1561 – 1626

Evidence within the Shakespearean plays indicates that the author was educated, knew the law, was a member of court, a statesman, an expert on classical mythology, and widely travelled in the courts of Europe. Some believe that Francis Bacon was all of these as he deliberately followed the ancient path of using drama for educational purposes in order to lead people to self-knowledge.

Bacon graduated with a degree in law from Cambridge University, travelled extensively in Europe, and served for decades on Queen Elizabeth’s and King James’ councils. He became both Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Upon his death in 1626, eulogies were written, collected, and published in his honor by 32 scholars—University Fellows and members of the Inns of Court—crediting Bacon for his talents as a concealed poet and for uniting philosophy and drama.

Of the many works of this philosopher, essayist, translator, scientist, jurist, and scholar, the best known are The Advancement of Learning and The New Atlantis.

Tobie Matthew, a contemporary, said of Bacon:

"A man so rare in knowledge, of so many several kinds, endowed with the facility of expressing it all in so elegant, significant, so abundant and yet so choice and ravishing a way of words, of metaphors, of allusion, as perhaps the world has not seen since it was a world."

In Stratford-upon-Avon, the Shakespeare monument compares the author to Nestor (judge, statesman), Socrates (philosopher) and Virgil (scholar, poet). Bacon fits the description of all these men. He was involved with the masque theatricals at Gray’s Inn and is often associated with Love’s Labors Lost, which represents the French court where he travelled.

In 1867, a document called the “Northumberland Manuscript” was discovered in the house of the Duke of Northumberland, which contains 22 sheets of notes from 1596 where Bacon’s name is listed along with Shakespeare’s several times.

Mark Twain was convinced that Bacon was the man behind Shakespeare.

Sir Francis Bacon died of pneumonia in 1626 at the age of 66.