This song was first published in the fourth book of Choice Ayres and Songs
in 1683. Although words were not given separately in the bass part, Purcell’s repeated notes and matching rhythms in the accompaniment suggest that a bass singer might have joined the soprano. In a strophic song Strephon, a stock pastoral figure, complains to Coelia that she is resisting all his advances, even when he takes the radical step (we may hope only symbolically) of trying to attract at least her pity by drawing his own blood.
from notes by Robert King © 2003