Shoyn Tsvey-dray Yor Az Mir Firn A Libe

It's Two or Three Years Now That We've Been Courting
שױן צװײ־דרײַ יאָר אַז מיר פֿירן אַ ליבע

Folksong recorded by Israeli singer Shimen Osevitsky and transcribed by compiler. Published in the YIVO journal Yidisher folklor, no. 2 (June, 1955). The record retains the dialect of the singer of the town Grajewo (Grayeve): “wibe” instead of “libe” (love affair). This is one of numerous folksongs in which jilted lovers vent their anger and frustrations in curses. (see: “Er hot mir tsugezogt,” “Tsvey taybelekh,” “Vos dreystu zikh arum bay mayne fentsterlekh” in this book, and “Tsu keyn libe tor men zikh nit mishn” in Mir Trogn A Gezang). In most cases the addresser is a woman. This song is one of the exceptions in which a man is levelling the curse.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


We’ve been courting now for two or three years,
Nothing can come of our love anymore.
Today our love is locked up
like a bird in its nest.

Still, a bird in its nest can fly off
to bring back food for her children;
I without you and you without me,
neither of us can forget the other.

All her pals stand around,
taking revenge on me from afar;
I separate myself from you
like a body from its soul

She bought me a watch
with two golden hands;
I bought her a velvet sack
to go begging with from house to house.

Let her go from house to house,
and no one give her anything;
May her young years be cursed
as she has made my life a wasteland.

She bought me a present,
the little picture hangs on my wall,
and on the days when I feel heartache
I take her card in my hand.

I hold her card in my hand
but I cannot speak to her;
Oh, people, for anyone who has had such a love
life is darkness, broken like mine.

Shoyn tsvey-dray yor az mir firn a libe,
Fun undzer libe ken shoyn gornisht vern;
Haynt iz undzer libe geshlosn gevorn
Azoy vi a feygele in di nest.*

A feygele in di nest tut dokh flien
Tsu brengen ire kinderlekh esn;
lkh on dir un du on mir
Kenen mir zikh beyde nisht fargesn.

Di podruges ire ale tsuzamen shteyen fun der vaytn
Un nemen fun mir di nekome;
Sheydn sheyd ikh zikh mit dir
Azoy vi a guf mit der neshome.

Zi hot mir gekoyft a zeyger
Mit tsvey goldene vayzer;
lkh hob ir gekoyft a sametene torbe,
Zi zol kenen arumgeyn iber di hayzer.

lber di hayzer zol zi arumgeyn
Un keyner zol ir nisht gebn;
Farsholtn zol vern ire yunge yorn,
Vi zi hot mir farvist mayn lebn.

Zi hot mir gekoyft a podarek,
Der podarekl hengt bay mir oyfn vant,
Un vi es kumt mir on der tog fun mayn
Nem ikh ir karte in der hant.

Ir karte in der hant tu ikh haltn
Un reydn ken ikh nisht mit ir;
Oy, mentshn, ver es hot nor aza libe gefirt,
Dem iz khoyshekh un brokhedik vi mir.

* The singer pronounces the word “nyest.”
**The first time the word is “dosade.”

שױן צװײ-דרײַ יאָר אָז מיר פֿירן א ליבע,
פֿון אונדזער ליבע קען שױן גאָרנישט װערן;
הײַנט איז אונדזער ליבע געשלאָסן געװאָרן
אַזױ װי אַ פֿײיגעלע אין די נעסט.

אַ פֿײגעלע אין די נעסט טוט דאָך פֿליען
צו ברענגען אירע קינדערלעך עסן;
איך אָן דיר און דו אָן מיר
קענען מיר זיך בײדע נישט פֿאַרגעסן.

די פּאָדרוגעס אירע אַלע צוזאַמען שטײען פֿון דער װײַטן
און נעמען פֿון מיר די נקמה;
שײדן שײד איך זיך מיט דיר
אַזױ װי אַ גוף מיט דער נשמה.

זי האָט מיר געקױפֿט אַ זײגער
מיט צװײ גאָלדענע װײַזער;
איך האָב איר געקױפֿט אַ סאַמעטענע טאָרבע,
זי זאָל קענען אַרומגײן איבער די הײַזער.

איבער די הײַזער זאָל זי אַרומגײן
און קײנער זאָל איר נישט געבן;
פֿאָרשאָלטן זאָל װערן אירע יונגע יאָרן,
װי זי האָט מיר פֿאַרװיסט מײַן לעבן.

זי האָט מיר געקױפֿט אַ פּאָדאַרעק,
דער פּאָדאָרעקל הענגט בײַ מיר אױפֿן װאַנט,
און װי עס קומט מיר אָן דער טאָג פֿון מײַן
נעם איך איר קאַרטע אין דער האַנט.

איר קאַרטע אין דער האַנט טו איך האַלטן
און רײדן קען איך נישט מיט איר;
אױ, מענטשן, װער עס האָט נאָר אַזאַ ליבע געפֿירט,
דעס איז חושך און בראָכעדיק װי מיר.

Song Title: Shoyn Tsvey-dray Yor Az Mir Firn A Libe

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
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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