The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 39v - 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.
Deciding how sinners should be punished is like marking the hours of the night. To mark the hours of the night, is to reprimand in a suitably reproachful voice the darkness of their deeds. Thus understanding has been assigned to the cock from above, as the virtue of judgement has been given by God's will to the teacher of the truth, so that he can tell to whom, what, when and how he should respond. For the same kind of encouragement does not suit everyone, because we are not all bound by the same standard of behaviour. Often what harms some helps others. Frequently, the grasses which refresh these animals kill those; a soft whistle calms horses, but excites young dogs; the remedy which heals one ailment makes another worse; and the food which builds up strong men kills babies. The language of teachers must therefore be adapted to the condition of their listeners, so that it should meet each one's needs yet never lack the capacity to instruct them all at the same time. For what are the attentive minds of listeners if not the strings stretched on a lyre? The musician strikes each one differently so that it is not out of tune with the rest. And therefore the strings give a harmonious sound because they are struck with a single plectrum but not with the same stroke. For this reason a teacher should touch the strings of his listeners in order to instruct them all in the single virtue of love, drawing on one doctrine, but with more than one form of encouragement. We should, however, consider something else in the context of the cock's power of understanding. It has the habit of crowing very loudly and deeply in the darkest hours of the night, but produces, as dawn approaches, a softer and less forceful sound. In this case, the thoughtful judgement of preachers shows what the understanding of the cock should signify to us. When they preach to minds which have hitherto been evil, they evoke the terrors of eternal judgement at the top of their voice, as if they were cocks crowing in the darkest hours of the night. But when they realise that the light of truth is already present in the hearts of their listeners,

Text

The cock, his understanding.

Comment

The excision is for the image of the cock on f.39r. Added in margin: ‘herbe’ [what this corrects has been excised, meaning 'For there are very often plants which heal these animals' ](Clark, 1992, 182-83) . Top left, cross in margin.

Folio Attributes

  • 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

Quasi enim horas noctis di-[A, scernere est peccatorum merita] \ diiudicare. Quasi horas noctis [A, discernere actionum tenebras]\ apta increpationis voce cor-[A,ripere. Gallo itaque intelligentia de-]\ super tribuitur, quia doctor [PL, doctori] veri-[A,tatis discretionis virtus ut no-]\ verit, quibus, quid, quando v-[A, el quomodo inferat divinitus ministratur.]\ Non enim una eademque cunc-[A, tis exhortatio convenit quia nec]\ cunctos par morum qualitas ast-[A, ringit. Sepe enim aliis officiunt]\ que aliis prosunt. Nam et plerum-[A, que herbe que hec animalia reficiunt]\ alia occidunt, et lenis sibilus [A, equos mitigat catulos instigat]\ et medicamentum quod hunc morbum imminuit alteri vires\ iungit, et panis qui vitam fortium roborat, parvulorum \ necat. Pro qualitate igitur audientium formari debet sermo doc\torum, ut et ad sua singulis congruat, et tamen a communis edi\ficationis arte nunquam recedat. Quid enim intente mentes au\ditorum sunt, nisi quasi quedam in cythara tensiones strate corda\rum? Quas tangendi artifex ut non sibimet ipsi dissimile canticum\ faciant dissimiliter pulsat. Et iccirco corde consonam modulati\onem reddunt quia uno quidem plectro, sed non uno impulsu feri\untur. Unde et doctor quisque ut in una cunctos virtute caritatis e\dificet, ex una doctrina, non una eademque exhortatione tangere\ corda audientium debet. Habemus vero aliud quod de galli huius intel\ligentia considerare debeamus, quia profundioribus horis noctis valen\tiores ac profundiores edere cantus solet, cum vero matutinum iam\ tempus appropinquat leniores ac minuciores omnimodo voces\ format. In quibus galli huius intelligentia quid nobis innuat\ considerata predicatorum discretio demonstrat. Qui cum iniquis\ adhuc mentibus predicant, aliis et magnis vocibus eterni iudicii\ terrores intimant, quia videlicet quasi in profunde noctis tenebris\ clamant. Cum vero iam auditorum suorum cordibus veritatis lucem\

Translation

Deciding how sinners should be punished is like marking the hours of the night. To mark the hours of the night, is to reprimand in a suitably reproachful voice the darkness of their deeds. Thus understanding has been assigned to the cock from above, as the virtue of judgement has been given by God's will to the teacher of the truth, so that he can tell to whom, what, when and how he should respond. For the same kind of encouragement does not suit everyone, because we are not all bound by the same standard of behaviour. Often what harms some helps others. Frequently, the grasses which refresh these animals kill those; a soft whistle calms horses, but excites young dogs; the remedy which heals one ailment makes another worse; and the food which builds up strong men kills babies. The language of teachers must therefore be adapted to the condition of their listeners, so that it should meet each one's needs yet never lack the capacity to instruct them all at the same time. For what are the attentive minds of listeners if not the strings stretched on a lyre? The musician strikes each one differently so that it is not out of tune with the rest. And therefore the strings give a harmonious sound because they are struck with a single plectrum but not with the same stroke. For this reason a teacher should touch the strings of his listeners in order to instruct them all in the single virtue of love, drawing on one doctrine, but with more than one form of encouragement. We should, however, consider something else in the context of the cock's power of understanding. It has the habit of crowing very loudly and deeply in the darkest hours of the night, but produces, as dawn approaches, a softer and less forceful sound. In this case, the thoughtful judgement of preachers shows what the understanding of the cock should signify to us. When they preach to minds which have hitherto been evil, they evoke the terrors of eternal judgement at the top of their voice, as if they were cocks crowing in the darkest hours of the night. But when they realise that the light of truth is already present in the hearts of their listeners,
  • Commentary

