Chapter 14 (e)

Documentation 

Consider this, in "The second Part of Henry the Sixt," (iii, 1, 71):

King. . . . Our kinsman Gloster is as innocent,
From meaning Treason to our Royall Person,
As is the sucking Lambe, or harmelesse Dove:
The Duke is vertuous, milde, and too well giuen,
To dreame on euill, or to worke my downefall.
Qu. Ah what's more dangerous, then this fond affiance?
Seemes he a Doue? his feathers are but borrow'd,

Ciphertext is:
T H E D V K E I S V E R T V O V S M I L D E A N D T O O V E L L G I V E N T O D R E A M E O N E V I L L O R T 
O V O R K E M Y D O V N E F A L L A H V H A T S M O R E D A N G E R O V S T H E N T H I S F O N D A F F I 
A N C E S E E M E S H E A D O V E H I S F E A T H E R S A R E B V T B O R R O V E D

Ciphertext reversed is:

D E V O R R O B T V B E R A S R E H T A E F S I H E V O D A E H S E M E E S E C N A I F F A D N O F S I H T N 
E H T S V O R E G N A D E R O M S T A H V H A L L A F E N V O D Y M E K R O V O T R O L L I V E N O E M A 
E R D O T N E V I G L L E V O O T D N A E D L I M S V O V T R E V S I E K V D E H T

Plaintext, +4 is:

H I C S Y Y S F B C F I Y E A Y I M B E I K A N M I C S H E I M A I Q I I A I G R E N K K E H R S K A N M B R I M 
B A C S Y I L R E H I Y S Q A B E M C M E P P E K I R C S H D Q I O Y S C S B Y S P P N C I R S I Q E I Y H S B R I 
C N L P P I C S S B H R E I H P N Q A C S C B Y I C A N I O C H I M B

The last line of the ciphertext, "Seemes he a Doue? his feathers are but borrow'd," is followed by these suggestive 
lines:

For hee's disposed as the hatefull Rauen.
Is he a Lambe? his Skinne is surely lent him,
For hee's enclin'd as is the rauenous Wolues.
Who cannot steale a shape, that meanes deceit?

In 1592 Robert Greene published the "Groatsworth of Wit" which contained an attack upon Shakespeare in the 
following terms:

"Yes, trust them not: for there is 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, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in the country."

The Second Part of Henry the Sixt first appeared in quarto in 1600, eight years after the "Groatsworth," and this bold 
black raven in borrowed feathers was indeed Shakespeare.

* * *

In "The two Gentlemen of Verona" (ii, 1, 135) Valentine has written a letter for Silvia; she objects to its style and 
Valentine says: "Ile write your Ladyship another"; to this she replies, "And when it's writ: for my sake read it ouer."

Ciphertext is:
A N D V H E N I T S V R I T F O R M Y S A K E R E A D I T O V E R

Plaintext +4 is:

E R H C M I R N B A C Y N B K S Y Q D A E O I Y I E H N B S C I Y

Then Silvia withdraws, and this is said:

Speed. Oh Iest vnseene: inscrutible: inuisible,
As a nose on a mans face, or a Wethercocke on a steeple:
My Master sues to her: and she hath taught her Sutor,
He being her Pupill, to become her Tutor.
Oh excellent deuise, was there euer heard a better?

The "excellent device" produces this:

Ciphertext:
O E C E L L E N T D E V I S E W A S T H E R E

Ciphertext reversed is:

E R E H T S A V E S I V E D T N E L L E C E O

Plaintext +4 is:

I Y I M B A E C I A N C I H B R I P P I G I S

Truly a jest unseen--inscrutable--invisible. Until just now.

* * *

"Put thyselfe into the tricke of singularitie." That is good advice for the resolution of this bit of jesting, from "The 
Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet" (ii, 4, 64):

Mer. Sure wit, follow me this ieast, now till thou hast worne out thy Pump, that when the single sole of it is worne, 
the ieast may remaine after the wearing, sole-singular.
Rom. O single sol'd ieast,
Soly singular for the singlenesse.
Mer. Come betweene vs good Benvolio, my wits faints.
Rom. Swits and spurs,
Swits and spurs, or Ile crie a match.

