I came across two curious and rare Middle High German poems recently. They are attested in the manuscript of the National Museum in Prague, Cod. X A 12, also known as the Liederbuch der Clara Hätzlerin. Clara Hätzlerin is the name of the professional scribe who created this book, one of the most important literary manuscripts in German language from the 15th century. It was probably composed in Augsburg in 1470 or 1471 and contains mostly love poetry in many different forms. The two small poems I transcribe and translate here are at the beginning of the book, in the folios 2r/v. I found them interesting as a testimony of simple humorist poetry, so common at all times.
|no du solt sein||This is how you should be:|
|ob dem tisch ain adler||at the table an eagle,|
|vff dem veld ain leo||on the field a lion,|
|vff der gassen ain pfaw||in the alleys a peacock,|
|jn der kirchen ain lamb||at church a lamb|
|jn dem pett ain aff||in bed an ape.|
|Es baden am mentag die truncken||On Monday the drunkards take a bath,|
|Am Afftermentag* die Keuchen||on Tuesday the chaste,|
|Am mittwoch die witzigen||on Wednesday the funny,|
|Am donerstag die gryndig** vnd lausig sind||on Thursday the ones who have an itchy rash and lice.|
|Am freytag baden die vngehorsamen||On Friday take a bath the disobedient,|
|Am samstage die hochuerttigen||on Saturday the arrogant.|
* I like the expression After Monday for Tuesday.
** The Lexer Dictionary grintec refers the latin terms glabrius, scabidus, scabiosus. The modern German has the substantive Grind, which can mean the scab after a wound or a form of seborrhea, especially in newborn babies. As the verse also mentions lice, it makes perfect sense if it refers to some form of dermatitis in the head and face.