THE CASE FOR THOMAS SACKVILLE AS SHAKESPEARE
THE SWALLOW AND THE CROW
A journal article introducing the case for Sackville as Shakespeare.
Written by Sabrina Feldman, published in The Oxfordian (2010).
Uniquely in the annals of English literature, William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was credited during his lifetime, and for many years afterwards, with writing two large and distinct sets of literary works. The first, conveniently described as the “Shakespeare Canon,” contains the Bard’s famed works—some three dozen plays, 154 sonnets, and several longer poems . The second set, the “Shakespeare Apocrypha,” contains a dozen or so uncelebrated plays printed under William Shakespeare’s name or attributed to him in some fashion, but excluded from the 1623 First Folio. Bridging the Canon and the Apocrypha are the “Bad Quartos,” poetically inferior versions of six or so canonical works. Scholars don’t actually know how the Apocrypha and the Bad Quartos came into being. There is no way to disprove that William Shakespeare wrote them (in full or in part) without resorting to stylistic arguments and invoking the authority of the Folio.
Some of the apocryphal plays and Bad Quartos speak with more than one authorial voice, but stylistic threads linking these works suggest they shared a common author or co-author who left the following sorts of fingerprints in his writings: wholesale pilferings (especially from the works of Christopher Marlowe and Robert Greene during the late 1580s and early 1590s), bombast, a breezy style, clumsy blank verse, a salty sense of humor, food jokes, crude physical slapstick, inventive slang, very funny clown scenes, a penchant for placing characters in disguise, jingoism, bungled Latin tags and inept classical allusions, unsophisticated but sweet romances, shrewish and outspoken women, camaraderie among men, an emphasis on who is or isn’t a gentleman, and a complete lack of interest in political nuance and philosophical digressions. The overall sense is of a brash and confident writer with little more than a grammar-school education, seeking to create works of maximum popular appeal by whatever means necessary, with little regard for posterity .
The anomalous existence of two sets of works exhibiting distinct poetic voices printed under one man’s name suggests a fascinating possibility. Could William Shakespeare have authored the Apocrypha, portions of the Bad Quartos, and pieces of the Canon (especially the late co-authored works), while serving as a front man for a hidden poet?
A MAJOR HIDDEN POET
England did hold a revered hidden poet capable of writing at the Bard’s level around the time the Canon was composed. This man was first lauded by the writer Thomas Edwards in the 1593 volume Cephalus and Procris, and Narcissus (Barrell). In one poem, “Envoy to Narcissus,” Edwards praises a number of contemporary poems and poets. After commending Shakespeare’s elegant narrative poem Venus and Adonis, first published earlier in 1593, Edwards begins lauding a mysterious poet in “purple robes”, a man who wielded immense power throughout the land:
Eke [likewise] in purple roabes destain’d [dyed],
Amid’st the Center of this clime,
I have heard saie doth remaine
One whose power floweth far,
That should have bene of our rime
The only object and the star.
By declaring that this mysterious poet “should have bene…the only object and the star” of his poem, Edwards subtly implies (without forcing the point) that the purple-robed poet—whose “bewitching pen” and “golden art” Edwards compliments in a second stanza—wrote Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. Assuming the hidden poet wore real as opposed to metaphorically purple robes, he must have been a duke, marquis, earl, or Knight of the Garter, since only these men were permitted to wear purple, the color of royalty .
Another poem of the 1590s which plausibly pays tribute to a major hidden poet is Sir John Davies’s Orchestra, or A Poem of Dancing (1596). Davies concludes Orchestra by singing the praises of one living English poet far above the rest: the Swallow,
…whose swift Muse doth range
Through rare Ideas, and inventions strange,
And ever doth enjoy her joyful spring,
And sweeter then the Nightingale doth sing.
O that I might that singing Swallow hear
To whom I owe my service and my love,
His sugared tunes would so enchant mine ear,
And in my mind such sacred fury move,
As I should knock at heav'ns great gate above… (907-15)
Who can the “singing Swallow” have been? Davies had already praised the highly regarded poets Edmund Spenser and Samuel Daniel, and he wasn’t the sort of man who would have felt that he owed his “service” to a stage actor. By a process of elimination, the Swallow seems to have been a major aristocratic poet who avoided publishing under his own name.
A third contemporary allusion to a major hidden poet can be found in John Marston’s Scourge of Villainy, a collection of satirical poems published in 1598. In Satire IX, Marston longs for the poet he loves best of all to achieve the fame he so richly deserves: “Far fly thy fame / Most, most of me beloved!” (48-9). This poet was still unknown to the general public, but Marston hints that his “silent” (unspoken) name was bounded by “one letter” (49-50). “Thy true judicial style / I ever honor,” gushes Marston, “and, if my love beguile / Not much my hopes, then thy unvalued worth / shall mount fair place, when apes are turned forth” (50-53). “Apes” was a common term of abuse for actors, also used to describe literary imitators.
Considered as a group, the testimony of Thomas Edwards, John Davies, and John Marston strongly implies the existence of a hidden poet at court in the 1590s whose identity was a closely guarded secret among members of the London intelligentsia.
The hidden poet is most likely to have been Thomas Sackville, “one of the great might-have-beens of literature” (Pyle, 315). Like Edwards’s most admired poet, Sackville was entitled to wear “purple robes” as a Knight of the Garter. And like Marston’s best-loved poet, Sackville’s name began and ended with the same letter—his titled name was Thomas Lord Buckhurst at this time.
Surprisingly, Sackville has received no serious or sustained consideration as a Shakespeare candidate , though nothing in his personal biography or lifespan rules him out. What's more, he is an excellent literary fit.
In English literature departments, Thomas Sackville—the scion of an ancient family that came to England with William the Conqueror—is now remembered for composing a handful of innovative works by his mid-twenties that paved the way to the great poetry and drama of the late Elizabethan age. He is often described as the most important English poet between Chaucer and Spenser, despite the small body of work attributed to him. The eminent critic E. K. Chambers described Sackville in 1906 as “a great poetic genius, indeed,” whose first major poem was “a meteoric portent of a poem, not connected with any other in the generation” (237).
