The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 51v - the bat, continued. [De gragulo]; Of the jay


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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.
which you would not usually find in birds. It gives birth like a quadruped, not to eggs but to live young. It flies, but not on wings; it supports itself by making a rowing motion with its skin, and, suspended just as on wings, it darts around. There is one thing which these mean creatures do, however: they cling to each other and hang together from one place looking like a cluster of grapes, and if the last lets go, the whole group disintegrate; it a kind of act of love of a sort which is difficult to find among men. [Of the jay] Rabanus says of the jay: 'The jay gets is name from its talkativeness, garrulitas; not, as some would have it, because jays fly in flocks, gregatim; clearly, they are named for the cry they give. It is a most talkative species of bird and makes an irritating noise, and can signify either the empty prattle of philosophers or the harmful wordiness of heretics.' More can be said of the nature of the jay. For jays signify both gossips and gluttons. For those who devote themselves to gluttony take pleasure, after eating, in repeating gossip and in lending an ear to slander. The jay lives in the woods and flies chattering from one tree to another, as a talkative man ceaselessly tells others about his neighbours, even the shameful things he knows about them. When the jay sees someone pass, it chatters, and if it finds anyone hiding from the world, it does the same, just as a talkative man slanders not only worldly men but also those

Text

The bat. The jay, a talkative bird.

Illustration

Portrait of the bat.

Comment

Compared with many other bestiary illustrations, this is a fairly accurate ventral view of a bat whose wings are shown as a membrane stretching from its three fingers down to its toes and tail. Its furry face has the typically uncanny human look. The artist has realised that the flight membrane joins the fingers, legs and tail even though there should be five fingers with four supporting the wing. It is classified as a bird because of its wings rather than as a mammal because of its fur. The bat has been pricked for pouncing. The illustration of the jackdaw has been excised.

Transcription

quos in avibus repperire non soleas. Parit ut quadrupedia, non\ ova sed pullos viventes. Voli\ tat autem non aliquo volatu\ pennarum sed menbrane sue fulta remigio quo suspensa ve\ lut pennarum volatu cir\cumfertur atque vegetatur. Habet\ et illud hoc vile animal quod\ sibi invicem adherent et quasi specie botrionis ex aliquo loco pendent, ac si se ultima queque laxa\ verit, omnes resolvuntur, quod fit quodam munere caritatis que dif\ [A, ficile in hominibus huiusmodi reperitur. \ De gragulo \ Rabanus de gragulo: Gragulus a garrulitate nuncupatur, ut non quidam volunt, pro eo quod gregatim volent, cum sit manifestum, ex voce eos nuncupari. Est enim loquacissimum genus et vocibus inportunum, quod vel philoso-]phorum vanam loquacitatem, vel hereticorum verbositatem noxiam\ significare potest. Potest adhuc et aliud dici de natura graguli. Gra\ guli enim garrulos designant et gulosos. Qui enim gulo\ sitati student, post cibum libenter rumores referunt, et aures\ detractioni prebent. Gragulus in silvis degit, de una arbore\ in aliam garriendo transit, quia garrulus homo de his cum\ quibus habitat, etiam turpia que de eis noverit aliis narra\ re non cessat. Gragulus cum aliquem transire conspicit\ garrit, et cum aliquos occultos repperit similiter agit, quia\ garrulos homo non tamen detrahit secularibus, sed et eis quos religio\

Translation

which you would not usually find in birds. It gives birth like a quadruped, not to eggs but to live young. It flies, but not on wings; it supports itself by making a rowing motion with its skin, and, suspended just as on wings, it darts around. There is one thing which these mean creatures do, however: they cling to each other and hang together from one place looking like a cluster of grapes, and if the last lets go, the whole group disintegrate; it a kind of act of love of a sort which is difficult to find among men. [Of the jay] Rabanus says of the jay: 'The jay gets is name from its talkativeness, garrulitas; not, as some would have it, because jays fly in flocks, gregatim; clearly, they are named for the cry they give. It is a most talkative species of bird and makes an irritating noise, and can signify either the empty prattle of philosophers or the harmful wordiness of heretics.' More can be said of the nature of the jay. For jays signify both gossips and gluttons. For those who devote themselves to gluttony take pleasure, after eating, in repeating gossip and in lending an ear to slander. The jay lives in the woods and flies chattering from one tree to another, as a talkative man ceaselessly tells others about his neighbours, even the shameful things he knows about them. When the jay sees someone pass, it chatters, and if it finds anyone hiding from the world, it does the same, just as a talkative man slanders not only worldly men but also those
  • Commentary

    Text

    The bat. The jay, a talkative bird.

    Illustration

    Portrait of the bat.

    Comment

    Compared with many other bestiary illustrations, this is a fairly accurate ventral view of a bat whose wings are shown as a membrane stretching from its three fingers down to its toes and tail. Its furry face has the typically uncanny human look. The artist has realised that the flight membrane joins the fingers, legs and tail even though there should be five fingers with four supporting the wing. It is classified as a bird because of its wings rather than as a mammal because of its fur. The bat has been pricked for pouncing. The illustration of the jackdaw has been excised.

  • Translation
    which you would not usually find in birds. It gives birth like a quadruped, not to eggs but to live young. It flies, but not on wings; it supports itself by making a rowing motion with its skin, and, suspended just as on wings, it darts around. There is one thing which these mean creatures do, however: they cling to each other and hang together from one place looking like a cluster of grapes, and if the last lets go, the whole group disintegrate; it a kind of act of love of a sort which is difficult to find among men. [Of the jay] Rabanus says of the jay: 'The jay gets is name from its talkativeness, garrulitas; not, as some would have it, because jays fly in flocks, gregatim; clearly, they are named for the cry they give. It is a most talkative species of bird and makes an irritating noise, and can signify either the empty prattle of philosophers or the harmful wordiness of heretics.' More can be said of the nature of the jay. For jays signify both gossips and gluttons. For those who devote themselves to gluttony take pleasure, after eating, in repeating gossip and in lending an ear to slander. The jay lives in the woods and flies chattering from one tree to another, as a talkative man ceaselessly tells others about his neighbours, even the shameful things he knows about them. When the jay sees someone pass, it chatters, and if it finds anyone hiding from the world, it does the same, just as a talkative man slanders not only worldly men but also those
  • Transcription
    quos in avibus repperire non soleas. Parit ut quadrupedia, non\ ova sed pullos viventes. Voli\ tat autem non aliquo volatu\ pennarum sed menbrane sue fulta remigio quo suspensa ve\ lut pennarum volatu cir\cumfertur atque vegetatur. Habet\ et illud hoc vile animal quod\ sibi invicem adherent et quasi specie botrionis ex aliquo loco pendent, ac si se ultima queque laxa\ verit, omnes resolvuntur, quod fit quodam munere caritatis que dif\ [A, ficile in hominibus huiusmodi reperitur. \ De gragulo \ Rabanus de gragulo: Gragulus a garrulitate nuncupatur, ut non quidam volunt, pro eo quod gregatim volent, cum sit manifestum, ex voce eos nuncupari. Est enim loquacissimum genus et vocibus inportunum, quod vel philoso-]phorum vanam loquacitatem, vel hereticorum verbositatem noxiam\ significare potest. Potest adhuc et aliud dici de natura graguli. Gra\ guli enim garrulos designant et gulosos. Qui enim gulo\ sitati student, post cibum libenter rumores referunt, et aures\ detractioni prebent. Gragulus in silvis degit, de una arbore\ in aliam garriendo transit, quia garrulus homo de his cum\ quibus habitat, etiam turpia que de eis noverit aliis narra\ re non cessat. Gragulus cum aliquem transire conspicit\ garrit, et cum aliquos occultos repperit similiter agit, quia\ garrulos homo non tamen detrahit secularibus, sed et eis quos religio\
Folio 51v - the bat, continued. [De gragulo]; Of the jay | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen