Translation © by Walter A. Aue

Die Gedanken sind frei
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG IRI
Die Gedanken sind frei,
wer kann sie erraten,
sie fliegen vorbei
wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen,
kein Jäger erschießen
mit Pulver und Blei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

Ich denke was ich will
und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still',
und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch, mein Begehren
kann niemand verwehren,
es bleibet dabei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

Und sperrt man mich ein
im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein
vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken
zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei,
die Gedanken sind frei!

Drum will ich auf immer
den Sorgen entsagen
und will mich auch nimmer
mit Grillen mehr plagen.
Man kann ja im Herzen
stets lachen und scherzen
und denken dabei:
Die Gedanken sind frei!


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

Set in a modified version by Gustav Mahler.

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

  • ENG English (Walter A. Aue) , title 1: "Thoughts are Free", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , title 1: "Bíonn smaointe gan chuing", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Walter A. Aue

This text was added to the website: 2010-03-23
Line count: 32
Word count: 123

Thoughts are Free
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
The thoughts travel free,
no-one can detect them,
like shadows they flee
through night to protect them.
The cops cannot grill them
and hunters can't kill them:
their guns cannot see
a thought running free.

I think as I choose,
my luck's open-ended,
but all without clues,
so no-one's offended.
My want and desire
shall find no denier
when they find the key:
That thoughts must be free!

And if they'll be locking
me up in their dungeon
they shall not be blocking
me or my conscience,
for thoughts take no orders
and will break through borders
and walls with esprit:
The thoughts, they are free!

And thus, from tomorrow,
good riddance to sorrow!
No more feeling cranky,
just more hanky-panky!
My heart shan't be hurting,
just laughing and flirting,
and all shall agree
that thoughts must be free!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2010 by Walter A. Aue, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Walter A. Aue.  Contact: waue (AT) dal (DOT) ca

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Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2010-03-23
Line count: 32
Word count: 139