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Cantata BWV-80
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott
Commonly known in English as "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
The original German text, a literal translation, and a metrical performance translation, in parallel columns

Martin Luther=s German hymn text is in bold face purple type, while the text sections by Bach=s librettist, Salomo Franck, are in ordinary black type.  (Underscore __  indicates spread of syllable to two notes.)

 

German Text

 

Rough, Literal Translation

 

English Text for Performance

1. Chor

 

1. Choir

 

1. Choir

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,
Ein gute Wehr und Waffen;
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
Die uns itzt hat betroffen.
Der alte böse Feind,
Mit Ernst er's jetzt meint,
Groß Macht und viel List
Sein grausam Rüstung ist,
Auf Erd ist nicht seinsgleichen.

 

A secure/solid castle is our God,
a good defense and weapon:
He helps us free out of all need
     [trouble],
Which us presently has struck.
[Which has forcefully become the object of our            concern or worry]
The old evil foe,
he means it earnestly now.
Great might and much guile
are his horrible war equipment,
On earth is not his equal.

 

A sure, safe refuge is our God,
a good defense and weapon:
He helps us from the mortal need
that now on us has fallen.
The old and evil foe,
he
's dead earnest now.
Brute force and deceipt
strew victims at his feet.
On earth is not his equal.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Arie B und Choral S

 

2. Duet: Aria by Bass with Chorale by Soprano and Choir

 

2. Duet: Aria by Bass with Chorale by Soprano and Choir

B: Alles, was von Gott geboren,
Ist zum
Siegen auserkoren.

 

B: Everyone who's born of God, [i.e.born again in      baptism]
is for victory elected [picked out]

 

B: Everyone who's born of God
is for victory elected..

S: Mit unsrer Macht ist nichts getan,
Wir sind gar bald verloren.
Es streit' vor uns der rechte Mann,
Den Gott selbst hat erkoren.

 

S: With our might is naught done [achieved]
we are right fast lost.
There strives for us
[on ouraccount] the right           [or righteous or just] man,
whom God
[Him]self has elected [chosen].

 

S: With our own might is nothing done.
and from the start we
're losing.
There strives for us the just, right man,
whom God Himself has chosen.

B: Wer bei Christi Blutpanier
In der Taufe Treu geschworen,
Siegt im Geiste für und für.

 

B: [All] who by [or to] Christ's blood's banner
in baptism truly have sworn, [sworn allegiance]
Wins in spirit on and on.

 

B: Who by Christ's own blood's banner
at their baptism truly swo_re,
Win in Spirit ever more.

S: Fragst du, wer er ist?
Er heißt Jesus Christ,
Der Herre Zebaoth,
Und ist kein andrer Gott,
Das Feld muß er behalten.

 

S: Ask you who he is?
He's called Jesus Christ,
the Lord Sabaoth,
and it's no other God.
The
[battle]field must he seize/ retain. [The field      he must win.]

 

S: Ask you who he is?
He's called Jesus Christ,
the Lord of Heaven's Host,
and it's no other God.
The field must he be holding.

B: Alles, was von Gott geboren,
Ist zum
Siegen auserkoren.

 

B: Everyone who's born of God, [i.e.born again in      baptism]
Is for victory elected [picked out]

 

B: Everyone who's born of God 
Is for victory elected!

 

 

 

 

 

3. Rezitativ B

 

3. Recitative (Bass)

 

3. Recitative (Bass)

Erwäge doch, Kind Gottes, die so große                Liebe,
Da Jesus sich
Mit seinem Blute dir verschriebe,
Womit er dich
Zum Kriege wider Satans Heer und
wider Welt, und Sünde
Geworben hat!
Gib nicht in deiner Seele
Dem Satan und den Lastern statt!
Laß nicht dein Herz,
Den Himmel Gottes auf der Erden,
Zur Wüste werden!
Bereue deine Schuld mit Schmerz,
Daß Christi Geist mit dir
sich fest verbinde!

 

Consider yet, child of God, the so great                          love,
that Christ himself
with his blood to you wrote down
     [prescribed, put into written orders] 
By which he you
to battle against Satan's hosts and
against world and sins
enlisted has!
Give not within your soul
to Satan and corruption place!
Let not your heart
the Heaven of God upon the earth,
to wasteland become!
Rue your guilt with sorrow,
so_that Christ's Spirit may now
to yours bond strongly!

 

Consider yet, God's chi_ld, this so
     inte_nse lo_ve
that Christ himself
with his own blood for you wrote orders
by which he you
to battle against Satan's hosts and
against world and sinning
enlisted has!
Make not within your so_ul
for Satan and corruption place!
Let not your heart,
the Heaven of God here on Ear_th,
to wasteland wither!
Repe_nt you_r guilt with grief,
so Jesus' heart may now
to yours bond strongly!

 

 

 

 

 

4. Arie S

 

4. Aria (Soprano)

 

4. Aria (Soprano)

Komm in mein Herzenshaus,
Herr Jesu, mein Verlangen!
Treib Welt und Satan aus
Und laß dein Bild in mir erneuert prangen!
Weg, schnöder Sündengraus!

 

Come into my heart's house,
Lord Jesus, my desire!
Drive world and Satan out
and let your image in me renewed
sparkle [shine, look good]!
Go, repulsive sins horror!

 

Come into my heart's house,
Lord Jesus, my desire!
Drive world and Satan out
and let your face in me shine with new fi_re!
Out, ugly sin disease!

