The Cardinal and the Bishop
Deus meus, God, wes
myner jo nu dechtich.
Al byn ick in stathe
hoch unde mechtich
Gheholden, de stede
der hilgen apostel,
Werdich geachtet ja
ach so kostel,
De doet wyl my dyt
God gnade my, wen-
te nu moth ick sterven.
Pax Domini unde syne
Mothe my nu jo syn
Wo eyn recht bisschop
Dat heft Paulus tho
Dat bedencke ick nu in
O God, ghetruwe her,
de föge yd tome besten.
De dot tome cardinal
Her Cardinal, tret her
an mynen dantz,
Ick mene dy ernstlyk,
heel unde gantz.
Dyn apostelyke staeth
Wert nu gantz unde
heel nedder gheleyt,
Jo hogher stath di God
Jo grotter rekenschop:
dyt merke even.
De dot tome bisschop
Her bisschop, du werst
nu geföget to der erde.
Eyn bisschop is eyn
Hefstu de schape Cristi
gheholden in acht,
Nicht vorstroyet, men
men ghevödet unde wacht
Dar suss alle prelaten
synt to vorplicht:
Bystu so, dantze vort,
N.B.: The book should be read from right to left: First Death's admonition, then the answer of the dying person.
The translation below is presented in the proper (logical) sequence.
The Low German text in the "book" above has been modernized to make it more readable.
Click here to read the original text.
Death to the cardinal
Mr Cardinal, step here to my dance.
I mean you - earnestly, wholly and fully.
Your apostle-like state and dignity
will now be fully and wholly put down.
The higher station God has given you -
the greater reckoning: Just notice that.
Death to the bishop
Mr. Bishop, you will now be added to the earth.
A bishop is an ecclesiastical shepherd.
Have you paid attention to the sheep of Christ,
not scattered, but fed and watched(1) [them]
as all prelates(2) are required to:
Are you so, dance forth - fear not.
Deus meus - remember me now, God.
Though I am, in rank, high and mighty
holding the place of the holy apostles,
worthily esteemed, yes, oh so dear -
Death will spoil it all for me.
God have mercy on me - for now I must die.
God's peace and his great mercy.
Might I now be prepared
like a real bishop shall live;
This has Paul written to Timothy.(3)
This I consider now in my last [moment].
Oh God, loyal Lord, the addition(4) it [is] for the best.
Oddly, the Mohnkopf-printery had one more picture of the bishop - complete with wall and hilly landscape.
According to Timothy Sodmann's
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.
I haven't been able to check this.
Albert Schramm does not include the woodcut in his book, Der Bilderschmuck der Frühdrucke, volume 12.
At any rate, the Danish printer 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.
The sheep are the congregation that should be fed with the words of God ("Our daily Bread").
Prelate. . .: Ecclesiastical of high rank.
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;
The addition . . .: Compare with Death's words: "you will now be added to the earth".