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Misc Folk - To Anacreon In Heaven
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>|> Oh, yeah, there's a fine old tune that was popular in beer halls
>|> for the singing of bawdy lyrics, long around 1814 or so. Then
>|> some guy named F.S. Key was inspired to write a poem about the
>|> bombardment of Fort McHenry, and some other nameless person noted
>|> that it fit the aforementioned pop drinking song...
>|>
>..... Ok David, is this folklore or fakelore? The version I got was that
>it was the Club song of the Anacreonitic Society, definitely addicted to
>drink and lusty mischief. But was it truly "popular in the beer halls"?
>Do you know any lyrics besides the Anacreon hymn?

The part about it being someone other than Mr. Key who put the
"Star-Spangled" lyrics together with the "Anacreon" tune is a new one on
me, and I have no information about it; it seems unlikely that he would
have arrived at that particular metric configuration by accident, but
that's just speculation. However, calling it a "pop drinking song" is not
at all inaccurate. The Anacreonticks were basically a bunch of young
rakehells, endowed with far more money than was good for them, who liked
to sit around and engage in such cultural pursuits as provided good
excuses for getting filthy drunk, hence the emphasis on the more
boisterous of the Greek gods. "Beer halls" may be a bit hyperbolic; the
Anacreonticks belonged to a social class that leaned a lot more heavily
toward wine, and from the references to Bacchus at every conceivable
opportunity, we may presume that the singers were swilling wine rather
than beer.

For those with strong stomachs for bad poetry, here's the whole damn
thing; my thanks to Curt Harpold of the Morris mailing list for looking
this up. The words are by one Ralph Tomlinson; the music is attributed to
John Smith, which is probably an alias intended to protect him from
retribution by angry mobs of people with less than two octaves of vocal
range.

TO ANACREON IN HEAVEN

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 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 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 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.
And besides I'll instruct you like me, to intwine,
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

"The Yellow-Haired God and his nine lusty Maids,
From Helion'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 it's errand,
And damme I'll swing 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, "Pry'thee ne'er quarrel,
Good sing of the Gods with my Vot'ries below:
Your Thunder is useless"--then showing 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,
While snug in their clubroom, 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 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;
And swear by Old Styx, that they long shall intwine,
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

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!
And long may the Sons of Anacreon intwine,
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

The phrase "intwine the Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine" is a poetical
construct meaning, approximately, "drinking and ****ing."

> [I'm sitting in on a gig with
>a klezmer band later this month and they've been asked, lord knows why,
>if they can play F.S.K's little doggerel. I'd love to throw in some
>more, um, traditional lyrics.]

Gawd, "To Anacreon" on the Eb clarinet. There oughta be a law.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jon Berger jonb@ingres.com {mtxinu,sun,amdahl,pyramid}!ingres!jonb
"If you push something hard enough, it will fall over."
-- Fudd's First Law of Opposition



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