of succession. Elizabeth heeself was in danger all her life but was spared because no one took her seriously until Mary died. Of course Elizabeth could have caused Mary’s as well as Edward’s death.

(3) Though Bacon supported the family monarchy many of the plays are critical of the absolute power of kings and the divine right of succession. Incidentally, Elizabeth called Francis on the carpet for Richard II. When she asked him if Richard II was treasonous he replied no but that the author was guilty of plagiarism. She bought his explanation and he made sure Richard III had fictitious author so no one would get hurt.

(4)  According to the Bacon autobiographies, Bacon’s enemies were wary of his potential power and destroyed all the evidence they could that connected him with the queen, Robert Devereux and Robert Dudley.

(5) Francis Bacon left a sour taste in the British mind because he appeared to use Essex for his own advancement and then prosecuted him for the Essex rebellion. Actually Bacon in private argued vigorously for Essex’s life which conversely added to the queens anger and as a result she threatened to kill him as well unless he prosecuted his brother. He did a good job as ordered but the queen could have stopped the process at any time. She was never the same afterwards.

Under King James Francis became chancellor and was impeached to help cover-up the illegal activities of King James and the Duke of Buckingham.  The king ordered him not to defend himself and then pardoned him without explanation. The public was not allowed to know.

(6) Bacon also made enemies because no one could match his eloquence, reasonableness, and compassion. He probably influenced the social proceedings where ever he went because of his continuous and insightful dialogue.

(7) As a member of Parliament he opposed bills that oppressed the people and was punished in various ways. Though Bacon was of great service to the throne and his country he received no compensation for it. All his income came from his law practice and stipend from the offices he held and the sale of his writings. The cost of publishing and printing the plays and his many other works was more than his income so he borrowed considerable sums of money. He was embarrassed with jail once for failure to pay his debt.

(8) The plays were popular even before the authorship was uncovered and the Shakespeare industry would fight any competition for survival. A lot of money is at stake.

(9) It was Shakespeare that raised the English language to respectability during Bacon’s lifetime and English was then established as a world language.

(10) William Shakespeare has no controversial past to taint the elegance of British view of their history. The name Shakespeare is patriotic.

(11) To recognize that one man was behind the English Renaissance is, to say the least, intimidating. Our culture and history would be better served to admire rather than fear the magnitude of his mind and accomplishments.

(12) Lastly, and possibly most importantly Bacon poses a threat to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of careers. Naturally Shakespeare scholars would shrink from Francis Bacon. Their elegant and personal pieces of brilliance about a nonexistence man would become forgotten oddities. However, we need not fear their suffering because according to habit they would simply ignore their mistake and introduce Bacon as though they always knew it. Once Bacon makes it to the college text books there will be an explosion of Bacon experts and in the end no one will lose their jobs because the brilliant Shakespeare scholars will become the brilliant Bacon scholars and England will have one more reason to be proud of her heritage.  In addition all forms of media will wallow in the new stories of the British aristocracy and make a lot of money for it.


A Brief History of the Robert Deveroux 2nd Earl of Essex

The tragic story of Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex began on 19th November 1566 at Netherwood, Herefords according to the official record. 35 years later on February 25 he died on the chopping block at Tower Hill, London for treason incurred during the Essex Rebellion.

Robert was the adopted son of Walter Devereux the first Earl of Essex, and Lettice Knollys. His biological parents were Robert Dudley and Elizabeth Tudor.

When Walter Deveroux died, in 1576 (Robert was 10 yo), Lord Burghley became his guardian, and his adopted mother married the famous Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Dudley’s marriage to Lettice was controversial for the Queen because she and Dudley had a long relationship and children together. That the queen rejected him didn’t matter to her but probably was motivated by propaganda Cecil fed her.

Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex, entered Trinity, Cambridge, at twelve years old, but was not interested in academics though he became a fair scholar. He was interested in military affairs and the military arts.

Why the secrecy about Roberts birth?  In the first few years of her reign when England was not a world power it was necessary to keep Dudley and his brother Francis a secret because the British did not want a commoner on the throne.

If a Dudley-Tudor marriage went public Elizabeth might have lost the throne and England would risk a united invasion by rulers of European nations who knew that they had no chance with Elizabeth.  The title virgin queen was politically clever but it was hell for her sons.

