The Shakespeare Code had intended to eliminate Trixie the Cat at midnight on 28 May, 2011.
However, at an emergency meeting of the Elders of the Code, a reprieve was granted.
Reviewing the evidence (in the Three Parts of ‘The Earl of Southampton and Trixie the Cat’) the Elders decided that The Code itself might benefit from its own:
The great explorer, Nile navigator and literary scholar, C.C. Stopes, suggested that the Third Earl of Southampton’s wife, Countess Elizabeth, brought Trixie the Cat with her on a visit to her husband in the Tower of London, on 11 October, 1602 …
to help to comfort, and to help calm the excitement of meeting again after such a long and anxious separation.
Much as it admires Stopes, The Code utterly refutes her suggestion.
The Cat, though it might well have been a real ‘mouser’ in the Tower, plays a symbolic rôle in the Tower Portrait of Southampton – that of:
(Southampton hated cats!)
Queen Elizabeth I displays the same pre-occupation in her famous ‘Rainbow Painting’ (c. 1600)
Her left sleeve has an embroidered serpent (‘Wisdom’) about to devour a ruby (‘Passion’)…
Passion (about to be) Tamed!
or Swallowed, rather…
Southampton’s mother, Countess Mary, had also been allowed to visit her ailing son in the Tower at the end of August, 1602, a few weeks before his wife was let in….
THE TRIXIE MOMENT UNVEILED…
The Shakespeare Code would like to suggest that Mary Southampton brought with her..
Not Trixie the Cat, but…
A Sonnet from William Shakespeare!!!
The Code has already demonstrated that Countess Mary approved of Shakespeare’s love for her son – as the Countess in All’s Well That Ends Well approves of Helena’s love for Bertram.
A decade before, Mary Southampton had commissioned Shakespeare to write seventeen sonnets for her gay son’s seventeenth birthday, outlining the joys of marriage. She needed to ‘heterosexualise’ Harry because:
1. The Southampton family line otherwise would die out, and…
2. Lord Burghley, Harry’s ‘guardian’, was about to impose a £5,000 [£2.5 million] fine if the Papist, flaxen-headed lad did not agree to marry his Protestant grandaughter.
The Sonnets, along with the erotically charged Romeo and Juliet (in which Shakespeare’s ambivalence about his commission finds voice in the ‘disturbed’ Mercutio) had half done the job.
Harry had finally married the volatile, weepy Elizabeth Vernon. He had even fathered a daughter with her…
But he still loved Shakespeare, and Shakespeare (with nothing at all to gain from the bankrupt, attainted, imprisoned and desperately ill, Earl of Southampton) loved him right back…
Loved him, in fact, more than he had ever loved him before….
Mary Southampton would have been a more than willing postman for a Sonnet from Cousin Will to her son.
(Shakespeare, like Helena in the play, had been ‘adopted’ by the Southampton family. His own mother, Mary Arden, was even distantly related to Mary Southampton).
In Sonnet 66, Shakespeare shows that, like Southampton, he is sick. But his sickness is a spiritual one.
Like Hamlet, he yearns for death…
Tired with all these for restful death I cry:
Shakespeare is suffering from melancholia, an aspect of life utterly accepted by the Tudors. It had to be lived with and lived through…
Queen Elizabeth would fight melancholy by retiring to her chamber to play the lute….
We think of The Elizabethan Age as a Golden one: but to the Elizabethans themselves, it was an appalling time. They thought the end of the world must be imminent because…
Things couldn’t get any worse…
As Elizabeth had said to William Lambarde, the antiquarian scholar, on 4 August, 1601:
now the wit of the fox is everywhere on foot, so as hardly a faithful or virtuous man may be found’.
In his famous soliloquy ‘To be or not to be’, Hamlet itemises all the things that make him want to kill himself.
Shakespeare does the same thing in Sonnet 66.
Like his old mentor, Robert Crowley (the radical vicar of St. Giles-without-Cripplegate in London) Shakespeare views with horror the disparity in wealth between a beggar and an aristocrat:
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimmed in jollity
By the wonderful phrase ‘needy nothing’ Shakespeare suggests:
- A rich man who ‘needs for nothing’ and,
- A rich man who is a spiritual ‘zero’.
‘Trimmed in jollity’ also evokes the elaborate, frivolous, ornate ‘costumes’ of the aristocracy. (People in Elizabeth’s time were actually ‘colour-coded’ to indicate their wealth and status).
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
The ‘purest faith’ for Shakespeare and Southampton was Roman Catholicism – which many Papists had been forced to ‘foreswear’ to save their lives.
And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,
The ‘honourable’ Earl of Southampton wore golden armour when he performed his many deeds of heroism on the battlefield….
Now, imprisoned in the Tower, he is reduced to the level of a common criminal….
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted
Queen Elizabeth claimed to be ‘The Virgin Queen’, but Catholics believed she had used her wealth and power to co-erce upper class ’ toy-boys’ into her bed. Sir Philip Sidney, in vain hopes of her favour, had even bought her a jewel-handled whip…
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
Another reference to the ‘perfect’ Southampton in the Tower…..
And strength by limping sway disabled,
By 1602, Queen Elizabeth walked with a stick, as did Sir Walter Raleigh, as did Sir Robert Cecil…
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
Shakespeare, as The Code asserts, could never (under Elizabeth, at least) say directly what he wanted to say…
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
Elizabeth had appointed idiots to positions of power, who issued unchallengeable ‘doctors’ orders’ to everyone else…
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
Like Elizabeth, Shakespeare thought that ‘the fox’ was ‘everywhere on foot’. Sincerity in a man or woman was now misinterpreted as stupidity.
And captive good attending captain ill:
Southampton (‘the good’) is made to submit, like a princely prisoner of war, to the Tower’s venal and corrupt ‘Captains of the Guard’.
Tired with all these from these would I be gone,
Save that to die I leave my love alone.
Hamlet, in the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy, decides against suicide.
He is frightened of what will happen to his soul after death.
Shakespeare, in Sonnet 66, also decides against suicide.
He is frightened of leaving Southampton ‘alone’.
But how, by dying, would Shakespeare leave Southampton ‘alone’?
He is not imprisoned with him the Tower….
Shakespeare would argue that he was.
In Sonnet 22 he declares that his own ‘heart’ is in Southampton’s ‘breast’, and Southampton’s ‘heart’ is in his.
In Sonnet 36 he also states that, though he and Southampton must live apart for a time …
Our undivided loves are one…
Shakespeare’s love for Southampton transcends space.
He is with him, even while he is away from him.
As he puts it, sublimely, in The Phoenix and the Turtle, he and Southampton are:
One Soul in Two Bodies….
So they loved as love in twain
Had the essence but in one:
Two distincts, division;
Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder,
Distance, and no space was seen
‘Twixt this Turtle and his Queen:
But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shine
That the Turtle saw his right
Flaming in the Phoenix sight;
Either was the other’s mine….
LONG LIVE TRIXIE THE CAT!!!