Brian Vickers in the Times Literary Supplement:
Those who seek to deny Shakespeare’s authorship of over thirty plays, two narrative poems and a collection of sonnets are driven to strange expedients. Consider the following stories:
(1) Francis Bacon, despite his busy life as a barrister , involved in both state and private legal cases, who kept up his connections with Gray’s Inn as a law lecturer, an MP and chairman of several committees, a rising government legal officer (Solicitor – General 1607, Attorney General 1613), and a scholar whose avowed ambition was to reform science so that it could benefit mankind – despite all this, had enough time to write the works published under Shakespeare’s name, with the connivance of the actor from Stratford. Either they managed to deceive all the theatre people with whom Shakespeare worked on a daily basis – his fellow actors ; those who shared with him the management of both the theatre company (the Lord Chamberlain’s Men until 1603, thereafter the King’s Men) and their playhouse (the Theatre until 1599, thereafter the Globe) ; and the playwrights ( Peele, Middleton, Wilkins, Fletcher ) with whom he co-authored at least six plays, a process involving much viva voce discussion of plotting – or else all these people were in on the secret. Bacon concealed his authorship during his and Shakespeare’s lifetime, but thoughtfully left some encoded messages in the First Folio, which were not deciphered until 1856. Bacon was also the President or Imperator of the Rosicrucians, an adept of the K ab b ala h , and the leading English freemason.
(2) Although Christopher Marlowe was
to all appearances killed in a tavern brawl in Deptford on May 30, 1593, his death being certified at an inquest held on June 1 and presided over by the Queen’s coroner, at which sixteen local jurors acquitted the assailant, Ingram Frazer, on the grounds of self-defence, this was all an elaborate scam arranged by Thomas Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster and Marlowe’s homosexual lover. The body buried in an unmarked grave in St Nicholas’s Churchyard on June 1 was in fact that of John Penry, the Separatist leader, who had just been executed.