In addition to being a poet of very high ability, Sackville was one of the preeminent statesmen of his age. His second cousin Queen Elizabeth I made him the first Baron of Buckhurst in 1567, a privy councilor in 1586, a Knight of the Garter in 1589, the Chancellor of Oxford University in 1591, and the Lord Treasurer of England in 1599. Sackville also sat under a canopy of state as Lord High Steward of England during the shocking 1601 trial of the Earls of Essex and Southampton for treason against the crown. After Elizabeth died in 1603, her successor King James I made him the first Earl of Dorset.
Sackville died on April 19, 1608 while conducting business at the king’s privy-council table. He was outlived by his wife of fifty-three years, Cecily Baker Sackville, with whom he had seven children. By all indications, theirs was an unusually loving marriage (Swart 15).
A RENAISSANCE MAN
Sackville has been hailed as a Renaissance man of unusual integrity, generosity, and patriotism, but “there are intriguing anomalies and paradoxes” in his career—perhaps because his archive of personal papers burned in the 1666 Great Fire of London (Zim, “Poet” 200-1). His personality remains elusive, in part because of his “tactical preference for acting behind the scenes. Some of his most revealing letters show him using his rhetorical gifts to persuade others or to manipulate readers’ responses, rather than to promote himself” (Zim, “Poet” 201).
As a young man Sackville studied at Oxford University for a time, but left without taking a degree. He then joined the Inner Temple, one of London’s Inns of Court, where he studied the law (when he was not devoting himself to poetry) for about seven years. Sackville’s legal training could explain Shakespeare’s impressive knowledge of the law (Alexander, Phillips). The Inner Temple was in those days a richly theatrical milieu. Students were encouraged to gain mastery in public speaking by writing dramatic works and performing in their own plays at revels seasons, sometimes giving repeat performances before the queen.
Elizabeth reminisced near the end of her life that young Sackville’s conversation had impressed her as “judicious, but yet witty and delightful” (Brydges, 124). “By her particular choice and liking,” she invited her cousin “to a continual private attendance upon her own person” (Brydges 137). During his years as a courtier, Sackville plausibly wrote many plays for private performances before the queen, who adored theatre-going. Sackville’s appreciation for the drama continued even after he became a prominent statesman. One of his first acts after becoming Chancellor of Oxford University was to refurbish the students’ theatre (Gager, 11). As well as being interested in poetry and the drama, Sackville was a great music lover. He kept musicians about him all his life, “the most curious which anywhere he could have” in Queen Elizabeth’s estimation (Brydges, 124).
The few substantial poetic works published under Sackville’s name, all composed by his mid-twenties, lead in startlingly different literary directions. There is a sense that he used these works as études—difficult technical exercises—to hone his skills as a poet and rhetorician. He clearly had a great capacity for reinvigorating older poetic forms, as well as an immense curiosity that drove him to explore new ones. Sackville’s narrative poem Induction, contributed to the 1563 edition of The Mirror for Magistrates (a popular anthology of stories from English history), contains the first mythic descent to the underworld in the English language. This moody poem paved the way to Edmund Spenser’s richly allegorical The Faerie Queene, as well as to Shakespeare’s narrative poems The Rape of Lucrece and A Lover’s Complaint.
Sackville’s narrative poem The Complaint of Henry Duke of Buckingham, a companion piece to the Induction, established many of the key elements of the late Elizabethan drama: the vile but sympathetic villain, messages from a ghost, corrupt scheming to gain the throne, the fickleness of fortune, introspective soliloquies, revenge themes, and learned philosophical and historical digressions (Narey, 3).
Another work of Sackville’s, the ground-breaking play Gorboduc—co- authored in 1561 with Thomas Norton—was the first blank-verse drama and the first classically-inspired five-act tragedy in the English language. This play (though didactic and wooden compared to the late Elizabethan drama) was so influential that it marked “a new epoch; there is no clearer division in the whole of English literature,” in the words of T. S. Eliot (82). When a literary pirate printed Gorboduc in 1565, Sackville and Norton were terribly embarrassed , since they were subject to an aristocratic stigma of print that restricted them to publishing smaller works such as commendatory poems, contributions to anthologies, religious tracts, translations, and the like (Price, “The Stigma of Print”).
Sackville traveled on the European continent between 1563 and 1565, spending most of his time in Italy. His colorful trip abroad included two weeks in a Roman jail (precipitated by his inability to repay a creditor), two private meetings with the pope, and rogue diplomacy on behalf of the Vatican church. Sackville’s travels in Italy, as well as his youthful Catholicism, could explain why Shakespeare’s plays contain a wealth of information on Italian geography and culture, and reveal the author to have had Catholic leanings .
SACVYLE’S OLDE AGE
Scholars’ longstanding assumption that Sackville abandoned poetry in his youth was proved incorrect in the 1980s, when the lost poem Sacvyle’s Olde Age was found by chance in the midst of a book of manor house accounting records (1-2, 13-15). This poem establishes that Sackville devoted himself to poetry until he neared at least the age of forty. Literary scholars have tended to portray Sackville as a serious and solemn man, viewing him through the lens of his political accomplishments, but in Sacvyle’s Olde Age, composed around 1574, the poet describes his youth as one devoted to “pleasures” (229), “pastime and play” (229), “delights” (230), and “disport and mirth” (198). Far from being an ascetic, he enjoyed composing lusty ditties (102) and feasting his eyes on the heavenly beauties of the Elizabethan court (93-4, 225-6).
Sackville declares in the concluding lines of Sacvyle’s Olde Age that he intends to set aside secular poetry in favor of devotional poetry (218-36)—a far more respectable pursuit for an aging baron in the eyes of his peers. However, Sackville’s resolution didn’t last. He had returned to frivolous poetry by the early 1580s, when he translated John Lyly’s comic novel Euphues and some of Samuel Daniel’s romantic poems into Italian. Although Sackville’s Italian translations were lost, their existence is known because the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno praised them while visiting the English court between 1583 and 1585 (Berti, 189). Intriguingly, Lyly and Daniel’s writings were seminal influences on Shakespeare’s poetry, and some of Bruno’s philosophical ideas surface in Shakespeare’s writings.
Sackville was highly admired as a poet by his literary contemporaries. In 1576, the poet George Turberville wrote that the Muse of Tragedy had come to him in a dream vision to declare that Sackville was the best poet in England, cherished by all the muses:
I none dislike, I fancie some,
But yet of all the rest,
Sance envie, let my verdite passe,
Lord Buckhurst is the best.
