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Purcell produced a strophic setting for the three verses, much in the tradition of Dowland and the great Elizabethan composers whose work he so admired. The result was a wonderfully crafted miniature, memorably tuneful and full of harmonic interest for the accompanists. The ‘Graces’ were the Pariae, the three goddesses originally identical with the Fates, but trivialized in later antiquity and representative of beauty and love. The Cupids were their boy-child attendants.
from notes by Robert King © 2003