Page:Bürger's Lenore, Rossetti 1900.djvu/13

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11
Prefatory Note

the Poet Laureate, and by J. T. Stanley, nearly contemporaneous with Spencer's. The Laureate was not extremely faithful to his original in substance, and not at all in metre; and I think his version hardly as good as the average of others. Stanley might pass muster tolerably enough, were it not that he has stupidly added to the ballad a long tag of his own, turning the whole affair into a dream. The famous designer Retzsch made a series of outlines to Lenore, published at Leipsic in 1840, with the text in German, and likewise in an English rendering by F. Shoberl. Of all the translations that I have seen, this is the faithfullest. The metre is correctly followed, and the diction comes as close as one could demand. Many lines however are very poor, from a poetic or literary point of view. What could be more miserable than

"What ho! the dead can nimbly fly—"

instead of

"Hurrah! die Todten reiten schnell"?

As will be seen, all the translations of which I have as yet spoken were produced before that of Dante Rossetti. The following two are of later date. In 1847 Mrs. Julia