Abbot, Crusader and Physician
Ach, hadde ik dat ghe-
holden myt flyd
Mit al mynen broderen,
de myt my syd,
Dat queme my nu to
Och, hadde ick Gode
in dessem stathe
Also ghedenet in rech-
So mochte ik dar nu
ewich up buwen.
Ach God, hir is gantz
Dyt water is vorwa-
re gantz quath,
De ferwe is swarth,
grön unde roth,
Ick see dar in den byt-
Up der appoteken is
nicht eyn krud,
Dat jegen den doet
kan wesen gud.
De doet to dem Abbet
Her abbet, geystlike vader, di mene ik gantz,
Kum hastygen in den dodendantz.
In velen capittelen hefstu gewesen,
Dar dines ordens regel wart gelesen:
Hefstu di wol dar na gericht
Myt dynen broderen, so fruchte nicht.
Her meyster van dem Düdeschen orden,
Ik wil myt di dagen in korten worden,
Di helpet nicht lenger staet efte ghelt:
Volge my na up eyn ander felt.
Hefstu barmhertich ghewest dynen armen,
So wil sik God diner wedder erbarmen.
Seet, wo greselik synt
desse word. Nüwerl-
de hebbe ik der gheliken
hord. Unse orden strec-
ket syk wente an de Tor-
kye. Dorch Prützen, Lyf-
lant went an de Wallach-
ye. Dyt alle kumpt my
nu weynich to baten.
Help my nu, Maria, so
werde ik nicht vorlaten
De dot to dem doctor
Her doctor, dantze myt,
holth an de hand.
Du hefst my nenen boden sand.
God, de hogeste arste unde de beste,
He helpet erst unde ok in dat leste,
Al, de öm denen uth hertens grunt,
Maket he ewich an der selen gesunt.
Death to the abbot
Mr Abbot, ecclesiastical father, I mean you totally,
come hastily into the dance of death.
In many chapters have you been
where the rule of your order was read(1):
Have you conformed well to this
with your brothers - then fear not.
Death to the crusader
Mr. Master of the Teutonic Order,(2)
I will deal with you in short words:
no longer avails you neither [high] station nor money;
Follow after me upon another field.
Have you been charitable to your poor
then God will show mercy upon you in return.
Death to the physician
Mr. Doctor, dance along, hold on to the hand.
You did not send for me.
God, the highest physician and the best
he helps first and also in the last.(4)
All who serves him for reasons of the heart
he will make eternally sound in soul.
Alas, had I followed it diligently
with all my brothers who are with me,
it would now be very useful;
Oh, had I God - in this office -
thus served with the right loyalty
then I could now build on it forever.
See, how gruesome these words are -
I have never heard the like.
Our order stretches until Turkey -
through Prussia, Livonia(3) - until Walachia.
It all is availing me little now.
Help me now, Mary, so that I'll not be forsaken.
Alas God, here is very little remedy,
the water(5) is still totally bad,
The colour is black, green and red
I see therein the bitter death.
In the pharmacy there is no [medical] herb,
that can do any good against Death.
Rules . . .:
The code of regulations observed by a religious order or congregation: The Franciscan rule (Webster).
Knights of the Teutonic Order . . .: Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's
Hospital at Jerusalem. Order of knights founded by German crusaders in 1190 and abolished 1809
by Napoleon. Scandinavians and Germans were crusading in the "heathen" Balticum.
Livonia . . .: Baltic area. Since 1919 divided between Estonia and Latvia.
The crusader is not merely bragging: the knights did control Prussia and great parts of the Baltic States.
God is the highest physician? And the best? I thought God was responsible
for the plague
as a punishment upon humanity.
I wonder whom Death considers the second best physician. Typhoid Mary?
Water . . .: Urine glass. Indispensable part of medieval medical science.
Notice the flask in the physician's hand.