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Cantata BWV 26
Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig
English Translation in Parallel Format
Cantata BWV 26 - Ah how fleeting, ah how insubstantial

Event: Chorale Cantata for the 24th Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: Colossians 1: 9-14; Gospel: Matthew 9: 18-26
Text: Michael Franck (Mvts. 1, 6); Anon (Mvts. 2-5)
Chorale Text: Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

 

Original German Text

 

English Translation

1

Coro

1

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

 

Corno col Soprano, Flauto traverso, Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

 

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig
Ist der Menschen Leben!
Wie ein Nebel bald entstehet
Und auch wieder bald vergehet,
So ist unser Leben, sehet!

 

Ah how fleeting, ah how insubstantial
is man's life!
As a mist soon arises
and soon also vanishes again,
so is our life, see!

       

2

Aria T

2

Aria [Tenor]

 

Flauto traverso solo, Violino solo, Continuo

   
 

So schnell ein rauschend Wasser schießt,
So eilen unser Lebenstage.
Die Zeit vergeht, die Stunden eilen,
Wie sich die Tropfen plötzlich teilen,
Wenn alles in den Abgrund schießt.

 

As swiftly as roaring water rushes by,
so hurry by the days of our life.
Time passes, the hours hurry by,
just as drops suddenly divide themselves,
when all rushes into the abyss.

       

3

Recitativo A

3

Recitative [Alto]

 

Continuo

   
 

Die Freude wird zur Traurigkeit,
Die Schönheit fällt als eine Blume,
Die größte Stärke wird geschwächt,
Es ändert sich das Glücke mit der Zeit,
Bald ist es aus mit Ehr und Ruhme,
Die Wissenschaft und was ein Mensche dichtet,
Wird endlich durch das Grab vernichtet.

 

Joy turns to sorrow,
beauty falls like a flower,
the greatest strength is weakened,
good fortune changes in time,
soon honour and glory are over,
knowledge and men's creations
are in the end brought to nothing by the grave.

       

4

Aria B

4

Aria [Bass]

 

Oboe I-III, Continuo

   
 

An irdische Schätze das Herze zu hängen,
Ist eine Verführung der törichten Welt.
Wie leichtlich entstehen verzehrende Gluten,
Wie rauschen und reißen die wallenden Fluten,
Bis alles zerschmettert in Trümmern zerfällt.

 

To hang one's heart on earthly treasures
is a seduction of the foolish world.
How easily arise devouring embers,
how the surging floods roar and tear away
until everything is shattered and falls apart in ruins.

       

5

Recitativo S

5

Recitative [Soprano]

 

Continuo

   
 

Die höchste Herrlichkeit und Pracht
Umhüllt zuletzt des Todes Nacht.
Wer gleichsam als ein Gott gesessen,
Entgeht dem Staub und Asche nicht,
Und wenn die letzte Stunde schläget,
Dass man ihn zu der Erde träget,
Und seiner Hoheit Grund zerbricht,
Wird seiner ganz vergessen.

 

The highest majesty and splendour
are shrouded at last by the night of death.
The person who sat [on a throne] like a god,
in no way escapes the dust and ashes,
and when the last hour strikes,
so that he is carried to the earth,
and the foundation of his highness is shattered,
he is completely forgotten.

       

6

Choral

6

Chorale [S, A, T, B]

 

Corno e Flauto traverso e Oboe I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Oboe III e Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo

 

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig
Sind der Menschen Sachen!
Alles, alles, was wir sehen,
Das muss fallen und vergehen.
Wer Gott fürcht', bleibt ewig stehen.

 

Ah how fleeting, ah how insubstantial,
are mankind's affairs.
All, all that we see
must fall and vanish.
The person who fears God stands firm for ever.

       

This Translation in Interlinear Format + Note on the Text

English Translation by Francis Browne (October 2002)

Contributed by Francis Browne (October 2002)

Cantata BWV 26: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
German Text | Translations: Catalan-1 | Dutch-3 | English-1 | English-3I | English-3P | English-8 | English-10 | French-1 | French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-1 | Indonesian | Italian-2 | Russian-1 | Spanish-2 | Spanish-7
Chorale Text:
Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig

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Last update: ýSeptember 15, 2012 ý18:54:03