Man of the Renaissance
by Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn
(Originally published by Coward-McCann, Inc., New York 1952.
Reprinted with the express permission of Charlton Ogburn, Jr.)
NB: This text is over 65 years old. Consequently, current Oxfordian scholarship has corrected some errors in this text. Keep in mind that, for the most part, this text is written assuming that Oxford wrote the Shakespeare poems and plays. As a result, many passages make “leaps” via propositions that lack decisive supporting evidence. Such is also true for most orthodox Shakespearean criticism that does not question the identity of the author.
Please email corrections or PDF problems to me at
To Charlton Ogburn, Jr., to Vera Ogburn,
and to Charlton Ogburn III, with our love.
[Thanks to Ted Alexander for help with transcribing some of this text.]
CHAPTER ONE: 1562
The Young Earl. From Castle Hedingham to London.
CHAPTER TWO: The 1560’s
The Royal Ward and Sir William Cecil.
CHAPTER THREE: The 1560’s
The Courtier. A Glittering Milieu.
CHAPTER FOUR: 1571
England in the 1560’s. The Vere Tradition. Military Service. The Earl of Oxford Enters the House of Lords.
CHAPTER FIVE: 1571-72
Public Honor and Proud Triumph. Marriage. Execution of the Duke of Norfolk. The Queen’s Claims upon her Chief Courtier. Masques and “Enterludes.”
CHAPTER SIX: 1570-74
The Royal Favorite. Elizabeth and Leicester. Early Poems. The Spanish Tragedy. A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres. Lord Oxford’s Literary Activities.
CHAPTER SEVEN: 1572-74
Il Cortegiano. De Vere an English Exemplar. The Progress of 1572. Elizabeth and Oxford. Hatton’s Jealousy. Dyer’s Letter of Advice. Oxford Takes French Leave and Is Commanded Home. The Famous Victories of King Henry the Fifth. The Earl and his Wife at Hampton Court.
CHAPTER EIGHT: 1575-76
Continental Travel. Financial Difficulties. Visit to Sturmius. Burghley Receives Reports. The Greek Testament. Vignette by Chapman. Calumny.
CHAPTER NINE: 1576
Slander. Suspicion. The Breach.
CHAPTER TEN: The 1570’s
The Dramatist and the Queen. Problems of State. The Marriage Question and the Duke of Alencon. Harassment. The Comedy of Errors.
CHAPTER ELEVEN: 1577
Elizabethan Psychology. Timon of Athens. Plato, Plutarch, and Ovid the Source.
CHAPTER TWELVE: The 1570’s
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1572. The Spanish Fury of 1576. Titus and Gisippus. Pericles. The Power of Lord Burghley. A Bold and Dangerous “Device.”
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: 1577-78
Peregrine Bertie, the Duchess of Suffolk, and Lady Mary Vere. The Queen’s Grant for Services Rendered. Royal Progress of 1578. Oxford Prepares a Taunt for Leicester.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: 1578
Harvey’s Oration. Sussex and Leicester. Cymbeline. Precarious Position of Elizabeth vis-a-vis France and Spain.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: 1578-79
The Taming of the Shrew. All’s Well That Ends Well. “A Truth’s a Truth.”
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: 1579
Love’s Labour’s Lost—1. Euphues and Euphuism. Wordplay. Merry Satire. Philip Sidney and the Areopagus. The Tennis-court Quarrel. Simier, and Leicester’s Marriage. Edmund Spenser. History Distorted.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: 1579-80
Love’s Labour’s Lost—2. French Topical Allusions. Enter the Dark Lady.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: 1579
Love’s Labour’s Lost—3. Gabriel Harvey’s Lampoon. Oxford’s Riposte. Nashe’s Account. Ben Jonson’s Subsequent Satire. Lord Oxford’s Echo Poem. Significance of Jonson’s Cynthia’s Revels.
CHAPTER NINETEEN: 1579
The Alencon Affair. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Lord Oxford’s Investments in Voyages of Discovery.
CHAPTER TWENTY: 1579
Gosson’s School of Abuse. Elizabeth’s Predicament. The Merchant of Venice. The Elizabethan Mind. Symbolism of Shylock a Conventional Concept. “Some Device Shall Pay Despite his Due.”
