+[Chapter Nineteen: 1487—Leonardo in the East]


Chapter Twenty: 1593—Marlowe, Samuel Daniel, and Wilton House

The well-wishing adventurer, in setting forth,
wishes all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet,
to the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets, Mr. W.H.
—Dedication to "Shakespeare's" Sonnets, written by Thomas Thorpe in 1609
and expressing the wishes of the author,
modernized and grammatically decontorted

The Comet of 1593

Though what is sometimes referred to as the "authorship question" has many interesting aspects and is certainly worthy of detailed investigation, the current chapter is not initially aimed at the question of who exactly wrote the works commonly attributed to William Shakspere (pronounced Shacks-pear or Shags-pear) of Stratford that, until the First Folio of 1623, appeared in print only sporadically under the name Shakespeare, the form of the supposed author's name as it is found on the title pages of some of the early quarto editions, as well as in other quarto editions of plays currently not attributed to this same Shakespeare. Since the name of the supposed author of the plays has been spelled in various ways in attempts to either clarify or cloud the distinction between the broker from Stratford and the playwright; in the following paragraphs we will consistently refer to the Stratford man, the investor in the Globe Theater and occasional actor, as Shakespeare. Until it becomes clear exactly who was the author or authors of the plays, we will refer to the various candidates using the place holder, Speaker Ashe, an anagram, or as "Shakespeare," in quotation marks.

Before answering the question, who was Speaker Ashe? we will deal with a parallel question, that is, who was the cometary avatar for the year 1593, and what was his relationship to the author or authors of the plays? Once we shift the discussion to this closely related problem, the authorship question takes on a new dimension not currently under discussion among the so-called Stratfordians, Oxfordians, Baconians, or any of the other disputants engaged in attributing the Canon to one or another individual or group of individuals. It was Godfrey Higgins, the squire and magistrate of Skellow Grange near Doncaster, who pointed out that the avatars, whose appearances were associated with certain chronological cycles, would sometimes be born in the appointed years, and sometimes die in those years. Though we have seen that neither of these was a strict necessity, it is only fair to ask which of the candidates for the author of "Shakespeare's" plays is most closely associated with the cometary year of 1593. In the case of Christopher Marlowe alone, we find that he purportedly died in that very year, conveniently "murdered" by those in the employ of Sir Thomas Walsingham, the literary patron of Marlowe and first cousin, once removed, of his former employer, Francis Walsingham, before the Star Chamber could work its diabolical will upon him.

A Short Timeline of Events Related to the Shakespeare Authorship Question

Location Event Year
  Charles V of Spain becomes Holy Roman Emperor 1519
Bologna Charles officially crowned emperor by Pope Clement VII 1530
Milan Duke Francesco II Sforza swears allegiance to Charles V March 11, 1533
Milan Events described in The Two Gentlemen of Verona Aft. March 14, 1533
Naples Spanish Inquisition imposed on Naples 1547
Nola, Italy, near Naples Birth of Giordano (originally Fillipo) Bruno 1548
Castle Hedingham,
Birth of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford April 12, 1550
Penshurst Place, Kent Birth of Sir Philip Sidney Nov. 30, 1554
State of Venice Villa Foscari (Belmont) constructed on the Brenta 10 miles from Venice 1558
London Birth of Thomas Kyd Bef. Nov. 6, 1558
Kent Birth of Sir Thomas Walsingham IV ca 1561
London Birth of William Stanley 1561
Bewdley Birth of Mary Sidney, later countess of Pembroke Oct. 27, 1561
Taunton Birth of Samuel Daniel 1562
Castle Hedingham,
Edward de Vere becomes 17th earl of Oxford Sept. 3, 1562
Kent Birth of Sir Robert Sidney, later 1st earl of Leicester Nov. 19, 1563
Canterbury Birth of Christopher Marlowe Feb. 6, 1564
Stratford upon Avon Birth of William "Shakespeare" April 23, 1564
Billingbere Birth of Henry Neville ca 1564
  Bruno enters Monastery of San Domenico Maggiore 1565
Leostoff Birth of Thomas Nashe Nov., 1567
Sussex Birth of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton Oct. 6,1573
State of Venice Marquis of Montferrat (Guglielmo Gonzaga, duke of Mantua) at Villa Foscari along with Henry of Valois (later Henry III of France), an obscure event referred to in The Merchant of Venice July 27, 1574
Europe Edward de Vere travels in France, Germany, and Italy 1575–1576
Italy De Vere in Italy May 1575–March 1576
State of Venice Edward de Vere writes a letter to Lord Burghley from Venice Sept. 24, 1575
" De Vere writes a letter to Burghley from Padua Nov. 27, 1575
Cambridge Robert Greene at Cambridge 1575–1583
Europe Giordano Bruno leaves Italy, travels in Europe 1576
  Mary Sidney marries Henry Herbert, 2nd earl of Pembroke, becoming countess of Pembroke 1577
Oxford Samuel Daniel at Oxford University 1579–1582
Canterbury Marlowe enters King's School on a scholarship March, 1579
Salisbury? Birth of William Herbert, later 3rd earl of Pembroke April 8, 1580
Cambridge Marlowe enters Cambridge University on a scholarship Dec., 1580
Stratford Shakespeare obtains license to marry Anne Whateley Nov. 22, 1582
" Shakespeare obtains license to marry Anne Hathaway, who is 3-months pregnant Nov. 23, 1582
Penshurst, Kent Giordano Bruno visits England, promoting the Copernican idea of a sun-centered universe and his own theory of infinite inhabited worlds, an idea referred to tangentially in Hamlet. Bruno stays at the home of Sir Philip Sidney, brother of Mary Sidney, where he writes La Cena de le Ceneri [Pinksen], until the autumn of 1585 [Symonds] Spring, 1583
  Sir Thomas Walsingham III dies Jan. 15, 1584
Cambridge Marlowe receives bachelor's degree from Cambridge Spring, 1584
Wiltshire Birth of Sir Philip Herbert, later 1st earl of Montgomery & 4th earl of Pembroke Oct. 10, 1584
London Marlowe joins the secret service [Pinksen] ca 1585
Sir Philip Sidney dies Oct. 17, 1586
Cambridge Marlowe receives master's degree only upon intercession of the Privy Council, after the suggestion that he had been at Rheims, a hotbed of Catholic plotting against the Protestant Elizabeth I. His Tamburlaine produced. Thomas Kyd enters the service of an unidentified noble (Henry Herbert? [Lukas Erne]) until 1593 1587
London "Shakespeare" writes Titus Andronicus, a revision of an old play using Marlowe's blank verse system, "... five-and-twenty or thirty years" before Jonson's Bartholomew Fair. Jonson more specifically places it "a dozen years" before his Cynthia's Revels of 1600, or in 1588. Some have attributed this play to Marlowe Between 1584 & 1589
[Ben Jonson, 1614]; or 1588 [Jonson, 1600]
" An earlier incarnation of Hamlet is mentioned by Thomas Nashe, suggesting a derivation from, or identity with, Kyd's Spanish Tragedy. A reference to the latter appears in Titus Andronicus 1589
Kent Sir Thomas Walsingham IV inherits Scadbury Manor in Kent Nov., 1589
London Robert Greene's Francesco's Fortunes, disparaging Edward Alleyn, appears 1590
France/Italy Samuel Daniel in France and Italy 1590–1591
London/Venice Marlowe enters the service of the same noble (Henry Herbert? [Lukas Erne]) as Kyd. He and Kyd write and room together in London. Bruno returns to Italy


London/Rome Marlowe's Edward II performed. Henry VI, Part 1 performed at Rose Theater. The pamphlet Groatsworth of Wit appears under the name of Robert Greene (though it has recently been attributed to the printer Henry Chettle) mentioning an actor called "Shake-scene" (identified by A. D. Wraight, Samuel Blumenfeld, and Daryl Pinksen as Edward Alleyn) portrayed as a usurer, a miser, a profiteer, and a paymaster who passed off others' work as his own. Giordano Bruno imprisoned 1592
London Possible entry into the Stationers' Record of Dr. Faustus Dec. 18, 1592
" Shakespeare moves to London [Wraight] Early 1593
" Henry VI, Part 1, copyrighted by Thomas Millington March 12, 1593
" Black Death in London, possibly alluded to in The Two Gentlemen of Verona1 April, 1593
  Easter April 8, 1593 (Julian)
" Venus and Adonis copyrighted anonymously with an unattributed dedication to the earl of Southampton April 18, 1593
" Antagonistic letter appears on the Huguenot church wall intentionally referencing Marlowe's plays and clearly meant to direct suspicion toward him and Sir Walter Raleigh May 3, 1593
" Warrant issued by the Privy Council for the arrest of various writers in the matter of the Dutch Churchyard, as a result of which Thomas Kyd arrested May 11, 1593
London Warrant issued on the testimony of Kyd for the arrest of Marlowe May 18, 1593
Kent/London Marlowe arrested and released on bail May 20, 1593
  Whit Sunday (Pentecost) May 27, 1593 (Julian)

Marlowe supposedly murdered at Deptford in London, perhaps echoing other false deaths such as those of Socrates and King Arthur; purportedly flees to Scotland, then France, then Italy, where he writes the Italian plays [see below]

May 30, 1593
" Venus and Adonis published under the name "William Shakespeare" June, 1593
" Ingram Frizer pardoned by Elizabeth I for the supposed killing of Christopher Marlowe June 28, 1593
Asia Closest approach of Comet of 1593 (visible July 29–Sep. 19 in Asia) Aug. 27, 1593
London Thomas Kyd writes that Marlowe had intended to flee to Scotland Sep., 1593

