Death: The End of All Earthly Things

Sachs, Hans (1494-1576)

Der Todt ein Endt, aller yrdischen ding.

N├╝rnberg, Georg Merckel, around 1554

$4,800.00

Quarto: [24] pp.

With a large woodcut on the title page showing death (as a skeleton). A clean copy, two tiny wormholes. Bound in modern boards. The woodcut shows the man lying in his bed, death (as a skeleton) and Virtue and Vice (personified as women) flanking his bed, beneath which can be seen a chamber pot.

A humorous poem by the "Meistersinger" Hans Sachs in which a man dreams that Death, in the form of a skeleton, has come to take him. Frightened and too weak to resist, the man calls upon some helpers: Youth, Beauty, Health, Strength, Bravery, Skill, Medicine, and Wealth. But these fail him. The virtues (Nobility, Honor, etc.) all spurn him; the vices (Audacity, Lust, Violence, Anger, Indolence, etc.) scorn him.

Finally, through the intercession of Lady Contrition, Lady Confession, and Lady Sacrament, the man turns to Hope, Faith, and Love, who do their job of protecting him so well that the man willingly consigns himself to death, conscious of his inner, spiritual victory. In the end, it all turns out to be a dream. The man wakes and vows to lead a repentant life.

VD16, S-560; Weller 205(2); Keller/Goetze Enr. 190a