The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Dance of Death, by Hans Holbein This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Dance of Death Author: Hans Holbein Commentator: Austin Dobson Release Date: June 10, 2007 [EBook #21790] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE DANCE OF DEATH *** Produced by David Garcia, Juliet Sutherland and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
Of this edition Seven hundred and fifty copies have been printed, of which this is Number …71…
Copyright, 1903, by
The Heintzemann Press, Boston
"Les Simulachres & Historiées Faces de la Mort avtant elegamtment pourtraictes, que artificiellement imaginées." This may be Englished as follows: The Images and Storied Aspects of Death, as elegantly delineated as [they are] ingeniously imagined. Such is the literal title of the earliest edition of the famous book now familiarly known as "Holbein's Dance of Death." It is a small quarto, bearing on its title-page, below the French words above  quoted, a nondescript emblem with the legend Vsus me Genuit, and on an open book, Gnothe seauton. Below this comes again, "A Lyon, Soubz l'escu de Coloigne: M. D. XXXVIII," while at the end of the volume is the imprint "Excvdebant Lvgdvni Melchoir et Gaspar Trechsel fratres: 1538,"—the Trechsels being printers of German origin, who had long been established at Lyons. There is a verbose "Epistre" or Preface in French to the "moult reuerende Abbesse du religieux conuent S. Pierre de Lyon, Madame Iehanne de Touszele," otherwise the Abbess of Saint Pierre les Nonnains, a religious house containing many noble and wealthy ladies, and the  words, "Salut d'un vray Zèle," which conclude the dedicatory heading, are supposed to reveal indirectly the author of the "Epistre" itself, namely, Jean de Vauzelles, Pastor of St. Romain and Prior of Monrottier, one of three famous literary brothers in the city on the Rhone, whose motto was "D'un vray Zelle." After the Preface comes "Diuerses Tables de Mort, non painctes, mais extraictes de l'escripture saincte, colorées par Docteurs Ecclesiastiques, & umbragées par Philosophes." Then follow the cuts, forty-one in number, each having its text from the Latin Bible above it, and below, its quatrain in French, this latter being  understood to be from the pen of one Gilles Corozet. To the cuts succeed various makeweight Appendices of a didactic and hortatory character, the whole being wound up by a profitable discourse, De la Necessite de la Mort qui ne laisse riens estre pardurable. Various editions ensued to this first one of 1538, the next or second of 1542 (in which Corozet's verses were translated into Latin by Luther's brother-in-law, George Oemmel or Aemilius), being put forth by Jean and François Frellon, into whose hands the establishment of the Trechsels had fallen. There were subsequent issues in 1545, 1547, 1549, 1554, and 1562. To the  issues of 1545 and 1562 a few supplementary designs were added, some of which have no special bearing upon the general theme, although attempts, more or less ingenious, have been made to connect them with the text. After 1562 no addition was made to the plates.
From the date of the editio princeps it might be supposed that the designs were executed at or about 1538—the year of its publication. But this is not the case; and there is good evidence that they were not only designed but actually cut on the wood some eleven years before  the book itself was published. There are, in fact, several sets of impressions in the British Museum, the Berlin Museum, the Basle Museum, the Imperial Library at Paris, and the Grand Ducal Cabinet at Carlsruhe, all of which correspond with each other, and are believed to be engraver's proofs from the original blocks. These, which include every cut in the edition of 1538, except "The Astrologer," would prove little of themselves as to the date of execution. But, luckily, there exists in the Cabinet at Berlin a set of coarse enlarged drawings in Indian ink, on brownish paper, of twenty-three of the series. These are in circular form; and were  apparently intended as sketches for glass painting. That they are copied from the woodcuts is demonstrable, first, because they are not reversed as they would have been if they were the originals; and, secondly, because one of them, No. 36 ("The Duchess"), repeats the conjoined "H.L." on the bed, which initials are held to be the monogram of the woodcutter, and not to be part of the original design. The Berlin drawings must therefore have been executed subsequently to the woodcuts; and as one of them, that representing the Emperor, is dated "1527," we get a date before which both the woodcuts, and the designs for the woodcuts,  must have been prepared. It is generally held that they were so prepared circa 1524 and 1525, the date of the Peasants' War, of the state of feeling excited by which they exhibit evident traces. In the Preface to this first edition, certain ambiguous expressions, to which we shall presently refer, led some of the earlier writers on the subject to doubt as to the designer of the series. But the later researches of Wornum and Woltmann, of M. Paul Mantz and, more recently, of Mr. W. J. Linton leave no doubt that they were really drawn by the artist to whom they have always been traditionally assigned, to wit, Hans Holbein the younger. He  was resident in Basle up to the autumn of 1526, before which time, according to the above argument, the drawings must have been produced; he had already designed an Alphabet of Death; and, moreover, on the walls of the cemetery of the Dominican monastery at Basle there was a famous wall-painting of the Dance of Death, which would be a perpetual stimulus to any resident artist. Finally, and this is perhaps the most important consideration of all, the designs are in Holbein's manner.
