Over Purcell’s hypnotically repeating ground bass the author joyfully and triumphantly celebrates his conquest in love. But suddenly an unexpected foe is spotted: ‘Bold Honour’. The composer’s musical depiction of this invisible enemy – ‘Noisy nothing, stalking shade’ – is particularly imaginative, as is the slinky harmony of ‘By what witchcraft wert thou made’. But our lover is not to be defeated, and vows to ‘find out counter charms’ to remove his new, invisible opponent. Scheming to ‘rid myself of thee’ Purcell’s harmony is deliciously blue. The poet will defeat Honour, and capture this lady, at night.
from notes by Robert King © 2003