SHAKESPEAREAN AUTHORSHIP AND THE SHAKESPEARE-NOSTRADAMUS CONNECTION
In 1909 the great American writer Mark Twain published Is Shakespeare Dead? in which he expressed his opinion on the Shakespeare authorship question. Twain concluded that William Shakspere (baptismal spelling) of Stratford did not have the education or the life experiences to have written the Shakespearean canon. As a great writer himself, Twain knew what it takes, and Shakspere did not have it.
In the following one hundred plus years, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books and articles have renewed Twain's sentiments. Dozens of Elizabethan writers were proposed as the true Shakespeare but mainstream scholarship remains unconvinced with regard to any of them.
This reminds us of a cynical definition of insanity: repeating the same mistake over and over again and expecting a different result. After hundreds of failed attempts to convince academics that someone had a credible motive for concealing his identity, you might think the anti-Stratfordians would want to try a different approach.
A NEW APPROACH
In this investigation we will turn our attention away from England (where historical records have been exhaustively studied by anti-Stratfordians and Stratfordians alike) and search for clues in a foreign country. It seems that at times Shakespeare wrote entire dialogues in foreign languages, particularly in French, so we will begin our quest in France.
Quickly we discover that England was not the only country with a great writer in that epoch. France also had one: the seer Michel Nostradamus (1503 - 1566) who was, for a couple of years, a living contemporary of William Shakspere (born in 1564). Both of them, England's most famous writer and France's most famous writer, were extraordinarily alike in some respects. This is especially evident in the Last Will and Testament of each, where we find many curiosities in parallel:
At the time of his death, Nostradamus had three hundred prophecies that were never published, yet his Will makes no mention of any unpublished manuscripts.
At the time of his death, William of Stratford had eighteen plays that were never published, yet his Will makes no mention of any unpublished manuscripts.
In his Will, Nostradamus makes no mention of his being a seer or prophet, and he makes no mention of prophecies.
In his Will, Shakespeare makes no mention of his being a writer, and he makes no mention of poems or plays.
In his Will, Nostradamus makes just one reference to astrology and he does so by way of an afterthought, that is, by attaching a brief codicil in which he bequeaths his astrolabe.
In his Will, Shakespeare makes just one reference to the London theatre and he does so by way of an afterthought, that is, by inserting interlinearly a bequeath to three actors.
In his Will, Nostradamus bequeaths to his descendants not yet born.
In his Will, Shakespeare bequeaths to his descendants not yet born.
In his Will, Nostradamus bequeaths six French coins to each of thirteen beggars.
In his Will, Shakespeare bequeaths ten pounds to the poor of Stratford, but in the same Item bequeaths "thirteene poundes, sixe shillinges, and eight pence" to a gentleman.
In his Will, Nostradamus bequeaths to his wife the bed located in the hallway of their home along with the nearby furniture. No mention is made of any other bed, such as the matrimonial bed. In effect, Nostradamus gave his wife (who was called "Anne") his second-best bed.
In his Will, Shakespeare bequeaths to his wife (who was called "Anne") his second-best bed along with the furniture.
Nostradamus signs his Will within a few weeks of his death, and this is witnessed by a named group of local gentry.
Shakespeare signs his Will within a few weeks of his death, and this is witnessed by a named group of local gentry.
The Last Will and Testament of Nostradamus was discovered by the French genealogist Pierre d'Hozier in 1659, reporting that it had been in the possession of a notary in the city of Salon, where Nostradamus died. Depending on which account you want to believe, the Last Will and Testament of Shakespeare was discovered in 1737 or 1747.
Postmortem events give rise to three more curiosities:
Nostradamus' Will requested that a tomb or monument be erected for him against the wall of his local church (une tombe ou monument contre la muraille). Indeed, after his death, his tomb was inserted against the wall of his local church.
After the death of Shakspere, a monument to him was erected against the wall of his local church.
In his book La Première face du Janus françois, Lyon, 1594, the French scholar Jean Aimes de Chavigny (1524 - 1604) published the first biography of Nostradamus confirming burial inside the local church, and he records a curse written on the gravestone:
CY REPOSENT LES OS DE MICH. DE NOSTREDAME …
O POSTERES, NE TOVCHEZ À SES CENDRES,
ET N'ENVIEZ POINT LE REPOS D'ICELVY.
This translates as:
HERE LIES THE BONES OF MICH. DE NOSTREDAME …
O POSTERITY, DO NOT TOUCH HIS ASHES,
AND DO NOT AT ALL ENVY HIM HIS REST.
By legend, someone found the courage to open Nostradamus' tomb in 1792 and he was promptly killed by a stray bullet!
And we also find The Curse of the Bones engraved on Shakespeare's tombstone:
GOOD FREND FOR IESVS SAKE FOREBEARE,
TO DIGG T'HE DVST ENCLOASED HEARE.
BLEST'E BE Y'E MAN Y'T SPARES THES STONES,
AND CVRST BE HE Y'T MOVES MY BONES.
By legend, no one has ever dared to open Shakespeare's tomb!
Nostradamus tourism became a major industry of the town of Salon where Nostradamus lived, attracting pilgrims from around the world to visit the museum and church wall of Nostradamus.
Shakespeare tourism became a major industry of the town of Stratford where Shakespeare lived, attracting pilgrims from around the world to visit the museum and church wall of Shakespeare.
Nostradamus died in 1566, and Shakespeare in 1616, some fifty years later. Their respective Last Will and Testament have too many curiosities in common to be pure coincidence, giving rise to the all-critical question: Was Shakespeare's Will based on Nostradamus' Will or was it the other way around?
Surprisingly, the correct answer to that question might be the following: None of the above. It is entirely plausible that the real Last Will and Testament of William Shakspere was destroyed along with the attendance records of the Stratford Grammar School and along with possible alterations to the registers of the town of Stratford (all civil records for Stratford between 1558 and 1600 were written, or re-written, in the same handwriting). With the current Will coming to light more than one hundred and twenty years after the death of Shakspere, who would be around to challenge its authenticity?
Nothing could be easier than to write Wills that have little in common. It therefore seems certain that someone, for reasons unknown, wanted to establish a link between Nostradamus and Shakespeare albeit only to become known in the distant future. But why in the world would anyone want to link them together? Surely the elegant plays of Shakespeare are not in any way connected with the prophetic gibberish of Nostradamus, or are they?
Nostradamus' most famous work was called Les Propheties de M. Michel Nostradamus, published in the year 1568. It contained 942 prophecies in the form of quatrains (poems with four lines rhyming ABAB), widely believed to have been written in Latin and then translated into French. One can read those prophecies a hundred times and not notice any connection at all with any of the thirty-six plays in Shakespeare's First Folio despite the fact that "prophecy" and related terms are frequently encountered therein.
On closer examination, however, we find yet another curiosity. At diverse places in each of Shakespeare's thirty-six plays, two or more unrelated terms in close proximity to each other equate with the same terms found in close proximity to each other inside one of Nostradamus' 942 prophecies.
These correlations do not draw our attention to all of the 942 prophecies or even to many of them. They point to just thirty-nine prophecies and repeatedly point to the same thirty-nine prophecies. It seems as if Shakespeare is trying to identify, isolate, or extract those prophecies from the larger corpus.
