by Titus Ulrich (1813 - 1891)
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Zu den Waffen
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG FRE
Vom Angesicht die Mask' herab!
Es schlägt die Geisterstunde:
Der Geist erstehet aus dem Grab
Mit neuem Tag im Bunde!
Und ihr gebt noch den Herren Dank,
Dass sie euch so vergnügen?
Ob falsch ihr Spiel, ob Gift ihr Trank,
Ob ihre Worte Lügen?
Weh! Ohren zu haben und Augenlicht
Und sehn nicht dürfen und hören nicht!

Ihr ahnet nicht das Gaukelspiel,
Das ihr geäfft umlungert;
Ihr hoffet stets, ihr hoffet viel,
Und quält euch, friert und hungert.
Noch gibt es Linnen, gibt noch Brot,
Zu speisen euch, zu kleiden:
Ein Wort, ein Wort' und eure Not
Verwandelt sich in Freuden!
O Qual, zu tragen ein Herz so voll
Und knirschen müssen in stummem Groll!

Stolz ragt die Zwingburg Giebelfeld,
Die Zeichendeuter weisen
Empor und wollen aller Welt
Sein mystisch Dreieck preisen.
Das Reich, die Kraft, die Herrlichkeit!
Schaut auf, dass ihr nicht wittert,
Wie unten klafft die Fuge weit,
Und Säul' und Angel zittert!
Ha, fühlen des Armes gewalt'ge Sucht -
Und führen nicht können des Schlages Wucht!


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) , "A les armes", copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "To arms", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Aux armes", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Dr. Gerrit den Hartogh

This text was added to the website: 2004-07-03
Line count: 30
Word count: 169

To arms
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Remove the mask from your face!
The witching hour tolls:
The ghost arises from the grave
In league with the new day!
And you still thank the overlords
That they provide such amusements for you?
Despite the fact that their play is false, there drinks are poison,
Their words are lies?
Woe! To have ears and sight
And not to be allowed to see or hear!

You do not realize the deception [of the show]
That you, who were made monkeys of, hang about watching;
You continually hope, you hope for much,
And plague yourselves, freeze and go hungry.
There is still linen to be had, still bread
To feed you, to clothe you:
A word, a [single] word and your hardship
Could turn itself into joy!
Oh anguish, to carry a heart so full [within one's bosom]
And to have to grit one's teeth in mute rancour!

Proudly towers the stronghold's tympanum,
The soothsayers point
Upward and wish to extol to the whole world
The virtues of its mystical triangle.
The empire, the strength, the glory!
Gaze upward so that you do not perceive
How below the joint gapes widely,
And columns and hinges tremble!
Ha, to feel in your arm the powerful longing [for an object upon which to wreak vengeance] -
And yet not to be able to engage in a forceful stroke!


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2013 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: 2013-07-12
Line count: 30
Word count: 226