Bach based his chorale on a 1642 melody by Johann Schop.
Bach's chorale text: 1661 hymn by German composer Martin Jahn
The lyrics below are by the English poet Robert S. Bridges, and are commonly sung with Bach's Jesu music (some consider it an original poem, others feel Bridges used poetic license to translate Jahn's 1661 hymn text)
- Jesu, joy of man's desiring, Holy wisdom, Love most bright, Drawn by thee, our souls aspiring Soar to uncreated light. Word of God, our flesh that fashioned With the fire of life impassioned, Striving still to truth unknown, Soaring, dying round thy throne.
- Through the way where hope is guiding, Hark, what peaceful music rings, Where the flock, in thee confiding, Drink of joy from deathless springs. Theirs is beauty's fairest pleasure, Theirs is wisdom's holiest treasure. Thou dost ever lead Thine own In the love of joys unknown.
English translation of Jahn's German hymn text used in Bach's Chorale: Happy I who have my Saviour; from Him never will I part. He restores my drooping spirit, be I sad and sick at heart. Cares may vex and troubles grieve me, yet will Jesus never leave me. Him I never will forsake, even though my heart should break.
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