by Friedrich Rückert (1788 - 1866)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Der Reigen dreht ohn' Unterlaß
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Der Reigen dreht ohn' Unterlaß,
Du mußt daran; 
Es ist für keinen kein Erlaß, 
Du mußt daran.  

Du sagst: mir ist von Jugendlust 
Die Wange rot. 
Wenn du daran kommst, wird sie blaß;
Du mußt daran. 

Sie weinen, wenn sie dich geholt 
Zum Reigen sehn, 
Dir aber wird kein Auge naß, 
Du mußt daran. 

Und maß man eine längre Frist 
Als andern dir, 
Am Ende voll ist auch dein Maß, 
Du mußt daran. 

Du sagst: ich bin zu alt zum Tanz, 
Mein Fuß ist lahm, 
Mein Haupt ist schwach. Was hilft dir das? 
Du mußt daran. 

Dein Reisepaß, verlängert oft, 
Ab ist er nun 
Gelaufen; hier dein neuer Paß! 
Du mußt daran. 

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Poetisches Tagebuch, von Friedrich Rückert. Aus seinem Nachlasse, Frankfurt: Sauerländer, 1888, page 286.


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 round-dance twirls without ceasing", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor] , Melanie Trumbull

This text was added to the website: 2016-08-09
Line count: 24
Word count: 112

The round‑dance twirls without ceasing
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The round-dance twirls without ceasing,
You must take part;
There is no getting out of it for no one,
You must take part.

You say: with the joy of youth
My cheek is red.
When it is your turn, it shall grow pale;
You must take part.

They weep when they see you
Fetched for the round-dance,
You, however, have no tearfilled eye,
You must take part.

And if they gave you a longer 
Reprieve than others,
In the end, your allotted time, too, is up,
You must take part.

You say: I am too old for dancing,
My foot is lame,
My head is weak. How does that help you?
You must take part.

Your travelling passport, often renewed,
Has now expired;
Here is your new passport!
You must take part.

Note for stanza 1, line 3: the double negative in the translation mirrors the double negative in the original German.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2020 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: 2020-06-12
Line count: 24
Word count: 132