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Saturday, June 4, 2022

The Earl of Oxford on Page 139 of Love’s Labour’s Lost

 

In this post a solution is presented to a word puzzle found in the First Folio of Shakespeare (1623) on page 139 of the Comedies, a page from Love’s Labour’s Lost.  The solution to the puzzle results in the message OXE-AN-FORD, the title of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

As an introduction to this post, there are several lines on the first page of Love’s Labour’s Lost that I have been puzzling over.  Here are the lines:

 

     Berow. By yea and nay sir, than I swore in iest.

What is the end of study, let me know?

     Fer. Why that to know which else wee should not

know.

     Ber. Things hid & bard (you meane) frõ cõmon sense.

     Ferd. I, that is studies god-like recompence.

     Bero. Come on then, I will sweare to studie so,

To know the thing I am forbid to know:

As thus, to study where I well may dine,

When I to fast expressely am forbid.

Or studie where to meet some Mistresse fine,

When Mistresses from common sense are hid.

In the lines, Berowne says that the purpose of study is to know “things hid & bard” from common sense.  I noticed, and I am sure others have noticed this as well, that the words “hid & bard” sounds like “hidden bard.”  Thus, the lines hint at the possibility of knowing the name of the hidden bard who wrote Shakespeare.

The other interesting thing is that the words “when Mistresses from common sense are hid,” appear a few lines later.  The reference to "common sense" in the two lines are nearly identical, so the lines seem to be related.  The only scene in the play were mistresses or ladies are hidden appears at Act V, scene 2 (pages 138-139 of the Comedies), where the Princess of France and her ladies wear masks before meeting the disguised King of Navarre and his lords.  Therefore, the lines about the “hidden bard” and the hidden mistresses hint that the name of the hidden poet can be found somewhere in Act V, scene 2, on pages 138-139 of the Comedies.  This post solves a puzzle on page 139 indicating that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is the “hidden bard” Shakespeare.

As previously mentioned, the puzzle solved in this post is found in Act V, scene 2, Love’s Labour’s Lost, pages 138-139 of the Comedies, Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623). At this point in the play, Ferdinand, the King of Navarre, and his men arrive, disguised as Muscovites, at the tents of the Princess of France (later the queen) and her ladies.  However, the princess and her ladies have been warned of the king’s approach by Boyet, the witty attendant of the princess, and are themselves masked.  To add to the confusion, the princess and Lady Rosaline exchange favors so that they outwardly appear as to be each other.  The king and his men enter, and battle of wits ensues between the men and the women.  The men wrongly assume they have correctly identified each of the women, and the women thoroughly thrash the men in the battle of wits.

The puzzle examined in this post appears in this part of the exchange between the men and the women:

 

     Du. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?

     Mar. Name it.

     Dum. Faire Ladie:

     Mar. Say you so? Faire Lord:

Take you that for your faire Lady.

     Du. Please it you,

As much in priuate, and Ile bid adieu.

     Mar. What, was your vizard made without a tong?

     Long. I know the reason Ladie why you aske.

     Mar. O for your reason, quickly sir, I long.

     Long. You haue a double tongue within your mask.

And would affoord my speechlesse vizard halfe.

     Mar. Veale quoth the Dutch-man: is not Veale a

Calfe?

     Long. A Calfe faire Ladie?

     Mar. No, a faire Lord Calfe.

     Long. Let's part the word.

     Mar. No, Ile not be your halfe:

Take all and weane it, it may proue an Oxe.

     Long. Looke how you but your selfe in these sharpe

mockes.

Will you giue hornes chast Ladie? Do not so.

     Mar. Then die a Calfe before your horns do grow.

     Lon. One word in priuate with you ere I die.

     Mar. Bleat softly then, the Butcher heares you cry.

     Boyet. The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen

As is the Razors edge, inuisible:

Cutting a smaller haire then may be seene,

Aboue the sense of sence so sensible:

Seemeth their conference, their conceits haue wings,

Fleeter then arrows, bullets wind, thoght, swifter things

Rosa. Not one word more my maides, breake off,

breake off.

 As a reference, here is an image of pages 138-139 from the Comedies section of the First Folio where the exchange appears:

 

 


 

The first thing to note is that this scene involves a battle of wits, so there is an incredible amount of wordplay.  For the purposes of the hidden messages in the scene, some of the wordplay is found by translating the text into French.  This is hinted at earlier in the scene in these lines:

 

     Rosa. What would these strangers?

