by Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)
Translation © by Emily Ezust

Der Kampf
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE ITA
Nein, länger werd' ich diesen Kampf nicht kämpfen,
Den Riesenkampf der Pflicht.
Kannst du des Herzens Flammentrieb nicht dämpfen,
So [fodre]1, Tugend, dieses Opfer nicht.

Geschworen hab ich's, ja ich hab's geschworen,
Mich selbst zu bändigen.
Hier ist dein Kranz, er sey auf ewig mir verloren,
Nimm ihn zurück und laß mich sündigen.

Zerrissen sey, was wir bedungen haben,
Sie liebt mich - deine Krone sey verscherzt.
Glückselig, wer in Wonnetrunkenheit begraben, 
So leicht wie ich den tiefen Fall verschmerzt.

Sie sieht den Wurm an meiner Jugend Blume nagen
Und meinen Lenz entflohn,
Bewundert still mein heldenmüthiges Entsagen
Und großmuthsvoll beschließt sie meinen Lohn.

Mistraue, schöne Seele, dieser Engelgüte,
Dein Mitleid waffnet zum Verbrechen mich.
Giebt's in des Lebens unermeßlichem Gebiete
Giebt's einen andern schönern Lohn als dich?

Als das Verbrechen, das ich ewig fliehen wollte?
Tyrannisches Geschick!
Der einz'ge Lohn, der meine Tugend krönen sollte,
Ist meiner Tugend letzter Augenblick!

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Gedichte von Friederich Schiller, Erster Theil, Leipzig, 1800, bey Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius, pages 279-280.

First published by Schiller as a much longer poem (22 stanzas) with the title Freigeisterei der Leidenschaft in his Thalia 1787; see below.

1 Schubert: "fordre"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Another version of this text exists in the database.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El combat", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "De strijd", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "The struggle", copyright ©
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le combat", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Amelia Maria Imbarrato) , "La battaglia", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 24
Word count: 151

The struggle
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
 No, no longer will I fight this battle,
 duty's great struggle.
 If you cannot dampen my heart's ardor,
 oh Virtue, then do not require of me this sacrifice.

 I have sworn, yes, I have sworn,
 to restrain myself.
 Here is your wreath. It is lost to me forever;
 take it back, and let me sin.

 Let us rip up the bond we have forged,
 she loves me - but your crown is lost.
 Happy is he who, buried in drunken bliss,
 can pick himself up as easily as I after such a deep fall.

 She sees the worm gnawing on the flower of my youth
 and my Spring has fled;
 admires quietly my heroic renunciation,
 and generously decides my reward.
 Distrust, beautiful soul, this angel's goodness!
 Your compassion moves me to crime; 
 is there in life's unmeasured realms,
 is there a fairer reward than thee?

 - than the crime that I forever wished to flee?
 Tyrannical fate!
 The only reward that should crown my virtue
 is my virtue's last moment.


  • 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: 24
Word count: 171