Skip to main content

Full text of "The Dance of death : exhibited in elegant engravings on wood with a dissertation on the several representations of that subject but more particularly on those ascribed to Macaber and Hans Holbein :"

See other formats

Bance of Beat!) 



spacabet anD ]>ang Holbein 



Pallida mors asquo pulsat pede pauperunf tabernas 
Regumque turres. HORAT. lib. i. od. 4. 






C. Whittingham, Tooks Court, Chancery Lane. 


HE very ample discussion which the 
extremely popular subject of the 
Dance of Death has already under- 
gone might seem to preclude the 
necessity of attempting to bestow 
on it any further elucidation ; nor would the pre- 
sent Essay have ever made its appearance, but for 
certain reasons which are necessary to be stated. 

The beautiful designs which have been, per- 
haps too implicitly, regarded as the invention of 
the justly celebrated painter, Hans Holbein, are 
chiefly known in this country by the inaccurate 
etchings of most of them by Wenceslaus Hollar, 
the copper-plates of which having formerly be- 
come the property of Mr. Edwards, of Pall Mall, 
were published by him, accompanied by a very 
hasty and imperfect dissertation ; which, with 
fewer faults, and considerable enlargement, is 
here again submitted to public attention. It is 
appended to a set of fac-similes of the above- 
mentioned elegant designs, and which, at a very 
liberal expense that has been incurred by the 
proprietor and publisher of this volume, have 



been executed with consummate skill and fidelity 
by Messrs. Bonner and Byfield, two of our best 
artists in the line of wood engraving 1 . They may 
very justly be regarded as scarcely distinguishable 
from their fine originals. 

The remarks in the course of this Essay on a 
supposed German poet, under the name of Maca- 
ber, and the discussion relating to Holbein's con- 
nection with the Dance of Death, may perhaps be 
found interesting to the critical reader only ; but 
every admirer of ancient art will not fail to be 
gratified by an intimate acquaintance with one of 
its finest specimens in the copy which is here so 
faithfully exhibited. 

In the latest and best edition of some new 
designs for a Dance of Death, by Salomon Van 
Rusting, published by John George Meintel at 
Nuremberg, 1736, 8vo. there is an elaborate pre- 
face by him, with a greater portion of verbosity 
than information. He has placed undue confi- 
dence in his predecessor, Paul Christian Hilscher, 
whose work, printed at Dresden in 1705, had 
probably misled the truly learned Fabricius in 
what he has said concerning Macaber in his va- 
luable work, the " Bibliotheca mediae et infimae 
setatis." Meintel confesses his inability to point 
out the origin or the inventor of the subject. The 
last and completest work on the Dance, or Dances 
of Death, is that of the ingenious M. Peignot, so 
well and deservedly known by his numerous and 
useful books on bibliography. To this gentleman 
the present Essay has been occasionally indebted. 


He will, probably, at some future opportunity, 
remove the whimsical misnomer in his engraving 
of Death and the Ideot. 

The usual title, " The Dance of Death," which 
accompanies most of the printed works, is not 
altogether appropriate. It may indeed belong to 
the old Macaber painting and other similar works 
where Death is represented in a sort of dancing 
and grotesque attitude in the act of leading a 
single character ; but where the subject consists 
of several figures, yet still with occasional excep- 
tion, they are rather to be regarded as elegant 
emblems of human mortality in the premature 
intrusion of an unwelcome and inexorable visitor. 

It must not be supposed that the republication 
of this singular work is intended to excite the 
lugubrious sensations of sanctified devotees, or of 
terrified sinners; for, awful and impressive as must 
ever be the contemplation of our mortality in the 
mind of the philosopher and practiser of true 
religion, the mere sight of a skeleton cannot, as 
to them, excite any alarming sensation whatever. 
It is chiefly addressed .to the ardent admirers of 
ancient art and pictorial invention ; but never- 
theless with a hope that it may excite a portion of 
that general attention to the labours of past ages, 
which reflects so much credit on the times in 
which we live. 

The widely scattered materials relating to the 
subject of the Dance of Death, and the difficulty 
of reconciling much discordant information, must 
apologize for a few repetitions in the course of 


this Essay, the regular progress of which has been 
too often interrupted by the manner in which 
matter of importance is so obscurely and defec- 
tively recorded; instances of which are, the 
omission of the name of the painter in the other- 
wise important dedication to the first edition of 
the engravings on wood of the Dance of Death 
that was published at Lyons ; the uncertainty as 
to locality in some complimentary lines to Holbein 
by his friend Borbonius, and the want of more 
particulars in the account by Nieuhoff of Holbein's 
painting at Whitehall. 

The designs for the Dance of Death, published 
at Lyons in- 1538, and hitherto regarded as the 
invention of Holbein, are, in the course of this 
Dissertation, referred to under the appellation of 
the Lyons wood-cuts ; and with respect to the term 
Macaber, which has been so mistakenly used as 
the name of a real author, it has been nevertheless 
preserved on the same principle that the word 
Gothic has been so generally adopted for the 
purpose of designating the pointed style of archi- 
tecture in the middle ages. 

F. D. 




Personification of Death, and other modes of represent- 
ing it among the Ancients. Same subject during the 
Middle Ages. Erroneous notions respecting Death. 
Monumental absurdities. Allegorical pageant of the 
Dance of Death represented in early times by living 
persons in churches and cemeteries. Some of these 
dances described. Not unknown to the Ancients. 
Introduction of the infernal, or dance of Macaber . 1 


Places where the Dance of Death was sculptured or 
depicted. Usually accompanied by verses describing 
the several characters. Other metrical compositions 
on the Dance . . . . .17 

. Nil I 


Macaber not a German or any other poet, but a non- 
entity. Corruption and confusion respecting this 
W0 rd. Etymological errors concerning it. How 
connected with the Dance. Trois mors et trois vifs. 
Orgagna's painting in the Campo Santo at Pisa. 
Its connection with the trois mors et trois vifs, as well 
as with the Macaber Dance. Saint Macarius the real 
Macaber. Paintings of this dance in various places. 
At Minden ; Church-yard of the Innocents at Paris ; 
Dijon ; Basle ; Klingenthal ; Lubeck ; Leipsic ; Anne- 
berg ; Dresden ; Erfurth ; Nuremberg ; Berne ; Lu- 
cerne ; Amiens ; Rouen ; Fescamp ; Blois ; Stras- 
burg; Berlin; Vienna; Holland; Italy; Spain . 28 




Macaber Dance in England. St. Paul's. Salisbury 

Wortley-hall. Hexham. Croydon. Tower of Lon- 
don. Lines in Pierce Plowman's Vision supposed to 
refer to it . . . .51 


List of editions of the Macaber Dance. Printed Horse 
that contain it. Manuscript Horee. Other Manu- 
scripts in which it occurs. Various articles with letter- 
press, not being single prints, but connected with it . 55 


Hans Holbein's connection with the Dance of Death. 
A dance of peasants at Basle. Lyons edition of the 
Dance of Death, 1538. Doubts as to any prior edi- 
tion. Dedication to the edition of 1538. Mr. Ott- 
ley's opinion of it examined. Artists supposed to 
have been connected with this work. Holbein's name 
in none of the old editions. Reperdius . . 78 


Holbein's Bible cuts. Examination of the claim of 
Hans Lutzenberger as to the design or execution of 
the Lyons engravings of the Dance of Death. Other 
works by him . . . . .94 


List of several editions of the Lyons work on the Dance 
of Death with the mark of Lutzenberger. Copies of 
them on wood. Copies on copper by anonymous ar- 
tists. By Wenceslaus Hollar. Other anonymous 
artists. Nieuhoff Picard. Rusting. Mechel. 
Crozat's drawings. Deuchar. Imitations of some of 
the subjects . . . . .103 


Further examination of Holbein's title. Borbonius. 
Biographical notice of Holbein. Painting of a Dance 
of Death at Whitehall by him . . . 138/ 




Other Dances of Death . . . .146 


Dances of Death, with such text only as describes the 
subjects . . . . . .160 

Books in which the subject is occasionally introduced . 168 


Books of emblems and fables. Frontispieces and title- 
pages in some degree connected with the Dance of 
Death . . . . . .179 

Single prints connected with the Dance of Death . 188 

Initial or capital Letters with the Dance of Death . 213 

Paintings. Drawings. Miscellaneous . .221 


Trois vifs et trois morts. Negro figure of Death. 
Danse aux Aveugles .... 228 


Errors of various writers who have introduced the sub- 
ject of the Dance of Death . . . 233 


Page 7, line 25, for Boistuan read Boistuau. 









26, for Prodigeuses read Prodigieuses. 

14, read in Holland, &c. 

23, for Lamorensi read ZamorensL 

4, for f ex read sea;. 
10, after difficulty add ? 
21, after /or/cs add " 
23, for Typotia read Typotii. 

8, for Stradamus read Stradanus. 




Personification of Death, and other modes of representing 
it among the Ancients. Same subject during the 
Middle Ages. Erroneous notions respecting Death. 
Monumental absurdities. Allegorical pageant of the 
Dance of Death represented in early times by living 
persons in churches and cemeteries. Some of these 
dances described.' Not unknown to the Ancients. 
Introduction of the infernal, or dance of Macaber. 

HE manner in which the poets and ar- 
tists of antiquity have symbolized or 
personified Death, has excited consi- 
derable discussion; and the various 
opinions of Lessing,- Herder, Klotz, 
and other controversialists have only tended to de- 
monstrate that the ancients adopted many different 
modes to accomplish this purpose. Some writers have 
maintained that they exclusively represented Death as 
a mere skeleton; whilst others have contended that 
this figure, so frequently to be found upon gems 
and sepulchral monuments, was never intended to 

personify the extinction of human life, but only as a 
simple and abstract representation. They insist that 
the ancients adopted a more elegant and allegorical 
method for this purpose ; that they represented human 
mortality by various symbols of destruction, as birds 
devouring lizards and serpents, or pecking fruits and 
flowers; by goats browsing on vines; cocks fighting, 
or even by a Medusa's or Gorgon's head. The Ro- 
mans seem to have adopted Homer's 1 definition of 
Death as the eldest brother of Sleep; and, accordingly, 
on several of their monumental and other sculptures we 
find two winged genii as the representatives of the above 
personages, and sometimes a genius bearing a sepulchral 
vase on his shoulder, and with a torch reversed in one 
of his hands. It is very well known that the ancients 
often symbolized the human soul by the figure of a but- 
terfly, an idea that is extremely obvious and appropriate, 
as well as elegant. In a very interesting sepulchral 
monument, engraved in p. 7 of Spon's Miscellanea 
Eruditse Antiquitatis, a prostrate corpse is seen, and 
over it a butterfly that has just escaped from the mouth 
of the deceased, or as Homer expresses it, " from the 
teeth's inclosure." 2 The above excellent antiquary has 
added the following very curious sepulchral inscription 
that was found in Spain, H^REDIBVS MEIS MANDO 


IPSA TEGANT MEA, &c. Rejecting this heathen sym- 
bol altogether, the painters and engravers of the middle 
ages have substituted a small human figure escaping 
from the mouths of dying persons, as it were, breathing 
out their souls. 

We have, however, the authority of Herodotus, that 
in the banquets of the Egyptians a person was intro- 

1 Iliad, and after him Virgil, l&u. vi. 278. 

2 Iliad IX. On an ancient gem likewise in Ficoroni's Gemmae Ari- 
tiquae Litteratae, Tab. viii. No. 1, a human scull typifies mortality, and 
a butterfly immortality. 

duced who carried round the table at which the guests 
were seated the figure of a dead body, placed on a coffin, 
exclaiming at the same time, " Behold this image of 
what yourselves will be; eat and drink therefore, and 
be happy." 3 Montfaucon has referred to an ancient ma- 
nuscript to prove that this sentiment was conveyed in a 
Lacedaemonian proverb, 4 and it occurs also in the beau- 
tiful poem of Coppa, ascribed to Virgil, in which he is 
supposed to invite Maecenas to a rural banquet. It 
concludes with these lines : 

Pone merum et talos ; pereat qui crastina curat, 
Mors aurem vellens, vivite ait, venio. 

The phrase of pulling the ear is admonitory, that 
organ being regarded by the ancients as the seat of 
memory. It was customary also, and for the same 
reason, to take an oath by laying hold of the ear. It is 
impossible on this occasion to forget the passage in 
Isaiah xxii. 13, afterwards used by Saint Paul, on the 
beautiful parable in Luke xii. Plutarch also, in his 
banquet of the wise men, has remarked that the Egyp- 
tians exhibited a skeleton at their feasts to remind the 
parties of the brevity of human life ; the same custom, 
as adopted by the Romans, is exemplified in Petronius's 
description of the feast of Trimalchio, where a jointed 
puppet, as a skeleton, is brought in by a boy, and this 
practice is also noticed by Silius Italicus : 

yEgyptia tellus 

Claudit odorato post funus stantia Saxo 

Corpora, et amensis exsanguem hand separat umbram. 5 

Some have imagined that these skeletons were intended 
to represent the larvae and lemures, the good and evil 
shadows of the dead, that occasionally made their ap- 
pearance on earth. The larvae, or lares, were of a bene- 

3 Lib. ii. 78. 4 Diarium, p. 212. 5 Lib. xiii. 1. 474. 

ficent nature, friendly to man ; in other words, the good 
demon of Socrates. The lemures, spirits of mischief 
and wickedness. The larva in Petronius was designed 
to admonish only, not to terrify; and this is proved 
from Seneca : " Nemo tarn puer est ut Cerberum timeat 
et tenebras, et larvarum habitum nudis ossibus cohseren- 
tium." 6 There is, however, some confusion even among 
the ancients themselves, as to the respective qualities of 
the larvae and lemures. Apuleius, in his noble and in- 
teresting defence against those who accused him of 
practising magic, tells them, " Tertium mendacium 
vestrum fuit, macilentam vel omnino evisceratam for- 
mam diri cadaveris fabricatam prorsus horribilem et 
larvalem ;" and afterwards, when producing the image 
of his peculiar Deity, which he usually carried about 
him, he exclaims, " En vobis quern scelestus ille see- 
letum nominabat ! Hiccine est sceletus ? Hseccine est 
larva? Hoccine est quod appellitabatis Dsemonium." 7 
It is among Christian writers and artists that the per- 
sonification of Death as a skeleton is intended to convey 
terrific ideas, conformably to the system that Death is 
the punishment for original sin. 

The circumstances that lead to Death, and not our 
actual dissolution, are alone of a terrific nature; for 
Death is, in fact, the end and cure of all the previous 
sufferings and horrors with which it is so frequently 
accompanied. In the dark ages of monkish bigotry 
and superstition, the deluded people, seduced into a 
belief that the fear of Death was acceptable to the 
great and beneficent author of their existence, appear to 
have derived one of their principal gratification's in 
contemplating this necessary termination of humanity, 
yet amidst ideas and impressions of the most horrible 
and disgusting nature : hence the frequent allusions to 
it, in all possible ways, among their preachers, and the 

Epist. xxiv. 7 Apolog. p. 506, 507. edit. Delph. 4to. 

personification of it in their books of religious offices, as 
well as in the paintings and sculptures of their ecclesias- 
tical and other edifices. They seemed to have entirely 
banished from their recollection the consolatory doctrines 
of the Gospel, which contribute so essentially to dissi- 
pate the terrors of Death, and which enable the more 
enlightened Christian to abide that event with the 
most perfect tranquillity of mind. There are, indeed, 
some exceptions to this remark, for we may still trace 
the imbecility of former ages on too many of our sepul- 
chral monuments, which are occasionally tricked out 
with the silly appendages of Death's heads, bones, and 
other useless remains of mortality, equally repulsive to 
the imagination and to the elegance of art. 

If it be necessary on any occasion to personify Death, 
this were surely better accomplished by means of some 
graceful and impressive figure of the Angel of Death, 
for whom we have the authority of Scripture ; and such 
might become an established representative. The skulls 
and bones of modern, and the entire skeletons of former 
times, especially during the middle ages, had, probably, 
derived their origin from the vast quantities of sancti- 
fied human relics that were continually before the eyes, 
or otherwise in the recollection of the early Christians. 
But the favourite and principal emblem of mortality 
among our ancestors appears to have been the moral 
and allegorical pageant familiarly known by the appel- 
lation of the Dance of Death, which it has, in part, 
derived from the grotesque, and often ludicrous attitudes 
of the figures that composed it, and especially from the 
active and sarcastical mockery of the ruthless tyrant 
upon its victims, which may be, in a great measure, 
attributed to the whims and notions of the artists who 
were employed to represent the subject. 

It is very well known to have been the practice in 
very early times to profane the temples of the Deity 
with indecorous dancing, and ludicrous processions, 


either within or near them, in imitation, probably, of 
similar proceedings in Pagan times. Strabo mentions a 
custom of this nature among the Celtiberians, 8 and it 
obtained also among several of the northern nations 
before their conversion to Christianity. A Roman 
council, under Pope Eugenius II. in the 9th century, 
has thus noticed it : " Ut sacerdotes admoneant viros ac 
mulieres, qui festis diebus ad ecclesiam occurrunt, ne 
ballando et turpia verba decantando chores teneant, ac 
ducunt, similitudinem Paganorum peragendo." Can- 
ciani mentions an ancient bequest of money for a dance 
in honour of the Virgin. 9 

These riotous and irreverent tripudists and caperers 
appear to have possessed themselves of the church- 
yards to exhibit their dancing fooleries, till this profa- 
nation of consecrated ground was punished, as monkish 
histories inform us, with divine vengeance. The well- 
known Nuremberg Chronicle 10 has recorded, that in 
the time of the Emperor Henry the Second, whilst a 
priest was saying mass on Christmas Eve, in the church 
of Saint Magnus, in the diocese of Magdeburg, a com- 
pany of eighteen men and ten women amused them- 
selves with dancing and singing in the church-yard, to 
the hindrance of the priest in his duty. Notwithstand- 
ing his admonition, they refused to desist, and even 
derided the words he addressed to them. The priesi 
being greatly provoked at their conduct, prayed to God 
and Saint Magnus that they might remain dancing and 
singing for a whole year without intermission, and so it 
happened ; neither dew nor rain falling upon them. 
Hunger and fatigue were set at defiance, nor were their 
shoes or garments in the least worn away. At the end 
of the year they were released from their situation by 
Herebert, the archbishop of the diocese in which the 
event took place, and obtained forgiveness before the 

8 Lib. iii. 9 Leg. Antiq. iii. 84 I0 Folio clxxxvii. 

altar of the church ; but not before the daughter of a 
priest and two others had perished; the rest, after 
sleeping for the space of three whole nights, died soon 
afterwards. Ubert, one of the party, left this story 
behind him, which is elsewhere recorded, with some 
variation and additional matter. The dance is called 
St. Vitus's, and the girl is made the daughter of a 
churchwarden, who having taken her by the arm, it 
came off. but she continued dancing. By the continual 
motion of the dancers they buried themselves in the 
earth to their waists. Many princes and others went 
to behold this strange spectacle, till the bishops of 
Cologne and Hildesheim, and some other devout priests, 
by their prayers, obtained the deliverance of the cul- 
prits; four of the party, however, died immediately, 
some slept three days and three nights, some three 
years, and others had trembling in their limbs during 
the whole of their lives. The Nuremberg Chronicle, 
crowded as it is with wood-cut embellishments by the 
hand of Wolgemut, the master of Albert Durer, has not 
omitted to exhibit the representations of the above un- 
happy persons, equally correct, no doubt, as the story 
itself, though the same warranty cannot be offered for a 
similar representation, in Gottfried's Chronicle and that 
copious repertory of monstrosities, Boistuari and Belle- 
forest's Histoires Prodigeuses. The Nuremberg Chro- 
nicle 11 has yet another relation on this subject of some 
persons who continued dancing and singing on a bridge 
whilst the eucharist was passing over it. The bridge 
gave way in the middle, and from one end of it 200 per- 
sons were precipitated into the river Moselle, the other 
end remaining so as to permit the priest and his host to 
pass uninjured. 

In that extremely curious work, the Manuel de Peche, 
usually ascribed to Bishop Grosthead, the pious author, 

11 Folio ccxvii. 

after much declamation against the vices of the times, 
has this passage: 

Karoles ne lutes ne deit nul fere, 
En seint eglise ki me voil crere ; 
Kas en cimetere karoler, 
Utrage est grant u lutter. 12 

He then relates the story in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 
for which he quotes the book of Saint Clement. Grost- 
head's work was translated about the year 1300 into 
English verse by Robert Mannyng, commonly called 
Robert de Brunne, a Gilbertine canon. His translation 
often differs from his original, with much amplification 
and occasional illustrations by himself. As the account 
of the Nuremberg story varies so materially, and as the 
scene is laid in England, it has been thought worth in- 

Karolles wrastelynges or somour games, 

Whosoever haunteth any swyche shames, 

Yn cherche other yn cherche yerd, 

Qfsacrilage he may be aferd; 

Or entyrludes or syngynge, 

Or tabure bete or other pypynge ; 

All swyche thyng forboden es, 

Whyle the prest stondeth at messe; 

But for to leve in cherche for to daunce, 

Y shall you telle a full grete chaunce, 

And y trow the most that fel, 

Ys sothe as y you telle. 

And fyl thys chaunce yn thys londe, 

Yn Ingland as y undyrstonde, 

Yn a kynges tyme that hyght Edward, 

Fyl this chaunce that was so hard. 

Hyt was upon crystemesse nyzt 

That twelve folys a karolje dyzt, 

Yn Wodehed, as hyt were yn cuntek, 13 

They come to a toune men calle Cowek : 14 

The cherche of the toune that they to come, 

Ys of Seynt Magne that suifred martyrdome, 

12 Bibl. Reg. 20 B. xiv. and Harl. MS. 4657. 

13 Contest. 14 Q. Cowick in Yorkshire ? 


Of Seynt Bukcestre hyt ys also, 

Seynt Magnes suster, that they come to ; 

Here names of all thus fonde y wryte, 

And as y wote now shal ye wyte 

Here lodesman 15 that made hem glew, 16 

Thus ys wryte he hyzte 1 7 Gerlew ; 

Twey mayd^ns were yn here coveyne, 

Mayden Merswynde 18 and Wybessyne; 

All these came thedyr for that enchesone, ) i i , 

Of the prestes of the toune. ' 

The prest hyzt Robert as y can ame, 

Azone hyzt hys sone by name, 

Hys doghter that there men wulde have, 

Thus ys wryte that she hyzt Ave. 

Echone consented to o wyl, 

Who shuld go Ave out to tyl, 

They graunted echone out to sende, 

Bothe Wybessyne and Merswynde : 

These women zede and tolled 19 her oute, 

Wyth hem to karolle the cherche aboute, 

Benne ordeyned here karollyng, 

Gerlew endyted what they shuld syng. 

Thys ys the karolle that they sunge, 

As telleth the Latyn tunge, 

Equitabat Bevo per sylvam frondosam, 1 

Ducebat secum Merwyndam formosam, 

Quid stamus cur non imus. 

By the levede 20 wode rode Bevolyne, 

Wyth hym he ledde feyre Merwyne, 

Why stonde we why go we noght : 

Thys ys the karolle that Grysly wroght, 

Thys songe sung they yn chercheyerd, 

Of foly were they nothyng aferd. 

The party continued dancing and carolling all the matins 
time, and till the mass began ; when the priest, hearing 
the noise, came out to the church porch, and desired 
them to leave off dancing, and come into the church to 
hear the service ; but they paid him no regard whatever, 
and continued their dance. The priest, now extremely 

15 Leader. 16 Glee. 17 Called. 

18 A name borrowed from Merwyn, Abbess of Ramsey, temp, Reg. 

19 Took. 20 Leafy. 


incensed, prayed to God in favour of St. Magnes, the 
patron of the church : 

That swych a venjeaunce were on hem sent, 

Are they out of that stede* 1 were went, 

That myzt ever ryzt so wende, 

Unto that tyme twelvemonth ende. 

Yn the Latyne that y fonde there, 

He seyth not twelvemonth but evermore. 

The priest had no sooner finished his prayer, than the 
hands of the dancers were BO locked together that none 
could separate them for a twelvemonth : 

The preste yede 22 yn whan thys was done, 
And comaunded hys sone Azone, 
That shuld go swythe after Ave, 
Oute of that karolle algate to have ; 
But al to late that wurde was sayde, 
For on hem alle was the venjeaunce leyd. 
Azonde wende weyl for to spede 
Unto the karolle asswythe he yede ; 
Hys syster by the arme he hente, 
And the arme fro the body wente ; 
Men wundred alle that there wore, 
And merveyle nowe ye here more ; 
For seythen he had the arme yn hand, 
The body yode furth karoland, 
And nother body ne the arme 
Bled never blode colde ne war me ; 
But was as drye with al the haunche, 
As of a, stok were ryve a braunche. 

Azone carries his sister's arm to the priest his father, 
and tells him the consequences of his rash curse. The 
priest, after much lamentation, buries the arm. The 
next morning it rises out of the grave; he buries it 
again, and again it rises. He buries it a third time, 
when it is cast out of the grave with considerable vio- 
lence. He then carries it into the church that all might 
behold it. In the meantime the party continued dancing 

21 Place. " 3 Went. 


and singing, without taking any food or sleeping, " only 
alepy wynke;" nor were they in the least affected by the 
weather. Their hair and nails ceased to grow, and 
their garments were neither soiled nor discoloured ; but 

Sunge that songge that the wo wrozt, 
" Why stond we, why go we nozt." 

To see this curious and woful sight, the emperor tra- 
vels from Rome, and orders his carpenters and other 
artificers to inclose them in a building; but this could 
not be done, for what was set up one day fell down on 
the next, and no covering could be made to protect the 
sinners till the time of mercy that Christ had appointed 
arrived ; when, at the expiration of the twelvemonth, 
and in the very same hour in which the priest had pro- 
nounced his curse upon them, they were separated, and 
" in the twynklyng of an eye" ran into the church and 
fell down in a swoon on the pavement, where they lay 
three days before they were restored. On their reco- 
very they tell the priest that he will not long survive : 

For to thy long home sone shalt thou wende, 
All they ryse that yche tyde, 
But Ave she lay dede besyde. 

Her father dies soon afterwards. The emperor causes 
Ave's arm to be put into a vessel and suspended in the 
church as an example to the spectators. The rest of the 
party, although separated, travelled about, but always 
dancing ; and as they had been inseparable before, they 
were now not permitted to remain together. Four of 
them went hopping to Rome, their clothes undergoing 
no change, and their hair and nails not continuing to 

Bruning the Bysshope of Seynt Tolous, 
Wrote thys tale so merveylous ; 
Setthe was hys name of more renoun, 
Men called him the Pope Leon ; 
Thys at the courte of Rome they wyte, 
And yn the kronykeles hyt ys write ; 


Yn many stedys ^ beyounde the see, 

More than ys yn thys cuntre : 

Tharfor men seye an weyl ys trowed, 

The nere the cherche the further fro God. 

So fare men here by thys tale, 

Some holde it but a trotevale, 24 

Yn other stedys hyt ys ful dere, 

And for grete merveyle they wyl hyt here. 

In the French copies the story is said to have been 
taken from the itinerary of St. Clement. The name of 
the girl who lost her arm is Marcent, and her brother's 
John. 25 

Previously to entering upon the immediate subject of 
this Essay, it may be permitted to observe, that a sort 
of Death's dance was not unknown to the ancients. It 
was the revelry of departed souls in Elysium, as may be 
collected from the end of the fourth ode of Anacreon. 
Among the Romans this practice is exemplified in the 
following lines of Tibullus. 

Sed me, quod facilis tenero sum semper Amori, 

Ipsa Venus campos ducit in Elysios. 
Hie chorea eantusque vigent. . . x 

And Virgil has likewise alluded to it : 

Pars pedibus plaudunt choreas et carmina dicunt. "* 
In the year 1810 several fragments of sculptured sar- 

23 Places. 24 A falsehood. 

25 Whoever may be desirous of inspecting other authorities for the 
story, may consult Vincent of Beauvais Speculum Historiale, lib. xxv. 
cap. 10; Krantz Saxonia, lib. iv.; Trithemii Chron. Monast. Hii 
gensis; Chronicon Engelhusii ap. Leibnitz. Script. Bmnsvicens. II. 
1082; Chronicon. S. JiLgidii, ap. Leibnitz, iii. 582; Cantipranus de 
apibus ; & Csesarius Heisterbach. de Miraculis ; in whose works seve- 
ral veracious and amusing stories of other instances of divine vengeance 
against dancing in general may be found. The most entertaining of 
all the dancing stories is that of the friar and the boy, as it occurs 
among the popular penny histories, of which, in one edition at least, it 
is, undoubtedly, the very best. 

a6 Lib. i. Eleg. iii. a Jn. lib. vi. 1. 44. 


cophagi were accidentally discovered near Cuma, on 
one of which were represented three dancing skeletons, 28 
indicating, as it is ingeniously supposed, that the pas- 
sage from death to another state of existence has 
nothing in it that is sorrowful, or capable of exciting 
fear. They seem to throw some light on the above 
lines from Virgil and Tibullus. 

At a meeting of the Archaeological Society at Rome, 
in December, 1831, M. Kestner exhibited a Roman 
lamp on which were three dancing skeletons, and such 
are said to occur in one of the paintings at Pompeii. 

In the Grand Duke of Tuscany's museum at Flo- 
rence there is an ancient gem, that, from its singularity 
and connexion with the present subject, is well deserv- 
ing of notice. It represents an old man, probably a 
shepherd, clothed in a hairy garment. He sits upon 
a stone, his right foot resting on a globe, and is piping 
on a double flute, whilst a skeleton dances grotesquely 
before him. It might be a matter of some difficulty to 
explain the recondite meaning of this singular sub- 

Notwithstanding the interdiction in several councils 
against the practice of dancing in churches and church- 
yards, it was found impossible to abolish it altogether; 
and it therefore became necessary that something of a 
similar, but more decorous, nature should be substituted, 
which, whilst it afforded recreation and amusement, 
might, at the same time, convey with it a moral and 
religious sensation. It is, therefore, extremely probable, 
that, in furtherance of this intention, the clergy con- 
trived and introduced the Dance or Pageant of Death, 
or, as it was sometimes called, the Dance of Macaber, 
for reasons that will hereafter appear. Mr. Warton 
states, " that in many churches of France there was an 

28 Millin. Magaz. Encycl. 1813, torn. i. p. 200. 

29 Gori Mus. Florentin. torn. i. pi. 91, No. 3. 


ancient show, or mimickry, in which all ranks of life 
were personated by the ecclesiastics, who danced to- 
gether, and disappeared one after another." 30 Again, 
speaking of Lydgate's poem on this subject, he says, 
" these verses, founded on a sort of spiritual masquerade 
antiently celebrated in churches, 8tc." 31 M. Barante, 
in his History of the Dukes of Burgundy, adverting to 
the entertainments that took place at Paris when Philip 
le Bon visited that city in 1424, observes, " that these 
were not solely made for the nobility, the common 
people being likewise amused from the month of Au- 
gust to the following season of Lent with the Dance of 
Death in the church yard of the Innocents, the English 
being particularly gratified with this exhibition, which 
included all ranks and conditions of men, Death being, 
morally, the principal character." 32 Another French 
historian, M. de Villeneuve Bargemont, informs us that 
the Duke of Bedford celebrated his victory at Verneuil 
by a festival in the centre of the French capital. The 
rest of what this writer has recorded on the subject be- 
fore us will be best given in his own words, " Nous voulons 
parler de cette fameuse procession qu'on vit defiler dans 
les rues de Paris, sous le nom de dame Macabree ou 
infernale, epouvantable divertissement, auquel presidoit 
un squelette ceint du diademe royal, tenant un sceptre 
dans ses mains decharnees et assis sur un trone resplen- 
dissant d'or et de pierreries. Ce spectacle repoussant, 
melange odieux dedeuil et de joie, inconnu jusqu'alors, 
et qui ne s'est jamais renouvelle, n'eut guere pour te- 
moins que des soldats etrangers,ou quelques malheureux 
echappes a tous les fleaux reunis, et qui avoient vu 
descendre tous leurs parens, tous leurs amis, dans ces 

30 Hist. Engl. Poetry, vol. ii. p. 43, edit. 8vo. and Carpentier. Suppl. 
ad Ducang. v. Machabaeorum chorea. 

31 Id. ii. 364. 

32 Hist, des Dues des Bourgogne, torn. v. p. 1821. 


sepulchres qu'on depouilloit alors de leurs ossemens." 33 
A third French writer has also treated the Dance of 
Death as a spectacle exhibited in like manner to the 
people of Paris. 3 * M. Peignot, to whom the reader is 
obliged for these historical notices in his ingenious 
researches on the present subject, very plausibly con- 
ceives that their authors have entirely mistaken the 
sense of an old chronicle or journal under Charles VI. 
and VII. which he quotes in the following words. 
" Item. L'an 1424 fut faite la Danse Maratre (pour 
Macabre) aux Innocens, et fut comencee environ le 
moys d'Aoust et achevee au karesme suivant. En 1'an 
1429 le cordelier Richard preschant aux Innocens es- 
toit monte sur ung hault eschaffaut qui estoit pres de 
toise et demie de hault, le dos tourne vers les charniers 
encontre la charounerie, a Tendroit de la danse Ma- 
cabre." He observes, that the Dance of Death at the 
Innocents, having been commenced in August and 
finished at the ensuing Lent, could not possibly be 
represented by living persons, but was only a painting, 
the large dimensions of which required six months to 
complete it ; and that a single Death must, in the other 
case, have danced with every individual belonging to 
the scene. 35 He might have added, that such a pro- 
ceeding would have been totally at variance with the 
florid, but most inaccurate, description by M. Barge- 
mont. The reader will, therefore, most probably feel 
inclined to adopt the opinion of M. Peignot, that the 
Dance of Death was not performed by living persons 
between 1424 and 1429. 

But although M. Peignot may have triumphantly 
demonstrated that this subject was not exhibited by 
living persons at the above place and period, it by no 

33 Hist, de Rene d'Anjou, torn. i. p. 54. 

34 Dulaure. Hist. Physique, &c. de Paris, 1821, torn. ii. p. 552. 

35 Recherches sur les Danses des Morts. Dijon et Paris, 1826, 8vo. 
p. xxxiv. et seq. 


means follows that it was not so represented at some 
other time, and on some other spot. Accordingly, in 
the archives of the cathedral of Besangon, there is pre- 
served an article respecting a delivery made to one of 
the officers of Saint John the Evangelist of four mea- 
sures of wine, to be given to those persons who performed 
the Dance of Death after mass was concluded. This is 
the article itself, " Sexcallus [seneschallus] solvat D. 
Joanni Caleti matriculario S. Joannis quatuor simasias 
vini per dictum matricularium exhibitas illis qui cho- 
ream Machabeorum fecerunt 10 Julii, 1453, nuper 
lapsa hora misse in ecclesia S. Joannis Evangeliste prop- 
ter capitulum provinciale fratrum Minorum." 36 This 
document then will set the matter completely at rest. 

At what time the personified exhibition of this pa- 
geant commenced, or when it was discontinued cannot 
now be correctly ascertained. If, from a moral spec 
tacle, it became a licentious ceremony, as is by no 
means improbable, in imitation of electing a boy-bishop 
of the feast of fools, or other similar absurdities, it 
termination may be looked for in the authority of some 
ecclesiastical council at present not easily to be traced. 

36 Mercure de France, Sept. 1742. Carpentier. Suppl. ad Ducang 
v. Machabaeorum chorea. 



Places where the Dance of Death was sculptured or 
depicted. Usually accompanied by verses describing 
the several characters. Other Metrical Compositions 
on the Dance. 

HE subject immediately before us was 
very often represented, not only on the 
walls, but in the windows of many 
churches, in the cloisters of monas- 
teries, and even on bridges, especially 
in Germany and Switzerland. It was sometimes painted 
on church screens, and occasionally sculptured on them, 
as well as upon the fronts of domestic dwellings. It 
occurs in many of the manuscript and illuminated ser- 
vice books of the middle ages, and frequent allusions to 
it are found in other manuscripts, but very rarely in a 
perfect state, as to the number of subjects. 

Most of the representations of the Dance of Death 
were accompanied by descriptive or moral verses in 
different languages. Those which were added to the 
paintings of this subject in Germany appear to have 
differed very materially, and it is not now possible to 
ascertain which among them is the oldest. Those in 
the Basle painting are inserted in the editions published 
and engraved by Mathew Merian, but they had already 
occurred in the Decennalia humanae peregrinationis of 
Caspar Landismann in 1584. Some Latin verses were 
published by Melchior Goldasti at the end of his edition 
of the Speculum omnium statuum, a celebrated moral 
work by Roderic, Bishop of Zamora, 1613, 4to. He most 
probably copied them from one of the early editions of 


the Danse Macabre, but without any comment what- 
ever, the above title page professing that they are added 
on account of the similarity of the subject. 

A Provengal poet, called Marcabres or Marcabrus, 
has been placed among the versifiers, but none of his 
works bear the least similitude to the subject; and, 
moreover, the language itself is an objection. The 
English metrical translation will be noticed hereafter. 
Whether any of the paintings were accompanied by 
descriptive verses that might be considered as anterior 
to those ascribed to the supposed Macaber, cannot now 
be ascertained. 

There are likewise some Latin verses in imitation of 
those above-mentioned, which, as well as the author of 
them, do not seem to have been noticed by any biogra- 
phical or poetical writer. They occur at the end of a 
Latin play, intitled Susanna, Antverp. apud Michaelem 
Hillenium, MDXXXIII. As the volume is extremely 
rare, and the verses intimately connected with the pre- 
sent subject, it has been thought worth while to reprint 
them. After an elegy on the vanity and shortness of 
human life, and a Sapphic ode on the remembrance of 
Death, they follow under this title, " Plausus luctificse 
mortis ad modum dialogi extemporaliter ab Eusebio 
Candid o lusus. Ad quern quique mortales invitantur 
omnes, cujuscujus sint conditionis: quibusque singulis 
Mors ipsa responded " 

Luctificae mortis plausum bene cernite cuncti. 
Dum res laeta, mori et viventes discite, namque 
Omnes ex aequo tandem hue properare necessum. 

Hie inducitur adolescens quserens, et mors vel philoso- 
phus respondens. 

Vita quid est hominis ? Fumus super aream missus. 
Vita quid est hominis ? Via mortis, dura laborum 
Colluvies, vita est hominis via longa doloris 
Perpetui. Vita quid est hominis ? cruciatus et error, 
Vita quid est hominis ? vestitus gramine multo, 


Floribus et variis campus, quern parva pruina 
Expoliat, sic vitam hominum mors impia tollit. . 
Quamlibet ilia alacris, vegeta, aut opulenta ne felix, 
Icta cadit modica crede aegritudine mortis. 
Et quamvis superes auro vel murice Crcssum, 
Longaevum aut annis vivendo Nestora vincas, 
Omnia mors aequat, vitae meta ultima mors est. 


Quid fers ? Induperator ego, et moderamina rerum 
Gesto manu, domuit mors impia sceptrapotentum. 

Quid fers? en ego Rhomulidum rex. Mors manet omnes. 


En ego Pontificum primus, signansque resignans. 
Et coelos oraque locos. Mors te manet ergo. 


Cardineo fulgens ego honore, et Episcopus ecce 
Mors manet ecce omnes, Phrygeus quos pileus ornat. 


Insula splendidior vestit mea, tempora latum 
Possideo imperium, multi mea jura tremiscunt. 
Me dicant fraudis docti, producere lites. 
Experti, aucupium docti nummomm, et averni 
Causidici, rixatores, rabulaeque forenses. 
Hos ego respicio, nihil attendens animarum, 
Ecclesiae mihi commissae populive salutem 
Sed satis est duros loculo infarcisse labores 
Agricolum, et magnis placuisse heroibus orbis. 
Non tamen effugies mortis mala spicula durae. 


Ecclesiae pralatus ego multi s venerandus 
Muneribus sacris, proventibus officiorum. 
Comptior est vestis, popina frequentior aede 
Sacra, et psalmorum cantus mihi rarior ipso 
Talorum crepitu, Veneris quoque voce sonora. 
Morte cades, annos speras ubi vivere plures. 

En ego melotam gesto. Mors saeva propinquat. 

En parochus quoque pastor ego, mihi dulce falernum 


Notius aede sacra : scortum mihi charius ipsa 
Est animae cura populi. Mors te manet ergo. 


En abbas venio, Veneris quoque ventris amicus. 
Coenobii rara est mihi cura, frequentior aula 
Magnorum heroum. Chorea saltabis eadem. 


En prior, ornatus longa et splendente cuculla, 
Falce cades mortis. Mors aufert nomina honoris. 


Nympharum pater ecce ego sum ventrosior, offis 
Pinguibus emacerans corpus. Mors te manet ipsa. 


En monialis ego, Vestae servire parata. 

Non te Vesta potest mortis subducere castris. 


Legatus venio culparum vincla resolvemus 
Omnia pro auro, abiens coelum vendo, infera claudo 
Et quicquid patres sanxerunt, munere solvo 
Juribus a mortis non te legatio solvet. 


Quid fers? Ecce sophus, divina humanaque jura 
Calleo, et k populo doctor Rabbique salutor, 
Te manet expectans mors ultima linea rerum. 


En ego sum medicus, vitam producere gnarus, 
Venis lustratis morborum nomina dico, 
Non poteris durae mortis vitare sagittas. 


En ego stellarum motus et sydera novi, 
Et fati genus omne scio praedicere cceli. 
Non potis es mortis durae praescire sagittas. 


En me Rhoma potens multis suffarsit onustum 
Muneribus sacris, proventibus, officiisque 
Non potes his mortis fugiens evadere tela. 

Causarum patronus ego, producere doctus. 


Lites, et loculos lingua vacuare loquaci 

Non te lingua loquax mortis subducet ab ictu. 


Justitiae judex quia sum, sub plebe salutor. 
Venice me nudo populus veneratur adorans. 
Auri sacra fames pervertere saepe coegit 
Justitiam. Mors te manet sequans omnia falce. 


Praetor ego populi, me praetor nemo quid audet. 
Accensor causis, per me stant omnia, namque 
Et dono et adimo vitam, cum rebus honorem. 
Munere conspecto, quod iniquum est jure triumphat 
Emitto corvos, censura damno columbas. 
Hinc metuendus ero superis ereboque profundo. 
Te manet expectans Erebus Plutoque cruentus. 


Polleo consiliis, Consul dicorque salutor. 
Munere conspecto, quid iniquum est consulo rectum 
Quod rectum est flecto, nihil est quod nesciat ami 
Sacra fames, hinc ditor et undique no opulentus 
Sed eris aeternum miser et mors impia toilet. 


Causidicus ego sum, causas narrare peritus, 
Accior in causas, sed spes ubi fulserit auri 
Ad fraudes docta solers utor bene lingua. 
Muto, commuto, jura inflecto atque reflecto. 
Et nihil est quod non astu pervincere possim. 
Mors aqua expectat properans te fulmine diro. 
Nee poteris astu mortis praevertere tela. 


Ecce Scabinus ego, scabo bursas, prorogo causas. 

Senatorque vocor, vulgus me poplite curvo, 

Muneribusque datis veneratur, fronte retecta. 

Nil mortem meditor loculos quando impleo nummis 

Et dito haeredes nummis, vi, fraude receptis, 

Justitiam nummis, pro sanguine, munere, vendo. 

Quod rectum est curvo, quod curvum est munere rectum 

Efficio, per me prorsus stant omnia jura. 

Non poteris durae mortis transire sagittas. 


En ego pervigili cura externoque labore. 


Excolui juvenurn ingenia, et praecepta Minervae 
Tradens consenui, cathedraeque piget sine fructu. 
Quid dabitur fructus, tanti quae dona laboris ? 
Omnia mors aequans, vitse ultima meta laboris. 


Miles ego auratus, fulgenti murice et auro 
Splendidus in populo. Mors te manet omnia perdens. 


Miles ego armatus, qui bella ferocia gessi. 
Nullius occursum expavi, quam durus et audax. 
Ergo immunis ero. Mors te intrepida ipsa necabit. 


En ego mercator dives, maria omnia lustro 
Et terras, ut res crescant. Mors te metet ipsa. 


En ego fuckardus, loculos gesto aeris onustos, 
Omnia per mundum coemens, vendo atque revendo. 
Heroes me solicitant, atque aera requirunt. 
Haud est me lato quisquam modo ditior orbe. 
Mortis ego jura et frameas nihil ergo tremisco 
Morte cades, mors te rebus spoliabit opimis. 


Quaestor ego, loculos suffersi arcasque capaces 
Est mihi praenitidis fundata pecunia villis. 
Hac dives redimam durae discrimina mortis 
Te mors praeripiet nullo exorabilis auro. 


En ego nauclerus spaciosa per aequora vectus, 
Non timui maris aut venti discrimina mille. 
Cymba tamen mortis capiet te quaeque vorantis. 


Agricola en ego sum, praeduro saepe labore, 
Et vigili exhaustus cura, sudore perenni, 
Victum praetenuem quaerens, sine fraude doloque 
Omnia pertentans, miseram ut traducere possim 
Vitam, nee mundo me est infelicior alter. 
Mors tamen eduri fiet tibi meta laboris. 

Heroum interpres venio, fraudisque peritus, 


Bellorum strepitus compono, et be! la reduce, 
Meque petunt reges, populus miratur adorans. 
Nulla abiget fraudi lingueve peritia mortem. 


Fulmen ego belli, reges et regna subegi, 
Victor ego ex omni praeduro quamlibet ecce 
Marte fui, vitae hinc timeo discrimina nulla. 
Te mors confodiet cauda Trigonis aquosi, 
Atque eris exanimis moriens uno ictu homo bulla. 


Sum rerum felix, fcecunda est prolis et uxor, 
Plena domus, laetum pecus, et cellaria plena 
Nil igitur metuo. Quid ais ? Mors te impia toilet. 


Iro ego pauperior, Codroque tenuior omni, 
Despicior cunctis, nemo est qui sublevet heu heu. 
Hinc parcet veniens mors : nam nihil auferet a me, 
Non sic evades, ditem cum paupere tollit. 


Ut loculi intument auro, vi, fraude, doloque, 
Foenore nunc quaestum facio, furtoque rapinaque, 
Ut proles ditem, passim dicarque beatus, 
Per fas perque nefas corradens omnia quaero. 
Mors veniens furtim praedabitur, omnia tollens. 


Sum juvenis, forma spectabilis, indole gaudens 
Maturusque aevi, nullus praestantior alter, 
Moribus egregiis populo laudatus ab omni. 
Pallida, dhTormis mors auferet omnia raptim. 


Ecce puellarum pulcherrima, mortis iniquae 
Spicula nil meditor, juvenilibus et fruor annis, 
Meque proci expectant compti, facieque venusti. 
Stulta, quid in vana spe jactas ? Mors metet omnes 
Difformes, pulchrosque simul cum paupere dices. 


Nuncius ecce ego sum, qui nuncia perfero pernix 
Sed retrospectans post terga, papse audio quidnam ? 
Me tuba terrificans mortis vocat. lieu moriendum est. 



Mortales igitur memores modo vivite laeti 
Instar venturi furis, discrimine nullo 
Curictos rapturi passim ditesque inopesque. 
Stultus et insipiens vita qui sperat in ista, 
Instar quae fumi perit et cito desinit esse. 
Fac igitur tota virtuti incumbito mente, 
Quae nescit mortem, sed scandit ad ardua coeli. 
Quo nos a fatis ducat rex Juppiter, Amen. 

Plaudite nunc, animum cuncti retinete faventes. 

Antwerpise apud Michaelem Hillenium M.D.XXXIIII. Mense Maio. 

early allusion to the Dance of Death occurs 

in a Latin poem, that seems to have been composed in 
the twelfth century by our celebrated countryman Wal- 
ter de Mapes, as it is found among other pieces that 
carry with them strong marks of his authorship. It is 
intitled " Lamentacio et deploracio pro Morte et con- 
silium de vivente Deo." 3T In its construction there is 
a striking resemblance to the common metrical stanzas 
that accompany the Macaber Dance. Many characters, 
commencing with that of the Pope, are introduced, all 
of whom bewail the uncontrolable influence of Death. 
This is a specimen of the work, extracted from two 
manuscripts : 

Cum mortem meditor nescit mini causa doloris, 
Nam cunctis horis mors venit ecce cito. 
Pauperis et regis communis lex moriendi, 
Dat causam flendi si bene scripta leges. 
Gustato porno missus transit sine morte 
Heu missa sorte labitur omnis homo. 

Vado mori Papa qui jussu regna 

Mors mihi regna tulit eccine vado 

Vado mori, Rex sum, quod honor, 

quod gloria regum, 
Est via mors hominis regia 


37 Bibl. Reg. 8 B. vi. Lansd. MS. 397. 


Then follow similar stanzas, for presul, miles, mo- 
nachus, legista, jurista, doctor, logicus, medicus, can- 
tor, sapiens, dives, cultor, burgensis, nauta, pincerna, 

In Sanchez's collection of Spanish poetry before the 
year 1400, 38 mention is made of a Rabbi Santo as a good 
poet, who lived about 1360. He was a Jew, and sur- 
geon to Don Pedro. His real name seems to have been 
Mose, but he calls himself Don Santo Judio de Carrion. 
This person is said to have written a moral poem, called 
" Danza General/' It commences thus : 

" Dise la Muerte. 

" Yo so la muerte cierta a todas criaturas, 
Que son y seran en el mundo durante : 
Demand o y digo O ame! porque curas 
De vida tan breve en punto passante?" &c. 

He then introduces a preacher T who announces Death 
to all persons, and advises them to be prepared by good 
works to enter his Dance, which is calculated for all 
degrees of mankind. 

" Primaramente llama a su danza a dos doncellas, 

A esta mi danza trax de presente, 

Estas dos donzellas que vades fermosas: 

Ellas vinieron de muy malamente 

A oir mes canciones que son dolorosas, 

Mas non les valdran flores nin rosas, 

Nin las composturas que poner salian : 

De mi, si pudiesen par terra querrian, 

Mas non proveda ser, que son mis esposas." 

It may, however, be doubted whether the Jew Santo 
was the author of this Dance of Death, as it is 
by no means improbable that it may have been a 
subsequent work added to the manuscript referred to 
by Sanchez. 

38 Madrid. 1779, 8vo. p. 179. 


In 1675, Maitre Jacques Jacques, a canon of the 
cathedral of Ambrun, published a singular work, in- 
titled " Le faut mourir et les excuses inutiles que Ton 
apporte a cette necessite. Le tout en vers burlesques." 
Rouen, 1675, 12mo. It is written much in the style of 
Scarron and some other similar poets of the time. It 
commences with a humorous description given by Death 
of his proceedings with various persons in every part of 
the globe, which is followed by several dialogues be- 
tween Death and the following characters: 1. The Pope. 
2. A young lady betrothed. 3. A galley slave. 4. Guil- 
lot, who has lost his wife. 5. Don Diego Dalmazere, a 
Spanish hidalgo. 6. A king. 7. The young widow of 
a citizen. 8. A citizen. 9. A decrepit rich man. 10. A 
canon. 11. A blind man. 12. A poor peasant. 13. Tour- 
mente, a poor soldier in the hospital. 14. A criminal 
in prison. 15. A nun. 16. A physician. 17. An apo- 
thecary. 18. A lame beggar. 19. A rich usurer. 20. A 
merchant. 21. A rich merchant. As the book is un- 
common, the following specimen is given from the scene 
between Death and the young betrothed girl : 


A vous la belle demoiselle, 
Je vous apporte une nouvelle, 
Qui certes vous surprendra fort. 
C'est qu'il faut penser a la raort, 
Tout vistement plie"s bagage, 
Car il faut faire ce voyage. 


Qu' entends-je ? Tout mon sens se perd, 
Helas ! vous me prener sans verd ; 
C'est tout a fait hors de raison 
Mourir dedans une saison 
Que je ne dois songer qu' a rire, 
Je suis con train te de vous dire, 
Que tres injuste est vostre choix, 
Parce que mourir je ne dois, 


N'estant qu'en ma quinz&me annee, 
Voyez quelque vielle chinee, 
Qui n'ait en bouche point de dent ; 
Vous 1' obligerez grandement 
De 1' envoy er a 1'autre monde, 
Puis qu'iei toujours elle gronde; 
Vous la prendrez tout a propos, 
Et laissez raoi dans le repos, 
Moi qui suis toute poupinette, 
Dans 1' embonpoint et joliette, 
Qui n'aime qu'a me rejouir, 
De grace laissez moi jouir, &c. 



Macaber not a German or any other poet, but a no) 
entity. Corruption and confusion respecting thu 
word. Etymological errors concerning it. Ho\ 
connected with the Dance. Trots mors et trots vifs. 
Orgagna's painting in the Campo Santo at Pisa.- 
Its connection with the trois mors et trois vifs, as well 
as with the Macaber dance. Saint Macarius the ret 
Macaber. Paintings of this dance in various places 
At Minden ; Church-yard of the Innocents at PC 
ris ; Dijon; Basle; Klingenthal ; Lubeck ; Leipsic 
Anneberg; Dresden; Erfurth; Nuremberg; Berne 

. Lucerne; Amiens; Rouen; Fescamp ; Blots; Strai 
burg; Berlin; Vienna; Holland; Italy; Spain. 

HE next subject for investigation is th< 
origin of the name of Macaber, as coi 
nected with the Dance of Death, eithei 
with respect to the verses that hav( 
usually accompanied it, or to th( 
paintings or representations of the Dance itself; am 
first of the verses, 

It may, without much hazard, be maintained thai 
notwithstanding these have been ascribed to a Germai 
poet called Macaber, there never was a German, or an] 
poet whatever bearing such a name. The first mentioi 
of him appears to have been in a French edition of th< 
Danse Macabre, with the following title, " Chorea al 
eximio Macabro versibus Alemannicis edito, et a Peti 
Desrey emendata. Parisiis per Magistrum Guidoni 
Mercatorem pro Godefrido de Marnef. 1490, folio. 3 
This title, from its ambiguity, is deserving of little con- 


sideration as a matter of authority; for if a comma be 
placed after the word Macabro, the title is equally ap- 
plicable to the author of the verses and to the painter 
or inventor of the Dance. As the subject had been 
represented in several places in Germany, and of course 
accompanied with German descriptions, it is possible 
that Desrey might have translated and altered some or 
one of these, and, mistaking the real meaning of the 
word, have converted it into the name of an author. It 
may be asked in what German biography is such a 
person to be found ? how it has happened that this 
famous Macaber is so little known, or whether the name 
really has a Teutonic aspect ? It was the above title in 
Desrey's work that misled the truly learned Fabricius 
inadvertently to introduce into his valuable work the 
article for Macaber as a German poet, and in a work to 
which it could not properly belong. 39 

M. Peignot has very justly observed that the Danse 
Macabre had been very long known in France and else- 
where, not as a literary work, but as a painting; and 
he further remarks that although the verses are German 
in the Basil painting, executed about 1440, similar 
verses in French were placed under the dance at the 
Innocents at Paris in 1424. 40 

At the beginning of the text in the early French edi- 
tion of the Danse Macabre, we have only the words "la 
danse Macabre sappelle," but no specific mention is 
made of the author of the verses. John Lydgate, in his 
translation of them from the French, and which was 
most probably adopted in many places in England 
where the painting occurred, speaks of "the Frenche 
Machabrees daunce," and " the daunce of Machabree." 
At the end, " Machabree the Doctoure," is abruptly and 
unconnectedly introduced at the bottom of the page. 
It is not in the French printed copy, from the text of 

39 Bibl. Med. et Inf. #,tat. torn. v. p. 1. 

40 Recherches sur les Danses de Mort, pp. 79 80. 


which Lydgate certainly varies in several 'respects. It 
remains, therefore, to ascertain whether these words 
belong to Lydgate, or to whom else ; not that it is a 
matter of much importance. 

\ The earliest authority that has been traced for the 
x name of " Danse Macabre," belongs to the painting at 
the Innocents, and occurs in the MS. diary of Charles 
VII. under the year 1424. It is also strangely called 
" Chorea Machabaeorum," in 1453, as appears from the 
before cited document at St. John's church at Besangon. 
Even the name of one Maccabrees, a Provencal poet of 
the 14th century, has been injudiciously connected with 
the subject, though his works are of a very different 

Previously to attempting to account for the origin of 
the obscure and much controverted word Macaber, as 
applicable to the dance itself, it may be necessary to 
advert to the opinions on that subject that have al- 
ready appeared. It has been disguised under the 
several names of Macabre, 41 Maccabees, 42 Maratre, 43 
and even Macrobius. 44 Sometimes it has been regarded 
as an epithet. The learned and excellent M. Van Praet, 
the guardian of the royal library at Paris, has conjec- 
tured that Macabre is derived from the Arabic Magba- 
rahj magbourah, or magabir, all signifying a church- 
yard. M. Peignot seems to think that M. Van Praet 
intended to apply the word to the Dance itself, 45 but 
it is impossible that the intelligent librarian was not 
aware that personified sculpture, as well as the moral 
nature of the subject, cannot belong to the Mahometai 
religion. Another etymology extremely well calculal 
to disturb the gravity of the present subject, is that oi 
M. Villaret, the French historian, when adverting to th< 

41 Passim. 42 Modern edition of the Danse Macabre. 

43 Journal de Charles VII. 44 Lansd. MS. No. 397 2( 

4:1 Peignot Recherches, p. 109. 


spectacle of the Danse Macabre, supposed to have been 
given by the English in the church-yard of the Innocents 
at Paris. Relying on this circumstance, he unceremo- 
niously decides that the name of the dance was like- 
wise English ; and that Macabree is compounded of the 
words, to make and to break. The same silly etymology 
is referred to as in some historical dictionary concerning 
the city of Paris by Mons. Compan in his Dictionaire de 
Danse, article Macaber ; and another which is equally im- 
probable has been hazarded by the accomplished Marquis 
de Paulmy, who, noticing some editions of the Danse 
Macabre in his fine library, now in the arsenal at Paris, 
very seriously states that Macaber is derived from two 
Greek words, which denote its meaning to be an infer- 
nal dance;* 6 but if the Greek language were to be con- 
sulted on the occasion, the signification would turn out 
to be very different. 

