Dem Herausgeber des “Echtermeyer”
Du sammeltest leuchtende Lieder,
den mannigfaltigsten Strauß,
du trugst vom Parnassus hernieder
Gedichte in jedermanns Haus.
Verklungen ist längst deine Stimme,
im Schattenreich deine Gestalt,–
doch fesselst du unsere Sinne
durch eherner Worte Gewalt.
Christina Egan © 2015
Vixi, et, quem dederat cursum fortuna, peregi;
et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit imago.
Virgil, Aeneis IV, 653–654
The name of this writer, Ernst Theodor Echtermeyer (1805-1844), became proverbial for a standard anthology of German poetry. It went through many mutations, and the latest editions are officially titled “The Echtermeyer”. Without this book, I would not be what I am!
We know little about Theodor’s life, but I have tried to imagine two key moments in his life: when he understands he is in love and decides to marry; and when he understands he is so ill that he must die soon. Theodor an Emilien is written in the first person singular in 19th-century German.