The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 33r - the palm tree, 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.
The stature of the Church or of the soul of one of the faithful can be compared to that of a palm-tree. In the stature of a man one notes the smallness or largeness of the limbs by the outline of the body. But the righteous man has the stature of a palm-tree; if he appears of only modest size to himself, to God he is tall; humble in himself, before God he is exalted. This palm-tree is Christ, to whom the righteous man can be compared. For when he suffers the tribulations which Christ endured, the righteous man takes on the stature of the palm-tree. Thus the Apostle says: 'Those who will partake of suffering will also partake in glory' (see 2 Corinthians, 1:7). If you are a limb of the body, you must experience what goes on in the head. The palm-tree has already grown to its full height; its tip has already pierced the sky; there is already hair on its head, which is the foliage of the palm bud, that is, the elect among souls. The trunk, with its rough bark - the Church wrapped around with the roughness of sorrow - is set firmly in the ground, and its branches - the saints - glory in eternal happiness. Again of the palm-tree 'The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree.' (Psalms, 92:12). The righteous man is planted, he flourishes and bears fruit; he is planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. The house of our God is the house of conversion. In front of the house is the forecourt. Since it is in front of the house of conversion, it must be the forecourt of renunciation. For those who renounce the world plant in the forecourt of the house of the Lord the palm of the victory by which they overcame the world. The rightous man is planted, therefore, in the house of conversion; he flourishes through his renown; he bears the fruit of virtuous conduct. But to what end does he set down roots? How does he grow? How does he become strong? He takes root through faith, he grows through hope, he becomes strong through charity. What is said in the psalm about the righteous is, however, strange: 'Those that he planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God' (Psalms, 92:13) It is strange that they are planted in the house and flower in the forecourt. Perhaps they are planted inside by reason of their faith; through the example of their good works they flower externally, and thus through their renown the scent of their flower spreads outside. Alternatively, the righteous are planted in the house but flower in the forecourt, because they are planted in the Church of today and will flourish, without their flower fading, in eternal life. There also they will receive, with the flower, the fruit; that is, with their pureness of body and soul, the prize of recompense to come.

Text

The palm tree. A symbol of virtue, of Christ, the Church and the righteous man.

Comment

Three text corrections in margin: 'cu', corrected in adjacent line; 'tur x'; 'figit'. Gathering mark at centre bottom (f). Top right edge, folio mark, one horizontal 'match stick'. Initial type 2.

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.

  • 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

Statura ecclesie vel cuiuslibet fidelis anime, assimilatur palme.\ In statura cuiuslibet hominis notatur parvitas vel magnitudo in\ membris per liniamenta corporis. Habet autem statura [PL, staturam] palme iustus,\ si apud se modicus, apud deum magnus. In se humilis, coram deo\ sublimis. Hec palma est Christus, cui assimilatur iustus. Dum enim tribu\lationes quas passus est Christus patitur, stature palme iustus assimilatur.\ Unde apostolus: Qui erunt participes tribulationum, erunt participes\ et glorie. Qui igitur membrum corporis est, que sunt capitis sentire debet. Iam\ palma crevit in altum, iam cacumen illius penetravit celum, iam\ capite sunt capitis come qui sunt elate palmarum, id est electe ani\marum, adhuc stipes rugoso cortice, id est ecclesia circumdata tribulatio\num asperitate in terra figitur, et rami, id est sancti in eterna felicitate gloriantur.\ Item de palma\ Iustus ut palma florebit. Iustus plantatur, floret\ et fert fructum, plantatur in domo domini in atriis domus dei nostri.\ Domus dei nostri est domus conversionis. Est autem atrium ante domum.\ Ante domum conversionis siquidem, est autem atrium renuntiationis.\ Qui enim mundum renuntiat, palmam victorie qua mundum\ vicit in atriis domus domini plantat. Plantatur igitur in domo con\versionis, floret per famam bone opinionis fert fructum recte\ operationis. Seorsum significat [PL, Sed quorsum figit] radicem? Quomodo crescit? Quomodo roboratur?\ Radicatur per fidem, crescit per spem, roboratur per caritatem. Mirum\ est tamen quod de iustis dicitur: Plantati in domo domini in atriis domus dei nostri florebunt. Mirum\ est quod plantantur in domo et florent in atrio. Sed fortasse per fidem\ plantatur iustus [PL, plantantur intus], per exemplum boni operis florent exterius et sic per\ famam bone opinionis foras exit odor floris. Vel aliter, plantatur\ in domo, florent in atrio, quia iusti plantantur in presenti ecclesia et flore immar\cescibili florebunt in eterna vita. Ibi etiam cum flore recipient fruc\tum, id est cum mundicia carnis et anime, future retributionis premium.\