It must not be left unroticed that M. De Bure, in his . ;^ 
account of the edition of the Danse Macabre, printed 
by March ant, 1486, has stated that the verses have 
been attributed to Michel Marot; but the book is 
dated before Marot was born. 47 

Again, As to the connexion between the word Ma- 
caber with the Dance itself. 

In the course of the thirteenth century there appeared 
a French metrical work under the name of " Li trois 
Mors et li trois Vis," i. e. Les trois Morts et les trois 
Vifs. In the noble library of the Duke de la Valliere, 
there were three apparently coeval manuscripts of it, 
differing, however, from each other, but furnishing the 
names of two authors, Baudouin de Conde and Nicolas 
de Marginal. 48 These poems relate that three noble 
youths when hunting in a forest were intercepted by the 

11 Melange d'une Grande Bibliotheque, torn. vii. p. 22. 

47 Bibl. Instruc. No. 3109. 

" Catal. La Valliere No. 273622. 


like number of hideous spectres or images of Death, 
from whom they received a terrific lecture on the va- 
nity of human grandeur. A very early, and perhaps 
the earliest, allusion to this vision, seems to occur in 
a painting by Andrew Orgagna in the Campo Santo at 
Pisa; and although it varies a little from the descrip- 
tion in the above-mentioned poems, the story is evidently 
the same. The painter has introduced three young 
men on horseback with coronets on their caps, and who 
are attended by several domestics whilst pursuing the 
amusement of hawking. They arrive at the cell of 
Saint Macarius an Egyptian Anachorite, who with one 
hand presents to them a label with this inscription, as 
well as it can be made out, " Se nostra mente fia ben 
morta tenendo risa qui la vista affitta la vana gloria 
ci sara sconfitta la superbia e sara da morte;" and with 
the other points to three open coffins, in which are a 
skeleton and two dead bodies, one of them a king. 

A similar vision, but not immediately connected with 
the present subject, and hitherto unnoticed, occurs at 
the end of the Latin verses ascribed to Macaber, in 
Goldasti's edition of the Speculum omnium statuurn 
a Roderico Lamorensi. Three persons appear to a 
hermit, whose name is not mentioned, in his sleep. The 
first is described as a man in a regal habit; the second 
as a civilian, and the third as a beautiful female deco- 
rated with gold and jewels. Whilst these persons are 
vainly boasting of their respective conditions, they are 
encountered by three horrible spectres in the shape of 
dead human bodies covered with worms, who very se- 
verely reprove them for their arrogance. This is evi- 
dently another version of the " Trois mors et trois vifs" 
in the text, but whether it be older or otherwise can- 
not easily be ascertained. It is composed in alternate 
rhymes, in the manner, and probably by the author of 
Philibert or Fulbert's vision of the dispute between 
the soul and the body, a work ascribed to S. Bernard, 


and sometimes to Walter de Mapes. There are trans- 
lations of it both in French and English. 

For the mention of S. Macarius as the hermit in this 
painting by Orgagna, we are indebted to Vasari in his 
life of that artist; and he had, no doubt, possessed 
himself of some traditionary information on the subject 
of it. He further informs us, that the person on 
horseback who is stopping his nostrils, is intended for 
Andrea Uguzzione della fagivola. Above is a black 
and hideous figure of Death mowing down with his 
scythe all ranks and conditions of men. Vasari adds 
that Orgagna had crowded his picture with a great 
many inscriptions, most of which were obliterated by 
time. From one of them which he has preserved in his 
work, as addressed to some aged cripples, it should 
appear that, as in the Macaber Dance, Death apostro- 
phizes the several characters. 49 Baldinucci, in his ac- 
count of Orgagna, mentions this painting and the story 
of the Three Kings and Saint Macarius. 50 Morona, 
likewise, in his Pisa illustrata, adopts the name of 
Macarius when describing the same subject. The 
figures in the picture are all portraits, and their names 
may be seen, but with some variation as to description, 
both in Vasari and Morona. 51 

Now the story of Les trois mors et les trois mfs y was 
prefixed to the painting of the Macaber Dance in 
the church-yard of the Innocents at Paris, and had also 
been sculptured over the portal of the church, by order 
of the Duke de Berry in 1408. 52 It is found in nume- 
rous manuscript copies of Horse and other service 
books prefixed to the burial office. All the printed 

49 Vasari vite de Pittori, torn. i. p. 183, edit. 1568, 4to. 

50 Baldinucci Disegno, ii. 65. 

51 Morona Pisa Illustrata, i. 359. 

52 Du Breul Antiq. de Paris, 1612, 4to. p. 834, where the verses 
that accompany the sculpture are given. See likewise Sandratt Acad. 
Pictura, p. 101. 



editions of the Macaber Dance contain it, but with 
some variation, the figure of Saint Macarius in his 
cell not being always introduced. It occurs in many 
of the printed service books, and in some of our own 
for the use of Salisbury. The earliest wood engraving 
of it is in the black book of the "15 signa Judicii," 
where two of the young men are running away to avoid 
the three deaths, or skeletons, one of whom is rising 
from a grave. It is copied in Bibliotheca Spenceriana, 
vol. i. p. xxx. 

From the preceding statement then there is every 
reason to infer that the name of Macaber, so frequently, 
and without authority, applied to an unknown German 
poet, really belongs to the Saint, and that his name has 
undergone a slight and obvious corruption. The word 
Macabre is found only in French authorities, and the 
Saint's name, which, in the modern orthography of 
that language, is Macaire, would, in many ancient 
manuscripts, be written Macabre instead of Macaurej 
the letter b being substituted for that of u from the 
caprice, ignorance, or carelessness of the transcribers. 

As no German copy of the verses describing the 
painting can, with any degree of certainty, be regarded 
as the original, we must substitute the Latin text, which 
may, perhaps, have an equal claim to originality. The 
author, at the beginning, has an address to the spec- 
tators, in which he tells them that the painting is called 
the Dance of Macaber. There is an end, therefore, of 
the name of Macaber, as the author of the verses, leav- 
ing it only as applicable to the painting, and almost, if 
not altogether confirmatory of the preceding conjecture. 
The French version, from which Lydgate made his 
translation, nearly agrees with the Latin. Lydgate, 
however, in the above address, has thought fit to use 
the word translator instead of author, but this is of no 
moment, any more than the words Machabree the 
Doctour, which, not being in the French text, are most 

likely an interpolation. He likewise calls the work the 
daunce ; and it may, once for all, be remarked, that 
scarcely any two versions of it will be found to cor- 
respond in all respects, every new editor assuming fresh 
liberties, according to the usual practice in former times. 

The ancient paintings of the Macaber Dance next 
demand our attention. Of these, the oldest on record 
was that of Minden in Westphalia, with the date 1383, 
and mentioned by Fabricius in his Biblioth. med. 
et infimaB setatis, torn. v. p. 2. It is to be wished that 
this statement had been accompanied with some autho- 
rity ; but the whole of the article is extremely careless 
and inaccurate. 

The earliest, of which the date has been satisfactorily 
defined, was that in the church-yard of the Innocents 
at Paris, and which has been already mentioned as 
having been painted in 14^4. / ^ 2 V 

In the cloister of the church of the Sainte Chapelle 
at Dijon the Macaber Dance was painted by an artist 
whose name was Masonelle. It had disappeared and 
was forgotten a long time ago, but its existence was 
discovered in the archives of the department by Mons. 
Boudot, an ardent investigator of the manners and cus- 
toms of the middle ages. The date ascribed to this 
painting is 1436. The above church was destroyed in 
the revolution, previously to which another Macaber 
Dance existed in the church of Notre Dame in the 
above city. This was not a painting on the walls, but 
a piece of white embroidery on a black piece of stuff 
about two feet in height and very long. It was placed 
over the stalls in the choir on grand funeral ceremonies, 
and was also carried off with the other church move- 
ables, in the abovementioned revolution. 53 Similar ex- 
hibitions, no doubt, prevailed in other places. 

The next Macaber Dance, in point of date, was the 

" Peignot Ilecherches, xxxvii xxxix. 


celebrated one at Basle, which has employed the pens 
and multiplied the errors of many writers and travellers. 
It was placed under cover in a sort of shed in the 
church-yard of the Dominican convent. It has been 
reiMlkejdJpy one very competent to know the fact, that 
nearly all the convents of the Dominicans hacTaDance 
or Death. ** As~~these fi iai s~Wefe ^preachers by profes- 
sion, the subject must have been exceedingly useful in 
supplying texts and matter for their sermons. The 
present Dance is said to have been painted at the in- 
stance of the prelates who assisted at the Grand Coun- 
cil of Basle, that lasted from 1431 to 1443; and in 
allusion, as supposed, to a plague that happened during 
its continuance. P^gues have algQjbeen, assigned~as 
the causes of otherTDances of Death ; but there is no 
foundation whatever for such an opinion, as is demon- 
strable from what has been already stated ; and it has 
been also successfully combated by M. Peignot, who is 
nevertheless a little at variance with himself, when he 
afterwards introduces a conjecture that the painter of 
the first Dance imitated the violent motions and contor- 
tions of those affected by the plague in the dancing at- 
titudes of the figures of Death. 55 The name of the 
original painter of this Basle work is unknown, and 
will probably ever remain so, for no dependance can 
be had on some vague conjectures, that without the 
smallest appearance of accuracy have been hazarded 
concerning it. It is on record that the old painting 
having become greatly injured by the ravages of time, 
John Hugh Klauber, an eminent painter at Basle, was 
employed to repair it in the year 1568, as appears from 
a Latin inscription placed on it at the time. This painter 
is said to have covered the decayed fresco with oil, and 
to have succeeded so well that no difference between his 

54 Urtisii epitom. Hist. Basiliensis, 1522, 8vo. 

55 Peignot Recherches, xxvi xxix. 


work and the original could be perceived. He was in- 
structed to add..thaportrailDf-thfi,celebrate(i Oecolam^. 
Radius in the act of preaching, ijQ^commemoration..of Ins 
interference in tbe Information., that had^j^t_vg][y:J.Qiig 
before taken place, <; JJe i likewise introduced at the end 
of the painting, portraits, .of himself, his wife Barbara 
Hallerin, and their little^son Hans Birich Klauber. The 
following inscription, placed on the painting on this oc- 
casion, is preserved in Hentzner's Itinerary, and else- 

A. O. C. 

Sebastiano Doppenstenio, Casparo Clugio Coss. 
Bonaventura a Bruno, Jacobo Rudio Tribb. PI. 
Ilunc mortales chorum fabulae, temporis injuria vitiatum 
Lucas Gebhart, lodoc. Pfister. Georgius Sporlinus 

Hujus loci jEdiles. 
Integritati suae restituendum curavere 
Ut qui vocalis picturae divina monita securius audiunt 
Mutae saltern poeseos miserab. spectaculo 
Ad seriam philosophiam excitentur. 

CI3 10 LXIIX. 

In the year 1616 a further reparation took place, and 
some alterations in the design are said to have been 
then made. The above inscription, with an addition 
only of the names of the then existing magistrates of the 
city, was continued. A short time before^JVlathew Me- * 
rianthe elder, a celebrated topographical draftsma%ha<l 
fortunately copied the older painting, of which .he^is 
supposed to have first published engravings- in 1621, 
with all the injcjdptions under the respective characters 
that were then remaining, but these could not possibly &' 
be the same in many respects that existed before the 
Reformation, and which are entirely lost. A proof of this 
may be gathered from the lines of the Pope's answer to 
Death, whom he is thus made to apostrophize : " Shall 
it be said that I, a God upon earth, a successor of St. 
Peter, a powerful prince, and a learned doctor, shall 


endure thy insolent summons, or that, in obedience to 
thy decree, I should be compelled to ascertain whether 
the keys which I now possess will open for me the gates 
of Paradise?" None of the inscriptions relating to the 
Pope in other ancient paintings before the Reformation 
approach in the least to language of this kind. 

Merian speaks of a tradition that in the original 
painting the portrait of Pope Felix V. was introduced, 
as well as those of the Emperor Sigismund and Duke 
Albert II. all of whom were present at the council; but 
admitting this to have been the fact, their respective 
features would scarcely remain after the subsequent 
alterations and repairs that took place. 

That intelligent traveller, Mons. Blainville, saw this 
painting in January, 1707. He states that as it had been 
much injured by the weather, and many of the figures 
effaced, the government caused it to be retouched by 
a painter, whom they imagined to be capable of repair- 
ing the ravages it had sustained, but that his execution 
was so miserable that they had much better have let it 
alone than to have had it so wretchedly bungled. He 
wholly rejects any retouching by Holbein. He particu- 
larizes two of the most remarkable subjects, namely, the 
fat jolly cook, whom Death seizes by the hand, carrying 
on his shoulder a spit with a capon ready larded, which 
he looks upon with a wishful eye, as if he regretted 
being obliged to set out before it was quite roasted. 
The other figure is that of the blind beggar led by his 
dog, whom Death snaps up with one hand, and with 
the other cuts the string by which the dog was tied 
to his master's arm. 56 

The very absurd ascription of the Basle painting to 
the pencil of Hans Holbein, who was born near a cen- 
tury afterwards, has been adopted by several tourists, 
who have copied the errors of their predecessors, with- 

56 Travels, i. 376. 


out taking the pains to make the necessary enquiries, 
or possessing the means of obtaining correct information. 
The name of Holbein, therefore, as combined with this 
painting, must be wholly laid aside, for there is no evi- 
dence that he was even employed to retouch it, as some 
have inadvertently stated; it was altogether a work 
unworthy of his talents, nor does it, even in its latest 
state, exhibit the smallest indication of his style of 
painting. This matter will be resumed hereafter, but in 
the mean time it may be necessary to correct the mis- 
take of that truly learned and meritorious writer, John 
George Keysler, who, in his instructive and entertaining 
travels, has inadvertently stated that the Basle painting 
was executed by Hans Bock or Bok, a celebrated artist 
of that city ; 5T but it is well known that this person was 
not born till the year 1584. 

The Basle painting is no longer in existence ; for on 
the 2d of August, 1806, and for reasons that have not 
been precisely ascertained, an infuriated mob, in which 
were several women, who carried lanterns to light the 
expedition, tumultuously burst the inclosure which con- 
tained the painting, tore it piecemeal from the walls, 
and in a very short space of time completely succeeded 
in its\total demolition, a few fragments only being still 
preserved in the collection of Counsellor Vischer at his 
castle of Wildensheim, near Basle. This account of its 
destruction is recorded in Millin's Magazin Encyclo- 
pedique among the nouvelles litteraires for that year; 
but the Etrenne Helvetique for the above year has given 
a different account of the matter; it states that the 
painting having been once more renovated in the year 
1703, fell afterwards into great decay, being entirely 
peeled from the wall that this circumstance had, in 
some degree, arisen from the occupation of the cloister 
by a ropemaker that the wall having been found to 

57 Travels, i. 138, edit. 4 to. 


stand much in the way of some new buildings erected 
near the spot, the magistrates ventured, but not without 
much hesitation, to remove the cloister with its painting 
altogether in the year 1805 and that this occasioned 
some disturbance in the city among the common people, 
but more particularly with those who had resided in 
Us neighbourhood, and conceived a renewed attach- 
ment to the painting. 

Of this Dance of Death very few specific copies have 
been made. M. Heinecken 58 has stated that it was en- 
graved in 1544, by Jobst Denneker of Augsburg; but 
he has confounded it with a work by this artist on the 
other Dance of Death ascribed to Holbein, and which 
will be duly noticed hereafter. The work which con- 
tained the earliest engravings of the Basle painting, can 
on this occasion be noticed only from a modern reprint 
of it under the following title : " Der Todten-Tantz wie 
derselbe in der weitberuhmten Stadt Basel als ein 
Spiegel menslicher beschaffenheit gantz kuntlich mit 
lebendigen farben gemahlet, nicht ohne nutzliche ver- 
nunderung zu schen ist Basel, bey Joh. Conrad und 
Joh. Jacob von Mechel, 1769, 12mo." that is, " The 
Dance of Death, painted most skilfully, and in lively 
colours, in the very famous town of Basel, as a mirror of 
human life, and not to be looked on without useful 

The first page has some pious verses on the painting in 
the church-yard of the Predicants, of which the present 
work contains only ten subjects, namely, the cardinal, 
the abbess, the young woman, the piper, the jew, the 
heathen man, the heathen woman, the cook, the painter, 
and the painter's wife. On the abbess there is the 
mark D. R. probably that of the engraver, two cuts by 
whom are mentioned in Bartsch's work. 59 On the cut 

98 Heinecken Dictionn. des Artistes, iii. 67, et iv. 595. He follows 
Keysler's error respecting Hans Bock. 
59 Pei ntre graveur, ix. 398. 


of the young woman there is the mark G S with the 
graving knife. They are coarsely executed, and with 
occasional variations of the figures in Merian's plates. 
The rest of the cuts, thirty-two in number, chiefly be- 
long to the set usually called Holbein's. All the cuts 
in this miscellaneous volume have German verses at the 
top and bottom of each page with the subjects. If 
Jansen, who usually pillages some one else, can be 
trusted or understood, there was a prior edition of this 
book in 1606, with cuts having the last-mentioned mark, 
but which edition he calls the Dance of Death at 
Berne; 60 a title, considering the mixture of subjects, as 
faulty as that of the present book, of which, or of some 
part of it, there must have been a still earlier edition 
than the above-mentioned one of 1606, as on the last 
cut but one of this volume there is the date 1576, and 
the letters G S with the knife. It is most probable that 
this artist completed the series of the Basle Dance, and 
that some of the blocks having fallen into the hands 
of the above printers, they made up and published the 
present mixed copy. Jost Amman is said to have en- 
graved 49 plates of the Dance of Death in 1587. These 
are probably from the Basle painting. 61 

The completest copies of this painting that are now 
perhaps extant, are to be found in a well-known set of 
engravings in copper, by Matthew Merian, the elder, 
the master of Hollar. There are great doubts as to 
their first appearance in 1621, as mentioned by Fuessli 
and Heinecken, but editions are known to exist with 
the respective dates of 1649, 1696, 1698, 1725, 1744, 
1756, and 1789. Some of these are in German, and 
the rest are accompanied with a French translation by 
P. Viene. They are all particularly described by Peig- 
not. 62 Merian states in his preface that he had copied 

60 Essai sur 1'Orig. de la Gravure, i. 120. 

61 Heinecken Dictionn. des Artistes,!. 222. 
02 llecherches, &,c. p. 71. 


the paintings several years before, and given his 
plates to other persons to be published, adding that 
he had since redeemed and retouched them. He says 
this Dance was repaired in 1568 by Hans Hugo Klauber, 
a citizen of Basle, a fact also recorded on the cut of the 
painter himself, his wife, Barbara Hallerin, and his son, 
Hans Birich, by the before-mentioned artist, G. S. 
and that it contained the portraits of Pope Felix V. the 
Emperor Sigismund, and Albert, King of the Romans, 
all of whom assisted at the Council of Basle in the 
middle of the 15th century, when the painting was pro- 
bably executed. 

A greatly altered and modernised edition of Merian's 
work was published in 1788, 8vo. with the following 
title, " La Danse des Morts pour servir de miroir a la 
nature humaine, avec le costume dessine a la mod erne, 
et des vers a chaques figures. Au Locle, chez S. Girar- 
det libraire." This is on an engraved frontispiece, copied 
from that in Merian. The letter-press is extracted from 
the French translation of Merian, and the plates, which 
are neatly etched, agree as to general design with his ; 
but the dresses of many of the characters are rather 
ludicrously modernised. Some moral pieces are added 
to this edition, and particularly an old and popular trea- 
tise, composed in 1593, intitled " L'Art de bien vivre 
,et de bien mourir." 

A Dance of Death is recorded with the following title 
" Todtentantz durch alle Stande der Menschen," Leipsig, 
durch David de Necker, formschneider. 1572, 4to. 63 
Whether this be a copy of the Basle or the Berne paint- 
ing, must be decided on inspection, or it may possibly 
be a later edition of the copy of the wood-cuts of Lyons, 
that will be mentioned hereafter. 

In the little Basle, on the opposite side of the Rhine, 
there was a nunnery called Klingenthal, erected towards 

63 Heller Geschiche der holtzchein kunst. Bamberg, 1823, 12mo. 
p. 126. 


the end of the 13th century. In an old cloister, belong- 
ing to it there are the remains of a Dance of Death 
painted on its walls, and said to have been much ruder in 
execution than that in the Dominican cemetery at Basle. 
On this painting there was the date 1312. In the year 
1766 one Emanuel Ruchel, a baker by trade, but an 
enthusiastic admirer of the fine arts, made a copy in 
water colours of all that remained of this ancient painting, 
and which is preserved in the public library at Basle. 64 

The numerous mistakes that have been made by those 
writers who have mentioned the Basle painting have 
been already adverted to by M. Peignot, and are not, 
in this place, worthy of repetition. 65 That which re- 
quires most particular notice, and has been so frequently 
repeated, is the making Hans Holbein the painter of it, 
who was not born till a considerable time after its exe- 
cution, and even for whose supposed retouching of a 
work, almost beneath his notice in point of art, there is 
not the slightest authority. 

In the small organ chapel, or, according to some, in 
the porch, of the church of St. Mary at Lubeck in 
Lower Alsace, there is, or was, a very ancient Dance of 
Death, said to have been painted in 1463. Dr. Nugent, 
who has given some account of it, says, that it is much 
talked of in all parts of Germany; that the figures were 
repaired at different times, as in 1588, 1642, and last of 
all in 1701. The verses that originally accompanied it 
were in low Dutch, but at the last repair it was thought 
proper to change them for German verses which were 
written by Nathaniel Schlott of Dantzick. The Doctor 
has given an English translation of them, made for him 
by a young lady of Lubeck. 66 This painting has been 

64 Basle Guide Book. w Recherchcs, 11 et seq. 

66 More on the subject of the Lubeck Dance of Death may be found 
in 1. An anonymous work, which has on the last leaf, " Dodendantz, 
anno domini MCCCCXCVI. Lubeck." 2. " De Dodendantz fan Kaspar 
Scheit, nu der ulgave fan. 1558, unde de Lubecker fan, 1463." This is 


engraved, and will be again mentioned. Leipsic had 
also a Dance of Death, but no particulars of it seem to 
have been recorded. 

In 1525 a similar dance was painted at Anneberg in 
Saxony, which Fabricius seems alone to have noticed. 
He also mentions another in 1534, at the palace of Duke 
George at Dresden. 67 This is described in a German 
work written on the subject generally, by Paul Chris- 
tian Hilscher, and published at Dresden, 1705, 8vo. and 
again at Bautzen, 1721, 8vo. It consisted of a long 
frieze sculptured in stone on the front of the building, 
containing twenty-seven figures. A view of this very 
curious structure, with the Dance itself, and also on a 
separate print, on a larger scale, varying considerably 
from the usual mode of representing the Macaber 
Dance, is given in Anthony Wecken's Chronicle of 
Dresden, printed in German at Dresden 1680, folio. It 
is said to have been removed in 1721 to the church- 
yard of Old Dresden. 

Nicolai Karamsin has given a very brief, but ludi- 
crous, account of a Dance of Death in the cross aisle of 
the Orphan House at Erfurth; 68 but Peignot places it 
in the convent of the Augustins, and seems to say that 
it was painted on the panels between the windows of 
the cell inhabited by Luther. 69 In all probability the 
same place is intended by both these writers. 

There is some reason to suppose that there was a 

a poem of four sheets in small 8vo. without mention of the place where 
printed. 3. Some account of this painting by Lud wig Suhl. Lubeck, 
1783, 4to. 4. A poem, in rhyme, with wood-cuts, on 34 leaves, in 
8vo. It is fully described from the Helms, library in Brun's Beitrage 
zu krit. Bearb. alter handschr. p. 321 et seq. 5. Jacob a Mellen 
Grundliche Nachbricht von Lubeck, 1713, 8vo. p. 84. 6. Schlott 
Lubikischers Todtentantz. 1701. 8vo. 7. Berkenmeyer, le curieux 
antiquaire, 8vo. p. 530; and, 8. Nugent's Travels, i. 102. 8vo. 

67 Biblioth. Med. et inf. aetat. v. 2. 

68 Travels, i. 195. 

69 Recherches, xlii. 


Dance of Death at Nuremberg. Misson, describing a 
wedding in that city, states that the bridegroom and his 
company sat down on one side of the church and the 
bride on the other. Over each of their heads was a 
figure of Death upon the wall. This would seem very 
like a Dance of Death, if the circumstance of the figure 
being on both sides of the church did not excite a 
doubt on the subject. 

Whether there ever was a Macaber Dance at Berne 
of equal antiquity with that of Basle has not been as- 
certained : but Sandrart, in his article for Nicolas Ma- 
nuel Deutch, a celebrated painter at Berne, in the 
beginning of the 16th century, has recorded a Dance of 
Death painted by him in oil, and regrets that a work 
materially contributing to the celebrity of that city had 
been so extremely neglected that he had only been able 
to lay before the readers the following German rhymes 
which had been inscribed on it : 

Manuel aller !welt figur, 

Hastu gemahlt uf diese raur 

Nu must sterben da, hilft kun fund : 

Bist nit sicher minut noch stund. 

Which he thus translates : 

Cunctorum in muris pictis ex arte figuris. 

Tu quoque decedes ; etsi hoc vix tempore credes. 

Then Manuel's answer : 

Kilf eineger Heiland ! dru ich dich bitt : 

Dann hie ist gar kein Bleibens nit 
So mir der Tod mein red wird stellen 
So bhut euch Gott, mein Hebe Gsellen. 

That is, in Latin : 

En tibi me credo, Deus, hoc dum sorte recede 
Mors rapiat me, te, reliquos sociosque, valete ! 

To which account M. Fuseli adds, that this painting, 
equally remarkable for invention and character, was 
retouched in 1553 ; and in 1560, to render the street in 


which it was placed more spacious, entirely demolished. 
There were, however, two copies of it preserved at Berne, 
both in water colours, one by Albrech Kauw, the other 
a copy from that by Wilhelm Stettler, a painter of 
Berne, and pupil of Conrad Meyer of Zurich. The 
painting is here said to have been in fresco on the wall 
of the Dominican cemetery. 10 

The verses that accompanied this painting have been 
mentioned as containing sarcastical freedoms against 
the clergy; and as Manuel had himself undergone some 
persecutions on the score of religion at the time of the 
Reformation, this is by no means improbable. There is 
even a tradition that he introduced portraits of some of 
his friends, who assisted in bringing about that event. 

In 1832, lithographic copies of the Berne painting, 
after the drawings of Stettler, were published at Berne, 
with a portrait of Manuel ; and a set of very beautiful 
drawings in colours, made by some artist at Berne, 
either after those by Stettler or Kauw, in the public 
library, are in the possession of the writer of this essay. 
They, as well as the lithographic prints, exhibit Ma- 
nuel's likeness in the subject of the painter. 

One of the bridges at Lucerne was covered with a 
Macaber Dance, executed by a painter named Meglin- 
ger, but at what time we are not informed. It is said 
to have been very well painted, but injured greatly by 
injudicious retouchings; yet there seems to be a dif- 
ference of opinion as to the merit of the paintings, 
which are or were thirty-six in number, and supposed 
to have been copied from the Basle dance. Lucerne has 
also another of the same kind in the burial ground of 
the parish church of Im-hof. One of the subjects 
placed over the tomb of some canon, the founder of a 
musical society, is Death playing on the violin, and 

70 Pilkington's Diet, of Painters, p. 307, edit. Fuseli, who probably 
follows Fuesli's work on the Painters. Merian, Topogr. Helvetia. 


summoning the canon to follow him, who, not in the 
least terrified, marks the place in the book he was 
reading, and appears quite disposed to obey. This 
Dance is probably more modern than the other. 71 The 
subject of Death performing on the above instrument to 
some person or other is by no means uncommon among 
the old painters. 

M. Maurice Rivoire, in his very excellent description 
)f the cathedral of Amiens, mentions the cloister of the 
Machabees, originally called, says he, the cloister of 
Macabre, and, as he supposes, from the name of the 
mthor of the verses. He gives some lines that were on 
)ne of the walls, in which the Almighty commands 
Death to bring all mortals before him. 72 This cloister 
ivas destroyed about the year 1817, but not before the 
Dresent writer had seen sbme vestiges of the painting 
;hat remained on one of the sides of the building. 


M. Peignot has a very probable conjecture that the 
:hurch-yard of Saint Maclou, at Rouen, had a Macaber 
Dance, from a border or frieze that contains several 
emblematical subjects of mortality. The place had more 
:han once been destroyed. 73 On the pillars of the 
:hurch at Fescamp, in Normandy, the Dance of Death 
;vas sculptured in stone, and it is in evidence that the 
lastle of Blois had formerly this subject represented in 
some part of it. 

In the course of some recent alterations in the new 
church of the Protestants at Strasburg, formerly a 
Dominican convent, the workmen accidentally unco- 
vered a Dance of Death that had been whitewashed, 
iither for the purpose of obliteration or concealment. 
This painting seems to differ from the usual Macaber 
Dance, not always confined like that to two figures 

71 Peignot Recherches, xlv. xlvi. 

72 Rivoire descr. de Peglise cathedrale d' Amiens. Amiens, 1806. 8vo. 

73 Recherches, xlvii. 


only, but having occasionally several grouped together. 
M. Peignot has given some more curious particulars 
relating to it, extracted from a literary journal by M. 
Schweighaeuser, of Strasburg. 74 It is to be hoped that 
engravings of it will be given. 

Chorier has mentioned the mills of Macabrey, and 
also a piece of land with the same appellation, which 
he says was given to the chapter of St. Maurice at 
Vienne in Dauphine, by one Marc Apvril, a citizen of 
that place. He adds, that he is well aware of the 
Dance of Macabre. Is it not, therefore, probable, that 
the latter might have existed at Vienne, and have led to 
the corruption of the above citizen's name by the com- 
mon people. 76 

Misson has noticed a Dance of Death in St. Mary's 
church at Berlin, and obscurely referred to another in 
some church at Nuremberg. 

Bruckmann, in his EpistolaB Itinerariae, vol. v. Epist. 
xxxii. describes several churches and other religious 
buildings at Vienna, and among them the monastery of 
the Augustinians, where, he says, there is a painting of 
a house with Death entering one of the windows by a 

In the same letter he describes a chapel of Death in 
the above monastery, which had been decorated with 
moral paintings by Father Abraham a St. Clara, one of 
the monks. Among these were, 1. Death demolishing 
a student. 2. Death attacking a hunter who had just 
killed a stag. 3. Death in an apothecary's shop, break- 
ing the phials and medicine boxes. 4. Death playing at 
draughts with a nobleman. 5. Harlequin making gri- 
maces at Death. A description of this chapel, and its 
painting was published after the good father's decease.' 
Nuremberg, 1710, 8vo. 

74 Recherches, xlviii. 

75 Recherches sur les antiquites de Vienne. 1659. 12mo, p. 15. 


The only specimen of it in Holland that has occurred 
jn the present occasion is in the celebrated Orange- 
Salle, which constitutes the grand apartment of the 
country seat belonging to the Prince of Orange in the 
ivood adjacent to the Hague. In three of its compart- 
ments, Death is represented by skeletons darting their 
irrows against a host of opponents. 76 

Nor has Italy furnished any materials for the present 
;ssay. Blainville has, indeed, described a singular and 
vhimsical representation of Death in the church of St. 
3 eter the Martyr, at Naples, in the following words. 
' At the entrance on the left is a marble with a repre- 
entation of Death in a grotesque form. He has two 
rowns on his head, with a hawk on his fist, as ready for 
tunting. Under his feet are extended a great number 
f persons of both sexes and of every age. He addresses 
hem in these lines : 

Eo so la morte che caccio 

Sopera voi jente mondana, 

La malata e la sana, 

Di, e notte la percaccio J 

Non fugge, vessuna intana 

Per scampare dal mio laczio 

Che tutto il mondo abbraczio, 

E tutta la jente humana 

Perche nessuno se conforta, 

Ma prenda spavento 

Ch'eo per comandamento 

Di prender a chi viene la sorte. 

Sia vi per gastigamento 

Questa figura di morte, 

E pensa vie di fare forte 

Tu via di salvamento. 

Opposite to the figure of Death is that of a man 
ressed like a tradesman or merchant, who throws a 
ag of money on a table, and speaks thus : 

Tutti ti volio dare 
Se mi lasci scampare. 

76 Dr. Cogan's Tour to the Rhine, ii. 127. 


To which Death answers : 

Se mi potesti dare 
Quanto si pote dimandare 
Non te pote scampare la morte 
Se te viene la sorte. w 

It can hardly be supposed that this subject was not 
known in Spain, though nothing relating to it seems to 
have been recorded, if we except the poem that has been 
mentioned in p. 25, but no Spanish painting has been 
specified that can be called a regular Macaber Dance. 
There are grounds, however, for believing that there 
was such a painting in the cathedral of Burgos, as a 
gentleman known to the author saw there the remains 
of a skeleton figure on a whitewashed wall. 

77 Travels, iii. 328, edit. 4to. 



Macaber Dance in England. St. Paul's. Salisbury. 
Worthy Hall. Hexham. Croydon. Tower of Lon- 
don. Lines in Pierce Plowman's Vision supposed to 
refer to it. 

E are next to examine this subject in 
relation to its existence in our own 
country. On the authority of the work 
ascribed to Walter de Mapes, already 
noticed in p. 24, it is not unreasonable 
.0 infer that paintings of the Macaber Dance were 
coeval with that writer, though no specimens of it that 
low remain will warrant the conclusion. We know 
hat it existed at Old Saint Paul's. Stowe informs 
is that there was a great cloister on the north side of 
| he church, environing a plot of ground, of old time 
;alled Pardon church-yard. He then states, that " about 
his cloyster was artificially and richly painted the 
)ance of Machabray, or Dance of Death, commonly 
ailed the Dance of Paul's : the like whereof was painted 
bout St. Innocent's cloyster at Paris: the meters or 
>oesie of this dance were translated out of French 
nto English, by John Lidgate, Monke of Bury, the 
>ictureof Death leading all estates; at the dispence of 
enken Carpenter in the reigne of Henry the Sixt." 78 
.ydgate's verses were first printed at the end of Tot- 
ell's edition of the translation of his Fall of Princes, 
com Boccaccio, 1554, folio, and afterwards, in Sir 
V. Dugdale's History of St. Paul's cathedral. In 

78 Survay of London, p. 615, edit. 1618, 4to. 

19 In Tottel's edition these verses are accompanied with a single 


nnother place Stowe records that " on the 10th April, 
1549, the cloister of St. Paul's church, called Pardon 
church-yard, with the Dance of Death, commonly called 
the Dance of Paul's, about the same cloister, costly 
and cunningly wrought, and the chappel in the midst of 
the same church-yard, were all begun to be pulled 
down." 80 This spoliation was made by the Protector 
Somerset, in order to obtain materials for building his 
palace in the Strand. 81 

The single figure that remained in the Hungerford 
chapel at Salisbury cathedral, previously to its demoli- 
tion, was formerly known by the title of " Death and the 
Young Man," and was, undoubtedly, a portion of the 
Macaber Dance, as there was close to it another com- 
partment belonging to the same subject. In 1748, a 
print of these figures was published, accompanied with 
the following inscription, which differs from that in 
Lydgate. The young man says : 

Alasse Detlie alasse a blesful thyng thou were 
Yf thou woldyst spare us yn ouwre lustynesse. 
And cum to wretches that bethe of hevy chere 
Whene thay ye clepe to slake their dystresse 
But owte alasse thyne own sely selfwyldnesse 
Crewelly werneth me that seygh wayle and wepe 
To close there then that after ye doth clepe. 

wood-cut of Death leading up all ranks of mortals. This was after- 
wards copied by Hollar, as to general design, in Dugdale's St. Paul's, 
and in the Monasticon. 

80 Annales, p. 596, edit. 1631. folio. Sir Thomas More, treating of 
the remembrance of Death, has these words : " But if we not only here 
this word Death, but also let sink into our heartes, the very fantasye 
and depe imaginacion thereof, we shall parceive therby that we wer 
never so gretly moved by the beholding of the Daunce of Death pictured 
in Poules, as we shal fele ourself stered and altered by the feling of that 
imaginacion in our hertes. And no marvell. For those pictures ex- I 
presse only y e lothely figure of our dead bony bodies, biten away y* 
flesh," &c. Works, p. 77, edit. 1557, folio. 

81 Heylin's Hist, of the Reformation, p. 73. 

Death answers: 

Grosless galante in all thy luste and pryde 
Remembyr that thou schalle onys dye 
Deth schall fro thy body thy sowle devyde 
Thou mayst him not escape certaynly 
To the dede bodyes cast down thyne ye 
Beholde thayme well consydere and see 
For such as thay ar such shall tJhou be. 

This painting was made about the year 1460, and 
Tom the remaining specimen its destruction is extremely 
to be regretted, as, judging from that of the young 
rallant, the dresses of the time would be correctly exhi- 

In the chapel at Wortley Hall, in Gloucestershire, 
here was inscribed, and most likely painted, " an his- 
ory and Daunce of Deathe of all estatts and degrees." 
This inscribed history was the same as Lydgate's, with 
lome additional characters. 82 From a manuscript note 
>y John Stowe, in his copy of Leland's Itinerary, it 
ippears that there was a Dance of Death in the church 
>f Stratford upon Avon : and the conjecture that Shake- 
peare, in a passage in Measure for Measure, might 
tave remembered it, will not, perhaps, be deemed very 
xtravagant. He there alludes to Death and the fool, 
. subject always introduced into the paintings in ques- 
ion. 83 

On the upper part of the great screen which closes 
he entrance to the choir of the church at Hexham, in 
Northumberland, are the painted remains of a Dance of 
)eath. 84 These consist of the figures of a pope, a 
ardinal, and a king, which were copied by the inge- 
ious John Carter, of well-deserved antiquarian me- 

88 Cotton MS. Vesp. A. xxv. fo. 181. 

83 Leland's Itin. vol. iv. part i. p. 69. Meas. for Meas. Act iii. 

. 1. 

14 Hutchinson's Northumberland, i. 98. 


Vestiges of a Macaber Dance were not long since to 
be traced on the walls of the hall of the Archiepiscopal 
palace at Croydon, but so much obscured by time and 
neglect that no particular compartment could be ascer- 

The tapestries that decorated the walls of palaces, 
and other dwelling places, were sometimes applied in 
extension of this moral subject. In the tower of Lon- 
don, the original and most ancient seat of our monarchs, 
there was some tapestry with the Macaber Dance. 85 

The following lines in that admirable satire, the 
Vision of Pierce Plowman, written about the year 
1350, have evidently an allusion to the Dance, unless 
they might be thought to apply rather to the celebrated 
triumph of Death by Petrarch, of which some very 
early paintings, and many engravings, still exist; or 
they may even refer to some of the ancient representa- 
tions of the infernal regions that follow Death on the 
Pale horse of the Revelations, and in which is seen a 
grotesque intermixture of all classes of people. 86 

Death came driving after, and all to dust pashed 
Kynges and Kaysers, Knightes and Popes, 
Learned and lewde : he ne let no man stande 
That he hitte even, he never stode after. 
Many a lovely ladie and lemmans of knightes 
Swouned and swelted for sorrowe of Deathes dyntes. 

It is probable that many cathedrals and other edi- 
fices, civil as well as ecclesiastical, in France, Germany, 
England, and probably other European countries, were 
ornamented with paintings and sculpture of this ex- 
tremely popular subject. 

!5 Warton's H. E, Poetry, ii. 43, edit. 8vo. 

86 And see a portion of Orgagna's painting at the Campo Santo at 
Pisa, mentioned before in p. 33. 




List of editions of the Macaber Dance. Printed Hora 
that contain it. Manuscript Hor&. Other Manu- 
scripts in which it occurs. Various articles with letter* 
press, not being single prints^ but connected with it. 

T remains only, so far as regards the Ma- 
caber Dance, to present the reader with 
a list of the several printed editions of 
that celebrated work, and which, with 
many corrections and additions, has 
been chiefly extracted fromM. Peignot's 
" Recherches historiques et litteraires sur les Danses 
des Morts," Paris et Dijon, 1826, 8vo. 

The article that should stand at the head of this list, 
if any reliance could be had on a supposed date, is the 
German edition, intitled, " Der Dotendantz mit figuren. 
Clage und Antwort Schon von alien staten der welt," 
small folio. This is mentioned in Braun Notitia de 
libris in Bibliotheca Monasterii ad SS. Udalricum et 
Afram Augustae, vol. ii. 62. The learned librarian ex- 
presses his doubts as to the date, which he supposes 
may be between 1480 and 1500. He rejects a marginal 
note by the illuminator of the letters, indicating the date 
of 1459. Every page of this volume is divided into two 
columns, and accompanied with German verses, which 
may be either the original text, or a translation from 
the French verses in some early edition of the Macaber 
Dance in that language. It consists of twenty-two 
leaves, with wood-cuts of the Pope, Cardinal, Bishop> 
Abbot, 8cc. &c. accompanied by figures of Death. 

1. " La Danse Macabre imprimee par ung nomme 


Guy Marchand, &c. Paris, 1485," small folio. Mons. 
Champollion Figeac has given a very minute description 
of this extremely rare, and perhaps unique, volume, the 
only known copy of which is in the public library of 
Grenoble. This account is to be found in Millin's Ma- 
gazin Encyclopedique, 1811, vol. vi. p. 355, and thence 
by M. Peignot, in his Recherches, &c. 

2. " Ce present livre est appelle Miroer salutaire 
pour toutes gens, et de tous estatz, et est de grant 
utilite et recreation pour pleuseurs ensegnemens tant en 
Latin comme en Francoys lesquels il contient ainsi 
compose pour ceulx qui desirent acquerir leur salut : et 
qui le voudront avoir. La Danse Macabre nouvelle." 
At the end, " Cy finit la Danse Macabre hystoriee aug- 
mentee de pleuseurs nouveaux parsonnages(six)et beaux 
dis. et Jes trois mors et trois vif ensemble. Nouvelle- 
ment ainsi composee et imprimee par Guyot Marchant 
demorant a Paris au grant hostel du college de Navarre 
en champ Gaillart Ian de grace, 1486, le septieme jour 
de juing," A small folio of fifteen leaves, or thirty pages, 
twenty-four of which belong to the Danse Macabre, 
and six to the Trois morts et les trois vifs. 

On the authority of the above expression, " com- 
posee," and also on that of La Groix du Maine, Mar- 
chant has been made the author as well as the printer 
of the work; but M. De la Monnoye is not of that 
opinion, nor indeed is there any other metrical composi- 
tion by this printer known to exist, 

3. " La Danse Macabre des femmes, &c. Paris, par 
Guyot Marchant, 1486, le septieme jour de Juillet," 
small folio, of fifteen leaves only. This is the first 
edition of the Macaber Dance of females; and though 
thirty-two of them are described, the Queen and Duchess 
only are engraved. See No. 6 for the rest. This and 
the preceding edition are also particularly described by 
Messrs. Champollion Figeac and Peignot. 

4. " Chorea ab eximio Macabro versibus Alemanicis 


edita, et a Petro Desrey emendata. Parisiis per ina- 
gistrum Guidonem Mercatorem pro Godeffrido de 
Marnef. 1490," folio. Papillon thought the cuts were 
in the manner of the French artist Jollat, but without 
foundation, for they are much superior to any work by 
that artist, and of considerable merit. 

5. " La nouvelle Danse Macabre des hommes dicte 
miroer salutaire de toutes gens et de touts etats, Sec. 
Paris, Guyot Marchant. 1490." folio. 

6. " La Danse Macabre des femmes, toute hystoriee 
et augmentee de nouveaulx personnages, &c. Paris, 
Guyot Marchant, le 2 Mai, 1491," folio. This edition, 
the second of the Dance of females, has all the cuts 
with other additions. The list of the figures is in Peig- 
not, but with some doubts on the accuracy of his des- 

7. An edition in the Low German dialect was printed 
at Lubeck, 1496, according to Vender Hagen in his 
Deutschen Poesie, p. 459, who likewise mentions a 
Low German edition in prose, at the beginning of the 
15th (he must mean 16th) century. He adds, that he 
has copied one page with cuts from Kindeling's Re- 
mains, but he does not say in what work. 

8. " La grant Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes hystoriee et augmentee de beaulx dits en Latin, 
&,c. &c. Le tout compose en ryme Francoise et accom- 
pagne de figures. Lyon, le xviii jour de Fevrier, Tan 
1499," folio. This is supposed to be the first edition 
that contains both the men and the women. 

9. There is a very singular work, intitled " Icy est le 
compost et kalendrier des Bergeres, &c. Imprim a 
Paris en lostel de beauregart en la rue Cloppin a len- 
seigne du roy Prestre Jhan. ou quel lieu sont a vendre, 
ou au lyon dargent en la rue Sainct Jaques." At the 
end, " Imprime a Paris par Guy Marchant maistre es 
ars ou lieu susdit. Le xvii iour daoust mil cccciiiixx'xix." 
This extremely rare volume is in the British Museum, 


and is mentioned by Dr. Dibdin, in vol. ii. p. 530 of his 
edition of Ames's typographical antiquities, and pro- 
bably nowhere else. It is embellished with the same 
fine cuts that relate to the females in the edition of the 
Macaber Dance, Nos. 4 and 11. The work begins with 
the words "Deuxjeunes Bergeres seulettes," and appears 
to have been composed for females only, differing very 
materially from the well-known " Kalendrier des Ber- 
gers," though including matter common to both. 

10. " Chorea ab eximio Macabro versibus Alemanicis 
edita et a Petro Desrey Trecacio quodam oratore nuper 
emendata. Parisiis per Magistrum Guidonem Merca- 
torem pro Godeffrido Marnef. 15 Octob. 1499," folio, 
with cuts. 

11. "La Danse Macabre, &c. Ant. Verard, no date, 
but about 1500," small folio. A vellum copy of this 
rare edition is described by M. Van Praet in his cata- 
logue of vellum books in the royal library at Paris. A 
copy is in the Archb. Cant, library at Lambeth. 

12. " La Danse Macabre, &c. Ant. Verard, no date, 
but about 1500," folio. Some variations from No. 9 are 
pointed out by M. Van Praet. This magnificent volume 
on vellum, and bound in velvet, came from the library 
at Blois. It is a very large and thin folio, consisting of 
three or four leaves only, printed on pasteboard, with 
four pages or compartments on each leaf. The cuts are 
illuminated in the usual manner of Verard 's books. In 
the beginning it is marked " Marolles, No. 1601." It 
is probably imperfect, the fool not being among the 
figures, and all the females are wanting, though, per- 
haps, not originally in this edition. It is in the royal 
library at Paris, where there is another copy of the 
work printed by Verard, with coloured prints, but dif- 
fering materially from the other in the press-work. It 
is a common-sized folio, and was purchased at the sale 
of the Count Macarthy's books. 87 

87 From the Author's own inspection. 


13. La grant Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, &c. Imprimee a Troyes par Nicolas Le Rouge 
demourant en la grant rue a 1'enseigne de Venise aupres 
la belle croix." No date, folio. With very clever 
wood-cuts, probably the same as in the edition of 1490; 
and if so, they differ much from the manner of Jollat, 
and have not his well-known mark. 

14. " La grant Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, , &c. Rouen, Guillaume de la Mare." No 
date, 4to. with cuts, and in the Roman letter. 

] 5. " La grande Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, ou est demonstre tous humains de tous estats 
estre du bransle de la Mort. Lyon, Olivier Arnoulet." 
No date, 4to. 

16. " La grant Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, See. Lyon, Nourry, 1501," 4to. cuts. 

17 " La grant Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, &c. Imprime a Genesve, 1 503," 4to. cuts. 

18. " La grant Danse Macabre, &c. Paris, Nicole 
de la Barre, 1523," 4to. with very indifferent cuts, and 
the omission of some of the characters in preceding edi- 
tions. This has been privately reprinted, 1820, by Mr. 
Dobree, from a copy in the British Museum. 

19. " La grant Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes. Troyes, Le Rouge, 1531," folio, cuts. 

20. " La grand Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes. Paris, Denys Janot. 1533," 8vo. cuts. 

21. " La grand Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, tant en Latin qu'en Francoys. Paris, par 
Estienne Groulleau libraire jure en la .rue neuve Nostre 
Dame a Penseigne S. Jean Baptiste." No date, 16mo. 
cuts. The first edition of this size, and differing in 
some respects from the preceding. 

22. " La grand Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, &c. Paris, Estienne Groulleau, 1550," 16mo. 


23. "La grande Danse des Morts, &c. Rouen, Moi 
ron." No date, 8vo. cuts. 

24. " Les Ixviii huictains ci-devant appelles la Dans 
Machabrey, par lesquels les Chrestiens de tous estats 
tout stimules et invites de penser a la mort. Paris, 
Jacques Varangue, 1 589," 8vo. In Roman letter, with- 
out cuts. 

25. " La grande Danse Macabre des homines et des 
femmes, &c. Troyes, Oudot," 1641, 4to. cuts. One of 
the bibliotheque bleue books. 

26. " La grande Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, renouvellee de vieux Gaulois en langage le plus 
poli de notre temps, &c. Troyes, Pierre Gamier rue du 
Temple." No date, but the privilege is in 1728, 4to. 
cuts. The polished language is, of course, for the 
worse, and Macaber is called "des Machabees/' no 
doubt, the editor's improvement. 

27. " La grande Danse Macabre des hommes et des 
femmes, renouvellee, &c. Troyes, chez la veuve Oudot, 
et Jean Oudot fils, rue du Temple, 1729," 4to. cuts. 
Nearly the same as No. 25. 

These inferior editions continued, till very lately, to 
be occasionally reprinted for the use of the common 
people, and at the trifling expense of a very few sous. 
They are, nevertheless, of some value to those who feel 
interested in the subject, as containing tolerable copies 
of all the fine cuts in the preceding edition, No. 11. 

Dr. Dibdin saw in the public library at Munich a 
very old series of a Macaber Dance, that had been in- 
serted, by way of illustration, into a German manuscript 
of the Dance of Death. Of these he has given two 


subjects in his " Bibliographical Tour," vol. iii. p. 278. 
But it was not only in the above volumes that the 
very popular subject of the Macaber Dance was parti- 
cularly exhibited. It found its way into many of the 
beautiful service books, usually denominated Horse, or 


hours of the Virgin. These principally belong to France, 
and their margins are frequently decorated with the 
above Dance, with occasional variety of design. In 
most of them Death is accompanied with a single figure 
only, characters from both sexes being introduced. It 
would be impossible to furnish a complete list of them ; 
but it is presumed that the mention of several, and of 
the printers who introduced them, will not be unac- 

No. I. " Las Horas de nuestra Senora con muchos 
otros oficios y oragiones." Printed in Paris by Nicolas 
Higman for Simon Vostre, 1495, 8vo. It has two 
Dances of Death, the first of which is the usual Maca- 
ber Dance, with the following figures : Le Pape, TEmpe- 
reur, le Cardinal, PArchevesque, le Chevalier, TEvesque, 
1'Escuyer, 1'Abe, le Prevost, le Roy, le Patriarche, le 
Connestable, PAstrologien, le Bourgoys, le Chanoine, 
le Moyne, 1'TJsurier, le Medesin, 1'Amoureux, TAdvocat, 
le Menestrier, le Marchant, le Chartreux, le Sergent, 
le Cure, le Laboureur, le Cordelier." Then the women: 
" La Royne, la Duchesse, la Regente, la Chevaliere, 
1'Abbesse, la Femme descine, la Prieure, la Damoissele, 
la Bourgoise, la Cordeliere, la Femme daceul, la Nou- 
rice, la Theologienne, la nouvelle mariee, la Femme 
grosse, la Veufve, la Marchande, la Ballive, la Cham- 
beriere, la Recommanderese, la vielle Damoise, FEs- 
pousee, la Mignote, la Fille pucelle, la Garde d'ac- 
couchee, la jeune fille, la Religieuse, la Vielle, laReven- 
deresse, 1'Amoureuse, la Sorciere, la Bigote, la Sote, la 
Bergere, la Femme aux Potences, la Femme de Village ; 
to which are added, TEnfant, le Clerc, 1'Ermite." 

The second Dance of Death is very different from the 
preceding, and consists of groupes of figures. The 
subjects, which have never yet been described, are the 
following : 

1. Death sitting on a coffin in a church-yard. " Dis- 
cite vos choream cuncti qui cernitis istam." 


2. Death with Adam and Eve in Paradise. He draws 
Adam towards him. " Quid turn prosit honor glorie 

3. Death helping Cain to slay Abel. " Esto meorum 
qui pulvis eris et vermibus esca." 

4. Death holding by the garment a cardinal, followed 
by several persons. " In gelida putrens quando jacebis 

5. Death mounted on a bull strikes three persons 
with his dart. " Vado mori dives auro vel copia rerum." 

6. Death seizing a man sitting at a table with a purse 
in his hand, and accompanied by two other persons. 
" Nullum respectum dat michi, vado mori/' 

7. An armed knight killing an unarmed man, Death 
assisting. " Fortium virorum est magis mortem contem- 
nere vitam odisse." 

8. Death with a rod in his hand, standing upon a 
groupe of dead persons. " Stultum est timere quod 
vitari non potest." 

9. Death with a scythe, having mowed down several 
persons lying on the ground. " Est commune mori 
mors nulli parcit honori." 

10. A soldier introducing a woman to another man, 
who holds a scythe in his hand. Death stands behind. 
" Mors fera mors nequam mors nulli parcit et equam." 

11. Death strikes with his dart a prostrate female, 
who is attended by two others. " Hec tua vita brevis : 
que te delectat ubique." 

1 2. A man falling from a tower into the water. Death 
strikes him at the same time with his dart. " Est velut 
aura levis te mors expectat ubique/ 7 

13. A man strangling another, Death assisting. 
" Vita quid est hominis nisi res vallata ruinis." 

14. A man at the gallows, Death standing by. " Est 
caro nostra cinis modo principium modo finis." 

15. A man about to be beheaded, Death assisting. 
" Quid sublime genus quid opes quid gloria prestant." 


16. A king attended by several persons is struck by 
Death with his dart. " Quid mihi nunc aderant hec 
mihi nunc abeunt." 

17. Two soldiers armed with battle-axes. Death 
pierces one of them with his dart. " Ortus cuncta 
suos : repetunt matremque requirunt." 

18. Death strikes with his dart a woman lying in 
bed. " Et redit in nihilum quod fuit ante nihil." 

19. Death aims his dart at a sleeping child in a 
cradle, two other figures attending. " A, a, a, vado 
mori, nil valet ipsa juventus." 

20. A man on the ground in a fit, Death seizes him. 
Others attending. " Mors scita sed dubia nee fu- 
gienda venit." 

21. Death leads a man, followed by others. " Non 
sum securus hodie vel eras moriturus." 

22. Death interrupts a man and woman at their 
meal. " Intus sive foris est plurima causa timoris." 

23. Death demolishes a group of minstrels, from one 
of whom he has taken a lute. " Viximus gaudentes r 
nunc morimur tristes et flentes." 

24. Death leads a hermit, followed by other persons. 
" Forte dies hec est ultima, vado mori. 

This Dance is also found in the Horse printed by 
Godar, Vostre, and Gilles Hardouyn, but with occasional 
variations, as to size and other matters, in the different 
blocks which they respectively used. The same de- 
signs have also been adopted, and in a very singular 
style of engraving, in a work printed by Antony Ve- 
rard, that will be noticed elsewhere. 

Some of the cuts, for they are not all by the same 
artist, in this very rare and beautiful volume, and not 
found in others printed by or for Simon Vostre, may be 
very justly compared, in point of the delicacy of design 
and engraving, though on wood, with the celebrated 
pax of Maso Finiguerra at Florence, accurately copied 


in Mr. Ottley's history of engraving. They are accom- 
panied with this unappropriated mark (g 

; No. II, " Ordinarium beate Marie Virginis ad usum 
Cisterciensem impressum est caracteribus optimis una 
cum expensis honesti viri Symonis Vostre commorantis 
Parisiis in vico novo Dive Marie in intersignio Sancti 
Joannis Evangeliste, 1497," 12mo. This beautiful book 
is on vellum, with the same Danse Macabre as in the 
preceding, but the other cuts are different 

No. III. " Hore presentes ad usum Sarum impresse 
Cuerunt Parisiis per Philippum Pigouchet Anno Salutis 
MCCCCXCVIII die vero xvi Maii pro Symone Vostre 
librario commorante, Sec." 8vo. as above. 

Another beautiful volume on vellum, with the same 
Danse Macabre. He printed a similar volume of the 
same date, for the use of Rome, also on vellum. 

A volume of prayers, in 8vo. mentioned by M. Peig- 
not, .p. 145, after M. Raymond, but the title is not 
given. It is supposed to be anterior to 1500, and seems 
to contain the same personages in its Danse Macabre, 
as in the preceding volumes printed by Simon Vostre. 

No. IV. " Heures a Pusage de Soissons." Printed 
by Simon Vostre, on vellum, 1502, 8vo. With the 
same Danse Macabre. 

No. V. " Heures a 1'usage de Rheims, nouvellement 
imprimees avec belles histoires, pour Simon Vostre," 
1502, 8vo. This is mentioned by M. Peignot, on the 
authority of Papillon. It was reprinted 1513, 8vo. and 
has the same cuts as above. 

