by J. Wilhelm Meinhold (1797 - 1851)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Wie dies Gewürm aus unermess'nem Meer
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Wie dies Gewürm aus unermess'nem Meer,
Taucht auch der Mensch aus deinem dunklen Schooß,
Unendlichkeit, und ahnet nicht, woher! --
So klimmt er [auch]1 auf seinen Erdenkloß,
Von Thränen feucht, und tastet um sich her,
Ob er ergreif' ein wenig Gras und Moos
Für seinen Mund, und er ergreift's so schwer! --
Der arme Mensch, wie trüb' ist doch sein Loos!
Er ahnet nichts und mühet sich so sehr,
Da kommt die Flut, da wird die Welle groß,
Und er versinket wiederum ins Meer! -- --

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with Gedichte von Wilhelm Meinhold, Zweiter Band, Vermischte Gedichte. Dritte verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage, Leipzig, Verlag von J. J. Weber, 1846, p. 25

Modernized spellings (used by Hindemith): Schooß -> Schoß ; Thränen -> Tränen; Loos -> Los
1 Hindemith: "denn"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Le ver à la mer", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "The sea-serpent", copyright © 2015

Researcher for this text: Martin Jahn

This text was added to the website: 2008-11-26
Line count: 11
Word count: 82

The sea‑serpent
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
As does this sea-serpent from the unmeasurable sea,
So does Man dive from Thy dark womb,
Infinity, and cannot guess his origin.
He clings then to his patch of earth,
Damp with tears, and gropes about
To seize a little grass or moss 
for his mouth, and he does so with much difficulty!
Wretched Man, how dreary indeed is his lot! 
He does not guess it, and works so hard.
Then comes the flood; the wave becomes massive
And he sinks again into the sea.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2015 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2015-05-18
Line count: 11
Word count: 85