But besides revealing an inventor of the highest order, the Dance  of Death also discloses an interpreter in wood of signal, and even superlative, ability. The designs are cut—to use the word which implies the employment of the knife as opposed to that of the graver—in a manner which has never yet been excelled. In this matter there could be no better judge than Mr. W. J. Linton; and he says that nothing, either by knife or by graver, is of higher quality than these woodcuts. Yet the woodcutter's very name was for a long time doubtful, and even now the particulars which we possess with regard to him are scanty and inconclusive. That he was dead when the Trechsels published the book in 1538, must  be inferred from the "Epistre" of Jean de Vauzelles, since that "Epistre" expressly refers to "la mort de celluy, qui nous en a icy imaginé si elegantes figures"; and without entering into elaborate enquiry as to the exact meaning of "imaginer" in sixteenth-century French, it is obvious that, although the deceased is elsewhere loosely called "painctre," this title cannot refer to Holbein, who was so far from being dead that he survived until 1543. The only indication of the woodcutter's name is supplied by the monogram, "HL" upon the bedstead in No. 36 ("The Duchess"); and these initials have been supposed to indicate one Hans Lutzelburger, or  Hans of Luxemburg, "otherwise Franck," a form-cutter ("formschneider"), whose full name is to be found attached to the so-called "Little Dance of Death," an alphabet by Holbein, impressions of which are in the British Museum. His signature ("H. L. F. 1522") is also found appended to another alphabet; to a cut of a fight in a forest, dated also 1522; and to an engraved title-page in a German New Testament of the year following. This is all we know with certainty concerning his work, though the investigations of Dr. Édouard His have established the fact that a "formschneider" named Hans, who had business transactions  with the Trechsels of Lyons, had died at Basle before June, 1526; and it is conjectured, though absolute proof is not forthcoming, that this must have been the "H. L.," or Hans of Luxemburg, who cut Holbein's designs upon the wood. In any case, unless we must assume another woodcutter of equal merit, it is probable that the same man cut the signed Alphabet in the British Museum and the initialed Dance of Death. But why the cuts of the latter, which, as we have shown above, were printed circa 1526, were not published at Lyons until 1538; and why Holbein's name was withheld in the Preface to the book of that year, are still unexplained.  The generally accepted supposition is that motives of timidity, arising from the satirical and fearlessly unsparing character of the designs, may be answerable both for delay in the publication and mystification in the "Preface." And if intentional mystification be admitted, the doors of enquiry, after three hundred and fifty years, are practically sealed to the critical picklock.
The Dance of Death has been frequently copied. Mr. W. J. Linton enumerates a Venice reproduction of 1545; and a set (enlarged) by Jobst Dienecker of Augsburg in 1554. Then there  is the free copy, once popular with our great grandfathers, by Bewick's younger brother John, which Hodgson of Newcastle published in 1789 under the title of Emblems of Mortality. Wenceslaus Hollar etched thirty of the designs in 1651, and in 1788 forty-six of them were etched by David Deuchar. In 1832 they were reproduced upon stone with great care by Joseph Schlotthauer, Professor in the Academy of Fine Arts at Munich; and these were reissued in this country in 1849 by John Russell Smith. They have also been rendered in photo-lithography for an edition issued by H. Noel Humphreys, in 1868; and for the  Holbein Society in 1879. In 1886, Dr. F. Lippmann edited for Mr. Quaritch a set of reproductions of the engraver's proofs in the Berlin Museum; and the editio princeps has been facsimiled by one of the modern processes for Hirth of Munich, as vol. x. of the Liebhaber-Bibliothek, 1884.
