Recordings/Discussions
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 26
Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig
English Translation [2 Versions - Literal & Polished]
Cantate BWV 26 - Ah how transient, ah how futile

The rough first translation is relatively literal. The second, more polished, verse translation is a performance translation that tries to match the syllable counts, accents, and image positions (within the musical syllables of each line) of the original text.

Rough Literal (First) Translation Into English

1

Chorus

Ah how transient, ah how futile
Is Man's life!
As a mist suddenly arises
And also again suddenly disappears,
so is our life: notice!

2

Aria (Tenor)

As quickly as a rushing water shoots,
So hurry our Life's days.
Time passes, the hours speed,
The way the water drops suddenly divide
when they shoot into the abyss.

3

Recitative (Alto)

Joy turns into sadness.
Beauty falls like a flower.
The greatest strength becomes weakened,
It changes itself, the (our) Luck, over time,
Soon it's all over with honors and fame,
knowledge, and what poetry a man created,
are in the end made futile by the grave.

4

Aria (Bass)

On earthly treasures the heart to hang,
is a seduction of this foolish world.
As easily arise burning passions,
As rush by and tear by the undulating waves,
Until everything shattered in ruins falls down.

5

Recitative (Soprano)

The highest lordliness and magnificence
Is wrapped at last in Death's night.
Those who sit [in majesty] like a God
Escape the dust and ashes not,
and when the final hour knocks,
that one him to the earth carries,
and his Highness ground breaks apart,
then all that pertains to him will be forgotten.

6

Chorus

Ah how fleeting, ah how nothing
Are the things of men!
Everything, everything that we see,
That must topple and disappear;
The person who fears God stands [prevails] forever.

Polished Verse "Performance" Translation Into English

1

Chorus

Ah how fleeting, ah how futile
is our human lifetime!
As a ground fog comes to being
and then just as quick is fleeing,
so we see our own lives, fleeting.

2

Aria (Tenor)

As quick as roaring rivlets rush,
so slip by all our days of living.
Time gets away, the ho-urs flying,
A spray like droplets quickly parting
when ri-vers from a cliff's edge plunge.

3

Recitative (Alto)

All jo-y turns to sorrow's night,
and beauty wilts just like a flower.
The greatest power dwin-dles down;
it changes now, our fortune, with time's blight.
Soon we're all done with fame and honor,
and knowledge, skill, and what a man created,
are finally by the grave defeated.

4

Aria (Bass)

On earth-ly treasures our heart's hopes to hang on
It is a seduction of our foolish world.
It is a deception [on repeat]
It is a delusion [on repeat]
As easily rise up the fires of our passion
as rush by and tear by the swells of the ocean,
'till everything, shattered, in ruins falls down.

5

Recitative (Soprano)

The highest lordly claim and right
are wrapped at last in Death's dark night:
those who like little gods are seated
escape the dust and ashes not,
and when their final ho-ur's knocking,
when they into the earth are carried,
and their dead glory earth breaks down,
their memory's all deleted.

6

Chorus

Ah how fleeting, ah how nothing are all human doings!
All this, all this here before us,
that must topple and betray us:
who fears God will stand forever.

--

Verse translation Copyright © 2000 by Paul H. Farseth under the terms of the GNU General Public License: Readers may copy and distribute the text if this copyright notice and the unaltered copyrighted text are included legibly in the distributed copy.
Contributed by Paul H. Farseth (December 2001)

Cantata BWV 26: Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2
German Text | Translations: Dutch-3 | English-1 | English-3 | English-8 | English-10 | French-1 | French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-1 | Indonesian | Italian-2 | Russian-1 | Spanish-2
Chorale Text:
Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig

English Translations (English-8): Sorted by BWV Number | Sorted by Title | Sorted by Event

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

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýSeptember 19, 2008 ý21:50:09