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publishing of his own writings before his death, to be but an untimely anticipation of that which is proper to follow a man, and not to go along with him.”1

There is an even more striking piece of evidence of Bacon's large-minded indifference to a literary reputation so long as a public object was to be gained. It occurs in an anonymous fragment, being an introduction (written fairly early in Bacon's life) to a preliminary sketch for a history of the reigns of the Tudor sovereigns, which, greatly to the loss of the world, was never carried out, with the exception of the History of Henry VII. A copy got into the hands of Speed, a contemporary historian, who quotes it as "fragm. MS. of Sr. Fr. B." and Spedding recognizes it as Bacon's work. In praising these times, which Bacon was never tired of doing, he concludes:

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there will be no doubt but the times which I have chosen are of all former times of this nation the fittest to be registered; if it be not in this respect, that they be of too fresh memory, which point I know very well will be a prejudice, as if this story were written in favour of the present time. But it shall suffice unto me, without betraying mine own name and memory or the liberty of a history, to procure this commendation to the time with posterity, namely, that a private man living in the same time should not doubt to publish an history of the time which should not carry any show or taste at all of flattery; a point noted for an infallible demonstration of a good time."

There was also the same command of style in the two writers and the same power to vary it at will. Thus Professor Saintsbury on Shakespeare3 mentions his lack of any distinctive style, beyond "a supreme and curiously simple felicity. It is practically'all style,' and a certain condiment which is called 'all spice'; and its universality justifies the definition habitus orationis a cujusque natura fluens."

Of Bacon's style Mr. S. H. Reynolds says, in his edition of the Essays, " to speak therefore of Bacon's style is, in strict terms, impossible. Almost the only attribute common to his writings is that they bear the mark of a grand and

1 Spedding, Letters and Life, vii. 374.

Spedding, Works, vi. 16, 20.

'Cambridge History of English Literature, Vol. V.

confident self-esteem.

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The fact seems to be that

Bacon had at all times almost any style at command."

Lastly there is the same suppression of all direct allusion to themselves by both writers. To quote Reynolds again: "Not much of Bacon's character and mode of life can be seen on the surface of the Essays. Here and there we have an indication sometimes of what he was, sometimes of what he believed himself to be, or of what he wished to be thought to be." This is quite true; on the other hand the more Bacon's Essays are studied in connection with the history of his life the more numerous will appear the self-regarding allusions in them. And I believe the same thing to be true of Shakespeare.

The best contemporary portrait of Bacon is to be found probably in that of Wilson in Kennett's History of England. Its value is derived from the fact that Wilson was a friend and companion of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, son of Queen Elizabeth's unfortunate favourite, and Bacon's friend, and that he had access to his and Southampton's papers. Moreover, the account is written with a charitable insight very unusual among the chroniclers of that age. It may be read in full in Kennett, vol. ii, p. 734, but I give some extracts :


"Not long after comes the great Lord Chancellor Bacon to a censure, for the most simple and ridiculous follies that ever entered into the heart of a wise man. He was the true emblem of human frailty, being more than a man in some things, and less than a woman in others. His crime was bribery and extortion . . . and these he had often condemned others for as a judge, which now he comes to suffer for as a delinquent. And they were proved and aggravated against him with

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1 Kennett's note is as follows:

"The author, Arthur Wilson, was a native of Suffolk, of a good Family he travelled through Spain, Germany, Italy and France with Robert Devereux the last Earl of Essex of that name, who had a particular friendship for him, that lasted till that noble Earl's death. It was in his company, and through his acquaintance, that Mr. Wilson became perfectly well informed in all the material transactions of King James's reign and it was the Earl of Essex that first put him upon writing the History of it; wherein he had the use and perusal of a great many Papers of that Earl's, and of his father's past friend and fellow-sufferer the Earl of Southampton,who were both near spectators, and sometimes actors in the affairs of that time." ii. 661.

so many circumstances, that they fell very foully on him, both in relation to his reception of them and his expending of them. For that which he raked in and scrued for one way, he scattered and threw abroad another; for his servants being young, prodigal and expensive youths, which he kept about him, his treasure was their common store, which they took without stint, having free access to his most retired privacies; and his indulgence to them, and familiarity with them, opened a gap to infamous reports, which left an unsavoury tincture on him; for where such leeches are there must be putrid blood to fill their craving appetites. His gettings were, like a Prince, with a weak hand; his expenses, like a prodigal, with a strong hand; and 'tis a wonder a man of his noble and gallant parts, that could fly so high above reason, should fall so far below it; unless that spirit that acted the first, were too proud to stoop to see the deformities of the last. And as he affected his men, so his wife affected hers: seldom doth the husband deviate one way, but the wife goeth another. The things came into the publick mouth, and the Genius of the Times (where malice is not corrival) is the great dictator of all actions: For innocency itself is a crime, when calumny sets her mark upon it. How prudent therefore ought men to be, that not so much as their garments be defiled by the soure breath of the times.

