aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

National Poetry Month continues

We all know that our National Anthem was set to a pub tune. For those who might be curious as to what was sung to that tune before the rockets' red glare, here are the original lyrics.

                                        The      
                         ANACREONTIC SONG

    as Sung at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand

                                  the Words by
  RALPH TOMLINSON ESQ R, late President of that SOCIETY.

                                                    1
          To ANACREON in Heav'n, where he sat in full Glee,
          A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,
          That He their Inspirer and Patron wou'd be;
          When this Answer arriv'd from the JOLLY OLD GRECIAN
                        "Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
                        "No longer be mute,
         "I'll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,
         "And, besides, I'll instruct you like me, to intwine
         "The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS's Vine.

                                                    2
          The news through OLYMPUS immediately flew;
          When OLD THUNDER pretended to give himself Airs_
          If these Mortals are suffer'd their Scheme to pursue,
          The Devil a Goddess will stay above Stairs.
                            "Hark! already they cry,
                            "In Transports of Joy
         "Away to the Sons of ANACREON we'll fly,
         "And there, with good Fellows, we'll learn to intwine
         "The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

                                                    3
         "The YELLOW-HAIR'D GOD and his nine fusty Maids
         "From HELICON'S Banks will incontinent flee,
         "IDALIA will boast but of tenantless Shades,
         "And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be
                      "My Thunder, no fear on't,
                      "Shall soon do it's Errand,
         "And, dam'me! I'll swinge the Ringleaders I warrant,
         "I'll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine
         "The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

                                                    4
          APOLLO rose up; and said, "Pr'ythee ne'er quarrel,
         "Good King of the Gods with my Vot'ries below:
         "Your Thunder is useless_then, shewing his Laurel,
          Cry'd. "Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
                      "Then over each Head
                      "My Laurels I'll spread
         "So my Sons from your Crackers no Mischief shall dread,
         "Whilst snug in their Club-Room, they Jovially twine
         "The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

                                                    5
          Next MOMUS got up, with his risible Phiz,
          And swore with APOLLO he'd cheerfully join_
         "The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,
         "But the Song, and the Catch, & the Laugh shall be mine
                     "Then, JOVE, be not jealous
                      Of these honest Fellows,
          Cry'd JOVE, "We relent, since the Truth you now tell us;
         "And swear, by OLD STYX, that they long shall entwine
         "The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS's Vine.

                                                    6
          Ye Sons of ANACREON, then, join Hand in Hand;
          Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!
         'Tis your's to support what's so happily plann'd;
          You've the Sanction of Gods, and the FIAT of JOVE.
                          While thus we agree
                          Our Toast let it be.
          May our Club flourish happy, united and free!
          And long may the Sons of ANACREON intwine
          The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

Notes
 
sic evitabile fulmen roughly translates to "this repels thunderbolts" (It was a common
Roman belief that laurel provided protection from lightning.)

fusty = close or stuffy, old-fashioned, of stale wine
phiz = facial expression
risible = pertaining to laughter
swinge = beat, flog, or chastise

 
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