DER YIDDISH-VINKL December 16, 2005

Ruth Rubin was a multitalented Yiddishist who was a poet, a singer and a recording artist in the latter half of the past century. Her book, “Treasury of Jewish Folk Songs,” was published in 1950. The text is written in transliterated Yiddish, with Rubin’s English adaptation. Many of the songs are lullabies, as is the following selection.

Amol Iz Gevn a Mayse

Amol iz gevn a mayse,

Di mayse iz gornit freylekh,

Di mayse heybt zikh onet

Mit a yidishn meylekh.

Lyulinke, mayn feygele,

Lyulinke, mayn kind;

Kh’hob ongevoyrn aza libe,

Vey iz mir un vind!

Der meylekh hot gehat a malke,

Di malke hot gehat a vayn gortn,

Der vayngortn hot gehat a boym,

Lyulinke, mayn kind.

Der boym hot gehat a tsvaygele,

Der tsvayg hot gehat a nestele,

In nestele iz gevn a feygele,

Lyulinke mayn kind.

Der meylekh iz opgeshtorbn,

Di malke iz gevorn fardorbn,

Der tsvayg iz opgebrokhn,

Dos feygele fun nest antlofn.

Vu nemt men aza khokhm

Er zol kenen di shtern tseyln?

Vu nemt men aza dokter

Er zol kenen mayn harts heyln?

Once Upon a Time

The Jews they had a king

So very long ago

This is how the story begins, my love

But it ends in woe.

Hush my little baby

Hush my little birdie

I have lost my own true love

Woe is unto me.

The king he had a queen so fair

The queen she had a vineyard rare

The vineyard had a very old tree

Hush my little baby.

A branch grew on that very old tree

In a nest on the branch sat a little birdie

The birdie chirped so hungrily

Hush my little baby.

Oh, where is the man so wondrous, wise

Who can count all the stars in the deep blue


Oh, where is the doctor, where is he?

To heal that broken heart for me?

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DER YIDDISH-VINKL December 16, 2005

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