The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 64r - Of bees, 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.
in search of food, unless the king has gone first and has claimed his place at the head of the flight. Their flight takes them over a scented landscape, where there are gardens of flowers, where a stream flows through meadows, where there are pleasant places on its banks. There young people play lively games, there men exercise in the fields, there you find release from care. The bees' pleasant labours amid the flowers and sweet grasses provide the foundations of their fort. For what else is a honey-comb in the bee-hive but a kind of fortress? After all, from the hives drones are kept out. What four-cornered fort, however, could possibly have the skilled workmanship and elegance that there is in the honey-combs, in which tiny, round compartments are connected one to another for support? What master of construction taught the bees to construct six-sided compartments, each side of the same, unvarying length; to hang between the walls of each living area fine beds of wax; to compress the honey-dew; and to fill their storehouses, woven from flowers, with a kind of nectar? You can see how the bees all compete with each other in carrying out their duties: some keeping watch over those who are seeking food; some keeping a careful guard on the fort, that is, the hive; some keeping a look-out for rain, their eye on the massing clouds; some making wax from the flowers; some collecting in their mouth the dew poured from the flowers. You can see too, however, that no bees lie in wait for other creatures, to take advantage of their toil; and none take a life by force. If only they themselves did not need to fear the ambushes of thieves! Nevertheless, they have their own weapon, the sting, and pour poison into the honey-dew if they are provoked; and when they inflict a wound in the heat of revenge, they lay down their lives in the act. In recesses deep in its fortress, the hive, the bee pours out the dewy moisture, and gradually with the passage of time it is compressed into honey, although it was liquid to begin wit; and by contact with the wax and the scent of flowers, it begins to glow with sweetness of honey. The Scripture might justifiably extol the bee as a good workman, as it does the ant, saying: 'Go to the bee and see how it works and imitate its way of working' (see Proverbs, 6:6). For the bee is engaged in a highly respected branch of industry; kings and commoners alike consume its product for the sake of their health; it is much sought-after and loved by all.

Text

The bees work together to make honey and die when they sting a victim.

Transcription

aliquos procedere pastus, nisi rex fuerit primo egressus et volatus\ sibi vendicaverit principatum. Processus autem per rura redolentia\ ubi inhabitantes orti floribus ubi fugiens rivus per gramina\ ubi amena riparum. Illic ludus alacris iuventutis, illic cam\ pestre exercicium, illic curarum remissio. Opus ipsum suave\ de floribus, de herbis dulcibus, fundamina castrorum prima\ ponuntur. Quid enim aliud favus, nisi quedam castrorum \ species. Denique ab his presepibus apium fucus arcetur. Que castra\ quadrata tamen possunt habere artis et gracie, quantum habent crates fa\ vorum in quibus minute atque rotunde cellule connexione sui\ invicem fulciuntur. Quis architectus eas docuit exagona illa\ cellularum indiscreta laterum equalitate componere, ac tenues inter domorum septa ceras suspendere, stipare mella et\ intexta floribus horrea nectare quodam distendere. Cernas omnes certare de munere, alias invigilare querendo victum, alias\ sollicitam castris exhibere custodiam, alias futuros explora\ re ymbres, et speculari concursus nubium, alias de floribus\ ceras fingere, alias rorem infusum floribus ore colligere, nullam\ tamen alienis insidiari laboribus et raptu vitam querere, atque\ utinam raptorum insidias non timerent. Habent tamen\ spicula sua et inter mella fundunt venenum si fuerint laces\ site, animasque ponunt in vulnere ardore vindicte. Ergo\ mediis castrorum vallibus humor ille roris infundit, pau\ latimque processu temporis in mella cogitur, cum fuerit liqui\ dus ab exordio et coalitu cere florumque odore flagrare\ mellis incipit suavitatem. Merito quasi bonam operariam\ scriptura apem predicat dicens: Vade ad apem et vide quo\ modo operaria est eius imitare operationem. Operationem namque\ quam venerabilem mercatur apes cuius laborem reges et me\ diocres ad salutem sumunt, appetibilis est omnibus et cara.\

Translation

in search of food, unless the king has gone first and has claimed his place at the head of the flight. Their flight takes them over a scented landscape, where there are gardens of flowers, where a stream flows through meadows, where there are pleasant places on its banks. There young people play lively games, there men exercise in the fields, there you find release from care. The bees' pleasant labours amid the flowers and sweet grasses provide the foundations of their fort. For what else is a honey-comb in the bee-hive but a kind of fortress? After all, from the hives drones are kept out. What four-cornered fort, however, could possibly have the skilled workmanship and elegance that there is in the honey-combs, in which tiny, round compartments are connected one to another for support? What master of construction taught the bees to construct six-sided compartments, each side of the same, unvarying length; to hang between the walls of each living area fine beds of wax; to compress the honey-dew; and to fill their storehouses, woven from flowers, with a kind of nectar? You can see how the bees all compete with each other in carrying out their duties: some keeping watch over those who are seeking food; some keeping a careful guard on the fort, that is, the hive; some keeping a look-out for rain, their eye on the massing clouds; some making wax from the flowers; some collecting in their mouth the dew poured from the flowers. You can see too, however, that no bees lie in wait for other creatures, to take advantage of their toil; and none take a life by force. If only they themselves did not need to fear the ambushes of thieves! Nevertheless, they have their own weapon, the sting, and pour poison into the honey-dew if they are provoked; and when they inflict a wound in the heat of revenge, they lay down their lives in the act. In recesses deep in its fortress, the hive, the bee pours out the dewy moisture, and gradually with the passage of time it is compressed into honey, although it was liquid to begin wit; and by contact with the wax and the scent of flowers, it begins to glow with sweetness of honey. The Scripture might justifiably extol the bee as a good workman, as it does the ant, saying: 'Go to the bee and see how it works and imitate its way of working' (see Proverbs, 6:6). For the bee is engaged in a highly respected branch of industry; kings and commoners alike consume its product for the sake of their health; it is much sought-after and loved by all.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The bees work together to make honey and die when they sting a victim.

  • Translation
    in search of food, unless the king has gone first and has claimed his place at the head of the flight. Their flight takes them over a scented landscape, where there are gardens of flowers, where a stream flows through meadows, where there are pleasant places on its banks. There young people play lively games, there men exercise in the fields, there you find release from care. The bees' pleasant labours amid the flowers and sweet grasses provide the foundations of their fort. For what else is a honey-comb in the bee-hive but a kind of fortress? After all, from the hives drones are kept out. What four-cornered fort, however, could possibly have the skilled workmanship and elegance that there is in the honey-combs, in which tiny, round compartments are connected one to another for support? What master of construction taught the bees to construct six-sided compartments, each side of the same, unvarying length; to hang between the walls of each living area fine beds of wax; to compress the honey-dew; and to fill their storehouses, woven from flowers, with a kind of nectar? You can see how the bees all compete with each other in carrying out their duties: some keeping watch over those who are seeking food; some keeping a careful guard on the fort, that is, the hive; some keeping a look-out for rain, their eye on the massing clouds; some making wax from the flowers; some collecting in their mouth the dew poured from the flowers. You can see too, however, that no bees lie in wait for other creatures, to take advantage of their toil; and none take a life by force. If only they themselves did not need to fear the ambushes of thieves! Nevertheless, they have their own weapon, the sting, and pour poison into the honey-dew if they are provoked; and when they inflict a wound in the heat of revenge, they lay down their lives in the act. In recesses deep in its fortress, the hive, the bee pours out the dewy moisture, and gradually with the passage of time it is compressed into honey, although it was liquid to begin wit; and by contact with the wax and the scent of flowers, it begins to glow with sweetness of honey. The Scripture might justifiably extol the bee as a good workman, as it does the ant, saying: 'Go to the bee and see how it works and imitate its way of working' (see Proverbs, 6:6). For the bee is engaged in a highly respected branch of industry; kings and commoners alike consume its product for the sake of their health; it is much sought-after and loved by all.
  • Transcription
    aliquos procedere pastus, nisi rex fuerit primo egressus et volatus\ sibi vendicaverit principatum. Processus autem per rura redolentia\ ubi inhabitantes orti floribus ubi fugiens rivus per gramina\ ubi amena riparum. Illic ludus alacris iuventutis, illic cam\ pestre exercicium, illic curarum remissio. Opus ipsum suave\ de floribus, de herbis dulcibus, fundamina castrorum prima\ ponuntur. Quid enim aliud favus, nisi quedam castrorum \ species. Denique ab his presepibus apium fucus arcetur. Que castra\ quadrata tamen possunt habere artis et gracie, quantum habent crates fa\ vorum in quibus minute atque rotunde cellule connexione sui\ invicem fulciuntur. Quis architectus eas docuit exagona illa\ cellularum indiscreta laterum equalitate componere, ac tenues inter domorum septa ceras suspendere, stipare mella et\ intexta floribus horrea nectare quodam distendere. Cernas omnes certare de munere, alias invigilare querendo victum, alias\ sollicitam castris exhibere custodiam, alias futuros explora\ re ymbres, et speculari concursus nubium, alias de floribus\ ceras fingere, alias rorem infusum floribus ore colligere, nullam\ tamen alienis insidiari laboribus et raptu vitam querere, atque\ utinam raptorum insidias non timerent. Habent tamen\ spicula sua et inter mella fundunt venenum si fuerint laces\ site, animasque ponunt in vulnere ardore vindicte. Ergo\ mediis castrorum vallibus humor ille roris infundit, pau\ latimque processu temporis in mella cogitur, cum fuerit liqui\ dus ab exordio et coalitu cere florumque odore flagrare\ mellis incipit suavitatem. Merito quasi bonam operariam\ scriptura apem predicat dicens: Vade ad apem et vide quo\ modo operaria est eius imitare operationem. Operationem namque\ quam venerabilem mercatur apes cuius laborem reges et me\ diocres ad salutem sumunt, appetibilis est omnibus et cara.\
Folio 64r - Of bees, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen