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Purcell’s setting suggests that perhaps he was not without some experience in this subject. The singer starts sober, drinks ‘mighty wine’ and subsides ‘down dead’. His imagination then comes to life in a variety of drunken states, singing ‘without thought of want’, fantasizing as he lies on the ground and truculantly outlining (and punning on) the benefits of drinking rather than going off to war.
from notes by Robert King © 2003