DER YIDDISH-VINKL April 29, 2005

A WEEKLY BRIEFING ON THE MOTHER TONGUE

Published April 29, 2005, issue of April 29, 2005.
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Once again Al Grand returns to Der Vinkl with another of his Yiddish translations of the works of the Savoyards (Gilbert and Sullivan). Grand has been not only a translator, but also an actor who has performed in his own creations. Indeed his life has been so involved with the Savoyards that his e-mail address is savoyid@optonline.net.

What follows is a sequence taken from his translation of the Savoyards’ “The Pirates of Penzance” (“Di Yam Gazlonim”). As Grand describes it, the situation in the play is the following:

The Major-General’s daughters enter the scene, seeking a secluded spot for a picnic. Seeing that they are taking off their shoes to play in the water, Fayvl reveals himself to them, warning them that their picnic spot is a pirates’ lair. Though the daughters are frightened of Fayvl because he is a pirate, they are attracted to his youthful good looks. Fayvl tells them that he is about to leave the miserable band of pirates, and he proposes marriage to all of them at once in a song, “Oh, Is There Not One Maiden Breast?”

FREDERIC

Oh, is there not one maiden breast

Which does not feel the moral beauty

Of making worldly interest

Subordinate to sense of duty?

Who would not give up willingly

All matrimonial ambition

To rescue such a one as I

From his unfortunate position?

From his position

To rescue such a one as I

From his unfortunate position?

GIRLS

Alas, there’s not one maiden breast

Which seems to feel the moral beauty

Of making worldly interest

Subordinate to sense of duty!

FREDERIC

Oh is there not one maiden here

Whose homely face and bad complexion

Have caused all hope to disappear

Of ever wining man’s affection?

To such a one, if such there be

I swear by Heaven’s arch above you

If you will cast your eyes on me

However plain you be — I’ll love you

However plain you be

If you will cast your eyes on me

However plain you be — I’ll love you

I’ll love you, I’ll love, I’ll love you.

GIRLS

Alas there’s not one maiden here

Whose homely face and bad complexion

Have caused all hope to disappear

Of ever winning man’s affection?

Yiddish Version

FAYVEL

Avu is do a meydl sheyn

Vos hot oyf mir a kap rakhmones,

Un vet bald shenken mir aleyn

Ir gute harts un ir nemones

Tsi zayt ir gut vi zayt sheyn?

Dos ken men zen s’iz nit kayn frage,

Oy helft mir, lozt mikh nit aleyn,

Un ratevet mikh fun mayn lage,

Fun mayn troyeriker lage

Oy ra-te-vet un helft mir aroys

Fun mayn um-glik-er shverer lage.

MEYDLEKH

Es iz nito kayn meydl sheyn

Vos hot oyf dir kayn kap rakhmones.

Un vet bald shenken dir aleyn

It gute harts un ir nemones.

FAYVEL

Gefint zikh do a meydl fayn

Vos hot a zeyer mies ponim?

Un keyn mol vet kayn kale zayn,

(Aside to audience) Oy, trefn zol es mayne sonim!

Oyb du bist do — zog ikh tsu dir

Az ikh ken zayn far dir a khosn,

Oyb du vest kumen gikh tsu mir,

Iz mayn harts ofn nit farshlosn

Mayn harts geyt oys far dir.

Oyb du vest kumen gikh tsu mir

Bist nisht mies tsu mir, kh’vel li-ibn dikh-

Kh’vel li-I-ben dikh, kh’vil li-ibn dikh!

MEYDLEKH

Es iz nito kayn meydl fayn

Vos hot a zeyer mies ponim

Un keynmol vet kayn kale zayn

Oy trefn zol es undzere so-o-o-nim!






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