Once someone told me that "drink of the spring" sounded like 100 years ago and "drink from the spring" was better. The clause "drink of the spring" came from my dictionary but I found something seems to be the origin of it:

“He who neglects to drink of the spring of experience is likely to die of thirst in the desert of ignorance.”― Li Bai (a Chinese poet who lived 701-762AD)

I don't know when this was translated but I can see the need for making it old-fashioned.

How about "say of"? I saw it in a translation by a native, the original is from a mid-19th century writing:

People can say of me what they will. But the fact remains that no one knows what makes me tick like I do. -- Ryuichi Sakamoto, translated by Roger Pulvers

I also found "say of" used in Bible and in the American anthem, but is "say of" old-fashioned?

=addition= Thanks for your help.:) I see that Oxford Learner's Dictionary has 'to say nothing of something' and 'no …/nothing to speak of' as idiom, so I got an impression that they are used only in negative form, but I also found 'speak of something' as idiom and I know 'Speaking of ~" is commonly used. So when it comes to 'say of' I assume it's not a matter of old-fashioned or up-to-date but it's a matter of preference or popularity..(?) oh, and it must be the matter of rhythm for an anthem.

  • I may burn for this, but where in the American anthem did you find say of? I find it twice, in Oh, say! can you see... and Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner...
    – oerkelens
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:25
  • Oops, I didn't check it. I thought I saw it in the anthem but I guess I saw it in some other song. Thanks for pointing it out.
    – karlalou
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:57
  • I found it, "What will our children say? Let them SAY OF me I was one who believed In sharing the blessings I received (Norah Jones "American Anthem")". Isn't it an official anthem..?
    – karlalou
    Jun 3, 2014 at 16:08
  • Ah :) When one mentions "the American Anthem", I kind of automatically assume they mean the National Anthem of the USA, The star-spangled banner.
    – oerkelens
    Jun 3, 2014 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


"drink of" is somewhat literary/poetic, however "say of" is quite common in the expression "to say nothing of..." e.g. "His car is big and gaudy, to say nothing of his house!" -or- "Say what you will of me, but don't talk about my children" which is more commonly expressed as "Say what you will about me..." in modern English.

Also note the idiom "no... to speak of" meaning "no... at all" - "He's happy and healthy, but has no money to speak of."


Gut check as a native speaker (American English, North East), "drink of" sounds very old-fashioned to me. "Say of" can sound old-fashioned but "say of me what they will" is an idiom which still has some currency, though it's not very popular.

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