As he grew up historians thought that the Queen spoiled and flirted with him. Essex was appointed Master of Horse in 1587 and was given the Order of the Garter, the oldest and highest of honours. Robert’s and Elizabeth’s closeness was no secret. A courtier reported, the Queen often had “nobody with her but my Lord of Essex; and at night my Lord is at cards, or new game or another with her, that he cometh not to his own lodgings till birds sing in the morning”. The implication of an affair is humorous given that they were mother and son. Knowing that makes further explanations about their closeness unecessary.

The queen never offered Francis an official office and  title but she did Essex. Francis pressured her indirectly but Essex was very vocal and  demanding. Both men fought for their mothers favor but she was controlled by Robert Cecil who had thoroughly convinced Elizabeth that they were plotting to kill her and take the throne.

Why would she trust Cecil and not her children?  (1) The Tudors tended to killed each other.  (2)Without raising her sons herself she may have lacked the bonding needed to trust them adequately. (3) She probably believed that Robert Cecil was harmless because of his deformities.

Essex was all military until Francis Bacon advised him to enter politics. In an effort to seize power from the aging William Cecil Essex persuaded Elizabeth to appoint him to the Privy Council. There, Essex was excessively obvious and impetuous in his demands on the queen for vacant offices for Francis.  Historians don’t know that Francis also privately solicited the queen in Essex’s behalf. There were stormy scenes between the Queen and Essex. Once Elizabeth boxed his ears for his disrespectful attitude and he acted like he was going to draw his sword against her.

Historians assume that Francis opportunistically attached himself to Essex because Essex was a ‘coming man.’ Being brothers is a better explanation. At least historians knew that Francis gave Essex good advice which Essex ignored.

The Queen loved  power more than anything and certainly more than her family but historians have acknowledged a  maternal attitude toward Essex. She was always anxious when he was gone to wars especially when she ordered him not to. This maternalism was probably confusing to Essex because Robert Cecil undermined his influence and his complaints were ignored.

Robert Deveroux was a distinguished cavalry officer and a valiant soldier and fought in the Netherlands under his biological father Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. He was knighted for gallantryy on the field of battle in the Netherlands, where Sidney was killed.  He was a military advocate always pressing for an improved army and an open war with Spain. He commanded a small English force sent to France to succour Henry IV against the Catholic League. He also commanded the land forces which stormed Cadiz Spain after which Essex became a national hero. It is likely that the Queen was threatened by his popularity. However, in his second expedition to the Azores he failed to intercept a Spanish treasure fleet.

Essex married Frances Sydney, the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Philip Sydney’s widow. This marriage angered the queen. Elizabeth hated Frances because of an incident a few years earlier.  Cecil openly lied that the Frances  had said that the Queen was a whore. The queen almost killed her with her bare hands In front of the entire court.

The beginning of the end for Essex was his insistance he lead the invasion of Ireland.  It was an utter failure. First he had made a senseless march through Munster which bogged his army down and then inexplicably he parled an unauthorized truce with O’Neil the Earl of Tyrone.  Essex explained to the privy counsel, that  he didn’t want to slaughter the weaker Irish.

Some suspected that Essex was exploring, with O’Neal, ways to overthrow his mothers government.  While in Ireland, he also attempted  to train young gallants to ruin the Cecil’s reputation with Elizabeth. Cecil already convienced the Queen believe that Essex was coming with an army to overthrow her.

Some of Essex’s complex personality is revealed in a depressed letter he wrote to Elizabeth during the Irish campaign.

From a mind delighting in sorrow; from spirits wasted with travail, care, and grief; from a heart torn in pieces with passion; from a man that hates himself and all things that keep him alive, what service can your Maj. reap? Since my services past deserve no more than banishment and proscription into the most cursed of all countries, with what expectation or to what end shall I live longer? No, no, the rebel’s pride and successes must give me means to ransom myself, my soul I mean, out of this hateful prison of my body. And if it happen so, your Maj. may believe that you shall not have cause to mislike the fashion of my death, though the course of my life could not please you. From your Maj. exiled servant, Ardbracken, the 30th Aug.Essex.

In the Owen autobiography Bacon describes Essex’s personality which could have been taken from modern descriptions of  a bipolar condition.

After writing the letter Essex abandoned his army and barged into the queens bed chambers late at night to seak her reasurance that Cecil had not gained more power..

