The Nun
Heidelberg's dance of death, Nun

Death to The Nun

Fraw nonne ir dunkit euch subtil
Dezen reyen ich mit euch tanczen wil
Werft von euch den scapular
Ir must hie mit dem toten farn
Mrs Nun,(1) you think yourself subtle;
This dance I will dance with you.
Throw away from you the scapular;(2)
You must fare here with the dead.
 
Ich habe yn dem closter meyn
Gote gedynet alz eyn geweytis noneleyn
was hilft mich nw meyn beten
Ich mus des todis reyen treten
I have in my monastery
served God as a consecrated(3) nun.
What does my praying avail me now?
I must step into the dead's dance.(4)


Holbein, Bogstavet Q, The Nun The nun follows along with a smile on her lips. The moral is that Death comes as God's emissary and that good people can look forward to their reward.

A little less than hundred years later, Hans Holbein copied the idea of showing how the pious nun gladly follows Death (see the letter Q), while the evil monk protests wildly.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4)

Mrs Nun . . .: Death is right, "Mrs" and not "Miss". The nun is married to Jesus.
Scapular . . .: A scapular (from Latin scapula, shoulder) is a length of cloth suspended both front and back from the shoulders of the wearer, that varies in shape, colour, size and style depending on the use to which it is being put, namely whether in Christian monasticism or in Christian devotion.

The monastic scapular is part of the garb, the so-called habit, of many Christian religious orders, of both monks and nuns, at least since the time of St Benedict. In its basic form it is a shoulder-wide floor-length piece of cloth covering front and back, and worn over the traditional tunic or cassock, almost like a sleeveless surcoat, traditionally in the case of some orders even during the night. (from WikiPedia)

consecrated . . .: The manuscript CPG 314 shows that the nun originally was veiled — German: geweiltes, Latin: velata.
the dead's dance. . .: could also be translated to the line of the dead. The German word Reihe/Reige can among other things mean row, series, line, (chain)dance and round dance.

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