The King
Heidelberg's dance of death, King

Death to The King

Her kunyg, ewr gewald hot eyn ende
Ich wil euch fueren bey den henden
An desir swarczen brudertancz
Do gebt euch der tod eynen crancz
Mr. King, your power has an end.
I well lead you by your hands
into this black brother dance.(1)
There Death will give you a wreath.
 
Ich habe alz eyn kunyg geweldigleich
Die werld gereigiret als reyn das reich
Nw byn ich mit todis banden
Vorstrickt yn seynen handen
I have as a king mightily
reigned over the world as ruler of the kingdom.(2)
Now I'm with Death's bonds
ensnared in his hands.

Footnotes: (1) (2)

I'm not sure whether the black brothers are monks (Black Friars) or dead people. The child calls Death a black man.
reigned as ruler. . .: The text has become somewhat garbled here. In the oldest script, CPG 314, the king says in Latin: »Ut ego rex urbem, sic rexi non minus orbem«. Here the autor plays on juxtaposing urbem (the city, i.e. Rome) with orbem (the globe, i.e. the world). So the king says "When I was king of Rome, I was in no less degree a king of the whole world".

In CPG 314 this was then translated into German thus:
»Ich han als ein kunig gewaltiglich
Die welt geregiert als rom das reich.
«
The translator has tried to keep the message that the king has ruled the kingdom »als rom« i.e. in the same measure that he ruled Rome. But the sentence doesn't scan well.

In the present book, the scribe seems to have misunderstood the word "rom", and has replaced it by "reyn", which is rather clumsy: "as a ruler I ruled the rule-dom".


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