"McColley's genuine love of the music and texts she examines is a persistent undercurrent in this book, and her willingness to submit her ideas to the scrutiny of a variety of specialists--even when, as in the opening chapter, her conclusions might seem a bit unoriginal, and her insights mostly on a local level--is laudable. Herein, I would submit lies the greatest value of this work for musicologists, and ultimately it is this quality that determines the success of McColley's endeavor. Reading the final pages, with their apostrophe to organs and parish choirs, one becomes aware tht McColley's book is, in a way, her own "song": an intensely personal statement from a respected scholar, and a compelling demonstration of the extent to which an ear for music and an ear for poetry can be mutually enriching." Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music
"...this book unquestionably enables us to "listen" to the seventeenth-century poets with greatly increased appreciation." Journal of English and Germanic Philology
This study explores the relationship between the poetic language of Donne, Herbert, Milton and other British poets of the seventeenth century, and the choral music and part-songs of composers including Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Weelkes, and Tomkins. McColley combines close readings of particular poems and musical compositions with engagement in historical controversy about the significance of the arts, their relation to politics, and the reliability of language.