The Child

The Child
Figuren, Figuren: Child

    Der doit.
IUnck nü geborns kyndelyn.
Eyn ende hait nü dz leben dyn.
Dye werlt mocht dich betriegen
Beßer ist yß du sterbest in der wiegen
Dan hye ist keyn blibende stat(1)
Du haist auch der werlt luste nyt gehabt
Wie woill dyr ist gesatzet eyn langes tzijll
Das en badt dych nu nyt viell.

Young newborn little child.
Your life has an end now.
The world might have deceived you
[so] it's better that you die in the cradle
because here is no continuing city.(1)
You have also avoided the lusts of the world.
Even if you had had a long respite,
it wouldn't help you much now.


    das iunge kindt.
A. A. a. ich enkan noch nit sprechen
Hüde geborn hüde müß ich auff brechen:
Wand keyne stůnde mag ich sicher syn
Wie woll ich byn eyn kleynes kyndelyn
Dyß merckent alle gar eben
Ich han noch nyt leren leben
Vnd müß doch sterben also bald
Als woill stirbet das iůnge als das alde.

    The young child
Ah, ah, ah, I cannot speak yet.
Today born, today I must leave
for I would at no time be safe,
even though I am a little baby.
Note this carefully, everybody:
I have not yet learned to live,
and must yet die so soon.
The young die as well as the old.

La Danse Macabre
Guy Marchant, Franciscan monk and child
Zimmern: The child(ren)
Zimmern, Zimmern: Child

The child was very clearly inspired by the corresponding dialogue in La Danse Macabre. Death's words: »IUnck nü geborns kyndelyn« mirror the French: »Petit enfent na guere ne« - little child, recently born.

The child's answer is almost verbatim the same: »A. a. a. ie ne scay parler. Enfant suis: iay la langue mue. Hier naquis: huy men fault aller« — Ah. ah. ah. I have not learned to speak. I am a child, my tongue is mute. Yesterday born, today I must away.

In this case the German text even follows the French structure where the eighth line is always a bon mot: »Ainsi tost meurt ieune que vieulx« — As soon dies the young as the old.

In Zimmern's dance of death the scene has been altered and there are two children: A newborn baby in the cradle and a bigger child with a windmill. The scene is similar to the one in Füssen.

Footnotes: (1)

continuing city . . .: an allusion to Hebrews 13:14 »For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come«, which in German sounds »Denn wir haben hie keine bleibende Statt, sondern die zukünftige suchen wir«.