The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 29v - [PL, De aquilone et austro ventis]; [Of the north wind and the south wind]


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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 dove produces a lament instead of a song, because anything it does with pleasure, it then bewails aloud. It lacks bile, that is, the bitterness born of anger. It likes to kiss because it delights in widespread peace. It flies in flocks because it likes communal life. It does not live by theft, because it takes nothing from its neighbour. It gathers better-quality grain, that is, better precepts. It does not feed on corpses, that is, on carnal desires. It nests in holes in rocks because it places its hope in Christ's passion. It rests on flowing waters, so that by sighting the hawk's shadow it can avoid more swiftly the hawk's approach, as one studies the scriptures to avoid the plotting of the Devil, who comes without warning. It rears twin chicks, that is the love of God and the love of one's neighbour. Let anyone who has these qualities assume the wings of contemplation and with them fly to heaven. [Of the north wind and the south wind] The north wind is a very cold wind. 'Out of the north an evil shall break forth' (Jeremiah, 1:14). There Satan dwells; and thence is the source of ruin. The north wind represents the weight of temptation; the breath of the wind is the first intimation of temptation; its coldness, the numbing effect of moral negligence. The north wind comes, therefore, when serious temptation possesses the mind. It rises when temptation withdraws from the soul. 'From the north,' says Isaiah, 'and from the sea...' (see 49:12). The north wind represents temptation; the sea, the world. Therefore Christ gathers his followers away from north wind and from the sea, since he keeps not only the righteous but also sinners away from the moral torment of temptation. 'I will set my throne in the north,' says Satan, 'and I will be like the Most High' (see Isaiah, 14: 13, 14). Uplifted on the wings of pride, he wishes to set his throne in the north; he longs to be like the Most High, presumptuously making himself the equal of one to whom he should be subject. And more than that, I say, he not only compares himself with his master but also thinks himself better. The Devil fell because he sought to exalt himself; man is humbled when he desires to rise in the world. The south wind is a very hot wind. God, it is said, will come from the south (see BSV, NEB, Habakkuk,3:3). There is the seat of the Most High. There

Text

A discussion on the north and south wind (aquilo).

Illustration

This spread-eagled bird is usually referred to as a hawk, preceding its chapter on ff.30r-30v. It may depict the hawk spreading its wings to the south wind to facilitate moulting. However it is placed next to a text referring the the devil uplifted on wings of pride. It might be alternatively an eagle (aquila), a pun on aquilo the north wind, and a tangible image for the invisible wind. Initials type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • 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

Columba pro cantu, utitur gemitu, quia quod libens fecit, plangendo ge\mit. Caret felle, id est irascibilitatis amaritudine. Instat osculis, quia de\lectatur in multitudine pacis. Gregatim volat, quia conventus amat. \Non vivit ex rapto, quia non detrahit proximo. Colligit grana meliora, \id est meliora dicta. Non vescitur cadaveribus, id est carnalibus desideriis. Ni\dificat in foraminibus petre, quia spem ponit in Christi passione. Super \fluenta residet, ut visa acciptris umbra venientem cicius devitet, quia \in scripturis studet ut supervenientis diaboli fraudem declinet. \Geminos nutrit pullos, id est amorem dei et amorem proximi. Qui has igitur \naturas habet, assumat sibi contemplationis alas, quibus ad celum volet. \ [PL, De aquilone et austro ventis] \ Aquilo frigidissimus ventus est. Ab aquilone inquit \pandetur malum. Ibi sedes Sathane, inde ruine principium. \Ventus aquilo gravis temptatio est, flatus aquilonis, suggestio \temptationis, frigus negligentie torpor. Aquilo igitur venit, \quando gravis temptatio mentem cuiuslibet invadit. Aquilo vero \surgit, quando ab animo temptatio recedit. Ab aquilone inquit \et mari, aquilo, temptatio, mare, mundus. Ab aquilone igitur et \mari Christus suos congregat, cum a tumultu temptationum non \tantum iustos sed etiam peccatores sequestrat. \Ponam inquit sedem meam ad aquilo\nem et ero similis altissimo. Sedem \ad aquilonem ponere desiderat, quem penna su\perbie sursum levat, esse similis altissimo con\cupiscit, qui illi cui subesse debet per arrogan\tie spem se equalem facit. Et plus dicam non \tantum se magistro suo equiparat sed etiam se illo meliorem esse putat. Ce\cidit diabolus cum se exaltare voluit, humiliatur homo cum se exal\tare concupiscit. \Auster calidissimus est ventus. \Deus inquit ab austro veniet. Ibi sedes altissimi. Ibi \

Translation

The dove produces a lament instead of a song, because anything it does with pleasure, it then bewails aloud. It lacks bile, that is, the bitterness born of anger. It likes to kiss because it delights in widespread peace. It flies in flocks because it likes communal life. It does not live by theft, because it takes nothing from its neighbour. It gathers better-quality grain, that is, better precepts. It does not feed on corpses, that is, on carnal desires. It nests in holes in rocks because it places its hope in Christ's passion. It rests on flowing waters, so that by sighting the hawk's shadow it can avoid more swiftly the hawk's approach, as one studies the scriptures to avoid the plotting of the Devil, who comes without warning. It rears twin chicks, that is the love of God and the love of one's neighbour. Let anyone who has these qualities assume the wings of contemplation and with them fly to heaven. [Of the north wind and the south wind] The north wind is a very cold wind. 'Out of the north an evil shall break forth' (Jeremiah, 1:14). There Satan dwells; and thence is the source of ruin. The north wind represents the weight of temptation; the breath of the wind is the first intimation of temptation; its coldness, the numbing effect of moral negligence. The north wind comes, therefore, when serious temptation possesses the mind. It rises when temptation withdraws from the soul. 'From the north,' says Isaiah, 'and from the sea...' (see 49:12). The north wind represents temptation; the sea, the world. Therefore Christ gathers his followers away from north wind and from the sea, since he keeps not only the righteous but also sinners away from the moral torment of temptation. 'I will set my throne in the north,' says Satan, 'and I will be like the Most High' (see Isaiah, 14: 13, 14). Uplifted on the wings of pride, he wishes to set his throne in the north; he longs to be like the Most High, presumptuously making himself the equal of one to whom he should be subject. And more than that, I say, he not only compares himself with his master but also thinks himself better. The Devil fell because he sought to exalt himself; man is humbled when he desires to rise in the world. The south wind is a very hot wind. God, it is said, will come from the south (see BSV, NEB, Habakkuk,3:3). There is the seat of the Most High. There
  • Commentary

