BWV 25 Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Ps. 38:4 with the chorale melody "Herzlich tut mich verlangen nach einem selgen End" (cf. BWV 161/1)(1); 6. Johann Heermann, last verse of "Treuer Gott, ich muß dir klagen," 1630 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #347).

29 August 1723, Leipzig.

BG 5, 1; NBA I/23, 81.


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

There is nought of soundness within my body, for thou art angry, nor any quiet within these my bones now, for I am sinful.

2. Recit. (T)

Now all the world is but a hospital,
Where mortals in their numbers passing count
And even children in the cradle
In sickness lie with bitter anguish.
The one is tortured in the breast
By raging fever's angry lust;
Another lieth ill
From his own honor's odious foul stench;
The third is torn by lust for gold,
Which hurls him to an early grave.
The first great fall hath ev'ryone polluted
And with its rash of sinfulness infected.
Ah, this great bane doth gnaw as well my members.
Where is a cure for wretched me?
Who will by me within my suff'ring stand?
My healer who, who will restore me?

3. Aria (B)

Ah, where shall this wretch find help?
All my rashes, all my cankers
Can no herb or plaster cure now
But the balm of Gilead.(2)
Healer mine, Lord Jesus, thou
Know'st alone my soul's best cure.

4. Recit. (S)

O Jesus, O dear Master,
To thee I flee:
Ah, strengthen thou my weakened vital spirits!
Have mercy now,
Thou help and doctor of all ailing,
O thrust me not
Hence from thy countenance!
My Healer, make me clean from my great rash of sin,
And I will thee
Give all my heart in turn
In lasting sacrifice
And through my life for all thy help be grateful.

5. Aria (S)

Open to my songs so meager,
Jesus, thy most gracious ear!
When I there in choirs above
Shall be with the angels singing,
Shall my thankful song sound better.

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

I will all my days forever
Glorify thy mighty hand,
That thou all my drudge and mourning
Hast so graciously repelled.
Not alone in mortal life
Shall I tell thy glory wide:
I will e'en hereafter tell it
And there evermore extol thee.


1. Dürr, p. 431, suggests that the congregation, in hearing this melody, would have thought of its alternative text: "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" upon which BWV 135 (for the Third Sunday after Trinity) is based.

2. Cf. Jer. 8:22 and 46:11.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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