88. 20 April 1996 [NM] (Don Quixote; Northumberland MS; Arden of Faversham; "begetting")

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

Dear Eric,

   Two letters from you, one just come, and so much to write to you about but I haven't had a moment till now.

   [...] Far more important for my present book: I'd really appreciate your finding a moment to look at these two pages from my copy of the Northumberland MS, which our friend Hamilton claimed as in Shakespeare's hand (the printed pages are attached). You have his writing in your eye from Edmund Ironside, and may be able to gain an immediate feel for them. Would it be easy for you to send me a copy of one of the Ironside pages? I don't want you hunting in your garage.  (Hamilton also claimed certain marginal words on Bacon's texts as corrections by Shakespeare, but I don't know how he can be sure of such slight and faint letters.)

   I also enclose a couple of pages on the Lambarde signature, for your comment. Eagle is one of the few scholarly Baconians, and he's well informed about forgeries. Of course he is keen that this should not be Shakespeare's – just as Dowden and others were keen that it should.

Last question: do you think Shakespeare wrote Arden of Faversham – 1592? Have you done any work on that? Will you?

   I'm thrilled to see the blurb for your Edward III, and can't wait to read it. When exactly will it be out? I'm sure I shall find its arguments even more compelling than you do.

   Thank you for 2 Vickers articles. Did you ever hear from him? His OUP Bacon should be coming out any minute. I do love your remark on academics having to stick together - in the mud! Quintessential Eric Sams! How you and my father would have enjoyed each other!

   I surrender completely on begetting. I have since found that Shakespeare used it himself as 'to obtain' tho' I've lost the ref. By the way I found a fascinating echo of Timon in the Video on the Mahabharata. I don't know if Shakespeare found it there – he seems to have read everything, or Peter what's his name got it from Shakespeare.

   Re the young lover – try an old one then! I recently saw a very charming film on two old lovers, successful, quite moving. But perhaps Brahms and Hamlet will fill the gap?

   Taurus: yes, it rules song and painters. Writing about singers comes under its influence.

Surely Shakespeare's birthday was 23 April? My party is 23 May. I'll phone to make sure you don't turn up on our doorstep before you receive this letter! The enclosed invitation is of course for you and your wife, and any of those brilliant sons who might be around and at leisure. I'll be thinking of you on 24 April. Many increasingly happy returns, and love from