Saturday, October 31, 2015


©Eric L. Miller, 3/4/2006/; 2015

Ruth Miller’s Important Contribution

Ruth Miller has made many seminal pioneer contributions to the Oxfordian movement. One of the most important contributions that she made was her noting that “Ignoto” had an important poem that was published with Spenser’s FQ (1590), a fact overlooked by Looney and not even included in his Ignoto poems, which he opined were written by Lord Oxford. More than that, Miller further correlated Ignoto’s FQ poem with Ben Johnson’s panegyric to Shakespeare included in the First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s complete works in 1623. Miller observed that Jonson’s poem was actually an “undisguised and unashamed paraphrase” of the Ignoto poem—indicating, while not overtly stating it, that Jonson intended his poem to link the authorship of the Shakespeare poems with Lord Oxford. Numerous commentators have since Miller remarked on her discovery and it is all but accepted doctrine in Oxfordian circles that the Ignoto poem in FQ was written by Lord Oxford—this, despite the fact that there is no proof of the matter, and such belief hitherto appears to rest upon mere opinion and accepted conjecture. But more proof of the proposition, we offer, is here at hand.

The Obvious Paraphrase: Jonson and Ignoto

Miller indicated the obvious paraphrase of Jonson’s panegyric to Shakespeare in the 1623 Folio involved two especial points in relation to Ignoto’s poem in FQ. Miller quoted and underlined the second stanza of the poem thus:

Thus then to show my judgment to be such
As can discern of colours black and white,
As alls to free my mind from envy’s touch,
That never give to any man his right:
I hear pronounce this workmanship is such
As that no pen can set it forth too much.

And then Miller quotes the opening lines of Jonson’s poem:

To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither man nor Muse can praise too much.

[R.Miller it should be noted, did not follow the punctuation and capitalizations of the original—but the issue is not material to our discussion.]

Neither Looney, nor Miller nor any of the following commentators, that this writer knows of, is aware of the fact that the important couplet at issue from Ignoto poem in FQ is itself derivative. And the derivation connects us directly to Lord Oxford.

Harvey’s Poem Written For Lord Oxford

Sometime in April, 1580, Gabriel Harvey wrote a letter to his great friend, Edmund Spenser. Harvey and Spenser were particularly affectionate with one another and exchanged a number of letters before and after the completion of Spenser’s first published book, Shepheard’s Calendar. The series of their letters were collected and published in tandem with SC, under Familiar Letters. In one of the letters Harvey wrote a poem, supposedly at the request of a “Country Gentleman.” The title of the poem was: To my good Mistresse Anne: The very lyfe of my lyfe, and onely beloved Mystresse.” The poem was written, in actuality, in a mocking manner, and it is highly dubious that Harvey was ever requested to write it. Harvey and Spenser had secret communications going on at the time, often wrote to each other in double entendres, mocks, jests, and insinuations.

The poem, supposedly written for the Country Gentleman for his lover, was nonetheless dispatched to Spenser with obvious alacrity. The poem opens thusly (the language is mostly modernized):

Gentle Mistress Anne, I am plain by nature:
I was never so far in love with any creature,
Happy were your servant, if he could be so Anned,
And you, not unhappy, if you should be so manned.
I love not to gloss, where I love indeed,
Now God and good Saint Anne, send me good speed.
Such goodly Vertures, such amiable Grace,
But I must not fall a praising: I want time and place.
Oh, that I had mine old wits at commandment:
I know what I could say without controlment:

But let this suffice: thy desert are such:
That no man in this world can love thee too much.

[blank space and italics added for emphasis]

There is more in the poem that merits examination, but before turning to it, it should be noted that in his introduction to the poem, addressed to Spenser, Harvey says that he needs must be revealing “my friends secrets, now an honest Country Gentleman, sometimes a Schollar: At whose request, I bestowed this pawlting bongrely Rime upon him, to present to his Maistress withal.” [pawlting=paltry (Harvey, Letters, 1579;1580); bongrely-good will].

 The poem to “Mistress Anne” by Harvey comes from the same section of Familiar Letters that contains the famous satire Speculum Tuscanismi, universally accepted as an attack on Lord Oxford (Harvey himself labels it a “satirical libel”). It will be noted that Harvey states at the beginning of Speculum, as he does for Mistress Anne, that he “must needs betray” secrets and/or confidences. Harvey has no problem with that, especially for his “beloved” Spenser. In another work, The Country Gentleman, I make the case with a detailed close scrutiny of the letters of Harvey and Spenser, that the Country Gentleman is, in fact, Lord Oxford, that he was employed by Lord Oxford at the time, living at his residence, and betraying him on the side with his rivals: Spenser, Sidney, Leicester, et al.

Spenser had been in love with Anne Vavasor and felt betrayed by her and Menalcas [another name for Lord Oxford]. But the point here is that the poem to Mistress Anne, allegedly penned for the Country Gentleman, was nothing but another satirical stab at Lord Oxford and his troubled relationship with Anne Vavasor.

Even without detailed analysis of the letters as mentioned above, we can turn to Ruth Miller’s work on the subject and see that she, also, suggests that the “Country Gentleman” is Lord Oxford. After presenting the text of Speculum Tuscanismi Miller continues:

Harvey goes on to say to Spenser that he had

Already addressed a certaine pleasurable and Morall Politique Naturall mixte devise, to his most Honourable Lordshipppe, in the same kynde, whereunto my next Letter, if you please mee well, may perchaunce make you privie. . .

At the end of this particular section of the letter, following the many allusions and out-right references to Lord Oxford, Harvey returns to the “Rosalind” theme in The Shepherds Calendar with 

And yet because you charge me somewhat suspitiouslye with an olde promise, to deliver you of that jealousie, I am so farre from hyding mine owne matters from you, that loe, I must needs be revealing my friendes secreates, not an honest Country Gentleman, sometimes a Scholler: At whose request, I bestowed this pawlting bungrely Rime upon him, to present his Maistresse withal. The parties shall bee namelesse: saving, that the Gentlewoman’s true, or counterfaite Christen  name, must necessarily be bewrayed. (Emphasis added.)

Miller then observes that there then follows the poem to Mistress Anne, “While the ‘honest Country Gentleman’ remains nameless.” Miller clearly implies, in context, that the “Country Gentleman” is Lord Oxford. She does not say so directly, but she does the next best thing, she immediately turns her attention to the subject of Anne Vavasor and states, “Harvey’s cryptic statement about the name of the Gentlewoman suggests that the poem is actually addressed to a person whose Christian name is Anne, confirming that the original of Spenser’s Rosalind was Anne Vavasor.” (italic in the original). Miller says that by divulging the name of “Anne” that Harvey confirmed that “Rosalind” was Anne Vavasor because in the Gloss to SC it is stated that “Rosalind is also a feigned name, which being well ordered will bewray the very name of his love and mistress, whom by that name he coloureth. . .a common custom of counterfeiting the names of secret personages.” A modest note by Miller explains and clarifies the meaning: “Note that the first four letters of Rosalind are the last four, reversed of Vavasor, not an uncommon way of bewraying a name.”

The fact of the matter is there is only one person, of whom we are aware, that Spenser had an acute jealousy for in 1579-80, a jealously that he got Harvey to promise to rid him of, and that was “Rosalind” or Anne Vavasor. For Harvey to have any influence on the matter he would, it seems, have to have been in contact with one or both parties—i.e., Anne Vavasor and/or Lord Oxford.

Clearly we do not have an Anne Vavasor at the heart of all this business without the “Country Gentleman” being Lord Oxford. It is Lord Oxford who is the “Honourable Lordshippe,” the “Italian Master” and “Emperor Justianian” mentioned in the text in the Familiar Letters.

But, let us return to the poem to Mistress Anne, there are other clear indications that Lord Oxford is the “Country Gentleman” who supposedly requested Harvey to write him a poem for her—a joke all by itself. Those of us who have studied the text of Lord Oxford’s allusions he makes, and allusions made about him, are aware how often his name is played upon to give an intensification of his family name and identity as a True/Vere. Those of us who accept the identity of Lord Oxford with “Shakespeare” see in phrases such as occur in the sonnets “that every word doth almost tell my name” indications of the word-play with his name whose root is Truth. Thus, Oxford’s own word-play with his own name involuntarily comes to mind, especially in the poem to his wife, Lady Anne Vere, while he was traveling abroad, the first stanza of which is:

 TRUTHS/VERES teach the TRUE/VERE woman:
Falsehoods are incompatible with the TRUTH/VERE
And only TRUE/VERE things last:
Other things fly away.

