The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 32r - the turtle dove, continued.


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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.
[in woods, repeated]. Even in the winter time, when it has lost its plumage, it is said to to live in the hollow trunks of trees. The turtle dove also overlays its nest with squill leaves, in case a wolf should attack its young. For it knows that wolves usually run from leaves of this kind. It is said that when the she-bird is widowed by the loss of her mate, she holds the name and rite of marriage in such esteem, that because her first experience of love has deceived her, cheating her with the death of her beloved, since he has become permanently unfaithful and a bitter memory, causing her more grief by his death than he gave her pleasure from his affection, for this reason she refuses to marry again, and will not relax the oaths of propriety or the contract made with the man who pleased her. She reserves her love for her dead mate alone and keeps the name of wife for him. Learn, you women, how great is the grace of widowhood, when it is proclaimed even among the birds. Who, therefore, gave these laws to the turtle dove? If I look for a man as law-giver, I cannot find him. For there is no man who would dare - not even Paul dared - to prescribe laws for observing widowhood. He said only:'I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully'(1 Timothy, 5:14). And elsewhere: 'It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn' (1 Corinthians, 7:8,9). Paul desires in women what in turtle doves is an enduring characteristic. And elsewhere he urges the young to marry, because it is only with difficulty that our women achieve the virtue of turtle doves. Therefore it was God who infused the turtle doves with this grace or capacity for affection, giving them the virtue of continence; God, who alone can set forth the law which all should follow. The turtle dove is not inflamed by the flower of youth

Text

The devotion of the widowed turtle dove.

Illustration

A pair of facing turtle doves in a roundel.

Comment

In the margin there is a faint sketch of a circle with a bird's tail in it, a similar composition to the adjacent illumination.

Transcription

in silvis, que etiam hyemis \tempore deplumata, in trun\cis arborum cavis habitare \perhibetur. Turtur etiam ni\do suo ne pullos suos incur\set lupus, squille folia super\iacit. Novit enim quod huius\modi folia lupi fugere con\sueverunt. Fertur enim tur\tur ubi iugalis proprii fuerit amissione viduata per talem u\sum thalami et nomen habere coniugii eo quod primus amor \fefellerit eam dilecti morte deceptam, [quoniam] et infidelis ad \perpetuitatem fuit et amarus ad gratiam, qui plus doloris ex \morte, quam suavitatis ex caritate generaverit. Itaque iterare \coniunctionem recusat, nec pudoris iura aut complaciti \viri resolvit federa, illi soli suam caritatem reservat, illi \custodit nomen uxoris. Discite mulieres quanta sit vidui\tatis gratia que etiam in avibus predicatur. Quis igitur has leges turturi \dedit? Si hominem quero, non invenio. Homo enim nul\lus est ausus quando nec Paulus ausus est leges viduitatis tenen\de prescribere. Denique ipse ait: Volo igitur iniorues nubere, fili\os procreare, matres familias esse, nullam occasionem dare \adversario. Et alibi. Bonum est illis si hic permaneant. Quod \si se non continent nubant. Melius est enim nubere, quam \uri. Optat Paulus in mulieribus quod in turturibus perseverat. \Et alibi iuniores hortatur ut nubant, quia mulieres nostre turturum \pudiciciam implere vix possunt. Ergo turturibus dominus hanc infu\dit gratiam vel affectum, hanc virtutem continentie dedit qui \solus potest prescribere, quod omnes sequantur. Turtur non uritur flore iuventutis \

Translation

[in woods, repeated]. Even in the winter time, when it has lost its plumage, it is said to to live in the hollow trunks of trees. The turtle dove also overlays its nest with squill leaves, in case a wolf should attack its young. For it knows that wolves usually run from leaves of this kind. It is said that when the she-bird is widowed by the loss of her mate, she holds the name and rite of marriage in such esteem, that because her first experience of love has deceived her, cheating her with the death of her beloved, since he has become permanently unfaithful and a bitter memory, causing her more grief by his death than he gave her pleasure from his affection, for this reason she refuses to marry again, and will not relax the oaths of propriety or the contract made with the man who pleased her. She reserves her love for her dead mate alone and keeps the name of wife for him. Learn, you women, how great is the grace of widowhood, when it is proclaimed even among the birds. Who, therefore, gave these laws to the turtle dove? If I look for a man as law-giver, I cannot find him. For there is no man who would dare - not even Paul dared - to prescribe laws for observing widowhood. He said only:'I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully'(1 Timothy, 5:14). And elsewhere: 'It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn' (1 Corinthians, 7:8,9). Paul desires in women what in turtle doves is an enduring characteristic. And elsewhere he urges the young to marry, because it is only with difficulty that our women achieve the virtue of turtle doves. Therefore it was God who infused the turtle doves with this grace or capacity for affection, giving them the virtue of continence; God, who alone can set forth the law which all should follow. The turtle dove is not inflamed by the flower of youth
  • Commentary

