La danse Macabre, Paris, 1485/86

Four musicians now introduce the dance
Guy Marchant, Musicians
Halberdier and fool are among the ten new dancers
Guy Marchant, Halberdier and fool

Guy Marchant was the first to publish and illustrate the 67 verses from the dance of death at the cemetery in St. Innocents, Paris. This happened 28th September 1485.

Immediately after this he began to expand the contents considerably. In very short time he introduced these changes:

For inscrutable reasons, the pages with Franciscan and child and clerc and hermit have been interchanged. This must be a definite mistake with no parallel in the manuscripts nor in other printed books. One might argue that it is more logical to have the child finish the dance (as is the case in Lübeck), but any logic has gone out of the window anyway, with Marchant adding two new dancers, halberdier and fool, after the dance was supposed to have finished.

The only existing copy of this book lacks a number of pages, among these the first leaf with the front page, so we don't have a title for the book. The book ends with a single page from the hermit's vision. This work would normally take up 5-6 pages and it's an open question, whether there have been more texts.

The new verse, »Bon y fait penser […]«, is placed at the end, whereas it would later become the penultimate verse, and a number of the new dancers don't have the same speeches that they would have in 1486 and future editions.

For instance cadaver musician no. 2:

1485-86Miroer Salutaire

    Le s[e]cond mort
Dictez nous par quelles raisons
Vous ne penses point a morir
Quant la mort va en vos maisons
Huy lun: demain lautre querir.
Sans pouoir estre secourir
Fors daucuns biens sen aues fais
Garder vous pourront de perir.
A qui meurt: amis sont bienfais.

Le second mort
Dictez nous par quelles raisons
Vous ne penses point a morir
Quant la mort va en voz maisons
Huy lung: demain lautre querir.
Sans quon vous puisse secourir
Cest mal viure: sans y penser
Et troup grant danger de perir.
Force est quil faille ainsi danser.

The Legate:

1485-86Miroer Salutaire

    Le mort
Legat vostre commission
Est expiree ie vous affie:
Huy la mort opposition
Y a mis ie le certiffie.
Faictez que soyes purifie
De peche: que lame desfait.
Vostre mort ie vous signifie.
Le vouloir dieu fault qui soit fait.

    Le mort
Legat vous estez arreste:
Dehors ne ires ie vous affie.
Tenez vous seur. et apreste
Pour mourir. ie vous certiffie
Que mort auiourduy vous deffie.
Entendez y: cest vostre fait.
En vie longue: nul ne si fie.
Le vouloir dieu doit estre fait.

 

    Le legat
Iauoye du saint pere puissance
Se ne fut cest empeschement:
Daller comme legat en france.
Or me conuient il autrement
Dispose. car quant: ou comment:
Ie doiz morir mest incertain.
Dieu le congnoit tant seulement
De viure: nul na de demain.

    Le legat
Du pape ie auoye puissance
Se ne fut cest empeschement:
Daller comme legat en france.
Mais faire me fault autrement.
Car morir voi: quant. ou comment.
Ne en quel lieu: ie ne say pas.
Mon dieu est: qui le scet seulement.
Mort suit lomme pas apres pas.

The duke:

1485-86Miroer Salutaire

    Le mort
Trespuissant et tresredoubte
Prince: en tous fais de noblesse:
Duc prise par magnanimite
De tous renomme de proesse
Monstrez icy vostre ardiesse.
Et dansez pour gaingner le pris.
Garde nauez que ie vous laisse:
Les grans de mors sont premier pris

    Le mort
Tresnoble duc: renom auez
Dauoir fait par vostre proesse
Par tout: ou vous estez trouuez:
Beaulx fais darmes: et de noblesse.
Monstrez cy vostre ardiesse:
Et dansez pour gaigner le pris.
Apres tout homme la mort chasse.
Les grans souuent sont premier pris

The schoolmaster:

1485-86Miroer Salutaire

    Le mort
Pluseurs hommes sont cher tenus
Au siecle: et en religion:
Et touteffoys il sont venus
De petite extraction:
Pour doctrine et correction
Maistre: quilz ont de vous receue
Vous en aurez solution
Dieu tous les bienfais retribue

    Le mort
Hommes pluseurs sont chers tenus
Au siecle. et en religion.
Lesquelx touteffois sont venus
De gens de basse condition.
La doctrine et correction
De vous maistre: telx les a fait.
Or mourrez vous: conclusion.
Homme par mort est tost deffait.

