Dødedans i London, Ellesmere-manuskriptet

Indledningen til Lydgate's tekst. Ellesmere-manuskriptet (EL 26 A 13).

Dette er teksten fra manuskriptet Ellesmere (EL 26 A 13). Manuskriptet er en af de såkaldte A-tekster, der indeholder en engelsk oversættelse af alle 67 vers fra den parisiske Danse Macabre. Deltagerne kommer også i samme rækkefølge som i Paris.

John Lydgate har tilføjet fem vers i starten til oversætterens eget forord, to vers til oversætteren i slutningen, og fem ekstra deltagere: prinsesse, abbedisse, nævning, adelsdame og troldmand (en del andre manuskripter har også en kejserinde). I alt 84 vers.

Manuskriptet bruger et bogstav, der ser sådan ud: ȝ. Forhåbentlig er din browser i stand til at vise det. Bogstavet hedder "yogh" og er en blanding af G og Y. Det bruges f.eks. i ȝonge (moderne engelsk: "young"), ȝoure ("your"), briȝt ("bright") og ȝeuen ("given").

Teksten af transskriberet af Florence Warren i bogen "The dance of death : edited from Mss. Ellesmere 26/A.13 and B.M. Lansdowne 699, collated with the other extant Mss" fra 1931.

Som titlen fortæller, er teksten sammenholdt med andre manuskripter fra A-tekst familien, og i en del tilfælde har Warren valgt en anden variant end den, der står i Ellesmere-manuskriptet. Disse afvigelser er markeret med firkantede klammer. Et sådant eksempel har vi allerede i første linie, hvor Warren skriver »O [ȝ]ee folkes«: I dette tilfælde står: »O see folkes« i Ellesmere-manuskriptet (se evt. billedet til højre).

I andre, og sjældnere, tilfælde har Warren besluttet at udelade ord og bogstaver fra Ellesmere-manuskriptet. Disse steder er markerede med †. Det første eksempel er kejseren, som Warren lader slutte med at sige: »have litle† a-vauntage«, selvom Ellesmere-manuskriptet siger »so litle«.



Verba translatoris
O [ȝ]ee folkes / harde herted as a stone
Which to the world / haue al your aduertence
Like as hit sholde / laste euere in oone
Where ys ȝoure witte / where ys ȝoure prouidence
5 To see a-forne the sodeyne / vyolence
Of cruel dethe / that ben so wyse and sage
Whiche sleeth allas / by stroke of pestilence
Bothe ȝonge and olde / of low and hie parage.

Dethe spareth not / low ne hye degre
10 Popes kynges / ne worthi Emperowrs
When thei schyne / moste in felicite
He can abate / the fresshnes of her flowres
Ther briȝt sune clipsen / with hys showres
Make hem plownge / from theire sees lowe
15 Maugre the myght / of al these conquerowres
Fortune hath hem / from her whele [y]throwe.

Considereth this / ȝe folkes that ben wyse
And hit enprenteth / in ȝowre memorialle
Like the exawmple / whiche that at Parise
20 I fownde depicte / ones on a walle
Ful notabely / as I reherce shal
Ther of frensshe clerkes / tak[yng] acqueyntaunce
I toke on me / to translaten al
Owte of the frensshe / Macabrees daunce.

25 BI whos a-vyse / and cownseille atte leste
Thurh her sterynge / and her mocioune
I obeyed / vnto her requeste
Ther of to make / a pleyne translacioun
In Inglisshe tunge / of entencioun
30 That prowde folkes whiche that ben stoute & bolde
As in a myrrowre / to-forn yn her reasoun
Her owgly fyne / may clierli ther be-holde.

By exaumple / that thei yn her ententis
A-mende her life / in eueri maner age
35 The whiche daunce / at seint Innocentis
Portreied is / with al the surplu[s]age
To schewe this worlde / is but a pilgrimage
Ȝeuen vn-to vs / owre lyues to correcte
And to declare / the fyne of owre passage
40 Ryght a-noon / my stile I wille directe.



Verba Auctoris
O creatures ȝe / that ben resonable
The life desiringe / whiche is eternal
Ȝe mai sene here / doctryne ful notable
Ȝowre life to lede / whiche that ys mortal
45 Ther bi to lerne / in [e]special
How ȝe schulle trace the daunce of machabre
To man and woman / yliche natural
For dethe ne spareth / hye ne lowe degre.

In this myrrow[r]e / eueri wight mai fynde
50 That hym behoueth / to go vpon this daunce
Who gothe to-forne / or who schal go be-hynde
All dependeth / in goddes ordynaunce
Where-fore eche man / lowely take his chaunce
Deth spareth not / pore ne blode royal
55 Eche man ther-fore / haue yn remembraunce
Of oo matier / god hathe forged al.