Know their mindes Boyet.

If they doe speake our language, 'tis our will

That some plaine man recount their purposes.

Know what they would?

The play is set in Navarre, France, so Rosaline’s language is obviously French.  It is also noteworthy that the word “plain” can be translated into “franc” in French, so “plaine man” alludes to a Frenchman speaking French.  The word “recount” may also allude to Edward de Vere’s last name.  The words “count” can be translated into “verifier,” so “recount” (to count over) seems to be a French/English wordplay – VERifier oVER (for “duex VER,” or “de VERE”).

Now we turn to a detailed analysis of the text shown above that begins with “Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?”.  Reading through the lines, the word that really sticks out is the word “Oxe” in the phrase “… it may prove an Oxe.”  Based on previous work, we know that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is hinted at as the true writer of the works of Shakespeare.  The problem is that the text only mentions an ox as a taunt to the king and his men, and there are apparently no letters spelling “ford” to make the word Oxford. (Oxford actually signed his name Oxenford).  So, the text seems to invite examination to find the missing letters spelling “ford.”

In the opening line, “Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?”, the text hints that some sort of word change is required.  But what word needs to be changed?

The next line, spoken by Maria, is “Name it.” The word to be changed is about to be named, and it will probably be the second word spoken, because “it” is the second word in “Name it.”  In addition, "Name it" hints that the wordplay will lead to revealing a name -- the name of the "hidden bard." 

Dumaine responds with “Faire Lady.”  Thus, the key word seems to be “Lady.”  However, there is a twist.   Maria responses with –

 

Mar. Say you so? Faire Lord:

Take you that for your faire Lady.

Maria changes “Faire Lady” to “Faire Lord.”  Maria has changed a word, as requested, and now the key second word is “Lord.”

At this point, Dumaine is flummoxed and at a loss for a reply.  Maria taunts him about it:

     Du. Please it you,

As much in priuate, and Ile bid adieu.

     Mar. What, was your vizard made without a tong?

 (There may be a clue in this, but if there is I have not identified it.  I suspect the lines are just a transition to facilitate more clues.)

At this point, Lord Longueville jumps into the fray with Maria –

 

     Long. I know the reason Ladie why you aske.

     Mar. O for your reason, quickly sir, I long.

     Long. You haue a double tongue within your mask.

And would affoord my speechlesse vizard halfe.

 I believe that the “O” exclamation may represent the number zero (0).  The word “cipher” can mean “nothing” or “zero.” Thus, the lines may mean “a cipher for you reason” (i.e., “a cipher for you to figure out”).  Another interesting thing is that Edward de Vere’s code number was forty (40), and, as posited by Alexander Waugh, he was associated with the number 1740 (his earl (17) and code number(40)) in the hidden messages.  (See previous posts for a further explanation.)  The words “O for” read backwards are “for O,” which is a homonym of “four O” (40), or forty.  Thus the first part of the sentence may contain the message “[the] reason [is you're] 40.”  Furthermore, the 17th word after "O for" is "affoord."   The 40th word from "affoord" (counting "Dutch-man" as one word) is the word "prove," in the phrase "prove as Oxe." Thus, the numbers associated with Edward de Vere -- 17 and 40 -- lead here to the missing word "ford," which when combined with the words "an Oxe" solves the puzzle by revealing the title/name "Oxe-an-ford" or "Oxford."

However, there are more clues in lines that lead to the same result, so let's continue the analysis. 

The last two lines, spoken by Longueville, mentions a “double tongue,” which is an allusion to there being a deeply hidden double meaning to the text. The final line is very interesting –

 

     Long. You haue a double tongue within your mask.

And would affoord my speechlesse vizard halfe.

The word “affoord” contains the letters “ford,” the second half of “Oxford,” and the word “halfe” alludes to the fact that only half of the word “affoord” is required (i.e., “ford”).  (The “O for your reason” line might also be a hint to examine the word “affoord” because “affoord” is misspelled with an extra “O.”)  As shown previously, the word "affoord" can be identified with a word count of 17  from the words "O for."

The next line begins with Maria mentioning “veal,” which is a play on the Dutch word “viel,” meaning much or plenty.  Maria's lines make fun of the idea that she has too many tongues and is being too witty.  However, the lines begin new and subtle part to the puzzle.

 

     Mar. Veale quoth the Dutch-man: is not Veale a

Calfe?

