Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Coming of Shakespeare

We have a new creature on our farm, and to truly tell you properly about the coming of this little animal, I must start way back at the beginning (which is a very good place to start) and tell you the WHOLE story.  Now the next sentence might seem completely disconnected from Lily Spring Gardens and Farm, and our newest acquisition, but please bear with me and hold on, it will all come clear at the end.

On the spring day, April 26th 1564, in the small market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, John and Mary Shakespeare baptized their third child, a boy, who they named William Shakespeare.   Not much is known about young William Shakespeare's schooling or childhood until the age of 18 when he married Anne Hathaway who was 7 years his senior, and soon after had a girl and then twins.  Once again Shakespeare slips out of history and does not appear again till he took to the stage in 1592.  Shakespeare wrote and acted in plays till 1613, and while he was well accepted in his day, his works did not achieve great fame till long after his death (in 1616).  

His works became extremely popular in the late 19th, early 20th century, and to this day continue to be studied, performed and re-adapted to different cultures and times.  Many nearly worshiped the bard and his work, and one of these misled people was a New York pharmacist by the name of Eugene Schieffelin.  In 1877, Mr. Schieffelin became the president of the American Acclimatization Society, a group founded in 1871 dedicated to introducing European flora and fauna to North America.  Through the American Society, Schiefflin sought to accomplish his goal of introducing every bird mentioned in William Shakespeare's plays and other works.   His wildest success was with the Common European Starling, which was mentioned in the play Henry the Fourth.  As you know, Starlings are now so widely spread across North America that most people seriously question the wisdom and sanity of the American Acclimatization Society, and more specifically Eugene Schieffelin, who modern biologists say "was an eccentric at best and a lunatic at worst".  

This brings us to the here and now, and more specifically Thursday, May 30th, 2013, when we received an e-mail from our friends saying that their cat had caught a baby bird, who at the time was thought to be a Robin, and would we want to care for it?  The answer was a resounding yes, and Faith and I dropped by after Banbury to pick up the little orphan.  Well "Christopher Robin" turned out to be a baby Starling, whom we took home anyway, and quickly dubbed Shakespeare in honor of the man who started it all, by mentioning Starlings in one of his plays. :)

So, that is the story of the coming of Shakespeare, and below are some pictures of the wide mouthed, goofy faced, gray fuzzy avian!

Ahhhh!  :)  

Now, you know more than you ever wanted to know about Starlings, and Shakespeare, and you are very welcome!


1 comment:

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