Døden til paven
Døden til paven

Døden til paven

Dethe to the Pope
O ȝe that ben sette / moste hye In dygnite
Of al estatis / in erthe spiritual
And liche as Petur / had the souerente
60 Ouer the churche / and states temporal
Vp-on this daunce / [ȝe] firste begyn shal
As moste worthi lorde / and gouernowre
For al the worschip / of ȝowre astate papal
And of lordschip / to god is the honowre.


The Pope answereth
65 FIrst me be-houeth / this daunce for to lede
Whiche sate yn erthe / hyest yn my see
The state ful parilous / who so taketh hede
To occupie / Petirs dignitie
But for al that / deth I mai not flee
70 On his daunce / with other for to trace
For whiche al honoure / who prudentely can see
Is litel worthe / that doth soo sone pace.

Døden til kejseren

Dethe to the Emperowre
SIr Emperowre / lorde of al the grounde
Soueren Prince / ande hyest of noblesse
75 Ȝe most forsake / of golde ȝowre appil rounde
Sceptre and swerde / & al ȝowre hie prouesse
Be-hinde leue / ȝowre tresowre & richesse
And with other / to my daunce obeie
Aȝens my myght / is worth noon hardynesse
80 Adames children / alle thei mosten deie.


The Emperowre answereth
I not to whom / that I mai appele
Towchyng dethe / whiche dothe me so constreyne
Ther is no geyne / to helpe my quarele
But spade & picoys / my graue to atteyne
85 A simple shete / ther is no more to seyne
To wrappe yn / my bodi and visage
Ther-vp-on sore / I may compleyne
That lordes grete / have litle† a-vauntage.

Døden til kardinalen
Døden til kardinalen

Døden til kardinalen

Dethe to the Cardynall
Ye ben a-basshed / hit semeth and yn drede
90 Sire Cardynal / hit sheweth be ȝowre chere
But yit for-thi / ȝe folow shul yn dede
With other folke / my daunce for to lere
Ȝowre grete a-rai / al shal be-leue here
Ȝowre hatte of rede / ȝowre vesture of grete coste
95 All these thinges / rekened well I-fere
In grete honowre / gode avise is loste.


The Cardynal answereth
I haue grete cause / certis this is no faile
To be a-basshed / and gretli drede me
Sithen dethe is come / me sodeynli to assaile
100 That I shal neuer / here after clothed be
In gris ner hermyn / like to my degre
Mi hatte of rede / leve eke yn distresse
Bi whiche I haue / [lerned] wel and se
How that al ioye / endeth yn heuynesse.

Døden til kongen

Dethe to the Kynge
105 O noble Kynge / moste worthi of renown
Come forth a-noon / for al ȝowre worthinesse
That somme-tyme had / a-bowte yow envroun
Grete [r]ialte / and passynge hye noblesse
But right a-noon / al ȝowre grete hyenesse
110 Sool fro ȝowre men / yn haste ȝe schul hit lete
Who most haboundeth / here yn grete richesse
Shal bere with him / but a sengle shete.


The Kynge answereth
I haue not lerned / here-a-forne to daunce
No daunce in sothe / of fotynge so sauage
115 Where-fore I see / be clere demonstraunce
What pride is worth / force or hye lynage
Deth al fordoth / this is his vsage
Grete and smale / that yn this worlde soiourne
Who is moste meke / I holde he is moste sage
120 For [w]e shalle al / to dede asshes turne.

Døden til patriarken
Døden til patriarken

Døden til patriarken

Dethe to the Patriarke.
Sire Patriark / al ȝowre humble chere
Ne quyte ȝow not / ne ȝowre humylite
Ȝowre dowble cros / of golde & stones clere
Ȝowre power hole / and al ȝowre dignyte
125 Somme other shal / of verrei equyte
Possede a-noon / as I reherce can
Trusteth neuere / that ȝe shul pope be
For foli hope / deceyueth many a man.


The Patriark answereth
Worldli honowre / grete tresowre and richesse
130 Haue me deceyued / sothfastli in dede
Myne olde Joies / ben turned to tristesse
What vaileth hit / suche tresowr to possede
Hi[e] clymbyng vp / [a f]alle hathe for his mede
Grete estates folke / wasten owte of nombre
135 Who mounteth hye / hit is sure & no drede
Grete burdoun / dothe hym ofte encombre.

Døden til connétablen

Dethe to the Constable
Hit is my right / to reste & yow constrayn
With vs to daunce / my maiester sire Conestable
For more stronge / than euer was Charlemayn
140 Dethe hathe a-forced / & more worshipable
For hardynesse [n]e knyȝthode / this is no fable
Ne stronge armoure / of plates ne of maile
What geyneth armes / of folkes most notable
Whan cruel deth / luste hem to assaile.


The Constable answereth
145 Mi purpose was / & hole entencioun
To assaille † castelles / and myȝty [forteresses]
And brynge folke / vn-to subieccioun
To seke honowre / fame & grete richesses
But I se welle / that alle wordli prowesses
150 Deth can a-bate / whiche is a grete despite
To hym al-on sorowe / & eke swetenesse[s]
For aȝeyne deth / is founden no respite.

Døden til ærkebiskoppen
Døden til ærkebiskoppen

Døden til ærkebiskoppen

Dethe to the Archebisshop
Sire archebisshop / whi do ȝe ȝow with-drawe
So frowardli / as hit were bi disdeyne
155 Ȝe moste a-proche / to my mortal lawe
Hit to contrarie / hit were not but yn veyne
For dai be dai / ther is none other geyne
Deth at honde / pursueth eueri coost
Preste & dette / mote be ȝolde a-ȝeyne
160 And atte oo day / men counten with her hooste.


The Archebisshop answereth
Alas I wote not / what partie for to fle
For drede of dethe / I haue so grete distresse
To a-scape his myght / I can no refute se
That who so knewe / his constreynt & duresse
165 He wolde take reasoun / to maistresse
A-dewe my tresowr / my pompe & pride al-so
Mi peynted chambres / my porte & my fresshnesse
For thynge that behoueth / nedes mote be do.

Døden til ridderen/baronen

Dethe to the Baroun
Ȝe that amonge / lordes and barouns
170 Hau had so longe / worship & renoun
Forȝete ȝowre trumpettes / & yowre clariowns
This is no dreme / ne symulacioun
Somme-tyme ȝowre custome / & entencioun
Was with ladies / to daunce yn the shade
175 But ofte hit happeth / In conclusioun
That oo man breketh / that another made.


The Baroun or the knyȝt answereth
Ful ofte sithe / I haue ben auctorised
To hye Emprises / & thynges of grete fame
Of hie and lowe / my thanke also deuysed
180 Cherisshed with ladies / and wymmen hye of [n]ame
Ne neuer on me / was putte no defame
In lordes courte / whiche that was notable
But dethes stroke / hath made me so lame
Under heuene in erthe / is no thynge stable.

Døden til prinsessen

Dethe to the Lady of gret astate
185 Come forth a-noon / my lady & Princesse
Ȝe most al-so / go vp-on this daunce
Nowt mai a-vaile / ȝowre grete straungenesse
Nowther ȝowre beaute / ne ȝowre grete plesaunce
Ȝowre riche a-rai / ne ȝowre daliaunce
190 That somme-tyme cowde / so many holde on honde
In loue / for al ȝowre dowble variaunce
Ȝe mote as now / this foting vnderstonde.


The Lady answereth
Allas I see / ther is noon other bote
Dethe hathe yn erthe / no ladi ne maiestresse
195 And on his daunce / ȝitte moste I nedes fote
For ther [n]is quene / Countesse ne duchesse
Flouryng in beaute / ne yn feirnesse
That she of dethe / mote dethes trace sewe
For to ȝowre beaute / & counterfete fresshnesse
200 Owre rympled age / seithe farewel adiewe.

Døden til biskoppen
Døden til biskoppen

Døden til biskoppen

Dethe to the Bysshoppe
Mi lorde Sire Bisshop / with ȝowre mitre & crose
For al ȝowre riches / sotheli I ensure
For al ȝowre tresowre / so longe kepte in clos
Ȝowre worldli godes / & godes of nature
205 And of ȝowre shepe / the gostli dredeful cure
With charge comytted / to ȝowre † prelacie
For to accounte / ȝe shul be browȝt to lure
No wight is sure / that clymbeth ouer hye.


The Bysshop answereth
Mi herte trewly / is nowether glad ne meri
210 Of sodeyne tidinges / whiche that ȝe bringe
Mi festes turned / in to simple ferie
That for discomforte / me liste no thyng synge
The worlde contrarie / now to me In werkynge
That al folkes / can so disherite
215 He that al with-halte / allas atte owre partynge
And al shal passe / safe oneli owre merite.

Døden til adelsmanden

Dethe to the Squyere
Come † forthe Sire Squyer / right fressh of ȝowre arai
That can of daunces / al the newe gyse
Thowȝ ȝe bare armes / fressh horsed ȝisterdai
220 With spere & shelde / atte ȝowre vncouthe deuyse
And t[o]ke on ȝow / so many hye Emprise
Daunceth with vs / hit wille no better be
Ther is no sokoure / in no maner wise
For no man mai / fro dethes stroke fle.


The Squyere answereth
225 Sitthen that dethe / me holdeth in his lace
Ȝitte shal I speke / oo worde or I pace
Adieu al myrthe / adieu [now ] al solace
Adieu my ladyes / somme-tyme so fressh of face
Adieu beaute / plesaun[ce] & solace
230 Of dethes chaunge / eueri dai is pryme
Thynketh [o]n ȝowre sowles / or that deth manace
For al shal rote / & no man wote what tyme.

