Sinful Art

Sonnet 146 reconstructed                                                    back to From Longlist to Shortlist

contesting without contest

The two surviving theories on The Bard’s identity allow for just one co-author. And this candidate’s devious nature invites to attempt falsification by checking Shakespeare’s career on facts that do not agree with his reputation as a honest man. If, for instance, Bacon had even the slightest involvement in the composition of the Sonnets, it would show in some devious detail. And, as it happens, they have come to us through pirate editions only. The first appeared on the market in 1598/99. Publisher William Jaggard, however,

“was in general a reputable printer and it was only when he was dealing with Shakespeare’s work that he became at all unethical….”
(M. G. Chute ; Shakespeare of London. p. 329). 

Which suggests to consider Shakespeare as the cause of Jaggard’s unethical dealings. Unethical, by the way, is The Passionate Pilgrim mainly in attributing poetry by contemporary authors to William Shakespeare. Who indeed was ‘much offended’ by Jaggard’s abuse of his name, when his fellow actor/playwright Thomas Heywood confronted him in 1612 about the appearance of his writings in the new third edition.

Jaggard had no choice but to remove Shakespeare’s name from this edition’s unsold copies, and never offended Shakespeare again ; he only made a second faux pas in 1619, when he published a collection of ten pirate editions of Shakespeare plays (the False Folio). An action that automatically shifts the blame for foul play to somebody else than Shakespeare.

His still hypothetical co-author died in 1626. Taking with him to the grave his key to ‘Kay’ (or ‘Key’)-cypher, which Bacon mentions in the 1605 Advancement of Learning. This code was eventually broken somewhere in the nineteenth or twentieth century. And ever since the (fundamentally flawed) evidence has been staring the countless Baconian cryptologists in the face :

 F          R          A         N          C           I           S
32   +   17   +   27   +   13   +   29   +   35   +   18              =      171
B           A          C          O         N                                                  +
28   +   27   +   29   +   14   +   13                                       =      111
–                                                                                                      =
The Passionate Pilgrim contains Sonnets 138  +  144  =     282

Which sonnets sign ‘F’ in the difference of index numbers, and  ‘Bacon’ in the difference of these index numbers with Bacon’s ‘Kay’-signature.

Bacon’s signature also connects the higher index numbers to the ‘simple’-signature of William Shakespeare. And the lower one to ‘William Shakspere,’ as a variant spelling of the name has it. Which seems rather convincing. But in fact produces a surfeit of evidence that is too good to be swallowed without a care.

– –

of sinful art

The fundamental flaw in encrypted signatures is its incapability to sift the chance hits out. Which leaves us without real evidence again. But also with a nagging suspicion that already in 1598 each single sonnet had the index number that pirate editor Thomas Thorpe attached to them in 1609. If a chance hit could be ruled out, this would be solid proof that the 1609 edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets presents the sonnets as intended by its author(s). The addition of A Lovers Complaint included.

On the other hand; proving this encryption a chance hit equals disproving devious intent in the author of these two sonnets. Which in turn equals falsification of the entire Bacon theory. And what Shakespearean text is better suited for the purpose than a riddle sonnet?

If Bacon had even the slightest involvement in the composition of Sonnet 146, it would show in some tricky detail. And, as it happens, Thomas Thorpe published it with an obvious misprint : the second line opens with a repetition of the final three words of line one.

Ever since, people have been wondering what exactly Shakespeare had written there. Two syllables obviously, because ‘powers’ has by spelling been reduced to the one syllable that the word’s pronunciation seems to allow . And Literature Studies has by trial and error come up with a number of options. Of which ‘Feeding’ has the expert’s recommendation of G. R. Ledger as a fore echo of line thirteen (the signature number of Death). But let us for argument’s sake, assume that the sonnet has been tampered with by design. We are now facing a riddle that has to be tackled like a crossword. One of the kind that in some tricky way provides the solution with the problem :

POore soule the center of my sinfull earth,
Ques?tion these rebbell powres that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth 
Painting thy outward walls so costlie gay? 
Why so large cost hauing so short a lease, 
Dost thou vpon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall wormes inheritors of this excesse 
Eate vp thy charge? is this thy bodies end? 
Then soule liue thou vpon thy seruants losse, 
And let that pine to aggrauat thy store; 
Buy tearmes diuine in selling houres of drosse: 
Within be fed, without be rich no more, 

– –  So shalt thou feed on death,that feeds on men, 
– –  And death once dead, ther’s no more dying then. 

