Dos Alte Porfolk

The Old Couple
דאָס אַלטע פּאָרפֿאָלק
Illustration of musical notes from the books


“Khaye, my wife, are you sleeping?”
“I’m not sleeping, sleep will not come to me,
the clock outside is striking two in the morning
and I have still not closed an eye yet,
I am suffering the torments of Job, there’s no end to it,
old age is a punishment from God.”

“Khayiml, tell me, are you sleeping?”
“I’m not sleeping. Khaye, it’s terrible.
My sides are killing me, a cough torments me,
and a weight like a huge coin just here on my chest,
the weather, Khayele, is going to be awful tomorrow,
my arms and legs are aching.”

“Khayele, tell me, are you sleeping?”
“I’m not sleeping, I keep thinking of them.
There’s no letter from Yosl for a long time,
and Sheyndl — God knows what’s happened to her,
of our four children, only the two are left to us,
we once had nakhes from them.

“Khayiml, tell me, are you sleeping?”
“I’m not sleeping, I’m thinking of them, too,
I saw Khanele’s bed in the attic today,
that little bed once had a use,
and Yankele’s cradle, too, it seemed to me
I could see him and hear him laughing.”

“Khayele, tell me, are you sleeping?”
“I was dozing, dreamt about them.
All the children in the house, I pleaded with them,
‘Oy, children, don’t yell, my head is hurting me!’
but soon the sweet dream was gone –
Oy, now I miss every yell.”

“Khayiml, you’re getting dressed already?”
“Yes, it’s daybreak, the rooster is crowing,
Praise heaven, we’ve wasted a night,
tossing in pain, didn’t close an eye,
but soon, my dear Khayele, the end will bring
the quiet and eternal sleep.”

— Khaye, mayn vaybl, du shlofst?
— lkh shlof nisht, mikh nemt nisht keyn shlof,
Der zeyger in droysn shlogt tsvey in der nakht,
Un ikh hob biz itst nokh keyn oyg nisht farmakht.
Kh’layd Iyevs yesurim, s’nemt gornisht keyn sof,
Di elter, oy, iz a gots-shtrof.

— Khayiml, zog mir, du shlofst?
— lkh shlof nisht, s’iz, Khaye, zeyer mies,
Mikh shtekhn di zaytn, es mutshet der hust,
Un shver, vi a tsentn ot do oyf der brust,
Dos veter vet, Khayele, morgn zayn mies,
Mikh raysn di hent un di fis.

— Khayele, zog mir, du shlofst?
— lkh shlof nisht, dermont zikh on zey,
Fun Yoslen iz lang shoyn keyn brivl geven,
Un Sheyndl- got veyst vos mit ir iz geshen,
Fun ale fir kinder geblibn mir tsvey,
Gehat a mol nakhes fun zey.

— Khayiml, zog mir, du shlofst?
— lkh shlof nisht, oykh ikh fun zey trakht,
Haynt Khaneles bet oyfn boydem gezen,
A mol iz dos betl undz nutslekh geven,
Oykh Yankeles vigl, mir hot zikh gedakht,
lkh ze im, ikh her vi er lakht.

— Khayele, zog mir, du shlofst?
— Gedrimlt, gekholemt fun zey,
In shtub ale kinder, ikh bet zikh bay zey:
Oy, kinderlekh, shrayt nisht, der kop tut mir vey!
Nor bald iz der zisinker kholem farbay­
Oy, s’benkt zikh nokh yenem geshrey.

— Khayiml, tust zikh shoyn on?
— Yo, s’togt shoyn, es kreyt shoyn der hon,
Geloybt der in himl, gepatert a nakht,
Gedreyt zikh fun veytik, keyn oyg nisht farmakht,
Nor bald, mayn lib Khayele, brengt undz der sof
Dem shtiln, dem eybikn shlof.

