Chapter 14

Documentation

                
Why how now gentleman: why this is flat

knavierie to take upon you another man's name.

--Shakespeare (infra.)

When the first edition of The Cryptographic Shakespeare was finished, I had time again to modify and enhance my 
cryptographic computer programs. These, and more labor with facsimiles of Shake-speare's works, have produced a 
harvest. I will abstract some of these gleanings, but first a review is in order. Bear with me for some repetition.

Francis Bacon, sometime before 1593, adopted a truncated key alphabet for his cipher system, in the same manner as 
Johannes Trithemius had done long before him. Bacon used only 21 letters of the Elizabethan 24 letter alphabet, 
which itself omitted J and U. It is as follows:

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

Bacon also used one of Trithemius' favorite ciphers, the Caesar. This is an elementary exercise in which each letter 
stands for one of the letters which precede or follow it in the alphabet. Thus "A B C" may become "b c d", or "c d e", 
or any such following series. Bacon chose, almost exclusively, the fourth series in which "A B C" becomes "e f g".

Bacon's cipher, primitive though it may seem, may be interpreted from this table:
Ciphertext is: A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V Y

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

From previous chapters, I will excerpt two examples which demonstrate the general system.

The first (and previously unpublished) play in the first (1623) edition of Shake-speare's complete works is "The 
Tempest." The first word of dialogue in "The Tempest" is "BOte-swaine." The first letter, "B", is a great capital, a kind 
of large ornamental initial that heads the first page of almost all of the plays; it was printed upside down in one copy 
of the book, and an odd replacement appeared in the second edition. The script, after some "scene setting" 
instructions, gives the Master the first word to speak:

Master.

BOte-swaine.

Botes. Heere Master: What cheere?

Mast. Good: Speake to th'Mariners: fall

too't, yarely, or we run our selves a ground,

Bacon used the fourth letter forward in a Caesar cipher to produce his plaintext. The letter "W" was not included in 
his key alphabet but it was often typeset as "VV" in the Folio and in the Sonnets. We shall install "BOTESVVAIN" as 
the ciphertext and run our computer program:

The ciphertext is:

B O T E S V V A I N E

The first four iterations of the plaintext are:

C P V F T Y Y B K O F     1
D Q Y G V A A C L P G  2
E R A H Y B B D M Q H  3
F S B I A C C E N R I       4

"F S B I A C C E N" (the plaintext) appears on the fourth line in which the letter "A"'"e". "FS" is Bacon's own signature 
abbreviation of his first name while "BIACCEN" is yet another phonetic spelling of his surname.

Another variation of Bacon's cipher is the use of alternate letters to convey the message, a device also adopted from 
Trithemius.

Let us consider again the italicized poem from "The Tempest" (ii, 2, 185). Caliban, "a savage and deformed slave" 
sings it "drunkenly":

Cal. No more dams I'le make for fish,
Nor fetch in firing, at requiring,
Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash dish,
Ban'ban' Cacalyban
Has a new Master, get a new Man.

There is a purpose to this ditty, as we shall see. We will take all the capitalized words, beginning on the third line, 
and string them together:

The ciphertext is:
N O R B A N B A N C A C A L Y B A N H A S M A S T E R M A N

The computer screen shows:

N O R B A N B A N C A C A L Y B A N H A S M A S T E R M A N
O P S C B O C B O D B D B M A C B O I B T N B T V F S N B O 1
P Q T D C P D C P E C E C N B D C P K C V O C V Y G T O C P 2
Q R V E D Q E D Q F D F D O C E D Q L D Y P D Y A H V P D Q 3
R S Y F E R F E R G E G E P D F E R M E A Q E A B I Y Q E R 4

On the fourth line we find the word "SYFER" and, when we transcribe every other letter beginning at the first, we 
read:

R Y E F R E E D E M A E B Y E

"FREEDEM" confirms the existence of this "SYFER;" the line just after Caliban's song is (literally) as follows:

"Freedome,high-day,high-day,freedome,freedome high-day,freedome."

Of all of the examples I have inspected, this one seems the most arresting. The author of this cryptographic puzzle 
has convincingly provided an opentext, immediately subsequent, cipher solution and with astonishing redundance. 
He has proven his adoption of a 21 letter, fourth letter forward Caesar cipher, and he has coupled it with Johannes 
Trithemius' alternate letter maneuver.

A friendly critic has found fault with such a use of alternate letters to convey a word or name, but he did not explain 
this definitive specimen. Perhaps he hadn't seen Trithemius' Steganographiae, a famous cryptographic book of 1606. 
The author was very fond of his Latin phrase, alternatis dictionibus significatius literis; here is an example of one of 
his methods:

PAMERSIEL ANOYR MADRISEL EBRASOTHEAN ABRULGES
ITRASBIEL NADRES ORMENU ITULES RABLON HAMORPHIEL .

