BWV 27 Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende?

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Ämilie Juliane von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, verse 1 of the hymn, 1686 (Fischer-Tümpel, V, #631) with interpolated recitative; 6. Johann Georg Albinus, verse 1 of the hymn, 1649 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #312).

6 October 1726, Leipzig.

BG 5, 1; NBA I/23.


1. Chorale (S, A, T, B) and Recit. (S, A, T)

(S, A, T, B)
Who knows how near to me my end is?

(S)
This knows the Lord above alone,
If this my pilgrimage on earth be
Short, or if longer it may be.
Hence fleeth time, here cometh death,

(A)
And at the last the point is reached
When they will surely meet each other.
Ah, with what swiftness and adroitness
Can come to me the trial of death!

(T)
Who knows if e'en today
My mouth its final word might speak.
Thus shall I always pray:
My God, I pray through Christ's own blood,
Allow but that my end be good!

2. Recit. (T)

My lifetime hath no other goal
Than that I may in death be blessed
And this my faith's reward inherit.
Thus shall I always live
For death's grave ready and prepared;
As for the work my hands now do
It is as though I were full certain
That I today were meant to perish:
For all is well that endeth well!

3. Aria (A)

"O welcome!" will I utter
Then when death my bed doth near.

    Gladly will I follow(1)
    To the tomb;
    All of mine afflictions
    Will I bring.

4. Recit. (S)

Ah, would I were in heaven now!
It is my wish to leave now(2)
And with the lamb,
Of all the righteous bridegroom true,
Find in my blessedness a pasture.
Wings come now!
Ah, would I were in heaven now!

5. Aria (B)

O farewell, thou worldly tumult!

    Now I'll take of thee my leave;
    I stand e'en now with one foot
    Nigh our good Lord God in heaven.

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

World, farewell! Of thee I weary,
I would unto heaven go,
Where I'll find that perfect quiet
And eternal, glorious rest.
World, with thee are war and strife,
Nought but utter vanity,
But in heaven endlessly
Peace and joy and happiness.


1. OP and OSt also have fröhlich folge ich for compositional reasons. There translate "gladly following."

2. Cf. Phil. 1:23.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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