The copies given in the present issue are impressions from the blocks engraved in 1833 for Douce's Holbein's Dance of Death. They are the best imitations in wood, says Mr. Linton. It is of course true, as he also points out, that a copy with the graver can never quite faithfully follow  an original which has been cut with the knife,—more especially, it may be added, when the cutter is a supreme craftsman like him of Luxemburg. But against etched, lithographed, phototyped and otherwise-processed copies, these of Messrs. Bonner and John Byfield have one incontestable advantage: they are honest attempts to repeat by the same method,—that is, in wood,—the original and incomparable woodcuts of Hans Lutzelburger.
"Contra vim Mortis
Non est medicamen in hortis."
He is the despots' Despot. All must bide,
Later or soon, the message of his might;
Princes and potentates their heads must hide,
Touched by the awful sigil of his right;
Beside the Kaiser he at eve doth wait
And pours a potion in his cup of state;
The stately Queen his bidding must obey;
No keen-eyed Cardinal shall him affray;
And to the Dame that wantoneth he saith—
"Let be, Sweet-heart, to junket and to play."
There is no king more terrible than Death.
The lusty Lord, rejoicing in his pride,
He draweth down; before the armèd Knight
With jingling bridle-rein he still doth ride;
He crosseth the strong Captain in the fight;
The Burgher grave he beckons from debate;
He hales the Abbot by his shaven pate,
Nor for the Abbess' wailing will delay;
No bawling Mendicant shall say him nay;
E'en to the pyx the Priest he followeth,
Nor can the Leech his chilling finger stay ...
There is no king more terrible than Death.
All things must bow to him. And woe betide
The Wine-bibber,—the Roisterer by night;
Him the feast-master, many bouts defied,
Him 'twixt the pledging and the cup shall smite;
Woe to the Lender at usurious rate,
The hard Rich Man, the hireling Advocate;
Woe to the Judge that selleth right for pay;
Woe to the Thief that like a beast of prey
With creeping tread the traveller harryeth:—
These, in their sin, the sudden sword shall slay ...
There is no king more terrible than Death.
He hath no pity,—nor will be denied.
When the low hearth is garnishèd and bright,
Grimly he flingeth the dim portal wide,
And steals the Infant in the Mother's sight;
He hath no pity for the scorned of fate:—
He spares not Lazarus lying at the gate,
Nay, nor the Blind that stumbleth as he may;
Nay, the tired Ploughman,—at the sinking ray,—
In the last furrow,—feels an icy breath,
And knows a hand hath turned the team astray ...
There is no king more terrible than Death.
He hath no pity. For the new-made Bride,
Blithe with the promise of her life's delight,
That wanders gladly by her Husband's side,
He with the clatter of his drum doth fright;
He scares the Virgin at the convent grate;
Youth, for whose ear and monishing of late,
I sang of Prodigals and lost estate,
Have thou thy joy of living and be gay;
But know not less that there must come a day,—
Aye, and perchance e'en now it hasteneth,—
When thine own heart shall speak to thee and say,—
There is no king more terrible than Death.
1877. A. D.
This Chant Royal of the King of Terrors is—with Mr. Austin Dobson's consent—here reprinted from his Collected Poems, 1896.
N.B.—The German titles are in general modernized from those which appear above the engraver's proofs. The numerals are those of the cuts.
|Die Schöpfung aller Ding.|
Eve is taken from the side of Adam.
|"Adam Eua im Paradyss."|
Eve, having received an apple from the serpent, prompts Adam to gather more.
|"Vsstribung Ade Eue."|
Adam and Eve, preceded by Death, playing on a beggar's lyre or hurdy-gurdy, are driven by the angel from Eden.
| The Consequences of the Fall||IV|
|Adam baut die Erden.|
Adam, aided by Death, tills the earth. Eve, with a distaff, suckles Cain in the background.
|Gebein aller Menschen.|
A crowd of skeletons, playing on horns, trumpets, and the like, summon mankind to the grave.
