Sleep, Poor Youth

Dublin Core

Title

Sleep, Poor Youth

Genre

Voices

Description

The words of this piece first appeared in 1694 in a play by Thomas D'Urfey called "The Comical History of Don Quixote". Purcell was amongst the distinguished musicians who contributed music; this song was set by John Eccles. The sentiment is similar to the rather better-known "Fear No More the Heat o' the Sun" from Shakespeare's "Cymbeline": tragic though the death of this youth is, so the sentiment goes, some consolation might be drawn from the fact that the trials and tribulations of this world ("tyrant power", "scornful beauty", or "wars that do fatal storms disperse") can trouble him no longer. "Earthquakes that shake the universe / Can't rock thee into sounder sleep" is the ironic comment, and the piece ends as only such songs can: with a reminder that all must come to this, when "the folly of the farce is done".

Creator

Smith

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