The Dark Side of Shakespeare (A Trilogy by W. Ron Hess)
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What if there was someone who wrote plays for Oxford's Men to act along with Worcester's Men at the "Boars Head Inn," knew Shakespeare, and even complained about several of his own poems improperly having been published as if they were Shakespeare's?  Then, later he wrote a catalog of Elizabethan and Jacobean "collaborator-borrowers" and compared them to very revealing ancient Roman examples, with particular and peculiar emphasis on Shakespeare?  Wouldn't that be evidence worth studying?  Read on....
Posted May 2005

Did Thomas Heywood Deem "Will Shake-speare" a Pseudonym or "Front?"

W. Ron Hess (

In his 1635 "Hierarchie of the Blessed Angels, Their names, orders & offices. The fall of Lucifer with his angells," Thomas Heywood may have said important things about "Will Shake-speare" (W.S. below) that have been overlooked or ignored by orthodox scholars. Even Oxfordians seem hitherto to have not grasped their full potential value. As with all things Shakespearean, these are open to interpretation. But, a detailed examination will show that Heywood arguably singled out W.S. as a prime example of a collaborator, borrower, plagiarist, thief, or even "front," depending on how we read the larger context. He may have even said that the name "Will Shake-speare" was a "swelling style," contrived honorific, or pseudonym, as opposed to a name the poet was born with. Our orthodox opponents see nothing peculiar in the same lines, finding them to be only a banal discussion of "nicknames." So, I urge the reader to judge.

We need to describe Hierarchie's historic context. Hierarchie was a 622 pg.-long poem of wide-ranging topics sacred and profane, most of it from the Judeo-Christian Bible, but much else from mythological and even "cabalistic" sources (i.e., from the Jewish book of demonology, the Cabala). Published anonymously, Hierarchie was printed by Adam Islip (whose career was from 1591-1640; see Plomer's dictionaries for Stationers' details). Islip was linked to works by W.S., Oxford, & Anthony Munday, and was listed as a "pirate" in 1582 and again in 1599 (by the Archbishop of Canterbury, when from 1586 to 1603 Oxford's former servant Anthony Munday spied on extremist Catholics and Puritans for the Archbishop and other officials). While still a journeyman, Islip pirated one of three parallel editions of the 1590 Travels of Edward Webbe, describing Oxford as a knight-errant adventuring in Sicily. Islip often partnered with W.S.-linked Stationers. Despite piracies, Islip rose to Warden of the Stationers Company (StatCo.) during the 1632 W.S. "Second Folio" (F2) project. In 1633-35, as Hierarchie was prepared, Islip was elected Master of the StatCo., and two Wardens serving under him were W. Aspley and J. Smethwick, the only two to have participated in both the 1623 "First Folio" (F1) and F2 projects.

Heywood dedicated Hierarchie to King Charles I and Queen Henrietta-Maria. It was approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the King's Chaplain, Wm. Haywood (no apparent relation to Heywood). So, its social importance was immense. It was published during the term of Oxford's son-in-law, Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, as Lord Chamberlain 1626-41 (a post that had some influence on the Publishing Industry, particularly since his cousin Henry Herbert was Revels Master 1623-60, with control over censorship). Hierarchie was to be republished in 1649, the year of the King's execution (after he had been twice arrested by Pembroke-Montgomery!).

Despite official frowning on works about supernatural beings not from the Bible, Hierarchie began with a list of "angels close to God," and the first was "Uriel" (an ethereal name, inspiration for "Ariel" in "Tempest"). As with much else in Hierarchie, the air-water spirit "Uriel" was from the Cabala. In fact, Hierarchie was not really even "Christian." Here is a Library of Congress catalog entry:

"A poem in 9 books, each preceded by an argument in verse and an engraved plate, and followed by observations in prose and 'A meditation' in verse.... reference to Shakespeare and his contemporaries (IV, p. 206) and some curious stories of witches, magicians and ghosts."

Prof. Alan Nelson (58-62, 273-75) described Oxford's "Necromancy," said in 1581 to have earlier shown his friends an illustrated book of the occult ("a certayne boke of pictures, after the manner of a prophesie"). "Hierarchie" was partly derived from such "Cabalistic" sources, possibly even from Oxford's book!

