Johannes Ewald

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Johannes Ewald

Johannes Ewald (born November 18, 1743 in Copenhagen ; † March 17, 1781 ibid) was a Danish poet . With him the newer period of Danish literature began .

He was born the son of a strictly pietistic preacher, was orphaned at the cathedral school in Schleswig , one day escaped pedantic school attendance out of love for freedom and began to study theology in Copenhagen in 1758 . Out of a thirst for adventure he soon joined an infantry regiment in Magdeburg , deserted here, became an Austrian tambour , then a non-commissioned officer and took part in several skirmishes in 1759 and 1760, during the Seven Years' War , escaped again and returned to Copenhagen, where he did his theological Studies continued.

An unhappy love shattered his inner life and gave his poems the character of melancholy . The allegorical story " Lykkens Tempel " ("The Temple of Happiness"), which the Society for the Advancement of Beautiful and Useful Sciences published in 1764, met with great acclaim; even more his mourning poem on the death of Frederick V (1766), in which he developed a great lyrical power. Among the poets he studied, Molière and Klopstock spoke to him most ; the latter in particular had a tremendous effect on the development of his talent as a poet, as the biblical drama " Adam og Eva " (1769) in particular shows.

In the poem "Fiskerne" ("The Fishermen"), a dramatized picture of the life of the coastal inhabitants, the song " Kong Kristian stod ved højen mast " ("King Christian stood at the high mast"), which later became the most popular national song of the Danes became and is today the Danish royal anthem . His last song was " Udrust dig, Helt fra Golgatha " ( " Zurhilfe , Held von Golgatha"). After long and severe suffering, he died barely 38 years old. In several of his most beautiful poems ("Ewald's grave"), Öhlenschläger acknowledged with gratitude that he broke the ground with the more recent Danish poetry that developed with Öhlenschläger . His language is pure and clear.

Johannes Ewald was buried on Trinitatis Kirkegård in Copenhagen.


  • Rolf Krage. Tragedy (1770; German, Hamburg 1775).
  • Balders Död . (1774).
  • Fiskerne ("The Fishermen", 1780).
  • J. Ewalds Levnet and Meninger . Liedenberg, Copenhagen 1850–55 (8 vols., Autobiography)
  • Life and views . Norderstedt, BoD 2011, ISBN 978-3844801361 , translation from Danish by Martin Abraham


  • Martin J. Hammerich: Ewalds Levnet . 2nd edition Gyldendal , Copenhagen 1861.
  • Christian Molbech: Johannes Evalds levnet . Reitzel, Copenhagen 1831.
  • Adam Oehlenschläger : Lectures on Ewald and Schiller . Copenhagen 1810-12.
  • Erik Oksbjerg: Johannes Ewalds omverden fra Ewald-tiden litterære Northern Europe . Herred, Viborg 2002, ISBN 87-989062-1-6 .
  • Frederik C. Olsen: Digteren J. Ewalds liv og forholde i aarene 1774-77 . Copenhagen 1835.
  • Elisabeth Welhaven: Ewald and the Norwegian poets (Complete Writings; Vol. 8). Copenhagen 1868.

Web links

Commons : Johannes Ewald  - album with pictures, videos and audio files