by Emanuel von Geibel (1815 - 1884)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE ITA
Lass das Träumen, lass das Zagen,
Unermüdet wandre fort!
Will die Kraft dir schier versagen,
'Vorwärts' ist das rechte Wort.

Darfst nicht weilen, wenn die Stunde
Rosen dir entgegenbringt,
Wenn dir aus des Meeres Grunde
Die Sirene lockend singt.

Vorwärts, vorwärts! Im Gesange
Ringe mit dem Schmerz der Welt,
Bis auf deine heisse Wange
Goldner Strahl von oben fällt,

Bis der Kranz, der dichtbelaubte,
Schattig deine Stirn umwebt,
Bis verklärend überm Haupte
Dir des Geistes Flamme schwebt.

Vorwärts drum durch Feindes Zinnen,
Vorwärts durch des Todes Pein,
Wer den Himmel will gewinnen,
Muss ein rechter Kämpfer sein!


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) , "Onward", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "En avant", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Gianni Franceschi) , "Avanti", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Dr. Gerrit den Hartogh

This text was added to the website: 2004-06-30
Line count: 20
Word count: 97

Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Leave off dreaming, leave off hesitating. 
Wander on tirelessly!
When your strength is nearly failing,
'Onward' is the right word.

You must not tarry when the hour
Brings you roses;
When from the depths of the sea
The siren tempts you.

Onward, onward! In song
Wrestle with the pain of the world,
Until upon your burning cheek
Falls a golden beam from above.

Until the wreath, thick with leaves,
Weaves about and shadows your brow. 
Until your head is transfigured
By the flame of the spirit hovering above it.

Onward then through the foe's battlements,
Onward through the pain of death,
Those who wish to win [entrance to] Heaven,
Must be true warriors!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2008 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: 2008-06-07
Line count: 20
Word count: 113