16 of 38 canonical plays published in quarto editions, 9 of these under the name "William Shakespeare." It is upon this evidence and the preface to the First Folio alone that the entire canon is attributed to "Shakespeare"

  Thomas Kyd translates Cornelia for Mary Sidney Before Jan., 1594
" The Rape of Lucrece (poem) published under "Shakespeare'" name. Thomas Kyd purportedly dies. Titus Andronicus quarto edition published. Creede and Millington publish 12mo edition of Henry VI, Part 1. Lord Strange's Men merged into Lord Chamberlain's Co. Shakespeare first mentioned as an actor in the LCC. 1594
" First performance of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (including the character Saxon Bruno) by the Admiral's Men Oct., 1594
" Monsieur Le Doux lives in England 1594–1596

William Shakespeare paid £20 for a performance of the Lord Chamberlain's Men in December of 1594. It is unclear in what capacity he was paid, though it is commonly assumed that he was an actor

March, 1595
" Corrupt versions of Henry VI, Parts II & III, published anonymously under alternate titles 1595
London 8 non-canonical plays appear under the name "William Shakespeare," "W. Shakespeare," or "W. S." 1595–1611
Stratford/Salisbury? Shakespeare buys New Place in Stratford. William Herbert's parents engaged in negotiating his marriage to Bridget de Vere 1597
London/Cambridge John Marston and Joseph Hall doubt the authorship of Venus and Adonis, ascribing it to someone they call Labeo, whom Marston Identifies with a heraldic motto used by Francis Bacon [Ros Barber] 1597–1598
London 1st performance of Henry VI, Part 1 After 1597
" William Herbert moves to London Spring, 1598
" First mention of the Sonnets in Palladis Tamia by Meres (when William Herbert was 17 or 18 years old). William Herbert moves to London 1598
London "Shakespeare's" Sonnets 138 & 144 published in The Passionate Pilgrim. Samuel Daniel becomes Poet Laureate 1599
Rome Giordano Bruno murdered by the Roman Inquisition Feb. 17, 1600
London? Thomas Nashe supposedly dies ca 1601
  Publication of Daniel's A Defence of Ryme, dedicated to William Herbert 1603
London Elizabeth dies. James I (James VI of Scotland) becomes king of England March 24, 1603
Wilton, Salisbury Mary Sidney mentions Shakespeare (AKA Daniel?) in a letter, now lost, to her son William Herbert requesting him to bring James I to Wilton House to see a performance of As You Like It, suggesting that Marlowe returned to England from Italy after the accession of James. The existence of the letter is mentioned in an entry to the journal of William Cory written at Wilton House on August 5, 1865 Late (?) 1603
London 1st quarto edition of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus 1604
Hackney, London Edward de Vere dies June 24, 1604
Salisbury? William Herbert marries Mary Talbot Nov. 4, 1604
London Publication of "Shakespeare's" Sonnets, dedicated to "WH" (William Herbert, son of Mary Sidney, nephew of Sir Philip Sidney, and brother-in-law of Susan de Vere). William, along with Philip, was a dedicatee of the First Folio as well as works by Giordano Bruno. The "well-wishing adventurer" again leaves England [dedication to the Sonnets] 1609
Stratford Shakespeare retires to Stratford Between 1611 & 1613
London Globe Theater burns during performance of Henry VIII, "a new play" [Henry Wotton] July 21, 1613
Waltham Henry Neville dies July 10, 1615
London 2nd quarto edition of Marlowe's Dr. Faustus appears, containing 676 new lines, suggesting that Marlowe was alive in 1616 1616
Stratford William Shakespeare dies, leaving a will that makes no reference to books, manuscripts, nor any other literary or scholarly items; is buried under an anonymous stone in Holy Trinity Church bearing the famous epitaph "... And curst be he that moves my bones" April 23, 1616 (the same day he was born)
Beckington Samuel Daniel dies Oct. 14, 1619
London Mary Sidney dies Sep. 25, 1621
Stratford Shakespeare monument installed (by the freemasons?) with an inscription containing the rebus Christ-far More-ley2 Shortly before 1623
London William Herbert becomes Lord Chamberlaine. First Folio appears, including 20 plays not previously published, dedicated to William & Philip Herbert, sons of Mary Sidney. Publication of The Whole Works of Samuel Daniel, a quarto edition, dedicated to Queen Anne 1623
" Francis Bacon dies April 9, 1626
  William Herbert dies, Philip Herbert becomes 4th earl of Pembroke April 10, 1630
  Thomas Walsingham IV dies Oct. 6, 1630
Stratford Sir William Dugdale sketches Shakespeare monument showing no quill nor paper ca 1634
London Star Chamber abolished by the Habeas Corpus Act of 1640 1641
Lancashire William Stanley dies Sep. 29, 1642
Chislehurst Scadbury, the Walsingham estate at Chislehurst, sold to Sir Richard Bettenson by Sir Thomas Walsingham V ca 1655
London Great London Fire Sep. 2–5, 1666
   Walsingham V dies 1669
 1"Like one that hath the pestilence."
This is a simplification of Peter Farey's "Christofer Marley" that he obtained using cryptographic as well as rebus elements.