Now let's examine Heywood's approach in Hierarchie. In Liber 4, "The Dominations" was summarized with the couplet: "There is no Power, no Domination,/ But from the Lord of our Salvation." After an eclectic rhymed discussion of demons, saints, rabbis, and philosophers, Heywood began to discuss the way in which poets had been honored or neglected, some of it quite witty:

"Yet shall a Sycophant or ballading Knave,/... Weare speaking pockets; boast, Whom he doth serve:/ When meriting men may either beg or starve." (193)

On pg. 205 he turned to discussion of a catalog of 10 ancient Latin poet-playwrights of "Past Ages" as a contrast for a catalog of 15-16 Elizabethan-Jacobean poet-playwrights on his next page (the text is transcripted in Figure A at the end below). Skipping the superfluous poetry, the following 5 topic areas were discussed:

Topic Area A: Pg. 205, beginning of 2nd-to-last stanza, a discussion of how ancient poets' true names were often added to in "swelling styles," or what might be called "nicknames." But, I prefer to term these "qualifying names," because in reality the "swelling styles" might merely clarify the poet's identity as distinct from some other poet or person of the same or similar name (Shakespeare illustrated in Julius Caesar IIIiii when a mob tore apart "Cinna the poet" on confusing him with "Cinna the conspirator," or in Love's Labour's Lost IVii when a character playing "Judas Maccabaeus" was taunted as if he was playing "Judas Iscariot," the traitor to Jesus; and in Shakespeare's time there was and remains some confusion about Sir John Davies, John Davies of Hereford, and even later John Davies poets). Yet, Heywood was essentially right to argue that the qualifying names could also be used to grace or honor the poets:

"Past Ages did the antient Poets grace,/ and to their swelling stiles, the very place/ Where they were borne, denomination leant."

After which the following 5 ancient poets were listed with qualifying names (=>) of their places of birth:

A1. Publius Ovidius Naso => Sulmonensis

Ovid -- 43 BC-17 AD, studied law at Rome & Athens but led a riotous life as poet, patronized by Augustus but in 8 AD banished to the Black Sea Bulgarian coast among Goths for a scandal involving the Imperial family; his works included love poetry improving on Greek models, and the myth-compendium Metamorphoses (1st translated into English 1565-67 by A. Golding, Oxford's uncle, a main source for W.S.'s works) (Grant-1980, 300-03).

A2. Publius Virgilius => Maro

Virgil -- 70-19 BC, Latin poet, wrote c. 44 BC Eclogues from the Greek form and 30-19 BC Aeneid (emulating Homer's Odyssey); along with Horace, had Maecenas & Augustus as patrons (463-68).

A3. Marcus Annaus Lucanus Seneca => Corduba

Seneca the Younger (of Cordova, Spain) -- c.4 BC-65 AD, studied in Egypt, then had a turbulent political career in Rome; 49 tutored Emperor Claudius' stepson Nero; 54-62 virtually shared rule of the Empire, but a suspicious Nero ordered his suicide; wide-ranging writings included satires and tragic plays modeled on Greeks Menippus & Euripides (386-88).

A4. Caius Pedo => Albinovanus

Pedo -- fl. 6-10 AD, a friend of Ovid, cavalry commander whose poetry about the expedition of Germanicus yielded just 23 lines "Over the Seas our Galleys went" quoted by Seneca that are among the most beautiful in Latin; much praised in his time, in the 15th century a poem "Consolatio Liviam" was known to have been fraudulently attributed to him by an Italian imitator (Howatson, 21;

A5. Aurelius Olympius => Nemesianus

Nemesianus -- of Carthage, fl. 284 AD when notable Latin poetry was rarely written anymore in the agonies of the fracturing Empire; wrote 4 Eclogues closely imitating Virgil and cribbed whole lines from Calpurnius Siculus of centuries earlier (Grant-1980, 290). Though unclear what his family status was, the choice of "Aurelius" as his "gens name" was typical of ex-slaves, who on being freed might take the family name of their former master or else the clan-name of an Emperor (i.e., the Aurelian clan, claimed by most Emperors or co-Emperors following Marcus Aurelius, including Probus [reigned 276-82], Carus [282-83], Carinus [283-85], Diocletian [284-305], & Maximian [285-305]).

Topic Area B: In a new stanza, the last on Pg. 205 and carrying over to the top of Pg. 206, the discussion changed suddenly to a different form of qualifying names (=>), this time by type of specialized poetry:

"Some from the nature of their Poems...,"

B1. Caius Lucilius => Satyrus

Lucilius -- 148-100 BC, great-uncle of Pompey the Great, well-versed in Greek philosophy from studies in Athens, was the first to adapt the Greek satire into Latin; his satirical verses were later much copied, his 6th Book was imitated in Horace's The Bore, and in his 26th Book he satirized, imitated, & debated poet-playwright Lucius Accius (262-63).

B2. Livius Andronicus => Epicus

Livius -- c.284-204 BC, freed Greek slave of Tarentum, taught Greek & Latin in Rome, and for a schoolbook adapted Homer's Odyssey with much original material into his Odusia; founded the school of Roman epic drama in imitation of Greek models; tradition holds that he'd lost his voice but would act out scenes while a boy voiced the lines from behind the stage (253-54).

