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A SPECIAL REPORT from…..

Trixie

TRIXIE THE THEATRE CAT!!!

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code…

The Making of a King – Henry V 

…..opened on 24th June, 2015…..

 ……at the HISTORIC Great Barn in Titchfield, Hampshire….

(which was built at time of the Agincourt Campaign)

making preset

….to RAVES from the PRESS and the PUBLIC!!!

The DISTINGUISHED Theatre Critic, ED HOWSON…..

 …….writing in the HIGHLY PRESTIGIOUS Daily Echo…..

daily echo logo

….stated….

PRESENTED as one of the countrywide events celebrating the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, Stewart Trotter’s seamless adaptation of four plays (one anonymous and three by Shakespeare) all chronicling the life of Prince Harry and his accession to the throne as Henry V, was clearly a labour of love, and one which Titchfield Festival Theatre (TFT) made the most of in director Kris Refevan’s traditional staging at The Great Barn, Titchfield.

On his impressive TFT debut, Chris Mills’ Prince Harry started out with the brashness of youth, drinking and whoring…..

M Hal drinking

….in the company of Kevin Fraser’s dissolute Falstaff……..

M Falstaff with bottle

…….growing into a warrior king leading his troops into battle……..

M King Henry in battle

…….while still finding time to woo the French Princess Katherine……..

M Henry with Princess

(another notable Titchfield debut by Lara Cooper-Chadwick)

As the rebellious Harry Hotspur, Joshua Coates turned in another fine performance………

M josh as hotspur

…..and with live period music throughout (Charles Wood)

…….the icing on the cake was Stewart Trotter’s own enjoyably clear narration as The Chorus”.

 stewart as chorus in making (2)

Thanks, Ed.

Trixie the Cat is in total agreement!!!

She would add mention of the vibrant, warm and sexy Hannah Wood who plays Doll Tearsheet…..

 ……harlot and mistress of ‘The Sow’s Head’ Tavern’ in Eastcheap…

M hannah as doll

 

…….who loves her clients as much as they love her!!!

M doll with Falstaff

 

And the delightful Toby Bennett……

M toby francis

…… in the role of Francis, the little orphan boy Doll has taken under her wing….

M Doll Tearsheet and Francis

 ….who mischievously pours salt into Falstaff’s sack….

M Falstaff and Francis

….and is taken off to war by Falstaff’s oafish side-kicks….

……Peto (John Boyle) and Bardolph (David Launder)…

(‘No need to pack, Francis. You can steal all you need in France’)

M Peto and bardolph

Francis, though, ends up dead as King Henry’s page at Agincourt…

M Henry with dead Francis

(‘I was not angry till I came to France/Until this instant’)

Your Cat’s eye was also drawn to Dan Cox as an utterly convincing Poins….

M Poins and Hal (2)

 …..wideboy, petty crook, alcoholic and louche friend of Prince Hal and Falstaff….

M poins with sack

Your Cat also noticed Samuel F. Bowers as the thuggish, swaggering sheriff….

…..who drops like a sycophantic stone when he encounters Prince Hal….

M drops like a stone

 

…..and David Lee as the dour, dark, guilt-ridden…

Sire of Harry, Henry IV….

M henry iv dave

….who, in the words of the play,…..

…..yearns for Holy War,

In part to honour sacred Jesu’s name….

But mostly to prop up his dubious reign…..

 After fights, reconciliations and more fights with his son, Prince Hal…..

M hal and henry IV with crown (2)

….Henry IV laughs himself to death at the trick the universe has played on him….

He was told he would die in Jerusalem……

…..and he took that to be the Middle East….

…..but it was the name of his bedchamber in Westminster!!!

M Death of Henry IV

And so I meet my end where I do lie;

In THIS Jerusalem doth Harry die…

What Your Cat LOVED about this version of the plays is that, again in its own words, it…..

Tells the tale of dissolute Prince Harry,

M dissolute

Who, more in love with taverns than with courts

M more in love with taverns

And constant comrade to a gross fat knight

M constant comrade to a gross fat knight

Transformed upon his father Henry’s death

M Hal the new king.

Into the star of England….

M into the star of England

….IN ONE SINGLE EVENING!!!

 We see just how painful it is for him to reject his outrageous, drunken old friend, Falstaff…..

M Hal's rejection of Falstaff

 

…..and to sign the warrant for Bardolph’s execution for stealing church property….

M warrant

We see him forging bonds with his father’s loyal old friend, the Earl of Westmoreland (Alan James)

M transformed upon his father henry's death

…and growing stronger in friendship and amity with his estranged brother, Prince John (Frank Hussey)…..

M brothers

For Your Cat, two of the highlights of the show were the hilarious ‘robbery’ at Gadshill….

M Bardolph and Peto and the robbers.

…where we see….

the robbers robbed….

M Falstaff Peto and Bardolph return from robbery.

….and Falstaff’s extempore drilling of a bunch of hopeless, raw recruits…..

M Falstaff with recruits. 2

Frankie Patterson as the wise, peace-loving Duchess of Burgundy…..

M Duchess of Burgundy

……knocks together the heads of the warring Kings of England and France at the end of the play…..

…..and it is a delight to see King Henry winning over the not TOO reluctant Princess of France…..

M kiss

Do you teach her English?

….asks the Duchess of Burgundy……

M teaches French (2)

No, she teaches me French!

….replies the King…..

The Making of a King shows Prince Henry, in battle, going through a dark night of the soul…..

…… when he begins to think all political power is meaningless.

But he throws himself into the hands of God….

M Henry in prayer

And God grants him victory at Agincourt….

M victory

 

All told The Making of a King is a celebration of England…..

…..and English values…..

…..which culminates, appropriately enough, in a joyous dance….

…..choreographed by Hannah Wood….

M falstaff dance (2)

 

The show was beautifully lit by Mike Andrews……

…. and brilliantly directed by the mysterious, reclusive Swede, Kris Refevan….

All the photographs from the show were taken by Rich Patterson.

Kevin Fraser, who plays the rip-roaring Falstaff, is also the Director of the WORLD-FAMOUS Titchfield Festival Theatre……..

kevin fraser

…..and I spoke to him backstage, after the show…..

…..as he struggled out of his padding…..

…..and sank exhausted into his chair.

That was great, Kevin….

I purred….

Kevin smiled and pointed wearily to a huge pile of papers on his dressing table…..

Look at these, Trixie….

….he said…..

I’ve been INUNDATED with e-mails!!!

Kevin picked up two at random and handed them to me….

Brothers and Sisters, I was so excited by what I read that I copied them in shortpaw…..

Here’s the first….

(No names, no pack drill!)

(1) Last evenings performance of Henry V – The Making of a King was magnificent. The comments I heard at the interval and at the end of the evening were very, very complimentary with two of my ladies, who are ardent Shakespeare “Groupies” who have been regulars at The Barbican and The Globe in London and of course at Stratford-upon- Avon, were so full of praise for your production. Please pass our congratulations and sincere thanks for a wonderful evening onto all members of the cast and back stage crew.

And here’s the second….

(2) How do you do it? I don’t often put pen to paper ( or keyboard to screen!) but what a whirlwind brilliant production. From start to finish we were all three enthralled. We were half expecting this to be a long evening, 4 plays in one – but what an experience. As usual we will spread the word. Fantastic! Pass on our best wishes to everyone who without fail made this a night to remember.

Kevin then told me, with an entrepreneurial smile, that the very moment the show opened…..

…. the Box Office went through the roof!!!

To celebrate, Kevin, the entire cast and crew and myself, then hot-pawed it down to the Queen’s Head in Titchfield….

queen's head titchfield

…..where, in the words of the play we all

Drank an English toast for Harry’s sake….

…and for the sake of the whole Titchfield Festival Theatre….

‘Bye now

Paw-Print smallest

To find out WHY the Box Office went through the roof….

Read the entire play by clicking: HERE!