Wee all that ladie muses are,
Who be in number nine,
With one accord did blesse this babe,
Each said – This ympe is mine. (21-8)
However, by the late 1580s Sackville was viewed as an aging lion of poetry whose best writing years were behind him. In The Art of English Poesie (1589), George Puttenham commended Sackville for the tragedies of his youth (92-3), and in The Faerie Queene (1590), Edmund Spenser mentioned in a dedicatory sonnet that Sackville no longer had much leisure time to devote to poetry. Because Spenser holds a high place in the pantheon of English poets, his assessment of Sackville’s poetic ability is significant. In the same dedicatory sonnet, Spenser paid gracious tribute to Sackville’s “golden verse,” “loftie numbers,” and “heroick style.” He even asked Sackville to use his “daintie pen” to file the “grosse defaults” of The Faerie Queene, the product of a “baser wit” (Smith, ii). It is worth noting that Spenser, who lived until 1599, never paid open tribute to William Shakespeare, even though he was prone to generously complimenting his poetic contemporaries in print.
A HIDDEN POET
Sackville was certainly known as a hidden poet by the early 1600s. In 1602, Thomas Campion praised Sackville’s “public and private” poems which “so divinely crowned” his fame (227). Even more tellingly, within months after Sackville’s death the writer Joshua Sylvester dedicated part of his 1608 translation of Guillaume Du Bartas’s The Divine Weeks to Sackville’s memory (94). The dedication was accompanied by a Latin anagram and an English poem. The anagram contains three phrases that collectively identify Sackville as a concealed poet: “Vas lucis” (vessel of light), “Esto décor Musis” (beautify the muses), and “Sacris Musis Celo Devotus” (secretly devoted to the sacred muses / I conceal out of love for the sacred muses).
In the English poem accompanying the anagram, Sylvester declares that Sackville had “lov’d so long the sacred sisters…(sad sweetly most) thyself hast sung (under a feigned ghost) the tragic falls of our ambitious throng.” Sylvester’s words hint at the possibility that Sackville had lately been writing under a “feigned ghost,” a pretended name, while glancing back at Sackville’s 1563 Complaint, ostensibly narrated by the Duke of Buckingham’s ghost.
It might be argued that Sackville can’t have written Shakespeare’s works because he died in 1608, whereas the author continued writing until 1613 or so. However, there is no solid evidence that the Bard wrote any works after Sackville’s death. The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII, dated to 1613, are plausibly co-authored adaptations by John Fletcher and perhaps William Shakespeare of earlier plays that had fallen out of fashion. (Plays “were in a continual state of transformation,” because “it was more economical to disguise an old play in a new garb” [Feuillerat, 7].) The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline, often assigned to 1610 or 1611, cannot be dated with any confidence. Among Shakespeare’s works, only The Tempest might seem to require a post-1608 composition. It has long been an axiom of literary criticism that The Tempest was partly inspired by the adventurer William Strachey’s unpublished 1610 letter describing a 1609 shipwreck off Bermuda. However, recent scholarship has shown that Strachey’s letter is not a necessary source (Strittmatter and Kositsky; Green). Sackville’s death in 1608 might even explain why the publisher of Shakespeare’s Sonnets alluded to the “ever-living author” in 1609. The term “ever-living” implies—although it does not insist upon—an author who has achieved immortality by dying.
CONNECTIONS WITH SHAKESPEARE
Thomas Sackville’s early writings exerted an important influence on Shakespeare’s craft. The poet John Berryman was so struck by the similarities that after quoting a line from Gorboduc echoed in The Comedy of Errors, he wrote, “Here is no question of random imitation of effect or of isolated memory. The second line is as characteristic of Shakespeare in (probably) 1589 as the first line is of Thomas Sackville nearly thirty years before” (303-4). The scholar Eric Sams formed a similar impression, describing Gorboduc as “the manifest source of Shakespeare’s lifelong style and idiom” (20).
There are many specific as well as general connections. For instance, when Sackville was in his early twenties he formulated a grand plan to relate the histories of England’s past kings back to the time of William the Conqueror (Berlin 28, 30)—a plan carried out in Shakespeare’s history plays. Shakespeare’s sustained and sweeping interest in English history is unique among the Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights.
The following plays have particularly strong links to Sackville’s life and writings:
Richard III. Sackville told the story of Richard III’s unscrupulous rise to power in his 1563 The Complaint of Henry Duke of Buckingham. Shakespeare ransacked Complaint for his favorite images and phrases, and recycled a powerful curse scene in Richard III (Berlin 75).
1, 2 and 3 Henry VI. Shakespeare’s trilogy shares the didactic purpose of Gorboduc—to show a divided nation the horrors of civil war and an uncertain royal succession. Like Gorboduc, the Henry VI plays use a chaotic succession battle from England’s past to mirror the dangers that the nation might face if Queen Elizabeth died without a clear successor. Among the terrible consequences of civil war detailed in Gorboduc is the possibility that “the father shall unwitting slay the son, the son shall slay the sire and know it not.” These are the same events that Shakespeare uses to mark the climax of the Wars of the Roses in Henry VI Part 3. Scholars recognize Gorboduc as Shakespeare’s “most important” model for Henry VI Part 3 (Martin 21-2).
Titus Andronicus. There are so many verbal and thematic parallels between Titus Andronicus and Gorboduc that the scholar James Carroll published a 2004 scholarly article, “Titus Andronicus and Gorbobuc,” on the relationship between the plays.
Julius Caesar. A lost play titled Julius Caesar was performed at court on February 1, 1562 (Machyn 276, 389). Thomas Sackville plausibly wrote the early Julius Caesar because (1) he was then active as a playwright, (2) he brooded on Brutus’s and Cassius’s fates in his 1563 Complaint, and (3) in the early 1560s he arranged for the theatrical performance of a scene from an ancient Roman play exploring how politicians win the public to their side (Hearsey 290) . The plot of Julius Caesar hinges on whether Caesar’s friends or the conspirators will win the public to their side after Caesar’s murder.