Beyond the year of his purported death, Marlowe's life demonstrates another parallel with other members of the avataric succession. That is, he was swept up in the same theological madness that always threatened and often took the lives of some of the most important unconventional minds of the Christian Era. This opposition to the established religious order is often a key element in the biographies of our cometary avatars. Again, it is Marlowe who was the target of the British authorities, who charged him with atheism at a time when it was a capital offense to even suggest that the state religion of Britain, under the control of the queen and thus making atheism equivalent to treason, was based on something other than absolute fact.

 Daryl Pinksen, in Marlowe's Ghost, has trouble understanding why the Star Chamber continued to gather evidence against Marlowe even after his supposed death. He thinks they suspected that Marlowe was still alive. More likely, as we have already seen, the English version of the Roman Inquisition was planning on digging up Marlowe and placing him on trial—as they did with John Wycliffe for the high crime of translating the bible into the vernacular—presumably for his immortal soul, since his body was already in a state of advanced decay. One suspects that if Marlowe's place of burial were known, the ghouls of the Star Chamber would have had no qualms about repeating this demented practice. Fortunately for Marlowe, 1593 was a plague year, exacerbated, perhaps, by the effects of the Comet. No one in his right mind would have gone rummaging through the diseased remains of the dead in their common grave.


Enter the Freemasons

[Shakespeare] is a brontosaur:
nine bones and six hundred barrels of plaster of paris.
—Mark Twain, Is Shakespeare Dead?

In her last published book, A. D. Wraight makes reference to her forthcoming Legend of Hiram: Shakespeare & the Freemasons, in which she intends to demonstrate the connection between Marlowe and the Masons. Dolly Wraight died before she could finish this work, and those in possession of the manuscript claim that it contains no new information. One finds this difficult to fathom in that the title of the book suggests a direction not previously explored in any of Wraight's previous works. One can see by the following genealogical chart that Marlowe's employers in the secret service, first Francis Walsingham and then Baron Burghley, were closely related to two of the candidates for author of the plays and sonnets, and to other important literary figures of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, as well as William Herbert, grandmaster of the Freemasons.

Partial Genealogy of the Cecils, de Veres, Sidneys, and Herberts

It is Peter Bull, however, who notices the similarity between the death of Marlowe, according to the report of the queen's coroner at the hands of Ingram Frizer, an employee of Thomas Walsingham, at the house of Eleanor Bull in Deptford, and that of Hiram Abiff, supposedly King Solomon's architect and the founder of Freemasonry. Bull lists a series of similarities between the two events that include attacks on them by "three ruffians" and their point of assault "above the right eye." The relationship between Abiff and Solomon was fairly complex and hints at the true identity of the architect. The story of how Solomon engineered the death of his half-brother Adonijah is well known. Less well known is the charge that Solomon had Hiram Abiff, who is also known among the Freemasons as Adoniram, murdered. The name Adoniram is not a great linguistic distance from Adonijah, where the Hebrew theophoric "Jah" is replaced by the equally theophoric "Ram". Add to this the tradition that Hiram the architect was the father of King Hiram of Tyre and we have a fairly complex series of royal relationships described in the genealogical table in Chapter Seven, all revolving around the enigmatic Balkis Bath-Sheba.

From 1618 until 1630, William Herbert was grandmaster of the Freemasons. If the current author is correct, it was to William Herbert that the Sonnets were dedicated under the initials W.H. We must assume that before 1618 William was involved at a slightly lower rank. Though, if Thomas Thorpe, the printer of the Sonnets, were also a Freemason, it might suggest an explanation of why William Herbert was addressed as "Mr. W.H.," rather than by his position among the nobility, in that the relationship of the two gentlemen within the Masonic organization would have trumped their exoteric social status. More likely, however, the author was in the habit of referring to William Herbert as "Mr. William," having been employed in the household of his mother.


Mary Sidney, Samuel Daniel, and the Wilton Circle

The sweetest swan of Avon to the fair
And cruel Delia passionately sings;
Other men's weaknesses and follies are
Honour and wit in him; each accent brings
A sprig, to crown him poet, and contrive
A monument, in his own work, to live.
—George Daniel of Beswick, A Vindication of Poesy, 1647

David Kathman writes,

But there are some writers who exhibit more similarities to Shakespeare than usual, either because they influenced Shakespeare or were influenced by him. Samuel Daniel has been recognized for the last 200 years as one of the most pervasive influences on Shakespeare's writing, particularly in the Sonnets but extending throughout the canon. Shakespeare repeatedly appropriated Daniel's vocabulary, images, themes (compare Shakespeare's Sonnets 1-18 with sonnets 33-40 of Daniel's Delia), and even unusual grammatical constructions (such as the pattern "so [verb or adjective] as [adverbial modifier]," which is uncommon outside Shakespeare and Daniel). The parallels between Daniel and Shakespeare are much more extensive than those Sobran notes between Oxford and Shakespeare, and extend far deeper than superficial verbal parallels.

