On Shakespeare and his Merlin delusions






Upon reviewing how Shakespeare and Marlowe employed the Nostradamus prophecies for thematic and creative writing purposes, it came to our attention that, surprisingly, they both utilized the very same prophecies! Shakespeare correlates on a total of thirty-nine different prophecies and all of Marlowe's correlations are on one or another of those same thirty-nine. That's only a small percentage of the more than nine hundred prophecies published under the name of Nostradamus.

On this page we will encounter evidence that the thirty-nine prophecies under scrutiny may not have been written by Nostradamus at all. In fact, they seem to predate Nostradamus by at least four centuries, perhaps by a millennium.



We see signs that Shakespeare, at some point, became utterly delusional, thinking that the thirty-nine prophecies (on which he correlates) were not written by the famous seer Michel Nostradamus, but by Merlin, a fictional wizard belonging to the legendary King Arthur!

This here is the passage that most disconcerts us:

Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon and a finless fish,
A clip-wing'd griffin and a moulten raven [Henry IV, Pt. 1]

[a dragon]
Cassich sainct George à demy perfondrez [IX-31]

Encircled, Saint George to one half, demolished. Saint George was the famous dragon killer, so that has to be where the dragon comes from.

[a finless fish]
Es lieux & temps chair au poisson donra lieu [IV-32]

In times and places flesh to the fish shall give place. It's a mystery what this fish is, but it doesn't sound like something in the water, so let's take away the fins.

[a clip-wing griffin]
Comme vn gryphon viendra le Roy d'Europe [X-86]

Like a griffin shall come the king of Europe. This is clearly no ordinary griffin, so now let's remove the wings to make it kingly.

[a moulten raven]
L'oiseau royal sur la cité solaire [V-81]

The royal bird over the city of the Sun. Some have claimed that this "moulten" means molted, but one can find many examples from the 16th and 17th centuries where "moulten" means molten, quite sensible for a bird flying over the Sun!

In brief, in that one short passage, Shakespeare refers to all of Nostradamus' favorite animals, but he attributes them to Merlin!

Wikipedia tells us that the name "Merlin" is derived from the Welsh sage Myrddin, but points out that Welsh scholar Rachel Bromwich has observed that this "change from medial dd > l is curious." Look at the following:

Plus Macelin que Roy en Angleterre,
Son temps s'approche si pres que ie souspire [VIII-76].

More Macelin than king in England, ... His time approaches so near that I sigh.

This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time [Lear].

So now it looks like Shakespeare wishes to challenge world history, effectively claiming that the name Merlin results from a merger of the names Myrddin and Macelin!

Let's not forget about Marlowe. Indeed, there are reasons to believe that Marlowe was the real culprit behind the Merlin nonsense. As we saw on the home page, it was Marlowe and not Shakespeare who alluded to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the crazy monk who initiated this Merlin thing back in the 12th century.

What's more, we find evidence that Marlowe, posthumously given the pen name William Rowley, coauthored with the great William what could be their most significant work in the sphere of relevance:

"THE BIRTH OF MERLIN: OR, The Childe hath found his Father. As it hath been several times Acted with great Applause. Written by William Shakespear , and William Rowley. Placere cupio. LONDON … 1662."

Do not be put off by the late publication date. This religiously-sensitive play had to await the Restoration (1660) before they dare publish it.

The Birth of Merlin:
The DRAGON is your Emblem, bear it bravely.

The word DRAGON (all caps) appears in the original 1662 publication of this play but, with caps not being popular, they were demoted in subsequent printings.

surgat Mephistophilis DRAGON, quod tumeraris [Faustus].

Per the Project Gutenberg, this DRAGON (all caps) appears in quarto publications of Marlowe's Faustus.

There are more "emblems" pointing to Marlowe as coauthor. In fact, the play seems to go out of its way to establish Marlowe as the true coauthor, but beware some of the references to Marlowe are so ingenious that they might be missed by mere mortals. For example, in the play's Drammatis Personae (where, by the way, we find Merlin listed as "Merlin the Prophet"), we read "Anselme the Hermit, after Bishop of Winchester" (italics in original). Such a Bishop makes no appearance in the play but, in real history, after events occurring at Winchester, Saint Anselme became Bishop of Canterbury, Marlowe's home town!

In view of the covert (as opposed to overt) references to Marlowe found in The Birth of Merlin, chances are excellent that Christopher Marlowe of Canterbury really was co-author of that play. On the basis of thematic considerations, it could have been their first play, albeit the last to be published.

The playwright William Rowley may have been chosen (there were quite a few Jacobean playwrights to pick from) to represent Marlowe for a specific reason. In France during the late 16th century (perhaps there was some crossover to England), anagrams were all the rage of the day. According to the rules, it was permitted to make one, and only one, change of letter. For the name Rowley, we wish to change the final 'y' to an 'a'. There was certainly nothing wrong with including adjacent letters or letter, which in the case at hand, would be an 'm' (the final letter of the preceding William), giving us, in total, mRowlea. And from there we get:
maRlowe !

The Birth of Merlin:
Joan. Hence thou black horror, is thy lustful fire kindled agen? not thy loud throated thunder, nor thy adulterate infernal Musick, shall e're bewitch me more, oh too too much is past already.
Devil. Why dost thou fly me? I come a Lover to thee, to imbrace, and gently twine thy body in mine arms.
Joan. Out thou Hell-hound.

In the Drammatis Personae of this spelling-conscious play, Joan is spelled Jone, possibly wishing to allude to the name Jane. Both are feminine forms of John.

Away, you Ethiope! [Midsummer]

The Birth of Merlin:
All future times shall still record this Story,
Of Merlin's learned worth, and Arthur's glory.

For perjur'd Sinon, whose enchanting story
The credulous Old Priam after slew;
Whose words, like wildfire, burnt the shining glory [Lucrece].

It is inexplicable why Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucrece correlates on The Birth of Merlin and not on Nostradamus like virtually everything else he wrote. Likewise, The Birth of Merlin itself does not correlate on Nostradamus.

The Birth of Merlin:
Wilde-fire and Brimstone eat thee. Hear me sir.


Faustus holding the devil's book


What book! why, the most intolerable book for conjuring that e'er was invented by any brimstone devil [Faustus].



On the preceding page we saw that the playwrights Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare used their plays to correlate on thirty-nine specific prophecies from the more than nine-hundred prophecies published under the name of Nostradamus. The number 39 is not our invention nor our determination. Thirty-nine articles ("trente neuf articles") appear on the title page of the first three partial editions of the Nostradamus prophecies: Roffet(1588), Roger (1589) and Ménier (1589). We initially identified most of the thirty-nine via a deciphering of the second prose introduction to Nostradamus and later refined the list via the plays of Marlowe and Shakepeare.

The writings of Marlowe and Shakespeare were a comprehensive attempt to identify all of Merlin's prophecies, but it is noteworthy that other works of that epoch, in writing or in graphics, also made an attempt to identify one or more of Merlin's prophecies:

1. Untitled marginalia (reader notes) written on the last page of a medieval manuscript. The marginalia, written in a hodgepodge of Spanish, Latin and German, likely dates to between 1585 and 1625, and the manuscript itself has been carbon-dated to between 1404 and 1438.

2. A prose introduction to the second part of the Nostradamus prophecies, unreliably dated 1557, reliably published in 1590. Written in French.

2. A book entitled The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, dated 1597, published in 1598. Written in English but the introductory material includes prose and poetry written in Latin.

3. A book entitled Giovanna Graia, the publication of which is unreliably dated 1607. Written in Italian.

4. A book entitled Fama Fraternitatis, published in 1614. Written in German.

5. A Last Will and Testament, dated July, 1625. Written in English.

6. A book entitled Novus Atlas, published in 1633, written in Latin. Translated into English as The New Atlantis with publication in 1627.

It seems safe to assume that these items, on the basis of their efforts to uncover Merlin's prophecies, could have some connection with the writings of Marlowe and Shakespeare. If Shakespeare himself was involved in the writing of any of them, it would expand his literary legacy or, in one case, augment surviving samples of his handwriting beyond a handful of signatures.

