Todt zum Schultheiß:
HErr Schultheiß auff, dann es ist Zeit,
Daß Leib und Seel miteinander streit,
Das thu ich auff der Leyren singen,
Dem Liedlein mögen ihr nachspringen.
Death to The Mayor|
Mr. Mayor, up, for it is time
that body and soul fight each other.
This I'm playing for you on the lyre.
You may dance after this little melody.
MEin Ampt hab ich mit Fleiß versehen,
Hoff es sey niemand unrecht g'schehen:
Am G'richt dem Reichen wie dem Armen,
O GOtt du wöllst dich mein erbarmen.
I've attended diligently to my office.
I hope nobody has suffered injustice
in court - the rich as well as the poor.
Oh God, have mercy upon me.
|Detail: wheel fiddle|
Death says he will play his lyre and the picture does indeed show him turning the handle of his wheel fiddle (German: Drehleier, literally "turn lyre").
The first half of the word "Schultheiß" is schuld - so a Schultheiß is a person who decides what obligations all citizens incur. As his own remark about "injustice in court" shows, a Schultheiß had both executive and judiciary power.
Depending on time and place, Schultheiß can be used about a number of positions ranging from the duke's right hand man to the presiding member of the church board.