Literary Sources for Shakespeare’s Plays & Poetry:

Title Page of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Only half of Shakespeare’s plays were actually officially registered at the Stationer’s Office, others were simply copied from surviving promptbooks and existing manuscripts of the time. Why this occurred is uncertain it may be that either the time or opportunity was not forthcoming or that the royal court sanctioned plays to be performed without registration or that some playwrights were given carte blanche permission to print and perform without having to register the play. In any case it was the Master of the Revels who personally decided whether the play was fit for performance or not. It also may have been a consequence of the predominance of the plague or some other social and political circumstances. However, we can now confirm that Sir Francis Bacon was secretly charged by the Pembroke circle with the task of examining the plays of William Shakespeare for any seditious or encrypted material which might reveal the real author’s name and redacting anything controversial in them with the help of several scribes (ref: The Northumberland Manuscript).

The Jottings on the Northumberland Manuscript

The following is a summary of those plays, registered and some unregistered which are considered controversial in terms of correct dating:

Henry VIth Part One:

The fact that Shakespeare’s history play, Henry VIth Part One was never registered at the Stationer’s Office is partially overlooked by academics. A good deal of Act 1 was actually written by the playwright Thomas Nashe and Shakespeare’s contribution occurs at Act 2, scene 4 (the Temple Garden) and in other parts of the play. We also note that Shakespeare was the only playwright who expressed an enthusiasm for writing plays about earlier English history in particular The Wars of the Roses (Richard II to Henry VII). The play was probably composed during 1587-90 just after the failed Spanish invasion so must have been the consequence of celebrating England’s past, its heroes and their conquests over other rival nations such as the French. However, it is evident from the text that historical accuracy was sacrificed in favour of a sense of superior nationalism and dramatic effect in uniting the nation. In this sense these histories are really the work of a propagandist or “spin-doctor” working for the Crown and other noble families. A total of 8 plays were written during this rather patriotic period drawn from Edward Hall’s “Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster & York” (1548) and Raphael Hollinshed’s “Chronicles of England, Scotland & Ireland” (1587). The only recording of its first performance was by Lord Strange’s Men on 3rd of March 1592 and was subsequently repeated fifteen times within a period of 10 months (recorded in Thomas Nashe’s “Piers Penniless” 1592).

Henry VIth Part Two:

Presumed to have been written from 1587-92 and registered at the Stationer’s Office 12th of March, 1594 (Q1), with the second Quarto in 1600 (Q2), followed by another in 1619 (Q3) and finally in the First Folio in 1623 (F1). Among the sources required there would have been reference to Edward Hall’s (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (3rd. ed., 1550). Other sources include Robert Fabyan (?-1513). New Chronicles of England and France (1516). Raphael Holinshed (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587). Richard Grafton, (c.1512-c.1572). A Chronicle at Large of History of the Affayres of England (1516), as well as John Hardyng, (1378-c.1465). The Chronicle of John Hardyng (1543) and John Foxe, (1516-87). The Book of Martyrs (4th ed., 1583).

Henry VIth Part Three:

Presumed to have been written 1587-92 and registered SR 19th of April in 1602, subsequent editions are 1595 (O), 1600 (Q2), 1619 (Q3), 1623 (F1). Sources include: Edward Hall, (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (3rd. ed., 1550), Raphael Holinshed, (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587), William Baldwin ed. The Mirror for Magistrates (1559 edition), Edmund Spenser (c.1552-99). The Faerie Queene (1590) – descriptions of the sun at 2.1. Arthur Brooke, (?-1563). The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (English translation in 1562) – Queen Margaret’s speech at 5.4. Thomas Kyd, (1558-94) The A Spanish Tragedy (1588-9) and Soliman and Perseda (1590).

Richard III:

Presumed to have been written from 1592-93 and entered in the Stationer’s Office on 20th of October 1597, followed by 1597 (Q1), 1598 (Q2), 1602 (Q3), 1605 (Q4), 1612 (Q5), 1622 (Q6), 1623 (F1) with editions in 1629 (Q7), and 1634 (Q8). The sources for this history plays are Raphael Holinshed (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587). Edward Hall, (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (1587 edition). Thomas More, History of King Richard the Thirde. (1543) and William Baldwin ed. The Mirror for Magistrates (1559 ed.).

