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Fleming, Paul

FLEMING, PAUL (1609-1640), German poet, was born at Hartenstein in the Saxon Erzgebirge, on the 5th of October 1609, the son of the village pastor. At the age of fourteen he was sent to school at Leipzig and subsequently studied medicine at the university. Driven away by the troubles of the Thirty Years' War, he was fortunate enough to become attached to an embassy despatched in 1634 by Duke Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp to Russia and Persia, and to which the famous traveller Adam Olearius was secretary. In 1639 the mission returned to Reval, and here Fleming, having become betrothed, determined to settle as a physician. He proceeded to Leiden to procure a doctor's diploma, but died suddenly at Hamburg on his way home on the 2nd of April 1640.

Though belonging to the school of Martin Opitz, Fleming is distinguished from most of his contemporaries by the ring of genuine feeling and religious fervour that pervades his lyric poems, even his occasional pieces. In the sonnet, his favourite form of verse, he was particularly happy. Among his religious poems the hymn beginning "In allen meinen Taten lass ich den Höchsten raten" is well known and widely sung.

Fleming's Teutsche Poëmata appeared posthumously in 1642; they are edited by J.M. Lappenberg, in the Bibliothek des litterarischen Vereins (2 vols., 1863; a third volume, 1866, contains Fleming's Latin poems). Selections have been edited by J. Tittmann in the second volume of the series entitled Deutsche Dichter des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1870), and by H. Osterley (Stuttgart, 1885). A life of the poet will be found in Varnhagen von Ense's Biographische Denkmale, Bd. iv. (Berlin, 1826). See also J. Straumer, Paul Flemings Leben und Orientreise (1892); L.G. Wysocky, De Pauli Flemingi Germanice scriptis et ingenio (Paris, 1892).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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