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