B3. Lucius Accius => Tragicus

Accius -- 170-c.86 BC, a son of freed slaves, later thought Rome's greatest tragedian; had an older friend in Pacuvius with whom he collaborated at games to present parallel plays in imitation of Greek models, including Euripedes; but little more than titles have survived for his 40 plays; engaged in debates with satirist Lucilius on reform of literary matters (1).

Topic Area C: In the same stanza, Heywood's discussion changed once again to a different form of qualifying name (=>), this time place of birth:

"Some, from their severall Countries, because they/ Were forrein borne"

C1. Publius Terentius => Afer (Africa)

Terence -- a first cent. BC freedman & author of 6 Latin plays, suspected of having "fronted" for nobles wishing to keep their literary identities secret, or to have overly-much plagiarized from Greek plays (420-22); as Oxfordians know, Terence as a "front" may have been used by J. Davies of Hereford's 1610 epigram #159 entitled "To our English Terence, Mr. Will. Shake-speare" (Ogburn, 257).

C2. Titus Calphurnius => Siculus (Sicily)

Calpurnius -- a 1st century AD freedman whose eclogues in the style of Virgil from a century earlier were uncannily imitative or suspicious plagiarisms (Grant-1980, 81-82); 200 years later his lines were stolen by Nemesianus; a modern Italian editor (Messina, 7-9) used the word "imitatore" (imitator) and remarked at poetry seemingly of the time of Augustus inexplicably appearing a century later in the time of Nero.

And, staying in the same stanza, the discussion continued to the top of Pg. 206, ending with:

"So many others had/ (And that for sundry causes) meanes to add/ Unto their first : for with their worth encreast/ Their stiles ; the most grac'd with three names at least.//"

To summarize thus far, before embarking on his second catalog of 15 or 16 contemporary poets, Heywood first cataloged 10 ancient Roman poets who he said were honored differently from those of his own day, as to be seen in appended names said to be honorific (as opposed to born-with). Of the 10 he cataloged, as many as half were freedmen or of lately-slave families (B2, B3, C1, C2, & likely A5) and all were notable imitators-adaptors and/or were notoriously imitated themselves. Curiously, we find that many of his named poets were obscure or second-rate, while he omitted some of ancient Rome's greatest. For example, though he included the pioneering but imitative and second-rate B1 Caius Lucilius, he failed to include Horace, the sublimely great poet whose Bore openly imitated or lampooned Caius nearly a century later; he also left out the great Livy while including B2 Livius Andronicus, whose "gens name" marked him as a freedman who honored the family into which the greater poet was later born. All of which begs the question: "What was the real point of Heywood's two catalogs" or "what was the method of his madness?"

Arguably, Heywood's two catalogs, imbedded in a book of occult messages, were intended to occultly convey a message about just one of the 26 poets he discussed. Heywood's discussion at the end of his first catalog claimed that the "most graced" (honored) among the catalog of 10 had "three names at least." This rule he had demonstrated for all 10, but the "at least" extension applied only to Ovid and Seneca (i.e., the two "most graced," A1 & A3), and not for other greats like Virgil and Terence (A2 & C1). Since his stated intent was to contrast the catalog of ancients with a second catalog of contemporaries, the "three names at least" shouldn't be taken only as reference to what preceded, but must be a reference to that which Heywood would make to follow. Yet, only one in Heywood's second catalog had "three names at least." Thus, the phrase about "three names at least" was meant to emphasize that one name yet to follow.

Topic Area D: Having earlier listed a catalog of 10 Roman poets, on Pg. 206 Heywood propelled into the most celebrated part of his book: a catalog of 15 or 16 Elizabethan-Jacobean authors. Each was given a shortened first name (=>), or what orthodox scholars have drably recognized as just "a nickname."

"Our moderne Poets to that pass are driven,/ Those names are curtal'd which they first had given;/"

D1. Rob. Greene => Rob

Robert Greene -- Jul 1558-Sep 1592, earned MAs at both Oxford U. and Cambridge U. (as had Oxford and very few others!), he dedicated his 1584 Gwydonius to Oxford; a poet-playwright-pamphleteer whose works were said to be an influence on W.S. Some of his poetry imitated the "Euphuist" style, and his name has been suggested as author-collaborator on works later attributed to W.S., such as Mucedorus (published 1598). As with his "Coney-catching" pamphlets, in his Sep1592 Groatsworth (GGW), R.G.'s lines flailed all parties, especially actors for play-stealing. He was said by Nashe to have collaborated in the anti-Martinist "Marprelate" pamphlets with several others in Oxford's circle. With differing claims about the complexity and timing of R.G.'s publications, the involvement of so many rebels and W.S.-related Stationers in publishing R.G.'s works, and R.G.'s scant biography, some Oxfordians (e.g., Stephanie Hughes & Nina Green) have suggested that R.G. was a fiction or front (where Greene = "VERdE" => deVERE = Oxford). (Nelson, 381; CDNB2, 1224)

