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Reply to William Shakespeare's Sonnet 6

Updated on July 20, 2017

You are a sage who've traveled to and fro,
an alchemist versed in the herbal lore.
I'm now distilling flowers I adore
from mind and heart before I bid adieu.

It's crystal clear my sins were known to you:
I've always been so baffled by the cure.
If for a while you wouldn't be a bore:
relieve my curse, please come to my rescue!

Then I can sire for you ten thousand sons
though most would be of spirit, not of flesh,
as Mordreds are not worth to propagate.

I treasure, sir, the high inheritance
you gave to me, whose force I now unleash:
yet I am not your son nor country mate.

-- Jose Rizal M. Reyes
Baguio City, Philippines
April 5, 2012 / Thursday

rhyming pattern: abba abba cde cde
sonnet type: Italian Classic 3 (traditional names: Italian Sonnet and Petrarchan Sonnet)
metric type: iambic pentameter

Who is the real author behind the mask?  The central premise of the Replies to William Shakespeare's Sonnets is that it was Sir Francis Bacon who rose to become the Lord Chancellor of England during the time of King James I.
Who is the real author behind the mask? The central premise of the Replies to William Shakespeare's Sonnets is that it was Sir Francis Bacon who rose to become the Lord Chancellor of England during the time of King James I.

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 6

Then let not winter's ragged hand deface,
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distilled:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty's treasure ere it be self-killed.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That's for thy self to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thy self were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:
Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair
To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.

Notes and Commentaries


"You are a sage who've traveled to and fro"
The premise of this sonnet is that Sir Francis Bacon was the true author of the Shakespearian sonnets. As a young man, Bacon visited several places in Europe including various places in France, Italy and Spain. At the close of his known life in 1626, it is said that Sir Francis Bacon faked his death, attended his own funeral, then crossed the English channel to parts unknown or knowable, whatever, for further studies and adventure.

"an alchemist versed in the herbal lore"
Alchemy formed part of Sir Francis Bacon's prodigious knowledge. Said he: “Alchemy may be compared to the man who told his sons he had left the gold buried somewhere in his vineyard; where they by digging found no gold, but by turning up the mould, about the roots of their vines, procured a plentiful vintage. So the search and endeavors to make gold have brought many useful inventions and instructive experiments to light.” Click here.

Here's how he himself discussed the making of gold. And read too History of Life and Death (click here) where he discussed medicine, including herbs. His essay titled Of Gardens (click here) is also impressive

"I'm now distilling flowers I adore"
This refers to my sonnets and other works.

"from mind and heart before I bid adieu"
This will be my last undertaking before I go to parts unknown or knowable, whatever.

"as Mordreds are not worth to propagate"
Mordred was the bastard son of King Arthur who usurped his father's throne.

"yet I am not your son nor country mate."
Sir Francis Bacon and myself don't belong to the same family and country. Yet I got his inheritance, at least in sonneteering. So why should I have a son on whom to bequeath my own inheritance?

Italian sonnet 3 (abba abba cde cde)
The octave of Italian sonnet 3 follows a rima incantenata (chained rhyme) pattern which is associated with the Italians. But its sestet is rima alternata (alternate rhyme) that was borrowed from Sicilian sonnet 2 (abab abab cde cde). Spanish sonneteers of old were fond of using the rhyme schemes of Italian sonnet 2 and Italian sonnet 3 -- that is to say, they used Italian octets and Sicilian sestets.

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    • Lord of Poetry profile image
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      Jose Rizal Reyes 2 months ago from Tabing Dagat, Odiongan, Romblon, Philippines

      Reply 5 and Reply 6 must have been published together and approved together. Same story. Earliest known updating is July 20, 2017. On that same date, the HP Team sent an email saying that this hub had been cleared for publication.