Marginal thinking: Carlos V's book of hours

The three dead
Carlos V, The three dead
The three living
Carlos V, The three living

This richly illustrated book of hours once belonged to Carlos V, i.e. the Holy Roman emperor Charles 5th. In contrast to the other books we have reviewed in this section, this one presents not just a long sequence of dancers, but also a text.

The book is from the 16th century (Carlos lived 1500 - 1558), and the dance is clearly influenced by the printed books, in particular those published by Antoine Vérard. This is easy to see by comparing the picture to the left with Vérard's version of the three dead and the picture to the right with Vérard's version of the three living.

The text has been published in Revista de archivos, bibliotecas y museos, 1903, but with many errors, for instance the transcriber had overlooked that the book has been misbound so that leaf 220/221 (Carthusian, sergeant, monk and usurer) has been inserted too early.

For this reason I am glad to present a modern transcription by Mischa von Perger.

Carlos V, Authority
The three dead
Carlos V, The three dead
The three living
Carlos V, The three living

O pouures gens plains de toute folie :
comment ousez vous viure en tel desir :
ou quel sans doubte la pouure ame se lie :
a damnement pour sy peu de plaisir
Ne pensez vous point quil vous fault venir.
sans remede comme nous a la dance :
Et qui piz est apres seres pugir :
de tous les maulx dont auez fait offence
Las compaignons et que pouron nous faire :
Avisons il : car il en est sayson :
plus ne nous fault en ce monde repaire :
Pour y gaudir cest la conclusion :
mez des trois mors retiendrons la laisson :
a bien viure en bonne penitance :
A celle fin que en la morte saison (saisons?) :
puissons payer daulcung bien nostre offence :.
(Transcription by Mischa von Perger)

The dance begins with the men's Danse Macabre

Go forth

The next chapter in this series is about the men's dance.

The previous subject was about the Upenn 1945-65-13.

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