Füssen, The prince-elector

The prince-elector
Hiebeler, Prince

Death to the prince-elector

    Der todt
Habt ihr mit Frawen hoch gesprungen
O stoltzer Fürst, hats euch wolglungen
Das muest ihr an den ra˙en biessen
Kompt hehr vnd thuet die todten grüesen.

    Death.
Have you jumped(1) high with women,
proud Duke, it has succeeded well for you.
For this you must atone in the dance.
Come here, and greet the dead.

The prince-elector

    der Fürst,
O mordt, mues ich so flux dar von
Land, leidt, weib, kind dahinden lon,
So erbarm sich Gott in seinem reich,
Ietzund wierd Ich meim tantzer gleich.

    the Prince-elector.
Oh murder, must I so soon from here?
Leave land, people, wife, and child behind?
Then may God have mercy in His kingdom.
Now I'll become like my dance partner.

Basel: Duke.
Merian, Duke

The "Fürst" is presumably a "Churfürst". There were between seven and nine electoral princes, who had the privilege of electing the new emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. For this reason, the electoral prince has more power than an ordinary prince and is only surpassed by the emperor. And, of course, by Death.

The dialogue is a copy of the duke in Basel. In fact Death's speech is the same for the duke in Heidelberg's block book and other versions of the high German dance of death.

The wide format of the individual scenes means that there is often room for two Deaths. One grabs hold of the prince, while the other plays the bagpipes. We must assume that the prince was used to more refined music back when he "jumped high with women".

The prince has raised his sword to defend himself, but as is written above the dance: "Sagt Ja Sagt Nein, Getanzt Muess sein".

Footnotes: (1)

jumped . . .: The German word "springen" can mean jump, dance and run hastily. On this site I normally translate it as "dance", but that won't do in this context.