Anagramming Vere: Am Grave Re-naming

Original stone copy--JPEGFig. 1

Anagrams are relatively easy to create, especially when a single word or words are used as subjects.  At some time or another, most of us have discovered as well as created anagrams.  Some anagrams are the result of a single combination of the original letters, and some have more than one way of being produced, and still remain as valid anagrams even though entirely different.  This is especially true when a sentence, sentences or paragraphs are used.

By definition, an anagram is a word, phrase, sentence, sentences or (in some cases) entire paragraphs are used as subjects of an anagram, in which each letter in the selection is transposed or re-arranged to form another word or phrase.  Here are a few anagrams of my own making:

Epitaph, Anagram list

Fig. 2  

   Anagrams were popular in Elizabethan England.  A little known poem, written entirely in Latin, and signed “E.L. Oxon.” is assummed to have been written Edward de Vere, one of four known poems written in Latin by him.  [ My comments about the Latin poem can be found on this website by clicking HERE.  Read this section before continuing.]  The title of the poem is:  Iosua Siluester Anagr:  Verè Os Salustij.”  As you have presumably just read, the title announces itself as being an anagram; and it is.

   Anagrams are word play.  They are transpositions of letters, a re-organization intended by a competent anagrammist to reflect in its completed anagrammatic form, content reflected by the original working plaintext.  In this sense, then, letter-strings as ciphertext in a given plaintext is a different but similar method of concealing information not revealed by the initial reading of what appears to be the only message intended to be shown.  Both are similar in that they re-arrange and transpose letters, placing them in an aligned relationship one to the other, revealing a secret message or messages (the in case of a cluster).

   Just for fun, I decided the enigma surrounding the gravestone attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon might yield a lengthy anagram reflecting the gravestone epitaph’s content.  This is my result:

Gravestone Epitaph in modern type:

Gravestone, Plaintext only  JPEGFig. 3

Ferris anagram of “Good frend for Iesus Sake . . . :     

Epitaph Anagram

Fig. 4          (Ferris©Nov. 2013)

The (word) play within the (word) play”:

Epitaph anagram, seven, tenFig. 5

Gravestone Epitaph, seven, ten, hereFig. 6

Epitaph, bed, tombFig. 7

Epitaph, HYD seven yearsFig. 8

   First, Both the original gravestone epitaph plaintext and the anagrammed ciphertext each have 113 letters.  (2) Each have 28 words (28 in the original gravestone plaintext, 28 words in the anagrammed plaintext when the apostrophe “s” in “Vere’s” is counted as a contraction for “is”).  (3) In the ciphertext, there is a one-for-one letter correspondence, as is consistent to qualify for a legitimate anagram.  (4) The goal of an ideal ciphertext anagram, especially with respect to longer plaintexts, is to reflect the plaintext content.  The anagrammed epitaph does this.  (5)  Not only can the original plaintext of the gravestone be successfully anagrammed, but the letter-strings within the ciphertext also reflect the content of the ciphertext.  In other words, cipertexts within an anagrammed ciphertext.  (6)  Both the letter-strings and the anagram are words plays, and in fact are a transposition method of revealing what may be hidden within the words of a plaintext.  (7)  The anagram reflects Earle E. de Vere is the hidden message subject:  the anagram information provides Edward de Vere’s surname, his given name (Ed), and his title (Earle).  However, only the anagram ciphertext, as revealed by the letter-strings within them, presents the number (“seven-ten”, or “17) of his title as well as the ambiguous provocative letter-string suggesting either de Vere was in hiding (“hyd”) for seven years, or his bones were removed or stolen seven years prior to the placement of the original gravestone.  Logically, it would seem another gravestone could have preceded the one we see now, and contains new information so as to perhaps discourage those ‘in-the-know from further inspection of the alleged tomb beneath this newer gravestone.  (8) Suggested is the date this “second” gravestone may have been placed in the graveyard in Stratford-upon-Avon.  For instance, recall the opening lines of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863):  “Four score and seven years ago . . . ”  If you forgot the date the speech was given, but knew a “score” was 20 of something (in this case, years), simple math states 4 score (4 x 20 = 80) and (+) 7 years ago is 87 years ago.  In the context of the speech, Lincoln is referring to 1776, when the United States declared its independence from Britain.  Thus, 87 plus 1776 is 1863, the date the Gettysburg Address was given.  Using the same mathematical logic, then, the anagram ciphertext suggests the possibility of the occupant of the grave in question has been gone for seven years.  William Shakespeare died in 1616.  Seven years later, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s canon was first published in 1623.  The speculation, therefore, is that the tomb may contain the original manuscripts that still have not been located at this point in time.  (9)  Intriguing to me is the letter-string “bed” connected to the word “tomb” in the anagram ciphertext.  “Bed” is not a place where one sleeps, but is also a place where one plants something or a resting place.  The Welsh word for a grave or a tomb is “bedd”.  The “d” in “bed” is the shared letter for the “d” in “de Vere”.  Thus, the cluster appears to be saying that the gravestone is the “bedd” or final resting place for Edward de Vere, as well as his poetry in the form of sonnets and/or plays.  Line 11 of Sonnet 72 comes to mind:  “My name be buried where my body is . . . ”

