Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Mayn herr proletarier - Yiddish labor song from 1901, parody of "Mr. Volunteer"

Mayn herr proletarier (My Mr Proletarian)
with the melody from the English song
Mr Volunteer
by Louis Gilrod



The original song was by Paul Dresser (we've had his songs on this blog before, check in the search box). Louis Gilrod wrote the lyrics. With none of my piano pals available during the quarantine, I just muddled through on my own.

This is an exceptionally ugly sheet music cover.

The lyrics have a lot of Germanic words rarely seen in Yiddish today.

Here's today's living room recording:


Transliterated lyrics and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.



Mayn herr proletarier

Genug gelitn genug geshmakht genug shoyn andere raykh gemakht
Genug! Du zolst nit laydn mer mayn oremer Herr Prolatarier
Varf arop di keytn fun shklaferay
S'iz gekumen di tsayt du zolst zayn fray
Host genug geshaft shoyn genis dayn lon
Natur iz dir shuldik a kenigs tron!

Es hert zikh fun vayter shoyn der klang: Di frayhayt getin zingt!
Un yeder ton fun ir gezang an arbeters hertsn dringt
Zi zingt dos lid fun frayhayt shoyn keyn orem raykh nit mer
Zi kumt un brengt far dir a kroyn mayn Herr Proletarier

Shtel op dayn arbet, ru dikh oys -- af der frayer luft kum nor aroys!
A blik gib yetst nor af der velt af di palatsn vos du host ufgeshtelt.
Gearbet hostu durkh di nekht Af di oytsres hostu a rekht
Genis dayn lon vos du host fardint vayl di tsayt fun dayn bafrayung bagint

Heyb uf dayn kop du groyser held Batrakht di shtot, dem vald, dos feld
Natur libt dikh dokh on a shir Mit ale mentshn-kinder bistu glaykh bay ir
Zi makht keyn khilek fun orem biz raykh Natur batrakht ale mentshn glaykh.
Tsu genisn dayn lon hostu a rekht, Genug dir tsu zayn shoyn yenems knekht

My Mr Proletarian

Enough suffering, enough wasting away, enough of making others rich
Enough! You shouldn't suffer any more, my poor Mr Proletarian
Throw off the chains of slavery, the time has come when you should be free
You've created enough, enjoy your wages already!
Nature owes you a king's throne

From afar the sound is heard: Freedom's goddess is singing!
And every note of her song strengthens a worker's heart.
She sings the song of freedom, no more poor vs. rich.
She comes and brings a crown for you, my Mr Proletarian.

Stop your work, rest well -- come out into the free air!
Take a look at the world, at the palaces you erected.
You worked through the nights - you have a right to the treasures.
Enjoy the wages you've earned because the time for liberation is dawning!

Lift your head, you great hero. Consider the town, the woods, the fields.
Nature loves you endlessly, for her you're the equal of any human being.
She makes no distinction between poor and rich,
nature considers all people equal.
You have a right to enjoy your wages,
enough with being someone's slave!

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

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