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TO THE READER.
THESE two Translations, Meister's Apprenticeship and Meister's Travels, have long been out of print, but never altogether out of demand; nay, it
the originally somewhat moderate demand has gone on in. creasing, and continues to increase. They are therefore here republished; and the one being in some sort a sequel to the other, though in rather unexpected sort, they are now printed together. The English version of Meister's Travels has been extracted, or extricated, from a Compilation of very various quality named German Romance; and placed by the side of the Apprenticeship, its forerunner, which, in the translated as in the ori. ginal state, appeared hitherto as a separate work.
In the Apprenticeship, the first of these Translations, which was executed some fifteen years ago, under questionable auspices, I have made many little changes; but could not, unfortunately, change it into a right translation: it hung, in many places, stiff and laboured, too like some unfortunate buckram cloak round the light harmonious movement of the ori. ginal ; and, alas, still hangs so, here and there; and may now hang. In the second Translation, Meister's Travels, two years later in date, I have changed little or nothing: I might have added much; for the original, since that time, was as it were taken to pieces by the Author himself in his last years, and constructed anew; and in the Final Edition of his works appears with multifarious intercalations, giving a great expansion both of size and, of scope. Not Pedagogy only, and Husbandry and Art and Religion and Human Conduct in the Nineteenth Century, but Geology, Astronomy, Cotton-spinning, Metallurgy, Anatomical Lecturing, and much else, are typically shadowed forth in this second form of the Travels ; which, however, continues a Fragment like the first, significantly pointing on all hands towards infinitude; not more complete than the first was, or indeed perhaps less so. It will well reward the trustful student of Goethe to read this new form of the Travels; and see how in that great mind, beaming in mildest mellow splendour, beaming if also trembling, like a great sun on the verge of the horizon, near now to its long farewell, all these things were illuminated and illustrated: but for the mere English reader there are probably in our prior edition of the Travels already novelties enough; for us, at all events, it seemed unadvisable to meddle with it farther at present.
Goethe's position towards the English Public is greatly altered since these Translations first made their appearance. Criticisms, near the mark,