The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 46r - the cranes, 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.
others do the rounds and check lest they should be ambushed from any quarter; with their tireless energy, they ensure total vigilance. When the crane's turn on watch is over and its duty is done, it settles down to sleep, first giving a cry to wake one of those already asleep, whose turn it is to be on duty. The new guard take up its allotted task willingly, not refusing, as we do, gracelessly, because we want to go on sleeping; instead, rousing itself readily from its resting-place, it takes its turn and repays the service it has received with equal attention to duty. Cranes do not desert the flock, because they are devoted by nature. They keep a safe watch, because they do it of their own free will. They divide the watches at night and take them in turns, according to a roster, holding small stones in their claws to ward off sleep. They give a cry when there is cause for alarm. Their colouring shows their age, for as they grow older, it grows darker. We can take the sentinel cranes to mean those discerning brothers who provide temporal goods for their brethren in common and have a special concern for each one of the community. They watch over the obedience of their brothers, as far as they can, protecting them prudently from the assaults of devils and the incursions of this world. The cranes who are chosen to watch over the others hold a small stone in their claw, which is raised off the ground, fearing lest any of them fall asleep, in which case the stone will slip from their claw and fall; if it falls, the crane wakes up and cries out. The stone is Christ; the claw, the disposition of the mind. For as anyone goes on foot, so the mind strives with its dispositions for its desires, as if on foot. If, therefore, anyone stands guard over himself or his brethren, let him carry a stone in his claw, that is, keep Christ in his mind; or let him be very careful lest, if he sleeps in sin, the stone should fall from his claw, that is, Christ depart from his mind. If, however, the stone has fallen, let him cry out by means of confession, that he may awake those who sleep, that is, let him urge his brethren to watch out attentively as much for him as for their own faults. The colouring of the cranes reveals their age, for it grows darker as they grow older. This colour in old age refers to the elderly when they weep for their sins. For when the elderly remember their faults, they change colour in their latter years.

Text

Cranes keep watch over each other at night. The sentinel holds a pebble in his claw to ward off sleep.

Comment

Text illustrated on f.45r.

Transcription

alie circueunt et explorant ne qua ex parte insidie temptentur,\ atque omnem deferunt impigro sui vigore cutelam. Post ubi vi\ giliarum fuerit tempus impletum, perfuncta munere in somp\ num se premisso clamore componit ut excitet dormientem,\ cui vicem munis traditura est. At illa volens suscipere\ sortem nec usu nostro invita et pigrior sompno renuntiat sed impigre\ suis excutitur stratis, vicem exequitur, et quam accepit graciam pari cura\ atque officio representat. Ideo nulla desertio, quia devocio naturalis.\ Ideo tuta custodia[,] quia voluntas libera. Grues autem nocte excubi\ as dividunt, et ordinem vigiliarum per ordines et vices faciunt,\ tenentes lapillos suspensis digitis quibus sompnos arguant. Quod\ cavendum erit clamor indicat. Etatem in illis color prodit nam se\ nectute nigrescunt. Possumus autem per vigiles intelligere quoslibet dis\ cretos fratres communiter fratribus temporalia provident, et de sin\ gulis specialiter curam habent, ad obsequia fratrum pro posse suo vigilant,\ ut ab eis incursus demonum et accessus secularium prudenter re\ pellant. Grues vero que ad hoc eliguntur ut pro aliis vigilent, in pe\ de a terra suspenso lapillum tenent timentes ne si aliqua earum\ dormiat, lapsus a pede lapillus cadat, si autem cadat evigilans\ clamat. Lapis est Christus, pes, mentis affectus. Si enim aliquis pedibus\ incedit, sic mens suis affectibus quasi pedibus ad optata tendit. Si\ quis igitur ad custodiam sui vel fratrum vigilet, lapillum in pede, id est Christum\ in mente portet, aut summo opere caveat ne si in peccato dormierit,\ lapillus a pede, id est Christus a mente recedat. Si autem cecidit per confessio\ onem clamet, ut dormientes excitet, id est fratres tam pro se quam pro eorum ex\ cessibus, ad vigilantiam circumspectionis invitet. Etatem in illis\ olor prodit, nam in senectute nigrescunt. Hic enim color in senec\ tute seni competit, cum pro peccatis plangendo gemit. Cum enim\ que male gessit senex commemorat, in senectute colorem mutat.\

Translation

others do the rounds and check lest they should be ambushed from any quarter; with their tireless energy, they ensure total vigilance. When the crane's turn on watch is over and its duty is done, it settles down to sleep, first giving a cry to wake one of those already asleep, whose turn it is to be on duty. The new guard take up its allotted task willingly, not refusing, as we do, gracelessly, because we want to go on sleeping; instead, rousing itself readily from its resting-place, it takes its turn and repays the service it has received with equal attention to duty. Cranes do not desert the flock, because they are devoted by nature. They keep a safe watch, because they do it of their own free will. They divide the watches at night and take them in turns, according to a roster, holding small stones in their claws to ward off sleep. They give a cry when there is cause for alarm. Their colouring shows their age, for as they grow older, it grows darker. We can take the sentinel cranes to mean those discerning brothers who provide temporal goods for their brethren in common and have a special concern for each one of the community. They watch over the obedience of their brothers, as far as they can, protecting them prudently from the assaults of devils and the incursions of this world. The cranes who are chosen to watch over the others hold a small stone in their claw, which is raised off the ground, fearing lest any of them fall asleep, in which case the stone will slip from their claw and fall; if it falls, the crane wakes up and cries out. The stone is Christ; the claw, the disposition of the mind. For as anyone goes on foot, so the mind strives with its dispositions for its desires, as if on foot. If, therefore, anyone stands guard over himself or his brethren, let him carry a stone in his claw, that is, keep Christ in his mind; or let him be very careful lest, if he sleeps in sin, the stone should fall from his claw, that is, Christ depart from his mind. If, however, the stone has fallen, let him cry out by means of confession, that he may awake those who sleep, that is, let him urge his brethren to watch out attentively as much for him as for their own faults. The colouring of the cranes reveals their age, for it grows darker as they grow older. This colour in old age refers to the elderly when they weep for their sins. For when the elderly remember their faults, they change colour in their latter years.
  • Commentary

