Todt zum Chorherren:
HErr Chorpfaff habt ihr g'sungen vor,
Viel süß Gesang in euwerm Chor:
So mercken auff der Pfeiffen Schall,
Verkündet euch deß Todes Fall.
Death to the Canon|
Mr. Canon, have you lead the singing;
many sweet songs in your choir,
then notice the sound of the fife.
It announces to you the case of death.
ICh sange alß ein Chorherr frey
Von Stimmen manche Melodey,
Deß Todes Pfeiff dönt dem unglych,
Sie hat so sehr erschrecket mich.
I sang as a free canon
many voices and melodies.
Death's fife sounds different;
It has terrified me so much.
Canons are priests attached to a cathedral. The canons are so called because they lead a rule bound life, "vita canonica".
The canon is dressed in a cape of fur adorned with animals' tails, just like he is in Holbein's great dance of death (picture to the left) and Holbein's initial L (picture to the right).
In London's dance of death, Death mentions the canon's »Amys of gris«, and in Copenhagen's dance of death, Death makes a comment on the canon's »grey fur cloak« — presumably a cloak that's furred with grey fur.
The dialogue between Death and the Canon is reminiscent of Heidelberg's block book and other versions of the high German dance of death.
|English translation from Beck, 1852|
|Death to the Canon.||The Canon's reply.|
So, Canon, you have loud and long
Yes, I have sung as canon free
|Translation from Hess, 1841|
|Death to the Canon.||Answer of the Canon.|
Sir quire monk have you been singing
I sung as a canon free