BWV 73 Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir

Third Sunday after Epiphany.

Poet unknown; PT (Leipzig, 1724); Facs: Neumann T, p. 424.

1. Kaspar Bienemann, verse 1 of the hymn, 1582 (Wackernagel, IV, #1046), to the chorale melody "Wo Gott, der Herr, nicht bei uns hält" (cf. BWV 178), with interpolated recitative; 5. Ludwig Helmbold, final verse of "Von Gott will ich nicht lassen," 1563.

23 January 1724, Leipzig.

BG 18; NBA I/6.


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

(S, A, T, B)
Lord, as thou wilt, so deal with me
In living and in dying!

(T)
Ah! Ah, alas! How much
Thy will doth let me suffer!
My life hath been misfortune's prey,
For sorrow and dismay
Must plague me all my days,
Nor will yet my distress in dying even leave me.
Alone for thee is my desire,
Lord, leave me not to perish!

(B)
Thou art my helper, strength and shield,
Who ev'ry mourner's tears dost number,
And dost their confidence,
That fragile reed, no way corrupt;
And since thou me hast chosen,
So speak to me of hope and joy!
Maintain me only in thy grace,
But as thou wilt, let me forbear,
For thy will is the best will.

(S)
Thy will, in truth, is like a book that's sealed,
Which human wisdom cannot read;
Thy grace oft seems to us a curse,
Chastisement, oft a cruel judgment,
The rest which thou hast in our dying slumber
One day ordained,
To hell an introduction.
Thy Spirit, though, our error doth dispel
And show that thy true will doth make us well.
Lord, as thou wilt!

2. Aria (T)

Ah, pour thou yet thy joyful Spirit
Into my heart!

    For often through my spirit's sickness
    Both joyfulness and hope would falter
    And yield to fear.

3. Recit. (B)

Ah, our own will remains perverse,
Now haughty, now afraid,(1)
With death e'er loathe to reckon.
But men of Christ, through God's own Spirit taught,
Submit themselves to God's true purpose
And say:

4. Aria (B)

Lord, if thou wilt,
Suppress, ye pains of dying,
All sighing in my bosom,
If this my pray'r thou dost approve.

Lord, if thou wilt,
Then lay to rest my body
In dust and ashes lowly,
This most corrupted shape of sin.

Lord, if thou wilt,
Then strike, ye bells of mourning,
I follow quite unfrightened,
My sorrow is forever stilled.

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

This is the Father's purpose,
Who us created hath;
His Son hath plenteous goodness
Gained for us, and much grace;
And God the Holy Ghost
In faith o'er us yet ruleth,
To heaven's kingdom leadeth.
To him laud, honor, praise!


1. Cf. Jer. 17:9.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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