BWV 155 Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange?

Second Sunday after Epiphany.

Salomo Franck, Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer...in geistlichen Cantaten (Weimar, 1715); Facs: Neumann T, p. 276; PT (Leipzig, 1724); Facs: Neumann T, p. 423.

5. Paul Speratus, verse 12 of "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her," 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #55).

19 January 1716, Weimar; again 16 January 1724, Leipzig?

BG 32: NBA I/5.


1. Recit. (S)

My God, how long, how long then?
Of grief there is too much,
I see no end at all
Of mis'ry and of sorrow!
Thy soothing mercy's face
Beneath the night and clouds itself hath hidden;
Thy hand of love, alas, is quite withdrawn;
For comfort Im most anxious.
I find that to this wretchs daily anguish,
My cup of tears is ever full replenished,
The wine of joy doth fail;
And falls nigh all my confidence!

2. Aria (A, T)

Thou be faithful, thou be hopeful,
Thou must rest assured in God!
Jesus knows the proper hour,
Thee with help and joy to fill.
When this troubled time is over,
All his heart to thee shall open.

3. Recit. (B)

So be, O soul of mine, contented!
If it should to thine eyes appear
As if thy dearest friend
Were fully from thee absent
When he a short time thee hath left,
Heart, keep thy faith:
A short time will it be,(1)
When he for bitter weeping
Of hope and joy the wine,
And honey sweet, replacing gall will grant thee!(2)
Ah, do not think
That from his heart he thee would sadden;
He only tests through sorrow thine affection;
He maketh now thy heart to weep through cheerless hours,
So that his gracious light
To thee appear e'en still more lovely;
He hath reserved thy joy
For last,
To thy delight and consolation;
So yield to him, O heart, in all things power!(3)

4. Aria (S)

Cast, my heart yet, cast thyself
In the Highest's loving bosom,
That he grant to thee his mercy.
And remove thy sorrows' yoke,
All that thee till now hath burdened,
On the shoulders of his mercy.

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

Though it should seem he were opposed,
Be thou by this not frightened,
For where he is at best with thee,
His wont is not to show it.
His word take thou more certain still,
And though thy heart say only "No,"
Yet let thyself not shudder.


1. Cf. BWV 12/6: Herz! glaube fest, alle Pein/ Wird doch nur ein Kleines sein.

2. Cf. the punning metamorphosis from bad to good in BWV 12/10: Verwandle dich, Weinen, in lauteren Wein,/ Es wird nun mein chzen ein Jauchzen mir sein!

3. Cf. Samuel Rodigast, the final line of "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan."


Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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