Breaking the Masonic Code of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS

By Richard Allan Wagner
Copyright © 2013

Hopefully you, the reader, have come into this discourse as a reasonable and unbiased individual—a seeker of Truth.

If you’re not already aware, there exists much controversy and debate over who actually wrote the works attributed to the highly mysterious author known as “William Shakespeare”.

Yes, the vast majority of people on the planet have generally (and unknowingly) accepted the premise that a man named “William Shakespeare” (of Stratford) wrote the literary works attributed to him.  The problem rests with the fact that there is scarce evidence of the Stratford man’s existence—but more importantly, there is NO TANGIBLE EVIDENCE the “Stratford man” wrote the literary body of work for which he is given credit—in fact, there is a mountain of hard, legitimate evidence to the contrary!

If you’re not already familiar with the traditional arguments regarding the Shakespeare authorship, may I suggest you freely read my book:

The LOST SECRET of William Shakespeare


And visit:

As extraordinary as it may seem, there is an avalanche of substantial evidence that reveals Francis Bacon to be the true genius behind the creation of the Shakespearean works! The evidence further reveals Bacon to have been the first (secret) son of Queen Elizabeth I. Moreover, the evidence also shows Bacon to have been the founder of modern, Speculative Freemasonry.



The Shakespearean works consist of a vast infrastructure of encryption—all of which rely on the precision and beauty of Numbers. The hard evidence (as we shall see) overwhelmingly shows that Francis Bacon artfully wove coded numbers into the Shakespearean tapestry not just as an amusement, but rather as a vehicle intended to serve as a paradigm of enlightenment designed to move the reader to much higher levels of understanding!

Categorically the cryptic “Shakespeare Sonnets” are at the apex of the Shakespeare Treasure Trail because they are understood by the vast majority of Shakespearean scholars to represent the Author’s Autobiography.

It is generally assumed that “1609” was the year in which SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS was first published. However, as Edward D. Johnson has effectively demonstrated (refer to:, 1609 is a code number rather than a publication date. Therefore, 1609 is a false publication date.

Johnson states:

“In 1609 anything written by Shakespeare was in great demand—the quartos of the plays were reprinted over and over again.”

   “If these Sonnets had been published in 1609 then there would have been so great a demand for the work of a popular writer as Shakespeare that this book of Sonnets would have been reprinted again and again. Why was it not reprinted? Because it was not originally printed in 1609. The absence of reprints is a problem which has never been explained by the Stratfordians [or by the Oxfordians].”

   “There is absolutely no mention of the Sonnets as a complete body of verse or any phrase or quotation in letters, diaries, printed book or pamphlet between the years 1609 and 1624, a period of 15 years. This book was not seen by the public until 1640, when an edition was printed, 31 years after 1609.”

Finally, Johnson concludes:

“That there was neither printed nor published any book entitled Shake-Speare’s Sonnets in 1609 is also proved by the fact that there is no reference to this book by any Shakespearian commentator between the years 1609 and 1640.”  

The hard evidence unequivocally establishes the original publication of the Shakespeare Sonnets could not have occurred prior to 1621.  All 154 sonnets and their accompanying “cover pages” are heavily encrypted with Bacon’s Kabbalistic Masonic code—clearly, nothing about them can be taken at face value.



















































































Elizabethan Simple and Kaye Cipher Tables

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
S T U V W X Y Z  

Pythagorean Cipher Table

The following text is a fundamentally different analysis of the Sonnet’s cover pages than has been previously considered based on my most recent discoveries as to how and why they were devised.

John Dee and the names Francis and William

It’s no secret that John Dee had a tremendous influence on Queen Elizabeth I. She constantly relied on his advice with regard to astrology and numbers. As an operative in her Majesty’s spy network, Dee ostensibly conducted his business under the secret identity of agent 007 (a traditional but sometimes debated point of view). Whether true or not, one thing is certain: Dee regarded the number 7 to be the most significant of all numbers. It’s interesting how Dee came to regard 7 to be “his number”. First, there are 7 letters in his name. And in the Pythagorean Cipher, the name John Dee adds up to 34 (which then simplifies to 7).

It would appear that Dee suggested “William” and “Francis” as auspicious names suitable for Elizabeth’s first born son. Like John Dee, the names Francis and William each consist of 7 letters and both also correspond to the number 34 in the Pythagorean Table. And the name Francis William has 14 letters (i.e. two 7’s)—which is equally true of the name Elizabeth Tudor. Also, Elizabeth Tudor, in the Pythagorean Cipher, adds up to 67—while the name Francis adds up to 67 in the Simple Cipher. So, it’s easy to see why Elizabeth would have preferred the name Francis for her first son.