     Long. A Calfe faire Ladie?

     Mar. No, a faire Lord Calfe.

     Long. Let's part the word.

     Mar. No, Ile not be your halfe:

Take all and weane it, it may proue an Oxe.

     Long. Looke how you but your selfe in these sharpe

mockes.

This part of the puzzle transforms “Lord Calfe” into “Lord Oxford.”  The key to the solution starts with Longueville’s line, “Let’s part the word.”  He is saying, in more modern language, “Lets leave the word behind,” “Let’s forget the word.”  However, the word “part” alludes to parting or dividing a word.  The idea of leaving a word “behind” may also be intended in that we are looking for the “behind part” of “Oxford” – we are looking for “ford.”  Previously in the scene the ladies turn their backs to the men (humorously showing their backsides), which visually hints at the search for the rear end of "Oxford.

At this point, Maria says, “No, Ile not be your halfe…”.  Then she says, “Take it and weane it, it may prove an Oxe.”  To wean a calf, the calf’s mother’s milk is taken away and is replaced with solid food.

The rhyme in Maria makes alludes to a letter change.  Her line “No, Ile not be your halfe…” makes a rhyme by changing the first letter of “Calfe” to transform it into the word “halfe.”  In a simple cipher of the Elizabethan alphabet, that is a plus five place letter shift:

C = 3;

3 + 5 = 8;

8 = H

As shown previously, the key word that needs to be changed is the word “Lord.”

If a plus five letter shift (Elizabethan alphabet) is applied to the first letter of the key word “Lord,” the nonsensical word “Qord” is the result.

However, Maria says that she will NOT be Longueville’s halfe.  This hints that the letter shift should be reversed, or made into a negative five letter shift, and then applied to the first letter of the word “Lord.”

L = 11;

11 – 5 = 6;

6 = F

Applying the change, “Lord” becomes “ford.”

Putting the pieces together, “an Oxe” can be transformed into –

 “OX-EN-FORD” (Lord Oxford).

 The final line is sort of the punch line, I guess:

 

      Long. Looke how you but your selfe in these sharpe

mockes.

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is making fun of himself.

Another set of clues pointing out the puzzle and its solution can be found later on page 139 in these lines:

 

     King. Faire sir, God saue you. Wher's the Princesse?

     Boy. Gone to her Tent.

Please it your Maiestie command me any seruice to her?

     King. That she vouchsafe me audience for one word.

     Boy. I will, and so will she, I know my Lord.  Exit.

     Ber. This fellow pickes vp wit as Pigeons pease,

And vtters it againe, when Ioue doth please.

He is Wits Pedler, and retailes his Wares,

At Wakes, and Wassels, Meetings, Markets, Faires.

And we that sell by grosse, the Lord doth know,

Haue not the grace to grace it with such show.

In this part of the scene, the King, no longer disguised, returns to the tents of the princess and her ladies and is greeted by Boyet, the attendant of the princess.  The king requests “one word” with the princess, and Boyet finishes his response with “I know my Lord.”  This exchange hints at the key word – “one word; I know [, it's] my Lord.”

Berowne then complains about Boyet helping the ladies with his excellent wit.  In doing so, he uses the word “utters,” which sounds like “udders,” and alludes to a calf being weaned.  He says that Boyet sells his wit at “retail” at “Faires” while the king and his men “sell by gross, the Lord doth know.”  The Oxford world puzzle begins with these lines –

 

     Du. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?

     Mar. Name it.

     Dum. Faire Ladie:

     Mar. Say you so? Faire Lord:

Take you that for your faire Lady.

The mention of selling at “Faires” points to the beginning of the Oxford word puzzle.  “Selling at retail” alludes to selling at a discount, or reduction, as in a sale, to induce purchases.  “Selling at gross” refers to selling without reduction.  All this suggests the letter reduction and letter exchange to transform the words “Faire Lord” into “Faire Lord Oxenford.”  The phrase, “the Lord doth know” again refers to the letter exchange to transform “Lord” into “ford.”

As additional evidence, I will present the results of using a compass to draw circles on pages 138-139.  I use three different circles of set radii to find puzzles.  In the imaged to follow I use two of these set circles.

On page 139 the word “Roses” appears three times.  In a simple cipher of the alphabet, the letter “C” is the third letter (C = 3).  There for the three appearances of the word “Roses” appears to represent the “Rose Cross,” or “R.C.,” which is the symbol of the Rosicrucians.

