If the poor human raceWere not so arrogantIt would have been given much goodFrom my mother’s heritage,But because the human race will not take heedIt lies in such straitsAnd must be held in prison.And yet my dearest motherWill not regard their mischief,She leaves her lovely giftsThat many a man might come to the light,Though this may chance but seldomThat they be better prizedNor reckoned as mere fable.Therefore in honor of the feastWhich we shall hold today,That her grace may be multipliedA good work will she do:The rope will now be loweredWhoever may hang on to itHe shall be freedHe had scarcely finished speaking when an ancient matron commanded her servants to let down the cord seven times into the dungeon, and draw up whosoever could hang upon it. Good God! that I could sufficiently describe the hurry and disquiet that then arose amongst us; for everyone strove to get to the cord, and yet only hindered each other. But after seven minutes a sign was given by a little bell, whereupon at the first pull the servants drew up four. At that time I could not get very near the cord, having (as is before mentioned) to my huge misfortune, I took myself to a stone at the wall of the dungeon; and thereby I was made unable to get to the cord, which descended in the middle. The cord was let down the second time, but many, because their chains were too heavy, and their hands too tender, could not keep their hold on the cord, but with themselves beat down many another who else perhaps might have held fast enough; nay, many a one was forcibly pulled off by another, who yet could not himself get at it, so mutually envious were we even in this our great misery.But they of all others most moved my compassion whose weight was so heavy that they tore their very hands from their bodies, and yet could not get up. Thus it came to pass that at those five times very few were drawn up. For as soon as the sign was given, the servants were so nimble at drawing the cord up, that the most part tumbled one upon another, and the cord, this time especially, was drawn up very empty. Whereupon the greatest part, and even I myself, despaired of redemption, and called upon God that he would have pity on us, and (if possible) deliver us out of this obscurity; who then also heard some of us. For when the cord came down the sixth time, some of them hung themselves fast upon it; and whilst being drawn up, the cord swung from one side to the other, and (perhaps by the will of God) came to me, and I suddenly caught it, uppermost above all the rest, and so at length beyond hope came out. At which I rejoiced exceedingly, so that I did not perceive the wound which during the drawing up I had received on my head from a sharp stone, until I, with the rest who were released (as was always done before) had to help with the seventh and last pull; at whichtime through straining, the blood ran down all over my clothes, which I nevertheless because of my joy did not take notice of. Now when the last drawing up on which the most of all hung was finished, the matron caused the cord to be laid aside, and asked her aged son to declare her resolution to the rest of the prisoners, who after he had thought a little spoke thus unto them.Ye children dearYe who are here,It is completedWhat long hath been known,The great favor which my motherHath here shown you twainYe should not disdain:A joyful time shall soon be comeWhen each shall be the other’s equal,No one be poor or rich,And who was given great commandsMust bring much with him now,And who was much entrusted withStripped to the skin will be,Wherefore leave off your lamentationWhich is but for a few days.As soon as he had finished these words, the cover was again put to and locked down, and the trumpets and kettle-drums began afresh, yet the noise of them could not be so loud but that the bitter lamentation of the prisoners which arose in the dungeon was heard above all, which soon also caused my eyes to run over. Presently afterwards the ancient matron, together with her son, sat down on seats before prepared, and commanded the redeemed should be told. Now as soon as she had demanded everyone’s name, which were also written down by a little page; having viewed us all, one after another, she sighed, and spoke to her son, so that I could well hear her, “Ah, how heartily I am grieved for the poor men in the dungeon! I would to God I could release them all.” To which her son replied, “It is, mother, thus ordained by God, against whom we may not contend. If we were all of us lords, and possessed all the goods upon Earth, and were seated at table, who would there then be to bring up the service?”Whereupon his mother held her peace, but soon after she said, “Well, however, let these be freed from their fetters,” which was likewise presently done, and I was the last except a few; yet I could not refrain (though I still looked upon the rest) but bowed myself before the ancient matron, and thanked God that through her, he had graciously and fatherly vouchsafed to bring me out of such darkness into the light...After me the rest did likewise, to the satisfaction of the matron. To each of us a golden travelpenny was given with on one side the rising sun and on the other side the letters D.L.S and each of us was given permission to go his way with the instruction that we should serve our neighbours in the honour to God end remain silent about all we had witnessed, which we all promised and so each of us went his way. But because of the wounds which the fetters had caused me, I could not well go forward, but halted on both feet, which the matron presently espying, laughing at it, and calling me again to her said thus to me: “My son, do not let this defect afflict you, but call to mind your infirmities, and therewith thank God who has permitted you even in this world, and in your state of imperfection, to come into so high a light; and keep these wounds for my sake.” Whereupon the trumpets began to sound again, which gave me such a shock that I woke up, and then first perceived that it was only a dream, but it so strongly impressed my imagination that I was still perpetually troubled about it, and I thought I still felt the wounds on my feet. Howbeit, by all these things I understood well that God had vouchsafed that I should be present at this mysterious and bidden wedding. Wherefore with childlike confidence I returned thanks to his Divine Majesty, and besought him that he would further preserve me in fear of him, that he would daily fill my heart with wisdom and understanding, and at length graciously (without deserting me) conduct me to the desired end.