[NTLK] [OT] OK. I saw this and I just had to send it!

Michael Hurley mephit at mac.com
Fri May 28 17:41:58 EDT 2010

> Francis Scott Key's poem "The Defense of Fort McHenry" is set to the
> music of a Revolutionary War song called "Adams and Liberty" (I'm not
> sure which Adams is meant, John or his cousin Samuel; I suspect the  
> latter).

I've never heard of this "Adams and Liberty" before. Do you have a  
citation for it? I'd be interested in finding the lyrics.

> However, "Adams and Liberty" was set to a previous tune called "To
> Anacreon in Heaven", which happens to be an old English drinking song.

It wasn't that old. The Anacreontic Society was active in the mid 18th  
century and the song appears to have been written in the mid 1760s,  
though there are no specific records of it. The probable composer,  
John Stafford Smith (Who was about 18 at the time he composed the  
song), wasn't even dead yet when Key wrote "The Defense of Fort  
McHenry" in 1814. And it wasn't originally a drinking song. The  
Society was a music appreciation group made up of middle-class, well  
respected men. Doctors, lawyers and the like. Dr. Samuel Johnson,  
James Boswell and William Boyce were all members. They weren't  
carousing drunkards, though they certainly seem to have been willing  
to introduce a bit of bawd to titillate the audience! Their theme  
(which was known in it's day as "The Anacreontic Song") was purposely  
difficult to sing. It showed talent being able to belt it out at all.*

> So, bearing this history in mind, prepare to sing by drinking several
> pints of Sam Adams beer!

Now this, I agree with whole-heartedly!

*Can you tell I was raised by academic historians? Heh.
                                    Auf wiedersehen!
   "..Um..Something strange happened to me this morning."

   "Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort
   of Sun God robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked
   women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?"


   "Why am I the only person that has that dream?"

                                    -Real Genius

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