The Rights of the play are now available….

PERHAPS TO YOUR COMPANY!!!

P.S Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code might also be interested in…

1. Why did Shakespeare write the King Henry plays? Click: HERE

2. The character of Falstaff. Click: HERE

3. Why Falstaff is fat. Click: HERE

P.P.S. The Code agents are busily at work on our next post……

‘The Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost as Queen Elizabeth’.

elizabeth castrating

AN IMPORTANT STATEMENT FROM TRIXIE THE CAT.

Trixie

The Shakespeare Code NEVER includes links to other sites….

…..BUT THIS IS EXCEPTIONAL!!!

Six students at De Montfort University in Leicester have produced…….

 …..AN ANIMATION OF THE STREETS OF SEVENTEENTH CENTURY LONDON!!!

This is the London, before the Great Fire in 1666……

…the London that William Shakespeare would have known.

london animation

For Your Cat this is like coming home…

I know I skulked these alleys in one of my….

……PREVIOUS LIVES!!!

Enjoy….

http://www.openculture.com/2013/11/fly-through-17th-century-london.html

(P.S. The brilliant animators are named at the end of the video. Snap them up now!)

 Stewart Trotter writes….

On page 146 of my book, Love’s Labour’s Found…..

book cover

…..published in 2002…

…..I wrote:

At the same time John Clapham, [Lord] Burghley’s secretary, was writing Narcissus, another poem on an Ovidian theme – also dedicated to [Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of] Southampton and printed in 1591. It deals with the legend of Narcissus, a young man fed on ‘the warm milk of error’ (Catholicism) who mounts a steed called Lust and dies in the spring of Self Love – infatuated with his own reflection. Shakespeare’s poem [Venus and Adonis] is about the Goddess Venus’s unrequited love for the beautiful Adonis who refuses her embraces and dies in a boar hunt. Although the poem is dedicated to Southampton, Mary Southampton still controlled his finances and Burghley was his guardian. I believe they commissioned Shakespeare , as Burghley commissioned his secretary, to continue to put pressure on Harry [Southampton] to marry and warn him of the deadly consequences of pursuing a homosexual life….

In the 20th May, 2015 edition of Country Life Mark Griffith……

mark griffiths

…. writes:

In 1591, Burghley’s secretary John Clapham had tried and failed to teach the 17 year-old Earl [of Southampton] the error of his ways with Narcissus, a long Latin poem on the perils of self-love.When Shakespeare’s turn came, [with Venus and Adonis] he kept something of that earlier identification. Far from the usual he-man lover and hunter, his Adonis is an effeminate, petulant, self-obsessed and woman spurning youth – in other words, more like Narcissus and just like Southampton..

..Because Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece are dedicated to Southampton in warm and dutiful terms, it’s widely assumed that he was Shakespeare’s patron. But a dedicatee is not necessarily a patron, and neither sent the head-strong Earl a message he wanted to hear. No, Shakespeare was acting for Burghley; the Lord Treasurer was his mysterious early backer…..

In some ways, Mr. Griffiths and I are very close……

He clearly subscribes to the theory I first put forward in Love’s Labour’s Found thirteen years ago….

……that William Shakespeare was discovered, created and financially assisted by a powerful patron….

……who commissioned him to write…..

(1) Poetry to persuade the Earl of Southampton to get married….

(2) Plays to support the Patron’s political position…

(3) Open air country house entertainments which brought him to the attention of Queen Elizabeth I…

….and….

(4) A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate a family wedding…..

The only difference is that Griffiths believes this Patron to be William Cecil, Lord Burghley….

Burghley with wand of office

……while I argued in my book…..

……and subsequent blog The Shakespeare Code…..

….. that…..

……SHAKESPEARE’S MAIN PATRONS WERE THE SOUTHAMPTON FAMILY!!!

….namely…

……(1) Mary Browne, Second Countess of Southampton…..

Mary Browne

….who financed Shakespeare from 1590 (when he joined the Titchfeld household) till 1594……

….and (2) Her son, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton and Baron of Titchfield……

tomb henry wriothesley

…. who then took over the patronage of Shakespeare when he came of age in 1594…..

….. till 1605, when he broke all ties.

(To read about this break, click: ‘Shakespeare, Love and Religion, Part Three.’)

Mr. Griffiths rejects these ideas and writes:

Forget the often-repeated tale, first set down at the start of the eighteenth century, that Southampton gave Shakespeare the vast sum of £1,000.

(£1,000 would be the equivalent of £500,000 today.)

But WHY should we forget it?

The story comes from Nicholas Rowe’s 1709 Some Account of the Life  etc. of Mr. William Shakespear. [sic]

Nicholas Rowe

….and Rowe meticulously records:

[Shakespear] had the honour to meet with many great and uncommon marks of favour and friendship from the Earl of Southampton, famous in the histories of that time for his friendship to the unfortunate Earl of Essex..

..There is one instance so singular in the magnificence of this patron of Shakespear’s, that if I had not been assured that the story was handed down by Sir William D’Avenant……

Davenanr william

…. who was probably very well acquainted with his affairs, I should not have ventured to have inserted, that my Lord Southampton, at one time, gave him a thousand pounds, to enable him to go through with a purchase which he heard he had a mind to….

D’Avenant claimed…..

….with some plausibility….

….according to Charles Nicholl……

CharlesNicholl

…..who edited Rowe’s Life..

….to be one of Shakespeare’s illegitimate sons….

The actor, Sir Thomas Betterton……

thomas betterton 001

…..was the lead actor in D’Avenant’s company…..

…..did his own investigations into Shakespeare by visiting Stratford-upon-Avon….

….and passed on his information to Rowe.

The Southampton…..

….. tale….

….(Griffiths’s word)

…..has an excellent provenance……..

….. stretching back to the time of Shakespeare himself.

Now it is true that in the excerpt from Love’s Labour’s Found that I quoted, I stated that….

I believe they [Burghley and Mary Southampton] commissioned Shakespeare [to write Venus and Adonis] , as Burghley commissioned his secretary….

….but I do not think Burghley actually PAID for the poem.

That was Mary Southampton’s task….

Burghley, working with Mary….

…and her father, Anthony Browne, Lord Montague….

Montague, Lord

….merely suggested the Ovidian subject matter.

Burghley was Southampton’s guardian….

He wanted Harry to marry his grand-daughter Elizabeth de Vere….

lady elizabeth de vere

……so that his family would make another association with an aristocratic family……

…… (Burghley himself came from a relatively humble background)

…….and to prevent Southampton……

……..who, like all his family, was a Roman Catholic recusant……

……..from marrying a Catholic girl.

Burghley was a committed Protestant…..

…….who had worked with Queen Elizabeth to establish the Church of England…..

He was also notoriously tight-fisted….

….(even his secretaries like Clapham were paid in kind rather than money)….

….and had no interest at all in ‘contemporary’ English literature.

(Clapham’s poem to Southampton was in Latin)

Burghley was a classicist who, when asked by Queen Elizabeth…….

elizabeth red

……..to grant Edmund Spenser…….

edmund spenser colour

…..£100 for writing The Fairie Queen, famously said….

…..What? All this for a song….

And in the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Wallace T. Macaffery writes….

Writers in the literary genre, however, found little favour from the Treasurer [Lord Burghley]. He showed no interest in the contemporary outpouring of poetry and drama. In fact he seems to have preferred to read continental authors.

Also Burghley, as Southampton’s guardian, had the legal right to DEMAND the marriage….

…..and stood to gain a colossal £5,000 in fines if Southampton refused….

…..£1,000 more than his annual salary as Treasurer….

…..and the equivalent today of £2.5 million.

Either way, Burghley would win…..

So why waste money on…

…..songs..

……from Shakespeare….?

……..especially as Shakespeare came from a recusant background.

It was in Mary’s INTEREST to pay Shakespeare to persuade Harry to marry because….

(1) Harry was an only son and it would continue the Southampton line….

