Poetry affected Benjamin Britten's musical ability and style of his composition.
Friendships and collaborations with writers - Auden and Forster among them - left their mark.
Arguably, no other composer of songs, not even Schubert or Shumann, set poems of such range and quality.
All the 360 poems Britten set are included in this book.
They range from Donne's complex "Holy Sonnets" to the deceptive simplicity of Blake's "Oh rose thou art sick".
They include anonymous ballads, modern work and poems in other languages (with translations).
Full details of the source and use of each poem are given.