Shakespeare - adolescence -2.
August 22, 2007
Santa Cruz, California
Received by FAB
I am here, William Shakespeare.
I said, in my channeling of August 20, that “the circumstances [at Rufford Hall] were not very rigorous from a religious point of view.” Then, you read that Sir Hesketh was actually arrested in 1581, which was a time when I was engaged with him as an actor apprentice.
Well, the long arm of the law did not extend rigorously to his adolescent acting students. That is, we were not suspect in the eyes of the law as he was. Since the purpose of our being there was purely to learn acting, there was no infusion of religious thought or practice at all.
Naturally, his arrest shook us up, but while he was away, other teachers were substituted, so that our acting instructions continued.
Just as my sister’s death opened my eyes to life, so Sir Hesketh’s arrest brought me, with a shock, in contact with the real world. It stayed with me all my life. But in that time period, I was never in any danger myself.
In fact, this difficult experience simply reinforced my anti-religious stance, since it struck me as most unreasonable, considering that God was supposed to be a God of love and mercy.
I was incapable of distinguishing between spiritual truth and humanity’s distortion of religion. Since I did not experience in my heart spiritual truth, I could not identify and place its counterfeit.
You feel it doesn’t make sense, considering the repression of the time, that I and my fellow young actors would be essentially unaffected by Sir Hesketh’s arrest. You feel it would be more reasonable to assume that the whole troupe would have been banned and become suspect.
Well, the arrest did not go all the way in terms of punishment. That is, it did not ruin him. The authorities were suspicious, as they were with so many others at the time. But, whereas he was under suspicion, the young actors he engaged could continue their apprenticeship.
Now let me comment on my poem The Phoenix and the Turtle. You read in E.A.J. Honigmann’s Shakespeare: the “lost years,” that the poem is really an allegory about Sir John Salusbury and his wife Ursula. It was not.
It was composed in 1586, before the anthology it appeared in, Robert Chester’s Love’s Martyrs, was first published.