A Comedy of Errors:

The first anonymously recorded performance of A Comedy of Errors was at Gray’s Inn on the 28th December 1594 so the play must have been written earlier but never registered at the Stationer’s Office. From the irregularities naming the dramatis personae it must have been copied from William Shakespeare’s manuscript who must have worked from the Latin original and not William Warner’s English translation (1595) as often quoted by biographers. It was probably written around the same time as the poem Venus & Adonis (1590) and composited by Ralph Crane.

Titus Andronicus:

Presumed to have been written from 1587-92 and entered at the Stationer’s Office on the 6th of February 1594 (Q1), subsequent editions were 1600 (Q2), and 1611 (Q3). The literary sources include 1623 (F1) A chapbook of “Titus Andronicus” sold by chapmen. Ovid (43 BC- AD18). Metamorphoses (Arthur Golding‘s English translation in 1567). Lucius Annaeus Seneca, (4. BC-AD65). Thyestes (English translation in 1560).

Edward III:

Presumed to have been written 1589-95 and registered at the Stationer’s Officeon the 1st December 1595, followed by further editions in 1596 (Q1), 1599 (Q2). The literary sources include Jean Froissart, (c.1337-1410). Chroniques (c.1495), (John Bourchier‘s English translation in 1523-5), William Painter, (1540-94). The Palace of Pleasure (1566-7), and Raphael Holinshed, (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587).

Two Gentlemen of Verona:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is possibly the earliest of Shakespeare’s plays although not entered into the Stationer’s Office it was probably written in 1590-1. Scribed by Ralph Crane. Literary sources include Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75). Decameron 10th day, the story of “Titus and Gisippus”, Thomas Elyot, (c.1490-1546). The Booke named the Governour (1531), Diana Montemayor, (c.1521-61). Jorge de Enamorada (1542, English translation in 1582. publication in 1598) the story of “Felix and Felismena“, another source;Anonymous: The History of Felix and Philiomena (the record of the performance in 1585), Arthur Brooke, (?-1563). The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (English translation in 1562), and John Lyly, (c.1554-1606). Euphues his England (1578).

The Taming of the Shrew:

The Taming of the Shrew is similar in style and narrative to “Taming of a Shrew” which was anonymously registered at the Stationer’s Office on the 2nd of May 1594. The former being the original and must have been written much earlier (1591-2). Literary sources include George Gascoigne (1525-1577) a play entitled Supposes (first performed at Gray’s Inn 1567). And poems “A Hundreth Sundry Floweres”. Translation of an Italian drama, Aristo’s I Suppositi (1474-1533). Anonymous ballad. “A Merry Jest of a Shrewede and a Curste Wyfe” (printed 1550) and an Anonymous play. The Taming of a Shrew (1594) SR (2.May.1594) with some of the influence of the Italian Commedia dell’arte.

Venus & Adonis:

The first published volume of poetry whose sources include Ovid (43 BC-AD18) Metamorphoses (Arthur Golding’s English translation in 1567) Book 10. Very popular and went into several editions after it was registered 1591-02 at the Stationer’s Office on the 18th April 1593 (Q1), 1594 (Q2), 1595? (O1), 1596 (O2), 1599 (O3), 1599 (O4), 1602? (O5), 1602 (O6-O8), and finally 1617 (O9).

Rape of Lucrece:

The second volume of poetry again derived from Ovid (43 BC- AD18). Fasti Book 2. (Latin version) Titus Livius (59BC-AD17). Ab urbe condita libri Book 1. (Latin). William Painter, (1540-94). The Palace of Pleasure (1566-7) and Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340-1400). The Legend of Good Women (c. 1386).

Love’s Labours Lost:

No written source for the plot has been found for Love’s Labours Lost only the influence of the Italian Commedia dell’arte. 1593-94 but was entered into the Stationer’s Office in22nd of January 1607 and further editions in 1598 (Q1) and 1623 (F1).

King John:

The history play King John originated from an early manuscript or foul papers dated from 1596 and then copied by two different scribes from 1609-1623. However, topical allusions to the Armada have dated its original or re-worked composition to 1588 or a little later perhaps because it is a plagiarised copy of The Troublesome Reigne of John, King of England (anonymously published 1591). The subject of illegitimate accession to the English throne would have been controversial enough at the time for a sanitised Protestant audience or gatekeeper to intervene in its official registration.

