And is my Cavalier return'd?
for soprano (d'-b''), two recorders and continuo
The present piece, And is my Cavalier return'd? (which has the heading A SONG with FLUTES), is among those many songs in Amphion Anglicus, and is unusual in having recorders as the obbligato instruments. It is possible that they were intended to remind the listener of the military sound of fifes.
To speculate on which campaign the 'Cavalier' is due to return from, brings a salutary reminder of the politically troubled times that Blow lived in. Had Myrtilla's beau been slogging it out in Ulster in July 1690 against James II’s rebel army, or perhaps in Flanders' field in the summer of 1691 against the French? The reference to 'barbarous Sun and Dust' is a reminder that planned campaigns usually took place in summer.
After a brief instrumental introduction the voice and recorders alternate in a sort of dialogue. After voice and instruments have portrayed Myrtilla's trembling, the war is suggested in clarion like arpeggios and trumpet calls, before a final rhythmic passage for voice alone as Myrtilla entices her beloved to winter with her.