Placement in the painting

Death pierces a soldier from behind. The text is:

Mars hin Mars her,
Mors gilt noch. Mehr.

March here, march there;
Mors applies even more.

Mars hin, Mars her,
Mors gilt noch mehr.

The text is from "Besonders meubliert- und gezierte Todten-Capelle" (picture to the right), from a chapter ridiculing military discipline.

There is presumably a pun in "Mars", military march, and Mors, Death. This pun becomes even sharper in the Dutch translation from 1768, De kapelle der dooden:

Mars mag zeer veel Volk verslinden;
Mors kan nog meer projen vinden

Mars may devour very many people;
Mors can find even more rabble.

Holbein: Knight
Holbein Proofs, Knight

Here, "Mars" is instead the Roman god of war and the Dutch translator opens the chapter with a poem praising the heroes of Antiquity.

The scene is a copy of Holbein's knight (picture to the left):