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LEBENSOHN, MICAH JOSEPH:

Russian Hebrew poet; born in Wilna, Russia, Feb. 22, 1828; died there Feb. 17, 1852. His father, the poet Abraham Bär Lebensohn, implanted in him the love of Hebrew poetry, and Micah Joseph began very early to translate and to compose Hebrew songs. He suffered from consumption during the last five or six years of his short life. In 1849 he was in Berlin, and later went to Salzbrunn and other watering-places, where he vainly sought relief from the terrible disease which had attacked him. About the end of 1850 he abandoned all hope of recovery and returned to Wilna, where he lingered until his death.

Lebensohn's poetical works are: "Harisut Troya" (Wilna, 1849; 2d ed., ib. 1869), a translation of the third and fourth books of Vergil's "Æneid" after Schiller' s German translation; "Shire Bat Ẓiyyon" (ib. 1851; 2d ed., ib. 1869), epic poems on Jewish subjects, of which his brother-in-law, Joshua Steinberg, published a German translation entitled "Gesänge Zion's" (ib. 1859); and "Kinnor Bat Ẓiyyon" (ib. 1870), a second volume of the foregoing songs, printed posthumously by his father. The most noted elegies on his death are that by his father, entitled "Mikal Dim'ah" (in the second part of "Shire Sefat Ḳodesh") and J. L. Gordon's allegorical drama, "Ho Aḥ," which is placed in the first part of "Kol Shire Yehudah."

Lebensohn's poetry surpasses that of his father, and is characterized by a deep pathos and a beauty of expression which are rare in Neo-Hebrew verse. It is also noted for its expression of the young poet's strong longing for life and of the dread of an early dissolution which preyed on his mind.

Bibliography:
  • Brainin, in Ost und West, ii. No. 4;
  • Der Jud (Cracow), iv. No. 15;
  • Mandelkern, in Ha-Asif, iii. 425-429.
H. R. P. Wi.
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