The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0151  Thursday, 4 April 2013


From:        Sylvia Morris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 31, 2013 8:28:14 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Bard of Avon Origin


In response to C David Frankel’s question, it’s generally assumed that Shakespeare was first called “Bard of Avon” or at least “Bard”, by David Garrick at the time of the Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1769. Certainly the Ode on Dedicating a Statue . . . which was the starting point of the celebrations and written by Garrick contains the lines:


Sweetest bard that ever sung,

Nature's glory, Fancy’s child.


And one of the songs in Shakespeare’s Garland, entitled “Warwickshire”, also written by Garrick, includes:


For the bard of all bards, was a Warwickshire bard,

Warwickshire bard,

Never pair’d,

For the bard of all bards, was a Warwickshire bard


The song also claims “The lad of all lads was a Warwickshire lad”, “The wit of all wits, was a Warwickshire wit”, and so on.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen an earlier use of the word in relation to Shakespeare, but like Mr Frankel I’d like to know if there is one!


Sylvia Morris


Twitter: @sylvmorris1


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