Physician, Amorous Squire and Gentlewoman

Physician and squire.
Physician & squire

Dethe to the Phisician

Maister of phisik / whiche [o]n ȝowre vryne
So loke and gase / & stare a-ȝenne the sunne
For al ȝowre crafte / & studie of medicyne
Al the practik / & science that ȝe cunne
Ȝowre lyues cours / so ferforthe ys I-runne
Aȝeyne my myght / ȝowre crafte mai not endure
For al the golde / that ȝe ther-bi haue wonne
Good leche is he / that can hym self recure.
ȝowre vryne: your urine
look, gaze and stare against the sun

leche: physician (leech)

The Phecissian answereth

Ful longe a-gon / that I vn-to phesike
Sette my witte / and my diligence
In speculatif / & also in practike
To gete a name / thurgh myn excellence
To fynde oute / a-ȝens pestilence
Preseruatifes / to staunche hit & to fyne
But I dar saie / shortli in sentence
A-ȝens dethe / is worth no medicyne.

in theory and in practice
thurgh: through

hit: it, fyne: end

Dethe to the amerous Squyere

Ȝe that be Jentel / so fresshe & amerous
Of ȝeres ȝonge / flowryng in ȝowre grene age
Lusti fre of herte / and eke desyrous
Ful of deuyses / and chaunge yn ȝowre corage
Plesaunt of porte / of loke & [of] visage
But al shal turne / in to asshes dede
For al beaute / is but a feynte ymage
Whiche steleth a-wai / or folkes can take hede.

eke: also

The Squyer answereth

Allas allas / I can now no socoure
A-ȝeyns dethe / for my selfe prouyde
Adieu of ȝowthe / the lusti fressh floure
Adieu veynglorie / [of bewte and of pride]
Adieu al seruyse / of the god cupide
Adieu my ladyes / so fresshe so wel be-seyne
For a-ȝeyne dethe / no thynge mai abide
And wyndes grete / gon doune with litel reyne

Dethe to the Gentilwoman amerous

Come forthe Maistresse / of ȝeres ȝonge & grene
Whiche holde ȝowre self / of beaute souereyne
As feire as ȝe / was sum tyme pollicene
Penelope / and the quene Eleyne
Ȝitte on this daunce / thei wenten bothe tweyne
And so shul ȝe / for al ȝowre straungenesse
Though daunger longe / yn loue hathe lad ȝow reyne
A-rested is / ȝowre chaunge of dowblenesse.

sum tyme: formerly; Polyxena: youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy

ȝitte: yet

The Jentilwoman answereth

O cruel dethe / that sparest noon a-state
To olde and ȝonge / thow arte indefferente
To my beaute / thou haste I-seide checke-mate
So hasti is / thi mortal Jugemente
For yn my ȝowthe / this was myn entente
To my seruyce / many a man to a lured
But she is a fole / shortli yn sentemente
That in her beaute / is to moche assured.

ȝowthe: youth

fole: fool

Physician with a urine glass from Lübeck.
Physician with a urine glass
Berner Totentanz, the physician.
Bern, The physician

The doctor is always portrayed with a urine glass, which he holds up against the sun to check for diseases. When Death speaks of ȝowre vryne, it makes you wonder if it's the physicians own urine that is being investigated.

Notice how Death in Paris (at the top of this page) is tugging at the doctor's dress in the crotch area. The picture to the right is from the dance of death in Bern (Switzerland), where the doctors grasps his own crotch. Maybe to show the source of the urine sample.

Compare with the physician in Holbein's dance of death and Holbein's great dance of death.

Simon Vostre: l'amoureuse
Simon Vostre, Suitoress

The loving noblewoman was — like the other women — added by Lydgate. It's true that in Paris there was a l'amoureuse, as a sort of replica of "l'amoureux", the male suitor, but the women's dance was a later invention. The oldest datable manuscript with the women's dance is from 1482.

The Parisian "l'amoureuse" is a more ambiguous character, who in the dialogue is scolded for being a prostitute, while Lydgate obviously thought of his "Gentilwoman amerous" as the female counterpart of "the amerous Squyere".