A. Litvin (1862-1943)
Du vest zayn a gvir, mayn Zhamele
Fleg mir zingen bay mayn vigele
Ale nakht amol mayn mamele,
Ikh gedenk nokh haynt ir nignele.
Un mekuyem iz gevorn mir
Di havtokhe fun mayn mamele
Ver hot nokh gezen aza gvir,
Aza oysher, vi ikh, Zhamele?
Shlofn shlof ikh af a kerbele,
Makh a moytze oyf a skorinke,
Un lekhayim af a sherbele
Ful mit brunem-vaser klorinke.
Un di kinder un dos vaybele
Zaynen oysgepukt antikele.
Durkh in oneches dos laybele
Un farfayflt mit a shtrikele
You'll be rich some day, my Zhamele-
That's what my mother used to sing at my cradle every night.
I remember the song so well.
And that's exactly what happened to me.
My dear mother's hopes came true.
Can you see a richer man than Zhamele?
I sleep on a bed of straw
I am glad when I can eat a dry crust of bread and drink a
toast with sweet well--water in a broken cup
My little children and my dear wife are all dressed up-
They wear rags with a piece of string to keep them together.
The lyrics originate from a well-known poem by Russian poet N. Nekrasov "Kalistratushka" (1863). Different melodies for this song have appeared since 1919. There is a recording of this song made by soprano Inessa Galante on her beautiful CD "18 Jewish folk songs".
Added August 17th, 1999