Harvey was a wordsmith himself and not likely to miss the opportunity to play upon the name of his “secret” and “unknown” personage about whom he writes. In his Mistress Anne poem he writes, undoubtedly tongue in cheek:

By faith of true Love and by my truest Truly,
That shall never put forth thy love to greater usary.

As we can see three Vere roots in one line!

And he ends his poem:

He that longeth to be thine own
Inseparably, for ever and ever.

Two E.Vers in conclusion!

Harvey’s poem “Mistress Anne” can be mined for other evidence of Lord Oxford’s status in 1579-80 and for evidence of the identity of the “green youth” of the Shakespeare Sonnets who figures in the ménage a tois described in the Sonnets involving Anne Vavasor and Lord Oxford and the third party. But here we are primarily concerned with the issue of trying to throw light on the significance of the the poems of Ignoto and Ben Jonson vis a vis the identity of “Shakespeare.”

Envy: Ignoto, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare

John M. Rollett, in a recent article, questions that Miller’s observation that there was a veiled reference by Jonson to Shakespeare’s identity and Ignoto “because he wanted to suggest covertly some connection between ‘Ignoto’ and Shakespeare, a connection which very few people would make, given the 33-year gap between the two poems.” I disagree. Indeed, I proffer that Jonson was not only making a covert connection between Shakespeare and Ignoto but also directly with Lord Oxford—albeit, it is true, it was certainly a veiled allusion, no doubt intended for the delectation of those who were already “in the know.”

The publication of FQ was a monumental event in the history of English letters and one which the literati would be, then, as they are now, quite familiar with. Indeed, one would say that someone of Jonson’s stature and education would be particularly cognizant of the importance of the occasion to English letters and Spenser lovers, and especially so if he believed Ignoto was Shakespeare. Thirty-three years is nothing in this history of such matters. Swarms of scholars and would-be scholars are to this day passionately involved in the mysteries of Spenser and Shakespeare and their antecedent roots.  

Rollett also takes issue, with feint praise, with Ogburn’s paraphrase of the first couplet of Jonson’s panegyric. “Charles Ogburn paraphrases the first couplet as follows: ‘To bring no harm upon your name, I shall be liberal, unstinting, to your plays and fame,’ which is fine, but leaves one wondering why Ben Jonson brought in ‘envy’ in particular?” After noting that Harvey appears to be identifying ‘Envy’ with Lord Oxford in his remark that in Harvey’s throwaway line, “Nashe, the Ape of Greene, Greene, the Ape of Euphues, Euphues, the Ape of Envy. . .” he was evoking or echoing “Oxford’s” commendatory poem in FQ [obviously as ‘Ignoto’] and states, “so it is a reasonable deduction that Harvey in calling Lyly the ‘Ape’ of Oxford, who may therefore be identified with ‘Envie”. Rollett then querries:  

And why would Harvey denote Oxford by the word ‘Envie’? Clearly, because Oxford’s commendatory poem to Spenser’s Faerie Queene harps on the ‘Envie’ which Spenser’s sonnet urges Oxford to defend him from. Harvey would have had particular reason to remember these two poems, since (as a close friend of Spenser’s) he had himself written one of the commendatory poems, under the name ‘Hobynoll’, printed only a page or two away from Oxford’s.

 Rollett continues a rather contorted discussion of how the word “Envy” came to be applied to Oxford (he takes it as fact that Ignoto of FQ is Oxford) : “In the course of this investigation, it occurred to me to wonder whether there might be some additional reason for the word ‘envy’ to be associated with Oxford. Since nothing plausible in English springs to mind. . .” and Rollett launches into highly conjectural speculation concerning the colors that the Romans associated with the word “envy” and its association to Oxford’s crest featuring a blue bore, the Latin word for blue being livor.

In accordance with the principle of Ockam’s Razor, however, it seems to me that all Rollett’s speculation is superfluous. The simple fact seems to be that the reason Ignoto mentioned “envy” in his FQ poem and that Jonson mentioned it in his panegyric to Shakespeare is because they were both ‘Envious’ people. Jonson is famous for his envy of Shakespeare and Ignoto himself admits to it. Numerous of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (to say nothing of many of his speeches in his plays) indicate that he was, indeed, an envious person—hard though it may be to believe.  

“When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state. . .
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope
With what I most enjoy contended least. . .”

There could hardly be a more elegant confession of envy than that given above by “Shakespeare.” In Sonnet 70 he speaks of his desire to “tie up envy evermore enlarged.” 

Ignoto in his FQ poem says that if he did not yield Spenser the “deserved prise” for the excellence of his “workman’s” work he would be showing either poor judgment or “envy.” Ignoto says that he shows his judgment is free of envy by pronouncing that Spenser’s “. . .workmanship is such/As that no pen can set it forth too much.” The mere mention (twice in the poem)  of the issue of envy raises the septre and assumption that Ignoto was an envious person and was showing that his judgment could rise above such things and give Spenser his due.

And, Rollett himself produces the quote from Harvey indicating that Lyly was aping the personification of Envy itself, reasonably thought to be a reference to Oxford. Envy is a sister of conceit and Oxford is widely painted with the brush of “self-love,” both by Shakespeare and Oxford’s detractors. Indeed, envy may well be seen to be the reason why Ignoto of the FQ poem obviously begrudgingly gives “deserved prise” not for a work of genius, a poem for the ages, but calls him a mere “workman” his poem the product of “workmanship” and the book itself “this workmanship.” Modest enough praise it would seem for an epic generally regarded as the greatest poetic epic in English.

Neither Man nor Muse 

Jonson begins his panegyric to Shakespeare in the First Folio with the lines:

To draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy Booke, and Fame:
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man, nor Muse, can praise too much.

With these words, Jonson not only echoes Ignoto’s words, but Harvey’s as well. Recall that Harvey wrote:

But let this suffice: thy deserts are suche
That no one in this world can love thee too much.

In all cases (i.e., Ignoto, Jonson and Harvey) “just deserts” is the subject of the relevant passages, as well as praise or love that can “never be too much.” Harvey says “no one in this world” can love thee too much, considering the just deserts of the loved one. Jonson, goes a step farther and states that neither Man nor Muse, can praise too much—neither praisers in the natural nor supernatural world can praise him too much.

Is it too far a stretch to assume that Jonson was not only echoing the words of Ignoto/Oxford but also was echoing the words of Harvey, words put into the mouth of  Oxford in the famous publication Familiar Letters, which was a companion piece to SC?

Perhaps. But Jonson was a scholar, passionately involved in the career of “Shakespeare,” intimately connected with the publications of his works in the First Folio of 1623, dedicated to family members of Oxford’s. Of one thing we can be certain, however, and that is that Harvey and Spenser—Harvey whose own poem appeared in SC under the name of Hobbynoll and Spenser who was the honored poet of the publication—well knew that Ignoto was sounding echo’s of Harvey’s poem, written for the “Country Gentleman,” alias Lord Oxford.

Related Note On Lord Oxford’s Envy:

Some years ago, I discovered two poems which I believe were written by Oxford. I noted it in the book where I found them, Spenser’s Poetical Works, ed. Smith & Silencourt, 1912, but did nothing with them as far as writing a commentary on it. Inspired working on the above piece, it came back to me, because of the issue of “envy” which Rollett’s article helped me to focus on. The first stanza of the first poem is very revealing and if I can only get to it now I want to communicate it to you. The first poem is entitled: An Epitaph upon the right Honourable sir Phillip Sidney knight: Lord governor of Flushing. It reads [text modernized by me]:

To praise thy life, or wail thy worthy death,
And want thy wit, thy wit, high, pure, divine,
Is far beyond the power of mortal line,
Nor any one hath worth that draweth breath.

Yet rich in zeal, though poor in learning’s lore,
And friendly care concealed in secret breast,
And love that envy in thy life supprest,

Thy dear life done, and death hath doubled more.
And I, that in thy time and living state,
Did only praise thy vertues in my thought,
As one that seld the rising sun hath sought,
With words and tears now wail thy timeless fate.

The poem goes on and there is a sequel attached. Another of the same.

