To Anacreon in Heaven

From Academic Kids

To Anacreon in Heaven was the drinking song of the Anacreontic Society, a club formed in honor of the Greek poet Anacreon (6th century BCE), whose poems, "anacreontics", consisting mainly of eroticism and drinking songs, became popular in Britain and the United States during the 18th century.

The tune was composed by a member of the Society, John Stafford Smith with lyrics by Ralph Tomlinson. The melody, if not the lyrics, became well-known after Francis Scott Key, an attorney wrote In Defense of Fort McHenry while detained on a British ship during the night of September 13, 1814 as the British forces bombarded the American fort. Key set the poem to the Society's tune. It was later retitled The Star-Spangled Banner and officially became the U.S. national anthem.

Lyrics

I.
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 would be;
When this answer arrived
From the Jolly Old Grecian:
"Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
No longer be mute,
I'll lend you my name
And inspire you to boot,
Chorus:
And besides I'll instruct you,
Like me, to intwine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus's Vine."
II.
The news through Olympus
Immediately flew;
When Old Thunder pretended
To give himself airs.
"If these Mortals are suffered
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,
Chorus:
And there with good fellows,
We'll learn to intwine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus' Vine.
III.
"The Yellow-Haired 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 desert will be.
My Thunder no fear on't,
Shall soon do its errand,
And dam'me I'll swing
The Ringleaders I warrant.
Chorus:
I'll trim the young dogs,
For thus daring to twine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus's Vine."
IV.
Apollo rose up,
And said, "Pry'thee ne'er quarrel,
Good King of the Gods,
With My Vot'ries below:
Your Thunder is useless"--
Then showing 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,
Chorus:
While, snug in their clubroom,
They jovially twine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus's Vine."
V.
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,
And 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:
Chorus:
And swear by Old Styx,
That they long shall intwine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus's Vine."
VI.
Ye Sons of Anacreon,
Then join hand in hand;
Preserve Unanimity,
Friendship, and Love!
'Tis yours 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!
Chorus:
And long may the Sons
Of Anacreon intwine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus's Vine."

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