Humanity has always been cruel to those who are labeled ‘different’. Luckily it seems these poor victims were already passed before the burning. Maybe we can even speculate that it was a funeral fire in honor of the lives. However, history doesn’t point to this ending happily.
The image is by Paul Fürst. It was a copper engraving of a plague doctor, accompanied by a satirical poem.
Poem- Translated by The Leery
For you, Do you believe as a fable Doctor Schnabel written from The past contagion. He authorizes fine reward of this The corpses he seeks to fisting Same as Joe on the crap Ah Believe, do not go there Then Rome, ruled by the Plague.
Who would not be very scared The thief slashes or stretches Where floods, as if he was dumb And interprets as his plan How many a credit without doubts That makes him a black devil Pouch(purse) is called fine Hott And arum the fetched soul.
‘Doctor Schnabel’ means ‘Doctor Beck. ‘Schnabel’ means bill or pecker, which is what the doctor’s mask looks like. Also, ‘Schnabel’ was used in a derogatory manner. Now we might say something like ‘Shut your mouth!’, in the past it would be ‘Halt den Schnabel!’.
The corpses he seeks to fist, refers to his interest in probing the dead infected. The next line refers to this as bullshit. Instead of the doctor wanting to find clues to cures, he fondles the corpses for pleasure. ‘Joe on the crap’, is like saying now “Full of crap”. Joe is a general name for males.
‘Where floods’ refers to the swelling lymph nodes on plague victims. The doctor cuts the bumps open and stretches the skin of the patient. The purpose of doing this is to relieve the patient of the pressure and remove puss.
The pouch, or purse, is referring to the bags of strong scented organic contents, that the Plague Doctors would carry around. The belief was the disease was carried through the stink and smell.
The current and only definition I could find on ‘Hott’ is an extractor hood. This is an electrical Kitchen device fitted over cooking areas. The hood sucks off vapors from cooking. During the plague times, there were no such things as electrical extractor hoods.
I have two guesses as to what the text on the image means by ‘Hott’. Firstly, it could be simply a way of stating the pouches took in the bad air, and exhausted it as good air.
Secondly, the ‘Hott’ could had meant the doctors hood. It would also be good at preventing vapors. Although it would do this be preventing the vapors from entering vs exhausting. Also, ‘Extractor hood’ literally has hood in it.
Arum is gold. So maybe the last line was saying the doctor turns the sick wretched souls into money.