Note that we are not talking about a few examples that could be coincidental, but quite a large number of such correlations, more than a hundred found to date. Spot checks with other playwrights of the epoch exposed no similar correlations between them and Nostradamus, except for Christopher Marlowe who will be discussed below.
Before beginning the illustrations, it's helpful to be aware of some statistics. Excluding pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, articles, numbers, and all variants of the verb to be, Nostradamus employs more than 6,000 unique terms for a prophetic corpus of more than 23,000 words. Shakespeare employs more than 20,000 unique terms for a corpus of more than 800,000 words. Each Nostradamus prophecy has roughly 24 to 27 words. Chances are good that most Nostradamus terms can be found in Shakespeare, but then the second correlation inside Shakespeare, out of his 20,000 plus terms, must be found within a distance of approximately 25 words from the first matching term. For each subsequent term, there is an exponential increase in the odds against a successful correlation on all the terms.
Equivalent words and concepts are in bold.
L'oiseau royal sur la cité solaire,
Sept moys deuant fera nocturne augure:
Mur d'Orient, cherra tonnerre esclaire,
Sept iours aux portes les ennemis à l'heure [1,V-81].
The royal bird over the city of the Sun, Seven months beforehand shall make nocturnal augury, The wall of the Orient shall fall, thunder illuminated, Seven days to the ports the enemies to the hour. Note the forced Frenchification of the Latin "portis" (dative case), which can mean gates or seaports. See the unambiguous "port," seaport, below.
Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury; there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow [2,ac].
Theophilus de Garencières, who made the first English translation of the Nostradamus prophecies in 1672, tells us "By the Royal Bird is meant an Eagle" , but Shakespeare considers other possibilities, here the sparrow. However, it is the word fall that seals the correlation. Note that Nostradamus uses fall in the sense of the fall of an empire and Shakespeare uses it to refer to the descent of a bird, but nevertheless the terms equate for the purpose at hand.
And with my hand at midnight held your head;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour [2,f].
Shakespeare follows Nostradamus in saying to the hour as opposed to of the hour or in the hour. But to seems to make the most sense in relation to larger, not smaller, units of time as in Nostradamus where the war comes to an end seven days (168 hours) to the (nearest) hour. Elsewhere, Shakespeare provides a clarification: "For in a minute there are many days" [2,ah].
Here's a very simple correlation:
Au poinct du iour au second chant du coq [1,VI-54].
At the dawn of day at the second chant of the cock.
Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock [2,af].
Cap. Come, stir, stir, stir! The second cock hath crow'd [2,ah]
And here's a more complex correlation that includes the names of places:
Corinthe, Ephese aux deux mers nagera [1,II-52].
Corinth, Ephesus, to the two seas it shall swim.
Two ships from far making amain to us-
Of Corinth that, of Epidaurus this.
And, coasting homeward, came to Ephesus [2,m].
Guerre s'esmeut par deux vaillans de luite [1,II-52].
War moved by two valiant in combat.
Why, let the war receive't in valiant gore [2,r]
One must always remember to take account of synonyms and terms that are closely related:
Ceulx d'Orient par la vertu lunaire [1,I-49].
Those of the Orient (East) by the lunar virtue.
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon [2,ah].
The lunar virtue can also allude to lunacy and lunatic, encountered more than a dozen times in the works of Shakespeare.
Let's move up to a three-word correlation:
D'vn gris & noir de la Compagne yssu,
Qui onc ne feut si maling [1,X-91].
Of one grey and black out of the Campaign issued (born), That never was there one so evil. This could be a military campaign whose name begins with the letter "C" given that it is capitalized in the French text.
This act, so evilly borne, shall cool the hearts [2,f].
Shakespeare combines the last two words of the bottom line with the last word of the preceding line to get the correlation.
And now three words for England:
Plus Macelin que Roy en Angleterre,
Lasche sans foy, sans loy saignera terre [4,VIII-76].
More Macelin than king in England, ... Loose, without faith, without law, the ground shall bleed. Variant : macelin.
Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground [2,f].
Here's an example where one of the three terms is purely conceptual.
Le Pánta chiona philòn mis fort arriere [1,IV-32].
The Panta Chiona Philon left far behind. This reminds us of the old saying: It's Greek to me.
BIONDELLO. Faith, nothing; but has left me here behind to expound the meaning or moral of his signs and tokens [2,x].
Greek words make one reappearance:
Kappa, Thita, Lambda mors bannis esgarés [1,I-81].
Kappa, Thita, Lambda bite, banished, diverted.
Likewise, the signs and tokens make one reappearance:
DEMETRIUS. See how with signs and tokens she can scrowl [2,ai].
Shakespeare's scrowl is a deliberate misspelling of the verb scrawl, which means to write in a hurried and careless manner. How do we know that Shakespeare misspelled it to seal the correlation? That's easy. Just look at the French verse: Nostradamus misspells Theta!
Note the bannis in that last verse. It's a word that Nostradamus reemploys elsewhere:
Chassez, bannis & liures censurez [1,VIII-71].
Chased, banished, and books censured.
Without sealing a correlation, Shakespeare responds:
To mangle me with that word 'banished'? [2,ah].
Mangled? Seriously? Nostradamus only used it twice! "Why, this fellow hath banish'd two on's daughters" [2,ae], and, lo and behold, banishment mangles diverse sections of the Shakespearean canon.
As noted above, Shakespeare was not the only playwright to correlate with Nostradamus. Inexplicably, we find similar correlations in the works of Christopher Marlowe, a playwright who preceded Shakespeare. One can perhaps imagine that they began the project with Marlowe, but when he unexpectedly departed at a young age, they had to start all over again with Shakespeare. Nonetheless, the preexisting correlations between Nostradamus and Marlowe are interesting and we will illustrate them:
Le sang du iuste à Londres fera faulte,
Bruslez par fouldres de vingt trois les six:
La dame antique cherra de place haute [1,II-51].
The blood of the just in London shall make fault, Burnt by lightnings of twenty, three the six, The antique dame shall fall from high place.
This cursed town will I consume with fire,
Because this place bereft me of my love;
The houses, burnt, will look as if they mourn'd;
And here will I set up her stature [5,g].
For Marlowe, London is a cursed town because it is destined to burn to the ground for fault (or deficiency) of just people, and this bereaves him. In Nostradamus, the dame falls from her high place but Marlowe goes back in time to where he is going to set up her stature, which, like the French verse, could be referring to a position of power or to an elevated statue.
Here's another complex correlation:
La terre & l'air geleront si grand eau,
Lors qu'on viendra pour Ieudy venerer [4,X-71].
The land and the air shall freeze so much water, When one shall come to venerate on Thursdays. Variant : ieudy.
It was as blue as the most freezing skies;
Near the sea's hue, for thence her goddess came [5,c].
Here we find five correlations in just two lines: air equates with skies; geleront (will freeze) equates with freezing; eau (water) equates with sea; viendra (will come) equates with came; and Ieudy (the god of Thursday venerations) equates with goddess.
The Third Sestiad of Marlowe's Hero and Leander displays a clear and unmistakable reference to the Earl of Essex's capture of Cadiz in 1596, making it unfeasible to attribute more than the first two Sestiads to Marlowe who was supposed to have died in 1593. But the correlation, here noted, comes in the Fourth Sestiad and thus casts doubt upon the authorship status of this poem as well as upon Marlowe's death .
she makes a show'r of rain as well as Jove [2,aa].
