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K BOOK II. •THE DEMONSTRATION:
"Come hither, Spirit,
THE CIPHER IN THE PLAYS.
HOW I CAME TO LOOK FOR A CIPHER.
"I will a round, unvarnished tale deliver."
Othello, 1, 3.
HAVE given, in the foregoing pages, something of the reason
ing - and yet but a little part of it - which led me up to the conclusion that Francis Bacon was the author of the so-called Shakespeare plays.
But one consideration greatly troubled me, to-wit: Would the writer of such immortal works sever them from himself and cast them off forever?
All the world knows that the parental instinct attaches as strongly to the productions of the mind as to the productions of the body. An author glories in his books, even as much as he does in his children. The writer of the plays realized this fact, for he speaks in one of the sonnets of “these children of the brain.” They were the offspring of the better part of him.
But, it may be urged, he did not know the value of them.
This is not the fact. He understood their merits better than all the men of his age; for, while they were complimenting him on “his facetious grace in writing," he foresaw that these compositions would endure while civilized humanity occupied the globe. The sonnets show this. In sonnet cvii he says:
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,
Since spite of him I'll live in this poor rhyme,
And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent. And in sonnet lxxxi he says:
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read;
You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen),
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men. And in sonnet lv he says:
Not marble, not the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
Than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.
Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity,
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes. There was, as it seems to me, no doubt: 1. That Bacon wrote the plays; 2. That he loved them as the children of his brain; 3. That he estimated them at their full great value.
The question then arose, How was it possible that he would disown them with no hope or purpose of ever reclaiming them ? How could he consent that the immortal honors which belonged to himself should be heaped upon an unworthy imposter? How could he divest Bacon of this great world-outliving glory to give it to SHAKSPERE?
This thought recurred to me constantly, and greatly perplexed
One day I chanced to open a book, belonging to one of my children, called Every Boy's Book, published in London, by George Routledge & Sons, 1868; a very complete and interesting work of its kind, containing over eight hundred pages. On page 674 I found a chapter devoted to “Cryptography," or cipher-writing, and in it I chanced upon this sentence:
The most famous and complex cipher perhaps ever written was by Lord Bacɔn. It was arranged in the following manner: aaaaa stands for a.
abaaa stands for i and j. baaaa stands for r. aaaab
u and v.