IR mechtiger konig groiß vnd rich
Ir must nu werden den armen glich
Wan yr süllent noch hůde.
Sterben wie ander lüde
Daz vrteill got selber gegeben hait
Vber yeglichen mentschlichen staidt.
Das sie mußen in der erden
Widder vmb tzü eschen werden
You mighty king, great and rich,
you must now become like as the poor,
for you must this very day
die like other people.
God has given the judgment himself
over every human station:
That they must [go] into the soil
to become ashes again.
NU mercken ich wol daz der doit
Alle menschen brenget inn not
Vnd nyt ane syet eynich personen.
Dwill er nyemants will schonen.
Hette ich myn landt woill regeret.
Vnd myt dogenden mych getzeret.
So mocht ich baß von hynnen farn
Got wolle myn arme sele bewarn.
Now I notice well that Death
brings all people in distress,
and doesn't respect any persons,
for he will not spare anyone.
Had I governed my country well,
and adorned myself with virtues,
then I could better go from hence.
May God preserve my poor soul.
Holbein's illustrations from The Old Testament: King Ahasuerus
The king's banner is decorated with a fleur-de-lis which could be an indication that this dance was inspired by
La Danse Macabre of Paris.
Men such a decoration is also found on
Holbein's king (picture to the left)
and, for that matter, also on King Ahasuerus.