Lübeck's Dance of Death

Dodendantz, Introduction



A skull Yet another skull Another skull


God vorboth Adam in deme paradyse:
Eth nicht van desser frucht, de ick dy wyse,
Deystu hir entyegen, so mostu sterven,
Nicht du alleyne, men ock al dyne erven.
Adam brack dat gheboth ane noth,
Alsus quam an uns de natürlike doth,
Dem wy nenerleyewys konen entwyken,
Olde, junge, ja de arme myt den ryken.
De hilghe schrift ropt myt allem flyd,
Dat hir jo is eyne korte tyd,

The Low German text in the "book" above has been modernized to make it more readable. Click here to read the original text.

God forbade Adam in Paradise:
Do not eat from this fruit that I show you.
If you act against this [ban], then you must die;
not you alone, but also all your heirs.
Adam broke the ban without need.
Thus came over us the natural death,(1)

which we in no way can avoid.
Old, young - yes the poor with the rich.
The Holy Scripture shouts with all diligence
that [life] here is a short time.

The Revelations of Saint Birgitta.
Sunte Birgitten Openbaringe
Reynard the Fox.
Reynke de Vos, Crown

The crown was used in several of the Mohnkopf-printery's books.

The example to the left is from Sunte Birgitten Openbaringe, 1496, and the example to the right is from Reynke de vos, 1498. It was also used for De salter to dude, 1493, Dodendantz, 1496, Speygel der leyen, 1496, and Dat narren schyp, 1497.

Footnotes: (1)

See the page about the original sin.

The concept of "natural death" is a remainder from the longer sermon in Des Dodes Dantz, which operates with five kinds of death. Read a translation of the first chapter.

The number of different deaths has been reduced to four in Copenhagen's dance of death. Read chapter two.