top of page

Francis Bacon as the Author of Anatomy of Melancholy

Updated: May 16, 2021

The Anatomy of Melancholy (full title: The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up) is a book by Robert Burton first published in 1621.

Some have noticed that there are some similarities between the writings of Francis Bacon and what appears in The Anatomy of Melancholy. For example, see the Baconian Reference Book by Lochithea (see here at pg. 192:

I decided to examine the frontispiece of The Anatomy of Melancholy, and after some trial and error, I decided to try to line-up some the symbols on the page. (I don't know what they all symbolize.) My results are shown below. This is a copy of the Third Edition copy. I think I downloaded it from, but I am not sure. The copy has a stamp showing it is the copy in the possession of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

On the frontispiece, there is something like a "h" symbol in two of the little illustrations (I found out that is the symbol for the planet Saturn), so I lined them up. I notice the hand and foot of the "Maniac" lined up with letters in the area of the title. He seems to pick the letter "p"out of the middle of the word "Philosophically" and his foot rests on the "Ed" in the word "Edition." I highlighted the letters in red and then I lined them up in another overlay. The name "BACON" appears in an alignment of letters running through the word "Author." So, it seems Francis Bacon may in fact be the author of The Anatomy of Melancholy.

Also notice that in the first alignment of the letter "h", the image of the king lines up with the image of the writer with a book.

The first image is "The Argument of the Frontispiece" from the fifth edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638). I obtained the image here:

(I made the image of the page less faded.)

It is a poem about the images in the frontispiece. I suspect the poem contains clues leading to the decipherment of the message revealing the true author of The Anatomy of Melancholy. If there are clues in the poem, I have not figured them out. I think I have the right overlay solution--the author is Bacon--but it would be good to have confirmation from the poem for my solution.

I should be noted that the symbols of Saturn in the frontispiece, which I used in my solution, are mentioned in the poem. The lines of the poem "Ten distinct Squares here seene apart, Are joyn'd in one by Cutters art" may be part of a clue to "join" or overlay the Saturn symbols, as I did in my solution.

Here is an explanation of "The Argument of the Frontispeice":

Here is an explanation of the images.

The first image is The Argument of the Frontispiece as it appears in the book, before I try any overlays.

The next three images show and overlay of the page on top of itself that shows a clue to the overlay of the frontispiece I found previously. The clue is based on an overlay of two set of lines. The first lines are are in the first verses about old Democritus:

"Old Democritus under a tree...

Over his head appears the skye,

And Saturne Lord of melancholy."

The second set of lines are at the bottom of the left-hand column:

"This Saturn's aspects signifye,

You see them portraid in the skye."

The clue is to put the word Saturn above the lines at the top of the page, so that the word Saturn appears above "the head" of old Democritus (or the words old Democritus).

The result is:

"Saturn's aspects signifye.

Are joyn'd in one by Cutters art."

The result is an instruction to overlay of the symbols for the planet Saturn in the images on the frontispiece of old Democritus and the hypochondriac, which is exactly what I did in my previous posts.

The last set of images is the overlays leading to the Bacon as the hidden author that I posted before.

Here are the images of the frontpiece showing what happens when the instructions in the "The Argument of the Frontispiece" are followed.

When the symbols of Saturn are aligned, the hands and feet of the "Manic" point out certain letters. See image below.

In the next image, the letters indicated by the "Manic" are aligned.

Near the words "by the Author," letters that spell "BACON" align, so the message seems to be "by BACON, the Author."

There is another alignment with other foot and hand of the "Maniac." I have posted the images below. The result is again "Bacon" or "by the Author, Bacon." Now, I have shown two alignments based on the clues given by the one alignment of the illustration of the "Maniac." In both cases, the message is:

"By the Author, Bacon."

30 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page