X (BWV Anh. 9) Entfernet Euch, Ihr heitern Sterne

Birthday of August II (12 May).

Christian Friedrich Haupt, Das frohlockende Leipzig (Leipzig, 1727); Facs: Neumann T, p. 392.

12 May 1727, Leipzig.

BG 34, Vorwort; NBA I/36, Krit. Bericht.



A Drama in Music
Philyris(1), Apollo, Mars, Harmony

1. Aria Tutti

Disperse yourselves, ye stars, serenely!
The nation's sun doth rise for us,
The flames of heaven's purest ardor,
Which from Augustus' eyes are springing,
Now darken you and slow you in your course.

    Da Capo.

2. Recit. (Philyris)

Most mighty Lord August,
Thou wonder of these ages,
Sarmatia's(2) and Sax'ny's fairest joy,
Thy crown of valor's glorious shimmer
And this thy purple's bright display,
Which all the world make stand in awe,
Awake in me the purest feelings
Of tenderest yet strong affection.
The kindness which for me with eagle-eyes doth watch
And with love as though with streams doth quaff me,
Is what my heart unto thee turneth.
But these thine eyes' heroic beams for now withdraw
And leave to me in place of thy dear glance
A most heartfelt contentment.

3. Aria (Philyris)

Our sources are we wont to honor,
So may I not nor may my children,
Whom thy most noble gifts embellish,
Our name for gratitude relinquish.

4. Arioso (Philyris)

Grant, mighty Lord August, grant, splendid monarch, grant
That I by calm of night and by thy sweet repose
And ev'ning sacrifice unto thy throne may offer,
While these my feeble arms about thy feet enfolding.

5. Recit. (Apollo)

This mighty feast one year ago
To thy most trusted Flemming's(3) highest pleasure,
When once the day already was consumed,
Let not the daylight from our vision wander.
For then was e'en the dark of night
By power of reflected radiance from afar
To shining noonday light transformed;
But now, though, when thou, this land's noblest sunshine,(4)
To ev'ryone's great pleasure
Thy scepter's light in thine own self dost show,
Must we perforce upon the earth now
The Gods' own paradise, that fairest heaven, see.

6. Aria (Apollo)

Augustus'' presence here, Augustus' pleasure-strand
Do we with ev'ry right to fairest heav'n prefer.
His visage can in part delight us,
In part, though, in amazement leave us.

    Da Capo.

7. Recit. (Apollo)

Because this festal day
The splendid glow of thy great majesty---
Which by this day, to lift the deep concern
Of wretched Philyris
Now with confirméd strength is found,---
More youthful and more perfect doth display.
Thus heard is now, illustrious August,
Upon my Helicon(5)
Through Harmony's enchanting force and pow'r
In loveliest of form
The jubilant, triumphant sound.

8. Duetto (Philyris, Apollo)

For a thousand times be welcome,
Fairest hours, with our kiss,
For Aurora;s purple light
Must to you cede all advantage
And, if this doth not occur,
At the last grow pale before you!

    Da Capo.

9. Recit. (Philyris, Mars)

(Philyris)
I am myself o'erjoyed and know not why it is:
The blood which is in ev'ry vein now stirring
Hath heart and soul
Alike excited.

(Mars)
What do ye mean by this,
Castalian nymphs so daring,
This crown of all the realm,
This most dear of nations' fathers,
Before whom Elb and Vistula
Their waters must make prostrate lie,
With these your feeble lyres
A sacrifice to offer?
O impudent beginning!

(Philyris)
Rebuke me not so churlishly,
For I do nought but what I owe perform.
The source of all this gladness, the fountain of my joy,
Is thee indeed well-known.
It is himself, thy mightiest August.

(Mars)
O impudent beginning!
Thou may'st indeed Amphion's(6) wondrous talents
Abundantly possess now,
But ne'ertheless the knowing heights of Pindus(7)
This much should fathom,
That this our King's heroic heart and his divine display
Much higher glory doth require.

10. Aria (Mars)

Heroes who like Caesar battle
Must from us have crowns of laurel,
And Augustus' wondrous hand,
To which even lions give way,
Summon forth such signs of triumph
Also from his Saxon land.

    Da Capo.

11. Recit. (Mars, Harmony)

(Mars)
Leave off now while yet doth his patience last,
Lest soon his mighty pow'r and lofty lightning force
You and the Muses' seat
Destroy and consume.

(Harmony)
Not for our King's great tests of valor,
His merit and deserts to honor,
Make echo now our strings their sound.
Whoe'er would be so bold to grasp them.(8)
And through audacity
Would to his throne cry forth,
Would pale for all his effort.
We praise alone this feast's great majesty
And only wish for Saxony's good fortune
That it might be that our esteemed August,
Each time his birthday-star appears,
In future ev'ry year may in our borders sojourn.

12. Aria (Harmony)

If the land's good luck shall increase,
Must its king within it be.
Ah, then were achieved in Sax'ny
Our most fervent hope and plea!

13. Recit. (Harmony)

So then at last come forth with this my charming chorus
To signal that this jubilant loud cry
Is just, and fairly made,
And heard make your exultant voices.

14. Aria Tutti

Long life then to the royal house and line!
My mightiest August, the jewel of our world,
Who as a miracle by God himself is shown:
And then Sarmatia will to heav'n itself be likened,
And Sax'ny's branch of rue(9) eternity be granted.


1. Daughter of Oceanus and mother of Chiron (the centaur who favored music and the arts), Philyris was changed into a linden tree (Hyginus, Fab. 138; cf. Vergil, Georgics 3. 92; Valerius Flaccus, 5. 153). Her name ("the lyre-lover") personifies Leipzig, which etymologically means "Linden-town," a significance emphasized in a number of congratulatory cantatas.

2. Sarmatia is the ancient name of Poland.

3. Earl Joachim Friedrich von Flemming was honored in Cantata VII (BWV Anh. 10) on 25 August 1731.

4. This compliment is all the more forceful in coming from Apollo, the God of the sun.

5. The mountain home of the Muses.

6. Amphion, representing the vita contemplativa in a contest with his shepherd brother Zethus, the vita activa, built the walls of Thebes by charming the stones with his lyre to move into their proper place. Here Mars, the God of War, disputes the powers of the lyre-loving Philyris.

7. Another mountain home of the Muses.

8. That is, the King's heroic tests of valor, referred to in the first line of Harmony's riposte.

9. The coat of arms of the royal house, cf. Cantata IV (BWV Anh. 12)/7, footnote 1.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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