This touching miniature appears in the Gresham Manuscript between extracts of works known to have been performed in April and May 1694. Olinda is wistfully recalling past pleasures, mournfully ‘sighing’ (set to a wonderful melisma by Purcell) that time flies so fast. She calls for the good times to return, but ‘all in vain’. With rueful repeats of the word ‘never’ we are reminded that ‘Time past can never come again’.
from notes by Robert King © 2003