No-Body and Some-body (Anonymous, ca.1592): An anonymous collaboration between Elizabeth I (Bess) and E.C.O. (Edwardus Comes Oxon.)?

Who is the anonymous author of this play?:

No-body and Some-body, 1592, frtsp.

Fig. 1  

Nobody and Some body, Anonymous, BESS, E.C.O., #2Fig. 2

Nobody and Somebody, Anon., E.C.O., #3Fig. 3

   No-Body and Some-Body is an anonymous play published for the first time in 1606, but is surmised to have been written ca. 1592. 1592 is the year before the first mention, in print, of the name “William Shakespeare”.

   At first glance, the letter-strings and clusters appear to offer little in the way of serious cryptographical information deliberately encoded for purposes of identifying the author (s) of the play. As has been shown in the section on frontispieces (title pages) in this work (Edward de Vere, Sonnet 76: the White Crow), frontispieces were (from my point of view) one-page documents presenting relevant information about the plays’ general content, who wrote them, to whom they were dedicated as well as announcing who performed them, in front of whom, an where. Title pages were meant for the public. However, those “in-the-know” were well aware the plaintext of the frontispieces (in many cases) contained ciphertexts frequently giving the name or names of the true author(s) of the work in the event the true author(s) wished to remain anonymous in case public knowledge of authorship might prove ruinous to her/him.

   Pen names were often used as stand-ins for a person wishing to remain silent about her/his identity. What is intriguing to me is the likely word-play of the play’s title, and a not so obvious clue as to the identity or identities of “Nobody” and “Somebody”. Therefore, as is my custom, I placed the plaintext of the play’s title page in question into an equidistant letter sequence transpostion skip-of-one format to see if it contained encoding that had signs of deliberate design that could offer a reasonable argument that any code words found were not mere coindicence, and why this is so.

   My ELS search for variant spellings of the Vere surname (i.e., Vere, Veare and Veer) yielded no results. I then searched for Jonson, Johnson, Marston, Nashe, Greene, William, Shakespeare, Marlo, Marlow, Marlowe, Marley, Morley, Henry, and Bacon. Again, no results. My original supposition in working with the title page was that two authors were involved (represented by Nobody and Somebody). Since I could not find surnames, I searched for “Bess” (Elizabeth I) and “E.C.O.” (Edwardus Comes Oxon.), and got one “Bess” and several “E.C.O.”s; in the case of the latter, only one “E.C.O.” worked. By this I mean that one sign a code word may be valid is that it crosses, touches, or is adjacent or connected to the primary code word, thereby giving it a context-cluster enhancing it. For instance, finding the vertical letter-string of “Ed de Vere” without a cluster or a context may be valid and important, but the same code word connected in a context is considerably more valuable and convincing that the code and cluster represents deliberate design and not coincidence. So, “Ed de Vere”, connected to “Erle”, “Earl”, Earle”, “Lord”, or “seventeen”, for example, is more likely to be more believable as being deliberately placed rather than being a serendipitous coincidence.

   At the outset, however, I admit that what may seem like a torturing of the plaintext may be the case. Here is my argument. Valid or not, it is up to your “degree of belief ” as to whether it has merit:

No-Body and Some-Body = Σ letter-count, title = 17. Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

Latin signature: “E.C.O.” = Edwardus Comes Oxon. = 17 letters. The Latin-to-English translation of E.C.O. is: “Edward, our friend from Oxford.”

The “B” in “Bess” is fused with the play’s title, which has 17 letters.

The “M” in “Maiestie” (“Majestie”) reads diagonally up and to the left: “Me, O.” (“Me, O.(xford)”. As the “B” in “Bess” is part of the 17-letter title of the play, the “O” in “Me, O.” is part of the 17-letter title. A reasonable syntax for the letter-string and the play’s title is: “Me, O., 17″(th Earl of Oxford). Somewhat clumsy, but the pairing and association of Vere and 17 is unmistakeable.

The “M” above the “I/J” in “Majestie” reads vertically up, and connects to the “S” in “Some-Body”. “Me, O.” is in “No-Body”, and “Bess, “Majesty, I’m “Some-Body” provides the identities of the authors in the title: “Bess”(Elizabeth I) and “E.C.O.” (English = “Edward, our friend from Oxford”).

In point of fact, Elizabeth I, historically, was “somebody” in the eyes of the kingdom and the world; whereas Edward de Vere, in ca. 1592, was comparatively “nobody”.

It therefore makes sense the play is anonymous: it would have been scandalous for both Elizabeth I and Edward de Vere to be publically known as the writers of the play, as well as being collaborators on it. If this were to be made known to the public in general, and to the Court as well, suspicions would grow, and both Vere and Elizabeth’s written work would be scutinized thereafter.

V. XIX. MMXV        


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