1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hölty, Ludwig Heinrich Christoph

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HÖLTY, LUDWIG HEINRICH CHRISTOPH (1748-1776), German poet, was born on the 21st of December 1748 at the village of Mariensee in Hanover, where his father was pastor. In 1769 he went to study theology at Göttingen. Here he formed a close friendship with J. M. Miller, J. H. Voss, H. Boie, the brothers Stolberg and others, and became one of the founders of the famous society of young poets known as the Göttinger Dichterbund or Hain. When in 1774 he left the university he had abandoned all intention of becoming a clergyman; but he was not destined to enter any other profession. He died of consumption on the 1st of September 1776 at Hanover. Hölty was the most gifted lyric poet of the Göttingen circle. He was influenced both by Uz and Klopstock, but his love for the Volkslied and his delight in nature preserved him from the artificiality of the one poet and the unworldliness of the other. A strain of melancholy runs through all his lyrics. His ballads are the pioneers of the rich ballad literature on English models, which sprang up in Germany during the next few years. Among his most familiar poems may be mentioned Üb' immer Treu' und Redlichkeit, Tanzt dem schönen Mai entgegen, Rosen auf dem Weg gestreut, and Wer wollte sich mit Grillen plagen?

Hölty's Gedichte were published by his friends Count Friedrich Leopold zu Stolberg and J. H. Voss (Hamburg, 1783); a new edition, enlarged by Voss, with a biography (1804); a more complete but still imperfect edition by F. Voigts (Hanover, 1857). The first complete edition was that of Karl Halm (Leipzig, 1870), who had access to MSS. not hitherto known. See H. Ruete, Hölty, sein Leben und Dichten (Guben, 1883), and A. Sauer, Der Göttinger Dichterbund, vol. ii. (Stuttgart, 1894), where an excellent selection of Hölty's poetry will be found.