The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 39r - the cock, 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.
the lioness gets her name leena, and the she-dragon dracena from the dragon draco, so the hen gets her name gallina from the cock. People say that the cock's limbs, if mixed with liquid gold, are consumed by it. The crowing of the cock at night is a pleasant sound, and not only pleasant but useful; like a good partner, the cock wakes you when are asleep, encourages you if you are worried, comforts you if you are on the road, marking with its melodious call the progress of the night. With the crowing of the cock, the robber calls off his ambush; the morning star itself is awakened, rises and lights up the sky; the anxious sailor sets aside his cares, and very often each tempest and storm whipped up by evening winds moderates. At cockcrow the devout of mind rise eagerly to pray, able once again to read the office. When the cock crowed assiduously for the last time, Peter himself, the rock of the Church, washed away his guilt, which he had incurred by denying Christ before cockcrow. With the crowing of the cock, as with the words of Jesus, hope returns to everyone, the troubles of the sick are eased, the pain of wounds is lessened, the raging heat of fevers is moderated, faith is restored to those who have fallen. Jesus watches over those who falter, he corrects those who stray; in short, he looked at Peter and immediately his sin went away, his denial was put out of mind, his confession followed. This reading of the text teaches us that things do not happen by accident but by the will of our Lord. Again of the cock, this time from Saint Gregory Who gave the cock its understanding? That is the question: who endowed it with understanding? But this question is answered if you listen to the words of the blessed Gregory on the subject of morality. The cock gets its understanding, says Gregory, so that it can first dispel the night-time hours, then at last utter the cry that awakes, in the same way that a holy preacher first considers the circumstances of his congregation, and only then develops a preaching style suitable for instructing them.

Text

The cock, the function of his crow.

Comment

the cock in his frame has been excised. Initial 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

leena, et a dracone dracena, ita \ a gallo gallina, cuius membra\ ut ferunt quidam et si auro\ liquenti misceantur consumi ai\unt. Est etiam galli cantus\ suavis in noctibus, et non solum\ suavis sed etiam utilis, qui quasi\ bonus cohabitator et dormien\tem excitat, et sollicitum ad\monet, et viatem solatur, processum noctis canora significatione\ prestans. Hoc canente, latro suas relinquit insidias. Hoc\ ipse lucifer excitatus oritur celumque illuminat. Hoc canente mesticiam\ trepidus nauta deponit, omnisque crebro vespertinis flatibus ex\citata tempestas et procella mitescit. Hoc devotus affectus exilit\ ad precandum legendi quoque munus instaurat. Hoc devocius postre\mum canente, ipsa ecclesia Petra culpam suam diluit, quam priusquam\ gallus cantaret, negando contraxit. Istius cantu spes omnibus \ redit, egris relevatur incommodum, minuitur dolor vulnerum,\ febrium flagrantia mitigatur, revertitur fides lapsis, Jesus titubantes\ respicit, errantes corrigit, denique respexit Petrum et statim\ error abscessit, pulsa est negatio, secuta est confessio quod non fortu\ito accidisse sed ex sententia domini lectio docet.\ Item Gregorius de gallo \ Quis dedit gallo intelligentiam? De gallo queritur a quo\ ei intelligentia tribuatur. Sed hec questio solvitur si beatus Gre\gorius loquens in moralibus audiatur. Intelligentiam sicut ait beatus Gregorius\ gallus accipit, ut prius nocturni temporis horas discutiat, et tunc\ demum vocem excitationis emitat, quia videlicet sanctus quisque predi\cator prius in auditoribus suis qualitatem vite considerat, et tunc\ demum ad erudiendum congruam vocem predicationis format.\

