The Chaplain / Curate

Figuren, Figuren: Chaplain

    Der doit
HErr Cappellan yr kont gar sußlichen klaffen
Bij den leyen vnd auch bij den paffen
Den psalter kont yr noch nyt gelesen
Vnd mag niemant vor uwer meisterschafft genesen
Laßt lijgen uwer birret vnd uwer solen(1)
Ir synt myr nü gantz entpfolen
Uwer klipp klapp vnd doricht sagen
Kan den doit nyt veriagen.

Mr. Chaplain, you can chatter quite nicely
to the unlearned as well as to the clergy.
However, you cannot read the Psalms,
and your mastery can't cure anyone.
Leave your beret and your stole.(1)
You are now completely surrendered to me.
Your chit-chat and foolish talk
cannot chase Death away.


    Der cappellan
Eyn byrret drüg ich als meyster ypocras
Dick geprediget das ich nye gelaß
Ich sucht gut mit tzijtlicher ere
Kleyn was ich von der lere
Den wolffe lyeß ich dye schaff tzü bijsszen
Eyn beyn von dem andern rijßen
Dye myr myn herr befolen hat inn trüwen
Das wirt mych nü vnd ewigklichen rüwent

    The Chaplain.
I wore a beret like master Hippocrates.(2)
I often preached what I had not read.
I sought goods with worldly honor,
I cared little for the [Christian] doctrine.
I allowed the wolves to bite the sheep;
to tear a leg from the other,
those whom my lord has entrusted to me.(3)
This I will now and forever repent.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3)

stole . . .: a band on the Catholic vestment.

To be sure, it says "solen" in the 1488-edition, the 1492-edition and the manuscript in Kassel (the text has been rewritten in the 1520-edition), but Max Rieger believes it should be read as "stolen".

Hippocrates (460 - between 375 and 351 BC) was a Greek physician, who is considered the father of medicine. Of course he never wore a "biretta", which wasn't invented until the Middle Ages.

Lots of clergy wear a "biretta", but normally they are square, while the chaplain's headgear on the woodcut looks more roundish.

The sheep are the congregation, of course. I suppose it's an allusion to Jesus' last words to Peter:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep."
He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

(John 21:15-17)