Romeo and Juliet. The primary source for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is usually said to be Arthur Brooke’s 1562 narrative poem A Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, but matters are not so simple. Brooke was the first borrower. He based his poem on a stage play he had recently seen and admired, as he explained in a preface: “I saw the same argument lately set forth on stage with more commendation than I can look for, being there much better set forth than I have or can do” (Brooke, lxvi). This lost play Romeus and Juliet is therefore the true source for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Reasons for suspecting that Thomas Sackville wrote the 1562 play Romeus and Juliet include: (1) he and Arthur Brooke were friends—Sackville and Norton pledged Brooke into the Middle Temple on December 18, 1561 (Green, 66); (2) Brooke was allowed to join the Inner Temple on February 4, 1562 without payment because he had helped with the Christmas revels plays, presumably including Gorboduc (Inderwick, 220); (3) the stage where Brooke saw the play version of Romeus and Juliet probably belonged to the Inner Temple, since the public theatres did not come into their own for some years after 1562; (4) the story Romeus and Juliet is derived from an Italian story by Matteo Bandello, whose works Sackville knew and enjoyed ; (5) Sackville had a penchant for writing woeful love stories—in Sacvyle’s Olde Age, composed around 1574, he mentions the many years he spent writing about “Mighty Love” (221) and the “sweet complaints of woeful lovers wronged” (224); and (6) Arthur Brooke described the author of the 1561-2 play Romeus and Juliet as an excellent playwright. In addition to being Brooke’s friend, Sackville was the most accomplished English poet and playwright of the early 1560s.
Troilus and Cressida. A primary source for Troilus and Cressida is Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem Troilus and Criseyde. Sackville associated Chaucer with his character Troilus, and consciously followed in Chaucer’s footsteps as a poet—he described Chaucer in Sacvyle’s Olde Age as “Thou troylus my rymes giude and steer / my pennes lodestarre” (205-6). In the same poem, he named Troilus and Criseyde as a story he had particularly enjoyed in youth (86). And in another unpublished work, Sackville pondered the story of “faithful Troilus” and his false lover “Chresed” (Hearsey 288). Because Sackville used Chaucer as his pen’s lodestar and was fascinated by Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, he plausibly wrote his own version of the story. It is significant that Shakespeare knew Chaucer “so well that he recalled his work (often unconsciously, one would imagine) in virtually every play” (Thompson 59). “The only other dramatist who displays anything like this familiarity with Chaucer is Chapman,” and only then in “a single scene” (Thompson 218).
Hamlet. It has been known for a century and a half that the grave-diggers scene in Hamlet “must be a skit” of Hales v. Petit, a 1561 legal case held in London (Phillips 76). This is particularly surprising because the case report was written in Norman French, a technical language that only a trained lawyer could read. “That this very report is plainly travestied in the ‘Hamlet,’ can admit of no possible doubt” (Holmes 15). As a law student at the Inner Temple in London in 1561, Sackville had the opportunity to become familiar with the fine details of lawyers’ arguments made in Hales v. Petit. He is the only authorship candidate plausibly knowledgeable about and interested in the case, heard four decades before the surviving version of Hamlet was written.
Many scholars have speculated that Shakespeare read John Florio’s English translation of Montaigne’s Essays shortly before he wrote Hamlet around 1600. Professor James Shapiro recently declared that the author “had surely looked into Montaigne by the time he wrote Hamlet—the intuition of critics stretching back to the 1830s should be trusted” (297). Since Florio’s translation was not published until 1603, Shakespeare can only have consulted Florio’s work in manuscript. Thomas Sackville had a particular reason to be familiar with Florio’s work around 1600, because Florio lived under Sackville’s roof while translating many of Montaigne’s essays. Florio even dedicated part of his translation to Sackville’s daughter Mary Sackville Neville, mentioning that “no small parte” of the translation had been “done under your Fathers roofe, under your regiment” (Florio 4).
A Midsummer Night’s Dream. According to wide scholarly consensus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream contains detailed allusions to the 1575 festivities at Kenilworth Castle, hosted by the Earl of Leicester in Queen Elizabeth’s honor. “The playwright’s imagination drew on the scene at Kenilworth in crafting a gorgeous compliment to Queen Elizabeth,” asserted Steven Greenblatt in Will in the World (47). Uniquely among the Shakespeare authorship candidates, Thomas Sackville is named as an attendee of the Kenilworth Festivities (Archer, Goldring, and Knight, 171). According to The Riverside Shakespeare, Shakespeare probably wove plot elements from two of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, “The Knight’s Tale” and “The Miller’s Tale,” into A Midsummer Night’s Dream (82). In Sacvyle’s Olde Age, Sackville named “the knyghtes storie” (87) and “the myllers tale” (88) as stories he particularly enjoyed reading in youth.
The Two Noble Kinsmen. This play closely follows Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale,” one of the Sackville’s favorite stories as a youth (as noted above).
Love’s Labour’s Lost. When Thomas Sackville traveled to the court of King Charles IX of France in 1571 to conduct marriage negotiations on Queen Elizabeth’s behalf, he is likely to have met a “Biron” (the Baron de Biron, a celebrated French soldier and one of Charles IX’s privy councilors), a “Dumain” (the Marquis de Mayenne, a nobleman of Charles IX’s court), and a “Longaville” (the Duc de Longueville, whom Charles IX declared in 1571 to be descended from the royal bloodline despite his ancestral bastardy). Thus the fictional noblemen Biron, Dumain, and Longaville at the Court of Navarre in Love’s Labour’s Lost are named after the titles of real French noblemen whom Sackville plausibly met. Even among the English aristocracy, few nobles were well-versed in the French peerage.
King Lear. This play is in part a mature reworking of themes from Gorboduc that fascinated the author. Both King Lear and Gorboduc (and Cymbeline for that matter) are based on stories from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. As Gorboduc and King Lear commence, Gorboduc and Lear are foolish but well-meaning monarchs of legendary ancient Britain who wish only to enjoy a peaceful retirement, free from the cares of kings. Gorboduc divides his kingdom equally between his two sons Ferrex and Porrex, while Lear divides his kingdom amongst his three daughters according to the strength of their loves for him. The new rulers soon begin committing evil deeds and the realms fall into chaos. Although the plots of Gorboduc and Lear diverge, both plays continue to explore the familial and political implications of the division of a kingdom. Before their deaths Gorboduc and Lear endure extreme suffering and unleash war upon their nations (Carneiro de Mondonça). In both cases, the plays’ authors modified shapeless stories from Monmouth’s History to show that the rash division of a kingdom must end tragically. They also blended these stories with mythical elements to give their plays greater significance and resonance. The “self-conscious fusion of history and myth” found in Gorboduc (Hardison 227) has long been recognized as a Shakespearean hallmark.
