Why did William Shakespeare write Love’s Labour’s Lost?

by Stewart Trotter.

The Background.

It is my belief that Love’s Labour’s Lost was first performed, in private performance, in the grounds of Place House, Titchfield, at Whitsun in 1592.

place house recon.

The beautiful Mary Browne, Second Countess of Southampton……

Mary Browne

……was the host….

…… and the dashing guest of honour was Robert Devereux, the Second Earl of Essex…..

essex young beardeless

……fresh from his ‘triumph’ at the Siege of Rouen…..

……(which in reality had been a military disaster).

The play was performed to the background of the Titchfield Whitsun Fair……

……first instituted as a four-day Corpus Christi Fair by King Henry VI in 1447…..


….and which seems to burst into the play itself….

(There are references to a dancing horse, the Morris Men’s hobby-horse…..


…..silk ribbons, jousting and gifts bought at fairs…


In fact the word ‘fair’ is mentioned over forty times in the play.)

Topographical features of Titchfield itself are mentioned in the pay…..

……many of which can be seen to this day.

The remains of the…..

curious knotted garden

…. in the Abbey Grounds…..


the steep up-rising of the hill…..

…opposite the Abbey Gates.

There is even the mill Berowne mentions when he hides in a tree…..

….more sacks to the mill….

……now a pub at the foot of Mill Lane.

The Mill Pub Titchfield

The Mill Pub Titchfield

The outlines of…..

The Parke

….which is mentioned in the play…..

…..and features in this old c. 1610 map of the area…..


A 1610 Map of Titchfield, showing the 'The Place' and 'The Parke' - both mentioned in 'Love's Labour's Lost'.

….can still be seen….

…..as can the ruins of…..

The Place

…the alternative name for ‘Place House’…..

place house 2


…….the converted Titchfield Abbey….

…… which Henry VIII gave as a gift to Thomas Wriothesley, the First Earl of Southampton…

Thomas Wriothesley 1st Earl Southampton


Titchfield also provides the answer to linguistic puzzles in the play.

Holofernes, the garrulous pedant, is said to…

…..educate youth in a Charge-house…..

What is a ‘Charge-house’?

In Mill Lane is a building known as The Schoolhouse….

old schoolhouse

In its upper storey it has the remains of a secure room or safe….

Clearly the school, which is on a road, doubled as a toll house. 

But it is a Titchfield feature which no longer exists – though remembered by older local people – which holds the answer to the play’s most difficult puzzle.

Why is the dark-skinned coquette, Rosaline, described by Berowne as….

a whitely wanton?

It’s a reference to Whitely Lodge…..

…..a property owned by the Southampton family for their shadier goings on…

In the play the fantastical Spaniard Don Armado, desperately in love with the loose-living country wench, Jaquenetta, plans to visit her at….

The Lodge

But why did William Shakespeare write the play in the first place?


REASON ONE: For money….

It was a commission from Countess Mary…..

She had commissioned Shakespeare two years previously, in 1590, to write seventeen sonnets for the seventeenth birthday of her son, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton (a.k.a. ‘Harry Southampton’) to convince him to get married.

Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton.


The ploy hadn’t worked – gay young Harry wasn’t interested in women…..

….so Mother Mary tried again, this time with a play…

Countess Mary was under financial pressure herself. She was a widow and her son’s guardian, Lord Burghley……

Burghley with wand of office

……wanted Harry to marry his granddaughter, Elizabeth de Vere.


If he refused, the Southampton family would face a massive £5,000 fine when Harry came of age – in two years’ time.

REASON TWO: To ‘heterosexualise’ Harry.

Harry’s father, the Second Earl of Southampton……

Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton

……..had accused his wife Mary of infidelity with…..

a common person

…..and thrown her out of the house.

According to Mary, he then proceeded to make his Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Thomas Dymmock….

….his wife…

…..and surrounded his son with an all-male culture……

….a whole troupe of at least a hundred well-mounted gentlemen and yeomen….


…tall goodly fellows that kept a constant pace.

Harry had grown up suspicious of women and preferring male companionship…..

…..especially that of the Second Earl of Essex, also a ward of Burghley, whom he worshipped.

Shakespeare echoes this situation in the play.

Love’s Labour’s Lost is about the King of Navarre and three of his aristocratic friends who swear to avoid all contact with women for three years….

…and devote themselves to study….

There are even bits of gay banter in the text….

The King claims he will


…Don Armado for his…..


Minstrels, in Shakespeare’s day, were notorious for their homosexuality.

Berowne refers to minstrels later in the play when he mockingly quotes the King (who has just written a sonnet)

Tush! none but minstrels like of sonneting….

….and Don Armado describes how…..

……it will please his grace [the King] by the world, sometime to lean upon my poor shoulder, and with his royal finger, thus, dally with my excrement, with my mustachio…

But the play goes on to expose the folly of men trying to live without women.

The beautiful Princess of France and her Ladies-in-Waiting arrive on diplomatic business…..

….and one by one the men fall in love with them.

 Shakespeare wrote the part of  the King  of Navarre…..

king of navarre

…..for the nineteen year old Harry….

….in the desperate hope that some of the King’s heterosexuality might rub off on him….

(Boyet even gives a coded description of the King’s erection on first seeing the Princess of France……

His heart like an agate with your print impressed,

Proud with his form in his eye pride expressed…..)

The love sonnet the King writes to the Princess also has a reference to a rose…..

So sweet a kiss the golden Sun gives not

To those fresh morning drops upon the Rose

This is a reference both to the Southampton rose….

southampton rose crest 2.

…and to Harry himself, whom Shakespeare refers to as…

…my Rose…

…in the Sonnets.

(The Southampton familyas we know from the Titchfield Parish Register – pronounced their family name…..




And the….

…..fresh morning drops upon the Rose…..

…..are a coded reference to teenage Harry’s early morning seminal emissions!

Shakespeare had great fun with this subject in the Birthday Sonnets…

Unthrifty loveliness why dost thou spend

Upon thyself thy beauty’s legacy….

Money was often a coded word for semen.)

Shakespeare wrote the parts of Lord Longaville and Lord Dumaine for two of Harry’s aristocratic friends….

….Charles Blount (later Lord Mountjoy)…

Charles Blount Lord Mountjoyu

…and Roger Manners, Fifth Earl of Rutland….

Manners, Roger 5th Earl of Rutland

Both were in Titchfield for the Whitsun/Essex celebrations…..

….and a plague was raging in London….

Lord Longaville in the play – as his name suggests – is tall…

Maria says to him….

The liker you; few taller are so young.

Blount was tall in real life….

Fynes Morison describes him as……….

….of stature tall and of very comely proportion.

Shakespeare also makes joking reference to the family name ‘Blount’ (pronounced ‘Blunt’)

Maria describes Longaville as having…..

….a sharp wit matched with too blunt a will….

(Shakespeare can never resist sexual innuendo!)

In the play Lord Dumaine is beardless….

He says to Katharine….

But what to me, my love? But what to me? A wife…

And she replies…

A beard, fair health and happiness…..

Roger Manners, Harry’s Cambridge friend, who played Dumaine, was sixteen at the time.

We have seen, he acquired a beard later in life.

He also acquired a wife – but never consummated the marriage.

Shakespeare also refers to the family name ‘Manners’ in the text…

Dumaine talks about……

…..the grosser manner of the world’s delights…..

…. and in a three-line exchange between Costard and Berowne, the word ‘manner/manor’ is mentioned EIGHT times….


The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.


In what manner?


In manner and form following, sir; all those three: I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with
her upon the form, and taken following her into the Park; which, put together, is in manner and form
following. Now, sir, for the manner,–it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,–in some form.

But who was to play the Princess of France with whom Navarre falls in love?

A young actor in drag would have proved counter-productive….

Harry himself loved dressing up in women’s clothes…


…..a habit Shakespeare refers to in Sonnet 53:

On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set

And you in Grecian tires are painted new…..

The answer was to cast a real woman…..

….the Earl of Essex’s sister….

……the ravishing Penelope Rich….

penelope rich lambeth 2

…famous for her black eyes and red hair…

….who, though married to Robert, Third Baron Rich, was the open mistress of Charles Blount.

(Women often performed in private entertainments – especially on Queen Elizabeth’s Progresses – and Penelope was to later act openly at Court in the reign of King James VI and I.)

The King of Navarre compares the Princess/Penelope’s hair to the sun…..

……flaming in the heavens….

And beauty’s crest becomes the heavens well…

But Berowne prefers his dark-skinned, dark-haired Rosaline….

…..and suggests that the Princess should dye her red hair black to resemble her…

O if in black my lady’s brows be deck’d,

It mourns that painting and usurping hair

Should ravish doters with;

And therefore is she born to make black fair.

Her favour turns the fashion of the days

For native blood is counted painting now;

And therefore red that would avoid dispraise,

Paints itself black, to imitate her brow.

Again Shakespeare plays on…


Penelope’s married name…..

The Princess herself says:

Sweet hearts we shall be rich ere we depart…..

….and the word ‘rich’ is used seven times in the final scene.

This is the pun Sir Philip Sidney…..

sidney philip

…….who was in love with Penelope……..

……..had also used in his Sonnet Sequence, Astrophil and Stella…

Toward Aurora’s court a nymph doth dwell,

Rich in all beauties which man’s eye can see:

Beauties so far from reach of words, that we

Abase her praise, saying she doth excel:

Rich in the treasure of deserv’d renown,

Rich in the riches of a royal heart,

Rich in those gifts which give th’eternal crown;

Who though most rich in these and every part,

Which make the patents of true worldly bliss,

Hath no misfortune, but that Rich she is.

In his Sonnets Shakespeare also couples the names of ‘Manners’, ‘Rich’ and  ‘Blount/Blunt’

Sonnet 52

So am I as the rich, whose blessed key,

Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure,

The which he will not every hour survey,

For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure.

Sonnet 85

My tongue-tied Muse in manners holds her still,

While comments of your praise richly compiled.

The Princess’s Ladies-in-Waiting in the play were played by Penelope’s closest female friends.

Dorothy Devereux, her sister….

penelope and dorothy devereux

…… played Maria – beloved of Longaville….

She is described in the play as wearing white…..

This was a characteristic of the whole Devereux family…..

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

….who often wore white to show their allegiance to Queen Elizabeth.

Frances Walsingham – the wife of Essex and widow of Sir Philp Sidney…..

frances walsingham 3


…….played Katharine, beloved of Dumaine….

We are told in the play that Katharine’s sister had died….

The same thing had happened to Frances in real life….

Dumaine says of Katharine…

Her amber hairs for foul hath amber quoted…

In the painting we can see that not only does she have amber hair – she has an amber dress as well!

Antonio Perez who became part of the Essex entourage……

…..described Penelope, Dorothy and Frances as….

Three sisters and goddesses….

They were clearly an inseperable trio.

REASON THREE: To seduce the Dark Lady.

Rosaline – the dark-skinned coquette in the Princess’s entourage – was played by Amelia Bassano…..

…. the mixed-race singer, clavichord player…..

…..and young mistress to the Queen’s randy old cousin, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon……

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon..

……who later became the Lord Chamberlain…..

…….and ‘patron’ of Shakespeare’s company – the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

Amelia and her musical family of Sephardic Jews – originally from Venice – had been part of Queen Elizabeth’s progress to Cowdray and Titchfield in August and September of the previous year, 1591.

Hunsdon had attended a Privy Council meeting at Place House – and he could well have been lodged with Amelia in Whitely Lodge – another resonance to ‘whitely wanton’.

Amelia had stayed on at Titchfield to entertain Countess Mary, avoid the plague in London and have a crack at young Harry…

Shakespeare fell desperately in love with her…..

…..and wrote Love’s Labour’s Lost partly to seduce her.

He cast himself as  Lord Berowne and wrote teasing, bantering love scenes they could play together….

berowne rosaline 1

Art and life began to imitate each other:

Berowne sends love-sonnets to Rosaline……

Shakespeare was sending love-sonnets to Amelia in real life…..

Shakespeare writes to Amelia in Sonnet 130

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground….

Rosaline reports that in Berowne’s sonnet to her he has written, rather more flatteringly….

I were the fairest Goddess on the ground…..

Berowne claims…

Black is Beautiful

….in the play…

And Shakespeare claims…

Black is Beautiful in the Sonnets….

(That is, till he has an argument with Amelia….

….then it’s a very different matter.)

Amelia Bassano/Lanyer is the famous Dark Lady of the Sonnets……

……as A.L. Rowse brilliantly discovered in 1976…..

A. L. Rowse

…..to howls of derision from Academe…

REASON FOUR: To promote himself.

Vigorous, ruthless, self-promotion was essential for actors and writers in Elizabeth’s reign.

All the Roman Catholic charities had been suspended – and the Protestants were slow to take up their work.

If you had no money, you starved to death – as many of Shakespeare’s contemporaries did.

By casting himself as Lord Berowne……


…..Shakespeare was making himself the equal of the ‘real’ lords, Harry, Blount and Manners…..

……rather in the way the South London boy, Noel Coward…..

coward poster

…..turned himself into a pretend aristocrat.

In fact Berowne proves himself superior to the other Lords.

He takes the moral lead by predicting the men will not stick to their vows because…

every man with his affects [passions] is born

Not by might mastered, but by special grace [from God]…

He then proceeds to educate them into the overwhelming powers of heterosexual love…


…to make the text work must be pronounced….


The phrase

brown studies


…. gloomy meditations

….had come into use c.1555.

Rosaline says:

Berowne they call him, but a merrier man,

Within the limit of becoming mirth,

I never spent an hour’s talk withal…

And at the end of the play Berowne says to Rosaline….

Studies my lady?

Berowne is a compliment to Shakespeare’s patron, Mary Brown.

It suggests that Shakespeare is now part of the Southampton family.

As indeed he was….

When Shakespeare’s family later acquired a crest, it incorporated the four silver falcons of the Southampton Coat of Arms….

southampton crest coloured

garter crest of Shakespeare

(After the publication of the First Folio, the name ‘Berowne’ was changed to ‘Biron’.)

REASON FIVE: To flatter the audience…

The Earl of Essex – a compulsive jouster……..

Essex in gold armour marigold

…….would have taken an active part in the fair…..

But he was a member of the audience for the performance of Love’s labour’s Lost – watching his sisters, his wife and his friends perform – so he had to be acknowledged as well.

At Rouen he had fought alongside Henri, King of Navarre……

henri of navarre

……and Armand de Gontaut, maréchal de Biron……


…….against Henri d’Orlèans, duc de Longueville……..

longueville 2

….. and Charles de Lorraine, duc de Mayenne….


Navarre, Biron, Longaville and Dumaine……

……a quarter of the cast had been named after Essex’s campaign a few months earlier!

Also the King of Navarre is named ‘Ferdinand’ – though his name is never mentioned in the play….

This is in compliment to Ferdinando, Lord Strange (pronounced ‘Strang’)….

strange, ferdinando

…..whose Men Shakespeare had written and acted for in the Midlands….

….and who earlier in the year had put on Harey VI at the Rose Theatre in London.

REASON SIX: To satirise his enemies….

Shakespeare had become a member of the Southampton/Essex entourage – so their enemies were his enemies.

Part of the play’s function is satire……

…..directed notably at the group of scientists, mathematicians, radical thinkers and atheists who gathered round Henry Percy, the Ninth Earl of Northumberland, the Wizard Earl, at nearby Petworth……

percy, henry ninth northumberland

They were people like Sir Walter Raleigh…..

raleigh with pearls

……Essex’s main rival at Court….

…….a man who came from an ancient family but had no money other than what he could get from Queen Elizabeth as one of her favourites….

……He is is sent up in the play as the penniless Armado……

don armado and moth

…..so poor he can’t even afford to buy a shirt……

….a fantastical Spaniard who sometimes breaks into Raleigh’s broad Devonshire accent.

As Holofernes the pedant observes, Armado says…


….instead of…..


Raleigh had fallen in love with Bess Throckmorton…..


…..one of Elizabeth’s Ladies-in-Waiting…

…..to the Queen’s fury…..

…..and had started to write love poetry to her….

…just as Armado writes sonnets to the….

…..base wench….


……who carried a fan just as Bess Throckmorton did….

(Costard the swain says…

Armado o’th’one side – O, a most dainty man!

To see him walk before a lady and to bear her fan…)

Word reached Titchfield during preparations for Love’s Labour’s Lost that Raleigh had impregnated Bess – which called for a rapid – and impossible – change of plot.

Armado – who we first see besotted with Jaquenetta but rejected by her – turns out to be the father of her child. …..

…and OVERNIGHT she has become….

……two months on her way….

The text we have is a revision of the 1592 text, probably played at Elizabeth’s Court at Christmas in 1597.

By then Raleigh was back in favour. So the Braggart, Don Armado, may have been turned into a Spaniard to disguise the satire from the Queen….

By then the object of attack was most likely to have been Antonio Perez…….

Antonio Perez

Antonio Perez

…….a fantastical Spaniard in real life….

…….the meddling, homosexual, Catholic friend of Essex whom Elizabeth loathed….