In addition, the word “Roes” appears (Roe is a type of deer).  The word “Roes” is in effect the word “Rose” hidden in a homophone.  Alexander Waugh has posited that Edward de Vere was associated with the hidden fourth “T” in the Triple Tau cross.  The appearance of the hidden “Rose/Roe” seems to again point at Edward de Vere.

The first image below shows a circle drawn from the first appearance of the word “Roses,” with a second circle drawn from the “hidden” word “Roes.”  (The circles are of a set radius that I call the “marke vpon him…two courses off” circle.  I explain how I discovered it in other posts.)  The circles intersect or cross at the line “Take all and weane it, it may proue an Oxe.”  This is the final line in the puzzle solved in this post.

 

 


 

 

The image below shows a circle drawn from the “hidden” word “Roes” on page 139 and a circle drawn from the word “crosse” on page 138 (Rose Cross).  (The circles are of a set radius that I call the “marke vpon him…three courses off” circle, which is slightly larger than the “marke vpon him…two courses off” circle.  I explain how I discovered it in other posts.)  The circles intersect at the lines on page 139 where there is wordplay about “Veale,” “Lord Calfe,” and an “Oxe.” This is probably the most significant part of the puzzle.  I do not believe these intersections are random.  I think they were intentionally arranged.


The two images below show a circle drawn from the line beginning the puzzle, which mentions changing "a word," a circle drawn from the word "Oxe," and a circle drawn a line mentioning "one word."  (The circles are of a set radius that I call the “marke vpon him” circle, which is smaller than than the others circles in the previous images.  I explain how I discovered it in other posts.)

The circle drawn from the word "Oxe" intersects the word "affoord."  I thing the other circles intersect the word "affoord" because they mark the beginning and end of the puzzle.  (There also seems to be some significance to "one word."  Perhaps this is to emphasize the significance of the one word solution -- Oxford.)





Thursday, February 24, 2022

Text Overlay Messages in The Merchant of Venice and Richard III

In this post I am publishing two "overlay" solutions of pages from The Merchant of Venice and from The Merchant of Venice and Richard III.  The first image is an overlay of text from pages 172 and 173 of the Comedies, pages from The Merchant of Venice.  The second image is an overlay of text from page 173 of the Comedies, a page from The Merchant of Venice, and page 173 from the Histories, a page from Richard III.

These messages support the solutions shown in this post:


I have shown in previous posts that page 173 of the The Merchant of Venice and page 173 of Richard III encode "Rose Cross" messages.  In a Simple cipher of the Elizabethan alphabet, the letter "R" has a value of 17 and the letter "C" has a value of 3, so 173, or 17 and 3, represents the initials R.C., or "Rose Cross."

I have demonstrated messages revealed by overlaying text in earlier posts.  I believe the messages are real and were intentionally hidden in the manner shown.  This method is often criticized as being too difficult for a person in the 17th century to create and discover.  My response to this is that the people who placed the messages had familiarity with the layout of the folio pages, letter spacing and format, and could place the messages easily.  A person at that time could also discover the messages by copying the text on translucent vellum and overlaying the pages.  Translucent vellum has existed from ancient times and certainly was in production as early as the Middle Ages.  To assert that the overlay method was beyond the capabilities of people of the 17th century simply ignores reality.

The messages are explained in the margins of the images and should be self-explanatory.






Sunday, February 6, 2022

Henry Wriothesley, Edward de Vere, and Queen Elizabeth I in The Merchant of Venice

 In this post I am going to discuss a message hidden in the lines shown below that appear on page 173 of the Comedies, The Merchant of Venice, in Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623).  The manner in which the message is hidden and revealed is truly ingenious. However, first, I must provide background information to set the stage before explaining the solution.  Please bear with me, the wait will be worth it.


I have already posted an analysis of interesting Rose Cross messages on page 173 in this post:

 https://hiddenmessagesinshakespeare.blogspot.com/2022/01/rose-cross-rosicrucian-puzzle-on-p-173.html


It is not absolutely necessary to review the post at the link above before reading this post, so you can save it for later, or you may read it as preliminary post to this one.


For this post, I will be revealing a message hidden in Shylock’s famous “Hath not a Jew eyes?” speech:


 



     Sal. Why I am sure if he forfaite, thou wilt not take

his flesh, what's that good for?

     Shy. To baite fish withall, if it will feede nothing

else, it will feede my reuenge; he hath disgrac'd me, and

hindred me halfe a million, laught at my losses, mockt at

my gaines, scorned my Nation, thwarted my bargaines,

cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what's the

reason? I am a Iewe: Hath not a Iew eyes? hath not a

Iew hands, organs, dementions, sences, affections, passi-

ons, fed with the same foode, hurt with the same wea-

pons, subiect to the same diseases, healed by the same

meanes, warmed and cooled by the same Winter and

Sommmer as a Christian is: if you pricke vs doe we not

bleede? if you tickle vs, doe we not laugh? if you poison

vs doe we not die? and if you wrong vs shall we not re-

uenge? if we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you

in that. If a Iew wrong a Christian, what is his humility,

reuenge? If a Christian wrong a Iew, what should his suf-

ferance be by Christian example, why reuenge? The vil-

lanie you teach me I will execute, and it shall goe hard

but I will better the instruction.

 

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Internet Shakespeare Editions, edited by Janelle Jenstad, Folio 1, 1623, old-spelling transcription, Comedies, p. 173, University of Victoria, 1 Nov. 2019, internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/doc/MV_F1/complete/index.html. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022. 

 

More specifically, a message is hidden in and around these lines of the speech:

 

…warmed and cooled by the same Winter and

Sommmer as a Christian is: if you pricke vs doe we not

bleede?...

 

Id.

 

The three lines shown immediately above fall on the 40th through the 42nd lines from the top of the left-hand column of the page.  The words “Winter” and “Sommmer” (misspelled in original) fall on the 40th and 41st lines, respectively.

 

Background:

 

In Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the largest grouping of sonnets (18-126) is known as the “Fair Youth” sonnets.  The “fair youth” is unnamed and his identity is the subject of debate. One candidate for the fair youth is Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton.  The pronunciation of Wriothesley’s last name is uncertain: /ˈrɛzli/ "Rezley",/ˈraɪzli/ "Rizely" (archaic), /ˈrɒtsli/ (present-day) and /ˈraɪəθsli/ have been suggested.  Wikipedia contributors. "Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Nov. 2021. Web. 6 Feb. 2022. (citations omitted).

 

In the sonnets, the “fair youth” is compared to, or associated with, summer.  Probably the most famous example of this is Sonnet 18:

 




SHall I compare thee to a Summers day?

Thou art more louely and more temperate:

Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie,

And Sommers lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heauen shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd,

And euery faire from faire some-time declines,

By chance,or natures changing course vntrim'd:

But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade,

Nor loose possession of that faire thou ow'st,

Nor shall death brag thou wandr'st in his shade,

When in eternall lines to time thou grow'st,

     So long as men can breath or eyes can see,

     So long liues this,and this giues life to thee,

 

 

Shakespeare, William. Shake-speares Sonnets. Internet Shakespeare Editions, University of Victoria, Quarto I (pub. William Aspley), 1609, https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/doc/Son_Q1/complete/index.html. Accessed 3 Feb 2022. 

 

As far as I know (but I am not an expert), the author of the sonnets does not directly compare himself to winter, but he frequently associates himself with that season.

 

During preparations to write this post, I was contacted by Ms. Jan Cole.  Ms. Cole has been a member of the De Vere Society since 2011 and has had several articles published in the DVS Newsletter and online at their website. Her research is mostly about Edward de Vere's life and connections, and how these relate to the Shakespeare canon.  When studying the play Loves Labor’s Lost she found a number of allusions to French literature current when de Vere was in France in 1575. See her essay in DVS Newsletter vol.22, no.1, January 2015, pp.32-37 (unfortunately unavailable online to non-DVS members at the time of writing).

 

Ms. Cole helpfully provided the following information:

 

'Winter' in French is 'l'hiver', a pun on Vere, which parallels the Latin 'Ver' meaning 'spring', also a pun on Vere. This Latin-French cross-punning appears at the end of 'Love's Labours Lost' in the 'spring and winter' songs. The French poet, Jacques d'Yver, also punned on his name in the title of his 1572 book, 'Le Printemps d'Yver' (literally, 'the Spring of Winter'), the title of which may be alluded to in this part of the play. If the 'spring and winter' song of 'Love's Labours Lost' contains an allusion to this book, there is an allusion to two surnames that are homonyms formed by cross-punning in Latin and French, since 'ver' is Latin for 'spring' and 'hiver' is French for 'winter'. Translated into English, this give two surnames that are antonyms. To have two surnames that are simultaneously synonyms and antonyms (sounding the same but meaning the opposite) is rare….[A]ny multi-lingual reader aware of Vere references would probably understand 'winter' (when translated into French') as a reference to him.

