John Keats's 'Ode to a Nightingale' contains the line "Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,".
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards
In this passage, it seems that 'pards' means 'pardners' (i.e., 'partners'). But if so, this is inconsistent with the assertion given by Merriam-Webster that the first use of 'pard' as a short form of 'pardner' is in the year 1850, because Keats died in 1821. So, what is the meaning of 'pards' in this poem?