Todt zum Edelmann:
Death to The nobleman|
Now come here, you noble warrior.
You must nurse your manliness here
with Death, who spares no man.
Take leave, then you'll be rewarded.
I have terrified quite many men.
who were covered by armour.
Now the ugly Death fights with me
and really brings me in great distress.
Death's last line, »Take leave, then you'll be rewarded« demands some explanation.
If we take a look at other variants of Oberdeutscher vierzeiliger Totentanz, the text says something rather different: »Ligt ir im ob, euch wirt gelont«, »Ir ligt iv im ob ewch wiert gelont« or »vnd ligent ir om ob uch wirt gelont«. In Heidelberg's block book, Death says »Legit ir nw oben euch wirt gelont«. So the nobleman would have been rewarded for "lying on top" — i.e. winning the duel against Death.
In Kleinbasel, "ligent" has become "seligent", and the line sounds: »Seligent uch wurtht geloht«, which doesn't make sense.
In Groß-Basel "seligent" has therefore been rectified to "Gesegnet" (probably during a restoration of the mural). »Gesegnet euch« means "make the sign of the cross", but Mischa von Perger suggests that »Gesegnet euch« should be read as »Gesegnet euch mit/von der Welt« or »Gesegnet euch mit/von deinen Freunden« — i.e. a request for the nobleman to take leave of the world, friends, etc.
|English translation from Beck, 1852|
|Death to the Nobleman.||The Nobleman's reply.|
Come hither now, and play the man,
Many a man I've made turn pale
|Translation from Hess, 1841|
|Death to the Nobleman.||Answer of the Nobleman.|
Come here now you noble sword,
I have frightned many a chap,