BWV 19 Es erhub sich ein Streit

St. Michael and All Angels.

Poet unknown, a revision of verses 1, 3, 6, and 7 of a Michaelmas poem in Picander's Sammlung Erbaulicher Gedancken (Leipzig, 1724/25); Facs: Neumann T, p. 309.

1-2. based upon Rev. 12:7-9; 3. verse 3 of Picander with the chorale melody "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr, (cf. BWV 174/5); 4. based on verse 4 of Picander; 5. based on the end of verse 6 of Picander and on Ps. 34:8, 91:11-13, and 116:8; 6. lines 1-4 of verse 6 and reminiscences of verse 7 of Picander; 7. verse 9 of "Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele," Freiburg, 1620 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #573).

29 September 1726, Leipzig.

BG 2; NBA I/30.


1. Chorus (S, A, T, B)

There arose a great strife.

    The furious serpent, the dragon infernal,
    Now storms against heaven with passionate vengeance.
    But Saint Michael wins the day,
    And the host which follows him

Strikes down Satan's cruel might.

2. Recit. (B)

Praise God! The dragon's low.
The uncreated Michael hath
With all his angel host
Him overcome.
He lies there in the darkness' gloom
With fetters bound about him,
And his abode shall be no more
In heaven's realm discovered.
We stand full confident and sure,
And though we by his roar be frightened,
Yet shall our body and our soul
By angels be protected.

3. Aria (S)

God sends us Mahanaim here;(1)
In waiting or departing
We therefore can in safe repose
Before our foes stand firmly.
He is encamped, both near and far,
Round us the angel of our Lord
With fire, horse and wagon.(2)

4. Recit. (T)

What is, then, scornful man, that child of earth?
A worm, a wretched sinner.
Behold how e'en the Lord doth love him so
That he regards him not unworthy
And for him heaven's children,
The host of Seraphim,
To keep him safe and free from harm
For his defense provideth.

5. Aria (T) with instr. chorale(3)

Stay, ye angels, stay by me!

    Lead me so and stay beside me
    That my foot may never stumble!
    But instruct me here as well
    How to sing your mighty "Holy"
    And the Most High thanks to offer.

6. Recit. (S)

Let us the countenance
Of righteous angels honor
And them with our own sinfulness
Not drive away or even sadden.
And they shall, when the Lord us bids
The world "Farewell" to render,
To our great happiness,
Our chariots be to heaven.

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

Let thine angel with me travel
On Elias' chariot red,
This my soul so well protecting
As for Laz'rus when he died.
Let it rest within thy lap,
Make it full of joy and hope
Till from earth shall rise my body
And with it be reunited.


1. Cf. Gen. 32:2. Hebrew Mahanaim means 'two hosts' or 'two camps.'

2. Cf. Ps. 34:8 and 2 Cor. 2:11.

Dürr, p. 774, says that the more knowledgeable members of the congregation, in hearing this melody, would have thought of verse 3 of the hymn: "Ach Herr, laß dein lieb Engelein am letzten End die Seele mein in Abrahams Schoß tragen" ("Ah Lord, allow thine angel dear at the last day to carry this soul of mine to Abraham's bosom").


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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