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: 1580
Political and Religious Frictions. Lord Oxford’s Theatrical Activities. Sir Francis Drake. John Lyly, Stage-director and Manager. The Earl as Literary Patron and Source of Inspiration. Nashe’s Evidence. The Queen’s Flirtation with Alencon. Antony and Cleopatra.
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: 1580
Testimony of Peck’s Desiderata Curiosa. Twelfth Night—1. A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres. Christopher Hatton. Leicester and Philip Sidney. Apologie for Poetrie.
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: 1580
Oxford’s Method of Characterization. Twelfth Night—2. The Earl as a Musician. Jonson’s Satire on Twelfth Night in Every Man Out of His Humour.
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: 1580-81
Conspiracy. The Spanish and French Ambassadors’ Reports. Counter-accusations by Howard and Arundel. Tournament of 1581. Illicit Love and Betrayal. Birth of a Son to Anne Vavasor. The Tower. Warnings to the Queen in 2 and 3 Henry VI. Bitter Resentment and Dramatic Retort.
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: 1580-81
Whitman’s Perceptive Verdict. 2 and 3 Henry VI. King Richard III, and the Tower of London. Prominence of the Earls of Oxford in Early Dramas. Dowden’s Statement. Courage Required for Writing Such Plays.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: 1581
Banishment Prominent Theme. Measure for Measure. “. . . for Truth Is Truth to the End of Reckoning.” The Earl of Oxford Speaks to Posterity.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN: 1581
Second Version of Titus Andronicus.
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: 1581-82
Friends and Enemies at Court. Steps toward Marital Reconciliation. The Crafty Father. The Three Women. Letters from His Wife. The Real Burghley. Barnabe Riche Lampoons the Earl. Tributes from Watson and Munday. The Dark Lady Again.
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE: 1582-83
The Duel. The House of Howard at Feud with the House of Vere. Burghley and Hatton. Leicester and Hatton Make Common Cause. Jealous Vindictiveness of the Queen. The Earl Returns to His Wife. Birth and Death of Their First Son at Castle Hedingham. Ralegh Intercedes with Elizabeth. Oxford’s Restoration to Favor, June 1583. Sonnet 34.
CHAPTER THIRTY: 1581-83
The Interim. Romeo and Juliet—1. A Reckless Challenge. Burghley as Host and Recorder.
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: 1581-83
Romeo and Juliet—2.
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO: 1581-83
King John. Elizabeth’s Maneuvers with Alencon. Pledges Marriage. The Veres in King John’s Reign. “But Truth Is Truth.”
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: 1582
Elizabeth’s Leniency toward Conspirators. Oxford’s Dramatic Warning. King Richard II. Robert de Vere and Richard II.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR: 1582
“Gloomy Period.” Lord Oxford Placates the Queen. As You Like It—1. Elizabeth’s Position Crucial. Checkmate by the French. Alencon’s Departure for Flanders. Identity Clues.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE: 1582
As You Like It—2. The Character of Jaques. Ben Jonson’s Travesties.
CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX: 1583
Julius Caesar. Attempted Assassination of William of Orange at Alencon’s Birthday Celebration. Oxford’s Good Intentions for Domestic Concord. Masterly Characterization in Julius Caesar.
CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN: 1583
Much Ado About Nothing—1. Early Version Benedicte and Betteris. Subject of Jonson’s Satire. Oxford’s Good-humored Retort.
CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT: 1583
Much Ado—2. The Earl Makes Sport with his Traducers and Mocks His Own Inconstancy for the Benefit of the Queen.
CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE: 1583
Othello—1. Complex Significance. End of Alencon.
CHAPTER FORTY: 1583
Othello—2. Powerful Propaganda Value. Philip’s Indignation. The Work of Oxford’s Satellites.
CHAPTER FORTY-ONE: 1583
Lists of New Year’s Gifts to the Queen before and after Oxford’s Disgrace. Leicester’s and Hatton’s Efforts to Prolong Banishment. The Tempest—1. The Earls of Derby. Revisions of Play.
CHAPTER FORTY-TWO: 1583
The Tempest—2. The Earl Frees his Imagination from its Fetters.
