The physician

The physician
The physician

The physician

Ik hadde wol Vordrach, mochte it wesen.
Vele Minsken hebbe ik ghenesen,
De van groter Suke leden Not.
Mer jeghen di klene noch grot
En helpet nine Kunst noch Medecin.
Nu bevole ik mi sulven de Pin.
Van deme Dode bin ik beseen,
Wat Ordel dat mi schal bescheen.

I would like postponement, if it might be;
I have cured many people
who were suffering from great diseases.
But against you [helps neither] small nor great;
neither [medical] art nor medicine helps.
Now I surrender myself to the pain.
I have been looked at by Death,
what[ever] fate that shall happen to me.

Death answers the physician

Recht Ordel schaltu entfan,
Na den Wercken, de du hefst ghedan.
Du hefst ghedan, dat God wol wet,
Mengen in grot Eventur gheset,
Den Armen swarlik beschat,
Des he vaken billik hadde to bat.
Al nemestu grote Summen darvan,
Wokerer,(1) volghe van Stunden an.

You shall receive a just sentence
according to the works that you have done.
You have, God knows this well,
brought many into great danger.
Taken large fees from the poor,
that often rightly belonged to him.
Always you took great sums for it.
Usurer,(1) follow from this moment.

The red area shows the location in the chapel in Lübeck
The painting in St. Mary's Church in Lübeck.
Lübeck #5

The physician seems to break the over-all sequence with alternating clergy and laity. This is because the physician is considered a cleric — having studied at the university — and in contrast to the "lowly" barber-surgeon / bonesetter who is regarded as a craftsman. The same thing holds true in Des Dodes Dantz for the physician and the student, and in Paris and London for the astronomer, the physician and the lawyer.

The distinction is even clearer in Berlin's dance of death. All the 14 clerics are placed to the left of Christ and here we find the doctor with the urine glass among priests and monks.

Three figures
3 persons from 1701

Notice the three small figures at the extreme right in the black and white picture. In contrast to the rest of the painting, these persons are not dressed in medieval costumes. Apparently they were added by Anton Wortmann when he copied the painting in 1701.

Footnotes: (1)

Wokerer / Usurer . . . : Jacob von Melle gives us two versions of the text, and in the less known version this dancer is not an usurer but a citizen.

For more details, see the following page.