A shower of rain equates with water and the French Thursday (Jeudi) derives its name from Jove.
Correlations can repeat themselves with slight variations:
Feu grand deluge plus par ignares sceptres,
Que de long siecle no se verra refaict [1,I-62].
Fire, great deluge more by ignorant scepters, That, of long age, shall not be seen remade. The of long age effectively means to the end of time.
Time ends, and to old Chaos all things turn,
Confused stars shall meet, celestial fire
Fleet on the floods, the earth shoulder the sea [5,b].
Here, Marlowe is making a verse-by-verse translation of the Roman poet Lucan, so surely it cannot contain a correlation, right? Wrong. M. Annaei Lucani, De Bello Civili, Liber Primus: Antiquum repetens iterum chaos, omnia mixtis, Sidera sideribus concurrent ignea pontum, Astra petent, tellus extendere littora nolet. Where's the deluge (floods)?
Remarkably, there are several instances where the correlations are inserted into Marlowe's verse-by-verse translations of the Latin poets Ovid and Lucan: here and there, the translations deviate from the original Latin to accommodate the correlations!
Shakespeare also weighs in on this:
Give me a staff of honour for mine age,
But not a sceptre to control the world [2,ai].
Like Nostradamus, Shakespeare views that the scepter as an instrument that yields enormous powers.
When went there by an age since the great flood [2,ad].
Here's another repeated correlation with a slight variation:
Le penultiesme du surnom du prophete,
Prendra Diane pour son iour & repos [1,II-28].
The penultimate of the surname of the prophet, Shall take Diana for his day and rest.
We are the Muses' prophets, none of thine.
What, if thy mother take Diana's bow [5,e].
In this translation, Marlowe dramatically alters Ovid's original in order to achieve the correlation. P. Ovidi Nasconis Liber Primus Amores: Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus. quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae. The Muses were the inspiration of poets, not of prophets, and Minerva's weapon (a spear as in Shake-spear) is transformed into Diana's bow. Perhaps Marlowe is trying to symbolize the use of poetry for prophetic ends?
PORTIA. If I live to be as old as Sibylla,
I will die as chaste as Diana [2,s].
Sibylla is the Latin name of the first Sibyl at Delphi, who by legend was of great antiquity. The Greek and Roman Sibyls were women famed for their prophetic powers, essentially making Sibylla a synonym of prophetess, thereby, with Diana, establishing a correlation.
Let's now look at another correlation that Marlowe inserted into his Ovid translation:
Bien eslongnez el tago fara muestra [1,X-25].
A long way away, el tago shall make a display. Note that Nostradamus writes this line in Spanish, suggesting a faraway location where that language is spoken, and El Tago could be someone who was born in or near Toledo, famed city on the banks of the Tagus River.
To verse let kings give place and kingly shows,
And banks o'er which gold-bearing Tagus flows [5,e].
Ovid's original (op. cit.) goes cedant carminibus reges regumque triumphi, cedat et auriferi ripa benigna Tagi! The Tagus is there but the rest is modified to get the shows (a display) in.
Let's now turn away from these Spanish places and return to London, Marlowe's favorite town:
Senat de Londres mettront à mort leur roy [1,IX-49].
Senate of London shall put their king to death. Marlowe and Shakespeare take the same approach and stretch the correlation across four lines:
By yelping hounds pull'd down, shall semm to die:
Such things as these best please his majesty.--
Here comes my lord the king, and the nobles,
From the parliament. I'll stand aside [5,a].
Have wrought the easy-melting King like wax.
He swore consent to your succession,
His oath enrolled in the parliament;
And now to London all the crew are gone [2,z].
To your succession implies the death of a king and seals the correlation.
Marlowe correlates on his favorite town at every opportunity. Here's another example:
Trente de Londres secret coniureront,
Contre leur Roy ... [1,IV-89].
Thirty of London in secret shall conspire, Against their King ...
May enter in, and once againe conspire
Against the life of me poore Carthage Queene [5,i].
This is a three-word correlation: conspire at the end of the first line, against at the beginning of the second line, and queen replaces king. Here's the last line of that prophecy:
Vn Roy esleu blonde, natif de Frize [1,IV-89].
A King elected blonde, native of Frisia. Frisia is the old name of Holland.
Marlowe envisions a conspiracy that results in the disposal of the first king:
_Y. Mor._ Curse him, if he refuse; and then may we
Depose him, and elect another king.
But the French verse is grammatically confusing: A King (masculine) elected blonde (female), native (male) of Holland. Since Nostradamus routinely employs Latin syntax, we must assume that the blonde is in the ablative case where one can express causal agency without the use of a preposition. Thus, we must understand: A Dutchman elected King [of England] by reason of a woman [his wife?]. Marlowe, however, fails to recognize the Latin syntax and becomes appalled by the thought that a future king of England will be a transvestite!
But seek to make a new-elected king;
Which fills my mind with strange despairing thoughts,
Which thoughts are martyred with endless torments;
And in this torment comfort find I none [5,a].
Nonetheless, Marlowe's whole line of thinking is curious because, in his day, English kings were normally chosen by hereditary factors or by the wishes of a reigning monarch, and not in open elections.
Here's one about an unwanted war:
Quand istront faicts enormes & martiaux:
La moindre part dubieuse à l'aisnay [1,VI-95].
When there shall emerge enormous and martial deeds: The least part doubtful to the eldest brother. The French "enormes" can also mean atrocious and the "aisnay" would be the first born of male siblings. Nostradamus has more to say about the brothers later.
Marlowe's correlation is simplistic:
To some direction in your martial deeds [5,f].
Shakespeare also correlates on this:
Speak, Salisbury; at least, if thou canst speak.
How far'st thou, mirror of all martial men? [2,o].
Note that "least" is now employed as a noun and not as an adjective but it nonetheless gives us a correlation. When searching for correlations, one must consider the English translation of the French with regard to all parts of speech and nuances of meaning.
And Shakespeare again:
Reg. But have you never found my brother's way
To the forfended place?
Edm. That thought abuses you.
Reg. I am doubtful that you have been conjunct [2,ae].
This correlation looks doubtful but the conjunct at the end is suggestive of finding matching words on opposite ends of an intermediary line.
And now we turn to an unidentified, deep-freeze country described by the name of its rulers:
Terroir Romain qu'interpretoit augure,
Par gent Gauloise sera par trop vexee:
Mais nation Celtique craindra l'heure,
Boreas, classe trop loin l'auoir poussee [1,II-99].
Territory Romain that interprets the augury, By Gallic people [the French] shall be very much vexed: More, the Celtic nation [Germany] shall fear the hour, Boreas [the North Wind], army too far the having pushed. Note that the forced Frenchification of the Latin classis, which can mean army or fleet, here army because of terroir in the first line.
Beats Thracian Boreas, or when trees bow own
And rustling swing up as the wind fets breath.
When Cæsar saw his army prone to war [5,b].
Marlowe moves Boreas from line 389 in Lucan (op. cit.) to line 391 in his translation to bring it closer to Caesar's army and seal the correlation.
Shakespeare considers this prophecy to be beyond self-explication, that is, pretty much impossible to comprehend:
Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
Beyond self-explication. Put thyself
Into a haviour of less fear, ere wildness [2,d].
The Stratfordians, likely to ignore the statistics mentioned earlier, will no doubt argue that these correlations are just a coincidence, and perhaps, in a few instances, that is the case. Therefore, to convincingly establish that the correlations with Nostradamus are so numerous and significant that they must have been deliberately made by our playwrights, we need to provide more illustrations, many more illustrations, and we will now proceed to do exactly that.
In this section we will interchangeably illustrate with Marlowe or Shakespeare.
Des sept rameaux à trois seront reduicts,
Les plus aisnez seront surprins par mort [1,VI-11].
Of the seven branches to three shall be reduced, The oldest (plural, implying the two oldest of the three) shall be surprised by death.
Or seven fair branches springing from one root.
Some of those seven are dried by nature's course,
Some of those branches by the Destinies cut [2,g].
Dried by nature's course alludes to aging branches (the oldest) and cut branches are branches that are quickly killed (surprised by death). We will now repeat the second line and join it with the last two lines.
Les plus aisnez seront surprins par mort,
Fratricider les deux seront seduicts,
Les coniurez en dormans seront morts [1,VI-11].
The eldest (more than one) shall be surprised by death, To kill the two brothers they shall be seduced, The conspirators in sleeping shall die. And so we see that the three of the first line were brothers and, presumably, the remaining four (to bring the total up to seven) were their sisters.
And may ye both be suddenly surpris'd
By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds! [2,o].
In Nostradamus, the conspirators (coniurez) die of natural causes, i.e. are never caught, but Shakespeare would prefer another outcome; he also wishes he could help: "To rescue my two brothers from their death" [2,ai].
The saga continues:
Du toict cherra sur le grand mal ruyne [1,VI-37].
From the roof evil ruin shall befall the great one.
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate [2,w].
Shakespeare draws two correlations from the lines that follow this ruination:
Innocent faict mort on accusera:
Nocent caiché taillis à la bruyne [1,VI-37].
Innocent in fact (or of the deed) when dead he shall be accused, The guilty one hidden: "taillis" to the "bruyne" where we note that "bruyne" [1,VI-37] [4,VI-37] stands in sharp contrast to "bruine" [1,V-35] [4,V-35] seen below: there must be a "y" in the name of the guilty one!
KING. Wherefore hast thou accus'd him all this while?
DIANA. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty [2,b].
To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
Where is the evidence that doth accuse me? [2,h].
The location changes:
Lon passera à Memphis somentree [1,X-79].
One shall pass to Memphis somentree. The meaning of somentree is unknown; perhaps it was intended to allude to a place where we find Memphis. Garencières writes "This word Somentrees, being altogether barbarous, is the reason that neither sense nor construction can be made of all these words" .
Memphis, and Pharos that sweet date-trees yields [5,e].
Marlowe too is unable to figure out what somentree (or somentrees per Garencières) means, but at least he notices that it ends in a recognizable English word: trees! Indeed, the hyphenated spelling date-trees, as opposed to date trees, could be taken as a signal that trees is the ending of a word; it is preceded by so and men, which are also English words. Here, Ovid's original (op. cit.), quae colis et Memphin palmiferamque Pharon, required only minimal modification to achieve the correlation.
Shakespeare gives us "Than Rhodope's of Memphis ever was" [2,o]. Rhodope is the name of a tree-infested mountain in Bulgaria, so perhaps Somentrees is a place with lots of trees!
This is the next verse of that prophecy:
Le grand Mercure d'Hercules fleur de lys [1,X-79].
The great Mercury of Hercules fleur-de-lys. Mercury was the god of commerce, and Hercules represents force, giving the verse the following sense: the great armaments trade shall flourish.
His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh,
The brawns of Hercules; but his Jovial face- [2,d].
Marlowe's take on this is far more profound:
Besides, there goes a Prophesy abroad,
Published by one that was a Friar once,
Whose Oracles have many times proved true;
And now he says, the time will shortly come,
When as a Lyon, roused in the west,
Shall carry hence the fluerdeluce of France .
Note the allusion to the Pillars of Hercules in the penultimate line. It combines with the fleur-de-lys in the last line to give us another correlation. This citation is from Edward the Third, a play that was published anonymously and whose authorship was debated among scholars for centuries. Today, Shakespeare is believed to have written parts of it (and Marlowe the passage that we cite ). True, but if the scholars had known about the correlations, the issue could have been resolved a long time ago.
The setting of this passage is France, so abroad in the first line means Britain, not France. In the second line, Marlowe describes Geoffrey of Monmouth as a publisher.
Nostradamus now takes us to a faraway place:
Dedans le coing de Luna viendra rendre,
Ou sera prins & mis en terre estrange,
Les fruicts immeurs seront à grand esclandre [1,IX-65].
Into a corner of the Moon he shall come to render, Where he shall be taken and placed on strange terrain, The immature fruits shall be by great scandal.
Garencières exclaims: "But what he meaneth by the Corner of Luna, I must leave the judgement of it to the Reader, for I ingeniously confess that I neither know City nor Country of that name" . Shakespeare, for his part, knows that Luna is the Moon and he leaves no doubts about it: "A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon" [2,i]. Marlowe makes a complex correlation out of it:
And search all corners of the new-found world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;
I'll have them read me strange philosophy [5,j].
On the immature fruits, Shakespeare writes "Then it will be the earliest fruit i' th' country; for you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe" [2,c]. Shakespeare also takes a look at the third line combined with the last line:
Les fruicts immeurs seront à grand esclandre,
Grand vitupere à l'vn grande louange [1,IX-65].
The immature fruits shall be by great scandal, Great vituperation, to the one, great praise.
Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
But ne'er till now his scandal of retire [2,z].
In Nostradamus, the praise (louange) is in pursuit, that is, follows the scandal (esclandre) of the preceding line, but in all cases the great scandal comes after the new-found Moon!
Around the same time, the surviving brother (as we saw, his two older brothers were killed) runs into some trouble of his own:
Par detracteur calumnié à puis nay [1,VI-95].
The youngest brother slandered by a detractor. The "puis nay" is the after born of male siblings.
To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order [2,j].
Shakespeare reuses this correlation, only changing "slander" from a noun to a verb:
your brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero [2,k].
Marlowe uses a word not found in Shakespeare: "An eare, to heare what my detractors say" [5,d].
In the next prophecy, Nostradamus reveals himself to be a devout Catholic:
Apres le siege tenu dixsept ans,
Cinq changeront en tel reuolu terme:
Puis sera l'vn esleu de mesme temps,
Qui des Romains ne sera trop conforme [1,V-92].
After the (Holy) See held for seventeen years, Five shall change in such revolved term, Then the one shall be elected of same times, Who of the Romans shall not be very conformable. By of the same time, it is implied that the non-Italian Pope of the last line is the last of the five Popes who follow the Pope that reigned for seventeen years.
That doth assume the Papal government
Without election and a true consent [5,j].
POPE. Welcome, Lord Cardinals; come, sit down.--
Lord Raymond, take your seat [5,j].
Popes are elected to the Chair (seat, "siege" in French) of Saint Peter by Cardinals.
At all times to your will conformable [2,e].
