Shvartse Oygn Hobn Fayer

Black Eyes Have Fire
שװאַרצע אױגן האָבן פֿײַער

Love song popular in Poland and the United States from a poem originally entitled “Mirkes libe” (Mirke’s love). Written by Z. Segalovitch (1884-1949). It was sung by both compilers in Warsaw and New York.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Black eyes have fire — yours are black. You have hurled fiery sparks in my maiden’s heart.

You call me Shulamis, seek me everywhere. I love a brave fellow; if you are one, then come!

Only the bravest will tease, and play with his happiness. I will torment my beloved — be a hero, conquer!

Today I gave away your flowers and gifts, told everyone about your wild ways.

Now all the girls will laugh at you and now you’ll wait long hours by my door.

But you don’t see that my glance follows you through the window.

You’re still my loved one, my dear one, though I enjoy the battle.

You went away and I have no peace. Others come, but no one loves me like you.

Is it possible that my dream tricked me? Is it possible that you won’t come? I wait so many days.

With the colors of my loneliness I paint your picture; but your eyes burn fiercely.

You’ll come yet — now my heart yearns. Black eyes have fire and yours are black.

Shvartse oygn hobn fayer…
Dayne zaynen shvarts,
Host gevorfn heyse funken
In mayn meydish harts.

Rufst mikh Yehudis, rufst Shulamis,
Zukhst mikh umetum —
Ikh hob lib a dreyst bokher,
Bistu dreyst, dan kum!

Nor dem dreystn vel ikh reytsn,
Shpiln mit zayn glik;
Kh’vel dikh paynikn mit libe,
Zay a held — bazigl

Dayne blumen un matones
Hob ikh haynt tseteylt,
Dayne vilde shtiferayen
Alemen dertseylt.

Itster veln ale meydlekh
Oplakhn fun dir,
Itster vestu lange shoen
Vartn bay mayn tir. . .

Nor du zest nisht durkhn fentster
Loyft dir nokh mayn blik;
Bist mir lib nokh, bist mir tayer,
Khotsh ikh kvel fun zig.

Bist avek. . . nor nisht gefunen
Hob ikh mer mayn ru;
S’kumen andere, nor keyner
Libt mikh nit vi du.

Ken dos zayn den, az mayn kholem
Hot mikh opgenart?
Ken dos zayn, du zolst nisht kumen?
Vifl teg ikh vart. . .

Mit di farbn fun mayn umet
Mol ikh oys dayn bild,
Nor di oygn, dayne oygn
Branen azoy vild. . .

Vest nokh kumen, vest nokh filn,
Vi es benkt mayn harts;
Shvartse oygn hobn fayer —
Dayne zaynen shvarts. . .

שװאַרצע אױגן האָבן פֿײַער. . .
דײַנע זײַנען שװאַרץ,
האָסט געװאָרפֿן הײסע פֿונקען
אין מײַן מײדלש האַרץ.

רופֿסט מיך „יהודית‟, רופֿסט „שולמית‟,
זוכסט מיך אומעטום —
איך האָב ליב אַ דרײסטן בחור,
ביסטו דרײסט, דאַן קום!

נאָר דעם דרײסטן װעל איך רײצן,
שפּילן מיט זײַן גליק;
כ’װעל דיר פּײַניקן מיט ליבע,
זײַ אַ העלד — באַזיג!

דײַנע בלומען און מתּנות
האָב איך הײַנט צעטײלט,
דײַנע װילדע שטיפֿערײַען
אַלעמען דערצײלט.

איצטער װעלן אַלע מײדלעך
אָפּלאַכן פֿון דיר,
איצטער װעסטו לאַנגע שעהען
װאַרטן בײַ מײַן טיר. . .

נאָר דו װעסט נישט: דורכן פֿענצטער
לױפֿט דיר נאָך מײַן בליק;
ביסט מיר ליב נאָך, ביסט מיר טײַער,
כאָטש איך קװעל פֿון זיג.

ביסט אַװעק. . . נאָר נישט געפֿונען
האָב איך מער מײַן רו;
ס’קומען אַנדערע, נאָר קײנער
ליבט מיך ניט װי דו.

קען דאָס זײַן דען, אַז מײַן חלום
האָט מיך אָפּגענאַרט?
קען דאָס זײַן, דו זאָלסט נישט קומען?
װיפֿל טעג איך װאַרט. . .

מיט די פֿאַרבן פֿון מײַן אומעט
מאָל איך אױס דײַן בילד,
נאָר די אױגן, דײַנע אױגן
ברענען אַזױ װילד. . .

װעסט נאָך קומען, װעסט נאָך פֿילן,
װי עס בענקט מײַן האַרץ;
שװאַרצע אױגן האָבן פֿײַער —
דײַנע זײַנען שװאַרץ. . .

Song Title: Shvartse Oygn Hobn Fayer

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Zusman Segalovitsh
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: זוסמאַן סעגאַלאָװיטש
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Pearls of Yiddish Song Cover with Illustration of musicians playing instruments

Pearls of Yiddish Song

First published in 1988 as Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theatre Songs, this anthology contains 115 songs. Some material had never been published, while others, included in rare song collections or sheet music, were largely inaccessible. The songs presented reflect Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the United States and depict childhood, love, family celebrations, poverty, work and struggle. There are also songs from the Hasidic and Maskilic movements, songs of Zion and of America, as well as songs from the Yiddish theater.

The title of this anthology derives from the weekly two-page feature column “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” which the compilers Yosl and Chana Mlotek initiated in 1970 in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forvertz (the Yiddish Daily Forward). Hundreds of readers from around the world — including authors, composers, singers, actors — became co-participants in this collective folk project and recalled melodies, lines, fragments, stanzas and their variants of songs, poems, and plays which they had heard in their youth. At first, readers sent in only written material. Later, they also taped songs on cassettes, many of whose melodies had, until then, never been recorded. They also identified and supplied missing information regarding lyricists, poets, and composers and described the circumstances surrounding the songs’ origins, their dissemination, diffusion and impact.

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