Eya, help Maria, my is övel to mode,
Schal ik alrede sterven, dat do ik node.
Ick hadde ghehopet noch meer to leren,
Wo ick scholde denen Gode, mynem heren,
Dem ik myne sele heb- be vortruwet gantz,
Unde also mochte erlan- gen der junckfrouwen krantz.
Ach yd is yo war, hadde ik myne tyd
Gode ghedenet myt so grotem flyd,
Also ick na gelde heb- be ghyret
Unde weynich hilge da- ge rechte fyret,
So krege ik wysz ewy- ghe salicheyt.
Dem gelde to denen is al vorloren arbeyt.
De dot to der nonnen
Klosternonneken, vor vere dy nicht to sere,
Desses dantzes hefstu grothe ere.
Wente de syk Gode heft ghegeven
Unde de wyl voren eyn geystlik leven,
De moth syk gantz van der werlde keren
Unde schal by tyden sterven leren.
De dot tom kopman
Kopman, to stervende bystu gantz bedrovet,
De werlt heft dy men sere gheovet.
Umme gelt deystu ar- beyt unde flyd,
Men Gode to denen hefstu neene tyd.
Nu mostu myt in eyn ander lant,
Wat is nu dath vele ghyrent bewant!
Death to the nun
Little cloister-nun, don't be too terrified.
You have great honour of this dance
because those who have given themselves to God
and who will lead an ecclesiastical life -
they shall turn themselves fully [away] from the world
and shall in [good] time learn to die.(1)
Death to the merchant
Merchant, you are quite sad to die.
But the world has long been hard on you.
For money you make work and diligence,
but you have no time to serve God.
Now you must [go] along into another land.
What is all the avarice now worth?
Eya(2), Mary help me, I'm ill at ease,
shall I already die - this I do reluctanly.
I had hoped to learn even more
how I should serve God - my Lord,
whom I have totally entrusted my soul
and so I might obtain the virgin crants.(3)
Alas, it is true - had I in my time
served God with so great diligence
as I have desired money
and [as I] have kept the Sabbath day [too] little holy -
then I would certainly get eternal salvation.
To earn money is all forfeited work.(4)
A special medieval genre of books was the
"ars moriendi" or
"artes [bene] moriendi" = the art of dying [well] - books
telling Christians how to prepare for death.
Eya . . .: Exclamation of surprise.
Virgin crants . . .:
In the Middle Ages virgins were buried with a chaplet / garland as a symbol of their purity (later on this
was only done for young girls). Shakespeare introduced the word into English:
"Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants, her maiden strewments...".