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LAST OF THE TUDORS
AMELIE DEVENTER VON KUNOW
Translated by WILLARD PARKER
764 WOOLWORTH BLDG.
The first critic of modern times to attack the Shakspere myth was A. W. von Schlegel in 1808.
Coleridge followed in 1811, Byron in 1821, and Disraeli 1837.
Emerson voiced his discontent at the incongruity of fact and verse in 1842.
Gfroerrer of Stuttgart was frankly skeptical in 1843.
But no substitute author seems to have been seriously suggested till Delia Bacon raised the standard of revolt in 1852.
Since that date, thinker after thinker has declared in favor of the Bacon authorship, and discovery after discovery has been brought forward, all tending, in the words of Lord Palmerston, toward the “explosion of the Shakespearian illusions”, until now it is fair to say that half, or at least a very strong and scholarly minority of real readers and thinkers have adopted the Baconian belief.
But of all the great literary critics and students whose efforts have shed light upon this question of the Shakespeare Authorship, scarce one had deeply penetrated the historical mystery of Francis Bacon's lineage and birth, until the research on these lines was taken up by Madame Deventer von Kunow in the work which it has been my great privilege to put into English and which is now offered to the American reader.
The endless and indefatigable patience with which she has delved in the musty archives of the past-those in England, in Spain and in Italy—justly entitles her to a place in the front rank of fearless historical investigators.
The fact of Francis Bacon's parentage—the legitimate son of Queen Elizabeth and therefore the legal heir to the throne -is indubitable, supported as it is, not only by a mass of circumstantial evidence, but by such direct testimony as Leicester's letter to Philip of Spain, which Madame Deventer discovered among the Spanish State Archites, begging Philip to use his influence with Elizabeth to secure his public acknowledgment as Prince Consort.
And Elizabeth's real reason for posing as the Virgin Queen, -announcing at the very beginning of her reign that no Tudor should follow her upon the throne,--may well have been the union of England and Scotland under one sceptre; and this grand concept, carried to fruition through the sacrifice of her husband, her son, and who shall say how much of her own heart, is perhaps in its unselfishness the one bright spot in the whole ghastly tragedy.
No one with an open mind, or with the slightest cranny therein through which “revealing day can peep”, can possibly
follow Madame Deventer's revelations and remain vinced.
Her study of the Plays in relation to their dates of presentation and publication is exhaustive and replete with valuable information. So important does the translator deem this feature of her book that he here subjoins a tabulated list of the Plays with the dates applying, in the belief that to many students, as to him, it will prove a most useful work of ref
Her analysis of the motif of each Play, studied with such care from the standpoint of the personality of Francis Bacon Tudor Shakespeare brings out new meanings, oft-times of tremendous import which we are surprised to find buried just out of sight, where we have rambled over them a score of times. An interesting example of this is Macbeth's vision of the eight Kings descending from Banquo—the eighth bearing the two-fold balls and treble sceptres—and the glass showing more to follow.
All told and in all frankness, it is not too much to say that this work is one of the most interesting and important additions to Shakespearian literature since the production of the matchless Plays themselves, and if it serves but a tithe of its potential purpose in awakening new and stimulating old interest in the greatest literary production of the ages, both Author and Interpreter will be well repaid for their labors. tunity to reproduce the interesting picture on page 79 from a modern reprint in his possession, is due to the courtesy of Dr. W. H. Prescott, of Boston.
The gifted author does not, of course, claim that every fact and deduction is absolutely new and original. Many able investigators, to whom be all well-deserved honor, have plowed the field, but Madame Deventer adds her contribution to the sum total in the hope and belief that the matter and the manner of her presentation will be welcomed and appreciated.
WILLARD PARKER. Conshohocken, Pa., U. S. A.
THE AUTHOR'S FOREWORD
Short though the Title of this book, the question therein implied—“Who was Francis Bacon?”—is of vast import.
It embraces the descent, life and works of this man.
To this inquiry the author devoted many years of searching investigation entirely unconnected with the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy, which question did not become known to her until a later day.
In early youth, under the tuition of English instructors, I was taught English history and literature, read Shakespeare in English and later even in the original text, and when in after years I studied in England, I again turned my attention to history as a special branch. In this work I therefore treat the question regarding Francis Bacon in two separate parts: I. His descent and his life and work as a statesman. II. His work as a Philosopher, pseudonymous author, and “concealed poet,” as he called himself in confidential and non-cryptic letters to his associates.
When the commission was entrusted to me by friends to prepare for private record a "Stuart-Chronicle” based upon MSS. investigation, I required for this purpose access to historical documents and MSS.; and my way to all manner of sources of information was therefore gladly open to me.
I also remember with gratitude the assistance of Dr. R. Garnett, LL. D., then director of the Department of King's Library in the British Museum in London, as also the MSS. offered me in Oxford, under Professor Max Muller's especial guidance.
In my searches among the old books on sale and through Theatre lists and works regarding them, Shakespeare's great interpreter, Sir Henry Irving, was always at hand with friendly assistance, and as these dear, ever-remembered friends have in the meantime passed from among us, I cherish them the more faithfully in grateful recollection.
An unpublished letter from Francis Bacon was the first cause and occasion of my Bacon-investigation. This letter is in itself of no general interest, as it refers only to a private affair of the recipient, but from this letter it is plainly evident that the correspondent must have been entrusted with the secrets of Francis Bacon's private life. Here occurred a lightly