Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Bacon reminds me of those lines in Francis Thompson's poem, "No Strange Land":

"Turn but a stone, and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.'

The 'Shakespeare' writings are endlessly evocative. Everywhere there are meadows of meaning that stretch out to a world beyond our understanding and beyond anything restricted to what we understand of human possibilities.

Look at just one example from one of these miracles of art. The name of the play is "A Midsummer Night's Dream". This tells us that everything that happens is:

1. A Dream
2. That takes place on one midsummer night

There is not only the dream element, there is also a time element. As soon as we begin reading the play this time element is underscored. The first line refers to 'nuptiall houre', the second to 'foure happy daies', the third to the moon which has always been associated with the element of time.

Moreover, the number four has an association with midsummer. Midsummer is the summer solstice, meaning to stand still, i.e., the length of the days stood still for three days and on the fourth they began to get longer again. The sun is also connected with time. Figuratively time stands still for three days and begins to move again on the fourth day as the days begin
to get longer.

There is another element of time connected to this. On the fourth day we do not find the day after the summer solstice, but instead - May 1. Time has been contracted from a summer night to an hour, dilated from a summer night to four days, and even reversed by almost two months, while dilated to almost two months.

What's going on?

This all phenomena associated with dreams, but phenomena which has been discovered since Bacon's time.

Remember the classical work of the French physican Alfred Maury In the 19th century? Maury studied a collection of more than 3,000 dreams, but one is especially famous. This is his 'guillotine' dream. This dream was conspicuous for its time contraction, or conversely, time dilation element. Dreams are notorious for their time distortion element.

Maury's dream was a long convoluted series of episodes about the Reign of Terror during the Revolution. He was thrown in prison for a long period of time. He witnessed some terrible scenes of murder, and finally he himself was summoned before the Tribunal. There he saw Robespierre, Marat, Fouquier-Tinville, and all the sorry heroes of those terrible days; he had to give an account of himself, and after all manner of incidents he was finally sentenced to death. In a cart, accompanied by an enormous crowd, he made the slow procession to the place of execution, where the guillotine awaited. He mounted the scaffold; he was force to knell. His head was fastened into place. The order of was given. The knife of the guillotine fell. He felt his head severed from his trunk, and suddenly awoke, only to find that the head-board of the bed had fallen, and had struck his neck where the knife of the guillotine would have fallen.

The point was that the head-board striking his neck was the external stimuli that caused the dream, but it would have awakened him instantly so that the entire convoluted dream would have had to take place in that one fraction of a second.

So I would have to think that Bacon (who always seems to know everything)intentionaly constructed this element into the play, and there are many, many such examples. What people find in the plays is limited only by their own limitations, never by any limitations in the author.

- from a correspondent