The Canon

The canon

A canon is a priest attached to a cathedral. The canons are so called because they lead a rule bound life, "vita canonica".

The tower that can be seen behind his head is the Petrikirche (St. Peter's Church). Usually it can be recognized by the turrets on the side, but Suhl has "forgotten" to draw these, so I refer instead to Milde's lithographs.

One may wonder why the canon is placed so close to the Church of St. Mary (it is just to the right of his head), but far from the twin towers of the cathedral (where the mayor is standing). There can be many explanations for this, but one must remember that the dancers on each side of the canon, namely the mayor and nobleman, swapped places, at the time the painting was replaced in 1701.

Ludewig SuhlThomas Nugent

    der Tod
Ihr habet an dem Thum doch nicht ein bleibend Haus,(1)
Und müst auf einen Wink mit Leib und Seel hinaus,
So werdet ihr zwar hier, dort aber nie vertrieben,
Wenn euch der Himmel bleibt, als Eigenthum verschrieben.

    XXIV. Death to the Prebendary.
Come, this is no abiding-place,(1)
This sinful world, so void of grace;
Be comforted, if heaven's thy lot;
Ah happy man ! for who would not
Barter this globe, and all therein,
The meanest place in heav'n to win ?


    der Thumherr
Den Ionam warf ein Fisch, doch lebend, an den Strand,(2)
Mich wirft des Todes Schlund in jenes Vaterland:
Ihr Menschen/ bauet doch die Häuser nicht so veste.
Dort seyd ihr erst daheim, hier aber fremde Gäste.

XXV, The prebendary's answer.
What art thou, bauble world now past,
A vale of misery at last?
Thoughtless and vain as mortals are;
In mercy, Lord, our souls prepare;
In pity, God, then set me free,
Since all my hopes are fixt in thee.

Ludewig Suhl agrees with Jacob von Melle and Nathanael Schlott in writing »des Todes Schlund« (Death's maw), whereas the later sources write »des Todes Stoß« (Death's shove), which is also what the painting used to say.

Footnotes: (1) (2)

no abiding-place . . .: It's a popular thought that Christians have "no abiding-place" in the present world, but it's not really a concept found in the Bible. Jesus said, »ye have not his word abiding in you« (John 5:38), but that is probably not what they refer to.

It is more probably a reference to Hebrews 13:14 »For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come«.

Schlott writes "bleibend Haus", where Germans would normally write "city" or "place" ("bleibende Statt/Stadt/Stätte"). Maybe Schlott wrote "Haus" simply because he wanted a rhyme for "hinaus"?

Say hello to Pinocchio!
A whale of a story.

This fish story extraordinary is told in Jonas 2:2, "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." and in 2:11, "And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.".

Incredibly, the omniscient Jesus Christ believed in this hard-to-swallow yarn and alluded to it: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40).