by Gottfried Keller (1819 - 1890)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Ich fürcht' nit Gespenster
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Ich fürcht nit Gespenster,
Keine Hexen und Feen,
Und lieb's, in ihre tiefen
Glühaugen zu sehn.

Im Wald in dem grünen
Unheimlichen See,
Da wohnet ein Nachtweib,
Das ist weiß wie der Schnee.

Es haßt meiner Schönheit
Unschuldige Zier;
Wenn ich spät noch vorbeigeh,
So zankt es mit mir.

Jüngst, als ich im Mondschein
Am Waldwasser stand,
Fuhr sie auf ohne Schleier,
Ohne alles Gewand.

Es schwammen ihre Glieder
In der taghellen Nacht;
Der Himmel war trunken
Von der höllischen Pracht.

Aber ich hab entblößt
Meine lebendige Brust;
Da hat sie mit Schande
Versinken gemußt!


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 (Emily Ezust) , "I fear no ghosts", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Je ne crains pas les fantômes", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 95

I fear no ghosts
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 I fear no ghosts,
 no witches, no fairies -
 and love, in their deep
 glowing eyes to gaze.

 By the forest in the green
 eerie lake,
 there lives a night-witch
 who is as white as snow.

 She hates my beauty's
 innocent trappings;
 when I go past late at night,
 so she scolds me.

 Earlier, when in the moonlight
 I stood at the forest lake,
 she rose up without her veil,
 without all her robes.

 Her limbs were bathed
 in the day-bright night;
 heaven was drunk
 with hellish splendor.

 But I uncovered
 my living breast;
 and then, with shame, 
 she had to sink!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 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 between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 103