Unter A Kleyn Beymele

Under a Little Tree
אונטער אַ קלײן בײמעלע

Popular song, also entitled “Unter a grin beymele” (Beneath a green tree). Words by Tzvl Hersh (Dr. H. I.) Margoles (1888-1944). Published for the first time in Dos Brisker Lebn, around 1909. Words and music published anonymously by Leo Kopf in 1914 and elsewhere.

Two additional stanzas were submitted by Brankl Heshes Sheskin (from Grodno, Poland) and appeared in “Pearls,” December 12, 1982: “Zog mir, sheyne meydele, / Meydele batribte,/ Zog mir, sheyne meydele,/ Vemen fun undz libste?/ Ikh lib aykh beydn,/ Beydn vi eynem./ Ven ikh zol kenen makhn/ Fun aykh beydn eynem!” (Tell me pretty maiden, maiden so sad, which one of us do you love? I love you both equally. If I could, I would roll you into one.)

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Beneath a little tree,
two boys sit.
They are talking about a girl
they don’t have a care about anything.

One tells of the wonders
he has accomplished,
the other interrupts
and tells exactly the same thing.

He would, he says, go for days
without eating,
sitting there*
where she lived.

Stormwinds, rain and snow —
nothing frightened him,
and her mother waited at home
with a rolling pin.

And then, too, her father,
holding a large belt,
flayed him to his bones
and chased him outside.

*third and fourth lines of the third verse are reversed to make more natural sense in English.

Unter a kleyn beymele
Zitsn yingelekh tsvey,
Zey reydn fun a meydele,
Keyn zakh kimert zey.

Dertseylt eyner di nisimlekh,
Vos er hot gehat,
Khapt der anderer aroys,
Dertseylt es akurat.

Er flegt, zogt er, gantse teg,
Umgeyn umgegesn,
Dortn, vu zi hot gevoynt,
Shoen opgezesn.

Shturem-vint un regn-shney —
Keyn zakh nit geshrokn,
Un di mame in der heym,
Gevart hot mit a flokn.

Un der tate tsu dertsu,
Mit dem pas dem groysn,
Oysgeklapt di beyndelekh,
Aroysgeyogt in droysn.

אונטער אַ קלײן בײמעלע
זיצן ייִנגלעך צװײ,
זײ רײדן פֿון אַ מײדעלע,
קײן זאַך קימערט זײ.

דערצײלט אײנער די ניסימלעך,
װאָס ער האָט געהאַט,
כאַפּט דער אַנדערער אַרױס,
דערצײלט עס אַקוראַט.

ער פֿלעגט, זאָגט ער, גאַנצע טעג,
אומגײן אומגעגעסן,
דאָרטן, װוּ זי האָט געװױנט,
שעהען אָפּגעזעסן.

שטורעם־װינט און רעגן־שנײ —
קײן זאַך ניט געשראָקן,
און די מאַמע אין דער הײם,
געװאַרט האָט מיט אַ פֿלאָקן.

און דער טאַטע צו דערצו,
מיט דעם פּאַס דעם גרױסן,
אױסגעקלאַפּט די בײנדעלעך,
אַרױסגעיאָגט אין דרױסן.

Song Title: Unter A Kleyn Beymele

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Tzvl Hersh Margoles
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: צבֿי הערש מרגליות
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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