Evald, Or Ewald, Johannes, a Danish poet, born in Copenhagen, Nov. 18, 1743, died there, March 17, 1781. He early displayed his love of adventure by an attempt to go to sea, and afterward entered the army of Frederick the Great, which he immediately abandoned, joining that of Austria; but he was induced to return to Copenhagen, where he studied theology, and passed his examination in 1762. Disappointed in love, he devoted himself to literature. His first composition, "The Temple of Fortune, a Vision," was followed in 1766 by a poem on the death of Frederick V. In 1769 appeared his lyrical drama of "Adam and Eve." His tragedy of Rolf Krage (1770) was the first attempt to dramatize the ancient history of Denmark, and bears evidence of the careful study of both Ossian and Shakespeare About this time he became lame, and poverty, neglect, and intemperance added to his misfortunes. He was eventually deserted even by his mother, and the last two years of his life were spent in the house of a benevolent friend. But his literary activity remained undiminished, and in 1771 and 1772, while in the greatest distress of mind and body, he wrote even humorous plays, which were very successful.
His most celebrated work, Balders Dod ("Baldur's Death"), a drama devoted to the heroic reminiscences of Scandinavian mythology, appeared in 1773. His finest lyrical poem, "The Fishermen," appeared, in 1778. He also wrote a famous national song of Denmark, and some works in prose. He began to prepare his poetical works for publication, but the edition was completed only after his death (4 vols., Copenhagen, 1781-'91; best ed., by Liebenberg, 8 vols., 1850-'55).