Copenhagen's Dance of Death, Part 2

because everybody has lived after his own desires
and nobody bothered to learn the words of God.
Therefore (that we may still with humility
be able to recognize our own wretchedness
and always in our hearts wish for the mercy of God
who can save us from the ravages of sin)
will you all now be quiet
then I'll tell you some news
and teach you how to die properly
and refuse this world's island.(1)
For everything that is born
will eventually be destroyed by death.
I have read about 4 kinds of death(2)
that the scripture speaks most about.
God prohibited Adam in Paradise:
don't eat from the fruit that I show you.
If you do against this, you shall die
and everybody that is born in this world's island(3)
Adam broke the ban without any necessity
thus came over us the eternal death.(4)
Jesus has saved us from that
given us all eternal peace.
But we cannot avoid the natural death,

neither old or young, poor and rich.
The holy scripture shouts with all diligence
that we are here for a short time only.
Therefore let it stand for our eyes
that we should soon go hence.
The other death I will also talk about
and picture him before your eyes.
This Death is to kill Sin
and always to resist our desires.
and furthermore to kill old Adam(5)
and destroy him and his species
This Death is very useful for Christians
if they want to avoid the deceit of the Devil.
The third Death is certainly evil
because he corrupts the soul to the core
That is, when Sin itself rules
and doesn't pay heed to Christ's teachings.
When Adam is touched with evil desire
then the soul looses all its nourishment
When one will not be governed by God's words
then one must pay dearly for that in eternity
because when the soul does not get its proper food
(I mean the words of God)(6) then she becomes desolate.

Boring sermon Boring sermon If you want to see the original pages, click the little pictures. A few letters are missing on the left page and have been restored using Dødedantz.

If you want to read the page in the original medieval Danish, select the Danish section by clicking the red-and-white flag at the top right corner of this page.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

world's island . . .: Don't waste too much time looking for a deeper meaning. It's a very common expression, when poets need a word to rhyme with "Dø" (to die). There are more examples here and here.
These lines are translated from the Low German dances of death where the person who introduces the dance of death is a preacher.

Apparently the good preacher has been reading Des Dodes Dantz, which introduces 5 kinds of Death. The second Death, der ere sterven, (when honour dies) doesn't appear in Copenhagen's Dance of Death.

Surely the preacher has also taken a peek at the writings of St. Augustine who speaks of "mors corporis" (physical death, also known as "mors temporalis") and "mors animae" (death of the soul), which leads to "mors aeterna" (everlasting death).

And of course he has read the 4 places in the Revelation that mentions 2 kinds of Death - E.g.: Rev. 2,11 " […] He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (the 3 other places are Rev. 20,6; 20,14 and 21,8).

world's island . . .: Like I said - It's a very common expression, when poets need a word to rhyme with "Dø" (to die).

The author writes "in this island" instead of "on this island", so maybe this particular author doesn't mean "ø" as in "island", but as short for "øde" i.e. wasteland.

See the page about Adam, Eve and the original sin.
Kill old Adam . . .: This sounds rather dramatic but Martin Luther writes about baptism in his little Catechism:

"Q. What is the meaning of such a water Baptism?"

"A. It means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from death again […]".

To give just one example of "Our daily bread" as a metaphor for soul food, let me quote from the sermons of St. Augustine of Hippo:

" "Give us this day our daily bread," comes next in the Prayer. Whether we ask here of the Father support necessary for the body, by "bread" signifying whatever is needful for us; or whether we understand that daily Bread, which ye are soon to receive from the Altar; well it is that we pray that He would give it us. For what is it we pray for, but that we may commit no evil, for which we should be separated from that holy Bread. And the word of God which is preached daily is daily bread. For because it is not bread for the body, it is not on that account not bread for the soul. But when this life shall have passed away, we shall neither seek that bread which hunger seeks;"


Up to Copenhagen's Dance of Death