The Poems of Heine: Complete Heinrich Heine

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The Poems of Heine: Complete  by  Heinrich Heine

The Poems of Heine: Complete by Heinrich Heine
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HEINKIOH HEINE.ALTHOUGH little more than three years have elapsed **• since Heinrich Heine was first numbered amongst the dead - his name has long been enrolled in the lists of fame. Even during his lifetime he had the good fortune,—and, in a poet, the most unusual good fortune,—of being generally accepted as a ^Representative Man, and of passing as the National Bard of Young Germany.

Although perhaps scarcely entitled to rank with Goethe and Schiller in the very highest order of poets, the name of Heine will assuredly always occupy a prominent place amongst the minstrels not only of Germany, but of the world.It is only recently that his works have been for the first time published in an absolutely complete form, the poetry extending over more than two of the six volumes of which they consist.

Universally known and read in his native land, and highly popular in France, which was for so many years his adopted country, the works of Heine are to the generality of Englishmen (as stated in the Preface) almost entirely unknown.

As the present volume is, as far as I am aware, the only attempt that has been made to bring the far-famed poems of Heine in their integrity before the English reader,* it seems desirable to preface it by a brief sketch of his life, so that in seeing what Heine is as a poet, we may be able to form some idea as to who he was as a man. One who has been compared in turns to Aristophanes, Kabelais, Burns, Cervantes, Sterne, Jean Paul, Voltaire, Swift, Byron, and Beranger* I believe that a translation of one of Heines works—his Book of Songs —was published in this country a few years ago, but I have not met with it.

An American version of the Pictures of Travel also appeared in 1855.(and to all these has he been likened), can lie of no common stamp. The discrepancies both as to facts and dates that occur between the various biographies of Heine are, however, so numerous, that it has been no easy task to avoid error in the following brief sketch of his life.Heinrich (or Henry) Heine was born in the Bolkerstrasse, at Dusseldorf, on the 12th of December, 1799 - but, singularly enough, the exact date of his birth was, until recently, unknown to his biographers, who, on the authority of a saying of his own, assigned it to the 1st of January, 1800, which he boasted made him the first man of the century.

In reply, however, to a specific inquiry addressed to him by a friend on this subject a few years before his death, he stated that he was really born on the day first mentioned, and that the date of 1800 usually given by his biographers was the result of an error voluntarily committed by his family in his favour at the time of the Prussian invasion, in order to exempt him from the service of the king of Prussia.By birth he was a Jew, both of his parents having been of that persuasion. He was the eldest of four children, and his two brothers are (or were recently) still alive, the one being a physician in Eussia, and the other an officer in the Austrian service.

The famous Solomon Heine, the banker of Hamburg, whose wealth was only equalled by his philanthropy, was his uncle. His father, however, was far from being in opulent circumstances. When quite a child, he took delight in reading Don Quixote, and used to cry with anger at seeing how ill the heroism of that valiant knight was requited. He says somewhere, speaking of his boyish days, apple-tarts were then my passion. Now it is love, truth, freedom, and •crab-soup.

He received his earliest education at tbo Franciscan convent in his native town, and while there had the misfortune to be the innocent cause of the death by drowning of a schoolfellow, an incident recorded in one of the poems in his Komancero.



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