The action moves from Italy to the Middle East:
Le Roy de Perse par ceux d'Egypte prins [1,III-77].
The King of Persia by those of Egypt taken. Persia is the old name of Iran.
SECOND MERCHANT. ,,,
Of Persian silks, of gold, and orient pearl.
BARABAS. How chance you came not with those other ships
That sail'd by Egypt? [5,h].
Marlowe fails to perceive that taken is used in the sense of accepted and not in the sense of carried, which explains why he ends with a question mark. Nostradamus now takes us from Iran to neighboring Afghanistan:
Aries doute son pole Bastarnan [1,III-57].
Aries doubts its Bastarnan pole.
MEPHIST. All jointly move from east to west in twenty-four hours upon the poles of the world; but differ in their motion upon the poles of the zodiac [5,j].
The French Arie was the old name of Afghanistan but Marlowe sees the Aryans as something in the zodiac! The Bastarnae were a people who occupied Poland and the Ukraine during Roman times. Note that, contrary to legend, Marlowe originates the great Tamburlaine in Scythia (the Ukraine and parts of Russia).
Later, perhaps just a few years later, the newly-elected Pope has transformed himself into a great Pontiff:
De la partie de Mammer grand Pontife,
Subiuguera les confins du Danube:
Chasser la Croix par fer raffé ne riffe,
Captifs, or bague plus de cent mille rubes [4,VI-49].
From the party of Mammer, great Pontiff, Will subjugate the frontiers of the Danube, To chase the Cross by iron, by hook or by crook, Enticed: gold, bag more than one hundred thousand red things. Variants : les croix, bagues.
The partie can refer to a region or to a political party while the fer can represent any type of weapon made of iron. The raffé ne riffe is an Italian expression, suggesting that Italy is the scene of action. Marlowe thinks the frontiers of the Danube could refer to the country of Bulgaria since he ends a line with Bulgaria immediately below where he ends a line with Danube:
Betwixt the city Zula and Danubius;
How through the midst of Varna and Bulgaria [5,g].
Zula, a bay at the southern end of the Red Sea, makes no sense in the given context. More likely than not, Marlowe wishes to allude to the famed city of Zara (see below) on the Adriatic Sea, on the opposite end of the Balkans from the Danube and fitting the context perfectly.
At the end of the Nostradamus citation, the rubes is an adjective employed as a noun (red things), but Garencières sees them as rubles: "A Ruble was a coin of gold of the great Mogul, worth one or two pound sterling" .
A hundred thousand crowns [5,h].
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns; [2,i].
Shakespeare views the hundred thousand as a payment [to the Bulgarians?] for services rendered [to hunt down the great Pontiff?]. Marlowe and Shakespeare each employ the hundred thousand in relation to a currency (the crowns), so perhaps Garencières was not far off in concluding that the rubes refers to rubles.
The attack on the Pope is again mentioned:
Prelat royal son baissant trop tiré,
Le regne Anglicque par regne respiré [1,X-56].
Royal prelate his baissant all shot up, ... The Anglican reign by reign breathes anew.
This prophecy indicates that the attack on the Pope will occur around the time of an English royal wedding. The meaning of baissant is unknown. Shakespeare likewise is unable to figure out what baissant means:
I cannot tell vat is baiser en Anglish [2,q].
It is, however, somewhat mysterious where the Project Gutenberg found these words because the First Folio reads a bit different: "I cannot tell wat is buisse en Anglish," which is preceded by the words "baisee" and "baisant." Immediately above buisse we find "Interpreter" which quickly leads us to the true meaning of baissant in a Nostradamus quatrain: "Interpretez seront les extipices" , from where we conclude Royal prelate his extispicy (intestines) all shot up. Were they afraid of offending the Papacy?
This brings us to the last line of that prophecy:
Long temps mort vif en Tunis comme souche [1,X-56].
Long time dead alive in Tunis like a stump. The expression dead alive like a stump could refer to someone who became a human vegetable. Shakespeare asserts "Not he which says the dead is not alive" [2,l] and again, "And so in spite of death thou dost survive, In that thy likeness still is left alive" [2,am]. Marlowe and Shakespeare were both impacted by the stump:
Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight [5,j].
And though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd [2,e].
The meaning of Tunis is unknown because Nostradamus clearly spells the city of Tunis as Tunes in an unmistakable context. Tunis, therefore, is likely to be an acronym, contraction, or abbreviation of the name of some country. Regardless, the event of the human vegetable apparently occurs around the time of the attack on the Pope which, as we just saw, occurs around the time of an English royal wedding
It was noted that Nostradamus spells Tunis as Tunes and we will now look at that:
Ceulx de Tunes, de Fez, & de Bugie:
Par les Arabes captif le Roy Maroq [1,VI-54].
Those of Tunis, of Fez, & of Bougie, By the Arabs the King of Morocco enticed.
Marlowe and Shakespeare both refer to Tunis [5,g] [2,y] and to Bougie (Argier [5,f] [2,y]). For the king, Marlowe goes directly with the King of Morocco [5,f] while Shakespeare gives us the Prince of Morocco [2,s], but only Marlowe mentions Fez:
I here present thee with the crown of Fez [5,g].
The crown more or less equates with king to give us a correlation. Fez is a city in Morocco, so perhaps that is where the King of Morocco is captivated by the Arab cause. Besides North Africa, Arabs also live in the Middle East, and therein this passage may connect with another Nostradamus prophecy:
Cassich sainct George à demy perfondrez:
Paix assoupie, la guerre esueillera,
Dans temple à Pasques abysmes enfondrez [1,IX-31].
Encircled, Saint George to one half, demolished, Peace soporific, the war shall be awoken, Within the temple on Easter-day, abysses opened up. The war appears to be in full swing in the first line, but in the next line it is just beginning, so the Easter abyss likely precedes, and perhaps inspires, the war.
Saint George, that swing'd the dragon [2,f].
By legend, Saint George killed the dragon near the city of Beirut, where today we find Saint George Bay. Twice more Shakespeare correlates on these lines:
Throng our large temples with the shows of peace, And not our streets with war! [2,ab].
And in the temple of great Jupiter Our peace we'll ratify; seal it with feasts [2,d].
Here, both correlations make use of temple and peace. To make it a three-word correlation, Shakespeare, in the first instance, goes with war, and in the second instance he views Easter as a feast. Note that he says seal it with feasts, that is, seal my correlation with the third equivalent term.
Attention now turns to a war out at sea:
... sur le pont l'entreprise,
Luy, satalites la mort degousteront [1,IV-89].
... upon the sea the enterprise, For it, satellites shall prepare the way for death. Note use of the Latin "pontus": "pont Euxine" , "Euxine Sea" [5,b], "Pontic Sea" [2,ag].
And smite with death thy hated enterprise [5,j].
Though Marlowe and Shakespeare consistently make heavy use of the words of Nostradamus, for reasons unknown they both ignore the satellites. Garencières, without comment, simply repeats and italicizes the French word in his English translation.
The enterprise upon the sea suggests action taken by a fleet:
Angloise classe viendra soubs la bruine,
Vn rameau prendre, du grand ouuerte guerre [1,V-35].
English fleet shall come under the drizzle, To take a branch [of the British Empire?], from the great one [Great Britain?]: open war. In the first line of this prophecy we find "mer," sea, making classe a fleet.
