Bay dem taykh

[By the river]

[See lecture: Mothers and Fathers]

Bay dem taykh dem breytnBy the wide river 
Zitst zikh a meydele gor aleynt, Sits a girl all by herself,
Ongeton geyt zi im raykhnShe's dressed in riches
Un zi zitst bay taykh un veynt.And she sits by the river and cries.
Zi halt a kind oyf der hant,She's holding a child in her hand, 
Vos iz ersht nisht lang geboyrn gevorn,Which has just been born,
Un zi git es di milkh zoygn,And she's nursing him
Un trern rinen fun ire oygn.And tears are seeping from her eyes.
- Dayn foter, der merder,- Your father, the murderer,  
Er hot zikh umzist oyf der velt gebrakht,Brought you uselessly into the world,
Der tsegayner, der toter,The gypsy, the Tatar,
Er hot mikh umgliklekh gemakht;Caused my misfortune.
Der tsegayner, dayn foter,They gypsy, your father, 
Dortn zitst er un lakht.Is sitting there and laughing.
Ikh hob im gegleybt oyf zayn ernvortI believed his word of honour
Un oyf zayne heylike shvues,And his holy vows, 
Bay mayne eltern in gortn, dortIn my parents' garden, there 
Bin ikh geven in tues.I acted wrongly. 
Oy, got, s'heybt shoyn on tsu togn,Oh, God, it will soon be dawn, 
Un mentshn kenen mikh nokh derzen,And people can still notice me,
Zey veln gevis mayne eltern zognThey are sure to tell my parents
Vos mit mir iz di nakht geshen.What happened to me tonight. 
Fish, fish, kumt nor aher!Fish, fish, come here! 
Ikh hob aykh epes tsu zogn:I've got something to tell you: 
Ikh hob aykh gebrakht es tsu trogn,I've brought you something to take,
Ir vet fun dem hanoe hobn.You'll enjoy it. 
Adieu, adieu, mayn gelibtes kind!Farewell, farewell, my beloved child!
Atsind vestu zinken biz tsum grint,Soon you will sink to the bottom,
Di fish in vaser veln dikh oyfesn -The fish in the water will eat you -  
Nor ikh, dayn muter, vel dikh nisht fargesn.But I, your mother, will not forget you. 

I learnt this song in a Yiddish folksong class given by Avishay Fish