An old folk song from Warsaw, published in 1928 by Y.L. Cahan, with parts of the text already recorded in 1888. In her lecture recitals, the folklorist Ruth Rubin has aptly called this, “The Song of the Babysitter,” to convey its continuing and timely sentiment. Parts of this song were at various times a love song as well as a lullaby and also have international parallels.
May you live and be well*,
like I will, sitting here, rocking your child.
Lull-a-bye, sha sha sha!
Your dear mama has gone out to the street
Lull-a-bye, sleep, my child,
Mama will come back very soon.
May you live, for all I care,
your mama went out to earn money.
Other girls dance and carry on,
and I have to rock and sing to the child.
Other girls nosh on candies,
and I have to wash the baby’s diapers.
Zolst azoy lebn un zayn gezunt
Vi ikh vel dir zitsn un vign s’kind.
Dayn mameshi iz gegangen in gas arayn,
Ay-lyu-lyu, shlof, mayn kind,
Di mameshi vet kumen gikh un geshvind!
Zolst azoy lebn, S’ligt mir derinen,
Dayn mameshi iz gegangen in gas fardinen.
Andere meydelekh tantsn un shpringen,
Un ikh muz dem kind vign un zingen!
Andere meydelekh tsukerkelekh nashn,
Un ikh muz dem kinds vindelekh vashn!
זאָלסט אַזױ לעבן און זײַן געזונט
וױ איך װעל דיר זיצן און װיגן ס’קינד.
דײַן מאַמעשי איז געגאַנגען אין גאַס אַרײַן,
אײַ-ליו-ליו, שלאָף, מײַן קינד,
די מאַמעשי װועט קומען גיך און געשװינד!
זאָלסט אַזױ לעבן, ס’ליגט מיר דערינען,
דײַן מאַמעשי איז געגאַנגען אין גאַס פֿאַרדינען.
אַנדערע מײדעלעך טאַנצן און שפּרינגען,
און איך מוז דעם קינד װיגן און זינגען!
אַנדערע מײדעלעך צוקערקעלעך נאַשן,
און איך מוז דעם קינדס וױנדעלעך װאַשן!
Song Title: Zolst Azoy Lebn
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.