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Cantata BWV 2
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 2 - Ah God, look down from heaven

Event: 2nd Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: 1 John 3: 13-18; Gospel: Luke 14: 16-24
Text: Martin Luther (Mvts. 1, 6 - after Psalm 12); Anon (Mvts. 2-5)
Chorale Text: Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

1

Coro [S, A, T, B]

Violino I e Trombone I col Soprano, Violino II e Oboe I/II e Trombone II coll'Alto, Viola e Trombone III col Tenore, Trombone IV col Basso, Continuo

Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
Ah God, look down from heaven
Und laß dich's doch erbarmen!
and still have mercy on us!
Wie wenig sind der Heilgen dein,
How few of the saints belong to you,
Verlassen sind wir Armen;
We poor wretches are forsaken,
Dein Wort man nicht läßt haben wahr,
people simply will not believe your word,
Der Glaub ist auch verloschen gar
faith is also now fading away
Bei allen Menschenkindern.
among all mankind.

2

Recitativo [Tenor]

Continuo

Sie lehren eitel falsche List,
They teach vain, false cunning
Was wider Gott und seine Wahrheit ist;
which is against God and his truth
Und was der eigen Witz erdenket,
and what their own wit thinks up,
- O Jammer! -der die Kirche schmerzlich kränket ,
--o sorrow! -which painfully harms the church -
Das muß anstatt der Bibel stehn.
that must take the place of the Bible.
Der eine wählet dies, der andre das,
One chooses this, another that.
Die törichte Vernunft ist ihr Kompaß;
foolish reason is their compass;
Sie gleichen denen Totengräbern
they are like the tombs of dead men
Die, ob sie zwar von außen schön,
that although they may be outwardly fair
Nur Stank und Moder in sich fassen
contain within themselves only stench and corruption
Und lauter Unflat sehen lassen.
and reveal sheer muck.

3

Aria [Alto]

Violino solo, Continuo

Tilg, o Gott, die Lehren,
Wipe out,o God, all the teachings
So dein Wort verkehren!
that pervert your word in this way.
Wehre doch der Ketzerei
Guard against heresy
Und allen Rottengeistern;
and all rabblerousers;
Denn sie sprechen ohne Scheu:
for they speak without dread :
Trotz dem, der uns will meistern!
they defy him, who wants to be our master!

4

Recitative [Bass]

Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Die Armen sind verstört,
The poor are bewildered,
Ihr seufzend Ach, ihr ängstlich Klagen
their sighing 'Ah', their anguished laments
Bei soviel Kreuz und Not,
among so much cross and woe,
Wodurch die Feinde fromme Seelen plagen,
with which their enemies torment devout souls,
Dringt in das Gnadenohr des Allerhöchsten ein.
reaches the merciful ear of the Almighty.
Darum spricht Gott: Ich muß ihr Helfer sein!
For this reason God speaks: I must be their helper!
Ich hab ihr Flehn erhört,
I have heard their entreaty,
Der Hilfe Morgenrot,
the dawn of help,
Der reinen Wahrheit heller Sonnenschein
bright sunshine of the pure truth
Soll sie mit neuer Kraft,
with new strength,
Die Trost und Leben schafft,
that creates consolation and life,
Erquicken und erfreun.
shall revive and delight them.
Ich will mich ihrer Not erbarmen,
I want to take pity on their distress,
Mein heilsam Wort soll sein die Kraft der Armen.
my holy word shall be strength for the poor.

5

Aria [Tenor]

Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Durchs Feuer wird das Silber rein,
Silver becomes pure through fire,
Durchs Kreuz das Wort bewährt erfunden.
God's word has been found to be tried and tested through the cross.
Drum soll ein Christ zu allen Stunden
Therefore a Christian at all hours
Im Kreuz und Not geduldig sein.
should be patient in his cross and distress.

6

Chorale [S, A, T, B]

Violino I e Oboe I/II e Trombone I col Soprano, Violino II e Trombone II coll'Alto, Viola e Trombone III col Tenore, Trombone IV col Basso, Continuo

Das wollst du, Gott, bewahren rein
May you , God, keep pure that [Word]
Für diesem arg'n Geschlechte;
in the face of this evil generation
Und laß uns dir befohlen sein,
and grant that we may entrust ourselves to you,
Daß sichs in uns nicht flechte.
so that nothing in us may twist it.
Der gottlos Hauf sich umher findt,
The godless crowd surounds us
Wo solche lose Leute sind
where such mischievous characters
In deinem Volk erhaben.
are exalted among your people.

Note on the text

The text of this choral cantata is based on Martin Luther's adaption of Psalm 12 (1524). As often in such cantatas the first and last verses are retained word for word (movements 1 and 6) but each of the inner verses is paraphrased to form a recitative or aria (movements two 2-5). Several lines from verses two and four, however are adopted literally or almost so, in the second and fourth movements. In general, the anonymous text editor follows Luther's hymn very accurately.

(Information based on Dürr The Cantatas of J. S. Bach)

--

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (May 2002; revised January 2007)
Contributed by Francis Browne (May 2002)

Cantata BWV 2: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
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Chorale Text:
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

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Last update: ýMarch 22, 2012 ý13:27:36