As Brothers and Sisters well know, The Shakespeare Code believes that Thomas Nashe collaborated with Shakespeare in the writing of Twelfth Night. Shakespeare wrote the ‘lyrical’ sections, while Nashe wrote the ‘comical ones’.
That is why, The Code believes, that Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton is ‘lampooned’ in the play in the figure of the foolish knight, Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
Nashe, as The Shakespeare Code has demonstrated, lived and worked for a time at Titchfield.
But he failed to secure, as Shakespeare did, the Earl of Southampton’s long-term patronage. No longer obliged to flatter Southampton to get his money, he is free to satirise a man he despised…
He also does this in The Parnassus Plays where Southampton is mocked in the character of foppish, foolish Gullio.
The Shakespeare Code has suggested a dozen adjectives to describe the characters of Agueceek and Gullio: it will now demonstrate that these same adjectives apply to the Earl of Southampton himself.
In 1594, Lady Bridget Manners,the Earl of Rutland’s sister, declined to marry Southampton (or the Earl of Bedford).
The reason she gave was that…
they be so young and fantastical and would be so carried away…
(i.e. they were raving homosexuals….)
In 1599 Queen Elizabeth described Southampton to Essex (after he had appointed him his General of Horse in Ireland) as:
one whose counsel can be of so little and experience of less use.
She goes on to imply that Essex had only given Southampton the position because he had married Essex’s cousin, Elizabeth Vernon.
would have used many of [his] old lively arguments against him [Southampton] for any such ability or commandment.
Southampton was also one of the main supporters of Essex’s very foolish rebellion against the Queen.
Southampton was so rich that Lord Burghley felt justified in imposing a £5,000 fine on him in 1594 when, although he was Burghley’s ward, he refused to marry his grandaughter, the daughter of the Earl of Oxford.
A £5,000 fine is the equivalent of two and a half million pounds in today’s money.
There is a story (well-authenticated through Sir William Davenport and Nicholas Rowe) that Southampton gave Shakespeare a gift of £1,000 (half a million pounds) to ‘make a purchase.’
In Sonnet 8, Shakespeare writes of Southampton:
Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
On 15 July 1598, Sir Thomas Edmondes, the English agent in Paris, sent on to Sir Robert Sidney:
certain songs which were delivered by my Lord Southampton to convey to your Lordship from Cavelas.
John Florio, in his introduction to his 1598 edition of The World of Words (his Italian/English Dictionary) implies that Southampton is so fluent in Italian he doesn’t need a tutor.
Southampton could certainly write in Latin and Greek as well and is decribed in Willobie his Avisa as ‘Italo-Hispalensis’ which suggests he spoke Spanish as well.
His maternal grandfather, Lord Montague, was Master of Horse to King Philip II of Spain when he was King of England in ‘Bloody’ Mary’s reign.
In Sonnet 84, Shakespeare writes of Southampton:
You to your beauteous blessings add a curse
Being fond on praise which makes your praises worse…
Southampton had himself painted in a series of portraits to show off…
A. His feminine beauty….
B. His long elegant hair…
C. His long elegant legs…..
D. His long elegant hands……….
Compare these with a photograph of the great Arthur (‘Ello, ‘Ello) Bostrom playing Sir Andrew Aguecheek…
……Long, elegant everything!
Shakespeare, in his Sonnets, encourages this vanity.
In Sonnet 20 he describes Southampton as the ‘master-mistress of [his] passion’ and claims that Dame Nature originally intended Southampton to be a woman – but falling in love with her – turned her into a man instead…
In Sonnet 53 Shakespeare even speculates how beautiful Southampton would look dressed in drag like Helen of Troy!
Early in 1597 Southampton quarrelled violently with Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (‘The Wizard Earl’), Essex’s brother-in-law.
Northumberland was Southampton’s ‘neighbour-from-Hell’ at Petworth, a day’s ride from Titchfield. He and Sir Walter Raleigh were part of a group of Scientists and Occultists attacked by the Jesuits as The School of Atheism and by Shakespeare as The School of Night in Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Southampton sent his rapier to Northumberland, but they never fought a duel.
Early the following year (1598) Southampton got into an argument with Ambrose Willoughby after a playing at cards with him and the Queen. He struck Willoughby near a tennis court and Willoughby snatched a piece of Southampton’s hair. The Queen took Willoughby’s side and banished Southampton, temporarily, from the court.
On 24 January, 1600, Gilbert Whyte reported that Thomas Lord Gray had challenged Southampton to a duel – but that Southampton had replied he had the choice of the place and the weapon. He did not want this to be in England as he could expect …
little grace and mercy…
He offered to meet Gray in Ireland or France to fight.
[Note: We now spell Gray's family name as Grey - but in Elizabethan documents, it is spelt Gray or Graye.]
In May Southampton travelled to Ireland - and Gray to the Low Countries; but their quarrel continued. In July Southampton travelled to Flanders - but by then news of the quarrel had reached the ears of the Privy Council. They stated that it was ‘publicly known’ that there was ‘unkindness and heartburn’ between the two men and wrote to them to forbid the duel.
Southampton ignored the Council, sent his sword to Gray and a duel was fought. Southampton came off the better.
But on 9th January, 1601, Lord Gray, with a party of attendants, made a ’revenge’ attack on Southampton when he was riding along the Strand with only a boy to hold his horse.
Southampton defended himself till help came, but the boy lost his hand in defending his master. The Queen sent Gray to Fleet Prison.
It is this incident, The Shakespeare Code believes, that Nashe is satirising in The Parnassus Plays when Gullio says:
Since my arrival in England [from Ireland] (which is now six months I take sithens) I have been the death of one of our puling Liteltonians for passing by me in the Moor fields unsaluted, but that there was no historiographer by to have recorded it…
The ‘puling Liteltonians’ refers to the students of law who still studied the Tenures of Sir Thomas Littleton (1422-1481) at Gray’s Inn Court, the original home of the Grays of Wilton of which Thomas Lord Gray, Southampton’s enemy, was a member.
Even in Twelfth Night, Sir Andrew, terrified of fighting, offers ‘Caesario’ his:
horse, Gray capilet…
This is a dig at Lord Gray, who (as we know from Leslie Hotson’s brilliant researches) was sitting next to Queen Elizabeth at the first night of Twelfth Night. Both were trying to translate the play into Latin for the sake of a visiting Bavarian Count, Wolfgang Wilhelm.
Wilhelm had already visited the Court on 14th December – where he had dined, lavishly, The Code imagines – in the private chambers of the Lord Chamberlain (George, Lord Hunsdon) the original of Sir Toby Belch. See Part Three.
Though it was generally agreed that Southampton was a gallant soldier, he was terrified of Queen Elizabeth. He sneaked back to England from Europe, incognito, to marry Elizabeth Vernon in hopes that the Queen wouldn’t find out…
Also, at his trial for treason it was thought (understandably perhaps) that…
he was somewhat too low and submiss, and seemed too loath to die before a proud enemy…
9. Maladroit with women
Southampton’s father, the second Earl of Southampton, who believed his wife, Mary Browne, second Countess of Southampton, had been unfaithful to him, taught his son Harry to hate women. He brought him up in a predominantly male world in which (according to Mary Browne) he had made his ‘servant his wife’.
Harry consequently had a stormy relationship with his mother – and as a teenager showed so little interest in girls that on his seventeenth birthday the Countess commissioned Shakespeare to write seventeen Sonnets to turn him ‘straight’.
So it was invevitable that when he did fall in love (with Shakespeare’s mixed-race mistress Amelia Bassano) the relationship was also stormy. It is cruelly satirised in Willobie his Avisa where H.W. [Henry Wriothesley] has…
a fantastical fit at the first sight of A’ [Avisa=Amelia].
The Shakespeare Code believes that Harry Southampton stole Amelia away from Shakespeare to make himself the centre of Shakespeare’s attention. The anonymous author of Willobie his Avisa (which The Code believes was Amelia herself) attributes dark motives to Shakespeare .
It claims that because Shakespeare was hurt in love by ‘Avisa’ he wants his young friend Harry to be hurt as well. In the end Avisa despises Harry’s tears and hysterics and ‘blobbered face’ and leaves him dying of love-sickness…
Even his coutship of Elizabeth Vernon, Essex’s cousin and Queen Elizabeth’s Lady-in-Waiting, was an hysterical process.
