The thirst that from the soul doth rise, doth ask a drink divine

First published in 1616 as a poem entitled, “To Celia” by Ben Johnson and then set to music more than a century later (although no one is positive by whom) “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes” is a rather intriguing selection for an Experimental/Post-Punk/Industrial Rock band.  And yet here it is, from the 1999 compilation album, “Various Failures” by the defunct group, Swans.

Active from 1982 to 1997, with an ever-shifting lineup of musicians, Swans is best remembered for the use of peculiar instrumentation and droning vocals, which in this case all works very well.  One only wishes they had tackled both verses, as shown here…


Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes

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 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

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