Di Mashke

די משקה

Part of a popular song by Maskilic writer Mikhl Gordon (1823-1890), author of popular songs “Di bord” (The beard), “Az ikh volt gahat dem kaysers oytsres” (If I had the emperor’s fortune) and others. The words were published in Gordon’s anonymous collection in 1868 and then again under his name in 1889. Words and music published anonymously in Ost und West, Nov.-Dec., 1918, and elsewhere.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


When the matchmaker came to my grandfather
To talk about a match between my father and mother,
They talked and talked to no avail,
Until a glass of whiskey was introduced.
It’s on account of the whiskey that the match was sealed
And my father became my mother’s bridegroom.

They arranged the wedding right away
And drank whiskey all night long;
From tall glasses they all drank
In honor of the groom and bride.
Due to whiskey father took mother
And due to whiskey I came into the world.

I remember that at my circumcision
The glass of whiskey never left the table.
The crowd shouted “Mazl tov!,”
“Let the child grow up to be a rabbi!”
And so, I always drink a rov-kos [majority of the cup] without restraint.

I remember at my engagement
Everyone drank like gentiles;
And they broke pots
And the whiskey never left the table.
And it didn’t matter that I was a bridegroom
And they all kept on pouring.

Where I live out my few years,
I want them to place in my coffin
A small barrel of whiskey close to the wall
And a large glass in my right hand,
So that at the “resurrection of the dead”, when I’m here again,
I’ll be able to drink whiskey in the first hour.

Beshas der shadkhn iz gekumen tsu mayn zeydn,
Dem tatn mit der mamen a shidekh reydn,
Hot men geredt un geredt un s’iz gevorn nlsht,
Biz vanen di mashke hot zikh arayngemisht.
Tsulib der maskhe iz der shidekh geshlosn,
Der tate iz gevorn der mames khosn.

M’hot take bald di khasene gemakht
Un getrunken mashke a gantse nakht;
Mit groyse glezer hobn getrunken ale
Lekoved dem khosn un lekoved der kale.
Durkh mashke hot der tate di mame genumen,
Durkh mashke bin ikh oyf der velt gekumen.

Ikh gedenk nokh bay mayn bris,
Iz dos glezl mashke nisht arop fun tish;
Der oylem hot geshrien: mazl-tov!
Dos kind zol vaksn un zayn a rov.
Ot deriber trink ikh a rov-kos,
Deriber trink ikh on a mos.

lkh gedenk oyf mayne tnoim,
Hobn ale getrunken vi di goyim;
Un men hot tep gebrokhn,
Un di mashke iz fun tish nisht aropgekrokhn.
Un ikh hob nisht gekukt, vos ikh bin a khosn,
Un ale vayle arayngegosn.

Mayn bisele yorn, ven ikh vel oyslebn,
Vil ikh men zol mir in keyver mitgebn:
A fesele mashke noent bay der vant,
A groyse gloz in der rekhter hant;
Tsu tkhies hameysim bin ikh vider do
Un trink bald mashke in der ershter sho.

בשעת דער שדכן איז געקומען צו מײַן זײדן,
דעם טאַטן מיט דער מאַמען אַ שידוך רײדן,
האָט מען גערעדט און גערעדט און ס’איז געװאָרן נישט,
ביז װאַנען די משקה האָט זיך אַרײַנגעמישט.
צוליב דער משקה איז דער שידוך געשלאָסן,
דער טאַטע איז געװאָרן דער מאַמעס חתן.

מ’האָט טאַקע באַלד די חתונה געמאַכט
און געטרונקען משקה אַ גאַנצע נאַכט;
מיט גרױסע גלעזער האָבן געטרונקען אַלע
לכּבֿוד דעם חתן און לכּבֿוד דער כּלה.
דורך משקה האָט דער טאַטע די מאַמע גענומען,
דורך משקה בין איך אױף דער װעלט געקומען.

איך געדענק נאָך בײַ מײַן ברית,
איז דאָס גלעזל משקה נישט אַראָפּ פֿון טיש;
דער עולם האָט געשריִען: מזל־טובֿ!
דאָס קינד זאָל װאַקסן און זײַן אַ רבֿ.
אָט דעריבער טרינק איך אַ רבֿ־כּוס,
דעריבער טרינק איך אָן אַ מאָס.

איך געדענק אױף מײַנע תּנאים,
האָבן אַלע געטרונקען װי די גױיִם;
און מען האָט טעפּ געבראָכן,
און די משקה איז פֿון טיש נישט אַראָפּגעקראָכן,
און איך האָב נישט געקוקט, װאָס איך בין אַ חתן,
און אַלע װײַלע אַרײַנגעגאָסן.

מײַן ביסעלע יאָרן, װען איך װעל אױסלעבן,
װיל איך מען זאָל מיר אין קבֿר מיטגעבן:
אַ פֿעסעלע משקה נאָענט בײַ דער װאַנט,
אַ גרױסע גלאָז אין דער רעכטער האַנט;
צו תּחית־המתים בין איך װידער דאָ. . .
און טרינק באַלד משקה אין דער ערשטער שעה.

Song Title: Di Mashke

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Mikhl Gordon
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: מיכל גאָרדאָן
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Pearls of Yiddish Song Cover with Illustration of musicians playing instruments

Pearls of Yiddish Song

First published in 1988 as Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theatre Songs, this anthology contains 115 songs. Some material had never been published, while others, included in rare song collections or sheet music, were largely inaccessible. The songs presented reflect Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the United States and depict childhood, love, family celebrations, poverty, work and struggle. There are also songs from the Hasidic and Maskilic movements, songs of Zion and of America, as well as songs from the Yiddish theater.

The title of this anthology derives from the weekly two-page feature column “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” which the compilers Yosl and Chana Mlotek initiated in 1970 in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forvertz (the Yiddish Daily Forward). Hundreds of readers from around the world — including authors, composers, singers, actors — became co-participants in this collective folk project and recalled melodies, lines, fragments, stanzas and their variants of songs, poems, and plays which they had heard in their youth. At first, readers sent in only written material. Later, they also taped songs on cassettes, many of whose melodies had, until then, never been recorded. They also identified and supplied missing information regarding lyricists, poets, and composers and described the circumstances surrounding the songs’ origins, their dissemination, diffusion and impact.

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