The Merchant of Venice:

Literary sources include Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, Il Pecorone (The Simpleton) (1558) and the Gesta Romanorum (1340, translation by Richard Robinson, 1595 ed). Another source was a lost English play simply entitled The Jew which was elaborated on by Christopher Marlowe, (1564-93) in his own play The Jew of Malta (c. 1589), other possible inspiration include Anthony Munday, Zelauto (1580).

Romeo & Juliet:

The most likely source for Romeo & Juliet was Dante’s Purgatorio and Arthur Brooke’s English translation Tragicall Historye of Romeus & Juliet (1562), first registered at the Stationer’s Office in 22nd January 1607 and only featuring in the First Folio of 1623 (F1).

Henry IVth (Part 1):

Literary sources for this history play include Edward Hall (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (3rd ed: 1550) Raphael Holinshed (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed: 1587) Robert Fabyan (?-1513). New Chronicles of England and France (1516). Thought to have been written in 1596-97and registered at the Stationer’s Office on the 25th of February 1598 followed by several editions: no date available (Q0), 1598 (Q1), 1599 (Q2), 1604 (Q3), 1608 (Q4), 1613 (Q5), and 1622 (Q6), and the First Folio of 1623 (F1).

Henry IVth (Part 2):

Literary sources for this history play include Raphael Holinshed (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587) and an Anonymous play entitled The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth (c. 1586) as well as Edward Hall’s, (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (3rd. ed., 1550). AS in part one another inspiration was Samuel Daniel, (c.1562-1619). The Civil Wars between the Two Houses of Lancaster and York (1595-1609) and William Baldwin ed. The Mirror for Magistrates (1559 ed.).

Much Ado About Nothing:

Literary sources include Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533). Orlando Furioso (1516)(The English translation by John Harington in 1591), Matteo Bandello, (1485-1561) Novelle (1554-73) 22th story. As well as Edmund Spenser (c.1552-99) The Faerie Queene (1590), and Francois de Belleforest (1530-83). Histories Tragiques (1568) Book 3, as well as George Whetstone, The Roke of Regard (1576) -Clauido’s rejection of Hero at her own wedding and reference toBaldassare Castiglione, (1478-1529)The Book of the Courtier (1528).

A Lover’s Complaint:

This poem employs the rhyme royale (ABABBC) and one theory is it was written around the same time as the play “All’s Well That Ends Well” (1601) because the male character in the poem resembles Bertram in that play. Current expert dating suggests that it was probably written some ten years before its actual publication (c.1598-9?). It clearly echoes elements of Samuel Daniel’s Delia (1592) which was followed by The Complaint of Rosamund, Lodge’s Phillis (1593) which was followed by The Tragical Complaint of Elstred, and Edmund Spenser’s Epithalamion  which was followed by his Amoretti (1595).

Richard II:

The main sources for Richard II were of course Edward Hall, (1498-1547). The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (3rd. ed., 1550) and Raphael Holinshed’s (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587) as well as the anonymous Thomas of Woodstock (c. 1592), other sources are Jean Froissart, (c.1337-1410). Chroniques (1495?) John Bourchier‘s English translation in 1523-5) and William Baldwin ed. The Mirror for Magistrates (1559 ed.) and Samuel Daniel, (c.1562-1619). The Civil Wars between the Two Houses of Lancaster and York (1595-1609). Registered in the Stationer’s Office in 29th August 1597 and probably written in 1595. Later editions were 1597 (Q1), 1598 (Q2), 1598 (Q3), 1608 (Q4), 1615 (Q5), and 1623 (F1).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

No written source for the plot has been found for this play and it seems that the plot is Shakespeare’s original. However, there are influences from following: Theseus and Hippolyta. Plutarch’s Lives (c.46-120). (Thomas North‘s translation in 1579), Geoffrey Chaucer, (c.1340-1400). The Canterbury Tales “The Knight’s Tale” (1400)probably sourced for the story of “Pyramus and Thisbe” and the name of Titania. Also aspects of Ovid (43 BC- AD18). Metamorphoses (Arthur Golding‘s English translation in 1567) Oberon Huon of Bordeau, a 13th-century French adventure tale translated by Lord Berners (1534). Probably written from 1593-95later editions include first registered on the 8th of October, 1600 (Q1) with other editions in 1619 (Q2), and 1623 (F1).

Julius Caesar:

One of Shakespeare’s early Roman Plays, Julius Caesar was partly derived from an anonymous play: The Tragedy of Caesar and Pompey, or Caesar’s Revenge (c. 1595). The precision and quality of the text suggests a theatre promptbook for its original source. The Folio version omits the last four words in the phrase “Know Caesar doth not wrong but with just cause”.

As You Like It:

Presumed to have been written in 1599 and registered a year later at the Stationer’s Office on the4th of August, 1600, and first published in the 1623 First Folio (F1).

Twelfth Night:

Literary sources include Barnabe Riche’s (c.1540-1617). Farewell to Militarie  Profession (1581) the story of “Apolonius and Silla” as well asMatteo Bandello, (1485-1561) Novelle (1554-73).

Hamlet:

Literary sources for this seminal play include Thomas Kyd’s (1558-94). Ur-Hamlet (c. 1589) and Francois de Belleforest’s (1530-83). Histories Tragiques Book 5 (1570). Presumed to have been written from 1600-01 and registered a year later on the26th July, 1602. Further editions are in 1603 (Q1), 1604 (Q2), 1611(Q3), and in the First Folio published in 1623(F1).

Merry Wives of Windsor:

There is no particular source for the plot, however, Shakespeare might have got inspirations and been influenced by the following: Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, Il Pecorone (The Simpleton) (1558) and Ovid (43 BC- AD18). Metamorphoses (Arthur Golding‘s English translation in 1567) as well as John Lyly, (c.1554-1606). Endimion (1588).

All’s Well That Ends Well:

The play “All’s Well that Ends Well” was prepared from original manuscripts or “foul papers” with questionable changes made by the theatre bookkeeper of the newly formed King’s Men. It was adapted from Boccacio’s Decameron and a subject of ancient folkloric tradition it also draws from William Painter’s, The Palace of Pleasure (1566-7).

Phoenix & the Turtle:

Although not registered with this title which was engendered later there is no particular source, however, Shakespeare might have been influenced by the following: Robert Chester, Love’s Martyr where The Phoenix and the Turtle appears in Ovid (43 BC- AD18). Amores Book 2 6th poem. Perhaps Matthew Roydon‘s elegy in The Phoenix Nest might have been an inspiration and of course Geoffrey Chaucer’s, (c.1340-1400) The Parliament of Foules.

Troillus & Cressida:

Literary sources for this late play include Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus & Cresiede (1385-90), which itself was inspired by Boccacio’s prose romance Filostrato. Other sources include George Chapman’s translation of Homer’s Illiad (The Illiads of Homer, Prince of Poets 1598). Several other sources include John Lydgate’s Troye Book, Robert Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid and William Caxton’s Recuyell of the Histories of Troye (1464). Also of interest is the Roman du Troie by the French writer Benoit de Sainte-Maure in the 12th century. This story was translated into Latin prose by Guido delle Collonne from which Boccacio later developed the tale.

The Passionate Pilgrim:

A collection of poems (138 & 144) that first appeared in print (publisher: Thomas Thorpe) around 1599 was entitled The Passionate Pilgrim and then criticised by Francis Meres as “sugared sonnets” in his book Palladis Tamia. This edition contains extracts from Act IV of “Love’s Labours Lost” as well as several renderings by other poets. Shakespeare and Thomas Heywood had not given their permission for one of these privately circulated editions, containing five of the sonnets along with the latter’s Trois Britannica, (printed by William Jaggard) and evidently voiced their displeasure (viz: Apology for Actors). In later editions the printer saw fit to remove Shakespeare’s name from the title page.

Sir Thomas More:

From the British library the only original manuscript to survive of Shakespeare’s is “Sir Thomas More” generally ascribed to Anthony Munday but on closer examination the work of several collaborators. However, it would appear that the Master of the Revels, Sir Edmund Tilney found a large proportion of the text to be politically controversial and the required revisions attempted did not meet his expectations so consequently it was never licensed for printing or performance until after the death of Queen Elizabeth Ist (circa 1603). Probably drawn up from Hollinshed’s Chronicles and William Roper’s Life of More. Other sources include Nicholas Harpsfield’s Life & Death of Sir Thomas More and Thomas Stapleton’s Latin biography; Vita Thomae Mori.