No. VI. " Heures a 1'usage de Rome. Printed for 
Simon Vostre by Phil. Pigouchet/' 1502, large 8vo. on 
vellum. With the same Danse Macabre. This truly 
magnificent volume, superior to all the preceding by the 
same printer in beauty of type and marginal decoration, 
differs from them in having stanzas at the bottom of 


each page of the Dance, but which apply to the figure 
at the top only. They are here given. 

POPE. Vous qui vivez certainement 

Quoy qu'il tarde ainsi danserez 
Mais quand Dieu le scet seulement 
Avisez comme vous ferez 

Dam Pape vous commencerez 
Comme le plus digne Seigneur 
En ce point honorire serez 
Au grant maistre est deu 1'honneur. 

KING. Mais maintenant toute haultesse 

Laisserez vous nestes pas seul 
Peu aurez de votre richesse 
Le plus riche n'a qung linseul 

Venez noble Roy couronne 
Renomme de force et prouesse 
Jadis fustez environne 
De grans pompes de grant noblesse. 

ARCHBISHOP. Que vous tirez la teste arriere 
Archevesque tirez vous pres, 
Avez vous peur qu'on ne vous tiere 
Ne doubtez vous viendres apres 

N'est pas tousjours la mort empres 
Tout homme suyvant coste a coste 
Rendre comment debtez et pres 
Une foys fault coustera loste. 

SQUIRE. II n'est rien que ne preigne cours 

Dansez et pensez de suyr 
Vous ne povez avoir secours 
II n'est qui mort puisse fuyr 

Avencez vous gent escuyer 
Qui scavez de danser les tours 
Lance porties et escuz hyer 
Aujourdhuy finerez voz jours. 

ASTROLOGER. Maistre pourvostre regarder 

En hault ne pour vostre clergie 
Ne pouvez la mort retarder 
Ci ne vault rien astrologie 


Toute la genealogie 

D'Adam qui fust le premier homme 

Mort prent se dit theologie 

Tous fault mourir pour une pomme. 

MERCHANT. Vecy vostre dernier marche 
II convient que par cy passez 
De tout soing serez despechie 
Tel convoiste qui a 





Marchant regardes par deca 
Plusieurs pays avez cerchie 
A pied a cheval de pieca 
Vous n'en serez plus empeschie. 

Ha maistre par la passeres 
N'est ja besoing de vous defendre 
Plus homme nespouvanteres 
Apres Moyne sans plus attendre 

Ou pensez vous cy fault entendre 
Tantost aurez la bouche close 
Homme n'est fors que vent et cendre 
Vie done est moult peu de chose. 

Trop lavez ayme cest foleur 
Et a mourir peu regarde 
Tantost vous changerez couleur 
Beaulte n'est que ymage farde 

Gen til amoureux gent et frique 
Qui vous cuidez de grant valeur 
Vous estez pris la mort vous pique 
Ce monde lairez a douleur. 

Passez cure sans long songier 
Je sans questes habandonne 
Le vif le mort soulier menger 
Mais vous serez aux vers donne 

Vous fustes jadis ordonne 
Miroir dautruy et exemplaire 
De vor faitz serez guerdonne 
A toute peine est deu salaire. 

Sur tout du jour de la naissance 
Convient chascun a mort offrir 
Fol est qui n'en a congnoissance 
Qui plus vit plus a assouffrir 


Petit enfant naguerez ne 

Au monde aures peu de plaisance 

A la danse sera mene 

Comme autre car mort a puissance. 

QUEEN. Noble Royne de beau corsage 

Gente et joyeuse a ladvenant 
Jay de par le grant maistre charge 
De vous enmener maintenant 

Et comme bien chose advenant 
Ceste danse commenseres 
Faictes devoir au remenant 
Vous qui vivez ainsi feres. 

LADY. C'est bien chasse quand on pourchasse 

Chose a son ame meritoire 
Car au derrain mort tout enchasse 
Ceste vie est moult transitoire 

Gentille femme de chevalier 
Que tant aymes deduit et chasse 
Les engins vous fault habiller 
Et suyvre le train de ma trasse. 

PRIORESS. Se vous avez sans fiction 

Tout vostre temps servi a Dieu 
Du cueur en sa religion 
La quelle vous avez vestue 

Celuy qui tous biens retribue 
Vous recompenserer loyalment 
A son vouloir en temps et lieu 
Bien fait requiert bon payment. 

RANCISCAN NUN. Se vos prieres sont bien dignes 

Elles vous vauldront devant Dieu 
Rien ne valient soupirs ne signes 
Bone operacion tient lieu 

Femme de grande devocion 
Cloez voz heures et matines 
Et cessez contemplacion 
Car jamais nyres a matines. 

CHAMBER-MAID. Dictez jeune femme a la cruche 
Renommee bonne chambriere 
Respondez au moins quant on huche 
Sans tenir si rude maniere 


Vous nirez plus a la riviere 
Baver au four na la fenestre 
Cest cy vostre journee derniere 
Ausy tost meurt servant que maistre. 

WIDOW. Cest belle chose de tenir 

Lestat ou on est appellee 
Et soy tousjours bien maintenir 
Vertus est tout par tout louee. 

Femme vesve venez avant 
Et vous avancez de venir 
Vous veez les aultres davant 
II convient une fois finir. 

LYING-IN NURSE. Venez ca garde dacouchees 

Dresse aves maintz bainz perdus 

Et ses cortines attachees 

Ou estoient beaux boucques pendus 

Biens y ont estez despendus 

Tant de motz ditz que cest ung songe 

Qui seront cher vendus 

En la fin tout mal vient en ronge. 

SHEPHERDESS. Aux camps ni rez plus soir ne matin 
Veiller brebis ne garder bestes 
Rien ne sera de vous demain 
Apres les veilles sont les festes 

Pas ne vous oublieray derriere 
Venez apres moy sa la main 
Entendez plaisante bergiere 
Ou marcande cy main a main. 

OLD WOMAN. Et vous madame la gourree 
Vendu avez maintz surplis 
Done de largent est fourree 
Et en sont voz coffres remplis 

Apres tous souhaitz acomplis 
Convient tout laisser et ballier 
Selon la robe on fait le plis 
A tel potaige tel cuiller. 

WITCH. Est condannee comme meurtriere 

A mourir ne vivra plus gaire 
Je la maine en son cimitiere 
Cest belle chose de bien faire 


Oyez oyez on vous fait scavoir 
Que ceste vielle sorciere 
A fait mourir et decepvoir 
Plusieurs gens en mainte maniere. 

In the cut of the adoration of the shepherds their 
names are introduced as follows: Gobin le gay; le beau 
Roger; Aloris; Ysauber; Alison, and Mahault. The 
same cut is in two or three other Horse mentioned in 
this list. 

No. VII. " Heures a Tusaige de Rouan. Simon Vos- 
tre, 1508, 8vo." With the same Danse Macabre. 

No. VIII. " Horse ad usum Romanum. Thielman 
Kerver," 1508, 8vo. Vellum. With the same Danse 

No. IX. " Hore christofe're virginis Marie secundum 
usum Romanum ad longum absque aliquo recursu, &c." 
Parisiis. Simon Vostre, 1508, 8vo. M. Peignot has 
^iven a very minute description of this volume with a 
ist of the different persons in the Danse Macabre. 

No. X. " Heures a 1'usage de . . . . Ant. Verard," 
1509, 8vo. with the same Danse Macabre. 

No. XI. " Heures a Tusaige d' Angers. Simon Vos- 
re," 1510, 8vo. With the same Danse Macabre. 
D articularly described by M. Peignot. 

No. XII. " Heures a Tusaige de Rome. Guil. Go- 
lar," 1510, large 8vo. vellum illuminated. A magnifi- 
ent book. It contains the Danse Macabre as in No. I. 
But it is remarkable for a third Dance of Death on the 
aargins at bottom, consisting of small compartments 
nth a single figure, but unaccompanied in the usual 
lanner by Death, who, in various shapes and attitudes, 
s occasionally introduced. The characters are the fol- 
Dwing, without the arrangement commonly observed, 
nd here given in the order in which they occur. 1. La 
Vieuse. 2. La Garde dacouche. 3. L'Abesse. 4. Le 
'romoteur. 5. Le Conestable. 6. Le Moine, without 
label; V 7. La Vielle Demoiselle. 8. La Baillive. 9. La 


Duchesse. 10. Le Sergent. 11. La Nourrice. 12. La 
femme du Chevallier. 13. La Damoiselle. 14. Le Maistre 
descole. 15. La Femme du village. 16. La Rescoman- 
derese. 17. La Revenderese. 18. Le Laboureur. 19. La 
Bourgoise. 20. L'Usurier. 21. LePelerin. 22. Le Ber- 
ger. 23. La Religieuse. 24. L'Home d'armes. 25. La 
Sorciere. 26. Le Petit enfant. 27. Le Clerc. 28. Le 
Patriarche. 29. Le Cardinal. 30. L'Empereur. 31. Le 
Roy. 32. La Marchande. 33. Le Cure. 34. La Theo- 
logienne. 35* La Jeune fille. 36. Le Sot. 37. Le 
Hallebardier. 38. La Pucelle vierge. 39. L'Hermite. 
40. L'Escuier. 41. La Chamberiere. 42. La Femme de 
lescuier. 43. La Cordeliere. 44. La Femme veuve. 
45. Le Chartreux. 46. La Royne. 47. La Regente. 
48. La Bergere. 49. L'Advocat. 50. L'Espousee. 51. La 
Femme amoureuse. 52. La Nouvelle Mariee. 53. Le 
Medecin. Wherever the figure of Death is introduced, 
he is accompanied with the motto " Amort, amort." 

No. XIII. " Hore ad usum Romanum. Thielman 
Kerver," 1511, 8vo. Vellum, with the Danse Macabre. 

No. XIV. " Heures a Pusage de Langres. Simon 
Vostre," 1512, 8vo. In the possession of Mons. G. M. 
Raymond, who has described it in Millin's Magazin 
Encyclopedique," 1814, torn. iii. p. 13. Mentioned also 
by M. Peignot. 

No. XV. " Heures a Tusage de Paris. Simon Vos- 
tre/ 7 1515, 8vo. With the Danse Macabre, and the 
other mentioned in No. I. 

No. XVI. " Heures de Nostre Dame a Tusage de 
Troyes." Th. Englard, pour G. Goderet, vers 1520, 
Vellum. Described by M. Peignot. 

No. XVII. " Hore ad usum Romanum. Thielman 
Kerver," 1526, 8vo. Vellum. A beautiful volume 
Prefixed to the Danse Macabre are two prints of the 
Trois morts et trois vifs. 

In all the above Horse the Macaber Dance is repre-j 
sented nearly alike in design, the variations 


chiefly in the attitudes of the figures, which are cut on 
different blocks, except in a few instances where the 
printers have borrowed the latter from each other. 
Thus Vostre uses Verard's, and Pigouchet Godar's. 
The number of the subjects also varies, Vostre and 
Kerver having more than Verard, Godar, and Pigou- 

Exceptions to the above manner of representing the 
Macaber Dance, occur in two Horae of singular rarity, 
and which are therefore worthy of particular notice. 
. No. XVIII. " Officium beatse Marise Virginis ad 
usum Romane ecclesie. Impressum Lugduni expensis 
Bonini de Boninis Dalmatini," die xx martij, 1499, 
12mo. On vellum. Here the designs are very different, 
and three of the subjects are placed at the bottom of 
the page. They consist of the following personages, 
there being no females among them. It was reprinted 
by the same printer in 1521. 

Papa Astrologus 

Imperator Gives 

Cardinales. Canonicus. 

Archiepiscopus Scutifer 

Eques Abbas 

Episcopus. Pretor. 

Rex Monachus 

Patriarche Usurarius 

Capitanus. Medicus. 

Plebanus Mercator 

Laborator Certosinus 

Frater Minor. Nuncius. 

Amans Puer 

Advocatus Sacristanus 

Joculator. Heremita. 

No. XIX. " Hore beate Marie Virginis ad usum in- 

signis ac preclare ecclesie Sarum cum figuris passionis 

< mysterium representatibus recenter additis. Impresse 

Parisiis per Johannem Bignon pro honesto viro Richardo 


Fakes, London, librario, et ibidem commorante cyme- 
terie Sancti Pauli sub signo A. B. C." 1521. A ledger- 
like 12mo. This Macaber Dance is unfortunately im- 
perfect in the only copy of the book, that has occurred. 
The figures that remain are those of the Pope, King, 
Cardinal, Patriarch, Judge, Archbishop, Knight, Mayor, 
and Earl. 

Under each subject are Lydgate's verses, with some 
slight variation ; and it is therefore very probable that 
we have here a copy, as to many of the figures, of the 
Dance that was painted at St. Paul's in compartments 
like the other Macaber Dance, and not as the group in 
Dugdale, which has been copied from a wood-cut at 
the end of Lydgate's " Fall of Prynces." As all the 
before-mentioned Horse were printed at Paris, with one 
exception only, and many of them at a very early pe- 
riod, it is equally probable that they may be copies of 
the Dance at the Innocents, unless a preference in that 
respect should be given to the figures in the French 
editions of the Danse Macabre. 

Manuscript Horse, or books of prayers, which contain 
the Macaber Dance are in the next place deserving of 
our attention. These are extremely rare, and two only 
have occurred on the present occasion. 

1. A manuscript prayer book of the fifteenth century 
is very briefly described by M. Peignot, 88 which he 
states to be the only one that has come to his know- 

2 An exquisitely beautiful volume, in large 8vo. 
bound in brass and velvet. It is a Latin Horse, ele- 
gantly written in Roman type at the beginning of the 
16th century. It has a profusion of paintings, every 
page being decorated with a variety of subjects. These 
consist of stories from scripture, sports, games, trades, 
grotesques, &c. 8cc. the several employments of the 

88 Recherches, p. 144, and see Catal. La Valliere, No. 295. 


months, which have also the signs of the zodiac, are 

worth describing, there being two sets for each month. 

January. 1 . A man sitting at table, a servant bringing 
in a dish of viands. The white table- 
cloth is beautifully diapered. 2. Boys 
playing at the game called Hockey. 

February. 1. A man warming himself by a fire, a 
domestic bringing in faggots. 2. Men 
and women at table, two women cook- 
ing additional food in the same apart- 

March. 1. A man pruning trees. 2. A priest con- 
firming a group of people. 

April. 1. A man hawking. 2. A procession of 


May. 1. A gentleman and lady on the same horse. 

2. Two pairs of lovers : one of the men 
plays on a flute, the other holds a 
hawk on his fist. 

June. 1. A woman shearing sheep. 2. A bridal 


July. 1. A man with a scythe about to reap. He 

drinks from his leathern bottle. 2. Boys 
and girls at the sport called Threading 
the needle. 

August. 1. A man reaping with a sickle. 2. Blind 
man's buff. 

September. 1. A man sowing. 2. The games of hot 
cockles and .... 

3ctober. 1 . Making wine. 2. Several men repairing 
casks, the master of the vineyard di- 

S'ovember. 1. A man threshing acorns to feed his hogs. 
2. Tennis. 

December. 1. Singeing a hog. 2. Boys pelting each 

other with snow balls. 
The side margins have the following Danse Macabre, 


consisting as usual of two figures only. Papa, Im] 
tor, Cardinalis, Rex, Archiepiscopus, Comestabilis, PJ 
triarcha, Eques auratus, Episcopus, Scutarius, Abbz 
Prepositus, Astrologus, Mercator, Cordiger, Satellc 
Usurarius, Advocatus, Mimus, Infans, Heremita. 

The margins at bottom contain a great variety of 
emblems of mortality. Among these are the following : 

1. A man presents a mirror to a lady, in which her 
face is reflected as a death's head. 

2. Death shoots an arrow at a man and woman. 

3. A man endeavouring to escape from Death is 
caught by him. 

4. Death transfixes a prostrate warrior with a spear. 

5. Two very grotesque Deaths, the one with a scythe, 
the other with a spade. 

6. A group of five Deaths, four dancing a round, the 
other drumming. 

7. Death on a bull, holding a dart in his hand. 

8. Death in a cemetery running away with a coffin 
and pick-axe. 

9. Death digging a grave for two shrouded bodies on 
the ground. 

10. Death seizing a fool. 

11. Death seizing the master of a family. 

12. Death seizing Caillette, a celebrated fool men- 
tioned by Rabelais, Des Periers, &c. He is represented 
in the French translation of the Ship of Fools. 

13. Death seizing a beggar. 

14. Death seizing a man playing at tennis. 

15. Death striking the miller going to his mill. 

16. Death seizing Ragot, a famous beggar in the 
reign of Louis XII. He is mentioned by Rabelais. 

This precious volume is in the present writer's posses- 

Other manuscripts connected with the Macaber 
Dance are the following : 

1. No. 1849, a Colbert MS. in the King of France's 


library, appears to have been written towards the end of 
the fifteenth century, and is splendidly illuminated on 
vellum with figures of men and women led by Death, 
the designs not much differing from those in Verard's 
printed copy. 

2. Another manuscript in the same library, formerly 
No. 543 in that of Saint Victor, is at the end of a small 
volume of miscellanies written on paper about the year 
1520; the text resembles that of the immediately pre- 
ceding article, and occasionally varies from the printed 
editions. It has no illuminations. These are the only 
manuscript Macaber Dances in the royal library at Paris. 

3. A manuscript of the Dance of Death, in German, 
is in the library of Munich. See Dr. Dibdin's biblio- 
graphical Tour, vol. iii. 278 ; and Vender Hagen's history 
of German poetry. Berlin, 1812, 8vo. p. 459. The date 
of 1450 is given to this manuscript on the authority of 
Docen in his Miscellanies, vol. ii. p. 148, and new Lite- 
rary Advertizer for 1806, No. 22, p. 348. Vender Hagen 
also states that Docen has printed it in his Miscellanies, 
p. 34952, and 41216. 

4. A manuscript in the Vatican, No. 314. See Von- 
der Hagen, ubi supra, who refers to Adelung, vol. ii. 
p. 317 18, where the beginning and other extracts are 

5. In the Duke de la Valliere's catal. No. 2801, is 
" La Danse Macabre par personnages, in 4to. Sur pa- 
pier du xv siecle, contenant 12 feuillets." 

In the course of this enquiry no manuscript, decorated 
with a regular series of a Dance of Death, has been 

The Abbe Rive left, in manuscript, a bibliography of 
all the editions of the Macaber Dance, which is at pre- 
sent, with other manuscripts by the Abbe, in the hands 
of M. Achard, a bookseller at Marseilles. See Peignot, 
Diction, de Bibliologie, iii. 284. 

The following articles, accompanied by letter-press, 


and distinguishable from single prints, appear to relate 
to the Macaber Dance. 

1. The Dance and song of Death is among bool 
licensed to John Awdeley. 89 

2. " The roll of the Daunce of Death, with pictures 
and verses upon the same," was entered on the Station- 
ers' books, 5th Jan. 1597, by Thomas Purfort, sen. anc 
jun. The price was 6d. This, as well as that license 
to Awdeley, was in all probability the Dance at Si 

3. " Der Todten Tantz an Hertzog Georgens zu Sach- 
sen schloss zu Dresden befindlich." i. e. " Here is found 
the Dance of Death on the Saxon palace of Duke 
George at Dresden." It consists of twenty-seven cha- 
racters, as follow: 1. Death leading the way; in his 
right hand he holds a drinking glass or cup, and in his 
left a trumpet which he is blowing. 2. Pope. 3 Car- 
dinal. 4. Abbot. 5. Bishop. 6. Canon. 7. Priest. 
8. Monk. 9. Death beating a drum with bones. 10. 
Emperor. 11. King, 12. Duke. 13. Nobleman. 14. 
Knight. 15. Gentleman. 16. Judge. 17. Notary. 
18. Soldier. 19. Peasant. 20. Beggar. 21. Abbess. 
22. Duchess. 23. Old woman. 24. Old man. 25. 
Child. 26. Old beggar. 27. Death with a scythe. 
This is a single print in the Chronicle of Dresden, by 
Antony Wecken, Dresden, 1680, folio, already men- 
tioned in p. 44. 

4. In the catalogue of the library of R. Smith, which 
was sold by auction in 1682, is this article " Dance of 
Death, in the cloyster of Paul's, with figures, very old." 
It was sold for six shillings to Mr. Mearne. 

5. A sort of Macaber Dance, in a Swiss almanack, 
consisting of eight subjects, and intitled " Ein Stuck 
aus dem Todten tantz," or, " a piece of a Dance of 
Death :" engraved on wood by Zimmerman with great 

89 Herbert's typogr. antiq. p. 888. 


spirit, after some very excellent designs. They are ac- 
companied with dialogues between Death and the 
respective characters. 1. The Postilion on horseback. 
Death in a huge pair of jack-boots, seizes him by the 
arm with a view to unhorse him. 2. The Tinker. Death, 
with a skillet on his head, plunders the tinker's basket. 
3. The Hussar on horseback, accompanied by Death, 
also mounted, and, like his comrade, wearing an enor- 
mous hat with a feather. 4. The Physician. Death 
habited as a modern beau, with chapeau-bras, brings 
his urinal to the Doctor for inspection. 5. The fraudu- 
lent Innkeeper in the act of adulterating a cask of liquor 
is seized and throttled by a very grotesque Death in 
the habit of an alewife, with a vessel at her back. 6. 
The Ploughman, holding his implements of husbandry, 
is seized by Death, who sits on a plough and carries a 
scythe in his left hand. 7. The Grave-digger, is pulled 
by Death into the grave which he has just completed- 
8. The lame Messenger, led by Death. The size of 
the print 11 by 6 \ inches. 

6. Papillon states that Le Blond, an. artist, then living 
at Orleans, engraved the Macaber Dance on wood for 
the Dominotiers, or venders of coloured prints for the 
common people, and that the sheets, when put together, 
form a square of three feet, and have verses underneath 
each figure. 90 

90 Traite hist, de la gravure en bois, i. 182, 336. 



Hans Holbein's connexion with the Dance of Death. 
A dance of peasants at Basle. Lyons edition of the 
Dance of Death, 1538. Doubts as to any prior edi- 
ti OHt Dedication to the edition of 1538. Mr. Ott ley's 
opinion of it examined. Artists supposed to have been 
connected with this work. Holbein's name in none of 
the old editions. Reperdius. 

HE name of Holbein has been so strongly 
interwoven with the Dance of Death 
that the latter is seldom mentioned 
without bringing to recollection that 
extraordinary artist. 
It would be a great waste of time and words to dwell 
specifically on the numerous errors of such writers as 
Papillon, Fournier, and several others, who have inad- 
vertently connected Holbein with the Macaber Dance, 
or to correct those of travellers who have spoken of 
the subject as it appeared in any shape in the city of 
Basle. The opinions of those who have either supposed 
or stated that Holbein even retouched or repaired the 
old painting at Basle, are entitled to no credit whatever, 
unaccompanied as they are by necessary proofs. The 
names of the artists who were employed on that paint- 
ing have been already adverted to, and are sufficiently 
detailed in the volumes of Merian and Peignot ; and it 
is therefore unnecessary to repeat them. 

Evidence, but of a very slight and unsatisfactory na- 
ture, has been adduced that Holbein painted some kind 
of a Death's Dance on the walls of a house at Basle. 
Whether this was only a copy of the old Macaber sub- 


ject, or some other of his own invention, cannot now be 
ascertained. Bishop Burnet, in his letters from Swit- 
zerland, 91 states that " there is a Dance which he 
painted on the walls of a house where he used to drink ? 
yet so worn out that very little is now to be seen, except 
shapes and postures, but these shew the exquisiteness of 
the hand." It is much to be regretted that this painting 
was not in a state to have enabled the bishop to have 
been more particular in his description. He then men- 
tions the older Dance, which he places " along the side 
of the convent of the Augustinians (meaning the Domi- 
nicans), now the French church, so worn out some time 
ago that they ordered the best painter they had to lay 
new colour on it, but this is so ill done, that one had 
rather see the dark shadow of Holbein's pencil than this 
coarse work." Here he speaks obscurely, and adopts 
the error that Holbein had some hand in it. 

Keysler, a man of considerable learning and inge- 
nuity, and the author of a very excellent book of travels, 
mentions the old painting at Basle, and adds, that 
" Holbein had also drawn and painted a Death's 
Dance, and had likewise painted, as it were, a duplicate 
of this piece on another house, but which time has 
entirely obliterated. 92 We are here again left entirely 
in the dark as to the first mentioned painting, and its 
difference from the other. Charles Patin, an earlier 
authority than the two preceding travellers, and who 
was at Basle in 1671, informs us that strangers behold, 
with a considerable degree of pleasure, the walls of a 
house at the corner of a little street in the above town, 
which are covered from top to bottom with paintings by 
Holbein, that would have done honour to the commands 
of a great prince, whilst they are, in fact, nothing more 

M Letters containing an account of what seemed most remarkable 
in Switzerland, Italy, &c. by G. Burnet, D. D. Rotterdam, 1686, 8vo. 
p. 265. 

* Travels through Germany, &c. i. 138, edit. 4to. 


than the painter's reward to the master of a tavern fc 
some meals that he had obtained. 93 In the list of Hoi 
bein's works, in his edition of Erasmus's Morise enc< 
mion, he likewise mentions the painting on a house h 
the Eisengassen, or Iron-street, near the Rhine brid| 
and for which he is said to have received forty florins,' 
perhaps the same as that mentioned in his travels. 

This painting was still remaining in the year 173( 
when Mr. Breval saw it, and described it as a dance 
boors, but in his opinion unworthy, as well as the Dam 
of Death in that city, of Holbein's hand. 95 Thes 
accounts of the paintings on houses are very obscui 
and contradictory, and the only way to reconcile th< 
is by concluding that Holbein might have decorated tl 
walls of some houses with a Dance of Death, and 
others with a dance of peasants. 96 The latter subje< 
would indeed be very much to the taste of an ii 
keeper, and the nature of his occupation. Some 
the writers on engraving have manifested their usm 
inaccuracy on the subject of Holbein's Dance of PeJ 
sants. Joubert says it has been engraved, but that it 
" a peu pres introuvable." 97 Huber likewise mak( 
them extremely rare, and adds, without the slight( 
authority, that Holbein engraved them. 98 There 
however, no doubt that his beautiful pencil was ei 
ployed on this subject in various ways, of which 
following specimens are worthy of being record* 
1. In a set of initial letters frequently used in bool 

93 Relations historiqucs et curieuses de voyages en Allemagne, 
Amst. 1695, 12mo. p. 124. 

94 See likewise Zuinger, Methodus Acaderaica, Basle, 1577, 4t 
p. 199. 

95 Remarks on several parts of Europe, 1738, vol. ii. p. 72. 

96 Peignot places the dance of peasants in the fish-market of Basl 
as other writers had the Dance of Death. Recherches, p. 15. 

97 Manuel de 1'Amateur d'estampes, ii. 131. 

98 Manuel des curieux, &c. i. 156. 


printed at Basle and elsewhere. 2. In an edition of 
Plutarch's works, printed by Cratander at Basle, 1530, 
folio, and afterwards introduced into Polydore Vergil's 
" Anglicse histories libri viginti fex," printed at Basle, 
1540, in folio, where, on p. 3 at bottom, the subject is 
very elegantly treated. It occurs also, in other books 
printed in the same city. 3. In an edition of the 
" Nugae" of Nicolas Borbonius, Basle, 1540, 12mo. at 
p. 17, there is a dance of peasants replete with humour: 
and, 4. A vignette in the first page of an edition of 
Apicius, printed at Basle, 1541, 4to. without the prin- 
ter's name. 

After all, there seems to be a fatality of ambiguity in 
the account of the Basle paintings ascribed to Holbein; 
and that of the Dance of Death has not only been 
placed by several writers on the walls, inside and out- 
side, of houses, but likewise in the fish-market ; on the 
walls of the church-yard of St. Peter ; and even in the 
cathedral itself of Basle; and, therefore, amidst this 
chaos of description, it is absolutely impossible to arrive 
at any conclusion that can be deemed in any degree 

We are now to enter upon the investigation of a 
work which has been somewhat erroneously denomi- 
nated a " Dance of Death/' by.mast,of the writers who 
have mentioned it Such a title, however, is not to be 
found in any of its numerous editions. It is certainly. . / 
not a dance, but rather, with slight exception, a series 
of admirable groups of persons of various characters, 
among whom Death is appropriately introduced as an ^s? 
emblem of man's mortality. It is of equal celebrity 
with the Macaber Dance, but in design and execution 
of considerable superiority, and with which the name of 
Hans Holbein has been so intimately connected, and 
that great painter so generally considered as its inventor, 
that even to doubt his claim to it will seem quite here- 


tical to those who may have founded their opinion on 
internal evidence with respect to his style of composi- 

In the year 1538 there appeared a work with the fol- 
lowing title, " Les simulachres et historiees faces de la 
mort, autant elegamment pourtraictes, que artificielle- 
ment imaginees." A Lyon Soubz lescu de Coloigne, 4to. 
and at the end, " Excudebant Lugduni Melchior et 
Gaspar Trechsel fratres, 1538." It has forty-one cuts, 
most exquisitely designed and engraved on wood, in a 
manner which several modern artists only of England 
and Germany have been competent to rival. As to the 
designs of these truly elegant prints, nq one who is at 
all skilled in the knowledge of JHolbein's style and 
manner of grouping his figures, would hesitate imme- 
diately to ascribe them to that artist. Some persons 
have imagined that they had actually discovered the 
portrait of Holbein in the subject of the nun and her 
lover 5 but the painter, whoever he may have been, is 
t n*qre likeiyTo be represented in the last^cut^a^s^e oT 
Jthe supporters of tHe escutcheon of Death. In these 
designs, SBScE^lr^wEony different TromThe dull and_ 
oftentimes disgusting Macaber Dance, which is 

1, with little exception, to two figures onlj^wejiave 
the most interesting assemblage of characters, among 
whom the skeletonized Death, with all the animation of 
a living person, forms the most important persojiage ; 
sometimes amusingly ludicrous, Qccjasionally mischievous, 
but always busy and characteristically occupied. 

Doubts have arisen whether the above can be re- 
garded as the first edition of these justly celebrated 
engravings in the form of a volume accompanied with 
text. In the " Notices sur les graveurs," Besangon, 
1807, 8vo. a work ascribed to M. Malpe," it is stated 
to have been originally published at Basle in 1530; 

99 Some give it to the Abbe Baverel. 


and in M. Jansen's " Essai sur Porigine de la gravure," 
&c. Paris, 1808, 8vo. a work replete with plagiarisms, 
and the most glaring mistakes, the same assertion is 
repeated. This writer adds, but unsupported by any 
authority, that soon afterwards another edition appeared 
with Flemish verses. Both these authors, following their 
blind leader Papillon, have not ventured to state that 
they ever saw this supposed edition of 1530, and it may 
indeed be asked, who has? Or in what catalogue of 
any library is it recorded ? Malpe acknowledges that 
the earliest edition he had seen was that of 1538. M. 
Fuseli, in his edition of Pilkington's Dictionary of 
Painters, has appended a note to the article for Hans 
Holbein, where, alluding perhaps to the former edition of 
the present dissertation, he remarks, that " Holbein's 
title to the Dance of Death would not have been called 
in question, had the ingenious author of the dissertation 
on that subject been acquainted with the German edi- 
tion." This gentleman seems, however, to have inad- 
vertently forgotten a former opinion which he had given 
in one of his lectures, where he says, " The scrupulous 
precision, the high finish, and the Titianesque colour of 
Hans Holbein would make the least part of his excel- 
lence, if his right to that series of emblematic groups 
known under the name of Holbein's Dance of Death 
had not, of late, been too successfully disputed." M. 
Fuseli would have rendered some service to this ques- 
tion by favouring us with an explicit account of the 
above German edition, if he really intended by it a 
complete work but it is most likely that he adverted 
to some separate impressions of the cuts with printed 
inscriptions on them, but which are only the titles of 
the respective characters or subjects. To such impres- 
sions M. Malpe has certainly referred, adding that 
they have, at top, passages from the Bible in German, 
and verses at bottom in the same language. Jansen 
follows him as to the verses at bottom only. Now, on 


forty-one of these separate impressions^ in_the collectign 
of the accurate aM'taltetouilauihor of the best work 

on the origin and early history of engraving that has 
ever appeared, and on several others in the present 
writer's possession, neither texts of scripture, nor verses 
at bottom, are to be found^jind nothing more than the 
above-mentioned German titles of the characters. M". 
Huber, in his " Manuel des curieux et des amateurs de 
Fart," vol. i. p. 155, after inaccurately stating that Hol- 
bein engraved these cuts, proceeds to observe, that in 
order to form a proper judgment of their merit, it is 
necessary to see the earliest impressions, printed on one 
side only of the paper; and refers to twenty-one of them 
in the cabinet of M. Otto, of Leipsig, but without 
stating any letter-press as belonging to them, or regard- 
ing them as a part of any German edition of the work. 

In the public library of Basle there are proof impres- 
sions, on four leaves, of all the cuts which had appeared 
jn the edition of 1538^ejtcept that of the astrologer. 
Qyer each is the name of the subject printed in Ger- 
man, and without any verses or letter-press whatever at 

~Tt is here necessary to mention that the first known 
edition in which these cuts were used, namely, that of 
1538, was accompanied with French verses, descriptive 
of the subjects. In an edition that soon afterwards 
appeared, these French verses were translated into 
Latin by George ^Ernylius, a German divine; and in 
another edition, published at Basle, in 1554, the Latin 
verses were continued. In both these cases, had there 
been any former German verses, would they not have 
been retained in preference? 

There is a passage, however, in Gesner's Pandectae, a 
supplemental volume of great rarity to his well-known 
Bibliotheca, that slightly adverts to a German edition 
of this work, and at the same time connects Holbein's 
name with it. It is as follows: " Imagines mortis ex- 


pressse ab optimo pictore Johanne Holbein cum epi- 
grammatibus Geo. ^Emylii, excusae Francofurti et Lug- 
duni apud Frellonios, quorum editio plures habet pic- 
turas. Vidi etiam cum metris Gallicis et Germanicis si 
bene memini." 100 But Gesner writes from imperfect recol- 
lection only, and specifies no edition in German. It is 
most probable that he refers to an early copy of the 
cuts on a larger scale with a good deal of text in Ger- 
man, and printed and perhaps engraved by Jobst De- 
necker, at Augsburg, 1544, small folio. 

^Bl^Jfotyrjonj^ ojTthe_cijts_in the 

collection of Mr. Ottley, as well as those in the_present 
writer's possession, are priritect~oh one side of the paper 
only, another argument that they 

be used in any Book ; and although they are extremely 
clear and distinct, many of them that were afterwards 
used in the various editions of the book are not less 
brilliant in appearance. It is well known to those who 
are conversant with engravings on wood, that the ear- 
liest impressions are not always the best ; a great deal 
depending on the care and skill with which they were 
taken from the blocks, and not a little on the quality of 
the paper. As they were most likely engraved at Basle 
by an excellent artist, of whom more will be said here- 
after, and at the instance of the Lyons booksellers or 
publishers, it is very probable thaj^^fejw_impressions 
would be taken off with Gej;mjm iitles.j3^^ use 

of the people of Basle, or other persons using the Ger- 
man language^JProof^might aTso be wanted for the 
accommodation of amateurs or other curious persojos, 
and therefore it would be only necessary! to print the 
names or titles of the subjects. This conjecture derives 
additional support from the well-known literary inter- 
course between the cities of Lyons and Basle, and from 
their small distance from each other. On the whole, 

100 Lib. ult. p. 86. 


therefore, the Jkyons edition of _1538 .may be safely 
regarded as the earliestTuntil 'some other shall make its 
appearance with a well ascertained prior date, either in 
German or any other language. 

In the edition of 1538 there is a dedication, not in 

any of the oth~ers~, ^nnro^^rveTy 7 considerable importance. 
It is a pious, quaint, and jingling address to Jeanne de 
Touszele, Abbess of the convent of St. Peter, at Lyons, 
in which the author, whose name is obscurely seated to 
beJ3uzele, compliments the good lady as the pattern of 
true religion, from her intimate acquaintance with the 
nature of Death, rushing, as it were, into his hands, by 
her entrance into the sepulchre of a cloister. He en- 
larges on the various modes of representing the mortality 
of human nature, and contends that the image of Death 
nothing terrific in the eyg~oT1He Christian. He 
maintains tFat there T^i^Jbejtter^jmeJtoi' of depicting 
mortality than by a dead person, especially by those 
imagelTwliicli so frequently occur on sepulchral monu- 
ments. ^Adverting then to the figures in the present 
work he regrets the death of him who has here conceived 
[imagine] such elegant designs, greatly exceeding all 
other patterns of the kind, in like manner as the paintings 
of Apelles and Zeuxis have surpassed those of modern 
times. He observes that these funereal histories, accom- 
panied by their grave descriptiojos^rTrhyme, induce the 
admiring spectators to behold the dead as alive, and the 
living as dead ; which leads him to believe that Death, 
apprehensive lest this admirable painter should exhibit 
him so lively that he would no longer be feared as 
Death, and that he should thereby become immortal 
himself, had hastened his days to an end, and thus pre- 
vented film from completing many other figures, which 
he had already designed, especially that of the carman 
crushed and~wounded beneath his demolished waggon, 
the wheels and" hpfseofjdlicijaze_so frightfully over- 
thrown that as much horror is excited in beholding 


their downfall, as pleasure in contemplating the lick 
erishness of one of the Deaths, who is clandestinely 
sucking with a reed the wine in a bursting cask. 1 That 
in these imperfect subjects no one had dared to put the 
finishing hand, on account of the boldness of their out- 

O ' 

line, shadow, and perspective, delineated in so graceful 
a manner, that by its contemplation one might indulge 
either in a joyful sorrow, or a melancholy pleasure. 
" Let antiquaries then," says he, " and lovers of ancient 
imagery discover any thing comparable to these figures 
of Death, in which we behold the Empress of all living 
souls from the creation, trampling over Caesars, Empe- 
rors, and Kings, and with her scythe mowing down the 
tyrannical heroes of the earth." He concludes with 
admonishing the Abbess to take in good part this his 
sad but salutary present, and to persuade her devout 
nuns not only to keep it in their cells and dormitories, 
but in the cabinet of their memory, therein pursuing the 
counsel of St. Jerom, 8cc. 

The singularity of this curious and interesting dedi- 
cation is deserving of the utmost attention. It seems 
very strongly, if not decisively, to point out the edition 
to which it is prefixed, as the first ; and what is of still 
more importance, to deprive Holbein of any claim to 
the invention of the work. It most certainly uses such 
terms of art as can scarcely be mistaken as conveying 
any other sense than that of originality in design. There 
cannot be words of plainer import than those which 
describe the painter, as he is expressly called, delineating 

1 The dedicator has apparently in this place been guilty of a strange 
misconception. The Death is not sucking the wine from the cask, but 
in the act of untwisting the fastening to one of the hoops. Nor is the 
carman crushed beneath the wheels : on the contrary, he is represented 
as standing upright and wringing his hands in despair at what he be- 
holds. It is true that this cut was not then completed, and might have 
undergone some subsequent alteration. He likewise speaks of the 
rainbow in the cut of the Last Judgment, as being at that time unfi- 
nished, which, however, is introduced in this first edition. 


the subjects, and leaving several of them unfinished : 
and whoever the artist might have been, it clearly ap- 
pears that he was not living in 1538. Now it is well 
known that Holbein's death did not take place before the 
year 1554, during the plague which ravaged London at 
that time. If then the expressions used in this dedication 
signify any thing, it may surely be asked what becomes 
of any claim on the part of Holbein to the designs of 
the work in question, or does it not at least remain in a 
situation of doubt and difficulty. 

It is, however, with no small hesitation that the 
author of the present dissertation still ventures to dis- 
pute, and even to deny, the title of Holbein to the 
invention of this Dance of Death, in opposition to his 
excellent and valuable friend Mr. Ottley, whose opinion 
in matters of taste, as well as on the styles of the dif- 
ferent masters in the old schools of painting and en- 
graving may be justly pronounced to be almost oracular. 
This gentleman has thus expressed himself: " It cannot 
be denied that were there nothing to oppose to this 
passage, it would seem to constitute very strong evi- 
dence that Holbein, who did not die until the year 
1554, was not the author of the designs in question; 
but I am firmly persuaded that it refers in reality, not 
to the designer, but to the artist who had been em- 
ployed, under his direction, to engrave the designs in 
wood, and whose name, there appears reason to believe, 
was Hans Lutzenberger. 2 Holbein, I am of opinion, had, 
shortly before the year 1538, sold the forty-one blocks 
which had been some time previously executed, to the 
booksellers of Lyons, and had at the same time given 
him a promise of others which he had lately designed, 
as a continuation of the series, and were then in the 
hands of the wood-engraver. The wood-engraver, I 

3 It would be of some importance if the date of Lutzenberger's 
death could be ascertained. 


suppose, died before he had completed his task, and 
the correspondent of the bookseller, who had probably 
deferred his publication in expectation of the new 
blocks, wrote from Basle to Lyons to inform his friend 
of the disappointment occasioned by the artist's death. 
It is probable that this information was not given very 
circumstantially, as to the real cause of the delay, and 
that the person who wrote the dedication of the book 
might have believed the designer and engraver to be 
one and the same person : it is still more probable that he 
thought the distinction of little consequence to his reader, 
and willingly omitted to go into details which would 
have rendered his quaint moralizing in the above pas- 
sage less admissible. Besides, the additional cuts there 
-&ftQken_of (eight cuts oF the Dance of De~ath~a~ncTTour of 
bgys)-~wer-e- after warcls finished (doubtless by anothgr 
wood-engraver, who had been brought .up under thejjye 
ofc Holbein)^ and are not apparently inferior, whether in 
respect of design ojr execution tojjie others. In short, 
these designs have always been ascribed to Holbein, 
and designedly ranked amongst his finest works. 3 

Mr. Ottley having admitted that the edition of the 
Dance of Death, printed in quarto, at Lyons, 1538, is 
the earliest with which we are at present acquainted, 
proceeds to state his belief that the cuts had been pre- 
viously and certainly used at Basle. He then alludes 
to the supposed German edition, about the year 1530, 
but acknowledges that he had not been able to meet 
with or hear of any person who had seen it. He next 
introduces to his reader's notice, and afterwards de- 
scribes at large, a set of forty-one impressions, being 
the complete series of the edition ofT538, except one, 
and talten^rFwith the^^ate^t^Jearness and brilliancy 
of effect, oii TbTfe~sid<fof the paper only, each cut having 

v3 "An enquiry into the origin and early history of Engraving," 1816, 
4to. vol. ii. p. 759. 


over it its title printed in the German language, with 
moveable type*,. He thinks it possible that they may 
originally have had German verses underneath, and 
texts of Scripture above, in addition to the titles ; a fact) 
he adds, not now to be ascljrl^TnedTlis^^ 
clipped on the sides and at bottom. He says, it is 
greatly to be regretted that the blocks were never taken 
off with due diligence and good printing ink, after they 
got into the hands of the Lyons booksellers, and then 
introduces into his page two fac-similes of these cuts so 
admirably copied as to be almost undistinguishable from 
the originals. 4 One may, indeed, regret with Mr. 
Ottley the general carelessness of the old printers in 
their mode of taking off impressions from blocks of 
wood when introducing them into their books, and 
which is so very unequally practised that, as already 
observed, the impressions are often clearer and more 
distinct in later than in preceding editions. The works of 
the old designers and engravers would, in many cases, 
have been much more highly appreciated, if they had 
had the same justice done to them by the printers as 
the editorial taste and judgment of Mr. Ottley, com- 
bined with the skill of the workmen, have obtained in 
the decoration of his own book. With respect to the 
impressions of the cuts in question, when the blocks 
were in the hands of the Lyons booksellers, the fact is, 
that in some of their editions they are occasionally as 
fine as those separately printed off; and at the moment 
of making this remark, an edition, published in 1547, 
at Lyons, is before the writer, in which many of the 
prints are uncommonly clear and even brilliant, a cir- 
cumstance owing, in a great degree, to the nature of the 
paper on which they are impressed. 

It were almost to be wished that this perplexing evi- 
dence against Holbein's title to the invention of the 

4 An Enquiry," &c. ii. 762. 


work before us had never existed, and that he had 
consequently been left in the quiet possession of what 
so well accords with his exquisite pencil and extra- 
ordinary talents. True it is, that the person to whom 
we owe this stubborn testimony, has manifested a much 
more intimate acquaintance with the mode of conveying 
his pious ejaculations to the Lady Abbess in the quaint- 
est language that could possibly have been chosen, than 
with the art of giving an accurate account of the prints 
in question. Yet it seems scarcely possible that he 
should have used the word imagined, which undoubtedly 
expresses originality of invention, and not the mere act 
of copying, if he had referred to an engraver on wood, 
whom he would not have dignified with the appellation 
of a painter on whom he was bestowing the highest 
possible eulogium. There would also have been much 
less occasion for the author's hyperbolical fears on 
the part of Death in the case of an engraver, than in 
that of a painter. He has stated that the rainbow sub- 
ject, meaning probably that of the Last Judgment, was 
left unfinished ; but it appears among the engravings in 
his edition. He must, therefore, have referred to a 
painting, with which likewise the expression " bold 
shadows and perspective," seem better to accord than 
with a slight engraving on wood. He had also seen the 
subject of the waggon with the wine casks in its unfi- 
nished state, and in this case we may almost with cer- 
tainty pronounce it to have been a painting, as the cut 
of it does not appear in the first edition, furnishing, at 
the same time, an argument against Holbein's claim ; 
nor may it be unimportant to add that the dedicator, a 
religious person, and probably a man of some eminence, 
was much more likely to have been acquainted with the 
painter than with the engraver. The dedicator also 
stamps the work as originating at Lyons ; an^LErelkin, 
its printer, in a complaint against a Venetian bookseller, 


who pirated his edition, emphatically describes it as 
exclusively belonging to France. 

Again, it is improbable that the dedicator, whoever 
he was, should have preferred complimenting the en- 
graver of the cuts, who, with all his consummate skill, 
must, in point of rank and genius, be placed below the 
painter or designer ; and it is at the same time remark- 
able that the name of Holbein is not adverted to in 
any of the early and genuine editions of the work, 
published at Lyons, or any other place, whilst his de- 
signs for the Bible have there been so pointedly noticed 
by his friend the poet Borbonius. 

It would be of some importance, if it could be shown, 
that the engraver was dead in or before the year 1538, 
for that circumstance would contribute to strengthen 
Mr. Ottley's opinion : but should it be found that he 
did not die in or before 1538, it would follow, of course, 
that the painter was the person adverted to in the dedi- 
cation, and who consequently could not be Holbein. It 
becomes necessary, therefore, to endeavour at least to 
discover some other artist competent to the invention of 
the beautiful designs in question ; and whether the at- 
tempt be successful or otherwise, it may, perhaps, be 
not altogether misplaced or unprofitable. 

It must be recollected that Francis the First, on re- 
turning from his captivity at Pavia, imported with him 
a great many Italian and other artists, among whom 
were Lionardo da Vinci, Rosso, Primaticcio, &c. He is 
also known to have visited Lyons, a royal city at that 
time eminent in art of every kind, and especially in 
those of printing and engraving on wood ; as the many 
beautiful volumes published at that place, and embel- 
lished with the most elegant decorations in the graphic 
art, will at this moment sufficiently testify. In an edi- 
tion of the " Nugas" of Nicolas Borbonius, the friend of 
Holbein, printed at Lyons, 1538, 8vo. are the following 
lines : 


De Hanso TJlbio, et Georgia Reperdio, pictoribus. 

Videre qui vult Parrhasium cum Zeuxide, 

Accersat a Britannia 
Hansum Ulbium, et Georgium Reperdium. 

Lugduno ab urbe Galliae. 

In these verses Reperdius is opposed to Holbein for 
the excellence of his art, in like manner as Parrhasius 
had been considered as the rival of Zeuxis. 

After such an eulogium it is greatly to be regretted 
that notwithstanding a very diligent enquiry has been 
made concerning an artist, who, by the poet's compara- 
tive view of him, is placed on the same footing with 
Holbein, and probably of the same school of painting, 
no particulars of his life or works have been discovered. 
It is clear from Borbonius's lines that he was then 
living at Lyons, and it is extremely probable that he 
might have begun the work in question, and have died 
before he could complete it, and that the Lyons pub- 
lishers might afterwards have employed Holbein to 
finish what was left undone, as well as to make designs 
for additional subjects which appeared in the subsequent 
editions. Thus would Holbein be so connected with 
the work as to obtain in future such notice as would 
constitute him by general report the real inventor of it. 
If then there be any validity in what is here stated con- 
cerning Reperdius, the difficulty and obscurity in the 
preface to the Lyons edition of the Dance of Death in 
1538 will be removed, and Holbein remain in possession 
of a share at least in the composition of that inestimable 
work. The mark or monogram T-[ t on one of the cuts 
cannot possibly belong to Holbein, but may possibly 
be that of the engraver, of whom more hereafter. 


Holbein's Bible cuts. Examination of the claim of 
Hans Lutzenberger as to the design or execution of the 
Lyons engravings of the Dance of Death. Other 
works by him. 

T this time the celebrated designs for 
the illustration of the Old Testament, 
usually denominated Holbein's Bible, 
made their appearance, with the fol- 
lowing title, " Historiarum Veteris in- 
strumenti icones ad vivum expressae. Una cum brevi, 
sed quoad fieri potuit, dilucida earundem expositione. 
Lugduni, sub scuto Coloniensi MDXXXVIII." 4to. They 
were several times republished with varied titles, and 
two additional cuts. Prefixed are some highly compli- 
mentary Latin verses by Holbein's friend Nicholas Bour- 
bon, better known by his Latinized name of Borbonius, 
who again introduces Parrhasius and Zeuxis in Elysium, 
and in conversation with Apelles, who laments that they 
had all been excelled by Holbein. 

These lines by Borbonius do not appear, among others 
addressed by him to Holbein, in the first edition of his 
" Nugae" in 1533, or indeed in any of the subsequent 
editions ; but it is certain that Borbonius was at Lyons 
in 1538, and might then have been called on by the 
publishers of the designs, with whom he was intimately 
connected, for the commendatory verses. 

The booksellers Frellon of Lyons, by some means with 
which we are not now acquainted, or indeed ever likely 
to be, became possessed of the copyright to these de- 


signs for the Old Testament. It is very clear that 
they had previously been in possession of those for 
the Dance of Death, and, finding the first four of them 
equally adapted to a Bible, they accordingly, and for 
the purpose of saving expense, made use of them in this 
Bible, though with different descriptions, having, in all 
probability, employed the same engraver on wood as in 
the Dance of Death, a task to which he had already de- 
monstrated himself to be fully competent. Now, if the 
Frellons had regarded Holbein as the designer of the 
" Simulachres et historiees faces de la Mort," would 
they not rather have introduced into that work the 
complimentary lines of Borbonius on some painting by 
Holbein of a Dance of Death, and which will be here- 
after more particularly adverted to, instead of inserting 
the very interesting and decisive dedication that has so 
emphatically referred to the then deceased painter of 
the above admirable composition ? 

Nor is it by any means a matter of certainty that 
Holbein was the designer of all the wood engravings 
belonging to the Bible in question. Whoever may take 
the pains to examine these biblical subjects with a 
strict and critical eye, will not only discover a very 
great difference in the style and drawing of them, but 
likewise a striking resemblance, in that respect, of 
several of them to those in the Dance of Death, as 
well as in the manner of engraving. The rest are in a 
bolder and broader style, in a careless but effective 
manner, corresponding altogether with such designs as 
are well ascertained to be Holbein's, and of which it 
would be impossible to produce a single one, that in 
point of delicacy of outline, or composition, accords 
with those in the Dance; 5 and the judgment of those 

5 The few engravings by or after Holbein that have his name or its 
initials are to be found in his early frontispieces or vignettes to books 
printed at Basle. In 1548, two delicate wood-cuts, with his name, 


who are best acquainted with the works of Holbein is 
appealed to on this occasion. It is, besides, extremely 
probable that the anonymous painter or designer of the 
Dance might have been employed also by the Frellons 
to execute a set of subjects for the Bible previously to 
his Death, and that Holbein was afterwards engaged to 
complete the work. 

A comparison of the 8th subject in the " Simulachres, 
Sec." with that in the Bible for Esther i. n. where the 
canopy ornamented with fleurs-de-lis is the same in 
both, will contribute to strengthen the above conjecture, 
as will both the cuts to demonstrate their Gallic origin. 
It is most certain that the king sitting at table in the 
Simulachres is intended for Francis I. which, if any one 
should doubt, let him look upon the miniature of that 
king, copied at p. 214 in Clarke's " Repertorium bib- 
liographicum," from a drawing in a French MS. belong- 
ing to M. Beckford, or at a wood-cut in fo. xcxix b. of 
" L'histoire de Primaleon de Grece." Paris, 1550, folio, 
where the art in the latter will be found to resemble 
very much that in the " Simulachres." The portraits 
also of Francis by Thomas De Leu, Boissevin, and par- 
ticularly that in the portraits of illustrious men edited 

occur in Cranmer's Catechism. In the title-page to " a lytle treatise 
after the maner of an Epystle wryten by the famous clerk, Doctor Ur- 
banus Regius, &c." Printed by Gwalter Lynne, 1548, 24mo, there 
is a cut in the same style of art of Christ attended by his disciples, and 
pointing to a fugitive monk, whose sheep are scattered, and some de- 
voured by a wolf. Above and below are the words " John x. Ezech. 
xxxiiii. Mich. v. I am the good shepehearde. A good shepehearde 
geveth his lyfe for the shype. The hyred servaunt flyeth, because he is 
an hered servaunt, and careth not for the shepe." On the cut at 
bottom HANS HOLBEIN. There is a fourth cut of this kind in the 
British Museum collection with Christ brought before Pilate; and per- 
haps Holbein might have intended a series of small engravings for the 
New Testament; but all these are in a simple outline and very different 
from the cuts in the Dance of Death, or Lyons Bible. It might be 
difficult to refer to any other engravings belonging to Holbein after the 
above year. 


by Beza at Geneva, may be mentioned for the like pur- 

The admission in the course of the preceding remarks 
that Holbein might have been employed in some of the 
additional cuts that appeared in the editions of the 
Lyons Dance of Death which followed that of 1538, 
may seem at variance with what has been advanced 
with respect to the Bible cuts ascribed to him. It is, 
however, by no means a matter of necessity that an 
artist with Holbein's talents should have been resorted 
to for the purpose of designing the additional cuts to 
the Lyons work. There were, during the middle of the 
16th century, several artists equally competent to the 
undertaking, both as to invention and execution, as is 
demonstrable, among numerous other instances, from 
the spurious, but beautiful, Italian copy of the original 
cuts; from the scarcely distinguishable copies of the 
Lyons Bible cuts in an edition put forth by John Stel- 
sius at Antwerp, 1561, and from the works of several 
artists, both designers and wood-engravers, in the books 
published by the French, Flemish, and Italian book- 
sellers at that period. An interesting catalogue -rai- 
sonne might be constructed, though with some diffi- 
culty, of such articles as were decorated with most 
exquisite and interesting embellishments. The above 
century was much richer in this respect than any one 
that succeeded it, displaying specimens of art that have 
only been rivalled, perhaps never outdone, by the very 
skilful engravers on wood of modern times. 

Our attention will, in the next place, be required to 
the excellent engraver of the Dance of Death, the thirty- 
sixth cut of which represents the Duchess sitting up 
in bed, and accompanied with two figures of Death 
one of which plays on a violin, whilst the other drags 
away the bed-clothes. On the base of one of the bed- 
posts is the mark or monogram fL, which has, among 
other artists, been inconsiderately ascribed to Holbein. 



That it was intended to express the name of the de- 
signer cannot be supported by evidence of any kind. 
We must then seek for its meaning as belonging to the 
engraver, and whose name was, in all probability, Hans 
Leuczellberger or Lutzenberger, sometimes called Franck. 
M. de Mechel, the celebrated printseller and engraver at 
Basle, addressed a letter to M. de Murr, in which he 
states that on a proof sheet of an alphabet in the library 
in that city, containing several small figures of a Dance 
of Death, he had found the above name. M. Brulliot 
remarks that he had seen some of the letters of this 
alphabet, but had not perceived on them either the 
name of Lutzenberger, or the mark fL; 6 but M. de 
Mechel has not said that the mark was on the proof 
sheet, or on the letters themselves, but only the name of 
Lutzenberger, adding that the T~T i on the cut of the 
Duchess will throw some light on the matter, and that 
Holbein, although this monogram has been usually 
ascribed to him, never expressed his name by it, but 
used for that purpose an JI joined to a B; in which 
latter assertion M. de Mechel was by no means cor- 

On another alphabet of a Dance of Peasants, in the 
possession of the writer of these pages, and undoubtedly 
by the same artists, M. de Mechel, to whom it was 
shown when in England, has written in pencil, the 
following memorandum : " JL grave par Hans (John) 
Lutzenberger, graveur en patrons a Basle, vivant la au 
commencement du 16me siecle;" but he has inadver- 
tently transferred the remark to the wrong alphabet, 
though both were undoubtedly the work of the same 
artist, as well as a third alphabet, equally beautiful, of 
groups of children. 

The late Pietro Zani, whose intimate experience in 

6 Brulliot diet, de monogrammes, &c. Munich, 1817, 4to. p. 418, 
where the letter from De Mechel is given. 


whatever relates to the art of engraving, together with 
the vast number of prints that had passed under his 
observation, must entitle his opinions to the highest 
consideration, has stated, in more places than one in 
his " Enciclopedia Metodica," that Holbein had no 
concern with the cuts of the Lyons Dance of Death, 
the engraving of which he decidedly ascribes to Hans 
Lutzenberger; and, without any reference to the inscrip- 
tion on the proof of one of the alphabets in the library 
at Basle before-mentioned, which he had probably 
neither seen nor heard of, mentions the copy of one of 
the alphabets which he had seen at Dresden, and at 
once consigns it to Lutzenberger. He promises to 
resume the subject at large in some future part of his 
immense work, which, if existing, has not yet made its 

As the prints by this fine engraver are very few in 
number, and extremely rare, the following list of them 
may not be unacceptable. 