D2. Christ. Marlo => Kit

Christopher Marlowe -- Feb 1564-May 30, 1593, MA CambrU. 1587, great poet-playwright of 7 known plays whose talent rivaled W.S.'s; an early innovator in blank verse, his last 2 plays are said to be "indebted to" W.S.'s Henry VI Pt. 1, and he likely collaborated with his room-mate T. Kyd. An associate with Oxford's servant T. Watson and spy in northern France for Sir Francis Walsingham, C.M. was killed in a tavern brawl after the Privy Council had begun investigating him and his room-mate for libelous-atheistic writings. (Ogburn, 672 & 694; CDNB2, 1950)

D3. Thomas Kid => Tom

Thomas Kyd -- 1558- Aug 1594, from 1585 to c.90 he is said to have written Spanish Tragedy, said to be a source for W.S.'s Hamlet. T.K. reportedly collaborated with his room-mate C. Marlowe (during his interrogation on the wrack, T.K. claimed suspicious documents found in his possession had been authored instead by C.M.). (Ogburn, 672 & 694; CDNB2, 1699)

D4. Thom. Watson => Tom

Thomas Watson -- 1557?-92, a Catholic possibly educated at Oxford U., studying Latin, Italian, & French poetry, in each of which he later wrote. T.W. was a servant to Oxford c.1578-84 (dedicating his 1582 Hekatompathia to him), yet he was in Paris in 1581 spying for Sir Francis Walsingham; in September 1589 he saved C. Marlowe's life by helping him in a duel, which got C.M. & T.W. briefly jailed (see Hess II, 18-19). A pioneer in adapting Italian Madrigals into English, T.W. wrote some of the most cultured Elizabethan verses & songs, often compared to W.S. (whose Sonnets are said to be indebted to T.W.'s own). (Nelson, 287; CDNB3, 3147)

D5. Thomas Nash => Tom

Thomas Nashe -- 1567-1601, was a sizar at Cambridge U. 1582, BA 1586, toured France & Italy by 1588 when he became associated with Sir George Carey (son of Lord Chamberlain Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon) & failed in attempts to get the Earls of Southampton or Derby as patrons. 1589 wrote an acidic preface to R. Greene's Menaphon & also wrote Anatomy of Absurdities. Engaged in anti-Martinist side of "Marprelate Controversy" along with others in Oxford's circle. 1592 accused of writing the possibly W.S.-linked Groatsworth. 1597 nearly jailed with B. Jonson for co-writing the lost comedy Isle of Dogs. T.N.'s 1593 Apology of Pierce Pennilesse or Strange Newes was dedicated to Oxford-Vere as "VERiE friend Master Apis Lapis... infinite Maecenas to learned men" who was armed with his "dudgeon dagger" (= Oxford & his circle vs. "Martinist" Puritans). (Ogburn, 630-31, 725-27; CDNB3, 2148)

D6. Francis Bewmont => Franck [= Beaumont]

Francis Beaumont -- 1584-1616, son of a judge, was a poet-playwright, wrote commendatory verses for plays of Drayton & Jonson and frequently collaborated 1606-16 with J. Fletcher. F.B.'s 1616 funeral laid him out in Westminster Abbey, in stark contrast to Mr. Wm. Shakspere. (Halliday, 57; CDNB1, 186)

D7. William Shake-speare => Will [hyphen = a pseudonym?]

Wm. Shakespeare -- Since likely illiterate Mr. Wm. Shakspere left no evidence of literary attainments, Oxfordians recognize this name as a pseudonym of the 17th Earl of Oxford (Hess II, 479-573, traces the name to "Palladine" [= "of the Spear-shaker"], derived from 1545 & 55 Spanish and French romance epics). No matter who W.S. was, his works were full of imitation, borrowing, adaptation, and reworking from Ovid, Petrarch, DuBellay, Ronsard, etc. Hess II, Appen. B, gives sources alleged by orthodox scholars for each of W.S.'s works; yet, if Oxford was W.S., then many of those sources actually cribbed from him instead! (Halliday, 57, 130-31, 167-68; Ogburn, 93-99; CDNB3, 2707-09; Evans, 48-57)

D8. Benjam. Johnson => Ben [= Jonson]

Ben Jonson -- 1572-1637, great poet-playwright, King James' "Poet Laureate" in the 1610s; he contributed 2 deceptive dedications in W.S.'s 1623 F1 and made suspicious W.S.-related statements which have been seen by Oxfordians as part of a larger deception to shield the true author of W.S.'s works. In any case, despite his argumentative nature, B.J. frequently collaborated with other playwrights, including Oxford's associates Munday & Nashe. (Halliday, 159; Ogburn, 221-22; CDNB2, 1624-25)

D9. Fletcher => Jacke

John Fletcher -- 1579-1625, poet-playwright said to have collaborated with W.S., a partner in writing plays with F. Beaumont & others. (Halliday, 57, 167-68; CDNB1, 1029-30)

D10. Webster => Jacke

John Webster -- 1580?-1625?, 1604 entered Merchant Taylors Co.; no evidence he was a child actor (as in movie Sh. In Love); unclear if he was the actor listed 1595 as a comedian in Germany or 1598 entering Middle Temple; collaborated in and wrote plays: White Devil c.1608, Duchess of Malfi c.1616, & Devils Law Case by 1619; J.W.'s "tragic power" was near to W.S.'s but quality oddly uneven; Oxfordians argue the best of J.W.'s works (such as Malfi) were revisions-reworkings of lost Oxford-W.S. works. Halliday, (524) cites J.W. as saying of his predecessors, "What I write may be read by their light." (CDNB3, 3160)

D11. Deckers => Tom [= Dekker]

Thomas Dekker -- 1572?-1632?, hack-writer for Henslowe 1598-1602 when he wrote 9-10 plays and collaborated in 30 more, as well as 5 for Worcester's Men in 1602 (when Worcester's was amalgamated with Oxford's Men); his 1601 Satiro-Mastix was for Lord Chamberlains Men & Paul's Boys (also Oxford-linked?); later he wrote pamphlets & pageants, but his productivity collapsed circa 1604, in 1613-19 he was jailed for debt, then he collaborated in plays with Massinger & Ford; he was said to have "dressed" W.S.'s Henry V & Julius Caesar for his own works. (Halliday, 130-31; CDNB1, 768)

D12. May => Tom [an ancestor of orthodox Prof. Steven May?]

Thomas May -- 1595-1650, was the only poet in Heywood's catalog not old enough in 1604 to have worked as an adult for/with Oxford, and for whom there's little scent of collaboration-with or copying-from W.S. (unless his two histories were derived from W.S.?). May would have only served Oxford if he was a boy-actor in Oxford's Men (circa 1602-03 "amalgamated" with Worcester's Men (Ogburn, 751) and possibly May acted in Heywood's plays. May's education at Cambridge U. (B.A. 1612) and Gray's Inn (1615) followed Oxford's earlier path. After a brief stint as a lawyer, May turned to writing dramas and Latin translations (some from Virgil), and by 1635 at King Charles' request he had written histories "Reigne of King Henry II" & "Edward III." In the Civil Wars, May was a publicist-historian for Parliament, ending with the postumously published "The History of the Parliament of England." (CDNB2, 1999)

D13. Middleton => Tom

Thomas Middleton -- 1570?-1627, at Gray's Inn 1593, dramatist who collaborated with Dekker, Rowley, Munday, Drayton, Webster, Jonson, Fletcher, and others; wrote nearly as many pageants as Munday; his 1624 A Game at Chess was acted for 9 days before it was suppressed for lampooning the Spanish ambassador. (Halliday, 316; CDNB2, 2026)

D14. Jacke Foord [no non-nickname first-name was given]

John Ford -- c.1582-c.1640, at MiddleTemple 1602; wrote elegies & dramas, collaborated with T. Dekker & S. Rowley. He has been accepted as the most likely author of the 1612 "Elegy by W.S.," earlier misassigned by Prof. D. Foster (Oxfordian Richard Kennedy initiated the reversal!). Yet, Dr. Desper's 1997 article proposed a plausible scenario wherein Oxford may have authored "Elegy" in c. 1581 as tribute to the martyred Jesuit, Father Campion (though one might wonder at this, given that Oxford's servant Munday was enlisted to help get Campion hung!). If so, how Ford came to dress up "Elegy" in his own style in 1612 is vague. I agree with linking Elegy to Campion's fate, but Elegy's inferior poetry was most likely originated by someone other than by Oxford-W.S. (Halliday, 172; CDNB1, 1042-43)

D15. Heywood ended with himself: "...he loves me best that calls me Tom"

Thomas Heywood -- 1573-1641, allegedly wrote circa 1594 Edward IV Pts.1&2 (in 1656 listed as by W.S. & its 1599 titlepage said it was acted at the Curtain by Derby's Men, Oxford's son-in-law). 1598 hired by Henslowe (owner of Rose & Newington Butts Theaters) to work for the Admiral's Men as actor-playwright, collaborating with Munday and many others up to 1607 (including as a hand detected in Sir Thomas More, a circa 1598 W.S.-linked Munday play in MSS). His plays were often performed at the Boars Head Aldgate, by 1602-03 with Oxford's-Worcester's Men (thus, T.H. was likely linked to Oxford before Oxford's 1604 death). Over his career, he collaborated-in or wrote 220 plays by his own account (thus justifying him in any list of collaborators, imitators, or borrowers, as I argue he listed himself in Hierarchie). Wrote 1612 Apology for Actors in part to protest 1612 (or earlier?) use of 2 of his poems in W.S.'s Passionate Pilgrim. (Halliday, 226, 356, 456; CDNB2, 1417).

