The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 16, 1939


Site Ed. Note: As to "Prize Package", through the four centuries since Shakespeare wrote his plays, much speculation has erupted as to whether all the work--or any of the work--was his, some even speculating that Shakespeare himself was little more than an oafish, half-educated actor whose identity as playwright was endowed by either or all, Edward de Vere, Kit Marlowe, John Fletcher, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Bacon, or sundry others.

Even Mark Twain argued that Shakepeare could not have written the plays for the author's extraordinary familiarity with the law, that no man could so subrogate himself for actual practitioners of a craft merely from reading of it, suborn the respect of authenticity to release the fungible from the purse for entreaty to the realm of King's Men and Globe through e'en centuries merely by acting the part; that Bacon was therefore likely the smithy.

Most scholars have come to recognize that, by and large, parts of Henry VIII excepted as probably belonging to Fletcher, as well as possibly Henry VI, Part I and parts of Taming of the Shrew to yet others, the hand consistent which fell to pen and the script thus shapened from it to turn all plays thus ascribed was indeed that of Will Shakespeare, the deer poacher himself.

In the 1664 Folio, other plays no longer considered to be of the Bard, Locrine from 1595, Sir John Oldcastle, 1600, Thomas Lord Cromwell, 1602, The London Prodigal, 1605, The Puritan, 1607, and A Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608, were added for a time, to trade upon the name of the master.

And there is the bit of scholarship which turned up certain prefatory letters of each verse in a particular passage of the Bible which form a cipher suggesting a helping hand by Shakespeare in the re-write of it which became the King James version. And, anent, too, the fact that the 46th word from beginning and end of Psalm 46, form, more or less, the name, viz.:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore will not we fear,
though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her;
she shall not be moved:
God shall help her, and that right early.

6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved:
he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
what desolations he hath made in the earth.

9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;
he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;
he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Nice Work

The WPA Wages In South Now Exceed Some Private Wages

At the Direction of Congress, Southern WPA workers are about to enjoy a substantial rise in pay. Unskilled workers in North and South Carolina, for example, are to draw $35 a month as against the old $26 a month, with higher minimum pay in the larger cities, ranging up to $46.80 for those as yet nonexistent metropolises of 100,000 population.

A little easy arithmetic will show that $35 a month, regular, rain or shine, is about $8 a week, and that $46.80 a month comes to about $11 a week. Those are higher than the standards prevailing in certain occupations.

And as to the extent to which the relief rolls are crowded by persons of this description, we cite the statistic, somewhat out of date but probably still authentic, that two out of every five unemployment persons are women and that half of these are totally unskilled. Which is to say that they qualify mainly as domestics or farm laborers.

Hence, our jubilation at a bigger cut of the Federal swag is somewhat clouded; as we knew quite well it was going to be by the anomaly of higher relief wages for the domestic servant and farm labor classes than they can obtain in private employment. The danger is, of course, that getting on relief will come to mean a sort of promotion. And that those who don't get on will feel disgruntled, as would be wholly natural.

The Turkey War

That Date, However, Has Got Shifted A Good Deal

It is fairly comic that when the President at length makes a gesture toward business, he simply sets off another uproar. The change in the date of Thanksgiving Day was primarily a move to help the merchants, who have long complained that the shopping season in between the turkey holiday and Christmas was too short.

Trouble is, of course, that he has run into the big business of professionalized college football.

As a matter of fact the date of the holiday has changed around a good deal. The Pilgrims originally celebrated it immediately after their first harvest in 1621--which, in New England, would place it along in October. And indeed, at its origin it was simply the old European harvest festival brought over into America. The Massachusetts Bay Colony started observing it in 1630, the Dutch in the Netherlands in 1644. And in general it fell in October or early November. The first precedent for the practice which we have known was set by President Washington in 1789, when he appointed November 26 for a day of thanksgiving, but the holiday was not repeated until 1795, and then at a different date.

Moreover, it was not the custom of most Presidents to issue Thanksgiving proclamations prior to the Civil War. Madison issued one in 1812, but in general the matter was left up to the governors of the states, and some of the Southern states refused to have anything to do with it on the ground that it was a hangover from Puritan bigotry! Further, it was almost invariably observed in October in the states which did keep it.

The day became an official national holiday only after 1864, when President Lincoln issued a proclamation making the fourth Thursday in November of that year its date. Since that time, however, the general practice has been to make it the last Thursday in November.

Their Hero

League of Municipalities Invites "Angel" To Speak

It's rapidly attaining axiom status--that hypothesis of ours that you can tell a lot about the nature of an organization by the sort of man invited to address it.

Through the years we have tried it with unvarying edification to ourselves, at least. We tried it twice last week on the Young Democrats, with Senator Pepper of Florida and Boss Ed Kelly of Chicago serving as prototypes of the young democratic ideal. We are about to try it again.

The State League of Municipalities will hold its annual convention at Wrightsville this week. Now, the chief end of municipal governing bodies all through the last four or five years has been--to keep taxes down? Not notably. To issue bonds for public improvements? The record speaks to the contrary. To purge local administrations of politics and strive for greater efficiency? Not so you can notice it.

None of these things, principally, but something else to which, according to our hypothesis, a clue be found in the character of the men the State League of Municipalities has invited to address it. The key speaker will be John Carmody, the big Federal works man, the fellow who okays projects and makes loans and grants, the something-for-nothing man, every mayor's and town alderman's hero.

An Old Bore

His Tactics Grow Weak When People Won't Look

Mr. Hitler is in danger of becoming a bore. Matter of fact, the fellow has already become a deadly bore. Once more he is pursuing the same tactics which we have seen over and over before. Soldiers are being poured in solid streams around the borders of Poland. And his understrappers are champing and pawing the earth about "the necessity of a solution at once" to the Danzig question. Apparently, he is getting ready for another coup, though it is possible that he is only bluffing.

What is more likely is that he believes that his "war of nerves" will succeed again and that he'll get what he wants at another Munich, with Poland unwillingly forced to acquiesce by her "allies."

Maybe he will. Certainly, it seems believable that Neville Chamberlain wants it that way. But possibly he won't. And in good part just because this is old stuff now--because he has got to be a bore. Last September, his "war of nerves" worked beautifully because the people of the nations were fascinated by horror, because their gaze was hypnotically fixed on the spectacle of a man of ill-will holding the fate of millions of lives in his hands. Now they hardly notice him at all.

They know he is there, well enough, but as a man dozing on a hot summer day knows that the same horsefly which has been buzzing around his head for hours is still there. You can't do much with a "war of nerves" when people yawn at your name on the front page. Of course, if the horsefly actually settled down on the man's head and started to bite again--well, maybe he might run away once more. But then again his reaction might be simply one of outraged anger and the will to swat.

Prize Package

Somebody Ought To Grab This Bargain, Quick!

Our favorite correspondent just now is Mr. Arthur W. Sanborn, of 124 Newton Street, Boston, Mass. For reasons we can only surmise, Arthur is not to be found in "Who's Who in America." But he is by his own confession a noted author. Among his books are those well-known titles: "Men of Merchant's Row" and "The Long Lost Land."

However, authoring is not Arthur's chief claim to fame. The last title listed perhaps indicates the bent of his mind. Briefly, he is a great researcher into the lost and the unsolved. And now he comes forward to advise us under his own signature that "at least five plays in the Shakespeare Folio of 1623 were not written by way of Shakespeare..." and that "these five plays... are distinctly superior to the average of the other 31 plays..."

Furthermore, he says, he can prove it in 4,000 words which will be intelligible to anybody and which will convince everybody. Yet furthermore, it is, he deposes, of worldwide interest, and it unmasks the Shakespeare Mystery. And to cap it all, he promises to unmask a Mystery within the Mystery.

And this prize package he offers to sell us for the paltry sum of $50,000. More than that, we haven't got to pay a cent down. And more still, if we are satisfied with our bargain, we can call in the Supreme Court to arbitrate the issue. Indeed, Arthur favors having the Supreme Court in, for that will impress the school boards of the land, and we ought to stop imposing "falsehood on 10,000,000 schoolchildren."

The matter distresses us. We blush to confess it, but just now we are a little short of having the mere bagatelle asked. But we hoped some of the better healed will hasten to step up and pay off. For we thoroughly agree if old Bill has been palming a ghost off on us all these years, he ought to be shown up.

Futher Site Ed. Note: De Vere's putative authorship, incidentally, is based primarily on four areas of doubt, positive and negative: that his personal life loosely, very loosely, paralleled Hamlet's--father died, mother remarried, father-in-law and guardian, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, appears to parallel somewhat the character of Polonius, father of Ophelia; that he underscored certain verses of his personal Bible to which reference was made in the various plays; that the name Shakespeare, was often spelled differently, notably as Shaksper, seeming instead then to refer distinctly to the actor of Stratford, who was seen to have spelt it thusly, whereas the de Vere coat of arms bore a lion holding a spear (thus, assumed to be shaking it), and supposedly Queen Elizabeth once greeted de Vere at court by saying in Latin he had it within him "to will shake spear", or something like that in loose translation; and, moreover, the obvious differences between de Vere's access to court, his high-born place and educational background versus Shakespeare's status as mere commoner and possessed only of local religious school instruction, albeit 12-hours per day, six days a week, all year round, as it was said to be.

We won't attempt to delve into this subject, for it is essentially a bottomless pit whose bones in possession it hath, it is said by the stone marking the top of it, are curséd be to those who unearth what lays aneath its cumbering slab. There simply is not, and never will be, a definitive answer, any more than one could say on empirical certainty, absent faith, that the Carpenter of two millennia ago inspired all and every one of the red letters in the Bible.

The point, however, which seems rather more important, and so in either case, is that identity of authorship is not so vastly of significance, that being embraced of the ego--not so much of the author of the scribism or Scriblerian, as the case may be, at least not over the long haul, long dust to the corporeal majesty have them after all but a short bit of epoch after scribition, instead of the later adherent of theory indubitably positing one or the other position as to source, without quarter--; but rather that it is the quality of the thought, the argument, the diatribe, the poetribe, conveyed, and the manner of its effect on the perceiver through time and how well it withstands critical scrutiny, swayed against it by the storms of many and varied ages and events, which lends to the authored text--whether by individual, original writ or that of dozens of emendations to it, laid on by the plenishing-nails of the original scrivener or by others in descent of oral tradition--its force for good or ill, and continues so to do as annual cycles pass again.

So, suffice it to say that all of the many varied explanations for de Vere's authorship, being fascinating and looking at first blush compelling, are rather easily blown to the same dust comprising the bones beneath the marker in Stratford. Absence of eulogy at the time of the actor's death, they posit in reply? But, perhaps it be explained by the age and the very fact of the commoner status of the author, he not even having ever been provided the knighthood's "Sir" as a sur-appellate, a bit of envy evident from the Lords and, perhaps, even the Crown itself?

Who knows?

But we should be remiss were we not to point out that, indeed, nearly a half century later, Mr. Sanford would get his wish--maybe not the $50,000 he sought, but at least the vaunted hearing favored. The matter was put before the Supreme Court, that is to say one-third of its membership sitting as a moot court in 1987, adjudicating the question of whether Shakespeare of Stratford or de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford operating under a pseudonym, authored the plays and sonnets.

The three participating justices, Justice Brennan, sitting as Chief, Justice Blackmun, and Justice Stevens, all agreed that the burden of proof of authorship being on the contravening party, (though some obviously heated in limine debate transpired, within the code of the field, over just what standard to apply, preponderance, clear and convincing, or reasonable doubt), the so-called Oxfordian position, (present claims and excerpted quotes of the Oxfordians to the contrary notwithstanding), was not sustained and the literary reputation of the Bard of Stratford remained, at least for the time, intact. Justice Blackmun, it is fair to say, however, took no strong position either way and more or less deferred to historians.

Freud, incidentally, thought Looney was right in 1920, that it was de Vere; but Freud, would, you know.

A good example of Looney's scholarly approach, yet lacking woefully as a probatum, may be observed in his quotation side by side of de Vere's lines from "What Cunning can express?" with those of Shakespeare's "Lucrece". The de Vere runs:

The Lily in the field
That glories in his white,
For pureness now must yield
And render up his right.
Heaven pictured in her face
Doth promise joy and grace.

Fair Cynthia's silver light,
That beats on running streams,
Compares not with her white,
Whose hairs are all sunbeams.
So bright my Nymph doth shine,
As day unto my eyne.

With this there is a red
Exceeds the Damaske-Rose,
Which in her cheeks is spread;
Whence every favour grows.
In sky there is no star
But she surmounts it far.

When Phoebus from his bed
Of Thetis doth arise,
The morning blushing red
In fair Carnation wise,
He shows in my Nymph's face
As Queen of every grace.

This pleasant Lily white,
This taint of roseate red,
This Cynthia's silver light,
This sweet fair Dea spred,
These sunbeams in mine eye,
These beauties make me die.

Looney in 1920 laments that these adolescent-sounding drivellings "have escaped for so long the attention of the compilers of anthologies is one of the mysteries of literature". Candidly, we can, and can scarcely understand his comparison of them, other than a coincidence of common colors, which he sees fit to italicize for us, quite as if he might find the same comparison in, "Roses are red, violets are blue/ We must read Holinshed, for our knowledge to accrue/ Though mightn't yet he be ded?/ His name being speelt 'Hollingshead', after all, too", or the like, when he quotes from "The Rape of Lucrece":

Stanza 2.
"To praise the clear unmatched red and white
Which triumph'd in the sky of his delight,
Where mortal stars as bright as heaven's beauties,

With pure aspects did him peculiar duties."

Stanza 4.
"The morning's silver melting dew
Against the golden splendour of the sun."

Stanza 6
"So rich a thing braving compare."

Stanza 8.
"When beauty boasted blushes, in despite
Virtue would stain that o'er with silver white."

Stanza 10.
"This heraldry in Lucrece's face was seen,
Argued by beauty's red and virtue's white
Of either colour was the other queen."

Stanza 11.
"This silent war of lilies and of roses,
Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field."

It is perhaps not immediately possible--or necessary--to articulate with any precision of speech the differences between the two excerpts, but they are considerably of a different spark of mind, a different creative character behind their drift and draft. If we knew nothing of their source, we would naturally tend toward belief that if they are not of the same authorship, as is evidently the case, then the former is plainly either of one in the throes of early puberty or an adult poet in his dotage, while the other is of at least a mature young man with sophisticated means of expression at his disposal. Yet we know the lines by de Vere came from a man of 50 years when the poem was published in 1600. "Lucrece" appeared 7 to 8 years earlier, when Shakespeare was about 29-30.

"Lucrece", unedited by Looney, is even more illustrative of the starkly evident contrast.

We thus decline to be so inclined as Freud. Perhaps something was lost in the German translation.

Yet, it is all very interesting as a means of exploration of the literature of the Bard, as mystery. (Reading a little of Hollingshedde might lend redemption to the actual historical figures of even such a foul fowler as Macbeth and his bloodless Lady, and suggest Shakespeare as having not only taken poetic license with history but so reversed or unduly cleanly defined good and evil in some of his plays as to have been quite a deliberate traducer, himself; but, as the play's the thing, that's another story.)

