We purchased this album of Purcell "catch songs", a cantata set to a poem by Abraham Cowley, and an ode to Saint Cecilia at one of the used record stores in Wichita. The LP was from the Musical Heritage Society, the budget mail-order record company, and the music is performed by The Deller Consort. The Musical Heritage Society licensed the material from Harmonia Mundi, which released the recording as a CD. The theme of the album is that composers like Purcell had to be active both in the secular and the sacred world--the "ale-house and the Chapel Royal, as well as the playhouse and the church."
The songs on A side of the LP combine "strict counterpoint and scatological verse", according to Denis Stevens' liner notes, while the B side contains the more serious works, including the setting of Cowley's poem:
Than cleanliness and quiet do require,
If e'er Ambition did my fancy cheat,
With any wish so mean as to be great,
Continue, Heav'n, still from me to remove
The humble blessings of that life I love.
Upon the slipp'ry tops of human state,
The gilded pinnacles of fate,
Let others proudly stand, and for awhile
The giddy danger to beguile,
With joy and with disdain look down on all,
Till their heads turn, and down they fall.
Me, O ye Gods, on earth, or else so near,
That I no fall to earth may fear,
And, O ye gods, at a good distance seat
From the long ruins of the great.
Here wrap'd in the arms of Quiet le me lie;
Quiet, companion of Obscurity.
Here let my life with as much silence slide
As time, that measures it, does glide.
Nor let the breath of Infamy or Fame
From town to town echo about my name,
Nor let my homely death embroider'd be
With scutcheon or with elegy:
An old plebeian let me die.
Alas, all then are such as well as I.
To him, alas, to him, I fear,
The face of Death will terrible appear,
Who in his life flatt'ring his senseless pride
By being known to all the world beside,
Does not himself, when he is dying, know,
Nor what he is, nor whither he's to go.
Abraham Cowley was one of the Metaphysical poets and a friend and admirer of Richard Crashaw. According to this biography: