The poet of this song is probably Richard Duke; although he was not named as the author in Playford and Carr’s fifth book of Choice Ayres and Songs
of 1684, nor in the first publication of the literary text in 1693 (a collection edited by Dryden), an anthology dated 1717 places this poem among his works. The three verses recount the sad story of Thirsis and his unrequited love for Amira who has been drawn away by ‘Riches and titles’. Purcell’s setting is delicious in its simplicity, nonetheless containing characteristically adventurous harmonic and melodic language in its three strophic verses.
from notes by Robert King © 2003