When the old, worn painting from 1463 was replaced, the painter - Anton Wortmann - carefully studied and copied backgrounds, clothing and buildings.
In contrast, it doesn't appear that Schlott paid any attention to the remains of the medieval Low German text before he replaced it with his new High German text. Schlott wrote his poem in the fashion of the time, i.e. Alexandrines, meaning that each line consists of 12-13 syllables with the beat on every second:
Heran, ihr Sterblichen! das Glas ist aus, heran,
Vom Höchsten in der Welt bis zu dem Bauersmann!
Schlott was born in Danzig (Gdansk), 13/2 1666, and came to Lübeck in 1699 where he got married. Two years later he became married again, so presumably he was a widower when he wrote his dance of death in 1701.
The next years Schlott published his text in several books and added a conclusion: thesis "Der Tod ist kein Tantz" and antithesis "Der Tod ist ein Tantz".
The next year, 1703, the St. Mary's Church paid him his fee for the new text. Both Wilhelm Mantels and Meyer are outraged over the size of the fee but it's hard to be envious since Schlott died 23/3 the same year.
The posterity has not been kind to the works of Schlott. The old text evoked the fear of Death and Hell (and contained quite a bit of social criticism). Schlott's text reflects the feeling of a new age where life is a vale of tears and people yearn for the long sleep. Take for instance Death to the baby:
It's probably all this talk about sleep - combined with the perpetual badaam-badaam beat - that made several reviewers refer to them as "langzeilige und langweilige" (long-lined and boring).(1) Mantels calls the poem "schlectes Machwerk" (lousy botch) and adds that the poem "werden einem heutigen Leser nur widerwillen erregen" (would excite nothing but aversion in a modern  reader).
Harsh words indeed. There's nothing to indicate that the popularity of the painting decreased in the last 241 years, when Schlott's text had replaced the old one. Schlott's texts were published by himself and a great number of copists.
In 1738 Schlott's text was translated into Danish - by Lydert Höyer - still in Alexandrines. That book is available in the Danish section (use the navigation arrows of your browser to get back). In 1768 Thomas Nugent published his travelogue with a very free translation of Schlott's text into English.
One would think that a famous text that was hanging in a public place for 241 years, would be sufficiently described.
In spite of this there are great variations, not just in spelling, but words, sentences and entire verses deviate. What is even stranger is that Schlott and Jacob von Melle are those who deviate most. One would think that the author himself knew best, but his publications are often at odds with the painting, and von Melle, the pastor, who had his daily work in the church, follows Schlott. See for instance three variants of the parish clerk or the many versions of the child.
The most reliable reproduction is the one written below Milde's lithographs. An equally reliable text can be read here: Die Verse des Lübecker Todtentanzes.
Here is a comparison of the titles in the various publications:
|Schlott, 1701||Schlott, 1702||Melle, 1713||Suhl, 1783||Schmidt, 1839||King, 1857||Milde, 1866|
|Der Tod||Der Tod||Der Tod||der Tod||Der Tod als Flötenbläser||Flötenbläser||Der Tod|
|Der Papst||Der Bapst||Der Pabst||der Pabst||Der Papst||Der Papst||Der Pabst|
|Der Kaiser||Der Käyser||Der Käyser||der Kayser||Der Kaiser||Der Kaiser||Der Keyser|
|Die Kaiserinn||Die Käyserin||Die Käyserinn||die Kayserin||Die Kaiserin||Der(!) Kaiserin||Die Keyserin|
|Der Cardinal||Der Cardinal||Der Cardinal||der Cardinal||Der Cardinal||Der Cardinal||Der Cardinal|
|Der König||Der König||Der König||der König||Der König||Der König||Der König|
|Der Bischof||Der Bischoff||Der Bischof||der Bischof||Der Bischof||Der Bischof||Der Bischoff|
|Der Herzog||Der Hertzog||Der Hertzog||der Herzog||Der Herzog||Der Herzog||- - -|
|Der Abt||Der Abbt||Der Abt||der Abt||Der Abt||Der Abt||Der Abbt|
|Der Ritter||Der Ritter||Der Ritter||der Ritter||Der Ritter||Der Ritter||Der Ritter|
|Der Carthäuser||Der Carthäuser||Der Carthäuser||der Carthæuser||Der Carthäuser||Der Carthäuser||Der Carthäuser Mönch|
|Der Bürgermeister||Der Bürgermeister||Der Bürgermeist||der Bürgermeister||Der Bürgermeister||Der Bürgermeister||Der Bürger-Meister|
|Der Dohm=Herr||Der Domherr||Der Thum-Herr||der Thumherr||Der Domherr||Der Domherr||Der Thum Herr|
|Der Edelmann||Der Edelmann||Der Edelmann||der Edelmann||Der Edelmann||Der Edelmann||Der Edelmann|
|Der Arzt||Der Artzt||Der Artzt||der Doctor||Der Doctor||Der Doctor||Der Artzt|
|Der Wucherer||Der Wucherer||Der Wucherer||der Wucherer||Der Wucherer||Der Wucherer||Der Wucherer|
|Der Capellan||Der Capellan||Der Capellan||der Capellan||Der Kapellan||Der Kapellan||Der Capellan|
|Der Amtmann||Der Amptmann||Der Amptmann||der Amtmann||Der Amtmann||Der Amtmann||Der Amptman|
|Der Küster||Der Küster||Der Küster||der Küster||Der Küster||Der Küster||Der Küster|
|Der Kaufmann||Der Kauffmann||Der Kauffmann||der Kaufmann||Der Kaufmann||Der Kaufmann||Der Kauffman|
|Der Cläusener||Der Cläusener||Der Cläusener||der Clausener||Der Clausener||Der Clausener||Der Cläusner|
|Der Bauer||Der Bauer||Der Bauer||der Bauer||Der Bauer||Der Bauer||Der Bauer|
|Der Jüngling||Der Jüngling||Der Jüngling||der Iüngling||Der Jüngling||Der Jüngling||Der Junggesell|
|Die Jungfer||Die Jungfrau||Die Jungfrau||die Iungfrau||Die Jungfrau||Die Jungfrau||Die Jungfrau|
|Das Wiegen=Kind||Das Wiegen-Kind||Das Wiegen-Kind||das Wiegenkind||Der Tod zum Wiegenkinde||Das Wiegenkinde||- - -|
See below for resources
An equally reliable text can be read here: Die Verse des Lübecker Todtentanzes. The few differences between this and Milde's text seem to be orthographic variants (auf/auff, Keyser/Kayser).
An oddity is that Geissler, 1872, (not included in the table) writes "arzt" below the picture, but "doctor" in the headline of the following text. In the same way Geissler varies between Pabst/Papst and Clausner/Clausener.
King's headlines follow Schmidt's closely; also when King makes a revealing error like "Das Wiegenkinde".
Noch mehr löst sich scheinbar davon der die ursprüngliche Zahl (24) doch festhaltende Lübecker Todtentanz ab, der uns nur in achtzeiligen Reimsprüchen erhalten ist, die aber offenbar einer späteren Auffrischungszeit angehören, wie denn auch 1701 noch neue, eben so langzeilige (zugleich eben so langweilige) untergesetzt wurden (die 1735 beiläufig in Erfurt benützt werden).