The Abbot
Heidelberg's dance of death, Abbot

Death to The Abbot

Tanczt mir noch, her kogilweyt
Wy wol das ir eyn apt seyt
Ir must des todis regil halden
Der wil ewers leybis walden
Dance after me, Mr. Gugel-wide(1)
even though you are an abbot.
You must follow Death's rule;(2)
He will rule over your body.
 
Ich habe vil monche als eyn apt gelert
Garstrenge dirczogen vnd wol gemert
Nu byn ich selbir hie betwungen
Und mit des todis regil gedrungen
I have - as an abbot - taught many monks;
very strictly brought up and well nourished.(3)
Now I am myself here subdued
and under compulsion of Death's rule.(2)

Holbein's Imagines Mortis: Abbot A little less than hundred years later, Hans Holbein copied the idea of Death disrespectfully and smilingly stealing the staff from an abbot with a long, black cloak and a heavy book.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3)

What a "gugel" looked like.
Medieval hood

Gugel . . .: A Gugel was a type of hood with a trailing point, popularly worn in medieval Germany. It was tailored to fit the head and shoulders, and was usually made from wool or loden. Originally worn by commoners, it became fashionable with the nobility from the 14th century. In the fashionable style, the gugel was worn on top of the head like a hat, with the head-part inverted inside the collar, which then hung over the ears
(From WikiPedia).

The root of the word gugel is Latin: cuculla, which also gives us the English word cowl.

Rule . . .: The code of regulations observed by a religious order or congregation: The Franciscan rule (Webster).
nourished . . .: nourished with the daily bread, God's word, of course.

The text does say gemert (= "increased") but this is probably a typo since it says genertt in CPG 314.


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