The song cycle consists of four songs, one for each stanza of the following poem by Robert Browning:
I Shall See Her in Three Days
by Robert Browning
So, I shall see her in three days
And just one night, but nights are short,
Then two long hours, and that is morn.
See how I come, unchanged, unworn!
Feel, where my life broke off from thine,
How fresh the splinters keep and fine,—
Only a touch and we combine!
Too long, this time of year, the days!
But nights, at least the nights are short.
As night shows where ger one moon is,
A hand’s-breadth of pure light and bliss,
So life’s night gives my lady birth
And my eyes hold her! What is worth
The rest of heaven, the rest of earth?
O loaded curls, release your store
Of warmth and scent, as once before
The tingling hair did, lights and darks
Outbreaking into fairy sparks,
When under curl and curl I pried
After the warmth and scent inside,
Thro’ lights and darks how manifold—
The dark inspired, the light controlled
As early Art embrowns the gold.
What great fear, should one say, “Three days
That change the world might change as well
Your fortune; and if joy delays,
Be happy that no worse befell!”
What small fear, if another says,
“Three days and one short night beside
May throw no shadow on your ways;
But years must teem with change untried,
With chance not easily defied,
With an end somewhere undescried.”
No fear!—or if a fear be born
This minute, it dies out in scorn.
Fear? I shall see her in three days
And one night, now the nights are short,
Then just two hours, and that is morn.