 

Thank you, Ms. Cole!

 

For reasons of space, I will not include the 'spring and winter' songs at the end of 'Love's Labours Lost' in this post.  However, the song is well worth the read, and the puns referred to by Ms. Cole are obvious.  There is similar French punning between the Clown and Cleopatra in the “joy of the Worme” scene in Act 5, scene 2, of Antony and Cleopatra. “Worm” in French is 'ver de terre,' an obvious pun on the last name of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

 

In addition, it seems that there is a hidden “signature,” of sorts, in Sonnet 63, which mentions spring (in French, a pun on Oxford’s name).  This hidden "signature" links Edward de Vere to the authorship of Sonnet 63, and the sonnets generally:

 




AGainst my loue shall be as I am now

With times iniurious hand chrusht and ore-worne,

When houres haue dreind his blood and fild his brow

With lines and wrincles,when his youthfull morne

Hath trauaild on to Ages steepie night,

And all those beauties whereof now he's King

Are vanishing,or vanisht out of sight,

Stealing away the treasure of his Spring.

For such a time do I now fortifie

Against confounding Ages cruell knife,

That he shall neuer cut from memory

My sweet loues beauty,though my louers life.

     His beautie shall in these blacke lines be seene,

     And they shall liue , and he in them still greene.

 

 

Shakespeare, William. Shake-speares Sonnets. Internet Shakespeare Editions, University of Victoria, Quarto I (pub. William Aspley), 1609, https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/doc/Son_Q1/complete/index.html. Accessed 3 Feb 2022. 

 

 

The “signature” can be found as follows.  On the ninth line of the sonnet the word “fortifie” appears.  Fortify can be written “Forty-fie,” "Four-T-fie," or “40-fie.”  So, the concept of the number 40 or the "Fourth T" is alluded to with the word.  

“Fortifie” is the 8th word of the sentence in which it appears.  Thus, the seventh word of the sentence, immediately preceding “fortifie,” is the word “now.”  Immediately preceding the word now is the word/capital letter “I”.  The letter “I” is frequently used to represent the number one (1) in the page numbering of the First Folio.  Therefore, the letter “I” and the 7th word of the sentence, “now,” can represent the number 17.

 

Furthermore, the letter “I” in the ninth line falls immediately above the letter “g” in the tenth line. The letter “G” in simple gematria of the Elizabethan alphabet is the seventh letter of the alphabet, so there seems to be another number 17 encoded at this point of the text.

 

The “coincidences” continue to pile up.  The 17th word of the sentence is “never,” which contains the letters EVER (VERE).

 

But wait, there’s more!  The first part of the sentence reads, “For such a time do I now fortifie / Against confounding Ages cruel knife…”  Reading this as a play on words, “do I NOW fortifie” can be read as meaning that the word “now” is literally “fortified” against some sort of attack.  In military jargon, attacks on  fortifications are designed to "reduce" them.   And what is the word now fortified against?  It is fortified against “AGES cruell knife.”  Note that the capital “A” in "Ages" looks like the edge of a sharp knife pointing at the “fortified” word “now.” 

 

At this point, we just have to apply some simple gematria, addition, and subtraction.  The letters of the word NOW in simple gematria, based on the Elizabethan alphabet, total 48:

 

((N = 13) + (O = 14) + (W = 21)) = 48

 

The letters in AGES total 31:

 

((A = 1) + (G =7) + (E = 5) + (S = 18)) = 31

 

Now all that is needed is to apply “AGES cruel knife” to cut out, reduce, or subtract the value of AGES from the value of NOW.  Subtracting 31 from 48 leaves 17 (48 – 31 = 17).  Another 17!

 

After all this, two numbers are revealed: 17 and 40.  As Mr. Alexander Waugh has shown, the number 1740 is associated with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.  The number 17 is Oxford’s “earl number” and the number 40 is associated with him being “The Fourth T” or “Forty.”  Oxford sometimes signed his name with a double letter V’s (double V), and the simple gematria value of “V” in the Elizabethan alphabet is twenty, so two letter V’s equals 40.