In case you don’t see the answer straight away, don’t worry ; in a well designed crossword the correct solution triggers a ‘how could I ever be that blind’ the moment one’s eyes are opened. Not a second earlier. In my case this took a couple of days. But that was because of the detour. Lacking a crossword fan’s antenna for wordplay, I found the answer the other way round ; calculating my way through a series of tedious Baconian ciphers. And in search for the lost line initial, I actually departed from the obviously wrong M = 12, because the Mistake seemed to be intentional. But I solved the riddle all the same. Eventually. And once the missing line initial appears in the invisible ink of Bacon’s controversial signing method, the one problem left to tackle is to invent a plausible reason for Francis Bacon to write Sonnet 146 invisibly on another name than his own. But that problem is only of concern for Baconians.

line          1       2       3       4       5       6       7       8       9       10       11       12       13       14
              P       ?      W      P      W     D       S       E       T        A        B        W        S        A
cypher    15  + 16 +  21  + 15  + 21  + 4  +  18  +  5  +  19  +  1   +   2   +   21  +   18  +  1   = 177

of trial and error 

This solution signs the sonnet by the total corresponding with ‘William Shakespeare’ in simple cypher. Something Shakespeare could have figured out all by himself. And from the missing link onward it signs ‘Sonnet 146’. Conclusive as this seems, it is not enough to convince. Blind chance can only be ruled out by proof of intelligent design :

If tempted to start counting on ‘one’, one places the signature for Sonnet 146 on line three, which is marked ‘W’. Arriving from the opposite direction, this ‘W’ comes up with the subtotal for ‘Will’ in simple cypher. And restarting on that ‘W’, the sequel of that signature appears in the subtotal of line nine : ‘Shakespeare to a T’, so to speak. This line’s regular subtotal is 134 ; which is ’W’ short of ‘Will Shakespeare’. The ‘T’ from this line is in the classic alphabet just two short of ‘W’. And, in a sense, it shows. The two line numbers in between add up to that same ‘W’, while the total value of their capitals make the difference between ‘W’ and ‘S’. This is a serendipity, because line ten’s real purpose is to initiate the alphabet, while line twelve is in mathematical respect a sonnet’s best location for ‘W’.

Initiating the alphabet on line ten, Sonnet 146 is, whatever happened to the entry on line two, definitely designed as an encryption. Even if it took a couple of centuries before this could be recognized : Bacon’s Kay-cypher is an alphabet that starts on position ten. The initials that follow add symmetry to the design. A symmetry in which ‘S’ on line thirteen mirrors a misprinted ‘M’. Logic, however, offers three different methods to interprete ‘M’ as ‘W’ : mirroring from the right angle, and reversing index number are obvious. While initiating the alphabet with ‘K’, places ‘W’ where ‘M’ had been.

