The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 38r - the raven, continued.


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

These sections are located below the image on each page, scroll down page and click on the tabs to view them. It is also possible to view the translation alongside the image by clicking the translation icon in the toolbar

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.
that he sees they have repented fittingly of their past sins. Indeed he expects and admonishes them first to change from the gaudiness of their present life into a sombre hue, through the sorrow of repentance, and only then to receive the nourishment they need, in the form of sermons on the the most complex subjects. Although the raven sees that the mouths of its young are open, waiting to be fed, it first checks to see if their bodies are covered with black feathers. Equally, the discerning teacher will not dispense the inner mysteries to the minds of those of his disciples whom he considers have still not rejected this world. For as long as they do not rid themselves of temporal glory, they are starved of spiritual nourishment. The raven brings back food in its beak to its open-mouthed offspring, as the teacher, drawing on the understanding which he has acquired, dispenses in words the food of life to his hungry pupils. The more sincerely, in his eyes, they abandon the glitter of the world to grow dark with the sorrow of repentance, the keener he is to give them refreshment in the form of instruction on higher matters. When the raven's young clothe themselves in black feathers, they also give promise of flying, as the more the teacher's pupils despise themselves, the more their conscience is troubled because of their worthlessness, the greater is their promise of rising to a higher realm. For this reason the teacher is careful to feed more quickly those who, as he can already tell from certain signs, have the ability to be of use to others. If he carefully preserves this judgement in his preaching, he will receive, by God's will, a greater opportunity for preaching. For when he knows how to share, out of love, the troubles of his disciples, when he can discern that the time is right for teaching, he will receive greater gifts of understanding not only for himself but also for those to whom he devotes his attention and his efforts. On which subject it is said, plainly: 'Who provideth for the raven his food? When his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat' (Job 38:41). For when the young cry out to be fed, food is prepared for them by the raven, in the same way that righteous listeners, hungering for the word of God, receive as food from their teachers the greater gifts of understanding. The raven's young, that is, the Next generation of preachers whom the preacher himself has raised up by his instruction, do not trust in themselves but in the strength of their Redeemer.

Text

The raven feeding its young.

Comment

Added in margin, 'eos' [omitted from text].

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Transcription

minus tribuit, quanto illos peccata preterita minus digne defle\re cognoscit. Expectat quippe atque ammonet ut a nitore vi\te presentis prius per penitentie lamenta nigrescant, et tunc demum\ congrua predicationis subtilissime nutrimenta percipiant. Corvus\ in pullis ora inhiantia respicit, sed ante in eis pennarum nigredine\ indui corpus querit, et discretus doctor interna misteria eorum sensi\bus non ministrat quos adhuc ab hoc seculo nequaquam se abiecisse con\siderat. Et quo se a temporali gloria non evacuant, eo a spirituali re\fectione ieiunant. Eisque inhiantibus in ore cibum revocat, dum ex\ ea intelligentia quam ceperit, esurientibus discipulis alimenta vite\ loquendo sumministrat. Quos tanto ardentius de superioribus reficit,\ quanto verius a mundi nitore nigrescere penitentie lamentatione\ cognoscit. Pulli autem dum nigro se pennarum colore vesti\unt, de se etiam volatum promittunt, quia cum magis discipuli abiec\ta de se sentiunt, quo magis sese despicientes affligunt, eo am\plius spem provectus sui in altiora pollicentur. Unde et curat doctor\ festinantius alere, quos iam per quedam iudicia [PL, indicia] providet posse\ et aliis prodesse. Que doctrine discretio dum caute a predicatore\ custoditur, ei divinitus largior copia predicationis datur. Dum enim\ per caritatem compati afflictis discipulis novit, dum per discretionem\ congruum doctrine tempus intelligit, ipse non solum pro se, sed etiam\ pro eis quibus laboris sui studia impendit, maiora intelligentie\ munera percipit. Unde aperte dicitur: Quis preparat corvo escam suam\ quando pulli eius ad deum clamant vagantes eo quod non habeat\ cibos? Cum enim pulli ut sacientur clamant, corvo esca prepara\tur, quia dum verbum dei boni auditores esuriunt, pro reficiendis\ eis maiora doctoribus intelligentie dona tribuuntur. Cuius pulli,\ id est predicatores ex eo editi, non in se presumunt, sed in viribus redemp\