Translation

the lioness gets her name leena, and the she-dragon dracena from the dragon draco, so the hen gets her name gallina from the cock. People say that the cock's limbs, if mixed with liquid gold, are consumed by it. The crowing of the cock at night is a pleasant sound, and not only pleasant but useful; like a good partner, the cock wakes you when are asleep, encourages you if you are worried, comforts you if you are on the road, marking with its melodious call the progress of the night. With the crowing of the cock, the robber calls off his ambush; the morning star itself is awakened, rises and lights up the sky; the anxious sailor sets aside his cares, and very often each tempest and storm whipped up by evening winds moderates. At cockcrow the devout of mind rise eagerly to pray, able once again to read the office. When the cock crowed assiduously for the last time, Peter himself, the rock of the Church, washed away his guilt, which he had incurred by denying Christ before cockcrow. With the crowing of the cock, as with the words of Jesus, hope returns to everyone, the troubles of the sick are eased, the pain of wounds is lessened, the raging heat of fevers is moderated, faith is restored to those who have fallen. Jesus watches over those who falter, he corrects those who stray; in short, he looked at Peter and immediately his sin went away, his denial was put out of mind, his confession followed. This reading of the text teaches us that things do not happen by accident but by the will of our Lord. Again of the cock, this time from Saint Gregory Who gave the cock its understanding? That is the question: who endowed it with understanding? But this question is answered if you listen to the words of the blessed Gregory on the subject of morality. The cock gets its understanding, says Gregory, so that it can first dispel the night-time hours, then at last utter the cry that awakes, in the same way that a holy preacher first considers the circumstances of his congregation, and only then develops a preaching style suitable for instructing them.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The cock, the function of his crow.

    Comment

    the cock in his frame has been excised. Initial 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 lioness gets her name leena, and the she-dragon dracena from the dragon draco, so the hen gets her name gallina from the cock. People say that the cock's limbs, if mixed with liquid gold, are consumed by it. The crowing of the cock at night is a pleasant sound, and not only pleasant but useful; like a good partner, the cock wakes you when are asleep, encourages you if you are worried, comforts you if you are on the road, marking with its melodious call the progress of the night. With the crowing of the cock, the robber calls off his ambush; the morning star itself is awakened, rises and lights up the sky; the anxious sailor sets aside his cares, and very often each tempest and storm whipped up by evening winds moderates. At cockcrow the devout of mind rise eagerly to pray, able once again to read the office. When the cock crowed assiduously for the last time, Peter himself, the rock of the Church, washed away his guilt, which he had incurred by denying Christ before cockcrow. With the crowing of the cock, as with the words of Jesus, hope returns to everyone, the troubles of the sick are eased, the pain of wounds is lessened, the raging heat of fevers is moderated, faith is restored to those who have fallen. Jesus watches over those who falter, he corrects those who stray; in short, he looked at Peter and immediately his sin went away, his denial was put out of mind, his confession followed. This reading of the text teaches us that things do not happen by accident but by the will of our Lord. Again of the cock, this time from Saint Gregory Who gave the cock its understanding? That is the question: who endowed it with understanding? But this question is answered if you listen to the words of the blessed Gregory on the subject of morality. The cock gets its understanding, says Gregory, so that it can first dispel the night-time hours, then at last utter the cry that awakes, in the same way that a holy preacher first considers the circumstances of his congregation, and only then develops a preaching style suitable for instructing them.
  • Transcription
    leena, et a dracone dracena, ita \ a gallo gallina, cuius membra\ ut ferunt quidam et si auro\ liquenti misceantur consumi ai\unt. Est etiam galli cantus\ suavis in noctibus, et non solum\ suavis sed etiam utilis, qui quasi\ bonus cohabitator et dormien\tem excitat, et sollicitum ad\monet, et viatem solatur, processum noctis canora significatione\ prestans. Hoc canente, latro suas relinquit insidias. Hoc\ ipse lucifer excitatus oritur celumque illuminat. Hoc canente mesticiam\ trepidus nauta deponit, omnisque crebro vespertinis flatibus ex\citata tempestas et procella mitescit. Hoc devotus affectus exilit\ ad precandum legendi quoque munus instaurat. Hoc devocius postre\mum canente, ipsa ecclesia Petra culpam suam diluit, quam priusquam\ gallus cantaret, negando contraxit. Istius cantu spes omnibus \ redit, egris relevatur incommodum, minuitur dolor vulnerum,\ febrium flagrantia mitigatur, revertitur fides lapsis, Jesus titubantes\ respicit, errantes corrigit, denique respexit Petrum et statim\ error abscessit, pulsa est negatio, secuta est confessio quod non fortu\ito accidisse sed ex sententia domini lectio docet.\ Item Gregorius de gallo \ Quis dedit gallo intelligentiam? De gallo queritur a quo\ ei intelligentia tribuatur. Sed hec questio solvitur si beatus Gre\gorius loquens in moralibus audiatur. Intelligentiam sicut ait beatus Gregorius\ gallus accipit, ut prius nocturni temporis horas discutiat, et tunc\ demum vocem excitationis emitat, quia videlicet sanctus quisque predi\cator prius in auditoribus suis qualitatem vite considerat, et tunc\ demum ad erudiendum congruam vocem predicationis format.\
Folio 39r - the cock, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen