BWV 60 O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort II (Dialogus)

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Johann Rist, verse 1 of the hymn, 1642 (Fischer-Tümpel, II, #204) and Gen. 49:18 = Ps. 119:166; 4. Rev. 14:13 with interpolated recitative; 5. Franz Joachim Burmeister, verse 5 of "Es ist genug, so nimm, Herr, meinen Geist," 1662 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #533).

7 November 1723, Leipzig.

BG 12, 2; NBA I/27, 3.


Fear (A), Hope (T), Christ (B)

1. Chorale and Aria [Dictum] (A, T) Fear and Hope


Eternity, thou thundrous word,
O sword that through the soul doth bore,
Beginning with no ending!
Eternity, time lacking time,
I know when faced with deepest grief
Not where to seek my refuge.
So much my frightened heart doth quake
That to my gums my tongue doth cake.

    Lord, I wait now for thy help.

2. Recit. (A, T) Fear and Hope

O toilsome road to final strife and battle!

My sponsor is at hand,
My Savior stands nearby
With help beside me.

The fear of death, the final pain
Rush on and overwhelm my heart
And torture all my members.

I lay before the Lord in sacrifice my body.
And though the fire of grief be hot,
Enough! It cleanseth me that God be praised.

But now will stand my sins' own grievous guilt before my face accusing.

God will on this account not sentence thee to die, though.
He sets a limit to temptation's torments
So that we can endure them.

3. Aria (A, T) Fear and Hope

My dying bed would bring me terror,

But yet the Savior's hand will guard me,

My faith's own weakness faileth near,

My Jesus bears with me the weight.

The open grave so cruel appears,

It will be yet my house of peace.

4. Recit. and Arioso [Dictum] (A, B) Fear and Christ

But death remains to human nature most perverse
And hurleth nigh
All hope to its destruction.

Blessed are the dead.

Ah, ah, alas! What jeopardy
The soul will have to face
In making death's last journey!
Perhaps the jaws of hell will threaten
Its death to fill with terror
When they attempt to swallow it;
Perhaps it is already cursed
To everlasting ruin.

Blessed are the dead, who in the Lord are dying.

If in the Lord I'm dying,
Can then salvation be my lot and portion?
My flesh, indeed, the worms will nurture!
Yea, change will all my members,
To dust and earth returning,
For I a child of death am reckoned
And seem, in truth, within the grave to perish.

Blessed are the dead, those who in the Lord are dying,
from now on.

Lead on!
If from now on I shall be blest,
Present thyself, O Hope, again to me!
My body may unfearing rest in sleep,
My spirit can a glance into that bliss now cast.

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

It is enough;
Lord, if it be thy will,
Then let me rest in peace!
My Jesus comes;
To thee, O world, good night!
I fare to heaven's house,
I fare in peace henceforth securely,
My great distress shall bide behind me.
It is enough.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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