The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 26v - the dove continued. Hic incipit de tribus columbis; The three doves.


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

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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.
of a picture. Personally, I try harder to please the uneducated than to speak to the learned - as if I were pouring liquid into a vessel. For to furnish the wise man with words is like pouring liquid into a vessel that is already full. Here begins the account of the three doves 'If you sleep among the sheepfolds...a dove, its wings sheathed in silver and its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold' (see BSV, Psalmi, 67:14; NEB, Psalms, 68:11-13). In reading the Holy Scripture, brothers, I have found references to three doves which, if they are carefully studied, can bring the minds of the uneducated to perfection. They are the doves of Noah, David and Jesus Christ. Noah represents peace; David, the mighty hand; Jesus, salvation. Now the sinner is told: 'Hast thou sinned? do so no more' (Ecclesiasticus, 21:1). If, therefore, you wish to be Noah, desist from sin; in order to be David, you must do brave deeds; if you long to be saved, ask for salvation from your Saviour. 'Depart from evil and do good; seek peace' (Psalms, 34:14). Turn towards the ark of Noah. Fight with David the battles of the Lord. Seek peace with Jesus in Jerusalem. Turn towards peace of mind. Resist temptation. Await patiently the favour of salvation. Of Noah's dove, it is said: 'The dove came in to him in the evening; and in her mouth was an olive branch' (see Genesis, 8:11). The dove returns to Noah's ark as the soul is recalled from external things to the inner peace of the mind. The dove returns at evening as the light of wordly pleasure starts to fade, and the soul flees from the pomp of empty glory, fearing to encounter the darkness of the night - that is, the depths of eternal damnation. The dove carries an olive branch signifying the soul seeking mercy. It carries the olive branch in its mouth, signifying the soul begging with prayers for its sins to be forgiven. Of the dove of David it is said: 'and its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold.' Its tail feathers are of gold because anyone who conducts himself virtuously in time to come is promised forgiveness. Likewise we read of our Saviour, that when the dove descended upon him, a voice was heard, saying: 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matthew, 3:17). The dove is the grace of the Holy Spirit, which was seen to decend upon Jesus in Jordan, because grace is made ready for anyone who is humble and cleansed of sin. To the penitent, mercy is granted; to those who are virtuous in conduct, a pardon is promised; to the loving, grace is given.

Text

The three doves. They are Noah's dove, David's dove mentioned in Psalm 68: 13 and the dove of the Holy Spirit descending on Christ at his baptism.

Comment

Initial type 2 and shows margins.

Folio Attributes

  • 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

picture. Ego autem plus laboro ut simplicibus placeam, quam ut \doctoribus loquar, et quasi vasculo latices infundam. Qui enim \sapientem verbis instruit, quasi vasculo pleno latices infundit. \ Hic incipit de tribus columbis \ Si dormiatis inter medios cleros \penne columbe deargentate, et postiora dorsi eius in pal\lore auri. In scriptura sacra fratres tres columbas legendo repperi, ex \quibus si attente considerentur simplicium mentes ad perfectionem \poterunt edoceri. Columba, scilicet Noe, columba David, columba Jesus Christi. \Noe requies, David manu fortis, Jesus salvator interpretatur. Peccatori \autem dicitur: peccasti, quiesce. Si igitur vis esse Noe, quiesce a peccatis \ut David esse possis, operare fortia, si salvari desideras, a salvato\re salutem postula. Diverte a malo, fac bonum, inquire pacem, \diverte ad archam Noe, preliare cum David, prelia domini, inquire pa\cem cum Jesu in Jerusalem, diverte ad quietem mentis, resiste temp\tationibus, expecta pacienter salutis beneficium. De columba vero \Noe dicitur: Reversa est columba ad vesperam, ferens in ore suo ramum \olive. Ad archam Noe columba revertitur, cum ad quietem men\tis ab exterioribus animus revocatur. Revertitur ad vesperam cum defi\ciente luce mundane felicitatis, vane glorie fugit pompam ti\mens ne incurrat obscuritatem noctis, id est profunditatem perpetue \dampnationis. Olivam gerit, quia misericordiam querit. Olivam \in ore portat, dum indulgeri sibi quod deliquerat precibus exorat. De \columba vero David dicitur, et postiora dorsi eius in pallore auri. In posterioribus dorsi au\rum habetur, quia bene operanti in futuro venia promittitur. Similiter \et de salvatore legitur cum descensu columbe super eum hec vox \auditur: Hic est filius meus dilectus in quo mihi bene complacui. \Columba est sancti spiritus gratia, que super Jesum in Jordane descendisse cernitur, \quia cuilibet humili a peccatis mundato, gratia preparatur. Penitenti \igitur fit misericordia, bene operanti promittitur venia, diligenti datur gratia. \

