This poem is about Edward de Vere, but the intention is to illustrate that he was the author of literary works attributed to William Shakespeare.
A moment of realisation came when I read Sonnet 5 and saw that the author had
witnessed flowers preserved by being distilled. I knew that while Edward lived at Sir Thomas Smith’s house he would have seen such stills in Smith’s laboratory. (See John Strype’s book about Smith.)
A pivotal moment for me was when I read sonnets 81 and 55, written by an author willing to give up his identity so that his surrogate can have the glory.
As Shakespeare’s name is on the work, he must be the beneficiary. I believe the donor was Edward de Vere.
The two men knew each other – one an actor, one an owner, of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The actor had left his wife and family in Stratford to seek work. The owner was
a passionate and volatile nobleman who was bisexual. Ben Jonson, who knew them both, instigated the publication of the First Folio with dedications to people related to de Vere – Pembroke, Montgomery and his wife, Lady Susan de Vere.
He must have been acquainted with the plan to change the name of the author and gives a clue to the actual author when he says, “We have scarse received from him a blot on his papers.” Look at the respective signatures of these two and decide which one is finely
written – the illegible hesitant scrawl, or the confident flourishing hand. Jonson both
applauded and put down Shakespeare, but never divulged the true author.
There is a character clue to this authorship, Edward’s depression. That illness would have tipped him into the Tragedies.
The subterfuge was so effective that future doubters have had quite a task of discovery. Circumstantial evidence is all I have – no proof – until a valid document is found in some archive, library or dusty trunk.