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Vu aleh forn, in mitn veg, Ligt dort a tayere blum; Es ligt un foylt, shoyn eynike teg, Der vint varft ir arum. Zi shrayt un veynt mit groys gebet: Pamelekh, zet vi ir geyt! Hot rakhmones, zet ir tsetret, A blum mit a prekhtikn kvayt! Rakhmones hot ver, Kumt nor aher. Heybt oyf a blum vos zi glantst! Oy, trogt mir ahin, vun vanen ikh bin, Vu me hot mikh fun ershtn geflantst. Az ikh zeh yetst blumen fun yeder zayt, Gist fun mir trern a taykh; Ikh dermon zikh mayn glik fun di forike tsayt Geven mit aleh blumen tsu glaykh... In kayzerlekhn gortn ven ikh hob geblit, Un di zun hot mir likhtik geshaynt, Tsendliker deener hobn mir gehit To zet nor dem sof fun mir haynt: Der tret un der kvetcht, Tseveykt un tsenetst, Di bleter, arop fun kalir; Ikh lig oyfn mist, Der regn er gist, Es iz gor keyn rakhmones oyf mir. Vi di blum veynt do un shrayt, Es tsenemt yeder menshn zayn hehrts, Kumt on a malakh gor fun der zayt Un hert do ir shrayen, ir shmertz. Zog mir du blum, zog mir dem vort, Tsenemst mikh mayn harts on a breg; Vu bistu gevaksn? Vi ruft men dem ort? Vi kumstu aher oyfn veg? Tut zi a geshrey: Oy vind iz mir, vey! Tse du derkenst mir shoyn gornit fun friyr? Fun Yerushalayim bin ikh, Yid ruft men mikh. Hob du khotsh rakhmones oyf mir! Far tzvey toyzent yor ven du volst mir zen, Bshas ikh hob mayn melukhe gehat, Volst aleyn dikh farvundert vi ikh bin geveyn, Di shoynhayt fun mayn yeder blat Kohanim, Leviyim, Yeneraler on a shiyur, Ikh hob damols shtaltzirt in flor. Dan hot men plutzlung oysgerisn mir, Ikh valger mikh bald tzvey toyzent yor... Vu ikh bin geven, Hob ikh ratsikhes gezen, Gerisn mir glid far glid; Gebrent un geshnitn Un nokh mer tsoris gelitn Un nor vayl ikh bin a yid! Azoy hot zikh a mol gevalgert der yid, Vi di blum oyfn veg mit ir tsvet; Der nemt im zayn koved, der ruft im Zhid Der mit di fis im tsetret. Un er hot shoyn farlorn zayn mut un zayn dreyst, Farlorn zayn kraft un zayn makht; Mernit di emunah, dos is nor zayn treyst In der langer fintstere nakht. Akh mayn hehrts Platst mir fun shmerts, Du host dokh a mol oykh geblit! Azoy a sheyner tsvet Yedereh tret, Vi hot ir es keyn rakhmones nit?... Vi nor der malakh hehrt ir do dermonen, Ir altn yikhes fun tsiyeyn, Zetst er ir tsevishn aleh vazonen, Zi heybt vider shoyn on tsu bliyen. Un er treyst ir mit mitlayd: Vish op dayne trern, Di zun heybt dir on shoyn tsu shaynen; Ikh vel dir khalileh dayn emunah nit shtern, Ikh vel dir nokh putsn un faynen! Fregt zi bay im: Zog mir dayn sheym, Lomir visn dem nomen fun zey; Entfert er ir: Der nomen fun mir Iz Aleksandr keyzer fun rasey.
In the middle of the well traveled road There lies a lovely flower; There it lies decaying for days already, The wind blows it around. It screams, cries, and begs, Look carefully where you are walking. Have mercy, watch, lest you tread On this flower with a beautiful blossom. He who has mercy, Just come here.. Pick up the shining flower! Take me back to where I came, Where they first planted me. When I now see flowers on all sides, A river of tears pours from me, I remember my good fortune from times gone by When I was the same as the other flowers... In the little Kaisers garden, when I bloomed, And the sun shined brightly on me, Tens of servants watched over me And now look at me: Walked on and crushed, Soaking wet, The leaves--blown off from the cold; I lay in the midst, The rain pours, There is no mercy for me. As the flower cries and shouts, It breaks everyones heart, An angel appears out of nowhere And hears her crying and pain. Tell me flower, tell me the word, That breaks my heart without end; Where did you grow? What was the name of the land? How do you happen to be here on the road? She cries: Woe is me! Dont you recognize me from before? I came from Jerusalem. I am known as a Jew. Please have mercy on me! If you had seen me 2000 years ago, When I had my nation, You would have been awed at what I was, The beauty of each of my leaves Cohanim, Leviim, endless generals, Back then I was proud of my grandeur. Then they suddenly tore me out (plucked) Ive wandered now for 2000 years... Where I was, I saw outrages. They tore me limb from limb. Burned and cut, And still more troubles I suffered-- Simply because I was a Jew! This is the way the Jew once wandered, Like this colorful (?) flower on the road, They steal his honor, They call him "Zhid," They walk all over him. And he soon lost his courage and boldness, Lost his power and ability; Only his faith comforts him In the long dark night. Oh, my heart Breaks from pain, You once also bloomed! Such a beautiful color (? blossom) Under everyones feet, How could someone not have mercy?... As the angel heard her remembering The glory of old Zion Sitting in the middle of all the flowerpots, She begins to bloom again. And he comforts her with empathy, Wash off your tears The sun will begin to shine for you; I would never, God forbid, take away your faith, I only want to polish you and gild you! She asked him: Tell me your name, Let me know the name of them (?your people), He answered her: My name is Alexander, Czar of Russia.
Eliakum Zunser, was felt by many to have been the greatest Badkhan of all time, was a prolific writer and entertainer. He and his little brother were both Cantonists (Cantonists were drafted for 25 years into the Czar's army). When Czar Alexander abolished the 25 year conscriptions of Jews in 1860, abolished serfdom, and lifted residence restrictions, many Russian Jews had great hope for a better future (unfortunately Alexander would disappoint them in that hope within 2 years). Zunser wrote this song in which the Jewish people are characterized as a wilting flower on the road and Czar Alexander as an angel who rescued the poor flower. Zunser was a member of the Narodne Volye movement, a group containing many Jewish slavophiles including Eliezer Ben Yehuda. My grandmother, Sarah Kayleh Benjamin, a native of Streshin, Belarus used to sing this song, and recalled it as having been quite popular among Russian Jews at the turn of the century.
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