 

     Le maistre descole
Iay mis mon temps a estudie
Pour ieunes enfens instrure
Gramaire logique quoy con die:
Car sans elles ie vous assure:
Que autres sciences nont cure
De entrer en entendement.
Ainsi dieu le veult: et nature.
Par tout il fault commencement.

     Le maistre descole
Grammaire est science sans fable
De toutes autres ouuerture:
A ieunes enfens conuenable.
Car sans elle: ie vous assure
Que autres sciences nont cure
De entrer en entendement.
Ainsi le veult dieu. et nature.
Par tout il fault commencement.

The age of this book

The pages that would have included the title and the colophon are missing. The Bibliothèque nationale de France sets the date to »inter IX 1485 et 7 VI 1486«, which is another way of saying that it was published later than the first edition from September 28, 1485, but before Miroer Salutaire from 7th June 1486.

This is based on the state of the woodcuts, but it could have been based on the spelling as well, or on the contents of the additional texts (the latter argument is a bit uncertain, since a lot of pages are missing).

But there is in fact one more way to see this: A number of times the dialogue points back to the previous dancer, and in two cases this fails because of the extra scenes that were added to this edition: The one case is Death's speech to the Carthusian, where the first three lines really are a a farewell salute to the merchant: »Alez marchant«. It's only in the fourth line (which has been indented) that Death turns towards the abstinent Carthusian: »homme dastinence«.

It would appear that Guy Marchant had forgotten that he had inserted a schoolmaster and soldier at this point. In the 1486-edition, Miroer Salutaire, this error has been corrected and the farewell is now addressing the soldier, »Homme darmes«:

1485-86Miroer Salutaire

Alez marchant sans plus rester:
Ne faite ia cy resistence.
Vous ny poues rien conquester.
    Vous aussi: homme dastinence

Homme darmes plus ne reste:
Allez sans faire resistence.
Cy ne pouez rien conqueste.
    Vous aussi: homme dastinence

Exactly the same happened to the Franciscan monk, where Death first has to finish off the peasant / laborer: »Laboureur«. In this case the error is even greater: First of all because four new dancers were added, and secondly because, as mentioned, the pages with Franciscan and child and clerc and hermit were interchanged. This means that Death would have to shout past six dancing couples in order for the peasant to hear him.

In the 1486-edition the error has been rectified, so Death's parting shot instead addresses the new dancer, the shepherd.

1485-86Miroer Salutaire

Faicte voye: vous aues tort
Laboureur.      Apres cordelier

Faicte voye vous aues tort
Sus bergier.      Apres cordelier

The following woodcuts are from a later edition.

Authority
Guy Marchant 1486: Authority
Musicians
Guy Marchant 1486: Musicians
Pope and emperor
Guy Marchant 1486: Pope and emperor
Cardinal and king
Guy Marchant 1486: Cardinal and king
Legate and duke
Guy Marchant 1486: Legate and duke
Patriarch and constable
Guy Marchant 1486: Patriarch and constable
Archbishop and knight
Guy Marchant 1486: Archbishop and knight
Bishop and esquire
Guy Marchant 1486: Bishop and esquire
Abbot and bailiff
Guy Marchant 1486: Abbot and bailiff
Astrologer and citizen
Guy Marchant 1486: Astrologer and citizen
Canon and merchant
Guy Marchant 1486: Canon and merchant
Schoolmaster and soldier
Guy Marchant 1486: Schoolmaster and soldier
Carthusian and sargent
Guy Marchant 1486: Carthusian and sargent
Monk and usurer
Guy Marchant 1486: Monk and usurer
Physician and suitor
Guy Marchant 1486: Physician and suitor
Lawyer and minstrel
Guy Marchant 1486: Lawyer and minstrel
Parish priest and peasant
Guy Marchant 1486: Parish priest and peasant
Promoter and jailor
Guy Marchant 1486: Promoter and jailor
Pilgrim and shepherd
Guy Marchant 1486: Pilgrim and shepherd
Franciscan monk and child
Guy Marchant 1486: Franciscan monk and child
Clerk and hermit
Guy Marchant 1486: Clerk and hermit
Halberdier and fool
Guy Marchant 1486: Halberdier and fool
Authority and dead king
Guy Marchant 1486: Authority and dead king
Three living
Guy Marchant 1486: Three living
Three dead
Guy Marchant 1486: Three dead
Women
Guy Marchant 1486: Women
Chorea ab Eximio
Guy Marchant 1490: Chorea ab Eximio
Chorea ab Eximio
Guy Marchant 1490: Chorea ab Eximio
Autoritet 1491
Guy Marchant 1491: Autoritet 1491

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