“The subject of them is for the most part amorous …” (“To the Reader”, A Booke of Ayres, 1601)
In 1986, Christopher Wilson, reviewing “Three Books on English Song”, wrote of the “recent spate of books and articles” about (early) music and Elizabethan lyric poetry (Wilson, p.326). Central to much of this discussion was Thomas Campion, whose “ayres” and other works were the subject of full length studies by Ratcliffe (1981), Lindley (1986), Davis (1987), and Wilson himself in 1989.
What led to this level of critical engagement in the 1980’s, much reduced since then, can be surmised. In the 1970’s, performance of early music was in its first maturity, led in the UK by “The …
Booth, Roy. "Thomas Campion's English Poetry and Music". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 October 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35064, accessed 25 February 2017.]