Not Ed

Oxfordians claim the sonnets published as SHAKE-SPEARE’S SONNETS fit the life story of the Earl of Oxford better than they fit the life story of William Shakespeare of Stratford.  They point out correctly that the poet often refers to himself as old, while Shakespeare was in his thirties when most of the sonnets are thought to have been written.  They claim correctly that the poet complains of feeling disgraced and point out, again correctly, that the Earl of Oxford was often disgraced (although it is doubtful that there was any human being who ever lived who did not feel disgraced at one time or another).



136

If thy soul cheque thee that I come so near, 
Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy 'Will,'
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there; 
Thus far for love my love-suit, sweet, fulfil. 
'Will' will fulfil the treasure of thy love, 
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one. 
In things of great receipt with ease we prove 
Among a number one is reckon'd none: 
Then in the number let me pass untold, 
Though in thy stores' account I one must be;
For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold 
That nothing me, a something sweet to thee: 
Make but my name thy love, and love that still, 
And then thou lovest me, for my name is Will.


They also claim, quite incorrectly, that the sonnets tell the story from the point of view of a nobleman.  This ignores sonnet 25 in which the poet states that he is barred from boasting of proud titles.  No one ever barred Edward de Vere from boasting that he was the Earl of Oxford and Lord Great Chamberlain.  But even more glaring than sonnet 20 is sonnet 136, in which the poet says, “My name is Will.”

Most Oxfordians insist that the sonnets are all absolutely autobiographical, that the poet must be the Earl of Oxford because the sonnets tell the story of the Earl of Oxford.  They claim the sonnets cannot be fiction.

Except for the “my name is Will” part.  That part alone, they insist, must be fiction.

Some have claimed that if you search for sonnet 136 on the Internet,  it most often appears with the name in quotation marks.  There were no quotation marks around the name when the collected sonnets were first published by Thomas Thorpe in 1609.   In that publication the name appears in italics.  Many Oxfordians claim that the use of italics must be there for a reason, and the reason is to show that the poet’s name was not really Will.  But in sonnet 53, the names Adonis and Helen appear in italics.  In sonnet 93, the name Eve appears in italics in a reference to Eve’s apple.  Is someone telling us that the Greek youth loved by Aphrodite was using a pseudonym?  Was Helen of Troy really Gertrude of Troy?  Was that woman in Eden who ate the apple was really named Sophie?

The publishers in Shakespeare’s time frequently put names, REAL NAMES, in italics.  The First Folio is brimming with real names of real people in italics.

The Oxfordian belief that the poet used italics (or worse, nonexistent quotation marks) to tell us that he did not really mean it when he said his name was Will is one of their more nonsensical claims.

Either the sonnets are not 100% factually autobiographical, in which case the fact that the poet claims to be old and in disgrace are not actual evidence of anyone’s authorship, or the sonnets are 100% factually autobiographical, in which case the Poet’s name was not Ed.

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Comments (7)

  • culfy's picture

    Who was Michelle? Was she the great love of Paul McCartney's life who, despite the language barrier, was able to inflame Paul's heart so much that his every waking day and night was disturbed by thoughts of her? Or did he just fancy having a go at writing a Edith Piaf style ballad and found the name Michelle fit the metre elegantly and gave a few good rhymes?


    This is my big problem with any analysis of the Sonnets for biographical data; we simply don't know how much was Shakespeare expressing his true desires and how much was him just having a go at a recognised artistic form and seeing how far he could push it? 

    Jun 11, 2013
  • Old Nightwork's picture

    Ah, but don't those lines in French indicate that McCartney must have travelled widely on the continent, especially as he also sang in German? But then again Golden Slumbers proves that his works were written by Thomas Dekker.

    Jun 11, 2013
  • culfy's picture

    Obviously. He was dead at the time (Macca that is).

    Jun 11, 2013
  • Old Nightwork's picture

    Indeed, in about 1966, as I recall. His posthumous creativity is almost as impressive as Oxford's. I seem to recognise your face. Weren't you in Queen Christina?

    Jun 11, 2013
  • alfa-16's picture

    Some of us believe that culfy is actually the pen name of The Bishop of Winchester. Be careful with those double entendres.

    Jun 11, 2013
  • culfy's picture

    "I'm currently playing Lady Macbeth your Grace" as the actress said to the Bishop.

    Jun 11, 2013