BWV 121 Christum wir sollen loben schon

Second Day of Christmas (St. Stephen).

Poet unknown.

1. Martin Luther, verse 1 of the translation of "A solis ortus cardine" (Coelius Sedulius, 5th c.), 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #17ff.); 2-5. based freely on verses 2-7; 6. 8th and final verse of the hymn.

26 December 1724, Leipzig.

BG 26; NBA I/3.


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

To Christ we should sing praises now,
The spotless maid Maria's Son,
As far as our dear sun gives light
And out to all the world doth reach.

2. Aria (T)

O thou whom God created and extolled,
With reason not, no, no, with wonder see:

    God would through flesh the flesh's health accomplish.
    Though great is he, the maker of all nature,
    And though thou art despisÚd and unworthy,
    That thou by this be rescued from corruption.

3. Recit. (T)

Of grace which is of boundless nature
Hath chosen heaven not
To be its only dwelling,
For it no limits can contain.
Why wonder that in this both sense and reason fail
So great a mystery to fathom,
When grace into a maiden's heart is poured?
God chooseth him the virgin womb to be a temple for his honor,
That unto mankind he in awe-inspiring form be present.

4. Aria (B)

Then John's own glad and joyful leaping
Acknowledged thee, my Jesus, first.(1)

    Now while an arm of faith holds thee,
    So would my heart escape this world
    And to thy manger press with fervor.

5. Recit. (S)

But how doth it regard thee in thy manger?
My heart doth sigh: with trembling lips almost yet unopened
It brings its grateful sacrifice.
God, who all limits did transcend,
Bore servant's form and poverty.
And since he did this for our benefit,
Thus raising(2) with the choirs of angels
A joyful song of thanks and praising!

6. Chorus [Verse 8] (S, A, T, B)

Laud, praise, and thanks to thee be told
Christ, now born of the spotless maid,
With Father and the Holy Ghost
From now until eternity.


1. Cf. Lk. 1:44.

2. OP and BG have la▀ ich. Translate "I'll raise."


ę Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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