Lbeck's Dance of Death

Des dodes dantz, Chapter 68

Wo mannich syne sele dar mede vordomet:
Wente de syk hir suluen alsus vorhoget
De wert nedder to der hellen gheboget
Myt den duuelen dede dorch den homoet vellen
Van dem hemmel wente nedder to der hellen.

            De doet       Dat lxviii ghesette.

WIlle wy godes hofghesynde werden
So mothe wy manliken vechten vp desser erden
Wente des mynschen leuent is eyne ridderschop
So heft gheschreuen de hilghe duldige iob
De wech de to dem ewighen leuende gheyt
Is ghans smal vnde enge alse in dem hilghen ewangelio gheschreuen steit
De wech to der hellen is breed grod darvor gruwet my sere
Vele mynschen wanderen den sprickt vnse leue here
Vele synt gheesschet wenich vthvorkoren vorwar
Dyt synt harde worde de dar staen gheschreuen openbar
Hir vmme latet iw desse figuren vor oghen staen
Wente in korten tyden mothe gy daran
De stunde vnde de dach is gode allene bekant:(1)
Wente alle dinck heft he in syner hant
Leuet so alse gy gherne willen steruen
So ghift iw god dat hemmelrike to eynem eruen:
Wente de doet sendet iw nenen bref
He kumpt slyken recht so eyn deef(2)
De syner selen salicheyt myt truwen menet
Vnde Gode myt allem vlite denet
Vnde de bode godes heft vthvorseen
Dat he der nicht wyl breken nerghen neen
Vnde deyt bycht. ruwe vnde bothe vor syne sunde
Desse de schal syk vrowen to des dodes stunde:
Wente denne kricht he synes arbeydes eynen ende:
Wan he schedet vth dessen iamerliken elende
Dorch den naturliken doet entfange wy dat ewighe lon
Alse dorch eyne dor gha wy dorch den doet in godes tron
Scholde cristus komen in syn rike.
Erst sterf he vor vns alghelike
De knecht is nicht bouen synen heren(3)

Alsus en kone wy vns des dodes nicht weren
He kumpt id sy vns lef efte leyt
Hir vmme waket vnde weset alle tyd bereyt
Sede cristus vnse leue here
Eme sy lof danck vnde ewighe ere
De dyt heft ghedicht vnde laten setten
God mothe siner nummermer vorgetten
Vnde vorgheue em syne sunde kleyn vnde groet
Vnde helpe vns allen vth aller noed
So wan de doet de sele schedet van dem liue
Dat se denne io ewich myt gode blyue. Death with spade A      m      e      n.

 

  O mors quam amara est memoria tua homini pacem habenti in substantiis suis. Ecclesiastici xli.(4)

Double eagle Empty plaque

Ghedichtet vnde ghesath in der keyserliken stad lubeck na der bord ihesu cristi

3 poppy fruits F and a cross

mcccclxxxix

Last but one page Last page Click the little pictures to see the original pages.

Double eagle The first printer's mark is the double eagle from the city arms of Lbeck.

3 poppy fruits Mohnkopf's logo Mohnkopf's logo The third printer's mark shows the three poppy fruits. The printery was anonymous but since they always displayed 3 poppy fruits they are called Mohnkopf today (Mohnkopf is the German word for poppy fruit). 2 other examples are displayed to the right.

F and a cross The last printer's mark is also typical for the Mohnkopf printery and shows the letter F (or T) with a cross.

Baethcke's transcription

        DAT LXVIII GESETTE.
1645  Wille wi Godes hofgesinde werden,
      So mote wi manliken vechten up desser erden,
      Wente des minschen levent is eine ridderschop,
      So heft geschreven de hilge duldige Job.
      De wech, de to dem ewigen levende geit,
1650  Is gans sml unde enge, alse in dem hilgen ewangelio geschreven steit;
      De wech to der hellen is brt, grt, drvor gruwet mi sere.
      Vele minschen wanderen den, sprikt unse leve here;
      Vele sint geeschet, wenich tvorkoren vorwr;
      Dit sint harde worde, de dr stn geschreven openbr.
1655  Hrumme latet ju desse figuren vor ogen stn,
      Wente in korten tiden mote gi dran.
      De stunde unde de dach is Gode allene bekant,
      Wente alle dink heft he in siner hant.
      Levet so, alse gi gerne willen sterven,
1660  So gift ju Got dat hemmelrike to einem erven,
      Wente de dt sendet ju nenen brf;
      He kumt sliken recht so ein df.
      De siner selen salicheit mit truwen menet
      Unde Gode mit allem vlite denet
1665  Unde de bode Godes heft tvorsn,
      Dat he der nicht wil breken nergen nn,
      Unde deit bicht, ruwe unde bote vor sine sunde,
      Desse de schal sik vrowen to des dodes stunde,
      Wente denne kricht he sines arbeides einen ende,
1670  Wan he schedet t dessem jamerliken elende.
      Dorch den natrliken dt entvange wi dat ewige ln,
      Alse dorch eine dr ga wi dorch den dt in Godes trn.
      Scholde Cristus komen in sn rike,
      Erst sterf he vor uns algelike.
1675  De knecht is nicht boven sinen heren;
      Alsus en kone wi uns des dodes nicht weren,
      He kumt, it si uns lf efte leit.
      Hrumme waket unde weset alle tt bereit,
      Sede Cristus unse leve here;
1680  Eme si lof, dank unde ewige ere.
      De dit heft gedicht unde laten setten,
      Got mote siner nummermr vorgetten
      Unde vorgeve em sine sunde klein unde grt,
      Unde helpe uns allen t aller nt,
1685  So wan de dt de sele schedet van dem live,
      Dat se denne jo ewich mit Gode blive.
Amen.
O mors quam amara est memoria tua homini pacem habenti in substantiis suis. Ecclesiastici xli.
Gedichtet unde gesat in der keiserliken stat Lubek na der bort Jesu Cristi
mcccclxxxix.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4)

Matthew 24,36: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (also Mark 13,32).
This is a quote from the book "Zwiegesprch zwischen Leben und Tod" from ca. 1484:

God sprack mit synem hilgen munde:
Waket unde bedet to aller stunde,
De dod sendet ju neynnen breff,
Mer he kummet slikende alse eyn deff.

See also this note about Death as a sneaking thief.

Matthew 10:24: "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.".
The book of Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus) 41:1: "O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions[...]".

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