Reply to Dr Kathman's ‘Why I'm not an Oxfordian’

© Derran Charlton 1997

Derran Charlton, de Vere/Shakespeare researcher
12th November, 1997

To the Editor, ‘Elizabethan Review’

Whilst Dr. Kathman categorically states in his article Why I’m Not an Oxfordian (ER, vol. 4. no. 4) “The pseudonym “Marprelate” is not hyphenated once in the many times it appears in the text of the pamphlets”(p. 35), he appears to be unaware of the tract Rythemes against Martin Marre-Prelate (B.M.—C.37.d.42), published from the same type as A Whip for an Ape: or Martin displaied (early October, 1589).

Likewise, the usage of the hyphenated surname “Fitz-geffrey” was in accordance with such hyphenated surnames as Fitz-Herbert, Fitz-William, Fitz-Peter (as exampled on p.426 of Brewers Dictionary of Phrase &Fable fourteenth edition, 1990). The hyphenation of such surnames is to emphasise the Norman form of the modern French fils : son of; and as sometimes assumed by the illegitimate or morganatic children of royalty, e.g. Fitz-Clarence, Fitz-roy, etc. The capital ‘G’ in ‘Fitz-Geffrey’ means that a person so called belongs to the Anglican side of the family. ‘Fitz-geffrey’ signifies that they are Catholic. Similarly patronymic is the Irish apostrophed “O’” as in O’Keefe, O’Sullivan, etc., derived from the Gaelic ‘ogha’ and the Irish ‘oa’ , a descendant. The hyphenated ‘All-de’ (All thee/thine) was Allde’s etymological way of enhancing, to his readers, the presentation of his publications. Antony Munday’s Camp-bell,or, The Ironmonger’s faire field represents him simply toying the name “Campbell” with the Latin “Campus bellus” (beautiful/fair field). I am indebted to correspondence from the excellent Oxfordian scholar,Robert Detobel, Frankfurt, for providing the information that ‘Waldegrave (meaning “grave in the wood/very well hidden”) was a most appropriate literary taunt for Waldegrave to use against the episcopal hunters who harried both him, and the other undercover printers of Puritan tracts, from pre-1582 onwards. The original presses, used by Waldegrave, were finally seized in 1584, when he was imprisoned for six weeks.’ It was also appropriate that Fulke Greville, in his Sonnet LXXXIV of his ‘Coelica’ cycle, used a similar concetto (a fanciful play on a name) “For Greiv-ill, paine,forlorne estate, doe best decipher me”. To which Edward Dyer replied in a poem entitled A Fancy: “My Muse if any ask, Whose grievous case was such, DY ERE thou let his name be known”.

The surnames of the writers Barnfield and Churchyard, though prompting, remained unhyphenated—as did William Shakspere’s total extant written output of six cacographic signatures, (all written on legal documents).Also unhyphenated is the name Shakspere (transcribed, as such, in the Register of Baptisms at The Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1600 from the original record which has now vanished ( Shakespeare: The Man and his Stage , Lamborn & Harrison, O.U.P. 1923)); on the entry of his burial ‘Will Shakspere gent’, and the inscription ‘Shakspeare’ on the memorial bust overlooking the nameless ledger-stone bearing the curse ‘... And curst be he yt moves my bones’. According to Dowdall, in 1693 (p. 233) “Shakespeare wrote these lines himself”. What poet, ever, (least of all the ‘Soule of the Age’), would place a curse—so temerarious—on his grave that his wife could not be buried by his side.For Anne, not only a second-best bed.

Dr. Kathman states “There was no other William Shakespeare living in London at the time” (p. 33). This claim is contrary to the extensive study by the foremost Stratfordian scholar, Sir E. K. Chambers, into the name ‘Shakespeare’ (Appendix E, pp 354-376, Vol. II, William Shakespeare:A Study of Facts and Problems (1930): where he identifies, amongst other contemporaneous William Shakespeares (but none hyphenated), a William Shakespeare whose brother’s son apprenticed with Jaggard from 1610-17. Could this William have been the tax-delinquent ‘William Shackspere’?

In referring to the education of William Shakspere (p. 37) and the brilliant comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, the pertinent comments of the eminent Stratfordian J. Dover Wilson (The Essential Shakespeare (1967, Cambridge U.P., pp. 41-42)) are most telling: “To credit this amazing piece of virtuosity... to one whose education was nothing more than what a grammar school and residence in a little provincial borough could provide is to invite one either to believe in miracles or to disbelieve in ‘the man from Stratford’.”

Regarding the delayed references and tributes on the death of Shakespeare(p.38): “The seven years before the first printed eulogies to Shakespeare appeared in the First Folio is actually remarkably fast, unprecedented for an English playwright ,” (emphasis added), overlooks the immediate Inquest (Friday, June 1st, 1593) into the death of Christopher Marlowe; the moving remembrance of Marlowe by Edward Blount to Sir Thomas Walsingham in the posthumous dedication of Hero and Leander (1598), and the clear allusion to Marlowe, by Shakespeare, in As You Like It , (registered ‘4 Augusti, 1600’) “Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might, Whoever loved, that loved not at first sight?” (Act 5, scene I, lines 80-61 (line 81 was quoted from Hero and Lysander ).

