Døde-Dands

Gentle reader
Dead men's music
Death to the pope
Death to the emperor
Death to the king
Death to the queen
Death to the cardinal
Death to the bishop
Death to the nobleman
Death to the priest
Death to the stargazer
Death to the physician
Death to the jurist
Death to the merchant
Death to the townsman
Death to the monk
Death to the hermit
Death to the maiden
Death to the dancing master
Death to the fencing master
Death to the hunter
Death to the chef
Death to the soldier
Death to the innkeeper
Death to the servant girl
Death to the pedlar
Death to the watchman
Death to the peasant
Death to the Jew
Death to the miser
Death to the Turk
Death to the lovers
Death to the old man
Death to the old woman
Death to Harlequin
Death to the children
Death to the beggar
Christ's victory over Death
Psalm. 90 Chap. 12 v.

The entire text
Inspiration for Døde-Dands
Døde-Dands in Swedish

Title page

Niels Prahl (1724 - 1792) was an author and translator with a voluminous production, but most of his work was anonymous. His last — unfinished — work was a translation of Schummel's "Der kleine Voltäre" (i.e. The Little Voltaire). This had to be completed by others, but library secretary Frederik Ekkard took the occasion to write a eulogy for Prahl: An introductory chapter with a biography, where he also attempted to track down and list all the anonymous works originating from the industrious Prahl. We find Døde-Dands on this list (page XXV).

Tell, reader! can you here see for certain
Who was squire and peasant of these?
Detail from title page

The Human life's Flight or Døde-Dands was printed in Copenhagen in 1762. On the title page above one can see the name Thomas Larsen Borup, and it is believed that it was he who published the book and for all we know he might also have designed the woodcuts. But as mentioned, the author was in all probability Niels Prahl.

The rhymed introduction is signed Thomas Larsen Borup, but was doubtlessly written by Niels Prahl as well. The author tells how he himself has created the woodcuts: »Jeg dem møysommelig i Træ udgravet har, Naar mig en Times Tid fra andet øvrig var« (i.e. I have painstakingly excavated them in tree, when an hour or so was free from other work). He also states that he believes to be the first to ever have printed a dance of death in Danish:

DanishTranslation
Jeg, kjære Læsere! har ogsaa havt for Øje
Med dette lidet Verk, at gavne og fornøje;
  Vi ingen Dødedands, saavidt mig er bekjendt,
  I vores danske Sprog har forhen havt paa Prent.
I, dear readers! have also had in mind
with this small work to benefit and to amuse;
  We no dance of death, as fas as I am aware,
  In our Danish language have so far had in printing.

This is not quite true, since there was already Copenhagen's dance of death, Dødedantz, Den Lybekske Dødning-Dantz (only in the Danish section) and Typus Omnium Morientium.

After this introduction and a concert with dead men's music come the individual dances: Death to the dying (12 lines), the person's answer (12 lines) and the author's conclusion (4 lines).

Death makes no bones (pun intended) about telling that he is God's messenger. This sometimes results in a rather condescending language. Particularly towards the (Catholic) pope and the "infidel" Jew and Turk.

Døde-Dands was reprinted in 1770, 1814 and 1967.

Gå fremad
 

Read more about: Døde-Dands in Swedish and Inspiration for Døde-Dands.

Links and Resources

The book was reprinted in 1967.
Døde-Dands

Images from Døde-Dands

Døde-Dands
Døde-Dands 1814: Døde-Dands
Music
Døde-Dands 1762: Music
Pope
Døde-Dands 1762: Pope
Emperor
Døde-Dands 1762: Emperor
King
Døde-Dands 1762: King
Queen
Døde-Dands 1762: Queen
Cardinal
Døde-Dands 1762: Cardinal
Bishop
Døde-Dands 1762: Bishop
Nobleman
Døde-Dands 1762: Nobleman
Priest
Døde-Dands 1762: Priest
Astrologer
Døde-Dands 1762: Astrologer
Physician
Døde-Dands 1762: Physician
Lawyer
Døde-Dands 1762: Lawyer
Merchant
Døde-Dands 1762: Merchant
Citizen
Døde-Dands 1762: Citizen
Monk
Døde-Dands 1762: Monk
Hermit
Døde-Dands 1762: Hermit
Maiden
Døde-Dands 1762: Maiden
Dancing master
Døde-Dands 1762: Dancing master
Fencing master
Døde-Dands 1762: Fencing master
Hunter
Døde-Dands 1762: Hunter
Cook
Døde-Dands 1762: Cook
Soldier
Døde-Dands 1762: Soldier
Innkeeper
Døde-Dands 1762: Innkeeper
Chambermaid
Døde-Dands 1762: Chambermaid
Peddler
Døde-Dands 1762: Peddler
Watchman
Døde-Dands 1762: Watchman
Peasant
Døde-Dands 1762: Peasant
Jew
Døde-Dands 1762: Jew
Usurer
Døde-Dands 1762: Usurer
Turk
Døde-Dands 1762: Turk
Lovers
Døde-Dands 1762: Lovers
Old man
Døde-Dands 1762: Old man
Old woman
Døde-Dands 1762: Old woman
Harlequin
Døde-Dands 1762: Harlequin
Children
Døde-Dands 1762: Children
Beggar
Døde-Dands 1762: Beggar
Christ
Døde-Dands 1762: Christ
Døde-Dands
Døde-Dands 1762: Døde-Dands
Døde-Dands
Døde-Dands 1762: Døde-Dands

Further Information


Up to Danish Dances of Death