Døden til abbeden
Døden til abbeden

Døden til abbeden

Dethe to the Abbott
Come forthe Sire Abbot / with ȝowre brode hatte
[B]e[e]th not abasshed † / though ȝe haue right
235 Grete is ȝowre hede / ȝowr beli large & fatte
Ȝe mote come daunce / thowȝ ȝe be nothing light
Leve[th] ȝowre abbei / to somme other wight
Ȝowre eire [is] of age / ȝowre state to occupie
Who that is fattest / I haue hym be-hight
240 In his graue / shal sonnest putrefie.


The abbot answereth
Of thi [th]retis / haue I noon envie
That I shal now leue al gouernaunce
But that I shal / as a cloistre[r] deie
This dothe to me / passynge grete greuaunce
245 Mi liberte nor my grete habundaunce
What mai a-vaile / in eny maner wyse
Ȝitte axe I merci / with hertli repentaunce
Though yn diynge / to late men hem a-vise.

Døden til abbedissen

Dethe to the Abbesse
And ȝe my ladi / Jentel dame abbesse
250 With ȝowre mantels furred large & wide
Ȝowre veile ȝowre wimple / passyng of grete richesse
And beddes softe / ȝe mote now leyne a-side
For to this daunce / I shal be ȝowre gide
Thowgh ȝe be tender / & borne of Jentille blode
255 While that ȝe lyve / for ȝowre selfe prouyde
For after deth / no man hathe no gode.


The Abbesse answereth
Allas that dethe / hathe thus for me ordeyned
That yn no wise / I mai hit not declyne
Thowgh hit so be / ful ofte I haue constreyned
260 Breste & throte / my notes owte to twyne
Mi chekes rounde / vernysshed for to shyne
Ungirte ful ofte / to walke atte large
Thus cruel dethe / dothe al estates fyne
Who hath no ship / mote rowe yn bote or barge.

Døden til fogeden

Dethe to the Baylly
265 Come forthe Sire Bailli / that knewe al the gise
Bi ȝowre office of trewthe / & rightwisnesse
Ȝe moste come / to a newe assise
Extorcions & wronges / to redresse
Ȝe ben sommened / as lawe bitte expresse
270 To ȝefe a-comptes / the Juge wille ȝow charge
Whiche hathe ordeyned / to exclude al falsnesse
That eueri man / schal bere his owne charge.


The Baylly answereth
O thou lorde god / this is an harde Journe
To whiche a-forne / I toke but litel hede
275 Mi chaun[c]e is turned / & that forthynketh me
Some-tyme with Juges / what me liste to spede
Lai yn my myȝte / be favoure or for mede
But sitthen ther is / no rescuse be bataile
I holde hym wise / that coude see yn dede
280 Aȝen dethe / that noon appele mai vaile.

Døden til astrologen
Døden til astrologen

Døden til astrologen

Dethe to the Astronomere
Come forthe maister / that loken vp so ferre
With instrumentis / of astronomy
To take the grees / & hight of eueri sterre
What mai a-vaile / al ȝowre astrologie
285 Sith [of] Adam / alle the genelegye
Made firste of god / to walke vp-on the grounde
Dethe dothe a-reste / thus seieth theologie
And al schal dye / for an appil rounde.


The Astronomere an(s)wereth
For al my crafte / cunnynge or science
290 I can not fynde / no provisioun
Ne yn the sterres / serche owte no defence
Be domefyinge / nor calculacioun
Saue finyalli / in conclusioun
For to discryue / owre cunnynge euery dele
295 Ther is no more / be sentence of resoun
Who lyueth a-right / mote nedes dye wele.

Døden til borgeren

Dethe to the Burgeys
Sire Burgeys / what do ȝe lenger tarie
For al ȝowre aver / & ȝowre grete richesse
Thowgh ȝe be straunge / deynous & contrarie
300 To this daunce / ȝe mote ȝow nedes dresse
For ȝowre tresoure / plente & largesse
From other hit came / & shal vn-to straungeres
He is a fole / that yn soche besynesse
Wote not for hom / he stuffeth his garneres.


The Burgeys answereth
305 Certes to me / hit is grete displesauns
To leue al this / & mai hit not assure
Howses rentes / tresoure & substauns
Dethe al fordothe / suche is his nature
There-fore / wise is no creature
310 That sette [h]is herte / on gode that mote disseuere
The worlde hit lente / & he wille hit recure
And w[h]o moste hathe / [l]othest dieth euer.

