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Title: The Dance of Death
Author: Holbein, Hans, 1497-1543
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Dance of Death" ***

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The Dance of Death

by Hans Holbein, with an

introductory note by

Austin Dobson

  New York

  Copyright, 1903, by

  _The Heintzemann Press, Boston_


=The Book=

"_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

=The Artist=

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

=The Woodcutter=

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.

=Other Reproductions=

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 Present Issue=

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;

  The Maid half-won, the lover passionate;
  He hath no grace for weakness and decay:
  The tender Wife, the Widow bent and gray,
  The feeble Sire whose footstep faltereth,--
  All these he leadeth by the lonely way ...
  There is no king more terrible than Death.


  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.

[Footnote 1: 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.

  THE CREATION                                              I
  _Die Schöpfung aller Ding._

    Eve is taken from the side of Adam.

  THE TEMPTATION                                           II
  "_Adam Eua im Paradyss._"

    Eve, having received an apple from the serpent,
    prompts Adam to gather more.

  THE EXPULSION                                           III
  "_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.

  A CEMETERY                                                V
  _Gebein aller Menschen._

    A crowd of skeletons, playing on horns, trumpets,
    and the like, summon mankind to the grave.

  THE POPE                                                 VI
  _Der Päpst._

    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
  _Der Kaiser._

    The Emperor (Maximilian I.) rates his minister
    for injustice to a suitor. But even in the act
    Death discrowns him.

  THE KING                                               VIII
  _Der König._

    The King (Francis I.) sits at feast under
    a baldachin sprinkled with _fleurs-de-lis_.
    Death, as a cup-bearer, pours his last draught.

  THE CARDINAL                                             IX
  _Der Cardinal._

    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
  _Die Kaiserinn._

    The Empress, walking with her women, is
    intercepted by a female Death, who conducts her
    to an open grave.

  THE QUEEN                                                XI
  _Die Königinn._

    Death, in the guise of a court-jester, drags
    away the Queen as she is leaving her palace.

  THE BISHOP                                              XII
  _Der Bischof._

    The sun is setting, and Death leads the aged
    Bishop from the sorrowing shepherds of his

  THE DUKE                                               XIII
  _Der Herzog._

    The Duke turns pitilessly from a beggar-woman
    and her child. Meanwhile Death, fantastically
    crowned, lays hands on him.

  THE ABBOT                                               XIV
  _Der Abt._

    Death, having despoiled the Abbot of mitre
    and crozier, hales him along unwilling, and
    threatening his enemy with his breviary.

  THE ABBESS                                               XV
  _Die Abtissin._

    Death, in a wreath of flags, pulls away the
    Abbess by her scapulary in sight of a shrieking

  THE NOBLEMAN                                            XVI
  _Der Edelmann._

    Death drags the resisting Nobleman towards
    a bier in the background.

  THE CANON, OR PREBENDARY                               XVII
  _Der Domherr._

    The Canon, with his falconer, page, and
    jester, enters the church door. Death shows
    him that his sands have run.

  THE JUDGE                                             XVIII
  _Der Richter._

    Death withdraws the Judge's staff as he takes
    a bribe from a rich suitor.

  THE ADVOCATE                                            XIX
  _Der Fürsprach._

    Death comes upon him in the street while he is
    being feed by a rich client.

  THE COUNSELLOR, OR SENATOR                               XX
  _Der Rathsherr._

    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 PREACHER                                            XXI
  _Der Predicant._

    Death, in a stole, stands in the pulpit
    behind the fluent Preacher, and prepares to
    strike him down with a jaw-bone.

  THE PRIEST, OR PASTOR                                  XXII
  _Der Pfarrherr._

    He carries the host to a sick person. But
    Death precedes him as his sacristan.

  THE MENDICANT FRIAR                                   XXIII
  _Der Mönch._

    Death seizes him just as his begging box and
    bag are filled.