1. An oblong wood engraving, in length 11 inches by 
3. It represents, on one side, Christ requiring the at- 
tention of a group of eight persons, consisting of a 
monk, a peasant with a flail, a female, &c. to a lighted 
taper on a candelabrum placed in the middle of the 
print ; on the other side, a group of thirteen or fourteen 
persons, preceded by one who is looking into a pit in 
which is the word PLATO. Over his head is inscribed 
ARISTOTELES; he is followed by a pope, a bishop, 
monks, &c. &c. 

2. Another oblong wood engraving, 6j inches by 2j, 
in two compartments, divided by a pillar. In one, the 
Judgment of Solomon; in the other, Christ and the 
woman taken in adultery ; he writes something on the 
ground with his finger. It has the date 1539. 

3. Another, size as No. 2. An emperor is sitting in 
a court of justice with several spectators attending some 
trial. This is doubtful. 


4. Another oblong print, 10 \ inches by 3, and in two 
compartments. 1. David prostrate before the Deity in 
the clouds, accompanied by Manasses and a youth, 
over whom is inscribed OFF EN SVNDER. 2. A pope on 
a throne delivering some book, perhaps letters of indul- 
gence, to a kneeling monk. This very beautiful print 
has been called " The Traffic of Indulgences," and is 
minutely and correctly described by Jansen. 7 

5. A print, 12 inches by 6, representing a combat in 
a wood between several naked persons and a troop of 
peasants armed with instruments of husbandry. Below 
on the left, the letters pj ]/\_. Annexed are two tablets, 
one of which is inscribed HANS LEVCZELLBVRGER 
FVRMSCHNIDER; on the other is an alphabet. Jansen 
has also mentioned this print. 8 Brulliot describes a 
copy of it in the cabinet of prints belonging to the King 
of Bavaria, in which, besides the name, is the date 


6. A print of a dagger or knife case, in length 9 
inches. At top, a figure inscribed VENVS has a lighted 
torch in one hand and a horn in the other; she is ac- 
companied by Cupid. In the middle two boys are 
playing, and at bottom three others standing, one with 
a helmet. 

7. A copy of Albert Durer's decollation of John the 
Baptist, with the mark H L reversed, is mentioned by 
Zani as certainly belonging to this artist. 10 In the 
index of names, he says, he finds his name thus written 


mato) FRANCK, and calls him the true prince of en- 
gravers on wood. 

8. An alphabet with a Dance of Death, the subjects 

7 Essai sur 1'origine de la gravure, &c. torn. i. p. 260. 

8 Id. p. 261. 

9 Diet, de monogrammes, &c. torn. i. pp. 418, 499. 

10 Enciclop. metod. par ii. vol. vii. p. 16. 


of which, with a few exceptions, are the same as those 
in the other Dance; the designs, however, occasionally 
vary. In delicacy of drawing, in strength of character 
and in skill as to engraving they may be justly pro- 
nounced superior to every thing of the kind, and 
their excellence will probably remain a long time unri- 
valled. The figures are so small as almost to require 
the aid of lenses, the size of each letter being only an 
inch square. Zani had seen and admired this alphabet 
at Dresden. 11 

9. Another alphabet by the same artists. It is a 
Dance of Peasants, intermixed with other subjects, 
some of which are not of the most delicate nature. 
They are smaller than the letters in the preceding ar- 
ticle, and are probably connected in point of design with 
the Dance of Peasants that Holbein is said to have 
painted at Basle. 

10. Another alphabet, also by the same artists. This 
is in all respects equal in beauty and merit to the 
others, and exhibits groups of boys in the most amusing 
and playful attitudes and employments. The size of 
the letters is little more than half an inch square. 
These children much resemble those which Holbein 
probably added to the later editions of the Lyons en- 
gravings. 12 

The proofs of the above alphabets, may have been 
deposited by Lutzenberger in the public library of. his 
native city. Whether they were cut on wood or on 
metal may admit of a doubt; but there is reason to 
believe that the old printers and type-cutters occasion- 
ally used blocks of metal instead of wood for their 
figured initial letters, and the term formschmider equally 
applies to those who engraved in relief on either of those 

11 Enciclop. metod. par. i. vol. x. p. 467. 

13 All the above prints are in the author's possession, except No. 7, 
md his copy of No. 5 has not the tablets with the name, &c. 


materials. Nothing can exceed the beauty and spirit of 
the design in these alphabets, nor the extreme delicacy 
and accurate minuteness of the engraving. 

The letters in these respective alphabets were in- 
tended for the use of printers, and especially those of 
Basle, as Cratander, Bebelius, and Isingrin. Copies and 
imitations of then are to be found in many books printed 
at Zurich, Strasburg, Vienna, Augsburg, Frankfort, &c. 
and a few even in books printed at London by Waley, 
Purslowe, Marsh, and Nicholson, particularly in a 
quarto edition of Coverdale's Bible, if printed in the 
latter city ; and one of them, a capital A, is in an edi- 
tion of Stowe's Survey of London, 1618, 4to. 

There is an unfortunate ambiguity connected with 
the marks that are found on ancient engravings in 
wood, and it has been a very great error on the part of 
all the writers who treat on such engravings, in referring 
the marks that accompany them to the block-cutters, or 
as the Germans properly denominate them the form- 
schmiders, whilst, perhaps, the greatest part of them 
really belong to the designers, as is undoubtedly the 
case with respect to Albert Durer, Hans Schaufelin, 
Jost Amman, Tobias Stimmer, &c. It may be laid 
down as a rule that there is no certainty as to the 
marks of engravers, except where they are accompanied 
with some implement of their art, especially a graving 
tool. Where the designer of the subject put his mark 
on the drawing which he made on, or for, the block, 
the engraver would, of course, copy it. Sometimes the 
marks of both designer and engraver are found on 
prints, and in these cases the ambiguity is consequently 



List of several editions of the Lyons work on the Dance 
of Death, with the mark of Lutzenberger. Copies of 
them on wood. Copies on copper by anonymous ar- 
tists. By Wenceslaus Hollar. Other anonymous ar- 
tists. Nieu-hof Picard. Rusting. Mechel. Cro- 
zat's drawings. Deuchar. Imitations of some of the 


ES Simulachres et historiees faces de 
la Mort, autant elegamment pour- 
traictes, que artificiellement ima- 
ginees. A Lyon, Soubz 1'escu de 
Coloigne, MDXXXVIII." At the end 
" Excudebant Lugduni Melchior et Gaspar Trechsel 
fratres, 1538," 4to. On this title-page is a cut of a 
triple-headed figure crowned with wings, on a pedestal, 
over which a book with TNO6I SEAYTON. Below, 
two serpents and two globes, with " usus me genuit." 
This has, 1. A dedication to Madame Jehanne de 
Touszele. 2. Di verses tables de mort, non painctes, 
mais extraictes de Tescripture saincte, colorees par 
Docteurs Ecclesiastiques, et umbragees par philoso- 
phes. 3. Over each print, passages from scripture, 
allusive to the subject, in Latin, and at bottom the sub- 
stance of them in four French verses. 4. Figures de 
la mort moralement descriptes et depeinctes selon 1'au- 
thorite de 1'scripture, et des Sainctz Peres. 5. Les 
diverses mors des bons, et des maulvais du viel, et nou- 
veau testament. 6. Des sepultures des justes. 7. Me- 
morables authoritez, et sentences des philosophes, et 


orateurs Payens pour confermer les vivans a noi 
craindre la mort. 7. De la necessite de la mort qi 
ne laisse riens estre par durable." With forty-one cuts 
This may be safely regarded as the first edition of th< 
work. There is nothing in the title page that indicates 
any preceding one. 

IL " Les Simulachres et historiees faces de la moi 
contenant la Medecine de Tame, utile et necessaire noi 
seulement aux malades mais a tous qui sont en bonn< 
disposition corporelle. D'avantage, la forme et maniei 
de consoler les malades. Sermon de sainct Cecil 
Cyprian, intitule de Mortalite. Sermon de S. Jai 
Chrysostome, pour nous exhorter a patience : traictanl 
aussi de la consommation de ce siecle, et du secom 
advenement de Jesus Christ, de la joye eternelle d< 
justes, de la peine et damnation des mauvais, et auti 
choses necessaires a un chascun chrestien, pour biei 
.vivre et bien mourir. A Lyon, a 1'escu de Coloigne, 
chez Jan et Francois Frellon freres," 1542, 12mo. Wit! 
forty-one cuts. Then a moral epistle to the reader, ii 
French. The descriptions of the cuts in Latin and 
French as before, and the pieces expressed in the title page. 

III. '* Imagines Mortis. His accesserunt, Epigram- 
mata, e Gallico idiomate a Georgio ^Emylio in Latinui 
translata. Ad haec, Medicina animae, tarn iis qui firma, 
quam qui adversa corporis raletudine praediti sunt 
maxime necessaria. Ratio consolandi ob morbi gravi- 
tatem periculos decumbentes. Quee his addita suni 
sequens pagina commonstrabit. Lugduni, sub scul 
Coloniensi, 1545." With the device of the crab an< 
the butterfly. At the end, " Lugduni Excudebanl 
Joannes et Franciscus Frellonii fratres," 1545, 12mo. 
The whole of the text is in Latin, and translated, except 
the scriptural passages, from the French, by George 
jEmylius, as he also states in some verses at the b< 
ginning; but several of the mottoes at bottom 
different and enlarged. It has forty-two cuts, the ad 


ditional one, probably not by the former artist, being 
that of the beggar sitting on the ground before an 
arched gate: extremely fine, particularly the beggar's 
head. This subject has no connection with the Dance 
of Death, and is placed in another part of the vo- 
lume, though in subsequent editions incorporated with 
the other prints. The " Medicina animae" is very dif- 
ferent from the French one. There is some reason for 
supposing that the Frellons had already printed an 
edition with ^Emylius's text in 1542. This person was 
an eminent German divine of Mansfelt, and the author 
of many pious works. In the present edition the first 
cut of the creation exhibits a crack in the block from 
the top to the bottom, but it had been in that state 
in 1543, as appears from an impression of it in Hol- 
bein's Bible of that date. It is found so in all the 
subsequent editions of the present work, with the ex- 
ception of those in Italian of 1549 and in the Bible of 
1549, in which the crack appears to have been closed, 
probably by cramping ; but the block again separated 

This edition is of some importance with respect to the 
question as to the priority of the publication of the 
work in France or Germany, or, in other words, whether 
at Lyons or Basle. It is accompanied by some lines 
addressed to the reader, which begin in the following 
manner : 

Accipe jucundo praesentia carmina vultu, 

Seu Germane legis, sive ea Galle legis : 
In quibus extremae qualis sit mortis imago 

Reddidit imparibus Musa Latina modis 
Gallia qua dederat lepidis epigrammata verbis 

Teutona convertens est imitata manus. 
Da veniam nobis doctissime Galle, videbis 

Versibus appositis reddita si qua parum. 

Now, had the work been originally published in the 
German language, ^Emylius, himself a German, would, 


as already observed, scarcely have preferred a French 
text for his Latin version. This circumstance furnishes 
likewise, an argument against the supposed existence of 
German verses at the bottom of the early impressions of 
the cuts already mentioned. 

A copy of this edition, now in the library of the Bri- 
tish Museum, was presented to Prince Edward by Dr. 
William Bill, accompanied with a Latin dedication, 
dated from Cambridge, 19 July, 1546, wherein he re- 
commends the prince's attention to the figures in the 
book, in order to remind him that all must die to obtain 
immortality; and enlarges on the necessity of living 
well. He concludes with a wish that the Lord will 
long and happily preserve his life, and that he may 
finally reign to all eternity with his most Christian 
father. Bill was appointed one of the King's chaplains 
in ordinary, 1551, and was made the first Dean of 
Westminster in the reign of Elizabeth. 

IV. " Imagines Mortis. Duodecim imaginibus prae- 
ter priores, totidemque inscriptionibus praeter epigram- 
mata e Gallicis a Georgio Mmylio in Latinum versa, 
cumulatae. Quae his addita sunt, sequens pagina com- 
monstrabit. Lugduni sub scuto Coloniensi, 1547. " With 
the device of the crab and butterfly. At the end, " Ex- 
cudebat Joannes Frellonius, 1547," 12mo. This edition 
has twelve more cuts than those of 1538 and 1542, and 
eleven more than that of 1545, being, the soldier, the 
gamblers, the drunkards, the fool, the robber, the blind 
man, the wine carrier, and four of boys. In all fifty- 
three. Five of the additional cuts have a single line 
only in the frames, whilst the others have a double one. 
All are nearly equal in merit to those which first ap- 
peared in 1538. 

V. " Icones Mortis, Duodecim imaginibus praeter 
priores, totidemque inscriptionibus, praeter epigram- 
mata e Gallicis a Georgio ^Emylio in Latinum versa, 
cumulatae. Quae his addita sunt, sequens pagina com- 


monstrabit, Lugduni sub scuto Coloniensi, 1547." 
12mo. At the end, Excudebat Johannes Frellonius, 
1547. This edition contains fifty-three cuts, and is 
precisely similar to the one described immediately 
before, except that it is entitled Icones, instead of Ima- 
gines Mortis. 

VI. " Les Images de la Mort. Auxquelles sont ad- 
joustees douze figures. Davantage, la medecine de 
1'ame, la consolation des malades, un sermon de mor- 
talite, par Sainct Cyprian, un sermon de patience, par 
Sainct Jehan Chrysostome. A Lyon. A 1'escu de 
Cologne, chez Jehan Frellon, 1547." With the device of 
the crab and butterfly. At the end, " Imprime a Lyon 
a 1'escu de Coloigne, par Jehan Frellon, 1547. 12mo." 
The verses at bottom of the cuts the same as in the 
edition of 1538, with similar ones for the additional. 
In all, fifty-three cuts. 

VII. " Simolachri historic, e figure de la morte. La 
medicina de Panima. II modo, e la via di consolar 
gPinfermi. Un sermone di San Cipriano, de la mortalita. 
Due orationi, Pun a Dio, e Paltra a Christo. Un ser- 
mone di S. Giovan. Chrisostomo, che ci essorta a pa- 
tienza. Aiuntovi di nuovo molte figure mai piu stam- 
pate. In Lyone appresso Giovan' Frellone MDXLIX." 
12mo. With the device of the crab and butterfly. At 
the end, the same device on a larger scale in a circle. 
Fifty-three cuts. The scriptural passages are in Latin. 
To this edition Frellon has prefixed a preface, in which 
he complains of a pirated copy of the work in Italian by 
a printer at Venice, which will be more particularly 
noticed hereafter. He maintains that the cuts in this 
spurious edition are far less beautiful than the French 
ones, and this passage goes very far in aid of the argu- 
ment that they are not of German origin. Frellon, by 
way of revenge, and to save the trouble of making a 
new translation of the articles that compose the volume, 
makes use of that of his Italian competitor. 


VIII. " Icones Mortis. Duodecim Imaginibus praeter 
priores, totidemque inscriptionibus, praeter epigrammata 
e Gallicis a Georgio ^mylio in Latinum versa, cumu- 
latae. Quae his addita sunt, sequens pagina common- 
strabit. Basileae, 1554. 12mo." With fifty-three cuts. 
It would not be very easy to account for the absence of 
the name of the Basle printer. 

IX. " Les Images de la Mort, auxquelles sont 
adjoustees dix sept figures. Davantage, la medecine de 
1'ame. La consolation des malades. Un sermon de 
mortalite, par Saint Cyprian. Un sermon de patience, 
par Saint Jehan Chrysostome. A Lyon, par Jehan 
Frellon, 1562." With the device of the crab and but- 
terfly. At the end, " A Lyon, par Symphorien Barbier," 
]2mo. This edition has five additional cuts, viz. 1. A 
group of boys, as a triumphal procession, with military 
trophies. 2. The bride ; the husband plays on a lute ? 
whilst Death leads the wife in tears. 3. The bride- 
groom led by Death blowing a trumpet. Both these 
subjects are appropriately described in the verses below. 
4. A group of boy warriors, one on horseback with a 
standard. 5. Another group of boys with drums, horns, 
and trumpets. These additional cuts are designed and 
engraved in the same masterly style as the others, but it 
is now impossible to ascertain the artists who have exe- 
cuted them. From the decorations to several books 
published at Lyons it is very clear that there were per- 
sons in that city capable of the task. Holbein had 
been dead eight years, after a long residence in 

Du Verdier, in his Bibliotheque Franoise, mentions 
this edition, and adds that it was translated from the 
French into Latin, Italian, Spanish, German, and 
English; 13 a statement that stands greatly in need of 
confirmation as to the last three languages, but this 

13 Edit. Javigny, iv. 559. 


writer, on too many occasions, deserves but small com- 
pliment for his accuracy. 

X. " Imagines Mortis : item epigrammata e Gall, a 
G. ^Emilio in Latinum versa. Lugdun. Frellonius, 
1574." 12mo. 14 

XI. In 1654 a Dutch work appeared with the follow- 
ing title, " De Doodt vermaskert met swerelts ydelheyt 
afghedaen door G. V. Wolsschaten, verciert met de con- 
stighe Belden vanden maerden Schilder Hans Holbein. 
i. e. Death masked, with the world's vanity, by G. V. 
Wolsschaten, ornamented with the ingenious images of 
the famous painter Hans Holbein. T'Antwerpen, by 
Petrus Bellerus." This is on an engraved frontispiece of 
tablet, over which are spread a man's head and the skin 
a of two arms supported by two Deaths blowing trum- 
pets. Below, a spade, a pilgrim's staff, a scepter, and a 
crosier, with a label, on which is "sceptra ligonibus 
aequat." Then follows another title-page, with the same 
words, and the addition of Geeraerdt Van Wolsscha- 
ten's designation, " Prevost van sijne conincklijcke 
Majesteyts Munten des Heertoogdoms van Brabant, 
&c. MDCLIV." 12mo. The author of the text, which is 
mixed up with poetry and historical matter, was prefect 
of the mint in the Duchy of Brabant. 15 This edition 
contains eighteen cuts, among which the following sub- 
jects are from the original blocks. 1. Three boys. 2. 
The married couple. 3. The pedlar. 4. The shipwreck. 
5. The beggar. 6. The corrupt judge. 7. The astrologer. 
8. The old man. 9. The physician. 10. The priest 
with the eucharist. 11. The monk. 12. The abbess. 
13. The abbot. 14. The duke. Four others, viz. the 

14 This edition is given on the authority of Peignot, p. 62, but has 
not been seen by the author of this work. In the year 1547, there were 
three editions, and it is not improbable that, by the transposition of the 
two last figures, one of these might have been intended. 

15 Foppen's Biblioth. Belgica, i. 363. 


child, the emperor, the countess, and the pope, are 
copies, and very badly engraved. The blocks of the 
originals appear to have fallen into the hands of an 
artist, who probably resided at Antwerp, and several of 
them have his mark, ^yj , concerning which more will 
be said under one of the ensuing articles. As many en- 
gravings on wood by this person appeared in the middle 
of the sixteenth century, it is probable that he had 
already used these original blocks in some edition of the 
Dance of Death that does not seem to have been re- 
corded. There are evident marks of retouching in these 
cuts, but when they first appeared cannot now be ascer- 
tained. The mark might have been placed on them, 
either to denote ownership, according to the usual prac- 
tice at that time, or to indicate that they had been 
repaired by that particular artist. 

All these editions, except that of 1574, have been 
seen and carefully examined on the present occasion : 
the supposed one of 1530 has not been included in this 
list, and remains to be seen and accurately described, if 
existing, by competent witnesses. 

Papillon, in his Traite de la gravure en bois, has 
given an elaborate, but, as usual with him, a very 
faulty description of these engravings. He enlarges on 
the beauty of the last cut with the allegorical coat of 
arms, and particularly on that of the gentleman whose 
right hand he states to be placed on its side, whilst it 
certainly is extended, and touches with the back of it 
the mantle on which the helmet and shield of arms are 
placed. He errs likewise in making the female look 
towards a sort of dog's head, according to him, under 
the mantle and right-hand of her husband, which, he 
adds, might be taken for the pummell of his sword, and 
that she fondles this head with her right hand, &c. not 
one word of which is correct. He says that a good 
impression of this print would be well worth a Louis 
d'or to an amateur. He appears to have been in pos- 


session of the block belonging to the subject of the 
lovers preceded by Death with a drum ; but it had been 
spoiled by the stroke of a plane. 


I. At the head of these, in point of merit, must be 
placed the Italian spurious edition mentioned in No. 
VII. of the preceding list. It is entitled " Simo- 
lachri historic, e figure de la morte, ove si contiene la 
medicina de Tanima utile e necessaria, non solo a gli 
ammalati, ma tutte i sani. Et appresso, il modo, e la 
via di consolar g-rinfermi. Un sermone di S. Cipriano, 
de la mortalita. Due orationi, 1'una a Dio, e 1'altra a 
Christo da dire appresso rammalato oppresso da grave 
infermita. Un sermone di S. Giovan Chrisostomo, che 
ci essorta a patienza ; e che tratta de la consumatione 
del secolo presente, e del secondo avenimento di Jesu 
Christo, de la eterna felicita de giusti, de la pena e 
dannatione de rei; et altre cose necessarie a ciascun 
Christiano, per ben vivere, e ben morire. Con gratia e 
privilegio de Tillustriss. Senato Vinitiano, per anni 
dieci. Appresso Vincenzo Vaugris al segno d'Erasmo, 
MDXLV." 12mo. .With a device of the brazen serpent, 
repeated at the end. It has all the cuts in the genuine 
edition of the same date, except that of the beggar at 
the gate. It contains a very moral dedication to Signor 
Antonio Calergi by the publisher Vaugris or Valgrisi ; 
in which, with unjustifiable confidence, he enlarges on 
the great beauty of the work, the cuts in which are, in 
| his estimation, not merely equal, but far superior to 
those in the French edition in design and engraving. 
They certainly approach the nearest to the fine originals 
of all the imitations, but will be found on comparison to 
be inferior. The mark on tne cut of the duchess 


sitting up in bed, with the two Deaths, one of whom is 
fiddling, whilst the other pulls at the clothes, is re- 
tained, but this could not be with a view to pass these 
engravings as originals, after what is stated in the de- 
dication. An artist's eye will easily perceive the differ- 
ence in spirit and decision of drawing. In the ensuing 
year 1546, Valgrisi republished this book in Latin, but 
without the dedication, and there are impressions of 
them on single sheets, one of which has at the bottom, 
" In Venetia, MDLXVIII. Fra. Valerio Faenzi Inquis. 
Apreso Luca Bertelli." So that they required a license 
from the Inquisition. 

II. In the absence of any other Italian editions of the 
" Simolachri," it is necessary to mention that twenty- 
four of the last-mentioned cuts were introduced in a 
work of extreme rarity, and which has escaped the 
notice of bibliographers, intitled " Discorsi Morali dell' 
eccell. Sig. Fabio Glissenti contra il dispiacer del mo- 
rire. Detto Athanatophilia Venetia, 1609." 4to. These 
twenty-four were probably all that then remained ; and 
five others of subjects belonging also to the " Simo- 
lachri," are inserted in this work, but very badly imi- 
tated, and two of them reversed. In the subject of 
the Pope there is in the original a brace of grotesque 
devils, one of which is completely erased in Glissenti, 
and a plug inserted where the other had been scooped 
out. A similar rasure of a devil occurs in the subject 
of the two rich men in conversation, the demon blowing 
with a bellows into his ear, whilst a poor beggar in 
vain touches him to be heard. Besides these cuts, 
Glissenti's work is ornamented with a great number of 
others, connected in some way or other with the sub- 
ject of Death, which the author discusses in almost 
every possible variety of manner. He appears to have 
been a physician, and an exceedingly pious man. His 
portrait is prefixed to every division of the work, which 
consists of five dialogues. 


III. In an anonymous work, intitled "Tromba so- 
nora per richiamar i morti viventi dalla tomba della colpa 
alia vita della gratia. In Venetia, 1670." 8vo. Of 
which there had already been three editions ; there are 
six of the prints from the originals, as in the " Simo- 
lachri," &c. No. I. and a few others, the same as the 
additional ones to Glissenti's work. 

In another volume, intitled " II non plus ultra di 
tutte le scienze ricchezze honori, e diletti del mondo, 
&c. In Venetia, 1677." 24mo. There are twenty-five 
of the cuts as in the Simolachri, and several others from 
those added to Glissenti. 

IV. A set of cuts which do not seem to have belonged 
to any work. They are very close copies of the origi- 
nals. On the subject of the Duchess in bed, the letter 
S appears on the base of one of the pillars or posts, 
instead of the original 1~T and it is also seen on the 
cut of the soldier pierced by the lance of Death. Two 
have the date 1546. In that of the monk, whom, in the 
original, Death seizes by the cowl or hood, the artist 
has made a whimsical alteration, by converting the 
hood into a fool's cap with bells and asses' ears, and the 
monk's wallet into a fool's bauble. It is probable that 
he was of the reformed religion. 

V. " Imagines Mortis, his accesserunt epigrammata 
e Gallico idiomate a Georgio JEmylio in Latinum trans- 
lata, &c. Colonise apud hseredes Arnoldi Birckmanni, 
anno 1555. 12mo." With fifty-three cuts. This may 
be regarded as a surreptitious edition of No. IV. of the 
originals by JL P- 106. The cuts are by the artist men- 
tioned in No. IX. of those originals, whose mark is 
1^/2 which is here found on five of them. They are all 
reversed, except the nobleman; and although not devoid 
of merit, they are not only very inferior to the fine ori- 
ginals, but also to the Italian copies in No. I. The 
first two subjects are newly designed ; the two Devils 
in that of the Pope are omitted, and there are several 



variations, always for the worse, in many of the others, 
of which a tasteless example is found in that of Death 
and the soldier, where the thigh bone, as the very ap- 
propriate weapon of Death, is here converted into the 
common-place dart. The mark n A in the original cut 
of the Duchess in bed, is here omitted, without the 
substitution of any other. This edition was republished 
by the same persons, without any variation, successively 
in 1557, 1566, 1567, and 1573. 16 

Papillon, in his " Traite sur la gravure en bois," 17 
when noticing the above-mentioned mark, has, amidst 
the innumerable errors that abound in his otherwise 
curious work, been led into a mistake of an exceedingly 
ludicrous nature, by converting the owner of the mark 
into a cardinal. He had found it on the cuts to an 
edition of Faerno's fables, printed at Antwerp, 1567, 
which is dedicated to Cardinal Borromeo by Silvio An- 
toniano, professor of Belles Lettres at Rome, afterwards 
secretary to Pope Pius IV. and at length himself a 
Cardinal. He was the editor of Faerno's work. Another 
of Papillon's blunders is equally curious and absurd. 
He had seen an edition of the Emblems of Sambucus, 
with cuts, bearing the mark ^/f^ in which there is a 
fine portrait of the author with his favourite dog, and 
under the latter the word BOM BO, which Papillon 
gravely states to be the name of the engraver; and 
finding the same word on another of the emblems 
which has also the dog, he concludes that all the cuts 
which have not the ^/[^ were engraved by the same 
BOM BO. Had Papillon, a good artist in his time, but 
an ignorant man, been able to comprehend the verses 
belonging to that particular emblem, he would have 
seen that the above word was merely the name of the 

16 That of 1557 has a frontispiece with Death pointing to his hour- 
glass when addressing a German soldier. 

17 Tom. i. p. 238. 525. 


dog, as Sambucus himself has declared, whilst paying 
a laudable tribute to the attachment of the faithful 
companion of his travels. Brulliot, in his article on the 
mark ^/f^ l& has mentioned Papillon's ascription of it 
to Silvio Antoniano, but without correcting the blunder, 
as he ought to have done. This monogram appears on 
five of the cuts to the present edition of the " Imagines 
Mortis;" but M. De Murr and his follower Janssen, 
are not warranted in supposing the rest of them to have 
been engraved by a different artist. 

It will perhaps not be deemed an unimportant digres- 
sion to introduce a few remarks concerning the owner 
of the above monogram. It is by no means clear whe- 
ther he was a designer or an engraver, or even both. 
There is a chiaroscuro print of a group of saints, en- 
graved by Peter Kints, an obscure artist, with the name 
of Antony Sallaerts at length, and the mark. Here he 
appears as a designer. M. Malpe, the Besanc^on author 
of " Notices sur les graveurs," speaks of Sallaerts as an 
excellent painter, born at Brussels about 1576, which 
date cannot possibly apply to the artist in question; 
but at the same time, he adds, that he is said to have 
engraved on wood the cuts in a little catechism printed 
at Antv/erp that have the monogram jf*. These are 
certainly very beautiful, in accordance with many others 
with the same mark, and very superior in design to 
those which have it in the "Imagines Mortis." M. 
Malpe has also an article for Antony Silvyus or Silvius, 
born at Antwerp about 1525, and he mentions several 
books with engravings and the mark in question, which 
he gives to the same person. M. Brulliot expresses a 
doubt as to this artist ; but it is very certain there was 
a family of that name, and surnamed, or at least some- 
times called, Bosche or Bush, which indeed is more 
likely to have been the real Flemish name Latinized 

18 Diet, de Monogrammes, col. 528. 


into Silvius. Foppens 19 has mentioned an Antony Sil- 
vius, a schoolmaster at Antwerp, in 1565, and several 
other members of this family. Two belonging to it 
were engravers, and another a writing master. 

Whether the artist in question was a Sallaerts or a 
Silvius, it is certain that Plantin, the celebrated printer, 
employed him to decorate several of his volumes, and it 
is to be regretted that an unsuccessful search has been 
made for him in Plantin's account books, that were not 
long since preserved, with many articles belonging to 
him, in his house at Antwerp. His mark also appears 
in several books printed in England during the reign of 
Elizabeth, and particularly on a beautiful set of initial 
letters, some of which contain the story of Cupid and 
Psyche, from the supposed designs by Raphael, and 
other subjects from Ovid's Metamorphoses: these have 
been counterfeited, and perhaps in England. The initial 
G> in this alphabet, with the subject of Leda and the 
swan, was inadvertently prefixed to the sacred name at 
the beginning of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews in 
the Bishop's Bible, printed by Rd. Jugge in 1572, and 
in one of his Common Prayer Books. An elegant por- 
trait of Edward VI. with the mark ^/i is likewise on 
Jugge's edition of the New Testament, 1552, 4to. and 
there is reason to believe that Jugge employed this 
artist, as the same monogram appears on a cut of his 
device of the pelican. 

VI. In the German volume, the title of which is 
already given in the first article of the engravings from 
the Basle painting, 20 there are twenty-nine subjects 
belonging to the present work ; the rest relating to the 
Basle dance, except two or three that are not in either 
of them. These have fallen into the hands of' a modern 
bookseller, but there can be no doubt that there were 

19 Biblioth. Belgica, i. 92. 
30 See p. 40. 


other editions which contained the whole set. The 
most of them have the letters vjr- ^5 . with the graving 
tool, and one has the date 1576. The name of this 
artist is unknown ; but M. Bartsch has mentioned se- 
veral other engravings by him, omitting, however, the 
present, which, it is to be observed, sometimes vary in 
design from the originals. 

VII. " Imagines Mortis illustrates epigrammatis 
Georgii ^Emylii theol. doctoris. Fraxineus JEmylio 
Suo. Criminis ut poenam mortem mors sustulit una : 
sic te immortalem mortis imago facit." With a cut of 
Death and the old man. This is the middle part only 
of a work, intitled " Libellus Davidis Chytrsei de morte 
et vita aeterna. Editio postrema; cui additae sunt 
imagines mortis, illustrata Epigrammatis D. Georgio 
jEmylio, Witebergae. Impressus a Matthseo Welack, 
anno MDXC." 12mo. The cuts, fifty-three in number, 
are, on the whole, tolerably faithful, but coarsely en- 
graved. In the subject of the Pope the two Devils are 
omitted, and, in that of the Counsellor, the Demon blow- 
ing with a bellows into his ear is also wanting. Some 
have the mark -J-, and one that of VC/ with a knife or 
graving tool. 

VIII. " Todtentanz durch alle stendt der menschen, 
&c. furgebildet mit figuren. S. Gallen, 1581." 4to. 
See Janssen, Essai sur 1'origine de la gravure, i. 122, 
who seems to make them copies of the originals. 

IX. The last article in this list of the old copies, 
though prior in date to some of the preceding, is placed 
here as differing materially from them with respect to 
size. It is a small folio, with the following title, 
" Todtentantz, 

Das menschlichs leben anders nicht 

Dann nur ain lauff zum Tod 
Und Got ain nach seim glauben richt 

Dess findstu klaren tschaid 


O Mensch hicrinn mit andacht lisz 

Und fassz zu hertzen das 
So wirdsttu Ewigs hayls gewisz 

Kanst sterben dester has. 


Desine longaevos exposcere sedulus annos 

Inque bonis multos annumerare dies 
Atque hodie, fatale velit si rumpere filum 

Atropos, impavido pectore disce mori." 

At the end, " Gedruckt inn der kaiserlichen Reychstatt 
Augspurg durch Jobst Denecker Formschneyder." This 
edition is not only valuable for its extreme rarity, but 
for the very accurate and spirited manner in which the 
fine original cuts are copied. It contains all the subjects 
that were then published, but not arranged as those had 
been. It has the addition of one singular print, intitled 
" Der Eebrecher," *. e. the Adulterer, representing a 
man discovering the adulterer in bed with his wife, and 
plunging his sword through both of them, Death guiding 
his hands. On the opposite page to each engraving 
there is a dialogue between Death and the party, and at 
bottom a Latin hexameter. The subject of the Pleader 
has the unknown mark 3 V L an ^ on that f tne 
Duchess in bed, there is the date 1542. From the 
above colophon we are to infer that Dennecker, or as 
he is sometimes, and perhaps more properly, called De 
Necker or De Negher, was the engraver, as he is known 
to have executed many other engravings on wood, espe- 
cially for Hans Schaufelin, with whom he was connected. 
He was also employed in the celebrated triumph of 
Maximilian, and in a collection of saints, to whom the 
family of that emperor was related. 

X. " Emblems of Mortality, representing, in upwards 
of fifty cuts, Death seizing all ranks and degrees of 
people, &c. Printed for T. Hodgson, in George's Court, 
St. John's Lane, Clerkenwell, 1789. 12mo." With an 


historical essay on the subject, and translations of the 
Latin verses in the Imagines Mortis, by John Sidney 
Hawkins, esq. The cuts were engraved by the brother 
of the celebrated Bewick, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and 
a pupil of Hodgson, who was an engraver on wood of 
some merit at that time. They are but indifferently 
executed, but would have been better had the artist 
been more liberally encouraged by the master, who was 
the publisher on his own account, Mr. Hawkins very 

:indly furnishing the letter-press. They are faithful 
copies of all the originals, except the first, which, con- 
taining a figure of the Deity habited as a Pope, was 
scrupulously exchanged for another design. A frontis- 
piece is added, representing Death leading up all classes 

>f men and women. 

XI. " The Dance of Death of the celebrated Hans 
Holbein, in a series of fifty-two engravings on wood by 
Mr. Bewick, with letter-press illustrations. 

What's yet in this 

That bears the name of life ? Yet in this life 
Lie hid more thousand Deaths : yet Death we fear, 
That makes these odds all even. 


London. William Charlton Wright." 12mo. With a fron- 
tispiece, partly copied from that in the preceding article, 
a common-place life of Holbein, and an introduction 
pillaged verbatim from an edition with Hollar's cuts, 
published by Mr. Edwards. The cuts, with two or 
three exceptions, are imitated from the originals, but all 
the human figures are ridiculously modernised. The 
text to the subjects is partly descriptions in prose, and 
partly Mr. Hawkins's verses, and the cuts, if Bewick's, 
very inferior to those in his other works. 

XII. " Emblems of Mortality, representing Death 
seizing all ranks and degrees of people. Imitated in a 
series of wood cuts from a painting in the cemetery of 
the Dominican church at Basil in Switzerland, with 


appropriate texts of scripture, and a poetical apostrophe 
to each, freely translated from the Latin and French. 
London. Printed for Whittingham and Arliss, j uvenile 
library, Paternoster-row." 12mo. The frontispiece and 
the rest of the cuts, with two exceptions, from the same 
blocks as those used for the last-mentioned edition. The 
preface, with very slight variation, is abridged from that 
by Mr. Hawkins in No. VIII. and the descriptive verses 
altogether the same as those in that edition. Both the 
last articles seem intended for popular and juvenile use. 
It will be immediately perceived that the title page is 
erroneous in confounding the Basle Dance of Death 
with that in the volume itself. 

XIII. The last in this list is " Hans Holbein's Todten- 
tanz in 53 getreu nach den holtz schnitten lithographir- 
ten Blattern. Herausgegeben von J. Schlotthauer, K. 
Professor. Mit erklarendem Texte. Munschen, 1832. 
Auf kosten des Herausgebers," 12mo. or, "Hans Hol- 
bein's Dance of Death in fifty-three lithographic leaves, 
faithfully taken from wood engravings. Published by J. 
Schlotthauer, royal professor, with explanatory text. 
Munich, 1832. At the cost of the editors." This 
work is executed in so beautiful and accurate a manner 
that it might easily be mistaken for the wood originals. 

The professor has substituted German verses, com- 
municated by a friend, instead of the former Latin ones. 
He states that the subject will be taken up by Professor 
Massman, of Munich, whose work will satisfy all en- 
quiries relating to it. Massman, however, has added 
to this volume a sort of explanatory appendix, in which 
some of the editions are mentioned. He thinks it pos- 
sible that the cholera may excite the same attention to 
this work as the plague had formerly excited to the old 
Macaber Dance at Basle, and concludes with a promise 
to treat the subject more at large at some future time. 



I. " Todten Dantz durch alle stande und Beschlecht 
der Menschen, &c." i. e. " Death's Dance through all 
ranks and conditions of men/' This title is on a fron- 
tispiece representing a gate of rustic architecture, at 
the top of which are two boy angels with emblems of 
mortality between them, and underneath are the three 
Fates. At the bottom, Adam and Eve with the tree of 
knowledge, each holding the apple presented by the 
serpent. Between them is a circular table, on which 
are eight sculls of a Pope, Emperor, Cardinal, &c. with 
appropriate mottoes in Latin. On the outer edge of 
MORI POST HOC AVTEM ivDicivM. In the centre the 
letters MVS, the terminating syllable of each motto. 
Before the gate are two pedestals, inscribed MEMENTO 
MORI and MEMORARE NovissiMA, on which stand 
figures of Death supporting two pyramids or obelisks 
surmounted with sculls and a cross, and inscribed 
ITER AD VITAM. Below, " Eberh. Kieser excudit." 
This frontispiece is a copy of a large print engraved on 
wood long before. Without date, in quarto. 

The work consists of sixty prints within borders of 
flowers, &c. in the execution of which two different and 
anonymous artists have been employed. At the top of 
each print is the name of the subject, accompanied with 
a passage from scripture, and at the bottom three 
couplets of German verses. Most of the subjects are 
copied from the completest editions of the Lyons cuts, 
with occasional slight variations. They are not placed 
in the same order, and all are reversed, except Nos. 57 
and 60. No. 12 is not reversed, but very much altered, 
a sort of duplicate of the Miser. No. 50, the Jew, and 
No. 51, the Jewess, are entirely new. The latter is 


sitting at a table, on which is a heap of money, and 
Death appears to be giving effective directions to a 
demon to strangle her. No. 52 is also new. A castle 
within a hedge. Death enters one of the windows by a 
ladder, whilst a woman looks out of another. 21 The 
subject is from Jeremiah, ch. ix. v. 21. " Death is come 
up into our windows, &c." In the subject of the Pope, 
the two Devils are omitted. Two military groups of 
boys, newly designed, are added. The following are 
copies from Aldegrever, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 11, and 12. 
At the beginning and end of the book there are moral 
poems in the German language. 

II. Another edition of the same cuts. The title-page 
of the copy here described is unfortunately lost. It has 
a dedication in Latin to three patricians of Frankfort 
on the Maine by Daniel Meisner a Commenthaw, Boh. 
Poet. L. C. dated, according to the Roman capitals, in 
a passage from Psalm 46, in the year 1623. This is 
followed by the Latin epigram, or address to the 
reader, by Geo. ^Emylius, "whose translations of the 
original French couplets are also given, as well as the 
originals themselves. These are printed on pages oppo- 
site to the subjects, but they are often very carelessly 
transposed. At the end the date 1623 is twice repeated 
by means of the Roman capitals in two verses from 
Psalms 78 and 63, the one German, the other Latin. 

HI. " Icones Mortis sexaginta imaginibus totidemque 
inscriptionibus insignitae, versibus quoque Latinis et 
novis Germanicis illustrates. Vorbildungen desz Todtes. 


In sechtzig figuren durch alle Stande und Geschlechte, 
derselbigen nichtige Sterblichkeit furzuweisen, aus ge- 
bruckt, und mit so viel ubors schrifFren, auch Lateinis- 
chen und neuen Teutschen Verszlein erklaret. Durch 

21 This is the same subject as that in the Augustan monastery de- 
scribed in p. 48. 


Johann Vogel. Bey Paulus Fursten Kunsthandlern zu 
finden." On the back of this printed title is an en- 
graving of a hand issuing from the clouds and holding 
a pair of scales, in one of which is a scull, in the other 
a Papal tiara, sceptre, &c. weighing down the scull. 
On the beam of the scales an hour glass and an open 
book with Arabic numerals. In the distance, at bottom, 
is seen a traveller reposing in a shed. Above is a label, 
inscribed " Metas et tempora libro," and below, " Ich 
Wage ziel und zeitten ab." Then follows a neatly en- 
graved and regular title-page. At top, a winged scull 
surmounted with an hour-glass, and crossed with a 
spade and scythe. At bottom, three figures of Death 
sitting on the ground ; one of them plays on a hautboy, 
or trumpet, another on a bagpipe, and the third has a 
drum behind him. The middle exhibits a circular 
Dance of Death leading by the hand persons of all 
ranks from the Emperor downwards. In the centre of 
this circle " Toden Tantz zu finden bey Paulus Furst 
Kunst handlern, " and quite at the bottom of the page, 
" G. Stra. in. A. Khol fecit." Next comes an exhorta- 
tion on Death to the reader in Latin verse, followed by 
several poems in German and Latin, those in German 
signed G. P. H. Immediately afterwards, and before 
the first cut of the work is another elegantly engraved 
frontispiece representing an arched gate of stone sur- 
mounted with three sculls of a Pope, a Cardinal, and a 
King, between a vase of flowers on the right, and a pot 
of incense, a cock standing near it, on the left. On the 
keystone of the gate are two tilting lances in saltier, to 
which a shield and helmet are suspended. Through 
the arch is seen a chamber, in which there seems to be 
a bier, and near it a cross. On the left of the gate is a 
niche with a scull and bones in it. Below are two large 
figures of Death. That on the left has a wreath of 
flowers round its head, and is beating a bell with a 
bone. Under him is an owl, and on the side of his left 


knee a scythe. The other Death has a cap and feather, 
in his right hand an hour-glass, the left pointing to the 
opposite figure. On the ground between them, a bow, 
a quiver of arrows and a dart. On the left inner sid< 
of the gate a pot with holy water is suspended to 
ring, the sprinkler being a bone. Further on, withh 
the gate, is a flat stone, on which are several sculls am 
bones, a snake biting one of the sculls. On the righl 
hand corner at bottom is the letter &, perhaps tl 
mark of the unknown engraver. The explanations 01 
the pages opposite to each print are in German an( 
Latin verses, the latter by .ZEmylius, with occasions 
variations. This edition has the sixty prints in the t\ 
preceding Nos. some of them having been retouched 
and the cut of the King at table, No. 9, is by a different 
engraver from the artist of the same No. in the pr< 
ceding 4to. edition, No. I. The present edition hj 
also an additional engraving at the end, representing 
a gate, within which are seen several sculls and bones 
other sculls in a niche, and in the distance a cemetei 
with coffins and crosses. Over the gate a scull 01 
each side, and on the outer edge of the arch is th< 
inscription, "Quis Rex, quis subditus hie est?" 

Hie sage wer es sagen kan 
Wer konig sey? wer unterthan. 

Here let tell who may : 

Or, which be the king? which 

subject ? 
Paulus Furst Excu. 

The whole of the print in a border of sculls, bones 
snakes, toads, and a lizard. Opposite to it the dat 
1647 is to be gathered from the "Roman capitals in two 
scriptural quotations, the one in Latin, the other in 
German, ending with this colophon, "Gedrucht zu 
Nuremberg durch Christoff Lochner. In Verlegung 
Paul Fursten Kunsthandlern allda." 12mo. 

IV. A set of engravings, 8 inches by 8, of which the 


subject of the Pedlar, only has occurred on the present 
occasion. Instead of the trump-marine, which one of 
the Deaths plays on in the original cut, this artist has 
substituted a violin, and added a landscape in the back- 
ground. Below are these verses : 


Sus ? cesse ton traficq, car il fault a ceste heure 
Que tu sente Teffort de mon dard assere. 
Tu as assez vescu, il est temps que tu meure, 
Mon coup inevitable est pour toy prepare. 


Et de grace pardon, arreste ta cholere. 
Je suis pauvre marchant appaise ta rigueur. 
Permete qu'encore un temps je vive en ceste terre : 
Et puis tu recevras I'offrande de mon cceur. 

V. A set of thirty etchings by Wenceslaus Hollar, 
within elegant frames or borders designed by Diepen- 
becke, of which there are three varieties. The first of 
these has at the top a coffin with tapers, at bottom, 
Death lying prostrate. The sides have figures of time 
and eternity. At bottom, A b. Diepenbecke inv. W. Hol- 
lar fecit. The second has at top a Death's head crowned 
with the Papal tiara ; at bottom, a Death's head with 
cross-bones on a tablet, accompanied by a saw, a globe, 
armour, a gun, a drum, &c. On the sides are Hercules 
and Minerva. At bottom, Ab. Diepenbecke inv. W. Hol- 
lar fecit, 1651. The third has at top a Death's head, 
an hour-glass winged between two boys ; at bottom, a 
Death's head and cross-bones on a tablet between two 
boys holding hour-glasses. On the sides, Democritus and 
Heraclitus with fools' caps. This border has no inscrip- 
tion below. As these etchings are not numbered, the 
original arrangement of them cannot be ascertained. 
The names of Diepenbecke and Hollar are at the bottom 
of several of the borders, &c. On the subject of the 
Queen is the mark 7XJY. and on three others that of 
This is the first and most desirable state of 


the work, the borders having afterwards fallen into the 
hands of Petau and Van Morle, two foreign printsellers, 
whose impressions are very inferior. It has not been 
ascertained what became of these elegant additions, but 
the work afterwards appeared without them, and with 
the additional mark $@ t i. on every print, and intended 
for Holbein invenit. It is very certain that Hol- 
lar himself did not place this mark on the prints ; he 
has never introduced it in any of his copies from Hol- 
bein, always expressing that painter's name in these 

several ways: [ff, tHuCCtcH^ inv ' HlMwri P in t> 
H. HOLBEIN inv. H. HOLBEIN inventor. On one of 
his portraits from the Arundel collection he has placed 
" nloi(?l/7l i nc idit in lignum." No copy, however, of 
this portrait has occurred in wood, and, if this be only 
a conjecture on the part of the engraver, the distance of 
time between the respective artists is an objection to 
its validity, though it is possible that Holbein might 
have engraved on wood, because there are prints which 
have all the appearance of belonging to him, that have 
his usual mark, accompanied by an engraving tool. 
There is no text to these etchings, except the Latin 
scriptural passages under each, that occur in the original 
editions in that language. As a sort of frontispiece to 
the work, Hollar has transferred the last cut of the 
allegorical shield of arms, supported by a lady and gen- 
tleman, to the beginning, with the appropriate title of 
MORTALIVM NOBiLiTAS. The other subjects are, 1. 
Adam and Eve in Paradise. 2. Their expulsion from 
Paradise. 3. Adam digging, Eve spinning. 4. The 
Pope. 5 The Emperor. 6. The Empress. 7. The 
Queen. 8. The Cardinal. 9. The Duke. 10. The 
Bishop. 11. The Nobleman. 12. The Abbot. 13. 
The Abbess. 14. The Friar. 15. The Nun. 16. The 
Preacher. 17. The Physician. 18. The Soldier, or 
Warrior. 19. The Advocate. 20. The Married Couple. 
21. The Duchess. 22. The Merchant. 23. The Ped- 


lar. 24. The Miser. 25. The Waggoner with wine 
casks. 26. The Gamesters. 27. The Old Man. 28. 
The Old Woman. 29. The Infant, Of these, Nos. 1, 
5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 23, 27, and 28, correspond with the 
Lyons wood-cuts, except that in No. 1 a stag is 
omitted, and there are some variations; in No. 6, the 
windows of the palace are altered ; in No. 13. a window 
is added to the house next to the nunnery ; and in No. 
9, a figure is introduced, and the ducal palace much 
altered in No. 23, a sword is omitted. They are all 
reverses, except No. 5. The rest of the subjects are 
reversed, with one exception, from the copies by ^/f^ 
in the spurious edition first printed at Cologne in 1555, 
with occasional very slight variations. Hollar's copies 
from the original cuts are in a small degree less both in 
width and depth. In the subject of Death and the 
Soldier he has not shown his judgment in making use 
of the spurious edition rather than the far more elegant 
and interesting original, 22 and it is remarkable that this 
is the only print belonging to the spurious ones that is 
not reversed. 

It is very probable that Hollar executed this work at 
Antwerp, where, at the time of its date, he might have 
found Diepenbecke and engaged him to make designs for 
the borders which are etched on separate plates, thus sup- 
plying passe-par-touts that might be used at discretion. 
Many sets appear without the borders, which seem to 
have strayed, and perhaps to have been afterwards lost or 
destroyed. As Rubens is recorded to have admired the 
beauty of the original cuts, so it is to be supposed that 
Diepenbecke, his pupil, would entertain the same opinion 
of them, and that he might have suggested to Hollar 
the making etchings of them, undertaking himself to 
furnish appropriate borders. But how shall we account 
for the introduction of so many of the spurious and in- 

22 See p. 34. 


ferior designs, if he had the means of using the origi- 
nals? Many books were formerly excessively rare, 
which, from peculiar circumstances, not necessary to be 
here detailed, bat well known to bibliographers and 
collectors, have since become comparatively common. 
Hollar might not have had an opportunity of meeting 
with a perfect copy of the original cuts, or he might, in 
some way or other, have been impeded in the use of 
them, when executing his work, and thus have been 
driven to the necessity of pursuing it by means of the 
spurious edition. These, however, are but conjectures, 
and it remains for every one to adopt his own opinion. 

The copper-plates of the above thirty etchings appear 
to have fallen into the hands of an English noble 
family, from which the late Mr. James Edwards, a 
bookseller of well merited celebrity, obtained them, and 
about the year 1794 caused many impressions to be 
taken off after they had been rebitten with great care, 
so as to prevent that injury, with respect to outline, 
which usually takes place where etchings or engravings 
upon copper are retouched. Previously to this event 
good impressions must have been extremely rare, at 
least on the continent, as they are not found in the very 
rich collections of Winckler or Brandes, nor are they 
mentioned by the foreign writers on engraving. To 
Mr. Edwards's publication of Hollar's prints there was 
prefixed a short dissertation on the Dance of Death, 
which is here again submitted to public attention in a 
considerably enlarged form, and corrected from the 
errors and imperfections into which its author had been 
misled by preceding writers on the subject, and by the 
paucity of the materials which he was then able to 
obtain. This edition was reprinted verbatim, and with 
the same etchings, in 1816, for J. Coxhead, in Holy well 
Street, Strand, but without any mention of the former, 
and accompanied with the addition of a brief memoir 
of Holbein. 


It is most likely that Hollar, having discovered the 
error which he had committed in copying the spurious 
engravings before-mentioned, and subsequently pro- 
cured a set of genuine impressions, resolved to make 
another set of etchings from the original work, four 
only of which he appears to have executed, his death 
probably taking place before they could be completed. 
These are, 1. The Pope crowning the Emperor, with 
" Moriatur sacerdos magnus." 2. The rich man disre- 
garding the beggar, with " Qui obturat aurem suam 
ad clamorem pauperis, 8cc." and the four Latin lines, 
" Consulitis, dites, &c." at bottom, as in the original. 
It is beautifully and most faithfully copied, with 
tHti&fafL. inv - Hollar fecit. 3. The Ploughman, with 
" In sudore vultus, &c." 4. The Robber, with " Do- 
mine vim patior." 

In Dugdale's History of St. Paul's, and also in the 
Monasticon, there is a single etching by Hollar of Death 
leading all ranks of people. It is only an improved 
copy of an old wood -cut in Lydgate's works, already 
mentioned in p. 52, and which is altogether imaginary, 
not being taken from any real series of the Dance. 

VI. " Varii e veri ritratte della morte disegnati in 
immagini, ed espressi in Essempii al peccatore duro di 
cuore, dal padre Gio. Battista Marmi della compagnia 
de Giesu. Venetia, 1669, 8vo. It has several en- 
gravings, among which are the following, after the 
original designs. 1. Queen. 2. Nobleman. 3. Mer- 
chant. 4. Gamblers. 5. Physician. 6. Miser. The 
last five being close copies from the same subjects, in 
the Basle edit. 1769, No. V. of the copies in wood. 

VII. " Theatrum mortis humanae tripartitum. I. Pars. 
Saltum Mortis. II. Pars. Varia genera Mortis. III. 
Pars. Paenas Damnatorum continens, cum figuris eeneis 
illustratum." Then the same repeated in German, with 
the addition "Durch Joannem Weichardum Valvasor. 
Lib. Bar. cum facultate superiorum, et speciali privi- 



legio Sac. Caes. Majest. Gedrucht zu Laybach, und zu 
finden ben Jolianu Baptista Mayr, in Saltzburg. Anno 
1682. 4 to. Prefixed is an engraved frontispiece repre- 
senting a ruined arch, under which is a coffin, and be- 
fore it the King of Terrors between two other figures of 
Death mounted respectively on an elephant and camel. 
In the foreground, Adam and Eve, tied to the forbid- 
den tree of knowledge, between several other Deaths 
variously employed. Two men digging graves, &c. 
Underneath, W^ inven. W^ excud. Jo. Koch del. And- 
Trost sculp. Wagenpurgi in Carniola," It is the first 
part only with which we are concerned. The artist, 
with very little exception, has followed and reversed the 
spurious wood-cuts of 1555, by ^/f^ To the groups of 
boys he has added a Death leading them on. 

VIII. " De Doodt vermaskert met des werelts ydel- 
heyt afghedaen door Geeraerdt Van Wolschaten." This 
is another edition of No. IX. of the original wood-cuts, 
here engraved on copper. The text is the same as that 
of 1654, with the addition of seven leaves, including a 
cut of Death leading all ranks of men. In that of the 
Pedler the artist has introduced some figures in the 
distance of the original soldier. Among other varia- 
tions the costume of the time of William III. is some- 
times very ludicrously adopted, especially in the fron- 
tispiece, where the author is represented writing at a 
desk, and near him two figures of a man in a full 
bottom wig, and a woman with a mask and a perpendi- 
cular cap in several stories, usually called a Fontange, 
both having skeleton faces. At bottom, the mark 
.$./? This edition was printed at Antwerp by 
Jan Baptist Jacobs, without date, but the privilege has 
that of 1698. 12mo. 

IX. " Imagines Mortis, or the Dead Dance of Hans 
Holbeyn, painter of King Henry the VIII." This title 
is on a copper-plate within a border, and accompanied 
with nineteen etchings on copper, by Nieuhoff Piccard, 


a person who will be more particularly adverted to 
hereafter. They consist of, 1. The emblem of Mor- 
tality. 2. The temptation. 3. The expulsion from 
Paradise. 4. Adam digging, Eve spinning. 5. Con- 
cert of Deaths. 6. The Infant. 7. The new married 
couple. 8. The Duke. 9. The Advocate. 10. The 
Abbot. 11. The Monk. 12. The Abbess. 13. The 
Soldier. 14. The Merchant. 15. The Pedler. 16. 
The Fool. 17. The Blind Man. 18. The Old Woman. 
19. The Old Man. The designs, with some occasional 
variations, correspond with those in the original wood- 
cuts. The plates of these etchings must have passed 
into the hands of some English printsellers, as broken 
sets of them have not long since been seen, one only of 
which, namely, that of the Temptation, had these lines 

on it: 

" All that e'er had breath 
Must dance after Death." 

with the date 1720. Several were then numbered at 
bottom with Arabic numerals. 

X. " Schau-platz des Todes, oder Todten Tanz, von 
Sal. Van Rusting Med. Doct. in Nieder-Teutscher- 
Spracke nun aber in Hoch Teutscher mit nothigen 
Anmerchungen heraus gegeben von Johann Georg. 
Meintel Hochfurstl Brandenburg -Onoltzbachischen 
pfarrer zu Petersaurach." Nurnberg, 1736. 8vo. Or, 
" The Theatre of Death, or Dance of Death, by Sol. 
Van Rusting, doctor of medicine, in Low German lan- 
guage, but now in High German, with necessary notes 
by John George Meintel in the service of his Serene 
Highness of Brandenburg, and parson of Petersaurach." 
It is said to have been originally published in 1707, 
which is very probable, as Rusting, of whom very little 
is recorded, was born about 1650. In the early part of 
his life he practised as an army surgeon. He was a 
great admirer and follower of the doctrines of Balthasar 
Bekker in his " Monde enchante." There are editions 
in Dutch only, 1735 and 1741. 12mo. the plates being 


copies. In the above-mentioned edition by Meintel 
there is an elaborate preface, with some account of the 
Dance of Death, and its editions, but replete with the 
grossest errors, into which he has been misled by 
Hilscher, and some other writers. His text is accom- 
panied with a profusion of notes altogether of a pious 
and moral nature. 

