Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Dos shop meydl (The shopgirl) - another innocent girl ruined by a salacious bachelor.

Here's the first page of the songsheet for this song (click for a larger view), which I would call Dos shop meydl but in this publisher's dialect it is Di shop meydl.

The theme of warning women to preserve their virginity before marriage at the risk of shame, pregnancy, starvation and death is immortal.

The song sheet gives the underlying melody as "Yoseml, yesoymele," the sheet music for this song is at the Library of Congress website under the spelling Yusem'l Yesoimele (as sung with great success by Miss A. Zieman). You can hear this song at the FAU site sung by Alex Silberstein: Yusemel Yusomele

Here's the recording I made today. It's twice the speed it would have been performed back in the day, but what can I say, I don't have that kind of attention span:

Here's the transliteration and the translation:

An orem meydl, elnt aleyn, kumt in a shop arbet zikh betn
Der boss dort, der singl man, farshprakht ir bald fun noyt tsu retn.
Fariber iz a shtikl tsayt, zayn libe kumt er ir deklern
Zi heyratn iz er barayt ir tray tsu blaybn tut er shvern
Zayn shvueh hot zi im gegloybt, gedenkt er vet zi eybik libn
Ir ehre hot er dan geroybt. Iz bald zi fun dem shop fartribn
Oy, opgehakt iz ire yorn
Ir hofenung hot zi yetst farlorn
Vayl muter iz zi bald gevorn!

Umshuldik bistu kindenyu
Klogt un veynt di mamenyu
Nor tsu laydn bistu geborn.
Mit shand geflekt iz dayn mamenyu
Vayl gehaltn hot nit dayn tatenyu
Zayn shvue vos er hot mir geshvorn.

In a hoyz mit gold batsirt voynt der man vos hot ir harts tserisn
Fun glaykhn veg zi arop gefirt, un yetst vil er fun ir nit visn
Gliklekh lebt er zikh atsind mit a tsveyter froy un kinder
Un zi, mit ir umshuldik kind, fun hunger shtarbn muz zi atsinder
A shand iz zi okh yetst far im, vi ken zi zikh tsu im gor glaykhn?
Farhast iz zi yetst im un im a yeder tut fun ir oy lakhn
Keyner vil ir krekhts nit hern
Zayt zi iz a muter gevorn
Veynt zi un zi zogt mit trern:

In shturem fun a vinter nakht, ven shreklekh iz in gas zikh tsu vayzn
Shteyt di mame mit ir kind farshmakht, a harts fun shteyn ken dos tsu raysn
Ir hand ufshteln tut zi atsind: "Hot rakhmmones gute mentshn,
A nedove shenkt an umshuldik kind, Got vet aykh derfar bentshn."
Plutsim geyt a man farbay, derkent hot zi im fun der vaytn
Gefaln iz zi mit a geshray un ongetsaygt dos kind zayn tatn
Er! nor er hot mir geshvorn
Zayn shvue klingt mir in di oyern
Okh, beser volt ikh nit geboyrn!

A poor girl, alone, comes into a shop to look for work.
The boss there, a single man, soon promised to save her from destitution.
A little time passed. He came to her and declared his love.
He's ready to marry her,
He swears to be faithful to her.

She believed his oath
She thought he would love her forever.
Then he robbed her of her respectability.
Soon she is driven from the shop.
Oh, her years are destroyed, now she's lost hope,
Because soon, she becomes a mother!

"You are guiltless, child,"
the mother laments and cries,
"You were born only to suffer.
Your mother is stained with shame
Because your father did not keep
The oath he swore to her."

In a house adorned with gold
Lives the man who tore up her heart.
He lured her from the straight and narrow
And now he'll have nothing to do with her.
Now he lives happily with a second wife, and children.
And she, with her innocent child,
must now starve to death from hunger.
She's now an embarrassment to him.
How can she even compare herself to him?
She's hated now and everyone laughs at her.
No one listens to her moans
now that she's a mother;
she cries, and says through her tears:

On a stormy winter night, when it's terrible outside,
The mother stands with her child, exhausted.
It could break even a heart of stone.
Now she raises her hand:
"Good people, have mercy,
Give alms for an innocent child,
God will bless you for it."
Suddenly a man passes, she recognizes him from afar.
She falls with a cry ... and shows the child to his father!
"He! He swore to me, his oath rings in my ears.
Oh, better never to have been born!"

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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