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Nathan the Wise; a dramatic poem in five acts by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
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NATHAN THE WISE: A Dramatic Poem in Five Acts

by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Translated by William Taylor of Norwich


Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was born on the 22nd of January, 1729,
eldest of ten sons of a pious and learned minister of Camenz in the
Oberlausitz, who had two daughters also. As a child Lessing
delighted in books, and had knowledge beyond his years when he went
to school, in Meissen, at the age of twelve. As a school-boy he
read much Greek and Latin that formed no part of the school course;
read also the German poets of his time, wrote a "History of Ancient
Mathematics," and began a poem of his own on the "Plurality of Worlds."

In 1746, at the age of seventeen, Lessing was sent to the University
of Leipsic. There he studied with energy, and was attracted
strongly by the theatre. His artistic interest in the drama caused
him to be put on the free list of the theatre, in exchange for some
translations of French pieces. Then he produced, also for the
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