The first and last "words" being nulls, the message, in German, is: "Nym die ersten Bugstaben de omni uerbo."

A related technique is described by John Wilkins in his cryptographic compendium, Mercury: or the Secret and Swift 
Messenger (1641): "There are likewise some other Inventions to expres any inward Sense by barbarous Words, 
wherein only the first, and middle, and last Letters shall be significant."

It has also been suggested that a proper cipher solution can only be read in a forward direction, never backward. Yet 
old-fashioned printers still read their type forward in their copy, and backward and upside down in the composing 
stick. Schoolboys still write their secret messages in that inverse fashion, and are mightily confident that no one can 
decipher them.

Also from Mercury:

The second Way of Secresy in Speech, is by an Alteration of any known Language, which is far more easie, and may 
prove of as much Use for the Privacy of it, as the other. This may be performed Four Ways.

1. By Inversion, when either the Letters or Sylables are spelled backwards.

Mitto tibi METULAS cancros imitare legendo, where the Word SALUTEM is expressed by an inversion of the Letters.

As I have progressed through these later experiments in Baconian cryptography, I have learned some lessons which 
may be profitable. First, the discerning reader should never underestimate the subtlety of our encipherer: he knew of 
ways to mislead him, to challenge his imagination and to reward his analysis. He was versatile in the secretion of the 
locus but he was invariable in the "general cipher system," as it is now called. Modern ciphers mostly depend upon 
"keys," such as a word used repeatedly to alter the ciphertext; the keys must be known, or discovered by 
cryptanalysis, in order to read the messages. Bacon did not use such keys, so far as the decryptions shown herein. 
He used a keyed, twenty-one letter alphabet and the fourth iteration of the Caesar cipher as his constants; and he 
used steganography. He had learned that insidious technique by reading contemporary publications describing 
Trithemius' cryptographic inventions.

Second, Bacon's methods cannot be judged by systems of cryptography devised hundreds of years after the span of 
his lifetime. His own previous creation, of the ingenious "biliterarie" cipher, shows that his thoughts in this field 
were both unconventional and innovative. However, the education and experience of modern cryptanalysts is much 
more mathematical and depends upon discoveries made hundreds of years after his death. We must remember that 
Francis Bacon had beseeched his own community of the literate to open their minds to fresh scientific thought; we 
must train ourselves to reason cryptographically within the world that he inhabited.

Third, we habitually judge the literary quality of any thesis upon current, proper spelling. But if we insist upon that 
purity, we must be appalled while reading Shakespeare in the original imprint. Spelling was not, in Francis Bacon's 
age, studied or practiced according to Twentieth Century lesson books, nor were the ways he openly spelt his own 
handwritten name. And, in ciphertext, he abundantly varied that spelling so that no duplicate and damning 
succession of letters would prematurely give him away.

Last, I will not comment upon his reasons for concealing the authorship of Shakespeare's Works. He had a purpose; 
it is enough to know that he accomplished it. The reader may enjoy considering, in a modern edition, the 
surrounding context cited for each example and noting the often enigmatic, suggestive and provocative language; 
however the text used here is from a facsimile of the original 1623 edition and may not agree with the wording and 
spelling shown in recent publications of the Works.

A final word of advice from Shakespeare himself: Put thyself into the tricke of singularitie, as he declares twice in 
"Twelfe Night" (ii, 5, 152; iii, 4, 79).

* * *

To begin a discussion of new matter, consider a line from "The life and death of King John" (i, 1, 194):

"Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin . . ."

This appears to be a harmless observation of the "Bast.", later identified as Philip Falconbridge, bastard son of 
Richard I. A few lines before, King John asks him, "What is thy name?" and he replies, "Philip my Liege, so is my 
name begun."

In 1893 a physician, Orville W. Owen, M.D., chose this line, which begins "Thus leaning. . .", as the beginning of a 
bizarre series of books which he claimed he had deciphered from the works of Wiliam Shakespeare. Dr. Owen may 
have selected this passage because of a statue he had seen in the Parish Church of St. Michael, St. Albans. The 
building is very old and stands at a place near the center of the Roman city of Verulamium; it has changed since then 
but in its foundations are Roman walls, some of them five feet thick.

