Basel: The Lawyer

The Lawyer
Basel's dance of death, The Lawyer

Todt zum Juristen:
ES hilfft da kein Fund noch Hofieren,
   Kein Auffzug, oder Appellieren:
Der Todt zwinget alle Geschlecht,
   Darzu Geistlich vnd Weltlich Recht.

         Death to The Lawyer
No trick or flattery helps,
   no postponement or appeal.
Death controls all lineages,
   and also ecclesiastical and worldly law.

Der Jurist:
VOn GOtt all Recht gegeben sindt,
   Wie man die in den Büchern findt:
Kein Jurist sol dieselbig biegen,
   Die Lug hassen, die Warheit lieben.

         The Lawyer.
From God is all law given,
   as one finds in the books.
   No lawyer may manipulate it,
[but must] hate the lie, love the truth.

The funny part is that if one looks at the corresponding scene in Kleinbasel, Heidelberg or other versions of the high German dance of death, one sees that Death's speech »No trick or flattery helps […]« originally was the lawyer's defence.

Der pereif(1) ist also geben
Das ir nit lenger sollent leben
Her iurist das thut des dodes kraft
Nun bewiset vuer meister scaft
Death to The Lawyer
The verdict(1) is given thus
that you shall not live any longer,
Mr. Lawyer, such does the power of Death.
Now prove your mastery.
Es hilfft kein fund noch hofferen
kein vffzug oder appellieren
der todt zwingt alle gesclecht
Dar zo geistlich vnd weltlich recht
The Lawyer.
No trick or flattery helps,
no postponement or appeal.
Death controls all lineages,
and also ecclesiastical and worldly law.

The text in Kleinbasel is reminiscent of the text in Heidelberg's block book.

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

No dodge helps now, no courtly phrase,
Protest, appeal, nor law's delays,
Death lays arrest on every class
Clerk and civilian, none can pass.

From God all law and truth proceed,
As in the books each one may read;
To warp these should no lawyer try,
But love the truth and hate the lie.

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

No fund helps here n'or to court,
Neither delay nor appeal,
Death forces all gender,
Both church and civil law defender.

From god all laws are given us,
as one will easy find in books.
No lawyer them shall bend,
Hate the lies and truth defend.


Various Artists

Merian (1621)
Merian 1621: Lawyer
Merian (1700)
Merian 1700: Lawyer
Chovin (1744)
Chovin 1744: Lawyer
Büchel (1768)
Büchel 1768: Lawyer
Büchel (1773)
Büchel 1773: Lawyer
Fragment (1805)
Fragment 1805: Lawyer
Feyerabend (1806)
Feyerabend 1806: Lawyer
Hess (1841)
Hess 1841: Lawyer
Beck (1852)
Beck 1852: Lawyer
Stuckert (1858)
Stuckert 1858: Lawyer

Footnotes: (1)

I have no idea what "pereif" means, but in the other variants of the lawyer's dialogue it says "Urteil". Theophil Burckhardt-Biedermann suggests that it's an alternative spelling of the word "Brief", i.e. a document.