Monday, January 24, 2005

Ecclesiastes 10:1, in the KJV:
"Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.

Polixenes in The Winter's Tale makes a remark which obviously has this biblical verse in mind. Camillo has come to tell him that the king wants him murdered because he mistakenly believes Polixenes to have been unfaithful with his queen. Moreover, the use of the words savor and reputation, which do not occur in earlier translations, indicates that it is the KJV translation which the author was using. Wisdom and honour occur close by, giving four exact parallels of words to go with the exact parallel of meaning:

CAMILLO Sir, I will tell you;
Since I am charged in honour and by him
That I think honourable: therefore mark my counsel
POLIXENES O, then my best blood turn
To an infected jelly and my name
Be yoked with his that did betray the Best!
Turn then my freshest reputation to
A savour that may strike the dullest nostril
Where I arrive, and my approach be shunn'd,
Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection
That e'er was heard or read!

CAMILLO Swear his thought over
By each particular star in heaven and
By all their influences, you may as well
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
As or by oath remove or counsel shake
The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
Is piled upon his faith and will continue

The KJV was published in 1611. Winter's Tale was performed in 1610. The parallel is undeniable; therefore the author of Winter's Tale had pre-publication access to the KJV Bible in translation. This is certainly true of Francis Bacon, as evidenced by orthodox Bacon bibliographers, but rather more difficult to explain in the case of William Shaxper, and downright impossible for DeVere. This parallel alone therefore eliminates both the Oxfordian and the orthodox case.