Two versions of What a sad fate is mine
exist. The Gresham Manuscript contains the melody only, written in A minor (and probably dates from mid-1693); this version next appeared in the third edition of Orpheus Britannicus
(1721). The first edition of Orpheus
, however, contained the song in C minor, and it is this setting which is recorded here. Over thirty-one repetitions of a three-bar ground the poet, in a tunefully mournful lament, wonders why everyone else seems to find no trouble in attracting the attentions of his lady-love. To lessen the pain he realizes that either he must love her less, or she must give way and love him more.
from notes by Robert King © 2003