Rusting's work consists of thirty neat engravings, of 
which the following are copied from the Lyons wood- 
cuts. 1. The King, much varied. 2. The Astrologer. 
3. The Soldier. 4. The Monk. 5. The Old Man. 
6. The Pedler. The rest are, on the whole, original 
designs, yet with occasional hints from the Lyons cuts ; 
the best of them are, the Masquerade, the Rope-dancer, 
and the Skaiters. The frontispiece is in two compart- 
ments; the upper one, Death crowned, sitting on a 
throne, on each side of him a Death trumpeter; the 
lower, a fantastic Dance of seven Deaths, near a 
crowned skeleton lying on a couch. 

XL " Le triomphe de la Mort." A Basle, 1780, 
folio. This is the first part of a collection of the works 
of Hans Holbein, engraved and published by M. Chre- 
tien de Mechel, a celebrated artist, and formerly a 
printseller in the above city. It has a dedication to 
George III. followed by explanations in French of the 
subjects, in number 46, and in the following order; 
No. 1. A Frontispiece, representing a tablet of stone, 
on one side of which Holbein appears behind a curtain, 
which is drawn aside by Death in order to exhibit to 
him the grand spectacle of the scenes of human life 
which he is intended to paint ; this is further desig- 
nated by a heap of the attributes of greatness, dignities, 
wealth, arts, and sciences, intermixed with Deaths' 
heads, all of which are trampled under foot by Death 
himself. At bottom, Lucan's line, " Mors sceptra-li- 
gonibus sequat." The tablet is surmounted by a me- 
dallion of Holbein, supported by two genii, one of 
whom decorates the portrait with flowers, whilst another 


lets loose a butterfly, and a third is employed in blow- 
ing bubbles. On the tablet itself is a second title, " Le 
triomphe de la inort, grave d'apres les dessins originaux 
de Jean Holbein par Chr n , de Mechel, graveur a Basle, 
MDCCLXXX. This frontispiece has been purposely in- 
verted for the present work. The other subjects are: 
No. 2. The Temptation. 3. Expulsion from Paradise. 
4. Adam digging, Eve spinning. 5. The Pope. 6. The 
Cardinal, 7. The Duke. 8. The Bishop. 9, The Canon. 
10. The Monk. 11, The Abbot 12, The Abbess. 13. 
The Preacher. 14. The Priest. 15. The Physician. 
16. The Astrologer. 17. The Emperor. 18. The King. 
19. The Empress. 20. The Queen. 21. The Duchess. 
22. The Countess. 23. The New-married Couple. 24. 
The Nun. 25. The Nobleman. 26.. The Knight. 27. 
The Gentleman. 28. The Soldier. 29. The Judge. 
30. The Counsellor. 31. The Advocate. 32. The 
Merchant. 33. The Pedler. 34. The Shipwreck. 
35. The Wine-carrier, 36. The Plowman. 37. The 
Miser. 38, The Robber. 39. The Drunkard. 40. 
The Gamblers, 41. The Old Man. 42. The Old 
Woman. 45, The Blind Man. 44. The Beggar. 45. 
The Infant. 46. The Fool. 

M, Mechel has added another print on this subject, viz. 
the sheath of a dagger, a design for a chaser. It is im- 
possible to exceed the beauty and skill that are manifested 
in this fine piece of art. The figures are, a king, queen, 
warrior, a young woman, a monk, and an infant, all of 
whom most unwillingly accompany Death in the dance. 
The despair of the king, the dejection of the queen, ac- 
companied by her little dog, the terror of the soldier 
who hears the drum of Death, the struggling of the 
female, the reluctance of the monk, and the sorrow of 
the poor infant, are depicted with equal spirit and 
veracity. The original drawing is in the public library 
at Basle, and ascribed to Holbein. There is a general 
agreement between these engravings and the original 


wood-cuts. Twenty-three are reversed. In No. 13 the 
jaw-bone in the hand of Death is not distinct. In No. 
16 a cross is added, and in No. 17 two heads. 

Mr. Coxe, in his Travels in Switzerland, has given 
some account of the drawings copied as above by M. 
De Mechel, in whose possession he saw them. He 
states that they were sketched with a pen, and slightly 
shaded with Indian ink. He mentions M. de Medici's 
conjecture that they were once in the Arundel collec- 
tion, and infers from thence that they were copied by 
Hollar, which, however, from what has been already 
stated on the subject of Hollar's print of the Soldier and 
Death, as well as from other variations, could not have 
been the case. Mr. Coxe proceeds to say that four of 
the subjects in M. de Mechel's work are not in the 
drawings, but were copied from Hollar. It were to be 
wished that he had specified them. The particulars 
that follow were obtained by the compiler of the pre- 
sent dissertation from M. de Mechel himself when he 
was in London. He had not been able to trace the 
drawings previously to their falling into the hands of 
M. de Crozat, 23 at whose sale, about 1771, they were 
purchased by Counsellor Fleischmann of Strasburg, 
and M. de Mechel having very emphatically expressed 
his admiration of them whilst they were in the posses- 
sion of M. Fleischmann, that gentleman very generously 
offered them as a present to him. M. de Mechel, how- 
ever, declined the offer, but requested they might be 
deposited in the public library at Basle, among other 
precious remains of Holbein's art. This arrangement, 
however, did not take place, and it happened in the 
mean time that two nephews of Prince Gallitzin, minis- 
ter from Russia to the court of Vienna, having occasion 

33 It has been stated that they were in the Arundelian collection 
whence they passed into the Netherlands, where forty-six of them 
became the property of Jan Bockhorst the painter, commonly called 
Long John. See Crozat's catalogue. 


to visit M. Fleischmann, then much advanced in years, 
and his memory much impaired, prevailed on him to 
concede the drawings to their uncle, who, on learning 
from M. de Mechel what had originally passed between 
himself and M. Fleischmann, sent the drawings to him, 
with permission to engrave and publish them, which 
was accordingly done, after they had been detained 
two years for that purpose. They afterwards passed 
into the Emperor of Russia's collection of fine arts at 

It were greatly to be wished that some person quali- 
fied like Mr. Ottley, if such a one can be found, would 
take the trouble to enter on a critical examination of 
these drawings in their present state, with a view to 
ascertain, as nearly as possible, whether they carry 
indisputable marks of Holbein's art and manner of 
execution, or whether, as may well be suspected, they 
are nothing more than copies, either by himself or some 
other person, from the original wood engravings. 

M. de Mechel had begun this work in 1771, when he 
had engraved the first four subjects, including a fron- 
tispiece totally different from that in the volume here 
described. There are likewise variations in the other 
three. He was extremely solicitous that these should 
be cancelled. 

XII. David Deuchar, sometimes called the Scottish 
Worlidge, who has etched many prints after Ostade 
and the Dutch masters, published a set of etchings by 
himself, with the following printed title : " The Dances 
of Death through the various stages of human life, 
wherein the capriciousness of that tyrant is exhibited 
in forty-six copper-plates, done from the original de- 
signs, which were cut in wood and afterwards painted 
by John Holbein in the town house at Basle, to which 
is prefixed descriptions of each plate in French and 
English, with the scripture text from which the designs 
were taken. Edinburgh, MDCCLXXXVIII." Before this 


most inaccurate title are two engraved leaves, on one 
of which is Deuchar's portrait, in a medallion, sup- 
ported by Adam and Eve holding the forbidden fruit. 
Over the medallion, the three Fates, the whole within 
an arch before a pediment. On each side, a plain co- 
lumn, supporting a pyramid, 8tc. On the other leaf 
a copy of the engraved title to M. de Medici's work 
with the substitution of Deuchar's name. After the 
printed title is a portrait, as may be supposed, of Hol- 
bein, within a border containing six ovals of various 
subjects, and a short preface or account of that artist, 
but accompanied with some very inaccurate statements. 
The subjects are inclosed, like Hollar's, within four dif- 
ferent borders, separately engraved, three of them bor- 
rowed, with a slight variation in one, from Diepenbeke, 
the fourth being probably Deuchar's invention. The 
etchings of the Dance of Death are forty-six in number, 
accompanied with De Mechel's description and English 
translation. At the end is the emblematical print of 
mortality, but not described, with the dagger sheath, 
copied from De Mechel. Thirty of these etchings are 
immediately copied from Hollar, No. X. having the 
distance altered. The rest are taken from the spurious 
wood copies of the originals by ^/f^ with variation in 
No. XVIII; and in No. XXXIX. and XLIII. Deuchar 
has introduced winged hour-glasses. These etchings 
are very inferior to those by Hollar. The head of Eve 
in No. III. resembles that of a periwigged Frenchman 
of the time of Louis XIV. but many of the subjects are 
very superior to others, and intitled to much commen- 

XIII. The last in this list is " Der Todtentanz ein 
gedichtvon Ludwig Bechstein mit 48 kupfern in treuen 
Conturen nach H. Holbein. Leipzig. 1831," 12mo. ; 
or, " Death's Dance, a poem by Ludwig Bechstein, 
with forty-eight engravings in faithful outlines from H. 
Holbein." These very elegant etchings are by Frenzel, 


inspector of the gallery of engravings of the King of 
Saxony at Dresden. The poem, which is an epic one, 
relates entirely to the power of Death over mankind. 

It is necessary to mention that the artist who made 
the designs for the Lyons Dance of Death is not alto- 
gether original with respect to a fe\V of them. Thus, in 
the subject of Adam digging and Eve spinning, he has 
partly copied an ancient wood engraving that occurs in 
some of the Horse printed by Francis Regnault at Paris. 
In the subject of the Queen, and on that of the Duke 
and Duchess, he has made some use of those of 
Death and the Fool, and Death and the Hermit, in the 
old Dance at Basle. On the other hand, he has been 
imitated, 1. in " La Periere Theatre des bons engins. 
1561." 24mo. where the rich man bribing the judge is 
introduced at fo. 66. 2. The figure of the Swiss gen- 
tleman in " Recueil de la diversite des habits." Paris, 
1567. 12mo. is copied from the last print in the Lyons 
book. 3. From the same print the Death's head has 
been introduced in an old wood engraving, that will be 
more particularly described hereafter. 4. Brebiette, in 
a small etching on copper, has copied the Lyons plow- 
man. 5. Mr. Dance, in his painting of Garrick, has 
evidently made use of the gentleman who lifts up his 
sword against Death. The copies of the portrait of 
Francis I. have been already noticed. 



Further examination of Holbein's title. Borbonius. 
Biographical notice of Holbein. Painting of a 
Dance of Death at Whitehall by him. 

T may be necessary in the next place to 
make some further enquiry respecting 
the connection that Holbein is supposed 
to have had at any time with the sub- 
ject of the Dance of Death. 
The numerous errors that have been fallen into in 
making Holbein a participator in any manner whatever 
with the old Basle Macaber Dance, have been already 
noticed, and are indeed not worth the trouble of re- 
futing. It is wholly improbable that he would inter- 
fere with so rude a piece of art ; nor has his name been 
recorded among the artists who are known to have re- 
touched or repaired it. The Macaber Dance at Basle, 
or any where else, is, therefore, with respect to Holbein, 
to be altogether laid aside ; and if the argument before 
deduced from the important dedication to the edition of 
the justly celebrated wood -cuts published at Lyons in 
1538 be of any value, his claim to their invention, at 
least to those in the first edition, must also be re- 
jected. 24 There is indeed but very slight evidence, and 
none contemporary, that he painted any Dance of Death 
at Basle. The indefinite statements of Bishop Burnet 
and M. Patin, together with those of the numerous and 

a4 On the same dedication are founded the opinions of Zani, De 
Murr, Meinlel, and some others. 

careless travellers who have followed blind leaders, and 
too often copied each other without the means or incli- 
nation of obtaining correct information, are deserving of 
very little attention. The circumstance of Holbein's 
having painted a Dance of Peasants somewhere in the 
above city, in conjunction with the usual mistake of 
ascribing to him the old Macaber Dance, seems to have 
occasioned the above erroneous statements as to a Dance 
of Death by his pencil. It is hardly possible that 
Zuinger, almost a contemporary, when describing the 
Dance of Peasants and other paintings by Holbein at 
Basle would have omitted the mention of any Dance of 
Death: 25 but even admitting the former existence of 
such a painting, it would not constitute him the inventor 
of the designs in the Lyons work. He might have 
imitated or copied those designs, or the wood-cuts them- 
selves, or perhaps have painted subjects that were dif- 
ferent from either. 

We are now to take into consideration some very 
clear and important evidence' that Holbein actually did 
paint a Dance of Death. This is to be found in the 
Nuga of Borbonius in the following verses : 

De morte picta a Hanso pictore nobili. 

Dum mortis Hansus pictor imaginum exprimit, 
Tanta arte mortem retulit, ut mors vivere 
Videatur ipsa : et ipse se immortalibus 
Parem Diis fecerit, operis hujus gloria. 83 

It has been already demonstrated that these lines 
could not refer to the old painting of the Macaber 
Dance at the Dominican convent, whilst, from the im? 
portant dedication to the edition of the wood-cuts first 
published at Lyons in 1538, it is next to impossible 
that that work could then have been in Borbonius's 

23 Zuinger methodus apodemica. Basil, 1557. 4to. p. 199. 
* 6 P. 427, edit. Lugd. apud Gryphium, and p. 445, edit. Basil. 


contemplation. It appears from several places in his 
Nugse that he was in England in 1535, at which time 
Holbein drew his portrait in such a manner as to excite 
his gratitude and admiration in another copy of verses. 27 
This was probably the chalk drawing still preserved in 
the fine collection of portraits of the eminent persons in 
the court of Henry VIII. formerly at Kensington, and 
thence removed to Buckingham House, and which has 
been copied in an elegant wood-cut, that first appeared 
in the edition of the Paidagogeion of Borbonius, Lyons, 
1536, and afterward in two editions of his Nugae. It 
xxxn. 1535. He returned to Lyons in 1536, and it is 
known that he was there in 1538, when he probably 
wrote the complimentary lines in Holbein's Biblical 
designs a short time before their publication, either out 
of friendship to the painter, or at the instance of the 
Lyons publisher with whom he was certainly con- 

Now if Borbonius, during his residence at Lyons, 
had been assured that the designs in the wood-cuts of 
the Dance of Death were the production of Holbein, 
would not his before-mentioned lines on that subject 
have been likewise introduced into the Lyons edition of 
it, or at least into some subsequent editions, in none of 
which is any mention whatever made of Holbein, al- 
though the work was continued even after the death of 
that artist ? The application, therefore, of Borbonius's 
lines must be sought for elsewhere ; but it is greatly to 
be regretted that he has not adverted to the place 
where the painting, as he seems to call it, was made. 

Very soon after the calamitous fire at Whitehall in 
1697, which consumed nearly the whole of that palace, 
a person calling himself T. Nieuhoff Piccard, probably 
belonging to the household of William the Third, and a 

*i Nugue, lib. vi. cariu. 12. 


man who appears to have been an amateur artist, made 
the etchings in the article IX. already described in p. 
130. Copies of them were presented to some of his 
friends, with manuscript dedications to them. Three 
of these copies have been seen by the author of this 
Dissertation, and as the dedications differ from each 
other, and are of very considerable importance on the 
present occasion, the following extracts from them are 
here translated and transcribed : 


" Sir, The costly palace of Whitehall, erected by 
Cardinal Wolsey, and the residence of King Henry VIII. 
contains, among other performances of art, a Dance of 
Death, painted by Holbein in its galleries, which, 
through an unfortunate conflagration, has been reduced 
to ashes ; and even the little work which he has en- 
graved with his own hand, and which I have copied as 
near as possible, is so scarce, that it is known only to a 
few lovers of art. And since the court has thought 
proper, in consideration of your singular deserts, to 
cause a dwelling to be built for you at Whitehall, I 
imagined it would not be disagreeable to you to be 
made acquainted with the former decorations of that 
palace. It will not appear strange that the artist 
should have chosen the above subject for ornamenting 
the royal walls, if we consider that the founder of the 
Greek monarchy directed that he should be daily re- 
minded of the admonition, ' Remember, Philip, that 
thou art a man.' In like manner did Holbein with his 
pencil give tongues to these walls to impress not only 
the king and his court, but every one who viewed them 
with the same reflection." 

He then proceeds to describe each of the subjects, 
arid concludes with some moral observations. 

In another copy of these etchings the dedication is to 


"The high, noble, and wellborn Lord William Benting, 
Lord of Rhoon, Pendreght, See." 

" Sir, In the course of my constant love and pur- 
suit of works of art, it has been my good fortune to 
meet with that scarce little work of Hans Holbein 
neatly engraved on wood, and which he himself had 
painted as large as life in fresco on the walls of White- 
hall. In the copy which I presume to lay before you, 
as being born in the same palace, I have followed the 
original as nearly as possible, and considering the par- 
tiality which every one has for the place of his birth, 
a description of what is remarkable and curious therein 
and now no longer existing on account of its destruc- 
tion by a fatal fire, must needs prove acceptable, as no 
other remains whatever have been left of that once so 
famous court of King Henry VIII. built by Cardinal 
Wolsey, than your own dwelling." 

He then repeats the story of Philip of Macedon, and 
the account of the subjects of his etchings. 

At the end of this dedication there is a fragment of 
another, the beginning of which is lost. The following 
passages only in it are worthy of notice. " The resi- 
dence of King William." " I flatter myself with a 
familiar acquaintance with Death, since I have al- 
ready lived long enough to seem to be buried alive, 
Sec." In other respects, the same, in substance, as the 

It is almost needless to advert to M. Nieuhoff Pic- 
card's mistake in asserting that Holbein made the en- 
gravings which he copied ; but it would have been of 
some importance if, instead of his pious ejaculations, he 
had described all the subjects that Holbein painted on 
the walls of the galleries at Whitehall. He must have 
used some edition of the wood-cuts posterior to that of 
1545, which did not contain the subjects of the German 


soldier, the fool, and the blind man, all of which he has 
introduced. It is possible, however, that he has given us 
all the subjects that were then remaining, the rest having 
become decayed or obliterated from dampness and neg- 
lect, and even those which then existed would soon 
afterwards perish when the remains of the old palace 
were removed. His copies are by no means faithful, 
and seem to be rather the production of an amateur 
than of a regular artist. For his greater convenience, 
he appears to have preferred using the wood engravings 
instead of the paintings ; and it is greatly to be re- 
gretted that we have no better or further account of 
them, especially of the time at which they were executed. 
The lives of Holbein that we possess are uniformly 
defective in chronological arrangement. There seems 
to be a doubt whether the Earl of Arundel recommended 
him to visit England ; but certain it is that in the year 
1526 he came to London with a letter of that date 
addressed by Erasmus to Sir Thomas More, accom- 
panied with his portrait, with which More was so well 
satisfied that he retained him at his house at Chelsea 
upwards of two years, until Henry VIII. from admira- 
tion of his works, appointed him his painter, with 
apartments at Whitehall. In 1529 he visited Basle, 
but returned to England in 1530. In 1535 he drew 
the portrait of his friend Nicholas Bourbon or Borbo- 
nius at London, probably the before-mentioned crayon 
drawing at Buckingham House, or some duplicate of it. 
In 1538 he painted the portrait of Sir Richard South- 
well, a privy counsellor to Henry VIII. which was 
afterwards in the gallery of the Grand Duke of Tus- 
cany. 28 About this time the magistrates of the city of 
Basle settled an annuity on him, but conditionally that 
he should return in two years to his native place and 

28 Baldinucci notizie d' e professor! del disegno, torn. iii. p. 317, 4to. 
edit, where the inscription on it is given. 


family, with which terms he certainly did not comply, 
preferring to remain in England. In the last-mentioned 
year he was sent by the king into Burgundy to paint 
the portrait of the Duchess of Milan, and in 1539 to 
Germany to paint that of Anne of Cleves. In some 
household accounts of Henry VIII. there are payments 
to him in 1538, 1539, 1540, and 1541, on account of 
his salary, which appears to have been thirty pounds 
per annum. 29 From this time little more is recorded 
of him till 1553, when he painted Queen Mary's por- 
trait, and shortly afterwards died of the plague in Lon- 
don in 1554. 

In the absence of positive evidence it may surely be 
allowed to substitute probable conjecture ; and as it can- 
not be clearly proved that Holbein painted a Dance of 
Death at Basle, may not the before-mentioned verses of 
Borbonius refer to his painting at Whitehall, and which 
the poet must himself have seen? It is no objection 
that Borbonius remained a year only in England, when 
his portrait was painted by his friend Holbein in 1535, 
or that the verses did not make their appearance till 
1 538, for they seem rather to fix the date of the paint- 
ing, if really belonging to it, between those years ; and 
it is not unreasonable to suppose that Borbonius would 
hold some intercourse with the painter, even after 
leaving England, as is indeed apparent from other com- 
pliments bestowed on him in his Nugae, the contents of 
which are by no means chronologically arranged, and 
many of the poems known to have been written long 
before their publication. The lines in question might 
have been written any where, and at any time, and this 
may be very safely stated until the real time in which 
the Whitehall painting was made shall be ascertained. 

In one of Vanderdort's manuscript catalogues of the 
pictures and rarities transported from St. James's to 

w Norfolk MS. 97, now in the Brit. Museum. 


Whitehall, and placed there in the newly erected ca- 
binet room of Charles I. and in which several works by 
Holbein are mentioned, there is the following article : 

" O 

" A little piece where Death with a green garland 
about his head, stretching both his arms to apprehend 
a Pilate in the habit of one of the spiritual Prince 
Electors of Germany. . Copied by Isaac Oliver from 
Holbein." 30 There cannot be a doubt that this refers to 
the subject of the Elector, as painted by Holbein in the 
Dance of Death at Whitehall, proving at the same time 
the identity of the painting with the wood-cuts, what- 
ever may be the inference. 

Sandrart, after noticing a remarkable portrait of 
Henry VIII. at Whitehall, states, that "there yet re- 
mains in that palace another work by Holbein that 
constitutes him the Apelles of the time." 31 This is cer- 
tainly very like an allusion to a Dance of Death. 

It is by no means improbable that Mathew Prior may 
have alluded to Holbein's painting at Whitehall, as it is 
not likely that he would be acquainted with any other. 

Our term of life depends not on our deed, 
Before our birth our funeral was decreed, 
Nor aw'd by foresight, nor misled by chance, 
Imperious death directs the ebon lance, 
Peoples great Henry's tombs, and leads up Holbein's Dance. 
Ode to the Memory of George Villiers. 

30 Harl. MS. 4718. 31 Acad. Pictur. 239. 



Other Dances of Death. 

AVING thus disposed of the two most 
ancient and important works on the 
subject in question, others of a similar 
nature, but with designs altogether dif- 
ferent, and introduced into various books, 
remain to be noticed, and such are the following: 

I. " Les loups ravissans fait et compose par maistre 
Robert Gobin prestre, maistre es ars licencie en decret, 
doyen de crestiente de Laigny sur Marne au dyocese 
de Paris, advocat en court d'eglise. Imprime pour 
Anthoine Verard a Paris, 4to." without date, but 
about 1500. This is a very bitter satire, in the form of 
a dream, against the clergy in general, but more parti- 
cularly against Popes John XXII. and Boniface VIII. 
A wolf, in a lecture to his children, instructs them in 
every kind of vice and wickedness, but is opposed, and 
his doctrines refuted, by an allegorical personage called 
Holy Doctrine. In a second vision Death appears to 
the author, accompanied by Fate, War, Famine, and 
Mortality. All classes of society are formed into a 
Dance, as the author chooses to call it, and the work is 
accompanied with twenty-one very singular engravings 
on wood, executed in a style perhaps nowhere else to be 
met with. The designs are the same as those in the 
second Dance of the Horse, printed by Higman for 
Vostre, No. I. page 61. 
" II. " A booke of Christian prayers, collected out of 


the ancient writers, &c." Printed by J. Day, 1569. 
4to. Afterwards in 1578, 1581, 1590, and 1609. It is 
more frequently mentioned under the title of " Queen 
Elizabeth's prayer-book," a most unsuitable title, when 
it is recollected how sharply this haughty dame rebuked 
the Dean of Christchurch for presenting a common 
prayer to her which had been purposely ornamented 
with cuts by him. 32 This book was most probably 
compiled by the celebrated John Fox, and is accompa- 
nied with elegant borders in the margins of every leaf 
cut in wood by an unknown artist whose mark is (F> 
though they have been most unwarrantably ascribed to 
Holbein, and even to Agnes Frey, the wife of Albert 
Durer, who is not known with any certainty to have 
practised the art of engraving. At the end is a Dance 
of Death different from every other of the kind, and of 
singular interest, as exhibiting the costume of its time 
with respect to all ranks and conditions of life, male 
and female. 

These are the characters. " The Emperor, the King, 
the Duke, the Marques, the Baron, the Vicount, the 
Archbishop, the Bishop, the Doctor, the Preacher, the 
Lord, the Knight, the Esquire, the Gentleman, the 
Judge, the Justice, the Serjeant at law, the Attorney, 
the Mayor, the Shirife, the Bailife, the Constable, the 
Physitian, the Astronomer, the Herauld, the Sergeant 
at arms, the Trumpetter, the Purse vant, the Dromme, 
the Fife, the Captaine, the Souldier, the Marchant, the 
Citizen, the Printers (in two compartments), the Rich 
Man, the Aged Man, the Artificer, the Husbandman, 
the Musicians (in two compartments), the Shepheard, 
the Foole, the Beggar, the Roge, of Youth, of Infancie." 
Then the females. " The Empresse, the Queene, the 
Princes, the Duchesse, the Countesse, the Vicountesse, 

32 Strype's Annals, 1. 272. where the curious dialogue that ensued on 
the occasion is preserved. 


the Baronnesse, the Lady, the Judge's Wife, the Law- 
yer's Wife, the Gentlewoman, the Alderman's Wife, the 
Marchantes Wife, the Citizen's Wife, the Rich Man's 
Wife, the Young Woman, the Mayde, the Damosell, 
the Farmar's Wife, the Husbandman's Wife, the Coun- 
triwoman, the Nurse, the Shepheard's Wife, the Aged 
Woman, the Creeple, the Poore Woman, the Infant, 
the (female) Foole." All these are designed in a mas- 
terly manner, and delicately engraved. The figures of 
the Deaths occasionally abound in much humour, and 
always with appropriate characters. The names of the 
unknown artists were worthy of being recorded. 

III. " Icones mortis, sexaginta imaginibus toti- 
demque inscriptionibus insignitse versibus quoque La- 
tinis et novis Germanicis illustratse. Norimbergae 
Christ. Lockner, 1648, 8vo." 33 

IV. " Rudolph Meyers S : Todten dantz ergantz et 
und heraus gegeben durch Conrad Meyern Maalern in 
Zurich, im jahr 1650/' On an engraved title page, re- 
presenting an angel blowing a trumpet, with a motto 
from the Apocalypse. Death or Time holds a lettered 
label with the above inscription or title. In the back 
ground groups of small figures allusive to the last judg- 
ment. Then follows a printed title " Sterbenspiegel 
das ist sonnenklare vorstellung menschlicher nichtigkeit 
durch alle Stand und Geschlechter : vermitlest 60 
dienstlicher kupferblatteren lehrreicher uberschrifften 
und beweglicher zu vier stimmen auszgesetzter Todten- 
gesangen, vor disem angefangen durch Rudolffen Mey- 
ern S. von Zurich, 8cc. Jetzaber zu erwekung nohtwen- 
diger Todsbetrachtung verachtung irdischer eytelkeit; 
und beliebung seliger ewigkeit zuend gebracht und ver- 
legt durch Conrad Meyern Maalern in Zurich und da- 
selbsten bey ihme zufinden. Getruckt zu Zurich bey 
Johann Jacob Bodmer, MDCL." 4to. that is: The Mirror 

33 Catal. de la bibliothfeque du Roi. IT. 153. 


of Death that is a brilliant representation of human 
nothingness in all ranks and conditions, by means of 60 
appropriate Copperplates, spiritual superscriptions, and 
moving songs of Death, arranged for four voices, for- 
merly commenced by Rudolph Meyer of Zurich, &c. 
but now brought to an end and completed, for the 
awaking of a necessary consideration of death, a con- 
tempt of earthly vanity, and a love of blissful eternity, 
by Conrad Meyer of Zurich, of whom they are to be 
had. Printed at Zurich, by John Jacob Bodmer, 

The subjects are the following:!. The Creation. 
2. The Fall. 3. Expulsion from Paradise. 4. Punish- 
ment of Man. 5. Triumph of Death. 6. An allegorical 
frontispiece relating to the class of the Clergy. 6. The 
Pope. 7. The Cardinal. 8. The Bishop. 9. The 
Abbot. 10. The Abbess. 11. The Priest. 12. The 
Monk. 13. The Hermit. 14. The Preacher. 15. An 
allegorical frontispiece to the class of Rulers and Gover- 
nors. 15. The Emperor. 16. The Empress. 17. The 
King. 18. The Queen. 19. The Prince Elector. 20. 
The Earl and Countess. 2 1 . The Knight. 22. The No- 
bleman. 23. The Judge. 24. The Steward, Widow, and 
Orphan. 25. The Captain. 26. An allegorical frontis- 
piece to the Lower Classes. 26. The Physician. 27. The 
Astrologer. 28. The Merchant. 29. The Painter and his 
kindred : among these the o\d man is Dietrich Meyern ; 
the painter resembles the portrait of Conrad Meyern in 
Sandrart, and the man at the table is probably Rudolph 
Meyern. 30. The Handcraftsman. 31. The Architect. 
32. The Innkeeper. 33. The Cook. 34. The Plough- 
man. 35. The Man and Maid Servant. 36. The old 
Man. 37. The old Woman. 38. The Lovers. 39, The 
Child. 40. The Soldier. 41. The Pedler. 42. The 
Highwayman. 43. The Quack Doctor. 44. The Blind 
Man. 45. The Beggar. 46. The Jew. 47. The Usurer. 
48. The Gamesters. 49. The Drunkards. 50. The Glut- 


tons. 51. The Fool. 52. The Certainty of Death. 53. 
The Uncertainty of Death. 54. The Last Judgment. 
55. Christ's Victory. 56. Salvation. 57. True and 
False Religion. 

The text consists chiefly of Death's apostrophe to his 
victims, with their remonstrances, verses under each 
subject, and various other matters. At the end are 
pious songs and psalms set to music. This work was 
jointly executed by two excellent artists, Rodolph and 
Conrad Meyer or Meyern, natives of Zurich. The de- 
signs are chiefly by Rodolph, and the etchings by Con- 
rad, consisting of sixty very masterly compositions. 
The grouping of the figures is admirable, and the versatile 
representations of Death most skilfully characterized. 
Many of the subjects are greatly indebted to the Lyons 
wood engravings. 

In 1657 and 1759 there appeared other editions of the 
latter, with this title, " Die menschliche Sterblichkeit 
under dem titel Tod ten Tanz in LXI original-kupfern, 
von Rudolf und Conrad Meyern beruhmten kunstmah- 
lern in Zurich abermal herausgegeben, nebst neven, dazu 
dienenden, moralischen versen und veber schriften." 
That is, " Human mortality, under the title of the 
Dance of Death, in 61 original copper prints of Rudolf 
and Conrad Meyern, renowned painters at Zurich, to 
which are added appropriate moral verses and inscrip- 
tions." Hamburg and Leipsig, 1759, 4to. The prole- 
gomena are entirely different from those in the other 
edition, and an elaborate preface is added, giving an 
account of several editions of the Dance of Death. 
Instead of the Captain, No. 25, the Ensign is substi- 
tuted, and the Cook is newly designed. Some of the 
numbers of the subjects are misplaced. The etchings 
have been retouched, and on many the date of 1637 is 
seen, which had no where occurred in the first edition 
here described. 

In 1704 copies of 5t2 of these etchings were published 


at Augsburg, under the title of " Tripudium mortis per 
victoriam super carnem universes orbis terrae erectum. 
Ab A. C. Redelio S. C. M. T. P." on a label held by 
Death as before. Then the German title " Erbaulicher 
Sterb-Spiegel dast ist sonnen-klahre vorstellung mensch- 
licher nichtigkeit durch alle stande und geschlechter : 
vermittelst schoner kupffern, lehr-reicher bey-schrifften 
und hertz-beweglich angehangter Todten-lieder ehmahls 
herauss gegeben durch Rudolph und Conrad Meyern 
mahlern in Zurch Anjetzo aber mit Lateinischen unter- 
schrifften der kupffer vermehret und aussgezieret von 
dem Welt-beruhmten Poeten Augustino Casimiro Re- 
delio, Belg. Mech. Sac. Caes. Majest. L. P. Augsburg 
zu finden bey Johann Philipp Steudner. Druckts, Abra- 
ham Gugger. 1704." 4to. That is, " An edifying mirror 
of mortality, representing the nullity of man through 
all stations and generations, by means of beautiful en- 
gravings in copper, instructive inscriptions, and heart- 
moving lays of Death, as an appendix to the work 
formerly edited by Rudolph and Conrad Meyern of 
Zurich, but now published with Latin inscriptions, and 
engravings augmented and renewed by the worldly 
renowned poet Augustin Casimir Redel, &c." 

In this edition the Pope and all the other religious 
characters are omitted, probably by design. The etch- 
ings are very inferior to the fine originals, and without 
the' name of the artist. The dresses are frequently 
modernised in the fashion of the time, and other varia- 
tions are occasionally introduced. 

V. " Den Algemeynen dooden Spiegel van Pater 
Abraham a Sancta Clara," i. e. The universal mirror of 
Death of Father Abraham a Sancta Clara. On a fron- 
tispiece engraved on copper, with a medallion of the 
author, and various allegorical figures. Then the printed 
title, " Den Algemeynen Dooden spiegel ofte de capelle 
der Dooden waer in alle Menschen sich al lacchende oft 
al weenende op recht konnen beschouwen verciert mer 


aerdige historien, Siu-rycke gedichten ende sedenleer- 
ende Beeldt-schetsen op gestelt door den eerweerdigen 
Pater Abraham a Sancta Clara Difinitor der Provincie 
van het order der ongeschoende Augustynen ende Pre- 
dickant van syne Keyserlycke Majesteyt Leopoldus. 
Getrouwelyck overgeset vyt het hoogh-duyts in onse Ne- 
derduytsche Taele. Tot Brussel, by de Wed. G. Jacobs 
tegen de Baert-brugge in de Druckerye, 1730." 12mo. 
i. e. " The universal mirror of Death taken from the 
chapel of the dead ; in which all men may see themselves 
properly, whether laughing or weeping, ornamented with 
pretty stories, spirited poems, and instructive prints, 
arranged by Father Abraham a Sancta Clara, of the 
Augustinian order, and preacher to his Imperial Majesty 
Leopold, and faithfully translated out of High Dutch 
into our Netherlandish language." 

The work consists of sixty-seven engravings on wood 
within borders, and of very indifferent execution in all 
respects; the text a mixture of prose and poetry of a 
religious nature, allusive to the subjects, which are not 
uniformly a dance of Death. The best among them 
are the Painter, p. 45 ; the Drunkard, p. 75 ; the danc- 
ing Couple, Death playing the Flageolet, p. 103; the 
Fowler, p. 113; the hen-pecked Husband, p. 139; the 
Courtezan, p. 147; the Musician, p. 193; the Gamester, 
p. 221 ; and the blind Beggar, p. 289. 

VI. " Geistliche Todts-Gedanchen bey allerhand se- 
mahlden und Tchildereyn in vabildung Interschiedlichen 
geschlechts, alters, standes, und wurdend perschnen 
sich des Todes zucrinneren ans dessen lehrdie tugende 
zuiiben und die Tundzu meyden Erstlich in kupfer 
entworffen nachmaler durch sittliche erdrtherung und 
aberlegung unter Todten-farben in vorschem gebracht, 
dardurch zumheyl der seelen im gemuth des geneighten 
lesers ein lebendige forcht und embsige vorsorg des 
Todes.zu erwecken. Cum permissu superiorum. Passau 
Gedrucht bey Frederich Gabriel Mangold, hochfurst, 


hof buchdruckern, 1753. Lintz, verlegts Frantz Anton 
Ilger,. Burgerl, Buchhandlern allda." Folio. In Eng- 
lish, " The Spiritual Dance of Death in all kinds of 
pictures and representations, whereby persons of every 
age, sex, rank, and dignity, may be reminded of Death, 
from which lesson they may exercise themselves in vir- 
tue, and avoid sin. First put upon copper, and after- 
wards, through moral considerations and investigations 
brought to light in Death's own colours, thereby for 
the good of the souls of the well inclined readers to 
awaken in them a lively fear and diligent anticipation 
of Death." 

The subjects are: 1. The Creation. 2. Temptation. 
3. Expulsion. 4. Punishment. 5. A charnel house, 
with various figures of Death, three in the back-ground 
dancing. 6. The Pope. 7. Cardinal. 8. Bishop. 9. 
Abbot. 10. Canon. 11. Preacher. 12. Chaplain. 13. 
Monk. 14. Abbess. 15. Nun. 16. Emperor. 17. Em- 
press. 18. King. 19. Queen. 20. Prince. 21. Prin- 
cess. 22. Earl. 23. Countess. 24. Knight. 25. No- 
bleman. 26. Judge. 27. Counsellor. 28. Advocate. 
29. Physician. 30. Astrologer. 31. Rich man. 32. 
Merchant. 33. Shipwreck. 34. Lovers. 35. Child. 
36. Old man. 37. Old woman. 38. Carrier. 39. Ped- 
ler. 40. Ploughman. 41. Soldier. 42. Gamesters. 
43. Drunkards. 44. Murderer. 45. Fool. 46. Blind 
man. 47. Beggar. 48. Hermit. 49. Corruption. 50. 
Last Judgment. 51. Allegory of Death's Arms, See. 

The designs and some of the engravings are by M. 
Rentz, for the most part original, with occasional hints 
from the Lyons wood-cuts. 

Another edition with some variation was printed at 
Hamburg, 17 59, folio. 

VII. In the Lavenburg Calendar for 1792, are 12 
designs by Chodowiecki for a Dance of Death. These 
are: 1. The Pope. 2. The King. 3. The Queen. 4. 
The General. 5. The Genealogist. 6. The Physician. 


7. The Mother. 8. The Centinel. 9. The Fish Woman. 
10. The Beggar. 11. The fille de joye and bawd. 12. 
The Infant. 

VIII. A .Dance of Death in one of the Berne Alma- 
nacks, consisting of the 16 following subjects. 1. Death 
fantastically dressed as a beau, seizes the city maiden. 
2. Death wearing a Kevenhuller hat, takes the house- 
maid's broom from her. 3. Death seizes a terrified 
washerwoman. 4. He takes some of the apple-woman's 
fruit out of her basket. 5. The cellar maid or tap- 
ster standing at the door of an alehouse is summoned 
by death to accompany him. 6. He lays violent hands 
upon an abusive strumpet. 7. In the habit of an old 
Woman he lays hold of a midwife with a newly born 
infant in her hands. 8. With a shroud thrown over his 
shoulder he summons the female mourner. 9. In the 
character of a young man with a chapeau bras he brings 
a urinal for the physician's inspection. 10. The life- 
guardsman is accompanied by Death also on horseback 
and wearing an enormous military hat. 11. Death with 
a skillet on his head plunders the tinker's basket. 12. 
Death in a pair of jack-boots leads the postilion. 13. 
The lame beggar led by Death. 14. Death standing 
in a grave pulls the grave digger towards him by the 
leg. 15. Death seated on a plough with a scythe in 
his left hand, seizes the farmer, who carries several im- 
plements of husbandry on his shoulders. 16. The 
fraudulent inn-keeper in the act of adulterating his 
liquor in the cask, is throttled by Death who carries an 
ale vessel at his back. These figures are cut on wood 
in a free and masterly manner, by Zimmerman, an artist 
much employed in the decoration of these calendars. 
The prints are accompanied with dialogues between 
Death and the respective parties. 

" Freund Heins Erscheinungen in Holbeins manier 
von J. R. Schellenberg Winterthur, bey Heinrich Steiner 
und Comp. 1785, 8vo." That is" Friend Heins ap- 


pearance in the manner of Holbein, by J. R. Schellen- 
berg." The preface states that from the poverty of the 
German language in synonymous expressions for the 
allegorical or ideal Death, the author has ventured to 
coin the jocose appellation of Freind Hein, which will 
be understood from its resemblance to Hain or Hayn, a 
word signifying a grove. The sagacity of the German 
reader will perhaps discover the analogy. The subjects 
are 24 in number, as follow : 

1. Love interrupted. The lovers are caught by Death 
in a net, and in no very decent attitude. 

2. Suicide. A man shoots himself with a pistol, and 
falls into the arms of Death. 

3. Death in the character of a beau visits a lady at 
her toilet. 

4. The Aeronaut. The balloon takes fire, and the 
aeronaut is precipitated. 

5. Death's visit to the school. He enters at a door 
inscribed SILENTIUM, and puts the scholars to flight. 

6. Bad distribution of alms. 

7. Expectation deluded. Death disguised as a fine 
lady lays hands upon a beau, who seems to have ex- 
pected a very different sort of visitor. 

8. Unwelcome officiousness. Death feeding an infant 
with poison, the nurse wringing her hands in despair. 

9. The dissolution of the monastery. The Abbot fol- 
lowed by his monks receives the fatal summons in a 
letter delivered to him by Death. 

10. The company of a friend. An aged man near a 
grave wrings his hands. Death behind directs his atten- 
tion to heaven. 

11. The lottery gambler. Death presents him with 
the unlucky ticket. 

12. The woman of Vienna and the woman of Rome. 
Death seizes one, and points to the other. 

13. The Usurer. Death shuts him into his money 


14. The Glutton. Death seizes him at table, and 
forcibly pours wine down his throat, 

15. The Rope-dancer. Death mounted on an ass, 
and fantastically apparelled, enters the circle of spec- 
tators, and seizes the performer by one of his legs. 

16. The lodge of secrecy (freemasonry). Death in- 
troduces a novice blindfold to the lodge. 

17. The recruiting Officer. Death enlists some country 
fellows, a fiddler preceding. 

18. Berthold Swartz. Death ignites the contents of 
the mortar, and blows up the monk. In the usual 
representations of this story the Devil is always placed 
near the monk. 

19. The Duel. A man strikes with a sword at Death, 
who is lifting up the valves of a window. 

20. The plunder of the falling- trap. Death demo- 
lishes a student by throwing a bookcase filled with 
books upon him. 

21. Silence surrendered. Death appears to a school- 
mistress. The children terrified, escape. 

22. The privilege of the strong. Death lays violent 
hands on a lady, whom her male companions in vain 
endeavour to protect. 

23. The apothecary. Death enters his shop, and di- 
rects his attention to the poor patients who are coming in. 

24. The Conclusion. Two anatomists joining hands 
are both embraced by Death. 

The best of these subjects are Nos. 4, 13, 14, 15, and 
18. The text is a mixture of prose and verse. 

X. The English Dance of Death, from the designs of 
Thomas Rowlandson, with metrical illustrations by the 
author of Doctor Syntax." 2 vols. 8vo. 1815-1816. 

In seventy-two coloured engravings. Among these 
the most prominent and appropriate are, the last Chase ; 
the Recruit; the Catchpole; the Death-blow; the Dram- 
shop ; the Skaiters : the Duel ; the Kitchen ; the Toast- 


master; the Gallant's downfall; and the fall of four in 
hand. The rest are comparatively feeble and irrelevant, 
and many of the subjects ill-chosen, and devoid of that 
humour which might have been expected from the pencil 
of Rowlandson, whose grotesque predominates as usual 
in the groups. 

XL "Death's Doings, consisting of numerous ori- 
ginal compositions in prose and verse, the friendly con- 
tributions of various writers, principally intended as 
illustrations of 24 plates designed and etched by R. Dag- 
ley, author of " Select gems from the antique," &c. 
1826. 8vo. 

From the intrinsic value and well deserved success of 
this work, a new edition was almost immediately called 
for, which received many important additions from the 
modest and ingenious author. Among these a new 
frontispiece, from the design of Adrian Van Venne, 
the celebrated Dutch poet and painter, is particularly 
to be noticed. This edition is likewise enriched with 
numerous elegant contributions, both in prose and verse, 
from some of the best writers of the age. 

XII. A modern French Dance of Death, under the 
title of " Voyage pour 1'Eternite, service general des 
omnibus acceleres, depart a tout heure et de tous les 
point du globe." Par J. Grandville. No date, but 
about 1830. A series of nine lithographic engravings, 
including the frontispiece. Oblong 4to. These are the 
subjects : 

1. Frontispiece. Death conducting passengers in his 
omnibus to the cemetery of Pere la Chaise. 

2. " C'est ici le dernier relai." Death as a postilion gives 
notice to a traveller incumbered with his baggage, &c. 

3. " Vais-je bien? .... vous avancez horriblement." 
Death enters a watchmaker's shop, and shews his hour- 
glass to the master and his apprentice. 

4. " Monsieur le Baron, on vous demande. Dites 
que je n'y suis pas." Death having entered the apart- 


ment, the valet communicates his summons to his gouty 
master lying on a couch. 

5. " Soyez tranquille, j'ai un garon qui ne se trompe 
jamais." The apothecary addresses these words to some 
cautious patients whilst he fills a vessel which they have 
brought to his shop. Death, as an apprentice in another 
room, pounds medicines in a mortar. 

6. " Voila, Messieurs, un plat de mon metier." A 
feast. Death as a waiter enters with a plate of poisonous 

7. " Voulez vous monter chez moi, mon petit Mon- 
sieur, vous n'en serez pas fache, allez." Death, tricked 
out as a fille de joye with a mask, entices a youth intro- 
duced by a companion. 

8. " Pour une consultation, Docteur, j'en suis j'vous 
suis . . " Death in the character of an undertaker, his 
hearse behind, invites an old man to follow him. 

9. " Oui, Madame, ce sera bien la promenade la plus 
delicieuse! une voiture dans le dernier gout! un cheval 
qui fend Pair, et le meilleur groom de France." Death, 
habited as a beau, conducts a lady followed by her 
maid to a carriage in waiting. 

XIII. The British Dance of Death, exemplified by 
a series of engravings from drawings by Van Assen, with 
explanatory and moral essays. Printed by and for 
George Smeeton, Royal Arcade, Pall Mall. 8vo. no date. 
With a frontispiece designed by Geo. Cruikshank, 
representing a crowned sitting Death, holding a scythe 
in one hand, and with the other leaning on a globe. 
This is circular in the middle. Over it two small com- 
partments of Death striking an infant in the cradle, and 
a sick man. At bottom, two others of Death demolish- 
ing a glutton and a drunkard. A short preface states 
that the work is on the plan of " the celebrated designs 
of Holbein," meaning of course the Lyons work, but to 
which it has not the smallest resemblance, and refers to 
Lord Orford for the mention of the Basle dance, which, 


as having two or sometimes three figures only, it does 
resemble. It then states that the late Mr. Van Assen 
had no intention of publishing these designs, which now 
appear in compliance with the wishes of many of his 
friends to possess them. They are very neatly engraved, 
and tinted in imitation of the original drawings, but are 
wholly destitute of that humour which might have been 
expected from the pencil of the ingenious inventor, and 
which he has manifested on many other occasions. 
The subjects are the following : 1. The Infant. 2. Juve- 
nile piety. 3. The Student. 4. The Sempstress. 5. 
The musical Student. 6. The Dancer. 7. The female 
Student. 8. The Lovers. 9. The industrious Wife. 
-10. The Warrior. 11. The Pugilists. 12. The Glutton. 
13. The Drunkard. 14. The Watchman. 15. The 
Fishwoman. 16. The Physician. 17. The Miser. 18. 
Old Age. Death with his dart is standing near all these 
figures, but does not seem to be noticed by any of them. 

XIV. A Dance of Death in Danish rimes is men- 
tioned in Nyerup's " Bidragh til den Danske digtakunst 
historic." 1800. 12mo. 

XV. John Nixon Coleraine, an amateur, and secretary 
to the original Beef Stake Club, etched a dance of 
Death for ladies' fans. He died only a few years ago. 
Published by Mr. Fores, of Piccadilly, who had the 
copper-plates, but of which no impressions are now re- 



Dances of Death, with such text only as describes the 

IX small circles on a single sheet, 
engraved on copper by Israel Van 
Meckenen. 1. Christ sitting on his 
cross. 2. Three skulls on a table. 
3. Death and the Pope. 4. Death 
riding on a lion, and the Patriarch. 5. Death and 
the Standard-bearer. 6. Death and the Lady. At top 
" memento mori," at bottom " Israhel V. M." 

II. A Dance of Death, engraved on copper, by Henry 
Aldegrever. 1. Creation of Eve. 2. Adam and Eve 
eating the forbidden fruit. 3. Expulsion from Paradise. 
4. Adam digging, Eve spinning. 5. Death and the 
Pope. 6. Death and the Cardinal. 7. Death and the 
Bishop. 8. Death and the Abbot. All these have the 
date 1541, and with some variations follow the Lyons 
woodcuts. They have scriptural texts in Latin. 12mo. 
The whole were afterwards copied in a work by Kieser, 
already described, p. 121. 

III. A Dance of Death, consisting of eight subjects, 
engraved on copper by an unknown artist, whose mark 
is /|. 1. Death beating a drum, precedes a lady 
and gentleman accompanied by a little dog. 2. Death 
playing on a stickado, precedes a lady and gentleman 
dancing back to back, below an hour-glass. 3. Death, 
with an hour-glass in his right hand, lays his left on 
the shoulder of a gentleman taking hold of a lady with 
his right hand, and carrying a hawk with his left. 


4. Death crowned with a garland, and holding an hour- 
glass in his left hand, stands between a lady and gentle- 
man joining hands. 5. Death, with a fool's cap and 
hood, a dagger of lath, and a bladder, holds up an 
hour-glass with his right hand ; with his left he seizes 
the hand of a terrified lady accompanied by a gentle- 
man, who endeavours to thrust away the unwelcome 
companion. 6. Another couple led by Death. 7. 
Death with a cap and feathers holds an hour-glass in 
his right hand, and with his left seizes a lady, whom a 
gentleman endeavours to draw away from him. All 
have the date 1562. 12rno. Size, three inches by two. 
They are described also in Bartsch, Peintre Graveur, 
ix. 482, and have been sometimes erroneously ascribed 
to Aldegrever. 

IV. A Dance of Death, extremely well executed on 
wood, the designs of which have been taken from a set 
of initial letters, that will hereafter be particularly 
described. They are upright, and measure two inches 
by one and a half. Each subject is accompanied with 
two German verses. 

V. On the back of the title page to " Die kleyn 
furstlich Chronica," Strasb. 1544, 4to. are three subjects 
that appear to be part of a series. The 1. Death and 
the Pope, who has a book and triple crosier. Death 
kneels to him whilst he plays on a tabor and drum. 
2. Death and the King. Death blows a trumpet 3. 
Death shoots an arrow at a warrior armed with sword 
and battle-axe. All these figures are accompanied with 
German verses, and are neatly engraved on wood. 

VI. A series of single figures, etched with great 
spirit by Giovanni Maria Mitelli. They are not ac- 
companied by Death, but hold dialogues with him in 
Italian stanzas. The characters are, 1. The Astrologer. 
2. The Doctor of universal science. 3. The Hunter. 
4. The Mathematician. 5. The Idolater. They are 
not mentioned in Bartsch, nor in any other list of the 



works of engravers. It is possible that there are more 
of them. 

VII. The five Deaths, etched by Delia Bella. 1. A 
terrific figure of Death on a galloping horse. In his 
left hand a trumpet, to which a flag, agitated by the 
wind, is attached. In the back ground, several human 
skeletons, variously employed. 2. Death carrying off 
an infant in his arms. In the back-ground, the church- 
yard of the Innocents at Paris. 3. Death walking 
away with a young child on his back. In the distance, 
another view of the above cemetery. 4. Death carrying 
off a female on his shoulders, with her head downwards, 
followed at a distance by another Death holding a 
corpse in his arms. 5. Death dragging a reluctant 
old man towards a grave, in which another Death, with 
an hour-glass in his hand, awaits him. All these are 
extremely fine, and executed in the artist's best time. 
There is a sixth of the series, representing Death throw- 
ing a young man into a well, but it is very inferior to 
the others. It was begun by Delia Bella a short time 
before his death, and finished by his pupil Galestruzzi, 
about 1664. Delia Bella likewise etched a long print 
of the triumph of Death. 

VIII. A single anonymous French engraving on 
copper, 14J by 6J, containing three subjects. 1. Death 
and the soldier. 2. Death standing with a pruning 
knife in his right hand, and a winged hour-glass in his 
left. Under him are three prostrate females, one 
plays on a violin; the next, who represents Pride, 
holds a peacock in one hand and a mirror in the other; 
the third has a flower in her left hand. 3. Death and 
the lady. He holds an hour-glass and dart, and she a 
flower in her right hand. Under each subject are 
French verses. This may perhaps be one only of a 

IX. A German Dance of Death, in eight oblong en- 
gravings on copper, 11 by 8j, consisting of eight sheets 


and twenty-five subjects, as follow. 1. A fantastic 
figure of a Death, with a cap and feathers, in the atti- 
tude of dancing and playing on a flute. He is followed 
by another dancing skeleton carrying a coffin on his 
shoulder. 2. Pope. 3. Emperor. 4. Empress. 5. 
Cardinal. 6. King. 7. Bishop. 8. Duke or General. 
9. Abbot. 10. Knight. 11. Carthusian. 12. Burgo- 
master. 13. Canon. 14. Nobleman. 15. Physician. 
16. Usurer. 17. Chaplain. 18. Bailiff or Steward. 
19. Churchwarden. 20. Merchant. 21. Hermit. 22. 
Peasant. 23. Young Man. 24. Maiden. 25. Child. 
This is a complete set of the prints, representing the 
Lubeck painting, already described in p. 43. In the 
translation of the inscriptions, as given by Dr. Nugent, 
two more characters are added at the end, viz. the 
Dancing Master and the Fencing Master. On the 
spectator's left hand of No. 1. of these engravings, is a 
column containing the following inscription in German, 
in English as follows : " Silence, fool-hardy one, who- 
ever thou art, who, with needless words, profanest this 
holy place. This is no chapel for talking, but thy sure 
place is in Death's Dance. Silence then, silence, and 
let the painting on these silent walls commune with 
thee, and convince thee that man is and will be earth :" 
and on Nos. 4 and 5, the words u Zu finden in Lubeck 
by Christian Gotfried Donatius." 

X. The following entry is in the Stationers' books : 

28 b. v January [1597.] 

Tho. Purfoote, sen. ^ Entered their c. Mr. Dix and Wm. M. The 

Tho. Purfoote, jun. L roll of the Daunce of Death, with pictures 

J and verses upon the same VId. 

XI. In the catalogue of the library of R. Smith, 
secretary of the Poultry Compter, which was sold by 
auction in 1682, is this article " Dance of Death in the 
cloyster of Paul's, with figures, very old." Probably a 
single sheet. 


XII. "The Dance of Death;" a single sheet, en- 
graved on copper, with the following figures. In the 
middle, Death leading the king ; the beggar hand in 
hand with the king ; Death leading the old man, fol- 
lowed by a child ; the fool ; the wise man, as an astrolo- 
ger, led by Death. On the spectator's left hand, Death 
bringing a man before a j udge ; with the motto, " The 
greatest judge that sits in honour's seat, must come to 
grave, where't boots not to intreate." A man and 
woman in a brothel, Death behind ; with the motto, 
" Leave, wanton youth, thou must no longer stay ; if 
once I call all mortals must obey." On the opposite 
side, the Miser and Death ; the motto, " Come, world- 
ling, come, gold hath no power to save, leave it thou 
shalt, and dance with me to grave." Death and the 
Prisoner ; the motto, " Prisoner arise, ile ease thy fet- 
terd feet, and now betake thee to thy winding-sheet/' 
In the middle of the print sits a minstrel on a stool 
formed of bones placed on a coffin with a pick-axe and 
spade. He plays on a tabor and pipe ; with this motto, 
" Sickness, despaire, sword, famine, sudden death, all 
these do serve as minstrells unto Death ; the beggar, 
king, fool, and profound, courtier and clown all dance 
this round." Under the above figures is a poem of 
sixty-six lines on the power of Death, beginning thus : 

Yea, Adam's brood and earthly wights which breath now on the earth, 
Come dance this dance, and mark the song of this most mighty Death. 
Full well my power is known and seen in all the world about, 
When I do strike offeree do yeeld both noble, wise, and stout, Sec. 

Printed cullored and sould by R. Walton at the Globe 
and Compasses at the West end of St. Paules church 
turnirfg down towards Ludgate. 

XIII. A large anonymous German engraving on 
copper, in folio. In the middle is a circular Dance of 
Death, with nine females, from the Empress to the 
Fool. In the four corners, two persons kneeling before 


a crucifix; saints in heaven; the temptation; and the 
infernal regions. At top, a frame with these verses : 

Vulneris en nostri certain solamque medelam 
En data divina praemia larga manu. 
Der Todt Christ! Zunicht hat gmacht 
Den Todt und Sleben wider bracht. 

At bottom in a similar frame : 

Per unius peccatum Mors intravit in mundum. 
Den Todt und ewig hellisch pein 
Hat veruhr sagt die Sund allein. 

This is within a broad frame, containing a Dance of 
Death, in twelve ovals. The names of the characters 
are in German: 1. The Pope. * 2. Emperor. 3. King. 

