Sunday, July 04, 2004

Our National Anthem

The Anacreontic Society, a popular gentlemen's club in London in the late 1700's, was named after Anacreon, a fifth Century B.C. poet known as the "convivial bard of Greece." The society's membership was dedicated to wit, harmony, and the god of wine. The members of this society collaborated on a drinking song, popular int he United States in the early 1800's where it was heard by Francis Scott Key. He must have really liked the tune as he wrote new lyrics for it, commemorating the battle of Fort mcHenry.

These days, the theme of this national anthem seems somehow misplaced. War is not what our country is about. At least, it's not what it should be about. So, I propose we restore the original lyrics and change our national anthem from a hymn to war, to a hymn to wine, women and song. The only things that really matter in life.

To Anacreon in Heaven
(sung to the tune of The Star-Spangled Banner)

To Anacreon in Heaven, 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, "And, besides, I'll instruct you like me to entwine "The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine.

The news through OLYMPUS immediately flew; When OLD THUNDER pretended to give himself Airs "If these mortals are suffer'd their Scheme to perfue, "The Devil a Goddess will stay above the 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 entwine "The Myrtle of VENUS with BUCCUS'S Vine.

"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 won'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 BACCUS'S Vine.

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 BACCUS'S Vine.

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 BACCUS'S Vine.

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 BACCUS'S Vine.


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