Thursday, April 22, 2010

And now for something completely different...

A friend and I were discussing the film “What Dreams May Come” and it emerged that the title is from the famous Shakespearian quote,“To be or not to be” from Hamlet —

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil.

I was reminded of a dear friend who is a noted Shakespearian actress and historian, and who fervently believes that the man William Shakespeare didn’t actually write the stuff, but rather, that it was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. My friend heads a noted society devoted to convincing everyone of this and has lots of fun traveling the world and debating it. They’re not alone, as many people, who have looked at the facts, conclude that it doesn’t seem possible that Bill S. penned such immortal phrases, including Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud and Charlie Chaplin. The word “immortal” is key here. I once suggested to my friend that it seemed quite clear to me that if anything, Mr. Shakespear (no ‘e’ on the end, either, according to my friend) was a medium, and his stories were given to him by the Risen. She looked at me like I had said that strawberry jam tastes best on a sardine sandwich.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899), a Civil War veteran, American political leader, orator during the "Golden Age of Freethought," and noted for his broad range of culture and defense of agnosticism, was one of the many Risen who spoke via direct voice in the presence of the medium Emily French and the famous lawyer Edward C. Randall, who studied Miss French’s work and recorded the spirit materials over several decades. The following, from The Dead Have Never Died, by Edward C. Randall, (p. 207), discusses just this subject of who the Bard really was. We submit this extract for your perusal and perhaps the stimulation of something completely different:

Robert G. Ingersoll, well known to me in the after life, speaking on this subject said:

"Let me give the most remarkable illustration of spirit suggestion—the immortal Shakespeare. Neither of his parents could read or write. He grew up in a small village among ignorant people, on the banks of the Avon. There was nothing in the peaceful, quiet landscape on which he looked, nothing in the low hills, the undulating fields, nothing in the lazy flowing stream to excite the imagination. Nothing in his early life calculated to sow the seeds of the subtlest and sublimest thought. There was nothing in his education or lack of education to account for what he did. It is supposed that he attended school in his home village, but of that there is no proof. He went to London when young, and within a few years became interested in Black Friars Theatre, where he was actor, dramatist, and manager. He was never engaged in a business counted reputable in that day. Socially he occupied a position below servants. The law described him as a "sturdy vagabond." He died at 52.

"How such a man could produce the works which he did has been the wonder of all time. Not satisfied that one with such limited advantages could possibly have written the master pieces of literature, it has been by some contended that Bacon was the author of all Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies.

"It is a fact to be noted that in none of this man's plays is there any mention of his contemporaries. He made reference to no king, queen, poet, author, sailor, soldier, statesman, or priest of his own period. He lived in an age of great deeds, in the time of religious wars, in the days of the armada, the edict of Nantes, the massacres of St. Bartholomew, the victory of Lepanto, the assassination of Henry III of France, and the execution of Mary Stuart; yet he did not mention a single incident of his day and time.

"The brain that conceived "Timon of Athens" was a Greek in the days of Pericles and familiar with the tragedies of that country. The mind that dictated "Julius Caesar" was an inhabitant of the Eternal City when Caesar led his legions in the field. The author of "Lear" was a Pagan; of "Romeo and Juliet," an Italian who knew the ecstasies of love. The author of those plays must have been a physician, for he shows a knowledge of medicine and the symptoms of disease; a musician, for in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" he uses every musical term known to his contemporaries. He was a lawyer, for he was acquainted with the forms and expressions used by that profession. He was a botanist because he named nearly all known plants. He was an astronomer and a naturalist and wrote intelligently upon the stars and natural science. He was a sailor, or he could not have written "The Tempest." He was a savage and trod the forest's silent depths. He knew all crimes, all regrets, all virtues, and their rewards. He knew the unspoken thoughts, desires and ways of beasts. He lived all lives. His brain was a sea on which the waves touch all the shores of experience. He was the wonder of his time and of ours.

"Was it possible for any man of his education and experience to conceive the things which he did? All the Shakespearean works were, beyond a doubt, the product of his pen, but the conceptions, the plays, the tragedies were the work of many brains, given Shakespeare by spirit suggestion. He was but the sensitive instrument through which a group of learned and distinguished scholars, inhabitants of many lands when in earth-life, gave to posterity the sublime masterpieces of the Bard of Avon'"

One only has to begin to reading the great works of S'Peare to begin to see, quite easily, that there is a Risen quality to the depths of immortal human existence to them.