Purcell and his wife

Henry Purcell (1659-95) was perhaps the greatest English composer ever.


They say his wife in anger locked him out
and caused his death. It is not so.
She had no reason to, she loved her husband,
he had given her five children,
but he was always late and overworking,
and her order was not quite exemplary.
When he caught that cold that autumn night
and found himself locked out from home,
the whole house sleeping,
she had probably just acted on routine
with no intention to obstruct her husband,
whom she loved and served – it was a happy marriage.
There would not have been five children else.
And Henry Purcell was, alas, a workoholic,
the first genius of that kind in music,
followed later by too many others,
young divine creative artists
working themselves fiercely to death
before they reached their forties,
like Franz Schubert, Mozart, Mendelssohn
and far too many others.
Purcell died at thirty-six but had produced
in only fifteen years of music labour
thirty-two outstanding volumes of impressive music.
Bach made fifty, Handel hundred, for comparison,
so one can imagine what our Purcell would have come to
as the greatest music genius of his age
if he had just been home in time for bed
before his wife unfortunately locked the door
and locked him out of contrary neglect.


© aurelio 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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What about Elgar? 😉
I’m afraid a lot of the past masters have been forgotten…


I have learned such a lot from reading this poem – it has been a very interesting read.


I can see a long list of readers favourites building up. Your musical knowledge is clearly extensive, and I do like the way you ‘hook’ your stories around the wives. I’m sure there are others like me who are waiting to see who’s next.

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