Topic Area E: It's a matter of taste whether Heywood's discussion continued beyond mention of himself onto the next page, 207. Heywood's continuing lament about the poverty and neglect society paid to poets continued with ancient mythology, showing a greater appreciation in the distant past for poets. But first, he mentioned a 16th century poet (possibly extending his second catalog to 16), but no "nickname":

E1. Buchanan [no other name]

George Buchanan -- 1506-82, Scot Protestant leader, "the best Latin poet modern Europe has produced"; 1536 tutored Earl of Moray, exiled in France to 1560, taught Montaigne; 1561 tutored Mary Stuart, 1570-78 tutor-advisor to boy king James VI, in 1571 carried letters to Queen Eliz. allegedly proving Mary's guilt in murder of her husband Darnley; translated plays of Euripedes into Latin; in group of collaborating Scot poets; excelled in all forms of lit., often original, but he wrote "with the purity and elegance of an ancient Roman" ( (CDNB1, 379-80)

To summarize Heywood's second catalog (of his contemporary poet-playwrights), the main thing that they had in common was they were all collaborators and/or imitators (except perhaps for D12 Th. May). Which likely was not what each had wished to be remembered for. As an example, T. Watson's 1582 Hekatompathia dedication to Oxford used the phrase "your Honours patronage," but his dedication "To the Frendly Reader" had these words objecting to labeling himself as an "imitator":

"...that although Venus be in my verse, yet her slipper is left out; to the last and worst, that I rather take upon me to write better than Charilus, then once suppose to imitate Homer."

For Watson's meaning, "Charilus" was a noble Spartan who chose not to take a passionate action directly, but rather used noble restraint, patience, and subordinates to achieve his ends (as noted in Montaigne's Essays, Bk. 2, Chapt. XXXI,

And, yes, each in Heywood's second catalog could have their names linked to a banal "nickname." But, surely that was not "the method to Heywood's madness" in his two catalogs. When we look deeper, of the 16 we see 10 had likely connections to Oxford (D1-D5, D7-D8, D11, D13, & D15), and each of the rest may have had. Moreover, we find that 9 of them (D1-D4, D7, D9-D11, & D15) were sources for, had likely collaborations with, or finished unfinished works by W.S., and again the others may have done.

What about the curious reference to "three names at least" discussed above? Surely it's obvious that only one of Heywood's contemporaries in the second catalog was given a name resembling such a description, and that of course was "Will Shake-speare." Was W.S. being "singled out," and if so why? It's as if W.S. was to be seen as the quintessential collaborator-imitator-borrower-plagiarizer in Heywood's second list. Moreover, as the only hyphenated name, where many pseudonyms were hyphenated, arguably Heywood was saying that "Will Shake-speare" was a pseudonym, or perhaps a "front-man." Hope's & Moore's "Notes" in the Spring 1993 Elizabethan Review gave strong arguments for "Concealed Poets" having used pseudonyms, and that W.S. was one of them (Hope, 60-61; Moore, 58-60). This interpretation is fortified if we emphasize exactly the same lines from Hierarchy that orthodox scholars favor the most. Bold underlines added (Chambers II, 219; Halliday, 226; Heywood, 206):

"Our moderne Poets to that pass are driven,/

Those names are curtal'd which they first had given;/

And, as we wisht to have their memories drown'd,/

We scarcely can afford them half their sound/ ....

[as skipped by orthodox scholars]

Mellifluous Shake-speare, whose inchanting Quill/

Commanded Mirth or Passion, was but Will."

The underlined words above say that the names which followed (including W.S. both in the text & left column of the page) were among those who Heywood knew had assisted other writers "driven to have their memories [of their identities] drown'd" until their "names are curtal'd." Much like the "Hollywood blacklist writers" in the 1950s, those secret noble writers needed "beards" or "fronts" to aid them in passing forth their works without revealing their identities. Since orthodox scholars insist those phrases only referred to insipid "nicknames," let's rephrase it this way:

"Heywood said that W.S. was one (like Heywood and 13 or 14 other poet-playwrights) who would do slight modification to the works of others and allow the works to be published as his own!"

So, did Heywood really know "Will Shake-speare" and who the real author of the works credited to that name was? Apparently he did, for as said in the short bio for D15 above, several of Heywood's poems had been improperly put into the 1612 edition of Passionate Pilgrim and thereby credited to W.S., which Heywood's Apology for Actors then protested. The error was likely made by the important W.S.-related printer Wm. Jaggard (printer of the 1619 "Pavier Quartos" of 10 plays attributed to W.S., and of the 1623 F1 of W.S.'s authentic plays). The orthodox view is that Heywood's 1612 complaint ended with a statement that he was satisfied about W.S.'s honesty in the matter (Halliday, 356). Yet, curiously, Heywood further stated that "I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage" (see Downs, 19).

