The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 26r - the dove continued. De columba et accipitre; Of the dove and the hawk.


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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 also to describe it in words, to reveal the picture through the text, so that the reader who is unimpressed with the simplicity of the picture may at least take pleasure in the moral content of the text. To you, therefore, who have received the wings of a dove; to you who have fled far away, to stay and be at rest in solitude (see Psalms, 55:6); to you who do not seek deferment, croaking like the raven 'Cras, cras, Tomorrow tomorrow!' but express penitence in the mournful cry of the dove (see Isaiah, 38:14); to you, I say, I shall at this time depict not just the dove but also the hawk. See, on the same perch sit a hawk and a dove. For both of us - I from the clergy, you from the military - have been converted, so that we should share the monastic life together, as if we sat on the same perch, and that you,who were in the habit of stealing domestic birds, should now attract wild birds to conversion, luring them with the hand of virtuous conduct; by 'wild birds', I mean worldly people. Therefore let the dove mourn, let it mourn (see Isaiah, 59:11) and let the hawk utter cries of grief. For the call of the dove is one of sorrow; the cry of the hawk, a complaint. For that reason, at the beginning of this work, I placed the dove first, because the grace of the holy spirit is always made ready for anyone who repents, and no-one will attain forgiveness except through this grace. The account of the hawk comes after that of the dove; it signifies members of the nobility. For when anyone of the nobility is converted, he furnishes an example of virtuous conduct to the poor. Of the dove and the hawk As I have to write for people who have no education, the attentive reader should not be surprised if, for their improvement, I speak in a simple way of complex subjects. He should not ascribe to triviality the fact that I depict the hawk or the dove, since the blessed Job and the prophet David left us examples of birds of that kind to illustrate their teaching. For what the written word means to teachers, a picture means to the uneducated; just as the wise take pleasure in the complexity of a text, so the mind of ordinary people is captivated by the simplicity

Text

The dove continued.

Illustration

The dove and hawk sit on a perch under a twin-domed edicule. They represent the clergy and the military, converted and sharing a monastic life together.

Comment

Editorial correction 2 lines above illustration. Below the illustration, on the last 5 lines of the page, the lettering changes. A broader quill was introduced, the letters are larger but less steady or uniform. Initial type 2, and folio mark of two 'match sticks', bottom right.

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • 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.

  • Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2
    Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

    Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

Transcription

sed etiam dictando describere, ut per scripturam, demonstrare picturam, \vel [PL, ut] cui non placuerit simplicitas picture, placeat saltem mora\litas scripture. Tibi igitur cui date sunt penne columbe, qui elongasti \fugiens ut in solitudine maneres et requiesceres, qui non queris \dilationem in voce corvine cras cras, sed contricionem in gemitu \columbino, tibi inquam non tamen ad presens columbam, sed etiam accipi\trem pingam. Ecce in eadem pertica sedent accipiter et columba. \Ego enim de clero tu de militia ad conversionem venimus, ut in re\gulari vita quasi in pertica sedeamus, et qui rapere consueveras dome\sticas aves, nunc bone operationis manu silvestres ad conversio\nem trahas, id est seculares. Gemat igitur columba gemat, et accipiter vocem \doloris emittat. Vox enim columbe gemitus, vox accipitris questus. \In principio huius operis iccirco columbam preposui, quia sancti spiritus gratia semper \preparatur cuilibet penitenti, nec nisi per gratiam pervenitur ad veniam. \De accipitre vero post columbam subiungitur, per quem nobilium perso\ne designantur. Cum enim aliquis nobilium convertitur, \per exemplum bone operationis pauperibus presentatus. \ De columba et accipitre \ Cum scribere illiterato \debeam non miretur diligens \lector, si ad edificationem il\literati de subtilibus simplicia \dicam. Nec imputet levitati \quod accipitrem vel columbam \pingam, cum beatus Job, et \propheta David huiusmodi volucres nobis reliquerint ad \doctrinam. Quod enim doctoribus innuit scriptura, hoc \simplicibus pictura, sicut enim sapiens delectatur subtili\tate scripture, sic simplicium animus detinetur simplicitate \

Translation

but also to describe it in words, to reveal the picture through the text, so that the reader who is unimpressed with the simplicity of the picture may at least take pleasure in the moral content of the text. To you, therefore, who have received the wings of a dove; to you who have fled far away, to stay and be at rest in solitude (see Psalms, 55:6); to you who do not seek deferment, croaking like the raven 'Cras, cras, Tomorrow tomorrow!' but express penitence in the mournful cry of the dove (see Isaiah, 38:14); to you, I say, I shall at this time depict not just the dove but also the hawk. See, on the same perch sit a hawk and a dove. For both of us - I from the clergy, you from the military - have been converted, so that we should share the monastic life together, as if we sat on the same perch, and that you,who were in the habit of stealing domestic birds, should now attract wild birds to conversion, luring them with the hand of virtuous conduct; by 'wild birds', I mean worldly people. Therefore let the dove mourn, let it mourn (see Isaiah, 59:11) and let the hawk utter cries of grief. For the call of the dove is one of sorrow; the cry of the hawk, a complaint. For that reason, at the beginning of this work, I placed the dove first, because the grace of the holy spirit is always made ready for anyone who repents, and no-one will attain forgiveness except through this grace. The account of the hawk comes after that of the dove; it signifies members of the nobility. For when anyone of the nobility is converted, he furnishes an example of virtuous conduct to the poor. Of the dove and the hawk As I have to write for people who have no education, the attentive reader should not be surprised if, for their improvement, I speak in a simple way of complex subjects. He should not ascribe to triviality the fact that I depict the hawk or the dove, since the blessed Job and the prophet David left us examples of birds of that kind to illustrate their teaching. For what the written word means to teachers, a picture means to the uneducated; just as the wise take pleasure in the complexity of a text, so the mind of ordinary people is captivated by the simplicity
  • Commentary

