Purcell’s gently lilting setting of John Turner’s poem was published in Playford’s Choice Ayres and Songs
in 1683. Its tuneful simplicity derives in part from being anchored on eight repetitions of a seven-bar ground bass which, handled with Purcell’s customary skill, sometimes coincides with, and sometimes overlaps, the start of new vocal phrases. The message of the poem is simple; those who have not felt unrequited love, watch out, for when it does happen, the ‘warfare of love’ will produce ‘a thousand times more Sweets and delights than your dull peace before’. Purcell’s wonderful harmony for ‘your dull peace’ is elegantly inappropriate, and the ‘pleasures’ of verse two marvellously ‘blue’ in their harmonization.
from notes by Robert King © 2003