Døden til kannikken
Døden til kannikken

Døden til kannikken

Dethe to the Chanoun
And ȝe Sire Chanoun / with many grete prebende
Ȝe mai no lenger / haue distribucioun
315 Of golde & siluer / largeli to dispende
For ther is now / no consolacioun
But daunce with vs / for al ȝowre hye renoun
For ȝe of dethe / stonde vp on the brinke
Ȝe mai ther of / haue no dilacioun
320 Dethe cometh ai / when men leste on hym thenke.


The Chanoun answereth
Mi benefices / with many a personage
God wote ful lite / mai me now comforte
Dethe hathe of me / so grete a-vantage
Al my richesse / mai me not disporte
325 Amys o[f] gris / thei wille aȝen resorte
Vnto the worlde / surplus & prebende
Al is veyneglorie / treuli to reporte
To dei welle / eche man shulde entende.

Døden til købmanden

Dethe to the Marchaunde
Ȝe riche marchaunt / ȝe mote loke hiderwarde
330 That passed haue / ful many dyuerse londe
On hors on fote / hauyng moste rewarde
To lucre & wynnynge / as I vndurstonde
But now to daunce / ȝe mote ȝeue me ȝowre honde
For al ȝowre laboure / ful litel a-vaileth now
335 A-dieu veyneglorie / bothe of fre and bonde
No[ne] more coueite / than thei that haue ynow.


The Marchaunte answereth
Be many an hille / and many [a] straunge vale
I haue trauailed / with my marchaundise
Ouer the see / do carye many a bale
340 To sundri Iles / mo than I can deuyse
Myn herte inwarde / ai frette with couetise
But al for nowght / now dethe [dothe] me constreyne
Be whiche I seie / be recorde of the wise
Who al embraceth / litel schal restreyne.

Døden til karteuseren
Døden til karteuseren

Døden til karteuseren

Dethe to the Chartereux
345 Gefe me ȝowre honde / with chekes dede & pale
Caused of wacche / & longe abstinence
Sire Chartereux / & ȝowre selfe a-vale
Vn-to this daunce / with humble pacience
To stryue aȝen / mai be no resistence
350 Lenger to lyve / sette not ȝowre memorie
Thowgh I be lothsome / as yn apparence
Above al men / deth hath the victorie.


The Chartereux answereth
Vn to the worlde / I was dede longe a-gon
Be my ordre / and my professioun
355 Thowgh eueri man / be he neuer so stronge
Dredeth to dye / be kyndeli mocioun
After his flessheli / Inclynacioun
But plese hit to god / my sowle for to borowe
From fendes myȝt / & fro dampnacioun
360 Somme ben to dai / that shul not be to morowe.

Døden til sergenten

Dethe to the Sergeaunt
Come forthe Sire Sergeaunt / with ȝowr stateli mace
Make no defence / ne no rebellioun
Not may availe / to grucche in this cace
Thowgh ȝe be deynous / of condicioun
365 For nowther peele / ne proteccioun
Mai ȝow fraunchise / to do nature wronge
For ther is noon / so sturdi Champioun
Thowgh he be myȝti / a-nother is as stronge.


The Sergeant answereth
How dar this dethe / sette on me a-reste
370 That am the kynges / chosen officere
Whiche ȝesterdai / bothe este & weste
Myn office dede / ful surquedous of chere
But now this dai / I am a-rested here
And mai not fle / thowgh I had hit sworne
375 Eche man is lothe / to dye ferre and nere
That hath not lerned / for to dye a-forne.

Døden til munken
Døden til munken

Døden til munken

Dethe to the Monk
Sire monke also / with ȝowre blake abite
Ȝe mai no lenger / holde here soioure
Ther is no thinge / that mai ȝow here respite
380 Aȝeyn my myght / ȝow for to do socoure
Ȝe mote accounte / towchyng ȝowre laboure
How ȝe haue spente hit / in dede worde & thowght
To erthe and asshes / turneth eueri floure
The life of man / is but a thynge of nowght.


The Monk answereth
385 I had leuere / in [the] cloystre be
Atte my boke / and studie my seruice
Whiche is a place / contemplatif to se
But I haue spente / my life in many vise
Liche as a fole / dissolute and nyce
390 God of his merci / graunte me repentaunce
Be chere owtewarde / harde to deuyce
Al ben not meri / whiche that men seen daunce.

Døden til ågerkarlen

Dethe to the Vsurere
Thow vserere loke vp & be-holde
Un to wynnynge / thow settest al thi peyne
395 Whose couetise / wexeth neuer colde
Thi gredi thruste / so sore the dothe constreyne
But thow shalt neuer / thi desire atteyne
Suche an etik / thyn herte frete shal
That but of pite / God his honde refreyne
400 Oo parilous stroke / shal make the lese al.


