Ruler and Knight's Wife

Ruler and Knight's Wife
Guy Marchant, Ruler and Knight's wife

śLa mort

Or ca ma dame la regente
Qui auez renom de bien dire
De danser: fringuer: estre gente
Sur toutes quon scauroit eslire
Vous soliez autres faire rire
Festier gens et ralier:
Or est il temps de vous reduire
La mort fait trestout oublier

śLa regente

Quant me souuient des tabourins
Nopces: festes: harpes: trompetes:
Menestrelx: doulcines: clarins:
Et des grans cheres que iay faictes
Ie congnois que telz entrefaictes
En temps de mort nont point de lieu
Mais tournent en poures emplaites
Tout se passe fors aymer dieu

In his book from 1486 Guy Marchant expanded the dance with a new series of female dancers: 34 women, of which only the queen and countess were illustrated. In 1491 he published the Danse macabre des femmes separately, where the row of women was expanded with the bigot woman and the female fool.

The corpse is no longer "le Mort" or "la Morte", but "la Mort", i.e. Death incarnate. In spite of this the new images show a female trait for all the corpses, viz. the long, jutting stands of hair.

It's not very clear what "la regente" is supposed to govern / rule over. A 'regent' could be the king's wife who has taken over governance of the country, while the king is absent, for instance Catherine of Aragon served as a regent of England for six months in 1513, while Henry VIII was in France. According to the conversation, this regent's duties have rather been that of a hostess at great parties.

śLa mort

Gentille femme de cheualier
Que tant aymes deduit et chasse
Les engins vous fault habiller
Et suyure le train de ma trasse
Cest bien chasse quant on pourchasse
Chose a son ame meritoire
Car au derrain mort tout enchasse
Ceste vie est moult transitoire

śLa femme du cheualier

Pas si tost mourir ne cuidoye
Et comment dea: ie souppe hier
Sur lerbe verte a la saulsoye
Ou fis mon espreuier gayer
En riens plus ne se fault fier
Et quest ce des fais de ce monde
Huy rire demain lermoyer
La fin de ioye en dueil redonde

Variants

Various Artists

Guy Marchand (1491)
Guy Marchand 1491: Ruler and Knight's wife
Simon Vostre (1498)
Simon Vostre 1498: Ruler
Simon Vostre (1498)
Simon Vostre 1498: Knight's wife
Thielmann Kerver (1509)
Thielmann Kerver 1509: Ruler
Thielmann Kerver (1509)
Thielmann Kerver 1509: Knight's wife
Thielman Kerver (1511)
Thielman Kerver 1511: Ruler
Thielman Kerver (1511)
Thielman Kerver 1511: Knight's wife
Guillaume Godard (1514)
Guillaume Godard 1514: Ruler
Guillaume Godard (1514)
Guillaume Godard 1514: Knight's wife
Nicolas Oudot (1641)
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Ruler and knight's wife
d'Aligny (1858)
d'Aligny 1858: Ruler
d'Aligny (1858)
d'Aligny 1858: Knight's wife
Silvestre (1858)
Silvestre 1858: Regent
Silvestre (1858)
Silvestre 1858: Knight's wife
Baillieu (1862)
Baillieu 1862: Regent and knight's wife

Up to the Danse macabre des Femmes