  THE NUN                                                XXIV
  _Die Nonne._

    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
  _Das Altweib._

    "_Melior est mors quam vita_" to the aged
    woman who crawls gravewards with her bone
    rosary while Death makes music in the van.

  THE PHYSICIAN                                          XXVI
  _Der Arzt._

    Death brings him a hopeless patient, and
    bids him cure himself.

  THE ASTROLOGER                                        XXVII
  (_See p. 10, l. 12._)

    He contemplates a pendent sphere. But Death
    thrusts a skull before his eyes.

  THE RICH MAN                                         XXVIII
  _Der Reichmann._

    Death finds him at his pay-table and seizes
    the money.

  THE MERCHANT                                           XXIX
  _Der Kaufmann._

    Death arrests him among his newly-arrived bales.

  THE SHIPMAN                                             XXX
  _Der Schiffmann._

    Death breaks the mast of the ship, and the crew
    are in extremity.

  THE KNIGHT                                             XXXI
  _Der Ritter._

    Death, in cuirass and chain-mail, runs him
    through the body.

  THE COUNT                                             XXXII
  _Der Graf._

    Death, as a peasant with a flail, lifts away
    his back-piece.

  THE OLD MAN                                          XXXIII
  _Der Altmann._

    Death, playing on a dulcimer, leads him into
    his grave.

  THE COUNTESS                                          XXXIV
  _Die Grafinn._

    Death helps her at her tiring by decorating
    her with a necklet of dead men's bones.

  THE NOBLE LADY, OR BRIDE                               XXXV
  _Die Edelfrau._

    "_Me et te sola mors separabit_"--says the
    motto. And Death already dances before her.

  THE DUCHESS                                           XXXVI
  _Die Herzoginn._

    Death seizes her in bed, while his fellow plays
    the fiddle.

  THE PEDLAR                                           XXXVII
  _Der Kramer._

    Death stops him on the road with his wares at
    his back.

  THE PLOUGHMAN                                       XXXVIII
  _Der Ackermann._

    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_]

  THE SOLDIER                                            XLII

    Death, armed only with a bone and shield,
    fights with the Soldier on the field of battle.

  THE GAMESTER                                          XLIII

    Death and the Devil seize upon the Gambler at
    his cards.

  THE DRUNKARD                                           XLIV

    Men and women carouse: down the throat of one
    bloated fellow Death pours the wine.

  THE FOOL                                                XLV

    The Fool dances along the highway with Death,
    who plays the bagpipes.

  THE ROBBER                                             XLVI

    Death seizes the Robber in the act of pillage.

  THE BLIND MAN                                         XLVII

    Death leads the Blind Man by his staff.

  THE WAGGONER                                         XLVIII

    The waggon is overturned; one Death carries off
    a wheel, the other loosens the fastening of a cask.

  THE BEGGAR                                             XLIX

    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.]

  Les simulachres &



  gammêt pourtraictes, que artificiellement

  [Illustration: Vsus me genuit.]


  Soubz l'escu de COLOIGNE,



[Illustration: THE CREATION.]

Formauit DOMINVS DEVS hominem de limo terræ, ad imagine suam creauit
illum, masculum & foeminam 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.


[Illustration: THE TEMPTATION.]

Quia audisti vocem vxoris tuæ, & comedisti de ligno ex quo preceperam
tibi ne comederes, &c.

Genesis iii.

  ADAM fut par EVE deceu
  Et contre DIEV mangea la pomme,
  Dont tous deux ont la Mort receu,
  Et depuis fut mortel tout homme.


[Illustration: THE EXPULSION.]

Emisit eum DOMINVS DEVS de Paradiso voluptatis, vt operaretur terram
de qua sumptus est.

Genesis iii.

  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.

Genesis iii.

  Mauldicte en ton labeur la terre.
  En labeur ta uie useras,
  Iusques que la Mort te soubterre.
  Toy pouldre en pouldre tourneras.


[Illustration: A CEMETERY.]

