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RETURN
IMAGINES MORTIS
or
DANCE OF DEATH
©1979-81
selection of woodcuts
30x40cm black ink on oriental paper
WOE! WOE! INHABITANTS OF EARTH, WHERE BLIGHTING CARES SO KEENLY STRIKE, DESPITE OF RANK, OR WEALTH, OR WORTH, DEATH, DEATH WILL VISIT ALL ALIKE. PRIDE, DREAMS AND EARTHLY IMMORTALITY, DEATH IS CERTAIN SUDDEN TO DESTROY, AND EVEN YOU, HIGH PRIEST SHALL SURELY DIE AND A SUCCESSOR YOUR PROUD THRONE WILL SOON ENJOY. ORDER YOUR HOUSE WHILE YOU HAVE BREATH, BESTOW YOUR GOODS FOR YOU MUST DIE, AND SOON, WITHIN THE REALMS OF DEATH THE CHARIOTS OF YOUR STATE SHALL LIE.
COME, POTENT PRINCES, WITH ME ALONE, LEAVE TRANSIENT POMPS OF WORDLY STATE, I AM THE ONE WHO CAN FLING DOWN THE PRIDE AND HONOURS OF THE GREAT. WHO IS THE MAN, HOWEVER STRONG OR GREAT, WHO CAN ESCAPE THE FINAL DESTINY, WHO CAN AVOID THE DARK AND AWFUL GATE, OR CHEAT GRIM DEATH OF CERTAIN VICTORY. EVEN IN A MOMENT THEY SHALL DIE, AT MIDNIGHT MEN SHALL QUAKE WITH FEAR, THE MIGHTY SHALL NOT BE PASSED BY, NOR KNOW WHO THRUSTS THE FATAL SPEAR. WOE UNTO YOU WHO DO PROFANELY DARE EVIL FOR GOOD TO SHOW BY PRAISE OR BLAME, AND, ALSO, GOOD THINGS EVIL ONES DECLARE AND SWEET FOR BITTER FALSELY DO PROCLAIM.
FROM OUT YOUR SEAT YOU SHALL BE TAKEN, SO OFTEN BRIBED TO INIQUITY, YOUR ILL GOT GAINS MUST BE FORSAKEN, NO BRIBE CAN BUY YOUR LIFE OF ME. IN CHOIR EACH DAY YOU MUTTER PRAYERS, TODAY THAT MUTTERING MAY NOT BE, YOU MUST EVEN DIE, ALL UNAWARE, BEHOLD! IT IS TIME! SO COME WITH ME. THE DEAD, HE URGED, I AM EVER PRAISING MORE THAN THE LIVING WHO IN SIN ARE FOUND, AND YET, IN DEATH'S OVER RUDE APPRAISING, I AM RANKED WITH WORLDLY SINNERS WHO ABOUND. WOE UNTO YOU, UNJUST, WHO JUSTIFY THE WICKED MAN AND SHAMEFUL PROFIT MAKE, PRETENDING HIS BAD DEEDS TO SANCTIFY WHILE FROM THE JUST YOU DO ALL JUSTICE TAKE
THE PASTOR, FROM HIS SHEEP I WILL TAKE, MITRE AND CROSIER CAST TO GROUND, AND WHEN THE SHEPHERD I OVER TAKE, THE SCATTERED FLOCK SHALL SCARSE BE FOUND AILMENTS, YOU UNDERSTAND WELL, AND HEALER OF THE SICK, CAN BE, BUT RASH, VAIN MAN, YOU CAN NOT TELL IN WHAT FORM DEATH SHALL COME TO YOU. THIS VERY NIGHT YOU SHALL KNOW DEATH, TOMORROW BE ENCOFFINED FAST, THEN, TELL ME, FOOL, WHILE YOU HAVE BREATH, WHO WILL HAVE THE GOLD YOU HAVE AMASSED. THE CAUTIOUS MAN, WITH MALICE EVER KEEN, THE SIMPLER IN HIS GRASP WILL TIGHTLY BIND, BY LEGAL CUNNING, AND HAS EVER BEEN THE HARD OPPRESSOR OF HIS POORER KIND.
HE DIES, AND HE HAS NEVER LEARNED THE DISCIPLINE THAT POINTS THE WAY TO THE TRUE LIFE, WHILE HE HAS TURNED TO LUSTS THAT LEAD THE SOUL ASTRAY THEIR DAYS ON WORLDLINESS DEPENDS, AND PLEASURE SOUGHT VOLUPTUOUSLY, SUDDENLY, THEY, TO HELL DESCEND, WHERE JOY IS TURNED TO MISERY. THE LOVE, BY WHICH THEY ARE UNITED, BY FAITH SHOULD TEACH THEM, AY! TOO LATE, THAT SOON SUCH UNIONS MAY BE BLIGHTED, AND DEATH STEPS IN TO SEPARATE. THE MERCHANT'S WEALTH IS A WORTHLESS THING, OF OTHERS WON BY LIES, THE SPOILS, BUT DEATH WILL SURE REPENDANCE BRING, SNARING THE SNARER IN HIS TOILS.
WITH SWEATING BROW AND HORNY HAND, YOU WORKED HERE, NOW YOU MAY BRAKE THIS FAST, ENOUGH YOU TILLED AND DELVED THE LAND, DEATH COMES TO SPEED YOUR PLOW, AT LAST! MAN BORN OF A WOMAN FEW DAYS HAS, MADE DIFFICULT WITH WOES, HE PASSES, EVEN AS FLOWERS PASS, HE COMES AND LIKE A SHADOW GOES. BEFORE THE MIGHTY JUDGE'S CHAIR COMES RECKONING FOR EACH MAN ALIVE, FEAR, THEN, THE JUDGEMENT IS RENDERED THERE, YOU KNOW NOT WHEN IT WILL ARRIVE! back to top click here