The Duke

The duke
The door to Alfstrasse.
The door to Alfstrasse
The duke and the following Death do not hold hands.
The duke

Ludewig Suhl may be the only person ever to depict the duke. The duke and the following Death was cut out and disappeared, when a gateway was expanded in the church wall in 1799. When Hauttmann, the brothers Borchers, Tiedemann, Robert Geißler and Thomas King show the duke, they have presumably copied Suhl. Where else would they have seen the duke?

The picture to the left shows the door as it looked December 2001. Above the door one can see the new stained glass windows from 1952-56. The picture to the right is from a coloured exemplar of Suhl's engraving. I don't know whether the colouring happened before 1799.

Notice that the duke and the following Death are not holding hands. The duke holds a flag and Death uses both hands to catch the abbot. This is because there's always been a (smaller) door between the duke and Death and they have always been on two separate canvasses. When the door was enlarged, it was necessary to remove them both.

Ludewig SuhlThomas Nugent

    der Tod
Her, Herzog, her mit mir, zu jener langern Nacht!
Wen dieser Zug geschehn, so ist der Lauf vollbracht,
Hast du nun deine Lust, als wie den Feind befochten,
So nim den Ehrenkranz von Gottes Hand geflochten.

    XIV. Death to the General
Come, general, come, thou must away
With me to yon dark house of clay.
This march must end thy life's campaign;
If thou hast warr'd, and not in vain,
Against thy lusts, as they arose,
More fierce than 'gainst thy earthly foes,
A crown of glory is reserv'd
For thee, by Christ, whom thou hast serv'd.


    Der Herzog
Ich zog mit Heeres Kraft durch manch entferntes Land
Und machte Nahm u. Ruhm der tapfren Welt bekannt.
Ietzt hemmt die Todespost den Glückeslauf im Siegen,
Und ruffet: Schicke dich in deinen letzten Zügen

    XV. The General's answer.
Armies I've march'd through foreign lands;
My men obey'd my strict commands.
Exploits so great my foes have prais'd,
And to the skies my courage rais'd.
But Death, at length, hath taken post,
Arrests my victories, all is lost;
And calls out with insulting brave,
Thy march is ended, well behave.