The Pope (Leo X.) with Death at his side, crowns an Emperor, who kisses his foot. Another Death, in a cardinal's hat, is among the assistants.
| The Emperor||VII|
The Emperor (Maximilian I.) rates his minister for injustice to a suitor. But even in the act Death discrowns him.
The King (Francis I.) sits at feast under a baldachin sprinkled with fleurs-de-lis. Death, as a cup-bearer, pours his last draught.
Death lifts off the Cardinal's hat as he is handing a letter of indulgence to a rich man. Luther's opponent, Cardinal Cajetan, is supposed to be represented.
| The Empress||X|
The Empress, walking with her women, is intercepted by a female Death, who conducts her to an open grave.
Death, in the guise of a court-jester, drags away the Queen as she is leaving her palace.
The sun is setting, and Death leads the aged Bishop from the sorrowing shepherds of his flock.
The Duke turns pitilessly from a beggar-woman and her child. Meanwhile Death, fantastically crowned, lays hands on him.
| The Abbot||XIV|
Death, having despoiled the Abbot of mitre and crozier, hales him along unwilling, and threatening his enemy with his breviary.
Death, in a wreath of flags, pulls away the Abbess by her scapulary in sight of a shrieking nun.
Death drags the resisting Nobleman towards a bier in the background.
|The Canon, or Prebendary||XVII|
The Canon, with his falconer, page, and jester, enters the church door. Death shows him that his sands have run.
| The Judge||XVIII|
Death withdraws the Judge's staff as he takes a bribe from a rich suitor.
Death comes upon him in the street while he is being feed by a rich client.
|The Counsellor, or Senator||XX|
The Counsellor, prompted by a devil, is absorbed by a nobleman, and turns unheeding from a poor suppliant. But Death, with glass and spade, is waiting at his feet.
|The Priest, or Pastor||XXII|
He carries the host to a sick person. But Death precedes him as his sacristan.
|The Mendicant Friar||XXIII|
Death seizes him just as his begging box and bag are filled.
The young Nun kneels at the altar, but turns to her lover who plays upon a lute. Death meantime, as a hideous old hag, extinguishes the altar candles.
| The Old Woman||XXV|
"Melior est mors quam vita" to the aged woman who crawls gravewards with her bone rosary while Death makes music in the van.
Death brings him a hopeless patient, and bids him cure himself.
|(See p. 10, l. 12.)|
He contemplates a pendent sphere. But Death thrusts a skull before his eyes.
|The Rich Man||XXVIII|
Death finds him at his pay-table and seizes the money.
| The Merchant||XXIX|
Death arrests him among his newly-arrived bales.
Death breaks the mast of the ship, and the crew are in extremity.
Death, in cuirass and chain-mail, runs him through the body.
Death, as a peasant with a flail, lifts away his back-piece.
| The Old Man||XXXIII|
Death, playing on a dulcimer, leads him into his grave.
Death helps her at her tiring by decorating her with a necklet of dead men's bones.
|The Noble Lady, or Bride||XXXV|
"Me et te sola mors separabit"—says the motto. And Death already dances before her.
Death seizes her in bed, while his fellow plays the fiddle.
| The Pedlar||XXXVII|
Death stops him on the road with his wares at his back.
Death runs at the horses' sides as the sun sinks, and the furrows are completed.
|The Young Child||XXXIX|
|Das Junge Kind.|
As the meagre cottage meal is preparing, Death steals the youngest child.
|The Last Judgment||XL|
|Das jüngste Gericht.|
"Omnes stabimus ante tribunal Domini."
|The Escutcheon of Death||XLI|
|Die Wappen des Todes.|
The supporters represent Holbein and his wife.
[Added in later editions]
Death, armed only with a bone and shield, fights with the Soldier on the field of battle.
Death and the Devil seize upon the Gambler at his cards.
Men and women carouse: down the throat of one bloated fellow Death pours the wine.
The Fool dances along the highway with Death, who plays the bagpipes.
Death seizes the Robber in the act of pillage.
| The Blind Man||XLVII|
Death leads the Blind Man by his staff.
The waggon is overturned; one Death carries off a wheel, the other loosens the fastening of a cask.
The Beggar, lying on straw outside the city, cries in vain for Death.