He was charged with “great and high contempts and points of misgovernance” and was tried before a special court where Francis Bacon prosecuted. Essex was confined to his house for nine months and was dismissed from his office as well as  banned from the royal court for ever.

Essex then secretely asked King James of Scotland to support he and Lord Mountjoy the Earl of Southampton and orhers in an uprising against the Queen.

Essex was sill popular so he planned to establish his own power base and instigated a rebellion with a small body of followers hoping to gain more support but the Londoners were uninterested in the squabbles of the aristocracy.  After the Essex’s Rebeliion he was arrested, jailed, tried, found guilty of treason and Elizabeth signed the death warrant. Essex was executed. The queen was never the same.

Robert Devereux was a handsome young man with a dignified bearing and great dash and spirit; but with a domineering egotism.  He was impulsive; ill disciplined and historians think had a jealous nature and unreasonable ambitions. As it turns out his demands weren’t so unreasonable.

However, history views Essex as vain and rash beyond anyone of his age, lacking any real measure of statesmanship having been born into a position for which he was unfit. Yet he possessed great qualities which endeared him even to those with whom he quarrelled.  He had a most utter frankness, warm affection and generosity and, in war, the courage of a Paladin.

An outline of The Tragical History of Our Late Brother, Earl of Essex by Orville Owe

Scene 1

In private Francis is pleading with his mother Queen Elizabeth to spare his brother’s life.


Queen Elizabeth: Robert was a worthy officer in the wars, but he was insolent and overcome with pride, ambitious past all thinking, self-loving and affecting one sole throne, without assistance.

Sir Francis Bacon: Oh, I think not so

Queen Elizabeth: Villain! I’ll set a point against thy breast.  Thou dost not use most dear employment and what I further shall intend to do.  By heaven, I will tear the joints by joint is strew a hungry churchyard with thy limbs: the time in my intents are savage wild, more fierce and more inexorable far, than empty Tigers or the roaring sea.  But not another sin upon my head by urging me to fury.Oh!  Be gone.

Sir Francis Bacon: To revenge is no if the valor but to bear.  To be in anger is impiety.

Queen Elizabeth: But who is born not angry?  Weigh but the crime with this.  Blood draw blood, and blows have answered blows; strength matched with strength and power confronted with power: both are like them both alike we like: one must prove greatest.

Francis Bacon: Believe this, no ceremony that to great ones ‘longs, not the Kings Crown, nor the deputed sword, the marshals truncheon, nor the judges robe, becomes them with one half so good a grace as mercy does.


Queen Elizabeth: I was not born to die on Essex sword!  In the name of the people and in the power of us, their Queen we will push destruction and perpetual shame on the weak door of our fainting land.  See here, in bloody times we have set down and what is written shall be executed; your brother is to die, as his offenses are accounted to the law.

Sir Francis Bacon: Oh, your grace, you are not as cruel as the sentence.  I know no law, Madam, at answering one foul wrong lives but to act another.

Queen Elizabeth: Be satisfied your treacherous brother dies; be content.

Sir Francis Bacon: Oh, it is excellent, your Majesty, to have a giants strength: It is very to use it like a giant.

Queen Elizabeth: Peace, peace Sir, peace.  Were I not the better part made of mercy?  I should not seek an absent argument of my revenge, you peasant, you traitor.  Look to it you villain, your life is dependent on your brother’s death.  Let our instructions to you be your guide, under penalty of your own faults head.

Sir Francis Bacon: I do partly understand your meaning.

Queen Elizabeth: Why then, go get the home you fragment vile.  Pursued this writing here, and I’ll shall know, in is death for death, brother for a brother: haste still pays haste and leisure answers leisure; like does quit like; and measure still for measure.

Scene 2

Inside the palace there is a stormy discussion over Essex desire for assignment to be commander of the forces for Ireland but the Queen Elizabeth’s refuses.  Essex is defiant and the Queen boxes his ears.

Queen Elizabeth: Take you that!

Infuriated Essex essays to draw his sword and leaves in a rag.  Then she relents and sends the Admiral and Cecil to call him back.

Queen Elizabeth: My ungracious son does hate me so.

Elizabeth announces to the Lords that Essex will go to Ireland. She dismisses everyone but Essex to whom she makes a promise.

