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Willst du dein Herz mir schenken BWV 518

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Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach

Willst du dein Herz mir schenken

Willst du dein Herz mir schenken,
So fang es heimlich an,
Dass unser beider Denken
Niemand erraten kann.
Die Liebe muss bei beiden
Allzeit verschwiegen sein,
Drum schließ die größten Freuden
In deinem Herzen ein.
Behutsam sei und schweige
Und traue keiner Wand,
Lieb’ innerlich und zeige
Dich außen unbekannt.
Kein’ Argwohn musst du geben,
Verstellung nötig ist.
Genug, dass du, mein Leben,
Der Treu’ versichert bist.
Begehre keine Blicke
Von meiner Liebe nicht,
Der Neid hat viele Stricke
Auf unser Tun gericht.
Du musst die Brust verschließen,
Halt deine Neigung ein.
Die Lust, die wir genießen,
Muss ein Geheimnis sein.
Zu frei sein, sicher gehen,
Hat oft Gefahr gebracht.
Man muss sich wohl verstehen,
Weil ein falsch Auge wacht.
Du musst den Spruch bedenken,
Den ich zuvor getan:
Willst du dein Herz mir schenken,
So fang es heimlich an.

Wouldst thou thine heart now give me

Wouldst thou thine heart now give me,
Proceed in secrecy,
That twixt us our intentions
No one may ever guess.
Since love must be, if mutual,
Forever silent kept,
So hide thy greatest pleasures
Within thy heart’s recess.
O cautious be and silent,
And never trust a wall,
Love inwardly, and, outward,
Appear quite unattached.
Suspicion give thou never,
Disguise is ever meet.
Enough, that thou, my being,
My faith art e’er assured.
O covet no attentions
Of my devotion, none,
For jealousy so many
Snares for our work hath laid.
Thou must conceal thy feeling,
Heart’s fancy hold within.
The joy which brings us rapture
Must e’er a secret be.
Now license and indulgence
Have often brought their risk.
We must have this agreement,
For spiteful eyes do watch.
Thou must that motto ponder
Which I before did state:
Wouldst thou thy heart now give me,
Proceed in secrecy.
Translations by Z. Philip Ambrose are published in J.S. Bach: The Extant Texts of the Vocal Works in English Translations with Commentary Volume 1: BWV 1-200; Volume 2: BWV 201- (Philadelphia: XLibris, 2005) and online at

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Johann Sebasian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Boroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg concertos, th Goldburg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

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