Macbeth. It has long been conjectured that Shakespeare drew particular inspiration for Macbeth from a playlet performed before King James at Oxford University in August of 1605, in which three weird sisters hailed James as the descendant of the Scotsman Banquo. “The little ceremony of greeting—whether Shakespeare stood in the crowd watching it or heard about it from one of the bystanders—seems to have stuck in the playwright’s imagination” (Greenblatt, 334). Thomas Sackville hosted James’s 1605 visit to Oxford as the University Chancellor, receiving great plaudits for his generous hospitality. After the King’s departure, Sackville sent “twenty pounds and five brace of bucks to the disputants and the actors in the plays before the king” (Cooper and Cooper 487; Nichols 559).
The Tempest. This play plausibly glances back at memorable events in Sackville’s life. The plot is thought to have been partly inspired by elements from the Italian commedia dell’arte, a theatrical form which Sackville enjoyed at the Duke de Nevers’ home in France in 1571 (Henke 27), and would also have seen while traveling in Italy in the 1560s and at the English court in the 1570s. The shipwreck scene in The Tempest may derive much of its realism from Sackville’s own experience of being nearly shipwrecked in the middle of the night on a sandbar off Flanders in 1587 . The Tempest can also be related to Ben Jonson’s court masques of the early Jacobean period. By the fall of 1607, Sackville would have known about rehearsals for Jonson’s Masque of Beauty—a lavish dramatic spectacle juxtaposing black and white magic in which Sackville’s daughter Mary Neville played a nymph who washed ashore on a magical island full of poetry and song. Masque of Beauty was performed at Whitehall Palace in January of 1608, three months before Sackville’s death. Since Sackville began preparing for death in the summer of 1607, penning a remarkable 165-page will (Swart 15) and otherwise settling his affairs, he might have decided to bid farewell to poetry with the story of an old magician and his daughter living on an enchanted island during the last months of his life. It is even possible that he wrote a version of The Tempest which influenced Jonson’s Masque of Beauty, rather than the other way around.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Sackville had begun experimenting with the English sonnet form by 1560, when Jasper Heywood praised his friend’s “sweetely sauste” sonnets in the preface to an English translation of the Roman playwright Seneca’s Thyestes (Googe, 5). The speaker of the sonnets describes himself as lame in one sonnet— “speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt” (89.3)—and claims in another to have been “made lame by fortune’s dearest spite” (37.3). In reality, Sackville was lamed (at least for a time) by a horse kick to the leg in 1587, during the very period when he was metaphorically lamed by fortune. Queen Elizabeth placed him under house arrest for nine months in 1587-8 for challenging the Earl of Leicester’s heavy-handed policies in the United Netherlands while on a diplomatic mission to the region .
Many other parallels can be drawn between Sackville’s life and Shakespeare’s Sonnets. For example, the speaker describes his physical appearance as that of an old man (Sonnets 62, 63, and 146), and intimates in a melancholy series of sonnets that he may soon be dead (Sonnets 71 – 74):
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. (73.1-4)
Sackville was in his late fifties when most of the sonnets were written, old by the standards of the time. In contrast, William of Stratford was only around thirty.
Readers of Shakespeare’s Sonnets know that in Sonnets 135 and 136, the author puns ostentatiously with various meanings of the word “will,” and goes so far as to declare “My name is Will” in Sonnet 136. It is less often remarked that in the same sonnet, Shakespeare expresses a desire to remain anonymous among the multitudes (“in the number let me pass untold”). In other sonnets, Shakespeare declares that he does not want his name to be known. In Sonnet 71 he tells the Fair Youth that after he is dead, “Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.” In Sonnet 72, he asks that his “name be buried.” And in Sonnet 76, Shakespeare claims that he is deliberately writing in disguise, almost but not quite revealing his identity. Finally, in Sonnet 81 Shakespeare tells the Fair Youth that only the youth will receive immortal life from the sonnets, because he intends to “die” to the world. These sorts of phrases hint at a mystery surrounding the author’s identity.
There are dozens of strong verbal parallels between Sackville’s writings and Shakespeare’s works. The following examples are representative—guess which passages are by Shakespeare, which by Sackville:
Thou never suck’d the milk of woman’s breast;
But, from thy birth, the cruel tiger’s teats
Have nursed thee.
When did the tiger’s young ones teach the dam?
O, do not learn her wrath – she taught it thee;
The milk thou suck’dst from her did turn to marble,
Even at thy teat thou hadst thy tyranny.
The first passage is from a section of Gorboduc attributed to Sackville (IV.i.72-4), the second from Titus Andronicus (II.iii.142-5).
I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some winter’d bough and there
My mate, that’s never to be found again,
Lament till I am lost.
And as the turtle that has lost her mate…
Mourning her loss, fills all the grove with plaint:
So I, alas, forsaken and forfaint,
With restless foot the wood roam up and down…
The first passage is from The Winter’s Tale (V.iii,156-9), the second from a stanza in Sackville’s Complaint (Smith 148).
Our sugared sweet that did so late abound
With bittered taste is turned into gall…
Now seeming sweet, turn to bitt’rest gall…
The first passage is from Sacvyle’s Olde Age (177-8), the second from Romeo and Juliet (I v 92).
To the which place a poor sequest’red stag,
That from the hunter’s aim had ta’en a hurt,
Did come to languish…
The wretched animal heav’d forth such groans
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting, and the big round tears
Cours’d one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase...
Like to the deer that stricken with the dart,
Withdraws himself into some secret place,
And feeling green the wound about his heart,
Startles with pangs till he fall on the grass,
And, in great fear, lies gasping there a space,
Forth braying sighs as though each pang had brought
The present death...
In this case the first passage is from As You Like It (II i 33-40), the second from Sackville’s Complaint (Smith, 135).
Even Sackville’s will is laced with Shakespearean language and ideas. For instance, he regrets that “mislikes, and misconceits, though never so unjustly apprehended, are graven in brass, and good turns and benefits, though never so kindly bestowed, are written in the dust” (Brydges, 145). In Henry VIII, the servant Griffith similarly observes, “Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtue / We write on water” (IV ii 45-6).
The striking verbal parallels between Sackville’s writings and Shakespeare’s works suggest that Sackville may actually have been “Shakespeare.”