Queen Elizabeth: the next degree shall be England’s Royal throne, an active and for you shall be proclaimed King of England and every borough.

Scene 3

At Essex House Essex out lines his purposes in Ireland.

Essex and Bacon say farewell.

Scene 4

Cecil tells the Queen Essex is returning with an army.  Elizabeth walks in her sleep having a horrible dream.  The Queen and ladies are in prayer.  In the bedchamber of the Queen Essex arrives noisily in the period. She allows him to be admitted.

Queen Elizabeth: Bless you my blessed boy, then Sir Withdrawal and our return.

The ladies in waiting dress the Queen in handsome robes and Essex returns and she embraces him in the discourses of Ireland and claims the dukedom of York. 

Scene 5

Cecil comes in and frightens the Queen with false reasons for Essex sudden return.

Scene 6

Bacons warns Essex at Cecil’s intrigues and bids him fly to France. 

Scene 7

The Queen shows her displeasure at Essex’s return and bids him go to his home.

Scene 8

In the council chamber the Queen informs Essex that he must appear before the council.

Queen Elizabeth: but if Sir, you be put in bondage, appeal to us and deliver us this ring.

Scene 9

Before the ethics council Essex insults Cecil.  Essex is commanded to close confinement in his house. 

Scene 10

He quarrels with his brother Frances.

Scene 11

 Francis pleads with the Queen for Essex and is interrupted by news of Essex’s revolt. 

Scene 12

At the gate of Essex’s house the Lords demand he surrender but Essex’s soldiers surround and take them away. 

Scene 13

In a London street Essex endeavors to insight the mob to burn and plunder.  In front of the Essex House he stands on the wall and calls for the alarm for a clash of arms. 

Scene 14

He is summoned to parlay and comes down and is arrested and taken to the tower at the Palace.

Scene 15

Queen Elizabeth: where is the Earl?

Robert Cecil: The Tower your grace.

Scene 16

The trial of Essex is ordered and bacon pleas for a pardon for Essex

Queen Elizabeth: your treacherous brother dies!  Your life is dependent on your brother’s death.  But our instructions, your guide, under penalty of your own false head. Pursue this writing here, and you shall know it is death for death a brother for a brother.  He still pays haste and leisure answers leisure: like does quit like a measure still for measure.

Scene 17

In the Star Chamber during the trial, Essex denounces Cecil and Essex is condemned to execution. 

Scene 18

In the streets of London Essex is under guard and sees the ax.  The crowd edges toward him and his lead to the dungeon.  In the gardens of the palace lady Essex with her child pleads for Essex life prefer the Queen.  Francis Bacon supports her and supplicants the Queen without result.

Queen Elizabeth: till see that he is executed by nine tomorrow morning.

Scene 19

In the dungeon.

Robert Devereux: no bending knee will call me Caesar now.

Bacon comes to the dungeon

Robert Devereux: Oh you damned cur.  Whom to call brother would infect my mouth.  Get thee gone you most wicked Sir.

Francis Bacon: Is it my fault that I was forced to plead?  How much thou wrongst me.  Heaven be my judge.

Essex up braids him with the sharpest scorn until the Lord keeper comes to the dungeon and commands Francis to depart and gives commission to the jailer takeover.  The dealers bind Essex in a chair and shows him the order.

Robert Devereux: Must you with hot irons burn out of my eyes?  Cut out my tongue so that I may still keep both my eyes.

The jailer tears out one of his eyes and then the other.

Robert Devereux: all is dark and comfortless.  God kindle all the sparks of nature to quit this horrid act.

The Jailer: away with him.  Lead him back to the block.


Excerpt from Murder of the Queen by Edwin R Larson in which Francis is in full mourning.

Sir Francis Bacon

Oh, Essex! Essex! Essex!

The best friend I had!  Oh courteous Essex!  Honest gentleman!  I never believed I could live to see him dead!

Aye, me!

God save the truth!  I can only tell you what I saw.  There on his manly chest was the wound where they tortured him, my poor brother.  I saw it with my eyes. He was a bloody piteous corpse, pale as ashes and covered in blood with his head cut off by the golden ax.

I swooned at the sight.  Oh, this torture should be roared in dismal hell.  I was involved more than anyone and had the least ability to stop it but a power greater than mine controlled my efforts.