The theme of envy is more than once brought up both in the first and second poem. We must pause and read the words carefully. I have added italic to the poem for emphasis. What an amazingly complicated poem for an epitaph. Once again, we see Oxford advancing himself, to speak of himself, in a poem commemorating the death of a notable person, just as he did in his Elegy to Queen Elizabeth! It is remarkable how Oxford has no scruple to use an occasion to praise someone—even in their death—to speak of himself, his concerns, and his effects! And with brutal honesty he confesses that his own love for Sidney was suppressed because of his envy. Not only that, but that Sidney’s death has even “doubled” his envy (later we shall see it is because he is sick of living and himself wants to die). Moreover, he confesses that in Sidney’s living days he never publicly praised him but only praised his virtues in his thought..  Recall Ignoto’s poem in FQ that he was accused (or was guilty of)—“As alls to free my mind from envies tuch/That never gives to any man his right.”

It is clear in the poems that he, the “secret” poet of the epitaph was indeed a close friend of Sidney’s at one time and that they shared many wonderful times together. But, he does not shrink from saying that there was envy and gall between them that death finally left (“Envie her sting, and spite hath left her gall/Malice herself a mourning garment wears.”) And in the follow-on epitaph he says, before Jonson credits Sidney with being “the Wonder of our age.” He is not just an admirer of Sidney’s, he is his friend, “Sidney is dead, dead is my friend, dead is the worlds delight.” Indeed, the poet says that “his life was my spring time. The poet speaks of his wishing himself to die, he is one “Who tied to wretched life, who looks for no relief/Must spend my ever dying daies, in never ending grief.” Yes his ever dying days and never ending grief!

And another eccentric feature of the poem, and its own self-absorption, he writes that “Yet, for not wronging him, my thoughts, my sorrow’s cell/Shall not run out, though leake they will, for liking him so well.” And the poem ends with a truly Shakespearean finale:

Farewell to you my hopes, my wonted dreams,
Farewell sometimes enjoyed joy, eclipsed are they beams,
Farewell self pleasing thoughts, which quietness brings forth,
And farewell friendships sacred league, uniting mind’s of worth.
And farewell merry heart, the gift of guiltless minds,
And all sport, which for lives restore, variety assigns,
Let all that sweet is void; in me no mirth may dwell,
Phillip, the cause of all this woe, my life’s content, farewell.
Now rime, the son of rage, which art no kin to skill,
And endless grief, which deads my life, yet knows not how to kill,
To seek that hapless tomb, which if ye hap to find,
Salute the stones, that keep the limbs, that held so good a mind.

AND I have another epitaph, from A.W., for Sidney, which contains the same kinds of sentiments! Who but Oxford would have written such a poem to Sidney? He writes it “obscured in secret heart”—he can’t even give his identity and the poem was published with no name attached to it, though it is acknowledged by everyone that it is not the work of Spenser.

So, not only do we have a man who takes to the stage of public grieving to tell at least as much of his own personal woes as he laments the honored deceased, but he admits to envy and that he never gives a man his due!  This is a unique psychological profile! 

This attachment is a continuation of the historical development of the Ignoto
story on Such/Much, Ignoto, Jonson, etc.

I went through all of APR, A Paradyce of  Dainte Devises, most of Sidney, Shepherd's Calendar (spelled so many different ways, orig. Shepheardes) and numerous of other of Spenser's longer poems, and found only a handful of "such. . .much" couples, or rhymes. One would think it is such an obvious rime that there would be many examples of it, but not so. But, diligence willing out, I was able to find in Spenser's Astrophell  (in the section of poems not by Spenser) this additional example, from a poem entitle "An Elegie, or friends passion, for his Astrophill. Written upon the death of the right Honourable sir Phillip Sidney Knight, Lord Gouernour of Flushing" (published in Astrophell, 1595):

Of him you know his merit such,
I cannot say, you heare too much.

Of course "you heare too much" is equivalent to "cannot praise too much."
Rather interesting, don't you think? The poem was publishing without
ascription but it is credited, allegedly on "internal evidence" to Mathew
Roydon. Wonder where he got it from? Ha, ha.

But the lead-in to that couplet I cannot hold back from you.

"You knew--who knew not? Astrophill
That I should live to say I knew,
And have not in possession still!)
Things knowne permit me to renew;
  Of him you know his merit such
  I cannot say, you hear, too much.

The phrase in SC and one of the most famous lines, certainly in regard to
Rosalind is "who knew not Rosalind"--which indicated "knew" in the Biblical
sense, had sexual relations with. The lead in line to the couplet is most
interesting, "THINGS KNOWN PERMIT ME TO RENEW" There is the crux of the
matter, he is renewing lines sounded to Spenser by Ignoto!!!


Friday, October 30, 2015


Below is another letter writer to Dr. Albert Burgstahler/documenting the back-up research for the Lord Oxford Trilogy correlations. Contained in this correspondence communique, I reveal further evidence for my case that Lord Oxford was Ignoto, and the author of Arte of English Posie, etc. 

Dear Albert,

 For the last three days I have been assembling and reviewing all the notes, letters, and text that I can find in my possession on the subject of Ignoto and The Arte of English Poesie (AEP). Fortunately, despite my moving and my nearly 3 year hiatus from doing any serious work, I was able to lay my hands on the materials and my scattered notes and commentaries. So I have now all the invaluable materials you sent me on our long standing discussions on the Ignoto issue.

Though I had been planning for some time to return to the Ignoto project, I was galvanized into getting materials together by the recent postings by R. Hess of the work by Charles Willis—and Hess’ recent announcement that the issue of the author of AEP was now settled in favor of George Puttenham. Is it really so? From remarks made by Hess it is apparent to me that he, once again, knows little of the subject of which he speaks. The question is: Is C. Willis correct in his 5 year research project that concluded George (not his brother Richard as was formerly thought) Puttenham was the true author and the identity behind Sir John Harington’s disclosure in 1591 that “Ignoto” wrote AEP? Of course, the issue is crucial to my work (dedicated to you) “Ignoto, the Complete Poems, etc.” as I include in it the poetry taken from AEP. So, I must either significantly amend my work or make my argument taking into consideration recent writings on the subject.

An Issue of Coincidences? Credits Where Credits Are Due "Ignoto"

I came to my conclusion that “the same Ignoto” (as Sir John Harington phrases it) who wrote AEP was indeed the same Ignoto that I have identified as Lord Oxford—who, I contend, wrote all, not just some, of the Ignoto poems. I am now making a new review of my old conclusions. As you know, and as we discussed in our correspondence, an in-depth examination of the issue of “Ignoto” is a subject long avoided by the scholars. Looney, for one, was under the impression that there was a “group” of Oxfordians who wrote under the name of “Ignoto.”  And, because of this view, he stated that some of the poems bearing the name Ignoto were of inferior quality to others, and hence by different authors. You aptly remarked in an email to me (Aug., 2001) that apparently Looney thought that all of the Ignoto poems had to be of the “same quality” to qualify as an Oxford-Ignoto poem. To my knowledge, the brief footnotes of Looney constitute the most extended commentary on the subject of the “multiple” Ignotos. And his was only a passing remark. Bond argues in his seminal work on Lyly that it was Lyly who was the identity behind the Ignoto sobriquet who signed his name “Infelice Academico Ignoto”—the author of the Queen’s Funeral poem and oration. (A work of mine that was, and is, completely avoided by Oxfordians who received copies of my essay claiming that Oxford was the author of said works). So far as I know, no one has undertaken a serious examination of the question “Who was Ignoto?” Was Ignoto a sobriquet of a band of poets, as Looney thought, or was he a single individual? And, if he was either a group or an individual, when did they (or he/she) first adopt the name?

The closest thing that comes to a credible examination of the subject of Ignoto, that I know of, is that by W.J. Frazer Hutcheson (1950)—a copy of whose work on the subject you supplied to me circa August, 2001. Though Hutcheson’s work is entitled, Shakespeare’s Other Anne, it could more appropriately have been entitled, Shakespeare’s Other Anne: Ignoto, as most of the chapters in the small book deal with the subject of Ignoto. Indeed, Hutcheson, throughout the book, plenteously and routinely substitutes the name “Ignoto” as a synonym for “Anne.” The names of most of  the chapters make the point (e.g. Ignoto; Ignoto’s Portrait; Ignoto And “The Faerie Queen;” Ignoto In Anthologies; Ignoto As Axiophilus). Nonetheless, Hutcheson, in fact, merely touches on the subject of Ignoto and the chapter titles actually seem to promise much more than they deliver. As Hutcheson supplies very few references for his use of source material, if the reader is not thoroughly grounded in the available documents to which he refers, and has independent knowledge of them, there is no way to assess the value of his comments or from whence they emanate.    

