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Friedrich von Logau

Certainly Friedrich von Logau, who may be regarded as the beginner of the epigrammatic and didactic poetry, which continued to be so popular in Germany for the next hundred years, has far more thought and vigour of expression than most who followed in his footsteps.


He was born in 1604, of one of the most ancient and noble families in Silesia; his estates lay in that province; he was privy councillor to the Duke of Brieg and Liegnitz; he was a member of the Fruit-bearing Society, and died in 1655. Few as these facts are, they at least make us understand how closely all the tumults of the war must have touched him, and how he nevertheless found time and thought for literary work. And his poems give the same picture,--of a man of strong and original genius, honest and downright, deeply interested in the questions of the day; loving his country, hating foreigners, and the war which benefited none but the foreign mercenaries; longing for a domestic country-life, and mourning over the desolation of his own paternal inheritance. He is distinguished in satire and epigram, and his principal work is a collection of more than three thousand epigrams and aphorisms in verse which were published first in 1639, and afterwards in 1654 under the title of "Three Thousand German Proverbs and Poems, by Solomon of Golaw." Some of these are rough and unpolished in form, but most have force and clear strong sense, and his influence on the writers of his own time was marked. In the next century Lessing again drew attention to his works, and he has ever since ranked among the most important writers of this period.

Logau's poems are chiefly secular, but he also composed a number of religious aphorisms, which were printed in a separate volume in 1704, and all his writings are imbued with a spirit of unaffected manly piety. it is to him we owe those sayings which Mr. Longfellow has made familiar to us, especially that profound one:

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