As William Camden, the contemporary historian noted:

Verily she [Elizabeth] detested the man [Perez] who had contrary to his allegiance, divulged his King’s secrets; and Burghley, Lord Treasurer, scarce vouchsafed him a conference or speaking to. Indeed Essex entertained him at his house, and supplied him largely with money, using him as his counsellor, yea as an oracle, as one much versed in the secrets of the Spanish court, and a subtle politician…

Armado in the play is also referred to by Berowne as…..

…an oracle…

Also amongst the Wizard Earl’s entourage was the mystic and poet, George Chapman….

Chapman, George

…….who becomes the lisping, flattering, effeminate Boyet who urges the Princess of France to…

…..summon up [her] dearest spirits

…..as Chapman claimed to have summoned up the spirit of Homer…..

…….and, later when he died, the spirit of Christopher Marlowe.

Marlowe, Christopher

Again, Shakespeare works in a play on Chapman’s surname….

The Princess’s response to Boyet’s gross flattery is to say….

Good Lord Boyet, my beauty though but mean

Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:

Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,

Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues…

Chapman was later to turn up in Shakespeare’s life as the Rival Poet of the Sonnets….

But perhaps Shakespeare’s most withering satire is reserved for someone who was part of the Southampton household….

….John Florio…..

John Florio

….an Englishman in Italian

He was Harry’s Italian tutor and had ousted Shakespeare from his position as schoolmaster to the boys of Titchfield.

Dame Frances Yates…..

frances yates

– the great Florio scholar – argues convincingly that Florio was placed in the Catholic Southampton household as a Protestant spy by Lord Burghley.

Bishop Warburton – writing in the eighteenth century – first records the tradition that the pedant, Holofernes, in the play is a satire against Florio.

At the time Florio was translating Montaigne – that’s why Holofernes is described by Armado as educating youth….

….on the top of a Mountaine….

He was also compiling an Italian/English dictionary, A World of Words….

……so Shakespeare makes him talk like a dictionary, never using one word when six will do.

Holofernes describes the deer that Princess shots as being……

…..ripe as the pomewater [whitish apple] who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of coelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven.

Florio in his dictionary defines ‘caelo’ as

……heaven, the sky, the firmament or welkin…

When Holofernes improvises a poem to celebrate the Princess’s shooting of the deer, he uses exaggerated alliteration: ‘

The preyful Princess pierc’d and prick’d a pretty pleasing pricket

So does Florio:

Proverbs are the pith, the properties, the proofs, the purities of language….

Holofernes writes the abominable pageant entertainment for the Princess: it could well be that Florio penned the equally abominable Progress Entertainment for Queen Elizabeth…..

Queen Elizabeth.

…..played at nearby Cowdray the previous year.

The Pilgrim in this entertainment declares that he has….

…..travelled many countries….

….and Florio’s habit was to cast himself as a Traveller, refined and cultivated in the ways of the world.

Holoferenes, in Love’s Labour’s Lost says:

I may speak of thee as the Traveller speaks of Venice….

Sir William Vaughan, in The Spirit of Detraction, certainly leaps to Florio’s defence.

He writes that if….

….an ingenuous scholar [Florio] but broach forth the barrel of his wit, which God hath given him; they cry out his brain is an empty barrel, his wit but barren, his matter borrowed out of other men’s books….

Florio could well have broached forth the barrel of his wit by writing the Cowdray Progress…..

And Shakespeare certainly cried out that Florio’s brain was empty by creating Holoferenes!

REASON  SEVEN: To examine the state of mind of Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth had special ‘standings’ erected at Cowdray and Titchfield from which she shot rounded up deer with a crossbow….

…. at point blank range……

….a habit she adopted from her father, Henry VIII….

henry VIII 2.

 …….when he grew too fat to mount a horse.

This unsporting carnage disgusted country folk.

After the Titchfield visit, Elizabeth repaid her host, Countess Mary, by hanging one of her best friends, Swithin Wells…….

wells swithin

……now a Catholic Saint……

……on a scaffold erected outside the Countess’s London home.

The play alludes to Elizabeth’s slaughter of deer…….

……and deer/dear can mean three things…..

(1) Literal deer….

(2) The men who fall in love with the Princess and are slain by her beauty…

(‘spilling blood’ can also be Elizabethan code for seminal emission.)

(3) Catholic martyrs…

Robert Persons…..

robert persons

……the Jesuit Missionary – wrote in 1581:

It is the custom of the Catholics themselves to take to the woods and thickets, to ditches and holes even, for concealment, when their houses are broken into at night.

Sometimes when we are sitting at table quite cheerfully, conversing familiarly about matters of faith or piety…it happens that someone rings at the front door a little more insistently than usual, so he can be put down as an official.

Immediately, like deer that have heard the voice of hunters and prick their ears and become alert, all stand to attention and stop eating and command themselves to God in the briefest of prayers; no word or sound of any sort is heard  until the servants report what is the matter….

Shakespeare, in a speech he gives the Princess, speculates what can drive the Princess/Elizabeth – a woman of taste and discrimination – to indulge in such atrocities.

He concludes that she is pushed by outside forces – a need for fame – which turn her from her otherwise kindly nature.

Edmund Campion……..

St. Edmund Campion

…….the great Catholic Saint and Martyr…..

……always maintained that it was Elizabeth’s advisors who were evil – not the Queen herself.

In Love’s Labour’s Lost Shakespeare was prepared to give Elizabeth the benefit of the doubt.

But by the end of her reign he regarded her as a bloody tyrant….

REASON 8: To acknowledge death and sickness in the Southampton family.

Not to spoil it for people coming fresh to the play, it does not resolve in happiness…..

…..which adds a depth and dimension to it.

It also mirrors echoes the state of mind of the Southampton family.

As well as the shock of the execution of Swithin Wells, Mary’s twin brother, Anthony Browne, was very ill during the production of Love’s Labour’s Lost…..

And had been ill since Christmas…..

 Her father, Viscount Montague…..

Montague, Lord

…was also suffering from….

…..a tedious, troublesome and lingering kind of infirmity….

Mary’s brother died in the month following the production…

….and her father in October…..

Added to this, the Earl of Essex’s brother, Walter, had been killed a few months earlier at the siege of Rouen….

So an upbeat conclusion to the play would have been entirely inappropriate.

REASON NINE: To Prove he was a better writer than Thomas Nashe!

It is my belief that the beardless, tiny, ‘gat-toothed’ Thomas Nashe…


– the essayist and satirist –

……was also resident in Titchfield at the time……

….and often collaborated with Shakespeare….

(as he did with Ben Jonson…….

ben jonson colour…on The Isle of Dogs….

……and Christopher Marlowe…..

…..on Dido and Aeneas….)

dido frontispiece small

It is also my belief that he played the part of ‘the well-educated infant’ Moth…..

(an anagram of ‘Thom’)

…..and wrote the scenes between him and Don Armado.

Commenting upon Moth’s speech about Armado in love…..

……with [his] hat penthouse-like o’er the shop of your eyes; with [his] arms crossed on [his] thin-belly doublet like a rabbit on a spit……

……the Editor of new Cambridge University Press edition of the play says that…

The syntax and and satiric images in Moth’s speech here bring it closer than anything else in the play to the satiric prose style of Thomas Nashe….

It is ‘close’ to ‘the satiric prose style of Thomas Nashe’ because…….


He has Armado call Moth….

…tender juvenal


……most acute juvenal.

Later in the year, Robert Greene……

robert greene

….the writer and notorious hedonist……

….who had also been part of the Titchfield writing team……

……described Nashe as…

….young Juvenal…

……in his posthumously-published A Groatsworth of Witte.

(Greene’s name is also sent up in the play. Don Armado says……

Greene indeed is the colour of lovers.)

But many people at the time thought that the pamphlet – which contains the famous

upstart crow

……attack on Shakespeare – was really written by Nashe himself.

Six years later, Francis Meeres in Palladis Tamia, Wit’s Treasury was also to describe Nashe as ‘young Juvenal’ – so the ‘young Juvenal’ trademark was Nashe’s own invention – his ‘trade-mark’….

Nashe also had every reason himself to be critical of Raleigh: he had worked for him and never been given a penny….

….hence the satire of Armado’s poverty and meanness.

Nashe writes in Pierce Penniless, published in the same year as the play…..

…..for what reason have I to bestow any of my wit upon him that will bestow none of his wealth upon me? Alas it is easy for a goodly tall fellow that shineth in his silks [Raleigh]  to come and outface a poor simple pedant in a threadbare cloak., and tell him his book is pretty.

He also refers to Raleigh as….

……an inamorata poeta…..

……who, just like Don Armado, will…..

….sonnet a whole quire of paper in praise of Lady Swine-Snout [Jaquenetta/Bess Throckmorton] his yellow-faced Mistress, and wear a feather of her rain-beaten fan for a favour, like a fore-horse…

The Southampton family had baled Nashe out of his money difficulties….

