Turn Amaryllis to thy swain, Glee
Brewer, Thomas (1611-1660)
A glee is an English type of part song spanning the late baroque, classical and early romantic periods. It is usually scored for at least three voices, and generally intended to be sung unaccompanied. Glees often consist of a number of short, musically contrasted movements and their texts can be convivial, fraternal, idyllic, tender, philosophical or even (occasionally) dramatic. Their respectable and artistic character contrasts with the bawdiness of many catches of the late 15th century, which made glees appropriate in female company. Although most glees were originally written to be sung in gentlemen's singing clubs, they often included soprano parts—which were sung by boys (church choristers) in earlier years, and later by ladies who were often present as guests. Glees as described above fall into a different musical category from traditional college songs or fight songs.
The first song to be described as a glee was Turn, Amaryllis, to thy Swain by Thomas Brewer. Glees were occasionally produced during the remainder of the 17th century and increasingly so in the first half of the 18th century by such composers as John Travers and William Hayes. The heyday of the glee was in the years between 1750 and 1850.