CHAPTER FORTY-THREE: 1583-84
The Traitors Confounded. Thomas Vavasor. Derogatory Documents Preserved. Rise of Walter Ralegh. Death of Sussex, Oxford and Burghley. The Earl Rebukes the Meddler. Sonnet 121. Literary and Theatrical Activities. The Artist and the Philistine. Blackfriars Theatre. Elizabeth’s and Oxford’s Combined Contribution to the Life of England. Lyly’s Plays at Court. The Apocryphal Plays. Tangled Web.
CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR: 1584
A Midsummer-Night’s Dream—1. Revision of an Early Masque. Lord Oxford and the Queen Intimately Concerned.
CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE: 1584
A Midsummer-Night’s Dream—2. Alencon in Retrospect. Conduct of the Virgin Queen. Bottom, “the Weaver.” The Air is Cleared. The “Little Changeling Boy.” A Clue from the Dramatist.
CHAPTER FORTY-SIX: 1583-84
Oxford and Anne. Her Epitaphs on the Death of their Son. Leicester and Hatton. Leicester and Elizabeth. Revealing Documents of 1561. Sussex’s Warning. Lord Willoughby Goes to Elsinore. Improvement in Conditions Affecting Actors. Elizabeth’s Interest in the Theatre. Office of the Revels. Lord Oxford’s Expenditures. An Early Play. Tournament of 1584. Assassination of William of Orange.
CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT: 1583-85
CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE: 1583-85 (PDF)
CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO: 1585-87 (PDF)
Oxford’s Boy Actors a Second Queen’s Company. Financial Stress. Duties as Lord Great Chamberlain. Mary Stuart and the Throgmorton Plot. Elizabeth and Philip. Sturmius Writes the Queen. Lord Oxford’s Military Ambitions Frustrated. Privy Seal Grant to Oxford of 1000 pounds per annum. Rigorous Control over Printing-presses. Propaganda Plays. The University Wits. Oxford’s Literary Eminence Celebrated by Contemporary Writers, Ignored by Holinshed, though Sidney’s Arcadia Praised.
CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE: 1584-85 (PDF)
The Throgmorton Plot. 1 Henry IV.
CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE: 1585 (PDF)
The Merry Wives of Windsor. Its Genesis. Leicester Taunted Again. Corroboration of Hamlet’s Date.
CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX: 1586 (PDF)
Trial of Mary Queen of Scots. The Winter’s Tale.
CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN: 1587-88 (PDF)
Execution of Mary Stuart. Elizabeth’s Behavior. Death of Sir Philip Sidney. Magnificent Funeral. Birth of Exaggerated Sidney Legend. 1 Henry VI. Burghley for the Record. Certain Estimates of Burghley. A Guarded Protest to Oxford. The Earl and the Queen. The Invincible Armada. Lord Oxford’s Ship. Death of the Countess of Oxford. Bitterness and Remorse.
CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT: 1588-91 (PDF)
Victory. Oxford’s Distinguished Service to England. Bears Canopy over Queen. Death of Lady Burghley. Burghley’s Overt Slight to the Earl. Settlement with the Court of Wards. Hatton’s Final Coup. Elizabeth to the Rescue. Death of Hatton. Oxford’s Immense Losses: Burghley’s Immense Wealth. Retrenchment Imperative.
CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE: 1589-90 (PDF)
CHAPTER SIXTY: 1589-90 (PDF)
Trouble with the Puritans. The Marprelate Controversy. Dissolution of Oxford’s and the Queen’s Companies. His Friends Rally to Him. Spenser’s Sympathetic Verse. Irony of Burghley’s Attitude. Lord Oxford’s Retirement.
CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE: 1571-1609 (PDF)
The Fair Youth and the Sonnets—1. The “Book that in Gold Clasps Locks in the Golden Story.”
CHAPTER SIXTY TWO (PDF)
The Sonnets—2. Venus and Adonis. The Rape of Lucrece.
CHAPTER SIXTY-THREE (PDF)
CHAPTER SIXTY-FOUR (PDF)
CHAPTER SIXTY-FIVE (PDF)
The Sonnets—5. The Earl of Southampton.
CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX: Early 1590’s (PDF)
Lord Oxford in Bohemia. The Wits Bemoan Loss of Support. Lyly, Greene, Nashe. Mistress Penn and Mistress Quickly. Impasse with Burghley. Remarriage. Alienation of Castle Hedingham to Burghley and his Daughters. Efforts to Rehabilitate his Estate. Birth of a Son to the Earl and Countess. Plague of l592. Thomas Nashe. Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit.
