On William Shakespeare and his Merlin delusions



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Back in the 12th century, in a short work called Prophetiae Merlini, a monk by the name Geoffrey of Monmouth referred to the same thirty-nine prophecies that Marlowe and Shakespeare refer to, plus many additional prophecies that apparently have not survived.

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]. Overall, there can be little doubt that Geoffrey was in possession of the same prophecies that were utlized by our playwrights.

Note that Geoffrey did not know who wrote Merlin's prophecies. Within those prophecies, the author refers to the 6th century and indicates that he witnessed the birth of an English king. From there, Geoffrey turned to King Arthur and invented his sidekick, Merlin the Prophet.

In essence, the writings of Geoffrey seem to have the same objective as the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare, namely, the recovery of Merlin's prophecies. Whereas we know that Marlowe and Shakespeare were trying to recover Merlin's prophecies from Les Prophéties de M. Michel Nostradamus, within which they were deeply masked by some nine hundred freshly written prophecies, we do not know from where Geoffrey wished that his writings could help to recover the prophecies. Whatever it was, it apparently vanished without a trace.

Merlin's prophecies were also the subject of commentaries written in the Hebrew language during the 12th and 13th centuries. For more information, see my 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.





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.

Away, you Ethiope! [Midsummer]

In the Drammatis Personae of The Birth of Merlin (a spelling-conscious play), Joan is spelled Jone, possibly wishing to allude to Jane, an important name which we shall encounter later. Both are feminine forms of John.

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].

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 somewhat mysterious why Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucrece correlates on The Birth of Merlin and not on Nostradamus like virtually everything else he wrote. The Birth of Merlin itself does not correlate on Nostradamus.

In our essay On William Shakespeare and the prophecies of Nostradamus 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.

As we shall discover, other works of the epoch —ranging from handwritten notes to published books— correlate on one or more of those same thirty-nine prophecies and they do so in the same way that Marlowe and Shakespeare did. For sure, those other writings will provide us with invaluable information on the origins of the famous plays.





Some years ago a fanatical Marlovian by the name Calvin Hoffman entrusted Marlowe's grammar school in Canterbury with a Prize Fund, today said to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling, to be awarded to anyone who can prove to widespread satisfaction that Christopher Marlowe wrote the plays of Shakespeare. Hoffman was convinced that Marlowe wrote them: he saw signs of the same author in the plays of both, and he viewed documents relating to Marlowe's death in 1593 as a complete farce, which is what they were. Thus, Hoffman concluded that Marlowe lived on to write the plays of Shakespeare.

The flaw in Hoffman's logic is that it lacks a major premise, which is that Christopher Marlowe of Canterbury wrote the plays of Marlowe. It seems no one has thought to challenge Marlowe's authorship because, unlike Shakespeare, he had an education. But if an education was all that was needed to become a great playwright, there would be millions of them and clearly we don't see that.

Per my investigations, while Marlowe's early plays were being written and performed in London, Marlowe himself was over in France helping the real Shakespeare and a few foreign scholars to write the prophecies of Nostradamus. Unlike William Shaksper of Stratford, who may have never known that theatrical plays were going to attributed to him, Marlowe was a valued member of an international brotherhood.

Moreover, Marlowe had to have been a good poet (the Nostradamus prophecies were created in the form of rhyming quatrains) and, as we saw, it seems very likely he was given at least one opportunity to dabble at playwriting, contributing to the play The Birth of Merlin.

Who then wrote the plays attributed to Marlowe?

Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia (1598, but see our Last Will article on why we think it was backdated to that year) tells us that Shakespeare wrote a play called Love Labours Wonne (following Love Labors Lost). This is obviously just a tease because, knowing what we now know about the history of the Shakespearean plays, there is no realistic chance that they would ever lose a play (or not be able to rewrite it if they did). Similarly, Meres' "so the best for Comedy amongst vs bee Edward, Earle of Oxforde" should be a tease. Yes, Oxford wrote plays, but no doubt of the blood and death type. In other words, it looks like the Oxfordians have it all wrong: it is far more likely that Oxford (Edward de Vere) wrote the plays of Marlowe, not the plays of Shakespeare.

If Marlowe didn't die in 1593 as Hoffman believed, then what happened to him? We think we know the answer and will take up that theme in our Comrades article.








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