The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 27r - Mistice de columba; The mystic aspects of the dove. Item de columba; Also of the dove.


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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.
The mystic aspects of the dove '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). The silver-covered dove is the Church, instructed by the teaching of the holy word. It is said that the Church has a rostrum, pulpit, for preaching, divided for the purposes of receiving the ideas of the Old and New Testament, by analogy with the beak, rostrum, of the dove, which is divided to gather grains of barley and corn. The dove has a right and a left eye, signifying moral and mystic perception. With the left eye the dove regards itself, but with the right, it contemplates God. It has two wings, signifying the active and the contemplative life. At rest, it is covered by them; in flight, it is raised by them to heavenly things. We are in flight, when we are in a state of ecstasy. We are at rest when we are among our brothers in a sober state of mind. Feathers are set in these wings. They are teachers, fixed in the wings of righteous behaviour and the contemplation of God. The word cleros in Greek we translate into Latin as sortes, shares assigned by lot. There are two such shares, the two Testaments. Between them rest those who agree with and trust in the authors of the Old and New Testaments. 'Its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold'. The back of the dove is said to be the part of the body to which the base of each wing is joined naturally. The heart, too, is seated there; lying just beneath the golden plumage of the dove's back, it will be covered in time to come with the gold of eternal bliss. As gold is more precious than silver, the bliss of the world to come is more precious than the joy of the moment. Therefore the tail feathers of the dove's back will be in the pale colour of gold, because the righteous will shine with surpassing brilliance in eternal bliss. Also of the dove '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). The dove, with its silver-covered feathers, signifies every faithful and pure soul, renowned for the high esteem accorded to its virtues. The dove gathers as many grains of seed for food as the soul does examples of righteous men as models of virtuous conduct. The dove has two eyes, right and left, signifying, that is, memory and intelligence. With one it foresees things to come; with the other it weeps over what has been. Our ancestors in Egypt closed their eyes since they did not understand the works of God, nor remembered the multitude of his mercies. The dove has two wings, signifying love of one's neighbour and love of God. One is spread out in compassion

Text

The mystic aspects of the dove.

Comment

Editorial mark in left margin: -'tur' (expansion of ‘ponitur’). Initials type 2, and folio mark of three '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.

  • Scribal Corrections

    Scribal Corrections

    Scribal Corrections
    The Bestiary scribe ends, the Lapidary scribe begins. Detail from f.94r

    When the ruling was complete the quires were ready to receive the text. At this point the scribe had a clear idea about the precise layout of each page. He had to leave the correct amount of space for the rubrics, capitals and illuminations to be added. The scribal hand is fairly uniform throughout, though Clark (2006, 223) observes the Gothic textura formata (the type of lettering) changes on f.19r, becoming ‘somewhat more compact and rounded’. There is a marked change of hand, below the illustration of the dove and hawk on f.26r, for only 5 lines. The quill is broader and the letters larger but less steady or uniform. Another scribe, with a later thirteenth-century hand, writes the lapidary section of the book, beginning on f.94r. Sometimes the scribe made mistakes or omissions which were picked up by a contemporary editor. On f.17r you can see corrections written lightly in the margin with part of the text erased and corrected accordingly. Most of the corrections occur in the Aviarium section, f.25r-f.63r.

