The Innkeeper from Bingen

Figuren, Figuren: Innkeeper

    Der doit.
HEr wyrt her wirdt von bingen
An dyßen reyen must du nu springen.
Vil boßheit hast du begangen
Myt falscher spijse vnd myt wyn langen
Dů hast gehalten lůde allerley
Dye myt flüchen vnd schweren hatten eyn groiß geschrey.
Des bist dü eyn vrsach gewesen
Bid goit das dyn sele moge genesen.

Mr. Landlord, Mr. Landlord from Bingen
you must now jump to this row.
You have done much badness,
with false food and diluted wine.
You have housed all sorts of people
who cursed and swore very loudly.
You were a cause of this.
Pray to God that your soul may be saved.


    Der wirt
ICh hain off vijll folcks gewartet
Das ein duppelt(1) das ander kartet
Ich suchte tzijtliches gůit
Glich also der reüber důt
Wydder got vnd widder recht
An dem herrn vnd auch an dem knecht
Sollt ich aber nu nyt sterben
Ich getruwete mych beßeren vnd gnade erwerben.

    The Innkeeper.
I have entertained many people.
One played dice,(1) another played cards.
I sought temporal goods
like the robber also does,
against God and against justice
from gentlemen and also from servants.
But if I should not die now
I would improve myself and gain mercy.

Zimmern, innkeeper
Zimmern, Zimmern, Innkeeper

Bingen is a city along the River Rhine, and this is one of the reasons why this dance of death is also called "Mittelrheinischer Totentanz".

Behind the landlord is the ale stake with a hoop. The stake, which might be the same that had been used for stirring the brew, was a sign that beer and wines were being sold, and it alerted the authorities to come and inspect the quality of the new batch of brew.

The same stake-with-hoop is seen in the manuscript in Kassel, but not in Zimmern's dance of death (picture to the left).

Footnotes: (1)

Duppel . . .:: gambling with dice.

The rules of the game vary from location to location and it's uncertain whether the name derives from "double" or from Latin "tabula". The latter would indicate a board game.

"Duppel" became synonymous with gambling. Take for instance the Danish playact Kort Vending, where "doble" is constantly mentioned along with boozing and womanizing: »Oc dricke och doble oc løbe wthy kroo« (503), »Alltt mitt gotz oc ridder eyge, Som dobler oc drancker gierne pleyge« (975-976), »The haffue saa lenge druckiitt oc dobliitt« (1631), »Ett exempell maa ieg nu andre werre, Theris gods mett dobell oc drick forterre« (2519-2520), »Handtt drack oc bolliitt ßaa lenge mett hinde, […] Saa tog hand tiill att doble tiill mett« (2547-2549), »Lade drick oc dobbell oc skøger fare« (2576), »Ieg drack oc doblett bode dag oc natt« (3039) and »Vortt gods handtt dricker oc dobler bortt« (3207).