The Good Monk

Good monk
Figuren, Figuren: Good monk

    Der doit.
KUm monich ane dißen dantz
Du haist vbergeben diße werlt gantz
Vnd dynen orden woill gehalten
Von goide wirdestü nyt geschalten
Nü küm du salt frolich sterben
Vnd gnade von goide erwerben
Die aber yrrent bijß in den doit
Dye kommen in bitterlich not.

Come monk, to this dance.
You have completely renounced this world,
and kept your order['s rule](1) well.
God will not push you away.
Now come, you shall die happily
and gain mercy from God.
But those, who stray away before death,
they will come into bitter distress.


    Der gude monich
GOit sij lopp vnd danck vnd ere
Nu allwege vnd vmmer mere
Der mich hat gegeben
Zů furen eyn geistlichs leben
Vnd der brůder byn worden
Dye da gehalten hant den orden
Dar vmb der doit ist myr eyn troist
Nů werden ich frijhe vnd gantz erloist.

    The Good Monk.
God be praised and thank and honour
now, always and evermore.
He has given it to me
to lead a clerical life
and to become the brother,,
who has kept the order['s rule].(1)
Therefore Death is a comfort to me:
Now I become free and totally redeemed.

Simon Vostre: Le cordelier
Simon Vostre,  Franciscan
Holbein: The nun
Holbein Alphabet, Holbein: Q

The good monk is of the Franciscan Order.

The Franciscans used a knotted cord as a girdle and were therefore called "Cordeliers" in French (picture to the left). The three knots symbolized the three vows: Poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Notice, that the monk has bare feet in the sandals (this is also true for manuscript in Kassel). In the dance of death in Kienzheim there is only one monk, viz. the good barefoot (discalced) monk: "Barffuosser Münch". However, the monk in Kienzheim is not literally barefoot, since he "has cut shoes such as the Franciscan fathers wear": »Der Barfůsser her hebt […] zer schnitten schuo, wie dan die franciscus vetter tragen«.


In contrast to the evil monk, the good monk happily follows Death. The message is that good Christians have nothing to fear. Compare with the monk and the nun in Holbein's dance of death alphabet.

Footnotes: (1)

Rules . . .: The code of regulations observed by a religious order or congregation: The Franciscan rule (Webster).