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Sie sollen ihn nicht haben

Language: German (Deutsch)

Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
Ob sie wie gierige Raben,
Sich heiser danach schrein,

Solang er ruhig wallend
Sein grünes Kleid noch trägt,
Solang ein Ruder schallend
In seine Wogen schlägt.

Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
Solang sich Herzen laben
An seiner Feuerwein,

Solang in seinem Strome
Noch fest die Felsen stehn,
Solang sich hohe Dome
In seinem Spiegel sehn.

Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
Solang noch kühne Knaben
[Um schlanke Dirnen frei'n]1,

Solang die Flosse hebet
Ein Fisch auf seinem Grund,
Solang ein Lied noch lebet
In seiner Sänger Mund.

Sie sollen ihn nicht haben,
Den freien deutschen Rhein,
Bis seine Flut begraben
Des letzten Manns Gebein!

Translation(s): ENG FRE

List of language codes

C. Lorenz sets stanzas 1-7, 1
K. Reinecke sets stanzas 1-7, 7

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte, Zweites Buch, Koeln, du Mont - Schauberg, 1841, pages 216-218.

Note: see de Musset's "response", Le Rhin allemand

1 Eickhoff: "den Waffen gerne weih'n"; Kinkel, Kreutzer: "Um sanfte Mädchen frei'n"

Submitted by Dr. Gerrit den Hartogh and Melanie Trumbull


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 (Sharon Krebs) , "The German Rhine", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le Rhin allemand, chant patriotique", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2004-06-30.
Last modified: 2017-10-11 12:39:24
Line count: 28
Word count: 120

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The German Rhine

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

They shall not have it,
The free German Rhine,
Though they like greedy ravens
Scream themselves hoarse after it,

As long as, peacefully flowing,
It still wears its green garb,
As long as even one oar resoundingly
Strikes into its waves.

They shall not have it,
The free German Rhine,
As long as hearts refresh themselves
With its fiery wine,

As long as within its current
The rocks still stand firmly,
As long as lofty cathedrals
Can see themselves in its mirror.

They shall not have it,
The free German Rhine,
As long as courageous lads
Court slender maidens,

As long as a fin is lifted
By a fish within its depths,
As long as a song still lives
In the mouths of its singers.

They shall not have it,
The free German Rhine,
Until its floodwaters have buried
The bones of the last man!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

Alternate title: "Patriotic Song"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2013 by Sharon Krebs, (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.


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Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Nikolaus Becker (1809 - 1845), "Der deutsche Rhein (an Alphonse de Lamartine)" FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Johann Dietrich Eickhoff, Carl Friedrich Johann Girschner, Johanna Kinkel, as Johanna Mathieux, Conradin Kreutzer, Gustav Kunze, Johann Karl Gottfried Loewe, Carl Adolf Lorenz, Dr., Carl Ludwig Amand Mangold, Karl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke, Karl Gottlieb Reissiger, Robert Schumann, Joseph Hartmann Stuntz. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2013-07-12.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:16
Line count: 28
Word count: 145