Rene Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian/Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.
Although his mature poetry has been translated into many languages, his early poetry remains accessible only in the original German. This translation of the Larenopfer, or offerings to the Lares, the Roman household deities, are songs that Rilke sings to his hometown Prague and to his beloved Bohemia, short poems on the parks, fountains, churches, bridges and palaces of Prague, not forgetting Rabbi Löw’s legends, the Jewish cemetery, the Thirty Years’ War and, of course, young love.