Paul, so you still have no evidence for Oxford? Instead, you continue to hate on Stratford, as shown once again by your claim that Stratford-upon-Avon was “remote provincial dump.” Your language betrays you.

So I'll ask again. Do you have any actual documentary evidence for Oxford?

Let's not go down any more rabbit holes.

No more digressions.

No more dodging.

Again, just some documentary evidence for Oxford.

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604)


Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

[Someone using the name of another non-fictional person as a pseudonym is] called an “allonym.”

Paul Crowley (replying to Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.)

I’d bet it was devised as a pure pseudonym (much like ‘Mark Twain’) and was turned into an allonym only later, when the illiterate was located and the deal with him sorted out.

headlight (replying to Paul Crowley)

What a great theory. It's like how Samuel Clemens made up the name “Mark Twain,” and then found somebody with the actual name of Mark Twain (but who spelled his name Marke Towain in his signatures); and who was illiterate, but somehow employed in a job where literacy was required. Clemens hired him as a front because he though having an illiterate person who spelled his name kind of like his pen-name would prevent people from finding out his true identity.

Wait — sorry — that scenario didn’t happen because Clemens wasn’t a lunatic. In fact, we have evidence that he used a pseudonym, which you don’t have for Oxford.

Paul Crowley (replying to headlight)

It’s like how Samuel Clemens made up the name “Mark Twain,” and then found somebody with the actual name of Mark Twain (but who spelled his name Marke Towain in his signatures); and who was illiterate….

Your analogy is reasonable as a start — but you have to extend it to Samuel Clemens being an intimate and trusted friend of the hereditary female monarch of his country, where much of his writing, if its context was known to the public, would leave her open to scandalous accusations.

…but somehow employed in a job where literacy was required.

The Stratford man was not an actor. He was illiterate — like his parents, his wife and his children.

…Clemens hired him as a front….

No. The government (the monarch’s agents) fixed it up and paid for it.

….because he though having an illiterate person who spelled his name kind of like his pen-name would prevent people from finding out his true identity.

The Stratford man had minders, who made sure no tourist or stranger met him. Remember that actors were not allowed in the town. When the King’s Men once approached, they were paid to go away. The illiteracy was desirable, because they did not want the identification to stand for all time. (Many of De Vere’s works were published over the names of literate gentlemen; with whom they are effectively stuck.) The notion that the Stratman could write anything was so absurd that they were sure it would be obvious to anyone who was able to look.

[For a rebuttal to the assertion that William Shakespeare was not an actor, review “headlight’s” statement: “These ‘deserving men’ were all players in the Lord Chamberlain’s men, later the King’s Men. They're recorded in court documents as players during their lifetimes in the rolls recording servants of James receiving quantities of red cloth prior to his formal coronation in 1604; Burbage later describes the company recovering the lease to the Blackfriars, ‘& placed men players, which were Heminges, Condell, Shakespeare etc.’ This shows that Shakespeare was still active as a player in 1608, when the King’s Men regained the Blackfriars.”]



Nat Whilk

Has Dr. Waugaman actually read the Earl of Oxford? C. S. Lewis summed him up fairly: “Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, shows, here and there, a faint talent, but is for the most part undistinguished and verbose.” The earl could not have written Shakespeare, not remotely. He might, with tuition, have passed Shakespeare, but only just, unless he bought his papers from bright boys like Lyly and Munday.

The Earl’s formal education ended at thirteen. Under tutelage, he’d studied Latin only two hours a day, about as much time as he’d devoted to penmanship and dancing, and about a quarter of the time that a grammar-school boy like Shakespeare would have spent on Latin grammar and rhetoric. The only Latin in de Vere’s letters is a handful of stock phrases, some of which he parrots correctly. Others are badly mangled. I cannot believe that an alleged translator of Ovid could produce such monstrosities as “summum totale,” which is about on the order of “Le tante des mon plume.”

Unlike the boy from the Stratford grammar school, Oxford was a clumsy versifier. He displays no verve, no vivacity, no passion for language or for story-telling. His drab and joyless poetry and whining letters show no feeling for the shape of sentences, the sound of words.

Here is part of a letter by Oxford, written in his own hand in 1569. It’s wretchedly badly expressed.

Althoth [=although] my hap hathe bin so hard that yt hathe visited me of lat [=late] wythe syknes yet thanks be to god throw [=through] the lokinge to which I haue had by yowr care had ouer me, I find my helthe restored and myself doble behowldinge vnto yow bothe for that and many good turnes whiche I haue receiued before of yowre part. For the which althothe I haue fownd yow to not account of late of me as in time tofore yet not wythstandinge that strangnes yow shall se at last in me that I will aknowlege [them] and not be vngratfull vnto yow for them and not to deserue so ill a thowght in yow that they were ill bestowed in me.

Here’s another from 1599 (to the Queen, no less):

...thus in hast [=haste] I crave yowre Magestyes pardone, for I thowght yt better for me to make a fault in my writinge, then yat yowre Magestye showld suffer any losse by so great abus [=abuse] and to informe yowre Magestye how necescassarye [=necessary] yt yt ys yf yowr plesure be not to lease [=lose] a commodite, made so redie to yowre handes, to countermade [=countermand] thys last order, and to giue commandment that the order of yowre premptione be nott altred, least the Marchantes havinge prepared this monye and beinge provyded to furnishe yowre seruice, disposinge yt otherwise and vpon sum other imploymentes, the leke [=like] facilite and oportunite to effect yt be never hadd agayne.

Not much improvement over 30 years. Do you really imagine that this grammatically-challenged courtier could have written Hamlet’s prose?

Note that “leke” for “like.” Both Oxford and Shakespeare were idiosyncratic spellers, but with widely divergent habits. Lack of genius aside, Oxford spelled as he must have spoken, in a strong Essex accent absolutely incompatible with Shakespeare’s language: cats, he would have said, catch meece. They chase them down the hail. “Grief” and “strife,” for Oxford, would have rhymed perfectly; so would “fall” and “frail.” Only de Vere, throughout his life, used vulgarisms like “oft” for “ought.”

If Oxford were to write as “Shakespeare”— leaving aside all other temporal, spatial, intellectual, and social paradoxes — he would need to hold two incompatible systems of orthography in mind, two dissimilar accents, with their different assonances, rhymes, and quibbles. He would have to keep them utterly distinct: never let Shakespeare’s hand or mind appear in Oxford’s letters; nor let the Essex marshes seep into the plays or poetry. He would have to speak two languages.

And if the man could write like Shakespeare, why did he go on, for decade after decade, writing like Oxford?

Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

Interesting how mainstream views of Oxford as a writer suddenly plummeted after 1920. Why would that be? For example, in his famous History of England (c. 1848), Thomas Macaulay wrote, ”The seventeenth Earl [of Oxford] had shone at the court of Elizabeth, and had won for himself an honourable place among the early masters of English poetry.”

Nat Whilk (replying to Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.)

You’re grasping at straws.

Macaulay’s “shone at the court of Elizabeth” refers to Oxford’s social status and his presentation: his dress and his dancing, his tilting, his retinue, his gloves. And “had won for himself an honourable place among the early masters of English poetry” is the faintest of praise. It means that his work was passable. All that takes is a C- average. Note too, that “early masters.” De Vere is placed among the poets of the Drab Age, not with the great Elizabethans and Jacobeans, much less with the immortals. Oxford was a star of the sixth magnitude; Shakespeare was a supernova.

Early critics did not have access to Oxford’s letters. We do, thanks to Alan Nelson. Comparing the letters (which are in the earl’s own hand, and for the most part quite badly expressed) with the poetry (which has been copied out, and while sometimes ludicrous, can rise to uninspired competence), I would surmise that Oxford had help with the poetry, and very likely with the lost interludes. No shame in that in Elizabethan culture: secretaries (like tailors, falconers, musicians, and cooks) were retained to make their lordly masters look dazzling. Francis Bacon wrote a politically tricky masque for Essex to perform before Elizabeth. The earl was credited with its composition, though we have in the manuscript in Bacon’s hand. Oxford kept Lyly and Munday on his staff, and they are highly likely to written those comedies for which he took the praise. He was the Lina Lamont of the Elizabethan age, miming in front of the curtain.