Mr. Waugh’s videos concerning Oxford and the number 1740 can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHN7SCKlsa9lPYJmqqQ2uIg).

 

Up to this point, it has been shown that the word summer is associated with the “fair youth” of the sonnets, and it has been shown that the words winter and spring are associated with Edward de Vere’s last name, through French punning.  It has also been shown that Edward de Vere is linked, at least once, to the authorship of the Sonnets through a hidden signature in Sonnet 63.

 

As a side note, there is another mention of spring (April) and summer on page 172 of The Merchant of Venice, the facing page opposite of page 173:

 

So likely an Embassador of loue.

A day in Aprill neuer came so sweete

To show how costly Sommer was at hand,

As this fore-spurrer comes before his Lord.

 

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Internet Shakespeare Editions, edited by Janelle Jenstad, Folio 1, 1623, old-spelling transcription, Comedies, p. 172, University of Victoria, 1 Nov. 2019, internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/doc/MV_F1/complete/index.html. Accessed 6 Feb. 2022. 

 

The excerpt above, from page 172, will not be discussed further as it does not affect the outcome of the solution discussed below.

 

 

The Hidden Message on Page 173 of The Merchant of Venice:

 

To recap, the lines with the hidden message are in and around these lines on page 173 of The Merchant of Venice:

 

…warmed and cooled by the same Winter and

Sommmer as a Christian is: if you pricke vs doe we not

bleede?...

 

As shown above, the word winter is associated with Edward de Vere’s name, and the word summer (sommer) is associated with the “fair youth” of the sonnets.

 

The solution to this puzzle requires a basic knowledge of the main plot of The Merchant of Venice --

 

In the Merchant of Venice, Antonio and Bassanio are dear friends.  Bassanio is without financial resources, but he needs money to travel to see the woman he loves, Portia, and contend for her hand in marriage.  Antonio has good credit in Venice, so Bassanio asks Antonio to take out a loan and give the money to him so that he can become a suitor to Portia.  Of course, Antonio, being a close friend, agrees. 

 

Antonio and Bassanio approach Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. Unfortunately, Antonio and Shylock have had disagreements in the past over the charging of interest (usance) on loans, and Shylock has deep hatred for Antonio.  Shylock takes the opportunity to attempt to reap his revenge on Antonio.  


Antonio and Shylock agree to the terms of a loan – a 3000 ducat loan to be repaid after three months.  Surprisingly, Shylock does not ask that interest be paid on the loan. Instead, Shylock asks that the loan be secured by a pound of Antonio’s flesh nearest his heart.  Bassanio recoils at this term of the agreement, but Shylock minimizes the significance of the provision as “mere merry sport.” Antonio agrees to the terms, and Bassanio gets his money and goes off to see Portia.

 

Unfortunately, at the end of three months, Antonio’s merchant ships have not arrived and are rumored to be lost. He cannot repay the loan to Shylock.  To everyone’s horror, Shylock insists on strict enforcement of the terms of the loan (the bond), and he seeks to cut a pound of flesh from Antonio, which will, of course, probably result in Antonio's death.

 

Portia, who has married Bassanio in the meantime, comes to the rescue in disguise as a Doctor of Law.  Although Portia rules in Shylock favor, and he may take his pound of flesh, Portia pulls a legal technicality out of her bag of legal tricks.  The terms of the bond agreement allow Shylock to take a pound of flesh; however, the bond is completely silent when it comes to allowing Shylock to shed Antonio’s blood.  Shylock must take exactly one pound of flesh, any variation of weight, no matter how small, is prohibited.  Furthermore, under Venetian law, shedding a drop of Christian blood is prohibited, and another statute provides that no alien may seek the life of a citizen, by direct or indirect means.  Violations of either law requires that the property of the lawbreaker be confiscated.  Shylock plans are thwarted. He becomes a Christian, and his property is put to productive use helping the other characters.

 

Now, on to revealing the hidden message in the lines of page 173 of The Merchant of Venice.

 

The key to the solution is the terms of the loan agreement (the bond) between Antonio and Shylock.  These terms must be applied to the word “Sommmer” [sic] and the words around it.  Again, the lines are:

 

…warmed and cooled by the same Winter and

Sommmer as a Christian is: if you pricke vs doe we not

bleede?...

 

The word “Sommmer” is misspelled.  It has three letter m’s rather than two.  This is not an error.  It is intentional and is the key to solving the puzzle. 

