Dates of Francis Bacon’s Works

The following chart gives the dates of composition and publication of Francis Bacon’s works – philosophical, poetic, legal and literary. The dates are given as accurately as possible, although some of these (such as for the writing of the Shakespeare plays) can only be approximate. The dates of certain key events in Bacon’s life are included so as to provide an overview of his life and work, and of the influences of the one on the other.

Properly speaking, the Shakespeare works of poesie (drama and poetry) are part of Bacon’s philosophical work, with the Folio of Shakespeare plays forming a record of his example of Part 4 of the Great Instauration. The fact that all the plays were written and performed before Bacon wrote his final, definitive philosophical treatises on the Great Instauration is because he derived and tested out the rules of his philosophy by means of the plays themselves. In other words, the years from 1589 to 1613 constituted the period in which Bacon was developing and testing out his own method for himself, in which drama forms a central role.

It is interesting to note that: (a) the Shakespeare plays were begun soon after Francis Bacon had finished his legal studies and become firmly established as a barrister, Bencher and Reader of Grays Inn, with his own chambers and assistants; (b) the Shakespeare name and mask was first used publicly shortly after Anthony Bacon had returned to England and joined his brother; (c) the light-hearted comedies were written during the time that Anthony Bacon was with Francis; (d) the so-called ‘dark’ tragedies were written in the years immediately following Essex’s insurrection and execution and Anthony Bacon’s subsequent tragic death, and continued until Francis’ marriage to Alice Barnham; (e) the great plays—the so-called ‘romances’—began to be written soon after Francis married; and (f) no more Shakespeare plays were written once Francis had been appointed to the demanding office of Attorney General.

It is also clear to see that Bacon had very little time to write when he held high office, but that as soon as he was relieved of his duties as Lord Chancellor he set to with fervour to complete and publish as much of his philosophical work as possible, knowing that time left to him was short. These publications included the Folio of Shakespeare plays, published in conjunction with the final Latin version of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning (i.e. De Augmentis Scientiarium) and, on the continent, the great cipher compendium Cryptomenitices that gives some of the cipher keys to help unlock the mystery.

Key to the Chart:

Ph = Philosophical & Literary

(P# = Great Instauration, # referring to which Part of the G.I. the writings belong)

L = Legal

O = Other

* = Works of Poesie:-

Shakespeare: *P = Poetry, *H = History, *C = Comedy, *T = Tragedy

Bacon: *O

underlined = publications during Bacon’s lifetime

FRANCIS BACON’S LIFE AND WORKS – 1561-1626

22 Jan. 1561

 

Birth

April 1573-1575

 

Student at Trinity College, Cambridge

June 1576

 

Admitted de societate magistrorum of Grays Inn

Sept. 1576-1579

 

Resident in France, with the French Court

March 1579

 

Entered Grays Inn to study law

1581

 

MP for Bassiney, Cornwall

1581-2

 

Travels in France, Italy, Spain

1582

O

Notes on the State of Christendom

June 1582

 

Utter Barrister of Grays Inn

March 1584

 

Visit to Scotland

1584

 

MP for Melcome Regis, Dorset

1585-6

L

Letter of Advice to the Queen (issued in Burghley’s name)

Feb. 1586

 

Bencher of Grays Inn

1586

 

MP for Taunton

1586-9

L

An Advertisement Touching the Controversies of the Church of England

Nov. 1587-Nov. 1588

 

Reader of Grays Inn

1587/8

*O

Dumb show in the Gray’s Inn Christmas Revels (1st play at Gray's Inn since 1566)

1588

*O

Misfortunes of Arthur (acted by students of Gray's Inn before the Queen at Greenwich)

1588

*O

A Comedy performed at Gray's Inn (attended by the dignitaries of the Court)

1589

 

Dean of the Chapel of Grays Inn

1589

 

MP for Liverpool

1589-90

Ph

New Method begun.

1589-90

*T

Titus Andronicus

1589-90

*C

The Taming of the Shrew

1590

*H

King John

1590

*H

1 Henry VI (Henry VI Part 1)

1590

*H

2 Henry VI (The First Part of the Contention)

1590-1

*H

3 Henry VI (Richard Duke of York)

1591

*H

Richard III

c.1591-2

 

FB commanded by Queen to act as advisor to Essex

Feb. 1592

 

Anthony Bacon returns to England – joins FB

1592

*O

A Conference of Pleasure (Speeches composed for the Earl of Essex for the Queen’s Accession Day Tilt, 17 Nov.): In Praise of Knowledge, In Praise of Fortitude, In Praise of Love, In Praise of Truth.

1592

L

Certain Observations made upon a Libel

1592-3

*C

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

1593

 

Theatres closed because of the plague

1593

*P

Venus and Adonis

1593

Ph

Temporis Partus Maximus (‘The Greatest Birth of Time’)

1593

 

MP for Middlesex – FB fights for Parliament’s rights

1593-4

 

FB in disgrace because of his stand as MP against the Queen

Jan. 1594

 

FBR pleads his first case in the King’s Bench

1594-1603

 

Queen’s Counsel Extraordinary

1594

 

Co-Treasurer of Grays Inn

July 1594

 

Visit to Scotland

1594

L

A True Report of the Detestable Treason intended by Dr Roderigo Lopez

1594

*P

The Rape of Lucrece

1594

*O

The Device of the Indian Prince (Speeches composed for the Earl of Essex for the Queen’s Accession Day Tilt, 17 Nov.): Squire, Hermit, Soldier, Statesman.

1594

*C

The Comedy of Errors (written for the 1594/5 Grays Inn Revels)

1594

*C

Love’s Labour’s Lost (prob. written for the conclusion of the 1594/5 Gray’s Inn Revels)

1594

*C

Love’s Labour’s Won (a lost play, also prob. written for the conclusion of the 1594/5 Gray’s Inn Revels)

1594-5

*C

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (prob. composed for the marriage of Elizabeth Vere and William, Earl of Derby on 26 Jan. 1595 at Greenwich)

Dec. 1594-Feb 1595
- 28 Dec. 1594
- 3 Jan. 1595

*O
*C
*O

Gray’s Inn Christmas/New Year Revels: The High and Mighty Prince Henry, Prince of Purpoole
- A Comedy of Errors
- The Honourable Order of the Knights of the Helmet

1595

*T

Romeo and Juliet

Aug. 1595

 

Anthony Bacon ‘s services ‘knit’ to Essex (at Essex House)

1595

*H

Richard II

1595

*O

The Sussex Speech (composed for the Earl of Sussex, probably for the Queen’s Accession Day Tilt, 17 Nov.)

1595

*O

The Philautia Device (Speeches composed for the Earl of Essex, probably for the Queen’s Accession Day Tilt, 17 Nov.)

1596

L

Maxims of the Law

1596

*H

1 Henry IV

1596

*H

2 Henry IV

1597

*C

The Merry Wives of Windsor (composed for the election of Lord Hunsdon, the new Lord Chamberlain, as Garter Knight on 23 April)

1597

Ph

Essays (1st ed.) + The Colours of Good and Evil + Meditationes Sacrae

1597

 

MP for Southampton & Ipswich

1597-8

 

Courtship with Elizabeth Hatton

1597-8

*C

The Merchant of Venice

Sept. 1598

 

Arrested for debt

1598

*C

Much Ado About Nothing

1598

*C

As You Like It (poss. written for the marriage of the Earl of Southampton to Elizabeth Vernon in 1598)

1599

*H

Henry V (deliberately likens Essex to Henry V)

Mar. 1599

 

Essex leads military expedition to Ireland

1599

 

Interview with the Queen re Hayward’s book & ‘Richard II’

1599

*T

Julius Caesar (prob. written for the opening of the Globe Theatre at midsummer)

1599

*P

Shake-speare’s Sonnets

Nov. 1599

 

Double Reader of Grays Inn

June 1600

 

Essex arraigned before the Council

Feb. 1601

 

Essex’s Insurrection, Trial and Execution

1601

L

Declaration of the Practices and Treasons attempted and Committed by the late Earl of Essex

May 1601

 

Death of Anthony Bacon

1601

*T

Hamlet

1601

*P

The Phoenix and Turtle (publ. in Love’s Martyr)

Feb. 1602

*C

Twelfth Night, or What You Will (1st recorded performance on 2 Feb. at Middle Temple Hall as part of the Middle Temple Christmas/New Year festivities.)

1602-3

*T

Troilus and Cressida (prob. written for the Grays Inn Christmas/New Year revels 1602/3)

1593/1600

*H

Sir Thomas More

Mar. 1603

 

Queen Elizabeth I dies: King James I succeeds.

July 1603

 

*Knight

1603

Ph

Valerius Terminus of the Interpretation of Nature

1603

L

A Brief Discourse touching the Happy Union of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland

July 1603-1604

 

King’s Counsel Extraordinary

1603-4

*C

All’s Well That Ends Well

1604

*C

Measure for Measure

1604

*T

Othello

1604

*T

Timon of Athens

1604

Ph

Cogitations de Natura Rerum (‘Thoughts on the Nature of Things’)

1604

O

Apologie concerning the late Earl of Essex

1604

L

Certain Considerations touching the better pacification and Edification of the Church of England

Aug. 1604-1607

 

King’s Counsel Learned

1604

 

MP for St Albans & Ipswich

1604-5

*T

King Lear

1605

Ph

The Advancement and Proficience of Learning (2 Books)

1605

Ph

Temporis Masculus Partus (‘The Masculine Birth of Time’)

1605-6

*T

Macbeth (prob. composed for James I and King Christian of Denmark: perf. at Hampton Court, 7 Aug. 1606)

1606

Ph

Filium Labyrinthi sive Formula Inquisitionis (written in English)

1606

O

In Felicem Memoriam Elizabethae (‘In Happy Memory of Queen Elizabeth’)

May 1606

 

Marriage to Alice Barnham

1606-7

*T

Anthony and Cleopatra

early 1607

 

Visit to Scotland

1607

*C

Pericles

1607

Ph

Cogitata et Visa de Interpetatione Naturae (‘Thoughts and Conclusions on the Interpretation of Nature’)

June 1607-1613

 

Solicitor-General

1608

*T

Coriolanus

1608

Ph

Redargiutio Philosophiarum (‘The Refutation of Philosophies’)

Oct. 1608-1617

 

Treasurer of Grays Inn

1608

 

Clerk to the Star Chamber

1608-9

L

The Plantation of Ireland

1609

P3

De Sapientia Veterum (‘Wisdom of the Ancients’)

May 1609

 

First Charter of Government for the Virginia Colony

1609-10

*T

Cymbeline

July 1610

 

Report to the Virginia Company Council of the shipwreck

1610

*C

The Tempest

1611

*C

The Winter’s Tale

1611

 

Judge of the Marshal’s Court

1611

 

President of the Court of the Verge

1612

Ph

Descriptio Globi Intellectualis (‘A Description of the Intellectual Globe’)

1612

Ph

Thema Coeli (‘Theory of the Heavens’)

1612

Ph

Essays (2nd edition –38 essays)

1612-13

*H

Henry VIII (All Is True) (last complete Shakespeare play: poss. written for the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Frederick, Elector Palatine, on 14 Feb. 1613)

1612-13

*H

The History of Cardenio (a lost play) (co-authored by Fletcher)

Feb. 1613

*O

Marriage of the River Thames to the Rhine (masque performed by Gray's Inn and Inner Temple lawyers on the river and in Westminster Hall in celebration of the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Frederick, Elector Palatine)

1613

*C

The Two Noble Kinsmen (co-authored by and title-paged to Fletcher)

Oct. 1613-1617

 

Attorney General

1614

L

Charge…touching Duels

1614

*O

The Masque of Flowers (performed by Gray's Inn before the King at Whitehall to honour the marriage of the Earl of Somerset to Frances Howard, Countess of Essex)

1614

 

MP for St Albans, Ipswich & Cambridge

Jun. 1616-1621

 

Privy Councillor

Mar. 1617-1621

 

Lord Keeper of the Great Seal

Jan. 1618-1621

 

Lord High Chancellor

July 1618

 

*Baron Verulam of Verulam

1620

P2

Novum Organum Scientiarum (‘New Method’) – Books 1 & 2

Feb. 1621

 

*Viscount St. Albans

March 1621

 

Impeachment (+ Banishment from London, June 1621 – March 1622)

1622

 

Historia Naturalis (‘Natural History’)

 

P3

Introduction to six Natural Histories

 

P3

Historia Ventorum (‘History of Winds’)

1622

P3

History of the Reign of King Henry VII

1622

Ph

Abcedarium Naturae

1623

P4

Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies (First Folio)

1623

P1

De Augmentis Scientiarum (9 Books)

1623

P3

Historia Vitae et Mortis (‘History of Life and Death’)

1623

P3

Historia Densi et Rari (‘History of Density and Rarity’)

1623

P3

Historia Gravis et Levis (‘History of Gravity and Levity’)

1623

P3

History of the Sympathy and Antipathy of Things

1623

P3

History of Sulphur, Salt and Mercury

1623

L

A Discourse of a War with Spain

1623

L

A Dialogue touching an Holy War

1623

*O

The Fable of the New Atlantis

1623

L

A Digest of the Laws of England

1623

P3

History of the Reign of King Henry VIII (unfinished)

1624

Ph

Cogitationes de Natura Rerum (‘Thoughts on the Nature of Things’)

1624

Ph

De Fluxu et Refluxu Maris (‘Of the Ebb and Flow of the Sea’)

1625

P3

Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral (3rd/final edition – 58 essays)

1625

P3

Apothegms New and Old

1625

*O

Translation of Certain Psalms into English Verse

1625

P3

Translation into Latin of the History of King Henry VII

1625

P3

Translation into Latin of Counsels Civil and Moral, or Essays

1625

L

Translation into Latin of the Dialogue of the Holy War

1625

*O

Translation into Latin of the Fable of the New Atlantis

1625

P3

Revision of De Sapientia Veterum (‘Wisdom of the Ancients’)

1625

P3

Inquisitio de Magnete (‘Enquiries into Magnetism’)

1625

P3

Topica Inquisitionis de Luce et Lumine (‘Topical Inquisitions into Light and Luminosity’)

1626

P3

Sylva Sylvarum, or Natural History (publ. after FB’s death)

9 April 1626

 

Death (Easter Day)

 

FRANCIS BACON’S WORKS PUBLISHED AFTER HIS DEATH

1626/7

P3/O

Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis published together by Rawley

1629

 

Certain Miscellany Works (publ. by Rawley):-

 

L

Considerations touching War with Spain

 

L

An Advertisement touching an Holy War

 

L

An Offer to our Late Sovereign King James of a Digest to be made of the Laws of England

 

P3

The History of the Reign of King Henry VIII

1629

L

Use of the Law

1629

L

Elements of the Common Laws

1638

 

Operum Moralium et Civilium (publ. by Rawley):-

 

P3

Historiam Regni Henrici Septimi, Regis Angliae

 

P3

Sermones Fideles, sive Interiora Rerum

 

P3

De Sapientia Veterum

 

O

Dialogum de Bello Sacro

 

*O

Novam Atlantidem

 

P1

De Augmentis Scientiarum

 

P3

Historia Ventorum

 

P3

Historia Vitae et Mortis

1641

L

Cases of Treason

1641

O

Confession of Faith

1641

L

Speech concerning Naturalisation

1641

L

Office of Constables

1641

L

Three Speeches: 1) Post-Nati; 2) Naturalisation; 3) Union of England & Scotland

1641

L

Discourse concerning Church Affairs

1642

L

An Essay of a King

1642

L

The Learned Reading of Sir Francis Bacon (to Gray’s Inn)

1642

L

Ordinances

1648

 

The Remains of the right honorable Francis Lord Verulam:-

 

O

Letters

 

O

Confession of Faith

1651

L

Relation of the Poisoning of Overbury.

1653

 

Scripta in Naturali et Universali Philosophia (publ. by Isaac Gruter):-

   

An important collection of Bacon’s minor writings including:-

 

P4

Scala Intellectus sive Filum Labyrinthi (Intro. to Part 4)

 

P5

Prodromi sive Anticipationes Philosophiae Secundae (Intro. to Part 5)

1653

Ph

Cogitationes de Natura Rerum

1653

Ph

De Fluxu et Refluxu Maris

1656

 

The Mirror of State and Eloquence (= Remains)

1657

 

Rescuscitatio Part 1 (publ. by Rawley):-

   

The Life of the Honourable Author

 

O

Speeches in Parliament

 

O

Certain Treatises written or referring to Queen Elizabeth’s times

 

O

Certain Letters

 

P3

Fragment of an Essay Of Fame

 

O

Confession of Faith

1658

 

Opuscula Varia Posthuma, Philosophica, Civilia et Theologia (publ. by Rawley):-

 

O

In Felicem Memoriam Elizabethae

 

O

Imago Civilis Iulii Caesaris

 

O

Imago Civilis Augusti Caesaris

 

O

Confessio Fidei

1661

O

Letter of Advice to the Duke of Buckingham

1662

L

Charge given for the Verge

1663

 

Opuscula Varia Posthuma, Philosophica, Civilia et Theologia (publ. by Rawley):-

 

O

In Felicem Memoriam Elizabethae

 

O

Imago Civilis Iulii Caesaris

 

O

Imago Civilis Augusti Caesaris

 

O

Confessio Fidei

 

L

Dialogus de Bello Sacro

1665

 

Opera Omnia:-

 

P1

De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum

 

P2

Novum Organum Scientiarum, cum Parasceve ad Historiam Naturalem & Experimentalem

 

P3

Historia Ventorum

 

P3

Historia Vitae et Mortis

 

P5

Scripta de Naturali & Universali Philosophia

 

P3

Sylva Sylvarum, sive Historia Naturalis

 

*O

Nova Atlantis

 

P3

Historiam Regni Henrici VII, Regis Angliae

 

P3

Sermones Fideles, sive Interiora Rerum

 

P3

De Sapientia Veterum

 

O

Dialogus de Bello Sacro

 

O

Opus Illustre in felicem memoriam Elisabethae Reginae

 

O

Imago Civilis Iulij Caesaris

 

O

Imago Civilis Augusti Caesaris

1670

 

Rescuscitatio Part 2 (publ. by Rawley):-

   

The Life of the Honourable Author

 

O

Speeches in Parliament

 

O

Certain Treatises written or referring to Queen Elizabeth’s times

 

O

Certain Letters

 

P5

Fragment of an Essay Of Fame

 

O

Confession of Faith

1679

 

Baconiana (publ. by Archbishop Tennison):-

 

Ph

incl. Abcedarium Naturae, or a Metaphysical piece

1734

 

Letters and Remains:-

 

Ph

incl. Valerius Terminus or the Interpretation of Nature.

1861

Ph

Promus.

© Peter Dawkins, FBRT, 1999, 2002

The Francis Bacon Research Trust