An Anacreontic Song

1790—Era & Topic: Drinking Song

The first known American parody lyric written to “The Anacreontic Song” is likely by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

1.        On the top of a rock quite remote from the tide,
A few jolly mortals were peaceably seated;
With the juice from the vine, all the roughness of pride
Was mellowed—and care from their mansions retreated:
        With friendship divine
        Gay pleasures entwine
While Bacchus still lent them his tankards of wine; 
And thus cries the rosy God, “tis from the bowl
“Flow the joy of the heart and the peace of the soul.”

2.        Apollo enraged that these mortals should bow
To Bacchus alone, and neglect his high station,
Contrived with old Neptune, and both made a vow
To dry up their fountains and spoil their potations
        No dew drop nor rain
        Shall moisten the plain
Their springs shall sink down and run back to the main;
Let Bacchus his vintage give up, they will know
From the mixture of water and wine, pleasures flow.

3.        Thus deprived of the bev’rage that mellows the grape,
A council was called at which Bacchus presided,
Who swore he’d have water in some other shape;
His subjects by Neptune should not be divided.
        Down, down let us bore
        Thro’ rock and thro’ ore
’Till with chisel we knock at the water God’s door
We’ll drain out his fountain, his coral cave dry,
His green wreath of sea-weed shall wither and die.

An Anacreontic Song

Author Lyricist

Francis Hopkinson?

Era and Topic


Tune Identified



Handwritten manuscript held in the Music Division of the Library of Congress; reprinted in Richard S. Hill, "The Melody of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' in the United States before 1820," in Essays Honoring Lawrence C. Wroth (Portland, ME: Frederick R. Goff, 1951), 155–56.



Book Pages

54, 266

Songbook Number


Poets & Patriots Track Number

Track 5