A Malke Af Peysekh


[A Queen for Passover]

Composer: Louis Gilrod

(Text and translation from "Great Songs of the Yiddish Stage", Vol.2, Milken Archives, Naxos)

[See lecture: Kings and Queens]


Peysekh tsayt iz freylekh,

der yid iz dan a meylekh,

er zitst zikh mit zayn malke,

oysgeputst gants ne.

Baym seder mit kharoyses,

mit vayn, mit arbe koyses,

di malke heybt di shisl afn he’sebet.


Gliklekh iz der meylekh af der velt,

er shmeykhlt tsu der malke un er kvelt.

Ver s’hot a malke af peysekh,

dem iz voyl un gut, dos veys ikh.

A malke vi a lalke,

mit kleyne printselekh

mit yontefdike kleydelekh,

un mit khremslekh un mit kneydlekh -

a malke af peysekh iz di beste zakh.


Nu, hert zikh a mayse

vos hot pasirt mit mayns a kuzin.

hert vos far a mazl er hot,

a brukhe iz tsu mayne yorn…

Genug gevezn single,

gekoyft a "marriage" ringl,

gegangen tsu der khupe mit a meydl sheyn,

Zikh ayngefikst a fletl,

a tish, a "lunch," a betl,

un punkt af erev-peysekh iz take dos geven.


Af morgn tzu der khupe, hert zikh ayn,

brengt zi im a tsviling fun ir ershter man.

Oy! hot er a malke af peysekh

s’iz im vind un vey, dos veys ikh.

A malke vi a lalke,

mit kleyne printselekh!

Er hot tsu ir a tayne

un er fregt zi, “ma nishtane?”

A malke af peysekh -

vi gefel dos aykh?

Passover is a joyous time;

the Jew is then a king,

he sits with his queen all adorned.

At the seder table along with the kharoyses

and the four cups of wine,

the queen lifts the washbasin to him

in his “royal” chair.


This king is so happy with his world.

He smiles at his queen, and he beams.

He who has a queen on Passover,

is happy and joyful, that I know.

A queen like a doll,

with her little princesses

in their holyday finery,

with matza cakes and with matza balls—

a queen on Passover is the best thing.


Listen to this story—to what happened

to a cousin of mine,

hear just what kind of luck he had;

Oy, what a mess.

He’d had enough of being single,

so he bought a wedding ring

and married a beautiful girl,

He fixed up a flat

with a bed and a table, and prepared a lunch,

and this happened just before Passover.


The next day after the wedding, listen to this,

she shows up with twins from her first husband.

Oy, now he has a queen on Passover, all right.

He’s suffering and is in pain, that much I know.

A queen like a doll

with her little princesses!

Now he has a problem with her,

and he asks her, “What’s going on here?"

A queen on Passover -

now, what do you think of that?