Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh, Say Can You Drink?



The music for "The Star-Spangled Banner" was originally a sophisticated drinking song written for "The Anacreontic Society", a London gentlemen's club of amateur musicians founded in the mid-18th century. And here is a modern gentlemen's club singing it:



Lyrics:
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...
And, besides, I'll instruct you, like me, to entwine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' vine."

The news to Olympus immediately flew,
Where Old Thunder decided to give himself airs.
"If we suffer these mortals their schemes to pursue,
There's Devil a goddess will stay above stairs.
Hark! Already they cry
In transports of joy,
A fig for Parnassus, to Rowley's we'll fly!
And there, my good fellows, we'll learn to entwine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' vine."

"The yellow-hair'd god, and his nine fusty maids,
To the hill of old Lud will incontinent flee.
Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades
And the biforked hill a mere desert will be.
My thunder, no fear on't
Will soon do its errand,
And damme!, I'll swinge the ringleaders I warrant,
I'll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine,
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' vine."

Apollo rose up; and said prithee ne'er quarrel
Good king of the gods with thy vot'ries below!
Your thunder is useless---then, shewing his laurel
Cry'd "Sic evitable 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' 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 and the laugh shall be mine.
Then, Jove be not jealous
Of these honest fellows,
Cry'd ove, "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' vine."

Ye sons of Anacreon, then join hand in hand
Preserve unanimity, friends and love.
'Tis your's to support what's so happily plann'd
You've the sanction of gods, and the fiat of love.
While thus we agree
Our toast, let it be
May our club flourish happy, united and free!
And long may the sons of Anacreon entwine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' vine.

Weight: 197 lbs