Translation

of a picture. Personally, I try harder to please the uneducated than to speak to the learned - as if I were pouring liquid into a vessel. For to furnish the wise man with words is like pouring liquid into a vessel that is already full. Here begins the account of the three doves 'If you sleep among the sheepfolds...a dove, its wings sheathed in silver and its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold' (see BSV, Psalmi, 67:14; NEB, Psalms, 68:11-13). In reading the Holy Scripture, brothers, I have found references to three doves which, if they are carefully studied, can bring the minds of the uneducated to perfection. They are the doves of Noah, David and Jesus Christ. Noah represents peace; David, the mighty hand; Jesus, salvation. Now the sinner is told: 'Hast thou sinned? do so no more' (Ecclesiasticus, 21:1). If, therefore, you wish to be Noah, desist from sin; in order to be David, you must do brave deeds; if you long to be saved, ask for salvation from your Saviour. 'Depart from evil and do good; seek peace' (Psalms, 34:14). Turn towards the ark of Noah. Fight with David the battles of the Lord. Seek peace with Jesus in Jerusalem. Turn towards peace of mind. Resist temptation. Await patiently the favour of salvation. Of Noah's dove, it is said: 'The dove came in to him in the evening; and in her mouth was an olive branch' (see Genesis, 8:11). The dove returns to Noah's ark as the soul is recalled from external things to the inner peace of the mind. The dove returns at evening as the light of wordly pleasure starts to fade, and the soul flees from the pomp of empty glory, fearing to encounter the darkness of the night - that is, the depths of eternal damnation. The dove carries an olive branch signifying the soul seeking mercy. It carries the olive branch in its mouth, signifying the soul begging with prayers for its sins to be forgiven. Of the dove of David it is said: 'and its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold.' Its tail feathers are of gold because anyone who conducts himself virtuously in time to come is promised forgiveness. Likewise we read of our Saviour, that when the dove descended upon him, a voice was heard, saying: 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matthew, 3:17). The dove is the grace of the Holy Spirit, which was seen to decend upon Jesus in Jordan, because grace is made ready for anyone who is humble and cleansed of sin. To the penitent, mercy is granted; to those who are virtuous in conduct, a pardon is promised; to the loving, grace is given.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The three doves. They are Noah's dove, David's dove mentioned in Psalm 68: 13 and the dove of the Holy Spirit descending on Christ at his baptism.

    Comment

    Initial type 2 and shows margins.

