The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 52r - the jay, 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.
hidden whom a religious house conceals. A jay, captured and finally secured, is shut away on its own to learn to speak words clearly. Likewise, when a man of this world comes to conversion, he learns to speak the words of religion as the bird speaks the words of men; so that he who used to speak in a confused fashion, may thereafter grow accustomed to speak articulately. Sometimes it happens that a jay, held in confinement, escapes; then the bird, which was formerly talkative, makes even more noise after its escape. In the same way, a talkative man who takes up the religious life abandons with difficulty his power of speech; but should he quit his order and go back out into the world, he turns the good that comes of a religious life into something bad, by uttering slander, as if he were a jay chattering. Let the nature of this bird, therefore, serve as a warning to those who wish to be received into a religious community. Let the discerning teacher, therefore, when he has to receive a candidate into his community, at least examine him before he takes up communal residence. I have learned from a man both discerning and devout that there are certain kinds of men who cannot easily be maintained in a religious order. If you want to know who they are, to avoid them, they are painters, doctors, entertainers and certain others who are in the habit of wandering to different parts. Men of this sort find it hard to lead stable lives. The art of the painter is highly agreeable. For when he has decorated a church, a chapter-house, a refectory or some domestic buildings of a convent, he goes on to another religious house, to paint that, if after being asked, he has been given leave to do so. He decorates a wall with the acts of Christ - but if only he would keep them in mind! He would deck them in colour, by his example and his conduct! The art of medicine needs many things and is scarcely without the things it needs. Those who practise it need aromatic plants and drugs in quantity. When someone living in the neighbourhood of a church is suffering from an illness, the physician is asked to attend the sick man. If, however, the abbot will not allow him to go, he incurs the wrath of the patient and the doctor. The physician sometimes sees things which it is ordained that he should not see. He touches things which the religious are not allowed to touch. He speaks of uncertain things, drawing on his experience, but because experience is

Text

The jay, a chattering bird. Some men are not suited to be monks.

Transcription

nis occultat locus. Gragulus captus aliquando repositus clauditur\ ut articulata verba doceatur. Similiter cum aliquis secularis ad conversi\ onem venerit, verba reli[li]gionis addiscit, ut lingua volucris verba\ loquatur hominis, ut qui inordinate loqui consueverat, ordinate\ loqui hactenus assuescat. Quandoque cum evenit quod gragulus qui\ clausus tenebatur evadit, et qui prius garrulus fuerat, per egressionem\ magis clamat. Eodem modo garrulus homo cum vitam religionis ar\ ripit, vix linguam suam deserit, sed si forte relicto habitu foras exie\ rit, bonum religionis in malam partem detrahendo quasi garriendo\ vertit. Moneat igitur natura volucris quis recipi debeat ad con\ sortium religionis. Discretus igitur doctor cum aliquem recipere\ debet, saltem prius cohabitatione probet. A quodam viro dis\ creto et religioso didici, quod sint quedam diversitates ho\ minum que vix ordinate in religione possint detineri.\ Si autem queras qui sint ut evitari possint, hii sunt pic\ tores, medici, ioculatores, et quidam alii qui diversas [PL, regiones] discur\ rere sunt assueti. Huiusmodi homines vix possunt esse\ stabiles. Ars pictoris valde est delectabilis. Cum enim pic\ tor ecclesiam, capitulum, refectorium, vel aliquas officinas\ pinxerit, ad aliud monasterium si ei concessum fuerit roga\ tus ab aliquo causa pingendi transit. Opera Christi pingit in\ pariete, sed utinam ea teneret in mente. Vestiret coloribus,\ exemplo et moribus. Ars vero medicine multis indiget, et vix\ proprietate caret. Qui hanc exercet, necesse est ei ut aroma\ tibus et speciebus habundet. Cum aliquis ecclesie vicinus in\ firmitate premitur, medicus ut ad infirmum veniat\ rogatur. Si autem abbas eum ire non permiserit, iram in\ currit. Medicus quandoque videt, quod ordinate eum videre\ non licet. Tangit quod religioso tangere non convenit.\ De incertis per experimenta loquitur, sed quia experimentum est\

Translation

hidden whom a religious house conceals. A jay, captured and finally secured, is shut away on its own to learn to speak words clearly. Likewise, when a man of this world comes to conversion, he learns to speak the words of religion as the bird speaks the words of men; so that he who used to speak in a confused fashion, may thereafter grow accustomed to speak articulately. Sometimes it happens that a jay, held in confinement, escapes; then the bird, which was formerly talkative, makes even more noise after its escape. In the same way, a talkative man who takes up the religious life abandons with difficulty his power of speech; but should he quit his order and go back out into the world, he turns the good that comes of a religious life into something bad, by uttering slander, as if he were a jay chattering. Let the nature of this bird, therefore, serve as a warning to those who wish to be received into a religious community. Let the discerning teacher, therefore, when he has to receive a candidate into his community, at least examine him before he takes up communal residence. I have learned from a man both discerning and devout that there are certain kinds of men who cannot easily be maintained in a religious order. If you want to know who they are, to avoid them, they are painters, doctors, entertainers and certain others who are in the habit of wandering to different parts. Men of this sort find it hard to lead stable lives. The art of the painter is highly agreeable. For when he has decorated a church, a chapter-house, a refectory or some domestic buildings of a convent, he goes on to another religious house, to paint that, if after being asked, he has been given leave to do so. He decorates a wall with the acts of Christ - but if only he would keep them in mind! He would deck them in colour, by his example and his conduct! The art of medicine needs many things and is scarcely without the things it needs. Those who practise it need aromatic plants and drugs in quantity. When someone living in the neighbourhood of a church is suffering from an illness, the physician is asked to attend the sick man. If, however, the abbot will not allow him to go, he incurs the wrath of the patient and the doctor. The physician sometimes sees things which it is ordained that he should not see. He touches things which the religious are not allowed to touch. He speaks of uncertain things, drawing on his experience, but because experience is
  • Commentary