Translation

The stature of the Church or of the soul of one of the faithful can be compared to that of a palm-tree. In the stature of a man one notes the smallness or largeness of the limbs by the outline of the body. But the righteous man has the stature of a palm-tree; if he appears of only modest size to himself, to God he is tall; humble in himself, before God he is exalted. This palm-tree is Christ, to whom the righteous man can be compared. For when he suffers the tribulations which Christ endured, the righteous man takes on the stature of the palm-tree. Thus the Apostle says: 'Those who will partake of suffering will also partake in glory' (see 2 Corinthians, 1:7). If you are a limb of the body, you must experience what goes on in the head. The palm-tree has already grown to its full height; its tip has already pierced the sky; there is already hair on its head, which is the foliage of the palm bud, that is, the elect among souls. The trunk, with its rough bark - the Church wrapped around with the roughness of sorrow - is set firmly in the ground, and its branches - the saints - glory in eternal happiness. Again of the palm-tree 'The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree.' (Psalms, 92:12). The righteous man is planted, he flourishes and bears fruit; he is planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. The house of our God is the house of conversion. In front of the house is the forecourt. Since it is in front of the house of conversion, it must be the forecourt of renunciation. For those who renounce the world plant in the forecourt of the house of the Lord the palm of the victory by which they overcame the world. The rightous man is planted, therefore, in the house of conversion; he flourishes through his renown; he bears the fruit of virtuous conduct. But to what end does he set down roots? How does he grow? How does he become strong? He takes root through faith, he grows through hope, he becomes strong through charity. What is said in the psalm about the righteous is, however, strange: 'Those that he planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God' (Psalms, 92:13) It is strange that they are planted in the house and flower in the forecourt. Perhaps they are planted inside by reason of their faith; through the example of their good works they flower externally, and thus through their renown the scent of their flower spreads outside. Alternatively, the righteous are planted in the house but flower in the forecourt, because they are planted in the Church of today and will flourish, without their flower fading, in eternal life. There also they will receive, with the flower, the fruit; that is, with their pureness of body and soul, the prize of recompense to come.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The palm tree. A symbol of virtue, of Christ, the Church and the righteous man.

    Comment

    Three text corrections in margin: 'cu', corrected in adjacent line; 'tur x'; 'figit'. Gathering mark at centre bottom (f). Top right edge, folio mark, one horizontal 'match stick'. Initial type 2.

    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.

    • 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 stature of the Church or of the soul of one of the faithful can be compared to that of a palm-tree. In the stature of a man one notes the smallness or largeness of the limbs by the outline of the body. But the righteous man has the stature of a palm-tree; if he appears of only modest size to himself, to God he is tall; humble in himself, before God he is exalted. This palm-tree is Christ, to whom the righteous man can be compared. For when he suffers the tribulations which Christ endured, the righteous man takes on the stature of the palm-tree. Thus the Apostle says: 'Those who will partake of suffering will also partake in glory' (see 2 Corinthians, 1:7). If you are a limb of the body, you must experience what goes on in the head. The palm-tree has already grown to its full height; its tip has already pierced the sky; there is already hair on its head, which is the foliage of the palm bud, that is, the elect among souls. The trunk, with its rough bark - the Church wrapped around with the roughness of sorrow - is set firmly in the ground, and its branches - the saints - glory in eternal happiness. Again of the palm-tree 'The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree.' (Psalms, 92:12). The righteous man is planted, he flourishes and bears fruit; he is planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. The house of our God is the house of conversion. In front of the house is the forecourt. Since it is in front of the house of conversion, it must be the forecourt of renunciation. For those who renounce the world plant in the forecourt of the house of the Lord the palm of the victory by which they overcame the world. The rightous man is planted, therefore, in the house of conversion; he flourishes through his renown; he bears the fruit of virtuous conduct. But to what end does he set down roots? How does he grow? How does he become strong? He takes root through faith, he grows through hope, he becomes strong through charity. What is said in the psalm about the righteous is, however, strange: 'Those that he planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God' (Psalms, 92:13) It is strange that they are planted in the house and flower in the forecourt. Perhaps they are planted inside by reason of their faith; through the example of their good works they flower externally, and thus through their renown the scent of their flower spreads outside. Alternatively, the righteous are planted in the house but flower in the forecourt, because they are planted in the Church of today and will flourish, without their flower fading, in eternal life. There also they will receive, with the flower, the fruit; that is, with their pureness of body and soul, the prize of recompense to come.
  • Transcription
    Statura ecclesie vel cuiuslibet fidelis anime, assimilatur palme.\ In statura cuiuslibet hominis notatur parvitas vel magnitudo in\ membris per liniamenta corporis. Habet autem statura [PL, staturam] palme iustus,\ si apud se modicus, apud deum magnus. In se humilis, coram deo\ sublimis. Hec palma est Christus, cui assimilatur iustus. Dum enim tribu\lationes quas passus est Christus patitur, stature palme iustus assimilatur.\ Unde apostolus: Qui erunt participes tribulationum, erunt participes\ et glorie. Qui igitur membrum corporis est, que sunt capitis sentire debet. Iam\ palma crevit in altum, iam cacumen illius penetravit celum, iam\ capite sunt capitis come qui sunt elate palmarum, id est electe ani\marum, adhuc stipes rugoso cortice, id est ecclesia circumdata tribulatio\num asperitate in terra figitur, et rami, id est sancti in eterna felicitate gloriantur.\ Item de palma\ Iustus ut palma florebit. Iustus plantatur, floret\ et fert fructum, plantatur in domo domini in atriis domus dei nostri.\ Domus dei nostri est domus conversionis. Est autem atrium ante domum.\ Ante domum conversionis siquidem, est autem atrium renuntiationis.\ Qui enim mundum renuntiat, palmam victorie qua mundum\ vicit in atriis domus domini plantat. Plantatur igitur in domo con\versionis, floret per famam bone opinionis fert fructum recte\ operationis. Seorsum significat [PL, Sed quorsum figit] radicem? Quomodo crescit? Quomodo roboratur?\ Radicatur per fidem, crescit per spem, roboratur per caritatem. Mirum\ est tamen quod de iustis dicitur: Plantati in domo domini in atriis domus dei nostri florebunt. Mirum\ est quod plantantur in domo et florent in atrio. Sed fortasse per fidem\ plantatur iustus [PL, plantantur intus], per exemplum boni operis florent exterius et sic per\ famam bone opinionis foras exit odor floris. Vel aliter, plantatur\ in domo, florent in atrio, quia iusti plantantur in presenti ecclesia et flore immar\cescibili florebunt in eterna vita. Ibi etiam cum flore recipient fruc\tum, id est cum mundicia carnis et anime, future retributionis premium.\
Folio 33r - the palm tree, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen