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Dance of Death: A Version (Selden)

John Lydgate, Dance of Death: A Version (Selden): FOOTNOTES

1 Into the English language, intending

2 God has made everyone from the same matter

3 Lines 67–68: The very dangerous position, whoso takes heed / To occupy St. Peter’s rank

4 Each and every one of these valuable things adjudicated together

5 Alone from your men in haste you will [it] surrender

6 Folk waste more great estates than can be numbered

7 Loans and debt must be paid again

8 I see no refuge in which to escape his power

9 Lines 167–68: My painted rooms, my demeanor, and my cheerfulness, / For the thing that is required to do must be done

10 Your earthly goods and natural goods (e.g., crops)

11 Everything will pass away except our good deeds

12 Lines 219–20: Though you carried arms and rode a new horse yesterday / With spear and shield according to your outlandish fancy

13 My legal privileges nor my great wealth

14 Your veil, your headdress of exceedingly great richness

15 The World loaned it and will retrieve it

16 Now it is appropriate for me to die suddenly

17 And great winds die down with a little rain

18 And Death has wrought yet more stratagems than me

19 The world and possessions shall all fail




John Lydgate, Dance of Death: A Version (Selden): EXPLANATORY NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS: A version: Lydgate, Dance of Death (Selden); B version: Lydgate, Dance of Death (Lansdowne); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, ed. Benson; D: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 322 (SC 21896); DMF: Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330–1500); DOST: Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue; FP: Lydgate, Fall of Princes, ed. Bergen; Gray: “Two Songs of Death,” ed. Gray; Hassell: Hassell, Middle French Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases; MED: Middle English Dictionary; ODNB: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

19 Like the exawmple wiche that at Parys. Lydgate compares his English translation with its French original. This is an earlier French version of the Danse macabre, with accompanying images, that was painted in the early fifteenth century along the walls of the charnel houses that formed the boundaries of the Cemetery of the Innocents in Paris (see Introduction, pp. 5, 17). A contemporary eyewitness, Gilbert de Mets, describes the cemetery as it appeared circa 1430:

La sont engigneusement entailliés de pierre les ymages des trois vifz et trois mors. La est ung cimitiere moult grant enclos de maisons appellés charniers. La ou les os des mors sont entassés, illec sont paintures notables de la dance macabre et autres avec escriptures pour esmouvoir les gens a devotion.

In this place there is skilfully sculpted in stone the images of the three living and the three dead. There is a very large cemetery there surrounded by buildings called charnel-houses where the bones of the dead are piled up; there are notable paintings there of the Danse Macabre with writings to move people to devotion. (Guillebert de Mets, Description de la ville de Paris 1434, ed. and trans. Mullally, pp. 94–95).

Lydgate, already an established poet and translator by the 1420s, would have encountered this scene when he arrived in Paris in 1426 during the regency ofJohn, Duke of Bedford. He therefore positions himself not only as a translator, but as an eyewitness to the most widely known instantiation of the danse macabre at that time.

35 Daunce at Seint Innocentis. Even more than the previous reference to “Parys” (line 19), this line identifies Lydgate’s source as the St. Innocents Danse.

49 this mirrour. The idea of a text, especially a didactic one, as ‘mirror’ or reflection is common in medieval religion; see, for example, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, the Mirror for Simple Souls, the Mirror for Holy Church, etc. The notion of a spiritual or religious mirror combines the idea of a reflection on the world as it is with a more aspirational model for good spiritual conduct and self-evaluation. See also lines 632–40 for the image of Death as a mirror to mankind.

59 like as Petir had the soverenité. The apostle Peter is traditionally regarded as the first Bishop of Rome, or Pope, on the basis of Christ’s words to him in Matthew 16:18: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Subsequent popes are said to inherit Peter’s authority over the Church (see B version, line 19).

75 golde your appil round. The golden apple here recalls the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil consumed by Adam and Eve in Eden, as recounted in Genesis 3 as well as the golden orb used to represent imperial power from the Roman era onward. The orb is most often depicted surmounted by a cross. When it is depicted this way, it is called the globus cruciger. Many Christian rulers are portrayed holding the orb and cross as a symbol of their imperial authority, including the figure of the Emperor in the 1485 Guyot Marchant printing of the French Danse and the Kaiser in the 1488 Heidelberger Totentanz.

85 A simple shete — ther is no more to seyne —. Death informs the Emperor that he will be buried in a simple shroud, or winding sheet, a dramatic contrast to the riches and treasure associated with the Emperor in life. In illustrations to the early printed editions of the French Danse macabre, the skeletons (i.e., the speakers identified as “le mort” in the text) are often draped in tattered shrouds. In addition, those viewing the Dance in the Pardon Churchyard at St. Paul’s in London, or its French analogue at the Holy Innocents in Paris, would have likely had opportunity to see the interment of bodies wrapped in such sheets and witness firsthand the leveling and anonymizing effects of this common form of burial.

94 Youre hatte of reed. Cardinals wear a distinctive wide-brimmed red hat, known as a gallero, that indicates their high rank within the Church (the College of Cardinals is second in authority only to the Pope himself, a hierarchy that is reflected in the order in which the speakers appear in this poem). The tradition of cardinals wearing a red gallero was established by Pope Innocent IV at the First Council of Lyon in 1245.

112 Shal bere with hym but a sengle shete. By emphasizing that the King will be buried with a simple shroud, Death reminds the King, like the Emperor before him, that he cannot bring his earthly goods into the afterlife.

121 Sir Patriarke. The concept of the patriarch, a cleric assuming the highest position of leadership within ecclesiastical hierarchy, goes all the way back to the Code of Justinian, a collection of works on canon law issued between 529 and 534 CE. The Code (Novellas 123 and 131) stipulated that Christendom be divided into five patriarchates — the Sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. These were known collectively as the Pentarchy (for the head and four limbs of the body of the Church) and arranged in respective hierarchical order. This organizational schema was officially confirmed at the Council of Trullo of 692, though this order was occasionally disputed over the centuries. Thus, although he is traditionally termed “Pope,” the head cleric of the See of Rome is one of the original patriarchs, and the other Sees retain the title “Patriarch” for their head clerics. The East-West or Great Schism of 1054 separated the See of Rome from the other four Sees, producing the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (see further “Patriarch and Patriarchate” in The Catholic Encyclopedia). As the “double crosse” at line 123 makes clear, the Patriarch mentioned here is associated with the Eastern Orthodox Church and is, most likely, from the See of Constantinople. The Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos visited Western Europe, including a visit to the court of Charles VI in France and a trip to England in the winter of 1400–01 during which he was received by Henry IV at Eltham Palace. Although Matthew I, who was then Patriarch of Constantinople, remained behind (and was in fact temporarily deposed during Manuel’s absence), the visit would have been a chance for the English and French alike to become more familiar with Orthodox Christianity. That said, Marchant’s editions of the Danse macabre depicts the Patriarch as a Catholic bishop, without the distinctive beard and garb of an Eastern Orthodox cleric.

123 Youre double crosse of gold and stones clere. The double cross is a variant of the Christian cross in which a smaller cross-bar is placed above the main bar to represent the plaque nailed to Christ’s cross, and, sometimes, an additional diagonal cross-bar towards the bottom, symbolizing the foothold for Christ’s feet. It is typically associated, as in this case, with the Orthodox Church.

127 Trustith nevere that ye shal pope be. The East-West or Great Schism of 1054 saw the division of the Pentarchy (see note to line 121 above) into the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Subsequent attempts at healing the schism were unsuccessful but raised anew in the 1420s and 1430s as a potential unification strategy before the rise of the Ottoman Empire. These discussions culminated in the Seventeenth Ecumenical Council at Basel convoked in 1431; moved to Ferrara in 1438 and to Florence in 1445, the council achieved a preliminary consensus in unifying the two Churches on the condition that the Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize the primacy of the See of Rome. The agreement immediately faltered due to widespread public opposition on the part of Eastern Orthodox monks and clerics. Thus, for informed mid-fifteenth century audiences, Death’s phrase would be a particularly mocking dig at these failed discussions. See further Geanakoplos, Constantinople and the West, esp. pp. 224–54, and Jonathan Harris, The End of Byzantium.

128 foly hope deceiveth many a man. Proverbial. See Whiting H461.

138 my maister Sir Constable. The MED defines “constable” as the chief executive of a leader, including that of a king or other ruler. This seems to be the sense in which it is being used here, given that the Constable is the first secular figure to appear in the danse following the emperor and the king, suggesting that he ranks above other prominent laymen like the Burgess; the figure is used in the same sense in the French Danse macabre. See Oosterwijk, “Of Corpses, Constables and Kings” for the political importance of including this figure in the text, given the ongoing Anglo-French conflict.

139 Charlemayne. Charlemagne (742/748–814 CE), king of the Franks who consolidated power and extended Frankish rule across Europe. In 800 he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III in Rome. He was also one of the medieval “nine worthies,” the group of three pagan (Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar), three Jewish (Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus), and three Christian (Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon) leaders seen to embody the ideals of chivalry and moral virtue.

176 o man brekith that anothir made. Proverbial. See Whiting M259.

184 Undre hevene in erthe is nothing stable. Proverbial. See Whiting N154.

Before 185 Lady of Grete Astate. This is a new character, who does not appear in either the original French Danse macabre or in the B version.

204 goodes of nature. Goods provided by nature, such as crops; may also include livestock, the elements, minerals, and physical gifts.

215 He that al withhalt. Lydgate’s odd introduction of a “he” (God?) into the stanza probably has to do with the difficult syntax of his source: “Le monde aussi peu me conforte, / Qui tout a la fin desherite; / Il retient tout: nul riens n’emporte” (see French Danse macabre, lines 163–65), in which “il” refers back to “le monde,” a masculine noun. Thus, in modern English, the lines read: “I can get little comfort too from the world, / Which ultimately dispossesses everyone. / It keeps all; no one makes off with anything.” In Lydgate’s defense, the gendering of French nouns can make pronouns extremely tricky in long clauses.

249 Abbesse. This is a new character, who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre; she corresponds to B version’s Abbatissa (before line 193).

265 Sir Bailly. A bailiff, or bailly, is “an official of the English crown with delegated administrative or judicial authority; the king’s officer in a county, hundred, or town; the keeper of a royal castle, gate, or forest” (MED baillif). The name of the Host in the CT, Harry Bailly, also presumably derives from this occupation.

288 And al shal die for an appil round. This refers to the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, consumed by Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. A similar image appears in line 75 in the description of the Emperor.

296 Who lyveth aright mote nedis dye wele. Proverbial. See Whiting L408.

297 Sir Burgeis. The MED (burgeis) defines a burgess as “a freeman of a town, a citizen with full rights and privileges; also, an inhabitant of a town; — usually used of city merchants and master craftsmen in the guilds.” His appearance here reflects the specifically urban context of the danse macabre.

313 Sir Chanoun, with many grete prebende. A canon is a clergyman serving at a church or cathedral (MED canoun [n.2]), such as St. Paul’s or the church associated with the Cemetery of the Holy Innocents in Paris. A prebend is “an estate or portion of land belonging to a cathedral or collegiate church, the revenues from which are used as the stipend of a canon or member of the chapter; also, the tenure of such an estate” (MED prebende).

321 My benefices with many a personage. In the Middle Ages, the Church obtained major revenue through rents and other profits gained from donations or bequests, such as land willed to the church. Benefice holders within the church would receive a portion of the income derived from these assets in exchange for performing their duties. A parsonage might refer to either a dwelling for such a cleric, or the benefits of his office more broadly (MED personage [n.2]). In theory, a cleric could only hold a single benefice at one time, but the system was easily exploited. It appears Lydgate’s canon is one of many who obtained special dispensation to collect the revenues of multiple benefices.

325 Amys of grys. An amice is a cloth, usually white, with two ribbons going over the shoulders, that is draped over a priest’s vestments during Mass.

326 Surplys. Lydgate appears to be punning on the term “surplice,” a clerical vestment, used in his source (compare Danse macabre, l. 259) and “surplus” in the sense of “additional income” (see MED, surplus, sense 2).

347 Sir Chartereux. A Chartereux is monk of the Carthusian order. Founded at La Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble in 1084, the order was noted (as Death’s response here indicates) for its asceticism. The Carthusian appears in the French text as well, and there were Carthusian houses in both London and Paris in the early fifteenth century.

361 Sir Sergant with youre statly mace. A sergeant is a serving man or attendant (MED sergeaunt [n.1]), but more specifically “an officer of a city, the royal household, etc. usually charged with collecting debts and arresting offenders” or an equivalent officer in a court of justice (sense 3). The mace he carries is a ceremonial club and a mark of his office.

374 And may not flee, though I hadde it sworn. In a poetic reversal of fortune, the Sergeant finds himself on the wrong side of the law, “arrested” by Death. Death will not release him despite his willingness to swear that he will appear as expected for future legal proceedings, which is equivalent to being released on bond in contemporary U.S. and Canadian legal systems. Given the Sergeant’s haughty attitude in the previous stanza, he seems unlikely to have extended this clemency to offenders in his jurisdiction.

