Pastoraís beauties when unblown
is an early song, published in Playfordís third book of Choice Ayres and Songs to Sing to the Theorbo-lute or Bass-viol
in 1681. It was also included in William Pearsonís collection Wit and Mirth
in 1719. Pastora is a stock shepherdess of literature (appearing, for instance, in Spenserís The Faerie Queen
as Pastorella). Here the story is sad; the singer recognized Pastoraís beauties from an early age and used to lie awake at night pining for her. He had never before fallen in love, but Fate Ďwhom none can controlí pointed Pastora to our lover. Between verses two and three all has gone wrong and our lover berates the gods, demanding that they Ďtake away the tortíring painí. Purcellís setting is a strophic one, delicious in its lute-song simplicity.
from notes by Robert King © 2003