THOMAS SACKVILLE AND BEN JONSON
If Thomas Sackville wrote Shakespeare’s works, he must have been a friend of Ben Jonson, who famously described Shakespeare as a “sweet Swan of Avon” in the 1623 First Folio and as a player in both the Folio and a passage in his private notebook. The only conceivable explanation for why Jonson would have behaved in this misleading fashion is that he took steps to preserve a friend’s poetic legacy while honoring a vow of secrecy. (Jonson--who specialized in using language in a sly and layered fashion--could have intended a secondary reference to Sackville as a Swan of England’s rivers, because “Avon” means River in Welsh. Sackville was Master of the Swans, responsible for swan-keeping throughout England, by the early 1590s [Percy, 265]).
Sackville and Jonson were demonstrably on friendly terms. In 1605 Sackville gave Jonson a dozen cases of palm sack wine (Jonson, 52) after Jonson’s release from prison, where Jonson had been briefly committed for co-authoring a controversial play. Soon after, Jonson co-dedicated his play Volpone to “the two famous universities, for their love and acceptance shown to his poem in the presentation” (Jonson, 62). This is a veiled dedication to Thomas Sackville and Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury, because they had allowed Volpone to be performed at Oxford University and Cambridge University, where the men served respectively as the University Chancellors. Jonson also wrote a long and intimate epistle to the university “sisters,” thanking them for their friendship to him— “I now render myself grateful and am studious to justify the bounty of your act” —and declaring his intention to “raise the despised head of poetry again” (Jonson, 63-70). Jonson later became a friend of Sackville’s grandson and great-grandson, and his portrait hangs to this day in Sackville’s home Knole House, a popular tourist attraction in Kent, England . If Thomas Sackville wrote the Bard’s works and asked Jonson to pledge not to reveal his secret, then Jonson would surely have kept his word.
While the evidence for Sackville’s friendship with Ben Jonson is strong, the evidence for William Shakespeare’s friendship with Jonson is ambiguous at best. For instance, during the so-called Poets’ War between 1598 and 1601, Jonson almost certainly mocked William as the foolish and ignorant social climber Sogliardo in the play Every Man Out of His Humour. And around 1600, Jonson attacked a plagiaristic actor who wanted to be known as the chief playwright in the land in the epigram “On Poet Ape” (Price, “Unorthodox Biography” 68-77; 91-109). As far as is known, Jonson never once paid tribute to William Shakespeare while the Stratford actor was alive to receive the praise.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S COMPETENCE
William Shakespeare wrote a series of mediocre plays now assigned to the Shakespeare Apocrypha, according to direct evidence of the sort usually accepted by scholars as legitimate. Space does not permit a full accounting, but during William’s lifetime a series of non-Shakespearean plays were printed under his name or initials: Locrine (by “W. S.”), Thomas Lord Cromwell (by “W. S.”), The London Prodigal (by “William Shakespeare”), The Puritan (by “W. S.”), A Yorkshire Tragedy (by “Wylliam Shakespeare”), and The Troublesome Reign of King John (by “W. Sh.”). For various reasons, scholars find it unlikely that another Elizabethan dramatist with the initials “W. S.” wrote these works. Instead, they usually suggest that unscrupulous publishers sought to profit from William Shakespeare’s fame by falsely attributing non-Shakespearean plays to him . After the Stratford actor died, other non-canonical plays continued to be printed under his name—some of which were even included in the third and fourth folios of Shakespeare’s works. A brief discussion of two plays now assigned to the Apocrypha, The Taming of A Shrew (composed around 1589) and Mucedorus (dated between the late 1580s and early 1590s), will suffice to show why William Shakespeare plausibly wrote them.
The Taming of A Shrew. This crowd-pleasing but unsophisticated play seems to be a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew (Miller, 10, 16-7, 23-31). It was first printed anonymously in 1594—a common practice throughout the period—and continued to be printed anonymously in later editions. While there is no direct evidence that William Shakespeare wrote A Shrew, several indirect lines of argument indicate that he did. To begin, A Shrew and The Taming of the Shrew (though poles apart stylistically) were recognized from a licensing perspective as roughly equivalent works by the same author. Were this not the case, The Shrew couldn’t have been printed for the first time in the 1623 First Folio under A Shrew’s 1594 publishing license (Miller, 32-3).
Also pointing to William, the author of A Shrew was a chronic imitator who adorned his play with many high-flown passages imported from the popular literary works of the late 1580s, particularly the works of Christopher Marlowe (Miller, 20-3). He is an excellent match with “Shake-Scene,” the incompetent plagiarist attacked by Robert Greene in the 1592 pamphlet Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit. (Recall that as Greene lay dying in the late summer of 1592 of poverty and hard living, he wrote a letter to Christopher Marlowe and two other playwrights in which he accused William of being “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank-verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum [Jack of all trades], is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country” [Greene, “Groatsworth”].)
Here is one of the passages the author of A Shrew lifted from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus:
Now that the gloomy shadow of the night,
Longing to view Orion’s dazzling look,
Leaps from the Antarctic world unto the sky,
And dims the welkin with his pitchy breath. (Faustus, I.iii.1-4)
Now that the gloomy shadow of the night,
Longing to view Orion’s disling looks,
Leaps from th’antarctic world unto the sky,
And dims the welkin with her pitchy breath. (A Shrew, 1.8-11)
And a passage lifted from Marlowe’s Tamburlaine I:
Eternal Heaven sooner be dissolved,
And all that pierceth Phoebus’s silver eye,
Before such hap fell to Zenocrate. (Tamburlaine I, III.ii.18-20)
Eternal Heaven sooner be dissolved,
And all that pierceth Phoebus’s silver eye,
Before such hap befall to Polidor. (A Shrew, 4.67-9)
One suspects that the author of A Shrew was actually capable of pretending to have written whole scenes, plays, even a canon, that he didn’t write.
