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Purcell is wonderfully responsive to the text, expressively illustrating the elegance of Corinna, whose shape is ‘easy’ and ‘soft her air’. But this paragon of beauty has, to Purcell’s author, wasted her charms and ‘sullied’ her looks, for she ‘threw’ her own heart away. In the second stanza, lilting in its triple metre, the poet likens her wasting her ‘treasure’ to exotic Eastern delicacies whose subtle flavours are lost before they can reach our shores – an imaginative way of an author truculantly expressing his jealousy that someone else has proved to be the lucky one!
from notes by Robert King © 2003
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