  • 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

Mistice de columba \ Si dormiatis inter medios cleros, penne columbe deargentate et posteriora \dorsi eius in pallore auri. Columba deargentata, est ecclesia, \doctrina divini eloquii erudita. Que per similitudinem fertur \habere predicationis rostrum ratione divisum quo grana colligat ordei \et frumenti, sententias scilicet veteris et novi testamenti. Habet dextrum \et sinistrum oculum, moralem et misticum sensum. Seipsam res\picit sinistro, deum vero contemplatur dextro. Duas alas habet, activam \et contemplativam vitam. His duabus alis sedens tegitur, his dua\bus volans ad celestia sublevatur. Volamus, cum mente excedimus. \Sedemus, cum inter fratres sobrii sumus. In his siquidem alis, penne sunt \inserte. Penne vero sunt doctores, ale recte actionis et divine \contemplationis firmiter inherentes. Cleros enim Grece sortes \vocamus Latine. Due sortes, duo sunt testamenta. Inter quas sortes dor\miunt, qui auctoribus veteris et novi testamenti concordant et ad\quiescunt. Et posteriora dorsi eius in pallore auri. Dorsum columbe illam partem cor\poris esse dicunt, cui radices alarum sese invicem naturaliter coniun\gunt. Ibidem cor ponitur, quod dorso proximum auro perpetue beatudi\nis in futuro operietur. Sicut aurum preciosius est argento, sic et beatitudo \futuri seculi preciosior est felicitate presenti. Posteriora igitur dorsi columbe in \pallore auri erunt, quia iusti in eterna beatudine nimia claritate fulge\bunt. \ Item de columba \ Si dormiatis inter medios cleros, penne columbe deargentate \et posteriora dorsi eius in pallore auri. Columba est quelibet fidelis anima et simplex dear\gentata in pennis, declarata in virtutibus per famam bone opinionis. \Que tot in cibum colligit seminum grana, quot ad bene operandum \assumit sibi iustorum exempla. Duos habet oculos dextrum et sinistrum, me\moriam scilicet et intellectum. In uno futura previdet, in altero transacta de\flet. Hos oculos clauserunt patres nostri in Egipto quoniam non intellexerunt \opera dei, nec fuerunt memores multitudinis misericordie eius. Duas vero habet \alas, amorem proximi et amorem dei. Una extenditur per compassionem \

Translation

The mystic aspects of the dove '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). The silver-covered dove is the Church, instructed by the teaching of the holy word. It is said that the Church has a rostrum, pulpit, for preaching, divided for the purposes of receiving the ideas of the Old and New Testament, by analogy with the beak, rostrum, of the dove, which is divided to gather grains of barley and corn. The dove has a right and a left eye, signifying moral and mystic perception. With the left eye the dove regards itself, but with the right, it contemplates God. It has two wings, signifying the active and the contemplative life. At rest, it is covered by them; in flight, it is raised by them to heavenly things. We are in flight, when we are in a state of ecstasy. We are at rest when we are among our brothers in a sober state of mind. Feathers are set in these wings. They are teachers, fixed in the wings of righteous behaviour and the contemplation of God. The word cleros in Greek we translate into Latin as sortes, shares assigned by lot. There are two such shares, the two Testaments. Between them rest those who agree with and trust in the authors of the Old and New Testaments. 'Its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold'. The back of the dove is said to be the part of the body to which the base of each wing is joined naturally. The heart, too, is seated there; lying just beneath the golden plumage of the dove's back, it will be covered in time to come with the gold of eternal bliss. As gold is more precious than silver, the bliss of the world to come is more precious than the joy of the moment. Therefore the tail feathers of the dove's back will be in the pale colour of gold, because the righteous will shine with surpassing brilliance in eternal bliss. Also of the dove '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). The dove, with its silver-covered feathers, signifies every faithful and pure soul, renowned for the high esteem accorded to its virtues. The dove gathers as many grains of seed for food as the soul does examples of righteous men as models of virtuous conduct. The dove has two eyes, right and left, signifying, that is, memory and intelligence. With one it foresees things to come; with the other it weeps over what has been. Our ancestors in Egypt closed their eyes since they did not understand the works of God, nor remembered the multitude of his mercies. The dove has two wings, signifying love of one's neighbour and love of God. One is spread out in compassion
  • Commentary

    Text

    The mystic aspects of the dove.

    Comment

    Editorial mark in left margin: -'tur' (expansion of ‘ponitur’). Initials type 2, and folio mark of three '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.

    • Scribal Corrections

      Scribal Corrections

      Scribal Corrections
      The Bestiary scribe ends, the Lapidary scribe begins. Detail from f.94r

      When the ruling was complete the quires were ready to receive the text. At this point the scribe had a clear idea about the precise layout of each page. He had to leave the correct amount of space for the rubrics, capitals and illuminations to be added. The scribal hand is fairly uniform throughout, though Clark (2006, 223) observes the Gothic textura formata (the type of lettering) changes on f.19r, becoming ‘somewhat more compact and rounded’. There is a marked change of hand, below the illustration of the dove and hawk on f.26r, for only 5 lines. The quill is broader and the letters larger but less steady or uniform. Another scribe, with a later thirteenth-century hand, writes the lapidary section of the book, beginning on f.94r. Sometimes the scribe made mistakes or omissions which were picked up by a contemporary editor. On f.17r you can see corrections written lightly in the margin with part of the text erased and corrected accordingly. Most of the corrections occur in the Aviarium section, f.25r-f.63r.