Additional evidence that William wrote A Shrew can be found in the 1589 pastoral romance Menaphon, written by Robert Greene—the very man who accused William Shakespeare of being an “upstart crow” in 1592—and prefaced by Thomas Nashe . Nashe comments on “how eloquent” the age has grown, “so that every mechanical mate abhors the English he was born to” and turns to “the servile imitation of vain-glorious tragedians” (5). These untutored poets “embowel the clouds in a speech of comparison,” thinking themselves deserving of poetic immorality “if they but once get Boreas by the beard” —an allusion that connects to the wooing scene in A Shrew in which Ferando uses a string of fantastic comparisons to tell Kate how beautiful she is, even describing Kate as “lovelier than…[the] icy hair that grows on Boreas’ chin!” (4.148-160). Ferando’s language does invite ridicule, because no woman would want to be told she is prettier that an icicle beard hanging from the chin of the god of the north wind. After jabbing at the author of A Shrew, Nashe began attacking those arrogant stage actors who sought to be known as eloquent poets despite writing in a foolish and bombastic style— “idiot art-masters, that intrude themselves to our ears as the alchemists of eloquence; who (mounted on the stage of arrogance) think to outbrave better pens with the swelling bombast of bragging blank verse” (5, 6). It seems quite likely that Nashe had the Stratford actor in mind.
Nashe’s jibes at the author of A Shrew are echoed in Greene’s story Menaphon, which contains a country character named “Doron,” a plain shepherd whose speech is “stuffed with pretty similes and far-fetched metaphors.” Greene links Doron to A Shrew by recycling the image of Boreas’s icy chin hairs already lampooned by Nashe—Doron explains that his family once had “an Ewe amongst our Rams, whose fleece was as white as the hairs that grow on father Boreas’ chin” (74). Scholars have long suspected that Doron might be a caricature of William Shakespeare. If so, Greene knew William as the author of the silly A Shrew, not the sophisticated The Shrew.
Despite the mockery heaped on him in Menaphon, the author of A Shrew must have been popular with the groundlings. He wrote in a salty, lively style and had a particular talent for creating clown scenes. His coarse sense of humor is evident in the following exchange between Kate and her music instructor Valeria:
Valeria: That stop was false, play it again.
Kate: Then mend it thou, thou filthy ass.
Valeria: What, do you bid me kiss your arse?
Kate: How now jacksause, you’re a jolly mate,
Your best be still least I cross your pate... (IV.25-9)
Mucedorus. As a second example, William Shakespeare plausibly wrote Mucedorus, a play which went through seventeen editions between 1598 and 1668 (making it the most often published play of the seventeenth century). Although Mucedorus was always printed anonymously, a copy of the play was bound together with Fair Em and The Merry Devil of Edmonton in a volume labeled “Shakespeare Volume 1” belonging to the library of King Charles II, who ruled England between 1660 and 1685. Strengthening the connection between Mucedorus and the Stratford actor, the play is known to have belonged to the repertory of the King’s Men, the play company to which William Shakespeare belonged. Finally, Mucedorus was assigned to Shakespeare in a play list in 1656. Despite this evidence that the Stratford actor wrote Mucedorus, and the lack of evidence pointing to anyone else as the author, Shakespeare scholars have uniformly rejected its attribution to him for centuries because the play, while quite entertaining, is not of high literary merit.
No additional information on the authorship of Mucedorus emerged until 2006, when the Stratfordian scholar John Peachman published a discovery that tips the scales in favor of William Shakespeare as the likely author. To understand why, one must first be acquainted with the following facts. The play Guy, Earl of Warwick, first printed in 1661, can be dated with reasonable confidence to 1589-1594 based on stylistic considerations and topical allusions (Cooper 119-127). The author of Guy, Earl of Warwick, “B. J.,” is exceedingly likely to have caricatured William Shakespeare as the clown Philip Sparrow of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire—a sneak thief who cheerfully abandons his pregnant mistress Parnell to follow Guy on his chivalrous adventures (Berryman 20-1, 306-7; Cooper 119-20, 129-133). Sparrow, whose name connotes a small, unimposing, and chatty bird, behaves badly on the adventures. He shows more interest in preserving his life and tending to his stomach than in helping Guy. In one scene, he proudly declares, “Nay I have a fine finical name, I can tell ye, for my name is Sparrow; yet I am no house Sparrow, nor no hedge Sparrow, nor no peaking Sparrow, nor no sneaking Sparrow, but I am a high mounting lofty minded Sparrow, and that Parnell knows well enough, and a good many more of the pretty Wenches of our Parish i’faith” .
The above facts are suggestive enough, but here’s what Peachman discovered in 2006. “B. J.” assigned four lines of dialogue to Philip Sparrow that are garbled versions of silly lines spoken by the country rustic Mouse in a single scene in Mucedorus. A logical inference is that “B. J.” used William’s comic alter-ego, Sparrow, to ridicule William’s playwriting style.
Similar arguments can be used to identify William Shakespeare as the likely author, co-author, or adapter of many other plays belonging to the Apocrypha and Bad Quartos.
A NEW AUTHORSHIP SCENARIO (SPECULATION)
In the late 1580s, Christopher Marlowe began taking the Elizabethan drama to new heights with the exquisite cadences and dramatic intensity of his blank verse tragedies. Thomas Sackville followed Marlowe’s innovations in the blank verse drama with interest and a degree of envy. Marlowe had taken his verse form, his theatrical innovations, and surpassed his achievements. For the first time since Sackville left off playwriting, he had a serious dramatic rival. He longed to compete with Marlowe. Beyond this sense of rivalry, and soon eclipsing it, he wanted to take his place in the poetic pantheon, to become a great teacher and philosopher of mankind. However, as a baron, a privy councilor, and Queen Elizabeth’s second cousin, he knew that he would scandalize his peers and embarrass his family if he dared to write openly for the disreputable public theatres.
Around the same time, William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon arrived in London. He was an ambitious young actor seeking fame and fortune on the big city stage, eager to try his hand at playwriting. His first dramatic efforts were low-brow crowd-pleasers, but he soon began competing with the elite university-educated dramatists, especially Christopher Marlowe and Robert Greene, whom he disliked because they looked down on him and mocked his imperfect knowledge of the classics. He started filching high-sounding phrases from their works with abandon. Greene and his fellows protested, but William didn’t care. The crowds loved his works, and he was happy to be known as “the only Shake-scene in a country.”