— חיה, מײַן װײַבל, דו שלאָפֿסט?
— איך שלאָף נישט, מיך נעמט נישט קײן שלאָף,
דער זײגער אין דרױסן שלאָגט צװײ אין דער נאַכט,
און איך האב ביז איצט נאָך קײן אױג נישט פארמאכט,
כ’לײַד איובֿס יסורים, ס’נעמט גאָרנישט קײן סוף,
די עלטער, אױ, איז אַ גאָטס-שטראָף.

— חײמל, זאָג מיר, דו שלאָפֿסט?
— איך שלאָף נישט, ס’איז, חיה, זײער מיאום,
מיך שטעכן די זײַטן, עס מוטשעט דער הוסט,
און שװער, װי אַ צענטן אָט דאָ אױף דער ברוסט,
דאָס װעטער װעט, חיהלע, מאַרגן זײַן מיאום,
מיך רײַסן די הענט און די פֿיס.

— חיהלע, זאָג מיר, דו שלאָפֿסט?
— איך שלאָף נישט, דערמאָנט זיך אָן זײ,
פֿון יאָסלען איז לאַנג שױן קײן בריװל געװען,
און שײנדל — גאָט װײסט װאָס מיט איר איז געשען,
פֿון אַלע פֿיר קינדער געבליבן מיר צװײ,
געהאָט אַ מאָל נחת פֿון זײ.

— חײמל, זאָג מיר, דו שלאָפֿסט?
— איך שלאָף נישט, אױך איך פֿון זײ טראַכט,
הײַנט חנהלעס בעט אױפֿן בױדעם געזען,
אַ מאָל איז דאָס בעטל אונדז נוצלעך געװען,
אױך יאַנקעלעס װיגל, מיר האָט זיך געדאַכט,
איך זע אים, איך הער ווי ער לאַכט.

— חיהלע, זאָג מיר, דו שלאָפֿסט?
— געדרימלט, געחלומט פֿון זײ,
אין שטוב אַלע קינדער, איך בעט זיך בײַ זײ :
אױ, קינדערלעך, שרײַט נישט, דער קאָפּ טוט מיר װײ!
נאָר באַלד איז דער זיסינקער חלום פֿאַרבײַ —
אױ, ס’בענקט זיך נאָך יענעם געשרײ.

— חײמל, טוסט זיך שױן אָן?
— יאַ, ס’טאָגט שױן, עס קרײט שױן דער האָן,
געלױבט דער אין הימל, געפּאַטערט א נאַכט,
געדרײט זיך פֿון װײטיק, קײן אױג נישט פֿאַרמאַכט,
נאָר באַלד, מײַן ליב חיהלע, ברענגט אונדז דער סוף.
דעם שטילן, דעם אײביקן שלאָף.

Song Title: Dos Alte Porfolk

Composer: Mordkhe Gebirtig
Composer’s Yiddish Name: מרדכי געבירטיג
Lyricist: Mordkhe Gebirtig
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: מרדכי געבירטיג
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Mir Trogn Song Book Cover with Illustrations

Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs

First published in 1972, Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs was reprinted six more times (in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) due to popular demand. The songs in this anthology represent a sampling of beloved folk and well-known Yiddish songs, many of which are scattered in various song collections; some appear in very rare and inaccessible collections; and some were never before published. Folk songs comprise about a third of this volume and were selected mainly on the basis of popularity and sometimes for their historic significance. Needless to say, they are only representative of the vast, rich treasure of Yiddish folk material. The selection was made not only on the basis of personal preference, but in the knowledge they are favorites of many who sing these songs. Most of the songs represent the repertoire that was sung at Yiddish summer camps, May 1st demonstrations and at social gatherings. Many songs were introduced to American Jewry by Jewish immigrants who came to the United States after World War II, for whom these songs had been favorites in Poland and other East European communities destroyed by the Nazis.

Browse the Collection
Enter your email to download free sheet music for ​Dos Alte Porfolk