Ich hab' mich ergeben

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The text in an old German song book, titled Gelübde

"Ich hab′ mich ergeben", originally titled Gelübde ("Vow"), is a patriotic German song. The text was written in 1820 by Hans Ferdinand Maßmann. It was one of the unofficial national anthems of West Germany between 1949 and 1952 when the Deutschlandlied was officially reinstalled.[1]

The national anthem of the Federated States of Micronesia, "Patriots of Micronesia", uses the same tune,[2] as does the Estonian song Mu Isamaa armas ("My beloved native land" by Martin Körber) which used to be Estonia's official flag song until 2009 when it was replaced by Gustav Ernesaks's Mu Isamaa on minu arm ("My homeland is my love").[3][4] The melody is quoted by Johannes Brahms in his Academic Festival Overture.[5]

It is noteworthy that the second stanza includes the words "Land of the Free", similar to the well-known words of "The Star-Spangled Banner", written eight years earlier.

Lyrics of Ich hab mich ergeben

German English

1. Ich hab mich ergeben
Mit Herz und mit Hand,
Dir Land voll Lieb′ und Leben
Mein deutsches Vaterland!

1. I have given myself
With heart and with hand
To you, country full of love and life,
My German Fatherland!

2. Mein Herz ist entglommen,
Dir treu zugewandt,
Du Land der Frei′n und Frommen,
Du herrlich Hermannsland!

2. My heart was enlightened,
Loyally turned towards you,
You land of the free and faithful,
You glorious Hermann′s land!

3. Du Land, reich an Ruhme,
Wo Luther erstand,
Für deines Volkes Tume
Reich ich mein Herz und Hand!

3. You land, rich in glory,
Where Luther arose,
For thy Volkstum
I reach out my heart and hand!

4. Ach Gott, tu erheben
Mein jung Herzensblut
Zu frischem freud′gem Leben,
Zu freiem frommem Mut!

4. O God, raise
My young heart′s blood
Towards fresh joyful life,
Towards free and faithful courage!

5. Will halten und glauben
An Gott fromm und frei
will Vaterland dir bleiben
Auf ewig fest und treu.

5. I will hold and believe
In God faithfully and freely;
Will, Fatherland, remain
Forever strengthened and loyal to you.

6. Lass Kraft mich erwerben
In Herz und in Hand,
Zu leben und zu sterben
Fürs heil′ge Vaterland!

6. Let me gain strength
In heart and hand,
To live and to die
For the holy Fatherland!

Wir hatten gebauet

The music had originally been composed for another patriotic song by August Daniel von Binzer, Wir hatten gebauet ein stattliches Haus (1819).[6] Some sources state that in this song the colours Black, Red, and Gold are mentioned for the first time in this order which is not true. In 1817, Binzer had written a different song that begins with the words "Stoßt an! Schwarz-Rot-Gold lebe!" (Let's toast! May Black, Red and Gold live!)[7]

The song's first performance took place on 27 January 1819 after the forced dissolution of the Urburschenschaft.[8] Around one year later, he wrote it down in the register of the participants of the Wartburg Festival, which had taken place in 1817. There, he called the tune a "Thuringian folk song". The lyrics were published for the first time in the Kieler Commers- und Liederbuch in 1821, the tune followed in 1825.


The text refers to the dissolution of the Urburschenschaft ("A noble house") due to the Carlsbad decrees. During the Vormärz, censorship often replaced the colours with lines.[9]

German English

1. Wir hatten gebauet
Ein stattliches Haus
Und drin auf Gott vertrauet
Trotz Wetter, Sturm und Graus.

1. We had built
A stately house
And trusted in God therein
Despite tempest, storm and horror.

2. Wir lebten so traulich,
So innig, so frei,
Den Schlechten ward es graulich,
Wir lebten gar zu treu.

2. We lived so cozily,
So devotedly, so free,
To the wicked it was abhorrent,
We lived far too faithfully.

3. Sie lugten, sie suchten
Nach Trug und Verrat,
Verleumdeten, verfluchten
Die junge, grüne Saat.

3.They peered, they looked
For deceit and treachery,
Slandered, cursed
The young, green seed.

4. Was Gott in uns legte,
Die Welt hat's veracht't,
Die Einigkeit erregte
Bei Guten selbst Verdacht.

4. What God put inside us,
The world has despised.
This unity stirred suspicion
Even among good people.

5. Man schalt es Verbrechen,
Man täuschte sich sehr;
Die Form kann man zerbrechen,
Die Liebe nimmermehr.

5.People reviled it as crime,
They deluded themselves badly;
They can shatter the form,
But never the love.

6. Die Form ist zerbrochen,
Von außen herein,
Doch was man drin gerochen,
War eitel Dunst und Schein.

6. The form is shattered,
From out to within,
But they smelled inside it
Sheer haze and appearance.

7. Das Band ist zerschnitten,
War schwarz, rot und gold,
Und Gott hat es gelitten,
Wer weiß, was er gewollt.

7. The riband is cut to pieces,
'T was black, red and gold,
And God allowed it,
Who knows what He wanted.

8. Das Haus mag zerfallen.
Was hat's dann für Not?
Der Geist lebt in uns allen,
Und unsre Burg ist Gott!

8. The house may collapse.
Would it matter?
The spirit lives within us all,
And our fortress is God!


  1. ^ Applegate, Celia (ed.). Music and German National Identity. The University of Chicago Press. 2002. p. 263.
  2. ^ Frédéric Bisson, Comment bâtir un monde, Les Éditions Chromatika, 2011, p. 140.
  3. ^ Estonian website about the flag song.
  4. ^ Mu Isamaa armas on YouTube.
  5. ^ Freeze, Timothy David (2010). "Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony: Program, Reception, and Evocations of the Popular" (Dissertation). University of Michigan: 216–217. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  6. ^ Monelle, Raymond. The Musical Topic: Hunt, Military and Pastoral. Indiana University Press, 2006. P. 257.
  7. ^ Grünebaum, Falk. "Deutsche Farben. Die Entwicklung von Schwarz-Rot-Gold unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Burschenschaft". In: GDS-Archiv für Hochschul- und Studentengeschichte. Vol. 7. Köln, 2004. P. 21.
  8. ^ Grünebaum, Falk. "Deutsche Farben. Die Entwicklung von Schwarz-Rot-Gold unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Burschenschaft". In: GDS-Archiv für Hochschul- und Studentengeschichte. Vol. 7. Cologne, 2004. P. 23.
  9. ^ Historisch-Kritisches Liederlexikon: Wir hatten gebauet ein stattliches Haus, Edition B.

External links

  • The first two stanzas as MP3 file
  • YouTube version of Ich hab mich ergeben (first, second and fifth stanza)
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