 

In Roman numerals, the letter M represents 1000, and three letter M’s (MMM) represents 3000.  This is the amount of the loan from Shylock to Antonio.  The three letter m’s (MMM) in SOMMER representing 3000 ducats, must be “loaned out” of the word and metaphorically given to Antonio.

 

After the “loan,” the word SOMMMER becomes SOER.  When these letters are unscrambled, they spell ROSE.  Half the puzzle is now solved.

 

At the end of the loan period of three months (note that “three Months” alludes to 3 M’s, or MMM), Antonio could not repay the loan to Shylock.  Similarly, the three letters MMM cannot be returned or “repaid” to the remaining letters (ROSE) from the original word SOMMMER. 

 

In the play, Shylock sought to extract a pound of flesh from nearest Antonio’s heart, but he was prevented from doing so by the slick legal reasoning of Portia.  Shylock could not take his pound of flesh because Venetian law, in part, strictly prohibited the shedding of Christian blood.  However, for this puzzle, we get to metaphorically take our pound of flesh and shed some blood.  Yippee!  The “pound of flesh” and the spilling of blood comes from the word BLEEDE in the line "if you pricke us doe we not bleede?".  So, the word BLEEDE must be "pricked" or cut to take the letters LEE from center of the word -- the part of the word nearest its “heart.”  In the process, much blood is metaphorically spilled from the word BLEEDE, which only seems appropriate.

 

Once the metaphorical “pound of flesh” (i.e., the letters LEE) is extracted from BLEEDE, the loan must be “repaid” to the letters ROSE (the letters remaining after the three m’s were “loaned out” of SOMMMER).  When the letters are added to ROSE, the following message is revealed:

 

ROSELEE

 

ROSELEE is a homonym for Wriothesley, one of the suggested pronunciations of the last name of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton.  As noted previously, Henry Wriothesley is one of the candidates for the identity of the “fair youth” from the sonnets.  Because summer is associated with the “fair youth,” and a hidden message on page 173 of The Merchant of Venice associated with summer contains the message ROSELEE, which is a homonym, of Wriothesley's name, I propose that this evidence shows that Henry Wriothesley is, in fact, the “fair youth.”  (We also now know how to pronounce his name.)

 

The lines under discussion contain additional circumstantial evidence concerning Southampton.  Since, as has been shown, winter is associated with the name of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and because, as shown above, Oxford is associated with the author of the sonnets, it can be reasonably concluded that the word winter in the lines on page 173 of The Merchant of Venice refer to Edward de Vere (E. VERE).  Substituting the letters E. VERE for the word “Winter,” the lines look like this:

 

 

     Sal. Why I am sure if he forfaite, thou wilt not take

his flesh, what's that good for?

     Shy. To baite fish withall, if it will feede nothing

else, it will feede my reuenge; he hath disgrac'd me, and

hindred me halfe a million, laught at my losses, mockt at

my gaines, scorned my Nation, thwarted my bargaines,

cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what's the

reason? I am a Iewe: Hath not a Iew eyes? hath not a

Iew hands, organs, dementions, sences, affections, passi-

ons, fed with the same foode, hurt with the same wea-

pons, subiect to the same diseases, healed by the same

meanes, warmed and cooled by the same E.VERE and

Sommmer as a Christian is: if you pricke vs doe we not

bleede? if you tickle vs, doe we not laugh? if you poison

vs doe we not die? and if you wrong vs shall we not re-

uenge? if we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you

in that. If a Iew wrong a Christian, what is his humility,

reuenge? If a Christian wrong a Iew, what should his suf-

ferance be by Christian example, why reuenge? The vil-

lanie you teach me I will execute, and it shall goe hard

but I will better the instruction.

 

As can be seen, when the letters E.VERE are inserted in the text, they fall near three occurrences of the words “the same,” and reveal the words –

 

EVER THE SAME

 

These words are the motto of Queen Elizabeth I – Ever the Same (Latin: ‘Semper eadem’).

 

A word – winter – associated with Edward de Vere is found near a hidden message, ROSELEE, a message that points to Henry Wriothesley as being the “fair youth, with the motto of Queen Elizabeth I hidden nearby.  


What does this mean?  What significance, if any, should be assigned to the concept of blood being associated with Henry Wriothesley, Edward de Vere, and Queen Elizabeth I?  Could Wriothesley be the son of Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth I as the Prince Tudor Part I theory proposes?