[Two others, not found in the earlier editions, "The Young Wife," and "The Young Husband," are not included in the Douce reprint for which the foregoing blocks were engraved.]
Formauit Dominvs Devs hominem de limo terræ, ad imaginē suam creauit illum, masculum & fœminam creauit eos.
Genesis i. & ii.
DIEV, Ciel, Mer, Terre, procrea
De rien demonstrant sa puissance
Et puis de la terre crea
L'homme, & la femme a sa semblance.
Quia audisti vocem vxoris tuæ, & comedisti de ligno ex quo preceperam tibi ne comederes, &c.
ADAM fut par EVE deceu
Et contre DIEV mangea la pomme,
Dont tous deux ont la Mort receu,
Et depuis fut mortel tout homme.
Emisit eum Dominvs Devs de Paradiso voluptatis, vt operaretur terram de qua sumptus est.
DIEV chassa l'homme de plaisir
Pour uiure au labeur de ses mains:
Alors la Mort le uint saisir,
Et consequemment tous humains.
Maledicta terra in opere tuo, in laboribus comedes cunctis diebus vitæ tuæ, donec reuertaris, &c.
Mauldicte en ton labeur la terre.
En labeur ta uie useras,
Iusques que la Mort te soubterre.
Toy pouldre en pouldre tourneras.
Væ væ væ habitantibus in terra.
Cuncta in quibus spiraculum vitæ est, mortua sunt.
Malheureux qui uiuez au monde
Tousiours remplis d'aduersitez,
Pour quelque bien qui uous abonde,
Serez tous de Mort uisitez.
Moriatur sacerdos magnus.
Et episcopatum eius accipiat alter.
Qui te cuydes immortel estre
Par Mort seras tost depesché,
Et combien que tu soys grand prebstre,
Vng aultre aura ton Euesché.
Dispone domui tuæ, morieris enim tu, & non viues.
Ibi morieris, & ibi erit currus gloriæ tuæ.
De ta maison disposeras
Comme de ton bien transitoire,
Car là ou mort reposeras,
Seront les chariotz de ta gloire.
Sicut & rex hodie est, & cras morietur, nemo enim ex regibus aliud habuit.
Ainsi qu'auiourdhuy il est Roy,
Demain sera en tombe close.
Car Roy aulcun de son arroy
N'a sceu emporter aultre chose.
Væ qui iustificatis impium pro muneribus, & iustitiam iusti aufertis ab eo.
Mal pour uous qui iustifiez
L'inhumain, & plain de malice
Et par dons le sanctifiez,
Ostant au iuste sa iustice.
Gradientes in superbia potest Deus humiliare.
Qui marchez en pompe superbe
La Mort vng iour uous pliera.
Cõme soubz uoz piedz ployez l'herbe
Ainsi uous humiliera.
Mulieres opulentæ surgite, & audite vocem meam. Post dies, & annum, & vos conturbemini.
Leuez uous dames opulentes.
Ouyez la uoix des trespassez.
Apres maintz ans & iours passez,
Serez troublées & doulentes.
Percutiam pastorem, & dispergentur oues.
xxvi. Mar. xiiii.
Le pasteur aussi frapperay,
Mitres & crosses renuersées.
Et lors quand ie l'attrapperay,
Seront ses brebis dispersées.
Princeps induetur mœrore. Et quiescere faciam superbiã potentium.
Vien, prince, auec moy, & delaisse
Honneurs mondains tost finissantz.
Seule suis qui, certes, abaisse
L'orgueil & pompe des puissantz.
Ipse morietur. Quia nõ habuit disciplinam, & in multitudine stultitiæ suæ decipietur.
Il mourra. Car il n'a receu
En soy aulcune discipline,
Et au nombre sera deceu
De folie qui le domine.
Laudaui magis mortuos quàm viuentes.
I'ay tousiours les mortz plus loué
Que les uisz, esquelz mal abonde,
Toucesfoys la Mort ma noué
Au ranc de ceulx qui sont au monde.
Quis est homo qui viuet, & non videbit mortem, eruet animã suam de manu inferi?
Qui est celluy, tant soit grande homme,
Qui puisse uiure sans mourir?
Et de la Mort, qui tout assomme,
Puisse son Ame recourir?
Ecce appropinquat hora.
Tu uas au choeur dire tes heures
Paiant Dieu pour toy, & ton proche.
Mais il fault ores que tu meures.
Voy tu pas l'heure qui approche?
Disperdam iudicem de medio eius.
Du mylieu d'eulx uous osteray
Iuges corrumpus par presentz.
Point ne serez de Mort exemptz.
Car ailleurs uous transporteray.
Callidus vidit malum, & abscõdit se innocens, pertransijt, & afflictus est damno.
L'homme cault a ueu la malice
Pour l'innocent faire obliger,
Et puis par uoye de iustice
Est uenu le pauure affliger.
Qui obturat aurem suam ad clamorem pauperis, & ipse clamabit, & non exaudietur.
Les riches conseillez tousiours,
Et aux pauures clouez l'oreille.
Vous crierez aux derniers iours,
Mais Dieu uous fera la pareille.
Væ qui dicitis malum bonum, & bonum malū, ponentes tenebras lucem, & lucem tenebras, ponentes amarum dulce, & dulce in amarum.
Mal pour uous qui ainsi osez
Le mal pour le bien nous blasmer,
Et le bien pour mal exposez,
Mettant auec le doulx l'amer.
Sum quidem & ego mortalis homo.
Ie porte le sainct sacrement
Cuidant le mourant secourir,
Qui mortel suis pareillement.
Et comme luy me fault mourir.
Sedentes in tenebris, & in vmbra mortis, vinctos in mendicitate.
Toy qui n'as soucy, ny remord
Sinon de ta mendicité,
Tu fierras a l'umbre de Mort
Pour t'ouster de necessité.
Est via quæ videtur homini iusta: nouissima autem eius deducunt hominem ad mortem.
Telle uoye aux humains est bonne,
Et a l'homme tresiuste semble.
Mais la fin d'elle a l'homme donne,
La Mort, qui tous pecheurs assemble.
Melior est mors quàm vita.
En peine ay uescu longuement
Tant que nay plus de uiure enuie,
Mais bien ie croy certainement,
Meilleure la Mort que la uie.
Medice, cura teipsum.
Tu congnoys bien la maladie
Pour le patient secourir,
Et si ne scais teste estourdie,
Le mal dont tu deburas mourir.
Indica mihi si nosti omnia. Sciebas quòd nasciturus esses, & numerum dierum tuorum noueras?
Tu dis par Amphibologie
Ce qu'aux aultres doibt aduenir.
Dy moy donc par Astrologie
Quand tu deburas a moy uenir?
Stulte hac nocte repetunt animam tuam, & quæ parasti cuius erunt?
Ceste nuict la Mort te prendra,
Et demain seras enchassé.
Mais dy moy, fol, a qui uiendra
Le bien que tu as amassé?
Qui congregat thesauros mendacij vanus & excors est, & impingetur ad laqueos mortis.
Vain est cil qui amassera
Grandz biens, & tresors pour mentir,
La Mort l'en fera repentir.
Car en ses lacz surpris sera.
Qui volunt diuites fieri incidunt in laqueum diaboli, & desideria multa, & nociua, quæ mergunt homines in interitum.
I. Ad Timo. vi.
Pour acquerir des biens mondains
Vous entrez en tentation,
Qui uous met es perilz soubdains,
Et uous maine a perdition.
Subito morientur, & in media nocte turbabuntur populi, & auferent violentum absqe manu.
Peuples soubdain s'esleuront
A lencontre de l'inhumain,
Et le uiolent osteront
D'auec eulx sans force de main.
Quoniam cùm interiet non sumet secum omnia, neqe cum eo descẽdet gloria eius.
Auec soy rien n'emportera,
Mais qu'une foys la Mort le tombe,
Rien de sa gloire n'ostera,
Pour mettre auec soy en sa tombe.
Spiritus meus attenuabitur, dies mei breuiabuntur, & solum mihi superest sepulchrum.
Mes esperitz sont attendriz,
Et ma uie s'en ua tout beau.
Las mes longziours sont amoindriz,
Plus ne me reste qu'un tombeau.
Ducunt in bonis dies suos, & in puncto ad inferna descendunt.