    Folio Attributes

    • 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
    of a picture. Personally, I try harder to please the uneducated than to speak to the learned - as if I were pouring liquid into a vessel. For to furnish the wise man with words is like pouring liquid into a vessel that is already full. Here begins the account of the three doves 'If you sleep among the sheepfolds...a dove, its wings sheathed in silver and its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold' (see BSV, Psalmi, 67:14; NEB, Psalms, 68:11-13). In reading the Holy Scripture, brothers, I have found references to three doves which, if they are carefully studied, can bring the minds of the uneducated to perfection. They are the doves of Noah, David and Jesus Christ. Noah represents peace; David, the mighty hand; Jesus, salvation. Now the sinner is told: 'Hast thou sinned? do so no more' (Ecclesiasticus, 21:1). If, therefore, you wish to be Noah, desist from sin; in order to be David, you must do brave deeds; if you long to be saved, ask for salvation from your Saviour. 'Depart from evil and do good; seek peace' (Psalms, 34:14). Turn towards the ark of Noah. Fight with David the battles of the Lord. Seek peace with Jesus in Jerusalem. Turn towards peace of mind. Resist temptation. Await patiently the favour of salvation. Of Noah's dove, it is said: 'The dove came in to him in the evening; and in her mouth was an olive branch' (see Genesis, 8:11). The dove returns to Noah's ark as the soul is recalled from external things to the inner peace of the mind. The dove returns at evening as the light of wordly pleasure starts to fade, and the soul flees from the pomp of empty glory, fearing to encounter the darkness of the night - that is, the depths of eternal damnation. The dove carries an olive branch signifying the soul seeking mercy. It carries the olive branch in its mouth, signifying the soul begging with prayers for its sins to be forgiven. Of the dove of David it is said: 'and its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold.' Its tail feathers are of gold because anyone who conducts himself virtuously in time to come is promised forgiveness. Likewise we read of our Saviour, that when the dove descended upon him, a voice was heard, saying: 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matthew, 3:17). The dove is the grace of the Holy Spirit, which was seen to decend upon Jesus in Jordan, because grace is made ready for anyone who is humble and cleansed of sin. To the penitent, mercy is granted; to those who are virtuous in conduct, a pardon is promised; to the loving, grace is given.
  • Transcription
    picture. Ego autem plus laboro ut simplicibus placeam, quam ut \doctoribus loquar, et quasi vasculo latices infundam. Qui enim \sapientem verbis instruit, quasi vasculo pleno latices infundit. \ Hic incipit de tribus columbis \ Si dormiatis inter medios cleros \penne columbe deargentate, et postiora dorsi eius in pal\lore auri. In scriptura sacra fratres tres columbas legendo repperi, ex \quibus si attente considerentur simplicium mentes ad perfectionem \poterunt edoceri. Columba, scilicet Noe, columba David, columba Jesus Christi. \Noe requies, David manu fortis, Jesus salvator interpretatur. Peccatori \autem dicitur: peccasti, quiesce. Si igitur vis esse Noe, quiesce a peccatis \ut David esse possis, operare fortia, si salvari desideras, a salvato\re salutem postula. Diverte a malo, fac bonum, inquire pacem, \diverte ad archam Noe, preliare cum David, prelia domini, inquire pa\cem cum Jesu in Jerusalem, diverte ad quietem mentis, resiste temp\tationibus, expecta pacienter salutis beneficium. De columba vero \Noe dicitur: Reversa est columba ad vesperam, ferens in ore suo ramum \olive. Ad archam Noe columba revertitur, cum ad quietem men\tis ab exterioribus animus revocatur. Revertitur ad vesperam cum defi\ciente luce mundane felicitatis, vane glorie fugit pompam ti\mens ne incurrat obscuritatem noctis, id est profunditatem perpetue \dampnationis. Olivam gerit, quia misericordiam querit. Olivam \in ore portat, dum indulgeri sibi quod deliquerat precibus exorat. De \columba vero David dicitur, et postiora dorsi eius in pallore auri. In posterioribus dorsi au\rum habetur, quia bene operanti in futuro venia promittitur. Similiter \et de salvatore legitur cum descensu columbe super eum hec vox \auditur: Hic est filius meus dilectus in quo mihi bene complacui. \Columba est sancti spiritus gratia, que super Jesum in Jordane descendisse cernitur, \quia cuilibet humili a peccatis mundato, gratia preparatur. Penitenti \igitur fit misericordia, bene operanti promittitur venia, diligenti datur gratia. \
Folio 26v - the dove continued. Hic incipit de tribus columbis; The three doves. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen