Rückert was born in Schweinfurt to a father employed as advocate and bursar official. He
attended the latin school and later studied law at the University of Würzburg later
changing to philology. He briefly occupied several teaching posts including private tutor.
He turned to poetry at an early stage writing pseudonymously published works against the
occupying Napoleonic forces. From 1815, he moved to Stuttgart as newspaper editor and
travelled to Italy in 1817. He was a skilled orientalist and translated many works from
a bewildering array of oriental languages.
Whilst living in the present Coburg, he married in 1821 and practised as a private teacher
but moved to Erlangen in 1826 to become professor of oriental languages and literature
from which time he wrote his more mature works. In 1841, he was summoned to Berlin
University as professor of oriental languages where he lived until retiring in 1848
to Neuses, Coburg where he died in 1866.
He is particulary noted for his numerous poems on the death of children after the two
favourites of his 10 children died in 1833/1834 some of which have been set to music
by Mahler. He has been honoured by his birth town with a statue in the Marktplatz; and
is commemorated by monuments to him that have been erected in his chosen residence