It dawned upon Thomas Sackville that an opportunity lay before him. Since William Shakespeare was already freely adapting Sackville’s youthful plays in works such as The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, The Taming of A Shrew, The Troublesome Reign of King John, The True Tragedy of Richard III, the so-called Ur-Hamlet, King Leir, The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster (the “Bad Quarto” version of Henry VI Part Two), and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York (the “Bad Quarto” version of Henry VI Part Three), all composed between the mid-1580s and the early 1590s, as well as appropriating Marlowe’s and Greene’s language without compunction, there was every likelihood that William would be willing to serve as a front man for Sackville’s new poetic works and plays. Sackville would not even need to reveal his true identity.
Sometime in the early 1590s, Sackville took a small step that led to the creation of the most luminous body of work in the English language. William Shakespeare took a matching step that led to his ensconcement as the Soul of the Age.
I am grateful for the editorial assistance of Andrea Ware, Patricia Grannan, Jason Feldman, Tim Acito, Dr. Michael Egan, and the Stratfordians Bob Grumman, Prof. Rob Watson, and Prof. Andrew Hartley.
 It should be noted that the Canon has somewhat fluid boundaries, and includes a number of works that contain evidence of co-authorship, a complex revision history, and the like.
 Since scholars have not previously considered the possibility that a single playwright wrote or co-authored many of the non-canonical works attributed to William Shakespeare, this summary of the stylistic markers that tend to recur in these works is based on my own analysis of the texts. The wholesale plagiarism found in many of the non-canonical works has long been known, however.
 The Elizabethan sumptuary laws dictating which aristocrats were permitted to wear the color purple can be found posted at http://www.elizabethan.org/sumptuary/who-wears-what.html
 While working on the Sackville theory, I uncovered only a handful of references to Sackville in connection with the authorship debate. In 1857, Delia Bacon described Thomas Lord Buckhurst as a member of a “little circle of highborn wits and poets” residing at court in the 1580s whose mysterious doings intrigued her. However, Delia did not explicitly name Sackville as a possible member of a secret Shakespeare circle, as is sometimes erroneously stated (55). In 2002, W. Ron Hess briefly speculated that Sackville might have belonged to a “Shakespeare Enterprise” spearheaded by Edward de Vere (280-1). At the 2004 Shakespeare Fellowship Conference held on October 7–10 in Baltimore, Maryland, the Stratfordian Terry Ross gave a tongue-in-cheek argument for Sackville, jokingly discussed at <http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/19110/1>. In 2005, Edward Furlong posted a chapter-length consideration of Sackville as a runner-up to Edward de Vere at <http://home.eol.ca/~cumulus/Shakespeare/ch22.htm>.
 A major reason for the 1570 reprinting of Gorboduc under the title The Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex (with Sackville and Norton no longer named on the title page) seems to have been the authors’ wish to place on record that they weren’t responsible for the 1565 pirated publication. As the publisher John Day explains in a preface to the 1570 edition, the authors “were very much displeased that she (Gorboduc) so ran abroad without leave, whereby she caught her shame, as many wantons do.” She was “somewhat less ashamed of the dishonesty done to her because it was by fraud and force.” If readers “still reproached (her) with her former mishap…the poor gentlewoman will surely play Lucrece’s part, and herself die for shame.”
 The strongest evidence that Shakespeare had Catholic leanings can be found in the scene in Twelfth Night in which Feste disguises himself as Sir Topas the parson, babbling apparent nonsense about a “hermit of Prague” who wanted “pen and ink” and spoke very wittily to a “niece of Gorboduc.” Feste’s lines clearly represent a veiled allusion to the 1581 interrogation of the Catholic martyr Edmund Campion (Desper).
 In the unpublished manuscript version of Sackville’s 1563 Mirror for Magistrates poems, first discovered in the early twentieth century, Sackville wrote a note to himself: “remember Master Burdens promise for the showing of Seneca’s chorus (?) touching the captation of aurum popularem.” Hearsey speculates that Sackville may have arranged a showing of the chorus from the pseudo-Senecan work Octavia, II 877 ff (286). Octavia, which recounts an historical episode involving the machinations of the Roman ruling class, is recognized as a source for Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
 In a letter Sackville wrote on Feb. 11, 1571 to his friend Thomas Heneage, he made an off-hand reference to a story about an ape and a friar (Zim, “Dialogue” 3) – an apparent allusion to Matteo Bandello’s tale The Mischievous Ape. Also, while Giordano Bruno was visiting the English court between 1583 – 1585, he commended Thomas Sackville for being very well-versed in Italian literature (Berti 189).
 On March 26, 1587, Sackville wrote in a letter: “I arrived at Flushing on March 24, at one o'clock after midnight, having been three days on the seas, miserably sick, and in great danger of drowning, even within a mile of Flushing, as the ship stuck upon a bar of sand, and was only recovered by great labour of the mariners, and by the flood, which happily chanced for our preservation” (Lomas and Hinds 21.2).
 Sackville led a diplomatic mission to the United Netherlands in the spring of 1587. In a letter dated April 28, Sackville mentioned “lying lame in my bed” in Utrecht, having “caught my hurt with the stroke of a horse” (Lomas and Hinds 21.3). An excellent account of Sackville’s diplomatic mission can be found in John Lothrop Motley’s History of the United Netherlands, Vol. 3 (1900).
 Ben Jonson composed a long and thoughtful poem, “An Epistle to Edward Sackville,” for Thomas Sackville’s grandson. Dated between 1611 and 1624, the poem was first printed posthumously in The Underwood (1640). Jonson’s friendship with Edward Sackville’s son Richard is known because Richard contributed a heartfelt poetic tribute to Jonsonus Virbius (1638) – a memorial volume printed the year after Jonson’s death. The original portrait of Ben Jonson painted by Gerard Honthorst is believed to hang at Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent; the National Portrait Gallery apparently owns a copy.
 A possible exception is the case of Sir John Oldcastle, a play apparently co-authored by Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Robert Wilson, and Richard Hathway in the fall of 1599 and first printed anonymously in 1600. In 1619, the publisher William Jaggard reprinted the play under William Shakespeare’s name. Jaggard may have made an honest mistake, or the origins of the text may be more complex than scholars assume. Note that Jaggard was entrusted with the printing of the 1623 Folio.
 For clarity, I have modernized the spelling of all quotations from Menaphon and Groatsworth.
 Spoken during Sparrow’s encounter with Guy’s son Rainborne in Act 5. The text of Guy, Earl of Warwick is available at: <http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=chadwyck_evd/uvaGenText/tei/chevd_V1.0800.xml>.
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ALL ROADS LEAD TO SACKVILLE