Sonnet 17: the Number 17

Large Crown Signature
                                                                           Fig. A

Word Play = Number Play = “All one, ever the same”

   This particular section is intended to be a Note Page for the number 17.  So far, I have collected what I consider to be a remarkable set of “17” placements: those deliberately placed by Edward de Vere, either singly or in concert with others who participated in the construction of the Shakespeare canon; perhaps some are somewhat contrived (for instance, the number of ‘comedies’ in the canon, depending on chosen criteria; and others that seem coincidental.    I sincerely hope those of you who are interested will e-mail me other number 17 observations you have encountered.  I will acknowledge your contribution (s) when added to the list below.  I can be contacted at:

Sonnet 17

Sonnets 1-17 are often referred to as the “Procreation Sonnets”.  The final sonnet of the set (Sonnet 17) either identifies the author of the sonnet, or arguably provides the identity of the person to whom the sonnet is speaking:

                                                                           Fig. B

Array 32 looks like this:

Sonnet 17, VeerEREV EdFig. C1

                                                                             Fig. C2  

                                                                         Fig. D  (to be taken cum grano salis)

   The 17th letter in the first line of quatrain one is a “V”.  Word play says one interpretation might be:  “Who will believe  my Ver?”  In other words, “Who will believe this verse is Vere’s verse?”  The location of a “V” as the 17th letter in a letter sequence appears coincidental.  However, letter sequences are the textual focus of my entire argument.  In the context of codes, I believe at least three things:  that there are coincidences; that there are some coincidences that are serendipitous; and that some coincidences appear so much like intelligent design, and are so consistent when found (as in this case), my ‘degree of belief’ is that what initially appear as ‘happy coincidences’ are really not coincidence at work, but are rather another means of providing a ‘signature’ in one’s work.  The birth and development of copyright laws began about 1735.  Elizabethan writers and publishers had no such protection.  Embedding one’s name in one’s writing, over and over again, and having consistency such that there is no doubt a given work was written by a given author on the basis of this consistency, makes perfect sense.

   The birth imagery in the sonnet is unmistakable.  The fourteen lines are an argument written to someone, urging him (her) to have a child.  The punning of Vere’s name in the plaintext is yet another form of echo haunting so much of Shakespeare’s work.  The letter-string of “O. Veer, ereV” is a pictorial echo.  This is a bit of a stretch, but if the “O” can represent a metaphorical mouth, then one can imagine shouting “Veer” and having it return as an echo would.  Furthermore, the “O”  can also represent the “O” in “O”xford.  Oxford’s father, John, spelled his last name “VEER”.  On Edward’s birth notice written by Burghley, the notice acknowledge’s the birth to John of a son, “Edward”.  Oxford was born from his father (“VEER”) and lived his life often spelling his surname as “VERE”.  If one allows for another way of looking at it, then the “O” can also represent the birth canal, where it then makes sense for “Vere” to be spelled in the direction of a child being born; i.e., born head first–thus “ereV”.  The number of the sonnet is 1717 is the 17th in a sequence.  Edward de Vere was born from the 16th Earl of Oxford, and the argument of de Vere being the 17th Earl, combined with the content of the ‘birth’ of the 17th sonnet, emphases the continuing of the House of Vere genaeology, that of providing an heir, as well as providing a ‘copy’ of oneself in the form of a child.  Again, this interpretation is sort of like interpreting a Rorschach picture, or of finding symbolism in a da Vinci painting.

   The letter-string “test” connected to “stretched mitre [meter)” will come into much sharper focus as it plays a strong role in the codes.  The sense of “trial or examination” in an attempt to ascertain the validity of something is recorded from the 1590’s.  “Test” appears (as will be demonstrated) as a challenge to the reader:  “Check it out for yourself.”  In Sonnet 17, the challenge is to find other examples of Vere’s name in the works of Shakespeare.  And “stretched miter” is just one of several words used for “code”.

                                                                        Figs. E1, E2

The Number 17

•White Crow Sonnet:  Sonnet 76:  the third “E” in the letter-string “DEVERE” is in Row 17.  

•Sonnet 76, Row 17:  ‘DEVERE” letter-string encrypted. 

•Sonnet 76:  “All one, ever the same” has 17 letters in it.

•Sonnets Dedication, 1609:  “OUR.EVER.LIVING.POET”, arguably the most, or one of the most, phrases in the Shakespeare canon as it relates to Edward de Vere and Shakespeare being one and the same person — has 17 letters in it. 

(For a more complete discussion of the 1609 Sonnets Dedication, click HERE.)

•“Name”:  the word “name” is only used in 14 sonnets, for a total word use of 17:  36, 39, 71, 72, 76, 80, 81, 89, 95 (x 2), 108, 111, 127 (x 2), 136 (x2), 151.  “14”:  the number of lines in a sonnet.  “17”:  Edward de Vere was the 17th Earle of Oxenforde.  There are 14 letters in de Vere’s “Crown Signature” (“Edward Oxenford”).  When Elizabeth died, he no longer signed his name in this manner.  This signature has 17 letters.  The emphasis line under his name (see Fig. A above) represents the number 10, and is marked with 7 slashes–representing the number 17.  Also, Daphne Pearson, in her book, Edward de Vere (1550 – 1604) The Crises and Consequences of Wardship, de Vere sometimes signed his name “Edouarde Oxenforde”.  However, I can find no documentation to  confirm this spelling.  It is interesting that the signature has a letter-count of 17.

   Thus:  “name” used in 14 sonnets, 14 letters is his most frequent spelling of his “name”.  “Name” used 17 times, 17 letters in his embellished use of the spelling of his “name.”   