Hutcheson himself, in his preface, describes his book as a “really swift and shallow skim over Elizabethan literature. . .” And, indeed, it is so. But, he also notes in the same preface, that “The portraits of Ignoto or A.W. are particularly valuable as Shakespearean items.” And that, too, is true—although he only makes a weak attempt, if that, to explicate the “Shakespearean items” to which he refers. It must be borne in mind Hutcheson does not equate “Ignoto” with “Shakespeare”—they are separate entities in his mind. Moreover, Hutchenson doesn’t refer to any critical works, nor does he deal with any scholars in the field (with but few exceptions). What Hutcheson does do, nonetheless, is to make numerous associations with Ignoto and various Elizabethan works attributed to Ignoto. So, although he makes little or no attempt to justify his identifications (and generally, as said, supplies no references for his sources), he makes a number of correlations which I independently arrived at. Given the fact that Hutcheson made his correlations (whether substantiated or not) some 50 years before I arrived at my own, Hutcheson deserves credit for his labors—even if they were a “swift and shallow skim”—and his insights across a wide range of subjects.

Before I deal with some of his more notable discoveries and insights it needs be stated that Hutcheson believes that “Ignoto” was, in fact, a lady, a lady who became a nun and who almost married William Shagsper in 1582. (Interestingly he has a document which appears to confirm this). To maintain the view that the gender of Ignoto was female Hutcheson routinely disregards all the masculine pronouns applied to Ignoto and, throughout, refers to Ignoto in the feminine gender. So, although Hutcheson believed Ignoto was a masculine sobriquet adopted by Anne Whateley to conceal her identity what is most interesting about Hutcheson’s book is the linkages he routinely makes between the works ascribed to “Ignoto” and other literary works and authors of the times. We glean what is valuable in Hutcheson, in my opinion, by disregarding the issue of Anne Whateley and focusing on her alleged alter ego, Ignoto. Hutcheson begins his book with this remark: “Who was the mysterious author who lived in the Elizabethan period, from 1561 to 1600, wrote all kinds of poetical pieces and usually signed them Ignoto, ‘Unknown’ in Italian?”

 When we turn to examine the dates of the life of this Ignoto we find that Hutcheson has fetched the dates “1561 to 1600” from presumed dates of the birth and death of Anne Whateley, not dates applicable to Ignoto, as Ignoto, i.e., the literary entity. The “birthdate” of “Ignoto” so far as we know was 1589/1590, the date of the first known poem signed Ignoto contained in the dedicatory poems published with Spenser’s The Faery Queen. The death of “Ignoto,” the literary alter ego, we hold to be 1603, the date of Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral Oration and Poem—despite the fact that numerous poems attributed to Ignoto were published post-1603. But, more of such matters later. Below is a series of points that coincide, in great measure, with my own reconstructions, identifications, and speculations:


1. Hutcheson refers to “Ignoto’s tome ‘The Arte of English Poesie” (pg. 23) and hence establishes the identification of Ignoto as the rightful author of AEP.

 2.  Hutcheson identifies the list of 140 poems by A.W. contained A Poetical Rhapsody as by Ignoto.  “Davison in his address ‘To the Reader’ states that the A.W. pieces were written twenty years earlier, which takes them back to the . .. period of 1582 (pg.27). (He is referring here specifically to the “In Prison Pent” poems.

3.  Hutcheson identifies other poems in APR as by Ignoto under the names of A.W., Anomos, Incerto. “in Davison’s priceless holograph list the lot are assigned to A.W.” (pg. 28, 73).

4.  Hutcheson identifies the poem “Ye ghastly groves. . .” as written by A.W./Ignoto, not Davison himself: “Davison had his list, which we assume he wrote out for himself and thus he should have known if any poems therein were his own composition of A.W.’s but he mentions one that commences with ‘Ye ghastly groves, that hear my woeful cries’ as by A.W., yet he prints it and signs it with his own name Francis Davison. It looks like a clear case of piracy.” (pg. 29). (I included this very poem in my Lord Oxford Trilogy, for the same reason that Hutcheson gives).

5.  Hutcheson identifies the poem Partheniades as by Ignoto and AEP as “one of her Ignoto publications.” (pg. 30). The “Partheniades” was, of course, mentioned in AEP as by the author, you sent me a copy of this work and it is incorporated in Ignoto, the Complete Poems.

 6.  Hutcheson was aware that Spenser was “exiled” to Ireland. (“. . .whom we suspect to be Edmund Spenser, exiled west in Ireland;”) (pg. 60). (Hutcheson does not explain how he arrived at this, the same as I did, first by deduction from the historical record, and then later found it mentioned in an Cambridge Introduction to the Complete Poems of Spenser). Of course, I memorialize this exile in my Lord Oxford Trilogy.

 7.  Hutcheson brings to attention the fact that in Poems in divers humors (1598) (“sometimes credited to Richard Barnfield”) and claims that it was written by Ignoto. “Shakespeare,” he observes, “gets six lines, the last two lines being a prophecy:

 Live ever you, at least in Fame live ever;
Well may the bodye dye, but Fame dies never.

I was unaware of this fact, that Poems in  divers humors contains a six line poem to Shakespeare ending with the above quoted couplet. Which to me “almost spells my name” with use of the odd phrase, “Live ever you” and “in Fame liver ever.” This indicates to me that Barfield probably knew Oxford was Shakespeare and planted his name in the couplet to memorialize the fact.  

He also notes that one poem in the collection has an ‘An Ode’ commencing: ‘As it fell upon a day’ and he observes that this same poem is found in England’s Helicon where it is signed by “Ignoto.” He also notes that there is a poem in EH entitled ‘The Unknown Shepherd's Complaint,; “by Ignoto and that it is followed by yet another by Ignoto, ‘Another of the same Shepherd's’ (pg. 65-66).

8.  Hutcheson notes the “Shakespearean ring” to an Ignoto [A.W.] poem in APR (Eternal Time! That wastest without waste. . .” (pg. 72). Here and elsewhere in his book, Hutcheson notes the similarities between the writings of his Ignoto and Shakespeare!

9.  Hutcheson notes that the poem “Ye walls that shut me up from sight of men. ..” that appeared in APR without a title was given a title “The Passionate Prisoner” in a subsequent publication (pg. 74). In my commentary on In Prison Pent I believe I make this same point. In  any case, I was aware of it.

 10.  Hutcheson identifies another APR [?] poem:

 Fair is thy face, and that thou know’st too well,
Heart is thy heart, and that thou wilt not know. . .

Thy dearest name, which doth me still betray:
For grace, sweet Grace, thy name doth sound,
Yet ah! In thee no grace is found. . .

[Check this out! H. says that “Anne” means “grace”]. There are perhaps grounds here for attributed this poem to Anne Vavassour.

 11.  Hutchenson notes that there are two Ignoto poems in reply to Marlow’s in EH, “The Passionate Pilgrim.” And he says about them that: “The last two lines in verse 2 above, are used in Shakespeare’s ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,” 3.1; and in the A.B. collection a poem appears: ‘The passionate Shepherd’s Song’ which is printed in ‘Love’s Labour Lost.’ (1598) actually signed W. Shakespeare.” (pg. 80). I’m not sure that I was aware of this before. I need to check it again. Another very interesting discovery.

 12. “Anomos” appears as an acrostic in Shakespeare’s play:

Speed:  Are they not lamely writ?
Val:      No, boy, but as well as I can do them—Peace! Here
                 She comes
Speed:  O excellent motion. O exceeding puppet! Etc. . .
The rest of the dialog goes on to, indeed, spell out ANOMOS. I’m not sure of what play it is from and Hutcheson does not supply the name of it. But, it will be easy to find in a Shakespeare Concordance.

