Todt zum Bischoff:
Euwer Würde hat sich verkehrt,
Herr Bischoff weiß und wolgelehrt:
Ich wil euch in den Reyen ziehen,
Ihr mögen dem Todt nicht entfliehen.
Death to The Bishop|
Your worthiness has been distorted,
Mr. Bishop, wise and well learned;
I will pull you into the dance.
You cannot flee from Death.
ICh bin gar hoch geachtet worden,
Dieweil ich lebt in Bischoffs Orden:
Nun ziehen mich die Ungeschaffnen
An ihren Tantz, alß einen Affen.
I have been very highly esteemed
while I lived, in my bishop's office.
Now the freaks are pulling me
to their dance like a monkey.
On this position in the dance there originally used to be an archbishop, but after a restoration the archbishop was replaced by an ordinary bishop, after which the old bishop was replaced by a duchess.
This change is presumed to have been made by Hans Kluber in 1568 as a part of the efforts to reduce the number of Catholic clerics.
If you compare the pictures of archbishop and bishop from Klein-Basel (left and right), one can see that Basel's bishop (above) looks more like the old archbishop — and that the change of the picture has mostly consisted of replacing the cross with a bishop's crosier.
Death's speech and the bishop's answer are taken almost verbatim from the bishop in Heidelberg's dance of death.
|English translation from Beck, 1852|
|Death to the Bishop.||The Bishop's reply.|
Bishop, your wisdom and your pride
The world admired and called me great
|Translation from Hess, 1841|
|Death to the Bishop.||Answer of the Bishop.|
Your dignity away has turn'd,
I have been highly esteemed,