Citation
The celebrated Hans Holbein's Alphabet of death

Material Information

Title:
The celebrated Hans Holbein's Alphabet of death illustrated with old borders engraved on wood with Latin sentences and English quatrains
Uniform Title:
Dance of Death
Added title page title:
Alphabet of death
Creator:
Holbein, Hans, 1497-1543
Montaiglon, Anatole de, 1824-1895
Lützelburger, Hans, 1495?-1526
Le Maire, Leon ( engraver )
Tross, Edwin ( publisher )
Firmin-Didot (Firm) ( printer )
Place of Publication:
Paris
Publisher:
Printed for Edwin Tross
Publication Date:
Language:
English
englat
Physical Description:
[36] pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Dance of death ( lcsh )
Dance of death ( fast )
Genre:
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

General Note:
Cover title: The celebrated H. Holbein's Dance of death.
General Note:
"Engraved by Hans Lutzelburger ... in l849 the whole series was anew elegantly copied on wood by Professor H. Lödel of Göttingen."
General Note:
"Imorinted by Firmin Didot brothers at the expenses of Edwin Tross, at Paris
General Note:
Borders engraved by Leon Le Maire.
Statement of Responsibility:
selected by Anatole de Montaiglon.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
04712490 ( OCLC )
ocm04712490
Classification:
N7720.H6 L83 1856 ( lcc )

Auraria Membership

Aggregations:
Auraria Library
Literature Collections

Full Text


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THE CELEBRATED
HANS HOLBEINS
ALPHABET OF DEATH
ILLUSTRATED WITH OLD BORDERS ENGRAVED ON WOOD
WITH LATIN SENTENCES AND ENGLISH QUATRAINS
. A selected by ,
ANATOLE DE MONTAIGLON
PARIS
PRINTED FOR EDWIN TROSS
28, Rue des Bons Enfants
M DCCCLVI


s
'{
TO
THOMAS WRIGHT, ESQ., M.A., F.S.A.,
this edition of the Alphabet of Death
is respectfuly dedicated
{ l>.v
i


The life and works of the great German painter,
Hans Holbein, and the question of the Dance of Death
are, for historical inquirers, an admirable subject,
on which nothing has yet been said that can be held
really satisfactory; but the limits of this note are
necessarily so confined as to leave no space even for a
view of them.
For the artist, if is^only necessary to refer the
reader to Sandrart, to the latin catalogue written
by Charles Patin as an introduction to his edition of
the Encomium Morise, to Fuessli, to Walpoles A nec-
dotes of Painting in England, and to J. P. Mariettes
remarks oft this last work, recently printed in his
Abcdario. It is said that Ml Passavant has been many
years occupied in collecting materials for a complete
monography of Holbein; so that, as the attempt is
worthy of him, and he is fit for the task, we may
hope to have the long wanted life and catalogue


executed in a superior manner. On the Dance of
Death, several interesting books have been published,
among which it is almost unnecessary to name those
of Gabriel Peignot, Francis Douce, and Hyacinthe
Langlois. Here we have only to speak of the Alphabet
itself.
Engraved by Hans Lutzelburger, as now thought
by the most competent critics, it was first used at
Basle about the year 1530 by the famous printers Be-
belius and Gratander, and we refer to Douces re-
marks (p. 214-18) on the question for the titles of the
books in which it was employed, and for the nume-
rous copies and imitations made of it. We will only
repeat with him that these initial letters, in ele-
gance of design and delicacy of engraving, have
scarcely ever been equalled, and certainly never sur-
passed. They may in every point of view be regarded
as the chef-doeuvre of ancient block engraving.
Seven years ago, in 1849, the whole series was
anew elegantly copied on wood by Professor H. Lo-
del of Gottingen, and published in a little 8V0 vo-
lume, with George Osterwalds lithographed borders,
by L M. Heberle at Cologne, Bonn and Brussels.
Our new edition gives the same letters, real gems
of engraving on wood, but, as a worthy illustration,
accompanies them with the two Dances of Death, the
one more Gothic in form, the other more coarsely
engraved, but yet perhaps more artistical, which are
found in the well known Simon Yostres Horse.
These two Dances, as well as the ornamental borders,
all taken from different books, are engraved with a
fidelity and elegance on which our readers may pro-
nounce, by Mr Leon Le Maire, of Paris, who has also
copied on the title Holbeins Escutcheon of Death
from the Imagines Mortis.
On these letters we will now add a curious re-
mark which, we believe, has not yet been made.
In the eleven first letters we find the subjects in the
traditional order without any relation between them.
So we see, as in all the series, the Dance begun by the
Death the musician, and followed, in order of rank,
by the Pope, the Emperor, the King, the Cardinal,
the Empress, the Bishop, the Nobleman, the Burgess
or Merchant, and the Priest. But, from the letter M
to the end, it may be remarked, and I owe this
hint to M1 Henry Bordier, that each letter is the
beginning of the Latin name of the character repre-
sented.
So, at M we see the Medicus; at N the banker,
Numerarius; at 0 a fat monk, Obesas monachus;
at P a fighting soldier, Prseliator. The Q is less clear;
the obedient nun who quietly follows Death, might
however be called in Latin : Quieta, quassatay or
queribunda monacha. But the R is quite certain, for
we find in it: Ridens or ridiculus fatuus. In the S
we have the luxurious woman, Scortum. The T is


somewhat troublesome; yet in the minstrel driven
to the ground and urged to drink by a facetious ske-
leton, we may read Titubans homo. At Y the galloping
horseman is perhaps Velox homo; at W the ancient
hermit is Wetustissimus homo, the superlative being
marked by the repetition of the same letter. At X
we have deceitful gamesters, Xycophantes, and this
change of S into X is not at all inadmissible, since
in the subsequent letter the artist has used Ynfans,
when the ordinary form is infans. As to Z, it is used
like the Greek Q to import the idea of the end and
consequently the artist has put in it the last judg-
ment, the end of this earthly world, as Z is the end
of the Alphabet. Some of these interpretations may
certainly he modified and improved, but we hoid as
undisputable the idea of seeking in the last thirteen
letters the beginning of the Latin name of the intended
characters. ,
One word more, and I close this note. A literary
selector of Latin sentences on Death might be able
to choose from Greek Roman and old Christian
authors, most magnificent extracts; but such a thing
was quite impossible for us. Here we had to give
twenty-four sentences, of a limited extent, each be-
ginning by a different letter; and only long enough
to surround and support the letter in conformity
with typographical exigencies. As to the quatrains,
we might reprint the translation written in 1794 by


n ||
mm
1 Hawkins for his edition of a copy of Holbeins Ima- gines Mortis; but we have chosen to have them made for the most part with the stanzas of the old translation of the Macabres Dance by John Lydgate, and some new-written in the same style, so that each may be indicative of the subject in the letter. That is all that can be said on them. A. DE M. i
Paris, 12th July, 1856, m
111
jjjfjl m
1 j II
ii j, m

1 i ' I
H ; ' m
IS




pud mortem non
est acceptio per-
sonarum. Necmi-
serelur pupillo,
nee defert senio-
n, nec timet potentem, necvere-
tur nobilem, nee horret pauperem
aut ignobilem, nec dimittit divi-
tem aut potentem, nec contemnit
infirmem aut debilem, nec evitat
fortem, nec pareit sapienti, nec
insipienti.
S. ANTONINUS.
0 creatures, ye that ben resonable,
Who alle shalle trace the daunce of Macabri,
Ye may here lern doctrine ful notable,
How dethe ne spareth high ne low degrtf.
Ip
nm


grinationis, portus navigations,
contritio laquei, depositio vetustae
vestis, induitio novae, depositio
ponderis, dejectio atrocissimi ho-
stis, solutio debiti naturalis.
HUGO CARD.
0 thou that ofalle estates spiritualle
In erthe art set moste high in (lignite
Upon this daunce firste begynne thou shalle,
/Is moste worthy by thy soverainU.


ertcm est quod
morieris, et in-
cur! um quando
aut quomodo aut
ubi, quo main u-
bique le mors expeetat. Tu quo-
que, si sapiens fueris, ubique earn
expectabis.
S. BERNARDUS.

Sir emperour, lorde of alle the grounde,
Soverayneprynce and hieste of noblesse,
Ye moste forsake of golde your aple rounde,
Sceptre and swerde, and alle your high
[prow esse.


ies irsB, dies ilia
Crucis expandens
Sol vet seclum in
[favilla.
Quantus tremor est futurus
Quando judex est venturus,
Omnia stricte discussurus.
A- JiUtv.
O noble Kynge, most worthy o/renoune,
Coyne for the anon for alleyour worthinesse,
That hadde somtyme about you envyroune
Crete ryalte and passyng high noblesse.

/
st mors naturalis
et poenalis, natu-
ralis per quam a-
nima separatin a
corpore, poenalis
vero est cum anima e virtutis vita
emoritur et vivit in vita vitii.
PHILO JUDAEUS.
j .....
Ye ben abasshed it semeth, and in drede,
Syre cardynalle; me thynketh by your chere;
But yit forthy ye folowe shale in dede
With othere folk, my daunce for to lere.




inis nosier abs-
conditus est no-
bis; venturi exi-
tus ignorantia no-
bis incerta est;
improvisus occursus, incertus e-
ventus et finis omnium. Dum ne-
scimus, repente mors venit; dum
non sestimamus, improvisi tolli-
mur; dum ignoramus, repente
subtrahimur.
S. ISIDORUS HISPANUS.
Yehan notlerned here afore to daunce
No daunce in sothe offotynge so sage,
Wherefor ye see by clere demonstraunce
What pryde is worth, force, or high lynage.




m
ermana eorruptio-
nis mors est, de-
sperationis domi-
na, incredulitatis
mater, inferni pa-
rens, diaboli conjunx, omnium
malorum regina.
S. PETRUS CHRYSOLOGUS.
Madame, in sothe, ther is non other bote;
Dethe hath in erthe no lady ne maistresse,
But on this daunce ye moste nedis fote,
Al, be ye quene, countesse, or duchesse.


,kc paria sunt. Non
oris, nee fuisti,
utrumquetempus
alienum est. In
hoc punduni con-
jectus es: quodut extendas, quous-
que extendes? Quid lies? Quid
optasPPerdis operam. Rata et fixa
sunt, atque magna et aeterna ne-
cessitate ducuntur. Eo ibis quo
omnia eunt.
My lord, sir bisshope, ye maye not so
[Mthdrawe,
Se frowardly, as it were by disdeyne,
Yemoste approehe unto my mortale lawe
It to contraire it were but in veyne.


MPORTCTNA IIIOI'S
mille modis quo-
tidie miseros ho-
mines rapit; hunc
necat febribus,
hunc opprimit doloribus, hunc con-
sumit fame, ilium siti extinguit,
hunc suffocat aquis, ilium interi-
mitlaqueo, ilium perimit flammis,
hunc trucidat ferro, ilium veneno
eorrumpit, alterum repentino ter-
rore miseram vitam finire com-
pellit.
S. AUGfrSTINUS.
Right nowe,sir prince, for alleyour highnesse,
The pompe ofwordely honaure yeshalle lete;
Who moste hahoundeth here in gret richesse,
Simile bere with hym but a single shete.



ATHERINA VirgO
cum decollata
fuisset, de ejus
corpore lac ema-
navit. Angeli au-
tem corpus ejus accipientes ab illo
loco ad montem Sinay itinere plus
quam viginti deduxerunt, et ibi-
dem honorifice sepelierunt. Ex
cujus ossibus indesinenter oleum
emanat, quod cunctorum debi-
lium membra sanat. Passa estsub
Maxentio sive Maximiano tyranno.
JACOBUS DE YORAGINE.
Ye that so longe worships and renoun
Have had amonges ladies and barons,
Now moste ye from your highnesse come adoun,
Forgettyng youre trompettes and clarions.


AUDANS iiivocabo
Dominum et ab
immicis meis sal-
yus ero. Circum-
dederunt me do-
lores mortis, et torrentes iniqui-
tatis conturbaveriiut me. Dolores
inferni circumdederunt me; prae-
occupavenmt me laquei mortis.
PSALM. XVII.
Farwelle, my t/ythes, farwelle, myne offe~
[rynge;
1 most go compte in ordre by and by,
And for my shepe make a juste reekonynge;
Whom God acquiteth, I hold hym happy.


lii limes, janua patriae, nativitas
vitae, principium beatitudinis, pri-
mitiae primitiorum.
PETRUS BLESENSIS.
Maister of phisike, werketh not inveyne;
Ayenste my'mygth your sky lie may not endure,
For alle your era fie and study of medy cine,
Leche though ye he, youre self ye can not cure.


ullius miseretur
mors, nulli com-
patitur, omnibus
sequatur, inspe-
rata venit, nulli
parcit, corpus et animam separat,
finis est laborum et ultima linea
HUGO A SANCTO VICTORE.

Thou usurer, loke up here at my calle,
XJnto wynninge that setteste alle thy peyne;
A perilouse stroke shal make the lese alle;
Thy gredy cheste thou fllleste alle in veyne.
2EE

)


miser homo quo-
cumque te ver-
teris, incerta om-
mors
certa. Pauper es,
incertum est an ditescas. lrido-
ctus, incertum est an erudiaris.
Imbecillis, incertum est an con-
valescas. Natus es; certum est quia
morieris, et in hoc ipso, quia
mors certa est, dies mortis incer-
tus est, itaque haec incerta.
S. AUGUSTINUS SUPER PSAL,
Sir corduler, to you myn hond is raught
To this daunce you to conveye and lede,
Which in your prechynge have ful ofte taught
How l am most gastfulle for to drede.


e r unum homi-
nem quemadmo-
dum in mundum
introivit ac per
peecatum mors ,
et sic in omnes homines mors
pervasit quatenus omnes pecca-
verunt. Imo regnavit mors in eos
qtii non peccaverant ad similitu-
dinem transgressionis Adam, qili
typum gerit illius futuri.
PAULUS AD ROM. V.
Ye have assay led castelle and for ter esse,
And thynhe youre self strenger than Charle-
[mayne;
But malgre alle youre worldely prouesse,
With us to daunce Ishalle you nowe cons-
* [trayne.
^WWWWwWWW^WWWWWWWT


uotidie morimur;
quolidie enim de-
initur aliqua pars
vitae, et, tunc quo-
(|iie cum cresci*
mus, vita decrescit; infantiam
amisimus, deinde pueritiam, dein-
de adolescentiam; usque ad hes>-
ternum quidquid transiit temporis
periit; hunc ipsum, quem agimus,
diem cum morte dividimus.
SENECA, EPIST. 24.
msmsasm


emedium mors est,
studiorum et cu-
rarum ad vitam
pertinentium va-
cuitas. Mori non
est malum, sed male mori pessi-
mum.
S. JOANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS.


ubitje necessitati
niortis .vana spes
non praejudieftt .se-
ta tis; quippe quae
infantes, pueros,
adolescentes pari ut senes sorte
prsecipit.
JOANNES CASS.

O thou that many a man hast allurede,
And made hym waste hys youthe in false ple-
[saunce,
Though in youre beauteye ben moche assurede,
Yit shalle ye atie lastejoyne my damme.


si mors malum sit, esse malum
sempiternmn; nam vitae miserae
non finis esse videtur. Mors si est
misera, finis nullus esse potest.
M. TULLIUS CICERO.
Wei ofte thou in fulle hole and kan
Hast swynkedfor td drynke and to swylle;
Nowe here, wyth thyne hewe pale etmn,
Thou shalt daunce maugre thy wyUe.

^--


bicumque desines,
si bene desinis,
sed et fortiter de-
sinendum. Non
est res magna vi-
vere, omnes servi tui vivunt,
omnia animalia, sed magnum est
honeste mori, prudenter, fortiter.
SENECA.
Allas! Syre galauntet nome most thmsaunz
[socoure
Abate thy veyne glorie and thy pryde.
And leve byhynde al worldely honoure3
For agenst dethe no thynge may abide.




i
nu earnificis accepisset, adraoto
jam labris poculo, inter fletum et
lamentationem vociferanti inno-
centem eum perimi: Quid ergo?
inquit. Nocenti mihi satius esse
duxisti? 0 immensam illam sa-
pientiam quse ne in ipso quidem
vitae excessu oblivisci sui potuit!
VALERIUS MAXIMUS.
Al youre passetyme has ben to shaken the
[dyce;
But throwe no more, for nowe it is youre
[chaunce,
Maugre youre grete othes and wordes nyee,
To folowe me bothe in the dedely daunce.


et dixit ei: Dispone domui turn,
quia morieris tu et non vives.
Et dixit Ezechias :, Non videbo
Dominum Deum in terra viven-
tium. Generatio mea ablata est et
convoluta est a me, sicut taber-
naculum pastorum. Praeeissa ve-
lut a texente anima mea; dum
adhuc ordirer, incudit me.
YSAIAS.
Lytel enfaunt, that were but late borne,
Schaped in this worlde to have no plesaunce}
Thou moste wyth othere that are gone to fame
Be led in haste by fatal ordynaunce.


alphabet i ultima
littera est, ut dies
mortis ultimus vi-
tae. Ideo prima
et ultima Graeco-
rum, A atque £2, omnis cursus
vitae comprehensus significandus-
que praebetur.
Remember alle there is no better rictorie
In this lyfe here than sle synne at teste,
Thanne shalle ye regne in Paradys with glorie;
Happy is he in hevene that makefile his feste.


OUR TERM OF LIFE DEPENDS NOT ON OUR
DEED.
BEFORE OUR BIRTH OUR FUNERAL WAS
DECREED ;
NOR AWD BY FORESIGHT, NOR MISLED BY
CHANCE,
IMPERIOUS DEATH DIRECTS THE EBONS
LANCE,
PEOPLES GREAT HENRYS TUMBS, AND LEADS
UP HOLBEINS DANCE.
(PRIOR.)







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