Basel: The Hermit

The Hermit
Basel's dance of death, Hermit

Todt zum Waldbruder:
BRuder komm du auß deiner Clauß,
   Halt still das Liecht lösch ich dir auß,
Drumb mach dich mit mir auff die Fahrt,
   Mit deinem weissen langen Bart.

Death to The Hermit
Brother, come out of your retreat,
Stand still, I'll relieve you of the lantern.
Therefore, prepare yourself for the travel with me
with your white, long beard.

Der Waldbruder:
ICh hab getragen lange Zeit
   Ein härin Kleyd, hilfft mich jetzt nit:
Bin nicht sicher in meiner Clauß,
   Die Stund ist hie, mein G'bett ist auß.

The Hermit.
I have for a long time carried
a hairy dress.(1) It doesn't help me now.
I'm not safe in my retreat.
The time is up, my prayer is finished.
Kleinbasel, Hermit.
Büchel, Hermit
In Holbein's dance of death, Death plays the drums for the noblewoman and her husband.
Holbein Proofs, Noblewoman

Death happily drums on the hermit's lantern, but this appears to be a new addition, from the time that Hans Kluber renovated the mural in 1568.

The mural in Kleinbasel (to the left) was destroyed at this point because a window had been added, but one can still see that Death was empty-handed. Hans Kluber has let himself inspire by Holbein's dance of death, where Death plays the drums for the noblewoman.

On the other hand, Holbein has in turn probably gotten the idea with Death having a drum fastened around his waist from the picture of the pope in Basel's dance of death.

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

Come, Brother, from thy cell away,
Stand still; thy light I quench for age;
For thou must trudge with me to night,
With thy old beard so long and white.

For a long time I've worn through vow
A hairy shirt; 'tis useless now,
'Gainst death my cell is no defence
My prayer time 's up: I must go hence.

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

Brother come and leave thy cell,
Thy light I now extinguish well,
Therefor make thee on the way,
With thy white long beard I say.

I have been a long time wearing,
A hairy gown now helps me nothing,
Am even not safe, in my cell,
The hour is come, t'his very well.


Various Artists

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

Footnotes: (1)

I don't know whether hairy dresses were standard issue for hermits, or whether this particular hermit copies John the Baptist (who in turn copied Elijah the profet): »And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; […]« (Mark 1,6).