Er Hot Mir Tsugezogt

He Promised Me
ער האָט מיר צוגעזאָגט

Folksong. Text published by S. Ginzburg and P. Marek in 1901; text and music published by Joel Engel in 1909. The song combines the lullaby with the theme of an unhappy love affair. The lines beginning with “Es iz nishto keyn epl” (There is no apple. . .) are found in a song in one of the oldest Yiddish manuscript song collections of Isaac Wallich of the 16th century (Neubauer Catalogue of the Bodleian Library, 2420: no. 20): “Es ist kein apfel so rosenrot / es stecket ein wurm d(e)rin, / es ist kein maidlein so hofisch und fein, / es furt einen falschen sin.” (There is no apple, no matter how red, that a worm is not found in it; there is no maiden so elegant and fine, that has no falsehood in mind). (Quoted in Y. L. Cahan, Shtudyes, and M. Beregovski, 1962.)

Illustration of musical notes from the books


He promised me, he promised me,
he promised to marry me;
Now he goes off to another girl
and my heart is crushed.

Sleep, my child, sleep,
in your precious sleep!
When God pays him back
for his untrue love,
that will be his punishment!

There is no apple at all
that has no worm inside;
There is no man
without a false heart.

I sewed myself a dress
four yards wide*;
May they be left penniless,
those who divided our love.


*five “arshins”– An old Russian measure a little less than a yard.

Er hot mir tsugezogt, er hot mir tsugezogt,
Er hot mir tsugezogt tsu nemen;
Er geyt avek tsu an ander meydl,
Tut mayn harts klemen.

Shlof, mayn kind, shlof,
In dayn tayern shlof!
Ven got vet im batsoln
Far der falsher libe,
Dos vet zayn zayn shtrof!

S’iz gor nito keyn epele,
Vos zol nit zayn keyn vorem in drinen;
S’iz gor nito keyn mansperzon,
Vos zol nit hobn keyn falshn zinen.

lkh hob zikh geneyt a kleydele
Fun finf arshin di breyt;
Keyn guts un keyn hob zoln zey nit hobn
Di vos hobn undzer libe funandergesheydt.

ער האָט מיר צוגעזאָגט, ער האָט מיר צוגעזאָגט,
ער האָט מיר צוגעזאָגט צו נעמען;
ער גײט אַװעק צוּ אַן אַנדער מײדל,
טוט מײן האַרצ קלעמען.

שְׁלאָף מײַן קינד, שלאָף,
אין דײַן טײַערן שלאָף!
װען גאָט װעט אים באַצאָלן
פֿאַר דער פֿאַלשער ליבע,
דאָס װעט זײן זײַן שטראָף!

סיאז גאָר ניטאָ קײן עפּעלע,
װאָס זאָל ניט זײַן קײן װאָרעם אין דרינען;
סיאיז גאָר ניטאָ קײן מאַנספּערזאָן,
װאָס זאָל ניט האָבן קײן פֿאַלשן זינען.

איך האָב זיך גענײט אַ קלײדעלע
פֿון פֿינף אַרשין די ברײט;
קײן גוטס און קײן האָב זאָלן זײ ניט האָבן,
די, װאָס האָבן אונדזער ליבע פֿונאַנדערגעשײדט.

Song Title: Er Hot Mir Tsugezogt

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song

The Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song anthology comprises songs that were either never printed before or appeared in rare and inaccessible publications — sometimes in different versions and without proper sources. Most of the songs in this book were submitted by readers of Chana and Yosl’s column “Perl fun der yidisher poezye” (Pearls of Yiddish Poetry) in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts (The Forward), initiated in October, 1970. Over 25 years, thousands of songs were collected in correspondence and on cassettes from readers throughout the world, and they represent a veritable national Yiddish song archive. Chana Mlotek, in her introduction, writes, “In the course of years the inquiries, contributions and enthusiasm of these readers have kept our own interest unflagging and have reinforced our dedication to this effort. And in recent years our participants have also been augmented by new readers from the former Soviet Russia, who receive our newspaper there or from newly-arrived immigrants in this country and Israel.”

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