The fine setting is probably a late composition of Purcell’s and first appeared in Playford’s second book of Orpheus Britannicus
in 1702. The style of the first section is Italianately florid, and the harmony especially rich in colouring the dark sentiments of the anonymous author’s text. Winding melismas abound, emphasizing words such as ‘fatal’, ‘die’, ‘certain misery’, ‘pangs’ and ‘wracks’; the plangent harmony underlying ‘my heart will break’ brings a marvellous sense of desolation to the text. The lilting triple-time arioso ‘Since I for you so much endure’ is ravishing, relishing its melancholy sentiments in gloriously melodic phrases.
from notes by Robert King © 2003