When Samuel Beckett was asked to comment in the July 1934 Criterion on J. B. Leishmann’s translation of Rilke’s Poems, Ruby Cohn writes in A Beckett Canon, he spent about three-quarters of his essay on Rilke’s poems themselves, and the remainder on the translation. “He approves of neither.” “‘Keine Vision von fremden Ländern,’” Beckett laments, “blossoms forth as ‘No dream of surf on southern coast-lines glancing,’ ‘Lieder’ is promoted to ‘blithe songs’ and the competent hysteria of ‘Männer und Frauen; Männer, Männer, Frauen / Und Kinder. . . .’ [is] made presentable as ‘Men, women, women, men in blacks and grays, / And children with their bright diversity. . . .’”. Beckett ends his essay. These “men in blacks and grays” and “children with their bright diversity” always make me smile.
Beckett's essay is to be found in Disjecta.