Væ væ væ habitantibus in terra.

Apocalypsis viii.

Cuncta in quibus spiraculum vitæ est, mortua sunt.

Genesis vii.

  Malheureux qui uiuez au monde
  Tousiours remplis d'aduersitez,
  Pour quelque bien qui uous abonde,
  Serez tous de Mort uisitez.


[Illustration: THE POPE.]

Moriatur sacerdos magnus.

Iosve xx.

Et episcopatum eius accipiat alter.

Psalmista cviii.

  Qui te cuydes immortel estre
  Par Mort seras tost depesché,
  Et combien que tu soys grand prebstre,
  Vng aultre aura ton Euesché.


[Illustration: THE EMPEROR.]

Dispone domui tuæ, morieris enim tu, & non viues.

Isaiæ xxxviii.

Ibi morieris, & ibi erit currus gloriæ tuæ.

Isaiæ xxii.

  De ta maison disposeras
  Comme de ton bien transitoire,
  Car là ou mort reposeras,
  Seront les chariotz de ta gloire.


[Illustration: THE KING.]

Sicut & rex hodie est, & cras morietur, nemo enim ex regibus aliud

Ecclesiastici x.

  Ainsi qu'auiourdhuy il est Roy,
  Demain sera en tombe close.
  Car Roy aulcun de son arroy
  N'a sceu emporter aultre chose.


[Illustration: THE CARDINAL.]

Væ qui iustificatis impium pro muneribus, & iustitiam iusti aufertis
ab eo.

Esaiæ v.

  Mal pour uous qui iustifiez
  L'inhumain, & plain de malice
  Et par dons le sanctifiez,
  Ostant au iuste sa iustice.


[Illustration: THE EMPRESS.]

Gradientes in superbia potest Deus humiliare.

Danie iiii.

  Qui marchez en pompe superbe
  La Mort vng iour uous pliera.
  Cõme soubz uoz piedz ployez l'herbe
  Ainsi uous humiliera.


[Illustration: THE QUEEN.]

Mulieres opulentæ surgite, & audite vocem meam. Post dies, & annum,
& vos conturbemini.

Isaiæ xxxii.

  Leuez uous dames opulentes.
  Ouyez la uoix des trespassez.
  Apres maintz ans & iours passez,
  Serez troublées & doulentes.


[Illustration: THE BISHOP.]

Percutiam pastorem, & dispergentur oues.

xxvi. Mar. xiiii.

  Le pasteur aussi frapperay,
  Mitres & crosses renuersées.
  Et lors quand ie l'attrapperay,
  Seront ses brebis dispersées.


[Illustration: THE DUKE.]

Princeps induetur moerore. Et quiescere faciam superbiã potentium.

Ezechie. vii.

  Vien, prince, auec moy, & delaisse
  Honneurs mondains tost finissantz.
  Seule suis qui, certes, abaisse
  L'orgueil & pompe des puissantz.


[Illustration: THE ABBOT.]

Ipse morietur. Quia nõ habuit disciplinam, & in multitudine stultitiæ
suæ decipietur.

Prover. v.

  Il mourra. Car il n'a receu
  En soy aulcune discipline,
  Et au nombre sera deceu
  De folie qui le domine.


[Illustration: THE ABBESS.]

Laudaui magis mortuos quàm viuentes.

Eccle. iiii.

  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.


[Illustration: THE NOBLEMAN.]

Quis est homo qui viuet, & non videbit mortem, eruet animã suam de manu

Psal. lxxxviii.

  Qui est celluy, tant soit grande homme,
  Qui puisse uiure sans mourir?
  Et de la Mort, qui tout assomme,
  Puisse son Ame recourir?


[Illustration: THE CANON.]

Ecce appropinquat hora.

Mat. xxvi.

  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?


[Illustration: THE JUDGE.]

Disperdam iudicem de medio eius.

Amos ii.

