Basel: The Young Woman

The Young Woman
Basel's dance of death, The Young woman

Todt zur Jungfrawen:
ACh Jungfraw euwer roter Mund
   Wird bleich jetzund zu dieser Stund:
Ihr sprungen gern mit jungen Knaben,
   Mit mir mußt jhr ein Vortantz haben.

Death to the Maiden
Alas Maiden, your red mouth
becomes pale now in this moment.
You like to dance with young boys,
you must have an opening dance(1) with me.

Die Jungfraw:
O Wee, wie grewlich hast mich gfangen,
   Mir ist all Muth vnd Frewd vergangen:
Zu tantzen glust mich nimmermeh,
   Ich fahr dahin, ade, ade.

The Maiden.
Oh woe, how terribly you have caught me.
All spirits and pleasure have left me.
I never want to dance anymore.
I'm going away, farewell, farewell.

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

Maiden! your lips so fresh and red
Must with paleness overspread;
You 've danced with boys in joy and glee;
Now comes the time to dance with me.

Alas! thy dread hand holds me fast,
My mirth and joy are all now past;
No more in dance I'll take delight,
To all I say: a long good night.

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

Ah maid your fine and rosy mouth
At this hour I take the colour out,
With young lads you lik'd to spring,
With me to dance this is the thing.

O woe! how terrible has thou me taken,
Of all spirit and joy, am I forsaken,
To dance I don't desire that's true,
I fare away, adieu, adieu.


Various Artists

Scharffenberg (1576)
Scharffenberg 1576: Maid
Merian (1621)
Merian 1621: Young woman
Merian (1649)
Merian 1649: Young woman
Chovin (1744)
Chovin 1744: Young woman
Büchel (1768)
Büchel 1768: Young woman
Büchel (1773)
Büchel 1773: Young woman
Feyerabend (1806)
Feyerabend 1806: Young woman
Hess (1841)
Hess 1841: Young woman
Beck (1852)
Beck 1852: Young woman
Stuckert (1858)
Stuckert 1858: Young woman

Footnotes: (1)

Opening dance. . .: A "Vortantz" is a dance at the beginning by the first (leading) couple, who open the dance.

Logically this honour belongs, not to the young woman, but to the first dancer in the procession. That's why Death has already promised this dance to the pope: »Komm heiliger Vatter werther Mann, Ein Vortantz müßt ihr mit mir han:«