Ciphertext is:
C O M E B E T V E E N E V S G O O D B E N V O L I O M Y V I T S F A I N T S S V I T S A N D S P V R S S V I T S A 
N D S P V R S O R I L E C R I E A M A T C H

Plaintext, +4 is:

G S Q I F I B C I I R I C A L S S H F I R C S P N S Q D C N B A K E N R B A A C N B A E R H A T C Y A A C N B A 
E R H A T C Y A S Y N P I G Y N I E Q E B G M

Plaintext reversed is:

M G B E Q E I N Y G I P N Y S A Y C T A H R E A B N C A A Y C T A H R E A B N C A A B R N E K A B N C D Q 
S N P S C R I F H S S L A C I R I I C B I F I Q S G

* * *

"By Francis Bacon? That may be a peculiar phrase to turn up in the Works of William Shakespeare. Yet we can find it 
in "Macbeth" (iii, 2, 5):

'Tis safer, to be that which we destroy,
Then by destruction dwell in doubtfull joy.

Ciphertext is:
T I S S A F E R T O B E T H A T V H I C H V E D E S T R O Y T H E N B Y D E S T R V C T I O N D V E L L I N D O 
V B T F V L L I O Y

Ciphertext reversed is:

Y O I L L V F T B V O D N I L L E V D N O I T C V R T S E D Y B N E H T Y O R T S E D E V H C I H V T A H T E B 
O T R E F A S S I T

Plaintext, +4 is:

D S N P P C K B F C S H R N P P I C H R S N B G C Y B A I H D F R I M B D S Y B A I H I C M G N M C B E M B I 
F S B Y I K E A A N B

* * *

Another example of "Fs" as the signature abbreviation of Bacon's surname (as in "Bote-swaine") may be found in 
Sonnet 2, the last five lines:

If thou couldst answere this faire child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse
Proouing his beautie by succession thine.
This were to be new made when thou art ould,
And see thy blood warme when thou feel'st it could,

The next-to-last line may "be new made," as follows:

Ciphertext is:
T H I S V E R E T O B E N E V M A D E V H E N T H O V A R T O V L D

Ciphertext reversed is:

D L V O T R A V O H T N E H V E D A M V E N E B O T E R E V S I H T

Plaintext, +4 is:

H P C S B Y E C S M B R I M C I H E Q C I R I F S B I Y I C A N M B

* * *

The first seven lines of Sonnet 111 are as follows:

O For my sake doe you wish fortune chide,
The guiltie goddesse of my harmfull deeds,
That did not better for my life provide,
Then publick meanes which publick manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdu'd
To what it workes in, like the Dyers hand,

A name branded like a Dyer's hand should interest us because of "what it workes in." Now Bacon does an infrequent 
thing: he enciphers his name twice within the ciphertext, rather than the plaintext, by using alternate letters.

Ciphertext is:
T H E N P V B L I C K M E A N E S V H I C H P V B L I C K M A N N E R S

Alternate letters are:

T E P B I K E N S H C P B I K A N E S

But, in the complete 14 line sonnet, he reverts to his more common practice; in the plaintext, "cipher" may be found, 
along with two more specimens of his name.

* * *

Here's a line from "A Midsommer nights Dreame" (ii, 1, 150) that shows the deft economy of the encipherer: "At a 
faire Vestall, throned by the West,"

Ciphertext is:
A T A F A I R E V E S T A L L

Plaintext +4 is:

E B E K E N Y I C I A B E P P

Plaintext reversed:

P P E B A I C I Y N E K E B E

Both spellings of his name share the same "N"!

* * *

Another example of such frugality may be found in "The Tragedie of Coriolanus" (i, 1, 130); it is another "one-liner."

True is it my Incorporate Friends (quoth he)

Ciphertext is:
T R V E I S I T M Y I N C O R P O R A T E F R I E N D S

Plaintext +4 is:

B Y C I N A N B Q D N R G S Y T S Y E B I K Y N I R H A

* * *

"The Phoenix and the Turtle" has Shakespeare's name printed at the end. It is preceded by a separate title-page 
labeled "LOVES MARTYR OR, ROSALINS COMPLAINT," in which it is called "the Turtle and Phoenix" (1601). This 
is the only line on this page that is printed in large italics:

"Done by the best and chiefest of our"

The ciphertext is:
D O N E B Y T H E B E S T A N D C H I E F E S T O F O V R

Ciphertext, +4 reversed is:

R V O F O T S E F E I H C D N A T S E B E H T Y B E N O D

Plaintext, +4 is:

Y C S K S B A I K I N M G H R E B A I F I M B D F I R S H

The poem itself has been described as "strange and remote," and "trembling on the verge between fantasy and 
nonsense" (A. L. Rowse). Consider the sense of the tenth verse:

Propertie was thus appalled,
That the selfe was not the same:
Single Natures double name,
Neither two nor one was called.