(2) Marriage might get him to turn his interest from young men to young women.

His father, Mary’s dead husband, the Second Earl of Southampton…..

full face second earl of southampton (2)

…..had been homosexual.

He had made, in Mary’s words……

…..his manservant his wife.

(3) It would release her from the ruinous fine Burghley was about to impose.

And even in the unlikely event that Burghley DID share in the expense of Venus and Adonis…..

……he would have been horrified by the result…

……and would certainly never have employed Shakespeare again!!!

Shakespeare might well have INTENDED the poem to be a ‘moral’ work like Clapham’s….

…..to show that when Adonis refuses the heterosexual love of Venus…..

Venus and Adonis

….and insists on hunting the boar…..

…..with certain of his friends…..

…..he ends up dead.

But, as so often happens in Shakespeare’s work…….

……Shakespeare’s own feelings get in the way.

By the time he wrote Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare was in love with Harry Southampton….

…so he EROTICISES the death of Adonis….

Tis true, tis true, thus was Adonis slain:

He ran upon the boar with his sharp spear,

Who did not whet his teeth at him again

But by a kiss thought  to persuade him there;

And nuzzling in his flank, the loving swine

Sheath’d unaware the tusk in his soft groin….

And far from being a cautionary tale, the image of the sprawled Adonis, exposing…

The wide wound that the boar had trench’d

In his soft flank…

….with blood covering every….

….grass, herb, leaf or weed…

….suggested to the Elizabethans (for whom …..

…..death…..

….could symbolise orgasm, and….

… blood…..

….could symbolise semen)

…..sublime, exhausted, homosexual orgasm.

The very……

…..effeminate, petulant, self-obssessed…….

……qualities that Griffiths disparages in Adonis/Southampton……..

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

…… were the very qualities that turned Shakespeare on!!!

In Sonnet 53, Shakespeare even imagines Southampton IN DRAG….

Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new……

But the major objection to  the theory of Burghley as Patron of Venus and Adonis……

……and any further works by Shakespeare……

……is a political one.

Venus in the poem is a strong-willed, sexually rampant woman  who, trying to prevent Adonis from hunting, rugby-tackles him to the ground….

She even wishes that Adonis….

…were’t as I am and I a man….

At least one contemporary reader interpreted this as a portrait of Queen Elizabeth…..

…..who dominated men in a men’s world….

…..who wore a breastplate at the time of the Armada….

tilbury, elizabeth in armour woodcut 001

….and who, like Venus, was doing everything to keep her young lover, Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex…….

essex miniature

…….by her side….

…….to stop him running away to physical dangers…

……..(in Essex’s case, war in Europe).

The deeply loyal Burghley would NEVER have willingly commissioned a satire on the Queen….

And he would have run a mile from The Rape of Lucrece…..

For a start, its Dedication to Southampton is not, as Griffiths would have us believe…..

……warm and dutiful…..

It is an outright declaration of gay love!

The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with all happiness.

[By then Mary Southampton knew all about her son’s affair with Shakespeare – and even welcomed it. To read more about this, click: ‘Shakespeare, Love and Religion: Part One’]

The poem’s depiction of violent sex and suicide…..

…….which, in my view, could NEVER have been written to persuade a camp young man to marry…..

 …..is a coded, Roman Catholic work……

It is an attack on……

..The Bear….

…Queen Elizabeth’s lover who had died six years before….

…Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester…..

leicester-c-1575-npg

…….the serial rapist and poisoner….

……who had terrorised and killed Roman Catholics….

…..including Edward Arden, a member of Shakespeare’s own family….

……whom he hanged, drew and quartered.

In an anonymous Catholic work, finally called called Leicester’s Commonwealth……

…..which was originally published in 1584 under the title A Copy of a Letter from a Master of Arts of Cambridge…

leicester's commonwealth

……Leicester……

……whom the pamphlet accuses of paying up to £300 a night to sleep with Elizabeth’s young Ladies-in-Waiting…..

…..is compared to villains from history….

…..including Sextus Tarquinius……

THE RAPIST IN SHAKESPEARE’S POEM!

rapeofLucretia_by-titian

 

Leicester’s Commonwealth also compared the religious hypocrite and wife-murderer, Leicester to King Richard III….

….and Shakespeare obliged by writing a play of that name……

olivier richard III

 

(In one Quarto copy of the play,  the compositor makes an unconscious slip: King Richard is called ‘the Bear’ instead of ‘the Boar’!)

[See: ‘Richard III Decoded.’]

Leicester’s Commonwealth even attacks Queen Elizabeth herself for favouring Leicester…..

….and shows how the indulgence of favourites……

… by otherwise good Kings and Queens….

… led on to the Wars of the Roses.

Shakespeare again obliges Catholics with his Richard II and Henry VI plays….

……which deal with the horrors of Civil War…..

I’ve argued that Mary Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke…..

mary sidney, countess of Pembroke.

…. also acted as a sponsor for these plays….

……and they were sometimes acted in the grounds of Place House at Titchfield….

place house 2

…..and Wilton House in Salisbury…….

wilton house

…..a day’s horse-ride from Titchfield…

The Countess of Pembroke was a Protestant, but was as hostile to Elizabeth as the Southampton family because of the Queen’s foreign policy….

…..and because Elizabeth had excluded her from the Court.

[See: ‘Why did Shakespeare write the ‘King Henry’ plays?’ ]

But one thing is certain….

THE PATRON FOR THESE SUBVERSIVE PLAYS CANNOT HAVE BEEN BURGHLEY!!!

Griffiths writes:

Despite Shakespeare’s efforts, Southampton rejected Burghley’s grand-daughter Elizabeth Vere. She found herself a more willing suitor, William Stanley 6th Earl of Derby……

william stanley, 6th Earl of Derby

and they were married on January 26, 1595. The Queen attended the festivities at Cecil House. It was for these celebrations that A Midsummer Night’s Dream was composed….

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR THIS WHATSOEVER!!!

It is much more likely that Mary, Second Countess of Southampton, commissioned Shakespeare to write the play to celebrate her wedding to Sir Thomas Heneage…..

Sir Thomas Heneage funeral effigy

….on 2nd May in 1594…..

…..(the year that England experienced the dreadful summer that is mentioned in the play)….

….and it was later performed, when the weather improved, in the grounds of Copped Hall in Essex….

copped hall

The play had probably been staged before 3rd September, 1594…..

…..because the satire Willobie his Avisa was entered on the Stationer’s Register on that date…..

…..and, as Bletchley Park Code-Breaker, Eric Sams…..

eric sams

….. has pointed out……

…..there are strong verbal parallels between the two works.

[It is my belief that Willobie his Avisa was written by Aemilia Bassano/Lanyer – Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’ – and that she played Hermia in the play. See: ‘Willobie his Avisa Decoded.’]

In Willobie his Avisa, ‘H. W.’ ……

…….a not very disguised code for Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton…..

…….says:

I saw your gardens passing fine

With pleasant flowers lately deckt

With cowslip and with eglantine

When woeful woodbines kiss reject;

Yet these in weeds and briars meet,

Although they seem to smell so sweet

This is very close to Oberon’s….

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine….

Because Heneage was a Protestant, half the wedding guests would be Protestant…..

…….so Shakespeare….

……through the character of Oberon….

oberon large starry (2)

……slips in a compliment to Queen Elizabeth…..

That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

But the other half of the wedding guests were Roman Catholic…..

…and so Shakespeare caters for them as well…….

My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid’s music.

oberon without underpants

The Mermaid

…….as Bishop William Warburton…

william warburton

……. pointed out in 1747…………

…….was the symbol for Mary Queen of Scots….

mary q. of. s. as mermaid

….the….

….dolphin…

….was the French Dauphin Francis whom Mary married…

(the Elizabethans sometimes spelt ‘dauphin’ as ‘dolphin’)

……and the…

…certain stars….

…..which…….