"This poor gentleman, mounted above pity, fell down below it; his tongue, that was the glory of his time for eloquence, (that tuned so many sweet harangues) was like a forsaken harp, hung upon the willows, whilst the waters of affliction overflowed the banks. And now his highflying orations are humbled to supplications; and thus he throws himself, and cause, at the feet of his judges before he was condemned." [There follows" The Humble Submission and Supplication of the Lord Chancellor."]

"Thus was this great spirit brought low, and this humiliation might have raised him up again, if his offences had not been so weighty as to keep him down. He lost his peerage and seal, and the scale was wavering whether he should carry the title Viscount of St. Albans to his grave, and that was all he did; having only left a poor empty being, which lasted not long with him, his honour dying before him. And to heighten his misery the more, many others were crushed to pieces by his fall; for he had a vast debt lay upon him, which they were forced to pay; and though he had a pension allow'd him by the King, he wanted to his last, living obscurely in his lodgings at Gray'sInn, where his loneness and desolate condition wrought upon his ingenious, and therefore then more melancholy temper, that he pined away."

[This is probably an exaggeration and even incorrect.}

"He was of a middling stature; his countenance had indented with age before he was old; his presence grave and comely, of a high flying and lively wit, striving in some things to be rather admir'd than under

stood: yet so quick and easy where he would express himself, and his memory so strong and active, that he appear'd the master of a large and plenteous store-house of knowledge, being (as it were) Nature's midwife, stripping her callow brood and clothing them in new attire. His wit was quick to the last .. In fine, he was a fit jewel to have beautified and adorned a flourishing kingdom, if his flaws had not disgraced the lustre that should have set him off."

We are reminded at once by part of this account of the lines of Shakespeare's Sonnet :

Your love and pity doth the impression fill
Which vulgar scandal stamp'd upon my brow.


This description of Bacon's personal appearance finds confirmation in his own idealised portrait of himself under the figure of one of the "Fathers of Solomon's House" in his imaginative New Atlantis:

"He was a man of middle stature and age, comely of person, and had an aspect as if he pitied men."

The last characteristic is that claimed for himself by Bacon in one of his letters to Burghley under the name of "philanthropia," and alluded to by him again in the Essays Of Love and of Goodness. But this general humanity which Bacon professed, and no doubt sincerely felt, was not incompatible as may sometimes be observed in people of impressionable dispositions-with a total indifference to the fate of individuals. This, however, is one of the problems of Bacon's peculiar and abnormal personality on which I have already written enough. To pass judgment on him seems to me to be beyond our capacity or province.




(Re-published by permission of the Editor, from the
"Nineteenth Century and After," April, 1918.)

There are obvious difficulties in dealing with so complicated a subject as the Shakespeare Problem' in the compass of a Review article, but, as a convinced adherent of the Baconian theory of authorship, I am tempted to continue the discussion inaugurated by Mr. Gordon Crosse in his article entitled The Real Shakespeare Problem,' which appeared just a year ago in this Review.1

Mr. Crosse's contention is that it is not enough to demonstrate the improbability of the plays which pass under the name of William Shakespeare having been written by the Stratford actor, but that it is also necessary to show that they were written by someone else. This is not an unreasonable contention. Unconsciously, however, he seems to rule out any effort in this direction when he remarks ‘The arguments for every other theory are negative, conjectural, inferential. The Shakespearean authorship is supported by a body of direct contemporary witnesses'; and he also says, without however attempting any proof of the assertion, that if other theories of authorship 'were submitted to as keen and searching a test as Sir George [Greenwood] has applied to the Shakespearean theory, they would appear even more improbable.' But what else than 'inferential' could the arguments for 'other theories' be? When authorship has been concealed, as Baconians contend, the only method of

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