by J. Thomas Looney
(Text from the first American edition by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York: 1920.)
"Vero Nihil Verius."
NB: This text is over 80 years old. Consequently, current Oxfordian scholarship has corrected some errors in this text, paticularly Appendix I - The Tempest.
"What a wounded name,
"Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
PREFACE and PRELIMINARY NOTE
CHAPTER I - THE STRATFORDIAN VIEW
I-Growing scepticism; Ignatius Donnelly; Anti-Stratfordian authorities; "Shakespeare" and law; "Shakespeare's" education; Halliwell-Phillips
II-William Shakspere's early life; Shakspeare and Burns
III-William Shakspere's three periods; Closing period
IV-The Will; Ben Jonson; Hemming and Condell; Penmanship; The "Shakespeare" manuscripts; The First Folio; Obituary silence
V-William Shakspere's middle period; No participation in publication; Uncertain duration; Uncertain habitation; The great alibi
VI-William Shakspere's silence
VII-Character of contemporary notices; The Stratfordian impossibility; Absence of incidents; No letters
VIII-William Shakspere as actor; Municipal records
IX-As London actor; Accounts of Treasurer of Chamber; Missing Lord Chamberlain's books; Notable omissions
CHAPTER II - CHARACTER OF THE PROBLEM AND METHOD OF SOLUTION
I-Authorship a mystery; A solution required; Literary authorities; "Shakespeare's" voluntary self-effacement; Genius; Maturity and masterpieces; A modem problem
II-The method of solution; Stages outlined.
CHAPTER III - THE AUTHOR: SOME GENERAL FEATURES
Recognized genius and mysterious; Appearance of eccentricity; A man apart; Apparent inferiority to requirements of the work; An Englishman of literary tastes; Dramatic interests; A lyric poet; Classical education; Summary.
CHAPTER IV - THE AUTHOR: SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS
His feudal partialities; Aristocratic outlook; Lancastrian leanings; Enthusiast for Italy; Sporting tastes; Music; Negligent in money matters; Mixed attitude towards woman; Catholicism and Scepticism; Summary.
CHAPTER V - THE SEARCH AND DISCOVERY
Choice of guide; Narrowing the operations; The point of contact; The actual quest; An important poem; Seeking expert support; First indications; Dictionary of National Biography; Selection justified; Competing solutions.
CHAPTER VI - CONDITIONS FULFILLED
Personal traits; Personal circumstances; Summary of points attested; Remaining points: Sport, Lancastrianism, Woman, Religion.
CHAPTER VII - EDWARD DE VERE AS LYRIC POET
Expert testimony; Dr. Grosart's collection; Oxford's early poetry; Hidden productions; The great literary transition embodied in De Vere; Oxford's style and Shakespeare's. His character in his writings.
CHAPTER VIII - THE LYRIC POETRY OF EDWARD DE VERE
I-Six-lined stanza; Central theme; Personality; Haggard hawk; Lily and damask rose; Love's difficulties; Love's penalties; Mental distraction
II-Interrogatives; Stanzas formed of similar lines; A peculiar literary form; Loss of good name; Fortune and Nature; Desire for pity; Echo poems; Romeo and Juliet; The Lark; Tragedy and Comedy.
CHAPTER IX - RECORDS AND EARLY LIFE OF DE VERE
I-Reputation of the Earl of Oxford; Reasons for concealment; The shadow lifting; Need for reinterpretation; False stories
II-Ancestry of Edward de Vere; Shakespeare and Richard II; Shakespeare and high birth
III-The Earls of Oxford in the Wars of the Roses; Shakespeare and the Earls of Oxford; The Great Chamberlain
IV-Father of Edward de Vere; Shakespeare and Father worship
V-A royal ward; "All's well", aremarkable parallel; Education; Arthur Golding's Ovid; De Vere and law; Life and book-learning; The universities; Relationship with the Cecils; General experiences; Dancing; Shooting; Horsemanship; Early poetry.
