BWV 215 Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen

(Drama per Musica overo Cantata gratulatoria)

Anniversary of the Election of Augustus III as King of Poland (5 October 1734).

Johann Christoph Clauder; PT (Leipzig, 1734); Facs: Neumann T, p. 412.

5 October 1734, Leipzig; Parody: 1 ← BWV Anh. 11/1 and → BWV 232/22; 7 ---> BWV 248V/5.

BG 34; NBA I/37.

A Drama in Music or Cantata of Congratulation(1)

1. Chorus (S, A, T, B)

Praise now thy blessings, O fortunate Saxon,
For God the throne of thy King hath upheld.

    O happy land,
    Thanks give to heaven and kiss now the hand
    Which makes thy fortune each day ever waxing
    And all thy townsmen to safety propelled.

2. Recit. (T)

How could we then, O mightiest August,
The undisguised emotions
Of this our reverence, love and fealty
To thee but with the greatest joy
Before thy feet here offer?
Doth not through thy paternal hand
Upon our land
Now heaven’s gracious blessing
In streams of bounty flow?
And if our hopes run not amiss,
Shall we to our relief yet know
Within thy grace, within thy being
Thy mighty father's(2) form and of his great deeds the meaning.

3. Aria (T)

True, Augustus' name defieth,
From the noble gods descended,
All force of mortality.

    And the townsmen of the province,
    Subjects of such virtuous princes,
    Live now in the golden age.(3)

4. Recit. (B)

What else hath thee, Sarmatia,(4) persuaded
That thou to fill thy royal throne
This Saxon-born Piast,(5)
The great Augustus’ worthy son,
Before all others gave thy preference?
Not just the fame of shining fathers,
Not just his lands’ great might,
No! Rather, his own virtue’s rays
Drew all of thine own loyal subjects
And all thy varied peoples’ minds
To him alone.
This more than his clan’s fame and brilliant legacy
Brought them before his feet with praise.
True, spite and jealousy,
Which, sadly, often gold of crowns will
Much less than even lead or iron honor,
Are yet enraged at thee, O mighty ruler,
And lay upon thy health their curse!
But soon their curse will be transformed to blessing,
And all their rage
Is truly much too meager
Such fortune, founded on a rock,
To weaken in the slightest.

5. Aria (B)

Bluster on, presumptuous mob,
Now within thy very bowels!

    Bathe at will thy shameless arm,
    Full of wrath,
    In thy guiltless brothers' blood,
    To our horror, to thy sorrow!
    For the bane
    And the fury of thine envy
    Thee more than Augustus strike.

6. Recit. (S)

Oh yes!
God is to us yet with his help nearby
And shields Augustus’ throne.
Through him hath all the northern region
In its own choice of king now found contentment.
Will not the Baltic soon,
The mouth of Vistula now won, Augustus’ realm
As well
And all his weapons know?
And doth he not let that same town,(6)
Which hath so long been set against his power,
More of his grace than of his wrath have knowledge?
This proves that he in this finds joy:
His loyal subjects’ breast
Through kindness more than force to conquer.

7. Aria (S)

That through the weapons enkindeled by passion
Foes oft are punished
Brings to many praise and fame;
But that the wicked with good be requited
Is but for heroes,
Is Augustus’ proper claim.

8. Recit. and Arioso (T, B, S)

Grant though, O cherished sovereign father, this,
That now our Muses’ band
That day which thee such pleasure hath afforded,
On which one year ago
Sarmatia to have as king did choose thee,
Within their innocent repose
May honor and in song pay homage.

At just the time
When all around us lightning cracks,
Yea, when the might of France
(Indeed so many times already muffled),
On southern side and northern,
Doth pose our fatherland with sword and fire its threat,
Still can this town so happy be,
Great patron god of these our lindens,(7)
Thee, but thee not alone,
Thy wife as well, the nation’s sunshine,
Her loyal subjects’ joy and comfort,
In their embrace to find now.

How could amidst so much prosperity
The Pindus(8) not content and happy be?

(T, B, S)
Heaven, let to spite's distress,
Under such divine defense
The good fortune of our era
In a thousand branches flower!

9. Chorus (S, A, T, B)

Founder of empires and ruler of kingdoms,
Strengthen the throne which Augustus doth hold.

    Enrich his house
    With never ceasing prosperity blest,
    Let us reside now in peace in the countries
    Which he with justice and grace doth protect.

1. This subtitle is written by hand in the OP. The characters are not identified.

2. The father of Augustus III was Augustus II, "the Strong" (1670-1733).

3. There are similar references to the golden age (cf. the golden age of the Roman Augustus!) in other congratulatory cantatas for Augustus III, e.g. BWV 207/6 and 207a/4.

4. Sarmatia is the ancient name for Poland and Russia.

5. A legendary peasant named Piast founded the first dynasty of Polish rulers, which lasted until the death of Casimir III in 1370.

6. Danzig.

7. Alluding to Leipzig's etymolgy: "Lindentown," from Slavic lipa 'linden tree.'

8. Perhaps Leipzig is here represented as the mountain home of the Muses in northwest Greece.

© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose

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