Download Midi File
|The origin of the tune is not known. It does not appear earlier than around 1770. The words are Ben Jonson's poem, "To Celia," written in 1616. According to the Oxford Companion to Music, the tune cannot be traced back beyond about 1770.
Best Loved Songs of the American People states the tune is sometimes attributed to Mozart, but that there is no verification of the fact. Sir Walter Scott used the tune for a song County Guy.
The tune has also been credited to Colonel Mellish. However, that is unlikely as he is believed to have been born in 1777. Grattan Flood asserted that he had seen an edition of the song dating from about 1803 with Henry Herrington of Bath (1727-1816).*
Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss within the cup
And I'll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sip,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much hon'ring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon did'st only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear
Not of itself, but thee.
Best Loved Songs of The American People
See Bibliography for full information.
*Oxford Companion to Music (from a post on uk.music.folk)