Dray Tekhterlekh

Three Daughters
דרײַ טעכטערלעך
Illustration of musical notes from the books


When with good fortune, health and life
we give away our oldest daughter
I will dance, hop, hop!
a load off my mind,
I will dance, oh, will I dance –
a load off my mind.

Play, musicians! Play lively –
today our first daughter is married off,
and we still have two daughters left,
what do you think of them!
Play, musicians, grab your instruments!
Let the whole world rejoice with us,
oh, only God understands our joy
and whoever has daughters.

When I’ll see my second girl,
dressed in a white wedding dress,
I will drink and be merry –
a sigh of relief (lit. stone off my heart),
I will drink, oh, will I drink,
a sigh of relief.

Play, musicians! Get cracking!
We’re happily marrying off our second daughter,
we still have our youngest,
what do you think of her.
Splay, musicians, for our in-laws,
poor people ought to live a little too,
a child married off, my God,
and a daughter at that.

When I hear music for the last one,
I will stand thinking, kind of sad –
my last daughter gone already, too,
what purpose is there left?
My last daughter, oh, my last daughter,
what purpose is there left?

Play, musicians, to the bride on her throne!
all our children have been taken,
it was hard on us with three daughters,
oh, harder still without them.
Play away our tears, musicians,
the last little bed will be empty today,
the whole house, the clothes closet –
oy vey, how pitiful and empty.

Ven mit mazl, gezunt un lebn
S’eltste tekhterl mir veln oysgebn
Vel ikh tantsn mir hop, hop!
Arop an ol fun kop,
Vel ikh tantsn, oy, vel ikh tantsn —
Arop an ol fun kop.

Shpilt, klezmorim! shpilt mit lebn­-
S’ershte tekhterl haynt oysgegebn,
Nokh geblibn undz meydlekh tsvey,
Vi halt men shoyn bay zey!
Shpilt, klezmorim, nemt di kley-zayin!
Zol di gantse velt mit undz zikh freyen,
Oy, undzer simkhe veyst nor eyn got,
Un der vos tekhter hot.

Ven kh’vel zen shoyn dos tsveyte meydl
Ongeton in vaysn khupe-kleydl,
Vel ikh trinken un freylekh zayn­
Arop fun harts a shteyn,
Vel ikh trinken, oy, vel ikh trinken,
Arop fun harts a shteyn.

Shpilt, klezmorim, heybt on shnaydn!
S’tsveyte meydl gibn mir oys in freydn,
Dos mizinikl nokh hobn mir,
Vi halt men shoyn bay ir.
Shpilt, klezmorim, far undz mekhutonim,
Zoln a leb ton oykh a mol kabtsonim,
A kind oysgegebn, oy, gotenyu,
A meydl nokh dertsu.

Ven baym letstn kh’vel shpiln hern,
Vel ikh epes troyerik shteyn un klern-­
S’letste tekhterl shoyn oykh avek,
Vos nokh iz do der tsvek?
S’letste tekhterl, oy, s’letste tekhterl,
Vos nokh iz do der tsvek?

Shpilt, klezmorim! Bazetst di kale,
Tsugenumen undz di kinder ale,
Shver geven undz di tekhter dray
Oy, shverer nokh on zey.
Shpilt, klezmorim, aroys undz trern,
S’letste betl vet haynt leydik vern,
S’gantse shtibl, ir kleyder-shank­
Oy-vey, vi pust un bang.

װען מיט מזל, געזונט און לעבן
ס’עלטסטע טעכטערל מיר װעלן אױסגעבן
װעל איך טאַנצן מיר האָפּ, האָפּ!
אַראָפּ אַן אול פֿון קאָפּ,
װעל איך טאַנצן, אױ, װעל איך טאַנצן —
אַראָפּ אַן עול פֿון קאָפּ.

שפּילט, קלעזמאָרים! שפּילט מיט לעבן —
ס’ערשטע טעכטערל הײַנט אױסגעגעבן,
נאָך געבליבן אונדז מײדלעך צװײ,
װי האַלט מען שױן בײַ זײ!

שפּילט, קלעזמאָרים, נעמט די כּלי-זײן!
זאָל די גאַנצע װעלט מיט אונדז זיך פֿרײען,
אױ, אונדזער שׂמחה װײסט נאָר אײן גאָט
און דער װאָס טעכטער האָט.

װען כ’װעל זען שױן דאָס צװײטע מײדל
אָנגעטאָן אין װײַסן חופּה-קלײדל,
װעל איך טרינקען און פֿרײלעך זײן —
אַראָפּ פֿון האַרץ אַ שטײן,
װעל איך טרינקען, אױ, װעל איך טרינקען,
אַראָפּ פֿון האַרץ אַ שטײן.

שפּילט, קלעזמאָרים, הײבט אָן שנײַדן!
ס’צװײטע מײדל גיבן מיר אױם אין פֿרײדן,
דאָס מיזיניקל נאָך האָבן מיר,
װי האַלט מען שױן בײַ איר.
שפּילט, קלעזמאָרים, פֿאַר אונדז מחותּנים,
זאָלן אַ לעב טאָן אױך אַ מאָל קבצנים,
אַ קינד אױסגעגעבן, אױ, גאָטעניו,
אַ מײדל נאָך דערצו.

װען בײַם לעצטן כ’װעל שפּילן הערן,
װעל איך עפּעס טרױעריק שטײן און קלערן ––
ס’לעצטע טעכטערל שױן אױך אװעק,
װאָס נאָך איז דאַ דער צװעק?
ס’לעצטע טעכטערל, אױ, ס’לעצטע טעכטערל,
װאָס נאַך איז דאָ דער צװעק?

שפּילט, קלעזמאָרים! באַזעצט די כּלה,
צוגענומען אונדז די קינדער אלע,
שװער געװען אונדז די טעכטער דרײַ
אױ, שװערער נאָך אַן זײ.
שפּילט, קלעזמאָרים, אַרױס אונדו טרערן,
ס’לעצטע בעטל װעט הײַנט לײדיק װערן,
ס’גאַנצע שטיבל, איר קלײדער-שאַנק —
אױ-װײ, װי פּוסט און באַנג.

Song Title: Dray Tekhterlekh

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.

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