'I Puritani' (The Puritans) is the last opera by Vincenzo Bellini. It is situated in England during the English Civil War in 1640. The aria 'Ah! Per sempre io ti perdei' is sung in the first act by Ricardo: At daybreak, the Puritan soldiers anticipate victory over the Royalists. Riccardo had been promised Elvira's hand in marriage by Lord Valton but, returning to Plymouth, he finds that she is in love with Arturo (a Royalist), and will marry him instead. He confides in Bruno (Ah! Per sempre...).