4. Cardinal. 5. Bishop. 6. Duke. 7. Earl. 8. Gen- 
tleman. 9. Citizen. 10. Peasant. 11. Soldier and 
Beggar. 12. Fool and Child. Under each subject is 
an appropriate inscription in Latin and German. In 
the middle at top, a Death's head and bones, an hour- 
glass and a dial. In the middle at bottom, a lamp 
burning on a Death's head, and a pot of holy water 
with an aspergillum. On the sides, in the middle, fu- 
nereal implements. 

XIV. Heineken, in his " Dictionnaire des Graveurs/' 
iii. 77, mentions a Dance of Death engraved about 
1740 by Maurice Bodenehr of Friburg, but without any 
further notice. 

XV. Another very large print, 2 feet by 1J, in mez- 
zotinto, the subject as in No. 10. but the figures varied, 
and much better drawn. At bottom, " Joh. El. Ridin- 
ger excud. Aug. Vindel." 

XVI. Newton's Dances of Death. Published July 
12, 1796, by Wm. Holland, No. 50, Oxford Street, con- 
sisting of the following grotesque subjects engraved on 
copper. The size 6 inches by 5. 1. Auctioneer. 2. Law- 
yer. 3. Old Maid on Death's back. 4. Gamblers. 

5. Scolding Wife. 6. Apple-woman. 7. Blind Beggar. 


8. Distressed Poet and Bailiff. 9. Undertaker. 10. 
Sleeping Lady. 11. Old Woman and her Cats. 12. 
Gouty Parson feeding on a tythe pig. 12 5 * Same sub- 
ject differently treated. 13. Sailor and Sweetheart. 
14. Physician, Gravedigger, and Death dancing a 
round. 15. Market-man. 16. Doctor, sick Patient, 
and Nurse. 17. Watchman. 18. Gravedigger putting 
a corpse into the grave. 19. Old maid reading, Death 
extinguishes the candle. 20. Gravedigger making a 
grave. 21. Old Woman. 22. Barber. 23. Lady and 
Death reflected in the mirror. 24. Waiter. 25. Amo- 
rous Old Man and Young Woman. 26. Jew Old 
Clothes-man. 27. Miser. 28. Female Gin-drinker. 

XVII. The Dance of Death modernised. Published 
July 13, 1800, and designed by G. M. Woodward, 
Berners' Street, Oxford Street. Contains the following 
caricatures. Size 5 by 4J. 

1. King. " Return the diadem and I'll follow you." 

2. Cardinal. " Zounds, take care of my great toe, 
or I shall never rise higher than a cardinal." 

3. Bishop. " I cannot go, I am a bishop." 

4. Old Man. " My good friend, I am too old, I 
assure you." 

5. Dancing-master. " I never practised such an 
Allemande as this since I have been a dancing-master." 

6. Alderman. " If you detain me in this way my 
venison will be quite cold." 

7. Methodist Preacher. " If you wo'nt take I, I'll 
never mention you or the Devil in my sarmons as long 
as I lives." 

8. Parson. " I can't leave my company till I've 
finish'd my pipe and bottle." 

9. Schoolmaster. " I am only a poor schoolmaster, 
and sets good examples in the willage." 

10. Miser. " Spare my money, and I'll go con- 

11. Politician. " Stay till I have finished the news- 


paper, for I am told there is great intelligence from the 

12. Press-gang Sailor. " Why d me I'm one of 
your apprentices." 

13. Beggar. " This is the universal dance from a 
king to a beggar." 

14. Jockey. " I assure you I am engaged at New- 

15. Undertaker. "A pretty dance this for an under- 

16. Gouty Man. " Buzaglo's exercise was nothing 
to this." 

17. Poet. " I am but a poor poet, and always praised 
the ode to your honour written by the late King of 

18. Physician. " Here's fine encouragement for the 

19. Lawyer. "The law is always exempt by the sta- 

20. Old Maid. " Let me but stay till I am married, 
and I'll ask no longer time." 

21. Fine Lady. " Don't be so boisterous, you filthy 
wretch. I am a woman of fashion." 

22. Empress. " Fellow, I am an empress." 

23. Young Lady. " Indeed, Sir, I am too young." 

24. Old Bawd. " You may call me old bawd, if 
you please, but I am sure I have always been a friend 
to your worship." 

XVIII. Bonaparte's Dance of Death. Invented, 
drawn, and etched by Richard Newton, 7 by 5. 

1. Stabb'd at Malta. 2. Drown'd at Alexandria. 3. 
Strangled at Cairo. 4. Shot by a Tripoline gentleman. 
5. Devoured by wild beasts in the desert. 6. Alive in 


Books in which the subject is occasionally introduced. 

O offer any thing in the shape of a per- 
fect list of these, would be to attempt 
an impossibility, and therefore such only 
as have come under the author's imme- 
diate inspection are here presented to 
the curious reader. The same remark will apply to the 
list of single prints that follows. 

There is a very singular book, printed, as supposed, 
about 1460, at Bamberg, by Albert Pfister. It is in 
German, and a sort of moral allegory in the shape of 
complaints against Death, with his answers to these 
accusations. It is very particularly described from the 
only known perfect copy in the royal library at Paris, 
by M. Camus, in vol. ii. of " Memoires de 1'institut. na- 
tional des sciences et arts: litterature et beaux arts," p. 6 
et seq. It contains five engravings on wood, the first 
of which represents Death seated on a throne. Before 
him stands a man with an infant to complain that 
Death has taken the mother, who is seen wrapped in 
a shroud upon a tomb. The second cut represents 
Death also on a throne with the same person as before, 
making his complaint, accompanied by several other 
persons at the feet of Death, sorrowfully deposing the 
attributes of their respective conditions, and at the head 
of them a Pope kneeling with one knee on the ground. 
The third cut has two figures of Death, one of which, on 
foot, mows down several boys and girls ; the other is on 


horseback, and pursues some cavaliers, against whom 
he shoots his arrows. The fourth cut is in two com- 
partments, the upper representing, as before, a man 
complaining to Death seated on a throne with a crown 
on his head. Below, on the spectator's left hand, is a 
convent whence several monks are issuing towards a 
garden encircled with hurdles, in which is a tree laden 
with fruit by the side of a river ; a woman is seen 
crowning a child with a chaplet, near whom stands 
another female in conversation with a young man. M. 
Camus, in the course of his description of this cut, has 
fallen into a very ludicrous error. He mistakes the 
very plain and obvious gate of the garden, for a board, 
on which, he says, several characters are engraved which 
may be meant to signify the arts and sciences, none of 
which are competent to protection against the attacks 
of Death. These supposed characters, however, are 
nothing more than the flowered hinges, ring or knocker, 
and lock of the door, which stands ajar. The fifth cut 
is described as follows, and probably with greater accu- 
racy than in M. Camus, by Dr. Dibdin, from a single 
leaf of this very curious work in the Bibliotheca Spen- 
ceriana, vol. i. p. 104, accompanied with a copy of 
part of it only. " Above the figures there seen sits, the 
Almighty upon a- throne, with an attendant angel on 
each side. He is putting the forefinger of his left 
hand into the centre of his right, and upon each of the 
hands is an eye, denoting, I presume, the omniscience 
of the Deity. " The fac-simile cut partly corresponds 
with M. Camus's description of Death, and the com- 
plainant before Christ seated on a throne in a heaven 
interspersed with stars. The above fourth cut among 
these is on a single leaf in the possession of the author,, 
which had Dr. Dibdin seen, he would not have intro- 
duced M. Camus's erroneous account of it, who has. 
al>o referred to Heineken's Idee, &c, p. 276, where it 
certainly is not in the French edition of 1771. 8vo. 


In the celebrated Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 
that city, 1493, large folio, there is at fo. cclxiiii. a fine 
wood-cut of three Deaths dancing hand in hand, 
another playing to them on a haut-boy. Below 
is a skeleton rising from a grave. It is inscribed 


In the " Stultifera navis" of Sebastian Brant, origi- 
nally printed in German at Basle and Nuremberg, 1494, 
are several prints, finely cut on wood, in which Death is 
introduced. In an edition printed at Basle, 1572, 
12mo. with elegant wood engravings, after the designs 
of Christopher Maurer, and which differ very materially 
from those in the early editions, there is a cut of great 
merit to the verses that have for their title, " Qui alios 
judicat." It represents a man on his death bed; and 
as the poet's intention is to condemn the folly of those 
who, judging falsely or uncharitably of others, forget 
that they must die themselves, Death is introduced 
as pulling a stool from under a fool, who sits by the 
bed-side of the dying man. In the original cut the 
fool is tumbling into the jaws of hell, which, as usual, 
is represented by a monstrous dragon. 

In the "Calendrier des Bergers," Paris, 1500, folio, at 
sign. g. 6, is a terrific figure of Death on the pale horse; 
and at sign. g. 5. Death in a cemetery, with crosses 
and monuments ; in his left hand the lid of a coffin in 
which his left foot is placed. These cuts are not in the 
English translation. 

" Ortulus Rosarum," circa 1500, 12mo. A wood- 
cut of Death bearing a coffin on his shoulder, leads a 
group consisting of a pope, a cardinal, &c. 

In the dialogue " Of lyfe and death," at the end of 
" the dialoges of creatures moralysed," probably printed 
abroad without date or printer's name soon after 1500, 
are two engravings in wood, one representing Death 
appearing to a man with a falcon on his fist, the other 
Death with his spade leading an emperor, a king, and a 


duke. The latter is not founcl in the Latin editions of 
this work, and has probably formed a part of some very 
old Dance of Death. 

In an edition of " Boetius de consolatione," Strasburg, 
1501, folio, is a figure of Death on a lean horse throw- 
ing his dart at a group of warriors. 

In the " Freidanck," Strasburg, 1508, 4to, near the 
end is a wood-cut of a garden, in which two men and 
two women are feasting at a table. They are interrupted 
by the unexpected appearance of Death, who forcibly 
seizes one of the party, whilst the rest make their 

In the " Mortilogus" of Conrad Reitter, Prior of 
Nordlingen, printed at Augsbourg by Erhard Oglin 
and Geo. Nadler, 1508, 4to. there is a wood-cut of 
Death in a church-yard, holding a spade with one hand 
and with the other showing his hour-glass to a young 
soldier; and another of Death shooting an arrow at a 
flying man. 

In " Heures a 1'usaige de Sens," printed at Paris by 
Jean de Brie, 1512, 8vo. the month of December in the 
calendar is figured by Death pulling an old man to- 
wards a grave; a subject which is, perhaps, nowhere 
else to be found as a representation of that month. It 
is certainly appropriate, as being at once the symbol of 
the termination of the year and of man's life. 

" In the " Chevalier de la Tour," printed by Guil- 
laume Eustace, Paris, 1514, folio, there is an allegorical^ 
cut, very finely engraved on wood, at fo. xxii. nearly filling 
I the page. The subject is the expulsion of Adam and 
Eve from Paradise, the gate of which exhibits a regular 
entrance, with round towers and portcullis. Behind 
this gate is seen the forbidden tree, at the bottom of 
which is the Devil, seemingly rejoicing at the expulsion, 
with an apple in his hand. Near the gate stands the 
angel with his sword, and a cross on his head. Between 


him and the parties expelled is a picturesque figure of 
Death with a scythe ready for action. 

"Horse ad usum Romanum," printed for Geoffrey Tory 
of Tours, 1525. Before the Vigiliae Mortuorum is a 
wood-cut of a winged Death holding a clock in one 
hand; with the other he strikes to the ground and tram- 
ples on several men and women. Near him is a tree 
with a crow uttering CRAS CRAS. In another edition, 
dated 1527, is a different cut of a crowned figure of 
Death mounted on a black mule and holding a scythe 
and hour-glass. He is trampling on several dead bo- 
dies, and is preceded by another Death, armed also 
with a scythe, whilst a third behind strikes the mule, 
who stops to devour one of the prostrate figures. Above 
is a crow. 

In a beautiful Officium Virg. printed at Venice, 1525, 
12mo. is a vignette of Death aiming an arrow at a 
group consisting of a pope, cardinal, &c. Another 
Death is behind, on the spectator's left. 

In " Heures de Notre Dame mises en reyne, &c." par 
Pierre Gringoire, 1527, 8vo. there is a cut at fo. Ix. 
before the vigilles de la mort, of a king lying on a bier 
in a chapel with tapers burning, several mourners at- 
tending, and on the ground a pot of holy water. A 
hideous figure of Death holding a scythe in one hand 
and a horn in the other, tramples on the body of the 
deceased monarch. 

In a folio missal for the use of Salisbury, printed at 
Paris by Francis Regnault, 1531, there is a singular 
cut prefixed to the Officium Mortuorum, representing 
two Deaths seizing a body that has the horrible appear- 
ance of having been some time in its grave. 

In a Flemish metrical translation of Pope Innocent 
III.'s work, " De vilitate conditionis humanae," Ghend, 
1543, 12mo. there is a wood-cut of Death emerging 
from hell, armed with a dart and a three-pronged fork, 


with which he attacks a party taking their repast at a 

In the cuts to the Old Testament, beautifully en- 
graved on wood by Solomon or le petit Bernard, Lyons, 
1553, 12mo. Death is introduced in the vision of Eze- 
kiel, ch. xxxvii. In this work the expulsion from Pa- 
radise is imitated from the same subject in the Lyons 

In "Hawes's History of Graund Amoure and la bel Pu- 
cell, called the Pastime of Pleasure," printed by R. Tot- 
tel, 1555, 4to. are two prints; the first exhibits a female 
seated on a throne, in contemplation of several men and 
animals, some of whom are lying dead at her feet ; 
behind the throne Death is seen armed with a dart, 
which he seems to have been just making use of: there 
is no allusion to it in the text, and it must have been 
intended for some other work. The second print has 
two figures of Death and a young man, whom he 
threatens with a sort of mace in his right hand, whilst 
he holds a pickaxe with his left. 

" Imagines elegantissimae quse multum lucis ad intelli- 
gendos doctrinee Christianas locos adferre possunt, col- 
lectae a Johann Cogelero verbi divini ministro, Stetini." 
Viteberg, 1560, 12mo. It contains a wood-print, finely 
executed, of the following subject. In the front Death, 
armed with a hunting-spear, pushes a naked figure into 
the mouth of hell, in which are seen a pope and two 
monks. Behind this group, Moses, with a pair of 
bulls' horns, and attended by two Jews, holds the tables 
of the law. In the distance the temptation, and the 
brazen serpent. 

A German translation of the well known block book, 
the "Ars Moriendi," was printed at Dilingen, 1569, 
12mo. with several additional engravings on wood. It is 
perhaps the last publication of the work. On the title- 
page is an oval cut, representing a winged boy sleeping 
on a scull, and Death shooting an arrow at him. The 


first cut exhibits a sort of Death's dance, in eight small 
compartments. 1. A woman in bed just delivered of a 
child, with which Death is running away. 2. A man 
sitting at a table, Death seizes him behind, and pulls 
him over the bench on which he is sitting. 3. Death 
drowning a man in a river. 4. Flames of fire issue from 
a house, Death tramples on a man endeavouring to 
escape. 5. Two men fighting, one of whom pierces the 
other with his sword. The wounded man is seized by 
Death, the other by the Devil. 6. A man on horseback 
is seized by Death also mounted behind. 7. Death 
holds his hour-glass to a man on his death- bed. 8. 
Death leading an aged man to the grave. At the end 
of this curious volume is a singular cut, intitled " Sym- 
bolum M. Joannis Stotzinger Presbyteri Dilingensis." 
It exhibits a young man sitting at a table, on which is a 
violin, music books, and an hour-glass. On the table 
is written RESPICE FINEM. Near him his guardian 
angel holding a label, inscribed ANGELVS ASTAT. Be- 
hind them Death about to strike the young man with 
his dart, and over him MORS MINATVR. At the end of 
the table Conscience as a female, whom a serpent bites, 
with the label CONSCIENTIA MORDET, and near her the 
Devil, with the label DIABOLVS ACCVSAT. Above is 
the Deity looking down, and the motto DEVS VIDET. 

" II Cavallero Determinado," Antwerp, 1591, 4to. A 
translation from the French romance of Olivier de la 
Marche, with etchings by Vander Borcht. The last 
print represents Death, armed with a coffin lid as a 
shield, attacking a knight on horseback. In several of 
the other prints Death is represented under the name of 
Atropos, as president in tournaments. In other editions 
the cuts are on wood by the artist with the mark j(~* . 

In the margins of some of the Horae, printed by 
Thielman Kerver, there are several grotesque figures of 
Death, independently of the usual Dance. 

In many of the Bibles that have prints to the Reve- 


lations, that of Death on the pale horse is to be no- 

In Petrarch's work " de remediis utriusque fortunse," 
both in the German and Latin editions, there are several 
cuts that relate materially to the subject. It may be as 
well to mention that this work has been improperly 
ascribed to Petrarch. 

In many of the old editions of Petrarch's works 
which contain the triumphs, that of Death is usually 
accompanied with some terrific print of Death in a 
car drawn by oxen, trampling upon all conditions of 
men from the pope to the beggar. 

" Guilleville, Pelerin de la vie humaine." The pil- 
grim is conducted by Abstinence into a refectory, where 
he sees many figures of Death in the act of feeding 
several persons sitting at table. These are good people 
long deceased, who during their lives have been boun- 
tiful to their fellow-creatures. At the end, the pilgrim 
is struck by Death with two darts whilst on his bed. 

Death kicking at a man, his wife, and child. From 
some book printed at Strasburg in the 16th century. 

Death, as an ecclesiastic, sitting on the ground and 
writing in a book. Another Death holding an inscribed 
paper in one hand, seizes with the other a man pointing 
to a similar paper. The Deity in a cloud looking on. 
From the same book. 

" Mors," a Latin comedy, by William Drury, a pro- 
fessor of poetry and rhetoric in the English college at 
Douay. It was acted in the refectory of the college 
and elsewhere, and with considerable applause, which 
it very well deserved. There is as much, and sometimes 
more, wit and humour in it than are found in many 
English farces. It was printed at Douay, 1628, 12mo. 
with two other Latin plays, but not of equal interest. 

A moral and poetical Drama, in eleven scenes, in- 
titled, " Youth's Tragedy, by T. S." 1671 and 1707, 
4to. in which the interlocutors are, Youth, the Devil, 


Wisdom, Time, Death, and the Soul. It is miserable 

" La Historia della Morte," Trevigi, 1674, 4to. four 
leaves only. It is a poem in octave stanzas. The 
author, wandering in a wood, is overwhelmed with 
tears in reflecting on the approach of Death and his 
omnipotent dominion over mankind. He is suddenly 
accosted by the king of terrors, who is thus described : 

Un ombra mi coperse prestamente 
Che mi fece tremar in cotal sorte 
Ell'era magra, e longa in sua figura, 
Che chi la vede perde gioco, e festa, 
Dente d'acciaio haveva in bocca oscura, 
Corna di ferro due sopra la testa 
Ella mi fe tremar dalla paura, &c. 

The work consists of a long dialogue between the par- 
ties. The author enquires of Death if he was born of 
father and mother. Death answers that he was created 
by Jesus Christ, " che e signor giocondo," with the 
other angels; that after Adam's sin he was called 
Death. The author tells him that he seems rather to 
be a malignant spirit, and presses for some further in- 
formation. He is referred to the Bible, and the account 
of David's destroying angel : 

Quando Roma per me fu tribulata 
. Gregorio videmi con suo occhio honesto 
Con una spada ch'era insanguinata 
Al castel de Sant Angelo chiamato 
Da V hora in qua cosi fu appellate. 

This corresponds with the usual story, that during a 
plague Gregory saw an angel hovering over the castle, 
who, on the Pope's looking up to him, immediately 
sheathed his flaming sword. More questions are then 
propounded by Death, particularly as to the use of his 
horns and teeth, and the curiosity of the author is most 
condescendingly gratified. 

Bishop Warburton and Mr. Malone have referred to 


old Moralities, in which the fool escaping from the pur- 
suit of Death is introduced. Ritson has denied the 
existence of any such farces, and he is perhaps right 
with respect to printed ones; but vestiges of such a 
drama were observed several years ago at the fair of 
Bristol by the present writer. See the notes to Measure 
for Measure, Act iii. sc. 1, and to Pericles, Act iii. 
sc. 2. 

In " Musart Adolescens Academicus sub institutione 
Salomonis," Duaci, 1633, 12mo. is an engraving on cop- 
per of a modern Bacchus astride upon a wine cask 
drawn by two tigers. In one hand he holds a thyrsus 
composed of grapes and vine leaves, and in the other 
a cup or vase, from which a serpent springs, to indicate 
poison. Behind this Bacchus Death is seated, armed 
with his scythe and lying in wait for him. The motto, 
11 Vesani calices quid non fecere," a parody on the line, 
" Fecundi calices quern non fecere disertum?" Horat. 
lib. i. epist. v. 1. 19. 

In" Christopher Van Sichem's Bibels' Tresoor," 1646, 
4to. there is a wood-cut of Death assisting Adam to dig 
the ground, partly copied from the subject of " the 
Curse/' in the work printed at Lyons. 

In " De Chertablon, maniere de se bien preparer a la 
mort, &c." Anvers, 1700, 4to. there is an allegorical 
print in which a man is led by his guardian angel to 
;he dwelling of Faith, Hope, and Charity, but is vio- 
ently seized by Death, who points to his last habita- 
;ion, in the shape of a sepulchral monument. 

In Luyken's " Onwaardige wereld," Amst. 1710, 
I2mo. are three allegorical engravings relating to this 
; subject. 

In a very singular book, intitled " Confusio disposita 
osis rhetorico-poeticis fragrans, sive quatuor lusus sa- 
:yrico morales, &c. authore Josepho Melchiore Fran- 
nsco a Glarus, dicto Tschudi de Greplang." Augsburg, 
1725, 12mo. are the following subjects. 1. The world 



as Spring, represented by a fine lady in a flower-garden, 
Death and the Devil behind her. 2. Death and the 
Devil lying in wait for the miser. 3. Death and the 
Devil hewing down the barren fig-tree. 4. A group of 
dancers at a ball interrupted by Death. 5. Death striking 
a lady in bed attended by her waiting maid. 6. Death 
gives the coup-de-grace to a drunken fellow who had 
fallen down stairs. 7. Death mounted on a skeleton- 
horse dashes among a group of rich men counting 
their gold, &c. 8. A rich man refused entrance into 
heaven. He has been brought to the gate in a sedan 
chair, carried by a couple of Deaths in full-bottom 

In Luyken's " Vonken der lief de Jezus," Amst. 
1727, 12mo. are several engravings relating to the sub- 
ject. In one of them Death pours a draught into the 
mouth of a sick man in bed. 

In Moncriefs "March of Intellect," 1830, 18mo. 
scene a workhouse, Death brings in a bowl of soup, a 
label on the ground, inscribed " Death in the pot." 
An engraving in wood after Cruikshank. 

In Jan Huygen's " Beginselen van Gods koninryk," 
Amst. 1738, 12mo. with engravings by Luyken, a dying 
man attended by his physician and friends; Death at 
the head of the bed eagerly lying in wait for him. 

In one of the livraisons of " Goethe's Balladen undi 
Romanzen," 1831, in folio, with beautiful marginal de- 
corations, there is a Dance of Death in a church-yard, 
accompanied with a description, of which an English 
translation is inserted in the " Literary Gazette" foi, 
1832, p. 731, under the title of "The Skeleton Dance,' 
with a reference to another indifferent version in th( 
" Souvenir." 

The well-known subjects of Death and the old mar 
with the bundle of sticks, &c. and Cupid and Death ir 
many editions of ^sopian fables. 



Books of emblems and fables. Frontispieces and title- 
pages, in some degree connected with the Dance of 


T is very seldom that in this numerous 
and amusing class of books a subject 
relating to Death, either moral or of a 
ludicrous nature does not occur. It 
may be sufficient to notice a few of 

" La Morosophie de Guillaume de la Perriere," 1553, 

" Emblemes ou devises Chretiennes," par Georgette de 
Montenaye, 1571, 4to. 

" Le Imprese del S. Gab. Symeoni." Lyons, 1574, 4to. 
" Enchiridion artis pingendi, fingendi et sculpendi. 
Auth. Justo Ammanno, Tig." Francof. 1578, 4to. This 
is one of Jost Amman's emblematical books in wood, 
and contains at the end a figure of Death about to cut 
DtF two lovers with his scythe, Cupid hovering over 

" Apologi creaturarum." Plantin, 1590, 4to. with 

2legant etchings by Marc Gerard. It has one subject 

:>nly of Death summoning a youth with a hawk on his 

fist to a church-yard in the back-ground. 

Reusner's " aureolorum emblematum liber singularis," 


Argentorati, 1591, 12mo. A print of Death taking 
away a lady who has been stung by a serpent; de- 
signed and engraved by Tobias Stimmer. 

" De Bry Proscenium vitae humanse," Francof. 1592 
and 1627, 4to. This collection has two subjects: 1. 
Death and the Young Man. 2. Death and the Virgin. 

" Jani Jacobi Boissardi Emblematum liber, a Theodoro 
de Bry sculpta." Francof. 1593. Contains one print, 
iniitled " Sola virtus est funeris expers." The three 
Fates, one of whom holds a tablet with sic VISVM 
SVPERIS. Death attending with his hour-glass. Below, 
crowns, sceptres, and various emblems of human vanity. 
On the spectator's left, a figure of Virtue standing, with 
sword and shield. 

"De Bry Emblemata." Francof. 1593, 4to. The last 
emblem has Death striking an old man, who still clings 
to the world, represented as a globe. 

" Rolandini variar. imaginum, lib. iii." Panormi, 1595, 

" Alciati Emblemata," one of the earliest books of its i 
kind, and a favourite that has passed through a great 
many editions. 

" Typotia symbola divina et humana Pontificum Impe- 
ratorum, Regum, &c." Francofurti, 1601, folio. 

Friderich's Emblems," 1617, 8vo. Several engra- 
vings on the subject. 

" Das ^rneurte Stamm-und Stechbuchlein." By Fa- 
bian Athyr. Nuremberg, 1654. Small obi. 4to. 

" Mannichii Emblemata," Nuremberg, 1624, 4to. 

" Minne Beelden toe-ghepast de Lievende Jonckheyt," 
Amst. 1635, 12mo. The cuts on the subject are ex- 
tremely grotesque and singular. 

" Sciographia Cosmica." A description of the princi- 
pal towns and cities in the world, with views engraved 
by Paul Furst, and appropriate emblems. By Daniel 
Meisner: in eight parts. Nuremberg, 1637. Oblong 


4to. In the print of the town of Freyburg, Death 
stands near an old man, and holds a clock in one hand. 
In that of the city of Toledo Death accompanies a 
female who has a mirror in her hand. 

In the same work, at vol. A. 4, is a figure of Death 
trampling on Envy, with the motto, " Der Todt mach dem 
Neyd ein ende." At A 39, Death intercepting a traveller, 
the motto, " Vitam morti obviam procedit." At A. 74, 
Death standing near a city, the motto, " Tros Tyriusve 
i mihi nullo discrimine habetur." At C. 9, a, man and 
woman in the chains of matrimony, which Death dis- 
solves by striking the chain with a bone, the motto, 
" Conjugii vinculum firmissimum est." At C. 30, 
Death about to mow down a philosopher holding a 
clock, the motto, " Omnis dies, omnis hora, quam nihil 
sumus ostendit." At E. 32, Death standing in the 
middle of a parterre of flowers, holding in one hand a 
branch of laurel, in the other a palm branch, the motto, 
" Ante mortem nullus beatus est." At E. 35, Death 
shooting with a cross-bow at a miser before his chest of 
money, the motto, " Nee divitiis nee auro." At E. 44, 
Death seizes a young man writing the words, " sic 
visum superis" on a tablet, the motto, " Viva virtus est 
funeris expers." At G. 32, Death pursues a king and 
a peasant, all on horseback, the motto, " Mors sceptra 
ligonibus sequat." At G. 66, a woman looking in a 
mirror sees Death, who stands behind her reflected, the 
motto, "Tota vita sapientis est meditatio mortis." At 
H. 66, a company of drunkards. Death strikes one of 
them behind when drinking, the motto, "Malus inter 
poculo mos est." At H. 80, Death cuts down a genea- 
ogical tree, with a young man and woman, the motto, 
' Juventus proponit, mors disponit." 

"Conrad Buno Driestandige Sinnbilder," 1643. Ob- 
ong 4to. 

" Amoris divini et humani antipathia." Antw. 1670. 


" Typotii Symbola varia diversomm principum sacro- 
sanctse ecclesiae et sacri Imperil Romani." Arnheim, 
1679. 12mo. 

In Sluiter's " Somer en winter leven," Amst. 1687, 
12mo. is a figure of Death knocking at the door of a 
house and alarming the inhabitants with his unexpected 
visit. The designer most probably had in his recollec- 
tion Horace's " Mors aequo pede pulsat pauperum ta- 
bernas regumque turres." 

" Euterpe soboles hoc est emblemata varia, &c." with 
stanzas in Latin and German to each print. No date. 
Oblong 4to. The engravings by Peter Rollo. Repub- 
lished at Paris, with this title, " Le Centre de Pamour, 
&c." A Paris chez Cupidon. Same form, and without 
date. This edition has several additional cuts. 

" Rollenhagii nucleus Emblematum." The cuts by 
Crispin de Passe. 

In Herman KruFs " Eerlyche tytkorting, &c." a Dutch 
book of emblems, 4to. n. d. there are some subjects in 
which Death is allegorically introduced, and sometimes 
in a very ludicrous manner. 

Death enters the study of a seated philosopher, from 
whose mouth and breast proceed rays of li^ht, and 
presents him with an hour-glass. Below a grave, over 
which hangs one foot of the philosopher. A. Venne 
invent. Obi. 5J by 4J. 

" Catz's Emblems," in a variety of forms and editions, 
containing several prints relating to the subject. 

" Oth. Vsenii Emblemata Horatiana." Several edi- 
tions, with the same prints. 

" Le Centre de 1'Amour decouvert soubs divers em- 
blesmes galans et facetieux. A Paris chez Cupidon.' 
Obi. 4to. without date. One print only of a man sitting 
in a chair seized by Death, whilst admiring a female 
who, not liking the intrusion, is making her escape. Th< 
book contains several very singular subjects, accompa 
nied by Latin and German subjects. It occurs als< 


under the title of " Euterpae soboles hoc est emblemata 
varia eleganti jocorum mistura, &c." 

" Fables nouvelles par M. de la Motte." 4to. edition. 
Amsterd. 1727, 12mo. 

" Apophthegmata Symbolica, &c." per A. C. Rede- 
lium Belgam. Augspurg, 1700. Oblong 4to. Death 
and the soldier; Death interrupting a feast; Death and 
the miser ; Death and the old man ; Death drawing 
the curtain of life, &c. &c. 

"Choice emblems, divine and moral." 1732. 12mo. 


" Arent Bosnian/' This is the title to an old Dutch 
legend of a man who had a vision of hell, which is 
related much in the manner of those of Tundale and 
others. It was printed at Antwerp in 1504, 4to. The 
frontispiece has a figure of Death in pursuit of a ter- 
rified young man, and may probably belong to some 
other work. 

On a portion of the finely engraved wood frontispiece 
to " Joh. de Bromyard Summa predicantium." Nu- 
remberg, 1518, folio. Death with scythe and hour- 
glass stands on an urn, supported by four persons, and 
terrifies several others who are taking flight and 
stumbling over each other. 

" Schawspiel Menchliches Lebens." Frankfort, 1596, 
4to. Another edition in Latin, intitled, " Theatrum 
vitse human ae," by J. Boissard, the engravings by De 
Bry. At the top of the elegant title or frontispiece to 
this work is an oblong oval of a marriage, interrupted 
by Death, who seizes the bridegroom. At bottom a 
similar oval or Death digging the grave of an old man 
who is looking into it. On one side of the page, Death 
striking an infant in its cradle; on the other, a mer- 
chant about to ship his goods is intercepted by Death. 


men. 7. A painter painting a figure of Death, in the 
back ground a woman who seems to be purchasing 
articles of dress. 8. Two men with spades, one of them 
digging. This very beautiful print is engraved by T. 
Cecil. On the top of each of the above compartments, 
Death holds a string with both his hands. 

" Theatrum omnium miserarum." A theatre filled 
with a vast number of people. In the centre, an obe- 
lisk on a pedestal, behind which is a small stage with 
persons sitting. In the foreground, Death holding a 
cord, with which three naked figures are bound, and 
another Death with a naked figure in a net. Between 
these figures symbols of the world, the flesh, and the 
Devil. 4to. 

" Les Consolations de TAme fidelle contre les frayeurs 
de la mort." Death holds his scythe over a group of 
persons, consisting of an old man and a child near a 
grave, who are followed by a king, queen, and a shep- 
herd, with various pious inscriptions. 8vo. 

" La maniere de se bien preparer a la mort, par M. 
de Chertablon." Anvers, 1700, 4to. 

In an engraved frontispiece, a figure of Time or 
Death trampling upon a heap of articles expressive of 
worldly pomp and grandeur, strikes one end of his 
scythe against the door of a building, on which is in- 

MORI. Hebr. ix." 

At the bottom, within a frame ornamented with em- 
blems of mortality, a sarcophagus with the skeleton of ] 
a man raised from it. Two Deaths are standing near, j 
one of whom blows a trumpet, the other points upward 
with one hand, and holds a scythe in the other. On 
one side of the sarcophagus are several females weeping; 
on the other, a philosopher sitting, who addresses a 
group of sovereigns, &c. who are looking at the ske- 

" Palingenii Zodiacus Vitae." Rotterdam, 1722. 


12mo. Death seizes a sitting figure crowned with 
laurel, perhaps intended for Virtue, who clings to a 
bust of Minerva, &c. 

Death leading a bishop holding his crosier. He is 
preceded by another Death as a bellman with bell and 
lanthorn. Above, emblems of mortality over a label, 
inscribed " A Vision." 12mo. 

Scene, a church-yard. Death holding an hour-glass 
in one hand levels his dart at a young man in the habit 
of an ecclesiastic, with a mask in his hand. " Worlidge 
inv. Boitard sculp." The book unknown. 8vo. 

Three figures of Death uncovering a circular mirror, 
with a group of persons dying, &c. At bottom, IN- 


J. Sturt sculp. 

Death touching a globe, on which is inscribed VA- 
NITY, appears to a man in bed. " Hayman inv. C. 
Grignion sc." 8vo. 

To a little French work, intitled " Spectriana," Paris, 
1817, 24mo. there is a frontispiece on copper represent- 
ing the subject of one of the stories. A figure of Death 
inc umbered with chains beckons to an armed man to 
follow him into a cave. 



Single prints connected with the Dance of Death. 


(N. B. The right and left hands are those of the spectator. The prints 
on wood are so specified.) 

ancient engraving, in the manner 
of Israel Van Meckenen. Death is 
playing at chess with a king, who is 
alarmed at an impending check-mate. 
A pope, cardinal, bishop, and other 
persons are looking on. Above are three labels. Bartsch 
x. 55. No. 32. 

Albert Durer's knight preceded by Death, and fol- 
lowed by a demon, a well-known and beautiful en- 
graving. ' 

A very scarce and curious engraving, represent- 
ing the interior of a brothel. At the feet of a bed a 
man is sitting by a woman almost naked, who puts 
her hand into his purse, and clandestinely delivers 
the money she takes from it to a fellow standing behind 
one of the curtains. On the opposite side is a grinning 
fool making significant signs with his fingers to a figure 
of Death peeping in at a window. This singular print 
has the mark L upon it, and is something in the manner 
of Lucas Van Leyden, but is not mentioned in BartschV 
catalogue of his prints. Upright 7J by 5J. 

A small etching, very delicately executed, and ascribed 
to Lucas Van Leyden, whose manner it certainly re- 


resembles. At a table on the left a family of old and 
young persons are assembled. They are startled by the 
appearance of a hideous figure of Death with a long 
beard and his head covered. Near him is a young 
female, crowned with a chaplet of flowers, holding in 
her hand a scull, Death's head, and hour-glass, and 
which the father of the family turns round to contem- 
plate. Above is an angel or genius shooting an arrow 
at the family, and as it were at random. At top on the 
right is the letter L, and the date 1523. See Bartsch, 
vol. vii. p. 435. Oblong, 5^ by 4. 

A small upright print of Death with a spade on 
his shoulder, and leading an armed soldier. The mark 
L below on a tablet. Not mentioned by Bartsch. 

A small circular engraving, of several persons feast- 
ing and dancing. Death lies in wait behind a sort of 
canopy. Probably a brothel scene, as part of the story 
of the prodigal son. The mark is L. Not noticed 
by Bartsch. 

A reverse of this engraving, marked S. 

An engraving on wood of Death presenting an hour- 
glass, surmounted by a dial, to a soldier who holds with 
both his hands a long battle-axe. The parties seem to 
be conversing. With Albert Durer's mark, and the 
date 1510. It has several German verses. See Bartsch, 
vii. 145, No. 132. 

A wood print of Death in a tree pointing with his 
right hand to a crow on his left, with which he holds 
an hour-glass. At the foot of the tree an old German 
soldier holding a sword pointed to the ground. On his 
left, another soldier with a long pike. A female sitting 
by the side of a large river with a lap-dog. The mark 
of Urs Graaf \ and the date 1524 on the tree. 

Upright, 8 by 4J. 

Death as a buffoon, with cap, bauble, and hour-glass, 
leading a lady. The motto, OMNEM IN HOMINE VE- 


NVSTATEM MORS ABOLET. With the mark and date 
}$Q 1541. Bartsch, viii. 374. 

An engraving of Adam and Eve near the tree of 
life, which is singularly represented by Death en- 
twined with a serpent. Adam holds in one hand 
a flaming sword, and with the other receives the 
apple from Eve, who has taken it from the serpent's 
mouth. At top is a tablet with the mark and date 
Mi 1543. A copy from Barthol. Beham. Bartsch, 
viii. 116. 

Death seizing a naked female. A small upright en- 
graving. The motto, OMNEM IN HOMINE VENVSTA- 
TEM MORS ABOLET. With the mark and date J$B 
1546. Bartsch, viii. 175. 

A small upright engraving, representing Death with 
three naked women, one of whom he holds by the hair 
of her head. A lascivious print. The mark fsg on a 
label at bottom. Bartsch, viii. 176, who calls the 
women sorceresses. 

A small upright engraving of Death holding an 
hour-glass and dial to a soldier with a halberd. At 
top, the mark and date J6^ 1532. Bartsch, viii. 

An upright engraving of Death seizing a soldier, 
who struggles to escape from him. Below, an hour- 
glass. In a corner at top, the mark feB. 

An upright engraving of Death trampling upon a 
vanquished soldier, who endeavours to parry with his 
sword a blow that with one hand his adversary aims 
at him, whilst with the other he breaks the soldier's 
spear. In a corner at top, the mark [eg. A truly 
terrific print, engraved also by 7c\- Bartsch, viii. 

A naked female seized by a naked man in a very 
indecent manner. Death who is behind seizes the man 
whose left hand is placed on a little boy taking money 


out of a bag. The motto, HO: MORS VLTIMA LINE A 
RERVM, with the mark and date |$p 1529. See 
Bartsch, viii. 176. 

Near the end of an English Primer, printed at Paris, 
1535, 4to. is a small print of Death leading a pope, 
engraved with great spirit on wood, but it has certainly 
not formed part of a series of a Dance of Death. 

An upright engraving of a pair of lovers interrupted 
by Death with scythe and hour-glass, with the mark 
and date J-f] 1550. Not in Bartsch. 

A small wood print of a gentleman conducting a lady, 
whose train is held up by Death with one hand, whilst 
he holds up an hour-glass with the other. In a corner 

below, the supposed mark of Jost de Negher, . 
Upright, 2 by 1|. 

A German anonymous wood print of the prodigal 
son at a brothel, a female fool attending. Death unex- 
pectedly appears and takes him by the hand, whilst 
another female is caressing him. Oblong, 4| by 4. 

An upright engraving on wood, 14 by 11, of a naked 
female on a couch. Death with a spade and hour- 
glass approaches her. With her left hand she holds 
one corner of a counterpane, Death seizing the other, 
and trampling upon it. Under the counterpane, and at 
the foot of the couch is a dead and naked man grasping 
a sword in one hand. There is no indication of the 
artist of this singular print. 

An upright wood engraving, 14| by 11, of a whole- 
length naked female turning her head to a mirror, which 
she holds behind her with both hands. Death, un- 
noticed, with an hour-glass, enters the apartment ; before 
him a wheel. On the left at bottom a blank tablet, and 
near the woman's left foot a large wing. 

An engraving on wood by David Hopfer of Death 
and the Devil surprizing a worldly dame, who admires 
herself in a mirror. Oblong, 8 inches by 5J. 


An upright engraving of a lady holding in one hand 
a bunch of roses and in the other a glove. Deatl 
behind with his hour-glass; the motto, OMNEM IN 
F. B. Bartsch, ix. 464. 

A wood print of Death seizing a child. On the left, 
at top, is a blank tablet. Upright, 2J by 2. 

A small oblong anonymous engraving of a nak< 
female asleep on a couch. A winged Death plac< 
an hour-glass on her shoulder. A lascivious print. 

An ancient anonymous wood print: scene, a foresi 
Death habited as a woodman, with a hatchet at his 
girdle and a scythe, shoots his arrows into a youth witl 
a large plume of feathers, a female and a man lyinj 
prostrate on the ground ; near them are two dead in- 
fants with amputated arms ; the whole group at the fc 
of a tree. In the back-ground, a stag wounded by 
arrow, probably by the young man. 4to. size. 

A small wood-cut of Death seizing a child. Anony- 
mous, in the manner of A. Durer. 2J by !. 

A very old oblong wood-cut, which appears to have 
been part of a Dutch or Flemish Macaber Dance. 
The subjects are, Death and the Pope, with " Die doot 
seyt," " die paens seyt/' &c. and the Cardinal with 
"Die doot seyt," and "Die Cardinael seyt." There 
have been verses under each character. 9j by 6J. 

A small wood print of a tree, in which are four men, 
one of whom falls from the tree into a grave at the foot 
of it. Death, as a woodman, cuts down the tree with a 
hatchet. In the back-ground, another man fallen into 
a grave. 

A figure of Death as a naked old man with a long 
beard. He leans on a pedestal, on which are placed a 
scull and an hour-glass, and with his left hand draws 
towards him a draped female, who holds a globe in her 
left hand. At the bottom of the print, MORS OMNIA 


MVTAT, with the unknown monogram B^^D- Upright? 
5 inches by 2|. It is a very rare print on copper, not 
mentioned by Bartsch. 

A small anonymous wood print of Death playing on 
a vielle, or beggar's lyre. 

An ancient anonymous copper engraving of Death 
standing on a bier, and laying hands upon a youth over 
whom are the words, " Ach got min sal ich," and over 
Death, "hie her by mich." Both inscriptions on labels. 
Bartsch, x. p. 54, No. 30. 

An allegorical engraving on copper by Cuerenhert, 
after Martin Heemskirk, 1550. A naked man bestrides 
a large sack of money, on which a figure or statue of 
Hope is standing. Death with one hand levels his dart 
at the terrified man, and holds a circle in the other. 
The money is falling from the sack, and appears to 
have demolished the hour-glass of Death. Upright, 1 1 
inches by 8. At bottom, these lines : 

Maer als hemdie eininghe doot comt voer ogen 
Dan vint hii hem doer iidele hope bedrogen. 

There is a smaller copy of it. 

A circular engraving, two inches diameter, of a pair 
of lovers in a garden. The lady is playing on a harp, 
her companion's lute is on the ground. They are ac- 
companied by a fool, and Death behind is standing with 
a dart in his hand ready for aim at the youthful couple. 

A very large engraving on wood tinted in chiaro- 
scuro. It represents a sort of triumphal arch at the 
top of which is a Death's head, above, an hour-glass 
between two arm bones, that support a stone; evidently 
borrowed from the last cut of the arms of Death in the 
Lyons wood-cuts. Underneath, the three Fates be- 
tween obelisks crowned with Deaths' heads and crosses, 
with the words MNHMONEYE AHO^YXEIN and ITER AD 
VITAM. In the middle, a circle with eight compart- 
ments, in which are skeleton heads of a pope, an em- 



peror, &c. with mottoes. In the extremity of the circle, 
the words " Post hoc autem judicium statutum est om- 
nibus hominibus semel mori." The above obelisks are 
supported by whole length figures of Death, near which 
are shields with BONIS BONA and MALIS MALA. On the 
pedestals that support the figures of Death are shields 
Underneath the circle, a sort of table monument with 
Death's head brackets, and on its plinth a sceptre, car- 
dinal's cross, abbot's crozier, a vessel with money, and 
two books. Between the brackets, in capitals : 




And underneath in italics : 

Primum quidem durum, quia scio me moriturum. 
Secundum vero plango, quia moriar, et nescio quando. 
Tertium autem flebo, quia nescio ubi manebo. 

In a corner at bottom, " 111. D. Petro Caballo J. C. 
Poutrem Relig. D. Steph. ordinisq. milit. Ser. M. D. 
Hetr: Auditori mon: Joh. Fortuna Fortunius Inven. 
Seni MDLXXXVIII." It is a very fine print, en- 
graved with considerable spirit. 


A very beautiful engraving by John Wierix, of a 
large party feasting and dancing, with music, in a gar- 
den. Death suddenly enters, and strikes a young 
female supported by her partner. At bottom, " Medio, 
lusu, risuque rapimur seternum cruciandi." Oblong, 
6J by 4}. 

Its companion Death, crowned with serpents, drags 
away a falling female, round whom he has affixed his 
chain, which is in vain held back by one of the party 
who supplicates for mercy. At bottom these lines : 


Divitibus mors dura venit, redimita corona 
Anguifera, et risus ultimo luctus habet. 

On the top of the print, " O mors quam amara est 
memoria tua homini pacem habenti in substantiis suis, 
etc." Eccl. cap. xli. 

An allegorical print by one of the Wierxes, after H. 
Van Balen. The Virgin Mary and a man are kneeling 
before and imploring Christ, who is about to strike a 
bell suspended to the branch of a tree, the root of which 
Death cuts with an axe, whilst the Devil assists in pull- 
ing at it with a rope. Upright, 4J by 3J. 

Time holding a mirror to two lovers, Death behind 
waiting for them. At bottom, " Luxuries predulce 
malum cui tempus, &c." Engraved by Jerom Wierx. 
Oblong, 12 by 8. 

An allegorical engraving by Jerom Wierx, after Mar- 
tin De Vos, with four moral stanzas at bottom, begin- 
ning " Gratia magna Dei cselo demittitur alto." A figure 
of Faith directs the attention of a man, accompanied 
with two infants, to a variety of worldly vanities scat- 
tered in a sun-beam. On the right, a miser counting 
his gold is seized and stricken by Death. At top, four 
lines of Latin and Dutch. Oblong, 13 by 10. 

A rare etching, by Rembrant, of a youthful couple 
surprized by Death.. Date, 1639. Upright, 4j by 3. 

Rembrant's " Hour of Death." An old man sitting 
in a tent is visited by a young female. He points to a 
figure of Death with spade and hour-glass. Upright, 
5J by 3J. 

An engraving by De Bry. In the middle, an oblong 
)val, representing a marriage, Death attending. On 
;he sides, grotesques of apes, goats, &c. At bottom, 

P. and these lines : 

Ordo licet reliquos sit prsestantissimus inter 
Conjugium, heu nimium saepe doloris habet. 

Oblong, 5 by 2. 


Its companion Death digging a grave for an old 
man, who looks into it. Psal. 49 and 90. 

An engraving by Crispin de Pas of Death standing 
behind an old man, who endeavours, by means of his 
money spread out upon a table, to entice a young female, 
who takes refuge in the arms of her young lover. At 
bottom, the following dialogue. 

Nil aurei? nil te coronati juvant? 
Argenteis referto bulga nil movet ? 


Varies quid at Senex amores expetis : 
Turaulum tuae finemque vitae respice. 


Quid aureorum me beabit copia. 
Amore si privata sim dulcissimo. 

Its companion Death with his hour-glass stands 
behind an old woman, who offers money to a youth 
turning in disdain to his young mistress. At bottom, 
these lines : 


Facie esse quid mihi gratius posset tua 
Ipsius haud Corinthi gaza diritis. 


Forniam quid ah miselle nudam respicis 
Cum plus beare possit auri copia. 


At tu juventa quid torqure frustra anus 

Quin jam sepulchri instantis es potius memor. 

Both oblong, 6 by 4. 

An engraving by Bosse of a queen reposing on a tent* 
bed, Death peeps in through the curtains, another 
Death stands at the corner of the bed, whilst a female 
with a shield, inscribed PI ETAS, levels a dart at the, 
queen. Underneath, these verses : 


Grand Dieu je suis done le victime 

Qu'une vengeance legitime 

Doit immoler a tes autels 

Je n'ay point de repos qui n'augmente ma peine 
Et les tristes objets d'une face inhumaine 

Me sont autant de coups mortels. 

Oblong, 4J by 3. 

An engraving by John Sadeler, after Stradamus, of 
an old couple, with their children and grandchildren, in 
the kitchen of a farm-house. Death enters, fantasti- 
cally crowned with flowers and an hour-glass, and with 
a bagpipe in his left hand. Round his right arm and 
body is a chain with a hook at the extremity. He offers 
his right hand to the old woman, who on her knees is 
imploring him for a little more delay. In the back- 
ground, a man conducted to prison; beggars receiving 
alms, &c. At bottom, these lines : 

" Pauperibus mors grata venit ; redimita corona 
Florifera, et luctus ultima risus habet." 

On the top of the print, " O mors bonum est judicium 
tuum homini indigenti, et qui minoratur viribus de- 
fecto setate, &c. Eccl. cap. xli. Oblong, 11 by 8 J. 

An exceedingly clever etching by Tiepolo of a group 
of various persons, to whom Death, sitting on the 
ground and habited grotesquely as an old woman, is 
reading a lecture. Oblong, 7 by 5 j. 

A small circle, engraved by Le Blond, of Death ap- 
pearing to the astrologer, copied from the same subject 
in the Lyons wood-cuts. 

A print, painted and engraved by John Lyvijus of 
two card players quarrelling. Death seizes and strikes 
at them with a bone. Below, 

Rixas atque odia satagit dispergere serpens, 
Antiquus, cuncta at jurgia morte cadunt. 

Oblong, 10 by 7^. 


An engraving by Langlois. Death with a basket at 
his shoulder, on which sits an owl, and holding with 
one hand a lantern, seizes the dice of a gambler sitting 
at a table with his winnings spread before him. At 
top, these verses : 

Alarme O le pipeur, chassez, chassez le moy, 
Je ne veux pas jouer a la raffle avec toy. 


A la raffle je joue avec toutes personnes 

Toutes pieces je prends, tant meschantes que bonnes. 

At bottom, a dialogue between the gambler and Death, 
in verse, beginning " Pay ramene ma chance il n'y a 
plus remede." Upright, 10 by 7J. 

A print by De Gheyn, but wanting his name, of an 
elegantly attired lady, with a feather on her head, and a 
fan mirror in her hand. She is accompanied by Death 
handsomely attired, with a similar feather, and holding 
an hour-glass. At bottom, 

Qui genio indulges, media inter gaudia morti 
Non dubise certum sis memor esse locum. 

Upright, 8 by 5|. 

Hollar's etching in Dugdale's Monasticon and his 
history of St. Paul's, from the old wood-cut in Lyd- 
gate's Dance of Macaber, already described, and an out- 
line copy in Mr. Edwards's publication of Hollar's 
Dance of Death. 

Death and two Misers, llj by 10. Engraved by 
Michael Pregel, 1616. At bottom, six Latin lines, 
beginning " Si mini divitiae sint omnes totius orbis." 

An oblong allegorical print, 14 by 10g. Death and 
Time at war with man and animals. In the fore^ 
ground, Death levels three arrows at a numerous group 
of mortals of all ranks and conditions, who endeavour, 
in every possible way, to repel his attack. In the 


back-ground, he shoots a single arrow at various ani- 
mals. It is a very rare and beautiful engraving by 
Bolsverd, after Vinck-boons, dated 1610. At bottom, 
six lines in Latin, by J. Semmius, beginning " Cernis 
ut imperio succumbant omnia Mortis/' 

An oblong print, 18J by 13, intitled, " Alle mans 
vrees," i. e. " Every man's terror," and engraved by 
Cornelius Van Dalen, after Adrian Van Venne. It ex- 
hibits Death armed with a spade, and overturning and 
putting to flight a variety of persons. At bottom, four 
stanzas of Dutch verses, beginning " Dits de vrees van 
alle man." 

A large allegorical oblong engraving, 18 J by 13, by 
Peter Nolpe, after Peter Potter. On the left, a figure 
of religion, an angel hovering over her with a crown 
and palm branch. She points to several figures bearing 
crosses, and ascending a steep hill to heaven. On the 
right, the Devil blowing into the ear of a female, repre- 
senting worldly vanity. In the middle, Death beating 
a drum to a man and woman dancing. In the back- 
ground, several groups of people variously employed, 
and a city in flames. 

An anonymous Venetian engraving of Death striking 
a lady sitting at a table covered with various fruits, a 
lute, &c. She falls into the arms of her lover or pro- 
tector. Oblong, 9J by 7. 

A print, after Martin Heemskirk, of Charon ferrying 
over souls. On the right, a winged Death supporting 
an emperor about to enter the fatal boat. Below, four 
lines, beginning " Sed terris debentur opes, quas lin- 
quere fato." 

An oblong engraving, 14 by 12, after John Cossiers. 
On the right, Death entering at a door, seizes a young 
man. In the middle, a music-master teaching a lady 
the lute, Death near them holding a violin and music- 
book. On the left, in another apartment, Death in a 
dancing attitude, with a double bagpipe, leads an aged 


man with a rosary in his left hand, and leaning on a staff 
with his right. At bottom, three stanzas of French 
verses, beginning " La Mort qui n'a point d'ore- 

A very small wood print, that seems to have belonged 
to some English book, about 1600. It represents Death 
behind a female, who sees his reflected image in a 
mirror which she holds, instead of her own. 1% by H. 

The Devil's Ruff shop, into which a young gallant 
introduces his mistress, whose ruff one of the Devils is 
stiffening with a poking-stick. Death, with a ruff on 
his neck, waits at the door, near which is a coffin. 
This very curious satirical print, after Martin De Vos, 
is covered with inscriptions in French and Dutch. 
Oblong, 11 J by 8. 

A small anonymous engraving of two Deaths hand 
in hand; the one holds a flower, the other two serpents; 
a man and woman also hand in hand ; the latter holds 
a flower in her hand ; they are preceded by a little boy 
on a cock-horse and a girl with a doll. Underneath, 
four lines, beginning " Quid sit, quid fuerit, quid tan- 
dem aliquando futurus." 

An anonymous engraving of a young gallant looking j 
up to an image of Hope placed on a bag of money, near 
which plate, jewels, and money lie scattered on the j 
ground. Death enters at a door, holding a circle in 
one hand and a dart with the other, in a menacing 
attitude. At bottom, these Latin lines : 

Namque ubi Mors trucibus supra caput adstitit armis, 
Hei quam tune nullo pondere nummus erit. 

The same in Dutch. Upright, 81 by 6. This print 
was afterwards copied in a reduced form into a book of 
emblems, with the title, " Stulte hoc nocte repetent 
animam tuam," with verses in Latin, French, and 

A small anonymous wood engraving of five Deaths 


dancing in a circle; the motto, DOODEN DANS OP 
LEST EM, i. e. the last Dance of Death. 

A very clever etching of a winged and laurelled 
Death playing on the bagpipe and making his appear- 
ance to an old couple at table. The man puts off his 
cap and takes the visitor by the hand, as if to bid him 
welcome. Below, two Dutch lines, beginning " Maer- 
die hier sterven, &c." At top, on the left, " W. V. 
Valckert, in. fe. 1612." Oblong, 8J by 6J. 

A very complicated and anonymous allegorical print, 
with a great variety of figures. In the middle, Death 
is striking with a sledge-hammer at a soul placed in a 
crucible over a sort of furnace. A demon with bellows 
is blowing the fire, and a female, representing the world, 
is adding fuel to it. In various parts of the print are 
Dutch inscriptions. Oblong, 10| by 6. 

Two old misers, a man and a woman. She weighs 
the gold, and he enters it in a book. Death with an 
hour-glass peeps in at one window, and the Devil at 
another. On the left, stands a demon with a book and 
a purse of money. On the right, in a corner, I. V. 
BRVG: F, " Se vend chez Audran rue S. Jaques aux 
deux piliers d'or." An upright mezzotint, 11^ by 8J. 

Two old misers, a man and a woman. He holds a 
purse, and she weighs the money. Death behind lies in 
wait for them. Below, a French stanza, beginning 
" Fol en cette nuit on te redemande ton ame," and the 
same in Latin. Below, " J. Meheux sculp. A Paris 
chez Audran rue St. Jaques aux deux pilliers d'or." 
An upright mezzotint, 10 by 7J. 

An oval engraving in a frame of slips of trees. Death 
pulling down a fruit tree ; a hand in a cloud cutting a 
flower with a sickle. Motto, " Fortior frango, tenera 
meto." Upright, 6 by 4. 

An anonymous engraving of a lady sitting at her 
toilet. She starts at the reflected image of Death 
standing behind her, in her looking glass. Her lover 


stands near her in the act of drawing his sword to repel 
the unwelcome visitor. Upright, 7J by 6J. To some 
such print or painting, Hamlet, holding a scull in his 
hand, evidently alludes in Act v. Sc. 1. "Now get you 
to my lady's chamber, and tell her let her paint an inch 
thick, to this favour she must come." 

A print of the tree of knowledge, the serpent holding 
the apple in his mouth. Below, several animals, as in 
the usual representations of Paradise. On one side a 
youth on horseback with a hawk on his fist; on the 
other, Death strikes at him with his dart. On the 
right, at bottom, the letters R. P. ex. and these verses : 

Nor noble, valiant, youthfull or wise, have 
The least exemption from the gloomy grave. 