So Shakespeare had a talented rival in Nashe – just as he was later to have one in Chapman.

But Nashe was really only Shakespeare’s gag-man – up to his death in 1601.

Shakespeare was the poet…..

….and he makes sure he soars way above Nashe in the sublimity of the verse he writes for himself as Berowne…

Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible

Than are the tender horns of cock’ld snails;

Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:

For valour, is not Love a Hercules,

Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?

Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical

As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair:

And when Love speaks, the voice of all the Gods

Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.

FOOTNOTE: Love in the Time of Plague….

The erotic subtext of the play took over the lives of Shakespeare, Harry and Amelia…

…..and a complicated, twisted, painful love-triangle ensued…….

……in which Shakespeare finally came to realise he was more in love with Harry than Amelia….

Shakespeare left Titchfield for a bit and Amelia got pregnant and was married off to a


… for


But Nashe stayed on with….

…..my Lord…..


…..the plague’s prisoner in the country…..

Later in the year Queen Elizabeth came to visit the dying Lord Montague at West Horsley…..

Ever enigmatic, she gently fed the old Roman Catholic soup….

Nashe, alone, wrote Sommer’s Last Will and Testament  to entertain her….

….and it was played at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Summer Palace at Croydon….

But like Love’s Labour’s Lost the tone of the interlude is muted.

It moves from gentle mirth to gentle melancholy….

…..treating death as a natural progress from Summer to Winter…..

…..like the two wonderful, bitter-sweet, songs……

…..at the end of Shakespeare’s wonderful play….

© Stewart Trotter June 2016.

















We don’t know for certain when William Shakespeare’s Birthday was…..

shakespeare 1588

…..though 23rd April – St. George’s Day – is the day traditionally thought of as the day he was born…

….and it’s probably right…..


bust of shakespeare

……we know for certain that Shakespeare was buried…..

….in a shroud….

….just a few feet under the chancel….

shakespeare's grave

…..in Holy Trinity Church….

holy trinity church stratford

The Parish Church of Stratford-upon-Avon….

…..on the 25th February, 1616…

It is the Shakespeare’s Code belief that the tradition is true …..

He overdid the Birthday celebrations with Ben Jonson….

ben jonson colour

…..and Michael Drayton….


Today, 25th April 2016…..


…at 3 p.m. precisely…

…the Shakespeare Code recorded its

…..225,000th VIEW!!!

Synchronicity or what????

It is even more extraordinary that on 23rd April, 2013….

….the anniversary of Shakespeare’s Birthday….

The Shakespeare Code recorded its….

100,000 VIEW!!!

The Force is with us….

(To read ‘Seven Ages of Shakespeare’ please click: HERE.)

Seven Ages poster

The World’s Press is full of the news that, on 23rd April this year, Simon Andrew Stirling will publish a new biography of Sir William Davenant….

davenant new

…..entitled Shakespeare’s Bastard…..

shakespeare's bastard

That William Shakespeare was Davenant’s biological father is not exactly news: it was first mentiond by John Aubrey who was born ten years after Shakespeare’s death…..

Aubrey John

Aubrey spoke to Davenant’s brother, Robert, and even attended William Davenant’s funeral, remarking on how fine his walnut tree coffin was. 

He writes:

….when he [Davenant] was pleasant over a glass of wine with his most intimate friends, e.g. Sam Butler (author of Hudibras, etc.) – say that it seemed to that he wrote with the very spirit that Shakespeare [wrote], and seemed contented enough to be thought his son: he would tell them the story as above, in which way his mother had a very light report…

But, even so, the crowd-catching title of the book, Shakespeare’s Bastard, is misleading….

It suggests heartlessness where there was, in fact, wisdom, humanity and warmth.

John Davenant, William’s legal father, was a London vintner and admirer of plays – and of Shakespeare’s work in particular.

According to Aubrey he was a…..

….very grave and discreet citizen….   

…..who married Jennet Shepherd….

…..a very beautiful woman, and of very good wit, and of conversation extremely agreeable.

But the two of them could not produce children strong enough to survive.

Six of them died in a row.

So, when they moved to Oxford in 1601 to run ‘The Tavern’ – a winehouse – they came to an arrangement with Shakespeare…..

…..whose only son, Hamnet, had died five years earlier.

Every spring/summer Shakespeare would travel to Stratford-upon-Avon to stay with his family – and pass through Oxford on his way.

On these occasions he became a guest of the Davenant family……

…..and would sleep with Jennet in the famous painted room…

painted room

….with the full consent and blessing of the husband.

That way both men could enjoy being father to a son – or even sons and daughters….

Dates corroborate this story…..

Jane Davenant was conceived around May 1601 –  after the execution of the Earl of Essex on 25th February when Shakespeare needed to get out of town….

(His play, Richard II, had been performed on the eve of the ill-fated rebellion against Queen Elizabeth….)

Robert was then conceived around June of 1602, Alice around April 1604 (in the new reign of James I and VI)….

….. and William Davenant around June in 1605.

(John and Nicholas were born in 1607 and 1611 and Elizabeth sometime between 1607-11. Even after he had ‘retired’ to Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare often visited London.)

Robert, who became a chaplain, told Aubrey that Shakespeare had….

……given him a hundred kisses…..

…….when he visited him as a boy in Oxford.

Shakespeare became Godfather to William…..

Indeed there was a story that one day young William, who was dashing through the streets of Oxford, was stopped by the Master of New College who asked him why he was running so fast.

‘To greet my Godfather’ said William.

‘Do not take the name of the Lord they God in vain’ replied the Master…..

William possessed the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare….

Chandos portrait

….and the terracotta  Shakespeare bust that is now in the Garrick Club in London….

garrick club bust shakespeare


He also had special knowledge of Shakespeare that Nicholas Rowe utilised in his 1709 Some Account of the Life of Mr. William Shakespear:

Nicholas Rowe

There is one instance so singular in magnificence of this patron of Shakespeare’s [Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton] that had I not been assured that the story was handed down by Sir William D’Avenant, who was probably very well acquainted with his affairs, I should not have ventured to inserted, that my Lord Southampton, at one time, gave him a thousand pounds, to enable him to go through with a purchase which he had a mind to.

Simon Andrew Stirling will no doubt add fresh research to these stories when his biography is published…..

…..and he is undoubtedly right that people, wanting Shakespeare to be divine, have suppressed the evidence that he had a surrogate family…..

…..in the same way they have suppressed the evidence that he was a bisexual Roman Catholic.


Mr Stirling also asserts that Shakespeare’s Sonnet 126 was NOT written – as most scholars believe – to his patron and lover, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton….

Southampton in armour



Here is a facsimile of the ‘Sonnet’ which, at twelve lines long……

…..and, written in rhyming couplets, is not a sonnet at all.

It concludes with a pair of brackets where the final couplet should have been….

Here is a copy of the original printing:

sonnet 126 001

According to the Deccan Herald:

Sonnet 126 has often been suggested to be a homo-erotic poem.

The mistaken gay theme may be explained because the poem comes at the end of a sequence known as the ‘Fair Youth’ sonnets which are understood by scholars to refer to a homosexual passion between Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton.

Stirling notes that the pair appeared to have gone their separate ways in 1594.

We shall have to wait for the publication of the book to learn what evidence Mr. Stirling has for this last statement.

It’s true that George Chapman……

Chapman, George


……whom The Shakespeare Code believes to be the ‘Rival Poet of the Sonnets’…..

[See: ‘The Rival Poet Revealed.’]

……and whom Shakespeare satirises as the mincing, lisping Boyet in Love’s Labour’s Lost…..

[See: ‘Boyet: Shakespeare’s Revenge on George Chapman.’]

……published his The Shadow of Night in 1594……

……and that Southampton, to Shakespeare’s horror, toyed briefly with the idea of becoming Chapman’s Patron rather than Shakespeare’s.

But opposed to this evidence is the loving, passionate dedication that Shakespeare wrote to Southampton on the publication of Lucrece in 1594:

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.

Your lordship’s in all duty, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

Also Shakespeare produced A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the marriage of the Earl of Southampton’s mother, Countess Mary….

Mary Browne

…. to Sir Thomas Heneage in 1594.

Southampton came of age that year – so would be in a position to give the £1,000 gift Davenant mentions.

We know that Shakespeare is listed as one of the ‘sharers’ in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men early in the following year, 1595 – so a partnership in the company could well have been……

…… the purchase [Shakespeare] had a mind to.

From the Sonnets, we know that Shakespeare and Southampton, like all lovers, had ups and down in their relationship; but they were still very much together in 1603 and 1604.

Sonnet 107 celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s death in March 1603, James VI of Scotland’s succession to the throne of England and the Earl of Southampton’s release from the Tower on April 5th….

Southampton had been imprisoned for his part in the Earl of Essex’s rebellion against Elizabeth…..

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul

Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come,

Can yet the lease of my true love control,

Suppos’d as forfeit to a confin’d doom.

Neither my own anxieties – nor the prophesies of the world in general – can control the lease of life granted to my true love – the Earl of Southampton – who everyone thought would die in the Tower of London.

The mortal Moon hath her eclipse indur’d,

And the sad Augurs mock their own presage;

Incertainties now crown them-selves assur’d,

And peace proclaims Olives of endless age.

Queen Elizabeth has died – and those people who predicted civil war at her decease find they were completely wrong. With the coronation of King James VI and I all uncertainty is gone and we can look forward to eternal peace – now that the King has ended hostilities with Spain.

[Note: The Moon – cold and chaste – was a symbol of Queen Elizabeth. Pearls were used to present Elizabeth as Cynthia, the goddess of the Moon – and in her famous ‘Rainbow Portrait’ she is depicted with a crescent-moon jewel in her head piece.

rainbow portrait elizabeth moon jewel

Sir Walter Raleigh promoted the cult of Elizabeth as Moon Goddess with a poem he wrote during the late 1580s, The Ocean’s Love to Cynthia, in which Elizabeth is compared to the Moon. Sir Walter was often depicted with a giant pearl in his ear……

raleigh in white

…..to demonstrate his loyalty to Elizabeth.]

Now with the drops of this most balmy time,

My love looks fresh and death to me subscribes,

Since spite of him I’ll live in this poor rime,

While he insults ore dull and speechless tribes;

The Coronation Oil – and the happiness that the new reign has brought – has revived my lover, Southampton, who lay sick in prison – and Death becomes my servant since I’ll live forever in this sonnet while he triumphs over people less brilliant or articulate than me.

And thou in this shalt find thy monument,

When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.

And you, Harry, will find your monument in this sonnet while the Tudor coat of arms and brass tombs of tyrants like Elizabeth rot away.

tomb of Elizabeth

[Note: The mention of ‘crest’ recalls Queen Elizabeth’s remark: ‘Were I crested and not cloven’ i.e. ‘If I had a penis rather than a vagina.’ Shakespeare is implying that Elizabeth was so unnatural she had a penis of her own. Shakespeare hated Elizabeth because of her persecution of Roman Catholics and his family and friends.]

Shakespeare is still close enough to call Southampton….

……my true love…..

…..and Sonnets 125, 123 and 124 refer to James’s Coronation in 1603 – when Shakespeare, as a Groom of the Chamber, held a canopy over James during the service – and to the State Opening of Parliament in 1604 when the processional route was lined with ‘pyramids’ – obelisks…

triumphal arch


The Deccan Herald continues:

Three of the sonnets are known to have been written in 1603 and 1604, by which time Southampton was heading into his thirties.

Coming so soon after two sonnets composed in 1604,” Stirling writes, “it would be rash to presume that the ‘lovely Boy’ of Sonnet 126 was the mature Earl of Southampton. The poem appears to have been written to a very young child whose birth caused his mother’s full-moon belly to wane.’

The Shakespeare Code’s believes that it would be….


…..NOT to assume that Sonnet 126 addressed to Southampton…..


 The phrase ‘lovely Boy’ is INTENDED to be insulting to ‘the mature’ Southampton…..

….. for reasons The Code will now reveal.

The Sonnet IS about a baby…



To understand the language and thought of Sonnet 126 we have to study the language and thought of the ‘Birthday Sonnets’……

……the seventeen poems at the start of the sonnet sequence that Shakespeare wrote to celebrate the seventeenth birthday of the Earl of Southampton.

These were a commission in 1590 from Countess Mary to persuade her gay, wayward son, Harry……

henry wriothesley new miniature

…..to marry Elizabeth De Vere, Lord Burghley’s grand-daughter.


The Countess of Southampton was a widow and Lord Burghley was her son’s guardian.

He had the authority to dictate who her son was to marry: if he didn’t, the Southampton family faced a colossal £5,000 fine….

In these seventeen sonnets Shakespeare outlines the advantages Harry will gain if he marries Elizabeth….

…..and the disadvantages if he doesn’t!!!

In the second sonnet Shakespeare tells Harry if he has a son, he will be able to regenerate, through him, the physical decay old age will inevitably bring:

When forty Winters shall besiege thy brow,

And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,

Thy youth’s proud livery so gaz’d on now,

Will be a tatter’d weed of small worth held:

When you get to the age of fifty seven and have lines and wrinkles on your forehead and your face, your youthful beauty – which looks like the dazzling colours of the livery that servants of great Lords wear….

livery romeo

…will look like a tatty old coat that nobody wants….

[Note: Queen Elizabeth I was 57 years old in the year of the ‘Birthday Sonnets’, 1590.

old elizabeth

Shakespeare is making an oblique coded attack on her loss of physical beauty.]

Then being askt, where all thy beauty lies,

Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;

To say within thine own deep sunken eyes,

Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.

Then if anyone asks you where your beauty has fled to – and what you did with all the semen you produced in your randy youth to reply – ‘It’s all in my shrivelled testicles’ would be an agonising embarrassment and a pointless excuse.

[Note: the vocabulary of the face is often used by Shakespeare to represent the genital area – nose, beard eyes, etc.]

How much more praise deserv’d thy beauty’s use,

If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine

Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse’,

Proving his beauty by succession thine.

If you were to make use of your good looks you would earn much more praise if you then said: ‘My beautiful son shows you how dishy I once was – and makes up for my being old now.

This were to be new made when thou art old,

And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

In Sonnet 4, Shakespeare then reprimands Harry for masturbating instead of making love to a woman.

Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend,

Upon thy self thy beauty’s legacy?

Nature’s bequest gives nothing but doth lend,

And being frank, she lends to those are free….

Why are you such a spendthrift with your semen? Why do you ejaculate all over yourself the fluids you are meant to give to others? Nature doesn’t actually GIVE you anything – she just lends it in the belief you will pass it on. Being generous herself, she gives to those who are generous in turn.

[Note: Shakespeare often uses money – and all its associations – as a code for semen.]

Then beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse,

The bounteous largesse given thee to give?

Profitless usurer, why dost thou use

So great a sum of sums yet can’st not live?

Beautiful but miserly, why do you abuse the magnificent penis you were meant to share with others? You are like a money-lender who makes no profit – who spends huge amounts of money but doesn’t have any left to live on. You come many times, but have no baby to show for it.

For having traffic with thy self alone,

Thou of thy self thy sweet self dost deceive,

Because you spend your time masturbating all on your own, you cheat yourself of the lovely baby you could produce if you went to bed with a woman.

[Note: ‘Sweet self’ – is a coded phrase for Southampton’s baby boy.]

In Sonnet 10, Shakespeare also goes on to use the word ‘self’ to mean a baby:

Make me another  self for love of me

That beauty may still live in thine and thee.

In Sonnet 11 he introduces two more code words he will pick up again in Sonnet 126:‘wane’ and ‘grow’.

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st

In one of thine, from that which thou departests.

And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st

Thou may call thine, when thou from youth convertest.

As fast as you shall diminish with age, as fast you will grow in the shape of your son in whom you have imbued your characteristics: and that fresh life you bestowed on him when you were young, you can claim as your own when you are old

[Note: Shakespeare is asserting that by having a son Harry can ‘wane’ like the Moon (i.e. grow older and feebler) but ‘grow‘ at the same time (as his son grows older and stronger).

Shakespeare also launches another oblique attack in this sonnet on the childless Queen Elizabeth: ‘Let those whom nature hath not made for store,/Harsh, featureless and rude, barrenly perish.]

In Sonnet 13 Shakespeare talks about the ‘sweet issue’ that Harry will leave behind him if he has a son:

When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.

Harry, of course, ignored Shakespeare’s advice to get married…….

……and so the Southampton family had to pay Burghley his £5,000 fine.

A painful love-triangle then arose at Titchfield in the Plague Year of 1592…..

…..between Shakespeare, Harry and the Dark Lady of the Sonnets – the musician and courtesan Amelia Bassano…

This culminated in a full-blown gay love affair between Shakespeare and Harry which lasted over a decade…

[See: ‘Shakespeare, Love and Religion: The Grosvenor Chapel talks.’ ]

There were infidelities on both sides, but Harry meant everything to Shakespeare….

When Shakespeare lost Hamnet in 1596, Harry even became his surrogate son…..

As a decrepit father takes delight

To see his active child do deeds of youth,

So I, made lame by Fortune’s dearest spite,

Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth. (Sonnet 37)

However, eight years after the Birthday Sonnets, Harry finally fell in love with a woman…

One of Queen Elizabeth’s Ladies-in-Waiting…..