    Text

    The cock, his understanding.

    Comment

    The excision is for the image of the cock on f.39r. Added in margin: ‘herbe’ [what this corrects has been excised, meaning 'For there are very often plants which heal these animals' ](Clark, 1992, 182-83) . Top left, cross in margin.

    Folio Attributes

    • 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
    Deciding how sinners should be punished is like marking the hours of the night. To mark the hours of the night, is to reprimand in a suitably reproachful voice the darkness of their deeds. Thus understanding has been assigned to the cock from above, as the virtue of judgement has been given by God's will to the teacher of the truth, so that he can tell to whom, what, when and how he should respond. For the same kind of encouragement does not suit everyone, because we are not all bound by the same standard of behaviour. Often what harms some helps others. Frequently, the grasses which refresh these animals kill those; a soft whistle calms horses, but excites young dogs; the remedy which heals one ailment makes another worse; and the food which builds up strong men kills babies. The language of teachers must therefore be adapted to the condition of their listeners, so that it should meet each one's needs yet never lack the capacity to instruct them all at the same time. For what are the attentive minds of listeners if not the strings stretched on a lyre? The musician strikes each one differently so that it is not out of tune with the rest. And therefore the strings give a harmonious sound because they are struck with a single plectrum but not with the same stroke. For this reason a teacher should touch the strings of his listeners in order to instruct them all in the single virtue of love, drawing on one doctrine, but with more than one form of encouragement. We should, however, consider something else in the context of the cock's power of understanding. It has the habit of crowing very loudly and deeply in the darkest hours of the night, but produces, as dawn approaches, a softer and less forceful sound. In this case, the thoughtful judgement of preachers shows what the understanding of the cock should signify to us. When they preach to minds which have hitherto been evil, they evoke the terrors of eternal judgement at the top of their voice, as if they were cocks crowing in the darkest hours of the night. But when they realise that the light of truth is already present in the hearts of their listeners,
  • Transcription
    Quasi enim horas noctis di-[A, scernere est peccatorum merita] \ diiudicare. Quasi horas noctis [A, discernere actionum tenebras]\ apta increpationis voce cor-[A,ripere. Gallo itaque intelligentia de-]\ super tribuitur, quia doctor [PL, doctori] veri-[A,tatis discretionis virtus ut no-]\ verit, quibus, quid, quando v-[A, el quomodo inferat divinitus ministratur.]\ Non enim una eademque cunc-[A, tis exhortatio convenit quia nec]\ cunctos par morum qualitas ast-[A, ringit. Sepe enim aliis officiunt]\ que aliis prosunt. Nam et plerum-[A, que herbe que hec animalia reficiunt]\ alia occidunt, et lenis sibilus [A, equos mitigat catulos instigat]\ et medicamentum quod hunc morbum imminuit alteri vires\ iungit, et panis qui vitam fortium roborat, parvulorum \ necat. Pro qualitate igitur audientium formari debet sermo doc\torum, ut et ad sua singulis congruat, et tamen a communis edi\ficationis arte nunquam recedat. Quid enim intente mentes au\ditorum sunt, nisi quasi quedam in cythara tensiones strate corda\rum? Quas tangendi artifex ut non sibimet ipsi dissimile canticum\ faciant dissimiliter pulsat. Et iccirco corde consonam modulati\onem reddunt quia uno quidem plectro, sed non uno impulsu feri\untur. Unde et doctor quisque ut in una cunctos virtute caritatis e\dificet, ex una doctrina, non una eademque exhortatione tangere\ corda audientium debet. Habemus vero aliud quod de galli huius intel\ligentia considerare debeamus, quia profundioribus horis noctis valen\tiores ac profundiores edere cantus solet, cum vero matutinum iam\ tempus appropinquat leniores ac minuciores omnimodo voces\ format. In quibus galli huius intelligentia quid nobis innuat\ considerata predicatorum discretio demonstrat. Qui cum iniquis\ adhuc mentibus predicant, aliis et magnis vocibus eterni iudicii\ terrores intimant, quia videlicet quasi in profunde noctis tenebris\ clamant. Cum vero iam auditorum suorum cordibus veritatis lucem\
Folio 39v - the cock, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen