Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 21)

Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Dance of the Knights

But what of love?

On the birthday of Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods, at which the god Poros or Plenty was one of the guests. When the feast was over, Penia or Poverty came about the doors to beg. Now Plenty, who was the worse for nectar (there was no wine in those days), went into the garden of Zeus and fell into a heavy sleep, and Poverty considering her own straitened circumstances, plotted to have a child by him, and accordingly she lay down at his side and conceived Love. [1]

And so was Love born. And as his parentage is, so also are his fortunes. In the first place he is always poor, and anything but tender and fair, as the many imagine him; and he is rough and squalid, and has no shoes, nor a house to dwell in; on the bare earth exposed he lies under the open heaven, in the streets, or at the doors of houses, taking his rest; and like his mother he is always in distress. Like his father too, whom he also partly resembles, he is always plotting against the fair and good; he is bold, enterprising, strong, a mighty hunter, always weaving some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit of wisdom, fertile in resources; a philosopher at all times, terrible as an enchanter, sorcerer, sophist. He is by nature neither mortal nor immortal, but alive and flourishing at one moment when he is in plenty, and dead at another moment, and again alive by reason of his father’s nature. But that which is always flowing in is always flowing out, and so he is never in want and never in wealth; and, further, he is in a mean between ignorance and knowledge. [1]

Francis Bacon, the truer “Shakespeare”, worked with a team of “good pens” including Robert Greene, Christopher Marlowe, Philip Sidney,  Edmund Spenser, Mary Sidney, Edward de Vere, and Ben Jonson writing plays under the Spear Shaker logo. Headquarters for the team was Essex House, where Anthony Bacon, elder brother of Francis, headed Queen Elizabeth’s secret service. Francis Bacon was chief architect of the Spear Shaker plays, themselves part of a kulturkampf effort (even though the plays are nonetheless quite good.) (Background: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 20), Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of March 12, 2014.)

But what of love? In Fables of the Ancients, Francis Bacon explained, “They say, that love was the most ancient of all the gods, and existed before every thing else, except chaos, which is held coeval therewith. But for chaos, the ancients never paid divine honours, nor gave the title of a God thereto. Love is represented absolutely without progenitor, excepting only that he is said to have proceeded from the egg of Nox; but that himself begot the gods, and all things else, on chaos.” [2]

“There was also another Cupid, or love, the youngest son of the Gods, born of Venus; and upon him the attributes of the elder are transferred, with some degree of correspondence.” [2]

In Francis Bacon’s explanation, Love has no cause because it is next to God, the cause of causes. [2] Love is like the Son of God, co-existing with “Thou Great First Cause, least understood”. [3]

In the esoteric Romeo and Juliet, ancient ideas lie beneath the surface of the play. For example, the torch-bearing scene (Act 1, Scene 4) alludes to Cupid. Love is called by Orpheus “Phanes”, and Phanes means a torch. [4] In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is Phanes and is connected with Cupid and a torch:

ROMEO: Give me a torch, I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light.

MERCUTIO: Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.

Romeo is Eros (Cupid) bringing light into the darkness:

JULIET: Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night… (Act 3, Scene 2)

Juliet is the Moon. She teaches “the torches to burn bright.” Juliet (the Moon) “hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Ethiopes ear.” (Act 1, Scene 5)

And Juliet is the Sun:

ROMEO: But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon… (Act 2, Scene 1, my copy. But other sources say it is Act 2, Scene 2. My copy, from Oxford University Press, has Act 2, Scene 2 in Friar Laurence’s cell.)

Romeo and Juliet parallel the Sonnets. “The master-mistress of these Sonnets is the marriage of the man to the woman – of light to darkness, of spiritual truth to aesthetic beauty that obscures it.” [4]

The last two Sonnets deal with Cupid. “Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep” (Sonnet 153) and Cupid once asleep “Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand” (Sonnet 154). What is the “heart-inflaming brand”? It is a torch which inflames hearts with the passion of love.

ROMEO: Give me a torch, I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light.

——- Sources ——-
[1] Plato’s Symposium
[2] Fables of the Ancients, by Francis Bacon
[3] “The Universal Prayer”, by Alexander Pope.
[4] A New Study Of Shakespeare, by William Francis C. Wigston


About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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