Der Soldat

[The Soldier]

Related song: A leyterl tsum himl  [A ladder to heaven]

[See lecture: Kings and Queens]

Keyn esn un keyn trinken, mame, nemt mikh nisht,Mother, don't bring me anything to eat or to drink,
Ikh gey arum shtendik, shtendik veynendik,I go around crying all the time,
Ikh freg nor bay dir, tayere got:I ask you, dear God:
- Farvos zol zayn mayn khusn a soldat?- Why should my fiance be a soldier?
Ikh vel zikh tsushteln a leyterl,I wish to stand a ladder up,
Arufkrikhn vel ikh tsu got,I will climb up to God,
Ikh vel bay im fregn eine tsvey verter:I will ask one or two words of him:
- Farvos zol zayn mayn khusn a soldat?- Why should my fiance be a soldier?
Es volt zikh ufkhapn a shturm-vint,I want to catch the wind of a storm
Un avektrogn volt es mikh tsu dir,And be carried on it to you,
Az ikh zol nor zen dayn sheynem kop hor,If only I could see your lovely head of hair
Un take zikh tsu kushn nor mit dir.and could only kiss you.
Oy, du mayn tayere got!Oh, my dear God!
Vi azoy vel ikh dos konen tsu zen?How can I see this?
Der keyser vet tsunemen mayn tayern brilyantThe keyser is about to take my dear diamond
Un ikh vel darfn fun der vaytn shteyn.And I must wait in the distance.


A leyterl tsum himl [A ladder to heaven] **

- A leyterl tsum himl vel ikh shteln,- I will stand a ladder up to reach Heaven
Ikh vel arufkrikhn tsu got;And I will climb up to God.
Oy, eyne tsvey verter, oy, vel ikh bay im fregn:Oh, I will ask Him just one or two words:
Far vos mayn liber darf zayn a soldat?Why must my beloved be a soldier?
- Keyn leyterl tsum himl zolst nit shteln,- Do not set a ladder up to reach the sky,
A soldat vel ikh zayn say-vi-say,I will have to be a soldier anyway.
Na nye uzheli,* oy, bistu aza meydl,Can it be? A girl like you
Du zolst oyf mir nit vartn a yor tsvey.shouldn't be waiting around for one or two years.
- Tsvey yor vel ikh oyf dir vartn,- I will wait the two years for you,
Afile fir iz oykh keday!And even four years will be worth it!
Gelt in polk arayn vel ikh dir shikn,I'll send you money when you are in the regiment,
Aleyn vel ikh zikh mitshn do bay shnayderay.And I will struggle here at my seamstressing.


* In Russian

** Taken from "Yiddish Folksongs from the Ruth Rubin Archive", edited by Chana Mlotek and Mark Slobin. There is another variant in "Old Jewish Music", by Moshe Beregovski, edited by Mark Slobin.