Just to demonstrate the omnipotence of Dame Fortune, ‘W’ itself is on position 21 replaced by ‘F’. And from ‘F(rancis)’ to ‘Q’ is a matter of options : 
1 The basic Kay-substitution cypher has ‘P’ for ‘F’ on position 6, and p reverses to ‘q’. 
1    2    3     4     5     6    7    8     9    10     11     12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19   20    21    22    23    24
A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I     K      L      M     N     O     P     Q     R      S     T      U    W     X      Y     Z
K    L    M   N    O    P    Q    R     S     T     U      W    X     Y      Z     A      B     C     D     E      F     G      H     I 
2 Restart the alphabet on ‘W’ and on position six ‘F’ turns into ‘B’.
1    2    3     4     5     6    7    8     9    10     11     12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20    21    22    23    24
A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I     K      L      M     N     O     P     Q     R      S     T      U    W     X      Y      Z
W   X   Y    Z     A    B    C    D    E     F     G      H      I      K     L     M     N     O     P     Q    R      S       T      U     
As mentioned before; F. B. was devious by nature, and because ‘W’ is in his K-cypher a mirrored ‘M’, his logic has no objection against rotating the key of ‘Way’-cypher anti clockwise for a change, and  ‘P’ turns into ‘Q’ From which follows that encrypting directly to ‘Wrong Way’-cypher reveals that 
–      F = Q   in the mathematical sense that
     Q = F 
1    2    3     4     5     6    7    8     9    10     11     12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20   21    22    23    24
A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I     K      L      M     N     O     P     Q     R      S     T      U    W     X      Y      Z
W    V    T    S    R    Q    P    O    N    M      L      K      I      H     G    F      E     D     C     B     A      Z      Y      X     

Symmetry is the key to mark yet another W. S. :  lines five and seven are both marked by a subtotal that equals the difference between two signatures. The Bacon signature is on both lines in close touch with that marker. And in order to rule chance out as its source, one of them is placed on line eight (‘F + B’), of which the ‘E’ is in ‘Kay’-cypher equal to ‘P + Q’. The signature on line four is marked by that P. One that flanks the signatures on line three together with a Q. Far fetched, but not to be dismissed as irrelevant, because in the blueprint above, Kay-cypher’s ‘P’ shares is sixth position in its sequence with ‘F’ in the regular alphabet and ‘B’ in Way-cipher. It also shares its position with ‘Q’ in Wrong Way-cypher.

of logic

When it comes to logic, last chapter’s final paragraph is not really impressive. But logic it applies, and in consequence not a single hit on a signature in Sonnet 146 can be explained away as mere chance. But to accept the one generated by line four as intentional, is another cup of tea.

The simplest method to repair this flaw is to check whether Q in this sonnet really equals F. Any tampering with the sonnet’s mathematical sequence, however, is bound to produce chance hits by the dozen. Logic therefore demands to restrict the test to line numbers that fit in a logic sequence. In such a test the links in the chain of logic rule out chance. And the logic sequence of choice must be Fibonacci’s. The sequence in which Art and Mathematics unite, because it is generated by a formula that translates the Golden Ratio to numbers : ƒo = 0   
                     ƒ1 = 1     
                     ƒn = ƒn-1 + ƒn-2 , for n > 1  

line         1 + 1     2      3       4       5       6       7       8       9      10       11       12        13       14
initial     P    O    M     W      P      W     D       S       E       T       A        B        W        S         A
value      ad lib.   12     21              21                         5                                                 18 
score          15      27     48             69                        74                                                
                      William S. 

                                                                                                                           (reverse cypher)   

Thanks to logic, the hits ‘M’ produces cannot be defined as chance hits. But M is definitely the wrong capital, and can only produce hits on wrong signatures. In consequence the second initial capital on line one can enter the formula without generating a single hit. And it makes sense to allow this O in, because the Fibonacci sequence starts 0 – 1 – 1 – 2. This at the cost of the signatures that the M-formula generates, but that was the wrong signature anyway. And the first step to make amends is turning M into W. Which is a reversion :

line         1 + 1     2      3       4       5       6       7       8       9      10       11       12        13       14
initial     P   O    W     W      P      W      D       S       E       T       A        B        W        S         A
value      ad lib.   21     21             21                          5                                                 18 
score          15      36     57             78                        83                                               101 
core          29     50     71              92                       97                                                 115 
 William Shakespeare         William S.                                                              William
                                                      or                                                                (reverse cypher)
                                           (reverse cypher) 