….the beautiful, if unstable, Elizabeth Vernon…..


vernon elizabeth comb

She fell pregnant, so Harry married her in secret.

The Queen was furious. She clapped Elizabeth into jail and Harry fled, for a time to France….

[Note: There is a local tradition in Titchfield that Romeo and Juliet was based on Harry’s courtship of Elizabeth Vernon and The Code believes Shakespeare also dramatized himself in the character of Romeo’s ambivalent friend, Mercutio, who loves Romeo and is disturbed by his love for Juliet….

Harold Perrineau as Mercutio in Buz Luhrman's film version of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Harold Perrineau as Mercutio in Buz Luhrman’s film version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

At one point in the play Shakespeare makes another coded attack on Queen Elizabeth. He has Romeo say:

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
 Who is already sick and pale with grief,
 That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.]

Harry and Elizabeth’s marriage proved a very loving one….

Shakespeare was initially conflicted about the change this marriage would make to his relationship with Southampton….

But in Sonnet 116 Shakespeare comes to the realisation that he has his own spiritual ‘marriage’ with Southampton…  

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments….

And that he will never withdraw his love for Southampton, even if Southampton withdraws his….

…love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove….

In the event, Southampton’s marriage with Elizabeth was initially open enough to include Shakespeare…

Indeed, when Harry joined Essex’s military campaign in Ireland in 1599, he seems to have started a gay affair with someone completely different….

[ Note: On 13th February, 1601 William Reynolds (probably brother of Essex’s secretary, Edward Reynolds) wrote that he ‘marvelled what had become of Piers Edmonds, the Earl of Essex’s man, born in the Strand near me, who had many preferements by the Earl. His villainy I have often complained of. He was Corporal General of the Horse in Ireland under the Earl of Southampton. He ate and drank at his table and lay in his tent. The Earl of Southampton gave him a horse which Edmunds refused a hundred marks for him, the Earl of Southampton would cole and huge [embrace and hug] him in his arms and play wantonly with him’.]

The Irish campaign went disastrously wrong, Essex and Southampton returned to England and finally rebelled against Elizabeth.

She executed Essex in 1601 and imprisoned Southampton, for life, in the Tower.

Shakespeare thought he would never see Southampton again – and wrote a beautiful farewell to him – The Phoenix and the Turtle – in which an exotic Phoenix Bird (Southampton) and a common Turtle Dove (Shakespeare) – are consumed in a mutual flame of love….

However, two years later Queen Elizabeth was dead….

And Shakespeare was re-united with his lover.

People thought that Harry would become the King James’s ‘favourite’….

……as did Harry himself…..

…..but James preferred younger men……

…….like Robert Carr….

robert carr

……and the two years of sickness in the Tower had taken their toll on Harry’s looks……

tower without Trixie

Pushed from the centre of gay power, Harry started to become homophobic…….

But the crunch really came in March 1605.

Elizabeth Southampton gave birth to a baby boy.

She had already given birth to two girls….

But a boy was different.

Now Southampton had an heir for his title….

…and a son, James, he could impress with his manly, soldierly qualities…..

Shakespeare, the player, had to go.


Rejection by Harry was something Shakespeare had long been terrified of.

He refers to its possibility again and again in the sonnets….

[See especially Sonnets 36, 48, 49, 57, 58, 61, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92 and 93.]

And it even enters his plays when Prince Harry, at his coronation, rejects his old drinking friend, John Falstaff….

Now it was happening for in reality…

Bereft of the love of his life…..

…..his real son AND his surrogate one….

Shakespeare suffered a complete breakdown….

…….which culminated in his dark, despairing masterpiece, King Lear….

lear with cordelia

And the truly Satanic Sonnet 126….

O thou my lovely Boy, who in thy power

Dost hold time’s fickle glass, his sickle hour,

Who hast by waning grown and therein showst

They lover’s withering as thy sweet self grow’st

My beautiful boy who holds under his own control the sickle and hour glass – the aging processes – of Father Time himself, who, paradoxically, by growing older and feebler, actually grows younger and stronger and who causes your lover – me – to shrivel with neglect while your baby boy flourishes with your love….

[Note: Shakespeare insults the Earl of Southampton – who was thirty two in 1605 – by calling him ‘my lovely Boy’. He also insults him in a companion ‘Farewell’ Sonnet 87 in which he writes: ‘Farewell, thou art too dear for my possessing’ as though Southampton were a male prostitute too expensive for Shakespeare to hire. He also insults Southampton in the Dedication to the Sonnets themselves: he calls him ‘Mr. W.H” – ‘Mr. Wriothesley, Henry’, reminding him of his days in the Tower when he had lost his title.

Shakespeare also uses the code words ‘wane’ and ‘grow ‘ to mean ‘grow old’ and ‘grow young’ just as he does in Sonnet 11 and ‘sweet self’ to mean Southampton’s baby boy – just as he does in Sonnet 4.]

If Nature (sovereign mistress over wrack)

As thou goest onwards still will pluck thee back,

She keeps thee to this purpose, that her skill

May time disgrace, and wretched minutes kill.

If Dame Nature – who has control over the process of decay – keeps you preternaturally young by pulling you back from the natural process of aging – she does so for one reason alone: to show her power over Father Time and time itself.

Yet fear her, O thou minion of her pleasure:

She may detain, but not still keep her treasure!

But you should be terrified of her – you underling who exist simply for Dame Nature’s twisted enjoyment. She may hold up your demise – but cannot control it – like a woman who is holding a precious jewel that is not hers to keep.

[Note: ‘Minion of her pleasure’ suggests one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourites – like Essex: mere toy boys who will be given up when their time comes…]

Her audit, though delayed, answered must be,

And her quietus is to render thee

(                                                                                    )

(                                                                                     )

Nature can delay paying Time’s bill – but paid, it must be. And the only way to settle it is to give you up to death.

[‘Render’ – as well as meaning ‘to give up’ – can also mean ‘break down’ – as one breaks down meat to extract the fat.The brackets at the end of the poem, which indicate where the final couplet should be, also symbolise the gaping grave, waiting to destroy Southampton’s body.]

Shakespeare has promised immortality to Southampton through his verse……

Now he uses it to wish death upon him….

It is the poison pen letter of all time…..

So how Simon Andrew Stirling can interpret Sonnet 126 as  Shakespeare’s peon to his new-born son, William Davenant, is…..



To read ‘The Dedication to Shakespeare’s Sonnets Decoded’, click: HERE

To read ‘Why did Shakespeare write The Sonnets?’, click: HERE

To read ‘Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Sonnets. (1) Background Jottings, click: HERE

To read ‘Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Sonnets. (2) The Birthday Sonnets, click: HERE

To read ‘Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Sonnets. (3) Was Christopher Marlowe the Rival Poet?, click: HERE.

To read ‘Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Sonnets (4) The Rival Poet Revealed!’, click: HERE.

To read ‘Amazing New Light on Sonnet 86’, click: HERE.

To read ‘Shakespeare’s ‘Bath Sonnets’ Decoded’, click: HERE.




Yes, Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code….

Brooding hunk, Chris Mills….

chris mills 2

……who played the ‘boarish’ Prince Hal…..

M. Hal feeling falstaff's tummy

…… who transforms into ‘the warrior king’ Henry V…..

M King Henry in battle

…..in Stewart Trotter’s BRILLIANT…


making of a king

…a seamlessly woven….

……compilation of  William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V…

….and the anonymous Famous Victories of Henry V…


…has been nominated by the HIGHLY PRESTIGIOUS…..

evening echo


Of course it’s not ENTIRELY by Shakespeare…..

Stewart has added – to quote The Night I Appeared as Macbeth –

A few comic lines of his own…..

the night I appeared

See: ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’.


Chris IMMEDIATELY got on to Code Headquarters to leave a message…

In a voice trembling with emotion, he said…

Thank you, Stewart, again and again. Without you and Kevin I would never have got this….

I LOVE your blog….

By Kevin, Chris obviously meant the dazzling


kevin fraser arms outstretched

Director of the WORLD-RENOWNED…

titchfield festival theatre logo

…who played the rascally, lovable Falstaff….

M Falstaff with bottle


To read the play….

…which lasts UNDER TWO HOURS….


Click: HERE!!!


Shortly The Shakespeare Code will make a….


‘Bye, now…

Paw-Print smallest

…by Trixie the Cat!!!



Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code….

The last two Sonnets in William Shakespeare’s 1609 Sonnet Sequence…..

…….Sonnets 153 and 154…….

…….have long puzzled scholars….

Here they are…..


Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:

A maid of Dian’s this advantage found,

And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep

In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;

[Cupid put down the fire-brand that he used to inflame men’s passions and fell asleep. One of the hand-maidens of the chaste Goddess Diana took advantage of the situation: she seized the flaming brand and plunged it into a cold fountain]

Which borrow’d from this holy fire of love

A dateless lively heat, still to endure,

And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove

Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.

[But the sacred flame heated the water instead. The water, hot to this very day, is a bubbling bath which proves beneficial to men with strange illnesses]

But at my mistress’ eye Love’s brand new-fired,

The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;

I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,

And thither hied, a sad distemper’d guest,    

But found no cure: the bath for my help lies    

Where Cupid got new fire; my mistress’ eyes.

[But my mistress’s eyes sparked Cupid’s brand into life: it caught fire again. Cupid, wanting to experiment on me, touched my breast with it. This caused me to fall love-sick. I needed the ‘help of bath’ and went there, an unlucky and diseased guest. But I found no cure: the only remedy for me lies in the same place where Cupid got new fire for his brand: my mistress’s eyes.]

Sonnet 154 begins with the same story…..


The little love-God lying once asleep

Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,

Whilst many nymphs that vow’d chaste life to keep

Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand

The fairest votary took up that fire

Which many legions of true hearts had warm’d;

And so the general of hot desire

Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm’d.

But the Sonnet has a different conclusion:

This brand she quenched in a cool well by,

Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,

Growing a bath and healthful remedy

For men diseased; but I, my mistress’ thrall,    

Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,    

Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.

[I, the slave of my mistress, came to the well for a cure: but I found that though fire can heat water, water cannot cool down love]

As scholars have been quick to point out, these Sonnets are re-workings of a Greek epigram by a sixth century writer called Marianus Scholasticus…..

(Ben Jonson, it seems, had a copy.)

Readers of the Sonnets have taken the ‘disease’ of love to be venereal disease as well as love-sickness….

….and from this some have assumed that Shakespeare ended up…

….a man diseased….

(One writer has even written a whole play on this theme – The Herb Garden…)

But Your Cat believes there are coded clues in these sonnets which show that they…


Let Your Cat explain……

There are few more beautiful cities in the world than Bath Spa in Somerset….

Its thermal waters……

…….which gush, heated from the ground…..

spa roof steam bath

…..have been famous for their healing qualities since Pagan times…

Then it was thought that the Celtic Goddess Sulis had miraculously heated the waters….


….but when the Romans built their temple and baths….

roman bath steaming

….Sulis became Minerva….



When the Romans left Britain, the Baths fell into disrepair….

Early Christians were hostile to bathing….

St. Augustine only permitted it once a month….

medieval bathing

…and the Benedictines forbade it to all except the young, the sick and guests….

But in the Middle Ages, the use of the Bath waters as ‘holy wells’ was encouraged by the physician John Tours – who was also the Bishop of Bath and Wells….

At the reformation, King Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell closed the baths down….

They didn’t want England to be associated with Papist ‘magic’.

But the wells later became centres for English recusant Catholics….

They would travel to spas to plot against the Protestant Queen Elizabeth.

When these recusants started to travel abroad……

…… to Spa in the Spanish Netherlands……

……they represented a real threat to Queen Elizabeth….

They might ally with the Spanish and invade England.

So the Protestant Establishment re-invented the ‘holy wells’ at Bath…..

bath 1610

For them they represented a ‘scientific’ cure for diseases….

….and the Queen visited Bath herself in 1574 with her Privy Council…..

It seems she didn’t take the waters herself….

…and disapproved of ‘bucketing’…..

….i. e., throwing buckets of water over patients. 

She regarded it as demeaning for noblemen to be drenched by underlings….

But her favourite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester…..

dudley youngish

…..patronised Bath….

Henry Percy, the Wizard Earl of Northumberland….

Wizard Earl    

…..was there twice in 1590……

….. and in 1591 stayed there for a month with a retinue of twenty-five….

…..which included his great friend, Sir Walter Raleigh…..

raleigh hilliard

Raleigh was given Sherborne Castle the following year as a gift from Elizabeth….

……..and this was only a few hours ride from Bath…

Raleigh constantly visited the place, even though he was ambivalent about the efficacy of the waters…..

After his 1593 visit with Northumberland he wrote:

I am the worse for the Bath, not the better

But we know for certain he was there in 1596, 1597, 1601…….

….. and in 1602 he visited the town with Northumberland.

It is Your Cat’s belief that……..


Let’s look at Sonnet 153 again….

Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:

A maid of Dian’s this advantage found,

And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep

In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;

Which borrow’d from this holy fire of love

A dateless lively heat, still to endure,

And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove

Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.

But at my mistress’ eye Love’s brand new-fired,

The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;

I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,

And thither hied, a sad distemper’d guest,    

But found no cure: the bath for my help lies    

Where Cupid got new fire; my mistress’ eyes.

The origins of Bath’s thermal waters had long been a matter of speculation…..

…so these Sonnets offer another, mythical origin….. 

The waters of Bath were thought by the Elizabethans said to cure eighty-nine different diseases….

…..hence the phrase….

….the help of bath..

…which really means….

…..the help of Bath…..

And Sonnet 154….

The little Love-god lying once asleep

Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,

Whilst many nymphs that vow’d chaste life to keep

Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand

The fairest votary took up that fire

Which many legions of true hearts had warm’d;

And so the general of hot desire

Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm’d.

This brand she quenched in a cool well by,

Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,

Growing a bath and healthful remedy

For men diseased; but I, my mistress’ thrall,    

Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,    

Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.

 So does this mean that Shakespeare was in Bath?

We know that his acting company would sometimes tour there as a diversion for people taking the waters…

(Three or even four weeks stay were recommended by Doctors – who often owned the property their patients stayed in.)

But, no.  The speaker in the Sonnets is not Shakespeare…..

…..and the clue who it is is in the concluding line to Sonnet 154….

…Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love….


raleigh with pearls

‘Water’ was often taken to be a coded reference to Sir Walter….

In October, 1582, for example, Sir Thomas Heneage…….

Sir Thomas Heneage funeral effigy

….. emerged from a clump of trees to confront Queen Elizabeth , holding a letter, a jewelled bodkin and a bucket. The letter, he explained, came from Sir Christopher Hatton……

Hatton Christopher 001

…..craving her love. The bodkin symbolised the dagger Hatton would use to kill himself if the Queen did not return his affection: the bucket represented ‘Water/Walter’ .

The Queen was paying more attention to Sir Walter Raleigh than her own…

…faithful sheep…

The Queen, replying that she would…

…cherish Hatton in a meadow bounded by high banks so sure as no water nor floods should ever overthrow them…

….gave Heneage a dove to show….

…there should be no more destruction by water…..

Elizabeth would also often mock Raleigh’s thick, Devonshire accent by saying….

I thirst for Warter….

So why is Sir Walter Raleigh the speaker of these two sonnets?

It is because he is being satirised by Shakespeare……

….. in the character of Don Armado in Love’s Labour’s Lost….

Or rather the character of the Braggart…..

(as he is often referred to in the play…..)

The version of Love’s Labour’s Lost that has come down to us is  an…..

…augmented and corrected……

one that was performed at the Court of Elizabeth at the Christmas of either 1587 or 1588….

love's Labour's Lost frontispiece. 001


The original production, The Shakespeare Code believes, was a private one performed in the grounds of Titchfield at Whitsun in 1592……

The play was a ‘romance-satire’, commissioned by Countess Mary Southampton to persuade her son, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl……

henry wriothesley new miniature

……to fall in love and marry….

The satire was directed at the Earl of Southampton’s enemies……..

….(who were also the enemies of his great friend, Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex…..)

essex young beardeless

…..and chief among them was Sir Walter Raleigh……

…..who, when the play was first produced, was out of favour with Queen Elizabeth…….

(He was wooing Bess Throckmorton……

bess throckmorton

……one of Elizabeth’s Ladies-in-Waiting……

……without the permission of the Queen!

He’d even started to write love poetry to her….)

But in 1587 he had been allowed back into the court after a five years’ banishment….

It is Your Cat’s belief that the Braggart became a Spaniard in the revival of the play to disguise the fact it was originally an attack on Raleigh!

And the Spaniard character was based on the flamboyant homosexual…..

…..called Antonio Perez……

antonio perez

….whom Elizabeth loathed.

But even though the Braggart had become had become Spanish, he still, at times, speaks in broad Devonian!

He greets Holofernes with….


…instead of….


And, like Raleigh, is hard-up….

(Raleigh’s family was noble but impoverished)

Like Raleigh, Armado is also….

damnable proud.

Raleigh, like Armado the Spaniard, wore black clothes…..

Armado, in the course of the play, falls in love with the country wench, Jaquenetta…….

……just as Raleigh fell in love with Bess Throckmorton…..

…..but Jacquenetta rejects him…..

….and Armado resolves to win her love by writing her sonnets….

