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                         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.

                ————————Price 6d.————————

Printed by Longman and Broderip. N o26, Cheapside and N o13, Hay Market


          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.

          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.

         "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.

          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.

          Next MOMUS got up, with his risible Phiz,
          And swore with APOLLO he'd cheerfull join_
         "The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,
         "But the Song, and the Catch, & the Laugh shall bemine
                     "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.

          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.


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

The Anacreontic Song was written for the Anacreontic Society. This London
gentlemen's club was named after the Greek poet Anacreon (c. 570-485 BC),
who was known for his poems on love and wine. The words are credited to
Ralph Tomlinson (1744-1778), and the tune is commonly attributed to John
Stafford Smith (1750-1836). The tune is most famous for its use with Francis
Scott Key's The Star Spangled Banner (the national anthem of the United
States.) The earlier political song Adams and Liberty also used the same tune.
A nice history of the song can be found in:

  • Lichtenwanger, William. (1977). The music of the "The Star-Spangled
    Banner," From Ludgate Hill to Capital Hill. The Quarterly Journal of the
    Library of Congress
    , 34 (3), 136-170.

    The above version of the lyrics is from the second edition published c.1782.
    The first of the four pages of this edition is blank. The second page contains
    the first verse with the music for solo voice. The third page contains the
    4-part chorus (the last two lines of the first verse), as well as verses 2-6. The
    final page contains the music for the first verse again, both for guitar, and
    for German flute.

    In the presentation above, the lyrics for the first verse have been formatted to
    follow the presentation of the other five in the original. Also, the use of f and
    s has been modernized.