TO THE COUNTESS GRANVILLE
MY DEAR LADY GRANVILLE,--
THE reluctance which must naturally be felt by any one in
venturing to give to the world a book such as the present, where
the beauties of the great original must inevitably be diminished,
if not destroyed, in the process of passing through the
translator's hands, cannot but be felt in all its force when that
translator has not penetrated beyond the outer courts of the
poetic fane, and can have no hope of advancing further, or of
reaching its sanctuary.
But it is to me a subject of peculiar
satisfaction that your kind permission to have your name
inscribed upon this page serves to attain a twofold end--one
direct and personal, and relating to the present day; the other
reflected and historical, and belonging to times long gone by.
the first little need now be said, for the privilege is wholly
mine, in making this dedication: as to the second, one word of
explanation will suffice for those who have made the greatest
poet of Germany, almost of the world, their study, and to whom
the story of his life is not unknown.
All who have followed the
career of GOETHE are familiar with the name and character of
DALBERG, and also with the deep and lasting friendship that
existed between them, from which SCHILLER too was not absent; recalling
to the mind the days of old, when a Virgil and a Horace and a Maecenas
sat side by side.
Remembering, then, the connection that, in a former century,
was formed and riveted between your illustrious ancestor and him
whom it is the object of these pages to represent, I deem it a happy
augury that the link then established finds itself not
wholly severed even now (although its strength may be
immeasurably weakened in the comparison), inasmuch as this page
brings them once more in contact, the one in the person of his own
descendant, the other in that of the translator of his Poems.
Believe me, with great truth,
Very faithfully yours,
London, April, 1853.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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