The Vsurere answereth
Now me behoueth / sodeynly to dey
Whiche is to me / grete peyne & grete greuaunce
Socowre to fynde / I see no maner weie
Of golde ne siluer / be no cheuisshaunce
405 Dethe thrugh his haste / a-bitte no puruiaunce
Of folkes blynde / that can not loke welle
Ful ofte happeth / be kynde or fatal chaunce
Somme haue feyre yȝen / that seen neuer adele.

Den fattige mand

Usure to god / is ful grete offence
410 And in his sight / a grete abusioun
The pore borweth / par cas for Indigence
The riche lent / be fals collucioun
Onli for lucre / in his entencioun
Dethe shal hem bothe / to accomptes fette
415 To make rekennynge / be computacioun
No man is quytte / that is be-hynde of dette.

Døden til lægen
Døden til lægen

Døden til lægen

Dethe to the Phisician
Maister of phisik / whiche [o]n ȝowre vryne
So loke and gase / & stare a-ȝenne the sunne
For al ȝowre crafte / & studie of medicyne
420 Al the practik / & science that ȝe cunne
Ȝowre lyues cours / so ferforthe ys I-runne
Aȝeyne my myght / ȝowre crafte mai not endure
For al the golde / that ȝe ther-bi haue wonne
Good leche is he / that can hym self recure.


The Phecissian answereth
425 Ful longe a-gon / that I vn-to phesike
Sette my witte / and my diligence
In speculatif / & also in practike
To gete a name / thurgh myn excellence
To fynde oute / a-ȝens pestilence
430 Preseruatifes / to staunche hit & to fyne
But I dar saie / shortli in sentence
A-ȝens dethe / is worth no medicyne.

Døden til frieren

Dethe to the amerous Squyere
Ȝe that be Jentel / so fresshe & amerous
Of ȝeres ȝonge / flowryng in ȝowre grene age
435 Lusti fre of herte / and eke desyrous
Ful of deuyses / and chaunge yn ȝowre corage
Plesaunt of porte / of loke & [of] visage
But al shal turne / in to asshes dede
For al beaute / is but a feynte ymage
440 Whiche steleth a-wai / or folkes can take hede.


The Squyer answereth
Allas allas / I can now no socoure
A-ȝeyns dethe / for my selfe prouyde
Adieu of ȝowthe / the lusti fressh floure
Adieu veynglorie / [of bewte and of pride]
445 Adieu al seruyse / of the god cupide
Adieu my ladyes / so fresshe so wel be-seyne
For a-ȝeyne dethe / no thynge mai abide
And wyndes grete / gon doune with litel reyne

Døden til adelsdamen

Dethe to the Gentilwoman amerous
Come forthe Maistresse / of ȝeres ȝonge & grene
450 Whiche holde ȝowre self / of beaute souereyne
As feire as ȝe / was sum tyme pollicene
Penelope / and the quene Eleyne
Ȝitte on this daunce / thei wenten bothe tweyne
And so shul ȝe / for al ȝowre straungenesse
455 Though daunger longe / yn loue hathe lad ȝow reyne
A-rested is / ȝowre chaunge of dowblenesse.


The Jentilwoman answereth
O cruel dethe / that sparest noon a-state
To olde and ȝonge / thow arte indefferente
To my beaute / thou haste I-seide checke-mate
460 So hasti is / thi mortal Jugemente
For yn my ȝowthe / this was myn entente
To my seruyce / many a man to a lured
But she is a fole / shortli yn sentemente
That in her beaute / is to moche assured.

Døden til advokaten
Døden til advokaten

Døden til advokaten

Dethe to the man of lawe
465 Sire aduocate / shorte processe for to make
Ȝe mote come plete / a-fore the hye Juge
Many a quarel / ȝe haue vndurtake
And for lucre / to do folke refuge
But my fraunchise / is so large & huge
470 That counceile noon / a-vaile mai but trouth
He skapeth wyseli / of dethe the grete deluge
To-fore the dome / who is not teynte with slouth.


The mon of law answereth
Of right and resoun / be natures lawe
I can [not] put a-ȝen dethe / no defence
475 Ne be no sleyght / me kepe ne with-drawe
For al my witte / and [my] grete prudence
To make appele / from his dredeful sentence
No thyng yn erthe / mai a man preserue
A-ȝeyne his myght / to make † resistence
480 God quyte al men / liche as thei deserue.

Døden til nævningen

Dethe to the Jouroure
Maister ioroure / whiche that atte assise
And atte shires / questes doste embrace
Depart[ist] londe / like to thy deuyse
And who moste ȝaf / moste stode yn thi grace
485 The pore man loste / londe and place
For golde thow / [cow]dest / folke disherite
But now lete see / with thi teynte face
To-fore the Juge / howe thow cannest the quyte.


The Joroure answereth
Somme tyme I was cleped / yn my Cuntre
490 The belle wedyr / and that was not a lite
Not loued but drad / of hye & lowe degre
For whom me liste / be crafte y coude endite
And hange the trewe / & the thief respite
Al the cuntre / be my worde was lad
495 But y dar sei / shortli for to write
Of my dethe / many a man is glad.

Døden til troubadouren

Dethe to the Mynstralle
O thow Minstral / that cannest so note & pipe
Un-to folkes / for to do plesaunce
By the right honde [anoone] I shal the gripe
500 With these other / to go vp-on my daunce
Ther is no scape / nowther a-voydaunce
On no side / to contrarie my sentence
For yn musik / be crafte & accordaunce
Who maister is / shew his science.


The Mynstral answereth
505 This newe daunce / is to me so straunge
Wonder dyuerse / and passyngli contrarie
The dredful fotyng / dothe so ofte chaunge
And the mesures / so ofte sithes varie
Whiche now to me / is no thyng necessarie
510 Ȝif hit were so / that I myght asterte
But many a man / ȝif I shal not tarie
Ofte daunceth / but no thynge of herte.

Døden til troldmanden

Dethe to the Tregetoure
Maister Jon Rikelle / some tyme tregetowre
Of nobille harry / kynge of Ingelonde
515 And of Fraunce / the myghti Conquerowre
For alle the sleightes / and turnyng of thyn honde
Thow moste come nere / this daunce to vndurstonde
Nowȝt mai a-vaile / alle thi conclusiouns
For dethe shortli / nowther on see ne londe
520 Is not deceyued / be noon illusiouns.


The tregetour answereth
What mai a-vaile / Maugik natural
Or any crafte / shewed be apparence
Or cours of sterres / aboue celestial
Or of the heuene / al the Influence
525 A-ȝens dethe / to stonde atte defence
Legerdemeyn / now helpeth me right nowght
Fare welle my crafte / and al soche sapience
For dethe mo maistries / ȝitte than y hathe wrowght.

Døden til sognepræsten
Døden til sognepræsten

Døden til sognepræsten

Dethe to the Persoun
O Sire Curate / that ben here now present
530 That had / ȝowre worldli Inclynacioun
Ȝowre herte entier / ȝowre study & entent
Moste on ȝowre tithes / & oblacioun
Whiche shulde haue ben / of conuersacioun
Mirroure vn-to other / light & exaumplarie
535 Like ȝowre deserte / shal be ȝowre guerdoun
And to eche laboure / due is the salarie.


The Persun answereth
Mawgre my wille / I moste condescende
For dethe assaileth / eueri lifli thynge
Here yn this worlde / who can comprehende
540 His sodeyn stroke / & his vnware comynge
Fare-wel tithes / and fare-wel myn offrynge
I mote go Counte / yn ordre by and by
[And for my shepe] / make a Juste rekenynge
Whom he acquyteth / I holde he is happi.

Døden til bonden

Dethe to the Laborere
545 Thow laborere / whiche yn sorow & peyne
Haste had thi life / in ful grete trauaile
Thow moste eke daunce / & ther fore not disdeyne
For ȝif thow do / hit mai the not a-vaile
And cause whi / that I the assaile
550 Is wonli this / from the to disseuere
The fals worlde / that can so folke faile
He is a fole / that weneth to lyve euere.

Bonden / arbejderen

The Laborere answereth
I haue wisshed / after dethe ful ofte
Al-be that I wolde / haue fled hym nowe
555 I had leuere / to haue leyne vnsofte
In wynde & reyne / & haue gon atte plowe
With spade & pikeys / and labored for my prowe
Dolue & diched / & atte Carte goon
For I mai sey / & telle playnli howe
560 In this worlde / here ther is reste noon.

Døden til franciskaneren
Døden til franciskaneren

Døden til franciskaneren

Dethe to the Frere menour
Sire Cordelere / to ȝow my hande is rawght
To this daunce / ȝow to conueie ande lede
Whiche yn ȝowre prechynge / hau ful ofte tawght
How [þat] I am / moste gastful for to drede
565 Al-be that folke / take ther of none hede
Ȝitte is ther noon / so stronge ne so hardi
But dethe dar reste / and lette for no mede
For dethe eche owre / is present & redy.


The Frere answereth
What mai this be / that yn this world no man
570 Here to a-bide / mai haue no seuerte
Strengh richesse / ne what so that he can
Wordly wisdom / al is but vanyte
In grete astate / ne yn pouerte
Is no thynge founde / that mai fro dethe defende
575 For whiche I sei / to hye & lowe degre
Wise is that synner / that dothe his lif a-mende.

Døden til barnet

Dethe to the Chylde
Litel Enfaunt / that were but late borne
Schape yn this worlde / to haue no plesaunce
Thow moste with other / that gon here to forne
580 Be lad yn haste / be fatal ordynaunce
Lerne of newe / to go on my daunce
Ther mai non age / a-scape yn sothe ther fro
Late eueri wight / haue this yn remembraunce
Who lengest leueth / moste shal suffre wo.