Gerald Downs' 1993 article thoroughly analyzed Heywood's 1612 complaint, opining that Heywood's "not worthy his patronage" had greater meaning (28), and that Heywood really meant:

"my lines do not deserve to be published in association with the name of William Shakespeare... I find it offensive that the originator of this corrupt volume, William Shakspere, took credit for the contents as if he were really the poet Shakespeare" (34).

This neatly brushed aside Mr. Shakspere as author. Though Mr. Shakspere may have been alive in 1612, he was a pale imitation for the "real" W.S., who may have been dead. But is that all we can learn?

Oxfordians should be studying Heywood's Hierarchy in great depth, because it appears that the way in which Heywood grouped his first catalog of ancient Roman authors was a deliberate attempt to say something that we have long celebrated, and orthodox scholars have long dismissed: that "Will Shake-speare" was a servant who "fronted" for noble authors. As noted in the short bio for Terence (E1), addressing W.S. as a "front" may have been done by J. Davies of Hereford's 1610 epigram #159 entitled "To our English Terence, Mr. Will. Shake-speare." That conclusion was partly made on grounds that a "freedman" or ex-servant was well-positioned to continue serving his former master and his master's noble friends by "fronting" their works as if they were his own. Thus, note that B2, B3, C1, & C2 in Heywood's first catalog were precisely that: feedmen well-positioned to be fronts! At least this reinforces the already long-held Oxfordian notion about what Davies of Hereford possibly meant about W.S. as a front.

Thus, note that many of Heywood's second list had been servants of, pensioners of, and/or even collaborators with nobles. Some did so with Oxford, others with one or more of the Pembrokes, etc. Wasn't it logical that Heywood's "method of his madness" was that he named himself, along with W.S., among 15 or 16 of his contemporaries, as poet-playwrights who had "fronted" for nobles? Arguably so, and it certainly gives new meaning to Heywood's phrase in his 1612 complaint:

"I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage"

Since that phrase was directed at W.S. the author, and since Heywood's second catalog seemed intent on conveying the occult message that all listed had been collaborators, plagiarists, or even fronts for nobles, then "patronage" meant what it said, the patronage of a noble for a servant, and not some alternative meaning such as merely "support." Since there is no record of petty-suit Provincial usurers acting as "patrons" of poet-playwrights, Heywood apparently regarded W.S., the true author, as a noble giver of "patronage." Hence, Heywood knew W.S. the author (indeed, Heywood wrote for the Oxford-Worcester's Men), and what he said about W.S. seemed more like Oxford, a noble patron, than like Mr. Shakspere!


Works Cited by Hess:

Chambers, E. K., William Shakespeare: a Study of Facts and Problems, Oxford, 1930, Clarendon Pr.

Concise Dictionary of National Biography (CDNB), 3 Vols., Oxford, 1992, Oxford U. Press.

Desper, Richard, "An Alternate Solution to the Funeral Elegy," The Elizn. Review, 5.2 (1997): 79-92.

Downs, Gerald, "Reconsideration of Heywood's Allusion to Sh.," The Elizn. Review, 1:2, Fall 1993, 18-35.

Evans, G. Blakemore, ed., The Riverside Shakespeare, Boston, 1974, Houghton Mifflin.

Grant, Michael, ed., Latin Literature: An Anthology, London, (1958) 1978, Penguin Books.

-- Greek & Latin Authors 800 B.C.- A.D. 1000, N.Y., 1980, H.W. Wilson Co.

Halliday, F.E., A Shakespeare Companion 1550-1950, London, 1952, Gerald Duckworth & Co.

Hess, W. Ron, The Dark Side of Shakespeare, Vols. I, II, IIIA-IIIC, Lincoln, NE, 2002-2005, Writers Club Press, 1-877-823-9235 or see

Heywood, Th., The Hierarchie... (1635), NY, 1973 facsimile, Da Capo Press, ISBN 90 221 0530 x.

Hope, Warren, "Notes: Concealed Poets," The Elizn. Review, Spring 1993, 60-61.

Messina, Calogero, ed., T. Calpurnio Siculo, Padua, 1975, Liviana Editrice.

Moore, Peter, "Notes: Shake-hyphen-speare," The Elizn. Review, Spring 1993, 58-60.

Nelson, Alan, Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward de Vere,17th Earl of Oxford, Liverpool, 2003, Liverpool U. Press. (0-85323-688-7;

Ogburn Jr., Charlton, The Mysterious William Shakespeare: The Myth and the Reality, NY, 1984, Dodd

Mead (a somewhat updated 2nd edition 1992 from EPM Publ., McLean, VA).

Plomer, H.R., et alia, Dicts. of Printers & Booksellers... 1557-1775, Ilkley, Yks., 1977, Grove Press.


