Copenhagen's Dance of Death, Part 32

Døden taler til Daaren
eller Gæcken.

Nis Jepsen du est en deylig Mand,(1)
Slig en er icke i dette Land.
Du maat nu effter min Pibe springe,
Jeg vil nu strax begynde at ringe.

Gæcken suarer.

The Jester

Met Herrer æder oc dricker jeg,
Oc effter deris vilge skicker mig.
Nu kommer døden oc vil mig gribe,
Jeg maa nu dantze effter hans Pibe.
Maatte jeg leffue en liden stund,
Jeg kunde end faae it bedre fund.

Døden suarer

Kom nu strax met mig Per vinge
Det hielper icke dig lenger at tinge

Døden til Embitzmanden

Du Embitzmand, gør nu din flid
aff Verden mot du følge mig i denne tid

Death with the spade

Death speaks to the Fool
or Jester.

Nis Jepsen you are a clever man,(1)
such a one is not in this land.
You must now spring after my fife,
I will now immediately begin ringing.

The Jester answers.

I eat and drink with lords,
and behave according to their will.
Now comes Death and wants to grab me.
I must now dance after his fife.
Might I live a little moment,
[then] I could yet have a better invention.

Death answers

Come now immediately with me, Per Vinge
It doesn't help you to bargain any longer.

Death to the craftsman

You Craftsman, now show your diligence.
You must follow me off the world in this moment

Døden med spaden The left side is missing in Copenhagen's Dance of Death, so the text has been taken from Dødedantz.

Click the little picture to the right to see the original page.

Kuntze van Geckeshusen and Hyntze van Narrenberg from "Dat Narren schyp".
Dat Narren Schyp

The jester did not appear in Des Dodes Dantz so there's no wall-and-hilly-landscape picture of him.

The front page of "Broder Russes Historie". This proves that at least one of the fools from the "ship of fools" was in the possession of Hans Vingaard.
Broder Russes Historie

In Dodendantz the Mohnkopf printery instead reused a woodcut from their Low German translation of Sebastian Brant's "Dat narren schyp" (The Ship of Fools), Lübeck, 1497), e.g. the picture I display in the reconstruction above.

The front page of Dat narren schyp sported two fools named Kuntze van Geckeshusen and Hyntze van Narrenberg (picture to the left), and van Geckeshusen made a reappearance in Dodendantz, but with van Narrenberg's first name, "Hyntze Sychelenfyst van Geckeshusen".

We will probably never know whether Hans Vingaard also used the picture of van Geckeshusen in Copenhagen's dance of death, but in all probability he did. First of all there's no reason why Vingaard shouldn't have obtained the fool along with all the other woodcuts from Dodendantz. Secondly, Dodendantz was the last book ever published by the Mohnkopf printery, so in all likelihood Vingaard took over all the woodcuts owned by the printery. Thirdly we know for a fact that Hans Vingaard had the woodcut of van Narrenberg in his possession, since he used it on the book about "Broder Russ" (i.e. The Story of Friar Rush, picture to the right). This would make it highly unlikely that he didn't own the woodcut of van Geckeshusen as well.

Footnotes: (1)

Nis Jepsen . . .: It doesn't make sense, but it sounds as if Death is quoting the old ballad of Niels Ebbesen: »Niels Ebissøn, du est en konstiig mand […]«. Both words, "deylig" and "konstiig" can have the same meaning in old Danish, "clever".

By the way, it's odd that jester is first named Nis Jepsen and a little later is called Per Vinge.


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