However, Bacon always regarded the name “William” as his regal name in the event that he would accede to the Tudor throne. We see evidence of Bacon’s interest in the name William on the cover of his parchment folder now known as the Northumberland Manuscript. Near the bottom of the page we find “Wlm”, “Will” and” Willium”. Closer to the middle of the page, the inscription “By Mr. FFrauncis William Shakespeare” stands out most distinctly.

Front Cover of the Northumberland Manuscript

Front cover of the Northumberland Manuscript

Dee’s Numbers and their influence on Bacon 

By the time Francis Bacon reached the age of 21, John Dee had taken the young genius under his wing, treating him as a protégé. Dee introduced Bacon to Rosicrucian ideals and the symmetric beauty of Kabbalistic numbers.

Dee’s Kabbalistic tables typically contained 49 squares i.e. seven sevens. From the Kabbalistic standpoint, 7 is regarded as the perfect number as it is the composite of the two perfect geometric forms: the triangle (3) and the square (4). The symmetric doublet of 7 (i.e. 77) and its symmetric triplet of 777 rank among the most significant of all Kabbalistic numbers. Notice that the numbers 49 and 67 both add-up to the powerful Kabbalistic number 13 by simply combining the double digits, i.e. 4 + 9 = 13, and 6 + 7 = 13. Bacon deliberately designed the spelling of the name Shakespeare so that it would be interchangeable with the name of his muse Pallas Athena. Hence, both names add up (in the Simple Cipher) to 103, i.e. 13.  Remember, zeros are generally regarded as nulls. 

acob Cats’ famous engraving titled Lampado Trado
Jacob Cats’ famous engraving titled Lampado Trado
depicting Dee passing the Rosicrucian Lamp of Light
to young Francis Bacon over an open grave

Shake-Speares Sonnets and Bacon’s use of numbers

It’s no coincidence that the 154 Sonnets are, in fact, two sets of the number 77.
Two different printings of the so-called “1609” edition of Shake-speares Sonnets resulted in two different front covers.

Both cover pages have the same “sunburst” headpiece which is fundamentally the same headpiece that appears on the front cover page of the Manes Verulamiani (the book of eulogies to Bacon upon his death in 1626). In the Sonnets’ cover page, the “sunburst” figure’s feet are flanked by Bacon’s trademark conies (rabbits) with their backs turned away from each other—thus constituting one of Bacon’s favorite puns: “Baconies”. The Sonnets headpiece is the first tip that we are in Bacon’s domain.

 Sonnets Cover, Aspley Version
Sonnets Cover, Aspley Version

The second coded feature that displays Bacon’s name is to be found in the hyphenated title SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS. Here, Bacon is making a bold play on the alliteration of the first letter of each word—hence, S S S. In the Pythagorean Table the letter S corresponds to the number 1—thus, we have 111 which was one of Bacon’s favorite devices representing his name, i.e. 111 in the Elizabethan Kaye Cipher matches the name Bacon.
The text of the first printed cover page consists of two different sets of letter counts: 39 letters in the upper portion, and 49 letters in the lower portion. Also, the text is deliberately arranged so as to display seven lines.  

The 7th line reads: “to be solde by William Aspley.” The line consists of 24 letters. The number 24 corresponds to the name Tudor (in the Pythagorean Cipher). The name William Aspley is another clever device designed to demonstrate two things. First, the name consists of 13 letters. And second, the name Aspley, like the name Tudor, adds up (in the Pythagorean count) to 24. Therefore, the names William Aspley and William Tudor are interchangeable. Moreover, Bacon has cleverly provided us with the duel display of the number 24 as an affirmation, lest we should think his use of code to be coincidental.  

Both the 6th and 7th lines of the “John Wright” cover page read: “to be solde by John Wright, dwelling at Christ Church gate.” This suspiciously wordy revision, in lieu of the William Aspley version, serves a threefold purpose. First, the bottom portion of the text consists of 72 letters. The number 72, as we shall see, was important to both Dee and Bacon.

Second, the revised text now brings the total letter count of the cover page to 111, i.e. 39 letters in the upper portion of the page, and 72 letters in the bottom portion. We are mindful that the number 111 corresponds to the name Bacon (Kaye Cipher). Furthermore, because the 111 letters are purposefully distributed over the 7 lines of the worded text of the John Wright cover page, Bacon exhorts us to multiply 7 x 111 resulting in the number 777.

