Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Cantata BWV 102
Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 102 - Lord, your eyes look for faith!

Event: Cantata for 10th Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11; Gospel: Luke 19: 41-48
Text: Jeremiah 5: 3 (Mvt. 1); Romans 2: 4-5 (Mvt. 4); Johann Heermann (Mvt. 7): Anon (Mvts. 2, 3, 5, 6) [Walther Blankenburg suggested Christoph Helm]
Chorale Text: So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

First Part


Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!
Lord, your eyes look for faith!
Du schlägest sie, aber sie fühlen's nicht;
You strike them but they do not feel it.
du plagest sie, aber sie bessern sich nicht.
You torment them, but they do not improve themselves
Sie haben ein härter Angesicht denn ein Fels
They have a face harder than a rock
und wollen sich nicht bekehren. Jeremiah 5:3
and are not willing to be converted.


Recitative [Bass]


Wo ist das Ebenbild, das Gott uns eingepräget, Genesis 1 :26-7
Where is the image that God has stamped upon us,
Wenn der verkehrte Will sich ihm zuwiderleget?
if our perverted will sets itself against him?
Wo ist die Kraft von seinem Wort,

Where is the might of his word,
Wenn alle Besserung weicht aus dem Herzen fort?

if all improvement disappears from our hearts?
Der Höchste suchet uns durch Sanftmut zwar zu zähmen,

The Almighty strives to tame us through gentleness,
Ob der verirrte Geist sich wollte noch bequemen;

in the hope that the misguided spirit might be willing to be calm;
Doch, fährt er fort in dem verstockten Sinn,
but if someone persists in his arrogant frame of mind,
So gibt er ihn in's Herzens Dünkel hin.

then he abandons them to the darkness of their hearts.


Aria [Alto]

Oboe, Continuo

Weh der Seele, die den Schaden
Alas for the soul, that of its shame
Nicht mehr kennt
is no more conscious
Und, die Straf auf sich zu laden,

and, to bring punishment upon itself,
Störrig rennt,

rushes headlong,
Ja von ihres Gottes Gnaden
indeed from God's grace
Selbst sich trennt.

separates itself.


Arioso [Bass]

Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Verachtest du den Reichtum seiner Gnade,
Do you despise the riches of his grace,
Geduld und Langmütigkeit?
patience and forbearance?
Weißest du nicht, dass dich Gottes Güte zur Buße locket?
Do you not know that God's goodness should lead you to repentance?
Du aber nach deinem verstockten und unbußfertigen Herzen
But you with your stubborn and impenitent heart
häufest dir selbst den Zorn auf den Tag des Zorns
are heaping upon yourself anger in the day of anger
und der Offenbarung des gerechten Gerichts Gottes. Romans 2 :4-5
and of the revealing of the righteous judgement of God.

Second Part


Aria [Tenor]

Flauto traverso solo, Continuo

Erschrecke doch,
Feel fear then,
Du allzu sichre Seele!

you soul who who are all too confident!
Denk, was dich würdig zähle
Think what makes you deserve
Der Sünden Joch.

the yoke of sin.
Die Gotteslangmut geht auf einem Fuß von Blei,

The forbearance of God goes on a foot of lead
Damit der Zorn hernach dir desto schwerer sei.

but for that reason his anger with you will later be all the heavier.


Recitative [Alto]

Oboe I/II, Continuo

Beim Warten ist Gefahr;
In waiting there is danger;
Willst du die Zeit verlieren?
do you want to waste your time?
Der Gott, der ehmals gnädig war,
God, who before now was merciful
Kann leichtlich dich vor seinen Richtstuhl führen.
can easily bring you before his judgement seat.
Wo bleibt sodann die Buß? Es ist ein Augenblick,
Where then is your repentance? It is only an instant
Der Zeit und Ewigkeit, der Leib und Seele scheidet;
that separates time and eternity, body and soul
Verblendter Sinn, ach kehre doch zurück,

Blinded mind, turn back now
Dass dich dieselbe Stund nicht finde unbereitet!

so that this very hour does not find you unprepared!


Chorale [S, A, T, B]

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

Heut lebst du, heut bekehre dich,
Today you live, today be converted,
Eh morgen kommt, kann's
ändern sich;
before tomorrow comes, things could change
Wer heut ist frisch, gesund und rot,

The person who today is vigorous, healthy,ruddy,
Ist morgen krank, ja wohl gar tot.

tomorrow is ill, or even dead.
So du nun stirbest ohne Buß,

If you die now without repentance
Dein Leib und Seel dort brennen muss.

your body and soul must burn there.

Hilf, o Herr Jesu, hilf du mir,
Help, oh Lord Jesus,help me
Dass ich noch heute komm zu dir
so this day I may come to you
Und Buße tu den Augenblick,

and in a moment do penance
Eh mich der schnelle Tod hinrück,

before swift death overtakes me,
Auf dass ich heut und jederzeit
so that in this way today and at all times
Zu meiner Heimfahrt sei bereit.

I may be ready for my journey home.

Notes on the text

The cantata BWV 102 for the 10th Sunday after Trinity was first performed on 25 August 1726. It is one of a series of cantatas (17, 39, 43, 45, 88, 102 and 187) based on librettos that come from the court of Meiningen. Ernst Ludwig, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1672-1724) is said to have written two cycles of church cantatas and evidence suggests the Bach used texts from one of these. The texts were written before 1704 and were set by Georg Caspar Schürmann, the kapellmeister at Meiningen, and by Bach's cousin Johann Ludwig Bach who succeeded Schürmann in 1706.They include 'madrigalian' verse for recitatives and arias and so anticipate the new style of cantata texts -a mixture of traditional German church music and contemporary Italian opera -produced by Erdmann Neumeister a few years later.

The gospel for this Sunday is Luke's account of Christ's warning about the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 18 :41-8) The cantata develops this into a general warning about the importance of doing penance in good time. As is customary in the Meiningen cantatas the opening movement is based on a quotation from the Old Testament. In the fifth chapter of Jeremiah the prophet seeks in vain through the streets of Jerusalem for a just man. The quotation ends with the reluctance of people to be converted , and this theme is taken up in the following bass recitative and alto aria. The first part concludes unusually with a bass arioso on a New Testament text - the second chapter of Romans where Paul warns that God's mercy is meant to lead sinners to repentance. In other Meiningen cantatas the New Testament passage begins the second half of the work.

Hans Joachim Schulze points out that the text from Romans is customarily used as the epistle for Days of Prayer and Repentance and that the following aria and recitative give the cantata the character of a sermon on repentance

The cantata concludes with the final two strophes of the hymn So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott by Johann Heermann.

[These notes are only concerned to give some basic information about the text, but I cannot pass by the opening movement without urging anybody who has not heard the opening movement to do so : 'one of the greatest achievements of the mature Bach' says the sage and sober Dürr. Precisely so. Don't miss it.]


This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (November 2007; revised & notes October 2011)
Contributed by Francis Browne (November 2007, October 2011)

Cantata BWV 102: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
German Text | Translations: Catalan-1 | Dutch-4 | English-1 | English-3I | English-3P | English-6 | French-1 | French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-1 | Indonesian | Italian-2 | Italian-4 | Russian-1 | Spanish-3 | Spanish-7
Chorale Text:
So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott

English Translations in Interlinear/Parallel Format (English-3): Sorted by BWV Number | Sorted by Title | Sorted by Event | Note on English Translations

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


Back to the Top

Last update: Thursday, June 01, 2017 15:25