Dear March, Come In!

(1950)

The sixth song in Copland's Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, "Dear March, Come In!" was orchestrated in 1958.

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(Note that Copland set Dickinson's texts before Thomas Johnson’s 1955 edition of Dickinson’s poems, the first complete and accurate collection, became available. The original version of the poem, with Dickinson's intended punctuation, as well as the version of the poem used by Aaron Copland, are presented below for educational purposes.) --Christie Finn

Dear March, Come In!

After the lyrical and ballad-like quality of the two songs preceding it, "Dear March, Come In!" presents a lively dialogue (in a quick 6/8 meter) between the speaker and the month of March. March is perhaps represented in the "chatter" heard in the piano played between the lines that are sung.

Ruth C. Friedberg states: "The changes in key are integral in portraying the various stages of the visit [between March and the speaker], the first one mirroring a change of place ('come right upstairs') as the melodic line pictorially ascends...The second key change marks the arrival of April, whose knock is also heard in the left hand of the piano part...The final return to the opening F-sharp major brings back the initial joy of March's arrival."

Dickinson perhaps writes of her personal experience of March and the cherishing of the first signs of spring after a long New England winter. She treasures these first signs so much that perhaps she does not wish for the lusty fullness April to come and overpower March's fragility...

--Christie Finn



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Dear March — Come in — (poem 1320) [with Dickinson's intended punctuation]
by Emily Dickinson

Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —

Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
I have so much to tell —

I got your Letter, and the Birds —
The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
But March, forgive me — and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
There was no Purple suitable —
You took it all with you —

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door —
I will not be pursued —
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied —
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame —

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Dear March, Come In! [with punctuation used by composer Aaron Copland, from an earlier "corrected" edition of Dickinson's poetry]

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat -
You must have walked -
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the bird's;
The maples never knew
That you were coming, - I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me -
And all those hills
You left for me to hue,
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? that April?
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
And blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.

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