  Du mylieu d'eulx uous osteray
  Iuges corrumpus par presentz.
  Point ne serez de Mort exemptz.
  Car ailleurs uous transporteray.


[Illustration: THE ADVOCATE.]

Callidus vidit malum, & abscõdit se innocens, pertransijt, & afflictus
est damno.

Prover. xxii.

  L'homme cault a ueu la malice
  Pour l'innocent faire obliger,
  Et puis par uoye de iustice
  Est uenu le pauure affliger.


[Illustration: THE COUNSELLOR.]

Qui obturat aurem suam ad clamorem pauperis, & ipse clamabit, & non

Prover. xxi.

  Les riches conseillez tousiours,
  Et aux pauures clouez l'oreille.
  Vous crierez aux derniers iours,
  Mais Dieu uous fera la pareille.


[Illustration: THE PREACHER.]

Væ qui dicitis malum bonum, & bonum malu, ponentes tenebras lucem,
& lucem tenebras, ponentes amarum dulce, & dulce in amarum.

Isaiæ xv.

  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.


[Illustration: THE PRIEST.]

Sum quidem & ego mortalis homo.

Sap. vii.

  Ie porte le sainct sacrement
  Cuidant le mourant secourir,
  Qui mortel suis pareillement.
  Et comme luy me fault mourir.


[Illustration: THE MENDICANT FRIAR.]

Sedentes in tenebris, & in vmbra mortis, vinctos in mendicitate.

Psal. cvi.

  Toy qui n'as soucy, ny remord
  Sinon de ta mendicité,
  Tu fierras a l'umbre de Mort
  Pour t'ouster de necessité.


[Illustration: THE NUN.]

Est via quæ videtur homini iusta: nouissima autem eius deducunt hominem
ad mortem.

Prover. iiii.

  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.


[Illustration: THE OLD WOMAN.]

Melior est mors quàm vita.

Eccle. xxx.

  En peine ay uescu longuement
  Tant que nay plus de uiure enuie,
  Mais bien ie croy certainement,
  Meilleure la Mort que la uie.


[Illustration: THE PHYSICIAN.]

Medice, cura teipsum.

Lvcæ iiii.

  Tu congnoys bien la maladie
  Pour le patient secourir,
  Et si ne scais teste estourdie,
  Le mal dont tu deburas mourir.


[Illustration: THE ASTROLOGER.]

Indica mihi si nosti omnia. Sciebas quòd nasciturus esses, & numerum
dierum tuorum noueras?

Iob xxviii.

  Tu dis par Amphibologie
  Ce qu'aux aultres doibt aduenir.
  Dy moy donc par Astrologie
  Quand tu deburas a moy uenir?


[Illustration: THE RICH MAN.]

Stulte hac nocte repetunt animam tuam, & quæ parasti cuius erunt?

Lvcæ xii.

  Ceste nuict la Mort te prendra,
  Et demain seras enchassé.
  Mais dy moy, fol, a qui uiendra
  Le bien que tu as amassé?


[Illustration: THE MERCHANT.]

Qui congregat thesauros mendacij vanus & excors est, & impingetur ad
laqueos mortis.

Prover. xxi.

  Vain est cil qui amassera
  Grandz biens, & tresors pour mentir,
  La Mort l'en fera repentir.
  Car en ses lacz surpris sera.


[Illustration: THE SHIPMAN.]

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.


[Illustration: THE KNIGHT.]

Subito morientur, & in media nocte turbabuntur populi, & auferent
violentum absque manu.

Iob xxxiiii.

  Peuples soubdain s'esleuront
  A lencontre de l'inhumain,
  Et le uiolent osteront
  D'auec eulx sans force de main.


[Illustration: THE COUNT.]

Quoniam cùm interiet non sumet secum omnia, neque cum eo descendet
gloria eius.

Psal. xlviii.

  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.


[Illustration: THE OLD MAN.]

Spiritus meus attenuabitur, dies mei breuiabuntur, & solum mihi superest

Iob xvii.

