John Dowland (c1563-1626) was the greatest of Tudor lute composers - Folorn Hope Fancy is perhaps his best piece (although Lachrimae was certainly the most famous). Here it is performed by one of my favourite of all musicians Julian Bream with hair raising intensity and profundity. It repays the closest listening.
Dowland's music is nearly all 'melancholic' in that bittersweet Elizabethan-Jacobean way we know from Shakespeare. In my early twenties, I listened to my LPs of Bream's lute music (mostly Dowland) more than to any other composer-performer combination excepting the Glenn Gould - JS Bach combination.
Speaking of Shakespeare; the following sublime passage from The Merchant of Venice matches Dowland for me - since I was enchanted by during my Bream-Dowland era. The occasion was an RSC performance in 1978 - starring, as I now discover, Captain Jean-Luc Picard as Shylock.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn!
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear,
And draw her home with music.