BWV 69a Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity.

Johann Oswald Knauer, Gott-geheiligtes Singen und Spielen des Friedensteinischen Zions (Gotha, 1720); Facs: BJ (1981), p. 20; Bach adapts with substantial alterations six of Knauer's ten movements.(1)

15 August 1723, Leipzig; 1, 3, 5 ---> BWV 69/1, 3, 5.

BG 16, Anhang; NBA I/20.



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

Praise thou the Lord, O my spirit, and forget not the goodness that he hath shown thee.

2. Recit. (S)

Ah, would I had a thousand tongues now!
Ah, would as well my mouth
Of empty words were free!
Ah, could I nothing utter
But what to God's renown intended were!
Then would I make the Most High's kindness known;
For he hath all my life so much for me achieved,
That through eternity I could not thank him full.

3. Aria (T)

O my spirit,
Rise and tell it,
All that God hath shown to thee!

    Glorify his wondrous work,
    To the Most High bring now pleasure,
    Make thy song of thanks ring gladly.

4. Recit. (A)

If I but now think back
To what, my God, from tender childhood on
Until this moment thou
For me hast done,
I could then all thy wonders, Lord
So little as the stars e'er number.
For all thy care, which thou dost on my spirit
At ev'ry hour bestow,
From which thou only(2) out of love dost rest,
I could not ever fully give thee thanks.
My mouth is weak, my tongue is mute
To tell thy praise and fame.
Ah! Be near me
And speak thy mighty "Hephata,"(3) / gracious " yes," /
Then shall my mouth with thanks be filled.

5. Aria (B)

My Redeemer and Sustainer,
Keep me in thy care and watch!
Stand by me in cross and suff'ring,
And my mouth shall sing with gladness:
God hath all things set aright!

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

What God doth, that is rightly done,
To that will I be cleaving.
Though out upon the cruel road
Need, death and suff'ring drive me,
E'en so will God,
All fatherhood,
Within his arms enfold me;
So I yield him all power.


1. For a full account of Bach's use of this and two other cantatas of Knauer, see H. K. Krausse, BJ (1981), pp. 7-22, esp. p. 13.

2. BG has nie: to be translated with "never."

3. Hebr. 'be opened!'


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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