The Normans enlarged the original (A. D. 948) church in the Twelfth Century. In the Sixteenth Century Sir Nicholas 
Bacon's manor house was built a few miles away. His son Francis was made Viscount St. Alban in 1621 and his will 
directed that he be buried there. According to an "Illustrated History" of the church, by John C. Rogers, A.R.I.B.A. it 
contains:

. . . a world famous monument, namely that of Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam and Viscount St. Alban, whose 
country house was Gorhambury, near-by. The monument occupies a part of the north wall of the chancel [or did in 
1935] and consists of a statue of Bacon seated in a chair, which stands upon a pedestal within a semi-circular headed 
niche. The sculptor who made this alabaster statue is unknown, though he is said to have been Italian. It was erected 
soon after Bacon's death in 1626 by his 'faithful friend and secretary' Sir Thomas Meautys, who is buried in the 
chancel. The pedestal of the monument, which originally projected some two feet, is inscribed in Latin, supposedly 
composed by Sir Henry Wotton, Provost of Eton (1624-1639); a translation is given upon a card which hangs in the 
chancel:

Francis Bacon Baron of Verulam. Viscount: Saint: Alban:
or by more conspicuous titles.
of Science, the Light. of Eloquence the Law.
thus he sat
Who after all Natural Wisdom
and secrets of Civil Life he had unfolded
Nature's Law fulfilled.
Let the compounds be dissolved.
In the year: of our Lord: 1626.
at the age of 66.
Of such a man that the
memory might remain:
Thomas Meautys,
living his attendant,
dead his admirer,
placed this monument.

H. P.

In 1924 it was discovered that the statue was in danger of falling because of dampness in its foundation. Funds were 
collected from members of the Francis Bacon Society and the monument was moved temporarily out onto the floor 
of the church. At the time a "receptacle" was located within the pedestal with a capacity of two cubic feet. 
Lamentably, it was found to be empty except for some debris.

That there is something odd about all this is suggested by Gilbert Wats in his 1640 translation of the "Advancement 
of Learning." Dedicatory poems and monographs (Manes Verulamiani), precede the text but these were left in Latin. 
The final one he translated into English:

In proper order would follow a description of the tomb of Verulam, the monument of the most noble Meautys. . .
This tomb has not yet been inspected, but an Interpreter will come [Busta haec nondum invisit Interpres, sed 
invisurus]. Meanwhile, reader, make thine own arrangements and go about thy business.

Spreads like a tree in hidden growth

The fame of Bacon.

Sic sedebat: "Thus he sat," an habitual posture for which this pensive and renowned judge was noted. The full Latin 
version may be worth setting down:

 

FRANCISCUS BACON BARO DE VERVLA. STI: ALBNI: VICMS:


SEV NOTIORIBVS TITVLIS.


SCIENTIARVM LVMEM. FACVNDIAE LEX.


SIC SEDEBAT


QVI POSTQVAM OMNIA NATVRALIS SAPIENTIAE


ET CIVILIS ARCANA EVOLVISSET


NATVRAE DECRETVM EXPLEVIT.


COMPOSITA SOLVANTVR.


ANo: DNI: M.DC.XXVI.


AETATis LXVI.


TANTI VIRI


MEM:


THOMAS MEAVTYS


SVPERSTITIS CVLTOR.


DEFVNCTI ADMIRATOR


H. P.


The last few lines translate as, "Of such a man, that the memory might remain, Thomas Meautys, living his 
attendant, dead his admirer, placed this monument." Observe the signature, "H. P." These letters, when enciphered 
in the +4 Baconian alphabet and then reversed, represent Meauty's initials.

Meautys, we will discover, was aware of one of Bacon's cipher methods: that of inserting the plaintext as alternate 
letters of the ciphertext; therefore this inscription is deserving of more careful examination. Take "MEAVTYS 
SUPERSTITIS," for example:

The ciphertext is:
M E A V T Y S S V P E R S T I T I S

The +4 text is:

Q I E C B D A A C T I Y A B N B N A

Skipping letters:

Q E B A C I A N N

* * *

To return to Dr. Owen and his first book, Sir Francis Bacons's Cipher Story (Howard Publishing Co., Detroit, 1893), 
here are the first lines of his imaginative "Sir Francis Bacon's Letter to the Decipherer":

MY DEAR SIR:

Thus leaning on my elbow I begin the letter scattered wider
than the sky and earth;

Dr. Owen said that he produced his five volumes of decipherments by examining the works of Shakespeare, Green, 
Peele, Marlowe, Spencer and Burton (all of whose books, he argued, were written by Bacon), and by switching from 
one place to another whenever a "key word" was encountered. These were HONOUR, NATURE, REPUTATION and 
FORTUNE. However he was guilty of violating these "rules" more often than not, and, in The Shakespearean 
Ciphers Examined, William and Elizebeth Friedman showed the good doctor to be a humbug.

But it is strange that Dr. Owen chose this particular line to begin his cipher story while, underlying it, Francis Bacon 
had thrice uttered his name.

The plot of "King John" opens with a controversy over an inheritance. Robert Faulconbridge's title to his father's 
estate is disputed by Philip who claims to have been the eldest son. The dialogue is much concerned with mistaken 
identity and names: the "Bast." (Philip) remarks, "And if his name be George, Ile call him Peter; / For new made 
honor doth forget mens names.."