    Text

    A discussion on the north and south wind (aquilo).

    Illustration

    This spread-eagled bird is usually referred to as a hawk, preceding its chapter on ff.30r-30v. It may depict the hawk spreading its wings to the south wind to facilitate moulting. However it is placed next to a text referring the the devil uplifted on wings of pride. It might be alternatively an eagle (aquila), a pun on aquilo the north wind, and a tangible image for the invisible wind. Initials type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • 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 dove produces a lament instead of a song, because anything it does with pleasure, it then bewails aloud. It lacks bile, that is, the bitterness born of anger. It likes to kiss because it delights in widespread peace. It flies in flocks because it likes communal life. It does not live by theft, because it takes nothing from its neighbour. It gathers better-quality grain, that is, better precepts. It does not feed on corpses, that is, on carnal desires. It nests in holes in rocks because it places its hope in Christ's passion. It rests on flowing waters, so that by sighting the hawk's shadow it can avoid more swiftly the hawk's approach, as one studies the scriptures to avoid the plotting of the Devil, who comes without warning. It rears twin chicks, that is the love of God and the love of one's neighbour. Let anyone who has these qualities assume the wings of contemplation and with them fly to heaven. [Of the north wind and the south wind] The north wind is a very cold wind. 'Out of the north an evil shall break forth' (Jeremiah, 1:14). There Satan dwells; and thence is the source of ruin. The north wind represents the weight of temptation; the breath of the wind is the first intimation of temptation; its coldness, the numbing effect of moral negligence. The north wind comes, therefore, when serious temptation possesses the mind. It rises when temptation withdraws from the soul. 'From the north,' says Isaiah, 'and from the sea...' (see 49:12). The north wind represents temptation; the sea, the world. Therefore Christ gathers his followers away from north wind and from the sea, since he keeps not only the righteous but also sinners away from the moral torment of temptation. 'I will set my throne in the north,' says Satan, 'and I will be like the Most High' (see Isaiah, 14: 13, 14). Uplifted on the wings of pride, he wishes to set his throne in the north; he longs to be like the Most High, presumptuously making himself the equal of one to whom he should be subject. And more than that, I say, he not only compares himself with his master but also thinks himself better. The Devil fell because he sought to exalt himself; man is humbled when he desires to rise in the world. The south wind is a very hot wind. God, it is said, will come from the south (see BSV, NEB, Habakkuk,3:3). There is the seat of the Most High. There
  • Transcription
    Columba pro cantu, utitur gemitu, quia quod libens fecit, plangendo ge\mit. Caret felle, id est irascibilitatis amaritudine. Instat osculis, quia de\lectatur in multitudine pacis. Gregatim volat, quia conventus amat. \Non vivit ex rapto, quia non detrahit proximo. Colligit grana meliora, \id est meliora dicta. Non vescitur cadaveribus, id est carnalibus desideriis. Ni\dificat in foraminibus petre, quia spem ponit in Christi passione. Super \fluenta residet, ut visa acciptris umbra venientem cicius devitet, quia \in scripturis studet ut supervenientis diaboli fraudem declinet. \Geminos nutrit pullos, id est amorem dei et amorem proximi. Qui has igitur \naturas habet, assumat sibi contemplationis alas, quibus ad celum volet. \ [PL, De aquilone et austro ventis] \ Aquilo frigidissimus ventus est. Ab aquilone inquit \pandetur malum. Ibi sedes Sathane, inde ruine principium. \Ventus aquilo gravis temptatio est, flatus aquilonis, suggestio \temptationis, frigus negligentie torpor. Aquilo igitur venit, \quando gravis temptatio mentem cuiuslibet invadit. Aquilo vero \surgit, quando ab animo temptatio recedit. Ab aquilone inquit \et mari, aquilo, temptatio, mare, mundus. Ab aquilone igitur et \mari Christus suos congregat, cum a tumultu temptationum non \tantum iustos sed etiam peccatores sequestrat. \Ponam inquit sedem meam ad aquilo\nem et ero similis altissimo. Sedem \ad aquilonem ponere desiderat, quem penna su\perbie sursum levat, esse similis altissimo con\cupiscit, qui illi cui subesse debet per arrogan\tie spem se equalem facit. Et plus dicam non \tantum se magistro suo equiparat sed etiam se illo meliorem esse putat. Ce\cidit diabolus cum se exaltare voluit, humiliatur homo cum se exal\tare concupiscit. \Auster calidissimus est ventus. \Deus inquit ab austro veniet. Ibi sedes altissimi. Ibi \
Folio 29v - [PL, De aquilone et austro ventis]; [Of the north wind and the south wind] | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen