Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Dos fartribene taybele (The Exiled Dove) - tear jerking song of warning from Goldfaden's last show

This is from Ben Ami, the last play|operetta written and staged by Abraham Goldfaden (aka Avrom Goldfadn), a four-act drama based somewhat on George Eliot's novel Daniel Deronda. Evidently the show met with a tepid response until Goldfaden died in January 1908, a month into the production. After his death Ben Ami became a huge hit. (And 100,000 people attended his funeral.)

Goldfaden generally credited himself with writing lyrics for the songs in his show, this one was no exception. However, I also found Solomon Smulewitz credited with the lyrics. Louis Friedsel|Friedsell wrote the music. What a fascination that generation had in fallen women!

Several songs from this show appear in the American Yiddish Penny Songs collection, attesting to its popularity. I couldn't find any information about Estella Schreiner|Shriner|Shreiner. Here's her rendition of Dos fartribene taybele, also spelled Dus fertribene teibele and Dus fertreebene teibele; she sings the first verse and half of the second verse.

Here's my translation and the song sheet:

The Dove, Driven Away

Driven from her nest, driven far away
In the forest, desolate as a stone
A dove flies around for a long time, alone
Storms are seething, rain, hail,
Everyone hides in their homes -
she alone is wandering homeless
and doesn't have her own roof

"It's terrible for me without you, my dove!"
This is how one hears her cries: "Kro, kro!
Remember your beloved wife and call me home: Kro, Kro!"

Many pairs are sitting on branches, I see, making like lovebirds... if only that were mine, too!
A sweet life they have together,
But I alone don't have my loved one...
I lost myself through a stranger's seduction,
I sinned greatly against my man
Missing him, recently I've begun to realize
He will never want me again.

I fly around in great danger...
Even the air is not free...
From above a flock of birds find me
From below the hunter's lead...
My feathers are torn, tugged, and plucked,
Quite a bit of my blood has been let,
Oy! If you could see your beloved now
It would pull at your heartstrings.

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