A few lines later, Philip says:
My picked man of Countries: my deare sir,
Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin,
I shall beseech you; that is question now,
And then comes answer like an Absey booke:
Oh sir, sayes answer, at your best command,
At your employment, at your service sir:
No sir, saies question, I sweet sir at yours,

All of this doesn't make much sense, including the reference to the "Absey booke." This was a horn-book, a shingle 
on which the letters of the alphabet were written and protected by a thin sheet of animal horn; it was used to teach 
children their ABC's.

Let us apply our methods to this passage. We will see what letters of the alphabet were insinuated ("W" and "U" are 
shown as "V," and "J" as "I," in conformity with Bacon's cipher alphabet):

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

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

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

Here we read Bacon's NAME three times, in three spellings, and we have an explanation for the peculiar language of 
these lines (King John, i, 1, 194). Hereafter, words shown in bold print were not bold in the original; those in italics 
were so printed, unless followed by "[emphasis supplied]."

* * *

From the "First Part of Henry the Fourth" (v, 3, 160) we can find "name" and a version of "cipher" (reversed) in the 
plaintext:

Reig. And I againe in Henries Royall name,
As Deputy vnto that gracious King,
Giue thee her hand, for signe of plighted faith,
Suf. Reignier of France, I giue thee Kingly thankes,
Because this is in Trafficke of a King.

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

Plaintext, "4 is:
E R H N E L E N R I N R M I R Y N I A Y S D E P P R E Q I E A H I T C B D C R B S B M E B L Y E G N S C A O N 
R L L N C I B M I I M I Y M E R H K S Y A N L R I S K T P N L M B I H K E N B M Y I N L R N I Y S K K Y E R G I 
N L N C I B M I I O N R L P D B M E R O I A F I G E C A I B M N A N A N R B Y E K K N G O I S K E O N R L

* * *

An exceptional "name" manifestation is found in the last paragraph of "Timon of Athens" (v, 4, 65). A messenger 
enters to explain what he carries:

Mes. My Noble Generall, Timon is dead,
Entomb'd vpon the very hemme o'th'Sea,
And on his Gravestone, this Insculpture which
With wax I brought away: whose soft Impression
Interprets for my poore ignorance.
The next five lines are typeset entirely in italics:

Alcibiades reades the Epitaph.

Heere lies a wretched Coarse, of wretched Soule bereft,
Seek not my name: A Plague consume you, wicked Caitifs left:
Heere lye I Timon, who aliue, all liuing men did hate,
Passe by, and curse thy fill, but passe and stay not here thy gate.

Only the first line of this epitaph need be deciphered--the one just preceding "Seek not my name" We shall disobey 
that command.

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

Ciphertext reversed is:

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

Plaintext, +4 is:

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

* * *

"Shake-speare" is an equivocal name; it is ambiguous because it disguises the identity of the author. In "The Tragedie 
of Macbeth" (ii, 3, 21) a form of the word "equivocate" is recorded five times in twenty-six lines.

Then, urgently and significantly, someone knocks at the door twelve times. After the last knock, these words are 
spoken:

Anon, anon, I pray you remember the Porter.
Macd. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to Bed,
That you doe lye so late?
Port. Faith Sir, we were carowsing till the second Cock.
And Drinke, Sir, is a great prouoker of three things.

The "three things" arise in the following manner:

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

Plaintext, "4 is:

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

Three names and three spellings once more.

* * *

"Venus and Adonis" was, according to Shakespeare's dedication to the Earle of Southampton, "the first heire of my 
invention" (1593). It has been alleged that "he saw it through the press," though how we know that is nowhere 
illuminated. On the last page of this poem (line 1177) we may uncover three signatures of the man who borrowed his 
"guise," and each is spelled differently.

Poore floure (quoth she) this was thy fathers guise,
Sweet issue of a more sweet smelling fire,
For euerie little griefe to wet his eies,

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

Ciphertext reversed is:

S E I E S I H T E V O T E F E I R G E L T T I L E I R E V E R O F E R I F G N I L L E M S T E E V S E R O M A F O E 
V S S I T E E V S E S I V G S R E H T A F Y H T S A V S I H T E H S H T O V Q E R V O L F E R O O P

Plaintext, +4 is:

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

In three lines, three names--three spellings.

* * *

We may find the name three more times in "The Life of Henry the Fift" (iv, 1, 147):

King. So, if a Sonne that is by his Father sent about Merchandize, doe sinfully miscarry vpon the Sea; the imputation 
of his wickednesse, by your rule, should be imposed vpon his Father that sent him; or if a Seruant, vnder his Masters 
command,

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

Ciphertext reversed is:

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

Plaintext, +4 is:

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

* * *