  Mes esperitz sont attendriz,
  Et ma uie s'en ua tout beau.
  Las mes longziours sont amoindriz,
  Plus ne me reste qu'un tombeau.


[Illustration: THE COUNTESS.]

Ducunt in bonis dies suos, & in puncto ad inferna descendunt.

Iob xxi.

  En biens mõdains leurs iours despendet
  En uoluptez, & en tristesse,
  Puis soubdain aux Enfers descendent
  Ou leur ioye passe en tristesse.


[Illustration: THE NOBLE LADY.]

Me & te sola mors separabit.

Rvth. i.

  Amour qui unyz nous faict uiure,
  En foy noz cueurs preparera,
  Qui long temps ne nous pourra suyure,
  Car la Mort nous separera.


[Illustration: THE DUCHESS.]

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.


[Illustration: THE PEDLAR.]

Venite ad me qui onerati estis.

Matth. xi.

  Venez, & apres moy marchez
  Vous qui estes par trop charge.
  Cest assez suiuy les marchez:
  Vous serez par moy decharge.


[Illustration: THE PLOUGHMAN.]

In sudore vultus tui vesceris pane tuo.

Gene. i.

  A la sueur de ton uisaige
  Tu gaigneras ta pauure uie.
  Apres long trauail, & usaige,
  Voicy la Mort qui te conuie.


[Illustration: THE YOUNG CHILD.]

Homo natus de muliere, breui viuens tempore repletur multis miserijs,
qui quasi flos egreditur, & conteritur, & fugit velut vmbra.

Iob xiiii.

  Tout homme de la femme yssant
  Remply de misere, & d'encombre,
  Ainsi que fleur tost finissant.
  Sort & puis fuyt comme faict l'umbre.


[Illustration: THE LAST JUDGMENT.]

Omnes stabimus ante tribunal domini.

Roma. xiiii.

Vigilate, & orate, quia nescitis qua hora venturus sit dominus.

Matt. xxiiii.

  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.

Eccle. vii.

  Si tu ueulx uiure sans peché
  Voy ceste imaige a tous propos,
  Et point ne seras empesché,
  Quand tu t'en iras a repos.



[Illustration: THE SOLDIER.]

Cum fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, &c. Si autem fortior eo
superueniens vicerit eum, uniuersa eius arma aufert, in quibus

  Le sort armé en jeune corps
  Pense auoir seure garnison;
  Mais Mort plus forte, le met hors
  De sa corporelle maison.


[Illustration: THE GAMESTER.]

Quid prodest homini, si vniuersum Mundum lucretur, animæ autem suæ
detrimentum patiatur?

Matt. xvi.

  Que vault à l'homme tout le Monde
  Gaigner d'hazard, & chance experte,
  S'il recoit de sa uie immonde
  Par Mort, irreparable perte?


[Illustration: THE DRUNKARD.]

Ne inebriemini vino, in quo est luxuria.

Ephes. v.

  De vin (auquel est tout exces)
  Ne vous enyurez pour dormir
  Sommeil de Mort qui au deces
  Vous face l'ame, & sang vomir.


[Illustration: THE FOOL.]

Quasi agnus lasciuiens, & ignorans, nescit quòd ad vincula stultus

Proverb vii.

  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.


[Illustration: THE ROBBER.]

Domine, vim patior.

Isaiæ xxxviii.

  La foible femme brigandée
  Crie, O seigneur on me fait force.
  Lors de Dieu la mort est mandée,
  Qui les estrangle à dure estorce.


[Illustration: THE BLIND MAN.]

Cæcus cæcum ducit: & ambo in foueam cadunt.

Matth. xv.

  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.


[Illustration: THE WAGGONER.]

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.


[Illustration: THE BEGGAR.]

Miser ego homo! Quis nie liberabit de corpore mortis huius?

Rom. vii.

  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.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Dance of Death" ***

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