Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena Bach

Between 1725 and 1740.

BG 43. 2; NBA V/4.


BWV 299 Dir, dir Jehova, will ich singen (#39a and 39b)

Bartholomäus Crasselius, all verses of the hymn, 1695.

To thee Jehova I will sing now,
For where is to be found a God like thee?
To thee I will my anthems offer,
Ah, for this give thy Spirit's strength to me,
To do this in the name of Jesus Christ,
So that it may through him thy favor win.

Draw me, O Father, to the Son now,
So that thy Son in turn draw me to thee.
Thy Spirit dwell within my bosom,
Both mine intention and my mind command,
That I the peace of God may taste and feel,
For thee with grateful heart may sing and play.

O lend me, Highest, this great kindness
And surely will my singing be well done;
And fair resound will then my anthem,
As I adore thee with my soul and truth;
So let thy Spirit lift my heart to thee,
That I the psalms may sing with choirs above.

For he(1) can bring my cause before thee
With sighing which exceeds my pow'r to tell;
He teacheth me true prayer's devotion,
Gives witness to my soul that I'm thy child
And an inheritor of Jesus Christ,
So that I "Abba, O dear Father" cry.

Whene'er this from my heart resoundeth
Through thine own Holy Ghost's inspiring pow'r,
So breaks thy father's heart and flutters
With passion for my sake in ardent love
That my petition cannot ever fail,
Which I according to thy will have made.

Whate'er thy Spirit bids me pray for,
That is according to thy will conceived
And will by thee be heard most surely,
For in the name of thine own Son it comes,
Through whom I am thy child and heir become
And have from thee now grace on grace received.

How blest I am to have this witness;
Thus I am full of hope and happiness.
I know that ev'ry gift and favor
Which I have asked and gotten ev'rytime,
These dost thou give and infinitely more
That I can fathom, pray for, and desire.

Bless me, I pray for Jesus' name's sake,
For me at thy right hand himself he pleads.
In him is ev'ry "Yea and Amen"
To what of thee my spirit's faith doth ask.
Bless me, praise thee, now and eternally,
That thou dost grant me such great happiness!


BWV 508 Bist du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden (#25)

Poet unknown; Music by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel.

Be thou with me and I'll go gladly
To death and on to my repose.

    Ah, how my end would bring contentment,
    If, pressing with thy hands so lovely,
    Thou wouldst my faithful eyes then close.


BWV 509 Gedenke doch, mein Geist, zurücke (#41)

Poet unknown.

Be mindful yet, my soul, remember
The grave and that the bell will toll
When I shall to my rest be ushered,
So that I may in wisdom die.
Inscribe this word in heart and breast:
Be mindful that thou too must die.


BWV 511 Gib dich zufrieden und sei still (#13a)

Paul Gerhardt, verse 1 of the hymn, 1666 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #474).

Yield to contentment and be quiet
In the God of thine existence.
In him rests ev'ry joy's abundance,
Vain without him is thy striving.
He is thy wellspring and thy sunlight,
Each day he brightens for thy pleasure.
Yield to contentment.


BWV 513 O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (#42)

Johann Rist, verse 1 of the hymn, 1642 (Fischer-Tümpel, II, #204)

Eternity, thou thundrous word,
O sword that through the soul doth bore,
Beginning with no ending.
Eternity, time lacking time,
I know now faced with deepest grief
Not where to seek my refuge.
So much my frightened heart doth quake
That to my gums my tongue is stuck.


BWV 514 Schaff's mit mir, Gott, nach deinem Willen (#35)

Benjamin Schmolck, verse 1 of the hymn, 1725.

Deal with me, God, as thou desirest,
To thee my all is now disposed.
Thou shalt my needs bring satisfaction,
As shall thy wisdom it decide.
Thou art my Father, thou shalt then
Supply me, and that is my hope.


BWV 515a Erbauliche Gedanken eines Tobackrauchers (#20b and 20c)

Poet unknown.

Each time I take my pipe'n tobacco
With goodly wad filled to the brim
For fun and passing time with pleasure,
It brings to me a thought so grim
And adds as well this doctrine fair:
That I'm to it quite similar.

The pipe is born of clay terrestrial,
Of this I am as well conceived.
Ah, one day I'll become earth also---
It falls and breaks, before ye know't,
And often cracks within my hand:
My destiny is much the same.

The pipe our wont is not to color,
It's always white. And thus I think
That I as well one day while dying
In flesh at least shall grow as pale.
But in the tomb my body will
Be black like it when used at length.

When now the pipe is lit and burning,
We witness how within a trice
The smoke into thin air doth vanish,
Nought but the ashes then are left.
And thus is mankind's fame consumed,
Its body, too, in dust assumed.

How oft it happens when we're smoking
That, when the tamper's not at hand,
We use our finger for this service.
Me thinks, then, when I have been burned:
Oh, if these cinders cause such pain,
How hot indeed will hell yet be?

I can amidst such formulations
With my tobacco ev'rytime
Such practical ideas ponder.
I'll smoke therefore contentedly
On land, at sea and in my house
My little pipe adoringly.


BWV 516 Warum betrübst du dich und beugest dich zur Erden (#33)

Poet unknown.

Wherefore art thou so sad and bowed to earth so prostrate,
O my most tortured soul, O my most weary heart?
In fear of what indeed thy destiny may bring thee,
Thou coursest o'er the world and o'er the very skies.
If thou dost not rely upon God's will most firmly,
Thou shalt in all of time no true repose discover.


BWV 517 Wie wohl ist mir, o Freund der Seelen

Wolfgang Christoph Dreßler, verse 1 of the hymn, 1692 (Fischer-Tümpel, V, #390).

How blest I am, O friend of spirits,
When I within thy love may rest.
I climb forth from the depths of sadness
And hasten to thine arms' embrace.
Then must the night of sorrow vanish
When with such great joy and gladness
Pure love doth beam from thy dear breast.
Here is on earth now my true heaven,
Who would not rest in full contentment
Who in thee findeth rest and joy.


BWV 518 Willst du dein Herz mir schenken
Aria di Giovannini

Poet unknown.

Aria of Giovannini

Wouldst thou thine heart now give me,
Proceed in secrecy,
That twixt us our intentions
No one may ever guess.
Since love must be, if mutual,
Forever silent kept,
So hide thy greatest pleasures
Within thy heart's recess.

O cautious be and silent,
And never trust a wall,
Love inwardly, and, outward,
Appear quite unattached.
Suspicion give thou never,
Disguise is ever meet.
Enough, that thou, my being,
My faith art e'er assured.

O covet no attentions
Of my devotion, none,
For jealousy so many
Snares for our work hath laid.
Thou must conceal thy feeling,
Heart's fancy hold within.
The joy which brings us rapture
Must e'er a secret be.

Now license and indulgence
Have often brought their risk.
We must have this agreement,
For spiteful eyes do watch.
Thou must that motto ponder
Which I before did state:
Wouldst thou thy heart now give me,
Proceed in secrecy.


1. I.e., the Holy Ghost.


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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