Death to the pope

Death to the pope

Death to the pope

Leveer mig Nøglerne; slip nu kun Bispe-Staven.
Har du ey forhen tænkt paa Døden eller Graven?
    Saa giør det snart endnu, og leg din Krone ned;
    Thi skiønt du nødig vil, maae du dog dandse med.
Jeg maae din Hellighed aldeles ikke spare.
Du skal den samme Vej, som dine Formænd, fare.
    Forskrækkes du for mig? Er jeg dig ubekiendt?
    Jeg om min Ankomst tidt dig Bud jo haver sendt.
Hvad volder denne Frygt, jeg i dit Ansigt skuer?
Maaskee din Hellighed for Skiers-Ilds Pine gruer?
    Men kand din Eftermand ey løse dig deraf?
    Saa er det, for din Tant i Troens Sag, en straf.
Hand me the keys; Let go of the crosier(1) now.
Have you never before thought of Death nor the grave?
    Then do it soon now, and lay down your crown;
    because although you don't want to, you have to dance along.
I may not at all spare your Holiness.
You are going the same way as your predecessors.
    Are you terrified by me? Am I unknown to you?
    After all I have often sent a message about my arrival.
What causes this fear that I see in your face?
Maybe your Holiness fears for the torment of Purgatory's fire?
    But can your successor not absolve you?(2)
    Then it will be, for your falsehood in the cause of Faith, a punishment.

The pope to Death

Saa skal min Herlighed paa Peders Stoel nu endes,
Og denne Siele-Boe i Verden meer ey kiendes.
    Ach Død! hvor skrækkelig mig dog din Ankomst er,
    Naar jeg beseer, hvordan mit Liv har været her.
Nu kiender jeg, at Gud kand eene Synd forlade,
Og all min Aflads-Kram er Sielen kun til Skade.
    Ach! spar mig dog endnu i Live nogle Aar,
    Indtil jeg angerfuld mit Regnskab færdigt faaer.
See, Himlen vil sin Ret paa mig nu fuldbragt have.
Alt livets Banemand antaste tør en Pave.
    Jeg faaer vel dandse med. See, Peders Stoel er tom;
    Thi Døden skaaner ey Guds Stadtholder i Rom.
Then my glory in Peter's chair(3) shall end now,
And this soul-nest in the world no longer be known.
    Alas Death! how terribly your arrival is to me,
    when I see how my life has been here.
Now I realise that only God can forgive sins,
and all my indulgence-peddling is only harmful to the soul.
    Alas! spare me then some more years alive,
    until I repentantly have finished my reckoning.
See, Heaven will now consummate its right on me.
Already the slayer of live dares intrude upon a pope.
    It seems I'll have to dance along. Look, Peter's chair is empty;
    Because Death does not spare God's governor in Rome.

* * * *

Lær, menneske! at døe, den Stund du end kand leve,
Paa det, naar Døden vil sin Sold for Synden kræve,
    At du med hannem da kand følge vel bered,
    Og ikke frygte for den lange Ævighed.
Learn, man! to die, the moment you can still live,
So that, when Death demands the wages of sin(4),
    you can then follow him well prepared,
    and not fear the long eternity.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4)

keys . . .: Compare with Jesus' words to Peter the Apostle: "And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matthew 16:19).

crosier . . .: The pope is the only one who has a crosier with three crosses (this trivia is useful when identifying the participants in a dance of death).

can your successor . . .:: reference to the (Catholic) church's sale of letters of indulgence.
Peter's chair . . .: The pope is the successor of Peter the Apostle.
[…] when Death demands the wages of sin . . .: Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

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