The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation (Henry Purcell)

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  • (Posted 2015-03-06)  CPDL #34740:        (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2015-03-06).   Score information: Letter, 7 pages, 469 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transposed down a semitone from c-minor. Keyboard realization included.
  • (Posted 2015-03-05)  CPDL #34737:          (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2015-03-05).   Score information: Letter, 7 pages, 465 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Original clef c-minor.

General Information

Title: The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation "Tell me, some pitying angel", Z. 196
Composer: Henry Purcell
Lyricist: Nahum Tate

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Soprano solo
Genre: SacredSacred song

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published:
Description: Apt for Holy Family

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Tell me, some pitying angel tell, quickly say,
Where does my soul's sweet darling stay?
In tiger's, or more cruel Herod's way?
O! rather let his little footsteps press
Unregarded through the wilderness,
Where milder savages resort:
The desert's safer than a tyrant's court.
Why, fairest object of my love,
Why dost thou from my longing eyes remove?
Was it a waking dream that did foretell
Thy wondrous birth? no vision from above?
Where's Gabriel now that visited my cell?
I call Gabriel, he comes not; flatt'ring hopes, farewell.

Me Judah's daughters once caress'd,
Call'd me of mothers the most bless'd;
Now fatal change of mothers most distress'd.
How shall my soul its motions guide,
How shall I stem various tide,
Whilst faith and doubt my lab'ring thoughts divide?
For whilst of thy dear sight beguil'd,
I trust the God, but oh!
I fear the child.