 12.  Hutcheson identifies “Ignoto as Axiophilus” in Harvey’s Marginalia (pg 98). “Axiophilus is Ignoto.” (pg. 100). “References to the English Muses, mentioning Gower, Lidgate, Heywood, Phaer, Chaucer and Sir Philip Sidney, are credit to ‘Axiophilus in one of his English discourses.’” Pg 228 of G.C. Moore Smiths “Gabriel Harvey’s Marginalia” (pg. 101).  Is this AEP, the “English discourse”? --- See also, Hutcheson’s following remark:

“p.231 [of  G. C. More Smith’s book]  References to some twenty poets ranging from Chaucer to the King of Scotland. ‘No marvell, though Axiophilus be so slowe in publishing his exercises. . .More of Chaucer, & his Inglish traine in a familiar discourse of Anonymus.’ The last pen-name is obviously an oblique reference to Ignoto, the Unknown, the Anonymous.” (p. 101). Here Hutcheson concludes that use of the name “Anonymous” is merely a substitution for the name “Ignoto.” He may be right.

See also, Hutcheson’s page 102, Morley Smiths reference from Harvey’s Marginalia, at the place where he write of Shakespeare and the “younger sort”, ‘Axiophilus shall forget himself, or will remember to leave sum memorials behinde him: & to make an use of so many rhapsodies, cantos, hymnes, odes, epigrams, sonnets, and discourses, as at idle howers, or at flowing fitts he hath compiled. God knows what is good for the world, & fitting for this age.” Interestingly, I had also arrived at the same conclusion that this entry refers to Shakespeare/Oxford. As it was reportedly written by Harvey in his Chaucer volume in 1598, we have a correct statement—especially when we consider the “hymnes, odes, epigrams, sonnets,” in APR and his “discourses” in AEP—all written in  “flowing fits” awaiting his decision as to “what is good for the world & fitting for the age.” Who else but Shakespeare/Oxford would restrain publication wondering on what was good for the world and fitting for the age? I had been waiting to release this information but have not done so as yet.

 In brief, you can see what a careful reading I made of Hutcheson. Much of it I had already underlined. But, as I was in a very hurried state of mind, it was not until these last few days that I revisited this cornucopia and found even  new nuggets. However much one can criticize Hutcheson, he had a very good eye for a lot of very interesting issues. So, he deserves to be highlighted in any discussion of  the history of “Ignoto,” independent of the fact that he thought Ignoto to be a lady, a nun, in fact. (He must of primarily adopted that position from the Marlowe poem entitled “Ignoto” and written as if to a woman. I am quite sure Marlowe did so to pique Oxford and he plays off the earlier exchange between them in EH, e.g., “Come live with me and be my love,” etc.






Comments On AEP: Willis, A Lack of Scholarship

March 6, 2006
Dear Albert,

In one of your last communications you asked for my impression of Charles M. Willis’s “The Printing of AEP and the Earl of Oxford”—which article you sent me in the last batch. As you know, I, too, have an interest in AEP and have credited the work to Lord Oxford in my “Complete Poems of Ignoto,” which was dedicated to you. Know that I am completely amenable to withdrawing my claim that Oxford was the author of AEP (and, of course, the poetry claimed by it’s author in the book itself, i.e., The Partheniads, etc.) if I am persuaded that I have not made a sustainable claim. I am aware that Steven May (in the latest edition of the DNB) credits AEP to Puttenham, that Hess considers May’s work caps the case, and that other newly published works do the same, the work of Willis being one of them. The question arises: do I just dogmatically persist in my claim, despite the evidence and the opinions of scholars and commentators (what else can I call them) alike, or am I justified in my attribution?

Before I made my claim and published in MS “Ignoto: Complete Poems”, I made a fairly detailed investigation of the matter. I was lead to my opinion, when no one else had even suggested that Oxford was its author or had anything to do with it, so far as I knew, and I did so primarily on the basis of my analysis of AEP and the fact that the work was contemporaneously credited to “Ignoto” by Sir John Harrington, only a year or so after its publication and contained many apparent Shakespearean allusions and paraphrases. (You yourself provided me with a copy of the “Partheniads,” Sir John Harrington’s Preface, the introduction of Gladys Willcock and Alice Walker, and other materials to assist me). I carefully read and reread AEP and heard so many “Shakespearean” bells in the prose and poetry of “Ignoto,” and found so little evidence that Puttenham was its author, that I was persuaded to my analytical conclusions. (You will recall that there was—and still is—a long a decades long debate whether it was George Puttenham or his brother who was the alleged author).

Then, about three or four years after producing the MS (i.e., “Ignoto: The Complete Poems”), about a year ago now, I discovered on Ron Hess’s postings the announcement of Willis’s book allegedly establishing the premise of the authorship of Puttenham as a fact. I read the entire first chapter of Willis’s book which was posted on the internet. I was not convinced. (To date I have yet to read Steven May’s piece in the DNB). Now, I have read another piece from Willis—and I am even more unconvinced than before. Whether or not I am right in my attribution of Oxford as the ­author of AEP, Willis’s work, as judged by these two pieces, is fraught with all sorts of frailties.

The first fatality for Willis’s thesis is the fact that (in both pieces) he observes or quotes others who observe that Puttenham eschewed literary circles, and influenced no one. Indeed, as I recall there is not even any evidence that he was reputed to be a poet—a point, I add, which is not discussed at all by Willis. Willis does quote an unpublished PhD Harvard dissertation which he regards as “essential” to the debate. The first line of which reads:

“Dating the composition of the Arte, however, is most difficult because Puttenham avoided debates, avoided literary circles, and influenced no critic before publication of the treatise in 1589.” 

But, we have it from Sir John Harrington that “Ignoto” was apparently notoriously well known, a clever poet who had many followers. He speaks of “Ignoto” the author of AEP as “making himself and manie others so cunning in the art. . .” Although Harrington, peevishly says that Ignoto has a “slender talent” for poetry he confesses he was able to make himself and “many others” very cunning in the art. The implication is obvious; Ignoto of AEP is a cunning poet with many followers. This is hardly the portrait of someone who avoided literary circles had no reputation as a poet and influenced no critic—he influenced Harrington we can see, to oppose him!

Further reading into Harrington reveals that Ignoto was apparently the leader of a school of poets who were at odds with the Sidney school or poetry, with whom Harrington aligned himself.

Both Willis’s statements and the “essential” materials of Stanley Doherty’s unpublished PhD dissertation tend to be rather “wacky” in my view, there are so many self-contradictory and illogical statements and claims made. It would be a bore to point all of them out, but I will note a few in passing. 

Doherty, with no evidence at all, other than his own unfounded speculations makes statements like this:

“The ‘decorum’ treatise refers to no texts or events after 1565. . .the text (as Field prints it), reveals disparate layers of composition and development spanning forty years. This would indicate that Puttenham was writing (and most likely using the work for teaching purposes) between 1560 and 1575.”

What a ridiculous statement. One has to accept totally, on faith, that Doherty is correct in his wild speculations and that from them flow the certainty that he was using his text, as Field prints it, he says (we know of no other text other than what Field printed and have no way of knowing if it was different from the original) “most likely using the work for teaching purposes.” So, from knowing nothing, we now allegedly know that Puttenham, who was not known as a writer at all, on any front, was using his alleged work as a tool for teaching—and, if you can believe that, he is now going to tell us when all this happened, it happened “between 1560 and 1575”! 

Ye, gods. This is just the kind of thing that I cannot tolerate. One would think that Ron Hess wrote it. Fabricating out of whole cloth an entire history, including dates, when some totally speculated event happened. And, of course, the irony, if one can call it that, is that Doherty himself tells us in the first sentence that Puttenham was the sort that avoided debates, literary circles, or attempted to influence critics. But, he is fast at work supposedly teaching an hypothecated early version of his book to unknown students between the certain period of 1560 and 1575. If I was back at my old profession I’d immediately file a motion with the court to quash the claim as being frivolous, without foundation in fact. And I would win.

Next Doherty tells us that “Fields [the printer’s] primary motivation in printing the AEP” was “recognition and further employment”—not from Puttenham, but from the Queen and Burghley. Now how would he know what Fields “primary motivation” was is beyond me; he knows nothing about it at all. These are just more words. Maybe Fields got paid for printing the AEP, maybe that was his motivation—as it almost invariably is of every printer for every printing job. After all he was a professional printer. 

And here is Willis himself at work. He writes of Puttenham:

“It would seem [to whom?] that Puttenham had deliberately decided to ‘disappear’ or conceal himself from public affairs after writing the Justification, most likely because this highly sensitive political document made him many additional enemies among the Catholic supports of Queen Mary.”

