Folksong that speaks of the two main obstacles to a girl’s getting married: nadan (dowry) and yikhes (family pedigree). Published by M. Kipnis in 1918. In another collection of M. Kipnis’, Populerste lider fun Zeligfeld un Kipnis, n.d., a third stanza was added by poet Peysakh Kaplan which begins: “Du host mir tsugezogt nemen, / Tsi hostu in mir genart?” (You promised to wed me. Were you disappointed in me?) Folk singer Isa Kremer included an additional stanza in her Album with a thinly disguised curse: “Un efsher hostu shoyn an andere, / A shenere un besere fun mir / Zol ir got gebn fir yor libe / Un aza sof vi bay mir” (And perhaps you have another girl, prettier and better than me. Let God give her four years of a love affair with such an outcome as mine). This feeling of anger is also echoed in a stanza that the compilers collected from Sorelle Skolnick, St. James, N.Y. (originally from Mozyr, Minsk province): “Un efsher gefelt dir Khane-Sore beser, / Vayl ir nadn iz greser; / To gey zhe mir fun danen am shnelstn avek, / Un zol es nemen an ek” (And perhaps you like Khane Sore more because her dowry is larger. So go away from me quickly and let it be over and done with!)
I’m not such a young girl anymore,
why have you come to turn my head now?
I could have gotten engaged long ago
and even been married by now.
Maybe you worried about a dowry, my pet?
My mother will sell our house.
The two of us will get married,
because I love you.
Or, maybe, you want to know about my yikhes?
My grandfather was a rabbi;
Let’s the two of us get married
and let there be an end to this already!
lkh bin shoyn a meydl in di yorn,
Vos hostu mir dem kop fardreyt?
lkh volt shoyn lang a kale gevorn
Un efsher take khasene gehat.
Un efsher geyt dir, ketsele, in nadn?
Di mame vet farkoyfn di shtib. . .*
Mir veln beyde khasene hobn,
Vayl ikh hob dikh lib!
Un efsher vilstu visn mayn yikhes?
Der zeyde iz gevezn a rov;
Lomir beyde khasene hobn,
Un zol shoyn nemen a sof!
איך בין שױן א מײדל אין די יאָרן,
װאָס האָסטו מִיר דעם קאָפּ פֿאַרדרײט?
איך װאָלט שױן לאַנג אַ כּלה געװאָרן
און אפֿשר טאַקע חתונה געהאַט.
און אפֿשר גײט דיר, קעצעלע, אין נדן?
די מאַמע װעט פֿאַרקױפֿן די שטיב; (שטוב)
מיר װעלן בײדע חתונה האָבן,
װטל איך האָב דיך ליב!
און אפֿשר װילסטו װיסן מײַן ײחוס?
דער זײדע איז געװען א רבֿ;
לאָמיר זשע בײדע חתונה האָבן,
און זאָל שױן נעמען אַ סוף!
Song Title: Ikh Bin Shoyn A Meydl In Di Yorn
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.”