BWV 140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

Twenty-seventh Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1, 4, and 7. Philipp Nicolai, verses 1-3 respectively of the hymn, 1599.

25 November 1731 and perhaps 1742, Leipzig.

BG 28; NBA I/27.


1. Chorus [Verse 1] (S, A, T, B)

Wake, arise, the voices call us
Of watchmen from the lofty tower;
Arise, thou town Jerusalem!
Midnight's hour doth give its summons;
They call to us with ringing voices;
Where are ye prudent virgins now?
Make haste, the bridegroom comes;
Rise up and take your lamps!
Alleluia!
Prepare to join
The wedding feast,
Go forth to meet him as he comes!

2. Recit. (T)

He comes, he comes,
The bridegroom comes!(1)
O Zion's daughters, come ye forth,(2)
His journey hieth from the heavens(3)
Into your mother's house.(4)
The bridegroom comes, who to a roebuck
And youthful stag is like,(5)
Which on the hills doth leap;(6)
To you the marriage meal he brings.
Rise up, be lively now
The bridegroom here to welcome!
There, look now, thence he comes to meet you.

3. Aria (S, B) Soul, Jesus

(Soul)
When com'st thou, my Savior?(7)

(Jesus)
I'm coming, thy share.

(Soul)
I'm waiting with my burning oil.(8)

    (Soul, Jesus)
    Now open
    {        } the hall
    I open
    For heaven's rich meal.

    (Soul)
    Come, Jesus!

    (Jesus)
    Come, O lovely soul!

4. Chorale [Verse 2] (T)

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
Her heart within for joy is dancing,
She watches and makes haste to rise.
Her friend comes from heaven glorious,
In mercy strong, in truth most mighty,
Her light is bright, her star doth rise.
Now come, thou precious crown,
Lord Jesus, God's own Son!
Hosannah pray!
We follow all
To joy's glad hall
And join therein the evening meal.

5. Recit. (B)

So come within to me,
Thou mine elected bride!
I have myself to thee
Eternally betrothed.(9)
I will upon my heart,
Upon my arm like as a seal engrave thee(10)
And to thy troubled eye bring pleasure.
Forget, O spirit, now
The fear, the pain
Which thou hast had to suffer;
Upon my left hand shalt thou rest,
And this my right hand shall embrace thee.(11)

6. Aria (S, B)

(Soul)
My friend is mine,

    (Jesus)
    And I am thine,(12)

(Both)
Let love bring no division.

    (Soul, Jesus)
    I will               thee
    {        } with {        } on heaven's roses pasture,(13)
    Thou shalt        me
    Where pleasure in fullness, where joy will abound.(14)

7. Chorale [Verse 3] (S, A, T, B)

Gloria to thee be sung now
With mortal and angelic voices,
With harps and with the cymbals, too.
Of twelve pearls are made the portals;
Amidst thy city we are consorts
Of angels high around thy throne.
No eye hath yet perceived,
No ear hath e'er yet heard
Such great gladness.
Thus we find joy,
Io, io,
Ever in dulci jubilo!


1. Mt. 25:6.

2. S.of S. 3:11.

3. Lk. 1:78.

4. S. of S. 3:4; 8:2. Note the matriarchal marriage system.

5. S. of S. 2:9 and 17; 8:14.

6. S. of S. 2:8.

7. s. 62:11.

8. Mt. 25:4.

9. Hos. 2:20.

10. S. of S. 8:6.

11. S. of S. 2:6. The Biblical text suggests "embrace" rather than "kiss."

12. S.of S. 2:16; 6:3. The Biblical sein 'his' is altered to dein in BG to suit the sense of the dialogue. It allows the rhyme in the translation.

13. S. of S. 6:3.

14. Ps. 16:11.


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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