….. shot madly from their spheres…..

…….were the Lords who took part in the 1569 Northern Rebellion  to put Mary on the throne of England…..

………among whom were Mary’s late husband, the Second Earl of Southampton.

(See: ‘Shakespeare, Love and Religion, Part Two.’ )

Burghley, who had been instrumental in ensuring that Mary Queen of Scots had her head chopped off……execution mary queen of scots

….and who had been banished from the Court by Queen Elizabeth for four months for so doing….

….would never have tolerated a compliment to the Scottish Queen in any play that he commissioned.

(See: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream Decoded’.)

We don’t know if Queen Elizabeth visited Copped Hall for the performance as all Privy Council records for 1594 were burnt in a fire….

But we DO know that Heneage entertained the Queen at Savoy Palace…..

savoy palace

….. his London home, on 7th December of that year….

…..that Henry Car, Lord Hunsdon’s……..

carey, henry, lord hunsdon

……..’The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’ played at Court that Christmas for the first time….

……and that on 15th March 1595, Shakespeare went to Whitehall, along……

……with Richard Burbage……

richard burbage

…… and Will Kempe……

William Kempe - pictured in woodcut prefixed to Kempe s Nine Days Wonder , 1600 - English actor and dancer - dates unknown

 

…….to be paid for their Christmas performances.

It is my guess that Southampton, who came of age on 6th October, 1594, gave Shakespeare the gift of £1,000 on his birthday to………

….purchase……..

a share in the Lord Chamberlain’s Company.

Perhaps the weakest aspect of Griffiths’s theory is that at no point does he mention Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

They are – as William Wordsworth said……

william wordsworth

 

…..The key,

with which Shakespeare unlocked his heart…..

The first seventeen sonnets are addressed to…..

……beauty’s rose…..

….. Harry Southampton…..

……and they were written to him as a seventeenth birthday present….

….. in an attempt to persuade him to marry.

They include a reference in Sonnet 13 to Southampton’s dead father, the Second Earl….

You had a father: let your son say so.

……and in Sonnet 3 a compliment to Harry’s mother….

Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime……

MARY SOUTHAMPTON WAS CLEARLY THE COMMISSIONER OF THE BIRTHDAY SONNETS!!!

[See: ‘Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Birthday Sonnets.’]

The later Sonnets…..

……which Shakespeare wrote off his own back…..

……trace Shakespeare’s growing intimacy with Harry…..

…..and his final falling in love with him in the great sonnet…..

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day….

But they tell us all sorts of other things as well…..

…..including Shakespeare’s feelings for Burghley!

Burghley’s nick-name was….

…..Old Saturnus….

And Shakespeare refers to it in Sonnet 98…..

….which suggests that the Spring is so powerful it has even made ‘heavy’ old Burghley feel young again….

From you I have been absent in the spring

When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim

Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing

That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.

Shakespeare also satirises Burghley in Titus Andronicus in the figure of

…..Saturninus….

….a name and character he made up….

….as he makes up……..

…..Aemilius……

….. and…….

…..Bassianus……….

……as a tease to his mistress, Aemilia Bassano….

Saturninus is the unscrupulous henchman who advances the sadistic Goth Queen Tamora…..

…..who was forced to kneel in the streets….

…..just as the Princess Elizabeth was forced to kneel in front of the Tower….

…..and who rides….

….a snow-white goodly steed…

….just as Queen Elizabeth did on her visit to Tilbury during the Armada….

eliz at tilbury 6 full dress

Tamora’s equally blood-thirsty sons chop off Lavinia’s hands….

lavinia

……just as Elizabeth chopped off the right hand of John Stubbs in 1579…..

….. for daring to write a pamphlet criticising her proposed marriage to Anjou…..

(The Catholics claimed that Elizabeth had watched the event from her bedroom window.)

Later in his career, when Burghley was dead, Shakespeare, was to have a full revenge on him in the character of Polonius in Hamlet …

polonius

When Polonius says….

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief……

…..it is a parody of the pompous, long-winded style that Burghley adopted in his speaking and writing….

…..for instance, in his 1579 letter to the Queen…

The clock that stond so long hath now so weighty plummets of favour and courage put on that it striketh still, a clock not to tell how this day passeth only, but how days and time passeth like river streams, whose waves return no more….

Shakespeare scholars, like Mark Alexander, have also pointed out the similarities between Polonius’s advice to Laertes and Burghley’s own written advice to his son, Robert Cecil….

Cecil,Robert(1ESalisbury)01

ENVOY

Griffiths’s coup de grâce is to reveal that the figures on the frontispiece of John Gerald’s Herball…

…..engraved by William Rogers…

 

gerard herball clear

……are drawn from life……

….. and are the  likenesses of living…..

……or recently departed….

…… men.

As we only know what they looked like through other paintings and engravings….

….this is a proposition difficult to prove.

It’s certainly possible that the older figure on the left plinth is Lord Burghley…..

burghley gerard (2)

…….after all the work was dedicated to him……..

…….and he has been depicted in his garden holding flowers before…..

burghley on donkey 001

 And the two top figures……

gerard herball clear (2)

…. COULD be the herbalist Rembert Dodoens on the right and John Gerard on the left…….

………though it seems unlikely that Gerard would have himself depicted as a garden labourer  with a spade……

….especially as in subsequent editions of the Herball he appears in full ruff…..

gerard close-up

But Griffiths’s identifications of the other frontispiece figures are more problematical….

…….He claims that the woman shown walking in the garden……

woman in herbal garden 2

 

…..is Queen Elizabeth…..

…..accompanied by Gerard…..

The idea that Gloriana would allowed herself to be depicted walking along in terms of complete equality with a commoner…..

…..WHO KEEPS HIS HAT ON…..

…..in a garden where both the gardeners…..

….ARE TURNING THEIR BACKS ON HER…

…..is unhistorical to say the least!

Even Knights of the Garter removed their hats when they were in procession with the Queen….

elizabeth procession

….and less illustrious folk knelt bareheaded….

elizabeth assaying deer.

But it is the claim that Griffiths makes for….

….the fourth man….

….man on the right hand plinth…..

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  A copy of The Herball book shows what is thought to be the first authenticated living portrait of William Shakespeare at The Rose Theatre on May 19, 2015 in London, England. Botanist and historian Mark Griffiths has revealed he has cracked a many-layered Tudor code and revealed the living face of Shakespeare for the first time, on the title page of the first edition of The Herball, a 16th century book on plants, 400 years after it was first published.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

…..that is truly preposterous….

The claim that….

…….IT IS WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE HIMSELF!!!

The only ‘authenticated’ portrait we have of Shakespeare is the Martin Droeshout engraving in the First Folio…..

martin droeshout

 

…..of which Ben Jonson…..

ben jonson colour

….. wrote….

This figure, that thou here seest put

It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;

Wherein the graver had a strife

with Nature to out-do the life:

O, could he but have drawn his wit

In well as brass, as he hath hit

His face, the print would then surpass

All that was ever writ in brass.

But since he cannot, Reader, look

Not on his picture but his book….

Jonson is admitting that it is not a very good engraving….

….but that it accurately depicts how Shakespeare looked in life….

You don’t need to be a Shakespeare scholar to realise that…..

…..while the Gerard engraving shows a man with a head full of hair….

…..DROESHOUT’S SHAKESPEARE IS BALD AS A COOT!!!

coot

……as is the Shakespeare memorial bust in Stratford-upon-Avon….

bust of shakespeare

……as is the Chandos portrait……

Chandos portrait

…..as is the Davenant bust in the Garrick Club….

davenant bust shakespeare

……or even the 1588 Grafton portrait….

Grafton_portrait

Shakespeare, in fact, was FAMOUS for his baldness….

In 1601 Shakespeare’s company commissioned Thomas Dekker……

thomas dekker

….. to write a satire on the literary world called Satiro-Mastix….

satiro-mastix frontispiece

 

Shakespeare appears as……

…… Sir Adam Prickshaft…..

