Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Family Research Council to celebrate musical paean to alcoholic Greek author of homoerotic poems

The Family Research Council et al. are putting on a 200th anniversary celebration of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. (H/T JoeMyGod) Here's what their promotion says:

Together we will learn the forgotten story... behind our National Anthem. Join us on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 7:00pm EST, 6:00pm CST, 7:00pm MST, 6:00pm PST. Participants will be challenged not only by the story behind the Star Spangled Banner, but also by Tony Perkins, Rick Scarborough, Pastor Mark Harris and other Christian leaders during the 90 minute event webcast live from First Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Below is what they will certainly omit from their "forgotten story," because after all, Christer education can only go so far.

    Sung, the U.S. national anthem is known as The Star-Spangled Banner, because Francis Scott Key rewrote the lyrics to the popular colonial-era tavern song, Anacreon in Heaven.
     Any paean to Anacreon (575 to 485 BC) is a glorification of a poet notorious for his objectification of young males, who "wrote many poems on homosexual themes, celebrating the charms of boys or young men." To whit:
"Boy with the virginal face," he writes, "I pursue you but you heed me not. You do not know you are the charioteer of my heart."
     Anacreon was the last Greek to be included in the canonical list of nine lyric poets. According to Pausanias, Anacreon's statue on the Acropolis of Athens depicts him as drunk.
     From the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Anacreon:
From his erotic verse there survive striking images of beloved young men: the peaceful character of Megistes, the eyes of Cleobulus, the blond locks of the Thracian Smerdies.

And Now With All Thy Pencil's Truth

And now with all thy pencil's truth,
Portray Bathyllus, lovely youth!
Let his hair, in lapses bright,
Fall like streaming rays of light;
And there the raven's die confuse
With the yellow sunbeam's hues.
Let not the braid, with artful twine,
The flowing of his locks confine;
But loosen every golden ring,
To float upon the breeze's wing.
Beneath the front of polish'd glow,
Front, as fair as mountain-snow,
And guileless as the dews of dawn,
Let the majestic brows be drawn,
Of ebon dies, enrich'd by gold,
Such as the scaly snakes unfold.
Mingle in his jetty glances,
Power that awes, and love that trances;
Steal from Venus bland desire,
Steal from Mars the look of fire,
Blend them in such expression here,
That we by turns may hope and fear!
Now from the sunny apple seek
The velvet down that spreads his cheek;
And there let Beauty's rosy ray
In flying blushes richly play;
Blushes, of that celestial flame
Which lights the cheek of virgin shame.
Then for his lips, that ripely gem
But let thy mind imagine them!
Paint, where the ruby cell uncloses,
Persuasion sleeping upon roses;
And give his lip that speaking air,
As if a word was hovering there!
His neck of ivory splendour trace,
Moulded with soft but manly grace;
Fair as the neck of Paphia's boy,
Where Paphia's arms have hung in joy.
Give him the winged Hermes' hand,
With which he waves his snaky wand;
Let Bacchus then the breast supply,
And Leda's son the sinewy thigh.
But oh! suffuse his limbs of fire
With all that glow of young desire,
Which kindles, when the wishful sigh
Steals from the heart, unconscious why.
Thy pencil, though divinely bright,
Is envious of the eye's delight,
Or its enamour'd touch would show
His shoulder, fair as sunless snow,
Which now in veiling shadow lies,
Remov'd from all but Fancy's eyes.
Now, for his feet-but hold-forbear
I see a godlike portrait there;
So like Bathyllus! -sure there's none
So like Bathyllus but the Sun!
Oh! let this pictur'd god be mine,
And keep the boy for Samos' shrine;
Phoebus shall then Bathyllus be,
Bathyllus then the deity!
                                   — Anacreon

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