Purcell’s setting of Tom D’Urfey’s poem (subtitled ‘The Storm’) was published in 1685 in A Third Collection of New Songs
. A sailor compares the sea with all its perils to love: calms are like ‘Cynthia’s smiles’ and gusts of wind like her frowns. This sailor has had enough of the sea and wishes to see more of ‘God’s miracles at land’. The verses of Purcell’s song are tuneful and imaginatively harmonized (with, in the first verse, a nicely ambiguous chord under ‘love’): the refrains are in the strumming, bawdy tavern style with which the composer may have been acquainted!
from notes by Robert King © 2003