 

 

 

 

 

5. Choral

 

5. Chorale

 

5. Chorale

Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär
Und wollten uns verschlingen,
So fürchten wir uns nicht so sehr,
Es soll uns doch gelingen.
Der Fürst dieser Welt,
Wie saur er sich stellt,
Tut er uns doch nicht,
Das macht, er ist gericht',
Ein Wörtlein kann ihn fällen.

 

And if the world full of devils were
And wished us to devour,
So worry we yet not so much,
Things should for us yet succeed.
The prince of this world,
how sour
[stern, fierce] he acts;
Yet he does nothing to us,
that adds up to
[means] he's been
     judged [i.e. tried and convicted]
A [or One] tiny [or mere] word can fell him.

 

And were our world all devils here
and wished us to devour,
yet we'd not feel such awful fear:
our fortunes should recover.
The prince of this world
How sour he comes on!
Yet he harms us none:
That means he's judged, undone!
One little word can fell him!

 

 

 

 

 

6. Rezitativ T

 

6. Recitative (Tenor)

 

6. Recitative (Tenor)

So stehe dann bei Christi
blutgefärbten Fahne,
O Seele, fest
Und glaube, daß dein Haupt dich
     nicht verläßt,
Ja, daß sein Sieg
Auch dir den Weg zu deiner Krone bahne!
Tritt freudig an den Krieg!
Wirst du nur Gottes Wort
So hören als bewahren,
So wird der Feind gezwungen auszufahren,
Dein Heiland bleibt dein Heil!

Dein Heiland bleibt dein Hort!

 

So stand then by Christ's
blood colored standard [flag]
     [i.e.enter active service]
O soul, [stand] fast [tightly, surely]
and believe [have faith or trust] that
your Head [Captain] will not abandon you,
Yes, [trust] that his victory also to you the path to    your crown makes/would be making/tracks out!
Step joyfully/gladly to the war!
If you will only God's Word
so hear as keep/preserve
so will the enemy be compelled to depart
your Savior remains your salvation [or healing]!
your Savior remains your refuge [or protector]!

 

So stand up then by Christ's
blood-colored banner.
O Soul, stand fast,
and trust this that your Captain won't                     desert. 
Trust that His win
for you the way to your own crown
     is making!
Step gladly to the war!
If you'll just God's own Word
be hearing and obeying,
Then shall the enemy, compe_lled, retrea_t.
Your Savior's still your health!
Your Savior's still your shield!

 

 

 

 

 

7. Arie (Duett) A T

 

7. Duet for Alto and Tenor

 

7. Duet for Alto and Tenor

Wie selig sind doch die,
die Gott im Munde tragen,
Doch selger ist das Herz,
das ihn im Glauben trägt!
Es bleibet unbesiegt 
und kann die Feinde schlagen
Und wird zuletzt gekrönt,
wenn es den Tod erlegt.

 

How blessed yet are they
who carry God in their mouths,
yet more blessed is the heart
which carries Him in [its] belief [faith, trust]!
It remains unconquered
and can the [all] enemies strike
and will at last be crowned,
when it puts down [defeats] Death.

 

How blessed yet are they
with God's truth on their tongue_s.
More blessed is the heart,
that Him in trusting bears!
Unconquered that heart stands
and can opponents fend off
and will at last be crowned
when it e'en Death defeats.

 

 

 

 

 

8. Choral

 

8. Chorale

 

8. Chorale

Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn
Und kein' Dank dazu haben.
Er ist bei uns wohl auf dem Plan
Mit seinem Geist und Gaben.
Nehmen sie uns den Leib
,
Gut, Ehr, Kind und Weib,
Laß fahredahin,
Sie habens kein' Gewinn;
Das Reich muß uns doch bleiben.

 

The Word they shall allow to stand
and no thanks for it have
(being forced to allow           the Word to stand). 
He is with us well on the plain
[battlefield]
with his Spirit and gifts.
Take they from us the body
[life],
Goods,
[good] name [reputation or honor], child,      and wife, 
Let
[If] all [these] depart
They have
[still] no winnings;
the Kingdom must to [for] us yet remain.

 

The Word they shall allow to stand,
and no thanks they'll get for it.
He's on the field out where we stand!
with all his gifts and Spirit.
Take they from us this life,
goods, name, child, and wife,
Let all these be gone,
they still have nothing won:
the Kingdom shall stay with us.

- Martin Luther (bold) and Salomo Franck

 

-  Translation © by Paul Farseth, 2009

 

- Translation © 2009 by Paul Farseth

--

English Translations by Paul H. Farseth
Translations Copyright © February, 2000, revised December 13, 2001; revised December 2, 2009
under the terms of the GNU General Public License. They may be freely reproduced if the copyrighted material is included unaltered with the distributed material and this copyright notice is also included.
Contributed by Paul H. Farseth (December 2001, December 2009)

Cantatas BWV 80, BWV 80a & BWV 80b : Complete Recordings of BWV 80 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 80 | Details of BWV 80a | Details of BWV 80b | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
BWV 80: German Text | Translations: Catalan-1 | Dutch | English-1 | English-3 | English-6 | English-8 | English-10 | French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-1 | Hungarian-1 | Indonesian | Italian-2 | Russian-1 | Spanish-3

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Texts & Translations: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Other Vocal 1081-1089 | BWV Anh | Chorale Texts | Emblemata | Sources | Poets & Composers
Discussions: Texts | Translations: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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Last update: żOctober 16, 2011 ż08:10:29