Interesting, too, is a resourceful Claremont College computer analysis of Shakespeare's writings versus that of several other likely heirs in waiting to the Bard's moniker. The result was that Shakespeare appeared to be his own man, whoever he was, not one of the pretenders to the throne. What we found most astonishing, however, about this study was that the computer determined that Will Shakespeare writ at an eleventh grade level, while de Vere, as a seventh grader.

Which goeth to showeth that when one doth, or even you dost, send a computer, that highest of informational storage devices, or thought so to be by the common-speak of the age in which we reside, programmed in just that and semantic interrelationships thereof, in search of "correct" speech and written patter, like as not one would--for it could not, beyond reason, in support of the poetic enlightenment for the good and betterment of all, in rhythm and reach of the mind, decanted thought both satirical and phraseologically twisted, thinking to assist the reach beyond that which is placed common, hence nobler in the toil than the mere tool by which it spinneth make, any more interpret further that for its occupatio or its vers de société, its preterition of the particular constructs, indecipherable as usually they are anyway, as are evident in the instruction manuals accompanying most computers and computer programs--find inveitably, that is, that it thus may think not nor could, in-box or out, out. And so, if left to its own non-elliptical harshness, devoid of the capacity to understand romance, irony, and the rest of the humanities, would give most such plumish people F's, as oafish sons and daughters of glovers be.

So we rest our case.

...Or What You Will.

Ye say it's yer Birthday? We cannot recall our own, per se. So you light the candle, e'en it's the last match.

Anyway, saieth he, whoever he was, in part--apparently contemporaneous with the earliest mention of this particular beetle of his œuvre, at least in critical rings, by poet Gabriel Harvey, preserved holographically, as set down in Chaucer's The Workes, 1598, that being, "The younger sort takes much delight in Shakespeare's Venus, & Adonis: but his Lucrece, & his tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, have it in them, to please the wiser sort..."--:

1605, Second Variant Quarto; Garrick

ACT I, SCENE IV. The platform.


Ham. The ayre bites shroudly; it is very colde.

Hor. It is a nipping and an eager ayre.

Ham. What houre now?

Hor. I thinke it lackes of twelfe.

Mar. No, it is strooke.

Hor. Indeede; I heard it not. It then drawes neere the season,
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walke.

[A flourish of trumpets, and two pieces go off.]

What does this meane, my lord?

Ham. The King doth wake to-night and takes his rowse,
Keepes wassel, and the swaggring up-spring reeles;
And, as he draines his draughts of Rhenish downe,
The kettle-drumme, and trumpet, thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

Hor. Is it a custome?

Ham. I, marry, ist,
But to my minde, though I am native heere
And to the manner borne, it is a custome
More honourd in the breach, then the observance.
This heavy headed reveale east and west
Makes us tradust and taxed of other nations.
They clip us drunkards, and with Swinish phrase
Soyle our addition, and indeede it takes
From our atchievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chaunces in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth wherein they are not guilty,
(Since nature cannot choose his origin)
By their ore-grow'th of some complextion
Oft breaking downe the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit, that too much ore-leavens
The forme of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying I say the stamp of one defect,
Being Natures livery, or Fortunes starre,
His vertues els be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergoe
Shall in the generall censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his owne scandal.

Enter Ghost

The above lines, by the way, those following, "More honourd in the breach, then the observance," were among the thousand or so deleted in the 1879 "Prompt-Book" version of the play for actors on the stage, these particular lines being deemed "impediments to directness for dramatic effect," by the playbook's presenter, Edwin Booth, whose brother of course broke Edwin's record-setting 100 night run of the aforementioned play in New York's Winter Garden Theatre and, also in the bargain, his own leg, during his and his invisible companion's most famous exeunt.

One more thing--We have it on personal observation that there is a check mark over Psalm 46 in Cash's personal Bible, the only such chapter which appears to have been marked at all in the whole of the book.

Thus, it's clear. Cash wrote all the plays.

Dyd. We not Kyd.


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