Peter Farey writes,

As far as I can discover, nobody has ever challenged this actual statement [that "only the (pro)creative author may be called a 'begetter' "],...

G. Blakemore Evans does take issue with Donald Foster's solution (that the "W.H." is a misprint), and makes much of that one exception (from Samuel Daniel's Delia), even though Foster made it quite clear that the normal usage is being consciously reversed by claiming that the inspirer rather than Daniel himself was the real author.

In both of these instances, Samuel Daniel appears exhibiting similarities to the language of the plays or to that of the Sonnets and their dedication. Is this some bizarre coincidence? These are not the only "coincidences."

Michael Prescott writes,

The satirical play Return [from] Parnassus [performed at St. John's College between 1597 and 1603] has a character quote lines from Romeo and Juliet as his own, prompting another character to quip, "Romeo and Juliet: o monstrous theft! I think he will run through a whole book of Samuel Daniel’s."

The conventional explanation of this line is that Daniel was being accused of borrowing from "Shakespeare." If the current author is correct, the author of the Parnassus plays clearly knew who "Shakespeare" really was, and we begin to suspect why no-one noticed when the grain dealer and part owner of the Globe Theater died in 1616. It must have been an open secret that he had written neither the plays nor the sonnets.

In her attempt to show that Mary Sidney, the Countess of Pembroke, wrote the plays of "Shakespeare," among many works by many authors, Robin P. Williams (2006) lists the following from the pen of Daniel as sources of the plays:

Delia (1592)
The Complaint of Rosamond (1592)
The First Four Books of the Civil Wars (1595)
Musophilus (1599)
The Tragedy of Cleopatra (1599)
Letter from Octavia (1599)

The Complaint of Rosemond is echoed in The Rape of Lucrece, Love's Labour's Lost, and Romeo and Juliet. The First Four Books of the Civil Wars foreshadow Henry IV. On numerous occasions, critics have noticed these and other similarities between Daniel and "Shakespeare," but rather than draw the obvious conclusion, they have accused "Shakespeare" of borrowing from Daniel. More reasonably, the borrowing is illusory, the use of similar language and motives occurring within the production of a single author, sometimes writing in a more scholarly and literary vein under his own name, and sometimes writing in a more popular style for the public stage under a pseudonym.

Peter Ackroyd, in his Shakespeare: The Biography of 2006, sees borrowing in the other direction:

If Shakespeare borrowed from Daniel, then in turn the poet borrowed from the dramatist; some effects from Antony and Cleopatra become part of Daniel's verse drama on the same theme. So there was in a sense, a meeting of minds. Samuel Daniel is an image of what Shakespeare might have been—a writer of obscure country origins who, by dint of learning and skill, fashioned a career for himself as poet and retainer.

A meeting of minds, indeed! The reader will appreciate the absurdity of this kind of parsing of influences, as if the two authors belonged to some kind of mutual admiration society, membership in which allowed them to continually use the work of the other. As long as Daniel and "Shakespeare" are seen as two different authors, the opportunities for scholars to analyse these supposed borrowings remain almost limitless.

 Ackroyd also sees connections between "Shakespeare" and Mary Sidney:

There is another intriguing connection between The Rape of Lucrece and a noble family. It has been suggested that the poem was conceived and written under the auspices—or at least under the influence—of Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke.... She had ... created an informal network of literary patronage, and under her direction three neo-classical tragedies were written or translated from the French.... Each of these tragedies concentrated upon the sufferings of noble heroines, among them Cleopatra and Cornelia, and in deference to Mary Herbert takes an almost "feminist" reading of women betrayed by a hostile male world. The Rape of Lucrece is very much part of this tradition. It is not otherwise clear why Shakespeare would have chosen such an apparently unpromising subject. Samuel Daniel wrote a poem, The Complaint of Rosamond, and dedicated it to the Countess of Pembroke; this poem also expresses the sorrows of a suffering woman....

Talk about "close but no cigar."

Many of the works used by "Shakespeare" beyond those written by Daniel under his own name would have been available in the library of the Countess of Pembroke. Williams (2006) lists 219 works believed by scholars to have been used by "Shakespeare." And, of course, the knowledge and advice of the members of the Wilton Circle or those associated in other ways with Mary Sidney would have been close at hand to someone serving as tutor to Mary's children and living at Wilton House. This would tend to explain the indications seen by some that "Shakespeare" was a group effort, Mary Sidney serving, in that scenario, perhaps as a general editor. Among the works believed to have been used by "Shakespeare," many of which were foreign or classical in origin, 24 were written by Mary Sidney or her associates listed in the following table, including six by Samuel Daniel.

