by Johann Karl Unger (1771 - 1836)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Die Geselligkeit
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Wer Lebenslust fühlet,
Der [bleibt]1 nicht allein;
Allein seyn ist öde - 
Wer kann sich da freun!
Im traulichen Kreise,
Beim herzlichen Kuß,
Beysammen zu leben
Ist Seelengenuß.

Das lehrt uns der Tauber -
[Vor]2 Liebe und Lust
Erhebt sich dem Täubchen
Die seidene Brust;
Es girret für Wonne,
Es lehret im Kuß,
Beysammen zu leben
[Sey]3 Herzensgenuß.
Geselligkeit fesselt
Die [schöne]4 Natur,
In Lüften, im Wasser,
Auf lachender Flur.
Er selber geboth es,
Der alles erschuf,
Beysammen zu leben
[Sey]5 Menschenberuf.

Dem [folge du Gute,
Und singe]6 nicht mehr,
Die Einsamkeit wäre
Nicht öde, nicht leer.
Allein seyn [erzeuget]7
Nur Sehnsucht und Schmerz;
Beysammen zu leben
Befriedigt das Herz.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Österreichisches Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1804. Mit Gedichten und Aufsätzen von [...]. Wien. Bey Anton Pichler, pages 49-50; with Der Neue Teutsche Merkur. vom Jahr 1804. Herausgegeben von C. M. Wieland. Erster Band. Weimar 1804. Im Verlage des L. Industrie-Comptoirs. 4. Stück. April 1804, pages 249-250; and with Joh. Ungers Lieder. Nachgeahmt oder Von ihm selbst gedichtet und in Musik gesetzt, pages 31-32 (Unger's manuscript book in British private possession).

In Österreichisches Taschenbuch Unger's poem has the subtitle Gegenlied. An Fräulein von S***. In Der Neue Teutsche Merkur the poem is printed with a different line break: two consecutive lines are merged into one.

Note: As indicated by the subtitle Gegenlied this poem is a response to the preceding poem in the book, titled Die Einsamkeit with the subtitle Lied, which was declaimed by a certain Fräulein von Sölewangen to whom Unger dedicated his "counter-poem" (and phrased the first line of the last stanza accordingly). Schubert received Unger's poem much later in manuscript form.

1 Unger (Teutscher Merkur): "lebt"
2 Unger's manuscript, and Schubert: "Für"
3 Schubert (in the repeat): "Ist"
4 Unger's manuscript, and Schubert: "ganze"
5 Schubert: "Ist"
6 Unger (Teutscher Merkur), his manuscript, and Schubert: "folget ihr Guten, / Und singet"
7 Unger's manuscript: "vergnüget"


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La companyonia", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Virginia Knight , Lau Kanen [Guest Editor] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 110

Anyone who feels pleasure in life
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Anyone who feels pleasure in life 
does not remain alone.
Being on your own is unpleasant, 
who could enjoy it?
Within a trusted circle, 
with heartfelt kisses,
Living together is delight 
for the soul.

This is what the dove teaches us; 
for love and pleasure
It raises its silk breast 
for its partner,
The dove coos 
and teaches by kissing
That living together leads 
to delight for the heart.

Society binds 
the whole of nature,
In the air, in water 
and on the happy earth.
He who created everything 
himself decreed it,
Living together is 
a human calling.

Follow him, good people, 
and no longer sing
That loneliness is 
not awful, not empty.
Being alone only breeds 
longing and pain;
Living together brings peace 
to the heart.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of titles:
"Lebenslust" = "Pleasure in life"
"Die Geselligkeit" = "Society"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2012 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: 2012-06-18
Line count: 32
Word count: 127