    Text

    The dove continued.

    Illustration

    The dove and hawk sit on a perch under a twin-domed edicule. They represent the clergy and the military, converted and sharing a monastic life together.

    Comment

    Editorial correction 2 lines above illustration. Below the illustration, on the last 5 lines of the page, the lettering changes. A broader quill was introduced, the letters are larger but less steady or uniform. Initial type 2, and folio mark of two 'match sticks', bottom right.

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

    • 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.

    • Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2
      Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

      Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

  • Translation
    but also to describe it in words, to reveal the picture through the text, so that the reader who is unimpressed with the simplicity of the picture may at least take pleasure in the moral content of the text. To you, therefore, who have received the wings of a dove; to you who have fled far away, to stay and be at rest in solitude (see Psalms, 55:6); to you who do not seek deferment, croaking like the raven 'Cras, cras, Tomorrow tomorrow!' but express penitence in the mournful cry of the dove (see Isaiah, 38:14); to you, I say, I shall at this time depict not just the dove but also the hawk. See, on the same perch sit a hawk and a dove. For both of us - I from the clergy, you from the military - have been converted, so that we should share the monastic life together, as if we sat on the same perch, and that you,who were in the habit of stealing domestic birds, should now attract wild birds to conversion, luring them with the hand of virtuous conduct; by 'wild birds', I mean worldly people. Therefore let the dove mourn, let it mourn (see Isaiah, 59:11) and let the hawk utter cries of grief. For the call of the dove is one of sorrow; the cry of the hawk, a complaint. For that reason, at the beginning of this work, I placed the dove first, because the grace of the holy spirit is always made ready for anyone who repents, and no-one will attain forgiveness except through this grace. The account of the hawk comes after that of the dove; it signifies members of the nobility. For when anyone of the nobility is converted, he furnishes an example of virtuous conduct to the poor. Of the dove and the hawk As I have to write for people who have no education, the attentive reader should not be surprised if, for their improvement, I speak in a simple way of complex subjects. He should not ascribe to triviality the fact that I depict the hawk or the dove, since the blessed Job and the prophet David left us examples of birds of that kind to illustrate their teaching. For what the written word means to teachers, a picture means to the uneducated; just as the wise take pleasure in the complexity of a text, so the mind of ordinary people is captivated by the simplicity
  • Transcription
    sed etiam dictando describere, ut per scripturam, demonstrare picturam, \vel [PL, ut] cui non placuerit simplicitas picture, placeat saltem mora\litas scripture. Tibi igitur cui date sunt penne columbe, qui elongasti \fugiens ut in solitudine maneres et requiesceres, qui non queris \dilationem in voce corvine cras cras, sed contricionem in gemitu \columbino, tibi inquam non tamen ad presens columbam, sed etiam accipi\trem pingam. Ecce in eadem pertica sedent accipiter et columba. \Ego enim de clero tu de militia ad conversionem venimus, ut in re\gulari vita quasi in pertica sedeamus, et qui rapere consueveras dome\sticas aves, nunc bone operationis manu silvestres ad conversio\nem trahas, id est seculares. Gemat igitur columba gemat, et accipiter vocem \doloris emittat. Vox enim columbe gemitus, vox accipitris questus. \In principio huius operis iccirco columbam preposui, quia sancti spiritus gratia semper \preparatur cuilibet penitenti, nec nisi per gratiam pervenitur ad veniam. \De accipitre vero post columbam subiungitur, per quem nobilium perso\ne designantur. Cum enim aliquis nobilium convertitur, \per exemplum bone operationis pauperibus presentatus. \ De columba et accipitre \ Cum scribere illiterato \debeam non miretur diligens \lector, si ad edificationem il\literati de subtilibus simplicia \dicam. Nec imputet levitati \quod accipitrem vel columbam \pingam, cum beatus Job, et \propheta David huiusmodi volucres nobis reliquerint ad \doctrinam. Quod enim doctoribus innuit scriptura, hoc \simplicibus pictura, sicut enim sapiens delectatur subtili\tate scripture, sic simplicium animus detinetur simplicitate \
Folio 26r - the dove continued. De columba et accipitre; Of the dove and the hawk. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen