Zun In Mayrev

The Sun in the West
זון אין מערבֿ

Words by Yosl Rolnick (1879-1955); music by Vladimir Heifetz (1893-1970). The melody was used as the theme in the Yiddish film Grine felder (Green Fields) of 1937, based on the play by Peretz Hirshbein.

The melody published in sheet music (New York, 1938) has other words written by Heifetz especially for the film: “Untern himl, unter der zun,/ Lign felder umetum;/ Felder, grine felder./ Di levone, shtern oykh,/ Firn libe fun der hoykh;/ Mit di grine felder./ Vu iz di ru,/ Vu iz di freyd,/ Vu iz der eybik fun dem gleyb?/ Oyf di grine felder.” The published translation reads: “Under the sky, under the sun, fields are green from dawn till dawn. Green fields, beautiful green fields. Moon and stars up on high, sending blessings from the sky to the beautiful green fields. Where is the joy for each and all, where do we hear that Heaven’s call? On the beautiful green fields.”

Illustration of musical notes from the books


The sun sets quickly in the west.
What else does anyone like me need?
Songs, simple songs.

There is no greater joy on earth
Than what comes through songs.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Songs are all I have —
Let the songs remain.

Zun in mayrev zetst zikh gikh,
Vos darf nokh a mentsh vi ikh?
Lider, kleyne lider,
Li-li-li — lider.

Nit faranen oyf der erd
Nokh a freyd vi di vos vert
Oyfgevekt durkh lider.
Li-li-li — lider.

Ver veys morgndikn tog?
Lider — alts vos ikh farmog
Zoln blaybn lider,
Li-li-li — lider.

זון אין מערבֿ זעצט זיך גיך,
װאָס דאַרף נאָך אַ מענטש װי איך?
לידער, קלײנע לידער,
לי־לי־לי — לידער.

ניט פֿאַראַנען אױף דער ערד
נאָך אַ פֿרײד װי די װאָס װערט
אױפֿגעװעקט דורך לידער,
לי־לי־לי — לידער.

װער װײס מאָרגנדיקן טאָג?
לידער — אַלץ װאָס איך פֿאַרמאָג,
זאָלן בלײַבן לידער,
לי־לי־לי — לידער.

Song Title: Zun In Mayrev

Composer: Vladimir Heifetz
Composer’s Yiddish Name: װלאַדימיר חפֿץ
Lyricist: Joseph Rolnick
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: יוסף ראָלניק
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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