The bruine comes from the Latin bruma which referred to wintry weather. Note that the du grand is of masculine gender and hence cannot apply to the guerre which is a feminine noun.
I shall be, if I claim by open war [2,z].
This is the only instance of the expression open war in Shakespeare, so it remains to be determined if there is another precedent for its use. Presumably, the aforementioned satellites played a role in the unleashing of this open war.
In a scene from Edward the Third attributed to Marlowe, an "English fleet" is associated with "sulfur battles" and "dispersed and sunk" . Curiously, Nostradamus immediately precedes the lines we just cited with "à l'estomach la pierre" [1,V-35], the stone to the stomach. In addition to something big swallowing up something small, this can be viewed as suggesting the insertion of something harmful into something big, such as, for example, the fire ships that forced the Spanish Armada of 1588 to break formation and leading to an English victory.
We now return to the Middle East:
De rouges & blancs conduira grand trouppe,
Et iront contre le Roy de Babylon [1,X-86].
Of reds and whites shall conduct great troop, And they shall go against the King of Babylon. Babylon is the old name of Iraq, and the reds and whites may refer to the flags of a great military force.
Shall mount the milk-white way, and meet him there.
To Babylon, my lords, to Babylon! [5,g].
Am I not of her blood? Tilly-vally,
There dwelt a man in Babylon [2,al].
While Marlowe correlates with the color white, Shakespeare alludes to red, the color of blood.
Let's do one more:
Du ciel viendra vn grand Roy d'effrayeur,
Resusciter le grand Roy d'Angolmois [1,X-72].
From the sky shall come a great king of terror, To resuscitate the great king of Angolmois.
But, lady, this fair face and heavenly hue
Must grace his bed that conquers Asia,
And means to be a terror to the world [5,f].
With conquers Asia, Marlowe apparently views Angolmois as an anagram of Mongolois, the Mongols, who were led by Genghis Khan to conquer Afghanistan and much of Asia.
Beyond the textual correlations, the prophecies of Nostradamus may have had a wider influence. Here we will look at one example from Marlowe followed by three examples from Shakespeare.
TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT
Le plus grand voile hors du port de Zara,
Pres de Bisance fera son entreprinse:
D'ennemy perte & l'amy ne sera,
Le tiers à deux fera grand pille & prinse [1,VIII-83].
The greatest sail out of the port of Zara, Near Byzantium it shall make its enterprise, Of enemy, loss, and the friend shall not be, The third to two shall make great pillage and seizure.
This appears to be one of several prophecies that may have led Marlowe to write about Tamburlaine and his conquests. It was an ambitious project for Marlowe: he tries to incorporate all the places mentioned by Nostradamus from Scythia to Persia and then over to Morocco. However, it seems that the real Tamerlane (d. 1405) concentrated his conquests in Asia, so Nostradamus alone may have inspired the North African conquests found in Marlowe's play.
Byzantium, an earlier name of Constantinople, brings the Turks into the picture. Marlowe: "And think to rouse us from our dreadful siege, Of the famous Grecian Constantinople" [5,f]. Note that Marlowe specifies Grecian Constantinople: it was the Greeks who colonized Constantinople and named it Byzantium.
Unlike the historical Tamerlane, who had noble origins, Marlowe gives his Tamburlaine humble beginnings: a shepherd, who rises up to attain a great empire through military conquests:
Lieu obscur nay par force aura l'empire [1,VIII-76].
Born in obscure place, by force he shall have the empire.
Le grand Senat discernera la pompe,
A l'vn qu'apres sera vaincu chassé,
Ses adherans seront à son de trompe
Biens publiez, ennemis deschassez [1,X-76].
The great Senate shall discern the pomp, Of the one who afterwards shall be vanquished, chased out, His adherents shall be by sound of trickery, Public goods, inimical things forced out. Note the apocope of tromperie to rhyme with pompe as affirmed in one of the informative quatrains: La cité prinse par tromperie & fraude,...Luy & tous morts pour auoir bien trompé .
Twists of fate and reversals of destiny permeate the plays of Shakespeare, and here we see a plausible inspiration for giving heavy emphasis to the concept. The story of Coriolanus coincides with the first two lines, but the prophecy does not specify that this is a Roman senate and not some other senate.
On the correlation with "To whom he more adheres. If it will please you To show us so much gentry and good will" [2,ac], note that adherents (a noun) equates with adheres (a verb) and that goods (a noun) equates with good (an adjective).
Le croisé frere par amour effrenee
Fera par Praytus Bellerophon mourir,
Classe à mil ans la femme forcenee
Beu le breuuage, tous deux apres perir [1,VIII-13].
The crossed brother by unbridled love, Shall make, by Proetus, Bellerophon to die, Army (or fleet) to a thousand years, the woman enraged, Drink the beverage, all two afterwards to perish.
Bellerophon was the name of a great hero in Greek mythology; in later times, it became the name of a renowned ship of the royal navy. The meaning of to a thousand years is unknown. Nostradamus numbered this prophecy VIII-13 (813).
In the third line, the woman, the sister of the high-ranking ecclesiastic of the first line, becomes enraged by the military defeat of one of the two who are poisoned in the last line. Thus, the ecclesiastic, out of love for his sister and like Proetus in the myth, arranges for someone to kill the defeated hero.
Citation from Wikipedia on Bellerophon:
"Proetus dared not satisfy his anger by killing a guest, so he sent Bellerophon to King Iobates his father-in-law ... bearing a sealed message in a folded tablet: Pray remove the bearer from this world."
Citation from Wikipedia on Hamlet:
"Claudius, fearing for his life, sends Hamlet along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to England with a note to the King ordering Hamlet to be executed immediately."
Let's continue with Wikipedia on Hamlet:
"Gertrude drinks poisoned wine intended for Hamlet and dies. ... In his own last moments, an enraged Hamlet ... manages to stab and wound Claudius ... and finishes him off by forcing him to drink his own poisoned wine. Horatio attempts to commit suicide by drinking the poison ..."
Oops! This cannot be. The prophecy says that two shall perish and two are already dead from drinking the poisoned wine.
" ... but Hamlet swipes the cup from his hands and orders him to live to tell the tale."
Claudius was Hamlet's uncle, and assuming that Shakespeare interpreted Nostradamus correctly, the killer of the poisoned hero in our prophecy would have to be his uncle, that is, the enraged woman was his mother.
Another way of saying the woman enraged would be the woman gone mad, and no doubt this reinforces the lunatic theme we saw earlier. Madness (Hamlet, King Lear) and suicide (especially Romeo and Juliet) became recurring themes in the Shakespearean canon.
Above all else, the Bellerophon prophecy likely inspired Shakespeare to look to mythology and folklore for the plot of many of his plays.
La chef de Londres par regne l'Americh,
L'isle d'Escosse tempiera par gellee:
Roy Reb auront vn si faux antechrist,
Que les mettra trestous dans la meslee [1,X-66].
The chief of London by realm of America, The isle of Scotland tempered by frost, Roy Reb (they) shall have one so false Antichrist, Who shall put them all into the melee.
In this one, we return to Marlowe's favorite town, but it was Shakespeare who got to write about it. The first line insinuates that the actions of the British government will be heavily influenced by the Americans, surely a ludicrous idea! Note that Americh has to be America but the final letter was changed only to achieve rhyme with antechrist at the end of the third verse.