CHAPTER X - EARLY MANHOOD OF EDWARD DE VERE
I-Marriage; Sordid considerations; Oxford and Burleigh; Burleigh and literary men; Burleigh's espionage; Hostility; Raleigh; Desire for travel; Unauthorized travel; Visit to Italy; Shakespeare and travel; Oxford in Italy
II-Domestic rupture; An Othello argument; A sensational discovery; Kicking over the traces; Burleigh's methods of warfare.
CHAPTER XI - MANHOOD OF DE VERE. MIDDLE PERIOD. DRAMATIC FOREGROUND
I-Gabriel Harvey; Holofernes; Oxford and Berowne; Philip Sidney; Boyet; Eccentricity; Vulgar scandal
II-Dramatic activities; Anthony Munday
III-Agamemnon and Ulysses; Troilus and Cressida
IV-Lyly and the Oxford Boys
V-Shakespeare and Lyly
VI-Apparent inactivity; Spenser and De Vere; Spenser's "Willie Shakespeare and "Will."
CHAPTER XII - MANHOOD OF DE VERE. AN INTERLUDE
Execution of Mary Queen of Scots and funeral of Philip Sidney; Oxford and his times; Shakespeare and politicians; Mary Queen of Scots and Portia; Spanish Armada and Shakespeare; Death of Lady Oxford.
CHAPTER XIII - MANHOOD OF DE VERE. FINAL PERIOD
I-Material difficulties; Second marriage; An important blank; Shakespeare's method of production; Dating the plays; Rapid issue; Dramatic reserves; Habits of revision; De Vere a precisionist; State plays and literature
II-Plays as poems; Henry Wriothesley a personal link; Contemporary parties; Southampton, Bacon and De Vere; Death of Queen Elizabeth; The Boar's Head Tavern and Gadshill; Death of De Vere.
CHAPTER XIV - POSTHUMOUS CONSIDERATIONS
An unfinished task; Death's arrest; "Lear" and "Macbeth"; Three periods of Shakespeare publication; Posthumous publications; "Pericles" and the Sonnets; "King Lear" and "Troilus"; "Hamlet"; First Folio; William Shakspere's purchases; William Shakspere's supposed retirement and Oxford's death; Loyal helpers; Henry Wriothesley; The 1602 gap; Horatio de Vere; The second Lady Oxford; The series of sonnets closes; Summary; A conclusive combination; The substitution.
CHAPTER XV - POETIC SELF-REVELATION. THE SONNETS
Resume of points already treated; Southampton the better angel; W. H. and T. T.; The poet's age; Southampton and Oxford's daughter Elizabeth; a significant marriage proposal; Sentiment of the sonnets; The dark lady; Supplementary details; The inventor of the Shakespearean sonnet; An early sonnet by Edward de Vere; Romeo and Juliet.
CHAPTER XVI - DRAMATIC SELF-REVELATION: HAMLET
Shakespeare's contemporaries in his plays; The dramatist in his dramas; Hamlet and destiny; Hamlet is Shakespeare; De Vere as Hamlet; Hamlet's father and mother; Hamlet and Polonius; Ophelia; Horatio; Patron of Drama; Minor points; Hamlet and his times; Hamlet's dying appeal.
CHAPTER XVII - CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF EDWARD DE VERE AND SHAKESPEARE
CHAPTER XVIII - CONCLUSION
APPENDIX I - THE TEMPEST
A check; The Tempest and other comedies; Shakespeare's philosophy: Quality of the play; Dumb show and noise; Shakespearean details; Wit; A play apart; Medievalism; Woman; Horsemanship; Sport; Human nature; General Vocabulary; Not "Shakespeare's" work.
APPENDIX II - SUPPLEMENTARY MATTERS
The "Posthumous" argument; Oxford's Crest; Martin Droeshout's engraving; The Grafton portrait.