The cardinal

The cardinal in Tallinn
The cardinal

The cardinal

Ontfarme myner here salt schen
ik kan deme gensins(1) entflen
Se ik vore efte achter my
ik vole den dot my al tyt by
Wat mach de hoge saet(2) my baten
den ik besat ik mot en laten
Unde werden unwerdiger ter stunt
wen en unreine stinckende hunt

Mercy, Lord, it must be so!
There’s no escaping you, I know,
For be it front or be it rear
I feel Death is always near.
What’s the use of this high grade?
What was mine I now must trade,
Forsaking it as I transfer
To state below the lowly cur.

Death answers the cardinal

Du werest van state gelike
en apostel godes up ertryke
Umme den kersten loven to sterken
myt worden unde anderen dogentsammen werken.
Men du hest mit groter hovardichit(3)
up dinen hogen perden reden
Des mostu sorgen nu de mere
nu tret ok vort her konnink here(4)

You were judged in status worth
God’s apostles here on earth
To support the Christian creed
Through fair speech and virtuous deed.
From the horse of arrogance
You cast down a haughty glance,
Reason more to fear my sting.
Step forward here, now, noble King!

English version © Jack Freckleton-Sturla, 2021. The following is a more literal translation:

The cardinal

Have mercy on me, Lord, [when it] shall happen.
I can in no way escape it.(1)
[When] I look in front or behind me,
I feel Death by me at all times.
What will the high seat(2) avail me
[the rank] that I had? I must leave it
and become more unworthy at once
than an unclean, stinking dog.

Death to the cardinal

You were in status equal to
an apostle of God on earth,
in order to strengthen the Christian belief
with words and other good works.
But you have, with great haughtiness,
been riding your high horse.
Therefore you most mourn so much more now!
Now step forward you too, Mr King, Lord!(4)

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

deme gensins . . .: Some of the older authorities (Seelmann/Stammler et al) preferred »di niegensins«, but the text on the painting is very clear here (at least it is after the restoration).
saet . . .: seat (i.e. position).

Some of the older authorities (Seelmann/Stammler et al) preferred »staet«, i.e. state or rank, but the text on the painting is very clear here (at least it is after the restoration).

mit groter hovardichit . . .: this is what the text says, however to make sense it should have been »hovardichede«, as suggested by Seelmann and Stammler, or maybe even in the plural: »mit groten houardicheten« to rhyme with »reden« as suggested by Mischa von Perger.

her konnink here . . .: the address "here" (Lord / master) has been doubled out of courtesy.

The same thing happens several times in Reynke de Vos, e.g.: »Merket, here her konnink, eddele vorste« (line 227).