Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Di levaye fun Dr. Theodor Herzl (Theodor Herzl's funeral) by Ruvn Ayzland

Theodor Herzl was born in Hungary to assimilated, German-speaking parents. After witnessing the Dreyfus affair while he lived in Paris, he formed the World Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish emigration to Palestine.

Herzl died in Vienna, July 1904, at the age of 44. 6,000 mourners followed his hearse.

Here's the song, with the same guitar and bass tracks (by Ken Bloom and Jim Baird) from Khaye Sore's brif.


I'll be using these same backup tracks for yet another song, also about a funeral, but one which happened in New York and has quite a story attached: Der pogrom bay der levaye,
about the day mourners of New York's Chief Rabbi Joseph, on July 30 1902, were set upon by antisemites.

The lyrics, set to the ever popular Faryomert farklogt (aka Der yidisher vanderer from Goldfaden's Dr. Almasada), were written by Reuben Eisland (Iceland). Reuven was born 1884 in Western Galicia. He began wrote Hebrew and Yiddish poetry and emigrated to the United States in September 1903.

Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.


Dem barg Levonen zitst di almone Bastsiyen tsu der erd geboygn
Ir ponim vos flegt laykhtn vi di levone
Iz mit a troyer-volkn batsoygn
Di kleyder tserisn, fun di oygn flisn taykhn heyse trern;
In dem yomer-tol fun erets yisrol tut men dos klog-lid hern:

Oy! vi groys iz mayn shmerts, vi gebrokhn mayn herts,
Ver ken mikh treystn, ver?
Nokh mayn eydlstn kind, dem "Moyshe" fun atsind,
"Hertsl" vos lebt nit mer.

Helft mir veynen kinderlekh tayere,
Af ayer bruder, dem grestn fun aykh;
Rayst krie - di hertser ayere
un mit mir tsuzamen baveynt im glaykh.
Velkher es ken flien dort ahin nokh Vien,
Zol geyn nokh di levaye;
Ir iberike kinder, yeder bazunder, iti go'u bivkhiye

Mayn prakhtfule tsirung - Tsiyen's fleg,
Gehilt in troyer flatert yetst dort
bay di makhne melavim oybn baym breg,
vos firn zayn arun tsum heylikn ort...
ver vet Tsiyen's fane
fon tkheyles di sheyne,
trogn mit fester hand?
Funem goles dem bitern, in dem land der fetern, dos heylike alt-nayland?

On Mount Lebanon the widowed daughter of Zion sits, bowed to the earth
Her face which used to beam like the moon is covered with a storm cloud of sorrow
Her clothes torn, rivers of hot tears flow from her eyes
In Israel's vale of tears one hears the lamenting song:

Oh how great is my suffering, how broken my heart,
Who can console me, who?
Coming after my most noble child, Moses of long ago:
Hertsl, who lives no more.

Help me weep, dear children, for your brother, the greatest of you;
Tear your clothes in mourning - your hearts, and together with me mourn him.
If you can, fly there, to Vienna, and go to his funeral.
The rest of you, each individually, howl with weeping along with me.

My most beautiful jewel: Zion's flag
Wrapped/covered in sorrow flutters there now.
By the large crowds in the funeral procession by the bank,
carrying his coffin to the cemetery
Who will carry Zion's banner, the beautiful azure flag, with a sure hand?
From the bitter exile, into the bounteous, holy land which is old and new?


For sheet music and/or performances contact me: jane@mappamundi.com

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