Note: Click the pictures to see the original pages. Click the red and white flag in the top
right corner to read the text in medieval Danish.
In the beginning the verses are mostly 4 lines, but as Death gets warmed up, the verses
become longer and longer.
See for instance the attack on the usurer:
Ezech 18. v. 13.
Psalm. 15. v. 5.(1)
The Usurer. Hath given forth upon usury / and
hath taken increase / shall he then live?
LORD / who shall abide in thy tabernacle?
Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that putteth not out his mo-
ney to usury.
For every dollar / a day
every week a shilling
interest / makes for one hun-
dred dollar annually 81 dol-
lar and one mark(3).
God / does one not fear
for Hell's eternal tor-
Deut. 29. v. 19.(4)
When he heareth this
curse's words / then
he still bless him-
self in his heart / saying:
It goes well / but
I walk as my
You usurer / God speaks to you /
You usuress as well:
You extort the poor / Good heavens! /
A day every week / you take at leisure /
Of one dollar / you lend:
One shilling barefaced / Oh / damned greed /
God will certainly avenge.
Your monthly interest / you must expect /
Will become gall for you:
When your conscience / you bad pig /
Will fight you in death.
The long row continues (see the left column) and
ends with the resurrection and the day of the Lord.
The last part of the book contains poems about the transitoriness of life.
Let us round off with the physician:
Luc. 4. v. 23.(5)
Sap. 16. v. 12.
The physician. Physician, heal thyself. It was
neither herb, nor mollifying plai-
ster that cured them.
Contra vim mortis,
nullos viret herba
The skill of all physicians / is in vain /
Against Death the grim.
Any strong herb / against his art of war /
One never could find.
The king The empress The queen
The war lord The pope
The cloister maiden
Stargazer The physician
Rich The usurer
Bridegroom and Bride
Glutton, Drunkard, Epicure
Magician, Warlock, Soothsayer etc.(2)
Poor, Penniless, Miserable
Old, Fragile, Full of this life
The Last Day
Come to Judgment
Judgment against the pious
Doom of the godless
Ezekiel 18:13 goes:
"Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then
live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall
surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
and Psalm 15:5 goes:
"[He that] putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward
against the innocent. He that doeth these [things] shall never be moved.
There's also a quote from Psalms 15:1,
"LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who
shall dwell in thy holy hill?"
magicians etc . . .
The original has a list of 9 kinds of magicians who were popular in 1622.
Quite right - if we assume 4 mark per dollar and 16 shilling per mark.
But, of course, this was in the good old days when nobody had ever heard
of compound interest.
Deuteronomy 29:19 goes:
»And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this
curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace,
though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to
Luke 4:23 goes:
"And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb,
Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do
also here in thy country." and Wisdom of Solomon 16:12 goes:
»For it was neither herb, nor mollifying plaister, that restored them
to health: but thy word, O Lord, which healeth all things«.
Normally the quote is:
"Contra vim mortis, non est medicamen in hortis."
Against the power of death there is no remedy in the garden.