Don Un Donye

Don and Donye
דן און דאָניע

Words by H. Roisenblatt (1878-1956); music by Mikhl Gelbart (1889-1966). Published in composer’s collection Concert, 1933.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Don had two black peyes,
and Donye, two golden braids.
Don is the shtetl prodigy,
and Donye the queen of the steppe.

Don goes to synagogue at dawn,
his eyes, blurry from sleep.
Donye, with the sun in her eyebrows,
drives her sheep out to the steppe.

Don meets the shepherdess
and mutely lowers his eyes;
Donye gives a shy smile,
and quietly lowers her head.

Don sits at his studies and the day
drags on, endlessly long.
It seems to him that the page is a meadow,
the letters — a herd of sheep.

Donye watchs her flock
of curly lambs, and thinks
about beautiful peyes,
curled and black as the night.

Don goes daily to synagogue,
and Donye daily to the steppe.
Don has two black peyes,
and Donye, two golden braids.

Don hot tsvey peyelekh shvartse,
Un Donye tsvey goldene tsep.
Don iz der ile un shtetl,
Un Donye di malke fun step.

Don geyt baginen in klayzl,
Zayn oyg halb fakhmaret fun shlof,
Donye mit zun oyf di bremen
Tsum step traybt aroys ire shof.

Don gegnt on der pastushke
Un lozt shtum di oygn arop;
Donye, farshemt tut a shmeykhl
Un lozt shtil arunter dem kop.

Don zitst baym lernen un s’tsit zikh
Der tog, epes lang on a sof.
Im dukht zikh: dos blat iz a lonke
Di oysyes — a tsherede shof…

Donya zi hit zikh ir stade,
Gekrayzlte lemer, un trakht
Epes fun peyelekh sheyne,
Gekrayzlt un shvarts vi di nakht.

Don geyt tog-teglekh in klayzl
Un Donye tog-teglekh in step.
Don hot tsvey peyelekh shvartse
Un Donye tsvey goldene tsep.

דן האָט צװײ פּאהלעך שװאַרצע,
און דאָניע צװײ גאָלדענע צעפּ.
דן איז דער עילוי פֿון שטעטל,
און דאָניע די מלכּה פֿון סטעפּ.

דן גײט באַגינען אין קלײַזל,
זײַן אױג האַלב פֿאַכמאַרעט פֿון שלאָף,
דאָניע מיט זון אױף די ברעמען
צום סטעפּ טרײַבט אַרױס אירע שאָף.

דן געגנט אָן דער פּאַסטושקע
און לאָזט שטום די אױגן אַראָפּ;
דאָניע, פֿאַרשעמט טוט אַ שמײכל
און לאָזט שטיל אַרונטער דעם קאָפּ.

דן זיצט בײַם לערנען און ס’ציט זיך
דער טאָג, עפּעס לאַנג אָן אַ סוף.
אים דוכט זיך: דאָס בלאַט איז אַ לאָנקע,
די אותיות — אַ טשערעדע שאָף. . .

דאָניע, זי היט זיך איר סטאַדע,
געקרײַזלטע לעמער, און טראַכט
עפּעס פֿון פּאהלעך שײנע,
געקרײַזלט און שװאַרץ װי די נאַכט.

דן גײט טאָג־טעגלעך אין קלײַזל
און דאָניע טאָג־טעגלעך אין סטעפּ.
דן האָט צװײ פּאהלעך שװאַרצע
און דאָניע צװײ גאָלדענע צעפּ.

Song Title: Don Un Donye

Composer: Mikhl Gelbart
Composer’s Yiddish Name: מיכל געלבאַרט
Lyricist: Chaim Roisenblatt
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: חײם רױזענבלאַט
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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