The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 17r - Wolf, continued


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

These sections are located below the image on each page, scroll down page and click on the tabs to view them. It is also possible to view the translation alongside the image by clicking the translation icon in the toolbar

It is not part of the project to provide a definitive edition of the text of the Bestiary, but to help readers by providing a transcription and translation of the text. Currently the following editorial conventions obtain:

Text

  1. The original capitalisation is retained, but capitals have been added for personal and place names, excluding deus and diabolus.
  2. The original punctuation, including a point and inverted semi-colon (both serving as commas), and a point (serving as a full stop), is represented by comma, full stop and question-mark; a colon has been inserted before quotations.
  3. Suggested readings are in [ ].
  4. Variants from other Bestiary texts (eg Ashmole 1511 and Patrologia Latina 176) are added where they indicate a corruption, elucidate a meaning and replace excised text. They are represented as [A: PL:]

Translation

  1. Direct quotations from the Bible, where identified, are cited from the Authorised Version in ( ).
  2. Paraphrased quotations are identified where possible and indicated as: (see Job, 18:22).
  3. Suggested translations of corrupt words are in [ ].
  4. Capitalisation is sparing; additional punctuation has been used where necessary to give the sense. Paragraphs have been created to break up the text.
but far away. If it has to hunt its prey at night, it goes like a tame dog here and there to a sheepfold, and lest the sheepdogs catch its scent and wake the shepherds, it goes upwind. And if a twig or anything, under the pressure of its paw, makes a noise, it nips the the paw as a punishment. The wolf's eyes shine in the night like lamps. It has this characteristic, that if it sees a man first, it takes away his power of speech and looks at him with scorn, as victor over the voiceless. If it senses that the man has seen it first, it loses its fierceness and its power to run. Solinus, who has a lot to say about the nature of things, says that on the tail of this animal there is a tiny patch of hair which is a love-charm; if the wolf fears that it may be captured, it tears the hair out with its teeth; the charm has no power unless the the hair is taken from the wolf while it is still alive. The Devil has the nature of a wolf; he always looks with an evil eye upon mankind and continually circles the sheepfold of the faithful of the Church, to ruin and destroy their souls. The fact that the she-wolf gives birth when the thunder first sounds in the month of May signifies the Devil, who fell from heaven at the first display of his pride. The fact that its strength lies in its forequarters and not in its hindquarters also signfies the Devil, who was formerly the angel of light in heaven, but has now been made an apostate below. The wolf's eyes shine in the night like lamps because the works of the Devil seem beautiful and wholesome to blind and foolish men. When the she-wolf bears her young, she will only catch food for them far away from her lair, because the Devil cherishes with wordly goods those he is sure will suffer punishment with him in the confines of hell. But he constantly pursues those who distance themselves from him by good works; as we read of the blessed Job, whose name, substance, sons and daughters the devil carried off to make him desert the Lord in his heart. The fact that the wolf cannot turn his neck without turning the whole of his body signifies that the Devil

Text

The wolf and his evil nature.

Comment

Pricking and ruling are visible. Two faint spelling corrections in lower right margin, and corresponding alterations in text.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • Ruling

    Ruling

    Ruling
    Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

    After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

Transcription

non capiat catulis suis sed in longinquo. Quod si opus fuerit ut\ predam noctu querat, tanquam canis mansuetus passim ad ovi\le pergit, et ne fortuitu sui flatus odorem senciant canes, et\ evigilent pastores, contra ventum vadit. Et si ramus aut\ aliquid tangendo sub eius pede sonaverit, ipsum pedem\ castigat morsu aperto. Oculi eius in nocte lucent velud lucer\ne. Cuius natura talis est, ut si prior hominem viderit, vocem eripet\ et despicit eum tanquam vircor [A: victor] vocis ablate. Idem si se pre\visum senserit, deponit ferocitatem et non potest currere.\ Solinus refert qui plura de naturis rerum dicit, caude ani\malis huius vellus amatorium inesse perexiguum, quod dentibus\ ipse evellit, si forte capi timuerit, non habet potenciam, nisi\ illo vivente detrahatur. Lupi figuram diabolus portat,\ qui semper humano generi invidet, ac iugiter circuit caulas\ ecclesie fidelium, ut mactet et perdat eorum animas. Quod\ vero generat tonitruo primo mensis May, significat dia\bolum, in primo superbie motu cecidisse de celo. Quod autem\ in anterioribus membris vires habet, et non in posterioribus eundem\ diabolum significat, prius in celo angelum lucis fuisse nunc\ vero deorsum apostatum factum esse. Oculi eius in nocte lucent,\ velud lucerne quia quedam diaboli opera cecis et fatuis viris,\ videntur esse pulchra et salubria. Cum catulos gignit, \ non nisi in longinquo predam capit, quia eos diabolus bo\nis temporalibus fovet, de quibus certus est, in gehennalibus\ claustris secum penas perpeti. Illos autem omnino insequitur\ qui bonis operibus ab eo elongantur, sicut de beato Iob legitur,\ cui nomen substanciam, necnon filios et filias abstulit, ut a do\mino recederet cor eius. Quod nunquam collum retro sine to\to corpore valet flectere, significat diabolum ad peni\

Translation

but far away. If it has to hunt its prey at night, it goes like a tame dog here and there to a sheepfold, and lest the sheepdogs catch its scent and wake the shepherds, it goes upwind. And if a twig or anything, under the pressure of its paw, makes a noise, it nips the the paw as a punishment. The wolf's eyes shine in the night like lamps. It has this characteristic, that if it sees a man first, it takes away his power of speech and looks at him with scorn, as victor over the voiceless. If it senses that the man has seen it first, it loses its fierceness and its power to run. Solinus, who has a lot to say about the nature of things, says that on the tail of this animal there is a tiny patch of hair which is a love-charm; if the wolf fears that it may be captured, it tears the hair out with its teeth; the charm has no power unless the the hair is taken from the wolf while it is still alive. The Devil has the nature of a wolf; he always looks with an evil eye upon mankind and continually circles the sheepfold of the faithful of the Church, to ruin and destroy their souls. The fact that the she-wolf gives birth when the thunder first sounds in the month of May signifies the Devil, who fell from heaven at the first display of his pride. The fact that its strength lies in its forequarters and not in its hindquarters also signfies the Devil, who was formerly the angel of light in heaven, but has now been made an apostate below. The wolf's eyes shine in the night like lamps because the works of the Devil seem beautiful and wholesome to blind and foolish men. When the she-wolf bears her young, she will only catch food for them far away from her lair, because the Devil cherishes with wordly goods those he is sure will suffer punishment with him in the confines of hell. But he constantly pursues those who distance themselves from him by good works; as we read of the blessed Job, whose name, substance, sons and daughters the devil carried off to make him desert the Lord in his heart. The fact that the wolf cannot turn his neck without turning the whole of his body signifies that the Devil
  • Commentary

    Text

    The wolf and his evil nature.

    Comment

    Pricking and ruling are visible. Two faint spelling corrections in lower right margin, and corresponding alterations in text.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • Ruling

      Ruling

      Ruling
      Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

      After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

  • Translation
    but far away. If it has to hunt its prey at night, it goes like a tame dog here and there to a sheepfold, and lest the sheepdogs catch its scent and wake the shepherds, it goes upwind. And if a twig or anything, under the pressure of its paw, makes a noise, it nips the the paw as a punishment. The wolf's eyes shine in the night like lamps. It has this characteristic, that if it sees a man first, it takes away his power of speech and looks at him with scorn, as victor over the voiceless. If it senses that the man has seen it first, it loses its fierceness and its power to run. Solinus, who has a lot to say about the nature of things, says that on the tail of this animal there is a tiny patch of hair which is a love-charm; if the wolf fears that it may be captured, it tears the hair out with its teeth; the charm has no power unless the the hair is taken from the wolf while it is still alive. The Devil has the nature of a wolf; he always looks with an evil eye upon mankind and continually circles the sheepfold of the faithful of the Church, to ruin and destroy their souls. The fact that the she-wolf gives birth when the thunder first sounds in the month of May signifies the Devil, who fell from heaven at the first display of his pride. The fact that its strength lies in its forequarters and not in its hindquarters also signfies the Devil, who was formerly the angel of light in heaven, but has now been made an apostate below. The wolf's eyes shine in the night like lamps because the works of the Devil seem beautiful and wholesome to blind and foolish men. When the she-wolf bears her young, she will only catch food for them far away from her lair, because the Devil cherishes with wordly goods those he is sure will suffer punishment with him in the confines of hell. But he constantly pursues those who distance themselves from him by good works; as we read of the blessed Job, whose name, substance, sons and daughters the devil carried off to make him desert the Lord in his heart. The fact that the wolf cannot turn his neck without turning the whole of his body signifies that the Devil
  • Transcription
    non capiat catulis suis sed in longinquo. Quod si opus fuerit ut\ predam noctu querat, tanquam canis mansuetus passim ad ovi\le pergit, et ne fortuitu sui flatus odorem senciant canes, et\ evigilent pastores, contra ventum vadit. Et si ramus aut\ aliquid tangendo sub eius pede sonaverit, ipsum pedem\ castigat morsu aperto. Oculi eius in nocte lucent velud lucer\ne. Cuius natura talis est, ut si prior hominem viderit, vocem eripet\ et despicit eum tanquam vircor [A: victor] vocis ablate. Idem si se pre\visum senserit, deponit ferocitatem et non potest currere.\ Solinus refert qui plura de naturis rerum dicit, caude ani\malis huius vellus amatorium inesse perexiguum, quod dentibus\ ipse evellit, si forte capi timuerit, non habet potenciam, nisi\ illo vivente detrahatur. Lupi figuram diabolus portat,\ qui semper humano generi invidet, ac iugiter circuit caulas\ ecclesie fidelium, ut mactet et perdat eorum animas. Quod\ vero generat tonitruo primo mensis May, significat dia\bolum, in primo superbie motu cecidisse de celo. Quod autem\ in anterioribus membris vires habet, et non in posterioribus eundem\ diabolum significat, prius in celo angelum lucis fuisse nunc\ vero deorsum apostatum factum esse. Oculi eius in nocte lucent,\ velud lucerne quia quedam diaboli opera cecis et fatuis viris,\ videntur esse pulchra et salubria. Cum catulos gignit, \ non nisi in longinquo predam capit, quia eos diabolus bo\nis temporalibus fovet, de quibus certus est, in gehennalibus\ claustris secum penas perpeti. Illos autem omnino insequitur\ qui bonis operibus ab eo elongantur, sicut de beato Iob legitur,\ cui nomen substanciam, necnon filios et filias abstulit, ut a do\mino recederet cor eius. Quod nunquam collum retro sine to\to corpore valet flectere, significat diabolum ad peni\
Folio 17r - Wolf, continued | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen