The song “Drink to me only with thine eyes” was written by Ben Jonson in his poem “Song to Celia” in the year 1616, yes exactly 400 years ago. This immortal western song inspired Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore to compose a song in Bengali (Rabindra Sangeet) “কতবার ভেবেছিনু আপন ভুলিয়া” (“Katobar bhebechinu apano bhulia”) in 1885. The lyric of the beautiful western song goes like this :
“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 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!”
This western song and the Tagore’s composition “কতবার ভেবেছিনু আপন ভুলিয়া” are presented here. Both the songs sung by the same versatile singer have been put in a single video which can be accessed (my you-tube channel) by this link : Listen both the songs here.
The lyric of the Tagore’s Bengali Song (Rabindra Sangeet) is also given below :