As I recall it is conjecture that Puttenham wrote the Justification, in the first place, but to characterize a motive to ‘disappear’ as an explanation of why we can’t track Puttenham because he wrote a track against Queen Mary seems peculiar in itself. It may be the first time in history that anyone wrote a track to benefit a Monarch and then decided to ‘disappear’ because it would make him enemies of the enemies of the Monarch. To whom does such a scenario “seem”—to Willis and no one else is my guess. And in typical fashion Willis would take this hypothetical absurdity and use it as the factual stepping stone to another absurdity. If you accept the first one maybe you’ll swallow gullibly the second one, until we have an unbroken set of wild speculations all of which confirm each other and mystically enter into the realm of facts.

Willis continues with the statement that “It is also essential [apparently Willis would have us believe his ‘It would seem’ is an ‘essential’ and accepting one we must ‘also’ accept the other] to examine another work. . . by William Rushton (1909).. .” He then quotes not Rushton, but Lisak quoting Rushton, to the effect that Rushton identifies “no less than thirty-five possible links” to Shakespeare. The key word here is “possible.” This 35 possible links in his quotation turns into, within a few paragraphs “hundred of parallels in the Shakespeare plays to Puttenham’s AEP. . .”

The man has a multiplication machine in his mind! But, of course, the fact that there are a great many “Shakespearean” links in AEP is the reason I concluded that the book was written by Oxford, in the first place, I have indicated a number of these links in my MS which is a commentary of “Ignoto: The Complete Poems. As I can get to it, I would be very interested to see what Rushton has to say about the Shakespeare connections in AEP—he may have a lot to add that I overlooked—but I doubt I will be much more interested in anything that Doherty or Willis has to offer on the subject. That Rushton, without my previous knowledge, also arrived saw many Shakespearean flourishes in AEP is most interesting. So, far as I know no Oxfordian had previously detected the same or even came close to the idea that Oxford may have written it.

And, finally, Willis added, apparently as an afterthought, the idea that Oxford may have had anything to do with publication of AEP.  With no argument or evidence Willis states that “The most likely person who was responsible for the unauthorized printing of Puttenham’s manuscript of the Arte in 1589, was the 39-year-old Earl of Oxford who had already patronized writers and poets such as Gabriel Harvey, Edmund Spenser, John Lyly and others.” How does Willis know that the printing of AEP was “unauthorized”—does he have a magic ball that he looks into to find these truths? Why does he choose Oxford for “patronizing” the “unauthorized” printing of AEP, because, Willis says, he knew the printer. And what were the circumstances of this alleged unauthorized printing? Well, Willis tells us, Puttenham might have fled England, to escape the enemies he made after publication of Justification and Oxford “might have decided” that he would win the favor of the Queen and Burghley by printing it.

After imagining that, Willis turns his imagination to another facet of this fascinating “history” and he conjures that Oxford was actually a student of Puttenham, “it is equally possible” we are told. How about equally “impossible”? Indeed, Willis tells us when Oxford became a student of Puttenham, Indeed, Oxford “if he had been Puttenham’s pupil between 1560 and 1570” probably or “may have had parts of the manuscript of the Arte in his possession”—of course, this is “if he had been Puttenham’s pubil.” Willis invents this hypothetical history at 1560 to 1570 because that was “when much of the Arte was written.” And how does he know that, and upon what evidence? He doesn’t know it and there is no evidence is the simple fact of the matter. But, this is how he “explains” the close connection between Puttenham and the Shakespeare plays. “He had been taught all the lessons” contained in Puttenham’s book.

For one who has made his living for the last 20 years (before my semi-retirement) analysis is a profession not a game of “what ifs”—as it is for all these amateur literary sleuths. I was responsible for rigorous analysis of complicated accounting scenarios for investments up to $1,000,000,000. Millions of dollars were invested or not invested on the basis of my analysis. I may seem intolerant of the “what ifs” “it seems,” “may haves” but it grates against my background.

Now, however, I am aware of the specific contents of AEP and the historical record that gives rise to the speculation that Puttenham wrote AEP. As I recall, there is an issue of corrupt records and, what seems most persuasive that Oxford did not write AEP if specific statements which seem to be recollections of the author going back before Oxford’s time. I have no problem assuming that, as Willis charges, that the author of AEP was very clever and may have specifically planted those recollections to conceal his true identity. It is also possible that Puttenham or someone else actually had a hand in the writing of AEP. There is evidence in the record that Martin Marprelate writings (his first tract only I believe was probably written by Oxford), for example, tells contradictory biographical information—claiming at one time to be married and another time not to have ever been married, etc. So, my suspicion that Oxford could plant intentional lies into a text is not beyond my belief.

All in all, on one hand we have Harrington’s published testimony that Ignoto wrote AEP,-- that Ignoto was a leader of “many” other poets and was very “clever”—all of which applies to Oxford and not to Puttenham. On the other we have, in a private letter, a request from a writer that he wanted typeset for his book to be the same as “Puttenham’s”—and that typeset is the type used for AEP. I have always considered that Field may have published another book, other than AEP that also used the same typeface, also that there was more than one Puttenham in England and it there is no evidence that “George Puttenham” was conclusively the person to whom the reference referred. And, of course, it may be that to Harrington he knew of Oxford’s part in the book, but did not know of Puttenham’s role. Still, I can easily imagine, as said, that Harrington read the book very closely and knew that Ignoto was putting in text to conceal his identity—or considered Puttenham’s part, if such was the case, to be minimal and Ignoto’s to be the main role. We cannot deduce these things to a certainty. Personally, I find Harrington’s “outing” of “Ignoto” to be the more persuasive and the said letter mentioning “Putteham” quite possibly a fraud—there were other frauds involved in this very matter.

In any case, I have written more on this matter in my MS, tracing the history of the “Puttenham” claim but I need to refresh myself on the matter before I can say anything more with a modicum of confidence.

I may have given you more than you wanted by way of response to the piece by Willis, especially considering how busy you are.
Added 10/30/2015: This letter created and sent in a single session, without re-read or edit, has not edited the above save that: quotation marks, clearly indicated by text as quotations but without the quotation marks in three places and a slip where “Ignoto” was mistakenly typed instead of “Willis” as clearly indicated by context. Otherwise, the reader sees exactly what was written and sent 3/6/2006..


Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Lord Oxford and The Corruption of
The Cambridge University Elizabethan Scholars

© E.L. Miller, 1999/2015

While Rollins was getting out his “take” in his critical editions of Paradyce of Dainty Devises (PDD), A Poetical Rhapsody (APR), and England’s Helicon, (EH) and Bond was turning out his grist on Lyly, and the Cambridge editors continued to peddle known false information in their recounting of the APR, other Cambridge editors, we see, were busy for the “cause.” It was time, 1936, that The Arte of English Poesie, should be republished and emblazoned with the name of an author, “By GEORGE PUTTENHAM.” AEP, of course, was printed without any author’s name on the book.

Indeed, the printer tells the reader how it, like an orphan, or Topsy Turvy,  it just “appeared” one day at his door step—a story believed, apparently, by none of the critics. Cambridge University Press, in 1936, featured a new edition of AEP, the work of two women editors enlisted for the cause, namely, Glady D. Willcock and Alice Walker. In their edition of AEP, Willcock and Walker, offer such an amazingly specious “brief” for Puttenham’s authorship of AEP that one can scarcely believe that they were not but paid attorney’s for a cause without merit—so tortured is their logic, so lacking integrity is the very language of their argument, and so decrepit and unwholesome the frayed tatters of their “evidence.”

We have repeatedly pointed, in numerous articles, and commentaries, that Lord Oxford was the author of AEP, and have proffered abundant evidence of the fact, not the least of which is our most recent analysis of the use of the poetic devise of  anaphora – the use of repetitive words or phrases. We now point out below, that, it is not by accident that the biography of “Shakespeare” is shrouded in mystery—it has to be kept secret! As we shall see, the entire Cambridge coterie of Elizabethan “scholars” gave their imprimatur to, what is for a “high” scholar a criminal activity. Corruption.   

The good faith of the good Cambridge editors is at question in the first paragraph of their section of The Authorship:

The Arte of English Poesie appeared anonymously, accompanied by a dedication in which Richard Field, its printer, professed ignorance of its authorship. It is quite clear, however, from the alterations made while the work was in the press, that it was published with its author’s cooperation and that its anonymity reflected the feeling that a gentleman should be ‘dayntie of his doings’ and not advertise his name in print. In the book itself no attempt is made to conceal its writer’s identity. On the contrary, it is one of the most intimate works of its age and, from its autobiographical clues and numerous references to his earlier works, many contemporaries must have guessed its author without difficulty.