    • 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
    The mystic aspects of the dove '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). The silver-covered dove is the Church, instructed by the teaching of the holy word. It is said that the Church has a rostrum, pulpit, for preaching, divided for the purposes of receiving the ideas of the Old and New Testament, by analogy with the beak, rostrum, of the dove, which is divided to gather grains of barley and corn. The dove has a right and a left eye, signifying moral and mystic perception. With the left eye the dove regards itself, but with the right, it contemplates God. It has two wings, signifying the active and the contemplative life. At rest, it is covered by them; in flight, it is raised by them to heavenly things. We are in flight, when we are in a state of ecstasy. We are at rest when we are among our brothers in a sober state of mind. Feathers are set in these wings. They are teachers, fixed in the wings of righteous behaviour and the contemplation of God. The word cleros in Greek we translate into Latin as sortes, shares assigned by lot. There are two such shares, the two Testaments. Between them rest those who agree with and trust in the authors of the Old and New Testaments. 'Its tail feathers in the pale colour of gold'. The back of the dove is said to be the part of the body to which the base of each wing is joined naturally. The heart, too, is seated there; lying just beneath the golden plumage of the dove's back, it will be covered in time to come with the gold of eternal bliss. As gold is more precious than silver, the bliss of the world to come is more precious than the joy of the moment. Therefore the tail feathers of the dove's back will be in the pale colour of gold, because the righteous will shine with surpassing brilliance in eternal bliss. Also of the dove '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). The dove, with its silver-covered feathers, signifies every faithful and pure soul, renowned for the high esteem accorded to its virtues. The dove gathers as many grains of seed for food as the soul does examples of righteous men as models of virtuous conduct. The dove has two eyes, right and left, signifying, that is, memory and intelligence. With one it foresees things to come; with the other it weeps over what has been. Our ancestors in Egypt closed their eyes since they did not understand the works of God, nor remembered the multitude of his mercies. The dove has two wings, signifying love of one's neighbour and love of God. One is spread out in compassion
  • Transcription
    Mistice de columba \ Si dormiatis inter medios cleros, penne columbe deargentate et posteriora \dorsi eius in pallore auri. Columba deargentata, est ecclesia, \doctrina divini eloquii erudita. Que per similitudinem fertur \habere predicationis rostrum ratione divisum quo grana colligat ordei \et frumenti, sententias scilicet veteris et novi testamenti. Habet dextrum \et sinistrum oculum, moralem et misticum sensum. Seipsam res\picit sinistro, deum vero contemplatur dextro. Duas alas habet, activam \et contemplativam vitam. His duabus alis sedens tegitur, his dua\bus volans ad celestia sublevatur. Volamus, cum mente excedimus. \Sedemus, cum inter fratres sobrii sumus. In his siquidem alis, penne sunt \inserte. Penne vero sunt doctores, ale recte actionis et divine \contemplationis firmiter inherentes. Cleros enim Grece sortes \vocamus Latine. Due sortes, duo sunt testamenta. Inter quas sortes dor\miunt, qui auctoribus veteris et novi testamenti concordant et ad\quiescunt. Et posteriora dorsi eius in pallore auri. Dorsum columbe illam partem cor\poris esse dicunt, cui radices alarum sese invicem naturaliter coniun\gunt. Ibidem cor ponitur, quod dorso proximum auro perpetue beatudi\nis in futuro operietur. Sicut aurum preciosius est argento, sic et beatitudo \futuri seculi preciosior est felicitate presenti. Posteriora igitur dorsi columbe in \pallore auri erunt, quia iusti in eterna beatudine nimia claritate fulge\bunt. \ Item de columba \ Si dormiatis inter medios cleros, penne columbe deargentate \et posteriora dorsi eius in pallore auri. Columba est quelibet fidelis anima et simplex dear\gentata in pennis, declarata in virtutibus per famam bone opinionis. \Que tot in cibum colligit seminum grana, quot ad bene operandum \assumit sibi iustorum exempla. Duos habet oculos dextrum et sinistrum, me\moriam scilicet et intellectum. In uno futura previdet, in altero transacta de\flet. Hos oculos clauserunt patres nostri in Egipto quoniam non intellexerunt \opera dei, nec fuerunt memores multitudinis misericordie eius. Duas vero habet \alas, amorem proximi et amorem dei. Una extenditur per compassionem \
Folio 27r - Mistice de columba; The mystic aspects of the dove. Item de columba; Also of the dove. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen