The Anacreontic Song

1773—Era & Topic: Club Song

This is the original song written for the Anacreontic Society of London with music by composer John Stafford Smith that served as the melodic vechicle for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

1.        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 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.

2.        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.

3.        “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 its 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.

4.        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.

5.        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 intwine
“The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS’S Vine.

6.        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.

The Anacreontic Song

Author Lyricist

Ralph Tomlinson

Era and Topic


Tune Identified



Sheet Music—London: Longman & Broberip, c. 1778.


London, England

Book Pages

35–51, 69–70

Songbook Number


Poets & Patriots Track Number

Track 1