…….the potent wooer of a beautiful widow, who….

……shoots his bolt seldom, but when Adam lets go, he hits…

Sir Adam is bald….

So one of the rival wooers of the widow commissions ‘Horace’………

……..in reality Ben Jonson……..

…….to attack baldness as……………

……ugly base and vile…..

But ‘Crispinus’……

 …….in reality John Marston……

john marston

…….ensures that Sir Adam becomes……….

….the first man………..

……..with his paeon to baldness……………..

….. which even manages to work in a reference to Shakespeare’s theatre………..

A head and face o’regrown with shaggy dross

O ‘tis an orient pearl hid all in moss,

But when the head’s all naked and uncrowned,

It is the world’s Globe, even, smooth and round;

Baldness is Nature’s butt, at which our life

Shoots her last arrow: what man ever lead

His age out with a staff, but had a head

Bare and uncovered? He whose years do rise

To their full height, yet not bald, is not wise….

On this strong tower shall my opinion rest

Heads thick of hair are good, but bald the best…..

But perhaps it’s best to leave the subject of Shakespeare’s baldness to the Bard of Avon himself……..

In Sonnet 73 he writes:

That time of year thou may’st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

If only Mark Griffiths had read the Sonnets, none of this might have happened……

© Stewart Trotter June 2015.

 

 

Notes for the Programme of….

HENRY V

The Making of a King

making of a king

……Stewart Trotter’s adaptation of the anonymous Armada play The Famous Victories of Henry V, and William Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Parts One and Two and King Henry V.

For more information about the production (24th June – 4th July, 2015) in the Great Barn, Titchfield, Hampshire, click: http://www.titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/store/p40/Henry_V_-_The_making_of_a_King.html

Why did Shakespeare write the ‘King Henry’ Plays?

The Elizabethans saw history very differently from us….

For them, time was cyclical rather than linear……..

 

 

wheel of fortune

……and they believed that the same patterns in life came round again and again.

King James VI of Scotland…….

james nin 1595

…..writing in 1599, the same year as the first production of Henry V, gave this advice to his five year old son, Prince Henry…

Henry Prince of Wales when  an Infant

By reading of authentic histories and chronicles, you shall learn experience by theoric, applying the by-past things to the present estate, quia nihil nunc dici aut fieri, quod non dictum and factum fit prius [since nothing is said or spoken which has not been said or spoken before].

It is The Code’s belief that Shakespeare was also…….

….applying the by-past things to the present estate…….

…..when he wrote the King Henry plays……

And that Titchfield, in Hampshire, holds the key….

Hampshire.

Hampshire.

In his 2002 book – Love’s Labour’s Found…..

book cover

……Stewart Trotter first argued that William Shakespeare…..

shakespeare 1588

…. joined the aristocratic Southampton family in Titchfield in 1590…….

Reconstruction of Place House, Titchfield

Reconstruction of Place House, Titchfield

….. as what ‘Robert Greene’….

robert greene

…..in reality Thomas Nashe….

Thomas-Nashe

…..described as the rôle of……

…. fac totum…..

…..an entertainer, secretary, tutor, schoolmaster, resident poet and generally nice person to have around.

[See: ‘Shakespeare in Titchfield’.]

Theatre work was thin on the ground after the Armada.

Christopher Marlowe…..

Marlowe, Christopher

……and Thomas Kyd also joined aristocratic households as tutors.

But what made Shakespeare’s association with the Southamptons different was that Shakespeare came from a deeply Roman Catholic family…..

The Southamptons were also committed Catholics and had been part of the 1567 plot to oust Queen Elizabeth…….

elizabeth as virgin

…… and put Mary Queen of Scots….

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

…….on the throne of England.

Mary, 2nd Countess of Southampton……..

Mary Browne

…..commissioned Shakespeare to write seventeen sonnets for the seventeenth birthday of her only son, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton…….

tomb henry wriothesley

…….known as ‘Harry’ just as Prince Henry is in the play.

It was getting time for Harry to marry – but there was a problem. 

He wasn’t interested in girls……

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

……so Shakespeare’s sonnets were intended to introduce him to the joys of heterosexual love and fatherhood.

[See: ‘Trixie the Cat’s guide to the Birthday Sonnets.’]

This must have been the most counter-productive commission of all time.

Shakespeare became involved in the complicated emotional life of Harry and finally fell in love with him.

Harry was the……

….thee…..

….of……

……Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?…….

…….the greatest love poem ever written.

[See:‘Just how gay was the Third Earl of Southampton?’]

Harry gave Shakespeare the gift of £1,000 (the equivalent to £500,000 pounds today) and Shakespeare’s affair with him lasted into the reign of King James.

The Southamptons, mother and  son, were Shakespeare’s meal-ticket at a time when writers routinely starved to death.

So their interests automatically became his interests……

…..and the Southamptons  still wanted to get rid of Elizabeth.

They also wanted Mary Queen of Scot’s son, James VI of Scotland, to ascend the English throne. They thought he would give freedom of worship to Catholics.

Many people, in fact, thought he was a Catholic…

But it wasn’t only Catholics who wanted to get rid of Elizabeth……

Many Protestants did as well…….

…..people like Southampton’s great friend, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex……..

essex young beardeless

…..Lady Penelope Rich, Essex’s beautiful, politically-acute, dark-eyed sister….

penelope rich

……Charles Blount, later Eighth Baron Mountjoy, the married Penelope’s dashing lover…

charles blount

……and Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke…….

mary herbert countess of pembroke face

….. at Wilton which was only thirty miles away from Titchfield.

wilton house

This group of powerful people wanted to conquer Europe and start a British Empire.

But Elizabeth was having none of it…..

She wanted only to be the Protestant Queen of a Protestant island.

She thought the cult of martial chivalry – championed by the Countess of Pembroke’s dead brother, Sir Philip Sidney…….

 sidney philip

…….was a complete waste of time.

To make things worse, Elizabeth refused to name her successor…..

….. so many people feared that, on her death, England would revert to civil war.

Elizabeth hated it when people studied the past. She worried, rightly, that if people read history, they would make comparisons of other monarchs’ reigns to her own.

So when Raphael Holinshed….

raphael holinshed

……published his revised Chronicles in 1587…….

holinshed c. frontispiece

…….a copy of which Shakespeare had in his possession…….

…….and made doodles in….

holinshed - shakespeare's writing 001

…..Elizabeth had them…

…..called in…..

…. three years later on the spurious grounds that they were…..

…..fondly set out….

This was the cue for the theatre-loving Countesses of Southampton and Pembroke to strike…..

If people weren’t allowed to read history they could watch it acted out in the grounds of the stately homes of Titchfield and Wilton……

…..with all the aristocratic resources of men, horses and armour…..

….and women – often aristocratic women……

….. and often Lady Penelope Rich…….

penelope rich lambeth 2

…..to play the female parts……

[See: ‘Penelope Rich plays the Princess of France’. ]

Aemilia Lanyer……

…..Shakespeare’s and Harry Southampton’s fiery, artful, brilliant, mixed race girlfriend…..

…..would play the dark-skinned rôles……

……like Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost…..

rosaline nina 1.

……and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream…..hermia black

[See: ‘How Shakespeare’s Dark Lady found God.’]

These original productions would have looked something like present day re-enactments by THE SEALED  KNOT

sealed knot

Afterwards the plays would have been toured in cut down productions for the general public…..

…..with boys playing the part of women, on….

….unworthy scaffolds…

…..with…..

…..four or five most vile and ragged foils…..

These early history plays were written to demonstrate that when weak, vacillating Kings come to the throne, civil strife will follow.

Shakespeare shows that it  is right to depose them – however painful the process or how dire the consequences.

In The Making of a King we see how usurpation of King Richard II’s throne lies heavy on the soul of Bolingbroke….

