I feel no small reluctance in venturing to give to the public awork of the character of that indicated by the title-page to thepresent volume; for, difficult as it must always be to rendersatisfactorily into one's own tongue the writings of the bards ofother lands, the responsibility assumed by the translator isimmeasurably increased when he attempts to transfer the thoughtsof those great men, who have lived for all the world and for allages, from the language in which they were originally clothed, toone to which they may as yet have been strangers. Preeminentlyis this the case with Goethe, the most masterly of all the masterminds of modern times, whose name is already inscribed on thetablets of immortality, and whose fame already extends over theearth, although as yet only in its infancy. Scarcely have twodecades passed away since he ceased to dwell among men, yet henow stands before us, not as a mere individual, like those whomthe world is wont to call great, but as a type, as an emblem--therecognised emblem and representative of the human mind in itspresent stage of culture and advancement.。，
Of victory are.。， The principles which have guided me on the present occasion arethe same as those followed in the translation of Schiller'scomplete Poems that was published by me in 1851, namely, asliteral a rendering of the original as is consistent with goodEnglish, and also a very strict adherence to the metre of theoriginal. Although translators usually allow themselves greatlicense in both these points, it appears to me that by so doingthey of necessity destroy the very soul of the work they professto translate. In fact, it is not a translation, but a paraphrasethat they give. It may perhaps be thought that the presenttranslations go almost to the other extreme, and that a renderingof metre, line for line, and word for word, makes it impossibleto preserve the poetry of the original both in substance and insound. But experience has convinced me that it is not so, andthat great fidelity is even the most essential element ofsuccess, whether in translating poetry or prose. It was thereforevery satisfactory to me to find that the principle laid down byme to myself in translating Schiller met with the very general,if not universal, approval of the reader. At the same time, Ihave endeavoured to profit in the case of this, the younger bornof the two attempts made by me to transplant the muse of Germanyto the shores of Britain, by the criticisms, whether friendly orhostile, that have been evoked or provoked by the appearance ofits elder brother.