    Text

    The jay, a chattering bird. Some men are not suited to be monks.

  • Translation
    hidden whom a religious house conceals. A jay, captured and finally secured, is shut away on its own to learn to speak words clearly. Likewise, when a man of this world comes to conversion, he learns to speak the words of religion as the bird speaks the words of men; so that he who used to speak in a confused fashion, may thereafter grow accustomed to speak articulately. Sometimes it happens that a jay, held in confinement, escapes; then the bird, which was formerly talkative, makes even more noise after its escape. In the same way, a talkative man who takes up the religious life abandons with difficulty his power of speech; but should he quit his order and go back out into the world, he turns the good that comes of a religious life into something bad, by uttering slander, as if he were a jay chattering. Let the nature of this bird, therefore, serve as a warning to those who wish to be received into a religious community. Let the discerning teacher, therefore, when he has to receive a candidate into his community, at least examine him before he takes up communal residence. I have learned from a man both discerning and devout that there are certain kinds of men who cannot easily be maintained in a religious order. If you want to know who they are, to avoid them, they are painters, doctors, entertainers and certain others who are in the habit of wandering to different parts. Men of this sort find it hard to lead stable lives. The art of the painter is highly agreeable. For when he has decorated a church, a chapter-house, a refectory or some domestic buildings of a convent, he goes on to another religious house, to paint that, if after being asked, he has been given leave to do so. He decorates a wall with the acts of Christ - but if only he would keep them in mind! He would deck them in colour, by his example and his conduct! The art of medicine needs many things and is scarcely without the things it needs. Those who practise it need aromatic plants and drugs in quantity. When someone living in the neighbourhood of a church is suffering from an illness, the physician is asked to attend the sick man. If, however, the abbot will not allow him to go, he incurs the wrath of the patient and the doctor. The physician sometimes sees things which it is ordained that he should not see. He touches things which the religious are not allowed to touch. He speaks of uncertain things, drawing on his experience, but because experience is
  • Transcription
    nis occultat locus. Gragulus captus aliquando repositus clauditur\ ut articulata verba doceatur. Similiter cum aliquis secularis ad conversi\ onem venerit, verba reli[li]gionis addiscit, ut lingua volucris verba\ loquatur hominis, ut qui inordinate loqui consueverat, ordinate\ loqui hactenus assuescat. Quandoque cum evenit quod gragulus qui\ clausus tenebatur evadit, et qui prius garrulus fuerat, per egressionem\ magis clamat. Eodem modo garrulus homo cum vitam religionis ar\ ripit, vix linguam suam deserit, sed si forte relicto habitu foras exie\ rit, bonum religionis in malam partem detrahendo quasi garriendo\ vertit. Moneat igitur natura volucris quis recipi debeat ad con\ sortium religionis. Discretus igitur doctor cum aliquem recipere\ debet, saltem prius cohabitatione probet. A quodam viro dis\ creto et religioso didici, quod sint quedam diversitates ho\ minum que vix ordinate in religione possint detineri.\ Si autem queras qui sint ut evitari possint, hii sunt pic\ tores, medici, ioculatores, et quidam alii qui diversas [PL, regiones] discur\ rere sunt assueti. Huiusmodi homines vix possunt esse\ stabiles. Ars pictoris valde est delectabilis. Cum enim pic\ tor ecclesiam, capitulum, refectorium, vel aliquas officinas\ pinxerit, ad aliud monasterium si ei concessum fuerit roga\ tus ab aliquo causa pingendi transit. Opera Christi pingit in\ pariete, sed utinam ea teneret in mente. Vestiret coloribus,\ exemplo et moribus. Ars vero medicine multis indiget, et vix\ proprietate caret. Qui hanc exercet, necesse est ei ut aroma\ tibus et speciebus habundet. Cum aliquis ecclesie vicinus in\ firmitate premitur, medicus ut ad infirmum veniat\ rogatur. Si autem abbas eum ire non permiserit, iram in\ currit. Medicus quandoque videt, quod ordinate eum videre\ non licet. Tangit quod religioso tangere non convenit.\ De incertis per experimenta loquitur, sed quia experimentum est\
Folio 52r - the jay, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen