Donna Donna

Aaron Zeitlin

On a wagon bound for market,
There's a calf with a mournful eye.
High above him there's a swallow,
Winging swiftly through the sky.

How the winds are laughing!
They laugh with all their might!
Laugh and laugh the whole day through,
And half the summer's night.

Donna, Donna, Donna, Donna...
Donna Donna Donna Down
Donna, Donna, Donna, Donna...
Donna Donna Donna Down

"Stop complaining," said the farmer,
"Who told you a calf to be?
Why don't you have wings to fly with
Like the swallow so proud and free?"

Calves are easily bound and slaughtered,
Never knowing the reason why.
But whoever treasures freedom,
Like the swallow has learned to fly.

Text: Aaron Zeitlin [Ahron Tzeitlin] (1889 - 1973)
Music: Shalom Secunda [Sholom Secunda] (1894 - 1974)
Yiddish song for the theater piece "Esterke" (1940/41)
English translation from Yiddish: Arthur Kevess and Teddi Schwartz (1956)
YouTube: Joan Baez, and here; Vietnamese.

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