Ergets Vayt

Somewhere Far Away
ערגעץ װײַט

Poem by the Yiddish poet and playwright H. Leivick, pen name of Leivick Halper (1888- 1962), about his exile in Siberia for political activities; music by Lazar Weiner (1897-1982). Published in sheet music by the Jlbneh Verlag, Vienna, 1936. The song was popular in Europe and the United States.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Somewhere, far away,
lies the forbidden land.
The mountains turn silvery-blue
still untrodden by anyone;
Somewhere deeply, deeply
folded into the earth,
treasures are waiting for us,
buried treasures are waiting.

Somewhere, far away,
a prisoner lies alone,
On his head, the light of the sun
is dying as it goes down;
Somewhere, someone is wandering
buried deep in snow,
and cannot find a path
to the forbidden land.

Ergets vayt, ergets vayt
Ligt dos land, dos farbotene,
Zilb’rlk bloen di berg
Nokh fun keynem batrotene;
Ergets tif, ergets tif
In der erd ayngeknotene,
Vartn oytsres oyf undz,
Vartn oytsres farshotene.

Ergets vayt, ergets vayt
Ligt aleyn a gefangener,
Oyf zayn kop shtarbt di shayn
Fun der zun der fargangener;
Ergets voglt ver um
Tif in shney a farshotener,
Un gefint nit keyn veg
Tsu dem land dem farbotenem.

ערגעץ װײַט, ערגעץ װײַט
ליגט דאָס לאַנד דאָס פֿאַרבאָטענע,
זילב’ריק בלאָען די בערג
נאָך פֿון קײנעם באַטראָטענע;
ערגעץ טיף, ערגעץ טיף
אין דער ערד אײַנגעקנאָטענע,
װאַרטן אוצרות אױף אונדז,
װאַרטן אוצרות פֿאַרשאָטענע.

ערגעץ װײַט, ערגעץ װײַט
ליגט אַלײן אַ געפֿאַנגענער,
אױף זײַן קאָפּ שטאַרבט די שײַן
פֿון דער זון דער פֿאַרגאַנגענער;
ערגעץ װאָגלט װער אום
טיף אין שנײ אַ פֿאַרשאָטענער,
און געפֿינט ניט קײן װעג
צו דעם לאַנד דעם פֿאַרבאָטענעם.

Song Title: Ergets Vayt

Composer: Lazar Weiner
Composer’s Yiddish Name: לאַזאַר װײַנער
Lyricist: Halper Leivick
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: האַלפּער לײװיק
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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