Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Drink to me only

I suppose I am not alone in that I frequently have a tune running round in my head, but there may not be quite so many who can claim that they have a tune running round almost constantly in the way I do. Generally the tune is one I have heard on the CD playing in the car; occasionally it might be the theme tune from a television show; sometimes - but rarely - it might be a snatch of music from a television advertisement. The other evening, however, a rather surprising tune came into my head quite uninvited and out of the blue. Unusually, I even started singing the words (the Old Bat and I were washing up at the time - not that that piece of information has any bearing whatsoever on the music).
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.

Diddly-diddly-diddly doth ask a drink divine,
But might I of Jove's nectar sip
I would not change for thine.
As you see, I don't remember all the words. In fact, it is really quite surprising that I remember as many of the words as I do, given that it is more than fifty years since I last sang this song. Indeed, it is, as far as I can remember, more than fifty years since I last heard the tune played, so just why it sprang into my mind the other evening is and will remain a mystery.

I wrote fifty years ago, but my maths were letting me down. On reflection I realise that it was actually much nearer sixty years than fifty. At that time I was a pupil at Gillingham Grammar School for Boys. In the first two or three years, when we were aged from 11 to 13, we "studied" music along with the usual range of other subjects. I used inverted commas round the word "studied" as our music teacher, Mr Wilson, had a rather narrow view of how the subject should be taught. His idea was that during the lesson each pupil should have a copy of a book of songs - words and music (melody only) - and would sing the songs as he played the piano. The only songs in that book, or maybe the only ones we ever got to sing, were traditional English songs such as Drink to Me Only, The Ash Grove, Fair Lass of Richmond Hill. What on earth made him think that 12- and 13-year-old boys might learn something by singing those songs is still beyond me.

But then, Mr Wilson (I just cannot remember his nickname) was just one of a collection of eccentric - or even oddball - teachers at that school in those days not so very long after the war. Maybe I'll come back to the subject in a day or two.


Stephen Hayes said...

These sorts of teachers seem to pop up regularly in fiction and movies, don't they? Only they're shown now in a sympathetic light.

Uncle Skip, said...

It's strange. I can comment here, but not on my own blog?
It must have something to do with how the comments are set up in blogger

Buck said...

I don't mind having a song running thru my head as long as it's one I like. But all too often I'll get an ear-worm of sumthin' I absolutely cannot STAND and that drives me nuts.

The Broad said...

Strangely enough, this morning on BBC Breakfast one of the subjects they were discussing was this phenomenon of tunes that pop into ones head. They are called 'ear worms' and someone is doing research on them! In addition last night had trouble going to sleep because of some tune or another going round and round and now only a few hours later, I cannot remember what it was!