Ok hebbe wy des grote vorfarenheyt,
In dessen dantz essche ick jw alle,
De Doet sprickt vort an
we also have great experience with this
how it at all times constantly has happened.
Therefore let it stand before your eyes
because in short time you must [go] there.
Death doesn't send you any letter
he comes sneaking just like a thief.(1)
To this dance I ask you all
no matter how many you are in numbers,
come on - you must yet [go] along -
it doesn't help at all to contradict.
I spare neither nobility nor youth,
neither money, rank, wisdom nor virtue.
Be you all prepared in [good] time
come all here in my circle.
I will stretch you on the ground
and earnestly make you one foot longer.(2)
Be he old, young, poor or rich
I take them with [me] - all alike.
Man's life is in the youth
full of sins and many vices
So I don't spare youth either - where it goes,
and thus [I] lead the dance. Follow [me] all.
Mr Pope, I mean you, be quickly ready.
You hold on Earth the highest place.
Christ's substitute - the highest prelate.(3)
Dance in front befitting your station.
Have you managed your holy office well
then you may now gladly walk before the Lord.
Lord, have mercy upon me, miserere mei,(4)
Help me Mary - and also the grace of God.
Though I was chosen to great station
I still have been too busy
to supervise the well-being of Christianity with diligence.
Lord, be aware of this, it is now the right time.
Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4)
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.
Ik wil dy uppe de erden strecken
Unde eynnen vot lengher recken.