Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tif in dr'erd (Deep in the ground) - Yiddish song which is also a curse

Yiddish vaudeville song(Click for a larger view)

Morris Rund: did he really hate his wife this much or did he just think it was good business to write song after song about awful wives? Wives who were lazy, who shagged the boarders, who ran away from home, who left the husbands with the kids, who were suffragettes, or - here - who annoyingly wanted their husbands to stay home with him?

The Jewish comedians of the twentieth century, the tumlers and the Borscht Belt comedians, they were sure dissing their wives was good for endless laughs. Did the women in the audiences laugh too? What did Morris Rund's wife say about this?

I'm not singing this song. I already recorded a different song with the same tune (Got un zayn mishpet iz gerekht - Rund used it for several songs. It's here: Dem arbeters trer. If you are making a study of early twentieth century misogyny and would like 'Tif in drerd' recorded, or if you want the sheet music, let me know.

Here are the words of Tif in dr'erd and also my translation. Rund uses an odd word,
which apparently rhymes with tuen in his dialect. I think it is a variation on the plural of
meaning hostility, but I'm not sure.

I usually translate tif in dr'erd, literally deep in the ground, as "go to hell," though it's more like "die and get buried" I guess. At the bottom of the post is the original song sheet.

Ikh hob keyn mol in lebn gehat keyn shlekhte tsayt
Biz Got hot mir gegebn a tsore a shlak a vayb
Zi hot in zikh a min sine mikh vatshen af yedn trit
In shtub vil zi keyn zakh nit tuen vi a vorem nogt zi mayn blut
Zi iz jealous af mir gor on a shir
Zi loyf mir nokh af yeder shrit
"Vos vilstu fun mir?" freg ikh bay ir
Hert nor an entfer zi git!

Ikh lib dikh du bist mir bashert
Az du vest mikh nit folgn vestu lign in dr'erd
Vayl a man darf hobn lib tsu zitsn mit a vayb in shtib
Az nit vestu lign tif in d'rerd

Shtendik zitsn in hoyz hot zi farlangt fun mir
Biz ikh bin fun geduld aroys
Ikh hob zikh tsu krigt mit ir
Yetst zogt zi vil ikh nit visn
Du bist a shlekhter man
Du vest bay mir yetst geyn in 'prizen'
Biz du vest beser zayn
Zi iz zofort gelofn in 'court'
Un zi hot mikh dort ayngeklogt
Vos vilstu fun mir? bet ikh bay ir
Hert nor eyn entfer zi zogt!

Arestet hot zi mikh af zeks monatn tsayt
Antlofn zaynen zey gikh un ikh bin shoyn bafrayt
Yetst tu ikh far ir nit shrekn, ikh hob keyn moyre far ir
Oft gib ikh ir mit a shtekn shoyn nit aza nor vi frier
In shtub vi a hund ligt zi atsind
Un ikh gey mir vi ikh vil
Vi lang iz der shir? Fregt zi bay mir
Entfer ikh ir in der shtil:

Ikh lib dikh, du bist mir bashert
Dokh hob ikh dikh nayn eylen tif in d'rerd
vayl a vayb darf hobn lib
a man tsu lozn fun der shtub
Az nit hob ikh dikh tif in d'rerd

I never in my life had a bad time
Until God gave me a trouble, a nuisance for a wife
She has a kind of hostility in her, she watches my every step
She doesn't do anything at home, she gnaws at my blood like a worm
She's endlessly jealous of me, she runs after me
"What do you want from me?" I ask her
Just listen to the answer she gives!

I love you, you are my destined one,
If you don't obey me, go to hell
Because a man should love to sit with his wife at home
If not, may you lie deep in the ground

She demanded I sit in the house all the time
Until I lost my patience, I had to fight with her
Now she asks, don't I want to know,
"You're a rotten husband. As far as I'm concerned
You can go to prison until you improve."
So she ran straight to court and complained about me there.
What do you want from me? I ask her,
Just listen to the answer she gives! (refrain)

She had me arrested for six months
The months passed quickly and I was soon free
Now I'm not afraid of her
I often give it to her with a stick, not like before.
She lies at home like a dog and I go where I please
She asks me, "How long will this go on?"
I answer quietly,

I love you, you are my destined one
I'd like to see you nine cubits under ground
Because a wife should love to let her husband leave the house
If not, go to hell.

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