    Text

    The devotion of the widowed turtle dove.

    Illustration

    A pair of facing turtle doves in a roundel.

    Comment

    In the margin there is a faint sketch of a circle with a bird's tail in it, a similar composition to the adjacent illumination.

  • Translation
    [in woods, repeated]. Even in the winter time, when it has lost its plumage, it is said to to live in the hollow trunks of trees. The turtle dove also overlays its nest with squill leaves, in case a wolf should attack its young. For it knows that wolves usually run from leaves of this kind. It is said that when the she-bird is widowed by the loss of her mate, she holds the name and rite of marriage in such esteem, that because her first experience of love has deceived her, cheating her with the death of her beloved, since he has become permanently unfaithful and a bitter memory, causing her more grief by his death than he gave her pleasure from his affection, for this reason she refuses to marry again, and will not relax the oaths of propriety or the contract made with the man who pleased her. She reserves her love for her dead mate alone and keeps the name of wife for him. Learn, you women, how great is the grace of widowhood, when it is proclaimed even among the birds. Who, therefore, gave these laws to the turtle dove? If I look for a man as law-giver, I cannot find him. For there is no man who would dare - not even Paul dared - to prescribe laws for observing widowhood. He said only:'I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully'(1 Timothy, 5:14). And elsewhere: 'It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn' (1 Corinthians, 7:8,9). Paul desires in women what in turtle doves is an enduring characteristic. And elsewhere he urges the young to marry, because it is only with difficulty that our women achieve the virtue of turtle doves. Therefore it was God who infused the turtle doves with this grace or capacity for affection, giving them the virtue of continence; God, who alone can set forth the law which all should follow. The turtle dove is not inflamed by the flower of youth
  • Transcription
    in silvis, que etiam hyemis \tempore deplumata, in trun\cis arborum cavis habitare \perhibetur. Turtur etiam ni\do suo ne pullos suos incur\set lupus, squille folia super\iacit. Novit enim quod huius\modi folia lupi fugere con\sueverunt. Fertur enim tur\tur ubi iugalis proprii fuerit amissione viduata per talem u\sum thalami et nomen habere coniugii eo quod primus amor \fefellerit eam dilecti morte deceptam, [quoniam] et infidelis ad \perpetuitatem fuit et amarus ad gratiam, qui plus doloris ex \morte, quam suavitatis ex caritate generaverit. Itaque iterare \coniunctionem recusat, nec pudoris iura aut complaciti \viri resolvit federa, illi soli suam caritatem reservat, illi \custodit nomen uxoris. Discite mulieres quanta sit vidui\tatis gratia que etiam in avibus predicatur. Quis igitur has leges turturi \dedit? Si hominem quero, non invenio. Homo enim nul\lus est ausus quando nec Paulus ausus est leges viduitatis tenen\de prescribere. Denique ipse ait: Volo igitur iniorues nubere, fili\os procreare, matres familias esse, nullam occasionem dare \adversario. Et alibi. Bonum est illis si hic permaneant. Quod \si se non continent nubant. Melius est enim nubere, quam \uri. Optat Paulus in mulieribus quod in turturibus perseverat. \Et alibi iuniores hortatur ut nubant, quia mulieres nostre turturum \pudiciciam implere vix possunt. Ergo turturibus dominus hanc infu\dit gratiam vel affectum, hanc virtutem continentie dedit qui \solus potest prescribere, quod omnes sequantur. Turtur non uritur flore iuventutis \
Folio 32r - the turtle dove, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen