Death and Victory (The Anacreontic Song) (John Stafford Smith)

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  • (Posted 2007-02-10)  CPDL #13569:     
Editor: Tim Henderson (submitted 2007-02-10).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 356 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Text from Johnson Ballads 2082 (Bodleian Library website) where the tune is given as "To Anacreon in Heaven". Music taken from The Anacreontic Song (as sung at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand) - image available at

General Information

Title: Death and Victory (The Anacreontic Song)
Composer: John Stafford Smith

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Soloist: Tenor
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published:

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

When the navy of Gaul, our inveterate foes,
Call’d the valour of Britain their rage to oppose;
Brave Nelson who never in battle would yield,
For Britain and George nobly entered the field
To be true to the true land of freedom he swore;
As the blue that adorned the proud standard he bore.

When the hot rage of battle extending so wide,
Bade death o’er the fallen exultantly stride;
Encompass’d with danger he fearlessly fought.
Determin’d his ensign with life should be bought,
And true to his honour maintain’d it in death;
When slain, but victorious, he yielded his breath.

His remains were sent home to his dear native land,
With the standard, which dying he grasp'd in his hand,
And an eloquent token of praise to the brave,
The flagstaff was planted beside his cold grave,
Where as gratitude's tear wou'd the spot oft bedew,
Thus moisten'd - at length to a laurel it grew.