German poet, editor, and publicist; born at Rathenow, province of Brandenburg, Prussia, Dec. 7, 1802; died at Berlin Dec. 2, 1867. When very young he went to Berlin, andbecame a regular contributor to most of the literary periodicals of that city (often under the pseudonym "Ludwig Liber"). The humorist Saphir was attracted by Lesser's work and personality, and secured him for his literary staff. The two became very firm friends, and in 1827 they founded the Literarische Sonntags-Verein. Lesser wrote "Chronik der Gesellschaft der Freunde in Berlin zur Feier Ihres Fünfzigjährigen Jubiläums" (Berlin, 1842).
A selection of Lesser's poems was published under the title "Ausgewählte Dichtungen," Berlin, 1870; and the gold medal for art and science was conferred upon him by King Frederick William III. A characteristic epigram by him, of which the following is a free translation, gives some measure of his power:
One thing to Life you owe: Struggle, or seek for rest. If you're an anvil, bear the blow; If a hammer, strike your best.
Lesser was devoted to the interests of the Jews: he was one of the founders of the Jüdischer Kulturverein, of a society for the aid of Jewish teachers, and of the Berlin Reform congregation.
- R. Lesser, in preface to Ausgewählte Dichtungen.