A song from King Arthur, or the British Worthy
, a semi-opera
produced in 1691, with words by John Dryden
and music by Henry Purcell
. It was used as the name of the year-long celebration
by the BBC of Purcell's music in his tercentenary
year of 1995.
Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasure and of love
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian grove.
Cupid from his fav'rite nation
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy, that poisons passion,
And despair, that dies for love.
Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs that blow the fire of love
Soft repulses, kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.
Ev'ry swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful ev'ry nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renown'd for love.