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· A DRAMATIC POEM.
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE, WITH NOTES,
A. HAYWARD, Esq.
EDWARD MOXON, DOVER STREET.
SECOND EDITION OF THE TRANSLATION.
In this Edition much of the matter has been rearranged, the Notes are augmented by about a third, and an Appendix of some length has been annexed. The translation itself was found to require only a few verbal corrections ; yet even as regards the translation, I lay the work before the public with much more confidence than formerly, both on account of the trying ordeal it has passed through, and the many advantages I have enjoyed in revising it.
It is singular (and to the student of German literature at once cheering and delightful) to see the interest which Germans of the cultivated class take in the fame of their great authors, and most particularly of Goethe. They seem willing to undergo every sort of labour to convey to foreigners a just impression of his excellence ; and many German gentlemen have voluntarily undertaken the irksome task of verifying
my translation word for word by the original. The amateurs of German literature in this country, also, partake of the same spirit of enthusiasm, and I have received many valuable suggestions in consequence. My German friends will find that I have retained a few expressions objected to by them, but they must do me the justice to remember that they are as likely to err from not knowing the full force of an English idiom, as I am from not knowing the full force of a German
Another fertile source of improvement has been afforded me by the numerous critical notices of my work.
Besides these advantages, I have recently (1833) paid another visit to Germany, during which I had the pleasure of talking over the puzzling parts of the poem with many of the most eminent living writers and artists, and some of Goethe's intimate friends and connexions. Among those, for instance, whom I have to thank for the kindest and most flattering reception, are Tieck, von Chamisso,* Franz Horn, the Baron de la Motte Fouqué, Dr. Hitzig, Retzsch, and Madame de Goethe. M. Varnhagen von Ense, and Dr. Eckermann of Weimar (names associated by more than one relation with Goethe's), whom I unfortunately missed seeing, have each favoured me with suggestions or notes. I think, therefore, I may now venture to say, that the notes to this edition contain the sum of all that can be asserted with confidence as to the allusions and passages which have been made the subject of controversy.
* The real author of Peter Schlémil, most unaccountably attributed by the English translator to De la Motte Fouqué.
+ President of the Literary Society of Berlin,
I have no desire to prolong the discussion as to the comparative merit of
and metrical translations ; but, to prevent renewed misconstruction, I take this opportunity of briefly restating my views.
Here (it may be said) is a poem, which, in addition to the exquisite charm of its versification, is supposed to abound in philosophical notions and practical maxims of life, and to have a great moral object in view. It is written in a language comparatively unfettered by rule, presenting great facilities for the composition of words, and, by reason of its ductile qualities, naturally, as it were, and idiomatically adapting itself to every variety of versification. The author is a man whose genius inclined (as his proud position authorised) him to employ the licence thus enjoyed by the writers of his country to the full, and in the compass of this single production he has managed to introduce almost every conceivable description of metre and rhythm. The translator of such a work into English, a language strictly subjected to that “ literary legislation,"'* from which it is the present (perhaps idle) boast of Germany to be free, is obviously in this dilemma : he must sacrifice either metre or meaning; and in a poem which it is not uncommon to hear referred to in evi
* Mühlenfel's Lecture.