Ezekiel, A Beautiful New Song, Hamburg, 1652, edited by David de Castro (Amsterdam, 1675)

Source Description

In 1675, in Amsterdam, the Sephardic printer David de Castro Tartas published ”איין שין נייא ליד / וואש צו האמבורג איז גישעהן“ [“Ain sche̍n neiʼ lid / waś zu Hamburg is gėschehe̍n,” “A beautyful song / what happened in Hamburg”] a western Yiddish song pamphlet in octavo format with four folio (or eight front-to-back) pages including the title page. There are two extant copies of this pamphlet known today: one in the Bodleian Library (University of Oxford) and one in the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana (Amsterdam). Pamphlets of this size were quite common in the early modern period; they were inexpensive and could thus reach a wider audience. Amsterdam was a center for the publication of western Yiddish literature, and works printed here were distributed throughout the sphere of the Ashkenazim. The author of the song identifies himself as a certain Ezekiel (Jeḥaskʼel), the son of a professional scribe. Nothing further is known about his life; perhaps he was a resident of Amsterdam. The song text suggests that this Ezekiel was well informed about the situation of the Jews in Hamburg and Altona, but whether his information was the result of personal experience during a stay there or merely second-hand information is not clear. The author of this “historical song” intended the text to be sung to the melody of “Einstmals, da ich Lust bekam ,” a popular 17th century song.
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Recommended Citation

Ezekiel, A Beautiful New Song, Hamburg, 1652, edited by David de Castro (Amsterdam, 1675) (translated by Ellen Yutzy Glebe), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-103.en.v1> [November 13, 2018].