Cantata BWV 52 - English Translation [Interlinear Format] (2024)

Cantata BWV 52

Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht!
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 52 - False world, I do not trust you!

Event: Solo Cantata for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: Philippians 3: 17-21; Gospel: Matthew 22: 15-22
Text: Adam Reusner (Mvt. 6); Anon (Mvts. 2-5)

Biblical quotations in green font

, chorales in purple



Corno I/II, Oboe I-III, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo


Recitative [Soprano]

fa*gotto, Continuo

Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht!
False world, I do not trust you!
Hier muss ich unter Skorpionen
Here I must live among scorpions
Und unter falschen Schlangen wohnen.
and among false snakes.
Dein Angesicht,
Your face,
Das noch so freundlich ist,
which is always so friendly,
Sinnt auf ein heimliches Verderben:
is secretly plotting mischief.
Wenn Joab küsst, 2Samuel 3:27
When Joab kisses,
So muss ein frommer Abner sterben.
then a just Abner must die.
Die Redlichkeit ist aus der Welt verbannt,
Plain dealing is banished from the world,
Die Falschheit hat sie fortgetrieben,
Falsehood has driven it away,
Nun ist die Heuchelei
now hypocrisy
An ihrer Stelle blieben.
takes its place.
Der beste Freund ist ungetreu,
The best of friends is unfaithful
O jämmerlicher Stand!
O lamentable condition!


Aria [Soprano]

Violino I/II, fa*gotto, Continuo

Immerhin, immerhin,
After all, after all,
Wenn ich gleich verstoßen bin!
If I am at once cast out,
Ist die falsche Welt mein Feind,
If the false world is my enemy,
O so bleibt doch Gott mein Freund,
O then God still remains my friend,
Der es redlich mit mir meint.
And he will deal honestly with me.


Recitative [Soprano]

fa*gotto, Continuo

Gott ist getreu!
God is faithful!
Er wird, er kann mich nicht verlassen;
He cannot, he will not abandon me;
Will mich die Welt und ihre Raserei
If the world and its madness
In ihre Schlingen fassen,
seizes me in its snares,
So steht mir seine Hilfe bei.
Then my help stands beside me.
Gott ist getreu!
God is faithful!
Auf seine Freundschaft will ich bauen
On his friendship I shall build
Und meine Seele, Geist und Sinn
And my soul, spirit and mind
Und alles, was ich bin,
And everything that I am
Ihm anvertrauen
I shall entrust to him.
Gott ist getreu!
God is faithful!


Aria [Soprano]

Oboe I-III, fa*gotto, Continuo

Ich halt es mit dem lieben Gott,
I stay on the side of my dear God
Die Welt mag nur alleine bleiben.
The world can do without me
Gott mit mir, und ich mit Gott,
God with me and I with God,
Also kann ich selber Spott
In this way can I drive out
Mit den falschen Zungen treiben.
Mockery with its false tongues.


Chorale [S, A, T, B]

Oboe I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Oboe III e Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Corno I/II, fa*gotto, Continuo

In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr,

In you have I hoped, Lord,
Hilf, dass ich nicht zuschanden werd,
Help so that I may not be put to shame
Noch ewiglich zu Spotte!
Nor derided forever.
Das bitt ich dich,
I pray for this to you,
Erhalte mich
Maintain me
In deiner Treu, Herr Gotte!
In your faithfulness, Lord God!

Notes on the text:

BWV 52 was first performed in Leipzig on 24 November 1726. It is written for soprano and is the last of a group of solo cantatas which began with BWV 170 on 28 July. The anonymous librettist bases his text on one aspect of the gospel for this Sunday (Matthew 22: 15-22): the hypocrisy and treachery of the Pharisees who try to trick Jesus with a question about the tribute money are identified with the “false world”,which is hostile to believers and threatens the Christian despite its appearance of friendliness .

The opening recitative (Mvt. 2) is typical of Baroque rhetoric with its opening apostrophe and concluding exclamation, conventional imagery of snakes and scorpions and use of abstractions . The reference to Abner and Joab refers to 2 Samuel 3:27 where Joab is described as drawing Abner aside as if for private conversation and then stabbing him in the belly.

(The allusion is undoubtedly obscure and should not be pressed too closely.Abner is the centre of a detailed narrative of the events after Saul’s death. The librettist has seized on one point for illustration of worldly cunning and treachery and ignored the wider context. Abner’s earlier history hardly qualifies him as ‘frommer’ and he had killed Joab’s brother.)

The following aria (Mvt. 3) opposes God’s faithfulness to the world’s hypocrisy, and the antithesis of false world /faithful God is repeated in the next recitative and aria. In the second recitative (Mvt. 4) the phrase Gott ist getreu is repeated three times and the metaphor of Schlange (snake) used for the false world is changed to Schlinge (snares) used for the entrapment of sins.

The first verse of Adam Reusner’s hymn (1533) In dich hab ich gehoffen is used for the concluding chorale (Mvt. 6).

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (February 2008; revised & notes: August 2012)
Contributed by Francis Browne (February 2008, August 2012)

Cantata BWV 52 - English Translation [Interlinear Format] (2024)
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