Rowland Whyte, a Court gossip, wrote in 1595:
My Lord of Southampton do with too much familiarity court the fair Mistress Vernon…
Whyte followed this up three years later with:
I hear my Lord Southampton goes with Mr. Secretary [Cecil] to France and so onward in his travels; which course of his doth extremely grieve his mistress that passes her time in weeping and lamenting…
Whyte adds (a week later):
I heard of some unkindness should be between 3000 [Code for the Earl of Southampton] and his mistress occasioned by some report of Mr. Ambrose Willoughby. 3000 called him to account for it, but the matter was made known to the Earl of Essex and my Lord Chamberlain, who had them under examination; what the cause is I could not learn for it was but new; but I see 3000 is full of discontentments…His fair mistress doth wash her fairest face with many tears…
On 12th February he added:
My Lord of Southampton is gone [to France] and left behind him a very desolate Gentlewoman that almost wept out her fairest eyes. He was at Essex house with 1000 [C ode for Essex] and there had been much private talk with him for two hours in the court below…
In the event, The Shakespeare Code is pleased to report that Southampton’s marriage to Elizabeth Vernon proved a happy one.
In Twelfth Night Sir Andrew Aguecheek copies down phrases that ‘Caeasrio’ uses to praise Olivia in a commonplace book. His intention is to pass them off as his own later.
We know for certain that Southampton had a commonplace book because Shakespeare gave him one! In Sonnet 77 he talks of the present of a book whose:
vacant leaves the mind’s imprint will bear…
And advises Southampton that whatever his memory cannot ‘contain’ [ he should...
Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find
Those childrern nursed, delivered from thy brain...
Whether the book was filled, like Gullio's mind is, with
nothing but pure Shakespeare, and shreds of poetry that he [Gullio] hath gathered at the theatres….
we shall never know. We learn, in Sonnet 122, that Southampton filled up his commonplace book and gave it back to Shakespeare.
Shakespeare promptly lost it.
Southampton genuinely believed he could become the lover of Queen Elizabeth – just as Sir Andrew believes he is in with a chance with the Countess Olivia.
It is true that when he first came to the Court in 1595, the Queen showed some interst in Southampton. She was growing tired of Essex and so was, according to Fulke Greville…
almost superinduced into favour the Earl of Southampton.
But a full-on, Essex-like affair was never on the cards. In November of the same year the Queen refused to allow Southampton to help her mount her horse. Southampton flounced out of the Court.
The truth is, Elizabeth could have eaten the Earl of Southampton for breakfast…
Also, Southampton was deluded enough to believe that the citizens of London (made prosperous under Elizabeth) would rise up under Essex and overthrow the Queen.
Shakespeare had a profound influence over the Earl of Southampton. With his first seventeen Sonnets he tried to persuade him that heterosexual love might be a pleasant distraction from his determined homosexuality: with Romeo and Juliet - which local legend claims was first performed at Titchfield – he succeeded. The Parnassus Plays suggest that Shakespeare even wrote Southampton’s love poetry for him – rather like Cyrano de Bergerac…
But Southampton fell under the sway of a far more powerful (and malign) influence. Henry Cuffe was a humble Grammar School boy who rose to become Regius Professor of Greek for seven years at Oxford University.
Cuffe joined the Essex/Southampton entourage and was described as ‘a great philosopher’ who could…
suit the wise observations of ancient authors to the transactions of modern times.
Cuffe brainswashed the Earl of Essex into rebellion through his interpretation of Aristotle’s Poetics - and in 1598 Essex sent him to Paris to brainwash the Earl of Southampton as well…
Which, as Brothers andSisters of The Code will by now have realised…..
WAS NO HARD TASK!
Trixie the Cat says….
The Shakespeare Code will reveal in later Posts how the appalling Henry Cuffe was the model for the appalling Iago…
And one or two other ‘philosopher villains’ as well….
So stay tuned to THE SHAKESPEARE CODE…
Your STATION OF THE STARS!