Persons Associated with Mary Sidney and Wilton House

Ident. Number Person
[Univ. Attended]
Lived Association Travels Known For Shakespearean Attributions4
1 Mary Sidney
1561–1621 Self   Wilton Circle, translation of the Psalms begun by #3, practiced alchemy All of "Shakespeare's" plays and sonnets
2 Robert Sidney
1563–1526 Brother   Sonnets, etc.  
3 Philip Sidney
1554–1586 Brother   Astrophil & Stella,
Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
4 William Herbert
1580–1630 Son   Dedicatee of 1st Folio; and Sonnets?
tutored by #9
5 Philip Herbert
1584-1650 Son   Dedicatee of 1st Folio; tutored by #9  
6 Thomas Walsingham
1561–1630 In-law France Patron of Thomas Watson, Thomas Nashe, George Chapman, & Christopher Marlowe  
7 Francis Walsingham
1532–1590 In-law   Spymaster, received letters in 1586
from #9 in France, employer of #19
8 Edward de Vere
1550-1604 In-law Europe including Italy   The Italian and other plays
9 Samuel Daniel
1562–1619 Wilton Circle/tutor of her children/
taught poetry by her
France (1586),
France & Italy
The Collection of the History of England; Tragedy of Cleopatra; Delia; sponsored by Henry Wriothesley3, to whom Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece were dedicated. A Defence of Ryme of 1603 was dedicated to William Herbert  
10 Edmund Spenser
1552/53–1599 Protégé/Wilton Cir   The Faerie Queene  
11 George Whetstone
ca 1549?–1587 Wilton Circle Italy Heptameron of Civil Discourses; Promos and Cassandra (source of Measure for Measure)  
12 Nicholas Breton
1545–1626 Wilton Circle   Religious and pastoral poetry, satires  
13 Walter Raleigh
1554?–1618 Wilton Circle Ireland,
South America
The Historie of the World; The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd (in response to Marlowe); El Dorado expedition  
14 Fulke Greville
1554–1628 Wilton Circle   Biog. of Philip Sidney, Antony & Cleopatra2  
15 Thomas Watson
1557–1592 Wilton Circle   Latin poetry  
16 Thomas Kyd
1558–1594 Wilton Circle   The Spanish Tragedy, Soliman and Perseda; Tamburlaine? translator of Cornelia King Leir, The Troublesome Reign of King John, Titus Andronicus; an early version of Hamlet?
17 Abraham Fraunce
1558/60–1592/93 Wilton Circle   Victoria  
18 Michael Drayton
1563–1631 Wilton Circle   Idea, The Barons' Wars Co-author of Sir John Oldcastle;
The London Prodigal
19 Christopher Marlowe
1564–1593? Employee of #7; Wilton Circle?1 Scotland? N. Italy? 1&2 Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus 1,2,&3 Henry VI, Titus Andronicus; an early version of Hamlet?
20 John Davies
1569–1626 Wilton Circle   Hymnes of Astraea, Epigrams  
21 John Dee
1527–1608/09 Friend   On the Mystical Rule of the Seven Planets  
22 Arthur Golding
1536–1606 Friend   Translator of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which influenced "Shakespeare."  
23 John Harington
1560–1612 Friend   ... The Metamorphosis of Ajax; inventor of the flush toilet  
24 Giordano Bruno
1548–1600 Guest of #3 Europe incl. N. Italy La Cena de le Ceneri; De la Causa, Principio et Uno; De l'Infinito, Universo e Mondi  
 RED: Candidates for authorship of one or more of the plays.

 1At the very least, an acquaintance of Mary Sidney.  2"Lost."  3The 3rd earl of Southampton, pronounced "Rosely" or "Risely" or similar.  
 4Known and purported. These include works published under the names "William Shakespeare," "W. Shakespeare," and "W. S.", whether or not they appeared in the First Folio or are generally considered part of the corpus. The point is to track the association of various authors with the pen name "William Shakespeare" or "Shake-speare."

While it has been suggested that the reference at the head of this section was lifted from Ben Jonson in his dedication to the First Folio, at the very least it shows that the "Avon" mentioned is the one associated with Mary Sidney (the Salisbury Avon) and not the Stratford Avon, either (through poetic license) the rivers Nadder and Wylye that feed the Avon and flow through the grounds of what was called Wilton Park in 1900, or the actual Avon that flowed past "Mary's seat at Ivychurch," the former Ivychurch priory east of Salisbury, as noted by Margaret P. Hannay in Philip's Phoenix. The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia is supposed to have been written at Ivychurch.

Map of Wilton House and Environs

to be continued

Richard Roe (2011) presents solid evidence that whoever wrote the plays had on-the-ground knowledge of northern Italian locations. According to Fred Faulkes (2007), Daniel was in France and Italy during most of 1590 and 1591.

Geographical Settings of the Contemporary and Medieval Italian Plays

Plays in the Order
Used by Richard Roe1
Italian Setting Italian State First Published
or Mentioned
Romeo and Juliet Verona, Mantua Venice, Mantua 15973
The Two Gentlemen of Verona Verona, Milan, Mantua Venice, Milan, Mantua 15984
The Taming of the Shrew Padua, [Pisa] Venice, [Tuscany] 15945
The Merchant of Venice Venice, [Padua], "Belmont"2 Venice, [Venice], Venice 15984,6
Othello Venice, "Belmont"2 Venice, Venice 1604?7
A Midsummer Night's Dream Sabbioneta Sabbioneta (SW of Mantua) 15984,6
Alls Well That Ends Well (France), Florence Tuscany ?
Much Ado about Nothing Messina Sicily 15996,8
The Winter's Tale Sicily 1609–16119
The Tempest Vulcano Island? (Prospero=Duke of Milan) before 160510
 []=Mentioned but not visited.

 1The Shakespeare Guide to Italy, 2011.  2This would appear to be the Villa Foscari on the river Brenta.
Quarto edition published in 1597. "Weever in an epigram" (1599): Stokes (1878). The quarto suggests that it had already been performed multiple times.
 4Meres in Palladis Tamia of 1598.  5First quarto edition.  6Quarto edition published in 1600. 
Possibly mentioned in the Accounts of the Revels at Court of 1604. Quarto edition published in 1622.  8Registration.
 9Numerical clues point to 1609. Performed at Globe Theater in May of 1611. Edmund Malone (1st edition) has this at 1594.
 10Echoed in The Fair Sidea, a German play written before 1605.  Eslava's book of tales, Winter Nights, was published in Spain in 1609.  Performed at court by the King's Company in 1611.

In Italy, Daniel met Sir Edward Dymoke, to whom he had dedicated his translation of The Worthy Tract of Paulus Jovius in 1585. Johanna Procter, quoted in Selene Scarsi's Translating Women in Early Modern England, calls Daniel "an excellent Italianist, with a wide knowledge of Italian literature." Unlike the Stratford "Shakespeare," one finds no problem in explaining the Salisbury one's knowledge of Italian geography. That Daniel was in Italy is not just speculation or surmise, According to June Schlueter (2012), during that time the Austrians were in the habit of keeping what are now called autograph books. It seems that Daniel's companion in crossing the Alps was Erhard Grünthaler, whose Stammbuch Daniel signed in 1591. Since Erhard and his brother crossed the Alps in 1590 and Daniel's signature is sandwiched between entries for Padua, it seems that he was there on June 30, 1591, and had already been in Italy the year before, though the entry locates it at "Augusta," perhaps a reference to the nearby Villa Augusta. Romeo and Juliet, set in Verona west of Padua, was already in publication by 1597, having been acted many times before. In the same year its authorship was being ascribed to Samuel Daniel in a performance of Return to Parnassus at St John's College.

One of the two possible routes available to Daniel would have taken him along the Via Claudia Augusta, an old Roman road that ran from Donauswörth south of Nuremburg all the way to Verona, the site of the partially historical events of 1302 dramatized in Romeo and Juliet, and on to the port town of Ostiglia on the Po from which they would have traveled by boat to Padua. If Daniel was indeed "Shakespeare," we can fill in his itinerary in Italy with the locations of his contemporary and Medieval Italian plays. Thus, besides Verona and Padua, he would have visited Milan, Mantua, Venice, "Belmont" (the Villa Foscari on the Brenta), Sabbioneta, Florence, and even Messina in Sicily far to the south, perhaps taking a short boat ride to Vulcano Island off the northern coast.

Map of Northern Italy ca 1591

As a student of British and Italian history, Daniel would have been familiar with the main characters in "Shakespeare's" historical plays:

