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CRADLE SONGS, JUDÆO-GERMAN:

Songs written as lullabies; these exist in great variety and profusion among the Jews speaking Judæo-German or Yiddish, and among them may be quoted the following:

For boys:

Inter Yankeles wigeleBehind Jankele's cradle
Shteit a gilden tsigele;Stands a golden goat;
Tsigele is gifurn handlenGoat went to sell
Rozhinkelach mit mandlen.Raisins and almonds.
Rozhinkelach mit mandlen.Raisins and almonds.
Sanen di bäste schoire.Are the best goods.
Yankele wet leirnen Toire;Jankele will learn Torah;
Toire wet er leirnen;Torah will he learn;
Briwelach wet er schraben,Letters he will write,
In a eirlecher IdAnd he will be a good Jew
Wet er af tomid farblaben.And remain so for ever.

The last few lines occur in Bessarabia in the following form:

Lernen wet er keseider A por Shures, a por mailes. Moishinke wet paskenen shailes; Shailes wet er paskenen, Droshes wet er darshenen.He will learn properly A few lines, a few steps forward. Moishinke will answer ritual questions; Ritual questions will he answer, And he will make religious speeches.

Another version, from the government of Suwalki, prophesies the boy's marriage:

Du west lernen Teire, Teire, Teire, in kepele, Kashe, kashe, in tepele. Puter mit breit shmirn. Der tate mit der mäme soln derleben Dir tsu der chupe firn. Firt men, firt men, tsu der chupe; Firt men, firt men, fun der chupe; Setst men aruf eibm on. In gold un in silber ongeton. Git men a shtikl fleish, Sogt der chosn as di fleish is heis; Git men a shtikele of, Sogt er di of i post. Darfar wet er derleben Mit der kale shlofn. Shlof zhe, shlof zhe in dainem ru, Mach zhe daine koshere eigelach tsu; Mach zhe tsu, un efn ouf; Kimt der tate un wekt dir ouf, Sol er mir wekn, wi er wil, Ich el mir stumachen di eigelach un shwaigen shtil.You will learn Torah, Torah, Torah, will be in your head, Gruel, gruel, in your pot. You will put butter on your bread. May father and mother live To bring you under the canopy. They take him, they take him, to the canopy; They take him, they take him, from the canopy; They seat him at the head of all. He is dressed in gold and in silver. They give him a piece of meat. And the bridegroom says it's too hot; They give him a piece of poultry, And he says the poultry is too tough. For this he will live To have a bride. Sleep, sleep in peace, Close your pretty eyes; Close them and open them; When papa comes to wake thee, Let him wake me as much as he likes, I will close my eyes and keep quiet.

A Rumanian version looks forward to the period of the bar miẓwah:

A giter in a frimer Id wet mir dus kind blaben. Toire tsiwe Moishe morushe. Tsi der barmitswe wet es sugn a drusche; Tsi der drushe wet er sech shteln. Der futer mit der miter wet unqueln; Gur dem oilem wet san drushe gefeln— Gur dem oilem, gur der welt. Der futer mit der miter wet gibn nadn asach geld.He will remain a good and pious Jew. Moses left us the Law as an inheritance. He will make a speech at his confirmation; He will rise to make a speech. Father and mother will swell with pride; And the community will like his speech— The community and the whole world. The father and the mother will give much money for his dowry.

The lullabies for girls are of a simpler nature, as may be shown by the following examples from the neighborhood of Kherson:

I.I.
Shlof zhe, shlof, main taier kind;Sleep, sleep, my dearest child;
Close your eyes quickly;
Mach zhe tsu di eigelach gich un geshwind;Your food and your drink are all ready.
Dain esn un dain trinken shteit shein greit do.Close your eyes for a few hours.
Mach zhe tsu di eigelach af etlechene sho.
II.II.
Dzhades un bern i do umedum; Sei geien in drousn arum; Sei obn sheine meidelach weinendik gefunen, Obn sei gechapt un araingeworfen in brunen.Beggars and bears are all around; They even walk around outside; And if they find pretty girls are crying, They seize them and throw them into the well.
III.III.
Di sun is schon ufgegangn, Der hon hot shon gekreit. Er samelt keiches tsu dertrogn Wos far dir is ongegreit.The sun has already risen, The cock has already crowed. He is gathering strength to bear What you are getting ready for him.
IV.IV.
Di lewone is shon arousgegangn Fon ir getselt; Asei heich sol dain masel shainen In der gantsen welt.The moon has already disappeared From its tent; So should your luck be Over the whole world.

The following cradle song, the most elaborate collected ("Globus," xx.), is perhaps one of the most charming:

Shluf, man feigele,Sleep, my birdie,
Mach tsi dus eigele,Close your eyes;
Shluf sech ois, man kind.Sleep enough, my child.
Di shlufst nit fraid.You sleep with joy.
Di weist nit ken laid;You know of no sorrow;
Shluf sech ois gesint.Sleep with health.
Ich, dan miter,I, your mother,
Bin dan beshitser;Am your owner;
Schluf sech ois gesint.Sleep with health.
Der schluf der giterThe good angel of sleep
Asoi, wi a hiter,Will, like a guardian,
Shteit ba dir bis fri.Stand by you till morning.
Mit san fligeleWith his wings
Iber dan wigele,Over your cradle,
Dekt er dich sthil tsi.He covers you well.
Di shpilst sech af dan bristYou play on your bosom
Mit dane hentelech imsist.With your little hands.
Der takt hot ba dir ken wert;Rhythm has no value to you;
In mit di fingerlechAnd with your little fingers
Oif di klingerlechYou play on the bells
Piano in konzert.As if it were a piano in a concert.
Di west oifshtein fin den wig,
Hosti arbet genigWhen you shall go out from your cradle,
Far dir ungegrait atsind—
Shtikn shichelach,You will have work enough
Laienen bichelech.Prepared for you—
Shluf derwal, man kind,To embroider shoes,
As s'wet weren a roit flekeleTo pray from books.
Oif dan bekele;Meanwhile sleep, my child,
Wet men wisen dan main.And a red spot will appear
Di west a kik tun finder sat,On your cheek;
Shtein inge lat,They will know you're mine.
Rach geklait in shain.You will look sideways,
Dech wel'n libn,And young men will stand there,
Presenten gibn,
Solste sugn nain.Richly dressed and handsome.
Di eltern soln leibenThey will love you,
In nadn geibnAnd give you presents,
Toisenter asach;But you should refuse them.
Sech kishn in malechl,Your parents shall live
Chusn mit der kalechl.And give you a dowry
Mir weln sech frain glach mit ach; Di west gain a kleidOf many thousands;
Shall kiss each other on the mouth
Mit shlaires banait.The bridegroom and the bride.
Di west sech drein aher in ahin;We will take joy in joy;
You will wear a dress
In fin dan windele,With lace sewed on it.
Man klain kindele,You will turn around and around;
Wet wern a karnolin;
Di west tantsn in salAnd your swaddling clothes,
Af dem gepitsten pol;My little child,
Di west unmachn a windShall become crinoline;
Demelst taminju;You will dance in a hall
Westi heisn daminju.On a polished floor;
Shluf derwal gesint,You will create a wind
Di west tsi der chipe gainThen, my sweet one;
Ungetin shain.You will be called "lady."
Demelst westi wern rain fin sind.Meanwhile sleep in health,
And you will go to the canopy
Di west sitsen bam tishNicely dressed.
Di west esn gefilte fish.Then you will be cleared from sin.
Shluf derwal, man kind.
Di west habn a klains,You will sit at the table
A fans in a shains;And eat stuffed fish.
Di west's libn wi ich lib dech;Meanwhile sleep, my child.
Di west im oiskishen yeider glidele.You will have a little one,
A good one and a pretty one;
West im singn dus lidele:You will love it as I love you;
Shluf sech ois gesint!You will kiss every limb,
You will sing to it this song:
Take your sleep in health !
Bibliography (recent literature):
  • A. Berliner, Die Mittelhochdeutsche Sprache bei den Juden, in Jahrbuch für Jüdische Gesch. und Litteratur, Berlin, 1898;
  • idem, Aus dem Leben der Deutschen Juden in Mittelalter, ib. 1900;
  • Grünbaum, Die Jüdisch Deutsche Litteratur, in Winter and Wünsche, Jüdische Litteratur, iii.;
  • idem, Jüdisch-Deutsche, Chrestomathie;
  • idem, Mischsprachen (Virchow-Holzendorf), 1896;
  • A. Landau, Das Diminutivum der Galizisch-Jüdischen Mundart, in Deutsche Mundarten, 1st series, vol. ii.;
  • Am Urquell, iv. 119, vi. 43:
  • S. R. Landau, Ein Proletarier-Dichter des Ghetto, in Der Arbeiter;
  • Scheinhaus, Die Alte Gesch. der Russischen und Polnischen Juden, in Israelitische Wochenschrift, 1899, pp. 116 et seq.;
  • M. Steinschneider, Die ltalienische Litteratur der Juden, in Monatsschrift, Feb., 1898;
  • L. Wiener, On the Hebrew Element in Slavo-Judœo-German, in Hebraica;
  • idem. On the Judœo-German Spoken by the Russian Jews, in American Journal of Philology, 1893, xiv. 4;
  • A Poet of the New York Ghetto, in The Menorah, Feb., 1898;
  • Yiddish Literature, ib. 1899,
  • A. Landau, Das Jüdische Volkslied in Russland;
  • compare the catalogue of literature in Mittheilungen der Geschichte für Jüdischen Volkskunde;
  • S. Wiener, Yevreiskiya Narodnyia Pyesny v Rosii, pp. 59-75, St. Petersburg, 1901.
J. M. Gr.
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