Upright, 6 by 4. 

A large oblong engraving, on copper, 22 by 17. On 
the left, is an arched cavern, from which issue two 
Deaths, one of whom holds a string, the end of which 
is attached to an owl, placed as a bird decoy, on a pillar 
in the middle of the print. Under the string, three 
men reading. On the left, near a tree, is a ghastly 
sitting figure, whose head has been flayed. On the 
opposite side below, a musical group of three men 
and a woman. In the back-ground, several men caught 
in a net ; near them, Death with a hound pursuing 
three persons who are about to be intercepted by a net 
spread between two trees. In the distance, a vessel 
with a Death's head on the inflated sail. On the top 
of the arched cavern, a group of seven persons, one of 
whom, a female, points to the interior of an urn ; near 
them a flying angel holding a blank shield of arms. 
In the middle of the print, at bottom, some inscription 
has been erased. 

A print, intitled " Cursus Mundi." A woman holds, 
in one hand, a broken vessel with live coals; in the 
other, a lamp, at which a little boy is about to light a 


candle. Death appears on the left. At bottom, a Latin 
inscription stating that the picture was painted by Wil- 
liam Panneels, the scholar of Rubens, in 1631, and 
that it is in the palace of Anselm Casimir, archbishop 
of Mentz. Upright, 9 J by 6J. 

A small anonymous engraving of Death sitting on a 
large fractured bass-viol, near which, on the ground, is 
a broken violin. 

An elegant small and anonymous engraving of a 
young soldier, whom Death strikes with his dart whilst 
he despoils him of his hat and feather. At bottom, six 
couplets of French verses, beginning "Retire toy de 
moy O monstre insatiable." Upright, 3| by 2f . 

A small anonymous engraving of a merchant watch- 
ing the embarkation of his goods, Death behind waiting 
for him. Motto from Psalm 39, " Computat et parcit 
nee quis sit noverit, hseres, &c." Upright, 3| by 1J. 

Its companion Death striking a child in a cradle. 
Job 14. " Vita brevis hominum variis obnoxia curis, 
&c." These were probably part of a series. 

An anonymous engraving of a man on his death-bed. 
On one side, the vision of a bishop saint in a cloud ; 
on the other, Death has just entered the room to re- 
ceive his victim. Oblong, 5^ by 2J. 

An anonymous engraving of a woman sitting under a 
tree. Sin, as a boy, with PECCATVM inscribed on his 
forehead, delivers a globe, on which a serpent is en- 
twined, to Death. At bottom, " A muliere initium 
factum est peccati et per illam omnes morimur. Eccl. 


A small anonymous engraving of Death interrupting 
a Turkish sultan at table. In the back ground, another 
Turk contemplating a heap of sculls. 

A mezzotint by Gole, of Death appearing to a miser, 
treading on an hour-glass and playing on the violin. In 
the back-ground, a room in which is Death seizing a 
young man. The flooc is covered with youthful instru- 


ments of recreation. This subject has been painted by 
Old Franks and Otho Vsenius. Upright, 9 by 6. 
Another mezzotint of the same subject by P. Schenck 
is mentioned by Peignot, p. 19. It is inscribed " Mor- 
tis ingrata musica." 

A very singular, anonymous, and unintelligible en- 
graving of a figure that seems intended for a black- 
smith, who holds a large hammer in his hand. On 
his right, two monks, and behind him, Death folding 
his arms to his breast. Below, writing implements, &c. 
Upright, 4 by 3. 

The triumphal car of Time drawn by genii, and ac- 
companied by a pope, cardinal, emperor, king, queen, 
&c. At the top of the car, Death blows a trumpet, to 
which a banner is suspended, with " Je trompe tout le 
monde." In the back-ground a running fountain, with 
" Ainsi passe la gloire du monde." An anonymous up- 
right engraving, 4 by 2$. 

A very neat engraving by Le Blon of several Euro- 
pean coins. In the centre, a room in which Death 
strikes at two misers, a man and a woman sitting at a 
table covered with money. On the table cloth, " Luc. 
12 ca." 

Its companion Death and the Miser. The design 
from the same subject in the Lyons wood-cuts. A label 
on the wall, with " Luc. 12." Oblong, 6J by 3|. 

A German anonymous print, apparently from a book 
of emblems, representing Death waiting with a scythe to 
cut off the following persons : 1. A lady. 2. A gentleman. 
3. An advocate. 4. A soldier : and, 5. A preacher. Each 
has an inscription. 1. Ich todt euch alle (I kill you all). 
2. Ich erfrew euch alle (I rejoice you all). 3. Ich eruhr 
euch alle (I honour you all). 4. Ich red fur euch alle 
(I speak for you all). 5. Ich fecht fur euch alle (I 
fight for you all). 6. Ich bett fur euch alle (I pray for 
you all. With verses at bottom, in Latin and German. 
Oblong, 5J by 4. 


An anonymous engraving of a naked youth who with 
a sword strikes at the head of Death pursuing another 
youth. Oblong, 9J by 5. 

An upright engraving, 5| by 4, representing a young 
man on horseback holding a hawk on his fist, and sur- 
rounded by various animals. Death holding an hour- 
glass, strikes at him with his dart. Behind, the tree of 
knowledge, with the serpent and apple. At bottom, on 
the right, are the initials T. P. ex. 

An engraving of the Duke of Savoy, who, attended 
by his guards, receives petitions from various persons. 
Before him stands in a cloud the angel of Death, who 
points towards heaven. At bottom, on the left, " Del- 
phinus pinxit. Brambilla del. 1676," and on the right, 
" Nobilis de Piene S. R. C. Prim, cselator f. Taur." 
Oblong, 10i by 7J. 

An engraving by De Gheyn, intitled, " Vanitas, idel- 
heit." A lady is sitting at a table, on which is a box of 
jewels and a heap of money. A hideous female Death 
strikes at her with a flaming dart, which, at the same 
time, scatters the leaves of a flower which she holds in 
her left hand. Upright, 9 by 7. 

A very small circular wood-cut, apparently some 
printer's device, representing an old and a young man, 
holding up a mirror, in which is reflected the figure of 
Death standing behind them, with the motto, " Beholde 
your glory." 

An anonymous print of Death and the miser. Death 
seizes his money, which he conveys into a dish. Up- 
right, 3J by 2J. It is a copy from the same subject in 
the Lyons wood-cuts. 


An anonymous modern copy of Death and the bride- 
groom, copied from the Lyons wood-cuts, edition 1562. 


An etching of Death, with an hour-glass in one hand 
and a cane in the other, entering a room where a poor 
poet has been writing, and who would willingly dispense 
with the visit. At bottom " And when Death himself 
knocked at my door, ye bad him come again ; and in so 
gay a tone of careless indifference did ye do it, that he 
doubted of his commission. There must certainly be 
some mistake in this matter, quoth he." The same in 
Italian. This is one of Patch's caricatures after Ghezzi. 
Upright, 16| by 12. 

A print intitled " Time's lecture to man," with eight 
stanzas in verse, beginning " Why start you at that ske- 
leton." It consists of three divisions. At top a young 
man starts at the appearance of time and death. Under 
the youth " Calcanda semel via lethi." At each extre- 
mity of this division is a figure of Death sitting on a 
monument. The verses, in double columns, are placed 
between two borders with compartments. That on the 
right a scull crowned with a mitre; an angel with a 
censer ; time carrying off a female on his back ; Death 
with an infant in his arms ; Death on horseback with a 
flag ; Death wrestling with a man. The border on the 
left has a scull with a regal crown ; an angel dancing 
with a book ; Death carrying off an old man ; Death 
leading a child; Death with a naked corpse; Death 
digging a grave. At bottom " Sold by Clark and Pine, 
engravers, in Castle Yard, near Chancery Lane, T. 
Witham, frame-maker, in Long Lane, near West Smith- 
field, London. With a vignette of three Deaths' heads. 

There is a very singular ancient gem engraved in 
" Passeri de Gemmis Astriferis," torn. ii. p. 248. repre- 
senting a skeleton Death standing in a car drawn by two 
animals that may be intended for lions ; he holds a whip 
in his hand, and is driving over other skeletons. It is 
covered with barbarous and unintelligible words in 
Greek characters, and is to be classed among those 


gems which are used as amulets or for magical purposes. 
It seems to have suggested some of the designs that ac- 
company the old editions of Petrarch's Triumph of Death. 
A folio mezzotint of J. Daniel von Menzel, an Aus- 
trian hussar. Behind him is a figure of Death with the 
hussar's hat on his head, by whom he is seized. There 
are some German verses, and below 

Mon amis avec moi k la danse 
C'est pour vous la juste recompense. 

The print is dated 1744. 

A Dutch anonymous oblong engraving on copper, 10 J 
>y 10, intitled " Bombario, o dood! te schendig in de 
nood." Death leads a large group of various charac- 
ters. At bottom verses beginning " De Boertjes knappen 
al temaal." On each side caricatures inscribed Demo- 
iritus and Heraclitus. It is one of the numerous cari- 
catures on the famous South Sea or Mississippi bubble. 

An engraving, published by Darly, entitled " Maca- 
ronies drawn after the life." On the left a macaroni 
standing. On the floor dice and dice-box. On a table 
;ards and two books. On the right, Death with a 
>pade, leaning on a sarcophagus, inscribed " Here lies 
nterred Dicky Daffodil, &c." Oblong, 9 by 6. 

A very clever private etching by Colonel Turner, of 
he Guards, 1799, representing, in the foreground, three 
deaths dancing in most grotesque attitudes. In the 
listance several groups of skeletons, some of whom are 
lancing, one of them beating a drum. Oblong, 5J by 


A small engraving by Chodowiecki. Death appears 
o a medical student sitting at a table ; underneath these 

De grace epargne moi, je me fais medecin, 
Tu recevras de moi la moide* des malades. 


Upright, 3| by 2. This is not included in his Dance oi 

The same slightly retouched, with German verses. 

A small engraving, by Chodowiecki, of Death ap- 
proaching a dying man attended by his family and a 
physician. Oblong, 2J by 2. 

A modern engraving, in titled " An emblem of a 
modern marriage/' Death habited as a beau stands by 
a lady, who points to a monument inscribed " Requi- 
escat in pace." Above a weeping Cupid with an inverted 
torch. At bottom 

. . . . No smiles for us the Godhead wears, 
His torch inverted and his face in tears. 

Drawn by M. H. from a sketch cut with a diamond on 
a pane of glass. Published according to act of parlia- 
ment, June 15, 1775. 

A modern caricature intitled " A patch for t'other 
eye." Death is about to place a patch on the right eye 
of an old general, who has one already on the other. 
His hat and truncheon lie on the ground, and he is 
drawing his sword for the purpose of opposing the in- 
tention of his grim adversary, exclaiming at the samei 
time, " Oh G d d n ye, if that's your sport, have ail 
ye." Upright, 8 inches by 7. 

A small engraving by Chr. de Mechel, 1775, of aij 
apothecary's shop. He holds up a urinal to a patient 
who comes to consult him, behind whom Death is stand 
ing and laying hands upon him. Below these verses : 

Docteur, en vain tu projettes 

De prononcer sur cette eau, 
La mort rit de tes recettes 

Et conduit 1'homme au tombeau. 

Oblong, 4 by 3. 

An anonymous and spirited etching of Death ob 
sequiously and with his arms crossed entering a roon 


in which is a woman in bed with three infants. With 
uplifted arms she screams at the sight of the apparition. 
Below in a corner the husband, accompanied with four 
other children. Upright, 11 by 10 J. 

" The lawyer's last circuit." He is attacked by four 
Deaths mounted on skeleton horses. He is placed be- 
hind one of them, and all gallop oft' with him. A road- 
post inscribed " Road to hell." Below, the lines from 
Hamlet, " Where be his quiddits now ? his quillets, 
his cases, his tenures, and his tricks, &c." Published 
April 25, 1782, by R. Smith, opposite the Pantheon, 
Oxford Street. Oblong, 10 by 6J. 


A modem wood-cut of a drinking and smoking party. 
Demons of destruction hover over them in the charac- 
;ers of Poverty, Apoplexy, Madness, Dropsy, and Gout. 
[n the bowl on the table is a monstrous head inscribed 
' Disease/' Behind, a gigantic figure of Death with 
scythe and hour-glass. Oblong, 3| by 3. 

A Sketch by Samuel Ireland, after Mortimer, in imita- 

ion of a chalk drawing, apparently exhibiting an Eng- 

ishman, a Dutchman, and a Spaniard. Death behind 

tretching his arms upon all of them. Oblong 10| 


A wood print intitled " Das betruhte Brautfest." 
)eath seizes a man looking at a table covered with 
/edding-cakes, &c. From a modern Swiss almanack. 
! )blong 6J by 51. 

i A mezzotint of a physician, who attending a sick 
atient in bed is attacked by a group of Deaths bear- 
ig standards, inscribed " Despair," " Tamour," " omnia 
, incit amor/' and " luxury." Oblong, 11 by 8|. 

An etching from a drawing by Van Venne of Death 
reaching from a charnel-house to a group of people- 

is text book rests on the ftgure of a skeleton as a 



reading desk. It is prefixed to Mr. Dagley's " Death's 
Doings," mentioned in p. 157. Oblong, 5| by 4^. 

Mr. Dagley, in the second edition of his " Death's 
Doings," p. 9, mentions a print of " a man draining an 
enormous bowl, and Death standing ready to confirm the 
title of the print,," the last drop." 

An etching by Dagley, after Birch, of Baxter, a fa- 
mous cricketer, bowled out by Death. Below, his por- 
trait at full length. Oblong, 9 by 7. 

" Sketches of the celebrated skeletons, originally 
designed on the long wall between Turnham-Green and 
Brentford." Etchings of various groups; the subjects, 
billiards, drafts, cards, dice, toss, and pitch. Oblong, 
18 by 11. 

" Humorous sketches of skeletons engaged in the 
various sciences of Singing, Dancing, Music, Oratory, 
Painting, and Sculpture." Drawn by H. Heathcote 
Russell as a companion to the skeletons copied from 
the long wall at Brentford. Published 3d June, 1830. 
Same size as the preceding print. 

A lithographic print of a conjurer pointing with his 
magic wand to a table on which are cups, a Ian thorn, 
&c. In the back-ground, the Devil running away with 
a baker, and a group of three dancing Deaths. Below, 
birds in cages, cards, &c. Oblong, 8 by 6. 

A small modern wood-cut of Death seizing a lady at 
a ball. He is disguised as one of the party. Under- 
neath, (t Death leads the dance." Young Night 5. 

From " the Christian's Pocket Magazine." Oblong, 
2J by 1^. 

A design for the ballad of Leonora, by Lady Diana 
Beauclerc. A spectre, as Death, carrying off a lady on 
horseback, and striking her with his dart. Other 
Death-like spectres waiting for her. Oblong, 11 j by 9. 

A small modern engraving of Death presenting a - 
smelling bottle to a fainting butcher with one hand. 
and with the other fanning him. The motto, "A 


jutcher overcome with extreme sensibility, is as 
strangely revived." 

A modern halfpenny wood-cut of several groups, 
imong which is a man presenting an old woman to 
Death. The motto, " Death come for a wicked 

An oval etching, by Harding, intitled " Death and 
he Doctor." Upright, 4J by 3J. 

A modern etching of Death striking a sleeping lady 
Baning on a table, on which little imps are dancing, 
it bottom, " Marks fecit." Oblong, 4 by 3. 
An anonymous modern wood-cut of Death seizing a 
surer, over whom another Death is throwing a coun- 
3rpane. Square, 4 by 4. 

An etching, intitled " the Last Drop." A fat citizen 
raining a punch-bowl. Death behind is about to 
trike him with his dart. Upright, 8J by 6J. 
In an elegant series of prints, illustrative of the poe- 
cal works of Goethe, there is a poem of seven stanzas, 
ititled " Der Todtentanz," where the embellishment 
^presents a church-yard, in which several groups of 
celetons are introduced, some of them rising, or just 
tised, from their graves ; others in the attitude of 
ancing together or preparing for a dance. These 
I Irints are beautifully, etched in outline in the manner 
| ? the drawings in the margins of Albert Durer's prayer- 
look in the library of Munich. 

Prefixed to a poem by Edward Quillinan, in a volume 

? wood-cuts used at the press of Lee Priory, the seat 

? Sir Egerton Brydges, intitled " Death to Doctor 

1 1 uackery," there is an elegant wood-cut, representing 

eath hob-and-nobbing with the Doctor at a table. 

In the same volume is another wood-cut on the sub- 

I j ct of a dance given by the Lord of Death in Clifton 

I 1 alls. A motley group of various characters are dancing 

a circle whilst Death plays the fiddle. 

In 1832 was published at Paris "La Danse des 


Morts, ballade dediee a Madame la Comtesse de Tryon 
Montalembert. Paroles et musique de P. Merruau." 
The subject is as follows : A girl named Lise is admo- 
nished by her mother not to dance on a Saturday, the 
day on which Satan calls the dead to the infernal Sab- 
bat. She promises obedience, but whilst her mother is 
napping, escapes to the ball. She forgets the midnight 
hour, when a company of damned souls, led by Satan, 
enter the ball-room hand-in-hand, exclaiming " Make 
way for Death." All the party escape, except Lise, 
who suddenly finds herself encircled by skeletons, who 
continue dancing round her. From that time, on every 
Saturday at midnight, there is heard under ground, in 
the church-yard, the lamentation of a soul forcibly de- 
tained, and exclaiming " Girls beware of dancing Satan !' 
At the head of this ballad is a lithographic print of the 
terrified Lise in Satan's clutches, surrounded by dancing, 
piping, and fiddling Deaths. 

About the same time there appeared a silly ballad, 
set to music, intitled " the Cork Leg," accompanied by 
a print in which the man with the cork leg falling on 
the ground drops his leg. It is seized by Death, who 
stalks away with it in a very grotesque manner. 



Initial or capital Letters with the Dance of Death. 

T is very well known that the use of ini- 
tial or capital letters, especially with 
figures of any kind, is not coeval with 
the invention of printing. It was some 
time before they were introduced at all, 
i blank being left, or else a small letter printed for 
the illuminators to cover or fill up, as they had been 
iccustomed to do in manuscripts; for, although the 
irt of printing nearly put an end to the occupation of 
:hat ingenious class of artists, they continued to be 
miployed by the early printers to decorate their books 
vith elegant initials, and particularly to illuminate the 
irst pages of them with beautiful borders of foliage or 
iriimals, for the purpose of giving them the appearance 
>f manuscripts. 

It has more than once been most erroneously asserted 
>y bibliographers and writers on typography, that Er- 
lard Ratdolt, a printer at Venice, was the first person 
vho made use of initial letters about the year 1477; for 
nstances are not wanting of their introduction into 
ome of the earliest printed books. Among the latter 
he most beautiful specimen of an ornamented capital 
itter is the B in the Psalter of 1457, of which Dr. 
)ibdin has given a very faithful copy in vol. I. p. 107, 
f the Bibliotheca Spenceriana. This truly elegant 
itter seems to have been regarded as the only one of 
j s kind; but, in a fragment of an undescribed missal in 
)lio, printed in the same type as the above-mentioned 
'salter, there is an equally beautiful initial T, prefixed 


to the " Te igitur" canon of the mass. It is orna- 
mented with flowers and foliage, and in both these 
precious volumes there are many other smaller capitals, 
but whether printed with the other type, or afterwards 
stamped, may admit of some doubt. This unique and 
valuable fragment is in the collection of the present 

As the art of printing advanced, the initial letters 
assumed every possible variety of form, with respect to 
the subjects with which they were ornamented. Inci- 
dents from scripture and profane history, animals of 
every kind, and the most ludicrous grotesques, consti- 
tute the general materials ; nor has the Dance of Death 
been forgotten. It was first introduced into the books 
printed at Basle by Bebelius and Cratander about the 
year 1530, and for one or the other of these celebrated 
printers an alphabet of initial letters was constructed, 
which, in elegance of design and delicacy of engraving, 
have scarcely ever been equalled, and certainly never 
exceeded. Whether they were engraved in relief on 
blocks of type or printer's metal, in the manner of wood- 
cutting, or executed in wood in the usual manner, is a 
matter of doubt, and likely to remain so. They may 
in every point of view be regarded as the chef d'ceuvre 
of ancient block engraving, and to copy them success- 
fully at this time might require the utmost efforts o 
such artists as Harvey, Jackson, and Byfield. 34 

A proof set of this alphabet, in the possession of th< 
present writer, was shown to M. De Mechel when h< 
was in London, on which occasion he stated that h 
had seen in the public library of Basle another proo: 
set on a single sheet, with the inscription " Hans Lut- 
zelburger," who is elsewhere called formschneider, o: 

34 These initial letters have already been mentioned in p. 101 102 
The elegant initials in Dr. Henderson's excellent work on moden 
wines, and those in Dr. Nott's Bristol edition of Decker's Gull's horn 
book, should not pass unnoticed on this occasion. 


block-cutter, of which he has written a memorandum 
on the leaf containing the first abovementioned set of 
proofs. M. de Mechel, with great probability, inferred 
that this person was either the designer or engraver of 
the alphabet as well as of the cuts to the " Historiees 
faces de la mort," on one of which, as already stated, 
the mark JL i g placed ; 35 but to whomsoever this mark 
may turn out to belong, certain it is that Holbein never 
made use of it. 36 These letters measure precisely 1 inch 
by of an inch, and the subjects are as follow : 

A. A group of Deaths passing through a cemetery 
covered with sculls. One of them blows a trumpet, 
and another plays on a tabor and pipe. 

B. Two Deaths seize upon a pope, on whom a 
demon fastens, to prevent their dragging him along. 

C. An emperor in the clutches of two Deaths, one 
of whom he resists, whilst the other pulls off his 

D. A king thrown to the ground and forcibly 
dragged away by two Deaths. 

E. Death and the cardinal. 

F. An empress sitting in a chair is attacked by two 
Deaths, one of whom lifts up her petticoat. 

G. A queen seized by two Deaths, one of whom 
plays on a fife. 

H. A bishop led away by Death. 

I. A duke with his hands clasped in despair is 
seized behind by Death in the grotesque figure of an 
old woman. 

K. Death with a furred cap and mantle, and a flail 
in his right hand, seizes a nobleman. 

L. Death in the habit of a priest with a vessel of 
holy water takes possession of the canon. 

85 See before in p. 97. 

36 Zani saw this alphabet at Dresden, and ascribes it likewise to 
Lutzenberger. See his Enciclop. Metodica, Par. I. vol. x. p. 467. 


M. Death behind a physician in his study lays his 
hand on a urinal which he is inspecting. 

N. One Death lays hold on a miser, whilst another 
carries off his money from a table. 

O. Death carries off a terrified monk. 

P. Combat between Death and the soldier. 

Q. Death very quietly leads away a nun. 

R. Death and the fool who strikes at him with his 

S. Exhibits two Deaths, one of whom is in a very 
licentious action with a female, whilst the other runs off 
with an hour-glass on his back. 

T. A minstrel with his pipe, lying prostrate on the 
ground, is dragged away by one Death, whilst another 
pours something from a vessel into his mouth. 

V. A man on horseback endeavouring to escape 
from Death is seized by him behind. 

W. Death and the hermit. 

X. Death and the Devil among the gamblers. 

Y. Death, the nurse, and the infant. 

Z. The last Judgment. 

But they were not only used at Basle by Bebelius 
I sin grin and Cratander, but also at Strasburg by Wolf- 
gang Cephaleus, and probably by other printers; be- 
cause in an edition of Huttichius's " Romanorum prin- 
cipum effigies," printed by Cephaleus at Strasburg in 
1552, they appear in a very worn and much used con- 
dition. In his Greek Bible of 1526, near half the 
alphabet were used, some of them by different hands. 

They were separately published in a very small vo- 
lume without date, each letter being accompanied with 
appropriate scriptural allusions taken from the Vulgate 

They were badly copied, and with occasional varia- 
tions, for books printed at Strasburg by J. Schott about 
1540. Same size as the originals. The same initials 
were used by Henry Stainer of Augsburg in 1530. 


Schott also used two other sets of a larger size, the 
same subjects with variations, and which occur like- 
wise in books printed at Frankfort about 1550 by 
Cyriacus Jacob. 

Christopher Froschover, of Zurich, used two alphabets 
with the Dance of Death. In Gesner's " Bibliotheca 
Universalis," printed by him in 1545, folio, he used the 
letters A. B. C. in indifferent copies of the originals 
with some variation. In a Vulgate Bible, printed by 
him in 1544, he uses the A and C of the same alphabet, 
and also the following letters, with different subjects, 
viz. F. Death blowing a trumpet in his left hand, with 
the right seizes a friar holding his beads and endea- 
vouring to escape. O. Death and the Swiss soldier 
with his battle-axe ; and, S. a queen between two 
Deaths, one of whom leads her, the other holds up her 
train. The Gesner has also a Q from the same alphabet 
of Death and the nun. This second alphabet is coarsely 
engraved on wood, and both are of the same size as the 

In Francolin's " Rerum prseclare gestarum, intra et 
extra moenia civitatis Viennensis, pedestri et equestri 
prselio, terra et aqua, elapso Mense Junio Anni Domini 
MDLX. elegantissimis iconibus ad vivum illustratarum, 
in laudem et gloriam sere, poten. invictissimique prin- 
cipis et Domini, Domini Ferdinand! electi Roma: im- 
peratoris, 8cc. Vienna excudebat Raphael Hofhalter," 
at fo. xxii. b. the letter D is closely copied in wood from 
the original, and appears to have been much used. 
This very rare work is extremely interesting for its large 
and spirited etchings of the various ceremonies on the 
above occasion, but more particularly for the tourna- 
ments. It is also valuable for the marks of the artists, 
some of which are quite unknown. 

Other copies of them on wood occur in English books, 
but whether the whole alphabet was copied would be 
difficult to ascertain. In a Coverdale's Bible, printed 


by James Nicolson in Southwark, the letters A. I. and 
T. occur. The subject of the A. is that of the fool and 
Death, from the R. of the originals, with the addition 
of the fool's bauble on the ground : the two other letters 
are like the originals. The size 2 inches by 1J. The 
same letters, and no others, occur in a folio English Bible, 
the date of which has not been ascertained, it being 
only a fragment. The A is found as late as 1618 in an 
edition of Stowe's " Survey of London." In all these 
letters large white spots are on the back-ground, which 
might be taken for worm-holes, but are not so. The I 
occurs in J. Waley's " table of yeres of kings," 1567, 

An X and a T, an inch and \ square, with the same 
subjects as in the originals, and not only closely copied, 
but nearly as well engraved on wood, are in the author's 
collection. Their locality has not been traced. 

Hollar etched the first six letters of the alphabet 
from the initials described in p. 214. They are rather 
larger than the originals, but greatly inferior to them 
in spirit and effect. 

Two other alphabets, the one of peasants dancing, 
the other of boys playing, by the same artists, have 
been already described in p. 101, and were also used by 
the Basle and other printers. 

In Braunii Civitates Orbis terrarum, Par. I. No. 37, 
edit. 1576, there is an H, inch and \ square. The sub- 
ject, Death leading a Pope on horseback. It is engraved 
on wood with much spirit. 

In " Prodicion y destierro de los Moriscos de Castilla, 
por F. Marcos de Guadalajara y Xavier." Pamplona, 
1614, 4to. there is an initial E cut in wood with the 
subject of the cardinal, varied from that in Lutzenber- 
ger's alphabet. 

A Greek n on wood, with Death leading away the 
pope, was used by Cephalaeus in a Testament. 

In " Fulwell's Flower of Fame/' printed by W. Hos- 


kins, 1575, 4to. is an initial of Death leading a king, 
probably belonging to some alphabet. 

An S rudely cut on wood with Death seizing two 
children was used by the English printers, J. Herford 
and T. Marshe. 

An A well cut on wood, representing Death striking 
a miser, who is counting his money at a table. It 
occurs at fo. 5 of Quad's " fasciculus geographicus." 
Cologne, 1608, small folio, printed by John Buxe- 

An R indifferently cut on wood, two inches square. 
The subject, Death in a grave pulls an old man towards 
him. A boy making his escape. From some unknown 

An S indifferently cut on wood, two inches square. 
Death shovelling two sculls, one crowned, into a grave. 
On the shovel the word IDEM, and below, the initials of 
the engraver or designer, I. F. From some unknown 

An H, an inch and half square, very beautifully cut 
on wood. The letter is surrounded by a group of 
people, over whom Death below is drawing a net. It is 
from some Dutch book of emblems, about 1640. 

An M cut on wood in p. 353 of a Suetonius, edited 
by Charles Patin, and printed 1675, 4to. " Basle typis 
Genathianis." The subject is, Death seizing Cupid. 
Size, 1| square. 

A W, 2-^ square, engraved on copper, with the ini- 
tials of Michael Burghers. A large palm tree in the 
middle, Death with his scythe approaches a shepherd 
sitting on a bank and tending his flock. 

In the second volume of Braun and Hogenberg Civi- 
tates orbis terrarum, and prefixed to a complimentary 
letter from Remaglus Lymburgus, a physician and 
canon of Liege, there is an initial letter about an inch 
and a half square, representing a pope and an emperor 
playing at cards. They are interrupted by Death, who 


offers them a cup which he holds in his left hand whilst 
he points to them with his right. Other figures are 
introduced. This letter is very finely engraved on 

In Vol. II. p. 118 (misprinted 208) of Steinwich's 
" BibliothecaB Ecclesiastics." Colon. Agrip. 1599, folio. 
There is a single initial letter V only, which may have 
been part of an alphabet with a Dance of Death. 
The subject is Death and the queen. The size nearly 
an inch square. 

. At fo. 1. of " F. Marco de Guadalajara y Xavier, Me- 
morable expulsion y justissimo destierro de los Moris- 
cos de Espana, Pamplona, 1613, 4to." there is an initial 
E, finely drawn and well engraved in wood. The sub- 
ject has been taken from two cuts in the Lyons Dance 
of Death, viz. the cardinal and the emperor. From the 
first, the figures of the cardinal and Death seizing his 
hat; and from the other, the figures of the kneeling 
man, and of Death seizing the emperor's crown, are 
introduced as a complete group in the above initial letter. 
Size, 1J inch square. 

In p. 66 of the same work there is another letter that 
has probably belonged to a set of initials with a Dance 
of Death. It is an H, and copied from the subject of 
the bishop taken by Death from his flock, in the Lyons 
series. It is engraved in a different and inferior style 
from that last mentioned, yet with considerable spirit. 
Size, 1J inch. 



Paintings. Drawings. Miscellaneous. 

|ENE of Anjou is said to have painted a 
sort of Death's Dance at Avignon, 
which was destroyed in the French 

In one of the wardrobe accounts of 
Henry VIII. a picture at Westminster is thus des- 
cribed : " Item, a table with the picture of a woman 
playing upon a lute, and an old manne holding a glasse 
in th' one hande and a deadde mannes headde in 
th' other hande." MS. Harl. No. 1419. 

A round painting in oil, by or from Hans Holbein. 
The subject, an old man making love to a young girl. 
Death pulling him back, hints at the consequences, 
whilst the absurdity is manifested by the presence of a 
fool, with cockscomb and bauble, on the other side. 
Diameter, 15 inches. From the striking resemblance 
in the features of .the old lover to those of Erasmus, 
there is no doubt that Holbein intended by this group 
to retort upon his friend, who, on one of the drawings 
which Holbein had inserted in a copy of Erasmus's 
Praise of Folly, now in the public library at Basle, and 
which represented a fat epicure at table embracing a 
wench, had written the name of HOLBEIN, in allusion 
to his well-known intemperance. In the present writer's 

The small painting by Isaac Oliver, from Holbein, 
formerly at Whitehall, of Death with a green garland, 
&c. already more particularly described at p. 145. 

A small painting in oil, by Old Franks, of a gouty 


old miser startled at the unexpected appearance of 
Death, who approaches him playing on a violin, one of 
his feet resting on an hour-glass. In the distance, and 
in another room, Death is seen in conversation with a 
sitting gentleman. Upright, 1\ by 5J. 

The same subject, painted in oil by Otho Vsenius, in 
which a guitar is substituted for the violin. This pic- 
ture was in the collection of Richard Cosway, Esquire. 
Upright, 12 by 6. and is now belonging to the present 

A Mr. Knowles, a modern artist, is said to .have 
painted a miser counting his hoard, and Death putting 
an extinguisher over him. 

At p. 460 of the memoirs of that most ingenious 
artist, Charles Alfred Stothard, by his widow, mention 
is made of an old picture at Nettlecombe Hail, Somer- 
setshire, belonging to its owner, a clergyman, of a 
Dance of Death. 

Mr. Tyssen, a bookseller at Bristol, is said to possess 
a will of the 15th century, in which the testator be- 
queaths a painting of the Dance of Death. 


In a beautifully illuminated Psalter, supposed to have 
been made for Richard II. and preserved among the 
Cotton MSS. Domit. xvii. is a very singular painting, 
representing part of the choir of a cathedral, with ten 
monks sitting in their stalls, and chaunting the service. 
At the top of these stalls, and behind it, are five gro- 
tesque Deaths looking down on the monks. One of 
the Deaths has a cardinal's hat, two have baronial 
crowns on their heads, and those of the remaining two 
are decorated with a sort of imperial crowns, shaped 
like the papal tiara. A priest celebrates mass at the 
altar, before which another priest or monk prostrates 
himself. What the object of the painter was in the 


introduction of these singular figures of Death is diffi- 
cult to comprehend. 

In the manuscript and illuminated copies of the 
" Romance of the Rose," the "Pelerin de la vie humaine" 
and the " Chevalier Delibere," representations of Death 
as Atropos, are introduced. 

A very ancient and masterly drawing of Death and 
the beggar, the outlines black on a blue ground, tinted 
with white and red. The figures ^^ at bottom indi- 
cate its having been part of a Macaber Dance. Upright, 
5| by 4. In the author's possession. 

Sir Thomas Lawrence had four very small drawings 
by Callot that seemed to be part of an intended series 
of a Dance of Death. 1. Death and the bishop. 2. 
Death and the soldier. 3. Death and the fool. 4. 
Death and the old woman. 

An extremely fine drawing by Rembrandt of four 
Deaths, their hands joined in a dance, their faces out- 
wards. One has a then fashionable female cap on his 
head, and another a cap and feather. Upright, 9 J by 6J. 
In the author's possession. 

A very singular drawing in pen and ink and bistre. 
In the middle, a sitting figure of a naked man holding 
a spindle, whilst an old woman, leaning over a tub on 
a bench, cuts the thread which he has drawn out. 
Near the old woman Death peeps in behind a wall. 
Close to the bench is a woman sitting on the ground 
mending a piece of linen, a child leaning on her shoul- 
der. On the other side is a sitting female weaving, 
and another woman in an upright posture, and stretch- 
ing one of her hands towards a shelf. Oblong, 11 J by 
8. In the author's possession. 

An anonymous drawing in pen and ink of a Death 
embracing a naked woman. His companion is mounted 
on the back of another naked female, and holds a dart 
in each hand. Oblong, 4 by 3|. In the author's pos- 


A single sheet, containing four subjects, skilfully 
drawn with a pen and tinted in Indian ink. 1. An 
allegorical, but unknown figure sitting on a globe, 
with a sort of sceptre in his right hand. Death seizes 
him by his garment with great vigour, and endeavours 
to pull him from his seat. 2. Two men eating and 
drinking at a table. Death, unperceived, enters the 
room, and levels his dart at them. 3. Death seizes two 
naked persons very amorously situated. 4. Death 
seizes a miser counting his money. In the author's 

Twenty-four very beautiful coloured drawings by a 
modern artist from those in the public library at Berne 
that were copied by Stettler from Kauw's drawings of 
the original painting by Nicolas Manuel Deutch. In 
the author's possession, together with lithographic co- 
pies of them that have been recently published at 
Berne. ^ 

A modern Indian ink drawing of a drunken party of 
men and women. Death above in a cloud levels his 
dart at them. Upright, 5J by 3J. In the author's pos- 

A spirited drawing in Indian ink of two Deaths as 
pugilists with their bottle-holders. Oblong, 7 by 4J. 
In the author's possession. 

A pen and ink tinted drawing, intitled "The Last 
Drop." A female seated before a table on which is a 
bottle of gin or brandy. She is drinking a glass of 
it, Death standing by and directing his dart at her. 
In the author's possession. 

Mr. Dagley, in the second edition of his " Death's 
Doings," p. 7, has noticed some very masterly de- 
signs chalked on a wall bordering the road from 
Turnham-Green towards Kew-Bridge. They exhibited 
figures of Death as a skeleton ludicrously occupied 

87 See before, in p. 46. 


with gamblers, dancers, boxers, &c. all of the natural 
size. They were unfortunately swept away before any 
copies were made to perpetuate them, as they well de- 
served. It was stated in The Times newspaper that 
these sketches were made by a nephew of Mr. Baron 
Garrow, then living in retirement near the spot, but 
who afterwards obtained a situation in India. These 
drawings were made in 1819. 

Four very clever coloured drawings by Rowlandson, 
being probably a portion of an unfinished series of 
a Death's Dance. 1. The Suicide. A man seated 
near a table is in the act of discharging a pistol at his 
head. The sudden and terrific appearance of Death, 
who, starting from behind a curtain, significantly stares 
at him through an eye-glass. One of the candles is 
thrown down, and a wine-glass jerked out of the hand 
of the suicide, who, from a broken sword and a hat 
with a cockade, seems intended for some ruined soldier 
of fashion. A female servant, alarmed at the report of 
the pistol, rushes into the apartment. Below, these 
verses : 

Death smiles, and seems his dart to hide, 
When he beholds the suicide. 

2. The Good Man, Death, and the Doctor. A young 
clergyman reads prayers to the dying man ; the females 
of his family are shedding tears. Death unceremo- 
niously shoves out the physician, who puts one hand 
behind him, as expecting a fee, whilst with the other 
he lifts his cane to his nostrils. Below, these lines : 

No scene so blest in Virtue's eyes, 
As when the man of virtue dies. 

3. The Honey-moon. A gouty old fellow seated on a 
sopha with his youthful bride, who puts her hand 
through a window for a military lover to kiss it. A 
table covered with a desert, wine, &c. Death, stretch- 
ing over a screen, pours something from a bottle into 



the glass which the husband holds in his hand. Below, 
these verses : 

When the old fool has drunk his wine, 
And gone to rest, I will be thine. 

4. The Fortune-teller. Some females enter the con- 
jurer's study to have their fortunes told. Death seizes 
the back of his chair and oversets him. Below, these 
verses : 

All fates he vow'd to him were known, 
And yet he could not tell his own. 

These drawings are oblong, 9 by 5 inches. In the 
author's possession. 


A circular carving on wood, with the mark of Hans 
Schaufelin \^, representing Death seizing a naked 
female, who turns her head from him with a very me- 
lancholy visage. It is executed in a masterly manner. 
Diameter, 4 inches. In the author's possession. 

In Boxgrove church, Sussex, there is a splendid and 
elaborately sculptured monument of the Lords Delawar; 
and on the side which has not been engraved in Mr. 
Dallaway's history of the county, there are two figures 
of Death and a female, wholly unconnected with the 
other subjects on the tomb. These figures are 9| 
inches in height, and of rude design. Many persons 
will probably remember to have seen among the bal- 
lads, &c. that were formerly, and are still exhibited on 
some walls in the metropolis, a poem, intitled " Death 
and the Lady." This is usually accompanied with a 
wood-cut, resembling the above figures. It is proper 
to mention likewise on this occasion the old allitera- 
tive poem in Bishop Percy's famous manuscript, intitled 
Death and Liffe, the subject of which is a vision 


wherein the poet sees a contest for superiority between 
" our Lady Dame Life," and the " ugly fiend, Dame 
Death/' See " Percy's Reliques of ancient English 
poetry," in the Essay on the Metre of Pierce Plow- 
man's Vision. Whether there may have been any 
connexion between these respective subjects must be 
left to the decision of others. There is certainly some 
reason to suppose so. 

The sculptures at Berlin and Fescamp have been 
already described. 

Among the subjects of tapestry at the Tower of Lon- 
don, the most ancient residence of our kings, was " the 
Dance of Macabre." See the inventory of King Henry 
VIII.'s Guardrobe, &c. in MS. Harl. 1419, fo. 5. 

Two panes of glass with a portion of a Dance of 
Death. 1. Three Deaths, that appear to have been 
placed at the beginning of the Dance. Over them, in a 
character of the time of Henry VII. these lines : 

. . . ev'ry man to be contented w* his chaunce, 
And when it shall please God to folowe my daunce. 

2. Death and the Pope. No verses. Size, upright, 
8| by 7 inches. In the author's possession. They have 
probably belonged to a Macaber Dance in the windows 
of some church. 



Trots vifs et trois morts. Negro figure of Death. 
Danse aux Avengles. 

HE first of these subjects, as connected 
with the Macaber Dance, has been al- 
ready introduced at p. 31 33; what is 
now added will not, it is presumed, be 
thought unworthy of notice. 

It is needless to repeat the descriptions that have 
bee^i given by M. Peignot of the manuscripts in the 
Duke de la Valliere's catalogue. The following are 
some of the printed volumes in which representations of 
the trois vifs et trois morts occur. 

They are to be found in all the editions of the Danse 
Macabre that have already been described, and in the 
following Horse and other service books of the catholic 

" Horse ad usum Sarum," 1495, no place, no printer. 
4to. Three Deaths, three horsemen with hawks and 
hounds. The hermit, to whom the vision appeared, in 
his cell. 

" Heures a Tusaige de Rome." Paris. Nicolas Hig- 
man, for Guil. Eustace, 1506, 12mo. 

" Horse ad usum Traject." 1513. 18mo. 

" Breviarium seu horarium domesticum ad usum 
Sarum." Paris, F. Byrckman, 1516. Large folio. Three 
Deaths and three young men. 

" Horse ad usum Romanum." Paris. Thielman 
Kerver, 1522. 8vo. And again, 1535. 4to. 


A Dutch " Hone." Paris. Thielman Kerver, 1622. 

" Heures a 1'usage de Paris." Thielman Kerver's 
widow, 1525. 8vo. 

" Missale ad usum Sarum." Paris, 1527. Folio. 
Three horsemen as noblemen, but without hawks or 

" Enchiridion preclare ecclesie Sarum." Paris. 
Thielman Kerver, 1528. 32mo. 

" Horse ad usum fratrum predicatorum ordinis S. 
Dominici." Paris. Thielman Kerver, 1529. 8vo. 

" Horse ad usum Romanum." Paris. Yolande Bon- 
homme, widow of T. Kerver, 1531. 8vo. 

" Missale ad usum Sarum." Paris. F. Regnault, 
1531. Three Deaths only ; different from the others. 

" Prayer of Salisbury." Paris. Francois Regnault, 
1531, 12mo. 

" Horse ad usum Sarum/' Paris. Widow of Thiel- 
man Kerver, 1532. 12mo. 

" Heures a 1* usage de Paris." Francois Regnault, 
1535. 12mo. 

" Horse ad usum Romanum." Paris. Gilles Har- 
douyn, 1537. 18mo. The subject is different from all 
the others, and very curiously treated. 

" Heures a 1'usage de Paris." Thielman Kerver, 
1558. 12mo. 

" Heures a Tusage de Rome." Paris. Thielman 
Kerver, 1573. 12mo. 

" Heures a Tusage de Paris." Jacques Kerver, 1573. 
12mo. And again, 1575. 12mo. 

In " The Contemplation of Sinners," printed by 
Wynkyn de Worde. 4to. 

All the above articles are in the collections of the 
author of this dissertation. 

In an elegant MS. " Horse," in the Harl. Coll. No. 
2917, 12mo. three Deaths appear to a pope, an emperor, 


and a king coming out of a church. All the parti( 
are crowned. 

At the end of Desrey's " Macabri speculum choi 
mortuorum," a hermit sees a vision of a king, a legis 
lator, and a vain female. They are all lectured by sk< 
letons in their own likenesses. 

In a manuscript collection of unpublished and chiefly 
pious poems of John Awdeley, a blind poet and canoi 
of the monastery of Haghmon, in Shropshire, am 
1426, there is one on the " trois vifset trois morts," ii 
alliterative verses, and composed in a very grand and 
terrific style. 


In some degree connected with the old painting of 
the Macaber Dance in the church-yard of the Innocents 
'at Paris, was that of a black man over a vaulted 
roof, constructed by the celebrated N. Flamel, about 
the year 1390. This is supposed to have perished with 
the Danse Macabre; but a copy of the figure has been 
preserved in some of the printed editions of the dance. 
It exhibits a Negro blowing a trumpet, and was cer- 
tainly intended as a personification of Death. In one 
of the oldest of the above editions he is accompanied 
with these verses : 


Tost, tost, tost, que chacun savance 
Main a main venir a la danse 
De Mort, danser la convient, 
Tous et a plusieurs nen souvient. 
Venez hommes femmes et enfans, 
Jeunes et vieulx, petis et graixs, 
Ung tout seul nen eschapperoit, 
Pour mille escuz si les donnoit, &c. 

Before the females in the dance the figure is repeated, 
with a second " Cry de Mort/ 7 


Tost, tost, venez femmes danser 
Apres les homines incontinent, 
Et gardez vous bien de verser, 
Car vous danserez vrayment ; 
Mon cornet corne bien souvent 
Apres les petis et les grajas. 
Despecte vous legierement, 
Apres la pluye vient le beau temps. 

These lines are differently given in the various printed 
copies of the Danse Macabre. 

This figure is not to be confounded with an alabaster 
statue of Death that remained in the church-yard of 
the Innocents, when it was entirely destroyed in 1786. 
It had been usually regarded as the work of Germain 
Pilon, but with greater probability belonged to Francois 
Gentil, a sculptor at Troyes, about 1540. It was 
transported to Notre Dame, after being bronzed and 
repaired, by M. Deseine, a distinguished artist. It was 
saved from the fury of the iconoclast revolutionists by 
M. Le Noir, and deposited in the Museum which he 
so patriotically established in the Rue des petits Au- 
gustins, but it has since disappeared. It was an up- 
right skeleton figure, holding in one hand a lance 
which pointed to a shield with this inscription : 

II n'est vivant, tant soit plein d'art, 

Ne de force pour resistance, 
Que je ne frappe de mon dart, 

Pour bailler aux vers leur pitance. 

Priez Dieu pour les trespasses. 

It is engraved in the second volume of M. Le Noir's 
" Musee des monumens Francais," and also in his 
" Histoire des arts en France," No. 91. 


There is a poetical work, in some degree connected 
with the subject of this dissertation, that ought not to 


be overlooked. It was composed by one Pierre Mi- 
chault, of whom little more seems to be known than 
that he was in the service of Charles, Count of Cha- 
rolois, son of Philip le Bon, Duke of Burgundy. It is 
intitled " La Danse aux Aveugles," and the object of it 
is to show that all men are subject to the influence of 
three blind guides, Love, Fortune, and Death, before 
whom several persons are whimsically made to dance. 
It is a dialogue in a dream between the Author and 
Understanding, and the respective blind guides describe 
themselves, their nature, and power over mankind, in 
ten-line stanzas, of which the following is the first of 
those which are pronounced by Death : 

Je suis la Mort de nature ennemie, 

Qui tous vivans finablement consomme, 

Anichillant a tous humains la vie, 

Reduis en terre et en cendre tout homme. 

Je suis la mort qui dure me surnomme, 

Pour ce qu'il fault que maine tout affin ; 

Je nay parent, amy, frere ou affin 

Que ne face tout rediger en pouldre, 

Et suis de Dieu ad ce commise affin, 

Que Ton me doubte autant que tonnant fouldre. 

Some of the editions are ornamented with cuts, in 
which Death is occasionally introduced, and that por- 
tion of the work which exclusively relates to him seems 
to have been separately published, M. Goujet 38 having 
mentioned that he had seen a copy in vellum, containing 
twelve leaves, with an engraving to every one of the 
stanzas, twenty-three in number. More is unnecessary 
to be added, as M. Peignot has elaborately and very 
completely handled the subject in his interesting " Re- 
cherches sur les Danses des Morts." Dijon, 1826. 

31 Biblioth. Franc, torn. x. p. 436. 



Errors nf various writers who have introduced the subject 
of the Dance of Death. 

|O enumerate even a moiety of these mis- 
takes would almost occupy a separate 
volume, but it may be as well to notice 
some of them which are to be found in 
works of common occurrence. 

TRAVELLERS. The erroneous remarks of Bishop 
Burnet and Mr. Coxe have been already adverted to. 
See pp. 79, 134, and 138. 

Misson seems to regard the old Danse Macabre as 
the work of Holbein. 

The Rev. Robert Gray, in " Letters during the course 
of a tour through Germany and Switzerland in the year 
1791 and 1792," has stated that Mechel has engraved 
Rubens' 's designs from the Dance of Death, now perish- 
ing on the walls of the church-yard of the Predicant 
convent, where it was sketched in 1431. 

Mr. Wood, in his " View of the History of Switzer- 
land," as quoted in the Monthly Review, Nov. 1799, 
p. 290, states, that " the Dance of Death in the church- 
yard of the Predicants has been falsely ascribed to Hol- 
bein, as it is proved that it was painted long after the 
death of that artist, and not before he was born, as the 
honourable Horace Walpole supposes." Here the cor- 
rector stands in need himself of correction, unless it be 
possible that he is not fairly quoted by the reviewer. 

Miss Williams, in her Swiss tour, 1798, when speak- 


ing of the Basle Dance of Death, says it was painted by 
Kleber, a pupil of Holbein. 

* x JL J 

Those intelligent and amusing travellers, Breval, 
Keysler, and Blainville have carefully avoided the above 
strange mistakes. 

sens, in his article for Holbein in " the effigies of the 
Painters/' mentions his " Death's Dance, in the town- 
hall of Basle, the design whereof he first neatly cut in 
wood and afterwards painted, which appeared so fine 
to the learned Erasmus, &c." English edition, 1694, 
p. 15. 

Felibien, in his " Entretiens surlesvies des Peintres," 
follows Meyssens as to the painting in the town-hall. 

Le Comte places the supposed painting by Holbein 
in the fish-market, and in other respects copies Meys- 
sens. " Cabinet des Singularites, &c." torn. iii. p. 323, 
edit. 1702, 12mo. 

Bullart not only places the painting in the town-hall 
of Basle, but adds, that he afterwards engraved it in 
wood. " Acad. des Sciences et des Arts," torn. ii. 
p. 412. 

Mr. Evelyn, in his " Sculptura," the only one of his 
works that does him no credit, and which is a meagre 
and extremely inaccurate compilation, when speaking 
of Holbein, actually runs riot in error and misconcep- 
tion. He calls him a Dane. He makes what he terms 
" the licentiousness of the friars and nuns," meaning 
probably Hollar's sixteen etchings after Holbein's sa- 
tire on monks and friars and other members of the 
Romish church as the persecutors of Christ, and also 
the " Dance Machabre and Mortis imago," to have been 
cut in wood, and one or both of the latter to have been 
painted in the church of Basle. Mr. Evelyn's own 
copy of this work, with several additions in manuscript, 
is in the possession of Mr. Taylor, a retired and inge- 
nious artist, of Cirencester-place. He probably in- 


tended to reprint it, and opposite the above-mentioned 
word " Dane/' has inserted a query. 

Sandrart places the Dance of Death in the fish- 
market at Basle, and makes Holbein the painter as well 
as the engraver. " Acad. artis pictoriae," p. 238, edit. 
1683, folio. 

Baldinucci speaks of twenty prints of the Dance of 
Death painted by Holbein in the Senate-house of Basle. 
" Notizie de professori del disegno, &c." torn. iii. 313 
and 319. 

M. Descamps inadvertently ascribes the old Dance of 
Death on the walls of the church-yard of Saint Peter to 
the pencil of Holbein. " Vie des Peintres Flamandi," 
&c. 1753. 8vo. Tom. i. p. 75. 

Papillon, in his account of the Dance of Death, 
abounds with inaccuracies. He says, that a magistrate 
of Basle employed him to paint a Dance of Death in the 
fish-market, near a church-yard ; that the work greatly 
increased his reputation, and made much noise in the 
world, although it has many anatomical defects ; that 
he engraved this painting on small blocks of wood with 
unparalleled beauty and delicacy. He supposes that 
they first appeared in 1530 at Basle or Zuric, and as 
he thinks with a title and German verses on each print. 
Now he had never, seen any edition so early as 1530, 
nor any of the cuts with German verses, and having 
probably been misled on this occasion, he has been the 
cause of misleading many subsequent writers, as Four- 
nier, Huber, Strutt, &c. He adopts the error as to the 
mark T"f * on the thirty-sixth subject belonging to 
Holbein. He is entirely ignorant of the nature and 
character of the fool or idiot in No. xliii. whom he 
terms " un homme lascif qui a leve le devant de sa 
robbe:" and, to crown the whole, he makes the old 
Macaber Dance an imitation of that ascribed to Hol- 

De Murr, in torn. ii. p. 535 of his " Bibliotheque de 


Peinture, &c." servilely copies Papillon in all that he 
has said on the subject, with some additional errors of 
his own. 

The Abbe Fontenai, in the article for Holbein in his 
" .Dictionnaire des Artistes/' Paris, 1776, 8vo. not only 
makes him the painter of the old Macaber Dance, but 
places it in the town-house at Basle. 

Mr. Walpole, or rather Vertue, in the " Anecdotes of 
Painting in England," corrects the error of those who 
give the old Macaber Dance to Holbein, but inadver- 
tently makes that which is usually ascribed to him to 
have been borrowed from the other. 

Messrs. Huber and Rost make Holbein the engraver 
of the Lyons wood-cuts, and suppose the original draw- 
ings to be preserved in the public library at Basle. 
They probably allude to the problematical drawings 
that were used by M. de Mechel, and which are now 
in Russia. " Manuel des curieux et des amateurs de 
Tart." Tom. i. p. 155. 

In the " Notices sur les graveurs," Besancon, 1807, 
8vo. a work that has, by some writers, been given to 
M. Malpe, and by others to the Abbe Baverel, Papillon 
is followed with respect to the supposed edition of 1530, 
and its German verses. 

Mr. Janssen is more inaccurate than any of his pre- 
decessors, some of whom have occasionally misled him. 
He makes Albert Durer the inventor of the designs, the 
greater part of which, he says, are from the Dance of I 
Death at Berne. He adopts the edition of 1530, and the 
German verses. He condemns the title-page of the edi- ' 
tion of 1562 for stating an addition of seventeen plates, 
whereas, says he, there are but five; but the editor 
meant only that there were seventeen more cuts than in 
the original, which had only forty-one. 

MISCELLANEOUS WRITERS. Charles Patin, a libeller 
of the English nation, has made Holbein the engraver 
on wood of a Dance of Death, which, he says, is " not 


much unlike that in the church-yard of the Predicants 
at Basle, painted, as some say, from the life, by Hol- 
bein." He ought to have known that this work was 
executed near a century before Holbein was born. 
" Erasmi stultitise laus." Basileae, 1676, 8vo. at the 
end of the list of Holbein's works. 

Martiniere, in his Geographical Dictionary, makes 
Holbein the inventor of the Macaber Dance at Basle. 

Goujet, in his very useful " Bibliotheque Francoise," 
torn. x. p. 436, has erroneously stated that the Lyons 
engravings on wood were by the celebrated artist Sa- 
lomon Bernard, usually called " Le petit Bernard." 
The mistake is very pardonable, as it appears that Ber- 
nard chiefly worked in the above city. 

M. Compan, in his " Dictionnaire de Danse," ] 787, 
12mo. under the article Macabree, very gravely asserts 
that the author took his work from the Maccabees, 
" qui, comme tout le monde scait danserent, et en ont 
fait epoque pour les inorts." He then quotes some lines 
from a modern edition of the " Danse Macabre," where 
the word Machabees is ignorantly substituted for " Ma- 

M. Fournier states that Holbein painted a Dance of 
Death in the fish-market at Basle, reduced it, and en- 
graved it. " Dissertation sur 1'imprimerie," p. 70. 

Mr. Warton has converted the imaginary Machabree 
into a French poet, but corrects himself in his " Hist, of 
Engl. Poetry." He supposes the single cut in Lydgate 
to represent all the figures that were in St. Paul's clois- 
ter. He atones for these errors in referring to Holbein's 
cuts in Cranmer's Catechism, as entirely different in 
style from those published at Lyons, but which he 
thinks, are probably the work of Albert Durer, and also 
in his conjecture that the painter Reperdius might have 
been concerned in the latter. See " Observations on 
the Fairy Queen of Spenser," vol. ii. 116, &c. In his 
most elegant and instructive History of English Poetry 


he relapses into error when he states that Holbein 
painted a Dance of Death in the Augustine monastery 
at Basle in 1543, and that Georgius ./Emylius published 
this Dance at Lyons, 1542, one year before Holbein's 
painting at Basle appeared. Hist. Engl. Poetry, vol. ii. 
p. 364, edit. Price. 

The Marquis de Paulmy ascribes the old Macaber 
Dance at Basle to Holbein, and adds, "le sujet et 
1'execution en sont aussi singuliers que ridicules." "Me- 
langes tires d'une grande bibliotheque," torn. Ff. 371. 

M. Champollion Figeac in Millin's " Magazin en- 
cyclopedique," 1811, torn. vi. has an article on an edi- 
tion of the " Danse Macabre anterieure a celle de 1486." 
In this article he states that Holbein painted a fresco 
Dance of Death at Basle near the end of the 15th cen- 
tury (Holbein was not born till 1498 !); that this Dance 
resembled the Danse Macabre, all the characters of 
which are in Holbein's style ; that it is still more like 
the Dance in the Monasticon Anglicanum in a single 
print; and that the English Dance belongs to John 
Porey, an author who appears, however, to be unknown 
to all biographers. We should have been obliged to 
M. Figeac if he had mentioned where he met with this 
John Porey, whom he again mentions, but in such a 
manner as to leave a doubt whether he means to con- 
sider him as a poet or a painter. Even M. Millin him- 
self, from whom more accuracy might have been ex- 
pected, speaks of Holbein's work as at the Dominican 
convent at Basle. 

The " Nouveau Dictionnaire Historique," 1789, 8vo. 
gives the painting on the walls of the cemetery of St 
Peter at Basle, to Holbein, confounding the two works 
as some other French biographical dictionaries have 
done, especially one that has cited an edition of the 
Danse Macabre in 1486 as the first of Holbein's paint- 
ing, though it immediately afterwards states that artist 
to have been born in 1498. 


In that excellent work, the " Biographic universelle," 
in 42 vols. 8vo. 18111828, M. Ponce, under the ar- 
ticle " Holbein," inaccurately refers to " the Dance of 
Death painted in 1543 on the walls of a cemetery at 
Basle," at the same time properly remarking that it was 
not Holbein's.- He refers to the supposed original draw- 
ings of Holbein's work at Petersburg that were engraved 
by De Mechel, and concludes his brief note with a 
reference to a dissertation of M. Raymond in Millin's 
" Magazin encyclopedique," 1814, torn. v. which is 
nothing more than a simple notice of two editions of the 
Danse Macabre, described in the present dissertation. 

And lastly The Reviewer of the first edition of the 
present dissertation prefixed to Mr. Edwards's engra- 
vings or etchings by Wenceslaus Hollar, has displayed 
considerable ingenuity in his attempt to correct sup- 
posed errors, by a lavish substitution of many of his 
own, some of which are the following : 

That the Dance of Death is found in carvings in 
wood in the choirs of churches. Not a single instance 
can be produced. 

That Hollar's etchings are on wood. 

" Black letter" is corrected to " Black letters." 

That the book would have been more complete if 
Lydgate's stanzas had been quoted, in common with 
others in Piers Plowman. Now all the stanzas of Lyd- 
gate are given, and not a single one is to be found in 
Piers Plowman. 

And they most ingeniously and scientifically denomi- 
nate the skeleton figure of Death " the Gothic monster 
of Holbein !" 

A SHORT time after the completion of the present Dis 
sertation, the author accidentally became possessed 
a recently published German life of Holbein, in whicl 
not a single addition of importance to what has be( 
gleaned from preceding writers can possibly be found. 
It contains a general, but extremely superficial account 
of the works of that artist, including the Dance of 
Death, which, as a matter of course, is ascribed to him. 
As the author, a Mr. Ulrich Hegner, who is said to be a 
Swiss gentleman and amateur, has not conducted him- 
self with that urbanity and politeness which might have 
been looked for from such a character, and has thought 
proper, in adverting to the slight Essay by the present 
writer, prefixed, at the instance of the late Mr. Ed- 
wards, to his publication of Hollar's etchings of the 
Dance of Death, to speak of it with a degree of con- 
tempt, which, even with all its imperfections, others 
may think it may not have deserved; the above gen- 
tleman will have but little reason to complain should 
he meet with a somewhat uncourteous retort in the 
course of the following remarks on his compilation. 

Had Mr. Hegner written with a becoming diffidence 
in his opinions, his work might have commanded and 
deserved respect, though greatly abounding in error 
and false conceit. He has undertaken a task for which 
he has shown himself wholly unqualified, and with 
much unseemly arrogance, and its usual concomitant, 
ignorance, has assumed to himself a monopoly of infor- 
mation on the subject which he discusses. His argu- 
ments, if worthy of the name, are, generally speaking, 
of a most weak and flimsy texture. In support of his 
dogmatical opinion that the original designs for the 
Lyons Dance of Death exclusively belong to Holbein 
he has not adduced a single fact. He has not been in 
possession of a tenth part of the materials that were 
necessary for the proper investigation of his subject, 

nor does he appear to have even seen them. The very 
best judges of whatever relates to the history and art of 
engraving are quite satisfied that most of the persons who 
have written on them, with the exception of Mr. Ottley, 
and of the modest and urbane Monsieur Peignot, are 
liable to the charge of extreme inaccuracy and imper- 
fection in their treatment of the Dance of Death, and 
the list of such writers may now be closed with the 
addition of Herr Hegner. 

Some of his positions are now to be stated and exa- 

He makes Holbein the author of a new Dance of 
Death in the Crozat or Gallitzin drawings in Indian 
ink which have been already described in the present 
dissertation, adding that he also engraved them, and 
suppressing any mention in this place of the monogram 
on one of the cuts which he elsewhere admits not to 
belong to Holbein. Soon afterwards, and with very 
good reason, he doubts the originality of the drawings, 
which he says M. de Mechel caused to be copied by 
Rudolph Schellenberg, a skilful artist, already men- 
;ioned as the author of a Dance of Death of his own 
nvention ; and proceeds to state, that from these copies 
De Mechel employed some inferior persons in his ser- 
vice to make engravings; advancing all this without 
he accompaniment of any proof whatever, and in direct 
:ontradiction to De Mechel's authority of having him- 
elf engraved them. An apparently bitter enemy to 
3e Mechel, whose posthumous materials, now in the 
ibrary at Basle, he nevertheless admits to have used 
or his work, he invidiously enlarges on the discrepan- 
ies between his engravings and the Lyons wood-cuts, 
oth in size and manner ; and then concludes that they 
fere copied from the wood-cuts, the copyist allowing 
imself the privilege of making arbitrary variations, 
specially in the figure of the Eve in the second cut, 
hirh, he says, is of the family of Boucher, who, in 



spite of Hegner's opinion, is regarded by better judges 
as a clever painter. Whether the remarks on any de- 
viations of De Mechel's prints from the Crozat drawings 
are just or otherwise can now be decided by comparison 
only, and Hegner does not appear to have seen them, 
or at least does not tell us so. His criticisms on the 
merit of the engravings in De Mechel's work cannot be 
justified, for though they may occasionally be faulty, 
they are very neatly, and many will think beautifully 

What Hegner has said respecting the alphabets of 
initial letters, is at once futile and inaccurate ; but his 
comment on Hans Lutzenbergrer deserves the severest 


censure. Adverting to the inscription with the name 
of this fine artist on one of the sets of the initials, he 
terms him " an itinerant bookseller, who had bought the 
blocks and put his name on them;" and this after having 
himself referred to a print on which Lutzenberger is 
called FORMSCHNEIDER, L e. woodcutter: making in 
this instance a clumsy and dishonest effort to get rid of 
an excellent engraver, who stands so recorded in oppo- 
sition to his own untenable system. 

The very important and indelible expressions in the 
dedication to the first known edition of the Lyons 
wood-cuts, he very modestly terms " a play upon 
words," and endeavours to account for the death of 
the painter by supposing Holbein's absence in England 
would warrant the language of the dedication. This is 
indeed a most desperate argument. Frellon, the pub- 
lisher and proprietor of the work, must have known 
better than to have permitted the dedication to accom- 
pany his edition had it been susceptible of so silly a 

He again adheres to the improbable notion that Hol- 
bein engraved the cuts to the Lyons book, and this in 
defiance of the mark or monogram n A which this 
painter never used ; nor will a single print with Hoi- 


bein's accredited name be found to bear the slightest 
resemblance to the style of the wood-cuts. Even those 
in Cranmer's catechism, which approach the nearest to 
them, are in a different manner. His earlier engravings 
on wood, whether in design only, or as the engraver, 
resemble those by Urs Graaf, who, as well as Holbein, 
decorated the frontispieces or titles to many of the 
books printed at Basle. It is not improbable that Urs 
Graaf was at that time a pupil of Holbein. 

Hegner next endeavours to annihilate the painting at 
Whitehall recorded in Nieuhoff's etchings and dedica- 
tions, but still by arguments of an entirely negative kind. 
He lays much stress on this painting not being specifi- 
cally mentioned by Sandrart or Van.Mander, who were 
in England; but where does it appear that the latter, 
during his short stay in this country, had visited 
Whitehall ? Even admitting that both these persons 
had seen that palace, it is most probable that the fresco 
painting of the Dance of Death, would, from length of 
time, dampness of the walls, and neglect, have been in 
a. condition that would not warrant the exhibition of it, 
and it was, moreover, placed in a gallery which scarcely 
formed, at that time, a part of Whitehall, and which 
was, probably, not shown to visitors. It must not, 
however, be omitted, to mention that Sandrart, in p. 239 
of his Acad. Pict. states, though ambiguously, that 
" there was still remaining at Whitehall a work by 
Holbein that would constitute him the Apelles of his 
time," an expression which we may remember had been 
ilso applied to Holbein by his friend Borbonius in the 
complimentary lines on a Dance of Death, 

The Herr Hegner has thought fit to speak of Mr. T. 
Vieuhoff in terms of indecorous and unjust contempt, 
lescribing him as " an unknown and unimportant 
Dutch copper-plate engraver^" and arraigning his evi- 
lence as being in manuscript only; as if manuscripts 
hat have never been printed were of no authority. 


But where has Hegner discovered that Nieuhoff was a 
Dutch copper-plate engraver, by which is meant a 
professed artist; or even though he had been such, 
would that circumstance vitiate his testimony ? In his 
dedication to Lord William Benting the expressions 
allusive to his ardent love of the arts, seem to consti- 
tute him an amateur attempter of etching ; for what he 
has left us in that way is indeed of a very subordinate 
character, and unworthy of a professed artist. He 
appears to have been one of the Dutchmen who accom- 
panied King William to England, and to have had 
apartments assigned to him at Whitehall. At the end 
of his dedication to Lord W. Benting, he calls himself 
an old servant of that person's father, and subscribes 
himself " your and your illustrious family's most obe- 
dient and humble servant/' 

The identification of William Benting must be left to 
the sagacity of others. He could not have been the 
Earl of Portland created in 1689, or he would have 
been addressed accordingly. He is, moreover, de- 
scribed as a youth born at Whitehall, and then 
residing there, and whose dwelling consisted of nearly 
the whole of the palace that remained after the fire. 

Again, We have before us a person living in the 
palace of Whitehall anterior to its destruction, testify- 
ing what he had himself seen, and addressing one who 
could not be imposed upon, as residing also in the 
palace. There seems to be no possible motive on the 
part of Nieuhoff for stating an untruth, and his most 
clear and unimpeachable testimony is opposed by 
Hegner' s wild and weak conjectures, and chiefly by 
the negative argument that a few strangers who visited 
England in a hasty manner have not mentioned the 
painting in question at Whitehall, amidst those inac- 
curate and superficial accounts of England which, with 
little exception, have been given by foreign travellers. 
Among these Hegner has selected Patin and Sandrart 


Before adducing the former, he would have done well 
to have looked at his very imperfect and erroneous 
account of Holbein's works, in his edition of the 
MOPIAS EriOlMION of Erasmus; and, with respect 
to the latter, the stamp of inaccuracy has been long 
affixed to most of the works he has published. He has 
mentioned, that being in company with Rubens in a 
Dutch passage boat " the conversation fell upon Hol- 
bein's book of cuts, representing the Dance of Death ; 
that Rubens gave them the highest encomiums, advising 
him, who was then a young man, to set the highest 
value upon them, informing him, at the same time, that 
he in his youth had copied them." 39 On this passage 
Mr. Warton has well remarked that if Rubens styled 
these prints Holbein's, in familiar conversation, it was 
but calling them by the name which the world had 
given them, and by which they were generally known ; 
and that Sandrart has, in another place, confounded 
them with the Basle painting. 40 

To conclude, Juvenal's " hoc volo, sic jubeo, sit 
pro ratione voluntas," may be regarded as Herr Heg- 
ner's literary motto. He has advocated the vague tra- 
ditions of unauthenticated Dances of Death by Holbein, 
and has made a most unjustifiable attempt to deprive 
that truly great artist of the only painting on the sub- 
i ject which really appears to belong to him. Yet, if by 
j Pair and candid argument, supported by the necessary 
oroofs, the usual and long standing claim on the part 
)f Holbein can be substantiated, no one will thereby be 
nore highly gratified than the author of this disserta- 

39 Sandrart Acad. Pict. p. 241. 

Obs. on Spenser, 11. 117, 118, 119. 



P. 59. After No. 17 add "La Danse Macabre." 
Paris, Nicole de la Barre, 1523, 4to. with very different 
cuts, and some characters omitted in former editions. 

P. 77, last line of the text. There is a German work 
intitled "The process or law-suit of Death," printed; 
and perhaps written, by Conrad Fyner in 1477 ; but 
as it is not noticed in Panzer's list of German books, 
no further account of it can be given than that it is 
briefly mentioned by Joseph Heller, in a German work 
on the subject of engraving on wood, in which one cut 
from it is introduced, that exhibits Death conversing 
with a husbandman who holds a flail in one of his 
hands. It is probable that the book would be found to 
contain other figures relating to a Macaber Dance. 

P. 112, 1. ult. There is another work by Glissenti, 
intitled "La Morte innamorata." Venet. 1608, 24mo, 
with a dedication to Sir Henry Wotton, the English 
ambassador at Venice, by Elisabetta Glissenti Serenella, 
the author's niece; in which, after stating that Sir 
Henry had seen it represented, she adds, that she had 
ventured to have it printed for the purpose of offering 
it to him as a very humble donation, &c. It is a moral, 
dramatic, and allegorical fable of five acts, in which 
Man, to avoid Death, who has fallen in love with him, 
retires with his family to the country of Long Life, 
where he takes up his abode in the house of the World, 
by whom and his wife Fraud, who is in strict friendship 
wjth Fortune, he is apparently made much of, and 
calculates on being very happy. Death follows the 


Man, and being unknown in the above . region, con- 
trives, with the aid. of Infirmity, the Man's nurse, to 
make him fall sick. The World . being tired of his 
guest ; and very desirous to get rid of, and plunder him 
of his property, under pretence of introducing him to 
Fortune, and consequent happiness, enters into a plot 
with Time to disguise Death, who is lodged in the same 
house with him, as Fortune, and thus to give him pos- 
session of the Maw,, who imagines that he is just about 
to secure Fortune. Each act of. this piece is orna- 
mented with some wood-cut that had been already 
introduced into the other work of Glissenti. 

P. 118, line 32. Ebert, in his " Bibliographisches 
Lexicon," Leipsig. 1821, 4to. has mentioned some later 
editions of Denneker's engravings. See the article 
Denecker, p. 972, 

P. 126, 1. 14. It is not impossible that Hollar may 
have copied a bust carved in wood, or some other 
material, by Holbein, as Albert Durer and other great 
artists are known to have practised sculpture in this 

P. 135, 1. 25. These four prints are in the author's 

P. 137, 1. utt. Other imitations of the Lyons cuts 
are, 1. A wood engraving of Adam digging and Eve 
spinning, by Corn. Van Sichem in the " Bibers tresor," 
A.mst. 1646, 4to. 2. The Astrologer, a small circular 
>rint on copper by Le Blond. 3. The Bridegroom, an 
inonymous modern engraving on wood. 4. The Miser,, 
i small modern and anonymous print on copper. 

P. 147, 1. 19. In the library at Lambeth palace, No. 
1049, there is a copy of this book in Greek, Latin, Ita- 
ian, Spanish, English, and French, printed by J. Day, 
1569, 8vo. It was given by Archb. Tillotson, and from a 
nemorandum in it supposed to have been the Queen's 
>wn copy. The cut of the Queen kneeling was used so 


late as 1652, in Benlowes' Theophila. Some of the 
cuts have the unexplained mark (f . 

P. 164, Article xii. This print is a copy, with a few 
variations, of a much older one engraved on wood, and 
probably unique, in the very curious collection of single 
sheets and black letter ballads, belonging to George 
Daniel, Esquire, of Islington. The figures are executed 
in a style of considerable merit, and each of them is 
described in a stanza of four lines. It may probably 
be the same as No. 1 or No. 2, mentioned in p. 76, or 
either of Nos. x. or xi. described in p. 163. 

P. 226, line 12. Another drawing by Rowlandson, 
intitled " Death and the Drunkards." Five topers are 
sitting at a table and enjoying their punch. Death 
suddenly enters and violently seizes one of them. 
Another perceives the unwelcome and terrific intruder, 
whilst the rest are too intent on their liquor to be dis- 
turbed at the moment. It is a very spirited and mas- 
terly performance. 1 1 by 9. In the author's possession. 

P. 239, 1. 12. There is likewise in the " Biographic 
Universelle" an article intitled " Macaber, poete Alle- 
mand" by M. Weiss, and it is to be regretted that a 
writer whose learning and research are so eminently 
conspicuous in many of the best lives in the work, 
should have permitted himself to be misled in much 
that he has said, by the errors of Champollion Figeac 
in the Magazin Encyclopedique. He certainly doubts 
the existence of Macaber as a writer, but inclines to M. 
Van Praefs Arabic Magbarah. He states, that the 
English version of the Macaber Dance belongs to John 
Porey, a poet who remains unknown even to his coun- 
trymen, and is inserted in the Monasticon Anglicanum. 
Now this unknown poet, who is likewise adopted by 
M. Peignot, is merely the person who contributed 
Hollar's plate in the Monasticon, already mentioned in 
p. 52, and whose coat of arms is at the top of that 
plate, with the following inscription, " Quo prsesentes 


et poster! Mortis, ut vidimus, omni Ordini comunis, 
sint magis memores, posuit IOHANNES POREY." Mr. 
Weiss has likewise inadvertently adopted the error that 
Holbein painted the old Dance of Macaber in the con- 
vent of the Augustines at Basle. 

Two recently published Dances of Death have come 
to hand too late to have been noticed in their proper 

1. " Der Todtentantz. Ein Gedicht von Ludwig 
Bechstein, mit 48 kupfern in treuen Conturen nach 
H. Holbein. Leipzig bei Friedrich August Leo, 183 1/' 
8vo. These prints are executed in a faithful and ele- 
gant outline, and accompanied with modern German 

2. " Hans Holbein's Todtentanz in 53 getreu nach 
den Holz schnitten lithographirten Blattern. Heraus 
gegeben von J. Schlotthaver k. Professor Mit erklaren- 
dem Texte. Munchen, 1832, Auf Rosten des Heraus 
gegebers." 12mo. The prints are most accurately and 
elegantly lithographed in imitation of wood engraving. 
The descriptions are in German verse, and accompanied 
with some brief prefatory matter by Dr. H. F. Mass- 
mann, which is said to have been amplified in one of 
the German journals or reviews. 



I. THE frontispiece is a design for the sheath of a 
dagger, probably made by Holbein for the use of a 
goldsmith or chaser. The original drawing is in the 
public library at Basle. See some remarks on it in 
p. 133. 

II. These circular engravings by Israel Van Meck- 
enen are mentioned in p. 160. 

II L Copy of an ancient drawing, 1454, of Death 
and the Beggar. See p. 223. 

IV. Figures of Death and the Lady, sculptured on a 
monument of the Delawars, in Boxgrove church, Sus- 
sex* See p. 226* 

V. A fac-simile of one of the cuts to a very early 
edition, printed without date at Troyes by Nicolas le 
Rouge. It represents the story of the trois morts et 
trois vifs, and the vision of Saint Macarius. See pp. 
33, 34, and 59. 

VI. A fac-simile of another cut from the edition of a 
Danse Macabre, mentioned in No. V. 




The Copies have been made by MR. BoNNERyVom the 
Cuts belonging to the " Imagines Mortis, Lugdum 
sub scuto Coloniensi, 1547," 12mo. and which have 
been usually ascribed to Holbein* 


Deity is seen taking Eve from the side of Adam. 
" Formavit Dominus Deus hominem de limo terrae, &c." 
Gen. i. 

2. THE TEMPTATION. Eve has just received 
the forbidden fruit from the serpent, who, on the au- 
thority of venerable Bede, is here, as well as in most 
ancient representations of the subject, depicted with a 
female human face. She holds it up to Adam, and 
entices him to gather more of it from the tree. " Quia 
audisti vocem uxoris tuae, et comedisti de ligno, &c." 
Gen. iii. 

and Eve are preceded by Death, who plays on a vielle, 
or beggar's lyre, as if demonstrating his joy at the vic- 
tory he has obtained over man. " Emisit eum Domi- 
num Deus de Paradiso voluptatis, ut operaretur terram 
de qua sumptus est." Gen. iii. 

MAN. Adam is digging the ground, assisted by 
Death. In the distance Eve is suckling her first-born 
and holding a distaff. Whence the proverb in many 
languages : 

When Adam delv'd and Eve span 
Where was then the gentleman ? 

" Maledicta terra in opere tuo, in laboribus comedes 
cunctis diebus vitse tuae, donee revertaris, &c." Gen, iii. 


5. A CEMETERY, in which several Deaths are 
assembled, most of whom are playing on noisy instru- 
ments of music, as a general summons to mortals to 
attend them. "Vae, vae, vae habitantibus in terra/' 
Apoc. viii. 

6. THE POPE. He is crowning an Emperor, who 
kneels before him, two Cardinals attending, one of 
whom is ludicrously personated by Death. In the 
back-ground are bishops, &c. Death embraces the 
Pope with one hand, and with the other leans on a 
crutch. Two grotesque Devils are introduced into the 
cut, one of whom hovers over the Pope, the other in 
the air holds a diploma, to which several seals are 
appended. " Moriatur sacerdos magnus." Josue xx, 

7. THE EMPEROR. Seated on a throne, and at- 
tended by his courtiers, he seems to be listening to, or 
deciding, the complaint of a poor man who is kneeling 
before him, against his rich oppressor, whom the Em- 
peror, holding the sword of justice, seems to regard 
with an angry countenance. Behind him Death lays 
hands upon his crown. " Dispone domui tuae, morieris, 
enim tu, et non vives." Isaise xxxviii. 

8. THE KING. He is sitting at his repast, before a 
well-covered table, under a canopy studded with fleurs- 
de-lis. Death intrudes himself as a cupbearer, and 
presents the King with probably his last draught. The 
figure of the King seems intended as a portrait of 
Francis I. " Sicut et Rex hodie est, et eras morietur; 
nemo enim ex regibus aliud habuit." Ecclesiast. x. et 
Sapient, vii. 

9. THE CARDINAL. There is some difficulty in 
ascertaining the real meaning of the designer of this 
subject. It has been described as the Cardinal re- 
ceiving the bull of his appointment, or as a rich man 
making a purchase of indulgences. The latter inter- 
pretation seems warranted by the Latin motto. Death 


is twisting off the Cardinal's hat. " Vae qui justificatis 
impium pro muneribus, et justitiam justi aufertis ab 
eo." Isaiae v. 

10. THE EMPRESS. Gorgeously attired and at- 
tended by her maids of honour, she is intercepted in 
her walk by Death in the character of a shrivelled old 
woman, who points to an open grave, and seems to say, 
" to this you must come at last." " Gradientes in 
superbia potest Deus humiliare." Dan iv. 

11. THE QUEEN. She has just issued from her 
palace, when Death unexpectedly appears and forcibly 
drags her away. Her jester, in whose habiliments 
Death has ludicrously attired himself, endeavours in 
vain to protect his mistress. A female attendant is 
violently screaming. Death holds up his hour-glass to 
indicate the arrival of the fatal hour. " Mulieres opu- 
lentse surgite, et audite vocem meam: post dies et 
annum, et vos conturbemini." Isaiae xxxii. 

12. THE BISHOP. Quietly resigned to his fate 
he is led away by Death, whilst the loss of the worthy 
Pastor is symbolically deplored by the flight and terror 
of several shepherds in the distance amidst their flocks. 
The setting sun is very judiciously introduced. " Per- 
cutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves gregis." Mat. 
xxvi. Mar. xiv. 

13. THE DUKE. Attended by his courtiers, he is 
accosted in the street for charity by a poor beggar 
woman with her child. He disdainfully turns aside 
from her supplication, whilst Death, fantastically 
crowned with leaves, unexpectedly lays violent hands 
upon him. " Princeps induetur moerore, et quiescere 
faciam superbiam potentium." Ezech. viii. 

14. THE ABBOT. Death having despoiled him of his 
mitre and crosier, drags him away. The Abbot resists 
with all his might, and is about to throw his breviary 


at his adversary. " Ipse morietur, quia non habuit 
disciplinam, et in multitudine stultitiae suae decipietur." 

15. THE ABBESS. Death, grotesquely crowned 
with flags, seizes the poor Abbess by her scapulary. 
A Nun at the convent gate, with uplifted hands, bewails 
the fate of her superior. " Laudavi magis mortuos 
quam viventes." Eccles. iv. 

16. THE GENTLEMAN. He vainly, with uplifted 
sword, endeavours to liberate himself from the grasp of 
Death. The hour-glass is placed on his bier. " Quis 
est homo qui vivet, et non videbit mortem, eruet ani- 
mam suam de manu inferi ?" 

17. THE CANON. Death holds up his hour-glass 
to him as he is entering a cathedral. They are followed 
by a noble person with a hawk on his fist, his buffoon 
or jester, and a little boy. " Ecce appropinquat hora." 
Mat. xxvi. 

18. THE JUDGE. He is deciding a cause between 
a rich and a poor man. From the former he is about 
to receive a bribe. Death behind him snatches his staff 
of office from one of his hands. " Disperdam judicem 
de medio ejus." Amos ii. 

19. THE ADVOCATE. The rich client is putting 
a fee into the hands of the dishonest lawyer,, to which 
Death also contributes, but reminds him at the same 
time that his glass is run out. To this admonition he 
seems to pay little regard, fully occupied in counting 
the money. Behind this group is the poor suitor, 
wringing his hands, and lamenting that his poverty 
disables him from coping with his wealthy adversary." 
" Callidus vidit malum, et abscondit se : innocens per- 
transiit, et afflictus est damno." Prover. xxii. 

20. THE MAGISTRATE. A Demon is blowing 
corruption into the ear of a magistrate, who has turned 
his back on a poor man, whilst he is in close conversa- 


tion with another person, to whose story he seems em- 
phatically attentive. Death at his feet with an hour- 
glass and spade. " Qui obturat aurem suam ad cla- 
morem pauperis, et ipse clamabit, et non exaudietur." 
Prover. xxi. 

21. THE PREACHER. Death with a stole about 
his neck stands behind the preacher, and holds a jaw- 
bone over his head, typifying perhaps thereby that he 
is the best preacher of the two. " Vse qui dicitis malum 
bonum, et bonum malum : ponentes tenebras lucem, et 
lucem tenebras : ponentes amarum in dulce, et dulce in 
amarum." Isaiae v. 

22. THE PRIEST. He is carrying the viaticum, or 
sacrament, to some dying person. Attendants follow 
with tapers and holy water. Death strides on before, 
with bell and lanthern, to announce the coming of the 
priest. " Sum quidem et ego mortalis homo." Sap. vii. 

23. THE MENDICANT FRIAR. He is just en- 
tering his convent with his money box and wallet. 
Death seizes him by the cowl, and forcibly drags him 
away. " Sedentes in tenebris, et in umbra mortis, 
vinctos in mendicitate." Psal. cvi. 

24. THE NUN. Here is a mixture of gallantry 
and religion. The young lady has admitted her lover 
into her apartment. She is kneeling before an altar, 
and hesitates whether to persist in her devotions or 
listen to the amorous music of the young man, who, 
seated on a bed, touches a theorbo lute. Death extin- 
guishes the candles on the altar, by which the designer 
)f the subject probably intimates the punishment of 
mlawful love. " Est via quee videtur hpmini justa : 
lovissima autem ejus deducunt hominem ad mortem." 

] Drover, iv. 

25. THE OLD WOMAN. She is accompanied by 
wo Deaths, one of whom, playiijg on a stickado, or 



wooden psalter, precedes her. She seems more atten- 
tive to her rosary of bones than to the music, whilst 
the other Death impatiently urges her forward with 
blows. " Melior est mors quam vita." Eccle. xxx. 

26. THE PHYSICIAN. He holds out his hand to 
receive, for inspection, a urinal which Death presents 
to him, and which contains the water of a decrepid old 
man whom he introduces, and seems to say to the phy- 
sician " Canst thou cure this man who is already in my 
power ?" " Medice cura te ipsum." Luc. iv. 

27. THE ASTROLOGER. He is seen in his study, 
looking attentively at a suspended sphere. Death holds 
out a skull to him, and seems, in mockery, to say, 
" Here is a better subject for your contemplation." 
" Indica mihi si nosti omnia. Sciebas quod nasciturus 
esses, et numerum dierum tuorum noveras?" Job 

28. THE MISER. Death has burst into his strong 
room, where he is sitting among his chests and bags of 
gold, and, seated on a stool, deliberately collects into a 
large dish the money on the table which the Miser ha( 
been counting. In an agony of terror and despair, the 
poor man seems to implore forbearance on the part o 
his unwelcome visitor. " Stulte, hac nocte repetun 
animamtuam: et quae parasti, cujus erunt?" Lucaexii 

29. THE MERCHANT. After having escaped the 
perils of the sea, and happily reached the wished-foi 
shore with his bales of merchandize ; this too secure 
adventurer, whilst contemplating his riches, is surprisec 
by Death. One of his companions holds up his hands 
in despair. " Qui congregat thesauros lingua mendacii 
vanus et excors est, et impingetur ad laqueos mortis. 
Proverb, xxi. 

30. THE SHIP IN A TEMPEST. Death is vigo- 
rously employed in breaking the mast. The owner o 


the vessel is wringing his hands in despair. One man 
seems perfectly resigned to his impending fate. " Qui 
volunt ditescere, incidunt in tentationem et laqueum, et 
cupiditates multas, stultas ac noxias, quse demergunt 
homines in exitium et interitum." 1 ad Tim. vi. 

31. THE KNIGHT. After escaping the perils in 
his numerous combats, he is vanquished by Death, 
whom he ineffectually resists. " Subito morientur, et 
in media nocte turbabuntur populi, et auferent violen- 
tum absque manu." Job xxxiv. 

32. THE COUNT. Death, in the character of a 
ragged peasant, revenges himself against his proud 
oppressor by crushing him with his own armour. On 
the ground lie a helmet, crest, and flail. " Quoniam 
cum interierit non sumet secum omnia, neque cum 
eo descendet gloria ejus." Psal. xlviii. 

33. THE OLD MAN. Death leads his aged victim 
to the grave, beguiling him with the music of a dul- 
cimer. " Spiritus meus attenuabitur, dies mei brevia- 
buntur, et solum mihi superest sepulchrum." Job xvii. 

34. THE COUNTESS. She receives from an at- 
tendant the splendid dress and ornaments with which 
she is about to equip herself. On a chest are seen a 
mirror, a brush, and the hour-glass of Death, who, 
standing behind her, places on her neck a collar of 
bones. " Ducunt in bonis dies suos, et in puncto ad 
inferna descendant." Job xxi. 

35. THE NEW-MARRIED LADY. She is ac- 
companied by her husband, who endeavours to divert 
her attention from Death, who is insidiously dancing 
before them and beating a tambour. " Me et te sola 
mors separabit." Ruth i. 

36. THE DUCHESS. She is sitting, up, dressed, 
in her bed, at the foot of which are two Deaths, one of 


whom plays on a violin, the other is pulling the clothes 
from the bed. " De lectulo, super quern ascendisti, 
non descendes, sed morte morieris." 4 Reg. i. 

37. THE PEDLAR. Accompanied by his dog, and 
heavily laden, he is proceeding on his way, when he is 
intercepted by Death, who forcibly pulls him back. 
Another Death is playing on a trump-marine. " Ve- 
nite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et onerati estis." 
Matth. xi. 

38. THE HUSBANDMAN. He is assisted by 
Death, who conducts the horses of his plough. " In 
sudore vultus tui vesceris pane tuo." Gen. hi. 

39. THE CHILD. A female cottager is preparing 
her family mess, when Death enters and carries oft" the 
youngest of her children. " Homo natus de muliere, 
brevi vivens tempore, repletur multis miseriis: qui 
quasi flos egreditur, et conteritur, et fugit velut umbra." 
Job xiv. 

40. THE SOLDIER. He is engaged in unequal 
combat with Death, who simply attacks him with a 
bone. On the ground lie some of his demolished com- 
panions. In the distance, Death is beating a drum, 
and leading on a company of soldiers to battle. " Cum 
fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, &e. Si autem 
fortior eo superveniens vicerit eum, universa ejus arma 
aufert, in quibus confidebat." Luc. xi. 

41. THE GAMESTERS. Death and the Devil are 
disputing the possession of one of the gamesters, whom 
both have seized. Another seems to be interceding 
with the Devil on behalf of his companion, whilst a 
third is scraping together all the money on the table. 
" Quid prodest homini, si universum mundum lucretur, 
animae autem suae detrimentum patiatur?" Mat. xvi. 

42. THE DRUNKARDS. They are assembled in 
a brothel, and intemperately feasting. Death pours 


liquor from a flaggon into the mouth of one of the 
party. " Ne inebriemini vino, in quo est luxuria." 
Ephes. v. 

43. THE IDEOT FOOL. He is mocking Death, 
by putting his finger in his mouth, and at the same 
time endeavouring to strike him with his bladder- 
bauble. Death smiling, and amused at his efforts, 
leads him away in a dancing attitude, playing at the 
same time on a bag-pipe. " Quasi agnus lasciviens, 
et ignorans, nescit quod ad vincula stultus trahatur." 
Prover, vii. 

44. THE ROBBER. Whilst he is about to plunder 
a poor market-woman of her property, Death comes 
behind and lays violent hands on him. " Domine vim 
patior." Isaiae xxxviii. 

45. THE BLIND MAN. Carefully measuring his 
steps, and unconscious of his perilous situation, he is 
led on by Death, who with one hand takes him by the 
cloak, both parties having hold of his staff, " Caecus 
caecum ducit : et ambo in foveam cadunt." Matt. xv. 

46. THE WAGGONER. His cart, loaded with 
wine casks, has been overturned, and one of his horses 
thrown down by two mischievous Deaths, One of them 
is carrying off a wheel, and the other is employed in 
wrenching off a tie that had secured one of the 
hoops of the casks. The poor affrighted waggoner 
is clasping his hands together in despair. " Corruit 

curru suo." 1 Chron. xxii. 

47. THE BEGGAR. Almost naked, his hands 
joined together, and his head turned upwards as in 
the agonies of death, he is sitting on straw hear the 
gate of some building, perhaps an hospital, into which 
several persons are entering, and some of them pointing 
to him as an object fit to be admitted. On the ground 
lie his crutches, and one of his legs is swathed with a 


bandage. A female is looking on him from a window 
of the building. " Miser ego homo ! quis me liberabit 
de corpore mortis hujus ?" Rom. vii. 

48. THE LAST JUDGMENT. Christ sitting on a 
rainbow, and surrounded by a group of angels, pa- 
triarchs, &c. rests his feet on a globe of the universe. 
Below, are several naked figures risen from their graves, 
and stretching out their hands in the act of imploring 
judgment and mercy. " Memorare novissima, et in 
aeternum non peccabis." Eccle. vii. 

DEATH. The coat or shield is fractured in several 
places. On it is a skull, and at top the crest as a 
helmet surmounted by two arm bones, the hands of 
which are grasping a ragged piece of stone, and be- 
tween them is placed an hour-glass. The supporters 
are a gentleman and lady in the dresses of the times. 
In the description of this cut Papillon has committed 
some very absurd mistakes, already noticed in p. 110. 


Formavit Dominus Deus hominem de limo terrae, &c. 

Gen. i. 



Quia audisti vocem uxoris tuae, et comedisti de ligno, &c. 

Gen. iii. 



Eraisit eum Dorniuum Deus de Paradise voluptatis, ut 
operaretur terrain de qua sumptus est. Gen. iii. 



Maledicta terra in opere tuo, in laboribus comedes cunctis 
diebus vitae tuae, donee revertaris, &c. Gen. iii. 


Vae, vae, vae habitantibus in terra. Apoc. viii. 



Moriatur sacerdos magnus. Josue xx. 



Dispone domui tuse, morieris > enim tu, et non vives. 

Isaia xxxviii. 



Sicut et Rex hodie est, et eras morietur; nemo enim ex 
regibus aliud habuit. Ecdes. x. et Sapient, vii. 



V qui justificatis impium pro muneribus, et justitiam 
justi aufertis ab eo. Ismia v. 


Graclientes in snperbia polest Dens humiliare. 

Dun. iv. 



Mulieres opulentac surgite, et audite vocem meam : post 

dies et annum, et vos conturbemini. 




Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves gregis. 
Mat. xxvi. Mar. xiv. 



Princeps induetur moerore, et quiescere faciam superbiam 
potentium. Ezech. viii. 



Ipse morietur, quia non habuit disciplinam, et in mul- 
titudine stultitiae suae decipietur. 



Laudavi magis mortuos quam viventes. Eccles. iv. 



Quis est homo qui vivet, et non videbit mortem, eruet 
animam suam de manu inferi ? 



Ecce appropinquat hora. Mat xxvi. 



Disperdam judicem de medio ejus. Amos ii. 



Callidus vidit malum, et abscondit se : innocens pertransiit, 
et afflictus est damno. Prover. xxii. 



Qui obturat aurem suam ad clamorem pauperis, et ipse 
clamabit, et nou exaudietur. Prover. xxi. 



Vae qui dicitis malum bonum, et bonum malurn : ponentes 
tenebras lucem, et lucem tenebras : ponentes am arum in 
dulce, et dulce in amarum. Imia v. 



Sum quidein et ego mortalis homo. Sap. vii. 



Sedentes in tenebris, et in umbra mortis, vinctos in men- 
dicitate. Psal. cvi. 



Est via quae videtur homini justa : novissima autem ejus 
deducunt horainem ad mortem. Prover. iv. 



Melior est mors quam vita. Eccle. xxx. 



Medice, cura te ipsum. Luc. iv. 



Indica mihi si nosti omnia. Sciebas quod nasciturus esses, 
et numerum dierum tuorum noveras? Job xxxviii. 



Stulte, hac nocte repetunt animam tuam : et quae parastij 
cujuserunt? Lucts xii. 



Qui congregat thesauros lingua mendacii, vanus et excors 
est, et impingetur ad laqueos mortis. Proverb, xxi. 



Qui volunt ditescere, incidunt in tentationem et laqueum, et 
cupiditates multas, stultas, ac noxias, quae demergunt ho- 
mines in exitium et interitum. 1 ad Tim. vi. 



Subito morientur, et in media nocte turbabuntur populi, 
et auferent violentum absque manu. Job xxxiv. 



Quoniam cum interierit, non sumet secum omnia, neque 
cum eo descendet gloria ejus. Psal. xlviii. 



Spiritus meus attenuabitur, dies mei breviabuntur, et solum 
mihi superest sepulchrum. Job xvii. 



Ducunt in bonis dies suos, et in puncto ad inferna 
descendunt. Job xxi. 



Me et te sola movs separabh. Rut ft 



De lectulo super quern ascendisti, non descendes, sed morte 
morieris. 4 Reg. i. 



Venite ad me, omnes qni laboratis, et onerati esti? 

Mat Hi. xi. 



In sudore vultus tui vesceris pane tuo. Gen. iii. 



Homo natus de muliere, brevi vivens tempore, repletur multis 
miseriis : qui quasi flos egreditur, et conteritur, et fugit 
velut umbra. Job xiv. 



Cum fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, &c. Si autem 
fortior eo superveniens vicerit eum, universa ejus arma 
aufert, in quibus confidebat. Luc. xi. 



Quid prodest homini, si universum mundum lucretur, animao 
autem suae detrimentum patiatur ? Mat. xvi. 



Ne inebriemini vino, in quo est luxuria. Ephes 

. v. 



Quasi agnus lasciviens, et ignorans, nescit quod ad vincula 
stultus trahatur. Prover. vii. 



Domme, vim patior. 

Isaia xxxviii. 



Caecus caecum ducit : et ambo in foveam cadunt. Matt. xv. 



Corruit in curru suo. 

1 Chron. xxii. 



Miser ego homo ! quis me liberabit de corpore mortis 
hnjus? Rom.vii. 



Memorare novissima, et in aeternum non peccabis. vii. 




G S. 41, 117 

93, 97,98, 100,111, 113, 
114, 215,235 

H ft 100 

S. 113 

t-x'I 113, 114, 115, 116, 127, 
130, 136, 174 


T 117 

-i V I 118 
Si 124 




t, inv. 126, 129 
H. HOLBEIN, inv. 126. 
W. 130 

'/ 13 
M, 147,248 
R 160, 190 

FT 184 
L 189 

PD 190 


PL 191 

I. F. 219 



13 B 


These are the marks erroneously given to Holbein, 

BI. Hf. H, ILB. IB. ffl. 

And these the marks which really belong to him, 

HH, II H. 



WhF -M-=~ H 



/EMYLIUS, Geo. his verses, 84. 

Alciatus, his emblems the earliest work of the kind, 180. 
Aldegrever, his Dance of Death, 160. 
Almanac, a Swiss one, with a Dance of Death, 76, 209. 
Alphabets, several curious, 100, 214, 217. 
Amman, Jost, a Dance of Death by him, 41. 
Ars moriendi, some account of the last edition of it, 173. 
Athyr, "Stamm-und Stechbuchlein," a rare and singular book of 
emblems, 180. 


Baldinucci, a mistake by him corrected, 235. 

Basle, destruction of its celebrated painting of the Dance of Death, 39. 

engravings of it, 41. 

Beauclerc, Lady Diana, her ballad of Leonora, 210. 
Bechstein, Ludwig, his edition of the Lyons' wood-cuts, 136. 
Beham, Barthol., his Dance of Death, 190. 
Bernard, le petit, his fine wood-cuts to the Old Testament, 173. 
Berne almanac, a Dance of Death in one of them, 154. 
Bock, Hans, not the painter of the Basle Dance of Death, 39. 
Bodenehr, Maurice, a Dance of Death by him, 165. 
" Boetius de consolatione," a figure of Death in an old edition of it, 


Bonaparte, Napoleon, a Dance of Death relating to him, 167. 
Books in which a Dance of Death is occasionally introduced, 168. 
Borbonius, Nicolas, his portrait, 140. 

his verses, 92, 94, 139. 

in England, 140. 

Bosnian, Arent, a singular old Dutch legend relating to him, 183. 
Bosse, a curious engraving by him, 196. 
Boxgrove church in Sussex, sculpture in, 226. 
Brant, Sebastian, his stultifera navis, 170. 

Bromiard, John De, his " Summa predicantium," a fine frontispiece to 
it, 183. 


De Pas, Crispin, description of a singular engraving by him, 196. 

Descamps, his mistake about the Dance of Death, 235. 

Deuchar, David, the Scottish Worlidge, his etchings of the Dance of 

Death, 135. 
Deutch, Nicolas Manuel, the painter of a Dance of Death at Berne, 


Devil's ruff-shop, 200. 

De Vos, Martin, print after him of the Devil's ruff-shop, 200. 
Diepenbecke, Abraham, designer of the borders to Hollar's etchings of 

the Dance of Death, 125. 

Dialogue of life and death, in "Dialogues of creatures moralized," 170. 
Dominotiers, venders of coloured prints for the common people, 77. 
Drawings of the Dance of Death, 222. 
Druraei Mors, an excellent Latin comedy, 175. 
Dugdale, his Monasticon, 129. 

his St. Paul's, 129. 
Durer, Albert, some prints by or after him described, 188, 189. 


Ear, the seat of memory among the Ancients, 3. 

swearing by, 3. 
Edwards, Mr. the bookseller, the possessor of Hollar's etchings of the 

Dance of Death, 128. 

Elizabeth, her prayer-book with a Dance of Death, 147, 247. 
Emblems and fables relating to the Dance of Death, 179. 
Engravings on wood, the earliest impressions of them not always the 
best, 85, 90. 

commendations of them in books printed in 
France, Germany, and Italy, 97. 

Errors of miscellaneous writers on the Dance of Death, 236. 
of travellers concerning it, 233. 

of writers on painting and engraving concerning it, 234. 
Evelyn, Mr. his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 235. 


Fables relating to the Dance of Death, 179. 

Faut mourir, le, 26. 

Felibien, his mistake about the Dance of Death, 235. 

Figeac, Champollion, his account of a Macaber Dance, 238. 

Fleischmann, Counsellor, of Strasburg, drawings of a Dance of Death 

in his possession, 134. 

Fontenai, Abbe, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 236. 
Fool and Death in old moralities, 177. 
Fournier, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 237. 
Fox, John, " Book of Christian Prayers," compiled by him, 147. 
Francis I. an importer of fine artists into France, 92. 


Francolin, a rare work by him described, 217. 

Freidanck, 171. 

Friderich's emblems, 180. 

Frontispieces connected with the Dance of Death described, 183. 

Fulbert's vision of the dispute between the soul and the body, 32. 

Fuseli, Mr. his opinion concerning the Dance of Death, 83. 

Fyner, Conrad, his process or law-suit of Death. 


Gallitzin, Prince, some supposed drawings by Holbein of a Dance of 

Death in his possession, 134. 
Gem, an ancient one, with a skeleton as the representative of Death, 


Gerard, Mark, some etchings of fables by him, 179. 
Gesner's Pandectae, remarks on a passage in that work, 84. 
Ghezzi, a figure of Death among his caricatures, 205. 
Glarus, Franciscus a, his " Confusio disposita, &c." noticed as a very 

singular work, 177. 

Glass, painted, with a Dance of Death, 227. 
Glissenti, his " Discorsi morali," 112. 

his " Morte inamorata," 246. 
Gobin le gay, a name of one of the shepherds in an old print of the 

Adoration, 69. 
Gobin, Robert, his " loups ravissans," remarkable for a Dance of 

Death, 146. 

Goethe, a Dance of Death in one of his works, 178, 211. 
Gole, a mezzotinto by him of Death and the Miser, 203. 
Goujet, his mistake about the Dance of Death at Basle, 233, 
Graaf, Urs, a print by him, and his monogram described, 189. 
Grandville, " Voyage pour 1'eternite," 157. 
Gray, Rev. Robert, his mistake about the Dance of Death at Basle, 


Gringoire, Pierre, his " Heures de Notre Dame," 172. 
Grosthead, story from his " Manuel de Pe"che," 7. 
Guilleville, " Pelerin de la vie humaine," 175. 


Harding, an etching by him of " Death and the Doctor," 211. 

Hawes's " Pastime of Pleasure," two prints from it described, 173. 

Heemskirk, Martin, a print by him described, 193, 199. 

Hegner, his life of Holbein, 240. 

Heymans, Mynheer, a dedication to him, 141. 

Historia della Morte, a poem so called, 176. 

Holbein, a German, life of him by Hegner, 240. 

ambiguity with respect to the paintings at Basle ascribed to 
him, 81. 


Holbein, dance of peasants by him, 80. 

engravings by him with his name, 95. 

his Bible prints, 94. 

his connexion with the Dance of Death, 78, 138. 

his death, in 1554,144. 

his name not in the early editions of the Lyons wood-cuts, 92. 

lives of him very defective, 143. 

more particulars relating to him, 143. 

not the painter of the Dance of Death at Basle, 38, 43, 144. 

paints a Dance of Death at Whitehall, 141. 

satirical painting of Erasmus by him, 221. 
Hollar, his copies of the Dance of Death, 125. 
Hopfer, David, his print of Death and the Devil, 191. 
Horae, manuscripts of this service book with the Macaber Dance, 60. 

printed copies of it with the same, and some similar designs, 72. 
Huber and Rust, their mistake concerning Holbein, 236. 


Jacques, Maitre, his " le faut mourir," 26. 

Jansen, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 236. 

Imitations of and from the Lyons wood-cuts, 1 37. 

Initial letters with a Dance af Death, 213, 214, 217. 

Innocent III. Pope, his work " de vilitate conditionis humanae," 172. 


Karamsin, Nicolai, his account of a Dance of Death, 44. 

Kauw, his drawing of a Dance of Death, at Berne, 224. 

Kerver, Thielman, his editions of " Horvr," 174. 

Klauber, John Hugh, a painter of a Dance of Death at Basle, 36, 42. 


Langlois, an engraving by him described, 198. 

Larvae and lemures, confusion among the ancients as to their respectiv 

qualities, 4. 
" Last drop," an etching so intitled, 211. 

a drawing of the same subject, 224. 
Lavenberg calendar, prints by Chodowiecki in it, 153. 
Lawrence, Sir Thomas, drawings by Callot of a Dance of Death in his 

possession, 223. 

" Lawyer's last circuit," a caricature print, 209. 
Le Blon, a circular print by him described, 197. 
Le Comte, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 235. 
Luberk, a Dance of Death there, 163. 
Lutzenberger, Hans, the engraver of the Lyons wood-cuts of the Dance 

of Death, 98. 

alphabets by him, 100. 


Lutzenberger, various prints by him, 99. 
Luy ken's Emblems, 177, 178. 
Lydgate, his Verses to the Macaber Dance, 29, 52. 
Lyons, all the editions of the wood-cuts of the Dance of Death pub- 
lished there described, 82, 103. 

copies of them by Hollar, 125. 

copies of them on copper, 121. 

copies of them on wood, 111. 

various imitations of some of them, 1 37. 
Lyvijus, John, a print by him of two card players, 197. 


Macaber, a word falsely applied as the name of a supposed German 
poet, 28, 34. 

its etymology discussed, 30, 34. 
Macaber Dance, 13, 28. 

copies or engravings of it as painted at Basle, 40. 
destruction of the painting at Basle, 39. 
manuscripts in which it is represented, 72. 
riot painted by Holbein, 38. 
printed books, in which it is represented, 55. 
representations of it at the following places : 

Amiens, 47. 

Anneberg, 44. 

Basle, 36. 

Berlin, 48. 

Berne, 45. 

Burgos, 50. 

Croydon, 54. 

Dijon, 35. 

Dresden, 44, 76. 

Erfurth, 44. 

Hexham, 53. 

Holland, 49. 

Klingenthal, 42. 

Lubeck, 43. 

Lucerne, 46. 

Minden, 35. 

Naples, 49. 

Rouen, 47. 

Salisbury, 52. 

St. Paul's, 51, 76. 

Strasburg, 47. 

Tower of London, 54. 

Vienne, 48. 

Wortley Hall, 53. 


Macarius Saint, painting of a legend relating to him, by Orgagna, at 

the Campo Santo, 32, 33. 

Malpe, M., his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 236. 
Mannichius, 180. 

Manuel de Peche, by Grosthead, 7. 
Mapes, Walter de, an allusion by him to a Dance of Death, 24. 

vision of a dispute between the soul and the body, ascribed 

to him, 33. 

Marks or monograms of engravers, their uncertainty, 102. 
Marmi, Gio. Battista, his " Ritratte della Morte," 129. 
Mechel, Chretien de, 132, 208, 214. 
Meckenen, Israel Van, a Dance of Death by him, 1 60. 
Meisner, his " Sciographia Cosmica," 180. 
Melidaeus, Jonas, a satirical work under this disguised name, intitled 

" Res mira," 184. 

Meyers, Rodolph, his Dance of Death, 148. 
Meyssens, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 234. 
Missal, an undescribed one, in the type of the psalter of 1457, 213. 
Misson, the traveller, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 233. 
Mitelli, Gio. Maria, a kind of Death's Dance, by him, 161. 
Moncrief, his " March of Intellect," quoted for a print after Cruikshank, 


Montenaye, Georgette de, her emblems, 179. 
" Mars," an excellent Latin comedy, by William Drury, 175. 
Mortimer, a sketch by him of Death seizing several persons, 209. 
Mortilogus, 171. 


Negro figure of Death, 230. 
Newton's Dances of Death, 165. 
Nieuhoff, Piccard, 130, 140. 
Nuremberg Chronicle, a cut from it described, 170. 
a story from it, 6. 


Old Franks, a curious painting by him, 204, 221. 

Oliver, Isaac, his copy of a painting by Holbein, at Whitehall, 145, 221. 

Orgagna, Andrea, his painting at the Campo Santo, 32. 

Ortulus Rosarum, 170. 

Otho Vaenius, a curious painting by him, 204, 222. 

Ottley, Mr. his opinion in favour of Holbein as the designer of the 

Lyons wood-cuts, 88. 

proof impressions of the Lyons wood-cuts in his valuable 

collection, 85. 


Palingenius, his " Zodiacus Vitae," a frontispiece to this work described, 


Panneels, William, a scholar of Rubens, mention of a painting by him, 


Papillon, his ludicrous mistakes noticed, 110, 114. 
Patin, Charles, a traveller, and a libeller of the English, 79, 138, 237. 
Paulmy, Marquis de, his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 238. 
Paul's St., mention of the Dance of Death formerly there, 51, 163. 
Peasants, a dance of, painted at Basle, by Holbein, 80. 
Peignot, M. author oif " Les Danses de Mort," an interesting work, 


his misconception relating to John Porey, 248. 
Perriere, his" Morosophie," 179. 
Petrarch, his triumph of Death, 175, 207. 

his work " de remediis utriusque fortunae," 175. 
Pfister, Albert, his " Tribunal Mortis," 168. 
Piccard, Nieuhoff, 130, 140. 
Piers Plowman, lines from, 54. 

Porey, John, a mistake concerning him corrected, 248. 
Potter, P. an allegorical engraving after him, 199. 
Prints, single, relating to the Dance of Death, list of, 188. 
Prior, Matthew, his lines on the Dance of Death, 145. 
Psalter of 1457, a beautiful initial letter in it noticed, 213. 

of Richard II., a manuscript in the British Museum, 222. 


Rabbi Santo, a Jewish poet, about 1360, 25. 

Ratdolt, a Venetian printer, not, as usually supposed, the inventor of 

initial or capital letters, 213. 
Rembrandt, drawing of a Dance of Death by him, 223. 

etching by him, 195. 

Rene, of Anjou, painted a Dance of Death, 221. 
Reperdius, Geo. an eminent painter at Lyons, 93. 
Revelations, prints of the, 175. 
Reusner, his emblems, 179. 

Rive, Abbe, his bibliography of the Macaber Dance, 75. 
Rivoire, his history of Amiens commended, 47. 
Rod eric, bishop of Zamora, 17, 32. 
Rolandini's emblems, 180. 
Rollenhagius's emblems, 182. 
Roll of the Dance of Death, 1597, 163. 
Rowlandson's Dance of Death, 156, 225, 248. 
Rusting, Salomon Van, his Dance of Death, 131. 



some account of this monogram, 115. 

its owner employed by Plantin, the famous printer at Antwerp, 116. 


Salisbury missal, singular cut in one, 172. 

Sallaerts, an artist supposed to have been employed by Plantin the 
celebrated printer, 115, 116. 

Sancta Clara, Abraham, a description of his "universal mirror of 
Death," 151. 

Sandrart, his notice of a work by Holbein at Whitehall, 145. 

Schauffelin, Hans, a carving on wood by him described, 226. 

Schellenberg, I. R. a Dance of Death by him, 154. 

Schlotthaver, his edition of a. Dance of Death, 249. 

Silvius, or Sylvius, Antony, an artist at Antwerp, account of a mono- 
gram supposed to belong to him, 115. 

Skeleton, use made of the human by the ancients, 3. 

" Spectriana," a modern French work, frontispiece to it described, 187. 

Stelsius, his edition of a spurious copy of Holbein's Bible cuts, 97. 

Stettler, his drawings of the Macaber Dance of Death at Berne, 224. 

" Stotzinger symbolum," description of a cut so intitled, 174. 

Stradanus, an engraving after him described, 197. 

Susanna, a Latin play, 18. 

Symeoni, " Imprese," 179. 


Tapestry at the Tower of London, 227, 

" Theatram Mortis," a work with a Dance of Death described, 129. 

Tiepolo, a clever etching by him described, 197. 

Title-pages connected with the Dance of Death, list of, 183. 

Tory, Geoffrey, Horse printed by him described, 172. 

Tower of London, tapestry formerly there of a Dance of Death, 227. 

Trois mors et trois vifs, 31, 33, 228. 

Turner, Col. a Dance of Death by him, 207. 

Turnham Green, some account of chalk drawings of a Dane 

Death on a wall there, 210, 224. 
Typotii symbola, 180, 182. 


Urs Graaf, his engravings noticed, 243. 


Vaenius, Otho, some of his works mentioned, 182, 204. 

Valckert, a clever etching by him described, 201. 

Van Assen, a Dance of Death by him, 158. 

Van Leyden, Lucas, 189. 

Van Meckenen, Israel, his Dance of Death in circles, 160. 

Van Sichem, his prints to the Bible, 177. 

Van Venne, prints after him, 157, 182, 199, 209. 

Verses that accompany the Dance of Death, 17. 


Von Menzel, 207. 

" Voyage pour 1'eternite," a modern Dance of Death, 157. 


Walpole, Mr. his mistake concerning the Dance of Death, 236. 

Warton, Mr. his remarks on the Dance of Death, 237. 

Weiss, Mr. author of some of the best lives in the " Biographic Uni- 

verselle," misled in his article " Macaber" by Champollion Figeac, 

Whitehall, fire at, 140. 

painting of a Dance of Death there by Holbein, 141. 
Wierix, John, some prints by him described, 194, 195. 
Williams, Miss, her mistake concerning the Dance of Death at Basle, 

in her Swiss tour, 233. 

Wolschaten, Geeraerdt Van, a Dance of Death by him, 130. 
Wood, engravings on, the first impressions of them not always the 

best, 85. 
Wood, Mr. his mistake concerning the Dance of Death in his " View 

of Switzerland," 233. 


" Youth's Tragedy," a moral drama, 1671, 175. 


Zani, Abbate, of opinion that Holbein had no concern in the Lyons 

wood-cuts of the Dance of Death, 98, 10 J, 138. 
Zuinger, his account of paintings at Basle, 139. 


University of Toronto 

0<b Nov 








Douce, Francis 

The Dance of Death 
exhibited in elegant engra- 
vings on wood