It actually features examples of “Shakespeare’s” handwriting style although it was largely transcribed by an anonymous penman. Alterations and contributions to the text are ascribed to Henry Chettle, Thomas Decker and Thomas Heywood and date back to the 1590’s. From the evidence later discovered in the Northumberland manuscript it appears that Sir Francis Bacon was charged by the Pembroke circle with the task of restoring and amending Shakespeare’s manuscripts and he employed several scribes for this purpose. Several examples of Shakespeare’s signatures had been practised by these scribes on the Northumberland manuscript to give the impression that the author was still alive and able to confirm his permission and ownership of the work.

Othello:

The literary sources for Othello are Cinthio (Giovanni Battista Giraldi.1504-73). Hecatommithi (1565. No English translations have been found, therefore, Shakespeare probably read it either in Italian or French.) Book 2, 7th story of “Disdemona and the Moor”.Other sources include Pliny the Elder (23-79). Naturalia Historia (Philemon Holland‘s translation in 1601), and Leo Africanus, A Geographical History of Africa (English translation by John Pory, 1600). Presumed to have been written in 1604? And registered at the Stationer’s Office on the6th of October, 1621. Further editions of Othello were released in
1622 (Q1), 1623 (F1), and 1630 (Q2).

King Lear:

Literary sources are an anonymous play from the time entitled. The True Chronicle History of King Leir (c. 1590) while historical references were derived from Raphael Holinshed, (c. 1528-c. 1580). The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. (2nd ed., 1587). Other influences were Sir Philip Sidney’s, (1554-86) Arcadia (1590) and Edmund Spenser’s, (c.1552-99). The Faerie Queene (1590). Presumed to have been written in 1605? And registered at the Stationer’s Office on the 26th November 1607. Further editions were released in 1608 (Q1), 1619 (Q2), and in the First Folio in 1623 (F1).

Macbeth:

The reference by the half-drunk porter to an equivocator knocking at the door suggests the Scottish play Macbeth was written shortly after the execution of Henry Garnet (3rd May 1606). However, the Folio Macbeth seems to be a revision or shortened version of the original with additional songs by Thomas Middleton (3.5 & 4.1) namely “Come Away” and “Blacke Spirits” taken from his play “The Witch” especially those parts played by Hecate. Another source for the play would have been the report “Newes From Scotland” (1591) which recounts the attempt of witchcraft against James IVth of Scotland on his way by sea to Scotland. Any revisions made were probably done to give the impression that the play was written much later after James had acceded to the English throne. Other changes were made to  make the play more palatable to the Scottish King since he was believed to be afraid of witchcraft and assassination. The idea that the play was written as a tribute to James Ist is pure nonsense as it was recorded that James did not find the play in any way appealing or flattering.

Anthony & Cleopatra:

The literary sources for this play include Plutarch’s Lives (c.46-120). (Thomas North’s translation in 1579) and Appianos Appian (2nd century). Civil Wars (English translation in 1578) as well as a play by Samuel Daniel, (c.1562-1619). The Tragedy of Cleopatra (c. 1594). Presumed to have been written from 1606-07. Although it was not registered until the20th May, 1608 and later published in the First Folio in 1623.

Timon of Athens:

The inclusion of the play Timon of Athens was made quite late in the compilation of the 1623 Folio and was intended to replace in order a space reserved for Troillus & Cressida which the printer had at that time not procured the copyright. It is presumed to be a collaboration with Thomas Middleton and in need of revision. Like Anthony & Cleopatra, All’s Well That Ends Well, Troillus & Cressida, and As You Like It there is also no evidence or record of its actual performance. Its literary sources include Plutarch’s The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans translated by Sir Thomas North (1579), the Greek satirist Lucian’s; Timon Misanthropus, which was translated into French by Amyot and later into English by Sir Thomas North (1579), John Lyly’s  Campaspe (c. 1584) and an anonymous play entitled Timon (c. 1602).

Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

One of the plays that was not included in the 1623 Folio whose literary sources include John Gower’s Confessio Amantis written 1390. While Lawrence Twyne’s “Pattern of Painful Adventures” (1576) would have been influential. Furthermore, Sir Phillip Sidney’s Arcadia (1590) and finally George Wilkins, of the play (The Painful Adventures of Pericles, Prince of Tyre 1608).

