BWV 56 Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen

Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.(1)

5. Johann Franck, verse 6 of "Du, o schönes Weltgebäude," 1653 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #99).

27 October 1726, Leipzig.

BG 12, 2; NBA I/24.


1. Aria (B)

I will the cross-staff gladly carry,
It comes from God's belove'd hand,
It leadeth me so weak and weary
To God, into the promised land.
When I in the grave all my trouble once lay,
Himself shall my Savior my tears wipe away.(2)

2. Recit. (B)

My sojourn in the world
Is like a voyage at sea:
The sadness, cross and woe
Are billows which have overwhelmed me
And unto death
Each day appall me;
My anchor, though, which me doth hold,
Is that compassion's heart
With which my God oft makes me glad.
He calleth thus to me:
I am with thee,
I will not e'er abandon or forsake thee!(3)
And when the raging ocean's shaking
Comes to an end,
Into my city from the ship I'll go
It is the heav'nly realm
Which I with all the righteous
From deepest sadness will have entered.(4)

3. Aria (B)

One day, one day shall my yoke
Once again be lifted from me.

    Then shall I in the Lord find pow'r,
    And with the eagle's features rare,
    There rise above this earthly bound'ry(5)
    And soar without becoming weary.
    This I would today invoke!

4. Recit. and Arioso (B)

I stand here ready and prepared,
My legacy of lasting bliss
With yearning and with rapture
From Jesus' hands at last to capture.
How well for me that day
When I the port of rest shall come to see.
When I in the grave all my trouble once lay,
Himself shall my Savior my tears wipe away.

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

Come, O death, of sleep the brother,
Come and lead me hence now forth;
Loosen now my small bark's rudder,
Bring thou me secure to port!
Others may desire to shun thee,
Thou canst all the more delight me;
For through thee I'll come inside
To the fairest Jesus-child.


1. Neumann T, p. 141, notes a remote similarity to E. Neumeister's cantata for the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, "Ich will den Kreuzweg gerne gehen," Geistliche Cantaten (Weißenfels, 1700), and Dürr, p. 477, suggests that the librettist is the same one who imitated Neumeister in BWV 27.

2. Cf. Rev. 7:17.

3. Cf. Heb. 13:5.

4. Cf. Rev. 7:14.

5. Cf. Is. 40:31.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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