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This question concerns the word dein as occurring in a Bach's cantata Der Friede sei mit dir (BWV 158) as below.

Welt, ade, ich bin dein müde,
Salems Hütten stehn mir an,
  Welt, ade! ich bin dein müde,
  Ich will nach dem Himmel zu,
Wo ich Gott in Ruh und Friede
Ewig selig schauen kann.

The full text you can read at Emmanuel Music.

You can also hear it as performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.


QUESTION

Should that perhaps be:

Welt, ade, ich bin deiner müde

BACKGROUND

The form of the sentence may be the same as that of:

Ach ich bin des Treibens müde!

which, by the way, is from Goethe's Wandrers Nachtlied according to this Web page.

Emmanuel Music translates the line as:

World, farewell, I am tired of you

The two items above suggest that müde takes a genitive object and dein is trying to be a genitive case pronoun for Welt.

For a feminine noun, however, that would be deiner according to this formerly Canoo.net page or this Lingolia page. Using Lingolia's terminology, I would have said deiner so used was an independent possessive pronoun.

The only other reading I can imagine is:

World, adieu, I am your tired person.

which might go something like:

Welt, ade, ich bin dein Müden

Does the original Bach line fit either one of these models? Or is there some third model I should use?

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  • Related question concerning German in Bachs works.
    – guidot
    Dec 23, 2020 at 15:37
  • Wiktionary lists dein as an obsolete genitive form of du, see the infection table here.
    – RDBury
    Dec 23, 2020 at 17:22

2 Answers 2

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It is an archaism. The genitive pronoun form used to be «dein» (similarly, also «mein»). The form «deiner» (and «meiner») had become common by the 18th century, while Luther in the 16th century still used «dein» and «mein» almost exclusively, cf. du – DWB (scroll down to «Die nebenform deiner für dein»). The old short form mainly persisted after verbs like gedenken.

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Best explanation is deiner being truncated to dein. This is confirmed by the booklet of my recording of the cantata (haenssler classics, directed by Helmut Rilling), which has a full English translation (by Alison Dobson-Ottmes, Dr. Miguel Carazo & Associates) of the sung text:

 World, farewell, of thee I’m weary, 
 Salem’s shelter I prefer, 
 World, farewell, of thee I’m weary, 
 I would now to heaven go, 
 Where I God in peace and quiet
 Ever blessed can behold.  
 Where will be a peace most tranquil 
 And eternal grand repose.

Since there are further matches of dein müde in contemporary literature, see Google books (blackletter), it seems either to be a common truncation or even have been considered as correct at Bach's time.

Another example (also Google books match), where one would expect genitive today:

O Jesu süß, wer dein gedenkt

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    As @mach correctly noted, "dein" is not a "truncation" of "deiner". "Deiner" is an expansion of "dein".
    – fdb
    Dec 24, 2020 at 14:33

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