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Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

1724-1803. German poet. Born at Quedlinburg, eldest son of a lawyer, he attended the classical school of Schulpforta, near Naumburg (1739), and studied theology at Jena (1745) and Leipzig (1746). While still at school he drafted the plan of a religious epic, Der Messias, inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost. He was a private tutor in Langensalza (1748). Frederick V of Denmark, on the advice of his prime minister, Count von Bernstorff, invited him to his court to complete Der Messias (1751). He married Margareta (Meta) Moller of Hamburg (1754), who died four years later. Apart from a year at Karlsruhe from 1770, he lived in Hamburg, completing Der Messias (1773) and marrying the niece of his first wife. He wrote religious odes, hymns, and lyrical and epic poems, and made important contributions to philology and the history of German poetry.