Back in the 12th century, a short work called Prophetiae Merlini, a monk by the name Geoffrey of Monmouth refers to the very same prophecies that Marlowe and Shakespeare refer to. Since the Nostradamus prophecies were not published until hundreds of years later, we must assume that Geoffrey (who wrote in Latin) was looking at the original manuscript of Merlin's prophecies which were likely written in Latin, in which case the same prophecies in Nostradamus would be a French translation.

Here is a sampling of Geoffrey's Latin words followed, in brackets, by the French words of Nostradamus as seen in our illustrations of the Marlowe and Shakespeare correlations:

Aquilon [Aquilon], Arabes [Arabes], Aries [Aries], Boreas [Boreas], ferro [fer], fratres [fratricider], flores [fluer de lys], fruticosos [fruicts], Gallicanos [Gauloise], gentis [gens], humano [humain], mortem [mort], Mercurii [Mercure], muros [mur], nationis [nation], noctorno [nocturne], Orienti [Orient], pax [paix], prophetias [prophetie], regni [regne], rubeus [rubes], ruinae [ruyne], sanguine [saignera], saecula [siecle], sceptrum [sceptres], septem menses [sept moys], templis [temple], tempore [temps], tremebunt [tremblera], terra [terre]

Adrianne (poetic spelling of Ariadne) also appears. The city of Londoniam [Londres] makes frequent appearances in both Geoffrey and Nostradamus. In Geoffery, the Venus eclipse is referred to as Venus deseret statutas lineas and there is also a chariot to the Moon, currus Lunae. While Marlowe and Shakespeare associate Neptune with Venus to get a watery Venus, Geoffrey associates the god of the sea with blancheur, giving us Phoebus aequoreus, watery Sun!

Geoffrey's Vita Merlini correlates on even more words including including thiten [Thita] and tagus [el tago].

The same prophecies were also the subject of commentaries written in the Hebrew language during the 12th and 13th centuries. For more information, see my nostradamus-rose-croix website.

Earlier, we saw that Marlowe and Shakespeare based the plot of a few of their plays on specific prophecies. Similarly, Geoffrey of Monmouth bases a story on a specific prophecy. Here is a brief synopsis of that story:

King Vortigern was advised by his magicians to construct a tower for his own protection. Vortigern gathered together a construction crew but after laying down the foundation, from one day to the next this foundation would sink into the ground and vanish. The magicians told the king that they needed to find a boy who has no father, kill him, and sprinkle his blood upon the foundation to solidify it. They found Merlin. But Merlin said he could explain everything, claiming the there was a pool of water below the ground. The king had his men dig into the ground and they found the pool. Then Merlin said at the bottom of the pool there were two hollow stones and inside each they would find a sleeping dragon. The King had the pool drained and so it was, they found the two sleeping dragons.


Le tremblement de terre à Mortara,
Cassich sainct George à demy perfondrez:
Paix assoupie, la guerre esueillera,
Dans temple à Pasques abysmes enfondrez.

The trembling of the ground at Mortara,
Encircled, Saint George to one half, demolished,
Peace soporific, the war shall be awoken,
Within the temple on Easter-day, abysses opened up.

Saint George, the dragon slayer, gives us a dragon, and the half (demy) gives us two dragons, who are asleep (assoupie). When the dragons wake up (esueiller) they make war (guerre) against each other, causing the ground to tremble (tremblement de terre) and the king's tower (temple) to sink into the ground (abysmes enfondrez). Meanwhile, the Mortara (monument of death) is suspected of transforming itself into the villainess Morgana in Arthurian legend.

In summary, Marlowe and Shakespeare may not have been correlating on prophecies written by Nostradamus. It seems that they were, in fact, correlating on prophecies attributed to Merlin but incorporated into the Nostradamus book.



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The objective of this website is mainly to gain academic recognition for our discovery of the considerable influence that Nostradamus exerted on the writings of Shakespeare and Marlowe. The bottom section of this webpage, which conveyed speculative and esoteric theories regarding the author of Merlin's prophecies, could not help in that regard and therefore had to be deleted. If anyone be interested in those theories, please note that some of them were replicated in the internal pages of our Spanish website mortenstgeorge.com and others in the internal pages of its sub-domain et.mortenstgeorge.com.