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

Nicht ein Flügelschlag ging durch die...
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Nicht ein Flügelschlag ging durch die Welt,
Still und blendend lag der weiße Schnee.
Nicht ein Wölklein hing am Sternenzelt,
Keine Welle schlug im starren See.

Aus der Tiefe stieg der Seebaum auf,
Bis sein Wipfel in dem Eis gefror;
An den Ästen klomm die Nix' herauf,
Schaute durch das grüne Eis empor.

Auf dem dünnen Glase stand ich da,
Das die schwarze Tiefe vor mir schied;
Dicht ich unter meinen Füßen sah
Ihre weiße Schönheit, Glied um Glied.

Mit ersticktem Jammer tastet' sie
An der harten Decke her und hin,
Ich vergeß' das dunkle Antlitz nie,
Immer, immer liegt es mir im Sinn.

About the headline (FAQ)


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) , "Winter night", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "On n'entend pas un chant d'oiseau au monde", 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: 16
Word count: 104

Winter night
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 Not a wingbeat went through the world;
 silent and brilliant lay the white snow.
 Not a puff of cloud hung in the starry canopy,
 not one wave surged in the torpid lake.
 From the depths climbed a lake-tree,
 encased in ice up to its top;
 upon its branches climbed the water nymph,
 gazing up through the green ice.
 There I stood upon the thin glass
 that separated me from the black depths;
 Close beneath my feet I saw
 her white beauty, limb upon limb.
 With smothered sorrow she groped
 here and there on the hard barrier.
 I will never forget her dark expression;
 always, always, it will remain in my mind!


  • 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: 16
Word count: 112