Lübeck: The peasant

The peasant
The peasant

The peasant

Des Danßes neme ik wol Respit,
Noch hebbe ik mine Tyt
Mit Arbeide hen ghebracht,
Unde ghedacht Dach unde Nacht,
Wo ik min Lant mochte begaden,
Dat it mit Vrucht wirde geladen,
To betalen mine Pacht.
Den Dot hebbe ik nicht geacht.

I would like to put off this dance.
So far I have used all my time
on work,
and thought, day and night,
on how to cultivate my field,
so that it could be full of fruit
to pay my farm rent.
I did not pay heed to death.

Death answers the peasant

Grot Arbeit hefstu ghedan,
God wil di nicht vorsman,
Mit dinem Arbeide unde Not,
Is it recht,(1) ik segge di blot,
God wilt di betalen,
In sinen oversten Salen.
Vruchte nicht en Twink,
Tret her Jungelink.

Great work have you done.
God will not disdain you
with your work and toil.
It is right, I'm just saying it,
God will reward you
in His highest hall.(2)
Do not fear for a twinkling.
Step over here, youth.

The peasant wants to pay the farm rent to his nobleman. It's the same tax that Death reminded the nobleman, that he had received: »Dines Pachtes werstu gewert«.

In Des Dodes Dantz the connection between the peasant and the nobleman is even clearer: »Ok wolde ik mynem iuncheren alle sine pacht wol geuen«. The same is true for Dodendantz: »Ok wolde ik minem junkeren de pacht wol geven«. Junker is a contraction of "junk herre", young lord.

Footnotes: (1)

Is it recht . . .:: All editors except Freytag write: »It is recht«, which of course makes much more sense.

von Melle writes: »It is« in Lubeca religiosa.

Hartmut Freytag has a slightly different interpretation, which in English would be:

God will not reject you.
It is all right with your work and toil.
I'm just telling you, God will reward you in His highest heaven.

This solution requires a little change of punctuation, but it must be said that the comma, which Freytag ignores in the 3rd line (and which I replace by a full-stop), is not included in Lubeca religiosa.