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The following are links to English translations for Bach's cantatas and other works rendered in Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, NYC. We are pleased for you to peruse these translations for your own enjoyment, but please respect the artistic product they represent and reprint only by permission. Contact office@bachvespersnyc.org for more information.

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Text for Cantata 85 
Ich bin ein guter Hirt
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)


1. ARIA BASSO
Ich bin ein guter Hirt,
     I am a good shepherd,
ein guter Hirt lässt sein Leben für die Schafe.  
     a good shepherd abandons his life for the sheep.

2. ARIA ALTO

Jesus ist ein guter Hirt;
     Jesus is a good shepherd;
denn er hat bereits sein Leben
für die Schafe hingegeben,
     for he long ago gave up
     his life for the sheep
die ihm niemand rauben wird.
     which no one will rob from him.
Jesus ist ein guter Hirt.
     Jesus is a good shepherd.
 
3. CORALE SOPRANO
Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt,
     The Lord is my faithful shepherd,
dem ich mich ganz vertraue,
      I trust in him completely,
zur Weid er mich, sein Schäflein, führt
     he guides me, his little sheep, to pasture
auf schöner grünen Aue,
     upon lovely green meadows,
zum frischen Wasser leit er mich,
     he leads me to fresh water,
mein Seel zu laben kräftiglich
     to heartily refresh my soul
durch selig Wort der Gnaden.
     through a blessed word of grace.
 
4. RECITATIVO TENORE
Wenn die Mietlinge schlafen,
     When the hirelings sleep,
da wachtet dieser Hirt bei seinen Schafen,
     then this shepherd tends his sheep,
so daß ein jedes in gewünschter Ruh
     so that each one in wishful peace
die Trift und Weide kann genießen,
     can enjoy the tract and pasture
in welcher Lebensströme fließen.
     through which the stream of life flows.
Denn sucht der Höllenwolf gleich einzudringen,
     For when the wolf from hell suddenly attempts to intrude
die Schafe zu verschlingen,
     and devour the sheep
so hält ihm dieser Hirt doch seinen Rachen zu.
     then this shepherd simply holds his jaws shut.
 
5. ARIA TENORE
Seht, was die Liebe tut.
     Behold, what love can do.
Mein Jesus hält in guter Hut
die Seinen feste eingeschlossen
     My Jesus keeps his own 
     securely enclosed in good shelter
und hat am Kreuzesstamm vergossen
     and upon the stem of the cross has shed
für sie sein teures Blut.
     his precious blood for them.

6. CORALE
Ist Gott mein Schutz und treuer Hirt,
     If God is my protector and faithful shepherd
kein Unglück mich berühren wird:
     no misfortune will touch me:
weicht, alle meine Feinde,
     succumb all my foes,
die ihr mir stiftet Angst und Pein,
     you who instigate fear and pain for me,
es wird zu eurem Schaden sein,
     it will be to your ruin,
ich habe Gott zum Freunde.
     I have God as friend.


_________________________________________________________________________
COMPOSED: April 15, 1725 (Leipzig) for Misericordias Domini (2nd Sunday after Easter)
LIBRETTIST: unknown; Mvt. 1. John 10:12; Mvt. 3. Cornelius Becker, stanza 1 of Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, based on Psalm 23 (1598); Mvt. 6. Ernst Christoph Homburg, stanza 4 of Ist Gott mein Schild und Helfersmann (1658)
TRANSLATION: Tobin Schmuck, 2011 © Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, NYC
Use by permission only, please. office@bachvespersnyc.org

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