Oxfraud may have a point when he observes that Elizabethans did not number their Earls, putting a kibosh on the significance of the number 17. Of course he spends quite some time kicking a dead man and would never inform a reader that Master of Revels George Buc called Oxford “a magnificent and very learned and religious man” or that George Chapman remembered that the Earl “was beside of spirit passing great/ Valiant, and learned, and liberal as the sun/ Spoke and writ sweetly of learned subjects/ Or of the discipline of public weals.” Unlike Alan Nelson, Oxfraud did not even compliment Oxford’s lovely and legible handwriting, although he does give the Earl props for claiming descent from Lady Godiva.
If the seven slashes on the flourish that underscored his signature did not signify that he was the 17th Earl of his line it opens the way to the interpretation that it simply linked the number seven with Edward which is in itself quite meaningful. To understand why we have to look at religion for a little bit but as Buc noted de Vere was a highly religious guy. When he wasn’t being blasphemous that is. Continue reading