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Burger's Lenora is acknowledged, by all who are familiar with German poetry, to be the masterpiece of ballads. No composition of the kind in the German, or perhaps any other language, can be compared with it for effect. It is rather remarkable that the works of a poet who was capable of producing it, should be so scanty, and generally of so little value. With the exception of the Wild Huntsman (Wilde Jaeger), another ballad of great power, though not equal to the Lenora, the contents of his little voluine are almost wholly destitute of interest.

There is a fine translation of the Wild Huntsman by Sir Walter Scott. The Lenora has been several times attempted, but without much success. The poem, which is published in Sir Walter's works under the title of William and Helen, though founded upon that of Burger, can hardly be said with propriety to be a translation, or even an imitation of it. It was written by Scott after having heard a friend relate the substance of the ballad, as he had heard it read by a lady in the translation of Mr. Taylor, at the house of Dugald Stewart. That, with so little knowledge of the original, Scott should have approached it as nearly as he did in William and Helen, is a fact which does credit to his memory as well as to that of his relutor. There are, however, great deviations, not only in the language, but in the narration; and the poem, in general, has but little merit.

Among other alterations, Sir Walter has changed the time to that of the Crusades, and the scene from the common walks of life to those of knighthood and romance. This change, as Mr. J. Q. Adams has justly remarked in a letter to the late Dr. Follen, injures the effect. It was a part of the author's plan to give an air of reality to his wild machinery, by placing it among ordinary characters and incidents. For the same reason he makes the langunge, which is exceedingly bold, striking, and poetical, at the same time colloquial and familiar. I have attempted, to the extent of my limited powers, to combine the same classes of characteristics, and also to bring out more distinctly than is done in some of the other translations, the sneering, Mephistopheles tone of the spectre.


At the first sight of dawning light

Lenora left her bed :
"Oh William! William! art thou false

To me, or art thou dead ?"
The youth had gone with Frederic's bands
To fight in far Bohemian lands,
And ne'er had written home, to tell
His love if he were sick or well.


Al length, the king and empress queen,

Quite surfeited with strife,
Resolved to make their quarrel up,

And lead a quiet life;
And both the armies, gaily drest
In garlands green and all their best,
With bugles braying, beat of drum,
And flying colors, hurried home.


And wheresoe'er they took their way,

To meet the joyous rout,
Forth came the people one and all,

From every village out.
“ Thank God !” each grateful mother cried ;
“Thrice welcome, dearest!" many a bride;
A happy meeting seemed in store
For all, except the poor Lenore.


As on they journeyed, troop by troop,

She sought through all the train,
And questioned each, “ Is William here?”

And questioned all in vain.
When now the long parade was o'er,
She stormed, and wept, and wildly tore
Her raven tresses, till the curls
Were scatter'd like a crazy girl's.

Her mother clasped her in her arms,

And kiss'd her o'er and o'er-
“The Lord have mercy on thee, child!

What ails my poor Lenore ?"
“Oh mother! mother! woe is me!
Oh day of blackest misery!
My love is lost; my life is o'er;
God has no mercy for Lenore !"


“Nay, dearest daughter! say not so,

Bui rather pray for grace:
The ways of God are always just,

And full of tenderness.”
“No, mother! no: they are not so:
His ways to me are wrath and wo;
The many prayers I prayed before,
Were all in vain—I'll pray no more!"


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“Oh, dearest child! thy talk is wild,

And thou art mad with grief; Partake the blessed sacrament,

And that will bring relief.” “ No, mother! no: it will not so: No sacrament will cure my wo, Unless the sacramental bread Could raise my William from the dead."

“ Nay, listen, child! perhaps beguiled

By some bright Magyar dame,
Thy faithless spouse has broke his vows

And found another flame.
Then let him go, the treacherous friend !
He'll rue his falsehood in the end:
Tormented for his base desires
Hereafter in eternal fires !"


“Oh, mother dear! he is not here!

Oh most unhappy morn!
Would God that I were in the grave!

That I had ne'er been born!
Oh, would to God that I could be
At once put out of misery,
And never see the day-light more:
God has no mercy for Lenore !"

“Oh, gracious Father! do not heed

The poor unhappy thing!
Her senses have deserted her:

She's mad with suffering!
Dear child! forget these earthly ties,
And think of God and paradise:
That thus the blessed Lord may be
Thy spouse through all eternity.”

XI. “Oh, what care I for future bliss ?

'Tis all an idle dream!
'Tis paradise where William is,

And hell away from him !
Oh, would to God that I could be
At once put out of misery,
And never see the day-light more:
God has no mercy for Lenore !"


