A Small Detail Which Exposes the Grand Design

System Architecture of the Great Cryptographic Hedge Maze, Part III

By FB Decipherer

I ran across the following while browsing at:


where is described one certain copy of the First Folio. They say:

Copy Comments:
Portrait in second state; signed Martin Droeshout, London sculpsit. Size: 12 3/8″ x 8″. 

454 leaves:

the first 9 preliminary matter, 
the Comedies 152, 
the Histories 132, 
Troylus and Cressida 15, 
the Tragedies 146. 

A fine copy; bound in full 19th cent. red morocco.

The first and fourth lines are a real jaw-dropper, and I strongly believe this reinforces my theory about the ultimate meaning and purpose of the First Folio, which is adapted from Margaret Barsi-Greene, and which is:

Sir Francis saw, by 1623, that no apparent progress had been made towards anyone decoding the secret messages he had concealed within the First Folio for Posterity. As I have been presenting on my website, New Gorhambury, he apparently saw that time was running out, and lest his twenty-year project disappear altogether, in 1623 he was introducing an escalating spiral of hints and clews to aid in decoding the two major encryption methods of his invention, the Biliteral Cipher, and the Word Cipher. Today we call the Biliteral Cipher the Binary Code, and it underlies everything in the Digital World we today spend our lives swimming in. Sir Francis invented the Binary Code when he was about seventeen years old.

His two great steganographic codes are intertwined over all 900+ pages of the Fist Folio, and span all 36 of the Playes. Splicing-in any additional clews then would require extensive re-engineering of the surrounding non-secret text. Instead, at the very end, he inserted five brief, standalone texts, since that could be done without discombobulating all the rest. These are listed and analyzed in near-obsessive detail on my new Web page, The Final Clews.

None of the five are of any literary merit whatever, they are just filler text, just what FB might have rescued from his wastebasket at Gorhambury. Scholars seem perplexed about why such rubbish was included into the First Folio at all. But I’m not.

The lengthiest of these is the one-page Prologue from Troilus and Cressida. It is the focus of my Experiment One, where I present copious background information, and do so visually, wherever possible.

This is what is new here:

The pages of the First Folio are grouped into units called Leaves. The reader of the book will never be aware of how the pages are divided into the Leaves, it’s typically just a mundane invisible implementation detail. 

But for this ultra-classic book:

454 leaves:

1. the first 9 preliminary matter, 
2. the Comedies 152, 
3. the Histories 132, 
4. Troylus and Cressida 15, 
5. the Tragedies 146.


Numbers 2,3 and 5 make perfect sense, the overall structure of the First Folio is Comedies, Histories and Tragedies.


This is reflected in the Catalogue page, one of five of the valueless blurbs of “preliminary matter”. But note that the play Troilus and Cressida is the only one of the 36 that doesn’t appear in the Catalogue. This points to it being among of the last batch of things spliced-in for the penultimate press run, to secretly incorporate the final Clews whithout upsetting all the rest. 

Doesn’t Item Number 4 seem incomprehensible? Troilus and Cressida is widely accepted to be the least successful of the 36 plays. Why waste 15 leaves on such rubbish? Why does it stand apart from all the others?

My Experiment One shows the decoded secret message within the Prologue, and the other five can also be found in Overview of Riverbank Publications Baconian Monographs.

It was always the primary goal of the New Gorhambury project to use computer-aided methods to decode the secret messages in a way vastly less onerous than before, and in a way unbiased by human interpretation of individuals. My Prologue work builds on the efforts of others in the 1890’s which was published in the Riverbank Monographs many years later. Having the Prologue correctly decoded is an essential resource for bootstrapping the decoding of the rest of the 900+ pages.

Notes for this page:

Copyright © 2023 New Gorhambury

The Tudor Rose

Respectfully dedicated to A. Phoenix, whoever you are

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