"Va, Pensiero" Lyrics and Text Translation

This is the famous Hebrew slaves chorus from Verdi's Opera "Nabucco"

"Va, Pensiero" from Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Nabuccodonosor" is perhaps the most beloved piece of music from the entire opera. It is so well liked that it often is performed twice, the second time as part of an encore.

Nicknamed "Nabucco," the opera takes place in Jerusalem and Babylon in 583 BCE. It tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon and the Hebrew slaves who are eventually sent into exile, as well as the love triangle among Ismaele, Fenena and Abigaille.

Verdi wrote this opera after the failure of his second work, "Un giordo di regno,"  and the deaths of his wife and young children. He had vowed never to write another opera but was persuaded by the impresario of the La Scala opera house Bartolomeo Merelli to look at the libretto for what would become "Nabucco."

It premiered at La Scala in 1842.

The Chorus of 'Va, Pensiero'

The chorus takes place in the opera's third act after the Israelites have been captured and imprisoned in Babylon. It's reportedly this part of the libretto that got Verdi interested in writing the opera. 

Italian Lyrics to "Va, Pensiero"

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 of "Va, Pensiero"

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.