Scotland in the second verse gives us the setting of Macbeth. Note the frost at the end of that verse and Lady Macbeth's gruesome expectations:
A woman's story at a winter's fire [2,af].
Marlowe appears to be confused over the meaning of the antechrist:
To wrack, an antechristian kingdome falles [5,d].
Wherewith thy antichristian churches blaze [5,a].
In the first instance, antechrist means existing before Christ and in the second instance it means fighting against Christ. Shakespeare, however, is not confused: the Antichrist means blood and death, and combined with the melee, wild killing.
And wild killing is exactly what we get in Macbeth. At the end of the play, an English army (note the reference to England in the first line of the prophecy) arrives to finish the slaughter.
Curiously, Shakespeare seems to be unaware that the Virginia Colony was called America:
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Where Spain?
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE. Faith, I saw it not, but I felt it hot in her breath.
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE. Where America, the Indies? [2,m].
Could Shakespeare be hoping that someone in his audience would tell him where America was located?
In these illustrations, we turn our attention toward the heavens.
... cieux en tesmoings.
Que plusieurs regnes vn à cinq feront change [1,VI-2].
... heavens (or skies) in testimony, That many reigns one to five shall make change.
HERMIONE. There's some ill planet reigns.
I must be patient till the heavens look [2,ak].
Note that reigns was extracted from Nostradamus as a noun but in Shakespeare it got employed as a verb. Shakespeare is only looking at the English translation. The same applies for one to five (an end total of five) which equates with some in the sense of a few but got employed in another sense. Elsewhere, Shakespeare gives us the sequential progression "One to ten!" [2,o].
For the next correlation, we go beyond just looking at the heavens:
Par pluye longue le long du polle arctique:
Samarobryn cent lieux de l'hemisphere,
Viuront sans loy exempt de pollitique [1,VI-5].
By a long rain the length of the Arctic Pole, Samarobryn a hundred leagues from the hemisphere, Living without law, exempt from politics.
We mean to travel to th' antarctic pole,
When Phoebus, leaping from his hemisphere [5,g].
Wikipedia, in its article on Antarctica, notes that "Antarctica has no indigenous population and there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century." Elsewhere, Marlowe clarifies that from his hemisphere means upward into the sky: "Leaps from th' antartic world unto the sky" [5,j].
Shakespeare is cynical: "By the North Pole, I do challenge thee" which evokes the response "I will not fight with a pole, like a Northern man" [2,i].
The long rain along the length of the Arctic can indicate the makings of an Ice Age or, alternatively, radioactive fallout, which, from the days of nuclear testing in the atmosphere, is known to gravitate toward the Poles.
A hundred leagues would place Samarobryn roughly one hundred and fifty miles above the ground; thus, Marlowe and Shakespeare are in agreement on placing Samarobryn in the sky. Moreover, Shakespeare envisions life in orbit at even greater distances:
Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence [2,n].
Shakespeare substitutes a thousand for a hundred to get the correlation. He has more to say:
Corrupted, and exempt from ancient gentry?
His trespass yet lives guilty in thy blood [2,o].
Here the verb lives, a variation of living, seals the correlation. The question mark at the end of the "exempt from" line suggests that Shakespeare may have been confused over the meaning of pollitique (also spelled politique ). Nostradamus associates this word with the making of laws, which is politics in our modern sense, but the words politics and political are nowhere to be found in the works of Shakespeare, nor in Marlowe for that matter. Curiously, the original "politique" of Nostradamus inexplicably appears in the Dedicatory of a 1598 publication of Marlowe's Hero and Leander.
For our part, we have no problem in surmising that Samarobryn was quite fortunate to get away from the political nonsense of the ancient gentry living on the ground below.
Let's now go farther out into space.
Venus cachée soubs la blancheur, Neptune,
De mars frappé par la grauée blanche [4,IV-33].
Venus hidden under the whiteness, Neptune, From Mars struck through the white gravel. Variants : no comma (,) before Neptune, Mars, frappée, branche.
Shakespeare confesses that he is confused by the high (in the sky) gravel:
LAUNCELOT. [Aside] O heavens! This is my true-begotten father, who, being more than sand-blind, high-gravel blind, knows me not. I will try confusions with him [2,s].
Note that Shakespeare, by twice using the word blind, indicates that the textual variant blanche, and not the frequently seen branche, is the correct word for the French text. As for the meaning of white gravel, one possibility would be the tail of a comet. Indeed, Nostradamus alludes to the forthcoming appearance of Halley's Comet in 1607 when he refers to an increase in astronomes for the year mil six cens & sept [1,VIII-71].
Elsewhere, Shakespeare again views the gravel as grains of sand:
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands [2,a].
Note that yellow is also marked since it is merely a change of color from white.
Quand le Soleil prendra ses iours lassez,
Lors accomplir & mine ma prophetie [1,I-48].
When the Sun shall take its days of wailing, Then to accomplish and terminate my prophecy.
The lassez appears to be a Frenchification of the Latin "laessus," uncommon wailing. Shakespeare envisions teardrops on the surface of the Sun: "Suns of the world may stain, when heaven's sun staineth" [2,w]. Sunspots? Yes, Nostradamus and Shakespeare are likely referring to sunspots; these were discovered by astronomers, including Galileo, between 1610 and 1612, but Shakespeare published his sunspot observations in 1609!
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse [2,ac].
Are we to believe that Shakespeare, already centuries ahead of our scientists with regard to life in orbit, beats them again in predicting that the end of our solar system (doomsday) will result from the expansion and collapse of our Sun (Disasters in the sun)?
But we don't have to wait until the end of the world to see sunspots. For example, there was an exceptionally large sunspot in 2014, in which case we seem to have survived doomsday!
Venus is described as the moist star. Marlowe uses the words "night-wandering, pale, and wat'ry star" [5,c]. Surely, Marlowe's Venus is pale because she is sick with eclipse but later she comes out of the shadows to become Shakespeare's "bright star of Venus" [2,o]. Note also that, in both cases, the concept of wetness is based on association with Neptune, named after the Roman god of the sea.
The whiteness may refer to the Sun, surely the brightest thing in the sky. Thus, Venus is hidden (cachée) under the whiteness of the Sun, implying an eclipse of celestial entities. But such an eclipse can only be seen from another celestial entity, that is, Shakespeare apparently concluded, or suspected, that Neptune had to be something in the heavens. Marlowe, of course, concurs with this point of view:
FAUSTUS. How many heavens or spheres are there?
MEPHIST. Nine; ... [5,j].
Faustus refers to eclipses in a follow-up question. At hand, the inspiration for leaping from seven to nine (as opposed to merely adding Neptune to bring the total up to eight) may have come from elsewhere:
D'humain troupeau neuf seront mis à part,
De iugement & conseil separez [1,I-81].
Of human flock, nine shall be placed apart, Of judgement and counsel separated.
Shakespeare wrote about the "Nine Worthies" [2,i] and also about the "nine sibyls" [2,o], but Marlowe intelligently noticed that the devoid of judgement and counsel could indicate that these are nine inanimate objects. In all fairness to Shakespeare, however, we must admit that in the end he finally figured it out, giving us "nine moons" [2,ag] which comes close enough to nine planets. Curiously, Wikipedia thinks the planet Neptune was unknown prior to 1846!