En biens mõdains leurs iours despendẽt
En uoluptez, & en tristesse,
Puis soubdain aux Enfers descendent
Ou leur ioye passe en tristesse.
Me & te sola mors separabit.
Amour qui unyz nous faict uiure,
En foy noz cueurs preparera,
Qui long temps ne nous pourra suyure,
Car la Mort nous separera.
De lectulo super quem ascendisti non descendes, sed morte morieris.
iiii. Reg. i.
Du lict sus lequel as monté
Ne descendras a ton plaisir.
Car Mort t'aura tantost dompté,
Et en brief te uiendra saisir.
Venite ad me qui onerati estis.
Venez, & apres moy marchez
Vous qui estes par trop charge.
Cest assez suiuy les marchez:
Vous serez par moy decharge.
In sudore vultus tui vesceris pane tuo.
A la sueur de ton uisaige
Tu gaigneras ta pauure uie.
Apres long trauail, & usaige,
Voicy la Mort qui te conuie.
Homo natus de muliere, breui viuens tempore repletur multis miserijs, qui quasi flos egreditur, & conteritur, & fugit velut vmbra.
Tout homme de la femme yssant
Remply de misere, & d'encombre,
Ainsi que fleur tost finissant.
Sort & puis fuyt comme faict l'umbre.
Omnes stabimus ante tribunal domini.
Vigilate, & orate, quia nescitis qua hora venturus sit dominus.
Deuante le trosne du grand iuge
Chascun de soy compte rendra
Pourtant ueillez, qu'il ne uous iuge.
Car ne scauez quand il uiendra.
Memorare nouissima, & in æternum non peccabis.
Si tu ueulx uiure sans peché
Voy ceste imaige a tous propos,
Et point ne seras empesché,
Quand tu t'en iras a repos.
Cum fortis armatus custodit atriũ suũ, &c. Si autem fortior eo superueniens vicerit eum, uniuersa eius arma aufert, in quibus confidebat.
Le sort armé en jeune corps
Pense auoir seure garnison;
Mais Mort plus forte, le met hors
De sa corporelle maison.
Quid prodest homini, si vniuersum Mundum lucretur, animæ autem suæ detrimentum patiatur?
Que vault à l'homme tout le Monde
Gaigner d'hazard, & chance experte,
S'il recoit de sa uie immonde
Par Mort, irreparable perte?
Ne inebriemini vino, in quo est luxuria.
De vin (auquel est tout exces)
Ne vous enyurez pour dormir
Sommeil de Mort qui au deces
Vous face l'ame, & sang vomir.
Quasi agnus lasciuiens, & ignorans, nescit quòd ad vincula stultus trahatur.
Le Fol vit en ioye, & deduict
San scavoir qu'il s'en va mourant,
Tant qu'à sa fin il est conduict
Ainsi que l'agneau ignorant.
Domine, vim patior.
La foible femme brigandée
Crie, O seigneur on me fait force.
Lors de Dieu la mort est mandée,
Qui les estrangle à dure estorce.
Cæcus cæcum ducit: & ambo in foueam cadunt.
L'aueugle un autre aueugle guide,
L'un par l'autre en la fosse tombe:
Car quand plus oultre aller il cuide,
La Mort l'homme iecte en la tombe.
Corruit in curru suo.
i Chron. xxii.
Au passage de Mort peruerse
Raison, chartier tout esperdu,
Du corps le char, & cheuaux verse,
Le vin (sang de vie) espandu.
Miser ego homo! Quis nie liberabit de corpore mortis huius?
Qui hors la chair veult en Christ viure
Ne craint mort, mais dit un mortel,
Helas, qui me rendra deliure
Pouure homme de ce corps mortel?
Of this edition of Holbein's "The Dance of Death," seven hundred and fifty copies have been printed on Japan vellum, for the Scott-Thaw Co., by the Heintzemann Press, July, MCMIII.
Transcriber's Note: In the work used for this digitization, each pair of facing pages has the Latin biblical quotation at the top of the left page printed in red, the French quatrain at the bottom of the left page printed in black, and the illustration (numbered above, and captioned below) on the right page, opposite the text. For clarity in the text-only version, the plate numbers and captions have been moved to precede their corresponding verses.