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Cantata BWV 55
Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 55 - I, a poor man

Event: Solo Cantata for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: Philippians 1: 3-11; Gospel: Matthew 18: 23-35
Text: Johann Rist (Mvt. 5); Anon (Mvts. 1-4)
Chorale Text: Werde munter mein Gemüte

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

1

Aria [Tenor]

Flauto traverso, Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Continuo

Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht,
I, wretched man , I, slave of sin,
Ich geh vor Gottes Angesichte
I go before the face of God
Mit Furcht und Zittern zum Gerichte.
with fear and trembling to judgement.
Er ist gerecht, ich ungerecht.
He is just, I am unjust,
Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht!
I, wretched man , I, slave of sin!

2

Recitative [Tenor]

Continuo

Ich habe wider Gott gehandelt
I have acted against God
Und bin demselben Pfad,
and that path,
Den er mir vorgeschrieben hat,
which he has prescribed for me,
Nicht nachgewandelt.
I have not followed.
Wohin? soll ich der Morgenröte Flügel
Where should I go?If I choose the wings of dawn
Zu meiner Flucht erkiesen,
for my flight
Die mich zum letzten Meere wiesen,
to take me to the most distant sea,
So wird mich doch die Hand des Allerhöchsten finden
yet the hand of the All Highest will find me
Und mir die Sündenrute binden.
and punish me with the rods of sin.
Ach ja!
Ah yes!
Wenn gleich die Höll ein Bette
Even if Hell were to provide a bed
Vor mich und meine Sünden hätte,
for me and my sins,
So wäre doch der Grimm des Höchsten da.
yet the wrath of the Highest would be there.
Die Erde schützt mich nicht,
The earth does not protect me,
Sie droht mich Scheusal zu verschlingen;
it threatens to swallow me, monstruosity that I am;
Und will ich mich zum Himmel schwingen,
And if I want to raise myself to heaven,
Da wohnet Gott, der mir das Urteil spricht.
there dwells God, who pronounces judgement on me.

3

Aria [Tenor]

Flauto traverso, Continuo

Erbarme dich!
Have mercy !
Laß die Tränen dich erweichen,
Let my tears soften you,
Laß sie dir zu Herzen reichen;
let them reach your heart;
Laß um Jesu Christi willen
For the sake of Jesus Christ
Deinen Zorn des Eifers stillen!
let your jealous anger be calmed!
Erbarme dich!
Have mercy!

4

Recitative [Tenor]

Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Erbarme dich!
Have mercy!
Jedoch nun
Nevertheless
Tröst ich mich,
I take comfort,
Ich will nicht für Gerichte stehen
I do not want to stand before the tribunal for judgement
Und lieber vor dem Gnadenthron
and would rather go before the throne of mercy
Zu meinem frommen Vater gehen.
to my holy Father.
Ich halt ihm seinen Sohn,
I present to him his Son.
Sein Leiden, sein Erlösen für,
his suffering, his redemption,
Wie er für meine Schuld
how for my guilt he
Bezahlet und genug getan,
has paid and done enough,
Und bitt ihn um Geduld,
and I pray to him to be patient with me,
Hinfüro will ich's nicht mehr tun.
from now on I want to commit sins no more.
So nimmt mich Gott zu Gnaden wieder an.
In this way God takes me into his grace once more.

5

Chorale [S, A, T, B]

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

Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen,
Though I have abandoned you,
Stell ich mich doch wieder ein;
I give myself back to you again;
Hat uns doch dein Sohn verglichen
your son has settled accounts for us
Durch sein Angst und Todespein.
through his anguish and the pain of his death
Ich verleugne nicht die Schuld,
I do not deny my guilt
Aber deine Gnad und Huld
but your grace and mercy
Ist viel größer als die Sünde,
is far greater than the sins
Die ich stets bei mir befinde.
which I continually find in myself.

--

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (October 2002)
Contributed by Francis Browne (October 2002)

Cantata BWV 55: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2
German Text | German-2 | Translations: Catalan-1 | Dutch | English-1 | English-3I | English-3P | English-6 | English-10 \ French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-3 | Indonesian | Italian-2 | Italian-4 | Russian-1 | Spanish-2 | Spanish-7
Chorale Text:
Werde munter mein Gemüte

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Last update: ýMarch 21, 2012 ý09:06:34