The Young Nobleman and the Maiden
Ach neen, leyder, dat
Gode to denen hebbe
ick nicht wol gheleret,
Men slomen domen
dryncken unde syngen,
Myt pypen bungen
Myn vader heft my
vele to hope lacht,
Up den dot hadde ik
noch nicht ghedacht
Ach neyn, ick byn yo
noch eyne yunge derne,
Myne elderen behelden
my ock gantz gerne,
Eya, mochte ick behol-
den dat leven.
Dar wolde ik al mine
kleynöde umme geven.
De dot sparet nicht ol-
de efte de nyen,
Ick bevele my deme so-
ne der junckfrowen Marien.
De dot tome juncheren
Juncker, wo rechte
fromde is dy by my,
Unde byn doch nu so
na by dy,
Dat schaltu recht
Dyn levent is nu tho
deme ende ghan.
Hefstu wol ghedenet
Gode, dyneme heren,
So kumpstu nu tho
De dot tor junckfrowen
wo ick dy schal heten,
Dantze vort, laet dy
Du plechst gerne tho
dantzen unde spryngen,
Vele nye leede lerestu
To stervende make dy
Dar synt vele achter,
de möten alle mede.
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 young nobleman
Nobleman, what a real stranger you are to me,
and yet I am now so close by you.
This you should rightly understand so:
Your life has now come to the end.
Have you served God - your master - well
then you will now come to great honour.
Death to the maiden
Maid Gyseltrut, [or] what I shall call you.
Dance forth; don't let yourself get depressed.
You usually like to dance and spring -
many new melodies you learn to sing.
Make hastily yourself ready to die -
there are many behind - they must all [go] along.(1)
Alas no, unfortunately, that's wrong -
I have not really learned to serve God
but boozing, gluttony, drinking and singing -
with fifes, drums, dancing, springing.
My father has gathered a heap [of riches] me.
I have not yet thought of Death.
Alas no - after all I am still a young girl.
My parents would also quite well like to keep me.
Eya,(2) might I keep the life.
For this I would give all my treasures.
Death spares neither old nor the new [ones].
I surrender myself to the son of the Virgin Mary.
There are many behind
Quite an understatement. In Des dodes dantz Death tells the maiden
the names of 70 girls who must also join the dance.
Eya...: Exclamation of surprise
Dances of death