The Child
Heidelberg's dance of death, Child

Death to the Child

Kreuch her an du must hy tanczen lern
Weyne adir lache ich hore dich gern
Hettistu den totten yn dem munde
Is hilft dich nicht an desir stunde
Crawl over here. You must learn to dance here.
Weep or laugh, I hear you just the same.
Even if you had the teats in your mouth
it wouldn't help you in this hour.
 
Awe liebe muter meyn
Eyn swarczer man czeut mich do hyn
Wy wiltu mich nw vorlan
Nw mus ich tanczen vnd kan noch nicht gan
Oh my dear mother.
A black man drags me away.
How can you leave me now?
Now I must dance and can't yet walk.

The Latin text says "Puer in cunabulo" i.e. "the child in the cradle", but the well nourished boy on the woodcut appears to have outgrown the cradle years ago. We find "the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes" lying in a cradle behind the mother.

The dialogue is reminiscent of the lost picture from Basel's dance of death. In Basel, the child, who "can't yet walk", has lost his hobby horse on the ground.


Up to Text and Photos