377 Sir Monke also, with youre blak habite. Members of the Benedictine Order, one of the largest monastic orders in medieval Europe, were distinguished by their black habits and were sometimes known simply as black monks (compare this with line 580 (1:16) of the English translation of Guillaume Deguileville’s Pilgrimage of the Life of Man, attributed to Lydgate, which describes “monkys greyë, whyte, and blake”). As a monk of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, John Lydgate himself was a member of this order. The Monk appears in the French Danse as well, but without reference to the color of his habit — this detail, perhaps a personal one, is added by Lydgate.

393 Thou Usurer. Usury, the lending of money at interest, was necessary to the growth of a capitalistic system, but was forbidden to medieval Christians; Jews, however, were not under similar religious proscriptions. Because of this, negative attitudes toward usury (such as those presented here) often coincide with expressions of anti-Semitism, although Lydgate does not specify the religion of the usurer in his poem. See Le Goff, Your Money or Your Life. The non-believer, whether Jew or Muslim, is often depicted as a blind man, as in line 406.

417–18 on youre uryne . . . stare agein the sonne. Examination of urine, by holding it up to light, was a common diagnostic technique in medieval medicine. Some medical manuscripts contain illustrations of urine in a range of colors, with accompanying explanations of what medical conditions the hues indicate, to aid in diagnosis. In the Heidelberger Totentanz, Marchant’s Danse macabre, and Hans Holbein’s woodcuts, the physician is shown gazing at a flask of urine. Chaucer’s Physician, in the Ellesmere manuscript drawing, also examines a flask of urine.

424 Good leche is he that can himsilfe recure. Proverbial. See Whiting L170.

429 To finde oute agens pestilence. “Pestilence” often refers to the bubonic plague or Black Death, which swept across Europe in the fourteenth century. It arrived in 1348 in England, where it killed as much as half the population. The scale of its impact and rapidity with which it advanced (many victims died within a few days of falling ill) naturally led to a disruption of normal customs surrounding death, funerals, and burial. Scholars have traditionally seen the danse macabre as a response to the Black Death, but Elina Gertsman challenges this assumption; she ties the tradition instead to preoccupations with death and the afterlife arising out of generalized anxieties over spiritual life engendered by the ecclesiastical crisis of the Western Schism (1378–1416), whereby the papacy moved from its seat in Rome to Avignon (Gertsman, Dance of Death in the Middle Ages, pp. 42–44).

448 windes grete gon doun with litil reyn. Proverbial. See Whiting R15. The sense is that Death, like a bit of rain, can stop even the great winds of life.

Before 449 Gentilwomman Amerous. This is a new character, who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre; she corresponds to B version’s Generosa (before line 353).

451 As faire as yee was somtyme Polycene. Polyxena, in myth, was the daughter of King Priam of Troy and his queen, Hecuba. She does not appear in Homer’s Iliad but in other sources is depicted as accompanying her brother Troilus when he is ambushed and killed by the Greek warrior Achilles. Achilles was later killed by two of Polyxena’s other brothers, and, according to the Greek playwright Euripides, at the end of the Trojan War Achilles’ ghost demanded Polyxena’s sacrifice in exchange for fair winds for the returning Greek ships. For a modern edition and translation, see Euripedes, Hecuba, ed. Kovacs. This version of the story also appears in section 33 of Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (see Boccaccio, Famous Women, trans. Brown, pp. 132–33).

452 Penolope, and the quene Eleyne. Penelope was the wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus. In Homer’s Odyssey, she spends twenty years faithfully awaiting her spouse’s return from war, deferring the attentions of numerous suitors, until she reunites with Odysseus. She is considered a model of fidelity and prudence. Helen was the beautiful Greek woman, the wife of Menelaus, whose abduction by the Trojan prince Paris instigated the Trojan war.

453 Yit on this daunce thei wente bothe tweine. Although this reading is consistent across manuscripts, there is a contradiction between the three women (Polyxena, Penelope, and Helen) to whom the Gentlewoman Amorous (equivalent to the Generosa, or Rich Woman, in the B text) is compared and “both tweine,” which clearly refers to two figures.

465 Sir Advocate. An advocate is a professional pleader in courts of law, e.g., an attorney; compare with Chaucer’s Man of Law. Compare also the Explanatory Note to line 383 of the French Danse macabre for a discussion of the verbal play in this line, which Lydgate maintains in his English translation.

Before 481 Jourrour. In medieval England, jurors were required to hold property, meaning that the speaker’s identification here as a juror reflects on his socio-economic class as well as on his legal responsibilities. This is a new character, who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre; he corresponds to B version’s Jurour (before line 417).

513 Maister John Rikele, sometyme Tregetour. This is the only instance in the poem in which Lydgate appears to refer to a real historical personage. It is also the only reference to this John Rikele, and his apparent role of court magician in the court of Henry V, in the historical record. As Sophie Oosterwijk notes, “it is usually assumed that the inclusion of the ‘some tyme tregetowre’ Rikelle in Lydgate’s poem means that he was already dead, but nobody of that name has so far been identified in the accounts of Henry V” (“Dance, Dialogue and Duality,” p. 37). This is a new character who does not appear in the original French Danse macabre or in the later B version.

521 What may availe magik natural. “Magik natural” refers to sorcery or divination designed to manipulate the forces of the natural world, such as planetary influence (as opposed to calling on supernatural forces such as demons).

529 Sir Curat. A curate is a parish priest, directly responsible for the spiritual welfare of his parishioners. Unlike the idealized Parson in the CT, the Curate appears to display the same greed and self-interest that mark most of the ecclesiastical figures in this poem.

536 to eche labour dewe is the salarie. An allusion to 1 Corinthians 3:8: “Now that he planteth, and he that watereth, are one. And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour.”

543 And for my shepe make a just rekenyng. The sheep are the people in the care of the Parson. See Matthew 18:12–14, Luke 15:3–7, and John 10:1–18, as well as John 21:17, when Jesus says to Peter, “feed my sheep.” Compare with Chaucer’s description of the virtuous Parson in the General Prologue to the CT I(A) 496–506.

561 Sir Cordeler. A cordeler is a Franciscan friar, so called for their practice of wearing a cord as a belt, in imitation of the order’s founder, St. Francis of Assisi.

574 nothing . . . that may fro Dethe defende. Proverbial. See Whiting D78.

584 Who lengest lyveth moost shal suffre woo. Proverbial. See Whiting L407.

596 Of benefices or some greet prebende. See note to line 313 above.

Before 601 Clerke. This character does not appear in the B version of the Dance of Death.

609 Ye that have lived longe in wildernesse. The Hermit, who has voluntarily left society to practice religious devotion, and the Child (see lines 577–92), who has not had time to be integrated into society, are the only two speakers who willingly accompany Death on his dance.

624 No man is riche that lackith suffisaunce. Proverbial. For an inversion, see Whiting S867.

Before 633 The Kyng ligging dead and eten of wormes. This stanza breaks the dialogic form of the preceding section of the poem. A similar stanza, with analogous heading, appears in Lydgate’s French source (Danse macabre, lines 519–26). Although the speaker is identified as a king, he also presents himself as a model for all estates, reinforcing the hierarchical structure of the poem.

633 Ye folke that lokyn upon this portrature. “Portrature” can refer to verbal or pictorial representation, but, in this case, it is evidently something that apparently directs readers to contemplate the accompanying images. This is an intriguing choice on Lydgate’s part, since none of the early manuscripts of Lydgate’s Danse include pictures, although the same injunction to look at the “pourtraiture” occurs in the French Danse at line 519. Interestingly, the B version replaces “portrature” with “scripture” (line 561), although it was this version that was painted at St. Paul’s Cathedral (see Introduction, pp. 16–18).

640 wormes food. Proverbial. See Whiting W675.

666 Not worde by worde but folwyng the substaunce. This commonplace discussion of best translation practices goes back to St. Jerome’s meditations on his work in translating the Latin Vulgate text of the Bible from its original Hebrew, which itself has precursors, as Rita Copeland argues, in Late Antique discussions of grammar and rhetoric by figures such as Cicero. See her Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, pp. 42–55.

669 Rude of langage (I was not born in Fraunce). Lydgate here takes a performative and conventional position of humility, making claims for the insufficiency or roughness of his work. Lydgate knew French (he made numerous translations from French beyond the Danse macabre), but here he contrasts the French of England with the higher-prestige French of France. Lydgate’s self-deprecating assessment of his Anglo-French recalls Chaucer’s caustic remarks about the Prioress in the General Prologue to the CT: “And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly, / After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, / For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe” (CT I[A] 124–26). This is also a well-known posture of late medieval English writers seeking to emulate their French contemporaries: Chaucer similarly lamented his own lack of “suffisaunce” in treating the French poetic subject of the daisy in lines 66–67 of the F version of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women (c. 1385–86), while Gower asks to be excused for his lack of “faconde” or “eloquence” in French due to his Englishness in the final lines (XVIII.24, trans. Yeager) of his Traitié pour essampler les amantz mariez (early 1390s).

672 Her corious metris in Englisshe to translate. “Meters” in this instance should be taken in the broad sense of ‘verses’ or ‘poems’, a usage typical of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially in Lydgate. The MED defines “corious” as “carefully, skillfully, artistically, or elaborately designed or made; artistic, exquisite, fine; costly, sumptuous” (sense 2). Like Lydgate’s claim to be “rude of language,” this phrase is another example of a humility topos, often deployed with regard to translation in this period, as there is nothing especially “corious” about Lydgate’s source from the perspective of prosody. Written in octosyllabic eight-line stanzas and ababbcbc rhyme, the Danse is typical of French poetry produced in the first half of the fifteenth century (for a good overview, see Laidlaw, “The Cent Balades”). If anything, Lydgate’s ability to maintain his source’s rhyme scheme and stanza length, albeit with a longer, decasyllabic line, testifies to his own “corious metre.” Compare Chaucer’s Complaint of Venus, in which he laments that “rym in Englissh hath such skarsete, / To folowe word by word the curiosite / Of Graunson, flour of hem that make in Fraunce” (lines 80–82: rhyme in English is so insufficient / to translate word by word the elegance / of [Othon de] Granson, chief of those who write poetry in France); notice Chaucer’s use of “curiosite” in line 81.


John Lydgate, Dance of Death: A Version (Selden): TEXTUAL NOTES

This version of the Dance of Death survives in nine manuscripts: Rome, Venerable English College MS 1405; New Haven, Beinecke Library MS 493; Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53 (SC 3441); Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Laud Misc. 735 (SC 1504); Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 221 (SC 27627); London, British Library MS Harley 116; Coventry, Coventry Archives Acc. 325/1; San Marino, Huntington Library MS EL 26 A 13; and Cambridge, Trinity College MS R.3.21. It is also the version of the poem appended to Tottel’s 1554 edition of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes (STC 3177).

Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53 is the base text for our edition. It has been collated with Florence Warren’s critical edition for the Early English Text Society, which takes as its base text the closely related but later manuscript Huntington Library MS EL 26 A 13. Readers are referred to the critical apparatus of the EETS edition for further information on the source of these variants. We have also noted variants found in the Beinecke, Rome (AVCAU), and Coventry manuscripts of the poem, since these were unknown to Warren and are not included in her edition.

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Selden Supra 53, fols. 148r–58v
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 221, fols. 53v–62r
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud misc. 735, fols. 52r–61r
Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.3.21, fols. 278v–84r
London, British Library, MS Harley 116, fols. 129r–40v
Coventry, Coventry Archives, Acc. 325/1, fols. 70rb–74vb
San Marino, Huntington Library, MS EL 26.A.13, fols. 1r–12v
Rome, English College, AVCAU MS 1405, fols. 111r–21r (82 stanzas only, omits 7 and 52)
New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 493, fols. 51v–60v

Lydgate, John. The fall of prynces. Gathered by John Bochas, fro[m] the begynnyng of the world vntyll his time, translated into English by John Lidgate monke of Burye Wherunto is added the fall of al such as since that time were notable in Englande: diligently collected out of the chronicles. Londini: in aedibus Johannis Waylandi, cum priuilegio per sepatennium, [1554?], Appendix. [STC 3177]

Hammond, Eleanor Prescott, ed. “The Dance Macabre.” English Verse between Chaucer and Surrey: Being Examples of Conventional Secular Poetry, Exclusive of Romance, Ballad, Lyric, and Drama, in the Period from Henry the Fourth to Henry the Eighth. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1927. Pp. 131–42.

Warren, Florence, and Beatrice White, eds. “The Daunce of Death.” In The Dance of Death, Edited from MSS. Ellesmere 26/A.13 and B.M. Lansdowne 699, Collated with the Other Extant MSS. EETS o.s. 181. London: Oxford University Press, 1931; Rpt. New York: Klaus Reprint Co., 1971. Pp. 1–77.

ABBREVIATIONS: A1: London, British Library Additional 37049 fols. 31v–32r (basis for “Dawnce of Makabre”); A2: London, British Library Additional 15225, fols. 15r–16r (basis for “Shaking of the Sheets”); BD: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 (Bannatyne MS Draft), pp. 43r–44r; BM: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates’ 1.1.6 (Bannatyne MS Main), fols. 56r–57r (basis for “Resoning betuix Death and Man”); Brown: Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, ed. Brown, p. 241; Brunner: “Mittelenglische Todesgedichte,” ed. Brunner, pp. 27–28, 30; C: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library Ff.5.45, fols. 13r–14r; Cov: Coventry, Coventry Archives Acc. 325/1, fols. 70rb–74vb; Cutler: Cutler, John L. “A Middle English Acrostic,” p. 88; D: Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 322 (SC 21896), fols. 19vb–20ra (basis for “Death’s Warning to the World”); Doty: “An Edition of British Museum MS Additional 37049: a Religious Miscellany,” ed. Doty, pp. 206–11; Dufour: La dance macabre peinte sous les charniers des Saints Innocents de Paris, ed. Dufour; F: Bibliothèque nationale de France fonds français 14989, fols. 1r–12v (basis for French Danse macabre); Fein: The Danse Macabre Printed by Guyot Marchant, ed. Fein; Furnivall: “Of Þre Messagers of Deeth,” ed. Furnivall, 2:443–48; H1: London, British Library Harley 1706, fols. 19v–20r; H2: London, British Library, Harley 116, fols. 128r–v (basis for “A Mirror for Young Ladies at their Toilet”); Horstmann: “Nachträge zu den Legenden 5: The Messengers of Death,” ed. Horstmann, pp. on 432–34; L: British Library MS Lansdowne 669, fols. 41v–50v (basis for Lydgate, Dance of Death, B version), fols. 41v–50v; Lincy: “La danse macabre reproduite textuellement d’apres l’unique exemplaire connu de l’édition princeps de Guyot Marchant,” ed. Le Roux de Lincy, pp. 291–317; N: New Haven, Beinecke Library MS 493, fols. 51v–60v; P: Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.62; R: Oxford, Bodleian Library 4o Rawl. 566 (203); RV: Rome, Venerable English College (AVCAU) MS 1405, fols. 111r–21r; S: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53, fols. 148r–58v (basis for Lydgate, Dance of Death, A version); Saugnieux: “La danse macabre française de Guyot Marchant (1486),” ed. Saugnieux, pp. 143–64; Silverstein: “Cest le Myrroure pur les Iofenes Dames,” ed. Silverstein, pp. 121–22; Sim: London, British Library Addit. 22283 [Simeon MS], fols. 88vb–89ra; V: Oxford, Bodleian Library Eng. poet. a.1 (SC 3938) [Vernon MS], fols. 297vc–98rb (basis for “Three Messengers of Death”); Warren: The Dance of Death, ed. Warren and White; W1: Oxford, Bodleian Library Wood 401 (60) (Wing H2013A); W2: Oxford, Bodleian Library Wood 402 (48) (Wing H2013B).

Incipit Verba translatoris. All speaker markers in S are written in red. In RV this heading appears at line 17.

2 the. RV: this.
have. RV: yeue.

5 se. Cov: seene.
aforn. RV: afore; Warren: aforne.

6 Of. Cov: O.
ben. So Warren. Cov: art; S, RV: be.

8 yong and olde. RV: olde and younge.
lowe and hy. RV: high nor low.

9 not. Cov: nothir.
lowe ne hy. RV: hie and low.

10 Popes. N: Pepes.
emperours. N: emprours.

11 thei. RV: thay.
in felicité. RV: in thaire felicite.

12 fresshnes of her flours. Cov: fressheness of her flouris.

13 The. Warren: ther.
clipsen with his shours. Cov: clipsinge with her shoures.

14 Make. Cov: Maken.
her. Warren: theire.

17–25 Considerith this . . . . Machabres Daunce. In RV and in Huntington Library MS EL26 A 13 (the base text for Warren), this stanza is marked verba translatoris.
Considerith this. Cov: Considereith; RV: Consideryng this.
ben. So Warren. Cov, N, S: be.

18 enprentith. RV: emprenteth.

19 the exawmple. So Warren. Cov: to þe ensaumple; S, N: thensaumple.

20 in. RV: vpon; Warren: on.

21 notably. Cov: notable; Warren: notabely.

22 takyng. Cov: taken.

23 translatyn. Cov: translate.

24 Machabres. Warren: Macabrees.

25 whos. N: what.
avys. Cov: avice; RV: advis.
atte the leste. Cov, W: atte leste; RV: at the leste.

26 Thorugh. Cov: Through; N: Thurght; RV: Thurgh; N: Thurh.
her2. RV: thaire.
steryng. Cov: strength.

27 her. RV: thaire.

28 playn. W: pleyne.

30 that ben. So Cov, Warren. N, S: þat be; RV: ben.

31 toforn. So Cov, RV, Warren. N: to fer; S: tofor.
in. Cov: ne.

32 Her. RV: Theire.
cleerly. Cov: clerkli; RV: clerely.

33 By. Cov: Bi her; RV: By this.
exaumple. RV: ensample.
her. RV: thaire.

34 her. RV: thaire.

36 Portreied. N: portreyd.
surplusage. So Cov, RV, Warren. S, N: surpluage.

38 Yeven. So Warren. Cov, RV: youen; N: yove; S: ʒove.
lyves. Cov: lifis.

39 declare. RV: deliuer.

40 wille. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: wole. N: woll.

41 ben. N, S: be.

42 desiring. Cov: deservinge.
wiche is. Cov: whiche; RV: whiche that is.

43 se. Warren: sene.

46 shul. Warren: schulle. Cov, RV: shal.

48 ne2. RV: nor.

49–56 This stanza is absent in RV.

50 goo. Cov: gone

51 toforn. Cov: to fore.

53 eche. Cov: euery.
lowly. Cov: loweli; Warren: lowely.

54 not. Cov: noþere.
royal. Cov: riall.

55 Eche. Cov: euerie.

56 o. N: a.

Before 57 Deeth to the Pope. Cov, Warren, RV, and S all include speaker markers. Cov, S, and W all follow the same format throughout, e.g. “Dethe to the Pope” and “The Pope” (although the word “pope” has been expunged from Cov by a later reader in both speaker markers, as well as at line 10); in RV the speaker markers give the identity of the speaker only in the response stanza, as in line 73: Dethe and line 81: The Emperour.

57 O yee. Cov, N: Ye.
ben. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: be.
dignité. Cov: degree.

58 alle estatis. N: astates.

59 soverenité. Cov, RV: soverainte. Warren: soverente.

61 ye firste. Cov: ye; RV: firste.

64 of lordship. RV: lordship.
honour. Warren: honowre.

65 First. Cov: Frist.

67 perillous. RV: perlious.
ho. RV: who.

68 dignité. Cov: dingnite.

69 al for. Warren, RV: for all.

70 other. N: oþer odyr.

71 honour. Warren: honoure.
who. Cov: he.
prudently. Warren: prudentely.

72 dothe. Warren: doth.

75 must. RV, Warren: most.
your. Cov: the.

77 Behinde. RV: behynde you.
ricchesse. Cov: your richesse.

79 Agein. Warren: Aʒens; Cov: Ayenst. N:en.
is worth. RV: worth is.

80 Adamis. RV, N: Adams; Cov, Warren: Adames.
mosten. So Cov, RV, Warren. N: must; S: moste.

81 not. So Warren. Cov, S: note.
may. RV: may me.

83 gein. Cov: gynne; RV: bote.

86 visage. Cov: my vesage.

87 Therupon sore I may compleine. RV: And thervpon I may me sore compleyn.

88 have. Cov: han.
litel. RV: so litel.

89 ben. So Cov, Warren. N, S: be; RV: been.

90 shewith. Cov, RV: semeth.
by. W: be.

91 shulle. Cov, RV: shal.

93 bileven. RV: ye leue; Warren: beleue.

95 rekenyd. Cov: I rekened.
yfere. N: I fere; RV: in fere.

96 honour. Warren: honowre.

98 ben. So Warren. Cov, S: bene; RV: be.
greetly. Cov: greteli; W: gretli.

99 Sithen. So Warren. Cov: sethen; S: seth; N, RV: sith.

100 That I shal nevere heraftir clothed be. This line omitted in RV.

101 ne. W: ner.
RV inserts an additional line after line 101, replacing its missing line 100. This inserted line reads: alle myn aray to leue behynde me.

102 My. RV: myn; Cov: myne.

103 lerned. So Warren. Cov: levid; N, S: lyved; RV: conceyued.

104 Howe that al. RV: That worldly.

107 somtyme had. RV: had somtyme.
enviroun. Warren: envroun.

109 al youre grete. RV: for all your.
hynes. Cov: hevinesse.

110 shul. Cov, RV: shal.

113 aforn. Cov, RV: afore.

114 in sooth. Cov: of sothe.
footyng. Cov: fote; N: foot.

116 or. Cov: ne.

118 Greet. RV: Bothe grete.

119 Who. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: ho; N: He.
he is. Cov: hym.

120 we. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: he.
asshes. Cov: asshen.

121 alle. RV: with al.

122 quite. Cov: quiteth.
ne. RV: for.

124 al youre dignité. Cov: youre dingnite.

127 shal. S: shulle; Warren: shul.

130 Have. So RV, Warren. S: han; Cov: hath.

131 ben. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: be.
to. Cov: into.

132 vailith it. RV: availleth.
suche. N: shull.

134 oute of. Cov: without.

136 berthen. Cov: berden; RV: birthen; Warren: burdoun.
hym. Cov: hem.
ofte. Cov: offten.

Before 137 Constable. RV: Knyght constable.

137 my right. RV: right.
to. Cov: you to.
reste. Cov: areste.
yow constreine. Cov: constrene.

138 Sir. W: sire.
Constable. Warren: Conestable.

139 strong. RV: strenger.
Charlemayne. Cov: Chalemain.

140 aforced. Cov, RV: enforced.

141 ne. Cov: and; RV: nor.
this is. RV: is.

142 armure. N: arm[ou]re.
plates. Cov: plate.

143 folkes. Cov: folke.

144 luste. So Cov, RV, Warren. S, N: lest.

Before 145 The Constable answerith. RV: knyght constable.

146 To assaille. RV: to haue assailed.
mighty forteresses. RV: forteresses. Cov: myghtilie to recesse; N: myghty to recesse.

147 unto. Cov: to.

148 seke. Cov: seche.
fame. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: and fame.

149 worldly. Warren, N: wordli.
prowesses. Cov, N, RV: prowesse.

151 him. N: hym hym.
sorwe. Cov, N, Warren: sorowe; RV: sorow.
swetnesses. Cov, RV: swetnesse; Warren: swetenesses.

152 agein. Cov: ayen; RV: ayenst; Warren: aʒeyne.
founded. Cov, N, S, Warren: founden; RV: founde.

153 yow. RV: so.

155 muste. RV, Warren: most.
to. RV: vnto.

156 contrarie. Cov: constreine.
were. So RV, Warren. Cov: neve; S: nere; N: ware.
not but. RV: but.

157 for day by day. Cov: ffro daie to daie.
is noon othir geyn. Cov: is nis noo noþer.

158 at. So RV, Warren. Cov: atte; S, N: at the.

159 mote. RV: moste.
agein. RV: ayene; Warren: aʒeyne.

160 counten. RV: compten.
her. RV: thaire.

161 woote. N: wate.
partie. N: p[ar]tis.

162 For drede of Dethe I have so grete distresse. Cov: Dethe hath in erþe noo ladie me maistresse.

163 ascape. Cov: escape.

167 chaumbres. Cov: chambir.

168 must. Warren: mote.

169 lordis. RV: ladyes.
barouns. Cov: barones.

170 Hav. Cov, S: han. RV: haue.

171 trumpetis. RV: trompette.
youre clariouns. Cov: clariones; N: youre clairons; RV: youre clarion.

174 daunce. Cov: dauncen.

176 o. N: a.

177 sithe. RV: tymes.
auctorised. N: aucorised.

179 thanke. N: thonke.

181 Ne. Cov: no.

182 court. Cov: courtes.

Before 185 Lady of Grete Astate. RV: Princesse.

186 muste. RV, Warren: most.
goo. Cov: gone.

187 Nowt. So Warren. Cov, S: not. RV: noght.

188 beauté. Cov: grete beaute.
greet plesaunce. Cov: plesaunce.

190 so many holde. RV: holde so many.
on. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: an.

192 Ye. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: þe.
mote. RV: most.

Before 193 The Lady answerith. RV identifies this speaker as princesse.

194 Deeth hath in erthe no lady ne maistresse. Cov: ffor drede of dethe I haue so grete distresse.
lady ne. N: lady no.

195 his. Cov: this.
muste. Cov: mot; RV, Warren: moste.
I. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: ye.

196 nys. RV: is.
contesse ne duchesse. Cov: duchesse ne Countesse.

197 beauté. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: bounte.

198 Deeth. RV: right.
mote. RV: moste.

199 youre. RV: our.
countirfeet. Cov, Warren: counterfete. RV: contrefete.
fresshnesse. Cov: fairnesse.

200 Owre. So Warren. Cov, S: youre.
rympled. RV: riveled.
age. Cov: face.

202 I ensure. Cov: I you ensure.

203 For al. RV: Alle.

205 the. N: ʒe.
gostli dredeful. So RV, Warren. Cov, S, N: dredly goostly.

207 acounte. RV: accompte.
shulle. Cov, RV: shal.

209 My. Cov: Myne.
is. Cov: nys.
nouther. RV: nothing; N: nowether.

210 tidinges. N: tithings.
ye bring. RV: ye me bringe.

211 festis. Cov, RV: feste is.
into. So Cov, Warren. RV, S: into a.
ferye. N: fayres.

212 list nothing syng. Cov: lust noo lenger sing.
syng. RV: to syng.

213 contrarie nowe. Cov: is contrarie.
to. So RV, Warren. Cov, S, N: unto.
me in. RV: my.

215 parting. Cov: departing.

216 And al. RV: Alle.

217 right fresshe of. Cov: fresshe in. RV: right fressh in.

222 wil. Cov: wol.

224 fro. Cov: from.

225 Sithen. RV: Sith.
that Dethe. RV: dethe.
his. N: þis.

226 pace. RV: passe.

227 adieu nowe. RV: adieu.

228 Adieu. Cov: Adewe nowe.

229 beuté. Cov: now.
solace. Cov: all solace.

231 Thinketh. Cov, RV: Thenke.

232 wote. N: wate.

234 abaisshed. N: abasshed is.
though. N: is þogh.

235 hede. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: hood.

236 mote. RV: moste.

237 Leveth. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: leve vp.

239 Who. Cov: he.
that is fattest. RV: is moste fatte.
have hym. Cov: have hit hym.

240 In his grave shal. RV: Shal in his graue.
putrefie. Cov: purify.

241 thretis. Cov: tretis.
have I. RV: I have.

242 nowe leve. N: leve now.
al. Cov: all þe.

245 nor. Cov: ne.

247 axe I. RV: I ask; N: aske I.

248 Though. Cov: For.
too late men. Cov: men to late.
hem avise. N: avyse.

249 lady gentil. Cov: gentil ladie.

250 mantels. Cov: mantelle.

251 Youre veile, youre wymple passinge of greet richesse. This line is inserted in the margin in N.
passinge of. Cov: of.

252 mote. RV: most.
leie. Warren: leyne.
aside. N: on syde.

253 shal. RV: moste.

255 provide. Cov: purveie.

256 man. RV: wight.

258 it not. Cov: nat.

262 to walke atte large. In Selden, this line breaks off after ful ofte and space is left for the remainder, along with absent lines 263 and 264, which are supplied here from Warren’s edition.
to. Cov, N: for to.

263 Thus cruel Dethe dothe al estates fyne. This line is omitted in N. Cov: To make þe worlde to me encline.

264 mote. RV: moste.

265 knowen. Cov: knowest; RV: know; Warren: knewe.

266 rightwisnes. Cov: of right wisnesse; RV: rightwisnesse.

267 must. RV, Warren: moste.

269 ben. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: be.
somonyd. Cov: somned; N: somenyd; RV: somond; Warren: sommened.
bit. Cov: bytte; RV: biddeth.

270 yelde. RV: yeue; Warren: ʒefe.
acountes. RV, Warren: accomptes.
wole. RV, W: wil.

272 owne. RV: oune.

273 this. RV: that.

274 whiche. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: suche.
aforne. So RV, Warren. Cov: a forme; N, S: a fourme.
tooke. Cov: take; Warren, RV, N: toke.

275 chaunge. Warren: chaunce.

276 list. Cov, RV: lust.

277 by. Cov, RV: for.
for. N: be.

278 rescuse. So Cov, RV, Warren. N, S: rescws.
by. RV: ne.

280 Agein. Cov: Ayenne; RV: Ayenst; Warren: Aʒen.
vaille. Cov, RV: availle.

281 loken. Cov: lokest.

282 instrumentis. RV, N: Instruments.

285 Sethen of. Cov, N, S: Sethen. RV: Sith that of; Warren: Sith of.
alle. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: and alle.

286 ferst. Cov: frist.
walke. Cov: walken.

287 dooth areste. RV: aresteth.
seith. Warren: seieth.
theologie. S: Thelogie.

289 or. RV: and.

291 serche oute no. Cov: serche oute ne; RV: seche no.

292 domefiynge. Cov: doome feynynge; RV: demonstring.
ne. Warren: nor.

293 Safe. Cov, RV: saue.

296 Who. Cov: He þat; RV: But who.
mote. RV: most.

298 aver. Cov: honour; N: haver; RV: haueur.
youre greet. Cov: greet.

299 straunge. N: stronge.

300 mote yow. Cov: mote; RV: moste you.

302 cam. N: com; RV: come.

303 bysynes. Cov: a besynes.

305 Certis. Cov: Sertes.

306 not. Cov: nat.

308 fordothe. RV: destroieth.

309 wys is. Cov: right wise is; N: is wise.

310 moot. RV: moste.

311 The worlde it lente. Cov: To the worlde is lent; N: þe worldus lente.
wille. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: mot.
recovere. Warren, RV: recure. Cov: rekeuere.

Before 313 Chanoun. RV: The Canon prebended.

313 many. RV: many a.
grete prebende. Cov: prebende.

316 For there. RV: There.

319 dilacioun. Cov: delacioun.

320 ay. RV: euer.

321 benefices. Cov: benefice.
a personage. So Cov, RV, Warren. N: personages; S: personage.

322 lite. RV: litel.
comforte. N: conforth.

323 of. N: on.

324 not. Cov: nat nowe.

325 Amys of grys. Cov: amyses of greie.
wille. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: wole.
agein. Cov, RV: ayen; Warren: aʒen.

328 shulde. Cov: sholde.

329 marchaunt. N: marchand.
mote. RV: moste.

330 ful many. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: many.
divers. RV: a divers.

333 mote. RV: moste.
yeve. RV: ye; N: ʒefe.

334 now. So RV, Warren. Cov, S: yow.

336 No more coveite. So Cov. In S, a superscript y is inserted between more and coveite. RV: Nomore covet; Warren: None more coueite; N: No more covytt.
than. Cov: I þan.
have. Cov: han.

338 my marchandise. In S, my is inserted in superscript. Cov, N: marchandise.

340 iles. Cov: londis.

341 My. Cov: mennes; RV, Warren: myn.
herte. Cov: hertis.
fret. Cov: freteth.

342 doth me. So W. Cov, N: me; RV: me dothe; S: doith me.
constreine. Cov: constreineth.

343 seie. RV: see.

344 enbraceth. RV: embraceth.
shal restreine. Cov: he restreineth.

345 Yeve. W: Gefe.

346 longe. Cov: of longe.

347 Chartereux. Cov: Chartereus.
and youresilfe. Cov: and your selue; N: ʒ​​​​​​​oursilf.

349 agein. RV: ayen; N, Warren: aʒ​​​​​​​en.

350 not. Cov: nat.

351 as in. Cov, RV: in.

353 the. RV: this.

354 my. RV: myn.

357 flesshly. Cov: flossheli.

359 from dampnacioun. RV: dampnacion.

360 bene. RV: men ben.
today. RV: this day.
shulle. RV, Cov: shal.
be. N: ben.

363 Not. Cov: nat; RV: Noght.

365 pele. Cov, RV: appele.

367 champioun. Cov: a champioun.

368 another. RV: dethe.

369 dare this Dethe. Cov: dare thus dethe; RV: durst thou sette.

370 That am. Cov: That.

371 west and este. RV, Warren: este and weste.

372 ful surquidous of. RV: with surquidous.

374 though I. N: y.

375 and. RV: or.

377 Sir Monke. Catchword ir monke appears in bottom right-hand corner of fol. 153v.

378 no. RV: not.
sojour. N: ʒ​​​​​​​our soiour.

379 is. RV: may.
that may yow here. RV: here you.

380 Agein. Cov: Ayen; N: Aʒ​​​​​​​en; RV: Ayenst; Warren: Aʒ​​​​​​​ein.
for to do. So Warren. S: for to. Cov: to. RV: to doo.

381 mote acounte. RV: moste accompte.

382 have spent it. Cov: han spent it; RV: haue spendid.
in dede worde. RV: worde dede.

384 of nought. N: noʒ​​​​​​​t.

385 the. RV: my.
be. RV: to be.

388 vice. Cov: wise; Warren: vise.

389 dissolut. Cov, RV: desolate.

391 to. Cov: is to.

392 be. Warren: ben.
se. Warren: seen.

393 Thou. RV: O thou.

394 you. Cov, N: þu; RV: that.
thi. Cov, RV: thy.

396 thrust. Cov: therst; RV: thurst; N: thursse.

397 you. RV, Warren: thou; Cov, N: þu.

402 greet grevaunce. Cov, RV: greuance.

404 ne. Cov: and.
chevesaunce. Cov: cheveshance; RV: chevissance; Warren: cheuisshaunce.

405 thorugh. Cov: through; N: thrught; RV: thurgh; Warren: thrugh.
abit. RV: abideth; N: habit; Warren: abitte.
parveaunce. Cov: paruiance; RV, Warren: purviance.

406 look. RV: see.

407 happith. RV: it happeth.

408 have. Cov: han.
see. Warren: seen.

409–16 Usuré to God . . . . bihinde of dette. This stanza is omitted in RV. N misidentifies this stanza as Deth to þe poor man.

411 borwith. Cov: boroweth; N: borowith.

412 lent. Cov: leueth.

414 acountes. Warren: accomptes.
sette. Cov, Warren: fette.

416 N has rubric in margin apparently anticipating an additional stanza following poem’s usual dialogue format: The poor man aswerith.
man. N: man man.

417 on. RV: in.

418 agein. Cov, N: aʒ​​​​​​​en; RV: ayenst; Warren: aʒenne.

419 medicine. N: medcyne.

420 Al. RV: And alle.

422 Agein. Cov: Ayen; N: Aʒ​​​​​​​ene; RV: ayenst; Warren: Aʒ​​​​​​​eyne.

423 have. Cov: han.

424 Good. Cov: A goode.
recure. Cov: cure.

425 agon. So RV, Warren. Cov, N, S: agoo.

427 also in. RV: in.

428 gete. Cov: geten.
thorugh. Cov: through; RV, Warren, N: thurgh.

429 agens. Cov: ayenst; RV: aenst; N, Warren: aʒ​​​​​​​ens.

430 Preservatives. N: Preseruatykes.

432 Agens. Cov, RV: Ayenst; N: Aʒens.

Before 433 Amerous Squire. Cov: Þe Squier; RV: the Galant Squyer.

433 be. RV: ben.
gentil. Cov: so gentil.
amerous. Cov: so amerous.

434 grene. Cov: yonge.

435 free of herte. RV: free and of hert.
and eke desirous. So Cov, W. RV: desirous; N, S: eke desirous.

437 of visage. RV: visage.

438 asshes. Cov: asshen.

439 bewté. RV: youre beaute.

442 Agens. Cov, RV: Ayenst; N: Aʒens.
provide. Cov: purveie.

445 service. Cov: the service.

446 so fressh so wel besein. N: so flessh so well beseyn; RV: so wele and fressh beseyn.

447 agein. Cov, RV: ayen.

448 gon. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: goo; N: go.

Before 449 The Gentilwomman Amerous. Cov: þe Gentilwoman.

450 holde. Cov: ye holde.

451 Polycene. Cov: Pollicene; RV: Pollixene.

452 Penolope. N, RV, Warren: Penelope.

453 wente. Warren: wenten.

454 shulle. Cov, RV: shall.
youre. Warren: ʒow.

455–56 Though daunger longe . . . . chaunge of doubilnesse. Lines 455 and 456 are transposed in N. This error is corrected in the margin.
hath. RV: haue.

456 Arestid. RV: Arest.

459 hast. Cov: has.
yseide. Cov, N, RV: seid.

462 a man. RV: man.
to have. RV: have; W: to a.

463 fool. RV: fole.
sentement. RV: sentence.

464 assurid. Cov: ensured.

Before 465 the Man of Lawe. RV: the Advocate.

466 Ye. N: I ʒ​​​​​​​e.
highe Juge. RV: Iuge.

470 availe may. RV: may availle.

472 Tofore. RV: Before.

474 cannot. RV: can.
agein. Cov, RV: ayen; N: en.

475 me kepe. Cov: kepe me.
ne. N: and; RV: nor.

478 Nothing. RV: man.

479 Ageins. Cov: Ayenst; N: Aʒ​​​​​​​ens; RV: Ayen; Warren: Aʒ​​​​​​​eyne.
resistence. RV: no resistence.

480 quite. Cov: quiteth; RV: quyteth.

481 that at. Cov: that atte. N: þat.
assise. RV: assises.

482 atte. N: had.
doste. RV: diddest.

483 londe. Cov: londis; RV: land.
devise. RV: devises.

486 cowdest. RV: kewde.
folkes. Cov, Warren: folke.

487 lete. RV: lat.

488 thou canst. Cov: canst thou; Warren: thou cannest.

490 bellewedir. Cov: bellwethir; N: belwedur; RV: belwether.
was. Cov, RV: is.

491 Nought. Cov, N, RV, Warren: Not.
lowe and hie. Cov, RV: hie and low.

492 list. Cov, RV: lust.

493 And hange. Cov: And honge; RV: Hange.
respite. Cov: acquite.

494 lad. Cov, RV: ledde.

497 mynstral. RV: ministral.
canst. Warren: cannest.

498 do. Cov: done.

499 I shal anoone. RV: soone I shal. Warren: anoone I shal.
thee. N: þi.

500 other. N: oder.
goo. Cov: gone.

501 neither avoidaunce. Cov: noo voidaunce; Warren: nowther avoydaunce.

504 maister. Cov: þat maister.
shewe. RV: shal shew.
science. So Cov, RV, Warren. S: sentence.

505 newe. RV: new.

506 passingly. Cov: passinge.

508 sithes. RV: tymes.

509 to me is. Cov: is to me.

511 tarie. Cov: vary.

512 Ofte. RV: Ofte tyme.
of. RV: at.

513 Rikele. Cov: van rikell; RV: Rykel.

514 Harry. Cov, N: herry; RV: Henry.
Engelond. N: ynglong.

516 sleightes. N: slightnes.

517 must. RV, W: moste.
this. Cov: and this.
to undirstond. Cov: undirstond.

518 Nought. Cov: Nat.

519 nouther. RV: neith.
on. Cov: in.
ne. RV: and.

520 nought. Cov: nat; RV, Warren, N: not.
none. N: noo.

522 Or any. N: Of my.

524 of the hevene. RV: of heven.
al the influence. Cov: the influence.

525 Ageins. Cov, RV: Ayenst; N: ens.
stonde at defence. Cov: stonden atte defence.

526 Legerdemeyn. N: Largerdemeyn.

528 Deth moo. Cov: dethe yitte moo; RV: dethe hath moo.
yit than. Cov, RV: than.
hath. Cov, RV: haue.

529 bene. Cov: art.
nowe here. RV: here; Warren: here now.

535 Like. Cov: Like to.

536 And. RV: As.

537 must. Cov: mot; RV: most; Warren: moste.

538 lifly. N: lufly; Cov: liffeli; RV: lyvely.

541 tithis and. RV: my tithe.

542 mote. RV: moste.
counte. Cov: account; RV: compte.

543 make. Cov: to make.

544 he is. Cov: hym.

545 Thou. RV: O thou.

546 lad. RV: ladde.

547 Thou. N: ʒ​​​​​​​ow.
moste. Cov, N: must.
eke. RV: now.

548 if. Cov, RV: thogh.

550 oonly. Warren: wonli.
this from thee. Cov: for me the; RV: this the.

551 The. RV: ffro the.
that can so folke. Cov: that so folke; RV: that can folkes.
faile. N: failly.

552 fool. RV: foole.

553 wisshed. Cov: wesshid.

554 be that. Cov: be it.
have. Cov: han.

555 have. Cov: han.
leyn. Cov: leien.

556 reyn. Cov: in reine.
and. RV: to; Cov: I.
at. RV: at the; Cov, Warren: atte.

557 and2. RV: have.

558 Dolve. Cov: Delfe.
diched. Cov: dike; RV: dyked.
the carte. Cov, W: atte carte.

561–68 Sir Cordeler . . . . present and redy. Ink fading at bottom of fol. 156v.

561 myn. RV, Warren: my.

563 have. Cov: han.
itaught. RV: taught.

564 Howe that. RV: how.
am. N: may.
gastful. RV. gastly.
forto drede. Cov: in dede.

566 is ther. Cov: þer is.
ne. N: nor.

567 dare reste. Cov, RV: areste.

570 sureté. RV: seurte; Warren: seuerte.

571 Strengthe. Warren: strengh.
what so. RV: what.

572 Worldly. Warren: wordly.

574 fro. Cov, RV: from.

Before 577 the Childe. RV: the younge Childe.
borne. So RV, Warren. Cov: ibore; S: yborn.

579 must. RV, Warren: most.
here toforn. Cov: heretofore.

580 Be lad. Cov, RV: Be ledde.
fatal. Cov: sharper.

581 goo. Cov: gone.
on. Cov, RV: vpon; N: to.

582 in soth. Cov: for soth.

583 every. Cov: oueri.

584 moost. RV: moste.

585 o. RV: omitted; Warren: a.
I cannot. Cov: can I nat.

586 bore. Cov, RV: born.

587 be. Cov: ben.
wreke. RV: awreke.

588 list. Cov, RV: lust.
lenger. Cov: longer.

589 cam. RV: come.

590 no tale. Cov: tales.

591 wil. RV: wille.

Before 593 the Clerke. RV: The younge beneficed Clerk.

593 O ye Sir. Cov: O sir; RV: O ye.

594 or. Cov: on.
defende. Cov: to defende.

595 wende have. Cov: wend han; RV: haue.
unto. Cov: up onto.

596 benefices. RV: benefice.
or. Cov: of.
greet prebende. Cov: prebende.

597 hiest. RV: hie.

598 agens. Cov: ayens; N: aʒ​​​​​​​ens; RV: ayenst.

600 ponissheth. RV: punysshet.

602 bettir. N: bett; Warren: bette.

603 no1. Warren: noon.
geyn. Cov: gynne.
ne. Cov: no.
bettir. Cov: lenger.

604 sure. RV: seure.

606 bene. RV: be.

611 Atte. So Cov, Warren. N, RV; S: At the.
mote. RV: most.
Signature in left margin: Thomas Holt.

613 agein. Cov: aʒenne; N: aʒen; Warren: aʒeyne.
is. RV: may be.

615 this. Cov: his.

616 this. RV: in this.
here is. RV: is.

618 agein. Cov: ayenne; N: aʒ​​​​​​​en; RV: ayenst; Warren: aʒ​​​​​​​eyne.
no respite. RV, Warren: respite noon.

619 our. RV: steven.
doth. RV: deth.
not. Cov: nat.

620 welcome be. Cov: welcome.

627 al his herte. RV: hert.

628 Seth. Cov: Sethen.

629 deserve. Cov: disserueth; RV: serue.
quit. Cov: quiteth.

630 To. RV: The.

632 sure to. RV: seure.
N has rubric: þ(e) armytt answerith.

Before 633 The Kyng ligging dead and eten of wormes. Cov: A kynge lienge deede and eten with wormes; RV: A kyng liggyn in his grave; N: þe kyng liggyng ded & eten with wormes.

633 folke. Cov: folkis.
portrature. Cov: portatrure.

634 the estates. So Cov, Warren. RV: estates; S: the states.

635 Seeth. Cov, RV: Sethe.

636 not. Cov: & nat.

638 I. So Cov, RV, Warren, N. S: ʒ​​​​​​​e.
kyng. RV: a king.

640 fyne. Cov: ende.

Before 641 Machabre the Doctour. RV: The wordes of the Doctour Machabre.

641 not. Cov: nat; Warren: nowght.

642 wiche. Cov: that.

643 whether. N: wedur.
he. Cov: ye.

645 Remembringe ay. Cov: remembreth.
bet. Cov, RV: better.

646 at the. Cov, Warren: atte.

647 shul. RV: shal.

648 that maketh in hevene. RV: in heuen that maketh.

651 helle none ne. So Cov, RV, Warren. S, N: hell none nor.

655 lyve wel. N: lyve.
take this. RV: take.
best. So Warren. Cov, RV, N: the best.

656 Is. Cov: It is.
shul. Cov: shullen.
pace. RV: passe.

Before 657 Lenvoye de Translator. RV: Verba Translatoris.

657 my lordis. RV: maisters.
maistres. RV: folkes.

659 myn. RV, N: my.

661 aske. So RV, Warren. N, Cov, S: axe.

662 goodly. RV: godely.
this. N: his.

663 to sowpouaile drede. Cov: subhope away drede; N: sowpowayle; RV: suppowel drede; Warren: soupewaile.

664 Benignely. So RV; Cov: Benyngli; Warren: Benyngneli.

665 drewe. Cov: drowe; RV: drow; Warren: drowe.

666 by. RV: for.

667 Engelonde. RV: England.

670 my name is John Lidgate. In Cov, the name of the author is omitted and a blank space is left.
Have. RV: Holde.

671 her. RV: thare.

672 Her. RV: thaire.

Explicit Here endith the Daunce of Deeth. N: Laus tibi sit christe etc Finis; RV: Explicit.




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¶ Verba Translatoris
O yee folkes harde-hertid as a stone,
Wich to the worlde have al your advertence,
Liche as it shulde laste evere in oone —
Where is your witt, wher is your providence
To se aforn the sodeine violence
Of cruel Dethe, that ben so wis and sage,
Wiche sleeth, allas, by stroke of pestilence
Bothe yong and olde, of lowe and hy parage?

Deeth sparith not lowe ne hy degré.
Popes, kynges, ne worthy emperours —
Whan thei shyne most in felicité,
He can abate the fresshnes of her flours,
The bright sonne clipsen with his shours,
Make hem plunge from her sees lowe.
Magré the myght of alle these conquerours,
Fortune hath hem from her whele ythrowe.

Considerith this, ye folkes that ben wys,
And it enprentith in youre memorial,
Like the exawmple wiche that at Parys
I fonde depict oones in a wal
Ful notably, as I reherce shal:
Ther, of Frensshe clerkis takyng aqueintaunce,
I toke on me to translatyn al,
Oute of the Frensshe, Machabres Daunce.

By whos avys and counceil atte the leste,
Thorugh her steryng and her mocioun,
I obeide unto her requeste,
Therof to make a playn translacioun
In Englissh tonge, of entencioun 1
That proude folkes, wiche that ben stout and bold,
As in a mirrour toforn in her resoun
Her ougly fine may cleerly ther bihold,

By exaumple that thei in her ententis
Amende her lif in every maner age.
The wiche Daunce at Seint Innocentis
Portreied is with al the surplusage
To shewe this worlde is but a pilgrimage
Yeven unto us our lyves to correcte.
And to declare the fyne of oure passage
Right anoon my stile I wille directe.

¶ Verba Auctoris
O creatures ye that ben resonable
The liif desiring wiche is eternal,
Ye may se here doctrine ful notable,
Youre lif to lede wich that is mortal,
Therby to lerne in especial
Howe ye shul trace the Daunce of Machabre,
To man and womman yliche natural,
For deth ne spareth hy ne lowe degré.

In this mirrour every wight may finde
That him bihoveth to goo upon this daunce.
Who goth toforn or who shal goo behinde,
Al dependith in Goddis ordinaunce.
Wherfore eche man lowly take his chaunce;
Deeth spareth not pore ne blood royal.
Eche man therfore have in remembraunce:
Of o mater God hath forged al. 2

¶ Deeth to the Pope
O yee that ben set most hie in dignité
Of alle estatis in erthe spiritual,
And like as Petir had the soverenité
Overe the chirche and statis temporal:
Upon this daunce ye firste bigyn shal,
As moste worthy lorde and governour,
For al the worship of youre astate papal
And of lordship to God is the honour.

¶ The Pope aunswerith
First me bihoveth this daunce for to lede
Wich sat in erthe hiest in my see —
The state ful perillous ho so takith hede
To occupie Petris dignité —3
But al for that Deth I may not fle,
On his daunce with other for to trace,
For wich al honour, who prudently can se,
Is litel worth that dothe so sone pace.

¶ Deeth to the Emperour
Sir Emperour, lorde of al the ground,
Soverein prince and hiest of noblesse:
Ye must forsake of golde your appil round,
Septre and swerd and al youre hy prowesse.
Behinde leve your tresour and ricchesse,
And with othir to my daunce obeie.
Agein my myght is worth noon hardinesse;
Adamis children alle thei mosten deie.

¶ The Emperour answerith
I not to whom that I may apele
Touching Deth wiche doth me so constreine.
Ther is no gein to helpe my querele,
But spade and pikois my grave to ateyne,
A simple shete — ther is no more to seyne —
To wrappe in my body and visage,
Therupon sore I may compleine
That lordis grete have litel avauntage.

¶ Deeth to the Cardinal
Ye ben abaisshid, it semeth, and in drede
Sir Cardinal — it shewith by youre chere —
But yit forthy ye folowe shulle in dede
With othir folke my daunce for to lere.
Youre grete aray al shal bileven here,
Youre hatte of reed, youre vesture of grete cost.
Alle these thingis rekenyd wele yfere: 4
In greet honour good avis is lost.

¶ The Cardinal answerith
I have grete cause — certis this is no faille —
To ben abaisshid and greetly drede me,
Sithen Deeth is come me sodeinly to assaille,
That I shal nevere heraftir clothed be
In grys ne ermyn like to my degré,
My hatte of reed leve eke in distresse,
By wiche I have lerned wel and see
Howe that al joie endith in hevynesse.

¶ Deeth to the Kyng
O noble kyng, moste worthi of renoun,
Come forthe anone for al youre worthinesse,
That somtyme had aboute yow enviroun
Greet rialté and passing hy noblesse.
But right anoone al youre grete hynes
Sool fro youre men in hast ye shul it lete. 5
Who moste aboundith here in greet ricches
Shal bere with hym but a sengle shete.

¶ The Kynge answerith
I have not lernyd here aforn to daunce
No daunce in sooth of footyng so savage,
Wherfore I see by clere demonstraunce:
What pride is worth force or hy lynage?
Deeth al fordothe — this is his usage —
Greet and smale that in this worlde sojourne.
Who is most meke I hold he is most sage,
For we shal al to dede asshes tourne.

¶ Deeth to the Patriarke
Sir Patriarke, alle youre humble chere
Ne quite yow not, ne youre humilité.
Youre double crosse of gold and stones clere,
Youre power hoole, and al youre dignité
Some othir shal of verrey equité
Possede anoone, as I reherce can.
Trustith nevere that ye shal pope be,
For foly hope deceiveth many a man.

¶ The Patriarke aunswereth
Worldly honour, greet tresour, and richesse
Have me deceivid sothfastly in dede.
Myn olde joies ben turned to tristesse.
What vailith it suche tresour to possede?
Hy clymbyng up a falle hath for his mede;
Grete estates folke wasten oute of noumbre. 6
Who mountith hy — it is sure and no drede —
Greet berthen dothe hym ofte encoumbre.

¶ Deeth to the Constable
It is my right to reste and yow constreine
With us to daunce, my maister Sir Constable,
For more strong than evere was Charlemayne
Deeth hath aforced and more worshipable,
For hardines, ne knyghthood — this is no fable —
Ne stronge armure of plates ne of mayle.
What geyneth armes of folkes moste notable
Whan cruel Deeth luste hem to assaile?

¶ The Constable answerith
My purpos was and hool entencioun
To assaille castelles and mighty forteresses,
And bringe folke unto subjeccioun,
To seke honour, fame, and grete richesses.
But I se wel that al worldly prowesses
Deeth can abate, wich is a grete dispite.
To him aloone sorwe and eke swetnesses,
For agein Deeth is founded no respite.

¶ Deeth to the Archebisshop
Sir Archebisshoppe, whi do ye yow withdrawe
So frowardly as it were by disdeyn?
Ye muste aproche to my mortel lawe:
It to contrarie it were not but in veyn.
For day by day, ther is noon othir geyn,
Deeth at hande pursueth every coost.
Prest and dette mote be yolde agein, 7
And at o day men counten with her oost.

¶ The Archibisshoppe answereth
Allas, I woote not what partie for to flee,
For drede of Dethe I have so grete distresse,
To ascape his myght I can no refute se. 8
That who so knewe his constreint and duresse,
He wolde take resoun to maistresse.
Adewe, my tresour, my pompe, and pride also,
My peintid chaumbres, my port, and my fresshnesse,
For thing that bihoveth nedes must be do. 9

¶ Deth to the Baroun
Ye that amonge lordis and barouns
Hav had so longe worship and renoun,
Forgete youre trumpetis and youre clariouns.
This is no dreme ne simulacioun.
Somtime youre custome and entencioun
Was with ladies to daunce in the shade,
But ofte it happith, in conclusioun,
That o man brekith that anothir made.

¶ The Baroun or the Knyht answerith
Ful ofte sithe I have bene auctorised
To hie emprises and thinges of greet fame.
Of hie and lowe my thanke also devised,
Cherisshed with ladies and wymmen hie of name.
Ne nevere on me was put no defame
In lordis court, wiche that was notable.
But Deethis strook hath made me so lame —
Undre hevene in erthe is nothing stable.

¶ Deeth to the Lady of Grete Astate
Come forthe anone, my lady and princesse,
Ye muste also goo upon this daunce.
Nowt may availle youre grete straungenesse,
Nouther youre beauté, ne youre greet plesaunce,
Youre riche aray, ne youre daliaunce,
That sumtyme cowde so many holde on honde
In love for al youre double variaunce.
Ye mote as nowe this footing undirstonde.

¶ The Lady answerith
Allas, I see ther is none othir boote.
Deeth hath in erthe no lady ne maistresse,
And on his daunce yit muste I nedis foote.
For ther nys qwene, contesse, ne duchesse
Flouringe in beauté ne in fairnesse
That she of Deeth mote Dethes trace sewe.
For to youre bewté and countirfeet fresshnesse
Owre rympled age seith farewele, adewe.

¶ Deeth to the Bisshoppe
My lorde sir Bisshoppe, with youre mytre and croos,
For al youre ricchesse, sothly I ensure,
For al youre tresour so longe kept in cloos,
Youre worldly goodes and goodes of nature, 10
And of youre sheep the gostli dredeful cure,
With charge committid to youre prelacie,
For to acounte ye shulle be broughte to lure.
No wight is sure that clymbeth overe hie.

¶ The Bisshoppe answerith
My herte truly is nouther glad ne myrie
Of sodein tidinges wiche that ye bring.
My festis turned into simple ferye
That for discomfort me list nothing syng;
The worlde contrarie nowe to me in workyng
That alle folkes can so disherite.
He that al withhalt, allas, at oure parting,
And al shal passe save only oure merite. 11

¶ Deeth to the Squier
Come forth Sir Squier, right fresshe of youre aray,
That can of daunces al the newe gise:
Though ye bare armes fressh horsed yisterday,
With spere and shelde at youre unkouthe devise, 12
And toke on yow so many hy emprise,
Daunceth with us, it wil no bettir be;
Ther is no socour in no manere wise,
For no man may fro Dethes stroke fle.

¶ The Squier aunswerith
Sithen that Dethe me holdith in his lace,
Yet shal Y speke o worde or Y pace:
Adieu, al myrthe, adieu nowe, al solace;
Adieu, my ladies, somtime so fressh of face;
Adieu, beuté, plesaunce, and solace!
Of Dethes chaunge every day is prime;
Thinketh on youre soules or that Deth manace,
For al shal rote, and no man wote what tyme.

¶ Deeth to the Abbot
Come forth, Sir Abbot, with youre brood hatte,
Beeth not abaisshed (though ye have right).
Greet is your hede, youre bely large and fatte;
Ye mote come daunce though ye be nothing light.
Leveth youre abbey to some othir wight,
Youre eir is of age youre state to occupie.
Who that is fattest, I have hym behight,
In his grave shal sonnest putrefie.

¶ The Abbot answerith
Of thi thretis have I noon envie
That I shal nowe leve al governaunce.
But that I shal as a cloistrer dye —
This doth to me passinge grete grevaunce.
Mi liberté nor my greet habondaunce 13
What may availe in any manere wise?
Yit axe I mercy with hertly repentaunce,
Though in diynge too late men hem avise.

¶ Deeth to the Abbesse
And ye, my lady gentil Dame Abbesse,
With youre mantels furred large and wide,
Youre veile, youre wymple passinge of greet richesse, 14
And beddis softe ye mote nowe leie aside,
For to this daunce I shal be youre guyde.
Though ye be tendre and born of gentil blood,
While that ye lyve for youresilfe provide,
For aftir Deeth no man hath no good.

¶ The Abbesse answerith
Allas, that Deeth hath thus for me ordeined
That in no wise I may it not declyne,
Though it so be ful ofte I have constreyned
Brest and throte my notes out to twyne,
My chekes round vernysshed for to shyne,
Ungirt ful ofte to walke atte large —
Thus cruel Dethe dothe al estates fyne.
Who hath no ship mote rowe yn bote or barge.

¶ Deeth to the Bally
Come forthe, Sir Bailly, that knowen al the gise,
By youre office, of trouthe and rightwisnes.
Ye must come to a newe assise
Extorciouns and wronges to redres.
Ye ben somonyd as lawe bit expres,
To yelde acountes, the Juge wole yow charge,
Wiche hath ordeyned, to exclude al falsnes,
That every man shal bere his owne charge.

¶ The Bayly answerith
O thou, Lorde God, this is an hard journé,
To whiche aforne I tooke but litel hede.
Mi chaunge is turned and that forthinkith me.
Sumtyme with juges what me list to spede
Lay in my myght by favour or for mede.
But sithen ther is no rescuse by bataille,
I holde hym wys that cowde see indede
Agein Deeth that none apele may vaille.

¶ Deeth to the Astronomere
Come forthe, maister, that loken up so ferre
With instrumentis of astronomy
To take the grees and heighte of every sterre.
What may availe al youre astrologie,
Sethen of Adam alle the genolagie,
Made ferst of God to walke uppon the grounde,
Deeth dooth areste? Thus seith theologie,
And al shal die for an appil round.

¶ The Astronomere answerith
For al my craft, kunnynge, or science
I cannot finde no provisioun,
Ne in the sterris serche oute no defence,
By domefiynge ne calculacioun,
Safe finally — in conclusioun —
For to discrive oure kunnyng every dele,
Ther is no more by sentence of resoun:
Who lyveth aright mote nedis dye wele.

¶ Deeth to the Burgeys
Sir Burgeis, what do ye lenger tarie
For al youre aver and youre greet ricchesse?
Though ye be straunge, deynous, and contrarie,
To this daunce ye mote yow nedis dresse,
For youre tresour, plenté, and largesse
From othere it cam and shal unto straungers.
He is a fool that in suche bysynes
Woot not for whom he stuffith his garners.

¶ The Burgeis aunswerith
Certis to me it is greet displesaunce
To leve al this and may it not assure.
Houses, rentes, tresour, and substaunce:
Deeth al fordothe, suche is his nature.
Therfore wys is no creature
That set his herte on good that moot dissevere.
The worlde it lente, and he wille it recovere, 15
And who most hath lothest dieth evere.

¶ Deeth to the Chanoun
And ye, Sir Chanoun, with many grete prebende,
Ye may no lenger have distribucioun
Of golde and silver largely to dispende,
For ther is nowe no consolacioun,
But daunce with us for al youre hie renoun,
For ye of deeth stonde uppon the brink.
Ye may therof have no dilacioun,
Deeth comyth ay whan men lest on him think.

¶ The Chanoun answerith
My benefices with many a personage,
God wote, ful lite may me nowe comforte.
Deeth hath of me so grete avauntage;
Al my ricches may me not disporte.
Amys of grys, thei wille agein resorte
Unto the worlde, surplys and prebende;
Al is veinglorie, truly to reporte,
To die wel eche man shulde entende.

¶ Deeth to the Marchaunt
Ye riche marchaunt, ye mote loke hiderwarde,
That passid have ful many divers londe,
On hors, on foot, havynge moste reward
To lucre and wynnyng, as I undirstond:
But nowe to daunce ye mote yeve me youre honde,
For al youre laboure ful litel availeth now.
Adieu, veinglorie, bothe of free and bonde!
No more coveite than thei that have ynow.

¶ The Marchaunt answerith
By manie an hil and many a straunge vale
I have traveilid with my marchandise,
Overe the see do carie many a bale
To sundry iles, mo than I can devise.
My herte inwarde ay fret with covetise,
But al for nought — nowe Deeth doth me constreine —
By wiche I seie, by recorde of the wise,
Who al enbraceth litel shal restreine.

¶ Deeth to the Chartereux
Yeve me youre hond with chekis dede and pale,
Causid of wacche and longe abstinence,
Sir Chartereux, and youresilfe avale
Unto this daunce with humble pacience.
To stryve agein may be no resistence;
Lenger to lyve set not youre memorie.
Thow I be lothsom as in apparence,
Above alle men Deth hath the victorie.

¶ The Chartereux aunswerith
Unto the worlde I was dede longe agone
By my ordre and my professioun.
Though every man, be he nevere so stronge,
Dredith to die by kindly mocioun
Aftir his flesshly inclinacioun,
But plese it to God my soule for to borowe
From fendis myght and from dampnacioun;
Some bene today that shulle not be tomorwe.

¶ Deeth to the Sergaunt
Come forthe, Sir Sergant with youre statly mace;
Make no defence ne no rebellioun.
Not may availe to grucche in this cace,
Though ye be deynous of condicioun,
For nouther pele ne proteccioun
May yow fraunchise to do nature wrong.
For ther is noone so sturdy champioun;
Though he be myghty, another is as stronge.

¶ The Sergeant answereth
Howe dare this Dethe sette on me areste,
That am the kinges chosen officere,
Wiche yisterday bothe west and este
Min office dide ful surquidous of chere?
But nowe this day I am arestid here
And may not flee, though I hadde it sworn.
Eche man is lothe to die, ferre and nere,
That hath not lerned for to die aforn.

¶ Deeth to the Monke
Sir Monke also, with youre blak habite,
Ye may no lenger holde here sojour.
Ther is nothing that may yow here respite,
Agein my myght yow for to do socour.
Ye mote acounte touching youre labour,
Howe ye have spent it in dede, worde, and thought.
To erthe and asshes turneth every flour;
The life of man is but a thing of nought.

¶ The Monke answerith
I hadde levere in the cloistre be
At my book and studie my service,
Wiche is a place contemplatif to se,
But I have spent my life in many vice,
Liche as a fool dissolut and nyce.
God of his mercy graunt me repentaunce,
By chere outwarde harde to devise.
Alle be not mery wich that men se daunce.

¶ Deeth to the Usurere
Thou Usurer, loke up and biholde:
Unto wynnynge you settist al thi peine,
Whos covetise wexith nevere colde.
Thy gredy thrust so sore thee doth constreine,
But you shalt nevere thi desire ateyne.
Such an etik thin herte frete shal
That, but of pité God his hande refreine,
O perillous strook shal make thee lese al.

¶ The Usurere answerith
Nowe me bihoveth sodeinly to dey 16
Wiche is to me grete peine and greet grevaunce.
Socour to finde I see no maner wey,
Of golde ne silver by no chevesaunce.
Deeth thorugh his haste abit no parveaunce
Of folkes blinde, that cannot look wel.
Ful ofte happith by kinde or fatal chaunce
Some have faire eyghen that see nevere adele.

¶ The Pore Man to the Usurere
Usuré to God is ful grete offence
And in his sight a grete abusioun.
The pore borwith par cas for indigence,
The riche lent by fals collucioun
Only for lucre in his entencioun.
Deeth shal hem bothe to acountes sette,
To make rekenynge by computacioun;
No man is quit that is bihinde of dette.

¶ Deeth to the Fisician
Maister of phisik, wiche on youre uryne
So loke and gase and stare agein the sonne,
For al youre craft and studie of medicine,
Al the practyk and sience that ye konne,
Your lyves cours so ferforthe is ironne.
Agein my myght youre craft may not endure
For al the golde that ye therby have wonne.
Good leche is he that can himsilfe recure.

¶ The Fisician answerith
Ful longe agon that I unto phisik
Sette my witt and my dilligence,
In speculatif and also in practik,
To gete a name thorugh myn excellence,
To finde oute agens pestilence
Preservatives to staunche it and to fine,
But I dar seie, shortly in sentence,
Agens Deeth is worth no medicine.

¶ Deeth to the Amerous Squier
Ye that be gentil, so fresshe and amerous,
Of yeres yonge, flouringe in youre grene age,
Lusty, free of herte, and eke desirous,
Ful of devises and chaunge in youre corage,
Plesaunt of port, of look, and of visage —
But al shal turne into asshes dede,
For al bewté is but a feint ymage,
Wiche stelith aweye or folkes can take hede.

¶ The Squier answerith
Allas, allas I can nowe no socour
Agens Dethe for mysilfe provide.
Adieu, of youthe the lusty fresshe flour,
Adieu, veinglorie of bewté and of pride,
Adieu, al service of the god Cupide,
Adieu, my ladies, so fressh, so wel besein,
For agein Dethe nothing may abide,
And windes grete gon doun with litil reyn. 17

¶ Deeth to the Gentilwomman Amerous
Come forthe, maistresse, of yeris yonge and grene
Wiche holde youresilfe of bewté sovereyne.
As faire as yee was somtyme Polycene,
Penolope, and the quene Eleyne,
Yit on this daunce thei wente bothe tweine,
And so shulle ye for al youre straungenesse.
Though daunger longe in love hath lad youre reine,
Arestid is youre chaunge of doubilnesse.

¶ The Gentilwomman answerith
O cruel Deeth that sparest none estate,
To old and yonge thou art indifferent.
To my bewté thou hast yseide chekmate,
So hasty is thi mortal jugement.
For in my youthe this was myn entent,
To my service many a man to have lured.
But she is a fool, shortly in sentement,
That in hir bewté is too moche assurid.

¶ Deeth to the Man of Lawe
Sir Advocate, short processe for to make,
Ye mote come plete afore the highe Juge.
Many a quarel ye have undirtake
And for lucre to do folke refuge,
But my fraunchise is so large and huge
That counceile none availe may but trouthe.
He skapith wisly of Deeth the greet deluge
Tofore the doom who is not teint with slouthe.

¶ The Man of Lawe answerith
Of right and resoun by Naturis lawe,
I cannot putte agein Deeth no defence,
Ne by no sleighte me kepe ne withdrawe
For al my wit and my greet prudence
To make apele from his dredful sentence.
Nothing in erthe may a man preserve
Ageins His myght to make resistence;
God quite al men like as thei deserve.

¶ Deeth to the Jourrour
Maister Jurrour, wiche that at assise
And atte shires questes doste embrace,
Departist londe like to thi devise,
And who most yaf moste stode in thi grace:
The pore man lost londe and place;
For golde thou cowdest folkes disherite.
But nowe lete se, with thi teint face,
Tofore the Juge howe thou canst thee quite.

¶ The Jourour answerith
Somtyme I was clepid in my cuntré
The bellewedir, and that was not a lite.
Nought loved but drad of lowe and hie degré,
For whom me list by crafte I coude endite,
And hange the trewe and the theef respite;
Al the cuntré by my worde was lad.
But I dar sey, shortly for to write
Of my dethe many a man is glad.

¶ Deeth to the Minstral
O thou mynstral, that canst so note and pipe
Unto folkes for to do plesaunce,
By the right honde I shal anoone thee gripe
With these other to goo upon my daunce.
Ther is no scape neither avoidaunce
On no side to contrarie my sentence,
For in musik, by craft and acordaunce,
Who maister is shewe his science.

¶ The Minstral answerith
This newe daunce is to me so straunge,
Wondir diverse and passingly contrarie.
The dredful fotyng doth so ofte chaunge,
And the mesures so ofte sithes varie,
Wiche nowe to me is nothing necessarie,
If it were so that I myght asterte,
But many a man (if I shal not tarie)
Ofte daunceth but nothing of herte.

¶ Deeth to the Tregetour
Maister John Rikele, sometyme Tregetour
Of noble Harry, Kyng of Engelond
And of Fraunce the mighty conquerour:
For alle the sleightes and turnyng of thin hond
Thou must come ner this daunce to undirstond.
Nought may availe al thi conclusions,
For Deeth shortly, nouther on see ne lond,
Is nought deceivid by none illusions.

¶ The Tregetour answerith
What may availe magik natural,
Or any craft shewid by apparence,
Or cours of sterres above celestial,
Or of the hevene al the influence,
Ageins Deeth to stonde at defence?
Legerdemeyn nowe helpith me right nought.
Farewel, my craft and al suche sapience,
For Deth moo maistries yit than I hath wrought. 18

¶ Deeth to the Parsoun
O Sir Curat that bene nowe here present,
That had youre wordly inclinacioun,
Youre herte entire, youre studie, and entent
Moste on youre tithes and oblacioun,
Wiche shulde have bene of conversacioun,
Mirrour unto othir, light and exaumplarie:
Like youre desert shal be youre guerdoun,
And to eche labour dewe is the salarie.

¶ The Persoun answerith
Maugré my wille I must condiscende,
For Deeth assailith every lifly thing.
Here in this worlde who can comprehende
His sodein stroke and his unware comyng?
Farewele, tithis, and farewel, myn offryng,
I mote goo counte in ordre by and by,
And for my shepe make a just rekenyng;
Whom He aquyteth I holde he is happy.

¶ Deeth to the Laborer
Thou, laborer, wiche in sorwe and peine
Hast lad thi life in ful greet travaile,
Thou moste eke daunce and therfore not disdeyne,
For if thou do, it may thee not availe.
And cause why that I thee assaile
Is oonly this: from thee to dissevere
The fals worlde that can so folke faile.
He is a fool that weneth to lyve evere.

¶ The Laborer answerith
I have wisshed aftir Deeth ful ofte,
Al be that I wolde have fled hym now —
I had levere to have leyn unsofte
In winde and reyn and have gone at plow,
With spade and pikoys and labourid for my prow,
Dolve and diched and at the carte goone.
For I may seie and telle pleinly howe
In this worlde here ther is reste none.

¶ Deeth to the Frere Minour
Sir Cordeler, to yow myn hand is raught
To this daunce yow to conveie and lede,
Wiche in youre preching have ful ofte itaught:
Howe that I am moste gastful forto drede
(Al be that folke take therof noon hede).
Yit is ther noon so stronge ne so hardy,
But Deth dare reste and let for no mede,
For Deeth eche hour is present and redy.

¶ The Frere answerith
What may this be that in this world no man
Here to abide may have no sureté?
Strengthe, ricchesse, ne what so that he can,
Worldly wisdom: al is but vanité.
In grete astate ne in poverté
Is nothing found that may fro Dethe defende.
For wiche I seie, to hie and lowe degré,
Wys is that synner that dooth his life amende.

¶ Deeth to the Childe
Litel enfaunte that were but late borne,
Shape in this worlde to have no plesaunce,
Thou must with other that goone here toforn
Be lad in haste by fatal ordinaunce.
Lerne of newe to goo on my daunce,
Ther may noon age escape in soth therfroo.
Lete every wight have this in remembraunce:
Who lengest lyveth moost shal suffre woo.

¶ The Childe answerith
A, A, A — o worde I cannot speke.
I am so yonge, I was bore yisterday.
Deeth is so hasty on me to be wreke
And list no lenger to make no delay.
I cam but nowe and nowe I goo my way,
Of me no more no tale shal be told.
The wil of God no man withstonde may,
As sone dieth a yonge man as an old.

¶ Deeth to the Clerke
O ye Sir Clerke, suppose ye to be free
Fro my daunce or youreselfe defende,
That wende have rysen unto hie degré
Of benefices or some greet prebende?
Who clymbeth hiest sometyme shal dissende.
Lat no man grucche agens his fortune,
But take in gree whatevere God hym sende,
Wich ponissheth al whan tyme is oportune.

¶ The Clerke answerith
Shal I that am so yonge a clerke nowe deye
Fro my service and have no bettir guerdoun?
Is ther no geyn ne no bettir weye,
No sure fraunchise ne proteccioun?
Deeth makith alweie a short conclusioun.
Too late ware whan men bene on the brinke;
The worlde shal faile and al possessioun, 19
For moche faileth of thing that foles thinke.

¶ Deeth to the Hermyte
Ye that have lived longe in wildernesse
And ther contynued longe in abstinence;
Atte laste yet ye mote yow dresse
Of my daunce to have experience,
For ther agein is no recistence.
Take nowe leve of thin ermytage.
Wherfore eche man adverte this sentence:
That this life here is no sure heritage.

¶ The Hermite answerith
Life in desert callid solitarie
May agein Dethe have no respite ne space.
At unset our his comyng doth not tarie,
And for my part welcome be Goddes grace,
Thonkyng hym with humble chere and face
Of al his yiftes and greet haboundaunce,
Fynally affermynge in this place,
No man is riche that lackith suffisaunce.

¶ Deeth ayein to the Hermite
That is wel seide, and thus shulde every wight
Thanke his God and alle his wittis dresse
To love and drede Hym with al his herte and myght,
Seth Deeth to ascape may be no sikernesse.
As men deserve God quit of rightwisnesse
To riche and pore uppon every side.
A bettir lessoun ther can no clerke expresse,
Than til tomorwe is no man sure to abide.

¶ The Kyng ligging dead and eten of wormes
Ye folke that lokyn upon this portrature,
Biholdyng here alle the estates daunce,
Seeth what ye bene and what is youre nature:
Mete unto wormes, not ellis in substaunce.
And have this mirrour evere in remembraunce,
Howe I lie here somtyme crownyd kyng,
To alle estates a trewe resemblaunce
That wormes food is fyne of oure lyvyng.

¶ Machabre the Doctour
Man is not ellis, platly forto thinke,
But as a winde wiche is transitorie,
Passinge ay forthe, whether he wake or winke,
Towarde this Daunce. Have this in memorie,
Remembringe ay ther is no bet victorie
In this life here than fle synne at the leste.
Than shul ye regne in Paradys with glorie;
Happy is he that maketh in hevene his feste.

Yit ther be folke mo than six or sevene,
Reckles of liif in many maner wise,
Like as ther were helle none ne hevene.
Suche false errour lete every man dispice.
For hooly seintis and oolde clerkis wise
Writen contrarie her falsnes to deface.
To lyve wel — take this for best emprice —
Is moche worth whan men shul hens pace.

¶ Lenvoye de Translator
O ye, my lordis and maistres alle in fere
Of aventure that shal this Daunce rede,
Lowly I preie with al myn herte entere
To correcte whereas ye see nede.
For nought ellis I aske for my mede,
But goodly support of this translacioun
And with favour to sowpouaile drede,
Benignely in youre correccioun.

