BWV 57 Selig ist der Mann (Dialogus)

Second Day of Christmas (St. Stephen).

Georg Christian Lehms, Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer (Darmstadt, 1711); Facs: Neumann T, p. 257.

1. Jas. 1:12; 8. Ahasverus Fritsch, verse 6 of "Hast du denn, Jesus, dein Angesicht," 1668 (Fischer-Tümpel, V, #569).

26 December 1725, Leipzig.

BG 12, 2: NBA I/3.


Dialogue

Soul (S), Jesus (B)


1. Aria [Dictum] (B) Jesus

Blessed is the man who bears temptation with patience; for when he hath withstood the test, he shall the crown of true life then be given.

2. Recit. (S) Soul

Ah! this sweet comfort doth
Restore my heart as well,
Which nought but "Ah and woe"
In endless sorrow findeth
And is just like a worm in its own blood now writhing.
I must just like the sheep
Midst countless savage wolves be living;
I am a true forsaken lamb
And must now to their rage
And cruelty surrender.
What Abel once befell,(1)
Evokes from me as well a flood of tears.
Ah! Jesus, had I here
No strength from thee,
My courage and my heart would fail me
And say with deepest sorrow:

3. Aria (S) Soul

I would now yearn for death, for death,
If thou, my Jesus, didst not love me.

    Yea, if thou me wouldst still leave saddened,
    I'd suffer more than pain of hell.

4. Recit. (B, S) Jesus, Soul

(Jesus)
I stretch to thee my hand,
My heart as well comes with it.

(Soul)
Ah! Sweetest bond of love,
Thou canst my foes bring ruin
And their great rage diminish.

5. Aria (B) Jesus

Yes, yes, I can thy foes destroy now
Who have before me e'er accused thee,
So have no fear, O anxious soul.

    O anxious soul, cease now thy weeping,
    The sun will soon be brightly shining,
    Which thee now clouds of trouble sends.

6. Recit. (B, S) Jesus, Soul

(Jesus)
Within my lap life's peace abideth,
This I will once give thee forever.

(Soul)
Ah, Jesus, were I now with thee!
Ah, if the wind
Did now graze o'er my tomb and grave,
I could then ev'ry sorrow conquer.
How blest are they within the coffin
Who to the sound of angels hearken!
Ah, Jesus, open for me too,
As Stephen once, the gates of heaven!(2)
My heart is now prepared
To soar aloft to meet thee.
Come, come, O blessed hour!
Thou canst the tomb and grave
And mine own Jesus show me.

7. Aria (S) Soul

I'd quit now so quickly(3) mine earthly existence,
With gladness to part now I long at this moment.
My Savior, I'd die now with greatest of joy,
Here hast thou my spirit, what dost thou give me?

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

Bring, my belove'd, my hopes to fulfillment, confiding
That I'll thy bosom friend always and ever be biding,
Who thee hath pleased
And into heaven hath brought
Out of this thy tortured body.(4)


1. Cf. Mt. 23:35.

2. Cf. Act. 7:55.

3. "Quit now so quickly" is meant to reflect the jingle in ende... behende.

4. The text of the final chorale represents the response of Jesus to the Soul's question in 7: "What dost thou give me?"


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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