Figure A: Transcription of Hierarchie's relevant text

[Slightly modernized ("j" for "i," "s" for "f," etc.) and

"/" = end line, "//" = end stanza, & "///" = end page)

Page 205 (last third) [italics original, margin less compressed]:

Past Ages did the antient Poets grace,/                The honour

And to their swelling stiles, the very place/          done to Poets

Where they were borne, denomination leant./            of old

Publius Ovidius Naso had th' ostent/

Of Sulmonensis added, and did give/

The Dorpe a name, by which it still doth live./

Publius Virgilius likewise had th' addition/

Of Maro, to expresse his full condition./

Marcus Annaus, Lucanus Seneca,/

Bore title from his city Corduba./

Caius Pedo was styl'd Albinovanus:/

Aurelius Olympius, Nemesianus.//

Some from the nature of their Poems : Thus,/            A Satyricall

Caius Lucilius was call'd Satyrus :/                    poet.

So Livius Andronicus, Epicus :/                         An Epick poet

And Lucius Accius syrnamed Tragicus. &c./               A Tragicke

Some, from their severall Countries, because they/      poet.

Were forrein borne : Terens, from Africa,/

Is Publius Terentius Afer read./

Titus Calphurnius, Siculus, as bred///

Page 206 (entire) [italics original, margin less compressed]:

                  In Sicily. So many others had/

                      (And that for sundry causes) meanes to add/

                      Unto their first : for with their worth encreast/

                     Their stiles; the most grac'd with three names at least.//

                      Our moderne Poets to that passe are driven,/

                     Those names are curtal'd which they first had given;/

                      And, as we wisht to have their memories drown'd,/

                      We scarcely can afford them halfe their sound.//

Rob.Greene.           Greene, who had in both Academies ta'ne/

                       Degree of Master, yet could never gaine/

                       To be call'd more than Robin : who had he/

                      Profest ought save the Muse, Serv'd, and been Free/

                      After a seven yeares Prentiseship ; might have/

                      (With credit too) gone Robert to his grave./

 Christ.Marlo.        Marlo, renown'd for his rare art and wit,/

                          Could ne're attaine beyond the name of Kit;/

                          Although his Hero and Leander did/

Thomas Kid.           Merit addition rather. Famous Kid/

Thom.Watson.          Was call'd but Tom. Tom.Watson, though he wrote/

                           Able to make Apollo's selfe to dote/

                          Upon his Muse ; for all that he could strive,/

                           Yet never could to his full name arrive./

 Thomas Nash.          Tom.Nash (in his time of no small esteeme)/

                           Could not a second syllable redeeme./

 Francis Bew-           Excellent Bewmont, in the formost ranke/

         mont.            Of the rar'st Wits, was never more than Franck./

William Shake-        Mellifluous Shake-speare, whose inchanting Quill/

     speare.              Commanded Mirth or passion, was but Will./

Benjam.John-            And famous Johnson, though his learned Pen/

     son.                    Be dipt in Castaly, is still but Ben./

John Fletcher.         Fletcher and Webster, of that learned packe/

John Webster,          None of the mean'st, yet neither was by Jacke./

                     &c. Deckers but Tom ; nor May, nor Middleton./

                     And hee's now but Jacke Foord, that once were John.//

                     Nor speake I this, that any here exprest,/

                     Should thinke themselves lesse worthy than the rest,/

                    Whose names have their full syllable and sound ;/

                    Or that Franck, Kit, or Jacke, are the least wound/

                    Unto their fame and merit. I for my part/

                    (Thinke others what they please) accept that heart/

                    Which courts my love in most familiar phrase ;/

                    And that it takes not from my paines or prase./

                    If any one to me so bluntly com,/

                    I hold he loves me best that calls me Tom.///

Page 207 (first third) [italics original, margin less compressed]:

Heare but the learned Buchanan complaine,/     In his Elegy

In a most passionate Elegiacke straine ;/      intitled: quam

And what emphaticall phrases he doth use/      misera sit con-

To waile the wants that wait upon the Muse. /  ditio docent in

The Povertie (saith he) adde unto these,/       literas huma-

Which still attends on the Aonides,/            nieres. &c.

As if that Poenia were their Queene and Guide,/  Poenia is Pau-

And vow'd, amongst them ever to reside./         pertas : or of

Whether thou do'st of Turkish battels sing,/     poverty. Read

Or tune thy low Muse to a softer string :/      Aristophanes in

Or whether thou the gentle Socke dost weare,/    his Comody,

Tickling with pleasure the Spectators eare :/    called Plutus.

Whether thou in the lofty Buskin rage:/

When the long Tragicke Robe doth brush the Stage,/

Thou, Povertie along with thee shalt bring,/

Whether thou Poems write, or Poems sing.//

The Dark Side of Shakespeare (a Trilogy by W. Ron Hess)