"Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
" was (and still is) a popular English
song with lyrics from Ben Jonson
's 1616 poem "To Celia
." The tune is of unknown origin, composed some time after 1770.
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I'll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself but thee!
Versions and uses
- Sir Walter Scott used the tune for another song, "County Guy".
- Apparently, the song was an chestnut in American student musical performances in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In liner notes, Johnny Cash says that this song was one of the first that he ever sang at a public engagement — the occasion being a commencement exercise when he was a junior in high school. (A version of the song was recorded privately by Cash at his home recording studio and released posthumously on the album Personal File.)
- The song features unflatteringly in the 1936 Merrie Melodies short subject "I Love to Singa" as the selection young "Owl Jolson's" parents force him to perform in his lessons rather than the title number. Warner Bros., which distributed (and later produced) the Merrie Melodies series (and sister series Looney Tunes), would later use this song as incidental music in the TV series Baby Looney Tunes, particularly when one of the characters is drinking milk, water or juice, or even pretending to drink tea.
- The song was performed by Paul Robeson in his album "Ballad for Americans and Great Songs of Faith, Love and Patriotism", Vanguard Records.
- Duke Special recorded a version of the song as a B-Side for the single "Freewheel" with Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy.