Hospitable Woman and Wet nurse

Hospitable Woman and Wet nurse
Guy Marchant, Hospitable woman and wetnurse
Hospitable woman or whore?
Thielmann Kerver, Whore
¶La mort

Femme daccueil et amiable
A festier gens a plante:
Acquis auez amis de table
Pour parler de ioyeusete:
Le temps nest tel quil a este
Rien ne vault icy vacabont
Parler: qui nest que vanite
Ceulx qui ont le bruit ont le bont

¶La femme daccueil

Auiourduy parens et amis
Promettent et mons et merueilles
Mais quant voient quon est bas mis
Ilz baissent trestous les oreilles
Et sont aussi sours comme fueilles
Que le vent fait voler par couples
Et que vallent promesses telles
Vrais ne sont pas les amis doubles

The hospitable woman is rather ambiguous. In la Danse Macabre (quoted to the left) Death calls her a friendly woman (»amiable«) kvinde, who has many friends at the table (»amis de table«). The woman replies with some general thoughts about how quickly one may be deserted by family and friends.

In the books of hours, her hospitality gets another, more negative, meaning. In Dutch she is called "De Hoere" (the whore) or "De Bolerin" (picture to the right), which means the same. In Latin she is called "Lasciva", "the lascivious woman".

I Dutch her speech goes, »Ic plach ander luit bedrighen / nochtan en can ic de doet ontfligen« - "I used to cheat other people, however I cannot escape Death".

This difference in treatment between la Danse macabre and the books of hours is the opposite of that of the suitoress.

¶La mort

Apres nourrice: vostre beau filz
Nonobstant son couuertouer
Et son beau bonnet a trois filz
Vous ne le menrez plus iouer
Deslogez vous sans delaier
Car tous deux vous mourrez ensemble
Vous ne poues plus cy targer
La mort prent tout quant bon luy semble

¶La nourrice

A ceste danse fault aler
Comme font les prestres au seyne
Ie voulsisse bien reculer
Mais ie me sens la boce en laine
Entre les bras: de mon alaine
Cest enfant meurt depidimie.
Cest grant pitie de mort soudaine
Il nest qui ait heure ne demie

The picture shows that she's wearing a dress cut low enough to enable her to function as a wet nurse.

It is relatively rare that the dances of death mention diseases, but in this case both the nurse and child have the plague.

Death commands the nurse to follow after her beautiful boy (»Apres […] vostre beau filz«), while she complains that she can feel swellings ("la boce", releated to Medical English "boss") under her clothes and between her arms when she breathes. The child is dying from the epidemic /plague (»d'epidimie«).

Variants

Various Artists

Guy Marchand (1491)
Guy Marchand 1491: Hospitable woman and wetnurse
Simon Vostre (1498)
Simon Vostre 1498: Hospitable woman
Simon Vostre (1498)
Simon Vostre 1498: Wetnurse
Thielmann Kerver (1509)
Thielmann Kerver 1509: Whore
Thielmann Kerver (1509)
Thielmann Kerver 1509: Wetnurse
Thielmann Kerver (1509)
Thielmann Kerver 1509: Whore
Thielman Kerver (1511)
Thielman Kerver 1511: Whore
Thielman Kerver (1511)
Thielman Kerver 1511: Wetnurse
Guillaume Godard (1514)
Guillaume Godard 1514: Whore
Guillaume Godard (1514)
Guillaume Godard 1514: Wetnurse
Nicolas Oudot (1641)
Nicolas Oudot 1641: Hospitable woman and wet nurse
d'Aligny (1858)
d'Aligny 1858: Hospitable woman
d'Aligny (1858)
d'Aligny 1858: Wetnurse
Silvestre (1858)
Silvestre 1858: Hospitable woman
Silvestre (1858)
Silvestre 1858: Wetnurse
Baillieu (1862)
Baillieu 1862: Hospitable woman and wetnurse

Up to the Danse macabre des Femmes