by Matthias Claudius (1740 - 1815)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Der Winter ist ein rechter Mann
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Der Winter ist ein rechter Mann,
Kernfest und auf die Dauer;
Sein Fleisch fühlt sich wie Eisen an
Und scheut nicht süß noch sauer.

Aus Blumen und aus Vogelsang
Weiß er sich nichts zu machen,
[Haßt warmen Trank und warmen Klang
Und alle warmen Sachen.]1

Wenn Stein und Bein vor Frost zerbricht
Und Teich und Seen krachen,
Das klingt ihm gut, das haßt er nicht,
Dann will er tot sich lachen.

Sein Schloß von Eis liegt [ganz]2 hinaus
Beim Nordpol an dem Strande,
Doch hat er auch ein Sommerhaus
Im lieben Schweizerlande.

Da ist er denn bald dort, bald hier,
Gut Regiment zu führen,
Und wenn er durchzieht, stehen wir
Und seh'n ihn an und frieren.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Humperdinck: "ein warmes Herz, das ist sein Drang, / sonst hasst er warme Sachen."
2 Humperdinck: "hoch"


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Winter", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2004-06-12
Line count: 20
Word count: 116

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Winter is quite a man,
solid and long-lasting.
His flesh feels like iron
and he isn't afraid of either sweet or bitter.

Flowers and bird song are things
he doesn't have anything to do with;
He hates warm drinks and warm sounds
and all warm things.

a warm heart, that's what he longs for,
otherwise he hates warm things.]

When stones and bones are broken in the frost
and ponds and lakes crack up,
it sounds good to him, he doesn't hate it,
that's when he could die laughing.

His ice castle lies a long way off 
at the North Pole, on the coast there,
but he also has a summer house
in  our dear Switzerland.

So sometimes he is here, sometimes there,
keeping an eye on things,
and when he passes through, we have to stand up
look at him and freeze.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2008 by Malcolm Wren, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2008-03-12
Line count: 23
Word count: 144