Basel: The Duke

The Duke
Basel's dance of death, The duke

Todt zum Hertzog:
HAbt jhr mit Frawen hoch gesprungen,
   Stoltzer Hertzog ists euch wol g'lungen:
Das müßt jhr an den Reyen büssen,
   Wol her g'lust Euch die Todt'n zu grüssen.

Death to The Duke
Have you jumped(1) high with women,
proud Duke, it has succeeded well for you.
For this you must atone in the dance.
Well then, be pleased now to greet the dead.

Der Hertzog:
O Mordt muß ich so flux darvon,
   Land, Leut, Weib, Kind dahinden lon:
So erbarm sich Gott in seim Reich,
   Jetzund werd ich meim Täntzer gleich.

The Duke.
Oh murder, must I so soon from here?
Leave land, people, wife, child behind?
Then may God have mercy in His kingdom.
Now I'll become like my dance partner.

Death's speech is taken almost verbatim from the duke in Heidelberg's block book and other versions of the high German dance of death.

English translation from Beck, 1852
Death to the Duke.The Duke's reply.

With ladies you have long danc'd well,
Proud Duke, and of success can tell;
For this you'll pay the forfeit meet,
Be pleased now the dead to greet.

Woe's me! must I with haste so wild
Leave land and followers, wife and child?
God in His kingdom pity me,
Since I must like my dancer be.

Translation from Hess, 1841
Death to the Duke.Answer of the Duke.

Have you leap'd wid ladies well dressd,
Proud duke, you have had good success,
This you must amend at the row,
Wecome, to greet death below.

O murder! must thus haste away,
Leave, land, wife, child behind you say,
God in thy kingdom, have mercy on me,
I shall now resemble my dancer you see.


Various Artists

Merian (1621)
Merian 1621: Duke
Chovin (1744)
Chovin 1744: Duke
Büchel (1768)
Büchel 1768: Duke
Büchel (1773)
Büchel 1773: Duke
Fragment (1805)
Fragment 1805: Duke
Feyerabend (1806)
Feyerabend 1806: Duke
Hess (1841)
Hess 1841: Duke
Beck (1852)
Beck 1852: Duke
Stuckert (1858)
Stuckert 1858: Duke

Footnotes: (1)

jumped . . .: The German word "springen" can mean jump, dance and run hastily. On this site I normally translate it as "dance", but that won't do in this context.