Lübeck's Dance of Death

Lübeck's dance of death
Ludewig Suhl

Vermessener! du seyest
auch wer du seyest
der du durch manch
unnüzes Wort
diesen heiligen Ort
Hier findest du keine
sondern im Todten
Tanz deine gewisse
Still demnach, still!
Laß das Mahlwerck
stummer Wände mit
dir reden
und wo möglich vor
dem Ende dich über=
reden, daß der Mensch
sey und werde
Px. Ho. 1463 Renov.
ult. Ao 1701.

Ludewig SuhlThomas Nugent

    der Tod
Heran ihr Sterblichen, das Glas ist aus, heran,
Vom Höchsten in der Welt bis auf den Bauersmann.
Das Wegern ist umsonst, umsonst ist alles Klagen,
Ihr müsset einen Tanz nach meiner Pfeife wagen.

    I. Death
Ye mortals, up! your glass is out,
Both high and low; for do not doubt,
But tyrant kings, at my command,
Shall take a beggar by the hand.
I'll tune my pipe, as they advance,
And make them partners in a dance.

Photo from the 20th century
the introduction from the painting
Added words by Suhl
Suhl's introduction

The old text from 1463 has presumably started with a preacher, like most other dances of death, and like the sister-painting in Tallinn. Schlott has instead written a solemn admonition.

The texts vary a bit. On the right picture I have marked those words that have been added by Suhl. There's a lot of variation, particularly towards the end. In his book Eine Hand-voll Poetischer Blätter (1702) Nathanael Schlott lets the introduction end like this:
»und wo möglich vor dem Ende dich überreden / daß der Mensch sey und werde Erde«.

In his book Gründliche Nachricht from 1713 Jakob von Melle gives precisely the same text — except that he ends it with "N.S.", which presumably stands for "Nathanael Schlott".
»und wo möglich vor dem Ende dich überreden / daß der Mensch sey und werde Erde. N.S«.

Suhl adds the mysterious "Px. Ho. 1463" (picture to the right and above), which started the rumour that the painting had been created by Hans Holbein ("Pinxit Holbein"):
»und wo möglich vor dem Ende dich überreden / daß der Mensch sey und werde Erde. Px. Ho. 1463. Renov. ult. Ao 1701«.

The "Px. Ho. 1463" later disappeared again, as if it had never existed(!) Suhl is the only person to ever have reported it.

As the photo to the left shows, the words "wo möglich" — reported by all three sources did not exist, while they have all overlooked another word: »und vor dem Ende dich über reden, daß der Mensch sey und seyn werde Erde. Anno 1701«.

Footnotes: (1) (2)

Plauderkapelle...: See the page about the chapel.
Genesis 3:19, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.