Hans Sachs was born six years before the end of the fifteenth century and lived until 1576. Sachs, the son of a tailor, began his schooling at the age of seven at one of the four Latin schools of Nuremberg. His teacher, Herr Friedel, taught him grammar, rhetoric, singing, and, later, some Latin. For eight years he remained in this school; this was the only formal schooling he ever received. At the age of seventeen, he embarked on his Wanderjahre. From Regensburg, where he first stopped and remained for two months, he went to Passau, and from there down the Inn River, via Braunau, Ried, and Wells, to Salzburg. Everywhere he interested himself not only in his training as a cobbler, but also in the life of the many people with whom he came in contact. During these formative years, his interest in literature, as well as people, grew rapidly. His earliest dated and preserved literary attempt was written in 1513. This was a Buhlscheidlied (love poem), in which he describes the pangs of separation from a beloved.
About this same time, he obtained a copy of the Augsburg edition of Heinrich Steinhöwels’s translation of some of the stories in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron: O, Prencipe Galetto, (1349-1351; The Decameron, 1620). In 1514, Sachs continued his travels to Munich, then to Würzburg, Frankfurt am Main, Koblenz, Cologne, and to Leipzig, when, after a total of five years’ absence, he returned to his native...
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