Georg Christian Lehms

Georg Christian Lehms, copper engraving c. 1713

Georg Christian Lehms (German: [leːms]; 1684 – 15 May 1717) was a German poet and novelist who sometimes used the pen-name Pallidor. He published poetry, novels, libretti for operas, and the texts of cantatas.


Born in Liegnitz (now in Poland) in 1684, Lehms attended the Gymnasium (high school) in Görlitz and later studied at the University of Leipzig.[1]

After spending some time at the court of Johann Georg, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, at the end of 1710 Lehms gained a position as court librarian and poet in Darmstadt, capital of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt, where by 1713 he had been appointed to the Prince's council.[1]

Lehms died of tuberculosis on 15 May 1717, aged about thirty-three.[1][2]


Lehms's "gallant" novels (a term referring to fiction aimed at readers of both sexes) were among the earliest of such productions in German literature and began to appear early in his career under the pen-name of Pallidor. The first of these was Die unglückselige Princessin Michal und der verfolgte David ('The hapless Princess Michal and David pursued'), published in Hanover in 1707, followed in 1710 by Des israelitischen Printzens Absolons und seiner Prinzcessin Schwester Thamar Staats- Lebens- und Helden-Geschichte ('The Heroic Life and History of the Israelite Prince Absolom and his Princess Sister Tamar'), published by Zieger in Nuremberg; in 1712 the series continued with Der weise König Salomo ('Wise King Solomon').[2]

Lehms made his name with the collection Teutschlands Galante Poetinnen (Germany's Gallant Poetesses).

Teutschlands Galante Poetinnen, title page

The title page of Teutschlands Galante Poetinnen sums up the work thus:

Lehms wrote libretti for operas and cantatas. The cantatas, while being religious works performed as part of the Lutheran services of the Darmstadt court, can be seen as influenced by secular poetry like the cantatas of Neumeister. They were set to music by Christoph Graupner, the Kapellmeister, and his assistant Gottfried Grünewald. The texts were published and it is assumed that Johann Sebastian Bach obtained a copy.[4] While working at Weimar, Bach set words by Lehms for his first two solo cantatas. He avoided the poet's larger-scale work, going on to use the more intimate texts for another eight of his surviving cantatas. There is also evidence for a lost cantata (Cantata BWV Anh. 209) set to words by Lehms.[5]

Selected worksEdit

  • Die unglückselige Princessin Michal und der verfolgte David (The hapless Princess Michal and persecuted David) (Hanover: Nicolaus Förster, 1707)[2]
  • Des israelitischen Printzens Absolons und seiner Prinzcessin Schwester Thamar Staats- Lebens- und Helden-Geschichte (The Heroic Life and History of the Israelite Prince Absolom and of his Princess Sister Tamar)(Nuremberg: Zieger, 1710)[2]
  • Der weise König Salomo, in einer Staats- und Helden-Geschichte (The Royal and Heroic History of Wise King Solomon) (Hamburg & Leipzig: Johann von Wiering, 1712)[2]
  • Das singende Lob Gottes, in einem Jahrgang andächtiger und Gottgefälliger Kirch-Music (The Hymning of God, in an Annual Volume of devotional Church Music pleasing to God) (Darmstadt: Johann Georg John, 1712)
  • Teutschlands Galante Poetinnen (Germany's Gallant Poetesses), in two parts, (Frankfurt am Main: Samuel Tobias Hocker, 1714–15; new editions at Darmstadt, Josef Gotthard Blaschke Verlag, 1966, and Leipzig, 1973)

Bach cantatas based on texts by LehmsEdit

The table of cantatas which Bach set to music is sortable by time of first performance, occasion in the liturgical year, BWV catalogue, Incipit and translation of the incipit.[1]

Cantatas set by Bach on texts by Lehms
Date Occasion BWV Incipit Translation
15 July 1714 Seventh Sunday after Trinity 54 Widerstehe doch der Sünde Stand firm against sin
12 August 1714 Eleventh Sunday after Trinity 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut My heart swims in blood
25 December 1725 Christmas Day 110 Unser Mund sei voll Lachens May our mouth be full of laughter
26 December 1725 St. Stephen's Day 57 Selig ist der Mann Blessed is the Man
27 December 1725 Third Day of Christmas 151 Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes
1 January 1726 New Year's Day 16 Herr Gott, dich loben wir Lord God, we praise You
13 January 1726 First Sunday after Epiphany 32 Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen Beloved Jesus, my desire
20 January 1726 Second Sunday after Epiphany 13 Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen My sighs, my tears
28 July 1726 Sixth Sunday after Trinity 170 Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust Delightful rest, beloved pleasure of the soul
8 September 1726 Twelfth Sunday after Trinity 35 Geist und Seele wird verwirret Spirit and soul become confused
c.1714? 1725? Seventh Sunday after Trinity Anh. 209 Liebster Gott, vergißt Du mich

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Georg Christian Lehms (Librettist) at, accessed 1 January 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e Germanic Notes and Reviews, vols. 26–28 (1995), p. 18
  3. ^ See title page (in German) at File:Galante Poetinnen 0002 (Wikimedia Commons)
  4. ^ Alfred Dürr, Richard D. P. Jones, The Cantatas of J. S. Bach: with their librettos in German-English (2006), p. 16
  5. ^ "Liner notes to Cantatas Vol. 51" (PDF). Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 2 September 2015.


  • E. Noack, 'Georg Christian Lehms, ein Textdichter Johann Sebastian Bachs', in BJ 1970, pp. 7–18
  • Liselotte Brögelmann: Studien zum Erzählstil im idealistischen Roman (Studies on the narrative style in the idealistic novel), Dissertation, University of Göttingen 1953 (typescript)
  • Christiane Brokmann-Noorens: Weibliche Bildung im 18. Jahrhundert (The Education of Women in the 18th century), Dissertation, University of Oldenburg, 1992, ISBN 3-8142-0429-8
  • Alfred Dürr: Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (The cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach), 6th Edition, Munich / Bärenreiter, Cassel, 1995
  • Christoph Wolff (ed.): Die Welt der Bach-Kantaten (The World of the Bach cantatas), special edition in 3 vols., Metzler, Stuttgart / Bärenreiter, Cassel 2006, ISBN 3-476-02127-0 Metzler, Stuttgart / Bärenreiter, Kassel 2006, ISBN 3-476-02127-0
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt: "Georg Christian Lehms", in Personalbibliographien zu den Drucken des Barock, vol. 4., Stuttgart: Hiersemann 1991, pp. 2576–88. ISBN 3-7772-9122-6

External linksEdit

Works onlineEdit