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Early Life

He was born in Gräfenhainichen a few miles southwest of Wittenberg in the direction of Halle on March 12th in the year 1607 probably. In this small town, of the electorate of Saxony, which was surrounded by a high mediaeval wall, Paul Gerhardt spent the first fifteen years of his life. His father, Christian Gerhardt, was burgomaster of Gräfenhainichen where the citizens earned their living by cattle-raising, agriculture and hopgrowing. His mother was Dorothea Starke, granddaughter of Gallas Döbler, a Lutheran pastor. Both of his parents died probably when he was very young; and of his many brothers and sisters little is known.

At the age of fifteen having passed the examinations and being especially well prepared in Latin Gerhardt entered the Fürstenschule at Grimma. The school was noted for its pious atmosphere and stern discipline: its chief aim was to inculcate in the pupils "Gottesfurcht und gute Sitte."

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