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"Va, Pensiero" Lyrics and Text Translation

The Famous Hebrew Slaves Chorus from Verdi's Opera, Nabucco


"Va, Pensiero" from Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Nabucco, is perhaps the most beloved piece of music from the entire opera. It is so well liked, that more often than not, it is performed twice - the second being the encore performance. Each time the chorus ends, thunderous applause erupts from the audience (and rightfully so). The chorus takes place in the opera's third act after the Israelites have been captured and imprisoned in Babylon. Watch a Youtube video of "Va, Pensiero" and follow along with the lyrics and English translation below.

Italian Lyrics
Va', pensiero, sull'ali dorate;
Va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!
Del Giordano le rive saluta,
di Sionne le torri atterrate…
Oh mia Patria sì bella e perduta!
O membranza sì cara e fatal!
Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati,
perché muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie nel petto raccendi,
ci favella del tempo che fu!
O simile di Solima ai fati,
traggi un suono di crudo lamento;
o t'ispiri il Signore un concento
che ne infonda al patire virtù!

English Translation
Go, thoughts, on golden wings;
Go, settle upon the slopes and hills,
where warm and soft and fragrant are
the breezes of our sweet native land!
Greet the banks of the Jordan,
the towers of Zion ...
Oh my country so beautiful and lost!
Or so dear yet unhappy!
Or harp of the prophetic seers,
why do you hang silent from the willows?
Rekindle the memories within our hearts,
tell us about the time that have gone by
Or similar to the fate of Solomon,
give a sound of lament;
or let the Lord inspire a concert
That may give to endure our suffering.

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