Copenhagen's Dance of Death, Part 20

Oc bliffue i Iordens sortte vægge

FlowerCannicken Suarer

Eya eya, mig fattige mand
skal ieg nu vancke i fremmede land
Her til haffuer ieg hafft stor mact

The Canon

Paa døden haffde ieg liden act
Motte ieg leffue nogen stund
da bleffue ieg snart Prelat i Lund
ieg er der megit duelig til
nu vil døden regere sit spil

FlowerDøden Suarer

Gack strax met mig Cannick strunck
Din Grauiteet hielper dig icke nunck(4)

Døden til Kirckeheren eller sogne prest

The Vicar

… and remain [with]in Earth's black walls.

The Canon(1) answers

Eya eya,(2) I poor man;
shall I now walk in foreign land.
Until now I've had great power;

I didn't pay heed to Death.
Might I live yet a while
then I would soon become prelate in Lund.(3)
I am very capable of that.
Now Death will govern his play.

Death Answers

Go immediately with me, upright canon.
Your decorum doesn't help you nunck(4)

Death to the Vicar or parish priest

The canon The vicar Click the little pictures to see the original pages.

Enchiridion, Copenhagen 1538. The third commandment.
Enchiridion, Third commandment
Martin Luther's Enchiridion, Der kleine Catechismus, Nürnberg, ca. 1530. The first petition.
Enchiridion, First petition

The vicar is not portrayed against a wall like the other dancers. This is because he is not a part of the original series from Des Dodes Dantz. For the Danish edition, Hans Vingaard reused a woodcut from his edition of Peter Palladius' translation of Martin Luther's Enchiridion (i.e. little Catechism) from 1538.

In the Danish Enchiridion the woodcut was used for illustrating the third commandment, but this was a mistake made by the Danish printer, who confused the woodcuts for the third commandment and the first petition (i.e. »Hallowed be thy name«).

The long and the short of it is that the picture of the vicar is a copy of a German illustration of the first petition. See the picture in the introduction.

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

Canon . . .: See the note on the previous page.
Eya . . .: Exclamation of surprise.
The cathedral in Lund
The cathedral in Lund
Prelate . . .: Clergyman of high rank.

Lund . . .: Town in Scania in Sweden. Lund was Danish until 1658, and the cathedral in Lund was the most important in Scandinavia.

Copenhagen was founded in 1167 by the bishop of Roskilde, Absalon, who in 1178 became archbishop of Lund.

strunck / nunck . . .: "nunck" is presumably an alternate spelling for "nunc", which means "now" in Latin.

It has been suggested that it should be a type-o for "munck" (i.e. monk) because munck and strunck were a common rhyme in those days, but Canons are priests and not monks. Furthermore the monk appears later in the dance of death.

In Dødedantz it also says "nunck", and in this book the word has been set with Roman type (i.e. not black letter) to show that the word is in Latin.