And guess who killed him?  My mother the great Albion’s Queen concert with that damned and guilty slave of nature, Lord Burleigh’s son, Robert Cecil to, the child of hell, a man naturally made for murder and rape who took my honor, state, and seat.  He envied Essex’s honor and prosperity and dedicated his life to Essex’s death

Essex and I were Tudors just as the queen and we loved her naturally and each other.  But Robert Cecil misled her and she turned against us – her own sons.  He falsified allegations against Robert Dudley in order to destroy his parks, chop down his woods, tear his household coat of arms from his windows, and raze his public symbols until there was no sign of him except the memory of those who knew him and his two sons to tell the world he was a noble gentleman.

Oh, Cursed is the hand that made those holes in my brother.

Cursed is the heart that had the heart to do it.

Cursed is the blood that left him.

The Earl of Essex was in a class by himself.

Tell me, in what style did the noble youth of the day dress and mark?  Like Essex every noble youth in the Kingdom practiced Essex’s gait, and spoke with his impediment of speech that became the accent for the valiant as well as for people with low and tardy speech.  Followers would imitate him even if they were teased for it.

His speech, his gait, his diet, his habits of delight, and his military rules were the standard for gallantry.  He was the mark — and — glass, and the copy — and — book that fashioned the style of others.  He was also a target for popular rumors about his lineage.

Oh, Wondrous Essex!

Oh, miracle of men!

May his heavenly Glory brighten us.

Honor stuck to Essex like the sun sticks in the gray vaulted heaven.  Under the light of his bright sun, English men were inspired to acts of bravery and chivalry that copied him.  This sweet and lovely gentleman was a picture of the extravagance of nature.  He was young, valiant, wise, and right royal.  The spacious world cannot create another like him. He was second to none.

I am standing here ranting, impeaching and purging, most piously but I am not innocent.  I am both condemned and excused.  It is not easy for me to tell you I was not a passive spectator in the march toward his death. I prosecuted and won. He was guilty of treason.  I was well armed with the sharp spear of rhetoric and I curse myself for the his execution.

As mankind’s vile wretch I carry a great battle within me and lament about it every day.

O, the deadly wound that I witnessed.

Old fatal poison from my swelling heart

O fortunes constant inconsistency

I must fight the earthquakes inside the bowels of the entrails of the earth

I must fight the eastern whirlwinds of hellish colors

I must fight a foul contamination from heaven’s infection

Deep in my soul I blast the treetops where the dismal night-raven and tragic owl breed and foretell my fall and the fatal ruin of my name.  Adders and serpents hiss at my disgrace and cause anguish on earth with their wounding stings.

The Image

There is only one image of Shakespeare and it is the

Droeshout engraving on the first Folio.  All other presentations and portraits of Shakespeare are inventions of imagination


The dissimilarities between the Droeshout, Chandos, Janssen, Hunt, Ashbourne, Soest, and Dunford portraits show that the artists were unaware of Shakespeare’s actual features. Droeshout is the only artist who knew the man though may not have known him alive.

An oddly misshapen man or a severed head?

“..A huge head, placed on a starched ruff, floating on an absurdly small tunic with oversized shoulder- wings. Light is reflected from several directions simultaneously: it falls on the bulbous protuberance of forehead … that ‘horrible hydrocephalous development’, as it has been called, creates and odd crescent under the right eye…”

Shakespeare’s Lives, by Sam Schoenbaum

 “Even in its best state, it is such a monstrosity that, I for one, do not believe that it has any trustworthy exemplar” – C. M. Ingleby Shakespeare’s Bones: The Proposal to Disinter Them, Considered in Relation to their Possible Bearing on His Portraiture

The face is long and the forehead high; the top of the head is bald, but the hair falls in abundance over the ears –

Sir Sidney Lee, A life of Shakespeare

 “…the head has no body and seems to float above and forward of the rest of the body in a strange disembodied way rather than sitting firmly on the shoulders.” Peter Dawkins, The Shakespeare Enigma

“… the head is not connected with the body, but is resting on the collar” a website published by Phoenixmasonry, Inc.

A mask or the cut of an axe?