Translation

that he sees they have repented fittingly of their past sins. Indeed he expects and admonishes them first to change from the gaudiness of their present life into a sombre hue, through the sorrow of repentance, and only then to receive the nourishment they need, in the form of sermons on the the most complex subjects. Although the raven sees that the mouths of its young are open, waiting to be fed, it first checks to see if their bodies are covered with black feathers. Equally, the discerning teacher will not dispense the inner mysteries to the minds of those of his disciples whom he considers have still not rejected this world. For as long as they do not rid themselves of temporal glory, they are starved of spiritual nourishment. The raven brings back food in its beak to its open-mouthed offspring, as the teacher, drawing on the understanding which he has acquired, dispenses in words the food of life to his hungry pupils. The more sincerely, in his eyes, they abandon the glitter of the world to grow dark with the sorrow of repentance, the keener he is to give them refreshment in the form of instruction on higher matters. When the raven's young clothe themselves in black feathers, they also give promise of flying, as the more the teacher's pupils despise themselves, the more their conscience is troubled because of their worthlessness, the greater is their promise of rising to a higher realm. For this reason the teacher is careful to feed more quickly those who, as he can already tell from certain signs, have the ability to be of use to others. If he carefully preserves this judgement in his preaching, he will receive, by God's will, a greater opportunity for preaching. For when he knows how to share, out of love, the troubles of his disciples, when he can discern that the time is right for teaching, he will receive greater gifts of understanding not only for himself but also for those to whom he devotes his attention and his efforts. On which subject it is said, plainly: 'Who provideth for the raven his food? When his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat' (Job 38:41). For when the young cry out to be fed, food is prepared for them by the raven, in the same way that righteous listeners, hungering for the word of God, receive as food from their teachers the greater gifts of understanding. The raven's young, that is, the Next generation of preachers whom the preacher himself has raised up by his instruction, do not trust in themselves but in the strength of their Redeemer.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The raven feeding its young.

    Comment

    Added in margin, 'eos' [omitted from text].

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Translation
    that he sees they have repented fittingly of their past sins. Indeed he expects and admonishes them first to change from the gaudiness of their present life into a sombre hue, through the sorrow of repentance, and only then to receive the nourishment they need, in the form of sermons on the the most complex subjects. Although the raven sees that the mouths of its young are open, waiting to be fed, it first checks to see if their bodies are covered with black feathers. Equally, the discerning teacher will not dispense the inner mysteries to the minds of those of his disciples whom he considers have still not rejected this world. For as long as they do not rid themselves of temporal glory, they are starved of spiritual nourishment. The raven brings back food in its beak to its open-mouthed offspring, as the teacher, drawing on the understanding which he has acquired, dispenses in words the food of life to his hungry pupils. The more sincerely, in his eyes, they abandon the glitter of the world to grow dark with the sorrow of repentance, the keener he is to give them refreshment in the form of instruction on higher matters. When the raven's young clothe themselves in black feathers, they also give promise of flying, as the more the teacher's pupils despise themselves, the more their conscience is troubled because of their worthlessness, the greater is their promise of rising to a higher realm. For this reason the teacher is careful to feed more quickly those who, as he can already tell from certain signs, have the ability to be of use to others. If he carefully preserves this judgement in his preaching, he will receive, by God's will, a greater opportunity for preaching. For when he knows how to share, out of love, the troubles of his disciples, when he can discern that the time is right for teaching, he will receive greater gifts of understanding not only for himself but also for those to whom he devotes his attention and his efforts. On which subject it is said, plainly: 'Who provideth for the raven his food? When his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat' (Job 38:41). For when the young cry out to be fed, food is prepared for them by the raven, in the same way that righteous listeners, hungering for the word of God, receive as food from their teachers the greater gifts of understanding. The raven's young, that is, the Next generation of preachers whom the preacher himself has raised up by his instruction, do not trust in themselves but in the strength of their Redeemer.
  • Transcription
    minus tribuit, quanto illos peccata preterita minus digne defle\re cognoscit. Expectat quippe atque ammonet ut a nitore vi\te presentis prius per penitentie lamenta nigrescant, et tunc demum\ congrua predicationis subtilissime nutrimenta percipiant. Corvus\ in pullis ora inhiantia respicit, sed ante in eis pennarum nigredine\ indui corpus querit, et discretus doctor interna misteria eorum sensi\bus non ministrat quos adhuc ab hoc seculo nequaquam se abiecisse con\siderat. Et quo se a temporali gloria non evacuant, eo a spirituali re\fectione ieiunant. Eisque inhiantibus in ore cibum revocat, dum ex\ ea intelligentia quam ceperit, esurientibus discipulis alimenta vite\ loquendo sumministrat. Quos tanto ardentius de superioribus reficit,\ quanto verius a mundi nitore nigrescere penitentie lamentatione\ cognoscit. Pulli autem dum nigro se pennarum colore vesti\unt, de se etiam volatum promittunt, quia cum magis discipuli abiec\ta de se sentiunt, quo magis sese despicientes affligunt, eo am\plius spem provectus sui in altiora pollicentur. Unde et curat doctor\ festinantius alere, quos iam per quedam iudicia [PL, indicia] providet posse\ et aliis prodesse. Que doctrine discretio dum caute a predicatore\ custoditur, ei divinitus largior copia predicationis datur. Dum enim\ per caritatem compati afflictis discipulis novit, dum per discretionem\ congruum doctrine tempus intelligit, ipse non solum pro se, sed etiam\ pro eis quibus laboris sui studia impendit, maiora intelligentie\ munera percipit. Unde aperte dicitur: Quis preparat corvo escam suam\ quando pulli eius ad deum clamant vagantes eo quod non habeat\ cibos? Cum enim pulli ut sacientur clamant, corvo esca prepara\tur, quia dum verbum dei boni auditores esuriunt, pro reficiendis\ eis maiora doctoribus intelligentie dona tribuuntur. Cuius pulli,\ id est predicatores ex eo editi, non in se presumunt, sed in viribus redemp\
Folio 38r - the raven, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen