Gottfried August Burger, a German poet, born at Molmerswende, Dec. 31, 1747, died in Got-tingen, June 8, 1794. A comic poem of his composition drove him from the school of Asch-ersleben, and his dislike of theology from the university of Halle. In 1768 he went to Gottingen, where he studied the languages and poetry of foreign nations, and Shakespeare became one of his idols. An insignificant public office in a village near Gottingen gave him a small income. He associated with the poets who founded the Hainbund, and while at the village of Gelliehausen composed the ballad Lenore, published in the Oottinger Musenal-manach far 1774. This made him famous, but left him poor. Losing his office in 1784, he worked hard to support himself by teaching and translations, and by other literary work. In 1787 he began to lecture on Kantian philosophy and aesthetics in Gottingen, and was made doctor of philosophy, and in 1789 honorary professor. He had married in 1775 Do-rette Leonhart, who bore him a child, but he lived at the same time, with the wife's cognizance, with her youngest sister Auguste, or Molly, as he called her in his poems, who bore him two children.

Dorette died in 1784; he then legalized his union with Molly, who died in 1786. In 1790 he married Christine Elise Hahn of Stuttgart, the Swabian girl (Schwa-benmddchen), as he designated her, who had offered him her hand without having ever seen him. But she deserted him, and they were divorced in February, 1792. Bowed down by misfortune, and already suffering from consumption, Schiller's unfavorable review of his poems in the Allgemeine Literaturzeitung was an additional blow which hastened his death. Lenore, Das Lied vom braven Marine, Der wilde Jager, and Des Pfarrers Tochter von Tauben-hain are among his most stirring ballads; and these as well as many of his other compositions give him a high rank among poets. His ballads have been translated into many languages, Lenore into English by Sir Walter Scott. He contributed much to the improvement of the German language, and wrote on aesthetics and various other subjects. He was the first to give German versions in hexameter from the Iliad and the AEneid, and translated "Macbeth " into German. His literary activity was prodigious.

His complete works were first published by Reinhard (4 vols., Gottingen, 1796-'8), who also published Burger's Lehrbuch der Aesthetik (2 vols., Berlin, 1825), after his lectures at Gottingen, and a supplementary volume, Aesthetische Schriften (1832). Doubt was, however, expressed as to the genuineness of these posthumous publications. The collected edition by Bohtz, in one volume (Gottingen, 1834), contains Burger's correspondence and the excellent biography of him by Althof, first published in 1798. Among his other biographers are Doring, and more recently Prohle (Leipsic, 1856). Various works have been published upon his conjugal relations, and his Briefe an Marianne Ehrmann, published in 1802 by Theodor F. Ehrmann, give curious details in respect to the latter part of his life. His third wife died in 1833, having been an actress, and written poems, a drama, and a novel.