Lübeck: The curate

The curate
The curate

The curate

Ach leider, wo quelet mi de Dot!
Ik hebbe Last van [_ _ _](1) grot.
Slaplik hebbe ik gequiten,
Ik vruchte, God schalt nummer witen,
De Werelt, de Viant, unde dat Vlesch,
Hebbet bedraghen minen Gest.
Wat schal mi nu dat Gut,
Wente ik it hir al laten mot?

Oh woe! How Death torments me.
I have a great load of [sins].(1)
Sleepingly I gave absolution,(2)
I fear God shall punish me now.(3)
The world, the devil and the flesh
have deceived my spirit.(4)
What shall I do now with these goods,
When I must leave it all?

Death answers the curate

Haddestu van Jöget up Gade bet
Recht vor di geset,(5)
Unde vlitliken gelert,
Dar du mennich Wort hefst vorkert,
Dat Volk bracht to Gude,
Dat were got, nu schedestu unnode.
It mot sin sunder leiden,(6)
Kopman, wilt di ok bereiden.

Had you, from your youth, on God better
set yourself right(5)
and diligently taught -
where you [instead] have twisted many [of God's] words -
and [had you] brought the people to God,
that would be good! Now you part [from life] unwillingly.
It must happen without hesitation.(6)
Merchant, will you too prepare yourself.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

A word is lacking in the text. Seelmann and Stammler suggest that the curate carries a great load of sins ("sunden"), while Mantels suggests the curate is loaded with sorrows ("Sorgen").

The curate has not been attentive in the performance of his duties.

Baethcke interprets it quite literally: the curate has fallen asleep in the confessional and has then given absolution of sins without actually knowing the content of the confession.

God shall punish me now . . .: This sentence is very difficult

»nummer« means "never" (High German: "nimmer"), but Mantels suggest that it should have been: "nu mer", i.e. "from now on" / henceforth (High German: "nunmehr").

Baethcke explains »witen« as to punish or to rebuke. The word is related to High German "verweisen"

The world, the devil and the flesh. The same deceiving triplet appear in The Small Catechism of Martin Luther in his description of the Lord's prayer:

"[…] but we pray in this request that God will protect us and save us, so that the Devil, the world and our bodily desires will neither deceive us nor seduce us into heresy, despair or other serious shame or vice […]".

Ronneby Church.
Ronneby Church

Take a look at the fresco from Ronneby Church. The man in the net is caught, not only by Death (MORS), but also by the Devil (DIABOLUS), the flesh in the form of a nude woman (CARO) and a woman with worldly goods (MUNDUS).

Recht vor di geset . . .: Mantels adds another word, even though von Melle hasn't indicated that something is missing: »Recht vor dine Ogen geset«.

Seelmann moves God from one line to another:

Haddestu van joget up […] bet /
  Gades recht vor di geset


leiden . . .: alle editors except Freytag write »beiden« without even making a note of it.

Freytag still prefers to translate the text as if it said »beiden«, and the reason is the parallel to the fragmentary so-called Westfälischer Totentanz (Ms. germ. fol. 735), where Death tells the peasant/laborer: »volghet nu sunder beyden«.