The Official

Figuren, Figuren: Official

    Der doit
AN üch ist nü dye tzaill
O reuerende domine(1) official
Irr habent důrch die gantzen wochen(2)
Vijll falßer vrteil gesprochen
Hettent yr dem armen als dem richen gethan
Frolich mocht yr tzü dißem dantz gain
Doch wie dem sy yr mußet sterben
Vnd mocht nyt tzijll bijß morn erwerben.

The number [of dancers] has now come to you.
Oh reuerende domine(1) official.
You have week after week(2).
pronounced many wrong judgments.
Had you treated the poor as the rich,
you might now happily go into this dance.
But whatever it is, you must die
and may not get respite [even] until tomorrow.


    Der official.
HIlff goit ich byn in großen sorgen
Han ich nyt tzijll myt(3) morgen
Ich byn inn groißen krenckten
Vnd hette noch vijll tzü bedencken
Hett ich vor myn sele woill bedacht
So queme ich nü nyt in gottes acht(4)
Vnd hette geholffen den armen
So mocht sych goitt uber mych erbarmen

    The Official.
Help God, I'm in great grief.
Don't I have respite until(3) tomorrow?
I'm in great illness
and still have a lot to think about.
Had I cared about my soul before
I would not have come under God's ban(4) now,
and had [I] helped the poor,
then God might have mercy upon me.

An official was a deputy for the Catholic bishop at the church court.

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

reuerende domine . . .: revered master.

The point is that Death adapts his language according to his victims, and therefore speaks Latin to men of the cloth.

důrch die gantzen wochen . . .: literally: "throughout all the weeks".
myt . . .: The 1492-edition and the manuscript in Kassel say: »Han ich nit zijl byß morgen«.
acht . . .: The imperial ban (German: Reichsacht) was a form of outlawry in the Holy Roman Empire (Wikipedia).