Because we see it; but what we do not see,
We tread upon, and never think of it."

Meas. for Meas., Act II. Sc. 1.

Bacon found it to be just so with the history of Winds; for, says he, "it is evident, that the dullness of men is such and so infelicitous, that when things are put before their feet, they do not see them, unless admonished, but pass right on." It would stand to reason, that the most precious things would not be strewn abroad thus by a mere swine-herd, if they had not come into his possession in an accidental or some other way, and without his having much knowledge of their real value; nor by a coney-catching, beer-drinking idler, or a common play-actor, or even a prosperous stage-manager. It must be admitted that learning does not come by instinct; nor can sensible men be made to believe that high philosophy can come by fantastic miracle. There never was any royal road to mathematics, though there have been very royal mathematicians.

An article appeared in Putnam's Magazine for January 1856 (afterwards known to have been writ ten by Delia Bacon), in which some general considerations were set forth with much eloquence and ability, why William Shakespeare could not have written the plays which have been attributed to him; and the opinion was also pretty distinctly intimated, that Lord Bacon was the real author of them, or, at least, that he had had some hand in the work; but no proofs were then adduced. Being much struck with this idea, and for my own satisfaction, I began to look for the evidence on which such a proposition might rest, and finding it very considerable, and indeed quite amazing, I had thrown my

notes into some form, before the publication of Miss Bacon's work in 1857.1 Her book not appearing to have satisfied the critical world of the truth of her theory, much more than the "Letter to Lord Ellesmere," by Mr. William Henry Smith, I have thought it worth while to give them the results of my studies also, which have been considerably extended, since that date; and if enough be not found herein to settle the question on impregnable grounds, it may at least tend to exculpate them from any supposition of mental aberration in so far as they have ascribed this authorship to Francis Bacon. But I do not at all agree with her opinion that any other person had a hand in the work: on the contrary, I will endeavor to show that the whole genuine canon of Shakespeare was written by this one and the same author.

It may be that some persons have been already convinced of this fact: but the critics appear to be agreed in rejecting the theory altogether. More direct and palpable proofs seem to be required; for this "our Shakespeare" was not to be stripped of the peerless mantle he had worn unquestioned for above two centuries and a half, on mere generalities, however conclusive to the mind of the philosophical thinker. Certainly, if he is to be put on trial for his name and reputation, he has a right to be confronted with the proofs in the high court of criticism; and his jury, which is the great republic of letters, will require the best and the most ample evidence to be produced, before they will agree to disrobe him of all his honors. On nothing less than proof, the most positive, direct, and complete, will those "foreign

1 Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded. By Delia Bacon, with a Preface by Nathaniel Hawthorne. London and Boston, 1857.

nations and next ages," to whom the final appeal was made, now consent (such is the tenacity of long adverse possession) to eject the ass from the lion's skin, and turn over the rich legacy they have so long accepted in his name to the credit of another, though that other be one who considered his name and memory worth bequeathing to them:

"Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe

That did disrobe the lion of that robe!

Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him
As great Alcides' shews upon an ass. —

But, ass, I'll take that burthen from your back,

Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack."

K. John, Act II. Sc. 1.

It should be understood, to what manner of man this authorship belongs; for it is not only

66 a fault to heaven,

A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,

To reason most absurd,"

but a positive injury done to learning and philosophy, and to every individual scholar and man, who shall be taught to believe the enormous impossibility that such works could be, and were, written by mere genius without learning, or by some more fantastically supernatural inspiration. Does not any honest man feel an unutterable indignation, when he discovers (after long years of thought and study, perhaps), that he has been all the while misled by false instruction, and that, consequently, the primest sources of truth have been left lumbering his shelves in neglect, because he could not, or even because he could (for it would be much the same thing with him, if he could) be made to believe that anything more could come from a very common (or indeed a very uncommon) person, than such a man could

know, and that he has thus been drawn aside by false shadows from those paths which alone can lead to a comprehensible philosophy of the universe, the real basis at last of his everlasting accountabilities, and been put off and befooled with paltry child's fables? By the help of the Eternal Power and such abilities as we possess, let the truth and the proof of it come forth as fast, and spread as wide, as it is possible to make it. There is no danger of its getting too far by any means whatever.

The chief object of this work is, to do something toward making the truth of this matter appear, still more clearly, and on other and (if possible) quite unanswerable grounds. It was written under the supposition that no one else would undertake to do the same thing better; and it is published because it is believed that the duty is not yet sufficiently done (and I know very well how inadequate is this attempt to do it), that sublime duty, which the great testator, by his last will, left to foreign nations and the next ages to perform, whenever they should be able like himself to comprehend "the universal world," and, with Plato, to recognize the Philosopher, the Poet, the Seer, and the Saviour of men, for all one,— justice to his name and memory.

For the quotations from the Plays of Shakespeare, I have preferred to make them conform to the text of the edition edited by Richard Grant White, and published in Boston, in 1859-1862, except in a very few instances in which his emendations, or previous readings, appeared to me to be so clearly erroneous that I could not accept them; and I have done this the more readily, because this edition has

evidently been edited with great care, good critical judgment, and excellent scholarship, and especially for the reason that the editor has taken the Folio of 1623 as the basis of his text and his criticism.

For the text of Bacon, I have used the edition of his works edited by Basil Montagu (London 1825), and the American republication of it (Philadelphia 1854), and also the excellent edition of Spedding, Ellis, and Heath (since the republication of it in Boston, in 1860-1864), which has been edited with extraordinary learning and ability; but as the larger part of my work was done before this edition appeared, I have not thought it worth while to undertake the labor of making the references conform to either one edition only. Wherever I have discovered an erroneous reading to have been corrected by the later and better edition, I have not failed to profit by it. In making quotations from the Latin works, I have not hesitated to give my own translations, when no better were at hand, but always with especial care to preserve as far as possible the style, manner, and diction of the author, and, at all events, the exact meaning of the original, as it would be expressed in the language of modern philosophy.

For the Letters of Bacon, I have had to depend mainly upon the edition of Montagu, but with the valuable assistance of the first two volumes of the "Letters and Life of Lord Bacon" by James Spedding (London 1861-2), which contain the letters and occasional works down to the year 1601, carefully edited and explained in chronological order; and I have regretted exceedingly that the remaining volumes of this interesting and important work have not yet appeared.

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