Friday, February 27, 2009

Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes - a Poetry Friday post

I have a confession about today's poem: I didn't realize it was a poem until recently, because I'd always known it as a song. The words were written by Ben Jonson - poet, actor and playwright in the early 17th century, who in 1616 became Poet Laureate of England under James I (hence the Elizabethan spellings).

Song to Celia
by Ben Jonson

Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes,
  And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kisse but in the cup,
  And Ile not looke for wine.
The thirst, that from the soule doth rise,
  Doth aske a drinke divine:
But might I of Jove's Nectar sup,
  I would not change for thine.

I sent thee, late, a rosie wreath,
  Not so much honoring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there
  It could not withered bee.
But thou thereon did'st onely breath,
  And sent'st it back to mee:
Since when it growes, and smells, I sweare,
  Not of it selfe, but thee.

And here is a young man named Jonathan Smallwood singing a version of the song (a wee bit slower than I like, but so were the other 5 performances I checked out, and of those, I liked his best):

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1 comment:

Yat-Yee said...

I knew it primarily as a song as well and must have accompanied a few singers.