I sank to earth; "I long have worshipp'd thee;Thou gav'st me rest, when passions rack'd the boy,
Among the infinitely varied effusions of Goethe's pen, perhapsthere are none which are of as general interest as his Poems,which breathe the very spirit of Nature, and embody the realmusic of the feelings. In Germany, they are universally known,and are considered as the most delightful of his works. Yet inthis country, this kindred country, sprung from the same stem,and so strongly resembling her sister in so many points, they arenearly unknown. Almost the only poetical work of the greatestPoet that the world has seen for ages, that is really andgenerally read in England, is Faust, the translations of whichare almost endless; while no single person has as yet appeared toattempt to give, in an English dress, in any collective orsystematic manner, those smaller productions of the genius ofGoethe which it is the object of the present volume to lay beforethe reader, whose indulgence is requested for its manyimperfections. In addition to the beauty of the language in whichthe Poet has given utterance to his thoughts, there is a depth ofmeaning in those thoughts which is not easily discoverable atfirst sight, and the translator incurs great risk of overlookingit, and of giving a prosaic effect to that which in the originalcontains the very essence of poetry. It is probably thisdifficulty that has deterred others from undertaking the task Ihave set myself, and in which I do not pretend to do more thanattempt to give an idea of the minstrelsy of one so unrivalled,by as truthful an interpretation of it as lies in my power.