Historical Dates of the Events Described in Some of the Plays

Plays in Order of
Historical Events
Dates of Characters Described Supposed Main Literary Source4 (Date)
Troilus and Cressida Trojan War (1195–1186 BC) Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (ca AD 1380)
King Lear (or Leir) Ruled from 848-788 BC Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande (1587)
Timon of Athens Lived during the 5th century BC William Painter's Palace of Pleasure (1566)
Coriolanus " Plutarch's Lives, Thomas North translation (1612); William Camden's Remains of a Greater Work Concerning Britain (1605)
Julius Caesar Assassinated in 44 BC Plutarch's Lives (1579)
Antony and Cleopatra Committed suicide in 30 BC As above, plus Daniel's Cleopatra (1593)5
Cymbeline (Kymbelinus) Fl ca AD 1 Holinshed's Chronicles, second edition (1587)
Macbeth Died in AD 1057 Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), Daemonologie of King James (1597)
King John Died in AD 1216 The Troublesome Reign of King John (1591)6
Hamlet (Amlodhi of the famous mill) Before 12201 Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy (bet 1582 & 1592)7
Romeo and Juliet Mainly 1302 with later elements William Painter's Palace of Pleasure (1566)
Richard II Died in 1400 Holinshed's Chronicles, 2nd edition (1587), Samuel Daniel's
The First Four Books of the Civil Wars (1595)4,5
Henry IV (2 plays) Died in 1413 "
Henry V Died in 1422 "
Henry VI (3 plays) Died in 1471 Edward Hall's The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (1548), Holinshed's Chronicles (1587)
Richard III Died in 1485 Holinshed's Chronicles, second edition (1587)
Two Gentlemen of Verona Imperial visit of 15332 Montemayor's Los Siete Libros de la Diana (French: 1578), Elyot's The Boke Named the Governour (1531), Sidney's The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (Mary Sidney edition: 1593)5
Henry VIII Died in 1547 Holinshed's Chronicles, second edition (1587)
Othello After 15583 Cinthio's "Un Capitano Moro" in Gli Hecatommithi (1565)
The Merchant of Venice After 15743 Giovanni Fiorentino's Il Pecorone (1558), Alexandre Sylvane's The Orator (English transl. 1596), Gesta Romanorum
(13th cent.)
 1First appears as "Amleth" in the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus (ca AD 1150–ca 1220).  2Charles V of Spain at Milan (March 10 thru March 14).
 3Villa Foscari (Belmont) constructed in 1558, visited by the Marquis of Montferrat in July of 1574 [Magri, 2003].
 4For the British plays, one has to assume a congruence of sources among Daniel's History of England, his Civil Wars, and the plays.
 5Direct associations with Wilton House.  6Later published under the names W. Sh. and W. Shakespeare.
 7A version of Hamlet was performed on the London stage at least as early as 1588.

 to be continued


The Spear Shaker

Among the supporters of various candidates for author of "Shakespeare's" plays, it has been noted that the plays often appeared in print under the name William Shake-speare, with a hyphen, indicating to them that the name was a pseudonym—a pen name. Some have even gone so far as to make the connection with Athena, the "spear shaker" of Greek mythology. The story is that when the sun reflected off of the spear of her statue, it appeared to shake. Though Athena was the goddess of knowledge and learning among other things, as noted by some of these authors, what has not been addressed is how this identification with Athena related to the biography of any particular author. However, one does not have to search very far to find evidence of the origin of this reference to Athena. It turns out that a book written by Anthony à Wood, the one that serves as the only solid evidence that Samuel Daniel's unnamed sister married John Florio, was called Athenæ Oxonienses, meaning "Oxfordian Athens," Athens suggesting a classical university town and cultural center. The book is a history of the authors and bishops who attended Oxford University and its title is important in that it directly connects Oxford to the ancient city of Athens and its local goddess, Athena. Thus, the hyphenated name "Shake-speare" points to someone who studied at Oxford. This is our first clue, but not our last.

In 1998, John Dougill published a book entitled Oxford in English Literature: The Making, and Undoing, of the 'English Athens'. In which he refers us to the work of William Camden, who died in 1623 in Chislehurst where Thomas Walsingham was buried, the same year as the publication of the First Folio and The Whole Works of Samuel Daniel. In Camden's words, originally published in Latin in 1586 in his Britannia and shortly thereafter translated into English,

Where the Cherwell flows along with the Isis, and meets it; and where their divided streams make several little sweet and pleasant islands, is seated on a rising vale the most famous University of Oxford, in Saxon Oxenford; our most noble Athens, the seat of our English Muses, the prop and pillar, nay the sun, the eye, the very soul of the nation: the most celebrated fountain of wisdom and learning, from whence Religion, Letters, and Good Manners, are plentifully diffused through the whole Kingdom. A delicate and most beautiful city, whether we respect the neatness of private buildings, or the stateliness of public structures, or the healthy and pleasant situation. For the plain on which it stands is walled in, as it were, with hills of wood, which keeping out on one side the pestilential south wind; and on the other the tempestuous west, admit only the purifying east, and the north which disperses all unwholesome vapour. From which delightful situation, authors tell us, it was heretofore called Bellositum. [emphasis added]

Clearly, the identification of Oxford University with ancient Athens was current in the late 16th century. Neither Mary Sidney, nor Christopher Marlowe, nor Francis Bacon, nor even the 17th earl of Oxford attended Oxford University. Samuel Daniel, on the other hand, studied at Oxford—though for only three years—as did William Stanley and, for a brief time, Sir Walter Raleigh.

 to be continued


[Chapter Twenty-One: 4375 BC—Orion in India]


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