Thursday, August 05, 2004

"Pleasures both of eye and ear"


As I type, I am listening to the music of Henry Purcell, an album called Music For A While. Purcell flourished during the English Restoration that I write about in this week's Musing.

"If music be the food of love, Sing on, till I am fill'd with joy," sings the sporano. "In yonder cowslip lies my dear, Entomb'd in liquid gems of dew," sings another soprano voice. What a contrast with the preceding puritanical theocracy of Oliver Cromwell!

Love is in the air, and in the aires. Nature blushes in all of its beauty. "Thus ev'ry happy, happy thing revels in the cheerful spring."

Here is the musical counterpart of the religious tolerance, artistic vivacity and intellectual freedom encouraged by Charles II, which sparked a renaissance of scientific thought.