BWV 81 Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany.

Poet unknown; PT (Leipzig, 1724); Facs: Neumann T, p. 425.

4. Mt. 8:26; 7. Johann Franck, verse 2 of "Jesu, meine Freude," 1650 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #103).

30 January 1724, Leipzig.

BG 20, 1; NBA I/6.


1. Aria (A)

Jesus sleeps, what should my hope be?

    See I not
    With an ashen countenance
    Death's abyss e'en now stand open?

2. Recit. (T)

Lord, why dost thou remain so distant?
Why dost thou hide thyself in time of need?(1)
When all doth me a dreadful end portend?
Ah, will thine eye then not by my distress be troubled,
Whose wont is ne'er to rest in slumber?
Thou showed indeed with one star's brightness
Ere now the newly convert wise men
The proper path to travel.
Ah, lead then me with thine own eyes' bright light,
Because this course doth nought but woe forebode.

3. Aria (T)

The foam-crested billows of Belial's(2) waters
Redoubled their rage.
A Christian, true, like waves must rise
When winds of sadness him surround,
And strive doth the waters' storm
The strength of faith to diminish.

4. Arioso [Dictum] (B)

Ye of little faith, wherefore are ye so fearful?

5. Aria (B)

Still, O thou tow'ring sea!
Be silent, storm and wind!

    On thee is set thy limit,
    So that this mine own chosen child
    No mishap e'er may injure.

6. Recit. (A)

I'm blest, my Jesus speaks a word,
My helper is awake;
Now must the waters' storm, misfortune's night
And ev'ry woe depart.

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

Under thy protection
Am I midst the tempests
Of all foes set free.
Leave then Satan raging,
Let the foe grow bitter,
By me Jesus stands.
Though at once the lightning crack
Though both sin and hell strike terror,
Jesus will protect me.


1. Cf. Ps. 10:1.

2. Belial = Satan.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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