We would first note that it is amazing that the editors are apparently both clairvoyant, because it is clear to them that, the printer lied when he said he did not know the author. The lie is presumably proved by the fact that “alterations” were made in process of the book being published which have survived and which prove their point. But, most original Elizabethan editions had alternations made during the process of being printed. It is a fact well known and often observed by Elizabethan scholars and it proves nothing whatsoever, as to who authorized the changes.

Another thing immediately clear, in the second sentence, is the fact that the editors claim to know that the author not only gave his “cooperation” but the editors were also able to know how our anonymous author felt about the matter—that a gentleman should be dainty of his doings and not advertise himself in print. This is an interesting piece of clairvoyance, as the author himself, repeatedly states in the AEP that a poet, a maker (and certainly much less an historian, a commentator), should not hide their identities and their names from being known for the reasons averred by the editors. Indeed, the author of AEP takes up this very issue in the first part of the first book and states,

 "let none other meaner person despise learning, nor (whether it be in prose or in Poesie, if they themselves be able to write, or have written anything well of rare invention) be any whit squeamish to let it be publisht under their names, for reason serves it, and modestie doth not repugne.” (p.18) 

 The explicit avowed attitude of the author himself belies the good editor’s clairvoyant construction on imagined and fanciful states of mind of the author. 

 The editors go on to turn truth on its head by stating that “no attempt is made to conceal the identity of the author” in the book itself. What an interesting comment: how is it, then, that the editors themselves proclaim that “So far, efforts to identify the author of the Arte have proved inconclusive.” One would think that some attempts were made to conceal his identity or we would certainly know with certainty who he was. If we knew who the author was his identity, obviously, would not be “inconclusive.” And, of course, the good editors cannot know if the author purposefully attempted to conceal his identity or if he did so only by “accident.”

 Cambridge Scholars Compound Their Corruption

 The Cambridge editors compound their fraudulent claim that the author made no effort at all to conceal his identity by adding another remark calculated to mislead. “On the contrary,” the Cambridge editors assert, “it is one of the most intimate works of its age and, from its autobiographical clues and numerous references to his earlier works, many contemporaries must have guessed its author without difficulty.”

 It is most interesting that this work, AEP, is asserted to be “one of the most intimate works of its age,” replete with numerous autobiographical “clues” and yet, as the editors themselves acknowledge all “efforts to identify the author of the Arte have proved inconclusive.” Actually the editor’s entire sentence is bogus for it is not truly a contrary statement (“On the contrary…”) at all that is being made in the first place. This is to say, it was bogus of the editor’s to state that the author made no effort to conceal himself and then to follow the statement with another pretending to address or qualify the first statement. Simply, the statement that not only did the author not try to conceal his identity but “contrarily” the book was one of the most “intimate works of the age” as though the so-called “intimacy” of the book had anything at all to do with the subject of the facts at hand, i.e., the identity of the author.

 Some of the most intimate books of any age have concealed the identities of its authors. The Cambridge editors must have believed that none of their readers knew the facts of the matter—that, for example, the only surviving work by the author, repeatedly quoted from in the Arte, was also published anonymously and in which its author states on its opening page that he wishes to conceal his identity. This certainly establishes that at least, at some time, our author decidedly did try to conceal his identity—the opposite of that claimed by the editors.

 After completing the first paragraph, as quoted above, the Cambridge editors continued with what presents itself as a discussion of the evidence of the matter. Characteristically, the piece merely continues with its illogical contrivances,

 "The two early references to the authorship of the Arte which have come to light agree in attributing it to ‘Puttenham.’ Two years after its publication Harington (though he respected in print its author’s anonymity by describing him as an ‘unknowne’), in a private note to Field, referred to what is undoubtedly the Arte as ‘Puttenhams book.’ About twenty-five years later Bolton, in his Hypercritica, described it as the work ‘as the fame is’ of one of Elizabeth’s Gentlemen Pensions, ‘Puttenham.’ Another . . ."

 It is at this point that the Cambridge editors show themselves to be either corrupt or incompetent and it really is difficult to believe that so many Elizabethan luminaries at Cambridge could be so desperately ignorant. The very first reference, in fact, to Harington acknowledgement that “Puttenham” was the author of AEP is a forgery, a fact that must have been known to the Cambridge editors—though they conceal the fact from the reader. We will return to this point.   

The first piece of evidence the Cambridge editors offer for their claim that Puttenham was the author of Arte, is allegedly that of Harington, who is, in fact, Sir John Harington, a translator of Orlando Furioso (1591, i.e., “two years after” publication of Arte).  The Cambridge editors state (as above) that it was two years after publication of Arte that Harington “respected in print its author’s anonymity by describing him as ‘unknown.’” The statement is only partially true and what it fails to tell is the whole crux of the issue. The statement is clearly meant to give the impression that Harington actually knew who the ‘unknowne’ was, but “respected his anonymity.” We can be sure this is what the editors were implying because in the very next sentence they state that “in a private note to Field, [he] referred to what is undoubtedly the Arte as ‘Puttenhams book.’ 

What the editors fail to tell the reader is that the “unknowne” author of Arte was named Ignoto, and identified as “Ignoto” in Harington’s book. He was never called the “unknowne” by Harington, but rather he was identified also as the “unknowne God-father.” A God-father is a “sponsor” for someone at baptism or confirmation. This writer has never heard an author of a book described as its “God-father,” or its “sponsor.” Thus, we find in the dedication to Venus & Adonis the dedicatee referred to as the “godfather” of the book (“But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather,”)—so, we probably do not go too far astray to see in these words an indication that the author was known to be a powerful and influential poet of his times. Yet, as we shall see (below) that he was never known as such, apparently by anyone.  

Ignoto & Loves Labours Lost

 Yet, we might with profit consider the possibility that Harington used the term in a specific sense, obviously, more than as an “author” but a  main “sponsor” of English Poetry, per se. Is it possible that Harington’s use of the term “godfather” was used as an allusion to Loves Labours Lost for in that work we find the statement:

“These earthly godfathers of heaven’s lights
And every godfather can give a name…”

Of course, this is a perfect allusion as anyone who has read the Arte will know that one of its main features is that it gives scores of new names to poetic techniques and devises. This, then, may provide us with an important clue: our author, the “unknowne Grandfather,” IGNOTO, was the “sponsor” of the new art of English poetry, who gave many technical names (as grandfathers give the names to the new-born at confirmation) to English poetry. Again, if Harington was referring to LLL with his allusion, it could hardly have been more appropriate, in every regard. Interestingly, the relevant passage in Loves Labours Lost occurs where books and the subject of study are being discussed.

Study is like the heavens glorious Sunne,
That will not be deepe search’d with sawcy lookes:
Small have continuall plodders ever wonne,
Save base authoritie from others bookes.
These earthly Godfathers of heavens lights,
That give a name to every fixed Starre,
Have no more profit of their shinning lights,
Than those that walke and wot not what they are.
Too much to know, is to know nought but fame:
And every Godfather can give a name.

We must note here that Sir Harington is clearly not of Ignoto’s camp and clearly associates himself with Sir Philip Sidney (then deceased, d. 1586). After recalling the importance of the “huge Theatre and Amphitheaters, monuments of stupendous charge, made only for Tragedies and Comedies, the workes of Poets, to be represented on” to show how importantly poetry was considered,  Harington tells us, however, that “subtle distinctions” regarding detailed issues of poetry are of no value to him. He next refers to the “Grandfather” as the one who “christened” in English, the poet, a “Maker.” In other words, it was Ignoto who gave the name “Maker” (as Godfathers do) to the name of “Poet.”

 Harington tells us he will refer all issues of such subtleties to Sidney, not Ignoto, where “a whole receit of Poetrie is prescribed, with so manie new named figures as would put me in a great hope in this age to come would breed many excellent Poets—save for one observation that I gather out of the very book.”  Harington ends by stating that Ignoto proves nothing with all his examples [of poetic devises] and finds himself with Sidney in believing that poetry is a gift not a science. In other words, as we interpret it, an activity apparently requiring no “study,” as poetry was a gift.

