Mayn Tsavoe

My Testament
מײַן צוואה

Mayn Tsavoe is another song by David Edelstadt (see In Kamf, page 80, Vakht Oyf, page 92) that enjoyed extraordinary popularity among Jews the world over. Parts of it were also transformed into Yiddish folk songs. The first stanza was frequently quoted by Yiddish authors, among them, H. Leivick in his Balade fun denver sanatorium (1937), in which the spirit of Edelstadt is also invoked.

Another Yiddish poet, Avrom Reyzen, wrote earlier: “Here in Russia Edelstadt is spoken of with reverence. There are even various legends spreading about his life, and workers speak of him and sing his songs with tears in their eyes.”

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Oh, my good friends, when I die,
bring our flag to my grave,
the fan of freedom, colored red,
spattered with the blood of the working man.

And there, under the red flag,
sing me my song, my song of freedom!
My song “In Struggle” which rings like the chains
of the enslaved, Christian and Jew alike.

Even in my grave, I will hear
my freedom song, my storm song,
even there, I will weep tears
for the enslaved Christian and Jew.

And when I hear the ringing swords
in the final battle of blood and pain,
I will sing to the people from my grave
and will cheer their spirits.

O gute fraynd, ven ikh vel shtarbn,
Trogt tsu mayn keyver undzer fon,
Di fraye fon, mit royte farbn,
Bashpritst mit blut fun arbetsman.

Un dort, unter dem fon dem roytn,
Zingt mir mayn lid, mayn fraye lid!
Mayn lid “in kamf” vos klingt vi keytn
Fun dem farshklaftn krist un yid.

Oykh in mayn keyver vel ikh hern
Mayn fraye lid, mayn shturem-lid,
Oykh dort vel ikh fargisn trern
Far dem farshklaftn krist un yid.

Un ven ikh her di shverdn klingen
In letstn kamf fun blut un shmarts,
Tsum folk vel ikh fun keyver zingen
Un vel bagaystern zayn harts.

אַ גוטע פֿרײַנד, װען איך װעל שטאַרבן,
טראָגט צו מײַן קבֿר אונדזער פֿאַן,
די פֿרײַע פֿאָן, מיט רױטע פֿאַרבן,
באַשפּריצט מיט בלוט פֿון אַרבעטסמאן.

און דאָרט, אונטער דעם פֿאַן דעם רױטן,
זינגט מיר מײַן ליד, מײַן פֿרײַע ליד!
מײַן ליד “אין קאַמף” װאָס קלינגט װי קײטן
פֿון דעם פֿאַרשקלאַפֿטן קריסט און ײָד.

אױך אין מײַן קבֿר װעל איך הערן
מײַן פֿרײַע ליד, מײַן שטורעמליד,
אױך דאָרט װעל איך פֿאַרגיסן טרערן
פֿאַר דעם פֿאַרשקלאַפֿטן קריסט און יַָד,

און װען איך הער די שװערדן קלינגען
אין לעצטן קאַמף פֿון בלוט און שמאַרץ,
צום פֿאָלק װעל איך פֿון קבֿר זינגען
און װעל באַגײַסטערן זײַן האַרץ.

Song Title: Mayn Tsavoe

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: David Edelstadt
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: דוד עדעלשטאַדט
Time Period:19th 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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