Copenhagen's Dance of Death, Part 15
I huad maade oc met huad fund
det talis nu skøt aff huer mandz mund
Ieg kand icke lenger tale met dig
thi du mot nu strax følge mig
Pax Domini, oc hans store miskund
vere met oss i denne stund
Ieg kand aff min nature forfare
mit liff wil icke lenge vare
Ieg tencker nu huad Paulus screff
til Timotheum en Biscop geff
Huorledis huer Biscop bør ath vere
wstraffelig, och altid Guds ords lære
Krig, Iackt, och stackarle ath plauue
det vaar min predicke i mine dauue
Nu er megen wsamdrectighed
opkommen, for min girighed
Nu kand ieg mig icke bare
Døden vil mig icke spare
Ieg haffde nu mindst paa hannem act
nu tager hand mig met vold oc mact
Suick stille, holdt din mund tilhobe
Ieg skal nu kende dig op ath mobe
Her Abbet, geistlig fader gantz (3)
kom nu hid vdi min dantz
Huor mange Capitteler(4) monne du i vere
In what way and with what fabrications
is now spoken of by almost every man's mouth.
I can no longer speak with you
because you must now immediately follow me.
The Bishop Answers.
Pax Domini, and his great mercy
be with us in this hour
I can learn from my nature
that my life will not last long
I'm now considering what Paul wrote
to Timothy, a doughty Bishop:
How every bishop ought to be
blameless, and always to teach God's word.(1)
War, hunting and bullying the beggars
this was my sermon in my days.
Now much discordance
has risen because of my avarice.
Now I cannot stand up to it,
Death will not spare me.
I had paid very little heed to him,
now he takes me with force and power.
Be silent, shut your mouth.
I shall now teach you to shout(2)
Death to the Abbot
Mr Abbot, ecclesiastical father gantz(3)
come here now, out in my dance.
How many chapters(4) might you be in …
Click the little pictures to see the original pages.
Oddly, the Mohnkopf-printery had one more picture of the bishop - complete with wall and hilly landscape.
According to Timothy Sodmann in
Dodendantz p. 53,
the Mohnkopf-printery used the woodcut in
Euangelia from 1492 and Speygel der leyen from 1496,
where it was supposed to depict the holy Augustin.
This is partially contradicted by
Albert Schramm who doesn't include this woodcut in his book Der Bilderschmuck der Frühdrucke volume 12,
and who on page 6 claims that the Lübeckian dances of death includes an
"[…] ebenso die Bilder des Papstes, des Cardinals, des Erzbischofs und Bischofs. Letzere stammen aus dem Totentanz;".
At any rate, Hans Vingaard used the picture in 1529 in the Danish Reformer, Hans Tausen's, answer to the bishop of Odense,
where the picture was supposed to resemble the said bishop of Odense.
Click the picture to see the entire page.
These lines are a translation of Death's words to the bishop in Dodendantz
Wo eyn recht bisschop schal leven,
Dat heft Paulus tho Thimotheo schreven.
There's a little difference in that,
unlike the German author, the Danish author
does not trust his audience to know what it was St. Paul wrote to Timothy
in his first epistle 3:2-7 about a bishop's proper conduct, and therefore hastens to explain it
(»blameless, and always to teach God's word«).
teach you to shout . . .: normally, when a Danish mother
tells her son "I shall teach you to be a bad boy" she means
"I'm going to punish you for having been a bad boy".
ecclesiastical father gantz . . .:
Meyer suggests that the Danish author has
misunderstood the German word "gantz" as a name. The original text in Dodendantz
Her abbet, geystlike vader, di mene ik gantz,
In Dødedantz this error has been corrected into »Geistlige Fader Frantz«.
Chapter . . .: Chapter (Latin capitulum) designates certain corporate ecclesiastical bodies
(see also the footnote on the next page).