‘King Arthur’ is a semi-opera in five acts with music by Henry Purcell and a libretto by John Dryden. The plot is based on the battles between King Arthur's Britons and the Saxons, rather than the legends of Camelot. ‘King Arthur’ is a 'restoration spectacular' including such supernatural characters as Cupid and Venus plus references to the Germanic gods of the Saxons, Woden, Thor, and Freya. The tale centres on Arthur's endeavours to recover his fiancée, the blind Cornish Princess Emmeline, who has been abducted by his arch-enemy, the Saxon King Oswald of Kent.
At the end of the first act The Britons sing (tenor and choir) a song of triumph as the Saxons flee the battlefield: ‘Come if you dare’.