    Text

    Cranes keep watch over each other at night. The sentinel holds a pebble in his claw to ward off sleep.

    Comment

    Text illustrated on f.45r.

  • Translation
    others do the rounds and check lest they should be ambushed from any quarter; with their tireless energy, they ensure total vigilance. When the crane's turn on watch is over and its duty is done, it settles down to sleep, first giving a cry to wake one of those already asleep, whose turn it is to be on duty. The new guard take up its allotted task willingly, not refusing, as we do, gracelessly, because we want to go on sleeping; instead, rousing itself readily from its resting-place, it takes its turn and repays the service it has received with equal attention to duty. Cranes do not desert the flock, because they are devoted by nature. They keep a safe watch, because they do it of their own free will. They divide the watches at night and take them in turns, according to a roster, holding small stones in their claws to ward off sleep. They give a cry when there is cause for alarm. Their colouring shows their age, for as they grow older, it grows darker. We can take the sentinel cranes to mean those discerning brothers who provide temporal goods for their brethren in common and have a special concern for each one of the community. They watch over the obedience of their brothers, as far as they can, protecting them prudently from the assaults of devils and the incursions of this world. The cranes who are chosen to watch over the others hold a small stone in their claw, which is raised off the ground, fearing lest any of them fall asleep, in which case the stone will slip from their claw and fall; if it falls, the crane wakes up and cries out. The stone is Christ; the claw, the disposition of the mind. For as anyone goes on foot, so the mind strives with its dispositions for its desires, as if on foot. If, therefore, anyone stands guard over himself or his brethren, let him carry a stone in his claw, that is, keep Christ in his mind; or let him be very careful lest, if he sleeps in sin, the stone should fall from his claw, that is, Christ depart from his mind. If, however, the stone has fallen, let him cry out by means of confession, that he may awake those who sleep, that is, let him urge his brethren to watch out attentively as much for him as for their own faults. The colouring of the cranes reveals their age, for it grows darker as they grow older. This colour in old age refers to the elderly when they weep for their sins. For when the elderly remember their faults, they change colour in their latter years.
  • Transcription
    alie circueunt et explorant ne qua ex parte insidie temptentur,\ atque omnem deferunt impigro sui vigore cutelam. Post ubi vi\ giliarum fuerit tempus impletum, perfuncta munere in somp\ num se premisso clamore componit ut excitet dormientem,\ cui vicem munis traditura est. At illa volens suscipere\ sortem nec usu nostro invita et pigrior sompno renuntiat sed impigre\ suis excutitur stratis, vicem exequitur, et quam accepit graciam pari cura\ atque officio representat. Ideo nulla desertio, quia devocio naturalis.\ Ideo tuta custodia[,] quia voluntas libera. Grues autem nocte excubi\ as dividunt, et ordinem vigiliarum per ordines et vices faciunt,\ tenentes lapillos suspensis digitis quibus sompnos arguant. Quod\ cavendum erit clamor indicat. Etatem in illis color prodit nam se\ nectute nigrescunt. Possumus autem per vigiles intelligere quoslibet dis\ cretos fratres communiter fratribus temporalia provident, et de sin\ gulis specialiter curam habent, ad obsequia fratrum pro posse suo vigilant,\ ut ab eis incursus demonum et accessus secularium prudenter re\ pellant. Grues vero que ad hoc eliguntur ut pro aliis vigilent, in pe\ de a terra suspenso lapillum tenent timentes ne si aliqua earum\ dormiat, lapsus a pede lapillus cadat, si autem cadat evigilans\ clamat. Lapis est Christus, pes, mentis affectus. Si enim aliquis pedibus\ incedit, sic mens suis affectibus quasi pedibus ad optata tendit. Si\ quis igitur ad custodiam sui vel fratrum vigilet, lapillum in pede, id est Christum\ in mente portet, aut summo opere caveat ne si in peccato dormierit,\ lapillus a pede, id est Christus a mente recedat. Si autem cecidit per confessio\ onem clamet, ut dormientes excitet, id est fratres tam pro se quam pro eorum ex\ cessibus, ad vigilantiam circumspectionis invitet. Etatem in illis\ olor prodit, nam in senectute nigrescunt. Hic enim color in senec\ tute seni competit, cum pro peccatis plangendo gemit. Cum enim\ que male gessit senex commemorat, in senectute colorem mutat.\
Folio 46r - the cranes, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen