La Dance Machabre or Death's Duell

[Ornate design.]

The mind of the Front.

THe Globe terrestriall Natures randevouze
Heavens all life giving power did first infuse
By secondary causes since preserv'd,
And multipli'd, by doubtfull fate prefer'd.
Time ripens, and time reapes, then sowes againe
The plentie of her store-house to maintaine,
Which Death devoures, whom justly we install
Lord Paramount and supreme head of all
Thats sublunarie, serving but as fuell
T'incense the rage of his victorious Duell.
Crown'd with a Lawrell (which t' avoid we labour)
Marcheth in triumph; Call'd,
Death [...] [Ga]lliard
La dance Machabre.

Deaths Duell
W. C.

Printed by William

[Woodcut illustration of a skeleton (Death) seated at the top of the page, holding ribbons attached to two columns of four picture frames, positioned on the left and right of the title. Each frame shows a different group of men - bishops, monks, kings, knights, courtiers(?), artists, teachers and farm workers. In the centre of the page two cherubs are holding a wreath and a sheet of cloth, on which the book title is written. At the bottom of the page, a winged man with a beard (God) is angling a scythe over a globe. The artist's signature is in the bottom right corner - it reads "J. Cecill Sculp.". At the very top of the page are a dog's head and a crest. ]
PUBLISHED BY William Stansby


[Page 15]


You the unworthy burthens of the earth
Pine and consume away, yet are not old
Making of Christian Charity a dearth,
Laugh only when you some sad sight behold;
The wormes shall sucke the rancor from your harts,
With which you poyson your malitious darts.


[Page 35]


But cryes rise early, goe to bed betimes,
Feed hard, and hardly, labour for disgestion,
And hath no leasure to be bad, all crimes
Includes in warre, dearth, famine and oppression,
Thinketh who scapes them, and observes the rest,
May write a hundred ere he die at least.


But what availes such dull securitie
Wherein he lives, or rather dreames away
Irrevocable time, when as wee see
Him dead and buried ere his grasse be hay,
Before the graine which his owne hands had sowne
Be fully ripe, and is by others mowne.
This is a selection from the original text


dearth, famine, grain, poison, ripe

Source text

Title: La Dance Machabre or Death's Duell

Author: Walter Colman

Publisher: William Stansby

Publication date: 1632

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 5569 Physical description: [14], 68, [6] p. : Copy from: Bodleian Library Reel position: STC / 1168:06

Digital edition

Original author(s): Walter Colman

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Title Page
  • 2 ) pp. 15 (verse 57), 35 (verses 135-6)


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > poetry

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.