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The Strange Baker's Daughter

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Warning: My speculations are in italics. The rest is accepted historical fact.

About seventy years after Shakespeare died, Richard Davies, chaplain of Corpus Christi College in Oxford wrote:

William Shakespeare was born at Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire in about 1563-4. Much given to all unluckiness in stealing venison & rabbits particularly from Sr --- Lucy who had him oft whipt & sometimes Imprisoned & at last made Him fly his Native Country to his great Advancement......He [Shakespeare] died a Papist.

There is a legend that Shakespeare left Stratford because he got in trouble for poaching a deer from Sir Thomas Lucy’s estate and then composing an insulting poem about Sir Thomas. Shakespeare alluded to this incident in Hamlet. He also alluded to his first two history plays, about the War of the Roses.

Hamlet
Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch; while some must sleep:
So runs the world away.
Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers, if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me, with two provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players, sir?
Horatio
Half a share.
Hamlet
A whole one, I.
For thou dost know, o Damen dear,
This realm dismantled was
Of Jove himself, and now reigns here
A very, very - pajock.
Horatio
You might have rhymed

[Shakespeare might have gone to Allen’s seminary in Rheims if he hadn’t gotten in trouble by writing an insulting poem .]

Hamlet
O good Horatio! I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pound.
Didst perceive?
Horatio
Very well, my lord.
Hamlet
Upon the talk of the poisoning?
Horatio
I did very well note him.
Hamlet
Ah, ha! Come, some music! Come, the recorders!
For if the king likes not the comedy,
Why then, he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!
Guildenstern
Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Hamlet
Sir, a whole history.
Guildenstern
The king, sir -

At the time he wrote Hamlet, Shakespeare still owed one more history play -- Henry VIII.

After he left Stratford, some scholars believe he joined the theater company patronized by Lord Strange, a high-ranking Catholic gentleman. For a while, Catholic plotters were considering Lord Strange as a Catholic replacement for Elizabeth. Their code name for him was "the baker" (see Nicholl’s "The Reckoning,’ page 228.) I believe that Shakespeare was welcomed into Strange’s company because he had already written drafts of two seditious history plays about the War of Roses, a period when the legitimacy of the English succession was questioned.

Ophelia
... They say the owl was a baker's daughter.
Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.

Hamlet
.... The dram of eale
[drama Ophelia or drama filia (daughter) or drama filial]
Doth all the substance of a daub
To his own scandal.

Internal LinksEdit

Be All My Sins Remembered - The Politics of Purgatory (previous article in biography)

Shakebag, Falstaff, and Woodcock - The Springe (next article in biography)

Where Truth Is Hid - A Speculative Biography of Shakespeare (main article)

--Ray Eston Smith Jr 00:15, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

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