While Rossi wrote hundreds of secular cantatas, mostly settings of various love poems, he also wrote a handful (15) of spiritual works, varyingly classified as oratorios or cantatas. Most of these, like this work, deal with the ephemerality of human desires and urge humans instead to turn their thoughts and deeds to Heaven. (Rossi also occasionally used the same theme in his secular works, such as the Lamento della Regina di Svezia.)
The structure of the text, with its regular line structure, recurring refrain, and repeated moral, resembles the frottolas of the Renaissance, but the writing is thoroughly contemporary. It combines elements of recitative, arioso, and aria, and uses irregular rhythms to accentuate the text and its meaning. Rossi also used melismas more frequently for the sake of ornamentation, as in the "quanto" (whatever) that ends the verses, than for word painting, though he still uses this to depict the fleeting nature of worldly goods, such as in the phrase "con rapido pie fa dipartita" (departs with a rapid step), and in the same verse, he repeats the notes for "fermezza" (steadiness.) The accompaniment, too, varies between a secco, simple chordal recitative line and a more intricate counterpoint.