Coriolanus:

The original promptbook with elaborate stage directions could easily have been the source for the compositor of Coriolanus which would most likely have been an intimate theatrical arena such as the Blackfriar’s. Among the sources for the play are  Plutarch’s Lives (The Thomas North’s English translation in 1579) and Titus or Livy Livius (59BC-AD17): Ab Urbe Condita Libri (Philemon Holland’s English translation as The Romane Historie published in 1600). Also William Camden’s, “Remaines of Greater Worke Concerning Britain” (1605) and William Averell, “A Marvaillous Combat of Contrarieties”. The last of the “Roman Plays” it was probably modelled on the Earl of Essex shortly after his London Rebellion went pear-shaped (1600-1).

Shakespeare’s Sonnets:

There are no particular sources, however, Shakespeare might have been influenced by following: Samuel Daniel, (c.1562-1619). Delia (1592) distructive “Time” and Sir Philip Sidney, (1554-86). Astrophel and Stella (1591) and indirectly but the inference of Francesco Petrarca (1304-74).

Cymbeline:

Although Simon Forman records attending a performance of this play, Cymbeline in the April of 1611 it must have been conceived much earlier than 1609-10, the date conventional biographers have assumed. In fact it might have been an early play revised for the investiture of Prince Henry, King James’s son as Prince of Wales. It resembles a play by Beaumont and Fletcher, Philaster composed in 1609. However, the style and form places it as a late play which utilised elaborate and stunning stage production.

A Winter’s Tale:

The astrologer and theatre goer Simon Forman records seeing a performance of A Winter’s Tale in May 15th 1611 at the Globe Theatre (Revels Accounts 5th November 1611). We know the potential sources for the story are from Plutarch, as well as Robert Greene’s Pandosto (c.1558-92) and of course Ovid’s Metamorphoses (43 BC- AD18) from Arthur Golding’s English translation published in 1567. The Shepherd’s Dance (Act 4, Sc 4) might have been added at a later date and yet academics still assume that it was probably written before or just after Cymbeline around 1609. However, we know that Sir Francis Bacon was amending and releasing plays for registration and collation on behalf of the Pembroke circle, so perhaps this play was written much earlier than assumed. Having consulted the original promptbook or foul papers, Ralph Crane transcribed and arranged the text for its first ever publication in the 1623 Folio.

The Tempest:

The Tempest is probably the last and possibly unfinished play written by Shakespeare. It has echoes of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and though assumed to be set in the Mediterranean there are more references to transatlantic voyages to the newly found British colony of Virginia. The Sonnet’s dedication has similar resonances to the phrase “Wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth” (published 1609) to someone in the aristocratic court who might consider establishing an independent colony in the Americas. Perhaps that was Thomas Hariot and Sir Walter Raleigh’s failed attempt to establish a colony (A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia 1590) in Virginia in 1584. Academics have attempted to place the play much later suggesting that the printed report of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture (1625) in the Bermudas (1609) was the inspiration for the Tempest even though William Shakespeare had retired from London by then. Or more likely it was inspired by another failed expedition financed by the Earl of Southampton (Shakespeare’s patron) in 1602 and captained by Bartholomew Gosnold (Elizabeth Islands). The Revels Accounts list the play performed 1st of November 1611.

Henry VIIIth (All Is True):

Finally, would such a complimentary play such as Henry the VIIIth have been composed and performed after the death of Queen Elizabeth? I think not although many Stratfordians still assert this was written after the death of Queen Elizabeth Ist (1611-12). Presumed to be a collaborative work with John Fletcher and written around the same time as Cardenio, The London Maid and The White Devil.

The Two Noble Kinsmen:

Not included in the 1623 Folio a play inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s, (c. 1340-1400). The Canterbury Tales (c.1482), Plutarch’s Lives (c. 46-120). (Thomas North’s English translation in 1579)–Theseus’ depiction esp.1.1. With influence from Francis Beaumont’s, (c. 1584-1616) The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn (1613).

The links to my publications “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”, a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry, “Pathenogenesis” are as follows:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/8182537193
https://www.cyberwit.net/publications/1721

Website: www.qudosacademy.org

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