28 April 2022

Ten Poems for National Poetry Month, Number 10: 'April' by Mary Morgan

For the month, the last of ten poems
find interesting, amusing, and/or infuriating.

A final poem for National Poetry Month, 'April' comes from the pen of Mary Morgan, daughter of James and Catherine Morgan, niece of Montreal merchant king Henry Morgan of the Henry Morgan Company. The brief biography included in Types of Canadian Women by Henry James Morgan (no relation, I believe) suggests a life of both privilege and constraint.

cliquez pour agrandir

'April' is found in Poems and Translations (Montreal: J Theo Robinson, 1887), her first volume of verse.


                         Thou balmy April evening,
                              I love thy beauty rare;
                         The clouds obscure the heavens,
                              A star shines here and there.

                         The breath of love is filling
                              The zephyrs as they blow;
                         The fragrance of the violet
                              Is wafted from below.

                         O for a strain of music
                              To suit the pensive hour
                         Some cadence low and tender
                              To lell its soothing power!
The poet identifies 'April' as a translation "from the German of Geibel." I'm unfamiliar with the language, but believe the original to be 'Im April' by Emanuel von Geibel:
                        Du feuchter Fruehlingsabend,
                        Wie hab' ich dich so gern!
                        Der Himmel wolkenverhangen,
                        Nur hie und da ein Stern.

                        Wie leiser Liebesodem
                        Hauchet so lau die Luft,
                        Es steiget aus allen
                        Talen Ein warmer Veilchenduft.

                        Ich moecht' ein Lied ersinnen,
                        Das diesem Abend gleich,
                        Und kann den Klang nicht finden,
                        So dunkel, mild und weich.
Am I right?

My conclusion is based on a translation provided by Google:
                         You damp spring evening,
                         How I like you so much!
                         the sky overcast,
                         Just a star here and there.

                         Like a gentle breath of love
                         breathe so lukewarm the air,
                         It rises from all valleys
                         A warm violet scent.

                         I want to think up a song
                         The same this evening
                         And can't find the sound
                         So dark, mild and soft.
Assuming I am correct, I much prefer Mary Morgan's.

How 'bout you?

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