Thirdly, we have been cognizant of the fact that the number 1609 rests solitarily and mysteriously under the word text. Since zeros in cipher applications are generally treated as nulls, the number 1609 actually simplifies to the number 169, i.e. 13 squared. So, we multiply 777 x 169. The result is 131313—or, more precisely, three 13’s. The three 13’s add-up to the number 39.  

Sonnets Cover page, Wright version
Sonnets Cover page, Wright version

This is not the first time Bacon has given us a display of code with regard to the number 39, i.e. code for the letters W S (Kaye and Simple Ciphers). In Act II, Scene IV of the First Part of Henry IV, Bacon lavishes the reader with an amazing display utilizing his first name. On the first page of the scene, the name Francis appears a total of 39 times, i.e. 17 times as a stage prompt and 22 times as a spoken word. This is no coincidence as 17 corresponds to the name Bacon (in the Pythagorean Cipher) and the number 22 always refers to Bacon’s birth date, i.e. January 22—the 22nd day of the year.

Furthermore, Act 2, Scene 4 is another play on the number 24 which, as we’ve seen, corresponds to the name Tudor (in the Pythagorean Cipher).

Also notice the letters W S (as in William Shakespeare, Widow’s Son, Winding Stairs, etc.) correspond (in the Pythagorean Table to the numbers 5 and 1, i.e. 51 = Francis Bacon (Pythagorean Cipher).

On the cover page of Shake-Speares Sonnets, Bacon wanted to insure that we would get the point about the number 39 representing three 13’s, so he drew two horizontal lines below the middle of the page so as to partition it into two separate sets of letter counts. As we’ve seen, the upper set contains 39 letters (three 13’s) while the lower set has 49 (7 sevens) per the “Aspley” version—and in the “Wright” version there are 72 lower letters representing the Kabbalistic view of the 72 different ways God’s name can be written. 

The 72 different spellings of God’s name according to the Kabbalah
The 72 different spellings of God’s name according to the Kabbalah

We’ve already seen that 39 and 72 combine to 111, and 39 + 49 = 88. And, when we combine 39, 49, and 72, the result is 199—then, 1 + 99 = 100 (Francis Bacon, Simple Cipher).

Since it is clear that Bacon is driving home a point about 39 being three 13’s, what else is he saying that we’re not seeing? The answer is that, here, we’re viewing numbers, not letters—hence, by spelling it out as “Three Thirteen’s”, we find that (in accordance with the Pythagorean count) these two words add up to the number 75—which then corresponds to the name Francis Tudor Bacon.

Throughout the Shakespearean works, Bacon loves to make use of alliteration as a code device. He is especially fond of pairing up T’s—they show up everywhere; for example, “Toil and Trouble”, “Thrice Three”, “Tongue Tied”, “Thomas Thorpe” etc. We know this is one of many devices used to represent the number 33 (Thirty Three) as well as the Masonic twin pillars (known as Boaz and Jachin). However, we now see that T.T. also represents Three Thirteen’s or even Thirteen Thirteen’s. Note that the second, dedicatory page of Shake-Speare’s Sonnets is deliberately set up so that it has 13 lines, with the offset signature letters T.T. forming the 13th line. Additionally, the letters T.T. also serve another cryptic purpose. Notice the letter T matches the number 2 in both the Simple and Pythagorean Cipher tables—hence, we are being shown the number 22. As we’ve previously seen, that number represents Bacon’s birth date (January 22, the 22nd day of the year).  

It is also worthy of note that the word Thirteen and the name Shakespeare correspond (in the Pythagorean count) to the number 45.

Another of Bacon’s favorite code devices is his love of word-play. In the 5th line of the Sonnet’s cover page, we find the words “By G. Eld for T.T. George Eld was supposedly an associate of Thomas Thorpe. Notice that G. Eld actually spells the word Geld. The common meaning of the word connotes castration. However, geld also means “to withhold an essential part”… such as the actual publication of the Sonnets. Indeed, the notion that the “Sonnets” haven’t all been written is supported by the use of the words “THESE INSUING SONNETS” on the second dedicatory page. These words definitely imply that the “Sonnets” have not been completed—rather they are still a work in progress. 

Furthermore, the lone and ambiguous appearance of the number 1609 beneath the written text of both versions of the Sonnets’ cover pages suspiciously neglects to state that 1609 is the actual calendar year of publication. Most literary publications at that time tended to include such words such as “printed”, “imprinted” or “published”. But, instead, the reader is given the enigmatic words “Never before Imprinted”. Notice the word “before” isn’t capitalized—strongly suggesting that we focus more on the words “Never Imprinted”—reinforced by the fact that those two words consist of 13 letters.