The Chylde answereth
585 A a a / a worde I can not speke
I am so ȝonge / I was bore ȝisterdai
Dethe is so hasti / on me to be wreke
And liste no lenger / to make no delai
I cam but now / and now I go my wai
590 Of me no more / no tale shal be tolde
The wille of god / no man with-stonde mai
As sone dyeth / a ȝonge man as an olde.

Døden til degnen
Døden til degnen

Døden til degnen

Dethe to the Clerke
O ȝe [Sir] Clerke suppose ȝe to be fre
Fro my daunce / or ȝowre selfe defende
595 That wende haue risen / vn-to hye degre
Of benefices / or somme grete prebende
Who clymbeth hyest / somme-tyme shal dessende
Lete no man grucche / a-ȝens his fortune
But take yn gre / what [euer god] hym sende
600 Whiche punyssheth / al whan tyme is oportune.


The Clerke answereth
Shal I that am / so ȝonge a Clerke now deye
Fro my seruyse / and haue no bette guerdoun
Is there no geyne / ne noon better weye
No sure fraunchise / ne proteccioun
605 Dethe maketh al weie / a short conclusioun
To late ware / whan men ben on the brynke
The worlde shal faile / and al possessioun
For moche faileth / of thynge that foles thynke.

Døden til eremitten

Dethe to the Ermyte
Ȝe that haue lyued / longe yn wildernesse
610 And there contynued / longe yn abstynence
Atte laste ȝitte / ȝe mote ȝow dresse
Of my daunce / to haue experience
For ther-aȝeyne / is no resistence
Take now leue / of thyn Ermytage
615 Where-fore eche man / aduerte this sentence
That this life here / is no sure Eritage.


The Ermyte answereth
LIfe yn deserte / callid solitarie
Mai a-ȝeyne dethe / haue respite noon ne space
Atte vnsette owre / his comyng dothe not tarie
620 And for my parte / welcome be goddes grace
Thankyng hym / with humble chere & face
Of al his ȝiftes / and grete habundaunce
Fynalli affermyng / yn this place
No man is riche / that lacketh suffisaunce.


Dethe a-ȝen to the Ermyte
625 That is welle seyde / & thus shulde euery wight
Thanke his god / and al his wittes dresse
To loue and drede hym / with al his herte & myght
Setth dethe to a-scape / mai be no sekernesse
As men deserue / god quytte of rightwisnesse
630 To riche and pore / vp-on eueri side
A better lessoun / ther can no Clerke expresse
Than til to morowe / is no man sure to a-bide.

Den døde konge
Den døde konge

Den døde konge

The kynge liggyng dede & eten with wormes
Ȝe folke that loken / vpon this purtrature
Beholdyng here / alle the estates daunce
635 Seeth what ȝe ben / & what is ȝowre nature
Mete vnto wormes / not elles yn substaunce
And haue this myrroure / euer yn remembraunce
[H]ow I lye here / som-tyme crowned kynge
To al estates / a trewe resemblaunce
640 That wormes fode / is fyne of owre lyuynge.


Machabre the Doctoure
Man is nowght elles / platli for to thenke
But as a wynde / whiche is transitorie
Passyng ay forthe / whether he wake or wynke
Towarde this daunce / haue this yn memorie
645 Remembr[ing]e ay / ther is [no] bette victory
In this life here / than fle synne atte leste
Than shul ȝe reigne / yn Paradyse with glorie
Happi is he / that maketh yn heuene his feste.

Ȝitte ther be folke / mo than sixe or seuene
650 Reckeles of life / yn many maner wyse
Like as ther were / helle noon ne heuene
Suche fals errowre / lete eueri man despice
For holi seyntes / & olde Clerkes wise
Writen contrarie / her falsnes to deface
655 To lyue welle / take this for beste Emprise
Is moche worthe / when men shul hennes pace.



Lenvoye de translatoure
O ȝe my lordes / and maistres al in fere
Of a-venture / that shal this daunce [r]ede
Loweli I preye / with al myn herte entere
660 To correcte / where as ȝe see nede
For nowght elles / I aske for my mede
But godeli supporte / of this translacioun
And with fauowre / to soupewaile drede
Benyngneli / in ȝowre correccioun.

665 Owte of the frensshe / I drowe hit of entent
Not worde be worde / but folwyng the substaunce
And fro Paris / to Inglond hit sent
Oneli of purpose / ȝow to do plesaunce
Rude of langage / y was not borne yn fraunce
670 Haue me excused / my name is Jon Lidgate
Of her tunge / I haue no suffisaunce
Her corious metris / In Inglissh to translate.