Song

Rejoice, Make Merry, Children

Original Title: Hulyet, hulyet, kinderkekh

Performer: Daniel Kempin
Lyricist: Mordecai Gebirtig
Composer: Mordecai Gebirtig

Mordecai Gebirtig, born in 1877 in Krakow, Poland, was a Yiddish folk poet and songwriter.

Gebirtig had three daughters, for whom he wrote and performed his poems. The words were set to improvised melodies, and most of his songs resemble entries in a diary. Many of Gebirtig's poems contain themes of eastern European Jewish life in the 1920s and 1930s. The lyrics to "Rejoice, Make Merry, Children" contain a springtime motif that recurred in other Gebirtig works. In the lyrics, an elderly narrator urges children to play on and not waste a single day, for it is "only a cat's leap, you know, from spring till winter comes."

Play on, darling children now,
For spring has just begun!
Oh, children, you have no idea
How envious I am

Rejoice, make merry, children now,
As long as you are young;
It's only a cat's leap, you know,
From spring till winter comes.

Play on, darling children now,
Don't waste a single day,
Let me join you in the game,
Allow me this great joy.

Rejoice, make merry, children now,
As long as you are young;
It's only a cat's leap, you know,
From spring till winter comes.

Please don't stare at my grey head --
Will it disturb your cheer?
My spirit is still full of youth,
Though I am full of years.

Rejoice, make merry, children now,
As long as you are young;
It's only a cat's leap, you know,
From spring till winter comes.

My spirit is still full of youth,
It's yearning for old times;
How gladly it would leave behind
This ancient flesh of mine.

Rejoice, make merry, children now,
As long as you are young;
It's only a cat's leap, you know,
From spring till winter comes.

Play on, darling children now,
Don't waste a single day;
Soon springtime will come to an end,
So, too, your greatest joy.

Rejoice, make merry, children now,
As long as you are young;
It's only a cat's leap, you know,
From spring till winter comes.