Dr. Kathman’s explanations for the years of delay in the writing of eulogies to Shakespeare, Spencer, Beaumont, Drayton, Burbage... (pp 39-40), only compounds the serious doubts—expressed by numerous Stratfordian professors—on the very fragile evidence purporting that the Funeral Elegy to William Peter , by “W.S.” was written by William Shakspere between the death of Peter on the 25th January and the poem’s entry in the Stationer’s Register on the 19th February, 1612. I suggest that it ought to be most significant that William Shakspere failed to write an elegy in memory of his younger brother Gilbert (who most probably died during the very same week as William Peter) and was buried on 3 February, 1612. How revealing it is that Stratfordians differentiate, to their own advantage, the various Elizabethan/Jacobean literary initials ‘W.S.’

With reference to the Stratford monument: Ben Jonson wrote in his dedicatory verse for the First Folio that it is the works of his friend William that are the real monument: ‘ Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe ’ (emphasis added). The ‘Stratford’ referred to could have been Stratford-atte-Bowe (where the river Avon flows into the Thames). The Register according to the King’s Instructions of all Weddings, Christenings, and Burials within the Chapel of Stratford-atte-Bowe, beginning 2 June, 1539 contains entries to a John and William Vere having been baptized there in 1582 (fol. 15a)—(from personal ongoing researches as yet unpublished).

In writing the epigram “To Our English Terence. Mr. Will: Shakespeare”, John Davies of Hereford probably had in mind the reference by Roger Ascham in his book The Scholemaster (1571). pp. 59-60: “For word and speach, Plautus, is more plentifull, and Terence is to be embraced above all that ever wrote in hys kinde of arguement; Bicause it is well known, by good recorde of learning, and that by Ciceroes owne witnes that some Comedies bearyng Terence name, were written by worthy Scipio, and wise Lilius, and namely Heauton and Adelphi. (emphasis added) And therefore as oft as I reade those Comedies, so oft doth sound in myne eare, the pure fine talke of Rome, which was used by the floure of the worthiest nobilitie that ever Rome bred”.

In contemplating the epigram, (p.41), “To our English Terence, Mr. Will: Shakespeare” in Davies’ The Scourge of Folly, it is beneficial to also consider the verses beginning: “I knew a Man, Unworthy as I am, And yet too worthie for a counterfeit ...” published in Davies’ Speculum Proditori (betraying mirror), described by Alexander B. Grosart in his memorial-introduction to The Works of Sir John Davies of Hereford .

Dr. Kathman’s claim (pp 43-4) that “the reference in the second issue of the 1609 Quarto of Troilus and Cressida ‘when he is gone and his Commedies out of sale ...’ indicates that Shakespeare was still living” is in direct contrast to the 1607 reference by William Barkstead, actor and poet, in his Mirra, the Mother of Adonis; or Lustes Prodegies , “His Song was worthie merrit (Shakespeare hee)”.

Though Dr. Kathman focuses on Charlton Ogburn’s book The Mysterious William Shakespeare he does not, even briefly, mention Mr. Ogburn’s telling reference relating to Barkstead. Why not? Neither does he comment on Mr. Ogburn’s reference to the compelling line ‘Our ever-living poet’ in the 1609 Sonnets dedication by Thomas Thorpe, nor does he respond to the subsequent passage relating: “The Reverend Dr. W. A. Ferguson reports that a search of the leading English dictionaries, from Dr. Johnson’s to the great Oxford and Century, besides the glossaries of seven major poets from Milton to Shelley, has disclosed twenty-three occurrences of ‘ever-living’, not one applied to a person who was still alive.” By deliberately ignoring this factual evidence, Dr. Kathman blatantly practices what he preaches against.

By his criticisms “Oxfordians use a large part of evidence that is internal to the works themselves ... reconstructions of what he “must have” thought and what his background must have been like, and supposed allusions to events in Oxford’s life, all taken from the plays and poems ... Literary scholars have always treated such internal evidence with the utmost caution...” (p.33), Dr. Kathman pointedly overlooks such nescient Stratfordian hypotheses as their varied allusions to “a Clement Swallow, who sued John Shakespeare for debt in 1559, ‘may have contributed with Sir Thomas Lucy to the making of Justice Shallow of Clement’s Inn’ ... A Stephen Sly of Stratford, and a Sara Hacket of Wincot match the Christopher and Stephen Sly, and Marion Hacket of The Taming of the Shrew .... the drowning of Katherine Hamlet at Tiddington-on-the-Avon matches Ophelia’s tragic end in Hamlet .”

The multiple Stratfordian contradictory “explanations” to account for Shakspere’s “Lost Years” are, also, all dependent on their highly questionable interpretation of “internal evidence”.

All of the Stratfordian speculations, the myths and traditions —and the Stratfordian forgeries of John Payne Collier—relating to William Shakspere, become tenuous, in the extreme, when compared to the profound education, the recorded foreign travel, the personality and the factual courtly experiences of Edward de Vere. Hence, the ever-increasing ocean-swell of belief, world-wide, that the sonnets, the plays, and the poems, come to life with the personality of Edward de Vere as their inspiration and explanation, and that it is to him that the honour of the authorship truly belongs.

Derran K Charlton
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