Sir Harington, who is obviously, of a rival school to “Ignoto’s” continues:

"Neither do I suppose it to be greatly behooful for this purpose to trouble you with the curious definitions of a Poet and Poesie, & with the subtill distinctions of their sundrie kinds; nor to dispute how high and supernatural the name of a Maker is, so christened in English by that unknown God-father that this last yeare save one, viz, 1589, set forth a booke called the Art of English Poetrie"

Sir Harington then goes on to tell us that he does not propose to spend a lot of time arguing such things as whether a translator of verse can be said to be a “poet” or only a “versifyer” as The Unknown “God-father” of poetry would have it, and as set forth in his book, The Art of English Poesie. Harington continues:

 ". . .or wheather Plato, Zenophon, and Erasmus writing fictions and Dialogues in prose may justly be called Poets, or whether Lucan writing a story in verse an an historiographer, or whether Master Faire translating Virgil, Master Golding translating Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and my selfe in this worke that you see, be any more than versifiers, as the same Ignoto termeth all translators: for as for all, or the most part of such questions, I will refer you to sir Philip Sidney Apologie, who doth handle them right learnedly, or to the aforenamed treasties [i.e., The Art of English Poesie, by Ignoto] where they are discoursed more largely, and where, as it were, a whole receit of Poetrie is prescribed, with so manie new named figures as would put me in a great hope in this age to come would breed manie excellent Poets–save for one observation that I gather out of the verie same book."

 The reader will note that all the names of authors are in italic, clearly indicating that Sir Harington is specifically indicating a person with the name “Ignoto” as the author of AEP! 

 Is Ignoto A Cunning Poet?

 A careful analysis of Sir Harington’s words, apparently never before attempted, shows that he has some animosity for Ignoto, which he rather openly expresses. And, in context one cannot doubt that he himself was merely a “versifyer” and was stung by Ignoto’s idea that a versifyer was not a true poet—a point sounded in the first part of the first book, and again later. Sir Harington continues by telling the reader that he doesn’t think Ignoto is much of a poet himself, and has, in fact, a “slender” talent. But, in the same paragraph, he appears to admit that Ignoto is a highly skilled and “cunning poet” who apparently has already amassed many followers. :

For though the poore gentleman laboreth greatly to prove, or rather to make Poetrie an art, and reciteth as you may see, in the plurall number, some pluralities of patterns and parcels of his own Poetrie, with diverse pieces of Partheniads and hymnes in praise of the most praiseworthy, yet whatsoever he would prove by all these, sure in my poore opinion he doth prove nothing more plainly than that which M. Sidney and all the learneder sort that have written of it do pronounce, namely that it is a gift and not an art. I say he proveth it, because making himself and manie others so cunning in the art, yet he sheweth himself so slender a gift in it ...

 Now, how does Harington know that Ignoto made himself “and manie others so cunning in the art,” as he observes?

 Recall that Arte had just come out in May of 1589, so there would be little time for a novice poet on the scene, it would seem, to make himself and so many others “cunning in the art.” Of course, if Harington really did not know who Ignoto really was, he was only basing his literary opinion on the fragments contained in the Arte. Harington shows no awareness of any other writings of Ignoto than those contained in the Arte—unless the mentioned allusion to LLL applies.

 Above, I produced a quotation from the Cambridge editors where it is stated, right after the first paragraph, that “The two early references to the authorship of the Arte which have come to light agree in attributing it to ‘Puttenham.”  And they refer to a private note to Field “referring to what is undoubtedly the Arte as ‘Puthams book.” What is “undoubted” to the editors is not so to a normal mind. “Putham” might be “Puttenham,” but there is certainly no undoubtedly to it. But, even more importantly, to the subject at hand, is the credibility of the editors.

 There is a footnote to the above quoted remarks from the editors: “For a detailed account of early notices concerning the authorship of the Arte v. Capt. B.M. Ward’s article, “The authorship of the Arte of English Poesie: A suggestion,” etc. But, consulting Ward’s article, we discover that the “evidence” cited by the editors is specious and the “inserted note” was a fraud! What was reportedly a contemporaneous note by the editors, is, in fact, an insertion silently slipped into the text some 25 years later, and the original MS (where the original note was supposed to exist with the name of “Puttenham” or “Putnam”) did not contain the alleged name. Hence, we have not only proof that the proof was bogus but evidence of a crime to tamper with the original evidence and to insert into the record false information.

 So, the first piece of “evidence” is impeached. What is the second piece of evidence. “About twenty-five years later, Bolton, in his Hypercritica, described it [Arte] as the work “as the fame is” of one of Elizabeth’s Gentlemen Pensioners, “Puttenham.” Nothing more is given by the editors so that one might well assume the state was, “as the fame is, Puttenham” were the only words in the entry. If there were more surely the editors would have provided it if there was anything pertinent—afterall they are trying to make a “case” for their theory and the ice is pretty thin. What an odd statement “as the fame is.” What could it possibly mean?

 The Cambridge editors don’t pause a moment on this enigmatic statement. It would seem impossible to make any sense out of it. One obvious, interpretation of the meaning might be, “as reputed, Puttenham.” The statement itself would seem to generate doubt as to the matter. If he was the known author, as a fact, why say as “as the fame is” rather than “written by Puttenham.” It would seem the writer of the note wanted to alert the reader that he was not saying it was by Puttenham, only that he was famed or reported to be its author.

 Above I have quoted from LLL for the use of meaning of “grandfather” in the above discussed context. An important point to be made here is derived from Furness, one of the most brilliant variorum writers exactly at the same spot in the play, LLL, quoting Kenrick (p. 74)

“Fame” means here nothing more than report, rumor, or relation. . . The knowledge acquired from books is, for the most part, founded on the authority of the writer, and what is thus known is known only by report or relation. So that those whose whole stock of knowledge consist in what they have read may with great propriety be said to know nothing what is told them; that is, to be entirely ignorant of facts, and to know nothing but fame.”
Incidentally, we do not wish to forget to mention here that Bolton while apparently  quick to notice the reader that it is not himself who claims what the facts are, but only that what is reputed to be the case, was justly cautious (if our interpretation is right). Bolton also stated, according to the Cambridge editors that “as fame is, one of Elizabeth’s Gentlemen Pensioners, ‘Puttenham.’”  Ward, cited above, had a check made of all existing records. Puttenham was never a Gentleman Pensioner of Queen Elizabeth, and appears to have spent a great deal of his life in prison. And, if Ward is correct, as we think he is, Puttenham was in prison, for example, when he supposedly wrote and presented to the Queen one of the poems featured by the author of Arte as his own on January 1, 1579.

 The fact is, so far, there is no evidence at all that Puttenham was the author of Arte. An example, nonetheless, of the really despicable corruption of the Cambridge editors is found in statements like this: “Lastly, contemporary evidence for “Puttenham’s authorship cannot be dismissed lightly, for references to it, though few, are unanimous and appear to rest on independent authority.” When the reader considers we have, above, produced all of the evidence dealt with by the Cambridge editors we are amazed at their brazen mendacity.

 The references are “unanimous” and “independent” is about as much as a bald-faced lie as most students of literature are likely to find, anywhere! The Cambridge editors talk out of both sides of their mouths. They acknowledge that “efforts to identify the author of the Arte have proved inconclusive,” on one hand, and on the other we are informed that

“On the biographical evidence it can be shown that it is possible that George Puttenham wrote the Arte; on the literary evidence possibility becomes probability and approaches certainty.”

 And after this statement the Cambridge editors continue with the most fantastical tautological arguments and routinely claim facts not of record and then state that, “An examination of the non-biographical evidence provided by Partheniades, the Arte and the Justification offers convincing proof of common authorship.” Of course, as one might fully expect, there is no proof offered whatsoever for the claim, expect a total of three statements—one in a letter, one in Justification and one in Partheniades. The first statement (the so-called literary evidence) is from a letter to Sir John Throckmorton:
 "I have resolved with myself to employ my tyme in Studyes and with conferens with the greatest lerned men I can fynde. Soilitary Studyes awaylynge nothynge, and this cannot I do at yowr howse.”
Anyone who has read the Arte will have some difficulty, I warrant, in thinking that this letter had in anyway anything to do with the author of Arte who specifically announced himself rather proudly to be an “autodidact” (a self-taught—a term of abuse among Harvey, Spenser, and other literati of the day. See Harvey’s letters).  Nor, I dare say, would any informed person would think the author of the Partheniades or the Arte would be of that mind—as he is, in fact, creating a new school of poetry himself. Hardly a person to say that solitary studies avail nothing!