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Cupid, the slyest rogue alive, Z367

The Theatre of Music II, 1685
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translator of text

Cupid, the slyest rogue alive is an anonymous translation of the nineteenth Idyllium of Theocritus; Purcell’s setting was published in 1685 in Playford’s second volume of The Theatre of Music. The composer turns the poem into a mini-cantata which (taken at its most literal) tells of the occasion on which Cupid got a taste of his own medicine when stung by a bee. Behind the immediate text lies a mass of subtleties and double entendres, and in the music as many neat illustrations. Cupid’s expectations of finding honey are dashed down the scale when instead he is ‘prick’d’. His reaction to the sting is wonderfully captured in Purcell’s jerky rhythms. The little boy rushes to his mother (the goddess Venus) whose moral reply to his ‘see, mother, see How it has gor’d and wounded me’ is less than sympathetic.

from notes by Robert King © 2003


Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 3
CDA66730Archive Service
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/3Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only


Track 17 on CDA66730 [2'26] Archive Service
Track 17 on CDS44161/3 CD3 [2'26] Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only

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