"Double name"? Let us probe beneath the first line:

Plaintext is:
P R O P E R T I E V A S T H V S A P P A L L E D

Ciphertext reversed is:

D E L L A P P A S V H T S A V E I T R E P O R P

Plaintext, +4 is:

H I P P E T T E A C M B A E C I N B Y I T S Y T

* * *

These lines are from "The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus" (iv, 1, 64), and spoken by Marcus:

Mar. . .Appollo, Pallas, Ioue, or Mercury,
Inspire me that I may this treason finde
My Lord looke heere, looke heere Lauinia.

Ciphertext is:
I N S P I R E M E T H A T I M A Y T H I S T R E A S O N F I N D E

Ciphertext reversed is:

E D N I F N O S A E R T S I H T Y A M I T A H T E M E R I P S N I

Plaintext, +4 is:

I H R N K R S A E I Y B A N M B D E Q N B E M B I Q I Y N T A R N

Lavinia cannot write because both her hands have been cut off but Marcus, who himself has lost a hand, directs her 
by his example:

He writes his Name with his staffe, and guides it with feete and mouth.

This sandie plot is plaine, guide if thou canst
This after me, I haue writ my name.

Ciphertext is:
T H I S A F T E R M E I H A V E V R I T M Y N A M E

Plaintext, +4 is:

B M N A E K B I Y Q I N M E C I C Y N B Q D R E Q I

* * *

Perhaps the most well-remembered cliche from Shakespeare's Works is, "What's in a name." The literal quotation is 
as follows, from "The Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet":

What in a names that which we call a Rose,
By any other word would smell as sweete,

Here, in 25 lines, the word "name" is uttered eight times. The line just before this citation (ii, 2, 37) is, "Belonging to a 
man"; it did not appear in the first Quarto edition of the play.

The ciphertext is:
T O A M A N V H A T I N

The plaintext, +4 is:

B S E Q E R C M E B N R

Alternate letters are:

B E E C E N

A few lines afterward are these provocative lines (ii, 2, 50):

By a name,
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
My name deare Saint, is hatefull to myselfe,
Because it is an Enemy to thee,
Had I it written, I would teare the word.

"who I am" did not appear in the 1597 Quarto, but was added to the 1599 and 1623 versions. Let us examine the first 
six words.

The ciphertext is:
B Y A N A M E I K N O V N O T

Alternate letters are:

B A A E K O N

* * *

He who writes under a pseudonym must change names, a phrase we may find in "The Tragedie of King Lear" (iv, 2, 
15):

Gon. . .Backe Edmond to my Brother,
Hasten his Musters, and conduct his powres.
I must change names at home, and giue the Distaffe
Into my Husbands hands.

Ciphertext, +4 is:
H A S T E N H I S M V S T E R S A N D C O N D V C T H I S P O V R E S I M V S T C H A N G E N A M E S A T H 
O M E A N D G I V E T H E D I S T A F F E I N T O M Y H V S B A N D S H A N D S

Plaintext, +4 is:

M E A B I R M N A Q C A B I Y A E R H G S R H C G B M N A T S C Y I A N Q C A B G M E R L I R E Q I A E B M 
S Q I E R H L N C I B M I H N A B E K K I N R B S Q D M C A F E R H A M E R H A

Plaintext reversed is:

A H R E M A H R E F A C M D Q S B R N I K K E B A N H I M B I C N L H R E I Q S M B E A I Q E R I L R E M G B 
A C Q N A I Y C S T A N M B G C H R S G H R E A Y I B A C Q A N M R I B A E M

Interestingly, in the 1608 Quarto the phrase is not "change names," but "change armes." Perhaps "armes" was not 
adequately significant.