The number of line initials decide whether there is an ubobtrusive Shakespeare hit on a W (line 5) or on a S (line 13). Which isn’t much, but does at least confirm that this sonnet is not really inclined to hit on its signatures without a sign of logic. And by making no difference, the additional O once again proves itself a zero in the equasion : only the ‘97’ that W generates on Bacon’s line eight may be interpreted as ‘Shakspere’. But that is not really a hit,  because that spelling of the name was never used in print. The next step is W’s substitution by its counterpart from the Kay-alphabet :

line         1 + 1     2      3       4       5       6       7       8       9      10       11       12        13       14
initial     P   O     F     W       P      W      D      S       E       T       A        B        W        S         A
value      ad lib.   6     21               21                         5                                                 18 
score          15     W    42               63                       68                                                86

Apart from the comfirmation that W = F, no hits on the Fibonacci sequence of 14 line initials. But this time the zero in the equasion makes a difference. Yet, a difference of ‘O’ is in mathematical respect no difference at all :

If                        F  +  B   =    P
and                    P  +  O   =   29
than                   F  +  B   =   29                            

line         1 + 1     2      3       4       5       6       7       8       9      10       11       12        13       14
initial     P   O     F     W       P      W      D      S       E       T       A        B        W        S         A
value      ad lib.   6     21               21                         5                                                 18 
core          29    35    56               77                        82                                               100 
 William Shakespeare                                W. Shakespeare                        Francis Bacon
     in the difference                                     in the difference                                                       

The difference in signatures, on the other hand, is never to be dismissed as irrelevant ; it suggests different authors as convincingly as it suggests a single author’s different identities.

Way-alphabet now  converts the F from Kay-alphabet into ‘B’. Which is a signature in itself, but as an encryption method this is evidently not in favour. And when it comes to improving matters, ‘O’ does not really make the difference :

line         1 + 1     2      3       4       5       6       7       8       9      10       11       12        13       14
initial     P    O     B     W      P      W      D      S       E       T       A        B        W         S         A
value      ad lib.   21     21             21                          5                                                 18 
core          15      17     38             59                        64                                                82 
ore          29     31     52              73                        78                                                96 
–                               William                                                                             W. Shakespeare

                                                                                                                          in the difference

Which leaves it to Wrong Way-alphabet to test the sonnet on its ability to make F mathematically equal to Q :

line         1 + 1     2      3       4       5       6       7       8       9      10       11       12        13       14
initial     P    O    Q     W      P      W      D      S       E       T       A        B        W         S         A
value      ad lib.   16     21              21                        5                                                 18 
score          15      31     52              73                       78                                                96 
core          29     45     66              87                       92                                               110 
                                                                           William S. 

                                                                (reversal of F-signature)


                                                                       (reverse cypher)

And it delivers by reversal of properties. Combined with Q instead of B, the O influences a signature for the better, and despite its modest effect it is no zero in the equasion : on line thirteen, 110 makes the difference between William Shakespeare and ‘Francis’. And the reversed F-signature on line eight, quite interestingly, reverses the difference between ‘William’ and ‘Shakespeare’ in line one.

If this logic does not convince, no logic ever will. And because the logic includes a link to Bacon’s Kay-cypher, the signature in the index numbers for the sonnets in The Passionate Pilgrim has to be accepted as possibly intentional.

Don’t tell the Baconians. They are better served by a payback in their own coinage : the modest presence of Bacon signature amongst a host of Shakespeares, strongly suggests a co-operation in which Bacon restricted himself to sketching outlines only. Leaving the actual words to the expert. And if Bacon seems to declare himself unable to write a proper play or sonnet, one is fully entitled to question his authorship of the Essays.

In consequence the revised Bacon theory predicts the existence of intentional Shakespeare signatures in any randomly picked essay. And if this prediction proves correct, the theory proves correct. Just my luck then, to have a gift for picking the one sample that is nobody’s random choice.

to next chapter

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