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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 81
Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)


1. ARIA ALTO
Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen?
     Jesus sleeps, what hope do I have?
Seh ich nicht
     Do I not see
mit erblasstem Angesicht
     with a pale countenance
schon des Todes Abgrund offen?
     the abyss of death already open?

2. RECITATIVO TENORE
Herr! warum trittest du so ferne?
     Lord! why do you step so far away?
Warum verbirgst du dich zur Zeit der Not,
     Why do you conceal yourself in this time of need
da alles mir ein kläglich Ende droht?
     while all that looms before me is a tragic end?
Ach, wird dein Auge nicht durch meine Not beweget
     Alas, will your eye not be opened by my need
so sonsten nie zu schlummern pfleget?
     which otherwise never tends to sleep?
Du wiesest ja mit einem Sterne
     You did point out by a star
vordem den neubekehrten Weisen,
     previously to the converted Wisemen
den rechten Weg zu reisen.
     the correct road to journey.
Ach leite mich durch deiner Augen Licht,
     Oh, guide me by the lamp of your eye
weil dieser Weg nichts als Gefahr verspricht.
     for this path promises nothing but peril.

3. ARIA TENORE
Die schäumenden Wellen von Belials Bächen
     The frothy waves from Satan’s streams
verdoppeln die Wut.
     double their fury.
Ein Christ soll zwar wie Felsen stehn,
     A Christian should of course stand like stone
wenn Trübsalswinde um ihn gehn,
     while the winds of tribulation swirl about him,
doch suchet die stürmende Flut
     yet the tempestuous flood seeks
die Kräfte des Glaubens zu schwächen.
     to weaken the power of faith.

4. ARIOSO BASSO
Ihr Kleingläubigen,
     You of little faith
warum seid ihr so furchtsam?
     why are you so afraid?

5. ARIA BASSO
Schweig, aufgetürmtes Meer!
     Be silent, towering sea!
Verstumme, Sturm und Wind!
     Hush, storm and wind!
Dir sei dein Ziel gesetzet,
     Your purpose is past,
damit mein auserwähltes Kind
kein Unfall je verletzet.
     from which no calamity ever harmed
     my chosen child.    

6. RECITATIVO ALTO
Wohl mir, mein Jesus spricht ein Wort,
     Blessed am I, my Jesus utters a word,
mein Helfer ist erwacht,
     my helper has awoken,
so muß der Wellen Sturm, des Unglücks Nacht
und aller Kummer fort.
     so the storm of waves, the night of misfortune
     and all worry must be gone.

7. CORALE
Unter deinen Schirmen
     Beneath your umbrella
bin ich für den Stürmen
aller Feinde frei.
     I am free from all foes’ storming.
Laß den Satan wittern,
     Let Satan bluster,
laß den Feind erbittern,
     let the foe embitter,
mir steht Jesus bei.
     Jesus stands beside me.
Ob es itzt gleich kracht und blitzt,
     If it now suddenly thunders and flashes,
ob gleich Sünd und Hölle schrecken,
     if suddenly sin and hell terrorize,
Jesus will mich decken.
     Jesus will cover me.


_______________________________________________________________
COMPOSED: January 30, 1724 (Leipzig) for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany
LIBRETTIST: unknown, Mvt. 4. Matthew 8:26; Mvt. 7. Johann Franck, stanza 2 of Jesu, meine Freude (1650)
TRANSLATION: Tobin Schmuck, 2012 © Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, NYC
Use by permission only please.  office@bachvespersnyc.org