Shlof, Mayn Feygele

Sleep, My Little One
שלאָף, מײַן פֿײגעלע

Words by Abraham Goldfaden (1840-1908). The lullaby, originally beginning with the words “Shlof in freydn” (Sleep in Joy), was published in Goldfaden’s second collection of Yiddish poems Di yidene in Odessa,1872, entitled “Shlof, mayn kind” (Sleep, My Child). It was reprinted in Di yidishe bine in 1897, and in 1901 was included as an anonymous folksong in the compilation of S. Ginzburg and P. Marek. The melody derives from the Russian song “Spi mladenets moy prekrasnie” by M. Lermontov. According to musicologist-composer Dr. Jack Gottlieb, George Gershwin based his song “My One and Only” on this melody.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Sleep my little bird,
close your little eyes,
sleep, my child, sleep!
Close your little eyes,
my dear little bird,
sleep, my child, sleep!

May a good angel
be your guardian
from now until tomorrow morning,
quietly blanketing you*
with his wings
above your cradle.

Sleep in peace,
may you know no suffering,
sleep, my dear child.
Sleep in peace,
may you know no suffering,
Sleep and be well!



*The last line of the second stanza has been moved earlier to make more natural sense in English.

Shlof, mayn feygele,
Makh tsu dayn eygele,
Shlof, mayn kind, shlof!
Makh tsu dayn eygele,
Mayn tayer feygele,
Shlof, mayn kind, shlof!

A malakh a giter*
Zol zayn dayn hiter
Fun haynt biz morgn fri!
Mit zayn fligele
Iber dayn vigele
Dekt er shtil dikh tsi!**

Shlof in freydn,
Veys fun keyn leydn,
Shlof, mayn tayer kind!
Shlof in freydn,
Veys fun keyn leydn,
Shlof zikh oys gezint!***


שלאָף, מײַן פֿײיגעלע,
מאַך צו דײַן אײגעלע,
שלאָף, מײַן קינד, שלאַף!,
מאַך צו דײַן אײגעלע,
מײַן טײַער פֿײיגעלע,
שלאָף, מײַן קינד, שלאָף!

אַ מלאך אַ גיטער (גוטער)
זאָל זײַן דײַן היטער
פֿון הײַנט ביז מאָרגן פֿרי!
מיט זײַן פֿליגעלע
איבער דײַן װיגעלע
דעקט ער שטיל דיך צי! (צו)

שלאָף אין פֿרײדן,
װײס פֿון קײן לײדן,
שלאָף,מײַן טײַער קינד!
שלאָף אין פֿרײידן,
װײס פֿון קײן לײדן,
שלאָף זיך אױס געזינט! (געזונט)

Song Title: Shlof, Mayn Feygele

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: AbrahamGoldfaden
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: אַבֿרהם גאָלדפֿאַדען
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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