The London Stationer’s Register records an entry, dated May 20, 1609: “Tho. Thorpe entered for his copie under the handes of master Wilson and master Lownes Wardenes a booke called Shakespeare’s Sonnettes.” This is the 17th Century equivalent of registering an internet domain name for the purpose of excluding anyone else from using the title for any future publication. In no way does it mean the title has been or will be published. As a matter of fact, most of the titles that were recorded in the Stationer’s Register were either published later or were never published at all. Amelie Deventer Von Kunow elaborates:

“We should say in advance that the entry of a work at the Stationer’s Office did not by any means fix the year of its printing, which often took place much later.”

The bizarre wording of this entry in the Stationer’s Register exhibits the playful tongue-in-cheek humor Bacon consistently infused into all of the Shakespearean works. It is clearly another inside joke he’s sharing with his colleagues who are in the know. But it also raises critical questions. First, who are these various mentioned people? Like many names associated with Shakespeare, Thomas Thorpe (an apparent publisher) looms as a highly mysterious character. Was he real or was he another counterpart to the equally strange phantom of Stratford?

Second, the name “master Wilson” adds-up in the Pythagorean Cipher to 51—which, as we’ve seen, corresponds to the name Francis Bacon. 

And third, “master Lownes Wardenes” is not a name, rather it is a Masonic title. Lownes Wardenes is a Latinized play on words, designating “Low Warden” or Jr. Warden (the third highest officer of a Masonic Blue Lodge).   

Notice further, the words in Thorpe’s entry total precisely 111 letters (111 = Bacon, Kaye Cipher). None of this is coincidental.

It is also important to note the lack of sufficient language on the cover page to positively establish the number 1609 as an actual date of publication. In lieu of the word “published”, we are given the cryptic words “Never before Imprinted”. These words deliver the exact same meaning as “Never been Imprinted”—which is tantamount to saying “Not Imprinted”—signifying that the earliest publication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets occurred beyond the year 1609. Indeed, the larger body of evidence indicates that many of the Shakespeare Sonnets were still being composed in much later years. 

Another item of interest (and debate) is the “Mr. W.H.” in the 3rd line of the dedicatory page. Many scholars believe the letters W H refer to Bacon’s friend and patron William Herbert (3rd Earl of Pembroke). However, it is clear that “Mr. W.H.” is the sole author of the Sonnets as specifically indicated by the preceding text: “To the onlie Begetter of these insuing Sonnets”.  “Onlie” (only) “Begetter” unequivocally refers to the author of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS. Therefore, it cannot be addressing William Herbert as he most certainly was not the “Begetter” or author.

Furthermore, the Oxfordians would have us believe the letters W.H. are an inverse representation of the name Henry Wriothesly (3rd Earl of Southampton). But, again, there is no way that Wriothesly could be construed as the author of the Shakespearean works.

There is another pertinent reason for the use of the word “Begetter”. Bacon, who wasn’t a biological parent, regarded all of his writings as his offspring or children—making him their Begetter or Parent. 

Sonnets Dedicatory Page
Sonnets Dedicatory page

Notice the initials W and H add up (in the Kaye Cipher) to the number 55. This is important because the number 55 corresponds (in the Pythagorean Cipher Table) to the name Hiram Abiff (Bacon’s mythical founder of Freemasonry). Therefore W.H. is code for Hiram Abiff. Furthermore, the number 154 (the total number of Sonnets) also simplifies to 55. As we shall see, none of this is coincidental.  Hiram Abiff (like Shakespeare) is one of Bacon’s alter egos. If the letters W.H. are to serve as initials for some name or title, they very likely stand for Worshipful Hiram as evidenced by the fact that the total number of letters (88) on the "William Aspley" cover page correspond precisely to the name Worshipful Hiram (Pythagorean Cipher).

Naturally, Sonnet 55 is addressed to Hiram Abiff. The reason we can be sure of this has to do with two Key words in the text of Sonnet 55—they are “masonry” and “arise”. Sonnet 55 is the ONLY Shakespearean sonnet in which these two crucial words are to be found. The clincher is that the words masonry and arise are conjoined by precisely 55 words—again, this is not a coincidence, rather it is an affirmation. 

Those who are not Freemasons may well ask “what’s so special about the word “arise”?
First, the word “arise” is a key word that is repeatedly used in all three Masonic Blue Lodge Degrees. Second, all Masonic Third Degree Candidates are required to “arise” in order to ascend to the “sublime degree of Master Mason”. This involves a special theatrical play Bacon created to explain both the origin and purpose of “Speculative Freemasonry.” In the Masonic Third Degree, the “Candidate” assumes the identity of Hiram Abiff (Bacon’s legendary builder of King Solomon’s Temple). He is approached by three apprentice stone workers who demand that he give them the secret knowledge of a “Master Mason”. When he refuses to relinquish the secret knowledge, he is murdered by the three workers who bury him (along with his secret knowledge) in a shallow grave. The grave is marked with a sprig from an acacia tree. Soon, thereafter, King Solomon sends out a cadre of other apprentice stone workers (all of whom wear white gloves) to search for their Worshipful Grand Master. They discover the acacia sprig and recover Hiram’s decaying remains. Here, Hiram’s rotting corpse represents the “lost” or “decayed” classical knowledge and wisdom of ancient Greece and Rome. Hiram is the literal embodiment of Bacon’s “Great Instauration” (i.e. the restoration of the classical knowledge and wisdom that has been lost to the ages).

The Masonic Candidate portraying Hiram is then “Raised” or “arises” to the sublime Degree of Master Mason. Upon becoming a Master Mason, the newly arisen “Hiram” is then given the acacia sprig as a keepsake—a sort of trophy attesting to the fact that he is now a full-fledged member of the Masonic fraternity. All Master Masons recognize one another as the personification of “Hiram”.

“Mr. W.H.” isn’t the only place on the page where the name Hiram is hidden away. The word “ADVENTURER” shows up in the 10th line. It corresponds to the number 47 in the Pythagorean Cipher count. The number 47 also matches the name Hiram in the Simple Cipher Table.

To seal the deal about the Hiram connection to Shakespeare, the Sonnets’ readers are lavished with the most crucial and telling evidence of all: namely the “Marshall Engraving” which adorns the cover page of the 1640 edition of Shakespeares Sonnets.

The Marshall Engraving
The Marshall Engraving

The “Marshall Engraving is basically a reverse image of the “Droeshout Engraving” on the cover page of the 1624 Folio. But, more importantly, Shakespeare’s image is blatantly and unequivocally depicted as a newly “Raised” Hiram Abiff.

Notice his left hand is clothed in a white glove, and the object he is holding is most definitely THE ACACIA SPRIG. Also note the doublet he is wearing deliberately displays 13 buttons.

Notice further that the Shakespeare image is framed (on the left side) with a light shaded crescent or letter C, while the right side is framed with an opposing dark shaded crescent—thus rendering a pair of C’s—corresponding to the number 33 (Bacon) in the Elizabethan Simple Cipher. 

Like Shakespeare, Hiram Abiff is one of Bacon’s pseudonymous inventions, another alter ego. We are also mindful that the corresponding numbers for Bacon’s primary alter egos, i.e. Shakespeare, and Hiram Abiff are 45 and 55 respectively (Pythagorean Cipher Table). These two numbers combine to 100= Francis Bacon (Simple Cipher Table.

Finally, the seventh line of the dedicatory page reads: “OUR EVER-LIVING POET”. The Oxfordians would have us believe the word “EVER” stands for “E. VERE” (Edward de Vere). I’ll leave such reasoning to the unbiased reader to evaluate the sense or nonsense of such a claim.

The “E. VERE” supposition is then followed by another Oxfordian assumption that the 17 letters in this line are also a reference to Edward de Vere because he was the 17th Earl of Oxford. As slick as the Oxfordian’s try to be with these two assertions, they remain vague and tenuous. There is, however, a much simpler and more credible explanation that has hitherto gone unnoticed, i.e. the name Bacon (as mentioned earlier) corresponds to the number 17 in the Pythagorean Cipher Table. Also the words “OUR EVER LIVING POET” add up (in the Pythagorean count) to 107. Again, since the zero is a null, the result is 17. Bacon has taken special care to leave his mark on this line—effectively demonstrating it is not a coincidence. Hence, OUR EVER LIVING POET is none other than Bacon himself.  

From start to finish, Bacon has left his unique and exclusive fingerprints all over these two cover pages to SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS. All other supposed “CANDIDATES” for the Shakespeare authorship completely and unequivocally FAIL the test!

Thus, I conclude my primary analysis of the essential mechanics of the cover pages and the dedicatory page for the work known as SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS.

My analysis of the “Sonnets” is in progress, and will appear here when complete!

There is, however, a much deeper level of encryption left to decode. It begins with the array of Stops (periods) that appear after each word on the dedicatory page. Why are they there? What is their purpose? My friend Rob Fowler has been researching the complex make-up of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS for many years. His remarkable discoveries are utterly brilliant and mind-boggling!

I’m now pleased to pass the torch of BACON LIGHT over to Rob’s capable hands at!


The Truth About Shakespeare