Page:Bürger's Lenore, Rossetti 1900.djvu/8

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6
Prefatory Note

held by Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge, on November 26th, 1899, and was there bought by Mr. Gilbert I. Ellis. On its being shown to me, I adhered to the opinion of my boyhood—that it is a good rendering, far rather than a bad one. I think it perfectly worthy of publication.

This appears to be the first translation (of any sort of importance) that Dante Rossetti ever undertook. In 1842 he had begun the study of German under Dr. Adolf Heimann, of University College, London,—a most kind friend as well as excellent instructor. My brother learned the language pretty well, but not so as to have an absolute and ready mastery over it. No doubt Dr. Heimann must have coached him up to some extent when his juvenile ambition pointed to Lenore. Soon afterwards he translated the Arme Heinrich of Hartmann von Aue—published in 1886 (in his Collected Works) as Henry the Leper; and I need not scruple to say that he made a capital thing of it. In October 1845 he began a version of the Nibelungenlied. It has perished, much to my regret; but, after the unforeseen resuscitation