Lbeck's Dance of Death

The Bishop

The bishop

De Bischop

Pax domini nostri unde sine grote barmherticheit
De si mi unde to allen tiden bereit,
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 allerdings vor den dt vorvrt.
Wente nu kumt mi dat to sinne, dat Paulus heft geschreven
To sinem junger Timetheo, wo ein recht bischop schal leven.(1)
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.
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,
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.

Death on the lion

De doet

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,
Diner ppheit hefstu ein qut exempel gemaket.
Drie sprak Jesus to sunte Peter: make di bereit,
Hefstu mi lf, so weide mine cristenheit.(2)
Bi sunte Peter wert uns vornomen
Alle, de to jennigem state sin gekomen.
Den heft Cristus geboden sine schpken to weiden,
Up dat se nemant moge vordervem 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;
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.
De werdigen prelaten, de in Got ere undersaten lf hebben unde k dat recht,
Geziret mit dogeden, van den is dit nicht gesecht.

The bishop Hans Tausens answer to the bishop of Odense 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.

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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