Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




When I am Laid In Earth

by

Henry Purcell



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This aria, which is also known by its popular name, "Dido's Lament," is from the opera Dido and Aeneas by English Baroque composer Henry Purcell, with the libretto by Nahum Tate.
The opera is based on the mythological story of Dido, Queen of Carthage and the Trojan prince Aeneas, and her despair at his abandonment. It is based on Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid but unlike the original story, Purcell throws a couple of witches into the musical pot, who trick the prince into leaving his love. The aria comes at the end of the opera as Dido having been abandoned by Aeneas, flings herself on a funeral pyre.
The first known performance of Dido and Aeneas was at Josias Priest's girls' school in London in the spring of 1689. It was premiered in co-operation with Josias Priest, a dancing master and the choreographer for the Dorset Garden Theatre. Priest's wife kept a boarding school for young gentlewomen, where the opera was debuted.
Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was born in Westminster (now part of London), England. As far as is known he spent his entire life in Westminster. Purcell composed for the church, stage, court, and for private entertainment. Dido and Aeneas was his only true opera. The most original English composer of his time, he merged the Italian and French styles with the English madrigal tradition to create a uniquely English form of Baroque music. Many music scholars believe Purcell was England's greatest composer until Edward Elgar emerged 200 years later.
In 2010 "When I am laid in earth" was named the United Kingdom's favorite aria by listeners to Rob Cowan's breakfast show on BBC Radio 3.
Henry Purcell
More Henry Purcell songs
More songs that refer to mythology
More songs about death

You have to to post comments.
Francesca BattistelliFrancesca Battistelli
The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.
Brad Smith of Blind MelonBrad Smith of Blind Melon
The Blind Melon bassist/songwriter tells the story of "No Rain," which he wrote before the band was formed.
Jon Foreman of SwitchfootJon Foreman of Switchfoot
Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.
They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.