The New International Encyclopædia/Herwegh, Georg

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HERWEGH, hĕr'vắK, Georg (1817-75). A German poet. He was born at Stuttgart; was educated there and at Maulbronn, forsook theology, which he had begun to study, for literature, and returned to Stuttgart, where he coöperated in Lewald's Europa. In 1841 he was living in Switzerland and published Gedichte eines Lebendigen (last ed. 1896), political poetry full of the unrest, the dissatisfaction with the existing conditions, and the uncertainty as to what should take its place, that marked the period. These fervent effusions became immensely popular, so that when, after a short trip to Paris, Herwegh journeyed through Germany in 1842, he was greeted with enthusiasm everywhere. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. gave him an audience, and assured him that he liked nothing better than an energetic opposition. But the young man overstepped all the bounds of conventionality in a letter to the King, and was hurried out of Prussia. At Zurich he found no pleasant reception, and he took up his abode in Paris, and wrote a second volume of Gedichte eines Lebendigen (1844). In this his republican tendencies were more plain than ever, but his inspiration seemed weaker. He translated all of Lamartine into German (1843-44). After the Revolution of February, 1848, Herwegh made several attempts to carry out his republican ideas by invading Baden at the head of a legion of German and French workingmen, but was defeated by the Württemberg troops, and escaped only through the bravery of his wife. Thereafter he lived in retirement in Paris, and later in Zürich and at Lichtenthal, near Baden-Baden. The most important work of his later years was the translation of many of Shakespeare's plays. Consult Marcel Herwegh, Briefe von und an Georg Herwegh (Zurich, 1896).