Berlin's Dance of Death, Part 2

The dance of death in Berlin, part 2
Augustin friar, preacher, parish priest and Carthusian

Augustin friar

Her augustiner ghestlyke gude man
volget my ok na vnde schedet dar van
dy beghiftinge ys jw nicht ghegheuen
dat gy hyr konen ewichliken leuen
dar vmme seet wu ik jw vor kan reigen
dy ghestliken steruen also de leygen

Och leue dot wu komestu so drade
beide doch so langhe beth dat ik dy lade
sunder du bist eyn seltzen wunderlike kumpan
ik wil edder ik wil nicht ik muth mede dy gan
dar syn alle menschen tho uterkoren
help jhesu dat ik nicht werde vorloren
Mr Augustin friar - ecclesiastical, good man
Follow me, you too, and separate from it [the world]
The privilege was not given to you,
that you could live here forever.
Therefore see how I can dance before(1) you.
The clergy die like the laity.(2)

Oh dear Death why are you coming so quickly?
Wait so long - until I invite you.
But you are a rare, strange guy.
[Whether] I will or I will not - I must go with you
All humans are chosen for this.
Help, Jesus!, that I don't become lost.


Her predeker gy schult jw nicht vor veren
vnde nicht alto sere teghen my weren
ik byn dy doet jwe alder hogheste raet
dantzet nu met my vnde west nich quat
vele scarmone hebbe gy van my gedan
gy muthen ok mith my an den dantz ghan

Och gude doet geff my doch noch lengher frist
wen du myn alder leueste kumpan bist
och my duncket ik kan met dy nicht wynnen
och wat sal ik arme man nu begynnen
snelliken steruen is eyn grot vngheual
help my jhesu vnde den geistliken al
Mr Preacher - you shall not be terrified
and not resist me too much.
I am Death, your very highest counsel.
Dance now with me and don't be bad.
Many sermons have you done about me;
you must also go with me in the dance.

Oh good Death - give me still longer respite
for you are my most dear companion.
Oh, I think I can't win with you.
Oh, what shall I poor man now begin?
To die quickly is a great misfortune.
Help me, Jesus!, and all the clergy.

Parish priest

Her kerkhere jw is vele bevalen
ik byn dy doet ik wyl jw nu ok halen
jw was yo uter maten walgelungen
wen gy dat requiem hadden ghesunghen
hevet dat nu ok van jwert wegen an(e)
ik wyl jw vortreden also ik wan(e)

Och alweldyge god wat is dat leuent
sinte deme dat vns allen is ghegeuen
wen de doed kummet snelliken thu steruen
ach muchte ik gades hulde my weruen
so wolde ik vroliken met dy syngen
help nu jhesu so mag my wol ghelingen
Mr Vicar - much has been entrusted to you.
I am Death - I will also take you now.
You were always successful beyond measure
when you had sung the requiem.
Raise it [the song] now - for your sake too
I will step in front of you, as I am wont to.

Oh almighty God, what is life
since it is given us all,
when Death comes, to die quickly?
Alas, could I earn the favours of God
Then I would gladly sing with you.
Help now Jesus, so I might do well.

Carthusian monk

Her kartuser unde geystlike vader
de monken muthen sterven alle gader
der regellen unde gesette volgen na
siet wu suuerliken dat ik jw vorga
vorlatet jwes klosters bequemyckeit
vnde dantzet nu meth my in frolickeit

Och gude doet steruen ys ed ghemene recht
ock mut steruen bede here un(de) knecht
geystlik werlik ok monke (algelyk) frowen jwe(lyk)
wat helpet my denne dat (ik wedderrede)
ik rupe tho jhesu dat he (mi berede)
Mr Carthusian and ecclesiastical father.
The monks must die all together,
following the rules and laws.
See how neatly I go in front of you.
Leave your monastery's comfort
and dance now with me in frolic.

Oh good Death - to die is common rule
both the master and the servant must die,
clergy, laity and monks in the same way, women everybody.
What does it help me then that I contradict?
I call on Jesus that he may prepare me.

Footnotes: (1) (2)

dance before. . .: vordantzen (High German: vortantzen) means to execute the steps of the dance, so the partner or the audience can learn the dance.
Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth) 2,16: For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool..

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