Smother'd in Surmise
— Edward de Vere — De Vere or not de Vere?

That is the great Grimpen Mire, a false step yonder means death to man or beast.  Only yesterday I saw one of the moor ponies wander into it.  He never came out.  I saw his head for quite a long time craning out of the bog-hole, but it sucked him down at last.  Even in dry seasons it is a danger to cross it, but after these autumn rains it is an awful place.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle.

Claim 2) Edward de Vere wrote Venus and Adonis in 1593 and Lucrece in 1594, works traditionally attributed to William Shakespeare.

Dedication – Venus and Adonis :
To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley,
Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield.

Right Honourable,

I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your Lordship, nor how the world will censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a burden, only if your Honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour.  But if the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be sorry it had so noble a godfather: and never after ear so barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your Honourable survey, and your Honour to your heart's content, which I wish may always answer your own wish, and the world's hopeful expectation.

Your Honour's in all duty,


Dedication – Lucrece :
To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley,
Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Titchfield.

THE love I dedicate to your lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety.  The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance.  What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours.  Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with all happiness.

Your lordship's in all duty,


The horns of a dilemma :

Jonathan Bond tells the reader that "Edward de Vere also wrote [the two long poems] Venus and Adonis in 1593 and Lucrece in 1594." (JB99) Bond does not advance any new evidence for this claim.  He explains that it is "consistent" with his hypothesis (JB99).  He does not provide us with the mechanism of how the deception was enacted.  The default position – that is, the position to be challenged – is that the three works (the two poems and the collection of sonnets) were written, just as the title pages state, by the same person.

The dedications for the two poems are shown above.  The tone – that of devotion to a person the author admires – of each dedication, particularly that of Lucrece, is in accord with the romantic tenor of the Sonnets.  (Is it this commonality of style that Bond calls "consistent"?)

In discussing the authorship of the two poems, Bond is akin to a traveller on treacherous ground.  He must tread lightly; a single false step and he would sink into a quagmire from which recovery would be difficult.  One can sympathize with his desire to spend as little time as possible in the region.

In Bond's hypothesis, de Vere and Wriothesley are sharing a clandestine and intimate relationship – if it is not clandestine the whole rationale for the encoded dedication to the Sonnets collapses.  The relationship being clandestine (we understand for good reasons), why then would de Vere risk exposure with an "almost erotically charged" (JB29) dedication – the love I dedicate to your lordship is without end – to Lucrece?  The two poems were popular publications (JB7) and the true author would have been liable to discovery, especially as the nominal author, Shakespeare, was very much still in the field.  It is difficult to conceive how the subterfuge would have operated.  Nominating de Vere as author of the poems exposes a problem for Bond's major hypothesis.

If on the other hand, Bond should admit to Shakespeare being the author of the two poems, yet not the composer of the Sonnets, there is by corollary to Bond's presented argument of consistency, an inconsistency – matching styles, but disparate authors.  The resolution of the inconsistency is to accept that Shakespeare, not de Vere, wrote the Sonnets.  So the nomination of Shakespeare as author of the poems also creates a problem for Bond's major hypothesis.  A post publication Bond hedges his bets, he is less sure of de Vere – de Vere's authorship of the two poems, he explains, is merely "likely." (ACBI)

To Edward de Vere Index
Mal Haysom    initial posting 22/06/2011     last update January 31, 2014