•Shakespeare’s Grave:  buried 17 feet deep.  

•Edward de Vere was the 17th. Earl of Oxford.  

•Edward de Vere was christened on April 17, 1550.

•The Roman poet Ovid died in 17 AD.  A number likely noticed by de Vere.  When Oxford was 17 years old, he helped his maternal uncle and scholar, Arthur Golding, translate from Greek into English, Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

The Greek Parthenon has  17 columns on its long side.  Again, a number not lost on de Vere.

Construction on the Parthenon began circa 447 B.C.E.  In keeping with Greek ideals, great emphasis was placed upon form, symmetry, beauty (amongst others), and the relationship between art and mathematics.  Some scholars consider the Parthenon to be simultaneously a perfectly constructed building as well as a magnificent sculpture.  During its construction, the most influential sculptor of the time was Polykleitos of Sikyon, who modeled his work after the same mathematical principles as those used in architecture, and created arguably the finest and most famous statue of the Hellenistic Golden Age, called the Δορυφόρος in Greek, and its Latinized form, the Doryphoros.

                                                                             Fig. F

   The Doryphoros is a solid form embodying what came to be known as the Polykleitan Canon, or ‘rule’, designed to demonstrate the ratio of the human head to the full form (height) of the body.  The ratio is expressed as 1:7.  Using the Parthenon as an example, the ratio of the short side of the quadrangle (width) to the longest side (length) can be expressed algebraically as:   C (the total number of columns in each length) is equal to twice the C width (number of columns in the width), plus one (C = 2(w) + 1).  Or, less specific to column number:  X = 2(w) + 1.  Thus, the formula for the number of columns in the length of the Parthenon (8 columns on the short side) is:  X = 2(8) + 1 = 17 .  My guess is that de Vere, with his vast knowledge of the classical worlds of Greece and Rome, knew the number of columns on the long side of the Parthenon was 17; and this, to him, was an important feature of its architecture. 

   From de Vere’s point of view, added to the Parthenon’s 17 columns, and the 1:7 ratio used in the sculpture design of the Doryphoros, is the translation of the name of the sculpture into English.  The word means “Spear-Bearer”.  Whether or not de Vere knew this is certainly speculative.  However, he was fluent in Latin and Greek, and translated works in both languages (notably assisting Golding in the translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses).  When all this came to de Vere’s attention (if it even did), is not known.  For this to be important to him, we would have to assume his association was to his family crest — that of a lion shaking a spear — rather than to using this sculpture’s name as his choice of ‘Shakespeare’ as a pen name.  (The spear, now presumed lost, was originally held in the sculpture’s left hand, and was resting on his shoulder (see Fig. F). 

•The historical Macbeth ruled for 17 years:  1040 – 1057.

•The Porter Scene in  Macbeth:  “Remember the Porter” = 17 Letters.

•“GHOST” appears in 17 works (one in Sonnet 86).  

GHOSTS” appears 14 times in 14 speeches, in 10 works. (Sonnet = 14 lines)

•In Hamlet:  the word “words”  occurs in 17 speeches by 7 characters

•There are 17 legal terms in the Gravedigger Scene in Hamlet:  Quarto 2 (1604) and 1623 Folio.  

                                                                          Fig. G

• Hamlet says to Horatio when he decides to determine whether the Ghost is from Heaven or Hell, “That ever I was borne . . .” to set it right (1.5.886).  Hamlet is considered by many to be the de Vere’s autobiography.  The phrase can be seen as “That E. Ver I was borne . . . “ and is a string of 17 letters. 

• Hamlet says:  “I am dead, Horatio” (Folio 1, 1623, 5.2.3817).  The Court languages under the Tudors were Latin and French.  Edward de Vere was the 17th Earl–or, the XVII Earl of Oxford.  The anagram of “XVII” is “VIXI”, which means:  (Past tense) “I am dead”, or “I have lived”; (Present tense) “My life is over”– in Latin, and was frequently used on ancient Roman tombstones.  To this day in Italy, the number 17 is considered unlucky because of it’s possible translation from Latin to Italian.  

• Elizabeth I was born in on September 7,1533.  Edward de Vere born in 1550.  If Prince Tudor theory is correct, this would therefore have made Elizabeth 17 years old when she delivered de Vere.  If this is not the case, Elizabeth was still 17 years older than he was.

• Upon the death of Mary I of Scotland, Elizabeth ascended the throne on November 17, 1558.  

•The first 17 Sonnets are thematically unified, and often referred to as the “Procreation” sonnets.

• Francis Meres, in Palladis Tamia (1598), cites Edward, Earle of Oxforde, is “. . . the best for Comedy , and cites 17 people who (including de Vere) are in this group, beginning the list sequence with de Vere.  

• In total:  17 poets and playwrights listed as the best for comedy mentioned by Francis Meres in 1598.

 Shakespeare wrote 17 comedies. In Meres’ list, “Shakespeare” is flanked on both sides by two recognized pen names of Edward de Vere:  Robert Greene and Thomas Nash (e).  

• When Edward de Vere was 17, his maternal uncle, Arthur Golding, published (1567) his translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (which de Vere helped translate).

• In 1567, Edward de Vere is admiited to Gray’s Inn to study law.  He was then 17 years old.

• Also in 1567, de Vere kills Lord Burghley’s undercook during fencing practice for which he is acquitted. At the time, de Vere was 17.  

Francis Meres’ List in Palladis Tamia (1598):

                                                                           Fig. H





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