Out of the Frensshe I drewe it of entente,
Not worde by worde but folwyng the substaunce.
And fro Paris to Engelonde it sente
Oonly of purpos yow to do plesaunce.
Rude of langage (I was not born in Fraunce),
Have me excusid; my name is John Lidgate.
Of her tunge I have no suffisaunce
Her corious metris in Englisshe to translate.

Here endith the Daunce of Deeth.
Words of the Translator; (t-note)

attention; (t-note)
Like; always the same
wit; preparation for the future
in advance; sudden; (t-note)
prudent; (t-note)

parentage; (t-note)

status; (t-note)
prosperity; (t-note)
their flowers; (t-note)
eclipse; its showers; (t-note)
fall low from their high positions; (t-note)
In spite of
them; thrown

are wise
imprint; memory; (t-note)
Paris; (see note)(t-note)
once; (t-note)
as I will tell; (t-note)
French clerics making; (t-note)

advice and counsel at last; (t-note)
guidance; suggestion; (t-note)
their; (t-note)
complete translation; (t-note)

valiant; (t-note)
before; (t-note)
Their ugly end; (t-note)

their intentions; (t-note)
every stage of their life; (t-note)
(see note)
with all the rest; (t-note)

Given; (t-note)
relate; outcome; journey; (t-note)
stylus; (t-note)

Words of the Author
who are reasonable; (t-note)
see; (t-note)

in particular
follow; (t-note)
does not spare; (t-note)

person; (see note)
That he must go; (t-note)
goes first; (t-note)
God’s plan
humbly; (t-note)
(t-note); (t-note)

Out of all religious positions on earth; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
Over both the Church and worldly affairs

high esteem; papal estate
dominion; (t-note)

it is proper for me; (t-note)
Who; seat of authority
to follow; (t-note)
so soon pass [away]; (t-note)

preeminent; nobility
(see note)(t-note)
Scepter; sword; martial deeds
Against; no valor; (t-note)
Adam's children (i.e., humanity); must; (t-note)

know not; appeal; (t-note)
Concerning; compel
aid; complaint; (t-note)
pickaxe; reach
to say; (see note)
face; (t-note)
fervently; (t-note)
advantage; (t-note)

upset; full of dread; (t-note)
expression; (t-note)
you shall follow forth in death; (t-note)
to learn
fine clothing; shall be left; (t-note)
red hat; [ecclesiastical] garment; (see note)
judgment; (t-note)

certainly; mistake
upset; to have great dread; (t-note)
Because; to attack me suddenly; (t-note)
gray fur (possibly squirrel); ermine; (t-note)
leave also; (t-note)
sorrow; (t-note)

at once; nobility
on all sides; (t-note)
royalty; very high nobility
immediately; great status; (t-note)
(see note)

heretofore; (t-note)
in truth; frenzied; (t-note)
by clear proof
power; noble birth; (t-note)
destroys; practice
meek; wise; (t-note)

attitude; (see note)(t-note)
Do not acquit you; (t-note)
double cross; (see note)
whole; rank; (t-note)
in accordance with divine law
as I can say
(see note)(t-note)
foolish; (see note)

truly in death; (t-note)
sadness; (t-note)
What use is it; possess; (t-note)
for its reward
rises high
burden; (t-note)

arrest; detain; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
Charlemagne; (see note)(t-note)
forced; worthy of respect; (t-note)
plate armor; chainmail; (t-note)
What gain is; (t-note)
desires them; (t-note)

entire intent
see clearly; earthly valor; (t-note)
demolish; vengeance
alone; also; (t-note)
against; is found; reprieve; (t-note)

retreat; (t-note)
insolently; with contempt
draw near to; (t-note)
to oppose; (t-note)
course of action; (t-note)
the last day; reckon; host; (t-note)

don’t know where to flee; (t-note)
whoever; oppression; cruelty


one; breaks; (see note)(t-note)

times; authorized; (t-note)
gratitude; contrived; (t-note)

No slander was ever put on me; (t-note)
stroke; helpless
(see note)

Estate; (see note)(t-note)

No help will be; haughtiness; (t-note)
Neither; charm; (t-note)
fancy clothes; flirting
could; hold in your sway; (t-note)

mistress; (t-note)
yet; step; (t-note)
Flourishing; fair appearance; (t-note)
dance behold; (t-note)
false youthfulness; (t-note)
Our wrinkled age; goodbye; (t-note)

miter and cross
truly I assure you; (t-note)
privately owned; (t-note)
(see note)
flock; spiritual pastoral duty; (t-note)
prelacy (i.e., office of bishop)
brought under control; (t-note)
person; secure

neither; happy; (t-note)
Because of the unexpected news; (t-note)
food (fare); (t-note)
desire; (t-note)
withholds; (see note)(t-note)

youthful; attire; (t-note)
knows; new fashion

assistance of any kind

Because; snare; (t-note)
I; one; before; go; (t-note)
youthful; (t-note)
charm; (t-note)
a new beginning
before Death threatens; (t-note)
decay; knows; (t-note)

upset; good reason; (t-note)
belly; (t-note)
must; (t-note)
person; (t-note)
heir; position
designated; (t-note)
soonest decay; (t-note)

threats; grudge; (t-note)
cloistered monk
causes me exceedingly great offense
help in any kind of way
ask; heartfelt; (t-note)
examine themselves; (t-note)

of noble rank or birth; (see note); (t-note)
sleeveless overgarment; (t-note)
bedding; turn; (t-note)
delicate; noble
prepare yourself; (t-note)
possessions; (t-note)

way; avoid; (t-note)
very often; compelled
to sing
coated (i.e., as with a cosmetic)
Ungirdled; out and about; (t-note)
bring to an end; (t-note)
must; boat; (t-note)

ways; (see note)(t-note)
session of civil court; (t-note)

summoned; as required by law; (t-note)
give accounts; (t-note)

accept responsibility for; (t-note)

before; paid little attention; (t-note)
fortune; unsettles me; (t-note)
liked to accomplish; (t-note)
power through favors or bribes; (t-note)
Because; deliverance by battle; (t-note)

no appeal will prevail; (t-note)

degrees and height
Since; descendants; (t-note)
(see note)

knowledge; (t-note)
provision (i.e., against Death)
By locating the position of the stars; (t-note)
Except; (t-note)
explain; in every aspect
by doctrine
must necessarily die well; (see note)(t-note)

longer delay; (see note)
possessions; (t-note)
haughty, scornful; cross; (t-note)
you must necessarily prepare yourself; (t-note)
plenty; abundance
business; (t-note)
Knows; storerooms

Certainly; displeasure; (t-note)
I may not secure it; (t-note)
material goods
destroys; (t-note)
must fall away; (t-note)
loathes to die always

(see note)(t-note)
a share [of alms]
extravagantly to squander
lofty reputation

postponement; (t-note)
always; least; (t-note)

parsonage; (see note)(t-note)
knows, very little; (t-note)
cheer me up; (t-note)
Garments of gray; again; return; (see note)(t-note)
surplice; (see note)


must; over here; (t-note)
various; (t-note)
To profit and wealth
must; give; (t-note)
helps; (t-note)
master and servant
covet; enough; (t-note)

foreign valley
sea; measurement of goods
tell; (t-note)
always loaded; (t-note)
detain; (t-note)
embraces; restrain; (t-note)

Give; (t-note)
wakefulness (i.e., for a vigil); (t-note)
help yourself; (see note)(t-note)

against; (t-note)
direct not your attention; (t-note)
loathsome; (t-note)

ago; (t-note)
[Carthusian] order; (t-note)

natural instinct

the Devil’s power; damnation; (t-note)
are; (t-note)

(see note)

aid; complain; case; (t-note)
arrogant by nature
appeal; (t-note)

take me into custody; (t-note)
Who; (t-note)
haughty; attitude; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
unwilling; (t-note)

black habit; (see note)(t-note)
sojourn; (t-note)
reprieve; (t-note)
Against; to render assistance; (t-note)
must; concerning; (t-note)


would rather; cloister; (t-note)
the Mass

Like; fool; frivolous; (t-note)

appearance; (t-note)
see; (t-note)

(see note)(t-note)
profit; effort; (t-note)
thirst; powerfully; (t-note)
consuming passion; devour
unless; stay
One dreadful; lose

relief; (t-note)
makes no provisions; (t-note)
nature; accident; (t-note)
good eyes; a bit; (t-note)

borrow because of; (t-note)
lend; conspiracy; (t-note)
take to account; (t-note)
settle accounts; counting
discharged [from debt]; behind; (t-note)

medicine; who; urine; (t-note)
gaze; against; (see note)(t-note)
practical and theoretical knowledge; (t-note)
to a great extent; run
doctor; cure; (see note)(t-note)

ago; medicine; (t-note)

theorizing; practice; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
Protections; stop; end (it); (t-note)

noble; youthful; amorous; (t-note)
Vigorous; also filled with desire; (t-note)
intrigues; inconstancy; heart
deportment; appearance; (t-note)
beauty; unreliable image; (t-note)
steals away before; take notice

know; assistance
lively youthful
youthful; good looking; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)

(see note)(t-note)
mistress; fresh
preeminent; (t-note)
fair; once Polyxena; (see note)(t-note)
Helen; (see note)(t-note)
Yet; both of them; (see note)(t-note)
despite; haughtiness; (t-note)
resistance; reign
Halted; faithlessness; (t-note)


concisely; (t-note)

legal argument; (see note)
plead your case; before; (t-note)
profit; legal redress
body of legal rights
escapes; flood
Before; judgment; tainted; (t-note)

cunning; protect nor excuse myself; (t-note)

repays; (t-note)

(see note)
Juror; sessions of civil court; (t-note)
shire’s inquests; illegally influence; (t-note)
Divided; scheme; (t-note)
gave (i.e., bribed)
disinherit; (t-note)
see; guilty; (t-note)
Before; acquit yourself; (t-note)

called; country
bellwether; small thing; (t-note)
feared by; (t-note)
I pleased; cunning; convict; (t-note)
reprieve; (t-note)
led; (t-note)

sing; (t-note)
delight; (t-note)
escape; (t-note)
resist; judgment
knowledge; (t-note)

Extraordinarily unusual; very inconsistent; (t-note)
hazardous steps
patterns; continually vary; (t-note)
Which is to me not at all profitable; (t-note)
delay; (t-note)
although his heart’s not in it; (t-note)

Court magician
(see note)(t-note)
England; (t-note)

hand; (t-note)
near; (t-note)
help; intentions; (t-note)
in brief; sea; (t-note)
any; (t-note)

sorcery; (see note)
conjuring; (t-note)

Sleight of hand; (t-note)

(see note)(t-note)

manner of living
worth; reward; (t-note)
due; (see note)(t-note)

Despite; acquiesce; (t-note)
living; (t-note)

sudden; unforeseen
tithes; (t-note)
go to judgment; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
believe; (t-note)

toil; (t-note)
also; do not be angry; (t-note)
help; (t-note)
to separate; (t-note)
desires; (t-note)

Although; (t-note)
rather; uncomfortable; (t-note)
pickaxe; fortune; (t-note)
Worked hard at manual labor; (t-note)

extended; (see note)(t-note)

taught; (t-note)
terrifying; (t-note)
no one; fearless; (t-note)
capture; free; compensation; (t-note)

certainty; (t-note)
nor anything else he can do; (t-note)
vanity; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)

infant; recently
Created; delight
before; (t-note)
led; predetermined judgment; (t-note)
again; (t-note)
escape; in truth there from; (t-note)
person; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)

one; (t-note)
eager to do me harm; (t-note)
desires; (t-note)

thought to; position; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
descend; (t-note)
complain against; (t-note)
good will
Who punishes; (t-note)

(see note)

reward; (t-note)
scheme; (t-note)
privilege; (t-note)
always a quick end
aware; (t-note)


(see note)

must; prepare; (t-note)

take note of; wisdom; (t-note)
inheritance; (t-note)

reprieve; (t-note)
unspecified hour; delay; (t-note)
Thanking; attitude
gifts; abundance

contentment; (see note)

Since; certainty; (t-note)
repays; (t-note)


(see note)(t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
See; are; (t-note)
Meat; nothing else; (t-note)

once; (t-note)

final end; (see note)(t-note)

nothing else; plainly; (t-note)
always; sleep; (t-note)

always; better; (t-note)
fleeing; at least; (t-note)
shall; (t-note)
feast; (t-note)

Yet; more
many different ways
neither hell nor heaven; (t-note)

their falseness; refute
undertaking; (t-note)
much; hence; (t-note)

The envoy of the Translator; (t-note)
altogether; (t-note)
By chance
Humbly; entire; (t-note)

reward ; (t-note)
encourage reverence; (t-note)
With good will; (t-note)

with purpose; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
(see note)
their language; fluency; (t-note)
Their unfamiliar meters; (see note)(t-note)



Go to John Lydgate's Dance of Death: B Version (Lansdowne)