But it paves the way for the more legal succession of his son, the heroic King Henry V….

And the audience, watching  the effeminate, petulant King Richard II…….

rylance richard II

…….would automatically have made comparisons with Elizabeth…….

…….a woman trying to dominate men in a men’s world.

tilbury, elizabeth in armour woodcut 001

Indeed, Richard II was staged at the Globe on the eve of the Essex rebellion against her rule.

Elizabeth herself then famously said, after Essex had been beheaded:

…..I am Richard II: know ye not that?

And it’s the rebellion of Essex that brings us right to the heart of The Making of a King.

When the Chorus describes how the citizens of London…..

…..pour out……

….. to greet King Henry V on his return from Agincourt, Shakespeare has given him lines that are invariably cut because they are so topical:

As, by a lower but loving likelihood,
Were now the general of our gracious empress,
As in good time he may, from Ireland coming,
Bringing rebellion broached on his sword,
How many would the peaceful city quit,
To welcome him!

‘The general of our gracious empress’ is the Earl of Essex.

essex in white

When Shakespeare was writing Henry V in 1599, Essex was in Ireland, putting down the rebellion of the Earl of Tyrone.

tyrone

The plan was then for Essex to march with the English army from Ireland…..

…..bringing rebellion broach’d on his sword….

….and join up with Lord Mountjoy and the Scottish army.

Then, with King James the VI of Scotland at their head, they would march to London, rouse its citizens, storm Whitehall, remove Elizabeth from the throne and replace her with James.

The Chorus in Henry V was priming the audience for the rebellion…..

……and the triumph of Henry V in the play was pre-figuring the triumph of Essex.

Like Hal, Essex had moved on from being a dissolute youth……..

……..(he had his own louche bath-house, situated in the Strand, and a very gay entourage)…….

essex bath 3

……..to a supreme statesman, politician and soldier.

essex on horseback

At Cadiz – like King Henry V at Harfleur – Essex had inspired his troops with his rhetoric…..

essex cadiz

He had thrown his hat into the sea, crying…

…Entramos….

….. and had been the first to leap over the walls of Cadiz.

When he returned to England, his descendant, Walter Devereux, writes:

….[Essex] assumed an entirely new character; he became sober, religious and devoted to his wife; regularly attending prayers and preachings, and using language so replete with moral sentiments, with humility and self-distrust, as greatly to edify the astonished courtiers….

Shakespeare intended King Henry V to be a rôle-model for both Essex and his co-rebels, Southampton and Mountjoy.

He shows how a leader needs to be utterly ruthless at times……

……as Henry is with Falstaff and even more so with the ‘Southampton’ traitors and Bardolph……

……but he must never lose……

….the common touch……

He must give his troops…….

……a little touch of Harry in the night……

……as though he were his own human sacrifice.

We live through Hal’s transformation into King of England……..

……with the coded implication that Essex could become King of England as well…..

It’s what a lot of  Catholics wanted.

Essex promised religious freedom for England…

……and even allowed the old Latin Mass to be celebrated at Essex House in the Strand…..

Essex House, Strand, London

However, in real life things weren’t going well for Essex.

In Ireland he certainly commanded with ruthlessness……

……and once decimated a whole platoon for cowardice.  

But Tyrone was running circles round him…..

….and at one point nearly persuaded Essex to join forces!

In Scotland, King James VI refused to play ball…..

Shakespeare had been sent up to Edinburgh after the opening of Henry V…….

……..and had written Macbeth to convince James that the murderous usurper, Queen Elizabeth…….

…….who had chopped off the head of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots……

mary q of s execution

…….(when she had been Elizabeth’s ‘guest’ in England)……

…….should be overthrown…….

….. as the Macbeths……

……who had assassinated Duncan…..

macbeths bloody

……(when he had been a guest in their own castle)….

 ……are overthrown in the play…..

 destined right to assume the throne of England….

witches coven Macbeth

[See: ‘Shakespeare in Scotland: ‘Macbeth’ Decoded.]

But canny James was having none of it…..

He knew he only had to wait a year or two for Elizabeth to die and the throne would probably be his anyway.

So why should he take a risk on rebellion?

Besides, he had a pathological hatred of warfare…….

………and would faint away if anyone so much as drew a sword in front of him.

Essex, knowing that his enemies, Sir Walter Raleigh…..

raleigh lovely….and Henry Brooke, the 11th Lord Cobham…..

………were busily destroying his reputation at Court while he was away…..

………returned from Ireland without permission…….

……..and rushed into Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom at Nonesuch Palace….

nonsuch palace

…..before she had time to put on her wig and make-up…….

Still from Benjamin Britten's opera 'Gloriana'.

Still from Benjamin Britten’s opera ‘Gloriana’.

Essex was put under house arrest for deserting his post………

…… his treasonable parleying with Tyrone…

essex and tyrone

…….and his insult to the Queen’s vanity.

Half of Essex’s followers thought that Essex should continue the rebellion against Elizabeth….

……half that he should give up.

Shakespeare was now definitely in the latter camp.

He wrote Julius Caesar……..

julius caesar assassination

…..to show how even a high-principled  rebellion against a tyrant could fail hopelessly……

[See: ‘Julius Caesar’ Decoded.]

…… and Timon of Athens………

timon of athens

……. to demonstrate how stoicism and retreat from political life could be a wise and noble course of action for Essex to take.

[See: ‘Timon of Athens’ Decoded.]

Essex, however, wasn’t in the listening mood…..

…..and ended up on the scaffold…..

essex execution

Southampton who, unlike Mountjoy, backed the rebellion to the end, was imprisoned in the Tower, under sentence of death.

southampton in tower

But was Shakespeare EVER fully committed to the rebellion? 

Or even to the cause of empire in Europe?

A serial, bisexual adulterer, who hoarded malt, evaded tax and gave fudged evidence in court, Shakespeare didn’t always get things right…..

For example, he said that the enclosures of the land at Stratford-upon-Avon would never be carried out……

…..but they were.

He does  gives King Henry V………

olivier henry v

……..and the Chorus in the play…..

chorus henry v

……….wonderful, stirring, patriotic language in praise of warfare…….

……….speeches that Queen Elizabeth I would have loathed…..

……….but which inspired Winston Churchill…….

churchill painting

………. to his own flights of rhetoric in the Second World War.

Churchill’s tribute to the fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain….

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

……is very similar to Henry’s speech to his troops before Agincourt…..

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

However, Henry in the play is by no means perfect.

He nearly come to blows with the common soldiers who question the King’s motives……

…….and this leads on to a great, nihilistic speech in which he questions the whole nature and point of kingship…..

He even comes to the conclusion that peasants are happier than he is…..

Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill’d and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm’d with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Has the fore-hand and vantage of a king.

The Duke of Burgundy gives a vivid description of how the fecund landscape of France has been ravaged and destroyed  by war……

Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach’d,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder’d twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock and rank fumitory
Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness…..

But Shakespeare was now completely associated with the rebellion in the eyes of Queen Elizabeth. Hating him, his disloyalty and his bisexuality, she described him in 1601 as a man who had…..

…forgotten God….

Three years earlier, Francis Meere’s had compared Shakespeare to Ovid in his Palladis Tamia, going so far as to say that….

……the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare….

ovid

And in the same year as the Queen’s criticism of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson……

ben jonson colour

…….. wrote a satire on the poetry establishment called The Poetaster.

 He also cast Shakespeare as Ovid, who was mysteriously banished from Rome by Caesar Augustus for….

….a poem and a mistake……

In the play Ovid/Shakespeare takes part in the performance of a bisexual orgy with Julia, Augustus’s daughter……..

…….and with his own daughter, played by Chloe ‘the Moor’……..

…….(a coded reference to Aemilia Lanyer)……….

………and with Ganymede and Thetis and so on….

Augustus banishes ‘Ovid’ and locks his……

…..mis-begotten love….

