Archbishop and Baron

Archbishop & baron.
Archbishop and baron

Dethe to the Archebisshop

Sire archebisshop / whi do ȝe ȝow with-drawe
So frowardli / as hit were bi disdeyne
Ȝe moste a-proche / to my mortal lawe
Hit to contrarie / hit were not but yn veyne
For dai be dai / ther is none other geyne
Deth at honde / pursueth eueri coost
Preste & dette / mote be ȝolde a-ȝeyne
And atte oo day / men counten with her hooste.

frowardli: unwillingly, hit: it

coost: region
Loan and debts must be paid(1)
and one day men must reckon with their host

The Archebisshop answereth

Alas I wote not / what partie for to fle
For drede of dethe / I haue so grete distresse
To a-scape his myght / I can no refute se
That who so knewe / his constreynt & duresse
He wolde take reasoun / to maistresse
A-dewe my tresowr / my pompe & pride al-so
Mi peynted chambres / my porte & my fresshnesse
For thynge that behoueth / nedes mote be do.
wote: know

A-dewe: adieu, farewell

behoueth: behooves, are necessary

Dethe to the Baroun

Ȝe that amonge / lordes and barouns
Hau had so longe / worship & renoun
Forȝete ȝowre trumpettes / & yowre clariowns
This is no dreme / ne symulacioun
Somme-tyme ȝowre custome / & entencioun
Was with ladies / to daunce yn the shade
But ofte hit happeth / In conclusioun
That oo man breketh / that another made.

Forȝete ȝowre: Forget your

Somme-tyme: Formerly

oo: a, one

The Baroun or the knyȝt answereth

Ful ofte sithe / I haue ben auctorised
To hye Emprises / & thynges of grete fame
Of hie and lowe / my thanke also deuysed
Cherisshed with ladies / and wymmen hye of [n]ame
Ne neuer on me / was putte no defame
In lordes courte / whiche that was notable
But dethes stroke / hath made me so lame
Under heuene in erthe / is no thynge stable.
sithe: since

Gratitude to me has been felt by high and low


Footnotes: (1)

Preste & dette . . .: This line could easily be read as something with "priests and Death", but the word "dette" means "debt" - it did not acquire a "b" before the 16th century.

In the French Danse Macabre Death says to the archbishop: Rendre convient debtes. et prestz.