Simpatico: Dance of Death

Simpatico

Just the life and times of a silly girl, her dachshunds and all things Southern!

Dance of Death

Over the weekend a family friend was killed as a result of a drunk driver. Even writing this now makes my gulp down my feelings and blink a couple times to clear my eyes. She was marvelous... words cannot describe how much she meant to me and my brothers... Feelings are just too raw to talk about it without breaking down into tears yet again.

When I think about death I am reminded of the poem, and its translation, I learned in high school while studying about the Black Death. This poem speaks of the universality of death - no matter one's station in life, the dance of death unites us all.




The Dance of Death Artist: Sidney Harold Meteyard



Danse Macabre / Henri Cazalis

(Français )

Zig et zig et zag, la mort en cadence
Frappant une tombe avec son talon,
La mort à minuit joue un air de danse,
Zig et zig et zag, sur son violon.

Le vent d'hiver souffle, et la nuit est sombre,
Des gémissements sortent des tilleuls ;
Les squelettes blancs vont à travers l'ombre
Courant et sautant sous leurs grands linceuls,

Zig et zig et zag, chacun se trémousse,
On entend claquer les os des danseurs,
Un couple lascif s'assoit sur la mousse
Comme pour goûter d'anciennes douceurs.

Zig et zig et zag, la mort continue
De racler sans fin son aigre instrument.
Un voile est tombé ! La danseuse est nue !
Son danseur la serre amoureusement.

La dame est, dit-on, marquise ou baronne.
Et le vert galant un pauvre charron – Horreur !
Et voilà qu'elle s'abandonne
Comme si le rustre était un baron !

Zig et zig et zig, quelle sarabande!
Quels cercles de morts se donnant la main !
Zig et zig et zag, on voit dans la bande
Le roi gambader auprès du vilain!

Mais psit ! tout à coup on quitte la ronde,
On se pousse, on fuit, le coq a chanté
Oh ! La belle nuit pour le pauvre monde !
Et vive la mort et l'égalité !


Danse Macabre
/ Henri Cazalis

Translation: Peter Low

Zigger-zigger-zig tapping on a coffin
Death has got a beat and a toothy grin.
At the stroke of twelve plays a crazy polka
zigger-zigger-zag on his violin.


The night is dark, the winter winds blow
the tree-branches creak in the stormy clouds
and off the whitened skeletons go
they skip and they leap in their flowing shrouds.

Zigger-zigger-zig how they frisk and toss
dancing to the beat rattling every bone.
Now a lustful pair sit down on the moss
hoping to repeat pleasures they had known.

Zigger-zigger-zag Death is keeping at it
scraping out the tune on his violin.
Two have lost their veils they are dancing naked
he gives her a squeeze like a carnal sin.

The lady they say is of noble race
her partner a lad from the market town
but oh! she welcomes his embrace
as if the young boor had a royal crown.

Zigger-zigger-zig hand in hand a-dancing
what a host of dead risen from the turf
zigger-zigger-zag in that ghostly party
is the king himself romping with a serf.

But hush! all at once their hands let go.
They jostle, they flee they've heard the cock crow.
How lovely that night when poor folk are free!
So all praise to Death and equality!

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