Thus, in her transports of despair,

She ventured to deny
The Almighty goodness, and condemn

The ways of the Most High;
Continuing still to rage and moan
All day, until the sun went down,
And night, with starry gems besprent,
Rode darkling up the firmament.


When, hark ! a horseman, tramp! tramp! tramp!

Comes prancing to the door,
And straight alights, with jingling stamp,

Upon the step before.
The door-bell next, with gentle ring,
Is softly sounded, kling-ling-ling,
And, through the passage clearly heard,
Thus spoke the horseman, word for word:

“ What ho! what ho! unlock the door !

Ho! lady bright! awake!
Art fast asleep, or dost thou watch

And weep for William's sake ?"
“Ah, William! thou ? so late at night?
I've watched and wept since morning light:
But tell me, dearest! whence you come,
Alone, at midnight, travelling home.”


“We mount for flight, at dead of night;

Our courser's fleet and black;
I come from far Bohemian lands,

And take you with me back.”
“Nay, William, rest, at least till morn!
The wind blows wildly through the thorn;
Come! rest thee from its loud alarms
Till morning in thy true love's arms."


“Blow high or low! blow sleet or snow !

Blow tempest, rack or rain!
My steed is dight; my time is night:

I must not here remain.
Come! hurry! hurry! don your sack,
And jump upon my charger's back!
We have to ride, my lady bright,
At least a hundred leagues to-night."


“What, William !-ride a hundred leagues

Before the crow of cock ? Already by our village chimes

"Tis past eleven o'clock !"“Past fiddle-stick !-why let it strike! We ride, I tell you, specire-like! I'll bring thee, sweetheart,-never dread !By morning to our marriage bed.”


“Sweet William, say!-this marriage bed !

What is it you intend ?"
“Six boards in length, and one short piece

Across at either end."
“So little room ?"_“ Enough for both!
Come, jump upon my saddle-cloih!
The wedding party is prepared,
And our bed-chamber nicely aired."


Up sprang that lovely maiden then

Upon the steed behind,
And closely in her snowy arms

The darling rider twined.
Then off they go: hurra! hurra!
"Tis gallop! gallop! all the way!

The horse and horseman pant for breath;
The pavement sparkles underneath.


On either side, as on they ride,

Away the houses fly;
The bridges thunder under foot,

The moon is bright on high.
Art frightened, love?-Down dale! up dike!
Hurra! we go it, spectre-like !
Dost fear the spectres, sweetheart ?" “ No!
But, dearest William, talk not so !"


What sound is there upon the air ?

The crows are on the wing;
The passing bell tolls out a knell,

And, lo! the mourners bring
A coffin placed upon a hearse,
And chant a sort of funeral verse,
Much like the wolf's terrific howl,
Or shrieking of the midnight owl.


“ Enough! enough of this vile stuff!

I've other spori in quest!
Iwed to-night my lady bright,

And bid ye to ihe feast.
Come, Chorister! with all your throng,
And warble us the wedding song!
Come on, Sir Parson! we shall need
A blessing for our marriage bed.”


The chant is done ;--the bier is gone;

And, at the horseman's call,
Procession, Parson, Chorister,

They follow, one and all.
Again, a way! hurra! hurra!
'Tis gallop! gallop! all the way!
The horse and horseman pant for breath;
The pavement sparkles underneath.


On either side, as on they ride,

The hills, and everything, Trees, houses, cities, villages,

Are all upon the wing. “Art frightened, love?-Down dale! up

dike! Hurra! we go it, spectre-like! Dost fear ibe specires, sweetheart?" "No! But, dearest William ! talk not so!"


“Stay! stay! I see the gallows tree;

And footing it about,
Half out of sight, by the mocnlight,

An airy rabble rout.
What ho! you rabble! here! come here!
You rabble! to the wedding cheer!
And show us, as we change our rings,
Your pirouettes and pigeon-wings."


The dance is up; the rabble troop

Come after with a rush !
Like whistling breeze through thick pine-trees,

Or through the hazel-bush.
Once inore a way! hurra! hurra!
'Tis gallop! gallop! all the way!
The horse and horseman pant for breath;
The pavement sparkles underneath.


As on they ride, on either side,

The world is hurrying past; Moon, stars, and planets in the sky,

Are hurrying on as fast. “ Art frighiened, love ?-Down dale! up

dike! Hurra! we go it, spectre-like! Dost fear the spectres, sweetheart ?” “No! But, dearest William ! talk not so!"

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