In full glee

John Stafford Smith (1750-1836): The Anacreontic Song, or To Anacreon in Heav’n (c1775), canto bacchico, testo di Ralph Tomlinson. Jacob Wright, voce solista; Jerry Blackstone, direttore.

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 ye my name, and inspire you to boot,
And, besides, I’ll instruct you, like me, to entwine,
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 entwine,
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 biforked hill a mere desert will be.
My Thunder, no fear on’t shall soon do its errand,
And dam’me! 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, 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 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 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 plan’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 entwine,
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine.

Sul modello dell’Anacreontic Song di Tomlinson è esemplata l’ode Defence of Fort McHenry, composta da Francis Scott Key per celebrare la vittoria dei soldati statunitensi e della popolazione di Baltimora sulla flotta inglese il 14 settembre 1814. In seguito il testo di Francis Scott Key, adattato alla musica di John Stafford Smith, divenne un canto patriottico, e nel 1931 fu ufficialmente adottato quale inno nazionale degli Stati Uniti d’America, oggi noto con il titolo The Star-Spangled Banner.

Francis Scott Key's handwriting


Lo Yankee vagabondo…

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): «Dovunque al mondo», da Madama Butterfly (1904), atto II. Jussi Björling, tenore, e Mario Sereni, baritono; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro dell`Opera di Roma, dir. Gabriele Santini.

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