On the previous pages we saw how Nicolas Oudot ca. 1600 published the original woodcuts, and how Noël Moreau and Nicolas II Oudot published copies of the Parisian Danse Macabre in the 17th century.
The book that we see here was also printed by an Oudot. This time it is Jacques Oudot, and the book is from ca. 1700. The front page shows one of those copies that Nicolas II Oudot used in 1641.
The woodcuts with abbess and noblewoman and spinster maid and Franciscan nun are still missing as they have been at least since 1531. Jacques Oudot has selected to illustrate the abbess and noblewoman with the woodcut of nun and witch with the rather odd result that the "noblewoman" stands with a broom in her hand.
The image of spinster maid and Franciscan nun is still a reuse of citizeness and widow, and the prioress and young woman have still traded places with the shepherdess and the woman with crutches.
Over time the contents have become more and more mutated. The scene with spinster maid and Franciscan nun (illustrated with the image of citizeness and widow) has for inscrutable reasons been moved one step ahead before the chambermaid and housekeeper. For equally inscrutable reasons the images of regent and knight's wife and merchant's wife and bailiff's wife are interchanged.
The same thing is true for the rest of the images. The authority at the beginning has been replaced by an image of "April" from a shepherd's calendar, while the final authority looks like a man asleep at his writing desk.
The book to the left was printed in 1729 by the next generation, viz. Jacques Oudot's widow and son. Unfortunately the books in the so-called "bibliothèque bleue" were printed on cheap paper where the ink bleeds through.
There has been one more change for evidently the woodcut with (the copy of) astrologer and citizen has disappeared. As the picture to the right shows, the publisher has instead used (the copy of) lawyer and minstrel.
It is not just the images and the sequence that has been changed. Along the road, the text has become as mutated as the images. The front pages of the various editions boast that the old Gaul language has been, »renouvellée de vieux Gaulois, en langage le plus poli de notre temps«, but the truth is that the language hasn't just been "renovated and polished". The text has been extensively re-written.
Here are the first two verses as an example:
|O creature roysonnable|
Qui desires vie eternelle.
Tu as cy doctrine notable:
Pour bien finer vie mortelle.
La dance macabre sapelle:
Que chascun a danser apprant.
A homme et femme est naturelle.
Mort nespargne petit ne grant
O Créature raisonnable,|
Qui desirez le Firmament,
Voici ton portrait veritable
Afin de mourir saintement,
C'est la Danse des Macabées,
Où chacun à danser apprend,
Car la Parque, cette obstinée,
N'épargne ny petit ny Grand
En ce miroer chascun peut lire
Dans ce miroir chacun peut lire,
But the changes don't stop here. They continued after 1766