Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Men vet dir nit mitgebn in keyver arayn (You don't get anything to take into the grave with you) Yiddish theater song

It seems there was a song like this in most Yiddish operettas, a song in which the rich man is warned he will get his comeuppance. I think the Yiddish theater audience was mostly poor people and they wanted to think there would be justice ... eventually.

The song is from the show Malke Shvo (The Queen of Sheba) by Shundmeister Hurwitz, it came out in 1907 and the music was published in 1913. The original singer was Madame Shapiro. The words are by Anshel Shor, the music is by Joseph Brody.

I put an original recording sung by Sam Stern on Youtube: Men vet dir keinsach nit mit geben in keivir arein ...

... it's also transcribed as Men wet dir nit mitgeben in keiver, Men Wet Dir Kein Sach nit mitgeben in Kever arein, and Men Vet Dir Kein Sach Nit Mit Geben In Keiver Arein ...

... Sam sang only the first verse, and because it is a fun song, and it's almost Halloween, I decided to record it myself this morning with both verses. Here it is:

While I was singing it I was thinking about one who will not be named, but who is a

שאַנד און שמאַך


Transliteration and translation after the jump.

Men vet dir keyn sakh nit mitgebn in keyver arayn

Zog mir nor, mensh, entfer nor mir:
Far vos is nokh ales tsu veynik far dir?
Raykher tsu vern iz dir keyn sakh shver,
Vifil du host, vilstu nokh mer.

Dem kaptsn dem shtikstu,
Dem arbeter drikstu

Tsu shindn verstu nit mid,
Ober ven es vet kumen dayn letste minut
Guter bruder, vet dir nit zayn zeyer gut,
Zingen vet men dir damols a troyer lid.

Koved un gelt iz geven dayn velt
Koved gezukht a sakh
Dayn gantsest shtrebn in dayn lebn
Iz geven tsu vern raykh

Nor ven dayn tsayt iz shoyn do, megstu vi raykh zayn
Men vet dir keyn sakh nit mitgebn in keyver arayn

S'iz geven a mol a groyser gvir,
Keyn oreman nit gelozt af zayn tir
Zayn gantses lebn af der velt
Iz geven nor gelt, nor gelt
Geroybt, gerisn, gor on gevisn
hot der shlekhter yid,
Un ven es iz gekumen zayn letste sho
Un men firt im shoyn in zayn eybiker ru
Hert men vi a "bas kol" zingt im dos troyer lid

Tell me, answer me this: Why is everything too little for you? Nothing's too hard when it comes to getting richer. However much you have, you want even more.

You suffocate the poor man, you oppress the worker.
You never get tired of flaying.

But when your last minute arrives
Good brother, things won't be very good for you,
Then they'll sing you a sad song:

Honor and money were your world, you sought so much honor. You strove most of all to become rich.
But when your time is here, even if you're rich,
You're not given anything to bring into the grave with you.

There once was a big rich man, he didn't let any poor man in his door.
His whole life in the world was just money.
He robbed and razed without conscience, that evil guy.
And when his last hour came and he was carried to his eternal rest
A heavenly voice sang him this sad song:

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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