Page:Bürger's Lenore, Rossetti 1900.djvu/14

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12
Prefatory Note

Margaret Cameron (the same lady, a valued friend of mine, who afterwards produced a considerable impression by her splendid pictorial-looking photographs) published an ornamental volume—her own rendering of Lenore, accompanied by steel-engravings after Maclise. Between the translation and the designs there is an odd discrepancy; for the former is correct to the date indicated by Bürger, whereas the latter are mediæval. Mrs. Cameron, in her preface, seems to suppose that her rendering is a strictly faithful one, but I can only say that she was mistaken: she does not stick close to the terms of her original, and she wholly discards its metre. In 1855 there was a translation by John Oxenford, a good German scholar: it is however rather an adaptation than a translation, being done to serve as the words for a cantata by G. A. Macfarren produced at a Birmingham Festival. There are yet other versions of Lenore, known to me little or not at all: the reader may perhaps opine that I have already mentioned quite enough.

Of all the translations with which I am acquainted, the best, I venture to think, is the one which Dante Rossetti wrote at the age of sixteen. I say it without hesitation,