Todt zum Keyser:
HErr Keyser mit dem grawen Bart,
Euwr Reuw habt ihr zu lang gespart,
Drumb sperrt euch nicht, Ihr müßt darvon,
Und tantz'n nach meiner Pfeiffen thon.
Death to The Emperor|
Mr. Emperor with the gray beard,
You have long saved your repentance.
Therefore, do not struggle, you must from here
and dance after my fife's tone.
ICh kundte das Reich gar wol mehren
Mit Streitten, Fechten, Unrecht wehren:
Nun hat der Todt uberwunden mich,
Daß ich bin keinem Keyser gleich.
I was able to increase the kingdom considerably,
with war and fight prevented injustice.
Now Death has won over me,
so that I'm not [any longer] like an emperor.
After the pope, who's the world's most powerful man, comes now the emperor, who's the world's most powerful secular man.
Death comments on the emperor's beard: »Mr. Emperor with the gray beard«. Evidently the emperor is no longer a young man, but he still delays his repentance (and penance).
Death himself is beardless — at least according to Merian (picture above). In contrast, Büchel (to the left) shows Death with a beard. Is Büchel mistaken? Or was the beard added during one of the renovations of the mural during the more than 100 years that separate Merian and Büchel?
Neither. The drawing to the right is by Hans Bock the Elder, and we can see that Bock backs up Büchel. Bock's drawing is from 1596 — i.e. it's older than both Merian and Büchel. So Merian was wrong in portraying Death without a beard.
|English translation from Beck, 1852|
|Death to the Emperor.||The Emperor's reply.|
Imperial Sire, your beard is grey
My empire's bound I could extend,
|Translation from Hess, 1841|
|Death to the Emperor.||Answer of the Emperor.|
Sire emperor with your gray beard,
My empire I could very well encrease