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How delightful's the life of an innocent swain, Z373

author of text

This appears in a manuscript collection (British Museum Add. 29397), not in Purcell’s hand, collated from around 1682 to 1690. The text was by Abraham Cowley (1618–1667), the leading English poet of his time who had been responsible for introducing the irregular Pindaric Ode form which was later taken up by Dryden and others. Unlike the two sacred devotional songs of Cowley’s that Purcell set, whose texts were full of destruction and bloodthirsty sentiments, this poem could hardly be more innocent, outlining the carefree existence of a young rustic lover. Purcell’s setting gives the two tuneful verses to a solo soprano, who is joined in the chorus by a bass.

from notes by Robert King © 2003


Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 2
CDA66720Last few CD copies remainingDownload currently discounted
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/33CDs Boxed set (at a special price)


Track 21 on CDA66720 [2'19] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 21 on CDS44161/3 CD2 [2'19] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDS44161/3 disc 2 track 21

Recording date
23 March 1994
Recording venue
Orford Church, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 2 (CDA66720)
    Disc 1 Track 21
    Release date: May 1994
    Last few CD copies remaining
  2. Purcell: The complete secular solo songs (CDS44161/3)
    Disc 2 Track 21
    Release date: November 2003
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

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