“…the peculiar line running from the ear down to the chin. Does this line subtly signify that the face itself a mask, ending at the ear?” –Manly P. Hall

“…Could it be an actor’s mask? The head is out of all proportion with the body. There is a peculiar line running from the ear down to the chin. Does this signify that the face is in fact a mask?” —Bacon is Shakespeare,  Sir Edwin DurningLawrence     

Strange nonseeineyes

(Or no eyes at all)

“… a hard, wooden, staring thing.” – Richard Grant White Life and Genius of Shakespeare

“…the eyes are two left eyes…” Shakespeare Studies, Volume 35 Susan Zimmerman

In Bacons Cipher Story the jailer is ordered to remove Essex’s eyes:

The jailers bind Essex in a chair and show him the order.

Essex: Must you burn my eyes out with hot irons?  Cut out my tongue so that I may keep both my eyes.

The jailer tears out one of his eyes and then the other.

A strange collar or the blade of an axe?

The head appears to be sitting on the unique looking collar which looks like metal without fastenings or buttons -Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence,  Bacon is Shakespeare

“The shape of the collar would be an unusual design for a shield as it is concave, or bowed.”

William Shakespeare info (index.htm)  

The collar is shaped with a curvature similar to the curvature of an axe blade.   –ERL

The Coat

The Droeshout coat is drawn flat, as if it were a cardboard cutout.

Probably because the head was sketched without the body. – ERL

The figure is clothed in a coat composed of the back and the front of the same left arm. The left emphasis suggests a secret — Peter Dawkins, The Shakespeare Enigma

The boy also appears to be wearing a coat with two left arms

and is identified as Francis Bacon

Ben Johnson’s Commendation to the image on the first folio.

Ben Jonson’s wrote a commendation to the Droeshout Engraving in which he references Essex’s beheading

This Figure, that thou here seest put,

It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;

Cut is what happened to Essex

Wherein the Grauer had a strife

Graver refers to the executioner – not the engraver of typesetting.                               with Nature, to out-doo the life:

Out-doo the life refers to the act of killing

O, could he but haue drawne his wit

This quote was taken verbatim from Bacons portrait painter.

As well in brasse,

Essex’s head was removed with a brass axe. Brass was used for axes to execute royalty and not printing The printer used a harder alloy tin……….

as he hath hit His face:

Thomas Derrick, the executioner, who was also Essex’s friend, had to use three swings of the axe to sever Essex’s head. In the process Derrick probably hit Essex in the face with one of the strokes.

the Print would then surpasse All, that vvas euer vvrit in brasse.

The pen is still mightier than the axe of brass. O’ but had he been allowed, his writing would surpass the bloody statement made by the axe of brass.

But, since he cannot, Reader, look

Not on his Picture, but his Booke

In Owen’s cipher story the jailer was ordered to tear Essex’s eyes out before execution. This last line of Jonson’s could be a reference to Essex’s inability to look at anything including this Booke. He cannot read. Bacon, through Johnson, is giving his deceased brother all the credit for being Shakespeare for two reasons: guilt for prosecuting him and to protect himself if his autobiography was found out.

The statue of Shakespeare at Trinity Church and other severed heads

My apologies for the gruesome depictions of decapitated heads. Notice the common expression in all of them including the Shakespeare statue at Trinity Church in Stratford (lower left).

“The bust, too — there in Stratford Church. The precious bust, the priceless bust, the calm bust, the serene bust, the emotionless bust–that face with the deep, deep, deep, subtle, subtle expression of a bladder:” Mark Twain:

A side by side comparison of the Droughshout engraving and Deveruex’s portraits

There are remarkable similarities in the facial features of Robert Deveroux and the Droeshout engraving.  Notice the upper lip. Robert was reported to have a lisp

Draw your own conclusion

Condell and Heminge

       William Shagspur of Stratford on Avon died seven years before the first folio was published. The folio contains a preface apparently written by John Heminge and Henry  Condell  which alludes to the author being dead. Shagspur was dead since 1616 but Francis Bacon wasn’t. What does that mean? It means that Bacon wanted his plays associated with someone dead to blame if the autobiography was discovered.  There couldn’t be a better person than Essex who died 22 years earlier.

Bacon, by this time, had given up hope for the throne but other royalty waiting for James to die wouldn’t know that so he was probably under continuous scrutiny.