* * *

In "A Midsommer nights Dreame" (i, 2, 41) "Quince the Carpenter" is selecting, from a company of artisans, the 
actors to play in a sketch of "Pyramus and Thisbie."

"Now good Peter Quince, call forth your Actors. . . Answere as I call you."

(Several are selected, and the dialogue continues):

...Now name the rest of the Players. This is Ercles vaine, a tyrants vaine: a louer is more condoling.
Quin. Francis Flute the Bellowes-mender.

Ciphertext is:
N O V N A M E T H E R E S T O F T H E P L A Y E R S T H I S I S E R C L E S V A I N E A T Y R A N T S V A I N E 
A L O V E R I S M O R E C O N D O L I N G F R A N C I S F L V T E T H E B E L L O V E S M E N D E R

Plaintext, +4 is:

R S C R E Q I B M I Y I A B S K B M I T P E D I Y A B M N A N A I Y G P I A C E N R I E B D Y E R B A C E N R I E 
P S C I Y N A Q S Y I G S R H S P N R L K Y E R G N A K P C B I B M I F I P P S C I A Q I R H I Y

The gentleman named was also playing a part.

* * *

What proof do we demand, what is proof enough? Inspect these lines from "Much adoe about Nothing" (ii, 2, 28):

Iohn. What proofe shall I make of that?
Bor. Proofe enough, to misuse the Prince,

Ciphertext is:
P R O O F E E N O V G H T O M I S V S E T H E P R I N C E

Ciphertext reversed is:

E C N I R P E H T E S V S I M O T H G V O N E E F O O R P

Plaintext, +4 is:

I G R N Y T I M B I A C A N Q S B M L C S R I I K S S Y T

Conclusion

We might continue with other examples, but reasonable observers should not insist upon more. We have reached a 
place where each of these signatures cannot all be ascribed to happenstance; these one-hundred and thirteen 
illustrations must not all have occurred by chance. Fourteen examples have been shown in which the playwright's 
name appears three or more times. Ten times an abbreviation of his first name has just preceded his last. Forty-three 
times we have found it in conjunction with a version of "cipher." Nine times it is found twice within one line of text.

In addition, we have found this enciphered name on twenty occasions together with, either in ciphertext or plaintext, 
the word "name." Must such subtlety forever escape the perception of the literary mind? While we follow the trail of 
such vintage etymological imprints, must we overlook these peculiarities? Our compass points across the wake of an 
immensely informed scholar; shall we still insist that he was innocent of cryptographic design--helpless to reveal his 
name through the composition of such coherent, but well concealed, devices?

In the Advancement of Learning, Book VI, Francis Bacon described three of the most desirable features of ciphers. 
Then he wrote, "lastly, if it be possible, that they be managed without suspition." Today we call such ciphers 
steganograms; in these, the very existence of secret writing is concealed.

In the italicized words of Bassino in "The Merchant of Venice" (iii, 2, 130):

You that choose not by the view
Chance as faire, and choose as true:
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content, and seek no new.

We perceive a design, a pattern of order in the results of our experiments. The "messages" are barren of the dramatic 
content some wishful skeptics may crave; we are tendered only a name, however unequivocally identified.

Sadly, the name is easy to deny because our ancestors have, for twelve generations, been willing to venerate a 
different label.

To the Reader

This Figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;
Wherein the Grauer had a strife
with Nature, to out-doo the life:
O,could he but haue drawne his wit
As well in brasse, as he hath hit
His face; the Print would then surpasse
All, that was ever writ in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his Picture but his Booke.

B. I.

This famous verse faces the portrait of Shakespeare in the 1623 Folio. O,whose name and wit abides therein, unseen? 
I have added emphasis to the fifth line. (Hit here for solution)
 Perhaps these excavations are merely superficial and offer only a cursory view of other cryptic intelligence lying 
beneath them. Yet these seemingly primitive cipher artifacts speak to us with singular finality. We have passed 
through a long-sealed chamber where such specimens of antique cryptography still endure.

Eighty years ago Mark Twain asked if "Shakespeare will have to vacate his pedestal this side of the year 2209." The 
answer is, as the authentic playwright puts it in "The Two Noble Kinsmen": forthwith--Give me the victory of this 
question.