CHAPTER SIXTY-SEVEN: 1593-94 (PDF)
The Nom de plume. Harvey’s Allegorical Comment. Venus and Adonis. The Rape of Lucrece. Willobie His Avisa. The Ashbourne Portrait.
CHAPTER SIXTY-EIGHT: 1593 (PDF)
Nashe’s Epistle Dedicatorie and Summer’s Last Will and Testament. Chapman’s A Humorous Day’s Mirth.
CHAPTER SIXTY-NINE: 1590-1601 (PDF)
Final Revision of Timon, Pericles, Cymbeline, Coriolanus.
CHAPTER SEVENTY: The 1590’s (PDF)
The Symphony of the Dramas. Final Revision of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-ONE: 1595-1602 (PDF)
Marriage of Elizabeth Vere to the Earl of Derby. Literary Association of the Two Earls. Oxford’s Company Combined with Lord Worcester’s. Petition in re. the Boar’s Head. The Dream Again. Enter William Shaksper. Every Man Out of His Humour.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-TWO: Closing Years of the Century (PDF)
Introduction of William Shaksper into the Plays of Oxford and Others.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-THREE: 1594-98 (PDF)
“Master Launcelot.” “A Night of Errors” at Gray’s New Place, Hackney. The Isle of Dogs Scandal. Death of Burghley. Robert Cecil Follows the Tradition. Troilus and Cressida Revised for the Poetomachia. “A nEver writer to an E.Ver reader.”
CHAPTER SEVENTY-FOUR: 1598 (PDF)
Palladis Tamia. Fiat of Anonymity. The Satire of Every Man Out of His Humour. Barnefield’s Innuendo. Marston’s Scourge of Villanie. Gabriel Harvey’s Notes on “Axiophilus.” John Farmer’s Dedication to Lord Oxford. Spielmann’s Analysis of the Ashbourne Portrait. The Spear-shaker.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-FIVE: The Turn of the Century (PDF)
Satiromastix. Dekker Takes Jonson to Task.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-SIX: 1601 (PDF)
Jonson’s Revenge. Policy of Deliberate Confusion. The Poetaster—1. Epigrams. Jonson Panders to Robert Cecil.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-SEVEN: 1601 (PDF)
The Poetaster—2. Venom and High Praise. The Strange Paradox.
CHAPTER SEVENTY-NINE: Beginning of the Seventeenth Century (PDF)
Lord Oxford the Source of Elizabethan Dramatic Writing. His Treatment at the Hands of the Philistines. Cryptic Allusions Continue. John Davies of Hereford. Tribute from Sir George Buc, Master of the Revels. Southampton in the Tower. Execution of Essex. The Famous Anecdote. Lord Oxford Appeals to Sir Robert Cecil.
CHAPTER EIGHTY: 1602 (PDF)
History Repeats Itself. Final Revision of King Richard III.
CHAPTER EIGHTY-ONE: 1589-1603 (PDF)
CHAPTER EIGHTY-TWO: 1589-1603 (PDF)
CHAPTER EIGHTY-THREE: 1589-1603 (PDF)
CHAPTER EIGHTY-FOUR: 1601-03 (PDF)
Antony and Cleopatra, Final Version. The Phoenix and the Turtle. King Henry VIII. Death of Queen Elizabeth.
CHAPTER EIGHTY-FIVE: 1603-04 (PDF)
James’s Accession. Oxford’s Grief for the Death of the Queen. “Truth is Truth, though Never so Old.” James Releases Southampton. Renews the Secret Service Grant. Significant Additions to 2 Henry IV. Death of the Earl of Oxford. Discreet Tribute. Lady Oxford’s Will. Record of Removal of the Earl’s Remains to Westminster Abbey.
CHAPTER EIGHTY-SIX: 1603-1623 (PDF)
Cryptic Allusions to the “Golden Story.” King James Honors Southampton. The Earl’s Public Career. Eighteenth Earl of Oxford. The Virginia Colony. Testimony of Henry Peacham, Master of Arts. Death of the Countess of Oxford. Ben Jonson’s Activities. The First Folio. Lady Mary Pembroke and the “Grand Possessors.” The Contrivers of the Great Hoax. Ben Jonson Speaks the Last Word. The Double Intention of the First Folio. Jonson’s Final Tribute to the “Star of Poets.”