 ‘Julia’……

…..code for the long-haired Southampton…..

henry wriothesley miniature……into a prison tower…..

……i.e., the Tower of London…..

tower tudor

Augustus says:

 Licentious Naso,[Ovid] for thy violent wrong,

In soothing the declin’d affections

Of our base daughter we exile thy feet

From all approach to our imperial court

On pain of death: and thy mis-begotten love

Commit to patronage of iron doors

Since her soft-hearted sire cannot contain her.

Jonson wickedly shows ‘Ovid’s’ tearful farewell to ‘Julia’….

……who is locked up high in a turret…..

……just like Juliet on her balcony………

balcony scene

The two are so in love with each other that they are unable to say goodbye….

……and keep calling each other back.

……just like Romeo and Juliet…..

The obvious place for Shakespeare to go was James VI gay-friendly court in Scotland – just as Marlowe had intended to do…..

James had written a gay love poem called The Phoenix in memory of his beloved Esmé Stuart…..

esme stuart

…..now Shakespeare replied with a gay love poem to Harry Southampton called The Phoenix and the Turtle.

Harry, like Stuart, was the fabulous Phoenix…..

Shakespeare was the common or garden Turtle Dove….

But both birds are consumed in a mutual fire of love….

phonix in flames

But two years later, in 1603, the Wheel of Fortune turned…. 

Elizabeth died, Southampton was released from the Tower and Shakespeare was a hero again.  

He rode down from Scotland with King James…….

….. and became a leader of the prestigious – and very well funded – King’s Men.

How does Falstaff fit into all this political intrigue? 

falstaff 6

Well, for a start, Shakespeare didn’t call him Falstaff in the first performance of Henry IV. Part One.

He was Sir John Oldcastle – a true figure from history who was companion to Prince Hal.

But he was also the ancestor of  Essex’s arch-enemy – Henry Brooke, 11th Lord Cobham……

…….who Essex nick-named….

…..The Sycophant…

Oldcastle, who had married Joan Cobham in 1408, had been a Protestant Lollard who had been executed as a heretic rebel by the Catholic regime…..oldcastle burning

But by the time of Elizabeth’s Protestant reign, he had been transformed into a martyr.

Shakespeare took great delight in transforming him further into a penniless, fat, lying, drunken, old crook.

So outraged were the Cobham family that Elizabeth herself had to intervene and Shakespeare was forced to publicly aplogise and re-name him.

But he is still referred to by Prince Hal as……..

….the old lad o’th’castle…..

…..and Henry Brooke gained a new nick-name….

He was known to the Essex entourage for ever more as ‘Sir John Falstaff’.

But where does the character of Falstaff come from?

Did Shakespeare just invent him – or did he draw him from life?

Well, Thomas Nashe – who, The Code believes, collaborated with Shakespeare on the Henry IV plays – as he collaborated with Jonson and Marlowe……..

dido frontispiece small

……….dedicates his pamphlet Strange Newes………

strange news

……. to a fat, criminally inclined, vintner, womaniser and lover of verse……….

…….famous for his advocacy of alcohol………

…….and famous for being  terminally hard-up.

Nashe called him……….

….Mr. Apis-Lapis…..

….which is Latin for ‘Bee’ and ‘Stone’……

……….Beestone…..

Now there was a true life ‘William Beeston’ whose illegitimate, actor son, Christopher, gave John Aubrey, the antiquarian….

Aubrey John

…..the information that…..

……..in his younger years……..

……Shakespeare had been…..

..a schoolmaster in the country…..

[See: ‘Shakespeare was a schoolmaster in the country.’]

 This William Beeston was a close friend of the Southampton family…….

…..and he lived at Great Posbrook Farm………

great posbrook farm

……..just outside Titchfield!!!

[See: The Strange Case of Mr. Apis Lapis.]

 

© Stewart Trotter May 2015.

 

A TRIXIE SPECIAL

Trixie

It was a night to remember indeed!

Your Cat was among the throng of literary glitteratti who hot-footed it last night down to the Conway Hall in Holborn……

crowd at eddies

….to toast the eightieth birthday of Shakespeare Code Fellow….

….the poet Eddie Linden….

NPG x25138; Eddie Linden by Granville Davies

……at a party hosted by the fabulously generous Peter McGraith.

The room was PACKED with poets, and friends of poets, many from the Celtic fringes….

People like Shaun Traynor….

traynor

….celebrated for his stunning poem about the last days of Shakespeare….

Shakespeare’s Last Drink

http://www.shakespeareslastdrink.co.uk/

People like  Stephen Stokes….

….who runs Stokes Books in Dublin….

stokes books

….where the literary greats of Ireland network…..

stokes books interior

….(perhaps, he admits, because his shop is near to the fabulous Grogan’s Pub)

grogan's pub

Here he is seen here with bubbly Karen Little………

……a great Patroness of The Shakespeare Code…..

stephen stokes and Karen (2)

People like Pam Hardyment who, with Jay Landesman, published Eddie’s first collection of verse….

pam hardyment

…..the renowned City of Razors…..

Resized by JpegSizer @ TangoTools.com

Resized by JpegSizer @ TangoTools.com

People like Charlie Walsh…..

charlie walsh clear

…..who describes himself as the greatest unpublished poet in the world!!!

(Though, in truth there were many in the room who could well lay claim to that honour.)

The wine and wit flowed fast and free as Jim Campbell….

…..of Times Literary Supplement fame…..

…..captured essence of Eddie in a wry, perceptive and loving tribute….

jim lectern eddie

He claimed that Bell had invented the telephone solely with Eddie in mind….

….and described ‘THE’ phone calls that would be received at the T. L. S. from from ‘Sir’ Eddie Linden…..

They would often began mid-paragraph……

…..and were concerned with seven main topics,  viz:

(1) The Roman Catholic Church

eddie bowing

(2) The Tory Government

(3) The Roman Catholic Church

eddie bowing

(4)  The late  poet, John Heath Stubbs

John Heath-Stubbs

John Heath-Stubbs

(5) The Governors of the Poetry Society in London

(6) The latest funeral of someone or other….

(7) The Roman Catholic Church

eddie bowing

He described how Eddie would complain about things written about him that were….

…unjust, unfair or untrue….

….and ask Jim what he should do about it.

Jim’s advice to Eddie was to let it be….

He was the hero of his own book……

portrait eddie 2

…..a work of fantasy fiction.

Sebastian Barker,  who wrote the biography of Eddie….

….Who is Eddie Linden…

who is edie linden

(which Pam Hardyment edited)

….sadly died last year and his widow gave a moving tribute to Eddie…..

….describing how he had given so many chances to so many young poets by publishing them in his poetry magazine Aquarius….

aquarius

….and an extraordinary list of the world-renowned poets who wrote for Eddie as well.

Then fellow-Scotsman John Cooney read extracts from his new biography of Eddie which will be published next year….

So Eddie will have TWO biographies!!!

To have ONE biography……

But to have TWO….

Eddie then read his great poem, City of Razors…..

eddie reading his poems

 

Cobbled streets, littered with broken milk bottles,

Reeking chimneys and dirty tenement buildings,

Walls scrawled with FUCK THE POPE and blue-lettered

Words GOD BLESS THE RANGERS.

An old woman at the corner, arms folded, babe in pram,

A drunk man’s voice from the other pavement,

And out come the Catholics from evening confessional;

A woman roars from an upper window

‘They’re at it again, Maggie!

Five stiches in our Tommie’s face, Lizzie!

Eddie’s in the Royal wi’a sword in his stomach

And the razor’s floating in the River Clyde.’

There is roaring in Hope Street,

They’re killing in the Carlton,

There’s an ambulance in Bridgeton,

And a laddie in the Royal.

 

Then everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday to You’.

eddie cartoon 2

The wine was still flowing freely as I rushed back to West London to file my copy.

The Code’s Chief Agent, Stewart Trotter, was still up, working hard on his next dazzling Post…..

Why did Shakespeare write the King Henry plays?

He looked through Your Cat’s piccies…..

…..then he gave a startled cry!

‘My God’ he said, ‘It’s Charlie Walsh – the greatest unpublished poet in the world…..’

charlie walsh with arms

Stewart then told me a fantastic story.

‘I was in the French House in Soho, as a very young man……

The French House in Soho.

The French House in Soho.

…..and got talking to Charlie whom I had never met before….

The two of us got on, railing against Margaret Thatcher’s England, as we bought each other drinks.

Charlie, who as well as a poet, was a highly skilled backer of horses, had just enjoyed a big win.

Would you like some champagne

…..he asked me.

That’s very kind of you…

… I replied….

….at which point Charlie ordered a bottle of the French House’s very best…..

……and plonked it down in front of me on the bar….

APW3F9 Interior of The French House Soho London uk

APW3F9 Interior of The French House Soho London uk

Nice to meet you. I’m off….

……he said…..

And off he was, leaving me with a whole bottle of champagne.

It was one of the kindest, most spontaneously generous, things that has ever happened to me….

And now we can celebrate it in The Code…..’

So, Brothers and Sisters, always remember this:

What goes round, comes round…..

Bye now,

Paw-Print smallest

P.S. If you would like to read Your Cat’s NOW CLASSIC interview with Eddie on becoming a Fellow of The Shakespeare Code, please click: HERE!

And if you would like to read my review of Eddie’s SCINTILLATING newish collection of poems,….

A Thorn in the Flesh…..

thorn

…….then please click: HERE!

STOP PRESS!!!STOP PRESS!!!STOP PRESS!!!

Evidence from an IMPECCABLE SOURCE has reached The Shakespeare Code that….

……CHARLIE WALSH IS A FRAUD!!!

charlie walsh clear

He has been posing as ‘the greatest unpublished poet in the world’.

It is the DUTY of The Shakespeare Code expose this LIE….

……by publishing this DAMNING PHOTOGRAPH….

….FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD…

walsh (2)

‘CHARLES’ WALSH HAS BEEN PUBLISHED AFTER ALL!!!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonmen-Butterflies-Selected-Charles-Walsh/dp/0907155332

falstaff 1

The most fascinating thing about Falstaff is the contrast between his outside and his inside.

On the outside he is a fat, lumbering man in his sixties – but in his inside he is a romantic, poetic youth who adores adventure and excitement.

falstaff 6

 

He has devoted his entire life to the pursuit of fun and pleasure. The only activity in life he takes seriously is robbery…..

…..and that’s because it funds that pursuit.

falstaff 2

He comes from an old, distinguished, literary family that had fallen on hard times – and his excesses have made them harder.

Physically he is painfully slow……

falstaff lying down

…..but mentally he has a mercurial swiftness which delights in games and conundrums.

falstaff 4

He is a natural actor and a brilliant mimic who will naturally turn life into art.

He lies all the time – but these lies take on a reality of their own: they convince him and delight other people.

He can be opportunistic, ruthless and cowardly – but he loves life with all his heart. And that is why we love him.

falstaff 5

His rejection by King Henry is the play’s most complex moment.

Hal has always known that he must give up the companionship of Falstaff when he becomes King: but he has NOT planned the way he will do it.

When Falstaff, at the Coronation Procession, spontaneously cries out to him:

My King, my love, I speak to thee my heart…

…..it is is an act of familiarity that Hal has not anticipated.

It is important that we should see Hal thinking on his feet when, echoing Peter’s betrayal of Christ, he says:

I know thee not old man….

One spontaneous act follows another – and we have a genuine tragedy.

Both men are in the right.

This is part of the Programme Note for ‘The Making of a King – Henry V’…..

…Stewart Trotter’s adaptation of The Famous Victories of Henry V and William Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V…..

TO BE PLAYED IN A SINGLE EVENING

WITH PLAYING TIME OF UNDER TWO HOURS!!!

 It will be presented by The Titchfield Festival at the Great Agincourt Barn in Titchfield….

barn interior

…..at 7.30 p.m. on….

Wednesday 24th June, Thursday 25th June, Friday 26th June, Saturday 27th June, Tuesday 30th June, Wednesday 1st July, Thursday 2nd July, Friday 3rd July…..

…..and at 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. on….

Saturday, 4th July 2015.

To Book phone 01329 556156

http://www.titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/store/p40/Henry_V_-_The_making_of_a_King.html

To read why Falstaff is fat, Click: HERE!!!

To read the script of The Making of a King, Click: HERE!!!

To read the Concept behind the play, Click:HERE!!!

AN IMPORTANT STATEMENT FROM TRIXIE THE CAT

Trixie

It’s been a monumental week, Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code!!!

The week beginning Monday 20th April, 2015, saw….

1. The Shakespeare Code’s…..

 …….ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE THOUSANDTH VIEW!!!

champagne popping

The Champagne’s been popping at Code Headquarters I can tell you…..

2. The casting of Prince Hal/Henry V in….

THE MAKING OF A KING….

Stewart Trotter’s FABULOUS re-working of FOUR plays…

(i) The Anonymous Armada Play The Famous Victories of Henry V…..

famous victories front page

(ii) William Shakespeare’s First Part of King Henry IV,  (iii) Second Part of King Henry IV and (iv) The Life of Henry V….

It is, though, the view of The Shakespeare Code that Thomas Kyd and William Shakespeare collaborated on The Famous Victories of Henry V …..

….and that Thomas Nashe….

Nashe thomas

…collaborated with Shakespeare on the Henry IV plays…..

…especially the low-life scenes with Sir John Falstaff…..

falstaff beaming

See: Why Falstaff is Fat.

Stewart has adapted all these plays into a single entertainment of TWO ACTS….

….both of which are….

……UNDER AN HOUR IN LENGTH!!!

They will play as part of The Titchfield Festival at the Great Barn in Titchfield….

barn interior

…..at 7.30 p.m. on….

Wednesday 24th June, Thursday 25th June, Friday 26th June, Saturday 27th June, Tuesday 30th June, Wednesday 1st July, Thursday 2nd July, Friday 3rd July…..

…..and at 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. on….

Saturday, 4th July 2015.

To Book phone 01329 556156

http://www.titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/store/p40/Henry_V_-_The_making_of_a_King.html

2015 is the SIX HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY of the BATTLE OF AGINCOURT…

…and we know that King Henry V….

henry v

….stayed at Titchfield Abbey before embarking for France….

…and held a Privy Council Meeting there….

Titchfield Abbey was converted into Place House for Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton….

thomas wriothesley close-up

..and is where William Shakespeare worked as a ‘fac totum’….

shakespeare 1588

….and fell in love with the teenage Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton….

tomb henry wriothesley

See: Just How Gay was the Third Earl of Southampton.

To play the great rôle of Prince Hal who becomes Henry V….

…..the Titchfield Festival Theatre is proud to announce that they have secured the services of….

…rising young star…

….CHRIS MILLS….

chris mills 2

…..who hales from Warsash…..

…and has only been acting seriously for three years!!!

Chris gave a STUPENDOUS reading of the part….

..and goes on after the Titchfield Shakespeare Festival to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe in….

…Tennessee Williams Confessional

To read the CONCEPT of the play, click: HERE.

…and to read the script itself, click: HERE

Tonight we play The Making of a King

And tell the tale of dissolute Prince Harry

Who, more in love with taverns than with courts

And constant comrade of a gross fat knight

Transformed, upon his father Henry’s death,

Into the star of England…..

Also the week beginning 2oth April saw….

CURAÇAO……

curacao location

….. join The Shakespeare Code….

curacao 1

This brings the number of participating countries to an overwhelming….

ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT!!!

See: The Shakespeare Code Salutes the Nations.

curacao map

Will the total number reach 200?

Come on Greenland!

greenland

Let’s be having you!!!

‘Bye, now….

Paw-Print smallest

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