Good news or bad news, much of the direct evidence proving he was the queen’s son was destroyed by Robert Cecil. Lady Bacon, who knew who Francis really was, died in 1611. James who knew Francis Bacon was a Tudor could also have been uncomfortable with Francis being around. So after his impeachment in 1621 Francis completely quit politics and public life and dedicated himself to writing – thus the folio.  He did not know how well his autobiography was camaflougue and obviously needn’t have been as cautious.

Bacon couldn’t publish the folio himself but why he asked Condell and Heminge to handle the publication of his collected works is yet unclear.





Copy of Preface to the first Shakespeare folio


Comedies, Histories, Tragedies, Published according to the True Original Copies. London
Printed by Ifaac Iaggard, and Ed, Bount. 1623
TO THE MOST NOBLE AND INCOMPARABLE PAIRE OF BRETHREN WILLIAM Earle of Pembroke, &c; Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most Excellent Majesty.

and PHILIP Earle of Montgomery, &c;. Gentleman of his Majesties Bed-Chamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order of the Garter, and our singular good L O R D S.



 Right Honourable, Whilst we studie to be thankful in our particular for the many favors we have received from your L.L. (Lordships), we are fallen upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can be: feare, and rashnesse – rashnesse in the enterprize, and feare of the successe. For, when we valew the places your H.H. sustaine, we cannot but know their dignity greater, then to descend to the reading of these trifles: and, while we name them trifles, we have depriv’d our selves of the defence of our Dedication. But since your L.L. have beene pleas’d to thinke these trifles some-thing, heeretofore; and have prosequuted both them, and their Authour living, with so much favour: we hope, that (they out-living him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any Booke choose his Patrones, or finde them: This hath done both. For, so much were your L.L. likings of the severall parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the Volume ask’d to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his Orphanes, Guardians; without ambition either of selfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend, & Fellow alive, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by humble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed, no man to come neere your L.L. but with a kind of religious addresse; it hath bin the height of our care, who are the Presenters, to make the present worthy of your H.H. by the perfection.


But, there we must also crave our abilities to be considerd, my Lords. We cannot go beyond our owne powers. Country hands reach foorth milke, creame, fruites, or what they have : and many Nations (we have heard) that had not gummes & incense, obtained their requests with a leavened Cake. It was no fault to approach their Gods, by what meanes they could: And the most, though meanest, of thins are made more precious, when they are dedicated to Temples. In that name therefore, we most humbly consecrate to your H.H. these remaines of your servant Shakespeare; that what delight is in them, may be ever your L.L. the reputation his, & the faults ours, if any be committed, by a payre so carefull to shew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead, as is.

Your Lordshippes most bounden,


To the great Variety of Readers.

From the most able, to him that can but spell: there you are number’d. We had rather you were weighed; especially, when the fate of all bookes depends upon your capacities and not of your heads alone, but of your purses. Well ! It is now publique, & you wil stand for your priviledges wee know : to read, and censure. Do so, but buy it first. That doth best commend a Booke, the Stationer saies. Then, how odde soever your braines be, or your wisedomes, make your licence the same, and spare not. Judge your six-pen’orth, your shillings worth, your five shillings worth at a time, or higher, so you rise to the just rates, and welcome. But, whatever you do, Buy. Censure will not drive a Trade, or make the Jacke go. And though you be a Magistrate of wit, and sit on the Stage at Black-Friers, or the Cock-pit, to arraigne Playes dailie, know, these Playes have had their triall alreadie, and stood out all Appeales ; and do now come forth quitted rather by a Decree of Court, then any purchased letters of commendation.

It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to have bene wished, that the author himselfe had lived to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings; but since it hath bin ordain’d otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine, to have collected & publish’d them; and so to have publish’d them, as where (before) you were abused with diverse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors, that expos’d them : even those, are now offer’d to your view cur’d, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers as he conceived them.

Who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it. His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he uttered with that easinesse, that wee have scarse received from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our province, who onely gather his works, and give them you, to praise him. It is yours that reade him. And there we hope, to your divers capacities, you will finde enough, both to draw, and hold you: for his wit can no more lie hid, then it could be lost. Reade him, therefore; and againe, and againe : And if then you doe not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him. And so we leave you to other of his Friends, whom if you need, can be your guides: if you neede them not, you can lead yourselves, and others, and such readers we wish him.

John Heminge.
Henrie Condell.





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