BWV 123 Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen


Poet unknown.

1. Ahasverus Fritsch, verse 1 of the hymn, 1679 (Fischer-Tümpel, V, #593); 2-5. based loosely on verse 2-5, respectively; 6. verse 6 of the hymn.

6 January 1725, Leipzig.

BG 26; NBA I/5.

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

Dearest Emanuel, Lord(1) of the faithful,
Thou Savior of my soul, come, come now soon!
Thou hast, my highest store, my heart won over;
So much its love doth burn and for thee seethe.
On earth can nothing
Be dearer to me
Than that I my dear Jesus ever hold.

2. Recit. (A)

Now heaven's sweet delight, the chosen people's joy,
Doth fill e'en here on earth my heart and breast,
When I the name of Jesus utter
And recognize his secret manna:
Like as the dew an arid land revives,
Just so my heart
In peril and in pain
To joyfulness doth Jesus' power transport.

3. Aria (T)

E'en the cruel cross's journey
And my fare of bitter weeping
Daunt me not.

    When the raging tempests bluster,
    Jesus sends to me from heaven
    Saving light.

4. Recit. (B)

No fiend of hell can e'er devour me,
The screaming of conscience grows still.
How shall indeed the hostile host surround me?
E'en death itself hath lost its might,
And to my side the victory now inclines,
For Jesus me himself, my Savior, show.

5. Aria (B)

Leave me, world, for thou dost scorn me,
In my grievous loneliness!

    Jesus, now in flesh appearing
    And my sacrifice accepting,
    Bideth with me all my days.

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

Be gone, then, evermore, ye idle fancies!
Thou, Jesus, thou art mine, and I am thine;
I would depart this world and come before thee;
Thou shalt within my heart and mouth be found.
My whole existence
To thee be offered,
Until at last I'm laid into the grave.

1. Herzog 'duke' seems inappropriate in its literal sense. Its etymological meaning, 'leader of the army' (cf. Herr and ziehen), is similar to that of its Latin cognate dux. One might prefer to translate with "leader" or "guide," but "Lord" seems to have the proper connotations of rank and function.

© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose

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