BWV 176 Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding


Christiane Mariane von Ziegler, Versuch in Gebundener Schreibart, Teil I (Leipzig, 1728), with many changes; Facs: Neumann T, p. 365.

1. After Jer. 17:9; 6. Paul Gerhardt, verse 8 of "Was alle Weisheit in der Welt," 1653 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #415).

27 May 1725, Leipzig.

BG 35; NBA I/15.

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

There is a daring and a shy thing about the human spirit.(1)

2. Recit. (A)

I say he was most shy
When Nicodemus did by day come not,
By night did Jesus face.
The sun was forced one day for Joshua so long to stand in place,
Until at last the victory was fully won;
Here, though, did Nicodemus wish: O would the sun now go to rest!

3. Aria (A)

Thy dear light, before so bright,
Must for me the clouds obscure,
While I go to seek the master,
For by day I am too fearful.
No man can these wonders do,
For his nature and vast power,
It would seem, by God are chosen;
God's own Spirit on him rests.

4. Recit. (B)

So marvel then, O Master, not,
That I should thee at night be seeking!
I'm fearful, lest by daylight
My weakness could not stand the test.
And yet I hope thou shalt my heart and soul
To life exalt and take.
For all men who in thee believe now shall not be forsaken.(2)

5. Aria (A)

Have courage now, fearful and timorous spirits,
Recover now, hear ye what Jesus doth pledge:
That I through belief shall now heaven inherit.
When this great promise fulfillment achieves,
Shall I in heaven
With thanks and with praises
Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Honor, the Three-in-One named.

6. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Rise, that we may now all as one
To heaven's portals hasten;
And when at last within thy realm
May we forever sing there
That thou alone sweet honey art,
All other gods excelling,
God Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Of good men shield and Savior,
One being, but three persons.

1. Luther's text: "Es ist das Herz ein trotzig und verzagt Ding." RSV: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt." The Septuagint says that the heart is "deep" and that man is difficult to fathom. The Lord alone understands him. Trotzig and verzagt apparently encompass the daring and the timidity of this "deep" creature.

2. This line is not in Ziegler's PT. Cf. Jn. 3:15.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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