Another Bacon drama

Not that I wanted another one, but I’ve (re)discovered a Bacon attribution that I can’t ignore. The February 1587/8 Gray’s Inn entertainment “The Misfortunes of Arthur” was largely penned by Thomas Hughes with some substitution speeches by Francis Flower, but in the printed edition (Certaine Devises and Shewes Presented to her Majestie by the Gentlemen of Grayes-Inne, Robert Robinson, 1587/8), we find the following:

The dumbe showes were partly deuised by Maister Christopher Yeluerton, Maister Frauncis Bacon, Maister Iohn Lancaster and others, partly by the saide Maister [Francis] Flower, who with Maister Penroodocke and the said Maister Lancaster directed these proceedings at Court. (G2r)

There are five of these dumb shows, one at the beginning of each act, and so far none of them seems particularly Baconian. But the fifth, the lengthiest, has some intriguing emblems that will be worth exploring:

SOunding the Musicke, foure gentlemen all in blacke halfe armed, halfe vnarmed with blacke skarffes ouerthwart their shoulders should come vppon the stage. The first bearing alofte in the one hand on the trunchion of a speare an Helmet, an arming sworde, a Gauntlet, &c. representing the Trophea: in the other hand a Target depicted with a mans hart sore wounded & the blood gushing out, crowned with a Crowne imperiall and a Lawrell garland, thus written in the toppe. En totum quod superest, signifying the King of Norway which spent himselfe and all his power for Arthur, and of whom there was lest nothing but his heart to inioy the conquest that insued. The seconde bearing in the one hand a siluer vessell full of golde, pearles, and other iewels representing the Spolia: in the other hande a Target with an Olephant and Dragon thereon fiercely combacting, the Dragon vnder the Olephant and sucking by his extreme heate the blood from him is crushed in peeces with the fall of the Olephant, so as both die at last, this written aboue, Victor, an Victus? representing the King of Denmarke, who fell through Mordreds wound, hauing first with his souldiers destroyed the most of Mordreds armie. The third bearing in the one hand a Pyramis with a Lawrell wreath about it representing victorie. In the other hand a Target with this deuise: a man sleeping, a snake drawing neere to sting him, a Leazard preuenting the Snake by fight, the Leazard being deadlie wounded awaketh the man, who seeing the Leazard dying, pursues the Snake, and kils it, this written aboue, Tibi morimur. Signifying Gawin King of Albanye slaine in Arthurs defence by Mordred, whom Arthur afterwardes slewe. The fourth bearing in the one hande a broken piller, at the toppe thereof the Crowne and Scepter of the vanquisht King, both broken asunder, representing the conquest ouer vsurpation: in the other hand a Target with two Cockes painted thereon, the one lying dead, the other |[Fv] with his winges broken, his eyes pecked out, and the bloode euerye where gushing foorth to the grounde, he standing vppon the dead Cocke and crowing ouer him, with this embleme in the toppe, Qua vici, perdidi, signifying Cador deadly wounded by Gilla whom he slewe. After these followed a King languishing in complet Harnesse blacke, brused & battered vnto him, besprinkled with blood. On his head a Lawrell garland, leaning on the shoulders of two Heraults in mourning gownes & hoods, th’on in Mars his coate of arms, the other in Arthurs, presenting Arthur victoriously but yet deadly wounded. there followed a page with a Target whereon was portraited a Pellican pecking her blood out of her brest to feede her young ones, through which wound she dieth, this writen in the toppe, Qua foui, perit, signifying Arthurs too much indulgencie of Mordred, the cause of his death. All this represented the dismayed and vnfortunate victorie of Arthur, which is the matter of the Act insuing.

Brian Jay Corrigan has a 1992 Garland edition I need to consult before going any further.

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