The Merchant

Figuren, Figuren: Merchant

    Der doit.
IR kauffman sijt worden rych
Vnd meynent in uwerem synne glich
Ir endorfft vff nyemant geben
Vnd wollt noch sere lange leben
Hettent yr uch vor sunden gehůt
Des hüilff uch mee dan alle uwer güt
Vnd uch bereyt tzu sterben
So mocht yr nü genade erwerben.

You, merchant, has become rich
and believe in your mind as if
you don't have to give anyone anything(1)
and still want to live very long.
Had you guarded yourself against sins,
it would help you more than all your goods,
and [had you] prepared yourself to die
then you could now gain grace.


    Der kauffman
ICh han gelauffen durch berge vnd dail
Durch alle werlt breyt vnd smail
Gesuchet gewyn wie ich mocht
Myn arme sele wenig ich bedacht
Hette ich alles daz güt gewonnen
Das in der werlt ist vnder der sonnen
Daz mocht myr nü gehelffen nyt
Wan dodes krafft myn hertz vmb gijt.

    The Merchant.
I have hastened through mountains and valley
across the world wide and small
[and] sought gain as I could.
I have paid little heed to my poor soul .
Had I won all the goods
that are on earth under the sun,
it wouldn't help me now,
when the power of death seizes my heart.

Footnotes: (1)

Rieger is a bit confusing. First he believes that the thing the merchant doesn't want to give is credit: »auf einen geben bedeutet wohl: einem Credit geben. Der Reichgewordne braucht es nicht mehr, weil er immer zahlen kann und daher doch Credit findet«.

That is: "auf einen geben" probably means to give a credit. The newly-rich does not need it anymore, because he can always pay and therefore finds credit".

But in the next sentence, Rieger believes that the technical origin of the saying is: »etwas, viel, nicht auf etwa oder auf einen geben.« The idiom "nichts auf einen geben" means to consider somebody to be of little value or importance, like "I wouldn't give a straw to that man".