Ikh Vil Nit Keyn Ayzerne Keytn

I Want No Iron Chains
איך װיל ניט קײן אײַזערנע קײטן

Text by B. Charney Vladeck (1886-1938); music by Mikhl Gelbart (1889-1962).

Illustration of musical notes from the books


I want no iron chains
I want no golden crown
Servitude is loathsome and bitter –
even if it were to the divinity itself.

I know no fear of other people
I do not bow before God,
my own heart is my servant and my commander
and my will is my commandment.

Let the petty enemy curse
and sharpen his dull sword –
to sink into the dark abyss
is his destiny, in my future.

I spin my thread of sunbeams
I weave my conviction, my flag –
of those who venture their lives
only the brave one wins the bet.

lkh vil nit keyn ayzerne keytn,
lkh vil nit keyn goldene kroyn.
Di knekhtshaft iz mies un biter —
Zi meg zayn di gotheyt aleyn.

lkh veys nit fun moyre far laytn,
lkh veys nit fun koyrim far got,
Mayn harts iz mayn knekht un bafeler,
Mayn viln iz oykh mayn gebot.

Zol sheltn der kleynlekher soyne,
Un sharfn zayn tempikn shverd —
Tsu zinken in fintstern opgrunt
lz im fun mayn tsukunft bashert.

lkh shpin mir mayn fodem fun shtraln,
lkh veb mir mayn gloybn, mayn fon —
Fun di velkhe shpiln in lebn,
Gevint nor der dreyster dem kon.

איך װיל ניט קײן אײַזערנע קײטן,
איך װיל ניט קײן גאָלדענץ קרױן.
די קנעכטשאַפֿט איז מיאוס און ביטער —
זי מעג זײַן די גאָטהײט אַלײן.

איך װײס ניט פֿון מורא פֿאַר לײַטן,
איך װײס ניט פֿון כּורעים פֿאַר גאָט,
מײַן האַרץ איז מײַן קנעכט און באַפֿעלער,
מײַן װױלן איז אױך מײַן געבאָט.

זאָל שעלטן דער קלײנלעכער שׂונא,
און שאַרפֿן זײַן טעמפּיקן שװוערד —
צו זינקען אין פֿינצטערן אָפּגרונט,
איז אים פֿון מײַן צוקונפֿט באַשערט.

איך שפּין מיר מײַן פֿאָדעם פֿון שטראַלן,
איך װעב מיר מײַן גלײבן, מײַן פֿאָן —-
פֿון די װעלכע שפּילן אין לעבן,
געװינט נאָר דער דרײסטער דעם קאָן.

Song Title: Ikh Vil Nit Keyn Ayzerne Keytn

Composer: Mikhl Gelbart
Composer’s Yiddish Name: מיכל געלבאַרט
Lyricist: Charney Vladeck
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: ב. טשאַרני װלאַדעק
Time Period:20th century

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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