Lbeck's Dance of Death

The Bishop

The bishop

    De bisschop
Pax domini nostri vnde sine grote barmherticheyt
De sy my vnde to allen tyden bereyt:
Wente alse my duncket by brecklicheyt myner naturen
So en wyl myn leuent nicht lange duren
Al byn ik eyn bysschop van godes wegen ok wol gelerd
So byn ick doch alder dinges vor den doet vorverd
Wente nu kumpt my dat to synne dat paulus heft gheschreuen
To sinem iunger thimotheo wo eyn recht bisschop schal leuen.(1)
Wat god to desser tyd nu wyl van my maken:
Wente ik vrochte my schuldich an velen saken:
Krich vnde orlich is hir begynnet in mynem sticht
Ick wolde dat id al in vreden were wol entricht
Ik vrochte de duuel heft sodaen twedracht gheschapen:
Wente de meyste krych manckt den cristen kumpt her van den papen
So seggen de leyen wente id is leyder meyst also
De capittelsheren reden my ok leyder alle hir to
Dat ik krich scholde voren in sodaner vpsate
Dat id scholde komen my vnde dem helen stichte to bate
Hir vmme leyder werd hir nu gherouet vnde ghebrant
Vnde mannich arm vnschuldich minsche gheschant
Cristus de vor my starf vnde is wedder van dode vpghestan
De see my to desser stunde gnedichliken an

Death on the lion

    De doet
Her bisschop du werest ghekoren to vorende prelatur
Nu klaget ouer dy beyde borger vnde bur:
Krich vnde orlich hefstu ghehad in dynem stichte
Dar synt geworden weysen vnde arme wichte
Van dynem homode vnde ghiricheit heft syk dyt ghesaket
Dyner papheyt hefstu eyn quaet exempel gemaket
Drye sprak ihesus to sunte peter make dy bereyt
Hefstu my leef so weyde myne cristenheit(2)
By sunte peter wert vns vornomen
Alle de to iennighem state syn gekomen
Den heft cristus gheboden sine schapken to weyden
Up dat se nemant moghe vorderuen vnde vorleyden
Vele prelaten achten de wulle. dat is ghenuth. van eren schapken ghemeyne:
Wo se vorder an sele. an lyue varen achten se kleyne
Sus werden de schape cristi van en gheplucket. ghemelket. gheslacht vnde nicht gheweydet:
Wente de here ihesus dyt in dem ewangelio so nicht en bedet.
De schapken de du van godes wegen scholdest voeden vnde bewaren
Synt vorbystert vnde eyn deel ouel ghevaren.
Got wyl van dy esschen dit dure pand
Bystu ok vnschuldich so is dyn leuent wol bewant
De werdighen prelaten de in god ere vndersaten leef hebben vnde ok dat recht
Ghetziret myt dogheden van den is dyt nicht ghesecht.

Hans Tausens answer to the bishop of Odense The bishop Death to the bishop Click the small pictures to see the original pages.

Oddly, the Mohnkopf-printery had one more picture of the bishop - complete with wall and hilly landscape.

According to Timothy Sodmann in Dodendantz p. 53, the Mohnkopf-printery used the woodcut in Euangelia from 1492 and Speygel der leyen from 1496, where it was supposed to depict the holy Augustin.

This is partially contradicted by Albert Schramm who doesn't include this woodcut in his Der Bilderschmuck der Frhdrucke volume 12, and who on page 6 claims that the Lbeckian dances of death includes an archbishop: "[...] ebenso die Bilder des Papstes, des Cardinals, des Erzbischofs und Bischofs. Letzere stammen aus dem Totentanz;".

At any rate, Hans Vingaard used the picture in 1529 in the Danish Reformer, Hans Tausen's, answer to the bishop of Odense, where the picture was supposed to resemble the said bishop of Odense. This book was reprinted in 1987 in the book "Fem Reformationsskrifter trykt af Hans Vingaard i Viborg 1528-1530". Click the picture to see the entire page.

Baethcke's transcription

    XV. DE BISCHOF.
Pax domini nostri unde sine grote barmherticheit
De si mi nu unde to allen tiden bereit,
365 Wente alse mi dunket bi breklicheit miner naturen,
So en wil mn levent nicht lange duren.
Al bin ik ein bischop van Godes wegen, k wl gelrt,
So bin ik doch alderdinges vor den dt vorvrt.
Wente nu kumt mi dat to sinne, dat Paulus heft geschreven
370 To sinem junger Timotheo, wo ein recht bischop schal leven.
Wat Got to desser tt nu wil van mi maken
Wente ik vrochte mi schuldich an velen saken.
Krch unde orlich is hr beginnet in minem sticht,
Ik wolde, dat it al in vreden were wl entricht.
375 Ik vrochte, de duvel heft sodn twedracht geschapen,
Wente de meiste krch mankt den cristen kumt hr van den papen.
So seggen de leien; wente it is leider meist also.
De capittelsheren reden mi k leider alle hrto,
Dat ik krch scholde voren in sodaner upsate,
380 Dat it scholde komen mi unde dem helen stichte to bate.
Hrumme leider wert hr nu gerovet unde gebrant
Unde mannich arm unschuldich minsche geschant.
Cristus de vor mi starf unde is wedder van dode upgestn,
De se mi to desser stunde gnedichliken an.

    XVI. DE DOT.
385 Her bischop, du werest gekoren to vorende prelatr;
Nu klaget over di beide borger unde br.
Krch unde orlich hefstu gehat in dinem stichte,
Dr sint geworden weisen unde arme wichte.
Van dinem homode unde giricheit heft sik dit gesaket,
390 Diner ppheit hefstu ein qut exempel gemaket.
Drie sprak Jesus to sunte Peter: make di bereit,
Hefstu du mi lf, so weide mine cristenheit.
Bi sunte Peter wert uns vornomen
Alle, de to jennigem state sin gekomen.
395 Den heft Cristus geboden sine schpken to weiden,
Up dat se nemant moge vorderven unde vorleiden.
Vele prelaten achten de wulle, dat is genut, van eren schpken gemeine;
Wo se vorder an sele, an live varen, achten se kleine.
Sus werden de schape Cristi van en geplucket, gemelket, geslacht unde nicht geweidet;
400 Wente de here Jesus in dem ewangelio so nicht en bedet.
De schpken, de du van Godes wegen scholdest voden unde bewaren,
Sint vorbstert unde ein dl ovel gevaren;
Got wil van di eschen dit dure pant.
Bistu k unschuldich, so is dn levent wl bewant.
405 De werdigen prelaten, de in got ere undersaten lf hebben unde k dat recht,
Geziret mit dogeden, van den is dit nicht gesecht.

Footnotes: (1) (2)

St. Paul's 1st letter to Timothy 3, 2-7: "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; [...]

Notice, that the German author assumes that the reader is familiar with the contents of the Pauline epistles. In the Danish translation the translator isn't so sure about the Bible knowledge of his readership - and he hastens to explain what is was that Paulus wrote to Timothy: "How every bishop ought to be / blameless, and always to teach God's word".

Christ asked Saint Peter three times to watch his congregation in John 21, 15-17: So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

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