What shall I your true love tell?
is a fine song. Over a bare accompaniment a dying girl is asked what messages she has for her absent beloved, and her desperate struggles to reply are clearly expressed in the music. Once again Bridge has changed a word in the poem, writing in verse two ‘believe’ for Francis Thompson’s ‘conceive’; in this case the change is not an improvement. In stanza five ‘speaking-while is scant’ means ‘there is little time left to speak’, and a ‘postulant’ is a candidate, usually used in connection with entrance to the nun’s vocation, both these ideas indicating the nearness of death.
from notes by Michael Pilkington © 1997