Assist me some extemporal God of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet….

The original plan, Your Cat believes, was for Jacquenetta to continue to reject Armado….

…..who then resolves to go to Bath to avail himself of the waters miraculous properties…….

…..to cure himself of love…

But finds, like Raleigh himself, the waters to be inefficacious…..

Your Cat believes that Sonnets 153 and 154 are sketches for the Sonnet Armado never delivers….


Jacquenetta – far from rejecting Armado – becomes impregnated by him……

….and overnight becomes…..

…two months gone…..

But why did Shakespeare change the plot in this highly unlikely way?

Because news came during rehearsal…..


Queen Elizabeth was so furious that she clapped Raleigh into the Tower of London…..

…..where he spent the whole of August, 1592.

The pregnancy was too much of a gift for Shakespeare to pass up…….

…..even if it did make nonsense of the plot…..

…..so these sketches for the Braggart’s sonnets were no longer needed…..

But perfectly good enough to include in Shakespeare’s 1609 collection….

…….where they herald the way to A Lover’s Complaint……..

another satirical attack, but this time against Southampton, whom Shakespeare had fallen out with in a big way……

See: ‘Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Birthday Sonnet’.

There is also, of course, another delicious irony if we take the two sonnets to be ‘performance art’.

The Braggart believes himself to be love-sick…..

…..and hoped Bath would cure him of his disease…..

But the audience, hearing …..

strange maladies


sad, distempered guest


healthful remedy for men diseased

….would automatically think he was talking of……

The Malady of France……

‘Bye, now….

Paw-Print smallest

(Trixie the Cat would like to acknowledge her indebtedness to Phyllis Hembry whose ‘The English Spa 1560-1815 A Social History’ she has drawn on for this Post.)











(It’s best to read Parts ONE and TWO first)



Picture the first production of Macbeth at Holyrood house…….

…..with King James in attendance, sitting in state….

Enter the witches round a bubbling cauldron………


…….constructing a destructive spell……..

…….just like the Satanical conspirators of North Berwick….

north berwick witches (3)

But unlike King James, the witches have unleashed something in Macbeth that was lurking there anyway…..

FIRST WITCH (Amanda Walker)

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

SECOND WITCH (Kate Godfrey)

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

THIRD WITCH (Karen Little)

Harpier cries ‘Tis time, ’tis time’.


Round about the cauldron go;

In the poison’d entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Swelter’d venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble


Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble…………..


Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,

For the ingredients of our cauldron.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.


Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and goo

By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

Open, locks, Whoever knocks…


Macbeth arrives to consult the witches…………

……….exactly the way Queen Elizabeth used to ride to Mortlake to consult her own wizard, John Dee…


MACBETH (Mike Burnside)

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! What is’t you do?


A deed without a name.


I conjure you, by that which you profess,

Howe’er you come to know it, answer me:

Though you untie the winds and let them fight

Against the churches; though the yesty waves

Confound and swallow navigation up;

Answer me to what I ask you.






We’ll answer.


Say, if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths,

Or from our masters?


Call ’em; let me see ’em.


And so the witches summon up their familiar spirits, just as Agnes Sampson did….


Pour in sow’s blood, that hath eaten

Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten

From the murderer’s gibbet throw

Into the flame.


Come, high or low;

Thyself and office deftly show….


A floating head appears – just as had been reported to James before his mother’s execution….

armed head


Tell me, thou unknown power,–


He knows thy thought:

Hear his speech, but say thou nought.


The floating head utters a prophecy which the play reveals to be completely true:


Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;

Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough


Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;

Thou hast harp’d my fear aright: but one word more,–


The witches then show their power over Macbet……

…….just as Agnes showed her power over King James….


He will not be commanded: here’s another,

More potent than the first.


The second apparition appears – a bloody Child.

bloody child macbeth


Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!


Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.


Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.


The bloody child represents Macduff torn from his mother’s womb!

Another witches’ prophesy which the play proves correct…


Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?

But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,

And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;

That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, And sleep in spite of thunder.


The Third Apparition appears: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand….

child with tree macbeth

Macbeth will soon discover who this is….


What is this That rises like the issue of a king,

And wears upon his baby-brow the round

And top of sovereignty?


Listen, but speak not to’t.


Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care

Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:

Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until

Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill

Shall come against him.

Again a prophecy that James sees enacted before his eyes….


That will never be! Who can impress the forest, bid the tree

Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!

Rebellion’s head, rise never till the wood

Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth

Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath

To time and mortal custom.

Yet my heart Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art

Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever

Reign in this kingdom?


Seek to know  no more!


I will be satisfied: deny me this,

And an eternal curse fall on you!

(Witches laugh)

Let me know.

Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?








Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;

Come like shadows, so depart!


A procession of Kings begins…

witches coven Macbeth

Now Macbeth discovers who the child with the crown was –

…………the start of the Stuart line!


Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!

Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair,

Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.

A third is like the former. Filthy hags!

Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!

What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?

Another yet! A seventh! I’ll see no more:

And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass

Which shows me many more…..


The eighth King holds a great mirror so it reflects King James, sitting in state in the audience…..


Some I see

That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry……


The orbs of Scotland AND England –

…….and the single coronation sceptre of Scotland……….

single sceptre scotland

…… and the double coronation sceptres of England…

double sceptres


Horrible sight! Now, I see, ’tis true;

For the blood-bolter’d Banquo smiles upon me,

And points at them for his.


The apparitions vanish.


What, is this so?


Ay, sir, all this is so: but why

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,

And show the best of our delights:

I’ll charm the air to give a sound,

While you perform your antic round:

That this great king may kindly say,

Our duties did his welcome pay.


The witches dance – on exactly the same spot in Holyrood house where the Berwick witches danced – and then vanish.

In every prophesy they are proved to be right…

…..as Agnes Sampson was….

Invade England!……

The witches are saying……

You will establish a line of Kings that will exist unto the end of time!

But, of course, James DIDN’T invade England. He was far too canny for that.

He knew in a few years Elizabeth would die and the crown would become his without a struggle….

So Shakespeare needn’t have bothered writing this play at all…

But I’m awfully glad he did!



For an encore, the ENTIRE COMPANY recited The Night I appeared as Macbeth

 ……..by William Hargreaves…..

………with additions by Fenton Gray.…..


For most of my life I confess it

I’ve had no desire for the stage

But one fatal night I was asked to recite

Gadzooks I was quickly the rage!


I thought that Macbeth was the one role

That would certainly make my career,

And my friends said ‘Of course you must do it,

As long as you don’t do it here!’


So I went, hired a hall,

Then gave a performance that shattered them all…


I acted so tragic the house rose like magic

The audience yelled….


You’re sublime!


They made me a present of Mornington Crescent

They threw it a brick at a time


The crowd filled the air with their clatter and chatter

And threw an assortment of vegetable matter.

They queered me, they cheered me,

And they cheered at the scene of my death

I got no ‘Hosannahs’ – just eggs and bananas


The night I appeared as Macbeth!


The play tho’ ascribed to Bill Shakespeare,

To me lacked both polish and tone

So I threw in some bits of some popular hits

And a few comic lines of my own


Unfortunately the director

Decided the play was too long

So he forced me to cut out my clog dance

And half of my second act song!


And the flowers! What a feast!

They threw them in bag-fulls – self-raising and yeast….


I acted so tragic the house rose like magic

An evening of mayhem and thrills,

My tender emotion caused such a commotion

The Dress Circle wrote out their wills.


They hooted like hounds and they whistled like crickets

Especially those who had paid for their tickets,

The witches, were in stitches

And five of the band met their death

I cried ‘Lay on Macduff’

They cried:



Lay orf! Enuff!


The night I appeared as Macbeth!


the night I appeared


 Brothers and Sister of The Code who enjoyed this might like previous Grosvenor Chapel talks….

(1.) Shakespeare, Love Politics and Religion

A Series of Three Talks which cover the Life and Career of William Shakespeare.

(2.) How Shakespeare’s Dark Lady found God

A Talk which deals with Aemelia Lanyer – Shakespeare’s capricious, dark-skinned mistress who, The Code argues, was the secret author of the satire against men, Willobie his Avisa.

(3.)  Fairie Lore and Roman Catholicism in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

A Talk which shows how Fairie Lore was a coded reference to Roman Catholicisim in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

And here is Fenton Gray…..

fenton gray

……. performing his adaptation of ‘The Night I appeared as Macbeth.’


A miniature by Ian Oliver….

……. of Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton……

……has been sold at auction for £181,250….

henry wriothesley new miniatureIt has fallen into private hands…..

To read the Third and Final part of……

‘Something Wicked This Way Comes…..

…..New Light on the Witches in Macbeth’…..

Please click: HERE!

But it’s best to read Part One and Part Two first.