Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes - Trumpet Solo (J W Callcott, arr. Philip Sparke)

The English song Drink to me Only with Thine Eyes has remained popular on both sides of the Atlantic for over two hundred years. The lyrics are by the English dramatist and poet Ben Jonson (1572-1637), a rival of Shakespeare's, appearing in his first folio of published poems in 1616.

So well do the lyrics fit the famous melody that it has been suggested Jonson set the poem to an existing tune, but no printed version of it has been found that predates its appearance in John Wall Callcott's Select Collection of Catches, Canons and Glees, which was published around 1790. Callcott (1766-1821) was a pupil of Haydn and best known for his choral and religious music; it would seem he has a claim to be credited as the composer of Drink to me Only with Thine Eyes, although it is impossible to be absolutely sure about the tune's authorship.

The nature of the melody has made it a favourite among young players, but in this 3-verse arrangement for trumpet, Philip Sparke has provided the soloist with something a little more elaborate, whilst respecting the simple beauty of the original.