The quack

Götz: Quack
Götz, Quack
Kruspe: Quack
Kruspe, Quack

Varkas, the market-crier, has a large sealed scroll on which the emperor himself extols the efficacy of this elixir, which will make the lame see and the blind walk again.

Death is dressed in a clown-suit and is not afraid to out-quack the quack: "I pull out teeth and set them back again, I operate on hernia, prick the cataract,(1) and cure neck and bones".

Death calls himself Hans Wurst — a well-known Teutonic clown-figure. Wurst also appears in the Danish Døde-Dands as Harlequin, where you can recognize him by the "H.W." on his chest.

    Der Storcher:
Hier seht ihr meine Herren des Kaisers eigne Hand,
Hier schaut die Panacée, die Keinem noch bekannt,
Hier ist mein Elixir, wovon die Lahmen sehen,
Die treffliche Essenz, dass Blinde wieder gehen!

    Der Tod zum Storcher:
Und ich Hanswurst, der Tod, setz Zähne aus und ein,
Schneid Brüche, stech den Staar, und heile Hals und Bein
In einem Augenblick und sonder alles Trügen.
Mein Herr! Ihr werdet euch in mein Quartier verfügen.

This dialogue is a bit unusual in that the human speaks before Death. However, Götz brings these two verses in the usual order, where Death speaks first. This means that the dialogue starts: »Und ich […]«, which is an odd way to start a dialogue.

Footnotes: (1)


prick the cataract . . .: this operation to treat cataracts, known as "couching" has been known since 500 BC.

A needle is used to dislocate the clouded lens and push it back into the posterior chamber of the eye, to let the light inside.

Of course, a traveling doctor in a tent has not been able to achieve a particularly high level of hygiene, let alone sterility, and anesthesia was an unknown concept in those days.