The Boozer

© The Trustees of the British Museum
Mouse over to remove letter Copyleft JMJ
Holbein's dance of death, the drunkards.
Holbein, drunkards
Mouse over for animation Copyleft by JMJ

One Death throws the boozer over — while the other pours wine into his mouth.

The boozer is one of those who did not appear in the 1538 edtion of the dance of death but was added later. In the dance of death (picture to the left), Death is also pouring wine into the gullets of the drunkards.

The accompanying text for this letter goes: We ch die sprechen das bss ist gut vnd das gut ist b / die setzen die finsternus dz liecht / vnd das liecht die finsternus / die setzen das bitter syg sss / und das sss bitter.

This is from Isaiah 5,20, which in Luther's version sounds: Weh denen, die Bses gut und Gutes bse nennen, die aus Finsternis Licht und aus Licht Finsternis machen, die aus sauer s und aus s sauer machen! In English: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Various artists

Holbein Alphabet (1524)
Holbein Alphabet 1524: Holbein: T
Wolfgang Kpphel (1526)
Wolfgang Kpphel 1526: Kpfel: T
Ts Kains Diathks (1531)
Ts Kains Diathks 1531: Kainês Diathêkês: T
Organn (1536)
Organn 1536: Organôn: T
Hans Schott (1536)
Hans Schott 1536: Schott: T
Hans Schott (1536)
Hans Schott 1536: Schott T
Hans Schott (1537)
Hans Schott 1537: Kreüterbuch: T
Hans Schott (1540)
Hans Schott 1540: Wund-Artzney: T
Hans Schott (1545)
Hans Schott 1545: Dennmaerckische: T
Heinrich Ldel (1849)
Heinrich Ldel 1849: Ldel: T
Douce Alphabet (1858)
Douce Alphabet 1858: Douce: T