Copenhagen's Dance of Death, Part 35

Eya, Zounds(1), am I to die now
I still intend to harvest both corn and hay
and then make something useful of it,
which I will sell in Copenhagen.
I have at home so lovely a daughter.
She is as white as any gipsy(2).
Her wedding I would like to arrange before
they should carry me dead from my door.
My wife is so honest a woman
with perfection she can weave and spin.
Am I to leave her so soon?
It bites very hard in my heart.
I have much pain in my guts
my fish are already hot(3)

Death answers.

Think now neither of wife nor child
you must immediately go into my net

FlowerDeath to the rider(4)

Du Rytter woldest gerne iuncker heten(5)
Dantze vort, laet di nicht vordreten
On this day I will fight with you
you will be made a knight if you beat me.

I will no longer spare your haughtiness
your proud words shall not save you.

Flower The rider answers.

Vol vmme, wolheer mit lichten sinnen.
de nicht enuogen, de kan nicht winnen(6)

The rider

Peasant Rider Click the little pictures to see the original pages.

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)

Eya . . .: Exclamation of surprise.
Zounds . . .: You might check the page about God's wounds.
as white as any gipsy . . .: Irony. By the way: Life was very hard for gipsies in those days. The first rule of banishment was introduced in 1536. In 1554 it was made unlawful to give shelter to gipsies and they became outlawed so that anybody had a right to kill them and keep their possessions (according to an article in the Danish newspaper, Politiken).
Hot fish . . .: strange expression, but it must mean "it's no use, I'm finished". The Swedes still have a similar expression, "fċ sina fiskar varma", which means "get a beating" or "get into trouble".
rider . . .: In Des dodes dantz he is called "hoveruter". Baethcke explains the word as a rider working at a prince's court or as a mounted warrior.
These Low German lines are taken verbatim from Dodendantz and mean:

You rider would like to be called nobleman,
dance forth - don't let yourself be depressed.

These Low German lines are taken verbatim from Dodendantz and mean:

Well then, well then, with an easy mind.
He, who doesn't dare, cannot win.


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