Some of the correlations between Nostradamus and the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare are so obscure that they are very difficult to find. In the event that someone might wish to compile a complete account of all the correlations, we will here give an example of what we are referring to:
Such Ariadne was, when she bewails,
Her perjured Theseus' flying vows and sails [5,e].
Madam, 'twas Ariadne passioning
For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight [2,aj].
Nostradamus, however, does not mention Ariadne or Theseus anywhere in his text, but look at the following:
Chassez bannis & liures censurez,
L'an mil six cens & sept par sacre glomes [1,VIII-71].
Chased out, banished, and books censured, The year thousand six hundred & seven by sacred ball of thread.
Key to solving this is the word "glomes," a Frenchification of the Latin glomus which refers to a ball of thread. In Greek mythology, Ariadne gave a ball of thread to Theseus so that he could find his way out of the Labyrinth of Crete. Meanwhile, the citations refer to fleeing and flight which equate with Chased out, banished and seal the correlation.
One further word of advice: researchers should rely as much as possible on the original text of the First Folio or the Second Folio. Recall the I cannot tell wat is buisse in Anglish where Project Gutenberg's source changed buisse to baiser because it made more sense, inadvertantly destroying an important cipher. For the Third Folio, Anglish was changed to English (as if Shakespeare did not know how to spell that word!), severely upsetting the correlation with Anglicque.
Beyond the numbered prophecies (written in French) now extracted from Nostradamus by means of the correlations, the Nostradamus text contains one unnumbered incantation written entirely in Latin. Unlike the prophecies, it has a title: Legis cantio contra ineptos criticos, Incantation of the Law Against Inept Critics.
Quos legent hosce versus maturè censunto,
Profanum vulgus, & inscium ne attrectato,
Omnesq; Astrologi Blenni, Barbari procul sunto,
Qui aliter facit, is ritè, sacer esto .
Let those who read these verses, consider them maturely, May the profane, the vulgar, and the ignorant be not attracted, That all Astrologers, Retards, Barbarians stay far away, He who does otherwise, be he sacred by rite.
EVANS. It is qui, quae, quod; if you forget your qui's, your quae's, and your quod's, you must be preeches. Go your ways and play; go [2,t].
Scholars believe "preeches" is a misprint for breeched, from where we would surmise you must be spanked. By misspelling "b" as "p," Shakespeare draws attention to a word beginning with the letter "b": Blenni refers to stupid people and fits perfectly well with forgetting your quod's.
But stay, I'll read it over once again.
QUEEN. Ah, barbarous villains! ... [2,v].
To read it over once again equates with to read it maturely, and elsewhere Shakespeare gives us yet another "Read it again" [2,b]. Indeed, to understand the mind of Shakespeare, and how he arrives at some of the strange things that he says, it would be very helpful to go back and read our illustrations maturely, that is, read them again and ponder on them.
In total, the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare correlate with thirty-nine prophecies and one incantation.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. LES PROPHETIES DE M. MICHEL NOSTRADAMVS. Dont il y en a trois cens qui n'ont encores iamais esté imprimées. Adiouftées de nouueau par ledict Autheur. A LYON, PAR BENOIST RIGAVD, 1568. Several editions are still extant. The specific edition cited for our illustrations was labeled Chomarat 96 by bibliographers. A facsimile of this edition is available for free download in PDF format from the website propheties.it. Numbers, beginning with a Roman numeral, were created by Nostradamus to uniquely identify each of his quatrains. These numbers are provided for prophecies attributed to Merlin.
2. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, by William Shakespeare:
a. A Midsummer Night's Dream; b. Alls Well that Ends Well; c. As You Like It; d. Cymbeline; e. King Henry the Eighth; f. King John; g. King Richard the Second; h. King Richard the Third; i. Love's Labour's Lost; j. Measure for Measure; k. Much Ado About Nothing; l. Second Part of King Henry IV; m. The Comedy of Errors; n. The First Part of King Henry the Fourth; o. The First Part of King Henry the Sixth; p. The History of Troilus and Cressida; q. The Life of King Henry the Fifth; r. The Life of Timon of Athens; s. The Merchant of Venice; t. The Merry Wives of Windsor; u. The Rape of Lucrece; v. The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth; w. The Sonnets; x. The Taming of the Shrew; y. The Tempest; z. The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth; aa. The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra; ab. The Tragedy of Coriolanus; ac. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; ad. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar; ae. The Tragedy of King Lear; af. The Tragedy of Macbeth; ag. The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice; ah. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet; ai. The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus; aj. The Two Gentlemen from Verona; ak. The Winter's Tale; al. Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will; am. Venus and Adonis.
Correlations were found in all thirty-six plays of the First Folio and in all of the longer poetry including the Sonnets. It seems fair to conclude that the real Shakespeare, whoever he might be, was absolutely obsessed with Merlin's prophecies.
3. THE TRUE PROPHECIES OR PROGNOSTICATIONS OF Michael Nostradamus, PHYSICIAN TO Henry II. Francis II. and Charles IX. KINGS of FRANCE ... Translated and Commented by THEOPHILUS de GARENCIERES, Doctor in Physick ... LONDON, Printed by Thomas Ratcliffe, and Nathaniel Thompson, ... 1672. Garencières' text follows the Nostradamus numbering system and therefore citations can be quickly found by reference to the Nostradamus number.
4. LES PROPHETIES DE Me. MICHEL. NOSTRADAMVS. Dont il y en a trois cens qui n'ont encores iamais esté imprimees. Adioutees de nouueau par ledict Autheur. A LYON, PAR IEAN HVGVETAN M.DC.XXVII. Technical analysis reveals that this edition (or possibly a lost edition that it copies) was very likely the printing of a backup manuscript and thus it has considerable value despite the late publication date. A facsimile of this edition is available for free download in PDF format from the website propheties.it.
5. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Works of Christopher Marlowe, Individual Plays plus Vol. 3, by Christopher Marlowe:
a. Edward II; b. First Book of Lucan; c. Hero and Leander; d. Massacre at Paris; e. Ovid's Elegies; f. Tamburlaine the Great, Part I; g. Tamburlaine the Great, Part II; h. The Jew of Malta; i. The Tragedy of Dido Queene of Carthage; j. The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus.
Note that Marlowe (who may not have lived very long) wrote far less than Shakespeare, thus the heavy correlations with Nostradamus are especially significant.
6. One must not surmise that Marlowe, a major Shakespearean candidate, is the real Shakespeare. In circumstances where William Shakspere of Stratford did not write the works attributed to Shakespeare, there can be no guarantee that Christopher Morley (Privy Council spelling) of Canterbury wrote everything that is attributed to Marlowe. Per all historical accounts, Marlowe died on May 30, 1593. Per a decoding of cryptic writings (alluded to in our comments), Marlowe was on board a ship that was last seen in the South Seas on September 7, 1595, a little more than two years after his official death. Either way, he could not have written the Shakespearean canon.
7. Project Gutenberg Etext of The Reign of King Edward the Third, attributed in part to William Shakespeare. Wikipedia, in its article on this play, notes that Act III, Scenes i and ii, from where our citations come, were attributed to Christopher Marlowe by Hartmut Ilsemann (2014).