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VMs: Hello again, again

Hello Jim, sorry to be out of touch so long.
Hello everyone else, and sorry to be out of touch so long.

These last months I have been engrossed in a very exciting piece of 17th century cipher that holds great promise for many more discoveries. Most of what I've been doing lately is processing text and programming to look for instances of this cipher, an early Masonic usage (in print) of a Trithemian theme.  Excitement is a very tiring response to something, and as I've discovered with the Voynich many times, I required a break from current my studies, and wound up here once more.

I have not even looked at a Voynich photograph since I left the list, and I have not done 10 minutes' work on the subject in these several months.  I haven't monitored the list, nor viewed the recent archives, so I'm here afresh, without any idea of "where" exactly "here" is, at least in terms of contemporary conversation.

Through private communication, many of you are already aware that my current focus has been a set of letters that preface the First Folio of William Shakespeare.  Shakespearean scholars have agreed enmasse that the two Heminge/Condell letters were authored by Ben Jonson, and the last letter in question, that of Hugh Holland, was written by Holland, a friend and confidante of Ben Jonson, considered to be one of "Ben's Tribe".  So what is Jonson doing in the lead, when Heminge and Condell were the ones supposedly compiling and publishing these documents?  Who actually cares that Condell for one, endured a lingering illness and died before the publication, so could not have participated in this project in any meaningful way?  Is Bush's press staff writing this history, or do we want the facts?

Jim Reeds might be aware that the use of Trithemian steganographic cipher requires that the text should point the way to the key, and in this these letters and poems point the same direction, namely the word "two".  Comparing similar texts to these letters, the number of double letters is up on the charts in these Jonson letters, and there is the answer to the problem.

I leave it to each of you to follow the trail before my book comes out, but here I offer you a clue to the problem - Ben Jonson's first poem, placed next to the image of Shakespeare, yields the results "ciphr on two" when placed against a Vig slide.  Four other letters, three from Ben Jonson, one from Hugh Holland, fall into the same system class, each with its own key.

Interestingly enough, there is a letter by "Heminge and Condell" entitled the "Letter Dedicatorie", which uses two abbreviations.  For "Your Lordships" the letter uses the abbreviation "L.L.", and for "Your Honors" the letter uses the abbreviation "H.H.".  This "third person" abbreviation set was used only in law documents, and appeared (to the best of my knowledge) in only one book before the first folio, the book being published first in 1617, and had no rightful usage the address in question.

The theme of the letter is "two" and "paire", go figure.  And the amount of double letters here travels off the chart compared to contemporary text.  It becomes obvious that the HH and LL are the keys to the "double" cipher, and that the answer is obtained by simple Trithemian methodology.

It should be noted that Ben Jonson once wrote a piece decrying the use of cipher and anagrams in the works of others, and Jonson said he never used such trivial means, yet he used those same trivialities in his dismissal of such means in the same piece, probably to make a point.

Much after Jonson's argument against cipherists, about 1617 or sooner, Jonson was listed as one of Sir Francis Bacon's "good pens", who were employed in many literary efforts, to include the latinisation of Bacon's works and the enciphering and deciphering of State dispatches.  We can only assume his opinion of cipher changed for the better, because we find Jonson utilizing cipher in more and more documents after this period.  

Not wanting to offend the orthodoxy, I must admit that Jonson's attributions in cipher to the authorship of the compiled plays must have been a sign that he suffered mentally in some way, since he didn't seem to think that the actor William Shakespeare was the author of these greatest of works.  If anyone should know, it should have been "Old Ben".

Obviously, though the ciphers are relatively simple, the results have some very serious implications.  The worn-out topic of valid Baconian cipher is even an issue here.  Fortunately, I circumvent that nightmare by putting forward the idea of "Jonsonian" cipher instead.

But this is exactly the subject I've burnt out on for the present, and seek some relief in another pass-time, namely the Voynich.  So where are we in our understanding?  The answer is 42, so what is the question?

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