Translation © by Sharon Krebs

O wie dringt das junge Leben
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
O wie dringt das junge Leben
Kräftig mir durch Sinn und Herz!
Alles fühl' ich glühn und streben,
Fühle doppelt Lust und Schmerz.
Fruchtlos such' ich euch zu halten,
Geister meiner regen Brust;
Nach Gefallen mögt ihr walten,
Sey's zum Leide, sey's zur Lust.
    Lodre nur, gewalt'ge Liebe,
Höher lodre nur empor!
Brecht, ihr vollen Blüthentriebe,
Mächtig schwellend nur hervor!
Mag das Herz sich blutig färben,
Mag's vergehn in rascher Pein;
Lieber will ich ganz verderben
Als nur halb lebendig seyn.
    Dieses Zagen, dieses Sehnen,
Das die Brust vergeblich schwellt,
Diese Seufzer, diese Thränen,
Die der Stolz gefangen hält,
Dieses schmerzlich eitle Ringen,
Dieses Kämpfen ohne Kraft,
Ohne Hoffnung und Vollbringen,
Hat mein bestes Mark erschlafft.
    Lieber wecke rasch und muthig,
Schlachtruf, den entschlaf'nen Sinn!
Lange träumt' ich, lange ruht' ich,
Gab der Kette lang mich hin;
Hier ist Hölle nicht, noch Himmel,
Weder Frost ist hier, noch Gluth!
Auf in's feindliche Getümmel,
Rüstig weiter durch die Fluth!
    Daß noch einmal Wunsch und Wagen,
Zorn und Liebe, Wohl und Weh
Ihre Wellen um mich schlagen
Auf des Lebens wilder See;
Und ich kühn im tapfern Streite
Mit dem Strom, der mich entrafft,
Selber meinen Nachen leite,
Freudig in geprüfter Kraft.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Ernst Schulze's sämmtliche poetische Schriften. Dritter Band. I. Poetisches Tagebuch. [...] Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus. 1819, pages 100-101; and with Sämmtliche poetische Werke von Ernst Schulze. Neue Ausgabe mit sechszehn Kupfern. Dritter Theil. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus. 1822, pages 101-102.


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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Levensmoed", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Richard Morris , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 40
Word count: 200

Oh, how my young life
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Oh, how my young life
Powerfully penetrates my spirit and heart!
I feel everything glowing and striving,
Feel joy and pain doubly.
In vain I seek to hold you back,
Spirits of my animated bosom;
Your workings may be as you wish,
Be they for suffering, be they for gladness.
    Only blaze, immense love,
Only flare up ever higher!
Only break forth, you full blossoming shoots
With ever more mighty swelling!
May my heart colour itself like blood,
May it perish in rapid agony;
I would rather pass away utterly
Than be only half alive.
    This trepidation, this yearning
That swells my bosom for naught,
These sighs, these tears
That are held captive by pride,
This painful, vain struggle,
This powerless combat,
Without hope and without completion,
Has exhausted my very marrow.
    Battle cry, waken rather, quickly and courageously,
My sleeping spirit!
Long I dreamt, long I rested,
Long I abandoned myself to my chains;
Here is neither hell nor heaven,
Nor is frost here, nor blazing!
Arise, off into the fray with the enemy,
Vigorously onward through the flood!
    So that once more desire and daring,
Fury and love, good and suffering
May batter me with their billows
Upon the wild waters of life;
And I boldly in valiant battle
With the current, which carries me away,
Guide my craft myself,
Joyfully in proven strength.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translated titles:
"Am 1sten April 1815" = "On the 1st of April 1815"
"Lebensmuth" = "Optimism"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2015 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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2015-08-17
Line count: 40
Word count: 226