Ich habe genug (I have enough) is one of the roughly 200 cantatas Bach composed for the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. The soloist is a bass, and the solo instrument (a.k.a. obbligato) is oboe. The text is a gloss (in German) on a passage in the Gospel of Luke 2:25-35, in which Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, where an elderly rabbi named Simeon takes the child in his arms and declares, now that he has beheld the Messiah in his lifetime, he may now die in peace.
I have enough,
I have taken the Savior, the hope of the righteous,
into my eager arms;
I have enough!
I have beheld Him,
my faith has pressed Jesus to my heart;
now I wish, even today with joy
to depart from here.
I have enough.
My comfort is this alone,
that Jesus might be mine and I His own.
In faith I hold Him,
there I see, along with Simeon,
already the joy of the other life.
Let us go with this man!
Ah! if only the Lord might rescue me
from the chains of my body;
Ah! were only my departure here,
with joy I would say, world, to you:
I have enough.
Fall asleep, you weary eyes,
close softly and pleasantly!
World, I will not remain here any longer,
I own no part of you
that could matter to my soul.
Here I must build up misery,
but there, there I will see
sweet peace, quiet rest.
My God! When will the lovely ‘now!’ come,
when I will journey into peace
and into the cool soil of earth,
and there, near You, rest in Your lap?
My farewells are made,
world, good night!
I delight in my death,
ah, if it were only present already!
Then I will emerge from all the suffering
that still binds me to the world.
(Translation (c) Pamela Dellal)
A staged version:
Another (avant-garde, disturbing) staged version:
The Latin text of Simeon’s prayer has been chanted at Compline (night prayer) for many centuries as well. Here it is sung at St. Peter’s in Rome on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas), the same feast for which Bach wrote his cantata.