In Robert Schumann's 1830s piano collection Kinderszenen, one of the pieces is called "Glückes genug".

I've seen this translated as "happy enough" or, alternatively, "perfect happiness". I think these are quite distinct in meaning, but I don't know which is more accurate.

Also, am I correct to understand that "Glückes" is in the genitive case? I haven't seen it used in quite this way.

Thank you.

  • 3
    I love the titles in this collection. They do tend to be somewhat poetic and for some of them I doubt any English translation could truly capture the original German flavor. The titles are meant to hint at the feelings evoked by the pieces themselves, so it may help to listen to them while you're trying to interpret the titles.
    – RDBury
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 7:59
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    @RDBury, Marvell spoke of "World enough, and time" (although he was lamenting the absence of enough time, not celebrating its abundance) - wouldn't that be a rather similar construction ? (Or maybe not, since "Glücks genug" is quite humble - "just around the right amount of happiness).
    – user2508
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 11:29
  • I have always preferred this "humble" understanding - I like the idea that a child doesn't need "perfect happiness" - after all, children don't think that way, do they? I think of it as, "well, I have a simple sort of happiness, and just enough of it. And as a child, what more do you need?" To me, this kind of idea is what Kinderszenen is about, and it suits the tone of the music in this particular piece. I'm glad to know that the language backs up my interpretation! Thanks to all for your responses.
    – Kiril
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 19:46
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    @Eike Pierstorff: I've never read "To His Coy Mistress"; thanks for bringing it up. I (also) agree with the humble interpretation. The music isn't overjoyed like the "Hallelujah Chorus", but it's "happy enough".
    – RDBury
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


It could be the result of leaving off "Des Glückes genug", a (slightly oldfashioned) way of saying "Enough of Happiness", perhaps in the sense of "Happiness overflowing".


"Glückes" is indeed in Genitiv here "des Glück[e]s" the "e" isn't usually added anymore as far as my experience goes.

The title "(des) Glückes genug" fits quite well with "Enough happiness" less so with "perfect happiness" or "Happiness overflowing". Note that you can also turn it around as "Genug des Glück(e)s" and it would sound a lot more common while the original is more "poetic"


"[des] Glückes genug" could also mean the end of happiness as in "Sprach: des Glückes genug! – Und er sandte den Todes-Engel" [Said: enough happiness - and he sent the Angel of Death] [https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Ruth [23]]

So we can not rule out that a situation is meant where a child is not happy any more, e.g. it was happy with a box of sweets and you take them away with the words "Glücks genug".

But concerning the happy mood of the piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb_InTbFAeI the interpretation of "being content with the current level of happyness" is more likely.

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