“I would the gods had made thee poetical”: An Address to Shakespeare

“Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.”

Meet William McGonagall, the worst poet in the English language, and his exquisite Address to Shakespeare.

You can listen to the podcast at iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or download direct from Libsyn.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or by email at podcastshakespeare@gmail.com. You can subscribe to our Spotify playlist, which will be updated each week as we work through the plays. And if you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a review at the iTunes store; it really does help bring new listeners!

The website for the podcast is https://podcastshakespeare.com/. On the website, you can find an evolving bibliography.

Links mentioned:

McGonagall Online: A one-stop shop for the life and poets of this second Bard”

The real Tay Bridge Disaster chronicled on Wikipedia

McGonagall on Twitter


Sergei Prokofiev, “Montagues and Capulets”, from Romeo and Juliet (ballet), 1935

Claude Debussy, Prélude #11La danse de Puck played by Daniel Barenboim

3 thoughts on ““I would the gods had made thee poetical”: An Address to Shakespeare

  1. Yes, Sam, I agree. There seems to be this utter certainty….we may have those moments of doubt but I think the self doubt switch seems to have been welded in the off position for some. Which in this case is harmless and rather charming. Rather a would be Bard or would be Orsen Wells than a politician! (Thinking Hitler, Mussolini, Trump, Stalin…whoops did I say Trump? Must be spellcheck, apologies…)

    Frankly poor McGonagall reminds me of many social occasions over the years where some poor bugger or buggeress was called upon to make a speech and decided it would be great idea to write a poem for the occasion..and so long as every other line rhymed it was warmly received. None of these ad hoc orators were claiming to be poets of course, but there was a certain charm for the fact that They Tried. The fact that an Ed or a William actually believed they were doing anything more than purely amateur perversely adds the charm factor for me: These Guys Tried Big Time.

    Anyways, great chuckles and a big surprise – never heard of McGonagell before but glad to make his acquaintance. Anyone who refuses to die as Macbeth deserves his place in the sun!


    1. Haha! Jeff, that is a perfect comparison! I’m especially fascinated by those moments of doubt such artists must have, where perhaps they wonder if they’re not talented after all. (We all know those moments.) Or perhaps like Ed Wood they just don’t? Just driven on by utter certainty?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s