The Layman's Breviary, From the German of Leopold Schefer

Translated by CHARLES T. BROOKS. Boston : Roberts Brothers. 1868.
A GERMAN critic declares that the “ Layman’s Breviary ” has helped more souls to the understanding of themselves than any other book of German poetry. What is more remarkable for a devotional work in that language, no other book is needed to help souls to understand it. It is simple, as varied, and as attractive as if it were not in three hundred and sixty-five parts, and in blank verse from beginning to end.
Leopold Schefer, after wandering through the world with Prince Pückler Muskau, and writing seventy-three novels of musical and Oriental life, returned at last to Germany, and found in his home, his wife, and his child the true sources of inspiration. The novels are yet untranslated, perhaps untranslatable, but this volume of poetic meditations, after passing through twelve editions in the original, has already entered on a new career of favor in this new land. Nothing can be more remote from all the technicalities of the creeds; but there is condensed into every meditation so much of practical wisdom, such simple feeling, such appreciation of life’s daily blessings, such fresh and delicate poetic beauties, as must make it dearer to the reader with every day. It fell, fortunately, into the hands of one who has, perhaps, no equal among us, save Mr. Longfellow, in the translator’s peculiar gifts, and who evades the quarrel between the literal and the poetic methods, by uniting them in one. In rendering these meditations, he has put into them the beauty of his own spirit and the sympathy of his own poetic mind. In such literary service laborare est crare.