Now to be quite serious:   

   For me, the single most enigmatic word combination in the original gravestone epitaph are the words thes stones.  The gravestone itself is a single piece of stone.  But thes stones obviously refers to more than one stone.  “Stones” and “bones” in lines three and four rhyme, suggesting the plural form was deliberate, and not the result of poor grammar.

    Aside from being a rock structure, a “stone” is a British English term for a unit of weight, and is especially used in referring to describe body weight.  The play on words here is on “body” and the actual weight of a “stone”, which is 14 pounds, or 6.350 kilograms is, to my mind, a number play.  Since the assumption of a gravestone found in a graveyard is a marker for a buried body beneath it, the word play suggests a person.  However, the word in the gravestone plaintext is plural, not singular.  This implies more than one “body” in the grave, or refers to what is buried metaphorically.

    Note that a ‘stone’ is 14 pounds.  The kilogram equivalent is 6.350.  The sum of 6350 is 14.  Considering that a sonnet is a poem consisting of rhymed couplets–and the original gravestone is in the form of a quatrain made up of two sets of rhymed couplets–and as a poetic unit of a sonnet is 14 lines, the suggestion in my mind is that the “body” beneath the gravestone is really poetry; i.e., sonnets and plays.
   The original gravestone is claimed to be that of William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon (where the stone was originally found, and later placed in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church, and can be seen there today).  However, there is no attribution on the gravestone, which is remarkable in itself.  Gravestones identify the person  buried beneath them.  To me, the word play on “stones” and the number play on both the number of pounds/kilograms and the number of lines in a sonnet–point to Shakespeare; but, to me, this means Edward de Vere, the 17th Earle of Oxford.  Furthermore, the grave reaches a depth of 17 feet, a distance considered extreme for a burial site in the 17th century as it would be considered today.

   I have found no written recognition to date on the form of the twenty-eight words of the Stratford gravestone.  However, the four lines are contradictory:  on the one hand, the gravestone carving is visually unappealing, and reflects clumsy spelling (even for Elizabethan and Jacobian England), yet the phonics reveal poetic form.  Although Shakespeare’s sonnets are written in iambic pentameter (five phonic units per line), the gravestone text is written in iambic tetrameter (four phonic units per line).  However, the plaintext does have 28 words, and one-half of 28 is 14.  Furthermore, the fact that an unattributed plaintext on a gravestone is written in poetic form is unusual.  Perhaps this was noticed at the time of the discovery of the gravestone, which led to the assumption or deduction that only a poet would have a poetic epitaph.  In short, since William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon is the putative attribution omitted from the gravestone, it must be his gravestone by  default.

   And finally is this observation:  Take the words thes stones in line 3 and my bones in line 4.  The syntax is not perfect, but in terms of a suggested message or clue, it appears to be saying:  Thes stones [are] my bones.  Four words in a plaintext written in iambic tetrameter.  The letter-count of “thes stones” is ten; that of “my bones” is seven.  The letter sum of “thes stones” and “my bones” is 17.      

   Anagrams are fun.  Both the original word or plaintext and its anagrammed result can often be surprisingly accurate.  However, as  can be seen in the case of the gravestone epitaph above, as tools they can build a case with all the hallmarks of sound logic.  But the premise, or should I say, the slight of hand, that distracts from an original truth can be little more than a convincing optical illusion until exposed to the light of day.

   Word play, number play and even anagrams were tools for many writers.  The question in the case of Edward de Vere as Shakespeare, despite verbal interpretations or codes presented as evidence of such, the question still remains a matter of one’s degree of belief in what is offered as evidence.

   Is the argument that Edward de Vere encoded his name and other information into  Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays as signatures to say, over and over, that he is Shakespeare, or is all this just random occurrence?

      Deliberate or Randomness Put another way:  Earl Ed I bet or No darn mess”?




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